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. Why?

    Why is everybody's post being run like a second rate commercial for their position on religion?

    I read through a list and there is nothing but nonsense, speculation, fallacies, generalizations and all from people I don't know or trust.

    You might as well be saying to me: "Drink shclox's cola it's terrific" vs "Don't drink schlox's cola it's the worst!"

    The point is everybody has an opinion for sale. Belief blog is great if you want something to laugh at, but that's about all it's ever going to be.

    May 6, 2013 at 9:27 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Why is everybody's post being run like a second rate commercial for their position on religion?

      Ummm. It's an internet blog ... about religion?

      May 6, 2013 at 9:39 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      perhaps you don't understand what a blog is...

      and you seem to be advertising for your own position here. hypocrite.

      May 6, 2013 at 9:41 pm |
    • Why not?

      Show us your evidence.

      May 6, 2013 at 9:49 pm |
    • Jesus freaker

      Your welcome.

      May 6, 2013 at 9:52 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      Why is everybody's post being run like a second rate commercial for their position on religion?
      *** what should you see here? please give a specific example, a witty and in-depth comment worth of the prestigious CNN belief blog.

      I read through a list and there is nothing but nonsense, speculation, fallacies, generalizations and all from people I don't know or trust.
      You might as well be saying to me: "Drink shclox's cola it's terrific" vs "Don't drink schlox's cola it's the worst!"
      *** if all you got was the above, you missed a lot. there's definitely venom thrown around - but so are a lot of facts and fantastic points of view. that you missed that makes me feel YOU are not to be trusted. and what can someone do to earn your trust on the CNN belief blog? please be specific.

      The point is everybody has an opinion for sale. Belief blog is great if you want something to laugh at, but that's about all it's ever going to be.
      *** and you obviously have a point for sale, too. giant hypocrite.

      May 6, 2013 at 9:52 pm |
    • Bible Clown©

      Dude, don't drink the shclox's cola, and don;t take anyone else's recommendation either. I don't advise anyone to throw away their faith or turn their backs on the little brown church in the vale, etc. But stop trying to pass Christian sharia laws to control non-Christians in the country that invented religious freedom and still insists on it. We won't take it, and boy, are we going to hurt your feelings when we discuss it. Get a Catholic arguing with a Lutheran if you want nasty religious conflict; your own fellow Christians are always happy to demonize you. Why bother the atheists?

      May 7, 2013 at 4:12 pm |
  2. Bootyfunk

    Christian persecution = being held accountable for our disgusting prejudices (we're not used to it)

    May 6, 2013 at 9:02 pm |
    • Why?

      Advertisements..both of them

      May 6, 2013 at 9:32 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      i'll advocate free thinking anytime

      May 6, 2013 at 9:40 pm |
    • Athy

      That's one of the problems...it was thousands of years ago. As in obsolete, inaccurate, not with the times, unbelievable, etc, etc.

      May 6, 2013 at 9:53 pm |
    • Ed


      If your logic is true then all scripture in Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, Etc religious texts is "true" because they were written thousands of years ago and are still being discussed today. If people in 3050 are discussing Scientology texts will that prove it to be "true"? Let go of your delusions.

      May 6, 2013 at 9:55 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      HS, The fact that people dislike christians does not make the bible true. Didn't we discuss the use of logic and reason and decided it was a good idea?

      May 6, 2013 at 9:57 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      yes, it's all true - talking snakes and talking donkeys (just like in Shrek!) a guy living in the belly of a whale for 3 days (just like in Pinocchio!) the earth really is flat and the sun revolves around the earth. women are subject to the rule of men. g.ays should be put to death - along with non-virgin brides, disobedient children and anyone working the weekend. oh, also anyone that isn't a christian - kill them. b.astards and m.idgets aren't welcome in the house of the lord, nor anyone with crushed t.esticles. yes, it's all true, jesus will come back at the end of the world, open his daddy's seven seals and murder 2/3 of humanity, including children.

      all that is true. you are definitely not a victim of cult mentality. and you would definitely not benefit from applying cognitive thinking to life instead of blind faith in an invisible sky fairy.

