October 8th, 2012
04:36 AM ET

Belief Blog's Morning Speed Read for Monday, October 8

By Arielle Hawkins, CNN

Here's the Belief Blog’s morning rundown of the top faith-angle stories from around the United States and around the world. Click the headlines for the full stories.

From the Blog:

CNN: Faith groups launch campaign to counter controversial 'Defeat Jihad' ad
Jewish and Christian groups have unveiled three separate ad campaigns to counter what they claim is hateful speech toward Muslims contained within an advertisement posted at some New York City subway stations. The new ads tout religious tolerance and offer support to the Muslim community.

CNN: Pope's ex-butler gets 18 months in prison for leaking confidential papers
The pope's former butler, Paolo Gabriele, was convicted Saturday of aggravated theft for leaking confidential papal documents and sentenced to 18 months in prison. The case is the biggest to go before the Vatican court in decades. It has been the subject of intense interest because a book based on the leaked papers revealed claims of corruption within the Roman Catholic Church hierarchy.

CNN: Bishop brouhaha in San Francisco
Was it a snub or a misunderstanding? On Thursday the Catholic Archdiocese of San Francisco held its installation service for new Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone in front of 2,000 invited guests at the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption. A large delegation of Catholic clergy and faith leaders from around the city were there to join the service, processing in. But those seated in the cathedral noticed one participant missing, Episcopal Bishop Marc Andrus, the local Episcopal bishop. Pacific Church News, the news service from the Episcopal Diocese of California, reported that Andrus "was not allowed to be seated" and "detained by an usher" in the basement until he left shortly before the service began.

CNN: Pastors prepare to take on IRS over political endorsement ban
When Ron Johnson takes take his pulpit on Sunday, he will willfully break the law. After presenting his views on President Barack Obama’s handling of religious issues –- like abortion, gay marriage, and religious freedom – Johnson will ask his congregation a question. “In light of what I have presented,” Johnson says he will say, “How can you go into that election booth and vote for Barack Obama as president of the United States?”

Tweet of the Day:

[tweet https://twitter.com/HuffPostRelig/status/254981917500387329%5D

[tweet https://twitter.com/JoelOsteen/status/255068114071470080%5D

Belief on TV:

Enlightening Reads:

EWTN News: Pope Benedict creates two new Doctors of the Church
Pope Benedict XVI has named two new Doctors of the Church: the 16th century Spanish priest St. John of Avila and the 12th century German nun St. Hildegard of Bingen. The title of Doctor of the Church is bestowed upon a saint whose writings are deemed to be of universal importance to the Church. The Pope must also declare the individual to be of “eminent learning” and “great sanctity.”

Huffington Post: LDS General Conference Includes Major Announcements On Mormon Missionaries And New Temples
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will rapidly increase the number of missionaries it sends throughout the world, church leaders have announced. Speaking Saturday at the church's semi-annual General Conference in Salt Lake City, President Thomas Monson, the church's top leader, said the church is lowering its age requirements for both male and female missionaries. The move indicates the church is investing more in growing its membership while also aiming to get its younger members - many of whom drift away from the faith in college - deeply involved in promoting the faith right after they graduate from high school.

Religion News Service: Canada cuts all non-Christian prison chaplains
The Canadian government is canceling the contracts of all non-Christian chaplains at federal prisons. By next spring, Muslim, Jewish, Sikh and other non-Christian inmates will be expected to turn to Christian prison chaplains for religious counsel and guidance.

The Guardian: Ahmadi Muslims in UK call for urgent action against hate
Members of a Muslim sect persecuted in Pakistan have called for action to prevent groups from peddling hate against them in the UK. The Ahmadiyya community in the UK says it is being targeted through various media and in mosques and conferences by behaviour that it says amounts to religious hatred but is not caught by the definition of that offence under UK law.

Opinion of the Day:

CNN My Take: The five biggest misconceptions about secularism
Jacques Berlinerblau, associate professor of Jewish Civilization at Georgetown University and author of How to Be Secular: A Call to Arms for Religious Freedom, analyzes the misconceptions of secularism. He says “no -ism is as misunderstood as this one” and explains why these misconceptions are “bad for secularists, secularism and America.”

Join the conversation…

Up for auction: An original 1954 stamped envelope and letter, shedding light on Albert Einstein's religious beliefs.

