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After a schism, a question: Can atheist churches last?
Sunday Assembly founders Sanderson Jones and Pippa Evans have begun to franchise their "godless congregations."
January 4th, 2014
09:00 AM ET

After a schism, a question: Can atheist churches last?

By Katie Engelhart, special to CNN

LONDON (CNN) - The Sunday Assembly was riding high.

The world’s most voguish - though not its only - atheist church opened last year in London, to global attention and abundant acclaim.

So popular was the premise, so bright the promise, that soon the Sunday Assembly was ready to franchise, branching out into cities such as New York, Dublin and Melbourne.

“It’s a way to scale goodness,” declared Sanderson Jones, a standup comic and co-founder of The Sunday Assembly, which calls itself a “godless congregation.”

But nearly as quickly as the Assembly spread, it split, with New York City emerging as organized atheism’s Avignon.

In October, three former members of Sunday Assembly NYC announced the formation of a breakaway group called Godless Revival.

“The Sunday Assembly,” wrote Godless Revival founder Lee Moore in a scathing blog post, “has a problem with atheism.”

Moore alleges that, among other things, Jones advised the NYC group to “boycott the word atheism” and “not to have speakers from the atheist community.” It also wanted the New York branch to host Assembly services in a churchlike setting, instead of the Manhattan dive bar where it was launched.

Jones denies ordering the NYC chapter to do away with the word “atheism,” but acknowledges telling the group “not to cater solely to atheists.” He also said he advised them to leave the dive bar “where women wore bikinis,” in favor of a more family-friendly venue.

The squabbles led to a tiff and finally a schism between two factions within Sunday Assembly NYC. Jones reportedly told Moore that his faction was no longer welcome in the Sunday Assembly movement.

Moore promises that his group, Godless Revival, will be more firmly atheistic than the Sunday Assembly, which he now dismisses as “a humanistic cult.”

In a recent interview, Jones described the split as “very sad.” But, he added, “ultimately, it is for the benefit of the community. One day, I hope there will soon be communities for every different type of atheist, agnostic and humanist. We are only one flavor of ice cream, and one day we hope there'll be congregations for every godless palate."

Nevertheless, the New York schism raises critical questions about the Sunday Assembly. Namely: Can the atheist church model survive? Is disbelief enough to keep a Sunday gathering together?

Big-tent atheism

I attended my first service last April, when Sunday Assembly was still a rag-tag venture in East London.

The service was held in a crumbly, deconsecrated church and largely populated by white 20-somethings with long hair and baggy spring jackets (a group from which I hail.)

I wrote that the Assembly “had a wayward, whimsical feel. At a table by the door, ladies served homemade cakes and tea. The house band played Cat Stevens. Our ‘priest’ wore pink skinny jeans.”

I judged the effort to be “part quixotic hipster start-up, part Southern megachurch.”

The central idea was attractive enough. The Assembly described itself as a secular urban oasis, where atheists could enjoy the benefits of traditional church - the sense of community, the weekly sermon, the scheduled time for reflection, the community service opportunities, the ethos of self-improvement, the singing and the free food - without God. I liked the vibe and the slogan: “Live Better, Help Often, Wonder More.”

Shortly thereafter, Assembly services began bringing in hundreds of similarly warm-and-fuzzy nonbelievers. The wee East London church grew too small, and the Assembly moved to central London’s more elegant Conway Hall.

The Assembly drew criticism, to be sure—from atheists who fundamentally object to organized disbelief, from theists who resent the pillaging of their texts and traditions. But coverage was largely positive - and it was everywhere.

In September, a second wave of coverage peaked, with news that the Assembly was franchising: across England, Scotland, Ireland, Canada, the United States and Australia. That month, the founders launched a crowd-funding campaign that aims to raise $802,500. (As of mid-December, less than $56,000 had been raised.)

Still, prospective Sunday Assembly franchisers seemed exhilarated. Los Angeles chapter founder Ian Dodd enthused that he would “have a godless congregation in the city of angels.” In November, his inaugural Assembly drew more than 400 attendees.

But as the atheist church grew, it began to change—and to move away from its atheism.

“How atheist should our Assembly be?” wrote Jones in August. “The short answer to that is: not very.”

Pippa Evans, Assembly’s other co-founder, elaborated: “‘Atheist Church’ as a phrase has been good to us. It has got us publicity. But the term ‘atheist’ does hold negative connotations.”

Warm-and-fuzzy atheism gave way to not-quite atheism: or at least a very subdued, milquetoast nonbelief. Sunday services made much mention of “whizziness” and “wonder”—but rarely spoke of God’s nonexistence.

The newer, bigger Sunday Assembly now markets itself as a kind of atheist version of Unitarian Univeralism: irreligious, but still eager to include everyone.

In a way, this is a smart move. According to the 2012 Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, 20% of Americans have no religious affiliation, but just a fraction of those identify as atheists.

A godless congregation is likely to draw crowds if it appeals to what Herb Silverman, founder of the Secular Coalition for America, calls “big-tent” atheism, which includes “agnostics, humanists, secular humanists, freethinkers, nontheists, anti-theists, skeptics, rationalists, naturalists, materialists, ignostics, apatheists, and more.”

But atheists who wanted a firmly atheist church—a Sunday Assembly where categorical disbelief is discussed and celebrated—will not be satisfied.

As the Sunday Assembly downplays its atheism, it also appears increasingly churchlike.

Starting a Sunday Assembly chapter now involves a “Sunday Assembly Everywhere accreditation process,” which grants “the right to use all the Sunday Assembly materials, logos, positive vibe and goodwill.”

Aspiring Sunday Assembly founders must form legal entities and attend “training days in the UK,” sign the Sunday Assembly Charter and pass a three- to six-month peer review. Only then may formal accreditation be granted.

This is not an East London hipster hyper-localism anymore.

Selling swag and charisma

Organized atheism is not necessarily new. French Revolutionaries, for instance, were early atheist entrepreneurs.

In 1793, secularists famously seized the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, to build a “Temple of Reason.” They decorated the church with busts of philosophers, built an altar to Reason, lit a torch of Truth - and brought in an actress to play Liberty.

A half-century later, French philosopher Auguste Comte drew acclaim for his “religion of humanity,” which imagined an army of secular sages ministering to secular souls. London has hosted formal atheist gatherings for almost as long.

History suggests, then, that there is nothing inherently anti-organization about atheism. As Assembly’s Sanderson Jones puts it, “things which are organized are not necessarily bad.”

To be sure, Sunday Assembly members in the United States say they've long wanted to join atheist congregations.

Ian Dodd, a 50-something camera operator in Los Angeles, had long been a member of the Unitarian Universalist Church; he enjoyed it, but wanted something more explicitly irreligious.

Nicole Steeves of the Chicago chapter found herself yearning for a secular community—a “place to check in and think about things bigger than the day-to-day”—after having her first child.

But it is one thing to support an atheist "church" - where the ‘c’ is small and the effort is local - and another to back an atheist ‘Church’ that is global and centralized.

The former responds directly to the needs and fancies of its community. The latter assumes that its particular brand of disbelief is universally relevant—and worthy of trademark.

Centralized atheism also feeds hungrily on charisma, and Sanderson Jones, who resembles a tall, bearded messiah - and who, despite the SA recommendation that Assembly hosts should be regularly rotated, dominates each London service - provides ample fuel.

But it remains to be seen whether the Sunday Assembly’s diluted godlessness is meaty enough to sustain a flock.

“Because it is a godless congregation, we don’t have a doctrine to rely on,” explains Sunday Assembly Melbourne’s founder, “so we take reference from everything in the world.”

So far, Assembly sermonizers had included community workers, physicists, astronomers, wine writers, topless philanthropers, futurologists, happiness experts, video game enthusiasts, historians and even a vicar. The pulpit is open indeed.

My own misgivings are far less academic. I’m simply not getting what the Sunday Assembly promised. I’m not put off by the secular church model, but rather the prototype.

Take an October service in London, for example:

Instead of a thoughtful sermon, I got a five-minute Wikipedia-esque lecture on the history of particle physics.

Instead of receiving self-improvement nudges or engaging in conversation with strangers, I watched the founders fret (a lot) over technical glitches with the web streaming, talk about how hard they had worked to pull the service off, and try to sell me Sunday Assembly swag.

What’s more, instead of just hop, skipping and jumping over to a local venue, as I once did, I now had to brave the tube and traverse the city.

Back in New York, Lee Moore is gearing up for the launch of Godless Revival - but still speaks bitterly of his time with the Sunday Assembly network.

Over the telephone, I mused that the experience must have quashed any ambition he ever had to build a multinational atheist enterprise.

“Actually,” he admitted, “we do have expansion aims.”

Katie Engelhart is a London-based writer. Follow her at @katieengelhart or www.katieengelhart.com.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Atheism • Belief • Church • Faith • Houses of worship • Leaders

soundoff (4,535 Responses)
  1. Dyslexic doG

    christians claim that the bible is THE WORD of their omnipotent, perfect god.

