Pope Francis: Church could support civil unions
Pope Francis speaks at St Peter's square on December 11, 2013.
March 5th, 2014
10:04 AM ET

Pope Francis: Church could support civil unions

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor
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(CNN) - Pope Francis reaffirmed the Catholic Church's opposition to gay marriage on Wednesday, but suggested in a newspaper interview that it could support some types of civil unions.

The Pope reiterated the church's longstanding teaching that "marriage is between a man and a woman." However, he said, "We have to look at different cases and evaluate them in their variety."

States, for instance, justify civil unions as a way to provide economic security to cohabitating couples, the Pope said in a wide-ranging interview published Wednesday in Corriere della Seraan Italian daily. State-sanctioned unions are thus driven by the need to ensure rights like access to health care, Francis added.

A number of Catholic bishops have supported civil unions for same-sex couples as an alternative to marriage, including Pope Francis when he was Archbishop of Buenos Aires in 2010, according to reports in National Catholic Reporter and The New York Times.

Behind closed doors, pope supported civil unions in Argentina, activist says

But Wednesday's comments are "the first time a Pope has indicated even tentative acceptance of civil unions," according to Catholic News Service.

Later on Wednesday, a Vatican spokesman sought to clarify the Pope's remarks.

"The Pope did not choose to enter into debates about the delicate matter of gay civil unions," said the Rev. Thomas Rosica, a consultant to the Vatican press office.

"In his response to the interviewer, he emphasized the natural characteristic of marriage between one man and one woman, and on the other hand, he also spoke about the obligation of the state to fulfill its responsibilities towards its citizens."

"We should not try to read more into the Pope’s words than what has been stated in very general terms," Rosica added.

Pope Francis, who marks his first year in office on March 13, has sought to set a more tolerant tone for his 1 billion-member church and suggested that a broad range of topics are at least open for discussion.

In January, the Pope recalled a little girl in Buenos Aires who told her teacher that she was sad because "my mother's girlfriend doesn't like me."

"The situation in which we live now provides us with new challenges which sometimes are difficult for us to understand," the Pope told leaders of religious orders, adding that the church "must be careful not to administer a vaccine against faith to them."

The Vatican later denied that those comments signaled an opening toward same-sex unions.

Last June, Francis famously refused to judge gay priests in comments that ricocheted around the world. He has also said that the church should not "interfere" in the spiritual lives of gays and lesbians.

Pope Francis' greatest hits of 2013

Support of same-sex unions of any type is fiercely contested by many Catholic church leaders.

In Wednesday's interview, Francis also addressed several other controversial issues, including the Catholic Church's ban on contraception, the role of women and the devastating clergy sexual abuse scandal.

On contraception, the Pope praised Pope Paul VI for having the "courage" to "go against the majority" when restating the ban in 1968. But, Francis said, the church must also be "merciful" and "attentive to concrete situations."

Contraception and church's ban on divorced Catholics receiving holy communion, will likely be addressed at major meetings of Catholic bishops in Rome in 2014 and 2015.

“We must give a response. But to do so, we must reflect much in depth,” the Pope said Wednesday.

On the role of women in the church, an issue of particular concern to Catholics in the United States, the Pope hinted that changes could be in the works.

"Women must be present in all of the places where decisions are taken," Francis said in the newspaper interview, but the church must consider more than "functional" roles for women. To that end, Catholic leaders are engaged in "deep reflection" on women's role in the church, he said.

On the sexual abuse of children by Catholic clergy, a scandal that has rocked the church in the United States, the Pope said the abuse has left "very deep wounds" on victims.

In response, the church has done more than other institutions to be open and transparent about sexual abuse by its employees, Francis said. “But the Church is the only one to be attacked."

A United Nations panel criticized Catholic leaders last month in a hard-hitting report on clergy sexual abuse.

The report said the Vatican "has not acknowledged the extent of the crimes committed, has not taken the necessary measures to address cases of child sexual abuse and to protect children, and has adopted policies and practices which have led to the continuation of the abuse by and the impunity of the perpetrators.”

The Vatican said it would study the U.N. report.

Kick out those who sexually abuse children, U.N. panel tells Vatican

On Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, who has surprised church-watchers with public appearances after saying he would live a cloistered life in retirement, Francis said he considers his predecessor a "wise grandfather."

"The Pope Emeritus is not a statue in a museum," Pope Francis said. Rather, the two men have decided that Benedict should participate in the church's public life rather than live a shuttered life.

"I thought about grandparents who with their wisdom, their advice, strengthen families and don't deserve to end up in an old folks home," Francis said.

Finally, he may sometimes wear a cape, but don't call Pope Francis a Superman, the popular pontiff said.

"To paint the Pope as a sort of Superman, a kind of star, seems offensive to me," Francis told Corriere della Sera. "The Pope is a man who laughs, cries, sleeps soundly and has friends like everyone else. A normal person."

Earlier this year, graffiti depicting a muscle-bound and flying Francis appeared on walls near Vatican City, but the Pope said Wednesday that he doesn't like the "mythology" surrounding his papacy, which marks its first anniversary on March 13.

For instance, Francis debunked the idea that he sneaks out of the Vatican at night to feed the homeless.

"It never occurred to me," he said.

(CNN's Delia Gallagher assisted in translating Pope Francis' remarks from the Italian.) 

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Catholic Church • Christianity • Culture wars • Discrimination • Gay marriage • Gay rights • Pope Benedict XVI • Pope Francis • Vatican

soundoff (3,591 Responses)
  1. Bob

    Today you can see our regular Christian nasty, Dalahast/AE, out making personal attacks yet again. His latest victims of his attacks today are Colin and Reality. Read down and you'll see arrogant Dalahast/AE doing his usual dirty work, no surprise. It's time to call him out on it.

    Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement.
    Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.

    March 11, 2014 at 12:46 pm |
    • Dalahäst

      Oh, the irony!

      March 11, 2014 at 12:53 pm |
      • Dalahäst

        On second thought: that is just plain ol' fashioned hypocrisy at work.

        March 11, 2014 at 12:53 pm |
        • Bob

          And as usual, here above we see another personal attack by Dalahast/AE. Typical of that nasty, arrogant Christian. No one is surprised.

          Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement.
          Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.

          March 12, 2014 at 10:15 am |
  2. bostontola

    There is a reason I don't criticize people for believing in God, I also believe in unproven things. I won't live long enough to get all the answers to my questions, so I can choose to be agnostic, or I can get out on a limb and believe in things. I choose the latter. I believe there are no Gods, can't prove it. I believe mathematics exists independent of our universe. If the laws of physics were different, mathematics would be the same. Can't prove that either. So I don't criticize people for belief. Whether we recognize it or not, humans operate with belief. Most of my beliefs are consistent with available facts, much religious belief is not. There is a difference. Deism is as consistent as my beliefs though, so God per se is not the problem, it is the stories attached that are off the facts.

    March 11, 2014 at 12:26 pm |
  3. colin31714

    Bostontola – If you look at human history, there is a gradual emergence from the dark closet of religious beliefs to the shining light of science and skepticism. The best of our species constantly blaze a trail forward, discovering for example, that medicine and not prayers or gods cure disease, that the moon and not King Neptune controls the tide, and that chemical imbalances and faulty wiring causes mental illness, not possession by Satan, etc.

    This is why the three greatest movements in human history, which, in the cu.mulative, mark the emergence of the Western World from the Dark Ages – the Renaissance, the Reformation and the Enlightenment – are largely defined by their rejection of religious dogma in favor of science, free thought and reason.

    If religion was an overall positive thing for mankind, would we not expect movements toward greater religiosity to be preeminent in World history and viewed in a positive light? If it were credible, would we not expect 95% of the World’s most eminent scientists to be ardent believers instead of atheists? But we see the opposite.

    One day, I think future generations will look back at the 21st century USA in amazement that, with all our knowledge, an astounding percentage of us still believe in Bronze Age and Greco-Roman Jewish mythology as fact. There will always be a percentage of the population that can never be reached, but hopefully the percentage of non-believers will continue its climb north.

    March 11, 2014 at 12:07 pm |
    • bostontola

      I'd love to add something, but I can't. I am on the same wavelength.

      March 11, 2014 at 12:14 pm |
    • Dalahäst

      "Most religious people in America, fully embrace science. So the argument that religion has some issue with science applies to a small fraction of those who declare that they are religious. They just happen to be a very vocal fraction so you got the impression that there are more of them than there actually is. It's actually the minority of religious people who rejects science or feel threatened by it or want to sort of undo or restrict where science can go. The rest, you know, are just fine with science. And has been that way ever since the beginning."

      Neil deGrasse Tyson

      Most rational and logical people are not anti-theists. Most atheists are not anti-theists.

      Cold hard facts: I have seen evidence of people that happen to be religious that are more qualified to speak about science, free thought and reason than Colin.

      March 11, 2014 at 12:33 pm |
      • joey3467

        They are great at science, but as soon as anyone starts talking about god they are just making it up.

        March 11, 2014 at 12:37 pm |
      • bostontola

        It is not a fact that most religious people fully embrace science. This is his opinion. I do agree that some of the greatest scientists are or were believers in God.

        March 11, 2014 at 12:38 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          I didn't say it was a fact.

          It was an opinion. Like Colin shared his opinion. (Colin will probably tell you his opinion is a fact, though. But, that is arrogance not intelligence at work in that case.)

          It is an opinion that disagrees with Colin's opinion. I can only imagine most actual scientists disagree with Colin's opinions. I doubt any scientist would seek him out, unless they have a question about personal philosophy.

          March 11, 2014 at 12:44 pm |
    • believerfred

      "If religion was an overall positive thing for mankind, would we not expect movements toward greater religiosity to be preeminent in World history and viewed in a positive light?"
      =>1 out of 350,000 believed in Jesus at the close of the first century and today we have 1 out of 7. How did you twist the facts to come up with your conclusion? Facts would argue that people are coming to the light of truth, not to mention that the predominate world view remains God centered while the godless continue to scrape a minority view.

      March 11, 2014 at 1:00 pm |
      • igaftr

        "Facts would argue that people are coming to the light of truth"

        There are no facts that would indicate that you know the truth, or that belief in any gods is truth.
        You should know better than to lie.

        March 11, 2014 at 1:10 pm |
      • Rynomite

        At the end of the 1st century, Paul's Jebus was a newly minted god. The 1 out of 350,000 becoming 1 in 7 (actually 1 in 3) does not say anything about a move away from religiosity. It merely shows a shift from one type of myth to another.

        A better point to make was that at the turn of the first century religious believers of one god or another comprised about 349,997 out of 350,000. Today they are only 9 out of 10.

        March 11, 2014 at 1:30 pm |
      • Doc Vestibule

        The Journal of Religion & Society published a study on religious belief and social well-being, comparing 18 prosperous democracies from the U.S. to New Zealand.
        #1 on the list in both atheism and good behaviour is Ja.pan. It is one of the least crime-prone countries in the world. It also has the lowest rates of teenage pregnancy of any developed nation. Over eighty percent of the population accept evolution.
        Last on the list is the U.S. It has the highest rate of teenage pregnancy and homicide rates are at least five times greater than in Europe and ten times higher than in Ja.pan.
        Countries with a high percentage of nonbelievers are among the freest, most stable, best-educated, and healthiest nations on earth. When nations are ranked according to a human-development index, which measures such factors as life expectancy, literacy rates, and educational attainment, the five highest-ranked countries - Norway, Sweden, Australia, Canada, and the Netherlands - all have high degrees of nonbelief. Of the fifty countires at the bottom of the index, all are intensly religious. The nations with the highest homicide rates tend to be more religious; those with the greatest levels of gender equality are the least religious.

        March 11, 2014 at 1:32 pm |
        • believerfred

          Looks like there is little support for God of gaps and more support for a God of the needy. You don't need a savior if there is nothing to be saved from

          March 11, 2014 at 3:21 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Yes, I agree Fred.

          March 11, 2014 at 4:26 pm |
  4. bostontola

    Any animal with a brain is a pattern recognizing machine. The brain receives input, finds patterns that help it feed itself, escape danger, procreate, etc. Brains are limited and so best guesses are made. You could say, the brain "believes" it recognizes the situation and knows how to act.

    This belief is much older than rational thinking in human brains. It is directly tied to the most primitive feeling centers in all brains. It feels more powerful than rational " knowing". It is often used in lieu of knowing, to great advantage when we need to act but there is no more information to be had in the time available. We act on gut feel. What is interesting is that many people base deep beliefs on these gut feels even when there is time to gather information and process it rationally. People believe planetary aliens are among us, ghosts are among us, wild conspiracies can be kept secret from us, thousands of Gods/religions have ruled us.

