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North Carolina getting a state religion? No.
North Carolina legistators are fighting over a church and state issue.
April 4th, 2013
02:06 PM ET

North Carolina getting a state religion? No.

By Eric Marrapodi and John Blake, CNN

(CNN)– Politicians often declare that the U.S. is a Christian nation, but a group of representatives in North Carolina wants to add a new wrinkle to that argument.

They want North Carolina to be able to make its own laws establishing religion.

Two Republican representatives in North Carolina filed a resolution Monday that would permit the state to declare Christianity its official religion and reject any federal laws or court rulings regarding how the state addresses the establishment of religion.

Critics say the resolution violates the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment guarantee that government will not prefer one religion over another. But a supporter of the resolution said it is about protecting another freedom.

The resolution reads in part, "The North Carolina General Assembly does not recognize Federal court rulings which prevent the state, its public schools, or any political subdivisions in the state from making laws respecting the establishment of religion."

Rep. Carl Ford, the resolution’s co-sponsor, told the Salisbury Post the resolution's intent is to support county commissioners in Rowan, North Carolina, who routinely end their invocations at public meetings with "In Jesus' name, amen."

A Rowan County resident filed a lawsuit against the county in March saying that she was not a Christian and that evoking Jesus in a public meeting sends the message that county commissioners favor Christians.

“We’re not starting a church. We’re not starting a religion. We’re supporting the county commissioners in their freedom of speech,” Ford told the Post.

Ford did not respond to interview requests.

By Thursday afternoon, the resolution was dead.

Jordan Shaw, a spokesman for North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis, said, "the bill that is getting so much attention is not going to move. It's dead."

Shaw said it would probably be referred to committee but would not come before the legislative body for a vote.

When asked why it was not moving forward, Shaw said the legislation did not accomplish what the legislators who had submitted the resolution had hoped for it.

Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, a Washington-based organization that aims to protect religious liberty, said Ford's argument is “phony.”

“That’s quite a bizarre argument,” Lynn said. “They’re trying to say that the state of North Carolina has the right to trump the U.S. Constitution, that we have the right to decide what religion gets preferential religion in our state.”

David Graham, an associate editor for The Atlantic Monthly, said the North Carolina resolution signals the revival of the states' rights “nullification” theory: a legal argument invoked as far back as the 19th century that claims states have the right to void, or nullify, federal laws they oppose.

During President Obama’s presidency, conservatives have claimed that states could ignore duly passed federal laws dealing with health care and gun control, Graham wrote in a blog post for The Atlantic.

Courts don’t buy the nullification theory, Graham said.

“Nullification has repeatedly been ruled to be incorrect,” he said. “States don’t have the right to invalidate federal laws.”

The nullification theory won’t die, though, because it serves a purpose, Graham said.

“It’s good politics for the people proposing it,” he said. “If people are upset that the federal government is keeping them from praying at a City Council meeting or changing the way they get health insurance, a politician can say, 'This is wrong and I’m going to take a stand.' ”

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Church and state • Courts

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soundoff (2,110 Responses)
  1. Moby Schtick

    If god and his will are together an unalterable "shape" of existence that experiences every moment as a "now," then god has no free will, we have no free will, and nothing can be other than the way it exists, has existed, and will exist.

    Correct. If chad's god exists, then there is only the deterministic shape of himself. No choice by anyone anywhere anytime, including god.

    Just another reason why chad's god is stupid and not worth considering as a contender of possible gods to believe in.

    April 6, 2013 at 5:01 pm |
    • Chad

      "If god and his will are together an unalterable "shape" of existence that experiences every moment as a "now," then god has no free will,"

      =>hunh?
      how do you figure that?

      April 6, 2013 at 5:22 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      I explained it extremely well in my post. I'm unsurprised that you can't figure it the way I laid it out. If you could follow logic honestly, you'd not be a believer.

      April 6, 2013 at 5:26 pm |
    • biggles

      Horses rearend

      April 6, 2013 at 5:29 pm |
    • Science

      Chad thought you would enjoy this

      Richard Dawkins Destroys The 10 Commandments

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qoNqSrA7Mos

      April 6, 2013 at 6:10 pm |
    • banana oatmeal

      God can interact with people over time Moby. The only difference is that God knows the end result, his plan.

      April 6, 2013 at 9:34 pm |
  2. Eric G

    Please provide any verifiable evidence that any gods exist or ever existed.

    April 6, 2013 at 4:45 pm |
    • faith

      gods don't exist

      April 6, 2013 at 4:53 pm |

    • (and we have to assume that faith also means God with the cap "G")

      April 6, 2013 at 4:54 pm |
    • faith

      if you mean, god, jesus christ, go look.

      April 6, 2013 at 4:55 pm |

    • OK, so now that we've settled that there are no gods including God, Jesus Christ, etc., now what?

      April 6, 2013 at 4:58 pm |
    • biggles

      Nah. Beat it. Go find your own proof you lazy slob

      April 6, 2013 at 5:27 pm |

    • ooo – sounds like another cop-out from those who can't come up with the goods. lol. good job Eric – it doesn't take much to send in the clowns with their dumb excuses.

      April 6, 2013 at 5:30 pm |
    • biggles

      You're a big girl. Go find evidence that god is real on your own. We did. How pathetic.

      April 6, 2013 at 5:32 pm |
  3. faith

    faith
    Akira
    And why should I be ashamed of myself? I had family who died in those chambers. Those prayers were not answered.
    Some asshat bringing up that prayer ended WWII prompted my post....and I am unashamed that I have to remind people what an absolutely absurd statement that is.
    Kiss my ass." LOL

    me too

    i had family throwin my family in

    how hilarious. these saints of satan get worked up when their god let's them become the obvious fools they try so hard to hide.

    these morons state that prayer had no impact on ww2, particularly on those gassed. it didn't stop the gassing, they claim. one can always tell when dottie is at the forefront of the garbage thrown out there. it never makes sense.

    you have no idea how many more would have been gassed had it not been for prayer.
    god always answers.
    sometimes his answer is no.
    how many who prayed are with him in paradise this second, having a blast?
    u don't know. death is a transition, but atheists don't want to admit that. like everything else, they know better.
    god has conditions on prayer.
    the cry of the mournful is always heard and answered
    with grace and acceptance and love.
    the pharisee, who prayed thanking god he was not like other men, ie a sinful beast, got what he prayed for, silence.
    god-haters get the same results

    death for the redeemed is bliss

    April 6, 2013 at 4:37 pm |
  4. Chad

    "cognitive dissonance", is the ability to hold two conflicting ideas to both be true.

    Atheists who believe in free will are engaging in this curious psychological state.

    Do you realize what you believe? What do you do when reality clashes with your belief system?

