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'Where was God in Aurora?' comments show Internet as church for atheists
Some atheists may ask questions on the Internet that they wouldn't have asked in church.
August 1st, 2012
12:03 PM ET

'Where was God in Aurora?' comments show Internet as church for atheists

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

(CNN) - The Internet has become the de facto global church for atheists, agnostics and other doubters of God, who of course don’t have bricks-and-mortar churches in which to congregate.

We see this phenomenon in motion every day on the CNN Belief Blog, where atheists/agnostics/humanists are among the most zealous commenters.

Recent string of posts around the question of “Where was God in Aurora?” (such as this and this) drew especially large waves of comments that show atheists are using the Internet to commune with one another and to confront religious believers in ways that they don’t usually do in church.

Atheists and other secularists have offline organizations that stage in-person meetings - the Secular Student Alliance has seen its number of campus chapters quadruple in the last five years, to 368 - but the Internet has probably played a bigger role in the rise of the so-called New Atheism. The movement’s adherents evangelize their godlessness, just as many religious folks evangelize their God, often taking to the Belief Blog to do so.

“A lot of millennials who are coming of age have found that the Internet is a fantastic place to talk about their doubt,” says Jesse Galef, communications director for the Secular Student Alliance. “Before the Internet, there was no place for young people to do that. The only place to go was really church, and that wasn’t always a welcoming place.

“But they can go online and discuss these ideas without being judged by friends and families,” Galef says.

For closeted atheists, the Internet’s anonymity is a big draw. A coalition of national atheist groups recently launched a program to transition doubting clergy to lives of open atheism by first having ministers come out anonymously in a closed online community.

Plenty of other atheists, though, are using the Internet to connect with real, named people through Facebook and other online social networks.

“It’s the ability to access a larger community, particularly for people growing up in religiously conservative areas,” Galef says. “There is nobody they can point to to discuss their atheism or their doubts about the Bible or their morality, and the Internet provides that.”

On Sunday, a guest piece from a Colorado pastor argued that it’s possible to reconcile the idea of a sovereign God with the existence of evil and tragedy. The post has drawn 4,239 comments as of Wednesday morning, largely from atheists.

One of those comments - a letter from God penned by an atheist commenter named Colin - caught fire online. Here’s how his letter opens:

"Dear Christians:

"God here. I thought I would take the time to personally explain my absence in the Aurora shootings. While I was at it, I thought I would also explain my absence during every murder, massacre and crime that has ever taken place in world history, and in every war, in every famine, drought and flood.

"You see, I do not exist. I never have. Did it really make sense to you that I would create an entire universe with billions of billions of planets and wait about 13,700,000,000 years just so I could focus on a few Jews from Palestine about 2,000 years ago while ignoring the rest of the 200,000,000 people on the planet at the time? Did I make those few Jews or did those few Jews make me?"

The letter has been posted on reddit, where it attracted another 1,000-plus comments. (Warning: The reddit comments includes foul language.)

The vast majority of comments come from sympathetic atheists and other secularists (the discussion is reddit's atheism thread), a striking example of such folks doing church without God online. Many of those comments are deeply personal, confessional and poignant.

Here are five of the best ones. Some respond to Colin’s letter from God, others to the Colorado pastor who wrote for the Belief Blog last weekend.

1. CarbonEmitter

"I grew up religious and decided to be agnostic (as an) undergraduate. Even though I am now in my late 20s, I still feel slightly guilty because my parents try to ram religion down my throat. My mom converted to my dad's religion (from Christianity to Islam) right before having a double lung transplant in 1995. They are now super-religious and attribute her miraculous recovery to her conversion.

"Reading posts like these remind me of how ridiculous religion is and help relieve my guilt. Thank you /r/athiesm."

2. tazadar

"I like what Carl Sagan said about reassuring fables.

" 'The significance of our lives and our fragile planet is then determined only by our own wisdom and courage. We are the custodians of life's meaning. We long for a parent to care for us, to forgive us our errors, to save us from our childish mistakes. But knowledge is preferable to ignorance. Better by far to embrace the hard truth than a reassuring fable.' "

3. RyGuy2012

"You know, it really irks me to no end to read the article from the pastor, as he claims to not have an answer for why God didn't prevent the Aurora shooting, but then claims to know for sure that God is there when people come to lend their support and sympathies for the shooting victims.

"I just can't wrap my mind around this logic. Like, the pastor must find some other explanation why people are good and do good things. It can't be that people can just be good on their own. Because, apparently (our) natural normal state is to be completely uncaring and disregarding? It's just such a very sad and low opinion to have of your fellow man.

4. funfetti_cookies

"Of course, he says that. You have to scare the people before giving them a reason to listen - "I held her hand as she died." What a great way to start your article. Also don't forget to mention Columbine so people remember that tragedy as well, but then go on to explain why God still exists and this is all part of his plan. Religion is nothing more but a scare tactic to control the masses.

5. ConstipatedNinja

"I don't share this much, but I was raped twice by my pastor when I was 6. And by I don't share this much, I mean that even my own parents don't know (as a side note, he's long since dead, so there's no sense in bringing it up). I had to sit in the same room (with) him for three hours every Sunday while he told everyone - including me - how a decent human being should act. I had to for four entire years before my family moved to a different state.

"When it first happened, I had no idea what was done. I was too young to understand. ... It's indescribable. You're told all this time about this ever-loving being that made you and has planned out your entire life. You're told that he'll protect you when you need it. You're told that if you're good, then he'll be good to you. So obviously, I wasn't good. I wasn't good enough. I was created and the creator of all things looked down upon me and decided that I was a bad egg. Do you know how rough that is for a 7-year-old? I still have problems with self-esteem. …"

That comment, which has been truncated above, provoked an outpouring of sympathy and support on reddit, including this comment:

rumpelstiltskin1

"This stuff is why I love Reddit. Yeah we are a room full of strangers but when it comes down to it we're a community. I love reading the stories of others and reading the heartfelt replies. I love that anyone can express themselves honestly and it will be well-received here (usually). And although this one is a little cheeky, I love that I can learn valuable life lessons of self-acceptance and being able to move on from a guy named ConstipatedNinja. Thank you for sharing your story, and I admire the willingness to share such a personal story; it's truly inspirational."

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Atheism • Colorado • Violence

soundoff (4,699 Responses)
  1. Surakij Vuthikornpant

    Actually,my friend Mr.Colin. & Mr.Chad..

    In Abrahamic tradition,"Judiasm,Christianity,I-salami",
    With God's commands ,he created heaven & earth & everything between them in 6 Epochs,(not 6 days).

    Epoch is geological period of time, (Super eon > Eon > Era > Epoch > Age > Chron)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geologic_timescale#Condensed_graphical_timelines

    According to Al-Qur'an,Chapter 7 verse 7:541 – 7:55:8,please allow me to translate.

    http://corpus.quran.com/wordbyword.jsp?chapter=7&verse=54

    7:54:1 – 7:54:10 Indeed,your Lord,"God",the one who created heaven & earth in 6 epochs,
    7:54:11 – 7:54:14 Then he accended on the throne,
    7:54:15 – 7:54:24 He covers the night (with) the day,seeking it rapidly and the sun,and the moon,and the stars.Subjected by his command.
    7:54:25 – 7:54:32 Unquestionably,for him,the creation and the command,blessed,"God",Lord of *universe*,
    7:55:1 – 7:55:4 Call upon your Lord humbly,and privately.

    7:55:5 – 7:55:8 Indeed,he not love the transgressors.

    * 7:54:32 l-ʿālamīna* (genetive plural noun of world) definition "worlds" = "universe"

    August 5, 2012 at 12:36 am |
    • Arvoasitis

      Interesting points; indeed, the word translated as "day" changes in the Hebrew version of Genesis !. Your fragmented presentation of the Quran was not particularly helpful. According to another translation:
      "Your Guardian-Lord is Allah. Who created the heavens and the earth in six [Epochs], then he settled Himself on the Throne (of authority): He draws the night as a veil over the day, each seeking the other in rapid succession. He created the sun, the moon, and the stars, (all) governed by laws under His Command.... Blessed be Allah, the Cherisher and Sustainer of the Worlds! Call on your Lord with humility and in private: for Allah loves not those who trespass beyond bounds. Do no mischief on the earth, after it has been set in order, but call on Him with fear and longing (in your hearts): for the Mercy of Allah is (always) near to those who do good."

      August 5, 2012 at 11:22 am |
  2. b4bigbang

    PS to GodFreeNow: "As to being materialistic, we are of the material world. We exist in physical forms in a physical world and are subject to the laws of physics. How can we be anything BUT materialistic."

    Was this statement/question a response to my statement re "scientific-materialist-atheist"? If so, then please allow me to clarify that I wasn't referring to the fact that we are materialistic in the sense that we're all made of matter, but rather in the sense of "scientific-materialism" as a personal philosophy, meaning a belief that there is no spirit, rather only matter and energy, and that 'consciousness' is merely brains operating on chemical reaction alone, devoid of spirit [spirit being dismissed as a myth].
    Sorry – I thought you were following me on that by context of our discussion.

    But to answer your question, "How can we be anything BUT materialistic", the Bible teaches that the spiritual person enjoys all of God's creation within the parameters that God has given. There are really very few things we are not to indulge in according to Scripture. In fact, I can only think of one area that has taboos – certain se xual practices
    Of course we're not to commit crime, but that's something Christians and secular humanists agree on; it would be silly to propose otherwise....

    August 5, 2012 at 12:06 am |
    • tallulah13

      Bang: Failure to recognize that we have far, far greater knowledge about the human mind and body than we did 2000 years ago is not an excuse to discriminate against a minority. There is more proof that hom.os.exuality is innate than there is proof for any god, and there is no proof that hom.os.exuality is any more destructive to society than heteros.exuaity. Your faith is being used as an excuse to discriminate against and hurt others. I don't understand how any decent person could consider that to be moral or right.

