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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

« Previous entry
soundoff (2,110 Responses)
  1. Austin

    by the way what is parole? I dont know what that is. I have never been to prison.

    I told my lawyer to get me a jail sentence because I refuse to be on probation where i wake up everyday and reschedule my business.

    April 7, 2013 at 10:25 am |
    • Austin

      no thread, misplaced response.

      April 7, 2013 at 10:28 am |
  2. Bostontola

    The free will argument is philosophical at this point in time. The brain science is lacking and unlikely to be definitive for quite some time. The philosophical argument is like all philosophical arguments, like a religious one. The free will argument is afflicted with the worst disease, terms are ill defined so people talk past each other. It is not even clear that free will matters. Most of us agree that we have individual will, our decisions and choices come from within us exclusively and hence are our responsibility, does anything else matter?

    April 7, 2013 at 9:35 am |
    • Science

      Bostontola......................yes.

      Dover Trial Transcripts............................................. FACTS.................no god(s) required to graduate from public schools in US matters .

      Below are the complete transcripts from the Dover Trial. Thanks to our friends at the National Center for Science Education for helping us fill in the missing transcripts.

      http://www.aclupa.org/legal/legaldocket/intelligentdesigncase/dovertrialtranscripts.htm

      April 7, 2013 at 9:50 am |
    • Bostontola

      Science, please forgive me but I missed your point. Please explain.

      April 7, 2013 at 10:04 am |
    • Science

      Read the transcripts .....................New science standards created by 26 states...........majority.

      Have a great day.

      April 7, 2013 at 10:10 am |
    • Science

      Oops for 2013 Stem standards

      April 7, 2013 at 10:12 am |
    • Bostontola

      Science, I am familiar with the Dover trial. I do not want to read the transcript. What is your point related to free will?

      April 7, 2013 at 10:14 am |
    • Science

      Science

      Here is where the discussion should be ? Not with some outdated fairy.in the sky !

      Can Synthetic Biology Save Wildlife? From Re-Creating Extinct Species to the Risk of Genetically Modified Super-Species

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130402182502.htm

      April 7, 2013 at 10:17 am |
    • Shout-Out: logicked

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ns5pnPab29k

      April 7, 2013 at 10:19 am |
  3. Austin

    When a person is born again the ways in which God can use a person are countless. Service life when filled by the spirit knows no bounds, as a person who relies on God for faith can be an journey of selfless giving.

    When a person Christian engages in habitual sin, the Holy Spirit is grieved and the bondage to sin is a wedge to the communion that God intends. Sin numbs and muffles a persons spiritual reception. A person starts to thrive on their flesh rather than hearing the spirit.

    Moral and biblical principals are a guide to spirit filled living. Being free from these principles enslaves one to the bondage of sin. This is a spiritual catastrophe.

    There are countless examples of a society that lacks discretion that tempts and subdues the finest of people simply because of flagrant marketing of a lewd sinful vice and lifestyle. This is the type of sensorship that the U.S. lacks because of the cowardly debased permeation of Godless reckless vile lifestyle that can be summed up as a diseased wh.ore.

    April 7, 2013 at 9:33 am |
    • Richard Cranium

      Lying in the name of your zombie god again Austin?

      April 7, 2013 at 9:37 am |
    • Austin

      Austin
      My only point is coming from experience where the Lord supernaturally revealed His power relating directly to scriptural perspectives. I believe this is His inspired word. His power is found within the Word of God, who is Christ,and people who create their own meanings in life dont care enough to cherish the 66 books anyway, and they lack any leadership potential. What is the point of being a synthetic and outside of reality which is God's will?

      If you dont know how to deliver a comprehensive lesson on the bible with faith, you probably should not have kids because they might end up in hell. The chances of someone going to hell is 90% if they aren't saved by 12 years old.
      Life is a spiritual journey. It isnt worth godlessness and hell.

      April 7, 2013 at 9:45 am |
    • Right

      Austin you copied that from a pamphlet that some born again fundie thrust into your hand, you should state your sources when posting. You are way to deluded to have come up with that BS on your own, no matter how stupid.

      April 7, 2013 at 9:48 am |
    • Barry Metcalf

      When a person is born in a modern democratic society with access to education and good healthcare, opportunities are endless. Such opportunity should not be wasted as time spent worshiping mythical creatures. Get a life; don't waste it . When persons rely on themselves with additional support of rational family, friends, and community members, they can have rich, fulfilling lives.

      Take responsibility for your own life and your own actions; invented gods are just an excuse and an attempt to offload personal responsibility. Grow some courage and face life's challenges yourself. Don't wimp out and expect a sky creature to deal with what you fucked up yourself.

      Morals change and have changed, and even religious dogma has had to evolve to attempt to keep up, although it will always remain many steps behind and apart from reality. Morals come from commonly accepted mutually beneficial goals, or should, were it not for the evil perversions due to religion. "It takes religion to make a good person do evil."

      There are many modern and historical examples of societies suffering the worst excesses and human rights suppression that come with religion. Examples include Eastern Island, as well as present-day Iran and the worst extremes of the evangelicals in the United States.

      Grow a backbone. Lose the religion. Take responsibility for your own life.

      April 7, 2013 at 9:49 am |
    • Austin

      @ Right.. you think I pasted that? no i head that statistic about 6 months ago at church.

      April 7, 2013 at 9:52 am |
    • Austin

      "Morals change and have changed" really so the bar was high and moral and now we can exalt who.redome?

      You are lying to yourself and others. Morals will never change. Your statement is coming from one who worships self rather than God who is there.

      He is risen.

      April 7, 2013 at 9:56 am |
    • Barry Metcalf

      Baloney, Austin. Or is your evil religion still burning witches at the stake, and sacrificing animals to your bloodthirsty "god"?

      You are a coward, and a fool.

      April 7, 2013 at 10:00 am |
    • Right

      Well I guess the 5 billion people on earth that were not or will not be brain washed into the 40,000 or so Christian cults are the lucky ones no HELL for them, just the morons that believe it exists.

      April 7, 2013 at 10:01 am |
    • Jiminy Cricket

      Austin
      My comment was regarding this lie that you posted.

      "This is the type of sensorship that the U.S. lacks because of the cowardly debased permeation of Godless reckless vile lifestyle that can be summed up as a diseased wh.ore."

      There are no gods, I am not cowardly nor do I live a reckless or vile lifestyle, and nothing I do can be summed up as a diseased wh0re.

      Your lifestyle before you "found christ' can be summed up in that way, but we all aren't deluded into thinking that we need to be saved from a threat created by the same god that men created in the first place.

      April 7, 2013 at 10:10 am |
    • The real Tom

      Austin, you're an idiot if you think morals don't change. People used to consider it immoral for a woman to wear pants or show an ankle. They used to consider it immoral for a woman to kiss a man before marriage or at least engagement. People used to consider dancing and playing cards immoral.

      Get a clue before you post something so damn dumb.