    “Do people have free will? If we have free will, where in the evolutionary tree did it develop? Do blue-green algae or bacteria have free will, or is their behavior automatic and within the realm of scientific law? Is it only multicelled organisms that have free will, or only mammals? We might think that a chimpanzee is exercising free will when it chooses to chomp on a banana, or a cat when it rips up your sofa, but what about the roundworm called Caenorhabditis elegans—a simple creature made of only 959 cells? It probably never thinks, “That was damn tasty bacteria I got to dine on back there,” yet it too has a definite preference in food and will either settle for an unattractive meal or go foraging for something better, depending on recent experience. Is that the exercise of free will?

    Though we feel that we can choose what we do, our understanding of the molecular basis of biology shows that biological processes are governed by the laws of physics and chemistry and therefore are as determined as the orbits of the planets. Recent experiments in neuroscience support the view that it is our physical brain, following the known laws of science, that determines our actions, and not some agency that exists outside those laws.For example, a study of patients undergoing awake brain surgery found that by electrically stimulating the appropriate regions of the brain, one could create in the patient the desire to move the hand, arm, or foot, or to move the lips and talk. It is hard to imagine how free will can operate if our behavior is determined by physical law, so it seems that we are no more than biological machines and that free will is just an illusion.” — Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow, The Grand Design

    April 6, 2013 at 4:32 pm |

    • fred

      tallulah13
      Here is the weird thing. It actually makes sense to me. A baby elephant can choose to play in the water or run around in the mud. If we are simply evolved animals and under the laws of nature, laws of physics etc then we are doing just what we evolved into and reflecting those patterns. We have the illusion of free will not free will.
      Jesus said to be free we must believe and by golly belief does free us from the bondage of thinking and actions that are nothing more than a product of natural laws.
      Perhaps we should give Chad a round of applause for that insight?
      April 6, 2013 at 12:23 am | Report abuse |

      ================
      Atheist, me?

      Fred
      I think Tallulah does not get it.
      Most Atheists believe their brain and their minds are same even though science refutes this position!
      April 6, 2013 at 12:52 am | Report abuse |

      ================
      Wendy

      fred, you and Chad both are clearly "free from the bondage of thinking". Well said, and good that you can acknowledge that about yourself.
      April 6, 2013 at 1:03 am | Report abuse |

      ================
      TANK!!!!

      Still quote mining? *Sigh.*
      April 6, 2013 at 1:04 am | Report abuse |

      ================
      fred

      Atheist Me
      Must be frustrating for Hawking to realize his lifelong pursuit of no god needed is a lose lose proposition. If he is correct then he confirms nothing but if he is wrong he end up with nothing.
      April 6, 2013 at 1:09 am | Report abuse |

      ================
      fred

      Wendy
      Ha, thanks for the chuckle I didn't catch that. Try it sometime, I am not only free from the bondage of "thinking" but as TANK picked up on I believe before I see the evidence. It all works together if you want to see the invisible.
      April 6, 2013 at 1:17 am | Report abuse |

      ================
      tallulah13

      Simply put, chad, fred... The only thing that binds atheists is a lack of belief in god. That is the only thing. Other atheists can think what they wish. I am free to think as I wish. Free will in action.
      April 6, 2013 at 2:50 am | Report abuse |

      ================
      The Bottom Line

      Chad, Athiest Me and fred: The Holy Trinity Of Stupid.
      April 6, 2013 at 4:11 am | Report abuse |

      ================
      Atheist, me?

      Tallulah
      Check out 10000 denominations on this blog. The only thing we do have in common is belief in Christ!
      Hope u understand.
      April 6, 2013 at 4:37 am | Report abuse |

      ================
      skytag

      Yes, I know what I believe. Your problem is that you can't accept reality so you need to believe a set of myths and legends to keep realities you find unpleasant at bay. One of those realities is that at a very basic level we don't really have free will. Our choices are determined by our values, our experiences, our understanding of our options, the options available to us, and so on.

      The level at which the decision-making process takes place when we make choices is so low and the process so complex that to our conscious minds it seems as if we are making decisions over which we have full control, but that's just a delusion. It's a very comforting delusion, however, because the more control we feel over what happens in our lives the safer and more secure we feel. As such humans are virtually obsessed with being able to control their lives and what goes on around them.

      Every religion is a narrative its followers embrace because they like it better than the alternatives. Obviously one appealing aspect of your chosen narrative is that it tells you that you have total control over the decisions you make. That is, you have free agency. Yet I dare say we could come up with a who list of things you could never bring yourself to do, even if the alternative were death. Those are choices you simply couldn't make.
      April 6, 2013 at 5:17 am | Report abuse |

      ================
      skytag

      fred, Chad offered no insight, and all you did was deny something you don't want to believe by appealing to Jesus. That's just sad.
      April 6, 2013 at 5:21 am | Report abuse |

      ================
      Damocles

      So fred offers up the compelling argument of 'don't think' and 'believe without evidence.' Riiiight.
      April 6, 2013 at 5:53 am | Report abuse |

      ================
      Science

      Hey Chad ........................................ still dancing ?
      April 6, 2013 at 7:32 am | Report abuse |
      HotAirAce

      Where do the authors say definitively that free will is an illusion?
      April 6, 2013 at 7:41 am | Report abuse |

      ================
      What is worthwhile under the sun....

      His absolutist position, I should add, because, as he puts it near the beginning of the book: “Free will is an illusion. Our wills are simply not of our own making. Thoughts and intentions emerge from background causes of which we are unaware and over which we exert no conscious control.”
      Sam Harris
      April 6, 2013 at 9:23 am | Report abuse |

      ================
      tallulah13

      Atheist, me?, you said this:

      "Tallulah
      Check out 10000 denominations on this blog. The only thing we do have in common is belief in Christ!
      Hope u understand."

      I do understand. It's one of the reasons I don't believe in your god. If your god were real and his word true, then there would be only one denomination. But christians can't even decide among themselves what is gods will and what isn't. It doesn't say a lot for the veracity of the bible.
      April 6, 2013 at 9:29 am | Report abuse |

      ================

      April 6, 2013 at 4:40 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Chad Super Fail:

      It is the god believer who has ultimate cognitive dissonance for he must believe that god knows all things past, present, and future, and yet those things are not immutable because of "free will." The atheist has all sorts of methods including unknown processes by which he may believe in free will.

      No, it is the believer who cannot logically believe in free will because god's plan must come to fruition in the way and manner that god knows it will occur. Thus, there is no free will for either god or humanity. Free will is an argument AGAINST Christianity, the bible, and its god, not for them.

      April 6, 2013 at 4:59 pm |
    • Chad

      @Moby Schtick "It is the god believer who has ultimate cognitive dissonance for he must believe that god knows all things past, present, and future, and yet those things are not immutable because of "free will."
      @Chad "no.. you are still having a great deal of difficulty understanding the serial nature of our time experience..

      If I could time travel, I could go into the future, see what your actions had resulted in, then come back.
      Now, does knowing that change you free will?
      no, pretty simple example shows the flaw in your logic.

      The concept of free will is recognized as being integrally tied to theism...

      April 6, 2013 at 5:23 pm |
    • Saraswati

      Free will, in the libertarian form, is every bit as silly for Christians as it is for atheists. The only difference is that Christians need it more to justify the behavior of their god.

