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October 20th, 2013
05:00 AM ET

CNN exclusive: Chris Tomlin's new music video

By the CNN Belief Blog Editors
[twitter-follow screen_name='CNNBelief']

(CNN)– One of the most popular artists on the planet, Chris Tomlin, is about to release a new music video, and CNN's Belief Blog has an exclusive first look.

Next week Tomlin is releasing a deluxe CD/DVD edition of his chart-topping album "Burning Lights."

The CNN Belief Blog is the only place you can see Tomlin's new video, "God's Great Dance Floor," filmed live at Red Rocks Amphitheater in Colorado.

In March, we profiled the popular Christian singer, whose songs are sung by as many as 30 million people each week at churches across the country.

CNN Belief – Chris Tomlin, king of the sing-along

As lively as (Tomlin's) shows are, the point is not to get you inside the doors. The point is to get you singing in church.

“I strive for trying to write something that people can sing, that people want to sing, and that people need to sing,” Tomlin explained before the show.

Tomlin is the undisputed king of worship music, a genre of Christian music sung on Sunday mornings all across the world and increasingly played on Christian radio stations. The music is simple, devotional and easy on the ears.

“We would say that Chris is the most prolific songwriter in the United States now, in this past decade,” said Howard Rachinski, CEO of Christian Copyright Licensing International, the company that tracks what music is used in churches around the world.

In 2012, CCLI paid out $40 million to artists and musicians, and Tomlin got a healthy slice of that pie. Churches around the world used 128 songs he wrote or co-wrote last year, Rachinski said.

CCLI estimates that every Sunday in the United States, between 60,000 and 120,000 churches are singing Tomlin’s songs. By extrapolating that data, Rachinski says, “our best guess would be in the United States on any given Sunday, 20 to 30 million people would be singing Chris Tomlin's songs.”

Chris Tomlin's "God's Great Dance Floor" video from "Burning Lights" Deluxe Edition CD/DVD appears here courtesy of Capitol Christian music group.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Music

soundoff (788 Responses)
  1. Lawrence of Arabia

    I don't know any of his songs, so I cannot speak to him specifically, but I can say that some of the modern "worship" music that has crept into many churches today is not of God, but is of the devil.

    Music, in and of itself, is not worship, but it is rather a way to express worship – what produces worship is truth in the heart and the work of the Spirit of God, the music simply flows out of that, see Psalm 150.

    And when unsaved men attempt to write music to worship a spirit that simply is not inside them, they wind up writing music that is repet.itious and hypnotic – designed to get an emotional response, but is not grounded in proper theology.

    That is why any song that is sung for the praise of almighty God must be soaked in the truths found in the Bible. If it isn't, then it is nothing but worldly, and has no place in the house of God.

    October 22, 2013 at 9:12 am |
    • Cory

      Don't you want to be uplifted with some cheerful voices on Sunday mornings?

      Make a joyful noise unto the Lord! 🙂

      October 22, 2013 at 9:36 am |
      • Lawrence of Arabia

        I don't need my emotions petted on Sunday mornings by immaterial and hypnotic tones that are void of theology. If I'm going to listen to "worship music," then it is going to be worship that is reflective of the Word of God, and poured out from the work that God has been done in me as explained in the Scriptures.

        The musical notes themselves are nothing but a clanging symbol or the musical equivalent to bodily flatulence if it does not convey truth as found in the Word of God, and in many cases these days, the music gets in the way of worship rather than to lead it.

        October 22, 2013 at 9:49 am |
        • Cory

          What songs do you sing in Church?

          October 22, 2013 at 9:56 am |
        • tallulah13

          I think what Larry is saying is that god only likes what Larry likes. Further proof that people create gods in their own image.

          October 22, 2013 at 10:00 am |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          I work on the audio/visual team for my church, so every song that is sung goes through me, and it must be scripturally sound before it is played. We do sing some modern songs, sure, I'm not against all of them, but we also sing hymns that are hundreds of years old. Martin Luther wrote 37 hymns, and we sing a lot of those too.

          October 22, 2013 at 10:03 am |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          Tallulah13,
          No, what I'm saying is that only the worship that begins in heaven is proper worship.

          That's why all worship must be based in the truths found in Scripture – that's the essence of the second commandment that you alluded to. Not that men create actual idols in the form of animals and people (although an argument could be made for idolatry found in college mascots...) but that God MUST be worshipped in the RIGHT way, and that way is of His manufacture, not ours.

          October 22, 2013 at 10:06 am |
        • Cory

          "We do sing some modern songs"

          What modern songs do you sing?

          October 22, 2013 at 10:08 am |
        • tallulah13

          Heaven forbid anyone sing anything new and heartfelt just for the joy of it. All worship must be neatly regimented, pre-screened and approved.

          October 22, 2013 at 10:09 am |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          Tallulah 13,
          Exactly! We are called to be different from the world – we "sing to the Lord a new song" as David said...
          This might come as a surprise, but church isn't designed for the unsaved. We are not required to entertain the unsaved. Actually, Christians are not there for entertainment either – we are there to worship, and that is MUCH more important than entertainment.

          October 22, 2013 at 10:11 am |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          Cory,
          Are you really asking me for a list of music that we sing? I can't do that, that's a long list... Just use the Bible as your guide and judge any song based on that.

          Here's an example of OLD music: "A Mighty Fortress is Our God"
          Here's an example of NEW music: "Redeemed"

          October 22, 2013 at 10:14 am |
        • tallulah13

          This isn't about saved or unsaved. This is about you defining what you think is appropriate. You are simply censoring the worship of others by your own taste. You are pretending to speak for god.

          October 22, 2013 at 10:18 am |
        • Madtown

          God MUST be worshipped in the RIGHT way
          ---–
          Funny how the details of what const.itutes the "right" way, are always dependent on who's describing them.

          October 22, 2013 at 10:21 am |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          Madtown,
          Well, if you want it put simply, worship honors God – by definition... So now the question is, what exactly honors God? What honors God is praise of God's character, and what He has done, and that is learned only from Scripture – not special revelation that doesn't exist, not emotions that are fleeting, and not hypnotic repet.ition that is forbidden. Only worship that begins in heaven (Scripturally sound) is right worship.

