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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. Josh

    And you're not Tallulah? Lol I mistakenly put my posts on the main page, you are the guys trolling on it. 😉

    May 7, 2013 at 11:16 am |
    • Josh

      See there.

      May 7, 2013 at 11:16 am |
    • ..

      Obvious troll is troll. And using 🙂 ; => will be next.

      May 7, 2013 at 11:38 am |
  2. The real Tom

    And now I am wondering if Josh is just another of Chard's sock puppets. Funny how Chard shows up just now, isn't it? Will Rachel be along soon, too?

    May 7, 2013 at 11:04 am |
    • Richard Cranium

      Tom
      Kind of like having a conversation with Sybil or Eve Black/Grey/White.

      May 7, 2013 at 11:06 am |
    • Rachel

      The real Tom
      You prescient gal you, I have arrived, but will switch back at my leisure.

      May 7, 2013 at 11:12 am |
    • derp

      kinda like when Atheist Steve shows up when Truth Prevails 😉 needs backup. Maybe Rachel and Chad are a couple also.

      May 7, 2013 at 11:14 am |
    • ..

      Are the annoying => and 🙂 appearing yet?

      May 7, 2013 at 11:17 am |
    • mama k

      Josh: ". . . it doesn't make you a better person. I know this from experience."

      This sounded very Austintatious to me.

      May 7, 2013 at 11:17 am |
    • lol??

      Wonder why momma boar wants Rachel's head on a platter?? Likes head cheese? Poor sheep don't have a chance.

      May 7, 2013 at 11:22 am |
    • Science

      Rachel and chad are on same thread previous page....................dancing for the devil !!!

      Well HS where did your comment go ?................that was above ? url funny science page 88

      Is this IT !

      HeavenSent

      Obsessed much (LOL)?

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

      May 7, 2013 at 10:44 am | Report abuse |

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

      mama, I love "Austintatious."

      May 7, 2013 at 11:24 am |
    • Merriam-Webster

      Austintatious: marked by or fond of consplcuous or vainglorious and sometimes pretentious display of personal visits from demons and dead cats.

      May 7, 2013 at 11:28 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Definition of "Austintatious" is hilarious and spot on.

      May 7, 2013 at 11:39 am |
    • Squished Kitty Chronicles

      And when I awoke, I was in the backyard and saw our kidney shaped pool ascend from the earth to become an above ground pool. These things are from the Lord, behold His power.

      May 7, 2013 at 11:40 am |
    • ..

      And a lovely redwood deck appeared out of nowhere. My God is an awesome God.

      May 7, 2013 at 12:19 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      science, still obsessed.

      May 7, 2013 at 2:15 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Listen and believe and you will hear God's voice.

      Amen

      May 7, 2013 at 2:17 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Phony heavensent is obsessed, as well. LOL.

      May 7, 2013 at 2:20 pm |
    • Bible Clown©

      "Listen and believe and you will hear God's voice." A Jon Stewart video started up just as I read that. It's a SIGN from Heaven! Worship Jon Stewart!

      May 7, 2013 at 2:55 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Clown, at least Stewart has a sense of humor. Satan does not.

      May 7, 2013 at 2:59 pm |
    • Bible Clown©

      "has a sense of humor. Satan does not" How do you know? He used to be a talking snake. Friend of the Devil is a friend of mine.

      May 7, 2013 at 3:39 pm |
    • Heaven Sent

      When I stick my finger in my ear, I can hear the sea.

      May 7, 2013 at 3:43 pm |
    • Heaven Sent

      When I stick my finger in my eye, I can see God. Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. Hi, god. Ouch. Ouch.

      May 7, 2013 at 3:44 pm |
    • Heaven's Tent

      Oh noes they be stealin my name

      May 7, 2013 at 3:45 pm |
  3. Dyslexic doG

    to clarify ...

    Christianity is the belief that a god impregnated a virgin with himself, to give birth to himself, so he could sacrifice himself to himself to forgive the "original sin" of a couple we now all know never existed.

    Atheism is the belief that the above belief is fvcking stupid

    May 7, 2013 at 10:56 am |
    • lol??

      How long have you been practicin' knowing yourself??

      May 7, 2013 at 11:02 am |
    • Heretic

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

      May 7, 2013 at 11:03 am |
    • Richard Cranium

      heretic, theretic, everywhere a tic tic.

      May 7, 2013 at 11:04 am |
    • Julio

      Whoa! RE: the vid, I know Cher has bad luck with the paparazzi, but who would have thought they could catch Barbara Bush before she could get her make-up on.

      May 7, 2013 at 11:30 am |
    • tamparaindancer

      VERY precisely stated. Thanks.

      May 7, 2013 at 12:34 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      dog, Praise God for His day. That's summer school for you for 1000 years.

      May 7, 2013 at 2:17 pm |
    • Bible Clown©

      "he above belief is fvcking stupid" OK, back when people thought the world was flat and stars were holes in a curtain, it wasn't that stupid. It was pretty lucid for people who thought flies came from rotten meat. Today, if you still believe in a flat earth, you are just, as you say, "fvcking stupid."

      May 7, 2013 at 3:41 pm |
  4. Lucifer's Evil Twin

    “there is nothing outside of yourself that can ever enable you to get better, stronger, richer, quicker, or smarter. Everything is within. Everything exists. Seek nothing outside of yourself.”

    May 7, 2013 at 10:52 am |
    • trollintraining

      Are yo saying i should eat my lotto tckets?

      May 7, 2013 at 10:56 am |
    • Chad

      "I've got to destroy this paper idol!" In one sermon, Jones said that, "You're gonna help yourself, or you'll get no help! There's only one hope of glory; that's within you! Nobody's gonna come out of the sky! There's no heaven up there! We'll have to make heaven down here!" - Jim Jones

      May 7, 2013 at 10:56 am |
    • lol??

      Why don't you go bother Lucy??

      For Christians, "Luk 17:21 Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you."

      May 7, 2013 at 10:59 am |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      “There is no one way to salvation, whatever the manner in which a man may proceed. All forms and variations are governed by the eternal intelligence of the Universe that enables a man to approach perfection. It may be in the arts of music and painting or it may be in commerce, law, or medicine. It may be in the study of war or the study of peace. Each is as important as any other. Spiritual enlightenment through religious meditation such as Zen or in any other way is as viable and functional as any "Way."... A person should study as they see fit.”

      May 7, 2013 at 11:07 am |
    • Rachel

      Chad is so smart that he can find, cut, and paste quotes that have nothing to do with the article but lead to HIM getting to deliver HIS points on the TRUTH of the God of Israel. My Chad, my sweet Chad.

      May 7, 2013 at 11:07 am |
    • ME II

      @Chad,
      "Gott mit uns" – Nazi Belt buckle.

      May 7, 2013 at 11:14 am |
    • lol??

      Why do people need you to tell em, half bwain twin??

      May 7, 2013 at 11:14 am |
    • Dan

      You'll notice Jim Jones was still obsessed with "Heaven" so he wasn't much of an atheist, more of an insane ex-christian wanting all the glory and reverence he saw paid to the leaders of his old church which he won by promising unrealized rewards, just like the Churches of today. If anyone stands up and says "Follow me! I know the truth and the way! Give over yourself and your earthly goods if you want to be saved!" don't walk, RUN away from those crazy nut jobs whether they be atheist or Christian or Hindu or Muslim or any irrational ideology. Stand on your own two feet, or down bother standing up at all.

      May 7, 2013 at 11:17 am |
    • Science

      The devil got you by the tail chad/racheal ?

      lmfao

      May 7, 2013 at 11:17 am |
    • JMEF

      Chad
      Thanks for that, JJ told the sheep like it is. Much like all the other charismatic leaders of his ilk. I aszume you are not here to praise JJ, are you?

      May 7, 2013 at 11:18 am |
    • Chad

      @ME II

      indeed many have distorted the Gospel

      BTW, hope you saw response on your BGV assertion, always good to read.
      http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/05/05/when-christians-become-a-hated-minority/comment-page-88/#comment-2330163

      May 7, 2013 at 11:27 am |
    • lol??

      Quit pickin' on Jimmy Jones. He was mainstream educated by Athena and the educratists. Jim Jones held degrees from Indiana University and Butler University.

      May 7, 2013 at 11:32 am |
    • Chad

      @Dan

      Jim Jones was an atheist, the "heaven" he was referring to was not an afterlife, but a condition of the material world.

      May 7, 2013 at 11:36 am |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      Jim Jones wasn't a true atheist.

      See how silly it sounds when you say that some christian or other isn't a "true christian" because of what he said or did?

      May 7, 2013 at 11:39 am |
    • Chad

      If someone doesnt believe that a Jewish Messiah (Jesus Christ) died for their sins, then they arent Christians.

      If someone says they dont believe in any god, then they are an atheist.

      May 7, 2013 at 11:42 am |
    • JMEF

      Chad
      When Christians become a hated minority. I thought you had been there and done that already what with your family rejecting you as some sort of fool. Thought you would have seen the light by now, so sorry for you.

      May 7, 2013 at 11:48 am |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      Why use the negative form and define when someone isn't a christian and then the positive form when defining who is an atheist? Why not stick with the standard english format and use parallel structrue?

      People who believe that they have some supernatural power because of some 2000 yr-old prophet named "Jesus" are christians. People who lack belief in any gods are atheists. And because you can't test for what someone believes you have to take their word for it.

