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October 23rd, 2012
05:38 AM ET

Belief Blog's Morning Speed Read for Tuesday, October 23

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: Survey: Catholics divided on political issues, as adherent numbers decline
As important as the Catholic vote is in the 2012 election, a new survey finds that the group is far from monolithic and is not largely focused on the issues that get a lot of attention from church leaders – abortion and gay marriage. Among the Catholics surveyed by the Public Religious Research Institute, 60% believe the Church should focus more on social justice issues and their obligation to the poor, even if it means focusing less on social issues like abortion and right to life. Thirty-one percent say the opposite – they favor social issues over social justice issues.

Belief on TV:

Enlightening Reads:

Religion News Service: Election Day Communion aims to heal the partisan breach
Come to me, all ye who are weary of negative political ads and burdened by the wounds of a brutal campaign season. I will give you rest. That twist on the call of Jesus from the Gospel of Matthew is resonating this year as more than 400 local churches prepare for a new tradition: Election Day Communion. As voting winds down on Nov. 6, people of every political stripe will leave their respective partisan bunkers and line up side by side to receive the sacrament.

The Jerusalem Post: Diaspora Jews stand with Women of the Wall
Hundreds of people around the world on Monday simultaneously recited the shema prayer in a unique flashmob event, in response to the arrest of Women of the Wall chairwoman Anat Hoffman last week. Hoffman was arrested during a late night event on October 16 while accompanying approximately 250 members of the Hadassah Women’s Organization to the Western Wall.

The Sacramento Bee: Mormon church a widely diverse entity in Sacramento region
At 9 o'clock Sunday mornings, as many as 400 Tongans, Samoans, Maori and other Pacific Islanders fill the Mormon Church south of Florin Road to sing and pray in Tongan with a smattering of English. They're followed at 11 o'clock by about 300 Marshall Islanders and Fijians in Marshallese, Fijian and English.

Reuters: French Muslims demand group ban after mosque attack
The French Muslim Council (CFCM) urged the government on Monday to ban a far-right group that occupied a mosque on Saturday and issued a "declaration of war" against what it called the Islamization of France.

Huffington Post: LSU Airbrushes Crosses Out Of Fan Photo
Louisiana State University landed in hot water last week when the school appeared to have airbrushed Christian crosses out of a photo of several LSU fans who had painted the symbols on their chests. LSU often posts fan photos on the school's website and Facebook page and in its email newsletter. After the Oct. 13 football game against the University of South Carolina, the administration emailed a picture to the student body of a group of fans who call themselves the "Painted Posse" because they paint themselves in the school's colors for games. Posse members also notably paint crosses on their chests as a symbol of their Christian faith.

EWTN: Vatican still planning peace mission to Syria, despite violence spreading
Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said Oct. 22 that the Holy See is still studying the situation in Syria and is preparing to send a peace delegation, despite violence related to the ongoing conflict spilling over into Lebanon and Jordan. In a brief statement made public Monday, Fr. Lombardi explained that the delegation would leave “as soon as possible” and that the planning for the mission is still ongoing.

Join the conversation…


This billboard on wheels, sponsored by American Atheists, will follow the Romney campaign throughout southern Florida.

CNN: Atheist billboard attacks Romney’s faith, but Mormons say it's misleading
When he campaigns in southern Florida on Monday, Mitt Romney will have an unwelcome traveling partner: a mobile billboard attacking his religion. The billboard on wheels, sponsored by American Atheists, attacks the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for its treatment of African-Americans and gays, though the church says the attacks are inaccurate.

- A. Hawkins

Filed under: Uncategorized

soundoff (228 Responses)
  1. Robert

    "Suppose a man has a stubborn, rebellious son who will not obey his father or mother, even though they discipline him. In such cases, the father and mother must take the son before the leaders of the town. They must declare: 'This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious and refuses to obey. Then all the men of the town must stone him to death. In this way, you will cleanse this evil from among you." Deuteronomy

    October 23, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
    • Innerspace is God's Place while outerspace is for the human race.

      "Let you who are without sin cast the 1st stone."

      Well ain't Life special ?

      October 23, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
    • Emerald

      "Let you who are without sin cast the 1st stone.""

      Everyone knows the story about Jesus and the woman about to be stoned by the mob. This account is only found in John 7:53-8:12. The mob asked Jesus whether they should stone the woman (the punishment required by the Old Testament) or show her mercy. Jesus doesn’t fall for this trap. Jesus allegedly states, let the one who is without sin among you be the first to cast a stone at her. The crowd dissipates out of shame. That story was not originally in the Gospel of John or in any of the Gospels. It was added by later scribes. The story is not found in the oldest and best manuscripts of the Gospel of John. Nor does its writing style comport with the rest of John. Most serious textual critics state that this story should not be considered part of the Bible.

      October 23, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
    • Innerspace is God's Place while outerspace is for the human race.

      Robert wrote:

      "Suppose a man has a stubborn, rebellious son who will not obey his father or mother, even though they discipline him. In such cases, the father and mother must take the son before the leaders of the town. They must declare: 'This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious and refuses to obey. Then all the men of the town must stone him to death. In this way, you will cleanse this evil from among you." Deuteronomy

      Innerspace is God's Place while outerspace is for the human race did write:

      "Let you who are without sin cast the 1st stone."

      Well ain't Life special ?

      October 23, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
    • justsayin

      "Well ain't Life special ?"

      Time for you to be stoned to death.

      October 23, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
    • Asking Robert once again

      Jesus didn't say that. The story is spurious.

      It is one of many known "scribal amendments" that were added by anonymous monks who hand copied Bibles before the priniting press. The practice was so common that of the thousands of early Bibles still in existance, not one single pair is totally the same. Some are surprisingly different.

      There is even a surviving order from an abbot angrily telling his monks to stop changing the text of the Bible as they copied it.

      Sorry, but that story is a fraud, and no Bible before about 400 CE has it.

      October 23, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
  2. Primewonk

    THE PRIMEWONK BIBLE –

    ADVISORY: There is an Extremely Small but Nonzero Chance That, Through a Process Know as "Tunneling," This Post May Spontaneously Disappear from Its Present Location and Reappear at Any Random Place in the Universe, Including Your Neighbor's Domicile. God Will Not Be Responsible for Any Damages or Inconvenience That May Result.

    PUBLIC NOTICE AS REQUIRED BY LAW: Any Use of This Post, in Any Manner Whatsoever, Will Increase the Amount of Disorder in the Universe. Although No Liability Is Implied Herein, the Believer Is Warned That This Process Will Ultimately Lead to the Heat Death of the Universe.

    Einstein 16:24 Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.

    Gould 1:15-16 Human consciousness arose but a minute before midnight on the geological clock. Yet we mayflies try to bend an ancient world to our purposes, ignorant perhaps of the messages buried in its long history. Let us hope that we are still in the early morning of our April day.

    Bohr 2:11 Anyone who is not shocked by quantum theory has not understood it.

    Szilard 88:16 I'm all in favor of the democratic principle that one idiot is as good as one genius, but I draw the line when someone takes the next step and concludes that two idiots are better than one genius.

    Sagan 22:1 For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reàssuring.

    Feynman 110:55 …it doesn't matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn't matter how smart you are - if it doesn't agree with experiment, it's wrong.

    Hawking 41:61 A machine that was powerful enough to accelerate particles to the grand unification energy would have to be as big as the Solar System-and would be unlikely to be funded in the present economic climate.

    Hippocrates 14:5 Science is the father of knowledge, but opinion breeds ignorance.

    Galileo 12:16 It is surely harmful to souls to make it a heresy to believe what is proved

    Carlyle 2:2 It is a mathematical fact that the casting of this pebble from my hand alters the centre of gravity of the universe.

    Fermi 1:1 The weak nuclear force does not change over time.

    Oliver Heaviside 62:3 Shall I refuse my dinner because I do not fully understand the process of digestion?

    C. P. Snow 5:3 Innocence about Science is the worst crime today.

    Paul Valéry 3:6 One had to be a Newton to notice that the moon is falling, when everyone sees that it doesn't fall.

    A.C. Doyle 14:8 It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories instead of theories to suit facts.

    Clark 19:17 Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

    Roddenberry 68:12 We must question the story logic of having an all-knowing all-powerful God, who creates faulty Humans, and then blames them for his own mistakes.

    deGràsse Tyson 1:1 God is an ever receeding pocket of scientific ignorance.

    October 23, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
  3. Robert

    "The people of Samaria must bear the consequences of their guilt because they rebelled against their God. They will be killed by an invading army, their little ones dashed to death against the ground, their pregnant women ripped open by swords." Hosea

    October 23, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
  4. Robert

    "Anyone who is captured will be run through with a sword. Their little children will be dashed to death right before their eyes. Their homes will be sacked and their wives raped by the attacking hordes. The attacking armies will shoot down the young people with arrows. They will have no mercy on helpless babies and will show no compassion for the children." Isaiah

    October 23, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
  5. Robert

    " In that day those the LORD has slaughtered will fill the earth from one end to the other. No one will mourn for them or gather up their bodies to bury them. They will be scattered like dung on the ground." Jeremiah

    October 23, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
  6. Robert

    "Happy those who seize your children and smash them against a rock." Psalms

    October 23, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
  7. Robert

    "If a man is caught in the act of raping a young woman who is not engaged, he must pay fifty pieces of silver to her father. Then he must marry the young woman because he violated her, and he will never be allowed to divorce her."
    Deuteronomy

    October 23, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Robert,
      This was to protect the young woman, because once violated, in that day, no one else would marry her.

      October 23, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
  8. Robert

    "If you refuse to obey all the terms of this law that are written in this book, and if you do not fear the glorious and awesome name of the LORD your God, then the LORD will overwhelm both you and your children with indescribable plagues. "
    Deuteronomy

    October 23, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Robert,
      If you read on you will see that they did not obey and God did overwhelm them and their children. He is true to his word.

      October 23, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
  9. B

    Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment. – Buddha

    October 23, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
    • Innerspace is God's Place while outerspace is for the human race.

      I'm a"Day-Dream Believer" not a home-coming king!

      Concentration is for those who are "camp orientated".

      Get my drift?

      October 23, 2012 at 3:01 pm |
    • B

      In the sky, there is no distinction of east and west; people create distinctions out of their own minds and then believe them to be true. – Buddha

      October 23, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
    • Innerspace is God's Place while outerspace is for the human race.

      Well isn't Buddha special?

      Concentrate in camps without barriers- G.O.D.

      Remember the past lest to never forget.

      Dream a new and better vision than that which now is but a flawed intrusion.

      Where then does the end begin and the future end?

      October 23, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
    • B

      However many holy words you read, however many you speak, what good will they do you if you do not act on upon them? -Buddha

      October 23, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      James 2:18
      Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.

      October 23, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
    • B

      You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection. – Buddha

      October 23, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
    • Innerspace is God's Place while outerspace is for the human race.

      Luke 17:21 "Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you."

      1Corinthians 3:9 "For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, [ye are] God's building."

      Growing up human one learns to be humane.

      October 23, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
    • B

      If you knew what I know about the power of giving, you would not let a single meal pass without sharing it in some way. – Buddha

      October 23, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
    • C

      @B
      I've got a woo*dy.

