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May 22nd, 2013
08:34 AM ET

My take: Keep bad theology out of Oklahoma

Editor's Note: The Rev. Ian Punnett is the author of "How to Pray When You’re Pissed at God (Or Anyone Else For That Matter)" and a veteran talk show host. He has been married for 28 years and is the father of two college age boys.

By Ian Punnett, Special to CNN
[twitter-follow screen_name='deaconpunnett']

(CNN) - “God never gives us more than we can handle.”

God, have I learned to hate that cliche.

As a clergy person, as a hospital chaplain intern and as a father, I have come to believe that, at best, that platitude is a classic example of meaningless bumper-sticker theology. It's easily said and only makes sense when it goes by you so fast you don’t have time to think about it.

At worst, however, claiming that God scales a tragedy up or down depending on our ability to handle loss is as heartless as it is thoughtless.

In the deadly aftermath of the tornado that destroyed so much of Moore, Oklahoma, pain is only compounded by the implication that somehow the survivors are complicit in the death of a loved one because of their strength as a person. In this view, if God is only giving me what I can handle, then it would seem my boys would be a lot safer if I were weak.

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Anybody who has stood in the reception line at a child’s funeral likely has suffered through the repetition of this dubious claim and its equally insidious cousin, “God must have needed a new quarterback (or ballerina) up in heaven,” another expression that has hurt more people than it has healed.

Instead of simply saying, “I am so sorry this has happened” or “I am heartsick over what you are going through” or “This is just so wrong,” some mourners attempt to explain the unexplainable by forcing the world into the “Everything happens for a reason” paradigm. Bumper-sticker theology of this type reorders the universe less for the benefit of the grief-stricken and more for the benefit of the person offering it.

Because what could be reasonable about the death of a child? Deadly tornadoes can be understood scientifically, to be sure, but there is nothing reasonable about a tornado wiping out a school full of frightened children.

CNN Belief: Who hears #PrayersForOklahoma?

A tornado is not the finger of God squashing us like bugs on a sidewalk. If weather were God’s instrument of justice and  tornado victims were singled out to reward the good or punish the bad, then meteorologists would be theologians.

In researching  my book "How to Pray When You’re Pissed at God (Or Anyone Else For That Matter)," I spoke with dozens of people who told me that they lost their ability to pray - at a time when they needed it most - when family and friends pressured them into believing that God took their loved one on purpose, and that they were supposed to feel good about it.

In Oklahoma the death toll is 24, and it's expected to rise. I believe that God stands innocently with all the victims. The difference between those who lived and those who died is not the difference between those who had more or less faith, but the random difference between those who turned left and those who turned right.

In our hearts, we might crave the order of a world where God never gives us more than we can handle, but ultimately platitudes are placebos. They only work some of the time and their effectiveness requires the buy-in of the recipient.

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

If a bereaved parent finds peace in believing that God needed a little quarterback in heaven, far be it from me to challenge that perspective.

That said, in the face of tragedy, I believe that the faithful can best serve victims with sympathetic ears and warm hugs in what is called “a ministry of presence.” If they want to cry, cry with them. If they want to laugh and tell stories, smile through the pain, and if they want to yell “Why, God, why?” at heaven, then shake your fist too and leave the question unanswered for now.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Ian Punnett.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Opinion

soundoff (631 Responses)
  1. Ol' Yeller

    I like this guy's opinion.
    I am from OK and I know there are many really good people there who would give you the shirt off their back... most of them identify themselves as Christians.
    I also know their are some real terrible folks there who, given the opportunity, would steal the shirt off your back... most of them identify themselves as Christians.
    It really isn't the color of your skin, the length of your hair, the clothes you wear, the party you vote for, or the Church you go to which defines you as a person... the mistakes we make are in believing this.

    May 22, 2013 at 4:39 pm |
    • ed dugan

      The "good book" is a bunch of religious clap trap, or christian fiction if you prefer, and anyone that believes in that BS has no right to tell anyone else what to do or how to live their lives. I thought their "god" gave them the gift of free will and now they want to change the rules. The good clergyman spouts nothing more than a bunch of cliches. His entire life is a cliche.

      May 22, 2013 at 5:24 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      OY,

      The egoistical nurturing of spent fuel casings is a maniacal undertaking! 🙂

      May 22, 2013 at 6:35 pm |
    • Bible Clown©

      " His entire life is a cliche." But you saying that is also a cliche. It's as if we're all trapped in a bad movie, with religious zombies pounding on the doors to get in and give us pamphlets.

      May 23, 2013 at 11:05 am |
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    May 22, 2013 at 4:36 pm |
    • Science

      http://www.edisonnation.com/

      May 23, 2013 at 2:25 pm |
  3. Rynomite

    Every religious person who lived in a house demolished by the tornado will give their god credit for their survival.

    If he is going to receive credit for saving those people, shouldn't he also receive the blame for those who died?

    May 22, 2013 at 4:33 pm |
    • sam stone

      No.

      To blame is to have the assumption that just because you believe in god means you are immortal.

      which is totally wrong. We are all GAURENTEED to die. Just what happens after that is what matters most.

      May 22, 2013 at 4:36 pm |
  4. sam stone

    I love god. I was an athiest, but now I truely believe.

    May 22, 2013 at 4:31 pm |
    • Ungodly Discipline

      I love you sam stone. I love you very, very much indeed.

      May 22, 2013 at 4:33 pm |
    • sam stone

      I love you too

      but i was being serious.

      after all this time i was fighting something that i didnt understand

      May 22, 2013 at 4:34 pm |
    • sam stone

      ah, somoene stealing my screen name.....how fvcking clever

      May 22, 2013 at 4:36 pm |
    • sam stone

      just kidding hehe

      May 22, 2013 at 4:40 pm |
    • Pole dancing for Jesus

      Fake posts are pretty obvious to spot – spelling errors, inane comments. Boring. Do something useful.

      May 22, 2013 at 4:48 pm |
  5. Chad

    @Chuckles "Then you are apparently learning to read because I literally repeated the same thing 5 times in that thread. If that's all you got from the latest post then I guess I just need to repeat something 5 times in order for you to really let it sink in to your head."

    @Chad "hmm.. what would that "thing" be?"

    May 22, 2013 at 4:28 pm |
    • Bob

      That 'thing', Chad, you know... Just kidding...you have a lot of patience in educating Chuckles.

      May 22, 2013 at 4:30 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Bob

      You mean the other way around right? Thanks for the compliment about my patience in educating Chad. It's tough, but it's all the more worth it when Chad learns

      @Chad
      You want a specific thing? Well we can discuss a) how the origin of the universe is not technically a supernatural event. b) how christians theologically have no free will c) how god is evil and christians have a relationship with god equivalent to an abusive relationship. d)There has been 0 evidence of a soul existing e) the bible has many contradictions ranging from creation to the geneologies of jesus and his "ressurection" f) Your insistance that the bible has never been proven false but unwillingness to delve deeper into what you mean or acknowledge your bias that things that have not been found still must exist because other parts of the bible are true (namely that nouns existed and ignoring that the actions attributed to them are physically impossible).

      Those are just the tip of the iceberg, but would you like me to go on?

      Shall I keep going?

      May 22, 2013 at 4:41 pm |
    • Chad

      ah, I thought you indicated you had one thing you had repeated a lot, I was wondering what that one thing was.
      anyway, to address your new questions:

      ==
      @Chuckles "a) how the origin of the universe is not technically a supernatural event. "
      @Chad "I equate "non-natural" and "supernatural" as that's the definition of the terms.
      Origin of the universe is by definition a non-natural event, and the universe cant have created itself, out of nothing, by nothing, and it wasnt always here (it had an origin).

      ==
      @Chuckles "b) how christians theologically have no free will
      @Chad "nonsense, you just dont understand the biblical concept of predestination.
      God interacting with humans based on their free will, is the entire bible in a nutshell..

      ==
      @Chuckles "c) how god is evil and christians have a relationship with god equivalent to an abusive relationship.
      @Chad "lol"

      ==
      @Chuckles "d)There has been 0 evidence of a soul existing
      @Chad "not true:
      A. with out a soul there can be no free will
      B. there is some very interesting medical research, as was posted earlier on near death experiences.