      May 7, 2013 at 11:49 am |
    • ME II

      @Chad,
      "indeed many have distorted the Gospel"

      And how do you know that you aren't?

      Jim Jones was the leader of a cult which used, at times, the trappings of religion, to gain power for himself. Trying to portray him as representative of atheism, or atheists, is disingenuous, but you are used to that.

      Again, atheists are not defined by their atheism, but by the philosophy they choose to follow.

      "BTW, hope you saw response on your BGV assertion, always good to read."

      What assertion am I supposed to have made at that link?

      May 7, 2013 at 11:52 am |
    • fintastic

      @chad............ ""indeed many have distorted the Gospel"

      but not you Chad!

      May 7, 2013 at 11:57 am |
    • Chad

      @Cpt. Obvious "People who believe that they have some supernatural power because of some 2000 yr-old prophet named "Jesus" are christians."

      =>no.. Muslims believe Jesus was a prophet 🙂

      You are attempting to redefine the definition of "Christian" to include all kinds of crazy people that attempted to label themselves as such, but were obviously not.

      It is very simple, the definition of Christian is clear, you are attempting to redefine it for ulterior motives.

      A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. "Christian" derives from the Koine Greek word Christ, a translation of the Biblical Hebrew term Messiah.
      Central to the Christian faith is the gospel, the teaching that humans have hope for salvation through the message and work of Jesus, and particularly, his atoning death on the cross 1Co 15:3 and resurrection 1Co 15:4. Christians also believe Jesus is the Messiah prophesied in the Hebrew Bible.[2] Most Christians believe in the doctrine of the Trinity, a description of God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This includes the vast majority of churches in Christianity, although a minority are Non-trinitarians.

      May 7, 2013 at 11:57 am |
    • Chuckles

      @Captain Obvious

      To be fair there's a world of difference between a person who isn't a christian and someone who is an atheist. Jews do not believe in jesus as the messiah, neither does any other religion (obviously). An atheist is a person who doesn't believe in any of the religious nonesense.

      The definition of christian, according to chad is pretty black and white until a person who adheres to the definition chad gave takes it too far and does something chad dislikes, then they aren't christians after all.

      As much as I think the bible is nonesense, there is a certain brilliance to it. The authors knew how insane and stupid it sounded so they hardcoded a couple of responses into it that they knew believers would run into. They warned of persecution for their beliefs so that when a christian walked around spreading insane stories and people called them on their BS, christians were more amazed because the bible called it even though a monkey could have predicted the same thing. It also put in conflicting messages throughout the entire collection so that people like chad can point to certain parts of the bible and tell christians how they aren't christian because they aren't following Luke eventhough that same christian could be following Matthew. It's all smoke and mirrors.

      May 7, 2013 at 12:05 pm |
    • Paul

      I consider Jim Jones to be more of a Christian than Chad, Chad is is pretending to be a Christian to make them look bad.

      May 7, 2013 at 12:05 pm |
    • JMEF

      Chad
      Al sorts of crazy people. Is that not what your family attempted to tell you that you were changing into a crazy christian freak, but would you listen and now you have to come here for your daily humiliation, so sad.

      May 7, 2013 at 12:06 pm |
    • Chad

      @ME II "Jim Jones was the leader of a cult which used, at times, the trappings of religion, to gain power for himself. Trying to portray him as representative of atheism, or atheists, is disingenuous, but you are used to that."
      @Chad "I'm impressed you could say that with a straight face 🙂
      I dont claim that JJ is in any way representative of atheism, but he is an atheist.

      By the spring of 1976, Jones began openly admitting even to outsiders that he was an atheist - Jones, Jim in conversation with John Maher, "Transcript of Recovered FBI tape Q 622

      =====
      @ME II "What assertion am I supposed to have made at that link?"

      supplied here for your benefit..

      ========
      @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 7, 2013 at 12:08 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      Muslims don't claim to derive any power from Jesus. I know what I"m doing.

      When a person claims to have power from Christ, but yet does not believe in the literal, bodily resurrection, I think of them as a christian and I think others should also think that way since we have no way to tell the difference between a "true christian" and a "fake christian." If the only game we can play is sematics, then let the believers define themselves as they will. Right?

      May 7, 2013 at 12:15 pm |
    • Science

      Page 88 works chad .

      May 7, 2013 at 12:15 pm |
    • Chad

      @Cpt. Obvious "Muslims don't claim to derive any power from Jesus. I know what I"m doing."
      @Chad "actually, as a prophet, a muslim would indeed claim to derive power (knowledge) from Jesus.

      ==
      @Cpt. Obvious "When a person claims to have power from Christ, but yet does not believe in the literal, bodily resurrection, I think of them as a christian"
      @Chad "you are of course free to embrace erroneous notions as you see fit."

      ==
      @Cpt. Obvious " If the only game we can play is sematics, then let the believers define themselves as they will. Right?"
      @Chad "I hardly think sticking to the dictionary definition of a word is semantics 🙂
      attempting to redefine the word to include others you want to be included,, THATS semantics 🙂

      May 7, 2013 at 12:21 pm |
    • sam stone

      "You are attempting to redefine the definition of "Christian" to include all kinds of crazy people that attempted to label themselves as such, but were obviously not."

      Like yourself?

      May 7, 2013 at 12:24 pm |
    • mama k

      Chad, to me BGV still doesn't prove your God, but I do understand, having read a fair amount of your twist-and-fit pigeon-holing "rationalizations", why you would interpret Vilenkin's words to indicate support for your God. Why did you answer ME II's question as if my accusation was from ME II?? We are not the same poster.

      May 7, 2013 at 12:35 pm |
    • Chad

      oops, my fault.. I saw "ME II" and thought "mama k", I dont consider you two the same person..

      =>there arent any "twist-and-fit pigeon-holing "rationalizations" involved.. You tried to make a claim that was directly refuted. Vilenkin was talking about the paradox of a creator, not that the origin of the universe wasnt proven in some sense.

      =>I dont assert that BGV proves God, I assert that BGV proves the universe had a beginning.

      May 7, 2013 at 12:40 pm |
    • ME II

      @Chad,
      "I'm impressed you could say that with a straight face"

      I don't understand. Did I say something that was inaccurate?

      "I dont claim that JJ is in any way representative of atheism, but he is an atheist."

      1) He claimed to be many things at many times.
      2) Many members of the Nazi party, IRA, KKK, Army of God, Lord's Resistance Army, etc. were Christian; what's you point?

      "[excerpt] supplied here for your benefit.."

      Again, did I make some assertion in that excerpt?

      May 7, 2013 at 12:42 pm |
    • Chad

      @ME II "I don't understand. Did I say something that was inaccurate?"
      @Chad "yes, you did 🙂
      Trying to portray him as representative of atheism, or atheists, is disingenuous, but you are used to that."
      that is inaccurate.

      ==
      I mixed up "ME II" and "mama k", see above

      May 7, 2013 at 12:49 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      It is interesting to me that my quote from the "Book of Five Rings" by Miyamoto Musashi was interpreted by an idiot as a reference to Jim Jones.

      May 7, 2013 at 12:53 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      Chad, I'm right and you're wrong because my position has sound reasoning and your doesn't. But I'm glad you disagree.

      May 7, 2013 at 12:54 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Chad

      There is literally 0 reason why you would quote Jim Jones other than to disingenuously imply that Jim Jones was representative of atheists at large. The Jim Jones quotes are by a guy who said he was an atheist and did a bad thing. The Hitler quotes are by a guy who said he was christian and did a terrible thing. Neither of these people are spokespeople for any group they said they were a part of so why do you keep bringing Jim Jones up if he has nothing to do with anything?

      May 7, 2013 at 12:55 pm |
    • ME II

      @Chad,
      "that is inaccurate."

      Apologies, if I misunderstood. Why did you post the quote from Jim Jones?

      ==
      "I mixed up "ME II" and "mama k", see above"
      Fair enough.

      May 7, 2013 at 12:56 pm |
    • Dan

      "If someone doesnt believe that a Jewish Messiah (Jesus Christ) died for their sins, then they arent Christians." But what if one does believe that Jesus died for their sins but doesn't believe Jesus ever intended a Church to be formed in his name by Paul? What if one believes in Jesus and that he was the son of God but is not God himself but the first of all God's creations? What if one believes Jesus paid the ransom for our sin's and then left us with just two laws, love your neighbor as yourself and love your God with your whole heart, no other laws apply, period. Are they all still Christians?

      "If someone says they dont believe in any god, then they are an atheist." What about the person who says they don't believe in any God or Gods exist among all the worlds religions, that they are all lies, except for the Hebrew God? Isn't that person just one God away from being an atheist? You were able to rationally disregard all other Gods, why not use those powers of reason on the only one left in your quiver? Or is it that you are just so afraid of having an empty quiver that you will feel naked and exposed without your Voltron like power armor you call your personal relationship with the creator of the universe? Is that it? You are just a scared little p u s s y cat too afraid to give up the idea that you are really an immortal soul with a telepathic connection to an all powerful wizard who can effect your life based on your level of willpower aka "faith".

      May 7, 2013 at 1:03 pm |
    • DavidTX

      Okay, everyone who doesn't believe in Unicorns line up against that wall and everyone who does believe in Unicorns line up against the other wall.