      October 23, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
    • B

      To keep the body in good health is a duty... otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear. – Buddha

      That includes your woo*dy. 😉

      October 23, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
    • Innerspace is God's Place while outerspace is for the human race.

      Eat up with iavish endowments the slings of otherly "mediocracies" and give peacemeal "regularistic" occasions for others to ponder precipitously. God has no equal no matter what one says. Deniers scoff in unity yet the moral community is in hallowed unification and will ever allow all mannerisms of weight and measure to be strewn all about.

      October 23, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
    • B

      The thought manifests as the word; the word manifests as the deed; the deed develops into habit; and habit hardens into character. So watch the thought and its ways with care, and let it spring from love born out of concern for all beings. – Buddha

      October 23, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
    • Innerspace is God's Place while outerspace is for the human race.

      Even a parrot will mock yet the human who mocks of parodies is not meant to teach one but to instill them with humility.

      October 23, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
    • B

      Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared. – Buddha

      October 23, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
    • Innerspace is God's Place while outerspace is for the human race.

      Even candles do burn out and are gone. Making more candles before they all go out is just and righteous. The flames of one's lit candles should not be near an open fire lest the light from the candle is lost to the brightness of an open fire. G.O.D.

      October 23, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
    • B

      Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it. -Buddha

      October 23, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
  10. Gandhi

    You must be the change you wish to see in the world.

    October 23, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      John 3:7
      Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.

      October 23, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
    • B

      Those who are free of resentful thoughts surely find peace. – Buddha

      October 23, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      John 14:27
      Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

      October 23, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
    • B

      What you are is
      what you have been.
      What you'll be is
      what you do now.
      – Buddha

      October 23, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
  11. Gandhi

    I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.

    October 23, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      1 John 3:2
      Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

      October 23, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
    • B

      You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe deserve your love and affection. – Buddha

      October 23, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
    • Innerspace is God's Place while outerspace is for the human race.

      Love not the twinkle in the eyes of those who make "Scoffery" a hobby of scandalisms. Love not your own twinkles' parroting ways. G.O.D.

      October 23, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
    • B

      The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, not to worry about the future, or not to anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly. – Buddha

      October 23, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
  12. Gandhi

    A man is but the product of his thoughts what he thinks, he becomes.

    October 23, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Philippians 4:8
      Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

      October 23, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
    • B

      We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves. – Buddha

      October 23, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
    • Innerspace is God's Place while outerspace is for the human race.

      1Corinthians 3:9 "For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, [ye are] God's building."

      Luke 17:21 "Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you."

      When one's scaffolding comes a tumbling down,
      Inward you go with a frightful big frown!

      Well who's special now?
      Brown cow?
      Yellow milk?

      October 23, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
    • B

      The tongue like a sharp knife... Kills without drawing blood. – Buddha

      October 23, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
    • Innerspace is God's Place while outerspace is for the human race.

      tragedies come and go with little fanfair yet are remembered longer but not forever. Faces need to change in order to keep the flames' passing alive!

      October 23, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
  13. Robert Brown

    An afternoon blessing,

    Nehemiah 9:6

    King James Version (KJV)

    6 Thou, even thou, art Lord alone; thou hast made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth, and all things that are therein, the seas, and all that is therein, and thou preservest them all; and the host of heaven worshippeth thee.

    October 23, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
  14. Innerspace is God's Place while outerspace is for the human race.

    1Corinthians 3:9 "For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, [ye are] God's building."

    Luke 17:21 "Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you."

    Who's you daddy?

    Well ain't this special?

    October 23, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
  15. Innerspace is God's Place while outerspace is for the human race.

    Who's your mama?

    Well aren't we special now?

    October 23, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
  16. TC

    I have always wondered why so many people cling to a a unfailingly literal interpretation of the creation myth, while acknowledging that Jesus himself taught his followers primarily in parables and stories that were created solely for teaching purposes.

    October 23, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
    • Concerned Citizen

      Because in a religious world view, admitting wrongness or failure means that you and/or god is indeed fallible and giving the unbelievers even the tiniest crack could mean the end of the religion, so they cling to everything in the bible as much as they can even when it contradicts itself or just straight up doesn't make sense (see revelation)

      October 23, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
    • Rufus T. Firefly

      Agreed. Fundamentalists by definition assert that the bible is inerrant and literally true. Therefore, if any tiny detail is found to be false their whole house of cards comes crashing down. They find themselves having to commit to more and more absurd rationalizations and dismissals of reality to maintain their beliefs.

      October 23, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
    • All Thumbs

      Evangelical Rule of Thumb:

      If a Bible verse furthers the cause, it is to be taken literally.

      If a Bible verse is detrimental to the cause, it is either: taken out of context; is allegorical or metaphorical; refers to another verse somewhere else; is an ancient cultural anomaly; is a translation or copyist's error; means something other than what it actually says; is a mystery of god or not discernible by humans; or is just plain magic.

      October 23, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
    • Rufus T. Firefly

      Right again. Otherwise there be a huge mess on Saturdays when all the fundies sacrifice a ram in their front yard and smear the blood all over their clothes and the fronts of their houses. The bible provides very specific details about how this is to be done.

      October 23, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
    • Innerspace is God's Place while outerspace is for the human race.

      Scoffing will ever be for those who feel "scandalous" as being second nature ethnicity.

      October 23, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
  17. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer really changes things

    October 23, 2012 at 11:45 am |
    • TROLL ALERT

      Please don't feed the troll.

      October 23, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
    • hal 9001

      I'm sorry, "Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things", but your assertions regarding atheism and prayer are unfounded. Using my Idiomatic Expression Equivalency 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 can help you:

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

      October 23, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
    • lunchbreaker

      @ troll alert, But he's so cute. Like a mischevious little kitten.

      October 23, 2012 at 12:05 pm |
    • Jesus

      No it doesn't. 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 23, 2012 at 12:09 pm |
    • Troll Alert

      "Ronald Regonzo" who degenerates to:
      "Salvatore" degenerates to:
      "Douglas" degenerates to:
      Taskmaster" degenerates to:
      "truth be told" degenerates to:
      "The Truth" degenerates to:
      "Thinker23" degenerates to:
      "Atheism is not healthy ..." degenerates to:
      "another repentant sinner" degenerates to:
      "Dodney Rangerfield" degenerates to:
      "tina" degenerates to:
      "captain america" degenerates to:
      "Atheist Hunter" degenerates to:
      "Anybody know how to read? " degenerates to:
      "just sayin" degenerates to:
      "ImLook'nUp" degenerates to:
      "Kindness" degenerates to:
      "Lorraine" degenerates to:
      "Chad" degenerates to
      "Bob" degenerates to
      "nope" degenerates to:
      "2357" degenerates to:
      "WOW" degenerates to:
      "fred" degenerates to:
      "!" degenerates to:
      "pervert alert"

      This troll is not a christian:...

      October 23, 2012 at 12:11 pm |
    • TROLL ALERT

      @Lunchbraker

      Fine, but when that cute kitten cr@ps all over the boards you clean it up.

      October 23, 2012 at 12:18 pm |
    • as always

      troll alert will lick up the mess.

      October 23, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
    • OTOH

      Troll Alert,

      Not all of those are the same person, although several of them are the same goofball (eg., do you really think that Chad, Lorraine and fred are the same?!).

      Don't shoo him/her away, though; he/she does such a great job of making a laughingstock out of believers!

      October 23, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
  18. Robert Brown

    Some say they cannot believe the bible is true because all the accounts in it seem to be impossible based on what we know today. God gave us an extremely brief account of creation and yet it is the most debated thing in the bible. Could it be that God, knowing what an intelligent creature he had created, purposefully left out the details for us discover ourselves?

    October 23, 2012 at 8:38 am |
    • WASP

      @robert: or could it possibly be that ignorant sheepherders didn't have such a grasp on what reality was so they just took "their best guess"?
      many of the religions throughout history were used to explain natural phenomenon, e.i. zues throwing lightning when today we know lightning is just a hugh static discharge from the clouds.

      October 23, 2012 at 8:50 am |
    • lunchbreaker

      That reminds me of the Euthyphro dilemma: either God is subject to a higher law and therefore not omnipotent, or He makes the law which makes the law 100% arbitrary based on God's whim. So about your question, if God is truly omnipotent, He can do whatever He pleases. But for us who don't accept the Bible as truth, "Goddidit" is never an acceptable answer.

      October 23, 2012 at 9:04 am |
    • mama k

      Robert Brown: "Some say they cannot believe the bible is true because all the accounts in it seem to be impossible . ."

      And then there are others who don't believe the bible because they have studied it and don't buy into it, regardless of its plausibility in light of current scientific understanding.

      October 23, 2012 at 9:25 am |
    • Huebert

      If god wanted to leave room for man to discover the truth, why wouldn't he just say "I created it all, figure out how."? Why did he instead give an inaccurate version of creation? And By inaccurate I mean things like light being created before the sun and stars.

      October 23, 2012 at 9:48 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Why would he do that and then put fundies here to dispute every single discovery science makes, Robert?

      October 23, 2012 at 9:53 am |
    • WASP

      @tom tom: i would have to say that is one of the very best points i have ever read. 🙂

      October 23, 2012 at 9:57 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      *blushing*

      October 23, 2012 at 10:03 am |
    • Topher

      Huebert

      If there is a god powerful enough to create the universe, why is it so hard to believe he could have created another light before the sun? The Bible is consistant on this when it is describing the New Earth in which no sun is needed because Christ is the light.

      October 23, 2012 at 10:18 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Why is it so hard to believe that there ISN'T any such being?

      October 23, 2012 at 10:21 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Why isn't it possible to believe that there are thousands of gods? Why isn't it possible to believe that Superman is real? Why isn't it possible to believe that the world rides on the back of a giant invisible slug?

      You can "believe" anything. You have yet to show any evidence that it exists.

      October 23, 2012 at 10:23 am |
    • fred

      Tom Tom
      There cannot be more than one God so your first point of thousands of gods can be eliminated. If God is perfect in all ways then God could not allow imperfection from other gods. There cannot be two perfect gods or they would be indistinguishable and for all practicable purposes only one.

      October 23, 2012 at 10:30 am |
    • Huebert

      Topher

      I'm sorry I don't accept that photons could be magically summoned into existence.

      October 23, 2012 at 10:31 am |
    • Huebert

      Fred

      Why can't their be more than one god?

      October 23, 2012 at 10:33 am |
    • Topher

      Huebert

      I know you don't believe it, dude. But you said, "Why did he instead give an inaccurate version of creation? And By inaccurate I mean things like light being created before the sun and stars." ... so given that God could create the sun, earth and stars out of nothing, he could certainly make light out of nothing. Remember, He's creator of all things, including light. So it isn't an "inaccurate" version of creation. If God said He created things in that order, then He did.

      October 23, 2012 at 10:37 am |
    • Dean

      WASP, atheists always use the phrase ignorant sheepherders, when in reality, who is being ignorant? Those who reject Jesus and his followers, but, want all that he and they provided. Oh, you'll refute this, but, society has been built long before you came into the world.

      October 23, 2012 at 10:40 am |
    • Robert Brown

      Huebert,
      God is light.

      October 23, 2012 at 10:42 am |
    • Topher

      Huebert

      I don't want to speak for Fred (because I don't know what his beliefs are) but I'd like to take that one, too, if you don't mind. Basically, God says repeatedly in the Bible there is only one.