      ==
      @Chuckles "e) the bible has many contradictions ranging from creation to the geneologies of jesus and his "ressurection"
      @Chad "dealt with a million times 🙂

      ==
      @Chuckles "f) Your insistence that the bible has never been proven false but unwillingness to delve deeper into what you mean or acknowledge your bias that things that have not been found still must exist because other parts of the bible are true (namely that nouns existed and ignoring that the actions attributed to them are physically impossible).
      @Chad "you lost me..."

      May 22, 2013 at 6:35 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Chad

      I've repeated all of these things many times. You have the memory of a goldfish.

      A) You are equating the terms incorrectly in this instance then considering nature didn't exist so the event couldn't have been supernatural. Non-natural is a bit different because yes, it was non-natural, since nature didn't exist it wasn't natural. Get that through your head.

      B) I understand predestination much better than you do apparently. If god is aware of everything you've done, are doing and will do at no point can you change any of that. You are a slave to the path god sees from start to finish. That's not free will, that's an illusion.

      C) Glad you find it funny. I do too

      D) NDE's don't prove a soul. The studies that have been done on souls, much like prayer have so far proven neither are real.

      E) Indeed, and yet you are still having an issue understanding all the problems. I guess it's up to us to keep repeating them until you understand.

      F) Not the first time I've lost you. You keep hammering your shoe saying the historicity of the bible proves the bible to be real. Of course it doesn't but you refuse to understand the difference between history and historical fiction so....

      May 22, 2013 at 6:43 pm |
    • JMEF

      Ah! The Chad debating techniques, you lost me , I do not understand your point, I am confused, did you read my post , you do not understand my post, you should read, I only have to read what confirms what I believe, you have to read what "I" believe, endless disingenuous twists and turns, "A tale, told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing." such is Chad.

      May 22, 2013 at 6:49 pm |
    • רחל

      @Chad, Awesome posts! You remind me of the wise man in Proverbs when you are dealing with these posters here.
      🙂

      May 22, 2013 at 6:57 pm |
    • Bible Clown©

      " it's all the more worth it when Chad learns" I thought "Chad" was just a Poe Troll? You think you are teaching it?

      May 23, 2013 at 8:17 am |
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    May 22, 2013 at 4:27 pm |
    • Bible Clown©

      Hail Pasta! His Noodly Appendages will bless you for this message of hope.

      May 23, 2013 at 8:18 am |
  7. m123

    This guy is clergy?
    Are you kidding?
    Never go to his church.
    His boyfriend isn't even cute

    May 22, 2013 at 4:25 pm |
    • ISLAM FOUNDATION OF AMERICAN CONSTI TUTION

      He is a hindu secular, ignorant self centered, playing to be truthful to justify his hindu atheism, ignorant self center ism, defiance of truth absolute GOD.

      May 22, 2013 at 4:27 pm |
  8. Dr Night

    To paraphrase Graham Greene: "Neither you nor I, nor can anyone conceive the appalling strangeness of the mercy of God”.

    May 22, 2013 at 4:15 pm |
  9. myeyedea

    I like this article and opinion a great deal. I like the way he is trying to remind people to think more about what they're saying and what their words mean. No matter what a person believes (or doesn't believe) saying something shallow in a painful situation isn't the right thing to do.

    May 22, 2013 at 4:12 pm |
  10. The Buddy

    Well said, Reverend. Bumpber sticker slogals are not helpful for dealing with questions of how theology fits with tragedy.

    May 22, 2013 at 4:10 pm |
  11. fred

    How about keep Bad Atheist Theology out of America?
    The theology of the typical atheist is so bad that it has ended in great harm to America.
    1)Less than 70 years ago stores were closed on Sundays either in honor of God or out of respect for those who honored God. Atheists generally disrespect God and disrespect true believers.

    2)It was an atheist that moved to remove prayer from public school. Children lost the ability to show respect for God and prayer. Prayer was wonderful for the believer but the non believer learned to respect thoughts and beliefs that did not agree with theirs. Respect and honor towards others is learned. Atheists robbed the children of America the opportunity to learn respect and respect for others is at an all time low.

    3)Atheists robbed children of the freedom of choice by removing the things of God as real possibilities. Children are not free to choose God as creator since only the physical materialistic beliefs of the atheist are now permitted. Children that would have freely chosen evolution over intelligent design are forced by educators and pier pressure to laugh at God as creator. This served two atheist goals one to make God a joke and heap disrespect on believers.

    4)Atheist philosophy is typically naturalism and materialistic. This has transformed society into selfish materialistic demanding liberals. Democracy no longer exists in America only the illusion of democracy. In California legislation now established results in two democrats running for the same position and a conservative must chose one or not vote. The ideology of materialism and naturalism prevails in the absence of God where self desire and wants are fulfilled at the expense of being servants to others.

    May 22, 2013 at 4:07 pm |
    • sam stone

      fred: atheists cannot disrespect beings in which they do not believe

      some atheists disrespect True Believers because of the kind of nonsense you post

      the first challenge to school prayer came not from atheists but from religious minorities

      you are an imbecile

      May 22, 2013 at 4:15 pm |
    • OMG

      We can close our stores in Sunday if we want. One of the most popular restaurants in my city (it is actually one of the most popular restaurants in the country) closes on Sundays for respect toward God.

      We shouldn't force people to close business to respect God. 1. That is not respect. 2. I don't think God wants us to force love.

      May 22, 2013 at 4:21 pm |
    • fred

      sam stone
      Agreed however Madalyn Murray O'Hairis best known for the lawsuit, which led to a landmark Supreme Court ruling ending official Bible-reading in American public schools in 1963 (Murray v. Curlett). This came one year after the Supreme Court prohibited officially sponsored prayer in schools in Engel v. Vitale. O'Hair later founded American Atheists and became so controversial that in 1964 Life magazine referred to her as "the most hated woman in America".

      May 22, 2013 at 4:25 pm |
    • TheOlympicTroll

      No Mr Sam Stone, people disrespect anything regardless if they believe it or not.

      Example: Are you a man, or a woman?

      If sam is your name, it is a woman's name.

      There you have it. Proof that something can be disrespected regardless if one believes it or not. I do not believe that is your real name, though I still disrespected it.

      Your understanding of respect is blurred.

      May 22, 2013 at 4:27 pm |
    • fred

      OMG
      True, and given Gods plan includes severe testing of ones faith we need atheists as much as they need us (and our prayers)

      May 22, 2013 at 4:30 pm |
    • sam stone

      No, troll boy....my view of respect is not blurred, you are merely a troll

      May 22, 2013 at 4:39 pm |
    • fred

      sam stone
      You do have respect issues based on your posts such as :"we are not mocking god, we are mocking fvcks like you"

      May 22, 2013 at 4:43 pm |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      America is not a christian nation and therefore all those things you mentioned are not only in regards to the non-believers but also in regards to those who don't share the belief in the same god as you do. The ACLU who are usually at the forefront of ensuring the Constitution is upheld, will not only support a non-believer, they will support a Pagan, a Muslim, a JW, a Jew and they'd support you if they believed your Constitutional rights were being violated. If you allow prayer in school, you must also allow for some form of invocation for all students who don't believe in your god-it really is all or none. This is why it is christians getting 'persecuted'...you want to impose your belief in every aspect of our lives and that is just as disrespectful as a Muslim or other believer imposing their belief on you. I didn't include Atheists there due to the fact that we don't all agree on the same things, although I would like to think that we agree on a few points-evolution; the Big Bang but those are backed with vasts amounts of evidence; we don't all have the same views on certain things-my take on the death penalty may be very different than that of 'sam stone' or 'The Real Tom'; just as my opinion on numerous other things may vary. The only thing we are guaranteed to share a 'belief' in is the disbelief in a god.
      If it wasn't in my face so much I might not have reason to speak out against it.

