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When Christians become a 'hated minority'
Evangelical Christians say they are the new victims of intolerance - they're persecuted for condemning homosexuality.
May 5th, 2013
06:00 AM ET

When Christians become a 'hated minority'

By John Blake, CNN

(CNN) - When Peter Sprigg speaks publicly about his opposition to homosexuality, something odd often happens.

During his speeches, people raise their hands to challenge his assertions that the Bible condemns homosexuality, but no Christians speak out to defend him.

“But after it is over, they will come over to talk to me and whisper in my ear, ‘I agree with everything you said,’" says Sprigg, a spokesman for The Family Research Council, a powerful, conservative Christian lobbying group.

We’ve heard of the “down-low” gay person who keeps his or her sexual identity secret for fear of public scorn. But Sprigg and other evangelicals say changing attitudes toward homosexuality have created a new victim: closeted Christians who believe the Bible condemns homosexuality but will not say so publicly for fear of being labeled a hateful bigot.

As proof, Sprigg points to the backlash that ESPN commentator Chris Broussard sparked recently. Broussard was called a bigot and a purveyor of hate speech when he said an NBA player who had come out as gay was living in “open rebellion to God.” Broussard said the player, Jason Collins, was “living in unrepentant sin” because the Bible condemns homosexuality.

“In the current culture, it takes more courage for someone like Chris Broussard to speak out than for someone like Jason Collins to come out,” says Sprigg, a former pastor. “The media will hail someone who comes out of the closet as gay, but someone who simply expresses their personal religious views about homosexual conduct is attacked.”

When is disagreement hate?

Bryan Litfin, a theology professor at Moody Bible Institute in Illinois, says Christians should be able to publicly say that God designed sex to take place within a marriage between a man and a woman.

“That isn’t so outrageous,” Litfin says. “Nobody is expressing hate toward homosexuals by saying that. Since when is disagreement the same as hate?”

But quoting the Bible doesn't inoculate anyone from becoming a bigot or hater, some scholars say. There's a point at which a Christian's opposition to homosexuality can become bigotry, and even hate speech, they say.

Crossing such a line has happened many times in history.

A literal reading of the Bible was used to justify all sorts of hatred: slavery, the subjugation of women and anti-Semitism, scholars and pastors say.

“Truly damaging speech cannot be excused just because it expresses genuine religious belief,” says Mark D. Jordan, author of “Recruiting Young Love: How Christians Talk about Homosexuality.”

“Some religious beliefs, sincerely held, are detestable. They cannot be spoken without disrupting social peace,” says Jordan, a professor at the John Danforth Center on Religion & Politics at Washington University in St. Louis.

The point where religious speech becomes hate speech is difficult to define, though, scholars and activists say.

The Southern Poverty Law Center in Alabama is a nonprofit civil rights group that combats and monitors hate groups. Three years ago, it designated the Family Research Council, the group that Sprigg represents, as a hate group - a characterization the group stridently rejects.

Mark Potok,  a center spokesman, says there’s no shared definition of what constitutes hate speech.

“There is no legal meaning. It’s just a phrase,” Potok says. “Hate speech is in the ear of the beholder.”

'One of the most hated minorities?'

Intolerance may be difficult to define, but some evangelicals say they have become victims of intolerance because of their reverence for the Bible.

The conservative media culture is filled with stories about evangelicals being labeled as “extremists” for their belief that homosexuality is a sin.

Their sense of persecution goes beyond their stance on homosexuality. There are stories circulating of evangelical students being suspended for opposing homosexuality, a teacher fired for giving a Bible to a curious student, and the rise of anti-Christian bigotry.

A blogger at The American Dream asked in one essay:

“Are evangelical Christians rapidly becoming one of the most hated minorities in America?”

The reluctance of evangelicals to speak out against homosexuality is often cited as proof they are being forced into the closet.

Joe Carter, editor for The Gospel Coalition, an online evangelical magazine, wrote a blog post entitled “Debatable: Is the Christian Church a ‘Hate Group’?" He warned that young people will abandon “orthodox” Christian churches that teach that homosexuality is a sin for fear of being called haters.

“Faux civility, embarrassment, prudishness and a fear of expressing an unpopular opinion has caused many Christians to refrain from explaining how homosexual conduct destroys lives,” Carter wrote.

Some Christians fear that opposing homosexuality could cause them to lose their jobs and “haunt them forever,” Carter says.

“It’s easier to just go along,” says Carter, who is also author of “How to Argue Like Jesus.” “You don’t want to be lumped in with the bigots. That’s a powerful word."

Edward Johnson, a communication professor at Campbell University in North Carolina, says we are now living in a "postmodern" era where everything is relative and there is no universally accepted truth. It's an environment in which anyone who says "this is right" and "that is wrong" is labeled intolerant, he says.

There was a time when a person could publicly say homosexuality was wrong and people could consider the statement without anger, he says. Today, people have reverted to an intellectual tribalism where they are only willing to consider the perspective of their own tribe.

“They are incapable of comprehending that someone may have a view different than theirs,” Johnson says. “For them anyone who dares to question the dogma of the tribe can only be doing so out of hatred.”

Sprigg, from the Family Research Council, says his condemnation of homosexual conduct does not spring from intolerance but a desire to protect gays from harmful conduct, he says.

Sprigg, a senior fellow for policy studies at the council, wrote in a council pamphlet that homosexual men are more likely to engage in child sexual abuse than are straight men. He also wrote that gay men are also afflicted with a higher rate of sexually transmitted diseases and mental illness as well.

Sprigg says he does not believe homosexuality is a choice and that “personal testimonies" and "clinical experience” show that some people “can and do change from gay to straight.”

“Maybe we need to do a better job of showing that we are motivated by Christian love,” Sprigg says. “Love is wanting the best for someone, and acting to bring that about.”

'That's a lie'

Potok, from the Southern Poverty Law Center, has little use for the love Sprigg talks about.

He calls it hatred, and his voice rose in anger when he talked about the claims by Sprigg and other Christian groups that gay men are more predisposed to molest children and that homosexual behavior is inherently harmful.

He says the Southern Poverty Law Center didn’t designate the Family Research Group a hate group because they view homosexuality as a sin or oppose same-sex marriage, Potok says. There are plenty of Christian groups who hold those beliefs but are not hate groups, he says.

A group becomes a hate group when it attacks and maligns an entire class of people for their “immutable characteristics,” Potok says. The Family Research Council spreads known falsehoods about gays and lesbians, he says, such as the contention that gay men are predisposed to abuse children.

“That’s a lie,” Potok says. “These guys are engaging in straight-up defamation of a very large group of people. There are not many things much worse than you can say in America about somebody than they are a child molester.”

Potok scoffed at Spriggs’ claim that the council and other evangelical anti-gay groups are victims of intolerance.

“That’s whining on the part of people who spend their days and nights attacking gay people and then some people criticize them and they don’t like it,” he says. “That’s pathetic. It reminds me of slave owners complaining that people are saying ugly things about them.”

What the Bible says

What about the popular evangelical claim, “We don’t hate the sinner, just the sin” – is that seen as intolerance or hate speech when it comes to homosexuality?

There are those who say you can’t hate the sin and love the sinner because being gay or lesbian is defined by one’s sexual behavior; it’s who someone is.

“Most people who identify as gay and lesbian would say that this is not an action I’m choosing to do; this is who I am,” says Timothy Beal, author of “The Rise and Fall of the Bible: The Unexpected History of an Accidental Book.”

Beal, a religion professor at Case Western University in Ohio, says it should be difficult for any Christian to unequivocally declare that the Bible opposes homosexuality because the Bible doesn’t take a single position on the topic. It's an assertion that many scholars and mainline Protestant pastors would agree with.

Some people cite Old Testament scriptures as condemning homosexuality, such as  Leviticus 18:22 - “If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination.” But other Christians counter by saying they are not bound by the Old Testament.

There are those who also cite New Testament scriptures like Romans 1:26-27 - “… Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men. …”

Beal, however, says Jesus said little about sex. And the Apostle Paul, who wrote Romans, was probably referring to male prostitution and men having sexual relations with boys, a practice in the Greco-Roman world.

“Paul does not understand genetics and sexual orientation the way we understand it now as something much more than a choice,” says Beal.

Some evangelicals say Christians can’t change their view of biblical truth just because times change. But some scholars reply:

Sure you can. Christians do it all the time.

Denying a woman’s ability to preach in church was justified by scriptures like 1 Timothy 2:11-12 - “… I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet.” But many churches have abandoned that teaching - and some scholars say a woman preached the first Christian sermon, when Mary Magdalene proclaimed that Jesus had risen.

Slaveholders in 19th century America justified slavery through a literal reading of the Bible, quoting Titus 2:9-10 – “Teach slaves to be subject to their masters in everything. …” And anti-Semitism was justified by the claims that Jews killed Jesus, such as Matthew 27: 25-26 - “Let his blood be on us and on our children.”

Litfin, from Moody Bible Institute, acknowledged that the Bible once sanctioned slavery, but he said that practice was a “cultural expression” that changed over time. Evangelicals who oppose same-sex marriage by citing the Bible are on more solid ground, he says.

