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My Take: Penn State’s dark fellowship
Joseph Loconte looks to C.S. Lewis for help understanding the reaction of Joe Paterno, above, and others to Jerry Sandusky.
July 15th, 2012
03:00 AM ET

My Take: Penn State’s dark fellowship

Editor's Note: Joseph Loconte, Ph.D., is an associate professor of history at the King’s College in New York City and the author of The Searchers: A Quest for Faith in the Valley of Doubt.

By Joseph Loconte, Special to CNN

(CNN)–The results of the investigation into the sexual abuse scandal at Penn State University, released last week, suggest a crisis of conscience in the academy. The report blames “the most powerful leaders at the university” for concealing vital facts about football coach Jerry Sandusky’s chronic record of child abuse. Singled out are university President Graham Spanier, Athletic Director Tim Curley, Vice President Gary Schultz, and head Coach Joe Paterno. “Our most saddening and sobering finding,” the report said, “is the total disregard for the safety and welfare of Sandusky’s victims by the most senior leaders at Penn State.”

Last month Sandusky was convicted of 45 counts of sexual abuse, including rape and sodomy. If the investigation’s conclusions are correct, he had help. It seems that all these individuals, men of public achievement and outward propriety, conspired together to protect a serial pedophile. How is it possible?

An intense desire to shield the reputation of the school, a jealous regard for its venerable football tradition, a determination to avoid the financial fallout of a sex scandal—these are the usual suspects, and they all played a part in this criminal episode. Yet even taken together they don’t fully explain the alleged conspiracy of silence.

CNN's Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the big stories

In their 162-page report, investigators said that “a culture of reverence” for the football program contributed to the abuse and its cover-up. This “culture of reverence,” in fact, functioned more like a quasi-religious cult than a college football program. At Penn State—as well as at other competitive football schools—we find the secular equivalent of high priests, holy rituals, secret initiations, unquestioned dogmas and fanatically devoted followers.

And, like any religious cult, there is a sanctified hierarchy: a cadre of elite who stand guard at the temple to protect its power and prestige—and its darkest secrets. They are individuals who, once welcomed into this fellowship, will not break faith with one another.

Christian author C.S. Lewis called this dynamic “the Inner Ring.” Based on his own experience at Oxford and Cambridge universities, Lewis discerned a powerful desire to enter these elite societies, to experience “the delicious sense of secret intimacy.” He described an equally potent fear of being shut out of the inner ring and, once admitted, to close ranks at the first sign of trouble.

Sandusky’s pastor addresses conviction from pulpit

In book three of Lewis’s space trilogy, "That Hideous Strength," we watch the moral descent of Mark Studdock, a university professor who comes under the influence of the N.I.C.E. (National Institute of Coordinated Experiments). The leaders of the N.I.C.E want to distract attention from their wicked machinations in the town of Edgetow. In an effort to consolidate their stranglehold over the community, they ask Studdock, a writer who craves their approval and acceptance, to fabricate a newspaper story.

“This was the first thing Mark had been asked to do which he himself, before he did it, clearly knew to be criminal. But the moment of his consent almost escaped his notice; certainly, there was no struggle, no sense of turning a corner,” Lewis writes. “For him, it all slipped past in a chatter of laughter, of that intimate laughter between fellow professionals, which of all earthly powers is strongest to make men do very bad things before they are yet, individually, very bad men.”

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It now appears that the circle of leadership at Penn State, not unlike the N.I.C.E., was ruthlessly devoted to its vision of glory: a secular mission that took on the righteous urgency of a religious cause. The cult of football, like any other cult, not only produces heroes and saints. It creates hypocrites and charlatans.

None of the men implicated in the scandal at Penn State began his career determined to abandon his most basic moral obligations: to protect children from physical and sexual abuse. And, yet, the report found “a striking lack of empathy for child abuse victims by the most senior leaders of the university.” How could it happen? It probably happened in “a chatter of laughter,” in that dark fellowship that invites decent men to quietly condone the most indecent of acts against their neighbors.

If the report’s findings are true, the inner ring at Penn State manipulated a power structure that made dissent costly. University janitors, who knew what was happening to the children, reportedly kept quiet for fear of reprisals. “They were afraid to take on the football program,” said Louis Freeh, the former FBI director who led the investigation. “If that’s the culture on the bottom, then God help the culture at the top.”

The great tragedy here is that God and his moral law were excluded from the culture at the top. If that culture is to change, it will require more than tough talk and secular therapy. Maybe it’s time to recall that the God of the Bible is portrayed as the great defender of society’s weakest and most vulnerable. Jesus showed a special regard for children—a countercultural quality in his day—and admonished his followers about taking advantage of them.

His stern warning, repeated several times in the gospels, might serve as a moral signpost for coaches everywhere: “It would be better to be thrown into the sea with a millstone hung around your neck than to cause one of these little ones to fall into sin.”

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Joseph Loconte.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Cults • Sports

soundoff (780 Responses)
  1. pancreatic cancer symptoms in women

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    August 14, 2012 at 3:42 am |
  2. I'm in your thoughts

    Whatever happened with the catholic cover up in Philly? Oh, I forgot, religious people are sheep programmed not to question the church from day one. The Monsignor probably just got probation. Looks like Sandusky picked the wrong profession.

    July 17, 2012 at 8:46 pm |
  3. Mass Debater

    I would love to see the Christians that are getting so angry over this and calling for those at PS who knew and did nothing to be brought to justice would say the same thing about the clergy of the Catholic Church.

    July 17, 2012 at 10:57 am |
    • Mark From Middle River

      What about the anti-Catholic Christians. They have been at odds with the Catholics too and have been jumping on the Priest abuse scandal in the same way some of the most rabid Atheist.

      Just another examples of strange similarities at the extremes.

      July 18, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
  4. Wastrel

    The article is about the evil done by groups of men with a goal, to attain that goal. Whether there is a god is not really relevant, except as one's religious beliefs might prevent one from doing evil in that way. On the other hand, we see many examples of so-called religious persons with a goal falling into this trap, and harming others to get their way. Beware of peer pressure and group thinking.

    July 17, 2012 at 9:51 am |
  5. Arvoasitis

    While the crimes at Penn State pale in comparison to the Holocaust, the psychology at work is the same, just another version of the same corporate mentality.
    Testifying at Nuremberg, Rudolf Hoess, commandant of Auschwitz testified that when he was informed that he had been selected to put into effect the "final solution" of the Jewish problem, he felt nothing at all and simply replied, "Jawohl." Nor did the murder of two and a half men, women and children bother him: "It just seemed a necessity. ... It only started to occur to me after the collapse that maybe it was not quite right, after I heard what everybody was sayng "

    July 17, 2012 at 7:08 am |
    • Arvoasitis

      Sorry, typo: that should have read two and a half million men, women and children.

      July 17, 2012 at 7:10 am |
    • Arvoasitis

      Oh, and by the way, the executives of British Petroleum all received large bonuses on account of their excellent safety record during the period in which the Gulf Disaster occurred.

      July 17, 2012 at 7:40 am |
    • Mark From Middle River

      Could we same thing about when we dropped a nuclear device on Ja'pan?

      July 18, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
  6. No Longer Lost in Babylon

    “'Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.' Jesus used this illustration, but they did not understand the things which He spoke to them."

    -John 10:1-6
    NKJV

    July 16, 2012 at 8:36 pm |
  7. Keith

    Look at the power that one single h0m0se.xual deviant wields. Jerry Sandusky single-handedly is going to destroy an entire university because of (1) his H0M0 actions and (2) the cowards who were and are afraid to stand up to this evil minority. You reap what you sow, PSU. Enjoy your destruction! Let the lawsuits commence. Prosecutors should see to it that those who turned a blind eye because of their fear of the qu.eer community, find a cell right next to Sandusky. PSU, how's that "gay pride" garbage workin' out for you now?

    July 16, 2012 at 8:20 pm |
    • midwest rail

      When " TruNews " is your source of information, it's no wonder you look like a fool to the vast majority of rational humans.

