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Electing a pope: What's taking so long?
Michelangelo's "The Last Judgment" is seen through the Sistine Chapel doors on April 16, 2005. The painting, on the wall above the altar, was completed in 1541.
March 6th, 2013
01:18 PM ET

Electing a pope: What's taking so long?

By Richard Allen Greene, CNN

Rome (CNN) - In and around the Vatican these days, there's one question everyone keeps asking: When is the conclave to elect the new pope going to start?

The cardinals of the Roman Catholic Church aren't saying, but they're sending a clear message: They will not be rushed.

As of the seventh day after Pope Benedict XVI flew off into the sunset, the voting cardinals hadn't even all arrived in Rome, leaving the world wondering what's taking so long.

But don't be fooled. The conclave matters, but it isn't the only game in town. What's happening now is at least as important.

Since Monday, the princes of the church have been meeting in what are called General Congregations - closed-door discussion sessions where all of the world's cardinals can talk about whatever is on their mind.

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Think of it like this: If the conclave is the presidential election, the General Congregations happening now are the primaries - or the caucuses held every four years in Iowa, where friends, neighbors and coworkers meet and discuss why they think their candidate would make the best president.

The conversations won't be that nakedly political, but everyone in the room is sizing up everyone else as they discuss the issues facing the church.

Some of that happens over coffee breaks, as one Vatican spokesman hinted on Monday, the first day of the General Congregations.

"There's a coffee break for about 30 minutes at a special buffet area in the front part of the audience hall," said the Rev. Thomas Rosica. "Cardinals have an opportunity to go down and mix and mingle."

The cardinals aged 80 and over, who are barred by Church law from voting for the next pope, do get to participate in the General Congregations. It's their only chance to set the agenda.

"They want to say what the next pope will hear, because he's probably in that room, and they also want to alert the people who haven't spent so much time in Rome just what the situation really is here as they see it," Cardinal Francis George of Chicago said.

Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins, who participated in the conclave to elect Benedict XVI but is too old for this conclave, said the groundwork is laid during General Congregations.

"By the time the congregations are over, you have a clear idea of who can deal with the problems we've discussed," he said on Sunday.

The cardinals under the age of 80 who elect the pope continue evaluating each other once the conclave begins, Cardinal George said.

"You take people aside and say 'Now, in the balloting today, so-and-so had support and I wasn't even very much aware who he is. Tell me about him," he told CNN before the General Congregations started.

A look at possible papal contenders

But they want to go into the conclave with pretty clear ideas about who should be pope, Cardinal Sean O'Malley said at a news conference Tuesday.

"We want to have enough time in the General Congregations so that when we go into the conclave it's a time of decision," the Boston cardinal said.

"This is a time of discernment and prayer and reflections," he said, referring to the General Congregations.

"Many cardinals are concerned that if there is not enough time spent in the General Congregations then when we get into the conclave it could drag on," he said.

"If you cut short the discussions, the conclave could go on and on and we really prefer to have the discussions done before," he said.

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

And how long will the discussions take?

Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, Texas, answered that at the same news conference on Tuesday: "It takes as long as it takes."

- Newsdesk editor, The CNN Wire

Filed under: Catholic Church • Pope Benedict XVI • Vatican

soundoff (512 Responses)
  1. thetruthwillsetyoufree

    Aren't you guys glad its not being done int he USA? It would never get done...

    March 7, 2013 at 12:06 pm |
    • clarity

      True – Ron Popeil would have set up the cardinals somewhere and forgot about them. They'd be toast.

      March 7, 2013 at 12:26 pm |
  2. The Anti-Christ

    I have already picked your Pope. Greetings to Petrus Romanus, who will usher in the new age

    March 7, 2013 at 12:06 pm |
    • Tommy

      I sure hope your right because I'm sick of hearing about the "end of days"

      March 7, 2013 at 1:54 pm |
    • greg14

      Hey Oh

      April 2, 2013 at 12:06 am |
    • Greg14

      If

      April 2, 2013 at 1:12 am |
  3. Soda

    Who cares.

    March 7, 2013 at 11:57 am |
  4. Alexandrek

    so many bribes and influences to buy and sell, it slows the process a lot

    March 7, 2013 at 11:51 am |
  5. clarity

    Some believe that celibacy is appropriate for certain people, or for certain positions. It's ridiculous. Celibacy is unnatural and will continue to cause problems for the religious institutions that employ it.

    Many of the people from these same institutions advocate against abortion, but don't understand the realistic benefit of the morning after pill or even basic contraception; their unrealistic wishful thinking is causing the death of many at the hands of disease. Realistically, many abortions could be avoided if a morning-after pill were not viewed as such an evil option. Many of these same people bring children into the world at a high pace, and then would prefer that the rest of society take over and educate their children in their particular brand of religion when they don't plan well.

    In the U.S. recently we learned of the head of LCMS chastising a minister of that church for participating in a joint service for the victims of the Newtown school shooting.

    One sect calls homosexuality an abomination while the next one in the same denomination is already performing gay marriage.

    One sect, the Westboro Baptist Church believes Americans are being killed at war because America is too kind to "fags".

    One sect believes that Jesus and Satan were brothers and that Christ will return to Jerusalem AND Jackson County, Missouri.

    One sect believes women to be subservient, while another sect in the same denomination promotes equality between the sexes.

    Conflicted right from the very beginning, Christianity continues to splinter and create divisions and more extremism as it goes.

    =================================================
    Has anything improved with Christianity since 200+ years ago?

    Thomas Jefferson, POTUS #3 (from Notes on the State of Virginia):

    Millions of innocent men, women, and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined, imprisoned; yet we have not advanced one inch towards uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one half the world fools, and the other half hypocrites. To support roguery and error all over the earth.

    James Madison, POTUS #4, chief architect of the U.S. Constitution & the Bill of Rights (from A Memorial and Remonstrance delivered to the Virginia General Assembly in 1785):

    During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What has been its fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the clergy; ignorance and servility in the laity; in both, superstition, bigotry, and persecution.

    John Adams, POTUS #2 (in a letter to Thomas Jefferson, 09/03/1816):

    I almost shudder at the thought of alluding to the most fatal example of the abuses of grief which the history of mankind has preserved – the Cross. Consider what calamities that engine of grief has produced! With the rational respect that is due to it, knavish priests have added prostitutions of it, that fill or might fill the blackest and bloodiest pages of human history.

