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December 24th, 2013
06:00 AM ET

CNN Poll: Pope's approval rating sky-high

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor
[twitter-follow screen_name='BurkeCNN']

(CNN) - As Pope Francis prepares to celebrate his first Christmas at the Vatican, Americans' opinions of the pontiff appear to be as high as the dome on St. Peter's Basilica, according to a new survey.

A CNN/ORC International poll released Tuesday found that 88% of American Catholics approve of how Francis is handling his role as head of the 1.2 billion-member church.

The popular pontiff has also made a positive impression among Americans in general: Nearly three in four view Francis favorably.  The new survey suggests that the Pope is arguably the most well-regarded religious figure among the American public today, said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

Nine months into his papacy, the Argentine-born Francis has captured attention with crowd-pleasing acts of compassion, from embracing a severely disfigured man, to washing the feet of juvenile delinquents, to hosting homeless men at his birthday Mass this month.

The Pope has also shown a common touch rare for such a lofty religious leader. He has eschewed the trappings of the papacy in favor of humbler digs, simpler vestments and a cheaper car. He worked as a bar bouncer and a janitor before he was a priest, and is not shy about telling people.

Pope: I was once a bar bouncer

According to one study, Pope Francis was the most talked about person on the Internet this year, and even atheists have professed appreciation for the 77-year-old pontiff.

The breadth of Francis' popularity was on display at American newsstands this month: he was named person of the year by both Time magazine and The Advocate, a gay and lesbian publication.

"While 2013 will be remembered for the work of hundreds in advancing marriage equality, it will also be remembered for the example of one man," The Advocate said. In remarks that rippled across the globe, Pope Francis said in July, "If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?

Pope Francis on gays: 'Who am I to judge?'

While the Pope has not changed church doctrine, he has urged Catholics to shift their focus from culture war issues to caring for people on society's margins, especially the poor.

"I see the church as a field hospital after battle," Francis said in September.

American Catholics appear to like the new course the Pope has set for their church. Nearly two-thirds agree with him about the amount of attention that should be paid to issues such as abortion and homosexuality, according to the CNN/ORC poll.

More than 85% of American Catholics say Francis is neither too liberal nor too conservative, and 86% say he's in touch with the modern world. By comparison, more than half of American Catholics said Pope John Paul II was out of step with the times in 2003, near the end of his 26-year-long papacy.

But Francis has been a fierce critic of the status quo, especially what calls the "idolatry of money" present in modern-day capitalism. In a papal statement last month, for example, the Pope blasted the theory of trickle-down economics, calling it "crude and naïve."

Conservative critics such as Rush Limbaugh pounced on the Pope's remarks, calling him a closet Marxist. But nearly two in three American Catholics agree with the Pope about capitalism and the free market's effects on the poor, according to the CNN/ORC poll.

Pope: Marxist ideology is 'wrong'

On other key issues for Catholics - the role of women in the church and the sexual abuse crises - Francis gets similarly high ratings from his American flock.

More than six in 10 American Catholics agree with Francis' comments about women in the church, according to the CNN/ORC poll. The Pope has said that women should have a larger role in church governance but cannot be ordained as priests.

Similarly, more than six in 10 American Catholics say Francis is doing a good job handling fallout from the church's sexual abuse scandal, even as most (64%) also say the church overall has done a poor job on the issue.

This month, the Vatican announced the creation of a new commission to care for victims of clergy sexual abuse and to prevent future crimes.

American Catholics had given especially low marks on the sexual abuse scandal to Francis' predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, with just 36% saying in 2010 that he had handled the issue well.

CNN's Holland said it's difficult to ascertain exactly how Francis' popularity stacks up against his predecessors, however. "It's a tough question since polling on Popes is pretty sparse," he said.

What's more, like political polling, approval ratings shift depending on the public mood and perception of a Pope's performance.

For example, three-quarters of American Catholics approved of how John Paul was leading the church in 1994; that number rose to 84% in 1999 and dipped to 64% in 2003, at the height of the church's sexual abuse crisis.

It remains to be seen how long the honeymoon will last for Francis, and how long he can continue to build goodwill among American Catholics.

The poll was conducted for CNN by ORC International on December 16 through Thursday, with 1,035 adults nationwide, including 191 Catholics, questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.

Pope Francis' greatest hits of 2013

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Catholic Church • Christianity • Culture wars • Leaders • Pope Benedict XVI • Pope Francis • Pope John Paul II • Sex abuse • Vatican

soundoff (3,274 Responses)
  1. Billy

    The God of the Christian Bible Thumper is an immoral concept. The alleged god of this type gives free will, but demands belief, when belief is only attained from ancient writings that are easily interpreted in different ways by people. It is an unclear path that has resulted in over 40,000 sects. Furthermore, a god of this type is allegedly an active god, that intervenes on its own terms and judges people at the end of their lives. If I possessed that type of divinity, I would intervene when a young girl is being raped. That's the difference between me and this type of god.

    December 31, 2013 at 10:46 am |
    • Lawrence of Arabia

      Where does the Bible say that we have free will?

      December 31, 2013 at 10:49 am |
      • Cpt. Obvious

        Many verses imply it, and many imply that there is no free will. I'm not sure, but I would guess that there are more verses that imply NO free will than imply free will, even though most christians claim god provides free will. Dunno.

        Excellent post by Billy, though, right?!!!

        December 31, 2013 at 10:51 am |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          The Bible teaches what theologians have termed "Concurrence." This refers to the coterminous actions of God and human beings. We are creatures with a will of our own. We make things happen. Yet the causal power that we exert is only secondary. God’s sovereign providence stands over and above our actions. He works out His will through the actions of human wills, without violating the freedom of those human wills.

          December 31, 2013 at 10:53 am |
        • Guest

          Coterminous. What a great word.

          December 31, 2013 at 10:58 am |
        • Damocles

          @LoA

          I can sort of see where this is headed already, but could you explain to me how a deity works through the will of a rap-ist and at the same time does not violate the victim's will to not be rap-ed?

          December 31, 2013 at 10:59 am |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          The problem with free will, is that it seems to be most vibrant in the people who have the most power. For instance, when a woman is r@ped, her "free will" would be to not be r@ped, but does her free will become reality? No. The free will of the person who has the knife to her throat is the one that becomes reality. Same in school shootings. The free will of the victims' does not become reality, but the free will of the shooter–the guy with the most power.

          December 31, 2013 at 11:02 am |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          Damocles,
          In the same way that God worked through Joseph being sold into slavery by his brothers, and through the commissioning of Assyria to attack Israel, and lastly, through the crucifixion of Jesus.

          December 31, 2013 at 11:04 am |
        • Damocles

          @LoA

          I could almost see your point if there had been exactly one case of ra-pe in all of recorded history and that person rose above it to achieve great things. Is that the case?

          December 31, 2013 at 11:09 am |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          Damocles,
          The point is that God causes all things to work to His glory – even tragedies in our lives, and yes, even r@pe. A little note from someone not unfamiliar with tragedy – r@pe isn't the worst thing that can happen to a person, and God uses everything to His glory.

          December 31, 2013 at 11:16 am |
        • Doris

          And maybe even the little game in the garden, Larry. Like Billy said – an immoral god.

          December 31, 2013 at 11:24 am |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          That sort of rationality is terrifying. An invisible and undetectable god USES bad events and pain and death for his GLORY???? What the fvck? God isn't smart enough and powerful enough to get glory without the r@pe of some diseased and dying little child? Really??? Fvck that god!

          December 31, 2013 at 11:24 am |
        • Damocles

          @LoA

          I have to say that's a pretty horrible way of looking at things. I can't imagine thinking like that and I am very glad for that.

          December 31, 2013 at 11:26 am |
        • Charm Quark

          Lof A
          You do not state what the words in the bible are, but what you take from them , interpretation.

          December 31, 2013 at 11:26 am |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          Charm,
          One of the many that I could turn to here...

