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February 26th, 2014
03:12 PM ET

soundoff (1,555 Responses)
  1. Doris

    From BBC.com:

    [ "World Bank postpones $90m Uganda loan over anti-gay law

    donors such as Denmark and Norway saying they would redirect aid away from the government to aid agencies.

    US Secretary of State John Kerry has called the law "atrocious". Both he and South African Nobel peace laureate Desmond Tutu compared it to anti-Semitic laws in Nazi Germany or apartheid South Africa." ]

    Also Virgin Group's Richard Branson has called for a boycott of Uganda.

    February 28, 2014 at 12:36 am |
    • the0g0to0the0t

      I think what we're seeing is a desperate reaction by people whose certainty over how the world works is being challenged.

      No one is asking a catholic church to perform a gay wedding. And I'm sorry but a caterer is NOT a participant in a wedding. A photogropher is NOT a participant in a wedding. Unless you're the priest/justice/etc, if you are getting paid, it's not your wedding anyways and you are providing a service, not participating.

      February 28, 2014 at 7:39 am |
  2. Austin

    Any preacher who lives in rebellion to the word blasphemes. That is an attack on the true doctrine of the resurrection and baptism.

    David blasphemed and followed the devil but then he requested Gods judgment to restore redeem and sanctify.

    Those who walk in sin reject God and the baptism into freedom from sin.

    Repent. The kingdom draws near.

    February 27, 2014 at 10:34 pm |
    • Doris

      Oh, it comes to us. Well that's good, I don't travel too far very well these days.

      February 27, 2014 at 10:39 pm |
      • Austin

        Oh yes man it does! Lift up His name. He is able.

        February 27, 2014 at 10:43 pm |
        • Austin

          Oops. "Mam" this sneaky auto correct is a pain.

          February 27, 2014 at 10:46 pm |
    • Austin

      The gospel is about sin and freedom from sin. The transition is a journey. Unbelievers dont get a finger pointed at them because they are obviously not set free from their sins. Jesus loves sinners.

      Believers who are saved are held accountable in exhortation . This is a three fold process of love and Godly discipline.

      February 27, 2014 at 10:41 pm |
    • sam stone

      the kingdom is nigh, austin

      it is an empty promise

      a hoax

      if you feel you are bound for the kingdom, why wait?

      do you have tall buildings where you live?

      or are you too timid, like with james randi?

      all talk, no show

      February 28, 2014 at 12:54 am |
      • observernow

        sam stone,

        Encouraging a suicide is sick. Grow up.

        February 28, 2014 at 12:14 pm |
  3. Apple Bush

    If I believed in a god, I would imagine him with large laughing eyes that twinkled each time a new star burst into existence.

    If there were a god, then I would have to believe there are many gods. We know nothing of alternate or additional universes or bubbles or whatever other unimaginables exist in the larger places.

    Now if there are gods they had to come from somewhere so now I’ve trodden too for through the neighbor’s grass. It comes from me.

    Before I was born, there was only the nothingness. Now I believe in this reality, but once the remembering is shut off, it is back to the nothingness. My imagination is the only truth.

    February 27, 2014 at 7:48 pm |
    • derado8

      Not sure if you've ever tried binaural beats (music) you might enjoy it.

      February 27, 2014 at 7:56 pm |
      • Apple Bush

        It is very interesting. I should probably steer clear due to the "Cocktail Party Effect".

        February 27, 2014 at 8:05 pm |
        • derado8

          Too funny. I wouldn't recommend listening to it in the car, but it's nice before bed.

          February 27, 2014 at 8:08 pm |
    • lngtrmthnkr

      And you have a good imagination , what if when you died it wasn't the end but only the beginning of a different reality? Would you be glad?

      February 27, 2014 at 8:40 pm |
      • derado8

        It would depend on the new reality. What if it was the same reality you just left, only at the beginning of your life like a loop that just played over and over. Or maybe you realize you were just somewhere hooked up to a virtual reality like Total Recall.

        February 27, 2014 at 8:43 pm |
        • lngtrmthnkr

          Derado , With a loop reality wouldn't we expect to see alot of advanced people with great knowledge? Having lived many lifetimes they would have alot of answers.

          February 27, 2014 at 9:02 pm |
        • sam stone

          is that not hinduism you are describing, coming back and back and back.....

          or is that buddhism?

          February 28, 2014 at 12:57 am |
  4. colin31714

    To pick up on an analogy I once saw used by Sam Harris briefly in an interview; imagine if you lived in the Dark Ages when most people believed in witches. A good deal of daily life was spent engaged in rituals to fend off withes and every Sunday morning, most of the town gathered together in a ceremony related to witchcraft. Further, all diseases were believed to be caused by witches and their spells, storms and other natural events were attributed to witches and mental illness was explained by possession by witches.

    Now imagine if you were part of a small group (about 10%) of the population that did not believe in witches. Instead, you believed that disease was caused by an unknown, but entirely natural cause and that the rituals performed every day or week by your community did not have any effect to alter natural events (such as bringing the rains or preventing violent storms) nor did they ward off witches.

    Now imagine if the 90% of the population also believed it was immoral or at least highly suspect not to believe in witches, that "In Wizards We Trust" was printed on your money, that community leaders made regular allusions to witches in their speeches and that you were regarded as “angry,” or “bitter” for being skeptical of the whole witchcraft thing.
    Imagine further that, when you looked around, you noticed that the smarter or better educated a person was, the less likely they were to believe in witches.

    You also noticed that 40% of those who believed in witches thought the Earth was designed to be flat and was less than 10,000 years old, and wanted to teach that in schools as “Intelligent Design” and that it was ALWAYS those who believed in witches who wanted to deny people the right to marry people of the same star sign.

    Finally, imagine that you noticed many abuses caused by the belief in witches, such as people giving 10% of their crops to highly suspect priests to ward off witches, belief in witches and elves being used to deny the pollution you noticed building up in your village and laws being passed controlling how a woman must act while pregnant based on witchcraft.

    Think, as a nonbeliever, how much you would want to oppose the belief in witches and witchcraft. Think of how you would view witchcraft as a retarding influence on society and how you would long for the day when the shining light of science and reason would illuminate your village and the majority of the population would abandon their belief in witches, pixies and elves.

    Well, that is how it sometimes feels to be an atheist who does not believe in gods, miracles, prayers being answered and angels in a large part of the USA today.

    February 27, 2014 at 7:38 pm |
    • ddeevviinn

      Now imagine we leave the land of the hypothetical and return to the land of reality. It is in this land of reality that 90% ( in actuality a little less, but for sake of argument we'll use this figure) of the population has determined that the Judeo-Christian God revealed in the biblical literature is valid. This same percentage of the population has rejected the notion of witches, sky fairies, santa clause and the flying spaghetti monster, all of which are childish mythologies. And the REASON they do so is because after considering the evidence, not proof but evidence, they have determined that this being revealed in scripture is by far the most plausible explanation for not only their own existence but also for that of the entire universe.

      Now imagine within this land of reality there were significant numbers of engineers, physicians, mathematicians and research scientists with terminal degrees who also embraced this God. Would you not be tempted to think, as one of those in the 10th percentile, " perhaps my portrayal of these individuals as "delusional Neanderthals" is simply disingenuous?

      Just imagine

      February 27, 2014 at 10:36 pm |
      • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

        Your argument has a couple of flaws. 1st it assumes that the 90% are in some general agreement when in reality that is far from the case. It also assumes that the whole 90% (or at least a very good portion) have sufficienty explored the evidence and arguments on both sides sufficiently, when that is also far from the case. And it is an argument from popularity.

        February 27, 2014 at 11:22 pm |
        • ddeevviinn

          " It assumes that 90% are in some general agreement" – 79% Christians + 2% Jewish = 81% of the population ( remember I stated it was a little less that 90% , as is the case with atheism which is 2% of the population, a little less than the stated 10%). This 81% unanimously agree that the Being revealed in Genesis is the creator of the universe. At the very least, that qualifies as "some general agreement."