    Ben Franklin (from a letter to The London Packet, 3 June 1772):

    If we look back into history for the character of present sects in Christianity, we shall find few that have not in their turns been persecutors, and complainers of persecution. The primitive Christians thought persecution extremely wrong in the Pagans, but practised it on one another. The first Protestants of the Church of England, blamed persecution in the Roman church, but practised it against the Puritans: these found it wrong in the Bishops, but fell into the same practice themselves both here and in New England.

    Thomas Paine (from The Age of Reason):

    All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit.

    March 7, 2013 at 9:24 am |
    • Alexandrek

      the worst is the priest of your village is supposed to be your sort of family counsel but they have no idea of what a family really means!

      March 7, 2013 at 11:52 am |
    • Chutzpah

      very clear

      March 7, 2013 at 1:27 pm |
    • Bill

      Uggh...save us the cut and paste.

      March 7, 2013 at 5:34 pm |
  6. kevobx

    Notice how Satanists desire to call people names like nuts or even crazy, but they do not dare call you a liar? *1st Timothy 5:15 For some are already turned aside after Satan *Exodus 3:3-4 And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt. And when the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I. *John 8:58 Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am. *Genesis 18:32 And he said, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak yet but this once: Peradventure ten shall be found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for ten's sake. (*2nd Timothy 2:25-26*)

    March 7, 2013 at 9:04 am |
    • Chutzpah

      please name one Satanist you actually know.

      March 7, 2013 at 1:31 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Austin, that you?

      March 7, 2013 at 1:33 pm |
    • bczu

      You do realize that atheists don't believe in God or Satan....right?

      March 7, 2013 at 3:44 pm |
    • MC

      Get help, you sad little half-wit. You're crazy. And you're a liar.

      March 7, 2013 at 4:34 pm |
  7. kevobx

    Now those that were sealed are in (Nehemiah 10) Nehemiah 10:28-29 the entire world has been exposed! *Numbers 2:33 But the Levites were not numbered among the children of Israel; as the Lord commanded Moses. *Hebrews 7:14 For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Juda; of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood. *John 1:17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. (*Luke 24:44*) (*Revelation 15:3-4 the entire world has been exposed!)

    March 7, 2013 at 8:40 am |
    • End Religion

      Hey ya crazy bastard how's it going?

      March 7, 2013 at 1:35 pm |
  8. kevobx

    Now those that were sealed were are in (Nehemiah 10) *Nehemiah 10:28-29 And the rest of the people, the priests, the Levites, the porters, the singers, the Nethinims, and all they that had separated themselves from the people of the lands unto the law of God, their wives, their sons, and their daughters, every one having knowledge, and having understanding; They clave to their brethren, their nobles, and entered into a curse, and into an oath, to walk in God's law, which was given by Moses the servant of God, and to observe and do all the commandments of the Lord our Lord, and his judgments and his statutes; *Numbers 2:33 But the Levites were not numbered among the children of Israel; as the Lord commanded Moses. *John 1:17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. *Hebrews 7:14 For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Juda; of which tribe Mose spake nothing concerning priesthood. *Revelation 15:3-4 And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of Saints. Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest. (*Luke 24:44*)

    March 7, 2013 at 8:23 am |
  9. AB

    Pointy hats and funny dresses. Parade at your ball for Jesus loves to play. Take the money and hoard it away as Jesus would do. My how the holy one loves the pomp and circumstance. Sickly priests who defile the young, just as Jesus condones. Oh Catholics, truly you are blessed.

    March 6, 2013 at 11:47 pm |
  10. AB

    Knee replacements.

    March 6, 2013 at 11:33 pm |
  11. Ted

    The RC's omnipotent BOMITS must be busy in another galaxy and can't get to a decision for a while. Funny.

    Religion is all smoke and mirrors, all the time, but the Roaming Catlickers are among the worst in sheer backwardness and how ridiculous they can be. Well, at least they haven't been flying planes into buildings.

    March 6, 2013 at 7:53 pm |
    • bethany

      EWWWWwwww! Roaming Catlickers. I'll keep my dear Siamese away from them.

      March 6, 2013 at 7:55 pm |
  12. Why is it taking so long?

    Skeletons. Gargantuan skeletons.

    March 6, 2013 at 6:59 pm |
  13. bethany

    Have you seen what else "end religion" has posted on this forum, Russ? Take a look. She has nothing, nothing, to contribute to an OK intelligent debate.

    March 6, 2013 at 5:29 pm |
    • .

      The complexity of the reply button escape you, bethy baybee?

      March 6, 2013 at 6:29 pm |
    • End Religion

      Don't hate me because I'm beautiful.

      March 7, 2013 at 3:23 am |
  14. ISLAM FOUNDATION OF AMERICAN CONSTI TUTION

    WHY IT IS TAKING SO LONG?
    Because everyone of those wine addicted hindu sanatans, drunk goon man gods of hindu Catholics, ignorant followers of compound of hinduism pagan ism and teachings of Israelite, have followed in holy tradition of hinduism, boy sodomy as per their hindu Sanatans, filthy man gods, Plato etc. They have a difficult choice, condemn some, while they all are guilty of hinduism, boy sodomy by faith. Sooner or later they will find way of hinduism denial of truth absolute, while they are hind, drunk on cases of wine, bought with donations of hindus, ignorant s to give matter a new twist.

    March 6, 2013 at 4:57 pm |
    • Maya

      Have seen Zero Dark Thirty yet?

      March 6, 2013 at 6:24 pm |
    • Akira

      Yeah, Islam Foundation, that must be it.
      /sarcasm

      March 6, 2013 at 10:32 pm |
    • Andy

      ALL religion is a farce! Worshiping something/someone that NO ONE has EVER seen!!! I also find it ironic that the #1 cause of death is.......RELIGION!!!!!

      Worship the sun. At least you can see it. Kind of lends to the credibility a bit, don't you think?

      March 7, 2013 at 3:50 pm |
  15. Bobbynorwich

    The RCC is one of the most corrupt and duplicitous organization in the world. Half of the cardinals should be in prison for child endangerment like Msgr. Lynn of Philadelphia. Go to Bishopaccountability.org to read the degree of widespread and systemic coverup.

    Nothing will change with a new pope as almost all the cardinals were appointed by either John Paul II or Benedict. The RCC is dwindling quickly and will ultimately become obsolete.

    March 6, 2013 at 3:05 pm |
    • Lycidas

      Yep...1 billion members in the RCC and growing in Latin America and Africa....sure is dwindling.

      March 6, 2013 at 3:13 pm |
    • ?