          Why does God allow sin to exist?
          Because He has a plan for it…

          Romans 3:5 – “…our unrighteousness demonstrates the righteousness of God…”
          > See, you could never understand the true righteousness of God if you did not first understand you own unrighteousness so as to give you a basis for comparison

          Romans 5:8 – But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
          > God demonstrates His love and grace toward us, in a context of our hate toward God – for all sin is rebellion against God

          Romans 9:22-24 – What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction? And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory, even us, whom He also called, not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles.
          > God demonstrates His justice through “vessels of wrath” – those destined for hell will forever bring glory to God for His perfect justice; that all sin will ultimately be punished
          > God demonstrates His mercy to us in the context of wrath
          Indirectly through the natural consequences of violating His universal moral law
          Directly through His personal intervention:
          To make His power known
          To put the riches of his mercy on display

          God does not make men sinful, but by choosing only some to save, He leaves the rest to the unintended consequences of the sin that they themselves have chosen

          December 31, 2013 at 11:43 am |
        • Charm Quark

          LofA
          You continue to fail to see the point. You can't post anything without putting your spin on it. That is interpretation you are lying when you say you do not interpret scripture.

          December 31, 2013 at 11:52 am |
        • Damocles

          @LoA

          Wow... just... wow.

          December 31, 2013 at 11:55 am |
        • doobzz

          @LofA

          "The point is that God causes all things to work to His glory – even tragedies in our lives, and yes, even r@pe.

          God never once helped me, no matter how hard I prayed. After forty years of waiting for god to "use my life for his glory", I found a good psychiatrist, a good therapist, and proper medication.

          I thankful that I didn't wait until I was dead to see when and if god was finally going to show me how an act like rape was a glorious thing for him. Since ditching deities and getting medical treatment, I've gotten my life back and it's wonderful.

          December 31, 2013 at 11:58 am |
        • sam stone

          "The point is that God causes all things to work to His glory – even tragedies in our lives, and yes, even r@pe."

          I find it amusing that you and Gopher want to spend eternity with this vindictive, petty pr1ck

          December 31, 2013 at 12:45 pm |
        • sam stone

          "See, you could never understand the true righteousness of God if you did not first understand you own unrighteousness so as to give you a basis for comparison"

          Self loathing little slave

          December 31, 2013 at 12:51 pm |
      • Guest

        Isn't this standard Christian apologetics?

        December 31, 2013 at 10:53 am |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          Yup. "Essential Truths of the Christian Faith," by R.C. Sproul.

          December 31, 2013 at 10:55 am |
        • Topher

          How are Sproul's books? I haven't read any of them.

          December 31, 2013 at 10:59 am |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          Topher,
          They mostly read like a dictionary. They're great sources of information, but not really intended to be through and through reads. I love his books though.

          December 31, 2013 at 11:06 am |
      • bostontola

        LoA,
        We agree on something, I don't find free will in the bible. Scientific tests show we don't have complete free will.

        December 31, 2013 at 10:55 am |
        • Doris

          Yet there are some literalists who post here regularly who do claim man has free will given to him divinely.

          December 31, 2013 at 11:15 am |
      • Doris

        In your belief, Larry, did Adam and Eve truly have any choice in their actions. Was it just a cruel little game God was playing with them?

        December 31, 2013 at 11:22 am |
      • Charm Quark

        LofA
        There you go again "The bible teaches ..." that is your interpretation. State the passage of what is in the bible not your opinion of what it means, period. Let the reader determine what it means, jesus you are so obtuse.

        December 31, 2013 at 11:23 am |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          You want the scripture? sure...
          The Bible teaches the twin truths of God's sovereignty, and man's responsibility with no attempt to reconcile the two ideas.

          Matthew 11:27 – All things have been handed over to Me by My Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.
          –>You cannot know Christ unless He wills you to know Him
          Matthew 11:28-29 – “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
          –>Here, Jesus tells us to take action – to come to Him.
          –>So in these two verses, 27 and 28, we see back to back the twin truths of salvation – The Sovereignty of God, and man’s responsibility

          Again, we see this apparent dichotomy in John…
          John 3:27 – John answered and said, “A man can receive nothing unless it has been given him from heaven.
          John 5:21 – For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son also gives life to whom He wishes.
          John 5:24 – “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.
          John 6:35 – Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.
          John 6:37 – “All that the Father gives Me shall come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out”
          John 6:39 – This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day.
          John 6:40 – “For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him, may have eternal life”
          John 6:44 – “No one can come to Me, unless the Father who sent Me draws him”
          John 6:47 – “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life”
          John 6:57-58 – As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats Me, he also will live because of Me. This is the bread which came down out of heaven; not as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live forever.”
          John 6:63-64 – It is the Spirit who gives life (John 3:1-10); the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life. But there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who it was that would betray Him.
          John 6:65 – “No one can come to Me, unless it has been granted him from the Father”
          John 8:24 – “I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I Am, you will die in your sins.”

          Acts 2:22-24 – “Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know— this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death. But God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power.
          –>In this passage, Paul illustrates the dichotomy between Divine sovereignty and man’s responsibility in the crucifixion of Christ. It was God’s plan, but wicked men carried it out according to their own will, and they will bear full responsibility for their actions.

          December 31, 2013 at 11:30 am |
        • Damocles

          @LoA

          So you have reduced your belief to nothing more than a popularity contest.

          You can't know your deity unless it wills it, but hey, keep trying to change its mind that it already made up.

          December 31, 2013 at 11:39 am |
        • Charm Quark

          LofA
          You just can't get over telling people what the nonsense means, get over yourself or book a ticket to the planet Kolob, where you can be the god you think you are, bye now.

          December 31, 2013 at 11:44 am |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          Charm,
          I have no idea what Kolob is... Is that like Marvin the Martian's Planet X?
          And you asked me to give you scripture for the twin truths found in scripture, and I did. If you don't like what I have said, then fine, you tell me then what you think it means.

          December 31, 2013 at 11:49 am |
        • Charm Quark

          LofA
          You are the one that states you do not interpret scripture, you can't be a follower of Christ if you continue to lie all the time. Stop already you are coming across like a --.

          December 31, 2013 at 12:07 pm |
    • MoaM

      Yea, I don't worship that god either.

      December 31, 2013 at 10:55 am |
    • Topher

      So wait ... you're claiming you're better than God?

      December 31, 2013 at 10:56 am |
      • Damocles

        I think most people would agree that a person that tries to stop a crime from happening is better than the person who stands by while it happens. If you'd rather someone pray on your behalf while a crime is being committed upon your person, that's totally your call, but I'd rather someone take a more direct approach should the need arise.

        December 31, 2013 at 11:05 am |
        • Charm Quark

          Damocles
          Our Topher was in jail when he saw the light and was born again, impresses the parole board.

          December 31, 2013 at 11:17 am |
        • doobzz

          @ Charm Quark

          Really? Topher is a jailhouse convert? That explains a lot.

          December 31, 2013 at 12:05 pm |
        • fyi

          I think maybe Charm is confusing Topher with Austin...

          December 31, 2013 at 1:10 pm |
        • Charm Quark

          fyi
          Don't think I got it wrong. Topher hit bottom after a criminal charge and went to jail/prison and came out redeemed (not sure about the sore butt hole) and became born again. Hence our Topher the proselytiser to children and adults alike.

          December 31, 2013 at 2:43 pm |
      • sam stone

        Topher is a jailhouse convert?

        I wonder if he came to the lord on his knees or his elbows

        In any case, he is a coward

        December 31, 2013 at 12:57 pm |
      • sam stone

        I am better than your god

        Your god is a vindictive, petty punk

        And you are a snivelling coward

        Clear enough, Gopher?

        December 31, 2013 at 1:00 pm |
      • sam stone

        I knew Austin was, but never learned of his crime.

        December 31, 2013 at 2:22 pm |
    • bostontola

      Excellent post. I personally think an analogous post would apply to just about every religion.