    It is obviously completely natural for humans as a whole to behave this way. It clearly hasn't harmed us as a species, we dominate the earth (although some individuals and groups have been harmed). So why be defensive about it? So what if you believe imaginary things. It works. Why do some believers feel the need to get defensive, some even claim to be skeptics and accuse non-believers of being delusional or closed minded.

    There are millions of articles of objective evidence for evolution, the Big Bang, etc. Various fields of science have corroborating evidence that all fit together into a very tight tapestry of the explanation of life. Because that doesn't consti.tute a proof, believers form belief in the minuscule gaps and say they are skeptical of the science. In almost the same breath, they can talk about the love of a God that has zero objective evidence to support it. Anyone with the tiniest bit of skepticism would question that, yet they count their skepticism of the gaps in science as skepticism.

    There is no need to apologize for believing in God. Animals live on belief. Please stop trying to wrap it in skepticism though, it is not very becoming.

    March 11, 2014 at 11:26 am |
    • Dalahäst

      I'm skeptical about you being the voice of what is and what is not becoming for skepticism.

      March 11, 2014 at 11:30 am |
      • bostontola

        Thanks for supporting my point Dalahast, you're skeptical of that, but totally accepting of an invisible God with only impact within your brain and no impact on objective reality. Selectivity is a quality of humans, select which portions of the bible to take literally, select which things to be skeptical about. It's all good.

        March 11, 2014 at 11:43 am |
        • Dalahäst

          Nope. Just because you imagine I'm totally accepting of an invisible God that only exists within my brain and has no impact on objective reality doesn't make that true.

          I mean, in your head it makes that true. But I don't live in your head. Only you do. And you really are only qualified to discuss what happens in your brain.

          Anything else just appears to be speculation and personal philosophy.

          There is also a lot of skepticism involved within the Bible. Read the Psalms, for example. Lots of doubt and questioning expressed by the authors.

          March 11, 2014 at 11:48 am |
        • bostontola

          My mistake, I thought I remembered you were certain of your God's existence.

          March 11, 2014 at 11:50 am |
        • Dalahäst

          I have trust and confidence in God. I find your philosophy kind of interesting, but I really don't have that much trust or confidence in it. I'm skeptical of your guesses.

          March 11, 2014 at 11:56 am |
        • bostontola

          What did I guess at?

          March 11, 2014 at 12:07 pm |
        • colin31714

          Hey Dalahast, has God read your mind lately and cured any diseases or otherwise intervened in human history?

          March 11, 2014 at 12:08 pm |
        • bostontola

          Btw, I'm skeptical of my guesses as well.

          March 11, 2014 at 12:32 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Hey Colin: Has science still eluded you, leaving you to wallow in religious blogs in an obviously vain attempt to feel better about yourself? You know, how you like to tell Christians you are superior to them because they can't prove God to you? And really, you don't say much more than that?

          March 11, 2014 at 12:40 pm |
        • Dalahäst


          Your guess = your thesis

          March 11, 2014 at 12:41 pm |
        • bostontola

          You think that saying the animal brain is a pattern recognizing machine is a guess? There is lots of science showing that to be the case.

          March 11, 2014 at 12:59 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          No. I don't think that is a guess. I don't think you have conducted any tests of your own to verify it. But you have faith in what other people have told you about it. I'm not saying every single thing you claim is a guess. Most of your views could be classified under a "scientific materialism" belief system.

          It seems like you are trying to scientifically explain unscientific things. That is great you are a big fan of science. But science doesn't explain everything. And one can use science to reach false ideas and to simply support preconceived notions.

          March 11, 2014 at 1:16 pm |
        • bostontola

          That is the weakest dodge of all, I personally haven't conducted the test. I have read the research, the criticism of the research, and the corroborating tests. I trust the process, it results in all the technology we use. Do you not cross bridges because you haven't personally reviewed the loads analysis?

          March 11, 2014 at 1:24 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          No, I exercise faith when crossing bridges.

          I'm really not dodging your point. I don't agree with your analysis on why religious people must believe. And, the implication that your way has science, logic and reason on your side.

          You really are just telling us things you personally believe. Not demonstrating unbunkable facts.

          March 11, 2014 at 1:55 pm |
      • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

        I am skeptical that you have any clue about who or what god is, what he likes and doesn't like or even that your god exists.

        March 11, 2014 at 12:05 pm |
    • colin31714

      Good post. I also really like your posts about math.

      March 11, 2014 at 11:51 am |
      • bostontola

        So much beauty in math. There is beauty in how math can describe nature and predict unseen aspects of nature, but the deepest beauty is in pure math. Number theory and abstract algebra is just beautiful and my favorite. There is beauty at the intro level, check it out.

        March 11, 2014 at 12:06 pm |
        • colin31714

          I used to love math at school. Loved physics too. That we could understand and predict so much about the Universe by math always struck me as inspiring. I pound into my children that they must be good at math (and I work hard with them to ensure they are).

          March 11, 2014 at 12:10 pm |
        • bostontola

          Me too. I told my kids, I don't care what you go into, but you will be good at math, it pays off in any field.

          March 11, 2014 at 12:16 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          "The three-legged stool of understanding is held up by history, languages, and mathematics. Equipped with these three you can learn anything you want to learn. But if you lack any one of them you are just another ignorant peasant with dung on your boots."
          – Robert Heinlein

          March 11, 2014 at 12:48 pm |
        • bostontola

          Great quote Doc.

          March 11, 2014 at 1:07 pm |
  5. colin31714

    Unfortunately for those enamoured by it, the prayer wrongfully (as usual) attributed to Saint Francis of Assisi is also self contradictory. It contains the plaints

    Where there is error, [let me sow] truth;
    Where there is doubt, [let me sow] faith

    Unfortunately for likeable but naive old bird nut, for so long as one relies on the false comfort of faith over healthy doubt and skepticism, one will perpetually wallow in error and never find truth. The same can be said for his wish to find light over darkness.

    The idea that "faith" is somehow admirable is one of the greatest retarding principles in human endeavor.

    Finally, I note that Saint Francis apparently believed his prayers were heard and answered. I wish I could channel a being powerful enough to create the entire Universe and its billions of galaxies and get him to use his divine powers to help me. lol.

    Then again, the good Francis lived centuries ago. There is no reason to believe this nonsense today.

    March 11, 2014 at 11:06 am |
    • Dalahäst

      Nobody really believes the nonsense you believe. I mean, look at the cold-hard facts: You repeatedly post the same things over and over on an opinion section of a national news network website dedicated to faith, religion and belief.

      You share your opinion, and then imagine it is logical and rational. It really isn't. You tell everyone it is. But you fail to demonstrate it.

      I see evidence of you failing to live up to your own ideals.

      The author of the prayer of St Francis describes a better way to live than what you offer. You offer the typical "new atheist" philosophy. It is nothing original, ground-breaking or compelling. In fact, many who used to hold such views as yours are abandoning them for something better.

      March 11, 2014 at 11:14 am |
      • In Santa We Trust

        Can you explain what is logical and rational about believing in a supernatural being for which there is no evidence? Or if you prefer looking at it backwards; can you explain what is not logical and rational about not believing in a supernatural being for which there is no evidence?

        March 11, 2014 at 11:34 am |
        • Dalahäst

          I respect a person who doesn't believe in God or has a different understanding than me.

          I don't understand a person who tells me they are logical and rational, but doesn't act logical or rational. Or the idea that being an atheist means you are rational. It has been proven that some mental disorders increase the likelihood that one might be atheist.

          I basically see evidence of Colin posting guesses based on his personal speculation. If I try to counter that, he tells me I'm scared because he proved me wrong. It is not logic, it is just personal opinions and preconceived notions.

          March 11, 2014 at 11:42 am |
        • In Santa We Trust

          " It has been proven that some mental disorders increase the likelihood that one might be atheist."

          Link to evidence?

          March 11, 2014 at 11:44 am |
        • igaftr

          "some mental disorders"

          Such as high IQ, high level of education.

          March 11, 2014 at 11:49 am |
        • Bob

          Oh the irony from our local arrogant Christian Dalahast/AE: " It is not logic, it is just personal opinions and preconceived notions." Too funny seeing him say that. ROFL.

          What is also funny is that every time anyone asks him for evidence, he dodges and changes the subject.

          Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement.
          Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.

          March 11, 2014 at 11:53 am |
        • Dalahäst

          According to a philosophy popularized by pop-scientists like Richard Dawkins and non-scientists like Christopher Hitchens – beliefs about God are irrational because they are caused by capricious cognitive mechanisms. And atheism is rational because it is the product of logical and rational reflection on cold-hard facts.

          But, atheism, in some cases, is connected with and brought about by a cognitive deficit. This report describes that finding:


          March 11, 2014 at 11:54 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          What the study seems to have found is that those who have a mental disorder in which they have difficulty empathizing with others or understanding the motivations of others also have difficulty envisioning an anthropocentric God.
          They don't understand that either people or supernatural enti/ties could be concerned with other people's thoughts.

          March 11, 2014 at 12:00 pm |
        • In Santa We Trust

          Dala, Funny how you criticize many on here for not being scientists – although some are – and the deride scientists by calling them "pop-scientists". You quote Nick Lowe but can't seem to live up to it.

          March 11, 2014 at 12:06 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Doc Vestibule

          It is an interesting study. Every once in awhile an anti-theist while start telling me they imagine my belief in God is a mental illness. That it is based in delusion or that I'm suffering from a mental deficiency & I'm acting like a child grasping onto a security blanket.

          Yet I have met people who can provide me with credentials and proof (EVIDENCE) of their expertise in the mental health field. They have stated my belief in God is not a delusion or that I'm suffering from a mental deficiency.

          Logically, I conclude that those very vocal anti-theists are the ones suffering from the afflictions they insist I suffer from. I'm also grateful most atheists are not like these people. It gives me strength and insight to see past their personal claims.

          March 11, 2014 at 12:09 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          In Santa We Trust

          Richard Dawkins is a great scientist. He also writes philosophy. I've never heard an atheists on this blog refer to any of his scientific findings. I have heard them refer to his philosophies... a lot! I've also seen sever criticisms against Dawkins for his philosophies by atheists. Some atheists agree with me on that matter.

          March 11, 2014 at 12:12 pm |
        • In Santa We Trust

          Dala, Delusion is believing in something despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. There is no evidence for your god and all the evidence we have points away from a personal god. As the creation myths are shown to be incorrect why would you believe that a god had the power to make this universe and did so for us?

          March 11, 2014 at 12:13 pm |
        • igaftr

          That "deficit" they are talking about is autism, which has a definition that is a moving target. Since I have Aspergers, I fit into the autism spectrum, but since there is such a grey area in autism, it is used like the common cold....one description fits all. There are so many layers, levels, spectra, etc. that a child labeled "normal" by one test is autistic by another, and some who have autism symptoms, are lumped in with the rest. So while this study shows autism linked to atheism, until they can get a better handle on atheism, to represent this study as mental disorder is misreprenting the basis and the findings of the study.
          for example, some forms of autism show vastly higher brain functions when dealing with issues of pure logic, but the same individual may not be able to communicate effectively.

          You should have said that there is evidence suggesting that autistic people may have a higher likelyhood of not being religiously minded, not mental disorder as you put it, implying mental illness.
          Try not to misrepresent information in the future.

          March 11, 2014 at 12:14 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          In Santa We Trust

          You are one of the ones trying to diagnose me as "delusional". Care to provide me with your credentials? It is funny, but only a few anti-theists on the web make that claim to me. Most atheists do not.

          I'm going to trust most atheists on this.

          March 11, 2014 at 12:20 pm |
        • Dalahäst


          My apologies if I offended you. I'm familiar with autism. I pretty much described what the study suggested. Not all who are atheists reach that conclusion through logic and reason. And just because some atheists have a high IQ or high education, doesn't mean all do. It would be nice if just claiming to be an atheist makes one have a high IQ, but it doesn't work that way.

          March 11, 2014 at 12:24 pm |
        • In Santa We Trust

          Delusion is believing in something despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. There is no evidence for your god and all the evidence we have points away from a personal god. As the creation myths are shown to be incorrect why would you believe that a god had the power to make this universe and did so for us?

          March 11, 2014 at 1:04 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          You personally don't have evidence for God.

          You are unqualified to make that decision for other people. Sorry.