      May 22, 2013 at 4:44 pm |
    • fred

      Truth Prevails ;-(
      "America is not a christian nation"
      =>typical atheist twist because you know it is a fact that America is a nation of Christians (78%), America cannot has has never elected a president that was not a Christian or at a minimum pretended to embrace Christians. America is a nation of Christian presidents. America is a nation of 335,000 churches.............

      " If you allow prayer in school, you must also allow for some form of invocation for all students who don't believe"
      =>That is a bunch of nonsense given the schools promote the atheist view of creation ( an unproven belief) and the vast majority of non atheist students must swallow it or face the same ridicule atheists once did.

      "you want to impose your belief in every aspect of our lives"
      =>exactly what part of my belief system is so deadly to your desires?

      "evolution; the Big Bang but those are backed with vasts amounts of evidence; "
      =>The theory of evolution or Big Bang is not the issue, the issue is that you have extrapolated the science into a world view that no god is needed. That is unsupported and totally without evidence.

      " If it wasn't in my face so much I might not have reason to speak out against it."
      =>no, you speak out because you cannot shake the truth that you know and sense there is more to our existence than an impossible random accidental purpose. God has left his calling card in your soul and you cannot shake it.

      May 22, 2013 at 5:00 pm |
    • LinCA

      @fred

      You said, "The theology of the typical atheist is so bad that it has ended in great harm to America."
      Get a fucking clue.

      You said, "1)Less than 70 years ago stores were closed on Sundays either in honor of God or out of respect for those who honored God."
      If christians didn't patronize stores on Sundays, not a single store could afford to remain open on those days.

      You said, "Atheists generally disrespect God and disrespect true believers."
      I will respect your right to believe whatever bullshit you want. You are free to remain blissfully ignorant. Your beliefs don't automatically deserve any respect. Nor does your imaginary friend.

      If you want respect for your views, you'll have to earn it. Start by making them not moronic. Then provide some evidence.

      You said, "2)It was an atheist that moved to remove prayer from public school."
      Bullshit. It was other religious morons that got that one right (by accident).

      You said, "Children lost the ability to show respect for God and prayer. Prayer was wonderful for the believer but the non believer learned to respect thoughts and beliefs that did not agree with theirs. Respect and honor towards others is learned."
      Unfortunately, you are still free to abuse your offspring and continue to lie to them. You are still free to indoctrinate them with your delusional fairy tale. You are, unfortunately, free to poison their minds.

      You said, "Atheists robbed the children of America the opportunity to learn respect and respect for others is at an all time low."
      Bullshit. Respect is learned at home and forcing your delusion on others is anything but respectful.

      You said, "3)Atheists robbed children of the freedom of choice by removing the things of God as real possibilities."
      You are completely off your rocker, aren't you? Not forcing your moronic fairy tale on every child allows them the freedom that you say we somehow removed.

      Forcing religious bullshit on children is taking away their freedoms. It is bullies like you and your ilk that are a cancer on a free society.

      You said, "Children are not free to choose God as creator since only the physical materialistic beliefs of the atheist are now permitted."
      Unfortunately, you are still free to abuse your offspring and continue to lie to them. You are still free to indoctrinate them with your delusional fairy tale. You are, unfortunately, free to poison their minds.

      If they want to be productive members of society, it would behoove them to shed those delusions as soon as they can, but nobody is forcing them to live in the real world.

      You said, "Children that would have freely chosen evolution over intelligent design are forced by educators and pier pressure to laugh at God as creator."
      Imaginary friends as creators and so called "intelligent design" is completely ridiculous. It is moronic. It should be laughed at. It should be prohibited to be taught. But, contrary to your claim, you are still free to lie to your offspring. You are still free to hamper them with falsehoods.

      You said, "This served two atheist goals one to make God a joke and heap disrespect on believers."
      Your god is a joke. A particularly bad one. You should be disrespected for believing in it. It is no different from the Tooth Fairy.

      You said, "4)Atheist philosophy is typically naturalism and materialistic. This has transformed society into selfish materialistic demanding liberals."
      Bullshit. the materialistic part of society is primarily driven by conservatives. It is the group of opportunists that takes advantage of the mentally challenged believers to get voted into office. They then provide their corporate sponsors with every incentive to fuck over the ordinary workers. Every time you vote republican, you work to make this country more selfish and materialistic.

      It is predominantly christians that drive this country over the edge.

      You said, "Democracy no longer exists in America only the illusion of democracy."
      It is the GOP that is working hard toward that goal. They have the backing of the sheeple. Morons like you.

      You said, "In California legislation now established results in two democrats running for the same position and a conservative must chose one or not vote."
      That happens in areas where education levels are high. That correlates strongly to less religiosity, which in turn doesn't leave enough sheeple to vote for republicans. that's a very good thing.

      You said, "The ideology of materialism and naturalism prevails in the absence of God where self desire and wants are fulfilled at the expense of being servants to others."
      Naturalism and materialism are not correlated, nor are religiosity and materialism correlated. Proponents of materialism are strongly concentrated in the political party that caters to the religious dimwits. This party relies on their voters to be of limited mental capacity as their policies are diametrically opposed to the interest of the general population.

      You could benefit from a little more realism in your life, although I doubt you'd be able to comprehend much of it.

      May 22, 2013 at 5:04 pm |
    • fred

      LinCA
      “Get a fucking clue.”
      =>typical disrespectful footprint of atheism is primitive language usage

      “I will respect your right to believe whatever bullshit….You are free to remain blissfully ignorant…. Your beliefs don't automatically deserve any respect. Nor does your imaginary friend.”
      =>again you prove my position "Atheists generally disrespect God and disrespect true believers." With your own words

      “If you want respect for your views, you'll have to earn it. Start by making them not moronic.”
      =>again

      “Unfortunately, you are still free to abuse your offspring and continue to lie to them. You are still free to indoctrinate them with your delusional fairy tale. You are, unfortunately, free to poison their minds.”
      =>please tell me how your way compared to hope in the promises of Christ (God) is not the greater poison.

      “Respect is learned at home and forcing your delusion on others is anything but respectful.”
      =>no, if there is no greater being than yourself and your own prideful desires respect flows only towards you. When the schools teach atheistic naturalism and materialism over humble honor towards God and respect towards those who believe in God parents do not have a fighting chance. When the media exploits their naturalism and materialism instilled by atheistic teachings in school parents voices are drowned out.

      “Forcing religious bullshit on children is taking away their freedoms. It is bullies like you and your ilk that are a cancer on a free society.”
      =>you are the bully and twisting science and childrens minds towards materialism while making God a joke takes away their freedom. You have not experienced the freedom that comes with faith so you do not know as you yourself are trapped in philosophical naturalism of the Greeks. Yes, a 2,300 year old belief is what you impose on our children. Shame on you!

      “Imaginary friends as creators… is moronic. It should be laughed at.”
      =>I rest my case in your very disrespectful words.

      May 22, 2013 at 5:28 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Yes, we atheists are terrible parents for imposing, dare I say it, indoctrinating our children with, reality. For teaching them to make decisions based on the very best available evidence. Much better to indoctrinate your children with totally unsubstantiated fairy tales. . .

      May 22, 2013 at 5:35 pm |
    • fred

      Hot Air Ace
      You best not limit your children to atheistic naturalism taught in schools as quantum theory now crosses over from the measurable physical into that which is absent of mass. In 1944 this was known even though quantum theory was not:
      All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particle of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute solar system of the atom together. We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent Mind. This Mind is the matrix of all matter.

      — Max Planck, 'Das Wesen der Materie'

      In short the Bible is correct and God is what holds our construct of existence together in what appears to be reality for the atheist and is the reality for the believer.

      May 22, 2013 at 5:46 pm |
    • LinCA

      @fred

      You said, "typical disrespectful footprint of atheism is primitive language usage"
      If your post wasn't so horribly wrong and blatantly ignorant and offensive, I wouldn't need strong expletives.

      You said, "again you prove my position "Atheists generally disrespect God and disrespect true believers." With your own words"
      Again, if you want your views respected, provide a rational basis and evidence for them. Without either, all you have is a fairy tale. You are asking me to respect what is akin to an adult's belief in the Easter Bunny. While everyone is free to believe that nonsense, it doesn't automatically deserve respect.