      July 16, 2012 at 8:25 pm |
    • Keith

      Here's some true news for you:
      “I have a question concerning the purported “Womens’ Health” Conference recently held at Penn State. The keynote speaker, Patrick Califia Rice, is a well known champion of adult-child se.x and the pederasty group NAMBLA, whose published works include a fictional short story about a lesbian who performs acts of sadism on her 13-year old daughter. NAMBLA is the North American Man/Boy Love Association, a New York-based group that advocates legalizing se.x between men and young boys. The NAMBLA Web site includes a quotation from Califia, attributed to an interview she gave in October 1980 with the h.om.ose.xual magazine The Advocate:

      “Boy-lovers and the lesbians who have young lovers are the only people offering a hand to help young women and men cross the difficult terrain between straight society and the gay community. They are not child molesters. The child abusers are priests, teachers, therapists, cops and parents who force their stale morality onto the young people in their custody. Instead of condemning pedophiles for their involvement with lesbian and gay youth, we should be supporting them.”

      July 16, 2012 at 8:34 pm |
    • Keith

      chew on that midwest rail.

      July 16, 2012 at 8:36 pm |
    • Keith

      I wonder if Patrick Califa Rice will get and encore speaking engagement at PSU anytime soon? Will you be attending, midwest rail????
      Turn the lights on and watch the evil rats scurry.
      Jhn 3:19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

      July 16, 2012 at 9:00 pm |
    • O'Reilly

      @Keith. That's not exactly news is it? 2002

      July 17, 2012 at 1:47 am |
    • Mass Debater

      "Jerry Sandusky single-handedly is going to destroy an entire university because of (1) his H0M0 actions"

      Would this have been any better if he had done this to girls? There is a difference between gay and a pedophile, one is a s.exual orientation and one is r a p e, and if you are too stupid to see the difference then there is no use debating this with complete moron.

      July 17, 2012 at 2:28 am |
    • Keith

      Oreilly, Not news because it was from 2002? The span of time was 21 days from Rice speaking on campus to Sandusky sodomizing the 10 year old boy. He did the very thing the speaker was talking about! You have a fruit-fly mentality, o reilly.

      July 17, 2012 at 6:03 am |
    • Keith

      mass debater, "if". You debaters like to deal with hypothetical situations. "If this", "if that", blah, blah, blah. Well, Sandusky's victims WERE BOYS NOT GIRLS. He was/is a QU.EER!

      July 17, 2012 at 6:05 am |
    • midwest rail

      Good grief. So now all gay folk can be tarred with the same brush because of the words of one individual, which I haven't researched yet. Since you so thoroughly reveled in finding that tidbit, why not research what the APA says about ped0philia ? Are you afraid you'll find some info you dont like ? Or does TruNews only publish stories that support their erroneous conclusions ?

      July 17, 2012 at 6:14 am |
    • JWT

      Haters need to hate, there is no need for any rationality to be involved. As keith so quickly demonstrates.

      July 17, 2012 at 6:18 am |
    • Keith

      PSU chose to sow the wind-now they will reap the whirlwind. They INVITED Rice to speak on campus. Rice teaches HOW to HURT children. Just what was PSU promoting?
      btw, As far as I know, Tru News is not even discussing this to my knowledge.

      July 17, 2012 at 7:23 am |
    • Keith

      JWT, I make no apology for HATING that which is EVIL.

      July 17, 2012 at 7:25 am |
    • JWT

      Gays as a group are not evil in any way. A few of them are – just like members of another group – not all are good people.

      You ae consuming yourself with hate.

      July 17, 2012 at 7:32 am |
    • Mass Debater

      Should I start listing all the hetero r a p i s t s that have been caught taking advantage of their position at a school to sleep with students? Is the r a p e of a young girl somehow more acceptable to you Keith? You and people like you are the problem in America. You are a bigot and the world will be a better place when we are rid of your ilk.

      July 17, 2012 at 10:48 am |
    • derp

      This mor on Keith has repeatedly blabbered about this message board about how Sandusky is g ay. He is simply too stu pid to understand that a pedo is an opportunist criminal. If Sandusky had been around little girsl he would have attacked them. He is a pedo, not a h om o.

      July 17, 2012 at 12:02 pm |
    • just sayin

      Keith

      Jhn 3:19 And this is the gift, that light is c u m into the world, and men love men rather than women because their deeds were good.
      .

      Interesting quote of scripture Keith

      July 17, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
    • just sayin

      Keith

      JWT, I make no apology for LOVING that which is GAY
      .
      Good fo you bro!

      July 17, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
  8. Pope Juan Rodreguiz

    Me hopey no mas investimigates mi church ai ai ai no me gusta.

    me gusta chicos arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrriba taco oui oui

    July 16, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
    • congrats

      you're a retard who can't spell and isn't remotely funny..............

      July 16, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
  9. cowdog

    The entire University needs to be shut down. Everyone from the janitor to the President knew about this situation and yet no one would say anything at all. The entire culture needs to change, or there will simply be a repeat.

    July 16, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
  10. GaryGuillermo

    I used to be proud to say I was from Penn State. Used to be. The number of people affected by this one man is incredible. How he was able to get away with it for so long is also. They all knew about it . . . from the janitors to the President. . .

    July 16, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
  11. Reality

    Sandusky started coaching at Penn State in 1969. He was convicted for having s-ex with underage boys from 1996 to 2011. So what was he up to during the period 1969-1996?? Maybe Joe knew and kept quiet about it??

    And sure enough from today's CNN Headlines, "Report: Three men claim they were abused by Sandusky in '70s, '80s. "

    July 16, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
    • religion; a way to control the weak minded

      "Maybe Joe knew and kept quiet about it??"

      Or maybe he didn't. We don't know. Speculating helps no one.

      July 16, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
    • Reality

      Well he was quiet from 1996-2011 so why not from 1969- 1995. "Practice makes perfect".

      July 16, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
    • religion; a way to control the weak minded

      "Well he was quiet from 1996-2011 so why not from 1969- 1995. "Practice makes perfect"."

      Yeah and that automatically means he knew about something and kept quiet about it.

      July 17, 2012 at 8:07 am |
    • Reality

      And the purification at Penn State continues:

      Penn State's 'Paternoville' to be 'Nittanyville'

      The $500 million to be paid by the PS football progam to the families for the conduct of Joe Paterno et al should finish the stench removal.

      July 17, 2012 at 6:15 pm |
  12. Gary Sumner

    ALL Religions are a CULT! Weak-minded people in search of "meaning" to their lives lead them to believe anything just so they can be a "part" of something/anything. As John Lennon said "Imagine theres no heaven, it isnt hard to do. Nothing to kill or die for, and no Religion too." Simple lyrics yet so TRUE!

    July 16, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
    • Jer in Texas

      Huh! Guess Lennon missed history class when they talked about Stalin's, Hitler's and Mao's godless paradises!

      July 16, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Jer in Texas

      Ohhh like that hasn't tried to be used before. The Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot non-sequitur. What original thing will you try next? Slippery slope, red herring, appeal to authority? C'mon we'll all play guess the fallacy.

      July 16, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
    • fred

      Hawaiiguest
      You can dismiss Jer but you cannot dismiss the fact that Soviet Russia, China, Khmer Rouge and Nazi Germany moved against religion committing atrocities in the 20th century that stand to this day as the worst of all acts of man against humanity. This is what men that reject the truth of God for their own personal gain exemplify

      July 16, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
    • ME II

      @fred,
      Has your god ever stopped even one death?

      July 16, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @fred

      Tell me fred, how do you draw a line between not believing something, and taking an action without adding a belief in something else on to that. To pretend that rejecting a god CLAIM leads to that crap is dishonest, and this had been pointed out to you before. Then again, when have you actually not irrationally justified whatever you want to believe?

      July 16, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
    • Madtown

      fred
      This is what men that reject the truth of God for their own personal gain exemplify
      ----
      You must be pretty special, if you know the truth of God. This is unknowable, so I wonder what your secret is?

      July 16, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
    • Get Real

      fred,
      "Soviet Russia, China, Khmer Rouge and Nazi Germany moved against religion committing atrocities in the 20th century that stand to this day as the worst of all acts of man against humanity."