          October 22, 2013 at 10:30 am |
        • Joey

          Lawrence, just because you are a stick in the mud doesn't mean everyone else has to be as well.

          October 22, 2013 at 10:39 am |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          Joey,
          What do you mean by a "stick in the mud?" Are you saying that non-Biblical so-called worship should be permitted in a Christian church? Bearing in mind that the Church is a gathering of believers who come together for corporate worship of God and for equipping as evangelists, what possible place does non-Biblical worship have?

          October 22, 2013 at 10:44 am |
        • tallulah13

          From Larry's comments, I'm guessing he's lutheran. The lutheran church is hemorrhaging members, especially the younger ones. God commanded that his followers "make a joyful noise," not sing comfortable, familiar songs. Perhaps this is why the lutherans are a fading sect.

          October 22, 2013 at 10:49 am |
        • Madtown

          ...and that is learned only from Scripture
          ----
          My position is that biblical scripture could never be a baseline for ANYONE, until it's completely accessible and available to EVERYONE.

          October 22, 2013 at 10:53 am |
        • Joey

          I'm just saying that you don't sound like much fun.

          October 22, 2013 at 10:53 am |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          Tallulah13,
          Actually, I'm not Lutheran. I consider myself a Christian – I don't hold fast to denominational divisions. Suffice it to say, it is a Bible-believing church.

          Madtown,
          Catholics make the very saim claim when attacking Sola Scriptura. The flaw is that an assumption is made that the authority of Scripture is based on the availability of Scripture. Surely we Christians have not been as diligent as we should be to "go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature..." And that is truly a shame.

          Joey,
          Well, "fun" is certainly relative... I love roller coasters, and my wife doesn't. Personally, I love to hear sound, Biblical doctrine, and others call anything worship.

          October 22, 2013 at 11:00 am |
        • Madtown

          we Christians have not been as diligent as we should be to "go into all the world and preach the gospel
          ----
          It's not your job, it's God's. You wouldn't even know where to start looking for some of the people we reference that have no knowledge of christianity. God would, he put them where they are. Did God need man's help to create the universe and all life within? No. Why would he need man's help to distribute a simple message to everyone, if he really wanted us to have it? He wouldn't.

          October 22, 2013 at 11:04 am |
        • niknak

          Just another reason to stay away from people like you Larry of Aruba.
          Not only are you a creepy person by still having an imaginary friend, you are a complete square with the music you bump.

          October 22, 2013 at 11:06 am |
        • tallulah13

          Since you mentioned Luther's hymn, it seemed you might be lutheran, but I guess you go to a church where you get to decide your own doctrine. This is why christianity is so easy to doubt. Everyone interprets the same old human-written book in their own way. Then they claim that theirs is the only true translation of "the infallible word of god."

          October 22, 2013 at 11:16 am |
  2. Kebos

    "One of the most popular artists on the planet, Chris Tomlin,"

    Really? Says who? I've never ever heard of him and I listen to a wide variety of music.

    October 22, 2013 at 8:11 am |
    • Roddy2112

      Yeah, I don't even know anyone who knows who this guy is. I guess it may be because I know people with good taste in music.

      October 22, 2013 at 9:07 am |
  3. Rotabmegasea

    What can change nigeria for good,God will do it.Nigerians of today,am afraid of them,things are not running well,poverty is their lawyer,sufferness is their judge,sin is their bandage,money is the key of all,may God deliver us from all evils and dangers.

    October 22, 2013 at 5:04 am |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

      If you ask me, from my atheistic, Western viewpoint, Nigeria's biggest problems are political corruption and psychotic Muslims.

      October 22, 2013 at 5:07 am |
  4. Apple Bush

    Surprisingly, Christian Pop and Rock are not the worst styles of music in this or any other galaxy. Here are just a few that are worse:

    Rap
    Country and Western
    Pop
    J-Pop
    K-Pop
    Mariachi
    Hair Bands
    My High School Garage Band

    At least Christian music is funny as hell.

    October 22, 2013 at 2:46 am |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

      The most rational approach is to judge artists on an individual level. It's ridiculous to just disregard entire genres of music when there are undoubtedly talented individuals operating within the genres. That being said, I've never heard a J-Pop or K-Pop band that didn't make me want to cut my balls off then shove them in my ears. High-school garage bands rock. Or suck. It depends.

      October 22, 2013 at 4:29 am |
  5. Two things are for certain

    I'll never hate Christianity...and I will never like Christian rock.

    October 21, 2013 at 6:46 pm |
    • Crom

      Then you must be crashingly ignorant of Christianity but have good taste in music. We get all types here.

      October 21, 2013 at 6:56 pm |
  6. Drew

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4wvYkVOIYsY&feature=player_detailpage

    October 21, 2013 at 5:17 pm |
    • Toodles

      Love it!

      October 21, 2013 at 5:22 pm |
    • jeanette vogel

      Love Chris Tomlin! So anointed!

      October 21, 2013 at 6:13 pm |
      • sam stone

        wow, pretty pretentious saying who is annointed

        October 21, 2013 at 6:54 pm |
      • tallulah13

        So anointed? What does that even mean? As far as I can tell, this guy sounds like any number of generic pop musicians out there. I don't care what he's singing about. You call it anointed. I call it annoying.

        October 22, 2013 at 10:05 am |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          Many in the Charismatic movement use the word “Anointing” in an incorrect way that seems to separate Christians into the categories of the “haves” and the “have not’s.” This division of Christians seems to elevate certain people to a status that is above that of “normal” Christians. This status puts them on a plane where they have a different source for authority and a unique access to God where, due to their anointing, they get divine revelation from God that may supersede the authority of the Bible. Furthermore, they are insulated from criticism because they claim that since their revelation came from God, even though what they are saying may not be able to be found in Scripture, it’s still OK, because God gave them a revelation through their anointing. This kind of activity is a blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, and is paganism.

