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Millennials and the false 'gospel of nice'
Jesus confronts the money-lenders in the temple.
April 3rd, 2014
10:29 PM ET

Millennials and the false 'gospel of nice'

Opinion by Daniel Darling, special to CNN

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(CNN) - Perhaps you’ve heard that there is trouble brewing among evangelicals.

Younger Christians are weary of pitched cultural battles and are longing for the “real Jesus” – a Jesus who talks more about washing feet and feeding the poor than flashpoint issues like same-sex marriage and the sanctity of life.

If key evangelical influencers don’t listen, we are told, they are about to lose the entire millennial generation. Or, maybe that generation is already gone.

This story has been told with testimonials, chronicled in best-selling books and posted on popular blogs.

Here’s the short version: If only orthodox evangelical leaders would give up their antiquated beliefs, get more in step with the real Jesus, the church and the world would be better off.

Embedded in this narrative are two presuppositions:

• Young evangelicals are fleeing the church at a rapid pace.
• The real message of Jesus looks nothing like orthodox Christianity.

There’s only one thing wrong with these two ideas: They aren’t true.

Let me explain.

First of all, evangelicals don’t have a youth problem. I’ve heard the apocalyptic “leaving in droves” narrative since I was, wait for it, an evangelical young person myself.

But experts who have weighed this data point beg to differ.

Bradley Wright, a sociologist from the University of Connecticut, has thoroughly examined the data that purportedly shows an exodus of young evangelicals and says it doesn’t support the “disaster narrative.”

Wright says the biggest drop of faith in young people happened in the 1990s, and that current levels are about the same as the early 1970s.

Ed Stetzer, the president of Lifeway Research, has also looked at the statistics and has concluded that while religious identity has declined in America, it’s mainly the nominal Christians and mainline Protestants who’ve suffered - not evangelicals.

“The reality is that evangelicals have been relatively steady as a percent of the population over the last few years,” Stetzer writes, and “no serious researcher believes Christianity in America is dying. Not one.”

Of course, there are legitimate concerns about the evangelical church in the United States.

For the last several years, some Southern Baptist leaders have voiced concern about the decline in baptisms and membership.

But nobody is suggesting that orthodoxy is the reason for decline.

If anything, leaders are pointing to a lack of faithful evangelical preaching and intentional gospel witness as the culprit. Church history doesn’t bear out evidence that a mushy, heterodox movement is the cure for stagnation.

What’s more, there is anecdotal evidence that seems to indicate a robustly orthodox evangelicalism is growing among the young.

Networks such as The Gospel Coalition, Together for the Gospel and others are growing. Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, an unflinching bastion of orthodoxy, enrolls more Masters of Divinity students than any other institution accredited by the Association of Theological Schools.

One might argue that young evangelicals aren’t fleeing core conservative institutions, but flooding them.

Perhaps the doom and gloom story seems familiar - if also wrong - because we’ve heard it so many times before. As young scholar Matthew Lee Anderson puts it, the “change or die narrative is presented as a perennial problem.”

Progressive hand-wringers are missing the point, in my view. If history teaches us anything, it is that what dies is malleable, un-rooted faith and not 2,000 years of Christian orthodoxy.

But even if the change-or-die narrative is true, even if faithfulness becomes less attractive in this new age, this shouldn’t be cause for worry.

Jesus prepared us for seasons like this, urging his followers to a counter-cultural faith, one that gains the favor of heaven, but earns the antagonism of the world.

“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me,” Jesus says in the Gospels.

The pop Jesus of progressives sounds less like the Jesus of the Bible and more like a malleable deity who easily aligns with our cultural sensibilities. A mascot for every chic cause, except for that difficult mission to which he called his followers: cross-bearing.

Consider some of Jesus’ statements:

“You will be hated by all for my name’s sake.”

“If anyone does not hate his father or mother, he cannot be my disciple.”

“If any man will be my disciple, let me him take up his cross and follow me.”

“For this cause, shall a man leave his father and mother and cleave unto his wife.”

What’s more, Jesus praised John the Baptist, that culture warrior, for his prophetic word against Herod, the monarch who committed adultery.

Yes, it is true that Christians should be known more for what they are for than what they are against.

But if you move past the rhetoric, you’ll find that it is often not aggrieved ex-evangelicals who are founding and leading charitable organizations, but the stubbornly orthodox. Faithful Christians are not the only ones in the trenches, relieving human need - but they make up a large percentage.