      April 7, 2013 at 10:13 am |
    • Right

      You see Austin when you make an attempt to post an original thought it comes out like this...so the bar was high and moral and now we can exalt who.redome?...that can only make sense to a pimp like you. So the parole board would not let you out without a crutch so you latched onto jesus, hallelujah.

      April 7, 2013 at 10:18 am |
    • Austin

      God does not change. Morals will never change. there is a difference between a moral and a cultural dress code.

      The abolished old law does not bring about a new moral standard.

      There is only one origin of mankind. Once you experience the voice of a soveriegn God you don't even question what others deny. There is God, and forgiveness, and this is due to sin. If you think that there is a synthetic road that will change the reality of who God is , you are feeding yourself the worst lie of all time. This is grip of evil that I refer to.

      This is a spiritual war. And you are killing yourself spiritually.

      April 7, 2013 at 10:22 am |
    • Austin

      Austin
      by the way what is parole? I dont know what that is. I have never been to prison.

      I told my lawyer to get me a jail sentence because I refuse to be on probation where i wake up everyday and reschedule my business.

      but why is this your desperate evasion for God? why are you defaulting on something that has no connection to God? how does that work?

      April 7, 2013 at 10:27 am |
    • The real Tom

      So like your idol, the Vegetable, you latch onto "dress code" and neglect to address dancing and playing cards. Those aren't just "dress codes", you dimwit. People considered them sinful, and some morons still do.

      Morality changes. Morality doesn't come from some invisible giant in the sky.

      And Austin, why the fvck are you posting on Sunday? Aren't you supposed to be in church worshipping?

      Why are you here, you hypocritical nut-job?

      April 7, 2013 at 10:33 am |
    • The real Tom

      Your idiotic post about not having children if you're not a believer because your progeny will go to hell is evidence that you're both stupid and sick.

      If your paradigm had any validity, Austin, you'd have a passel of brats already. Why don't you?

      April 7, 2013 at 10:37 am |
    • The real Tom

      "I told my lawyer to get me a jail sentence because I refuse to be on probation where i wake up everyday and reschedule my business."

      This is so exceedingly stupid it's beyond even your parameters. How does being in jail affect your business schedule, you lying little poe?

      April 7, 2013 at 10:39 am |
    • Austin

      Tom, do you really think that God's morals change? How is that even possible? This obviously comes down to erosion and increase of knowledge, decrease of wisdom, and man worshipping the works of their hands.

      You know God does not change. Nice personality there making smart remarks about what I do and when I go to church. I have things all week long I take part in. tuesday, saturday morning, evening, sunday evening... ect.

      Isaiah 2:8 ►

      New International Version (©2011)
      Their land is full of idols; they bow down to the work of their hands, to what their fingers have made.

      April 7, 2013 at 10:40 am |
    • Austin

      because they have work release and the maximum sentence was way less by years than what they give for probation, and i made the right choice. I took my lumps and dealt with the dui in the quickest fashion, and today , I am free from any probation and I am up and out at 6 on the way to work. this would never happen with probation.

      and the reason that you bring this crap up is becuase you have the character of 7th grade snot faced stuck ups.

      April 7, 2013 at 10:45 am |
    • The real Tom

      Oh, get off yourself. You are calling those who disagree with you 'whor es", Austin. I notice you can't answer the question, so I'll tell you why I'm asking. I want to know why someone who thinks he's fit to condemn the lives of others is sitting on his ass typing sh!te on his computer instead of kneeling in a pew in his church. Did you get kicked out? Or are you too hung over to get out of bed, you little turd?

      Morals change. You have posted not one thing that proves otherwise.

      April 7, 2013 at 10:46 am |
    • The real Tom

      "and the reason that you bring this crap up is becuase you have the character of 7th grade snot faced stuck ups."

      Nope. The reason anyone brings this crap up is because you posted it and now want to judge everyone else by your views. Don't like it? Tough t i t t y, you earned it.

      April 7, 2013 at 10:57 am |
    • The real Tom

      Who cares what you "take part in", Austin Poe? Isn't Sunday supposed to be a day devoted to rest and worship? Why are you here, then? Aren't you committing a sin? Isn't it one of the commandments that you keep the Lord's day holy? Why are YOU sitting in judgment of others when you're here breaking one of the rules?

      April 7, 2013 at 11:00 am |
    • Austin

      Oh, get off yourself. You are calling those who disagree with you 'whor es", Austin.

      this culture is a great who.re and it is way beyond being otherwise.

      I notice you can't answer the question, so I'll tell you why I'm asking. I want to know why someone who thinks he's fit to condemn the lives of others is sitting on his ass typing sh!te on his computer instead of kneeling in a pew in his church. Did you get kicked out? Or are you too hung over to get out of bed, you little turd?

      nice lets get personal, lets go from God to dissecting something that is irrelevant. ok, i dont drink. last time was last august. when me and my ex broke up i went out to the bars. havent been back. I go to 3 different chuches , my favorite service is saturday evening. and sunday evening. (different churches.) I also have a saturday morning men's bible study.

      Morals change. You have posted not one thing that proves otherwise.

      April 7, 2013 at 11:02 am |
    • Damocles

      100 pounds of stupidity stuffed in an 8 pound skull. Amazing.

      April 7, 2013 at 11:03 am |
    • The real Tom

      Damo, you nailed it. Austin, isn't Sunday supposed to be the Lord's day? Aren't you supposed to keep it holy? Are you doing that by posting trash about people you don't know?

      What is "evasive exploitation"?

      April 7, 2013 at 11:05 am |
    • Austin

      No it is the reverse of your comment. You are judging me. I am not judging you , i dont know anything about you beyond one subject I speak to you about. God. I am not judging you personally.

      I am simply giving you the facts, that on your stance when it comes to God, that you deny the truth,. you do it evasively and you exploit many different avenues maliciously. The gospel is straight up front, and I did not set the standards and morals that an unchanging God did. God said it. God is the judge.

      I am simply standing on the authoritative truth, and I have experienced the sovereign voice of God. He can break through the silence and speak to you if you seek him desperately.

      April 7, 2013 at 11:07 am |
    • The real Tom

      "No it is the reverse of your comment. You are judging me. I am not judging you , i dont know anything about you beyond one subject I speak to you about. God. I am not judging you personally."

      Of course you are. You have repeatedly judged others here. You are doing it now. Why are you here on a Sunday instead of spending time in contemplation and worship? Do you really think a god would approve of your behavior on this forum?

      What is "evasive exploitation", Austin?

      April 7, 2013 at 11:09 am |
    • Austin

      Tom, your evasive exploitation comes in many different ways on a regular basis today. You are clarifying what it is. I am not going to spell it out because you are living it out.

      April 7, 2013 at 11:10 am |
    • The real Tom

      "you deny the truth,. you do it evasively and you exploit many different avenues maliciously."

      What "truth" have I "denied"? How am I doing so "evasively"? What "different avenues" am I "exploiting maliciously"?

      Come on, Austin. Dissect your sentences. If you can't explain what you mean, you're probably using words you don't understand–ones you copied from someone else's writing.