      Now which says more about those two groups of people. Would you say that the group that does not believe in Unicorns has a lot in common? Are they extremely similar in their backgrounds or personalities? Would you think those people who do not believe in Unicorns share many values and ideology?

      Now what about the group that does believe in Unicorns? Would you think they might share some things in common? Do you think they might have similar personalities? Do you think they might share some values and ideology?

      If Chad is willing to be honest he cannot refute the basic logic of this assesment. Identifying yourself as a believer says far more about you and who you identify with than it does about a person who is not a believer.

      May 7, 2013 at 1:19 pm |
    • Chad

      @DavidTX "Identifying yourself as a believer says far more about you and who you identify with than it does about a person who is not a believer."
      =>that's nonsense, Christians demographics are very dispersed conservative/liberal, atheists are nearly universally liberal..

      May 7, 2013 at 1:38 pm |
    • Chad

      @Dan

      =>see above definition of Christian

      ======
      @Dan "What about the person who says they don't believe in any God or Gods exist among all the worlds religions, that they are all lies, except for the Hebrew God? Isn't that person just one God away from being an atheist?"
      @Chad "the difference between 0 and 1 🙂 "

      ====
      @Dan "Or is it that you are just so afraid of having an empty quiver that you will feel naked and exposed without your Voltron like power armor you call your personal relationship with the creator of the universe? Is that it? You are just a scared little p u s s y cat too afraid to give up the idea that you are really an immortal soul with a telepathic connection to an all powerful wizard who can effect your life based on your level of willpower aka "faith"."

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

      May 7, 2013 at 1:42 pm |
    • Dan

      "When you have no case, abuse the plaintiff" Just pointing out your weak concepts and faulty logic, you take it as abuse because you don't like how pointed comments about your lack of any evidence for your claims sting.

      May 7, 2013 at 1:48 pm |
    • DavidTX

      "that's nonsense, Christians demographics are very dispersed conservative/liberal, atheists are nearly universally liberal."

      So what you are saying is that it says more about someone who has used their rational thinking to disbelieve than it does for the masses which used little to no logic to be indoctrinated in the God delusion? That is why my Unicorn analogy falls flat because the majority of the world was not indoctrinated in the Unicorn belief first so coming to the disbelief was more of a default position. But you see what that says about your religion don't you chad? That it has nothing to do with logic or reason but the forcing of those illogical beliefs on others when they are young and vulnerable, just like a pedophile priest taking advantage of those who are unable to defend themselves.

      May 7, 2013 at 1:56 pm |
    • ME II

      @Chad,
      A "Christian" by definition, which you've tried so hard to state, implies certain beliefs. Atheism, by the weak definition, is nearly exactly the opposite, implying nothing except a lack of belief. Therefore, I would think, that identifying as a Christian says more about a person than identifying as an atheist. Also, atheists can be conservatives too.

      Also, perhaps you missed it earlier, but why exactly did you post the quote by Jim Jones?

      May 7, 2013 at 2:06 pm |
    • Chad

      Hunh?

      what is says is that the correlation of atheism and liberalism is extremely high, whereas the correlation between Christianity and conservative/liberal is not all that strong..

      For whatever reason, nearly all atheists are liberal.

      May 7, 2013 at 2:06 pm |
    • ME II

      @Chad,
      As I'm sure you're aware, correlation is not necessarily causation. What I'm saying is that identifying as Christian says you believe certain things, whereas identifying as atheist only says that you lack a belief in one thing. therefore less.

      Christian = belief in 1 or more specific things > Atheist = lack of belief in one generic thing.

      May 7, 2013 at 2:11 pm |
    • Charles

      Chad
      Problem is, a Jewish Messiah wouldn't have died for anyone's sins. The Jews were and are expecting an actual human leader who will lead them to another Golden Age. In a very real way, Christians invented their own Messiah, one that matched Jesus' life and death, and then insisted that this was what the Jews should have realized God was sending. This view is, of course, ridiculous.

      May 7, 2013 at 2:18 pm |
    • DavidTX

      "what is says is that the correlation of atheism and liberalism is extremely high, whereas the correlation between Christianity and conservative/liberal is not all that strong.."

      What it says is that the correlation between people who are not easily fooled by lying snake oil salesmen and being liberal is high whereas the correlation between people who believe in things with absolutely no evidence and being an ignorant red stater who can't think for themselves and just regurgitates Fox News verbal feces in a angry red faced rant every day is also very high...

      May 7, 2013 at 2:19 pm |
    • Rupert

      @Chad
      For whatever reason, nearly all atheists are liberal.

      Most atheists are open-minded rational thinkers which, in a nutshell is liberal, while theists are closed-minded idealists aka conservative.

      May 7, 2013 at 2:30 pm |
    • Chad

      @Rupert "Most atheists are open-minded rational thinkers which, in a nutshell is liberal, while theists are closed-minded idealists aka conservative."

      =>typical uninformed response..

      according to Pew, http://religions.pewforum.org/comparisons#
      there are more Democrat Christians than Republican.

      May 7, 2013 at 2:46 pm |
    • Chad

      @Charles "Problem is, a Jewish Messiah wouldn't have died for anyone's sins. The Jews were and are expecting an actual human leader who will lead them to another Golden Age. In a very real way, Christians invented their own Messiah, one that matched Jesus' life and death, and then insisted that this was what the Jews should have realized God was sending. This view is, of course, ridiculous."

      =>sorry, no..
      A. Jesus is Jewish
      B. The Old Testament is clear that the Messiah must suffer and rise from the dead

      for example:

      “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed: it shall bruise [destroy] thy head, and thou shalt bruise His heel” (Gen. 3:15). With these words the Lord passed judgment on the devil and consoled our foreparents with the promise that at some time a Descendant of the Woman will strike the “head” itself of the snake-devil, who tempted them. But along with this, the woman’s Descendant Himself will suffer from the snake, who will as if “bruise his heel,” i.e., will cause Him physical suffering. Noteworthy also in this first prophecy is the nomenclature of the Messiah as the “Seed of the Woman,” which points to His extraordinary birth of a Woman, Who will conceive without the participation of a man

      the entire text is at http://www.fatheralexander.org/booklets/english/old_testament_messiah.htm

      May 7, 2013 at 2:51 pm |
    • Chad

      @ME II

      I quoted JJ to show the danger in thinking along the lines of that which was exhibited by the root post.

      May 7, 2013 at 2:53 pm |
    • Bible Clown©

      Oh, I get it. Chad JONES!

      May 7, 2013 at 2:58 pm |
    • ME II

      @Chad,
      So a Ja.panese strategist talking about self-reliance gets lumped in with a narcissistic cult leader?

      "Respect Buddha and the gods without counting on their help." – Miyamoto Musashi

      May 7, 2013 at 3:10 pm |
    • Science

      Pound sand chad !!!

      Wow ..................Chad .............you love that devil's cult aye ?

      Chad
      Love the Catholic Church they're so generous to the world

      February 19, 2013 at 5:29 pm | Report abuse | Reply

      http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/02/12/why-next-pope-must-open-up-church-and-usher-in-vatican-iii/#comments

      May 3, 2013 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |

      May 5, 2013 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse |

      May 7, 2013 at 3:27 pm |
    • Chad

      @ME II,

      ANY advice which states that there is nothing outside of yourself should be lumped together as very bad advice.

      May 7, 2013 at 3:38 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Chad

      Can you please explain to me why a persons politics matter in this conversation? As you have pointed out, christians are distributed over a wide range of political affiliations, which means that clearly the specific religion of christianity is not informing a person on how to vote, regardless of how many conservatives in the south also say that America is a christian nation. Why do you think a person who lacks a belief in a god or gods would then also choose to be a democrat? What's the correlation? What you're trying to do is tantamount to looking at two different and similar graphs and saying one causes the other without actually thinking it through.

      You have found that many atheists also tend to be liberal. Who knows why that is? Maybe because minority groups have always gravitated towards the party of inclusion. Maybe it's because the republican party has branded itself as the christian party and even though there are plenty of christian democrats, the republicans have pretty much cornered the market on whos more christian.

      There are a lot of maybes, but one thing we can pretty much rule out is that if you are an atheist, then you must always be a liberal. You would think that after the slander christians use about atheists worshipping themselves and being amoral, that atheists would make up a large part of a party that's all about individual rights and wholeheartedly rejects any sort of communist economic policies and yet here we are.

      So please chad, tell us again why someones political affiliation matters on a blog discussiong religion?

      May 7, 2013 at 4:10 pm |
    • Chad

      I was merely correcting @DavidTX erroneous assertion, he brought it into the discussion..

      =====

      @DavidTX "Identifying yourself as a believer says far more about you and who you identify with than it does about a person who is not a believer."
      =>that's nonsense, Christians demographics are very dispersed conservative/liberal, atheists are nearly universally liberal..

      May 7, 2013 at 6:33 pm |
  5. Josh

    Okay, this conversation has degenerated unfortunately.

    May 7, 2013 at 10:51 am |
    • Heretic

      Oh im sorry do you feel like you are a hated minority? Or is that just the vocal tears of Christians in the face of reason and facts?

      May 7, 2013 at 10:54 am |
    • Dyslexic doG

      @Josh: how did you "used to be an atheist" ... ?

      How can someone go back to believing a fairytale after embracing reality? Did you stop taking your meds? Was it peer pressure from your Christian friends and you just want to belong? Did you see Jesus on a piece of toast?

