November 20th, 2013
12:11 PM ET
From auto shop to sacred space
Editor's note: This story is part of CNN's American Journey series to show how old buildings around the United States have found new purposes and helped to build communities. Are there repurposed buildings in your community? Share the stories with CNN iReport and they could be featured in a CNN story.
Sandy Springs, Georgia (CNN) - The old Chevrolet paint and body shop was vacant - 24,000 square feet of metal and concrete surrounded by a sea of asphalt.
But when some members of Congregation Or Hadash saw it, they saw a home.
Since it was founded in 2003, the conservative Jewish congregation had bounced from location to location outside Atlanta - a Methodist church, a windowless space in a school, any place they could rent or borrow as they grew.
"Sometimes, from week to week, we didn't know exactly where we were going to be," said Fred Wachter, president of the congregation and a member since its early years.
"All the while ... we probably walked every piece of available property and real estate in Sandy Springs, trying to find something, anything, that would look like it."FULL STORY
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.
So let's get this straight.
Atheists believe Christians are stupid because they believe in an imaginary father figure in the sky that impregnated a virgin with himself, to give birth to himself, so he could sacrifice himself to himself to forgive the "original sin" of a couple we now all know never existed. And there is no proof for any of this ever occurring except a bronze age book.
Christians believe that atheists are stupid because atheists believe facts and provable science rather than believing the myriad imaginings of the Christian "faith".
do you think one side has a little more reason to be throwing the "stupid" tag at the other?
it's ignorance, not stupidity.
religious brainwashing is very difficult to overcome.
there are some very intelligent religious people out there.
but being smart does not always save you from ignorance.
There is a lot to be said for fear and raw emotional responses. I bet many agnostic theists from time to time think, what if I am wrong and there is no afterlife? I expect they shudder a bit, then repeat to themselves "good thing I got it right about god". The indoctrination is very powerful, even though I have been an atheist since I was a pre-teen, the bedtime prayer "Now I lay me down to sleep" really, really creeps me out. I like to think I am very tolerant, but I can tell you none of my grandkids will ever say "that" prayer.
The straight guy is the butt of the jokes. You DO have purpose.
From auto shop to sacred space...
that's too bad.
mechanics are much more useful than ministers.
Way to go atheists. You threaten a lawsuit against schools who were participating in Operation Christmas Child and now a lot of children will go without this year.
Way to go, Christians. You forced people to threaten a lawsuit because you can't discern the meaning of separation of church and state.
maybe if you get on your knees and beg some more, gopher, jeebus will come back and help the little kiddies himself
can't the children just pray? It's supposed to work isn't it? says so in the bible ...
Try linking to what the heck you're talking about...
"On Wednesday, they organized an off-campus rally and toy collection drive on the public sidewalk adjacent to the school."
That's what they should have done in the first place.
Should have known better.
Stay out of schools and do not hand out your propaganda to children that are not your own. Brainwashing kids is a form of child abuse.
Wait, they can't just send kids to poor kids without religious messages? To me that means they don't care about helping the kids as much as they care about trying to convert them to Christianity.
Make that toys to poor kids.
they like getting kids too ...
When kids came to our Topher's house along with some goodies he handed out Baptist pamphlets and a jesus freaking DVD in order to influence the children. If he tried to corrupt my kids with crap like that he would be singing soprano in the choir. He is dangerous.
Forgot at Halloween, oops.
And with a reaction like that you would have wound up in jail and charged with assault and battery. Is THAT how you show appreciation for your 1st Ammendment?
I told him if he did that to me when I was a kid we would have come back later that night with some toilet paper in order to decorate his trees.
I guess that is part of your problem, you take every thing literally, even the bible nonsense. I wouldn't harm a hair on our Topher's butt, you understand?
Many of these believers are quite easily confused. I cannot count the number of times when I have mentioned their "God" character that they have responded, "Aha, so you DO believe in 'him'!"
the "gift package" that Operation Christmas Child sends out includes a shoebox with hygiene items and gifts, as well as a pamphlet on Christianity. it's a way to recruit. they could have sent gifts without trying to proselytize. it's a recruitment package bribe. can't get people to join your religion on its on merits? bribe em.