      Yes, and they "moved against" Buddhists, and doctors, and nationalists of any stripe, and anyone else who might unite to detract from their total control of society. The churches were just a very heavily-populated and powerful enemy.

      July 16, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
    • fred

      ME II
      If we are speaking of the Hebrew God there was Lot spared at the request of Abraham and don't forget the famous son of Abraham where God subst-ituted a Lamb.

      July 16, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
    • fred

      Madtown
      We only know that which God has revealed as the truth. I did not say I understand the mind of God etc.

      July 16, 2012 at 5:56 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @fred

      And yet you still haven't established that god so much as revealed where the toilet it, let alone any kind of truth.

      July 16, 2012 at 5:58 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      Or that there even is such thing as A god, let alone YOURS.

      July 16, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
    • sam stone

      In those states, the state WAS god. So, it is not like they were godless states

      July 16, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
    • fred

      Get Real
      Correct, without a divine standard men will move against all others to establish whatever they desire.

      July 16, 2012 at 6:01 pm |
    • ME II

      @fred,
      Sorry, I didn't mean were there any stories about your god stopping a death, are there any actual cases?

      July 16, 2012 at 6:01 pm |
    • ME II

      @fred,
      "...without a divine standard men will move against all others to establish whatever they desire."

      But isn't that what God is doing, supposedly?

      July 16, 2012 at 6:04 pm |
    • fred

      Sam Stone
      States are run by men and if we are nothing more than animal the animal will rise up to take what is pleasing.

      July 16, 2012 at 6:04 pm |
    • sam stone

      "I did not say I understand the mind of God etc."

      You are implying god sanctions man's words. How is that NOT speaking for god?

      July 16, 2012 at 6:05 pm |
    • fred

      ME II
      The only cases we have are specific examples where a Christian Missionary bows in open prayer to Jesus and the executioner stops in his tracks. Yes, many cases where the fear of God changed the actions of another. I can give you a personal example where I proclaimed the name of Jesus and two men put their knives away. The name of the Lord (real or imagined) saves lives.

      July 16, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      fred, I can claim that my gerbil speaks French. If you have no docu mentation, it didn't happen, no matter how much you'd like to believe it.

      You have no idea if anyone did anything simply because of the utterance of a name.

      July 16, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
    • fred

      Sam Stone
      There is very little man does or says that would be sanctioned by God although God allows man to be the best or worst imaginable. I cannot speak for God. When I say ‘God says’ I have inadvertently left out the words “from what we can gather in Scripture”

      July 16, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
    • fred

      Other fred, it was imaginary just as all gods are. Now stop using my handle. I was here first and we've been over this before. Call yourself fred2 or something else.

      July 16, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
    • fred

      Tom Tom
      My personal experience was based on their subsequent admission that they did put down the knives because I brought up the name Jesus. No doc-umentation needed for me as I was there.

      July 16, 2012 at 6:21 pm |
    • fred

      fred, you are against God in all you say so there is little worry anyone here would confuse you with fred. I was thinking about using the handle Heaven Sent but last I heard that was already taken.

      July 16, 2012 at 6:24 pm |
    • we believe you, fred

      cause youre SOOOOOOO not a retardedly obvious troll.

      July 16, 2012 at 6:24 pm |
    • fred

      ME II
      If there is a God who created the Heaven and the Earth then what we see is God’s plan unfolding. Yes, historically according to the Bible God normally moves through men to accomplish the plan. The plan as I see it perfectly reveals exactly who we really are. Can you think of a better way to let the real you expose yourself?

      July 16, 2012 at 6:30 pm |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      fred: Explain why a god is required?

      July 16, 2012 at 6:37 pm |
    • fred

      HawaiiGuest
      You and I both act according to our beliefs be they Christian or other. Suggesting that your belief is superior is exactly the same as a Muslim that claims Allah is great, or a Jew that claims Christ was only a teacher not the Messiah and a Christian that claims only those who follow Christ get to Heaven.
      When I base my belief on what the Bible says it is no more dishonest than when you attack the Bible based on your doctrine. Yes, you have a doctrine that claims the God of the Bible is evil, The God of the Bible is murderer, we are only animal with no afterlife etc.etc.

      July 16, 2012 at 6:38 pm |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      fred: What doctrine do we have exactly? You have a 2000 year old book that can't be proven to be accurate on so many accounts (global flood, inspired by god, virgin birth, resurrection to name a few). We have science that can be proven on all accounts with numerous pieces of peer reviewed evidence and when science is wrong, they correct the mistake. When religion is wrong, they blame it on the other imaginary friend they call Satan. So if my doctrine is science, perfect...science does more for this world than your doctrine ever will!

      July 16, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
    • fred

      Truth Prevails
      God is required as a first cause is required. God (or supernatural causation of some sort) is required because we now know the odds of fine tuning in Dark Energy alone demand causation from one of the 7 dimensions outside our known 4 dimensional universe.
      There is no acceptable explanation for the origin of life thus purpose of life is empty without a reason for existence. The more intelligent we become the more we realize there must be a God given the complexity of life. Most people will answer the question of purpose knowing there is a purpose. In short we can sense it as did the Neanderthal.

      July 16, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      Physically define god-what characteristics does he have? What does he look like? Who were his parents? If everything needs creator, then who or what created your god? The point is that there is no evidence outside of the buybull to support that your god even existed and until there is, we see no reason to believe. You're not going to convince me and I'm not going to convince you. In the end, no-one knows what really happens and to claim otherwise is simply being dishonest.

      July 16, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
    • Mirosal

      @ Fred ... Just because you do not know the origin of causation, does NOT mean there HAS to be a "god". You are thinking exactly as men were thousands of years ago. That's why they invented the "gods", because they needed an answer and did not settle for "I don't know". It looks like you haven't evolved from that position. Saying I don't know is the first step in finding an answer. It may take hours, it may take centuries. Get your head out of the bull you buy into (hence buy-bull) and look around. Get off your ass and instead of telling others there HAS to be a "god", try a little research on your own, discover something to help answer or disprove the theorem. Then not only will you know, you'll have evidence to back it up. Your 2000 year old book filled with 3000 year old stories proves nothing, and it never will.

      July 16, 2012 at 7:07 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @fred

      Yes, that pesky morality and logic dictating that I think the god of the bible is an evil being. How horrible that I should follow reason and not use consistent fallacies so I can make myself feel better.
      As for your first cause argument, you continue to ignore that the probability doesn't matter. Just because something is unlikely to happen, doesn't make your assertion any more valid. That's another fallacy you constantly use.

      July 16, 2012 at 7:16 pm |
    • fred

      TruthPrevails 🙂
      Science can only address the natural and does not have the knowledge or tools to measure or evaluate that which is not within the boundaries of known science. Science is not your doctrine it is part of your knowledge of your surroundings. Thanks to scientific knowledge we know the odds of fine tuning of Dark Energy which allowed the expansion of our universe at our singularity to avoid being captured by gravitational forces yet slow enough to allow formation of galaxies to be impossible statistically. That fact supports my belief that there is a God because of my doctrine whereas Hawkings doctrine rejects a personal God of any kind.. We both have a core doctrine of belief which directs how we use the facts we know from science.

      July 16, 2012 at 7:18 pm |
    • fred

      Truth Prevails
      It is not dishonest to claim a personal relationship with Christ because it is a personal relationship. If I assume your position that no one knows then you are equally dishonest based on what you just said. Your doctrine requires God have; characteristics we can define, parents, a creator and physical presence that is verifiable (based only on your post above). Notice that your doctrine is the foundation of your belief just as my doctrine is the foundation of my belief. It is because we have different doctrines that our views conflict not because we have different science knowledge.