“Marriage is a universal and timeless institution that God set up for maximum human flourishing. He set it up in the first book of the Bible with the story of Adam and Eve. It is consistent throughout the whole Bible. … Marriage is in a different category than those cultural things.”

Public jousts over the Bible's stance on homosexuality rarely change people’s minds. What changes is when people get to know gay and lesbian people as friends and hear their story, says Beal, author of “The Rise and Fall of the Bible.”

“If you open up to that other person genuinely, you basically come to a point where you have to sacrifice them to your ideology or crack open your ideology to make a hospitable place for them,” Beal says.

One Christian pastor who is gay says the uproar over the ESPN commentator’s comments can actually be good,  because debates help settle moral disputes.

“What appears to us as antiquated and prejudicial now was once a disputed issue that required debate,” says the Rev. Richard McCarty, a minister in the United Church of Christ and a religious studies professor at Mercyhurst University in Pennsylvania.

Until the debate over homosexuality is settled - if it ever is - there may be plenty of evangelical Christians who feel as if they are now being forced to stay in the closet.

Carter, the evangelical blogger, says he foresees a day when any church that preaches against homosexuality will be marginalized. Just as many churches now accept divorce, they will accept sexual practices once considered sinful.

“It’s getting to the point,” he says, “where churches are not going to say that any sexual activity is wrong.”

- CNN Writer

Filed under: Belief • Bible • Christianity • Church • Church and state • Culture wars • Protest • Sex • Sexuality • Sports

soundoff (10,982 Responses)
  1. skytag

    "occurs 239 times in 203 verses in the KJV ""

    Why should I care? We both know you have no evidence any of this supernatural stuff you believe is true.

    May 6, 2013 at 6:37 pm |
  2. One one

    Question for Christians:

    How did you go from not fully understanding the origin of life and the universe to
    the belief that a cosmic Jewish zombie who is his own father can make you live forever if you symbolically eat his flesh and telepathically tell him you accept him as your master, so he can remove an evil force from your soul that is present in all humanity because a rib-woman was convinced to eat from a magical tree by an infinitely sadistic being disguised as a talking snake with legs ?

    May 6, 2013 at 6:36 pm |
    • Kevin Harris

      Question to you: how can anyone take seriously your ignorant caricature of Christianity?

      May 6, 2013 at 6:43 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      @Kevin
      people in cults rarely see their belief system as a cult. christianity is a cult. by people not in your cult, this is a very accurate description. and if you want to talk silliness, why are there unicorns, dragons, satyrs and c.ockatrice in the bible? or talking donekys and talking snakes? at what point do you recognize how silly the bible is? i'm guessing that's what One One is trying to illustrate.

      May 6, 2013 at 6:47 pm |
    • There's always a reason

      Same way in hinduism there's an invisible blue guy with four arms driving a chariot with five horses through the cosmos.
      The question is...why?

      ((For the record I'm just responding to your sarcasm..if you've been burned by religions for some reason you have my sympathies)

      May 6, 2013 at 6:48 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      @there's always a reason
      the answer is simple. because humans have vivid imaginations, as shown by the various deities around the world. look at it from an atheist point of view and the world makes sense, as does the invent of religion and all it procures. with religion, at some point, "magic" has to be your answer - "Goddidit". it's lazy and encourages obedience. it encourages never looking over the next hill - i mean why should we? this book already tells us what's over there. religion was mankind's first attempt at science, in a way. it was the first attempt to explain the universe. now we have a better way, science. it doesn't involve guesses, superst.ition and imaginary sky faires. it envolves facts. science can admit it's wrong and change - there are countless examples. religoin remains rigid and claims to be perfect, never wrong. you cannot grow if you think you are perfect already. science is looking for the answers - religion claims to have them already.

      May 6, 2013 at 7:02 pm |
  3. Glad this is out in the open

    Gay Christian = GIANT Nervous breakdown.

    Seen it with three friends.

    May 6, 2013 at 6:29 pm |
    • One one

      Why would a gay person want to be a Christian? That's like an African American wanting to join the KKK.

      May 6, 2013 at 6:42 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      i have a g.ay friend. his g.ay brother committed suicide because of the bullying of his father. terrible thing is, the guy is still a christian. he reads those parts in the bible that say he is abomination and should be killed and is confused - but he can't escape the church programming. it's really very sad.

      May 6, 2013 at 6:43 pm |
    • ...

      Give us details. I don't even think I KNOW 3 gay people, let alone 3 gay people who have had "nervous breakdowns"...is it because they were gay or Christian?

      May 6, 2013 at 6:44 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      likely because they were g.ay AND christian. hard to get past the commands in the bible to kill you. hard to break the mental programming. so when they know they're g.ay and know the bible says they should die - hard to live with. it means you believe you are, as the bible says, abomination. that's enough to cause mental problems for anyone.

      May 6, 2013 at 6:50 pm |
    • glad this is out in the open

      One was a minister, fell in love with a pastor from a church youth group believe it or not. They are now both atheists today. The other is agnostic and won't talk about religion much.

      May 6, 2013 at 6:53 pm |
    • glad this is out in the open

      I am happy for my friends that they are happy as a couple together and they are happier without religion.

      May 6, 2013 at 6:55 pm |
  4. Justin

    Wait... so they think they're victims of intolerance... because we're intolerant of their intolerance? That's kinda funny.

    May 6, 2013 at 6:22 pm |
  5. Bootyfunk

    the KKK are also a "hated minority." i wonder why...

    May 6, 2013 at 6:02 pm |
  6. The real Tom

    I see that Dill Beacon of Dolthood has yet to post any benefit to society straight marriage provides that gay marriage cannot. He is continuing to insist that gays can't have children, when they can and do all the time. And apparently, he is okay with straight couples who marry and either can't or simply don't want to have children. Other than that, Dill, do you have anything else? Because it surely doesn't look like it. And you idiotic canard that gays want to have legal marriage so they can have s3x with whomever they choose is laughable. No one has to married to have s3x. They can have it whether they're married or not.

    Now are you going to make a substantive argument or continue to look like a total fool?

    May 6, 2013 at 5:45 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      cite the link that shows where two men or two women have conceived and borne a child and we'll talk.

      May 6, 2013 at 5:48 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      1. Being able to conceive offspring is not always a positive.
      2. I would still like the law to allow barren women to marry the partner (male or female) of their choice, and just because some dude is blasting blanks that doesn't mean he can't marry the partner of his choice, either.

      May 6, 2013 at 5:52 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      i know a lesbian couple. they knew a g.ay couple. both couple decided to have children. each lesbian woman was impregnated by one of the g.ay men. one baby stayed with the lesbian couple and one with the g.ay couple. each couple is lovingly raising these children as their parents and have a great relationship with the other couple.

      so there you go - an example of g.ays and lesbians having babies without the help of straight people. not sure if you're aware of this, but it only takes a deposit of sperm into a v.agina for pregnancy.

      May 6, 2013 at 5:52 pm |
    • WhenCowsAttack

      So Bill, should straight couples who have had children with someone else be allowed to get married?

      What does it matter who they conceive the child with?

      Do you realize many, many gay people have had relations with people of the opposite s3x? (Just as many "straight" people have experimented with people of the same s3x)

      If I have a baby from man A, who runs off when the baby is small, should I be allowed to marry man B?

      May 6, 2013 at 6:06 pm |
    • Akira

      Why do anti-gays even claim same gender couples don't have children? The Child Welfare League of America says there are at least EIGHT MILLION children of same gender parents.

      "Question: How Many Children Have Gay Parents in the US?

      According to the Child Welfare Information Gateway, between 8 and 10 million children are being raised in gay and lesbian families."

      http://adoption.about.com/od/gaylesbian/f/gayparents.htm

      You know, they adopt the children that may have otherwise been aborted or unwanted; I should think that would be a good thing for the anti-abortion crowd. Apparently, they want to force births without letting anyone actually adopt them.
      Some attitude.

      And the biggest reason: PROCREATION ISN'T A REQUIREMENT OF MARRIAGE. PERIOD.

      May 6, 2013 at 6:12 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Dill, cite the law that says a straight couple must promise they can have children with each other before being granted a marriage license.

      You're an idiot. Gay men aren't sterile. Neither are gay women. They can and do have children, whether their partners are biologically involved or not. And gay couples can and do raise children. What's your beef?

      You have yet to show any evidence that gay marriage has in any way harmed traditional marriage. When are you going to do that? You have yet to show any benefit to society straight marriage has that gay marriage does not. When are you going to do that?

      Or are you just going to keep being a stupid blowhard?

      May 6, 2013 at 6:20 pm |
    • The real Tom

      "cite the link that shows where two men or two women have conceived and borne a child and we'll talk."

      You don't get to set the parameters of the discussion, you arrogant twit. There is no requirement that any couple have children. Period. Millions of straight couples don't, either because they can't or because they don't want to be parents. Why would you deny two people who want to marry and have children the opportunity to do so, simply because they are gay and will use the same procedures other straight couples do: adoption, IVF, surrogate. Are you going to tell the straight couples who have children by these means that they aren't worthy of the right to marry? Really? How do you rationalize that?