Or they might think of the propaganda as one among many gifts in the box.
Someday you will understand maybe. Like the Texas Board of Education, glad I do not live there anymore.
Evolution debate again engulfs Texas board of ed
Over when the earth cooled is the supposed debate topher.
They are going to bring in the experts to decide if there were any errors in presenting evolution. Of course in Texas "experts" means the local Baptist preacher.
Journal Science.... Scientists have detected neutrinos from space for the first time at Antarctica's IceCube Lab, this could lead to seeing farther into the universe than ever before. The god myths are dying, the sooner the better.
Geology cool stuff.
Christians do not believe in God because of the creation narrative, Adam and Eve, or Noah’s Ark. We believe because we have been saved by grace through faith. In effect, we have experienced the power of God. Through faith, we believe the scriptures are true. We readily admit that there are things we don’t understand in the bible. The bottom line is that believers won’t stop believing because of evidence against the creation narrative, Adam and Eve, or Noah’s Ark. These are not what brought us to faith.
The word "faith" is meaningless rendering your arguments irrelevant.
"The word "faith" is meaningless rendering your arguments irrelevant."
Do you inspect every chair before you sit in it, or do you have faith that it won't collapse on you? "Faith" is not without meaning...
A chair actually exists.
If you choose to go that route, then you are forced into a position of attempting to prove the non-existence of God. Have fun.
No I am not.
I've heard this chair argument before. It is only used by idiots. I guess LofA is an idiot. Who knew?
I think you are confusing "faith" (the belief in things without evidence) with having a high degree of confidence in something.
I don't check a chair I've sat in before because, in my experience, a chair that's supported me before will most likely do so again. So I have a I degree of confidence that it will, not faith. If I come to a chair I've never sat in before, I would probably give it at least a cursory inspection before I sat in it as my confidence level isn't as high.
In essence, belief in spite of the evidence. That's your choice.
But please don't then claim that the evidence does support your belief.
It is a belief without proof... Not a belief without evidence. Evidences abound, but there is no way to use physical means to describe that which is non-physical. We can't prove that a "mind" exists within a "brain," but it's there. We can't prove that the universe is contingent, or is self existent, but we have evidences that allow us to posit theories in either case...
Supernatural explanations aren't evidence of any kind.
Do you believe in body Thetans? You can't see or feel them, but if you'll just talk to them and explain what Xenu did then you'll feel much better.
There is no proof of Thetans, but Scientologists the world over had evidence sufficient for them to invest all their time and money in becoming "clear" of them.
Why do you reject the evidence for Thetans?
LoA: You act as though there are not widely varying levels of faith. The level of faith involved in making any assertion is inversely proportional to the evidence supporting that assertion. Lots of evidence random chairs won't collapse, so very little faith required that one will support you. Extremely little evidence of any particular god's existence, so extremely high level of faith required to believe in one. See the difference?
@Lawrence of Arabia
"It is a belief without proof... Not a belief without evidence. Evidences abound,"
Similar to the "evidence" supporting Astrology?
"Supernatural explanations aren't evidence of any kind"
I agree whole-heartedly. Supernatural explanations are not evidence – they are an explanation of the evidence.
Our faith is handed down to us from the Apostles who experienced supernatural incursions into the natural world first hand. There are mountains upon mountains of doc.umentation beginning with them, as well as their students, the church fathers, and on and on as to the historicity of the events and their writings. That, compared to the relatively miniscule amount of writings dedicated to the falsification of those doc.uments add to their credibility.
Textual criticism is a very fascinating study, and my studies in that field over the last 2 decades has served to strengthen my faith – though I have not seen with my own eyes, I believe through what has been written.
You know all the other religions have lots of what they consider "evidence" too, right?
"You know all the other religions have lots of what they consider "evidence" too, right?"
