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Atheist gets her day at the Supreme Court
November 1st, 2013
04:39 PM ET

Atheist gets her day at the Supreme Court

By Bill Mears, CNN Supreme Court Producer

(CNN)– Linda Stephens has lived in her upstate New York community for more than three decades and has long been active in civic affairs.

But as an atheist, those views have put her at the center of a personal, political, and legal fight that has reached the U.S. Supreme Court.

The issue is public prayer at her local town board meetings, another contentious case over the intersection of faith and the civic arena.

The justices on Wednesday will hear arguments over whether Greece, New York, may continue sponsoring what it calls "inclusive" prayers at its open sessions, on government property.

Stephens and co-plaintiff Susan Galloway have challenged the policy, saying virtually all of those invited to offer legislative prayers over the years were Christians.

"It's very divisive when you bring government into religion," Stephens told CNN from her home.

"I don't believe in God, and Susan is Jewish, so to hear these ministers talk about Jesus and even have some of them who personally question our motives, it's just not appropriate."

The town of about 94,000 residents counters that after concerns from the two women and others, it sought diverse voices, including a Wiccan priestess, to offer invocations. Officials say they do not review the content of the remarks, nor censor any language.

"The faith of the prayer giver does not matter at all," said John Auberger, Greece's board supervisor, who began the practice shortly after taking office 1998. "We accept anyone who wants to come in and volunteer to give the prayer to open up our town meetings."

A federal appeals court in New York found the board's policy to be an unconstitutional violation of the Constitution's Establishment Clause, which forbids any government "endorsement" of religion.

Those judges said it had the effect of "affiliating the town with Christianity."

"To the extent that the state cannot make demands regarding the content of legislative prayers," said Judge Guido Calabresi, "municipalities have few means to forestall the prayer-giver who cannot resist the urge to proselytize. These difficulties may well prompt municipalities to pause and think carefully before adopting legislative prayer, but they are not grounds on which to preclude its practice."

Some legal experts say while the high court has allowed public prayers in general, it has not set boundaries on when they might become too sectarian in nature.

"The case involves a test between two different kinds of legal rules," said Thomas Goldstein, SCOTUSblog.com publisher and a leading Washington attorney.

"The Supreme Court has broadly approved legislative prayer without asking too many questions. But in other cases where the government is involved with religion, it has looked at lots of different circumstances. So we just don't know whether this court will be completely approving of legislative prayers in this instance."

The justices are now being asked to offer more firm guidelines over when and if such public prayers are constitutionally acceptable.

Felt marginalized

Galloway and Stephens say the elected board of the community outside Rochester almost always invited Christian clergy to open the meetings, usually with sectarian prayers. And they say they felt "marginalized" by the practice.

"When we tried to speak with the town, we were told basically if we didn't like the prayers, we didn't have to listen," said Stephens, "or could stand out in the hallway while they were going on."

Americans United for Separation of Church and State, the Washington-based group that is representing the two women, cited records showing that between 1999 and 2010, approximately two-thirds of the invocations contained the words "Jesus Christ," Jesus," Holy Spirit," or "Your Son."

And the lawsuit claims that from 1999 through 2007, every meeting had a Christian-only invocation. Following the complaints from the plaintiffs, four other faiths were invited in 2008, including a Baha'i leader and a Jewish lay person.

The plaintiffs say the Christian-only invocations resumed from January 2009 through June 2010. They claim those invited to the monthly meetings were selected by a city employee from a local guide that had no non-Christian faiths listed.

"Politics and religion simply don't mix, and they certainly don't mix in the local context of the Greece town council," said the Rev. Barry Lynn, AUSCS executive director.

"The town seems to take the position that because once or twice over a decade, it hears from someone of a different religion, that somehow is inclusive. It trivializes what's going here - a local government that should be willing and interested in participation of all its citizens, it wants those citizens to participate in an almost inevitably Christian prayer, in order to begin doing their business."

Different rulings

While the 2nd Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in New York last year unanimously ruled against Greece's policy, other courts around the country have found such invocations - if inclusive and limited in scope - to be permissible.

Congress regularly opens its sessions with a prayer. Wednesday's invocation by House Chaplain the Rev. Patrick Conroy began: "Eternal God, we give you thanks for giving us another day. Once again, we come to ask wisdom, patience, peace, and understanding for the members of this people's House."

Nearly 120 members of Congress, mostly Republicans, along with several state attorneys general have filed supporting legal briefs backing the city. So has the Obama administration.

"The history of prayers offered in connection with legislative deliberation in this country makes clear that a legislative body need not affirmatively solicit a court-mandated variety of different religious faiths– from inside and outside the borders governed by the legislative body– in order to avoid running afoul of the Establishment Clause," said Justice Department lawyers' in their amicus brief.

The Alliance Defending Freedom, a legal ministry based in Scottsdale, Arizona, filed the lawsuit on behalf of the Greece Town Board, saying the Supreme Court has upheld the practice of government bodies "to acknowledge America's religious heritage and invoke divine guidance and blessings upon their work."

"A few people should not be able to extinguish the traditions of our nation merely because they heard something they didn't like," said Brett Harvey, an attorney for the group. "Because the authors of the Constitution invoked God's blessing on public proceedings, this tradition shouldn't suddenly be deemed unconstitutional."

Stephens realizes the stakes are high for her community and for the law as a whole. But on a personal level, this legal fight has been tough.

"I've received something of a backlash, both Susan and me," the retired librarian said. "Threatening letters, some vandalism to my property, things like that. The prayers, and all the controversy, it makes you feel like an outcast, like we don't count in our town."

The case is Town of Greece, N.Y. v. Galloway (12-696). A ruling is expected by early summer.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Atheism • Belief • Christianity • Church and state • Courts

soundoff (6,237 Responses)
  1. observer

    Now having been questioned by the Pharisees as to when the kingdom of God was coming, He answered them and said, "The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; nor will they say, 'Look, here it is!' or, 'There it is!' For behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst." And He said to the disciples, "The days will come when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it.…

    y would they not c it?

    y not speak plainly?

    what "kingdom" is inside those who love him?

    November 5, 2013 at 7:45 pm |
    • Oberver not the fake one

      So, r u seriously suggesting that's how u get around the lie he told that some would not see death before his return? I'm thinking that is rather weak

      November 5, 2013 at 8:20 pm |
      • lol??

        Return from the grave. He did that.

        November 6, 2013 at 12:04 am |
        • HotAirAce

          Really? How do you know?

          November 6, 2013 at 12:08 am |
        • sam stone

          hot air: obviously, because a book told them so

          November 6, 2013 at 5:50 am |
        • lol??

          midwest rail
          Smart money says you're still surprised by a jack-in-the-box.

          November 5, 2013 at 11:44 pm

          I got it from a jack-in-the-box Fortune Burger. Yummy yum yum. I was surprised they had those kind of burgers on the menu. No pork on that menu, either.

          November 6, 2013 at 6:49 am |
        • G to the T

          I would say the reference to the "Son of Man" would imply otherwise. He was most likely related what he believed to be true, that the world was soon to end and that god (aided by the "son of man") would soon pass judgement on the earth.

          November 6, 2013 at 12:56 pm |
  2. observer

    a rich ruler asked christ what he must do to walk with him. sell everything, he said.

    what must u do?

    November 5, 2013 at 7:36 pm |
    • Well Duh

      But wouldn't selling everything leave you with money, which is bad as well? Wouldn't it be better to give everything away?

      I'm gonna do all the Christians a favor and take all your possessions and money for you so you can enter heaven. You're welcome.

      November 5, 2013 at 7:47 pm |
      • observer

        just what i predicted

        NEXT!

        November 5, 2013 at 7:53 pm |
      • Robert Brown

        The idea, I think is more along the lines of, what would you not give up to follow Christ? When you answer that question you will know what is keeping you from being reconciled to God.

        November 5, 2013 at 7:55 pm |
        • Alias

          That is similar to asking how much would you pay to own all of the Harry Potter movies and books.
          Fiction has a price. Entertainment aint always cheap.

          November 5, 2013 at 7:59 pm |
        • Youtube - Dawkins vs Tyson

          I think Jesus had a few good teachings, if I can trust what was written by the hand of man in the Bible, but I think Thomas Jefferson had the right idea – discard the Old Testament, remove all the miracles/supernatural from the New Testament, and just look at what remains as a teaching of the philosophy of Jesus. There are some decent lessons there – the Golden Rule, which existed prior to Jesus, is a good example.