      May 6, 2013 at 6:28 pm |
    • JMEF

      real Tom
      Do you think that BD has been s&xually repressed since his accident and did not have a fvcken clue what he was doing as an adolescent, a good catholic upbringing. But I didn't know how babies were made , hence the murder.

      May 6, 2013 at 6:37 pm |
  7. What I resent

    If I decide there is a God and it's Jessus then in your eyes I am responsible for marriage inequality and the NRA.
    If I decide there is a God and it's Allah then in your eyes I am responsible for 911.
    If I decide there is a God and it is Vishnu then in your eyes I am responsible for the caste system.
    If I decide to remain undecided than I am sitting on the fence, and contributing by not contributing.
    If I decide there are no gods then I am responsible for the ill manners of the poster in the chatroom next to me and am also forever cut off from pondering what might be.

    What all of the above have in common is they do nothing to tell me what imperceptible beings (if any) exist that I am currently not perceiving.

    May 6, 2013 at 5:39 pm |
  8. Anonymous

    Why wasn't the headline "When Evangelicals Become a Hated Minority"? Once again, the secular press shows ignorance and contempt for religious believers by assuming that all of us Christians are conservative Evangelicals. I hate evangelicals because they've trashed religion. They've identified it with conservative social policies, conservative politics, anti-science and the folkways of the lower classes. Evangelicalism is poor white trash religion. Evangelicals make me look bad. They make people look down on me and assume I'm lower class because I'm a religious believer.

    May 6, 2013 at 5:08 pm |
    • A Conversation

      " I hate evangelicals because they've trashed religion." So said the better version of Christianity?

      May 6, 2013 at 5:15 pm |
    • fintastic

      And next......... "they're not TRUE christians"

      May 7, 2013 at 12:37 pm |
  9. Reality

    Time to end this tread with some 21st century rationality:

    Only for the newbies:

    Putting the kibosh on all religion in less than ten seconds: Priceless !!!

    • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are non-existent.

    • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Moses i.e. the pillars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.

    • There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.

    • There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion.

    • There was no Moroni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.

    • Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.

    • Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated/reborn Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on Buddhism.

    • A constant cycle of reincarnation until enlightenment is reached and belief that various beings (angels?, tinker bells? etc.) exist that we, as mortals, cannot comprehend makes for a no on Sikhism.

    Added details available upon written request.

    A quick search will put the kibosh on any other groups calling themselves a religion.

    e.g. Taoism

    "The origins of Taoism are unclear. Traditionally, Lao-tzu who lived in the sixth century is regarded as its founder. Its early philosophic foundations and its later beliefs and rituals are two completely different ways of life. Today (1982) Taoism claims 31,286,000 followers.

    Legend says that Lao-tzu was immaculately conceived by a shooting star; carried in his mother's womb for eighty-two years; and born a full grown wise old man. "

    May 6, 2013 at 5:01 pm |
  10. Colin

    I wonder at which oint the "nones," being those people in the USA without any particular religious affiliation, will be greater than the number of Christians, Jews and Muslims in the USA combined.

    I'm thinking about 2020. Fortunately the growth of non-beliefe is a self-perpetuating phenomenon as fewer parents teach it to their children, and their children continue to have access to sites like this one on the internet in which they can be exposed to ideas formerly kept from them.

    May 6, 2013 at 4:58 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Colin,

      To get from 20% (which includes a large portion of non-demoninational believers by the way) to 50% in eight years is a bit unrealistic I think. Perhaps by 2050.

      May 6, 2013 at 5:04 pm |
    • Athy

      Getting from 20% to 50% in eight years would take a compounded annual growth rate of about 12%. Probably not going to happen. But an annual growth rate of 3% would easily get us there by 2050.

      May 6, 2013 at 5:22 pm |
    • Madtown

      Unbelievers refuse to learn Jesus' truth.
      -----
      "Who's Jesus?"

      – signed,
      your human equals, who God placed in an area of the world where there is no christianity

      May 6, 2013 at 5:36 pm |
    • exlonghorn

      Colin,

      I respectfully offer that you've underestimated the problem. My wife and I are athiest. I was raised Lutheran. She was raised a non-practicing Christian. We both figured out that the whole thing is a bit silly. We have always told our kids that they are free to believe whatever they wish, and when they are adults they are welcome to go to churches, synogogues, mosques, etc., as they see fit. However, the amount of peer pressure my daughter faces is enormous. I can recite all the Instagram posts, Facebook posts, and usernames like "godisgreat12354" that she's bombarded with regularly. I assure you...organized religion will not go quietly into the night. There is simply too much at stake...money, influence, sense of belonging, meeting needs of safety and security, etc...it's a powerful draw for the weak-minded. All the clubs (scouts, etc.) all the camps, all the lock-ins, parties, study groups, etc. Heck, even two volleyball clubs in our area have a loud and clear religious foundation. VOLLEYBALL!!! SHEESH! It's considerable to say the least. Never underestimate the mental laziness of your fellow humans when it comes to religion.

      May 6, 2013 at 6:04 pm |
    • sam

      exlonghorn has a pretty good point.

      May 6, 2013 at 6:06 pm |
    • Madtown

      ALL WILL BE JUDGED
      ----
      I have read man's word containing a portion of his ideas about God, aka the bible. I ask you, how would the bible possibly be relevant to someone who has no idea it exists? You really think God will judge someone negatively, for NOT following something they've never even heard of? How does that make a bit of sense to you? If you can refrain from copy/pasting more scripture, I'll actually consider your answer seriously.

      May 6, 2013 at 8:35 pm |
  11. examiner

    Christians as a hated minority? Here's a good test. Every Christian should fail to show up on this page. Offer nothing to which atheists and "progressives" can respond or ridicule. This will give the Christians a change to see how the others behave when left to themselves.

    May 6, 2013 at 4:54 pm |
  12. Bill Deacon

    Here's the best review of the argument for gaay marriage I can distill from all this:

    We are gaay people. We want to have seex with who we want to. We want to be accepted for who we are and what we do. We want the law to make it ok so that people who disagree with us can lump it.

    Anything I missed?

    May 6, 2013 at 4:51 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      yes, that it's the same exact argument from straight people.

      May 6, 2013 at 4:54 pm |
    • sam

      Gaay seex. LOL

      Bill, it doesn't matter. It will never affect you. Shut up and let other people live their lives.

      May 6, 2013 at 4:55 pm |
    • JMEF

      BD. Yep you could care less if most of your RCC priests are gay, except to be gay they would have had to of done.......as long as they just get celibate right quick and leave the altar boys alone.

      May 6, 2013 at 4:57 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Oh, wait!
      I forgot all of those legal things that are part of marriage and have nothing to do with seex or religion

      May 6, 2013 at 4:59 pm |
    • catholic engineer

      Bill, during the last fifty years, this culture has been trying to make marriage irrelevant, unnecessary, an impedement to personal freedom. "Its only a piece of paper (though I'm terrified of signing it) so lets just shack up." Fatherhood is defunct. Now, all right thinking 'progressives" invite gaay people to participate in the frivolous sham they've made of marriage. Seems the gaay folks would be offended.

      May 6, 2013 at 4:59 pm |
    • escapee from religion

      Of all the mainstream religious cults, Catholicism is the biggest sham of the bunch.

      And it is closely tied to the mob. Not really a surprise.

      May 6, 2013 at 5:03 pm |
    • sam

      @catholic engineer – straight people have been doing that, actually. If that's what you meant by 'culture'.

      May 6, 2013 at 5:05 pm |
    • Peregrine

      BD. The same arguments could be made about slavery, mixed race marriage,women's rights and civil rights the sat two centuries. People want now what they always want, equality.

      May 6, 2013 at 5:07 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      Christians want their religion texts displayed on public buildings and that's not even an example of equitable treatment.

      May 6, 2013 at 5:16 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      HS, I don't think you understand, amongst other things, what preaching is.

      May 6, 2013 at 5:22 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      HS, And you're the one (of us) who daily shows herself to be a fool.

      May 6, 2013 at 5:24 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      In Santa we trust, preaching means to teach Jesus Christ's truth.

      May 6, 2013 at 5:36 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      OK, seems as if that is the complete argument for. How sad that while the tide of popular sentiment might sweep a legal change into existence, not one person has been able to explain why gaay marriage would be a good thing for society at large. I find that sad.

      May 6, 2013 at 5:44 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      overpopulation. And I'd rather have happy people in my community who feel respected and accepted than people in my community who are sad and feel outcast and rejected. I'm for kindness and goodness, so I'm for equal rights for consenting adults.

      May 6, 2013 at 5:49 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      HS. I would say that preaching includes other religions beyond yours but anyway you said "... your religion of not believing in God is preached throughout the world". I don't have a religion, I am an atheist so by definition I don't believe in a god or your Jesus – so how can I preach?

      May 6, 2013 at 5:51 pm |
    • ME II

      @Bill Deacon,
      1) personal relationships don't need justifications.

      2) almost any justification you can make for hetero marriage can be made for gay marriage.

      3) From a utilitarian standpoint, it would increase happiness amd reduce suffering.