      April 7, 2013 at 11:12 am |
    • Damocles

      Seek him desperately? Like a drug addict seeks that last hit so desperately? You would make a tad bit more sense if you came up with something like 'hey, guys, was just walking around humming a tune and found a deity to worship' instead of 'I seen demons in my mind pictures blllllaaaaarrrrgggghhhh then I done gone and rammed my pick 'em up truck through a church due to that there deity influence.'

      April 7, 2013 at 11:13 am |
    • The real Tom

      "Tom, your evasive exploitation comes in many different ways on a regular basis today. You are clarifying what it is. I am not going to spell it out because you are living it out."

      What is my "evasive exploitation"? What "different ways" is it "coming in"? What "regular basis" are you referring to? How am I "clarifying" it?

      You can't "spell it out' because you don't have a clue what you've written. Why don't you try using words you actually can define, honey?

      April 7, 2013 at 11:15 am |
    • Damocles

      'I done seen me them words "evasive exploitation" on ths here website jimmyjoebobisabeliever dot com and I had me a powerful urge to sound all fancied up like that.'

      April 7, 2013 at 11:16 am |
    • Austin

      Would I be doing God a favor by going to church? Your comment is on a 22 year old ignorant level. You aren't serious you are just talking crap. Of course we are supposed to be engaged in truth. I am here, standing on the truth. You dont need anything other than an upfront confrontation.

      That is what you need. You are on your way to hell it seems. You and your circle here are following the devil to hell and your rejection of the resurrection is suicidal. and it really bothers me. I know that spiritual forces can help you over come the snares of the devil. That is why I am here. I want you to turn to God, in spirit and in truth.

      Ask God for faith. I know for a fact that Paul, killed Christians, and then God called him to faith. anyone one and everyone is supposed to turn from deceit to God who sustains your salvation.

      April 7, 2013 at 11:16 am |
    • Austin

      with love in Christ, come to the light. I'm going on an errand.

      April 7, 2013 at 11:20 am |
    • Damocles

      Rejection of the resurrection? Hey, that rhymes! Put a good beat to that and we have ourselves a hit.

      April 7, 2013 at 11:20 am |
    • Damocles

      Don't kill anyone you think is a demon while you are out.

      April 7, 2013 at 11:21 am |
    • Giggles

      Austin, you are judging people and attempting to assert power in the only way that was left to you; the only option that was given you when you screwed up royally earlier in your life. You found you could use religious belief as a crutch to make all your little problems go away; to convince the people that needed to be convinced that you were ok after your violent escapades. Now you are so deep into the delusion, you are simply a pimp for your God.

      April 7, 2013 at 11:23 am |
    • The real Tom

      "Would I be doing God a favor by going to church?"

      Is that the purpose of church? To do a favor for a god? I thought it was to glorify him and to hear the truth.

      "Your comment is on a 22 year old ignorant level."

      I'm not sure what sort of 22-year-old you are imagining, but I suspect you are thinking of yourself.

      " You aren't serious you are just talking crap. Of course we are supposed to be engaged in truth. I am here, standing on the truth. You dont need anything other than an upfront confrontation."

      I'm just as serious as you are. If you are "standing on the truth" then you should be able to explain what you mean by the words you use. But because they aren't your words, you can't. You stole "evasive exploitation" from someone else, and have no idea what it means.

      "That is what you need. You are on your way to hell it seems. You and your circle here are following the devil to hell and your rejection of the resurrection is suicidal. and it really bothers me. I know that spiritual forces can help you over come the snares of the devil. That is why I am here. I want you to turn to God, in spirit and in truth."

      Why would you think you have the first idea what anyone needs when you've never met him/her? Why would you think I care whether something bothers you? That's your problem, not mine. I suggest you get some therapy to help you deal with the reality that you don't know what anyone else "needs." It's nothing but vanity to think you're privy to some cure-all that will fit everyone.

      "Ask God for faith. I know for a fact that Paul, killed Christians, and then God called him to faith. anyone one and everyone is supposed to turn from deceit to God who sustains your salvation."

      You don't "know" anything of the sort. You believe it. I don't. You've presented no evidence that what you believe is anything but a story, and the more you write here, the less I'm inclined to respect your views on anything at all. I think you're a disgusting little Poe.

      April 7, 2013 at 11:25 am |
    • The real Tom

      "I'm going on an errand."

      While you're out and about, buy yourself a clue about how to write a cogent sentence.

      April 7, 2013 at 11:30 am |
  4. Rainer Braendlein

    Although I favour genuine Christianity as the most preferable faith I would say that the state should be neutral.

    From the Christian stance true life begins with the rebirth which is the sacramental baptism received trough faith.

    Yet, every human being has to make a way until he can grasp the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and the holy baptism.

    Before St. Paul became a Christian he was a Jewish Taliban, and was ready to kill Christians. However, God's patience let him live even when he was still a sinner in God's eyes because he persecuted the Christian Church, Christ's body.

    Also King Nebuchadnezzar of the Old Testament who was a very cruel ruler experienced God's patience until he became a believer.

    A few of us will ever have committed sins like Paul or Nebuchadnezzar but also we "enjoy" God's patience who gives us opportunity to become faithful. The godness of God waits whether we become faithful.

    The state is nothing more than an emergency-facility for the people which have not yet become faithful. Anyhow they must be enabled or helped to live together on this plantet even if they are still filled with hatred, selfishness, avaricy, fornication, anger, etc.. I guess without authority every nation would collapse within days because people would start to slay eachother.

    Of course, the Church has to accept the states authority, and regretably even a Christian can commit crimes which must be punished. It is also the case that always wolves in sheep's clothing infiltrate the Church, and they also have to get punished for their crimes.

    April 7, 2013 at 8:13 am |
    • Richard Cranium

      In america we have seperation of church and state...keep your religion off the laws.

      Keep your german way of doing it. We have our own way of handling it.

      All you stated were a bunch of beliefs, with no evidence behind the belief, and you would have to be an idiot to pass laws and act like what you believe is true, when it isn't.

      April 7, 2013 at 8:20 am |
    • Science

      .Are the sound ecohing in your head ? ............................. neat stuff RB

      Sound of the Big Bang are available in several lengths here:

      http://faculty.washington.edu/jcramer/BBSound_2013.html

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130404170154.htm

      April 7, 2013 at 8:22 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      @RC + Science

      I only wanted to express that it is not Christian at any rate to demand a Christian nation. In Germany we have also a seperation of state and Church. It is only that they cooperate voluntarily, and support each other.

      April 7, 2013 at 8:40 am |
    • Science

      Do they really work together ..................not here see video below !

      April 7, 2013 at 8:46 am |
    • Science

      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

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wedge_strategy

      April 7, 2013 at 9:14 am |
  5. skytag

    Chad, all your comments notwithstanding, you have not demonstrated that we truly have free will. You clearly accept that as a given, but offer no proof. Thus as is always the case, the arguments you use to disparage the positions of atheists are based on unsupported assumptions, and hence are not valid.