All over the world, you will find faithful followers of Christ adopting orphaned children, rescuing girls from trafficking, feeding the poor, digging wells and volunteering in disaster relief.

My own denomination, the Southern Baptist Convention, operates one of the world’s largest relief operations while holding fast to its theological commitments.

And some of the world’s most effective ministries to the poor and marginalized were started by and continue to operate according to evangelical Christian beliefs. They live in the tension of the New Testament, which calls believers to both faithfulness and charity.

In fact, the most effective agents of hope in this world likely don’t have Twitter accounts, have never blogged and might never have even uttered the words, “social justice.”

And yet silently, quietly, patiently they serve the least of these, not because they first jettisoned their quaint notions of orthodoxy, but because they held them tighter.

Daniel Darling is the vice-president of Communications for the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission and the author of several books, including "Activist Faith." The views expressed in this column belong to Darling.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Baptist • Belief • Bible • Christianity • Culture wars • evangelicals • Opinion • Protestant

soundoff (1,027 Responses)
  1. revivalbiblestudy315

    Reblogged this on Revival Bible Study.

    April 5, 2014 at 5:32 pm |
  2. truthfollower01

    Doris,

    What I'm saying is that if someone thinks an act is the hig-hest form of moral goodness but you think the exact same act is the epi-tome of moral evil, you both are correct? The act can be both ends of the spectrum?

    If Hitler thought what he was doing was morally good, on your view, was he wrong (subjectively) in his thinking. I'm not asking if YOU think he was subjectively wrong. I'm asking was he wrong in his thinking.

    April 5, 2014 at 12:03 pm |
    • ausphor

      tf01
      You seem to be obsessed with Hitler, can one be a Christian and a neo-Nazi at the same time? Hitler died before he could receive his judgement at Nuremburg, if he had lived what do you suppose the verdict and sentence would have been?

      April 5, 2014 at 12:17 pm |
    • Doris

      Prove that you do not just have a similar opinion that you have derived in the same subjective manner as atheists, only from something that only represents a claimed unsubstantiated source.

      Please proceed in establishing that one case of objective morality exists without resorting to subjective means.

      April 5, 2014 at 12:20 pm |
      • Doris

        sorry – that should have included the additional response that I made TO THE SAME POST BY TF... coming right up!

        April 5, 2014 at 12:21 pm |
    • Doris

      t01: "What I'm saying is that if someone thinks an act is the hig-hest form of moral goodness but you think the exact same act is the epi-tome of moral evil, you both are correct? The act can be both ends of the spectrum?"

      Spectrum of what – the spectrum of you alleged divine moral "truth"? Since you have failed to demonstrate any reasonable evidence for your God from which I'm sure you claim objective moral "truths" allegedly flow, then the point of correctness is moot.

      Or the spectrum of subjective evaluation of good/bad by individuals and collectively? Here again a single assessment of correctness is virtually moot because our laws don't reflect a single assessment of correctness. What is evident is the subjective, and sometimes often varied views that make up our collective subjective assessments.

      t01: "If Hitler thought what he was doing was morally good, on your view, was he wrong (subjectively) in his thinking. I'm not asking if YOU think he was subjectively wrong. I'm asking was he wrong in his thinking."

      Again, you are attempting to inject the presupposition that there is a such thing as (objectively) "wrong" that stands on its own in the world independent of human subjective consideration. So what you're asking at the end is nonsensical. I'm saying unless you can prove your god, then there is only the subjective. My opinion that he is wrong is subjective and nothing more. Collective opinion, of which I am sure I'm in the same group on that point, is still subjective and nothing more IMHO.

      Prove that you do not just have a similar opinion that you have derived in the same subjective manner as atheists, only from something that only represents a claimed unsubstantiated source.

      Please proceed in establishing that one case of objective morality exists without resorting to subjective means.

      April 5, 2014 at 12:22 pm |
      • Doris

        Clarification: In my response to where I quoted t01 the second time, where I say "My opinion that he is wrong is subjective and nothing more." There for "he", I am speaking of Hitler, not the God of Abraham.

        April 5, 2014 at 12:25 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          Doris,

          Concerning correctness, on subjective morality, nobody is really ever wrong or right.