      October 23, 2012 at 10:43 am |
    • fred

      Tom Tom
      So, you cannot see the difference between superman or myths that have the world ushered about on the back of a snail and God who is? This is what saddens me as you fail to see all the wonder God has for you now and in times to come. Just ask yourself how you can possibly look into the vast unknowable around your physical view and your own Consciousness then somehow equate that experience with myth and known fiction. The signers of our declaration of independence called that knowledge of the creator self evident.

      October 23, 2012 at 10:45 am |
    • LOL!

      " God says repeatedly in the Bible there is only one."

      Well, your god is doing a really sucky job at making that clear around the world. LOL! Oops it isn't so influential after all. LOL!

      October 23, 2012 at 10:45 am |
    • Huebert

      Topher

      Robert's point was that the bible is intentionally va.gue so that man could find the answers for him self. I responding to that position. Robert is not denying reality, you are. You believe that the bible is the ultimate word on everything and if something contradicts the bible it is, therefor, wrong. There is little point in discussing anything with you because you believe you already have all of the answers.

      October 23, 2012 at 10:46 am |
    • Topher

      So you think it is funny people are dying and going to Hell?

      October 23, 2012 at 10:47 am |
    • LOL!

      " The signers of our declaration of independence called that knowledge of the creator self evident."

      No it's not, it's why so many are moving away from your religion because it's been proven to be fake, just like all other religions. LOL!

      October 23, 2012 at 10:48 am |
    • LOL!

      "So you think it is funny people are dying and going to Hell?"

      There is no proof your hell exists, unless you can prove that it does. Wait for it....wait for it.... you can't. I doesn't exist. LOL! So you think it's funny people are being naughty and there won't be any presents under the xmas trees this year? LOL!

      October 23, 2012 at 10:49 am |
    • Topher

      Huebert

      That's certainly true I think the Bible is ultimate authority, but it doesn't speak about everything. Though the things it does speak on I believe are from God and you can't get a truer source than that. So yes, I do think things contradicting the Bible are wrong. Sorry if I come off condescending or anything. I don't mean to.

      October 23, 2012 at 10:51 am |
    • Huebert

      of course in the time it took me to type my response Robert gives the same answer as Topher and invokes magic...wow. I guess once you start to believe in magic it becomes your go to answer for everything.

      October 23, 2012 at 10:51 am |
    • Topher

      LOL!

      What exactly has been proven fake?

      October 23, 2012 at 10:52 am |
    • Robert Brown

      Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son
      “Why would he do that and then put fundies here to dispute every single discovery science makes, Robert?”

      I don’t think anyone disputes what can be observed, repeated, verified, & etc. Where the debate comes in is on some conclusions, speculation, estimation, or extrapolation. For example,” because of this we know (insert conclusion).” Most things being debated should probably read “because of this we think or because of this we believe.”

      October 23, 2012 at 10:53 am |
    • mama k

      fred

      Who said there is a God to be perfect in all ways? Maybe in Gullible's Travels, but not in anything reasonably credible I've read.

      October 23, 2012 at 10:55 am |
    • Topher

      LOL!

      "There is no proof your hell exists, unless you can prove that it does. Wait for it....wait for it.... you can't. I doesn't exist. LOL!"

      You're right. I can't prove Hell exists, though it certainly is reasonable. But the error you make is that just because it can't be proven doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

      "So you think it's funny people are being naughty and there won't be any presents under the xmas trees this year? LOL!"

      No, I don't think people being naughty is funny. That means they are sinning and there's certainly nothing funny about that. Oh, and the secular Christmas holiday has very little to do with the true meaning of Christmas.

      October 23, 2012 at 10:56 am |
    • Robert Brown

      Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son,
      Let’s just ignore the fact that there probably aren’t millions of people who believe in Superman. Evidence comes up a lot in these discussions, I think you are putting the cart before the horse. If God gives you faith, you will see evidence in all things. Without God’s gift of faith you could deny most anything.

      October 23, 2012 at 11:04 am |
    • LOL!

      "Oh, and the secular Christmas holiday has very little to do with the true meaning of Christmas."

      You're right since christians stole it from the pagan holiday of the Winter Solstice and from the celebration of Mithra. LOL! If you really understood the bible you would know your christ was not born in the winter. LOL!

      October 23, 2012 at 11:05 am |
    • mama k

      Topher: "it certainly is reasonable" (regarding the existence of hell)

      There is nothing reasonable about unfounded, unproven stories from a book that has, as its basis, other stories and fable that were rehashed from other fable.

      October 23, 2012 at 11:07 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Ferd the Turd says:
      So, you cannot see the difference between superman or myths that have the world ushered about on the back of a snail and God who is? This is what saddens me."

      What saddens me is that you think an omnipotent, omniscient sky-fairy would condemn you to live life without a brain in your head.

      There's no difference between one myth and another, stupid git. Complexity of the universe is not proof that there is a god at all.

      You continue to make ridiculous conclusions that have no basis in fact.

      October 23, 2012 at 11:10 am |
    • tallulah13

      So Topher, do you worship Zeus, Odin, Osiris and all the other gods which we can't disprove either? Do you avoid going into the woods because you fear bigfoot? If I told you that there was a pink tea pot in orbit around Saturn, would you take me at my word, or would you expect proof? There is a reason why people don't believe in things for which there is no proof. It's called common sense.

      October 23, 2012 at 11:11 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      What I find really amusing is that Ferdy and the Gopher accuse everyone else of being unable to suspend disbelief, yet they themselves suspend all reason and logic.

      October 23, 2012 at 11:12 am |
    • Topher

      Mama

      mama k

      Kind of like unfounded, unproven accusations about how all the stories in the Bible are just rehashed old stories that already existed? Reject what the Bible says if you want to, but know this — the Bible is a reliable collection of historical docu.ments written by eyewitnesses during the lifetimes of other eyewitnesses (so that if something were incorrect the other witnesses could call them on it) that reports supernatural events. You can depend on it for truth.

      October 23, 2012 at 11:12 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      "Let’s just ignore the fact that there probably aren’t millions of people who believe in Superman." Millions of people don't believe in Jesus' divinity or the existence of god. Are you now going to insist that if millions of people believe in something it must exist?

      October 23, 2012 at 11:13 am |
    • Robert Brown

      tallulah13,
      Do you believe in dark matter or dark energy?

      October 23, 2012 at 11:16 am |
    • Topher

      tallulah13

      "So Topher, do you worship Zeus, Odin, Osiris and all the other gods which we can't disprove either?"

      No, I don't believe in them. They can't exist if the Christian God does.

      "Do you avoid going into the woods because you fear bigfoot?"

      No. We were just traipsing around the woods this weekend on vacation. I don't believe in bigfoot.

      "If I told you that there was a pink tea pot in orbit around Saturn, would you take me at my word, or would you expect proof?"

      Proof. Why should I believe it otherwise? You are just a human and not God.

      "There is a reason why people don't believe in things for which there is no proof. It's called common sense."

      Do you have a conscience?

      October 23, 2012 at 11:16 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Gopher says: You can depend on it for truth.

      No, I can't. You might. That's fine. But what you're calling "truth" and "fact" is not anything of the sort. It's belief, and that's where Robert Brown makes you look like a kid. At the very least, HE knows enough to state that faith is what he has. You have to lie about your bible to make a point. If you were at least the slightest bit honest and admitted that there ARE no facts that prove the Bible is factual, and that faith and belief are not based on facts, you'd be tolerable, Gopher. You make your own religion tawdry by attempting to push it on others as "fact."

      October 23, 2012 at 11:17 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      "We were just traipsing around the woods this weekend on vacation. I don't believe in God."

      There. Fixed it for you. I was in the woods, too, and I didn't see God OR Bigfoot, or any evidence of either.

      October 23, 2012 at 11:19 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      "Do you have a conscience?"

      Define "conscience." Then go look it up, Gopher. There is no proof that a "conscience" is provided by a sky-fairy. There is plenty of evidence that men developed awareness of actions and consequences for them as a result of civilization.

      October 23, 2012 at 11:21 am |
    • Robert Brown

      Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son,
      True, many do not believe in God and I think you would agree that concurring opinions do lend credibility to lots of things. That is the reason I said let’s just ignore it. I don’t think faith is a popularity contest. It is a gift.

      October 23, 2012 at 11:22 am |
    • Huebert

      Topher

      A conscience is something that is learned, You aren't born with one.

      October 23, 2012 at 11:24 am |
    • OneTruth

      Topher et al. You say there can only be one god. Yet millions of people believe in another god. How did you prove to yourselves that the other gods don't exist?

      October 23, 2012 at 11:32 am |
    • Topher

      OneTruth

      That's a good question and one that deserves far more detail and time than I have this morning. But I'll still try to answer this one for you. First, you should know that I was once a raging atheist like many on this board. I didn't grow up in a church and had no idea what the Bible said until my late 20s.

      Now, there are many reasons people come to believe the Bible over other religions. Things like its historical reliability. That it was written by eyewitnesses and critiqued by other eyewitnesses. That it answers life's questions. For some, it is the fact Christianity is the only "done" religion. All others are "do" religions. This means that all other religions say you have to do things to get to go to Heaven (go to church, donate money, be a good person, help others.) Christianity says all the things that have to be done have already been done for you by Jesus Christ.

      For me it was that Christianity is the only religion that has an answer for my sin problem. I rejected God and what I thought were the claims of the Bible at every turn. But my conscience kept telling me there must be a God and that I had sinned against Him. It kept bothering me until I KNEW there was a God. Even to the point I began calling myself a Christian for 10 years, but I was not saved. I didn't read the Bible or seek God. I would just "admit" there was a god. Finally, one day someone explained to me the Gospel ... that I have accu.mulated a sin debt against God that I would one day have to answer for. The Bible says if you have sinned, you deserve to be punished for those sins. That punishment is called Hell. But God knew none of us were good and we all deserved to be punished and so He became a man, lived a perfect, sinless life and volunarily went to the cross to take the punishment that I deserved. Whoa! What a kind act! The only things God expects from you is to repent (that means more than saying you are sorry, but to turn from sins) and trust in the Savior. It still took months of thinking on my part, but finally I did those things and was "born again." That term means you develop a new heart and new desires for the things of God. It's really more evidence to me that the Christian God is the true God.

      And that's really why I come on these message boards ... to try and help explain the Gospel to any who will listen. And I hope that somewhat answered your question.

      October 23, 2012 at 11:53 am |
    • fred

      Huebert
      Mama k
      The assumption is God is perfect. If we assume God is anything but absolute perfection then there exist possibilities for more than one god. If there was more than one they not only would be identical in all ways but omnipresent thus occupying the same space and time by default. Thus there can only be one God. Notice even the Bible incorporates Jesus and the Holy Spirit into one unified indistinguishable enti-ty.
      Now, if God is not absolute perfection then we are speaking of god or gods and being manmade they can be anything you want or desire. This is why you have thousands of gods over time incorporating myth and folklore that all have one thing in common. They are manmade. These manmade gods are easy to identify just as the Divine nature of the Bible is unique relative to all other holy books.

