home
RSS
March 1st, 2014
06:00 AM ET

Stepping-stones to safety: A family flees Syria's war - and finds refuge in Italy's islands

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor
[twitter-follow screen_name='EricCNNBelief']

Lampedusa, Italy (CNN) – Abdel clung to his pregnant wife, 4-year-old son and 2-year-old daughter as they sailed across an open stretch of the Mediterranean Sea.

They were in a dilapidated fishing boat with limited provisions and almost no sanitation, sharing a cramped space with some 400 other Syrians.

Abdel prayed quietly and recited verses from the Quran for two days and two nights as the boat swayed and motored precariously along the 180-mile route from Libya to the tiny Italian island of Lampedusa.

If they could make it, his young family would be one step closer to freedom.

He knew thousands had died making the same voyage.

Abdel prayed for safety. He hoped land would come soon. He worried his wife, 8½ months pregnant, might give birth before they reached land.

Abdel and his family risked their lives to flee Syria for Italy.

“Our faith in God grew stronger and stronger,” he said. “When you feel that death is very near, then you get closer to God and your faith increases.”

Eight months earlier, Abdel and his family had fled Syria’s bloody civil war. Desperate and destitute, they left behind cherished possessions. A former importer of electronics and appliances, Abdel knew it was time to go, but it still hurt to leave his homeland.

“We left because of the continuous bombing, all day and all night long,” he said. “We owned two houses and they were both destroyed.

"The Army invited us to flee and leave Syria," he said, suggesting the "invitation" was less than polite. "We had no choice.”

But his options were limited. The 33-year-old’s compulsory military service took place in a prison, where he said he was privileged to sensitive information, including executions by the regime.  As a result, he said, the Syrian government revoked his passport at the start of the conflict.

Relatives in Sweden wanted them to come there, but with no travel documents Abdel and his family had little choice but to flee to a refugee camp in Jordan. Two months later they arrived in Egypt, along with other refugees. From Egypt, they went to Libya, where they spent five months.

Abdel knew his family's best chance of getting into the European Union was by boat through Lampedusa.

After two days at sea, Abdel said, someone on the boat used a satellite phone to call for help.

An Italian Coast Guard ship soon reached the boat and guided it to Lampedusa.

At 4 a.m. on September 25, Abdel and his family arrived on the island before the sun rose over the blue waters of the harbor.

A boat arrives carrying Abdel's family and hundreds of Syrian refugees.

A medical team evaluated his wife and quickly whisked the family onto a helicopter bound for a hospital on the much larger Italian island of Sicily, an hour’s flight away.

Though they'd been traveling for months, in many ways their journey was only just beginning.

A haven for refugees and migrants

Lampedusa is home to 6,000 Italians and some of the world’s greatest beaches.  For decades, the 6-mile-long, 2-mile-wide island has been a destination for tourists in search of sun, sand and sea.

Except for Gibraltar, it is the closest part of Europe to Africa, less than 100 miles away. The island is closer to Tunisia than to Italy.

Since the late 1990s, Lampedusa has been a haven for refugees and migrants. When the Arab Spring caught fire just across the Mediterranean in 2011, the numbers of arrivals shot up.

With so many Muslims overwhelming the heavily Catholic island - and with Pope Francis making it the first pastoral visit of his papacy - CNN traveled to Lampedusa to explore the religious ramifications for residents as well as the new arrivals.

Depending on whom you ask, the name Lampedusa derives from the Greek lepas (limpet) for mollusks that cling to rocky shores, or - more likely - lampas (torch) for the lights that for centuries have helped mariners negotiate the island's treacherous coast.

Either way, the island is quaint to a fault.

In a marble-tiled square next to a church, boys play soccer during the day.  After the sun goes down, their parents dance to Italian accordion standards under twinkling lights strung from one end of the square to the other.

On a cool September night, as the peak tourist season winds down, the open-air restaurants, cafés and tourist shops along Via Roma are still bustling.  At one outdoor café, Italians gather near a glowing flat-screen television to watch a soccer match and sip espresso, while a handful of young African migrants cheer along from the outer edges of the café.

The migrants, from Somalia and Eritrea, recently arrived here on a boat out of Libya looking for a better economic life in Europe.  Among the new arrivals on the island are also refugees like Abdel - those fleeing persecution, war or religious or ethnic strife.

Just down the road from the café, on one side of the street, docks are lined with boats waiting to take tourists snorkeling and fishing. On the other side, a boat cemetery is filled with junked vessels that brought refugees and migrants to the island over the past few years.  The names of the dilapidated boats are hand-lettered on the sides in Arabic.

Boats that carried refugees and migrants sit in a graveyard off the harbor.

One local restaurant owner said she hardly realized migrants and refugees were still arriving. “Compared to 2011, things changed,” she said. That's when boats overloaded with migrants and refugees would pull into the harbor at all hours.

Now, she said, “the boats are not arriving here because the coast guard and the navy rescue them at sea, before they reach the island.”

She only knew about the Syrian refugees arriving the night before - the boat containing Abdel and his family - because she heard about it on a local radio program.  Their trip was big news here because now the island was seeing Syrian refugees fleeing the civil war.

A week after Abdel’s boat was rescued off Lampedusa, a boat overflowing with African migrants sank less than a mile off the island's southern coast. Passengers had set blankets on fire to try to signal for help. The fire quickly got out of control and led to the disaster. More than 300 people died. The Italian government treated the catastrophe as a national tragedy and declared a day of mourning.

The loss of so many lives underscored the danger of the journey and the desperation of those who make the trip.

In 2011, more than 60,000 people arrived illegally in Italy by sea, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees reported. Tens of thousands of them came through Lampedusa.

The U.N. refugee agency estimated that 1,500 people died or went missing at sea making the journey that year, based on distress calls from boats and reports from survivors.

As North African countries began to return to relative peace after the Arab Spring, the number of refugees and migrants through Lampedusa dropped dramatically.  In 2012, just 13,300 people arrived in Italy by boat, according to the United Nations.

But the arrivals shot up again in 2013. Through the end of November, 40,200 arrived in Italy by boat. More than 10,000 of those were Syrian nationals fleeing the war, the U.N. said.

“The Mediterranean is once again the ‘asylum route’ into Europe for people who are forced to leave their countries due to war, persecution (and) violence and risk their lives at sea,” said Barbara Molinario, a UNHCR spokeswoman in Rome.

“In this sense, sea arrivals to Italy can no longer be considered an ‘emergency’ as they are a more or less stable phenomenon that needs to be managed with ordinary measures.”

The vast majority sailed from ports in Tunisia or Libya, Molinario said. For the chance to set out on rickety boats overflowing with passengers, some of the refugees and migrants we met on Lampedusa told us they paid smugglers handsomely  — some more than $1,500 a person.

The smugglers usually don't make the trip themselves. Instead, they send the refugees and migrants out on their own into open water with few or no supplies.

Using satellites and sailors to save lives

Rescue operations off the coast of Lampedusa have grown more sophisticated over the past three years. As a result, the number of those who have died or gone missing at sea while making the illegal entry into Italy has dropped dramatically.

In 2012, some 500 people died or went missing at sea, down two-thirds from 2011. Prior to the sinking in October that killed 300, only 40 people had died in 2013.

Recently, smugglers have been sending the boats with satellite phones and explicit instructions to someone on the boat to call the number programmed into the phone after they get out to sea. The number is to the Italian Maritime Rescue Coordination Center in Rome, the Italian navy said.

Soon after this practice started, the center and the satellite phone company, Thuraya, coordinated efforts. Now, when a call comes in from a stranded boat, the company can pinpoint its location and send the GPS coordinates to Italian authorities in less than an hour. Previously, authorities depended on passing commercial or military vessels to spot refugee or migrant boats.

Under the new system, once the refugees use the satellite phone, the Italian rescue center dispatches the closest coast guard or navy ship for a search and rescue mission.

“We are sailors, and the first law at sea is to save the life,” said Capt. Emanuele Di Franco, commander of the Italian navy patrol ship Sirio. When we spoke to him in September, he said his ship had rescued 521 migrants and refugees in 2013.

The navy has seen a marked increase in Syrian refugees this year, he said. Many of the Syrians, like Abdel, are businessmen, doctors, engineers and lawyers, a more highly educated group than past migrants or refugees, he said.

Di Franco and his Sicily-based crew of 70 sailors spend most of their time patrolling the waters around Italy, cracking down on illegal fishing and cleaning up after oil spills.

Italian Navy Capt. Emanuele Di Franco commands the Sirio patrol boat.

When a rescue call comes in, the ship sends out helicopters to find the migrant boat and lead the naval ship to it. Teams of frogmen in smaller boats approach and assess the migrant vessel.

Health concerns often come first for the migrants, who may have been out at sea, exposed to the elements, for anywhere from two to seven days.

The most common symptoms are dehydration in the summer and hypothermia in the winter, says Tenente di Vascello Angelo Cartelli, a doctor on the Sirio.  He also treats skin burns from contact with fuel.

“The fuels spill from [tanks] because of the waves,” he said. “It accumulates on the floor of the boat, where women and children usually stay.