      August 5, 2012 at 12:16 am |
    • b4bigbang

      @tallulah13: I believe that your failure to understand the Bible's take on se xuality is because you're perceiving the world through the mainstream modern western world-view. This is a way of thinking that says "if it feels good do it" – the whole self-fulfillment via satisfying physical desires paradigm.

      Historically, many people cultivated the spiritual while denying themselves the pleasures of the flesh. I'm referring to he teros here. My point is that people *are* able to deny their se xual impulses and channel that energy into creative works.

      Regarding Christians and others not wanting to allow govt to promote g a y and b.i lifestyle, there're a lot of liberal issues that conservatives disagree with, – eg, handgun bans, one-world govt, and many others. Are they to be condemned simply because they're not political liberals?

      August 5, 2012 at 12:48 am |
  3. Phil

    It looks like belief in god–any god–confirms you as a complete idiot in the minds of most of these posters. I think that says a lot more about the minds of the posters than it says about the minds of the believers. "God" is a pretty broad concept and not all believers are religious fundamentalists.

    August 4, 2012 at 11:24 pm |
    • tallulah13

      That's certainly painting atheists with a broad brush. Most of us have friends - people we care for and respect - who are believers. But if you've spent any time on this blog, you will see that protected by the anonymity of the internet, believers can be just as rude, or worse, than any atheist. I have been called stupid, immoral, evil, criminal and have been told I should be kicked out of the country of my birth, not because of anything I have done, but simply because I don't believe in your specific god. Are you surprised that some atheists respond in kind to that sort of malice?

      August 4, 2012 at 11:38 pm |
    • Phil

      Yes, I am suprised. Many of the posters who profess to be Atheists are evangelical in their arguments. They do not just defend the philosophical validity of absence of belief. They dogmatically assert the intellectual superiority of that position. This is when absence of belief becomes a belief system. It is when Atheism becomes a religion.

      August 5, 2012 at 12:28 am |
    • Cq

      Phil
      I use to believe in God, and I certainly wouldn't consider myself as having been an "idiot" back then.

      Faith is an emotional response, right? We atheists see people's choice to believe in God as being similar to choosing a car because of how it makes you "feel", and not whether it is a practical choice. It's like being a young girl's dad and wanting her to buy something safe, reliable, and economical to operate; while all she can talk about is what color she likes. 🙂

      We atheists tend to be better informed about religion in general than the average believer. There have been studies to support this. We tend to know where the problems are with theologies, the fallacies and the outright myths that religions still like to express as "facts". In this we're like the dads who know about cars, which ones are lemons and which ones have rotten track records. We like to talk about the problems in faiths that believers are apparently unaware of. So, coming to a site like this is like somebody without much knowledge of cars walking into a garage full of professional mechanics and old hands at fixing engines overhearing them discuss what a lemon their beloved "baby" actually is. It's called "getting a reality check", and it may hurt to hear it, but aren't you better off knowing the truth?

      August 5, 2012 at 1:30 am |
    • Cq

      Phil
      Oh, I forgot to add to my analogy that there are some people who actually know about all the problems with their car, but love it anyway. People like this take any criticism of their baby with good humour, and I discuss religion with many Christians who can even joke about their beliefs. Others, however, get angry when you point out the problems, which is a different thing entirely from the frustration atheists sometimes feel when believers either fail to grasp, or choose to ignore, what they are saying. Any dad who ever shopped with their daughter for a car probably knows that feeling too. 🙂

      August 5, 2012 at 1:47 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      >>>”. So, coming to a site like this is like somebody without much knowledge of cars walking into a garage full of professional mechanics “

      Hi CQ. I do not know about that. I feel that you have a lot of bloggers on both sides that are professional trolls and folks spend hours and hours debating folks who, chances are, one day Atheist and the next day one of the Faithful. Basically, folks that come to cause as much commotion as possible. Which is why it seems to you that Atheist are dealing with Faithful which are clueless and the Faithful feel they are dealing with militant Atheist. The last place that you can expect to find a consensus on any part of society, would be a messageboard.

      What you have a hard time doing is engaging with trolls on either side. You have Atheist that post one line statements of “God is fake” and ones that post and post “Prayer Changes Things”.... you actually believe these are folks that are “informed” about Religion?

      August 5, 2012 at 1:50 am |
    • Cq

      Mark from Middle River
      Yup, that's exactly what I think's happening here.

      On that note, good buddy, it's getting late, so TTFN 😉

      August 5, 2012 at 2:04 am |
    • Phil

      @!cq
      I am sorry and I don't wish to be argumentative, but you cannot drop the tone of intellectual superiority even now. I would wager a great deal of money that there is someone alive on this earth who has a higher I.Q. than yours, who understands the history of theological debate, yet who chooses to believe in some form of "god". I believe that to be true about professed Atheist who has posted on this topic.

      August 5, 2012 at 2:25 am |
    • Cq

      Phil
      Of course you're right, but if these people had some superior argument that somehow proves that God exists wouldn't they be sharing it with their Mensa buddies?

      As you know, acceptance of God is a personal choice, and I don't doubt that many very intelligent people have made that choice for themselves, or simply never came to question their childhood faith, but you cannot guarantee that they will remain believers for their entire lives. Many of us began as believers only to decide later that the evidence didn't hold up. Not everyone who professes to believe actually does, and vice versa. Social pressure often plays a big part in what people want others to see them as, and we already know what a huge stigma being an atheist, or a Christian, has in certain circles.

      In short, I don't believe that a person's intelligence plays a very big part in this at all. The arguments for atheism are so simple that anyone can understand their validity if they tried, so I can't honestly claim that it's a position that only the mentally superior can grasp. After all, every child is an atheist until they are taught to believe in some god, right?

      August 5, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
  4. atheists are immaterial, thus, irrelevant

    It means nothing more than that atheists make-believe that what ever they think, say or do have huge importance and significance. While the fact is, they don't count and matter at all.

    August 4, 2012 at 10:41 pm |
    • Jen

      And you think with that personality and judgment you are going to a better place after death...yeah....right....keep dreaming 🙂

      August 4, 2012 at 10:44 pm |
    • Salero21's god

      naaahhhh. Stating that your fake god doesnt exist and your bloody religion is a joke is not that important or significant. Most sane people already know that.

      August 4, 2012 at 10:47 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Of course, we matter, you silly person. We exist, we are members of your community, we pay taxes, we vote. You probably have acquaintances, people who you like, who don't believe in your god. But they probably don't trust you with that information because they know that you would react to them with irrational malice as you have done here to complete strangers.

      August 4, 2012 at 11:42 pm |
  5. Arvoasitis

    A few comments on the origins of our universe and life:

    It is not scientifically established whether our universe had a beginning or whether is a mere blip in an eternal play of matter and anti-matter.

    According to scientific theory, the organic precursors of life were formed about 4.8 billion years ago, when our galaxy existed but our system did not yet exist, when a giant star exploded, blasting its contents of heavier elements into a nearby gigantic cloud of hydrogen. There, with elements of every kind and plenty of heat, all kinds of chemical reactions were favored, including the rudiments of proteins. Eventually, the this enriched cloud of hydrogen accreted into our solar system and these building blocks of life are scattered throughout it. They have been found in the tils of comets and on the surface of asteroids. In the tail of Halley's Comet, the proportions of the essential chemicals of life are remarkably comparable to that found in humans:

    Carbon Hydrogen Oxygen Nitrogen Total
    In humans 9.5% 63% 26% 1% 99.5%
    In Halley' Comet 11.0% 55% 28% 2% 96.0%

    From the simplest to the most complex living things, including plants and animals, all have genes that use precisely the sme language. This suggests all life originated from a single source

    As our disk-shaped solar system drifts in orbit around the center of our galaxy (completing an orbit every 225 million years), it wobbles in and out of the plane of the galaxy such that periodically comets from the Kuiper Belt and Opik-Oort Cloud (beyond our planetary system but in our solar system) are sent streaming on collision courses with the sun and planets, destroying from 5-95% of life on Earth (every 26-30 million years). This may help explain punctuated equilibrium.

    August 4, 2012 at 9:49 pm |
  6. b4bigbang

    "@Chad, So to be clear, your foundation of your scientific perspective is based on a poorly translate book that is subject to interpretation... sounds really unshakable. Do you think that there are actually people who ask things in "his" name and still don't get what they ask for? Maybe your argument is that they're not saying the proper magic words? Or is this another mistranslation?"

    Excuse me for barging in, but why not allow scripture to interpret scripture?
    Example (which Chad already explained to no avail – not his fault):
    13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

    14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it. John 14

    14 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything ACCORDING TO HIS WILL [emphasis mine], he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him. 1 John 5:14-15

    Do you see how scripture explains scripture? In this case, we actually have the same apostle writing both the gospel and the letter that clarifies the gospel statement.
    Can't get any clearer than this.
    Here's the key verse – again from John:
    Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise. John 5:19
    This applies to believers too of course. Problem there is that, while Jesus "saw" the Father and his will perfectly, the rest of us don't see him anywhere nearly so clearly, so we often try to get God to follow our prayers, when it was never intended that way at all. Our prayers are supposed to follow God's will (as Chad already explained).

    August 4, 2012 at 9:29 pm |
    • Cq

      The Gospels are anonymous. Their names come from tradition, so you can't argue that the same person wrote both the gospel and the letters.

      August 5, 2012 at 1:55 am |
    • b4bigbang

      @Cq: So since you only took issue with my side-statement re the author [doesn't matter who wrote it seeing as how the NT is multi-authored anyway], then I guess you agree with the actual point of my post where I state that scripture interprets scripture and that there's no contradiction.
      Keep up the good work Cq! You'll be practicing good exegesis in no time!