      October 23, 2012 at 11:53 am |
    • Paul

      "That punishment is called Hell. But God knew none of us were good and we all deserved to be punished and so He became a man, lived a perfect, sinless life and volunarily went to the cross to take the punishment that I deserved. Whoa! What a kind act! "

      That is not true, there are stories that the jesus of the bible killed another when he was a child. The only proof you have is a book written by men that was edited down to make him look flawless, but there is no actual proof of this statement. You're simply making crap up.

      October 23, 2012 at 12:02 pm |
    • Smithsonian

      "Now, there are many reasons people come to believe the Bible over other religions. Things like its historical reliability"

      The stories found in the Book of Genesis, Chapter 1-12, such as the flood story, the record is quite different: the time period under consideration is much more ancient. The factual bases of the stories are hidden from our view archaeologically. The stories remain a part of folk traditions and were included in the Bible to illustrate and explain theological ideas such as: Where did humans come from? If humans were created by God (who is perfect and good), how did evil among them come to be? If we are all related as children of God, why do we speak different languages? It must be remembered that the Bible is primarily a book of religion, a guide to faith. it was not a book of history, poetry, economics, or science. It contains all sorts of literary genre, which are used to teach about the relationship between God and mankind. Even biblical history is edited history: events were chosen to illustrate the central theme of the Bible. The Biblical writers did not pretend they were giving a complete history; instead they constantly refer us to other sources for full historical details, sources such as "The Annals of the Kings of Judah" (or Israel).

      It is therefore not possible to try to "prove" the Bible by means of checking its historical or scientific accuracy. The only "proof" to which it can be subjected is this: Does it correctly portray the God-human relationship? In the best analysis, the Bible is a religious book, not an historical document.

      October 23, 2012 at 12:04 pm |
    • Topher

      Paul

      So you are willing to believe an Anne Rice novel over God's word? And that's your proof for that story? Guess I'm not the only one with faith.

      October 23, 2012 at 12:06 pm |
    • mama k

      fred

      To use some of your words, imho,

      "The assumption is God ", "[any] holy books"
      these are also man made, so the "Divine nature of the Bible " is also a man-made assumption

      October 23, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
    • mama k

      Topher wrote: " God's word"

      There is no credible proof that anything, including the Bible, is the word of the God of Abraham or any other possible higher being (I have to assume you are writing about the God of Abraham).

      October 23, 2012 at 12:15 pm |
    • Paul

      "So you are willing to believe an Anne Rice novel over God's word? And that's your proof for that story? Guess I'm not the only one with faith."

      This is what happens when you point the flaws in someone's argument they come back with a lame response like this. It only proves you didn't really study the bible or the history of the scriptures.

      October 23, 2012 at 12:18 pm |
    • George

      Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son, yes, science has discovered some of what God has created. Praise God.

      October 23, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
    • Topher

      Paul

      What's lame about it? That's what happens in one of Rice's books. Yeah, I know she got it from some lame gnostic stories. And I have studied the Bible and no where does it say Jesus murdered anyone while a youth. And I do know the history of the scriptures ... clearly you don't.

      October 23, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
    • Amazing Grace

      How atheists study the bible. They surf the net for like minded fools that also hate their parents and society as a whole. Repeat the stupidity provided without conducting due diligence. When confronted with the wisdom that eludes them. They turn away, stick their noses in the air, deny reality, walk around with the stupidity remaining in between their ears.

      October 23, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
    • Paul

      "And I have studied the Bible and no where does it say Jesus murdered anyone while a youth. And I do know the history of the scriptures ... clearly you don't."

      No you don't or you would have been aware of the book written about jesus that showed he killed. It was decided to leave it out of the bible because they were making up a story that jesus was the son of a god.

      October 23, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
    • fred

      mama k

      It would appear you cannot see the difference between manmade gods and God or myths and The Word of God.
      Let me begin with the Word of God. No other written work regarding the purpose and meaning for our existence is as complete and of everlasting permanence. As to permanence we can look at:
      -creation –not a single myth gets it right. The Bible does. This includes all known accounts of creation.
      -purpose of existence –eternal peace and unity of like souls in Christ
      -meaning of life –live and exhibit the radiance of God

      The Bible is complete and everyone that seeks God will find their truth in the written word. I have yet to know of a single person that did not find their true heart revealed by the Bible. The Bible not only reveals the heart of the person seeking it will either convict the seeker or blind those who reject eternal peace and unity. This is why it is the living Word of God not some dead works or manmade tale. This living Word does not go away empty. When I see verses of the Bible taken out of context on this web site there is little doubt in my mind if the soul is free or bound up.
      That is where I am saddened. I do not see animals with typing skills on this site that believe this is all there is to existence misguided by natural thought. I see souls all bound up that have not experienced the freedom offered in Christ. These souls cannot see they are not free and will die if their hearts are not opened.

      October 23, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
    • Harold

      1 I, Thomas the Israelite, am reporting to you, all my non-Jewish brothers and sisters, to make known the extraordinary childhood deeds of our Lord Jesus Christ – what he did after his birth in my region. This is how it all started:

      2 When this boy, Jesus, was five years old, he was playing at the ford of a rushing stream. (2) He was collecting the flowing water into ponds and made the water instantly pure. He did this with a single command. (3) He then made soft clay and shaped it into twelve sparrows. He did this on the sabbath day, and many other boys were playing with him.
      (4)But when a Jew saw what Jesus was doing while playing on the sabbath day, he immediately went off and told Joseph, Jesus' father: "See here, your boy is at the ford and has taken mud and fashioned twelve birds with it, and so has violated the sabbath."
      (5)So Joseph went there, and as soon as he spotted him he shouted, "Why are you doing what's not permitted on the sabbath?"
      (6)But Jesus simply clapped his hands and shouted to the sparrows: "Be off, fly away, and remembe' me, you who are now alive!" And the sparrows took off and flew away noisily.
      (7)The Jews watched with amazement, then left the scene to report to their leaders what they had seen Jesus doing.

      3 The son of Annas the scholar, standing there with Jesus, took a willow branch and drained the water Jesus had collected. (2)Jesus, however, saw what had happened and became angry, saying to him, "Damn you, you irreverent fool! What harm did the ponds of water do to you? From this moment you, too, will dry up like a tree, and you'll never produce leaves or root or bear fruit."
      (3) In an instant the boy had completely withered away. Then Jesus departed and left for the house of Joseph. (4)The parents of the boy who had withered away picked him up and were carrying him out, sad because he was so young. And they came to Joseph and accused him: "It's your fault – your boy did this."

      4 Later he was going through the village again when a boy ran and bumped him on the shoulder. Jesus got angry and said to him, "You won't continue your journey." (2)And all of a sudden, he fell down and died.
      (3)Some people saw what had happened and said, "Where has this boy come from? Everything he says happens instantly!"
      (4)The parents of the dead boy came to Joseph and blamed him saying, "Because you have such a boy, you can't live with us in the village, or else teach him to bless and not curse. He's killing our children!"

      5 So Joseph summoned his child and admonished him in private, saying, "Why are you doing all this? These people are suffering and so they hate and harass us." (2)Jesus said, "I know that these are not your words, still, I'll keep quiet for your sake. But those people must take their punishment." There and then his accusers became blind.
      (3)Those who saw this became very fearful and at a loss. All they could say was, "Every word he says, whether good or bad, has became a deed – a miracle even!" (4)When Joseph saw that Jesus had done such a thing, he got angry and grabbed his ear and pulled very hard. (5)The bot became infuriated with him and replied, "It's one thing for you to seek and not find; it's quite another for you to act this unwisely. (6)Don't you know that I don't really belong to you? Don't make me upset."

      6 A teacher by the name of Zacchaeus was listening to everything Jesus was saying to Joseph, and was astonished, saying to himself, "He is just a child, and saying this!" (2)And so he summoned Joseph and said to him, "You have a bright child, and he has a good mind. Hand him over to me so he can learn his letters. I'll teach him everything he needs to know so as not to be unruly."
      (3)Joseph replied, "No one is able to rule this child except God alone. Don't consider him to be a small cross, brother."
      (4)When Jesus heard Joseph saying this he laughed and said to Zacchaeus, "Believe me, teacher, what my father told you is true. (5)I am the Lord of these people and I'm present with you and have been born among you and am with you. (6)I know where you've come from and how many years you'll live. I swear to you, teacher, I existed when you were born. If you wish to be a perfect teacher, listen to me and I'll teach you a wisdom that no one else knows except for me and the one who sent me to you. (7)It's you who happens to be my student, and I know how old you are and how long you have to live. (8)When you see the cross that my father mentioned, then you'll believe that everything I've told you is true."
      (9)The Jews who were standing by and heard Jesus marveled and said, "How strange and paradoxical! This child is barely five years old and yet he says such things. In fact, we've never heard anyone say the kind of thing this child does."
      (10)Jesus said to them in reply, "Are you really so amazed? Rather, consider what I've said to you. The truth is that I also know when you were born, and your parents, and I announce this paradox to you: when the world was created, I existed along with the one who sent me to you."
      (11)The Jews, once they heard that the child was speaking like this, became angry but were unable to say anything in reply. (12)But the child skipped forward and said to them, "I've made fun of you because I know that your tiny minds marvel at trifles."
      (13)When, therefore, they thought that they were being comforted by the child's exhortation, the teacher said to Joseph, "Bring him to the classroom and I'll teach him the alphabet."
      (14)Joseph took him by the hand and led him to the classroom. (15)The teacher wrote the alphabet for him and began the instruction by repeating the letter alpha many times. But the child was quiet and did not answer him for a long time. (16)No wonder, then, that the teacher got angry and struck him on the head. The child took the blow calmly and replied to him, "I'm teaching you rather than you're teaching me, and your condemnation is great. To you these letters are like a bronze pitcher or a clashing cymbal, which can't produce glory or wisdom because it's all just noise. (17)Nor does anyone understand the extent of my wisdom." (18)When he got over being angry he recited the letters from alpha to omega very quickly.
      (19)Then he looked at the teacher and told him, "Since you don't know the real nature of the letter alpha, how are you going to teach the letter beta? (20)You impostor, if you know, teach me first the letter alpha and then I'll trust you with the letter beta." (21)He began to quiz the teacher about the first letter, but he was unable to say anything.
      (22)Then while many were listening, he said to Zacchaeus, "Listen, teacher, and observe the arrangement of the first letter: (23)How it has two straight lines or strokes proceeding to a point in the middle, gathered together, elevated, dancing, three-cornered, two-cornered, not antagonistic, of the same family, providing the alpha has lines of equal measure."

      7 After Zacchaeus the teacher had heard the child expressing such intricate allegories regarding the first letter, he despaired of defending his teaching. (2)He spoke to those who were present: "Poor me, I'm utterly bewildered, wretch that I am. I've heaped shame on myself because I took on this child. (3)So take him away, I beg you, brother Joseph. I can't endure the severity of his look or his lucid speech. (4)This child is no ordinary mortal; he can even tame fire! Perhaps he was born before the creation of the world. (5)What sort of womb bore him, what sort of mother nourished him? -I don't know. (6)Poor me, friend, I've lost my mind. (7)I've decided myself, I who am wholly wretched. I strove to get a student, and I've been found to have a teacher. (8)Friends, I think of the shame, because, although I'm an old man, I've been defeated by a mere child. (9)And so I can only despair and die on account of this child; right now I can't look him in the face. (10)When everybody says that I've been defeated by a small child, what can I say? And what can I report about the lines of the first letter which he told me about? I just don't know, friends. For I don't know its beginning or its end. (11)Therefore, I ask you, brother Joseph, take him back to your house. What great thing he is – god or angel or whatever else I might call him – I don't know."

