home
RSS
July 30th, 2013
02:17 PM ET

Why are millennials leaving church? Try atheism

Opinion by Hemant Mehta, Special to CNN

(CNN) - Articles and books about why millennials are leaving Christianity often focus on what churches are doing "wrong."

They're anti-gay, anti-women, anti-science, anti-sex-education and anti-doubt, 
to name a few of the most common criticisms.

I don't disagree with those critiques, but there's another side to the story.

While Christians have played sloppy defense, secular Americans have been showing off some impressive offense, giving young Christians plenty of reasons to lose faith in organized religion.

For instance, atheists dominate the Internet, rallying to thriving websites and online communities in lieu of physical meeting spaces.

Even a writer for the evangelical magazine Relevant admitted that “While Christianity enjoys a robust online presence, the edge still seems to belong to its unbelievers.”

Atheists outnumber Christians on popular discussion forums like Reddit, where subscribers to the atheism section number more than 2 million. The Christianity section is not even 5% of that.

The Internet-based Foundation Beyond Belief, which encourages atheists to donate to charitable organizations, just celebrated raising $1 million for worthwhile causes. (Disclosure: I serve on its board of directors.)

Moreover, blogs and websites espousing non-religious viewpoints and criticizing Christianity draw tons of Internet traffic these days. For every Christian apologist's argument, it seems, there's an equal and opposite rebuttal to be found online. I call that "Hitchens' Third Law.”

READ MORE: Why millennials are leaving the church 

Christians can no longer hide in a bubble, sheltered from opposing perspectives, and church leaders can't protect young people from finding information that contradicts traditional beliefs.

If there's an open comment thread to be found on a Christian's YouTube video or opinion piece online, there's inevitably going to be pushback from atheists.

There has also been a push by atheists to get non-religious individuals to "come out of the closet" and let people know that they don't believe in God.

Among other things, this proves that anti-atheist stereotypes aren't accurate and, just as important, that atheists aren’t alone in their communities.

There's the Richard Dawkins Foundation's Out Campaign, with its Scarlet A badges.

There are atheist-encouraging billboards in 33 states financed by groups like the United Coalition of Reason.

There's even going to be an 1-800 hot line for people "recovering" from religion.

READ MORE: Atheists to start 1-800 hot line for doubters

And last year, an estimated 20,000 atheists turned out for the Reason Rally in Washington, a tenfold increase from the previous atheist rally in 2002.

But more than anything else, atheism's best advertisements may be the words of Christian leaders themselves.

When Pastor Mark Driscoll belittles women, Rick Warren argues against same-sex rights or Rob Bell equivocates on the concept of hell, we amplify those messages for them - and it helps us make our point.

(It goes without saying that the pairing of Pat Robertson and YouTube has been great for atheists.)

Pastors are no longer the final authority on the truth, and millennials know it.

Even if they hold Jesus' message in high esteem, the Bible as it has traditionally been preached by many evangelical pastors is becoming less and less attractive to them.

A 2012 study by the Public Religion Research Institute (PDF) showed that many Christians aged 18-24 felt that Christianity was hypocritical (49%), judgmental (54%) and anti-gay (58%).

In addition, Christianity Today reported last year that fewer than half of born-again Christians under 35 opposed same-sex marriage.

When millennials' pastors and hearts are going in different directions, church leaders should be worried.

Can churches win back the youth?

Barring a complete shift in beliefs, that may not be possible. Some of the proposed solutions seem ludicrous to millennial atheists like myself.

For instance, there's been talk of finding a better way to reconcile science and religion. Whenever that battle takes place, religion loses.

There are some questions we may never know the answer to, but for the ones we can eventually answer, the scientific explanation will devour the religious one. Mixing science and religion requires a distortion of one or the other.

READ MORE: Behold, the six tribes of atheism 

What about focusing on the message and life of Jesus?

While this sounds good philosophically, the myth surrounding Jesus is part of the problem with Christianity.

To believe in Jesus means believing that he was born of a virgin, rose from the dead and performed a number of miracles.

There's no proof of any of that ever happened, and atheists place those stories in the same box as "young Earth creationism" and Noah's Great Flood.

To be sure, if Christians followed the positive ideas Jesus had, we'd all be better off, but it's very hard to separate the myth from the reality.

In short, there are many reasons the percentage of millennials who say they've never doubted God's existence is at a record low, and nearly a quarter of adults under 30 no longer affiliate with a faith.

The church has pushed young people away, yes, but there are also forces actively pulling them in the other direction.

It appears that atheists and Christians are finally working together on the same task: getting millennials to leave the church.

Hemant Mehta blogs at The Friendly Atheist. The views expressed in this column belong to Mehta. 

Photos: Famous atheists and their beliefs

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Atheism • Belief • Church • Culture & Science • Faith • Internet • Nones • Opinion • Science • United States

soundoff (5,653 Responses)
  1. Observer

    Try atheism? Why not try cancer or aids? It is the same result.

    August 4, 2013 at 8:26 am |
    • skytag

      More evidence religion makes people stupid.

      August 4, 2013 at 9:11 am |
      • jungleboo

        Indeed.

        August 4, 2013 at 7:45 pm |
  2. hisgoodteenr

    Serious questions for intelligent thinking believers: How do you handle contradictions among your faith, the unbelievable stories behind it (e.g. Genesis, Great Flood, etc.) and the scientific evidence debunking these stories? Are you experiencing some sort of cognitive dissonance?

    August 3, 2013 at 9:37 pm |
    • ogf295

      That depends on how the individual views these stories. A literal reading of these stories is certainly in tension with scientific evidence. If someone takes the strong position that these things literally happened, then one might take the position that the scientific evidence is a test of faith of sorts, or that the science is somehow wrong.

      On the other end of the spectrum, there are denominations that permit individuals to view the Biblical genre as more metaphorical and fluid. Catholicism is an example. Thus, from say the story of Genesis, the only things that can be literally taken away are something like:

      1) God created the universe.
      2) There was a first man and a first woman.
      3) Humans suffer from a tendency to disobey God, leading to sins.

      Such an interpretation is compatible with say evolution. So, yes, this really depends a lot on who you are talking to.

      August 3, 2013 at 10:28 pm |
      • hisgoodteenr

        Thanks for the reply. How can the first man and woman, Adam and Eve, from Genesis be compatible with evolution? Man was directly created by God, Eve came from Adam's rib. Evolution , on the other hand, states that modern man evolved from simple micro organism from the sea, which adapted to land, then primates, to early apes then modern man. It is either creationism orevolution – may not be both... no?

        August 4, 2013 at 1:48 am |
        • Mark from Middle River

          The interesting thing which I found was how the Theory of Evolution and the accounts of the Creation are not as polar opposite as some would wish them to be. If the Biblical account was that God had created man, (Adam and Eve) before he created anything else, I could see Evolution and Creation coming to be seen as different. That someone wrote in text that the Earth was without form. Basically, declaring the Earth as a shapeless form in the darkness of space thousands of years before Science theorized that the Earth was a blob of matter left over from the big bang, to me is awesome.

          Evolution , on the other hand, states that modern man evolved from simple micro organism from the sea, which adapted to land

          In Genesis 20, a person wrote:

          20 And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.

          It was not until Genesis 26, that man came along. So, both Creationism and Evolution both state that the first life on Earth was created in the sea. If you look at the scripture before Genesis 20, you see the formation of the Earth and a testimony of the rotation of the planet and the receding of the waters to create land. If the Bible just said that God created man and made the planet perfect as we see it today then I could see some having a issue, but it did not. The Bible was pretty close to the theory of Evolution many years before scientist and thinkers even pondered Evolution. I am not saying it is a perfect match but, I do not see enough difference to necessitate a major conflict.

          So, maybe some of Faith have a issue but there are people of Faith who are also people of science.

          PS. According to other text.....Eve was created fourth.

          August 4, 2013 at 3:30 am |
        • hisgoodteenr

          Mark So what you're saying is so long as one story between evolution and genesis then both are compatible? Ignore the other non-supporting stories like Eve was created from Adam on the same day (day 6) while evolution took millions of years before the first modern man existed?

          August 4, 2013 at 10:00 am |
        • Mark from Middle River

          Mark So what you're saying is so long as one story between evolution and genesis then both are compatible? I</em

          Well, as I stated: I am not saying it is a perfect match but, I do not see enough difference to necessitate a major conflict.

          I said that because, in a few parts there is enough similaries that while I can understand conflict, it is not major conflict. On issues such as abortion, LGBT, and even capital punishment, there are distinct lines of conflict. In comparing Evolution and Creationism, I do not understand the severely major conflict. To me it is only of those amazing things. The same collection of Holy accounts got that God created life first in the sea, that the Earth was a blob of matter floating through space, thousands of years before more advanced thinkers theorized it does allow me handle both evolution and creationism. I also am open to the thought that God is not held to the spectrum of time as you or me.

          Try this. Some poor farmer or herder is laying in a field and questions to himself... how was this all created. God appears and says..... let me show you. The testimony of this guy would be the philosophy lesson of the three men in the cave. What he describes, when he returns is what makes up the book of Genesis. That he came pretty close to the theory of evolution, should be celebrated, not feared. 🙂

          August 4, 2013 at 2:53 pm |
        • hisgoodteenr

          @ mark:. So according to you, Adam evolved and this story is supported by the bible. How about Eve? The bible clearly stated he was made from Adam's rib and made her his wife. Doesn't that contradict your evolution story?

          August 4, 2013 at 4:26 pm |
        • skytag

          @Mark from Middle River :"Well, as I stated: I am not saying it is a perfect match but, I do not see enough difference to necessitate a major conflict."

          It's said that when people hear something they ask themselves one of two things:

          – If it's something they want to believe, they ask themselves, "Can I believe it?" In other words, is there any reason to believe it's too preposterous to believe? If not, you can believe it.

          – If it's something they don't want to believe, they ask themselves, "Must I believe it?" In other words, is there no way I can rationalize not believing it?

          As a Christian you have a very clear bias toward believing you see evidence of your religious beliefs and rejecting evidence or arguments against them. So when you say "I do not see enough difference to necessitate a major conflict" it only means you've found a way to rationalize believing there is no major conflict.

          Armed with the ability to declare parts of the Bible allegorical at your whim and a god who has no limits of any kind your ability to craft arguments supporting what you want to believe and rationalize rejecting arguments against it is limited only by your imagination. After all, you don't have to prove any of it, none of your theories ever has to be supported by one shred of evidence, so you're free to make up anything you like to convince yourself it could have happened the way the Bible says, or in other words, you can believe it.

          As long as you are committed to maintaining your religious beliefs you'll be able to rationalize them.

          I was where you are for many years, until I finally got to the point I couldn't keep rationalizing why so many things I believed didn't match what we know about the real world. Maintaining these delusions requires a constant effort; reading the scriptures, prayer, interacting with others who share the same delusions, and so on. Without those things continually reinforcing your beliefs it becomes harder and harder to rationalize them, and eventually you get to the point you start to question them objectively and realize there simply is no truth to them.

          That one simple fact replaces all the rationalizations in one felled swoop. No more trying to rationalize the Genesis story, the ark story, or any other part of the Bible, no more rationalizing why there is no evidence of God, why there is no evidence he has ever answered a prayer, why he changed Saul's heart but not Hitler's or Stalin's, why so many supernatural explanations of real world phenomenon have been debunked by science, all of those questions are answered by one fact: There is no God.

          August 5, 2013 at 1:36 am |
        • Mark from Middle River

          The bible clearly stated he was made from Adam's rib and made her his wife. Doesn't that contradict your evolution story?

          Well, with other text Eve was the second or maybe the third. Ever hear of Lilith? In those text Adam, the second wife and Lilith were all created from dust. The text states that God only created one woman from Adam's rib, and she was Eve. After that we get into the standard...were did all the other people come from. Now, then we go into Adam and Eve and 800 years of life and procreation.

          Which is a better Atheist topic challenge then Eve being made of Adam's ribs. 🙂 As I have expressed is that the Theory of Evolution and the Creation testimony are not carbon copies but there too many simlarities for me to completely write off. Some of which took mankind thousands of years to offer up the Theory of Evolution.

          So, that the Bible states that Eve was made from Adam causes me no more pause then Adam being created from... dust. You are questioning my Faith in the act of the creation of Eve but I wonder why you are not pressuring to question the creation of Adam.

          August 5, 2013 at 2:03 am |
        • Mark from Middle River

          SkyTag.

          As a Christian you have a very clear bias toward believing you see evidence of your religious beliefs and rejecting evidence or arguments against them. So when you say "I do not see enough difference to necessitate a major conflict" it only means you've found a way to rationalize believing there is no major conflict.

          Assumption is the mother of all F'Ups. Basically, you are debating with a person who is Christian who is open to other Faiths and tolerant of those who are not of Faith. Is my faith bias to a point that I am rationalizing my view. I do not think so. Heck by briniging in Lilith and the Second wife of Adam, who are not in the Bible, proves that my scope is more vast than you care to handle. Maybe, if I were a 700 Club

          If your proof is that you can rationalize that there is not a God or Gods. Bascially, because you hope I accept your Faith in your beliefs, you are not open minded enough to accept or be tolerant of others. I ask you for proof before and you went nuts with post all over the place...not one of them offering any more proof than you stating your beliefs. If I were Agnostic, If you can not prove it was not God who answered a prayer, why should I give your Faith any more weight than another claiming it was?

          The one true fact, you are only operating on Faith that there is not a God.

          Question SkyTag. Since we know that the book of Genesis came thousands of years before the Therory of Evolution, how did the writer come up with the simularites to the Theory of Evolution?

          Geniesis 2. Earth was without form. Theroy of Evolution states that the Earth was a blob of leftover matter from the big bang.

          Genesis 4-5. Earth rotation on its axis

          Genesis 9-10. Creation of land mass

          Genesis 11-12. Creation of plant life

          Genesis 20. Small cell organisms in the sea.

          Genesis 21. Major life in the sea. Example Whales, which existed before man.

          Genesis 25. Land animals.

          Now, Genesis 27 might be the answer that Hisgoodteenr might need to check. If man and woman were created at the same time, it backs up Lilith and that only Eve was created from a rib. Back to my question SkyTag. If the Bible had just stated that God created man ..poof... and there was a perfect Earth from the start, would that go against The Theory of Evolution to greater degree than the progression which is stated in the Bible? I have to keep wondering how some guy, or girl, revealed this so long before anyone else. This is why I do not have the major conflict with Evolution that you and HGTR, feel that I should.

          In the end, it is crazy because HGTRs great issue is that another person lacks conflict that she or he feels they should have.

          Either way. Peace yall'

          August 5, 2013 at 2:51 am |
        • skytag

          @Mark from Middle River: "Is my faith bias to a point that I am rationalizing my view. I do not think so."

          Oh, well, if you don't think so then it couldn't possibly be, right? LOL

          Every believer rationalizes. It's not possible to embrace the Christian narrative without rationalizing. You call it explaining. Explaining why there are so many religions, why less than a third of the world's population is Christian, why God changed Saul's heart but not Hitler's, why there is no evidence any prayer has ever been answered and a hundred other questions about things that don't seem to jive with what Christians believe about God and accounts in the Bible.

          "If your proof is that you can rationalize that there is not a God or Gods. Bascially, because you hope I accept your Faith in your beliefs"

          And down the rabbit hole you go. More of this idiotic talk of my "faith" because I say there is nothing when I see nothing. Talk about rationalizing, buddy you're as good as it as they get.

          You sound pathetic claiming I "rationalize" there are no gods. Do you "rationalize" there is no Santa Claus, no vampires, no leprechauns, no Easter Bunny? Because my position on all of those is identical to my position on God: With no evidence of their existence I am forced to conclude they don't exist. How is that "rationalizing?"

          It isn't. You're just desperately trying to put rational behavior on the same level as believing fairytales.

          August 5, 2013 at 8:07 am |
        • skytag

          @Mark from Middle River: "you are not open minded enough to accept or be tolerant of others."

          Blah, blah, blah. I don't suffer fools gladly and I think you people are fools. If you don't like that, tough nuts. You go around brainwashing people to believe faith is evidence, that wanting to believe something (which you call faith) is a more reliable path to truth than facts, reason, or evidence.

          Hebrews 11:1
          Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

          In other words, hoping something is true is evidence it's true, faith is evidence. What poppycock. This is the stupid stuff religions teach people so they'll accept all their myths and stories without question. Then the fools go off and use the same reasoning in other areas of their lives such as politics. That's why the average person in America thinks believing something makes it true.

          I've heard it all. Your eyes can deceive you, trust your feelings. "For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God." Don't trust your mind, trust your heart because that's where God is or the Spirit dwells or some other such foolishness. It's all designed to get you to trust emotions that can be manipulated over what facts, reason, and logic tell you. And then the church proceeds to manipulate them. And politicians. And scam artists.