“The hardest thing is assisting children and newborn babies with fuel burns and lesions related to the cold. These situations are very hard, but they are also motivating me in my job,” he explained from the tiny infirmary aboard the Sirio.

Since many of the refugees and migrants are Muslim, the Navy has adapted some procedures out of religious sensitivity, such as having female sailors interact with female migrants and providing foods that are halal - permissible under Muslim dietary law - such as rice, tomatoes and chocolate.

If a boat is not seaworthy and cannot be escorted into port, the refugees and migrants board a navy patrol ship and huddle on the deck for the next leg of the trip.  In less than a day, DiFranco said, they are taken to a harbor such as Lampedusa for processing.

A cross section of faiths

When Abdel and his family arrived in Lampedusa, a flurry of social workers, U.N. monitors and immigration officials greeted the 400 Syrians on the boat.

While their family was helicoptered to Sicily, the other refugees were put on buses and taken to the Centro di Primo Soccorso e Accoglienza (Center for First Aid and Reception). The former World War II field hospital is tucked away in a valley at the end of a long dirt road.

The center can house around 300 people comfortably, officials said. But the new Syrian arrivals brought the number of residents to 1,250.

Despite repeated requests, we were not allowed into the center. Officials cited safety concerns with overcrowding.

From the gate, we could see Syrian families huddled under pine trees, their clothes hanging out to dry on a line.  Two young Syrian boys kicked a soccer ball with a guard along the main road, while young girls lugged two-liter bottles of water back to their family’s makeshift camps, where they slept on the ground on silver emergency blankets. Other people strung blue tarps between pine trees  to create a makeshift tent.

The Italian government provides food, water, cigarettes and phone cards for the migrants and refugees when they arrive.

At a nearby hotel, we met Lilian Pizzi, a psychotherapist who works inside the center for Terre des Hommes, an international humanitarian relief organization focusing on the rights of children. She said there were more than 130 children in the camp at the time.

Lilian Pizzi is a psychotherapist with Terre des Hommes.

“We just try to create a space where they can feel safe. So they just start coloring. That [helps] them regain a sense of control on their own reality,” she said of the Syrian children. “They draw peace and they draw war.”

She showed us some of the children's drawings. One drew a boat in the ocean; another drew tanks and a soldier shooting a child holding a blue balloon.

The center is filled with a cross section of religions. Relief workers mingle with Muslims from Syria and Somalia and Orthodox Christians from Eritrea as they wait to be transferred to another immigration center in Sicily or mainland Italy. Most refugees and migrants are hoping to settle in Europe, but that process can take months or even years.  Their alternatives are few. Some we spoke to hope to return home one day, others said they were in Europe to stay.

From shipwrecks to a Pope's pulpit

While reporters and locals may not be allowed into center, residents are free to leave and walk the two miles into town.

Most nights young Eritrean men, all Orthodox Christians, could be seen kneeling in prayer at the door of the Church of San Gerlando of Lampedusa. As in most small Italian towns, the Catholic church is one of the biggest and tallest buildings in sight.

The Rev. Stefano Nastasi, the priest here for six years, wears stylish red glasses. He maintains a distinct salt-and-pepper goatee, smokes a steady chain of Marlboros and flashes a sly smile.

Times were tense between local residents and migrants at the height of the Arab Spring, he said. Violent protests sometimes broke out at the center. As refugees and migrants poured in, locals saw no end in sight and no solutions from the Italian government.

The Rev. Stefano Nastasi talks about the Pope's visit to Lampedusa.

“In a few months, over 20,000 people arrived here,” he said. “In March 2011, over 7,000 immigrants were on the island, which has a population of 6,000 people.”

Most locals say the situation is better now, though there’s still a ways to go. On some occasions locals refer to migrants and refugees by the pejorative “clandestini” or “illegals.”  Locals and transients rarely mingle.

Many migrants, even Muslims, seek out the church, the priest said. “They were looking for shelter, for a contact, for consolation,” he said, and it's “a place that would recall prayer and silence, despite the different faith.”

Members of the church offer food, clothing and shelter to the migrants. In doing so, they’re living out the Gospel of Matthew’s call to “carry each other's burdens,” the priest said. “That is the expression of the existential communion we have to reach.”

Over the summer, Lampedusa’s migration issues garnered global attention when the newly minted Pope Francis visited the island. Nastasti was instrumental in arranging the trip - he sent a letter to the Pope soon after he was elected in March.

“Being that his parents were immigrants, I thought he would understand what it means to go through migration. So, I sent him an auspicious letter and I imagined that in his tears of joy there were the tears of suffering of the whole mankind.

"I drew a parallel between the tears of people living everyday life, of the people living on the island, of the immigrants, and the Pope’s tears,” the priest said.

“Then I invited him to visit Lampedusa, as it can be considered as the heart of the Mediterranean, from where it is possible to speak to Europe and Africa and share a moment of prayer.”

Pope Francis arrived in July. It marked his first papal visit outside of Rome.

He prayed for those who had died at sea, comforted migrants staying at the center and laid a wreath in the water for those who lost their lives before reaching land.

The Pope also celebrated Mass at a local soccer field that was transformed into a giant open-air chapel for his visit.

Pope Francis celebrates Mass on Lampedusa.

“We have fallen into a globalization of indifference,” he said from a lectern made from a ship's wheel and other wreckage from the boat graveyard.  His words rocketed around the globe and brought renewed interest in the plight of migrants.

Gallery: Pope Francis visits Lampedusa

It was also a huge boost for the island and those working with migrants, Nastasi said.

“The church can’t refer only to itself and be closed; the situation compels us to a confrontation and encounter," he said. “The church enters daily human suffering and needs in order to be a support, a guidance and consolation in the first place.”

Cell towers light the way

Religious differences played a role in compelling Abdel and his family to flee Syria.  They are Sunni Muslims, whereas Syrian President Bashar al-Assad belongs to the minority Alawite sect, which is a mystical religious group of Shia Islam.

“Before the revolution broke out, in Syria there were no distinctions or tensions,” Abdel said. “In the past, we used to live together in a peaceful coexistence.”

But that changed with the civil war.

“It turned into a war against Sunnis, thanks to the support of Iran and Hezbollah in Lebanon,” Abdel said. “The government thinks that all the people against it are Sunnis.”

Once on European soil, Abdel and his family found themselves in the minority again. It was worse in some ways, because they spoke no Italian and were separated from their group of refugees as soon as they reached Lampedusa.

In Sicily, the hospital’s doctors determined Abdel’s wife and unborn child were in good health. The family snuck out of the hospital soon after. They feared that if they stayed, officials would force them to settle in Italy - and their dreams of reaching relatives in Sweden would be over.

Under European Union law, refuges have to stay in the country where they are identified as they go through the process of seeking asylum.  The law is designed to prevent refugees from being shuffled between countries and stop refugees from submitting multiple requests for asylum.

Abdel and his family may not have known all the intricacies of the the law, but their goal was clear – to reach Sweden undetected and settle there with family.

At the hospital, they met a Somali Muslim who told them they could get help from a mosque in Catania, a city on Sicily’s eastern coast. Follow the lights on the cell phone towers, he told them, and you will find it.

At 9 p.m. the night they arrived on the island, Abdel, his wife and two children headed into the darkness on foot.  They walked for much of the night, he said, stopping only to sleep for a few hours in the doorway of a church.

After they woke, they walked for another six hours, he said. Abdel couldn’t calculate the total distance they traveled because he didn’t know the name of the town or the hospital where the coast guard had flown the family.

Once they reached their destination, he gushed about his wife’s bravery.

“Despite [the fact that] she is pregnant, she still wants to continue traveling,” he said. “She has walked for hours to reach Catania.”

Taking shelter in a mosque

The city usually isn’t featured in tourist brochures for Sicily or Italy.

In the center of Catania, graffiti covered the base of a statue of a saint, whose neon halo was both tacky and ratty. A taxi driver offered us detailed instructions on which parts of the city to avoid because of recent stabbings and robberies.

Catania is home to a large government center for migrants and refugees.  It is often a second stop along the way after emergency centers like the one in Lampedusa. As with that center, residents can come and go with a great deal of freedom as they sort out what to do next.

Not all refugees or migrants, though, take shelter at the center. Some make a temporary home at the Mosque of Mercy — Moschea della Misericordia — which is tucked away on a quiet street across from a gambling parlor and a piazza. The mosque and the center seem to coexist peacefully, with some refugees and migrants moving between the two facilities, while others essentially hide out in the mosque, hoping to avoid government detection.

Two men pray at the Mosque of Mercy in Catania, Italy.

In Italy, refugees seeking asylum “have the right to be hosted in a [government] reception facility for the duration of their asylum request. These facilities are not detention centers,” Molinario, the U.N. spokeswoman, explained.  That, she added, is different from centers in other countries, “whose purpose is identification and expulsion, where migrants are legally detained for forced repatriation purposes.”

Each night, refugees and migrants pour into the mosque for evening prayers, and on Friday nights there's a free community meal.

On one Friday evening we visited, volunteers added table after table to accommodate growing numbers of guests. They chatted in Arabic and broken Italian as they shared plates of cinnamon rice and chicken prepared in a huge pot. Black Arabic tea so sweet it rattled our teeth was shared in small plastic cups.