      May 7, 2013 at 10:54 am |
    • trollintraining

      you came here looking for support
      we dissagree with you so you are not getting the responces you want.
      Not our fault!

      May 7, 2013 at 10:54 am |
    • The real Tom

      It started degenerating the minute you started trolling, Josh. This hasn't BEEN a conversation, just a platform for you to proclaim some nonsensical item and then refuse to discuss it or explain your beliefs.

      May 7, 2013 at 11:03 am |
    • Josh

      You guys can spread your "bad news" all you want, it doesn't make you a better person. I know this from experience.

      May 7, 2013 at 11:08 am |
    • Richard Cranium

      What bad news?

      May 7, 2013 at 11:11 am |
    • tallulah13

      Youre right, Tom. Josh is a troll.

      May 7, 2013 at 11:13 am |
    • Josh

      And you're not Tallulah? Lol I mistakenly put my posts on the main page, you are the guys trolling on it. 😉

      May 7, 2013 at 11:17 am |
    • LinCA

      @Josh

      You said, "You guys can spread your "bad news" all you want, it doesn't make you a better person."
      What "bad news"? Basing your views and actions on reality, and encouraging others to do the same, isn't bad. How is recognizing that there is no rational reason to believe there are any gods, "bad"? Pointing out that beliefs aren't rational also isn't bad. What you do with that information is up to you.

      Consider the following. Being a believer is like a twenty five year old still believing in the Tooth Fairy. In and of itself there is nothing inherently bad about that. It's not rational, but also not bad. Now if this twenty five year old decides, based on this belief, to pull some permanent teeth to trade for cash, this belief is staring to cause harm. As long this harm is done only to the believer, there is a case to be made to let it slide, but if this twenty five year old insists that others do the same, we have a problem.

      May 7, 2013 at 11:18 am |
    • Josh

      I think that atheism can be harmful, Lin. You think that christianity can be harmful. That we can agree on I think. Certain things taken to certain extremes can cause harm.

      May 7, 2013 at 11:25 am |
    • fintastic

      please explain how atheism can be harmful.......

      May 7, 2013 at 11:59 am |
    • Josh

      The "anything goes" philosophy, it can insult the dignity of human beings, lead people to behave like animals because they believe they are only an animal, using brute force because of "survival of the fittest" ...

      May 7, 2013 at 12:06 pm |
    • sam stone

      "The "anything goes" philosophy, it can insult the dignity of human beings, lead people to behave like animals because they believe they are only an animal, using brute force because of "survival of the fittest""

      What makes you think any of that is the province of atheism?

      May 7, 2013 at 12:17 pm |
    • Josh

      All of it is, Sam.

      May 7, 2013 at 12:20 pm |
    • My Dog is a jealous Dog

      It seems to me that your "christian" viewpoint is more disrespectful of the dignity of human beings. You have some real strange ideas of what atheism actually is. Being an atheist does not equate to being a sociopath – no matter what you have been brainwashed into thinking.

      You sir, are simply ignorant – which is not actually a bad thing (everyone is ignorant about something) unless you are willfully remaining ignorant. Listen to what the other atheists on this board are actually saying to you, and you may adjust your perceptions of what atheism actually means and not take the biased view of your religious leaders. Think for yourself!

      May 7, 2013 at 12:23 pm |
    • sam stone

      Josh: Then you are mistaken about atheism. I am an atheist and I do not have an "anything goes" philosophy. I do not use brute force, nor do I behave like "an animal".

      May 7, 2013 at 12:26 pm |
    • sam stone

      What makes you think any of that is the province of atheism?

      "all of it" is not valid answer.

      if you want respect for your beliefs, do not insult others

      May 7, 2013 at 12:27 pm |
    • My Dog is a jealous Dog

      You didn't answer Sam's question. "All of it" does not answer WHY you think this way.

      May 7, 2013 at 12:28 pm |
    • sam stone

      You say that atheism is damaging to the dignity of human beings, but you ascribe to a religion that teaches man is worthy of hell?

      May 7, 2013 at 12:29 pm |
    • Josh

      Why do I believe this way? Why wouldn't I? If you believe in no absolute truth and moral relativism then things degenerate to this if you have an atheistic belief system. Many people have morals, many people seek truth. But if you take things to their logical endpoint things are not pretty.

      May 7, 2013 at 12:37 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Josh,

      ah, now we're getting somewhere, the fallacy of absolute "truth".

      "But if you take things to their logical endpoint things are not pretty."

      To what 'logical endpoint' do you refer?

      May 7, 2013 at 12:41 pm |
    • JMEF

      Born Agains are very scary.

      May 7, 2013 at 12:48 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      Josh, You seem to imply that only the religious have morals – you do know that morality predates religion?

      May 7, 2013 at 12:55 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      There is no such thing as an "atheistic belief system." How stupid.

      May 7, 2013 at 12:59 pm |
    • sam stone

      "Why do I believe this way? Why wouldn't I? If you believe in no absolute truth and moral relativism then things degenerate to this if you have an atheistic belief system. Many people have morals, many people seek truth. But if you take things to their logical endpoint things are not pretty."

      How many atheists do you know personally who exhibit this behavior?

      The logical endpoint of christianity is not so pretty either

      May 7, 2013 at 1:00 pm |
    • Charles

      Josh
      Stalin had an "absolute truth". So did Hitler, the Chinese emperors and pretty much every other despot that has ever ruled over people with an iron fist. Autocratic rule is all about "absolute truth" where democratic rule is about flexible rules that can adapt to changing situations. Are you really arguing for despotism?

      May 7, 2013 at 2:13 pm |
    • Bible Clown©

      " this conversation has degenerated" Do you get all excited when the Billy Goats Gruff walk over your bridge?

      May 7, 2013 at 3:00 pm |
    • fintastic

      Oh come on now Josh, you know that "anything goes" regarding atheists is a lie. Religion is not a requirement for morality.

      May 7, 2013 at 3:17 pm |
  6. Josh

    I'm not blissfully ignorant, Lin. I used to be an atheist honey I know your song and dance.

    May 7, 2013 at 10:39 am |
    • The real Tom

      What "song and dance"?

      Or are you going to ignore that, too?

      May 7, 2013 at 10:41 am |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      You were a stupid atheist if you thought it was "a way of looking at the world." Atheism is a response to a very specific belief; it's similar to saying, "No, there are no unicorns, most likely." To claim that not believing in unicorns has something to do with how you perceive the world is ignorant.

      If you are talking about rejecting a particular philosophy, not mere unbelief in gods, then you might have a point, but that's very different from atheism, and you should know that.

      May 7, 2013 at 10:43 am |
    • ..

      who is an atheist?

      May 7, 2013 at 10:43 am |
    • Heretic

      Where? Burn him!

      May 7, 2013 at 10:49 am |
    • Dyslexic doG

      "used to be an atheist" ... ?

      How can someone go back to believing a fairytale after embracing reality? Did you stop taking your meds? Was it peer pressure from your Christian friends and you just want to belong? Did you see Jesus on a piece of toast?

      May 7, 2013 at 10:53 am |
    • Roger that

      How can someone go back to believing a fairytale after embracing reality?

      That's one fear I have about growing old. Going from a clear minded free thinker to an old and senile Benny Hinn groupie.

      May 7, 2013 at 11:13 am |
    • Rupert

      I'd be very interested to hear how you became an atheist in the first place, and what happened to reverse your position on it?

      May 7, 2013 at 11:58 am |
    • Josh

      Well Rupert.. I thought that I could do anything that I wanted with no repercussions, even things that society deems okay. But you can't do certain things and get away with it with no consequences. I'll leave it at that.

      May 7, 2013 at 12:15 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      Very mysterious Josh. Do tell more

      May 7, 2013 at 12:16 pm |
    • Josh

      Why, Santa?

      May 7, 2013 at 12:23 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      Josh
      Atheists do not have that philosophy in general.
      We do not answer to any gods, but we do answer to society and our fellow man. There are consequences to our actions, just not in any "spiritual "way.
      We follow mens laws...and so do you if you follow any religious text. All were created by men.
      I practice random acts of kindness daily, and have for many many years. To a$$ume that I do not have a moral compass simply because I do not believe in any of the thousands of gods men have created is just plain ignorance.

      May 7, 2013 at 12:30 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Josh,

      "I thought that I could do anything that I wanted with no repercussions, even things that society deems okay."

      You seem to conflate atheism with 'doing whatever you want'. This is not a tenet of atheism. Atheism has nothing to do with behavior or a code of conduct.

      There are consequences to everything you do and everything you don't do. Most of these consequences are immaterial. Some are not.

      May 7, 2013 at 12:30 pm |
    • sam stone

      so, josh was a sociopath before he became a christian?

      May 7, 2013 at 12:38 pm |
    • Josh

      Maybe I was Sam. Lol

      May 7, 2013 at 12:43 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      That way of thinking seems very odd to me, Josh.

      Most atheists I have encountered have MORE a sense of consequence and cause and effect than the religious do. Rather than thinking we can be forgiven by some divine force, we atheists know that there is no way to "balance the books" of our morality other than reaping the consequences of our decisions. You described sociopathy, which might fall in line with some extreme continuance of existentialism, but certainly not the nonbelief in gods.

      May 7, 2013 at 12:48 pm |
    • LinCA

      @Josh

      You said, "I thought that I could do anything that I wanted with no repercussions, even things that society deems okay."
      This seems to fit with a evangelical christian rebelling against their establishment but framing it within their cult's nomenclature.