      8 While the Jews were advising Zacchaeus, the child laughed loudly and said, "Now let the infertile bear fruit and the blind see and the deaf in the understanding of their heart hear: (2)I've come from above so that I might save those who are below and summon them to higher things, just as the one who sent me to you commanded me."
      (3)When the child stopped speaking, all those who had fallen under the curse were instantly saved. (4)And from then on no one dared to anger him for fear of being cursed and maimed for life.

      9 A few days later Jesus was playing on the roof of a house when one of the children playing with him fell off the roof and died. When the other children saw what had happened, they fled, leaving Jesus standing all by himself.
      (2)The parents of the dead child came and accused Jesus: "You troublemaker you, you're the one who threw him down."
      (3)Jesus responded, "I didn't throw him down – he threw himself down. He just wasn't being careful and leaped down from the roof and died."
      (4)Then Jesus himself leaped down from the roof and stood by the body of the child and shouted in a loud voice: "Zeno!" – that was his name – "Get up and tell me: Did I push you?"
      (5)He got up immediately and said, "No, Lord, you didn't push me, you raised me up."
      (6)Those who saw this were astonished, and the child's parents praised God for the miracle that had happened and worshipped Jesus.

      10 A few days later a young man was splitting wood in the neighborhood when his axe slipped and cut off the bottom of his foot. He was dying from the loss of blood.
      (2)The crown rushed there in an uproar, and the boy Jesus ran up, too. He forced his way through the crowd and grabbed hold of the young man's wounded foot. It was instantly healed.
      (3)He said to the youth, "Get up now, split your wood, and remember me."
      (4)The crowd saw what had happened and worshipped the child, saying, "Truly the spirit of God dwells in this child."

      11 When he was six years old, his mother sent him to draw water and bring it back to the house. (2)But he lost his grip on the picture in the jostling of the crowd, and it fell and broke. (3)So Jesus spread out the cloak he was wearing and filled it with water and carried it back to his mother.
      (4)His mother, once she saw the miracle that had occurred, kissed him; but she kept to herself the mysteries that she had seen him do.

      12 Again, during the sowing season, the child went out with his father to sow their field with grain. While his father was sowing, the child Jesus sowed one measure of grain. (2)When he had harvested and threshed it, it yielded one hundred measures. (3)Then he summoned all the poor in the village to the threshing floor and gave them grain. Joseph carried back what was left of the grain. (4)Jesus was eight years old when he did this miracle.

      13 Now Jesus' father was a carpenter, making ploughs and yokes at that time. He received an order from a rich man to make a bed for him. (2)When one board of what is called the crossbeam turned out to be shorter than the other, and Joseph didn't know what to do, the child Jesus said to his father, "Put the two boards down and line them up at one end."
      (3)Joseph did as the child told him. Jesus stood at the other end and grabbed hold of the shorter board, and, by stretching it, made it the same length as the other.
      (4)His father Joseph looked on and marveled, and he hugged and kissed the child, saying, "How fortunate I am that God has given this child to me."

      14 When Joseph saw the child's aptitude, and his great intelligence for his age, he again resolved that Jesus should not remain illiterate. So he took him and handed him over to another teacher. (2)The teacher said to Joseph, "First I'll teach him Greek, then Hebrew." This teacher, of course, knew of the child's previous experience (with a teacher) and was afraid of him. Still, he wrote out the alphabet and instructed him for quite a while, though Jesus was unresponsive.
      (3)Then Jesus spoke: "If you're really a teacher, and if you know the letters well, tell me the meaning of the letter alpha, and I'll tell you the meaning of beta."
      (4)The teacher became exasperated and hit him on the head. Jesus got angry and cursed him, and the teacher immediately lost consciousness and fell facedown on the ground.
      (5)The Child returned to Joseph's house. But Joseph was upset and gave instruction to his mother: "Don't let him go outside, because those who annoy him end up dead."

      15 After some time another teacher, a close friend of Joseph, said to him, "Send the child to my schoolroom. Perhaps with some flattery I can teach him his letters."
      (2)Joseph replied, "If you can muster the courage, brother, take him with you." And so he took him along with much fear and trepidation, but the child was happy to go.
      (3)Jesus strode boldly into the schoolroom and found a book lying on the desk. He took the book but did not read the letters in it. Rather, he opened his mouth and spoke by (the power of) the holy spirit and taught the law to those standing there.
      (4)A large crowd gathered and stood listening to him, and they marveled at the maturity of his teaching and his readiness of speech – a mere child able to say such things.
      (5)When Joseph heard about this he feared the worst and ran to the schoolroom, imagining that this teacher was having trouble with Jesus.
      (6)But the teacher said to Joseph, "Brother, please know that I accepted this child as a student, but already he's full of grace and wisdom. So I'm asking you, brother, to take him back home."
      (7)When the child heard this, he immediately smiled at him and said, "Because you have spoken and testified rightly, that other teacher who was struck down will be healed." And right away he was. Joseph took his child and went home.

      16 Joseph sent James to tie up some wood and carry it back to the house, and the child Jesus followed. While James was gathering the firewood, a viper bit his hand. (2)And as he lay sprawled out on the ground, dying, Jesus came and blew on the bite. Immediately the pain stopped, the animal burst apart, and James got better on the spot.

      17 After this incident an infant in Joseph's neighborhood became sick and died, and his mother grieved terribly. Jesus heard the loud wailing and the uproar that was going on and quickly ran there.
      (2)When he found the child dead, he touched its chest and said, "I say to you, infant, don't die but live, and be with your mother."
      (3)And immediately the infant looked up and laughed. Jesus then said to the woman, "Take it, give it your breast, and remember me."
      (4)The crowd of onlookers marveled at this: "Truly this child was a god or a heavenly messenger of God – whatever he says instantly happens." But Jesus left and went on playing with the other children.

      18 A year later, while a building was under construction, a man fell from the top of it and died. There was quite a commotion, so Jesus got up and went there. (2)When he saw the man lying dead, he took his hand and said, "I say to you, sir, get up and go back to work." And he immediately got up and worshipped him.
      (3)The crowd saw this and marveled: "This child's from heaven – he must be, because he has saved many souls from death, and he can go on saving all his life."

      19 When he was twelve years old his parents went to Jerusalem, as usual, for the Passover festival, along with the their fellow travelers. (2)After Passover they began the journey home. But while on their way, the child Jesus went back up to Jerusalem. His parents, of course, assumed that he was in the traveling party. (3)After they had traveled one day, they began to look for him among their relatives. When they did not find him, they were worried and returned again to the city to search for him.
      (4)After three days they found him in the temple area, sitting among the teachers, listening to the law and asking them questions. (5)All eyes were on him, and everyone was astounded that he, a mere child, could interrogate the elders and teachers of the people and explain the main points of the law and the parables of the prophets.
      (6)His mother Mary came up and said to him, "Child, why have you done this to us? Don't you see, we've been worried sick looking for you."
      (7)"Why were you looking for me?" Jesus said to them. "Don't you know that I have to be in my father's house?"
      (8)Then the scholars and Pharisees said, "Are you the mother of this child?"
      (9)She said, "I am."
      (10)And they said to her, "You more than any woman are to be congratulated, for God has blessed the fruit of your womb! For we've never seen nor heard such glory and such virtue and wisdom."
      (11)Jesus got up and went to his mother, and was obedient to his parents. His mother took careful note of all that had happened. (12)And Jesus continued to excel in learning and gain respect.
      (13)To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

      October 23, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
    • Topher

      Paul

      "No you don't or you would have been aware of the book written about jesus that showed he killed. It was decided to leave it out of the bible because they were making up a story that jesus was the son of a god."

      Right. And where's the proof of this grand conspiracy? And what would even be the reason for making Jesus out to be God if He wasn't considering all but 1 of the 12 were horrifically murdered for what you say is a lie. What did Paul get out of it? Or Peter or any of the others? Your contention is just ridiculous and unreasonable.

      October 23, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
    • George

      "Right. And where's the proof of this grand conspiracy?"

      You must have skipped over the Smithsonian post, everyone knows the bible was edited.

      October 23, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
    • Topher

      Gospel of Thomas (just guessing that is what that is) is too new to be canon. Not only could Thomas NOT have written it, but it wouldn't pass the eyewitness test of being written within the lifetimes of other eyewitnesses. Debunked.

      October 23, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
    • fred

      Smithsonian
      In case you have not noticed history is being rewritten to reflect current political thought. In 2,000 years that generation will not know the history taught 70 years ago to our grandparents that said a prayer in class and all knew one God. We may or may not be allowed to have a copy of the Bible because of the hate speach it is said to contain. A few however will have the word of God in their heart where no one can take it away or rewrite it.

      October 23, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
    • Robert

      Topher you can't rely on eye witnesses especially when those stories are written 30 – 50 years after the fact. That makes most of the stories in the NT debunked too.

      October 23, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
    • Smithsonian

      "Smithsonian
      In case you have not noticed history is being rewritten to reflect current political thought. In 2,000 years that generation will not know the history taught 70 years ago to our grandparents that said a prayer in class and all knew one God. We may or may not be allowed to have a copy of the Bible because of the hate speach it is said to contain. A few however will have the word of God in their heart where no one can take it away or rewrite it."

      If you think you got all the answers then take it over to the world's largest museum and research complex, with 19 museums, 9 research centers and more than 140 affiliate museums around the world, and try to sell the crap you just posted. Good luck with that, what an idiot.

      October 23, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
    • Topher

      Robert

      So if you and I were at say, a flea market together, and 30 years later I write an article about it and say that Superman showed up and saved a kitten from out of a tree and you clearly know that didn't happen because you were there, you wouldn't say something about how I'm a liar? That doesn't make any sense. Of course you'd call me out on it. Time going by doesn't diminish the facts.

      For instance, we believe we know all about Caesar, but look at this chart ...

      Here's a look at the time gap between the original and first surviving copies of some very important books that give us information on important historical figures ...
      Bible: 25 years
      Homer: 500
      Demosthenes: 1400
      Herodotus: 1400
      Plato: 1200
      Tacitus: 1000
      Caesar: 1000
      Pliny: 750

      Now, here's a look at how many of those manuscript copies we have ....
      New Testament: 5686
      Homer: 643
      Demosthenes: 200
      Herodotus: 8
      Plato:7
      Tacitus: 20
      Caesar:10
      Pliny: 7
      Yet we put more faith we know what happened in the Gallic Wars than what happened in the NT.