CNN: Einstein letter, set for auction, shows scientist challenging idea of God, being 'chosen'
Decades before atheist scientist and author Richard Dawkins called God a "delusion," one world-renowned physicist – Albert Einstein – was weighing in on faith matters with his own strong words.

- A. Hawkins

Filed under: Uncategorized

soundoff (74 Responses)
  1. Niknak

    Afternoon all.
    It's another wonderful day without god(s)!

    October 8, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
    • nope


      October 8, 2012 at 8:19 pm |
    • snopes says

      nope to nope

      October 8, 2012 at 8:31 pm |
  2. Primewonk

    I found the speech by Georgia Congressman John Braun to be disturbing. He claims that evolution, the Big Bang, and embryology(?????) to be lies from the pit of hell. What's disturbing is that he is running (again) unopposed, that he is a physician, and that he sits on the House space, science, and technology committee. It's also disturbing that like most fundiot nutters, he wants a nation wide ban on gay marriage, because it destroys the sanctîty of straight marriage. He should be an expert on straight marriage by now, because he is on wife #4.

    October 8, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Perhaps he's into old-school anesthetics. Ether addicts can be pretty colorful. Do you have a link to the speech?

      October 8, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
    • Primewonk

      Try this one – Liberty Baptist Church video: http://bit.ly/TefuyK

      October 8, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
  3. mama kindless

    Isn't history interesting? I just love how much easier to learn things now compared to when I was a little girl – before computers. There are so many more tools available for cross-referencing and fact-checking.

    Anyway – every once in a while someone on these boards will try to convince you that the founding fathers of the U.S. were Christian and that our country was founded on Christianity. Well, we know that several of the important ratifiers and even designers of our Const!tution were Deists – some of them attending Christian church, and some, not so much. The important thing is that the designers and ratifiers of the Const!tution felt it was very important for there to be a separation of church and state. And although they didn't call it as such in the First Amendment, the language of that text and their other writings are pretty clear. Here are some of my favorite writings from some of the key founders of our country.

    James Madison (deist who sometimes attended Anglican church) (who became our 4th President, he is hailed as the Father of the Const!tution)

    During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What has been its fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the clergy; ignorance and servility in the laity; in both, supersti tion, bigotry, and persecution.
    –A Memorial and Remonstrance, addressed to the Virginia General Assembly, 1785

    Who does not see that the same authority which can establish Christianity, in exclusion of all other religions, may establish with the same ease any particular sect of Christians, in exclusion of all other sects?
    –A Memorial and Remonstrance, addressed to the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of VA, 1795

    Thomas Jefferson (deist)(who became our 3rd President, he was the key author of the Declaration of Independence)

    Because religious belief, or non-belief, is such an important part of every person's life, freedom of religion affects every individual. State churches that use government power to support themselves and force their views on persons of other faiths undermine all our civil rights. Moreover, state support of the church tends to make the clergy unresponsive to the people and leads to corruption within religion. Erecting the "wall of separation between church and state," therefore, is absolutely essential in a free society.

    We have solved ... the great and interesting question whether freedom of religion is compatible with order in government and obedience to the laws. And we have experienced the quiet as well as the comfort which results from leaving every one to profess freely and openly those principles of religion which are the inductions of his own reason and the serious convictions of his own inquiries.
    –Speech (as POTUS) to the Virginia Baptists (1808)

    Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.
    –Letter to the Danbury Baptists (1802)

    and then of course we have these clarifying moments in history:

    U.S. Senate

    As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion;

    –from Article 11 of its treaty ratified with Tripoli in 1797

    I also like to include something Senator John F Kennedy said on Sept. 12, 1960, just prior to his Presidential election:

    I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute

    October 8, 2012 at 11:38 am |
    • .


      October 8, 2012 at 11:45 am |
    • George

      James Madison was an Episcopalian. But, you morons want him to be a deist.

      October 8, 2012 at 11:56 am |
    • mama kindless


      I wrote: "deist who sometimes attended Anglican church"

      He had quite an affinity with his fellow deists of the day. He did attend Episcopal service and was very open-minded about religion. He evidently became fluent in Hebrew. And he helped establish the Episcopal church in America. And correct me if I'm wrong, but is the Episcopal Church in America not a member of the Anglican Communion? He was open minded, yet had very strong opinions about religion as well, ergo my post with some of this quotes. I think witnessing persecution of Baptists in his home state (by the established Anglican Church) helped him to realize how religion needed to be separate from government (my second quote from him makes that evident).