      You said, "again"
      Yes, again. Evidence is what makes a view respectable, not your dearly held delusion.

      You said, "please tell me how your way compared to hope in the promises of Christ (God) is not the greater poison."
      I don't make empty promises about imaginary creatures. I don't even tell my kids that Santa exists. They still get presents. They just know they come from me.

      You said, "When the schools teach atheistic naturalism and materialism over humble honor towards God and respect towards those who believe in God parents do not have a fighting chance."
      Schools don't teach that the Easter Bunny lays colored eggs. Why should your imaginary friend get any special consideration? That parents "don't have a fighting chance" is more because they have noting but a fairy tale. Once children are old enough to think for themselves, they will be able to see right through the nonsense.

      You said, "you are the bully and twisting science and childrens minds towards materialism while making God a joke takes away their freedom."
      News flash. Your god is a joke. But, again, you are free to indoctrinate your children into that nonsense, but you better keep your filthy lies out of the lives of mine.

      You said, "You have not experienced the freedom that comes with faith so you do not know as you yourself are trapped in philosophical naturalism of the Greeks."
      I grew up in a christian home. I've experienced the "freedom" that comes with religion. I'll pass, thank you very much. I will not subject anyone to that kind of "freedom", unless they make that choice for themselves.

      You said, "I rest my case in your very disrespectful words."
      Again, if you want your views to be respected, bring evidence! until you do, your god is no more likely than the Tooth Fairy or the Easter Bunny. We've been over this.

      May 22, 2013 at 5:59 pm |
    • fred

      LinCA
      "You are asking me to respect what is akin to an adult's belief in the Easter Bunny."
      =>yes, the same way I respect some of the sacraments of the Priests even though the Bible does not allow such.
      => Regardless if God exists or not the faith of Abraham in the promised seed and the fulfillment of that prophecy in Jesus has changed the world as we know it. The most important name and greatest power to change lives in all recorded history is the name of Jesus.
      There are two main world views one is spiritually based including our western world view and the other is based on the physical. The Easter Bunny is not in either one as it is a known child's story from Europe.

      May 22, 2013 at 6:15 pm |
    • LinCA

      @fred

      You said, "yes, the same way I respect some of the sacraments of the Priests even though the Bible does not allow such."
      I wouldn't ask you to respect such obvious nonsense. You are free to respect it, as it seems more up your alley, anyway.

      You said, "Regardless if God exists or not the faith of Abraham in the promised seed and the fulfillment of that prophecy in Jesus has changed the world as we know it. The most important name and greatest power to change lives in all recorded history is the name of Jesus."
      In your opinion.

      Just because some guy was deluded into thinking his mother had been impregnated by the then popular imaginary friend, doesn't make it so. It is far more likely that she wasn't willing to admit to an extramarital affair Your Jesus dude isn't likely to have been special, in any way. Millions of sheeple falling for the ruse, doesn't make it true.

      You said, "The Easter Bunny is not in either one as it is a known child's story from Europe."
      Just like your fairy tale is a children's story from the middle east. No difference.

      May 22, 2013 at 6:22 pm |
    • fred

      LinCa
      You may have grown up in a Christian home but you have not experienced the freedom that comes with the presence of God in your very being.
      Sorry to hear you robbed you child of the sound of Santa on the roof top and a vision of the Easter Bunny. Absent of drugs there is a very small window when joy and fun join the fantasy and the natural laughter fills the house in the egg hunt.

      May 22, 2013 at 6:25 pm |
    • LinCA

      @fred

      You said, "You may have grown up in a Christian home but you have not experienced the freedom that comes with the presence of God in your very being."
      That's where the saying "ignorance is bliss" comes from.

      You said, "Sorry to hear you robbed you child of the sound of Santa on the roof top and a vision of the Easter Bunny."
      And I'm sorry to hear that you so eagerly lie to your children.

      You said, "Absent of drugs there is a very small window when joy and fun join the fantasy and the natural laughter fills the house in the egg hunt."
      Wouldn't know about the drugs. Never tried them. Fun, joy and laughter aren't predicated on a silly superstition. You are pretty pathetic if you truly believe that.

      May 22, 2013 at 7:19 pm |
    • fred

      LinCA

      I really do not see how your indoctrination of your child into philosophical naturalism to the extent Santa, Easter Bunny and other childhood fantasies are eliminated from possibility of childhood experience is any different than an abusive Christian Scientologist or Westborow Baptist fundamentalist that denies evolution and an old earth geology. Personally I was deprived of a great many normal childhood experiences so I created a world of my own that was kind though not real. I suspect your children found a way to experience the fantasies of a child without Santa and a Bunny.

      It also does not matter what your opinion is regarding the faith of Abraham or divinity of Jesus as I was speaking about a fact. You opinion is yours but fact is fact. The world was significantly impacted by Jesus and remains impacted to this day. The lives of a majority of living breathing people remain impacted to this very day. These are facts not opinions.

      Even your life is impacted based on your various posts and the extent you have gone to indoctrinate your child so that freedom of choice has been eliminated. Heavy price for a child to pay but I doubt you would be so radical if there is not a great deal of pain behind your hate of God and or Christians. On the flip side my response to my experiences is to focus on the New Heaven and Earth I know will be. Our beliefs appear subjective but the fact concerning the power of a living God (real or imagined) is objective.

      May 22, 2013 at 9:02 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      fred, you have previously acknowledged that there is a non-zero probability your god does not exist. You have also acknowledged that you are not very good at science. It appears that you are able to handle technology, at least as demonstrated by your ability to mine quotes on the Internet. Yet you continue to cut & paste material that you most likely could not actually converse about, as that woud require that you actually understand the content, and not just where each paragraph begins and ends. That being said, when it comes to scientific opinions, I will rely on more recent scientists who have not been overtly influenced by the oppressive religious environment of the (at least) past three centuries. However, when i want an opinion on mystical bullsh!t, mythology and the unsubstaniated crap belevers believe, I'll be sure to speak with a religious cult shaman.

      In closing, how are you doing at finding any credible published scientist who has concluded a scholarly paper with "some god did it"?

      May 22, 2013 at 9:35 pm |
    • LinCA

      @fred

      You said, "I really do not see how your indoctrination of your child into philosophical naturalism to the extent Santa, Easter Bunny and other childhood fantasies are eliminated from possibility of childhood experience is any different than an abusive Christian Scientologist or Westborow Baptist fundamentalist that denies evolution and an old earth geology."
      It isn't indoctrination if imaginary creatures are identified as such. They aren't eliminated (other than gods, of course) and are still part of childhood.

      WBC or scientology aren't very more abusive than babtists or methodists or catholics or any of the thousands of christian sects or other religions. They all insist that there is a creature for which there is absolutely no reason to assume it exists.

      You said, "Personally I was deprived of a great many normal childhood experiences so I created a world of my own that was kind though not real. I suspect your children found a way to experience the fantasies of a child without Santa and a Bunny."
      Fantasies are great. Imaginary friends are great, for kids. There is no reason to force one on them.

      You said, "It also does not matter what your opinion is regarding the faith of Abraham or divinity of Jesus as I was speaking about a fact."
      What you were passing of as a fact, isn't anything more than your opinion. You claimed a fulfilled prophesy which, of course is bullshit. For the prophesy that you speak of to be fulfilled, Jesus had to have been the son of your god. That is utterly ridiculous as your god is imaginary. There is no rational reason to assume that Jesus is anything other than the bastard son of an adulteress.

      You said, "The world was significantly impacted by Jesus and remains impacted to this day. The lives of a majority of living breathing people remain impacted to this very day."
      That he has been an influence on so many, is probably his biggest (and only) miracle.

      You said, "Even your life is impacted based on your various posts and the extent you have gone to indoctrinate your child so that freedom of choice has been eliminated."
      My children are free to choose the religion they want. If they fall out of the stupid tree, and hit every branch on the way down, and actually fall for a con, I'll still love them just as much.