          "If Hitler thought what he was doing was morally good, on your view, was he wrong (subjectively) in his thinking. I'm not asking if YOU think he was subjectively wrong. I'm asking was he wrong in his thinking"

          What I'm saying is is that on your subjective view, Hitler subjectively thought what he was doing was morally good. I'm asking you if he was wrong in his thinking, not if YOU subjectively think he was wrong in his thinking. Does it not concern you that you really can't say that Hitler was wrong in his thinking? Don't you definitively think he was wrong? Can you make any type of assertion at all concerning Hitler's position on what he thought was moral?

          April 5, 2014 at 5:44 pm |
        • Doris

          tf: "Doris, Concerning correctness, on subjective morality, nobody is really ever wrong or right."

          Concerning "correctness", on subjective morality, people are in fact deemed subjectively wrong/right/"correct"/"incorrect" by individuals and different collections of people. Nobody would be really objectively wrong/right since from my view, there is no evidence of objective (divine) morality.

          tf: "If Hitler thought what he was doing was morally good, on your view, was he wrong (subjectively) in his thinking. I'm not asking if YOU think he was subjectively wrong. I'm asking was he wrong in his thinking"

          Why would you ask someone who has stated they don't believe objective morality exists if they thing someone is objectively wrong in their thinking – that makes no sense. (And based on the previous sentence, I have to presume you mean "objectively wrong in this thinking".)

          tf: "Does it not concern you that you really can't say that Hitler was wrong in his thinking? Don't you definitively think he was wrong? [..]"

          No, because I can definitively say he was wrong while understanding that my assessment of his view or anyone's is completely subjective in nature.

          Prove that you do not just have a similar opinion that you have derived in the same subjective manner as atheists, only from something that only represents a claimed unsubstantiated source.

          Please proceed in establishing that objective morality exists without resorting to subjective means.

          April 6, 2014 at 12:31 am |
        • truthfollower01

          Doris, have you ever read Isaiah 52:13-53:12? A total of 15 verses. Please read this and see who you think the author is talking about. Please remember that Isaiah was written well before Jesus was born on earth and we even have the Isaiah scroll from the Dead Sea Scrolls.

          April 6, 2014 at 3:05 pm |
        • Doris

          tf1; Yes and if I were writing a sequel to Gullible's Travels Part 1 and wanted to make my sequel fit, I would make it match Isaiah too......

          April 6, 2014 at 7:24 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          Doris, before proceeding further I want to make sure I fully understand your position. Your saying that it is Jesus but only because the authors of the gospels manipulated their stories to conform to Isaiah?

          April 6, 2014 at 8:46 pm |
        • Doris

          No, I do not think Isaiah is referring to Jesus of Nazareth. I didn't claim NT stories were manipulated. I think it's more likely they were written from the onset with the intention of fulfilling a messiah prophecy in general. I think in the process and since, Christians have most likely created additional prophecy where there was none in Isaiah's time as part of their effort to bolster the general prophecy claims. Of course there are other considerations for how, why and who when we start to consider so much writing without authorship and so few people surrounding the stories that we know about.

          April 6, 2014 at 9:37 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          Doris,

          I'm not sure I understand your answer. Who or what do you believe Isaiah is referring to in the quoted verses above?

          April 6, 2014 at 9:53 pm |
        • Doris

          I could say that Isaiah is referring to the Nation of Israel. But really, for me, it doesn't matter what was written hundreds of years before Jesus. Regardless of how close the NT may look like prophecy fulfilled, the divine Jesus story is seriously lacking evidence. IMHO, the NT authorship problems make even reasonable events, characters suspect; but especially so for claims of divinity, magic, prophecy, etc.

          April 6, 2014 at 10:27 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          Doris,

          "I could say that Isaiah is referring to the Nation of Israel."

          This doesn't work for a number of reasons we could go into if you'd like. Did you read the chapter?

          "5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,
          he was crushed for our iniquities;
          the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
          and by his wounds we are healed.
          6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
          each of us has turned to our own way;
          and the Lord has laid on him
          the iniquity of us all."

          How is this the nation of Israel?

          "For he bore the sin of many,
          and made intercession for the transgressors."

          How is this the nation of Israel?

          It's quite obvious that this is referring to Jesus, as presented in the New Testament. It is really amazing.