      August 6, 2012 at 8:41 pm |
  7. Thus Spoke a Modest Proposer

    To bad the poster below has not answered a single fundamental philosophical question germane to the debate and has proven absolutely nothing except that he is a pompous wind-bag. Bestowing his version of the 10 commandments upon mankind is CLASSIC. Symptoms of megolomania like this are often seen among students at university. They usually grow-up eventually...sometimes they, like James Holmes, dress-up like Batman and start shooting people

    August 4, 2012 at 6:55 pm |
    • Manda

      The first part of your post was just run of the mill fingers-in-your ears redneck anti-intellectualism. It's that last part that revealed that you are an insensitive asshole.

      August 4, 2012 at 7:11 pm |
    • Thus Spoke a Modest Proposer

      You run out of answers, so you start hurling insults. Typical. By the way, since I am such a closed minded red-neck, exactly what philosophical questions did Colin answer in his post?

      August 4, 2012 at 7:26 pm |
    • Manda

      Considering that I suffer from having a post-graduate education, I probably shouldn't attempt an answer because it will make me go berserk with an assault rifle. Piss off.

      August 4, 2012 at 7:31 pm |
    • Rufus T. Firefly

      The philosophical question being addressed is does the existence of life necessarily require the existence of a creator God?

      And yes, your comment was over-the-top obnoxious.

      August 4, 2012 at 7:57 pm |
    • lamb of dog

      Great argument modest.

      August 4, 2012 at 10:07 pm |
    • Jared Lee Loughner

      @sooky crappy proposer, you said:

      "They usually grow-up eventually...sometimes they, like James Holmes, dress-up like Batman and start shooting people"

      James Holmes was a gay and a transgender who believes that life wasn't fair.

      But we have something in common. WE BOTH DON'T TRUST IN GOD!

      August 4, 2012 at 10:50 pm |
  8. ZsquaredCX

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GZDIOQLQ8Hk&feature=player_detailpage

    August 4, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
  9. PAUL

    WOW!! THAT GUY BELOW GAVE A BIG SERMON!!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PmhJiZaB4b8&feature=plcp

    August 4, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
  10. Colin

    Evidence for the God of Abraham:

    1. The origin of the universe

    The same Bible that contains the god of Abraham has a completely wrong and ridiculously simplistic explanation for the origin of the Universe (remember, six days and a talking snake). This, if anything, points squarely against the credibility of its claims about its god. Our knowledge of the age and size of the Universe should be devastating to the notion of an anthropomorphic god, not supportive of it.

    Unless of course you believe a god would create an entire universe with billions of billions of planets and wait about 13,700,000,000 years just so it could focus on a few Jews from Palestine about 2,000 years ago while ignoring the rest of the 200,000,000 people on the planet at the time.

    2. The fine tuning of the universe for the building blocks of life

    It could not be any other way or we would not be here to observe it. By your logic, a fish could claim that the oceans are perfectly made to flow through its gills and release oxygen and thereby proclaim the truth of King Neptune. The opposite is true, the fish (and humans) evolved to fit into the environment, the environment did not “get built” to suit them.

    3. The origin of life on earth.
    To properly address this point, a little biochemistry helps.

    All life is comprised of complex arrangements of proteins, fats and carbohydrates, all orchestrated by DNA and/or RNA. DNA/RNA and proteins are by far the most important components of a living organism, carrying out virtually every function in a cell. Fats and carbohydrates are generally simpler molecules and play critical, but subordinate roles in cells.

    DNA and RNA are made of five nucleotides – adenine, thymine, cytosine, guanine and uracil. They act as the cell’s “mission control”, orchestrating the cell’s activities. Proteins are made of 20 amino acids. They are the workhorse of the cell – the nails, wood, steel beams and machinery that make the cell run. It is the order of amino acids in a protein that determine its shape and, therefore what it does. This order and shape is itself dictated by the DNA through RNA.

    So, in short, life is made up of complex arrangements of:

    The five nucleotides – adenine, thymine, cytosine, guanine and uracil – arranged into DNA and/or RNA
    The twenty amino acids – that form all proteins, including enzymes and the other 100,000 or so proteins in a complex organism’s body.
    Carbohydrates – literally “water-carbon,” which include sugars and starches. These are much simpler elements than proteins or DNA/RNA and act primarily as an energy source.
    Fats – also called lipids, these are important in constructing cell membranes.

    The simplest cells are prokaryotic cells. They exist today principally as bacteria. Stromatolites and other fossils from all over the planet suggest that, for the first billion years of life on earth, all life was simple, prokaryotic life. These cells consisted of a fatty cell membrane, like a balloon skin, with DNA/RNA, proteins, fats and carbohydrates on the inside. They had no nucleus. Cells with nuclei, called eukaryotic cells (which make up virtually all multi-cellular organisms) are much larger and more complex that prokaryotic cells and likely resulted from the early combining of prokaryotic cells. This is why organells within cells, such as chloroplasts, have their own DNA!

    So, can a simple prokaryotic cell come into existence without the intervention of God, Allah, Shiva, Vishnu, Yahweh or any other divine/magic being?

    Beginning in the 1950s, scientists started trying to mimic the conditions on the early Earth to see whether some kind of “life-fairy” was necessary to get things started. In the most famous experiment of this era, the Miller-Urey experiment of 1952, Stanley Miller demonstrated that heating and running an electric spark through an atmosphere of water vapor, ammonia, methane and hydrogen for a few weeks resulted in these very simple molecules self-assembling into all 20 of the amino acids upon which life on Earth is based. This is a startling result. All 20 building blocks of proteins, which comprise over 99% of the cell’s functional structures, self-assembling without a magic wand from God, Shiva, Vishnu, Allah etc!

    The experiment was groundbreaking because it suggested that, under the perfectly natural conditions of early Earth, the building blocks of life can and will self-assemble. Indeed, it now seems that major volcanic eruptions 4 billion years ago would have created an even more diverse atmosphere than Miller used, including carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrogen (N2), hydrogen sulfide (H2S), and sulfur dioxide (SO2). When these were added to the mix in subsequent experiments, they have resulted in the creation of all 5 nucleotides, all 20 amino acids and basic fatty membranes and various carbohydrates. That is to say, with no magic/divine intervention, all life’s building blocks WILL self-assemble.

    But nails, wood, wiring and bricks a house do not make. Even the simplest life requires these building blocks to be arranged in very, very complex ways. Subsequent to Miller-Urey, in various experiments with various conditions, scientists have been able to create a wide range of cell-like structures of increasing complexity on the road toward a simple self-replicating organism. These creations are called “protobionts” or “coacervates” and if you “you tube” or google these terms, you will see many examples.

    This is till a far cry from a cell, but the important thing is that the experiments uniformly demonstrate that organic molecules have a natural tendency to clump together in increasingly complex ways under early Earth-like conditions. They are not being pushed into doing something “against their will”.

    Where it gets really suggestive is that scientists have been able to isolate what they believe to be some of the most primitive genes of Earth, by comparing the DNA of two organisms whose last common ancestor lived soon after the formation of the Earth. For such genes to be common to both such organisms, they must be very, very old. When these ancient genes produce amino acids, they are rich in the amino acids most common in the Miller-Urey and similar experiments! This suggests that these experiments do indeed reflect early Earth conditions and that life itself did arise under such conditions.

    The other important factor is that these impressive results have been achieved in laboratories over small periods of time. Imagine the whole Earth as the “Petri dish” and hundreds of millions of years as the timescale. Simple life gradually emerging from such a “soup” does not seem at all incredible, certainly not incredible enough that we in the USA have to give up and call the remaining gap in knowledge “God,” while our Indian colleagues do the same and attribute it all to the Lord Shiva.

    Scientist are also approaching it from the other side too, gradually stripping away at prokaryotic cells to see how stripped down they have to become for life to “stop,” while others continue to build up from coacervates and protobionts. The gap is narrowing as scientific knowledge continues its inexorable march.

    Chad’s sky-fairy is being pinched out! There’s not a lot of room left for him now. The pincers of science are closing in from both sides, squeezing out the phantom of religion and ignorance. Soon, the two sides of the pincer will meet and this unnecessary holdover will have to flutter off and find another dark corner to settle in, where the penetrating light of science and knowledge is yet to shine. Fortunately, the weak, forgiving mind of the believer like Chad will always be there for him, acting as a dark refuge from enlightenment and advancement.

    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.

    Not quite as simple as you portray it, but, more to the point, so what? What the hell does the fact that natural events such as climate change, falling or rising sea levels or meteor impacts can cause abrupt changes in speciation have to do with your god?

    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.

    Muslims, Hindus, Jains, Buddhists all die for their beliefs. The myth of the empty tomb comes for the same book that has a talking snake, man living in a whale’s belly, a talking donkey, people living to be hundreds of years old, a man splitting the Red Sea etc., etc. etc. It is hardly a tome that concerns itself with factual accuracy.

    remembering that: "I dont know" for the first 4, and "Jesus never existed" for #5, is not a response that explains anything so it can hardly be viewed as "refuting" any of the above.

    But, to the extent we do not know, “I don’t know” is the only honest answer, no?

    please also remember that "well just because it's necessary that the force be external to our universe doesnt prove it's the God of Abraham" is true, God cant be "proved". But remember that your alternative is to believe that the entire universe came from nothing (as in the absence of everything), triggered by nothing, and that life spontaneously generated.

    First, there is no such thing as “nothing.” Second, see above. "I don't know" does not equal Chad's god.