      July 16, 2012 at 7:28 pm |
    • fred

      Mirosal
      Based on what we know scientists do not disagree on fine tuning as it is known to exist. Most scientists agree there is causation that is properly classified as supernatural simply because it defies the natural known world. In the area of life sciences no one likes to admit the fact evolution or other known biologic advances cannot establish origin of life. In the last year cosmologic evidence is now building that early life did not form over billions of years out of 'Primordial Soup' rather millions of years.
      Bottom line is that you are correct we do not know and I insert God and you insert no God. AT best your evidence for the unknown is no better than mine. You make the arrogant assumption that your doctrine is superior to my doctrine yet neither of us have a lick of support according to your own doctrine for our choice. According to your own doctrine you are the one that must abandon your belief as my belief is not based on the natural yours is.

      July 16, 2012 at 7:45 pm |
    • Madtown

      fred
      It is not dishonest to claim a personal relationship with Christ because it is a personal relationship.
      ----–
      I guess it depends on how you define "personal". It's not like you and he exchange emails. I don't know what your definition is, but for me a personal relationship means someone I can meet with, talk, and have coffee. Yours may differ. I think what gets lost on ardent christians, is the fact that the principles of christianity are not available to all human beings in this world, based solely on accident of birth. It's also a fact that all humans are created equal, in terms of the base value of human life. Why would God allow only a select group of the people he created equally to learn the principles of christianity, and have this "personal", as you say, relationship with Christ? That's where it all falls apart for me. If christianity was really the 1 true path, all humans would be privy to it.

      July 16, 2012 at 8:00 pm |
    • fred

      Hawaiiguest
      As to probability it cuts both ways as your conclusion that we exist by natural cause is impossible based on known science.

      You do not follow reason to conclude God is who you claim you follow doctrine. Since you are referring to the God of Abraham as described by the Hebrew reason would dictate that the Hebrew understanding of God would be more accurate than yours. The God of Abraham was well “known” to the chosen ones and the descriptions of God go far beyond the Bible you refer to all of which support the view of the Hebrews not yours.
      It is not reasonable to apply your doctrine to the Bible or the other writings of the Hebrews. Not only is your doctrine not Biblical it is secular at best and more in line with atheistic doctrines. What you are doing is as reasonable as using doctrine from Islam to claim the doctrine of Christianity is false.

      July 16, 2012 at 8:04 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Fred,

      you claim that the regimes of Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot and Mao were 'the worst of all acts of man against humanity' in history.

      Granted they are a nasty bunch, but your claim is unsubstantiated. Many people follow the flawed notion that it is only 20th century atheists who are responsible for such atrocities. There's likely a sermon on it that gets passed around to different churches.

      Have you heard of the (Catholic) King Leopold II of Belgium and what he did in the Belgian Congo from 1885 – 1908. An estimated 10-13 million people died in the Belgian Congo and for what? Western greed for ivory and rubber. This far exceeds the raw body count of the Nazi holocaust (~6M), Soviets under Stalin (~7M), or the Khmer Rouge under Pol Pot (~2.2M).

      Then of course there is the Turkish genocide of the Amenians (1915 – 1923) where perhaps as many as 1.8M people were exterminated. Religion was a very large factor in this endeavor, but perhaps you're not counting Islamic/Christian violence.

      (All these numbers are estimates.)

      There are all kinds of antecedents for faith-based atrocities. The 20th century examples stand out because of the mechanization available – transportation/firearms/etc.

      July 16, 2012 at 8:36 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @fred

      You're tossing around the word doctrine like it should apply something to me. What doctrine do you tack onto me? What do you know about me to say I have any kind of doctrine?
      In regards to your "impossibility" of natural causes, first, you never say impossible, in fact, you give a number for the probability, and the fact that it is higher than 0, doesn't make it impossible. I'm merely following Occam's Razor in rejecting adding something supernatural into nature without actual evidence that anything supernatural even exists. Until you can provide the evidence for the supernatural (and an appeal to probability fallacy doesn't work), then there is no reason to even take that proposition seriously.

      July 16, 2012 at 8:38 pm |
    • fred

      Madtown
      I agree it seems to fall apart at that point of why God would have select groups. The Bible is very consistent on the “chosen ones” being separate from the rest. The Hebrew’s were a separate people onto God where only one family like Noah would find favor in the eyes of the Lord. Being separate or set aside for the Glory of God seems to be the plan.
      Your thoughts that Gods plan is a bad plan is based on the theories of Justice which ushered out the Puritans 400 years ago. What you are saying is that your doctrine or plan would include a different group of people. Your plan or justice must be superior to “Gods plan” or “Gods justice” so you reject Gods plan and believe in yours. You have made your plan very selective and exclusive by rejecting Christians. Have you not done the same thing God has done?
      As to all humans being privy to it the Bible says all that would be saved will have an equal opportunity to accept or reject God. Does Billy Graham’s son have the same opportunity as a child in Iran? “To him who is given much much is expected”. Franklin Graham is held accountable to greater standard than is the child in Iran. If there is a God who created then reason would lean towards that God creating with purpose and design with the capacity to complete the creation process.
      If there is a God there is no “accident” of birth.

      July 16, 2012 at 8:39 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @fred,

      what do you mean in this statement: "Your thoughts that Gods plan is a bad plan is based on the theories of Justice which ushered out the Puritans 400 years ago."

      I am particularly unclear by what you mean with "ushered out the Puritans".

      July 16, 2012 at 8:46 pm |
    • fred

      I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV
      The numbers I have heard are much larger than you represent. Taking your numbers still reflects that man (atheist or believer) has a problem when given power over others. I would argue that Christ said to love your enemy so both atheist and the believer fall on their own sword. There was a time when in the U.S the man with his hand on the red nuke button had to be a Christian. That restriction was removed two years ago and replaced by an ethics manual. What do you think? Would you rather have an atheist, true Christian or devout Muslim with his hand on the red button?

      July 16, 2012 at 8:54 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @fred

      "There was a time when in the U.S the man with his hand on the red nuke button had to be a Christian. That restriction was removed two years ago and replaced by an ethics manual. "
      The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Const.itution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States
      Part of Article Six of the Consti.tution

      "Would you rather have an atheist, true Christian or devout Muslim with his hand on the red button?"
      Definitely atheist.

      July 16, 2012 at 9:02 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Fred,

      the evidence would suggest that an atheist would be preferred to have his finger on 'the button'.

      Kennedy was ready to go to nuclear war during the Cuban missile crisis – Kruschev (the atheist) is the one who blinked. I don't want someone who thinks they are going to heaven with their finger on the button, thank you very much.

      July 16, 2012 at 9:02 pm |
    • fred

      I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV
      There is a CNN belief post on the top of the page regarding American exceptionalism that claimed the Puritans were ushered out by the wave of justice and equality for all thought in America. That is what I was referring too. According to that article thoughts of justice of equality took mainstream over a belief system that America should be a strict Christ based society with law based upon the Bible.

      July 16, 2012 at 9:02 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @fred

      Also depends on your definition of real christian, devout muslim, and atheist.

      July 16, 2012 at 9:03 pm |
    • fred

      I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV
      Ok, I would go with an agnostic that has a subconscious fear of hell at the red button.

      July 16, 2012 at 9:07 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Fred,

      the numbers I presented relate to 'atrocities' – the gulag, the holocaust etc.

      If you count war dead (combatants and civilians) the numbers go up extraordinarily. The US is of course then a contributory. The US killed hundreds of thousands (millions?) of J-panese and German civilians in WWII and perhaps as many as 600,000 Cambodians during the Vietnam war. (More tonnage of bombs was dropped by the US in Cambodia than in the whole of WWII!.

      I did not include the 10s of millions of famine deaths in China. You could attribute these to Chairman Mao but they stand alone in their magnitude.

      July 16, 2012 at 9:17 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @fred,

      I'm sorry but I'm still confused as to your meaning. I am very familiar with the concept (I might say willful self-delusion?) of American Exceptionalism and the article you mention.

      You said: the Puritans were ushered out by the wave of justice and equality for all thought in America

      The notion of American Exceptionalism is that the US is divinely ordained as better than other countries by God. The Puritans clearly stated this and the idea not only persists but remains firmly rooted.

      What do you think was 'ushered out'?