Imam Kheit Abdelhafid described the Muslim community here as a mix of permanent and transient members.

“There are Muslims from different countries and ethnic groups, mainly Morocco, Senegal, Tunisia, Algeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan,” he said.

The mosque grew largely from word of mouth and its efforts to reach out to new refugees and migrants coming to Sicily.

This night, a group of Syrians were the latest refugees to arrive. To accommodate them, the mosque transformed a back room into a makeshift hostel.

Families sat on rugs, resting for a few hours or days as they made their journey. There were toys and dolls for children and fresh clothes for adults.

When it rains, the refugees and migrants have nowhere to go, Abdelhafid said.

“We provide them with food, clothes and the support they may need,” he said. “We also asked other [civic and religious] associations for their support, for example, by providing mattresses and materials which could be useful.

“Most of the migrants arriving are families with children, and there are pregnant women as well,” the imam added.

Imam Kheit Abdelhafid prays at his mosque in Catania, Italy

Abdel and his family were among those sitting on rugs in the back room. They’d been staying at the mosque for a few days since their long walk from the hospital - essentially keeping a low profile and hoping not to be identified by the government as they tried to figure out how to reach Sweden.

We met them here for the first time. Over the course of three days and multiple interviews, Abdel slowly revealed more and more details of their perilous journey:

His wife’s due date was fast approaching and they were still trying to make it to Sweden. Relatives there had sent money, but without a passport he couldn’t access it from Western Union, Abdel said.

As the family worked on a way to reach Sweden, members of the mosque offered them cellphones, meals and shelter.

Imam Abdelhafid said he and other members of his mosque felt like they were on the front lines of a battle, assisting those “fleeing from genocide.”

“We have the duty to help them, and the whole international community needs to understand that these people were forced to leave their own houses, their jobs, everything they had in Syria.”

The imam looks to the Quran for inspiration as he figures out how best to help the migrants.  It's a task that seems to change daily.

“I usually recall what the Prophet used to say about the believer: ‘The believer is like a body. When a part of this body feels the pain or fever, then the whole body will suffer from that,’” the imam said.

“The Holy Quran says: ‘Help each other for the good and not for the evil. ... If someone seeks shelter, give him shelter, even if he doesn’t belong to your community.'”

A Syrian family rests in the backroom of the Mosque of Mercy in Catania, Italy.

As dinner in the back room wraps up, the call to prayer sounds. The men slip out of their shoes and head to the main worship space for prayer. The women, not far behind, climb the stairs to the balcony.

The imam, Abdel and the other men bow their heads to the floor. They join together as Muslims; the distinctions between Sunni and Shia fade away.

As they pray, rain starts to fall outside.

The entryway in the mosque begins to fill — 30 more Syrian refugees.

They had just arrived from Lampedusa.

Epilogue

Days after we met Abdel and his family, they left Sicily for Sweden with the help of members from the mosque. They were stopped while traveling across Germany, where they were identified as refugees. As a result they began the resettlement process there. Now they have German travel documents and a house provided by the German government. After an asylum seeker like Abdel is identified in the European Union, they must stay in the country where they are applying for asylum. Typically, the process takes about three months.

Shortly after they arrived in Germany, Abdel’s wife gave birth to a baby girl, Rina.

Abdel said they were happy to settle down. They are attending German language classes as part of the integration process there.

He and his family fear for the safety of relatives and friends back in Syria.  Still they hope to return to their homeland one day, when the war finally ends.

About this story

In late September, Eric Marrapodi and Elisa Di Benedetto traveled to Lampedusa and Catania.  They spoke with dozens of migrants, refugees, relief workers and government officials to compile this report. Like Abdel and his family, many of the refugees and migrants we interviewed asked us to withhold their surnames for fear their families might be harmed in the countries they had fled. The majority of the interviews were conducted in English, Italian, and Arabic.

Marrapodi is the co-editor of CNN’s Belief Blog. DiBenedetto is a freelance journalist based in northeastern Italy.  They were awarded Henry Luce Foundation fellowships to promote excellence global religion coverage through the International Center for Journalists, which paid for their travel.  CNN maintained editorial oversight of the story.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Catholic Church • Christianity • Europe • Islam • Italy • Libya • Mosque • Muslim • Persecution • Pope Francis • Poverty • Religious violence • Syria

soundoff (402 Responses)
  1. Doris

    For the benefit of other readers: reference for my quote in Austin's top post – google and research evangelical Scott Lively, Uganda, Pope Benedict & Anglican bishops regarding events for the past seven years resulting in hysteria and crimes against humanity there.

    March 2, 2014 at 3:49 pm |
    • Doris

      (that have resulted in the law passed recently in the news regarding jailing of gays there and life imprisonment for persons who do not report gays)

      March 2, 2014 at 3:50 pm |
      • Austin

        Doris, what in the friggin hell does that person have to do with your perversion of the new testament guidelines?

        you can sit here and dance circles around 7 BILLION people, the new testament is not changing.

        Your point means absolutely nothing as far as the defense of the written word goes.

        it is written.

        why would some person in uganda have an impact on something that is written 1.5 thousand years ago?

        that is impossible.

        March 2, 2014 at 4:03 pm |
        • sam stone

          "the new testament is not changing."

          it is because it is printed on paper

          so is Harry Potter

          March 2, 2014 at 4:10 pm |
        • sam stone

          How does free will exist if god already knows what you will choose?

          THAT is impossible, Austin

          March 2, 2014 at 4:13 pm |
        • Doris

          Austin: "you can sit here and dance circles around 7 BILLION people, the new testament is not changing."

          I wasn't suggesting that we try to go back in history and change it.

          Austin: "Your point means absolutely nothing as far as the defense of the written word goes. it is written."

          I'm not arguing that someone wrote something. (Although it would be interesting if we actually knew who wrote much of it.)

          Austin: "why would some person in uganda have an impact on something that is written 1.5 thousand years ago?"

          What a dolt. You should have realized by now, Austin, that my beef is rather:
          "Why does something written 1.5 thousand years ago causing crimes against humanity in Uganda today by way of many of its adherents?" Also, since not all believers hold the same opinion on the matter, what does that say about the validity of the claims of Christianity?

          March 2, 2014 at 4:17 pm |
        • Doris

          end of my last post: "validity of the claims of Christianity?"

          (or at least for the sake of this point being argued, the validity of the claims about homosexuality?)

          March 2, 2014 at 4:19 pm |
        • Austin

          example of false teachers in the bible

          18 Timothy, my son, I am giving you this command in keeping with the prophecies once made about you, so that by recalling them you may fight the battle well, 19 holding on to faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and so have suffered shipwreck with regard to the faith. 20 Among them are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan to be taught not to blaspheme.

          March 2, 2014 at 4:24 pm |
        • Austin

          Doris, you might as well talk about hitler or the crusades and inquisitions. You cant bring down Christ off the cross. He is risen.

          The battle in the world is lost in your minds. And as that happens persecution from the devil is carried out as people follow the devil and reject the command to forgive.

          March 2, 2014 at 4:33 pm |
        • Doris

          "example of false teachers in the bible"

          Well that's all fine and dandy, Austin. But I'm in the here and now reading news stories about a group of evangelicals who traveled to Africa with the intent to stir up violence and hatred. And I'm reading about how most of the higher ups in the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion supported such an effort – either by directly blessing lawmakers in Uganda, removing any effort to improve education on the matter (and regain peaceful resolution), or by their complacency.

          So, with so much hatred coming from so many, each with their own interpretation of the Bible, what does that say about the Bible for the purposes of judging someone's sexuality and sexual behavior? What does that say about it's true power, its "clear message" with respect to judging anyone about anything?

          March 2, 2014 at 4:44 pm |
        • Doris

          "The devil...."

          Lol – prove your Abrahamic God exists first Austin,

          then we'll worry about free will, the devil, hell, and moral "truths"...

          March 2, 2014 at 4:46 pm |
        • Austin

          "What does that say about it's true power, its "clear message" with respect to judging anyone about anything"

          you are free to reject God. no one can choose for you. but if you call on God for the spirit, the spirit will guide you.

          no one can guide a sinner out of their sin accept for God.

          Matthew 7:1-5

          “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye.

          Luke 6:37

          “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven;

          James 4:11-12

          Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?

          John 7:24

          Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.”

          Matthew 7:1 ESV / 54 helpful votes

          “Judge not, that you be not judged.

          Romans 2:1-3

          Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things. Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God?

          Matthew 7:2 ESV /

          For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.

          Matthew 7:1-2

          “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.

          John 3:17

          For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

          Romans 16:17-18

          I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appet.ites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive.

          James 4:11

          Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge.

          1 Corinthians 2:15

          The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one.

          Romans 2:3

          Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God?
          1 Corinthians 5:12

          For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge?

          March 2, 2014 at 4:58 pm |
        • Doris

          Come on, Austin, you should know better than to act like a hamster around me. Stop trying to prove the Bible from the Bible and work on a proof of your God. Work on a proof of sin; of absolute objective moral "truth".