      4) From a societal standpoint, if would increase community stability. Married couples are consider more stable than single couples.

      5) ...economics, married couples tend to buy houses and combine resources which increases financial efficiency, savings, and investment in the community.

      6) ...health, married couples live longer.

      etc. (I can probably come up with many more)

      May 6, 2013 at 6:06 pm |
    • JMEF

      BD. Not expecting an answer but a gay priest might be able to marry his significant other gay priest and not be able to claim equivalent to married exemption for his housekeeper thus paying their fair of taxes, oh wait that is not the Christian thing to do , is it?

      May 6, 2013 at 6:07 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @catholic engineer

      this culture has been trying to make marriage irrelevant, unnecessary, an impedement to personal freedom. "Its only a piece of paper (though I'm terrified of signing it) so lets just shack up."

      Overwhelmingly, by their embrace of divorce it it is Christians who have made marriage irrelevant.

      As a 'moral' instrument, marriage is indeed irrelevant. It provides legal rights in terms of taxation, benefits and survivorship for people who want to form a partnership. These rights should be avaialable to all.

      What does Jesus say about adultery v. sëxual ident!ty.

      May 6, 2013 at 6:16 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      My comment above is unclear.

      As a 'moral' instrument, marriage is indeed irrelevant. Civil marriage provides legal rights in terms of taxation, benefits and survivorship for people who want to form a partnership. These rights should be avaialable to all.

      May 6, 2013 at 6:20 pm |
    • exlonghorn

      BD, sounds laws exist to prevent harm to self, others, and society. Intrusive laws exist to drive social engineering. Gay marriage cannot be convincingly be said to cause any such harm. Conversely, bad marriages have been shown to be bad regardless of the orientation of the participants. There is no reason to offer benefits to straight married couples. There is no reason to offer benefits to gaay married couples. There is PLENTY of reason to create a society where ALL people are treated equally...regardless of religion, orientation, race, ethnicity, age, gender, etc. NO benefits to a particular group or class is deserved. If we just realize that, then we won't have a problem.

      May 6, 2013 at 6:20 pm |
    • JMEF

      paying their fair share of taxes is not the christian thing to do. Better.

      May 6, 2013 at 6:20 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Yeah, Dill, you apparently passed up on getting a brain. I'd say you definitely have plenty missing.

      Why do the s3x lives of less than 10% of the population matter to you in the slightest?

      May 6, 2013 at 6:23 pm |
    • fintastic

      @HeavenStench........... "...preaching means to teach Jesus Christ's truth."

      Truth requires evidence. You have none...... zero.... zip..... nada.... so stop lying.

      May 7, 2013 at 12:49 pm |
    • Science

      Recent shearch ....................chadie and billie........fred too

      http://www.richarddawkins.net/news_articles/2013/5/5/when-christians-become-a-hated-minority#

      http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/05/05/when-christians-become-a-hated-minority/comment-page-88/?replytocom=2329733#respond

      May 15, 2013 at 10:02 pm |
    • Science

      https://www.facebook.com/RichardDawkinsFoundation/posts/10151583537145155

      Front page there too billie and chadie

      May 15, 2013 at 10:06 pm |
  13. {*}

    People don't choose their orientation and should not be persecuted on that basis. But the people who speak of tolerance as 'progress' are behind the times. In his book "Surprised by Joy", C.S. Lewis describes life in English boys' schools. He noted that being gay was all the rage in those schools. That was about 1910. People think that we've made progress just because its Tuesday and not Monday anymore. "This is the 21st century" the saying goes.

    May 6, 2013 at 4:41 pm |
  14. Chad

    Why did the world's most notorious atheist (Antony Flew) change his mind?
    Guided by the principle that “we must follow the evidence where it leads” (Socrates), he found these arguments convincing:

    1. The fact that inorganic material cannot give rise to organic material naturally.
    2. The fact that the universe had an origin and obeys laws (design implies a designer)
    3. The fact that free will exists.

    Have you read “ There is a God: How the World's Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind - Antony Flew?
    Why not?

    Source:
    http://www.biola.edu/antonyflew/

    May 6, 2013 at 4:40 pm |
    • Madtown

      Hey, it's fine to believe in God, religion is the issue. God and religion are completely independent concepts. You don't need religion to believe in God, religion is where we get into trouble. Religion divides us, puts people into groups, and pushes the notion that the groups particular way of thinking, of worshipping, is the only correct one in the world, and all other people have it wrong.

      May 6, 2013 at 4:43 pm |
    • Alias

      Please google organic, and see what it really means in this context.
      Also, canyou prove the universehad an origin? Were you there?

      May 6, 2013 at 4:45 pm |
    • catholic engineer

      Flew is not the first prominent atheist to change his mind. A. J. Ayre was a significant force for the atheists in the 20th century. He had a near death experience after which he modified his beliefs. His spouse commented, "A.J. has been so much nicer since he died."

      May 6, 2013 at 4:45 pm |
    • snowboarder

      an 80 year old man hedges his bets against the possibility of god. shocker!

      May 6, 2013 at 4:48 pm |
    • Bible Clown©

      "the world's most notorious atheist (Antony Flew)" I never heard of the guy. How notorious can he have been? And so what if one person changes their opinion? People convert from Christianity to Islam every day; are you convinced by that? Opinions are like butts; everybody has one and they are all full of crap.

      May 6, 2013 at 4:48 pm |
    • ReligionIsBS

      ahahahahaha

      1. yes, it is proven that it can, and does, ALL THE TIME! Try reading a science book, they are amazing.
      2. Who designed your designer? According to your statement, he had to have a designer. Is your staement bs? yes.
      3. Me doing what I want isnt evidence of anything, much less a god.

      In conclusion...hahahahahahahaha

      May 6, 2013 at 4:49 pm |
    • Chad

      @Alias "can you prove the universe had an origin?"

      =>yes, see Borde-Guth-Vilenkin theorum

      It is said that an argument is what convinces reasonable men and a proof is what it takes to convince even an unreasonable man. With the proof now in place, cosmologists can no longer hide behind the possibility of a past-eternal universe. There is no escape, they have to face the problem of a cosmic beginning
      - Many Worlds in One [New York: Hill and Wang, 2006], p.176).

      May 6, 2013 at 4:49 pm |
    • Brian G

      1. Wrong. Inorganic matter gives rise to organic matter all the time. All 20 amino acids and all 5 nuclaic acids are readilly produced from non-organic matter in university laboratories all over the country. We even did the experiment at high school. Just google "coacervate". Organic compounds have even been sighted in interstellar dust clouds. This is not contraversial.

      2. The Universe may or may not have had an origin, and if it did, how do you leap from there to the Christian God?? It does not "obey rules". Scientific "laws" are descriptions for how the universe operates. If I were to write an article describing the 2013 Superbowl, would you say the result "obeyed my laws" as to how it must turn out?

      3. Free will is incompatible with the idea of an all powerful, all knowing god. It dictates everything in the Universe, so freewill would be meaningless.

      2.

      May 6, 2013 at 4:49 pm |
    • A case for pluralism

      There is not one true way to God, all religions are fundamentally the same just superficially different.All religions lead to God.

      May 6, 2013 at 4:49 pm |
    • ReligionIsBS

      All religions lead to a different god.....a different, man-made god.

      May 6, 2013 at 4:51 pm |
    • Chad

      @snowboarder "an 80 year old man hedges his bets against the possibility of god. shocker!"

      =>actually, that was specifically refuted by Flew himself, who to the end stated he did not believe in an after life, or a God that intervened in human history. Not believing in an afterlife, he was not hedging himself for anything..

      Flew died a deist, not a theist.

      May 6, 2013 at 4:51 pm |
    • Ya don't say

      As a memebr of the American Atheiists and American Humanists and a life long atheist, I have never heard of Anthony Flew. "World's Most Notorious Atheist" is nothing short of a lie. I hope the rest of your book is not as fast and loose with the truth as the ti.tle.

      May 6, 2013 at 4:52 pm |
    • JMEF

      Why can you not stick to the topic of the article? When you slip into your Rachel ident.ity what s&x are you attracted too? Tell us about your non-denominational fan.tasies? Tell us why your family despises you? Tell us all about the sins you are guilty of? Tell us why you are such a dork? Bare your psyche to us Chad, not that we want to help but it could be good for a laugh.

      May 6, 2013 at 4:52 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      "World's most notorious atheist"
      LOL!
      i didn't vote for him. and what is a "notorious atheist" anyway?
      man, that's funny.

      May 6, 2013 at 4:52 pm |
    • R.M. Goodswell

      Chad,

      you and I went over this before. Anthony Flew was suffering from dementia and a couple of god peddlers saw their chance.

      May 6, 2013 at 4:56 pm |
    • Chad

      @Brian G

      1. Sorry, no.
      . DNA-based life is thought to have developed on Earth beginning around 3.8 billion years ago, giving pre-cellular life forms about 1 billion years to carry out random processes of encoding useful proteins and assembling them into the precursors of cellular life [source 1="Discovery" 2="News" language=":"][/source]. Critics of abiogenesis say that simply isn't enough time for inorganic matter to become the theorized precellular life. One estimate suggests it would take 10^450 (10 to the 450th power) years for one useful protein to be randomly created - source Klyce.

