My Faith: The danger of asking God ‘Why me?'
August 4th, 2012
10:00 PM ET

My Faith: The danger of asking God ‘Why me?'

Editor’s note: Timothy Keller is senior pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York and author of The New York Times best-selling book "The Reason for God." His book for church leaders, "Center Church," will be published in September.

By Timothy Keller, Special to CNN

(CNN)–When I was diagnosed with cancer, the question “Why me?” was a natural one.

Later, when I survived but others with the same kind of cancer died, I also had to ask, “Why me?”

Suffering and death seem random, senseless.

The recent Aurora, Colorado, shootings — in which some people were spared and others lost — is the latest, vivid example of this, but there are plenty of others every day: from casualties in the Syria uprising to victims of accidents on American roads. Tsunamis, tornadoes, household accidents - the list is long.

As a minister, I’ve spent countless hours with suffering people crying: “Why did God let this happen?” In general I hear four answers to this question. Each is wrong, or at least inadequate.

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

The first answer is “I guess this proves there is no God.” The problem with this thinking is that the problem of senseless suffering does not go away if you abandon belief in God.

In his Letter from Birmingham Jail, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. said that if there was no higher divine law, there would be no way to tell if any particular human law was unjust. Likewise, if there is no God, then why do we have a sense of outrage and horror when suffering and tragedy occur? The strong eat the weak, there is no meaning, so why not?

Friedrich Nietzsche exemplified that idea. When the atheist Nietzsche heard that a natural disaster had destroyed Java in 1883, he wrote a friend: “Two-hundred-thousand wiped out at a stroke—how magnificent!”

Because there is no God, Nietzsche said, all value judgments are arbitrary. All definitions of justice are just the results of your culture or temperament.

My Take: This is where God was in Aurora

As different as they were, King and Nietzsche agreed on this point. If there is no God or higher divine law then violence is perfectly natural.

So abandoning belief in God doesn’t help with the problem of suffering at all.

The second response to suffering is: “While there is a God, he’s not completely in control of everything. He couldn’t stop this.”

But that kind of God doesn’t really fit our definition of “God.” So that thinking hardly helps us with reconciling God and suffering.

The third answer to the worst kind of suffering – seemingly senseless death – is: “God saves some people and lets others die because he favors and rewards good people.”

But the Bible forcefully rejects the idea that people who suffer more are worse people than those who are spared suffering.

This was the self-righteous premise of Job’s friends in that great Old Testament book. They sat around Job, who was experiencing one sorrow after another, and said “The reason this is happening to you and not us is because we are living right and you are not.”

At the end of the book, God expresses his fury at Job’s ”miserable comforters.” The world is too fallen and deeply broken to fall into neat patterns of good people having good lives and bad people having bad lives.

The fourth answer to suffering in the face of an all-powerful God is that God knows what he’s doing, so be quiet and trust him.

This is partly right, but inadequate. It is inadequate because it is cold and because the Bible gives us more with which to face the terrors of life.

God did not create a world with death and evil in it. It is the result of humankind turning away from him. We were put into this world to live wholly for him, and when instead we began to live for ourselves everything in our created reality began to fall apart, physically, socially and spiritually. Everything became subject to decay.

But God did not abandon us. Only Christianity of all the world’s major religions teaches that God came to Earth in Jesus Christ and became subject to suffering and death himself, dying on the cross to take the punishment our sins deserved, so that someday he can return to Earth to end all suffering without ending us.

Do you see what this means? We don’t know the reason God allows evil and suffering to continue, or why it is so random, but now at least we know what the reason isn’t, what it can’t be.

It can’t be that he doesn’t love us. It can’t be that he doesn’t care. He is so committed to our ultimate happiness that he was willing to plunge into the greatest depths of suffering himself.

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Someone might say, “But that’s only half an answer to the question ‘Why?'” Yes, but it is the half that we need. If God actually explained all the reasons why he allows things to happen as they do, it would be too much for our finite brains.

What we truly need is what little children need. They can’t understand most of what their parents allow and disallow for them. They need to know their parents love them and can be trusted. We need to know the same thing about God.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Timothy Keller.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • God

soundoff (3,664 Responses)
  1. Elizabeth

    Did this joker really just equate morality with religion?

    How's that been working out for mankind for the past few thousand years or so?

    August 12, 2012 at 6:55 pm |
  2. Steve Billiter

    Inferences erroneously drawn from facts observed in nature have, however, led to supposed conflict between science and revelation; and in the effort to restore harmony, interpretations of Scripture have been adopted that undermine and destroy the force of the word of God. Geology has been thought to contradict the literal interpretation of the Mosaic record of the creation. Millions of years, it is claimed, were required for the evolution of the earth from chaos; and in order to accommodate the Bible to this supposed revelation of science, the days of creation are assumed to have been vast, indefinite periods, covering thousands or even millions of years. 129 {Ed 128.2}

    August 12, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      What's your point?

      August 12, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      "Geology has been thought to contradict the literal interpretation of the Mosaic record of the creation."


      August 12, 2012 at 7:43 pm |
  3. Shiloh

    In the view of such harmony in the cosmos which I, with my limited human mind, am able to recognise, there are yet people who say there is no God. But what makes me really angry is that they quote me for support for such views. (The Expanded Quotable Einstein, Princeton University Press, p. 214)

    What separates me from most so-called atheists is a feeling of utter humility toward the unattainable secrets of the harmony of the cosmos. (Albert Einstein to Joseph Lewis, Apr. 18, 1953)

    When the answer is simple, God is speaking. (Albert Einstein)

    Then there are the fanatical atheists whose intolerance is the same as that of the religious fanatics, and it springs from the same source . . . They are creatures who can't hear the music of the spheres. (The Expanded Quotable Einstein, Princeton University Press, 2000 p. 214)

    August 12, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Einstein did not believe in a PERSONAL god or a god who was concerned with PEOPLE. If you want to attach Einstein's name to any god, then it needs to be Deistic. He did NOT believe in anything like the god of the bible or the koran, so don't lie. It makes baby gee-bus cry widdle tears that get his manger hay all wet.

      August 12, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
    • Shiloh

      I didn't say a word so please don't accuse me of lying. Have a good one...