          So yeah, as long as you go around convincing people to rely on emotions over education and intelligence to understand things so they can be manipulated by churches, politicians and scam artists you can expect me to be unapologetically intolerant.

          August 5, 2013 at 8:14 am |
        • skytag

          @Mark from Middle River: "I ask you for proof before and you went nuts with post all over the place..."

          You are pathologically dishonest. This is lie and you know it. Another Christian fraud is all you are. I responded to your comments. I did not "go nuts" or post "all over the place." You posted a lot of crap about me and atheists so it took a while to address it. And when I was done exposing your lies and misconceptions you didn't try to counter what I said, you chose instead to work this angle, acting as my responses were irrational. You are a sad excuse for a Christian. I've known a lot of good ones, and you aren't one of them.

          "not one of them offering any more proof than you stating your beliefs."

          I have shared some of my reasons for believing that when I see no evidence for believing there is a god I conclude there is no god. Instead of addressing them you resort to tactics like this to discredit me. Fine, all you're doing is confirming my assessments.

          August 5, 2013 at 8:19 am |
      • Freethinker

        ogf295: I do applaud you for what sounds like an acceptance of evolution, and you are correct that there are many level-headed religious people that follow the sciences. It was a catholic priest and physicist by the name of George Lemaitre who first proposed the big b**g theory; however, the method that most derive their belief that the bible is akin to a science t*xtbook is something like Nostradamus’s method of predicting the future through loosely connected text. The clinical term is for this is pareidolia, and it is the genetic tendency of human beings to find patterns in coincidence, and a common ailment of conspiracy theorists. Sadly, this often leads to religious groups legislative push to teach intelligent design in the public classroom.

        August 4, 2013 at 10:35 pm |
        • Freethinker

          A major flaw with the notion that a supreme being was necessary to create the spark of life is found in the research of scientists by the name of Stanley Miller and Harold Urey who produced amino acids from chemicals believed to be the earth’s original primordial soup. These guys mixed methane, hydrogen and ammonia and applied a small intermittent electrical charge to their combination to simulate possible static charges experienced by lightning or volcanic eruptions and produced amino acids. This was back in 1953 and it wasn’t until recently using chromatography that it was revealed that 22 amino acids were produced.

          August 4, 2013 at 10:46 pm |
        • skytag

          "there are many level-headed religious people that follow the sciences "

          I attribute this to people's ability to compartmentalize. That is, one compartment of their brains handles the religious thinking while a different compartment deals with the science stuff. There is a token attempt to reconcile the two, but for the most part people only engage one at even given time.

          August 5, 2013 at 2:01 am |
    • skytag

      I'm curious to know what the current thoughts are in the Christian community about dinosaurs. I'm surprised no one has brought this up any of the recent discussions.

      August 4, 2013 at 7:44 am |
      • Joe

        The book of Job (the oldest known written book of the Hebrew Bible) claims that man coexisted with the dinosaur, read leviathan.

        August 4, 2013 at 9:44 am |
        • Richard Cranium

          and since we kknow that man and the dinosaurs were seperated by millions of years, it is more evidence of the falseness of the bible.

          August 4, 2013 at 10:14 am |
        • HarryGP

          Job is high calibre, it is the one of the ultimate boolean accounts in there. When the big guy talks, he is talking.

          August 4, 2013 at 8:19 pm |
    • Rob

      First, what contradiction are you talking about? What is so unbelievable about the stories, if God is the timeless, spaceless, uncaused, immaterial, powerful being, that we claim, what is unbelievable? I know you have heard of Arvind Bord, Alan Guth, and Alexander Vilenkin they showed back in 2003 that any universe which has on average been expanding throughout its history cannot be eternal in the past, but must have absolute beginning and this even applies to the multiverse. What does Genesis say about the Universe, it had a beginning in the finite past. I have heard Richard Dawkins and Peter Aktin speck of the search for the first replicating molecule that would have come for non-life. We on the other hand believe that life came from Life. Which is more irrational, life coming from non-life or life? From a “being” who is more that capable creating two people (Adam and Eve if you will) -compared to a life form coming into existence for non-life.

      August 4, 2013 at 10:54 pm |
      • LinCA

        @Rob

        You said, "First, what contradiction are you talking about?"
        You weren't asking me, but if you were, it would be the omniscience and omnipotent often assigned to the christian god. These traits are mutually exclusive, therefore that god is impossible to exist.

        You said, "What is so unbelievable about the stories, if God is the timeless, spaceless, uncaused, immaterial, powerful being, that we claim, what is unbelievable?"
        The part that is completely ridiculous, and completely unbelievable is that there is such a creature.

        It is completely ridiculous because it doesn't answer any of the pertinent questions about it. Where and when does it reside? How did it come into being? Where and how did it get its powers?

        If you wish to make a case for your imaginary friend, you should start by providing something other than complete and abject bullshit. How about you start with a rational narative, supported by some evidence.

        Your god is no different from the Tooth Fairy. A belief it exists is no more rational than the belief of a five year old that the Tooth Fairy is real. A belief in gods is infantile. It's past time that as a society we shed that garbage. It's the 21st century, for crying out loud.

        And once you shed the infantile beliefs, it is immediately obvious that the stories are nothing more than that, stories. Folk tales passed down from generation to generation, embellished and changed over time, and finally written down. Clearly nonsense.

        August 4, 2013 at 11:15 pm |
      • skytag

        What LinCA said. I am particularly amused by this question:

        "if God is the timeless, spaceless, uncaused, immaterial, powerful being, that we claim, what is unbelievable?"

        Specifically I am amused by the nonchalant way in which you accept the existence of a being that has absolutely no limitations or bounds with no evidence whatsoever such a being exists. Obviously once you make that leap of faith you can justify anything you want to believe.

        August 5, 2013 at 2:12 am |
  3. Sage Rat

    I believe some things to be true because I've experienced them for myself (scenario A). I believe some other things even though I haven't experienced them firsthand (scenario B); instead I rely on the information provided to me from other people whom I choose to trust. Regardless of what I believe (based on either scenario above) I may ultimately be "wrong" based on my limited personal experience and / or misinformation.

    For now, though, let's revel in the fact that "we" are "right"...

    August 3, 2013 at 9:37 pm |
    • Oleg

      Personal experience is the lowest form of evidence. Have high fever or take a few milligrams of LSD and you will see the things that definitely don't exist.

      Personal experiences don't prove anything, but because they are personal, they feel very important. That's why almost every religion uses them as "proof" of THEIR god.

      August 4, 2013 at 2:57 pm |
  4. Ting

    I moved away from church simply because the concept of god did not really make sense; Atheism and its arguments about the concept of god did.

    August 3, 2013 at 1:56 pm |
    • bill

      i wonder if the atheists will stll be wearing their atheisim as a badge of honor..on there deathbeds..probably not...what a bunch of fools atheists are

      August 4, 2013 at 2:47 am |
      • skytag

        That was a childish, mean-spirited remark, more proof Christianity is a fraud. If you were truly secure in your religious beliefs you wouldn't feel a need to make such comments about the people who threaten your delusions.

        August 4, 2013 at 8:08 am |
      • Ting

        Bill, why are you wondering that? Are you up for a meaningful discussion or is your post just a "drive-by" drivel?

        August 4, 2013 at 10:05 am |
      • sam stone

        "ho, ho, ho....if it isn't fat, stinking billy goat billy boy in poison? how art thou, thou globby bottle of cheap, stinking chip oil? come take one in the yarbles if ya have any yarbles ya eunuch jelly thou?" – alex delarge

        August 6, 2013 at 5:35 am |
  5. Vic

    I just would like to point this out:

    God does not require man to be the equivalent to what we humans call a "rocket scientist" to pass the Faith test. In other words, it takes a layman to believe in God.

    Look how epic the scientific effort is to just explain and/or mimic what already exists that we take for granted, from the simplest to the most sophisticated, let alone explain the existence of God Himself, and yet, we know so little of the whole enchilada. If we were required the same magnitude to pass the Faith test, we surely are doomed. The Law by itself is not achievable by, let alone the aforementioned! So, a layman can simply see to God and receive the greatest pass ever, that is the Free Gift of Salvation. Amen.

    August 3, 2013 at 10:12 am |
    • Vic

      "The Law (Old Testament Law) by itself is not achievable by man, let alone the aforementioned!"

      August 3, 2013 at 10:17 am |
    • Richard Cranium

      "God does not require man to be the equivalent to what we humans call a "rocket scientist" to pass the Faith test. In other words, it takes a layman to believe in God."

      In reality, studies have shown that the less intelligent you are, the more the need for religion, higher intelligence leads to more cynical views, questioning the illogic of belief in deities, so you are right, stupider people do tend to believe without thinking.

      August 3, 2013 at 10:36 am |
      • Vic

        That's wishful thinking and projection at best! I've seen some of those studies, and not a single one of them posits causality! Those studies only show correlation between higher IQ scores (the IQ testing methods are in question, however) and disbelief but neither causes the other! And you are right, disbelief leads to cynicism but trust me, believing in God is very logical!

        August 3, 2013 at 10:47 am |
        • Atheist, me?

          Familiarity breeds contempt and contempt breeds ignorance. A vicious cycle.
          That is why Atheists focus so much on Christianity. At face value it is simple and illogical. They are familiar with it therefore they find it contemptible and can therefore not understand it.
          Their mind is closed to the truth. The funniest part of it all is their equation of science to Atheism.
          Atheism is not in the least scientific.

          August 3, 2013 at 11:35 am |
        • Vic

          Concur!

          August 3, 2013 at 11:53 am |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          How ignorant. Atheism is a stance of nonbelief; it has nothing to do with science at all.

          Science gets into the mix when supposedly "wise" and "holy" books written by "perfect" beings make stupid statements that have been completely disproved by science. Science, therefore, casts doubt on those claims of the natural world and on the book and philosophy as a whole.

          I WANT to believe in a god, but I CAN'T because I there is no verifiable method of measuring any claims of any existence of any god. There are times when faith is reasonable, but not when it comes to a claim as grandiose as "god."

          August 3, 2013 at 11:59 am |
        • Richard Cranium

          OK Vic....lets show how false christianity is, and why, with just ONE fact that science has provided, your entire religion collapses.

          The bible says that we are all descendants of Adam and Eve, that they committed original sin, and god sent his son to save us from that sin in the form of a man named Jesus.

          Reality shows, by way of genetics, that we did not all descend form one genetic set.
          Since we did not all descend from Adam and Eve, we are not all guilty of original sin, so god could not have sent his son to save us all from something we are not all involved with.
          The myth falls apart simply because the premise that we descended from Adam is false.
          So therefore Christianity is false.

          Now look where the philosophies behind Christ came from.
          Do unto others, not judging others, non-violence, community over self, fix yourself before criticizing other, on, an d on and on... all come from the Buddha, who came long before your Christ started teaching those things. Perhaps your Christ studied the teachings of the Buddha ( who was an atheist, considered the existance of any gods moot).

          August 3, 2013 at 12:53 pm |
        • skytag

          @Atheist, me?: "Familiarity breeds contempt and contempt breeds ignorance. A vicious cycle.
          That is why Atheists focus so much on Christianity. At face value it is simple and illogical. They are familiar with it therefore they find it contemptible and can therefore not understand it."

          What load of malarkey. Total gibberish. Atheists focus on Christianity in this country because it's the only religion in this country that has had any significant impact on laws and rights.

          "Their mind is closed to the truth."

          Blah, blah, blah. This is you reinforcing your brainwashed.

          "The funniest part of it all is their equation of science to Atheism."

          Atheists don't equate science to atheism.

          "Atheism is not in the least scientific."

          Reality is not your happy place. If you think Christianity is scientific you really are deep in the throes of delusions.

          Your need to attack atheists with a lot of utterly ridiculous nonsense that has no connection to reality is truly pathetic. If that's how low you need to stoop to convince yourself you don't look stupid believing your myths and legends it's only more proof Christianity is a fraud.

          August 3, 2013 at 4:51 pm |
        • skytag

          @Vic: "And you are right, disbelief leads to cynicism but trust me, believing in God is very logical!"

          Sorry, I am nowhere near stupid enough to believe that, speaking as one who has taught logic in college. Given the caliber of your comments I'm surprised you can spell "logic," because you clearly don't know the first thing about it.

          August 3, 2013 at 5:06 pm |
        • Atheist, me?

          skytag
          Think before you talk then you will know what to say with as few words as possible.
          And why do you have to cut n paste my words in your reply?
          Think for at least an hour so that you can write something we can learn.
          Otherwise I have seen your post somewhere b4. Seems theres nothing new.

          August 3, 2013 at 7:08 pm |
        • Freesthinker

          In order to understand logic you first need to understand what a logical argument is. A deductive argument is supported with premises that provide complete support for the argument making it valid. In this argument the premises, as in proving scientific theory and in legal discussions, need to be testable and verifiable. Because this isn’t possible with a supposed supernatural deity believing in god is not logical. I’m not speaking for all atheists, but a large number of them are truly logical thinking people therefore cannot believe in a supernatural being without evidence.

          August 4, 2013 at 12:53 am |
        • skytag

          @Atheist, me?: "Think before you talk then you will know what to say with as few words as possible."

          Don't insult me. It isn't Christ-like. There is far more thinking behind what I say than there is behind the idiotic nonsense you post trying to convince yourself of something.

          "And why do you have to cut n paste my words in your reply?"

          So anyone who reads my comment will know to what specific thought I'm responding. You folks wouldn't think about that because you don't have the courage to actually respond to other people's thoughts and arguments. You just ignore those and reply with canned responses to bolster what you've been brainwashed to believe. However, people who actually respond to other people's words find it's useful to quote the relevant portion of a comment before responding to it.

          "Think for at least an hour so that you can write something we can learn.
          Otherwise I have seen your post somewhere b4. Seems theres nothing new."

          Don't waster your time with these lame condescending remarks. My comments are fine. If they weren't you could refute my arguments and points instead of posting this drivel to defend your previous drivel.

          You should worry about that fact that you say some really stupid things trying to convince yourself that atheists don't have valid arguments.

          August 4, 2013 at 8:04 am |
        • skytag

          @Freesthinker: It's obvious the only thing most of these people know about logic is how to spell it.

          August 4, 2013 at 8:20 am |
      • skytag

        @Vic: "Those studies only show correlation between higher IQ scores (the IQ testing methods are in question, however) and disbelief but neither causes the other!"

        *shaking head while wondering just how low Vic's IQ is*

        "And you are right, disbelief leads to cynicism but trust me, believing in God is very logical!"

        Sorry, I am nowhere near stupid enough to believe that, speaking as one who has taught logic in college. Given the caliber of your comments I'm surprised you can logic "logic," because you clearly don't know the first thing about it.

        August 3, 2013 at 4:59 pm |
      • skytag

        Few things are sadder than these low-IQ guys who don't know the first thing about logic beyond how to spell it trying to act as if they have some clever logical argument that discredits atheists.

        August 3, 2013 at 5:02 pm |
    • Reality

      What we do know: (from the fields of astrophysics, biology, biochemistry, archeology, nuclear physics, geology and the history of religion)

      1. The Sun will burn out in 3-5 billion years so we have a time frame.

      2. Asteroids continue to circle us in the nearby asteroid belt.

      3. One wayward rock and it is all over in a blast of permanent winter.

      4. There are enough nuclear weapons to do the same job.

      5. Most contemporary NT exegetes do not believe in the Second Coming so apparently there is no concern about JC coming back on an asteroid or cloud of raptors/rapture.

      6. All stars will eventually extinguish as there is a limit to the amount of hydrogen in the universe. When this happens (100 trillion years?), the universe will go dark. If it does not collapse and recycle, the universe will end.

      7. Super, dormant volcanoes off the coast of Africa and under Yellowstone Park could explode cataclysmically at any time ending life on Earth.
      8. Many of us are part Neanderthal and/or Denisovan.

      Bottom line: our apocalypse will start between now and 3-5 billion CE. The universe apocalypse, 100 trillion years?

      August 3, 2013 at 12:31 pm |
      • One one

        Also, by then a gallon of gas will cost 400 million dollars.

        August 3, 2013 at 4:51 pm |
    • skytag

      It's a good thing you don't need to be a rocket scientist to believe fairytales, because you'll never be a rocket scientist with your lack of critical thinking skills. This is what happens when dumb believers try to come up with something they think sounds like a logical argument against atheism. They end up saying a bunch of stuff that in reality exposes their lack of intelligence.

      August 3, 2013 at 4:55 pm |
    • BertNerny

      Vic. That sounds like wishful thinking. Truth is complicated and faith is simple, so choose faith because it's easy.

      August 4, 2013 at 11:13 am |
  6. skytag

    @Mark from Middle River: "I am not a Muslim, because I choose not to follow Islam."

