Christmas exposes atheist divide on dealing with religion
December 20th, 2012
06:00 AM ET

Christmas exposes atheist divide on dealing with religion

By Dan Merica, CNN
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Washington (CNN) – The Christmas season is revealing a growing rift among American atheists when it comes to the question of how to deal with religion.

Some atheist activists are trying to seize the holidays as a time to build bridges with faith groups, while other active unbelievers increasingly see Christmas as a central front in the war on religious faith. With the dramatic growth of the nonreligious in the last few decades, more atheist leaders are emerging as spokespeople for atheism, but the Christmas rift speaks to growing disagreement over how atheists should treat religion.

On the religion-bashing side, there’s David Silverman, president of the group American Atheists, which raised one of its provocative trademark billboards in New York’s Times Square last week. “Keep the MERRY!” it says. “Dump the MYTH!”
The sign features a picture of a jolly Santa Clause and another of Jesus dying on the cross – a not-so-subtle attack on Christianity.

“Christianity stole Christmas in the first place and they don’t own the season, they don’t own the Christmas season,” Silverman said, pointing to pagan winter solstice celebrations that predated Jesus Christ. “When they say keep Christ in Christmas, they are actually saying put Christ back in Christmas.”

The New York billboard, which will be up until early January and is costing the group at least $25,000, is the latest in a long line of provocative American Atheists signs, which attacked then-Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s religion during this year’s presidential campaign.

It’s not the only way Silverman is using Christmas to attack Christianity. In a recent TV interview with Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly, he said the American Atheist office be open on Christmas Day and called for an end to Christmas as a federal holiday.

O’Reilly, in turn, called Silverman a fascist.

Despite Silverman’s knack for making headlines, however, other prominent atheists are putting a softer face on the movement, including during Christmastime.

“I just think the whole war on Christmas story is bizarre” said Greg Epstein, the Humanist Chaplain at Harvard University, who has emerged as another spokesman for the burgeoning atheist movement. “I think that any atheist or humanist that is participating in that story needs to find better things to do with their time.”

From his point of view, atheism and religion can happily coexist, including at the holidays.

At the chaplaincy, Epstein has reached out to local religious groups, packaging holiday meals and breaking bread with believers to discuss their similarities and differences.

Sponsored by the Humanist Community at Harvard, evangelical Christians, Jews, Buddhists and Zoroastrians, along with a number of atheists, were among those represented at a recent meal packaging event for hungry kids in the Boston area. Around 250 people participated and over $10,000 was raised – including donations from local Lutheran and Methodist churches.
Epstein calls this sort of inter-religious dialogue “healthy.”

“We as a community need to be about the positive and we have so much positive to offer,” he said. “I think that we really can provide a positive alternative to religious holidays that are not meaningful because of their religious content.”
Silverman, for his part, is more than comfortable being negative when it comes to religion.

“We should look at the results - people are listening to us because we are shouting,” he said. “They don’t hear you unless you shout. … Sometimes you have to put political correctness aside. We need to get louder. I believe we are seeing the fruits of that volume.”

As proof, American Atheists points to the way their donations skyrocket after every billboard campaign. “We get donations and memberships because we are taking the stand that we do,” said Silverman, who would not give specific numbers on fundraising. “The donations are flowing in right now. People are loving it specifically because of the billboard.”

Epstein would rather see more emphasis on volunteerism, though he acknowledges that some atheists are drawn to Silverman’s vocal model. Both men said they appeal to different parts of the atheist movement.

“We are GOP and Dem, man and women, black and white – the only thing that holds us together is atheism,” Silverman said. “A movement like ours needs all sides. It needs people who are working to be conciliatory and it needs people who are willing to raise their voices.”

Religious “nones” – a combination of atheists, agnostics and the religiously unaffiliated, have been growing their ranks in recent years. According to a Pew Research study released this year, the fastest growing "religious" group in America is made up of people with no religion at all as one in five Americans is not affiliated with any religion.

The survey found that the unaffiliated are growing even faster among younger Americans. According to the poll, 34% of “younger millennials” - those born between 1990 and 1994 - are religiously unaffiliated.

Though not monolithic, younger atheists, according to Jesse Galef, communications director of the Secular Student Alliance, are more prone to celebrate a secular version of Christmas than to ignore the holiday.

“I am very much in favor of celebrating the secular Christmas,” Galef said. “It is a celebration of the spirit of giving and I think religious divisiveness goes against that effort.”

Other atheists celebrate Festivus, a December 23 holiday meant for atheists looking to celebrate during the winter without participating in a Christian holiday. The holiday, which entered into popular culture through the television show “Seinfeld” in 1997, has gained popularity in recent years.

At the Secular Student Alliance office in Columbus, Ohio, the staff will play Secret Sagan, a nod to the famed scientist, instead of Secret Santa. And instead of Christmas decorations, they put up a Winter Solstice Tree with ornaments from the movie “When the Grinch Stole Christmas.”

“We celebrate the holiday season, just not the religious holiday,” Galef said.

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Atheism • Christmas

soundoff (4,367 Responses)
  1. Reality

    A Holiday card for all !!

    (only for the new members)

    The Two Universal Sects

    They all err—Moslems, Jews,
    Christians, and Zoroastrians:

    Humanity follows two world-wide sects:
    One, man intelligent without religion,
    The second, religious without intellect. "

    , born AD 973 /, died AD 1058 / .

    Al-Ma’arri was a blind Arab philosopher, poet and writer.[1][2] He was a controversial rationalist of his time, attacking the dogmas of religion and rejecting the claim that Islam possessed any monopoly on truth."

    Read more: http://www.answers.com/topic/resalat-al-ghufran#ixzz1lI6DuZmZ and http://www.humanistictexts.org/al_ma'arri.htm

    Death's Debt is Paid in Full

    Death's debt is then and there
    Paid down by dying men;

    But it is a promise bare
    That they shall rise again. "


    December 22, 2012 at 8:39 am |
  2. the AnViL

    seasons greetings to everyone!!!

    there are no gods.

    ho ho ho!!!

    December 22, 2012 at 4:25 am |
  3. Kev

    Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, Merry X-mas, Happy Kwanzaa, Merry Festivus, Merry Mythmas, if you can that fives really fast, and for those wookies out there Happy Life Day.

    December 22, 2012 at 1:57 am |
  4. Moby Schtick

    Chad writes:

    "1. Atheists do not believe that disbelief requires a reason
    2. Atheists find it extraordinarily difficult to enumerate their reasons for disbelief
    3. Atheists do, and encourage others to, avoid rational inquiry into the evidence for the God of Israel, preferring instead to start with a presumption that the God of Israel does not exist."

    1. No, you're wrong. Atheists say that the burden of proof is on the claimant. If the claimant does not provide sufficient evidence for the claim, then the default position continues to be disbelief in the claim; thus, the only thing required for disbelief is that the belief not be reasonable. Disbelief is reasonable if the claim is not reasonable. You're a fvcking moron about this and refuse to admit that the basic rules of logic are fundamental and don't change just for you and your god belief, you abhorent little cvnt fvckwad.

    2. No, you're wrong. Atheists find it incredibly easy to enumerate their reasons for disbelief. The reason is always the same, too. There are not good reasons to believe, so naturally disbelieve follows logically. You're a fvcking moron about this and refuse to admit that the basic rules of logic are fundamental and don't change just for you and your god belief, you abhorent little cvnt fvckwad.

    3. No, you're wrong. Atheists encourage people to research the supposed "evidence" for the god of the bible, and in fact, most of us are continually asking believers to go read theirs more and more and do more and more research into its origins. You're a fvcking moron about this and refuse to admit that atheists want people to go do their own research on the topics and honestly look into the maters for themselves, you abhorent little cvnt fvckwad.

    December 22, 2012 at 1:28 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Chad in charge of network security would be a trip. His rules would start with "accept all traffic" and from there only reject packets that can be proven to be bad medicine.

      December 22, 2012 at 2:06 am |
    • sam stone

      Chad is every bit the ball less fvck that Topher is. Both are lying cowards and, as such, fine representatives of their belief systems

      December 22, 2012 at 10:13 am |
    • Kevin Harris


      All views make truth claims. All truth claims bear the burden of proof. Atheism is just as much a claim to know something about life and the universe as is theism. Therefore, atheists share the burden of proof.