      You said, "Heavy price for a child to pay but I doubt you would be so radical if there is not a great deal of pain behind your hate of God and or Christians."
      I don't hate your god. You really can't hate something that doesn't exist.

      I also don't hate christians. I don't think they are reasonable or rational, but I don't hate very many of them. I certainly don't hate all of them. And, contrary to what you may believe, I also don't have any hate for you.

      May 22, 2013 at 10:26 pm |
    • fred

      HotAirAce
      Most Credible scientists I know or have visited their lectures keep their God did it opinions confined to close friends. They do not mix biblical and scientific thought except when toying with one another or pulling an atheists chain. You would be surprised how many high level scientists believe in God. I do not need a PHD in biology or physics when I can simply have a cup of coffee with someone who already understands the material inside out. You are correct in that I would be little more than a lab rat when it comes to say construction of observables in cosmological spacetimes but then I did not build the house I live in either because I know my limits.
      If evidence is ever discovered to support your atheist position we would know about it. In the meantime the biblical position that God spoke creation into existence (let it be and it was) is as credible as any other pre big bang cosmological constant.

      May 23, 2013 at 1:30 am |
    • fred

      LinCa
      What Jesus and Mohamed did founded upon the God of Abraham by faith is very real. Our opinions regarding the reality of God do not alter the recorded impact of that faith. Your Easter Bunny remains but a children's character known to have been originated by German Lutherans. You know the difference.
      As to your belief and my belief we both have a lot of reasons to believe but acceptable evidence requires bias based on faith and or methodology.

      May 23, 2013 at 2:02 am |
    • Bible Clown©

      "Atheist philosophy is typically naturalism and materialistic. " That's a silly lie, like nearly everything else you posted there. We don't expect to go off and live in happy-land with our dead grannies when we die, so we treasure the things we have today. My wife and child mean more than my car and house, and my treasures are my friends and family and books and movies and things I've made. Maybe you need to read something about Existentialism, or maybe it would be over your head? At any rate, you might as well give up pretending atheism is a religion competing with your own church; you sound ignorant when you do that.

      May 23, 2013 at 8:31 am |
    • HotAirAce

      fred, too bad the courts have, correctly, decided against creationism as science.

      May 23, 2013 at 9:33 am |
    • fred

      HotAirAce
      No, to bad the schools do not maintain proper perspective instead of making God a joke. Science does not know anything about pre Big Bang cosmological constants or events as they are still speculation at best. Science and the Bible are on exactly the same non scientific playing field on causation and that is the truth atheists try and hide.

      May 23, 2013 at 1:23 pm |
    • fred

      bible clown

      The theory of materialism holds that the only thing that exists is matter or energy. You went off economic materialism thinking about your toys. My point is that materialism does not hold thus atheists are bankrupt in their belief of purpose and meaning in life given absence of spiritual understanding. This absence is a void in your perspective that you cover with philosophical naturalism. If you understood the basis of your belief you would also understand that Quantum theory destroys materialism as a valid world view.

      May 23, 2013 at 1:32 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      @fred

      You must be an idiot. You did not address Blible Clown's points, but just went off wailing on your own silly strawman. Why so stupid?

      May 23, 2013 at 1:36 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      fred, The fact that we don't know what happened before a few microseconds into the Big Bang doesn't mean that a god did it and doesn't mean that your god did it.

      May 23, 2013 at 1:48 pm |
    • fred

      In Santa We Trust
      Right, so the atheist and the Christian are in the same boat when it comes to using science as justification for creation.

      May 23, 2013 at 2:02 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      No, fred, they aren't. Science doesn't make any claims about "creation," it merely gives several possibilities. There's no boat being shared, moron.

      May 23, 2013 at 2:07 pm |
    • fred

      Cpt. Obvious
      I did address Clowns comment brief and to the point. Perhaps I should make it Obvious Cpt.
      Before I start if there was a "strawman" in my post it must have been the invisible man.

      Clown even posted my quote "Atheist philosophy is typically naturalism and materialistic." which makes it Obvious he understood I was speaking of philosophy. Materialistic is the adjective form of "materialism" defined as :1. Philosophy The theory that physical matter is the only reality and that everything, including thought, feeling, mind, and will, can be explained in terms of matter and physical phenomena. Clown is a materialist and an atheist in his philosophy of life.

      May 23, 2013 at 2:17 pm |
    • Ted Jones the crusader not for khrist

      fred

      In Santa We Trust
      Right, so the atheist and the Christian are in the same boat when it comes to using science as justification for creation.
      ..........
      Um no....Christians make as sumptions from science. Off these as sumptions, Christians have faith. There is no factual evidence to back your faith. Your god as well as others have failed to step forward and every god has required man to speak on their behalf. First test...if a god requires men/women to speak on their behalf, they are not a god

      May 23, 2013 at 2:22 pm |
    • fred

      Cpt.Obvious
      Science gives possibilities and the Bible gives one of those possibilities. The possibilities are in the same boat as to valid acceptable scientific proof or evidence. One such possibility is based on Quantum gravitational phase that is dependent on amplitudes given by the no boundary path integral (i.e. a universe created from a fluctuation of the big de Sitter space). This possibility correlates with the Bible version where God spoke the universe into existence. God did not necessarily speak it but "said let it be and it was so". Moses did not have the words to describe what we call spontaneous creation and if you think about it we don't either. Spontaneous creation is no more than a fancy word for opps there it is (thanks Brittney).

      If you can explain the difference between God did it and a weak force acting on a vacua through a thin bridge you really need to give Stephen Hawking's a call. He has been working on this concept to say no god needed for a long time.

      In short there is no difference between a quantum origin of the universe (current prevalent thought) and "let it be and it was so".

      May 23, 2013 at 2:53 pm |
    • fred

      Ted Jones the crusader not for khrist
      If a Christians faith was based on scientific assumptions it would not be faith. Christians have reasons to believe and sometimes use science to justify those reasons. I often see true faith as the presence of the Holy Spirit in my being. No amount of science has yet to give me faith that serpents talk and Noah built a big boat out of gopher wood in the desert.

      May 23, 2013 at 3:01 pm |
    • mama k

      Remember, fred, you said "Atheist philosophy is typically .. naturalism ..".

      IMHO, mainstream atheism, of course, has a high agnostic component: it is not some complete belief in or adherence to absolute naturalism, determinism or materialism that brings the mainstream atheist to a disbelief in God. It is the lack of evidence. Quite simply as a mainstream atheist I have not been presented with any reasonable evidence so far that would enable me to believe; but I make no knowledge claims about any absolutes regarding naturalism or determinism; and really, that's for the same reason – lack of convincing evidence. I may find aspects of those philosophies reasonable and pertinent to certain subjects, but I'm not glued to them. I'm more glued to evidence; demonstration; repeatability. If, as a theist, you can only put me in a category of absolute naturalism, then you are looking at the various elements of belief and non-belief outside of Judeo-Christian belief way too simply.

      May 23, 2013 at 3:04 pm |
    • Ted Jones the crusader not for khrist

      Fred "serpents talk and Noah built a big boat out of gopher wood in the desert."
      .
      Are you saying that science does not prove this but you still believe it or you dont have faith in such tales? Please clarify

      May 23, 2013 at 3:06 pm |
    • ME II

      @fred,
      "In short there is no difference between a quantum origin of the universe (current prevalent thought) and 'let it be and it was so'."

      Except that the latter requires an omnipotent being, right?

      May 23, 2013 at 3:09 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      Are you Chad's protégé? Your posts are evolving in the same way as his did.

      May 23, 2013 at 3:25 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      that was for fred
      Are you Chad's protégé? Your posts are evolving in the same way as his did.

      May 23, 2013 at 3:26 pm |
    • fred

      ME II
      no, God either is or is not.
      I assign attributes as given by revelation and personal experience in order to relate and understand purpose for existence. Those associations create a personal God that is a being not of substance and matter which is measurable. Without personal experience or encounter with God and the presence of the Holy Spirit a quantum flux would be more reasonable even though it is an abstract of tensor calculus no more real than a thought (at the moment)

      May 23, 2013 at 3:45 pm |
    • fred

      Ted Jones the crusader not for khrist
      Scientific inquiry into talking serpents and big boats is a smoke screen that keeps you from the truth. The serpent spoke because doubt that takes you away from God comes from deception (serpents do not talk the illusion of reality outside of God speaks through a serpent). Noah and the flood are impossible without God so any attempt to build a boat in a desert where it never ever rained would represent the wasted purpose of mans thoughts and life without a purpose onto God for creation in the first place.