          March 2, 2014 at 5:01 pm |
  2. Austin

    @ Doris ........."Christ, not the man, but the divine, as the source of Christian redemption of wrongdoing, permits the Christian to continue to commit crimes against humanity. "

    Doris this is not reality. these are your word and not biblical notion. People permit their selves to sin because they are free will creatures like animals who eat each other.

    Romans 6:1 ►

    What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?

    Again Doris, try reading the new testament so that you can avoid slandering the Word of God.
    If God stopped sin what would he have to do? take away free will, or kill us all. We all are sinners.

    Be logical. and a tleast try to REASON, what the new testament says.

    You are a professional pervert of the meaning of the Word of God.

    March 2, 2014 at 3:29 pm |
    • Austin

      Romans 6:2 ►
      By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?

      Galatians 2:17 ►

      "But if, in seeking to be justified in Christ, we Jews find ourselves also among the sinners, doesn't that mean that Christ promotes sin? Absolutely not!

      IT IS WRITTEN

      James 1
      13 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.

      March 2, 2014 at 3:32 pm |
      • Austin

        "Nevertheless, the promise of redemption allows the Christian to continue to break civil law, to persecute, to incite violence – with full justification found in their self-fitted interpretation of "the Word".

        ......the words of a pervert

        March 2, 2014 at 3:34 pm |
        • igaftr

          not the words of a pervert....history shows she is right.

          March 2, 2014 at 3:36 pm |
        • Austin

          igaftr

          back up you baseless lie with a verse from the new testament . carry on now.

          March 2, 2014 at 3:41 pm |
        • sam stone

          "words of a pervert"

          so says the jeebus sucking drunk

          March 2, 2014 at 3:45 pm |
        • sam stone

          right, austin, everyone is a liar but you

          go home and get your fvcking shinebox, boy

          March 2, 2014 at 3:50 pm |
        • ausphor

          Austin, You need help. Get some before you snap, like you did before, just do not hurt anyone, no matter how much you think they are evil sinners.

          March 2, 2014 at 3:54 pm |
        • Doris

          "back up you baseless lie with a verse from the new testament "

          who needs to back it up? you prove it yourself here daily.

          March 2, 2014 at 3:55 pm |
        • Austin

          no one has a verse for me?

          thats becuase sin is confronted inside the church in the new testament and not outside of the church.

          No one in the church should be surprised that unsaved people are sinning. There is no value in ostracizing a particular sin such as fornication or lust. this is no less serious than any other sin.

          the dude in uganda is a psychotic retarded satanic attack on nothing of any value. The only value to us from the bible,. is the supernatural sanctification and promise of the holy spirit.

          Christians have NO BUSINESS, pedaling morality to an unbeliever. That is the cart before the horse.

          but equally ignorant is rejecting God and his word because someone is a sinner. You are all just as foolish as the idiot in uganda.

          March 2, 2014 at 4:08 pm |
        • sam stone

          have another drink, boy

          March 2, 2014 at 4:16 pm |
        • Austin

          sam , last time i had a drink was august 2012. when i broke up with my girlfriend i got tipsy, when i was with her i had about four beers at 4 beers, one at each of 4 red sox games and that makes 5 instances of drinking in the past 3 years.

          March 2, 2014 at 4:20 pm |
        • igaftr

          austin
          You demand a verse from your book of fiction...to what end?
          It is a man-made book, and until you can prove otherwise, it will remain a work of men....there are no signs of any gods.

          Doris is right, since men have been doing hoorible things to each other, and justifying it through citing your book, and the belief in it.

          Why is your book so corruptable? Because it is the work of men who were doing it for nefarious ends...to take away peoples free will, and impose THEIR will on the people. Because they did not want people to free themselves of religion, quite the opposite infact, they themselves wrote the bible from the satan side of themselves...they weren't bringing a gift...they were trying to control populations with propoganda...a propoganvda that people such as yourself are still falling for.

          Quoting your book is pointless as well, since christians have long proven that there is "scripture" that can be interpretted in so many different ways, that no person alive will ever get a true, clear picture of it.

          March 2, 2014 at 4:22 pm |
        • Doris

          Austin: "no one has a verse for me?"

          Why would I support anything from Gullible's Travels, Parts 1 & 2??

          Austin: "that's because sin is confronted inside the church in the new testament and not outside of the church."

          Uh – sorry – you prove that wrong here every day with your nonsensical proselytizing...

          Austin: "No one in the church should be surprised that unsaved people are sinning. There is no value in ostracizing a particular sin such as fornication or lust. this is no less serious than any other sin."

          LOL – and of course the next Christian is saying the same thing about you. over 40,000 sects. my o' my.

          Austin: "the dude in uganda is a psychotic retarded satanic attack on nothing of any value. The only value to us from the bible,. is the supernatural sanctification and promise of the holy spirit."

          First of all, not one dude – he was a contingent of evangelicals who went there. They thought the same thing – that the only value to us is from the bible. each Christian has a slightly different version – to fit their needs, their comfort.

          Austin: "Christians have NO BUSINESS, pedaling morality to an unbeliever. That is the cart before the horse."

          LOL – well if you followed that we just wouldn't see you here on the blog, would we?

          Austin: "but equally ignorant is rejecting God and his word because someone is a sinner. You are all just as foolish as the idiot in uganda."

          Yes we all know that you have your own ideas about who is a sinner, Austin. And the next Christian may have a similar notion and the next Christian may have quite a different notion. And so on, and so on... Thankfully for those of us who don't follow the Christian God, it's much easier to see the hypocrisy, to see who has blinders on...

          March 2, 2014 at 4:32 pm |
        • Austin

          " it's much easier to see the hypocrisy, to see who has blinders on.."

          thats fine if you want to sabotage yourself with 7 billion sinners. Doris and Igaftr.

          I agree with your assessment about people. and you steer clear of the word of God for an very powerful reason. you arent clever and you have avoided nothing that is relevant. You simply dance around a bunch of characters who are meaningless to the topic about who God is. Or the gift of his word

          We arent even talking about people. We are talking about God and you hide from his words like cowards in hate for what is good.

          you shun your own gift of freedom. And this is why you cant be forward about what the word says. you are playing a game with yourself.

          you haven't brought shame to the word of God. I don't defend people. I defend the word of God. people are guilty, saved and unsaved.

          March 2, 2014 at 4:40 pm |
        • Doris

          LOL – Austin – prove your Abrahamic God exists, and then – you know what, at that point you might have an answer as to why all of his followers get to have their own interpretation of that god. For all I know, maybe the Abrahamic God is a spoiled child god that want to play "army" with his human creations. For all I know, maybe he wants Christians to all be conflicted with each other and to take out their personal peeves on each other and non-believers alike. Prove your God, Austin. Prove that something exists who affected what when into the Bible. Then you might have a shot at some of the problems in the world.

          March 2, 2014 at 4:53 pm |
        • sam stone

          i would think that you were a lot less of a bore as a drunk than as a follower of jeebus

          March 2, 2014 at 6:14 pm |
        • sam stone

          No, Austin, you defend the edited, translated hearsay of iron age sheep b-u-g-g-e-r-e-r-s. You just try to give it some authority by calling it the Word Of God. You are a clown

          March 2, 2014 at 6:19 pm |
    • igaftr

      "You are a professional pervert of the meaning of the Word of God."

      What is that supposed to mean. In what way is she a professional pervert? Someone paying her for that?
      Also, you have no idea if your bible is the word of god....hard to believe it is considering how much is wrong in it.

      You have born false witness is what it looks like to me.

      March 2, 2014 at 3:33 pm |
      • Austin

        1. I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy. God will take away in the holy city, which are described in this book (Revelation 22:18-19 NIV).

        2 Peter 3:16

        perverts of scripture

        16 He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.

        March 2, 2014 at 3:40 pm |
        • Doris

          (spreading garlic above the door frame again i see)

          March 2, 2014 at 3:53 pm |
        • igaftr

          "which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction"

          Look in the mirror austin. You have proven countless times to be the ignorant and unstable person, and you certainly do twist on "scripture" ( capitalizing it doesn't change the fact that scripture simply means that someone wrote it down. This is scripture, and it is never a proper noun.)

          March 2, 2014 at 4:25 pm |
        • Austin

          igaftr. that is funny.

          March 2, 2014 at 4:51 pm |
    • Doris

      "Doris this is not reality. these are your word and not biblical notion. People permit their selves to sin because they are free will creatures like animals who eat each other."

      That's idiotic, Austin. It is reality because it is the obvious result of Biblical interpretation that faces us today in the world, where yours is only but one. You're welcome to close your eyes and ears and yell as much as you like that it's not reality, but I guess we'll have to wait and see who is seen as the lunatic here...

      Demonstrate to us the existence of something divine that is controlling Christians to commit unspeakable acts, and then we can discuss further.

      "professional pervert of the meaning of the Word of God"

      Oh goodness, well please give me an address that I can send in a claim for so that I can start getting checks...

