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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. Austin

    I have the gift of prophecy.

    Warn the president. There is a dirty secret service agent.

    March 3, 2014 at 1:20 am |
    • Doris

      Oh so now you're the soothsayer of the sins of hygiene? Geez.

      March 3, 2014 at 1:30 am |
    • doobzz

      Warn him yourself. I'm sure the FBI will be interested in your "gift".

      March 3, 2014 at 2:44 am |
    • TruthPrevails1

      We need CNN to track your IP address and maybe turn all of your crazy rantings over to the FBI...you seriously need removed from society. I'd be worried that those delusions you're having about the president being shot involve you being the trigger man.

      March 3, 2014 at 6:31 am |
      • Austin

        Ya the can charge me with posting dreams.

        T.p. the gay right activist persecutor of christians who dream.

        You are such a genuine activist t.p thats a very impressive choice.

        March 3, 2014 at 8:48 am |
        • Austin

          Where is doris the human rights actvist on this last comment on removing me from society?

          How can you compare that to the persecuters in uganda?

          Thats the type of person who cant interpret what is acceptable or humane.

          March 3, 2014 at 8:55 am |
        • Austin

          T p. Why do you act like a junior high girl?

          March 3, 2014 at 9:05 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          It is an impressive choice when it means standing up for equality. At least in supporting them I do not show bigotry and hate based on 2000 year old info. I'm guessing your imaginary friend wouldn't like you too much for the hateful bigot you are.
          You are clearly delusional if you're having dreams about killing the president and blowing up liquor stores. You should be red-flagged as a risk in the very least.

          March 3, 2014 at 9:19 am |
    • igaftr

      Austin.
      Clearly a cry for help. Call the FBI yourself, if you truly believe what you have said, you have a duty as a citizen to call them yourself.

      They take things of this nature very seriously. They will be able to help you where people on a blog cannot.

      March 3, 2014 at 9:46 am |
    • realbuckyball

      Any Bible 101 student learns that "telling the future" is one of THE most common misconceptions about the Babble.
      It's Hollywood's false / ignorant interpretation of Hebrew culture.
      The role of a prophet in Hebrew society was NOT to tell the future, or predict future events. In fact sooth-saying and divination were forbidden in Leviticus. It was an abomination.
      How does it feel to practice "abomination" Austin ?
      The ancient honored role of a prophet in Hebrew society, was to give advice to the people of their own time.
      The idea of "secret meaning" interpretation came in (very late) during the apocalyptic period, as any scholar knows.
      But, by all means, keep demonstrating your ignorance.
      http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/forum/Thread-Atheist-Agnostic-Informational-Resource-Library?pid=257278#pid257278

      March 3, 2014 at 9:55 am |
    • realbuckyball

      Deuteronomy 18:9-12
      “When you come into the land that the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominable practices of those nations. There shall not be found among you anyone who .. practices divination or tells fortunes or interprets omens, or a sorcerer or a charmer or a medium or a necromancer or one who inquires of the dead, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord. And because of these abominations the Lord your God is driving them out before you.

      March 3, 2014 at 10:16 am |
  2. Austin

    The day before the state of the union i dreamed that obama got shot by a secret service russian mole.

    March 3, 2014 at 12:57 am |
    • Austin

      He was trying to finish off a few.other secret service agents allready shot.

      The shooter was also shot. They were in a marble like hall with steps near by.

      Shooter was black.

      March 3, 2014 at 1:09 am |
      • Austin

        Wife and kids were there.

        March 3, 2014 at 1:15 am |
    • hotairace

      Have you warned the Secret Service? If you are still a free man with access to a computer (your mom's?) I think you have not.

      March 3, 2014 at 1:18 am |
    • Doris

      You are crazy. Why would anyone dream something like this? Like a state dinner is really going to turn into a food fight. And what in the world would make you think the secret service is going to be doing the cooking? I've not heard of the Russian version of mole, but supposedly in some parts of Mexico, each household makes a slightly different version. It certainly would make for a messy food fight.