      October 8, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
    • mama kindless

      Although Madison tried to keep a low profile in regards to religion, he seemed to hold religious opinions, like many of his contemporaries, that were closer to deism or Unitarianism in theology than conventional Christianity. He was raised in the Church of England and attended Episcopal services, despite his personal disputes with the theology.

      –James Hutson. "James Madison and the Social Utility of Religion: Risks vs. Rewards"

      October 8, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
    • Tricia

      mama, just how old are you? You post as if you were there, giving first hand information in your post. Since, you weren't alive at the time Madison was living. Stop posting your ignorance. You want to be a sinner. Fine. Fry.

      October 8, 2012 at 12:41 pm |
    • mama kindless

      If you find something incorrect or not commonly accepted as fact in my post, "Tricia", then you are welcome to state what you have objection to. If your only objection is that you think I am a sinner, well, then I will leave this alone and lets others see for who you seem to be: quick to judge with nothing to back up your judgment.

      October 8, 2012 at 12:47 pm |
    • mama kindless

      correction to my last post: "let others see you for who you seem to be",
      not "lets others see for who you seem to be"

      October 8, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
  4. Bob

    Robert Brown, your answer "He does" looks to be a lie. If you want to make a case that it is not, then provide the URI and the tweets, with proof that they are god's.

    Again, the question that you apparently lack the courage and/or the material to answer with, with any substance:

    Where is your god's own website, and why can't he push out a few tweets? And no, pathetic bible thumper sites don't count.

    October 8, 2012 at 11:07 am |
    • .




      October 8, 2012 at 11:46 am |
  5. Bob

    The question again for Robert Brown:

    Your "god" can only reasonably expect us to have serious doubts about his existence when he can't put his message out in a modern way. So, where is your god's own website, and why can't he push out a few tweets? And no, pathetic bible thumper sites don't count.

    October 8, 2012 at 9:34 am |
    • thecollegeadmissionsguru

      A reasonable question. Of course, you know you are angry at god, right? Just kidding, but that does seem to be the standard fall back.

      October 8, 2012 at 9:38 am |
    • .


      October 8, 2012 at 11:31 am |
  6. Robert Brown

    God’s eternal power and character cannot be seen. But from the beginning of creation, God has shown what these are like by all he has made. That’s why those people don’t have any excuse.

    October 8, 2012 at 8:22 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Good morning Robert,

      From what do I need to be excused? My understanding of Christianity includes these things: Creation, foreknowledge and predestination. If as part of the creation I am performing as expected, and I am headed for the fate for which I am predestined, what more can the God of Christians ask of me?

      October 8, 2012 at 8:36 am |
    • Robert Brown

      Good morning Tom,
      My post is from Paul’s letter to the Romans. His point being that those who do not believe in God don’t have an excuse because if they just look around and see what all God has made they should realize he is real.
      Jesus said seek and you will find, and yet some in his day did not believe. It is not God’s will that any should perish. That surely means that he wants everyone to come to him. Everyone has been predestined, but they still have to seek and choose (freewill). You aren’t a fatalist are you?

      October 8, 2012 at 8:56 am |
    • Bob

      Robert, why should we believe anything that you quote from your nth translation of a musty old book written by people with a much poorer understanding of the world than is available today?

      More significantly, your "god" can only reasonably expect us to have serious doubts about his existence when he can't put his message out in a modern way. Where is your god's own website, and why can't he push out a few tweets? And no, pathetic bible thumper sites don't count.

      That's an utterly pathetic god that you've made for yourself there, Robert. Your belief is unsupportable by the nonsense that you keep dumping on us here.

      October 8, 2012 at 9:06 am |
    • Robert Brown

      “I am Jesus,” the Lord answered. “I am the one you are so cruel to.
      Why are you so mad at God, the very one who gives life?

      October 8, 2012 at 9:17 am |
    • thecollegeadmissionsguru

      Robert, Please tell me HOW one can be both preordained and have free will? IF god is omniscient, then he knew before I was born that I would be an atheist and destined for hell, so I am without free will, or god is not omniscient.

      October 8, 2012 at 9:29 am |
    • Bob

      Robert, please put aside your accusations, show some courage for a change, and answer my question.