      May 6, 2013 at 9:57 pm |
    • Josh

      Athy says that morals are out of fashion.

      May 7, 2013 at 4:39 am |
    • Science

      Hey Josh............have you read this yet ?...............clue............ not the bible !

      Where do morals come from?

      By Kelly Murray, CNN


      May 7, 2013 at 6:45 am |
    • Josh

      Science, that tells me nothing about where morals come from, quit spamming.

      May 7, 2013 at 7:04 am |
    • Science

      Glad you can read Josh .................you might want to try again ............do you have any ?

      Spam is in a can bears eat apes eat that too !

      May 7, 2013 at 9:16 am |
    • Science

      Oops......... and..............instead of ate

      May 7, 2013 at 9:17 am |
    • Josh

      I apologize Science I was looking at the wrong thing.

      May 7, 2013 at 9:24 am |
    • Science

      Josh .............good info in that article..............now take that knowledge and share it ok .


      May 7, 2013 at 10:19 am |
  3. Pmdww2

    Christians are persecuted? Seriously? I have never heard of Christians being denied the right to marry or adopt children.

    May 6, 2013 at 8:25 pm |
    • AM

      Christians have been fired from their jobs just because they stand for traditional marriage.

      May 6, 2013 at 9:40 pm |
    • DL

      The Chik-Fil-A CEO was a recent example.

      May 7, 2013 at 2:14 am |
    • tallulah13

      Did the Chick-fil-a CEO loose his job? Was he denied housing? Was he denied equal rights?

      As I recall, he faced protests because of money donated to anti-gay causes. People deciding they don't want to spend money at a place that supports discrimination is not persecution. People speaking out against a corporate head supporting attempts to legislate discrimination is not persecution. Choosing sides is fiscally reckless for people in a business dependent on the public dollar.

      But nice try.

      May 7, 2013 at 2:28 am |
    • Science

      Josh .the chic a fill CEO should know the facts too !..............No fairy in the sky................The article about chic a fill on

      CNN has the information for the CEO to read !!!

      May 7, 2013 at 6:23 am |
    • Bible Clown©

      "The Chik-Fil-A CEO was a recent example." Mr. Cathy's dumb sons? They didn't lose their jobs, and weepy Christians poured into their stores to "save them." They have become the Official Fast Food of Gay-Bashers, and I kinda think they would have preferred to remain the Fast Food That Closed on Sunday for Jesus instead. Hint: I used to eat there when they were a Christian place often enough to know clerks' names. I'll never go back there now.

      May 7, 2013 at 4:17 pm |
  4. glad this is out in the open

    I just wanted to say to Bootyfunk I am sorry to hear about your friend's brother. It's a painful situation for sure. You have my condolences.

    May 6, 2013 at 7:50 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      whether you are religious or not, i appreciate your sympathies. it's a hard situation. my friend struggles with his h.omos.exuality to this day. his brother was sent to a "get the g.ay out" camp. my friend read his diary. it's heart-breaking. his christian faith told him he was indeed an abomination, as it says in Leviticus - but his natural instincts told him his feelings were normal. he hung himself. this was 15 years ago, Michigan. my friend struggles in the same way. he's a devout christian, but at least he acknowledges his h.omos.exuality. his parents don't acknowledge his h.omos.exuality or even talk about his deceased brother. no one in his family does.

      my fiance and i are straight against hate. we fully support our LGBT brothers and sisters in their fight for equal rights.

      May 6, 2013 at 8:04 pm |
    • Athy

      It seems your friend's problems are due to his religion, not his sexuality.

      May 6, 2013 at 8:10 pm |
    • .