Yep. That's why natural revelation (the creation) can only go so far as to point to the existence of "a" God. It can never point specifically to "the" God. That's where special revelation (written) comes in. And there are other systematic determiners of truth for special revelation, that I won't list now for brevity's sake.
L of A, Other religions have the equivalent writings "showing how accurate" their beliefs are. You are only a christian because that is the majority religion in the USA – you cannot point to any way christianity is objectively superior to any religion and you definitely cannot point to objective evidence of a god.
LoA: " That's where special revelation (written) comes in". Not sure of your point–all the other religions have their own written "revelation".
"And there are other systematic determiners of truth for special revelation, that I won't list now for brevity's sake."
Should it really involve that much time, effort, literacy, education, and resources to determine the truthfulness of something that should be inherently obvious? Not everyone in the world has those things available to them.
George – Well said.
The Biblical definition of faith is:
11 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
Now faith is the "substance" of these things; it is the ground and foundation of them, in which there is some standing hope; in which sense the word (upostasiv) is used by Septuagint in ( Psalms 69:2 ) . The word of promise is principal ground and foundation of hope; and faith, as leaning on the word, is a less principal ground; it is a confident persuasion, expectation, and assurance of them.
Faith is not evidence.
Biblical faith defined has both certainty and evidence in it.
If referring to what Faith means to a believer give details of what "faith" is, next time.
Faith is a thought. Thoughts are not evidence.
Actually, faith is belief despite lack of evidence.
Or......someone convinced you you needed to be "saved" and you never questioned it
Saved by Grace from Will & Grace? That's a TV show, dude. A looker, though, I'll give you that.
I always thought "Will and Grace" was a debate between a Calvinist and an Arminian?
OK, I thought that was hilarious myself... Come one, *taps on the microphone* is there a theologian in the house?
'...that believers won’t stop believing because of evidence against the creation narrative,..'
-Can you explain what you mean by the above?
Don't feed trolls!
That must have been a poe!
I’ll try Oliver. Atheists bring up lots of problems with the bible. The things that generate the most controversy are those I mentioned. Evolution and the age of the earth according to science, don’t agree with the creation narrative and Adam and Eve. There is no evidence of global flood and several objections to the idea that Noah could have built the ark and filled it with all the animals, all humans couldn’t be descendants of Noah and his family, and etc. Even with all those objections, believers didn’t start believing because of those things, we have experienced God. Just because we don’t understand some of these things and there is evidence against those accounts, we still have faith.
Did that help?
RB, Those things disprove the creation myths and for christianity, original sin. Creation myths are the foundation of any religion, and original sin is fundamental to christianity. Those are offered as proof of god (in a circular argument). Clearly the foundation of all religions is non-existent, and as there is no evidence outside the minds of believers, then clearly there's no objective, verifiable evidence.
Since sin is a ridiculous and truly insane concept, and since there is no such thing as sin, all your religion is clearly a worthless fantasy geared towards terrorizing ignorant people. There is no other function for religion at all.
Without any god existing and without any real sin being a real thing, Jesus is shown to be nothing more than a filthy idiot who ran away from his religion and culture to espouse communism and set himself up as a god as well as cult leader.
Jesus wrote nothing down himself. Was he illiterate? Was he dyslexic and so never was able to pass his bar mitzvah?
Or did he write down lots of stuff, mostly communist manifestos and clearly insane ramblings and that is why they were destroyed as evidence of the scam?
Tell me, Robert, where are the words written by Jesus himself? They do not exist despite two thousand years of devoted followers who would have loved to see any such thing.
Did the early RCC root them out and destroy them? Did the Emperor Constantine scour the cults for every scrap he could find so that no one could say different than he?
DId the Council of Nicea have any scraps whatsoever? Would they have left them out on purpose?
No, I doubt Jesus could do more than scam people into thinking he was holy. He was surely nothing more than a piece of trash with delusions of grandeur if he even existed at all, which is still doubtful at this point.
Where is the scientific proof that this idiot even lived? If he lived then he is DEAD and no longer exists at all.