      On a different thread, I suggested the following:
      "If I had to make a wager, I'd say you were brought up in a conservative evangelical home. I'd guess your parents dragged you to church every week. I suspect that for some reason you felt anger at your god and you stopped going to church (maybe your girl friend dumped you, or so). I'd guess that you think that made you an atheist. I guess that after you were older, and maybe got a new girl friend, you returned to church. I bet you never abandoned your belief in the god of your upbringing."

      It still seems to fit. I asked you how close I was to the truth, but didn't get an answer. Care to do so now?

      May 7, 2013 at 12:54 pm |
    • Josh

      No Lin, it's pretty much the opposite of what you said.

      May 7, 2013 at 12:59 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      You dragged your parents each week to an anti-church? What an interesting childhood!

      May 7, 2013 at 1:04 pm |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      I don't know any Atheist who believes they can do what they wish without consequences potentially being in place. From a personal perspective, neither myself nor my husband are law breakers. We are both college educated, employed and content in our lives. We obey the laws that govern the society which we reside in. We can put the shoe on the other foot a lot easier now that we've dropped belief in god, looking outside the box is easier now. We don't think it is our right to tell people how to live their lives or what to do with their bodies (if what they're doing is not causing harm to another person, then it really is not my concern how they live). We believe in weighing the pro's and con's in our potential actions.

      May 7, 2013 at 1:11 pm |
    • Bible Clown©

      " I used to be an atheist honey " He danced naked in an atheist club. Ah, those were the days. Existentialism flowed like wine. These days, he's a religious honey, but he still dances on tables for dollar bills.

      May 7, 2013 at 3:02 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      Josh, So basically you can't explain why you were an atheist (which btw noone believes anyway) nor why you lost your reason. Why make the claim if you're not able to support it?

      May 7, 2013 at 3:06 pm |
  7. Dyslexic doG

    The religion of Christianity is nothing more than a pagan religion that caught on. It has its roots in other, older pagan religions that were common in the Mediterranean region before the supposed life of Jesus. There isn't a single original thing about it. Every tenant, and every story is borrowed from other religions. From the Garden of Eden, to the Great Flood, to the virgin birth, to the miracles, to the resurrection – all borrowed concepts from other religions.

    Mark wrote the first gospel several decades after the supposed life of Jesus – yet he is able to quote him, word for word? How is that? He never met him. And the other three gospels were copied from Mark. Whether Jesus was divine, or just a prophet, was an item of debate amongst early followers, and wasn't decided for good until the council of Nicea in the fourth century. It was put to a vote, and "divine" won by a narrow margin! A vote!

    Christianity is no different than astrology, fairy tales, and psychics. It's nothing but a conglomeration of myths, perpetuated by those craving money and power.

    May 7, 2013 at 10:13 am |
    • Heretic

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pvxsH3LLtaA

      May 7, 2013 at 10:19 am |
    • trollintraining

      As a lover of fairy tails, I find your post offensive.

      May 7, 2013 at 10:22 am |
    • Vic

      [

      "One purpose of the council was to resolve disagreements arising from within the Church of Alexandria over the nature of the Son in his relationship to the Father; in particular, whether the Son had been 'begotten' by the Father from his own being, or created as the other creatures out of nothing.[13] St. Alexander of Alexandria and Athanasius claimed to take the first position; the popular presbyter Arius, from whom the term Arianism comes, is said to have taken the second. The council decided against the Arians overwhelmingly (of the estimated 250–318 attendees, all but two agreed to sign the creed and these two, along with Arius, were banished to Illyria).[14] The emperor's threat of banishment is claimed to have influenced many to sign, but this is highly debated by both sides."

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

      ]

      May 7, 2013 at 10:47 am |
  8. Bible Clown©

    Christians are supposed to be the good guys. It's when they aren't that they are hated. No one wants to see a bunch of Christians riding up at night to defend Christ by burning His Cross on your lawn, and no one wants them waving hateful signs at a soldier's funeral. They are quick to disown these people as "not REAL Christians," and just as quick to judge every non-believer by the actions of one. How many times have I heard "I call Hitler an atheist and therefore every atheist is Hitler, amen" from one of you? Quit doing that. Hitler was a Catholic, and I'm no more Hitler than you are Torquemada.

    May 7, 2013 at 10:09 am |
    • lol??

      Burp Baby Burp.

      May 7, 2013 at 10:53 am |
  9. We are scientists

    F = MA

    One interpretation, 'for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction'.

    thus sayth the math.

    May 7, 2013 at 10:01 am |
    • Roger that

      Newton's law applies to prayer as well. One example could be a football game. For every prayer answered there is a prayer unanswered.

      May 7, 2013 at 10:57 am |
  10. lol??

    lol??
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    "lol??
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    lol??
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    GAY PRIDE, We want the gubmint out of our bedrooms!!
    GAY PRIDE, We demand a parade permit for our Bedrooms!!
    GAY PRIDE, We want to have you before Uncle Sam has his turn!!
    GAY PRIDE, We demand Blessings and LUV, no more SF bath houses for us!
    GAY PRIDE, We want a legal piece of the neighbors, too!!
    GAY PRIDE, We demand the label of PROGRESS!!
    GAY PRIDE, Oh, yeah, We demand Jesus LUV's us, too!!!!!!!

    May 7, 2013 at 9:51 am |
    • The real Tom

      You are such a bore.

      May 7, 2013 at 9:52 am |
    • ME II

      I never see this 'awaiting moderation' message. Is that due to the interface being used, e.g. WordPress, or have you, or your comments, been flagged for some reason?

      May 7, 2013 at 9:55 am |
    • Heretic

      Its the baby jesus doing it. Clearly.

      May 7, 2013 at 9:56 am |
    • tallulah13

      There's been an influx of really poor quality trolls on this blog, Tom. Sort of makes me nostalgic for the days of Adelina-Justina or whatever her name was.

      May 7, 2013 at 10:01 am |
    • The real Tom

      And now we can add Josh to the list.

      May 7, 2013 at 10:10 am |
    • trollintraining

      I'm trying tallulah13.
      It just takes time to master the skills.

      May 7, 2013 at 10:19 am |
    • trollintraining

      P.S. lol??

      Fuck you and your inability to get past the moderator.

      May 7, 2013 at 10:24 am |
    • Julio

      I get the impression that someone once tied lol?? down in an SF bathhouse and tickled him unmercifully and he has never forgiven them for it.

      May 7, 2013 at 10:27 am |
    • tallulah13

      Thank you, trollintraining. Your efforts are appreciated.

      May 7, 2013 at 11:10 am |
    • lol??

      I am a retarded troll,,,,,,,, IGNORE ME

      May 7, 2013 at 12:02 pm |
    • Bible Clown©

      You have no idea of what "moderation" implies. Now take your meds and calm down.

      May 7, 2013 at 3:03 pm |
  11. Lucifer's Evil Twin

    My previous posting went astray...

    LET's Religiosity Law #1 – If Jesus came back today he would be shot in the head. That's what you do to put down zombies; otherwise they eat your brains.

    May 7, 2013 at 9:26 am |
    • Heretic

      But jesus was a lich

      May 7, 2013 at 9:48 am |
    • Heretic

      He wasnt mindless nor did he consume anyone.
      He wasnt a Ghoul or a Wight although his soul and intellect were intact he was not a rotting corpse.
      He was not a Vampire, while he transubstantiation wine into blood he never drank it from a person.
      Jesus was not a ghost or a wraith, he was corporeal and still had his wounds.

      It is clear, Jesus was a lich!

      A lich is created when a powerful magician or king striving for eternal life uses spells or rituals to bind his soul to his animated corpse and thereby achieves immortality. Liches are depicted as being clearly cadaverous, their bodies still bearing the wounds they received before their death. Liches often have the power of necromancy, which allow them to bring the dead back to life.

      May 7, 2013 at 9:53 am |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      I realize 'lich' is more accurate, but not as funny as 'zombie'

      May 7, 2013 at 9:58 am |
    • Heretic

      Agreed 😀

      May 7, 2013 at 10:03 am |
    • Sweet Zombie Jew on a Stick

      Does sound better...
      Sweet Lich Jew on a Stick, not so much.

      May 7, 2013 at 10:55 am |
  12. Josh

    I agree with much of what you said, Doc. I was just trying to point out that many atheists think that their atheism exists in a sort of vacuum of belief and it does not. Not a belief in God, of course. But atheism is not a cold hypothesis drawn up in a lab, it is a way of looking at the world, no matter how many different viewpoints there may be. It is not necessarily a default setting that has no impact on anything in a person's life.

    May 7, 2013 at 9:17 am |
    • ..

      Atheism simply means no belief in any gods. Why are you trying to make it more complicated than it is?

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

      Josh
      The problem with you and Chad you make declarative statements, you there is a spirit world, Chad the god of Israel exists but when asked for proof you cannot deliver. It would be more honest to state that you believe a certain thing because that is all you have, belief. Until you can provide the dogma of atheism, which does not exist, you may want to back off in your statements.

      May 7, 2013 at 9:35 am |
    • The real Tom

      No, Josh. Stop back-pedaling. You claimed it was a "system". Why is it so very important to you to prove this? And if it's so very important to whatever argument you are making, why can't you prove it?