      October 23, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
    • fred

      Smithsonian
      The things of man are separate from the things of God. The Bible is the Word of God which will reveal the heart of man as it does so amply in your case.
      All those grand buildings you mention will be a pile of rubble just as Rome is but a pile of rubble under 30 feet of sediments in some places. This is how shortsighted your history books are compared to words that are eternal.
      Christians are very capable of looking at the works of man yet understand the difference. Your insistence of closing off an entire area of knowledge or putting a barbed wire fence around it exposes the hidden fears that riddle most atheists. They must put up great defenses for what is unknown to them yet clearly visible to billions of people. This is understandable human nature so do not feel bad that is not my intent.
      Your post stated the Bible “ was not a book of history, poetry, economics, or science”. Well this is clearly wrong as it does contain the history of a people redeemed by God. How else would we have a clue as to why Jesus was called the lamb of God? If you want to see how people viewed God over a course of 10,000 years all we have is the Bible. As to poetry you may not like the style used by Job but that is a matter of taste not poetry. The core of economics is in the Bible. Just because they did not use a Philips Curve to determine resource allocation does not mean the instructions for resource allocation was not correct. Check out the trade routes that went down the Kings highway in the Bible. As to science even Jacob knew how to breed flocks with unique traits and Cain the first child of Adam was the head of a civilization that brought song, poetry, tools and building architecture into prominence.

      October 23, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
    • ;p;

      But Robert...god didn't know he had created an intelligent being, because he told them not to eat from the tree of knowledge, and when they did he punished them for getting smart by chucking them out of eden. He didn't want intelligent beings, he wanted funny naked pets running around his garden. What a dick.

      October 23, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
    • WASP

      so many to reply to so little time.........well best get started.

      @dean: unless you are immortal society as you so like to state started long before you were born as well, thus you are accepting that a book written by illiterate farmers combined by a roman emperor `as being fact because your parents were christian.

      @harold: ok let's place that longwinded steaming pile of crap in a correct context, shall we?
      your jesus wouldn't have survived childhood had any of that been true because he would have been deemed a witch by the ignorant religious nutters during that time period and executed. thus jesus is a lie, because what you just described of jesus bringing "clay birds" to life and purifying water with a word is called MAGIC. do you believe in magic harold?

      toph: i seriously don't know where to being with you? your ignorance is always astounding.

      October 23, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
    • mama k

      fred: "It would appear you cannot see the difference between manmade gods and God or myths and The Word of God."

      There is no difference. Some religions, like Christianity, have just done a better job of building up heaps of documentation to support the belief of previous believers. But, in the end, it all boils down to putting faith into word-of-mouth and writings from stories from millenia ago that are not credible. Plus, it's kind of obvious, because it has, as its foundation, folklore that was rehashed. So I don't even need to go any further addressing your previous post – and I don't even have to get into scientific theory to recognize spam that already has a very shaky foundation, except to say that the mind will let you believe all kinds of things, and it will let you attribute those beliefs to anything your mind can dream up a case for.

      October 23, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
    • Smithsonian

      "“ was not a book of history, poetry, economics, or science”. Well this is clearly wrong as it does contain the history of a people redeemed by God. How else would we have a clue as to why Jesus was called the lamb of God? If you want to see how people viewed God over a course of 10,000 years all we have is the Bible. As to poetry you may not like the style used by Job but that is a matter of taste not poetry. The core of economics is in the Bible. "

      Please provide your expert credentials for this babble, you're trying to proven the experts at the Smithsonian wrong. LMAO! What an idiot. Come on now fred take your crap over to the world's largest research center and try to convince them of your crap. LOL!

      LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL!

      October 23, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
    • Rufus T. Firefly

      Thanks WASP, I'll chime in with regard to fred:

      @fred: "The things of man are separate from the things of God. The Bible is the Word of God which will reveal the heart of man..."
      If the things of man and God are separate, this can't be true.

      "..just as Rome is but a pile of rubble under 30 feet of sediments in some places."
      Funny, I was in Rome just a few years ago and it was a thriving urban center.

      "This is how shortsighted your history books are compared to words that are eternal."
      That's just ironic. History books that place the bible and the Holy Lands in the context of tens of thousands of years of world history are short-sighted compared to a book written from the perspective that iron-age Israel is the center of the universe?

      "Your insistence of closing off an entire area of knowledge or putting a barbed wire fence around it exposes the hidden fears..."
      Even greater irony! You are an artist of irony. You dismiss entire fields of history, science, and comparative religious studies because they threaten the veracity of the Bible.

      "If you want to see how people viewed God over a course of 10,000 years all we have is the Bible."
      What?!? The bible doesn't even cover 10,000 years (that's why some people insist the universe is only 6,000 yrs old). If you want to see how people viewed God over tens of thousands of years, try anthropology and archaeology. You'll find a few thousand sources of information other than the bible – and these will be based on research, not blind acceptance.

      "Check out the trade routes that went down the Kings highway in the Bible."
      There were trade routes...and therefore the bible is an economics textbook. Wow, just wow.

      "and Cain the first child of Adam was the head of a civilization that brought song, poetry, tools and building architecture into prominence."
      Again, see archaeology for this. What civilization are you referring to that is solely responsible for each of these things?

      October 23, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
    • fred

      Rufus T Firefly

      "The things of man are separate from the things of God. The Bible is the Word of God which will reveal the heart of man..."
      “If the things of man and God are separate, this can't be true.”

      =>the things of man such as all the buildings Smithsonian was boasting about and those educated men that came up with their opinions and conclusions concerning the Bible are some of the “things of man”. These are very separate from God in many ways and I will not bore you with them unless you are interested. Your comment “this can’t be true” implies that what is written i.e the words themselves are separate. These are just words you process. Your ability to comprehend what is written before you has nothing to do with the words themselves which you can process at the intellectual level. That is very different from the Word of God. The serpent said to the women “did God really say that?” Tell me Firefly where is the Word of God in that one sentence and what did the serpent just say to you?

      October 23, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
    • Rufus T. Firefly

      fred, there is no part of my reality in which serpents speak to me. Even if a metaphor (though I suspect it isn't), there is no part of my reality in which a supernatural being attempts to entice me to do evil things or think in evil ways. The whole concept seems childish in its absurdity.

      October 23, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
    • fred

      “no part of my reality in which serpents speak to me.”
      =>speaking serpents are not part of our reality but such picture language got the message across to the tribes of Moses.

      “there is no part of my reality in which a supernatural being attempts to entice me to do evil things or think in evil ways.”
      =>You said it was not a talking serpent or supernatural being that could entice in your reality. Perhaps we are getting close to the Word of God as we push the words aside that deceive. The serpent spoke is a deception on many levels but points to the fact we often do not know we are being deceived. Focus / perspective moved away from God at which point doubt is revealed. When you doubt truth the lie not the deception becomes reality. Your new reality is not oneness in truth but existence in the presence of truth and lie. You will choose one or the other. You will reject one and embrace the other.
      That is the Word of God which is the reality you live in. Did the Word of God reveal your heart…..yes even though childish the Word of God has exposed the att-itude of your being relative to God.

      October 23, 2012 at 6:04 pm |
    • Rufus T. Firefly

      fred, with all due respect, you may want to consider therapy.

      October 23, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
    • fred

      Rufus T Firefly
      Conversion therapy?

      October 23, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
    • fred

      Rufus T Firefly

      “I was in Rome just a few years ago and it was a thriving urban center.”
      =>then you were probably standing on the ruins of long gone civilizations

      “a book written from the perspective that iron-age Israel is the center of the universe?”
      =>given the fine tuning required biologically, physiologically and cosmologically it is mathematically impossible that random chance could have placed iron-age Israel in the center of the universe. I understand your need to find another reason and it is not much different than Stephen Hawking need to espouse M theory in order to avoid the real probability that God did it. Your need does not change the math.
      Now, if we take as a given that the Universe is hom-ogeneous and isotropic on the largest scales then we are at the center. OMG, that implies the universe is indeed flat. Is God playing a joke on us or are we playing it on ourselves.
      That is the proper perspective and takes you back to the beginning which your short sighted history books cannot do.
      “You dismiss entire fields of history, science, and comparative religious studies because they threaten the veracity of the Bible.”
      =>the Bible demands that we are astute in these fields and no where suggests we put our head in the sand. History, science and comparative religious studies strengthen our faith not threaten it. To the extent these studies are misused to turn a weak child away from God is a reflection on secularism and humanist belief not God or believers.
      “If you want to see how people viewed God over tens of thousands of years, try anthropology and archaeology”
      => Yes, they clearly reflect the difference between manmade gods and God. As to historical reference prior to Adam and Eve you have none other than what Moses recorded. As to historical reference over 10,000 years ago it is riddled with the speculation of man as to meaning.
      You'll find a few thousand sources of information other than the bible – and these will be based on research, not blind acceptance.

      “There were trade routes...and therefore the bible is an economics textbook. Wow, just wow.”
      =>you have moved the discussion from a work that contains economic fundamentals to an “economic textbook”. The Bible is not an economic textbook but contains a great deal of core economic lesson. What you miss is that it not only addresses economics in terms of flow of goods and services in our physical world but it also addresses the economics of the Kingdom in Heaven.

      October 23, 2012 at 7:28 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Sorry it took me so long to get back to you Topher, but it was a busy day.

      It sounds like you simply pick and choose what you decide to believe in, despite the evidence or lack thereof. That's a very ignorant and childish way of living your life, but it's your choice.

      I don't know what a conscience has to do with common sense, but I have both. I'm not sure if you have either.

      October 24, 2012 at 1:23 am |
    • tallulah13

      Fred, like Topher, you have simply chosen to believe the story you like best. There is not a single shred of evidence to support the existence of your god (or any god) and the bible is no more 'god's word" than is the Iliad. It is your choice to believe what you want, but there is no logical reason to believe in a god.

      October 24, 2012 at 1:26 am |
    • tallulah13

      Robert Brown, dark matter and dark energy seem to be practical hypotheses to describe what is not yet fully understood, however, they are not yet resolved. I'm happy to wait and see where further research takes these ideas, whether they are proven or dis-proven. What does this have to do with the rather simplistic belief that "god did it"?

      October 24, 2012 at 1:34 am |
    • fred

      tallulah13
      How much evidence would a soul that rejects God actually need and what kind of evidence would be demanded?
      There is a great unknown outside the boundaries of science. No one has a clue as to what is currently unknowable. We are in the same boat as far as evidence goes.
      Any evidence from the non believer or believer would result in a paradigm shift the likes of which we have never experienced. God is not of this world and although comprised of matter and energy it is of a form or dimension we do not have capacity to express. That concept basically goes along with attributes we see in the Bible for God. On the other hand if there is no God this force with capacity for causation is more powerful and vast then imagined prior to the discovery of dark energy. At that point of discovery the evidence will be of little significance relative to the unfolding of the unknown to the believer or the revelation of God to the non believer.
      Evidence could be cataclysmic because we do not seem able to handle the truth even the simple truth.

      October 24, 2012 at 2:05 am |
    • tallulah13

      Fred, if your god was all powerful, he would have no problem proving his existence in a manner all people could accept and understand. So either your god is incompetent, or he (like every other god) doesn't exist.

      October 24, 2012 at 11:11 am |
    • fred

      tallulah13
      As I said what kind of evidence would be acceptable to an atheist? As to agnostics or other non believers what kind of evidence could possibly prove God exists that does not remove free will? If this is what God wanted he could have simply removed the option to reject God in the first place with Adam. If there is a God then you are experiencing Gods plan for you and you have made your choice just as Adam and everyone before you.
      Going all the way back to the first children of Adam we see faith and walking with God as what pleases God. Throughout the Bible the theme of faith and the fact you cannot please God no matter what you do if there is no faith. Again, going all the way back to Abraham we have that forward hope that Promised Land drawing us. Nothing changes, Gods plan is the same and it is about as simple as it gets. Evidence abounds that this is the plan and the Bible lays out exactly how the creation responds to the Creator and the plan to bring all that desire into the Promise. You cannot deny that this over abundance of evidence is real and in your face. Somehow you reject it or are blinded to it by bias.