      April 6, 2013 at 5:27 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      If it can't happen any other way then the way god sees it, then there's no free will. According to the bible, there's no free will (See Romans 9 and the other Calvinist scriptures). Christians just want there to be free will so that they can give glory to god for saving them from before the foundations of the earth and still blame nonbelievers for their lack of faith. Like in other respects, Christians insist on having it both ways, having their cake and eating it, too, and claiming that an all-loving, caring, perfect god tortures people for all eternity.

      April 6, 2013 at 5:30 pm |
    • Chad

      @Saraswati "Free will, in the libertarian form, is every bit as silly for Christians as it is for atheists."

      =>how do you figure that? Please explain.

      April 6, 2013 at 5:30 pm |
    • Science

      Chad go for it !

      Maybe they should not have created the wedge !!!
      The wedge strategy is a political and social action plan authored by the Discovery Insti-tute, the hub of the intelligent design movement. The strategy was put forth in a Discovery Insti-tute manifesto known as the Wedge Docu-ment,[1] which describes a broad social, political, and academic agenda who

      April 6, 2013 at 5:33 pm |
    • Chad

      @Moby Schtick "If it can't happen any other way then the way god sees it, then there's no free will. According to the bible, there's no free will (See Romans 9 and the other Calvinist scriptures)."

      =>A. Hunh?
      B. 'Calvinist scriptures" what is that???
      C. What specifically in Romans 9 are you talking about??

      please explain (you know I'm kidding!!!! I know you dont explain anything... ever... which makes one wonder why you would think anyone would ever take anything you say seriously.. but, that's a topic for another day..)

      April 6, 2013 at 5:33 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      No, Chad, I don't explain things to you.....a second time. My posts provide plenty of points that you can research on your own if you care to actually research them, you may.

      I don't waste my time explaining things to you because no explanation, no matter how logical and how precisely laid out for you, will change your a priori belief. You will simply lie to yourself and me and play word games and change the subject and throw up smoke screens and anything else dishonest in order to cling to what you already believe. I'm not concerned with changing your mind one bit. I prefer that you say the stupid things you do and make a mockery out of your own positions, and your beliefs and you do a wonderful job all on your own.

      If you ever HONESTLY want to look into the statements I make, then do a little research on the specifics of my posts--I know you won't.

      April 6, 2013 at 5:52 pm |
    • Chad

      sorry, guess I wasnt clear..

      Can you please explain what Calvinist scriptures" are, and what specifically in Romans 9 you are talking about?
      Did you explain it somewhere else?

      April 6, 2013 at 6:18 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      And I'm sorry that you're too stupid to realize it when I'm perfectly clear. Try again.

      No, Chad, I don't explain things to you.....a second time. My posts provide plenty of points that you can research on your own if you care to actually research them, you may.

      I don't waste my time explaining things to you because no explanation, no matter how logical and how precisely laid out for you, will change your a priori belief. You will simply lie to yourself and me and play word games and change the subject and throw up smoke screens and anything else dishonest in order to cling to what you already believe. I'm not concerned with changing your mind one bit. I prefer that you say the stupid things you do and make a mockery out of your own positions, and your beliefs and you do a wonderful job all on your own.

      If you ever HONESTLY want to look into the statements I make, then do a little research on the specifics of my posts–I know you won't.

      April 6, 2013 at 8:57 pm |
    • Believe God, read the bible

      You're wrong Moby. A grandpa has set up a checkers game with a 5 year old and wants the kid to win the game. The grandpa knows the end result, and the kid has options all through the game to play as well as he wants, or doesn't want to. The end result is as the grandpa wanted, the kid wins... because the grandpa loves the child and sets up losses on his side, or gives away peices, or makes dumb mistakes, while talking and enjoying the afternoon with the 5 year old.

      It can easily be done, just as God said it will be done... and it his will, will be done.

      April 6, 2013 at 11:18 pm |
    • redzoa

      @Believe God – The problem with your analogy is that grandpa isn't claimed to have omniscience. Effectively, omniscience is infallible foreknowledge of all events. If God is omniscient, then God knew every choice you would ever make from before the moment of "creation." Because God's foreknowledge is infallible, you could not actually make a choice that contradicts what God always knew. If God knows you will someday turn right at a fork in the road, you must turn right at that fork in the road. If you could actually turn left, then God's foreknowledge isn't perfect and God isn't omniscient. That you don't know you must turn right and believe you are making this "choice" from among apparent options is irrelevant. Also irrelevant is "where" this infallible foreknowledge of the one ultimate course of events exists (i.e. "in time" or "outside of time"). By definition, "free will" and omniscience are mutually exclusive.

      April 7, 2013 at 1:00 am |
  5. B.

    Last time I looked, this country was not a Christian Theocracy. The Republican controlled states are attempting to take this country back to the 30s with their Bigoted minds of intolerance and Racism !

    They are going to pay a huge Political price in 2014 and 2016 for all of their backward nonsense..

    April 6, 2013 at 3:09 pm |
    • tallulah13

      I concur.

      April 6, 2013 at 3:33 pm |
    • Kev

      It may not be fair to place all republicans in the same stereotype.

      April 6, 2013 at 3:46 pm |
    • Lisbeth Salander

      The right-wing strategy of bitter division has blown up in their faces. By being angry and extremist, they initially motivated people to give them money and votes. But the bitter dissent with everything spread, and now they have radicalized themselves so far that they are alienating the majority. And the division became internal as they attack each other and factionalize.

      And despite the election failure this has brought, they continue to play the old rage-and-division game with stupid stuff like this. They are destroying themselves, and it is about as sad as Hitler's suicide.

      Keep it up, righties! You are doing great!

      April 6, 2013 at 3:47 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Kev, the sad thing is the actions of the many will be colored by the actions of the few. Moderate republicans tend to be shoved aside by more vocal party members, to the detriment of the party.

      April 6, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
    • faith

      quit your crying

      April 6, 2013 at 4:39 pm |
  6. Fundies Gone Wild! They are Panicking!

    Someone's not happy when they don't get to take over the government. Awwwwwww.
    If only they really knew how to dance – they look so clumsy! LOL.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I0-04VDrCbM
    _ _ _ _ _ _

    April 6, 2013 at 1:44 pm |
  7. His panic

    The US a "christian nation" 😛 Give me a break, you fools! There is No such a thing. Only the church is Christian and your are NOT the church. You are a nation of Fat people.

    April 6, 2013 at 1:26 pm |
    • Bostontola

      Sticks and stones...

      April 6, 2013 at 1:30 pm |
    • tallulah13

      @His panic

      You are strange and off-putting. Go now.

      April 6, 2013 at 1:31 pm |
    • In Other Words

      A Fat nation!!

      Fat = adipose, corpulent, fleshy, gross, heavy, obese, overblown, overweight, porcine, portly, stout, weighty.

      April 6, 2013 at 1:33 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Wow. Someone can use a thesaurus.

      April 6, 2013 at 1:34 pm |
    • Quest ion

      Are all of them in the nation christian?