      May 7, 2013 at 9:36 am |
    • The real Tom

      Josh, where do you get this nonsense about atheists thinking their atheism exists in "a vacuum of belief"? How do you know that atheists think any such thing? What do you even mean by that?

      You have also stated that atheists think people are just "worm food" and that certain people are "non-persons" to be disposed of. What in the world are you talking about? Making such pronouncements should mean you can back up your claims with facts. Where are they? Your posts are devoid of any.

      May 7, 2013 at 9:40 am |
    • Charles

      Josh
      Atheism is the dropping of a belief system (some religion based upon the belief of some god). What's left is the same reality that lies under your belief, so it's a removal of a belief system rather than the adding on of one, see?

      May 7, 2013 at 9:41 am |
    • Josh

      That's laughable, Charles.

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

      What's "laughable" about it, Josh? You can LOL, apparently, but that seems to be the sum total of your contributions.

      May 7, 2013 at 9:45 am |
    • tallulah13

      Atheism is the default setting. Belief is a learned cultural behavior.

      May 7, 2013 at 9:48 am |
    • Heretic

      Atheism is our factory state, before bloatware and malware is introduced.

      May 7, 2013 at 9:55 am |
    • Josh

      It's funny how you guys believe that you have cleaned your slate, that you have no worldview any,ore. Maybe it's because you don't take the time to examine your lives or beliefs at all.

      May 7, 2013 at 9:56 am |
    • The real Tom

      And another post empty of any substance. Thanks, Josh. You are rapidly showing yourself to be without anything to say.

      May 7, 2013 at 9:58 am |
    • Heretic

      Josh are you on meds? Or just the jesus juice, either have fantastical effect on the brain's cognitive abilities.

      May 7, 2013 at 9:59 am |
    • The real Tom

      Why are you here, Josh? You seem to want to make a point. Why don't you do so? What is it you think an "atheist world view" is, exactly?

      May 7, 2013 at 10:00 am |
    • mama k

      I agree somewhat with Charles. I contend that you do start off life with no belief, and that, at times, the atheist can again see the world that same way. But atheist adults in a country like the U.S. are very likely to: a) be influenced by the exposure of a majority Christian population around them, but, perhaps more importantly, b) at some point between birth and their present state, have been indoctrinated into Christianity and have since come to a disbelief of the religion. I think it's because of a and b that some would consider the atheist as having a belief (the refutational engagement) – but that without those aspects of environment, there would simply be a default non-belief.

      May 7, 2013 at 10:00 am |
    • Josh

      What's your point Tom? I haven't seen you say anything of substance. I'm just expressing my views as a Christian before the fascist regime takes over. 😉

      May 7, 2013 at 10:03 am |
    • Charles

      Josh
      For me, we all experience the same reality, but most people put "filters" up that make them interpret that reality in unreal ways. It's like the old saying about seeing the world through rose-colored glasses. Christians are taught to see the world through God-colored glasses, as it were, just as much as Hindus are taught to see the world in terms of reincarnation. By stripping away the filter I was brought up to believe in I'm simply left with the reality that there isn't actually some hidden force out there that I have to take on faith in order to believe in. It may not be as gratifying as believing in personal saviors, but it's the naked truth, as far as I can tell.

      May 7, 2013 at 10:03 am |
    • mama k

      sorry – looks like refutational is not a word. lol.

      May 7, 2013 at 10:03 am |
    • The real Tom

      "I'm just expressing my views"

      No, you aren't. All you've done is make claims you have failed to back up with any explanation or facts. I don't think you have any. I have asked you questions that would allow you to elaborate, but you have ignored them. Therefore, I conclude that you are simply a troll who has nothing to say.

      May 7, 2013 at 10:09 am |
    • tallulah13

      I really have no idea what Josh is trying to say.

      We are atheist at birth, some are indoctrinated into a specific faith, but there is the ability in all of us to look at what we are taught and to reject it for lack of evidence. As an atheist, my worldview is based on experiences (as an individual and as a species) and on that information which be verified, or at least supported by unbiased evidence. It is the rejection of supernatural in favor of reality.

      May 7, 2013 at 10:12 am |
    • Charles

      Josh
      There's no need for any "fascist regime" to take oven when believers are coming to realize that God isn't actually real on their own, as they are realizing, by the droves.

      May 7, 2013 at 10:12 am |
    • Josh

      Not me Charles.. I would die before I renounce my faith, as many have before me.

      May 7, 2013 at 10:18 am |
    • Heretic

      Many with bombs strapped to their chest...

      May 7, 2013 at 10:24 am |
    • ME II

      @Josh,
      "It's funny how you guys believe that you have cleaned your slate, that you have no worldview any,ore."

      I wouldn't say no "worldview", although that term is loaded with evangelical overtones now. What I would say is that Atheism does not provide one. In other words, everyone has the way of looking at the world, but atheism does not proscribe any particular way. An atheist's "worldview" must be found outside of their atheism. For many, it's humanism, but even that is not required.

      May 7, 2013 at 10:25 am |
    • LinCA

      @Josh

      You said, "It's funny how you guys believe that you have cleaned your slate, that you have no worldview any,ore."
      You appear completely clueless about what atheism means. It is not a worldview. It is simply a lack of belief in gods, or for some a belief gods don't exist. And while atheism can help shape a worldview, it isn't one in itself.

      Most atheists believe stuff. Quite a few have morals that would be indistinguishable from those of some christians. Some believe people are inherently good, some not so much. Some atheists believe religion is all bad, some don't. Some atheists believe voting republican is voting against your own best interests, some don't.

      You said, "Maybe it's because you don't take the time to examine your lives or beliefs at all."
      Some atheists are atheists because they haven't examined their beliefs yet and are simply atheists because they haven't been indoctrinated into a religious belief yet, but most of the atheists you'll find in this comment section are atheists because they've taken time to do just that. For some it took decades to overcome the indoctrination of their youth, for some it was easier.

      May 7, 2013 at 10:26 am |
    • sam stone

      keep your faith to yourself

      out of our secular laws

      if you need to preach, we need to confront it

      May 7, 2013 at 10:26 am |
    • Josh

      You're a funny guy, Heretic.

      May 7, 2013 at 10:26 am |
    • Charles

      Josh
      Oh, there are always religious zealots who would end their own lives (and often, plenty of their enemies' lives as well) in the name of their religion, but that doesn't actually prove that their beliefs are the truth, does it?

      May 7, 2013 at 10:27 am |
    • Josh

      Will you keep your atheism to yourself, Sam?

      May 7, 2013 at 10:28 am |
    • LinCA

      @Josh

      You said, "Not me Charles.. I would die before I renounce my faith, as many have before me."
      That makes you far more likely to be part of a fascist regime than to be fighting against one.

      May 7, 2013 at 10:28 am |
    • Josh

      Oh Charles says I'm a suicide bomber now.

      May 7, 2013 at 10:29 am |
    • The real Tom

      Josh says: Will you keep your atheism to yourself?

      I've never gone knocking on someone's door to tell them not to believe as they choose. I don't discuss my thoughts on atheism with anyone else in real life.

      May 7, 2013 at 10:32 am |
    • ME II

      @Josh.
      :Oh Charles says I'm a suicide bomber now."

      I didn't read that. Where exactly?

      May 7, 2013 at 10:33 am |
    • LinCA

      @Josh

      You said, "Will you keep your atheism to yourself"
      You are free to remain blissfully ignorant. Nobody is forcing you to atheism. Nobody is telling you that you must abandon your belief in your imaginary friend. You just don't get to tell others they have to live their lives according to your fairy tale.

      What you do with the information provided is up to you. You don't have to examine the core beliefs that you cling to. You don't have to do anything with the fact that your god is about as likely as the Tooth Fairy. Consider this a public service announcement.

      You can lead a horse to water,.....

      May 7, 2013 at 10:34 am |
    • The real Tom

      Don't feed the troll.

      May 7, 2013 at 10:35 am |
    • Heretic

      Because atheists bombed the trade center right??? Imagine a world without religion. We would be traveling the stars by now. So no Atheism is here to stay and is growing, it is the way forward. We will not keep it to ourselves so long as you brandish crosses around your necks we will brandish reason and facts. In 500 years your religion will be but a whisper. Whether it is a whisper heard around the broken buildings of a post apocalyptic world brought on by religion or one where it has been extracted and the Earth allowed to prosper, nobody can tell.

      May 7, 2013 at 10:36 am |
    • Josh

      It seemed to me that he likened me to a suicide bomber I may be mistaken.

      May 7, 2013 at 10:37 am |
    • Josh

      I'm not "blissfully ignorant", Lin. I used to be an atheist honey I know your song and dance.

      May 7, 2013 at 10:41 am |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Josh,

      people who self-identify as 'atheist' simply don't believe in God.

      Atheism is not a religion. It is not a worldview. It is not a doctrine. It does not have a canonical text, or an instruction manual.

      Having said that, everyone does of course have a world-view but this is not directed by any uniform code of opinions due to not believing in God.

      Yes there are militant atheists who seek to rid the world of religion – but these people are not reflective of everyone (nor even I suspect most) who identifies as 'atheist'.

      May 7, 2013 at 10:41 am |
    • sam stone

      josh: i will. and, atheists are not the ones trying to limit others civil rights

      May 7, 2013 at 10:42 am |
    • Josh

      Atheists aren't a new invention, heretic, contrary to what you've been taught they're as old as time.