    So based on the contradictory, ambiguous, brutal, misogynistic, scientifically historically and factually incorrect content of the bible, it amazes me that christians would actually worship such an incoherent, raving, nasty, petulant, sad.istic, confused, lying deity.

    If it was the word of a perfect god then the whole book would be PERFECT! Flawless. There would be absolutely no errors! There would be absolutely no contradictions. There would be absolutely no lines that could be ignored by christians or taken as optional and not command. There would be no need for translation or interpretation or explanation or apology because it would be perfect.

    Instead, you have a book that either is not the word of an omnipotent perfect god, or if these ARE his words, he is far from omnipotent and perfect.

    So why would you follow this book, and/or why would you worship this god?

    January 6, 2014 at 1:23 pm |
    • AE

      " Fortunately, those who speak for the religious right do not speak for all American Christians, and the Bible is not theirs alone to interpret. The same Bible that the advocates of slavery used to protect their wicked self-interests is the Bible that inspired slaves to revolt and their liberators to action.

      The same Bible that the predecessors of Mr. Falwell and Mr. Robertson used to keep white churches white is the source of the inspiration of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and the social reformation of the 1960's.

      The same Bible that anti-feminists use to keep women silent in the churches is the Bible that preaches liberation to captives and says that in Christ there is neither male nor female, slave nor free.

      And the same Bible that on the basis of an archaic social code of ancient Israel and a tortured reading of Paul is used to condemn all h.mos.xuals and h.moe.xual behavior includes metaphors of redemption, renewal, inclusion and love - principles that invite h.mos.xuals to accept their freedom and responsibility in Christ and demands that their fellow Christians accept them as well. "

      Peter Gomes

      January 6, 2014 at 1:33 pm |
      • Bootyfunk

        you're coloring the bible with rose colored glasses.

        "The same Bible that anti-feminists use to keep women silent in the churches is the Bible that preaches liberation to captives and says that in Christ there is neither male nor female, slave nor free."

        the bible tells women to be silent and obey. the bible no where preaches that women are equal to men. and the bible has many examples of literal slavery, so come on... there are rules for how to beat slaves in the bible, how to sell your own daughter into slavery. the bible NEVER says owning slaves are bad.

        own up to what the bible says. trying to twist bible phrases so make them seem nice is being dishonest.

        the bible is very clear that g.ays are to be put to death. but to you that means something good, right?

        January 6, 2014 at 1:38 pm |
      • AE

        " Nine biblical citations are customarily invoked as relating to h.mos.xuality. Four (Deuteronomy 23:17, I Kings 14:24, I Kings 22:46 and II Kings 23:7) simply forbid prost.tution, by men and women.

        Two others (Leviticus 18:19-23 and Leviticus 20:10-16) are part of what biblical scholars call the Holiness Code. The code explicitly bans h.mos.xual acts. But it also prohibits eating raw meat, planting two different kinds of seed in the same field and wearing garments with two different kinds of yarn. Tattoos, adultery and s.xual intercourse during a woman's m.nstrual period are similarly outlawed.

        There is no mention of h.mos.xuality in the four Gospels of the New Testament. The moral teachings of Jesus are not concerned with the subject. "

        Peter Gomes

        January 6, 2014 at 1:42 pm |
        • Bootyfunk

          jesus doesn't mention h.omos.exuality one way or the other, but he does say you cannot drop a single letter from the OT, that the old laws must be followed. the old laws say g.ays are to be killed. jesus didn't say different.

          yes, the bible compares h.omos.euality to bestiality and all sorts of horrible and h.omophobic comparisons. doesn't have anything to do with eating raw meat. not sure why you brought that up. it's just plain old h.omophobia.

          jesus nevers says women are equal to men.

          January 6, 2014 at 1:50 pm |
        • AE

          I'm just quoting Peter Gomes. He is an actual Christian that proves your theories wrong. Especially the first line of your post.

          January 6, 2014 at 2:13 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          Romans 1:26-27 – For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.

          January 6, 2014 at 2:20 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          Leviticus 18:22, 20:13 – you shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination

          January 6, 2014 at 2:21 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          1 Corinthians 6:9-11 – “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor hom.ose.xuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.”

          January 6, 2014 at 2:22 pm |
        • AE

          "But it also prohibits eating raw meat, planting two different kinds of seed in the same field and wearing garments with two different kinds of yarn. Tattoos, adultery and s.xual intercourse during a woman's m.nstrual period are similarly outlawed."

          I know Christians who eat sushi, have a garden with different plants and wear clothes made of different fabrics.

          January 6, 2014 at 2:24 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          In 1 Corinthians 6:9 is the word effeminate, followed by the word hom.ose.xuals. These are two kinds of people that do not enter the Kingdom of God.

          oEffeminate is "malakos," the word means soft. It came to mean feminine or effeminate, a man who acts like a woman who is soft, feminine. It also became a technical term for the passive partner in hom.os.e.xual relationships, the one who takes the female role. One of the classic lexico.ns says the word also included men and boys who allowed themselves to become male pro.st.itu.tes for hom.ose.xuals.

          oHom.ose.xual, "ar.senoko.ites," means a sodomite: an abuser of (that defiles) self with mankind. This is someone who has a relationship with the same se.x, namely a man who has relationships with a man. Romans 1:18-32 is very clear that the act of hom.os.exuality defiles…

          January 6, 2014 at 2:33 pm |
        • Observer

          Lawrence of Arabia,

          Romans (12:20) also says “If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink.”

          Do you believe and practice EVERYTHING that Romans says or just pick-and-choose?

          January 6, 2014 at 2:40 pm |
        • Madtown

          Romans 1:18-32 is very clear that the act of hom.os.exuality defiles…
          ----
          Whoop-dee-doo. Romans 1:18-32 contains the words and opinions of MEN, not the dictates of God.

          January 6, 2014 at 2:40 pm |
        • AE

          No, it is not that clear. Christians have varying viewpoints on the context and understanding of that verse.

          January 6, 2014 at 2:44 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          @Larence
          The passage in Romans to which you are referring is about apostacy.
          The people with whom God became angry were self-professed Christians who abandoned their faith to take part in a pagan or/gy. That it was a bi-se.xual or/gy is tangenital – do you think God would've been less angry if it had been a hetero or/gy?

          January 6, 2014 at 2:45 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          Observer,
          I never said anything about hating those who are caught up in any sin... All I did was to quote to "AE" that the Bible in fact does teach that hom.os.exuality is sinful.

          January 6, 2014 at 2:46 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          Doc,
          No, God approves of "relations" only within the confines of marriage as laid out in Genesis. All else is spelled out as fornication and adultery.

          January 6, 2014 at 2:49 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          "No, it is not that clear."
          -------
          AE, the perspecuity of scripture is established, however, some do attempt to obscure the message so that they may support an opinion.

          January 6, 2014 at 2:52 pm |
        • Observer

          Lawrence of Arabia,

          If you REALLY cared about sins, you'd pick on the MUCH MUCH GREATER number of Christians who are ADULTERERS because of divorce and remarriage.

          (Mark 10:11–12) “And Jesus said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her and if a woman divorces her husband and marries another man, she is committing adultery."

          Why are Christians such HYPOCRITES and IGNORE that so they can pick on gays?

          January 6, 2014 at 2:59 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          "Why are Christians such HYPOCRITES and IGNORE that so they can pick on gays?"
          --------
          Why do atheists make broad generalizations and stereotypes of all Christians based on one or two they may have met in their life? For your information, I don't speak on one topic and ignore the other... I am speaking on the Bible's condemnation of ho.mos.exuality because that is the topic that was brought up – and NOT by me...

          January 6, 2014 at 3:09 pm |
        • Observer

          Lawrence of Arabia,

          Where did I use the word "all"? Only YOU did.

          Why do you think so many Christians IGNORE the MUCH MUCH GREATER number of their own ADULTERERS? When blogs on here are about divorce, suddenly Christians almost disappear. Why so many HYPOCRITES?

          January 6, 2014 at 3:12 pm |
        • Dyslexic doG

          Lawrence. why quote from a book written by people in the same cult as you? what does that prove?

          January 6, 2014 at 3:30 pm |
      • AE

        "the bible is very clear that g.ays are to be put to death. but to you that means something good, right?"

        No. I'll ask my lesbian pastor what her opinion on the matter is.

        January 6, 2014 at 1:46 pm |
        • Bootyfunk

          pls do. i would love to hear how she gets around it. lol.

          January 6, 2014 at 1:51 pm |
        • AE

          She would probably say that some Christians and some atheists believe what "Dyslexic doG" says. But not all. It is just an opinion.

          January 6, 2014 at 2:16 pm |
        • igaftr

          A lesbian pastor....SACRILEGE.
          Corinth 14:34
          A woman should remian silent in the churches. You are following a false pastor, heretic.

          January 6, 2014 at 2:32 pm |
        • AE

          Google "Corinthians 14:34" & "context"

          January 6, 2014 at 2:40 pm |
        • igaftr

          No need AE... since everyone interprets the bible differently, I'm sure you justify it somehow....the bible is clear though.
          Women should remian silent in churches...don't see where a silent pastor would do much good, but then again, teaching the bible doesn't do much good either.