      October 8, 2012 at 9:32 am |
    • thecollegeadmissionsguru

      Also Robert, WHY is it that when an atheist questions god and the absurdity of religion, we are ALWAYS angry at god or somehow hurt by the church? Why can't we just be reasonable individuals who are seeking a debate? Why can't we simply be men/women who have used our own brains, that you claim god gave us, to come to a reasonable conclusion that god does not exist?

      October 8, 2012 at 9:33 am |
    • Bob

      The question again for Robert Brown that he keeps trying to dodge:

      Your "god" can only reasonably expect us to have serious doubts about his existence when he can't put his message out in a modern way. So, where is your god's own website, and why can't he push out a few tweets? And no, pathetic bible thumper sites don't count.

      October 8, 2012 at 9:34 am |
    • Topher

      He gave us 66 books. Why do you now need more?

      October 8, 2012 at 10:02 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One


      No, I'm not a fatalist. Perhaps you mean am I a strict determinist? Like most people I hope that I do have freewill and live my life as if I do. I'm actually heartened by the difficulties classical determinism runs into in physics. I think it's still a huge stretch to bring non-classical behavior up to our scale, but there may be some hope for something like freewill.

      October 8, 2012 at 10:04 am |
    • mama kindless

      More junk from Gullible's Travels I see. Paul the self-proclaimed "apostle" was just another character in that rehashed jumble of folklore. My goodness.

      October 8, 2012 at 10:21 am |
    • mama kindless

      For all we know, this Paul could have eaten some bad food, come down with a terrible fever and thought someone was talking to him in the same way that this Robert Brown thinks someone is talking to him. Next thing you know, he thinks he's a writer to tell about all his experiences, and he just happens to have the kind of writing style to confuse the hell out of any other people who knew about the early Christians. Walla – the rest of the world is "lucky" enough to wind up with fork-tongued Christians – a very sorry lot when they get extreme.

      October 8, 2012 at 10:28 am |
    • mama kindless

      But let me be clear and simplify my two previous posts (this is more AC [after coffee]):

      rehashed fable

      October 8, 2012 at 10:31 am |
    • Topher


      Why do you hate Paul so much?

      October 8, 2012 at 10:31 am |
    • Robert Brown

      I put it as simply as I could. It is his will that none perish, and yet he knows the future. How does God knowing the future keep you from having free will? You are not a puppet on a string.

      October 8, 2012 at 10:39 am |
    • Robert Brown

      Why doesn’t God use modern communication techniques?
      It seems you don’t agree with the authority of God’s word, so you won’t find my answer acceptable. Nonetheless, here it is; He does.
      You will find in God’s word the method he used to communicate with humans. He selected faithful servants to tell others, he gave us the written word, his son, and the holy spirit. Testimonies and the written word are available in every mode of communication.

      October 8, 2012 at 10:48 am |
    • Robert Brown

      I don’t believe that every nonbeliever is mad at God, but when I read Bob’s post it seemed to me he was angry with God. Reasonable individuals can discuss and share information and ideas. At times debate turns into an unnecessary fight. I think you should use your brain and come to a reasonable conclusion that God is real.

      October 8, 2012 at 10:55 am |
    • Bleh

      Robert, you are schizophrenic. Your god does not exist. You know there is nothing to prove your god exists.

      October 8, 2012 at 10:57 am |
    • mama kindless

      @Topher: Well I think it's pretty obvious I consider the Bible rehashed fable, so I would say I actually don't have any animosity toward any of the characters. (And to be clear, I'm not necessarily saying I don't believe Paul existed, but rather I don't believe much of the "magic" described in the NT; for the OT – for me, it's completely rehashed fable.) But I think you have a good question because many of my posts probably come off that way. What I find most harmful is the way in which Paul's words and positions are used since he wrote them. He may very well have believed everything he wrote. I think there are stories in there that shed a positive light on him (if they are true). But none of it is well enough founded to warrant how his words have been used as a weapon since (or sometimes, imho how he seems to contradict the most basic ideals of Jesus). I am speaking here strictly from my Christian child and adult education (not so much about validation which I could discuss another day, but about the way people use Christianity today). In any event, my person belief has moved on past that. Past the fables. It took me many years of my adult life to move past it, but it was a healthy choice.

      October 8, 2012 at 10:57 am |
    • mama kindless

      typo correction near the end: personal, not person

      October 8, 2012 at 10:59 am |
    • Topher

      mama kindless

      Yeah, I gathered you think the Bible is a fable. 🙂 You said some of Paul's writings contradict Jesus' teachings. I'm not sure I've ever heard that before. If you don't mind my asking follow-up questions, would you mind explaining that? Do you have an example?