      August 12, 2012 at 9:54 pm |
  4. Steve Billiter

    Satan is the originator of sin, suffering, death and sorrow. God had foreknowledge of what would come on the earth after Satan induced Adam and Eve to join him in his rebellion against God. God did not at once destroy Lucifer because the Holy angels would not have understood why, and then would have served God from fear. Since love is the foundation of God's government, Satan must have ample time to let his wicked character be exposed to the universe, which reached it's cruel climax as the devil influenced his agents, both human and demonic, to crucify the Son of God on the Roman instrument of supreme torture–the cross.
    “The discord which his own course had caused in heaven, Satan charged upon the government of God. All evil he declared to be the result of the divine administration. He claimed that it was his own object to improve upon the statutes of Jehovah. Therefore God permitted him to demonstrate the nature of his claims, to show the working out of his proposed changes in the divine law. His own work must condemn him. Satan had claimed from the first that he was not in rebellion. The whole universe must see the deceiver unmasked.” {Ellen White; PP 42.2}
    “Even when he was cast out of heaven, Infinite Wisdom did not destroy Satan. Since only the service of love can be acceptable to God, the allegiance of His creatures must rest upon a conviction of His justice and benevolence. The inhabitants of heaven and of the worlds, being unprepared to comprehend the nature or consequences of sin, could not then have seen the justice of God in the destruction of Satan. Had he been immediately blotted out of existence, some would have served God from fear rather than from love. The influence of the deceiver would not have been fully destroyed, nor would the spirit of rebellion have been utterly eradicated. For the good of the entire universe through ceaseless ages, he must more fully develop his principles, that his charges against the divine government might be seen in their true light by all created beings, and that the justice and mercy of God and the immutability of His law might be forever placed beyond all question”. {PP 42.3}
    “Satan's rebellion was to be a lesson to the universe through all coming ages–a perpetual testimony to the nature of sin and its terrible results. The working out of Satan's rule, its effects upon both men and angels, would show what must be the fruit of setting aside the divine authority. It would testify that with the existence of God's government is bound up the well-being of all the creatures He has made. Thus the history of this terrible experiment of rebellion was to be a perpetual safeguard to all holy beings, to prevent them from being deceived as to the nature of transgression, to save them from committing sin, and suffering its penalty.” {PP 42.4}
    “He that ruleth in the heavens is the one who sees the end from the beginning–the one before whom the mysteries of the past and the future are alike outspread, and who, beyond the woe and darkness and ruin that sin has wrought, beholds the accomplishment of His own purposes of love and blessing. Though "clouds and darkness are round about Him: righteousness and judgment are the foundation of His throne." Psalm 97:2, R.V. And this the inhabitants of the universe, both loyal and disloyal, will one day understand. "His work is perfect: for all His ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is He." Deuteronomy 32:4. {PP 43.1}

    August 12, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
  5. james hotz

    Why me? Why not you?

    August 12, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
  6. james hotz

    Why me? Why not you?

    August 12, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
  7. Leeuwenhoek's Flies

    We all believe in things that cannot be proven to exist scientifically. We “know”, “believe” that intangibles exist. The only men who do not believe in intangibles are unconscious. But of course, they are dreaming.

    August 12, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
    • Leeuwenhoek's Flies

      The poster who said that "matter" cannot be proven to exist is correct. We live in a universe that cannot be proven to exist. We "believe" mostly, in what is practical or in what gives us the most satisfaction. The concept of "god" is very practical for some and gives them immense satisfaction. The discussion should not be about the objective validity of mysticism or empiricism , but rather about tolerance and respect for the positions of others.

      August 12, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      "Intangible" is too va/gue to be useful, here. If something cannot be measured or produce a measurable artifact then it's irrelevant. God cannot be measured nor does he produce any measurable artifacts. He's irrelevant, regardless of whether or not he actually exists. Belief in such a being makes no sense.

      Perhaps you would consider "dark matter" to be "intangible," but it causes measurable results and we can rely upon its effects. It's not irrelevant and it's sensible to "believe in" dark matter. "Love" and "joy" and the number "three" are just concepts that help our brains to grapple with complex ideas. They're "intangible," and do not exist, but it makes sense to "believe in" them because of their usefulness in manipulation within our thought processes.

      August 12, 2012 at 6:37 pm |
    • Leeuwenhoek's Flies

      Almost nothing in your post was anything more than opinion. Science has failed to answer a single fundamental metaphysical question. Religion has also failed to answer a single fundamental metaphysical question. The only real difference is in the scope of the question. Religion attempts to answer the" whole ball of wax" and so quickly reaches a dead end. Science breaks up the ball into itty bitty components and so reaches a dead end later. They both reach dead ends.

      Your statement that "god" is irrelevant shows gro.ss immat.urity on your part. "God" clearly works in some peoples lives whether he/it has objective validity or not. Muslim. Hindu. Christian. Sikh. Jew. Buddhist. Creed does not matter. Belief works for some people and enriches their lives. This is undeniable.

      August 12, 2012 at 7:50 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      And I can't find any relevance in your posts. And yes, EVERYTHING I wrote is backed up by science. Are you lying or just stupid?

      God is irrelevant because he doesn't do anything. BELIEF in god (no matter which one) is what does something–so it's the belief and not the god that has an effect. It's the belief, therefore, that matters; god is irrelevant precisely BECAUSE of this fact.

      August 13, 2012 at 7:24 pm |
  8. 2357

    If people did not keep track, none of us would even know when we were born, or who our parents were. And to think we can know the age of the earth or fossil bits strewn inside. Radioactive dating is useless beyond 100k years. Fossil records are dated by a chart drawn 250 years ago , and that by a lawyer! I cannot accept the myth of millions of years of any process, especially some Miller-Urey crap soup that boiled life into existence yet did not kill the best of them. Why don't scientists find new life emerging out of landfills and sewage pits? It's because they worship at the church of funding and publication. Parsing muck hardly gets you a book deal or a date nowadays. Lying thieves, they deserve the faith that they have and all of the integrated consequences!

    August 12, 2012 at 12:33 am |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      You don't believe the science community even though you can review all the work and verify it yourself if you choose too.

      But you are more than willing to accept a book of myths, much of with is filled with immorality, contradictions and absurdities written by men thousands of years ago, many of whom were anonymous with known forgeries and later additions that served political needs, as inspired by god.

      Yep, I am glad you are smart enough to be skeptical of that worldwide science conspiracy.

      August 12, 2012 at 12:56 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      2357, please do the world and all children a huge favor and do not EVER teach anywhere.

      August 12, 2012 at 12:58 am |
    • Moby Schtick

      If I were to argue against driving cars the way you argued against evolution, I might say something like, "I don't drive cars because it's unethical to make all those tiny leprechauns keep running on those tiny treadmills inside the engine while all they eat is fairy farts and unicorn eyelashes."

      For fvcks sake, if you're going to argue against something, at least know a little tiny bit what you're talking about. Otherwise, you just expose your own ignorance and guarantee that nobody who knows the subject will take you seriously at all.

      August 12, 2012 at 8:50 am |
    • tallulah13

      2357, what is sounds like is that you refuse to believe facts that don't lead the the conclusion you want.

      August 12, 2012 at 11:48 am |
    • Arvoasitis

      Okay, let's think this through.

      Niagara Falls is receding (eroding back) a little more than a yard every year. That means that it has taken a little more than 10,000 years to carve its way from where it started (near the shore of Lake Ontario) to where it is now, perhaps considerably less if there was more water flowing over it in the past. Does that mean the world is less than 10,000 years old? Of course not, don't forget the Ice Age that completely changed the landscape.
      If you go from Niagara Falls to the shore of Lake Huron, you will be able to examine the badly-weathered remains of an ancient coral reef such as form on ocean floors in the tropics. What is a coral on dry land near salt-free lakes. So much for Noah's Flood.
      If you have an opportunity to visit some of the limestone quarries in the area, you will undoubtedly see layer upon layer of sedimentary rock each with fossils of now extinct sea creatures. Where did they originate?