      March 3, 2014 at 1:22 am |
    • realbuckyball

      So ... you've been off your pills for some time then ?

      March 3, 2014 at 9:57 am |
  3. Austin

    Christians fall prey to spiteful attack, who arent willing to redact the scripture about ho.mosmexuality being classified as a sin.

    I cant re write Gods word. Standing on Gods word is not hatred toward anyone.
    If i defend Gods word i get attacked and accused by those who exalt sin and reject Gods guidelines. I didnt make the guidelines i was simply called to faith. I was given that faith.

    This is not self centered to be obedient to the call if faith so i can be ridiculed for Gods righteousness.

    I know that not everyone has a supernatural. Gift. My fundamental church says i am misled by satan. I really know what its like to be rejected.

    I just want the truth to help . And i am telling the truth. I am worried for you .

    March 2, 2014 at 11:44 pm |
    • Doris

      I never knew Carrie's mama had a real-life counterpart.. until now...

      March 3, 2014 at 12:12 am |
    • sam stone

      time to go see jeebus, austin

      March 3, 2014 at 5:32 am |
    • realbuckyball

      Just as I thought. You're gay, and filled with guilt, Austin.

      March 3, 2014 at 9:59 am |
  4. Reality

    Again, why all this suffering? THE IDIOCY OF ISLAM !! And as noted previously, there is a simple cure. Details are presented on p.1
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    March 2, 2014 at 11:00 pm |
  5. Doris

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nuVKZCb9N4o

    March 2, 2014 at 10:43 pm |
    • hotairace

      How funny would it be if I played this out loud in the airline lounge I'm sitting in now? Should I do it?

      March 2, 2014 at 10:49 pm |
      • Doris

        By all means – hopefully you're packin' some mace.

        March 2, 2014 at 10:51 pm |
      • ssq41

        hotair...have a safe flight...hope you don't have to fly amid this latest winter storm.

        March 2, 2014 at 10:52 pm |
        • hotairace

          Thanks! I'm on the "left coast" and heading southwest. It's going to be hard to adjust to a 50 C temperature change but they serve beer cold down under so I should survive.

          March 2, 2014 at 11:02 pm |
        • ssq41

          Long flight! If the in-flight movie isn't enough, reading Austin's archived posts should make the Pacific a bit smaller!

          March 2, 2014 at 11:06 pm |
        • Austin

          O wow. Can you look up all posts by name?

          Why the new screen name ssq?

          March 2, 2014 at 11:21 pm |
        • Austin

          Where has "lol" been?

          March 2, 2014 at 11:23 pm |
        • ssq41

          Austin,

          The new format, for some reason, wouldn't allow "S-3B Viking" as a ti.tle. So I chose one of my old sonobuoy designations. I wanted theLOFARtimes but the ti.tle doesn't allow for capitalization of "LOFAR."

          March 2, 2014 at 11:35 pm |
        • Austin

          Do you call me self centered?

          March 2, 2014 at 11:53 pm |
        • Austin

          Ssq41

          Seems like i have not heard from ya since april.

          March 2, 2014 at 11:59 pm |
        • ssq41

          Austin,

          It's the nature of Christians to be self-centered, particularly when you combine the American psyche of the "individual" to the content of the "need" for a personal savior. Whether you were compelled to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior to escape hell or because an emotional crisis brought you to him or because "he loved you first," all of these (and other "tesimtonies") stem from a selfish and self-fulfilling motive. And the real confirmation is how one lives their life afterward.

          American Evangelicals are just that much more self-absorbed.

          And yes, I've been away for a bit.

          March 3, 2014 at 12:23 am |
        • Austin

          I hope to see you around again soon. Take it easy bud.

          March 3, 2014 at 12:40 am |
  6. Austin

    Ssq
    You also claim that a spiritual gift is evidence of narcicism and then insult me for not warning my cousin.

    You are a cheap shot back stabber.

    There is nothing sincere about hatred. Hatred is a compulsive abusive slavery .

    Unconditional

    Forgiveness , the new covenant promise, is not prejudiced or biased.