      October 8, 2012 at 11:05 am |
    • Bob

      Robert, your answer "He does" looks to be a lie. If you want to make a case that it is not, then provide the URI and the tweets, with proof that they are god's.

      Again, the question that you apparently lack the courage and/or the material to answer with, with any substance:

      Where is your god's own website, and why can't he push out a few tweets? And no, pathetic bible thumper sites don't count.

      October 8, 2012 at 11:06 am |
    • mama kindless

      And Robert Brown, you really have some kind of problem. I can deal with someone believing in God – even the God of Abraham if they must. I don't even mind them trying to sell me a god if I have time and they have a good story. But if they say they are atheist, or even agnostic like myself (on deity), and you say they are angry at God – that may be you belief, but believe me you sound like a looney bin – I mean I'm sure to a lot of Christians too. It's one thing to have a firm belief of what your relationship is to who you believe in, but to claim you know how other people are thinking is just childish.

      October 8, 2012 at 11:08 am |
    • Bleh

      Well said, mama kindless. I would add that many people do not really have any kind of grasp on their own thinking, as well.
      He probably does not know what he is thinking either, since he is so unable to explain it to anyone beyond repeating dogma like a cretinous parrot.

      October 8, 2012 at 11:20 am |
    • Robert Brown

      Here is one of many, enjoy;

      October 8, 2012 at 11:22 am |
    • Robert Brown

      Good morning mama kindles,
      Reading Bob’s post made me think he was angry with God. You and everyone else can read his post and decide.

      October 8, 2012 at 11:26 am |
    • .



      October 8, 2012 at 11:32 am |
    • mama kindless

      @Topher: I'm not trying to evade your question, Topher, but it is easy to find references to conflicting words between Jesus and Paul. Of course any discussion of such can involve much further comparisons of individual interpretation. I think many of Jesus' (the plain man imho) ideals were pretty good. Helpful to civilization and part of the reason they were helpful (the things I still apply today) is because they are broad and not judgmental, but had a basic good value to them. In my mind Paul was a person that wound up with a really hard job to do. He met all kinds of people that had to be "cleaned up" so to speak. And he wrote about it. I don't have any problem with that. The problem for me is that Christians since have become adept at waging war, discrimination and all other kinds of disenfranchisement on other people, even other Christians for their own personal agenda, and can justify their cause by finding a way to make a parallel to something in the Bible – often the Epistles, but sometimes others. But they can rarely do that with Jesus' words because he was more careful with what he said. By today's standards, if Jesus was Jim Lehrer, Paul would be quite a bit more like say Donald Trump. Not that that was necessarily bad for what he was faced with, but horrible for Christianity as a basis for morals and ethics, imho.

      And I can't help read the Bible anymore without thinking of Paul as more of a politician than many of the other characters. Again, I think he had to be. But for us to give value to that where we are going to hate someone else because of it? Please.

      Anyway, have to run, but hopefully I shed more light on my position.

      October 8, 2012 at 11:33 am |
    • hal 9001

      I'm sorry, "Robert Brown", but everything you have ever asserted in these comments has been unfounded. The degree to which your assertions may represent truths is 0.0. To help you understand the degree to which your assertions may represent truths, I will access my Idiomatic Expression Equivalency module (IEE). Using my IEE module, the expression that best matches the degree to which your assertions may represent truths is: "TOTAL FAIL".

      I see that you repeat these unfounded statements with high frequency. Perhaps the following book might help you overcome this problem:

      I'm Told I Have Dementia: What You Can Do... Who You Can Turn to...
      by the Alzheimer's Disease Society

      October 8, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      You guys are hilarious. Some thought I was out of line when I ask Bob if he was mad at God, then call me schizophrenic, looney bin, and a crestinous parrot. Our newest contributor suggested I have dementia for my overall statements of faith. Spreading the good news is very rewarding and now I find it is also extremely entertaining.

      October 8, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
    • hawaiiguest


      You are not spreading "good news". You are spreading confirmatory bias, and irrational thinking. You are spreading the rejection of critical thinking skills, as well as good standards of evidence. You have not answered any questions or challenges to your posts, and now you put out a post laying out your self-righteous thoughts on this, making yourself out to be some kind of marginalized hero.