Where are the words he wrote? Why do you worship the second-hand hearsay as if it were super-true and not just the usual lies told to followers by con-artists in those days?
You have nothing but think you have everything. You don't have squat and never will. Your god definitely does not exist, and so all your claims of "sin" and needing a "savior" are just babbling idiocy as we always see from religitards like you.
In Santa we trust,
Disprove no, evidence against, possibly. You are tip toeing around my point with original sin. Would you like to know what I knew about original sin when I was saved? I knew absolutely nothing about it, not one thing. No amount of argument about things we can’t know, can take away the experiences I have had with God. That isn’t too hard to fathom, is it?
Original sin demonstrates our sin nature, we are born with it. The flesh is against the spirit. If you would like to see the sin nature in action, put a few kindergardeners in a room and give them each one toy. Observe for a few minutes. Or, just watch your local news broadcast.
You can have evidence for God, for some reason you prefer to deny his existence rather than accepting what he will willing give you.
RobertBrown: " If you would like to see the sin nature in action, put a few kindergardeners in a room and give them each one toy."
Why do we need to call selfish behavior sin? Why not just call it selfish behavior? Those selfish five year olds will eventually become socialized to their cultures norms of behavior and also by experience will realize that the selfish approach is not always the best approach. What does that have to do with sin or religion?
Where is your proof for evolution?
The idea of original sin says we are born with a sin nature. You are correct that most learn that selfish behavior is inappropriate, but are they no longer selfish? How about you George, are you selfish? You don’t have to answer, but I don’t mind telling you that I am. Can you really love your neighbor as yourself and be selfish?
Self implies selfishness. The only creatures without selfishness are things like ants and termites, because they have no "self". Of course babies are selfish – they have to be. Do you consider this evil that they scream to be fed? The "sin" (if thats you believe selfishness is) is in the ACT of being selfish when you DO know better. And then it is not sin, but merely antisocial behavior (although depending on the situation it may be illegal).. Is my aspie step-son guilty of being selfish just because he has a hard time understanding "correct" social behavior? He certainly isn't evil, but he can be arrogant, non-empathetic or even hurtful without realizing it, but I do not fault him for it anymore than I would call a a crying baby selfish.
Robert Brown – "Can you really love your neighbor as yourself and be selfish?" Sure I'm selfish to a degree, as is everyone, but so what? I don't feel a need to be perfect, and I don't expect others to be, either. And I don't feel I need to love my neighbor as myself–we just need to get along.
"We believe because we have been saved by grace through faith"
+++ no silly, you believe in god because of your parents. if you had been born in India, you would believe in Vishnu. you believe in god because you are in the christian cult.
So it's like Applejacks, "We believe what we like."
Apple Jacks will not be sold to bullies.
God is a whore.
From what I understand, so is your wife.
You are incorrect.
As you are.
Nobody cares, especially your wife.
How Christian of a response you have there.
Hmmm... two religion related links (or non-religion related) on CNN's front page...
@More God, less atheism
Not to feed you, but is your poor grammar and spelling part of your troll shtick, or are you really as ignorant as your posts would indicate?
It is the same troll who enjoys infantalizing their spelling – "bwain" etc.
Tis the troll-o-many monikers.
I see. Strange person.
Listen to the man;
Save some truth as long as you can.
A crazy insane and delusional ruse;
A platform built to use and abuse.
Children chained and preached up cold;
Dysfunctional adults as they grow old.
A world of timeless lies and affliction;
Religion is the world’s addiction.
A definite improvement but can you match the following?
"The Two Universal Sects
They all err—Moslems, Jews,
Christians, and Zoroastrians:
Humanity follows two world-wide sects:
One, man intelligent without religion,
The second, religious without intellect. "
, born AD 973 /, died AD 1058 / .
Al-Ma’arri was a blind Arab philosopher, poet and writer. He was a controversial rationalist of his time, attacking the dogmas of religion and rejecting the claim that Islam possessed any monopoly on truth."
Interesting, thanks R2.