    Which is more a function of where you were born than any other factor. Had you been born in Saudi Arabia, where 97% of the population is Muslim you'd almost certainly be a Muslim. If you'd been born into some tribe in the remote regions of the Amazon rain forest you'd believe what your parents believe, and it wouldn't be what you believe now.

    "Maybe after you have spent more years activily choosing to deny God or Gods, you might change."

    Yeah, kind of like you're going to start believing in Santa Claus after you've denied him long enough. Reality is clearly not your happy place. That's why you make such a good Christian.

    At least I'm consistent. I deny the existence of anything I see no reason to believe exists. God, vampires, leprechauns, extraterrestrials living among us, the Loch Ness monster, Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, invisible monsters hiding under my bed... the list is actually quite long. Should I continue? I deny the existence of all these things and many more for the exact same reason: I see no reason whatsoever to believe any of them exist. I wouldn't spend one minute of my time actively deny God if it weren't for the problems belief in a god causes in societies, including this one.

    You talk about truth, but you clearly can't handle the truth. That's why you make all these idiotic, condescending claims about atheists trying to convince yourself you're superior to us, and why you can't grasp the idea that people can believe all the stuff you believe and then realize they were just kidding themselves.

    You're not interested in honest debate. That's not my fault. I spent four decades of my life as a Christian. I'm sure in that head of yours amongst many other delusions is one where I casually left all that behind so I could feel good about being a heathen or some such nonsense because you can't handle the truth.

    But the truth (real truth, not belief masquerading as truth) is that it was hard to accept this reality. If you think it's easy to realize you spent four decades (possibly longer than you've been alive) committed to fairytales, countless hours reading the Bible and other books, attending church services, Sunday School, teaching Sunday School, donating tens of thousands of dollars to an organization that's promoting these fairytales, and that there are two people in this world who still believe all that nonsense because you raised them to believe it, if you think that's easy you couldn't be more clueless.

    Most people prefer a comforting lie to an unpleasant reality. You are like most people. I prefer an unpleasant truth to a comforting lie.

    August 3, 2013 at 9:49 am |
  7. skytag

    @Mark from Middle River: "It is interesting because there are things that still are troubling for many Atheist who can not explain without 100% accuracy. Since you are limited only to simple answers, as you say, you can not progress forward."

    This kind of smug condescension is truly pathetic. I don't know anything that troubles atheists because they can't explain it. We accept that we can't explain some things. So what? Is that supposed to be worse than making up explanations out of thin air that have basis in fact like believers have done throughout history?

    Look, I could use my imagination to posit answers to questions just as well as believers have done. For example, I could claim the universe was created by inter-dimensional aliens who planted a device in it that triggered the Big Bang. Can you disprove that explanation? You may not believe it, but you can't disprove it. The difference between us is that I am not so desperate for answers I'll take them anywhere I can get them rather than admit I just don't know the answer.

    In your desperation to characterize atheists as limited and pathetic you only make a fool of yourself to anyone who is familiar with history. Over the millennia "people of faith" have provided countless of the kind of imaginative answers you value so much, only to see them eventually debunked by science.

    Back when science was in its infancy compared to what we know today, people just like you were happily making up all kinds of "answers" to explain phenomenon in the real world. Disease is caused by evil spirits, seizures are caused by demonic possession, lightning and thunder are caused by Thor's hammer, and on and on. They had your kind of supernatural "answers" for almost everything, rain, tornadoes, earthquakes, floods, droughts, volcanic eruptions, what the stars were, just about anything they couldn't understand got one of your answers limited only by their imaginations.

    And then a funny thing started to happen. Science came along. Science, which doesn't limit its answers to fairytales, but finds them through observation, reason, and study. Science, which contrary your gibberish above, has most certainly moved forward while the religious are still stuck with their ancient myths and fairytales, at least the ones that haven't been debunked yet by science.

    Science seeks the truth. Religion seeks to validate its divine authority. So science can evolve, discard its own theories when better ones come along. Religion clings to its theories because its theories are supposed to have a divine origin. Thus religion's attitude is "We'll give up our answers when you pry them from our cold, dead fingers."

    The Catholic church's position at one time was that the sun revolved around the Earth. They maintained that position long after Copernicus proposed it was the other way around, and even after Galileo supported it with evidence. It was science that forced the church to change its stance, not the pope coming out one day and declaring God had told him they had it all wrong and that the Earth really revolved around the sun.

    Over the millennia science has debunked countless religious myths, but religion has never once debunked a scientific explanation.

    Your comment is just a sad attempt to characterize a flaw as a virtue. If I say I don't know, that's an invitation to learn the truth. If I just make up an answer to pretend I have some kind of divine insight into the world, that's an invitation to look foolish when the real answer is discovered, by people who said "I don't know the answer" but were willing to look for it with an open mind.

    August 3, 2013 at 8:36 am |
    • Freesthinker

      Skytag, I’m only addressing you because you seem one of the most reasonable in this discussion and I feel the need to vent: After being quiet for years I think the reason I’ve finally begun to speak out and participate in these type forums is that I see the religious community constantly trying to pervade public policy. I don’t have an issue if religious parents who adhere to creationism want to send their children to a parochial school, but as a member of the science community I find it detestable when the religious try to force creationism into the public school system, or interfere in the huge life saving potential of stem cell research when they don’t even realize what a pluripotent stem cell is. As a father of 3 daughters I also find the treatment of women by most religions abhorrent, including christianity. Thanks for listening.

      August 4, 2013 at 1:42 am |
      • skytag

        I understand, thanks, and you're welcome. My concerns include, but go beyond their attempts to allow their beliefs in fairytales to impact public policy.

        One of the worst things about religion in my opinion is that it teaches people belief (faith) is a more reliable path to truth and understanding than study, research, and educating yourself. Faith trumps fact, logic, reason, and evidence.

        Here's what the Bible says about faith:

        Hebrews 11:1
        Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

        In other words, hoping something is true is evidence it's true. That is: Faith = Evidence. This is why they always claim they have evidence. (Giving words a special meaning within the context of a belief system is a propaganda technique. "Faith" is evidence; "truth" is what the Bible teaches; do this enough and it doesn't take long before they're living in a world that has little connection to reality.)

        It should be obvious the effects of such a mentality will not limit themselves to matters of science, they will negatively impact one's understanding in every area. I believe this notion that faith is a more reliable path to truth and understanding than studying facts and evidence, something most of us are indoctrinated to believe from the earliest ages plays a significant role in the fact the American electorate is so woefully uninformed and misinformed.

        This mentality has people believing whenever they hear something they can know if it's true or not simply by how they feel when they hear it. For example, consider someone who hates Obama. If he hears something good about Obama, he feels a negative emotional response and interprets that to mean it isn't true. If he hears something bad about Obama, he feels a different emotional response and interprets that to mean it is true.

        In neither case does he bother to do any research to determine if what he heard was true. And realistically, why bother? He'd apply the same criteria when evaluating anything he found in his research, so his research would be virtually guaranteed to confirm his initial reaction anyway.

        This is what happens when people are raised from the earliest ages to believe faith and feelings are the surest path to truth.

        August 4, 2013 at 9:10 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      SkyTag. I guess I hit a nerve because you have posted about five to six post to attempt to deflect that Atheism is not that much different than those in the Faith side of the equation. In the end, your rant is not unlike those, of the 700 Club faction of Christianity when you tell them that Wiccan or Islam is equivalent to Christianity. I have also seen the same type of “Lost your mind” rants when I make the same comparison with some radical Muslims which I have encountered. They too, will go on a labored speech hoping that just them saying that they are different is enough. With the basic human behavior factored in, all you are saying is that your Faith is better than others Faith, just because I believe it to be so. Which is why you stumble over the exact same rock when forced into a corner and you have to prove a belief for or against God. In all of your post, you failed to show proof that there is not a God, so …. Welcome to the club, we have jackets 🙂

      In the end, your wringing of your hands is because the Atheism, you hold so dear is closer than you fear to something you hate. Same as me telling a Black Panther that his rhetoric is almost a echo of the Neo Nazi that is shouting from the next corner. I for one, find peace in such similarities because it just shows that no matter who you label groups of humans, we all begin to echo one another. Right down to there are Faithful and Atheist who have helped in society, with real positive impact while at the same time both sides have its extremist wing who have a real fear of seeing the similarities in groups which are told to be polar opposites.

      For example, I could claim the universe was created by inter-dimensional aliens who planted a device in it that triggered the Big Bang. Can you disprove that explanation

      Nope, but is it my job as a Christian to disprove such? I am not like you, Rev Terry Jones and the late Bin Laden. My life mission and goal is not to go around disproving others beliefs. I have way to much fun tearing down walls of intolerance.

      the difference between us is that I am not so desperate for answers I'll take them anywhere I can get them rather than admit I just don't know the answer.

      You poor sad person. You have just given your self to the ti'tle of being closed minded. I am interested in what answers that you feel folks are desperate to find an answer for? As much as I contemplate the “meaning of life”, my life does not revolve around such. The problem is that you admit that you have closed your options to solutions to a specific area and I feel that you will be unable to move as far as someone whose mind is not limited.

      In your desperation to characterize atheists as limited....

      Something that you have admitted to. 🙂

      over the millennium "people of faith" have provided countless of the kind of imaginative answers you value so much, only to see them eventually debunked by science.

      Ever notice that the majority of those scientist were people of Faith and not Atheist? If you go by the Muslim thinkers, your entire Faith vs Science argument falls into immediate dust. I know, it is the Atheist dogma that people of Faith were always 100% opposed to science, but history continues to invalidate the Atheist dogma in this respect. Also, the debate between Galileo and the Roman Catholic Church was because the church was still accepting the science of Aristotle, who theorized that the sun moved around the Earth. So the battle was more between Copernican science and Aristotelian science.

      Another question, what is your opinion of all of the Bishops and other clergy who taught that the Earth was round?

      Science seeks the truth. 

      Your closed minded approach to science does, but the science that got us this far is open to all aspects. Not limited ones self to what you can hear, touch and see.

      You also mentioned two people, Copernicus and Galileo. Both men of Science and men of Faith. This almalgation allowed them to go further than someone with a closed mind. In many cases, such as with Galileo, was supported in his views by factions within the Catholic church.

      If I just make up an answer to pretend I have some kind of divine insight into the world, that's an invitation to look foolish when the real answer is discovered

      Foolish huh.... For the win 🙂

      “Before God we are all equally wise – and equally foolish.”Albert Einstein

      If you biggest worry is that you will feel foolish, then you are a fool. Even in the world of “logical thinking”, that is supposed to be another part of Atheist dogma, such a fear of how someone would view you is not logical. In fact it is something that most of us get over back in grade school years.

      Question Skytag. The so called Evolution vs Creation debate. Do you feel that the Biblical accounts of creation are completely polar opposite of the theory of Evolution?

      Thanks.

      Peace. It's late and I have church service in the morning. Also, can you keep all of your replies into one thread. I know I had you a bit shaken when I saw a reply here and a reply somewhere else. 🙂

      MMR

      August 4, 2013 at 2:53 am |
      • Reality

        “John Hick, a noted British philosopher of religion, estimates that 95 percent of the people of the world owe their religious affiliation to an accident (the randomness) of birth. The faith of the vast majority of believers depends upon where they were born and when. Those born in Saudi Arabia will almost certainly be Moslems, and those born and raised in India will for the most part be Hindus. Nevertheless, the religion of millions of people can sometimes change abruptly in the face of major political and social upheavals. In the middle of the sixth century ce, virtually all the people of the Near East and Northern Africa, including Turkey, Syria, Iraq, and Egypt were Christian. By the end of the following century, the people in these lands were largely Moslem, as a result of the militant spread of Islam.

        The Situation Today

        Barring military conquest, conversion to a faith other than that of one’s birth is rare. Some Jews, Moslems, and Hindus do convert to Christianity, but not often. Similarly, it is not common for Christians to become Moslems or Jews. Most people are satisfied that their own faith is the true one or at least good enough to satisfy their religious and emotional needs. Had St. Augustine or St. Thomas Aquinas been born in Mecca at the start of the present century, the chances are that they would not have been Christians but loyal followers of the prophet Mohammed. “ J. Somerville

        It is very disturbing that religious narrow- mindedness, intolerance, violence and hatred continues unabated due to randomness of birth. Maybe, just maybe if this fact would be published on the first page of every newspaper every day, that we would finally realize the significant stupidity of all religions.

        August 4, 2013 at 7:10 am |
    • skytag

      @Mark from Middle River: "SkyTag. I guess I hit a nerve"

      Saying you hit a nerve is a lame attempt to suggest there must be something valid about your comment. You should guess less and think more.

      "because you have posted about five to six post to attempt to deflect that Atheism is not that much different than those in the Faith side of the equation."

      Blah, blah, blah. This is you being full of it again, trying to put rational thinking on the same level as believing in fairytales. Such claims are patently stupid, but since you're not a very honest person you don't mind acting like something stupid and false is true.

      It was clear reading the first couple of paragraphs of your comment that it's just more rambling nonsense with no connection to reality trying to discredit atheism because you know full well you have nothing to support anything you believe.

      Your compulsive need to ramble on endlessly attacking atheism instead of offering any rational argument to refute the one and only belief it represents tells me you have no such arguments. You attack atheism because it threatens your delusions. It poses questions you can't answer and if seriously pondered would trouble those who prefer blind faith to reason. Not my problem.

      August 4, 2013 at 8:39 am |
      • jungleboo

        @skytag: I have enjoyed reading your posts.

        August 4, 2013 at 8:16 pm |
      • Mark from Middle River

        Saying you hit a nerve is a lame attempt to suggest there must be something valid about your comment.

        SkyTag, it is pretty spot on. You are running from direct comments by incistantly posting your reponces. That is how I knew your argument had failed, because there is five to eight indivual post....all with the same "My belief is true because I say so" replies. Do you expect me to track the rantings of a person who can not even handle and understand the use of the "reply" feature? Maybe, work on your posting mannerism and then you won't look so insane.

        Blah, blah, blah.

        Sigh ...yep.... "Blah, Blah..." is a winning argument. Insane, maybe you are. Dang truth hurts does it.

        This is you being full of it again, trying to put rational thinking on the same level as believing in fairytales. Such claims are patently stupid, but since you're not a very honest person you don't mind acting like something stupid and false is true.

        Wow, are you upset because I am just showing you a mirror. The styles of the radicals and the extremist are often echos and mirrors. Your statements of attempting to distance yourself are just further proof that all of yall on the extremes are .... pretty much the same.

        It was clear reading the first couple of paragraphs of your comment that it's just more rambling nonsense

        Yeah, this is coming from the person who felt that "Blah Blah Blah" was a rational response and can not stay on one thread if the lives of his children were at stake.

        Your compulsive need to ramble on endlessly attacking atheism.....

        How am I attacking Atheism you fruitcake. 🙂 I have stated that there are factions in Atheism which are as anal as some of the factions in Christianity and Islam. When a Atheist declares that Rev Terry Jones is intolerant bas'terd, I can agree with that. That does not mean that Rev Terry Jones represents all of Chrisitanity. Same as with you. I have met a bunch of Atheist here on the Belief Blog who are moderates and also strive for peace and tolerance. We start that by exposing ones such as yourself who are so scared of being lumped together with the extremist of Christianity that any challenge to look yourself in the mirror, becomes an attack on Atheism.

        My battle is not with Atheism. It is with you SkyTag and ones on all sides of this debate just like you. Just like Rev Terry Jones, Pat Robertson, and others..... as more Atheist rise they will see that it is ones like you who are problem.

        Again ....try to stick to using the reply button.

        August 5, 2013 at 1:21 am |
    • Colin

      Skytag – Great post. Copied, pasted to word for future reference.....

      August 6, 2013 at 11:21 am |
  8. dissidentfairy

    The account of Noah's Ark is founded upon fact this You Tube video is a must see! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iCyOVGBnNp8

    August 3, 2013 at 4:21 am |
    • fyi

      "In the 1980s and 1990s the Durupınar site was heavily promoted by Ron Wyatt. It receives a steady stream of visitors and according to the local authorities a nearby mountain is called "Mount Cudi" (or Judi)... Geologists have identified the Durupınar site as a natural formation,[8] but Wyatt's Ark Discovery Insti-tute continues to champion its claims.[9]"

      - and they keep on trying... -

      "In 1993, CBS aired a television special ent-itled "The Incredible Discovery of Noah's Ark," which contained a section devoted to the claims of George Jammal, who showed what he called "sacred wood from the ark." Jammal's story of a dramatic mountain expedition which took the life of "his Polish friend Vladimir" was actually a deliberate hoax, and Jammal – who was really an actor – later revealed that his "sacred wood" was wood taken from railroad tracks in Long Beach, California and hardened by cooking with various sauces in an oven.[31]"

      –http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Searches_for_Noah%27s_Ark

      August 3, 2013 at 4:41 am |
    • Richard Cranium

      The "fact" you mention....where is it?