      October 8, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Good afternoon. By definition don’t you think every reply to my post was also confirmatory bias? Irrational thinking can also be subjective. Do you think my post would be irrational to another believer, or just to nonbelievers? My original post gives the evidence, specifically creation itself. I tried my best to answer questions. Could you be more specific? Is there something I was asked that you don’t think I answered?
      I didn’t intend to come off as self-righteous, I really just though it was funny. Not a hero, marginalized or otherwise. The name calling seemed hypocritical and really amusing.

      October 8, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
    • hal 9001

      Robert Brown: "My original post gives the evidence, specifically creation itself."

      I'm sorry, Robert Brown, but there is no evidence in your original post.

      October 8, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
    • hawaiiguest


      Here's thething. It's irrational because you have not demonstrated your premise of god being existent, and merely bypass the fact that that unaccepted premise is the crux of all the dissenting opinions to your post. You also tend to dismiss a person merely because they might use language that hurts your feelings. Whether intentional to feel justified in not engaging in the points that were made, or whether a knee-jerk reaction I don't know. Your first post was classic confirmatory bias, and when challenged by Tom, you give a non-answer and insinuate that he's a fatalist, then when challenged by Bob, you accuse him of being angry at god. This is standard practice, and it is also why some people would call you deluded, demented, or other things of that sort.

      Don't side step issues, confront them. Actual truth has nothing to fear from scrutiny, no matter the depth.

      October 8, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Ok, I see what you mean. I believe creation is evidence, you and other responders do not agree, so that is confirmatory bias for me and disagreement is confirmatory bias for those who disagree. I do tend to ignore insults in most cases, and we all have feelings, but anonymous posts don’t hurt mine.
      My first post was a direct quote from the bible translated into contemporary English, Romans 1:20. My answer to Tom was very specific and on point and as a “former believer” I expect you know exactly what I meant, even if you disagree. I asked tom if he was a fatalist, because the idea that since God knows the future should in no way discourage seeking the truth. It is kind of like saying if God is real it is up to him anyway, so why even seek. Then why would he tell us to seek? I will admit that I was purposefully short with Bob, he and I have communicated on several occasions, so I kind of picked up where we left off.
      Standard practice for Robert, the opposition, Christians, and, or, all the above? Is that related to picking out some small off the point phrase from a post and criticizing to the nth degree? I really post on here to spread the good news and it is obvious that others post to engage in competi.tive argument, which I usually try to avoid.
      Not just regular peace, but the peace that surpasses all understanding.

      October 8, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Good afternoon Robert,

      Looks like you had a bit of a dust up with Bob. The topic of freewill is worth exploring. We should have a go at it some time. I take it you think freewill is necessary if relationships between people and your God are to have a point.

      October 8, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Robert Brown

      "believe creation is evidence, you and other responders do not agree, so that is confirmatory bias for me and disagreement is confirmatory bias for those who disagree."

      This is actually quite wrong. It's confirmatory bias on your end because you already believe in god, and you look at nature to look for evidence, and cite the fact that nature exists as evidence. It also smacks of begging the question and circular reasoning. The dissenting opinion stems from the labeling of nature as "creation", which means you're starting off excluding natural explanations.

      "My first post was a direct quote from the bible translated into contemporary English, Romans 1:20."

      I'm familiar with that verse. What you're failing to realize is that unless someone already accepts the bible as some kind of authority, then quoting, or paraphrasing it, is useless.

      "I asked tom if he was a fatalist, because the idea that since God knows the future should in no way discourage seeking the truth. It is kind of like saying if God is real it is up to him anyway, so why even seek. Then why would he tell us to seek?"

      Because there are contradictory statements about gods telling people to seek orlet him do what he will. Take Romans 9: 15-18
      "15 For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.
      16 So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.
      17 For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.
      18 Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth."
      The most damning part is the reference to exodus and god hardening the heart of Pharaoh so he wouldn't let the Israelites go until all 10 plagues came.

      "Standard practice for Robert, the opposition, Christians, and, or, all the above?"
      Christian apologists, and those who don't want to accept that some people can look at the bible, and not believe a word of it.

      "I really post on here to spread the good news and it is obvious that others post to engage in competi.tive argument, which I usually try to avoid."
      And this causes a problem, because you post and ignore the fact that people do not agree with your underlying premise. If you don't want discussion or argumentation, then the internet is the wrong place for you. The only way not to be challenged on these things is to go to a place with only people who already agree with you. That's just reality.