      It boils down to which of the worldview options best explains the data of life and the universe. Atheism requires that there is nothing beyond the time/space material universe. Yet virtually all the evidence shows the universe had a beginning. Things which begin to exist require a cause. Therefore, there is a cause beyond the time/space material (natural) universe. Therefore, atheism fails its most basic requirement.

      December 22, 2012 at 11:14 am |
    • Observer

      Kevin Harris,
      "Things which begin to exist require a cause. Therefore, there is a cause beyond the time/space material (natural) universe. Therefore, atheism fails its most basic requirement."

      Believers in the Bible contend that God came from nothing and then created the universe from nothing.

      You have failed the "most basic requirement".

      December 22, 2012 at 11:21 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Kevin, so there's a cause. So what? Doesn't mean it's an invisible being.

      Not knowing how the universe began does not mean "god must have done it." It simply means we don't know yet, and may never know. I'm good with that. If you require an explanation and that's the one you think most reasonable, have at it. Doesn't make it true.

      December 22, 2012 at 11:27 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      In addition, Kevin, I don't recall every atheist claiming to know how the universe began. I don't have a belief as to how it began. I see no evidence for the claim that it was some invisible presence. Can you produce any?

      December 22, 2012 at 11:30 am |
    • Damocles

      I am eagerly awaiting the 'my deity is outside the boundaries of space/time and therefor requires no creation' card to be played. Then there will be the ever popular sticking out of the tongue, followed by the nyah nyah nyah's. Powerful. Stuff.

      December 22, 2012 at 11:35 am |
    • Kevin Harris


      I must correct you. Christian Theism does not hold that God "came" at all, but that God is a necessary being – eternal – with no beginning. As Leibniz pointed out, the universe is contingent and therefore dependent upon something else for it's existence. Therefore, something other than naturalism is true.

      December 22, 2012 at 11:36 am |
    • Damocles

      And there it is. Color me shocked.

      Everything needs a creator.... except my creator.

      Nothing can come from nothing.... except my creator.

      Life is meaningless.... unless you accept my creator.

      December 22, 2012 at 11:42 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Leibniz could only suppose that this world is contingent and that there are necessary beings.

      December 22, 2012 at 11:45 am |
    • Not a Chad

      Chad wrote...
      "Atheists start with the belief that God does not exist, which is fallacious."
      Wrong, in my case I was brought up in the faith by a religious mother and a father that was a sometimes christian for convenience. It wasn't untill I was in my early teens that I started to learn about the ugly histories of religions that I became to change my mind. I did not start as an atheist but ended up their after having to discard the myths I had been taught.
      Chad wrote..."what are your reasons for disbelief?' I could not hang on to all the supernatural mumbo-jumbo that the bible and other god stories contain; I could no longer believe them any more than I could believe the Lord of the Rings or the Wizard of Oz, man made fairytales.
      Kevin...So what exactly, man made up many Gods to explain that what he could not understand, who can say which God version is the best, you and Chad?

      December 22, 2012 at 11:49 am |
    • Not a Chad

      became=began to

      December 22, 2012 at 11:55 am |
    • Eric G

      @Kevin: "Atheism is just as much a claim to know something about life and the universe as is theism. Therefore, atheists share the burden of proof."

      Logic foul on the play! Blatant attempt to shift burden of proof. You must be new here. You will play fair or you will be called out on your illogical posts.

      December 22, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
    • Kevin Harris

      My replies are not posting. Does anyone know of another forum? (this is a test to see if it posts).

      December 22, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
    • Not a Chad

      "Atheism is just as much a claim to know something about life and the universe as is theism."
      As an atheist I would define myself as (Oxford Dictionary) Atheism...disbelief or lack of belief in the existance of God or gods...thats all. I am quite willing to say "I do not know" in relation to life and the universe, where theists are so damn sure they have all the answers. I do eagerly await what science will discover in the future, that your lot will have to try and bebunk. I have jumped to the conclusion that you are a christian apologist, if not, well it is a start to get your mind right.

      December 22, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
    • Lisa

      If you disbelieve in Zeus, for example, aren't you being an atheist in the same way that we are with regards to God? Did you have to "Prove" that Zeus isn't real, or did you just conclude that there's no reason to assume that he was anything other than a myth?

      When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.
      Stephen F Roberts

      December 22, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
    • Not a Chad

      There is a very annoying auto-filter that blocks certain words or part words. Check p. 22, 9:43 AM under LinCa for a list.

      December 22, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
    • J.W

      I don't really agree with that quote. It assumes that everybody disbelieves for the same reason, or that Christians do not believe in Zeus or other gods for the same reason that an atheist might not believe in gods. People come to various conclusions when it comes to their beliefs based on both their knowledge and personal experiences.

      December 22, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
    • Kevin Harris

      Not a Chad,

      Thanks very much! It's been kinda frustrating. There are some good issues in this thread!

      December 22, 2012 at 12:47 pm |
    • Lisa

      Please explain your reasons for not believing that Zeus is real then and we'll see if they differ from ours?

      December 22, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
    • J.W

      The Bible doesn't really say that God created the universe out of nothing. It starts out saying he created the heavens and the earth, but does not say out of what.

      December 22, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
    • J.W

      I believe in the Christian God because of the difference that it has made in my life to follow him and to pray to him, and to be a part of the church I am in now, but I don't think of the idea of Zeus or other gods as being totally ridiculous. As far as I know maybe every god of every religion in history has existed, and if I saw a reason to follow a different one then I would, but I feel comfortable with where I am at now as far as my beliefs.

      December 22, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @J.W., I think you make a good point that many atheists want to ignore. A lot of Christians don't believe they are necessarily the one only true way. Sure, some do and are very narrow minded and maybe those are the people a lot of the more aggressive atheists have met, but the Christians I know don't give me any flack about not believing and most are very open to other belief systems.

      December 22, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
    • tallulah13

      I have absolutely not problem with people believing whatever they want. However, when people like Chad and Kevin Harris make patently false statements in an attempt to prove that their god exists, I will protest. When people try to use religion to do harm to others, I will protest. And when people like Chad blatantly lie about atheists and our motives, again I will protest.

      December 22, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
    • J.W

      I can agree with that tallulah. I will say I do not have a problem with atheists either. I have seen a tendency of some on this blog to claim to be open minded, but then all I have to do is say I am a Christian and I will be called ignorant, or will tell me that I am a racist or a hom.ophobe just because I am a Christian.

      December 22, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
    • Lisa

      If other gods had existed, or still exist according to the what people believed about them, then we have a problem. These gods all had their own power over the universe, claims to have created it, afterlives, miracles, interventions in the lives of humans and so on. Some also had children with humans, and all that that implies. If these are true then that takes away from the idea of an omni-everything God that most Christians believe in. The God most Christians believe in cannot exist with actual, real rivals with powers of their own, and who are not under his control. If these other gods exist, or had existed then God must have been much less powerful at some time, right? Are you willing to accept that, and the likelihood that other gods are still around and able to answer people's prayers just as effectively as yours?

      The rest of your argument seems to be about reasons for believing in a god, not whether that god may, or may not, actually exist. Not many atheists dispute the placebo effect of a belief in God. I hate to bring up that old chestnut about belief in Santa, but tis the season, after all. 🙂

      Kids are "comfortable" with believing in Santa too and, as long as they keep getting their presents from him and nobody makes any effort to enlighten them, they could carry on that belief well into adulthood, right? That belief may even keep them "good" like your belief in God does. Would it be right to judge people's efforts to maintain this belief?

      This reminds me of the movie "The Truman Show". Truman is happy living in the artificial world of the program, but it really does seem tragic to us that he doesn't know the truth.

      Nice talking to you, but I gotta go for now. Look forward to hearing your response. It's so nice to be able to converse with a believer without all the negativity and threats.

      December 22, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
    • Lisa

      Do those Christians think that other gods are as real as theirs, or are they just tolerant of other religions that they ultimately believe are not true? There is a world of difference between just being polite enough not to say that somebody else's god isn't real, and saying that you actually think that their god is real.