    Your bias against the spiritual is your human downfall. Enticing others who are burdened by sin puts you in the realm of the 2 peter apostate false teachers who lead gullible and vulnerable people astray.

    Doesnt it?

    March 2, 2014 at 10:40 pm |
    • hotairace

      Looks like Austin forgot to take his meds again. Medic! Nurse!!

      March 2, 2014 at 10:47 pm |
    • Doris

      Austin: "Hatred is a compulsive abusive slavery"

      Wow – I'm going to have to apply that one directly to my forehead and think on it a bit. 🙄

      March 2, 2014 at 10:53 pm |
      • ssq41

        You slay me, Doris!

        March 2, 2014 at 10:59 pm |
    • ssq41

      Austin,

      Your emotional responses only lend themselves to the argument that a "relationship" with Jesus is simply an emotional addiction.

      March 2, 2014 at 10:58 pm |
      • Austin

        From pulpit to pew?

        What pew?

        March 2, 2014 at 11:04 pm |
        • ssq41

          Austin! {REPLY} button check!

          March 2, 2014 at 11:11 pm |
      • sam stone

        austin just switched drugs, from alcohol to jeebus

        March 3, 2014 at 5:36 am |
  7. Austin

    Ssq42 is another baseless cheap shot accuser who spouts "self centered " and "dehumanizing" accusations.

    This type of disengenuous behavior comes from a person who cheats their way through a conversation.

    Do you have the. Names of the 66 books
    memorized? I have for 30 years.

    Ssq42 you wont push God around with the talent you use to promote satanic deception.

    The truth allows one to heal . Not dehumanize
    I have authoritateve truth .

    Doesnt matter how smart you think you are .

    March 2, 2014 at 9:56 pm |
    • ssq41

      Austin, Austin, Austin!!!

      How can we trust your memory of the content of your purportedly inspired dreams if you can't remember a simple screen ti.tle?

      March 2, 2014 at 10:12 pm |
      • Austin

        I wrote it down as i do every night.

        I thought that might be you. I do pray for you. Your writing is elequent.

        But i didnt recognize you as someone who would bash me like that.

        You remember i told you id be praying for you.

        March 2, 2014 at 10:57 pm |
    • Austin

      People use antichrist deceivers as a way to mock christ.

      The other trend i see here is the overwhelmimg mocking of the bible for the sake of the h.omose.xual agenda.

      This is an intense spiritual battle.

      Its sad to see people reject God and give up on Him.

      I think christians should abort the public argument and yet proclaim salvation freedom and deliverance repentance from all sin and demonic foothold.
      HE IS RISEN.
      HE IS A HEALER

      March 2, 2014 at 10:28 pm |
      • Doris

        The net worth of the Bible on hom-ose-xuality and many other issues will soon lead to this:
        (it is written)
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ep83Ao_WboM&list=PLS0mlpjA0XMOiL8AQ7lT9BkiL8aOZhjbK

        March 2, 2014 at 10:46 pm |
        • Doris

          sorry – it was part of a playlist – here is the video
          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6OgAXbyzP5g

          March 2, 2014 at 10:50 pm |
    • realbuckyball

      Good for you dear. You memorized the names of the books. How nice. Gold star on you forehead. A sucker for your treat.
      Now all you have to do is go buy a clue about about what's inside them.
      BTW, the "66" is arbitrary. Humans voted, non-unanimously which ones were in, and which out, and argued for centuries about it. If your deity was all that sure what she was doing, you'd think she's find a way to point out the right ones, at the start.