    Now, some folks attempt to hide behind "scientific uncertainty", they will try to say "well, we just dont know" and try to leave the discussion at that piont, but this (due to ignorance or disingenuousness, I know not which) willfully ignores what we DO KNOW:

    No, "I don't know" is the very thing that drives scientific enquiry. An honest statement "we don't know" is not hiding, it is the opposite. Try it sometime.

    A. We DO KNOW that the universe had a beginning, that it must have had a trigger, and that trigger must have come from outside our time space.

    Not so. Look at a Lawrence Krauss video.

    B. We DO KNOW that life could not possibly have gotten started with the RNA world hypothesis (Gerald F. Joyce, and Leslie E. Orgel, "Prospects for Understanding the Origin of the RNA World,")

    Again not so. Also RNA origin is just one proposed theory.

    C. We DO KNOW the universe is indeed fine tuned(Paul Davies, "How bio-friendly is the universe?" International Journal of Astrobiology, vol. 2, no. 2 (2003):)

    See above, King Neptune.

    Don't be fooled by those that want you to stop short of understanding how much we DO know, and where that definitively points.

    Agreed. Might I suggest the following ten commandments to help sort out nonsense:

    1. DO NOT automatically believe something just because a parent, priest, rabbi or minister tells you that you must. They can’t all be right.

    2. DO NOT think that claims about magic, miracles and the supernatural are more likely true because they are written in old books. That makes them less likely true.

    3. DO analyze claims about religion with the same critical eye that you would claims about money, political positions or social issues.

    4. DO NOT accept it when religious leaders tell you it is wrong to question, doubt or think for yourself. It never is. Only those selling junk cars want to prohibit you from looking under the hood.

    5. DO decouple morality from a belief in the supernatural, in any of its formulations (Christianity, Judaism, Islam etc.). One can be moral without believing in gods, ghosts and ghouls and believing in any of them does not make one moral.

    6. DO a bit of independent research into whatever book you were brought up to believe in. Who are its authors and why should you believe them in what they say? How many translations has it gone through? Do we have originals, or only edited copies of copies of copies– the latter is certainly true for every single book in the Bible.

    7. DO realize that you are only a Christian (or Hindu or Jew) because of where you were born. Were you lucky enough to be born in the one part of the World that “got it right”?

    8. DO NOT be an apologist or accept the explanation “your mind is too small to understand the greatness of God,” “God is outside the Universe” or “God moves in mysterious ways” when you come upon logical inconsistencies in your belief. A retreat to mysticism is the first refuge of the cornered fool.

    9. DO understand where your religion came from and how it evolved from earlier beliefs to the point you were taught it. Are you lucky enough to be living at that one point in history where we “got it right”?

    10. DO educate yourself on the natural Universe, human history and the history of life on Earth, so as to be able to properly evaluate claims that a benevolent, mind-reading god is behind the whole thing.

    August 4, 2012 at 5:57 pm |
    • Peteyroo

      You're a long-winded sack of horse feathers, my feeble-minded friend.

      August 4, 2012 at 6:08 pm |
    • Rufus T. Firefly

      "The pincers of science are closing in from both sides, squeezing out the phantom of religion and ignorance. Soon, the two sides of the pincer will meet and this unnecessary holdover will have to flutter off and find another dark corner to settle in, where the penetrating light of science and knowledge is yet to shine."

      Your post is not only educational and accurate, it is stunningly good writing. Well-done, Colin.

      August 4, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
    • Rufus T. Firefly

      Peteyroo was apparently hoping that knowledge would more concise and simple, something along the lines of "God did it. He's magic."

      August 4, 2012 at 6:21 pm |
    • Tony

      You are verbose in the extreme, and thanks for the "introduction to bio-genesis", but guess what? Even if a self-replicating molecule is one day produced artifically, it will not argue against the existence of Diety. I EXPECT for "life " one day to be created in a " test tube". And I still believe in Diety. Why?: because life and consciousness are latent in the very fabric of the Cosmos.

      August 4, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      By far the most concise, detailed and best response to @Chad so far. Thank you Colin for posting this. I found it to be quite educational. I appreciate you taking the time to write this all out. I know it must be extremely frustrating sometimes to have to take the time to do such a thing. Just know that even if it never helps @Chad see the light, it helps others like myself. I think this should just be the standard "copy and paste" reply to @Chad's "copy and paste" argument.

      Personally, I still have hope for @Chad. I've seen some pretty unexpected and remarkable transformations in the most unlikely people. Because of this, I never underestimate the power of reality.

      I particularly enjoyed this part, "No, "I don't know" is the very thing that drives scientific enquiry. An honest statement "we don't know" is not hiding, it is the opposite. Try it sometime."

      That one can actually equate "I don't know" with hiding is laughable. Hiding is saying, "I know, but you'll just have to trust me. "

      August 4, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      @Tony,
      "Why?: because life and consciousness are latent in the very fabric of the Cosmos."

      Can't wait to see your "Latent Consciousness in the Very Fabric of the Cosmos" measuring machine. When do you report your findings to the scientific community?

      August 4, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
    • AtheistSteve

      All good points Colin.

      There is another argument that theists use. The idea that man isn't perfect or that our minds are insufficient in some way. As if this suggests that there must be "perfect" being or an "ultimate" or "absolute" mind.
      Now I don't know anyone who would claim that we were perfect....far from it in fact. My pet cat has better balance and agility, keener eyesight, hearing and sense of smell than me by orders of magnitude. Evolutionary trade offs that demonstrate that we clearly weren't designed to be above all other creatures. About the only characteristics we excel at are keeping cool (sweating), making complex sounds with our larynx which enables speech and our sophisticated brains. Evolution isn't a process that operates with intent...to make things more advanced or efficient but just to be more adapted to its conditions.

      There is absolutely nothing to suggest that higher forms of life need to exist. Indeed it is possible that somewhere in the universe E.T. could have a more complex brain than ours but I don't think there would be a biological imperative to evolve such a brain. Even we are probably not getting smarter brains anymore since we have given the task of complex modelling over to our technology. Computers stand the best chance of exceeding our capabilities of mind in the future.

      But in the end acknowledging that we have limitations to our minds and bodies doesn't mean that here must therefore be an unlimited mind or unlimited body somewhere out there..

      August 4, 2012 at 6:55 pm |
    • Tony

      Well, check out http://www.quantumconsciousness.org for starters.

      August 4, 2012 at 6:58 pm |
    • Manda

      If you don't answer the question you are accused of avoiding it, and if you do you are accused of being verbose. You can't win.

      August 4, 2012 at 7:05 pm |
    • Tony

      @Athieststeve:

      No, the fact apes are intellectually limited proves nothing about the existence of universal consciousness in and of itself. But it does make the ape a poorf judge of cosmic possibility.

      August 4, 2012 at 7:07 pm |
    • Tony

      @manda:
      The fact is he answered nothing. This debate has been going on for 3500 +++ and you are not the smartest guys to roll down the turnpike during that time. You may think you are, but you are not. Science advances and science is noble, but science only uncovers more questions everytime it answers one. You can choose to disbelive in the possibility of diety if you wish, .but don't expect people to be impressed by it. Neither Darwin nor Einstein were Atheists. Nothing science has uncovered since their times mitigates against belief in diety.

      August 4, 2012 at 7:17 pm |
    • AtheistSteve

      @Tony
      Right...and after hopping over to the site you posted the mere presence of Deepak Chopra was all that was needed to demonstrate how deluded the woo woo of your "cosmic consciousness" theory.

      All I said was that just because we aren't perfect(as Christians are so quick to point out...as if it wasn't already obvious) doesn't mean a perfect one must exist. To do that you must demonstrate it...otherwise you're just blowing smoke.

      August 4, 2012 at 7:19 pm |
    • Rufus T. Firefly

      Tony, thanks for reminding us that the enemies of reason are not limited to religious fundamentalists, but include New Age woo-woo as well.

      August 4, 2012 at 7:20 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      @Tony
      "Well, check out http://www.quantumconsciousness.org for starters."

      Yeah... that looks like a really reputable, respected site...

      Deepak Chopra's nonsense about the quantum consciousness has been refuted. All you are doing is proving that people are willing to swallow any pill they don't understand as long as it has a nice, shiny god-coating

      August 4, 2012 at 7:22 pm |
    • I wonder

      Tony,

      Can you say, "dee–it–tee" – deity (not diety)

      August 4, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
    • Manda

      Sure, Tony. The professional biologists should quit pretending they know anything about biology and just sit quietly at the feet of you and Deepak Chopra. If anything has been learned in the past 3,500++ years it is that the scientific method is the most successful and reliable way to learn about reality that has ever been invented.

      August 4, 2012 at 7:28 pm |
    • AtheistSteve

      @Tony

      And nobody here is arguing over the possible existence of a deistic non-intervening god because that's not what the majority of theists on this planet believe in. The world thinks man is made in God's image, is intently interested in our sex lives,wants to have us beside him for all eternity etc... and efforts like yours to whitewash the subject with an unrelated "first cause" only deity is just obfuscation.

      August 4, 2012 at 7:31 pm |
    • Dodney Rangerfield

      Did you hear the one about the Canadian bully that minded its own F'n business?

      August 4, 2012 at 7:32 pm |
    • Dodney Rangerfield

      You won't it isn't bright enough to figure out no one gives a sh it for its opinion.

      August 4, 2012 at 7:33 pm |
    • Tony

      I have mild dyslexia, sorry about the spelling. I know nothing about Chopra. I have heard the name, of course, but have read none of his books nor seen him speak. Stuart Hamerhoff works with Roger Penrose, so you might want to actually check out the site before poo-pooing it.