          January 6, 2014 at 2:55 pm |
        • AE

          igaftr

          Jesus chose women to first spread the good news. He didn't ask them to be silent. Perhaps the context of the verse you are referring to may be important to know.

          January 6, 2014 at 3:25 pm |
        • igaftr

          Sure AE, use women to spread the propoganda of course...but not to teach the congregation. Slent in church means silent in church, not outside of it. Use the women to suck them in, then let the men brainwash the masses. The bible is so clear on this (LOL).

          January 6, 2014 at 5:04 pm |
        • AE

          Funny. Not true in my experiences, but funny.

          January 6, 2014 at 5:27 pm |
        • G to the T

          AE "Google "Corinthians 14:34" & "context"

          Try googling "Corinthians 14:34" and "Later insertion". You might be surprised.

          January 6, 2014 at 7:30 pm |
    • Kyle

      You're right, the book isn't perfect, but not because it comes from an imperfect God. It's because it was corrupted over time by men. Many things in it are true, but many things aren't. Some books aren't even the word of God. Just look at Songs of Solomon. I can tell you that everything in that book that is from God and is translated correctly is true and never contradicts itself.

      January 6, 2014 at 1:37 pm |
      • Doris

        Speaking of Solomon – did they ever decide how many stables that dude had. The Bible is conflicted with itself it seems on that issue.

        January 6, 2014 at 1:42 pm |
      • Saraswati

        How do you tell which things are from God?

        January 6, 2014 at 1:54 pm |
      • Madtown

        I can tell you that everything in that book that is from God
        ---–
        Why? What makes YOU the one to tell us this? Aside, why does God need men at all to write his words? Seems to me he's more than powerful enough to write them himself.

        January 6, 2014 at 1:55 pm |
    • Vic

      Following the premise of your recurring post, it seems like you always left out a third logical possibility, which is that it is the "inspired" word of the True God that got corrupted by human errors!

      January 6, 2014 at 1:38 pm |
      • Frank

        Dyslexic doG is not flawless. I guess we should ignore him, too.

        January 6, 2014 at 1:39 pm |
        • Dyslexic doG

          I make no claims of divinity or omnipotence so please do ignore me.

          but please look at the logic of my statement and THINK!

          January 6, 2014 at 2:08 pm |
      • Saraswati

        Possibly, but that leaves us with a week or not very bright god about whom we can know very little.

        January 6, 2014 at 1:50 pm |
        • Vic

          As a believer, I never assumed or believed that man (human) can possibly know "everything" about God, His Divine Will & Wisdom, work, plans, etc., and how they totally work.

          January 6, 2014 at 2:24 pm |
      • Madtown

        it is the "inspired" word of the True God that got corrupted by human errors!
        -----
        Why doesn't God just fix it? Why do you doubt God's power?

        January 6, 2014 at 2:00 pm |
      • ME II

        @Vic,
        How exactly does one tell the difference between a book "inspired by God" and one that is just made up by man?

        January 6, 2014 at 2:03 pm |
        • Vic

          The Holy Spirit.

          January 6, 2014 at 2:17 pm |
        • Madtown

          The Holy Spirit. = "Whichever one I prefer. Whichever one I believe to be the correct one."

          January 6, 2014 at 2:22 pm |
        • ME II

          @Vic
          "The Holy Spirit."

          I appreciate your honesty, but that isn't really saying anything.

          January 6, 2014 at 2:24 pm |
        • Kyle

          The idea is that God inspired men to put together the books, and there is a sort of checks and balances system in that the books should not contradict each other. I'm sure you could find some "contradictions" like different accounts of a story or something said in two different ways, but I believe a complete picture of God can be drawn from the Bible.

          You could probably argue God's wrath in the OT contradicts His message of grace and mercy in the NT, but if you read the whole Bible and study the passages, the wrinkles get ironed out.

          January 6, 2014 at 3:20 pm |
        • Madtown

          I believe a complete picture of God can be drawn from the Bible.
          ----
          Kyle, what is your opinion then as to why God didn't make certain all of his human creations will have complete access to the word? Why does God continue to create human beings, and place them in an area of the world where they will never learn the first thing about christianity? If God wanted us all to have his word, wouldn't he provide it to us all? Does he play favorites? Are you special, loved more by God than he loves someone who's never heard of the bible?

          January 6, 2014 at 3:37 pm |
        • Kyle

          That's a good point Madtown, and one reason we put a lot of money into translating the Bible into different languages.

          Admittedly, this takes trust in God to keep his promise found in Romans.
          Romans 1:20 says "For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse."

          Since I grew up with the Bible, it is really hard for me to think of believing in God without it. God does not need the Bible to reach out to people and reveal himself to them. God reveals himself through His Spirit, through nature, and often through other people too, not just through the word. I personally have the luxury of looking to the word for inspiration, but it's not completely necessary to believe in God.

          January 6, 2014 at 4:02 pm |
        • Madtown

          one reason we put a lot of money into translating the Bible into different languages
          ---–
          Kyle, I don't consider that to be the wisest use of money, my opinion. I think that missionary work of this type, distributing a message, has an overtone of arrogance to it. If you translate the bible into a different language, and give it to people who've never heard of it, what you're suggesting is that this way(your preferred way) is the correct way to follow, and whatever way they have been brought up with is NOT the correct way. Can you see how this is arrogant? God is powerful. If God desired that these people have his word, he'd inspire people within their own culture, to write the words(same words in the bible) in their language, without the need for you to translate. Make sense? You agree?

          January 6, 2014 at 4:38 pm |
        • Kyle

          Madtown, two counters.
          I'll answer the second point first. I agree that it would make sense for God to spread his Word to those nations in that he would be the best at spreading the message. However, he calls us to "make disciples of all nations", not because we are necessary in spreading his message, but because we grow in our faith when we get to bring his message to others. We hope to learn about God's love for all people by being connected to all people in this case by reaching people groups who don't have a Bible in their language. Often we hear stories of these groups understanding the Bible through a parallel in their culture, when their culture is miles away from ours. This gives us fresh faith in God and helps us see his presence in all the world, even when it seems like its not there.

          To your first point of trying to force ourselves upon others, the translation of the Bible is so we can present to them the truth, not force it down. We want to avoid arrogance of course, but we also do not want to disobey God's call to spread his word.

          Thoughts?

          January 6, 2014 at 5:08 pm |
        • Madtown

          so we can present to them the truth, not force it down
          -----
          I'd say that proclaiming something as "truth", to another person who's never heard of the concepts, is arrogant. You're essentially saying to them: "God provided his truth to me, but not to you." They'd proabably feel that if it was God's truth, God would also give it to them. Just put yourself in the reverse position. If someone came to your door, and presented you with literature and talked to you about their religion, and you had never heard of this religion.....would you be open to the ideas, and accept them? Would you convert? The people that visit you will tell you that their way is the only way to God, and that you should follow. Will you? If not, why would you expect others to do this, when you present the bible to them?

          January 6, 2014 at 5:50 pm |
        • Kyle

          Madtown
          I'd say that proclaiming something as "truth", to another person who's never heard of the concepts, is arrogant. You're essentially saying to them: "God provided his truth to me, but not to you."
          __________________________

          I would agree with you if I was presenting something I had discovered on my own. However, when we present Christianity, we are hoping that God has already been working in the person's life or will work in their life, so that the scriptures will not be what changes the person, but more like the final puzzle piece. Christ is the one who changes lives, and our job is to point people to Christ in whatever way we can. I admit the way I said "present to them the truth" sounds arrogant, and I'm not sure I would be open to someone who came to my door and said that. However, I think I would take them more seriously than someone who said, "I think this might be a possible truth". And further down the road, if I began to see more evidence of their truth, even though I doubted at first, I would likely re-investigate their claim. I would liken it to explaining buoyancy to someone who had never heard of it. The equations would not make sense unless that person had seen something float and understood at least a little about density and surface area. However, if that person knew of those concepts or discovered them later, maybe the buoyancy equations would make sense and give numbers and precise instructions to what the person already observed to be true. I do not wish to compare myself to someone who has discovered buoyancy though because my faith in Christ is only made possible through Jesus and not my own merit.

          I can't make people convert to Christianity, so I don't want to try. I just hope to present the message, so it's fresh in someone's mind when God reveals himself to them. I do not have delusions that a message board conversation is going to change many atheists mind since I believe Christ is the source of true life change. However, I can hopefully show that we enjoy thinking about tough topics as well and that believing in God does not mean forfeiting one's desire to think philosophically.

          January 6, 2014 at 7:47 pm |
      • Dyslexic doG

        sorry but no. god's word would not be open to ANY interpretation. god's word would mean one clear concise thing and no-one would be able to modify it or change it in any way. if god said something he wanted us to know, he wouldn't let it be manipulated or corrupted.

        January 6, 2014 at 2:18 pm |
      • In Santa we trust

        Vic, How would you validate that third proposition?