      August 12, 2012 at 12:09 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      2357, did you fall into a pit of ooze? Where's your response to these posts? Did someone throw a fossil at your head?

      August 12, 2012 at 12:15 pm |
    • Simran.M

      Niagra falls – interesting example.
      Just like Niagra falls takes a few thousand years to recede through tough rock, it will take logic and reason a few thousand years to cut through to tough nuts, Be patient guys, not their fault. They will take time, but eventually get there.

      August 12, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
    • 2357

      Do you seriously think evolution has been some philosophical quest or noble inquiry into life's origins? Evolution initially provided explanation and order to the baffling discovery of a myriad coloured races across the ocean. The theory quickly advanced as a moral framework that soothes the conscience of the "rising merchant class", when indigenous people are corralled to slaughter by imperial guards. Evolution also justified the divorce of natives' rights to the minerals under their feet, for after all how can any people claim ownership of something that is millions of years older than the human species? It belongs to mother earth, which means it belongs to the civilized world, not the naked natives.

      If you examine the role of science in modern history you'd realize that this "scientific community" has been funded and controlled by mineral, and later petrochemical, speculators to supply the data, technology, media spin, philosophical narrative for global exploration, extraction and exploitation.

      Wake up and smell the nitroglycerin. Nobel is your saint because he opened up the gates of the modern inferno that is the subjugation of less-evolved races for mineral conquest. Einstein is your pope because he raised the magnitude of Nobel's inferno to godlike annihilation. Your supposed favorite demon the defense industry, is nothing but a rottweiler at the gates of the Supermajors, whom you all serve. How moralistic are you now?

      August 13, 2012 at 1:22 am |
    • Damocles


      What kind of drugs are you on? I have to believe that there are several kinds of toxins colliding with your brain cells, or smothering them outright.

      August 13, 2012 at 1:28 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      2357, I'm not really a fallacy spotter, but your statements aren't even specious. The main thing they suffer from is a genetic fallacy. The source of a fact or true statement has no bearing on its veracity or validity. Your statements also suffer from your lack of understanding of the information you are trying to draw on to support them and of the things you are attacking.

      August 13, 2012 at 1:39 am |
    • TheVocalAtheist


      Man 2357 you're the real deal!

      August 13, 2012 at 1:40 am |
    • 2357

      Oh, and the underlying narrative that justifies the current genocide of unborn African and Latino Americans? Evolution, which leads to a logic of "Life begins at viable birth, conception is irrelevant" Eugenicist maniacs.

      August 13, 2012 at 1:49 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      OK I'll do this again. Should we reject facts when they are used to support bad ideas, 2357?

      August 13, 2012 at 1:50 am |
    • Damocles


      I'm going to go punch a kitten now because you drive me to violence.

      August 13, 2012 at 1:53 am |
    • 2357

      ok give me an observed fact about the purely material origin of life.

      August 13, 2012 at 1:56 am |
    • Wrenn_NYC

      Try to learn something about science before you try to write to debunk it. There are many kinds of radioactive dating.... which you seem to be totally unaware of.

      It is easy to figure out, from reading a few lines, when somebody is just repeating something they were told, without any personal knowledge, any research, and any other sources save the one that 'told' them.

      You shouldn't get your science knowledge from a person with a religious degree. He doesn't have the background or education to explain it to you. He often doesn't know it himself, because he never studied it.

      August 13, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      2357, your posts are beyond laughable. There's no way to respond to them because it would be like talking to a turd.

      August 13, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Everyone knows you can't polish a turd, and they don't roll uphill, either.

      August 13, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
    • 2357

      I'm not trying to debunk anything. I'm just admitting that I smell bull every time someone claims that anything is "millions of years old", especially based on measuring something as volatile as radioactive isotopes. Even one million years is, for practical reasons, simply not a useful measure of time for anybody except self-authorizing theorists. You might find it marvelous and enchanting. I find it irritably similar to the unit "Gazillion" The stuff in the T-Rex bone discovered by Mary H. Schweitzer? I pretty much believe it was soft tissue.

      August 13, 2012 at 8:04 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      No one but a teenager says "gazillion", you lying pos.

      You're beyond stupid.

      August 13, 2012 at 8:06 pm |
    • 2357

      I'm not smart. My life is living proof. But I'm not lying when I confess by utter inability to trust in million year claims. Million dollars I can completely grasp. Millions of cells, a billion Chinese, trillions of grains of sand etc I have no problems with. A million years? My knee jerk reaction is "how in the world do you know that, and how can I check to see that you're not off by two hundred thousand years" If you say a bone is 67 million years old, and the meat inside is miraculously preserved? I put that claim on the shelf right up there with Madonna toasts and Jesus stains.

      August 13, 2012 at 8:20 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I reiterate, since you're not smart: you're an idiot.

      August 13, 2012 at 8:22 pm |
    • 2357

      ok, you're ugly.

      August 13, 2012 at 8:36 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      And you're a moron.

      Read something, you doofus. You're an embarrassment to humanity.

      August 13, 2012 at 8:38 pm |
    • 2357

      You're a smart girl. but you're fat.

      August 13, 2012 at 8:39 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I can diet, but you'll still be brain-dead.

      August 13, 2012 at 8:41 pm |
    • 2357

      smart enough to laugh at you from afar

      August 13, 2012 at 8:46 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Dumb enough to think anyone cares.

      How can someone who earns enough money to buy a computer and a pot to p!ss in not know any more about archaeology than you do, twit?

      Are you 10?

      August 13, 2012 at 8:48 pm |
    • 2357

      Why don't you carbon date me. About the only kind of date you'll ever get.

      August 13, 2012 at 8:54 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I'm married. I don't need to date "The Fly."

      August 13, 2012 at 8:57 pm |
    • 2357

      You found a man who loves you back, and got married? In a church? With clergy administering a VOW?

      Nah, I bet you mutilated the rites until it was just secular and mystical enough to satisfy your self-righteous egotism and at the same time retain some semblance of humanistic, sanctimonious romanticism. Lemme guess, raised catholic but fell away?

      No rhetoric coming from you will dissuade me of the sheer madness in your life. Good luck holding it all together Tom, luck it's all you've got.

      August 13, 2012 at 11:15 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Nope, not Catholic. Married in church with a traditional ceremony. Still happily married after 32 years.

      Kinda blows your entire post all to hell, doesn't it?

      Poor little you.

      August 13, 2012 at 11:18 pm |
  9. Hameroff

    If you see the Buddha on the road, kill him.

    August 11, 2012 at 11:07 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      In God we trust. All others pay cash.

      August 11, 2012 at 11:08 pm |
    • Hameroff


      Just glad to find out you are a man of faith, Tommy

      August 11, 2012 at 11:09 pm |
    • Greentea

      No knives.
      No guns.

