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When religious beliefs become evil: 4 signs
The Branch Davidians, a religious sect led by David Koresh, clashed with federal agents in 1993 in Waco, Texas.
April 28th, 2013
06:00 AM ET

When religious beliefs become evil: 4 signs

By John Blake, CNN

(CNN) - An angry outburst at a mosque. The posting of a suspicious YouTube video. A friendship with a shadowy imam.

Those were just some of the signs that Tamerlan Tsarnaev, accused of masterminding the Boston Marathon bombings, had adopted a virulent strain of Islam that led to the deaths of four people and injury of more than 260.

But how else can you tell that someone’s religious beliefs have crossed the line? The answer may not be as simple you think, according to scholars who study all brands of religious extremism. The line between good and evil religion is thin, they say, and it’s easy to make self-righteous assumptions.

“When it’s something we like, we say it’s commitment to an idea; when it’s something we don’t like, we say it’s blind obedience,” said Douglas Jacobsen, a theology professor at Messiah College in Pennsylvania.

Yet there are ways to tell that a person’s faith has drifted into fanaticism if you know what to look and listen for, say scholars who have studied some of history’s most horrific cases of religious violence.

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“There are a lot of warning signs all around us, but we usually learn about them after a Jim Jones or a David Koresh,” said Charles Kimball, author of “When Religion Becomes Evil.”

Here are four warning signs:

1. I know the truth, and you don’t.

On the morning of July 29, 1994, the Rev. Paul Hill walked up to John Britton outside an abortion clinic in Pensacola, Florida, and shot the doctor to death. Hill was part of a Christian extremist group called the Army of God, which taught that abortion was legalized murder.

Hill’s actions were motivated by a claim that virtually all religions espouse: We have the truth that others lack.

Those claims can turn deadly when they become absolute and there is no room for interpretation, Kimball says.

“Absolute claims can quickly move into a justification of violence against someone who rejects that claim,” Kimball said. “It’s often a short step.”

Healthy religions acknowledge that sincere people can disagree about even basic truths, Kimball says.

The history of religion is filled with examples of truths that were once considered beyond questioning but are no longer accepted by all followers: inerrancy of sacred scripture, for example, or the subjugation of women and sanctioning of slavery.

If someone like Hall believes that they know God’s truth and they cannot be wrong, watch out, Kimball says.

“Authentic religious truth claims are never as inflexible as zealous adherents insist,” he writes in “When Religion Becomes Evil.”

Yet there’s a flip side to warnings about claiming absolute truth: Much of religion couldn’t exist without them, scholars say.

Many of history’s greatest religious figures – Moses, Jesus, the Prophet Mohammed – all believed that they had discovered some truth, scholars say.

Ordinary people inflamed with a sense of self-righteousness have made the same claim and done good throughout history, says Carl Raschke, a theology professor at the University of Denver in Colorado.

The Protestant Reformation was sparked by an angry German monk who thought he had the truth, Raschke says.

“Martin Luther’s disgust at the worldliness of the papacy in the early 1500s inspired him to become a radical revolutionary whose ideas overturned the entire political structure in Europe,” Raschke said.

So how do you tell the difference between the healthy claims of absolute truth and the deadly? Scholars say to look at the results: When people start hurting others in the name of their religious truth, they’ve crossed the line.

2. Beware the charismatic leader.

It was one of the deadliest terrorist attacks in Japanese history. In March 1995, a religious sect called Aum Shinrikyo released a deadly nerve gas in a Tokyo subway station, leaving 12 people dead and 5,000 injured.

Two months later, Japanese police found Shoko Asahara, the sect’s founder, hiding in a room filled with cash and gold bars. Kimball, who tells the story of the sect in “When Religion Becomes Evil,” says Asahara had poisoned the minds of his followers years before.

Asahara demanded unquestioned devotion from members of his sect and isolated followers in communities where they were told that they no longer needed to think for themselves, Kimball says.

Any religion that limits the intellectual freedom of its followers, he says, has become dangerous. “When you start to get individuals who are the sole interpreters of truth, you get people who follow them blindly."

Charismatic leaders, though, often don’t start off being cruel. Jim Jones, who led the mass suicide of his followers in South America, was a gifted speaker who built an interracial church in San Francisco that did much good in the community. Few people at the beginning of his ministry could predict what he would become.

As time went on, though, his charisma turned cruel as he tolerated no questions to his authority and became delusional.

“Charismatic leadership is important, but in healthy religions, there’s always a process where questions are encouraged,” Kimball said.

Weaning followers away from corrupt charismatic leaders and bad religion can take years, but it can be done if one knows how to speak their language, says Ed Husain, senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.

Countries such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt will often deploy imams to reach out to young men in prison who have adopted “Islamism,” or extreme forms of Islam sanctioning violence against civilians, says Husain, who has written about Muslim extremism.

These Muslim clerics know the Quran better than the extremists and can use their knowledge to reach extremists in a place that logic and outsiders cannot penetrate, Husain said.

“The antidote to extremism is religion itself,” Husain said. “The problem is not to take Islam out of the debate but to use Islam to counter Islamism.”

3. The end is near.

In 1970, an unknown pastor from Texas wrote a book called “The Late, Great Planet Earth.” The book, which linked biblical prophecy with political events like Israel’s victory in the 1967 Six-Day War, predicted the imminent return of an antichrist and the end of the world.

Author Hal Lindsey’s book has sold an estimated 15 million copies and spawned a genre of books like the “Left Behind” series. Many people are fascinated by the idea that the heavens will open soon because the end is near.

That end-times theology can turn lethal, though, when a follower decides that he or she will speed up that end-time by conducting some dramatic or violent act, says John Alverson, chairman of the theology department at Carlow University in Pittsburgh.

“A religious terrorist mistakenly believes that God has ordained or called him or her to establish the will of God on Earth now, not gradually and not according to the slow and finicky free will of other humans,” Alverson said.

Yet this impulse to see God’s intervention in human affairs now and not in some distant future can also be good, he says.

There are vibrant religious communities that teach that political and economic injustice must be addressed now. Liberation theology, for example, was a movement among pastors and theologians in Latin America that called for justice for the poor now, not in some future apocalyptic event, Alverson says.

“Hope is a good breakfast but not much of a supper,” Alverson said. “We can’t just live on the hope that justice will happen; we have to actually experience justice from time to time so that our hope can continue.”

4. The end justifies the means.

It was one of the biggest scandals the Roman Catholic Church ever faced, and the repercussions are still being felt today.

In January 2002, the Boston Globe published a story about Father John Geoghan, a priest who had been moved around various parishes after Catholic leaders learned that he had abused children. It was later revealed that Catholic officials had quietly paid at least $10 million to settle lawsuits against Geoghan.

Kimball says the Catholic scandal revealed another sign that a faith has turned toxic: Religious figures start justifying doing something wrong for a higher good.

 “The common theme was trying to protect the integrity of the church,” Kimball said of some Catholic leaders who covered up the crimes. “You get all of these rationalizations that we can’t let this scandal bring the whole church down, so we have to pay off this family and send the priests off to rehab.”

Religion is supposed to be a force for good. Still, it’s common that everyone from suicide bombers to venal church figures finds ways to justify their behavior in the name of some higher good.

Those rationalizations are so pervasive that religious movements that avoid them stand out, scholars say.

Jacobsen, the theology professor from Messiah College, cited the civil rights movement. The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and his fellow activists renounced violence, even as they were attacked and sometimes murdered.