      May 23, 2013 at 3:54 pm |
    • fred

      mama k
      Yeah, it is very simple you either find reasons for God or reasons for existence without God. Naturalism works for one but not the other. Seek and you shall find Jesus said.

      May 23, 2013 at 3:58 pm |
    • mama k

      fred, you are continuing to limit possibilities. Your belief may say there is only one possibility. But when ME II says " 'let it be and it was so' [..] requires an omnipotent being, right? ", and you reply with "no, God either is or is not.", certainly you must see how you've logically ruled out more possibilities than the two you mention (the God of Israel or no God of Israel).

      May 23, 2013 at 4:04 pm |
    • Science

      Hey fred ...........figure this OUT ?

      Figure it OUT LL !!

      http://news.cnet.com/google-io/?tag=nl.e435&s_cid=e435&ttag=e435

      http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/internet-explorer/internet-explorer-help#internet-explorer=top-solutions

      May 23, 2013 at 4:07 pm |
    • fred

      mama k
      for lack of a better word spontaneous creation is spontaneous creation. Your mind must make sense of that and it will. You will reason there was purpose in that or it is without purpose and meaning. If it is without purpose and meaning then existence is without purpose and meaning. If you assign purpose then you will live your life according to purpose otherwise you cannot function. To say there is purpose before creation speaks of God "In the beginning God created".
      How can there be more than two possibilities? God is or is not.

      May 23, 2013 at 4:46 pm |
    • LinCA

      @fred

      You said, "What Jesus and Mohamed did founded upon the God of Abraham by faith is very real."
      ... and your evidence for that is......? Just because it is in your fairy tale book doesn't mean it's real. Unless you have actual, verifiable evidence, all you have a a piece of propaganda to keep the sheeple in line.

      You said, "Our opinions regarding the reality of God do not alter the recorded impact of that faith."
      I am well aware of the detrimental effects of religion on society. Why do you think I urge people to shed those infantile beliefs? Why do you think I want this cancer eliminated?

      You said, "Your Easter Bunny remains but a children's character known to have been originated by German Lutherans."
      Your god remains the figment of middle eastern desert dwellers.

      You said, "You know the difference."
      Yup. The only fundamental difference is that children are allowed to stop believing in the Easter Bunny and not their parents imaginary friend.

      You said, "As to your belief and my belief we both have a lot of reasons to believe but acceptable evidence requires bias based on faith and or methodology."
      I only require it to be evidence, but it appears that our definition of "evidence" differs. It doesn't even have to be much; a tiny little bit will suffice to get the dialog started. But, so far, there is nothing, zilch, nada, nichts, niets, rien, niente. Not a shred that passes the "evidence" test.

      May 23, 2013 at 7:51 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      fred, science and The Babble are not in the same boat, on the same age and probably not even in the same universe when it comes to creation and pre-big bang. In fact, religion and science are not on the same page when it comes to evolution on man post big bang, so you really can't claim much agreement there. There is a world of difference between "we don't know" and "some unproven god did it."

      There is no scientific basis for creationism. If there was, you would be able to show us numerous peer-reviewed scholarly articles published in reputable scientific journals , formulated using the scientific method. These articles would conclude with "some god s responsible." Can you provide such a reference?

      May 23, 2013 at 8:03 pm |
    • mama k

      fred – if I assume by God you only mean the God of Israel, then there are more possibilities of deities. Not that I personally believe one over the other, but that's one set that where you assume too much. There there are possibilities for creation that do not involve any deities in the present. That's another set. (Think about a variation on Deism with regard to that.) Then there are possibilities with some yet to be discovered non-intelligent seeding force – it may not even be a singularity – and I can go on for days bringing up possibilities that do or do not involve intelligence, purpose or time existence of such within this universe and they all remain possibilities since all of it is presently beyond our knowledge.

      May 23, 2013 at 8:04 pm |
    • fred

      LinCa
      “ "What Jesus and Mohamed did founded upon the God of Abraham by faith is very real."
      ... and your evidence for that is......?”
      =>by faith Abraham had two sons Ishmael and Isaac. God said they will be great nations. Today we have the Muslim nation and the Jewish nation.” actual, verifiable evidence”
      =>Jesus and Mohamed testified to the faith of Abraham (real or imagined matters not) creating a radical change in world view. Only a small minority of the worlds population has not been impacted by these figures (real or not)

      “I am well aware of the detrimental effects of religion on society.”
      =>majority of which is based on abuse of the Scripture as verified by the Dead Sea Scrolls. But, thank you for verifying the very real impact of Jesus and Mohamed.

      “Your god remains the figment of middle eastern desert dwellers.”
      =>god can be real or not real but the faith in God is in fact present in the majority of the worlds population. The faith is real, very real as reflected in action and testimony. Your opinion is your own and the very real faith of the world is not changed by your opinion. Reality is that which does not change based upon an individuals opinion.

      “Yup. The only fundamental difference is that children are allowed to stop believing in the Easter Bunny and not their parents imaginary friend.”
      =>check with Chuckles on that one as he stopped believing in the God of Abraham and his parents. Oh, and you also stopped believing in the God of your parents.

      “I only require it to be evidence,”
      =>now, why would God give you evidence he refused to give to the Sanhedrin when they demanded it? The evidence for God is changed lives through faith.
      =>Jesus said no one comes to the Father but through me. If you want evidence for God you must go through Jesus. Works every time when asked with a sincere heart.

      May 23, 2013 at 8:42 pm |
    • fred

      HotAirAce
      You are taking my post out of context. The point was in response to the many unproven possibilities in pre Big Bang cosmology. One point (source of multiverse speculation) does have the same substance and matter of God as defined in the Bible (not measureable physical mass but force of causation). All I said was hey the latest quantum theory has the same attributes of God Moses picked up on. The Bible says it was created out of that which did not exist which is the same as mass coming into existence through quantum gravitational phase across a thin bridge.
      Science and the Bible are saying the same thing but one does not support the other as they are as you say different disciplines.

      May 23, 2013 at 8:55 pm |
    • fred

      mama k
      Certainly there are possibilities or alternates which are unknown.
      Based on what you know is there a purpose behind the creation of the universe?

      May 23, 2013 at 9:24 pm |
    • LinCA

      @fred

      You said, "by faith Abraham had two sons Ishmael and Isaac. God said they will be great nations. Today we have the Muslim nation and the Jewish nation.” actual, verifiable evidence”"
      Holy fucking shit! You are gullible, aren't you?

      If you get enough of the deluded together, they'll form a country. Religious prophesies are self-fulfilling if there are enough dimwits that believe them. If it weren't for rational people, the US would have been a christian nation a long time ago. In effect, you are committing the ad populum fallacy.

      You said, "Only a small minority of the worlds population has not been impacted by these figures (real or not)"
      Of course, if the majority isn't smart enough to escape the delusion, it will affect everyone. Duh.

      You said, "majority of which is based on abuse of the Scripture as verified by the Dead Sea Scrolls. But, thank you for verifying the very real impact of Jesus and Mohamed."
      Correction. The real impact of religion. The real impact of mental illness in large numbers. The delusion does nothing to establish the veracity of the object of the delusion. Not even mass delusion.

      You said, "god can be real or not real but the faith in God is in fact present in the majority of the worlds population."
      Ad populum. Mass delusion doesn't establish your god is real.

      You said, "The faith is real, very real as reflected in action and testimony."
      Mass delusion is real. No wonder people act on it.

      You said, "check with Chuckles on that one as he stopped believing in the God of Abraham and his parents. Oh, and you also stopped believing in the God of your parents."
      The spell can be broken. If you put your mind to it, you can get out of the nonsense.