    April 7, 2013 at 7:29 am |
    • Saraswati

      Chad makes the following. assumptions, all of which are false.

      1. We have free will in the libertarian sense.
      2. That is a good thing.
      3. The concept is more than negative in definition and makes logical sense.
      4. Those without free will would be in bondage.
      5. All Christians believe in libertarian free will.
      6. For atheists to belive in free will is somehow inherently less logical than it already is for Christians (rather than just less necessary). He would word this as that it is logical for Christians and not for atheists.
      7. His belief in free will is based on logic and observation rather than a need to justify his instincts to offer absolute praise and blame and the cruel behavious of his god.

      I think people weary of the discussion so fast because it's hard to have a discussion with someone who's wrong about so many things at one time.

      April 7, 2013 at 7:53 am |
    • Atheist, me?

      Saraswati
      If you do not have free will you will not be an Atheist or would you?
      Free will and predestination are complimentary.
      Free will says that all beings have the right to do what they want while predestination says that in the event where a being's will agrees with another they complement each other, where they conflict the stronger will prevails.
      Now how is that strange?!

      April 7, 2013 at 8:37 am |
    • Saraswati

      Atheist, me? , we have been discussing specifically the libertarian concept of free will, which is the one required by most forms of Christianity and the one that Chad sees as the only true definition of that word. I should have added to the list of Chad's false beliefs

      8. That the libertarian definition of free will is the one and only true definition.

      April 7, 2013 at 9:11 am |
  6. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things..

    April 7, 2013 at 6:53 am |
    • skytag

      How many times have you posted this delusion?

      April 7, 2013 at 7:16 am |
    • Science

      U.S. judge widens 'morning-after' pill access for young girls.................... did prayer change that ruling ?

      http://www.newsdaily.com/stories/bre9340es-us-usa-contraception-ruling/

      April 7, 2013 at 7:34 am |
    • Atheist, me?

      Erhm Mr Science
      Do you know the exact number of men who were praying faithfully for and against that ruling and which side was in God's will?
      Will you call your interjection scientific or unscientific then?

      April 7, 2013 at 8:44 am |
    • Science

      who knows ..............that is why I have a question mark there............ but there is studies saying what it does >

      April 7, 2013 at 8:52 am |
    • An Awesome Message from P.W. Swivel

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CbD3Hlbvafo

      Thanks for watching.

      April 7, 2013 at 8:58 am |
    • Jesus

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

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

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

      April 8, 2013 at 8:42 am |
    • Really?

      "Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things"

      That's why the data: has shown that atheists have happier and healthier lives than conservative Christians. Your post is built on a lie!

      April 8, 2013 at 8:43 am |
  7. biggles

    Atheist god-hating animals race to the forums to mock a grieving family. True colors, baby, that's what you see. Their true colors. They hate like satan

    April 7, 2013 at 1:41 am |
    • R.M. Goodswell

      Well ... theres a couple issues here.....

      A. The man made inflammatory comments publicly blaming Atheists for the shootings happening around us...so he automatically opened himself up for rebuke.

      B. He publicly issued a statement about his son's death.... I don't know about you but that is a personal matter...deeply personal... the only reason to issue a public statement is to milk that tragedy for all the publicity he can...shameless in the extreme.

      C. This story is not that one....

      April 7, 2013 at 1:52 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      1: I wouldn't wish the pain his family is going through on anyone, nor the pain his child was in.

      2: Maybe blaming natural disasters and tragedies on people you think your god is mad at (atheists, gays, ect.) isn't the thing to do either...just a thought.

      April 7, 2013 at 3:11 am |
    • R.M. Goodswell

      all of the negative comments from atheists toward this man have been aimed at his past statements leveling blame for society's ills on atheists..... not his family and certainly not at this tragedy.

      He never should have released any information about his son's problems/death. To do so is inexcusable – and now, you watch he and his faithful will continue their cheap shots and play the victims like 'biggles' here when the fallout hits.

      April 7, 2013 at 4:17 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      Biggles: You're not showing much respect yourself by coming out as being so hateful. Give it a rest. This is not a matter of who is right or wrong or what the father stands for, this is evidence of a deeply disturbed young man who obviously felt he had no other way to resolve his issues and in turn took his own life, something that happens regardless of belief or disbelief. Mental illness does not favor sides, it is within all levels of human nature.
      For you to come out and show (once again) your true hate of Atheists is pathetic and small minded. It is far from the respect this family deserves.

      April 7, 2013 at 5:55 am |
    • biggles

      Truth hurts

      April 7, 2013 at 6:08 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      In a way the story about the suicide of Rick Warren's son Matthew doesn't really belong on the Belief Blog. No parent should have to bury a child. It goes against the natural order of things. But many if not most of us have had to endure this type of tragedy. My mom lost her 11 year old sister to drowning. 4 of my cousins died young while their parents still live. One struck by a car at age 8, one from complications brought on by AIDS at 29 (yes he was gay), one by a brain tumor at 31 and one from a heart attack at age 34. Suicide is different only in the perception that it might somehow have been prevented. The Warrens deserve compassion for their loss just like anyone else who has suffered in a similar fashion.
      Do I find the personal opinions of Rick Warren shaped by his religious beliefs distasteful? Yes...but that in no way means I wish for or revel in this unfortunate situation.
      The real ugly of this will be revealed in the aftermath of spin. Already pastor Halloday of Rick's church said in a video released to CNN that he believes Rick's son Matthew died and has ascended to heaven as a part of God's plan. A notion at odds with other beliefs where suicide is condemned as a sin and where Matthews free will to choose is denied.

      April 7, 2013 at 6:15 am |
    • skytag

      Hypocritical atheist-hating Christians flock to discussions to show us how religion makes people stupid. I've never heard of an atheist who hates God. You have to believe God existed to hate him, and by definition atheists believe there is no God.

      April 7, 2013 at 7:20 am |
    • skytag

      You post oozes hatred for atheists. I don't condone hatred in anyone, but at least atheists aren't hypocrites when they hate.

      April 7, 2013 at 7:22 am |
    • Atheist, me?

      Moby Schtick
      So thats what you were? A Calvinist missionary? My no wonder! Christian Fundamentalist Literalists are mostly Calvinists! And use Paul's writings in verses to prove their own wrong suppositions. Glad u left.
      However, fact is if you read the whole passage it will come across different.
      Also as Paul wrote where there is no law there is no sin why then don't you understand that we have free will but God has shown as his will by commandments for which reason we will have to submit to his will or die.
      If we had none it will be unjust to punish us. If you suffer from preaching religiosity rather than spirituality I am glad you left but not all Christians read the Bible using Calvin. I read with the principle of charitable love in mind and hoe different it reads!

      April 7, 2013 at 9:12 am |
    • Saraswati

      @AM, are you posting on the wrong thread?

      April 7, 2013 at 9:15 am |
    • Moby Schtick

      I was never a Calvinist missionary.

      April 7, 2013 at 9:43 am |
    • The real Tom

      I think AM is posting in the wrong universe most of the time.