      August 4, 2012 at 7:35 pm |
    • Rufus T. Firefly

      If you honestly know nothing of Chopra, then it's hard to believe you could have much knowledge depth on that subject. I recognized it as Chopra silliness before the website even confirmed it. I have a sincere viewing suggestion: watch The Future of God debate between Chopra and Michael Shermer. (I don't know how to insert videos, but I would be glad to if someone would tell me). If nothing else, watch the questions at the end where, after Chopra insists that the others can't understand quantum consciousness because they are not theoretical physicists, an MIT theoretical physicist in the audience stands up and calls BS on his whole diatribe.

      http://abcnews.go.com/Nightline/FaceOff/nightline-face-off-god-future/story?id=10170505#.UB20B02PXg8

      August 4, 2012 at 7:46 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      @Tony, perhaps then you should do a little more research on the people supporting your site and the people responsible for propagating the ideas you subscribe to before posting a link.

      If you consider the idea of cosmic consciousness from the western perspective, Maurice Bucke is probably the earliest presenter of this idea. However, he based a lot of his book on Darwin's work and saw consciousness as a stage in the evolutionary path of all living things. Before that, there is Buddhism. Before that, there is Taoism. The concept is nothing new. Neither is the attempt of using basic bits of consciousness to manipulate people. Satori is easy enough to experience. You don't need fairies and quantum mumbo jumbo to get there.

      August 4, 2012 at 7:54 pm |
    • Tony

      You are dead wrong. I have never been to a Chopra website nor read a Chopra book nor seen him on TV except maybe in passing. I heard a radio interview with Dr. Hameroff some years ago and found it fascinating....I just kept thinking: Berkeley and Buddah...LOL...

      August 4, 2012 at 7:59 pm |
    • Tony

      @godfree

      What is new in Hameroff/ Penrose is the idea of the quantum level origination of consciousness. It really is very interesting stuff.

      August 4, 2012 at 8:06 pm |
    • Rufus T. Firefly

      Tony, I don't think anyone is accusing you of secretly following Chopra, what I am pointing out is that if you honestly aren't aware of him being the leading pop-icon of quantum consciousness cult, then you don't seem to be much of an expert on it. Which is fine; but if you're not then you really don't have a leg to stand on when you use it to criticize basic, replicable laboratory science.

      August 4, 2012 at 8:08 pm |
    • Chad

      Wow.. where to begin.. in general you really suffer from a lack of familiarity with the bible Colin,, no amount of visits to infidels.org is really going to correct that...

      ==================

      @Colin " Bible has a completely wrong and ridiculously simplistic explanation for the origin of the Universe (remember, six days and a talking snake).
      @Chad "the bible says the universe was created in 6 "days", also can be translated as "epochs". Note for example that the entire universe, including the earth, was created in the first “day”/epoch.

      ==================
      @Colin "Unless of course you believe a god would create an entire universe with billions of billions of planets and wait about 13,700,000,000 years just so it could focus on a few Jews from Palestine about 2,000 years ago while ignoring the rest of the 200,000,000 people on the planet at the time"
      @Chad "right.. the "I would have done it differently" argument..
      you feel it's a valid one?
      it isnt... and, that's why, while cute, it is not used in any debates between atheists/theists.

      ==================
      @Colin "The fine tuning of the universe for the building blocks of life, could not be any other way or we would not be here to observe it. "
      @Chad "A particularly stunningly poor argument. The reason you never hear anyone use that argument in the many debates that happen every year between atheists and theists, is that it is horribly fallacious.. It assumes apriori that the ONLY way the universe could have formed was to have been by purely random causes.

      'Fallacy of Assumption' describes a class of formal and informal logical fallacies that are to do with a flaw in an argument's asumptions. A common example of a fallacy of asumption (there are others) is when someone as.umes the very thing they are trying to prove. This is commonly known as begging the question
      see?
      🙂
      ==================
      @Colin "3. The origin of life on earth.... can a simple prokaryotic cell come into existence without the intervention of God, Allah, Shiva, Vishnu, Yahweh or any other divine/magic being.... Miller-Urey experiment (Abiogenesis)"

      @Chad "turns out the answer is no... 🙂
      Surely you have come across many of the scientific criticisms of RNA world, abiogenesis, spontaneous generation.. just isnt happening..
      Now, if you are tempted to try the "of course it happened that way, we're here arent we!!" which you seem to love so much.,
      see above under "begging the question"

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

      =====
      @Colin "Punctuated Equilibrium [is true, but] so what? What the hell does the fact that natural events such as climate change, falling or rising sea levels or meteor impacts can cause abrupt changes in speciation have to do with your god?"
      @Chad "ah.. well, you have to explain how, in every single case.. every single time, purely random mutations just happen to occur at the precise time to achieve the necessarily reliant increase in complexity..
      😉
      that's the hard part..
      and again.. lest you be tempted to try the "well, of course it was done by random, we're here arent we!!!" please see above, begging the question..

      ========
      @Colin Muslims, Hindus, Jains, Buddhists all die for their beliefs."
      @Chad "yes, they do. But what are the beliefs and how did they come about them? Are the beliefs falsifiable?
      In the case of the resurrection appearances, they ARE falsifiable (unlike your other examples). That's why they stand apart and what demonstrates them to be true.

      =========
      @Colin "there is no such thing as “nothing.”
      @Chad "!!!! my goodness, you have discovered something new!! everyone else believes that the conditions out of which our universe was created was nothing (as in the absence of everything).
      LOL, anyway to save you some time, Krauss has acknowledged that his "nothing" is NOT the conditions that existed "prior" to the big bang, his "nothing" is simply vacuum space.
      O.K., we don’t understand the beginning of the universe. We don’t understand if the universe had a cause. That is a fascinating possibility. By the way, [points to PowerPoint slide] there’s the picture of the vacuum that Dr. Craig so adequately described that I talked about. It’s not the nothing that I’m going to talk about in a second; it’s one version of nothing Lawrence Krauss

      August 4, 2012 at 8:08 pm |
    • Chadwatch, a public service

      Hooray! Can I go now? Can I go now?

      First, you don't know the bible like me....THEREFORE JESUS!

      Second, copying and pasting and more copying and pasting...

      Third, continue to be fundamentally unable to comprehend PE but wield it like a magic wand...

      Then, insist bible stories are falsifiable science experiments and....

      THEREFORE, IT CAN'T HAPPEN WITHOUT A CREATOR! THEREFORE, JESUS IS LORD! I PROVED IT!!!! YOU SHOULD REALLY READ MORE ABOUT PUNCTUATED EQUILIBRIUM ON WIKIPEDIA AND THEN MAYBE YOU WOULDN'T LOOK SO FOOLISH!!!!

      August 4, 2012 at 8:18 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      @Chad... Finally, we hear from you. I'll take the easy first statement.
      2 questions:
      "also can be translated as "epochs". Note for example that the entire universe, including the earth, was created in the first “day”/epoch."

      1) Can you please site your sources as well as the original word that day/epoch was 'mis'translated from?

      2) Is the story of Noah's Ark also a mistranslation? The story being that every living thing on this planet came in 2s to be rescued on Noah's boat from a worldwide flood.

      Bonus question: Is it also a mistranslation in John 14:14 when it states, "If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it." or in Matthew 17:20 when Jesus says, "...Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you."?

      August 4, 2012 at 8:21 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Thanks Colin. That was fascinating. I knew some of that, but not all. It's too bad that "believers" refuse to believe any truth that contradicts their religion.

      August 4, 2012 at 8:23 pm |
    • b4bigbang

      @godfreenow: are you claiming that there is no God (ie, atheist) or are you an agnostic?

      August 4, 2012 at 8:25 pm |
    • Chadwatch, a public service

      Special Alert from Chadwatch:

      B4BigBang is on of many aliases known to be used by Chad. Reply at your own risk.

      August 4, 2012 at 8:32 pm |
    • Chad

      hope this helps:

      @GodFreeNow "Can you please site your sources as well as the original word that day/epoch was 'mis'translated from?"
      @Chad ""day" from Genesis 1, Strong's H3117 – yowm
      has the following meanings:
      1) day, time, year
      –a) day (as opposed to night)
      –b) day (24 hour period)
      1) as defined by evening and morning in Genesis 1
      2) as a division of time
      –a) a working day, a day's journey
      –c) days, lifetime (pl.)
      –d) time, period (general)
      –e) year
      –f) temporal references
      –1) today
      –2) yesterday
      –3) tomorrow

      @GodFreeNow "Is the story of Noah's Ark also a mistranslation? "
      @Chad "text can also support the interpretation that the flood was local, the entire world as the author knew it
      (in Hebrew, the word for "earth" can mean locality as well). For example: in the statement of Cyrus, note that his kingdom, though great, did not encompass the entire globe

      Thus says King Cyrus of Persia: The LORD, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and he has charged me to build him a house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Whoever is among you of all his people, may the LORD his God be with him! Let him go up (2 Chronicles 36:23).

      Scholars embrace the view that The Hebrew term eretz translated earth in Genesis 6-8 should be translated land instead of earth. The word eretz is used more than 2,500 times in the Old Testament with 80% of the time being translated land rather than earth. Therefore, the Hebrew writers employed the word with its much more restricted meaning about four times as frequently as they employed it with a broader meaning. What is in view, in the Flood account, is not the entire earth, but the land around Noah. If the word land is subst.tuted for earth in the Flood account then the passage has an entirely different sense.
      Consider how the passage would then be understood.
      Now the land was corrupt in God's sight, and the land was filled with violence. And God saw that the land was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted its ways upon the land. For my part, I am going to bring a flood of waters on the land, to destroy from under heaven all flesh in which is the breath of life; everything that is on the land shall die (Genesis 6:11,12,17).

      The point is as follows: the extent of the Flood cannot be decisively settled based upon the Hebrew word for earth.

      =======
      @GodFreeNow "it also a mistranslation in John 14:14 when it states, "If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it."
      @Chad "if you ask anything in His name you will receive it
      what does that mean? "in his name"
      just adding "In the name of Jesus".. is that what it means?

      hint.. no, that's not what it means.. it means to be in agreement with Him.