      You said, "now, why would God give you evidence he refused to give to the Sanhedrin when they demanded it? The evidence for God is changed lives through faith."
      Yup. A god that refuses to be tested is exactly the same as one that doesn't exist. Thank you for acknowledging that your god is indistinguishable from one that is entirely imaginary.

      You said, "Jesus said no one comes to the Father but through me. If you want evidence for God you must go through Jesus. Works every time when asked with a sincere heart."
      You just said your god would be tested. Since I don't already believe the bullshit, there is no way that will work. I really can't will myself to start believing in the Tooth fairy again. Unless you already believe, it is virtually impossible to start. That's where the childhood indoctrination comes in.

      May 24, 2013 at 12:17 am |
    • fred

      “Religious prophesies are self-fulfilling if there are enough dimwits that believe them.”
      =>so, if enough people believed in the Easter Bunny we would find them laying colored eggs everywhere?

      “If it weren't for rational people, the US would have been a christian nation a long time ago.”
      =>we were a nation of Christians at one time and now 78% remain in the ranks so I would say were are still of nation of Christians, or a nation of churches (335,000).

      “ In effect, you are committing the ad populum fallacy.”
      =>no, the fact faith has had an impact stands correct regardless of the high frequency of factual observation. In other words the conclusion is not dependent on the object but on verifiable data.

      “The delusion does nothing to establish the veracity of the object of the delusion. Not even mass delusion.”
      =>we are speaking about faith, faith is not a delusion but a well accepted cognitive function perhaps even the culmination of cognitive functionality. The veracity of the object is a separate discussion all together.

      “You said, "god can be real or not real but the faith in God is in fact present in the majority of the worlds population."
      Ad populum. Mass delusion doesn't establish your god is real.”
      =>again, you repeat the same error of judgment as faith in God is factual and I do not claim faith in God as a function of the number of faithful.

      “The spell can be broken. If you put your mind to it, you can get out of the nonsense.”
      =>You really are working way too hard at remaining a non believer. Alarm bells anyone?

      “Yup. A god that refuses to be tested is exactly the same as one that doesn't exist.”
      =>Read the Bible again and note the extent to which Jesus was tested daily.
      =>Read Luke chapter 4 Satan said if you are the Christ then throw yourself off this roof and God will keep you from hitting the ground. Jesus said ‘it is written do not put the Lord your God to a foolish test”

      “Unless you already believe, it is virtually impossible to start”
      =>actually, it is as simple as saying Jesus I really don’t believe. If you really came to save me would you help me to believe? Scripture says you are the lamp onto my feet please show me the way.

      May 24, 2013 at 1:07 am |
    • ME II

      @fred,
      self-fulfilling prophecies...
      Don't be ridiculous. Some prophecies are self-fulfilling; others are not. The modern state of Israel, for example, would not have taken its current form without a "prophecy" of the Jews returning to the land.

      Christian nation...
      Obviously, 'Christian nation' and 'nation of [mostly] Christians' are two different things. Equivocation.

      "we are speaking about faith, faith is not a delusion but a well accepted cognitive function perhaps even the culmination of cognitive functionality."
      But 'delusion' is also a "cognitive function", if by that you mean a function of the brain. Just because faith and delusion are functions of cognition, does not mean they are separate nor accurate.

      "...faith in God..."
      While there are many people who have "faith" in God, that does not mean there actually is a God in which to have faith.

      "testing" God and needing evidence are not the same thing. One can find evidence of Dinosaurs without asking them to do anything.

      "actually, it is as simple as saying Jesus I really don’t believe. If you really came to save me would you help me to believe? "
      Sorry, but isn't that a test? Also, it appears to unverifiable. In other words, if I say this and still don't believe, does that disprove God?

      May 24, 2013 at 11:24 am |
    • fred

      ME II
      “While there are many people who have "faith" in God, that does not mean there actually is a God in which to have faith.”
      =>agreed- however, during drought elephants follow the matriarch who somehow finds the source of life. We can speculate if that is instinct, faith or habit without reaching consensus. The fact remains it is necessary for the survival of their purpose in life. Humans unanimously (2% of humans over time lacking that sense over known history are statistically irrelevant) sense the supernatural resulting in all sorts of beliefs and rituals. This cannot be denied. The response to the sense of existing supernatural is generally worship and sacrifice.
      The oral tradition of the Hebrew carried down the worship and sacrifice with the first examples of the first children of man Cain and Able. As we all know Cain gets it wrong and eventually all like him are destroyed due to such wickedness (refused the way of the supernatural).
      Exactly how does a rational man go against such established pattern of survival? In Cain’s case he insisted on his way not Gods way.

      “One can find evidence of Dinosaurs without asking them to do anything.”
      =>fixation on the physical has been proven self limiting and recently given quantum theory any philosophy based on materialism is out the window. We do not know what was in the heart and mind of the Neanderthal when we discovered afterlife rituals in burial sites. We do not know why elephants today fuss about burial sites of their ancestors.
      Any suggestion there is nothing outside the physical is without merit. The source of our matter and energy though unknown is known to be greater than we ever thought in terms of power and scope. It remains presently super and not a known part of our natural world. The supernatural is. The Bible claims it is and all evidence of human behavior substantiates that it is.

      “ if I say this (Jesus I don’t believe help me) and still don't believe, does that disprove God? A heart felt plea from a broken and contrite soul always receives the gift from God. In that case yes, it would disprove God because God says a broken and contrite heart I will not refuse.

      May 24, 2013 at 2:28 pm |
    • ME II

      @fred,
      "during drought elephants follow the matriarch who somehow finds the source of life. We can speculate if that is instinct, faith or habit without reaching consensus"

      Are you serious? There is no reason at all to think elephants find water by faith. Completely baseless hand-waving.

      "Humans unanimously ... sense the supernatural resulting in all sorts of beliefs and rituals."

      No one "senses" the supernatural, else it would likely have been detected and studied. What you mean is that many people believe in the supernatural, although many people used to believe in a flat earth, fairies, and dragons also.

      "The response to the sense of existing supernatural is generally worship and sacrifice."

      Nonsense, this is begging-the-question. Your statement assumes the existence of the supernatural in order to explain "worship and sacrifice" when its existence is the thing in question.

      "The oral tradition of the Hebrew carried down the worship and sacrifice with the first examples of the first children of man Cain and Able. As we all know Cain gets it wrong ..."

      Demonstrably wrong. Evolution, genetics, and the fossil record disprove the concept of Adam and Eve and "the first children".

      -–
      "fixation on the physical has been proven self limiting and recently given quantum theory any philosophy based on materialism is out the window."

      Based on what? First, define "materialism", then cite research that shows that quantum theory disproves "materialism".

      "We do not know what was in the heart and mind of the Neanderthal..."
      "We do not know why elephants today fuss about burial sites of their ancestors."

      More hand-waving – irrelevent.

      "Any suggestion there is nothing outside the physical is without merit."

      Based on what?

      "The source of our matter and energy though unknown..."
      "It remains presently super and not a known part..."

      Your argument seems based simply on "we don't know, therefore God", which is not an argument.

      --
      "In that case yes, it would disprove God because God says a broken and contrite heart I will not refuse."

      So, I assume, since it did not work for me, that God is disproven? Or will you claim that my heart is not "broken and contrite" enough?

      May 24, 2013 at 3:12 pm |
    • fred

      So, I assume, since it did not work for me, that God is disproven? Or will you claim that my heart is not "broken and contrite" enough?
      =>I have yet to find the Bible wrong (I will get to you later on Adam & Eve) when it comes to the attributes of God with love, mercy and grace at the top of my list. Your journey is far from over and last I heard God has all the time he needs to accomplish his purpose.
      =>I have the personal experience with many broken and contrite hearts. Only the minority had the instant life transforming experience evident on or about the time of brokenness that was permanent after the crisis passed. The remainder who continued their struggle to overcome eventually did. The longest was 9 years.
      I lost contact with some who appeared to return to former lifestyles however, In the Bible Jesus never lost one that was saved (with the exception of the son of prediction) so I believe all have found their way.