      No halter tops.

      August 11, 2012 at 11:09 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Sad for you,dear. Not a man. No faith in anything but the here and now.

      Try not to take it seriously, honey. It's a slogan.

      August 11, 2012 at 11:11 pm |
  10. Hameroff

    Since the universe never really "exists' but, is always being created by vacuum fluctuations on quantum level, and since it is either infinite and thus utterly illogical or finite, created ex nihilo, and thus utterly illogical, I suggest a propostion: Its creator is illogical does not "exist" either and is god.

    August 11, 2012 at 9:53 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Maybe, I didn't really follow you. It's certainly irrelevant if god exists, if that's what you're getting at. Believing in no particular god gets you anything particular.

      August 11, 2012 at 10:04 pm |
    • Hameroff

      By your logic, it is irrelevant whether the universe exits.

      August 11, 2012 at 10:12 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Of course it matters. It matters to you, doesn't it? Think on human time scales, not universal ones. What business of it of your what the universe does or doesn't do, it produced you and your values. Cool.

      August 11, 2012 at 10:19 pm |
    • Hameroff

      My values do not exist and my consciousness does not exist. They cannot be scientifically proven to exist in obective fact.

      August 11, 2012 at 10:22 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      "My values do not exist and my consciousness does not exist. They cannot be scientifically proven to exist in obective fact."

      If we were only so lucky for this to be true...

      August 11, 2012 at 10:29 pm |
    • Hameroff

      "I" don't exist either. I am constantly being created, but never really really "exist".

      August 11, 2012 at 10:29 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      You can deny your own senses if you wish, but that seems dumb.

      August 11, 2012 at 10:30 pm |
    • Hameroff


      Prove that "values" and consciousness exist.

      August 11, 2012 at 10:31 pm |
    • Hameroff

      What my senses perceive is determined by my consciousness which cannot be proven to exist. You do not believe in things that cannot be proven to exist do you?

      August 11, 2012 at 10:33 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I for one can only wish you didn't exist. You add so little value.

      August 11, 2012 at 10:35 pm |
    • Hameroff

      Value does not exist, of course. Except in your conscious mind that does not exist because it cannot be proven objectively.

      August 11, 2012 at 10:37 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims


      I this case I am a solipist, only I can be proven to exist, which I can't prove to you because you are just a figment of my imagination...

      August 11, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
    • Hameroff

      You guys are a bunch of Mystics, because you believe in things that cannot be proven to exist.

      August 11, 2012 at 10:41 pm |
    • Hameroff

      Good reply. Like Berkeley?

      August 11, 2012 at 10:43 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      Who's Berkeley?

      August 11, 2012 at 10:52 pm |
    • Hameroff

      George Berkeley. One of the three great English empiricists along with Locke and Hume.

      August 11, 2012 at 10:56 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Are you seriously comparing yourself to Berkeley? Hume?

      It is to laugh.

      August 11, 2012 at 10:59 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      Oh great, now my imagination has added more fictional individuals to my consciousness...

      August 11, 2012 at 10:59 pm |
    • Hameroff


      Of course not.

      August 11, 2012 at 11:01 pm |
    • Arvoasitis

      The "process philosophers" insist that the process exists.

      August 11, 2012 at 11:31 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      It's practical to believe that you exist because you cannot deny your own thought process. The "I" thinks and evaluates. If you choose to deny that you exist because you don't think you can be objectively proven to exist, you're still the one do the thinking and choosing–so you're (your thought process) is still in the picture.

      God and fairies and unicorns can't be proven to exist, AND there's no practical reason to believe that they do. Reality doesn't force them upon you. Not so with your own mind and that which physically and practically forces itself upon your mind. You can't prove that your car exists, but it's practical to believe it does and use it, and also it would force its existence upon you if you stood in the middle of a freeway. None of those same attributes can be applied to your god, AND belief doesn't "get you anywhere" as in there's no practical effect to believing in a particular god.

      August 12, 2012 at 8:43 am |
    • tallulah13

      Esoterics aside, I know I exist because I have to go to work to keep a roof over my head. If I don't exist, I wish someone would tell me, because I'd rather just sleep in on Monday morning.

      August 12, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
  11. gary

    Atheism is myth understood. Deities and demons are pretend.

    August 11, 2012 at 9:26 pm |
  12. Robert

    I am so happy that I left all this garbage behind when I left the Catholic church 30 years ago. Did you even see how this so called religious man first, uses this forum to try to sell us his new book, and then proceeds to dance around the question.?Finally he tells us that we cannot comprehend why this happened because on a cosmic scale we possess the brains of children and therefore can't understand what he can't explain. Same old BS just somebody different doing the shoveling!

    August 11, 2012 at 7:25 pm |
  13. GayAtheist

    This article is nothing but gibberish.

    All those words used to try and explain fate when one word would have been perfect: fate.

    This is why Christianity is being seen more and more as pure nonsense.

    Where can I get a job writing gibberish for CNN?

    August 11, 2012 at 6:45 pm |
    • JD

      Fate is gibberish in most academic circles. Certainly any scientific ones. And contrary to your hopeful belief, Christianity is actually a growing faith worldwide with minds like Keller's and better ones emerging from it. I see you don't try to address his argument, and just the man and his writing. Not much of a point you're making for someone who condemns gibberish.

      August 11, 2012 at 8:57 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      LOL, I think that GayAtheist was merely pointing out that the bulk of the article was superfluous because it could have been replaced with one word "fate." Your derision of the idea of "fate," then, is leveled at the author and this piece.

      By the way, in developed countries, Christianity is certainly on the decline. In the US, the percentage of self-identifying christians has dropped by ten percent–from 86 to 76 in the bast two decades. The more impoverished and underdeveloped, the more religious and the more fanatically so. Education and prosperity seem to decrease the level of superst.ition/fanaticism.

      August 11, 2012 at 9:21 pm |
    • Hameroff

      GayAtheist is clealy a determinist. He believes he was destined to be gay and disbelieve in god. I think he may be a robot.

      August 11, 2012 at 9:41 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Hambone, you don't "think" at all.

      August 11, 2012 at 9:43 pm |
    • Moby Schtick


      You must be referencing another post by GayAtheist? Certainly not this one.

      August 11, 2012 at 9:48 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims


      We know people with both male and female s.e.x organs are born into this world, so according to your dogma god made them that way. Would it then be far fetched to think males could be born to be attracted to other males and not females and god made them that way too. If that is the case then either god made them gay but expects them not to act on the nature he gave them, which would be cruel. Or god made them that way but what Christians and Muslims think god allows and does not allow as moral is completely wrong. Or there is a third option, the god of Abraham does not exist and this is all garbage. I am of the last opinion.

      August 11, 2012 at 10:03 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Hamhanded, have you ever read the book "Middles3x" by Jeffrey Eugenides? You should. It's very moving and might give you some insight as to the nature of s3xuality. It's not as cut-and-dried as your mom and dad or your minister told you.