      March 2, 2014 at 11:09 pm |
    • sam stone

      of course, you have the authoritative truth, austin.....

      you are god's fave-or-ite delusional little c-word (christian)

      March 3, 2014 at 5:43 am |
  8. hearthetruth1

    HearTheTruth.imgur.com

    March 2, 2014 at 8:06 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      Also an excellent site: http://www.wikipoops.com

      March 2, 2014 at 8:17 pm |
  9. hearthetruth1

    http://www.Hear-The-Truth.com

    March 2, 2014 at 8:04 pm |
  10. Apple Bush

    Dread, pounding and singing unfortunately into my eye where the pain is worst the pointiest words are doing their pointing and I want to cry my tears but that would be death and I couldn’t afford to be dead, not when life was better kind of so I steeled myself, screwed up my forehead and leapt out of the dryer along with some clinging pantyhose and that is when I saw her boots and that is when my nose was broken on her boots but soon that would be the best broken nose I had ever had so far that day so I had no one next to me at the hospital and when she came to visit I fell in love.

    March 2, 2014 at 7:17 pm |
    • Doris

      Oh goodness. You might try a sudafed.

      March 2, 2014 at 7:18 pm |
      • Apple Bush

        The smell like someone jamming two large needles a good deal up into your nasal cavity and then taking them out and then jamming them back in the diaper had to be changed though so I learned along with the wonder and amazement of responsibility in the life of a little universe just learning about how wonderful and talented it is and all it had to do was be born and stuff just worked unless the cuts came but I did let that happen not when homosexuals could get married and marijuana was legal now to remove the guns and evangelicals and live in peace with the other people.

        March 2, 2014 at 7:34 pm |
        • Apple Bush

          I swam with the prehistoric fish and they were so breath taking that my heart pounded like it would thump out of chest I felt as if I was the only human on Earth or I new some special truth now that no one had ever seen before me right here and now behind these tourist parking places where they paint graffiti on the natural entrance to the pristine lake of prehistoric fish that only I knew how to enter the corner, you have to lift up the corner of the water and slip in that way it is better when you are naked kind of like jello but less viscous and you have perfect eyesight.

          March 2, 2014 at 7:41 pm |
        • Apple Bush

          It was love like the waves lapping on to shore and you are the shore and the waves are lapping on you but they do not get you wet because you do not get wet you only enjoy and all things are enjoyable which makes life perfect and you are perfect and the love you feel in your heart makes you want to cry all the time and sometimes you do cry because you are so happy the feelings must be expressed or it could have let to the final headache be painful so you fall asleep and stay asleep.

          March 2, 2014 at 7:47 pm |
  11. Doris

    Where oh where did Austin run off to?

    He still hasn't answered the questions from the previous page to provide proof for his God, for absolute moral "truths". Is the best that Austin can do is to stick his head into the writings of a "1500" year old book (to use his dating) to answer those questions?

    March 2, 2014 at 7:13 pm |
    • Doris

      Austin: "Im not an activist doris. I suggest you heed the new testament. The word of God is His unfailing promise."

      LOL. So a certain someone seems to pass quite a bit of judgment here on the blog:

      "That is insane to compare hose.x to jew.
      Jeudiasim or being hebrew is not a mental illness or disease."

      obtaining his definition of sin, and gosh knows what else from the Bible, but is perhaps unable to defend the existence of the Christian God or the existence of moral absolute "truths"?

      Interesting.

      March 2, 2014 at 7:28 pm |
      • Austin

        Sin is a disease. Demonic footholds are mental illnesses that arent chemical they are information illnesses. Deceit.

        March 2, 2014 at 7:46 pm |
        • Apple Bush

          "Demonic footholds"

          You said that.

          March 2, 2014 at 8:00 pm |
        • sam stone

          sin is a hoax, austin

          March 2, 2014 at 8:15 pm |
        • Doris

          Is man's foot in Satan's foot's image? Is that written somewhere?

          March 2, 2014 at 10:33 pm |
        • realbuckyball

          No. Just the toe nails.

          March 2, 2014 at 11:11 pm |
      • ssq41

        Sin as a "disease" allows the Christian to further de-humanize the sinner.

        Oddly enough, they don't seem to have the obsessive pas.sion to eradicate the sins of adultery or greed, sins Jesus clearly and quite loudly commanded against.

        But Christians like Austin don't want to be bothered with the truth of their own scripture.

        March 2, 2014 at 8:21 pm |
        • Austin

          Ssq.

          Thats a large leap you are taking.