      May 24, 2013 at 4:35 pm |
    • ME II

      @freed,
      What a crock. You're saying that it may not be apparent but will happen at some point? Typical fortune-telling ambiguity. "I see money in your future" Really, no crap!

      "In the Bible Jesus never lost one that was saved (with the exception of the son of prediction) so I believe all have found their way."
      And you are defining "saved" as those not lost by Jesus, I suppose? I think that is called a tautalogy.

      May 25, 2013 at 1:37 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Fred, I'm sorry the bad atheists have ruined your dreams of a christian theocracy. I'm sure it's very painful to you to concede equal rights to people who don't believe what you do.

      The United States was never meant to be a theocracy, and will never be a theocracy as long as our Constitution is properly upheld. If the thought of a secular nation is so horrific to you, you should probably leave. I hear Afghanistan, Iran, Mauritania, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Vatican City and Yemen are places where religion is the foundation of government. Perhaps you should go live in one of those lovely places.

      May 25, 2013 at 1:48 pm |
    • Science

      Hey freed you to...........go now you are free to take a wild walk where the BEAR sh-its fred !

      soundoff (2,965 Responses)

      faith

      say good bye perverts

      May 25, 2013 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse | Reply

      faith

      sambo tom science bill nye

      u r finished u filthy animal

      May 25, 2013 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |

      Scienec

      You know faith you are stuck in a big pile GREEN SLIME with NO horn-y red devil to save your ass.

      Hey Chad/faith too.................Thanks Bob peace

      add it to your favorites tool bar !

      https://www.zotero.org/colleengreene/items/5XRFKX8N\

      Peace

      May 25, 2013 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |

      May 25, 2013 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |

      http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/05/23/heaven-for-atheists-pope-sparks-debate/#comments

      May 25, 2013 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse | Reply

      May 25, 2013 at 1:55 pm |
  12. Bible Clown©

    Religion may be the opium of the people, but on some people it works more like PCP.

    May 22, 2013 at 4:02 pm |
    • Quote City

      "Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation. It is the opium of the people."

      May 22, 2013 at 4:05 pm |
  13. Quote City

    Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I'm not concerned about that now. I just want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over. And I've seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land!

    Martin Luther King, JR

    May 22, 2013 at 4:00 pm |
  14. Nietodarwin

    “Scientists do not join hands every Sunday and sing "Yes gravity is real! I know gravity is real! I will have faith! I believe in my heart that what goes up, up, up must come down, down, down. Amen!" If they did, we would think they were pretty insecure about the concept.”
    _ Dan Barker, Godless: How an Evangelical Preacher Became One of America's Leading Atheists

    “If there is a God, atheism must seem to Him as less of an insult than religion.”
    _ Edmond De Goncourt

    May 22, 2013 at 3:48 pm |
    • Quote City

      There are scientists that join hands and sing praises to God.

      Real scientists. Not ones that just post about it on the internet.

      “NASA people are more faith-filled, and this is their vocation,” said Matt Walden, a worship leader who has worked at St. Paul’s. “They have a position that pastors don’t have and can talk about the glory of God’s creation as seen from space,” noting that a number of NASA’s Christians have used their careers as vehicles for ministry."

      God bless us and the scientists.

      May 22, 2013 at 4:03 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Please provide a single reference of a believer scientist, at NASA or elsewhere, who has been published in a credible scientific journal that concludes his theory, observation or opinion with "because a god did it."

      May 22, 2013 at 5:41 pm |
    • Bible Clown©

      "There are scientists that join hands and sing praises to God." And this is supposed to prove something? I doubt it's true, since there are no names, but so what? I know of a lot of scientists who are Hindus. Holy cow, right? And a lot of them are Buddhists. Instant karma's gonna get you. Perhaps being a "scientist" doesn't automatically make you an expert on theology or ontology? Maybe they just have advanced degrees, not divine insight?

      May 23, 2013 at 9:41 am |
  15. Toothpaste Kills

    Kindly remove my head, as for my kind, leaving the head can lead to undesirable things.

    Please hang my body thusly in the forest. The critters that scurry below me and above me can nourish their hungry kittens.

    Watch over my family for they will surely lose their minds and harm you. Put them away and lock them behind many locks.

    Then forget me for I am not worth your memories. I am religion. I am terror.

    May 22, 2013 at 3:45 pm |
  16. Tom, Tom, the Other One

    This seems like a healthy admission that religion has nothing to offer over well-reasoned compassion.

    May 22, 2013 at 3:45 pm |
  17. Nietodarwin

    “What I have a problem with is not so much religion or god, but faith. When you say you believe something in your heart and therefore you can act on it, you have completely justified the 9/11 bombers. You have justified Charlie Manson. If it's true for you, why isn't it true for them? Why are you different? If you say "I believe there's an all-powerful force of love in the universe that connects us all, and I have no evidence of that but I believe it in my heart," then it's perfectly okay to believe in your heart that Sharon Tate deserves to die. It's perfectly okay to believe in your heart that you need to fly planes into buildings for Allah.”
    _ Penn Jillette

    May 22, 2013 at 3:43 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. Romans 4:4-5

      May 22, 2013 at 4:22 pm |
    • Sam27

      No religion in the world promotes violence. Quite the opposite, all religions have several things in common: to do good to others, help each other, and be the best person that one can be: with ourselves, our families, and in our communities. Those who have used religion/faith to hurt others are not representing a faith but are representing man's greed, corruption, and need for power. In my church, we are all sinners who help each other. Many are professionals that after working a full day, they volunteer at night time offering free counsel to those suffering with all kinds of addictions, depression, marital problems, divorce, getting out of debt etc etc. Our church helps those who are in great need: single parents, unemployed, the sick, orphans, etc etc. There are no fees or dues to pay. All the counseling is free. This is just a few things that are offered at my church. No one is perfect, not even our pastors but we try our best. Our goal is to help and support each other in our greatest time of need regardless of someones background. You may not agree with it but for so people in desperate need of help, there is a place to find peace.

      May 22, 2013 at 4:38 pm |
  18. There is no such thing as bad theology

    Don't confuse a person's inadequate behavior with theology!

    May 22, 2013 at 3:29 pm |
    • sam stone

      why not? man made theology

      May 22, 2013 at 3:30 pm |
    • There is no such thing as bad theology

      Inadequate human behavior is what can be called into question, not theology!

      May 22, 2013 at 3:41 pm |
    • sam stone

      doesn't belief infuence action?

      May 22, 2013 at 3:43 pm |
    • Bible Clown©

      No such thing as bad theology? How about when Saint Nurbert sacrificed a goat to dog instead of god, because he was dyslexic, and dog carried him up to heaven? Now that was some BAD theology.

      May 22, 2013 at 3:45 pm |
    • There is no such thing as bad theology

      Inadequate human behavior is a reflection of human nature, it does not portray who God is.

      May 22, 2013 at 3:58 pm |
    • sam stone

      nor does theology

      May 22, 2013 at 4:17 pm |
  19. Nietodarwin

    “I believe the simplest explanation is, there is no God. No one created the universe and no one directs our fate. This leads me to a profound realization that there probably is no heaven and no afterlife either. We have this one life to appreciate the grand design of the universe and for that, I am extremely grateful.”
    _ Stephen Hawking

    May 22, 2013 at 3:29 pm |
    • Joey

      Here comes Chad to claim that this quote proves that Hawking believes in Intelligent Design.

      May 22, 2013 at 3:43 pm |
    • Dave

      The word 'design' seems out of place here, doesn't it?

      May 22, 2013 at 3:44 pm |
  20. Nietodarwin

    “I don't try to imagine a personal God; it suffices to stand in awe at the
    structure of the world, insofar as it allows our inadequate senses to appreciate it.”
    _ Albert Einstein

    “The reason people use a crucifix against vampires is because vampires are allergic to bullspit.”
    _ Richard Pryor
    If god created man in his own image, how come I'm not invisible?”
    _ David Powers

    May 22, 2013 at 3:28 pm |
    • Bible Clown©

      Actually, it's good against vampires because it's the only faith that claims God cares about individuals.

      May 22, 2013 at 4:00 pm |
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About this blog

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