          November 5, 2013 at 8:06 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          Clearly if Jesus Christ were the real deal, and the choices were temporal vs eternal rewards, then it would be expected that anyone would give up everything for Jesus Christ. I'm not sure that is true. Some of us are satisified with not being eternal and would not seek out eternal rewards. But that is why eternal punishment is part of it too, I suppose.

          November 5, 2013 at 8:09 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          YouTube,

          Yes, the teachings of Jesus are good, I would even say impossible to follow. Take the sermon on the mount for example, read it and name one person you know who follows it.

          November 5, 2013 at 8:16 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          Tom, the rewards are not just eternal, if that isn't enough, they are also for time.

          November 5, 2013 at 8:22 pm |
        • Oberver not the fake one

          Amen. Give it a shot. Take out the miracles, etc., and let's see it

          November 5, 2013 at 8:23 pm |
        • Oberver not the fake one

          What few good ideas r those, DM? Besides the golden rule, I mean. And that wasn't his idea anyway, correct? Cite the earlier or original dude u credit with that

          November 5, 2013 at 8:28 pm |
        • Youtube - Neil DeGrasse Tyson rebukes Richard Dawkins

          Robert, But that's the very problem, isn't it. The Bible, even to this day, has to be interpreted so that people can understand how the religious leaders want them to understand it. If it's God's word, it should be written so that everyone could read and understand, or, is that something that God cannot do?

          November 5, 2013 at 8:30 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          Tyson,

          I think the word is understandable, not that I understand every single thing in it at this very moment, and not that I will ever understand it all. You do have to read and study for yourself. It could be dangerous to allow another person to interpret it for you.

          November 5, 2013 at 8:49 pm |
        • Youtube - Neil DeGrasse Tyson rebukes Richard Dawkins

          Robert, I would agree that we need to read things for ourselves, but we should trust the goodness we have in our hearts. Some things really are that simple, and there are many examples from philosophers who extend love, care, and kindness through their writings.

          November 5, 2013 at 9:07 pm |
        • Youtube - Neil DeGrasse Tyson rebukes Richard Dawkins

          Robert, I wouldd agree that we need to read things for ourselves, but we should trust the goodness we have in our hearts. Some things really are that simple, and there are many examples from philosophers who extend love, care, and kindness through their writings.

          November 5, 2013 at 9:08 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          I agree some humans have good in their heart, whether they are believers, or not. Do you think all humans have some bad in their hearts?

          November 5, 2013 at 9:50 pm |
        • lol??

          "1Jo 2:27 But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you:.........................."

          November 5, 2013 at 11:29 pm |
        • sam stone

          And, of course, you KNOW, you don't merely believe, you KNOW what it takes to be "reconciled to god"

          November 6, 2013 at 5:52 am |
    • ciroc

      America was indeed founded by bible-believing Christians and based on Christian principles. When they founded this country, the Founding Fathers envisioned a government that would promote and encourage Christianity.

      All but two of the first 108 universities founded in America were Christian. This includes the first, Harvard, where the student handbook listed this as Rule #1: “Let every student be plainly instructed and earnestly pressed to consider well, the main end of his life and studies is to know God and Jesus Christ, which is eternal life, John 17:3; and therefore to lay Jesus Christ as the only foundation for our children to follow the moral principles of the Ten Commandments."

      November 16, 2013 at 10:19 pm |
  3. One one

    "The purpose of this meeting is to make rational decisions about complex issues. But first let us telepathically beg for divine intervention from a magic man in the sky to make our deliberations better than we could do on our own."

    November 5, 2013 at 6:30 pm |
    • Youtube - Dawkins vs Tyson

      And I would add that's asking for guidance from the same authority that allowed slavery, infanticide, murder of children, hom-ophobia, all the animals on the earth, misogyny, and incest?

      November 5, 2013 at 6:34 pm |
      • Youtube - Neil DeGrasse Tyson - The Perimeter of Ignorance

        indeed. he honors your decision to burn in hell

        November 5, 2013 at 7:27 pm |
        • Youtube - Dawkins vs Tyson

          Oh, come on, now. You don't have to use my former name, which I will come back to, you can use yours. Or, are there really two sides to your personality? Can you not play nice all the time?

          November 5, 2013 at 8:00 pm |
      • Youtube - Tyson = Moron

        What do you expect when you post with a dumb azz handle?

        November 6, 2013 at 9:00 am |
    • lol??

      Gubmints always end up as enemies of God so it is rather suspect.

      November 5, 2013 at 6:37 pm |
      • Youtube - Dawkins vs Tyson

        Religion appears to be the enemy of government.

        November 5, 2013 at 6:38 pm |
        • lol??

          Now yer getting it. False prophets and beasts. They are not exactly on friendly terms.

          November 5, 2013 at 6:48 pm |
        • Youtube - Dawkins vs Tyson

          Yes, religion is full of false prophets and beasts, which is why we need to keep it quarantined so that it does not affect those of us who know better, and as a former Christian, I know better.

          November 5, 2013 at 6:53 pm |
        • lol??

          Tube, then you should know that beasts are gubmints.

          Dan 7:8 I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things.

          The little horn is the nation of Israel. Three nations in the mideast are gonna get their butts kicked by them. If you have any friends over there ya better warn em.

          November 5, 2013 at 7:03 pm |
        • Youtube - Dawkins vs Tyson

          No, I'm sure you have it backwards. It was government that buried slavery, reined in the robber barons of the past, gave the right for free speech (free will in your lingo). Religion gave us slavery and wants to take away our free speech.

          November 5, 2013 at 7:06 pm |
    • observer

      weep

      November 5, 2013 at 7:30 pm |
  4. Youtube - Dawkins vs Tyson

    Ok. If God made us in his image, and I've taken a look at a chimpanzee's ear and see how similar it is to ours, does the transitive property apply here (monkey ear = human ear, human ear = God's ear, God's ear = monkey's ear)? I'm not kidding – the structures are identical.

    November 5, 2013 at 6:30 pm |
    • One one

      If god made man in his image does that mean god has a penis ? If, so what does he use it for ?

      November 5, 2013 at 6:33 pm |
      • Youtube - Dawkins vs Tyson

        Oh – oh, that's another good question. Or, was that just an add on? If it was an add on, what else was added on?

        November 5, 2013 at 6:36 pm |
        • Satan

          Oh that was my idea. I looked at that creature and I said, hey God, you know what, I could really use a straw.

          November 5, 2013 at 7:25 pm |
    • saggyroy

      Silly, if god made us in his image, then we'd be invisible.

      November 5, 2013 at 7:39 pm |
  5. lol??

    "..........In simulated ancient seawater, clay forms a hydrogel - a mass of microscopic spaces capable of soaking up liquids like a sponge. Over billions of years, chemicals confined in those spaces could have carried out the complex reactions that formed proteins, DNA and eventually all the machinery that makes a living cell work................."

    Now there's the mystery of "sumpin' fer nuthin'" gubmint explained. Wait long enough and the 5th generation will pay fer all yer goodies.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131105132027.htm

    November 5, 2013 at 6:03 pm |
    • @lol??

      Why do you keep confusing science with a government?

      November 5, 2013 at 6:22 pm |
      • lol??

        Follow the moolah trail, and happy trails to you.

        November 5, 2013 at 6:31 pm |
    • Science Works

      Step in the right direction lol??, you are reading science.

      Oldest Ice Core: Finding a 1.5 Million-Year Record of Earth's Climate

      Nov. 5, 2013 — How far into the past can ice-core records go? Scientists have now identified regions in Antarctica they say could store information about Earth's climate and greenhouse gases extending as far back as 1.5 million years, almost twice as old as the oldest ice core drilled to date.

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131105081228.htm

      November 5, 2013 at 6:23 pm |
      • Youtube - Dawkins vs Tyson

        It's interesting how some people will accept science for everything else – computers, advanced medical technology, space flight, power generation ... but willingly reject it because their religion, which has no proof, is in disagreement with it.

        November 5, 2013 at 6:43 pm |
        • Topher

          Because there's a major difference between historical science and observational science.

          November 5, 2013 at 6:45 pm |
        • Science Works

          It is like trying to reason with a five year old.

          November 5, 2013 at 6:47 pm |
        • HotAirAce

          I love it when believers cannot agree. Read http://godandscience.org/youngearth/operational_vs_origins_science.html for a discussion about historical and observational science and why the delusionals at godandscience think the delusionals at LiesInGenesis are full of sh!t.