      March 2, 2014 at 3:41 pm |
      • Austin

        "Demonstrate to us the existence of something divine that is controlling Christians to commit unspeakable acts, and then we can discuss further."
        "that is controlling Christians to commit unspeakable acts"
        " is controlling"

        sin leads to death.
        sin is NOT DIVINE
        Satan is not divine.

        therefore, nothing divine is controlling to commit sin at all.

        Your reasoning is off.

        March 2, 2014 at 4:14 pm |
        • Austin

          Doris is a poe troll.

          March 2, 2014 at 4:17 pm |
        • Doris

          OK, Austin – if you you're too shy to prove your God, then try proving sin is real and exists on its own in the world. Try proving that a moral "truth" exists on its own in the world. Absolute, objective moral "truth". Give it a try.

          March 2, 2014 at 4:58 pm |
        • the0g0to0the0t

          "Doris is a poe troll"

          Sorry Austin, my irony meter just exploded. I think I have it calibrated now, would you repeat that?

          March 5, 2014 at 12:37 pm |
    • TruthPrevails1

      Wow Austin, you're going to new levels of crazy with each posting. I do hope someone recognizes your health issue very soon, you're clearly a damaged person and in need of some good psychological help.

      March 2, 2014 at 4:59 pm |
      • the0g0to0the0t

        At first I thought someone was stealing his handle but now I have no idea. It's like he's deteriating before our eyes!

        March 5, 2014 at 12:39 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          When he has dreams about the president being killed and then admits to calling this in to the FBI, it becomes very clear that he isn't stable. He is calling people names and being vicious. I'm hoping his call to the FBI was enough to merit him being put on a watch list. He clearly needs psych help.

          March 5, 2014 at 12:51 pm |
  3. Doris

    I guess when Pope Benedict accepted the Christmas gift from Uganda's senate representative that they would "kill all the gays" in Uganda, I think that speaks a lot to the result we see today – widespread panic and fear for homosexuals living in Uganda, knowing that they can be jailed or killed at any time since this recent bill passed there. I think it also is very telling about Catholicism – I mean if you start from the top down...

    I suppose when the only Anglican bishop that was making a different to quell hysteria and fears there over gays was stripped of his position, that only contributed to the result we see today. I think that is also very telling about Anglicanism.. if you start from the top down….

    I suppose when Scott Lively and his team of evangelicals from the U.S. traveled to Uganda and incited hysteria and violence against gays, that had a lot to do with the situation we see today. That's a bit different. There doesn't seem to be a "top" of evangelicals. And so we just see more divisions, more conflict of interpretation, more difference in judgment upon one another.

    Why should we be at all surprised at what is going on in Uganda and elsewhere?

    March 2, 2014 at 3:27 pm |
  4. joeyy1

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b_F9nIps46w

    March 2, 2014 at 3:21 pm |
  5. Austin

    Jesus was persecuted. Jesus forbids christians to persecute.

    His resurrection is the commandment of unconditional forgiveness and peace.

    People lack obedience. Period
    The battle has been won but the truth has been rejected .

    Consequences for evil are upon us.

    But we look to the next life and battle for the spirit.

    March 2, 2014 at 1:40 pm |
    • igaftr

      " Jesus forbids christians to persecute"

      Then why have they done it for 2000 years?

      March 2, 2014 at 1:43 pm |
      • Doris

        And continue to do so.

        March 2, 2014 at 1:48 pm |
    • sam stone

      resurrection is a hoax. so is god, satan, heaven, hell and sin

      March 2, 2014 at 3:39 pm |
  6. Austin

    Doris ? Is a christian a sinner?

    Read the new testament .

    March 2, 2014 at 1:34 pm |
    • igaftr

      All christians are sinners, by the immoral act of allowing another to take their just punishment.

      Read the Silmarilian.

      March 2, 2014 at 1:41 pm |
      • Apple Bush

        There was Eru, the One, who in Arda is called Iluvatar.

        March 2, 2014 at 1:50 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      Austin, it is completely impossible to sin.

      March 2, 2014 at 1:47 pm |
      • Doris

        Nevertheless, the promise of redemption allows the Christian to continue to break civil law, to persecute, to incite violence – with full justification found in their self-fitted interpretation of "the Word".

        March 2, 2014 at 1:52 pm |
  7. Austin

    was the roman empire religously motivated? How bout the british imperial quest of iraq and jordan?

    What about the cia knocking on russias doorstep? There is no difference. Humans react to subjegation. Some just conquer for sport and power.

    March 2, 2014 at 10:10 am |
    • Austin

      In reality the middle east is enflamed because of what the british started for the sake of oil in ww1

      March 2, 2014 at 10:14 am |
      • Austin

        But before we judge the surrounding world we have been given the prince of peace as the way.

        Islam is the religious idolatry itspeaks against. They too reject the risen messiah and the word of God. Reject liberty and forgiveness .

        March 2, 2014 at 10:20 am |
        • igaftr

          the believe that their man-made "word of god" is the right man-made "word of god"...just like you do. You can't say theirs is wrong since they were both created by men. as were ALL religious texts.

          March 2, 2014 at 10:31 am |
        • Doris

          "the risen messiah and the word of God."

          ah yes, the risen messiah and word of God that convinces some to travel to other countries and call to the deaths of other humans...

          ah yes, the risen messiah and word of God that convinces some to let their kids die instead of obtaining medical care...

          ah yes, the risen messiah and work of God that convinces some to accept disease for their followers to avoid use of contraception....

          so what are you convinced of? why is your brand better? why is your version of Gullible's Travels better than the next person or sect?

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

          Dorus . Christ is not the minister of sin. Read the new testament and maybe then you can stop deceiving youself.

          Would you rather distract yourself with seven billion sinners here and there.

          Why would you cheat yourself with such a foolsh disciplne?

          March 2, 2014 at 1:32 pm |
        • Doris

          Christ, not the man, but the divine, as the source of Christian redemption of wrongdoing, permits the Christian to continue to commit crimes against humanity. Christ the divine concept as the object of much Christian internal disagreement has proven to be of little use in allowing a unified code of ethic to represent the Christian belief system. And above all, there is little evidence to take seriously the claims made of the divinity of Christ, rendering judgment from such a belief system toward others incredibly rude and harmful.

          March 2, 2014 at 2:07 pm |
    • In Santa We Trust

      In part yes, historically "royalty" and religion were a symbiotic relationship – they "ruled by the grace of god" and the bible says they have dominion over the earth. All empires were formed that way in the past and typically they took their religion with them. That's why you're a christian – the Romans took christianity to Europe, catholicism spawned protestantism, and the British took the protestant version to North America and Australia, the Spanish and Portuguese took the catholic version
      to South America, with France, Belgium, etc. doing similar but on a smaller scale.

      March 2, 2014 at 1:48 pm |
      • Austin

        oh really they went to iraq and jordan for religious reasons?

        March 2, 2014 at 3:25 pm |
  8. Reality

    Again, why all this suffering? THE IDIOCY OF ISLAM !! And as noted previously, there is a simple cure. Details available upon request.

    March 2, 2014 at 7:03 am |
    • kwdragon

      It saddens me that in this well-researched and well-written article about PEOPLE, the only thing you and many others can harp on is Islam. Although faith is a large part of the story, so is language and culture and a group of people suffering. Why can't you see that?

      March 2, 2014 at 9:28 am |
      • Reality

        Attacking and destroying all religion in less than ten seconds: Priceless !!! (only for the new members)

        • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are non-existent.

        • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Moses i.e. the pillars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.

        • There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.

        • There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion.

        • There was no Moroni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.

        • Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.

        • Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated/reborn Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on Buddhism.

        • A constant cycle of reincarnation until enlightenment is reached and belief that various beings (angels?, tinker bells? etc.) exist that we, as mortals, cannot comprehend makes for a no on Sikhism.

        Added details available upon written request.

        March 2, 2014 at 5:15 pm |
        • Reality

          The cure from the studies of Armstrong, Rushdie, Hirsi Ali, Richardson and Bayhaqi--

          The Five Steps To Deprogram 1400 Years of Islamic Myths:

          ( –The Steps take less than two minutes to finish- simply amazing, two minutes to bring peace and rationality to over one billion lost souls- Priceless!!!)

          Are you ready?

          Using "The 77 Branches of Islamic "faith" a collection compiled by Imam Bayhaqi as a starting point. In it, he explains the essential virtues that reflect true "faith" (iman) through related Qur’anic verses and Prophetic sayings." i.e. a nice summary of the Koran and Islamic beliefs.

          The First Five of the 77 Branches:

          "1. Belief in Allah"

          aka as God, Yahweh, Zeus, Jehovah, Mother Nature, etc. should be added to your self-cleansing neurons.

          "2. To believe that everything other than Allah was non-existent. Thereafter, Allah Most High created these things and subsequently they came into existence."

          Evolution and the Big Bang or the "Gi-b G-nab" (when the universe starts to recycle) are more plausible and the "akas" for Allah should be included if you continue to be a "crea-tionist".

          "3. To believe in the existence of angels."

          A major item for neuron cleansing. Angels/de-vils are the mythical creations of ancient civilizations, e.g. Hitt-ites, to explain/define natural events, contacts with their gods, big birds, sudden winds, protectors during the dark nights, etc. No "pretty/ug-ly wingy thingies" ever visited or talked to Mohammed, Jesus, Mary or Joseph or Joe Smith. Today we would classify angels as f–airies and "tin–ker be-lls". Modern de-vils are classified as the de-mons of the de-mented.