      August 4, 2012 at 8:33 pm |
    • b4bigbang

      What makes you think that chad and I are the same? Is it so hard to believe that there're several posters here who are believers?

      August 4, 2012 at 8:35 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      Sorry, that should say "cite" not "site"... where is tom tom to correct me when I need him.

      b4bigbang, maybe we've discussed this before but, I'm not an atheist because I know there is no god. This is impossible to prove. I'm an atheist because I do not believe god exists. Should it be proven otherwise, I'd be happy to admit I was wrong. However, if he is the god of the bible, I would still refuse to worship him because of the atrocities he is responsible for. As a moral, conscious being, I can never accept this.

      August 4, 2012 at 8:40 pm |
    • Tony

      @rufus:

      Sorry I am slow to respond: work, don't ya know. LOL. I never claimed to be an expert on the quantum consciousness cult...I did not know there was one. I am not an "expert" on anything. I did find it hilarious when a previous poster said that satori was "easy to achieve", however. When have I ever "criticized science" other than to suggest that it might have limitations ?...is there anything blasphemous about this?

      August 4, 2012 at 8:42 pm |
    • b4bigbang

      So godfree, do you ascribe to any theistic belief? Believe in a cosmic consciousness? A scientific westernized version of Buddhism (like one of my co-workers)? Einstein's "Spinoza-concept" of God?

      August 4, 2012 at 8:46 pm |
    • Colin

      Rufus, Tallulah, thanks for your kind yourds.

      Chad, you said "'Fallacy of Assumption' describes a class of formal and informal logical fallacies that are to do with a flaw in an argument's asumptions. A common example of a fallacy of asumption (there are others) is when someone as.umes the very thing they are trying to prove. This is commonly known as begging the question
      see?"

      You don't feel that inserting your god as an answer to the origins of the Universe and the origins of life on Earth and then using these very assumptions as two of the five pillars to support your belief in your god is doing just that?

      You also said, in relation to punctuated equilibrium "ah.. well, you have to explain how, in every single case.. every single time, purely random mutations just happen to occur at the precise time to achieve the necessarily reliant increase in complexity.. that's the hard part..

      You don't find it a little ironic that you will reject evolution until every single step in the last 3.5 billion years is explained to the satisfaction of your impossibly high (and erroneous) standards, but that you will accept that a man rose from the dead on the basis of a 2,000 year old story written by a person you know nothing about contained in a book that is inarguably choc full of regional mythology?

      August 4, 2012 at 8:59 pm |
    • Rufus T. Firefly

      Yes! Blasphemer! (just kidding). No, upon rereading your comments, I guess you weren't. Though you stated that scientific answers always lead to more questions, as if that were a bad thing. I suspect that any honest answer would lead to more questions because it would demonstrate connections that had not been realized before. Aside from the Grand Unification Theory or Nirvana, I can't imagine a real answer that didn't lead to more questions.

      August 4, 2012 at 9:02 pm |
    • Rufus T. Firefly

      Sorry, the above comment is to Tony.

      August 4, 2012 at 9:04 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      @Chad, So to be clear, your foundation of your scientific perspective is based on a poorly translate book that is subject to interpretation... sounds really unshakable.

      Do you think that there are actually people who ask things in "his" name and still don't get what they ask for? Maybe your argument is that they're not saying the proper magic words? Or is this another mistranslation?

      August 4, 2012 at 9:04 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      b4bigbang, Until the evidence shows otherwise, "theistic," no. I believe "meaning" is a human concept. I personally enjoy finding meaning in things, but I don't pretend that that's a universal standard or experience. Mostly likely, god, like morality and meaning are all human inventions. I think they were probably necessary inventions for survival, but I believe that we can/must transcend these simplistic constructs if we are to continue to survive.

      August 4, 2012 at 9:29 pm |
    • b4bigbang

      Would we be any better off if the whole world became scientific-materialist-atheist tomorrow?
      Hasn't that been tried in the old Soviet Union? Did it cause the defcon level to go down?

      August 4, 2012 at 9:41 pm |
    • b4bigbang

      Also, here's a post that I mis-posted on the top of page (sorry about that):

      "@Chad, So to be clear, your foundation of your scientific perspective is based on a poorly translate book that is subject to interpretation... sounds really unshakable. Do you think that there are actually people who ask things in "his" name and still don't get what they ask for? Maybe your argument is that they're not saying the proper magic words? Or is this another mistranslation?"

      Excuse me for barging in, but why not allow scripture to interpret scripture?
      Example (which Chad already explained to no avail – not his fault):
      13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

      14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it. John 14

      14 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything ACCORDING TO HIS WILL [emphasis mine], he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him. 1 John 5:14-15

      Do you see how scripture explains scripture? In this case, we actually have the same apostle writing both the gospel and the letter that clarifies the gospel statement.
      Can't get any clearer than this.
      Here's the key verse – again from John:
      Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise. John 5:19
      This applies to believers too of course. Problem there is that, while Jesus "saw" the Father and his will perfectly, the rest of us don't see him anywhere nearly so clearly, so we often try to get God to follow our prayers, when it was never intended that way at all. Our prayers are supposed to follow God's will (as Chad already explained).

      August 4, 2012 at 9:45 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      b4bigbang, "Better" is another subjective human creation. I think we can though, personally better ourselves and our race if we do not accept things that are not grounded in evidence as fact. To that end, people had to accept that communism provided under the Soviet Union was right, whereas there was no evidence to support it. Had people been more critical, they might have found a better way. However, we do have the evidence before us now that tyranny does not benefit the human species as a whole. If we all acknowledged this truth, we would be better off, yes.

      Science incidentally is only one area of critical reasoning and evidence-based decision making. We can also look to history and math (statistics and probability, etc., ).

      As to being materialistic, we are of the material world. We exist in physical forms in a physical world and are subject to the laws of physics. How can we be anything BUT materialistic. However, it's possible to look to experience history to realize that these things can never provide lasting satisfaction. Still, if causes no harm to others what is the danger in enjoying them temporarily?

      August 4, 2012 at 11:01 pm |
    • b4bigbang

      I agree with what you're saying in part, eg, enjoying material benefits if causes no harm to others (eg, Jesus turning water into wine at the marriage at Cana).

      I was merely questioning you more closely on your rather strong statement, "I believe that we can/must transcend these simplistic constructs if we are to continue to survive." (btw, I'm sure you're aware that the Bible prophesies in fairly good detail the almost complete destruction of life on Earth. Indeed, Jesus said that if these [apocalyptic] days are not shortened, then "no flesh would be saved").

      The apostle Peter also prophesies that "the elements will melt with fervent heat" in his teaching of the apocalypse.

      Also, you mentioned history as a useful tool. While I agree in part, it must be remembered that "history [the history books] belongs to the victors" (who came up w/that quote anyway?), so we must take what we read regarding history with a grain of salt, wouldn't you agree?

      August 4, 2012 at 11:47 pm |
    • b4bigbang

      PS: to GodFreeNow: "As to being materialistic, we are of the material world. We exist in physical forms in a physical world and are subject to the laws of physics. How can we be anything BUT materialistic."

      Was this statement/question a response to my statement re "scientific-materialist-atheist"? If so, then please allow me to clarify that I wasn't referring to the fact that we are materialistic in the sense that we're all made of matter, but rather in the sense of "scientific-materialism" as a personal philosophy, meaning a belief that there is no spirit, rather only matter and energy, and that 'consciousness' is merely brains operating on chemical reaction alone, devoid of spirit [spirit being dismissed as a myth].
      Sorry – I thought you were following me on that by context of our discussion.

      But to answer your question, "How can we be anything BUT materialistic", the Bible teaches that the spiritual person enjoys all of God's creation within the parameters that God has given. There are really very few things we are not to indulge in according to Scripture. In fact, I can only think of one area that has taboos – certain se xual practices
      Of course we're not to commit crime, but that's something Christians and secular humanists agree on; it would be silly to propose otherwise....

      August 5, 2012 at 12:07 am |
    • PRISM 1234

      "Can you say, "dee–it–tee" – deity (not diety)"

      HA, Ha,Ha... don't ya just luv when they ignore someone's great post completely, but notice a misspelled word in it. They must be their inferiority complex syndrome.... They are some small, insignificant cowards! 🙂

      August 5, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      b4bigbang, You don't have to be a christian to believe that this world will end in an apocalyptic-proportion destruction. If super-viruses and asteroids don't wipe us out, the sun eventually will devour this planet. It's not a matter of if, but when. Should we find our future generations safely on a planet or other habitat far from earth's destruction, the dying of the light will eventually eliminate the possibility of life. No hand of god is required for this. It's merely the conditions of the universe we exist in and the laws of physics.

      The human mind always seeks to divide things into their smallest components to achieve understand, but true understand comes when all is one, as this can only be the complete truth. What I said about materialism applies both be being creatures of matter and expressions of materialism. To divide one from the other is just another dualistic human perspective. We are matter, therefore we materialize. Even certain sects of Buddhism and Hinduism understand this and so in regards to se.xuality they practice tantra, which is basically "mindfulness" in the act of pleasure. (another perspective is meditation through se.x) What they understand implicitly is that to deny the flesh, is to deny reality. Therefore, it is better to bring consciousness to the things of the flesh than to act without mindfulness. People often wonder how the samurai of old could both kill and be deeply Buddhist(whose precepts are founded in non-violence). The practice was and expression of meditation [-do, i.e., kendo, judo, kyudo, sado... (道-the kanji for 'way' or 'path' which is the same from the Chinese Tao... Taoism). The overly explained point here is that mindfulness supersedes action. To focus on morality from a point of construct, i.e., materialism, misses the underlying enlightened truth of Being, over doing. Sorry if that's overly esoteric.