        January 6, 2014 at 2:21 pm |
        • Vic

          Having that possibility is a logical must by deduction, validating it is by the Holy Spirit.

          January 6, 2014 at 2:27 pm |
        • Vic

          Note that the Holy Spirit inspires and guides; therefore, validation can take the form of inspiration and/or physical discoveries.

          January 6, 2014 at 2:29 pm |
        • ME II

          Technically, I would think there are two possibilities. It is the exact word of God or it is not. There appears to be not third option.

          January 6, 2014 at 2:32 pm |
        • Madtown

          the Holy Spirit inspires and guides
          ----–
          "I agree with you completely. The Holy Spirit has guided me in my quest, and has led me to see the truth in writings inspired directly from God. Of course......I have no clue what this 'christianity' is you speak of, but that's beside the point, I follow a different religion than you."

          – Yours, the guy in the rain forest jungle

          January 6, 2014 at 2:35 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          Vic
          "Note that the Holy Spirit inspires and guides; therefore, validation can take the form of inspiration and/or physical discoveries."

          That is just circular logic. My point was if you can't verify it it's another unfounded belief.

          January 6, 2014 at 2:36 pm |
        • Saraswati

          MEII,

          1) It is the exact word of God.
          2) It is partially the work of God, partially of man.
          3) It is entirely the work of man.
          4) It is the work of another godlike being or beings trying to trick us.
          5) It is partially the work of such beings, part God.
          6) It is part such being, part human.
          7) It is part such beings, part humans, part God.
          8) We just happen to be in a universe in which randomness created a mostly readable text.
          9)...oh...i'm bored, but the options could go on a good long while.

          January 6, 2014 at 2:37 pm |
        • Vic

          LOL.

          January 6, 2014 at 2:43 pm |
        • Ernest T Bass

          #3

          January 6, 2014 at 2:46 pm |
        • ME II

          @Saraswati

          1) It is the exact word of God.
          2) It is partially the work of God, partially of man. ( i.e. Not the exact word of God)
          3) It is entirely the work of man. ( i.e. Not the exact word of God)
          4) It is the work of another godlike being or beings trying to trick us. ( i.e. Not the exact word of God)
          5) It is partially the work of such beings, part God. ( i.e. Not the exact word of God)
          6) It is part such being, part human. ( i.e. Not the exact word of God)
          7) It is part such beings, part humans, part God. ( i.e. Not the exact word of God)
          8) We just happen to be in a universe in which randomness created a mostly readable text.( i.e. Not the exact word of God)
          9)...oh...i'm bored, but the options could go on a good long while. ( i.e. Not the exact word of God)

          A thing is either true or not true.

          January 6, 2014 at 5:06 pm |
        • ME II

          "A thing is either true or not true."

          Sorry, probably better said as
          A thing is either X or not X.

          January 6, 2014 at 5:08 pm |
        • Saraswati

          ME II,

          If you go back to the OP the claim was an absolutist statement about what "christians" say about the bible being an exact word of god. In that context there are multiple possibilities, many of which may fall under "Not the exact word", but still by no means trivial in there differences.

          January 6, 2014 at 7:59 pm |
      • G to the T

        You seem to be assuming that there were pristine originals somewhere. How can that even be possible when we know that Matthew and Luke were based primarily off of the earlier Mark?

        Ever notice that Paul never makes a single reference to one of the gospels?
        Ever wonder why Jesus picked 12 disciples?

        There's lots of fun questions you ask about the bible once you start digging.

        January 6, 2014 at 7:33 pm |
    • Divdar

      You seem to lack understanding. I can disagree with someone, but still understand their point of view. Not everyone believes or interprets the Bible the same way you do. What you see as a contradiction, a different view could explain.

      January 6, 2014 at 1:49 pm |
      • Dyslexic doG

        sorry but no. god's word would not be open to ANY interpretation. god's word would mean one clear concise thing and no-one would be able to modify it or change it in any way. if god said something he wanted us to know, he wouldn't let it be manipulated or corrupted.

        January 6, 2014 at 2:11 pm |
        • AE

          You are describing idolatry. And yes, some Christians are guilty of creating and idol out of the Bible.

          January 6, 2014 at 2:19 pm |
      • G to the T

        I would certaily be wiling to concede that in many cases Divdar. But in many other cases the differences/contradictions/errors result in very different (even contrary) theological viewpoints. Example – was the Last Supper on Passover or the night before? When did the curtain in the temple rip? What were the last words of Jesus?

        Please know that I also agree that anyone that thinks they know the "true" intent of the original authors is making an idol of the bible (even though I myself am not a believer).

        January 6, 2014 at 7:37 pm |
    • fred

      Dyslexic doG

      "If it was the word"
      =>this is why you cannot see God. I imagine you cannot see the pride in your thoughts of self. Certainly you know the famous words of John who said in the beginning was the Word and the Word came and dwelt among us. You also know that creation began with the Word (God said let it be and it was). The words express what is in our hearts and yours is clear. Interesting how that Word of God remains the greatest of all and the Bible remains the greatest story ever told yet you cannot see its wonder

      "the whole book would be PERFECT! Flawless."
      =>there are countless books and it is the Word of God that is perfect and true not your translation of choice which incorporates the world, the time and the author into its translation.

      "There would be absolutely no errors!"
      =>I have never encountered an error in the Word of God. I have seen the atheists sound bites and scripted 138 conflicts in the Bible all of which turn out not to be conflicts at all. Certainly there are many unknowns but no provable errors.

      "There would be absolutely no lines that could be ignored by christians or taken as optional and not command."
      =>As I recall God wrote the 10 commandments and we have no record of Jesus writings. Where is the error in the writing? Exactly what is optional or can be ignored in these writings of God?
      Atheists love to pull a verse out of context without understanding then claim confusion or attempt to confuse. So, start with the known written words (10 commands) and tell me what is not perfect, clear and a direct thou shall not.

      "So why would you follow this book, and/or why would you worship this god?"
      =>because we know the God who is not your vision of God. If you wish to attack the God we know then do so based on the truth known to us. You set up your vision of God to support your hateful disposition which is common for those without hope. I do not know anyone that would worship the god you see.

      January 6, 2014 at 1:54 pm |
      • Observer

        (Gen. 22:1) “And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am.”
        (James 1:13) “Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone.”

        Oooops!

        January 6, 2014 at 1:58 pm |
        • fred

          Many versions of Genesis 22:1 use the word tested because of foolishness like you just exhibited. The words tested and tempted are used interchangeably depending on Greek or Hebrew. Even if the words are flipped God does not tempt. God will always test to improve not bring about evil. Testing is like what we do with chips we must test to prove they are stable in design.
          Stop the hate Observer.

          January 6, 2014 at 8:37 pm |
      • BRC

        fred,
        Ever read the Bible's recommended cure for leprosy? Care to tell everyone how that is not an error?

        January 6, 2014 at 2:23 pm |
        • fred

          BRC
          If you are referring to Leviticus 14:2-52 this is a cleansing ritual nothing to do with a cure for leprosy.

          January 6, 2014 at 7:17 pm |
        • BRC

          fred,
          I have to give you credit, when I was reading through that part I mistakenly thought of healing, and you're right, the major versions all say cleansing. As long as that's in reference to spiritual cleansing, then it isn't an error, it's just pointless. Thank you for pointing out my misread, noone else ever responds to that question.

          January 7, 2014 at 11:17 am |
      • Dyslexic doG

        sorry fred but none of that really makes any sense, other than that you believe the bible as fact because the bible tells you it is factual. I'd like to tell you that I am the most handsome man in the world. I'll even write it in a book if that helps. 🙂

        January 6, 2014 at 2:28 pm |
      • BRC

        Also, even in the story, there was never any proof that "God" actually inscribed the 10 commandments. Moses was all by himself on that mountain for a good while, nothing stopping him from taking some rock slabs adn engraving the rules on them himself.

        January 6, 2014 at 2:34 pm |
        • Kyle

          I mean the Bible says the Lord gave them to Moses (below), and if you're going to say the Bible is not proof enough in this case, then why would we argue about Moses? The only "proof" of Moses is in the Bible. My point is that I don't think you'll be able to argue against the Bible from examples within the Bible.

          "12 And the Lord said unto Moses, Come up to me into the mount, and be there: and I will give thee tables of stone, and a law, and commandments which I have written; that thou mayest teach them.
          13 And Moses rose up, and his minister Joshua: and Moses went up into the mount of God."

          January 6, 2014 at 3:32 pm |
        • BRC

          Kyle,
          Just shows weakness of the narative. One of the claims made by people who support the Bible is that there really were winesses, it isn't jut written by people after the fact. Obviously that doesn't apply to the OT, since it was written WAY after the fact and was passed down as oral tradition for a long time first, but none the less, in the story itself the only reason anyone would believe that the tablets were given to Moses by "God" (instead of him doing the carving), is because he said they were. So even in the Bible itself it doesn't describe an aciton that undeniably shows Gods word, and it makes the 10 commandments no more critical than the 600 others that "God" gave to Moses to pass on to the rest of his people.