“They were willing to lay down their lives for what they believed in, but what’s incredible is, they practiced not retaliating when they suffered violence,” he said. “Those people really believed that God created everyone equal, and they were committed to the point of death.”

In some ways, it’s easy to say we would never adopt a form of religion that’s evil. But when we use the word “evil” to describe those who kill in the name of their faith, we’re already mimicking what we condemn, Jacobsen says.

In his new book, “No Longer Invisible: Religion in University Education,” Jacobson writes that calling a religion evil is dangerous because “bad or wrong actions can be corrected, but typically evil needs to be destroyed.”

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

“To label someone or something as evil is to demonize it, putting it in a category of otherness where the rules of normal life do not apply, where the end often justifies almost any means,” Jacobson writes.

And when we do that, we don’t have to read about radical imams or look at angry YouTube videos to see how easy it is for someone to drift toward religious extremism, he says.

We need only look at ourselves.

- CNN Writer

Filed under: Belief • Books • Catholic Church • Christianity • Courts • Culture wars • Egypt • Fundamentalism • History • Islam • Jesus • Leaders • Moses • Muslim • Quran

soundoff (3,810 Responses)
  1. Dyslexic doG

    Once a person is willing to throw away logic for fantasy and label it faith, all rules are out the window.

    ALL religion is delusion. All religion is dangerous.

    April 29, 2013 at 11:09 am |
    • Polergiest

      Ooh, what are the rule?

      April 29, 2013 at 11:12 am |
  2. { ! }

    "But how else can you tell that someone’s religious beliefs have crossed the line? " We know this the same way we know other events have crossed the line. For example, the development of biological weapons by scientists. The development of nukes by same. The enslavement of masses of people by crass capitalism, the man-made famines under communism.

    April 29, 2013 at 11:07 am |
  3. Akira

    Fron faith: "akira the air head"...who she votes as one of the most likely to go on a murderous spree...

    I suppose anyone who can write an easily comprehendable, lucid sentence would be termed an airhead by someone who is abjectly ignorant and the enemy of even rudimentary education.
    As for its second patently absurd assertion, I think it will be far more likely that we read about faith committing some mass murder in the name of Christianity than me.

    I think between the two of us, we know who qualifies as the "airhead". Hint: not me.

    April 29, 2013 at 10:46 am |
    • Live4Him

      Akira : I think between the two of us, we know who qualifies as the "airhead". Hint: not me.

      And yet, you claimed to know me, that I was a 44-yr old woman with a son and living in NY. Do all 'lucid' people have these wild fantasies?

      April 29, 2013 at 10:56 am |
    • The real Tom

      How do we know they're "fantasies"? Just because you say so, Lie4ever?

      April 29, 2013 at 11:00 am |
    • .

      Liver can't read!! "I suppose anyone who can write an easily comprehendable, lucid sentence"....fucking dumb bitch. Does lying for God like the rest of them here get you closer to Him? Hahahahahahaha!

      April 29, 2013 at 11:21 am |
    • Live4Him

      @The real Tom : How do we know they're "fantasies"?

      First, anyone who is in Charlotte, NC could meet me for lunch / dinner.

      Second, since this has been put forth by your side, you should provide evidence that it ISN'T a fanasty – unless you want to fall prey to the first point mentioned in the article: '1. I know the truth, and you don’t.'

      April 29, 2013 at 11:25 am |
    • .

      You saying Akira lives in Charlotte?? Or you do? Who the fuck cares what some lying christian thinks, anyway? You're a fucking sham who thinks UPC codes are the mark of the beast, hahahahaha!!!

      April 29, 2013 at 11:32 am |
    • In Santa we trust

      Lie4Him, Given your record on this forum why are you surprised that the veracity of anything you write is questioned?

      April 29, 2013 at 11:33 am |
    • The real Tom

      Why should I provide evidence, Lie? I didn't make the claim and I don't what "side" you think I'm on. Did you get lost on the way to gym class or something?

      April 29, 2013 at 11:34 am |
    • Science

      Just get the god damn list out lie 4 him

      April 29, 2013 at 11:53 am |
  4. Vic

    The article is basically calling for PREVENTION by reading warning signs of 'extremism,' and that is HIGHLY OBJECTIVE; I agree with that.

    I believe what the author projected applies to any ideology and not just religion!

    One more item I would like to add to this projection, since terrorism holds people captive, is "BEWARE OF THE STOCKHOLM SYNDROME!"

    April 29, 2013 at 10:37 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      I agree Vic. These signs can appear in any ideology. I can think of one or two that aren't religious.

      April 29, 2013 at 10:49 am |
    • ME II

      @Vic,
      "I believe what the author projected applies to any ideology and not just religion!"

      Excellent point!

      April 29, 2013 at 10:53 am |
    • Live4Him

      @ME II : "I believe what the author projected applies to any ideology and not just religion!" Excellent point!

      Including humanism, atheism, etc?

      April 29, 2013 at 10:58 am |
    • Akira

      I agree, also. These are exhibited by ruthless dictators to gain their stronghold on countries to ensure blind obedience, with the threat of death for dissenters.
      We've seen this throughout history. And it keeps repeating.

      April 29, 2013 at 11:01 am |
    • sam stone

      how do those apply to atheism?

      April 29, 2013 at 11:01 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Only religion has the creator of the universe as the law giver. The book is divinely inspired. It is the unquestioned authority behind the religion that sets it apart from other ideologies.

      April 29, 2013 at 11:10 am |
    • Live4Him

      @sam stone : how do those apply to atheism?

      Let me quote:

      “When it’s something we like, we say it’s commitment to an idea; when it’s something we don’t like, we say it’s blind obedience,” said Douglas Jacobsen, a theology professor at Messiah College in Pennsylvania.

      How often have atheists on these forums have claimed that Christianity (i.e. something they don't like) required blind obedience? All the time.

      Any religion that limits the intellectual freedom of its followers, he says, has become dangerous.

      Atheists on these forums utilize mockery rather than facts to support their beliefs. According to the article, it is a dangerous path they are following, since it requires the hearer to stop thinking for themselves. Note, this does not include atheists who will utilize facts to support their beliefs – only those who resort to mockery and ridicule.

      April 29, 2013 at 11:21 am |
    • Vic

      To be as OBJECTIVE as the author is, we can not exclude Bill Ayers, the founder of the Weather Underground Organization, who killed innocent people in the name of communism!

      Nor can we exclude Adolf Hitler, who was influenced, promoted and enabled by the National Socialist German Workers Party, aka the Nazi Party, who committed one of the WORST CRIMES against humanity, THE HOLOCAUST!

      April 29, 2013 at 11:21 am |
    • ME II

      @Live4Him,
      Atheism is hardly an Ideology. However, any ideology that shows these warning signs, is cause for concern, yes.
      1) Most atheists, I think, are of the "weak" variety, i.e. not claiming to know the truth, just not accepting the claims of others.
      2) Atheism does not have charismatic leaders, at least not at the level of Jim Jones, David Koresh, etc. i.e. leaders capable of ordering death.
      3) Atheism says nothing about "the end". Although according to scientific evidence it's still some billions of years away.
      4) Atheism is not a philosophy nor an ethical system and therefore says nothing about "the ends" justifying anything.

      April 29, 2013 at 11:22 am |
    • The real Tom

      Lie, are you claiming that religion DOESN'T require blind obedience?

      April 29, 2013 at 11:38 am |
    • The real Tom

      Lie, how are atheists doing anything to their 'followers', when they don't have any such thing?