          " It also assume the 90% have sufficiently explored the ar gu ments and evidence on both sides sufficiently"- But of course it does. Who are you or who am I to question the validity of how an individual develops their world view? It is our responsibility to accept their stated position. This applies equally to the christian and the atheist

          " Arg u ment from popularity". This retort has always puzzled me. The arg u ment from popularity never verifies or negates any position. It is benign, although both sides tend to manipulate it when the numbers are in their favor.

          February 28, 2014 at 12:18 am |
        • ddeevviinn

          Cheese

          I certainly hope my above reply spurs you to repent and turn from your evil ways. I typed this stinking thing 3x before I was able to "clear" these CNN filters!!!

          February 28, 2014 at 12:21 am |
        • observernow

          ddeevviinn

          "It is in this land of reality that 90% ( in actuality a little less, but for sake of argument we'll use this figure) of the population has determined that the Judeo-Christian God revealed in the biblical literature is valid."

          Nope. In the true land of REALITY, the number must be far lower. Many people will go along with a "believer" identification to avoid hassles with the more fanatic believers.

          If you want to find out how many people REALLY believe that God is watching over their shoulder all the time, take a look at how many people JUST show up for Christmas and Easter services and ignore church the rest of the year.

          February 28, 2014 at 12:28 am |
        • ddeevviinn

          Obs

          These stats are from Gallup Poll and Pew Research. I did not make them up. From my vantage point they are significantly more reliable than an individuals sporadic church attendance. Your point seems more directed at practicing and acting upon what one believes as opposed to the belief itself.

          February 28, 2014 at 12:40 am |
        • observernow

          ddeevviinn,

          Tell me that the hordes of people who show up on Easter and Christmas and seldom the rest of the year believe that God is watching EVERYTHING they do and doesn't mind that they rarely show up in his church.

          February 28, 2014 at 12:43 am |
        • ddeevviinn

          I believe God is aware of everything I do, and as far as I can tell I am not perfect. I produce sin pretty much all of my waking hours. My wife will readily attest to this. My point is this, the feeble practices of human beings does not in and of itself negate their belief.

          February 28, 2014 at 12:57 am |
        • observernow

          ddeevviinn

          "I produce sin pretty much all of my waking hours."

          Such a terribly masochistic-sounding comment is scary. You think God INTENTIONALLY made you IMPERFECT and now you are beating yourself up because you are IMPERFECT. Sad. Please think about what is driving you.

          February 28, 2014 at 1:12 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          yeah, I hate looking for th embedded naughty words.

          Large portions are Christians but thay are all over the map as far as theology. They all may mostly agree on Jesus' resurection but if it was an evidenced based conviction I think there would be wider consensus. Which leads to my 2nd point.

          I just don't agree that world views should not be subject to scrutiny. But really my point is that most christians, or Jews, ect have the world view their environment reflected. This in no way addresses the truth of the situation. They did not grow up, examane the various world views and then came to a conclusion. It was far more environment than the use of critical thought. I can tell you I live in a very Christian part of the country where probably 90 percent would identify as Christian. Very few of those people have any understanding of the history or have any non-theology education or knowledge on the subject. History in my opinion is very important in critically analyzing the claim.

          "The arg u ment from popularity never verifies or negates any position. It is benign"

          I agree, but then I am not sure what your point is in using it. You need to realize when you use it it sounds like you are saying it does verify your position....but obviously you aren't so please clarify.

          I do agree that many Christians are very intelligent and many are science oriented. All humans are really good at fooling ourselves. Smart humans are capable of being really "smart" in fooling themselves. Of course this applies to both sides of the argument and does not validate either side...which is why an argument from authority is also fallacious.

          February 28, 2014 at 1:16 am |
        • ddeevviinn

          Obs

          " Such a te rribly mas ochistic comment is scary." Sorry to fri ghten you. Actually it is not scary at all. The reality of my own sinful condition is perhaps one of the biggest :" evidences" of my faith. As much as I would like to, and believe me I've tried, I cannot rationalize away this notion that sin has infected this entire planet, including myself. It is everywhere, and it is undeniable. It is why mother's burn their babies with cig arettes, it is why husbands be at their wives, it's why father's m ol est their daughters, it's why 6 million human beings are herded into rooms where they breath noxious gas fumes, it's why a teenage boy walks into an elementary school and annih ilates little children, it's why whole segments of society exist – law enforcement, judicial system, hospitals, it is why 50% of marriages end in divo rce, it is why a pack of wolves will disembowel an elk calf while its mother looks on, it's why individuals on an internet blog will lash out at other human beings with a hatred that can be felt, and it's why in my very nature exists something that scares the bej eezus out of me.

          Now don't get this wrong, I don't walk around whipping myself on the back telling myself what a w retch I am, I understand the solution. The point is, it is impossible for me to deny the reality that encompasses us. No attributing to nature, survival of the fittest or any other rationalization will make this reality of sin go away.

          February 28, 2014 at 2:07 am |
        • ddeevviinn

          Cheese

          I'd like to reply, but it's getting late. If I get a chance, I'll post here tomorrow if you're interested.

          Good night.

          February 28, 2014 at 2:08 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          No big deal...I will check back. Shutting down myself.

          February 28, 2014 at 2:15 am |
        • observernow

          ddeevviinn,

          There are 7,146,000,000 people in the world and you are keying on the rotten ones. Maybe you should travel more and get to know more of the good ones.

          It's fascinating that Christians think that God created this world and insist on how horrible it is. Like another Christian on here tonight said "it's a blessing to die". It seems to be more likely to take a non-believer to appreciate what an amazing world that you think God made.

          February 28, 2014 at 2:17 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          "As much as I would like to, and believe me I've tried, I cannot rationalize away this notion that sin has infected this entire planet, including myself. It is everywhere, and it is undeniable."

          It is undeniable that people do really natsty awful things. It is deniable that its cause or its explanation is "sin"...however you define it, 'crime against god, deviation from god' will'...it is a non-sequitor.

          February 28, 2014 at 9:20 am |
        • ddeevviinn

          Cheese

          My apologies. There must be some kind of paranormal, poltergeist interference going on between us. In trying to reply, the filters keep kicking me out. I will be tied up for a few days, but I will try again later to respond if you are interested.

          Hope this goes through.

          February 28, 2014 at 1:55 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          No issue, hit me up where you find me or let me know your responded.

          February 28, 2014 at 6:24 pm |
      • colin31714

        ddeevviinn, you said; "It is in this land of reality that 90% ( in actuality a little less, but for sake of argument we'll use this figure) of the population has determined that the Judeo-Christian God revealed in the biblical literature is valid."

        1. There are over 7 billion humans on the planet. Christians number ~2 billion. More like 27% of the population.
        2. So what. Even it were 99%, that doesn't make their position valid. It just makes it popular. Until a few thousand years ago 99% of the population thought the World was flat. That didn't make it flat, it made 99% wrong.
        3. Very few of this 27% have "determined God is valid." 99% of them just unquestioningly adopt the god of their parents. If you were from India or the Middle East, you would be arguing that Brahmah, Krishna or Allah were true.

        The same points apply to the rest of your first paragraph.

        As to your second paragraph, you said; “Now imagine within this land of reality there were significant numbers of engineers, physicians, mathematicians and research scientists with terminal degrees who also embraced this God. Would you not be tempted to think, as one of those in the 10th percentile, " perhaps my portrayal of these individuals as "delusional Neanderthals" is simply disingenuous?”

        Not sure what a “terminal degree” is, but once again, so what? It would not matter if 99% of these people believed in your god. Most people do not analyze the situation objectively, they ignore the evidence and believe out of a deep desire or perceived duty to believe.

        February 28, 2014 at 6:03 am |
        • ddeevviinn

          1." There are over 7 billion humans on the planet " – I was working within the parameters which you established in your OP " Well, that is how it sometimes feels to be an atheist who does not believe in gods ... in a large part of the USA today." If you now want to extend this to the total population of the planet, let's compare apples with apples. To keep your parody accurate, the percent comparison should be made between those who are atheists and those who are theists worldwide. The former comprise less than 10% while the latter 85%

          2. As I stated to a previous poster, the argument from popularity is benign, it neither validates nor negates a premise. In the context of this post, I only use it in response to your initial numbers. When I have used it in the past, it is to dismiss this silly implied notion that theists are some fringe, fan atical minority.