          January 6, 2014 at 3:41 pm |
        • Kyle

          BRC
          There is other reason to believe the laws were given from God. The Ten Commandments are widely practiced by cultures that are uncivilized and separate from the reach of Christianity or Judaism. If morality is void of God, then why do so many cultures uphold commandments central to the Bible and believed to be the word of God?

          January 6, 2014 at 4:24 pm |
        • G to the T

          Kyle – Because what works, works. A society that didn't forbid the murder of it's members by other members without consequence wouldn't last very long. Same with theft, same with lying. That being said, almost no other group had commandments to demand exclusive worship (though Zoarastrianism was certainly close) and that's almost HALF of the (first set) of 10 commandments. This more than anything caused friction between the jews and their polytheistic neighbors.

          Also consider that when the 10 commandments say "don't murder", it means "don't murder other jews". Most ethical systems of this time were considered to only apply to the members of the group. People outside of the group (particularly political enemy states) were included.

          January 6, 2014 at 7:43 pm |
    • WC

      "If it was the word of a perfect god then the whole book would be PERFECT! Flawless. There would be absolutely no errors! There would be absolutely no contradictions. There would be absolutely no lines that could be ignored by christians or taken as optional and not command. There would be no need for translation or interpretation or explanation or apology because it would be perfect."

      Well said.

      January 6, 2014 at 2:12 pm |
      • Dyslexic doG

        *genuflect*

        January 6, 2014 at 2:29 pm |
      • Responding to the Pride

        "There would be absolutely no lines that could be ignored by christians or taken as optional and not command." Why? Why would a perfect God be unwilling to give us choices?

        January 6, 2014 at 2:43 pm |
        • G to the T

          Because choices can lead to contrary views and contrary views cannot both be true.

          January 6, 2014 at 7:44 pm |
        • Winston

          "Why would a perfect God be unwilling to give us choices?"

          Lacking sufficient evidence to make an informed choice, what one makes instead is a guess.

          January 7, 2014 at 12:13 pm |
      • Kyle

        "There would be absolutely no lines that could be ignored by christians or taken as optional and not command."

        Once again, if Christians could not ignore God's commands, we would not have free will. If God created the perfect book by your standards, everyone would read it and do exactly the same thing, and could not ignore God or choose to not believe in Him.

        January 6, 2014 at 3:38 pm |
        • BRC

          Kyle,
          Knowledge does not negate will, it simply informs action. If the words perfectly proved there was a "God" then everyone would be able to know he exists, btu that doesn't mean everyone would listen to his commands. I assure you that even if it was proved that the "God" of the Bible were real, I wouldn't do what he sais because I really fundamentally disagree with a lot of it. Witholding knowledge is only EVER a mechanism for control, adn a particularly insidious one. A just god that trusted its creations and calued free will would give its creations ALL the facts, adn let them act accordingly.

          January 6, 2014 at 3:46 pm |
        • Kyle

          BRC,
          The thinking goes like this. God is perfect. As of right now you can choose to disagree with his ways because they have not all been revealed to you. If God is the creator of perfect morality, and he revealed the full scope of that morality to you, instead of just the commands he gives us, then you would not be able to disagree.

          If you don't see God as perfect, and rather see him as someone you could disagree with if he had revealed himself to you, then I probably can't convince you that holding out some of himself is necessary for free will. However, since I believe God is infinitely larger than myself, I do not think I could disagree with him or ignore his perfection if he revealed it to me.

          January 6, 2014 at 4:15 pm |
        • G to the T

          "then you would not be able to disagree."
          Maybe. But I'd least I'd have the option of an informed decision.

          January 6, 2014 at 7:45 pm |
  2. Vic

    I believe the following is a VALID approach to the subject matter:

    [
    Robert Raulerson

    It's fun to debate Gawd's existence or non-existence, but that's all it is. Much like a game of chess – an intellectual workout. Religion is the real issue. Religion is real and it's a problem. It's a problem many people think is a solution and that makes it an especially difficult problem.

    January 6, 2014 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    ]

    Here is my response:

    Then it should be addressed that way. If people resort to debating the existence of God, it makes things worse, it is a major throwback. No one should use atheism as a mean if they only have a problem with religion!

    January 6, 2014 at 1:23 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      " If people resort to debating the existence of God, it makes things worse"

      must obey - never question. must obey - never think. must OBEY!

      January 6, 2014 at 1:26 pm |
      • Frank

        I'm Protestant, our beginning started in not obeying, but questioning and thinking.

        January 6, 2014 at 1:38 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          Oh, and also anti-semitism.
          And the rejection of multiple books of the Bible – almost including the Book of Revelation.

          January 6, 2014 at 2:13 pm |
      • Kyle

        If you understood how God works you'd know that he wants you to question. It leads to more knowledge. I don't know about other churches, but in mine we encourage people to ask questions and entertain doubt because when they do it ends up strengthening their faith.

        January 6, 2014 at 1:39 pm |
        • Chikkipop

          "If you understood how God works you’d know......"

          That's hilarious!

          What god, and how is it that YOU understand how this god works!?

          If you can present your knowledge, this would be worldwide news, unlike those gullible folks that make a bunch of claims based on an old book!

          Please! Let's hear about it!

          January 8, 2014 at 10:24 pm |
      • Divdar

        Much to the thinking some use towards science.

        January 6, 2014 at 1:43 pm |
    • igaftr

      Not a throwback at all.

      Since no one has EVER shown the existance of any god, we never left that point in the first place.
      Debating which god or what god wants is predicated on the existance of a god...so you MUST start there. Until any god can be shown to exist, there really is no other debate.

      January 6, 2014 at 1:27 pm |
    • Vic

      Clarification:

      "..If people resort to debating the existence of God instead, it makes things worse,.."

      January 6, 2014 at 1:30 pm |
      • Bootyfunk

        in other words, never question - just obey.

        yeah, makes things worse for the religion as people who exercise cognitive thinking often turn away from religion.

        January 6, 2014 at 1:34 pm |
    • Saraswati

      I think I agree with the general premise but am thrown by your use of the capitalized God. Of course we can't have more than games debating whether or not any gods exist...who could know? But capitalized God is a specific instance, a religion in itself, and it is perfectly valid to debate whether any specific god is internally consistent or consistent with observed data.

      Debating the existence of gods is fun but trivial. Debating the existence of God or Thor or Kali is both reasonable and applicable.

      January 6, 2014 at 1:59 pm |
      • G to the T

        Well said, +1 here.

        January 6, 2014 at 4:09 pm |
  3. Ann

    I feel bad for these non beleivers.....one day they will regret

    January 6, 2014 at 1:21 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      LOLOL

      January 6, 2014 at 1:25 pm |
    • Alias

      Not even close to proving you have the right god.

      January 6, 2014 at 1:29 pm |
    • JWT

      In your opinion what can they regret ?

      January 6, 2014 at 1:29 pm |
    • myweightinwords

      How do you feel about those who do believe, just believe differently than you do?

      Because I don't know anyone who is a "non-believer"...everyone believes in something.

      January 6, 2014 at 1:37 pm |
    • doobzz

      I feel bad for people who can't spell "believers", non or otherwise.

      January 6, 2014 at 2:06 pm |
  4. Alias

    Just one more. Purely for te pleasure of the people who love to click on 'Report Abuse'
    When is second coming? Or did it happen and we missed it?

    MAT 24:34 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.
    MAR 13:30 Verily I say unto you, that this generation shall not pass, till all these things be done.
    LUK 21:32 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled.

    January 6, 2014 at 1:18 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      STANDARD APOLOGETIC:
      "Generation" means something different to God than to humans.
      God exists outside of space and time, therefore time is a squidgy concept and can mean anything or nothing to God.

      The biblical definition of a generation can be found in Psalm 90.
      "The years of our lives are 70; and if by reason of strength they be 80 years, yet most of them are labor and sorrow; for life is soon cut off and we fly away."
      26 Psalms 90:10
      This is confirmed in the Gospel of Matthew.
      "Therefore all the generations from Abraham down to David are 14 generations; and from David down to the Babylonian captivity are 14 generations; and from the Babylonian captivity down to messiah, are 14 generations."
      – Matthew 1:17
      Matthew is using the Psalm 90 definitions of Generation in order to tell a specific chronological story.

      That doesn't account for other passages that indicate it was all supposed to go down thousands of years ago, however.
      “Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour.”
      —1 John 2:18

      January 6, 2014 at 1:20 pm |
  5. Observer

    Live4HIm,

    You claim that there is only one God. You claim that Zeus and thousands of other gods didn't exist.

    By your faulty logic, the burden of proof is on you. So are there THOUSANDS of other gods?

    January 6, 2014 at 1:14 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      yes, pls prove yahweh exists, but ra, odin and zeus do not.

      so silly....

      January 6, 2014 at 1:16 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Observer
      L4H's God is the ONLY one that exists outside of space, time, physics, and biology.
      Other religions might THINK they have viable creation myths, but they can't hold a candle to Genesis for actual, factual, really real "Truth" with a capital "T".