      The main growth areas have been Asia and Africa, with 21.1% and 27.6% growth respectively. In North and South America, numbers have remained approximately the same, while there was a 6.8% decline in Europe and a 5.5% decrease in Oceania.

      Since the early 2000s the number of practicing Catholics have been reported to be declining in millions throughout the world

      March 6, 2013 at 3:46 pm |
    • ?

      From VATICAN LETTER Aug-17-2012

      The percentage of Catholics practicing their faith is declining almost everywhere around the globe. Almost all bishops report it.

      March 6, 2013 at 3:47 pm |
    • Lycidas

      "Over the past century, the number of Catholics around the globe has more than tripled, from an estimated 291 million in 1910 to nearly 1.1 billion as of 2010, according to a comprehensive demographic study by the Pew Research Center.
      Rapid growth has occurred in sub-Saharan Africa, which today is home to about 171 million Catholics (16%), up from an estimated 1 million (less than 1%) in 1910. There also has been rapid growth in the vast Asia-Pacific region, where 131 million Catholics (12%) now live, up from 14 million (5%) a century ago.

      North America’s share of the global Catholic population has increased more slowly, from about 15 million (5%) in 1910 to 89 million (8%) as of 2010."
      (http://www.pewforum.org/Christian/Catholic/The-Global-Catholic-Population.aspx)

      March 6, 2013 at 4:05 pm |
    • Lycidas

      The point....Bobbynorwich is wrong when he said it was dwindling, Unless he means a specific area (which i doubt he was)...he was wrong.

      March 6, 2013 at 4:06 pm |
    • FYI

      Catholics have made up a remarkably stable share of all people on Earth. In 1910, Catholics comprised about half (48%) of all Christians and 17% of the world’s total population, according to historical estimates from the World Christian Database. A century later, the Pew Research study found, Catholics still comprise about half (50%) of Christians worldwide and 16% of the total global population.

      This is from Lycidas site, it's still a decline.

      March 6, 2013 at 4:30 pm |
    • FYI

      1% = 70,705,107

      March 6, 2013 at 4:33 pm |
    • FYI

      And that is still not dwindling since the facts are, there are more Catholics today than there was 100 years ago. Using the % angle is dishonest since it implies there are fewer Catholics today than 100 years ago and that is incorrect.

      When the RCC gets down below the total population of the United States, then one might be able to say it's dwindling. We still have 700,000,000 till that happens.

      March 6, 2013 at 4:46 pm |
    • Bobbynorwich

      Today, only 1 in 4 American Catholics attend church on Sunday, parishes are closing, and seminaries are tiny. In Europe attendance rates are even lower except in Poland. This is a huge financial drain on the RCC and even though it is growing in Africa and Asia, those are poor continents that will do little to help the church financially. `

      March 6, 2013 at 5:46 pm |
    • Bob

      And we all know well that god needs money. As George says so well,
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gPOfurmrjxo

      March 6, 2013 at 7:58 pm |
    • End Religion

      Lycidas, can you explain why your religion is dying? Is it due to the fact that you cannot prove your god exists, and that in general people seem to increase their intelligence, leaving only the dimmest of dimwits left to squabble over the scraps?

      March 7, 2013 at 3:27 am |
    • Lycidas

      @End Religion- "can you explain why your religion is dying?"

      I have a religion? When did I ever say that? Are you guessing again, that's a bad habit on your part.

      "Is it due to the fact that you cannot prove your god exists,"

      I have yet to say that one can prove God exists. Curious, can you prove that the concept of God was created by a man? Plz cite the scientific evidence if you feel you can. Otherwise, you are no better than those who say they can prove God but cannot offer any science.

      "and that in general people seem to increase their intelligence, leaving only the dimmest of dimwits left to squabble over the scraps?"

      Wow, you are a snob aren't you? There are quite a few ppl of faith that have a higher IQ than you do so i would be wary about going down that road of intelligence= no faith.

      March 7, 2013 at 2:29 pm |
    • Susan StoHelit

      @Lycidas

      Nice reply! Well said. I'm an atheist – but religion, as a private matter is a private choice, and not something that can be proven – even had you stated a religion that you believed to be true. Only when someone tries to write their religion into law, force it onto others, is it a problem, does it require proof before you can force others to obey that religion's guidelines.

      Religion is, IMO, harmful to the world – but only when it has power. If people want to believe, I can't prove them wrong – I only demand proof if they're going to try to put their religion into my gov't, laws, schools, etc. Other than that, it's a private belief and personal preference.

      March 7, 2013 at 5:49 pm |
  16. End Religion

    Theism: a morbid condition caused by drinking too much tea. (Thanks to non-GOPer and approved by Lie4It)

    March 6, 2013 at 1:59 pm |
    • Russ

      @ End Religion:
      atheism: knowing something as simple as a cup of tea requires an intelligent agent to exist,
      but convincing yourself that something as complex as the universe does not.

      March 6, 2013 at 2:39 pm |
    • Felix Sinclair

      @Russ: Theism. Believing in magic and an imaginary friend who invented himself and has nothing better to do than to listen to you is easier than critical thinking.

      March 6, 2013 at 2:49 pm |
    • Russ

      @ Felix:
      atheism: looking at the expanse & complexity of existence and *precluding* the possibility that there's something greater than me – and then mocking those who don't make such a leap as though it didn't take greater imagination on my own part to do so.

      March 6, 2013 at 3:17 pm |
    • End Religion

      I heard this motto was in the running for the Liberty University motto:
      "Liberty University: Gawd Dun It Wif Spelz"

      March 6, 2013 at 4:12 pm |
    • Russ

      @ End Religion: we have had the conversation repeatedly.

      you are attempting to undermine metaphysics with physics. they are two different categories entirely.
      physics *presupposes* metaphysics (& therefore cannot speak to it).
      more directly, your position *presupposes* the very sort of claims you are mocking.

      you are failing to see the difference between science (which makes no such claim) & scientism (a faith).
      that's why you continue to use a critique that equally applies to you.
      i have no problem with science. I have a problem with your scientism.

      on that point...
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FPeyJvXU68k

      March 6, 2013 at 4:22 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Rus

      Wow, you just go from Straw Man to Straw Man don't you?

      March 6, 2013 at 4:27 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Russ

      And tell me, which moronic apologist liar did you get the made up term "scientism" from?

      March 6, 2013 at 4:28 pm |
    • End Religion

      Russ, I'm glad you enjoy science, now where is your empirical evidence for your sky daddy?