          March 2, 2014 at 9:30 pm |
        • ssq41

          Hardly, Austin.

          A mere leap from pulpit to pew.

          March 2, 2014 at 9:38 pm |
        • Austin

          What ever. For you to sit there and say i have honed in on one sin is a lie. And neither does the bible hone in.

          You are pulling that out of a black hole.

          March 2, 2014 at 10:04 pm |
        • Austin

          You lost faith doesnt make you dignified or more reliable.

          That masquerade is a head trip.

          March 2, 2014 at 10:07 pm |
        • ssq41

          Austin,

          Your but.tons are easier to find (and push) than your ability to find the correct reply bu.tton.

          March 2, 2014 at 10:15 pm |
        • ssq41

          "That masquerade is a head trip," says Austin.

          And he is correct...in his mind, anyway. He has to be.

          The only Christian who has ever been able to handle cognitive dissonance is no longer a Christian.

          March 2, 2014 at 10:24 pm |
  12. Apple Bush

    Why do I feel stupid?
    And I come undone?
    Can you cope?
    You figured me out.
    That I’m lost and I’m hopeless.
    It’s been a mad season.

    ~mb20

    March 2, 2014 at 6:42 pm |
  13. Doris

    There is something I am noticing that's very interesting about this issue in Uganda and the reaction.

    When I first posted about it (possibly on another article), Austin's reply was one of indifference. Part of his reply was a verse that essentially blamed the victim of sexual persecution in Uganda for their sin; that their sin brought this misfortune upon them.

    Now, after much discussion on the previous page with Austin on the crimes committed against humanity in Uganda, he still doesn't show any signs of sympathy for the victims, but writes "the dude in uganda is a psychotic retarded satanic attack on nothing of any value". I assume there he is finally speaking about Scott Lively and his team of evangelicals. Of course Austin still doesn't address the notion that each differing interpretation of the Bible often results in "psychotic" judgment thrust upon people by some portion of Christians.

    NOW – what's interesting to compare against this is the reaction over time by the Vatican.

    12/12/2012: Pope Benedict XVI yesterday sent his first tweet from his new Twitter account, then turned around and blessed Rebecca Kadaga, the Speaker of the Uganda Parliament who promised to pass the “Kill The Gays” bill as a “Christmas gift” to Uganda’s Christians.

    12/29/2013: Papal Nuncio to Uganda, Archbishop Michael Blume, has voiced his concerns about the Anti-Ho-mose-xuality Bill recently passed by the country’s parliament but yet to be signed by President Yoweri Museveni.

    So now that this issue has been brought much more to public light because of the passing of this harmful bill in Uganda, suddenly we have different language – much softer, much more compassionate; that sounds much less like an agenda was met.

    The same can really be said of the initial actions and present reaction from the Anglican Communion from the top.

    To be fair, Frances was not Pope in 2012. But as hom-ose-xuals face prison and death daily in Uganda, I would hope, if this new Pope is what many moderates hope his to be, that there will be something more said soon than just "voicing his concerns" in a letter.

    Quite telling.

    March 2, 2014 at 5:57 pm |
    • Doris

      This line needs cleaning up:

      NOW – what's interesting is to compare Austin's written reactions to the change in tone on this issue as expressed by the Vatican.

      March 2, 2014 at 6:01 pm |
      • Doris

        Clean-up of paragraph near the end.

        To be fair, Francis was not Pope in 2012. But as hom-ose-xuals face prison and death daily in Uganda, I would hope, if this new Pope is what many moderates hope him to be, that there will be something more said soon than just "voicing his concerns" in a letter.

        March 2, 2014 at 6:05 pm |
    • Austin

      When I first posted about it (possibly on another article), Austin's reply was one of indifference. Part of his reply was a verse that essentially blamed the victim of se.xual persecution in Uganda for their sin; that their sin brought this misfortune upon them.

      copy it and paste it here. that is garbage. I am promoting forgiveness. That is the commandment.