      July 16, 2012 at 9:28 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @fred,

      just to clarify my earlier point. Somewhere between about 700,000 and 1.1M German and J-panese civilians were killed by Allied bombing in WWII. The overwhelming majority of these were killed by US forces – the British did not bomb J-pan.

      July 16, 2012 at 9:43 pm |
    • fred

      I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV
      The cnn article referred to said:
      “with new Enlightenment ideas making their way from Europe about a rational universe knowable through reason, the Puritans’ quest for perfect religious inst-itutions gave way to a colonial quest for perfect political insti-tutions.”
      My thought was that the perfect political inst-itutions were those of justice and equality for all based on secular world view rather than the Puritans biblical world view.

      July 16, 2012 at 11:30 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @fred,

      thanks for your reply! That helps. I understand what you are saying.

      In the context of the American Exceptionalism article, I thought this was a clumsy segue. At the time of the revolution, Massachusetts was essentially still a theocracy. The transition to the notion of secular equality and justice was as a happy result of necessary political compromise amongst the competing sects in Colonial America and enlightment thinking.

      Nonetheless, the puritanical mindset bled over into much of what const.tutes "American" thinking even today. The clear ideological descendants of the Puritans are today's Evangelical Protestants.

      July 17, 2012 at 8:59 am |
    • Madtown

      fred
      The Bible is very consistent on the “chosen ones” being separate from the rest. The Hebrew’s were a separate people onto God
      ---------–
      Yep, and this is a huge problem for me. I flatly dismiss the notion that a "loving and just" God would create human beings, then play favorites among them. Jealousy, playing favorites, are human practices. Not practices you'd associate with a higher and divine spiritual power. Who cares what the bible says on this, the bible was written by men! And, in the case of the story of the exodus from the OT, allegedly written by the leader of "God's people" himself! No room for bias there, right? What better way to convince the people serving you, than to tell them that they have been chosen by God to take these "promised lands", and in the process need to kill other men/women/children who have also been equally created by God. What utter rubbish. Absurd and insulting.

      You are not special, simply because you've been exposed to the teachings of christianity. You are no different than any other human being on this planet, who's not been exposed. You are of equal value to them, no matter what man-made religious tradtion they've been exposed to and have grown up with. I know you want to think you are better, and that God prefers you, but it's just not true.

      July 17, 2012 at 10:26 am |
    • fred

      Madtown
      “I know you want to think you are better, and that God prefers you, but it's just not true.”

      =>so, we both totally agree that God (real or delusional) does not prefer me and does not think I am any great shake. For the moment I want to limit my reply to those thoughts expressed by Jesus who claimed to be God. This is what really ticked off the Jews of Christ’s day and infuriated the Jewish Priests and leaders. Christ hung out with the poor and other’s the Jews would not associate with. Christ also talked to women (worse yet a Samaritan woman !) and claimed they were equal in the eyes of God. Christianity is based on a view that we are sinners and fall short of the Glory of God unable to achieve or earn our way into the Kingdom by our efforts. We depend on the grace of God as we need a savior. The Biblical doctrine of sinfulness should lead Christians to be humble and peace loving servants. This is the opposite of being “better than” anyone.
      Sorry if you have that impression believers think themselves superior and I understand it. The sense of superiority of belief is common for all men and is not limited to Christians. Even atheists must accept their core values as superior to say a fundamentalist Christian otherwise they would reject their values (who would hold onto a known inferior core value system). When you reject me as a Christian are you not just as exclusive in your core value system as a Muslim that rejects Jews? We have different core values so how would we begin to evaluate which is the better core value system for mankind?
      The Christian thought based on the biblical doctrine of the universal image of God being goodness and wisdom would lead me to understand that non believers are made in the image of God just as I am. The biblical doctrine of sinfulness leads me to understand that I fall short and cannot achieve goodness and wisdom and only the grace of God in Christ atones for my failure. There is no wiggle room on my side whatsoever that would justify a superior atti-tude.

      July 17, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
    • fred

      Madtown
      About the Old Testament Chosen ones; we have a 3,400 year history of a select chosen people that could not get their act together. They were given a few simple commands and added 640 of their own rules and regulations not to mention traditions and ceremony. God’s basic comment was that God was not at all impressed with their nonsense because their hearts remained wicked. These Hebrews did a lot of rotten things and were constantly wiped out (by God’s direct or indirect hand) with only a remnant making it through at each major stage (Noah’s family, Abrahams family, a handful out of Babylon and a handful out of Jerusalem). Man continues to demonstrate there is nothing to boast about based on results.

      Christians also have been given clear guidance on loving their neighbor and their enemy. Clear guidance on being humble servants to all around them and we are given the Holy Spirit to help us be humble peace loving servants. Again we see the failure of man. It seems to me we should be learning something at this stage. Christianity is not at fault it's man with the same issues that got Adam and Eve kicked out of the Garden in the first place.
      Real or just a story we are living proof that the process is very repet-itive and real life imitates the Bible.

      July 17, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @fred

      I'm feeling a little slighted. You're not even trying to answer my points and just ignoring me. Is it that you are having trouble with my responses to your random assertions?

      July 17, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
    • fred

      HawaiiGuest
      Sorry, not ignoring just lost the post.
      As to probability when we are speaking of a remote possibility like 10 to the power of 97 it becomes so remote that I cannot comprehend it being anything but zero. Hawking did the same thing when it came to fine tuning of Dark energy and was forced to respond with a theory of spontaneous creation when faced with the possibility of supernatural as the only possibility to account for existence of our known universe. Yes, you can argue it is not impossible but even Hawking understood 10 to the power of 97 was strong enough to threaten his bias against a personal God.

      July 17, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @fred

      I don't care what Hawking thinks when it comes to probability, that's just an appeal to authority on your part. Humans, in general, are really really bad at comprehending very large and very small number concepts, and tend to simplify it. It may not be comfortable to have such a small number, but that doesn't make it effectively 0, and it doesn't validate another claim that has no evidence to it. Hawking has produced hypothesis, and is attempting to test them.
      You've set up a false dichotomy of "personal god" i.e. your god, or nothing, and that is not the case either.

      July 17, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
    • fred

      HawaiiGuest
      You mentioned in previous posts the following doctrins of your belief system. My position is that no one can leave their core personal values in a box. When you attack Christians it is because you find your beliefs to be superior to theirs.

      Your belief is non-belief in a god
      There’s nothing after death.
      There are no miracles
      The universe in its current state came to existence spontaneously out of nothing
      Matter and energy has always existed in some form or another.
      There is no intelligent design even though odds are against any other possibility
      The meaning of life is determined by the individual.
      Reality of God and the tooth fairy are identical in that neither is real
      There is no soul as commonly defined
      You determine my own purpose which objectively is the same as any known animal.
      There was no Exodus.
      Global flood is a myth
      The Old Testament is just Jewish people writing down their view of the way the world worked and what they thought they knew.
      The Christian god does not exist
      Gods characteristics are contradictory, is not competent and the so-called plan is horribly flawed and stupid.
      Eternal torture and all-loving are mutually exclusive concepts. They cannot be reconciled logically.

      July 17, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
    • fred

      HawaiiGuest
      Based on your core values you claim default to no God necessary when science reaches the limits of its known boundaries of knowledge which is contradictory to your reliance upon only that which can be proven by science. At a minimum I would think that you default to a position based on theology or philosophy as those are the only reasonable areas of thought that address that which is beyond our boundaries.

      July 17, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @fred

      If I have any kind of doctrine, it is one of verifiable evidence, and testable claims.