      That is why it continues, and will continue, to elude scientists..

      2.
      A. The universe had an origin (See Borde-Guth-Vilenkin theorem)
      B. Flew was a deist, not a theist.

      3. A. Free will is the foundation of Judeo/Christianity and is present on every page of the bible. You simply misread the notion of "predestination).
      B. it is simply not possible to demonstrate free will if all there is is the material universe (which is why you avoided the question)

      May 6, 2013 at 4:58 pm |
    • R.M. Goodswell

      *Antony* even.

      May 6, 2013 at 4:58 pm |
    • snowboarder

      @chad, a deist? that is just a wishy washy atheist.

      May 6, 2013 at 5:00 pm |
    • Chad

      @R.M. Goodswell You and I went over this before. Anthony Flew was suffering from dementia and a couple of god peddlers saw their chance."

      @Chad "A nonsense charge refuted by Flew himself,
      in interviews: http://www.biola.edu/antonyflew/
      in video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fbyTwmaJArU

      May 6, 2013 at 5:02 pm |
    • Science

      it is a personallity issue .......chad does not like science maybe ?

      May 6, 2013 at 5:03 pm |
    • Chad

      @snowboarder "a deist? that is just a wishy washy atheist"

      =>hopefully this helps you better understand the difference:
      basically, deists believe in god, atheists dont.
      a pretty big difference in opinion 🙂

      Deism Belief in the existence of a supreme being, specifically of a creator who does not intervene in the universe.

      atheism The theory or belief that God does not exist

      May 6, 2013 at 5:07 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Chad,

      "the world's most notorious atheist"

      I've never heard of him. Hardly "notorious" I think, Given the book t!tle, maybe "egocentric" is more accurate.

      May 6, 2013 at 5:07 pm |
    • Science

      Chad..................to hard for you..................E =mc2.......................(U-Pb)..............?

      Monkey Math: Baboons Show Brain's Ability to Understand Numbers

      May 3, 2013 — Opposing thumbs, expressive faces, complex social systems: it's hard to miss the similarities between apes and humans. Now a new study with a troop of zoo baboons and lots of peanuts shows that a less obvious trait - the ability to understand numbers - also is shared by humans and their primate cousins.

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130503132719.htm

      May 6, 2013 at 5:07 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      1. Inorganic material did give rise to organic material – no god required.
      2. Invalid conclusion.
      3. Free will exists – no god required.

      You have yet to provide credible evidence that a god exists, and that said god created the universe. Until you do the bible is not a credible source.

      May 6, 2013 at 5:11 pm |
    • R.M. Goodswell

      Chad,

      I so abhor doing this but just for you man!- From Wikipedia:

      "Book with Varghese

      In 2007, Flew published a book ti tled There is a God, which was listed as having Roy Abraham Varghese as its co-author. Shortly after the book was released, the New York Times published an article by religious historian Mark Oppenheimer, who stated that Varghese had been almost entirely responsible for writing the book, and that Flew was in a serious state of mental decline, having great difficulty remembering key figures, ideas, and events relating to the debate covered in the book.[7] His book praises several philosophers (like Brian Leftow, John Leslie and Paul Davies), but Flew failed to remember their work during Oppenheimer's interview. The article provoked a public outcry, in which atheist PZ Myers called Varghese "a contemptible manipulator."[34]"

      I strongly recommend anyone that wants the whole picture go read the Wiki page. the man was 87 years old ...

      May 6, 2013 at 5:11 pm |
    • JMEF

      Chad. You have nothing but faith and belief no proof required in that mind set. Visited the Apologetics Press and one of their self reported goals is to clear up the contradictions in the gospels. Passing strange that an omniscient god would need 2000 years of human apologetics to explain what the hell he was all about. Tell us again Chad your "proofs" for the hundredth time.

      May 6, 2013 at 5:12 pm |
    • Chad

      @RM Goodswell

      you (I'm SURE it was inadvertent :-), missed a few details 🙂 )

      note, this was in 2004, when he was 81, not 87 as you claim..

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antony_Flew#Prominent_atheist

      always better to read the entire page..

      In January 2004 Flew and Gary Habermas, his friend and philosophical adversary took part in, and conducted a dialogue on the resurrection at California Polytechnic State University – San Luis Obispo. During a couple of telephone discussions shortly after that dialogue, Flew explained to Habermas that he was considering becoming a theist. While Flew did not change his position at that time, he concluded that certain philosophical and scientific considerations were causing him to do some serious rethinking. He characterised his position as that of atheism standing in tension with several huge question marks.[20]
      In December 2004, an interview with Flew then 81 years old, conducted by Gary Habermas was published in the journal Philosophia Christi (published by the Evangelical Philosophical Society with the as sistance of Biola University), with the ti tle, Atheist Becomes Theist – Exclusive Interview with Former Atheist Antony Flew. Flew agreed to this t itle.[6] According to the introduction, Flew informed Habermas in January 2004 that he had become a deistj,[6] and the interview took place shortly thereafter. Then the text was amended by both participants over the following months prior to publication. In the article Flew states that he has left his long-standing espousal of atheism by endorsing a deism of the sort that Thomas Jef ferson advocated ("While reason, mainly in the form of arguments to design, as sures us that there is a God, there is no room either for any supernatural revelation of that God or for any transactions between that God and individual human beings."). Flew stated that "the most impressive arguments for God’s existence are those that are supported by recent scientific discoveries" and that "the argument to Intelligent Design is enormously stronger than it was when I first met it". He also answered in the affirmative to Habermas's question, "So of the major theistic arguments, such as the cosmological, teleological, moral, and ontological, the only really impressive ones that you take to be decisive are the scientific forms of teleology?". He supported the idea of an Aristotelian God with "the characteristics of power and also intelligence", stating that the evidence for it was stronger than ever before. He rejects the ideas of an afterlife, of God as the source of good (he explicitly states that God has created "a lot of" evil), and of the resurrection of Jesus as a historical fact though he has allowed a short chapter arguing for Christ's resurrection to be added into his latest book.

      May 6, 2013 at 5:18 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Chad

      "Critics of abiogenesis say that simply isn't enough time for inorganic matter to become the theorized precellular life. One estimate suggests it would take 10^450 (10 to the 450th power) years for one useful protein to be randomly created – source Klyce."

      - This doesn't even make sense. First and foremost as we've been over countless times, just because something is improbable doesn't mean it should be counted as impossible. Second, It proteins are RANDOMLY being assembled, then why oh why we do have to wait 10^450 years in order for it to be the correct assemblage? How can you not comprehend that calculating the odds of an event doesn't mean the event must happen after 10^450 years, it just means it's a highly unlikely scenario but not an impossible one.

      2. We've discussed the origin of the universe. We only know what our current universe looked like nano-seconds after the big bang, or great expansion, we have no idea what was before the universe expanded from a singualrity nor do we know what exists (if anything) outside the boundaries of our current universe. To say anything else is based on assumption and can be discounted due to bias (specifically your sh.itty bias).

      3. We've also discussed moreover how freewill can only truely be grasped by a person who does not believe in destiny or fate. You're god, in order to be omniscient, knows every second of every day of your life. There is no point ever that you're god does not know what will or will not happen, thus the free will that you so badly want does not exist for a person who believes in an omniscient god. For the atheist, a relative free will is enjoyed in that whatever happens in 2 minutes., or 20 minutes or 2 days or 200 years is not predetermined and not a single things knows what will happen.

      We can discuss how physically speaking no one has free will, regardless of the faith you profess to be, but that's an entirely different discussion on a different sort of free will that you have tried to pass off as religious free will.

      May 6, 2013 at 5:23 pm |
    • Science

      Genes and DNA................no fairy in the sky needed ! see chad below !

      Scientists Find Genes Linked to Human Neurological Disorders in Sea Lamprey Genome

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130224142915.htm

      Peace

      April 28, 2013 at 6:23 am | Report abuse

      http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/04/18/my-take-godless-in-boston-mourn-too/comment-page-28/#comment-2329824

      May 6, 2013 at 5:24 pm |
    • R.M. Goodswell

      my bad – He was 84 in the -Oppenheimer's interview interview

      Read further down – this wasn't the only case to claim he was exploited.

      That book took years to write btw....

      May 6, 2013 at 5:26 pm |
    • Notorious Catholic

      Chad. Hi, it's Bill D. I like the cut of your jib, how would you like to hook up? Even if you are a solid hetro, you could slip into your Rachel identi-ty and we could get it on!!

      May 6, 2013 at 5:28 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      Chad, Each lottery is different but the odds of winning are something like 1 in 90,000,000. One ticket a week means 1,730,769 years. Yet somebody wins every few months. Improbable but not impossible.