          What authorship problems are you referring to that make reasonable events suspect and why do you believe these problems do this?

          April 6, 2014 at 11:19 pm |
        • Doris

          tf: "This doesn't work for a number of reasons we could go into if you'd like." [re: Isaiah 53 pertaining to the Nation of Israel]
          tf: "It's quite obvious that this is referring to Jesus, as presented in the New Testament. It is really amazing."

          lol, no thanks. I'll leave you to debate that with a Jewish person. To be clear though, my position is that it is not about Jesus Christ.

          Regardless of how close the NT may look like prophecy fulfilled, the divine Jesus story is seriously lacking evidence which would bring into question any claims of how the stories relate to older stories. IMHO, the NT authorship problems make even reasonable events, characters suspect; but especially so for claims of divinity, magic, prophecy, etc.

          tf: "What authorship problems "

          Lack of known authorship for: John, Matthew, Mark, and Peter 2 primarily. In Peter 2, Peter allegedly gives his stamp of approval for Paul's works as godly scripture. But of course most Biblical scholars agree that Peter did not write Peter 2. So much for that stamp of approval. Problems like that.

          April 6, 2014 at 11:58 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          Doris,

          If you're going to say that Isaiah is talking about the nation of Israel, you should be able to back up that claim. Just saying it's not Jesus and leaving it at that doesn't address the case. You need to be able to show why it's not Jesus or why it's someone or something else. Your making general sweeping statements.

          Are you saying that because we are not certain who the authors of Matthew and John are, that we cannot trust what was written in them? Why do you believe this? Are you okay with the books of Mark and Luke?

          April 7, 2014 at 11:42 am |
        • Doris

          tf: "If you're going to say that Isaiah is talking about the nation of Israel, you should be able to back up that claim. Just saying it's not Jesus and leaving it at that doesn't address the case. You need to be able to show why it's not Jesus or why it's someone or something else. Your making general sweeping statements."

          Maybe you misunderstood my last post. But let me clarify. No I am not claiming what is meant by the author of Isaiah at all. I am merely pointing out that I find your certainty about the meaning of the Hebrew story laughable – both because you ignore what most Jews say on the matter but also because the source that your version pertains to is itself untrustworthy IMHO.

          tf: "Are you saying that because we are not certain who the authors of Matthew and John are, that we cannot trust what was written in them? Why do you believe this? "

          Yes. We cannot trust them. Before someone asks me to consider accepting accounts involving the supernatural, I need a lot more than authors, but imho the lack of authorship is important.

          tf: "Are you okay with the books of Mark and Luke?"

          No, I am not. I have the same issue with Mark. As a disciple of Paul, Luke to me is contingent on Paul and I find his works untrustworthy in terms of validating any of the "magic" in the Bible. I put him in the same category as a hearsay "historian" of the Bible. If Peter had written a lot and really had given his stamp of approval for Paul, that might have been something to build a credible case for Paul's works, but it seems that Peter wrote very little and did not writer Peter 2.

          April 7, 2014 at 12:02 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          Doris,

          Let me switch gears and mention some data that you may find interesting.

          The following information is taken from a debate between Michael Licona and Bart Ehrman unless otherwise noted.

          Three facts pertaining to Jesus's fate and what occurred afterward that nearly 100% of all scholars today studying this subject accept. This includes Christians, Jews, agnostics and atheists.

          1. Jesus' death by crucifixion.

          "One of the most certain facts of history is that Jesus was crucified on orders of the Roman prefect of Judea, Pontius Pilate." – Bart Ehrman quote shown in his debate with Michael Liconia ("Ehrman vs. Licona (2009)") on YouTube.

          2. Appearances to the Disciples

          This is short for saying that shortly after Jesus's death, a number of Jesus's followers had experiences both individually and in group settings that they perceived were of the risen Jesus who appeared to them.

          "Why, then, did some of the disciples claim to see Jesus alive after his resurrection? I don't doubt at all that some disciples claimed this. We don't have any of their written testimony, but Paul, writing about twenty-five years later, indicates that this is what they claimed, and I don't think he is making it up. And he knew at least a couple of them, whom he met just three years after the event Galatians 1:18-19)." – from Bart Ehrman's book, Jesus Interrupted

          "A number of ancient sources ranging from say 30 to 200 years after Jesus report that these same disciples were willing to suffer continuously for their gospel proclamation, that they were willing to die and that at least a few of them did die as Christian martyrs." – Michael Liconia in his debate with Bart Ehrman

          Michael Licona indicates that this doesn't prove that what they were proclaiming was true but it does show that they sincerely regarded what they were proclaiming as being true. Liars make poor martyrs. The disciples believed that Jesus had risen from the dead.