      Booty has more compassion in his left nut than you'll ever have, lol??. You LAUGH at people's deaths. Have seen you do it before, you wretched cur. Shut up about things you have NO knowledge avout, you hateful, bitter cunt.

      May 6, 2013 at 8:20 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      Atny, agreed.

      lol??, probably more than a few times, if you read the blog regularly. i have all kinds of compassion for the religious. that's why i point out silly or disgusting passages in the bible. i want people to leave the cult and think for themselves. i love all my brothers and sisters - i want them to be free of the fear, guilt and ignorance of religion.

      May 6, 2013 at 8:21 pm |
  5. R.M. Goodswell


    "wishfull thinking and ad-hominem, refuted by Flew himself"

    I don't think so – check out the co-author of his book- and HIS ghost writer that rewrote the whole thing.

    then google Antony Flew Alzheimer's

    May 6, 2013 at 7:40 pm |
    • R.M. Goodswell

      blown reply

      May 6, 2013 at 7:40 pm |
  6. Passion of the jesus

    There is no reasoning with the religious. Just /bichplease face and pity them.

    May 6, 2013 at 7:39 pm |
  7. Lamb of Dog

    Guys you are wasting time even responding. Look at the name we are evangelicals. This person wont listen to anything but the buybull.

    May 6, 2013 at 7:25 pm |
    • lol??

      Your comment is awaiting moderation.
      Your comment is awaiting moderation.

      You have enough to be saved.That's an eternal perspective. Short term dog-man perspective is party, bully, rule, have feel gud debates, be a mediator like the Most High, and on and on for a season. Claiming God made you a certain way is a cop out and not acknowledging the truth of receiving your inheritance from Adam. They reproduced after "his" kind....

      May 7, 2013 at 2:38 am |
  8. Say it to my face

    It figures that most of the comments made on here are by the people who complain about Christians and not Christians themselves.

    May 6, 2013 at 7:10 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      just like with the bible, you are cherry-picking. scroll through the blog and you will see PLENTY of derogatory comments by christians about the non-religious.

      May 6, 2013 at 7:25 pm |
  9. Bootyfunk

    Bill Maher on the difference between atheism and religion, very well said:


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

      that's a crock, any view that informs your decision, is what you are, gezz you are lame

      May 6, 2013 at 7:11 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      mfsbt wrote:
      that's a crock, any view that informs your decision, is what you are, gezz you are lame

      lol. you just described religion.

      Bill is just saying it in a way that accurately describes how non-believers feel in a humorous way. that's not informing anyone of their decision... what a load of cr@p. it's just putting into words in a way you haven't though of. for instance.

      "Atheism is a religion like abstinence is a s.exual position."
      - Bill Maher

      turn your brain on and you will see the difference. i promise.

      May 6, 2013 at 7:20 pm |
    • Jodi

      Excellent. I've seen it before several times, but funny as ever. Maher nails it.

      May 6, 2013 at 7:22 pm |
    • mfsbt

      Listen Booty for Brains. Semantics call it religion call it not. It still drives your decision making proces and for the record I am pizzzzd at both sides!

      May 6, 2013 at 7:25 pm |
    • mfsbt

      wha'ts the matter booty for brains, afriad to state what you stand for? I am calling you out as much as the fake chris chard. you are a coward who stands for nothing. at least nothing you can define, what a waste

      May 6, 2013 at 7:26 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Oh, shove it, you little punk.

      May 6, 2013 at 7:27 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      it allows rationality and compassion to drive your thinking process once the fear, guilt and ignorance offered by God is no longer a roadbloack. what if i say my left nut is god? do you believe it? no? then by your "logic", you not believing in the divinity of my left nut drives your thinking process...? because that's what you are asserting.

      May 6, 2013 at 7:27 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      i doubt anyone on earth is afraid of you. i was checking on my food and typing. calm down and stop thinking you inspire fear or awe in anyone. your answers so far are examples of your ignorance. you're not as witty as you seem to think you are.