      April 29, 2013 at 11:39 am |
  5. Reason

    The problem has never been religion, but is and will always be an individual's intent to misuse religion for their own means. And that coincides with this article. The 4 signs are not what comes from a sacred text, nor from the message it brings; but from ones personal interpretation or misinterpretation to meet ones evil desires. With or without religion, the problem will always be there. Man will always have the ability to cause evil; religion is just becoming the scapegoat for it.

    April 29, 2013 at 10:36 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      The best defense is a good offense. Now, I wonder what extreme ideology would want to make religion appear to be the exclusive harbinger of evil? Hmmm?

      April 29, 2013 at 10:50 am |
    • The real Tom

      I don't know, Dill. I certainly don't. I know many people whose faith I admire. I don't find religion to be inherently harmful or evil. I do find some of its adherents to be, though.

      April 29, 2013 at 10:52 am |
    • Polergiest

      Indeed. My theory is that it's personal harm that causes many who scapegoat religion to do so. Especially if this was at the hands of people close to the individual. That often requires the mind to rationalize why a person who's supposed to care about them behaved in such a manner. In many cases it's psychologically easier to look for a general environmental association than to acknowledge that the fault was in the person close to them.

      April 29, 2013 at 10:57 am |
    • Religion = guns

      The problem has never been guns, but is and will always be an individual's intent to misuse guns for their own means

      April 29, 2013 at 11:33 am |
  6. Irrational Exuberance

    You realize all 4 are soldily supported by the New testament, right? Hence Christianity is evil.

    1) John 14:6
    2) Matthew 14:13-21
    3) Luke 21:31, Matthew 24:34
    4) Christiniaty has ALWAYS held that the ends justifies the means. be it god drowing every living child in a flood, slaughtering the first borns of egypt, or anything they relata as going to happen in revelations. it is al lpredicated on the idea that their god is perfect, and by definition purely good. Being incapable of evil it means al lof their gods action must be good and fulyl justified since all humans are sinners worthy of death.

    April 29, 2013 at 10:31 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      It's irrational to presume selective quotes from the Bible can be used to support your argument. That is called fundamentalism.

      April 29, 2013 at 10:51 am |
    • In Santa we trust

      Isn't that the point Bill, these people use the bible to justify their actions and feel that the "laws of god" are more important than civil law.

      April 29, 2013 at 11:47 am |
    • cwrighta70

      I agree with Bill. You simply cannot pick out random verses of the bible without fully understanding what they mean, their context, etc. People who quote Old Testament passages such as the ones you provided as the way Christians are supposed to carry out their faith don't understand Christianity at all. What's more, you are providing false information to everyone reading because of your lack of knowledge. If you are truly someone who seeks the truth, I suggest you go sit down with a few pastors to get a better view of the bible and how everything fits together.

      April 29, 2013 at 11:56 am |
    • cwrighta70

      Santa, you can't single out religion as the source of the problem because PEOPLE are the source of the problem. They don't just use religion as the justifying means, they also use politics, personal experiences, anger/hate towards someone who is different or has wronged them, and more. As long as humans continue to be crazy (which will probably be forever), they will use any excuse to commit terrible acts of violence.

      April 29, 2013 at 12:01 pm |
  7. Reality

    As a good student, you have read the reiterations of the "fems" (flaws, errors, muck and stench) of religion. Therefore the seeds have been planted in rich soil. Go therefore and preach the truth to all nations, reiterating as you go amongst the lost, bred, born and brainwashed souls of Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism as Rational Thinking makes its triumphant return all because of you!!!!

    April 29, 2013 at 10:09 am |
  8. Sane Person

    There is no "right" religion. They are all just stories used to teach lessons. Taking them literally is very foolish.

    April 29, 2013 at 10:08 am |
    • faith

      "Sane Person
      There is no "right" religion. They are all just stories used to teach lessons. Taking them literally is very foolish."

      liar. no proof. 0

      so, dorothy, how do handle your critics now? just a few too many to cry "i am a girl"

      April 29, 2013 at 10:27 am |
    • .

      Why do you think everyone is a girl, asshole faith? Because they make so much more sense than your retarded drivel???

      April 29, 2013 at 10:37 am |
  9. The Demon Deacon

    Bill Deacon
    Stated...The truth is the truth whether everyone believes it or no believes it. ???
    The truth is subject to change if the pope says that was old truth we are dropping it for this new truth , is that not how the RCC works, Billy? "The history of religion is filled with examples of truths that were once considered beyond questioning but are no longer accepted by all followers; inerrancy of sacred scripture, for example, or the subjugation of woman and sanctioning of slavery." The RCC took its time in getting its sh1t together and even today treat the women as second class.

    April 29, 2013 at 9:59 am |
    • XxBAMFxX

      It's not that the truth changed but that the people's understanding of it changed.

      For example, the earth has always revolved around the sun - the TRUTH - but back in the day most people thought that the sun revolved around the earth. They believed the sun revolving around the earth was true, but in actuallity that was never TRUE.

      April 29, 2013 at 10:14 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      I reiterate "The truth is the truth whether everyone believes it or no one believes it." demons have comprehension problems.

      April 29, 2013 at 10:17 am |
    • The real Tom

      And of course, Dill, you think you know what the truth is, don't you? No ego problems there.

      April 29, 2013 at 10:18 am |
    • The Demon Deacon

      Bill Deacon
      Is irrelevant. Billy is an obsequious papal apologist troll.
      More honest Billy would be...The truth is the truth if the pope tells me it is the truth or is written in the catechism and matters not if anyone else believes it. Better, more honest Billy?

      April 29, 2013 at 10:26 am |
    • sam stone

      I reiterate "The truth is the truth whether everyone believes it or no one believes it." demons have comprehension problems.

      As do the pious

      April 29, 2013 at 10:29 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      If you read closely and with an open mind when I post sam and tom, I never claim any special knowledge of ultimate truth. Typically I only offer clarification of the catechism when it is mis represented. Or, I submit the teaching of the church as a viable response to problems the world faces, since those are my beliefs (it's a belief blog).

      April 29, 2013 at 10:38 am |
    • The real Tom

      Why would I "read with an open mind" the posts of someone who is so obviously not objective?

      April 29, 2013 at 11:06 am |
  10. WASP

    this articule was about "when religion becomes dangerous."
    we haven't reviewed this topic since the waco tragedy. with everything going on with religious people being recruited to become "terrorists" this country needs to open it's eyes and see that religion isn't all dandeliones and butterflies there is a darkside to religion that can harm hundreds if not thousands of people as long as we ignore these signals we leave ourselves vunerable to "home-grown" terror threats.
    i think this paper was long over due seeing we keep hearing about our own citizens getting recruited for these type of attacks because the ones on the outside can't easily get inside any longer to attack us directly; like in 9/11.
    respect people being religious but observe them for extremeist statements against our nation.

    April 29, 2013 at 9:56 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      Was that copied and pasted form Pilate's letter to Rome?

      April 29, 2013 at 9:59 am |
    • WASP

      @bill: not unless pilate knew about september 11th 2001. 🙂
      those are my true heartfelt words, i don't cut and paste unless it's too much to write while showing a point.
      i don't plagerize. 🙂

      April 29, 2013 at 10:04 am |
    • lol??

      Dandeliones for mommy – Toynia Edmond – PoemHunter.Com ??

      April 29, 2013 at 10:06 am |
    • faith

      i nominate sambo stoneho, tom the moron, observer, reality?, no-religion, right!, akira the air head, fsm, santa and invisible sky daddy. all equally dangerous, violent and aching to start killing christians

      April 29, 2013 at 10:07 am |
    • Science

      Hey Bill what about the facts ?