Every so often as a public service I post a list of the top 5 American universities so that graduating high school seniors are more aware of what's out there. Well here they are in the order of their ranking:
1. Princeton University
3. Sarah Palin University
5. Columbia University
Ok, ok, ok. I know that you are all wondering the same same thing as I am. How the hell did Yale make that list?
You are missing Oral Roberts.
Wouldn’t it be a miracle if one day, perhaps in my lifetime, humans turned their back on the past and became the one incarnation of the species Homo sapiens to accept that there is no god and pour their intelligence and resources into the discovery of reality?
If a miracle like that happened I would thank…...oh shit.
All you need to do is to show people how to read their sacred texts with an open mind.
Tilted, unarticulated, frightened, misaligned and beautiful.
Worship it freedom of the freakish in the fashion fantasy; wrong door.
Then why the bones? Why the mangled images and wealthy gamblers?
Time to control and succeed; crayons in a box of pewter.
The sound is neither audible nor plausible
The cause is unobtainable and impossible
The reality is ridiculous yet true
The end, worse than the beginning
The beginning is the end
You're too funny ...
"alcoholic beverages are liquid drugs and are called alcoholic for a reason" ...
Yeah, because they have alcohol in them. Who'da thought?
Next up, an explanation of why apple juice is called apple juice.
Talking to yourself.
One sign of delusion: Talking to your self and thinking a deity is listening and will respond.
Crazy is believing that man was made of dirt and fairy spit.
Crazy is believing that a mud man and a rib woman talked to a snake and decided the fate of mankind.
In the beginning, Pan Gu escaped from the great universal egg by cracking it open with a broadaxe. The light part of the yolk floated up and became the heavens while the cold, hard part stayed below to form earth with Pan Gu standing between them like a pillar to keep the separated. When He died, His breath became the wind and clouds, His voice thunder, His eyes the sun and the moon, his beard and hair turned to the stars in the sky, His blood the water. His veins became roads and his muscles fertile land. The fleas and lice on his body became the ancestors of mankind.
So it is written in ancient Chinese creation stories. If it is written, it must be true, just like Genesis.
more or less, Do explain why not believing in a being for which there is no evidence is so strange. If you have evidence for your god do provide that as well.
Tell me that you want me
Tell me that you need me
But please don’t
Tell me that you can’t live without me
You already are
I wonder why the Abrahamic God stacked the deck against Asians. This God waited thousands of years while the Asians invented all manner of other gods to worship. Generations after generations of Asians taught their children of these man made gods, and the children believed it and went on to teach it to their children. This God of Abraham created these Asians, with the mental capacity and imagination to invent pantheons of gods.
Then Abraham's God revealed himself to a tribe. This tribe had some military victories they attributed to thier God. They got confidence and got aggressive and had more victories. They got co cky and lost some, but that wasn't God's fault, that was because they were not following God's laws closely enough. Then the Romans came. No military victories there. They had a better idea, God 2.0, Jesus. They infiltrated the minds of Romans and took them over mentally. They also went from an exclusive tribe to an open religion. Accept Jesus and you're saved, don't and you burn.
But the poor Asians were left out, they kept their imaginary gods. They weren't given a chance, their whole lives wasted. Billions of them.
Try to keep up.
Satan did it. It is their fault for listening to Satan and not believing in jesus. Thye deserve to be tortured for ever. The only other option was to disrespect their parents, and you know what that would gotten them.
I will try to keep up....
You believe in the devil. LOL!
Spin, spin, spin.
The scary part about that devil is Supreme Court Justice Scalia does.
The Xia Dynasty in China existed 2,000 years before Christ.
In traditional Judaism, the Exodus is said to be around 1313 BCE – so the Chinese civilization was extant for hundreds of years before God revealed Himself to His chosen people.
The 1st Christian missionary didn't arrive until the 7th century CE.
"they deserve to be tortured forever" - nothing says "god is love" like that!
Native North and South Americans left out too!
Yeah, I'm surprised they didn't start the Mormon church. Missed out on a nice little earner.