      May 7, 2013 at 10:42 am |
    • The real Tom

      Did Heretic say it was?

      May 7, 2013 at 10:43 am |
    • sam stone

      josh: song and dance? you truly are a condescending little cvnt, aren't you?

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

      No we aren't new, far from it. We have been persecuted, abused, executed throughout the ages by the religious.

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

      @Josh

      You said, "I'm not "blissfully ignorant""
      No bliss, huh?

      You said, "I used to be an atheist"
      I doubt that very much. What made you abandon your disbelief? What convinced you that there is a god? What convinced you that it is the one you now believe in, and not one of the thousands of others?

      May 7, 2013 at 10:49 am |
    • Josh

      A what, Sam?

      May 7, 2013 at 10:49 am |
    • mama k

      Yeah – I was wondering that too, Tom. Where did heretic say atheism was something new?

      May 7, 2013 at 10:52 am |
    • Josh

      Lying is against my religion, Lin.

      May 7, 2013 at 10:52 am |
    • sam stone

      Figure it out for yourself, Josh

      May 7, 2013 at 10:53 am |
    • Josh

      Well, to each his own. Let's all remember to be tolerant, even to people we disagree with.

      May 7, 2013 at 10:57 am |
    • LinCA

      @Josh

      You said, "Lying is against my religion"
      I didn't call you a liar. I suspect you are simply mistaken. I think you (still) don't know what "atheist" means. I guess that you only think you were an atheist.

      If I had to make a wager, I'd say you were brought up in a conservative evangelical home. I'd guess your parents dragged you to church every week. I suspect that for some reason you felt anger at your god and you stopped going to church (maybe your girl friend dumped you, or so). I'd guess that you think that made you an atheist. I guess that after you were older, and maybe got a new girl friend, you returned to church. I bet you never abandoned your belief in the god of your upbringing.

      How close was I?

      May 7, 2013 at 11:02 am |
    • ME II

      @sam stone,
      Isn't name calling just an ad hominem?

      May 7, 2013 at 11:09 am |
    • Charles

      Josh
      I didn't say that you were a suicide bomber, only that they also die for their religious beliefs, so claiming to be capable of doing this doesn't actually prove any truth to one's beliefs, correct?

      May 7, 2013 at 11:11 am |
    • Josh

      No, I was agnostic actually, Lin. Wrong word choice.

      May 7, 2013 at 11:19 am |
    • Josh

      No, not necessarily, Charles.

      May 7, 2013 at 11:20 am |
    • LinCA

      @Josh

      You said, "No, I was agnostic actually, Lin. Wrong word choice."
      The two are not mutually exclusive. One is about knowledge (gnosticism), or the lack thereof, while the other is about belief (theism), or the lack thereof.

      Because I can't know for sure there aren't any gods, but there is also no reason to believe they exist, I am both agnostic and atheist.

      May 7, 2013 at 11:25 am |
    • Charles

      Josh
      If two people are willing to die for their religious beliefs, then both have an equal claim that this action is testament to the truth of their beliefs. I don't see how you can argue otherwise.

      May 7, 2013 at 11:37 am |
    • Charles

      Josh
      How much "tolerance" is involved in actively working to pass laws aimed at limiting another groups' rights? Actual tolerance of gays would involve allowing them to legally marry, not making it illegal for them to.

      May 7, 2013 at 11:41 am |
    • Bible Clown©

      "many atheists think that their atheism exists in a sort of vacuum of belief and it does not." What an incredibly naive and stupid thing to say. Find me even one atheist who says "my atheism exists in a sort of vacuum of belief." You made that up.

      What if I were to say "Many Christians think that their belief in God is part of a jigsaw puzzle, but it is not." Why, you'd think I was as insane as I think you are right now.

      May 7, 2013 at 11:42 am |
    • Josh

      Not when you take innocent people out as well, Charles. It's honorable to die for something you believe in as long as no one else gets hurt.

      May 7, 2013 at 11:57 am |
    • Josh

      Well marriage has been between a man and a woman for a looong time. You can't suddenly want to change that and cry discrimination. Many people don't give a damn about civil rights they just want to watch Christians squirm.

      May 7, 2013 at 12:02 pm |
    • lol??

      Josh is pulling this stuff out of his a$$ while at the same time redefining words to meet his personal agenda.

      Atheist = lack of belief in god. That's it. You can kick and scream all you want about "world view" and other meaningless crap but that's all there is to it..........K.I.S.S.

      May 7, 2013 at 12:07 pm |
    • sam stone

      ME II: I suppose it is

      May 7, 2013 at 12:09 pm |
    • sam stone

      "Well marriage has been between a man and a woman for a looong time. You can't suddenly want to change that and cry discrimination. "

      You can if it violates the laws of the land.

      "Many people don't give a damn about civil rights they just want to watch Christians squirm."

      Many people hid their bigotry behind a bible. If equal rights makes you squirm, you are a bigot. If you use a bible to justify the denial of rights, you are a pious bigot

      May 7, 2013 at 12:15 pm |
    • LinCA

      @Josh

      You said, "Well marriage has been between a man and a woman for a looong time."
      Nobody is trying to prevent men and women from marrying. It hasn't been exclusively between one man and one woman.

      You said, "You can't suddenly want to change that and cry discrimination."
      There is no harm in letting to men, or two women get married. Outlawing same sex marriage without rational basis, is discrimination. Just as outlawing interracial marriage was.

      You said, "Many people don't give a damn about civil rights they just want to watch Christians squirm."
      While watching christians squirm is fun, I don't believe anyone is fighting for equal rights just to make them squirm. It's about equal right, nothing more, nothing less.

      Providing equal rights don't affect yours. You are still free to marry the woman that you want (I'm assuming you're a man), as long as she wants to marry you too. Your church will still be allowed to discriminate and not perform same sex marriages.

      May 7, 2013 at 12:44 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      Josh
      Marriage has been between man and women, man and man, man and animal, man and many women, women and women for a loooong time.
      You have not studied enough of the worlds cultures if you do not know that.
      Sme $ex marriage has been in america long before it was america. Many native american tribes have accepted same-$ex couples for millenia, and have had marriage ceremonies to celebrate them.

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

      Josh- well slavery has existed for a long time and trying to suddenly change it and crying discrimination just doesn't seem right does it? Just because something is tradition doesn't make it right.

      May 7, 2013 at 1:27 pm |
    • Charles

      Josh
      Even so, there have been many Buddhists and Muslims who have set themselves on fire, killing only themselves, in acts of martyrdom. So, if Christians voluntarily facing lions is some kind of indication of the truth of their faith, then so are these acts.

      Marriage may have been only between a man and a woman for a long time, but so was owning slaves, and that didn't prevent most Christians from seeing fit to change that situation for the better, right? Skinheads still do claim that civil rights is actually discrimination against white people.

      It's not all Christians who are bigoted against gays like it's not all white people who are bigoted against nonwhites, but those who are deserve to be ridiculed in this day and age. It may have been acceptable behavior once upon a time, but not anymore.

      May 7, 2013 at 2:07 pm |
  13. We are evangelicals

    16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

    May 7, 2013 at 9:16 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      That's not love. Killing ones own child is hate.

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

      from Professor JD Crossan's book, "Who is Jesus" co-authored with Richard Watts)

      "Moreover, an atonement theology that says God sacrifices his own son in place of humans who needed to be punished for their sins might make some Christians love Jesus, but it is an obscene picture of God. It is almost heavenly child abuse, and may infect our imagination at more earthly levels as well. I do not want to express my faith through a theology that pictures God demanding blood sacrifices in order to be reconciled to us."

      "Traditionally, Christians have said, 'See how Christ's passion was foretold by the prophets." Actually, it was the other way around. The Hebrew prophets did not predict the events of Jesus' last week; rather, many of those Christian stories were created to fit the ancient prophecies in order to show that Jesus, despite his execution, was still and always held in the hands of God."

      "In terms of divine consistency, I do not think that anyone, anywhere, at any time, including Jesus, brings dead people back to life."

      May 7, 2013 at 9:23 am |
    • Charles

      We are evangelicals
      So, instead of just "perishing", or dying at the end of life, God established eternal life, eh? In addition to heaven for the elite that would also include hell for the rest of us, right? Seems like a rather unfair development to go from everyone just winking out of existence with no damnation involved to everyone "living" on afterwards and the majority having to suffer just so a few people can have luxury.

      May 7, 2013 at 9:47 am |
    • tallulah13

      So I guess that means that evangelicals are ecstatic that an innocent man was tortured to death so that they don't have to be accountable for their own actions. Who in their right mind thinks that sort of behavior should be rewarded?

      May 7, 2013 at 9:52 am |
    • sam stone

      do you seriously desire "eternal life""?

      May 7, 2013 at 10:05 am |
    • Charles

      sam stone
      It's interesting that most characters who end up becoming immortal in our literature eventually come to see their condition as a curse. I suspect that few Christians have actually tried to imagine living forever. If they do, they probably see themselves immersed in God's Presence like being on some kind of never ending LSD trip. Hardly my idea of "Paradise". Rather pathetic, actually.

      Also, would you be the same person? Heaven is a place where there is supposedly no worries or angst but, personally, I can't imagine actually enjoying such an existence if I could still feel compassion for those in Hell. If I'm unable to feel that then being in Heaven would have changed me into something I consider less than human, or good. It wouldn't actually be "me" up there anyway, so why bother to step over people in order to claw my way in? It just doesn't make any sense.