          3. Appearance to Paul

          Short for saying that Paul had an experience that he perceived was of the risen Jesus appearing to him.

          ""there is no doubt that [Paul] believed that he saw Jesus' real but glorified body raised from the dead."
          – Bart Ehrman quote shown in his debate with Michael Liconia ("Ehrman vs. Licona (2009)") on YouTube.

          As Dr. Michael Licona indicates in his debate with Bart Ehrman, a number of ancient sources report that Paul willingly suffered and was willing to die and in fact he did die as a Christian martyr for his gospel proclamation. This shows the sincerety for what he was proclaiming.

          April 7, 2014 at 2:20 pm |
        • Doris

          Rubbish. Those are not facts and there is not the consensus among the groups you mentioned on all of those points. Ludicrous. Please give an exact quote from Ehrman showing #2 or #3 to be fact.

          April 7, 2014 at 9:54 pm |
    • kudlak

      truthfollower01
      There is a lot of grey area in the way people interpret an action. Logging a forest might be seen as an evil by environmentally-minded people and also seen as a good by the people dependant on that work. One company forcing a rival into bankruptcy may be celebrated by the employees of the winning side and demonized by the other. A promising potential cure for AIDS wouldn't be celebrated by some people.

      There really isn't much that everyone would universally consider either "good" or "evil". Even the conquering of the entire planet, massacre of billions of defenders, and the ending of all democratic forms of government with the establishment of autocratic rule would be celebrated by millions of Christians if it was their Lord doing it, right?

      April 5, 2014 at 1:27 pm |
      • truthfollower01

        Kudlak,

        All we have to establish is one thing and only one thing being objectively morally evil for objective morality to exist. I told this story to Doris last night and will do so here to get your opinion on it. About 10 years ago, there was a little child (7 years old I think) named Jessica who was kidnapped in Florida. She was molested and the buried alive in a plastic bag. When they found her, she was holding her teddy bear. Was this an objectively morally evil act? If not, why?

        April 5, 2014 at 5:55 pm |
        • Doris

          tf no matter how many ways you present these little tests of objective morality, then answer is the same. Prove your god and then you may have a point about alleged divine "truths". There are of course many things like the case you show here that cause people to want a universal "truth"; to want something we all agree on to label an act "evil". But what is evident is that we assess an opinion about acts both individually and collectively. We also consider our collective memory as we, in various groupings, arrive at collective opinions of such acts.

          Prove that you do not just have a similar opinion that you have derived in the same subjective manner as atheists, only from something that only represents a claimed unsubstantiated source. Prove that objective (divine) morality exists without resorting to subjective means.

          April 6, 2014 at 9:06 am |
  3. myweightinwords

    I was going to weigh in on the conversation about objective and subjective morality below, but it had gotten very long and repetitive and kind of looped around itself.

    With regard to whether or not child molestation is objectively or subjectively morally good or bad, we must consider that in previous centuries, societies married off their girls as young as 8 or 9 years old. Parent sold their children to uncertain futures as slaves or indentured servants, using the purchase price to support the rest of their children.

    We look at these practices today, with the morality of our generation and culture and we find it abhorrent, the same way we find child molestation abhorrent. We can not judge the morality of a time and place so removed from ourselves based on what we today consider morally wrong.

    April 5, 2014 at 12:02 pm |
    • truthfollower01

      Myweight,

      So would you say that since an ancient civilization thought it good to sacrifice their children, that for them, it was actually morally good?

      April 5, 2014 at 12:06 pm |
      • myweightinwords

        For them at that time knowing what they knew and based on what they believed to be moral, I would say that they believed that it was morally good.

        Of course, because I didn't live in that time and I live in today's world, I would find it morally reprehensible. Thus proving that morality is, in fact, subjective.

        April 5, 2014 at 12:12 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          "For them at that time knowing what they knew and based on what they believed to be moral, I would say that they believed that it was morally good."

          The question is not if they thought it moral good. The question is were they wrong in thinking it morally good?