      Are all of them in the nation fat?

      How many are fat?

      How many are Christian?

      Have they been counted?

      Who, when, and how were they counted?

      Who came up with that idea of a nation like that being "christian"?

      When, where, why, how?

      Please inform!!

      April 6, 2013 at 1:39 pm |
    • His panic

      @Questioner,

      Gee, I don't know who came up with that idea about the US being a "christian" nation. But I know one thing, that's totally ridiculous a total absurd that's been around since the 1970's or so.

      Christians are not even the majority of the population, that much I know. However among the religious people we are the majority, but the rest of the populace as you can see here in this blog, fluctuate between agnostics, atheists, Buddhists, Muslims, etc. etc. The rest of the populace are gluttons, addicts, adulterers, fornicators, drunkards, blasphemous, Ho-mos, thieves and violent murderers. They have more than 2½ million people in prisons, another 7+ millions who have been in prison, are parolees or whatever else the Legal system calls them etc. More than a million women are involved in some form of prosti-tu-tion, many of them under the age of 18 etc. To put it mildly it is a cesspool.

      April 6, 2013 at 1:55 pm |
    • In Other Words

      Cesspool: An underground reservoir for liquid waste, household sewage.

      April 6, 2013 at 2:02 pm |
    • Bostontola

      His Panic,
      The Soviet Union showed that you can all but eliminate crime by having a police state. We choose to endure some crime to allow individual freedom. That freedom unleashed unprecedented innovation. Innovation that the entire world population benefits from. We'll tolerate some bad to achieve more. You prefer purely clean mediocrity, good for you.

      April 6, 2013 at 2:05 pm |
    • Pauline

      Bostontola
      Are you saying that having a state religion, like that in Iran, wouldn't stifle personal freedom? Right off of the bat, I cannot imagine a Christian America that denounces evolution making any great strives in the areas of biology and medicine.

      April 6, 2013 at 2:23 pm |
    • His panic

      @Bostontola,

      So you're saying that ALL of the innovations were achieved by the worst kind of people the world has ever known and the Christians did not contribute anything at all. Really; are you that Stupid?

      April 6, 2013 at 2:29 pm |
    • In Other Words

      Obese: excessively Fat

      April 6, 2013 at 2:43 pm |
    • tallulah13

      annoying: aggravating, bothersome, disturbing, irritating, troublesome, vexatious

      fool: ass, birdbrain, blockhead, bonehead, boob*, bore, buffoon, clod, clown, cretin*, dimwit, dolt*, dope*, dumb ox, dunce, dunderhead, easy mark, fair game, fathead, goose, halfwit, idiot, ignoramus, illiterate, imbecile, jerk*, lamebrain, lightweight, loon, moron, nerd*, nincompoop, ninny, nitwit, numskull, oaf, sap*, schlemiel, silly, simpleton, stooge, sucker, turkey, twerp, twit

      April 6, 2013 at 3:10 pm |
    • Bostontola

      Hispanic, I will assume that your rampant misunderstanding of my words is due to English not being your first language. If not, I am at a loss as to why your reading comprehension skills are so poor. Calling people names indicates your own defensiveness.

      April 6, 2013 at 4:59 pm |
  8. Bostontola

    To my faithful friends; what is worse, to believe in a false god, or to not believe in a god?

    April 6, 2013 at 1:13 pm |
    • Pauline

      If you pick up Pascal's wager, you may be worshipping a god, but what if it's a false one? Wouldn't that anger the real god far more than not worshipping any of them?

      April 6, 2013 at 2:26 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      That depends on if there is a real god and how he feels about the worship of false gods.

      April 6, 2013 at 5:09 pm |
  9. clarity

    One of the posters below with the TJ moniker has a message that would make the real TJ roll over in his grave.

    The Establishment clause of the 1st Amendment to the Constitution has been under attack since it was first adopted. Thanks to its brilliant designers, it has stood the test of time and continues to do so. In order to protect every individual the right to believe in whatever they so choose, the key framers of the U.S. government knew they had to keep religion away from government as much as possible. This was not some new idea that just popped into their heads. People were fighting over religious differences in framers' home states – Madison's advocacy for separation of church and state began long before he was charged with drafting the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

    In another post below, I quoted Thomas Jefferson from one of his letters:

    Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man & his god, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, thus building a wall of separation between church and state.

    But what was Madison's reflections on his handiwork in the Constitution and 1st Amendment? These quotes are from two Madison letters later in life:

    Every new & successful example therefore of a perfect separation between ecclesiastical and civil matters, is of importance. And I have no doubt that every new example, will succeed, as every past one has done, in shewing that religion & Govt. will both exist in greater purity, the less they are mixed together.

    The Civil Govt, tho' bereft of everything like an associated hierarchy, possesses the requisite stability and performs its functions with complete success, Whilst the number, the industry, and the morality of the Priesthood, & the devotion of the people have been manifestly increased by the total separation of the Church from the State.

    Madison as president vetoed two bills that he believed would violate the separation of church and state. He also came to oppose the long-established practice of employing chaplains at public expense in the House of Representatives and Senate on the grounds that it violated the separation of church and state and the principles of religious freedom. (Library of Congress – James Madison Papers – Detached memorandum, ca. 1823.)

    April 6, 2013 at 12:30 pm |
    • clarity

      (My next-to-last paragraph is a Madison quote and should have also been italicized.)

      April 6, 2013 at 12:36 pm |
    • Clarity is a moron

      It's not a quote, you moron, and it's not Madison saying it. It is an unsupported claim by an unknown person.

      April 6, 2013 at 1:15 pm |
    • Bostontola

      That quote has impeccable sourcing. It has been used by religious, atheist, historical, and secular scholars.

      April 6, 2013 at 1:23 pm |
    • tallulah13

      @"Clarity is a moron"

      The quote was referenced (Library of Congress – James Madison Papers – Detached memorandum, ca. 1823.). Just because you are too lazy to look it up yourself doesn't make it a lie. It does, however, mean that you are lazy. Unless of course, you are simply stupid.

      April 6, 2013 at 1:24 pm |
    • Bostontola

      @Clarity is a...,
      Does your god teach you call people names at the same time you are being deceitful? I can see why you made this comment under a temporary name. You clearly knew it was wrong to do so and didn't want attribution.

      April 6, 2013 at 1:28 pm |
    • clarity

      The only thing wrong with the NEXT-TO-LAST PARAGRAPH is that is was not italicized. It is a quote of Madison's (from a letter to Robert Walsh; the quote above it from a letter to Edward Livingston).

      The LAST paragraph is not a quote and I never said it was a quote. But the text "As a fervent supporter of religious freedom and the separation of church and state, James Madison opposed the long-established practice of employing chaplains at public expense in the House of Representatives and Senate on the grounds that it violated the constitutionally mandated separation of church and state and the principles of religious freedom." comes from the Library of Congress website regarding the Madison Papers:

      http://myloc.gov/Exhibitions/creatingtheus/BillofRights/BillofRightsLegacy/ExhibitObjects/JamesMadisonOnSeparation.aspx

      April 6, 2013 at 1:37 pm |
    • clarity

      Now who's the moron?