      August 11, 2012 at 10:06 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      It's hilarious logic to think god gets all worked up over human s3xuality when he supposedly made all these other species to have every sort of s3xual arraignment you could imagine–animals who can change gender, animals with hundreds of partners, animals who immediately eat their mates, animals who have both genders and mate in multiple ways–but you know he's just horrified by two human dudes getting together.

      August 11, 2012 at 10:09 pm |
    • Fank

      What is a gay atheist doing on a religious page anyway? are you here to HATE?

      August 12, 2012 at 11:20 am |
    • Moby Schtick


      Why shouldn't a gay atheist comment on these boards? Especially if he feels hate from the religious for his natural urges? Did you decide to be straight? No. Did you decide to believe in god? No. So why do you feel the way you do about what someone else didn't decide just like you didn't decide?

      August 12, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
  14. PRISM 1234

    You said to Henry,

    If this statement is accurate anyone who claims to know anything about what god thinks is a liar.
    But the same Word of God that says
    “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” , says also

    "For who has known the mind of the Lord that he will instruct him,? But we, who are His, HAVE THE MIND OF CHRIST"
    You stumble in your blindness because you do not have the mind of Christ, neither do you know Him!
    How then could you understand the things of God? They are foolishness to you.

    August 11, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      The above post was meant for "no truth"

      (CNN"s blog scan be a real nuisance)

      August 11, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Sure, blame CNN for your incompetence.

      August 11, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      Oh, so YOU have the mind of Christ but any one who questions or criticizes Christion teaching can't know....

      Typical cult logic.

      August 11, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Oh, come on, now. You think Prissy has a MIND? It doesn't even have two brain cells to rub together.

      August 11, 2012 at 6:37 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      Yep Tom,

      That is why cult logic works...

      August 11, 2012 at 8:01 pm |
  15. Joe

    The Creator provided us with a body and a brain. If we take care of our body we will live to three score plus ten. Our brain provides us with the power to reason and with the power to pursue happiness. What more can we expect? Yet here we have masses of people every day beseeching the Creator for more. How much more do you think you deserve? Then after we expire we want more? If He wanted to give us more He could have created us to live four score and ten. Are you questioning His wisdom? His generosity?

    Contempories of Jesus would have loved to live in the United States of the 21st Century. The most visionary among them could not have imagined the cornucopia of delights that we take for grante

    August 11, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      The entire human experience points to a universe that does not care one whit about our existence or our pleasures or suffering.

      August 11, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
    • JD

      And yet we experience them both exponentially and they are the things that define us and our lives? You really don't make sense. Even the human experience–complex life, consciousness–defies the idea of entropy and purposelessness. @ First Response

      August 11, 2012 at 9:05 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      No, consciousness does not defy "the idea of entropy" nor does it defy entropy. The universe is spectacular, certainly, but in all its splendor it does not care about us, or life, or beauty. We care, and that must be enough for us.

      August 11, 2012 at 9:12 pm |
    • Hameroff

      Can consiousness be proven scientifically to exist?

      August 11, 2012 at 9:26 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      I'm not sure, but I don't think so. I think that the current idea is that consciousness is an illusion created by the mind for the purpose of preservation. Consciousness is very good with elevating the ego which protects the body.

      August 11, 2012 at 9:30 pm |
    • Hameroff

      Well, at least it is comforting to know that neither I, nor God exist.

      August 11, 2012 at 9:36 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      You do exist, it just doesn't matter that you do–on the grand scope of the universe. But you do matter here and now in many wonderful ways. God might exist and he might not, but like your existence, it's irrelevant.

      What's relevant–is practice. This life is a lot of luck and a lot of work, and you need some faith here and there, but if there is a god, then he doesn't mind all the confusion over his will since he didn't make it as clear and emergent as say-math or the periodic table... you get the idea.

      August 11, 2012 at 9:51 pm |
  16. Oil of Man

    My name is Boffer Bings. The Death of God has been met with sadness by some. It kindles in me the spirit of opportunity. God and the associated baggage of his “moral order” were impediments to progress. Nowhere is this more evident than in the sphere of commerce. Some years ago, I developed a most useful medicine. Taken internally it is a cure for disorders of all kinds and acts as a general tonic. Applied topically, it is a remedy for gout and psoriasis and posses an SPF of 15. The precise recipe is, of course, a trade secret and is protected under US Patent. While God lived, the oppressive machinery of society stood in the way of the production and release of my curative. The Death of God, I hope, will occasion its availability on the free market.

    I speak of Oil of Man.

    Oil of Man really is one of the most useful medicines ever discovered. Its availability has been somewhat limited by the natural reticence of society to make the ultimate sacrifice for the afflicted. During research and development for Oil of Man, I was, in fact, forced to requisition unwilling donations of certain vital ingredients for my vats. The destruction of the logically inconsistent but simple moral system of the theists will, I hope, increase availability of the necessary raw material. I tire of having to spirit shrouded “donors” through the rear door of my oilery. A godless society is perfect for the production of Oil of Man. The attempts of the Godless to construct a logically consistent system of ethics sans theos are easily discarded by the pragmatic and enterprising among us. Empathy is nothing more than an vestige of genetics. Some free thinking rural physicians in my area have been utilizing my tonic for years--sending patients to me, (the only dispensing pharmacy), with a prescription they are pleased to designate as __ol. hom.__

    Thank heavens for the progress of free thought. The elimination of society’s detritus (unwanted children, the elderly, the poor, opposing political parties, etc.) and their incorporation into Oil of Man will be of great general weal to humankind as it hurdles into a future free of outmoded concepts like absolute good and evil.

    August 11, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
  17. sam

    man yaw go in. i like. wish i could read it all but way to much good job

    August 11, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
  18. Gabriel Malakh

    To GodFreeNow

    I think you should have left this one for Moby Schtick to reply for himself, you sound really ignorant trying to sound intelligent when you sound dumb!

    Genesis 1:24,25 states:

    24 And God went on to say: “Let the earth put forth living souls according to their kinds, domestic animal and moving animal and wild beast of the earth according to its kind.” And it came to be so. 25 And God proceeded to make the wild beast of the earth according to its kind and the domestic animal according to its kind and every moving animal of the ground according to its kind. And God got to see that [it was] good.

    When you observe the world around you, is that not the case, all animals reproduce animals according to it's kind. Scientific fact!

    You do not need a scientist or a scholar to interpret that verse for you, do you? It is self explanatory, it "INTERPRET" itself.

    Interpret: 1 explain the meaning of (information, words, or actions)

    Here is another one so you can understand it better.

    Genesis 2:7
    7 And Jehovah God proceeded to form the man out of dust from the ground and to blow into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man came to be a living soul.

    Are you telling me you don"t understand what the Bible is saying, you need a translator, an interpreter or let me guess, a scientist?

    Well, Let me give you scientific fact: All the elements found in the earth/"dust", are found in the human body. I wonder why? Care to explain?

    August 11, 2012 at 1:14 am |
    • GodFreeNow

      Can you read Hebrew by chance or do you rely on a translated version? Do you read or does the bible speak to you? Do your ears hear or does it magically just enter your brain? These are all methods of interpretation.