      "Your belief is non-belief in a god"
      A non-belief is not a belief. A belief would be "no gods exist", your statement is nonsensical.
      --------------–
      "There’s nothing after death."
      No evidence to suggest that anything continues after our bodies stop working, so yes.
      ---------------
      "There are no miracles"
      No confirmed miracles, so yes.
      --------------–
      "The universe in its current state came to existence spontaneously out of nothing"
      The current state of the universe expanded from a singularity, this has been a confirmed occurance. As fore before that, we don't know.
      -----------------–
      "Matter and energy has always existed in some form or another."
      This contradicts what you said about me in the last one, so I'm not sure what you're trying to do here.
      ------------------
      "There is no intelligent design even though odds are against any other possibility"
      And I already told you, odds don't matter.
      ------------------
      "The meaning of life is determined by the individual."
      Precisely.
      -----------------–
      "Reality of God and the tooth fairy are identical in that neither is real"
      Neither have evidence. Big difference, also depends on the god you're talking about.
      -----------------
      "There is no soul as commonly defined"
      What do you mean by "commonly defined". It would be different for you and a buddhist.
      -----------------
      "You determine my own purpose which objectively is the same as any known animal."
      Bingo.
      -----------------
      "There was no Exodus."
      No archaeological evidence to confirm, and the only account is the bible.
      -----------------
      "Global flood is a myth"
      No evidence of such a thing occuring, and the consequences to the global environment would last much more than 10,000 years (longer than the length of time, biblically, between then and now) would be highly evident. Not to mention other problems, such as quick enough reproduction to repopulate the earth enough that, in 700 years between the flood and exodus, 600,000 men left Egypt in the exodus, and that's not including families they may have had.
      -----------------–
      "The Old Testament is just Jewish people writing down their view of the way the world worked and what they thought they knew."
      No reason to think otherwise. There have been no amazing revelations of knowledge from these writings.
      ----------------–
      "The Christian god does not exist"
      You're last point makes the case nicely.
      ------------------
      "Gods characteristics are contradictory, is not competent and the so-called plan is horribly flawed and stupid.
      Eternal torture and all-loving are mutually exclusive concepts. They cannot be reconciled logically."

      July 17, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Laughing at a stupid Atheist getting distracted with science. All they have to do is read God's love letter to us and seek jesus's Truth. Nothing else matters and is a waste of time.

      Amen.

      July 17, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
    • fred

      HawaiiGuest
      My doctrine is basically 180 degrees from your doctrine and what keeps us from reaching compromise is that you generally base your core values on what can be proven and measurable in a physical world and my core values are based on what cannot be proven or measurable in the physical world we know today. In order for me to agree with your position or for you to agree with my position we would need to agree upon a source that has greater knowledge and authority and accept that position. The problem is that you cannot accept anything that is not of the physical because you admit to a fundamentalist atheist position much the same as a fundamentalist that denies evolution. As far as I am concerned the advance of science actually continues to make a greater case for God the more learn about our world. Perhaps you may want to soften up your position and look into the theological and philosophical reasons for God.

      July 17, 2012 at 8:33 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @fred

      I've read up on philisophical reasons for god, and found every single one making huge errors in reasoning, and using multiple fallacies. Here's what gets to me fred, you accept the science, yet you violate a very important principle, namely Occam's Razor, in adding a HUGE unknown such as god. You're leading the evidence into something that you have defined into unfalsifiability, and asserting it as a truth statement.

      July 17, 2012 at 8:41 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @fred

      I'm not sure what you mean by theological reasons to believe in god, since it really seems almost redundant.

      July 17, 2012 at 8:53 pm |
    • fred

      Hawaiiguest
      Theological reasons would amount to arguments that God is the unknown beyond the boundaries of scientific knowledge since we have moved from the natural known physical to the supernatural. Supernatural is assumed because that which created “fine tuning” of Dark energy not only exists outside of our 4 dimensional universe but also has the power and ability to pull it off.
      My thought was that you rely on scientific knowledge to address areas that belong in the theology department.

      July 18, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @fred

      For one, you're using the words of "fine-tuning" to automatically equate it to a supernatural cause, and this is a fallacy. The appearance of fine-tuning, in and of itself, doesn't necessitate a tuner, and only holds that appearance due to small margin of error that it holds. You cannot equate the appearance of something to the actual thing, they are two completely different things.
      Theology, by definition, is the study of the nature of god/gods, and religious faith. This, without any additions, can only be addressed through logic and reason, otherwise you're just accepting things without any kind of vetting to the validity of claims, and if you want to be consistent, you must then accept many things (e.g. other religions).
      Now, what ends up happening, is that religions make the claim that the supernatural interacts with the natural. This addition then puts the claim within the realm of scientific inquiry.

      July 18, 2012 at 6:58 pm |
    • fred

      Hawaiiguest
      Ok, so we both end up looking at an unknown outside of the known science of say origin of life and purpose of existence. We both have faith and science that the sun will rise tomorrow and know the basis of the science and the basis of the faith. Yes, I am adding something to the science because I know that the unknown has never been resolved by the known yet it exists and has always existed. The more we advance the more evidence we have for greater and greater fine tuning and greater power not less power in the unknown. The notion of 7 more dimensions is relatively new yet serves to deepen the awe of creation and supports the cosmology of the Bible not lessen it. The discovery of 800 earth like planets serves to enforce the Biblical notion that the earth was created for man not accidental bacteria. 80% of those in the math sciences believe in deity simply based on the numbers.
      Now, just as we (both of us) have faith in the sun coming up tomorrow we should have faith that what cannot be known is greater and more powerful than we can imagine or that our natural world could reveal. This is not a biblically based faith but the same faith you now have based on consistent repet-itive evidence about what is known about the unknown. In short there is deity just as sure as the sun in coming up tomorrow based on what we know not what we don't know.

      July 18, 2012 at 7:21 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @fred

      You're assuming that I have faith in something, when that's not the case. Faith is the acceptance of a claim without any evidence, or evidence to the contrary. I don't have faith that the sun will rise (as a matter of perspective) tomorrow, but I do have a reasonable expectation of that event, based on the evidence built up from every single day of my life where it has, and a knowledge of the mechanisms and process that causes the event.

      July 18, 2012 at 7:27 pm |
    • fred

      hawaiiguest
      The odds that your expectations will not come to pass are 1:44,000 based on total global averages of daily deaths verses total population. The chance of winning the jackpot Lotto in the U.S (match 5 of 56 #’s and 1 of 46) is 1 in 175,711,536. The odds that earth can sustain higher life forms by accident: 1: 10 to the power of 107.

      Care to make any wagers Pascal?

      July 19, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @fred

      Pascal's Wager is a crock, and you're also using it way beyond what he intended it to be used for, and even in it's real context it can't hold water. Fred, I really expected more from you than an argument of probability. I don't know how many times I need to tell you that I could not possibly care less about the probability of the earth sustaining life or dark energy. Do you just ignore whenever I say that? Do you just constantly ignore the refutations and the problems brought up by people so you can feel okay with continuing to post a fallacious argument over and over and over again?

      July 20, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
    • fred

      hawaiiguest
      I understand how one cannot use probabilities to claim the sun will or will not rise tomorrow. I do understand mortality tables and insurance companies make profits based on the probability that you may or may not see the sun rise. You cannot simply discard certain facts anymore than I can discard certain facts such as Adam and Eve being the first humans 6,000 years ago. I must build a case for 6,000 years (say they were the first of the Hebrews for example) or simply recognize the wisdom of Moses not to include the year certain but I cannot ignore the records that reflect a much longer time period.
      You cannot ignore fine tuning and scientists do not even debate it. You cannot ignore the basic atheist premise that the more science and knowledge we have the more we understand that no God is needed. This has been proven false. In the last 100 years we have discovered that the universe, the power in the unknown, the eternal nature of causation and dimensions outside of our space and time all point to supernatural (not God per say). On the flip side the biblical accounts of God are becoming more likely.
      I would think we could agree that science is not an excuse for rejecting God only a tool that points the atheist towards causation. A tool that confirms the limitations of mans knowledge that should humble the brightest in awe of the eternal (not God). A wake up call that there is more to life than our 4 dimensions can measure (proven theory not biblical bs). I am not the one ignoring the facts or betting against the odds.

      July 20, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @fred

      You're not giving anything except more assertions. There are hypothesis that there is more than our universe, but there has been no conclusive evidence for such. Postulate all you want fred, but without actual evidence, you have nothing.

      July 20, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
    • fred

      hawaiiguest
      Just so I do not go off in the wrong area are you asking me to prove that the unknown lies outside of our 4 dimensions? The scientific debate is about the other 7 dimensions not the necessity that if there is causation outside our universe that causation cannot be in the same space and time as our universe.