          March 11, 2014 at 2:10 pm |
      • Doc Vestibule

        In general, non-believers don't think faith (in the religious sense) is a virtue whereas religion is predicated on faith.
        The willing suspension of critical analysis required to accept supernatural dogma as inerrant truth is anathema to the skeptical mind.
        It has turned out that through patient and diligent application of the scientific method for the last few hundred years, we have been able to provide naturalistic explanations for phenomena that were previously ascribed to the ineffable whims of the gods. "Supernatural" is a null word – one man's magic is another man's engineering.
        That being said, faith in your fellow man (including preachers) is indeed important because without faith there is no reciprocity in your relationships – and relationships are important. Having faith that your preacher is legitimately trying to do good is not the same as suppressing rational analysis so as to have faith that what he says is fact.

        There are a certain caste of believers who understand objectivity and credibility and attempt to PROVE religion, an ultimately unprovable hypothesis by its very belief-based nature. Religion is a belief, and belief is inside our heads.
        But people like that – Young Earth Creationists who stick their noses into the science classrooms and the like – these are the people who will leave behind them warped school systems and thwarted arts and science funding. They have no idea how much they are hurting the world around them, in the name of a God they have such a huge need for that they are willing to prove their belief to themselves just to be sure. But they shouldn't need to have beliefs proven; belief is subjective to begin with. If you believe it, you believe it. End of story.
        The world doesn't work how we want it to work. The world is. We can only describe it, and chronicle its workings. God is an explanation for the reason behind the Universe's existence, something which is unknowable and has no relation to what happens in the Universe. Heaven can't exist here, so why believe it can? Why not find out what can exist here, and try to go there instead?

        March 11, 2014 at 11:49 am |
        • Dalahäst

          + Heaven can't exist here, so why believe it can?

          I've experienced what Jesus described as heaven here on Earth.

          + Why not find out what can exist here, and try to go there instead?

          That is what I'm trying to carry out. I hope you are practicing what you preach.

          March 11, 2014 at 12:01 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          What did Jesus describe as "Heaven on Earth"?
          Was your experience with it subjective or objective?

          March 11, 2014 at 12:03 pm |
        • colin31714

          Doc, I can answer that. I was 15 and I had just watched a great episode of Pamela Anderson in Baywatch. I went to bed and found Jesus about 15 minutes later.......

          March 11, 2014 at 12:14 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          "Heaven on Earth"

          I've seen rich men and women serving homeless people food in an old church in a bad part of town on a cold day. The homeless raised their hands for more water or rolls and someone was there to fulfill their wants. It reminded me of Jesus saying in Heaven the first will be last and the last will be first.

          Seeing people act like that is following the part of the Lord's Prayer: "Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven."

          You post is subjective. Just like mine.

          March 11, 2014 at 12:18 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          You see – our definitions of Heaven in this instance are fundamentally different.
          I was more referring to the aetheric plane of perfect bliss as described by most Christians.
          You are describing Heaven as Earth as the warm fuzzies we get from seeing (or participating in) genuine charity.
          Belief in the supernatural is not required to live a life of compassion, humility, charity and forgiveness.
          Atheist in belief – Christian in action. I think that is far more common than many religionists are willing to admit.
          Observe Doctors Without Borders, for example

          March 11, 2014 at 12:30 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          "the aetheric plane of perfect bliss as described by most Christians."

          Uh, I actually here more atheists describe it that way than Christians.

          Doctors without Borders is a great program. But it is not an atheist program. Many religious people keep that program running, in addition to atheists.

          I work closely with a secular charity – there are definitely people of different faiths, beliefs and non-beliefs coming together to work for a good cause. Nobody ever suggests their work is better than mine, like unfortunately some do on this blog.

          No, I'm not describing Heaven simply as the warm fuzzies we get from seeing (or participating in) genuine charity.

          I'm saying in God's Kingdom things will be different. It won't be about just warm fuzzies.

          I know belief in the supernatural is not required to live a life of compassion, humility, charity and forgiveness. People tell me that all the time. Some people don't carry it out, but they seem to love to tell me they theoretically can without God.

          March 11, 2014 at 12:52 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          I didn't say Doctors Without Borders is an "atheist" organization – but it is expressly secular.
          People who prosthelytize in that organization are promptly kicked out when discovered.

          But does professing religion mean a group is necessarily charitable? Or even more charitable than their secular counterparts?
          At the beginning of the 21st Century, 604 of 4,573 hospitals were religious.
          Of those, most are mergers with public hospitals.
          For their funding, 36% comes from Medicare, 12% from Medicaid, 31% from county money, 30% from financial investments and the remaining 5% from charitable donations.
          The percentage of Church funding for Church-run hospitals comes to a grand total of 0.0015 percent.
          Are those religious hospitals more charitable to their patients? Nope.
          Less than 2% of their patients are charity cases as compared to 5% of secular public hospitals.
          (source: Uttley, L. J, “No strings attached: Public funding of religiously-sponsored hospitals in the United States,” Mergerwatch)

          The #1 Charity Organization in the US is the secular United Way.
          The best, most effective charities ignore religion.

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

          [...]Doctors Without Borders, is a French-founded (now international and federal) secular humanitarian-aid non-governmental organization, and Nobel Peace Prize laureate[...]

          From wiki.
          Google atheist charities and DWB is almost always #1. Of course some believers in God donate; but DWB cannot be termed a religious org; the common argument that only Christians are charitable is belied by DWB's existence.

          Of course there are doctors who are religious that are with DWB. Of course there are religious folks that donate to DWB. But it cannot be termed a religious org. It isn't.

          March 11, 2014 at 1:31 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          I wouldn't mind having the $700,000 a year salary United Way pays its CEO.

          March 11, 2014 at 2:09 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          Religion based prejudice can even hinder charitable efforts.
          To wit:
          During the first Gulf War, in a desolate and godforsaken part of the world, Isikveren, in the mountain that divides Turkey and Iraq there was an encampment of 160,000 Kurdish refugees. They fled Iraq and crossed into Turkey to escape the genocidal revenge of Saddam.
          There was a team of 6 US Special Forces soldiers, 2 US and 1 Canadian Air Force Para Rescuemen on site.
          They were overwhelmed by the desolation.
          They set up a tent and said they would provide medical aid to children under one year of age. The infants were dying of dehydration. The water was foul causing nausea and diarrhea and thus dehydration. They could not be rehydrated. Water by mouth caused choking. They tried starting IVs but the children were so terribly dehydrated, veins could not be found.
          That first night, 40 infants died in a single tent, but the soldiers did not quit.
          Eventually, media attention helped spur a massive international outpouring of supplies and support. A coalition of NATO countries banded together for what became known as Operation Provide Comfort.
          Among the corporations who contributed was the Levi Strauss company, who donated hundreds of articles of clothing to help the Kurdish people survive in the harsh cold of the mountain nights.

          But the Kurds refused the clothing.
          They would rather their all ready sick and debilitated children suffer hypothermia than wear an article clothing manufactured by a company with a Jewish name like "Levi".

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

          No sh.t. Lots of charities have failed to live up to their ideals: both secular and religious ones.

          Do you live up to your own ideals, Doc? That is the most important thing I can focus on. I can't worry what other religious and atheist crimes others have done in the name of charity. I can learn from them. See that it isn't the fault of religion or atheism. It is mostly tied to human nature. Self-centeredness like greed and envy lead to charities failures.

          I hope you are carrying out a good example. I've met many atheists and non-religious that are. They even work with my church (not against us).

          March 11, 2014 at 2:57 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          The example I gave is not one of a charity failing to live up to its mandate.

          It is the people to whom charity was being given refusing to accept life saving assistance because of idiotic religious bigotry.

          March 11, 2014 at 3:02 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Yes, that has happened. Not all religious charities are guilty of that. Secular charities are guilty of worst crimes, yet I know not all should be judged by the actions of a few.

          March 11, 2014 at 4:19 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Religious charities are guilty of worst crimes, too, fyi.

          March 11, 2014 at 4:20 pm |
  6. Frank

    Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace;
    Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
    Where there is injury, pardon;
    Where there is error, truth;
    Where there is doubt, faith;
    Where there is despair, hope;
    Where there is darkness, light;And where there is sadness, joy.
    O Divine Master, Grant that I may not so much seekTo be consoled as to console;
    To be understood as to understand;
    To be loved as to love.
    For it is in giving that we receive;It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
    And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

    –Saint Francis

    March 11, 2014 at 8:34 am |
    • Frank

      Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
      Where there is injury, pardon;
      Where there is error, truth;
      Where there is doubt, faith;
      Where there is despair, hope;
      Where there is darkness, light


      March 11, 2014 at 8:42 am |
    • Dalahäst

      That is a beautiful prayer.

      March 11, 2014 at 8:44 am |
    • kudlak

      Where there is error, truth;

      St. Francis must have just assumed that the Church was always on the side of truth, where history has shown otherwise.

      March 11, 2014 at 10:04 am |
    • In Santa We Trust

      People can and do behave in that way without imagined beings watching over them.

      March 11, 2014 at 10:21 am |
    • Reality

      St. Francis did not write said prayer/song. Nice sentiment but so is a lot of wishful thinking.

      March 11, 2014 at 10:22 am |
      • Reality

        From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

        "The Prayer of Saint Francis is a Catholic Christian prayer. It is widely but erroneously attributed to the 13th-century saint Francis of Assisi. The prayer in its present form cannot be traced back further than 1912, when it was printed in Paris in French, in a small spiritual magazine called La Clochette (The Little Bell), published by La Ligue de la Sainte-Messe (The Holy Mass League). The author's name was not given, although it may have been the founder of La Ligue, Fr. Esther Bouquerel."

        March 11, 2014 at 10:25 am |
        • igaftr

          The prayer was found on a card that bore Francis' name, author unknown, so they named it for Francis.

          March 11, 2014 at 10:27 am |
        • Dalahäst

          "Francis of Assisi may not have written the words of the prayer attributed to him, but he certainly lived them. Everyone who is able to read and understand these words, moreover, readily sees that they communicate the heart of the Gospels and capture what is most essential in the world’s great religions."

          – Friar Jack Wintz

          March 11, 2014 at 10:54 am |
        • Reality

          Or considering all the embellishments and myths/legends of religion (Francis for example supposedly had visions of Jesus, heard his voice and suffered the stigmata), Francis' life in 21st century terms was therefore very embellished. (or was he suffering hallucinations from all the drinking etc. before his first "vision"??). No doubt said hallucinations are a more plausible view today.

          March 11, 2014 at 11:37 am |
  7. TruthPrevails1

    In other news:
    Neil deGrasse Tyson tells CNN: Stop giving ‘equal time to the flat Earthers’

    “Our civilization is built on the innovation of scientists and technologists and engineers who have shaped everything that we so take for granted today,” Tyson pointed out. “So some of the science deniers or science haters, these are people who are telling that to you while they are on their mobile phone.”

    “They are saying, ‘I don’t like science. Oh, GPS just told us to go left,’” he laughed. “So it’s time for people to sit back and reassess what role science as actually played in our lives. And learn how to embrace that going forward, because with out it, we will just regress back into the caves.”

    Read more:

    March 10, 2014 at 10:50 pm |
  8. Akira

    Testing again.

    March 10, 2014 at 8:32 pm |
    • Akira


      March 10, 2014 at 8:34 pm |
      • midwest rail

        Welcome back !

        March 10, 2014 at 8:41 pm |
        • Akira


          March 10, 2014 at 8:51 pm |
  9. thefinisher1

    Atheism is a false religion. Beware of its satanic influences.

    March 10, 2014 at 5:15 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers


      verb (used with object), de·mon·ized, de·mon·iz·ing.
      to turn into a demon or make demonlike.

      to subject to the influence of demons.

      Oh..and uh.....Hail Satan...

      March 10, 2014 at 5:35 pm |
    • bostontola

      All religions are false religions.

      March 10, 2014 at 6:05 pm |
    • TruthPrevails1

      Satan is part of your cult...he is strictly your imaginary friends enemy, nothing to do with us!

      March 10, 2014 at 10:51 pm |
  10. Doris

    born-again evangelical Christians in the News (Huffington Post):
    In a bizarre comparison, Foster Friess, the multi-millionaire mega funder of Rick Santorum’s 2012 presidential run, said gay marriage is among “a number of social and cultural issues” that the country is “migrating” toward, including “out-of-wedlock” births, which he appeared to suggest had led to more murders in Chicago and “has cost our society dearly in terms of imprisonment.”