      April 29, 2013 at 10:07 am |
    • The real Tom

      I nominate faith/lolly for fvcktard of the century. What kind of idiot thinks lying will make Jeebus happy?

      April 29, 2013 at 10:09 am |
    • Science

      Morning WASP

      With sources bill ...............and not the bible ?

      April 29, 2013 at 10:11 am |
    • lol??

      "Dandelions are especially well-adapted to a modern world of "disturbed habitats," such as lawns and sunny, open places. They were even introduced into the Midwest from Europe to provide food for the imported honeybees in early spring."
      http://www.wildmanstevebrill.com/Plants.Folder/Dandelion.html

      The Monroe Doctrine wasn't gud enuff to keep em out.

      April 29, 2013 at 10:11 am |
    • hal 9001

      I will second that, "The real Tom". Truly an optimal selection.

      April 29, 2013 at 10:12 am |
    • sam stone

      faith: i don't want to kill anyone. fvck you are your persecution complex

      April 29, 2013 at 10:16 am |
    • WASP

      i vote we start with faith first seeing "it" expects we atheists to act in such a way why disappoint. trust me "faith" the one that drops you isn't the one you feel. 🙂

      April 29, 2013 at 10:18 am |
    • Ben

      faith
      Most of the atheists here were once Christians, so why kill them before they have time to outgrow the delusion like we did?

      April 29, 2013 at 10:19 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      wasp, I understood the context and didn't miss the references. However, without the incidents you listed, I could very easily see Pilate voicing the same concerns to his superiors 20 centuries ago. One of the things I think eludes atheists is that mankind has not "evolved" all that much since that time. Left to a subjective morality, we will degenerate.

      Science, I'm all for the facts. Could you be more specific?

      April 29, 2013 at 10:21 am |
    • lol??

      Hal 9001, still stuck in a dialectic world? You are the one that should know about the Boolean world.

      April 29, 2013 at 10:22 am |
    • lol??

      Alas, even the firewall of the Monroe Doctrine didn't protect HAL 9001. Virus alert.

      April 29, 2013 at 10:27 am |
    • ed

      still trying to prove that objective morality BS, Billy?

      April 29, 2013 at 10:28 am |
    • the head korn welsh (because faith thinks I'm sooooooooo nice, my greatest hit!)

      You tell me, you stupid cunt. You don't posess any.

      April 29, 2013 at 10:29 am |
    • faith

      "WASP
      i vote we start with faith first seeing "it" expects we atheists to act in such a way why disappoint. trust me "faith" the one that drops you isn't the one you feel." to hls and fbi

      so, most animals here were reborners. lol

      so, you no nothin. the 1 or 2 ( sorry, that is all there b. so, u r so stupid!!) who post as demon-possessed reprobates worship satan and always will

      April 29, 2013 at 10:33 am |
    • Science

      Bill Deacon................Adam and Eve suck the big one !

      April 29, 2013 at 10:39 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      ed, without it the strong will prosper and the weak will be subjugated. We've proven it time after time.

      April 29, 2013 at 10:39 am |
    • The Demon Deacon

      Bill Deacon
      Is irrelevant. Billy is an obsequious papal apologist troll.
      Why the fvck should anybody that is not into your delusion forgive you, the do as I say not what I do/did, pathetic hypocrite? The ugly history of the RCC can only be denied by the deluded.

      April 29, 2013 at 10:40 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      Science, I've had some respect for your proclivity to post scientific links. So, I'm saddened to see you devolve into crudity. Maybe you just need to be part of the "in crowd"

      April 29, 2013 at 10:41 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      At last we agree demon! No one who can't or won't accept forgiveness can forgive another.

      As to the history of the Church, the board is full of reports of both the good and the bad. It's only closed minds that insist it is one or the other. The truth is that the entire history of western civilization revolves around Judeo Christianity. Kind of hard to sort out the good from the bad if all you have is subjective morality isn't it?

      April 29, 2013 at 10:45 am |
    • ed

      BD: "We've proven it time after time." [objective morality]

      Nope. Nice try, though.

      April 29, 2013 at 10:49 am |
    • Science

      From Soup to Cells—the Origin of Life..................you are really stuck in the soup ! Billie go learn something !

      http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evosite/evo101/IIE2aOriginoflife.shtml

      No angels the pope kicked them off the team last year !

      April 29, 2013 at 10:51 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      nope? That's your counterargument? LOL ok.

      April 29, 2013 at 10:53 am |
    • ed

      You're the one who mentioned objective morality has been proven again and again, Bill. So prove it if you can.

      April 29, 2013 at 11:02 am |
    • Science

      WASP what is this sh-it Billie is talking about ?

      https://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/04/12/where-do-morals-come-from/#comments

      Come on Billie what ? funny url's bill cool science !

      April 29, 2013 at 11:15 am |
    • Science

      Mr Bill Deacon .............do facts work when teaching children ?

      April 29, 2013 at 11:29 am |
  11. faith

    these animals think they can threaten physical harm against americans with complete impunity.

    April 29, 2013 at 9:54 am |
    • The real Tom

      You mean like Paul Hill did?

      April 29, 2013 at 9:58 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      No tom, like Kermit Gosnell

      April 29, 2013 at 10:00 am |
    • The real Tom

      So you can't figure out that they're BOTH guilty of murder? Idiot.

      Gosnell wasn't abiding by the law. Neither was Hill.

      You really are stupid.

      April 29, 2013 at 10:05 am |
    • the head korn welsh (because faith thinks I'm sooooooooo nice, my greatest hit!)

      Kermit gosnall is a monster...and thinking he is typical of abortion doctors is just as stupis as thinking all priests are pedophiles, Bill. Grow the fuck up. If you are SO against one, why did your SO have one??? Hypocrite.

      April 29, 2013 at 10:06 am |
    • The real Tom

      The other question Dilly never answers is why he and his SO were fornicating in the first place, when they weren't married, and why he didn't try to prevent an unplanned pregnancy.

      April 29, 2013 at 10:20 am |
    • faith

      Kermit gosnall is a monster...and thinking he is typical of abortion doctors is just as stupis

      tell us, what are most abortion doctors really like? obviously u no. go ahead. what do they do with the blood? the heart? the spine?

      April 29, 2013 at 10:23 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      I'd have to say it was from ignorance and immaturity. By the grace of God, and the willingness to repent, I've grown past that. I pray that those who are, today, making the same mistakes I made, receive His mercy too.

      April 29, 2013 at 10:26 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      Tom, you're the one who tried to use Paul Hill in order to skew faith's comment in your favor. I simply countered with Gosnell to illustrate either side can find examples. But, of course you win. You called me an idiot and that is just such a compelling argument, at least in your mind.

      April 29, 2013 at 10:30 am |
    • Science

      There is no fairy in the sky BILL !.....................Fadt !

      Peace

      April 29, 2013 at 10:31 am |
    • The real Tom

      Oh, poor little Dill. Wah, wah, wah.

      Nobody has to do anything for faith/lollypo0p's posts to be "skewed." The fact that you agree puts you in the same league with the nuts.

      The fact is that you don't like it when the faults of your own kind are pointed out to you. Cry me a river.

      April 29, 2013 at 10:33 am |
    • faith

      so, she means you

      April 29, 2013 at 10:34 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      Me a murderer? The truth is yes. How about you tom? Any malice in your heart?

      April 29, 2013 at 10:47 am |
  12. God loves people so much . . . . .