          So what your saying is that it was in fact morally good when they did it but today it's morally reprehensible?

          April 5, 2014 at 12:16 pm |
        • myweightinwords

          I'm saying that TO THEM it was morally good and right. And had you lived then among them, you would have also.

          I'm saying we can not judge the morality of people living in a time and place so removed from our own, we can only judge the morality of our own lives, of our own society.

          Let's move to a different example, homosexuality. In many ancient cultures it was celebrated, in others it was tolerated. Then came the Jewish and Christian faiths that demanded that it was evil and it became a thing to demonize, ridicule and relegate homosexuals to the margins of society.

          Today we see the pendulum swinging back toward tolerance, and even celebration.

          Which position is morally "right" and why?

          April 5, 2014 at 12:21 pm |
        • ausphor

          tf01
          Why are you being so obtuse? m-w-words response is perfectly clear.

          April 5, 2014 at 12:21 pm |
        • ausphor

          tf0 1
          Why do you do that all the time. Your comment :So what you are saying is...." you are putting your words in another's mouth", that is deceitful to say the least, stop it.

          April 5, 2014 at 12:38 pm |
        • ssq41

          ausphor,

          I'm not sure if you've followed tf01's obsession with the Objective Morality argument for God here, but he has control issues as this post from yesterday exemplifies:

           truthfollower01
          You choose not to interact with my argument to your view on morality?
          April 4, 2014 at 10:00 pm | Reply

          Over and over again he has been asked legit questions regarding his obsession by a wide range of folks and he refuses to answer them showing how disrespectful and arrogant he and his religion truly is...and then he gets all huffy when they won't comply with his demands.

          An interesting way to diminish and cheapen the Good News of Jesus Christ by turning it into a sterile apologetic strategy.

          Through his actions he shows his lack of integrity, honesty and completely diminishes any consideration of the viability of his faith...while showing just how tenuous his faith really is as he clings so desperately to his singular argument.

          April 5, 2014 at 12:56 pm |
        • ausphor

          ssq41
          What bothers me the most is how he can take someone's very clear comments and twist them completely around to try and justify his delusion. Reminds me of Live for Him or AE before most handles were changed, same type of deceit.

          April 5, 2014 at 1:04 pm |
        • ssq41

          It's a powerful form of insecurity that demands that you climb into your bunker of ideology so you don't have to listen or consider or repect another person....just keep saying it over and over and over again....

          It's like the person who plugs their ears when you start talking and starts yelling "LA LA LA LA LA..."

          April 5, 2014 at 1:17 pm |
        • ausphor

          ssq41
          Ah yes, Sgt Schultz parody of the three monkeys, I see nothing, I hear nothing, I know nothing. Another common trait of those like tf01, they run away like the cowards they are.

          April 5, 2014 at 1:24 pm |
        • sam stone

          it is more like topher gopher

          April 5, 2014 at 3:48 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          Myweight,

          "I’m saying that TO THEM it was morally good and right."

          Do you think they were wrong or right in their view?

          "And had you lived then among them, you would have also."

          Believing something to be morally good doesn't necessarily make it morally good. That's like saying believing the Holocaust to be morally good would therefore deem it morally good. Do you believe this?

          "I’m saying we can not judge the morality of people living in a time and place so removed from our own, we can only judge the morality of our own lives, of our own society."

          The Christian can affirm that those who sacrificed their children were in fact acting morally evil even though they may have thought it morally good for morality is founded in God.

          Since I believe that morality is founded in God's unchanging nature (hence we as Christians can affirm objective morality), I believe that the hom-ose-xual ACT is morally wrong. I believe that having the hom-ose-xual desire is not a sin. It is acting on that desire, whether it be through lustful thoughts, se-xual relations, etc. that is the sin.

          April 5, 2014 at 6:13 pm |
        • myweightinwords

          truthfollower01, Sorry for the delayed response, I've been busy today.

          "I’m saying that TO THEM it was morally good and right."

          Do you think they were wrong or right in their view?

          I've already explained that I can't determine that. My morality is inextricably linked to the society in which I live.

          Believing something to be morally good doesn't necessarily make it morally good. That's like saying believing the Holocaust to be morally good would therefore deem it morally good. Do you believe this?