      I wonder what value you think I would find in "trying to sound intelligent'? Is it that you think the standard is so high on this forum that I might take some pride in being smarter than other people? I assure you, there's no pride to be had in the level of discourse found here. If it were not for a sense of moral obligation I feel to at least try to weed out ignorance in its many forms, I wouldn't waste my time.

      August 11, 2012 at 1:34 am |
    • GodFreeNow

      Also, you do realize there is a "Reply" button next to the "Report Abuse" button at the bottom of your comment when you start a new thread right? You don't need to keep making new threads to discuss the same topics. It helps keep the interwebs neat and free of clutter.

      August 11, 2012 at 1:37 am |
    • No Truth, Just Claims


      If the bible is taken completely at what it says, and I agree it should, it is one of the most immoral books ever written and your god is a monster.

      August 11, 2012 at 1:52 am |
    • Damocles

      Are we made up of some of the elements that have only been created in a lab? And while it is true that we are made up of some elements that are in the earth, a random pinch of dust is unlikely to contain all the elements that exsist.

      August 11, 2012 at 2:03 am |
    • Arvoasitis

      It is foolish to meddle in essentially private disputes, but I will be foolish and throw in my two cents worth.

      First, as regards translations of the Bible, every English translation is slanted to a particular point of view. John Steinbeck's "East of Eden" is about a Chinese scholar's effort to understand the story of Cain and Abel, and in particular Genesis 4:7, in which God speaks to Cain immediately before Cain kills Abel. Of particular interest is the Hebrew word "timshel," which is inevitably translated "do thou" (or "you must," in the modern vernacular) or "thou shalt," but is correctly translated "thou mayest." As the Chinese scholar explains. "Now, there are many millions in their sects and churches who feel the order,'Do thou,' and throw their weight into obedience. And there are millions more who feel predestination in 'Thou shalt.' Nothing they may do can interfere with what will be. But 'Thou mayest'! Why, that makes a man great, that gives him stature with the gods, for in his weakness and his filth and his murder of his brother he has still the great choice. He can choose his course and fight it through and win."

      As regards the elements fond in the human body, according to scientific theory, humans are formed from the same star dust as our entire solar system. For example, comparing the composition of the human body and the tail of Halley's comet, the following correlation in the proportions of atoms was found:
      Atomic Percentage.......Carbon......Hydrogen.....Oxygen.....Nitrogen.....Total
      In humans........................9.5..............63................26................1............99.5
      In Halley's Comet...........11.0..............55................28................2............96.0

      August 11, 2012 at 7:54 am |
    • Arvoasitis

      Oh, I should add that some of the elements in Halley's comet had undergone reactions, becoming the possible precursors of proteins which are the precursors of genetic materials.

      August 11, 2012 at 8:04 am |
    • Moby Schtick

      That verse will do quit nicely, Gabriel.

      There is no such thing as "breath of life," is there? "Breath" is simply the effects of an ongoing process; it doesn't exist in the same way that a smell does, right? "Breath" doesn't float around waiting for a chance to get sucked in by someone's lungs. So what does the verse mean? It can be interpreted in a variety of ways, and I've heard at least three from the pulpit from ministers who all claimed to be using the perfect holy spirit in their interpretive work.

      There's no such thing as "breath of life," either. So what do we make of that statement? There's no "soul" either, so what do we make of that? The person interpreting MUST decide right then and there if he is going to believe in an invisible body part before deciding how to even begin interpreting the meaning of the verse.

      Thinking individuals (believers, ministers, atheists, agnostics) all rightly conclude that EVERY biblical passage requires interpretive work. Why can't you think critically enough to see what careful readers must do with the bible?

      August 11, 2012 at 11:40 am |
    • Henry

      Isaiah 55: 8-11, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

      August 11, 2012 at 12:15 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      And this is supposed to prove what, Henry? That it rains and snows? That man developed crops?

      There's not a thing there that wasn't written by a man. Not a god. Just a man like any other.

      August 11, 2012 at 12:18 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      If god's thoughts are not our thoughts then why does he bother with communication? How can god be so good at communicating gravity, math, and chemistry, and so bad at communicating his will? And why would he choose to make math and chemistry so obvious that you MUST use it correctly to get results, but does not do so when it comes to his nature? What a fvcking stupid god.

      August 11, 2012 at 12:18 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Gabriel Malakh
      To GodFreeNow

      I think you should have left this one for Moby Schtick to reply for himself, you sound really ignorant trying to sound intelligent when you sound dumb!


      Pot, meet kettle.

      August 11, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      Isaiah 55: 8-11, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD.


      If this statement is accurate anyone who claims to know anything about what god thinks is a liar.

      August 11, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      The above post was meant for "no truth"

      August 11, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      @Arvoasitis, I'm usually critical, and you probably don't care, but... good post. Thanks.

      August 11, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
    • Arvoasitis


      Thanks for the kind words.

      August 11, 2012 at 6:58 pm |
    • jason

      I think it's funny that people say that the bible has horrible morals – Would you want a white washed, everyone is perfect book to base your life on, and then just notice how your life never matches up?

      August 11, 2012 at 7:33 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims


      Since the claim is god inspired the bible, yes I would. Either god has terrible morals or the claim that god inspired it is false.

      August 11, 2012 at 7:57 pm |
    • Henry

      Where is my duplicate comment, are you anti-Christian? If so, be a man and stand for your beliefs, and let others do the same!

      August 12, 2012 at 9:19 am |
    • Wrenn_NYC


      Let me refute your so called scientific fact. there are 60 elements found in the human body. Some in minute trace amounts. Some only there because of our current environment.

      there are 118 elements. So youre 58 elements short of 'all the elements in the dust' found in the human body.

      August 13, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
  19. Damocles

    Did I strike a nerve?

    August 11, 2012 at 12:28 am |
    • Gabriel Malakh

      So that is your most intelligent response? It is atheist like yourself that give other atheist who use real logic and intelligent argument to support their belief. It's best you and GodFreeNow sit this one out.

      I believe that Moby Schtick is a big boy who can handle this own his own. At least he explained where he's coming from and how he got to the belief he's at now. But you guys! It's best I keep my thoughts to myself.

      August 11, 2012 at 1:26 am |
    • Damocles


      Its funny that you get all bent out of shape about this comment considering it wasn't even directed at you. It was directed at Tony and I put it in the wrong place.

      August 11, 2012 at 1:46 am |
  20. Gabriel Malakh

    To Moby Schtick

    You stated:

    "You make far too many a s sumptions. Firstly, I investigated the bible as a very strong believer for decades upon decades. It was my research INTO the words of the bible that led me to discard my faith and the text as a source of spiritual truth. Secondly, a person could base his sense of purpose on one of thousands of interpretations of various bible verses and have a completely different "answer" than the one YOU or other bible believers think he should have–so the bible does NOT set all truth seekers onto a reliable, proven purpose at all. Far from it.