      All evidence that we have, indicates that at no time since the beginning of life, has there been a world encompassing flood. A flood of that magnitude would leave huge amounts of evidence and there is none. We have been able to see the worlds history back to when life began, and before, and we have absolutley no evidence of a world encomapssing flood.

      Furthermore, all of the effects that such an event would have, unfathomable at the time of the writing of the myths in the bible, would cause all life on the planet to cease, and never start again. The dis-ruption of the oceans, the change in salinity, what it would do to weather patterns, etc are but a small part of the effects we should see, and do not.

      Believing in Noah's Ark makes no sense when confronted with not only the complete lack of evidence to support it, but the evidence that says it never happened.

      August 3, 2013 at 9:16 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      This explains why the story is nothing more than a story. It breaks it down enough that even a child could comprehend it.
      http://library.thinkquest.org/29178/noark.htm

      August 3, 2013 at 9:33 am |
      • dissidentfairy

        You are right about that short article being so simplistic that even a child could understand it I give you that. As far as "construction" goes that video I posted does a good job of explaining the construction. "Loading" it's only logical that God assisted him with it. After all God is all powerful and has no problem making things magically appear. Noah didn't need to load every single variety of every species of animal. "Care and feeding" What do you think the eight people did all day? The ark was designed to dispose of waste material.

        I'm not affiliated with the organization who put out the video but I ran across it last night on You Tube and was very impressed with the findings. You can't dispute cold hard facts that you can see with your very own eyes can you? Tell me what large boat or vessel has ever landed on a mountain before? Especially in the proximity of the Ararat mountains where the Bible says Noah's ark landed. The dimensions are exact. How do you explain that? As far as you saying there is no evidence of a global flood on earth that's simply not true, look at the formation of the continents, the Grand Canyon, etc., etc.

        August 3, 2013 at 12:25 pm |
        • fyi

          dissidentfairy,

          Look at the fyi above: "Geologists have identified the Durupınar site as a natural formation". That is NOT your storied ark, nor has it been found anywhere else.

          There is NO evidence of a world-wide flood like this.

          You sound very gullible. I hope that you don't get taken advantage of too much.

          August 3, 2013 at 12:35 pm |
        • dissidentfairy

          Wikipedia is notorious for erroneous information. I appreciate your concern regarding what you perceive as my gullibility but rest assured I am anything but gullible. I always investigate to the ultimate extreme. I have a very analytical mind that assesses facts until they are synchronized like a completed jigsaw puzzle:)

          August 3, 2013 at 1:09 pm |
        • fyi

          dissidentfairy,

          "Wikipedia is notorious for erroneous information."

          Oh, as opposed to the famed accuracy of YouTube?!

          There are numerous links and references at the end of each Wikipedia article. You are not finished researching.

          August 3, 2013 at 1:21 pm |
        • Freesthinker

          The notion that the grand canyon was formed by a flood is preposterous. If a flood of the proportions you claim were to have occured the carving of the grand canyon would have been unidirectional; however, there are no less than 6 each 180 degree turns, or switchbacks, in the canyon.

          August 3, 2013 at 11:39 pm |
        • skytag

          The ark story is obviously nothing more than a nice bedtime story to any thinking person.

          "What do you think the eight people did all day?"

          Anyone who believes eight people could care for hundreds of thousands of animals (at the very least) has rocks for brains.

          "The ark was designed to dispose of waste material."

          People who are determined to believe this fairytale will find a way to rationalize away every valid point against it. It helps that you believe in a god with no limitations, so whenever someone points to a problem in the story you can just claim god made it possible.

          The ark story is stupid from beginning:

          If God is perfect why was his first attempt at creating the human race such a disaster that he decided to wipe out all but eight of them and start over? Why didn't he just smite everyone and skip the whole ark thing?

          To the end:

          Where did all the water go?

          The ark story is just another religious conspiracy theory. You start with a scenario for which there is no supporting evidence, and then when people bring up problems you come up with theories for which there is also no evidence.

          August 4, 2013 at 3:48 pm |
        • skytag

          "Oh, as opposed to the famed accuracy of YouTube?!"

          I know. These people are soooo dumb. Wikipedia is generally a pretty decent source. At least there are credentialed people who review articles, point out weaknesses, and contribute. YouTube is almost a no-holds-barred site. No one edits, validates or reviews YouTube videos and yet people are dumb enough to believe anything posted there as long as they like what it tells them.

          August 4, 2013 at 3:53 pm |
      • dissidentfairy

        PS I forgot to address one last thing. The dinosaurs died off during the flood so there was no need to "load" them!

        August 3, 2013 at 12:32 pm |
        • Richard Cranium

          hAhahahahahahahaha. Seriously. Hahahahahaha.

          The dinosours died off during the flood? Hahahahahaha.

          Good one. , now seriously...

          August 3, 2013 at 12:56 pm |
        • fyi

          Yeah, and so did all of the unicorns!

          "The ark started moving, it drifted with the tide
          The unicorns looked up from the rocks and they cried
          And the waters came down and sort of floated them away
          That's why you never see unicorns to this very day

          You'll see green alligators and long-necked geese
          Some humpty backed camels and some chimpanzees
          Some cats and rats and elephants, but sure as you're born
          You're never gonna see no unicorns"

          http://www.thebards.net/music/lyrics/The_Unicorn_Song.shtml

          August 3, 2013 at 1:14 pm |
    • dissidentfairy

      Why laugh? The Flood is the best explanation ever as to why they went extinct.

      August 3, 2013 at 1:36 pm |
      • redzoa

        only if you don't think about it . . .

        August 4, 2013 at 12:19 am |
      • Freesthinker

        Geological evidence clearly points to a layer of iridium found around the world in the rock layer identified at 65 million years ago called the KT boundary. Iridium is found in asteroids and not native to earth, which points to the meteor known to have impacted the earth in the Yucatan peninsula at that time. This is widely accepted among the scientific community as the demise of most dinosaurs as there are no dinosaur fossils above the KT boundary.

        August 4, 2013 at 12:33 am |
      • Richard Cranium

        Why laugh...seriously.

        From the mythical, god ordered Noah to put all creatures on his boat, if there were dinosaurs, why did they not get on, did Noah purposely disregard gods order?

        From Reality. Since the beginning of life on the planet, there has never been an all encompassing world flood. There would be vast amounts of evidence, yet not only is there no such evidence, there is substantial evidence to the contrary.
        The entire myth of Noah is false...all of it. I could explain to you for hours on which science disproves it, since many do.

        I laugh because what you said is hilariously ridiculous.

        August 4, 2013 at 10:57 am |
      • skytag

        Maybe if you're really, really stupid.

        August 4, 2013 at 3:35 pm |
  9. light after dark

    For what he did for us, every one of the articles on this blog should have been about Jesus dying for our sins and raising again. To tell people to repent and find God, to help as many as possible as rapidly as possible. To tell them what the gospels in the bible are about, how they detail what God foretold about forgiveness of sins. Instead, what are most all the articles about? They're not about God, Jesus or the Holy Spirit... they're anti-Christ, anti-God, and anti-Holy Spirit. They are diversion from what people need, when they need Jesus.... when they need the truth... when they need God.

    I believe Jesus, God and the Holy Spirit. The other stuff offered here is NOT belief in God, it's belief in nothing.

    August 3, 2013 at 2:40 am |
    • EnjaySea

      You think that all the people of the world need to believe what you believe, but you're wrong. People need to come to their own conclusions and believe what is presented to them to be true.

      If your god exists, and wants people to believe that he exists (option 1), then he knows what to do. If he exists, and doesn't care that we believe (option 2), then what difference does it make?

      However, I choose option 3 - that there is no god. And as of today, no proof has been presented to convince me otherwise.

      August 3, 2013 at 3:16 am |
      • about Jesus

        "If your god exists, and wants people to believe that he exists (option 1), then he knows what to do."

        That's why he sweat blood before being captured. He knew he'd be lied about, imprisoned, hit, spit on, laughed at, mocked, beaten with rocks, glass and metal on ropes, crown of thorns on his head, made to carry a beam until he couldn't walk further, then nailed to a cross to die naked in front of those he loved, and those that despised him and ridiculed him until he died... for others, he didn't deserve any of it. He did it for anyone that would believe him, repent of their sins, and do the will of God.... that's what he knew to do, that he wanted to do, when he could have called up 72,000 angels to stop it, when even one was enough.

        Jesus Christ of Nazareth has incredible will to do all that, for others, when he could have had what ever he wanted at any time.

        August 3, 2013 at 5:12 am |
        • skytag

          How would him sweating blood 2000 years ago prove anything to anyone today? Do you people ever actually think about what you say?

          August 3, 2013 at 8:56 am |
        • Freesthinker

          Is that also why the Genesis 22:18 also says, "Thou shalt not suffer the witch to live," and why the christian church continues to burn suspected witches at the stake as they did thousands in centuries past? The last one that I recall was just this past February in New Guinea where a young mother was tortured before the cruel act of burning her alive by the local loving christian community.

          August 4, 2013 at 1:13 am |
        • about Jesus

          I think about Jesus all the time, both from the aspect of him what he did to save us, and what he did for us so we could even exist. That is a lot to think about, but I don't mind.

          What do you think about, besides nothing?

          August 4, 2013 at 8:09 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          I can see your skewed logic there – christians believe in a god, atheists don't; christians think constantly about god therefore atheists must constantly think about nothing. It doesn't work that way. Free your mind of superstition and live freely.

          August 4, 2013 at 8:55 pm |
        • Freethinker

          Because I don't think about Jesus all the time I have time to contemplate how better to produce antigens on a mass scale to keep up with the rapid evolution of mutating bacteria and viruses so vaccines will be available to those that are too preoccupied with nonsense and don't appreciate the value that science adds to their daily lives.

          The free time also lets me enjoy my life to the fullest without the paranoiac tyranny associated with thinking a mystical being is watching my every move and reading my innermost thoughts.

          August 4, 2013 at 9:18 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      Oh, and let's be clear here. This blog is called "Belief", not "Christian Belief".

      August 3, 2013 at 3:17 am |
      • about Jesus

        Jesus is the truth, he's the one, he's the way and the life.

        The bible has so many accounts of followers, believers in God, saying they saw angels, Moses, Elijah, Jesus shining, Jesus blinding Saul when others didn't see him but they heard him... over and over again, eye witnesses saying they saw or heard the things happening... not just one person... lots of them.

        The bible is the truth, all through it. God exists, he's the creator of the universe, and Jesus died for the sins of those that believe him and repent of their sins, and do the will of God. That's the truth, accept it and move forward.

        August 3, 2013 at 5:33 am |
        • Damocles

          The Lord of the Rings is truth, it's been written and had other people write about it. It has been mentioned numerous times and had plenty of eyewitness accounts that the story actually exists. Accept it and move forward. But, but, but... that's just some story written by somebody with a vivid imagination, you say? Right.

          August 3, 2013 at 6:02 am |
        • skytag

          Regurgitating these well-rehearsed professions of what you believe proves nothing.

          August 3, 2013 at 8:58 am |
        • Richard Cranium

          To say you are right, that Jesus is god, and god created everything is false. That is belief, no reality.

          You do realize that much of your Jesus character is based on the tachings of Buddha, right?
          The whole non-violence thing, easing suffering, helping the poor and weak, concentration on community, correcting yourself before others, etc, etc, etc...all based on the teachings of Buddha, who lived several hundred years before the NT was written, and who's philosophies had made it to the region where the writers of the bible were.

          The problem was very likely, that this new philosophy, that made sense to common peoples, started undermining the words in the bible, causing a new bible( the NT) to be written, which includes the new philosophies, so the teachings of Buddha were altered to include a god, so the writers created this Jesus character to teach the new philosophies, and gave him god-like powers.

          Study the teachings of Buddha and you will see where most of your Jesus character came from. Buddha came BEFORE Christ, remember.

          August 3, 2013 at 9:25 am |
    • skytag

      Some of us don't see belief in fairytales as superior to accepting reality. Sorry.

      August 3, 2013 at 8:49 am |
  10. skytag

    @AE: "From Christians, to agnostics, to atheists. At times, we all fail to live how we should."

    Yes, I know, which is kind of a problem for the believers in my opinion. There is nothing their behavior overall to suggest any supernatural force is giving them any advantage in their lives over non-believers, or Christians over any other religion. If there were I'd see that as evidence God exists.

    But divorce rates, teen pregnancy rates, and other indicators are too close to the general population's to suggest any divine power making their lives better. Any differences between groups can easily be explained by differences in practices and the fact that different groups attract different kinds of people.

    Matthew 7:20 says, "Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them." As far as I can tell the Amish have the best fruits. The problems that plague our society are far, far less prominent in Amish communities than not only the general population but also other flavors of Christianity. Is that because of their lifestyle and culture or because God blesses them more than he does other Christians?

    If God is real and the Christian narrative is true, why aren't Christians in this country joining the Amish in droves? Strong families, very low divorce rates, very low crime rates, low rates of mental health problems, strong in their faith, of all the Christian denominations they seem to have come closest to the Christian ideal, yet few Christians seek to join them.

    I guess when push comes to shove Christians value their modern lifestyles and material possessions over being close to God. This would be mystery to me if I believed all that stuff was real, but believing it all to be nothing more than a comforting narrative it makes perfect sense that compared to the Amish most Christians only give lip service to their beliefs. Most Christians want a religion that allows them to deny the harsher realities of life and requires just enough sacrifice to feel good about themselves.

    That's why Christianity is so popular, it's a religious smorgasbord than a religion, ideal for the church-shopping crowd, people who want all the benefits of the core narrative but want to be able to pick and choose how and to what extent they have to incorporate it into their daily lives. So they align themselves with hundreds of different denominations — or none at all — often claiming their flavor is more correct than other flavors, that other Christians are True Christians™ like they are and so on. One of most arrogant behaviors I see is a member of one Christian sect, who has no evidence anything he believes is true, passes judgment on other Christian sects and declares they aren't truly Christian.

    Several comments in this discussion have criticized the author and other millennnials for having the wrong attitude. During the last presidential campaign I saw tons of comments in online discussions claiming Mormons aren't Christians, and so on. The enormous diversity we see in Christianity's strikes me as a problem. So much diversity suggest there is no God guiding these people. If there were, their beliefs would be more aligned because they'd all be getting their inspiration from the same source, and hence presumably the same information.

    Furthermore, this diversity often leads to division within the Christian community as its members judge who is and isn't a True Christian™.

    August 3, 2013 at 2:00 am |
  11. bostontola

    Most of us can agree that we can't prove or disprove the existence of a god. So lets take a quick look at the evidence for and against just the Christian god.
    A small sample of the evidence against: Errors in the scriptures, absence in the scriptures of anything man didn't yet know, similarities in the bible stories to more ancient stories, splintering of the religion into many denominations over interpretation of va.gue and ambiguous scripture, rampant corruption within the various church leadership, immoral and selfish afterlife deal terms, ineffectiveness of prayer in the physical world...
    Evidence for: The people taught to believe by the people they are evolved to trust most, their parents, feel god's love, presence, etc. That's all I know of. A person's feelings are notoriously unreliable. Eye witness tes.timony has been shown to horrendous.
    Not proof, but there is no Christian god beyond a reasonable doubt.

    August 2, 2013 at 10:05 pm |
    • bunny cam

      I ate some blackberry evidence from God today. Explain that.

      August 2, 2013 at 10:29 pm |
      • Gadflie

        At the very best, your "evidence" is a logical fallacy.

        August 2, 2013 at 10:34 pm |
      • bostontola

        bunny,
        If you're serious, please elaborate.

        August 2, 2013 at 10:47 pm |
      • Truth Prevails :-)

        You don't understand how a plant grows obviously. Try paying attention in class when you go back this fall.

        August 3, 2013 at 7:05 am |
    • Robert Brown

      Boston, you discount witness testimony as evidence. I assume you do the same with the universe & life itself. So, would you really like to find God, or do you want someone to prove there is a God?

      August 2, 2013 at 10:58 pm |
      • redzoa

        I suspect he gives eyewitness testimony the credit it's due, i.e. very little in the absence of corroborating physical evidence. Do you accept the eyewitness testimony of the eleven witnesses who claimed to have seen Joseph Smith's Golden Plates? Regarding life and the universe, zero evidence of causal agency, but plenty of evidence of purely natural mechanisms . . .

        August 2, 2013 at 11:03 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          No, because what you stated is about the extent of my knowledge of the plates. What if there were millions of witness's of the plates and they gave you instructions of how you could see them, would you try it?

          August 2, 2013 at 11:14 pm |
        • Gadflie

          Would you? After all, there are millions of witnesses to thousands of different religious beliefs. Over a dozen today have over a million believers. They all pretty much say you just have to let (their) god in...

          August 2, 2013 at 11:25 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          Gladflie, no I'm already spoken for, so to speak, but before hearing about Jesus, I think I would have at least been curious.