      April 6, 2013 at 1:38 pm |
    • the AnViL™

      clarity – you don't EVER have to explain yourself or even so much as recognize these bumbleheads who would HOPE to be your detractors.

      also – it cuts like a knife when you dispel the misconception that this nation is an xian nation.

      keep slicin' and dicin'

      April 6, 2013 at 2:32 pm |
  10. Rosslaw

    One more example of the right-wing's obsession with American style sharia law.

    April 6, 2013 at 12:29 pm |
  11. biggles

    BTW, tom the moron has a point. We cannot let Christians claim how old the earth is, who lived with dinosaurs and that science doesn't have all the answers. Every christian deserves exactly what I say they deserve for making such assertions.

    If anyone reads Dorothy's posts and refrains from unceasing laughter, the belly aching kind, you are she.

    April 6, 2013 at 12:29 pm |
  12. biggles

    Or, we could gas them. Have some barbie. Toasted fundies. I'll bring the sauce: crushed baby spines, before they were dumped at the landfill.

    April 6, 2013 at 12:19 pm |
    • biggles

      I'll bring their bloody hearts. My o my. To die for.

      April 6, 2013 at 12:31 pm |
  13. Bostontola

    Thomas Jefferson,
    All Christians believe a common thing, Christ is their lord. But there are many christian religions, each with a different set of truths. They have gone to war with each other over those differences. These wars were usually because there was a state religion.

    Which Christian religion is the true one that deserves to be our national religion? What happens to all the Christians who disagree?

    April 6, 2013 at 11:58 am |
    • .

      War is the result of an atheist in the woodpile not true Christianity.

      April 6, 2013 at 12:27 pm |
    • Bostontola

      So you think atheists were behind the fighting in Northern Ireland all those years, not due to the Church of England?

      April 6, 2013 at 12:29 pm |
    • .

      Examine the facts, hard to do when you cannot understand truth, it may be impossible for you.

      April 6, 2013 at 12:31 pm |
    • Bostontola

      It is impossible for me. You don't think it is impossible for you? Do you have supernatural power? Are you god?

      I'll ask again, were atheists behind the religious violence in Northern Ireland?

      April 6, 2013 at 12:34 pm |
    • Bostontola

      Are you defining anyone who believes in a different god than you an atheist?

      April 6, 2013 at 12:41 pm |
    • ..

      Hey .
      Christianity and facts have never mixed well, if at all, hasten to meet your god and give the rest of us a break.

      April 6, 2013 at 12:43 pm |
  14. Geesh

    Thank you for that. I am not annoyed I am just so curious at your vitriolic responses to some folks..... Again thank you

    April 6, 2013 at 11:40 am |
    • The real Tom

      There are some posters here who would tell me that they KNOW there's a god, that the earth is 6000 years old, and that dinosaurs lived among men. They tell me I am wrong to accept the theory of evolution, rely on science and facts rather than beliefs, and that I will burn in hell because I don't agree with them.

      They deserve every ounce of scorn and vitriol they get from me and anyone else offended by them.

      If it bothers you, then I'm sorry you choose to read the posts.

      April 6, 2013 at 11:44 am |
    • Geesh

      No I do respect your view, and yes there are some crazy Christian views expressed here with as much venom thrown both ways. It makes me more sad then annoyed as daily I am faced with a reminder of the fragility of life. As I said just a diversion for me, best of luck to you

      April 6, 2013 at 11:54 am |
  15. The real Tom

    This stupid site is ape-sh!t again. CNN, you suck.

    April 6, 2013 at 11:21 am |
    • Bostontola

      Yet you choose to be here and be part of it...?

      April 6, 2013 at 11:25 am |
    • Geesh

      Yep that's more like the Tom we have come to know

      April 6, 2013 at 11:28 am |
    • The real Tom

      Geesh, you're a real piece of work. Why are you so fixated on my posts? Got a burr up your butt?

      The site is wonky; it's not working correctly.

      If my criticism of CNN offends you, then don't read my posts, ya big baby.

      April 6, 2013 at 11:34 am |
    • Geesh

      You and this blog are just a mild diversion while my wife is doing her dialysis treatment.....

      April 6, 2013 at 11:36 am |
    • The real Tom

      I'm sorry that your wife is having dialysis, but I fail to see what that has to do with your annoyance.

      April 6, 2013 at 11:38 am |
    • skytag

      I hate this commenting system. Sometimes, for no discernible reason a comment simply doesn't show up when I post it. I'm not using any bad language, not saying anything insulting or offensive, not violating the guidelines in any way, and I get no message, but when the page refreshes my comment isn't there.

      April 6, 2013 at 11:41 am |
    • clarity

      You're right, Tom – the panel to the right showed a "." posted something and when I clicked on it, it just came to the top of the article about Conan, and there was no post by "." to be found.

      April 6, 2013 at 11:41 am |
    • The real Tom

      Yup, clarity and sky. Maybe Geesh and Bostontola will eventually figure that out.

      April 6, 2013 at 11:45 am |
  16. Thomas Jefferson

    When confronted with an enemy who does not have a moral foundation such as atheism it is much preferred to define your beliefs based on the absolute truth of the Holy Bible. Congratulations extended to N.C. for promoting and defending the true Christian faith. Much better to settle once and for all the truth of Christianity rather than accept the influx of blasphemous cults and non believers. Want garbage? Go elsewhere, in N.C. we are one nation under GOD !

    April 6, 2013 at 11:18 am |
    • clarity

      Your moniker belies your message. Lying for God seems to be the motto of the fundie these days.

      April 6, 2013 at 11:23 am |
    • Bostontola

      Which version of Christianity is the true one? There are so many.

      April 6, 2013 at 11:26 am |
    • Thomas Jefferson

      If you have to ask which is true you have never known truth.

      April 6, 2013 at 11:27 am |
    • Bostontola

      You are right, I don't know truth. But back to my question. It is an objective fact that there are many sects of Christianity, do you agree? If so, which is true?

      April 6, 2013 at 11:30 am |
    • clarity

      The one hiding behind the TJ moniker won't like that kind of question, Boston.

      April 6, 2013 at 11:36 am |
    • Thomas Jefferson

      God is truth
      Know God Know Truth
      No God No Truth
      It would be impossible to explain Truth to a fool

      April 6, 2013 at 11:39 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Thomas Jefferson,

      Liars for Jesus

      April 6, 2013 at 11:39 am |
    • Bostontola

      Clarity,
      TJ seems short sighted to me. If there were a legislated religion, it almost certainly wouldn't comport with all his(?) beliefs. He would then be on the blogs complaining about how wrong our dumb politicians are.

      Politicians can't run our government, why would anyone want them running our religion?

      April 6, 2013 at 11:40 am |
    • Bostontola

      TJ, I didn't insult you yet you call me a fool. Does your god teach you to insult people who don't understand you?