          "4. To believe that all the heavenly books that were sent to the different prophets are true. However, apart from the Quran, all other books are not valid anymore."

          Another major item to delete. There are no books written in the spirit state of Heaven (if there is one) just as there are no angels to write/publish/distribute them. The Koran, OT, NT etc. are simply books written by humans for humans.

          Prophets were invented by ancient scribes typically to keep the un-educated masses in line. Today we call them for-tune tellers.

          Prophecies are also invali-dated by the natural/God/Allah gifts of Free Will and Future.

          "5. To believe that all the prophets are true. However, we are commanded to follow the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) alone."

          Mohammed spent thirty days "fasting" (the Ramadan legend) in a hot cave before his first contact with Allah aka God etc. via a "pretty wingy thingy". Common sense demands a neuron deletion of #5. #5 is also the major source of Islamic vi-olence i.e. turning Mohammed's "fast, hunger-driven" hallu-cinations into horrible reality for unbelievers.

          Walk these Five Steps and we guarantee a complete recovery from your Islamic ways!!!!

          Unfortunately, there are not many Muslim commentators/readers on this blog so the "two-minute" cure is not getting to those who need it. If you have a Muslim friend, send him a copy and help save the world.

          Analogous steps are available at your request for deprogramming the myths of Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism and Paganism..

          March 2, 2014 at 5:26 pm |
    • Austin

      This wasnt like this during the ottoman empire. My room mate frin sudan blames the british for his south christian woes

      Michael aflaq srarted the bath party as anti imperialist. Look up iran flight 655.

      The us blew up an air bus in the gulf full of people.

      It goes both ways . Man is inflamed byterritorial expansion. Its evil. Not religion.

      March 2, 2014 at 10:06 am |
      • Doris

        " Man is inflamed byterritorial expansion. Its evil. Not religion."

        Man is inflamed by territorial expansion. It often has been religion. It often comes in the form of proselytism to indoctrinate the population in a politically and/or geographically separate area to conform to a specific belief system. So why do some Christians travel to other countries and incite violence against other human beings?

        March 2, 2014 at 11:51 am |
        • Doris

          (So why do some Christians continue to travel to other countries and incite violence against other human beings?)

          March 2, 2014 at 11:54 am |
  9. Doris

    Why do some Christians from the U.S. travel to other countries and incite violence against people?

    Why do some Christians officially categorizes the Pope as the Antichrist?

    Why do some Christians help spread disease (because of the unrealistic stance on contraception)?

    Why do some Christians let sick child die rather than seek medical care?

    Why do some Christians treat women still as inferiors in their organization?

    Why do some Christians still sacrifice people?

    Why do some Christians believe that Jesus and Satan were brothers and that Christ will return to Jerusalem AND Jackson County, Missouri?

    Why do some Christians believe that Americans are being killed at war because America is tolerant of homosexuals?

    Why do some Christians believe the OT is superseded by the NT and some not?

    =====

    "Millions of innocent men, women, and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined, imprisoned; yet we have not advanced one inch towards uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one half the world fools, and the other half hypocrites. To support roguery and error all over the earth." –Thomas Jefferson

    March 1, 2014 at 8:55 pm |
    • meatheist

      Faith based idiocy?

      March 1, 2014 at 8:59 pm |
    • hebog2

      Doris, you need to ask your psychiatrist to up your meds!

      March 2, 2014 at 8:02 am |
      • doobzz

        Asking questions is not indicative of mental illness.

        Belief in magic and that imaginary creatures speak to you is, though.

        March 2, 2014 at 1:50 pm |
  10. strngr12

    Funny. He's Muslim and he has to leave a Muslim country to have freedom. How much do you want too bet, when he gets there, that he wants to destroy the freedom of others because he is Muslim. Turn his boat back and tell him that he should live with people who agree with him about the definition of freedom.

    March 1, 2014 at 8:21 pm |
  11. joeyy1

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b_F9nIps46w

    March 1, 2014 at 7:59 pm |
    • meatheist

      So I take this message is from a believer. In context, I think it is an encouragement for believers to dive from airplanes and not open their parachutes, hastening their own deaths and meeting the sky fairy in which they have so much faith.
      Seems like a good idea for the faithful. Unfortunately, I do not count myself among them and prefer to make the best of the one life I have. Why waste it on false beliefs? Of course if you were an atheist, you'd open the chute, enjoy the view and continue to see the wonders of life,-without worrying about your brother, Jack, a sinner for sure, dead and burning in hell.

      March 1, 2014 at 9:02 pm |
      • Dalahäst

        That is silly. A believer in God contributed to the development of the parachute. And many non-believers do waste their life, while many believer accomplish great feats.

        March 1, 2014 at 11:20 pm |
        • meatheist

          Joeyy1 is silly. I agree. Seems odd that believers don't ask forgiveness, walk in front of a bus, and meet their maker.

          March 2, 2014 at 7:20 pm |
  12. rfarha1

    Yup, get ready to be an Islamic country Italy…. you have opened your doors to the end of your country and culture

    March 1, 2014 at 6:53 pm |
    • shinyhalo

      The Italian people don't want immigrants, but they have no real power. The government does want more cheap labor and they have all the power. That's what happens in "representative" forms of government. The ideal would be if citizens themselves, voted directly on one issue at a time.

      March 1, 2014 at 7:23 pm |
  13. Apple Bush

    Do we know the enemy?
    Shadow boxing in suits.
    Some of them are partly;
    right some of the time.

    March 1, 2014 at 1:42 pm |
  14. Ungodly Discipline

    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.

    March 1, 2014 at 1:36 pm |
    • Russ

      @ Ungodly:
      'beliefs' like "mommy & daddy love you"?
      is that the sort of brainwashing you would forbid?

      relevant:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Language_deprivation_experiments
      you seem to be making the same sort of mistake, simply substi.tuting metaphysics for language.

      March 1, 2014 at 1:47 pm |
      • Ungodly Discipline

        No.

        March 1, 2014 at 2:02 pm |
        • Russ

          @ ungodly:
          so do you tell your children you love them? or do you respect their "hollow-ness"?

          March 1, 2014 at 2:29 pm |
        • Ungodly Discipline

          Yes I tell my children I love them and no they are not hollow.

          March 1, 2014 at 2:34 pm |
        • Russ

          @ ungodly:
          so how is that not violating your stance above?
          aren't you biasing them? isn't that 'brainwashing' them?
          if they were born that way, aren't you impinging on their freedom?

          which also brings up the point: if we "immediately" begin filling them with beliefs, how would *know* if they are born as atheists?

          March 1, 2014 at 2:38 pm |
        • Ungodly Discipline

          Russ
          Filling the hollow with truth and freedom is not brainwashing. Your second question does not merit a response.

          March 1, 2014 at 2:43 pm |
        • Russ

          @ ungodly:
          i'm simply mirroring your logic. you can't have it both ways.
          your argument is contingent on a sort of "laissez-faire" approach to the metaphysics, but you violate that principle in what matters most in your life. don't you see the contradiction?

          yes, of course you tell your kids you love them. but it doesn't match your initial argument. that's my point.

          March 1, 2014 at 2:45 pm |
        • Ungodly Discipline

          Russ

          1. No you are not mirroring my logic.
          2. I do not see a contradiction.
          3. Your point is incorrect.

          March 1, 2014 at 2:53 pm |
        • Russ

          @ ungodly: (per your numbering)
          1) are you not arguing for some sort of "laissez-faire" (let them be) approach here?
          2) the contradiction is that you do not leave your children alone. you contradict your own principle.
          3) your argument hinges on an unsubstantiated claim: namely, that children are born atheists. on what basis do you make that claim?

          March 1, 2014 at 2:56 pm |
        • Ungodly Discipline

          I believe I have addressed all your arguments somewhere.

          March 1, 2014 at 3:02 pm |
        • Russ

          @ ungodly: yes. i responded below. let's consolidate the thread there.

          March 1, 2014 at 3:08 pm |
      • Dalahäst

        "Mommy and daddy love you, which means we have a chemical reaction in our brain that is reacting to a stimulus. You are that stimulus. We have decided it is rational to nurture and care for you so you can grow up and continue to make positive chemical reactions in our brains."

        March 1, 2014 at 2:15 pm |
        • Russ

          @ Dalahast: exactly. the pure naturalist necessarily sees love as merely a foil for survival.

          such an "i love you" actually means "you are really, really, really useful to me – and i was programmed to care for you. so i have a strong affinity for ensuring your survival... and thus you by extension... as long as you are not incredibly inconvenient."

          which presses back the original point:

          @ ungodly discipline:
          do you tell your children you love them? or is that brainwashing them?

          March 1, 2014 at 2:27 pm |
        • Ungodly Discipline

          Yes I tell my children I love them and no that is not brainwashing. I don't follow your logic.