    Washington Post: 260,000 died in 2011 Somali famine, new report says; half were 5 and under

    By Associated Press, Updated: Monday, April 29, 9:28 AM

    NAIROBI, Kenya — Officials in East Africa say a report to be released this week estimates that 260,000 people died in Somalia’s 2011 famine, more than double previous estimates.

    April 29, 2013 at 9:53 am |
    • faith

      billy clinton turned the other cheek pretending 800,000 rwandans weren't being massacred.

      April 29, 2013 at 9:57 am |
    • faith

      did u do anything to help?

      April 29, 2013 at 9:58 am |
    • faith

      one glance at heaven from heaven will destroy all thoughts and memories of the pain and misery of this fallen world. the devil and her angels remember–heaven, that is. everywhere else is hell compared to the beauty of that place. believe it or not, your choice

      April 29, 2013 at 10:02 am |
    • the head korn welsh (because faith thinks I'm sooooooooo nice, my greatest hit!)

      What did you do, faith??? Proselytize?? Shut up, you ungracious hypocrite.

      April 29, 2013 at 10:21 am |
    • Ben

      The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me. Mark 14:7

      Many Christians, apparently, want to start helping the poor some time far into the future, but they die before that time comes, one supposes.

      April 29, 2013 at 10:23 am |
    • faith

      so, "Shut up,"

      yea. so, that works

      April 29, 2013 at 10:36 am |
  13. faith

    Precious angel, under the sun
    How was I to know you’d be the one
    To show me I was blinded, to show me I was gone
    How weak was the foundation I was standing upon?

    Now there’s spiritual warfare and flesh and blood breaking down
    Ya either got faith or ya got unbelief and there ain’t no neutral ground
    The enemy is subtle, how be it we are so deceived
    When the truth’s in our hearts and we still don’t believe?

    Shine your light, shine your light on me
    Shine your light, shine your light on me
    Shine your light, shine your light on me
    Ya know I just couldn’t make it by myself
    I’m a little too blind to see

    My so-called friends have fallen under a spell
    They look me squarely in the eye and they say, “All is well”
    Can they imagine the darkness that will fall from on high
    When men will beg God to kill them and they won’t be able to die?

    Sister, lemme tell you about a vision I saw
    You were drawing water for your husband, you were suffering under the law
    You were telling him about Buddha, you were telling him about Mohammed
    in the same breath
    You never mentioned one time the Man who came and died a criminal’s death

    Shine your light, shine your light on me
    Shine your light, shine your light on me
    Shine your light, shine your light on me
    Ya know I just couldn’t make it by myself
    I’m a little too blind to see

    Precious angel, you believe me when I say
    What God has given to us no man can take away
    We are covered in blood, girl, you know our forefathers were slaves
    Let us hope they’ve found mercy in their bone-filled graves

    You’re the queen of my flesh, girl, you’re my woman, you’re my delight
    You’re the lamp of my soul, girl, and you torch up the night
    But there’s violence in the eyes, girl, so let us not be enticed
    On the way out of Egypt, through Ethiopia, to the judgment hall of Christ

    Shine your light, shine your light on me
    Shine your light, shine your light on me
    Shine your light, shine your light on me
    Ya know I just couldn’t make it by myself
    I’m a little too blind to see_r zimmy

    April 29, 2013 at 9:48 am |
    • The real Tom

      Your taste in music sucks dead priests.

      April 29, 2013 at 9:50 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      Since there's no music attached I can only guess you don't like the message tom. Now go ahead, cuss someone out. You know you want to.

      April 29, 2013 at 10:01 am |
    • The real Tom

      So now you think you know what others want just by reading their posts? Gee, pot, meet kettle.

      April 29, 2013 at 10:04 am |
    • The real Tom

      Oh, and Dill? Lyrics like that would make ANY melody suck. But then, Catholics don't know much about music anyway, so they can't tell.

      April 29, 2013 at 10:08 am |
    • faith

      so dorothy, not a dylan fan?

      April 29, 2013 at 10:10 am |
    • faith

      " I can only guess"

      so, u can only guess?

      so, no other options dorothy? so, i can only guess there r more

      (i can't help it!)

      April 29, 2013 at 10:39 am |
  14. faith

    the head korn welsh is some kind of reborner

    April 29, 2013 at 9:42 am |
    • the head korn welsh (because faith thinks I'm sooooooooo nice, my greatest hit!)

      Something takes a part of me
      Something lost and never seen
      Every time I start to believe
      Something's raped and taken from me... from me
      Life's gotta always be messing with me (You wanna see the light)
      Can't it chill and let me be free? (So do I)
      Can't I take away all this pain (You wanna see the light)
      I'd tried to every night, all in vain... in vain

      Sometimes I cannot take this place
      Sometimes it's my life I can't taste
      Sometimes I cannot feel my face
      You'll never see me fall from grace

      Something takes a part of me
      You and I were meant to be
      A cheap fuck for me to lay
      Something takes a part of me

      Feelin' like a freak on a leash (You wanna see the light)
      Feelin' like I have no release (So do I)
      How many times have I felt disease? (You wanna see the light)
      Nothing in my life is free... is free

      Sometimes I cannot take this place
      Sometimes it's my life I can't taste
      Sometimes I cannot feel my face
      You'll never see me fall from grace

      Something takes a part of me
      You and I were meant to be
      A cheap fuck for me to lay
      Something takes a part of me

      Boom na da mmm dum na ema
      Da boom na da mmm dum na ema
      Da boom na da mmm dum na ema
      Da boom na da mmm dum na ema
      Da boom na da mmm dum na ema
      Da boom na da mmm dum na ema
      Da boom na da mmm dum na ema
      Da boom na da mmm dum na ema
      Da boom na da mmm dum na ema
      Da boom na da mmm dum na ema
      Da boom na da mmm dum na ema
      Da boom na da mmm dum na ema
      Go!

      So fight, something on the...
      Fight, some things they fight
      So, something on the...
      Fight, some things they fight
      Fight, something of the...
      No, some things they fight
      Fight, something on the...
      Fight, some things they fight

      Something takes a part of me
      You and I were meant to be
      A cheap fuck for me to lay
      Something takes a part of me
      Part of me
      Part of me
      Part of me

      April 29, 2013 at 9:55 am |
    • WASP

      LACUNA COIL. (GREAT GROUP)

      "Heaven's A Lie"

      Oh no,
      here it is again
      I need to know
      when I will fall in decay

      Something wrong
      with every plan of my life
      I didn't really notice that you've been here

      Dolefully desired
      Destiny of a lie

      Set me free
      your heaven's a lie
      set me free with you love
      set me free, yeah

      Oh no,
      here it is again
      I need to know
      why did I choose to betray you

      Something wrong
      with all the plans of my life
      I didn't realize that you've been here

      Dolefully desired
      Destiny of a lie

      [x2]
      Set me free
      your heaven's a lie
      set me free with you love
      set me free, yeah

      Dolefully desired

      [x3]
      Set me free
      your heaven's a lie
      set me free with you love
      set me free, yeah

      April 29, 2013 at 10:11 am |
  15. Richard Cranium

    You know...they always call them religious nuts, jesus freaks.

    I've never heard anyone say atheist freaks.

    April 29, 2013 at 9:41 am |
    • lol??

      How about coagulation freaks?

      April 29, 2013 at 9:43 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      why be redundant?

      April 29, 2013 at 9:56 am |
    • the head korn welsh (because faith thinks I'm sooooooooo nice, my greatest hit!)