      April 6, 2013 at 11:41 am |
    • Eric G

      Well, I am an atheist and I just moved to NC last week. While I consider myself to be a moral person, I will judge others morality based on their actions, not the foundations they claim to base their morality on.

      April 6, 2013 at 11:42 am |
    • skytag

      What gibberish.

      April 6, 2013 at 11:42 am |
    • clarity

      You are right, Blessed. You know, there are probably more short sighted people like the one using a TJ moniker. After my coffee, I had better set them straight. My boys speaking to the 40,000 denominations of insanity need to come out for some fresh air.

      April 6, 2013 at 11:44 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Ohhhh I can do that too

      Know God, No Peace

      No God, Know peace

      Religion and gov't have never been a good idea, gov't has no business in religion and vice versa.

      April 6, 2013 at 11:45 am |
    • .

      It would be an exercise in futility to try to converse anything with the idiot hiding behind the clarity moniker.

      April 6, 2013 at 11:46 am |
    • tallulah13

      Is your name really Thomas Jefferson, or do you just think that attaching your own words to the name of a Founding Father will make people believe you? President Jefferson's views on religion are well documented. If your name is not coincidentally also Thomas Jefferson, you are simply a liar who has no respect for this country and the principles upon which it was founded.

      So much for christian virtue.

      April 6, 2013 at 11:46 am |
    • Thomas Jefferson

      Stick to mold, it suits you better. We are and have always been one nation under God .

      April 6, 2013 at 11:48 am |
    • Thomas Jefferson

      Great, great granddaddy has been misrepresented by the liberal liars for far too long. President Jefferson was a man of deep personal Christian faith and strength, with an abiding hope in the grace of God. Continue to take his words out of context and you will never find the truth of the man or any truth for that matter. It seems you have rejected truth anyway and more to be pitied, you do not know your loss.

      April 6, 2013 at 11:53 am |
    • Thomas Jefferson

      The fool has said in its heart there is no God. If the label fits and in your case it does, your being a fool is a life calling and no insult at all, just an observation of fact.

      April 6, 2013 at 11:56 am |
    • Bostontola

      TJ, fool is a pejorative term. Does your god teach you to use such terms to describe people who don't understand you? Does your god teach you to look down on people who don't understand you?

      April 6, 2013 at 12:00 pm |
    • tallulah13

      If you must defend your faith, have enough respect for one of the men who gave you freedom of speech to use your own name instead of his. Have enough maturity to actually learn about the man before claiming things in his name. He had no fondness for christianity, no matter how much you lie.

      Didn't your god say something about lying? Didn't he proscribe lying in his ten commandments? Do you think that it's okay to disobey your god if it makes you feel like you've scored points? Do you even respect your own god?

      April 6, 2013 at 12:03 pm |
    • Saraswati

      Plenty of atheists have a belief system with moral foundations, they are just not defined by atheism itself but by an external ethical system.

      April 6, 2013 at 5:32 pm |
  17. skytag

    @John: "Give me a source for the big bang. If you do not, I'll continue to believe the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob"

    Why that god? Why not the god of the Hindus or some other religion? Why not the gods of Egyptians or Greeks? Because you were raised here and told Christianity is right and those others are wrong?

    April 6, 2013 at 11:12 am |
  18. skytag

    @John: "Give me a source for the big bang. If you do not, I'll continue to believe the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob"

    What you just told us is that you believe in God because you need an explanation for how the universe was created. Lacking a confirmed scientific explanation you'll accept one involving a god for which you have no evidence at all. That's kind of sad, actually. The fact that science can't explain something is obviously not proof God is the answer.

    This is obvious to any thinking person because there are many examples throughout history of people attributing something to God, a god (in polytheistic religions), spirits, demons, or Satan that was later explained by science. A classic example would be diseases once thought to be caused by evil spirits and now known to be caused by bacteria and viruses. Those people, like you, needed and explanation, and lacking one for which there was any proof they simply decided to believe God or some other supernatural power was responsible.

    April 6, 2013 at 11:06 am |
    • Bostontola

      Sky,
      I don't think belief in god is evidence for lack of intelligence. I work with many very intelligent engineers and scientists, and many of them believe in god. I speculate that belief in god is tied more to emotion than intelligence. Believers feel god. That feeling is more powerful than any abstract notion. It is born from their parents, the source of love and security. I also don't think that feeling is evidence of god. Eye witness testimony is among the least reliable. Feelings and senses are notoriously unreliable, just ask any magician. But don't attribute belief in god to lack of intellect. Don't forget, correlation is not causation.

      April 6, 2013 at 11:23 am |
    • skytag

      I didn't say and it was not my intention to suggest that believing in God is the result of low intelligence. Intelligence doesn't guarantee a person will be rational. We are all given to irrational behavior at times, driven instead by instinct and emotion.

      That said, it does seem to be the case that people are often willing to advance some pretty dumb arguments to justify their beliefs when it comes to God.

      April 6, 2013 at 11:53 am |
    • Bostontola

      Sky, sorry if I misinterpreted your words.

      April 6, 2013 at 12:08 pm |
  19. Brother Maynard

    GIVING CHAD KUDOS ( sort of )
    Sorry for the length ... but I think it will be worth you reading all of it.

    OK
    So some of you may know me from this forum ... but I really do not post a lot. The main reason that I do not is that I actually come here during breaks at work to give my brain a rest, so time is at a minimum, and IF I read a post that I disagree with I will read through the responses and I find a response that I would use to argue against a specifec post then I do not respond because it would be redundant.

    Yesterday around 2:30, ( I'm assuming that is EASTERN time ) Chad on page 16 was setting the premis that atheists cannot believe in free will. In that stream Chuckles gave an arguement ( one that I have posted in the past and have NOT received a response ) stating that an omniscient god and free will are contradictatory.

    - Chuckels:
    - Please reconcile the idea that if a god does exist and already knows what you are going to do before you do it, how can you have free will if you are set on a path that you must follow?

    To which Chad responded
    - Chad:
    - We experience time in a serial form, past, present, future. While we can slow the pa ssage of time with respect to a fixed reference point we can not stop it, nor accelerate it.

    - The same is not true of God, whom exists outside of time and space. God can see the future, the results of the choices we make of our own free will.
    - There is not past/present/future for God, there is only now. He is timeless.

    I have never agreed with ANY of Chad's posts... however ... I actully thought that was a compelling arguement. AND it made me think, and think hard. Additioinally the posts by my fellow atheists I felt ( no offense intended ) were a bit weak.
    ( Side note - again and again and again I read belivers criticizing atheists as to why they come to a belief blog if they do not 'believe'. BELIEVERS !! THIS is why ! To expand my knowledge, to test and chalenge my atheism which Chad successfully accomplished )
    It took me about 2 – 3 hours to come up with what I think is a compelling arguement that refutes Chads.

    I will make one assumption for my counter arguement, one that I think is NOT a reach AND that Chad and his fellow believers will agree. That assumption is: God created the universe.

    If god is timeless that actually reinforces that humans have NO free will and additionally reinforces that god is immoral.