      August 5, 2012 at 8:25 pm |
    • Gabriel Malakh

      Where is it?

      August 6, 2012 at 2:29 am |
  11. georgex

    If you are in a plane crash where only a couple of people survive, I would say who did depends more on where you are sitting and where the stress of impact occurred rather than some divine intervention. Why bad things happen to good people? (Well, bad things happen to bad people also.) This is a question which is difficult to answer for Christians who always want to find some grace in tragedy. There is no grace there and this was simply a horrible event. But I think it is wonderful that the Internet allows many doubters to express their views here as we become a more open society. In the past they didn't have the chance to meet or discuss their views and felt a bit isolated. Today there are organizations for non-believers such as http://www.secular.org that have meetings and interesting projects and just good conversation. The Internet can bring people of like minds together which wasn't possible in many locations before.
    Personally, I don't think we can blame God for these killings anymore than we should give him credit for the survivors. He seems to stay out of almost every human event. He doesn't do much that I am aware of.

    August 4, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
  12. kerfluffle

    I will accept this premise, with the caveat that all deists GTFO the interwebz immediately.

    August 4, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
  13. Sal

    Wrong, the internet isn't the meeting place for Atheists. Unlike most people of faith, most Atheists are considerate enough not to talk about their lack of faith unless someone else specifically asks about it. The internet is only a haven for Atheists because that is where people are asking Atheists all of the questions. People don't like to debate Atheists face to face in real time, because they know they will get the short end of the stick.

    People questioning Atheists like to do it online so they can have an hour or two to prepare their rebuttal each time. Where else besides the internet could an Atheist even speak freely without the fear of being fired or otherwise punished by society? We still burn witches at the stake, we just call them Atheists and we slow roast them so they survive through the torture.

    If you want a discussion with a Christian in real life, go to a liquor store or strip club. If you want a discussion with an Atheist in real life, try a college campus or a library. Maybe the author hasn't encountered many Atheists because they do what most Christians do: put on sweat pants 3 sizes too small and slowly push their loaded cart through Wal-Mart while they sift through the new arrivals of cheesy "romance" novels.

    August 4, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
    • Thus Spoke a Modest Proposer

      The Atheist indicts god based solely on what happens in what is, cosmologically speaking, the blink of an eye. There is suffering by transient biological forms for an instant in time: therefore there can be no god. Atheists are fond of contemplating the vastness of the universe, but incapable of admitting there is a lot of real estate to cover in the quest for the divine: spatially as well as temporally. If you were the creator of a universe 100 billion light years in diameter, that probably is also multi-dimensional as well as eternal, would you hang around trying to impress a group of arrogant primates who a milli-second ago were brachiating among the trees of Africa?

      August 4, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
    • Tony

      @Sal: Your quote: "If you want a discussion with a Christian in real life, go to a liquor store or strip club. If you want a discussion with an Atheist in real life, try a college campus or a library".

      Sorry, dude, but James Holmes fits your profile EXACTLY.

      August 4, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
  14. Salero21's god

    Your pope, Herr Ratzinger, is a Nazi. He has blood on his hands and has overseen the abuse of thousands of children.

    Add him to that list. And no one has killed more than your blood-thirsty judeo-christian god.

    August 4, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
    • Thus Spoke a Modest Proposer

      Is it not delightful that the three most influential Atheists in history are, in no particular order:

      Lenin
      Stalin
      Nietzsche?

      Nietzsche: the philosophical godfather of Fascism.
      Lenin,: the creator of communism.
      Stalin: arch 20th century proponent of “humanistic principles”.

      The result of their “humanistic philosophies”?

      At LEAST 100 million dead.

      The time span:? 53 years between the death of Nietzsche and the death of Stalin.

      It would seem thst Atheist butchers are even more efficent than "Christian" ones at their handiwork.

      Is this suprising?

      August 4, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
    • kerfluffle

      I seem to recall that Hitler, Pol Pot and Attila The Hun were one heck of a starting rotation for the deists.

      Critics of atheism are scared of getting the whole thing wrong, and will throw the first stone every single time.

      The world, circa 2012, is lousy with idiots.

      August 4, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
    • Tony

      The internet Atheist crowd are hilarious. You would have to know absolutely nothing about Buddhism to alledge that Pol Pot was a Buddhist. Adolph Hitler was influenced much more strongly by the philosophy of Nietzsche than by any religious idea. And Atilla's religious ideas are unkown to history

      August 4, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
    • tallulah13

      "I believe today that my conduct is in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator."
      – Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, Vol. 1 Chapter 2

      "Gott Mitt Uns" (God with us)
      – inscription on the belt buckles of the Nazi German Army

      Whatever you as.sume Hitler's influences were, he would have gotten nowhere without the support of the largely catholic and lutheran German population who elected him and allowed his atrocities.

      August 4, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
    • Tony

      Internet Atheists are hilarious. You have to know absolutely nothing about Buddhism to allege that Pol Pot was a Buddhist. Adolph Hitler was influenced much more strongly by the philosophy of Nietzsche than by any religious idea. Remember: IF Satan exists, he believes in god, surely…does this make Satan a “Christian”? Atilla's religious beliefs are completely unknown to history. The internet Atheist is so desperate for ammunition that any historical villain who has ever walked into a church and cannot be conclusively proven to have composed a treatise denying the possible existence of god, is de facto, a “Christian”.

      August 4, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Tony, I don't know about Pol Pot, therefore I don't mention him. But Hitler's own words hold more weight with me than your opinion does. And by Hitler's own words, he was a christian.

      August 5, 2012 at 12:26 am |
  15. One one

    Religion has had its run. It's time to move over and let reason lead the way into the future .

    August 4, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
    • Chad

      Reason points to the existence of the God of Abraham

      August 4, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
    • One one

      Evidence ?

      August 4, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
    • Colin

      Unless one considers Bronze Age mythology or scientific uncertainty as "evidence" for Chad's particular god, the answer is none. There is no evidence of the existence of the Judeo-Christian god.

      August 4, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
    • Salero21's god

      dont engage this idiot Chad. He knows the failure if his jesus and is just posting garbage. Much like his religion.

      August 4, 2012 at 3:01 pm |
    • Chadwatch, a public service

      uh oh, wait for it....................

      August 4, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
    • Chad

      @Colin "... There is no evidence of the existence of the Judeo-Christian god."

      @Chad "ah.. colin..
      I'm happy to provide evidence for people to make up their own minds.
      =================
      Evidence for the God of Abraham:
      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.

      remembering that: "I dont know" for the first 4, and "Jesus never existed" for #5, is not a response that explains anything so it can hardly be viewed as "refuting" any of the above.

      please also remember that "well just because it's necessary that the force be external to our universe doesnt prove it's the God of Abraham" is true, God cant be "proved". But remember that your alternative is to believe that the entire universe came from nothing (as in the absence of everything), triggered by nothing, and that life spontaneously generated..

      Now, some folks attempt to hide behind "scientific uncertainty", they will try to say "well, we just dont know" and try to leave the discussion at that piont, but this (due to ignorance or disingenuousness, I know not which) willfully ignores what we DO KNOW:
      A. We DO KNOW that the universe had a beginning, that it must have had a trigger, and that trigger must have come from outside our time space.
      B. We DO KNOW that life could not possibly have gotten started with the RNA world hypothesis (Gerald F. Joyce, and Leslie E. Orgel, "Prospects for Understanding the Origin of the RNA World,")
      C. We DO KNOW the universe is indeed fine tuned(Paul Davies, "How bio-friendly is the universe?" International Journal of Astrobiology, vol. 2, no. 2 (2003):)

      Don't be fooled by those that want you to stop short of understanding how much we DO know, and where that definitively points.

      August 4, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Not really a compelling list, Chad. You keep posting it, people keep pointing out the fallacies, yet you persist. Repiti.tion may help you believe in something for which there is no evidence, but it won't work on people who already know better.

      August 4, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
    • Chadwatch, a public service

      ...and there it is!

      Only this time in addition to the tired old logic with holes that you can drive a truck through, he has added a list of things he claims we DO KNOW that "we" most certainly do not:

      Ignore that the universe might be eternal, imply that the RNA world is the only possible model for the beginnings of life and assert that it has been dismissed altogether based on a single Wikipedia reference, and assert that the anthropic principle is fact and therefore.....I PROVED JESUS IS LORD!! HA HA SEE I PROVED IT!!! I HAVE PROVED THE HOLY QUADRINITY – THE FATHER, THE SON, THE HOLY GHOST, AND PUNCTUATED EQUILIBRIUM!!!

      August 4, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
    • Chad

      if you find a fallacy let me know.. accusations that I am aware of to date:

      1. argument from ignorance: this attempts to say that "not knowing proves it's God". This accusation fails because:
      A. I dont say anything "proves" it's God, I say it is powerful evidence FOR God
      B. It isnt a merely question of "not knowing", as shown above, making that claim willfully disregards what we DO KNOW, and where that points.

      2. The evidence for the empty tomb and the origin of the belief that people had seen a resurrected Jesus is hearsay.
      This is refuted by the the fact that we have first hand accounts.

      August 4, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
    • Chadwatch, a public service

      If you find a fallacy, let me know. Pleeeaaase let me know! Pleeeaaaase engage me so that I can talk in endless tedious circles misrepresenting both facts and other people's comments, and so that I can mentally masturbate by regurgitating and cutting and pasting what the creationist websites tell me are undeniable proofs. Pleeeeaaase propose a fallacy! I'm waiting desperately!