    In an interview with me on SiriusXM Progress at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on Friday in National Harbor, Md., Friess, who said he’d back Santorum for a presidential run again in 2016, talked about what he views as a different set of values the Republican Party has from those America is embracing, and said the party would have to make a decision about which way to go. Friess has been criticized in the past for his support of anti-Muslim groups. And in 2012, during Santorum’s campaign, he created an uproar with remarks about contraception (for which he later apologized), in which he said that in his day, women “used Bayer aspirin for contraceptives. The gals put it between their knees, and it wasn’t that costly.”

    March 10, 2014 at 4:46 pm |
    • Doris

      (note to self – file under Insanitorum)

      March 10, 2014 at 4:48 pm |
      • Austin

        Migrating? Aspirin? Really?

        What did you learn at school today?

        March 10, 2014 at 9:05 pm |
        • Austin

          I am behind on child support. Can't afford bayer aspirin and my new girlfriend is pregnant.

          We can still get high in prison.

          March 10, 2014 at 9:07 pm |
        • Akira

          You should learn to cap it before you tap it.

          March 10, 2014 at 9:25 pm |
    • dandintac

      On one level, I HOPE Santorum runs. If he does, I'm going to take every wacky quote I can find and post them on every Internet blog I can find. I will trumpet his nuttiness from one end of cyberspace to the other. It will be my mission in life. My message? This is the best Christianity can give us for a politician. This is what we are facing if we allow Christians to take over our government. This is what we would face, if we truly become a "Christian Nation." I am sure many others will do the same. I am confident that a solid majority of Americans, even religious ones, will reject this vision. Santorum's candidacy will mean an easier path to power for his opposition.

      However, on the other hand I wonder. What if the Republican party finds ways to manipulate the election? What if Clinton were to run a lackluster campaign, because she assumes she has it in the bag? What if some red states fix it to give Santorum their electors? Look at 2001 and George W's selection by the Supreme Court. There are ways–especially if the election is close. And that makes me nervous. Bad as Bush was, I fear Santorum could be America's version of the Ayatollah Khomeini.

      March 10, 2014 at 11:40 pm |
  11. Doris

    In the news (Washington Post):

    The [U.S.] Supreme Court on Monday let stand a Virginia court’s [VA Supreme Court] ruling that the Episcopal Church owns the historic property known as the Falls Church, the subject of a bitter, multimillion-dollar property dispute with a conservative congregation that left the denomination.

    The justices gave no reason for declining to review the decision of the Virginia Supreme Court that the 3,000-member congregation, which voted in 2006 to leave the Episcopal Church, did not have the right to keep the sprawling property known as the Falls Church.

    The Falls Church property is one of the country’s largest Episcopal churches and is a landmark in downtown Falls Church.

    The breakaway congregation, now called the Falls Church Anglican, has been worshiping in the Bishop O’Connell High School auditorium in Arlington County while it sought to overturn lower court decisions.

    Virginia’s high court ruled that the property belongs to the mainline denomination but said some of the nearly $3 million in church coffers belongs to the Falls Church Anglican congregation.

    Falls Church, VA, is just outside of Washington, D.C., where gay weddings are currently performed at Washington National Cathedral (seat of the presiding Bishop of the Episcopal church in the U.S.).

    March 10, 2014 at 3:57 pm |
    • Alias

      Somehow, the behavior of those christians doesn't sound much like how jesus told them to act.

      March 10, 2014 at 4:28 pm |
      • Peaceadvocate2014


        Human sins amplified by the media. News nowadays are like tabliod news, no public service anymore. Not the medias fault but partly ours. We rather hear the arrest of Justin Beiber than our survelilance policy.

        March 10, 2014 at 7:06 pm |
        • sam stone

          sin is a man made concept that does not apply outside of the religion defining the "sin"

          March 10, 2014 at 8:02 pm |
        • kudlak

          To be clear, it's human nature to act selfishly and to hurt others in order to benefit oneself. "Sin", however, is generally understood as offences against some god personally, or its peculiar alien sense of what human morality ought to be. Why we should submit to the judgment of some alien being is beyond me.

          March 11, 2014 at 10:23 am |
        • Peaceadvocate2014


          If it pls u, human wrong doing.

          March 11, 2014 at 6:53 pm |
        • Peaceadvocate2014


          Its human nature but it does not mean its right. Right? Unless being selfish to you is justified. Did you hear of the word sharing? You may not have been introduced to the concept.

          March 11, 2014 at 6:58 pm |
  12. snuffleupagus

    Dla said""And that people who disagree with me provide theories that are just as varied and inconsistent is also curious to me. And they all seem very certain of themselves. I strive to not be so certain and keep my mind open." And right there the man lied through his teeth. Lol. Were your fingers crossed, Dala?

    March 10, 2014 at 3:31 pm |
    • Dalahäst

      No, I'm not lying. I honestly have had a variety of different theories and explanations provided to me by some people on here. Some are claiming they know the truth about what and how I believe. Those I usually dismiss because they are claiming to be certain about something they don't have enough information about to make such a claim. Some are offering different viewpoints and there understandings. Those I appreciate and keep an open mind about. Even if I don't or can't agree or accept what is being suggested, I can still respect other's beliefs. Which is something I strive to do.

      March 10, 2014 at 3:58 pm |
      • Reality

        Again Dalahast, to know the truth you must review the historical Jesus studies. How is that coming?

        March 10, 2014 at 6:57 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Reviewing the historical Jesus studies is important. I'm not sure if it reveals "the truth" as you describe it. You definitely are not an expert on the subject. If I ever need advice on how to copy and paste the same things repeatedly I will get in touch with you. That is the only thing you have demonstrated you are qualified to discuss.

          March 10, 2014 at 7:00 pm |
        • Reality

          Obviously, Dalahast refuses to read and learn. If he changes his mind, a collection of references used in my personal pursuit of the truth:

          o 1. Historical Jesus Theories, earlychristianwritings.com/theories.html – the names of many of the contemporary historical Jesus scholars and the ti-tles of their over 100 books on the subject.

          2. Early Christian Writings, earlychristianwritings.com/
          – a list of early Christian doc-uments to include the year of publication–

          30-60 CE Passion Narrative
          40-80 Lost Sayings Gospel Q
          50-60 1 Thessalonians
          50-60 Philippians
          50-60 Galatians
          50-60 1 Corinthians
          50-60 2 Corinthians
          50-60 Romans
          50-60 Philemon
          50-80 Colossians
          50-90 Signs Gospel
          50-95 Book of Hebrews
          50-120 Didache
          50-140 Gospel of Thomas
          50-140 Oxyrhynchus 1224 Gospel
          50-200 Sophia of Jesus Christ
          65-80 Gospel of Mark
          70-100 Epistle of James
          70-120 Egerton Gospel
          70-160 Gospel of Peter
          70-160 Secret Mark
          70-200 Fayyum Fragment
          70-200 Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs
          73-200 Mara Bar Serapion
          80-100 2 Thessalonians
          80-100 Ephesians
          80-100 Gospel of Matthew
          80-110 1 Peter
          80-120 Epistle of Barnabas
          80-130 Gospel of Luke
          80-130 Acts of the Apostles
          80-140 1 Clement
          80-150 Gospel of the Egyptians
          80-150 Gospel of the Hebrews
          80-250 Christian Sibyllines
          90-95 Apocalypse of John
          90-120 Gospel of John
          90-120 1 John
          90-120 2 John
          90-120 3 John
          90-120 Epistle of Jude
          93 Flavius Josephus
          100-150 1 Timothy
          100-150 2 Timothy
          100-150 T-itus
          100-150 Apocalypse of Peter
          100-150 Secret Book of James
          100-150 Preaching of Peter
          100-160 Gospel of the Ebionites
          100-160 Gospel of the Nazoreans
          100-160 Shepherd of Hermas
          100-160 2 Peter

           4. Jesus Database, http://www.faithfutures.o-rg/JDB/intro.html –"The JESUS DATABASE is an online a-nnotated inventory of the traditions concerning the life and teachings of Jesus that have survived from the first three centuries of the Common Era. It includes both canonical and extra-canonical materials, and is not limited to the traditions found within the Christian New Testament."
          5. Josephus on Jesus mtio.com/articles/bis-sar24.htm
          6. The Jesus Seminar, http://en.wikipedia.o-rg/wiki/Jesus_Seminar
          7. http://www.biblicalartifacts.com/items/785509/item785509biblicalartifacts.html – books on the health and illness during the time of the NT
          8. Economics in First Century Palestine, K.C. Hanson and D. E. Oakman, Palestine in the Time of Jesus, Fortress Press, 1998.
          9.The Gn-ostic Jesus
          (Part One in a Two-Part Series on A-ncient and Modern G-nosticism)
          by Douglas Gro-othuis: http://www.equip.o-rg/articles/g-nosticism-and-the-g-nostic-jesus/
          10. The interpretation of the Bible in the Church, Pontifical Biblical Commission
          Presented on March 18, 1994
          11. The Jesus Database- newer site:
          12. Jesus Database with the example of S-u-pper and Eucharist:
          13. Josephus on Jesus by Paul Maier:
          13. http://www.textweek.com/mtlk/jesus.htmm- Historical Jesus Studies
          14. The Greek New Testament: laparola.net/greco/
          15. D-iseases in the Bible:

          16. Religion on- Line (6000 a-rt-ic-les on the hi-story of religion, churches, theologies,
          theologians, eth-ics, etc. religion-online.o–rg/
          17. The New Testament Gateway – Internet NT n-tgate-way.com/
          18 Writing the New Testament- e-xi-sting copies, o–r–al tradition etc.

          March 10, 2014 at 7:05 pm |
        • Reality

          Dalahast, added references collected over the years are available after you finished perusing the previous 18.

          March 10, 2014 at 7:07 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Obviously, I'm familiar with those sites, but I'm pulling your chain for repeatedly c/ping the same things toward me.

          March 10, 2014 at 7:12 pm |
        • Reality

          Being familiar with the studies does not get you to the truth. One must peruse the studies. Let us know when you finish the first 18 so that you can start on the rest.

          One result of my studies of said and analogous docu-ments as noted many times to save you time if you care not to find the truth on your own:

          Putting the kibosh on all religion in less than ten seconds: Priceless !!!

          • 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?, tinkerbells? etc) exist that we, as mortals, cannot comprehend makes for a no on Sikhism.

          Added details available upon written request.

          March 10, 2014 at 11:58 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Who is "us"? Are there like 2 or 3 of you guys posting these same things over and over?

          I know you are not talking about atheists when you say "us". And I don't think you mean people like Professor Crossan when you say "us", because he believes in God. Do you believe in God like Crossan?

          March 11, 2014 at 12:17 am |
        • Reality

          Professor Crossan believes in his version of god but not in your resurrected god. Nor does he believe in life after death. So now we have another human-generated god i.e. Crossan's version. And please add Bill Gates and Warren Buffett to the "atheist" we/us list. More of us are listed below:


          Religion………………………… Adherents

          Christianity ……………………..2.1 billion ( with 100's of varieties out there)

          Islam…………………………… 1.5 billion (divided 80/20 into Sunnis and Shiites who kill each other everyday to "honor" their version of god)

          Irreligious/agnostic/atheism…… 1.1 billion (here we come)

          Hinduism 900 million

          Chinese traditional religion 394 million
          Buddhism 376 million
          Animist religions 300 million
          African traditional/diasporic religions 100 million
          Sikhism 23 million
          Juche 19 million
          Spiritism 15 million

          Judaism…………………………………….. 14 million

          Baha'i 7 million
          Jainism 4.2 million
          Shinto 4 million
          Cao Dai 4 million
          Zoroastrianism 2.6 million
          Tenrikyo 2 million
          Neo-Paganism 1 million
          Unitarian Universalism 800,000
          Rastafari Movement 600,000

          March 11, 2014 at 7:41 am |
        • Reality

          And you asked about my belief in some god. My answer again in summary form as generated from seeking the truth:

          The Apostles'/Agnostics’/Atheists' Creed 2014: (updated by yours truly and based on the studies of historians and theologians of the past 200 years)

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

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

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

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

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


          March 11, 2014 at 7:45 am |
        • Dalahäst

          None of those people you mention as "us" are anti-theists.

          You only speak for yourself. If you claimed to speak for Warren Buffett or Bill Gates, and in the very slim chance one of them saw one of your rants, I'm fairly confident they would not support your tactics or message.

          You just keep copying and pasting the exact same thing for over a year now. Please, be more like Warren Buffett or Bill Gates. Study how they engage in conversation and communicate. Get back to us after you have learned these basic human skills.