          3. And if you were raised by atheist parents chances are you would embrace their position without determining no gods is valid.

          4. " It would not matter if 99%...." – I find this very amusing. You inces santly trumpet the superiority of those in the scientific community and those in academia, and yet when it is mentioned that significant numbers of those same individuals are theists, it's " Most people do not analyze the situation objectively." Can you even begin to see the disconnect here in your thought process?

          February 28, 2014 at 1:49 pm |
      • hotairace

        Not to mention that 100% of all believers! regardless of which cult they belong to, 100%, do not have a shred of actual evidence to support their beliefs. Not a single thing that would stand up to the scientific method or the justice system's rules of evidence.

        February 28, 2014 at 7:46 am |
        • ddeevviinn

          But then again, you have a self imposed limit on valid criteria used for determining evidence. I don't.

          February 28, 2014 at 1:13 pm |
  5. bostontola

    A while back there was a belief blog posting regarding atheist categorization into 6 groups. I think atheists occupy a spectrum. Not only that, non-belief and belief is a spectrum.

    I find almost no practical difference between a moderate atheist and a deist. Both embrace science, don't need to rationalize reality to fit their belief model. Neither believes that any God intervenes in human affairs, or any natural affair. Neither believes in hell or an afterlife (I think, any Deist please correct me if I'm wrong about that). The only difference is that Deists believe that a God created the universe, atheists believe no God was required to create the universe. That difference is not provable by either side, but makes no difference in our lives. It is essentially a mere difference of opinion on a small matter of no practical consequence.

    In an interesting way, I think atheists and Deists are closer to each other than to agnostics.

    February 27, 2014 at 5:17 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      I have no argument on what I would call an agnostic atheist versus a deist. There's really not a lot of difference.

      Your premise does kind of depend on your definition of agnostic though.

      I'm torn on the idea of some kind of formal taxonomy of atheism. Atheism is defined by only one thing (disbelief) rather than some set of commonalities that people inevitably extrapolate to some kind of presumeed orthodoxy and we end up with the tiresome "atheism is a religion" crapola. (There are some people who really do practice secular humanism as a religion which does complicate definitions.)

      Having said that I do like to make a distinction in terms of people who take an anti-theist position, but it's not about disbelief, it's really about behavior.

      David Silverman of American Atheists is an example of an anti-theist. He likes to irritate religionists. This really has little to do with disbelief.

      February 27, 2014 at 5:31 pm |
      • bostontola

        "Having said that I do like to make a distinction in terms of people who take an anti-theist position, but it's not about disbelief, it's really about behavior."

        I agree, anyone who believes there is no God is an atheist. But there are kinds, based on behavior, passion, need to be right, need to convert others, etc. I'm sure Deists, and religious people have similar variations in their ranks.

        February 27, 2014 at 5:38 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          We usually define different religious sects mostly by what they believe rather than how they behave.

          Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses both prosyletize incessantly but clearly believe in very different things.

          There are arguably Islamic sects that vary more along lines of behavior than dogma – Wahhabism might be an example but I probably don't know enough about them to make this claim.

          February 27, 2014 at 5:44 pm |
        • bostontola

          I agree. I'm not talking about sects with different beliefs though.

          February 27, 2014 at 5:54 pm |
        • Austin

          What are "crapola" ? Its not in wikipedia.

          February 27, 2014 at 10:06 pm |
        • Doris

          I don't know. I guess it could be like a whole box of brown crayons.

          But that wouldn't make sense there. Maybe it means like – in the style of Francis Ford Crapola.

          February 27, 2014 at 10:36 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          @Austin,

          go ahead and delete the -ola. You'll find my meaning clear.

          February 28, 2014 at 10:00 am |
    • ausphor

      bostontola
      As a Deist I totally agree. I just wish that more people would go to deism.com and find out what modern Deism is all about.

      February 27, 2014 at 5:41 pm |
      • bostontola

        Thanks for the link, cool site.

        February 27, 2014 at 5:48 pm |
        • ausphor

          bostontola
          Thanks. What I like the most it does not get in the way of the scientific method or the exploration being done by NASA, CERN, Hubble or Kepler telescopes. Another 700 planets found that we could only guess at before, many more to come, and no god required.

          February 27, 2014 at 5:57 pm |
        • bostontola

          After looking at a few essays, I still conclude there is scant difference between atheism and Deism.

          February 27, 2014 at 6:08 pm |
        • kudlak

          In deism, you still have to believe in some supreme creator being, which is something that any genuine skeptic really ought to reject on the basis of there being no evidence.

          February 27, 2014 at 6:24 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          OK, but it's an academic point. No one is building shrines to Spinoza's God.

          February 27, 2014 at 6:28 pm |
        • ausphor

          kudlak
          Not quite, modern deism believes in a creative universal force, not a supreme creative being, there is a difference, check out deism.com. I am not saying it is a discovery like the Higgs boson, we just don't have all the answers yet. A being is not required, a natural explanation will probably be the answer. Really check out the web site if you have scientific approach to existence.

          February 27, 2014 at 6:41 pm |
        • kudlak

          ausphor
          Yes, if you don't worship it it's not a god, but unless there's actual evidence for this "creative universal force" I reject any claim that it actually exists.

          February 27, 2014 at 6:48 pm |
        • ausphor

          Kudlak
          Time will tell but perhaps not for us. The main component of deism is to free people from the unreality of the religions and the overbearing judgemental supernatural god figure, that is true. The early deists did use an uncaring god figure as a creator model. If you go to the deism site and look at the definition of deism in the glossary, you will see what I like about the handle deist. (I posted it earlier but do not have the time to do it again) Good night all.

          February 27, 2014 at 7:02 pm |
    • the0g0to0the0t

      Not to be too picky, but Deist only defines a persons beliefs as much a "atheist" does. It only mean they believe in a god(s). That god may or may have created universe, just earth, just us, nothing much, etc.

      February 27, 2014 at 7:30 pm |
  6. Alias

    I've decided religion should be under attack.
    Let's sharpen our pitch forks and light some torches and get this started!
    We need a slightly higher burden of proof than when the christians burned the 'witches' in Salem, but we obviously need to burn some evil doers at te stake!
    We need to get out some hot pokers, some racks, hold a few people under water to see if they die!
    Bring back slavery, as long as the slaves look different from us.
    It should be a crime to believe. We should shun those who do not believe like we do, unless there is room in jail.
    In short, let's treat them like they treated everyone else for a few hundred years and then see if they can comprehend how just their god really is.

    February 27, 2014 at 5:17 pm |
    • kudlak

      Maybe, not under attack so much as scrutinized to the same degree as everything else people believe in. It's altogether unclear why the man who says he's communicating with aliens gets treated differently than the guy who says he's communicating with God.

      February 27, 2014 at 6:12 pm |
  7. Apple Bush

    Soulganisms

    Many have mistaken the soul "entering" the body with that of the soul "leaving" the body. Ensoulment takes place at death when you are made into a god part. You see, God is a collective. Many soulganisms are entwined to create a powerful deity.

    February 27, 2014 at 4:47 pm |
    • Alias

      Depending on exactly how the soul leaves the body, it can be a lot like a soulgasm.
      If you're in to that type of stuff.

      February 27, 2014 at 4:59 pm |
      • Apple Bush

        Oh I fully plan to break one off when I die.

        February 27, 2014 at 5:05 pm |
    • derado8

      I'm not sure if you guys want some bad news but it is what it is. The astral travel experience it seems is probably caused by seizures in the temporal lobe as is dejavu.

      You might have luck with Carl Jung's idea of the collective unconscious.

      February 27, 2014 at 7:39 pm |
    • derado8

      http://www.webmd.com/brain/understanding-temporal-lobe-seizure-symptoms

      February 27, 2014 at 7:48 pm |
    • derado8

      Sorry to post in 3 boxes but this is really interesting reading on the "soulgasm" experience

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kundalini_Syndrome

      February 27, 2014 at 7:51 pm |
  8. Apple Bush

    Gays and Atheists that stay in the closet are a detriment to us all. How can we ever affect change while these people cower in the closet afraid of what their friends, families, jobs and teachers might think? Nothing in this world changes without sacrifice. If you are religious, stand up and be proud of how God made you.