      April 7, 2013 at 10:14 am |
    • Saraswati

      I guarantee you biggles that had this story been about the son of a famous atheist the nasty comments from the Christians would have been just as vile and greater in number. There are nasty people everywhere.

      April 8, 2013 at 8:45 am |
    • Atheist, me?

      Sam
      Whenever you pick up a calculator freewill and omniscience come into play!
      The algorithms are placed there by the programmer. He therefore knows all the probabilities of its use. You have the full choice to use it anyway you like. However the algorithms will work for some but not all inputs!
      God knows all the potential outcomes of your actions like a programmer. You exercise your freewill to gain what is in line with principle.
      Whether Christian or not if I do the right thing things will work if not they don't!

      April 8, 2013 at 3:40 pm |
  8. R.M. Goodswell

    Cant trust no stinking atheists in office! They might not tow the party line!

    Only ones you can trust are Christians, who you can comfortably deal with knowing you all share in the same lie...

    Liars only in public office!

    April 7, 2013 at 1:24 am |
  9. Bob

    Chad(Rachel), how are the workouts going? You'll need to lose a lot more weight, the two-in-one of you, if you ever want Rachel to have a nonzero thigh gap.

    April 6, 2013 at 11:47 pm |
  10. Did CNN reaally just freak out on the Warren story?

    Were comments just shut down? It's okay to have comments on how gays or "kicking god out of school' caused massacres, but Warren gets a pass?

    Damn, CNN! That's pretty freaking biased!

    April 6, 2013 at 10:50 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Appears that way.

      April 6, 2013 at 10:57 pm |
    • Saraswati

      I was a bit surprised, but then again I also see no reason to be writing nasty stuff on a story about someone's kids death.

      April 7, 2013 at 12:12 am |
    • skytag

      Why do you care? They shut down comments after all kinds of times. I've seen them shut down within hours while others are left open for days.

      April 7, 2013 at 7:32 am |
  11. T

    ......Jews, Mormons, American Indians, Muslims, Buddists, etc....... every other religion has its believers......except in NC.

    April 6, 2013 at 9:46 pm |
  12. %

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AzVBF8B4ius

    April 6, 2013 at 8:42 pm |
    • Joe Buck

      Apparently the North Carolina constitution was written by a committee of institutionalized mental patients using crayons held by their toes.

      April 6, 2013 at 9:50 pm |
    • Zingo

      North Carolina IS a mental ward.

      April 6, 2013 at 9:55 pm |
    • Science

      Here is what a congressman said ?

      http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2012/10/10/congressman-draws-fire-for-calling-evolution-big-bang-lies-from-the-pit-of-hell/comment-page-84/#comment-2268497

      April 7, 2013 at 6:42 am |
    • skytag

      More proof religion makes people stupid.

      April 7, 2013 at 7:55 am |
    • Science

      Richard Dawkins Destroys The 10 Commandments

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

      April 7, 2013 at 9:01 am |
  13. Doowayne

    We are passing gas.

    April 6, 2013 at 8:06 pm |
  14. Gene

    Do gay people have poop in their butt?

    April 6, 2013 at 8:02 pm |
  15. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    April 6, 2013 at 6:15 pm |
  16. clarity

    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.

    (from a letter to the Danbury Baptist Association in Connecticut)

    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.

    (from letters to Edward Livingston and Robert Walsh)

    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. (See Library of Congress – James Madison Papers – Detached memorandum, ca. 1823.)

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

    (from the Treaty of Tripoli signed by President John Adams and with unanimous ratification of the U.S. Senate, 1797)

    April 6, 2013 at 5:46 pm |
    • Your comment is awaiting moderation.lol?? Your comment is awaiting moderation.

      The A&A's sure did know how to transform the gubmint into a Beast church. Now pay your fair share of ti*thes. Servants ain't cheap these days.

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

    What babies these pagans have become. Vote for heathen u idiot. O. Sorry. Forgot. U r ridding the world of Christians first.

    Report the god hating revolutionaries who threaten our rights as american citizens.

    April 6, 2013 at 5:36 pm |
    • Joe from CT, not Lieberman

      What if the good folks in the North Carolina legislature decide that they recognize Evangelical Lutheranism as the state religion. What about all the Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, Episcopals, Roman Catholics, Congregationalists, UCC, etc. Does that mean that if the Lutherans call for somehting that isn't liked by any of the others I have mentioned, it will be "so sad, too bad" for them because that's what the Lutherans want?
      In the words of a great philosppher, "Homey don't tink so!"

      April 6, 2013 at 7:17 pm |
    • Austin

      Well each denomination could have electoral votes. Only people who have the names of the 66 books of the bible memorized can vote.

      April 6, 2013 at 8:12 pm |
    • biggles

      You're an idiot

      April 6, 2013 at 10:04 pm |
    • Rick

      Austin
      "Only people who have the names of the 66 books of the bible memorized can vote."

      You have seen the results of CNN's test of religious knowledge, right? Over half of America's Christians would fail because they think the last book of the Bible is called "Revelations".

      April 7, 2013 at 12:46 am |
    • HotAirAce

      And anyone who can recite the Muslim Babble can have two votes.

      April 7, 2013 at 12:52 am |
    • Austin

      My only point is coming from experience where the Lord supernaturally revealed His power relating directly from scriptural perspectives. I believer this is His inspired word. His power is found within the Word of God, who is Christ,and people who create their own meanings in live dont care enough to cherish the 66 books anyway, and they lack any leadership credibility.

      If you dont know how to deliver a comprehensive lesson on the bible with faith, you probably should not have kids because they might end up in hell. The chances of someone going to hell is 90% if they aren't saved by 12 years old.
      Life is a spiritual journey. It isnt worth godlessness and hell.

      April 7, 2013 at 9:43 am |
    • Rick

      Austin
      Perhaps the real problem is that, if a child hasn't been indoctrinated within the Christian faith by 12, then chances are approaching 90% that he probably won't ever be convertible.

      "Godlessness" does not automatically equate to hedonism, selfishness, and un-fulfillment. That's Christian propaganda, plain and simple, and you have nothing to distinguish "hell" from the trolls who live under bridges, the witch's candy house, or any other fairy tale "bad place" where disobedient children end up going.

      I appreciate that you believe that you experienced something supernatural, but that's your personal experience, and it really shouldn't be all that compelling to anyone else trying to decide these things. Many people read the same Bible you do and come to different conclusions. Assuming that everyone should just accept the claims that the Bible makes at face value is just going to disappoint you. This blind trust in an ancient book frustrates many of us, but you would likely become just as frustrated with people who started to "believe" in Homer's stories about the Greek gods, right?

      April 7, 2013 at 10:14 am |
  18. Your comment is awaiting moderation.lol?? Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    Free will?? People stuck in quicksand are free to receive the help or to continue to argue about how many angels can dance on a grain of silica sand.

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

      They could debate the question of who it was who pushed them into the quicksand in the first place.