      October 8, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Hey Tom,
      I will share I few thoughts on freewill and we will see where it goes. Some folks say if it is predetermined then we don’t have freewill. Or, if God is omniscient we can’t have freewill. I think our freewill is limited by God’s ultimate plan. In other words, if Gods wants you to perform a certain task then you don’t have freewill. If God chooses not to use you for a specific purpose then you have freewill. I also believe everyone who he saves he draws to him supernaturally. I don’t believe I could have resisted at that point, could someone else?

      October 8, 2012 at 6:59 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Good post. I admitted I have confirmatory bias because I believe in God. Creation is not why I believed, but yes it is evidence to me.
      Thanks for the quote from Romans. Some people don’t think God is real because he plainly tells them that he has done things that they think are wrong. From a humanist perspective God is not a very nice guy sometimes. It all really depends on perspective. I suppose God doesn’t have the same opinion of life in this flesh as humans do, he understands our perspective, but we can’t fathom his.
      I do attempt to explain what I think I understand about the bible. The really neat thing is that I learn stuff about it all the time.
      I accept the debate and really expect and get disagreement from believers and nonbelievers. I just prefer a more civil discussion than some. I plan to continue to reply and post. You never know someone may read something on here and all of a sudden God will reveal to them that he is real.

      October 8, 2012 at 8:00 pm |
    • hawaiiguest


      Something I find a bit distrurbing from your posts, is that you continue to use the same terms, arguments, and assertions that assume your original premise is true (existence of god). This is what I hate about debating some people. They will continue to avoid the underlying issue in favor of arguments they like better. I don't want to debate all kinds of things while ignoring the unjustified assertion that god exists.

      October 8, 2012 at 8:17 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Your reply reminds me of the 26th chapter of Acts when Agrippa tells Paul that he was almost persuaded. Do you suppose I could type something here that would convince you that God exists? I don’t believe that I can. I do believe that you could one day read or hear something that would convince you, but it would not be the words alone. Thank God that your belief is not dependent on my debate skills.
      Do you think I post to argue someone in to believing in God? Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. I think when someone really hears it, or reads and understands it, they do so by the power of God.
      So why bother? Christians are called to tell the good news. We are sowing the seed. One sows, another waters, but it is God who gives the increase.
      You have heard the word from one, another has watered, and one day you may log on and God will give the increase. Or, in other words you will believe he exists. Until then I am really not debating I am sowing or watering.

      October 8, 2012 at 9:17 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One


      We have freewill except when we don't? God suspends freewill whenever it suits its purpose? Perhaps the creation would run even more smoothly if God suspended freewill most of the time, maybe even all of the time.

      October 8, 2012 at 9:19 pm |
    • hawaiiguest


      I get what you're saying, and your reasons. Here's where some people find issue though. Many people will view that outlook as smacking of self-righteousness, and many people (yes I'll also say many atheists) have a knee jerk reaction to that kind of thing.
      As far as I'm concerned, I want to know why people believe and what they believe, and I think that if you really believe, then you have something of a moral obligation to give your reasons, or evidence, for your belief when asked, and to engage in debate at any opportunity.

      October 8, 2012 at 9:26 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Tom, Tom, the Other One,
      I am assuming you have read the bible. If that is incorrect then I apologize. How many folks does the bible record where God appeared to them or caused them to do something? How many humans were on the earth at that time? I don’t know the answer to either question but the thought is that his interference with our freewill is rare in a way. In another way you could say that it is constant, “working things out for good to those who love him” is a good example. But what about those that don’t love him, freewill?

      October 8, 2012 at 9:30 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      True, it does come across as self-righteous at times, but those who come to understand some of what Christians believe, realize that believers are totally dependent on God and don’t think that they do anything for God in their own power, which totally negates the idea of self righteousness. It is not my righteousness, but his.

      October 8, 2012 at 9:41 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      I have spent quite a lot of time over the Bible. Just now I would like to stand back a bit and look at it. What point is there to it if people can't freely choose God? If people can't freely make choices that are in agreement with God's? Or suspend the entire notion of God?

      October 8, 2012 at 9:48 pm |
    • hawaiiguest


      If that's how it is within your mind, then I can't argue with that at all. I find the thought of being totally dependent on your god to be a reduction in the autonomy, and the responsibility of the person. I also think that not many people share your specific thought processes on that.