          But this is a false understanding of Biblical reality and is used to manipulate people, for the Bible makes no distinctions between believers…
          Romans 12:4-5 – For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.

          Scripture teaches that if you are a Christian, you have been anointed. It is not a feeling or an experience, but is rather the indwelling of the Holy Spirit of God that happens at salvation.
          1 John 2:20 – But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you all know.
          It is the promise of illumination from the Holy Spirit to a correct understanding of the Word of God found in Scripture, and every believer has that. Not only does every believer, when he holds the Bible, possess the Word of God, but he also possesses the Author and the Teacher of the Word.

          1 Corinthians 2:16 – For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he will instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ.

          John 15:15 – No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you.

          October 22, 2013 at 11:18 am |
        • tallulah13

          Rhetorical question, Larry.

          October 23, 2013 at 2:46 am |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          Tallulah13,
          Sorry, that's the lecturer coming out in me.

          October 23, 2013 at 11:29 am |
  7. Reality # 2

    "........CNN's Belief Blog has an exclusive first look." And then there is this: "In March, we profiled the popular Christian singer, whose songs are sung by as many as 30 million people each week at churches across the country."

    One wonders if the moderators are also getting a cut of the copyright monies considering they appear to be acting as promoters for Mr. Tomlin??

    October 21, 2013 at 4:56 pm |
  8. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things-

    October 21, 2013 at 4:37 pm |
  9. Lionly Lamb

    In Life we all are... Of Life we became... By Life we are all bound... For Life do we all live... In Love we all are... Of Love we became... By Love we are all bound... For Love do we all live...

    October 21, 2013 at 4:31 pm |
  10. Lionly Lamb

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=GuRbdfpNsvg

    October 21, 2013 at 3:39 pm |
    • A verse for you!

      Zephaniah 3:17 The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.

      October 21, 2013 at 3:55 pm |
      • Lionly Lamb

        1 Corinthians 3:9 "For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building."

        October 21, 2013 at 4:12 pm |
  11. CommonSensed

    "I just really want to write songs that people and churches want to fund and buy."

    October 21, 2013 at 3:33 pm |
  12. Alias

    Garfunkle and Oats had a better video.
    The Loophole?

    October 21, 2013 at 3:02 pm |
  13. Top 5 songs

    #1 How great thou art

    #2 Amazing Grace

    #3 Holy Holy Holy

    #4 How great is our God

    #5 Revelation song

    October 21, 2013 at 1:42 pm |
    • Topher

      Is Tomlin's "Revelation Song" the same one by "Phillips, Craig and Dean"?

      October 21, 2013 at 1:49 pm |
      • Dove

        The song was written by Jennie Lee Riddle. It has been performed by various artistes including Tomlin, Kari Jobe and others.

        October 21, 2013 at 2:03 pm |
        • Topher

          I knew Jobe and others had done it, but I didn't know who wrote it. I asked because Phillips, Craig and Dean present a serious theological problem to Christian music fans.

          October 21, 2013 at 2:20 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          Topher,
          They're Modalists, aren't they? Kind of like TD Jakes...

          October 22, 2013 at 11:27 am |
        • Topher

          Yep. And that's a heresy.

          October 22, 2013 at 12:05 pm |
        • sam stone

          larry and gopher still purporting to speak for god. how fvcking quaint

          October 23, 2013 at 3:45 am |
    • Alias

      I wonder how well he could do Billy Joel's 'Only the Good Die Young'.

      October 21, 2013 at 1:58 pm |
    • Dove

      It 's hard to pick the top 5. It depends on a person's moods on which song they would like to hear. Artists like Mandisa are gifted singer/song writers.

      October 21, 2013 at 2:14 pm |
  14. bostontola

    Does God engage all people within the religion they were brought up to believe?

    People of every religion swear that they feel the God of their religion.

    Is the particular religion irrelevant to God?

    Or, are most people misguided into believing the wrong religion?

    If a person can believe in the wrong God and/or wrong religion, a God that they swear they feel and engage with personally, then most people that witness God must be wrong.

    If most people that witness God are wrong, why can't they all be wrong?

    October 21, 2013 at 12:18 pm |
  15. Praise and Sing

    Congrats New Jersey on becoming the 14th state to legalize gay marriage. Sounds like Pennsylvania and New Mexico will be just around the corner. New polls in Virginia show that a majority of the citizens of the state that birthed eight U.S. presidents approve of gay marriage. I'm sure there are several states currently in the same situation as Virginia.

    October 21, 2013 at 11:34 am |
  16. Alias

    As a discussion was deleted by the moderator, let me re-post some of te better points:
    Athiests are on religious blogs with a purpose. We want to save you from your delusions.
    All major religions have a book or books with insight and wisdom. Those books also have babble about some divine being. It is easy for people to fucus on the good stuff and get drawn into the babble. Scientologists, for example, are very good at this. They actively recruit people who are having problems with their lives, and they do help them with their problems with nonmagical hard work and bacis counseling. The next step is to give their made up religion credit for solving those problems. Next, they isolate their new members from anyone who might try to talk some sense into them, and the cult grows.
    The Mormons are also good at forming their own social circles and making it hard for members to leave. Christians have their own schools to keep the children isolated – to a lesser degree – until they graduate high school. Jewish americans form their own communities, as do Muslims entering the country. These two groups have their owm cultures that tend to promote socializing with their own groups as well.

    Try to remember that ALL religions have members who think their god speaks to them. Muslims are just as convinced that Allah has spoken to them as christians are that they were touched by a holy spirit. Ditto for all the other religions.
    You are all wrong. There are no god speaking to you in private.

    October 21, 2013 at 10:30 am |
    • allyandoscar

      Saying there is no God over and over does not make it true. There is a rational, reasonable case to be made for the existence of God generally and for Christianity specifically. You may not like that, and may choose to disregard that case, that is your choice. But to pretend that it does not exist is intellectually dishonest.

      October 21, 2013 at 11:26 am |
      • Topher

        allyandoscar

        Exactly right.

        October 21, 2013 at 11:31 am |
        • Alias

          Topher
          Maybe you can help?
          How is the arguement for the christian god is any different than the arguement for any other god?

          October 21, 2013 at 11:53 am |
        • sam stone

          topher: you remain a coward.

          October 21, 2013 at 5:43 pm |
      • Alias

        Would you please explain how the arguement for the christian god is any different than the arguement for any other god?

        October 21, 2013 at 11:39 am |
        • Topher

          Well, there's a lot of ways, but let's start with these two.

          1. Christianity is the only "religion" that answers the sin question, i.e., it explains how sins have been paid for/forgiven.

          2. It is the only "religion" in which you can't earn your way to God. The work has already been done for you by Christ. In all others, you have to work really hard and do a lot of things and HOPEFULLY you've done enough to get there.

          October 21, 2013 at 11:53 am |
        • Billy

          Topher, do you think trust is something one has to earn?

          October 21, 2013 at 11:57 am |
        • Topher

          Billy

          Sure. Why?

          October 21, 2013 at 12:00 pm |
        • Billy

          Well why would God trust us to be good people without us having to earn it? Unless or course, he made us perfectly good right from the start that is.

          October 21, 2013 at 12:03 pm |
        • Alias

          Topher
          That was subjective, and not really an answer to the question.
          How do you know your god is the one that exists?

          October 21, 2013 at 12:03 pm |
        • Topher

          Billy

          But we aren't good people. The Bible even says that "The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. Corrupt are they, and have done abominable iniquity: there is none that doeth good." (Psalm 53) and "As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one."

          It even tells us that the good works we do are like filthy menstrual cloths to God. So basically, we can't possibly earn our way there. We are corrupt. But God still loves us and so provided a way despite ourselves.

          October 21, 2013 at 12:12 pm |
        • Topher

          Alias

          "That was subjective, and not really an answer to the question. How do you know your god is the one that exists?"

          That's not really what you asked for before. You asked how the argument for the Christian God is different than any others. But I'll play along. Dude, to answer this question, I could give you tons of different answers. There's a lot of evidence in support of the Christian God. It just depends on what you are looking for. For instance, I can argue that I know the Christian God exists because of the Law of Noncontradiction. Jesus said " ... unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." So no other gods could possibly be true.

          October 21, 2013 at 12:16 pm |
        • Billy

          But aren't menstrual cloths just part of nature? They might be icky, but what's bad about them versus good?

          October 21, 2013 at 12:16 pm |
        • Billy

          I don't know, Topher, it sounds like a trap. It sounds like becoming a Christian is like becoming Patty Hearst, only right after she was captured.

          October 21, 2013 at 12:20 pm |
        • Topher

          Billy

          Suppose you and I are friends and one day I came up to you and said, 'Billy, I really care about you and to show just how much, I want to give you this used menstrual rag.' Would you really accept it? I'm betting not only would you be disgusted, but you'd toss it away and even question what kind of a friend I really am.

          October 21, 2013 at 12:21 pm |
        • Topher

          Billy

          "I don't know, Topher, it sounds like a trap. It sounds like becoming a Christian is like becoming Patty Hearst, only right after she was captured."

          What about it sounds like a trap? You come to God willingly or you reject Him. No one is forcing you. And if you read the Bible, you'll know exactly what you'd be getting into. Don't understand your trap analogy.

          October 21, 2013 at 12:23 pm |
        • Alias

          Topher
          Your answer is based on the assumption that your bible is correct. aka, the bible says it is the only one that's right so it must be.
          Someone who delieved in the koran would give the same arguement for their faith.
          What I'm asking is why should I believe the bible instead of any other religion?
          "Because the bible says so" is not a good answer.

          October 21, 2013 at 12:24 pm |
        • Billy

          Well it wouldn't make a good gift, because no one could really use a used one, but what makes it actually a "bad" thing? Do you think a used menstrual rag has a little bit of Satan in it?

          October 21, 2013 at 12:26 pm |
        • Charm Quark

          Poor Topher
          As is true in all axioms of logic, the law of non-contradiction is alleged to be neither verifiable nor falsifiable, on the grounds that any proof or disproof must use the law itself prior to reaching the conclusion.
          So you are right back to your circular argument, because it is written in the bible and the bible is the truth because it is written in the bible, ridiculous. You only have faith, belief in something without PROOF. Others have the same faith in regards to their gods.

          October 21, 2013 at 12:35 pm |
        • Topher

          Alias

          Well, first I'd have to ask do you think there is a god of some type? Anything bigger than us? Because if not, then there's no need to even talk about the Bible or any other religions.

          That being said, here's why we believe the Bible is true. The Bible is a reliable collection of historical doc.uments written by eyewitnesses during the lifetime of other eyewitnesses. They report supernatural events that took place in fulfillment of specific prophecies and they claim that their writings are Divine, rather than human, in origin.

          We can break this down if you want.

          October 21, 2013 at 12:36 pm |
        • Billy

          Topher: "Don't understand your trap analogy."

          Well, if a person becomes a Christian, they have to accept, contrary to what they may have thought before, that they were born evil and the only way out of that trap of evilness is to accept Jesus – even if subsequent to them becoming a Christian, they wind up doing a lot of nasty things. That just sounds like a trap created via charlatanism for the purposes of controlling people; making them feel insecure and inadequate; but giving them an out to justify nasty deeds they need to be excused for under such a plan.

          October 21, 2013 at 12:37 pm |
        • Topher

          Billy

          "Well it wouldn't make a good gift, because no one could really use a used one, but what makes it actually a "bad" thing? Do you think a used menstrual rag has a little bit of Satan in it?"

          It's a bad thing, one, because it's filthy and unclean. It's also useless. That's why my gift analogy stands. Second, when we try to do good things and earn our way into Heaven, we are offering gifts to God. But because we are already corrupt, our 'gifts' are unclean. It would be like Hitler showing up and giving you flowers. I'm betting no matter how cool the gift is, the fact Hitler gave it to you would make you not accept it.

          October 21, 2013 at 12:43 pm |
        • Topher

          Billy

          "That just sounds like a trap created via charlatanism for the purposes of controlling people; making them feel insecure and inadequate; but giving them an out to justify nasty deeds they need to be excused for under such a plan."

          Still don't see how this is a trap. If a person has done nasty deeds, you should feel bad for them. And if God willing to forgive you for those things, it's not a trap; it's an incredibly loving thing for Him to do.

          Also, atheists often say Christianity is a way of controlling people. I don't understand what you mean. Please explain how I, as a follower of Jesus Christ, am being controlled.

          October 21, 2013 at 12:48 pm |
        • Billy

          Well I think the controlling happened long before you arrived on the planet, Topher. So if I become a Christian, and I don't murder anyone and then sometime later, I refute Jesus and Christianity, then I am doomed by the Christian God; whereas if I become a Christian, then murder someone, but stay a Christian till my death, then I will be saved by the Christian God, is that right, Topher?

          October 21, 2013 at 12:56 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          @Topher
          You need to take a comparative religion course.
          I would suggest beginning with the mythology of Ancient Sumieria / Babylonia.
          The cultures pre-date the Old Testament by a thousand years or more, but share many of the same myths.
          Genesis draws heavily from their stories of a global flood, a paradis garden in which the first man and woman resided until being tempted by a serpent to eat from the tree of Wisdom, etc.

          October 21, 2013 at 12:58 pm |
        • Check

          Topher,

          - You cure leprosy by having a dove killed, dipping a live one in its blood and having it fly around. Also, you have to anoint the toes of the suffer with the blood.
          - You discover unfaithful wives when their bellies swell and their thighs rot after they are made to drink some magical water.
          - Prized striped goats are bred by having the mating parents stare at striped objects.
          - You may buy, own, sell, and will slaves to your descendants (only foreigners for slaves, though, no Israelis)

          There are several other similar instances of absolute rubbish that this "God" "spoke", along with a bunch of other rules and laws that are obviously only from the minds of primitive men. How anyone can believe that this stuff came from a real smart divine being is ludicrous.

          Was this "God" really that stupid? Or did "Moses" and company make that stuff up to Wow the populace?

          October 21, 2013 at 1:03 pm |
        • Alias

          Topher, you said, "The Bible is a reliable collection of historical doc.uments written by eyewitnesses during the lifetime of other eyewitnesses. They report supernatural events that took place in fulfillment of specific prophecies and they claim that their writings are Divine, rather than human, in origin."
          The point i'm trying to make is that muslims, hindu, etc, would make the same arguement for their religions.
          Would you please explain how the arguement for the christian god is any different than the arguement for any other god?

          October 21, 2013 at 1:05 pm |
        • Topher

          Billy

          "Well I think the controlling happened long before you arrived on the planet, Topher."

          I'm not being controlled. I think it's fair to say the apostles and the early church didn't teach what they taught or go to their deaths just to control people. Were there maybe some who did that? Sure. Some who still do? Yes. And I'd tell those people to run as fast as they can away from that church or religion.

          "So if I become a Christian, and I don't murder anyone and then sometime later, I refute Jesus and Christianity, then I am doomed by the Christian God;"

          A little problem here. If you in the future reject Christ you were never a Christian in the first place. That would make you a false convert. And so yes, you'd be judged for the laws you broke.

          "whereas if I become a Christian, then murder someone, but stay a Christian till my death, then I will be saved by the Christian God, is that right, Topher?"

          Well ... yes. If you are actually meeting the Biblical standard for salvation. But then I'd have to ask why a Christian is committing murder.

          October 21, 2013 at 1:09 pm |
        • Charm Quark

          Doc
          Poor Topher has to reject a vast body of knowledge in history, archeology, science, logic, you name it to believe as he does, that the bible is the singular truth. Any type of course would simply be a waste of his time and the time of anyone that tried to educate him.

          October 21, 2013 at 1:09 pm |
        • Topher

          Doc Vestibule

          "The cultures pre-date the Old Testament by a thousand years or more, but share many of the same myths."

          Not possible.

          "Genesis draws heavily from their stories of a global flood, a paradis garden in which the first man and woman resided until being tempted by a serpent to eat from the tree of Wisdom, etc."

          This just shows your presupposition (that's OK, I have them, too) that the Bible is the one stealing the stories. Why isn't it the other way around?

          October 21, 2013 at 1:11 pm |
        • Topher

          Alias

          "The point i'm trying to make is that muslims, hindu, etc, would make the same arguement for their religions."

          The could make the argument but it wouldn't be very honest. The others don't have eyewitnesses. They aren't as historically vetted as the Bible. They don't have the prophesy fulfillment.

          "Would you please explain how the arguement for the christian god is any different than the arguement for any other god?"

          I think I've given you some valid reasons.

          October 21, 2013 at 1:14 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          @Topher
          "This just shows your presupposition (that's OK, I have them, too) that the Bible is the one stealing the stories. Why isn't it the other way around?"

          That would be due to the linear nature of time as we experience it.
          When an artifact pre-dates the earliest Hebrew manuscripts by a thousand years, it it safe to say that the one written first is not a copy of the one that came after.

          October 21, 2013 at 1:17 pm |
        • Colin

          Topher, it in not possible that they borrowed from Genesis, becuse they predate it. The Epic of Gilgamesh predates Genesis by about 1,000 years.

          Tablet 11 of the Epic of Gilgamesh recounts how the god Ea warns one of the characters, Utnapishtim, that a great flood is coming. She tells him to build an ark of very precise dimensions and seal it with pitch and bitumen. Utnapishtim's family and workers go board the ark, along with “all the animals of the field”. Once they are safely inside, a violent storm arises that lasts six days and seven nights and destroys all of humanity, except the people and creatures on the ark. The ark eventually comes to rest on a mountain and, after seven more days, Utnapishtim releases a dove, a swallow and a raven. When the latter fails to return, he opens the ark and releases its inhabitants to repopulate the planet.

          sound familiar?

          You might also like to consider the Enuma Elish, written about 400 years before Genesis as well as the saga of Adapa and the South Wind – a myth involving two central characters, Adapa and Ea, in which Ea tells Adapa not to eat food while in heaven and Adapa thus loses immortality and the story of Atrahasis, an even earlier Sumerian myth involving a great flood and mankind being made from a mixture of clay and blood of the gods.

          It is pretty clear that the two Adam and Eve stories in Genesis (one which was likely written by the Yahwest source and the other by the Elohist source, two of the four principal authors of the Pentatuch) was greatly influenced by early Babylonian mythology.

          FYI-the emphasis on the flood in so many of these Babylonian myths comes from the fact that lower Sumes lay in between the Tigris and Euphrates – and therefore flooded virtually every year – sometimes with devastating local effects.

          October 21, 2013 at 1:20 pm |
        • Colin

          Lower Sumer, sorry

          October 21, 2013 at 1:22 pm |
        • Alias

          Topher said,
          "The could make the argument but it wouldn't be very honest. The others don't have eyewitnesses. They aren't as historically vetted as the Bible. They don't have the prophesy fulfillment."
          Once again, other religions think they have it right because their god/prophets did all of this.
          Your god is just like all the others. Your religion is not fundamentally any different from the others. Some subtle differences you will make a big deal of, but in all honesty they are the same basic morals with no living diety.
          Thank you for another less than completely honest exchange.

          October 21, 2013 at 1:24 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          @Topher
          Do a bit of looking into the The Schøyen Collection.
          Located mainly in Oslo and London, it is comprised of thousands of ancient manuscripts, most of which are on stone or clay tablets, spanning some 5 millenia.
          Sumerian cunieform is the oldest type of writing we've yet found and deciphered.

          October 21, 2013 at 1:32 pm |
        • Topher

          Doc Vestibule

          "When an artifact pre-dates the earliest Hebrew manuscripts by a thousand years, it it safe to say that the one written first is not a copy of the one that came after."

          So you're putting your trust in dating methods? I'd reject anything that said it was 1000 years older than a Hebrew manuscript. What you'd have is a "history" of people that wouldn't have been here long enough to have a history.

          October 21, 2013 at 1:33 pm |
        • Charm Quark

          Doc
          Picture, if you will, Topher standing with his hand over his ears singing as loud as he can "jesus loves me this I know because the bible tells me so". This is how our Topher acts in regards to most all of knowledge that is not part of his myth, but keep trying, I guess.

          October 21, 2013 at 1:40 pm |
        • Nada

          Colin

          Topher, it in not possible that they borrowed from Genesis, becuse they predate it. The Epic of Gilgamesh predates Genesis by about 1,000 years.
          >>>
          I think you are being generous with the time frame. lol

          October 21, 2013 at 2:12 pm |
        • Nada

          Topher

          Doc Vestibule

          "When an artifact pre-dates the earliest Hebrew manuscripts by a thousand years, it it safe to say that the one written first is not a copy of the one that came after."

          So you're putting your trust in dating methods? I'd reject anything that said it was 1000 years older than a Hebrew manuscript. What you'd have is a "history" of people that wouldn't have been here long enough to have a history.
          ---–
          You find strength in ignorance lol

          October 21, 2013 at 2:15 pm |
        • Colin

          Nada, and when do you believe Genesis was written and when do you believe the Epic of Gilgamesh was written?

          October 21, 2013 at 2:35 pm |
        • Topher

          Please let me clarify my stance on these books. Gilgamesh is slightly older than Genesis, but that doesn't mean it is the source for the Biblical account.

          Genesis was written between 1445-1405 BC by Moses.

          The Epic of Gilgamesh was written in the eighteenth century BC, about 200 years before Moses' birth during the Hebrew captivity. It should be noted that the flood account in this poem is believed to have been a later addition.

          But for several reasons, if you're interested, the Biblical account is far superior.

          October 21, 2013 at 2:54 pm |
        • Colin

          Topher, you said, "Genesis was written between 1445-1405 BC by Moses."

          No it wasn't. Moses is one of the fictional characters in it. That is like saying Star Wars was written by Yoda. Genesis in its current form was likely written by two authors (called the Elohist and Yahwist sources due to the term the use for "God") in about 60-700 BCE and then later altered by the so called Priestly source.

          Gilgamesh predates it not by a few hundred years but by 1,000 plus.

          October 21, 2013 at 4:14 pm |
        • Topher

          Colin

          "No it wasn't. Moses is one of the fictional characters in it. "

          Nope.

          "That is like saying Star Wars was written by Yoda."

          Fallacy. You can't compare a work of fiction with something that claims to be non-fiction.

          "Genesis in its current form was likely written by two authors (called the Elohist and Yahwist sources due to the term the use for "God") in about 60-700 BCE and then later altered by the so called Priestly source. "

          No. Moses authored the first 5 books of the Bible.

          "Gilgamesh predates it not by a few hundred years but by 1,000 plus."

          Read it again. I didn't say it was a few hundred years.

          October 21, 2013 at 4:47 pm |
        • Topher

          Colin

          Your source using "60-700 BCE" shows your/their bias. Before the Common Era? Really? It's blatantly anti-Christian. Something happened 2000 years ago ... something so big it changed our calendars. Of course now-a-days, we don't even want to use BC because it seems to acknowledge that something.

          "and then later altered by the so called Priestly source."

          There is absolutely ZERO evidence anything has been altered. Quite the opposite, in fact. We have more than 5,600 manuscripts dated to within 25 years of the originals. And when you add in the Dead Sea Scrolls, we have an almost complete knowledge of what the originals said. And since we also have people today who can read those original languages, we also know our Bibles today say the same thing.

          Please don't just believe everything biased websites tell you.

          October 21, 2013 at 5:01 pm |
        • craig

          http://www.everystudent.com/features/isthere.html please read this. God does exist, he does love you and wants to have a relationship with you.

          October 21, 2013 at 7:18 pm |
        • sam stone

          Do not believe what biased websites tell you

          Instead, believe what a irrational preacher on a blog tells you

          topher, you remain a coward

          October 22, 2013 at 5:59 am |
        • sam stone

          Craig: That is nothing but self serving blather. It is only convincing to those who already believe. In other words, mental mas-tur-ba-tion

          October 22, 2013 at 6:05 am |
        • G to the T

          Topher –
          1) Creating an issue (sin) and then giving the solution to it (salvation) is a bit circular don't you think?
          2) Again, Christianity sets up the "game" so that it is the only one that provides the answer. You haven't established that what you are doing is actually the will of god, you've only established what (an interpretation) of the bible says is the will of god. It seems to me that all of your faith is hinged on the bible. If so, you have way more faith than I am capable of.

          October 22, 2013 at 2:03 pm |
      • In Santa we trust

        What is that case? We don't know so a god must have done it? There is no evidence for a god, the ancients did not have our knowledge and attributed the universe and phenomena to a god or gods. Science has better explanations for the creation of our world and species than the bible. How the singularity came to be may be unknown but it doesn't mean that a god did it. Then even if it did – what created the god?

        October 21, 2013 at 1:49 pm |
        • Topher

          In Santa we trust

          "What is that case? We don't know so a god must have done it?"

          That would be a bad argument.

          "There is no evidence for a god, the ancients did not have our knowledge and attributed the universe and phenomena to a god or gods."

          Not true. There's plenty of evidence God exists.

          "Science has better explanations for the creation of our world and species than the bible."

          It does? How so?

          "How the singularity came to be may be unknown but it doesn't mean that a god did it."

          You have a bigger problem than even "Where did the singularity come from?" You don't even know if there WAS a singularity.

          "Then even if it did – what created the god?"

          Nothing created God. He is "from everlasting to everlasting." Understand that as creator of time, space and material, He has to exist outside of those things. So since He exists outside of time, He needs no "beginning".

          October 21, 2013 at 1:57 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          Topher
          "That would be a bad argument."
          Agreed, so why do you and other christians make it daily?

          "Not true. There's plenty of evidence God exists."
          So provide some that is independent of the bible.

          "It does? How so?"
          Big Bang, evolution, etc. You must remember as you are told this daily.

          "Nothing created God."
          You assign attributes to your god which are unknowable by you. You have no reason to believe that those attributes do not describe the singularity other than you know that removes the only place your god could fit into the puzzle.

          I know you need to preserve your delusion but you really have no evidence.

          October 21, 2013 at 2:53 pm |
        • Topher

          In Santa we trust

          "Agreed, so why do you and other christians make it daily?"

          I haven't. I'm not a "God of the Gaps" kinda guy. If others are making it it's just a lack of knowledge in apologetics.

          "So provide some that is independent of the bible."

          I don't have to make it independent of the Bible. It's God's Word and thus trustworthy. But just for you, here's some evidence. Look around you. Do you honestly believe we have all this order due to an accident? An explosion created order? Things are far too complex to have simply happened. There are 7 million light-sensitive cells in your eye alone. Your EYE is more complex than the building you are sitting in, yet you'd never say it just came together over millions of years. You can't have design without a designer. You have a building, you know there was a builder. You have a painting, you know there was a painter. You have the creation, you know there was a creator.

          "Big Bang, evolution, etc. You must remember as you are told this daily."

          Big Bang, while I still think it's flawed, is less of a problem than evolution. Both fall under historical science at best, and thus you won't ever be able to prove them. Evolution, however, science outright rejects.

          "You assign attributes to your god which are unknowable by you. You have no reason to believe that those attributes do not describe the singularity other than you know that removes the only place your god could fit into the puzzle."

          You say it's "unknowable" but I say God told us all about it in the Bible. So I do know it. And even if you want to argue I can't know for sure God said those things, it's a pretty fair, logical prediction. If you create time, you can't be inside of it since you'd have to exist before that creation. And since He created time, He then must exist outside of it and thus wouldn't be subjected to time — thus timeless.

          Personally I don't believe in the singularity. There's no reason to believe it existed and God has already explained how He did it.

          "I know you need to preserve your delusion but you really have no evidence."

          Dead wrong. You might find the evidence lacking — that's up to you — but to say there is NO evidence is fallacious.

          October 21, 2013 at 3:07 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          Topher, I mean evidence that would meet scientific or judicial scrutiny. Ancient texts building a religion around a bunch of guesses by ignorants is not satisfactory evidence. There is nothing else in life that a prudent person does purely on faith – you wouldn't buy a property or investment based solely on the word of the seller; a very rough analogy but that is essentially the case for god – the bible says god exists and the bible must be right as it's the word of god.

          October 21, 2013 at 4:09 pm |
        • Topher

          In Santa we trust

          "Topher, I mean evidence that would meet scientific or judicial scrutiny."

          Like what, for instance? I have a feeling we are just talking past each other.

          "Ancient texts building a religion around a bunch of guesses by ignorants is not satisfactory evidence."

          Saying they writers were ignorant is fallacious. There's no reason to think these people were "ignorant." In fact, the Jews required quite a bit of education for their children. Remember, most of the writers were eyewitnesses of the events.

          "There is nothing else in life that a prudent person does purely on faith – you wouldn't buy a property or investment based solely on the word of the seller; a very rough analogy but that is essentially the case for god – the bible says god exists and the bible must be right as it's the word of god."

          Look, faith is always going to be a part of it. But there's too much outside of that. I grew up an atheist. And when I read the Bible for the first time, I didn't just say, "Oh, the Bible says it is true, so it must be." Of course I agree with that now, but I think you start out with faith and build on it from there. As I was talking about earlier, if you have a Creation, you know there must have been a Creator. You look at all the order and take into account mathematically what it would take for us to come about by accident with all that stuff in place you just KNOW there had to be more than an accident. There's tons of evidence. It just depends on your presuppositions and whether you find that evidence to be lacking or not. Personally, when I looked into it, I found the evidence FOR God to be more compelling than that against. That's when I became a Christian.

          October 21, 2013 at 4:35 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          Topher, I meant ignorant in the sense that they didn't know what caused phenomena such as earthquakes, eclipses, tsunamis, rainbows, origin of humans, etc. and attributed those phenomena to god(s) hence creating religions. But they were also ignorant compared to today's people in the West a least – books, computers, engine-powered transport, mandatory schooling, etc. have made the average person way better informed.
          The probability of the chain of events leading to humans may be low, but the fact that we are here shows it is not impossible; there is no evidence for a god. You also claim arbitrarily that everything needs a creator – except your god; you're just stacking the deck, if a god can just exist so can a singularity.
          I can't believe that you don't grasp that evidence needs to reach a certain standard before it is credible for science or law – another analogy would you want to be convicted of murder based purely on hearsay?
          Having originally decided that there was no evidence for a god, what actual evidence convinced you that there was and enhy your god when there are maybe ten major religions?

          October 21, 2013 at 7:11 pm |
        • Topher

          In Santa we trust

          "I meant ignorant in the sense that they didn't know what caused phenomena such as earthquakes, eclipses, tsunamis, rainbows, origin of humans, etc. and attributed those phenomena to god(s) hence creating religions. But they were also ignorant compared to today's people in the West a least – books, computers, engine-powered transport, mandatory schooling, etc. have made the average person way better informed."

          Whether they were "informed" on these things or not is unimportant. These things do not have to be understood in reference to having written the Bible. And of course, those of us who believe would still say God does those things. It's just we know HOW He does those things.

          "The probability of the chain of events leading to humans may be low, but the fact that we are here shows it is not impossible;"

          It's mathematically impossible.

          "there is no evidence for a god."

          False.

          "You also claim arbitrarily that everything needs a creator – except your god; you're just stacking the deck, if a god can just exist so can a singularity."

          No. God exists outside of time, so He doesn't need a beginning. IF the singularity was true, it would have existed inside of time so it had to have a beginning. You'd have to explain how it's NOT breaking the first law of thermodynamics (nature can't create itself). Also you'd have the problem of the second law because entropy also says it can't have eternally existed.

          "I can't believe that you don't grasp that evidence needs to reach a certain standard before it is credible for science or law – another analogy would you want to be convicted of murder based purely on hearsay?"

          We're not talking about science here, we're talking about the supernatural. Of course, this is exactly why I (and science) reject evolution. I have weighed the evidence FOR God to be more compelling.

          "Having originally decided that there was no evidence for a god, what actual evidence convinced you that there was and enhy your god when there are maybe ten major religions?"

          I had already looked into the others and rejected them. I knew there was a God, I just had to figure out who He was. So really it was the evidence that kept growing and I just became more and more convinced. I don't think it was any one thing, it was the accu.mulation. Christianity was the one who answered all the questions, and well, made the most sense.

          October 21, 2013 at 8:32 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          So basically you cannot provide any evidence other than you believe and if god is what you believe then anything can be twisted to make that appear to be the case.

          October 21, 2013 at 9:31 pm |
      • sam

        Saying a god exists over and over doesn't make it true, either.

        October 21, 2013 at 2:46 pm |
      • CommonSensed

        Saying your god is real and the one true god because the book of your god says so is about as weak an argument as you can start with.

        October 21, 2013 at 3:27 pm |
  17. Jayber Crow

    Though they won't admit it, many of the skeptical/unbelieving folks who post comments – from the mildly snarky to the vile and hate-filled – have an emptiness inside that leads them to hang around sites/blogs such as this one.

    October 21, 2013 at 10:19 am |
    • Worc Rebyaj

      Though they won't admit it, many of the God-fearing folks who post comments – from the mildly snarky to the vile and hate-filled – have an emptiness inside that leads them to hang around sites/blogs such as this one.

      October 21, 2013 at 10:26 am |
    • ME II

      @Jayber Crow,
      Would you class your own comment as mildly snarky or more hate-filled?

      October 21, 2013 at 10:31 am |
      • Jayber Crow

        I would classify it as a neutral supposition

        October 21, 2013 at 11:08 am |
        • doobzz

          If it's merely a supposition, why did you post it as a statement? You may believe that, but your belief doesn't make it a fact, except in your mind.

          The idea that nonbelievers have empty, useless lives is just another religious lie that religious folks love to repeat.

          October 21, 2013 at 12:03 pm |
        • Jayber Crow

          Well, is your characterization of my "religious lie that religious folks love to repeat" a supposition or a statement?

          October 21, 2013 at 12:48 pm |
        • doobzz

          It's a statement. I've seen it over and over on this blog, as well as hearing from Christian's mouths directly.

          It's not true that nonbelievers have empty, meaningless lives. We find meaning in the same things you do, with the exception of deities.

          October 21, 2013 at 1:38 pm |
    • Alias

      Though they won't admit it, many of the christianfolks who post comments – from the mildly snarky to the vile and hate-filled – have duobts about their faith that lead them to hang around sites/blogs such as this one.

      October 21, 2013 at 10:49 am |
    • sam

      Ah, someone is feeling superior today, huh?

      October 21, 2013 at 2:50 pm |
  18. Doc Vestibule

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

    October 21, 2013 at 10:03 am |
  19. Sara

    The bulk of the content is copied from the sort-of-cited story by Eric Marrapodi and Tom Foreman. Are you saying they didn't write that or the DB wrote the intro (why do you say that) and should put his name on it?

    October 21, 2013 at 10:00 am |
  20. Jayber Crow

    The vitriol from both sides, believers and non-believers, is extremely discouraging.

    October 21, 2013 at 9:58 am |
    • ME II

      Agreed

      October 21, 2013 at 10:32 am |
    • Topher

      Agreed.

      October 21, 2013 at 11:55 am |
    • Crom

      If only it were, this would be a better internet and world to live in.
      Discouraging inane and ridiculous insanity-filled blathering from religious fools would be a great start, but, alas, they do not make logical decisions like stopping behavior that is worthless and shown to be damaging to everyone.
      Yes, I wish you idiots would get discouraged from being stupid and stop being stupid. But I know better than that, thus some legitimate and justified vitriol to rub in your faces is called for.
      u mad?

      October 21, 2013 at 5:33 pm |
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About this blog

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