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

      @Chuckles

      1. Still clinging to the theory that given enough time anything can happen? You'll find this most discouraging:

      In 2003, lecturers and students from the University of Plymouth MediaLab Arts course used a £2,000 grant from the Arts Council to study the literary output of real monkeys. They left a computer keyboard in the enclosure of six Celebes Crested Macaques in Paignton Zoo in Devon in England for a month, with a radio link to broadcast the results on a website.[10]
      Not only did the monkeys produce nothing but five pages[11] consisting largely of the letter S, the lead male began by bashing the keyboard with a stone, and the monkeys continued by urinating and defecating on it. Phillips said that the artist-funded project was primarily performance art, and they had learned "an awful lot" from it. He concluded that monkeys "are not random generators. They're more complex than that. ... They were quite interested in the screen, and they saw that when they typed a letter, something happened. There was a level of intention there

      they typed NOT A SINGLE WORD, not even the word 'a' or word 'I' (requiring a space, then 'a' then a space)

      It doesnt matter how long you leave 50 monkeys in a cage with a typewriter, they will never write a book.

      2. Our universe had a beginning, fact. See Borde-Guth-Vilenkin

      3. A. the atheist has ZERO physical explanation for the notion of free will.
      B. The entire theist argument is based on free will

      May 6, 2013 at 5:34 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      While it does APPEAR as though the universe had a beginning, it is not a forgone conclusion. And since time becomes meaningless past the Planck level, it's irrelevant. Also, there are other competing models other than the Standard Model which includes the Big Bang.

      The bible ONLY allows for determinism and NO free will. Free will is not allowed by the bible or its god as can be proved by hundreds of scriptures that describe god and his behavior. Leave it to the bible to destroy its own necessary premise by over-inflating the ego of its "designer."

      May 6, 2013 at 5:39 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      Chad, That is not even close to the experiment that you claim it is replicating. 50 monkeys for a month.
      From one of your sources:
      The infinite monkey theorem states that a monkey hitting keys at random on a typewriter keyboard for an infinite amount of time will almost surely type a given text, such as the complete works of William Shakespeare.

      In this context, "almost surely" is a mathematical term with a precise meaning, and the "monkey" is not an actual monkey, but a metaphor for an abstract device that produces an endless random sequence of letters and symbols. The relevance of the theory is questionable—the probability of a monkey exactly typing a complete work such as Shakespeare's Hamlet is so tiny that the chance of it occurring during a period of time even a hundred thousand orders of magnitude longer than the age of the universe is extremely low (but not zero).

      May 6, 2013 at 5:39 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      On free will:

      There is no test that we know of that can determine whether or not "free will" exists (in one of its various forms–as commonly believed). Because there is no way to test the matter, it is silly to state that there is a definite conclusion to the matter. There are plenty of mechanisms by which an atheist can believe in free will, but it is impossible for a Christian to believe in free will AND believe in many of the scriptures about god and his design for humanity.

      May 6, 2013 at 5:42 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Chad

      You can't be that stupid can you? Seriously? The Monkey's in a room long enough to type shakespeare is a metaphor that removes the possibility of exactly what happens in practice. Namely that monkeys sleep, eat, po.op and generally have no interests in typeing anything. The idea is that you put a bunch of monkeys, or toddlers or some sort of animal that has the dexterity to type and they begin typing non-stop that at one point with the right combonation of letters will begin to create english words.

      Actually doing the experiment is incredibly silly.... oh yeah, it also proves absolutely nothing. But yeah, go on pretending what you just posted as any relevance.

      "2. Our universe had a beginning, fact. See Borde-Guth-Vilenkin"

      –Again all assumption based on guess work, not fact. To say it's fact is false.

      3. "A. the atheist has ZERO physical explanation for the notion of free will."

      –We 've discussed this, what do you mean by free will? The ability to choose ones future or the ability to choose ones actions in the present? Poor chad, you seem to be really grasping.

      "B. The entire theist argument is based on free will"
      –No no, the ILLUSION of free will. You almost got it though, keep trying buddy!

      May 6, 2013 at 5:44 pm |
    • Science

      Hubble Sees the Remains of a Star Gone Supernova..................Time and space chad ? splat goes cHad !!!

      May 6, 2013 — A new image from the Hubble Space Telescope shows delicate wisps of gas that make up an object known as SNR B0519-69.0, or SNR 0519 for short.

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130506161618.htm

      May 6, 2013 at 5:45 pm |
    • mama k

      Regarding Chad's continual repetition of the quote from Many Worlds in One, he always leaves out – from the very same page of that book:

      "Theologians have often welcomed any evidence for the beginning of the universe, regarding it as evidence for the existence of God … So what do we make of a proof that the beginning is unavoidable? Is it a proof of the existence of God? This view would be far too simplistic. Anyone who attempts to understand the origin of the universe should be prepared to address its logical paradoxes. In this regard, the theorem that I proved with my colleagues does not give much of an advantage to the theologian over the scientist."

      May 6, 2013 at 5:45 pm |
    • JMEF

      Chad. What is Flew notorious for?

      May 6, 2013 at 5:47 pm |
    • R.M. Goodswell

      Chad,

      The bottom line is, somewhere between 2001 ... when he flat denied that he was anything but and atheist, to 2004, some religious people got their hooks into him. – maybe his 'friend' saw his chance to finally win their debates after noting a mental decline in Flew and turn these guys on to him.

      They shamelessly took advantage of an old man.

      May 6, 2013 at 5:51 pm |
    • Chad

      @RM Goodswell:

      wishfull thinking and ad-hominem, refuted by Flew himself
      ===
      @mama k

      Vilenkin shows the universe had a beginning, but then wonders how God had His beginning, that's what he is talking about..
      You always avoid the first part, then ignore the second, in some futile attempt to imply that Vilenkin wasnt claiming the universe had a beginning (and they call me disingenuous! lol).

      ====
      @Chuckles:
      see http://www.nutters.org/docs/monkeys

      In light of this, I find it impossible to believe that "chance" had anything to do with the process that created life. How can I suppose that Shakespeare himself was the result of a random process when it is quite clearly impossible for even a trivial fragment of his work to have arisen by chance? No sir, I see information all around me, and I conclude that it is the product of a far, far greater intelligence.

      Information is the product of intelligence, not chance.

      cue ad-hominem!

      "When you have no case, abuse the plaintiff". – Marcus Tullius Cicero

      May 6, 2013 at 6:28 pm |
    • exlonghorn

      Chad,

      I could easily counter with a long list of "facts" that makse your designer sound like clueless dork:

      1) Our source of light...directly bestowed upon is by our 'creator'...also give us cancer.
      2) Natural disasters are interesting ways to show intelligence.
      3) Your brilliant creator chose a time completely lacking in communication means and scientific understanding to make his case for being the one true religion. Could've designed something a little more effective than stone tablets, talking snakes, and burning bushes, don't you think?
      4) Virtually nothing in the various religious texts is supported by physical evidence.
      5) Lizards have free will...hardly a compelling argument.

      May 6, 2013 at 6:29 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Chad

      Ok, so let me get this straight. You post a quote from a guy (never mind citing this source mind you) saying that he can't imagine how the universe was created without a creator because shakespeare wrote plays (which is also disputed btw)?

      Honestly now do you really think that putting a group of monkeys with a single computer in a room for a month is good enough to test the hypothesis? Seriously, think about this for a moment before you answer. I mean, I know you're glib and all but I'm imploring you, please consider this for a moment.

      I'm honestly just trying to give you an out here I promise on my life that I won't make fun of you right now if you would like to redact what you've posted and say you realize why what you posted is entirely useless and irrelevant.

      Here's your out, I suggest you take it.

      May 6, 2013 at 6:34 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Chard, why do you imagine that citing opinions makes them proof of something?

      May 6, 2013 at 6:39 pm |
    • Chad

      @Chuckles,

      look at the math..

      =====
      @ exlonghorn

      – see fall of man and impact on natural world we live in: Genesis
      – See written accounts of Jewish nation and the Messiah, Jesus Christ, communicated to us through the written word.
      – Free will(of humans/animals, both of which have a soul according to the bible) is a devastating argument for atheists, who have absolutely no way to explain it if all there is is the material universe.

      May 6, 2013 at 6:39 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Chad,

      yes the math is pretty staggering, but a billion years (give or take) is a long time for very improbable things to happen.

      Yet here we are. For you this is evidence of God. For me it is evidence that we are here.

      Hypothetically, were sentient life to exist elsewhere, would your God have to incarnate and crucify himself there too?

      May 6, 2013 at 6:45 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Chad

      Seriously? Well at least I gave you an out.

      Look, the website you even provided admits that given enough time, improbable events could happen but like you, the writer of the sh.it website you provided also believes that the number is too big to be believed.

      First and foremost, if this "experiment" were only happening on earth within the entire universe, then yes, the number would be a lot harder to swallow. But it isn't. Proteins are assembling, and reassembling themselves all the times across the vast expanse of the universe for 14 billion years on literally trillions of planets. If that doesn't make the number more palatable then I don't know what will.

      You are trying to use the math as a way to prove you're right, that life needed a specific guiding principal but you clearly don't understand it if you think you can use it to bolster your argument.

      Please try again chad, but this time put a little more effort into it huh?

      May 6, 2013 at 6:46 pm |
    • JMEF

      Chad, Look up the modern day definition of deist. Creator, not a supreme being, and that creator could just as easily be a scientific explanation as a deity/god. You are such a LIAR.