      March 6, 2013 at 4:29 pm |
    • Russ

      @ hawaiiguest: one's underlying presuppositions are not 'straw men', it's the most foundational discussion you can have. and as these conversations continue to draw out, everything else flows out from our divergent presuppositions.

      and per the term you've never heard before...
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientism

      March 6, 2013 at 4:44 pm |
    • Russ

      @ End Religion:

      1) you seem to be assuming "there is no truth except what is empirically verifiable."
      a) that itself is not an empirically verifiable statement.
      b) how do you know truth is accessible solely through the means you dictate?

      2) as a Christian, I don't believe in a 'Sky Daddy.' I believe God – who made this entire existence you *believe* self-generated (again, an unverifiable leap of faith on your part) – entered time & space in the person of Jesus Christ. Thereby willingly giving us (though not because he was required to do so) empirical evidence.

      In short, Jesus is the empirical evidence you're seeking.

      March 6, 2013 at 4:50 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Russ

      Oh I'm sorry, when you said:
      "atheism: knowing something as simple as a cup of tea requires an intelligent agent to exist,
      but convincing yourself that something as complex as the universe does not."
      that wasn't a Straw Man, it was a flat out arrogant lie. A pathetic attempt to score points with those who already agree with you and to presuppose the ID bullshit that has failed to stand up to any kind of objective scrutiny at every turn.

      As for your use of scientism, in which way were you using it? The wiki you provided had so many conflicting uses that it's hard to know whether you used it as a statement of what you think his position is, orusing it in a derogatory way in response to someone wanting actual evidence of a claim.

      March 6, 2013 at 4:57 pm |
    • Russ

      @ hawaiiguest: yes, i must admit i was taking a shot in return to a shot taken. and that – in and of itself – was not faithful to my own beliefs. you are right to call me out there.

      however, a straw man it is not. and it is the very point i was making on our other conversation elsewhere on this blog. you are holding "beliefs" about existence (unverifiable claims about 'truth'/what is real & is not) while claiming "not to believe". as a result, it conflates scientific findings with your empirically unvalidated opinions.

      yes, you can attack my 'empirically unverified' beliefs – but here you do so with *your* empirically unverified beliefs. we can have that conversation, but when you fail to see your own presuppositions are equally unverified, you begin to use arguments that are self-refuting because you don't realize your own position is equally susceptible to the same critique.

      March 6, 2013 at 5:12 pm |
    • Russ

      @ hawaiiguest: per scientism, watch the above video. CS Lewis has a rather indicting critique of scientism.

      or here's another one... when the 'new atheists' attempt to explain religion away with science, they are no longer doing science, but something else...

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rK0mjVcmcIo

      March 6, 2013 at 5:15 pm |
    • End Religion

      Russ, so you love science but you have no empirical evidence for your sky daddy, and are going to claim it real anyway? That seems to be at odds with your love of science. Interesting....

      March 6, 2013 at 5:19 pm |
    • Russ

      @ End Religion: are you purposefully avoiding what I'm writing or did you simply overlook what I said above in response to that question?

      March 6, 2013 at 5:31 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Russ

      I don't even know what your saying my position supposedly is. It's just a convulted mess. As for the Straw Man thing, didn't I say it wasn't a Straw Man in my second post? I'm pretty sure I did, so I don't know why you felt the need to restate that it wasn't a Straw Man.
      Yu continue talking about my "presuppositions" and non-empirically verified positions, yet you have yet to actually state what you think my position is.

      March 6, 2013 at 6:37 pm |
    • End Religion

      Russ, I don't understand why you're avoiding answering my question. I can only assume that since you love science and cannot show credible evidence for god that you agree the most probable scenario is that your god does not exist. Welcome to atheism.

      March 7, 2013 at 3:36 am |
    • Russ

      @ End Religion: as I said above...

      1) you seem to be assuming "there is no truth except what is empirically verifiable."
      a) that itself is not an empirically verifiable statement.
      b) how do you know truth is accessible solely through the means you dictate?

      2) as a Christian, I don't believe in a 'Sky Daddy.' I believe God – who made this entire existence you *believe* self-generated (again, an unverifiable leap of faith on your part) – entered time & space in the person of Jesus Christ. Thereby willingly giving us (though not because he was required to do so) empirical evidence.

      In short, Jesus is the empirical evidence you're seeking.

      March 7, 2013 at 11:35 am |
    • End Religion

      "In short, Jesus is the empirical evidence you're seeking."

      Russ I understand you do not share reality, which is known to us via science and empirical evidence. Just don't be surprised or offended when someone then applies to you the truth that you are deluded. I'm just surprised you have fooled yourself into claiming to be a fan of science while rejecting it simultaneously. I feel bad inside that you lie to yourself and can't see it. Maybe one day you will break free.

      I am sad to hear you refer to empirical evidence when you obviously do not understand what that is. It does seem disingenuous for you to claim on one hand earlier in the thread that your own beliefs are "empirically unverified" yet on another hand claim your Jeebus provided you empirical evidence. You are attempting to have your cake and eat it to. I do understand this is the duplicitous nature of the church, I'm just surprised you feel you wouldn't deserve heaping mounds of ridicule for your hypocrisy. But then it wouldn't be religion without the hypocrisy, would it?

      Your Jesus is fiction, and in mankind's reality fiction doesn't count as evidence for anything. I understand you are desperate but your reputation is at stake. Try to hold onto a little honesty in you wackadoodle journey.

      March 7, 2013 at 11:49 am |
    • Russ

      @ hawaiiguest:

      1) "straw man" vs. "arrogant lie"? i addressed the less incendiary remark in order to have a more charitable conversation. it was not attempting to malign you or misrepresent you, but to be charitable.

      to be direct: no, it was not a lie. it is an illogical leap of faith to assume existence self-generated (or to be cliche: you get something out of nothing). even stephen hawking with his (heavily criticized) new show's hypothesis on the origin of the universe recognizes this. it's a major problem for ANYONE wanting to explain an existence that functions somehow in the face of chaos & entropy. hawking knows: order out of chaos without intelligence is a major problem he feels compelled to attempt to address. but you simply call it a "lie"?

      2) per your presuppositions: here are your own words yesterday on the other article/thread/conversation we had...
      "As far as the faith based part, anyone who makes a positive claim about the factual existence or non-existence of any "god" has no evidentiary basis for it, but could have a logical basis for it. I'd say it's more probable that a god does not exist.
      Empirically, there's nothing to prove nor disprove say, the god of the bible. Logically, the god of the bible can't exist."

      that is a leap of faith. to say "logically, the god of the bible can't exist" when you admit that there is no empirical evidence supporting your position and then asserting probability (which in and of itself is contestable, but especially in light of the last 20 years of scientific research is actually directly contrary to chaos theory, etc.) you jump to that conclusion... then yes, that is a giant leap of faith.