    If you are an atheist, don’t pretend to “fit it”. Grow a pair and be yourself. Guess what, everyone else will live and you will be helping us all. Be part of the solution, not part of the problem. There is strength in numbers. Do it.

    February 27, 2014 at 4:18 pm |
    • Dalahäst

      I grew up in the Bible Belt. I identified as an atheist at a young age. It really wasn't that big of a deal. Some older relatives didn't like it. Pubic school, college, work, hobbies and life in general – not many really cared what I called myself, as long as I didn't harm others.

      February 27, 2014 at 4:32 pm |
      • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

        "many really cared what I called myself, as long as I didn't harm otthers"

        And that's really the crux of this topic. I certainly don't care if people call themselves Christians so long as they don't harm others.

        Equal treatment under law is the law. Anytime people try to create classes of "separate but equal" this must be stamped out.

        February 27, 2014 at 4:40 pm |
      • Dalahäst

        Now as being gay... Gays were made fun of and part of my secular culture's acceptable bigotry. I'm thinking of locker room humor and the insults my friends and I used to make about gays. I've been guilty of saying things that might make a gay person uncomfortable to be open.

        But it is getting better. I've learned to not make such jokes.

        Thanks to people like Wanda Sykes:

        [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sWS0GVOQPs0&w=640&h=360]

        I have no doubt some atheists face the same kind of prejudices and don't feel free to be open.

        February 27, 2014 at 4:41 pm |
      • Apple Bush

        I grew up in the bible belt too. Similar experience as long as you keep you mouth shut about it. I don't keep my mouth shut.

        February 27, 2014 at 4:43 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          I ran in mostly non-religious circles, thus my beliefs were no big deal.

          February 27, 2014 at 4:53 pm |
        • derado8

          Keeping your mouth shut is a pretty common experience for people with alternative belief systems too.

          February 27, 2014 at 7:37 pm |
    • kudlak

      Unless you're George and Jeb's cousin Apple you don't appear to be giving everyone your real name, right? 😉

      February 27, 2014 at 4:35 pm |
      • Apple Bush

        Naturally it is my real name. Everyone uses their real names.

        February 27, 2014 at 4:44 pm |
  9. I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

    Curious how many states also have legistlation in the works similar to Arizona. Lot's of common-minded people, or an organization at work in the background. I wonder?

    http://www.cnn.com/2014/02/26/politics/religious-freedom-states/index.html

    For a sampling it is also curious how many of the sponsors and co-sponsors of these bills have ties to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) – the same organization that brought you voter fraud disenfranchisment bills and proliferated Florida's 'stand your ground' law.

    Ohio HB 376 – 40% of sponsors (18 of 45) have ties to ALEC.
    Mississippi SB 2681 – 32% of sponsors (6 of 19) have ties to ALEC
    Georgia HB 1023 – 25% of sponsors (1 of 4) have ties to ALEC.

    Remember it only takes one legislator with ties to ALEC to obtain 'model legislation' from ALEC to proliferate it in a state capitol.

    February 27, 2014 at 4:17 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      I for one enjoy watching these people humiliate themselves.

      February 27, 2014 at 4:20 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      You, child
      Crossing the line without knowing
      Just for being who you are
      What confusion was hard wired?
      A developing brain, healthy and ready
      Sabotaged as a child
      Savage religion.

      February 27, 2014 at 4:28 pm |
      • lngtrmthnkr

        Apple , and yet here you are, slightly damaged, slightly bitter, yet tougher than before, like most of us, effected by life and people who abused our trust and crushed our faith ,we find our way through and heal . Yet we carry the scars with us as reminders of the truths we learned .

        February 27, 2014 at 8:51 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Note that the bills killed or withdrawn in Utah, Maine and Tennessee were all sponsored by people with ties to ALEC.

      February 27, 2014 at 4:33 pm |
  10. Apple Bush

    I saw a sunset and it was perfect.
    Why do you ask me to see another?
    For in waiting for the next sunset, I will endure much suffering!

    Perfection exists in the suffering too.
    Be thankful for the pain.

    Did I not thank you by loving you?

    February 27, 2014 at 4:02 pm |
  11. Sungrazer

    I'm curious – some of you don't seem to be linked to a WordPress account but you are still able to post. How is that? Is there a setting I've missed?

    February 27, 2014 at 3:39 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      You just need to remove the link. Instructions to follow.

      February 27, 2014 at 3:43 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      Click on the icon next to your name in the upper right hand corner of this page, then remove the link from "web address" and save.

      February 27, 2014 at 3:45 pm |
      • Sungrazer

        Ah, duh. I figured out the capitalization, but not this.. Thanks.

        February 27, 2014 at 3:53 pm |
        • Apple Bush

          No prob.

          February 27, 2014 at 3:55 pm |
  12. Mike

    Is religion under attack?

    Sure, it has been for over 2000 years now, but the good news continues to change lives even today! That is the power of God's word at work 🙂

    "For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it."

    February 27, 2014 at 3:30 pm |
    • Mike

      The Christian living is not about pleasing yourself, it's about serving God.

      February 27, 2014 at 3:33 pm |
      • Apple Bush

        How does one please a god who has everything?

        February 27, 2014 at 3:36 pm |
        • Mike

          You "serve" God not "please"!

          February 27, 2014 at 3:43 pm |
        • Apple Bush

          What does he like to be served?

          February 27, 2014 at 3:46 pm |
        • Mike

          Read the following scriptures in the Holy Bible

          1 Peter 4: 10-11

          Romans 12:1-2

          February 27, 2014 at 3:53 pm |
        • Sungrazer

          In Numbers 31, he liked to be served 32 virgins, along with numerous sheep, asses, and beeves.

          February 27, 2014 at 3:57 pm |
        • Apple Bush

          Well that was disappointing. I thought it would be some big deal like a medium rib eye and string potatoes.

          February 27, 2014 at 3:58 pm |
      • Apple Bush

        My thorns, now flies; buzzing around my gruesome head and face

        My wasted body finally brought down; breathe still in me just a whisper

        Nurtured and cleansed; bandaged and cared for

        Now I am risen to say my final farewell

        Do not worship me; do not mourn for me

        Do not build churches for me or profit from me

        I am a man, born of a woman from the seed of my father

        I am as you are; a man and a human being

        Learn from the sacrifices I have made; learn from the hypocrisy

        Remember me as a friend

        February 27, 2014 at 4:03 pm |
      • Apple Bush

        One tiny hole that is; zero
        Large porous spaces
        Edges
        Grass and critters. Critters crawling by; Crawling
        Tiny little holes; giant tiny holes
        One narrative of all perception; the position doesn’t change
        You are right there

        February 27, 2014 at 4:08 pm |
      • ddeevviinn

        Mike

        You seem like to nice a fellow to get tangled up in this web blog. Run while you still have a chance.

        February 27, 2014 at 4:17 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      Mike, name one person whose life was changed by the word of a god.

      February 27, 2014 at 3:34 pm |
      • Mike

        There are many, but the names that both of us will be familiar with are, starting with Paul, C.S Lewis...

        February 27, 2014 at 3:42 pm |
        • Apple Bush

          I disagree.

          February 27, 2014 at 3:46 pm |
        • kudlak

          Mike
          What "good news" do you think changed Paul's life? If you mean the Bible, all he had was the Jewish scripture as none of the NT was written before his conversion, right? If you mean the message itself, then where did he get it? He never knew Jesus, at least while he lived. He seemingly got some Christian training from someone but, considering how much he disagreed with apostles who actually knew Jesus, like Peter, isn't it doubtful that he was changed by the same "good news" that Jesus taught?

          February 27, 2014 at 4:08 pm |
    • ausphor

      And the winner is "Mike". You have won a trip to the Kingdom of God, Heaven no less. This offer is good for two weeks Mike do not miss this opportunity you never know when you may relapse.

      February 27, 2014 at 3:43 pm |
    • Mike

      btw, the priest in the clip talks about "love". Pretty sure there are zillion ways you can show love, compassion and kindness to fellow beings without endorsing their way of life.