      April 7, 2013 at 12:48 am |
  19. 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 5:17 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      I'm not surprised that you don't get it, Chad. God has no free will, since he must always do what a perfect being would do in that moment for the completion of his plan the way it is determined to be. Human have no free will because we are simply acting in accordance with god's plan. You don't have a very good grasp of Romans 9, do you?

      April 6, 2013 at 5:21 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      No, Chad, your example works FOR my position, not against it. Your example proves the opposite of what you intend. If you go into the future and see what choice I made, then I can't choose something else, can I? I'm bound by what you have already witnessed and I have no free will to choose other than what you witnessed. No free will. You have a terrible grasp of logic.

      April 6, 2013 at 5:25 pm |
    • Chad

      "God has no free will"?

      ->hunh?

      ===
      If it is Gods will that humans have free will
      that's why we have it

      April 6, 2013 at 5:25 pm |
    • Saraswati

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

      If by "integrally tied" you mean "required to justify" then, yeah, sure.

      April 6, 2013 at 5:28 pm |
    • Chad

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

      @Saraswati "If by "integrally tied" you mean "required to justify" then, yeah, sure."

      @Chad "no, I mean that free will is a fundamental Christian doctrine.
      You can claim that God does not exist.
      but
      You can NOT claim the bible doesnt reflect the belief that man has free will.

      April 6, 2013 at 5:40 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      The bible supports both positions and contradicts itself on this issue as on thousands of others; however, the majority of scriptures justify a predestined/determined outcome for existence, humans, and god and his plan. Calvinism cannot be ignored and it adequately lays out the non-free-will aspect of the bible and its god.

      April 6, 2013 at 5:46 pm |
    • rick

      chad: free will and an omniscient god are incompatible

      April 6, 2013 at 6:00 pm |
    • Chad

      @Moby Schtick "The bible supports both positions and contradicts itself on this issue as on thousands of others; however, the majority of scriptures justify a predestined/determined outcome for existence, humans, and god and his plan. Calvinism cannot be ignored and it adequately lays out the non-free-will aspect of the bible and its god."
      @Chad "A. Unfortunately you badly misunderstand Calvinism to begin with..
      B. Calvinism is one persons view of scripture
      C. The bible NO WHERE says that man does not have free will.
      D. The ability of man to have free will is throughout the bible, and an absolutely unconditional concept

      ====
      @rick "free will and an omniscient god are incompatible"
      @Chad "how?"

      April 6, 2013 at 6:26 pm |
    • Saraswati

      "@Chad "A. Unfortunately you badly misunderstand Calvinism to begin with..
      B. Calvinism is one persons view of scripture
      C. The bible NO WHERE says that man does not have free will.
      D. The ability of man to have free will is throughout the bible, and an absolutely unconditional concept"

      Ummm....what???? None of A, B or C addresses what Moby said about Calvinism plus, are you trying to argue both that he misunderstands it AND it doesn't matter anyway because it's just one person's view?

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

      lol
      A. I am pointing out that predestination does not obviate free will. Think back to the time travel example
      B. There is no such thing as "Calvinistic scripture", Calvin didnt write the bible.

      April 6, 2013 at 6:36 pm |
    • Calvinist

      Calvinists do not deny free will. We affirm that people are free to choose what they want to choose.

      April 6, 2013 at 6:41 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @Chad, Where are you getting the words "Calvinistic scripture" you have in quotes from?

      April 6, 2013 at 6:42 pm |
    • POV

      @chad, they are confusing free will and predestination without a basic understanding of the scriptures.

      April 6, 2013 at 6:44 pm |
    • Chad

      pp 18

      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

      April 6, 2013 at 6:46 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 6:48 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @Chad, I would not have read that as meaning that Calvin "wrote the bible". I think you'd have to really be assuming everyone who disagrees with you is an imbecile to think that's what that meant.

      Calvinists believe in something they call free will, but it is not libertarian free will. At least not for those who know their own theology.

      April 6, 2013 at 7:01 pm |
    • Calvinist

      We believe in free will to make choices. We also acknowledge that men are sinful and have a rebellious nature and may choose to disobey God.

      April 6, 2013 at 7:10 pm |
    • Chad

      "calvinistic scripture", what do you think that means?

      @saraswait "Calvinists believe in something they call free will, but it is not libertarian free will. At least not for those who know their own theology"
      @Chad "people can and do believe all kinds of things, but where is the scriptural support for it?
      Calvinists believe in free will, they do NOT believe in determinism.

      April 6, 2013 at 7:17 pm |
    • Saraswati

      Sure Chad, as long as you define Calvinism as having nothing to do with the works of Calvin you're good.

      Btw, in answer to your previous question, libertarian free will is just defined as a negative to fill a moral gap left by the Christian god. It is a hollow shell of a concept used as a band-aid to hold a shaky belief system together.

      April 6, 2013 at 7:39 pm |
    • POV

      @chad, you are dealing with those that are not interested in knowing Christian theology and are interested in dragging you into deceitful arguments. Some of these handles are not atheists, so beware. One word of advice to you, 1 Timothy 6 20.

      April 6, 2013 at 7:51 pm |
    • Chad

      @Saraswati "Sure Chad, as long as you define Calvinism as having nothing to do with the works of Calvin you're good."
      @Chad ":-)
      no.. you'll need to do some reading..(something other than infidels.org...)

      ====
      @Saraswati "libertarian free will is just defined as a negative to fill a moral gap left by the Christian god. It is a hollow shell of a concept used as a band-aid to hold a shaky belief system together."
      @Chad " 🙂

      I guess the probability of getting any evidence from you to back any of that up is about -0-? Approximately?

      It's not all that complicated, free will is the ability of agents to make unconstrained choices.

      April 6, 2013 at 7:53 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      LOL!!! Nobody, including god makes "unconstrained choices" you moron!

      God's "choices" are constrained by his godhood; god cannot make choices except those choices allowed by his godhood.
      Man's "choices" are constrained by god; man cannot make choices except those that are allowed by god's plan. (No human can choose to create his own universe, for example).

      Chad, you really prove yourself an idiot every time you post, here. It's like you pick topics that disprove your position and then choose examples that make a mockery of your belief. Nice work!! Keep it up!

      April 6, 2013 at 8:39 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Romans 9:18 is proof that god does not allow man to have free will:

      For those with ears to hear:

      18 Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.

      If you ever want to see the full effort of a Christian's exegetical gymnastics, have him explain how in the world Romans 9 can be accurate and still allow for free will. THAT is "cognitive dissonance."

      April 6, 2013 at 8:45 pm |
    • Chad

      @Moby Schtick "God's "choices" are constrained by his godhood; god cannot make choices except those choices allowed by his godhood."
      @Chad "says.. who?
      Who or what exactly is constraining Gods choices? "godhood"? what does that even mean?

      You'll have to explain exactly how God is constrained in any manner..