      March 7, 2013 at 12:02 pm |
    • Russ

      @ End Religion:
      yes, metaphysical presuppositions are necessarily a leap of faith. i agree with that.

      my broader point here was that Jesus entered time & space. He entered history. it's a demonstrable fact. there's a broad array of resources and eyewitness testimony in that regard.

      per that *evidence*, consider the following (rather exhaustive) scholarly works: (or even just peruse a good summary of them to get started)
      Richard Bauckham, "Jesus & the Eyewitnesses"
      NT Wright, "The Resurrection of the Son of God"

      Before you claim there is no empirical evidence, actually check the evidence available. The evidence itself will not guarantee you believe, but it should compel you to recognize at least that a man named Jesus did exist (as Bart Ehrman, a self-proclaimed agnostic with atheistic tendencies writes in his new book), and it was his existence that started the firestorm that is Christianity.

      having admitted that, then we can have a conversation on the actual nature of this Jesus – and in particular that we cannot know anything about him apart from the earliest, most reliable resources.

      and in that regard, here's a brief article...
      http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/justintaylor/2012/03/21/an-interview-with-daniel-b-wallace-on-the-new-testament-manuscripts/

      March 7, 2013 at 12:11 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Russ

      Wow. You really don't even know what I'm talking about anymore. What I called a lie is your assertions that atheists "know" that an intelligent designer is needed and we actively try to convince ourselves otherwise. THAT is the lie I was talking about. I thought it was pretty clear, but perhaps not.
      As for something from nothing, you're throwing out a lot of disjointed words that sound nice, but really you've presented nothing that would support a "supernatural" explanation. You have demonstrated nothing. I don't know where or how matter and energy came into being, or if it always existed, but that's completely irrelevant. You can cite all the gaps and unknowns until you're blue in the face. None of it proves anything other than we don't know things.

      You like to throw out the term "leap of faith", presumably to avoid actually addressing what is said. I admitted that there is no empirical evidence, and you immediately assert that I've "jumped to a conclusion". Tell me Russ, do you even care about actual discussion and debate, or do you really just want to twist anything and everything?

      March 7, 2013 at 1:14 pm |
    • Russ

      @ hawaiiguest: yes, we are ships passing in the night then.

      i'm continually addressing your metaphysical presuppositions. that's step 1, page 1, foundational divide. you are objecting to step 2, page 2, secondary & tertiary concerns. i'm driving at the initial divide.

      the fact that you continue to admit you "don't know" but assert with increasing vehemence that your position is somehow *more* warranted is simply self-contradictory. and that's why i keep pushing back on your presuppositions.

      it's not just a jumble of 50 cent words. let me state it simply. your take an huge leap as your step 1 given. then you object to my step 1, but you use your step 2 logic. but the entire debate & point of divide is the step 1 leap. and you are making an equally (if not more so) huge jump as the 'religious' folks you criticize.

      as for the lie: yes, i think we are all actively engaged in some form of self-deception – but again, those goes to *my* metaphysical presuppositions. and maybe that's a better way to put the question for you (rather than in religious terminology): who can tell you things you don't want to hear? who can speak into your world & call you out on places where you might actually be deceiving yourself? or are you always right?

      March 7, 2013 at 2:53 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Russ

      As I pointed out before, you continually talk about my "presuppositions", and now spouting about "step 1 step 2 blah blah", yet you never actually state what you think my presuppositions are. If you're going to debate, at least debate honestly and don't just say I'm doing some vague thing without actually showing what it is.

      March 7, 2013 at 3:00 pm |
    • Russ

      @ hawaiiguest:

      a) you wanted me to use smaller words, so i did. "step 1, metaphysical presuppositions, etc." are all an attempt to actually engage your point of departure. i think you know that, though.

      b) as for stating your own presuppositions: quoting you for an entire paragraph doesn't count? let me sharpen it to two sentences then... you said: "Empirically, there's nothing to prove nor disprove say, the god of the bible. Logically, the god of the bible can't exist."

      but i engaged that above. again: you make a leap of faith based on "probability" – an appeal to David Hume's attempt to push the miraculous out of the conversation. but as i said there, the last 20 years in science makes that position increasingly untenable – both empirically & (as if it wasn't already) philosophically. empirically: chaos theory & quantum physics goes directly against that presupposition. philosophically: there is no empirical OR logical reason to do that. it is simply a leap.

      March 7, 2013 at 3:18 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Russ

      Wow. That's just hilarious.
      For one, you've merely restated that I have "metaphysical presuppositions", yet still don't actually state what it is, because your quote from me isn't a "presupposition", it's a statement of fact, and here's how.
      You say chaos theory and quantum physics support the supernatural. How so? You can say it all you want, but without a demonstration, it's just more assertions to pile up on your other assertions.
      Next, you take a single word, and go off on people I've never even read anything from, which is a misrepresentation of what I said. I stated, quite clearly, that "I'd say it's more probable a god doesn't exist". This is clearly an OPINION, not a statement of the factual nature of something. You see one word, and just run with it, which is another dishonest tactic.
      Next, as I said, you continue to say that a lack of empirical evidence for the god of the bible is a presupposition. How so? You throw out scientific concepts as claims to support you, but never demonstrate how they do that.
      Are you even trying to make specific claims at this point, or just trying to be as vague as possible?
      You say over and over and over that what I said is a leap, yet you consistently fail to actually demonstrate how that is so.
      Either get honest, or I'm done with you.