      February 27, 2014 at 3:49 pm |
      • Doc Vestibule

        They're not asking for your endorsement.
        Merely the recognition of the self-evident truth that they have certain unalienable rights and should be treated equally under the law. Tolerance is not the same endorsement.
        I think Fred Phelps is insufferable, but I would not deny him the right to publicly proclaim his hateful idiocy.

        February 27, 2014 at 4:12 pm |
      • kudlak

        Mike
        How is turning away a couple looking to buy flowers for their wedding an act of love, compassion or kindness?

        February 27, 2014 at 4:15 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      It can be awfully tough to be a straight, white, Christian male in America.
      That oppressed minority group wasn't even allowed to vote until 1776.

      But please Mike, do a little research to discover what Christians have traditionally done when encountering a new culture with a different religion. It might cause you to re-think which side has historically been the aggressor.

      February 27, 2014 at 4:09 pm |
    • guidedans

      Mike, Thanks for the note of encouragement. Many people on this thread however, do not really understand the ramifications of their actions. God is with you and you are blessed. Hopefully more people on this thread will come to know God as well.

      February 27, 2014 at 8:15 pm |
  13. Dalahäst

    "In reality, people who are religious or hold to some conception of God aren’t any different than atheists. Let’s face it, we are all born atheists. No baby is born believing in the miraculous conception of Jesus, that Muhammad is a prophet or that Joseph Smith was chosen by God to spread Mormonism. Rather children are taught to believe religious doctrines, or adults freely choose them later in life."

    http://www.integralworld.net/scofield4.html

    February 27, 2014 at 3:20 pm |
    • Ungodly Discipline

      "In reality, people who are religious or hold to some conception of God aren’t any different than atheists."

      Yes, that, only the complete opposite.

      February 27, 2014 at 3:22 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      It's just an observation... but I think these junk sites you are going to are not helping you out very much... in fact, maybe you should consider that they are what is causing you such angst and confusion on here

      February 27, 2014 at 3:39 pm |
      • Dalahäst

        Some of the posts I link to our credible news sites.

        Others, while more like blogs, are just as credible as what some guy posts in the message board section of an opinion piece on the subject of religion.

        February 27, 2014 at 3:47 pm |
        • Lucifer's Evil Twin

          I can't argue with that I guess... but referencing questionable sources doesn't usually take some of my compadres very long to dispute

          February 27, 2014 at 3:57 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Would you rather I post credible websites, like

          http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

          And tell you I'm superior

          🙂 (that's for my pal Bob)

          -

          I get what you are saying. I just google topics people talk about and offer different opinions. Especially when somebody suggests their opinions are facts, or all atheists agree with their notions.

          February 27, 2014 at 4:06 pm |
        • Lucifer's Evil Twin

          I get the point of the site and the angry tone that comes with it... but to be honest, I have never felt the need to visit it as I am already an atheist... and my lack of religious faith doesn't require support

          February 27, 2014 at 4:19 pm |
  14. Ungodly Discipline

    I have a friend who is a witch. Seriously, she is a real witch and at one point in her life she went to “witch” church. In time, she came to realize it wasn’t for her. She was tired of the hypocrisy, the lies, the pleas for money, etc.

    She became a SBNR and began practicing her craft alone, on the beach as the sun set each evening. Soon, she found that, while this was a better solution than church, her clothes were restrictive.

    Now she worships in the nude on the beach. She is very beautiful so it always attracts a crowd and many people would like to join her. For more information visit:

    http://www.genevievethewitch.org/beachnude/worship/photos.htm

    February 27, 2014 at 3:18 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      It's only a guess, but I bet that site would be blocked by DoD.. or I would get in trouble for opening it at my desk

      February 27, 2014 at 3:35 pm |
  15. Dalahäst

    All people are born atheist.

    It’s a cute quip to p!ss theists off, but is it a valid argument that won’t make most competent apologists laugh in your face?

    “All people are born atheist” argument skids the line of the famous Mormon post-death baptisms, it’s a dangerously irrational way of thinking."

    http://livewareblog.wordpress.com/2012/09/12/not-all-people-are-born-atheist-or-why-babies-arent-people/

    February 27, 2014 at 3:17 pm |
    • Ungodly Discipline

      I am going with common sense on this one. How could babies be anything but atheists? Ridiculous.

      February 27, 2014 at 3:21 pm |
    • Sungrazer

      "Babies are not people." Well, *I'm* convinced.

      February 27, 2014 at 3:21 pm |
      • Dalahäst

        That crazy atheist! I can't believe he said that.

        February 27, 2014 at 3:24 pm |
    • kudlak

      Dalahäst
      Babies are born humans, and therefore people. We call the unborn "fetuses".

      Of course, babies don't have any beliefs just after they're born. Yes, they need to be taught to believe in gods, but babies don't have the ability to determine that gods are, or aren't real either, which make that argument a whole lot less compelling than the people who like to use it would like.

      February 27, 2014 at 5:13 pm |
      • Dalahäst

        Right, got it. Good points.

        February 27, 2014 at 5:18 pm |
  16. Apple Bush

    Babies are born hollow and we immediately begin filling them with beliefs.

    They are born atheist (common sense) so it stands to reason that the first believer to start pouring in the clay will mold the little person.

    Some little people are smart and see through it right away…most don’t.

    This is brainwashing. Brainwashing is wrong.

    Before you say that an atheist has the same opportunity to fill the hollow with atheism, I will remind you that the small person is already an atheist.

    February 27, 2014 at 2:35 pm |
    • neverbeenhappieratheist

      Yeah but they want to teach the controversy... you know, how the earth might be only 10,000 years old (no it isn't) and that humans and dinosaurs roamed the earth together (no they didn't) and that evolution has no evidence (yes it does) or that there was a global flood (no there wasn't) or that the earth might be flat or the center of the universe or a million other wrong headed theories that fly in the face of the evidence. But all that doesn't matter, if there is even the tiniest chance that the evidence might be wrong and that some day their deity will come and explain all the inconsistancies then they will stick to their faith and want to teach their children "the controversy" even when there really isn't one.

      February 27, 2014 at 2:56 pm |
    • Dalahäst

      Differing viewpoint (with facts):

      "...studies (both analytical and empirical) conclude that humans are predisposed to believe in God and an afterlife, and that both theology and atheism are reasoned responses to what is a basic impulse of the human mind, a university release said."

      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/8510711/Belief-in-God-is-part-of-human-nature-Oxford-study.html

      February 27, 2014 at 2:58 pm |
      • Apple Bush

        You are misrepresenting the article. I read it.

        February 27, 2014 at 3:09 pm |
      • Doris

        What BS.

        The confusion starts from the very top – with the title and subsequent sentence.

        "Belief in God is part of human nature – Oxford study
        Humans are naturally predisposed to believe in gods and life after death, according to a major three-year international study."

        Well which is it – God or gods?

        "Children were asked whether their mother would know the contents of a closed box. Three-year-olds believed that their mother and God would always know the contents,"

        OK, exactly what were the children asked?
        And who monitored the children to hear what they were told or subject to hearing?

        No details.

        My word....

        February 27, 2014 at 3:09 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          I'm skeptical of the claim "everybody is born atheist".

          Just offering differing views. I might concede they are right. But not after I see what others say.
          -
          "Everyone starts out being an atheist. No one is born with belief in anything. Infants are atheists until they are indoctrinated." – Andy Rooney
          -
          "'Born atheist' is a pernicious claim. Don't believe it. Disbelief is learned, just as belief is."

          http://apatheticagnostic.com/articles/meds2/med46/med941.html

          February 27, 2014 at 3:14 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          So what they found is that 3 year olds believe their parents are God? Or might it be that some person indoctrinating them gave them a definition for God which they fail to see a difference between that and their parents seemingly unlimited abilities.

          February 27, 2014 at 3:16 pm |
      • Lucifer's Evil Twin

        Studies that prove what you already preconceived don't count.

        Humans are the only known species on Earth predisposed to thinking there is something more to the universe than just what is immediately observable. That is why humans developed Science.

        February 27, 2014 at 3:17 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Yes, science helps explain some things. And most religious people fully embrace science.