      May 6, 2013 at 7:29 pm |
    • sam

      @mfsbt – get a hobby, you grouchy little bastard.

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

      yeah just what I thought just another post from the Czyber bullies. you guys are so dam arrogant about your own ignorance, you are a joke

      May 6, 2013 at 7:32 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Then find somewhere else to lay your turds.

      May 6, 2013 at 7:33 pm |
    • mfsbt

      just like you lame azz i can post what ever i want on some blind blog. if you dont' like it you can exercise your rights too. but of course you would rather show off your arrogance than intelligence or compassion, you are a sorry excuse for a human

      May 6, 2013 at 7:41 pm |
    • The real Tom

      As opposed to you who wants to deny marriage to others because it's sure to fail. Yeah, you're a real peach.

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

      again tom an AZZ sumption. I did not say that I asked why they are fighting so hard for something that is not worth it in the end. They will get the right to marry it is coming for sure,and I say congratulations, now you will also inherit all the rights priveledges, pitfalls and pain that comes with it.
      They are delusional if they think it is gonig to be better or different., so no dumb azz i did not say they should not have rights bring it on. you just like to pick a pizzy fight. I actaully agree with you

      May 6, 2013 at 7:56 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      you have a dismal outlook on life. i'm glad you are pro-g.ay marriage, but you are quite the pessimist. not everyone's life will turn out as miserable as yours apparently has. sorry for whoever cheated on you and broke your heart - it happens to all of us. buck up, little camper.

      May 6, 2013 at 8:37 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      i'm not worried about jesus coming back. an axe to the head kills zombies.

      May 6, 2013 at 9:14 pm |
    • The real Tom

      "Little camper" made me laugh.

      May 6, 2013 at 10:04 pm |
    • Josh

      Atheism is a worldview and a belief system.

      May 7, 2013 at 7:44 am |
    • The real Tom

      No, it isn't, but you can keep saying so if it makes you feel important.

      May 7, 2013 at 7:59 am |
    • skytag

      @mfsbt: "wha'ts the matter booty for brains"

      More evidence Christianity is a fraud.

      May 7, 2013 at 8:28 am |
    • skytag

      @Josh: "Atheism is a worldview and a belief system."

      I guess that depends on how you define these terms. In one sense "atheism" is an unusual word in that is describes the believe that there is no God. This is unusual from a linguistic standpoint because we don't normally have a word to describe believing something doesn't exist. I believe Santa Claus, leprechauns, and vampires don't exist. Are there words for those beliefs as well? Is believing Santa Claus doesn't exist also a world view and belief system?

      May 7, 2013 at 8:36 am |
    • skytag

      @mfsbt: "wha'ts the matter booty for brains, afriad to state what you stand for? I am calling you out as much as the fake chris chard. you are a coward who stands for nothing. at least nothing you can define, what a waste"

      If this is how your religion teaches you to treat people it's a pretty sad excuse for a religion and any god who would be pleased by this behavior is a sad excuse for a god. If it's not how your religion teaches you to treat people you are just another religious hypocrite offering more proof your religion is a fraud.

      May 7, 2013 at 8:54 am |
    • skytag

      @mfsbt: "yeah just what I thought just another post from the Czyber bullies"

      I guess if you're willing to delude yourself into believing in a God it should come as no surprise you'd fantasize that other people are the bullies while you sling insults as hard as you can. LOL

      May 7, 2013 at 9:05 am |
  10. lamb of dog

    Bill Deacon doesn't benefit society. So should he cease to exist?

    May 6, 2013 at 7:09 pm |
    • ..

      That was one of the DUMBEST arguments EVER against gay marriage. Wonder if he thought that looked rational when he was typing it??

      May 6, 2013 at 7:13 pm |
    • mfsbt

      do you know what is more stupid? wanting the rights to a failed contract such as marriage. what happens when you get it and find out you are no better at it than anyone else.

      May 6, 2013 at 7:20 pm |
    • ..