      March 2, 2014 at 6:01 pm |
      • Austin

        doesn't show any signs of sympathy for the victims

        doris you have to be kiddng me. I have at least ten times talked about forgiveness and liberty and I am anti persecution.
        what more can i say? there you go painting me as unsympathetic to killing.

        you are disingenuous as all get out. i see how you feed like a exploitation off of other peoples misunderstanding, you take this as an opportunity to pervert what I am implying.

        again, you do this as a cheater.

        March 2, 2014 at 6:06 pm |
        • Doris

          I'm still looking for a reply, but you still cannot even say who you're forgiving, who deserves liberty, and I can pretty much guess from your previous posts that you'd rather twist and confuse than have to state support to someone who has been persecuted or disenfranchised that doesn't follow your particular set of morals.

          March 2, 2014 at 6:23 pm |
        • Doris

          And just exactly what does this mean:

          "the dude in uganda is a psychotic retarded satanic attack on nothing of any value" ???

          so the people he is attacking is "nothing of any value"??

          What is that, Austin?

          March 2, 2014 at 6:43 pm |
        • Doris

          Just looking though Austin's replies.
          One of Austin's replies in regard to a Washington Post article on the situation in Uganda was:

          "That is insane to compare hose.x to jew.
          Jeudiasim or being hebrew is not a mental illness or disease."

          [February 28, 2014 at 8:26 am – now page 5 under "Is Religion Under Attack in Arizona"]

          Wow – great compassion shown there for people being killed and jailed....

          March 2, 2014 at 7:00 pm |
        • Austin

          His attack on h s. Has no value.

          He may as well attack fornicators too and every other form sin.

          Not a.biblical approach to the world.

          March 2, 2014 at 7:09 pm |
        • Doris

          You haven't yet proved sin is real and exists on its own, Austin. You haven't proved that your view is divine. You haven't demonstrated any real "truth". But it's apparent that you can read and repeat things from Gullible's Travels.

          March 2, 2014 at 7:15 pm |
        • Austin

          Im not an activist doris. I suggest you heed the new testament.

          The word of God is His unfailing promise.

          March 2, 2014 at 7:20 pm |
        • Austin

          Im going water skiing now. Bye.
          Be back later.

          March 2, 2014 at 7:54 pm |
        • ssq41

          Hi, Doris...love your mind and heart here on this blog...and your passion about Uganda.

          As with most Evangelical Christians, Austin is all about Austin. It is a group mostly made up of self-absorbed individuals...thus the great attraction of a "personal" savior and the rather narcicistic Pentecostal/Charismatic phenomenon (not that Austin is Pen/Charis).

          There is very little mercy or compas.sion among Christians like Austin and Russ and Vic and others cut from the same cloth. It is about a God of Justice (read "American" concept of "justice"). Afterall, a propositional "Truth" type of God is just a black and white series of letters, sentences and paragraphs.

          Austin was asked why he didn't warn his ailing cousin about his Feb 2 vision and Austin's response ignored the questioner's brilliant question.

          I applaud Atheists for their challenging Christians for their beliefs, but there is a completely untapped source of evidence against the existence of their God...the daily life of the Christian (as can be seen to a small extent in a blog like this.

          The failure of Christians to live as if their God exists, to me, is the most dam.ning of all.

          Austin's self-centeredness is informative.

          March 2, 2014 at 8:07 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      I find it humorous that somehow “Austin” thinks there is something new or original about his participation on this blog. There is an “Austin” on every big city street corner in America and plenty of them in small towns too. Austin is just another crazy.

      March 2, 2014 at 6:05 pm |
  14. derado8

    I have a lot of thoughts about NDE's but I'll stick with this one.
    How would someone show that an experience was spiritual as opposed to neurologic?
    (Don't blame yourself if you don't have an answer for it, the only answer I've seen is to dismiss the spiritual entirely and I've searched for that answer a lot)
    I believe of course that he had an experience

    March 2, 2014 at 5:48 pm |
    • derado8

      I have no idea why this post ended up here, it was intended as a reply to another thread. Sorry.