          "...since the times of Plato, rationalists have insisted that we simply pursue what is "rational" and what can be justified by logic. It's always been a problematic exercise.

          There are axioms:
          – things that can't be logically justified, even if they can't even be coherently denied.
          – There are ideas like love or compassion that often offer little evolutionary benefit, but are pursued regardless.
          – And there is the simple fact that often we get along best, not when we consciously try to arbiter our differences using some supposed common ground, but when we recognize that there often is no common ground on which to arbitrate our differences at all, and we simply suppress those differences and emphasize our commonalities instead."

          http://www.ex-christian.net/blog/179/entry-833-the-failure-of-new-atheism/

          February 27, 2014 at 3:23 pm |
        • joey3467

          It seems that love and compassion would offer a huge evolutionary advantage. Especially to humans who if they had to live alone a hundred thousand years ago wouldn't have stood much of a chance at survival.

          February 27, 2014 at 3:46 pm |
        • Lucifer's Evil Twin

          Chimpanzees' of which we share 99% of our DNA, display the same love and compassion characteristics as us... it is easier to survive/mutually beneficial to work as a group vs. by yourself. We also share the same family/group/tribe mentality as them.

          February 27, 2014 at 3:53 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Are chimpanzees rationalists?

          February 27, 2014 at 4:02 pm |
        • Lucifer's Evil Twin

          Maybe... I don't know as I have never had a conversation with one. But, I would hazard a guess that rationalizing comes with the 1% of DNA that we don't share with them.

          February 27, 2014 at 4:05 pm |
        • Lucifer's Evil Twin

          I also suspect that .02% of that 1% is why humans are such assholes to our fellow inhabitants

          February 27, 2014 at 4:27 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          We do share common ancestors.

          February 27, 2014 at 4:27 pm |
  17. Reality

    And now the nitty-gritty of it all:

    "John Hick, a noted British philosopher of religion, estimates that 95 percent of the people of the world owe their religious affiliation to their god to an accident 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 such religious violence and hatred continues unabated due to radomness 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.

    February 27, 2014 at 2:34 pm |
  18. Apple Bush

    Grow some huevos, stand up and be who you are, an atheist, 24 hours a day, not just when it suits you. We can't accomplish anything by lying. Don't be a sniveling victim, criticizing believers in private but pretending to be one to avoid friction. Friction is the only thing that will move our cause forward. Out of the closet and into your big boy/girl pants. Stand up and be a proud atheist and don't compromise.

    February 27, 2014 at 2:10 pm |
    • ddeevviinn

      Oh, for a moment there I thought you had a little glimpse at clarity. I thought you said, " Fiction is the only thing that will move our cause forward."

      February 27, 2014 at 2:25 pm |
      • TruthPrevails1

        Oh devin; you silly boy...fiction is the only thing that gets you through...without that book your world would crumble.

        February 27, 2014 at 2:33 pm |
        • ddeevviinn

          But I have "that book" and it's what makes the difference.

          February 27, 2014 at 3:35 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          Yes and it does make a difference...it stops you from thinking clearly!

          February 27, 2014 at 3:41 pm |
        • ddeevviinn

          I'm keeping my fingers crossed in hopes that one day you will actually do justice to your username. Until then, carry on.

          February 27, 2014 at 3:56 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          Every day devin. I do no harm to anyone. I live a good life where I'm always willing to put others before me regardless of who they love; what they do with their body, what their belief is. I do not need a god to be good, I'm not so weak.

          February 27, 2014 at 4:02 pm |
        • ddeevviinn

          In light of your recurring tone on this blog, I find " I'm always willing to put others before me know matter who they love" to be highly speculative. But, that is between you and God ( or I guess you and you in your case).

          February 27, 2014 at 4:11 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          My tone??? Kind of like the tone we get from christians who THINK they can use the holy book to deny equal rights?? Shoe is finally on the other foot and you can't handle it!
          How I am on here is NOT how I am in real life...so don't go pasing judgement-your imaginary friend calls that a sin!

          February 27, 2014 at 4:26 pm |
        • ddeevviinn

          " How I am on here is not how I am in real life." PHEW, that's a relief.

          " So don't go passing judgment" There was two, not one sentence in my last reply, perhaps you should read it again.

          February 27, 2014 at 4:40 pm |
    • Sungrazer

      Stop being a bully. You are not in the shoes of all of the world's closet atheists. You are not in a position to tell anyone what is best for them.

      February 27, 2014 at 2:46 pm |
      • Apple Bush

        This is true, but my message is to the majority of atheists that hide and snivel and complain. Wake up. Get up. Do something positive and quit being a LIAR. Just look around you. We have problems and hiding won't fix them.

        February 27, 2014 at 2:52 pm |
        • Sungrazer

          I support the Atheist Out campaign. I hope more and more atheists come out. Some need encouragement – "maybe you don't have to fear as much as you think". But I am not going to insult those who don't come out because of the personal problems it will cause them. If someone's life could be wrecked by coming out, I'm not going to respond by saying "grow a pair".

          February 27, 2014 at 3:07 pm |
        • Apple Bush

          Then I will say it. GROW A PAIR. Babies.

          February 27, 2014 at 3:10 pm |
        • Sungrazer

          Fine. You're no diffferent from the insensitive, intolerant bully that is the Christian god.

          February 27, 2014 at 3:14 pm |
      • Apple Bush

        Sungrazer, what is your problem that you can't be honest about being an atheist?

        February 27, 2014 at 2:54 pm |
        • Sungrazer

          By the way, I got lost in the comments and I thought I was responding to the one on the previous page about closet atheists. I see that your comment on this page is different, but similar. I find the closet atheist comments to be insensitive.

          February 27, 2014 at 3:10 pm |
        • Apple Bush

          Will you answer my question?

          February 27, 2014 at 3:11 pm |
        • Sungrazer

          Why do you assume I am not being honest? I am defending those who don't want to drastically upset their lives. You want them to no matter the cost. Well, it's not you that thas to bear that cost.

          February 27, 2014 at 3:15 pm |
        • Ungodly Discipline

          It most certainly is! It is all of us that suffer for it. I say stop lying and help the cause or you are part of the problem.

          February 27, 2014 at 3:18 pm |
        • Sungrazer

          Ah, blaming the victims. You must be American. You are asking someone to make their lives a lot worse to make your life a tiny fraction better. As I said, I hope more and more come out. But it is a personal decision. I am not going to belittle someone who doesn't make the decision to do so and I'm not going to withdraw my support.

          February 27, 2014 at 3:25 pm |
        • Apple Bush

          Will you answer my question? Why are you in the closet? Convince me it will ruin your life if you are an honest person.

          February 27, 2014 at 3:32 pm |
        • Sungrazer

          I am not in the closet. You have assumed so, presumably because I'm defending some of those that are.

          February 27, 2014 at 3:33 pm |
        • Apple Bush

          Oh ok, cool. Good for you.

          February 27, 2014 at 3:35 pm |
        • ddeevviinn

          There's "closet atheists" ? Who knew.

          February 27, 2014 at 4:20 pm |
  19. TruthPrevails1

    "Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) released a new poll yesterday that finds support for marriage equality has jumped 21 percentage points over the last ten years"

    http://thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/new-public-religion-research-survey-finds-gays-are-winning-big/marriage/2014/02/27/83739#.Uw-Lls7EnFK

    February 27, 2014 at 2:05 pm |
  20. myweightinwords

    I left Christianity, in part because I could not stand the person I became, the hatred that filled my life. It was ugly and exhausting.

    I see that in people of other religions and in atheists too. I look at these people and I wonder how it is they aren't all exhausted from the work of all that anger and hatred. I don't understand how anyone can choose to live their life that way.

    I didn't need any god to find Love. I didn't need a religion to feel compassion. It took letting go of religion, of the god I'd been taught was wrathful and vengeful to find it.

    If you find yourself angry all the time or unable to express yourself without insulting others who are different, or feel the need to legislate your faith in order to control others, or if you feel persecuted unjustly, surrounded by idiots and mean people...maybe it's time to redirect your own focus.

    The only way to change the world is to change ourselves. Love yourself.