    Time is difficult for we humans to comprehend because we are slaves to it. So the concept that god is timeless – and I am using Chad definition "God is now' – is difficult. IF god is 'now' then he only exists in the present. So while your eyes are running over these letters and your mind is comprehending their meaning god is at that instant. God is NOW ... aaannndd he is NOW. Three seconds in the future he exists. 1 ... 2 ... 3 ... NOW. God is an infinate number of "NOW's". He is every millisecond. NOW ... and NOW. Here is the problem. IF god created the universe and he is only 'NOW' THAT means that the instant that he created the universe he destroyed it. ( Again this concept is difficult for we humans to comprehend because the universe is not destroyed ... YET. but one day it expand to nothingness. We just happen to be in the part of it where that has not happened. ) The instant god created the universe is the same instant that he created Adam; that he destroyed the earth with the flood; that he impregnated Mary; that he crucified his son.
    Now lets say that I choose to kill my wife next Tuesday via 'free will'. ( I'm not planning this BTW ... I'm not even married ) BECAUSE gods creation of the universe is the same 'NOW' as my act of killing my wife, he CREATED that act. He created the 'free will' I used to plunge the knife into my wife. HOW can I freely choose to do or NOT do something when that something god created 'NOW'? Additionally, this makes god responsibile for every evil act ( and good to be fair ) that humanity has ever witnessed. God created Hitler and killed 6 million Jews, NOW. God created the Newtown massacre, NOW. God flew the planes into the Twin Towers, NOW.
    So by Chads explination we are NOT responsible for ANY act we do because in that instant ... God created it.

    April 6, 2013 at 10:51 am |
    • skytag

      I think your explanation makes no sense. As for Chad's argument, I think all that stuff about existing outside time and space is just more gibberish thrown out to make Chad's concept of God even less bound to reality than it already is. He's rationalizing with technobabble that sounds like something out of a Star Trek episode.

      This is a common problem when trying to reason with believers. They're created in their minds a being so limitless and incomprehensible he can be anything they need him to be to justify anything they want to believe about him. No claim or hypothesis related to God is ever testable because whatever test you try to apply, somehow it isn't valid because of some aspect of God's nature.

      Where did Chad get the idea that God exists outside time and space? Certainly not from the Bible. He made it up, that's where. He made it up to explain away something he didn't want to deal with. Rationalizing is what Christians do best.

      April 6, 2013 at 11:31 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      I think you make an excellent point. I also have a rhetorical question about free will. If god created free will at some point it did not exist and hence god did not have free will himself. If free will always existed god did not create it because it was always there. "Logic" can also be substi.tuted for free will in this argument.

      Chad's solution is to define god so that his god is not bound to any specific rule, (god is timeless, what ever that means), that is not a compelling argument or even interesting. It is just convenient. Answers that explain everything....explain nothing.

      April 6, 2013 at 11:35 am |
    • Vic

      @Maynard

      You and a lot others are confusing God's "Foreknowledge" with "Predestination!" God gave man "FREE WILL" and revealed His "Natural Law" to him to maintain order and live happy in this Life! It's up to man what to do with it! In the meantime, God, as He is Omniscient, "foreknows" what man will choose to do but He does not interfere with man's "Free Will" because He honors it! Contradiction would be if man was 'predestined' to what he chooses to do, which is NOT the case!

      To reiterate, "Foreknowledge" and "Predestination" are two DIFFERENT things!

      Also, regarding time, God is Eternal and Metaphysical! He is outside the realm of His Creation (this Physical Universe and Life in it) including time, and He is to subject to any of it!

      Related Previous Posts:

      http://lightyears.blogs.cnn.com/2013/03/22/science-seat-another-earth-called-a-certainty/#comment-138045

      http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/03/23/the-money-man-behind-atheisms-activism/comment-page-34/#comment-2237533

      April 6, 2013 at 11:42 am |
    • Vic

      !Typo Correction!

      Also, regarding time, God is Eternal and Metaphysical! He is outside the realm of His Creation (this Physical Universe and Life in it) including time, and He is NOT subject to any of it!

      April 6, 2013 at 11:47 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      "God, as He is Omniscient, "foreknows" what man will choose to do but He does not interfere with man's "Free Will" because He honors it!"

      Vic,

      Your Bible directly refutes your arguement.

      "Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the hearts of his officials so that I may perform these signs of mine among them 2 that you may tell your children and grandchildren how I dealt harshly with the Egyptians and how I performed my signs among them, and that you may know that I am the Lord.”

      God didn't "honor" Pharaoh's free will did he?

      April 6, 2013 at 11:55 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      "Also, regarding time, God is Eternal and Metaphysical! He is outside the realm of His Creation (this Physical Universe and Life in it) including time, and He is NOT subject to any of it!"

      Vic,

      That explains nothing. Making baseless assertions that can't be confirmed of denied does not make the statement true.

      April 6, 2013 at 11:58 am |
    • Brother Maynard

      @Vic
      It is impossible for god to have foreknowledge. That is a human/ time dependent concept. Knowledge of the future. God does not exist in the future. GOD IS NOW.
      As for predestination. When you read this sentence are you predestinating ( if that is even a word ) ? NO you cannot becase predestination assumes a future and you are reading this in the present, THIS is where GOD is.

      April 6, 2013 at 12:00 pm |
    • Vic

      @B a t C

      Good point but I would have to study that passage from Scripture within context to understand what that measure was about, especially that it is obvious to had been 'consequent' and in a different "DISPENSATION" of Biblical Time!

      April 6, 2013 at 12:07 pm |
    • .

      So cheeser define hardened heart as referenced to Pharaoh, and your whole argument goes away. Were you not bright enough to know that or is it that you were attempting to show someone who knows better that you are ever so smart?From where i sit you come off as an ass hole.

      April 6, 2013 at 12:09 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      @Brother Maynard

      Agreed. If god and his will are together an unalterable "shape" of existence that experiences every moment as a "now," then god has no free will, we have no free will, and nothing can be other than the way it exists, has existed, and will exist.

      Correct. If chad's god exists, then there is only the deterministic shape of himself. No choice by anyone anywhere anytime, including god.

      Just another reason why chad's god is stupid and not worth considering as a contender of possible gods to believe in.

      April 6, 2013 at 12:16 pm |
    • tallulah13

      "."

      Was your comment even supposed to make sense? It seems very clear in the verse that when god chose to harden the pharaoh's heart, he didn't ask the pharaoh how he felt about it. He just went and did it, and whatever the pharaoh would or wouldn't have done if allowed free will became moot.

      This is what Vic said: "God, as He is Omniscient, "foreknows" what man will choose to do but He does not interfere with man's "Free Will" because He honors it!"

      God did not honor the pharaoh's free will, therefore Vic was wrong. And you are wrong.

      April 6, 2013 at 12:17 pm |
    • .