          November 5, 2013 at 7:07 pm |
        • Youtube - Dawkins vs Tyson

          Religion itself is evolving – that's the funny party! Science has found explanations for the earth, our solar system, plagues, droughts, alleged demonic possessions, etc., and religion has had to back pedal over the ages in order to survive.

          November 5, 2013 at 7:11 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          Some believers may feel that God and His Holy Word together are the prior truth that everything must conform to. Their best understanding of science can be no better than their interpretation of that. Contrived concepts, like historical vs observational science are necessary when they try to reconcile science pursued with honesty and integrity with the "truth" they have believed beforehand.

          November 5, 2013 at 7:22 pm |
        • drturi

          Please Google "Halloween Suicide Girls Born Witches Dr. Turi" and have a blast! Pas it on if you like it! Check also – Google "Anarchy Coming To America? dr.turi"

          November 5, 2013 at 9:57 pm |
      • Youtube - Dawkins vs Tyson

        No, no topher. Shame on you. Science is science, and it's a work in progress, but when the facts point in a direction and we have strong agreement, we accept it.

        November 5, 2013 at 6:51 pm |
        • lol??

          Science uses shame?? I always knew it didn't have a CONscience.

          November 5, 2013 at 7:21 pm |
        • Topher

          How does something we didn't observe and cannot repeat meet the scientific method?

          November 5, 2013 at 7:36 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          Topher, in general, we do attempt to repeat phenomena on some scale, or observe them in situations where we might expect them to occur, or try to establish by experimentation the principles that underlie them.

          November 5, 2013 at 7:43 pm |
        • Topher

          Tom Tom

          I understand. But it was asked earlier why we like science for some things and reject it for others. It's because we can demonstrate these things (medicine, computers, flight) and they don't contradict the Bible. When you have others things that will NEVER be able to be proven AND it conflicts with the Bible, then I'll keep trusting God over man.

          November 5, 2013 at 7:51 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          I did point out somewhere around here that God is a prior truth for believers, unproven, not subject to proof. Topher, it really seems that believers' understanding and acceptance of science will always have to wait for some reconciliation of what science has to say with that prior truth. So it's not really a problem restricted to things science might never establish, it's everything science might show us that seems to infringe on your God's truth.

          November 5, 2013 at 8:02 pm |
        • Alias

          So what blood types were Adam and Eve?

          November 5, 2013 at 8:04 pm |
        • Well Duh

          @Topher
          "I'll keep trusting God over man."

          What has God done for you to earn your trust in Him?

          November 5, 2013 at 8:07 pm |
        • Topher

          As far as I know, there's nothing that's actually been proven (observational) that I disagree with. It's only those things in which a presupposition comes into the findings and disagrees with the Bible that I find fault with. That's why it's fallacious (and I'm not pointing at you) when atheists claim Christians deny all knowledge and reject all science.

          November 5, 2013 at 8:10 pm |
        • Topher

          Well Duh

          "What has God done for you to earn your trust in Him?"

          You mean besides save me from the wrath I deserve? Well, He's shown me that His Word is true and trustworthy. It doesn't continuously change. I trust Him.

          November 5, 2013 at 8:14 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          God needs to deal with his own anger issues. How stupid is it to save someone from your own horror? That's like honoring a serial killer who decides not to kill you at the last minute.

          November 5, 2013 at 8:28 pm |
        • Well Duh

          @Topher
          "You mean besides save me from the wrath I deserve?"

          Technically, he hasn't saved you yet. You're not dead yet right?

          "Well, He's shown me that His Word is true and trustworthy."

          He has done that how?

          November 5, 2013 at 8:28 pm |
        • Topher

          Well Duh

          "Technically, he hasn't saved you yet. You're not dead yet right?"

          No, I'm not dead. But I'm saved NOW.

          "He has done that how?"

          Through His Word. I trust it, believe it.

          November 5, 2013 at 8:30 pm |
        • HotAirAce

          Topher, your fellow delusionals at godandscience.org (http://godandscience.org/youngearth/operational_vs_origins_science.html) think you are full,of sh!t. Why are they wrong?

          November 5, 2013 at 8:37 pm |
        • Well Duh

          @Topher

          "Through His Word. I trust it, believe it."

          So very unspecific of you.

          November 5, 2013 at 8:46 pm |
        • sam stone

          the wrath you deserve? what a self loathing dweeb

          November 5, 2013 at 8:48 pm |
        • Topher

          OK, I'll be a bit more specific. It's historically reliable. No other book in antiquity has been vetted more than the Bible. It's written by eyewitnesses during the life of other eyewitnesses, thus providing an automatic baloney detector. It also demonstrates the fulfillment of hundreds of prophecies. It answers all the important questions. It's only "religion" that has an answer for the sin problem. And Christianity is the only "religion" in which I don't have to DO anything and true to earn my way to heaven.

          November 5, 2013 at 8:51 pm |
        • Topher

          * try. Sorry about my poor typing and grammar skills. Or lack of them.

          November 5, 2013 at 8:52 pm |
        • HotAirAce

          Topher, the Smithsonian has definitively stated your holy book is *not* a historical docu.ment. Why are they wrong and you are right?

          November 5, 2013 at 8:56 pm |
        • sam stone

          your grammar skills are poor, your logic skills are pathetic

          November 5, 2013 at 8:59 pm |
  6. Dennis

    Really?

    November 5, 2013 at 5:23 pm |
  7. ?

    Topher, TToopphheerrr, come out and play Topher, you ran away again.

    November 5, 2013 at 4:54 pm |
    • Topher

      I haven't run away. I've just got other things I'm doing at the same time. What's up?

      November 5, 2013 at 5:16 pm |
      • ?

        Topher
        Someone posted a Topherism about how you answer questions with a question and take off when you do not have answer to dificult questions, just thought you reverted to form. Did you really hand out religious propaganda to kids that came to your house for Halloween, brainwashing the young with goodies, shame on you?

        November 5, 2013 at 5:29 pm |
      • ?

        Topher
        Posted below. Have you named your fetus yet? You know how your god is such a pr!ck when dealing with fetuses and children, the largest mass murder of all time. When a human kills a fetus it is abortion, when god does it is a miscarriage. God wins hands down in all killing of fetuses and children and yet he loves us.

        November 5, 2013 at 5:55 pm |
        • lol??

          Show me the murder statute you passed.

          November 5, 2013 at 6:07 pm |
        • @lol??

          Glad to see you agree abortion isn't murder.

          November 5, 2013 at 6:16 pm |
      • sam stone

        How is allowing someone else to take the punishment you feel you deserve a moral thing to do?

        November 5, 2013 at 7:34 pm |
        • sam stone

          for someone who bloviates on and on how god is just, you sure are doing what you can to avoid that justice. coward

          November 5, 2013 at 8:51 pm |
  8. Answer

    Try this experiment on for size you religious freaks..

    Say this to yourself:

    "Today my god doesn't exist." then for tomorrow..

    "My god exists today."

    ~Tell us how uncomfortable it is on the day that you have said it to yourself that "Today my god doesn't exist."

    ~Can you even try this and live with it? lol

    November 5, 2013 at 4:52 pm |
    • Answer

      Or if it is too unbearable.. try the reductionist approach and do it by switching it by the hour.

      Start your first hour off with "At this time [2:00 o'clock] my god doesn't exist."

      Then come right around at 3:00 o'clock with "Glad my god is there for me at this hour."

      ~Go ahead, record your progress and levels of dis/comfort. Please disclose your thought experiment.

      November 5, 2013 at 4:56 pm |
      • not the JOS

        I do this every day. I get the same result. Who's face do I see every time I close my eyes and why?

        November 5, 2013 at 5:01 pm |
    • Topher

      No thanks. I choose not to blaspheme God.

      November 5, 2013 at 5:17 pm |
      • Answer

        Roughly translated – "I don't dare because it would be bad for my position."

        November 5, 2013 at 6:05 pm |
      • sam stone

        Yeah, don't want to anger the pr1ck

        November 5, 2013 at 9:01 pm |
    • lol??

      You science types think the earth is one giant test tube fer yer fun. The rest of the people end up livin' with yer polluted trash like nuclear waste and mutant fish.

      November 5, 2013 at 5:20 pm |
      • truthprevails1

        Slightly hypocritical aren't you??? Or are you telepathically sending messages to this blog???

        November 5, 2013 at 5:53 pm |
        • lol??

          John was shown something about the destruction of the earth.

          "Rev 11:18 And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth."

          November 5, 2013 at 6:22 pm |
        • truthprevails1

          You moron...you whined about how we're destroying the planet via waste and yet you're no different. You take advantage of every technological device we have and when it breaks down and can't be repaired you dispose of it-to directly contribute to the destruction of our planet. You're a hypocrite.