      May 7, 2013 at 11:33 am |
    • Bible Clown©

      "whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." So far, every person who has been born has also died, except for the ones still alive. So no one has ever believed in God, I guess?

      May 7, 2013 at 11:44 am |
    • fintastic

      "The Bible may, indeed does, contain a warrant for trafficking in humans, for ethnic cleansing, for slavery, for bride-price, and for indiscriminate massacre, but we are not bound by any of it because it was put together by crude, uncultured human mammals."

      Christopher Hitchens

      May 7, 2013 at 12:14 pm |
    • sam stone

      Charles: How about this

      Those who desire eternal life very likely have friends and family who are not "saved".

      Would the eternity chasers be happy with the thought that some of those people they knew on earth to be decent and caring would be tortured forever?

      Would they be happy with the vindictive, petty pr1ck who would do that to those they knew?

      May 7, 2013 at 1:52 pm |
    • Charles

      sam
      Probably not. It's like the novel The Lovely Bones, where the dead girl can not only see how her loved ones carry on and suffer on Earth, but she can also feel regret for a life cut too short. I can't see being in heaven, not being able to "feel" as you did while alive, and still be the same person you once were.

      May 7, 2013 at 6:10 pm |
  14. Dyslexic doG

    @We are evangelicals

    I'll give you top marks for effort and stamina but are we ever going to see you post an original thought or are you just going to keep regurgitating random quotes from your bronze age story book?

    May 7, 2013 at 9:13 am |
    • skytag

      Independent thinking isn't exactly their strong suit.

      May 7, 2013 at 9:16 am |
    • Passion of the jesus

      thinking isn't exactly their strong suit. – fixed

      May 7, 2013 at 9:36 am |
  15. Dyslexic doG

    There is a book about an amazing person named Harry Potter. It tells of all the miracles he performs. There are wise men and disciples that travel with him and reference to life after death in a heaven type place. There is evil and fighting and temptation. The book is about the same thickness as the bible, and it is written by someone with a far better knowledge of the world than bronze age goat herders living in the desert.

    By Christian logic, because science can't PROVE that Harry does NOT exist, he must exist and we should worship him ...?

    May 7, 2013 at 9:10 am |
    • Severian

      I'd prefer to use The Book of the New Sun as my Bible. Ghod knows it's thick enough.

      "We have each of us in the dustiest cellars of our minds a counter at which we strive to repay the debts of the past with the debased currency of the present."

      May 7, 2013 at 11:59 am |
  16. Dyslexic doG

    how about we talk about Horus from 3000 BC (Jesus is a copy of Horus), or Attis from 1500 BC (Jesus is a copy of Attis), or Mithra from 1200BC (Jesus is a copy of Mithra), or Krishna from 900BC (Jesus is a copy of Krishna), or Dionysus from 500 BC (Jesus is a copy of Dionysus) .... or any of the DOZENS of other gods predating the bronze age book character Jesus who were born of a virgin on Dec 25, traveled as a teacher, had 12 disciples, performed miracles, was killed and lay dead for 3 days and was resurrected.

    You Christians are not even original! What a joke!

    May 7, 2013 at 9:09 am |
  17. 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 7, 2013 at 9:08 am |
    • skytag

      I think you're trying to convince yourself more than anything else.

      May 7, 2013 at 9:10 am |
    • Brother Maynard

      John 15:6
      "If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned."

      May 7, 2013 at 9:15 am |
    • Heretic

      You poor people.

      May 7, 2013 at 9:46 am |
    • Charles

      When people burn old branches those branches actually get destroyed, they don't burn on forever. The flame may be "eternal" but aren't Christians just reading into it the part about individual "branch" souls being burned eternally? It just doesn't fit the metaphor.

      May 7, 2013 at 11:16 am |
    • Bible Clown©

      "Quote from old book" See, that proves it.

      May 7, 2013 at 12:00 pm |
  18. We are evangelicals

    Romans 5:8

    But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

    May 7, 2013 at 9:05 am |
    • skytag

      What evidence do you have for this?

      May 7, 2013 at 9:06 am |
    • Dyslexic doG

      Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Page 211. Line 14.
      Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. Page 103. Line 47.

      Expelliarmus!

      May 7, 2013 at 9:07 am |
    • skytag

      Mormons could quote the Book of Mormon (as well as the Bible). Jews can quote the Torah. Muslims can quote the Quran. What do you think you accomplish by quoting the Bible.

      May 7, 2013 at 9:13 am |
    • skytag

      Mormons could quote the Book of Mormon (as well as the Bible). Jews can quote the Torah. Muslims can quote the Quran. What do you think you accomplish by quoting the Bible?

      May 7, 2013 at 9:13 am |
    • Richard Cranium

      I am not a sinner as sin is a construct of religion, and I am not religious.
      Christ did not die for my sins...I would never allow someone else to take my just punishment.
      Christians have no problem with someone else taking their punishment, proving christians are not moral.

      May 7, 2013 at 9:31 am |
    • Charles

      How again does Christ dying for us absolve us from any wrongdoing we've done? Isn't the logical step to seek out the forgiveness of those we've wronged, and to try making amends? Under the Christian system neither is required. Someone could be the worst kind of person throughout their lives, abusing others without any regret or attempt to gain their forgiveness, and still end up in heaven if they changed their minds with their dying breath, as soon as they know that the ride is over and they won't ever get to enjoy terrorizing people. What kind of possible justice is that?

      May 7, 2013 at 11:21 am |
    • Richard Cranium

      Charles.
      Agreed. Hitler, if he repented as a christian in his final moments, would be in heaven.
      Meanwhile, I am not responsible for any deaths let alone millions, and I am supposed to not be allowed in because I don't believe....silly religion.

      May 7, 2013 at 11:36 am |
    • Charles

      Christians love a good "prodigal son" story about some real monster of a human being finally finding Jesus after hurting tons of people. Meanwhile, a dozen folks whose nature is naturally non-offensive can sit dutifully in the pews for all of their lives and not be celebrated a quarter as much. Again, there is something fundamentally wrong with this kind of thinking.

      May 7, 2013 at 11:47 am |
    • Bible Clown©

      It probably would have been more useful if he'd lived twenty more years and written six books of wisdom instead of checking out and going back to heaven. Sounds almost as if He was arrested and executed and His followers just put the best face on it. "Well yeah, He died, but it was part of a plan He made, see? Now we all get to live forever, but only if you give money to His friends."

      May 7, 2013 at 12:12 pm |
  19. We are evangelicals

    1 John 3:1

    See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him

    May 7, 2013 at 9:03 am |
    • sam stone

      you are delusional

      May 7, 2013 at 9:04 am |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      “When you decide to attack, keep calm and dash in quickly, forestalling the enemy...attack with a feeling of constantly crushing the enemy, from first to last.”

      May 7, 2013 at 9:05 am |
    • skytag

      You can post as much of this drivel as you like, but until you can produce at least a shred of evidence to support it I will continue to believe it is nothing more than a fictional narrative you've chosen to believe because you like it better than the alternative narratives.

      May 7, 2013 at 9:08 am |
    • Reason Over Religion

      It is shocking and pathetic in this day and age that people still hold god delusions such as those of the evangelical root poster on this present thread. Such delusions are directly contradicted by our modern understanding of the world around us and how that world developed. It is also shocking that the root poster seems so proud of his state of ignorance.

      I applaud those of you who post reason in response to such religious nonsense. Keep up the efforts, and thank you. We can make religion decline, along with all the hate and discrimination that is part and parcel of it.

      May 7, 2013 at 11:12 am |
  20. We are evangelicals

    .
    God’s unfailing love for us is an objective fact affirmed over and over in the Scriptures. It is true whether we believe it or not. Our doubts do not destroy God’s love, nor does our faith create it. It originates in the very nature of God, who is love, and it flows to us through our union with His beloved Son. ~ Jerry Bridges

    May 7, 2013 at 9:02 am |
    • Bag of Hammers

      Amen!

      May 7, 2013 at 9:03 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      God's primary characteristic is jealousy, not love.
      It says so right in the 1st Commandment.
      Jealous, controlling love is a type of emotional abuse.

      May 7, 2013 at 9:03 am |
    • sam stone

      "It is true whether we believe it or not"

      It is not true, no matter how much you believe it

      May 7, 2013 at 9:09 am |
    • skytag

      "God’s unfailing love for us is an objective fact affirmed over and over in the Scriptures."

      More proof religion makes people stupid. It is not a fact, it is a belief. Facts can be proven. You can't prove this. You can't prove any of the stuff you believe.

      May 7, 2013 at 9:21 am |
    • tallulah13

      I think what "We are evangelicals" is trying say is that he/she will believe anything that makes him/her feel special and superior, whether it's true or not. It's a fundamentally dishonest position, but you've got to consider the source.

      May 7, 2013 at 9:56 am |
    • Bible Clown©

      "God’s unfailing love for us is an objective fact affirmed over and over in the Scriptures" And Harry Potter's magic works in Harry Potter's book; same thing. Scriptures are not objective fact. Got anything else? Of course not, and there is nothing wrong with having some faith; just understand that there is ZERO proof for your side, and some say God wants it that way. Proof destroys faith.

      May 7, 2013 at 2:08 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.