      Lol?? clearly has no idea how to use the word 'coagulation' correctly in a sentence.

      April 29, 2013 at 9:58 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      maybe nationalization freaks?

      April 29, 2013 at 10:02 am |
    • The Demon Deacon

      Bill Deacon
      Is irrelevant. Billy is an obsequious papal apologist troll.
      Such hatred for atheists Billy so un-christian.

      April 29, 2013 at 10:04 am |
    • Rupert

      Reality freaks, reason freaks, logic freaks, common sense freaks, anti-fairy tale freaks

      April 29, 2013 at 10:40 am |
    • Jesus freaker

      Sometimes they're called Jesus freaker.

      April 29, 2013 at 10:43 am |
  16. saggyroy

    "When religious beliefs become evil..." How about when they use an instrument of torture (a crucifix) as their symbol.

    April 29, 2013 at 9:39 am |
    • lol??

      Rom 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;

      April 29, 2013 at 9:42 am |
    • faith

      how would u like to be crucified?

      April 29, 2013 at 9:43 am |
    • midwest rail

      "....who hold the truth...."
      Well, that leaves YOU out.

      April 29, 2013 at 9:44 am |
    • faith

      The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness

      April 29, 2013 at 9:45 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      maybe we should switch to sonograms

      April 29, 2013 at 9:57 am |
    • faith

      This is partly why the claims that Acharya makes scholars to distance themselves from her.

      April 29, 2013 at 10:17 am |
    • Jesus Christ

      Totally clueless !

      April 29, 2013 at 10:22 am |
    • sam stone

      The "wrath of god" is a bad joke, an empty threat

      April 29, 2013 at 10:33 am |
    • lol??

      Run that by us in Boolean, S Stone, instead of the feminine XX dialectic.

      April 29, 2013 at 10:40 am |
  17. Trance

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hKxk9TvyJrs&w=640&h=360]
    '

    April 29, 2013 at 9:35 am |
  18. William Demuth

    Jesus' crazy brigade is out in full force this morning.

    All one need do is read this column and one could easily identify several madmen who hide behind a veneer of faith.

    April 29, 2013 at 9:32 am |
    • faith

      lol

      April 29, 2013 at 9:40 am |
    • .

      The four horsemen of the zombie apolcaypse, as they are already dead from the neck up:
      1) faith
      2) biggles
      3) lol??
      4) Chad

      April 29, 2013 at 9:45 am |
    • faith

      ask the fbi

      April 29, 2013 at 9:52 am |
    • faith

      and homeland security.

      April 29, 2013 at 9:53 am |
  19. The real Tom

    Don't even bother responding to the Green Giant.

    April 29, 2013 at 9:19 am |
  20. Chad

    Jim Jones was an atheist.

    Hard to believe that CNN/John Blake would go so far as to try and re-invent him to be "religious".
    Pretty desperate tactic, very dishonest, very overt agenda..

    By the spring of 1976, Jones began openly admitting even to outsiders that he was an atheist.

    The Temple openly preached to established members that "religion is an opiate to the people." (Jones, Jim. "Transcript of Recovered FBI tape Q 1053." Alternative Considerations of Jonestown and Peoples Temple. Jonestown Project: San Diego State University.)

    Accordingly, "those who remained drugged with the opiate of religion had to be brought to enlightenment – socialism."

    (Layton 1999, page 53).

    In that regard, Jones also openly stated that he "took the church and used the church to bring people to atheism."
    (Jones, Jim. "Transcript of Recovered FBI tape Q 757." Alternative Considerations of Jonestown and Peoples Temple. Jonestown Project: San Diego State University).

    Unless you consider atheism a "faith", this statement from the article is an outright lie

    there are ways to tell that a person’s faith has drifted into fanaticism if you know what to look and listen for, say scholars who have studied some of history’s most horrific cases of religious violence.
    “There are a lot of warning signs all around us, but we usually learn about them after a Jim Jones or a David Koresh,” said Charles Kimball, author of “When Religion Becomes Evil.”

    April 29, 2013 at 9:17 am |
    • .

      Oh, wow...can't believe I left "No atheist has ever read the bible" off the Gospel of Chad list:

      Gospel of Chad:
      (Updated list derived from history of Chad conversations.)

      Atheism:
      1. All atheists agree with everything Stephen Hawking or Richard Dawkins say, even if it is unrelated to atheism. Hawking and Dawkins disagree on free will, however, but you should ignore this conflict or any atheist who says they disagree.
      2. All atheists agree with one another on everything even if it has nothing to do with atheism. See #1 for models from which you can derive all their beliefs.
      3. The definition of atheist includes anything that any atheist I disagree with believes or anything I feel like tossing in there. Ignore any definitions in pesky places like dictionaries and philosophical encyclopedias.
      4. If one atheist somewhere on the internet said something, then, since all atheists agree with him/her, I can use that randomly selected example as an argument to address all other atheists.
      5. The definition of atheism includes not just materialism but strict deterministic materialism. Non-believers who might be Buddhists, believe in probabilistic physics, see consciousness as prior to the physical world, believe in, say, witchcraft aren’t really atheists.
      6. No atheist has ever read the bible. I mean, obviously, they’d be Christians if they had, right? OK, so a few have proven to me – OK, multiple times – that they have read the bible. See #11 (just lie).

      Free will:
      7. All people who use the term “free will” really mean the same exact thing by that term, which matches my personal use of the term “free will” (unless backed into a corner, then I just declare all other meanings irrelevant)
      8. Fatalism and determinism are the same thing. It has been pointed out to me that historically these terms have been used with different meanings, but I find it more convenient to make up my own definitions, as with atheism and free will.

      In fact, I brilliantly argued “If a person is a determinist, how in the world does deterrence even come into the picture? Determinists believe in an ever marching set of deterministic outcomes based on an existing set of antecedent conditions. Those conditions march back to the origin of the universe, no way to change the past, so no way to change the future. (On April 17, 2013 at 6:20 pm)

      After reading a bit more about fatalism and determinism I decided to change my tune to a claim that determinism leads to fatalism (and to pretend this was what I was saying all along). I’m sticking to reading easy pop philosophers, though, and selective websites on the topic as anything more complex makes my head hurt. I have read snippets from a couple of websites now so that ought to put me on par with people who’ve read dozens of books on the topic, understand neurobiology and have written on both the philosophical and cultural aspects of free will and people’s belief in the topic. Oh, yeah, I know what I’m talking about!

      9. A determinist cannot believe that humans can change. This would, of course, mean that nothing can change. Which would mean…oh…crud…better put my head back up my ass.
      10. A determinist cannot believe in punishing people for crimes. This is because…well…it doesn’t matter. Just keep repeating it.