      December 22, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @Lisa, As an example, I spent Thanksgiving with a Catholic nun who thinks all, or almost all, gods are reflections of the same god representing different paths to him (her term). She believes that in cases where there are multiple gods, even those are representations of the single truth...which is essentially the same belief of intellectual Hinduism. She didn't really know which religion had the most truth, but thought her own was probably right on some things.

      December 22, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
    • J.W

      I agree with you about other gods not being able to coexist with God, unless they were somehow lesser gods under him. Or if they did all exist and were equally powerful then they may have conflict with one another. My point was though that I choose to believe in God, but I do not discount other gods because they are more unlikely or ridiculous. I come on this blog to talk with people of other beliefs and to learn about other beliefs. I honest do with there were more Muslims, Hindus, etc on this blog, but I do still feel like I learn something whenever I talk to people on here. I do not discount anyone's beliefs, although I do not like organizations like American Atheists who are so intent on the world being completely religion free.

      December 22, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
    • J.W

      I have actually considered that view that you described many times as well Sara. There are certain philosophies of other religions that I do believe in as well, although I worship the Christian God.

      December 22, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
    • Chuckles



      December 22, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
    • J.W

      Hello Chuckles! Long time no talk. Are you all ready to worship Jesus Christ in a few days? 😀 I hope you are doing well.

      December 22, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
    • Moby Schtick


      No, you are incorrect. Not ALL views make "truth claims." Some views merely discount or disagree with the claim put forth. Not all claims require the same level of evidence.


      Amy: I have a space-alien unicorn at home. <–truth claim
      Betty: I do not believe you have a unicorn at home. <–claim concerning belief of Amy's truth claim
      Carla: Amy, you have no space-alien unicorn at home at there is no doubt about that. <–truth claim

      Betty's claim is not a claim about truth, but a claim about belief concerning another person's belief. Betty has no obligation to offer "proof" since she is only stating what she believes based on prior experience with similar claims.

      Carla's claim is a claim about truth because she is stating a certainty in response to another person's claim.

      Amy's claim is the one that is positive and, because of its nature, requires the most proof.

      Atheism does not offer a worldview, and not all atheists agree that there is "nothing beyond the time/space material universe."

      Your statement that states "all the evidence shows the universe had a beginning" is incorrect. The evidence shows that this universe brought into existence its own time. As to a cause for it, we have no idea so speculation is just that.

      Atheism does not "fail its most basic requirement" because atheism has no such 'requirement.'

      December 22, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
    • Not a Chad

      Looks like mama k got it right. Chad Williams is a modern era christian apologist with his own website "Streetapologetics" on which he spouts the same BS he probablt does on this blog. Of course he also tries to flog his book to the sheepies, surprised, of course not, just another hustler.

      December 22, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
    • Chuckles

      Well If by Jesus you mean eat chinese food and see the Hobbit, then absolutely!

      December 22, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
    • Lisa

      You can't redefine any of these other gods in order to "make them fit" in your cosmology in this argument. I'm asking you if there is room to accept them as their followers did/do? Can you accept Hindu gods, reincarnation and everything that they believe without taking away from the picture of God Almighty?

      Here's another quote for you

      We must respect the other fellow's religion, but only in the sense and to the extent that we respect his theory that his wife is beautiful and his children smart.
      H. L. Mencken

      Funny thing is I have not met a single atheist who is, or would be a member of AA. The vast majority of us just want religion out of our lives. I will say that, without AA putting up their billboards, a very large percentage of believers would not know that atheists actually do exist, or that there is any doubt whatsoever when it comes to beliefs they take for granted. They get people thinking about what they believe, which I think some find very dangerous.

      December 22, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
    • J.W

      I don't really think there is anything set in stone as far as what people have to believe about God(s). Why would I have to believe that the original text of my religion is absolutely true when so much has happened since then? People form their beliefs partly on what they read and also from their own experiences.

      December 27, 2012 at 9:51 pm |
  5. Tom, Tom, the Other One

    Why should atheism be presupposed and God only introduced if we are compelled to do so by evidence? The properties of God are of one's own choosing. God can be invoked with just the right properties to explain anything or solve any problem. Without evidence that God is true we have, by accepting God, only declared that we have arrived at the truth and, really, have nothing.

    December 22, 2012 at 12:51 am |
    • mutual respect

      I posted this earlier but it applies here as well... Everything that has a beginning needs a cause. The universe had a beginning. The universe needs a cause. There cannot be an infinite regress of caused causes. There must be a cause for all else which has no beginning and needs no cause for its own existence.

      December 22, 2012 at 1:04 am |
    • redzoa

      @mutual respect

      In your previous post as here, you are simply stating a conclusion. There is no evidence or logic requiring that the cause of the universe cannot result from an infinite regress of caused causes. There is no evidence or logic requiring that any given cause must be "eternal" as they could each be finite.

      December 22, 2012 at 1:10 am |
    • Moby Schtick

      @mutual respect

      You are stating something as absolute without proper cause. You have no idea if there is an infinite regress or some "uncaused cause." They are both unfathomable by our minds and there is no reason to pick one over the other.

      December 22, 2012 at 1:13 am |
    • tallulah13

      So what is the cause of god?

      December 22, 2012 at 1:16 am |
    • mutual respect


      God’s nature is existence, but existence is not God’s nature. Other things that exist do so by the will of God contingently. Even if something existed eternally, it would still be dependent on God in the sense that its existence is not its own. There are different ways things can be, and nothing is the same way God is.

      The question then of “Who made God?” is like asking “What made existence?” If it was an existent thing, we have a contradiction as that which existed, existed, and then made existence. If it was a non-existent thing, we also have a huge problem because that which is not cannot do anything.

      Why is evolution and an eternal universe or a multi-verse not a problem then? These are all ways of existing. An eternal universe is not its own existence. Neither is a multiverse. Evolution talks about the ways existence can change. It cannot explain existence itself. This is the fundamental question they need to answer. How do you explain existence itself?

      Christians have an answer and we can be thankful for atheists bringing out this kind of question. We can be more thankful when Christians start applying the right answer.

      December 22, 2012 at 1:39 am |
    • Moby Schtick

      Answering mystery with "we don't know" is far more honest and direct than saying, "Big invisible sky wizard with magic spells did it."

      December 22, 2012 at 1:43 am |
    • mutual respect


      Maybe 'I don't know' is the best answer for you. I agree that can be a good answer sometimes. I am quite certain that I have given you some things to think about this evening. Re-read my posts. You may not like them and they might make you uncomfortable, but everything I have written is true.

      December 22, 2012 at 1:46 am |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

      mutual respect,you have not proven the existence of your,or any,god. Unilthat is done, nothing (related to associated beliefs) can be considered to be true.

      December 22, 2012 at 2:03 am |
    • tallulah13

      This is a little late, but since mutual 'respect' deigned to answer, I feel compelled to reply:

      Christians have chosen an answer. There is no proof to support it. You simply found an answer you liked and call it "truth" when in fact, it is simply fiction. You have chosen fabrication over truth, and that is certainly your right. But that doesn't make you virtuous or good. It simply makes you intellectually lazy.

      December 24, 2012 at 2:00 am |
  6. Tom, Tom, the Other One

    Since we have no experience of anything like a beginning associated with time and space why must we accept the first premise as applicable or true?

    Does the Universe, time in particular, have a beginning?

    If there is something that is uncaused, why can't it be the Universe, or why is it the cause of the Universe in particular?

    December 22, 2012 at 12:32 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Sorry, that's for mutual respect (the handle).

      December 22, 2012 at 12:33 am |
    • mutual respect

      The second law of thermodynamics shows that usable energy is running down, which means there had to be a time when the process started. If not (if there was infinite time before us), all the energy in the universe would have been used up, and we would not be here. The universe is expanding. Traced backward, there would have to be a place it started to expand. The universe cannot be continually expanding and retracting, since it would eventually run out of energy and collapse on itself. If the universe were eternal, time would also be eternal. But we could never have gotten to this point if time were infinite. Time measures the intervals between movements. There was no movement until the universe began, therefore there was no time. It would be impossible to traverse an infinite amount of time. We see matter continually degrading rather than becoming more complex. If things fall apart when left to themselves, the world could not be infinite. It would already be destroyed. Only that which is self-sufficient and self-sustaining can be infinite. There is a radiation “echo” throughout the universe which scientists at first thought was merely static or a malfunction of their equipment. This emanation of radiation is consistent with what would be expected of an enormous explosion in the past, down to the wavelength that should be produces by such light and heat.
      After the big bang theory became the predominant view of the universe’s origin, scientists began looking for a large mass of matter associated with the original explosion, but none could be found until the Hubble made it possible to find it. One astronomer said “by peering back into the beginning of time, a satellite finds the oldest structure ever observed—evidence of how the universe took shape 15 billion years ago.” This was exactly what they were looking for, if the theory were to be shown to be true beyond a reasonable doubt.