      May 6, 2013 at 6:50 pm |
    • mama k

      Related – I forgot that nothing in the BGV paper suggests a beginning from “absolute nothingness”. In fact, the opposite is true. The authors write,

      What can lie beyond the boundary? Several possibilities have been discussed, one being that the boundary of the inflating region corresponds to the beginning of the Universe in a quantum nucleation event.

      May 6, 2013 at 6:50 pm |
    • mama k

      Chad: "Vilenkin shows the universe had a beginning, but then wonders how God had His beginning, that's what he is talking about.."

      Where does he say that, Chad? Of is that just your take on something he said? Is it before he says:

      "Theologians have often welcomed any evidence for the beginning of the universe, regarding it as evidence for the existence of God … So what do we make of a proof that the beginning is unavoidable? Is it a proof of the existence of God? This view would be far too simplistic. Anyone who attempts to understand the origin of the universe should be prepared to address its logical paradoxes. In this regard, the theorem that I proved with my colleagues does not give much of an advantage to the theologian over the scientist."
      ?

      May 6, 2013 at 6:54 pm |
    • mama k

      *Or* is it, not Of is it . . .

      May 6, 2013 at 6:57 pm |
    • Chad

      @GOPer,

      you are engaging in wishful thinking

      The earth was formed 10^8 years ago
      See calculation below, it would take 10^450 years to create a single protein, when several hundred are needed for a single cell.

      do you understand the difference between 10^8 and 10^450?

      science convinced Antony Flew

      Are you willing to follow the argument where it leads?

      The only premise that all of the precellular theories share is that it would be an extremely long time before the first bacterial cells evolved. If precellular life somehow got going, it could then conceivably begin to crank out, by some precellular process, random strings of nucleotides and amino acids, trying to luck into a gene or a protein with advantages which would lead to bacterial life. There is no evidence in life today of anything that produces huge quanti ties of new, random strings of nucleotides or amino acids, some of which are advantageous. But if precellular life did that, it would need lots of time to create any useful genes or proteins. How long would it need? After making some helpful a ssumptions we can get the ratio of actual, useful proteins to all possible random proteins up to something like one in 10^500 (ten to the 500th power). So it would take, barring incredible luck, something like 10^500 trials to probably find one. Imagine that every cubic quarter-inch of ocean in the world contains ten billion precellular ribosomes. Imagine that each ribosome produces proteins at ten trials per minute (about the speed that a working ribosome in a bacterial cell manufactures proteins). Even then, it would take about 10^450 years to probably make one useful protein. But Earth was formed only about 4.6 x 10^9 years ago. The amount of time available for this hypothetical protein creation process was maybe a few hundred million or ~10^8 years. And now, to make a cell, we need not just one protein, but a minimum of several hundred.

      May 6, 2013 at 7:09 pm |
    • Chad

      @mama k,

      keep reading 🙂

      May 6, 2013 at 7:15 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Chad,

      "you are engaging in wishful thinking"

      Perhaps, but so are you.

      May 6, 2013 at 7:15 pm |
    • Chuckles

      "@Chad: See calculation below, it would take 10^450 years to create a single protein, when several hundred are needed for a single cell."

      Chad's ignorance of probability summed up a nice and tidy sentence from chad himself. No chad, the probability of a protein being created is 10^450 but that in no way means it also takes that long for said protein to be created.

      Here's a quick helpful tip for you. If I said that you had a 1 in a 10^450 chance of choosing the number 7 out of a set of 10^450, that does not mean that the number seven gets instantly transported to being the 10^450 number in the set.

      I think you need help understanding probabilities. Serious help.

      May 6, 2013 at 7:16 pm |
    • JMEF

      Chad. You disingenuous idiot, it has been proven that the building blocks of RNA have been found in clouds of gas and dust around young stars long before planets are even created. Further molecules and compounds as complex as vinegar are found at the center of the galaxy. Your as.sumption that everything started when some deity started the whole process is just BS.

      May 6, 2013 at 7:17 pm |
    • JMEF

      Chad. You really haven't got a clue. The discovery of life may have been created at hypothermal vents billions of years ago without the help of some god or intelligent design you cleverly have to disregard because it does not fit in with the present Christian apologetics; got some catching up to do as Christian apologetics has to have done for 2000 years. Bullsh1t alert.

      May 6, 2013 at 7:30 pm |
    • Dennis

      Your list of "facts" are at best hypotheses.

      May 6, 2013 at 7:32 pm |
    • mama k

      Chad: "Vilenkin shows the universe had a beginning, but then wonders how God had His beginning, that's what he is talking about.."

      I think you're full of BS, Chad. Everyone knows how you twist words. I think you're making that line above up or rewording something.

      May 6, 2013 at 7:33 pm |
    • mama k

      That line seems to be yours, but I still call BS – you need to show where Vilenkin supports that, or we can assume, based on your past behavior that it is in fact BS.

      May 6, 2013 at 7:36 pm |
    • Science

      JMEF ...............Chad has seen this too ..........lmfao !!!

      The ORIGIN story is bullsh-it...............so is the bible............... nasty !

      From Soup to Cells—the Origin of Life

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

      Scientists have unearthed the first direct signs of cheesemaking, at a site in Poland that dates back 7,500 years.

      Human Evolution

      http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evosite/evo101/IIE2cHumanevo.shtml

      May 6, 2013 at 7:37 pm |
    • Science

      With building blocks Chad !

      The fact...............the earth is to old ...........time to EVOLVE !..................Creationists...........ID believers and christians
      dthat includes the devil's cult created by the.............. RCC/church,,,,,,maybe !

      Ancient Earth Crust Stored in Deep Mantle

      Apr. 24, 2013 — Scientists have long believed that lava erupted from certain oceanic volcanoes contains materials from the early Earth's crust. But decisive evidence for this phenomenon has proven elusive. New research from a team including Carnegie's Erik Hauri demonstrates that oceanic volcanic rocks contain samples of recycled crust dating back to the Archean era 2.5 billion years ago. Their work is published in Nature.

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130424132705.htm

      May 6, 2013 at 7:45 pm |
    • Chad

      @Chad: "Vilenkin shows the universe had a beginning, but then wonders how God had His beginning, that's what he is talking about.."
      @mama k "I think you're full of BS, Chad. Everyone knows how you twist words. I think you're making that line above up or rewording something."

      @Chad "so, remember, I told you to keep reading.. That is indeed what Vilenkin said, he was talking about the paradox of a creator, not that the origin of the universe wasnt proven in some sense.

      from http://commonsenseatheism.com/?p=8016

      In 2003, Arvind Borde and Alexander Vilenkin and Alan Guth published a paper claiming to prove that the universe cannot be infinitely old. William Lane Craig is fond of quoting Vilenkin in defense of his Kalam Cosmological Argument:

      It is said that an argument is what convinces reasonable men and a proof is what it takes to convince even an unreasonable man. With the proof now in place, cosmologists can no longer hide behind the possibility of a past-eternal universe. There is no escape: they have to face the problem of a cosmic beginning.

      This comes from page 176 of Vilenkin’s book Many Worlds in One. But literally two paragraphs later, Vilenkin writes:

      Theologians have often welcomed any evidence for the beginning of the universe, regarding it as evidence for the existence of God… So what do we make of a proof that the beginning is unavoidable? Is it a proof of the existence of God? This view would be far too simplistic. Anyone who attempts to understand the origin of the universe should be prepared to address its logical paradoxes. In this regard, the theorem that I proved with my colleagues does not give much of an advantage to the theologian over the scientist. As evidenced by Jinasena’s remarks earlier in this chapter, religion is not immune to the paradoxes of Creation.

      What were Jinasena’s remarks? In the 9th century, this Jain poet wrote:

      The doctrine that the world was created is ill-advised, and should be rejected.

      If God created the world, where was he before creation? …

      How could God have made the world without any raw material? If you say he made this first, and then the world, you are faced with an endless regression…

      Thus the doctrine that the world was created by God makes no sense at all…1

      Divine creation has its own set of a paradoxes. Jinasena mentioned only one.

      May 6, 2013 at 7:49 pm |
    • Chad

      @JMEF "it has been proven that the building blocks of RNA have been found in clouds of gas and dust around young stars long before planets are even created"

      @Chad "a junk yard contains all of the building blocks of a car. But, it doesnt matter how many tornadoes go thru it, you'll never find a fully formed car sitting there as a result afterwards.

      May 6, 2013 at 7:57 pm |
    • Science

      Learning is fun with facts.......................... and facts work when teaching children...........Grow up Chad !!!

      Atheist Prof. Peter Higgs: Stop calling Higgs boson the ‘God particle’

      Professor Peter Higgs said recently that there is no God and so people should stop referring to the theoretical partial that
      bears his name as the “God particle.”

      http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/04/08/atheist-prof-peter-higgs-stop-calling-higgs-bosen-the-god-particle/

      May 6, 2013 at 8:00 pm |
    • JMEF

      Chad. Do you really think your Christian apologetics BS will impress anyone not already indoctrinated into the cult. Every apologetics site I visited are all trying to raise money by selling some truth or other. It is all a scam, always has been always will be for as long as ignorant people let their children be sucked into the system. Are you making your living out of selling the BS; you have never answered that question, let us know.