      Telling lies:
      11. It is ethical to lie so long as it promotes Christian beliefs.
      12. Speaking of telling lies, a really good way to do this is to rephrase what your opponent says and then keep repeating the misquote in hopes that he or she will get bored and leave your lie as the last statement. Then you win. You can do this either by rewording as a supposed paraphrase or pulling lines out of context and reordering them. God really loves this and gives you extra endurance to sit at the computer all day and keep repeating it.
      13. One way to use this super endurance to your advantage is to keep posting the same questions over and over again even after they’ve been answered 50 times. Just pretend they haven’t been answered and act self-righteous about it. It’s really cool if you can ask this same thing on multiple threads and then claim it was never answered forcing people to waste time on the same thing over and over and over.
      14. In particular don’t forget that whatever someone says you can respond with “What investigation have you done into…”. Especially good is to ask what investigation was done into the truth of the God of Israel. When the non-Christian comes back to ask how much research you did to prove other gods aren’t real answer “I don’t need to do any because I proved the God of Israel is real and that negates all other gods”. When asked how you proved that repeat the words “empty tomb” over and over until divine light shines on the souls of the heathens.
      15. When they refuse to play your game or you don’t like the answer add some sarcasm, but use an emoticon to soften it so they’ll know your snide remarks are all in good fun.
      16. Consider asking completely nonsensical questions that can’t even be understood, let alone answered. Best yet include something the person didn’t say as a premise. For example, you might ask an atheist opponent “You say you like murdering small children on Wednesdays, could you explain how this fits with your beliefs about string theory?” Then when your question is ignored accuse the person of avoidance and make up wild hypotheses as to why they are avoiding you.
      17. Above all else keep asking questions while avoiding answering any yourself.

      Science, math and psychology:
      18. If one scientist says something that backs me, then I can assume all scientists agree with that statement.
      19. If atheist scientists say something, even if it is the view of the majority of people in that science, it should be ignored. See #11.
      20. Atheists are ruled by confirmation bias. I am free of it – it’s just great luck that everything I read and all the “data” around me confirm my strong religious convictions. See #19 on ignoring anything else.
      21. Infinity = all finite numbers according to the Chad. Thirty or forty years of constraint is the same as eternal torment.
      22. Rehabilitation and deterrence are the same thing. Yep…convincing a drug addict not to use drugs in case they are shot dead and getting them off the addiction would be the same by my wondrous Chad logic.

      General truths about the CNN belief blog:
      23. All non-believers are, by definition, idiots so you can use illogical arguments and they’ll just fall for it.
      24. If I post a quote that has a few key words in it from our discussion I can claim it backs my point even if it actually says the exact opposite thing from what I’m claiming. Atheists, as mentioned above, are too dumb to notice. Best yet is to post a link or reference a book which actually says the opposite of what I’m saying and just assume no one will look at it.
      25. There is a huge mass of fence sitters out there who are eagerly reading CNN blog comments in order to decide whether or not to believe in God.
      26. I will personally save all those mentioned in # 25 because I, Chad, am super smart. I know this because I get away with all the above mentioned lies and manipulations. Sometimes people think they are pointing these things out but they really aren’t. Or the stupid atheist masses aren’t reading them anyway.
      27. Phrase everything as if it’s a lecture so you look like you know what you’re talking about. See #23 about atheists being idiots and #24 about people not reading anything you post you’ll see that the silly atheists will fall for it every time. In particular they won’t look back to the earlier part of the discussion to see how I’m contradicting myself. This is very well aided by another tactic:
      28. As soon as you make an ass of yourself break the conversation into a new thread. That way all the newcomers (see #25 on how they are waiting to have their souls saved) will not bother to read back and see how ignorant you are.
      29. If someone points out to you that citing Wikipedia is not an adequate source for the discussion at hand you can always find a good undergraduate philosophy paper to cite instead.
      30. Never question another Christian no matter how incorrect or offensive their position.
      31. Just remember that you can define a term any way you want and you are always right!

      April 29, 2013 at 9:25 am |
    • lol??

      How do you keep a wacky waco paranoid in line like janet reno? Was she untouchable?

      April 29, 2013 at 9:31 am |
    • The Deceiving Chad

      You are a liar and a charlatan, respond with the ad hominem fallacy if you wish. Many of us would agree that the defense of your faith slipped into fanaticism some time ago.

      April 29, 2013 at 9:31 am |
    • Samuel Menounos

      One has to wonder why CNN repeatedly has John Blake write commentaries on the belief blog when he knows diddly squat about anything he writes.

      April 29, 2013 at 9:55 am |
    • Ben

      Chad
      That would make Jones a cult of personality type more in like with the Kims of Korea than your average American nonbeliever. Remember also that Jones ended up resenting the prominent American atheists of his time because they snubbed him. Seems pretty clear why they would.

      April 29, 2013 at 10:35 am |
    • Chad

      @Ben "That would make Jones a cult of personality type more in like with the Kims of Korea than your average American nonbeliever"
      @Chad "The Kims of Korea are also atheists, as were the other most famous cult of personality leaders examples like Stalin, Pol Pot, Mao, Mussolini. Please explain to me how it is possible to talk about the danger of cult of personality leaders and NOT mention that the most horrid examples of same are atheists, AND at the same time erroneously lump one of those atheists (Jim Jones) in with "religious" groups.

      ====
      @Ben "Remember also that Jones ended up resenting the prominent American atheists of his time because they snubbed him. Seems pretty clear why they would."
      @Chad "It is good to police ones ranks, but that doesnt make Jim Jones not an atheist, nor their categorization of him as "religious" any less erroneous.

      April 29, 2013 at 10:54 am |
    • Chad

      @The Deceiving Chad "You are a liar and a charlatan"

      @observer said I could use this quote from him, seems to suit the current situation nicely
      "“Your ignorance in constantly calling people "liars" show that you don't have clue what the word means. Please get a dictionary and better education.”

      April 29, 2013 at 11:27 am |
    • Ben

      Chad
      You seem to be forgetting that personality cult leaders bear more in common with charismatic religious leaders than ordinary atheists. How can you possibly draw a line between average American nonbelievers and these dictators? Also, was Mussolini ever anything but a Catholic?

      April 29, 2013 at 1:44 pm |
    • Chad

      @Ben "You seem to be forgetting that personality cult leaders bear more in common with charismatic religious leaders than ordinary atheists"
      @Chad "google "cult of personality", then count the number of atheists on the pages that come up.
      case closed..

      @Ben Also, was Mussolini ever anything but a Catholic?"
      @Chad "well, easy way to find out. Do some research and you'll find that in his early twenties he proclaimed himself to be an atheist and several times tried to shock an audience by calling on God to strike him dead.

      April 29, 2013 at 10:13 pm |
    • science

      Just for you chad

      Holy Hallucinations 35

      [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3XTCRdC8Dlo&w=640&h=360]

      April 29, 2013 at 10:15 pm |
    • The real Tom

      The Chard says: @Chad "google "cult of personality", then count the number of atheists on the pages that come up.
      case closed.."

      I love it. "Case closed." What a friggin' azztool you are, Chard.

      April 29, 2013 at 10:17 pm |
    • Science

      Oops

      April 29, 2013 at 10:18 pm |
    • Saraswati

      Yeah, I've got to add "Case closed" to the list. As far as I can tell the idea is to add it when you have a half-assed argument that you know will get picked apart if the conversation goes on.

      April 29, 2013 at 10:26 pm |
    • The real Tom

      That list is going to be as long as your arm, Sara. I'm waiting for Chard to say something equally inane, like "Wake up, people!" next. What a clown.

      April 29, 2013 at 10:29 pm |
    • Chad

      @Saraswati "Yeah, I've got to add "Case closed" to the list. As far as I can tell the idea is to add it when you have a half-assed argument that you know will get picked apart if the conversation goes on."

      =>so you googled "cult of personality" and didnt like the results...
      and that triggered another ad-hominem..

      as well, arent you a determinist? As such, what business do you have criticizing anyone for anything?

      Dont you think that causal deterministic laws control the motion of atoms, and that everything – including human minds – consists merely of atoms in a void?

      April 29, 2013 at 10:31 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      I'm curious, Chad. You're on about determinism and the immorality of criticism again. What is the origin of that? Is something you've come up with on your own?