    The bible allows people to do whatever they want to do however they want to do it and claim that god is on their side. It's what every believer does, and it's what you're doing right now. It's one of the reasons we know the bible isn't true–so many people can use it for their own purposes and find a way to disagree with any one else who is also using the bible for their own purposes. Interpretation's a beeyatch, isn't it?"

    I totally understand where you're coming from. If I may ask, which Bible version did you study out of and what faith were you associated with? The reason I ask, is because I meet many individual like yourself who expressed the same thing. And I've come to realize, in which many of them agree with me, when they see the hypocrisy of those who are suppose to teach and live by the Bible, living a lifestyle that contradicts the Bible and using the Bible to oppress and take advantage of people, it turns them off, and take their disgust out on the Bible.

    You made the statement, "a person could base his sense of purpose on one of thousands of interpretations of various bible verses and have a completely different "answer" than the one YOU or other bible believers think he should have–so the bible does NOT set all truth seekers onto a reliable, proven purpose at all"

    Not true! The Bible interprets itself clearly. Many people don't read or research the Bible to come to and understanding of it, they just follow their religious leaders. Some choose to be ignorant of whats in the Bible so they can live their life as they please. They commit all sought of sin during the week, then come Sunday or Saturday, they go to church thinking God will accept their worship. But they are just fooling themselves.

    You made the statement that, "The bible allows people to do whatever they want to do however they want to do it and claim that god is on their side."

    That is not a true statement. The Bible don't allow people to do as they please, then why did God give laws, and destroyed nations who disobeyed or who was in opposition to his will and purpose? God gives man free will, he's not going to force you to love and believe in him. Yes many do as they please and think or say that God is on their side, does not make it so. They will be destroyed as well.

    2 Peter 2:1-3
    1 However, there also came to be false prophets among the people, as there will also be false teachers among YOU. These very ones will quietly bring in destructive sects and will disown even the owner that bought them, bringing speedy destruction upon themselves. 2 Furthermore, many will follow their acts of loose conduct, and on account of these the way of the truth will be spoken of abusively. 3 Also, with covetousness they will exploit YOU with counterfeit words. But as for them, the judgment from of old is not moving slowly, and the destruction of them is not slumbering.

    There are falls and pagan teachings like the Trinity Doctrine, Hell Fire, and the like, that cause people to turn away from believing the in the Bible. The Bible clearly disprove these doctrines, but again, many reject the Bible for their selfish longing, wanting to live their lives how they please, but that does not make the Bible false. Based on my examination of the world and society, science and Bible Prophecy, my faith in the Bible is unbreakable! I am not hear to force anyone to believe in the Bible, because if God want's you to believe, there is nothing anyone can do to stop him from making that happen. But he's not going to force you to, Jesus didn't force anyone to follow him when he was on the earth. So who am I to force my belief on anyone. But I will defend Jehovah God and his word the Bible, I do represent him you know, and it is an honor to do so, and I love doing it.

    Oh, and another thing, according to the Bible, Jesus is NOT God The Almighty, Jehovah of Armies. Jesus is the son of God, created by God, whereas God has no creator or beginning.

    Proverbs 8:22-31
    22 “Jehovah himself produced me as the beginning of his way, the earliest of his achievements of long ago. 23 From time indefinite I was installed, from the start, from times earlier than the earth. 24 When there were no watery deeps I was brought forth as with labor pains, when there were no springs heavily charged with water. 25 Before the mountains themselves had been settled down, ahead of the hills, I was brought forth as with labor pains, 26 when as yet he had not made the earth and the open spaces and the first part of the dust masses of the productive land. 27 When he prepared the heavens I was there; when he decreed a circle upon the face of the watery deep, 28 when he made firm the cloud masses above, when he caused the fountains of the watery deep to be strong, 29 when he set for the sea his decree that the waters themselves should not pass beyond his order, when he decreed the foundations of the earth, 30 then I came to be beside him as a master worker, and I came to be the one he was specially fond of day by day, I being glad before him all the time, 31 being glad at the productive land of his earth, and the things I was fond of were with the sons of men.

    Colossians 1:15,16
    15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; 16 because by means of him all [other] things were created in the heavens and upon the earth, the things visible and the things invisible, no matter whether they are thrones or lordships or governments or authorities. All [other] things have been created through him and for him.

    August 11, 2012 at 12:27 am |
    • GodFreeNow

      @Moby Schtick, I'm sorry you'll have to sift through this post.

      I'll take one easy one for you...

      @Gabriel, please stop personifying inanimate objects and concepts. The bible cannot interpret itself. Put it in a room alone with itself and it will come to exactly the same conclusions it came to before you put it in there... that is... none. It's a book. It doesn't have a brain or a soul or any other method of interpreting itself.

      If the bible could interpret itself, there'd be no need for all of the human translators. It does bring up a great point though, an all powerful god creates an ever changing universe and he can't write a book that self-updates? Humans are already on that one with technology.

      August 11, 2012 at 12:39 am |
    • Damocles

      Ah yes, intepretation... that which has allowed believers to cut and paste their own personal deity. 'I don't like this or that so my deity doesn't like this or that either.' I don't think I've seen two believers agree on what their deity does/doesn't want.

      August 11, 2012 at 1:05 am |
    • Moby Schtick

      I used about forty different translations or so, but I worked most closely with about eleven translations considered by scholars to be the most accurate translations. If we had any doubt at all, we would research the greek or hebrew, but that extra effort only brought new meaning a handful of times.

      LOL, no, the bible does NOT interpret itself. it's a work of writing–words–symbols. As with any piece of writing, Words are little black squiggles on white, so a reader MUST interpret those. The most accurate interpretation takes into account the culture in which it was written and the common usage of the specific terms used; therefore, a large portion of interpretive work must include research into the culture of the period.

      Yes, the bible allows for people to interpret it in any way that they choose, as is evidenced by the sheer number of weird cults with all sorts of wacky beliefs who use the bible as their "spiritual foundation." It's not like math or chemistry, where a particular answer can be "proven" right or wrong. Look up how mathematics uses "Proofs," and it will become abundantly clear that no literature in existence can operate in such a way. Writing can be interpreted, which means it does not offer a verifiable method to "proof" a particular a/ssumption.

      God's "laws" haven't yet stopped anyone from using the bible to mean anything that they want it to mean. Those laws are pretty weak, huh? Why are god's laws so ineffective that any n/u/tjob around can put forth a false doctrine by interpretation of passages o scripture?

      August 11, 2012 at 11:29 am |
    • Moby Schtick

      Quite right, Damocles. The god ones worship is merely an amalgam of his ideas of what his deity should do. A believer never disagrees with his god on the issues he finds most important.

      August 11, 2012 at 11:32 am |
    • Gabriel Malakh

      To Moby Schtick; Damocles; GodFreeNow

      God did communicate his will via the Bible. It's up to man to accept it or not, atheist and many in Christendom and other religion choose to reject it, and that's your free will to "temporarily" enjoy.