      December 31, 2013 at 10:59 am |
    • james

      Billy; the God that created the earth and gave man the privilege of living on and caring for it asked for him to be obedient to one request but that man decided to disobey and chose another god to listen to. We see what has happened with the failure of man independent of his Creator and that Creator is going make things right for those who love him for who and what he is and represents. For more on what the Bible Really Teaches go to jw.org and at no charge you can learn what makes sense, the world today or the one to come. You have nothing to lose and possibly eternal life on a paradise earth if you are serious and sincere about what you asked, thanks, j

      December 31, 2013 at 11:03 am |
      • Cpt. Obvious

        james, nobody doubts the existence of gravity and we all work with it the same way. Math and chemistry only provide results when they are correctly applied. But people have believed and continue to believe today in all sorts of contradictory things about god and what he wants. Why doesn't god make himself as obvious as gravity and his will as knowable (through practical application and observed results) as math or chemistry?

        From what I read, your god is a disgusting freak who would rather utilize a place of eternal torture than simply destroy it. Rather than build a robust universe, he makes it so fragile that one little twist of one woman's wrist puts the whole thing in nuclear meltdown (sin/corrupted state). In short, your god seems both extremely stupid and sadistic.

        December 31, 2013 at 11:08 am |
        • james

          Cpt; evidently you do not know my God since he does not do the things you have described but if you want to know the God of love that I know go to jw.org and learn what the Bible really teaches at no charge. give it a look and di I say at No Charge?, thanks, j

          December 31, 2013 at 11:13 am |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          The biblical god has, for his enjoyment in his throne room of heaven, the "smoke of their torment" of those he has sentenced to everlasting fiery destruction. I assume it's some sort of ventilation system that pipes it straight up. God tells us to love our enemies, but he tortures his enemies forever and ever and enjoys the smell of their barbeque. Hope ya'll have a great time together. I wouldn't be able to stomach it.

          December 31, 2013 at 11:39 am |
      • Doris

        "We see what has happened with the failure of man independent of his Creator and that Creator is going make things right for those who love him"

        So along this story line, man failed and God holds a grudge, so he allows girls to be raped when he very well could step in. I would still call that god concept immoral.

        December 31, 2013 at 11:13 am |
        • james

          It is not holding a grudge to give someone what they wanted.

          December 31, 2013 at 11:38 am |
        • Damocles

          @james

          Holy fvck, did you really just say that?!

          December 31, 2013 at 11:44 am |
        • james

          and your problem?

          December 31, 2013 at 11:48 am |
        • james

          we are only getting what we asked for, Rule by satan.

          December 31, 2013 at 11:49 am |
        • james

          what I find hard to believe is how my answers to doris disappeared but that @#$%$% by damocles gets through. I am out of here.

          December 31, 2013 at 11:57 am |
        • Damocles

          I just hope you are bold enough someday to tell a victim of a crime that they got what they deserved.

          December 31, 2013 at 12:02 pm |
  2. bostontola

    I wonder why God created us with certain defenses and left us wide open in other areas. Some dangerous things smell bad so we avoid them, but then there are odorless poisons. It's almost like we actually evolved in a physical world where there are cost/benefit trades for additional capabilities that get determined by average effectiveness, not design by an omnipotent designer.

    December 31, 2013 at 10:37 am |
    • Lawrence of Arabia

      Chewbacca defense.

      December 31, 2013 at 10:46 am |
      • bostontola

        We'd all be better off if we had a Wookie friend.

        December 31, 2013 at 10:52 am |
      • Doc Vestibule

        But Chewbacca living on Endor DOESN'T MAKE SENSE!

        December 31, 2013 at 11:12 am |
      • Lawrence of Arabia

        OK, Chewbacca VS Warf. No weapons, bare fists... Who'd win?

        December 31, 2013 at 11:21 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          Chewie's got the size advantage, but a Klingon warrior trains for battle every day....

          December 31, 2013 at 12:08 pm |
    • doobzz

      The fact that we eat and breathe through the same apparatus is a huge design fail, not to mention the whole amusement park in the middle of a sewage system.

      Not quite the perfection one would expect from an omnipotent creator.

      December 31, 2013 at 12:44 pm |
  3. Thankful

    “When I went to the moon I was a pragmatic test pilot. But when I saw the planet Earth floating in the vastness of space the presence of divinity became almost palpable and I knew that life in the universe was not just an accident.”

    – Edgar Mitchell (Apollo 14 Astronaut)

    December 31, 2013 at 10:21 am |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      Many great people, scientists, and accomplished individuals believe/have believed in god. None of those believers have ever proved that he exists; and logic di.ctates disbelief/skepticism when an invisible and undetectable proposition is put forth. Awe and wonder doesn't prove anything just like disgust and revulsion don't prove anything.

      December 31, 2013 at 10:25 am |
      • Thankful

        Yes. You just proved nothing.

        December 31, 2013 at 10:30 am |
        • igaftr

          So did you....did you have a point to make or just offering someone elses OPINION?

          December 31, 2013 at 10:34 am |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          Correct. I merely stated facts. I had thought that was obvious.

          December 31, 2013 at 10:34 am |
        • Thankful

          Astronaut > igaftr/Cpt. Obvious ~ Nobody is quoting you guys. Your opinions are not facts. Until you let go of this notion, no one will quote your nonsense. It will only live on message boards next to lol? postings.

          December 31, 2013 at 10:39 am |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          My goal is merely to have my ideas read and considered by at least one other person who has the capacity for rationally evaluated cognitive dissonance. So, I am thankful for you, Thankful, reading and considering my words. Thank you.

          December 31, 2013 at 10:42 am |
        • Thankful

          No, you just attack anything that suggests God may be real. You ignore stupid things written by atheists, attack anything that suggests belief in God is ok. The only rationalization you use is to rationalize your narrow-mindedness.

          December 31, 2013 at 10:46 am |
        • igaftr

          My "nonsense"?

          How is it "nonsense" pointing out that all you offered was someone elses opinion?...you offered no fact.
          and neither did I...

          December 31, 2013 at 10:47 am |
        • Damocles

          Mmmm... love when opinion becomes fact because you happen to agree with it.

          December 31, 2013 at 10:48 am |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          Thankful, not only is your statement about me inaccurate, I think you know that it is. That amounts to lying. Even if no one can prove that you were lying in your post about me, don't you think your god knows? Do you really think your god approves of the tactics you have utilized so far, today?

          December 31, 2013 at 10:53 am |
        • Thankful

          My point was: some take offense to silly things. I never knew an astronaut quote suggesting God is real would be that upsetting. Logically one would expect to see belief in God expressed at a url: religion.blogs.cnn.com on a blog dedicated to faith and belief – in an article written about a believer in God.

          December 31, 2013 at 10:53 am |
    • bostontola

      Why would you regard an astronaut's testimony more than anyone else's?

      December 31, 2013 at 10:28 am |
      • Thankful

        I don't You just suppose that to be the case without any proof.

        December 31, 2013 at 10:31 am |
        • bostontola

          Ok, I'll take your word for it. You are the one that selected this quote, I did as sume it was more important than others if you used it as an example. That is not an absurd as sumption, but my mistake.

          December 31, 2013 at 10:49 am |
        • Thankful

          Yea. I was sharing it for the 95% of the population that believes in a higher intelligence.

          December 31, 2013 at 11:07 am |
        • bostontola

          50% of the population has a higher intelligence than the other half.

          December 31, 2013 at 11:17 am |
        • Thankful

          If you decided to become a scientist, there is a good chance you will learn about a science like chemistry or physics from a person that believes in god or gods.

          December 31, 2013 at 11:20 am |
        • igaftr

          Thankful
          The chance that you were taught by an atheist is extremely high.

          The higher education you obtain, the less likely they have a belief in gods, and if they do, most do not identify with any religion and have more of a general belief in "god".
          I encounter few scientists that deal with the nature of the universe, that has anything you would recognize as belief in "god"

          December 31, 2013 at 11:30 am |
    • Damocles

      Not sure why people call it an accident. Living things appeared on a planet that could support them.

      December 31, 2013 at 10:31 am |
      • Thankful

        Exactly. There definitely seems to be a plan and purpose behind life. The universe points to a higher intelligence.