      As hard as it is to explain truth to an idiot here goes. if you believe and confess a lie often enough there will come a time when you will be locked into your foolishness as Pharaoh was. That is what is referred to as hardening of a heart. You for example did not become an instant God hater, it took years of vile practice and at some point unknown to everyone but God Himself you were or will be locked into your own stupidity and unable to change back to any truth.

      April 6, 2013 at 12:25 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      From where I sit you are an idiot. What part of god hardening Pharoah's heart needs definition? What definition would mesh with Vic's assertion that "god honors man's free will"? If you are going to attack my arguement have a point...

      Vic,

      How does one know when they are reading the bible "in context" and when they aren't? It seems to me the "context" argument is trotted out anytime the bible is shown to be in direct conflict with a believers position. It is again, an agruement of convenience.

      April 6, 2013 at 12:29 pm |
    • Brother Maynard

      . sez:
      "... you were or will be locked into your own stupidity and unable to change back to any truth."
      You're making a good argument that there is no free will. If one is 'Locked', if one is 'unable' we cannot choose.

      April 6, 2013 at 12:33 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Christian: "You should believe everything in the bible, especially if god is describing something he did directly."

      Atheist: "Oh, okay, well right here it says that God hardened Pharaoh's heart."

      Christian: 'Okay, yeah, but not really, you see, when you understand that scripture it means the exact opposite of what it says. God didn't really harden Pharaoh's heart, Pharaoh hardened his own heart so god wouldn't have to mess with Pharaoh's free will. You see?"

      Atheist: "So a true understanding of this scripture is exactly the opposite of what it actually says?"

      Christian: "Yeah, it's really obvious, isn't it? I mean, come on, how stupid are you? It means the exact opposite of what it says."

      April 6, 2013 at 12:34 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Period,

      You are an angry troll. Saying I "hate god" is a non sequitur.

      April 6, 2013 at 12:51 pm |
    • Billy

      @"." (the dot) I don't care what you believe in – that was the biggest bowl of stupid I think I've ever read. Was that supposed to prove something? lol.

      April 6, 2013 at 12:52 pm |
    • Vic

      Before the "Dispensation of Grace" (Salvation of the Lord Jesus Christ,) God intervened DIRECTLY to get His Message across several times but NOT to force people to believe!

      That is the same case with Pharaoh; God hardened his heart along with his troops to hold the Israelites for the purpose of showing His signs before them (Pharaoh and his troops) to get His (God) Message across BUT He DID NOT force them to disbelieve nor to believe; therefore, "FREE WILL" is indeed preserved and honored!!!

      April 6, 2013 at 12:59 pm |
    • Billy

      Oh that's right – that's where we switched from the meany God of Gullible's Travels, Part 1 to the happy God of Gullible's Travels, Part 2.

      April 6, 2013 at 1:02 pm |
    • Damocles

      Ah, I think I get it now... the deity allows free will and then just keeps punching you in the face until you use your free will to believe in it.

      April 6, 2013 at 1:07 pm |
    • Brother Maynard

      Vic sez:
      "He DID NOT force them to disbelieve nor to believe; therefore, "FREE WILL" is indeed preserved and honored!!!"

      So we only have free will when it comes to belief or disbelief?
      I DON'T have free will when I sin?

      April 6, 2013 at 1:13 pm |
    • Vlad

      Billy,

      Yeah, "God" started doing the happy dance after he got that human sacrifice - drrripping and drrripping with b-l-l-o-o-d!

      April 6, 2013 at 1:14 pm |
    • Chad

      @BM "Time is difficult for we humans to comprehend because we are slaves to it. So the concept that god is timeless – and I am using Chad definition "God is now' – is difficult."
      @Chad "what I said was that God exist outside our time/space and is not bound serially to it as we are.
      God created the universe, therefor is not bound by it, He exists outside it (able to step in sovereignly). Genesis 1
      God is eternal, having neither beginning or end (Psalms, Ephesians)

      ====
      @BM "Now lets say that I choose to kill my wife next Tuesday via 'free will'. ( I'm not planning this BTW ... I'm not even married ) BECAUSE gods creation of the universe is the same 'NOW' as my act of killing my wife, he CREATED that act."
      @Chad "no.. God created the universe 13 billion years ago..
      Again, you are confusing being outside of time and space with being bound to only existing in the present...

      you are also completely ignoring the fact that this world we live in is the result of one humans terrible choice, this is NOT Gods original creation (Eden).

      April 6, 2013 at 7:06 pm |
    • Brother Maynard

      Chad sez:
      "Again, you are confusing being outside of time and space with being bound to only existing in the present.."

      OK fair enough god is outside time.
      That makes my case even STRONGER then.
      First of all god could NOT have created the universe 13 billion years ago ( for the record I never gave a number ) That is a time dependent value and god is out side time. HOWEVER, from god's perspective 13 billion years ago is the same as 13 billion years from now. To him time is all one thing. He created that one thing and IN that one thing is Adam, is Adam sinning, is him flooding the earth, is crucifing his son, is him flying planes into buildings.
      The only difference here from my original post it that now we have a wrapper on his creation, that wrapper is time.

      Also Chad sez:
      "God created the universe, therefor is not bound by it, He exists outside it "
      Multiple problems with this statement
      1) if God is outside the universe ( which is everything ) then he is nothing.
      2) Your own bible and ever passage in it contradits god being outside of the universe ESPCIALLY Jesus.

      April 7, 2013 at 12:49 pm |
  20. Bostontola

    I don't care what anyone believes. I don't get why anyone would want to make official state or national beliefs. Just look at Christians. They have a diverse set of beliefs. If its a state or national belief, it becomes political. Te chance that your personal belief is chosen is small. What if people vote for elements you disagree with (just like any political issue), now they are frozen into the state or national creed. Worse, what if population changes and the state or national religion changes to another religion? What if the Mormons out reproduce you, eventually they make Mormon the state religion.

    Belief is a personal choice.

    April 6, 2013 at 10:11 am |
    • clarity

      Right on, Boston.

      Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man & his god, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, thus building a wall of separation between church and state. –Thomas Jefferson

      April 6, 2013 at 10:27 am |
    • tallulah13

      Absolutely, Bostontola.

      Look at history, at the wars that catholics and protestants fought against each other, with thousands killed because of dogmatic differences in the same religion.

      Religion has no place in a government based on individual rights.

      April 6, 2013 at 11:02 am |
    • skytag

      So true. Christianity is a term for a large collection of religions that have very little in common. The Amish, the Mormons, the folks who hand snakes and speak in tongues, the Catholics, the Baptists, and so many more all claim to be Christian but believe so many different things.

      April 6, 2013 at 11:36 am |
    • The real Tom

      Which is why Austin's wishes are so laughable. Look at the number of believers here–how many of THEM think Austin is playing with a full deck even as far as his religious beliefs are concerned? Yet Austin would like to see a theocracy because he honestly thinks the whole country could be forced to be his brand of Christian.

      April 6, 2013 at 11:41 am |
    • Damocles

      I agree that everyone's belief is personal, what I don't agree with is when someone thinks their personal belief should be everyone's.

      April 6, 2013 at 1:09 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.