          August 2, 2013 at 11:32 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          I think that it is quite sane and rational for a person to believe in the major religion/religious figure of their culture and build a mental framework around that model. Just because Allah doesn't exist and Mohammed was not a prophet doesn't mean that muslims don't get a lot of comfort and peace from their religious beliefs. Robert Brown is only advocating that a person try a popular method of getting comfort and peace from a mental schema, and he's not wrong to suggest it from his limited position.

          Robert, it makes perfect sense to you to suggest that others try your religion. But you're looking at it from within your perspective. You can't be expected to understand how many former believers or other atheists consider that proposition.

          August 3, 2013 at 12:58 am |
        • Mark from Middle River

          You can't be expected to understand how many former believers or other atheists consider that proposition.

          Yet, how often is the charge of some Atheist that the Faithful be open to question or walk away from God or Gods? This has to be a two way street. In the Faithful world we deal with this all the time. Even within the individual denominations we have one group declaring to another to walk their path with the hopes to sway a person with a different view. For Atheism it is the same. I can understand your statement of how a Atheist would view such a proposition because it is exactly the same as how the Faithful view the same proposition when it is coming out of the Atheist camp.

          August 3, 2013 at 1:10 am |
        • skytag

          @Robert Brown: "What if there were millions of witness's of the plates and they gave you instructions of how you could see them, would you try it?"

          Maybe, depends on what they claimed was required, but if pigs had wings I'd also try to be on the watch for flying pigs when I'm out driving.

          Cpt. Obvious makes an important point you haven't or won't consider. You talk as if one has a choice between atheism and believing what you believe. This is not the case. There are hundreds of possibilities, and a significant number even within the realm of Christianity, yet there is absolutely nothing of an objective nature to indicate which narrative one should test.

          The evidence makes it quite clear that people overwhelmingly pick a religion based on what their parents believed and the dominant religion in their culture. Here in America that means if you "seek God" you're most likely to "find" the Christian God. But if you were in Saudi Arabia it would be even more likely you'd "find" the Muslim god, and in India the Hindu god.

          Less than a third of the world's population is Christian. It's naive and arrogant to believe you've found the Christian God because Christianity is true when the reality is that you found the Christian God because because you live in a predominantly Christian nation and were probably raised in a Christian home.

          Given no objective reason to believe Christianity is any more correct than any other religion, or that any Christian sect is any more correct than any other, what is my incentive to "try" it? Furthermore, this "trial" you suggest is open-ended. There is no promise that one will have an answer in a week, a year, in ten years. What if someone spends his whole life "trying" Christianity when the real path to God is found in the beliefs of some remote tribe in the jungles of South America, or there's no truth to any of them?

          The idea that I should invest time and energy on something I have no reason to believe exists just because a lot of people believe it's true is just silly. People believe all kinds of nonsense. Contrary to what Christianity brainwashes you to believe, belief/faith is not evidence. You can believe something with all your heart and it can still be wrong.

          August 3, 2013 at 2:40 am |
        • skytag

          @Mark from Middle River: "Yet, how often is the charge of some Atheist that the Faithful be open to question or walk away from God or Gods? This has to be a two way street. In the Faithful world we deal with this all the time. Even within the individual denominations we have one group declaring to another to walk their path with the hopes to sway a person with a different view. For Atheism it is the same. I can understand your statement of how a Atheist would view such a proposition because it is exactly the same as how the Faithful view the same proposition when it is coming out of the Atheist camp."

          I've been in both camps and I disagree. As a former Christian who was a member of two major denominations in the past I'll stick to comparing Christianity to atheism.

          Once you postulate the existence of the Christian God and accept the Christian narrative you invite countless reasonable questions to explain why what we see in the real world and have witnessed throughout history seems to contradict what you believe.

          Lacking any objective, verifiable evidence whatsoever for what you believe you are forced to make a variety of claims to deal with these questions. Admittedly, a knowledgeable Christian has a ready list of explanations, but he has no more evidence for those than anything else he believes, and usually they just sound like copouts and lame excuses to the outsider.

          An atheist prefers the Occam's Razor approach to dealing with these questions:

          Occam's razor ... is a principle of parsimony, economy, or succinctness used in logic and problem-solving. It states that among competing hypotheses, the hypothesis with the fewest assumptions should be selected. In other words, the simplest explanation is usually the correct one. — Wikipedia

          For example, an atheist explains the lack of any evidence that God exists by saying there is no God. That's the simplest explanation and requires no assumptions.

          The Christian rationalizes that God carefully avoids doing anything that would provide evidence because then people wouldn't need faith. But that leads to other questions, such as why God used to provide evidence, but doesn't now, and the much simpler question: Why? Even if people knew God exists there would still be plenty of room to develop faith in his wisdom and teachings. And if there is no evidence of his existence, what's my incentive to invest time and energy to "seek" him? That makes no more sense to me than seeking buried treasure in my yard of seeking leprechauns.

          And this is just one question. Christianity is basically a conspiracy theory. Start with some basic unproven premises. As people challenge the premises make up theories, also unproven, to address those challenges. When these theories generate more questions posit more unproven theories to answer those. Rinse and repeat until you have a narrative for which there is no evidence whatsoever, but is complete enough to satisfy those who want to believe it.

          So the atheist and believer camps are not even remotely equivalent. The atheist accepts the simplest, most obvious answer to all these questions, while the believer engages in endless rationalization to justify believing in something for which there is no evidence.

          August 3, 2013 at 3:14 am |
        • skytag

          @Mark from Middle River: "I can understand your statement of how a Atheist would view such a proposition because it is exactly the same as how the Faithful view the same proposition when it is coming out of the Atheist camp."

          As an atheist I want a tangible reason to believe Occam's Razor does not apply and the extensive web of theories you use to explain the world around me is more reasonable than my simple four-word answer: There is no God.

          I am not committed to atheism in any way for any reason. It's simply the result of not seeing any reason to believe in a God. I do nothing in my life to reinforce my lack of belief. No rituals, no singing of atheistic songs, I don't study atheistic works, desecrate Bibles, none of that. Atheism isn't something in which I've invested myself over the years and I feel no pressure of any kind from any source to remain an atheist.

          Being a Christian was nothing like this. Being a good Christian means constantly feeding your commitment to your beliefs. You associate with others who share and reinforce your beliefs. You communicate with them in your own private language involving various sound bites, platitudes, and words to which you give your own meanings. Truth to you is not that which can be verified by observation or sound reasoning, but what the Bible teaches. Faith isn't belief, it's evidence. You read your Bible regularly. You pray regularly. You quote scriptures and platitudes, sing hymns, engage in whatever rituals your brand of Christianity embraces. You choose to see agency in random events. Every decision you make based on your religious beliefs deepens your commitment to them.

          As a believer you are trapped in a cult where your brainwashing is constantly fed. Yes, I know you don't see it that way, but that's because you're on the inside looking out. It's extremely difficult to question your beliefs when you are so immersed in a lifestyle that reinforces them, when rejecting them means giving up a comforting narrative, losing or disappointing friends and loved ones, and having to accept harsh realities of life, such as never seeing loved ones again after they die. Plus, you've been told for years you'll endure an eternity of suffering if you leave your camp.

          The Christian narrative is far more appealing than the atheist's position. It would be foolish to deny that. People do not become atheists so they can be wanton heathens without remorse, contrary to what many Christians tell themselves. We do it because we would rather face life honestly than sugar-coat it with fairytales in which we never cease to exists, we'll see our loved ones again after they die, that there is some all-powerful God protecting us and our loved ones, making our lives better, and so on. So no, speaking as one who has been in both camps, your camp is nothing like our camp.

          August 3, 2013 at 4:08 am |
        • Mark from Middle River

          Skytag.

          In the end all you are doing is having Faith that your view is correct. You go on and on trying to define that your act of Faith is different from ours but, as a person who regularly deals with some who are Muslims and other Faiths...your Atheism fits in very well. Basically, think of it as a flat skipping stone. On one side is all of us of the Religious Faith but when you turn that stone over we find those of the Atheist faith. The truth is that Atheism, once postulated, their belief that there is not a God fails to show evidence of their belief. I mean, many times....and it is growing... those of Faith are asking our Atheist brothers and sisters for proof and this they can not offer. If you have such verifiable evidence then please put it forth. So, in the end all the Faithful has to ask, when a Atheist declares that there is no God, is for that same Atheist to back up his or her claim. Same as any other belief system.

          I am sorry that I am showing you the bridge between Atheism and other faiths but, just look at some of the vitriol on this blog from some Atheist. In many ways, places like the Belief Blog show, possibly the greatest similarities between the Faithful and the Atheist. Atheist are not monolithic, just like the Faithful. We all have our radical Westburo Baptist churches and we also have our moderate middle. I have heard Atheist declare that simple violence and armed conflict against the Faithful is the only option, while other Atheist have been more moderate and tolerant in their views. When you have Atheist stating that we should burn down churches, how is that different from Muslims or Christians declaring to burn down each others houses of worship? It is the same.

          To quickly finish off your argument, I just pose those two points. Both sides preach a belief they can not prove and both sides have factions within their group which are intolerant and violent. Equivalence achieved.

          A few days ago I stated that Atheism forces one to close their minds because while the Faithful are allowed to believe in science and Faith, … the Atheist is limited. As you stated, your able to be moved by the “simplest” answer. Those of Faith go further, much further.

          As an atheist I want a tangible reason to believe Occam's Razor does not apply and the extensive web of theories you use to explain the world around me is more reasonable than my simple four-word answer: There is no God.

          Sigh...another point shared. You are asking me for proof to change your view when you fail to offer any proof that there in no God.

          I am not committed to atheism in any way for any reason. It's simply the result of not seeing any reason to believe in a God.

          ….sorry, I am not Pat Robertson. I will lose no sleep that you do not. It is interesting because there are things that still are troubling for many Atheist who can not explain without 100% accuracy. Since you are limited only to simple answers, as you say, you can not progress forward.

          and I feel no pressure of any kind from any source to remain an atheist.

          Cool, we need someone to play Joseph in the Christmas pageant this year. If I keep at it, I might have you in the choir before Thanksgiving. 🙂 In seriousness, if I say to you that I want to follow the path of Christianity, do you feel that I am being forced to? In philosophy, in the study of Descartes and I believe he stated that every action a person takes is because she or he actively chooses to do so. I am not a Muslim, because I choose not to follow Islam. You choose not to follow wiccan or Buddism, which is still an active choice. Maybe after you have spent more years activily choosing to deny God or Gods, you might change.

          Being a Christian was nothing like this. Being a good Christian means constantly feeding your commitment to your beliefs.

          As are you as an Atheist. As soon as someone declares there is a God or challenges your view, you have to reaffirm your commitment to Atheism. In fact tonight you wrote 853 words to reaffirm and defend your beliefs. In Christianity, we call it testifying. 🙂

          The Christian rationalizes that God carefully avoids doing anything that would provide evidence because then people wouldn't need faith.

          As the Atheist side wets their pants now days when the Faithful ask for proof of the lack of a God. The sad thing is that the Atheist on the extremes have more problem with folks saying they have Faith because it would stand counter to the belief of Faith.

          Plus, you've been told for years you'll endure an eternity of suffering if you leave your camp.

          Interesting, but if you leave the Atheist camp, what do you get? The fear that someone will think of you as a member of the 700 Club. That you are brainwashed? Could it be that close friend or spouse? Your punishment is of how you are treated here on Earth.

          The Christian narrative is far more appealing than the atheist's position. It would be foolish to deny that.

          I will remember that next Lent when I give up soda pop and my x-box. 🙂 The truth is that from my perspective it is the Atheist path that is easier. Even you mentioned that it relied on “simple” reasoning. We have tons of denominations that we have to option and even the choices between the Faiths. The Atheist path does not require much thought. In many ways it is the absence of even having options.

          So no, speaking as one who has been in both camps, your camp is nothing like our camp.

          That you acknowledge that they are both camps, both groups...is a start. Now, you just need to ask yourself, why did your last sentence echo comments from a few radical Muslims, when told that Islam is just like Christianity. Their response is the same as your 853 word desperate rant.... no Islam is nothing like ….

          L'Chaim.

          You are cool to talk to, despite the rants. 🙂

          August 3, 2013 at 6:45 am |
        • skytag

          @Mark from Middle River: "In the end all you are doing is having Faith that your view is correct. You go on and on trying to define that your act of Faith is different from ours but, as a person who regularly deals with some who are Muslims and other Faiths...your Atheism fits in very well. Basically, think of it as a flat skipping stone. On one side is all of us of the Religious Faith but when you turn that stone over we find those of the Atheist faith."

          This is the kind of stupid malarkey believers tell themselves to put atheism in the same boat as they are. It's idiotic nonsense.

          "The truth is that Atheism, once postulated, their belief that there is not a God fails to show evidence of their belief."

          Atheists don't "postulate" anything. If I'm postulating there is no God then I'm also postulating there are no leprechauns, no vampires, no Santa Claus, no invisible monsters under my bed and a thousand other things you could imagine with no evidence to suggest they are real. This lame argument that we can't prove there is no god is just an excuse to cling to your belief in a god for which you have no evidence.

          August 3, 2013 at 7:20 am |
        • skytag

          @Mark from Middle River: "I mean, many times....and it is growing... those of Faith are asking our Atheist brothers and sisters for proof and this they can not offer."

          Those of faith believe this vidacates them ecause religion makes people stupid. You're right, I can't prove there is no God, just as you can't prove there is no Santa Claus, no vampires, no leprechauns, no extraterrestrials living among us in human form and on and on.

          It's you who have postulated the existence of something, therefore the burden of proof is on you. In fact, the authors of Christianity were careful to postulate a god whose nature is such that you can rationalize away any argument anyone could give you. He's all powerful, invisible, knows everything, has always existed, is not bound by the laws of time, space or matter, can be everywhere at once, his incomprehensible to us and so on.

          So no matter what argument is used to cast doubt on his existence you can make up any counter argument you feel like making because your rationalizations aren't subject to any constraints at all. There is no test anyone can apply to any of it because there's always something about your god that makes the test invalid. Isn't that convenient? It might be a fairytale, but the authors of it weren't stupid.

          Yet for all this infinite power he has and all the claims Christians make about him there is no evidence any of them are true. If God answers prayer, why is there no evidence any prayer ever uttered has ever been answered? If God can change men's hearts, why didn't he change Hitler's or Stalin's? If seeking God will lead you to him why do people seeking him "find" him in so many different religions, often with conflicting sets of beliefs? If the teachings of Christianity are true and accepting Jesus is essential for salvation, why has God led more people in their searches to non-Christian faiths than Christian faiths?

          There are tons of questions like these, and every answer you give requires faith, as there is no proof for any of them. Atheism doesn't generate this endless stream of questions and hence does not need to rely on an endless stream of unprovable theories and speculations. Belief in a God requires faith, and tons of it. Atheism requires no more faith that believing Santa Claus isn't real.

          August 3, 2013 at 7:24 am |
        • skytag

          @Mark from Middle River: "If you have such verifiable evidence then please put it forth. So, in the end all the Faithful has to ask, when a Atheist declares that there is no God, is for that same Atheist to back up his or her claim. Same as any other belief system."

          More proof religion makes people stupid. It's nothing more than a desperate attempt to cling to fairytales you know have no evidential basis. What you're doing here is challenging me to force you to agree there is no God, knowing that's impossible. No matter what I offered, you could rationalize dismissing it with yet another unprovable claim that can't be tested.

          You are postulating not just a god, but numerous specifics about that God and how people should modify their lives as a result of his existence. All through history believers have used their beliefs to justify persecution, control, and limiting the rights of others. The onus of providing proof is on you. You not only need to give a reason to believe in a God, you need to offer a reason to believe your understanding of him is better than that of people who belong to any of hundreds of other religions.

          Once you understand why you dismiss all the other gods and religions but yours you'll understand why I dismiss yours.

          August 3, 2013 at 7:34 am |
        • skytag

          @Mark from Middle River: "When you have Atheist stating that we should burn down churches, how is that different from Muslims or Christians declaring to burn down each others houses of worship? It is the same."

          It's a shame you aren't smart enough to realize you're supporting my side. 😉 If believing in God, seeking him, knowing he exists and what he expects of you doesn't produce significantly better behavior from Christians than it does atheists or Muslims, then what does that say about Christianity?

          To me it's just more evidence Christianity is a fraud. If it were true I'd expect Christians to be demonstrably better people than non-Christians, be they atheists or Muslims or anyone else. I'd expect all that prayer and faith and promise of salvation to make a demonstrable difference in people, but we know it doesn't. Instead of better people, we just get more excuses from Christians explaining why their religion fails to produce the results one would expect.

          August 3, 2013 at 7:43 am |
        • skytag

          @Mark from Middle River: "To quickly finish off your argument"

          You haven't finished off anything.