        December 31, 2013 at 10:33 am |
        • igaftr

          thakful

          There does not "seem" to be anything of the sort...that is just what ignorant people tell themselves rather than accept that they do not have a clue..
          The universe does not "point" to anything of the sort. You offer opinion. nothing more. But your opinion offers nothing more than the people who were ignorant of what a volcano was but would throw someone in when the volcano acted up. Baseless opinion...nothing more.
          It is based in ignorance, like the belief in gods.

          December 31, 2013 at 10:38 am |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          Oh, wow!! What a great argument! "There seems to be." Wow! I'll have to use that for an idea that is completely unmeasurable some time soon. Thanks!

          Oh, and if the universe proves anything at all, it proves that the universe is cold and uncaring. Life subsists only because of countless other deaths and unimaginable pain. If there is a god, he loves to provide pain and death to living things and he enjoys extremes: heat and cold, density and void, matter and antimatter annihilation.

          December 31, 2013 at 10:39 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          What is so unlikely as to be laughable, given the magnitude of the universe, is that said Creator is anthropocentric.

          December 31, 2013 at 10:39 am |
        • Thankful

          Thanks for your 2 cents. Suggesting that life has meaning and purpose isn't that bad. Really.

          December 31, 2013 at 10:42 am |
        • Johnny

          That is true, but suggesting that life has no meaning without the existence of some god is just plain stupid.

          December 31, 2013 at 10:43 am |
        • Damocles

          It does? How so? Take a look around at nature and tell me what plan is involved.

          December 31, 2013 at 10:44 am |
        • Science Works

          Thankful you might want to read this 1

          The 71-year-old snowy-bearded, two-time Guggenheim Fellow set the stage for that reconciliation, when we met recently at a hotel just off Trafalgar Square in central London.

          ‘Darwin’s theory is the single greatest idea any human being has conceived’.

          http://www.cosmosmagazine.com/features/scientists-philosopher/

          December 31, 2013 at 10:44 am |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          Of course it isn't "bad." It's just not worthy of the application of faith; there seems plenty to indicate that that view is inaccurate.

          December 31, 2013 at 10:48 am |
        • Thankful

          Thanks for sharing what works for you. I hope you don't think you get to decide that for everyone else.

          December 31, 2013 at 10:50 am |
        • Science Works

          Well Thankful – thankfully evolution won over creationist in the Texas text book battle for 2014 !

          December 31, 2013 at 10:57 am |
        • Thankful

          What the funk are you talking about "Science Works"? Was Edgar Mitchell a creationist? Do you think I am?

          Can anyone demonstrate logical thinking on this blog? (Not just talk about it like some kind of theory?)

          December 31, 2013 at 11:05 am |
        • igaftr

          T-ful
          I demonstrate logical thinking all of the time...I am surprised that is what you are interested in, going by some of your posts.

          December 31, 2013 at 11:55 am |
      • In Santa we trust

        It is axiomatic that living things appeared on a planet that could support them; you wouldn't expect them to appear on a planet that could not support them.

        December 31, 2013 at 12:19 pm |
    • Guest

      Wait...what? I thought going to the moon was all faked!?

      December 31, 2013 at 11:00 am |
      • Thankful

        "For those who have seen the Earth from space, and for the hundreds and perhaps thousands
        more who will, the experience most certainly changes your perspective. The things that we
        share in our world are far more valuable than those which divide us."
        – Donald Williams, NASA

        December 31, 2013 at 11:11 am |
  4. Cpt. Obvious

    Wouldn't there have to have been a "christ" in order for there to be an "antichrist?"

    December 31, 2013 at 10:14 am |
  5. Charm Quark

    Definitely seems to be a report abuse war going on, got the moderator message on a harmless post on this page at 1:09 PM, strange things happening.

    December 31, 2013 at 10:14 am |
  6. myweightinwords

    Wow...i log in to check up on some conversations I was following and find they've been deleted. Again.

    I will never understand that. Save the "Report Abuse" button for actual abuse, not arguments you disagree with, people.

    December 31, 2013 at 9:52 am |
    • Topher

      Right?! I had a "Good morning, everyone!" deleted.

      December 31, 2013 at 10:05 am |
      • Doc Vestibule

        How dare you offer up a pleasant message!
        We've got to be petty, angry and derisive around here in order to keep from getting moderated into oblivion.

        December 31, 2013 at 10:08 am |
        • Topher

          I'll try harder next time. 😉

          December 31, 2013 at 10:09 am |
      • myweightinwords

        Good Morning, Topher.

        It's too bad that a couple immature and insecure individuals have to spoil the conversation for the rest of us.

        December 31, 2013 at 10:39 am |
    • Alias

      I know this will shock you, but there are some immature people who read this blog.

      December 31, 2013 at 10:14 am |
      • Live4Him

        No kidding!: 😉

        December 31, 2013 at 10:19 am |
      • myweightinwords

        I would never have guessed. *grin*

        It's still disappointing. It's one thing to go after the inanity that can happen here, but attacking anything and everything seems so...useless.

        I will never understand what some people consider "fun".

        December 31, 2013 at 10:38 am |
    • fyi

      Y'all might try dropping an email about this problem to Editor, Daniel Burke – daniel.burke@CNN.com

      It seems like he drops in once in a while, but generally does not know what goes on here... I do not know why they don't fix the glitches on this site.

      December 31, 2013 at 11:59 am |
  7. John Stefanyszyn

    ..."88% of American Catholics approve of how Francis is handling his role as head of the 1.2 billion-member church."

    Is it because that this "majority" is hearing what they believe to be right in their own eyes?

    Is it because they are hearing words of "freedom and equality of rights"?

    BUT Christ, the Son of the One and Only God, said that we are to worship the One Lord your God and Him ALONE to serve in love and obedience to His Will....and NOT to live according to one's 'self-freedom will'.
    ....BUT this has not been, is not, and will not be very popular...it will not receive a 88% approval rating.

    Note: it will be Only Jesus Christ that will rule as the One King according to and in obedience to the Will of the One Creator Yehowah Elohim...and NOT according to man's first love for his 'freedom-will'.

    John Stefanyszyn
    ....a bondman of the One True King Jesus Christ, Son of the One and Only Creator God Yehowah Elohim

    December 31, 2013 at 9:48 am |
    • BRC

      And what exactly is the Pope doing that is against "God" or the Bible?

      December 31, 2013 at 9:50 am |
      • Lawrence of Arabia

        In short, the biggest error of the Catholic church is their view that justification follows sanctification. The ramlifications of that are heretical, and are completely ant.ithetical to Biblical teaching.

        December 31, 2013 at 10:04 am |
        • BRC

          Lawrence of Arabia,
          You won't get an argument out of me if you want to say that the Catholic Church has a lot of histroy that is counter the teachings of the Bible. I was more asking for specifics about this Pope though. I don't believe in any of it, so I don't really have a dog in the fight, and there are some thigns a still strongly dissagre with the Pope on (besides the obvious); but from an outsider looking in, if the Catholic Church has to have a front man, it could do a lot worse than this one.

          December 31, 2013 at 10:10 am |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          This pope specifically? I couldn't say – he seems like a pretty nice guy, like someone you'd like to have as a neighbor, but one does not get to heaven by being a good person. If his teachings are "Catholic," then all he's doing is making this world a better place to go to hell from.

          December 31, 2013 at 10:14 am |
      • Topher

        You can say the very OFFICE of the Pope is anti-Biblical. There's a lot of things we could talk about here. The Catholic church got way too far from the Bible and thus we had the Protestant Reformation.

        December 31, 2013 at 10:08 am |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          Indeed. A mere man claiming the very ti.tles that are due God alone. "Holy Father," Head of the Church," "Vicar of Christ."
          That is the reason that Luther, Spurgeon, and others claimed that the papacy is antichrist.

          December 31, 2013 at 10:11 am |
      • John Stefanyszyn

        BRC
        The 'pope / RCC' has confessed that freedom of rights, that freedom of religions is good.
        The belief in "freedom of all religions" dictates that all religions / gods have equality of existence and worship. ...that it is RIGHT to be free to worship any 'god'.