      April 29, 2013 at 10:36 pm |
    • Saraswati

      Wow...13, 16, 17, 23 and 27. It's actually pretty good entertainment watching him try to build wobbly castles with his tiny little toolbox.

      April 29, 2013 at 10:43 pm |
    • The real Tom

      "Dont you think that causal deterministic laws control the motion of atoms, and that everything – including human minds – consists merely of atoms in a void?"

      No.

      And where you get such nonsense is a good question. I'm glad TTTOO asked you that. I'll bet you'll post some long-winded answer full of snark and slime and then accuse anyone who disagrees with committing the unpardonable sin of ad hominem.

      April 29, 2013 at 10:48 pm |
    • Chad

      @Tom, Tom, the Other One "You're on about determinism and the immorality of criticism again. What is the origin of that? Is something you've come up with on your own?"

      =>you havent heard of the debate free will vs determinism?

      you should do some reading up on it:
      fascinating problem for the atheist
      -if you believe in free will, how can you possibly provide a natural explanation for it?
      -If you dont believe in free will, why are you getting so angry at other people? Are they not just executing along in a deterministic manner?

      The question of free will is one which has been hotly debated for millennia. Some people believe that humans have the capacity for free will – the ability to choose their actions without being forced to follow a certain course by either by the influence of others or by natural laws. For many theists, free will is regarded as a special gift from God. The notion of human free will is also an important premise for a lot of what happens in human society – in particular, when it comes to our legal system. Free will is necessary for the notion of personal responsibility. If people do not have free will, then it is difficult to argue that they are personally and morally responsible for their actions – and if that is the case, how can they be punished for their misdeeds? In fact, how can they be praised for the good things they do, if those actions were not also freely chosen?

      Others, however, argue that if the universe itself is deterministic in nature, then human actions must also be deterministic – thus, modern determinism tends to be an outgrowth of modern science. If human actions simply follow the course of natural law, then it is difficult to hold that those actions can be "freely" chosen. Those who advocate determinism run into something of a contradiction, however, when they try to argue their point with those who argue for free will. If it is true that nothing is freely chosen, then those who believe in the existence of free will do not do so by choice – so what is the point of trying to convince them otherwise? Indeed, what is the point of trying to convince anyone of anything if all events are determined?

      @ Saraswati I don't need to define free will since Christians are the one introducing it. I don't believe in it and don't use the term except in discussions about how it is meaningless. It is a filler word used for pragmatic reasons much as "common sense". For Christians to use it they must define it as existing outside the normal flow of determinism and something more than random or probabalistic events.

      January 15, 2013 at 7:41 pm

      April 29, 2013 at 10:52 pm |
    • The real Tom

      "Some people believe". Which of these words do you not understand, Chard? "Some" doesn't mean "all". "Believe" doesn't mean that it's a fact.

      These aren't facts, Chard. They're opinions.

      April 29, 2013 at 10:56 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @real Tom,

      He's not capable of getting it. Really, he can't. It's the most extreme case of confirmation bias I've ever seen and I don't think he has the ability to ever see around it.

      April 29, 2013 at 11:00 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      It seems that Chad thinks of determinism as being like particles in a box. One cannot hold heat accountable for moving from a source to a sink. He thinks he can hold up a God that can comprehend a Universe full of agents of free will, but can't imagine a Universe deterministic but running as a program that even in its entirety can't predict its future state.

      April 29, 2013 at 11:25 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Well, then, he has no creativity or imagination.

      And in other news, water is wet.

      April 29, 2013 at 11:31 pm |
    • Chad

      "It seems that Chad thinks of determinism as being like particles in a box."

      =>I thought that @saraswati had a good definition

      @Chad "You seemingly have determined that all animals/humans are essentially the same as rocks..."
      @ Saraswati Yep, more or less, though I don't use the exact terminology you use in the rest of the sentence regarding determinism, but lets go with "close enough". We are conscious rocks in this particular regard.
      January 15, 2013 at 7:37 pm

      @Chad, "You'll need to define "free will", and "no free will""
      @Saraswati "I don't need to define free will since Christians are the one introducing it. I don't believe in it and don't use the term except in discussions about how it is meaningless. It is a filler word used for pragmatic reasons much as "common sense". For Christians to use it they must define it as existing outside the normal flow of determinism and something more than random or probabalistic events. Note that you already stated "I would agree that without free will, punishment is immoral." so I think we can assume we are referring to the same pragmatic usage of the term.

      January 15, 2013 at 7:41 pm

      April 29, 2013 at 11:47 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      I am curious about this, Chad: can you show by any means that whenever you've made a choice that it was possible for you to choose otherwise?

      April 30, 2013 at 8:11 am |
    • Chad

      Free will is probably impossible to prove, no matter what you pick that can always said to have been deterministically done.

      However, if you actually DO believe in free will, why are you critical of theists?

      April 30, 2013 at 9:04 am |
    • Jim Jones

      Chad
      Sh1t man, you think I used the scam of christianity to achieve my goals, dead wrong. I believe in the
      empty tomb
      crucifixion and resurrection
      theistic evolution
      intelligent design
      that the universe had a beginning
      the zombie wine to blood, wafer to flesh ritual
      Did I miss anything? We are all in heaven come join us, eat the nightshade berries.

      April 30, 2013 at 9:33 am |
    • WASP

      @CHAD: "Free will is probably impossible to prove"
      we have been through this "free will" is easier proven than your god.
      free will (example one) i reach out and slap you.

      two possible situations:
      1) god deemed i should slap you in his plan.
      2) i have free will and slapped you just because the impulse from my brain made it to my hand then my hand reached out and connected with your face.

      see free will proven, god fails.

      April 30, 2013 at 9:58 am |
    • Chad

      @WASP "see free will proven, god fails."
      @Chad "if you believe you have free will, by what natural, physical mechanism is this possible?

      that's the problem with an atheist who believes in free will, that notion is irreconcilable with a deterministic material universe.

      April 30, 2013 at 10:35 am |
    • tallulah13

      Chad has a problem with rational thinking. He gets an idea, perhaps reads an opinion, then decides it's an immutable fact simply because it agrees with what he thinks. It's rather foolish of him, because he is easily proven wrong, but he refuses to recognize the truth.

      I can't decide if Chad is a highly dedicated troll, if he is simply irrationally arrogant, or if he really is as mentally ill as he presents himself.

      April 30, 2013 at 10:49 am |
    • WASP

      @CHAD CHAD CHAD................(SHAKES HEAD.)
      we have been through this over and over. determinism is as follows per defintion.
      DETERMINISM:1
      a : a theory or doctrine that acts of the will, occurrences in nature, or social or psychological phenomena are causally determined by preceding events or natural laws
      b : a belief in predestination
      2: the quality or state of being determined
      PREDESTINATION:1: the act of predestinating : the state of being predestinated
      2: the doctrine that GOD in consequence of his foreknowledge of all events infallibly guides those who are destined for salvation.

      -now then. this fits more with your GOD complex than with a knowledge driven atheist seeking answers and believeing that we make the future.
      personally i'm only destined to do one thing and that is die at the end of my body's ability to survive in this hostile eviroment we call EARTH.
      oxygen is corrosive, friction destroys tissues in the joints, loss of bone and muscle density impairs ability to move/ escape danger, etc etc etc. the earth isn't perfect for human life, it's lethal to our lives. at only 20% oxygen, 79% nitrogen, and 1% other gases what we breath in alone causes damage to our organs and if you have that mixture a higher pressures it turns poisoness to our bodies.

      April 30, 2013 at 10:49 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.