      What is stupid is thinking that's a real valid reason to DENY it, mfsbt. Don't get married then, don't stand in the way of others that DO.

      May 6, 2013 at 7:27 pm |
    • mfsbt

      oh yeah DOT DOT like you have a chance based on statics that you are going to be better at it than anyone else, wake up moron

      May 6, 2013 at 7:44 pm |
    • ..

      DOT DOT is staight, dipwad, and has been married for almost twenty years. So much for your "statics". Seems I'm already better at it. Dolt.

      May 6, 2013 at 8:26 pm |
  11. mfsbt

    good luck doing any better at marriage-fighting for the rights to a clearly failed instution, not very bright, and you wont be any better at it.

    May 6, 2013 at 7:07 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      speak clearly and show proof of your claims or gtfo.

      May 6, 2013 at 7:24 pm |
    • The real Tom

      How do you know? I've been married for over 30 years. My three closest friends have all been happily married even longer than that. All my siblings are happily married. My parents and my husband's parents both celebrated milestone anniversaries.

      Just because you weren't happy doesn't mean marriage is a "failed insti tution."

      May 6, 2013 at 7:24 pm |
    • mfsbt

      who the h are you? Look at the census for one azz whole. it is not working and anyone who thinks it is based on just their one expereince is lame and un informed

      May 6, 2013 at 7:28 pm |
    • mfsbt

      just saying its a joke to fight so hard for something that in the end will make you what? just the same as everyone else congratulations.

      May 6, 2013 at 7:30 pm |
    • The real Tom

      It obviously isn't my "one experience," ya doofus. Marriage can and is wonderful for many people. If it's not for you, then don't get married. Telling people they shouldn't get married because you dislike the inst itution is like someone that hates kids telling others they shouldn't want to have them.

      What's the matter with you?

      May 6, 2013 at 7:32 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Marriage has legal benefits, dip wad, or are you ignorant of that, too?

      May 6, 2013 at 7:33 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      sounds like you are basing everything in your life on your own experience of living in your mother's basement like a cave troll, sneaking out to s.natch ding-dongs from the cupboards when the humans are away.

      May 6, 2013 at 7:35 pm |
    • mfsbt

      ya and legal ramifcations when it doesnt work, at least with a civil union, it can be a business contract and when it fails, you can leagally disolve it. what a lame azz

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

      yep just like tom there, claims to be happily married therfor it works. how lame is that for basing a statement on one's own expereince.

      May 6, 2013 at 7:38 pm |
    • The real Tom

      I hope you and faith will be very happy together in your trailer park.

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

      Yep only when it fits and reinforces their personal expreince then it is truth if you disagreeed they attack, how lame and predicatble

      May 6, 2013 at 7:47 pm |
    • mfsbt

      That is the great thing about a blind blog_ you know nothing about me, so your lame insults only make you look stupid. as well as your AZZsumptions

      May 6, 2013 at 7:48 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV


      so tell us all about yourself. All you've shown so far are posts that are pointlessly argumentative and abusive.

      May 6, 2013 at 7:51 pm |
    • mfsbt

      Just because I give a side of the arguement that states, if you want marriage so bad be prepared for the good and the bad of it. dont pretend you are so abused. They will have the right to marriage then what, they are just like me.

      May 6, 2013 at 7:59 pm |
    • The real Tom

      On the contrary, mfsbt, I do know a bit about you. I can see you are very young and rather stupid, and that you've had little education. If that weren't the case, you'd know that "argument" only has one 'u'.

      Now get to bed. You have school tomorrow.

      May 6, 2013 at 10:06 pm |
    • The real Tom

      And no 'e'.

      You don't seem to grasp the fact that if they're married, they won't be "just like" you, since obviously you're single. Or should be.

      May 6, 2013 at 10:07 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      HS, Do you get paid to post this delusional drivel?

      May 6, 2013 at 10:10 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Oh no, it's the pale rider!