        The One God's word in the Bible commands that we are to worship Only Him (see first 4 commandments).
        ...that it is NOT RIGHT (it is error, sin, disobedience) to worship any other 'god'.
        Christ, His Son, said that we are to love the One and Only God with all of our heart, mind, soul, and strength...this means that we are NOT to acknowledge the equality of or love for any other 'god'.

        Jorge Bergoglio speaks of Christ within the context of a religion among religions....but he lives, does works, according to the belief in freedom of self-rights.

        Crist said to repent, to change....Bergoglio says come as you are because of "freedom"....the same "freedom" that the leader of the free world has confessed to be the "light" and the "will" of his god.

        John Stefanyszyn

        December 31, 2013 at 10:14 am |
        • BRC

          John Stefanyszyn,
          Well, that's an answer, so thanks for that. But consider this. I have heard it widely claimed, that one of the purposes of churches adn religion is to spread the good word and help save those that are not currently in the fold. The Pope's current policy of "come as you are" doesn't include "stay as you are". As I understand it, adn he seems to have said, the goal is to create a more welcoming environement, so that people who are not currently in good faith with Jesus and all that don't feel like they are looked at as enemies, thus enticing them to come in and try the religion, and maybe, just maybe, make the change. if you're goal is to spread the good word,. isn't that a good thing? Now you fundamentally disagree with the Catholic Church apparently, fair enough, but if it brings more popele to the Bible shouldn't that be a good thing? Or are you more of the "you either already believe or you're going to hell" thought process?

          December 31, 2013 at 10:31 am |
        • Madtown

          The One God's word in the Bible commands that we are to worship Only Him
          -----
          If only 1 notion of God is correct(the one you prefer), what's your best guess as to why God didn't arrange for all his equal creations to have equal knowledge of it and equal access to it? There are humans on earth at this very moment who have never heard of Jesus, and don't know what the bible is. What good are "God's commands" to people who will never read them?

          December 31, 2013 at 10:31 am |
        • fred

          Madtown
          To whom much is given much is expected. Those who would waste great privilege afforded them or worse yet reject God after having received great insight dig a deeper hole for themselves than those who did not receive the gift or advantage. In short it is a blessing to those who reject Christ to never have heard of Christ.

          God also causes some not to see God or certain aspects of God. This is for their blessing. You are only responsible for what God has given.

          December 31, 2013 at 1:33 pm |
    • Alias

      How can you have such faith in a book that is so flawed?
      How do you know you are interpreting it correctly when so many people dissagree with you?

      December 31, 2013 at 10:24 am |
      • Topher

        Alias

        "How can you have such faith in a book that is so flawed?"

        If by flawed you mean spelling and copy errors, I say so what? I find those in even new books ... and we have Spell Check!

        "How do you know you are interpreting it correctly when so many people disagree with you?"

        It doesn't matter how many disagree. What matters in the intention of the authors. And we can know that many ways, one of which is because we have the writings of the early church fathers. Another is just a very plain reading of the text, or a historical/grammatical approach. So as long as our differences aren't on the essentials, we can be brothers in Christ.

        December 31, 2013 at 10:36 am |
  8. BRC

    Is my page loading wrong, or have basically all the comments from yesterday just dissapeared?

    December 31, 2013 at 9:28 am |
    • bostontola

      There must have been a "Report Abuse" war.

      December 31, 2013 at 9:35 am |
      • BRC

        A particularly viscious one. This is what happens when we practice mutually assured destruction.

        December 31, 2013 at 9:37 am |
        • bostontola

          Humans will be humans.

          December 31, 2013 at 9:39 am |
  9. nelson jones

    midwest rail:

    "Well at least we've identified what flavor of crazy nelson is."

    The default position of someone who knows he has no legitimate counter-argument to a thesis... a personal attack in an attempt to demean and degrade another persons point of view which counters popular opinion.

    In my 60 years upon this Earth, if there is one thing I have learned, it is to listen to a person with a counter-argument to a popular opinion, before I immediately dismissing them as being crazy.

    December 31, 2013 at 9:23 am |
    • midwest rail

      Your "counter-argument" to popular opinion was nothing more than a thinly disguised rant of bigoted ugliness. To label said rant as a "thesis" demeans the legitimate definition of the word.

      December 31, 2013 at 9:28 am |
      • nelson jones

        midwest rail:

        Ah yes, shall we play the "bigoted, hate" card. Golly, gee whiz, forgive me for having a different opinion than you.

        December 31, 2013 at 9:33 am |
        • midwest rail

          Last refuge of the bigot – complain that someone is playing the "bigot, hate" card when caught.

          December 31, 2013 at 9:35 am |
    • Charm Quark

      Nelson
      I have often asked the Tophers, LofA, L4H, Austin, etc. this question. In your view how many Christians are there in the world? Most figures come in with 21 billion, but how many in you opinion are not True Christians? Answer please, you have done enough ducking for today.

      December 31, 2013 at 9:39 am |
      • bostontola

        2.1

        : )

        December 31, 2013 at 9:42 am |
        • Charm Quark

          bostontola
          Thanks for the correction. Perhaps D. Burke did not like our reference to the true religion of America, football, than can be practiced by the old or young, creed or race, all inclusive. Hike!

          December 31, 2013 at 9:47 am |
        • bostontola

          Even Burke wouldn't be so sacrilegious.

          December 31, 2013 at 10:01 am |
      • Lawrence of Arabia

        "In your view how many Christians are there in the world?"
        ---------
        The Bible says there are few. Luke 13:22-30

        December 31, 2013 at 9:49 am |
        • bostontola

          LoA,
          So the bible says only few of its God's creation will get saved. By definition, the many spend eternity in horror.

          Does that make you feel special?

          That makes me regard your God character as immoral.

          December 31, 2013 at 9:59 am |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          "That makes me regard your God character as immoral."
          ----------
          Then it's a good thing that the character of God is not determined by your opinion.

          December 31, 2013 at 10:00 am |
        • bostontola

          LoA,
          Of course not, that character's morality is determined by the book, just like Lex Luthor's, or Bilbao Baggins.

          December 31, 2013 at 10:03 am |
        • Charm Quark

          LofA
          Nice dodge. I asked for your opinion not something written in a gospel 2000 years ago. Many posters on this blog say catholics are not christians, if you agree that cuts out 1.2 billion, just trying to help.

          December 31, 2013 at 10:03 am |
        • Johnny

          That is true only because the character of god was determined by the opinion of someone else thousands of years ago.

          December 31, 2013 at 10:05 am |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          "Nice dodge. I asked for your opinion..."
          ----------–
          I don't have opinions about Scripture... That implies agreement or disagreement, with the assumption that agreement grants merit to its veracity. I just read it as it is, and let it speak for itself.

          December 31, 2013 at 10:08 am |
        • Madtown

          I don't have opinions about Scripture
          ---
          That's cool, you didn't write scripture. Those humans who did, gave their opinions.

          December 31, 2013 at 10:11 am |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          Madtown,
          Have you ever testified in court? What were you told to do? Tell what you saw and swear that you are telling the truth. Then what you claimed to be true was cross examined and found out to be either true or false, based on corroborating evidence. That's how scripture was formed. Not out of opinion, but from eye witnesses. We may be far removed from the original texts, but that has no bearing on its truth, since it is easy, through the writings of the church fathers, to know what the original authors penned.

          December 31, 2013 at 10:19 am |
        • Charm Quark

          LofA
          I know my question was directed to Nelson, but you answered in his stead, one of your many handles perhaps. I repeat for your benefit, of the so called 2.1 billion christians, how many in your opinion are true Christians? Direct question, direct answer, please.

          December 31, 2013 at 10:21 am |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          Nonsense. You can have an opinion on a text or a portion of a text without that opinion implying agreement or disagreement.

          December 31, 2013 at 10:22 am |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          Charm,
          Few.

          But that's not my opinion. That comes from numerous pas.sages in scripture.

          December 31, 2013 at 10:27 am |
        • Charm Quark

          LofA
          And do you include yourself as one of the few because your interpretation of scripture is the correct one? The qualities you project in your posts would seem to be against the teachings of Christ, you are judgemental and arrogant, have you ever been wrong about anything since you were "Born Again"?