      July 20, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @fred

      You're treating hypothesis as theories, that's where the problem lies.

      July 20, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
  13. alden

    Bravo! College football is obviously a CULT.

    July 16, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
  14. GatorDude

    How many deans and professors does it take to call the cops? It really shouldn't be complicated. If you see a crime, call on-premises security immediately and report it. Then call 911 and report it. Don't call your supervisor. Don't call your coach or your manager. Just call the police.

    July 16, 2012 at 11:30 am |
    • AGuest9

      Absolutely

      July 16, 2012 at 11:58 am |
    • Gary Sumner

      You are missing a key point, JoePa WAS the Police, the Judge & Jury! The point is when you take on a Cult type power system, it isnt as simple as calling the cops because they are part of the corruption and deferred to JoePa.

      July 16, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
    • Degrin

      Are the police going to be there when you mysteriously lose your job 2-3 months later for "Poor performance" despite the fact that you are the hardest working person there. And you can't feed your family because of it. Are the police going to help you then? Look at the big picture here. The culture was the problem.

      July 16, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
  15. pauleky

    Based on what happened in the Catholic church, I doubt having God "at the top" at this university would have changed anything. Many, many evil things have been done in the name of God (not saying the abuse here in anyway relates to religion). Prisons are full of the righteous. A lack of or the open worship of God would likely not have made a difference here. This is the tired "take God out of schools and society will collapse" argument. One does not have to believe in a higher power to know and understand what true values are. Period.

    July 16, 2012 at 11:22 am |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Yes, what happened at Penn State are exactly the same kind of failures of responsibility as happened in the Catholic church. The organization's desire to ignore these criminal acts and just hope they will just go away is exactly the same.

      Very human failings. Unacceptable but predictable.

      July 16, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
  16. BU2B

    "Until our final breath, the joy and pain that we receive
    Must be what we deserve, I was brought up to believe"

    July 16, 2012 at 11:10 am |
    • Voice of Reason

      So...the children that were ra ped deserved it?

      July 16, 2012 at 11:16 am |
  17. Code

    "You are Penn State." You are pedophiles responsible for harm to the children who were supposed to be in your care.

    July 16, 2012 at 11:02 am |
  18. Ting

    "Maybe it’s time to recall that the God of the Bible is portrayed as the great defender of society’s weakest and most vulnerable."

    This author needs to pick up a Bible again. The God of the Bible supported the murder of society's weakest and most vulnerable and doesn't have a problem with ra pe as well.

    July 16, 2012 at 10:42 am |
  19. BelieverToo

    A true follower of Yeshua one who lives the life he lived- does the will of God would never, ever allow their position, career, relationships to prevent them from doing the righteous thing. Paterno and those who for decades turned a blind eye to Sandusky raping children are not followers of Yeshua and this includes his wife if she ever suspected or knew what was occuring and didn't call the police immediately.

    LI

    God gave us "free will". God has given each of us the choice in how we live our short lives on this earth. I can choose to deny his existence and live my life guided by my own wisdom and the wisdom of others who also deny him. Yes he does know exactly when we are to be born, where, when and how we will die. He alone knows what decisions we will make. We were given free will to choose our own paths.

    When those of us who have chosen the way of God and Yeshua and we speak about him openly and are unashamed of our love for him. We are his witnesses. So, ridicule us, lie on us, call us names, get us fired from jobs, take our homes, deny us what we've rightfully earned because we love and adore him and live our lives according to his will-his teaching, rules and regulations.

    Hopefully before your life ends you will understand that those of us who tell you about him, how merciful he is, compassionate; "slow to anger, rich in grace", is a true testimony of Gods' love for you. We who have come to faith were once just like you. Living in our own wisdom which is utter foolishness compared to Gods' wisdom " man's wisdom is foolishness compared to Gods".

    Every wicked unkind thing a non-believer has said or done to someone who does the will of God will be what convicts them in the presence of God. See, that Spirit of God that resides in the believer is watching everything the believer does and says and participates in. Likewise, the Holy Spirit is watching everything that is done or said against a believer.

    God is always waiting for us to turn from sin into righteousness. He loves all of his creation and wants not one of us to perish. But, he has given each one of us the choice between life and death. Eternal life with him after our souls depart this earth or, eternal separation from him after our souls depart this earth. Scriptures testify that Heaven rejoices when one sinner turns from wickedness into righteousness.

    Psalm 24: 1-6

    The earth is the Lord's with all that is in it, the world and those who live there; for he set its foundations on the seas and established it on the rivers. Who may go up to the mountain of the Lord? Who can stand in his holy place? Those with clean hands and pure hearts, who don't make vanities the purpose of their lives or swear oaths just to deceive. They will receive a blessing from Adonai/The Lord and justice from God who saves them. Such is the character of those who seek him, of Ya'akov/Jacob, who seeks your face.

    Yes, "tom, tom" and all others who deny the very existence of the One who created you and everything that is, remember life and death is yours for the choosing. Remember today all the times in your life that someone has told you the truth about God because He surely remembers every person he sent into your life, even right here, right now to tell you about him. So, when you are face to face with him there will be no denying to him that you never knew, no one told me, how was I to know. But wait, we all told you.

    I pray that you open the scriptures and read it for yourselves from Genesis to Revelation. Don't go with an already preconceived mindset. See for yourself that the scriptures are about you, your very life and what has occured and will occur to you. The best bible is the Complete Jewish Bible translated by David Stern. None of that King James language that no one can understand. I am a gentile and I tell you that God is waiting for you, you will be amazed.

    July 16, 2012 at 10:10 am |
    • Voice of Reason

      There is no god.

      July 16, 2012 at 10:14 am |
    • Josh

      When did this men ever claim they were all followers of Yeshua ?

      July 16, 2012 at 10:21 am |
    • ME II

      "...does the will of God..."
      How exactly does one know the "will of God"? This would seem to be a critical aspect and yet there are some many versions of what the will of God is that anyone's claim to know the "will of God" is just as valid as anyone else's.

      July 16, 2012 at 11:34 am |
    • Madtown

      I pray that you open the scriptures and read it for yourselves from Genesis to Revelation.
      ------
      You are oriented toward christianity. Others in the world may believe in God, but not see religion in the same terms you do, because religious concepts are creations of mankind, and develop culturally. So, just because someone rejects the concepts of christianity that you accept, it doesn't mean they don't believe in God.

      July 16, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
    • Get Real

      BelieverToo,

      Yep, you have convinced us that you are a believer. What you have not done is to provide a single shred of verified evidence that your supernatural scenario is a fact.

      July 16, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
    • Mirosal

      Believer too wrote "God gave us "free will". God has given each of us the choice in how we live our short lives on this earth. I can choose to deny his existence and live my life guided by my own wisdom and the wisdom of others who also deny him. Yes he does know exactly when we are to be born, where, when and how we will die. He alone knows what decisions we will make. We were given free will to choose our own paths." ... Your very paragraph denies us our "free will". If this "god" of yours is the end-all be-all and knows-all, then ANY concept of "free will" is moot, because the outcome is already known. According to your tenets, your "god" knows us even before we are born, and knows exactly how we're going to live our lives. There is no free will, because the course is already set. Now your going to say the choice is ours ... BUT,a your "god" already knows how we'll make up our minds .. again no free will, becaue the game is rigged, the final score is already known even before it's started. Thank you for proving that with a know-all is-all "god", that free will cannot exist.

      July 17, 2012 at 2:58 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Mirosal. If I may. While, holders of Faith believe that God knows the outcome since we are not God, we do not. Having "Free Will" just means to those that follow this path, that God is not forcing us to make this choice or that choice. Without putting human emotions on God or Gods, maybe it is like watching a recorded sporting event. We are aware that in the 8th innings, the pitcher will throw a fast ball... and that a split second later the batter will make contact and out of the park, that baseball will go.