      March 7, 2013 at 3:34 pm |
    • Russ

      @ hawaiiguest: to be explicit on things i thought were self-evident...

      chaos theory presumes you can get unexpected (i.e., improbable) results. you were deducing rather emphatically that god "can't" exist because it's "improbable." that's a classic argument (from David Hume). it's also an increasingly untenable one since – as I said – chaos theory basically is the anti.thesis: unexpected things happen. same with quantum physics. i'm not saying those scientific fields in some way support my particular religion, but rather i'm pointing out that it certainly undermines your position (that the unexpected/improbable can't happen).

      and i'm not taking one word ("probability") out of context – it was your given reasoning (above) for "logically" (as you argued) eliminating the possibility of the God of the Bible. i was demonstrating that even w/in merely scientific disciplines your logic is being disproven. that's without engaging the entire field of biblical-historical studies or philosophical problems with Hume's argument.

      as for opinion versus fact, you move from opinion "i'd say it's more probable" to supposed fact "logically, the god of the bible can't exist" as though they were the same. that's not something i'm doing – it's what you said above.

      and i don't know how many different ways to say this to you: you DO have a point of departure (whether you realize it or not). most scientists talk about "methodological naturalism" – but even that is an admission that philosophy (not science) is their point of departure. they are taking a set of 'givens' in terms of how they approach existence. but that is to enter into a philosophical conversation. and that's why i keep going there. that's the entire discussion. but you seem unaware that you have a similar set of 'givens'.

      as a result, the criticisms you are levying against religion (as a whole? or just "the god of the bible"?) are equally valid against your *own* point of departure... which from what you've said appears to be some form of "only what is empirically verifiable is true (or likely to be true)". as i've said repeatedly here & on the other thread: that last statement fails its own standard: it is not an empirically verifiable statement. it's not only a leap of faith to take that approach to existence, but it's a *demonstrably* self-contradictory leap of faith.

      March 7, 2013 at 5:18 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Russ

      Wow, I thought you could tell the difference between saying "I'd say it's more probable a god doesn't exist" and "logically, the god of the bible doesn't exist." This is where a huge disconnect is from you. Your concept of god isn't the only one out there. I was making two very clear and distict statements, it's your inability to seperate "a god" from "god of the bible" that's causing your problem with my comment.
      "chaos theory presumes you can get unexpected (i.e., improbable) results. you were deducing rather emphatically that god "can't" exist because it's "improbable." "
      A perfect example of your complete misunderstanding of what I said.

      As to your criticism of only accepting empirical evidence, what other method has demonstrated itself to be reliable in coming to reasonable conclusions? Faith? Nope, because every religion relies on faith. Every contradictory magic claim of "god done it" is based on faith.
      The other thread was about something completely different that you decided to change the entire scope on, so I don't know why you're bringing that up.

      March 7, 2013 at 7:06 pm |
    • clarity

      Russ: [ which from what you've said appears to be some form of "only what is empirically verifiable is true (or likely to be true)". as i've said repeatedly here & on the other thread: that last statement fails its own standard: it is not an empirically verifiable statement. it's not only a leap of faith to take that approach to existence ]

      Russ, just because you have constructed a sentence containing "empirical" that cannot be proved empirically does not mean that empirical evidence is not a less valuable than other kinds of evidence. What you have written is just one application of it that is best not attempted. Everything is relative for all of us. Yes we do have to take all kinds of leaps of faith in life – including things that we see, hear and touch. But if I can touch it, feel it and reasonably know that others have done the same and it has been studied – I'm pretty comfortable with that versus something that falls outside of those aspects of personal experience.

      March 7, 2013 at 7:38 pm |
    • Russ

      @ hawaiiguest:

      that (separating 'probability' from 'can't exist') actually makes your position more problematic. now you simply have an unfounded assertion.

      the chaos theory point still holds on your more generic stance against theism in general. your appeal to "probability" fails to account for scientific developments (and again, that's not even engaging the philosophical & historical issues).

      i never said i was against accepting empirical evidence – i'm against pure naturalism (only what is empirically verifiable is true) as the basis for science. it fails to understand some basic limitations (especially philosophically) with science. again, though you are unaware of the term, it is scientism (putting faith in science). ironically for you, at that point it fails its own criteria (as i have repeatedly pointed out) yet you continue to fail to see the connection & how that is your underlying problem... which is why I guess you continue to say these things are unrelated.

      the problem here is not with science, but with your philosophical foundation. and like your house, if you have a problem with your roof, it may just be a roof problem. but if you have a problem with your structural foundation, it's going to affect everything else in the house – and all those other problems are only symptomatic of the most basic one, because the foundation affects everything else built on it. and that's why i keep pointing to your foundation... but you keep saying that's unrelated.

      March 8, 2013 at 11:08 am |
    • Russ

      @ clarity: this is not an either/or. i'm not throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

      science is a great thing. i'm glad we have it. but when we ask science to do things it cannot by definition, that's when the trouble arises.

      while science may present data that is helpful for discussions on ethics, it has no sense of good or evil. it makes no metaphysical claims – but rather *presupposes* them.

      i don't have a problem with the empirical per se, i have a problem with making a metaphysical claim that is self-refuting. it's building an entire way of seeing existence that is flawed from the outset. it is not simply "one application of it" as you claim, but it is THE application of it as the basis for discovering truth, reality, existence, etc. it's not a one off (as you seem to think) that can be ignored, it's the basis of an entire philosophical approach to existence that is fundamentally flawed.

      March 8, 2013 at 11:16 am |
    • End Religion

      Speaking of fundamentally flawed, Rusty, why no evidence for your big sky daddy? Is it because he's impotent or that he doesn't exist? Even Helios used to at least drag the sun across the sky for us; your god has done nothing. You worship this weakling?

      March 8, 2013 at 11:25 am |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Russ

      What a rambling, useless way to not address my post.

      March 8, 2013 at 2:17 pm |
  17. Akira

    This is something that can be done quickly; expecting it to is disingenuous.
    I met Cardinal George. Very nice man.

    March 6, 2013 at 1:56 pm |
  18. Bill Deacon

    O Lord Jesus Christ, Supreme Pastor of Your Church
    we thank you for the ministry of Pope Benedict XVI
    and the selfless care with which he has led us
    as Successor of Peter, and Your Vicar on earth

    Good Shepherd, who founded Your Church
    on the rock of Peter's faith
    and have never left your flock untended
    look with love upon us now,
    and sustain Your Church in faith, hope and charity

    Grant, Lord Jesus, in Your boundless love for us,
    anew Pope for Your Church
    who will please You by his holiness
    and lead us faithfully to You,
    who are the same yesterday,today, and forever

    Amen

    March 6, 2013 at 1:49 pm |
    • awayreligion

      wow... that's very bronze age of you... The archaic practices and beliefs of Christianity barely even seem human anymore... it just sounds weird... I'd give Christianity about 20 years.... enough time for the fundamentalists to die out and then it will dissipate into the sands of time...

      March 6, 2013 at 2:09 pm |
    • Lycidas

      "I'd give Christianity about 20 years"

      Most stupid comment I've read today. Yeah...1 billion+ followers will be gone in 20 years and no one will be Christian.