      January 6, 2014 at 1:18 pm |
      • Bootyfunk

        magic = truth?
        lol.

        January 6, 2014 at 1:21 pm |
      • Observer

        Doc Vestibule,

        Your comment reminds me of the opening claim on the silly "Cheaters" TV show that says that it shows something to the effect of "actual true events".

        January 6, 2014 at 1:34 pm |
    • Live4Him

      Notice: I will only respond to those to whom my post is addressed. Everyone else will be ignored.

      Life4Him : But, one cannot 'prove God exists' because there are infinite tests that could be conducted to falsify God – all of which would need to fail to falsify Him in order to prove His existence.
      @Observer : You claim that there is only one God. You claim that Zeus and thousands of other gods didn't exist. By your faulty logic, the burden of proof is on you.

      I cannot falsify the Bible, given that its many historical cities existed. These cities give evidence that the Bible is true. The same could not be said of all the 'thousands of other gods'.

      As I've stated previously, the scientific method requires a controlled experiment that failed to falsify the hypothesis. Since you haven't provided results for such an experiment for these 'thousands of other gods', then the burden of proof is on you. Once you do so, then it will be up to me to falsify. Until then...

      <><

      January 6, 2014 at 1:25 pm |
      • Observer

        Live4Him,

        Homer's books offer as much support for gods as the Bible does.

        No scientific method PROVES the Bible exists.

        Please try again. You have TOTALLY FAILED to prove that there aren't THOUSANDS of gods.

        We're waiting.

        January 6, 2014 at 1:31 pm |
        • Nina

          Exactly.

          January 6, 2014 at 1:32 pm |
        • Live4Him

          Notice: I will only respond to those to whom my post is addressed. Everyone else will be ignored.

          @Observer : Homer's books offer as much support for gods as the Bible does.

          Why would you compare known fiction with historical texts?

          @Observer : No scientific method PROVES the Bible exists.

          If one were to state the hypothesis that "the Bible not exists", then it could be easily falsified. Given this, then the onus would be on you to come up with a scientific experiment to prove that it does not exist or to show where my experiment was faulty.

          <><

          January 6, 2014 at 1:46 pm |
        • Observer

          Live4Him,

          Homer wrote about gods that Greeks believed in at the time. Same for the Bible.

          Try again.

          PROVE that there aren't THOUSANDS of gods.

          January 6, 2014 at 1:51 pm |
      • Doc Vestibule

        Gilgamesh is a demi-god. 3/4 divine, according to the ancient Epic of GIlgamesh (which pre-dates the Jesus story by quite a bit).
        The ancient Kingdom of Uruk and it's mighty walls have been excavated by archaeologists – just as described on those great stone tablets. There are other independent sources confirming that King Gilgamesh was a real person.
        Does that mean that the rest of the story is true? That he really was a demi-god who ruled for 125 years and took a trip to the Underworld?

        January 6, 2014 at 1:33 pm |
        • Nina

          Good point, Doc.

          January 6, 2014 at 1:37 pm |
    • Nina

      Of course cities is not evidence that the Bible is true. Saying the Bible is true includes all that crazy magical stuff that most sensible people don't buy into.

      January 6, 2014 at 1:35 pm |
      • G to the T

        It's like saying vampires exist because Interview with a Vampire mentions New Orleans...

        January 6, 2014 at 4:20 pm |
  6. Robert Raulerson

    I just got the news that theridge has the 1918 strain of flu and his teeth are full of cavities. Guess he should have got the shot and drank the fluoride water. But he still has Jayzus and his snakes.

    January 6, 2014 at 1:12 pm |
  7. Alias

    this is kind of fun. I probably need therapy.
    Judas died how?
    "And he cast down the pieces of silver into the temple and departed, and went out and hanged himself." (MAT 27:5)
    "And falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all of his bowels gushed out." (ACT 1:18)

    January 6, 2014 at 1:12 pm |
  8. sid

    This is stupid.

    January 6, 2014 at 1:12 pm |
  9. theridge

    oh you are a lower case "g" god like me. Yea we have a God that is over us still.

    January 6, 2014 at 1:09 pm |
    • igaftr

      Baseless opinion...nothing more.

      January 6, 2014 at 1:11 pm |
  10. Doc Vestibule

    @Live4Him
    If you wish to have "private" debates with members of this forum, perhaps you should ask for their email addresses instead of splitting off your replies from the root posts or choosing to ignore those whom you deem unworthy.
    You seem to have a habit of abandoning threads, attempting to belittle those with whom you disagree via semantic arguments and/or by declaring their posts irrelevant.

    January 6, 2014 at 1:08 pm |
    • Live4Him

      Notice: I will only respond to those to whom my post is addressed. Everyone else will be ignored.

      @Doc Vestibule : If you wish to have "private" debates with members of this forum

      But I don't. I seek open debates without the chaos.

      @Doc Vestibule : choosing to ignore those whom you deem unworthy.

      I don't 'pick-n-choose' but rather stay on topic – with a single person and topic.

      @Doc Vestibule : You seem to have a habit of abandoning threads

      This accusation is exactly why I decided on this course – with infinite opponents and infinite topics then it is only a matter of time before this accusation is proven true. Now, I can follow the tread to its conclusion.

      <><

      January 6, 2014 at 1:15 pm |
      • Doc Vestibule

        Ah – like the other day when you said to me:
        "Evidence? Oh, right, you don't ever provide any." – after which I provided evidence, but never received reply?

        Or when I reiterated the same relevant and cogent points regarding instances in which the law overrules religious freedom a few times? Each time it was ignored and you even tried splitting off the thread to call it irrelevant – only to have other users advise you it was quite pertinent?
        You still have yet to acknowledge that the points are valid and you abandoned the conversation.

        January 6, 2014 at 1:29 pm |
        • Live4Him

          @Doc Vestibule : after which I provided evidence, but never received reply?

          I never saw any. And if you looked at that post, whichever it was, you'll probably see a connection between the time you posted that so-called evidence and when I stopped posting.

          @Doc Vestibule : Or when I reiterated the same relevant and cogent points regarding instances in which the law overrules religious freedom a few times

          Which I had already acknowledge in my own post (i.e. trade-off between the greater good : loss of some freedoms compared to society's need : i.e. yelling FIRE in a crowded theather). And the MAIN reason is that you were interrupting another discussion, rather than starting your own thread. Be respectful and I'll respond. Interrupt / slander, and I won't.

          BTW – I've got about another 10 minutes before I need to drop off for a bit.

          <><

          January 6, 2014 at 1:35 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          And there's an immediate dismissal – "so called evidence"/
          Recent examples of the behaviour to which I am referring:

          Live4Him
          @Doc Vestibule : Not all belief systems are predicated on supernatural enti/ties.

          Agreed – but your argument was that atheist LACK a belief system. Are you now backing away from that posit?
          January 3, 2014 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse | Reply

          Doc Vestibule
          No.
          The statement I made is that the term "atheism" describes a lack of belief in GODS – not a lack of belief system.
          January 3, 2014 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |

          You had originally split my comment off from the parent thread to make it another post (pulling it out of context).
          Once i made that statement, you abandoned the thread.
          You were still actively posting afterwards – 1:33, 1:56, 2:08pm etc.

          " I had already acknowledge in my own post (i.e. trade-off between the greater good : loss of some freedoms compared to society's need : i.e. yelling FIRE in a crowded theather)"
          But that isn't so.
          What you said is "The Const.itution supersede ordinary laws. It states that religious beliefs cannot be infringed by ordinary laws without a justifiable benefit to society. However, Observer wants to argue that ordinary law trump religious beliefs. I'm opposing his posit."

          I posted multiple examples of when ordinary law trumps religious beliefs.
          You ignored them.
          As a matter of fact, it was something you said to me that spurred the reply originally:
          "Should they lose their religious freedoms granted by the Consti.tution?" is what you asked in reply to my original post.
          I replied "Religious freedom doesn't mean they're exempt from the law." and gave the aforementioned examples.
          You abandoned the thread, though continued commenting elsewhere.
          Becuase you ignored the perfectly reasonable, verifiable and true reply I gave and proceeded to split things off into myriad other threads, I reiterated the points when you kept up the same arguments in a new thread.

          January 6, 2014 at 2:09 pm |
  11. Robert Raulerson

    Has anybody ever figured out what happened to the people who died Before Jayzus showed up? Or the ones who died after and never heard his name? They either;

    A. Got a free pass to Heaven.
    B. Were condemned to Heck with no chance to accept their 'savior'.
    C. Went to Atlantic City and slept under the boardwalk.

    If nobody goes to Heaven cept thru Jayzus, then he had a moral obligation to reveal himself to Everybody on the planet at the same time. Dint happen that way.

    January 6, 2014 at 1:05 pm |
    • Alias

      They are all in hell.
      The bible says so in many places and for many reasons.

      January 6, 2014 at 1:20 pm |
    • Kyle

      Actually, he did. Many ancient cultures have myths and stories of him descending from the sky and visiting them after his resurrection. The Bible only recorded the things that happened in that part of the world, you have to look at other ancient texts to find out what happened outside of the middle east.