          November 5, 2013 at 6:32 pm |
        • @lol??

          Yawn. Clear evidence that you are irrevocably insane.

          November 5, 2013 at 6:32 pm |
  9. lol??

    Doc Vestibule
    @Topher
    Is destroying another's property a sin? To my thinking, it is tantamount to theft – but not so to God! Jesus destroyed 2,000 pigs that didn't belong to him, wrecking the life of teh farmer to whom they belonged....................."

    Bootleggers, Sheeeeeeeeeeeeeeesh. Here come da ATF!!

    November 5, 2013 at 4:52 pm |
  10. o susie q

    Christ is god

    November 5, 2013 at 4:15 pm |
    • Vic

      ♰♰♰ Jesus Christ Is Lord ♰♰♰

      That's our Faith.

      November 5, 2013 at 4:18 pm |
      • ?

        Vic
        That is your delusion, can you not keep it to yourself, problem solved.

        November 5, 2013 at 4:23 pm |
        • lol??

          You can go over and harass the folks at Christianity Today fer a change of pace. They are a little stuck on worshiping pastors anyway. Now GIT!

          November 5, 2013 at 4:55 pm |
      • Lisa

        Opinion, you mean, like saying that the Cubs are the best team in baseball.

        November 5, 2013 at 6:40 pm |
        • Youtube - Dawkins vs Tyson

          Yes, even though the evidence does not support it, or rather, the lack of evidence.

          November 5, 2013 at 6:54 pm |
    • Vic

      Amen.

      November 5, 2013 at 4:18 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Well, sort of.
      There is only one God.
      But He's actually kind of 3 gods, but not really.
      But it's a monotheistic religion for sure! Sorta.
      You shall have no other god before Me! Except for my Son, becuase I am My own father.
      Man, this gets confusing.

      The moral of the story:
      Anybody who can worship a trinity and insist that they are part of a monotheistic religion is capable of rationalizing anything.

      November 5, 2013 at 4:20 pm |
      • Youtube - Dawkins vs Tyson

        Yeah, and then there's the strange part about condemning all of humanity for sins they never committed, and then finding the way to forgive them for sins they had not committed was to be born as a man, tortured by men, murdered by men, and then, everyone's forgiven. That's part of why I could no longer be a Christian.

        November 5, 2013 at 6:17 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          Or, we can keep as simple as it really is. Are you sinless ?

          November 5, 2013 at 6:23 pm |
        • Youtube - Dawkins vs Tyson

          Robert, "Sin" is a religious term. Instead I would say that I have made mistakes that on occasion have hurt someone. It was then necessary for me to recognize my mistake and apologize to the person I injured, and try to learn from my mistakes.

          November 5, 2013 at 6:47 pm |
        • sam stone

          i am, robert. are you logically challenged?

          November 5, 2013 at 9:03 pm |
      • Lisa

        Doc
        Reminds me of this old chestnut.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W7x1ETPkZsk

        🙂

        November 5, 2013 at 6:43 pm |
    • mzh

      Jesus the son of virgin Marry:

      3:50 – And [I (Jesus) have come] confirming what was before me of the Torah and to make lawful for you some of what was forbidden to you. And I have come to you with a sign from your Lord, so fear Allah and obey me (Jesus).

      3:51 – Indeed, Allah is my (Jesus) Lord and your (companions) Lord, so worship Him. That is the straight path."

      3:52 – Then when Isa (Jesus) came to know of their disbelief, he said: "Who will be my helpers in Allah's Cause?" Al-Hawariun (the disciples and the companions) said: "We are the helpers of Allah; we believe in Allah, and bear witness that we are Muslims (i.e. we submit to Allah)."

      November 5, 2013 at 4:28 pm |
      • Reality # 2

        And now a few words about the horror and terror of the real Islam:

        Mohammed was an illiterate, womanizing, lust and greed-driven, warmongering, hallucinating Arab, who also had embellishing/hallucinating/plagiarizing scribal biographers who not only added "angels" and flying chariots to the koran but also a militaristic agenda to support the plundering and looting of the lands of non-believers.

        This agenda continues as shown by the ma-ssacre in Mumbai, the as-sas-sinations of Bhutto and Theo Van Gogh, the conduct of the seven Muslim doctors in the UK, the 9/11 terrorists, the 24/7 Sunni suicide/roadside/market/mosque bombers, the 24/7 Shiite suicide/roadside/market/mosque bombers, the Islamic bombers of the trains in the UK and Spain, the Bali crazies, the Kenya crazies, the Pakistani “koranics”, the Palestine suicide bombers/rocketeers, the Lebanese nutcases, the Taliban nut jobs, the Ft. Hood follower of the koran, the Filipino “koranics”and the Boston Marthon bombers.

        And who funds this muck and stench of terror? The warmongering, Islamic, Shiite terror and torture theocracy of Iran aka the Third Axis of Evil and also the Sunni "Wannabees" of Saudi Arabia.

        Current crises:

        The Sunni-Shiite blood feud and the warmongering, womanizing (11 wives), hallucinating founder.

        November 5, 2013 at 4:42 pm |
    • Answer

      The freaks have to say that their god exists everyday to reassure themselves.

      Hilarious.

      November 5, 2013 at 4:43 pm |
      • not the JOS

        You missed the point baby, some of us truly freaky freaks have to reassure ourselves every day that they don't.

        November 5, 2013 at 5:24 pm |
      • McFly

        Why are you calling people "freaks", your posts make you sound like your auditioning for the role of "Biff Tannen" in Back to the Future.

        ie:

        "Why don't you make like a tree and get outa here"

        Seriously?

        November 5, 2013 at 6:11 pm |
  11. Alias

    If god created us in his image, how could we be born with sin?
    We must be perfect, or god is not perfect.

    November 5, 2013 at 4:14 pm |
    • Well Duh

      If we're dumb, then God is dumb. And maybe even a little ugly on the side.

      November 5, 2013 at 4:21 pm |
    • mzh

      This has been entirely misunderstood to the mankind...

      [He is] Creator of the heavens and the earth. He has made for you from yourselves, mates, and among the cattle, mates; He multiplies you thereby. There is not anything like Him, and He is the Hearing, the Seeing. – 42:11

      November 5, 2013 at 4:24 pm |
      • Well Duh

        "There is not anything like Him"

        Please show me anything that IS Him.

        What are your god's attributes? What is it made of? Where did it get it's knowledge, emotions, and morals? How did it have the ability to create something from nothing?

        November 5, 2013 at 4:31 pm |
        • mzh

          @Well Duh

          There is nothing can be shown to you or any other creatures about God the Lord Almighty. Moses (pbuh) wanted to see Him and he was told that you are not made to see Me, even after that Moses wanted to see Him then he was told that see the highest mountain, if that mountain stays then you will be able to see Me but the mountain become dust and Moses was unconscious. Lets take an example in human perspective view: when you create something for example build a website for a grocery store, you will not be part of it physically but you are above it. So the way Quran teaches that The Almighty God has created the entire creation but He is not part of the creation and He is above the creation but unfortunately most of the mankind do the opposite by making The Creator part of the creation. I hope it will clear little to understand…

          The attributes you asked for, here are few of the attributes that have been mentioned in the Quran and see if does make any sense to you… for example: one of His attributes is that “All Hearer” does this mean His hearing ability like a human? The answer is NO… because He hears the entire creation at a time and do not fails to hear anyone even from one ant out of its entire population. We can not comprehend any of His attributes and that why Quran also teaches to stop thinking about attributes as if you think and max you could think of what is human ability but He is beyond this…

          112:1 – Say, "He is Allah, [who is] One
          112:2 – Allah, the Eternal Refuge
          112:3 – He neither begets nor is born
          112:4 – Nor is there to Him any equivalent."

          2:255 – Allah – there is no deity except Him, the Ever-Living, the Sustainer of [all] existence. Neither drowsiness overtakes Him nor sleep. To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth. Who is it that can intercede with Him except by His permission? He knows what is [presently] before them and what will be after them, and they encompass not a thing of His knowledge except for what He wills. His Kursi extends over the heavens and the earth, and their preservation tires Him not. And He is the Most High, the Most Great.