      May 6, 2013 at 10:12 pm |
  12. Dyslexic doG

    and more quotes from the Bible. The book every Christian must Obey. The book that is the word of God:

    Anyone who is captured will be run through with a sword. Their little children will be dashed to death right before their eyes. – Isaiah 13

    Or this:

    Samaria shall bear her guilt, because she has rebelled against her God; they shall fall by the sword, their little ones shall be dashed in pieces, and their pregnant women ripped open. – Hosea 13

    Or this:

    Now therefore, kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman who has known man by lying with him. But all the young girls who have not known man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves. – Numbers 31

    So Christians, you just keep telling yourselves this isn't just a book written by bronze age barbarians... your loving God wrote this book.

    What a joke.

    May 6, 2013 at 7:02 pm |
    • Jesus freaker

      It's fascinating what you can find in the Bible when you dive into it. It's like traveling back in time.

      May 6, 2013 at 7:25 pm |
  13. Patrick

    Call me back when Christians, & those paying lip service to it, don't make up the bulk of our political leadership. Till then shut the fark up about being a "hated minority".

    May 6, 2013 at 7:01 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      like this gem:

      "I don't know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God." – George H. W. Bush.

      May 6, 2013 at 7:03 pm |
  14. Dyslexic doG

    another Bible quote:

    If someone has a stubborn and rebellious son who will not obey his father and mother, who does not heed them when they discipline him, then his father and his mother shall ... say to the elders of his town, ‘This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious. He will not obey us. He is a glutton and a drunkard.’ Then all the men of the town shall stone him to death.
    – Deut 21

    Get to work on your teenagers Christians. Every word of the Bible must be obeyed right?

    What a joke!

    May 6, 2013 at 7:01 pm |
  15. Dyslexic doG

    another Bible quote:

    If your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell.
    – Matthew 18:7-9

    Get to work on yourselves Christians. Every word of the Bible must be obeyed right? Every word Matthew wrote was a true quote from Jesus' lips right?

    What a joke!

    May 6, 2013 at 7:00 pm |
  16. Dyslexic doG

    Another Bible quote:

    Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says. If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church. – 1 Corinthians 14

    Know your place Christian women. Every word of the Bible must be obeyed right?

    What a joke!

    May 6, 2013 at 6:59 pm |
  17. Dyslexic doG

    another Bible quote:

    If your own full brother, or your son or daughter, or your beloved wife, or you intimate friend, entices you secretly to serve other gods …do not yield to him or listen to him, nor look with pity upon him, to spare or shield him, but kill him.
    – Deut 13:7-12

    Get to work Christians. Every word of the Bible must be obeyed right?

    What a joke!

    May 6, 2013 at 6:59 pm |
  18. We are evangelicals

    1 John 4:7-8 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.

    May 6, 2013 at 6:57 pm |
    • Passion of the jesus

      ……………………………..,< `.._|_,-&“…………….`\

      May 6, 2013 at 6:59 pm |
  19. One one

    The word "blood" appears 755 times in the bible. Christians speak of being "washed in the blood of Jesus". Some sects, e.g. Catholics, symbolically drink the blood of Jesus. This is barbaric and disturbing stuff. It demonstrates that the Christian religion is a blood cult.

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

      the word blood appears in the bible more times than the word love - that tells you everything you need to know about Christianity.

      May 6, 2013 at 6:53 pm |

      Isn't the bible a prequel to the first BLADE movie? Anyone remember the blood god? I thought it was really cool when it first came out. But looking back and seeing it now, it is kind of lame. A deity that can't deal with a few test tubes full of some crappy juice? Come on.

      May 6, 2013 at 6:55 pm |
    • Al

      I like to cover myself in gr ape juice while listening to the blood hymns.

      May 6, 2013 at 7:14 pm |

    CHAD, you posted this:

    "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?"