          December 31, 2013 at 10:35 am |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          "And do you include yourself as one of the few because your interpretation of scripture is the correct one? The qualities you project in your posts would seem to be against the teachings of Christ, you are judgemental and arrogant, have you ever been wrong about anything since you were "Born Again"?"
          ------
          I always find it funny that people call me arrogant. And why is that? Because I know the Bible? If I were a tax lawyer advising you on how to get more money from your refund this year you wouldn't call me arrogant.

          And I'll say this one more time... I don't interperet the Bible. I don't have the authority to do that. I simply read it. The Bible interperets itself.

          Have I been wrong since being born again? Sure, lots of times. That's how you learn. As a matter of fact, every time I have a question about scripture, I write it down, and research what the Bible says about it. A small note pad a number of years ago eventually turned into an almost 700 page word doc.ument that I've written.

          December 31, 2013 at 10:48 am |
        • Charm Quark

          LofA
          Thanks again for proving you are not a Christian. I don't know how many times you have said that this scripture means, that is interpretation, you lie again, thank you for proving my point.

          December 31, 2013 at 11:05 am |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          Charm,
          The only point you have is the one sitting on top of your head. Now turn back around and face the corner.

          December 31, 2013 at 11:09 am |
        • Charm Quark

          LofA
          Pompous and arrogant to a fault, know it all, a god onto himself, take a bow LofA.

          December 31, 2013 at 11:39 am |
        • Madtown

          I don't interperet the Bible. I don't have the authority to do that. I simply read it. The Bible interperets itself
          ----
          Then how is there ever disagreement about something in the bible? Since everyone thinks they do the same thing you do, how come people get different meanings out of different passages?

          December 31, 2013 at 12:39 pm |
      • nelson jones

        Charm:

        How can I estimate such a number? I do not even know the proper definition for "Christian."

        December 31, 2013 at 10:08 am |
        • Charm Quark

          nelson
          Well that is at least an honest answer, so many interpretations of the good book but it is all the truth, just different truth to diverse groups, quite hilarious.

          December 31, 2013 at 10:28 am |
      • Live4Him

        @Charm Quark : In your view how many Christians are there in the world?

        The true definition of a Christian is one who follows Christ (his teachings and accepts him as Lord of their life). Many will claim to be a Christian, but only Christ can determine if they are a Christian.

        Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

        <><

        December 31, 2013 at 10:31 am |
        • Charm Quark

          Live4Him
          So you are not a Christian? You come on this blog and lie all the time, so you do not follow the teachings of Christ, good on you for manning up.

          December 31, 2013 at 10:44 am |
    • Guest

      You're a religious bigot, Nelson.

      Nothing more, nothing less. When you spew hatred against a billion Christians, that makes you a religious bigot.

      Perhaps Rick Warren is more your flavor.

      December 31, 2013 at 10:02 am |
      • nelson jones

        guest:

        I'm a bigot? Seems you threw the term out here first. In other words, lets frame any counter opinion to mine as being bigoted and hateful.

        December 31, 2013 at 10:13 am |
  10. Doc Vestibule

    Most American Christians say that God gave 66 books to know Him.
    And yet He gave the Catholics more than that, and the Eastern Orthodox churches even more!
    Until the Jewish Council of Jamnia in 90 AD, the Jewish people hadn't really settled on an official canon.
    The Saduccees believed in only the Pentateuch, Pharisees believed in 34 other books and other Jews around from the Diaspora believed in an additional 7 books.
    The Prostestant reformer Martin Luther was not a big fan of at least those 7 of the original books of the Old Testament.

    But are the Protestants right to reject them?
    The Dead Sea Scrolls include the books of Tobit and Sirach.
    When Jesus addressed the Greek speaking Diaspora Jews, he quoted from the Septuagist version of the scriptures which includes the disputed 7 books that Protestants do not recognize.
    Jesus observed the feast of Hannukah, or the Dedication of the Temple, in John 10. This can be found in the Old Testament book of First Maccabees, Chapter 4, which is in the Catholic Bible, but not in the Protestant Bible.

    So are you certain you've got the whole story?
    How many books of Inerrant, Divine Guidance were bequethed to mankind?

    December 31, 2013 at 8:55 am |
    • igaftr

      Zero. Men created every book that has ever or will ever be.

      December 31, 2013 at 8:59 am |
      • Doc Vestibule

        You're not supposed to answer a rhetorical question. 😉

        December 31, 2013 at 9:03 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Did you know that direct application of ichthyan gall bladder to the eyeball will cure glaucoma?
      But wait.... there's more! Don't throw away the rest of that stinky ol' fish becuase you can burn the heart and liver to chase away demons!
      So sayeth the Angel Azarias in the Book of Tobit.

      December 31, 2013 at 9:02 am |
      • Thor

        You people don't know diddley about how gods work. I for one scared the crap out of people and by doing so got them to write me up a nifty profile, that is how it is done. That jewish god and his messiah were right nasty deities, what with wiping out, mass murdering people, just because he could.

        December 31, 2013 at 9:09 am |
        • igaftr

          Thor.
          Hey...wait a minute....their god was nailed up....isn't that a hammer I see you carrying?

          December 31, 2013 at 9:15 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          I just can't respect any god that is nice to goats.
          Jahweh would slit Tanngrisnir and Tanngnjóstr's throats and sprinkle their blood around His altar.

          December 31, 2013 at 9:15 am |
        • Thor

          Oh sure, try and hang that on me. Joseph was a carpenter probably had all sorts of hammers, probably used one of his, a family thing.

          December 31, 2013 at 9:24 am |
    • Lawrence of Arabia

      Read "The Early Church Fathers, 38 Volumes" and it will be a great starting point for textual criticism. We get the books of the Bible not arbitrarily, but systematically. Not what was dictated by any church council or decision of a pope, but rather, the books of the NT were described by the apostles themselves. (quotations available upon request) The books of the OT were collected by the Scribe Ezra, around 400 BC.

      December 31, 2013 at 9:02 am |
    • lunchbreaker

      And that's the real reason even Christians should support separation of church and state. Even if we declared the U.S. a Christian theocracy, the Christians would still disagree on which Christianity to enforce.

      December 31, 2013 at 9:04 am |
    • Live4Him

      @Doc Vestibule : And yet He gave the Catholics more than that

      You fortgot to include the fact that the Catholics only had the same 66 for the first 1550 (1545-1563) years after Christ.

      @Doc Vestibule : The Prostestant reformer Martin Luther was not a big fan of at least those 7 of the original books of the Old Testament.

      He wasn't the only one. Almost all of the Early Church Fathers also rejected them as divinely inspired. Likewise, the Jewish historian Josephus stated that nothing had been added to Scripture “from Artaxerxes until our time.” Artaxerxes died in 425 BC, so that would eliminate all the Apocrypha books (i.e. the OT books being discussed).

      @Doc Vestibule : [Jesus] quoted from the Septuagist version of the scriptures which includes the disputed 7 books that Protestants do not recognize.

      The Septuagint isn't a single book. Nor is it a single translation by the same group of translators from Hebrew/Aramaic into Greek (the business language of the day). Only the books of the Law were commissioned to be translated, but over the years many other books (both inspired and others) were likewise translated given that the Jews were beginning to lose their ability to understand ancient Hebrew. And needless to say, the subsequent translations were not necessarily held to the same standard as the commissioned translation of the Law.

      December 31, 2013 at 10:16 am |
      • Doc Vestibule

        While the Catholics explicitly avowed the canonicity of those tomes at the Council of Trent, it was merely a re-affirmation of Augustine's canon. In and around this same era, there was much debate regarding antilegomena – it wasn't until the 5th century that The Epistle to the Hebrews, 2 Peter, 3 John and Revelation were made canon and I've yet to meet a Christian who denies their validity today.

        December 31, 2013 at 10:36 am |
        • Live4Him

          @Doc Vestibule : While the Catholics explicitly avowed the canonicity of those tomes at the Council of Trent, it was merely a re-affirmation of Augustine's canon.