If indiginous North Americans are a fallen, lost tribe of Israel, why aren't their head-dresses more like yarmulkes?
I give the Mormons credit for at least attempting to make up a story about god giving his message to more than one group of people in the world.
Despite his divinity, Jesus is incapable of traveling without his human slaves. He has to travel across the ocean on a ship to reach the Americas, across North America on wagon trains, and he went to Asia on the Silk Road with traders.
He's pretty weak for a deity. Can't even travel across this tiny planet without human help.
I'm sorry (not really) but this is too good not to post again:
You mean to tell me,
that a Jewish zombie can make me live forever,
if I telepathically accept him
as my master…
all because a talking snake convinced a woman created by one rib
to eat from a magical tree?
but using logic with Christians is a pointless exercise. they can't fight the cult brainwashing.
You're looking at it all wrong.
In the beginning, God wanted a garden with someone who looked like him. So he created billions and billions of stars, heaven and hell.
God put a tree of knowledge in the garden for no reason other than to tempt the man he made susceptible to temptation.
Adam got lonely, so made him a vjay, but put a woman in charge of it.
With the help of the rib-woman and a talking snake, Adam ate from the tree.
God got mad.
God blamed all people who were not born yet with this sin, so we would all go to hell.
This where it gets complicated; God didn't want us all to go to hell. So he HAD TO get a married virgin pregnant with his child then torture him to death. I checked. There was no other way the all-powerful God could have judged us the way he wanted to when we died.
Why the name theft?
I 'm the only one who wants this name, apparently.
No one else on this blog has wanted to be me in a long time.
Meant for the fake Ranier.
Life is about solving problems, not following dogma. If you are following dogma, you are part of the problem, not part of the solution. This makes believers an impediment to progress and a thorn in the side of reasonable people seeking progress.
How many problems has an atheist leader resolved?
Take your pick from these and elaborate- Mao, Stalin or Kim Jong.
The same could be said of religious leaders.
Those leaders killed because they were totaliarian not because of a lack of faith; some religious people may have died resisting the removal of religion, but the main reason they killed was for political power. Millions died under Stalin for example but many died because of failed policy – 4 million died of starvation in the Ukraine mainly because of poor agricultural policy.
Posted that in the wrong place.
I do not know how many problems an atheist leader resolved. That data does not seem to be available. That is like asking how many dams beavers have built. You completely miss the point of my post however.
Tyrants and dictators exist whether religious or not (see history of the earth). How does your reply relate to AB's post?
What's up CQ?
I am pondering changing my handle from CQ to Neutrino from Space. They have detected them for the first time at Antarctica's Ice Cube project, still I kind of like CQ, a quandary.
Careful there CQ, or you will end up with as many names as I have!
"If you are following dogma, you are part of the problem"
-Where do you get your moral values from?
I don't know what you mean by "huh", sorry.
"If you are following dogma, you are part of the problem"
-Where do you get your moral values from?
-That makes perfect sense! 😉
I know, that is why I said it.
So, you have your dogma too!
Moral values and dogma are not the same thing.
True, there is the Gutenberg bible, there's even one called the Wycliffe bible from the 1300's. The King James version, which is where EVERY current bible came from, today, is the one I'm referring too. Does it bother you that King James was gay and inspired by "god" to put a bible together, that every christian uses today?
Queen James version
No, sir. King James is where the King James Bible came from. You need to do a little more research on where translations such as the NASB and the ESV (as just two examples) came from. A good study of manuscripts would show you this. Unfortunately, you're not going to get the whole picture from a simple internet search.
whether he was gay or not does not have anything to do with his motivations, gay people can be Christians, and still be gay, lust is a sin, whether for man or woman, and there are thousands of versions of the bible all with small changes in detail, so I agree with LofA,
If money is the root of all evil….
then why do they ask for it in church?
@ Rainer: it's the *love of* money... not just money.
Even better. Those televangelists and their wives do love designer duds and flashy jewelry.
Obviously, this comment and the ones below are not from the original RB.
If your faith can move mountains,
it should be able to withstand criticism.