      August 4, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
    • One one

      Chad, your evidence boils down to two arguments:

      1. Our ancient scriptures say it is so and a lot of people maintain its claims. In short, because we say so.

      2. We have not yet figured out how everything in the universe works, so it must be god (not specific to the god of Abraham ). We still don't know, but it makes sense because we say so.

      August 4, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
    • Chad

      1. Our ancient scriptures have been shown to be historically accurate and the contents can be trusted. More importantly (and here's the part you'll ignore) a great deal has been verified extra-biblically, and nothing has ever been demonstrated to be incorrect.

      2. We have an enormous body of scientific understanding that all points to a force external to our universe.

      August 4, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
    • Peteyroo

      Bad Chad, nonsense! There is more evidence of the Loch Ness Monster than of God.

      August 4, 2012 at 6:12 pm |
    • Chadwatch, a public service

      Having failed to make convincing arguments based on half-truths, Chad has simply moved on to outright lies....

      August 4, 2012 at 7:37 pm |
  16. fritz

    Muuaahhaaaahaaahaaa! Our time has come! No longer can you influence laws to persecute us! No more burning witches, sorcerers and heritics in the name of jesus or allah! All you religious fanatics have left is to proselytize and scare us with your 'pain and reward' carrot and stick tactics! (heaven and hell). You should have figured out by now that doesn't work on us! You can no longer mute or control or suppress us! Our kind are on the rise! We will continue to persue our science and experience the thrill and joy of acquiring new knowledge while you god believers wallow in you 'rooted in the past' dead end belief systems! We are drowning you in a sea of rational thought! We are here in your face and we aren't going anywhere! Get used to it, creationists, jesus freaks, mohammed mongers and other assorted religious fundies! We love sitting on the fence eating our popcorn while you christian and muslim types dook it out over who's religion is best! Thanks to the internet we have emerged from the shadows to challenge you without fear of harm! We have arrived! To the humanists, atheists and agnostics among us! I tip my glass to you my friends! You need not feel alone anymore!

    August 4, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
    • Thus Spoke a Modest Proposer

      Arrogant, puerile dilettantes like this actually believe they are the first to ever question the basis of religious belief. The most brilliant minds in history have been doing it for 3000 years...and the overwhelming majority...99%+++...have come away believing in some sort of universal consciousness...why don't you hitch a ride on this loonie"s bandwagon?...he is probably halfway through the second chapter in his "Introduction to Philosopy" text.

      Dilettante

      August 4, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
    • Salero21's god

      Modest Proposer,

      I see we are now just blatantly lying? Wow.

      When all that is left in support of a crappy religion is lying, time to quit the religion.

      August 4, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
    • Peteyroo

      Broken Spoke Immodest Poser, how can you spout such nonsense? Do the attendants know where you are? Take your medicine and go back to your room.

      August 4, 2012 at 6:15 pm |
  17. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    August 4, 2012 at 10:50 am |
    • Anti-christ troll

      The priests I possessed that abused all those children.
      The childrens prayers were not answered,
      All prayer is useless.

      August 4, 2012 at 12:11 pm |
    • Peteyroo

      Stupidity is not healthy for children and other living things, yet you continue to shill for ignorance. Tsk, tsk my confused friend. Your mother and I discussed you at length. She is so disappointed in you–with good reason I might add. Praying for personal wealth and naked men gives you a 50% success rate with your prayers. Too bad you're still broke.

      August 4, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
  18. Haime52

    History and the future are long and very complexly convoluted. A set of cycles, intertwined to unbelievable complexity. We know not the future or what might have been. Had Hitler been killed, at a young age, would the Holocaust not have happened? Or, possibly been even worse? Or might Germany have even won the war, with another, more competent person at its head? We have no way to know. Did God allow one thing to prevent something worse?

    Do we want and would only believe in a god who protected us from everthing bad? Those who believe not, ask, Where was your God, when this bad thing happened?" My answer is, that He was where He needed to be. He does not protect us from all thing bad or evil because in order to do so, He would have to take away freedom or choice and that would mean, my non-believing friends, that you would have no choice but to believe in and love Him. You would have no doubts no desire to doubt. The word automaton comes to mind.
    Whether you love or hate, believe or disbelieve, I pray that the course of my life is guided by the Creator God in whom I believe, and that rants to the contrary, do not alter the course of my life. I'd rather live in hope for the "morning" than live in the here and now with no hope.

    August 4, 2012 at 10:09 am |
    • One one

      Do you believe in heaven? If so, do bad things happen there ? Do people in heaven have free will to determine their own course? If god can make everything wonderful in heaven, why not on earth also?

      August 4, 2012 at 10:32 am |
    • Cq

      Did you watch the movie "Valkyrie". It was based on a real attempt on Hitler's life. His survival required a series of small failures that are exactly what people describe when they talk about "miracles". So, did God save Hitler that time?

      August 4, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
    • Peteyroo

      Broken Spoke Immodest Poser, you are the result of Evolution and Mother Nature. She was not kind to you or the other believers. She made Christians gullible and stupid–a very unfortunate combination. On the other hand, she made Atheists smart and good-looking. It's a cross we must bear!

      August 4, 2012 at 6:24 pm |
    • Peteyroo

      Sorry, I replied in the wrong place. I meant to excoriate that idiot, Immodest Poser.

      August 4, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
  19. Thus Spoke a Modest Proposer

    When you encounter someone who professes to be an Atheist, take the most personally advantageous action: eat him. Atheists are high in protein and a good source of B vitamins and amino acids. Do not allow yourself to be apprehended by the authorities until the Atheist is recgonized as a game animal by the state. Remember, you have nothing to fear except law enforcement as long as you have braised, roasted or broiled the Atheist to an internal temperature of at least 180 degrees. They are also good in casseroles and fricassees.
    Atheists are a small and weak minority who should be exploited.
    Make no mistake...I am an Atheist myself...but I will never reveal that to the world. It serves my interests to call myself a Christian.
    Do not bore me with notions of how I should obey my "inner moral sense". My moral sense is nothing but genetic construct, a primitive survival advantage I have outgrown...much like I have outgrown the need for God. I can discard them both easily...they are worthless to me...After all, God Is Dead and the only good is what is good for ME. I am the Superman. I am Beyond Good and Evil.

    August 4, 2012 at 9:51 am |
    • Can't get a divorce

      I have a beetch of a wife with large and well padded gluteus maximus and mammary glands, although sagging, are quite substantial. This with a well stocked wine cellar, I can only hope will convivce you to accept my invitation to dinner at a time of your chosing. RSVP Your humble servant, Hen Pecked.

      August 4, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
  20. Nietodarwin

    RELIGION EQUALS MURDER. Non-believers have existed for centuries, but it's dangerous to point it out to the "faithful and fully armed." It only took the church 500 years to admit Galileo was correct in saying the earth revolved around the sun. Riligious people are DANGEROUS AND DELUDED. They should have shown a person HIDING BEHIND A COMPUTER from a bunch of ARMED MURDERS dressed up various costumes like popes, ayatolla's rabbi's etc.

    August 4, 2012 at 9:23 am |
    • Thus Spoke a Modest Proposer

      Is it not delightful that the three most influential Atheists in history are, in no particular order:

      Lenin
      Stalin
      Nietzsche?

      Nietzsche: the philosophical godfather of Fascism.
      Lenin,: the creator of communism.
      Stalin: arch 20th century proponent of “humanistic principles”.

      The result of their “humanistic philosophies”?

      At LEAST 100 million dead.

      The time span:? 53 years between the death of Nietzsche and the death of Stalin.

      It would seem that non-religion equals murder, too.

      August 4, 2012 at 9:53 am |
    • One one

      @proposer, you misses a few:

      So far as religion of the day is concerned, it is a damned fake... Religion is all bunk. [Thomas Edison]

      "In the affairs of the world, men are saved not by faith, but by the lack of it."- Ben Franklin

      "This would be the best of all possible worlds if there were no religion in it"- John Adams

      "The Bible is not my book, nor Christianity my profession."- Abraham Lincoln

      And let's not forget Hitler:

      "I believe today that my conduct is in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator."

      – Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, Vol. 1 Chapter 2

      August 4, 2012 at 10:47 am |
    • Chad

      "That I am not a member of any Christian Church, is true; but I have never denied the truth of the Scriptures; and I have never spoken with intentional disrespect of religion in general, or of any denomination of Christians in particular. … I do not think I could, myself, be brought to support a man for office whom I knew to be an open enemy of, and scoffer at, religion. Leaving the higher matter of eternal consequences between him and his Maker, I still do not think any man has the right thus to insult the feelings, and injure the morals, of the community in which he may live … " Abraham Lincoln

      August 4, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      @Chad, Even atheists recognize there is truth in the bible. You just have to sift though a lot of lies to get to it. Abraham Lincoln's day was different than today. I try not to scoff your religion, but let's be honest... it's a different day and age than the days of the civil war. For someone who bases their believe system on a story told 2k years ago, the story of the civil war days must seem really fresh and new. Luckily, the rest of the world has not been content to live in the past and have evolved their thinking to modern times. Thus, we have equal rights for all races and women.

      I understand why religion is mocked in modern society. It is because the more we know, the more these stories can only exist in the realm of the absurd. (See Noah's Ark) Personally though, I find the addiction to such mythologies quite sad and so I don't find it so easy to laugh at the mind of a christian or any other religion.

      that being said, I do think there is a place for mockery in society. If we can't laugh about the absurd, then we're probably expressing our displeasure through aggression or violence. Of the latter, mockery is the mildest form of criticism.

      August 4, 2012 at 7:10 pm |
    • OTOH

      Chad:

      “Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions. Ideas must be distinct before reason can act upon them; and no man ever had a distinct idea of the trinity. It is the mere Abracadabra of the mountebanks calling themselves the priests of Jesus.” - Thomas Jefferson

      August 4, 2012 at 7:15 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.