      March 6, 2013 at 3:15 pm |
    • Chick-a-dee

      Bill,
      Thank you for posting this. It's good to see it. I had stopped by to see if there was any intelligent conversation here, and this was the only thing worth reading.
      Take care!

      March 7, 2013 at 2:44 am |
    • End Religion

      Bill Deacon's Solemn Prayer

      O Lord Jesus Christ, Supreme Fiction of Our Brain
      we thank you for the mystery of Pope Benedict XVI
      and the selfish care and laws he has fled from
      as Sucker of Peter, and Your Grifter on earth

      Weak Shepherd, who founded Your Church
      on the cock of Peter's waist
      and have never once tended your flock
      look with lust upon us now,
      and sustain Your Church of pitiful dopes

      Grant, Lord Jesus, in Your boundless hate for us,
      a new Joke for Your Church
      who will please You by his duplicity
      and lead us greedily to You,
      who are the same yesterday,today, and forever
      except for the many Ways that have changed
      but which we overlook, or blame on Darkness or on freewill

      In vapid sheepiness,
      Amen

      March 7, 2013 at 3:54 am |
  19. Reality

    The decomposing underbelly of the RCC and all the other religions has been exposed. There is no "pope-cure" as the white sheet has been unfolded over the stupidity of it all.

    March 6, 2013 at 1:49 pm |
    • Lycidas

      "and all the other religions has been exposed"

      Ummm...no. Just because you believe in that statement, it does not mean it's factual.

      March 6, 2013 at 3:17 pm |
    • Reality

      The Facts:

      1. origin: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20E1EFE35540C7A8CDDAA0894DA404482

      “New Torah For Modern Minds

      Abraham, the Jewish patriarch, probably never existed. Nor did Moses. The entire Exodus story as recounted in the Bible probably never occurred. The same is true of the tumbling of the walls of Jericho. And David, far from being the fearless king who built Jerusalem into a mighty capital, was more likely a provincial leader whose reputation was later magnified to provide a rallying point for a fledgling nation.

      Such startling propositions – the product of findings by archaeologists digging in Israel and its environs over the last 25 years – have gained wide acceptance among non-Orthodox rabbis. But there has been no attempt to disseminate these ideas or to discuss them with the laity – until now.

      The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, which represents the 1.5 million Conservative Jews in the United States, has just issued a new Torah and commentary, the first for Conservatives in more than 60 years. Called "Etz Hayim" ("Tree of Life" in Hebrew), it offers an interpretation that incorporates the latest findings from archaeology, philology, anthropology and the study of ancient cultures. To the editors who worked on the book, it represents one of the boldest efforts ever to introduce into the religious mainstream a view of the Bible as a human rather than divine docu-ment. “
      prob•a•bly
      Adverb: Almost certainly; as far as one knows or can tell.

      2. Jesus was an illiterate Jewish peasant/carpenter/simple preacher man who suffered from hallucinations (or “mythicizing” from P, M, M, L and J) and who has been characterized anywhere from the Messiah from Nazareth to a mythical character from mythical Nazareth to a ma-mzer from Nazareth (Professor Bruce Chilton, in his book Rabbi Jesus). An-alyses of Jesus’ life by many contemporary NT scholars (e.g. Professors Ludemann, Crossan, Borg and Fredriksen, ) via the NT and related doc-uments have concluded that only about 30% of Jesus' sayings and ways noted in the NT were authentic. The rest being embellishments (e.g. miracles)/hallucinations made/had by the NT authors to impress various Christian, Jewish and Pagan sects.

      The 30% of the NT that is "authentic Jesus" like everything in life was borrowed/plagiarized and/or improved from those who came before. In Jesus' case, it was the ways and sayings of the Babylonians, Greeks, Persians, Egyptians, Hitt-ites, Canaanites, OT, John the Baptizer and possibly the ways and sayings of traveling Greek Cynics.

      earlychristianwritings.com/

      For added "pizzazz", Catholic theologians divided god the singularity into three persons and invented atonement as an added guilt trip for the "pew people" to go along with this trinity of overseers. By doing so, they made god the padre into god the "filicider".

      Current RCC problems:

      Pedophiliac priests, an all-male, mostly white hierarchy, atonement theology and original sin!!!!

      2 b., Luther, Calvin, Joe Smith, Henry VIII, Wesley, Roger Williams, the Great “Babs” et al, founders of Christian-based religions or combination religions also suffered from the belief in/hallucinations of "pretty wingie thingie" visits and "prophecies" for profits analogous to the myths of Catholicism (resurrections, apparitions, ascensions and immacu-late co-nceptions).

      Current problems:
      Adulterous preachers, pedophiliac clerics, "propheteering/ profiteering" evangelicals and atonement theology,

      3. Mohammed was an illiterate, womanizing, lust and greed-driven, warmongering, hallucinating Arab, who also had embellishing/hallucinating/plagiarizing scribal biographers who not only added "angels" and flying chariots to the koran but also a militaristic agenda to support the plundering and looting of the lands of non-believers.

      This agenda continues as shown by the ma-ssacre in Mumbai, the as-sas-sinations of Bhutto and Theo Van Gogh, the conduct of the seven Muslim doctors in the UK, the 9/11 terrorists, the 24/7 Sunni suicide/roadside/market/mosque bombers, the 24/7 Shiite suicide/roadside/market/mosque bombers, the Islamic bombers of the trains in the UK and Spain, the Bali crazies, the Kenya crazies, the Pakistani “koranics”, the Palestine suicide bombers/rocketeers, the Lebanese nutcases, the Taliban nut jobs, the Ft. Hood follower of the koran, and the Filipino “koranics”.

      And who funds this muck and stench of terror? The warmongering, Islamic, Shiite terror and torture theocracy of Iran aka the Third Axis of Evil and also the Sunni "Wannabees" of Saudi Arabia.

      Current crises:

      The Sunni-Shiite blood feud and the warmongering, womanizing (11 wives), hallucinating founder.

      4. Hinduism (from an online Hindu site) – "Hinduism cannot be described as an organized religion. It is not founded by any individual. Hinduism is God centered and therefore one can call Hinduism as founded by God, because the answer to the question ‘Who is behind the eternal principles and who makes them work?’ will have to be ‘Cosmic power, Divine power, God’."

      The caste/laborer system, reincarnation and cow worship/reverence are problems when saying a fair and rational God founded Hinduism."

      Current problems:

      The caste system, reincarnation and cow worship/reverence.