      December 22, 2012 at 1:30 am |
    • Moby Schtick

      sort of, mutual respect, but not really. And I don't really see what you're getting at, either.

      December 22, 2012 at 1:35 am |
    • John

      mutual respect
      Where would this energy "run out" to? The universe is a closed system and, as believers love to point out, energy cannot be destroyed, only transformed.

      December 22, 2012 at 1:45 am |
    • Carl

      @mutual respect
      Whoever said the the world is infinite? We may just be somewhere in the middle of the allotted time that the universe has, that's all.

      December 22, 2012 at 1:50 am |
  7. Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

    It's quite a revelation, reading Chard's posts.

    If anyone ever looked to them for evidence of any loving, tolerant, caring Christian, one would be sorely disappointed. All that ever appears under the Vegetable's moniker is snide, snarky, sarcastic, angry verbosity.

    I'd have expected better of a Christian. Especially one who seems to believe himself to be without peer.

    December 21, 2012 at 10:47 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Yep. Did you happen to read over my exchange with him earlier today? The lying little dipsh!t cvnt acted like my reasoning was stupid (to the extent that he quoted me in a new post to broadcast my "stupidity" and started a new thread) and then later used the exact reasoning for disbelief that I had outlined.

      Zero honest and 100% bullsh!t wrapped up in cvntish azzholedness.

      December 22, 2012 at 12:50 am |
    • Moby Schtick

      Oh, and he also threatened to put me in the same bin as you (because of our swearing) and not talk to me anymore like he doesn't talk to you. I guess that was another lie.

      December 22, 2012 at 12:51 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      It would be an honor to share that bin with you. 😉

      I kind of like the fact that Chard ignores my posts. I can ridicule his asinine behavior and not have to deal with his attempts to twist words and deflect and lie, just as he did with your post, which was perfectly clear to anyone with a brain. And therefore completely confounding to Chard.

      December 22, 2012 at 9:53 am |
  8. Tom, Tom, the Other One

    People who go for the fine tuning hypothesis (of physical constants in this Universe) are amusing. The Universe would be an amazing thing if we and our amazement were not part of it. But it's all the same if the Universe is a singular thing or if its properties are inevitable. Our viewpoint and conclusions would be the same in either case.

    December 21, 2012 at 10:23 pm |
    • Chad

      and that explains the fact that the universe is indeed fine tuned for the building blocks of life.. how?

      Sounds like you get your cosmology from Douglas Adams, and whilst he may be a great science fiction writer, a physicist he most certainly is not.


      Fine Tuning of the universe

      In the past 30 or 40 years, scientists have been astonished to find that the initial conditions of our universe were fine-tuned for the existence of building blocks of life. Constants such as gravitational constant have been found, the variation of which to even the smallest degree, would have rendered the universe utterly incapable of supporting life.

      "There is now broad agreement among physicists and cosmologists that the Universe is in several respects ‘fine-tuned' for life". However, he continues, "the conclusion is not so much that the Universe is fine-tuned for life; rather it is fine-tuned for the building blocks and environments that life requires."
      Paul Davies

      "The laws of science, as we know them at present, contain many fundamental numbers, like the size of the electric charge of the electron and the ratio of the masses of the proton and the electron. ... The remarkable fact is that the values of these numbers seem to have been very finely adjusted to make possible the development of life"
      Stephen Hawking

      December 21, 2012 at 10:30 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Why doesn't your range of possible answers ever include the most honest, Chard? That would be: "I don't know."

      December 21, 2012 at 10:34 pm |
    • lionlylamb


      Speaking as a self and not of "our" understandings, my perception of the cosmos is a plural one. It is true that we find ourselves living upon a planet within a solar system in the midst of a galaxy within the milky way nebula inside a yet to be socially named universe of umpteen thousands of universes inside a cosmos of immeasurable cosmos plural.

      December 21, 2012 at 10:35 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Sorry, Chad. If I'd known you were around I'd have made it simpler: You cannot conclude anything about the uniqueness of the Universe you are in.

      December 21, 2012 at 10:36 pm |
    • Chad

      uh, actually you can.

      you can conclude correctly that it is astonishingly, breathtakingly, against all possible odds uniquely suited for life.

      December 21, 2012 at 10:39 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Nope. Oh, maybe someone as gullible as YOU can; I require far more evidence than you or any of your sources have provided. And I notice that few, if any, of them come to the same conclusion you do.

      They don't assume that 'goddidit.'

      That takes a zealot.

      December 21, 2012 at 10:42 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Gotta love the disingenuous "uh" the Vegetable uses, as if he actually gave his response any thought.

      December 21, 2012 at 10:43 pm |
    • AtheistSteve

      Cut and paste from CARM complete with quote mines from notable scientists. We have but one universe....nothing to compare it to. So the forces of nature are intricately balanced. Big surprise...if they weren't we wouldn't be here. As our instruments become more and more accurate at measuring reality it comes as no surprise to find that nature wouldn't be nature if they weren't what they are. It still says nothing whatsoever about there being a divine architect behind the construct. The appearance of design is appearance only...not in any way an indication of intent on the part of a creator.

      December 21, 2012 at 10:48 pm |
    • mama k

      And again, Chad, it just as easy to look at the scientific observation of fine-tuning and conclude that we are simply part of the result of that narrowly-defined set of conditions. I don't refute Hawking's assertion, but it is a ridiculous leap to assume this proves the God of Israel because you would still have to prove that your god was the one as the control panel making the adjustments. Did Hawking say that he thought the God of Israel resulted in the current conditions here? You're using this as a point of proof for your god when, in fact, all you're doing here is making a giant leap. You're going nowhere where Hawking has gone before.

      December 21, 2012 at 10:52 pm |
    • mama k

      ( at the control panel )

      December 21, 2012 at 10:54 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Hawking's is a statement that the Universe is amazingly suitable for producing the things that are in it. Not very satisfying. Stephen Hawking is a brilliant man, but he expresses himself best with mathematics.

      December 21, 2012 at 11:01 pm |
    • Chad

      @atheistSteve "We have but one universe....nothing to compare it to. So the forces of nature are intricately balanced. Big surprise...if they weren't we wouldn't be here"

      =>excellent example of the taxicab fallacy: which is thinking you can dismiss the need for explanation when you arrive at your desired destination.
      it is of course absurd to eliminate from discussion the origin of the present state of things, just because they exist.

      December 21, 2012 at 11:06 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      It doesn't "dismiss the need for explanation". It simply doesn't jump to a conclusion that suits you; namely, that "goddidit."

      You have nothing to back up this leap, Chard.

      December 21, 2012 at 11:12 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Our position as observers within and part of the thing that is observed makes it quite reasonable to conclude as AtheistSteve does: "if they weren't we wouldn't be here" (and we wouldn't observe or be amazed by anything).

      December 21, 2012 at 11:16 pm |
    • Chad

      ah.. no

      taxicab fallacy: thinking you can dismiss the need for explanation when you arrive at your desired destination.

      You cant claim that science is rigorous in its investigation of the universe, but then suddenly exempt the nature of the universe itself from that investigation.
      That response also presupposes that atheism is true, as it attempts to exclude from consideration any potential reasons for the fine tuning that exist outside our universe.

      fallacious reasoning.. which is why no one but science fiction writers use it 🙂

      December 21, 2012 at 11:22 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Ahh, I see Chard is losing. He's resorting to using emoticons again.

      Nothing new. More of the same snark and dishonesty. But what else is new? Chard's a typical fundie.

      December 21, 2012 at 11:25 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Chad, everyone should presuppose that atheism is true and introduce God only when compelled to do so by evidence. You presuppose that the God of Israel in particular is real and try to attribute everything you think you know and see to it.