      March 2, 2014 at 5:49 pm |
    • realbuckyball

      Easy. There are nothing except neurological experiences. Without a functioning brain, there would be no NDE's. Rats have NDE's. They are 100 % debunked.

      March 2, 2014 at 11:16 pm |
  15. Austin

    I think you can all recall that i projected that the united states will get attacked or invaded about 2 months ago. do you remember? who remembers this can i get a ye?

    my dream was 3 fold. ten years ago a dream about invasion.
    2 months ago a dream about a tornadoe, then another dream about being on a watch tower and a buffet lid fell off the tower.
    this was relaying this message to me.

    21 The burden of the desert of the sea. As whirlwinds in the south pass through; so it cometh from the desert, from a terrible land.

    2 A grievous vision is declared unto me; the treacherous dealer dealeth treacherously, and the spoiler spoileth. Go up, O Elam: besiege, O Media; all the sighing thereof have I made to cease.

    3 Therefore are my loins filled with pain: pangs have taken hold upon me, as the pangs of a woman that travaileth: I was bowed down at the hearing of it; I was dismayed at the seeing of it.

    4 My heart panted, fearfulness affrighted me: the night of my pleasure hath he turned into fear unto me.

    5 Prepare the table, watch in the watchtower, eat, drink: arise, ye princes, and anoint the shield.

    6 For thus hath the Lord said unto me, Go, set a watchman, let him declare what he seeth.

    7 And he saw a chariot with a couple of horsemen, a chariot of asses, and a chariot of camels; and he hearkened diligently with much heed:

    8 And he cried, A lion: My lord, I stand continually upon the watchtower in the daytime, and I am set in my ward whole nights:

    9 And, behold, here cometh a chariot of men, with a couple of horsemen. And he answered and said, Babylon is fallen, is fallen; and all the graven images of her gods he hath broken unto the ground.

    10 O my threshing, and the corn of my floor: that which I have heard of the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, have I declared unto you.

    .............this is the declaration of an invasion. in my opinion, God is speaking to me and I put my cards on the idea that you all had better get ready.

    March 2, 2014 at 5:42 pm |
    • hotairace

      Please quit with the gibberish. It seems like you are making a prediction. If so, please state it clearly with as much detail as possible. If not, fuck off!

      March 2, 2014 at 5:47 pm |
      • Austin

        we are going to get attacked . there will be a foreign military presence inside the U.S. or peacekeeping force or NATO

        It will be a foreign military.

        March 2, 2014 at 5:59 pm |
        • redzoa

          When precisely will this happen?

          March 2, 2014 at 6:12 pm |
        • Austin

          I don't konw, but i had a vision that Obama got as.sas.sinated. and if that actually happened it would happen very quickly that we would have a peace keeping militia. however, the dream about the watchtower is one of invasion and attack and not simply peace keepers. We are going to see major unrest.

          March 2, 2014 at 6:20 pm |
        • tallulah131

          I think Austin's been watching "Red Dawn" again. WOLVERINES!

          March 2, 2014 at 6:34 pm |
        • realbuckyball

          Sure we will dear. Sure we will. Now take your pills, honey.

          March 2, 2014 at 11:17 pm |
        • ssq41

          No, Austin...that wasn't a dream. You're remembering the TeaParty meeting held in your church's coffee shop last week.

          March 2, 2014 at 11:20 pm |
        • hotairace

          He might be on to something. I am truthfully surprised that some white, fat, Babble Humper hasn't taken Obama out. I hope that Obama lives a long and prosperous live, especially after he leaves the White House and announces that he is an atheist.

          March 2, 2014 at 11:26 pm |
        • ssq41

          Austin would not only be insufferable, he would have his own prophecy show on Dish and Time Warner should such a tragedy happen, God forbid.

          March 2, 2014 at 11:32 pm |
    • TruthPrevails1

      Wow, one more crappy long boring piece of fiction...that's quite the imagination you have Austin-did you by chance damage your brain in the crash?

      March 2, 2014 at 6:32 pm |
    • In Santa We Trust

      If you want your predictions to be taken seriously – blog them immediately in specific detail: what, when, who, and how. Then they can be verified after the date or event.