    February 27, 2014 at 1:59 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      I talked to my local 7th Day Adventist pastor about loving myself and he told me that it causes cancer and insanity.
      I decided to do some of research of my own and searched through the writings of Saint Thomas Aquinas.
      Turns out that self-love will make you gay.

      February 27, 2014 at 2:09 pm |
      • Lucifer's Evil Twin

        On the bright side... hairy palms help keep your hands cold in the winter

        February 27, 2014 at 2:19 pm |
        • Lucifer's Evil Twin

          warm not cold...

          February 27, 2014 at 2:23 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          Unless you're Frosty the Snowman trying to warm your icicle using friction...

          February 27, 2014 at 3:19 pm |
      • myweightinwords

        Is that what happened?

        Oh, wait, I'm bi, not gay. Maybe I haven't fully transitioned? Maybe I need more self love?

        February 27, 2014 at 2:27 pm |
        • believerfred

          You reject God because you love your desires. All rejection of God is due to desire of something other than God.

          February 27, 2014 at 2:37 pm |
        • observernow

          believerfred

          "All rejection of God is due to desire of something other than God."

          False. For many people it can come from reading the Bible and finding that it contains some good morals, but also errors, contradictions, hypocrisy, nonsense and IMMORALITY by the standards of many people who follow the Golden Rule today.

          February 27, 2014 at 2:46 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          Lelo makes some great toys to help you along the path.
          They're quite stylish looking, easy to clean, and have quite powerful motors.
          I'm pretty sure they're handcrafted in Hell by demons.
          Or maybe it's in China by 6 year olds.
          Sometimes I get those two confused.

          February 27, 2014 at 3:00 pm |
        • believerfred

          observernow
          Those objections are all part of the deception. If you reject God because of contradictions you imply that somehow you know better than those who wrote the Bible and loved God such that your opinion (without you even having existed in that day) is better. I call that pride or arrogance which is sin and as you well know sin separates us from God.

          February 27, 2014 at 3:18 pm |
        • observernow

          believerfred,

          You didn't answer the question. It concerns contradictions, errors, hypocrisy, nonsense and IMMORALITY by most of today's more advanced standards.

          Tell me that this is not a contradiction:
          (II Chron. 36:9) “Jehoiachin was eight years old when he became king” [KJV]
          (II Kings 24:8) “Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he became king” [KJV]

          February 27, 2014 at 3:25 pm |
        • snuffleupagus

          BFD= believerfred, I love my desires. Desire for my wife, good food, good job, reliable car, warm home, etc. Desire is good. I don't reject a god/s I don't believe in. I don't need a god/s to help me live an honorable life. I do desire that you xtians would stop pushing your fairy tales on us non-belivers. That's an even better desire.

          February 27, 2014 at 3:26 pm |
        • myweightinwords

          believerfred, I don't "reject god"...I reject the bible's definition of god. I reject a god who would condemn his creation to torment or one who hates.

          And yes, I walked away because of desire, my desire to be a better person, to feel compassion for my fellow man, to live up to the expectations of my heart.

          That will never be a bad thing.

          February 27, 2014 at 3:33 pm |
        • believerfred

          snuffleupagus
          Not pushin just correcting those who would entice the innocent away from God.

          February 27, 2014 at 4:13 pm |
        • believerfred

          Myweightinwords
          " I reject a god who would condemn his creation to torment or one who hates."
          =>When God finished creating it was good, very good to be exact.
          =>Existence outside of the presence of God is torment. Jesus said if you hate you brother you have murdered him in your heart and are guilty of murder. That was an intentional strong statement so that there could be no doubt that hate is wrong.
          =>God does not condemn as Jesus said "and neither do I condemn you". If you reject the way of God then you are one who has chosen his or her own way. The love your neighbor part is easy if you truly love others because that is of God. The sticking point is to Love the Lord your God with all your heart. My guess is you do not know God nor would you accept anything that would require giving up your way. Certainly if you have made up a god that torments no one could love such a thing.

          February 27, 2014 at 4:22 pm |
        • ausphor

          fredie
          Mark 16:16
          Jesus condemns, sorry pal but it is in your book of silly.

          February 27, 2014 at 4:33 pm |
        • believerfred

          Observernow
          The obvious is that he was crowned at age 8 but there was an issue with the brother so when Jehoiakim his brother died all objections were removed 10 years later. There are thousands of expert theologians that have much better apologetics but that is the simple one. Like discussing which sunset do you like best.
          Now, the real issue is why do you look for conflict and contradictions. Take a close look at yourself and you will find the conflict and contradiction of belief is within you not the Bible. Take note the Bible is divine because it reveals you and your relation to the truth of existence.

          February 27, 2014 at 4:38 pm |
        • observernow

          believerfred,

          "Take a close look at yourself and you will find the conflict and contradiction of belief is within you not the Bible."

          lol. Try again. I am just reading EXACTLY what the Bible said. Obviously, that is where the contradiction is.

          So does the Bible say "He became king for the SECOND TIME when he was eighteen"?
          So does the Bible say "He became king AGAIN when he was eighteen"?
          So does the Bible say "He was replaced as king"?

          I'll wait for your DIRECT quote from the Bible to clear this up.

          February 27, 2014 at 4:44 pm |
        • ausphor

          fredie
          John 3:36
          Old timey wrath of God stuff in the book of silly.

          February 27, 2014 at 4:52 pm |
        • joey3467

          Personally I didn't read the bible looking for contradictions, but I also didn't just ignore them when I found them.

          February 27, 2014 at 4:52 pm |
        • believerfred

          ausphor
          So, you know yourself that is true. Do you see eternal life?..........let me answer.....NO....thus... you prove to yourself John 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life

          February 27, 2014 at 5:04 pm |
        • believerfred

          joey3467
          I am not a theologian and debate over this Hebrew term or that Greek usage drives me nuts. There is so much in the Bible that directs my life and makes me a better constantly improving person that I have yet time to stop and think about contradictions. In the opening of Genesis we see the first failed step of mankind was to listen to the deception that asked "did God really say that"?

          February 27, 2014 at 5:09 pm |
        • observernow

          believerfred,

          Please give me the Bible verse (or verses) that explain the CONTRADICTION about the king.

          Thanks.

          February 27, 2014 at 5:09 pm |
        • ausphor

          fredie
          Why would you deliberately ignore the fact of the wrath of god bit? Can't deal with the words when they contradict your rather silly beliefs; you have to hide behind a twisted interpretation. Don't believe in eternal life or that the wrath of god will be upon me, silly stuff. John 3:36 boogey man threats, really!!

          February 27, 2014 at 5:17 pm |
        • ausphor

          fredie
          OK, I get it you are going with one of the modern translations where they try and remove all the sp00ky bits, funny how there dozens of versions of what is the true word in the book of silly.

          February 27, 2014 at 5:27 pm |
        • believerfred

          ausphor
          Bingo! you have found some truth. The Bible revealed that I love God and that you are looking for reasons to reject God. Exactly what truth did you expect to find between one time period when Jehoiachin was 8 and his father made him heir and when Jehoiachin’s father, Jehoiakim died 10 years later and he became King? Two books two different time periods.

          February 27, 2014 at 5:39 pm |
        • believerfred

          ausphor
          I have never felt the wrath of God but I can only imagine it. What I experienced in real life was more than enough to pray nothing could be worse. I only know there are extremes of good and bad where most things fall. I do not fear the wrath of God but have compassion for those who mock God knowingly. If there is no God then nothing was gained anyway.

          February 27, 2014 at 5:46 pm |
        • ausphor

          fredie
          Sorry no. That is what all the different translations of the bible and apologists do, try to change the meanings to make them more believable to the better educated. Knowledge is the great enemy of all religions and the reason why they will all die of in time.

          February 27, 2014 at 5:49 pm |
        • observernow

          believerfred,

          So does the Bible say "He became king for the SECOND TIME when he was eighteen"?
          So does the Bible say "He became king AGAIN when he was eighteen"?
          So does the Bible say "He was replaced as king"?

          Still WAITING. Where is your reply?

          February 27, 2014 at 5:52 pm |
        • believerfred

          observernow
          Why would you expect the Bible to give an exhaustive review of Jehoiachin and Jehoiakim regarding the age the son became heir and the age the son became King?