      Chad found a penny under a lamp post. He concluded that God put that lamp post there so he could find that penny.

      December 21, 2012 at 11:30 pm |
    • Chad

      "everyone should presuppose that atheism is true and introduce God only when compelled to do so by evidence"


      you are admitting, and even encouraging the presupposition? (To believe or suppose in advance)
      That certainly isnt scientific, it is prejudicial*Causing or tending to preconceived judgment or convictions), right?

      To think that the following came out of a simple question posed to GOPer that he enumerate his reasons for disbelief:
      1. Atheists do not believe that disbelief requires a reason
      2. Atheists find it extraordinarily difficult to enumerate their reasons for disbelief
      3. Atheists do, and encourage others to, avoid rational inquiry into the evidence for the God of Israel, preferring instead to start with a presumption that the God of Israel does not exist.

      It's really amazing, I've been claiming all along that atheists start with the position that God does not exist, then go looking for evidence to support the claim, all the while steadfastly refusing to look objectively at the evidence for God.

      I guess I'll never have to respond to a challenge as to the accuracy of that claim again 🙂

      the only thing standing between you and truth, is your preconceptions.

      December 21, 2012 at 11:53 pm |
    • AtheistSteve

      It's not a taxicab fallacy. I don't dismiss the need for an explanation. I'm saying there isn't one. You have it backwards. We start with the universe we exist in and then explore the nature of it in ever increasing fidelity. The origin of the universe, it's forces and even the origin of life are UNKNOWNS. At the very edges of what we answers for. If the answers to these questions lie outside the boundary of our universe then we may never know. You may speculate all you want but that doesn't mean you're any closer to the truth. To say anything about how unlikely our conditions within this universe are is pointless if we have but one universe to site as an example.

      December 21, 2012 at 11:58 pm |
    • Observer


      People who blindly accept things without question are more likely to be believers rather than atheists.

      Actually reading the Bible can create atheists.

      December 21, 2012 at 11:59 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Hmm... I thought Chad might be ready for Occam's razor, but it looks like he would only hurt himself with it.

      December 22, 2012 at 12:08 am |
    • mutual respect

      Everything that has a beginning needs a cause. The universe had a beginning. The universe needs a cause. There cannot be an infinite regress of caused causes. There must be a cause for all else which has no beginning and needs no cause for its own existence.

      December 22, 2012 at 12:13 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Yes, Chad is often on about that. William Lane Craig's argument (actually not originally his). It's worth examining because of what we are asked to swallow in order for the argument to proceed.

      December 22, 2012 at 12:17 am |
    • mutual respect

      Tom- what questions do you have about my last post?

      December 22, 2012 at 12:23 am |
    • mama k

      I'm not familiar with this "taxi-cab" fallacy, and when I google it, one page came up here:

      and then I saw this other page:

      December 22, 2012 at 12:32 am |
    • Bev

      It's simple. Believers claim that something exists. They present their arguments and whatever evidence they may have, and others decide whether or not the believers have made their case. It could be believers in Bigfoot, UFO aliens, leprechauns, God, or something else that is highly disputed.

      Let's just say that we've heard all the arguments and what passes as evidence for God and we're just not convinced. Nowhere in the real world do you get to demand that the jury make its case for not accepting your claim.

      December 22, 2012 at 12:43 am |
    • redzoa

      "Everything that has a beginning needs a cause. ... There must be a cause for all else which has no beginning and needs no cause for its own existence."

      Isn't this just special pleading? You state a premise and then demand the premise doesn't apply? Why must there be cause which isn't caused? I understand it's infinite regress, but then, there's really no evidence to suggest otherwise.

      Furthermore, am I the only one who finds it amusing that despite alleged "fine-tuning," the range of hospitable environments is incredibly small? Particularly so when the underlying theological premise is that it's not just life, but rather human life that the universe was "designed" for ~14 billion yrs ago. This is the epitome of anthropocentric teleological thinking.

      December 22, 2012 at 12:43 am |
    • mutual respect


      If the universe needs a cause for its existence, and there cannot be an unending string of contingent causes, there must be a cause whose existence is necessary. (Necessary- is used in opposition to 'contingent' in which a contingent being needs a cause for its existence, and a necessary Being has no cause, and no beginning.) Something must be eternal for anything else to exist. For nothing produces nothing. If nothing ever existed, then nothing could exist. But the universe, as you have seen, is not eternal; it began to exist.
      So, there must be something else, or someone else, who does not depend upon any other for existence, but exists by virtue of itself. This is beyond human understanding (because we have never experienced anything that is beginning-less), but it is not contradictory to logic for there to be a being without a beginning. As I hope to have shown, no other state of affairs is possible, for if something is not eternal, than nothing could have ever existed at all.

      December 22, 2012 at 12:48 am |
    • redzoa

      "there cannot be an unending string of contingent causes"

      Again, I ask you why must this be true?

      December 22, 2012 at 12:50 am |
    • mama k

      @mutual: I might understand a catalyst that is like nothing else that we know of as matter, but why your constraint of "eternal"? If we don't know the properties of such a catalyst, how can we assume eternal and not something like the starter on one's stove, where there is a special function that goes out after its "purpose" has been met?

      December 22, 2012 at 12:55 am |
    • Moby Schtick


      Holy sh!t, you are a fvcking moron. Every point you've made here.....EVERY ONE was already handled by TTtPS's last two sentences. Everything you've put forth in this exchange is completely pointless because it makes no case not already thoroughly rebutted by those two sentences. In fact, your whole design argument is handled by Tom's last two sentences. (My guess is that somewhere in that thick head of yours, you know it, too.)

      December 22, 2012 at 1:02 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Causes are themselves events. A cause for the beginning of time is problematic because events occur in time. It makes more sense to point to a mathematical construct, a complex sort of metric space, that shows a dimension becoming time-like in some part of it and with time proceeding from there. No cause for it. It is simply a feature of the construct.

      December 22, 2012 at 1:04 am |
    • Moby Schtick

      Sorry, credit where it is due: TTtOO's last two sentences.

      December 22, 2012 at 1:04 am |
    • mutual respect

      Everything we currently observe depends on something else. This includes sub-atomic particles, our planet's atmosphere, the sun, and everything observable. If it weren't for our atmosphere, you and your computer would vaporize. So if everything in the universe is currently dependent, the whole universe is currently dependent.

      December 22, 2012 at 1:08 am |
    • redzoa

      @mutual respect

      This is the response to your other post in this thread.

      In your previous post as here, you are simply stating a conclusion. There is no evidence or logic requiring that the cause of the universe cannot result from an infinite regress of caused causes. There is no evidence or logic requiring that any given cause must be "eternal" as they could each be finite.

      We simply don't know the nature of the "cause" and anything beyond this is pure speculation.

      December 22, 2012 at 1:14 am |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

      I encourage allot read a couple of books by Lawrence Krauss: "Atom" and "Something From Nothing."

      Re: fine tuning, why is it so hard for believers (or at least Chad) to understand that life, as we know it, exists here because it could/can – not because anything was designed?

      December 22, 2012 at 1:24 am |
    • Bev

      "you can conclude correctly that it is astonishingly, breathtakingly, against all possible odds uniquely suited for life."

      That's life as we know it, but who is to say that a different kind of "life" would not have developed in a universe much different than we have? Simply put, had the universe developed with different properties, ones that would not promote life as we know it, isn't it still possible that beings could evolve there?

      This should not be too difficult to concede because God, a being completely unlike biological life as we know it, must have existed in a place other than our universe at one time, correct?

      December 22, 2012 at 1:41 am |
    • Carl

      "That response also presupposes that atheism is true, as it attempts to exclude from consideration any potential reasons for the fine tuning that exist outside our universe."

      That potential cause could be any of the creation gods from any of the thousands of creation myths of the ancient peoples, right? Or it could be a being from some alien species' religion, or something else entirely different. We could speculate all day, but science isn't about such wild speculation. Do you have anything concrete that scientists can observe, or measure that lends credence to your idea of an outside agent?