    1. Inorganic materials can produce organic materials. Life is proof of that. The building blocks that started life on Earth have been created in a lab environment. However, the conditions when life began are unknown, therefore creating life from these materials has not been accomplished. Through continued testing, it will eventually happen. Relax, science has been working diligently to figure out and simulate the conditions of early Earth billions of years ago to adress your claim with factual information.

    2. The Universe does not obey anyone's laws. It is rather chaotic in nature, which implies a complete lack of design. Its expansion is also increasing in speed, which is contrary to the laws you speak of, therefore, and once again, implies a complete lack of design. By the way, who designed the designer? By this logic, there would have to be an infinite line of designers designing designers of other designers.

    3. Free will exists only without a detiy. If a deity existed and knew all of your future actions, then you do not have free will. This is an inherent flaw in religion that none of the followers are aware of. After all, they keep claiming the free will card.

    As for Mr. Flew, the reason why he chose deism is being he wasn't sure about the origin of life. That is, he was unable to comprehend the possibility that life could emerge without a deity. Of course, it should also be noted that as a deist, he did not believe in an afterlife... which brings up a good point. If there is no afterlife, what's the point in believing in a deity to begin with?

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

      Unicorn, do you really think Chad will have a rational response for you?

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

      well said, Magic Unicorn.

      christians hate facts.

      May 6, 2013 at 6:52 pm |

      SHIT NO.

      But I look forward to seeing his irrational response.

      May 6, 2013 at 6:52 pm |

      I can't? Oh man...

      You know how to read anything that isn't written in scripture format?

      http://www.nasa.gov/topics/technology/features/uracil.html <~~~Scientists create building blocks of life. And by the way, that's not the only experiment to have produced results. There are others : D

      Here's another article for you.


      Universal CHAOS.


      Universe expansion speeding up.


      So... none of what I said can be proven, eh? How's that tolet paper of yours with all the scriptres holding up over there?

      May 6, 2013 at 7:01 pm |

      I do not know why. That is why I asked the question.

      May 6, 2013 at 7:06 pm |
    • Science

      Oh faith..........put Chad is stuck in the Jell-o on previous page..............with HS as the fairy tale continues ?

      May 6, 2013 at 7:28 pm |
    • Science

      Oops................got his BUTT stuck in the Jell-o !

      May 6, 2013 at 7:31 pm |
    • Chad

      @Unicorn " Inorganic materials can produce organic materials. Life is proof of that"
      @Chad "begging the question fallacy.. "of course that watch spontaneously formed from the earth, it's there isnt it??"

      @unicorn " The building blocks that started life on Earth have been created in a lab environment."
      @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.

      @Unicorn "The Universe does not obey anyone's laws. It is rather chaotic in nature, which implies a complete lack of design."
      @Chad "WOW
      you sure got that wrong...

      Fine Tuning of the universe
      In the past 30 or 40 years, scientists have been astonished to find that the initial conditions of our universe were fine-tuned for the existence of building blocks of life. Constants such as gravitational constant have been found, the variation of which to even the smallest degree, would have rendered the universe utterly incapable of supporting life.

      "There is now broad agreement among physicists and cosmologists that the Universe is in several respects ‘fine-tuned' for life". However, he continues, "the conclusion is not so much that the Universe is fine-tuned for life; rather it is fine-tuned for the building blocks and environments that life requires." - Paul Davies

      "The laws of science, as we know them at present, contain many fundamental numbers, like the size of the electric charge of the electron and the ratio of the mas ses of the proton and the electron. ... The remarkable fact is that the values of these numbers seem to have been very finely adjusted to make possible the development of life - Stephen Hawking

      : "If you change a little bit the laws of nature, or you change a little bit the constants of nature - like the charge on the electron - then the way the universe develops is so changed, it is very likely that intelligent life would not have been able to develop." Dr. Dennis Scania, Cambridge University Observatories