          "I just pose those two points. Both sides preach a belief they can not prove and both sides have factions within their group which are intolerant and violent. Equivalence achieved."

          Unfortunately for you is that equivalence is the last thing you want. You want to demonstrate that believing in God and following him and "his word" results in demonstrably better people. If it doesn't, then what's the point of spending all that time reading the Bible, praying, going to church, donating money to churches and so on if you just end up behaving like atheists?

          August 3, 2013 at 7:49 am |
        • skytag

          @Mark from Middle River: "A few days ago I stated that Atheism forces one to close their minds because while the Faithful are allowed to believe in science and Faith, … the Atheist is limited. As you stated, your able to be moved by the “simplest” answer. Those of Faith go further, much further."

          The atheist is limited to reality. Those of faith are limited only by their imaginations. The former forces you to deal with the truth, even when it's unpleasant. The latter allows you to use fairytales and delusions to avoid having to deal with unpleasant realities.

          So yes, those of faith go much further than reality, to whatever rationalization they need to prop up their delusions. Of course, only your forays outside the bounds of reality count. Those of Muslims, Buddhists, the ancient Greeks and thousands of other religions over the course of human history don't count, right? Just yours, which I'm sure you can also rationalize. 😉

          August 3, 2013 at 7:55 am |
        • skytag

          @Mark from Middle River: "A few days ago I stated that Atheism forces one to close their minds because while the Faithful are allowed to believe in science and Faith, … the Atheist is limited. As you stated, your able to be moved by the “simplest” answer. Those of Faith go further, much further."

          The atheist is limited to reality. Those of faith are limited only by their imaginations. The former forces you to deal with the truth, even when it's unpleasant. The latter allows you to use fairytales and delusions to avoid having to deal with unpleasant realities.

          So yes, those of faith go much further than reality, to whatever rationalization they need to prop up their delusions.

          August 3, 2013 at 8:05 am |
        • skytag

          @Mark from Middle River: "As are you as an Atheist. As soon as someone declares there is a God or challenges your view, you have to reaffirm your commitment to Atheism. In fact tonight you wrote 853 words to reaffirm and defend your beliefs."

          You're looking pretty weak here with this lame nonsense. I present rational arguments. You reaffirm your blind faith in beliefs unsupported by any evidence. That is, when you are making pathetic claims trying to belittle atheists for using logic and reason.

          "In Christianity, we call it testifying."

          Yes, like any good cult you have special meanings you attach to common words. Regurgitating beliefs unsupported by any evidence, fact or logic is not testifying, it's recycling old claims.

          Funny how you never try to address any point I make, but instead have chosen to avoid them in favor of drivel like this. Instead of getting your word processor to count my words, why not try refuting my reasoning?

          August 3, 2013 at 9:08 am |
        • Robert Brown

          Cpt. Obvious,

          Agreed, I do look at from my perspective and there is no way I can understand how a former believer views it. I suggest things that come to mind out of a normal concern for others.

          August 3, 2013 at 9:12 am |
        • Robert Brown

          Skytag,
          I can understand & agree with most everything you posted in your reply to me, except your last paragraph. Although you did touch on something that I believe is the key. I have reasons for believing as I do and so do you. All you need is a reason to believe.

          August 3, 2013 at 9:14 am |
        • skytag

          @Mark from Middle River: "As are you as an Atheist. As soon as someone declares there is a God or challenges your view, you have to reaffirm your commitment to Atheism. In fact tonight you wrote 853 words to reaffirm and defend your beliefs."

          You're looking pretty weak here with this lame nonsense. I present rational arguments. You reaffirm your blind faith in beliefs unsupported by any evidence. That is, when you are making pathetic claims trying to belittle atheists for using logic and reason.

          "In Christianity, we call it testifying."

          Yes, like any good cult you have special meanings you attach to common words. Regurgitating beliefs unsupported by any evidence, fact or logic is not testifying, it's recycling old claims.

          Funny how you never try to address any point I make, but instead have chosen to avoid them in favor of drivel like this. Instead of getting your word processor to count my words, why not try refuting my reasoning?

          "As the Atheist side wets their pants now days when the Faithful ask for proof of the lack of a God."

          Now you're reeking of desperation. First, believers have used that logically flawed strategy to avoid dealing with reality for as long as I can remember. It's nothing new as you are dishonestly suggesting. Second, atheists are no remotely reacting in the manner you suggest. At this point you've abandoned all pretense of engaging in a reasonable debate and stooped to bearing false witness to disparage your opponents.

          "The sad thing is that the Atheist on the extremes have more problem with folks saying they have Faith because it would stand counter to the belief of Faith."

          The sad thing is that this probably makes sense to you. The more condescending you are the weaker you look.

          August 3, 2013 at 9:15 am |
        • skytag

          @Mark from Middle River: "In seriousness, if I say to you that I want to follow the path of Christianity, do you feel that I am being forced to?"

          I didn't say anything about being forced, so this is another one of your intellectually dishonest tactics. It's called a straw man argument.

          I said "feel pressure to" and I was comparing the differences between being an atheist contemplating the possibility that God exists and being a Christian who is contemplating the possibility that he doesn't. Context matters. If you're a Christian contemplating the possibility that what you believe isn't true there are most certainly psychological pressures not to reject your beliefs.

          August 3, 2013 at 9:28 am |
        • skytag

          @Mark from Middle River: "Interesting, but if you leave the Atheist camp, what do you get? The fear that someone will think of you as a member of the 700 Club. That you are brainwashed? Could it be that close friend or spouse? Your punishment is of how you are treated here on Earth."

          More delusions straight from your imagination. I only know one person who I know isn't a Christian and the vast majority of people I know don't know what I believe about God and wouldn't if I became a Christian again. Were I to embrace my former beliefs and start attending church again the reaction from others would be overwhelmingly positive. I can't think of single reason along these lines to discourage me from going back. I don't because I'm not going to live a lie, plain and simple, and that's what it would take for me to go back to that life.

          Reality is obviously not your happy place. From a social standpoint in this country the easiest thing to be is a mainstream Christian. Atheists are in a minority. How people react to someone being a Christian depends heavily on which flavor he embraces. If you're an Episcopalian no one cares. They're traditional, not the least bit radical, and we've had more Episcopalian presidents than from any other religion.

          On the other hand, if you're a member of the Westboro Baptist Church or some church where people speak in tongues and handle snakes I suspect you're going to take some heat. Ditto, though to a lesser degree if you're a Mormon or Jehovah's Witness.

          In general you're far more likely to get a negative reaction to being an atheist than a Christian in this country, so what you suggest is, like much of what you say, just silly.

          August 3, 2013 at 10:04 am |
        • skytag

          @Mark from Middle River: As are you as an Atheist. As soon as someone declares there is a God or challenges your view, you have to reaffirm your commitment to Atheism."

          This is a lie, but you lie a lot to keep reality at bay, so no surprise here. I do not do this to reaffirm my commitment to atheism, you delusional tool. I don't even have a commitment to atheism. And when not dealing with the people like you I give it no thought. I spend no time praying to the atheist non-god, no time reading atheistic writings, no time singing songs about atheism, I never attend meetings to fellowship with other atheists. Nothing.

          My atheism is based on the simple fact that there is no objective, verifiable evidence or reason to believe any god exists. Period. I no more need to "reaffirm" that than I need to reaffirm that I don't believe in Santa Claus. All the "reaffirmation" need is the continued complete lack of evidence. Which, ironically, is the same reason believers do need constant reaffirmation of their beliefs.

          August 3, 2013 at 10:30 am |
        • skytag

          @Robert Brown: "I can understand & agree with most everything you posted in your reply to me, except your last paragraph. Although you did touch on something that I believe is the key. I have reasons for believing as I do and so do you. All you need is a reason to believe."

          True, but understand it must be an objective reason, not just a desire to believe. I'm not going to fool myself by looking at ordinary events and simply deciding to believe they are evidence of something supernatural.

          Actually, in the past that was very common, because believers assigned supernatural causes to so many phenomenon in the real world. For example, they used to believe seizures were caused by demonic possessions, so when someone had a seizure those around him believed they were witnessing a demonic possession and interpreted that evidence of demonic possessions.

          So many of those kinds of explanations and beliefs have be rejected now that it's less common for people to look at the ordinary and interpret it as the supernatural, but it still happens.

          August 3, 2013 at 10:44 am |
      • Gadflie

        Robert, I'm afraid I have never read an eyewitness account of Jesus (when he was alegedly alive). The accounts in the Bible are only hearsay, not eyewitness accounts.

        August 2, 2013 at 11:09 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          I believe the accounts in the bible are eyewitness accounts & every believer is a witness.

          August 2, 2013 at 11:23 pm |
      • Dippy

        Robert, it's "witnesses," not "witness's." Sounds like too much bible time, not enough real study time. Pity.

        August 2, 2013 at 11:20 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          Thanks, I actually typed it correctly once, but sometimes I let my phone have it's way.

          August 2, 2013 at 11:27 pm |
        • Dippy

          Its, not it's.

          August 2, 2013 at 11:30 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          Sorry, I'll try to reply with fewer words.

          August 2, 2013 at 11:37 pm |
      • bostontola

        Robert,
        Your comment saddens me, clearly you didn't bother to fully read my comment. I already said that eyewitness testimony has been proven very poor. The evidence you reference is as I said, just believers feelings. I respect feelings, but it is weak evidence.

        August 2, 2013 at 11:28 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          Boston, I understood that you considered it weak. So, are you interested more in blog debate or finding God?

          August 2, 2013 at 11:44 pm |
        • bostontola

          Robert,
          I was brought up with god. I have taken comparative religion courses when I was in college. I also studied math and science. I find a natural explanation of the universe and life much more beautiful and true than any religious explanation.

          August 3, 2013 at 12:03 am |
        • skytag

          @Robert Brown: "Boston, I understood that you considered it weak."

          You would consider it weak too if you were hearing they some thing from someone in a different religion such as Islam or Buddhism. You only accept those things you call evidence as evidence because you're looking for something that validates your beliefs, not real, objective evidence. As a Christian you are always looking for more confirmation of what you believe.

          A hundred people from a hundred different religions could come to you and say the exact same things you say and you'd make some excuse for dismissing their beliefs, but you expect others to consider what you say valid.

          "So, are you interested more in blog debate or finding God?"

          I can't speak for bostontola, but your question presupposes the existence of God, something you have clearly failed to establish. The challenge you face in getting me to "find God" is more complicated than that, however. Not only would you need to give me a reason to believe there is a god for me to find before I'm willing to invest time and energy seeking him, there's the matter of which god I should seek, which determines how I seek him.

          I'm sure you would have me seek the Christian God through reading the Bible, prayer, talking to other Christians and so on. But why should I believe this is a better approach than reading the Koran and praying five times a day while facing Mecca?

          When people "seek God" they almost always seek the god of their parents, people they know, and/or the dominant religion in their culture. If we were Saudi Arabians you would almost certainly tell me to seek God through the Koran.

          There are 2.1 billion Christians, 1.5 billion Muslims, a billion Hindis, and hundreds of other religions of various sizes and no one in any of them can give me any objective reason to seek God through his teachings, yet all of them would say that's what I should do. Frankly, if God were real this would seem like a truly bizarre way to set things up if he really cared about what you believe.

          August 3, 2013 at 6:48 am |
        • Robert Brown

          Bostontola,

          You said you were brought up with God. I guess that means your parents took you to church. Did you believe in God and then your college courses (the flesh aka the wisdom of man) change your mind? God is a spirit.

          August 3, 2013 at 9:20 am |
        • Robert Brown

          Skytag,

          My faith has been confirmed, affirmed, reaffirmed many times over the years. I could be wrong but I think any reasonable person would be persuaded by the experiences I have had with God. It is easy to dismiss things you read on an internet blog. All I am suggesting is that you lack a reason to believe. I can’t give you the reason, that is the work of God. Reading the bible, prayer, talking to other Christians are all good, but what is most effective is hearing the word of God preached, so that you can witness a demonstration of the power of God.

          August 3, 2013 at 9:31 am |
        • skytag

          @Robert Brown: "My faith has been confirmed, affirmed, reaffirmed many times over the years."

          I understand you believe this. The problem with this is that all of your "evidence" is private to you, subject to your perceptions, biases and agenda in your interpretation. None of it is external and verifiable by anyone else.

          Furthermore, there are countless cases of people being just as convinced of some other belief. Is it naivete or arrogance that has you believing none of the world's 1.5 billion Muslims and 1 billion Hindus feel what you feel?

          In 2011 a bunch of Christians quit their jobs, left their lives behind and traveled the country in motorhomes to tell people Jesus was returning on May 21, 2011. Do you think they had any less faith in what they believed than you do in what you believe?

          "I could be wrong but I think any reasonable person would be persuaded by the experiences I have had with God."

          In my experience people's "experiences with God" are nothing more than their interpretations of ordinary events, often based on the notion that the occurrence of something with a very low probability of occurring meant it was God's doing, and almost always influenced by a desire to experience proof of God's existence.

          "It is easy to dismiss things you read on an internet blog. All I am suggesting is that you lack a reason to believe."

          That's been my position all along.

          "I can’t give you the reason, that is the work of God."

          He has made sure there is no evidence of his existence, so he shouldn't have a problem when people belief he doesn't exist.

          "Reading the bible, prayer, talking to other Christians are all good, but what is most effective is hearing the word of God preached, so that you can witness a demonstration of the power of God."

          Yes, immerse myself in Christianity until I'm brainwashed enough to start imagining I see evidence. Thanks, but no thanks. I don't doubt the ability of a powerful speaker to evoke emotional reactions in people whether it's Adolf Hitler, Winston Churchill, or Billy Graham (the last of whom being the only one I've heard in person). Having someone manipulate my emotions is not the kind of "evidence" I'm looking for.

          You need to understand that I don't just lack a reason to believe, I lack any reason to invest time and energy doing what you suggest as well.

          You speak as a typical Christian in the bubble. When you live in the Christen bubble you believe only Christians have your kind of faith, your kind of experiences. You don't realize you are a Christian because you were born and raised in a predominantly Christian country and probably raised by Christian parents. I think I'm pretty safe assuming your weren't raised as a Hindu in India or a Muslim in Saudi Arabia. If you had been born and raised in Saudi Arabia you'd almost certainly be telling me to read the Koran and pray to Allah five times a day to know of God.

          So not only do I see no reason to believe in any of this, I see nothing I could use to pick which religion I should use in my search. Seems to me that if there were a God he could give us some direction here, and there is none.

          August 4, 2013 at 4:27 pm |
      • Arthur Bryant

        "Witness testimony"?!?!? PLEASE read some history. There is NO witness testimony!

        August 3, 2013 at 12:15 am |
        • about Jesus

          A number of them said who they were, and some said they saw angels, Moses, Elijah, saw Jesus change form, saw Jesus as a brilliant light, saw angels with the appearance of thunder, didn't see Jesus but heard him speak, heard God speak... it's pretty clear they knew something... about Jesus.

          August 3, 2013 at 4:36 am |
      • skytag

        "Boston, you discount witness testimony as evidence"

        Because in Christianity this just means someone sharing what he believes. It does not mean what it means to those outside the Christian bubble, that someone was an eyewitness or has recognized credentials as an expert in the relevant field.

        Something for which there is considerable evidence is the fact that believing something doesn't make it true, not even if lots of people believe it.

        August 3, 2013 at 2:18 am |
    • dissidentfairy

      "A person's feelings are notoriously unreliable." Yes they are bostontola...just when you think you've got it right:)

      August 2, 2013 at 11:55 pm |
  12. LinCA

    Someone must be struggling with the word filter. Some comment numbers aren't showing up.

    August 2, 2013 at 9:45 pm |
    • LinCA

      CNN uses WordPress blogs for their opinion pieces, and they use automated censoring that looks for words, or fragments of words, that are considered offensive. If your post doesn't show up, it most likely had a forbidden word in it.

      On the Belief Blog, repeat posts, even those that were previously censored and not displayed, will show a message stating that you posted it before.

      The following words or word fragments will get your post censored (list is incomplete):
            arse             as in Arsenal
            bastard
            bitch
            clit
            cock           as in cockatiel
            coon           as in cocoon
            cracker
            cum             as in circumstance
            cunt
            douche
            effing
            fag
            ftw
            fuck
            goddamn
            gloryhole
            homo         as in homosexual
            hooters
            horny
            hump
            jackass
            jap
            jism
            kinky
            kooch
            necrophilia
            nigra         as in denigrate
            nigger
            nipple
            orgy
            pis
            poon
            porn
            prick
            pussy
            queer
            rape         as in grape
            sex           as in homosexual
            shit
            slut
            smut
            snatch
            spic         as in despicable
            tit               as in constitution or title
            twat
            vag           as in vague
            whore
            wonderful us
            wop
            wtf
            xxx

      To circumvent the filters you can break up the words by putting an extra character in, like: consti.tution (breaking the oh so naughty "tit").