      As for reading Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek to get the sense of what was written in the original tongue, yes I do. I study the Bible daily, it's a command from God to do so, and teach it for free to those who are interested in learning what God's will and purpose is for mankind. One thing I always stress to my students, "please do your own research to see if what the Bible is saying is true when it comes to the world we live in and how it functions, when it comes to Bible prophecy, and science.

      As for interpretations of the Bible, you (Moby Schtick) made this statement which I agree with:

      "The most accurate interpretation takes into account the culture in which it was written and the common usage of the specific terms used; therefore, a large portion of interpretive work must include research into the culture of the period."

      For example. Salt is used in a number of scriptural illustrations, for it was a well known commodity in Bible times. There are three qualities associated with salt, it preserves and purifies, and it's used for seasoning food. Just to focus on one of these qualities, in 2 Chronicles 13:5 we read:

      5 Is it not for YOU to know that Jehovah the God of Israel himself gave a kingdom to David over Israel to time indefinite, to him and to his sons, by a covenant of salt?

      Now a person would read that and say, "what in the world is God saying, 'a covenant of salt?'" Now just cause the reader don't know why the word "salt" is used, does not give the person the right to come up with there own interpretation. They would have to do some research on the culture of those involved in the covenant with God to understand why "salt" was used. The fishermen disciples of Jesus knew that fish they had caught were soon spoilt unless they were quickly salted. It became a symbol of endurance and true value, especially as salt is virtually "indestructible". So when a covenant was made between peoples, and was intended to last indefinitely, it was called a 'covenant of salt'.

      Another one that you (Moby Schtick), mentioned was that of the "soul" & the breath of life. You stated:

      "There's no such thing as "breath of life," either. So what do we make of that statement? There's no "soul" either, so what do we make of that? The person interpreting MUST decide right then and there if he is going to believe in an invisible body part before deciding how to even begin interpreting the meaning of the verse."

      Genesis 2:7
      7 And Jehovah God proceeded to form the man out of dust from the ground and to blow into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man came to be a living soul.

      What is there to be confused about? The man is the "soul", the soul is not separate from the body. Man, animals or living souls. The teaching of the soul being separate from the Bible is a pagan teaching originated in Babylon.

      Genesis 1:20,21
      20 And God went on to say: “Let the waters swarm forth a swarm of living souls and let flying creatures fly over the earth upon the face of the expanse of the heavens.” 21 And God proceeded to create the great sea monsters and every living soul that moves about, which the waters swarmed forth according to their kinds, and every winged flying creature according to its kind.

      The "breath of life" you say does not exist. So please tell me, why do we imitate God, when a person past out and stop breathing, we blow the "breath of life" into to their mouth?

      You also claim God to be stupid, when you're the one who don't even know where you came from.

      Psalm 92:5,6
      5 How great your works are, O Jehovah!
      Very deep your thoughts are.

      6 No unreasoning man himself can know [them],
      And no one stupid can understand this.

      August 11, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      I never said that the soul was separate from the body. In fact, I called it an invisible "body part." If you really want to equate the soul and the body, then when the body dies, so does the soul, and there is no heaven or hell. Are you sure you want to do that?

      The "breath of life" does not exist in the way that Genesis implies. Again, if you want to equate CPR to god's act of "blowing the breath of life" into the first man and starting an entire race of mammals, be my guest, but your god is looking less and less special.

      I know the general processes that caused me to exist, but no, I do not know everything about "where I came from." I'm not going to lie, like you do, and claim to know where I came from by believing a stupid book of fairy tales. I find such behavior to be extremely childish.

      The only thing going for your interpretation of reality is your own feelings. Feelings are a horrible indicator of truth. When you have something quantifiable to measure that we can use for predictive verifications, let me know.

      August 11, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      @Gabriel Malakh, You certainly seem well immersed in doctrine. As someone who has been there, I feel nothing but sympathy for your position.

      When you see the world around you, you see it with the filter of your experiences. Your experiences are unique to you, so therefore your interpretations of the world around you are unique. This goes for the men who wrote the bible as well. I'm sure you would admit that each author expresses his individual personality. This is not the voice of god. This is the interpretation of man. Buddha famously said, "The finger pointing at the moon is not the moon." Sadly, this is a common failing in man to see the finger and miss the moon. In your case, you are looking at 2k+ year-old fingers and taking solace in your vast understanding of "fingers." How can I feel anything but love and sympathy for you and the time spent and suffering endured you must have experienced to arrive at your position. It reminds me of the intractable blindness of a person battling a great storm, unsure of which direction to go but continues to fight by putting one foot in front of the other. So I wish you much luck and hope for you to experience peace and clarity whenever possible.

      As to where I came from, I actually do know on a physical, emotional, and psychological level.
      Physically, I was the combination of my father's sperm and my mother's egg. I'm the fruit of the "tree of human". Some of those parts existed in some form in my ancestors, such as the egg of my mother which was present with her while she was in the womb of her mother. My molecular components come from the universe around me, and am truly made up of "star stuff". All of this I can docu.ment and show various levels of verifiable evidence to support. Incidentally, I find this story far more magnificent and satisfying than "I was god's art experiment, molded out of clay and air magically was puffed into my lungs... voila... I'm a human."

      Emotionally and psychologically, "I" come from my various experiences and interpretations of those experiences.
      I am, essentially, the sum of my parts.

      August 11, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      GodFree, I loved this post.

      August 11, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      @Gabriel Malakh, "The "breath of life" you say does not exist. So please tell me, why do we imitate God, when a person past [passed] out and stop breathing, we blow the "breath of life" into to their mouth? "

      It's worth mentioning that this argument does just as much to confirm that man created god as that god created man. Why should it be surprising that the people who wrote the verse you speak of also understood the very primitive medical understanding of breathing.

      It's also worth mentioning, that this is where (thankfully) our "mimicking" of god for medical advice ends. The bible is full of bizarre medical treatments such as this cure from god for leprosy. Leviticus 14:1-57 I won't write out the whole story, but perhaps with your understanding of the original Hebrew you can explain how this is a valid treatment for leprosy.

      It's also, also worth mentioning, that if we are made in god's image then god must be ape-like since we share 96% of our DNA with our chimp cousins.

      It's also, also, also worth mentioning (Bonus), that if you take the bible at its word, then god created light. This means that god cannot BE light as he had to create it. Therefore if god exists he is of the darkness and nothingness. Alternatively, jesus said, "ye are the light of the world" He didn't say, "I am the light of the world," further indicating a very dark origin.

      August 11, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      Thanks Tom,
      Were you on vacation or something? I have to say, even though our methods vary, I missed your cutting through the Troll BS approach. 🙂

      August 11, 2012 at 6:57 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      *Blushing* You must be the only one who missed me, GodFree. 🙂 We were in the Big Apple for a short vacation, so yes.

      Thanks for noticing.

      August 11, 2012 at 6:59 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      @Tom, Let's just say I recognize the importance of a multi-fascited approach to dealing with ignorance. 😉

      August 11, 2012 at 7:37 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.