          You seem to be awfully obsessed with the Holocaust. Of course looking at it today, we find it reprehensible. Obviously, to those in Germany at the time it was either something they found morally good or at least not morally objectionable. Or more than likely it was a combination of those as well as being terrified to speak out against the regime. That's just the citizens of course, those who actively participated probably had an entirely different moral center than the people.

          The Christian can affirm that those who sacrificed their children were in fact acting morally evil even though they may have thought it morally good for morality is founded in God.

          IN THEIR OPINION. That's the kicker right there. In the Christian's opinion, it is morally evil. In my opinion it's morally evil to kill in most situations. In the case of an ancient culture with a different god and different belief system child sacrifice was morally required.

          Since I believe that morality is founded in God's unchanging nature (hence we as Christians can affirm objective morality),

          The important part of this statement is "I believe". Belief does not make morality objective. By it's very nature, belief is subject, thus anything informed by that belief is also subjective.

          I believe that the hom-ose-xual ACT is morally wrong. I believe that having the hom-ose-xual desire is not a sin. It is acting on that desire, whether it be through lustful thoughts, se-xual relations, etc. that is the sin.

          So you would support same gender marriage as long as sex wasn't allowed? Because homosexuality isn't just about sex. It's about love and companionship and family.

          And, I get that YOU BELIEVE that it's wrong. I don't. My religious faith doesn't teach that it's wrong. In fact, it's a sacred part of life. Because morality is subjective, and defined by the society in which we live, I believe that we will see absolute equality in marriage in the next few years across our nation.

          April 6, 2014 at 12:09 am |
        • ausphor

          tf01
          I cannot believe how ridiculous your premises are. Lets take early tribes that were cannibals. If an enemy wandered into their territory or they raided another tribe it was part of their survival system to devour the flesh of their victims. nothing to do with morality but part of their culture. They got over it by the way. There is no objective morality built into the souls of man by some god, it is a ridiculous proposition. People determine what is morality if as and when the culture determines what the current morality should be. No gods required.

          April 5, 2014 at 6:40 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          Ausphor,

          So if the culture in Nazi Germany determined that murdering the Jewish race was morally good, you would say they were right?

          April 5, 2014 at 6:45 pm |
        • Doris

          tf: "So if the culture in Nazi Germany determined that murdering the Jewish race was morally good, you would say they were right?"

          I would say they are wrong based on my view which I understand is a subjective view.

          Prove that you do not just have a similar opinion that you have derived in the same subjective manner as atheists, only from something that only represents a claimed unsubstantiated source.

          Please proceed in establishing that objective morality exists without resorting to subjective means.

          April 6, 2014 at 12:36 am |
    • truthfollower01

      Myweight,

      Does it not concern you that you really can't say that what someone like Hitler was wrong in his thinking? Don't you definitively think he was wrong?

      "Obviously, to those in Germany at the time it was either something they found morally good or at least not morally objectionable."

      Weren't those who thought it to be morally good wrong? It may not square with your world view but weren't they wrong?

      "IN THEIR OPINION. That’s the kicker right there. In the Christian’s opinion, it is morally evil.

      It's not the Christian's opinion. Personal opinion is what subjective morality is confined to. On the Christian view, morality is grounded in the unchanging nature of God and therefore Christians can affirm objectively morality.

      "Belief does not make morality objective. "

      I'm arguing that God as the Moral Law Giver is how we can affirm objective morality.

      As a Christian, I would not support same gender marriage. The Bible is very clear both in the Old and New Testaments that marriage is between a husband and wife. See Matthew 19:4-6. I do believe that equality between heterose-xual and hom-ose-xual marriages is the direction the nation is headed. However, I view this as one of the results of this nation heading away from God.

      I appreciate the conversation and the sincere tone. Would you mind explains what you mean by your religious beliefs?

      April 6, 2014 at 2:42 pm |
      • myweightinwords

        Does it not concern you that you really can’t say that what someone like Hitler was wrong in his thinking? Don’t you definitively think he was wrong?

        Concern me? No. It isn't my job to judge him.

        Do I definitively think he was wrong? Based on my morality, yes. But then I also think a lot of other things are morally wrong. Time, history and society don't always agree with me.

        Weren’t those who thought it to be morally good wrong? It may not square with your world view but weren’t they wrong?

        Why is it necessary to condemn them for being wrong? Is it not enough to have learned a lesson from it and updated our societal understanding of morality accordingly?