      Why, do some people still want to watch a home run that they know will happen? We have Classic Sports cable TV stations that replay games and matches in which the players are no longer alive, so there must be something to just seeing the look on the athletes face when he or she is seconds from defeat and then seeing that joy of when they win. Or the heartbreak when they lose. Maybe, that is God. He or she knows what will happen but just to see that point unfold is something special.

      July 17, 2012 at 3:30 am |
    • Mirosal

      But we don't see the outcome, we're the ones playing "the game". Apparently your god gets off on seeing others succeed, or fail. And the ones that "fail", it's an eternity in the penalty box, to use another sports ana'logy. This is what your god likes to see, huh? How arrogant, and a tad bit sadistic.

      July 17, 2012 at 3:52 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Mirosal. You have focused on the victors in the equations. I know, it suits your argument but in failure there is learning and often times to see the true person. I could just as easily say that God might want to see what a person learns from life's failures. How many folks succeeded every time they stepped to the plate of life?

      July 17, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
    • Damocles

      @Mark

      So if god made angels and some of them turned jealous and wanted to wage war and whatnot, that would be a failure, yes? And if he made humans and they werent living up to expectations, they would also be failures, correct? Perhaps someone or something is seeing what god learns?

      July 18, 2012 at 3:31 am |
    • Mark From Middle River

      >>>”So if God made Angels and some of them turned jealous and wanted to wage war and whatnot, that would be a failure, yes?”

      Is this the Angels given Free Will belief? I remember running into this belief a few years ago. Let's see, if I remember the testimony it was that the Angels were created only to glorify God 24/7. The question was what would happen if the Angels were given “Free Will” what would happen. Then, I can not remember what happened after that. I think there was mating with humans and then Giants. It ended with St Micheal and a spear and Lucifer getting caste out of Heaven. Is this what you are speaking of. I do also sorta remember something about that the Angels were created of fire and we of dust.

      Sorry, that I am not one of those Christians that knows the Bible up one wall and down the other. So, I do not know if I can say if it was a Failure or not. It is interesting and like I said previously, it is putting human emotions on God or Gods. I think in the order of testimony the giving of Free Will to the select amount of Angels could be seen as much for observation as with the observation of triumphs and defeats with us humans. So, I would say that it was not a failure.

      >>>”And if he made humans and they werent living up to expectations, they would also be failure”

      In the relm of Christian sayings and quotes there is the one that goes ...”we all fall short of the Glory of God”. Failures and Victories go hand and hand. The most important lesson that we can observe is how our character reacts when experiencing each. So with that failing at something does not mean one is a failure.

      July 18, 2012 at 4:10 am |
    • Damocles

      What I am saying/asking is that if, as you stated, you find out about a person in his/her failings, which is true, I don't argue that at all, would you also say that a deity's failures are used by others to discover their 'true' selves?

      July 18, 2012 at 4:24 am |
    • Mark From Middle River

      >>>”Would you also say that a deity's failures are used by others to discover their 'true' selves?”

      As a person of Faith, I have to ask for what you classify as “God or Gods failures.” A select amount of Angels and every human getting Free Will?

      July 18, 2012 at 4:32 am |
    • Damocles

      If god wants everyone to come to him/her/it then free will could be seen as a failure because invaribly some would choose not to. And why only a select amount of angels? Was it an experiment? As a person of faith, do you think that a deity can fail?

      So, for our purposes, let us say that free will is a failure in that it is not reliable 100% of the time to bring people to god. I think you are missing my point or maybe I didnt state it clearly. Let me say it this way: if you learn about a person through failure, is there something above god that is learning about god by seeing how it reacts to certain things. If you are a Star Trek fan, could it be like a deific Kobyashi Maru(no idea on the spelling of that btw) test?

      July 18, 2012 at 4:51 am |
    • Mark From Middle River

      >>>”If god wants everyone to come to him/her/it then free will could be seen as a failure because invariably some would choose not to.”

      I would not consider that a failure and in some ways it is as planned. Those that are Biblical scholars point to that the Angels had no choose but to glorify God and that we were created and loved because we were not created with no choice but to glorify God. Think of it like this, that we are able to choose to follow or to turn away from God makes it so special when we choose God. Maybe this is why I can not understand your Free Will and Failure view because it is a pretty good test on who is and is not of Faith.

      This is why I do not go that nuts when Atheist turn from God, because that is between that person and God.

      >>>”Let me say it this way: if you learn about a person through failure, is there something above god that is learning about god by seeing how it reacts to certain things”

      I do not think he, she or whatever is learning anything but is more amazed at witnessing or choices and our behavior. It is like I said about ESPN Classic sports. If we make the leap to placing human emotions on God or Gods, then we learn nothing from watching a Joe Montana 4th and Goal touchdown pass. What we do get to witness is the raw emotions. Or try the Lake Placid US Men Hockey miracle.

      >>>”If you are a Star Trek fan,”

      Yes, small part Klingon 🙂 … major part the Dominion. 😦

      The star fleet test …. what a great Camp Fire scene.... great way to start and end a sci-fi film..... row row row your boat...

      Yes, I can see that a bit. A judgment on how you handle a obstacle or hardship. If I were Puritanical in my Faith, I would desire more hardships as to show my Faith to God. For myself, I try not to go looking for trouble but at the same time there is philosophy of “you do not know yourself until you are tested”. Such as those who are anti-Catholic bring up the point of why are going to a Priest for a worldly failure ….booze, cheating on a spouse, drug use.... when there is a good chance that he has never experienced such to be tempted by such... so what good is his advice.

      I gotta close with this, I have seen fellow Faithful come in and question why Atheist come to a Belief Blog and post anti- Faithful comments. I had two reasons and one of them is extremely complex. I have questioned them in replies what kind of Faith do you have if it is not tested? I feel that I have grown stronger in my Faith the more I debate with Atheist.

      L'Chaim.

      July 18, 2012 at 5:35 am |
    • Damocles

      Ah but we do give human emotions to what would essentially be, at most, a neutral force. You have to put a human spin on everything because, well, its what we are. We can't put a dolphin spin on it now can we? All deities have had frailties, weaknesses, it makes them more believable. A deity would have to be emotional to instill emotions in a creation, if it wasn't, it would be creating 'something from nothing' which believers tend to try and use as an argument against atheists. You can not have your deity and partake of its body as well.

      You may not see it as a failure, and by so doing, you place a human spin on a deity, but it really would be a failure if you think about it. And to be honest, it isn't free will if the alternative is some kind of eternal punishment. I mean, if someone threatens you with a gun into doing something contrary to your nature, that person can tell you you have a choice, but wouldnt that be hard for you to swallow?

      Ah yes the Dominion, one of the best bad guy conglomerates ever.

      You do realize that many people do not want their faith tested. They want to believe just to believe. The problem begins when they don't understand what it is they end up believing.

      Good talking with you Mark, from the time Ive spent looking at posts on here, yours make me cringe the least when it comes to talking about what you believe in.

      July 18, 2012 at 6:18 am |
    • I love Jesus

      I agree with everything you said, except the part about the King James Version of the Bible not being understandable. The Word says when we are born again, having the Holy Spirit, we are given the understanding of the scriptures.

      It must so sadden the heart of God to read the vile things written here by those who are 'given over to reprobate minds'. And remember God doesn't need all of you to believe in Him, He is- whether or not you believe. Those of us who walk with Him KNOW Him and He does say in scripture, 'The Word (of God) is to them who perish foolishness, but unto us who believe, it is the power of God.' If it were just a crutch for the weak minded, as some of you say, it certainly isn't a good one, because it is much harder to be a follower of the Most High in a society of unbelief and immorality. We are the ones persecuted, who don't fit in with those who chose to follow no god -they would rather not have to deal with the consequences of a moral conscience. Remember though 'It is appointed unto a man once to die -and then the judgement" Every person will face the Creator one day, and He is not a little spark who blew the world into existence as those who chose to walk in darkness use as excuse not to believe.

      July 25, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
  20. Shadowflash1522

    Milgram Experiment anyone?

    Authority is a powerful thing. Remember, two-thirds of the population *will* push the button, no matter what they say.

    July 16, 2012 at 9:48 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.