      January 6, 2014 at 1:29 pm |
      • G to the T

        So it was Yahweh that demanded the Aztecs perform human sacrifice to keep the sun nourished?

        January 7, 2014 at 8:07 am |
  12. Robert Raulerson

    It's fun to debate Gawd's existence or non-existence, but that's all it is. Much like a game of chess – an intellectual workout. Religion is the real issue. Religion is real and it's a problem. It's a problem many people think is a solution and that makes it an especially difficult problem.

    January 6, 2014 at 12:59 pm |
    • Vic

      Then it should be addressed that way. If people resort to debating the existence of God, it makes things worse, it is a major throwback. No one should use atheism as a mean if they only have a problem with religion!

      January 6, 2014 at 1:12 pm |
    • Chikkipop

      "It’s fun to debate Gawd’s existence or non-existence, but that’s all it is. Much like a game of chess – an intellectual workout."

      No. It's not like chess, where each side starts out with an equal opportunity to win the match.

      Theists start with a burden, and they never overcome it. It is only still a matter of debate because you have people who stubbornly insist that belief without reason or evidence is legitimate.

      There is no actual debate. Until evidence surfaces to support a god theory, we are justified in rejecting all claims based upon faith.

      January 8, 2014 at 10:06 pm |
  13. Live4Him

    Live4Him : But, one cannot 'prove God exists' because there are infinite tests that could be conducted to falsify God – all of which would need to fail to falsify Him in order to prove His existence.
    @Observer : why don't you prove i'm not god. should be easy for you since you can prove a negative.

    Notice: I will only respond to those to whom my post is addressed. Everyone else will be ignored.

    You obviously didn't read my post in its entirety. Science never proves anything. Instead, it just failes to falsify a hypothesis.

    <><

    January 6, 2014 at 12:59 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      "Science never proves anything."
      +++ funniest and most ignorant thing i've read today.

      January 6, 2014 at 1:00 pm |
      • AE

        "Contrary to popular belief, there is no such thing as a scientific proof."

        http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-scientific-fundamentalist/200811/common-misconceptions-about-science-i-scientific-proof

        January 6, 2014 at 1:08 pm |
        • Bootyfunk

          i disagree with that author. he's talking about a mathematical proof. in this context people are talking about proof or evidence. science provides that, so yes, science provides proof or evidence.

          January 6, 2014 at 1:10 pm |
        • Bootyfunk

          https://www.google.com/#q=definition+proof

          Proof
          noun:
          1. evidence or argument establishing or helping to establish a fact or the truth of a statement.

          see?

          January 6, 2014 at 1:12 pm |
        • Alias

          Note to self:
          Science has not proven the atomic bomb works.

          January 6, 2014 at 3:46 pm |
    • doobzz

      "Notice: I will only respond to those to whom my post is addressed. Everyone else will be ignored."

      Also: " I will ignore the reply function because I love to control the comment section and to see my stuff on the very top of the page all day every day."

      What a nut.

      January 6, 2014 at 1:02 pm |
    • Michael

      What's "failes" – are you French?

      January 6, 2014 at 1:02 pm |
    • Observer

      Live4Him,

      "Science never proves anything.". It proves MORE than the Bible PROVES. Try using the ratio pi from the Bible and see where that gets you.

      So why doesn't God take FIVE SECONDS and end this controversy and SAVE BILLIONS OF SOULS?

      January 6, 2014 at 1:03 pm |
      • Live4Him

        @Observer : So why doesn't God take FIVE SECONDS and end this controversy and SAVE BILLIONS OF SOULS?

        So, you agree that we humans cannot prove God exists, but we COULD falsify the Biblical God if it were possible.

        <><

        January 6, 2014 at 1:07 pm |
        • Observer

          Live4HIm,

          We cannot prove that God does or doesn't exist. Those claiming that something exists has the burden of proof on them. Otherwise, they could be making it all up.

          January 6, 2014 at 1:10 pm |
        • Live4Him

          Notice: I will only respond to those to whom my post is addressed. Everyone else will be ignored.

          @Observer : We cannot prove that God does or doesn't exist.

          But it should be possible to falsify the Bible's claim to an omnipotent and omniscient God. – But, you cannot.

          <><

          January 6, 2014 at 1:29 pm |
        • Observer

          Live4Him

          @Observer : We cannot prove that God does or doesn't exist.

          But it should be possible to falsify the Bible's claim to an omnipotent and omniscient God. – But, you cannot."

          Still waiting for you to PROVE that there aren't THOUSANDS of Gods.

          What's the delay?

          January 6, 2014 at 5:05 pm |
    • Petra

      L4H is a condescending person who wants to control the narrative according to her whims/wishes.
      So noted.
      And permanently ignored.

      January 6, 2014 at 1:03 pm |
    • U.S. Postal Service

      Oh good – we can skip this address. Let's see – it says there's no one at home here anyway.

      January 6, 2014 at 1:04 pm |
    • Hoyle

      Dear Madam,

      This is a Rummy room. You must be thinking of Gin Rummy. Our door specifically does not say "Gin".

      January 6, 2014 at 1:09 pm |
  14. Live4Him

    @Bootyfunk : why don't you prove i'm not god. should be easy for you since you can prove a negative.

    Notice: I will only respond to those to whom my post is addressed. Everyone else will be ignored.

    Easy – If you don't know my name, then you're not omniscient. Thus, you're not the Biblical god.

    <><

    January 6, 2014 at 12:55 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      how can you prove i don't know your name? gods work in mysterious ways, haven't you heard? perhaps i know your name and i'm testing you? see how silly it is to say you can prove a negative?

      so i'm still waiting - prove i'm not god.

      January 6, 2014 at 12:59 pm |
      • theridge

        Because you would have used a capital letter "G" in God since it would have been your first name.

        January 6, 2014 at 1:02 pm |
        • Bootyfunk

          i'm a humble god. there are lots of arrogant Gods. some even use all caps: GOD. if you were a deity, like me, you'd know that. sheesh!

          January 6, 2014 at 1:05 pm |
    • Alias

      Live4him will now decide who gets to reply and who is unworthy.

      January 6, 2014 at 12:59 pm |
      • igaftr

        Since L4H has proven to be a liar, over and over again...HE/SHE is not worthy.

        January 6, 2014 at 1:15 pm |
    • Henry

      I don't think so lady – this is a blog.

      January 6, 2014 at 12:59 pm |
    • sarah

      you expect to maintain a two-way conversation on a blog? really?

      January 6, 2014 at 1:00 pm |
  15. Robert Raulerson

    My last post is 'awaiting moderation'. Guess I hurt somebody's very sensitive feelings.

    January 6, 2014 at 12:54 pm |
  16. Who needs Nephilim? Science volunteered.

    $$ 🙂 $$

    January 6, 2014 at 12:51 pm |
  17. Live4Him

    @WASP : you can't prove a negitive

    I'm re-posting this because too many people wanted to be rude and WASP never responded. People, AGAIN, I will only respond to those to whom my post is addressed. Everyone else will be ignored. So, please let WASP respond (or not).

    This is a misnomer. For example, I could prove no light exist (i.e. a 'negative') by measuring the light level and finding it to be zero. so, this issue is more about an improperly defined hypothesis than it is about the inability to conduct the experiment. To 'prove a negative', one would only have to falsify the inverse (although absolute 'proof' is scientifically impossible, but rather it is the inability of falsification).

    Thus, on the subject of the Biblical God, one could falsify the Biblical God by falsifying one or more of the Biblical God's attributes. But, one cannot 'prove God exists' because there are infinite tests that could be conducted to falsify God – all of which would need to fail to falsify Him in order to prove His existence.

    And since Atheism holds that God doesn't exist, then atheists should be able to falsify one of God's Bibilical attributes. But can they? Nope.

    <><

    January 6, 2014 at 12:47 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      You know that light exists and can prove it. The absence of light does not mean light does not exist as we have evidence that it does.
      There is no objective tangible evidence of a god. All we have is the creation myths and we know they are not correct. There is no more evidence for your god than there is for Vishnu, etc.

      January 6, 2014 at 12:51 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      so you measure the light level where? in a sealed room? and prove there is no light in the room? see, you are NOT proving light doesn't exist. it still exists outside the room, doesn't it? lol.

      but see, here's a BIG flaw in your child-like 'logic'. you are going to use man-made machines that detect light to prove light doesn't exist? are you thinking this through at all?

      January 6, 2014 at 12:52 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      why don't you prove i'm not god. should be easy for you since you can prove a negative.

      January 6, 2014 at 12:52 pm |
    • Observer

      Live4Him,

      Your pitiful argument is a waste of time. You claim God exists, so PROVE it. YOU made the claim.

      God could take less than 5 SECONDS to PROVE he exists by making an announcement simultaneously to the whole world.

      FIVE SECONDS to prove Christians were right.
      FIVE SECONDS to save BILLIONS of souls.

      But that's asking TOO MUCH of him.