          March 11, 2014 at 8:59 am |
        • colin31714

          In about three years of posting, I have never seen "Reality" rant. All he does is lay out the facts. Cold hard facts that demonstrate the implausibility of the various sky-gods, reincarnation myths, deities, spirits, angels and other childish supernatural nonsense that the weak minded are enthralled by.

          In a sense, atheism is nothing more than the recognition that there is no Christian, Hindu, Muslim, Native American or other god looking out for us and that we have to stand on our own two feet like rational adults, rather than cling to ancient mythology like blanket grasping children.

          March 11, 2014 at 10:16 am |
        • Reality

          Some added references for anyone seeking the truth about the historic Jesus:

          19. JD Crossan's c-onclusions about the a-uthencity of most of the NT based on the above plus the c-onclusions of other NT e-xege-tes in the last 200 years:
          20. Early Jewish Writings- Josephus and his books by t-itle with the complete translated work in English :earlyjewishwritings.com/josephus.html
          21. Luke and Josephus- was there a c-onnection?
          22. NT and beyond time line:
          23. St. Paul's Time line with discussion of important events:
          24. See http://www.amazon.com for a list of JD Crossan's books and those of the other Jesus Seminarians: Reviews of said books are included and selected pages can now be viewed on Amazon. Some books can be found on-line at Google Books.
          25. Father Edward Schillebeeckx's words of wisdom as found in his books.
          27. The books of the following : Professors Gerd Ludemann, Marcus Borg, Paula Fredriksen, Elaine Pagels, Karen Armstrong and Bishop NT Wright.
          28. Father Raymond Brown's An Introduction to the New Testament, Doubleday, NY, 1977, 878 pages, with Nihil obstat and Imprimatur.
          29. Luke Timothy Johnson's book The Real Jesus

          March 11, 2014 at 10:32 am |
        • Dalahäst

          Colin, you are "Reality" basically do the same thing, so it is not surprising you admire him. You both have expressed you are so concerned about "new readers" you feel justified in spamming the boards. Yet "new readers" hardly ever respond to your c/ps. Most are wise not to engage in conversation with an internet atheists obviously trolling for Christians. The funniest thing I saw the other day is when you guys were copying and pasting things to each other in a thread. 🙂

          He has repeatedly copied and pasted the same things toward me – ranting about professor Crossan's books and insisting I read them. When I point out that Crossan is not an atheist nor anti-religious like "Reality" is, he copies and pastes a rant where he declares he has debunked all the world's religions.

          Most atheists are not anti-theists like you. Some atheists look at you as a guy like you childishly grasping to your own blanket of self-described superiority.

          March 11, 2014 at 11:00 am |
        • Dalahäst

          You *and "Reality".

          (Although lately I've been wondering if you actually are the poster self-described as "Reality".

          March 11, 2014 at 11:05 am |
        • colin31714

          Dalahast – I wish I were as well read on the historical Jesus and early Christianity as he apparently is.

          March 11, 2014 at 11:08 am |
        • Dalahäst

          I wish he could act less robot-like and discuss a topic like a human being. I wish he could demonstrate that he actually reads the articles and can respond appropriately.

          Anyone can copy and paste links to websites that support his ideas. Ironically, many of the websites he uses also post view and ideas he adamantly disagrees with. And he refuses to acknowledge or discuss such issues. He just cherry picks what he agrees with, and ignores the rest.

          March 11, 2014 at 11:17 am |
        • Reality

          And obviously, Dalahast will not read the cited references and will not pay attention to the summaries/reiterations of said references. Tis a free world at least in the West so that the way it is. We tried to bring him the truth but failed. It will not be the first or the last failure but we will continue on our quest to make life as simple as possible for all who care.

          And finally:

          "It is fantastic how the historical, attestation and archeological testing agree with the reality of it all e.g. no prophets/prophecies, no "wingy pretty/ugly thingies", no 24/7 blood sacrifices, no limbo, no "glory bodies", no global floods, no magic gardens, no talking snakes, no Abraham, no Moses, no ascensions/assumptions and no guilt trips via sins of the mythical parents.

          Bless the evolutionary gifts of Free Will, Reasoning and Future!!!

          March 11, 2014 at 11:51 am |
        • Dalahäst

          Obviously you say obviously a lot.

          "I was barked at by numerous dogs who are earning their food guarding ignorance and superst.ition for the benefit of those who profit from it. Then there are the fanatical atheists whose intolerance is of the same kind as the intolerance of the religious fanatics and comes from the same source. They are like slaves who are still feeling the weight of their chains which they have thrown off after hard struggle. They are creatures who—in their grudge against the traditional "opium of the people"—cannot bear the music of the spheres. The Wonder of nature does not become smaller because one cannot measure it by the standards of human moral and human aims." – Albert Einstein

          Obviously Einstein was talking about people like you and Colin in that quote. Obviously such behavior and tactics you display are nothing new or compelling.

          Obviously Ctrl-V.

          March 11, 2014 at 12:28 pm |
        • Reality

          And obviously, Dalahast is a fanatical theist whose mind is closed to the studies of many contemporary NT scholars. But brainwashing from birth is a hard thing to deprogram. We will continue our attempts to deprogram the likes of Dalahast in pursuit of a rational world with these words:

          As good students, you have read the reiterations of the "fems" (flaws, errors, muck and stench) of religion. Therefore the seeds have been planted in rich soil. Go therefore and preach the truth to all nations, reiterating as you go amongst the lost, bred, born and brainwashed souls of Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism as Rational Thinking makes its triumphant return all because of you!!!!

          March 11, 2014 at 3:13 pm |
  13. Peaceadvocate2014

    If only we have a way of knowing definitively that a person is telling the truth, then there is no need for God. Becuase we humans would make the right decisions in our courts everytime, anytime.

    I understnad we have developed a few mechanism, but still not perfect.

    Only way is to have perfect morals. Honor system. A reality only dreamed of.

    March 10, 2014 at 3:24 pm |
    • Doris

      That's just, well nuts.

      March 10, 2014 at 3:31 pm |
      • Peaceadvocate2014

        Imagine A criminal saying yes i did it. Im sorry. I wont do it again. Perfect rigth?

        March 10, 2014 at 4:14 pm |
        • sam stone

          Imagine an evangelist saying "you're chumps, you deserve to lose your money"

          March 10, 2014 at 8:13 pm |
        • Peaceadvocate2014

          Imagine you believing its true 🙂

          March 11, 2014 at 6:50 pm |
        • Peaceadvocate2014

          Imagine if youre the chump who believe you could buy your way to salvation.

          March 11, 2014 at 11:58 pm |
        • Peaceadvocate2014

          Imagine if youre the chump that use that money to show compassion to the less fortunate.

          March 12, 2014 at 12:03 am |
    • bostontola

      "If only we have a way of knowing definitively that a person is telling the truth, then there is no need for God. Becuase we humans would make the right decisions in our courts everytime, anytime.
      I understnad we have developed a few mechanism, but still not perfect."
      Our moral systems have gotten better and better over time. We learn, we are the survivors.

      "Only way is to have perfect morals. Honor system. A reality only dreamed of."
      I disagree. The morality system laid out in the bible was state of the art bronze age. We have advanced far beyond it. The moral systems in most of the developed world is much better than biblical morality in my opinion. I don't want to be able to enslave people, subjugate people, etc.

      March 10, 2014 at 3:37 pm |
      • Peaceadvocate2014


        I agree our moral system have improved. We do not sacrifice humans anymore, a human act to show a greater belief. Does not mean it was the teaching of God. We do not stone people to death any more like in the Old testament, coz of Jesus example.

        We had women right to vote, environmental protection act, disability act, etc.

        We have improved in a lot of ways.,although humans are not perfect , we try, because there is goodness in all human beings. Some may just be lost. Like i said we also have evil tendencies, governing tendencies is in the hands of humans like you and me.

        Do you think Jesus had something to do with our moral and social development? I know your going to say others come up with this prior to Jesus but not prior to God. I would say humans without guidance tried to do it by establishing ethics or confucianism to be a good human but it does not address evil doers. I think we should.

        March 10, 2014 at 4:43 pm |
        • Peaceadvocate2014

          Addressing evil doers persuant to the guidance by God.

          March 10, 2014 at 4:53 pm |
        • Peaceadvocate2014

          Thatis for us to know.....you know 🙂

          March 10, 2014 at 9:15 pm |
    • Alias

      If people had perfect morals, we wouldn't need a court system.

      March 10, 2014 at 4:03 pm |
    • igaftr

      Everyones morals are different. If you try morality in courtrooms, you must take in why an individual did a certain thing. There is a lot of gray area there. When is killing justified, should there be leniency for a man who murders his daughters ra.p.ist when the ra.p.ist gets off on a technicality, and she gets harrassed daily by him, and they have exhausted every legal means?...what is moral...there is black and whiter, with infinite shades of gray. sometimes...the truth of something is not always so cut and dry.

      March 10, 2014 at 4:14 pm |
      • Peaceadvocate2014


        Why is morality differ from one to another?

        It should not.

        March 10, 2014 at 4:48 pm |
        • dandintac

          That's right. Objective Morality should be unchanging–right?

          So when God orders the genocide of the Midianites in the Book of Numbers, it is just as immoral as when Hitler orders the genocide of the Jews.

          March 10, 2014 at 5:05 pm |
        • Peaceadvocate2014


          God did not order genocide, humans did.

          March 10, 2014 at 6:30 pm |
        • observernow


          Which human ordered the Great Flood that killed all but EIGHT people?

          March 10, 2014 at 6:35 pm |
        • Peaceadvocate2014

          We could blame God for it, if the flood truely happened or blame the weather. God may do it again or the weather.

          Gods way of starting fresh. Like revelation. If you belive in that.

          March 10, 2014 at 7:13 pm |
        • observernow


          "Gods way of starting fresh"

          Sounds like a euphemism for "God so badly misjudged how things would turn out that he had to scrap nearly everything" if you believe in that.

          March 10, 2014 at 7:20 pm |
        • joey3467

          At least Peaceadvocate is willing to admit that there are errors in the Bible. For example he has admitted that the following verse is in error:

          And Samuel said to Saul, “The Lord sent me to anoint you king over his people Israel; now therefore listen to the words of the Lord. Thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘I have noted what Amalek did to Israel in opposing them on the way when they came up out of Egypt. Now go and strike Amalek and devote to destruction all that they have. Do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.’”

          So peaceadvocate, did god order the genocide as the Bible clearly states, or is the Bible wrong?

          March 11, 2014 at 12:22 pm |
        • Peaceadvocate2014


          There could be a lot of euphemism, one is there are only eight people who inderstand the teaching Of god, thereby, sending the rest into damantion. Not really sure Gods reasoning but I could presume it is for the advancement of morality.

          March 11, 2014 at 7:07 pm |
        • Peaceadvocate2014


          I said written text in the bible may have errors coz it was written by humans. Why?

          Remember, the old testament is mostly written by Kings or prophets to advance their belief. They would not write something against their belief. Its like Bush justifying his war on iraq. Of course hes gonna say God told him so.

          That is why we read, study and analyze any written text, not just the bible, to determine its validity and form our own conclusions. Think for ourselves. Determine what is moral. We make mistakes but we keep developing our moral applications. Gods teaching.

          March 11, 2014 at 7:15 pm |
        • dandintac


          Have you actually read Numbers?

          Numbers 25 16-17: "and the Lord spoke unto Moses, saying, vex the Midianites, and smite them.
          Numbers 31 1-2: "And the Lord spoke unto Moses, saying, Avenge the children of Israel of the Midianites; afterward shalt thou be gathered unto thy people.
          Numbers 31 7: "And they warred against the Midianites, as the Lord commanded Moses..."

          Moses, the Lord's prophet, commanded the Israelite army to slay all of them, women and children too, except for the virgin girls, whom the soldiers could keep as se-x slaves. (Numbers 31-18).

          This is just ONE of the genocides ordered by God. Shall I list others?

          Now. If genocide was okay then, why isn't it okay for the Nazis? Is morality objective or not? If God has ordered it multiple times before, on what basis can you claim it is immoral? Especially objectively–always–immoral?

          See–I believe when we say "immoral" we mean that which is harmful. For me, morality IS objective. For you, it is subjective, because it changes with God's whim. He has no standard–certainly none that has been explained in The Bible. Just whatever interpretation seems to suit the Christians living in a particular time. Your morality is subjective. All you have to do is say that God wants this or God wants this–and then, anything is possible or permissible.

          March 12, 2014 at 11:20 pm |
  14. Reality

    I recommended the following to Dalahast but it should be of interest to all those who might be interested in what some of the contemporary NT scholars have concluded about the scriptures.