      December 22, 2012 at 2:02 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I agree with Bev. It seems to me that people like Chard lack imagination. Why would they think that only THIS place and no other has life forms? Why is it impossible to imagine that had conditions been different other life forms would have evolved in adaptation to those conditions? I don't believe that this world was simply "perfectly created just for us." I think we just happen to be the life form that was able to evolve in response to a particular set of conditions.

      December 22, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
    • Chad

      @redzoa "there cannot be an unending string of contingent causes" Again, I ask you why must this be true?

      =>because it has been demonstrated that an infinite past regression is impossible.
      see for example:

      December 22, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Sure, impossible. But you, Chard, believe it's entirely possible some giant invisible fairy created the entire universe in 6 days.

      December 22, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
    • Moby Schtick


      You fvcking liar cvnt, there's no reason to assume that "infinite regression" is any more or less likely than "first cause." Just because our minds can't comprehend the mechanics of an idea does not mean that the idea is true or false--it just means we can't reasonable think about it. That's why the honest answer is "We don't know," not "big invisible sky wizard with magic spellz."

      December 22, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
  9. Observer

    Christmas is the ultimate HYPOCRISY for many Christians.

    The same hypocrites who pick on gays for their "abomination" are now praising the THREE WISE MEN for bringing the abomination of incense to the baby Jesus.


    December 21, 2012 at 9:55 pm |
    • Chad

      where to begin..
      1. Before you post, you should at least do a bit of research to determine the factual accuracy
      2. If you do decide to post without first fact checking, you would be well advised to tone down the scorn, as it looks odd wrapped around misinformation..
      3. The wise men (there is no mention anywhere of the actual number of them, there could have been 10 for all we know)
      4. brought Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh, there was no incense brought as you erroneously claim.
      5. incense is not considered by the God of Israel to be an abomination, I have no clue where you got that erroneous info from.

      AMAZING! indeed.. 5 errors in a three sentence post!

      December 21, 2012 at 10:37 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Observer hasn't broken your record for errors by a very long shot, Chard.

      December 21, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
    • Observer


      Your ignorance is amazing.

      Do you have ANY CLUE what frankincense and myrrh are? Are you such a dim bulb that you think frankINCENSE is not INCENSE?

      Get a DICTIONARY and an education so you won't continue to make a complete FOOL of yourself.

      – Isaiah 1:13 “Incense is an abomination to me.” [God]

      Read a BIBLE sometime. You are so CLUELESS.

      December 21, 2012 at 10:47 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Frankincense has been traded on the Arabian Peninsula and in North Africa for more than 5000 years.[5] A mural depicting sacks of frankincense traded from the Land of Punt adorns the walls of the temple of ancient Egyptian Queen Hatshepsut, who died in circa 1458 BC.[6]
      Frankincense was a part of the Ketoret which is used when referring to the consecrated incense described in the Hebrew Bible and Talmud. It is also referred to as the HaKetoret (the incense).[

      December 21, 2012 at 10:50 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Fragrant gum resin obtained from trees of the genus Boswellia (family Burseraceae), particularly several varieties found in Somalia, Yemen, and Oman. This important incense resin was used in ancient times in religious rites and in embalming. It consti tuted part of the Jewish incense of the sanctuary and is frequently mentioned in the Pentateuch; it was one of the gifts of the magi to the infant Jesus. It is used today in incense and fumigants and as a fixative in perfumes.

      Now apologize, Chard. You were wrong.

      December 21, 2012 at 10:55 pm |
    • Chad

      wrong on both counts:

      1) Frankincense, also called olibanum (Arabic: لُبَّانٌ, lubbān; Somali: luubaan; Hindi: Dhoop; Hebrew: לבונה, levonah), is an aromatic resin obtained from trees of the genus Boswellia.

      2)In the Old Testament, God commanded His people to offer incense in worship.

      In complete context you see that incense is not the problem, it is the fact that the rituals had become ends in and of themselves. The people were corrupt, and offering them out of their corruptness.

      your cherry picked verse in context:
      Hear the word of the Lord,
      you rulers of Sodom;
      listen to the instruction of our God,
      you people of Gomorrah!
      11 “The mult itude of your sacrifices—
      what are they to me?” says the Lord.
      “I have more than enough of burnt offerings,
      of rams and the fat of fattened animals;
      I have no pleasure
      in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats.
      12 When you come to appear before me,
      who has asked this of you,
      this trampling of my courts?
      13 Stop bringing meaningless offerings!
      Your incense is detestable to me.
      New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations—
      I cannot bear your worthless a.s.semblies.
      14 Your New Moon feasts and your appointed festivals
      I hate with all my being.

      you would really do yourself a favor if you learned how to use google and did some fact checking prior to calling those that have their facts straight names... You look kind of crazy calling someone stupid when you havent gotten a single thing right in your post.

      December 21, 2012 at 10:57 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Oh, please. You're beyond pathetic, Chard. Frankincense is incense. You said it was not.

      December 21, 2012 at 10:59 pm |
    • Chad

      incense is made of aromatics and a combustible base.

      calling Frankincense incense is like calling flour dough.

      December 21, 2012 at 11:00 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      No, it isn't. But for a pinhead like you, it's terribly important to be RIGHT. Even when you're not.

      You hate being called out on any fact, Chard. You hate it so much because your ego can't take it.

      For someone who claims to have God on his side, you're awfully insecure. It shows in every post you make.

      December 21, 2012 at 11:02 pm |
    • Observer


      Why not stop making a FOOL of yourself?

      An aromatic gum resin obtained from an African tree (Boswellia sacra, family Burseraceae) and burned as incense.

      December 21, 2012 at 11:06 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      What's your purpose here, Chard? Is it to persuade others that your Christ and your God are desirable and that religion is good? Because if that's why you're here, you fail miserably on every account. I cannot imagine anyone wanting to be anything like you or your Christian friends. Who would enjoy the company of someone like you?

      Why would someone join a church if its members were all versions of Chard?

      December 21, 2012 at 11:06 pm |
    • 2357

      Why don't you quote the rest of the passage? Incense, Sabbath, new moons, charity, or any other act of worship by a self-righteous hypocrite is an abomination. Incense in and of itself was fine and acceptable, ordained by YHWH in temple offerings.

      December 21, 2012 at 11:07 pm |
    • Observer


      an aromatic resinous exudation from certain plants of the genus Myrrhis, especially M. odorata, a small spiny tree: used for incense, perfume, etc.

      December 21, 2012 at 11:08 pm |
    • Observer


      Thanks for pointing out even more HYPOCRISY in the Bible. It's like where the Bible condemns incest and yet it was God's preferred method to populate the earth TWICE.

      December 21, 2012 at 11:13 pm |
    • curious

      What r u Ob.server, to reject sovereign mercy? Too gay for love? Too proud for heaven? Yet you wanna be a bride? Just what r u?

      December 22, 2012 at 12:04 am |
    • Observer


      I am totally hetero. What difference does that make? Why should you care?

      December 22, 2012 at 12:11 am |
    • 2357

      God condemns things that will destroy your body and mind, like incest. People are ever deceived into rebellion against his warnings. God is not a hypocrite for staying his hand from total destruction. He is just loving and patient, even this very night he restrains his vengeance.

      December 22, 2012 at 12:25 am |
    • Observer


      "God condemns things that will destroy your body and mind, like incest". Yep, then TWICE used incest to populate the world. No HYPOCRISY there.

      December 22, 2012 at 12:32 am |
    • 2357

      God calls forth light from darkness and life from a world of death. He births his son from a lobg lines of murderers thieves and adulterers. He feasts with known sinners and touches the unclean. He works on the sabbath to establish the eternal sabbath, he sends his child to slaughter so that men would be spared. So what of it, you call it hypocrisy, I call it all grace. Ever hear of 'sinner saved by grace'? All who are saved are unacceptable sinners, every single one of them. It pleases God to save sinners, so long as they see themselves as such. Its the only chance someone like me would ever be acceptable, by the inexplicable, loving grace of God my father.

      December 22, 2012 at 12:51 am |
    • Bev

      Yet, according to the Christian idea of grace, everyone DESERVES to be sent to hell for their sins and, while that would include murderers and ra pists, it also includes those who have done nothing more serious than fib about their age on Facebook. It also states that all sins can be forgiven just by believing in Jesus' divinity, meaning that the murderer could be allowed into heaven and the Facebook fibber not over this. In what way is this justice?