          March 1, 2014 at 2:37 pm |
        • Russ

          @ ungodly: you said children were born hollow. you said we immediately begin filling them with beliefs. you rather strongly implied that was a bad thing – and claimed (without substantiation) that children were born atheist.

          it certainly seemed your argument was this:
          children are born that way (atheist/hollow)
          let them stay how they are naturally (again, atheist & hollow?)
          you strongly imply religious people should not 'force' their beliefs on their children (to use the cliche)
          yet you are 'filling them with beliefs' that you love them

          March 1, 2014 at 2:41 pm |
        • Ungodly Discipline

          Russ

          I did not mean to imply it was a bad thing, unless you are filling them with lies. Children are born atheist. Common sense. “Hollow” was metaphorical. You seemed to have missed that.

          March 1, 2014 at 2:49 pm |
        • Russ

          @ ungodly: i got the metaphor – but that doesn't remove the contradiction.

          1) your claim that children are born atheist remains unsubstantiated.
          it's beginning to rather strongly sound like a faith-based belief.
          and – in that regard – it is question begging.

          2) you can't have it both ways.
          if you are willing to allow that "truth" should still be poured into the child, you are doing the very same thing your religious counterparts are doing: molding their children along the lines of what they believe the "truth" to be.
          again your argument comes down to your unsubstantiated claim that children are born as atheists.

          March 1, 2014 at 2:52 pm |
        • Ungodly Discipline

          1. That is my opinion based on the available facts.
          2. I don’t believe anything should be poured into a child. I believe a child should have the freedom to learn about the world without having beliefs forced on them.

          March 1, 2014 at 3:00 pm |
        • Russ

          @ ungodly:
          1) i see the opinion part. what are the facts to which you are appealing?

          2) you said "I don’t believe anything should be poured into a child. I believe a child should have the freedom to learn about the world without having beliefs forced on them."

          is love a belief or not?
          if the baby is born w/o knowledge that mommy & daddy love them, how is this not 'forcing that belief' on them?
          you claim you want them to have freedom, but you don't want that freedom to include believing mom & dad don't love them?

          that's the contradiction. you are making one claim as your foundation ("don't force beliefs... give them freedom..."), but building a house based on the opposite claim (pouring your love into your children, wanting them to 'believe' that you love them).

          then you exacerbate the situation by prohibiting others to functionally do the very thing you are doing. it's self-contradictory.

          March 1, 2014 at 3:07 pm |
        • Ungodly Discipline

          Russ

          1. I am not appealing anything.
          2. Love is not a belief.

          March 1, 2014 at 3:19 pm |
        • Russ

          @ ungodly:
          1) i asked for the facts upon which you were basing your opinion (per your remark 2 posts ago).
          did you intend that as a tacit admission that you have no facts?

          2) if love is not a belief, then what are you claiming it is?
          are you claiming it is inherent to a newborn?

          you aren't being very forthcoming here.
          if you really believe you are not being self-contradictory, why not simply state your basis?

          March 1, 2014 at 3:39 pm |
        • Ungodly Discipline

          Russ

          Do you enjoy musical theatre?

          March 1, 2014 at 4:31 pm |
        • Russ

          @ ungodly:
          in general? somewhat. depends on the music.
          as a random subject change in the middle of a conversation? no.

          March 1, 2014 at 4:44 pm |
    • Dalahäst

      I am not an atheist. I was not brainwashed to believe in God. You are describing anti-theism, which is learned.

      March 1, 2014 at 2:10 pm |
      • Ungodly Discipline

        Of course you were brainwashed.

        March 1, 2014 at 2:38 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Or maybe you have been brainwashed.

          At times I do feel like I have been brainwashed into being a consumer of products I don't really need, for example. But I do not believe my belief in God is based on being brainwashed. It is something I choose and am not forced or coerced into. I never have been.

          March 1, 2014 at 3:43 pm |
        • Ungodly Discipline

          Your denial just screams, "I AM BRAINWASHED!" even louder.

          March 1, 2014 at 3:52 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          No it doesn't. You just feel that way. But your feelings are not a true gauge of reality.

          March 1, 2014 at 3:59 pm |
        • Ungodly Discipline

          Denial, denial, denial...

          March 1, 2014 at 4:32 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Yes, I deny some guy on the internet who imagines I am brainwashed.

          That is a logical and reasonable thing to do.

          Even if he imagines saying that I'm denying his imagination is proof of guilt.

          March 1, 2014 at 4:36 pm |
        • Ungodly Discipline

          Dalahäst, did you take piano lessons as a youth?

          March 1, 2014 at 4:39 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Sort of.

          March 1, 2014 at 4:48 pm |
      • bootyfunk

        lol. brainwashed into believing atheism? lol.

        March 1, 2014 at 3:48 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Perhaps brainwashed into believing that atheism is logical and rational. Or that being an atheist means that science is on your side. Or brainwashed to believe your viewpoint is superior to other people.

          Either way, it is just as LOL that I'm brainwashed into believing in God. Especially when the accuser offers no evidence, just feelings and prejudices.

          March 1, 2014 at 3:52 pm |
    • Vic

      That's a fallacy.

      Humans are born ignorant and un-recognizing until the age of recognition and accountability. Newborns cannot be categorized as of a certain persuasion.

      March 1, 2014 at 2:38 pm |
      • Ungodly Discipline

        Why can't they? I believe my position is valid.

        March 1, 2014 at 2:44 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Nobody is born asserting that people who believe in God were brainwashed.

          March 1, 2014 at 3:47 pm |
        • Ungodly Discipline

          Dalahäst

          I agree.

          March 1, 2014 at 4:34 pm |
        • meatheist

          Babies are born asserting nothing, after all they cannot talk. The assertion that believers are brainwashed, is made about believers by atheist, only after believers open their mouths and prove themselves worthy of the accusation.

          March 1, 2014 at 8:54 pm |
      • Akira

        I'd like to know who asserts they WERE born believing in God, especially if it's a different one than the one their parents believe in.

        March 1, 2014 at 4:53 pm |
        • Vic

          That's as invalid an assertion as the OP's. Humans are born ignorant and un-recognizing, they cannot be categorized as believing or disbelieving as of yet.

          March 1, 2014 at 5:09 pm |
        • Akira

          Which is why I'd like to know who does that, Vic.

          March 1, 2014 at 5:31 pm |
        • sam stone

          Gopher asserted that the knowledge of god is imprinted on our hearts when we are born

          But, he doesn't show up under the new format

          Too bad, it was fun ridiculing him

          March 2, 2014 at 12:24 pm |
      • hotairace

        If newborns don't believe that puts them in the "Nones." But of course the delusionals will deny that 'cause it doesn't put them in their cult. In other words, if believers can't successfully argue that a newborn is born a member of their cult, they will argue that the newborn should be put in some indeterminate group rather than a non-cult group such as Nones, skeptic or agnostic.

        March 1, 2014 at 6:06 pm |
      • sam stone

        "Newborns cannot be categorized as of a certain persuasion."

        Yet you believe newborns are sinners?

        March 2, 2014 at 12:22 pm |
    • strngr12

      Dude, I'm pretty sure you and agree, but you are going about this all wrong. You keep talking about "brain washing." Here's the way to phrase it. A "THEIST" is a person who believes they know or understand the "super" or "outside reality" of the "natural" world. In other words, a "THEIST" thinks they know something about things or matters that are outside or above the observable Universe. an "A-THEIST" is someone without "THEISM." I am an A-THEIST." If there is some god or some intelligence that is running the Universe then I do not profess to understand it's intents or purposes. Babies are definitely born that way or Christians (or Muslims, Jews, whatever…) wouldn't need to teach them their theism.

      March 1, 2014 at 7:20 pm |
      • Ungodly Discipline

        Or you could just call it brain washing.

        March 2, 2014 at 11:40 am |
  15. Apple Bush

    The troll;

    frozen in time;

    squeezes through the crevice;

    now blocked by green rock and green tree;

    just as he.

    March 1, 2014 at 1:08 pm |
  16. Heaven Sent

    You atheists worship the lies of the talmud and turn your back on the Truth of Jesus’ Word, which is the truth. Carnal keepers of the devil’s flame. The swelling went down but my camel-toe is definitely allergic and should be more careful. Keep standing on the wrong side of the drainage and see what is on your feet.

    Amen

    March 1, 2014 at 12:30 pm |
    • ihavetopushthepramalot

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

      March 1, 2014 at 12:33 pm |
    • Akira

      You've been talking about your...um...toe a long time; you should probably go see Anthony Crispin's wife's Groin Doctor.

      March 1, 2014 at 1:49 pm |
      • Heaven Sent

        Akira, you and your atheist buddies come on these articles to preach the message of your father satan, who is your dad. My camel-toe’s doctor has been missing since the appointment. Keep up your party and watch the dog drown.

        Amen.

        March 1, 2014 at 2:16 pm |
        • Akira

          Your camel-toe ate your Doctor? Whoa. And get your kittens away from the oven.

          March 1, 2014 at 5:34 pm |
        • Heaven Sent

          Akira, your lack of respect for the Almighty will most certainly land you in satan's bilges cleaning grease for all of eternity. The kittens will leave the oven in time for Thanksgiving hopefully. Put your pride on the table and sit on all four legs.