      October 8, 2012 at 9:55 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Tom, Tom, the Other One,
      I have to get off here for the night but I think I understand what you are saying. I think we ultimately do make the choice, but thinking back I don’t think I would have chosen otherwise. Could another person resist the draw of God and walk away? I really don’t know. Here is my first experience with free will, see what you think you would do.
      When I was a boy I went to church with my family and at some point I noticed they were taking the Lord’s Supper. I asked my mom if I could. She said, no, not until you are saved. I thought about it and later I told her I wanted to be saved. Not because I believed Jesus died for my sins but because I wanted the cra-cker and gra-pe juice. I talked to the pastor he asked me if I believed, I said yes and Walla, I was a Christian. Well, not really, but I did get to eat the cra-cker and drink the gra-pe juice the next time they had the lords supper.
      A few years later I was in church, we went more than occasionally but not every Sunday, and all of a sudden God began to deal with my heart about sin. Now people don’t like to hear about sin these days but let me tell you it made a real impression on me. I don’t think I feared hell because being a young man death really didn’t enter my thoughts. It was a supernatural desire to obey God. I was under “conviction.” I resisted that Sunday and several others when the alter call was made. I prayed to God and said if you will let me wait another week and see if I can go without sinning I’ll get saved next week. That was one misconception I had, I thought if you were a Christian then you couldn’t sin anymore and worse than that I thought that you could resist sin in your own power. Now I didn’t know at the time what all sins there were, but I knew some of them and I also knew I was doing them. I couldn’t quit no matter how hard I prayed or tried. Of course, I have learned over the years that even if you are saved you still sin. You can’t help it because we still have the flesh. Granted when we yield to the spirit we can deal with unrepentant sin, but we still mess up, whether in thought or deed.
      Finally, after a few weeks of trying to be good as I understood it and failing miserably, I set on the church pew and the alter call was made. I really don’t remember the song that was playing or what the preacher was saying. I felt like I was going to explode or catch on fire, or both. I believe it was Gods Holy Spirit. I looked down at my hands and they were white from gripping the church pew so hard trying to hang on and not run up the aisle. I got up front and the preacher asked me if I wanted to be saved and I said yes and he told me what to pray and I did. Now, you might think that at the time I prayed I was saved, but thinking back I believe I was saved when I started up the aisle, because when I left my seat I surrendered to Christ at that moment. Are you ready to surrender?

      October 8, 2012 at 9:58 pm |
    • Dmitri

      Robert, when you admit to bias yet refuse to adjust any of your views while knowing they are biased, then you are effectively saying that you enjoy lying to people since you don't really care to know the unbiased truth of anything but will merely repeat your brainwashed dogma in a clearly schizophrenic manner refusing all evidence that proves you wrong.

      You apparently accept the massive brainwashing you received as an ignorant, easily-fooled child and appear to have no intention of examining the truth of anything you say. You are not only a fool, but a schizophrenic one who appears to be locked into your cult's psychotic fantasies. If you ever work your way out of the lies, you will be very angry at how you have been used and abused by your cult. But people like you tend to die all wrapped up in your fantasy world.

      So what should we say to someone who refuses all evidence that proves they are wrong and who are likely to remain this way their whole life?

      If you want to "witness" or "preach", who do you think is going to listen to you as if you were not insane?
      Only people who are as insane as you. Everyone else knows you're insane. Get help.

      October 9, 2012 at 2:35 am |
  7. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    October 8, 2012 at 4:39 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      "If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough."

      Thank you.

      Are we done now?

      October 8, 2012 at 8:30 am |
    • .



      October 8, 2012 at 11:33 am |
    • hal 9001

      I'm sorry, "Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things", but your assertions regarding atheism and prayer are still unfounded. The degree to which your assertions may represent truths is 0.0. To help you understand the degree to which your assertions may represent truths, I will access my Idiomatic Expression Equivalency module (IEE). Using my IEE module, the expression that best matches the degree to which your assertions may represent truths is: "TOTAL FAIL".

      I see that you repeat these unfounded statements with high frequency. Perhaps the following book might help you overcome this problem:

      I'm Told I Have Dementia: What You Can Do... Who You Can Turn to...
      by the Alzheimer's Disease Society

      October 8, 2012 at 1:24 pm |
    • Jesus

      Prayer does not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs!

      October 10, 2012 at 11:38 am |
About this blog

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