      December 22, 2012 at 11:48 am |
    • 2357

      All sins can be forgiven by God, except for the sin of rejecting God's forgiveness. If you as a sinner deny the need for forgiveness because in your mind you are righteous independent of God, our sin remains, and will ignite you before his holy presence. None can be righteous independent of God, not even the Angel of Light. A creature is just a creature no matter how bright. The darkest shadow of God is infinitely brighter still.

      December 22, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
  10. Brampt

    What Sort of Star Led the Astrologers?
    Clues are provided by what the star actually did. For one thing, it did not lead the men directly to Bethlehem, but to Jerusalem, where their inquiries about Jesus reached the ears of King Herod. Herod then “secretly summoned the astrologers,” who told him about the newborn “king of the Jews.” Herod then said: “Make a careful search for the young child, and when you have found it report back to me.” Herod’s interest in Jesus, however, was anything but noble. Rather, this proud and ruthless ruler was resolved to put Jesus to death!—Matthew 2:1-8, 16.
    Interestingly, the “star” now led the astrologers south to Bethlehem. There “it came to a stop” above the house where Jesus was.—Matthew 2:9, 10.
    Clearly this was no ordinary star! And why would God, who had used angels to inform humble shepherds of Jesus’ birth, now employ a star to guide pagan astrologers—first to Jesus’ enemy and then to the child himself? The only reasonable conclusion is that the star was a sinister device of Satan, who is capable of such manifestations. (2 Thessalonians 2:9, 10) Ironically, an ornament called the star of Bethlehem is usually seen at the very top of the Christmas tree.

    December 21, 2012 at 9:49 pm |
    • PaulB

      Have you ever read The Star by Arthur C. Clarke?

      If not, read it here http://www.uni.edu/morgans/astro/course/TheStar.pdf

      December 22, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
  11. Brampt

    The New Catholic Encyclopedia acknowledges: “The date of Christ’s birth is not known. The gospels indicate neither the day nor the month . . . According to the hypothesis suggested by H. Usener . . . and accepted by most scholars today, the birth of Christ was assigned the date of the winter solstice (December 25 in the Julian Calendar, January 6 in the Egyptian), because on this day, as the sun began its return to northern skies, the pagan devotees of Mithra celebrated the dies natalis Solis Invicti (birthday of the invincible sun). On Dec. 25, 274, Aurelian had proclaimed the sun-god principal patron of the empire and dedicated a temple to him in the Campus Martius. Christmas originated at a time when the cult of the sun was particularly strong at Rome.”
    M’Clintock and Strong’s Cyclopœdia says: “The observance of Christmas is not of divine appointment, nor is it of N[ew] T[estament] origin. The day of Christ’s birth cannot be ascertained from the N[ew] T[estament], or, indeed, from any other source.”
    The apostle Paul warned at Colossians 2:8: “Look out: perhaps there may be someone who will carry you off as his prey through the philosophy and empty deception according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary things of the world and not according to Christ.”

    December 21, 2012 at 9:38 pm |
  12. lionlylamb

    hawaiiguest wrote on December 21, 2012 at 8:59 pm, @lionly, "And by what measure would you use to determine my livelihood? At least you were finally able to admit what you write here is childish and useless. Now we just need to get you to admit it is pseudo-intellectual nonsense designed to make you feel smart.

    Childish yes but useless no! Your asking me about getting a 'life' is what you first issued me. I told you my family is my life and my "livelihood' is here and at activeworlds.com! My "pseudo-intellectual nonsense" is your perspective and yours alone! Others of atheism's persuasions might tend to agree with you, but I do not write here for your slandering benefits. I write here to give those whose light is dimly lit, more fuel to keep their spirits brighter! It seems to me that your livelihood here is due your wanting to slander and make mindless dribble in hopes of tearing down the unwary spirits of the still yet young ones who believe in our Lord Christ Jesus to be as a personal savior should their life come to an abrupt end!

    December 21, 2012 at 9:25 pm |
    • Observer


      See? You actually can communicate in other than pretentious babble. Why not do that all the time? People might actually start to pay attention to what you are saying.

      December 21, 2012 at 9:38 pm |
    • Athy

      LL, it's "you're," not "your." How do you answer that?

      December 21, 2012 at 9:44 pm |
    • lionlylamb


      My "pretentious babble" as you tend to posit is my life's 'bread-N-butter'! Many folks see my writings with scornfulness while others see most of my writings as being in tongues much the same way the religious speak in tongues. Only the very astute know of and are afforded to understand my tongued words. I will continue writing my "pretentious babble" regardless what many think.

      December 21, 2012 at 10:11 pm |
    • lionlylamb


      In my writing, "Your asking me about getting a 'life' is what you first issued me" one may go either way. 'Your asking' or 'You are asking'. I chose the first way.

      December 21, 2012 at 10:18 pm |
    • Observer


      It's certainly your choice whether you are on here just to entertain yourself or rather to possibly supply informative ideas to others.

      December 21, 2012 at 10:23 pm |
    • Athy

      LL, I apologize. "Your" would be correct in that context. But your writing is still essentially indecipherable.

      December 21, 2012 at 10:52 pm |
    • Dippy

      LL: It's "drivel," not "dribble." Dribble is what basketball players do. Drivel is what you write.

      December 22, 2012 at 1:04 am |
    • *


      I'm kind of a purist about "drivel" too, but alas, there is sort of a case to be made for using "dribble":

      2. drivel – saliva spilling from the mouth
      slobber, dribble, drool


      December 22, 2012 at 1:14 am |
  13. M. Lewinsky

    Merry Christmas to all, and to all a goodnight!

    And Happy self as center-of-the-universe day to you atheists.

    December 21, 2012 at 9:13 pm |
    • apostate

      We don't believe we are the center of the Universe, Christians do.

      December 21, 2012 at 9:26 pm |
  14. M. Lewinsky

    Well, I for one, won't be on here Christmas night. I'll be on my knees servicing the former president of the United States. All the rest of you – enjoy Christmas. enjoy screaming at your parents about God. enjoy telling the children that there is no santa clause and no god. Enjoy calling everyone at the table a moron. enjoy the smug satisfaction of knowing that you are the smartest, most enlightened, and most peaceful person in the room – no, make that, that you know.

    Then come on here and berate anyone who even hints and being thankful to anyone (God) other than themselves.

    December 21, 2012 at 9:11 pm |
    • apostate

      "I'll be on my knees servicing the former president of the United States."

      LOL Wut? You like Bush that much?

      December 21, 2012 at 9:33 pm |
    • Akira

      Awwww, you're going to be alone on Christmas Day, aren't you?
      I cannot possibly fathom why.

      December 22, 2012 at 12:01 am |
  15. M. Lewinsky

    Or. . . .or, ...you could just pretend to go along and only slightly bow your head, and try to keep at least some of your family thinking that you are some kind of a "spiritual but not religious"person.

    THEN, come on here all call everyone a "hypocrite"

    December 21, 2012 at 9:03 pm |
    • Akira

      Have fun swallowing your dessert under the table, your pretentious prig.

      December 22, 2012 at 12:07 am |
  16. mutual respect

    The statement "I lack belief in a god" is a common position of atheists. In discussions with them, they tell me they lack belief in God the way they lack belief in invisible pink unicorns. In other words, they have no position, take no intellectual action, and have no belief or unbelief on the matter concerning God. To them it is a non-issue. Though this may sound sensible to some, the problem is that once you are introduced to an idea, you cannot stay neutral about it. You invariably make a judgment about an idea once it has been introduced to you. You can brush it off as ridiculous, ponder its possibility, accept it, reject it, or do something in between. But you cannot return to a lack of belief position, if lack of belief is defined as a non-intellectual commitment or non-action concerning belief. Though I admit that an atheist can claim he lacks belief even after being exposed to an idea and contemplating its rationality, I still assert that a position of some sort is required.

    In my opinion, lack of belief is really an attempt by atheists to avoid facing and defending the problems in their atheistic position. You see, if they say they have no position by saying they lack belief, then their position is not open to attack and examination, and they can quietly remain atheists.