          Evidence? Oh, right, you don't ever provide any.

          @Doc Vestibule : it wasn't until the 5th century that The Epistle to the Hebrews, 2 Peter, 3 John and Revelation were made canon and I've yet to meet a Christian who denies their validity today.

          WOW! You really are lacking in facts. The first extant list of New Testament books that exactly matches our canon is the Paschal Letter of St. Athanasius of Alexandria (367 AD – i.e. 4th century).

          <><

          December 31, 2013 at 10:42 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          Pope Damasus laid out the canons at the Synod of Rome (382 CE), and the Councils of Hippo and Carthage (393, 397CE).
          These were again ratified at yhe Ecu.menical councils of II Nicaea (787CE) and Florence (1438CE).

          How did Martin Luther and his ilk object to those 7 books as part of the Bible decades before you say they were added at the Council of Trent in the mid 1500s?

          December 31, 2013 at 11:07 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          Martin Luther wanted to toss out a number of books from the Bible, not the least of which was Revelation.

          "I miss more than one thing in this book, and it makes me consider it to be neither apostolic nor prophetic.
          My spirit cannot accommodate itself to this book. For me this is reason enough not to think highly of it: Christ is neither taught nor known in it."
          – “Preface to the Revelation of St. John” (Luther's translation of the New Testament, 1522)

          December 31, 2013 at 11:32 am |
  11. nelson jones

    midwest rail:

    It has been spelled out for you but you seem to not see the obvious. I am not avoiding anything... Austin, by the verses he listed knows & so do I. Do try harder

    December 31, 2013 at 8:23 am |
    • midwest rail

      Indeed you are avoiding something – stating plainly what you claim to "know". Your dodge of "it should be obvious" is just that, a dodge. Do try harder.

      December 31, 2013 at 8:25 am |
      • nelson jones

        midwest rail:

        My initial comment was addressed to Austin. However, if you are of the Church of Rome...do scurry along and drink your wine, eat your wafer, pretend to believe such is really turned into the blood and body of Christ, observe your Pagan based Holy-Days such as Christmas, Easter, etc., pray to your dead Saints, worship the non-virgin, mother Mary, finger your prayer beads while repeating pointless prayers over-and-over. but most important, don't forget to get down on your knee and kiss the Pope's (Peter's) ring and continue to be a cheerleader for the greatest imposter who has ever walked the Earth.

        December 31, 2013 at 8:47 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          I take it you're not a Catholic...
          Is there any Christian leader throughout history who got it right (in your opinion)?

          December 31, 2013 at 8:51 am |
        • midwest rail

          Well, at least we've identified what flavor of crazy nelson is.

          December 31, 2013 at 8:52 am |
        • ?

          Nelson
          Show a little respect. As much as I agree with your comments on the RCC, give them credit for getting the scam up and running and developing the BS to its pinnacle of greed for 1500 years. If the catholics had gone t!ts up before then, the whole Christian myth would have faded away and your lot wouldn't be around to diss the founders. Many a TV Evangelist owe their fraud schemes to the early church. Do you personally make your daily bread off of the scam. you sound like a pastor?

          December 31, 2013 at 8:59 am |
    • nelson jones

      ?:

      Sorry, the position has already been filled by someone much more deserving.

      December 31, 2013 at 8:26 am |
    • Squished Kitty Chronilcles

      Nelson
      Pretty difficult, make that hard, for Austin to "withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly", Austin being some big homies beetch while he was in prison.

      December 31, 2013 at 8:34 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Is there a gay, semitic, boastful atheist out there who has managed to depose three kings, make a new calendar and change the world's laws?

      December 31, 2013 at 8:43 am |
    • Science Works

      nelson jones

      As the popes ratings are what ?

      Fact is it took a court order for the truth – list of pedo priest and just heard the list is growing !

      December 31, 2013 at 8:51 am |
      • nelson jones

        Science Works:

        I love science. I have 2 degrees in the Sciences. So what, these and $4.99 might get me a Big Mac. I'll be honest. I am torn between the rational part of my brain and the likelihood of a metaphysical reality.

        Let me frame it this way. My rational brain says I should be either a non-theist or Agnostic, while the metaphysical part of my brain tells me the Church of Rome, and the Papacy, because of its dual, Doctor Jeckell and Mister Hyde character, throughout history, does NOT represent the God/Christ, nor the New Testament Church as described in the Bible.

        This is borne out by many things such as the initial denial of mass, child molestation, by the RCC, the subsequent attempt to minimize the scope of the molestation, and finally the response of: so what, teachers, scout leaders, etc. are also guilty of the same behaviour/sins. However, what few seem to point out is that the Papacy claims to be led by a "Holy" spirit and the RCC is the true "Christian" church. The other, secular organizations do not make the same claim.

        How could the true representative of the Christ described in the Bible (which the the Papacy claims to be) and his followers, (the true Church, which is supposed to be the RCC), choose to behave in the above manner regarding the child molestation which took place over centuries?

        December 31, 2013 at 10:05 am |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          What reason do you entertain that keeps you from applying your "rational brain" and being a nontheist?

          December 31, 2013 at 10:10 am |
  12. Austin

    Colossians 2:8
    8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
    2 Thessalonians 2:3-4
    King James Version (KJV)

    3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;

    4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.

    2 Thessalonians 3:6
    King James Version (KJV)

    6 Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us.

    December 31, 2013 at 7:39 am |
    • nelson jones

      Austin:

      Well chosen verses! One could also include the verse speaking about Little Horn of Daniel 7. Add also, the Harlot which is drunk on the blood of the Saints of Revelation 17 and we have clearly identified the Anti-Christ and the fallen Christian Church.

      December 31, 2013 at 7:55 am |
      • midwest rail

        " ....we have clearly identified the Anti-Christ ..."
        Do tell.

        December 31, 2013 at 7:58 am |
        • nelson jones

          midwest rail:

          It should be obvious to all but the wilfully blind, the brainwashed, from birth and those who have a vested interest in the status quo of mainstream Christian churches.

          December 31, 2013 at 8:08 am |
        • midwest rail

          In other words, you don't really know, but use the oldest dodge in the book. Thank you.

          December 31, 2013 at 8:12 am |
        • ?

          Choose me as the anti Christ, please.

          December 31, 2013 at 8:12 am |
      • Doc Vestibule

        "Children, it is the last hour! As you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. From this we know that it is the last hour."
        – 1 John 2:18

        Hey waitaminute! Doesn't that mean the "last hour" was 2,000 years ago?

        A Short List of Anti-Christs

        All Popes, Most Presidents (except Carter!? but especially Reagan), Emperor Nero, Arius of Alexandria, Czar Peter the Great, Caligula, Midrash Vayosha, Armilus, Adolf Hitler, Henry Kissinger, Mikhael Gorbachev, Napoleon Bonaparte, Antiochus IV, Ti.tus, Charlemagne, Benito Mussolini, Javier Solana, Rahmat Ahmad Maitreya, Saint Germaine, Prince Charles of Britain, Prince Felipe of Spain, Adolfo Nicolás Pachón, Miguel Angel Sosa Vasquez,King George, Elvis Presley, Sun Myung Moon, Saddam Hussein, King Frederick the Great, Aleister Crowley, Joseph Stalin, Francisco Franco, King Juan Carlos of Spain, Louis Farrakhan, Karl Hapsburg, Bill Gates, Jacques Chirac, Oprah Winfrey etc. ad nauseum

        December 31, 2013 at 8:36 am |
        • igaftr

          Tes, but Michael J. Fox is THE anti-Elvis.

          December 31, 2013 at 8:52 am |
        • nelson jones

          Doc:

          The Anti-Christ is not someone outside of the Christian church, ie: a politician, a military leader, an economist, or any secular leader. The Anti-Christ is someone who while, not denying Christ's existence, places himself in Christ's place as head of the Church. Does this ring any alarms or raise any flags to you?