      "If we nudge one of these constants just a few percent in one direction, stars burn out within a million years of their formation, and there is no time for evolution. If we nudge it a few percent in the other direction, then no elements heavier than helium form. No carbon, no life. Not even any chemistry. No complexity at all." - Dr. David D. Deutsch, Insti tute of Mathematics, Oxford University:

      "The really amazing thing is not that life on Earth is balanced on a knife-edge, but that the entire universe is balanced on a knife-edge, and would be total chaos if any of the natural 'constants' were off even slightly. You see," Davies adds, "even if you dismiss man as a chance happening, the fact remains that the universe seems unreasonably suited to the existence of life - almost contrived - you might say a 'put-up job.'" - Dr. Paul Davies, Adelaide University:

      "A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a superintendent has monkeyed with the physics, as well as chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature. I do not believe that any physicist who examined the evidence could fail to draw the inference that the laws of nuclear physics have been deliberately designed with regard to the consequences they produce within stars - Sir Fred Hoyle

      "how surprising it is that the laws of nature and the initial conditions of the universe should allow for the existence of beings who could observe it. Life as we know it would be impossible if any one of several physical quanti ties had slightly different values." - Dr. Gerald Schroeder, former professor of physics at M.I.T.

      beryllium isotope having the minuscule half life of 0.0000000000000001 seconds must find and absorb a helium nucleus in that split of time before decaying. This occurs only because of a totally unexpected, exquisitely precise, energy match between the two nuclei. If this did not occur there would be none of the heavier elements. No carbon, no nitrogen, no life. Our universe would be composed of hydrogen and helium. - Professor Steven Weinberg

      The precision is as if one could throw a dart across the entire universe and hit a bullseye one millimeter in diameter on the other side." - Michael Turner, astrophysicist University of Chicago

      the likelihood of the universe having usable energy (low entropy) at the creation is even more astounding, namely an accuracy of one part out of ten to the power of ten to the power of 123. This is an extraordinary figure. One could not possibly even write the number down in full, in our ordinary denary (power of ten) notation: it would be one followed by ten to the power of 123 successive zeros!" That is a million billion billion billion billion billion billion billion billion billion billion billion billion billion zeros. Penrose continues, "Even if we were to write a zero on each separate proton and on each separate neutron in the entire universe - and we could throw in all the other particles as well for good measure - we should fall far short of writing down the figure needed. The precision needed to set the universe on its course is to be in no way inferior to all that extraordinary precision that we have already become accustomed to in the superb dynamical equations (Newton's, Maxwell's, Einstein's) which govern the behavior of things from moment to moment." - Roger Penrose University of Oxford

      @Unicorn "Free will exists only without a detiy. If a deity existed and knew all of your future actions, then you do not have free will."
      @Chad "A. you didnt address the fact that an athiest cant explain free will and a theist can.
      B. you dont understand predestination.

      May 6, 2013 at 11:00 pm |

      LOL @ CHAD!

      Hahahahaha! Oh sweet furry sack, you expect me to take you seriously? You're going to use an apologist argument to validate yourself? Bwahahahaha!! The universe isn't fine tuned, or tuned at all. If it were, we could predict ANYTHING and EVERYTHING. I highly recommend studying astrophysics. It's interesting. And you obviously know nothing about it : )


      May 7, 2013 at 10:52 am |

      By the way princess Chad, you might want to double-check your copy/paste information. Stephen Hawking publicly stated that the Universe does not need a god to exist.

      All of the copy/paste garbage states nothing more than this:

      "Life AS WE KNOW IT could not exist if conditions were different." In other words, life can still exist in other conditions that we have not experienced because this is all we know and have experienced for ourselves. Life emerged at a time when conditions on this very planet were completely inhabitable to life as we currently know it. Therefore, the "knife edge" is a closed-opinion that does not take into account measurable data that state otherwise. It is a fact that life can exist in conditions other than present-day Earth. You are welcome for this lesson!

      May 7, 2013 at 10:57 am |
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About this blog

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.