    The problem for atheists, however, is that atheism is coming under more serious attack by Christians and others who recognize its problems and are exposing them. Without a doubt, there are far more people in the world who believe in God (or a god) than don't, and more and more Christians are tackling atheism as an untenable position. If the majority believe, that doesn't make it right; but the increase in examination of atheism has made it more difficult for atheists to defend their position. This also explains why atheists, it seems, are becoming more aggressive in their attacks on theism in its different forms. There is an intellectual battle being waged, and both defensive and offensive measures are being taken on both sides. In the end, the truth will be known and atheism will become extinct.

    December 21, 2012 at 9:02 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      You sure know how to stretch "i think atheists are wrong", into a rambling, self-serving, pile of crap.

      December 21, 2012 at 9:21 pm |
    • apostate

      You sure about that? You might want to review the huge graveyard of past religions and deities no one believes in anymore. The Christian response so far seems to be get more nuts and lose more believers.

      December 21, 2012 at 9:44 pm |
    • AtheistSteve

      Knowledge is a subset of belief. You could call knowledge justified true belief. We believe what we know. However we do not know all that we believe. Through inference and induction we can accept as true(believe) something we do not have direct knowledge or verification of.
      For example you might tell me you have a car in your garage. It would be perfectly reasonable to assume you are telling the truth and I would believe(but not be certain) that you do indeed have a car in your garage.
      Or you might tell me you have a rocket powered car in your garage. At this point I would think you might be pulling my leg. Certainly it's possible that you have a rocket car but the likelyhood is less certain and my responce would reflect that. I would be less inclined to believe you.
      Finally you tell me that you have a flying carpet in your garage. I don't believe you. Flying carpets are ridiculous. Maybe by some fantastic new technology only you possess your magic carpet is real but I have no reason to merely accept that at your word without evidence.

      This is the situaton facing atheists when the God proposal is made. You have failed to make a compelling argument to justify why I should accept what you say is true.

      December 21, 2012 at 9:47 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Mutual Respect: Your are enti.tled to your opinion, even if it has not basis in truth. The fact remains that there is no evidence to support the existence of any god. There is no actual need for any god. I don't find this position difficult to defend at all.

      December 22, 2012 at 1:15 am |
    • Bev

      mutual respect
      You're being silly. Humans have had thousands of other gods throughout history and Christians disregard all of them without proving that they don't exist. The overwhelming human opinion has been made that ancient peoples simply made up a lot of mythical gods, right? None of us can "prove" that these other gods never existed any more than somebody can prove that God doesn't exist, but that hasn't stopped us from generally becoming about 99.99% atheistic as a species.

      The precedent has been set that humans have indeed made up a lot of completely fictional gods. We can take that to be the general rule about gods, in fact. So, when believers in one of the few remaining contested gods claim that theirs is actually real it's up to them to make a case that sets their god apart from the typical example and, for some of us, that case has not been made. Sorry, but if you want to convince us you're going to need to come up with some better evidence, or more convincing arguments as to how God is different from all the other gods.

      December 22, 2012 at 1:23 am |
  17. M. Lewinsky

    If your believing parents or grandparents are still alive – make sure you get in their face and tell them "YOU ARE DELUSIONAL"

    Translation: I hate you.

    December 21, 2012 at 8:59 pm |
    • apostate

      You can simply tell them you do not hold those beliefs. We don't have to hate them. The Bible tells you to hate them though. "If anyone comes to me and does not hate their father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple." – Luke 14:26

      December 21, 2012 at 9:31 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      What name were you using 24 hours ago, Monica?

      December 21, 2012 at 9:52 pm |
    • Akira

      You're quite the patronizing little t w a t, aren't you?
      I'll bet your parents and grandparents scream "I hate you" to your face...and I wouldn't blame them.

      December 22, 2012 at 12:28 am |
    • Carl

      M. Lewinsky
      Does a parent hate a child for being frightened of monsters she imagines are in her closet, or under her bed?

      December 22, 2012 at 12:05 pm |
  18. M. Lewinsky

    Will you keep screaming that there "is no God" during the grace?

    December 21, 2012 at 8:54 pm |
    • M. Lewinsky

      When someone makes a reference to God – will you rudely demand "YOU CANT PROVE HE EXISTS! WHAT ARE YOU A MORON?"

      December 21, 2012 at 8:56 pm |
    • hawaiiguest


      You seem to have some issues.

      December 21, 2012 at 8:56 pm |
    • hawaiiguest


      Or you're just a moronic troll, one of the two.

      December 21, 2012 at 8:57 pm |
    • M. Lewinsky

      @hawaii –

      Hey you have the "moron" line down pat. Make sure you whip it out at Christmas dinner

      December 21, 2012 at 9:01 pm |
    • Roger that

      Not at all. We prefer to say grace like this: "Thank you God for giving this food to us rather than giving to some of the 25,000 people that will die today from hunger. Thank you for caring about us and not them. Amen."

      December 21, 2012 at 9:01 pm |
    • M. Lewinsky

      @ Roger –

      25,000 people will die from hunger. I blame Christian aid groups for not doing as much as you atheists to alleviate suffering in the world. I mean, just look at how much the people who paid thousands of dollars to put up anti-belief posters up are doing for the hungry.

      December 21, 2012 at 9:05 pm |
    • Roger that

      Mr. Lebowski,

      That works both ways. The point is, why say grace thanking an all powerful god for taking care of you when the all powerful god is letting others suffer? Go have another White Russian.

      December 21, 2012 at 9:11 pm |
    • There's a verse for that

      ...and yet, when one looks across any city, town, or small village in each state, one finds innumerable steeples rising into view...but there is still hunger, homelessness, kids of all ages dying to be adopted, and hospitals full of patients longing for someone to come in and spend time with them and care for them alongside the professional caregivers...

      But where are the caring Christians...if not in the pew, they are at Target and Wal-mart worshipping their god...

      December 21, 2012 at 9:17 pm |
    • M. Lewinsky

      We have to leave some of that great humanitarian compassion to you guys. I keep hearing about how good you are – how much better than awful Christians. So have at it.

      December 21, 2012 at 9:19 pm |
    • There's a verse for that

      To the contrary...the narcissism and obsession with their psychological need to be special, not much compassion on display by the wider Christian community in the US

      December 21, 2012 at 9:22 pm |
    • Carl

      You can say 'grace', and be thankful for all that you have by the grace of your own hard work and good fortune, without having to believe that some super-powered being is responsible, right?

      December 22, 2012 at 12:09 pm |
  19. M. Lewinsky

    So??? Are all of you fire-breathing God haters going to be on here on Christmas day, howling your derision at Christmas after you finished you celebration of Christmas?

    December 21, 2012 at 8:48 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Would you like us to?

      December 21, 2012 at 8:50 pm |
    • M. Lewinsky

      Would you like to??

      December 21, 2012 at 8:51 pm |
    • There's a verse for that

      A friend once said you can only hate that which you once loved...perhaps, for the ex-Christian, this might be true...

      But for the atheist, they can't hate something that does not exist.

      Please, think before you hit the post but ton

      December 21, 2012 at 8:53 pm |
    • M. Lewinsky

      And will you try to ruin your family celebration and be just as rude to them as you are to everyone on here?

      December 21, 2012 at 8:53 pm |
    • lol??

      You have to look at CNN's belief blog as a safety valve for the atheists. However it doesn't work for a sociopathic atheist.

      December 21, 2012 at 8:57 pm |
    • Observer

      M. Lewinsky,

      Total logic failure. The ONLY people who can hate God are BELIEVERS. Oops.

      December 21, 2012 at 9:40 pm |
    • Carl

      M. Lewinsky
      Does a parent hate the monsters that their child imagines are in her closet, or does she just wish that her child grows out of this belief sooner than later?

      December 22, 2012 at 12:15 pm |
  20. lol??

    "Therefore we must on no account regard industry and agriculture, socialist industrialization and the socialist transformation of agriculture as two separate and isolated things, and on no account must we emphasize the one and play down the other." Quotations from Mao Tse Tung Transformer MAN!!

    Socialism and Communism http://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/mao/works/red-book/ch03.htm

    December 21, 2012 at 8:44 pm |
    • There's a verse for that

      And so, if someone uses the term "transformation" they are a commie socialist?

      You really can't think for yourself can you?

      December 21, 2012 at 9:06 pm |
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About this blog

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