      January 6, 2014 at 12:55 pm |
    • WASP

      @HIM: AGAIN LOOK BELOW. TROLL.

      @him:

      darkness is the absence of light.

      this universe is the absence of god. XD

      NO GODS, even if there were gods, i prefer the norse gods. they were fun and had a great after-life

      January 6, 2014 at 12:49 pm

      January 6, 2014 at 12:58 pm |
      • Live4Him

        @WASP : darkness is the absence of light. this universe is the absence of god. XD

        Logic fallacy : Non sequitur – Nothing in your post leads to the conclusion that you've presented. You've taken a known definition an arbitraryily applied it to the universe without showing a relationship between the universe and god.

        <><

        January 6, 2014 at 1:03 pm |
        • WASP

          @him: hey genius you should know by now when i'm truthfully interacting with someone i deem on the same mental level as myself and when i'm just bsing because i'm bored at work.

          hint i'm bsing with you because i don't view you as a mental equal. what would be the purpose of even bothering to speak to an adfult-child as if we are equals..........when we are not.

          so enjoy your soul-soothing power nut job god and i shall enjoy treating you and your ilk as children scared of the boogie man.

          XD

          January 6, 2014 at 1:12 pm |
    • Charm Quark

      L4H
      You really are simple. You are not proving "no light exist" it is simply the absence of light as cold is the absence of heat. In both instances you are measuring the amount of energy in the equation. I mean really where do you come up with this crap.

      January 6, 2014 at 1:01 pm |
    • Angry Beaver with dull teeth

      child-like 'logic'

      That sums him up lol

      January 6, 2014 at 1:02 pm |
    • Angry Beaver with dull teeth

      child-like 'logic'

      That su ms him up lol

      January 6, 2014 at 1:03 pm |
    • WASP

      @HIM: "then atheists should be able to falsify one of God's Bibilical attributes. But can they? Nope. "

      ummm how about being omni-anything.

      the guy new the new town shooter was going to kill all those children yet did nothing. i would say that disproves his "love for his creation"............hell i would say allowing a talking serpent to mess with his beloved creation in the first place disproves him exsisting.

      if a snake was to get anywhere near my child it wouldn't be alive very long, not to mention if i was all powerful; ZAP it wouldn't ever exsist.

      your god fails every god test any human can think of, but please feel free to do as elijah did and summon your god.
      1KINGS VERSES 30-40.
      if he doesn't show we get to point and laugh, atleast we won't follow elijah's example. XD

      January 6, 2014 at 1:05 pm |
    • sam stone

      if god is omniscient, no free will exists

      if god punishes people for which they have no free will, he is not just

      see how easy that was, lie4him?

      January 6, 2014 at 1:07 pm |
      • Live4Him

        You are a fool sam stone. Enjoy the heat.

        <

        January 6, 2014 at 1:10 pm |
        • sam stone

          More empty proxy threats.

          Pull the crucifix out from between your legs, cvnt

          January 6, 2014 at 3:00 pm |
  18. Jesus' Beloved

    @CharmQ
    I mentioned that we're made from Quantum Particles, and according to science, these are the properties of Q.P.

    1. They exist in one place
    2. They can also exist in two or more places at the same time and are always connected.
    3. They are visible
    4. They can be invisible, i.e. they're still there, they've just changed form (hmmm... How did Jesus appear in the room after His resurrection without going through a door?)
    5. They're always connected
    6. They can communicate with themselves in the past and in the future
    PRESENT FUTURE
    PAST PRESENT (The next few moments ahead is your future. If you've moved from the present to the future, the future is now the present, and the present has now become the past).

    So I asked, since we're made of Q.P. can we do all the things that science says Q.P. does.
    People who doubt have no co.ncept of the spirit world or just totally disbelieve and ignore it.
    YES, and it's all Biblical.

    God did not created the universe out of nothing. He called into being what already existed in the spirit realm/invisible realm.
    That is the reason you can heal a person, etc. That's the reason words are so important, because words have a creative power behind them.
    Because you say something and it hasn't happened, it's because culture has twisted words so they've lost their meaning.
    But if you keep saying the same thing, until you believe it (i.e. it falls into your heart, then it becomes a reality, and you've called into existence that which didn't exist before) ...of course I've simplified this, in order to post.

    January 6, 2014 at 12:47 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      if you just put "Once upon a time..." in front of your story, it would make much more sense.

      January 6, 2014 at 12:54 pm |
    • WASP

      @JB: sooooooo your "god of gaps" strikes again. XD

      you are taking some HUGE leaps there JB.

      quantum particules are still what? hint energy; thus still remain inside a closed space where the percentage of energy is 100%.
      no god required; not to mention if your god couldn't do as the bible saids, then he is impotent.
      why didn't he just snap his fingers and poof here we are? isn't he all-powerful?

      January 6, 2014 at 12:55 pm |
    • Jesus' Beloved

      Encyclopedia – Quantum mechanics forces on us a view of the world that runs counter to common sense. Particles that can be created out of pure light, travel through two slits at once and tunnel through impenetrable barriers (sounds like science fiction rather than the predictions of the MOST successful theory in science.

      More than any other area of science Q. Mechanics has baffled the greatest minds, but no one has any real doubt that it is FUNDAMENTALLY CORRECT.

      January 6, 2014 at 1:00 pm |
      • Charm Quark

        JB
        I have read that before. It is incorrect in many ways. The properties (most of) refer to entangled particles, if you can give me a peer reviewed paper to confirm your conclusions, that would be nice, nothing from an apologist site, thank you. I have already stated that QP's are not visible in the common definition in a measurable device such as the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, for example.

        January 6, 2014 at 1:09 pm |
        • Charm Quark

          JB
          Yes quantum mechanics is of course fundamentally correct. Your understanding of the subject is shallow and flawed. The photon entangled particles you use as an example to leap to your conclusions is a minor part of particle physics, indeed intriguing but you may want to check into the CERM web site for more information. The Higgs boson proven now to be necessary to create mass is not an entangled particle.

          January 6, 2014 at 1:16 pm |
        • Charm Quark

          Correction..... they are not visible in the common sense of the word but observable in a measuring device....

          January 6, 2014 at 1:21 pm |
    • Jesus' Beloved

      The double slit experiment was repeated in 1998
      Remember in the first exp. there was only one slit- particle behaved as expected, as a particle.
      In second experiment there were 2 slits – particle behaved as a wave.
      there was only the scientists and the particles in the room. The conclusions of the scientists was that- the observer's thoughts affected the behavior of the particles. It also showed that the more they "watched" or looked, the greater the observers influence on what happened- the movement of the particles.

      There are particles all around – you impact the world you are in. Don't believe me, go into a room happy where there are other people. If there's one very angry person in that room, and his/her spirit is the dominant spirit in that room, I guarantee you'll lose your joy and while you may not get angry to their level, your mood will change.

      Same application, can take a healthy person and if a dr. tells them they have a terminal disease, that person can die within a few weeks to months. Their thoughts have changed the very nature of their once healthy cells.

      "As a man thinks in his heart, so he is".. "Take no thought saying what will I eat, or drink"..."Guard your thoughts" etc. etc.

      January 6, 2014 at 1:19 pm |
      • igaftr

        JB the self exhalted

        ". If there's one very angry person in that room, and his/her spirit is the dominant spirit in that room, I guarantee you'll lose your joy and while you may not get angry to their level, your mood will change."

        Since there are so many other factors to consider, you would have to make it a double blind, where neither the ange=ry person, nor the subject know the other is there. Otherwise, their mood may change relative to body language, and other non-verbal communication.

        If NEITHER know the other is there what results do you get?

        January 6, 2014 at 1:24 pm |
      • Charm Quark

        JB
        Do you even have any idea what entangled particles are? Two photons entangled together that can be split and then can communicate with each other across time and space, absolutely a proven scientific fact, many other experiments since 1988 that confirm this. You are basing all your quantum physics knowledge on this one experiment, really, catch up you are decades behind the curve.

        January 6, 2014 at 1:29 pm |
      • Charm Quark

        JB
        Why you would bring up the topic on quantum particles when you do not seem to know what you are talking about then slip into the "spirit" world, sp00ky stuff is rather Christian. Sorry I wasted your time with a brief excursion into reality.

        January 6, 2014 at 1:35 pm |
        • Jesus' Beloved

          I smile at your knowledge. 🙂

          January 6, 2014 at 1:41 pm |
        • doobzz

          And we smile at your lack of knowledge.

          January 6, 2014 at 2:04 pm |
  19. Bootyfunk

    "Can the atheist church model survive? Is disbelief enough to keep a Sunday gathering together?"
    +++ no, disbelief isn't enough to keep a sunday gathering together. they will have to find other focuses. atheism isn't a philosophy for life, it's just a simple declaration that you don't believe in gods or goddesses. humanism is an atheistic philosophy based on logic and compassion. can an atheistic philosophy like humanism survive? yes, absolutely. as religion goes away, more atheistic philosophies will come to life.

    January 6, 2014 at 12:46 pm |
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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.