      ======
      @Moby "Man's "choices" are constrained by god; man cannot make choices except those that are allowed by god's plan. (No human can choose to create his own universe, for example)."
      @Chad "A. Mans choices are not constrained by God in any way shape or form
      B. the ability to have a "choice" does not include the ability to do some thing that you are incapable of doing. Just because I cant "choose to fly" doesnt mean I dont have free will 🙂

      =========
      @Moby Schtick "Romans 9:18 is proof that god does not allow man to have free will:
      For those with ears to hear: 18 Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden."
      @Chad "you completely misunderstand what "harden" means, namely that He allowed that person to go their own way. Scripture is clear that it is only thru Gods spirit that we are able to respond to His invitation. If that is withheld, that is "hardening"..

      April 6, 2013 at 10:29 pm |
    • rick

      chad: if god knows all that will ever happen, and god cannot be wrong, we cannot go against what god knows will happen

      April 6, 2013 at 10:43 pm |
    • Chad

      @rick "if god knows all that will ever happen, and god cannot be wrong, we cannot go against what god knows will happen"

      =>many atheists seem to have difficulty grasping a couple things:
      A. "time" exists in our universe, when our universe was created, time came into existence
      B. time is not constant, even in our universe.
      C. God exists outside our time, He is not constrained by it. He is timeless.

      The difficulty you are experiencing in understanding the concept, is the same a "two dimensional person" would have discussing depth with a three dimensional person. It simply wouldnt make sense.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theory_of_relativity

      knowing what will happen as we go about exercising our free will is not constraining that exercise in any way.

      April 6, 2013 at 10:57 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      You could not possibly have been less convincing, Chadpoe. Excellent work showing how a believer has to lie about what the bible says in order to pretend and claim to believe it–and that it says something opposite of what it does that just so happens to coincide with what you already believed. Nice!

      On a positive note, that's about what I would have been forced to concede on these issues about seven years ago. So, you're right in line with the typical Christian "reasoning" on those particular twistings of the scriptures.

      April 6, 2013 at 11:01 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Oh, and Chad, it makes more sense to believe you are lying than that you are too stupid to understand what things god cannot do because they would not be godly. Your imagination cannot be that rotted by your brain virus.

      April 6, 2013 at 11:04 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Chad, I believe it is safe to say atheists understand the concept that you are claiming – that your god exists outside time. It's not that we don't understand the claim. We don't believe it, especially given there is not a single bit of objective, independent, factual or verifiable evidence for any god or the jesus myth.

      April 6, 2013 at 11:08 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      So let's look at another passage from the same chapter in Romans. Here, Paul admits to three things Chad is currently disagreeing with:

      1. Believers will question why god holds people accountable when it is god's will that is ultimately occurring by god's formation of his "clay."
      2. No one can resist god's will; therefore, man has no freewill, since it is inconsequential to god's will for the person.
      3. There's no point talking back to god, because his will and not the human's is inviolate.

      19 One of you will say to me: “Then why does God still blame us? For who is able to resist his will?” 20 But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’”[h]

      April 6, 2013 at 11:13 pm |
    • clarity

      Oh – I see it's Saturday night Bible study with Chad again. 🙂

      April 6, 2013 at 11:34 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      It seems that Chad has run away or is frantically searching the web for rebuttals. . .

      April 6, 2013 at 11:36 pm |
    • Saraswati

      1. I have not, to the best of my knowledge ever visited infidels.org.

      2. It's not that complicated (to use your own words) – there are hundreds of books out there arguing about the definition of free will, so you are pretty obviously just wrong.

      There's really no where to go with you on these kinds of discussions. Your argument is pretty much "There's only one definition of all these terms and they are my definition and it's so obvious that anyone who doesn't agree is a fool." You don't get it and you are entirely smug and self-satisfied in your vastly incorrect belief that you know what's going on.

      April 6, 2013 at 11:41 pm |
    • Saraswati

      "It seems that Chad has run away or is frantically searching the web for rebuttals. . ."

      I don't imagine there's a chance he's actually reading Calvin.

      April 6, 2013 at 11:43 pm |
    • clarity

      Yeah – that chatty cathy Paul really had a way of putting a damper on a party, that's for sure.

      April 6, 2013 at 11:44 pm |
    • Bob

      Chad(Rachel), how are the workouts going? You'll need to lose a lot more weight, the two-in-one of you, if you ever want Rachel to have a nonzero thigh gap.

      April 6, 2013 at 11:46 pm |
    • clarity

      Goodness, Bob – don't say anything to Topher about that gap. I think it was him that said you could be committing virtual adultery if you caught a woman's gaze for more than a half a second at a church function and you had to learn some kind of eye darting technique to avoid such a gaze. Knowing that, Topher's head would probably explode at the thought of a thigh gap.

      April 6, 2013 at 11:50 pm |
    • Larry

      Chad
      "God exists outside our time, He is not constrained by it. He is timeless."
      I hear words strung into sentences by you, but unless you can somehow prove them they are about as factual as saying that Krypton's Red Sun if responsible for Superman's great strength, or The Speed Force is responsible for The Flash being able to run faster than light speed. There is a Marvel Comics character named Galactus who supposedly was the only being from the last universe to survive the Big Bang and be a part of ours. Not everyone is willing to believe Comic Book level explanations like yours.

      April 7, 2013 at 1:00 am |
    • Rick

      Any omniscient God who also tinkers with the lives of individuals through selective miracles aimed at helping them believe in him is interfering with free will, isn't he?

      April 7, 2013 at 1:12 am |
    • redzoa

      "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 difference here is that God saw the future before any future existed, i.e. before he "created" a future. God knew what the one ultimate future would be, knew every single step along the way, and this knowledge was infallible. No mortal "choice" could change what was already infallibly known to be inevitable. As the "first cause creator" of an already known one ultimate future, God locked both us and Himself into this one ultimate future. If either we or He could alter what was already infallibly known, that knowledge wouldn't be infallible, i.e. not omniscient.

      April 7, 2013 at 1:53 am |
    • clarity

      Oh – I dozed off and meant to keep track of this earlier. One consideration – and maybe this is already in one of your replies and I just missed it, but what if God – whatever it is – is timeless forward and backward and can afford us free will because he understands all possible source scenarios and outcomes from one point in time to the next? Maybe I'm putting to much thought into it – but I guess I was thinking maybe from the Christian perspective, that God allows us to choose, but always knows based on our choices what that impacts everywhere. it is late and I don't want to mess up my schedule so it's back to bed I'm afraid.

      April 7, 2013 at 3:54 am |
    • Science

      Again CHAD ARE YOU LOST IN SPACE ??

      Best Map Ever Made of Universe's Oldest Light: Planck Mission Brings Universe Into Sharp Focus

      Mar. 21, 2013 — The Planck space mission has released the most accurate and detailed map ever made of the oldest light in the universe, revealing new information about its age, contents and origins.

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130321084221.htm

      April 7, 2013 at 5:47 am |
    • skytag

      "God exists outside our time, He is not constrained by it. He is timeless."

      Typical religious mumbo jumbo pulled out of thin air to avoid dealing with reality. At every turn you've imagined God to be so limitless, so infinite, so incomprehensible, so unconstrained by anything that he can be anything you need him to be to justify anything you want to believe about him, and ensure none of what you believe about him is testable. How convenient is that?