        It’s not the Christian’s opinion. Personal opinion is what subjective morality is confined to. On the Christian view, morality is grounded in the unchanging nature of God and therefore Christians can affirm objectively morality.

        And yet, that belief in that god existing and that he gave you an objective morality IS SUBJECTIVE, It is a belief. Without that subjective belief, the "objective" morality fails to actually be objective. Thus, what you consider to be objective morality is nothing but subjective morality that you have convinced yourself is objective.

        I’m arguing that God as the Moral Law Giver is how we can affirm objective morality.

        And yet, many of those laws are not as we would consider, exactly moral today. If it is no long moral to stone disobedient children, how can the morality given by this law giver be objective?

        As a Christian, I would not support same gender marriage.

        Why not? If you could ensure that no sexual activity would take place and you believe that it is that which is the sin, why could you not support two people who love each other sharing their lives together? (Please note that I don't share this belief, and fully support full equality).

        The Bible is very clear both in the Old and New Testaments that marriage is between a husband and wife. See Matthew 19:4-6.

        The Bible also says the marriage is between a man and multiple women, that fathers can give their daughters in marriage to total strangers and that a woman who is raped is required to marry the man who raped her. I don't necessarily find any of that being supported by the societal morality of our culture, do you?

        I do believe that equality between heterose-xual and hom-ose-xual marriages is the direction the nation is headed. However, I view this as one of the results of this nation heading away from God.

        We were never headed toward your god. We are a secular nation. Our laws have always been secular, our morality community based. Where we are headed is to a freer, more equal society where all people can live their lives in happiness.

        I appreciate the conversation and the sincere tone. Would you mind explains what you mean by your religious beliefs?

        I am Pagan...not that that really tells you much about what I believe. That's probably a longer conversation than this post allows. If you have specific questions, I am happy to answer them.

        April 6, 2014 at 4:37 pm |
  4. Doris

    RB: I guess the basic issue today is hypocrisy. We call ourselves Christians or believers, but don't act according to our confession of faith all the time. There is a great abyss...... BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH....

    Don't delay Rainy. Go ahead and get started on your self-flagellation today. You and I both know it's the only thing that will quell your propensity to lament ad nauseam over fictional mythology.

    April 5, 2014 at 11:15 am |
    • kudlak

      Maybe it's time for a new "confession of faith"?

      April 5, 2014 at 1:29 pm |
  5. Jill

    Ponderously Boring Rainer Helmut Braendlein, sequester your mustard and abolish your putrid leotards.

    So there brown stare. Feed your inner walnut and resolve. Subject your lemon to the ingenious door in the presence of snow and animals. Aisle 7 is for the monetary cheese whiz. Faced with the kitchen, you may wish to prolong the sailboat in the cliff. Otherwise, rabbits may descend on your left nostril. Think about how you can stripe the sea.

    Regale the storm to those who (6) would thump the parrot with the armband. Corner the market on vestiges of the apparent closure but seek not the evidential circumstance. Therein you can find indignant mountains of pigs and apples. Descend eloquently as you debate the ceiling of your warning fulcrum. Vacate the corncob profusely and and don’t dote on the pancreas.

    Next up, control your wood. Have at the cat with your watch on the fore. Aft! Smarties (12)! Rome wasn’t kevetched in an autumn nightie. (42) See yourself for the turntable on the escalator. Really peruse the garage spider definitely again again with brown. Now we have an apparent congestion, so be it here. Just a moment is not a pod of beef for the ink well nor can it be (4) said that Karen was there in the millpond.

    Garbage out just like the candle in the kitty so. Go, go, go until the vacuum meets the upward vacation. Sell the yellow. Then trim the bus before the ten cheese please Louise. Segregate from the koan and stew the ship vigorously.

    And remember, never pass up an opportunity to watch an elephant paint Mozart.

    April 5, 2014 at 10:22 am |
  6. Rainer Helmut Braendlein

    I guess the basic issue today is hypocrisy. We call ourselves Christians or believers, but don't act according to our confession of faith all the time. There is a great abyss between our Sunday life and our Monday life. Very seldom our (Christian) Sunday dreams come true at Monday or the rest of the work week. It is very difficult to live according to the principles of Jesus in a world (the real world) which acts according to the principle of the survival of the fittest. