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What baseball umpires can learn from the Vatican
Allen Craig of the St. Louis Cardinals gets tripped up by Will Middlebrooks of the Boston Red Sox during the 2013 World Series.
October 29th, 2013
11:37 AM ET

What baseball umpires can learn from the Vatican

Opinion by Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN

(CNN) - This is a post about the instantly infamous “obstruction” call that ended Game 3 of the World Series between the Boston Red Sox and the St. Louis Cardinals on Saturday.  But it starts with an epiphany I had years ago about Vatican law.

This epiphany came in the form of a 2005 op-ed on gay Catholic priests, written by John Allen of the National Catholic Reporter.

As a long-time observer of all things Vatican, Allen was trying to explain to American readers why there will always be gay priests. In so doing, he drew a sharp distinction between Italian law (which holds sway in the Vatican) and Anglo-Saxon law (which prevails in the United States).

Italian law “expresses an ideal," he wrote. "It describes a perfect state of affairs from which many people will inevitably fall short. This view is far removed from the typical Anglo-Saxon approach, which expects the law to dictate what people actually do.”

So when Italians say “no gays in the priesthood,” they are not expressing what we in the United States refer to as a law. They are expressing an aspiration. They are saying, “Wouldn’t it be nice if there were no gays in the priesthood.” Or, as a senior Vatican official told Allen, “Law describes the way things would work if men were angels.”

I was livid on Saturday night when I saw the Cardinals’ runner Allen Craig awarded home plate (and the game) because of “obstruction” by Red Sox third baseman Will Middlebrooks. In fact, I screamed so loud at the television set that my throat still hurts days later.

But I wasn’t just reacting as a lifetime member of the Church of the Boston Red Sox. I was outraged at the umpires’ misapplication of their rules.

Although baseball is America’s pastime, it works by Italian law. The shape-shifting strike zone is a model of subjectivity, varying from umpire to umpire, and from inning to inning.

Umpires routinely allow second basemen and shortstops to catch double play relays merely in the vicinity of second base in order to prevent injury at the hands of sliding runners. In fact, this happens so often it has a name (“the phantom double play”).

All this is to say that baseball umpires are expected to exercise their judgment.

As many baseball pundits have noted, the umpires acted in World Series Game 3 according to the letter of the law (which in this case turns out to be Rule 7.06 on “obstruction”).

As umpire John Hirschbeck himself explained in an interview after the controversial game — the only World Series contest ever to end on an obstruction call — intent does not matter:

”Obstruction is the act of a fielder obstructing a runner when not in the act of fielding a ball. It does not have to be intent. There does not have to be intent, OK? Once he has the opportunity to field the ball, he can no longer in any way obstruct the runner. That's basically the rule.”

During the same interview, Joe Torre, Major League Baseball's executive VP of baseball operations, cited Rule 2, which offered this almost eerie example of "obstruction": "An infielder dives at a ground ball and the ball passes him, and he continues to lie on the ground and delays the progress of the runner, he very likely has obstructed the runner."

Fair enough. That certainly does seem to describe the Game 3 situation. But notice the language here. “Very likely” indicates that umpires are supposed to exercise some discretion here, some subjectivity, some judgment. Which is how it should be.

Those who claim that the umpires in this case should have followed the letter of the law misunderstand the nature of the baseball rulebook, which throughout baseball history, from Little League to the major leagues, has been interpreted in the spirit of Italian rather than Anglo-Saxon law.

We have always expected umpires to exercise their discretion, to pay attention to particulars as they interpret the rules.

The purpose of Rule 7.06 is to prevent fielders from hindering runners as they proceed from base to base. Yet this same rule recognizes that fielders have the right to field their position.

In this case, these two rights literally bumped up against one another in the bodies of Will Middlebrooks and Allen Craig. The Red Sox third baseman dived to his left in an effort to catch a ball coming his way from his team’s catcher. He had every right to reach for the ball, just as the Cardinals' runner had every right to slide into third base.

As soon as the ball shot past Middlebrooks, Craig tried to jump over him and tripped as he was heading for home. Third base umpire Jim Joyce signaled obstruction, and the home plate umpire, yielding to Joyce’s judgment, awarded Craig home plate, despite the fact that he was tagged out easily by the Red Sox catcher.

So my question is this: What was MIddlebrooks supposed to do? If he possessed superpowers that elude mere mortals, he could have teleported his body to another dimension, but failing that, his body was going to fall where gravity took it.

To call this obstruction is to tell Middlebrooks and every future third baseman that they cannot dive to their left for an errant throw, or that they do so at the risk of awarding the runner a free pass home. And that doesn’t make any sense, because as the rule itself recognizes, the fielders have every right to field their position.

To return to the Rome and Vatican law, what we have here is a conflict between two modes of legal interpretation.

Cardinals fans who lauded the umpires for following the letter of the law were demanding Anglo-American interpretation. But baseball, despite its American origins, has always been governed by an Italian approach.

“If men were angels,” the Red Sox third baseman could have winged his body away a millisecond after diving for the ball. But men are not angels, and Game 3 should have gone into extra innings.

- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: Catholic Church • Sports • Vatican

soundoff (528 Responses)
  1. Bootyfunk

    "So when Italians say “no g.ays in the priesthood,” they are not expressing what we in the United States refer to as a law. They are expressing an aspiration. They are saying, “Wouldn’t it be nice if there were no g.ays in the priesthood.” Or, as a senior Vatican official told Allen, “Law describes the way things would work if men were angels.”"

    +++ wouldn't it be nice if there were no g.ays around? it's not a law - it's an aspiration. replace 'g.ay' with 'asian' and see if the sentence sounds okay. because "if men were angels" they wouldn't be g.ay? the church is the biggest promoter of h.omophobia in the world. only at church can people stand in front of a crowd, preach hate and not be held accountable. all you have to say is "well, it's my religion" and you're excused for prejudice beliefs. stay classy, vatican.

    October 30, 2013 at 1:49 pm |
    • doobzz

      I agree, Booty. No matter how they try to sugarcoat it, or what statements the pope makes, they still look at gay people as wrong and something to get rid of.

      October 30, 2013 at 2:02 pm |
    •  Doris

      And I'm confident they will soon look as ridiculous as they did after trying to hold back the findings of Galileo. I have issues with the Catholic church on a number of fronts, most of which are related to being out of step with current knowledge. But booty, what do you think about this new pope in particular?

      October 30, 2013 at 2:19 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      But when they say practicing g@ys and the people who support them should not receive communion, it is not an asperation, it is a law to be followed if at all possible.

      October 30, 2013 at 2:20 pm |
  2. Gandalf

    AE, Einstein was not a supporter of your crazy Christian supersti-tion. Geez, you just can't learn. Read and read again, dummy:

    ""It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it."

    A. Einstein

    October 30, 2013 at 10:54 am |
    • AE

      Where did I post that he was a Christian? And he certainly was not an atheist.

      “In view of such harmony in the cosmos which I, with my limited human mind, am able to recognize, there are yet people who say there is no God. But what really makes me angry is that they quote me for the support of such views.”

      –Albert Einstein

      As a physicist, I think Albert Einstein describes my God well.

      As a philosopher, I don't think he does quite as well.

      Regardless I still think he is a brilliant man. And appreciate this quote of his: "The more I study science, the more I believe in God.

      October 30, 2013 at 11:00 am |
      • Gandalf

        AE, you are a duplicitous wimp. You have tried to present Einstein as a supporter of you absurd personal god fables, when he obviously was not.

        Shame on you, you pathetic, weak-minded fool.

        October 30, 2013 at 1:51 pm |
        • AE

          No, I admitted he is not a Christian. He also makes it clear that anyone that uses him to support atheism makes him angry.

          October 30, 2013 at 2:01 pm |
        • Bootyfunk

          he not only admitted he was not a christian, he said he didn't believe in god and thought it was a silly idea.

          October 30, 2013 at 2:14 pm |
        • AE

          He also said atheism sounded like a silly idea.

          October 30, 2013 at 4:40 pm |
        • Lisa

          AE
          Nor did Einstein believe in any kind of personal God who was in any way involved in people's lives. Basically, he was in awe of Nature and her Laws, and used the word "God" to describe that which he had a "religious" feeling toward, but he rejected all claims that it was a being, or intelligence. Do you share his view that God is basically Nature?

          October 30, 2013 at 6:14 pm |
        • AE

          In some ways, yes.

          “Everyone who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that a spirit is manifest in the laws of the Universe–a spirit vastly superior to that of man, and one in the face of which we with our modest powers must feel humble.”

          – Albert Einstein

          October 30, 2013 at 6:34 pm |
        • Lisa

          AE
          You can continually quote mine the dozen or so things that Einstein said that sorta, kinda implies that he believed in a kind of higher power, but the vast bulk of his words about religion clearly indicate that he did not believe in a personal God or anything even remotely close to Christian or Jewish theology. You know that we see right through this intellectually disingenuous line of argument, right?

          October 31, 2013 at 10:34 am |
        • Lisa

          Best also not to forget that Einstein was in America during the developing Red Scare, where fear of communism made anyone suspect if they leaned too far towards atheism. No doubt, he couched his comments with his future in the USA in mind. If he were around today, he might be far freer with expressing himself.

          October 31, 2013 at 11:26 am |
        • Lisa

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kEK6WtHxNfw

          October 31, 2013 at 11:27 am |
      • Bootyfunk

        "The word god is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honourable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish"
        - Einstein, penned letter on January 3 1954

        "My religiosity consists in a humble admiration of the infinitely superior spirit that reveals itself in the little that we, with our weak and transitory understanding, can comprehend of reality."
        - Einstein, (The Human Side, Princeton University Press)

        October 30, 2013 at 1:58 pm |
        • AE

          “You accept the historical Jesus?”

          “Unquestionably! No one can read the Gospels without feeling the actual presence of Jesus. His personality pulsates in every word. No myth is filled with such life.”

          –Albert Einstein, from an interview with the Saturday Evening Post

          October 30, 2013 at 2:03 pm |
        • Lisa

          AE
          Einstein also had this to say:

          "I seriously doubt that Jesus himself said that he was God, for he was too much a Jew to violate that great commandment: Hear O Israel, the Eternal is our God and He is one!' and not two or three."

          "Sometimes I think it would have been better if Jesus had never lived. No name was so abused for the sake of power!"

          So, he believed in a historical Jewish rabbi Jesus, but not in a divine Christ. That places him in consensus with the majority of modern professional biblical scholars.

          October 30, 2013 at 6:21 pm |
        • AE

          "If one purges the Judaism of the Prophets and Christianity as Jesus taught it of all subsequent additions, especially those of the priests, one is left with a teaching which is capable of curing all the social ills of humanity."

          From Einstein's book The World as I See It (Philosophical Library, New York, 1949) pp. 111-112

          "Our time is distinguishedby wonderful achievements in the fields of scientific understanding and the technical application of those insights. Who would not be cheered by this? But let us not forget that knowledge and skills alone cannot lead humanity to a happy and dignified life. Humanity has every reason to place the proclaimers of high moral standards and values above the discoverers of objective truth. What humanity owes to personalities like Buddha, Moses, and Jesus ranks for me higher than all the achievements of the enquiring and constructive mind."

          October 30, 2013 at 6:36 pm |
        • Lisa

          AE
          Yes, the wise rabbi Jesus devoid of the additions, like his divinity.

          Yes, the wise teachings of Buddha, Moses, and Jesus.

          October 31, 2013 at 11:13 am |
    •  Doris

      It sounds like he might have had more in common with our Diest founders as much as anyone with that phrase "I do not believe in a personal God". I doubt he would have seen his God as one that made man in its image.

      October 30, 2013 at 11:39 am |
      •  Doris

        Deist, not Diest.

        October 30, 2013 at 11:40 am |
  3. Gandalf

    Dumbeldore >> Christian god. And my buddy Dumbledore is way more cool than Jesus ever was. Christianity is for the slow, uncool kids.

    October 30, 2013 at 10:33 am |
    • AE

      What grade are you in?

      October 30, 2013 at 10:35 am |
      • Gandalf

        Ph.D. Physics.

        And you, oh stupid one?

        October 30, 2013 at 10:55 am |
        • AE

          I'm not in school/worried about what the cool kids think.

          October 30, 2013 at 11:07 am |
        • Live4Him

          Oh really? If you were, then you wouldn't need to resort to personal attacks.

          October 30, 2013 at 11:23 am |
        • Gandalf

          Indeed, AE is quite well known not only for his personal attacks, but for his name stealing. CNN removed a whole batch of his posts along with the stolen name ones he did, for that reason.

          October 30, 2013 at 1:53 pm |
    • Evolution 101

      For AE and L4H

      Was the bible around millions of years ago ?

      'Lost World' Discovered On Australia’s Cape York Peninsula

      Oct. 28, 2013 — A James Cook University-National Geographic expedition to Cape York Peninsula in north-east Australia has found three vertebrate species new to science and isolated for millions of years

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131028163632.htm

      October 30, 2013 at 11:36 am |
      • AE

        Cool, thanks. Like my church, I support and appreciate science.

        October 30, 2013 at 12:31 pm |
      • AE

        – Was the bible around millions of years ago?

        No. And we don't have any writings from human being from millions of years ago.

        October 30, 2013 at 12:32 pm |
      • Evolution 101

        But we have hom-o skulls from 1.8 years ago AE .

        October 30, 2013 at 12:38 pm |
      • Evolution 101

        Should say 1.8 MILLION years.

        October 30, 2013 at 12:41 pm |
      • AE

        It appears that we do have those skulls. But we don't have any writings from them at this time.

        October 30, 2013 at 12:50 pm |
      • Evolution 101

        Evolution, the Bible: Kenya's fossils challenge religious beliefs

        http://mg.co.za/article/2013-10-29-kenyas-famous-remains-challenge-modern-teachings/

        October 30, 2013 at 12:59 pm |
        • AE

          Nice article. Thanks.

          October 30, 2013 at 1:04 pm |
        • Evolution 101

          You are welcome.

          By the way to many skull fossils for it to be JUST Adam and Eve.

          October 30, 2013 at 1:34 pm |
        • AE

          So? I'm not anti-evolution. And i don't believe in a literal interpretation of the origin story found in Genesis. What is your point?

          Did hundreds, not just 2, people suddenly evolve into what we know as human beings one day? Is that what you are trying to tell me?

          October 30, 2013 at 1:39 pm |
        • George

          AE, google "strawman argument". You look like you are generating one.

          October 30, 2013 at 1:41 pm |
        • AE

          I'm just trying to figure out why he addressed me (I've never had any discussions with "Evolution 101" before) and posting random things about evolution. Does he imagine I don't believe in evolution? Why would he imagine that?

          So I'm trying to figure out what the heck he means by mentioning skulls and Adam and Eve...

          October 30, 2013 at 1:50 pm |
        • Joey

          If you don't believe in a literal Adam and Eve there is no reason to be a Christian.

          November 1, 2013 at 1:50 pm |
  4. Lucifer's Evil Twin

    LET's Religiosity Law #3 – If you habitually spout off verses from your "holy" book to make whatever inane point you're trying to make, and not once does it occur to you to question whether your book is accurate in the first place, then you are definitely mentally retarded. (See Law #4 & #5)

    LET's Religiosity Law #4 – If a bible verse furthers the cause, it is to be taken literally. If a bible verse is detrimental to the cause, it is either: taken out of context; is allegorical; refers to another verse somewhere else; is an ancient cultural anomaly; is a translation or copyist's error; means something other than what it actually says; Is a mystery of god or not discernible by humans; or is just plain magic. (See Law #5)

    LET's Religiosity Law #5 – Circular "holy" book reasoning + sweaty fervor = mental retardation. (See Law #4)

    October 30, 2013 at 8:23 am |
  5. Dyslexic doG

    And when Mary arrived at the tomb, his body was missing. What have u done to my lord?

    And then he opened her eyes and she went nuts

    October 30, 2013 at 6:40 am |
  6. Lenny

    They listened to the voice of the creature (serpent), not the creator (God). Science has shown what is seen is made out of things that are not visible. It takes a lot of faith to study science. Good stuff that points to an intelligent Creator.

    October 30, 2013 at 5:39 am |
    • sam stone.

      does the implication of a creator also imply heaven and hell?

      October 30, 2013 at 6:15 am |
      • Lenny

        According to atheists, yes. Not sure why they won't stop talking about it. According to me, no.

        October 30, 2013 at 6:17 am |
        • truthprevails1

          When it is no longer used as a weapon to deny equal rights to all, we may have reason to stop talking about it. You claim to believe in some external force that created everything...what created that external force?

          October 30, 2013 at 7:03 am |
    • Lisa

      When atheists talk about "the invisible" we typically mean things that are not detectable by any provable means. Atomic and subatomic structures aren't in that category.

      October 30, 2013 at 8:13 am |
    • Charm Quark

      Lenny help me here. God created the whole shebang as the story goes, so the creature/serpent was created by Him, so that his human creations could be deceived. Or did the creature/serpent already exist lets say east of Eden in the land of Nod where Cain got hooked up and propagated the species. It is all so confusing.

      October 30, 2013 at 8:32 am |
  7. George Wonte

    Republican agenda:
    can’t govern, won’t try, 1% tax breaks, everyone else fry.

    October 30, 2013 at 4:38 am |
  8. Dyslexic doG

    To know him. To hang out with him. To converse and become good friends. To discover what he is all about, for myself. To see if he is really cool, a true bud. U no? This ain't no ordinary dude.

    October 30, 2013 at 3:00 am |
  9. Tom, Tom, the Other One

    I am a deeply religious man. I cannot conceive of a God who rewards and punishes his creatures, or has a will of the type of which we are conscious in ourselves. An individual who should survive his physical death is also beyond my comprehension, nor do I wish it otherwise; such notions are for the fears or absurd egoism of feeble souls. Enough for me the mystery of the eternity of life, and the inkling of the marvelous structure of reality, together with the single-hearted endeavour to comprehend a portion, be it never so tiny, of the reason that manifests itself in nature.
    -Albert Einstein (The World As I See It, 1931)

    Albert Einstein saw reason behind the order within reality, but no God closely engaged in what people do or think.

    October 30, 2013 at 2:33 am |
    • AE

      “I am not an atheist, and I don’t think I can call myself a pantheist,”

      Einstein

      October 30, 2013 at 2:48 am |
      • Tom, Tom, the Other One

        You are impressed that Einstein believed in a God even though he did say he could not conceive of one like yours. Why doesn't the whole of what Einstein had to say sink in, AE?

        October 30, 2013 at 2:57 am |
        • AE

          As a physicist I think it is significant that Albert saw God behind all that he studied. I'm open minded. There are a lot of people I admire that have a different belief system than me. Thomas Jefferson, Martin Luther King, Jr and Gandhi for examples.

          I also think it is hilarious that this subject started because I plagiarized a quote by Albert Einstein about God, and a couple people attacked it as if only some crazy religious person would say studying science leads one to God.

          "The more I study science, the more I believe in God" – Albert Einstein. I agree with that so much.

          October 30, 2013 at 3:47 am |
    • n

      Fake quote. Einstein never said that.

      October 30, 2013 at 3:15 am |
    • Lisa

      All respect to Einstein, but he died in 1955 and we've learned a whole lot more about the universe since he stopped making quotes. I suspect that he would be more in line with Hawking's views, had he survived to see these modern discoveries.

      October 30, 2013 at 10:32 am |
  10. tallulah13

    Einstein also said this:

    "The word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honorable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation, no matter how subtle, can (for me) change this."

    Einstein was a complex man. Any efforts to use him to support your personal belief (or mine) are doomed to fail.

    October 30, 2013 at 2:32 am |
    • AE

      “Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.”

      –Albert Einstein

      October 30, 2013 at 2:46 am |
    • Lisa

      I do not believe in immortality of the individual, and I consider ethics to be an exclusively human concern with no superhuman authority behind it. Einstein

      Still sound like your God, AE?

      October 30, 2013 at 10:18 am |
  11. AE

    “Everyone who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that a spirit is manifest in the laws of the Universe–a spirit vastly superior to that of man, and one in the face of which we with our modest powers must feel humble.”

    “In view of such harmony in the cosmos which I, with my limited human mind, am able to recognize, there are yet people who say there is no God. But what really makes me angry is that they quote me for the support of such views.”

    –Albert Einstein

    It kind of sounds like my God actually.

    October 30, 2013 at 2:25 am |
    • Lisa

      It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it. Einstein

      October 30, 2013 at 10:13 am |
  12. Tom, Tom, the Other One

    Superstition on stilts is what religion is. It imagines ultimate, even eternal, reward or punishment for right or wrong thoughts and actions. It's layered on a bit thicker in Christianity – all that nonsense is real, but you can escape it if you are chosen to believe and be forgiven.

    October 30, 2013 at 2:17 am |
    • AE

      I don't belong to a religion by your definition. I'm relieved my belief in God is based in reality, not superst.ition.

      October 30, 2013 at 2:22 am |
      • Doris

        I don't see how you can give such a reply to Tom and then post NT scripture, AE. Do you not understand how the Bible is inescapably tied to and a product of the history and politics of the early Christian church? Then hidden for quite a while from the common man? Now if you believe that the Bible fell out of the sky, then maybe I could understand this answer along with the scripture posting.

        October 30, 2013 at 2:51 am |
        • Doris

          OK, I now see that it is not AE posting the scripture. But then elsewhere AE does speak of following Christ. So unless AE can describe how he follows Christ without scripture, then my question above still stands.

          October 30, 2013 at 3:04 am |
        • AE

          Genuine Christianity is the call to be like Christ. God desires His representatives to think like Him and to act like Him. His love must extend to others through us. His purity must be evident in our words and deeds. His holiness must be represented in our day-to-day experience. We desire to reflect His thoughts in our att.itudes, to extend His mercy to those around us, and to duplicate His character in our daily affairs.

          Yet this is humanly impossible. Christ's ideals are so incredibly high that they are unrealizable based solely on our desire to obey. Consider some of the things He commands us to do:

          "Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute and mistreat you." (Matt. 5:44)

          "Bless those who curse you." (Luke 6:28)

          "Rejoice and be glad when you are persecuted for Christ's sake" (Matt. 5:11)

          "Turn the other cheek when someone strikes you." (Luke 6:29)

          "If someone steals your shirt, give him your coat." (Luke 6:29)

          "Stop sinning" (1 John 2:1)

          These standards are simply out of our reach; our corrupted human nature prohibits their attainment. Loving our enemies is about as easy for humans as flying by rapidly flapping our arms. Our impulse to condemn, not forgive, to seek revenge, not mercy, to get and to not give. Reflecting God's character is beyond our feeble human strength – we are powerless to do so because of our natural inclination to sin.

          Sin is rebellion. It is the living out of att.itudes and behaviors that are contrary to God's will. If God wants me to forgive my parents for a history of hurtful, abusive behavior, yet I don't – this is sin.

          October 30, 2013 at 3:05 am |
        • Doris

          tallulah13 is right – you don't answer questions posed to you, AE.

          October 30, 2013 at 3:11 am |
        • Doris

          Are you under the impression, AE, that Jesus and the Apostles just sat down and jotted all this stuff down?

          October 30, 2013 at 3:13 am |
        • AE

          I'm trying to tell you that Tom's theory that Christianity is about God rewarding and punishing us on our thoughts and actions is wrong.

          And, no Doris, I'm not under the impression that Jesus and the Apostles just sat down and jotted all this stuff down? I don't know why you imagine I do. But that is not accurate of my beliefs.

          October 30, 2013 at 3:22 am |
        • AE

          "Do you not understand how the Bible is inescapably tied to and a product of the history and politics of the early Christian church? Then hidden for quite a while from the common man? "

          Yes. We just celebrated Reformation Sunday at my church a few days ago. I'm quite familiar.

          And I still think Tom's definition of religion is faulty.

          October 30, 2013 at 3:26 am |
        • Doris

          OK good – you had me worried, AE. Now about these 500 witnesses – what were some of their names? And did any of them write anything regarding what they witnessed?

          October 30, 2013 at 3:37 am |
        • Sywa

          Just another sleazoid religitard. The same old lies on a different day. How can anyone trust people like this?

          October 30, 2013 at 3:37 am |
      • Lisa

        AE
        Is your God part of the natural world?

        October 30, 2013 at 10:14 am |
  13. bostontola

    su·per·sti·tion noun \ˌsü-pər-ˈsti-shən\
    : a belief or way of behaving that is based on fear of the unknown and faith : a belief that certain events or things will bring good or bad fortune

    1
    a : a belief or practice resulting from ignorance, fear of the unknown, trust in magic or chance, or a false conception of causation
    b : an irrational abject att itude of mind toward the supernatural, nature, or God resulting from supersti tion

    2: a notion maintained despite evidence to the contrary

    Which religion doesn't fit within this definition?

    October 29, 2013 at 11:14 pm |
    • AE

      I don't think following Jesus Christ is a belief or practice resulting from ignorance, fear of the unknown, trust in magic or chance, or a false conception of causation.

      October 29, 2013 at 11:24 pm |
      • Sywa

        This is where you show yourself to be either insane, a liar, or both. There are no other options.
        You refuse to use words correctly by refusing to follow the definitions of those words.
        You suck.

        October 29, 2013 at 11:30 pm |
        • AE

          Just how do you imagine I am insane or lying?

          I honestly believe in God. I can see how it may appear to someone who doesn't believe that it is su·per·sti·tious.

          I received a mental evaluation for a new position I took recently. I passed (and it was for a very secular organization).

          October 29, 2013 at 11:37 pm |
      • bostontola

        AE,
        I asked which religion, not which god, that is 2 different questions.

        October 29, 2013 at 11:43 pm |
        • AE

          I'm not religious, just believe in Jesus Christ.

          October 29, 2013 at 11:45 pm |
        • bostontola

          That's what I thought. The various sects' religious dogmas match the definition pretty well.

          October 29, 2013 at 11:49 pm |
        • AE

          The definition mentions God as though He is as real as nature.

          October 29, 2013 at 11:52 pm |
        • bostontola

          Reference the word "or" in that definition.

          October 29, 2013 at 11:56 pm |
        • WASP

          @AE: "I'm not religious, just believe in Jesus Christ."

          that would make you a CHRISTIAN; "follower of christ" thus you are religious because you follow a symbol, not the god itself. let's not even forget that out of the millions of times people have "seen god" it's odd that it's either a picture of the virgin mary or a picture of jesus;per modern depiction, but never an image of your god.
          i wonder could that have something to do with the fact that your religion has no image of what your god was suppose to look like, or is it more along the lines your god can only express itself through modern images that the whole of your faith have imprinted into your minds?

          October 30, 2013 at 7:43 am |
  14. Doris

    I thought this was an interesting quote from Jonas Salk, once referred to by the NY Times as the Father of Biophilosophy:

    His definition of a "bio-philosopher" is "Someone who draws upon the scriptures of nature, recognizing that we are the product of the process of evolution, and understands that we have become the process itself, through the emergence and evolution of our consciousness, our awareness, our capacity to imagine and anticipate the future, and to choose from among alternatives."

    (Rebecca had listed Salk earlier in the Blog article as a religious person who has made a scientific discovery.)

    October 29, 2013 at 9:54 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      I always find it interesting when people list scientists who happen to be religious, as if that somehow validates their religious belief.

      The fact that Sir Isaac Newton believed in alchemy doesn't make it true.

      October 29, 2013 at 10:12 pm |
      • AE

        I think there is a myth that the study of science leads all to atheism.

        October 29, 2013 at 10:14 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          That is not what I was saying at all. Some of todays best scientists are religious. Francis Collins is a good example. But their religious views are beside the point.

          October 29, 2013 at 10:21 pm |
        • Sywa

          There are exceptions to many rules. Studying the bible leads believers and skeptics to understand it's all a LIE, but not all of them. Studying science leads many to understand how religion is a LIE, but not all of them.
          The truth is that religion is a LIE and that many people cannot face that and will remain in denial their whole lives out of a terroristic fear deliberately fostered by the religion and their own schizoid paranoia.

          October 29, 2013 at 10:24 pm |
        • AE

          Ok, Cheesemaker, I agree with that. But, some (not all) seem to think all religious people reject all science. Which just isn't true in my experiences.

          October 29, 2013 at 10:30 pm |
        • bostontola

          Blessed,
          Collins is a great example, Evangelical Christian that strongly slams intelligent design and considers evolution a fact.

          October 29, 2013 at 10:33 pm |
        • bostontola

          AE,
          It is a minority of Christian extremists that reject science. I wouldn't care if they minded their own business. The problem is, these people work the political system to distort public school curricula. Rational people should fight that.

          October 29, 2013 at 10:37 pm |
        • Doris

          "some (not all) seem to think all religious people reject all science. "

          I don't think I've heard anyone who thinks that. But would you say that the more well-rounded an education a person has, the less likely they are to be supersti-tious, AE? As I ponder what your answer might be, I can't help but think of the article a while back about God's possible influence on the outcome of some sporting event; or that God is likely to cast a hurricane across a sin-filled region; or even something very different like the God that some of our Deism-influenced founders may have believe in – the creator God that was like the watchmaker and didn't play an active role in people's lives.

          October 29, 2013 at 10:41 pm |
        • AE

          I went to school in Kansas, which has a reputation for being small minded. But we had a pretty good science program in our school. I feel that the US educational system is pretty secular. I don't see where the minority of Christian extremists are in control of denying education of the study of our natural world.

          October 29, 2013 at 10:42 pm |
        • AE

          Doris

          But would you say that the more well-rounded an education a person has, the less likely they are to be supersti-tious, AE?

          Maybe. I know some pretty smart people that believe some supersti-tious things.

          Belief in God is not supersti-tious. God is real.

          October 29, 2013 at 10:43 pm |
        • bostontola

          AE,
          There are/have been cases in many states where fundamentalists have a strategy of getting on school boards to change curricula. See the Wiki page on creationism in schools:

          1 Early law
          2 Modern legal cases
          3 Intelligent Design and Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District
          4 Movements to teach creationism in schools
          5 Recent developments in state education programs
          5.1 Development by state
          5.1.1 Alabama
          5.1.2 California
          5.1.3 Florida
          5.1.4 Georgia
          5.1.5 Kansas
          5.1.6 Kentucky
          5.1.7 Louisiana
          5.1.8 Ohio
          5.1.9 Pennsylvania
          5.1.10 Tennessee
          5.1.11 Texas
          5.1.12 Virginia

          October 29, 2013 at 10:49 pm |
        • Doris

          Also, AE, I'm glad you mentioned Kansas. It was a bit presumptuous of me to speak of "founders" – for all I know you could have been from Canada or elsewhere.

          October 29, 2013 at 10:50 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          AE, I personally know more religious people that accept science than ones that don't. I was educated at a religous school that never denied scientific knowledge and understanding. You won't hear that argument from me.

          October 29, 2013 at 10:52 pm |
        • AE

          bostontola

          Yea, I'm familiar with that. Are you in a community where that is happening?

          October 29, 2013 at 10:52 pm |
        • bostontola

          AE,
          Yes, there were people trying to get on the school board but there was a strong campaign against them and they lost. This has happened for the last 3 elections.

          October 29, 2013 at 10:55 pm |
        • AE

          Good.

          October 29, 2013 at 10:58 pm |
        • Doris

          I wasn't specifically implying the Abrahamic God as a supersti-tion in my last post. We could argue that another day. I was more interested if you thought the belief of the type of role that God plays may vary from one individual to another based on their level and the roundness of their education.

          October 29, 2013 at 11:00 pm |
        • Doris

          (based on the level/roundness of their education)

          October 29, 2013 at 11:04 pm |
        • AE

          Doris.

          Sure. I know some high educated people that do a wonderful job of describing the role God plays in their life.

          October 29, 2013 at 11:07 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          "I don't see where the minority of Christian extremists are in control of denying education of the study of our natural world."

          They may not be in "control", but they are trying to be. I am betting you have heard of the Flying Speghetti Monster, did you know the "theory" was conceived as a response to the controversy of teaching Intelligent design in Kansas Public Schools?

          October 29, 2013 at 11:09 pm |
        • AE

          Yes, the FSM is a funny parody.

          October 29, 2013 at 11:11 pm |
        • Lisa

          AE
          The FSM is a funny parody because it illustrates the silliness of religious belief systems so clearly.

          October 30, 2013 at 5:27 pm |
      • HotAirAce

        Many scientists professed to be believers at a time when not to could get you incarcerated if not killed. As deGrasse Tyson points out, the mystery is why so many scientists don't reject imaginary and completely unproven gods:

        "I want to put on the table, not why 85% of the members of the National Academy of Sciences reject God, I want to know why 15% of the National Academy don’t.
        ― Neil deGrasse Tyson"

        October 29, 2013 at 10:37 pm |
  15. AE

    The more I study science, the more I believe in God.

    October 29, 2013 at 9:09 pm |
    • bostontola

      AE,
      No issue with that, I encourage more study of science. Now if you said the more you study science the more you believe in religious dogma, I would be surprised.

      October 29, 2013 at 9:35 pm |
    • Sywa

      The more you believe in your 'god', the more we have to pick up YOUR SLACK.

      October 29, 2013 at 9:57 pm |
      • AE

        How so?

        October 29, 2013 at 10:13 pm |
        • Sywa

          From your growing inability to think clearly or be reasonable. We have to do the heavy brain lifting because you have abdicated all your responsibility to everyone else by living in a fantasy-world of schizophrenia.
          You can't see anything real but see your god in everything, refusing / unable to be SANE.
          People like you cannot think of anything because you think your god will "guide" you – so you won't even consider anything in a rational way. We have to pick up the slack. Your religion cannot be used to do anything in the real world in a realistic or effective way. You ascribe morals to objects. You make value judgments based upon your crzy bible. You suck.

          October 29, 2013 at 10:19 pm |
        • AE

          Whoa, I think you are trying to stereotype me. Who is "we" that you talk about? I know many atheists and agnostics that would disagree with all of your opinions.

          October 29, 2013 at 10:27 pm |
        • Sywa

          Those of us who are forced to think in your place, since you refuse to do so yourself. Relying upon a fantasy is how you are failing to hold up your end of things. This requires everyone else involved to pick up the slack. You don't have a clue.

          October 29, 2013 at 11:34 pm |
        • AE

          I can't imagine where you have picked up any of my slack. Can you provide an example.

          October 29, 2013 at 11:38 pm |
        • Sean Lynch

          I'm an atheist and you don't speak for me swya any more than creationists speak for AE. Funny how extremists tend to see the world and judge others in terms of absolutes.

          October 29, 2013 at 11:38 pm |
        • AE

          Right wing fundie religious people and militant atheists have a lot in common.

          October 29, 2013 at 11:45 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          What exactly is a "militant atheist"?

          October 30, 2013 at 12:01 am |
        • AE

          A person who insists that God does not exist and proclaims all religious people are schizophrenic and deserve inhumane treatment.

          October 30, 2013 at 12:04 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          I have never met one of those AE, anyone who thinks belief of any kind can and should be regulated and/or punished is ignorant and immoral. This also applies to any god who would try to do the same.

          October 30, 2013 at 12:23 am |
        • AE

          Read Sywa's posts.

          October 30, 2013 at 12:34 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          Sywa is blunt, I can be too, but I have not seen where he subscribed to treating people inhumanely, or was in favor of regulating beliefs.

          October 30, 2013 at 12:48 am |
        • Sywa

          I am a militant anti-religion secularist and part-time humanist. I HATE LIARS and LIES. Religion is a lie, an ideology that promotes a schizophrenic worldview while also, schizophrenically, saying that no proof is needed to prove their schizoid fantasies to be real.
          Every decision you make based upon imaginary nonsense causes real harm, not only to yourself, but to the rest of us.
          I am willing to let you live in peace in a closed community with high walls locked away from all rational people, sterilized so that you cannot pump out more victims for your cult. Pray to your god for food, as I will give you none. Pray for magical help, because you won't get any from me anymore. I've had it with you people. You are all delusional and cannot be trusted.

          October 30, 2013 at 12:59 am |
        • Sywa

          Sean Lynch, you are missing the biggest and most important difference: They are schizophrenic and I am not.
          I see the world as realistically and as honestly as I can. They are just the opposite.
          I use real facts and truth to think with, they use bs and lies to think with.
          I don't care what you think, Sean. I do speak for many people. I don't care if you don't like what I say.
          You couldn't give an example of black/white thinking on my part if your life depended on it. I don't think that way.

          October 30, 2013 at 1:21 am |
        • Sean Lynch

          Hope lies in neuroscience A time will come in the not too distant future when the organic nature of mental illness can be treated at the level of neurons themselves without drugs. Hang in there. You are not alone.

          October 30, 2013 at 1:34 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          Sywa,

          In a free society people have to have the freedom to be wrong, Legislating and punishing belief would never work.

          October 30, 2013 at 1:26 am |
        • AE

          Swya, what is a part-time humanist? You act decent to other people only when you feel like it? You haven't displayed any principles of humanism or even common decency on this board. Pretty much just hostility, narrow-mindedness and bigotry.

          October 30, 2013 at 1:37 am |
        • Sywa

          Stupid cheesehead, where did I advocate anything of the sort? Well?
          These people are mentally ill in large enough numbers that the best thing would be to sterilize them and separate them from those who are not mentally ill.
          The first amendment is wrong to allow mentally ill people to run wild. They should be allowed to die off naturally in peace, surrounded by like-minded crazy people separated from those they would harm by their delusional behavior.
          I am not legislating their religion, I am legislating their mental illness, which is a medical condition not a moral or logical one.
          But who cares what I think? It doesn't matter that in the end something will have to be done, or they will have killed everyone else, as the land is already laid waste, the religions cover the earth, and it is mostly one religion against another as usual.
          Don't worry. No one is going to give me the job as world dictator. Go ahead and let them destroy everything.
          That's all I am doing besides speaking out against them. I can do nothing. They will do anything. I lose. Insanity wins.

          October 30, 2013 at 1:39 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          Sywa,

          You are as delusional and irrational as the people you rail against.

          October 30, 2013 at 1:49 am |
        • AE

          I told you! Militant atheists and right wing fundie religies have a lot in common.

          October 30, 2013 at 1:59 am |
        • Sywa

          Show where I am irrational. Go ahead and try. You can't do it. Quarantine sick people according to their illness and do it in an intelligent and rational way. Do not allow them to have more children, as that would be child abuse.
          Let them live in peace with each other, as that is all anyone could hope for, but keep them away from children.
          The only viable way I can think of is quarantine. If you have a better idea, let's hear it, ass-hole.

          October 30, 2013 at 3:22 am |
        • Cartman

          Let's start with the Jews! We can concentrate them into camps. Nice to see a fellow Nazi on here.

          October 30, 2013 at 3:30 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          Sywa,

          You are a loon, people who are supersti*tious are not "sick" in the way your are asserting, and even if they were we don't treat sickness in your irrational way, we don't steralize sick people. You are delusional in thinking what you propose is a viable solution to faulty belief and you are irrational to think you are a "semi-humanist". You are such a wack a doodle I am not sure you are actually for real.

          October 30, 2013 at 9:14 am |
    • tallulah13

      Perhaps you should study history. Then maybe you could explain why gods always share the morals of the societies that create them. Maybe you could explain why no god has ever been worshiped simultaneously in unrelated locations. Maybe you could explain why it took the christian god 1500 years to reach the New World, only doing so after humans had developed vessels and navigational skills to allow them to cross oceans. There is no god, not even yours, that doesn't bear the fingerprint of humanity. How in the world do you explain that?

      October 29, 2013 at 11:48 pm |
      • AE

        Jesus Christ was killed because his beliefs conflicted with the morals of the society that he originated from. Jesus Christ doesn't share the morals of our society. People try to use Him to uphold the status quo, but they keep failing.

        "How in the world do you explain that?"

        God is with us.

        October 29, 2013 at 11:51 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          The belief that Jesus was god has more to do with the supersti.tion surronding his myth than his morality. Actually I think if he was god his morality should have been better.

          October 30, 2013 at 12:12 am |
      • tallulah13

        You didn't answer a single one of my questions. I suspect it's because you don't actually have answers. Just more useless religious rhetoric that is not recorded anywhere but your bible. Not a single contemporary, non-biblical reference to Jesus exists. Not a single, contemporary non-biblical reference to any of the miracles claimed in the bible actually exists. The Romans kept very good records, yet somehow they missed Jesus entirely. Why do you think that is?

        October 30, 2013 at 1:47 am |
        • AE

          "There is no god, not even yours, that doesn't bear the fingerprint of humanity. How in the world do you explain that?"

          We are made in the image of God.

          God is alive and available today. I don't believe in God just because of what I may or may not have studied in history (you are wrong about your as.sumption that I haven't studied the subject). I believe in God because He is real and available today.

          October 30, 2013 at 1:53 am |
        • AE

          And the quote "The more I study science, the more I believe in God." was originally stated by Albert Einstein.

          October 30, 2013 at 1:55 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          AE, he wasn't talking about your god.

          October 30, 2013 at 2:14 am |
        • AE

          I know he didn't believe in Jesus Christ. But he believed in God.

          October 30, 2013 at 2:19 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          From what I have read he didn't believe in any notion of a personal god, he sounded to me like a Pantheist. Which couldn't be more different than the god you espouse as real.

          October 30, 2013 at 2:26 am |
        • AE

          “Everyone who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that a spirit is manifest in the laws of the Universe–a spirit vastly superior to that of man, and one in the face of which we with our modest powers must feel humble.”

          “In view of such harmony in the cosmos which I, with my limited human mind, am able to recognize, there are yet people who say there is no God. But what really makes me angry is that they quote me for the support of such views.”

          – Albert Einstein

          It kind of sounds like my God actually.

          October 30, 2013 at 2:26 am |
        • tallulah13

          I don't care who said it. If you study the entirety of Einstein's words, it becomes apparent that he was a cultural jew who was a religious agnostic. Christian apologists love to quote mine him, so if you don't look at other sources it's understandable why you are deceived.

          Every culture has a creation story that begins with their gods. The judeo-christian tradition isn't terribly unique. Have you noticed that the majority of the gods humans have worshiped have a human form? It seems that gods like to make humans in their own image. Of course, it's more likely that it's the other way around.

          Why do you keep avoiding questions from my original post? For instance, I'd really love to know why your god only goes where humans take him? Fifteen hundred years to reach the new world... Why do you suppose that was? Is your god afraid to cross oceans? Or did he simply not care about the millions of people who never even knew he existed, who worshiped pantheons of their own gods that reflected their own cultures? They were condemned to hell before they even had a chance to know him. Why is your god so cruel? Why did he only show up when European explorers and conquerors brought him (as well as devastating diseases and weapons) to the New World?

          And why didn't the Romans record a single second of Christ's final days? The bible claims that a lot of really unusual stuff happened, but somehow, only the christians mentioned it - about 60 years after it was supposed to have occurred. How in the world did every non-christian person miss all those events?

          AE, you claim to study history, but you ignore it's lessons. I will never understand the mentality that needs to believe in a the supernatural so much that they will flatly deny reality to defend it.

          October 30, 2013 at 2:28 am |
        • AE

          tallulah13

          I knew all of that about Einstein. For a man who knew so much about physics, to me it is significant that he saw something like a God behind it all. He may not have the exact same exact concept or experience about God as me... which is logical. Nobody has had the same exact concept or experience.

          " Why do you suppose that was? Is your god afraid to cross oceans?...."

          I didn't answer this question because I don't believe what you are insisting. I don't think anyone has been condemned to hell for not knowing about Jesus Christ. I think Jesus Christ saves them, too.

          You really shouldn't jump to conclusions about me and my beliefs. You are wrong. Which is ok, you don't know very much about me at all. How could you be right?

          "And why didn't the Romans record a single second of Christ's final days?"

          Because Jews were viewed as inferior scu.m bags by the Romans. Why would any Roman EVER follow a religion that worshiped a condemned Jew criminal?

          October 30, 2013 at 2:42 am |
        • tallulah13

          You are still avoiding the question, Why did your god wait until humans took him to the New World? Why did the creator of the universe need men in boats in order to cross an ocean?

          And actually, jews had a decent relationship with Rome during the time Christ allegedly lived. Even if they hated jews, the Romans would still remark on the natural phenomena the bible claims happened during the crucifixion. They would have mentioned the census that allegedly took place at the time of Christi birth. But they did not. Why do you suppose that is?

          October 30, 2013 at 3:05 am |
        • AE

          " Why did your god wait until humans took him to the New World? Why did the creator of the universe need men in boats in order to cross an ocean?"

          I don't know. I wasn't there. It appears that God was on this continent. The Native Americans called Him the Great Spirit of the Universe. They have some awesome prayers that they have passed on to my church.

          "And actually, jews had a decent relationship with Rome during the time Christ allegedly lived."

          No. The Romans were persecuting the Jews during that time.

          October 30, 2013 at 3:19 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          @AE said...."It kind of sounds like my God actually."

          Umm, no it doesn't, not even a little bit. That is exactly what a Pantheist would say.

          "It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it."

          -Einstein

          AE, I am betting you know this quote....and if you do, you are now one of the liars he was refering to.

          ""The idea of a personal God is quite alien to me and seems even naïve"

          -Einstein

          "The word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honourable, but still primitive legends. No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this. These subtilised interpretations are highly manifold according to their nature and have almost nothing to do with the original text."

          -Einstein

          "My position concerning God is that of an agnostic. I am convinced that a vivid consciousness of the primary importance of moral principles for the betterment and ennoblement of life does not need the idea of a law-giver, especially a law-giver who works on the basis of reward and punishment."

          -Einstein

          I really didn't want to get into posting quotes back and forth until you insisted on being completely dishonest.

          October 30, 2013 at 9:35 am |
        • AE

          “I’m not an atheist, and I don’t think I can call myself a pantheist. We are in the position of a little child entering a huge library filled with books in many languages. The child knows someone must have written those books. It does not know how. It does not understand the languages in which they are written. The child dimly suspects a mysterious order in the books but doesn’t know what it is. That, it seems to me, is the att.itude of even the most intelligent human being toward God.”

          –Albert Einstein

          October 30, 2013 at 10:09 am |
        • Lisa

          AE
          And the rest of your quote goes:

          ... We see a universe marvelously arranged, obeying certain laws, but we understand the laws only dimly. Our limited minds cannot grasp the mysterious force that sways the constellations. I am fascinated by Spinoza's Pantheism. I admire even more his contributions to modern thought. Spinoza is the greatest of modern philosophers, because he is the first philosopher who deals with the soul and the body as one, not as two separate things.

          Do you share this belief about the body and the soul?

          October 30, 2013 at 10:27 am |
        • AE

          Kind of. I think we are a soul and have a body.

          As a physicist, I think Albert Einstein describes my God well.

          As a philosopher, I don't think he does quite as well.

          Regardless I still think he is a brilliant man. And appreciate this quote of his: "The more I study science, the more I believe in God."

          October 30, 2013 at 10:48 am |
        • tallulah13

          The "Great Spirit as the christian god" notion is simply more excuse making by christians like yourself. The concept of a Great Spirit was merely a part of the polytheistic traditions of certain tribes of native Americans. It was by no means a universal concept. You are simply trying to steal their gods from them yet again.

          If god was present in the New World, why was there no mention in the bible? How many millions would have been saved if only god had seen fit to mention this? But he never mentioned the New World or Australia at all. Of course, he never even made it to Europe without human help, so crossing oceans was out of the question.

          The persecution of the jews started a decade or so after the alleged death of Christ. Certainly there were reprisals for rebellions in Judea, but during the time Christ allegedly lived, there was no overt persecution. If there were, why did Pilate assist the jewish leaders who called for Christ's death? Pilate himself seemed to wish to set him free. So why did this Roman bow to jewish wishes?

          October 30, 2013 at 11:23 am |
        • Lisa

          AE
          So, you consider "God" just to be Nature? Why call it by a name that is so linked with the supernatural then?

          October 30, 2013 at 5:23 pm |
    • LAWL

      Nice little oxymoron. You obviously don't study science.

      October 31, 2013 at 1:58 pm |
  16. Doris

    Better Yet, Rebecca, what kind of explanation for anything would not be lacking in your opinion?

    October 29, 2013 at 9:00 pm |
    • Doris

      Excuse me, "yet" – Yaweh must have passed through me as I was typing that.

      October 29, 2013 at 9:01 pm |
  17. Doris

    Rebecca, do you find any explanations for things you have brought up that are not lacking?

    October 29, 2013 at 8:50 pm |
  18. bostontola

    Sometimes this place seems like Punxsutawney in the movie.

    Most atheists don't ask for proof of god. They ask for objective evidence. Given all the objective evidence against the gods so far worshiped, it's not unreasonable to ask for objective evidence for a god.

    It is a logical fallacy to present that position as equivalent to the position; If there is no evidence of X, then X can't exist.

    October 29, 2013 at 8:14 pm |
    • Sywa

      Your logic is pathetic.

      October 29, 2013 at 9:59 pm |
      • bostontola

        Your statement is void of logic. Please, point out the flaw in mine.

        October 29, 2013 at 10:39 pm |
  19. Rebecca

    Okay. I get the whole proof thing. But I find explanations like quantum fluctuation to be lacking, especially since it
    hasn't been tested or shown to produce something from nothing

    October 29, 2013 at 8:04 pm |
    • Cohortible

      Take a bit of empty space that has an energy level of zero, add some fluctuations and pow – proton-/-anti-proton pair appears.
      That is how simple it is. Is that too complicated for you?

      October 29, 2013 at 8:11 pm |
      • Rebecca

        Where's the proof of the matter being created?

        October 29, 2013 at 8:17 pm |
      • bostontola

        These particle manifest in observable phenomena. In fiber optic communications they show up as measurable noise, they are observed streaming out of black holes,...

        October 29, 2013 at 8:17 pm |
        • bostontola

          Scientists at Chalmers have succeeded in creating light from vacuum – observing an effect first predicted over 40 years ago. The results have been published in the journal Nature. In an innovative experiment, the scientists have managed to capture some of the photons that are constantly appearing and disappearing in the vacuum.
          The experiment is based on one of the most counterintuitive, yet, one of the most important principles in quantum mechanics: that vacuum is by no means empty nothingness. In fact, the vacuum is full of various particles that are continuously fluctuating in and out of existence. They appear, exist for a brief moment and then disappear again. Since their existence is so fleeting, they are usually referred to as virtual particles.

          Chalmers scientist, Christopher Wilson and his co-workers have succeeded in getting photons to leave their virtual state and become real photons, i.e. measurable light. The physicist Moore predicted way back in 1970 that this should happen if the virtual photons are allowed to bounce off a mirror that is moving at a speed that is almost as high as the speed of light. The phenomenon, known as the dynamical Casimir effect, has now been observed for the first time in a brilliant experiment conducted by the Chalmers scientists.

          “Since it’s not possible to get a mirror to move fast enough, we’ve developed another method for achieving the same effect,” explains Per Delsing, Professor of Experimental Physics at Chalmers. “Instead of varying the physical distance to a mirror, we've varied the electrical distance to an electrical short circuit that acts as a mirror for microwaves.”

          The “mirror” consists of a quantum electronic component referred to as a SQUID (Superconducting quantum interference device), which is extremely sensitive to magnetic fields. By changing the direction of the magnetic field several billions of times a second the scientists were able to make the “mirror” vibrate at a speed of up to 25 percent of the speed of light.

          “The result was that photons appeared in pairs from the vacuum, which we were able to measure in the form of microwave radiation,” says Per Delsing. “We were also able to establish that the radiation had precisely the same properties that quantum theory says it should have when photons appear in pairs in this way.”

          What happens during the experiment is that the “mirror” transfers some of its kinetic energy to virtual photons, which helps them to materialise. According to quantum mechanics, there are many different types of virtual particles in vacuum, as mentioned earlier. Göran Johansson, Associate Professor of Theoretical Physics, explains that the reason why photons appear in the experiment is that they lack mass.

          “Relatively little energy is therefore required in order to excite them out of their virtual state. In principle, one could also create other particles from vacuum, such as electrons or protons, but that would require a lot more energy.”

          The scientists find the photons that appear in pairs in the experiment interesting to study in closer detail. They can perhaps be of use in the research field of quantum information, which includes the development of quantum computers.

          However, the main value of the experiment is that it increases our understanding of basic physical concepts, such as vacuum fluctuations – the constant appearance and disappearance of virtual particles in vacuum. It is believed that vacuum fluctuations may have a connection with “dark energy” which drives the accelerated expansion of the universe. The discovery of this acceleration was recognised this year with the awarding of the Nobel Prize in Physics.

          October 29, 2013 at 8:29 pm |
        • Rebecca

          Interesting. I like this kind of stuff.

          October 29, 2013 at 8:32 pm |
        • Doris

          That's very interesting, boston. If I understood what you wrote correctly, I'm not sure if I like their use of the word virtual as a name for a state of the photons. Maybe I would just use "hidden". Unless if they are not exactly sure that when they are not "excited", that the same exact set of them are still there. I supposed virtual doesn't have to imply synthetic, so maybe I'm being too picky. I wonder with repeated experiments using the same control (if that's even possible at this point), the same set keeps popping up.

          October 29, 2013 at 10:10 pm |
  20. Rebecca

    Why is it pointless? You are wrong if you think it was pointless.
    It is very pointful.
    Atheists are always mocking, ridiculing, and belittling those who believe in God.
    The list of religious scientists was to prove that believers are not all idiots and morons.
    That I'm not on the list is irrelevant and beside the point.
    A supposedly rational person would know this already.
    There.
    I've proven you wrong, just as I have proven countless other people wrong.
    But it doesn't do anything.
    Maybe I'm the crazy one for thinking I can keep coming here, prove everyone wrong about everything, and
    hope to get a result.

    October 29, 2013 at 7:39 pm |
    • Lamb of Dog

      God is that you?
      You must be the omnipotent one.
      Since you can prove everyone wrong about everything.

      October 29, 2013 at 7:44 pm |
    • midwest rail

      " Atheists are always mocking, ridiculing, and belittling those who believe in God. "
      Nonsense. You simply choose to ignore those who engage in respectful, thoughtful debate. In doing so, you invite derision. Mission accomplished.

      October 29, 2013 at 7:44 pm |
      • sam stone.

        no kidding. if they weren't so incredibly pompous, they may be interesting

        October 29, 2013 at 8:16 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      Rebecca, it is proven fact that the more educated a person is the less likely he is to be fundamental in his religious beliefs. Yes, many smart and educated people believe in god, and most people who believe are intelligent to some degree. However, there is no proof for any god, so those people who really value logic don't believe in things with zero proof.

      October 29, 2013 at 7:45 pm |
      • Rebecca

        Thank you for the thoughtful response.

        October 29, 2013 at 7:47 pm |
      • AE

        God gives proof.

        October 29, 2013 at 9:31 pm |
    • Lamb of Dog

      Just to make it clear. If you think you can prove everyone wrong on everything you are a little crazy.

      October 29, 2013 at 7:46 pm |
      • Rebecca

        I was impersonating a person who would say something like for comedic effect.

        October 29, 2013 at 7:48 pm |
        • Lamb of Dog

          ok

          October 29, 2013 at 7:51 pm |
    • Lamb of Dog

      Proven. LOL

      October 29, 2013 at 7:47 pm |
    • james

      Believers are not all idiots and morons. Only the ones who think stupid things, like the gaps in scientific knowledge somehow proves God, are. The wisest of Christians are the ones who admit that their belief is based solely upon blind faith, but that's a whole other argument, isn't it?

      October 29, 2013 at 7:51 pm |
    • Cohortible

      I guess Sunnybrook Farm is missing their village idiot. Why not ask your god to come here and post, or pray that your god does something, anything, instead of you coming here and turning people away from your religion?
      With posts like yours, I will NEVER look to your imaginary friend for help. There is no help to be found from your god.

      October 29, 2013 at 8:08 pm |
      • midwest rail

        Contemporary evangelical Christians lead the world in turning people away from Christianity.

        October 29, 2013 at 8:10 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.