    Might want to start with Professor Crossan's books, "Who is Jesus" followed by his "The Historical Jesus" followed by his "Excavating Jesus". Other excellent studies are reviewed at Historical Jesus Theories, earlychristianwritings.com/theories.html – the names of many of the contemporary historical Jesus scholars and the ti-tles of their over 100 books on the subject.

    March 10, 2014 at 3:24 pm |
    • Dalahäst

      " He’s not anti-religion

      Even critics who strongly disagree with Crossan said he has a deep Christian spirituality and a passion for the Bible."

      There is an article about him for many years ago. And look: there is one of your copy and pastes at the top. lulz


      March 10, 2014 at 4:10 pm |
      • Reality


        Thanks for noting that important topic. As referenced by Dalahast:

        Only for the new members: (and an topic that needs thu-mping to counter the 2000 years of Christian mumbo jumbo_

        And now the nitty-gritty of it all:

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

        The Situation Today

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

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

        March 10, 2014 at 5:59 pm |
        • Reality

          And as noted on p. 13:

          Crossan is an ex- RCC priest who does not believe in the resurrection. He considers himself to be a Christian but that is a stretch considering the following:

          From that famous passage: In 1 Corinthians 15: 14, Paul reasoned, "If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith."

          An added note: As per R.B. Stewart in his introduction to the recent book, The Resurrection of Jesus, Crossan and Wright in Dialogue,

          p. 168

          "Even so, asking historical questions is our responsibility. Did Jesus really rise from the tomb? Is it necessary to have been raised from the tomb and to appear to his disciples in order to explain the rise of early church and the transcription of the bible? Crossan answers no, Wright answers, yes.

          March 10, 2014 at 6:03 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Ctrl V

          March 10, 2014 at 6:08 pm |
  15. Vic

    ♰ ♰ ♰ Jesus Christ Is Lord ♰ ♰ ♰

    Christianity is the only belief system that proclaims Time Dispensation and Redemption by Grace. Other belief systems proclaim merit-based redemption that leads you into a state of constant contemplation of keeping scores and self-righteousness. Salvation by the Grace of God in Christianity puts Jesus Christ center stage and leads the believer into a state of constant reverence for and personal relationship with God. Jesus Christ is our focus.

    March 10, 2014 at 1:37 pm |
    • ausphor

      Do you ever post anything that relates to the topic? If you just want to preach find a crowded street corner, for christ sake.

      March 10, 2014 at 1:49 pm |
    • bostontola

      I'd take merit based any day.

      March 10, 2014 at 1:49 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      I don't see how that makes any of its claims true or even better.

      March 10, 2014 at 1:49 pm |
      • bostontola

        Hint: the word "Proclaims".

        March 10, 2014 at 1:53 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          I take "proclaim" to mean the same as "declare" in this case...though I could be wrong...but I am not sure I get your point.

          Also not all forms of Christianity would agree with this "proclaimation".

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

          As Master Yoda sort of once said paraphasically "Do or do not, there is no proclaim..."

          March 10, 2014 at 2:22 pm |
        • bostontola

          Proclamations are the anti.thesis of evidence.

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

      So you are saying that "works" based salvation will not work?

      Can you elaborate? If I do "good" can I not go to heaven?

      March 10, 2014 at 2:06 pm |
      • Vic

        Romans 3:28
        "28 For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law." (NASB)

        Ephesians 2:8,9
        "8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast." (NASB)

        Whatever good a believer does is the fruit of Faith by the Holy Spirit; however, it is not the redeeming factor nor is it a requirement for Salvation. In other words, it is a natural outcome of Faith.

        Here is an analogy:

        You cannot plug fruits on a tree, on the contrary, a tree produces fruits naturally. Now, the soil is what sustains the tree and not the fruits. Faith in God by the believer in Jesus Christ is like the soil.

        March 10, 2014 at 2:33 pm |
        • the0g0to0the0t

          Yes – that's what Paul had to say. What did Jesus (God) say on the matter though?

          March 10, 2014 at 3:53 pm |
        • Vic

          John 3:16,17

          "16 For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him." (NASB)

          March 10, 2014 at 4:00 pm |
        • ausphor

          Quite right, believe in the myth of jesus and he will save the world with the exception of the 5 billion people that do not give a sh!t about your jesus. Is that correct, who would believe in that stupidity?

          March 10, 2014 at 4:09 pm |
        • Doris

          Faith is like dirt. Well OK, I can go with that.

          March 10, 2014 at 4:13 pm |
        • Doris

          You know there are some people with this disorder where they get addicted to eating dirt. I never thought of it as a body of Christ thing until now. I suppose so...

          March 10, 2014 at 4:17 pm |
        • ausphor

          You really are losing it. "Now, the soil is what sustains the tree and not the fruits." Stupid is what stupid posts. The tree does not produce and sustain the fruits, strange that. All the billions of years of plant reproduction thrown out the window by Vic.

          March 10, 2014 at 4:23 pm |
        • the0g0to0the0t

          John 3:16 – close Vic, but those are the words of (allegedly) John (the last gospel to be written if I recall).

          What did Jesus say on the matter? Not one of his apostles.

          March 11, 2014 at 9:46 am |
      • Scott

        In addition to the verses provided by Vic, this is what the Bible says, There is no one that is good. When you speak about good, what exactly are you referring to? Not lying, not cheating, following the laws etc? If you were honest with yourself you would have realized that you probably lied a few times, jumped the red light a few times. So you are not good even by your own standards. Also, you failed to quantify goodness. How much goodness does it take to get to heaven, following a few rituals here and there is not good enough by God's standards. To get to heaven you need to be righteous, which means perfection in goodness. As you would have realized by now you are nowhere close to that kind of good, and will not go to heaven, even by your own standards. That is why faith in Christ Jesus is the only way to salvation. Now, don't think you can get away from doing good and continue in sinfulness, because the Bible clearly says that faith without works is dead. Also, when you become a Christian you become a new creation, you are dead to your old sinful ways, you strive to live a godly life according to the word of God. So, you are saved not by works but by faith. When you are saved you are a new creation striving to live a godly life producing good fruits.

        March 10, 2014 at 2:56 pm |
        • Joe

          What is "sinfulness"?

          March 10, 2014 at 3:10 pm |
        • Joe

          Also, I don't believe in "sin".

          March 10, 2014 at 3:11 pm |
        • Scott

          You can't say you don't believe in sin. Every time you disobey God's word you sin. I gave you an example earlier, you might consider not lying, not cheating and not disobeying laws as good. When you lie, cheat and disobey, what are you doing? You may say you are doing something wrong, actually you are sinning. If you believe there is a good behavior then you must also believe there is bad behavior. By your own standards you consider some behavior as good and others as bad. When it comes to being sinful, you actually behaving badly according to God's holy standards. Have you ever looked at a woman with l ust in your eyes? Then you have sinned, for you this behavior may be acceptable, but it is not according to God's standards. Have you coveted something that does not belong to you? You have sinned. There are many ways you sin every single day, but simple refusing to accept something as sinful does not automatically negate the sinfulness in you. By denying sin does not mean you are automatically a good person. As pointed earlier, if you honestly examined yourself you will realize that you are a sinful person. Not that you are a bad person, it's just that you are a sinful person, we all are sinners, nobody can claim to be without sin. Whether you believe in is or not is not the question, you are a sinner. Just as everybody else is.

          March 10, 2014 at 3:28 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          "You can't say you don't believe in sin."

          Of course a person can say that! If I state that I do not believe in your god, it then plays in to the fact that inevitably I don't believe in anything associated with it-sin; Adam and Eve; Noah; heaven; hell. Until there is sufficient evidence for your god, there is not much justification for believing in it, at least not any more justification than there is for any of the other gods imagined by man.

          March 10, 2014 at 3:37 pm |
        • ausphor

          Poor Scott, you don't understand that you cannot impose your standards that come from a silly mythical book upon me. Butt out, just accuse your fellow believers that they are steeped in "sin" whatever the hell that is.

          March 10, 2014 at 3:44 pm |
    • Vic

      Merit-based redemption by the flawed human is like trying to hammer an anvil flat.

      March 10, 2014 at 2:07 pm |
      • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

        Grace based salvation does the same...if it requires belief and I am assuming in your proclaimation it does.

        The fact that humans are flawed means some people will reject the belief. So again...I don't see how this is better.

        March 10, 2014 at 2:11 pm |
      • SeaVik

        Don't you find it ironic that it requires flawed thinking to be a Christian?

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

        At least merit based has a practical benefit to societies. Using religions to forge more productive societies is useful, using religion to enforce love of a deity is useless.

        March 10, 2014 at 3:03 pm |
    • Joe

      Can you also define the term "righteous" ?

      What does it mean to be "righteous"?

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

        Righteousness is imputed onto the believer on the basis of Faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and NOT on the basis of works. The fallen man cannot be righteous on own merits, only through the Righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, the ONLY Righteous.

        March 10, 2014 at 2:37 pm |
        • Joe

          What is the opposite of "righteous". Never heard this term before.

          March 10, 2014 at 3:12 pm |
    • SeaVik

      Vic – Do you have a point?

      March 10, 2014 at 2:10 pm |
      • Vic


        The fallen man needs the Lord Jesus Christ for redemption and not oneself. Plain and simple.

        March 10, 2014 at 2:38 pm |
        • MidwestKen

          Redemption from what and for what?

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


          From sin and its wages, death and separation from God.

          For remission of sins, reconciliation with God, and eternal life.

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

          And if God, sin, etc do not exist?

          March 10, 2014 at 3:04 pm |
        • SeaVik

          Luckily, I'm not a fallen man. You're right though – it usually requires something bad to happen to a person for them to be Christian (childhood brainwashing, jail, drug abuse, etc.). You don't see many non-fallen men become Christian.

          March 10, 2014 at 8:45 pm |
    • TruthPrevails1

      Jesus may be your focus, he certainly isn't mine. My focus is on this life. You're living to die so you can be with this jesus character...seems like a complete waste of this life.

      March 10, 2014 at 2:24 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      So no matter how much good a person does in their life, it doesn't matter.
      They may well be the embodiment of the Christian ethic, living in the image of Jesus Christ as a humble, compassionate, forgiving, charitable human being – but unless they engage in the same rituals and suspend rational thinking in order to accept supernatural dogma as "Truth", they will spend eternity in agonizing torture.

      It's like the old Frantics sketch "Heaven is for Presbytyrians" –
      "God sends Baptists to purgatory"
      "Oh, God likes Baptists?"
      "No, He just like to get their hopes up...."

      March 10, 2014 at 2:30 pm |
    • Doris

      That's ridiculous. Sudafed 24-hr does that and the results are testable and repeatable.

      March 10, 2014 at 3:33 pm |
  16. bostontola

    There are feelings, so strongly positive, that I can understand how people can be driven to attain them as often as possible. Love, se.x, religious experiences, the feeling I get when I solve a hard mathematical problem and "see" the beauty. It is almost like a drug.

    Religious people who get that "dose" from their relationship with their God are completely understandable to me. I wouldn't be surprised at all if many of these different ways of getting that feeling all trigger similar chemical releases in the brain. We all find our own way to trigger those feelings, to get that dose.

    It is interesting that we may have found ways to get the dose by totally man invented mechanisms like mathematics, physics, religion, etc.

    March 10, 2014 at 1:10 pm |
    • igaftr

      As someone who participates in many sports, especially endurance sports, the endorphines give you a sense of euphoria, commonly termed runners high. I get the same feeling when I play my guitar, especially when I forget that I am playing and find myself simply listening.
      People try to rationalize experiences , and often will claim it was a "miracle" or something "divine" when there really is no evidence of such a thing. It is amazing how irrational rationalizing can be.

      March 10, 2014 at 1:17 pm |
      • bostontola

        Great examples, my son is an athlete and a guitar player and says the same thing. The feeling is so deep, that i can understand people thinking it is supernatural. I bet these chemicals and the resulting feelings tie back to primitive survival reactions in even the lowest animals as rewards for attaining se.x or food.

        March 10, 2014 at 1:22 pm |
      • Dalahäst

        My relationship with God is different from the "doses" I've experienced from solving a problem or creating a piece of art work I'm proud of. I've experimented with a lot of drugs and am familiar with false illusions that chemicals can create in the brain. I have also experienced runner's high as a long distance runner. Man invented mechanisms are amazing and create a sense of awe in me. But it is different from the relationship I have with the Creator. I can recognize a difference.

        March 10, 2014 at 1:26 pm |
        • the0g0to0the0t

          How so?