      And all without a shred of evidence. The sad thing is that you actually believe this is all valid reasoning.

      April 7, 2013 at 7:45 am |
    • Science

      Chad ......................are the sound ecohing in your head ?

      Sound of the Big Bang are available in several lengths here:

      http://faculty.washington.edu/jcramer/BBSound_2013.html

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130404170154.htm

      April 7, 2013 at 8:00 am |
    • Science

      Oops sounds.......................Chad !

      April 7, 2013 at 8:02 am |
    • rick

      as usual, chad provides a bullspit non answer

      April 7, 2013 at 8:04 am |
    • Kenrick Benjamin

      On the topic of free will – The Bible never stated that God gave man free will because God knows that everything is subject to LAWS.

      April 7, 2013 at 8:29 am |
    • Rick

      Kenrick Benjamin
      Supposedly, the Garden story in Genesis is where the Bible establishes the principle of free will in humans. Adam and Eve were told to avoid the tree, exercised their free will, chose wrong, and were turned away from God's presence, which is where the roots of the idea of "hell" probably came from. That God, the one in the Garden, wasn't omniscient. Despite Christian attempts to say that he was just using figurative words, it's clear that he couldn't find either human as he "walked" in his Garden. Thus, free will could exist in humans where their God wasn't omniscient. Had God been, he would have already known that his experiment would fail, so why would he go through the charade of pretending to be surprised by the people's disloyalty?

      April 7, 2013 at 10:26 am |
    • Kenrick Benjamin

      Rick- Why gave Adam and Eve an option if they have free will.

      April 7, 2013 at 11:38 am |
    • HotAirAce

      As expected and as usual, Chad has gone silent when he can't answer simple questions. What a loser!

      April 8, 2013 at 12:41 am |
  20. Moby Schtick

    It is perfectly logical for an atheist to believe in free will because we do not yet have a full knowledge of how the brain operates. Because we do not know precisely how the brain operates, there may be some function that allows for "free-will."

    April 6, 2013 at 5:04 pm |
    • Brother Maynard

      I agree I think the jury is stil out on this. But as an atheist I have no problem, if the evidence supports, the reality that we do not have free will.
      I watched a PSC NOVA show, and I may get some of this wrong because it was like a year ago, that showed that humans do NOT have free will. The jist of the experiment was that volunteers were asked to choose one of two pictures. There was electrods mapping the brain and the computer was able to predict which picture the volunteer was going to choose. I had a bit of an issue with this experiment because it seemed to me that the it was not a level playing field. The computer which operates at the speed of electricty was monitoring the decision process of the human that works on a chemical level. It seemed to me to be a bit unfair. My apologies if I'm getting the details mixed up ... it was a year ago.
      ALL THAT BEING SAID - If we do NOT have free will ... I really don't see an issue.

      April 6, 2013 at 5:16 pm |
    • Chad

      “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 5:18 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Chad, you moron, not all atheists agree with all scientists. I happen to see the sense in the quotes you provide, and I don't believe in free will, but plenty of atheists have their own ideas on why those quotes represent a faulty logic, and I don't begrudge them their reasoning. Because we don't know precisely how the brain operates, there might be free will, but it doesn't make sense to me at this moment.

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

      Hawling again. Sigh. What is this supposed to refute?

      April 6, 2013 at 5:54 pm |
    • Saraswati

      Chad, as someone else here pointed out one could be an atheist and believe in ghosts. Heck, one could be an atheist and believe in unicorns, magic, numerology and thousands of other crackpot ideas...including free will. Atheism has nothing to say about any of it and your current obsession with the topic frankly borders on bizarre.

      April 6, 2013 at 6:10 pm |
    • Chad

      @Saraswati "As someone else here pointed out one could be an atheist and believe in ghosts. Heck, one could be an atheist and believe in unicorns, magic, numerology and thousands of other crackpot ideas...including free will. Atheism has nothing to say about any of it and your current obsession with the topic frankly borders on bizarre."

      @Chad "?????
      you are badly, badly mistaken..

      Now, dont get me wrong, an atheist COULD believe in free will, that is what is known as "cognitive dissonance".

      However, rationally:
      since atheists reject a creator, they have no option but to posit a natural "cause" for the origin of the universe
      since atheists reject a creator, they have no option but to reject the existence of the soul
      since atheists reject a creator, they have no option but to view the universe as impersonal, and entirely governed by physical laws only.
      since atheists reject a creator, they have no option but to view all living organisms merely products of the natural world, entirely governed by the physical laws.

      “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 6:33 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Chad, just because you and other Christians make stupid and erroneous leaps in logic that you have no business making doesn't mean that atheists follow your poor example and make stupid and erroneous leaps in logic. Just because animals are part of a natural process doesn't mean that they don't make decisions. How stupid do you have to be to make such a nonsequitur mistake as that?

      April 6, 2013 at 8:54 pm |
    • Bob

      Chad(Rachel), how are the workouts going? You'll need to lose a lot more weight, the two-in-one of you, if you ever want Rachel to have a nonzero thigh gap.

      April 6, 2013 at 11:46 pm |
    • Saraswati

      Nice copy and paste Chad of exactly the arguments multiple people have addressed last time you posted it.

      April 6, 2013 at 11:54 pm |
    • Sandi

      I must say, right after Reality and that Prayer Changes guy, Chad really does do the most reposts around here. I wonder why he does that? Laziness, or just a lack or creativity?

      April 7, 2013 at 1:04 am |
    • skytag

      Chad reposts the same canned answers over and over again because he has no valid arguments.

      April 7, 2013 at 7:38 am |
    • skytag

      Chad, by what rationale does free will require the existence of a God?

      April 7, 2013 at 7:39 am |
    • Saraswati

      I think the way he sees it he knows everything and is always right. He's here as a public service to save souls and so isn't engaging in debate but in an act of showmanship in the hope of capturing even one soul to his side with the "best" arguments he thinks he's structured.

      April 7, 2013 at 7:55 am |
    • skytag

      "How stupid do you have to be to make such a nonsequitur mistake as that?"

      However stupid that is, Chad is clearly up to the task.

      April 7, 2013 at 8:00 am |
    • Rick

      Chad
      I'll ask you this as well. Supposedly, the Garden story in Genesis is where the Bible establishes the principle of free will in humans, right? Adam and Eve were told to avoid the tree, exercised their free will, chose wrong, and were turned away from God's presence. That God, the one in the Garden, wasn't omniscient. Despite Christian attempts to say that he was just using figurative words, it's clear that he couldn't find either human as he "walked" in his Garden. Thus, free will could exist in humans where their God wasn't omniscient. Had God been, he would have already known that his experiment would fail, so why would he go through the charade of pretending to be surprised by the people's disloyalty?

      If God wasn't omniscient in the Garden then when did he gain it, and if he gained it late, how could he be sure that he's omniscient now?

      April 7, 2013 at 10:30 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.