      The typical excuse I hear on this site is that is simply the way an evolved ape responds to the environment. There is no plan just a continuous string of events that line up with the Bible consistently over the past 10,000 years. Look at all the religions and myths your Bible is the same folklore based child play yet the Bible is the only plan that proved true and continues to prove true out of all recorded gods. The predictions in the Bible were all fulfilled and God came through on all promises to which you say ah it was rewritten backwards so that they only appeared to be fulfilled. When all else fails you cry out “circular reasoning circular reasoning”. Well there is nothing circular about it. All facts concerning Gods plan and mans response to it can be verified by observation. If you cannot observe them I am happy to cut and paste articles for you.

      October 24, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Fred, your grasp of history is tenuous at best. I suggest you study real history books, not the bible, and you will realize that the judeo/christian tradition is not even the oldest religion still practiced. That honor goes to the hindus. Christianity is a relative newcomer, as religions go.

      Your god never went anywhere that a human being didn't take him. You can trace the rise of christianity to patterns of human migration. That is why it took 1500 years for christianity to reach the New World and Australia. Perhaps your god would be more believable if the peoples of the Americas had heard of him BEFORE the missionaries told them, a millenium and a half after the alleged death of Jesus.

      Since history can't make a case for your god, to convince me it would take verifiable proof that an act that could not be performed without a god had actually occurred. It wouldn't hurt if he started by convincing all of his believers to follow the same religion.

      October 24, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
    • fred

      tallulah13

      “judeo/christian tradition is not even the oldest religion still practiced. That honor goes to the hindus.”
      =>no, God goes back to the beginning and Adam 6,000 to 190,000 years ago. If you wish to argue he was not a believer or symbolic then start with Able or Seth. Moses wrote genesis about 1400 BC and I am sure will agrue for a Babylonian date of 750 BC under the typical conspiracy theory and that Moses did not exist. The Ebla tablets dated 2500 BC reference scape goat rituals and other Hebrew worship mentioned in the Bible though not identifiying Abraham or others specifically. Hindu can be dated to 1750 BC a real stretch or 570 BC a real stretch (take your pick). This puts them several hundred years after Abraham and we are speaking about the God of Abraham.

      “ Christianity is a relative newcomer, as religions go. “
      =>no, we are speaking of God. When people capitalize God they typically are referring to the Hebrew God of the Old Testament which Muslims claim to be their God also. Christianity is based on a belief that Christ was who he said he was “God” “if you have seen me you have seen the Father” “the Father and I are one”. The Bible contains the Old Hebrew faith and is all part of Gods plan. They tie together and Jesus was in the beginning with God.

      “Your god never went anywhere that a human being didn't take him.”
      =>God is not made of matter and energy that is known (or perhaps knowable) in our dimensions of space, time, length and width. I do not understand quantum physics so I go with the latest scientific theory on causation. We do not need that to know quantum mechanics as we are told God is not made of known matter and energy in Hebrews. However it is nice to see science agrees.
      If this is what God is then of course he must interact in some other fashion. Humans do not take God anywhere. Gods presence is revealed to us such that we can comprehend God. God was revealed in Moses, Jesus, in the arc, in Noah etc. The Christianity you speak of is God revealed in Jesus and through the Holy Spirit that dwells within the soul of the believer today.
      Man made gods of myths are carried about by humans not God.
      “ You can trace the rise of christianity to patterns of human migration.”
      =>you can trace it back to the beginning as I said earlier.

      “Perhaps your god would be more believable if the peoples of the Americas had heard”
      =>that would be your plan. We are speaking about the plan that we can observe. Some 6,000+++ years ago the plan was that the chosen ones would move faith forward through generations. This is the plan shown in the Bible and it is the plan you have observed.

      “Since history can't make a case for your god,”
      =>what? History shows the plan unfolding as written. Forget the circular reasoning use your own history books of choice to see the plan unfold.
      “ to convince me it would take verifiable proof that an act that could not be performed without a god had actually occurred.”
      =>oh, you want God to do some magic trics. Take note the Bible clearly stated why you will not be shown magic tricks if that is what you demand before you would open your heart. Gods plan is bringing souls into eternal life that want to be there not those seeking the shiny apple. Remember the Garden of Eden……………been there done that. A soul that desires a shinny apple will always see a shinny… errrr one.

      “It wouldn't hurt if he started by convincing all of his believers to follow the same religion.”
      =>no can do as that would be very boring to spend eternity with souls that marched in lock step as if in North Korea. Beauty, love, joy, wonder come in endless arrays and God has created (observable) man to experience boundless expressions of these gifts. That is why God said it is very good.

      October 24, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
    • == o ==

      fred: "no, God goes back to the beginning and Adam . . ."

      You're going to argue accurate history of religion with tallulah13 using Adam??? Are you a masochist? The OT of course, it the most untrushworthy, rehashed part of the Bible. It's simply folklore that came from other folklore.

      October 24, 2012 at 6:42 pm |
    • Lewis Black on the Old Testament

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LGrlWOhtj3g&playnext=1&list=PLE93CF72F64BF6D9B&feature=results_video

      October 24, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Fred, it's not just your grasp of history that is tenuous. It's your grasp of reality.

      The roots of hinduism go back about 5000 years, judaism about 4000. Christianity is simply a descendent of judaism, and is only about 2000 years old. There was no evidence of Adam or Eve or Serpent or Apple. There is no reason at all for a rational human to believe in the Garden of Eden. It is nothing more that a myth that you have chosen or have been taught to believe. Claiming the reality of Adam is no different than claiming the reality of Krishna.

      I guess your god is incapable of travel, if his plan is to wait for humans to take him everywhere. I guess that's why he had to wait for humans to figure out how to make seaworthy ships to take him to undiscovered continents, 1500 years after the creation of his shiny new religion. I hope at least he kicked down for gas.

      You asked me what it would take for me to believe in your god, so why do you mock the answer? Don't you expect proof if someone tells you to believe in something that sounds like a fairy tale? If god is unwilling to prove he exists, why should we believe? On your say so? All you can do is make excuses for your god, or lie about proof. Citing the Garden of Eden as proof is rather like citing Hogwarts as proof that Harry Potter is real.

      The fact that you don't seem to recognize that christians have slaughtered other christians, and that they continue to bicker even now because of differences in sect is ridiculous. There is nothing beautiful about conflict, and confusion is the only result of multiple faiths under one ti.tle. If your god is all powerful, why do people still argue about what he wants?

      Fred, you have no proof. And it's okay that you have no proof, as long as you realize it. But when you put forth your personal opinion as fact, that is nothing more than a lie.

      October 24, 2012 at 11:59 pm |
    • fred

      tallulah13

      “I guess your god is incapable of travel”
      =>evidence based on observation is that the whole world has heard of Christ.

      “I guess that's why he had to wait for humans to figure out how to make seaworthy ships”
      =>no, man had to grow intellectually and culturally to accept the revelations.

      “You asked me what it would take for me to believe in your god, so why do you mock the answer?”
      =>sorry, it was not an intended mock but you asked for demonstration of supernatural power and I was making a point that man does not demand tricks from God.

      “If god is unwilling to prove he exists, why should we believe?”
      =>as I stated the proof you ask for would corrupt the plan.

      “If your god is all powerful, why do people still argue about what he wants? “
      =>as the Bible says and demonstrates that is the nature of people (argue and fight) and the nature of God (wait patiently for each soul to reveal itself)

      October 25, 2012 at 2:05 am |
    • tallulah13

      Pardon me Fred. What I meant to say was that your god doesn't travel by himself. He is apparently lazy, so he needs humans to carry him. He also must be very stupid if he can't "reveal" himself to cultures other than the one that invented him. The cultures that existed in the Americas before the arrival of Europeans were actually quite sophisticated. They would have had no problem understanding a ably delivered message.

      From your description, your god's "Plan" is to behave like he doesn't exist. You say god wants us to convince ourselves he exists, despite the complete lack of evidence, despite the fact that there are just as many reasons to believe in Odin or Zeus. then we get rewarded by going to heaven after we die, which of course is just an unsubstantiated claim because there is no way to test it. The bible is a contradictory collection of middle eastern mythology, written and edited by humans. Religion is little more than wishful thinking and cultural habit.

      You want to believe in it, that is your option. I chose to believe in things that don't require suspension of logic and intelligence.

      October 25, 2012 at 2:39 am |
    • fred

      tallulah13

      “He also must be very stupid if he can't "reveal" himself to cultures other than the one that invented him.”
      =>well I was agnostic or simply did not care about God or if there was one before my conversion. I had never read the Bible. Long story short I was helping a homeless man get his life together and he gave me his Bible his only possession. I refused it but he put it under my car seat when I was not looking. I tried to throw it out several times but was stopped realizing it meant something to someone and thought I would return it. One day after suffering great loss I was cleaning out the car and under the seat was this book bent open. I began to read at the point of that bend and became overwhelmed with the presence of God.
      Now, the atheistic agnostic culture I was caught up in did not invent God. This is the method God seems to choose millions of times a year to reveal a very real presence. I witnessed this conversion experience around 100 times and so I know it happens and it is real. Simply because a non believer rejects the existence of God does not change what has actually happened. This is real, it did happen and God was revealed. That is reality you cannot close eyes and ears yelling didn’t happen didn’t happen.

      “The cultures that existed in the Americas before the arrival of Europeans were actually quite sophisticated. They would have had no problem understanding a ably delivered message.”
      =>how can you say that when looking at your culture? The culture of non believers cannot grasp the message that God is not made of physical matter and energy known to man. The best we can describe it is “God is spirit” and the best science can do is to say causation or first cause must exist outside of our observable and known dimensions of space, time , length and width if the theory of relativity is to hold true.

      “From your description, your god's "Plan" is to behave like he doesn't exist.”
      =>no the Bible has accounts of God revealing himself in many ways and times over various cultures all pointing towards Jesus. Jesus was the full representation of God (working though man or in man). That culture understood signs and miracles with the Hebrew writings setting out specific miracles (signs) that would accompany Christ. Jesus fulfilled all of these and is probably the most influential person in all history. Everyone just about has heard of Jesus.

      God does not behave like he does not exist.

      “despite the fact that there are just as many reasons to believe in Odin or Zeus.”
      =seriously? You seem to be associating Michel Angelo’s blue eyed rendition with manmade images of myth. God is nothing like these myths. Go back and read how the Greeks responded when Saul of Tarsus explained the difference between their gods and the Living God. Zeus, Odin and the bearded wise grandfather image of God sitting on clouds are mans attempt to quantify God. God cannot be put in a box or on canvas. There are no graphics or artwork that captures God. There are no images of Christ in the Bible with the exception of “radiance of God” or the image of the penalty of sin (graphic of what was done to Christ on the cross).

      “going to heaven after we die, which of course is just an unsubstantiated claim”
      =>as is the claim we are no more than animals without soul, meaning and purpose other than to perpetuate the species.

      “ I chose to believe in things that don't require suspension of logic and intelligence.”
      =>you are saying all of our presidents to date have suspended logic and intelligence. Perhaps God is trying to tell you something?