      May 6, 2013 at 8:02 pm |
    • JMEF

      Chad. Do you really think your Christian apologetics BS will impress anyone not already indoctrinated into the cult. Every apologetics site I visited are all trying to raise money by selling some truth or other. It is all a scam, always has been always will be for as long as ignorant people let their children be sucked into the system. Are you making your living out of selling the BS; you have never answered that question, let us know, please.

      May 6, 2013 at 8:04 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      I am curious, Chad. The beginning you are fond of, the one you trot out in support of a few lines from the book you are fixated on, what is it the beginning of? Our Universe transitions from one thing into something else at the boundary we think we know where time becomes time-like. You are satisfied that this is precisely what your bronze age authors had in mind and not some deeper beginning? Perhaps you are focusing on a bubble in your beer and not on the beer itself, or on the absolutely fine and perfect lady who brought it to you.

      May 6, 2013 at 8:06 pm |
    • JMEF

      Chad. Do you really think your Christian apologetics BS will impress anyone not already indoctrinated into the cult. Every apologetics site I visited are all trying to raise money by selling some truth or other. It is all a scam, always has been always will be for as long as ignorant people let their children be sucked into the system. Are you making your living out of selling the BS; you have never answered that question, let us know, please.....

      May 6, 2013 at 8:09 pm |
    • Chad

      transition The process or a period of changing from one state or condition to another.

      beginningThe point in time or space at which something starts.

      do you see the difference between 'transition" and "beginning"?

      It is said that an argument is what convinces reasonable men and a proof is what it takes to convince even an unreasonable man. With the proof now in place, cosmologists can no longer hide behind the possibility of a past-eternal universe. There is no escape: they have to face the problem of a cosmic beginning - Vilenkin

      May 6, 2013 at 8:12 pm |
    • Science

      JMEF..................his employer MIGHT BE the......Discovery Insti-tute or the ICR ?

      May 6, 2013 at 8:18 pm |
    • Science

      JMEF................Insti-tute for Craetion Reserch..............Chapter 6 of there bible is Chad maybe ?

      May 6, 2013 at 8:23 pm |
    • Science

      Oops .........research

      May 6, 2013 at 8:25 pm |
    • Science

      Dang hate this sh-it...............their

      May 6, 2013 at 8:27 pm |
    • Chad

      @science

      you missed "Craetion"

      May 6, 2013 at 8:30 pm |
    • Science

      Thanks for the help Chad .............knew you were good for someting !

      Which one above is your FAV Chad ?

      May 6, 2013 at 8:34 pm |
    • Science

      What about chapter 6 Chad ?...................I know all about IT !

      May 6, 2013 at 8:40 pm |
    • Chad

      Favorite?
      I guess the one where you misspelled 3 out of 5 words is my favorite.. Craetion Reserch..............Chapter 6 of there

      May 6, 2013 at 8:43 pm |
    • Science

      Chad............the game of Life is a blast with no fairy in the sky...........you should try IT !!!

      May 6, 2013 at 8:44 pm |
    • Science

      Chad....................Mr John Morris is the what ?

      Spelling has been my devil I guees !

      Then you should know about the carbon 14 section the ICR had at one time ?

      May 6, 2013 at 8:50 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      Chad, The bottom line is, as it is every day, none of your sophistry is proof of a god.

      May 6, 2013 at 8:59 pm |
    • Science

      By the way Chad the ICR and a chondrite = the carbon 14 deal..........they bought one to study !!!

      May 6, 2013 at 9:00 pm |
    • Science

      Another interesting fact.............Chad it was a 7 pounder.....................which I have many of !!!

      May 6, 2013 at 9:04 pm |
    • Science

      Chad ......again thanks for the help .

      Hey James Madison................religion has none it looks like.............with the comments on this blog.

      The Big question is ETHICS ! does religion have any ?

      The Ethics of Resurrecting Extinct Species

      Apr. 8, 2013 — At some point, scientists may be able to bring back extinct animals, and perhaps early humans, raising questions of ethics and environmental disruption.

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130408165955.htm

      April 30, 2013 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |

      May 1, 2013 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |

      May 6, 2013 at 10:03 pm |
    • Science

      Recent shearch ....................chadie !!!

      http://www.richarddawkins.net/news_articles/2013/5/5/when-christians-become-a-hated-minority#

      http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/05/05/when-christians-become-a-hated-minority/comment-page-88/?replytocom=2329733#respond

      May 15, 2013 at 9:49 pm |
    • Science

      https://www.facebook.com/RichardDawkinsFoundation/posts/10151583537145155

      Front page there too billie and chadie

      May 15, 2013 at 10:07 pm |
  15. Science

    HS is on a rampage....................what ever HS says ...................IS BS !

    May 6, 2013 at 4:36 pm |
    • Science

      Add chad to the mix with HS and the fairy tale continues above lmfao.............as mama K says popcorn time.

      May 6, 2013 at 7:16 pm |
    • Science

      Well HS where did your comment go ?................that was above ?

      Is this IT !

      HeavenSent

      Obsessed much (LOL)?

      May 6, 2013 at 6:36 pm | Report abuse |

      May 7, 2013 at 10:44 am |
    • Science

      WOW HS ???

      May 7, 2013 at 10:46 am |
    • Science

      Test

      May 7, 2013 at 10:47 am |
    • Science

      HS = NOT a sweat heart !

      May 7, 2013 at 3:21 pm |
  16. Colin

    One can understand Christians' dislike of those who do not follow their superst.ition. It all goes back to their leader. In discussing people who try to dissuade youngsters from following him, Jesus had this to say:

    "If anyone causes one of these little ones–those who believe in me–to stumble, it would be better for them if a large millstone were hung around their neck and they were thrown into the sea” (Mark 9:42) – repeated in both Luke and Matthew as Luke 17:2 and Matthew 18:6 respectively.

    He was generally a man of peace, if the gospels are to be believed, but like any ordinary human, he had his moments.

    May 6, 2013 at 4:32 pm |
  17. Colin

    Did you hear about the case in Saudi Arabia of the sheik who violently beat his servent for crashing his car. Jesus would never approve of such a thing.....oh wait...

    “And that slave who knew his master’s will, and did not prepare himself or do according to his will, shall be severely beaten. But he who did not know, yet committed things deserving of a severe beating, shall be beaten only lightly. For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.” Jesus Christ, as quouted in Luke 12:47-48.

    May 6, 2013 at 4:26 pm |
    • R.M. Goodswell

      Collin

      you didn't get memo - NT is to be ignored until.....wait....NT?

      *pops popcorn waiting for the spin*

      May 6, 2013 at 4:47 pm |
    • Roger that

      The Bible can be so fascinating.

      May 6, 2013 at 5:32 pm |
  18. Dyslexic doG

    Thanks all. I'm going to lie down for 3 days but I'll be back ...

    May 6, 2013 at 4:26 pm |
  19. Shakingmyhead

    Hate me because I believe in Jesus Christ...then I welcome it and embrace it. He was hated, spat upon, tortured, and died for us and resurrected for our relationship with God the Father. Go ahead and hate me, mock me, spit on me, etc. He already comforted, loved, encouraged, and healed me of others' torment. That is peace, friends. Love. (funny how people enjoyed that message from John Lennon but almost crap fire at the mention of Jesus the Christ). 🙂

    May 6, 2013 at 4:26 pm |
    • Colin

      No, we won't hate you. We will think you are a bit of a simpleton and will probably pity you, but I doubt we will hate you. As long as you keep your Greco-Roman superst.ition to yourself and don't try and impose it on me, I'm fine.

      May 6, 2013 at 4:28 pm |
    • Athy

      It's not hate. It's more like, well, pity.

      May 6, 2013 at 4:30 pm |
    • Eric g

      I only hate when you attempt to use that belief to discriminate against others who believe differently. I don't hate children who believe in Santa.

      May 6, 2013 at 4:31 pm |
    • ME II

      As someone posted earlier, "Love the believer, hate the belief"

      May 6, 2013 at 4:33 pm |
    • Brother Maynard

      "Hate me because I believe in Jesus Christ...then I welcome it and embrace it."
      Hmm ... begs the question why so many xtians complain about being 'hated' then...

      May 6, 2013 at 4:36 pm |
    • snowboarder

      though i am not a christian, much of christ's supposed message is great. unfortunately, it is rarely demonstrated by christians.

      May 6, 2013 at 4:37 pm |
    • Bible Clown©

      "Hate me because I believe in Jesus Christ." I don't hate people. I'm no Christian. Get one of your friends to hate you instead.

      May 6, 2013 at 4:50 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      i don't hate you - i feel sorry for you. cults are bad for you. they teach you to turn off your brain.

      May 6, 2013 at 4:53 pm |
    • sam

      Translation: "I am hoping to martyr myself...somehow. Even though it's just figurative. That makes me a super awesome christian!"

      May 6, 2013 at 4:57 pm |
  20. CommonSensed

    Just love being martyrs, don't we?

    Let it go...

    May 6, 2013 at 4:21 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.