          March 10, 2014 at 1:28 pm |
        • bostontola

          "The doctor who treats himself has a ____ for a patient". Same goes for lawyers, psychologists, etc.

          March 10, 2014 at 1:31 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          I believe I am capable of discerning between the differences. It is not like I am just completely treating myself with no input from others. Some ideas I have held I have decided to back away from in regards to God, because what you say is correct in my experience.

          March 10, 2014 at 1:45 pm |
        • bostontola

          You don't find it curious that other people find that same certainty with completely different religions/Gods?

          March 10, 2014 at 1:51 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Yes. And that people who disagree with me provide theories that are just as varied and inconsistent is also curious to me. And they all seem very certain of themselves. I strive to not be so certain and keep my mind open.

          March 10, 2014 at 2:00 pm |
        • igaftr

          How do you know what you experience is a god at all, or is the experience/feeling just what you have defined as god?

          March 10, 2014 at 2:02 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Some of the experiences that Bostontola and others have described I have experienced. I think there is also some ego and pride involved that contribute to the good feelings I feel after accomplishing something or having endorphins rush into my brain after running for a long distance.

          My experiences with God seem to be different in that it humbles me. There are acts involved that don't serve my ego and lessen my personal pride. There is less of a "high" & feelings and more a general state of serenity & understanding.

          March 10, 2014 at 2:23 pm |
        • SeaVik

          What I don't understand, Dala, is why you conclude that those feelings are the result of an experience with a god. I can think of many much more plausible explanations for the feelings you've described, so why would you come to such a far-fetched conclusion?

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

          You did not answer the question.

          How do you know what you experience is a god at all, or is the experience/feeling just what you have defined as god?

          March 10, 2014 at 2:29 pm |
        • Dalahäst


          I did answer your question. I know from the serenity. It is different from the fleeting feelings I experience from chemical reactions.

          I choose to believe God is the source of the serenity and understanding I have in my life. I have yet to see or hear a man made explanation that is suffice to what I have experienced.

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

          On one hand, you are certain you can tell that your experience with God is genuine, on the other hand you want to be open minded. I don't know how anyone can be certain of the cause of any experience that deep in the brain. A skeptic would doubt the causal explanations until one was verified. Given the number of similar reactions to profound experiences, and given that others have similar reactions to other Gods, I would be very skeptical.

          March 10, 2014 at 2:54 pm |
        • Dalahäst


          Far fetched is just your opinion. Some of your ideas are pretty far fetched, in my experience.

          March 10, 2014 at 2:54 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          I'm fairly confident that my experience with God is different from doing drugs or getting a runner's high. Or the feeling of pride I have after solving a difficult problem. It is not like I haven't considered or seriously thought about such phenomenon. It is just in my experience it is not a perfect analogy. It has faults.

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

          "How do you know what you experience is a god"?

          Vics answer: "I choose to believe God is the source of the serenity "

          So Vic admits he doesn't "know" for a fact but makes a conscious "choice" to believe that what he experiences as coming from God.

          Others like myself see no reason to "choose" that conclusion and can you really blame us?

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

          So you have chosen to define god as a feeling of serenity. You have simply chosen the definition.
          you also claim to believe in Jesus.
          probably use your own term for that as well.

          so in other words, you have no idea.
          I prefer Serenity be the name of a firefly cargo ship.

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

          It's not an analogy. It's a thesis that the brain has a reward system. It creates what we perceive as pleasure for certain results (like getting food, getting a mate, loving, having se.x, relationship with God, etc.). Given that the reward system exists, and many trigger a pleasurable experience with various Gods, it is reasonable to conclude that the God experience is one of those reactions. There are other possibilities of course. There is a God that doesn't care what religion/God you worship and rewards you in all cases, humans' internal reward system is very similar to God's love and all religions but 1 are experiencing an illusion of God's love, etc. Those seem much more unlikely than the simple answer, all these experiences are due to internal human reward system that evolved to make us more survivable.

          March 10, 2014 at 3:11 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          @ igaftr

          That is just one aspect of it. I'm speaking in regards to someone who is suggesting my belief in God is just like the experience of drugs or runner's high.

          I am agnostic about many things. And I haven't claimed I'm certain I'm right and other's are completely wrong. I'm just sharing my beliefs and experiences.

          March 10, 2014 at 4:01 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          To me it is an analogy. As if belief in God is based on a reward system similar to drugs or the sense of pride one feels when completing a mathematic puzzle. I don't share in your hypothesis. Sure, some people's beliefs might be similar to what you suggest. But not all. And I don't think that is the goal of my spiritual beliefs. It is actually kind of the opposite.

          March 10, 2014 at 4:04 pm |
        • bostontola

          My thesis in no way states that belief in God is based on a reward or that reward is the goal of your spiritual beliefs. It is simple; humans have an internal reward system of pleasurable feelings, many things can trigger it, the response of many people to various Gods is pleasurable. The simplest conclusion is, the love of these various Gods triggers that human reward system. I outlined various other explanations above, but seem much less likely.

          March 10, 2014 at 4:12 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Right, I understand that is your opinion. I don't agree with your opinion. Your thesis is too simplistic to be sufficient for my understanding and experiences. You are not the first to propose such a theory to me. And I have and do take it into consideration. But I don't agree or have much confidence in it.

          March 10, 2014 at 4:22 pm |
        • igaftr

          "belief in God is just like the experience "

          I do not think that was implied...it is similar to, not just like...similar in the fact that it all seems to be on an individuals perception, which is completely housed in your head. The brain is what is involved, and the feeling of "god" one individual feels, may be chemically influenced, just like every other perception. Since we cannot perceive a single thing unles it touches us directly, all senses are the sense of touch. There continues to be no sign of any gods as man has define them, but we certainly are connected with life...and it is the energy that is life that I find fascinating, and most likely, the energy that is life is a better definition for god...not sentient, more of an energy.

          March 10, 2014 at 4:27 pm |
        • bostontola

          I assume you don't have confidence in the conclusion. Do you not accept the premise that humans have an internal reward system of pleasurable feelings, many things can trigger it, the response of many people to various Gods is pleasurable?

          March 10, 2014 at 4:30 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          I don't agree with the premise. My belief in GOd doesn not appear to be just based on my internal reward system of pleasure. Like something I can trigger from taking mood enhancing chemicals or the feeling of self-satisfaction that inflates my ego when I overcome a difficult challenge.

          I've had people take such viewpoints to the extreme that the only reason they love their children is because something is being triggered in their brain connected to their internal reward system.

          Their love is nothing but a product of evolutionary survival skills meant to pass on their genes and continue the survival of the fittest.

          I find in my belief in G0d that challenges such a materialistic viewpoint of the world. I'm more than just a bunch of chemicals reacting to stimuli. I've never seen anything in science or the physical world that causes me to doubt that.

          It is a funny way to look for God or love. God transcends science. Like so many things in this universe.

          March 10, 2014 at 4:40 pm |
        • bostontola

          You just disagreed with the conclusion. Which part of the premise do you disagree with:
          1. humans have an internal reward system of pleasurable feelings,
          2. many things can trigger it,
          3. the response of many people to various Gods is pleasurable.

          March 10, 2014 at 4:45 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          I personally have experienced that internal reward system of pleasurable feelings. And, yes, many things can trigger it.

          My response to God, while at times pleasurable, is not comparable to the experiences I've had from things such as my ego and chemicals that are merely just changing the way I feel.

          I'm sure you and others may have different experiences.

          March 10, 2014 at 4:50 pm |
        • bostontola

          My response to food and se.x are not comparable, but both are pleasurable. The exact co.cktail of chemicals the brain releases in response to these stimuli are not exactly the same.

          Do you think your internal response to God would be detectable in a brain scan? Do you think your response is coincident with a change in chemical state of your brain?

          March 10, 2014 at 4:57 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          I don't know if my belief in God, or as you choose to say 'my internal response to God' would be detectable on a brain scan. My belief in God is rooted in something deeper than my belief that "I feel good for solving that problem" or "Those drugs sure do make me feel good." I'm pretty sure those things would show up on a brain scan.

          I don't think my love for other people would show up on a brain scan. It is greater and bigger than any chemical that your brain can produce.

          March 10, 2014 at 5:07 pm |
        • Doris

          I think Paul Mauriat would beg to differ, Dala. I think he would say it should show up as a very large blue spot.

          March 10, 2014 at 5:18 pm |
        • bostontola

          I have to agree with Doris, there is quite a bit of evidence that high resolution brain scans can localize love reactions. Same for chemicals, starts with adrenalin, then dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, and then vasopressin. I'm sure there is more to learn, many details to follow, but it is clear that love is electro-chemical.

          March 10, 2014 at 5:27 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Love is more than just a reaction that occurs in the brain. There is an energy behind love and even hate that isn't detected by a brain scan.

          It is a way of life and a state of being. A brain scan might reveal that your love is in everything you do. And that would be a good thing. The little blips of red that show up are not love, but lust or the ego being inflated.

          Real love doesn't need a brain scan or the opinion of a scientist to verity its truth.

          March 10, 2014 at 5:37 pm |
        • Dalahäst


          "Blue, blue, my world is blue
          Blue is my world now I'm without you
          Gray, gray, my life is gray
          Cold is my heart since you went away

          Red, red, my eyes are red
          Crying for you alone in my bed
          Green, green, my jealous heart
          I doubted you and now we're apart

          When we met how the bright sun shone
          Then love died, now the rainbow is gone

          Black, black, the nights I've known
          Longing for you so lost and alone "

          – Paul Mauriat

          March 10, 2014 at 5:42 pm |
        • bostontola

          I just finished saying that the scans and chemical description is not yet complete. The point is, you can detect love in the brain, it is not undetectable at all.

          I have provided evidence based and testable theses, you keep going back to "I don't think so, there must be more to it, etc. Your responses are all unsubstantiated assertions. Just because your response is not understandable to you, that doesn't make it supernatural. How many former mysteries have been decoded by science as natural phenomena. Love is pretty far down that same road already.

          Your love of God is real. Your response to that love is real and powerful.

          March 10, 2014 at 5:55 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          This is love:

          "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

          Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away."

          Your thesis seems to be a bit too simplistic to be sufficient, that is all. There are groups of people that completely agree with you. And there are other groups of people that have different understandings.

          Your idea of love is real. Your response to that love is real and powerful, too.

          I know that just because my response is not understandable to me, doesn't make it supernatural. Lots of former mysteries have been decoded by science as natural phenomena. Science has yet to come close to debunking God as some natural phenomena. Science proves God to me. It points to a Creator. It is the means by which I better understand God.

          I trust this accredited and respected scientist:

          “A scientific discovery is also a religious discovery. There is no conflict between science and religion. Our knowledge of God is made larger with every discovery we make about the world.”

          –Joseph H. Taylor, Jr.,

          March 10, 2014 at 6:07 pm |
        • bostontola

          Love is all that and more.

          The experience of mathematical beauty and its neural correlates
          Semir Zeki1*, John Paul Romaya1, Dionigi M. T. Benincasa2 and Michael F. Atiyah3

          Many have written of the experience of mathematical beauty as being comparable to that derived from the greatest art. This makes it interesting to learn whether the experience of beauty derived from such a highly intellectual and abstract source as mathematics correlates with activity in the same part of the emotional brain as that derived from more sensory, perceptually based, sources. To determine this, we used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to image the activity in the brains of 15 mathematicians when they viewed mathematical formulae which they had individually rated as beautiful, indifferent or ugly. Results showed that the experience of mathematical beauty correlates parametrically with activity in the same part of the emotional brain, namely field A1 of the medial orbito-frontal cortex (mOFC), as the experience of beauty derived from other sources.
          – See more at: http://journal.frontiersin.org/Journal/10.3389/fnhum.2014.00068/full#sthash.YgZ0XxUJ.dpuf

          I can tell you that I have responded to some mathematical expressions in a similar way as I have to Kandinsky, van Gogh, etc., I have been brought to tears.

          March 10, 2014 at 6:17 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          That is awesome. I have had experiences with that in regards to music and art. Or the compassion of another person.

          But my experience with God is different than that. Somebody would have to monitor all brainwaves and follow me through my life. Not just monitor my successes that trigger my internal reward system but also monitor my failures and the great pain that accompanies those. Or monitor my brainwaves when the drugs or the highs of accomplishing a great feat depart from me. How does my brain react to things that mathematical formulae tells me are ugly, yet I experience as beauty? I personally will ignore what some logical person declares as beauty, and find my own way. That's the skeptic in me.