      5. Buddhism- "Buddhism began in India about 500 years before the birth of Christ. The people living at that time had become disillusioned with certain beliefs of Hinduism including the caste system, which had grown extremely complex. The number of outcasts (those who did not belong to any particular caste) was continuing to grow."

      "However, in Buddhism, like so many other religions, fanciful stories arose concerning events in the life of the founder, Siddhartha Gautama (fifth century B.C.):"

      Archaeological discoveries have proved, beyond a doubt, his historical character, but apart from the legends we know very little about the circu-mstances of his life. e.g. Buddha by one legend was supposedly talking when he came out of his mother's womb.

      Bottom line: There are many good ways of living but be aware of the hallucinations, embellishments, lies, and myths surrounding the founders and foundations of said rules of life.

      Then, apply the Five F rule: "First Find the Flaws, then Fix the Foundations". And finally there will be religious peace and religious awareness in the world!!!!!

      March 6, 2013 at 4:06 pm |
    • Lycidas

      And regardless of your out of date copy/pastings...you are still wrong.

      And you are such a twit sometimes. You say "The Facts", but then if you barely even start in on your copy/paste you have, "Abraham, the Jewish patriarch, probably never existed.."

      Probably??? Yeah....good "fact" there. I got a fact for you, you are probably an idiot.

      March 6, 2013 at 4:10 pm |
    • Reality

      As previously noted: "prob•a•bly

      Adverb: Almost certainly; as far as one knows or can tell."

      And it is suggested that any rebuttal about the non-existence of Abraham and Moses should be taken up with the 1.5 million Conservative Jews and their rabbis as one should have seen if one read all the Facts.

      For those who are reading-challenged:

      SAVING 1.5 BILLION LOST MUSLIMS:
      THERE NEVER WERE AND NEVER WILL BE ANY ANGELS I.E. NO GABRIEL, NO ISLAM AND THEREFORE NO MORE KORANIC-DRIVEN ACTS OF HORROR AND TERROR LIKE 9/11.

      SAVING 2 BILLION LOST CHRISTIANS:
      THERE WERE NEVER ANY BODILY RESURRECTIONS AND THERE WILL NEVER BE ANY BODILY RESURRECTIONS I.E. NO EASTER, NO CHRISTIANITY.

      SAVING 15.5 MILLION FOLLOWERS OF JUDAISM:
      AS BEST ONE CAN TELL, ABRAHAM AND MOSES NEVER EXISTED.

      .

      March 6, 2013 at 11:36 pm |
    • Lycidas

      Hey, if you want to give your opinions or opinions of others as facts...that's your stupidity.

      March 7, 2013 at 2:31 pm |
    • Reality

      More Facts:

      o More details from National Geographic's Genographic project: https://genographic.nationalgeographic.com/
      "Our spe-cies is an African one: Africa is where we first ev-olved, and where we have spent the majority of our time on Earth. The earliest fos-sils of recognizably modern Ho-mo sapiens appear in the fossil record at Omo Kibish in Ethiopia, around 200,000 years ago. Although earlier fossils may be found over the coming years, this is our best understanding of when and approximately where we originated.

      According to the genetic and paleontological record, we only started to leave Africa between 60,000 and 70,000 years ago. What set this in motion is uncertain, but we think it has something to do with major climatic shifts that were happening around that time—a sudden cooling in the Earth’s climate driven by the onset of one of the worst parts of the last Ice Age. This cold snap would have made life difficult for our African ancestors, and the genetic evidence points to a sharp reduction in population size around this time. In fact, the human population likely dropped to fewer than 10,000. We were holding on by a thread.

      Once the climate started to improve, after 70,000 years ago, we came back from this near-extinction event. The population expanded, and some intrepid explorers ventured beyond Africa. The earliest people to colonize the Eurasian landma-ss likely did so across the Bab-al-Mandab Strait separating present-day Yemen from Djibouti. These early beachcombers expanded rapidly along the coast to India, and reached Southeast Asia and Australia by 50,000 years ago. The first great foray of our species beyond Africa had led us all the way across the globe."

      For $199 and a DNA swab sent to the National Geographic Genographic Project:

      "Included in the markers we will test for is a subset that scientists have recently determined to be from our hominin cousins, Neanderthals and the newly discovered Denisovans, who split from our lineage around 500,000 years ago. As modern humans were first migrating out of Africa more than 60,000 years ago, Neanderthals and Denisovans were still alive and well in Eurasia. It seems that our ancestors met, leaving a small genetic trace of these ancient relatives in our DNA. With Geno 2.0, you will learn if you have any Neanderthal or Denisovan DNA in your genome."

      What else do we know:

      1. The Sun will burn out in 3-4 billion years so we have a time frame.

      2. Asteroids continue to circle us in the nearby asteroid belt.

      3. One wayward rockj/comet and it is all over in a blast of permanent winter.

      4. There are enough nuclear weapons to do the same job.

      5. Most contemporary NT exegetes do not believe in the Second Coming so apparently there is no concern about JC coming back on an asteroid or cloud of raptors/rapture.

      Bottom line: our apocalypse will start between now and 3-4 billion CE.

      March 7, 2013 at 4:20 pm |
  20. Correctlycenter

    " Then the leaders of the Levites-Jeshua, Kadmiel, Bani, Hashabneiah, Sherebiah, Hodiah, Shebaniah and Pethahiah–called out to the people: Stand up and praise the LORD your God, for He lives from everlasting to everlasting!

    Then they continued, Praise His glorious name! It is far greater than we can think or say. You alone are the LORD. You made the skies and the heavens and all the stars. You made the earth and the seas and everything in them. You preserve and give life to everything, and all the angels of heaven worship You." Nehemiah 9: 5-6...

    March 6, 2013 at 1:39 pm |
    • awayreligion

      why is your god so narcissistic... he's always needing praise???? how come he applies so much hate and bigotry to the people he supposedly created.... you just have to think a little and you'll see how imperfect and awkward your god really is.... no self respecting human being will ever believe primitive people had anymore a connection to god than we do right now... so grow up please

      March 6, 2013 at 2:13 pm |
    • Felix Sinclair

      Why is your favorite deity such an attention wh0re? Why doesn't he just get himself a puppy and leave us alone?

      March 6, 2013 at 2:50 pm |
    • saggyroy

      @Felix because if the puppy popes on the white carpet, it would be offensive to his eyes, and then he would be forced to smite poor Rover. Not because he hates Rover, but just the opposite, because he loves him. After the smiting PETA would be all over god's ass.

      March 7, 2013 at 6:35 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.