      March 2, 2014 at 11:23 pm |
  16. Apple Bush

    Gotta stand my ground;
    Even if you cheat.

    The owls outside are hooting;
    I can’t tell what it’s for.

    I told a secret lover she was lovely (as there was);
    I had to kiss her forehead but did not fall in love.

    Gotta stand my ground;
    Even if you cheat.

    March 2, 2014 at 5:28 pm |
  17. 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 5:14 pm |
    • Austin

      Catholics don't matter.

      Jesus does. where does Jesus say kill someone or don't allow non believers the freedom to reject Him or sin?

      You aren't causing any shame to the word of God or the resurrection.

      what is wrong with Adolf Hitler? he was worse than the uganda deal.

      March 2, 2014 at 5:20 pm |
      • doobzz

        Austin, you are forgetting that real people are being killed in Uganda and THEIR LIVES DO COUNT, whether you like it or not.

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

          I agree. Can you find me a bible verse that condones this in the new testament?

          I can find you many examples pointing to this................

          rev 6: 3 And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see.

          4 And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword.

          March 2, 2014 at 5:35 pm |
        • doobzz

          Austin, quit being such an attention whore. You don't give a crap about human beings. All you want to do is talk about your "prophecy dreams".

          Even with your cousin's illness, it's all about you, you, you.

          March 2, 2014 at 11:13 pm |
        • Austin

          you cant use antichrist deceivers to bring down the prophetic word of God.

          That is a deaf approach.

          March 2, 2014 at 5:36 pm |
        • doobzz

          No such thing, Austin. You aren't special and you aren't a prophet.

          You just like the attention you get with your stupid dreams.

          March 2, 2014 at 11:16 pm |
      • realbuckyball

        Jesus is my mom's gardener. He's great. He already came back, (from vacation). Nuthin happened.
        Big disappointment. I said to him, "What , no rapture ?". He said nope.

        March 2, 2014 at 11:19 pm |
    • Austin

      Doris. We love you.

      March 2, 2014 at 5:22 pm |
  18. Austin

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xRSjzY0s0SM&feature=player_detailpage#t=75

    March 2, 2014 at 5:07 pm |
    • tallulah131

      NDE-like symptoms have been experienced by astronauts and pilots during high-g training. The brain is an amazing organ. It can conjure all sorts of convincing delusions when it is under stress.

      March 2, 2014 at 6:37 pm |
      • realbuckyball

        Researchers have reproduced them in rats. NDE's are debunked.

        March 2, 2014 at 11:20 pm |
  19. Doris

    Why don't we know who the authors of the Gospels were?

    Why is all the supernatural events in the Bible only backed up by hearsay "historians"?

    Why do people believe something that has been copied over and over with many errors?

    Why are there so much conflicted information in the Bible?

    Why is it when you point that out to people, they say you don't have the proper interpretation, when their interpretation has manifested itself as over 40,000 sects?

    Why do some Christian sects travel to other countries and incite violence against people in the name of their particular interpretation?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ehnEZtqj2Mo

    On January 24, 2013, the traveling exhibition Manifold Greatness: The Creation and Afterlife of the King James Bible opened at the William H. Hannon Library at Loyola Marymount University.

    The keynote talk for the opening: "What Kind of a Text is the King James Bible? Manuscripts, Translation, and the Legacy of the KJV" was presented by Dr. Bart Ehrman, James A. Grey Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies at UNC Chapel Hill (PhD, magna cum laude from Princeton Theological Seminary).

    March 2, 2014 at 5:07 pm |
    • realbuckyball

      The gospels are myth. Search for Dr.Richard Carrier's videos. They have the structure of ancient myth.

      March 2, 2014 at 11:21 pm |
  20. Austin

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_profilepage&v=QguZIfOYj0s

    March 2, 2014 at 5:05 pm |
    • Austin

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_profilepage&v=QguZIfOYj0s

      March 2, 2014 at 5:06 pm |
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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.