          March 10, 2014 at 6:24 pm |
        • bostontola

          This exemplifies the difference in our outlook:
          "I trust this accredited and respected scientist:

          “A scientific discovery is also a religious discovery. There is no conflict between science and religion. Our knowledge of God is made larger with every discovery we make about the world.”

          –Joseph H. Taylor, Jr., "

          That is not science, it is the opinion of a scientist. There is actual tested science that supports my view.

          March 10, 2014 at 6:22 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          "There is actual tested science that supports my view.. "

          No, you are just expressing your opinion, too. And you are starting to border arrogance, not science, with your insistence that science supports your views.

          A lot of people with the same access to tested science draw different conclusions than you.

          March 10, 2014 at 6:27 pm |
        • bostontola

          Simple beauty:

          1 + e**iPi = 0

          March 10, 2014 at 6:27 pm |
        • bostontola

          Every premise in my thesis is supported by much science. The conclusion is my opinion (it can be tested and likely will some day). Your rebuttals have no science, just opinion based on personal experience.

          March 10, 2014 at 6:30 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          I think you just enjoy the pleasure your brain rewarding you for being so "scientific" with your personal opinions. You really aren't being scientific. You are just having an experience that has evolved by your brain's chemistry discerning that being scientific will increase your survival chances. Enjoy the feeling while it lasts!

          March 10, 2014 at 6:43 pm |
        • bostontola

          Wow, now you know my feelings and motivations! Have a great day Dalahast.

          March 10, 2014 at 6:55 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Exactly! 🙂

          March 10, 2014 at 6:56 pm |
        • SeaVik

          Dala, as usual, you ignored the point of my post. You used to at least try to put up an argument when I pointed out the holes in your position. It seems that you've accepted the fact that you can't offer a logical response to my questions. That is good, but what I don't get is why I still see you here defending your religious beliefs.

          Instead of addressing my point, you focused on the term I used that you didn't like (far-fetched). So, here is my point again, minus that term. Perhaps you can explain yourself without getting distracted this time.

          "What I don't understand, Dala, is why you conclude that those feelings are the result of an experience with a god. I can think of many much more plausible explanations for the feelings you've described."

          March 10, 2014 at 8:55 pm |
        • Dalahäst


          You just stated an opinion. I simply didn't agree with it. I really don't trust your explanations and understandings. If they work for you great.

          Stop being so bossy and nitpicky. Especially when you jump in the middle of a thread and start demanding I answer your question to your satisfaction. You really aren't the judge of what is plausible or acceptable for me or anyone else. You are only qualified to make such decisions for yourself.

          Most atheists are not anti-theists. It is just few people online that claim my beliefs are far-fetched or completely not plausible. You really aren't proving anything about me, but plenty about yourself.

          March 10, 2014 at 10:01 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          Most Christians are not bigots.

          But their leader Jesus is. 🙂

          March 10, 2014 at 11:13 pm |
        • joey3467

          If I had to go by personal experience I would estiamte that 90% of Christians are bigots. Luckily, I don't think that is the case once you leave the town I live in.

          March 11, 2014 at 12:36 pm |
      • otoh2

        An extreme example of this is the Sufi Whirling Dervishes, who reach some kind of ecstasy with their maneuvers.

        March 10, 2014 at 1:44 pm |
    • Peaceadvocate2014


      Your analogy is some what accurate. Too little wont help you understand what is really means to believe in this one God. Too much would lead you to complicate its meaning.

      My understanding in this belief of this one God is to remind us to be rigtheous, moral. Even if we cant prove the existence of this one God or prove any wrong doing in our courts, the idea that someone would know and make judgement in the end is relieving. Like a drug, as you mildly put it.

      March 10, 2014 at 3:15 pm |
  17. bostontola

    Spread of antibiotic resistance understood by unravelling bacterial secretion system
    March 9, 2014

    The system that allows the sharing of genetic material between bacteria - and therefore the spread of antibiotic resistance - has been uncovered by a team of scientists. Understanding the structure of the secretion system will help scientists uncover the mechanism by which it moves substances across the inner and outer membranes. It could eventually help scientists develop new tools for the genetic modification of human cells, as the bacteria could act as a carrier for genetic material, which could then be secreted into cells.

    This kind of diabolical system that bacteria uses to avoid our medicines couldn't have been created by God. I wonder if Satan is responsible for this?

    March 10, 2014 at 1:00 pm |
    • Peaceadvocate2014

      Gods design. Pretty awesome 🙂

      March 10, 2014 at 3:03 pm |
      • otoh2

        Would that be the same "God" that allegedly personally spoke to Moses and told him to treat/cure leprosy by having a live dove be dipped in the blood of a dead dove and having it fly around a while, then anointing the sufferer on the toe with the blood? That awesome designer "God"?

        March 10, 2014 at 3:10 pm |
        • Peaceadvocate2014


          It may or may not. Was not there at the time. Im referring to the God as i read, study and analyze through the written text by humans.

          March 10, 2014 at 3:29 pm |
      • Akira

        Why would antibiotic resistance be termed "pretty awesome"?

        March 10, 2014 at 8:48 pm |
        • Peaceadvocate2014

          The design of life.

          March 10, 2014 at 9:20 pm |
        • Akira

          So...cancer is awesome, too?

          March 10, 2014 at 9:30 pm |
        • Akira

          Anencephaly is awesome and is a design of life?

          March 10, 2014 at 9:52 pm |
        • Peaceadvocate2014


          Why? Because it makes us take care of our body. Dont abuse it.

          March 11, 2014 at 7:20 pm |
        • midwest rail

          There are plenty of people who "take care of their bodies", live a healthy lifestyle, and develop cancer nonetheless. Nice try, though.

          March 11, 2014 at 7:23 pm |
        • Peaceadvocate2014

          Suddenly appeared? Live adam and eve. I dont think you believe in creationism.

          March 11, 2014 at 10:06 pm |
  18. Dalahäst

    “I call for and commit to cessation of trials,” Bishop McLee (the first time ever a sitting United Methodist bishop has categorically declared he will not prosecute pastors for ministering to LGBTQ people).


    March 10, 2014 at 12:37 pm |
    • midwest rail

      Encouraging that he did so, sad that it was necessary.

      March 10, 2014 at 12:42 pm |
    • TruthPrevails1

      That is nice to see. 🙂

      March 10, 2014 at 1:36 pm |
  19. bostontola

    Supernatural. How could there even be such a term? If something exists in the real world, it must be natural, if it doesn't, it is just fiction.

    That situation is a testament to science. Everything that can be explored, predicted, and tested with objective well designed experiment has been found to be natural and explainable by mathematical relationships. Open mindedness allows for things that may be describable by better laws or may be new phenomena as yet to be characterized. Every time, they have succu.mbed to mathematical relationships that can predict test results and be validated.

    Supernatural then is relegated to events that conflict with these laws. Is it a coincidence that ever since man has begun describing nature by mathematical relationships, these "supernatural" events have disappeared? I don't think so. "Supernatural" events in the past were almost certainly a manifestation of man's lack of understanding of the mathematical laws, then extended by man's ample imagination.

    March 10, 2014 at 12:31 pm |
  20. Tim R

    How to measure Pope Francis effect?

    Very simple, by the positive press he has been getting since he took office. As far as the long term effect, it remains to be seen, the pope needs to focus on a) cleaning up the catholic church and making sure that those serving inside the church are honest in their intentions to serve God and b) building the morale of priests and nuns and others who have served the church honestly with integrity.

    The catholic church is known for its great charitable work and long may that continue!

    To the editors:
    Why are we unable to comment on your post "How to really measure the 'Francis effect'"?

    March 10, 2014 at 11:41 am |
    • Reality

      And again and again:

      Too little, too late !! The RCC is fast becoming irrelevant in today's world as the pedophilia scandals have opened up our eyes and minds to the weak theological and historical foundations of the RCC and all religions in general.

      March 10, 2014 at 11:57 am |
      • Colton

        Keep dreaming. The Church is here to stay and will be able to get past these allegations.

        There might have been a few bad apples that sneaked into the Church but that will not ruin the greater goodness that the Church is known for.

        It's very difficult for the Church to shield itself from people who make false allegations against it. In the absence of evidence it's a free-for-all, 'he said', 'she said' kind of argument.

        Money is not always the motivator in these allegations but it sure can be a powerful motivator to instigate claims against the Church.

        Going forward, the Church needs to make sure that they have foolproof security built-in to protect both the Church and people who attend Church.

        March 10, 2014 at 12:46 pm |
        • midwest rail

          " There might have been a few bad apples..."
          I suggest you read the Cloyne Report in its entirety. If you are not horrified, you should be.

          March 10, 2014 at 12:48 pm |
        • bostontola

          While I agree that the RCC isn't going away any time soon, you must be kidding with your characterization of the issues as "few bad apples that sneaked into the Church". There is ample evidence of systematic, top down intentional deception. The culture of the RCC is atrocious. Maybe Francis will change that, we'll have to wait and see.

          March 10, 2014 at 12:52 pm |
        • igaftr

          "It's very difficult for the Church to shield itself from people who make false allegations against it. In the absence of evidence it's a free-for-all, 'he said', 'she said' kind of argument."

          They have admitted much of the abuse, and have so far settled many suits for over 750 million dollars. They are guilty, they know they are guilty, and there has been a great deal of proof...not baseless allegations. The RCC has proven they are corrupt, and while they have admitted some, still need full disclosure.

          March 10, 2014 at 12:55 pm |
        • otoh2


          You have been betrayed by your Church. This is not the case of "a few bad apples" - it went on for years and years and years (centuries probably) and was covered up all the way to the hierarchy. Only exposure and pressure from civil authorities (and the public) has caused these new "security and protections" that you refer to. And this is only the most recent example of abuses by that organization over the centuries - in various other purviews. It casts extreme suspi.cion on anything and everything that these MEN espoused and imposed on society as "truth"... all the way back to the early centuries when they came into power.

          If you wish to trust what they say (and have said over the centuries), go ahead. Just be aware of reality. The Emperor's golden clothing is vanishing.

          March 10, 2014 at 1:10 pm |
        • ausphor

          Funny though that money is often the motivator for some of the catholic hierarchy. Take note of the German bling bishop spending $40 million or so to tart up his digs or the NJ bishop building a retirement mansion for himself. Frankie has to try and pull the pigs away from the trough, the princes of the church will not go quietly. BTW in many of the areas that the RCC charities work in (third world countries) they do as they have always done exchange aid for land, the Vatican knows the long term value of land.

          March 10, 2014 at 1:13 pm |
        • Colton

          Get objective with the numbers, conjectures without numbers is useless and meaningless.

          ~4% of the priests were accused over a period of time and not all 4% of these priests were convicted.

          Those numbers are indicative of few priests that might have actually been involved and guilty of the charges when compared to the vast majority of priests who had nothing to do with the few "bad apples" that tainted the organization.

          It's very important that the Church has very strong foolproof security measures to prevent this from happening in the future as well adequately protect itself from false allegations.

          March 10, 2014 at 1:31 pm |
        • ausphor

          It is not so much the numbers but the cover ups in the Vatican and all around the world. The bad apples were protected by the good apples, shuffled around and continued their crimes with the full knowledge of the church. They, the hierarchy didn't really give a damn until the scandal got to large to hide anymore. From Europe to Australia to the Americas the pattern was the same deny until the situation becomes untenable and then hide as much of the diocese's assets to limit rest!tution for the victims.

          March 10, 2014 at 1:43 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          To use the word "allegations" is just dishonest.

          The RCC is the bad apple.

          March 10, 2014 at 1:47 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          I think the RCC's "safeguards" are what has got them into trouble in the first place.
          The policy outlined in the Crimen Sollicitationis states that anyone involved in an accusation of priestly misconduct, including the accuser and potential witnesses, are sworn to secrecy regarding any and all details, upon penalty of excommunication (a fate worse than death for the devout).
          While the number of pedo priests may not be statistically aberrant, the way in which the Vatican has handled them is nothing short of appalling.
          According to the John Jay report, 918 of 1872 (49%) substantiated allegations of abuse against Catholic clergy were addressed by sending the priest off for psychiatric counseling and then moving him to another parish, with nary a whisper to law enforcement. This number does not include priests relocated for reasons other than charges of se.xual impropriety.
          The Catholic Church has shown time and again that their Archdiocese's pre-occupations in dealing with cases of child se.xual abuse are the maintenance of secrecy, the avoidance of scandal, the protection of the reputation of the Church, and the preservation of its as.sets.

          March 10, 2014 at 1:47 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.