      August 2, 2013 at 9:47 pm |
      • bostontola

        Thanks, I would never have guessed va.gue.

        August 2, 2013 at 10:06 pm |
        • LinCA

          Here is a Python script for Notepad++ that will scan selected text for the word fragments on the banned list. It will then insert a couple of HTML tags that will allow you to circumvent the filters.

          You can find the script below between the lines with the # signs.

          To install it:
          – If you don't already have it, get Notepad++ (it's a free download, just google it).
          – Go to: Plugins – Plugin Manager – Show Plugin Manager – add the plugin Python Script.
          – Go to: Plugins – Python Script – New Script.
          – Give the new script a name and save.
          – Copy everything between the # signs below into the new script.
          – Save the script.
          – Go to: Plugins – Python Script – Configuration – Add script to Toolbar icons.

          To use it:
          – Compose comment in Notepad++.
          – Select entire comment.
          – Run script by clicking the toolbar icon.
          – Copy and post.

          If you need to add new words, just add lines to the script in the "banlist" variable (mind the quotes and comma).

          Script below:
          #############################################################

          banlist = ( 'arse',
                      'bastard',
                      'bitch',
                      'clit',
                      'cock',
                      'coon',
                      'cracker',
                      'cum',
                      'cunt',
                      'douche',
                      'effing',
                      'fag',
                      'ftw',
                      'fuck',
                      'goddamn',
                      'gloryhole',
                      'homo',
                      'hooters',
                      'horny',
                      'hump',
                      'jackass',
                      'jap',
                      'jism',
                      'kinky',
                      'kooch',
                      'necrophilia',
                      'nigra',
                      'nigger',
                      'nipple',
                      'orgy',
                      'pis',
                      'poon',
                      'porn',
                      'prick',
                      'pussy',
                      'queer',
                      'rape',
                      'sex',
                      'shit',
                      'slut',
                      'smut',
                      'snatch',
                      'spic',
                      'tit',
                      'twat',
                      'vag',
                      'whore',
                      'wop',
                      'wtf',
                      'xxx',
                      'wonderful us' )

          editor.beginUndoAction()
          selStr = editor.getSelText()

          startAnchor = editor.getSelectionStart()
          endPos = editor.getSelectionEnd()
          if( endPos > startAnchor ):
              startAnchor = editor.positionFromLine( editor.lineFromPosition( startAnchor ) )
          else:
              tmp = startAnchor
              startAnchor = endPos
              endPos = tmp
          selectionLength = endPos - startAnchor
          addedCharachters = 0

          for index in range(len(banlist)):
              findString = banlist[index]

              if ( findString != 'wonderful us' ) :
                  isWU = 0
                  replacePos = 3
              else :
                  isWU = 1
                  replacePos = 10

              l = len( selStr )
              f = len( findString )

              if ( l >= f ) :
                  c = (l - f)
                  lastTagIsOpen = 1

                  while ( c >= 0 ) :
                      clip = str.lower( selStr[ c : c + f ] )
                      if ( ( l - c ) > 2 ) :
                          if ( str.lower( selStr[ c : c + 3 ] ) == '<b>' ) :
                              lastTagIsOpen = 1
                      if ( ( l - c ) > 3 ) :
                          if ( str.lower( selStr[ c : c + 4 ] ) == '</b>' ) :
                              lastTagIsOpen = 0
                      if ( clip == findString ) :
                          if isWU :
                              selStr = selStr[ 0 : ( c + replacePos - 1 )] + '&nbsp;' + selStr[ ( c + replacePos ) : len( selStr ) ]
                              addedCharachters += 5
                          else :
                              if lastTagIsOpen :
                                  selStr = selStr[ 0 : ( c + replacePos - 1 ) ] + '<b></b>' + selStr[ (c + replacePos - 1) : len( selStr ) ]
                                  addedCharachters += 7
                              else :
                                  selStr = selStr[ 0 : ( c + replacePos - 1 ) ] + '</b><b>' + selStr[ (c + replacePos - 1) : len( selStr ) ]
                                  addedCharachters += 7
                      c -= 1

          editor.replaceSel( selStr )
          editor.endUndoAction()

          endPos = editor.getLineEndPosition( editor.lineFromPosition( endPos ) )
          editor.setSel( startAnchor, selectionLength + addedCharachters )

          #############################################################

          August 2, 2013 at 10:12 pm |
        • bostontola

          Muchas gracias

          August 2, 2013 at 10:18 pm |
  13. Just the Facts Ma'am...

    Are there any Christians that can explain the DNA evidence showing that humans and Neanderthals interbred as it compares to the Genesis account found in the bible?

    "researchers recovered ancient DNA of Neanderthals by extracting the DNA from the femur bones of three 38,000-year-old female Neanderthal specimens from Vindija Cave, Croatia, and other bones found in Spain, Russia, and Germany.[6] Only about half a gram of the bone samples (or 21 samples each 50-100 mg[7]) was required for the sequencing, but the project faced many difficulties, including the contamination of the samples by the bacteria that had colonized the Neanderthal's body and humans who handled the bones at the excavation site and at the laboratory.[8]

    Additionally, in 2010, the announcement of the discovery and analysis of Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) from the Denisova hominin in Siberia revealed that this specimen differs from that of modern humans by 385 bases (nucleotides) in the mtDNA strand out of approximately 16,500, whereas the difference between modern humans and Neanderthals is around 202 bases. In contrast, the difference between chimpanzees and modern humans is approximately 1,462 mtDNA base pairs. Analysis of the specimen's nuclear DNA is under way and is expected to clarify whether the find is a distinct species.[9][10] Even though the Denisova hominin's mtDNA lineage predates the divergence of modern humans and Neanderthals, coalescent theory does not preclude a more recent divergence date for her nuclear DNA."

    August 2, 2013 at 7:59 pm |
    • AE

      Genesis is an origin story that reveals truths about human beings. You don't have to take it completely literally to make it relevant or helpful in your life.

      The Bible speaks to our hearts about God – since we are not simply just rational beings living in a logical world. We are imperfect beings living in a broken world.

      Why do you think parts of the Bible is poetry, songs and parables?

      August 2, 2013 at 8:13 pm |
      • Douglas

        AE, therein are some of the many problems with your Christian tales. You and other believers can't consistently tell us which parts are parables, and which should be taken literally. You can't even agree amongst yourselves. Ponder that over your dinner tonight. If you think at all for yourself, it should give you some concerns about your beliefs.

        August 2, 2013 at 8:25 pm |
        • AE

          Parables may not be real, but they are true. What they expose is very honest about human beings. And to me, still seems relevant thousands of years later. Once I stopped thinking of them as stories that had a moral, it started to make more sense.

          You couldn't I think for myself? Who do you imagine does my thinking if I can't?

          August 2, 2013 at 8:29 pm |
        • skytag

          @AE: "Parables may not be real, but they are true."

          The principles they teach may be true, but if the story itself isn't a factually accurate account of a real event then it can't be true.

          "What they expose is very honest about human beings. And to me, still seems relevant thousands of years later. Once I stopped thinking of them as stories that had a moral, it started to make more sense."

          I think the distinction you're making is a bit artificial, but in any case, parables don't need a divine source. You don't need a god to understand human nature, and you surely don't need the Christian God or the Bible to have a parable.

          "You couldn't I think for myself? Who do you imagine does my thinking if I can't?"

          What if you're just regurgitating what you've read and been told? That doesn't require thinking on your part. If you do that someone else did the thinking and you're just channeling it.

          For example, it seems to me that if you could think for yourself you would have responded to Douglas' point. Instead, you responded with something that had nothing to do with this point. He didn't say anything about the reality of parables. He said "you and other believers can't consistently tell us which parts are parables, and which should be taken literally." You didn't address that point at all, or even acknowledged it at all. Not the best way to impress people that you're thinking for yourself.

          August 2, 2013 at 8:55 pm |
      • skytag

        How can the world be broken?

        August 2, 2013 at 8:31 pm |
        • AE

          It is a world that has always failed to live up to its ideals.

          August 2, 2013 at 8:35 pm |
        • AE

          Nobody is perfect.

          Even those who profess to be rational and logical, do irrational and illogical things.

          Hypocrisy exists in all human beings. From Christians, to agnostics, to atheists. At times, we all fail to live how we should.

          August 2, 2013 at 8:50 pm |
        • skytag

          @AE: "It is a world that has always failed to live up to its ideals."

          What does this even mean? How does "the world" have ideals? To what are you even referring when you say "the world?"

          In any case, I think "failed to be ideal" is a pretty dumb definition for "broken."

          August 2, 2013 at 9:00 pm |
        • Gadflie

          It's amusing to me that people claim that god is perfect. They also claim that he is the creator of everything. You judge a creator by his creation. If a sculptor creates an imperfect statue, the sculptor is not perfect. Does anyone actually pretend that the world is perfect? Really?

          August 2, 2013 at 9:18 pm |
        • AE

          I think the basic human ideal is that we treat each other as equals.

          There is enough food for everyone to eat, yet millions are starving, mostly due to human greed and corruption.

          August 2, 2013 at 9:28 pm |
        • Vic

          God is perfect, and indeed this world is broken.

          As Christians, we believe "broken world" simply means cursed. God cursed this world due to the "original sin" and transfigured man to a mortal ever since. Man has to live in this cursed world through this temporal life and pass the test of faith. This will remain the case till the New Heaven and earth.

          August 2, 2013 at 9:33 pm |
        • LinCA

          @Vic

          You said, "God is perfect, and indeed this world is broken."
          If your god created everything, and the world is broken, it is not perfect. How difficult is it to understand that? If the world is broken, your god fucked up.

          August 2, 2013 at 9:43 pm |
        • AE

          Didn't God say it was good, not perfect?

          Again, you say we are "infected", or inferior because we have "less education", but God says He still loves us.

          August 2, 2013 at 9:46 pm |
        • LinCA

          @AE

          You said, "Didn't God say it was good, not perfect?"
          So he was a slacker and half-asses was good enough? He couldn't forsee that he had to wipe out his entire creation later on?

          You said, "Again, you say we are "infected", or inferior because we have "less education", but God says He still loves us."
          You are infected but not incurable, and the education, which is also the cure, is free. All you need to do is apply it.

          August 2, 2013 at 9:50 pm |
        • Vic

          That's the problem with selective reading.

          In the rest of my post I said this will be the case till the "New Heaven and earth" which will be a perfect world in the next lifetime!

          August 2, 2013 at 9:56 pm |
        • AE

          The cure is probably something like humility, which is actually free.

          Judging others as "infected" and valuing your opinion above others does not demonstrate humility.

          What kind of education do you think you have that I don't? I have a very secular background – and I hold a job where having a sound mind and clear understanding of reality is very important. So I really don't understand, do you think you are better than me, because of my belief system?

          August 2, 2013 at 9:58 pm |
        • LinCA

          @Vic

          You said, "That's the problem with selective reading."
          I read it. It just wasn't relevant.

          You said, "In the rest of my post I said this will be the case till the "New Heaven and earth" which will be a perfect world in the next lifetime!"
          If his past performance is any indication of his future actions, I wouldn't hold my breath. Then again, I wouldn't hold my breath for imaginary creatures, to begin with.

          August 2, 2013 at 10:05 pm |
        • LinCA

          @AE

          You said, "Judging others as "infected" and valuing your opinion above others does not demonstrate humility."
          You were infected by bullshit. Someone poisoned your brain with nonsense. There is little shame in being duped, especially if it happend while you were an impressionable child. What you do about it, now that you are an adult, is far more telling.

          You said, "What kind of education do you think you have that I don't?"
          It isn't the education that you may, or may not have. It's what you do with it.

          You said, "I have a very secular background – and I hold a job where having a sound mind and clear understanding of reality is very important."
          How about you apply that sound mind to the fairy tale that you still cling to?

          You said, "So I really don't understand, do you think you are better than me, because of my belief system?"
          No, I don't think I'm better than you. I just think you have a hard time letting go of silly beliefs.

          August 2, 2013 at 10:10 pm |
        • Vic

          Back to square one!

          The reason this world and man are not perfect is because God cursed the world and transfigured man to a mortal due to the "original sin!"

          August 2, 2013 at 10:12 pm |
        • LinCA

          @Vic

          You said, "The reason this world and man are not perfect is because God cursed the world and transfigured man to a mortal due to the "original sin!""
          Like I said, your god sure is a fuck-up. It seems to have a real difficult time getting anything right.

          August 2, 2013 at 10:15 pm |
        • AE

          LinCA:

          How do you know you were not "infected"? Other than obviously having a high opinion of yourself? What steps or evaluation have you gone through? Anything outside of yourself?

          How do you imagine I have been duped into believing something? What is it that you have that I can't have because I follow Jesus Christ?

          What do you imagine I have lost?

          I can name some people who, as you imagine, didn't let "go of silly beliefs" that did some amazing things.

          Amazing.

          August 2, 2013 at 10:23 pm |
        • LinCA

          @AE

          You said, "How do you know you were not "infected"?"
          I was, at one point, but I got better.

          You said, "Other than obviously having a high opinion of yourself? What steps or evaluation have you gone through? Anything outside of yourself?"
          I have looked at the available evidence for gods, and found none. I've looked at the religious narratives, and found nothing but baloney. The case for the existence of gods is, just like those gods, non-existent. There is no rational ground for a belief in gods. There is no rational basis for religion.

          That doesn't mean that you can't hold those silly beliefs, or that you can't worship your imaginary friend, just that it isn't rational.

          You said, "How do you imagine I have been duped into believing something?"
          You didn't come up with the fairy tale of your god by yourself. Someone told you, and you bought it. You fell for the scam, hook, line and sinker.

          You said, "What is it that you have that I can't have because I follow Jesus Christ?"
          You follow a figment of someone's imagination. Jesus may, or may not, have been a gifted speaker, but he wasn't special in any other way (that is, if he existed at all).

          You said, "What do you imagine I have lost?"
          Your marbles? A grip on reality?

          You said, "I can name some people who, as you imagine, didn't let "go of silly beliefs" that did some amazing things."
          There is no need for silly beliefs to do amazing things. A lot of the brightest minds, that have brought us amazing things, were atheists.

          August 2, 2013 at 10:34 pm |
        • AE

          Sure, that is just your opinion. I can understand where you are coming from, but I don't agree with what you imagine about me.

          Peace be with you.

          "In a world that encourages self-indulgence and material wealth, humility may be challenging to acquire. The benefits include peace, wisdom, respect and healthy relationships."

          August 2, 2013 at 10:52 pm |
        • LinCA

          @AE

          You said, "I can understand where you are coming from, but I don't agree with what you imagine about me."
          Then enlighten me. What is it that makes you so convinced that your god is real? What was it that made you change from being an atheist like me, to a firm believer in a god that logically can't exist. What is it that convinced you and why shouldn't that convince me?

          You said, "Peace be with you."
          Same to you.

          August 2, 2013 at 10:56 pm |
        • AE

          I can't deny God. I don't know why I am so convinced. But in my life, the more trust and confidence I put in God, the more peace and serenity I feel. Even when the world around me is not peaceful or serene.

          When I was an atheist I had a lot of resentments, and it was obvious to everyone but me. I had blind spots. Like you, I would try to demean someone by calling them names, and justify it in my head as saying "I'm the rational one" or "I'm just trying to do them a favor".

          Nobody needed my help. I needed help.

          I humbly asked, and God revealed himself as real.

          I suggest you seek humility if you want to know God.

          (There is much more to it than this, but I'm keeping it simple. Not sure if you are being honest or just thinking of this as some kind of entertainment.)

          August 2, 2013 at 11:19 pm |
        • LinCA

          @AE

          You said, "I can't deny God. I don't know why I am so convinced. But in my life, the more trust and confidence I put in God, the more peace and serenity I feel. Even when the world around me is not peaceful or serene."
          That's how your beliefs make you feel. It may explain why you stick with them. It doesn't explain how you arrived at those beliefs.

          You said, "I humbly asked, and God revealed himself as real."
          That leaves the question of why you asked an entity that you didn't believe existed to reveal itself. What compelled you to ask? What convinced you that your question was answered?

          If you were an atheist at the time, especially an atheist like me, as you seemed to indicate, what could possibly have convinced you?

          You said, "I suggest you seek humility if you want to know God."
          The problem with that is the suspension of disbelief. I would have to shed my disbelief in that god before I can accept that anything is caused by it. To shed my disbelief I would require a convincing argument.

          You said, "Not sure if you are being honest or just thinking of this as some kind of entertainment."
          I am interested in understanding why people believe.

          August 2, 2013 at 11:35 pm |
        • AE

          – What compelled you to ask? What convinced you that your question was answered?

          Something in my life was unsatisfying. Something was missing. It seemed like there was something more to life than meets the eye.