          December 31, 2013 at 9:29 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          @Nelson
          "All Popes".
          However, this new Pope fails to display a number of the anti-christ's characteristics.
          He doesn't speak boastfully (Daniel 7:8), he isn't focused on military conquest (Daniel 11:39), he hasn't claimed to be greater than any god (Daniel 11:37), he isn't trying to change the calendar (Daniel 7:25), no moves yet about building a Jewish temple in Jerusalem (Matt 24:15), his election to the Papacy wasn't heralded by any miracles or wonders (2 Thess 2:9)....

          December 31, 2013 at 9:38 am |
    • Reality # 2

      And now for some New Year's Ever reality:

      The Apostles'/Agnostics’ Creed 2013: (updated by yours truly and based on the studies of historians and theologians of the past 200 years)

      Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
      and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
      human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven??

      I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
      preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
      named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
      girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

      Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
      the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

      He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
      a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of
      Jerusalem.

      Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
      many semi-fiction writers. A descent into Hell, a bodily resurrection
      and ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
      Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
      grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
      and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
      called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

      Amen
      (references used are available upon request)

      December 31, 2013 at 8:04 am |
    • Science Works

      Austin

      there is no god(s) required !

      Mapping Emotions On The Body: Love Makes Us Warm All Over

      by Michaeleen Doucleff
      December 30, 2013 4:04 PM

      http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2013/12/30/258313116/mapping-emotions-on-the-body-love-makes-us-warm-all-over

      December 31, 2013 at 8:20 am |
    • Squishes Kitty Chronilcles

      Austin
      Perhaps your psychotic dream posts and constant quoting of the bible verses (see above) are just so offensive to the rational world that your comments are reported as abusive, think about it, never mind, that wouldn't work.

      December 31, 2013 at 8:21 am |
    • John Stefanyszyn

      Austin
      The scriptures you quoted are true. .I ask you to consider the following.

      ..."88% of American Catholics approve of how Francis is handling his role as head of the 1.2 billion-member church."

      Is it because that this "majority" is hearing what they believe to be right in their own eyes?

      Is it because they are hearing words of "freedom and equality of rights"?

      BUT Christ, the Son of the One and Only God, said that we are to worship the One Lord your God and Him ALONE to serve in love and obedience to His Will....and NOT to live according to one's 'self-freedom will'.
      ....BUT this has not been, is not, and will not be very popular...it will not receive a 88% approval rating.

      Note: it will be Only Jesus Christ that will rule as the One King according to and in obedience to the Will of the One Creator Yehowah Elohim...and NOT according to man's first love for his 'freedom-will'.

      John Stefanyszyn
      ....a bondman of the One True King Jesus Christ, Son of the One and Only Creator God Yehowah Elohim

      Austin, you can contact me at john.stefanyszyn@gmail.com.

      December 31, 2013 at 9:55 am |
  13. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sj8BiXyMTDg

    All the internet atheist and internet Christian logical fallacies keep getting deleted.

    December 31, 2013 at 1:53 am |
  14. Amen

    "The new atheists do not speak to the millions of people whose form of religion is far from the embodied certainties of contemporary literalism. Indeed, it is a settled assumption of this kind of atheism that there are no intelligent religious believers."

    Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/arrogance-atheists-batter-believers-religion-smug-certainty-article-1.469613#ixzz2p24VcvVs

    December 31, 2013 at 1:45 am |
    • Reality # 2

      Arrogance or reality?

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

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

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

      December 31, 2013 at 8:07 am |
  15. bostontola

    We now estimate that the Milky Way has on the order of 100 billion stars and there are hundreds of billions of galaxies. We are finding many planets per star. That means highly intelligent life will likely emerge on other planets. Some of these planets could have social life forms that develop religions and science.

    How would these religions and science compare to ours?

    Right here on earth we created thousands of religions and gods, all very different, as different as the environments they came from. On these other planets with intelligent social life forms, they would be different than us. That would suggest that their religions could be quite different than ours.

    On the other hand, the science they develop would closely resemble ours. It would unfold in different ways, some areas deeper, others less deep, but in the end settled science would mirror ours. Why? Science is the product of ideas that are tested. If it fails here, it will fail there.

    December 31, 2013 at 12:36 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      Your comment is awaiting moderation.

      Good point. Scientific advancement is limited to what is physically possible. God beliefs not so much.

      2 pages gone and I'm one of the targets of some insipid coward. When argument fails they revert to censorship.

      December 31, 2013 at 4:58 am |
      • Science Works

        AtheistSteve

        just wondering was fred making comments at the end of the thread before comments disappeared ?

        December 31, 2013 at 5:51 am |
        • AtheistSteve

          I don't think so.

          December 31, 2013 at 6:01 am |
        • Science Works

          thanks

          Posted this to fred somewhere but ?

          Maybe the religious rights should be last on the menu – what do you say fred ?

          For human rights to flourish, religious rights have to come second

          http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/dec/27/human-rights-religious-rights-come-second#start-of-comments

          December 31, 2013 at 6:15 am |
        • AtheistSteve

          Well fred may have been lurking but I don't recall him adding anything to the thread My Dog is a jealous Dog, Observer and I were commenting in. Too bad really as it was quite lively. DyslexicDog enjoyed the fray and was the last comment before it disappeared I believe.

          December 31, 2013 at 6:30 am |
        • midwest rail

          Trolls with multiple names will be the death of public comment boards. That applies equally to both sides of the debate here.

          December 31, 2013 at 6:44 am |
        • Commies

          my posts were deleted commenting on how the crucifix with the graven image attatched to it violates 8 out of 10 of the 10 commandments.

          December 31, 2013 at 7:19 am |
        • Austin

          make no as.sumptions either , I did use multiple headings ie "the crucifix with the graven image" they were ereases so i used "dale" and then "commies"

          that does not matter. i don't delete posts. a year ago i had people blaming me for the blog that kept reducing for a month, never deleted anyones . never will.

          December 31, 2013 at 7:22 am |
        • midwest rail

          Feeling guilty, Austin ? Did I accuse you ? The fact is that posters with multiple names can delete an entire thread all by themselves by reporting abuse with all their screen names – thereby controlling the entire comment section.

          December 31, 2013 at 7:25 am |
        • Austin

          i don't feel guilty really maybe a bit defensive, but the reason i switched handles was cause i didnt' know why my posts werent going through. and they were being deleted. i did not know others were too. its all good.

          idolatry and graven images are deliberate disobedience.

          December 31, 2013 at 7:42 am |
        • Guest

          8 out if 10? Really? Did you pull a muscle making that leap, Austin? I haven't been in, so I missed that. Which 8?

          December 31, 2013 at 10:16 am |
    • Science Works

      Maybe the pope complained !

      This was deleted too !

      Irish atheists increase by 400 percent in ten years, survey shows

      The number of Irish people with no religion – atheists and agnostics – increased by 400 percent in Ireland between 1991 and 2011 to a
      total of 277,237.

      http://www.irishcentral.com/news/-Irish-atheists-increase-by-400-percent-in-ten-years-survey-shows-237949531.html

      December 31, 2013 at 5:40 am |
    • Damocles

      I hate to disagree, but I think that their religious beliefs would mirror ours to a great degree. Early people on any planet would probably come up with a lightning deity and so on and so forth. Unless they progress faster than we do and discover the true causes for things, then it would resemble human religion.

      December 31, 2013 at 7:26 am |
      • bostontola

        Damocles,
        Some of the Gods may be similar, that's an interesting point. I was referring to the religions, the body of beliefs, rituals, etc. I bet they would all be different, just like ours are. Intelligent beings are very creative. Just like writing books, they will be different. But the science, it will be dead nuts on.

        The difference is science is discovery, religion is created.

        December 31, 2013 at 9:32 am |
      • Damocles

        It would be really interesting to find out how different types of star systems/solar systems progress. Say, for instance, there is a solar system that has life on more than one planet, that would be huge. How about a system that only has one planet? Cool stuff to think about from time to time.

        December 31, 2013 at 10:14 am |
  16. atheist=chritian

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DW9AUCs-5yI

    December 31, 2013 at 12:00 am |
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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.