          Amen.

          March 2, 2014 at 11:45 am |
      • Apple Bush

        Vic has been stalking me. Help!

        March 2, 2014 at 11:50 am |
  17. Vic

    This article is of an academic scope and nature, and it is hard to wrap the mind around all the details. While I sympathize with refugees, I am not sure I understand the nature of this conflict.

    March 1, 2014 at 11:19 am |
    • ihavetopushthepramalot

      From what I can gather, it's about democracy for a very small group of rebels. For the rest of the rebels, it's about being ruled by the wrong sort of Muslim. Worse still, he's a Muslim who is quite tolerant of other religions. Extremist Muslims don't like religious tolerance so they want to oust Assad.

      There, that was my incredibly retarded, naïve and downright idiotic attempt to explain the Syrian conflict (I refuse to call it a civil war seeing as the rebel forces come from all over the world). I'd appreciate if somebody more knowledgeable could elucidate.

      March 1, 2014 at 11:26 am |
      • Vic

        I am a novice at best when it comes to the politics of that region. From what I can gather from the media, over time, is that the Assad regime is a secular dictatorship, whereas the rebels are religious extremists seeking 'theocracy' like in Egypt and Iran, for example.

        March 1, 2014 at 11:39 am |
        • ihavetopushthepramalot

          I'd say that is a fairly accurate assessment. Personally, I'd back Assad as the last thing that region needs is another fundamentalist Islamic state. He may be bad but the alternative seems far worse.

          March 1, 2014 at 11:43 am |
        • ihavetopushthepramalot

          Also, I'm pretty sure the new Egyptian government is secular since they overthrew the Islamic Brotherhood.

          March 1, 2014 at 11:44 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          This is taken from an article about him...
          "He described his regime as secular out of his desire to adorn the regime’s image. Realistically, his regime has nothing to do with secularism. It is a fascist, oppressive, security and military regime. It is what he inherited from his father who established this regime following a military coup forty years ago. Assad’s regime resembles North Korea’s and has nothing to do with secularism. Just because Assad does not adopt religious intellect does not mean he is secular. "

          http://english.alarabiya.net/views/2013/03/05/269716.html

          It appears his true motivation is based on greed and politics...both things that can be attributed to any level of culture.

          March 1, 2014 at 11:50 am |
        • ihavetopushthepramalot

          One can have a fascist, oppressive, security and military regime whilst simultaneously being secular. They are not mutually exclusive. Also, I have a friend who lived in Damascus for several years and speaks very highly of it. It certainly wouldn't have been comparable to North Korea prior to the Syria conflict.

          March 1, 2014 at 11:59 am |
  18. Austin

    Jesus is going to return. Dont kill people. Dont worship guns and blood shed.

    Isaiah 60 :7-9

    First two tribes if ishmael as recipients of divine favor.

    There are 2 negative comments of 2 out of 12 tribes if ishmael. This is clear biblical favor shown to our brothers.

    Resist false doctrine and idolatry of country and war.

    March 1, 2014 at 10:57 am |
    • sam stone

      there will be no return of jesus

      just the blah, blah, fvcking blah proclaimations of believers

      you are deluded, austin

      March 1, 2014 at 11:02 am |
    • TruthPrevails1

      Oh you poor deluded child. Jesus is dead, never came back..it's simply a story...kind of like the ones you make up!
      There are people specially trained to help crazy folk like you...please go see one before you cause great harm to society.

      March 1, 2014 at 11:13 am |
    • doobzz

      "Dont worship guns and blood shed."

      And yet you glory in a human sacrifice to appease a deity.

      March 1, 2014 at 12:22 pm |
    • Akira

      Please go see Al-Assad in Syria and repeat this.

      You didn't read this article at all, did you?

      March 1, 2014 at 1:51 pm |
    • Austin

      I read it. Have you read about Michel Aflaq?

      March 1, 2014 at 1:59 pm |
      • Akira

        What about him? Do you have ADD? You seem incapable of focusing on a subject; mainly, the plight of Syrian refuges due to a civil war in their country, and the dangers of fleeing said country.

        I think it's extremely sad. How about you?

        March 1, 2014 at 2:07 pm |
  19. George

    The plight of Syrian refugees is just sad. That can be said of refugees of any war torn countries around the world.
    Nice to see the Catholics showing brotherly love to their less fortunate neighbors.
    The rest of Middle East should learn from their Catholic brothers and show charity to their displaced brethren.

    March 1, 2014 at 9:27 am |
    • Reality

      And the better solution? Have Rational Thinking eliminate the stupidity of all religions !!!

      March 1, 2014 at 9:51 am |
      • Austin

        I had another vision come to pass objecticely.

        Isaiah 60 :7-9 key words. Kedar nebiaoth

        The tribes of ishmael in the kingdom of God on high.

        Jesus is love.

        March 1, 2014 at 10:52 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          Liar!

          March 1, 2014 at 11:13 am |
        • sam stone

          "I had another vision come to pass objecticely."

          Prove it

          Submit the proof to investigators

          that wll tell us whether you have prophetic visions or you are a lunatic

          i am guessing door number 2

          March 1, 2014 at 11:14 am |
        • Akira

          Well, he said he dreamed on 2/2 his cousin Bill was in the hospital. Then he said he found out yesterday Bill was in the hospital with 85% heart failure.

          I would like the link to where he posted his 2/2 dream, and contact info for verification Bill is in the hospital.

          I realize I may sound skeptical, but anecdotal posts do not evidence make.

          Lots of false prophets out there claiming spiritual revelations. One can't be too careful.

          March 1, 2014 at 1:59 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Is it just me: he seems excited about his dream, with no concern about his poor cousin?

          March 1, 2014 at 5:01 pm |
        • Akira

          Now that you point that out, Dalahast....you're right.

          March 1, 2014 at 5:37 pm |
      • Dalahäst

        "Science investigates; religion interprets. Science gives man knowledge which is power; religion gives man wisdom which is control. Science deals mainly with facts; religion deals mainly with values.

        The two are not rivals. They are complementary.

        Science keeps religion from sinking into the valley of crippling irrationalism and paralyzing obscurantism. Religion prevents science from falling into the marsh of obsolete materialism and moral nihilism."

        MLK, Jr

        March 1, 2014 at 10:58 am |
        • ihavetopushthepramalot

          They are not complementary at all. Religions claim to possess all truth and damn any conflicting evidence. Science is the search for truth and is ever changing as new evidence emerges.

          March 1, 2014 at 11:18 am |
        • Dalahäst

          Not all religions claim to have the truth and damn any conflicting evidence. Religion can search for truth, too. And can change as new evidence emerges.

          Most religious people fully embrace science.

          March 1, 2014 at 11:29 am |
        • ihavetopushthepramalot

          The Abrahamic religions do and they're the only ones of real consequence globally as they are the ones with the greatest predilection for violence.

          Also, I'd be very sceptical regarding religious people fully embracing science.

          March 1, 2014 at 11:40 am |
        • Dalahäst

          People who belong to Abrahamic religions have contributed immensely to science.

          And, really, they don't all oppose scientific knowledge. I am Christian and I don't oppose science. And I have never been asked to.

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JbvDYyoAv9k

          There are non-religious atheist states that have been more violent than the religious states.

          March 1, 2014 at 11:47 am |
        • Dalahäst

          There are religious people that are paid good money in universities to teach science to atheists and "Rational Thinkers".

          March 1, 2014 at 11:48 am |
        • Dalahäst

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JbvDYyoAv9k

          March 1, 2014 at 11:50 am |
        • ihavetopushthepramalot

          I would never deni.grate the work of religious scientists. The work of Francis Collins on the Human Genome Project for example was exemplary. They do have an undeniable blind spot though. Why don't they also subject their outlandish religious beliefs to a rigorous scientific evaluation?

          Also, I wouldn't call state atheist states non-religious. Secular states are non-religious. State atheist states are just as theocratic as Iran or Saudi Arabia, except the Ayatollah is replaced with Stalin and Allah is replaced by the state.

          March 1, 2014 at 11:56 am |
        • Dalahäst

          Science reveals physical, materialistic truths. Some scientists hold religious beliefs that are spiritual in nature. Often anti-theists will say science disproves religious beliefs – like the Genesis origin story. But it really doesn't, if one doesn't take such stories to be literally true. I don't think they were ever intended to be literally believed. They spoke spiritual truths, about the nature of relationships. Really science and religion can work together, and also keep the other from falling into the extreme categories that lead to harm.

          I like the US, which although predominately Christian, allows other voices. It is an example of people from the Abrahamic religion working with others to create a better nation.

          March 1, 2014 at 1:22 pm |
  20. Reality

    And why all this suffering? THE IDIOCY OF ISLAM !! And as noted previously, there is a simple cure. Details available upon request.

    March 1, 2014 at 9:16 am |
    • meatheist

      You wouldn't dare propose something immoral would you?

      March 2, 2014 at 2:06 pm |
      • Reality

        Scroll to the top of the page.

        March 2, 2014 at 5:27 pm |
        • meatheist

          With that I agree.

          March 2, 2014 at 7:22 pm |
1 2 3
Advertisement
About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.