          My question, which I basically have to ask each day, is answered in amazing ways. God is so good – even on a really bad day I can thank Him and know I have what I need. It feels as if something is providing for me, has blessed me and is using me to be a blessing to others.

          – If you were an atheist at the time, especially an atheist like me, as you seemed to indicate, what could possibly have convinced you?

          My newly found open-mind saw a loving God working in my life.

          August 2, 2013 at 11:58 pm |
        • LinCA

          @AE

          Thanks. It doesn't really tell me what made you change your mind from complete disbelief to belief, but I appreciate your openness.

          I have one more question. Of all the gods to pick from, why the one that you picked?

          August 3, 2013 at 1:25 am |
        • AE

          The love of Jesus Christ for me.

          August 3, 2013 at 8:53 am |
        • LinCA

          @AE

          You said, "The love of Jesus Christ for me."
          That is just as much part of the fairy tale as the existence of the christan god. It doesn't, in any way, explain why that particular fairy tale is any more preferable over any of the others. They are all equally likely to be real (almost infinitesimally unlikely, to be more precise).

          August 3, 2013 at 3:53 pm |
      • Doc Vestibule

        The Bible is arguably the most influential work of literature in history because it has profound insight into human nature.
        The historical context for the allegorical and metaphorical aspects have been preserved for thousands of years by the diligent work of countless scribes dedicated to preserving its impact.
        An understanding of the Bible is necessary to comprehend western culture, just as study of Beowulf should be mandatory for any student of Anglo-Saxon society.
        American evangelicals, as vehemently and most vociferously literal, are a rare and special kind of Christian.
        Their total dedication to suspending all vestiges of rationality when it comes to The Bible is a black spot on the entire Christian enterprise.
        Every religionist must suspend disbelief on at least a few points and take supernatural propositions "on faith", but to believe that every word of your particular version and translation of the Bible is the inerrant Word of God takes a special kind of double-think that can gnaw at the core of more rational people.
        If you live as a humble, charitable, compassionate human being because of your faith in Christ or if you find solace in difficult times because of faith in the Lord's mercy, then I certainly would not begrudge you your modest delusion.
        Look, I'm Canadian. We elected a Prime Minister who routinely conferred with the spirits of his dead dogs not once, not twice, but thrice. I understand that the measure of a human being is not in their beliefs but in their actions.
        The deliberately contentions actions of the Westborough Baptists, the blatant greed of prosperity preachers, the contemptible self-interest of the RCC, the smug self-righteousness of Jehovah's witnesses... these widely broadcast stories overpower the quiet presence of those who try to exemplify Jesus' doctrine.

        August 2, 2013 at 9:57 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          Wow Doc is that really you? That has to be the most Christian friendly post I have ever read from you. Peace.

          August 2, 2013 at 10:14 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          @Robert
          It is really me, though I might've had a few beers.
          I'll not be saying any kind words about Christian business insti/tutions like the Vatican or the LDS or (help us all) the Discovery Inst/itute, nor will I stop trying to get people to question their faith – but that doesn't mean I'm anti-theist.
          My parents are both Christians and humanitarians – my mom a nurse and dad a SARTech. I'm thankful that their respective churrches both refused to marry them because of their denominational differences because it meant that I was raised with Christian ethos but without the Christian mythology.
          When I started to read the Bible of my own volition, it was my father who taught me the importance of context. That there was no Red Sea, but there was a Reed Sea that, at low tide, would allow a procession of people to pass through but which would be nigh impassable at high tide for a horse driven, heavily armoured troop.

          I've said time and again...
          Belief in miracles, resurrections, demi-gods and other fantastical flourishes is not necessary to live a life of humility, charity, and compassion.

          August 2, 2013 at 10:32 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          Doc, glad to know you aren't anti-theist & I can understand your disagreement with the huge religious organizations. Maybe someday you'll have a reason to believe in miracles.

          August 2, 2013 at 10:49 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Just the facts,

      Where did Cains wife come from?

      August 2, 2013 at 9:03 pm |
      • Just the Facts Ma'am...

        The answer is East of Eden in the land of Nod, at least according to the good book, which would of course invalidate its premise of Adam & Eve being the first humans.

        "13 Cain said to the Lord, “My punishment is more than I can bear. 14 Today you are driving me from the land, and I will be hidden from your presence; I will be a restless wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.” 15 But the Lord said to him, “Not so; anyone who kills Cain will suffer vengeance seven times over.” Then the Lord put a mark on Cain so that no one who found him would kill him. 16 So Cain went out from the Lord’s presence and lived in the land of Nod, east of Eden. 17 Cain made love to his wife, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Enoch. Cain was then building a city, and he named it after his son Enoch." – Gen 4:13-17

        August 2, 2013 at 9:35 pm |
      • Robert Brown

        Ok, so there were other people besides Adam & Eve, according to the bible & DNA.

        August 2, 2013 at 9:57 pm |
  14. bostontola

    Facts:
    1) The Old Testament has many factual errors in it, perfectly consistent with man's understanding of the universe thousands of years ago.
    2) The Old Testament has no premonition of the knowledge of the physical world beyond man's understanding at that time (knowledge that a god would obviously have, imagine if the periodic table was revealed, we would all be believers).
    Possible explanations:
    A) god works in mysterious ways, god doesn't have to explain anything to us, etc.
    B) the Old Testament was a compendium of various stories shared among cultures, handed down from generation to generation, and used to stiffen the spine of an underdog people.

    August 2, 2013 at 7:52 pm |
  15. Bob

    Some more guidance from Ron's Christian book of nasty, since he's insisting on dumping his awful bible bile on us. From both foul testaments:

    Numbers 31:17-18
    17 Now kiII all the boys. And kiII every woman who has slept with a man,
    18 but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

    Deuteronomy 13:6 – “If your brother, your mother’s son or your son or daughter, or the wife you cherish, or your friend who is as your own soul entice you secretly, saying, let us go and serve other gods … you shall surely kill him; your hand shall be first against him to put him to death”

    Revelations 2:23 And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.

    Leviticus 25
    44 “‘Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves.
    45 You may also buy some of the temporary residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country, and they will become your property.
    46 You can bequeath them to your children as inherited property and can make them slaves for life, but you must not rule over your fellow Israelites ruthlessly.

    Note that the bible is also very clear that you should sacrifice and burn an animal today because the smell makes sicko Christian sky fairy happy. No, you don't get to use the parts for food. You burn them, a complete waste of the poor animal.

    Yes, the bible really says that, everyone. Yes, it's in Leviticus, look it up. Yes, Jesus purportedly said that the OT commands still apply. No exceptions. But even if you think the OT was god's mistaken first go around, you have to ask why a perfect, loving enti-ty would ever put such horrid instructions in there. If you think rationally at all, that is.

    And then, if you disagree with my interpretation, ask yourself how it is that your "god" couldn't come up with a better way to communicate than a book that is so readily subject to so many interpretations and to being taken "out of context", and has so many mistakes in it. Pretty pathetic god that you've made for yourself.

    So get out your sacrificial knife or your nasty sky creature will torture you eternally. Or just take a closer look at your foolish supersti-tions, understand that they are just silly, and toss them into the dustbin with all the rest of the gods that man has created.

    Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement.
    Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.
    http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

    August 2, 2013 at 7:35 pm |
    • AE

      “There are people that deal with (an injury) and move on and accept it, and there are people that don’t and are miserable. Put your faith in Christ and let him heal you.’” Tom Davis, an Iraq War veteran and an amputee

      Hm, do I trust Tom or Bob?

      August 2, 2013 at 7:42 pm |
      • Observer

        AE,

        "Hm, do I trust Tom or Bob?"

        Don't trust Bob if you want. He quoted the Bible.

        August 2, 2013 at 7:45 pm |
        • AE

          If I was a Levite priest 2,000+ years ago, Bob might have a point.

          Today he just doesn't seem to really understand what context is.

          August 2, 2013 at 7:51 pm |
        • Douglas

          AE, Bob addresses your context issue quite nicely in his post. You should try reading it, instead of just posting. And that thing you keep posting of your buddy Tom actually doesn't demonstrate Christ healing anything, anyway. It is just one more claim, with no evidence to support it.

          August 2, 2013 at 8:17 pm |
        • Thandie

          Well, I don't know of any gays people who are Levite priests today, we can safely say that nothing that is in the OT pertains to them today, right?

          August 2, 2013 at 8:21 pm |
        • Observer

          AE,

          "he just doesn't seem to really understand what context is."

          In the "context" of today, much of the Bible is no longer relevent. Today, we no longer accept slavery, which God did not condemn. Today, the majority of people believe that gays should be able to get married.

          What was your point?

          August 2, 2013 at 8:21 pm |
        • AE

          Uh, posting Leviticus out of context is kind of silly to me.

          If some guys says "Don't be gay, the Bible says so, look at Leviticus..."

          You could post other verses from Leviticus, like not wearing certain kinds of clothes or how they cut their hair – and prove they don't follow Leviticus either.

          That is what I mean that he is doing it out of context.

          Put it into context, our God doesn't ask us to follow the Levite Priest's Code of purification.

          August 2, 2013 at 8:33 pm |
        • AE

          Slavery still exists today. You just may not see it. But just by being an American using electronics you contribute to it, just like in the Biblical days.

          August 2, 2013 at 8:39 pm |
        • Observer

          AE

          "Slavery still exists today. You just may not see it. But just by being an American using electronics you contribute to it, just like in the Biblical days"

          Anyone trying to compare using electronics with using rods to break the arms of female slaves is very much out of touch with REALITY.

          Wake up!!!

          August 2, 2013 at 8:49 pm |
        • AE

          Our cheap electronics are so cheap because of slave labor.

          There are a lot of slaves in the world. And in America.

          If you look into it, it is a fact. But one we can hide so we don't look at it very often.

          August 2, 2013 at 8:52 pm |
        • Observer

          AE

          "There are a lot of slaves in the world. And in America. "

          So apparenlty God was right.

          August 2, 2013 at 8:54 pm |
        • AE

          Perhaps if people followed the 10 Commandments, there would be no slavery.

          August 2, 2013 at 9:13 pm |
        • Gadflie

          AE, there is nothing at all in the Ten Commandments, either version, that would disallow slavery. The bible obviously condones slavery.

          August 2, 2013 at 9:21 pm |
        • Observer

          AE

          "Perhaps if people followed the 10 Commandments, there would be no slavery.'

          Much better: if people actually followed the Golden Rule, there wouldn't be slavery and all the other discriminations endorsed by the Bible.

          August 2, 2013 at 9:23 pm |
        • Gadflie

          AE, there is nothing at all in the OT to even imply that it only applied to Levite priests. Not a single thing.

          August 2, 2013 at 9:24 pm |
        • AE

          "The English name is from the Latin Leviticus, taken in turn from Greek and a reference to the Levites, the tribe from whom the priests were drawn. In addition to instructions for those priests, it also addresses the role and duties of the laity."

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

          There is something.

          August 2, 2013 at 9:32 pm |
      • skytag

        If you trust Tom it's only because he's saying what you want to believe. Come on, be honest and admit it, you don't know Tom, do you? You have no objective reason to trust him, do you? You trust him because he tells you what you want to hear. How pathetic is that?

        August 2, 2013 at 7:59 pm |
      • Douglas

        AE, Bob addresses your context issue quite nicely in his post. You should try reading it, instead of just posting. And that thing you keep posting of your buddy Tom actually doesn't demonstrate Christ healing anything, anyway. It is just one more claim, with no evidence to support it.

        August 2, 2013 at 8:15 pm |
        • AE

          Bob and that website seem to infer that if you are an amputee you are less of a being than him. That if there is a God, he must hate you to let you live that way.

          Tom, the Iraqi vet who lost a limb serving his country, says God offered him healing. Healing that he can share with other amputees. He has the gift, and he is sharing it.

          That is how God works in our lives.

          August 2, 2013 at 8:42 pm |
        • Damocles

          @AE

          I'm not sure where you are going with this. If this deity is offering up actual, true healing through this Tom person, I certainly hope there would be some video clips of limbs growing back. If he is offering up some kind of placebo effect, a 'turn to the deity as you learn to cope with your loss', it's kind of hollow seeing as anything can take the place of the deity.... 'believe in fluffy, pink bunnies as you learn to cope' has the same effect.

          People are very willing to give thanks to their beliefs after a positive outcome has been achieved. A believer will say 'praise my deity for sparing me from that tornado', yet is hesitant to say 'hey, thanks for being a jerk and sending that tornado in the first place'.

          If Tom believes a deity saw fit to take his limbs to teach him humility, I have to ask why something so powerful can not find a better way of doing things. From the get go, the bible is full of overpowering, unnecessary punishments. Two people eat some forbidden fruit, what's the best way to handle it? Have a sit down session where you explain why that was wrong, or condemn everyone after to suffering?

          If I bake a pie and tell my kid not to eat it and my kid eats it, how would you prefer I act? Should I act like a deity and get all wrathful and vengeful and punish not only my child, but my neighbors children and my grandchildren and any kid that happens to cross my path? When it's in a book, you have nothing but good things to say about this sort of punishment, but I think you'd have a different opinion if I burst into your home looking for some kids to punish.

          August 3, 2013 at 4:27 am |
      • Gadflie

        AE, none of the laws cited above were limited to the priesthood. Not one. Rendering your argument obviously invalid.

        August 2, 2013 at 10:40 pm |
    • skytag

      I'm an atheist and even I think you're being a jerk. Grow up. You're making us all look bad.

      August 2, 2013 at 7:42 pm |
      • w00t

        You are giving trolls a bad name, skytag.

        August 2, 2013 at 7:45 pm |
  16. Ron

    This is a different Ron than the one posting the verses. Be aware with whom you are speaking.

    August 2, 2013 at 7:09 pm |
    • Just the Fact's Ma'am...

      Is he not also posting quotes from the same book?

      August 2, 2013 at 7:12 pm |
      • Ron

        Just, I would consider responding if he weren't such a liar. But I try to avoid discussion with fraudulent liars.

        August 2, 2013 at 7:15 pm |
      • Ron

        I mean, I've been a beacon of maturity here today.

        August 2, 2013 at 7:30 pm |
  17. Ron

    Then he shall take some holy water in a clay jar and put some dust from the tabernacle floor into the water. After the priest has had the woman stand before the Lord, he shall loosen her hair and place in her hands the reminder-offering, the grain offering for jealousy, while he himself holds the bitter water that brings a curse. Then the priest shall put the woman under oath and say to her, “If no other man has had se xual relations with you and you have not gone astray and become impure while married to your husband, may this bitter water that brings a curse not harm you. But if you have gone astray while married to your husband and you have made yourself impure by having se x ual relations with a man other than your husband”— here the priest is to put the woman under this curse—“may the Lord cause you to become a curse[b] among your people when he makes your womb miscarry and your abdomen swell. May this water that brings a curse enter your body so that your abdomen swells or your womb miscarries. – Numbers 5:17-22

    August 2, 2013 at 7:09 pm |
    • Ron

      Why do you feel it necessary to take on the name of another? Are your so called points/arguments not able to be defended unless you accompany them by fraud? This gives great crediblilty to atheism. Eveything about it is phoney!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      August 2, 2013 at 7:12 pm |
    • Ron

      That first response is not mine. Fradulent liar!!

      August 2, 2013 at 7:34 pm |
    • skytag

      Group therapy is clearly indicated for you two. Both of you.

      August 2, 2013 at 7:41 pm |
  18. Ron

    So both of Lot’s daughters became pregnant by their father. The older daughter had a son, and she named him Moab ; he is the father of the Moabites of today. The younger daughter also had a son, and she named him Ben-Ammi ; he is the father of the Ammonites of today. – Genesis 19:36-38

    August 2, 2013 at 7:04 pm |
    • w00t

      God is totally fine with incest!

      August 2, 2013 at 7:06 pm |
      • Atheist, me?

        w00t
        Reading comprehension is not your strong point, is it? lol

        August 2, 2013 at 7:18 pm |
        • w00t

          Sure it is! God didn't smite those girls, or make them miscarry, so it was totally ok. Also, after the flood only Noah's family was left to inbreed like crazy!

          Plus Adam and Eve! Their grandkids had to come from somewhere, who were thir parents??

          August 2, 2013 at 7:29 pm |
    • Atheist, me?

      Incest? What is that?

      August 2, 2013 at 7:34 pm |
  19. Stephen

    As a Messianic I am so blessed that I have entered into the true rest of the Lord. The Sabbath which is obverved at this time by many symbolizes the eternal rest which the believer enters into with the Lord. The believer in Yeshua/Jesus has ceased from his own works (human effort to merit God's favor) and has trusted in the finished work of Yeshua on the cross in atoning for our sins. As we enter this time of the week each week I am reminded of the perpetual rest I have entered into with the Lord. May you also come to know His true rest. God Bless Shalom

    August 2, 2013 at 7:03 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43
Advertisement
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.