          59:22 – He is Allah, other than whom there is no deity, Knower of the unseen and the witnessed. He is the Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful.
          59:23 – He is Allah, other than whom there is no deity, the Sovereign, the Pure, the Perfection, the Bestower of Faith, the Overseer, the Exalted in Might, the Compeller, the Superior. Exalted is Allah above whatever they associate with Him.
          59:24 – He is Allah, the Creator, the Inventor, the Fashioner; to Him belong the best names. Whatever is in the heavens and earth is exalting Him. And He is the Exalted in Might, the Wise.

          Peace!!!

          November 6, 2013 at 8:53 am |
      • Alias

        Your bible says god made man in his image.
        Deal with it.

        November 5, 2013 at 4:40 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          Genesis 1:

          26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

          27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

          Could be that image means something besides appearance, possibly spirit.

          November 5, 2013 at 7:50 pm |
  12. Richard Cranium

    Absolutley false.
    No mans definition of god seems sufficient as an explaination. Is god sentient? we do not know. What is god, we do not know. Is there something that could be considered a god? we do not know.

    The likelyhood that any of ans descriptions of a god being accurate defies the laws of probability.

    The god of the bible...absolutly false, if you believe that the bible is the word of god, and the bible is so clearly flawed, there is virtually no chace the god of the bible exists.

    November 5, 2013 at 4:05 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      Meant as answer to bostontola

      November 5, 2013 at 4:07 pm |
    • Vic

      Here we go again. Atheists speak with absolute certainty, which is what they accuse theists of doing!

      November 5, 2013 at 4:11 pm |
      • Joey

        Vic, he did not speak with absolute certainty that is why he used those big words like: likelyhood, seems, we don't know, and virtually no chance.

        November 5, 2013 at 4:24 pm |
        • lol??

          That's the commie girly feely talk of the Frankfurt School of hopey changey.

          November 5, 2013 at 5:02 pm |
      • Richard Cranium

        You do it all the time Vic.
        If you believe the bible is the un-erring word of god, the bible itself is proof of its erring.
        If you believe that god is all knowing and all powerful, then free will is an impossibility.

        I can go on for a very long time Vic. There are so many inconsistancies, falsehoods, invalid conclusions based on flawed premises, on and on, then couple it with the knowledge of the previous stories your myths were created on, then absolutley the god of the bible does not exist is evident. Men made up that god, with all the flaws men could not see then, and many, such as yourself refuse to acknowledge now.

        November 5, 2013 at 4:28 pm |
        • Richard Cranium

          As an addendum.
          I do not know if any gods exist or not, I do not believe they do, but maybe.

          The god of the bible, no way, not possible. A god, that the god of the bible may be close to, maybe.

          As far as I can see, no definiton of any god is likley to be accurate...for instance, the whole question of sentience...we don't even know what that really means yet...how could we think a god is sentient then, since even that definition that we have isn't very accurate.

          We will kknow when we have a proper definition of sentience once we can re-create it, and we don't even know if that is possible.

          November 5, 2013 at 4:40 pm |
        • drturi

          Please Google "Halloween Suicide Girls Born Witches Dr. Turi" and have a blast! Pas it on if you like it! Check also – Google "Anarchy Coming To America? dr.turi"

          November 5, 2013 at 9:57 pm |
      • Lisa

        Vic
        Richard demonstrated how the Bible's flaws demonstrate God's impossibility. If God were to exist it would defy logic and, unless I am mistaken, it was supposedly God who granted man reason in the first place, so how would that work?

        November 5, 2013 at 7:18 pm |
    • lol??

      Cranius, you're just too special fer God. He's unable to reach you until judgment day. Had a bwain scan??

      November 5, 2013 at 5:04 pm |
      • lol??

        One of the mob wants to hep ya,

        HotAirAce
        Mental illness or physical brain damage could explain such bizarre behavior.

        November 5, 2013 at 5:08 pm |
  13. bostontola

    As an atheist, I have a question for the agnostics out there.

    Background: I can understand how a person can believe in god(s), they are taught that by the people they trust most at a completely vulnerable point in their lives. I can also understand how a person can be agnostic, there is no proof of the existence or not of god(s) and they haven't gotten a convincing enough argument either way.

    Question for agnostics: Are you at least convinced that the god(s) of all religions so far devised by man are false?

    November 5, 2013 at 3:53 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Yes.

      November 5, 2013 at 4:01 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      It's often pointed out that agnostic refers to knowledge, atheist to belief.

      November 5, 2013 at 4:08 pm |
      • Tom, Tom, the Other One

        Types of atheist:

        -Believe there are no gods

        -Have no belief in gods

        The second is interesting. The question of the existence of gods is not thought worthy of consideration.

        November 5, 2013 at 4:17 pm |
    • Well Duh

      I really don't get why people consider an agnostic to be somewhere in the middle of being a theist and atheist.

      Theism is about belief, gnosticism is about knowledge.

      So you can be...

      1. A gnostic theist, who knows and believes in a god.
      2. An agnostic theist, who does not know, but believes in a god.
      3. A gnostic atheist, who knows and believes that there isn't a god.
      4. An agnostic atheist, who does not know, but believes there isn't a god.

      Although, actually, an atheist does not technically believe there isn't a god, just that there hasn't been sufficient evidence to believe in one.

      So I am an agnostic atheist, because there is no way I could absolutely know that a god does not exist. However, based on all gods I have been been exposed to, I don't believe that any of them exist based on the evidence provided.

      November 5, 2013 at 4:11 pm |
      • bostontola

        I'm not sure how you got any of that from the OP. I think all atheists are agnostic, but not all agnostics are atheist. I was merely trying to see if there are agnostics that think that existing religions may be true within reason.

        November 5, 2013 at 4:31 pm |
        • Well Duh

          But if they are not an agnostic atheist, wouldn't that make them an agnostic theist, and would therefor have a belief that a god claim is true. Although, I can't say they would have a good reason for it.

          November 5, 2013 at 4:42 pm |
        • bostontola

          You created a false dichotomy, if you are not an agnostic atheist that does not make you an agnostic theist.

          November 5, 2013 at 5:00 pm |
        • Well Duh

          Well if you're not a theist, or you're not an atheist, what are you? What exists between a theist and an atheist? You either believe, or you don't believe.

          November 5, 2013 at 5:53 pm |
        • bostontola

          What if a person didn't know if there is a god or not, and didn't believe in god or not? This person simply doesn't know or believe either way.

          November 5, 2013 at 6:01 pm |
        • Well Duh

          Again, we're not talking about knowing. Just because you never heard of the concept of a god before, doesn't put you in a middle category, it by default makes you an atheist whether you know you're one or not. You're not required to not believe in a god, or reject the claim of a god to be an atheist. If you're not a theist, you're not a theist. So what do you call a person who is not a theist?

          November 5, 2013 at 6:12 pm |
        • AtheistSteve

          Then they're not taking a position on the theology question and are not contributing anything of substance to the conversation. Theist/atheist is a binary choice.

          November 5, 2013 at 6:13 pm |
        • bostontola

          Both atheists and theists believe, are you saying a person cannot simply not believe either way?

          November 5, 2013 at 6:17 pm |
        • AtheistSteve

          Theists believe in the existence of God or gods. Anything else, intentional or not is (not theist) or atheist.

          November 5, 2013 at 6:34 pm |
        • Well Duh

          You are labeling an atheist as having a belief.

          Yes, I know I used the description of an atheist as someone who believes that a god does not exist, or one that rejects claims of the existence of a god, but that is still not completely correct. To me, an atheist is someone that does not have a theistic belief.

          So this person who you describe as not having a position either way, wouldn't be a theist would they?

          Or maybe I'm wrong with this and I've just broadened atheist into a gray area.

          November 5, 2013 at 6:38 pm |
        • Well Duh

          @AtheistSteve
          "Theists believe in the existence of God or gods. Anything else, intentional or not is (not theist) or atheist."

          That has always been my position. Thanks for saying it better than I have.

          November 5, 2013 at 6:41 pm |
        • AtheistSteve

          bostontola
          I think we're getting caught on semantics. The question of theist vs. atheist isn't one of black or white where one believes black and the other believes white where white is a separate position of belief. It's more like one believes black and the other rejects or disbelieves the belief of black. The claim is black and the rejection is not-black...with no attempt or need to provide an alternate color or shade to believe in.

          November 5, 2013 at 6:47 pm |
        • Lisa

          Personally, I'm also an agnostic atheist. I don't know whether gods exist somewhere in the universe, but I am totally unconvinced by any of the claims made by people on this planet that they do. That being said, some gods, like the Christian one as typically defined, are just too illogical to be considered even a remote possibility. He's obviously the result of the Church letting it's imagination run wild and painting itself into a theological corner. If that god turned out to be real it would defy all the reason he supposedly gifted humanity with in the first place.

          November 5, 2013 at 7:12 pm |
  14. JustUsBikers

    All I have to say is Good for her!

    November 5, 2013 at 3:46 pm |
  15. Charm Quark

    Topherism
    My beliefs/religion (Baptist) are exactly what I want them to be, the absolute Truth, and therefore I can never be wrong.

    If you do not accept my god, like I do, you will be punished for eternity. I am sane but have no proof, trust me.

    November 5, 2013 at 3:40 pm |
    • AtheistSteve

      I could be mistaken but I think Topher claims to have been raised in an atheist household and that he was one himself.
      His parents must be so proud.
      Now I have no idea about the relationship status between him and his folks but I would guess that they are somewhat disappointed.
      As would typical Christian parents be if they discovered their child was an atheist. The big difference being that while Tophers parents might think he was just being dumb, the Christian parents believe their child is damned. The potential cost and damage the latter situation can place on personal relationships with loved ones far outweighs the former.

      November 5, 2013 at 4:02 pm |
      • Joey

        I don't believe him. It is not possible to go from being an atheist to thinking everything in the bible is the literal word of god. You can go from atheist to believing in god, I just have a hard time believing that you could from atheist to as far off the deep end as Topher has.

        November 5, 2013 at 4:26 pm |
        • Colin

          Yeah it's a bit like "unlearning" and regressing in intellectual maturity , isn't it.

          November 5, 2013 at 4:36 pm |
        • AtheistSteve

          You're right. I find it hard to believe that Tophers atheism was based on a rational and skeptical analysis of the claims of religion and scripture. More likely he was an atheist of ignorance and apathy which aren't reasons to base any belief on.

          November 5, 2013 at 4:40 pm |
        • fred

          Colin
          Atheist Steve
          I suggest you read "The Recovery of Belief" by C.E.M. Joad. One great atheist who saw the light without loss of brain function.

          November 5, 2013 at 4:48 pm |
        • AtheistSteve

          fred
          Why should I read his book? Does he provide reasons and explanations that are MORE compelling than those put forth by you and yours? And if so why aren't you using them? If life long believers can't make a convincing argument why should I care what an ex-atheist says?

          November 5, 2013 at 4:57 pm |
        • fred

          It was implied that somehow believers lack mental capacity relative to atheists so I thought I would provide an atheist that is well respected.
          His works are actually better than I could produce and without doubt his intellect puts me in my place. I did try using some of his points but I lacked the capacity to articulate a response when cornered.

          November 5, 2013 at 5:09 pm |
        • fred

          Atheist Steve
          I do not know how a believer can explain that which only presents itself through faith. Making matters more difficult is the Bible itself which clearly states the things of God will not be given to pigs and dogs (symbolic of carnality that could never accept God). God also blinds some from the truth for various reasons.

          November 5, 2013 at 5:26 pm |
        • AtheistSteve

          "I thought I would provide an atheist that is well respected."

          He might be well respected but not for his current or past views on atheism. Probably why I've never heard of the guy. People like Ray Comfort or William Lane Craig are well respected and part of your team but I know who they are. If their arguments can't pass muster I'm pretty sure C.E.M. Joad has nothing to add.

          November 5, 2013 at 5:31 pm |
        • Ted

          I've read that book and other writings by Joad. It's fairly typical of him in that he flipflopped on a number of major issues over his lifetime, even changing from being a complete pacifist to an eager supporter of certain wars and aggression.

          He wasn't a stupid guy, and was eloquent, but he was also a bit of a blowhard known for taking in information without questioning it; he even admitted that. fred, if Cyril Joad is your shining example of an atheist turned Christian, well, I can't say that I'm impressed.

          November 5, 2013 at 5:35 pm |
        • AtheistSteve

          "I do not know how a believer can explain that which only presents itself through faith. Making matters more difficult is the Bible itself which clearly states the things of God will not be given to pigs and dogs (symbolic of carnality that could never accept God). God also blinds some from the truth for various reasons."

          In other words he's a complete dick. Not letting me use the rational brain he gave me to find him. Instead I'm supposed to just accept on faith alone what contradicts what I've learned through study and investigation. And if you're right about the path being one of faith then what differentiates you from all other religions that rely on the same tactic? How can I choose correctly between the Jewish God YHWH, Allah of the prophet Mohammed or the teachings of Jesus...all of which point to the same ultimate deity but with vastly different instructions...or any one of the thousands of other gods imagined by mankind. All are equally valid if faith is the only criteria and path to knowledge of God.

          November 5, 2013 at 5:50 pm |
        • fred

          Ted
          I grabbed Joad because the time period in question was not kind to atheists. My goal was to read several books from atheists with strong scientific or intellectual foundation that converted to Christianity or Islam. It's on my bucket list.

          November 5, 2013 at 6:20 pm |
        • fred

          AtheistSteve

          "Not letting me use the rational brain he gave me to find him"
          =>Your rational brain is simply an organ with capacity to experience God and in the image of God it reflects that creative attribute. Any limitation in the ability to experience or create would not be the image of God since God is without boundaries. You are using it to experience this existence as you choose.

          "Instead I'm supposed to just accept on faith alone what contradicts what I've learned through study and investigation."
          =>What your rational mind concludes through study and investigation actually points you towards God not away from God. One would think you are becoming more and more aware of the ever expanding scope and power of the unknown on our very existence. Pre big bang cosmology is becoming more abstract than physical in nature and starting to take on that unknown substance of God.
          =>I am not aware of any discovery that has rationally proven why we exist or the origin of life. The Bible has explained this for thousands of years.
          =>What are two points does your rational mind hinges upon to conclude there is no God?

          "if you're right about the path being one of faith then what differentiates you"
          =>Jesus said the road is wide and many are on it. This broad path that leads to destruction includes all forms of man made religions including Christians and non believers that reject the way. Jesus gave a very strong and clear image of what it is to be Christ like. The way is not a particular religion but the inclination of your heart (soul). Is it inclined towards the things Jesus valued and expressed (love, faith, hope, patience, joy, self sacrifice, worship) or is it pointed another way.,

          "All are equally valid if faith is the only criteria and path to knowledge of God"
          =>"To each is given a measure of faith" It is that rational mind God gives you that will point you in the right direction. I could tell you what's wrong with Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, etc. but my voice is not important. Matthew 5 begins the first Sermon. What does your rational mind say is wrong with Matthew, 5,6,7?

          November 5, 2013 at 7:11 pm |
        • Ted

          fred, Joad was a pretty poor starting point, so I'd say your "read" bucket is still empty. Who are the other candidates in "unread".

          Why are you so desperate to look for the few fitting your description who converted? Many others (me included) have gone in the opposite direction.

          Seems like you are really grasping to make some kind of case to yourself.

          November 5, 2013 at 7:12 pm |
        • fred

          Ted
          Seemed I was reading a lot of books from Christian authors A.W. Tozer being the best in his book "The Knowledge of God". I was just looking for a perspective from former atheists.
          I have a couple friends that are atheist and I was looking for some insight on bridging the gap.

          November 5, 2013 at 8:03 pm |
      • HotAirAce

        Mental illness or physical brain damage could explain such bizarre behavior.

        November 5, 2013 at 4:28 pm |
      • truthprevails1

        If he was raised by parents who were non-believers you need to wonder what horrible event happened to make him fall prey to religion, especially one that is so bitter. Maybe he was the nerd in high school who had no friends (that wallflower child that everyone ignores) and a group of believers offered him friendship and in desperation he got suckered in. Either way it takes something rather drastic to make a rational brain cease.
        I'm still waiting on a response from him on whether or not he has given any thought to how he will handle it if his unborn child is LGBT and/or decides they no longer believe the mumbo of the bible.

        November 5, 2013 at 4:39 pm |
        • fred

          Sometimes I look at atheists and see they are far worse than the most fundamentalist Christian. Your atheism is more exclusive than Christ's. Jesus said I am the way the truth and the life and no one comes to the Father but in me. You claim only atheists know the way the truth and the life. Tell me again why your belief is the only one and your heaven (non existence or rest following a lifetime without accountability outside of your own existence) is somehow superior to anyone else.

          November 5, 2013 at 4:58 pm |
        • truthprevails1

          What you believe is not substantiated with anything other than blind faith based off of strictly one book. I do not believe we are superior, that is a christian trait (ie; the condemning of gays; the condemning of women's right).
          You say we are exclusive yet we are not the ones who say they have the right god opposed to the god others believe in, we only state we don't see evidence for any god. Anyone who doesn't accept your god is doomed...right? Anyone who is LGBT is doomed...right? So please explain how christianity is not exclusive.
          I've never claimed that Atheists know the way, the truth and the life, that is an assumption you are making and it is fallacious. We are not the ones who pick up a 2000 plus year old book and state we have all the answers based on said book. We tend to care that what we believe is based on solid evidence. I am quite content not having all the answers. What I know about the way the truth and the life is how it pertains directly to my life and the life of AtheistSteve. What is right for us and what we choose to accept may not be the same for other Atheists.
          My comment in regards to Topher dates further back to a conversation that inevitably you have no clue about and I don't feel they are unreasonable questions for Topher to think about.
          I do understand why one goes from being a believer to non-believer but the other way around is a little more baffling and after having dealt with this in my personal life, I see for it for what it is...a weak moment or so and the line was out by the christians and they were reeling another in, it's very typical of christianity and has been this way from the beginning. I do not expect you to agree or comprehend what I am saying because you are deeply ingrained in your religion and it wouldn't matter what was said, you're never going to change your mind.

          November 5, 2013 at 5:15 pm |
        • ?

          I also wonder if Topher has named the fetus he hopes becomes a child as his god is not to kind to the born and unborn children, worst child killer of all time if you believe the myth. It is a little strange that if a man causes the death of a fetus it is abortion but if his interfering god does the same deed it is a miscarriage. Same result different perp.

          November 5, 2013 at 5:03 pm |
        • Observer

          fred

          " Tell me again why your belief is the only one and your heaven (non existence or rest following a lifetime without accountability outside of your own existence) is somehow superior to anyone else."

          Tell us why you don't believe in any of the tens of thousands of other gods. Maybe you'll catch on. Atheist never claim to have all the answers. They just believe in one less god than you. That is ALL there is to atheism.

          November 5, 2013 at 5:05 pm |
        • ?

          fred
          You are such a kidder, deists, agnostics and atheists just want you to butt out of everyone else's life, do that and we have no problem with you believing whatever you want. Can you and the fundies do that fred, just today I had some unwelcome religious tripe pushed in my face? Can you get your lot to stop hustling the scam, fred? You are going to get the push back, start by tearing down all those ridiculous white crosses that litter our interstate highways. And you could start by paying for the services you steal from the hard working tax payers, pat taxes like everyone else.

          November 5, 2013 at 5:14 pm |
        • HotAirAce

          fred, let me summarize the basic situation with respect to you, your god and your beliefs:

          – you cannot proof the existence of your or any god. In fact, you don't have any actual evidence for any god.

          – you cannot prove your holy book is in fact the word of any god. Ignoring the fact that you can't prove there is even just one god who might have a word worth listening to, you have to explicitly ignore the fact that The Babble as we know it was the creation of a bunch of mere mortal men, picking and choosing from numerous unproven stories.

          – you cannot prove that the dead desert dweller named jesus and allegedly the savior of the world actually said any of the things attributed to him.

          – you cannot prove that the person called jesus was divine or actually performed any of the miracles he is alleged to have performed.

          Given the four strikes above, why should we believe anything you or any other believer says? What actually distinguishes your beliefs from astrology?

          In closing, atheists don't claim to know everything. We're merely pretty certainly believers do not.

          November 5, 2013 at 5:19 pm |
        • fred

          truthprevails1

          "What you believe is not substantiated with anything other than blind faith based off of strictly one book."
          =>actually, I believe because God did for me exactly what that one book said God would do. You cannot say there is no God because I have personally experienced Gods blessings and presence. I have experienced reality with and without the presence of God. One could argue the physical reality did not change only my perception. Jesus changed the worlds perception of God which changed the reality you and I exist in. This makes perception a key part of reality as far as I am concerned.

          "christian trait (ie; the condemning of gays; the condemning of women's right)."
          =>this is a problem with people not God. Jesus made it clear it is a sin to condemn other and it causes believers to reveal their true heart (i.e. when we condemn we are hypocrites and not following Christ)

          "So please explain how christianity is not exclusive."
          =>There are only two ways Gods way or mans way period. It is very clear when one desires God above anything else. Atheism is very clear as it desires no God above anything else. Both are exclusive and both produce a perception of reality that governs our thoughts and behavior.

          "We are not the ones who pick up a 2000 plus year old book and state we have all the answers based on said book"
          =>Your philosophy goes back to the Greeks fifth century BCE about the time Islam and Catholicism caught hold. The works of the Saul of Tarsus is far superior to the mistaken materialistic philosophic works of the early atheists.

          "We tend to care that what we believe is based on solid evidence."
          =>there is no solid evidence as to origin of life or purpose of existence.

          "I am quite content not having all the answers."
          =>who has all the answers?

          "you're never going to change your mind."
          =>I doubt I could become an atheist because I have always searched for meaning greater than the physical or materialistic in nature. I know that I do not certain parts of God Plan but, I have yet to have anyone (atheist included) present a better plan than that which we know. Existence works as presented by Bible for the purpose of redeeming souls to the glory of God. Existence does not work from the atheist presentation because it is meaningless as existence without purpose is meaningless in itself. Existence does not work for the agnostic because they are wrong by default.

          November 5, 2013 at 6:10 pm |
        • Observer

          fred,

          What did Jesus say specifically about gays?

          November 5, 2013 at 6:31 pm |
        • truthprevails1

          "You cannot say there is no God because I have personally experienced Gods blessings and presence."

          Your personal experiences pertain only to you and as much as they may be evidence to you, they do not qualify as evidence for others. How you believe you experience god opposed to how Topher believes are very likely two different things and yet you both believe in the same god.

          Gods laws do not over ride mans laws, at least not in any Secular Country. You'd have to give representation to every god if you want gods laws to rule and all those sets of rules would get rather complicated. Your god is not the only one believed in.

          You say you could never be an Atheist but the very definition of Atheist is a disbelief in a god or gods, so you are an Atheist in regards to all other gods but your own.

          There are some people who do quite well in this world without the need for god or religion, my partner/best-friend in this world (AtheistSteve) and I are two of those people. We understand your belief well, we're both recovering christians.

          November 5, 2013 at 6:48 pm |
        • fred

          Observer
          Jesus did not say anything directly concerning gays. The 8 characteristics he gave concerning Christians would confirm we are to lift them up and encourage them.

          November 5, 2013 at 7:13 pm |
        • fred

          truthprevails1

          "Your personal experiences pertain only to you"
          =>These personal experiences occur in a consistent manner with millions to this day just as Jesus said they would.

          "Gods laws do not over ride mans laws"
          =>sure they do, not one person who truly knows Christ would violate Gods laws nor would we follow the smallest of man made law that would violate God.

          "You'd have to give representation to every god"
          =>The United States our laws reflect the Christian foundation of its 44 presidents and all congress/ senate that was sworn in on a Bible. Sorry, that is the fact and those 3 who in the past 200 years refused to put their hand on the Bible made no impact and are not remembered. We serve a mighty God.

          November 5, 2013 at 7:42 pm |
        • fred

          ?
          "could start by paying for the services you steal from the hard working tax payers, pat taxes like everyone else."
          =>What? I pay taxes just like everyone else. I already paid the taxes and what is left after the government is through with me I give to the poor and cover my living cost. Are you suggesting a new tax on Christians that give food to the poor? You must be a democrat and actually believe the government can spend your money better than you can.

          November 5, 2013 at 7:53 pm |
  16. AtheistSteve

    I just watched the latest video episode of Atheist Experience and went away laughing at Matt's final comment to a caller that, too late in the show for him to pick up and address directly, wanted to ask "Why the universe is so finely tuned?"
    Matt ended with "The universe is finely tuned to produce Black Holes."
    And it's so true. The universe seems hell bent on obliterating all matter. The stuff we call stuff, baryonic matter, only accounts for about 4% of the total matter/energy of the universe. All of which is only too happy to crush itself out of existence should it venture to gather together in sufficient quantity. We are the shrapnel that has avoided(so far) the gauntlet of giant cosmic vacuum cleaners. Fine tuned? No...more like precipitously on the edge of obliteration.

    November 5, 2013 at 3:36 pm |
    • Vic

      The Almighty Creator, God, Who is Omnipotent, Who posses infinite powers of creation, knowledge, and all, creates powerful counteracting mechanisms that makes this existence finite, hence perishable, hence temporal, hence mortal. How do you think mortality is as opposed to immortality?!

      November 5, 2013 at 3:57 pm |
      • HotAirAce

        Blah blah blah blah, more mumbo jumbo from the mumbo jumbo generator, blah blah blah. . .

        You have no clothes.

        November 5, 2013 at 4:00 pm |
      • Madtown

        Who posses infinite powers of creation
        ---–
        Apparently his creative powers are actually finite. He has not been able to create a way to share "his word" with all his equal creations. It's almost like he doesn't actually care which, if any, religion we follow.....

        November 5, 2013 at 4:03 pm |
        • ?

          Charley don't surf, god don't tweet.

          November 5, 2013 at 4:11 pm |
      • Vic

        "..possesses.."

        November 5, 2013 at 4:07 pm |
      • ?

        Vic
        Drooling on your keyboard, gross, clean up on Vic's computer.

        November 5, 2013 at 4:10 pm |
      • Doc Vestibule

        And yet the omnipotent, omniscient Creator messed up so badly on His crown jewel of Creation that He decided to take a mulligan and wiped out 99.99% of all of the life he brought into existence.

        November 5, 2013 at 4:10 pm |
      • AtheistSteve

        Vic
        How do you think matter is as opposed to antimatter? Oops...antimatter exists.
        Everything we know anything about is finite. Immortality is a concept with no analogue in reality..
        You can't pose your question and expect a serious answer without first showing that immortality exists...which you can't because nothing in reality is.

        November 5, 2013 at 4:20 pm |
      • Lisa

        Vic
        Can you demonstrate "immortality" in anything? Time has not yet ended, so how can even God (should he exist) actually know that he's never gonna die? None of us know that, because none of us have died yet. Who knows, maybe we're destined to live forever, taking the heads of other immortals in elaborate sword fights, until one of us is left? There can be only one! 🙂

        November 5, 2013 at 6:56 pm |
    • Professor Marvel

      Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain. The Great and Powerful Oz has spoken.

      November 5, 2013 at 4:02 pm |
    • lunchbreaker

      Nice.

      November 5, 2013 at 4:21 pm |
  17. Jesus' Beloved

    @Well Duh: "It’s not enough to know God loves us.. we must believe (Already explained why with example)."
    And this is just confusing. How can you know something, yet NOT believe it?

    I want you to meditate on this for the rest of the week. I'm being serious. Perhaps then you will understand.

    "I laugh when I read that the fish in the water is thirsty".
    God Bless you.

    November 5, 2013 at 2:46 pm |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

      My heart only has room enough for one Jesus.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8xTqP58o1iw

      November 5, 2013 at 2:50 pm |
    • Well Duh

      Perhaps, but I doubt it.

      November 5, 2013 at 2:53 pm |
  18. meifumado

    Did you know your delusional?
    Did you know being delusional is a form of insanity?
    Please seek help for these delusions and stay away from children and firearms.

    November 5, 2013 at 2:34 pm |
    • meifumado

      @ Jesus' Beloved

      November 5, 2013 at 2:34 pm |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

      You're.

      November 5, 2013 at 2:37 pm |
    • There it sits

      If he had his way he probably wouldn't let you vote either.

      November 5, 2013 at 7:36 pm |
  19. Honey Badger Don't Care

    Nice fairy tale.

    November 5, 2013 at 2:33 pm |
    • lol??

      Obamacarrie (Carrie is a 1976 American supernatural horror film based on the 1974 novel of the same name by Stephen King.)?? Transcripts from school?? Fair courts in Illinois (rent out yer condo and yer a resident)

      Americultians are big on tales.

      November 5, 2013 at 2:43 pm |
      • Maddy

        Well, you've achieved something: being even more monsensical than usual.

        November 5, 2013 at 2:56 pm |
        • lol??

          OK midwest rail, behave!

          November 5, 2013 at 3:01 pm |
        • Maddy

          *nonsensical

          November 5, 2013 at 3:04 pm |
        • Maddy

          I'm not midwest, although if he describes you as nonsensical, also, we're in total agreement.

          You merely make little sense.

          November 5, 2013 at 3:35 pm |
        • lol??

          Nice fairy tale.

          November 5, 2013 at 4:45 pm |
      • Lisa

        "Carrie" was actually my first clue that the conservative evangelical upbringing I received was scr ewing up my mind. Carrie's mother could have been my own, or any lady in our church. It's still, for me, the scariest thing King ever wrote.

        November 5, 2013 at 6:51 pm |
  20. Jesus' Beloved

    "All mankind will ultimately go back through the passage way at the east of the garden of Eden where the fiery sword and the cherubim are. If we seek the Lord now and are baptized in fire, we become single eyed and our body is set on a path that leads to transfiguration and our body becomes full of light. On the other hand, those that dawdle and remain two eyed will continue on their merry way until the end of this age is rolled up like a scroll. Then, the procrastinators will be forced to take the only passage out which is through the fire. What is for us the baptism of fire, becomes a "hell fire" for them as they are suddenly forced to face their own carnality. For if we seek the Lord now, the refining process is a more gradual one and when it is completed, we will welcome rather than dread the end of this age. But, in any case, the objective of the process is to free man from his carnality, not to destroy him. For it is the carnality that is to be burned up root and branch."

    November 5, 2013 at 2:09 pm |
    • Cleetus Allreetus Alrightus

      Quite the imagination you have there!.

      November 5, 2013 at 2:41 pm |
      • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

        Grand Wazoo is my fourth favorite Zappa album.

        November 5, 2013 at 2:43 pm |
      • Well Duh

        I bet he's a master grand wizard pooba at Dungeons and Dragons.

        November 5, 2013 at 2:47 pm |
    • Jesus' Beloved

      MAT 6:22
      The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.
      23 But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall....

      November 5, 2013 at 2:52 pm |
      • Well Duh

        But if thine eye be an eye, thy whole body shall be a support system for thy eye. RBL 10:4

        November 5, 2013 at 2:56 pm |
      • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

        The Dude

        Careful, man, there's a beverage here!

        November 5, 2013 at 2:59 pm |
      • Madtown

        Jesus' Beloved
        MAT 6:22
        ----
        If that isn't completely clear and devoid of potential for interpretation, I don't know what is.

        November 5, 2013 at 3:20 pm |
        • Jesus' Beloved

          People mock what they don't understand...so I write for those who are open to dialogue, thoughts, revelations, ideas.
          (He that has an ear...let him ear)...We all have ears...
          Not all have spiritual ears.
          God Bless you.

          November 5, 2013 at 3:47 pm |
        • drturi

          Please Google "Halloween Suicide Girls Born Witches Dr. Turi" and have a blast! Pass it on if you like it! Check also – Google "Anarchy Coming To America? dr.turi"

          November 5, 2013 at 9:58 pm |
        • Jesus

          Dear "Jesus' Beloved". Please stop calling yourself this, becuase I really, really hate you.

          November 5, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
        • Joey

          Why didn't god give everyone spiritual ears, since you claim our eternal souls depend on them?

          November 5, 2013 at 3:50 pm |
        • God

          Dear Jesus' Beloved. I hate you, too. I can't wait till you die so I can send you to hell.

          November 5, 2013 at 3:53 pm |
        • Madtown

          I write for those who are open to dialogue, thoughts, revelations, ideas.
          ---–
          Yep, you've got it all figured out. These questions that have been around, unanswered, since the dawn of man.....we need just to consult you. Thank goodness "you write", for all our benefit.

          November 5, 2013 at 3:54 pm |
        • The Holy Spirit

          Well heck, I'm in too, then. I hate you even more than Jesus and God. When I moved across the waters and caused creation, I would never have proceeded had I known the far off results of my labours would be an irritating, syrupy little nerd like you.

          November 5, 2013 at 3:55 pm |
        • Lisa

          JB
          That explains why creationists mock science, I suppose?

          November 5, 2013 at 6:45 pm |
        • sam stone

          spiritual ears = spiritual discernment = delusions

          November 6, 2013 at 5:54 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Cherubim, seraphim, satyrs, 7 headed dragons that spew torrents of water, amphibious 10 horned, 7 headed, bear pawed beasts, ifrits, angels, demons, etc. do not exist.

      November 5, 2013 at 3:12 pm |
      • Alias

        PROVE IT!

        (just kidding)

        November 5, 2013 at 5:20 pm |
      • For further reference

        See hypnogogic/hypnopompic hallucination, auditory hallucination, tactile hallucination, deja vu, recurring dreams, mind blowing coincidence, temporal lobe epilepsy and unexplained bruises.

        Spontaneous combustion in the kitchen of a home may also be caused by pistachios. Weird but true.

        November 5, 2013 at 6:38 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.