      October 25, 2012 at 11:39 am |
    • tallulah13

      So your entire belief system is based on an emotional reaction you experienced during a time of personal turmoil. Well good for you. My disbelief comes from learning about history and the natural world. Once upon a time I thought I was a christian, but the more educated about the contradictory nature of the religion and it's bible, and it's dubious origins, the less I believed.

      Your personal interpretation of your religion is little more than a litany of excuses for the failures of a fictional god.

      October 25, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
    • fred

      “So your entire belief system is based on an emotional reaction you experienced during a time of personal turmoil”
      =>not really. I do understand how emotions when attached with an event leave lasting impressions and that certainly plays a large part. Belief must be constantly reinforced over time otherwise it will change as the brain always seeks familiar patterns of pain and pleasure categorizing in order to retain perspective. When my faith comes under attack I will retrace where I am and where I once was.
      Take prayer for example which non believers on this site like to attack. Two in particular like to trash God for not making legs grow back. Based on personal experience I answer those who claim God does not answer prayer. When I play back my personal history of prayers and the prayers of others I see God answering prayer consistently and faithfully. When it comes to physical disfigurement we have all heard the standard Apologetics which are shallow at best particularly at low moments. However, a believer will eventually see the hand of God and Gods purpose then embrace a God who answers prayer. A non believer will see only unanswered prayer.
      Does perception govern reality or does reality govern perception? If you define reality as that which is absent of individual perception then you are left with a materialistic construct that is limited by laws of physics and such. I doubt this is your reality so we are speaking in terms of metaphysics. The point being you are attempting to fit God into a construct that the Bible and your own logic and reason say cannot be done. I see the hand of God in prayer and you ask for proof that fits the laws of physics.
      In short I am saying you are correct my perspective is very different. Some like the term “Born Again” with new eyes that see and ears that hear. This is a part of existence I had not experienced previously and it was there all along for any that want to see it.

      October 25, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Thank you, Fred, for giving a demonstration of exactly why there are so many radically different sects of christianty. You are simply making things up that support what you want to believe, and making long-winded and long-worded comments that boil down to the same thing: You have invented your own belief system by combining christianity with what you want to believe.

      October 26, 2012 at 12:23 am |
    • fred

      tallulah13
      Jesus clearly said you must be born again not of flesh but of spirit. I have not added or taken anything away from the Bible clearly states. If you think so give me a specific example as we are not to add or take away from the Word of God.
      Thanks

      October 26, 2012 at 1:58 am |
    • tallulah13

      Your words, Fred: "how can you say that when looking at your culture? The culture of non believers cannot grasp the message that God is not made of physical matter and energy known to man. The best we can describe it is “God is spirit” and the best science can do is to say causation or first cause must exist outside of our observable and known dimensions of space, time , length and width if the theory of relativity is to hold true."

      Where exactly in the bible do you find this nugget: :The culture of non believers cannot grasp the message that God is not made of physical matter and energy known to man"?

      October 27, 2012 at 1:13 am |
    • fred

      tallulah13
      The Bible clearly states that God is Spirit. Hebrews states “what is seen was not made out of what was visible.” Let those with eyes see and those with ears hear. Many verses related to non believers having blinders on, walking in darkness. When you put this together non believers cannot see the things of God and Spirit / soul. In Hebrews again we are told that by faith we see these things not by flesh.
      Summary believers see by faith while non believers cannot see these things

      Ouch gotta run, have a great weekend !

      October 27, 2012 at 2:05 am |
    • tallulah13

      Thank you for proving my point. You have taken several disparate verses and combined them to make your own religion. If non-believers can't understand god, then how did a little cult like christianity succeed? Why were/are there missionaries? Apparently, the rest of christianity didn't get the message.

      Frankly, the christian message at it's bare bones is simple: Swear fealty to the "one god" and you will be rewarded. This is not a difficult concept, and one that the cultures of the Americans were sufficiently sophisticated to understand. So I stand by my original statement. Your god was indifferent, or incapable of crossing an ocean without human help, so for 1500 years, millions of people lived and died without even knowing that the christian god existed.

      I think that the success of christianity stems from it's egalitarian nature. The poorest people will always be the majority of any population. Christianity offers the same rewards to the rich and the poor alike, and all you have to do is sell your soul to god. Much easier than gaining favor with a god through expensive sacrifices. It's the ultimate con game if public power is your goal, and as profitable as any religion (as the pope and megapastors have shown), once you get people hooked.

      And by the way, all gods are made of stuff is beyond human reckoning. That's what makes them gods. That's how they can perform all those amazing acts that are eventually explained as natural phenomena, like lightning or floods, or even the sun coming up in the morning. The Greeks didn't think that a statue of Zeus actually was Zeus. It was a representation, like statues of catholic saints, to facilitate communication.

      But anyway, have a nice weekend yourself.

      October 27, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
    • fred

      Tallulah13
      “Frankly, the christian message at it's bare bones is simple: Swear fealty to the "one god" and you will be rewarded”
      =>not quite, it is faith in the grace and mercy of God to bring us through to the Promise

      “ not a difficult concept, and one that the cultures of the Americans were sufficiently sophisticated to understand.”
      =>evidence points to manmade gods of this culture. However, most had a strong foundation and sense of the Spirit which is the fundamental to Christianity.

      “Your god was indifferent, or incapable of crossing an ocean without human help”
      =>God decided to put the knowledge of God in the care of the Hebrew (chosen ones). God since the beginning allowed each individual with free will to decide for themselves what they will choose. They have before them the option of life (seek God) or death (reject God). This is the plan according to God. I accept God and see the wonders revealed through faith and share that experience with anyone that will hear it. This is the way God presents the truth. If the Americans were to receive the revelation it would be brought to them in Gods time and according to a plan that has never changed.
      Somehow I get the sense that you think if there were a God that God should just snap fingers or something to implant one correct Borg like construct. When you consider the brightest Angelic beings and the first humans had God with them, walking among them, communicating directly yet, in short order they turned to some other desire than God. Like a child growing board with a new toy sees another shiny object. If that close one on one did not work then Gods plan as revealed is the only one I can think of that works. Take note you reject God so clearly you have chosen the life and death away from God and you will have it. I have chosen life and do not desire all that is available to non-believers. I could not keep you from the eternity you have chosen and no one can keep me from the eternity I have chosen. We could both be very wrong or very right but, we will be one or the other.
      That is one simple plan and one simple way. Even sheep and Sheepherders understand this choice.

      “Christianity offers the same rewards to the rich and the poor alike, and all you have to do is sell your soul to god.”
      =>no, you do not sell your soul. You realize that if there is place where perfect love rests eternally most of us cannot qualify based on our own efforts. Christ gave all to redeem our soul from Evil. If we choose to accept that Gift we are one in Christ and no longer our own.
      Yes, rich or poor is irrelevant to salvation. It is written that is harder for a rich man to enter the Kingdom which is true. This was not written to appease the poor but warn the rich that wealth and opportunity to possess the things of this world are a trap.

      “It's the ultimate con game if public power is your goal, and as profitable as any religion (as the pope and megapastors have shown), once you get people hooked.”
      =>even atheist Stalin fell into the power game so this is a fault common to man not a fault with God.

      “And by the way, all gods are made of stuff is beyond human reckoning.”
      =>no, check out their creation stories their gods are made from known matter and energy. The God of the Bible is the only one that was made from that which was known or could be seen.
      Zeus known for his erotic escapades was not a Greek statue but was very much a man with Mo JO. This compared with God that is of a form that is unknown to man and best described as Spirit due to lack of reference. Jesus was the full representation of God in man. In the same way Moses had the radiance of God but was not God. Gandhi was a man who in many ways reflected a pure spirit compared with Jesus who was filled with or completely 100% the internal image of God. Jesus was not a god like Zeus rather Jesus was a man pure and simple. The example from Jesus was how the Spirit of God can be in a man to the point where that man is “filled with the Sprit”. Perhaps Buddha can reach states of spiritual likeness but Buddha is not the full likeness of God.
      Spiritual side of life was recognized by many early people long before Christ. I am not sure what atheists see or if somehow they reclassify the spiritual into some feel good area of the brain or whatnot. Regardless of what the atheist sees there is the notion of spirit that is representative of another part of our being just as sight and smell is a part.

      October 29, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
    • Troll Alert

      "Ronald Regonzo" who degenerates to:
      "Salvatore" degenerates to:
      "Douglas" degenerates to:
      "truth be told" degenerates to:
      "Thinker23" degenerates to:
      "Atheism is not healthy ..." degenerates to:
      "another repentant sinner" degenerates to:
      "Dodney Rangerfield" degenerates to:
      "tina" degenerates to:
      "captain america" degenerates to:
      "Atheist Hunter" degenerates to:
      "Anybody know how to read? " degenerates to:
      "just sayin" degenerates to:
      "ImLook'nUp" degenerates to:
      "Kindness" degenerates to:
      "Chad" degenerates to
      "Bob" degenerates to
      "nope" degenerates to:
      "2357" degenerates to:
      "WOW" degenerates to:
      "fred" degenerates to:
      "!" degenerates to:
      "pervert alert"

      This troll is not a christian. !

      October 29, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
  19. Tom, Tom, the Other One

    Why there needs to be daylight between America and Israel:

    A few days ago, on Oct. 16, 2012, I was arrested at the Western Wall while conducting a prayer service in honor of Hadassah's centennial birthday. Two hundred and fifty Hadassah women came to the wall in solidarity with our group. As we were chanting the "Shema," a major prayer in the service, I was approached by a police office, ordered to leave
    the wall plaza and taken to the nearby police station. A night of humiliation and pain followed.
    Anat Hoffman http://www.huffingtonpost.com/anat-hoffman/arrested-for-praying-at-western-wall_b_1987099.html

    October 23, 2012 at 7:36 am |
  20. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    October 23, 2012 at 7:33 am |
    • His cur jests

      Curb your God.

      October 23, 2012 at 7:38 am |
    • .

      "Ronald Regonzo" who degenerates to:
      "Salvatore" degenerates to:
      "Douglas" degenerates to:
      Taskmaster" degenerates to:
      "truth be told" degenerates to:
      "The Truth" degenerates to:
      "Thinker23" degenerates to:
      "Atheism is not healthy ..." degenerates to:
      "another repentant sinner" degenerates to:
      "Dodney Rangerfield" degenerates to:
      "tina" degenerates to:
      "captain america" degenerates to:
      "Atheist Hunter" degenerates to:
      "Anybody know how to read? " degenerates to:
      "just sayin" degenerates to:
      "ImLook'nUp" degenerates to:
      "Kindness" degenerates to:
      "Lorraine" degenerates to:
      "Chad" degenerates to
      "Bob" degenerates to
      "nope" degenerates to:
      "2357" degenerates to:
      "WOW" degenerates to:
      "fred" degenerates to:
      "!" degenerates to:
      "pervert alert"

      This troll is not a christian:..

      October 23, 2012 at 8:56 am |
    • 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 23, 2012 at 9:01 am |
    • hal 9001

      I'm sorry, "Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things", but your assertions regarding atheism and prayer are unfounded. Using my Idiomatic Expression Equivalency 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 can help you:

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

      October 23, 2012 at 9:26 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.