          February 27, 2014 at 6:22 pm |
        • observernow

          believerfred

          "Why would you expect the Bible to give an exhaustive review of Jehoiachin"

          fred, you are a RIOT. "Exhaustive"? lol. You are so incredibly BLIND that you don't care about logic or even if the Bible is correct.

          Here's what I would expect as the DIVINE WORD from the PERFECT God:

          IF he became king TWICE, then at the least we'd expect God's PERFECT words to say:

          "He became king for the SECOND TIME when he was eighteen"?
          "He became king AGAIN when he was eighteen"?
          "He was replaced as king"?

          None of those, but you don't care if they Bible is ACCURATE or not.

          February 27, 2014 at 6:33 pm |
        • observernow

          Just another ERROR in the Bible:

          (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.”

          February 27, 2014 at 6:36 pm |
        • believerfred

          observernow
          I gave you the most reasonable explanation. It is not a conflict. If you wish to call it a conflict or contradiction it is not. Yes, there are verses that appear to contradict each other. They do not because reasonable explanations are abundant. You should actually marvel at the fact there are so few.

          February 27, 2014 at 8:24 pm |
        • believerfred

          observernow
          As to God tempting someone it is a matter of word usage. When God tempts it is always to bring about a positive result. It is never used in a negative as when the evil one tempts to bring down or separate one from God. This is common knowledge.

          February 27, 2014 at 8:28 pm |
        • myweightinwords

          Fred....sorry for the delayed response, work got kind of busy this afternoon.

          =>When God finished creating it was good, very good to be exact.

          So your book says. I don't believe your book.

          =>Existence outside of the presence of God is torment.

          Considering I've been living "outside of the presence" of your god for twenty some years. The first few years were difficult, I'll admit. I had walked away from everything I ever thought was true and I was finding myself. Once I found actual unconditional love, the torment that was my life before was over.

          Jesus said if you hate you brother you have murdered him in your heart and are guilty of murder. That was an intentional strong statement so that there could be no doubt that hate is wrong.

          Again, according to your book. And it is a message that doesn't sing through the rest of the book. and it doesn't prevent those who say they follow him from hating those they think the book tells them to hate.

          =>God does not condemn as Jesus said "and neither do I condemn you".

          Wrong. That's just double talk. If god makes the rules, and god creates people as they are, then condemns those who behave as they created them to behave, then he's at fault. It's twisted, man-made theology that describes a god I could not pledge my life to any longer.

          If you reject the way of God then you are one who has chosen his or her own way.

          I rejected the way of your god, because your god proved to me he wasn't worth my dedication. It was the hardest decision I've made in 45 years. It was also the best decision I've ever made.

          The love your neighbor part is easy if you truly love others because that is of God.

          Loving my neighbor couldn't happen until I learned to love myself. I couldn't love myself until I rejected the notion that I was worthless, dirty, sinful.

          The sticking point is to Love the Lord your God with all your heart.

          That didn't work for me. I tried that for a long time. I poured my heart into loving him. I lost myself inside that love. I still didn't love myself. Without loving myself, my love for people around me was tainted and far from unconditional.

          My guess is you do not know God nor would you accept anything that would require giving up your way. Certainly if you have made up a god that torments no one could love such a thing.

          I don't need you to validate my experience fred. I know that bugs a lot of people. I know who I was, I know what I believed and I know why I believed it. I'm curious what you think is "my way"...and why you think I would never "give it up"? I challenge what I believe daily and when something doesn't work, when something is presented that proves me wrong I adjust accordingly.

          Thus far in my journey, I've seen nothing that has convinced me I was wrong to walk away.

          February 27, 2014 at 9:00 pm |
        • believerfred

          myweightiwords
          "I'm curious what you think is "my way"...and why you think I would never "give it up"? "
          =>Jesus said I am the way which basically followed "the way" of the loving God of the Old Testament that provided for the Hebrew. When I said your way I was speaking about everyone not on "the way" (I.e. following Christ in short).

          Never would be the wrong choice of words. It is hard for anyone to change when they are comfortable and love themselves as they are. Harder yet when a change involves going back to a place that was a problem to begin with. Close reading of the Bible reveals one must give up everything or have a heartset that is willing to give up everything.

          February 27, 2014 at 9:53 pm |
        • myweightinwords

          Been there, done that. I gave up everything...and it led me here.

          I change when I need to. It's not easy. It goes against our nature. Especially when it also goes against the programming that's been part of who we are for so long.

          It can be done though.

          And for what it's worth, close reading of the bible was what made me realize that the bible wasn't the word of god.

          February 28, 2014 at 8:04 am |
        • observernow

          believerfred

          "As to God tempting someone it is a matter of word usage."

          You can obviously see how badly you are losing an argument when you have to insist that words don't mean what they are defined to mean. It's a common pathetic argument from many Christians who are defenseless against what the Bible ACTALLY SAYS.

          February 28, 2014 at 1:00 am |
        • believerfred

          myweightinwords
          The text of our Bibles are a translation from the original scripture. Jesus referred to scripture and when those scrolls were read the people of day understood their meaning in context of their lives and culture. The Word of God is not necessarily the text but is always that understanding in your heart (soul if you will) which happens through the Holy Spirit. Some refer to it as the voice of God although not audible. The Bible is all about the redemption or salvation of your soul, that image of God within. When the Bible is read by say Colin his soul is revealed in very specific detail that pretty well reflects his character although he cannot see it. Recall the High Priests of Jesus day that actually carried out the sacrifice of the perfect lamb of God on Passover and they were oblivious to what they were doing even as Jesus hung on the Cross saying Father forgive them for they know not what they do.
          I read parts of the Bible once and found it to be nothing but silly tales from primitive peoples. My heart was not hateful or negative towards others so I understood how these tales gave them comfort and would give comfort to those who still believed today. I did take issue with bible thumpers getting on my case for my way of life. One day by miracle at the lowest point in my life I called out "what kind of God if you even exist would do such or construct such a world". Jesus I called out, if you are real, please help. There on the floor was a Bible bent open. After reading a few words I experienced God which I will never forget. While some get caught in the sticky maze of Bible that reveals a skeptics desire I see the love of redemption of souls, that harvest onto the promised land, a hope in love perfected revealed in a pure heart a holy one that works all things for the good of those who believe.
          I believe nothing can stop a soul destined for that promise of old except a desire for that which is not of God.

          February 28, 2014 at 11:52 am |
        • myweightinwords

          While I am pleased that you seem to have found what works for you, it did not work for me, despite how much I wanted it to.

          I was a solid believer when reading the bible led me away from that belief, so it isn't fully a matter of reading what you want to.

          I found peace and happiness and unconditional love. I can only wish you the same.

          March 2, 2014 at 10:43 am |
        • believerfred

          myweightinwords
          What reading or parts of the Bible to you find to be the cause for disbelief?

          March 2, 2014 at 5:40 pm |
        • myweightinwords

          That's a very long conversation. At the time I was studying for the ministry, I was also studying history and archaeology. The discrepancies between the three gave rise to some doubts, but comparing the god described in that bible to what my heart demanded of me contributed a great deal.

          It wasn't any single thing, no single verse or story. It was the book, taken as a whole, held up against history, held up against decency and hope, held up to the person I desired to be....I had to choose to cling to belief despite all of that and continue to fail to be a person of compassion and love or to begin to let go of that belief and make room in my heart for compassion and love.

          March 3, 2014 at 10:01 am |
      • snuffleupagus

        Hmm, I was told you'd go bling, or that it would fall off if one kept it up. Ahhh, those nuns.

        February 27, 2014 at 3:20 pm |
        • snuffleupagus

          *blind. Sorry, replying to Doc.

          February 27, 2014 at 3:28 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          I've been wearing glasses since before puberty...
          Maybe my poor eyesight is because I inherited the sins of my father.
          I'm going to have to have a chat with my dad about Onanism.

          February 27, 2014 at 4:15 pm |
    • Dalahäst

      Nicely put. It looks like you found serenity. I think that is what most people are searching for. Resentment and anger is exhausting.

      Nelson Mandela — 'Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.'

      February 27, 2014 at 2:21 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.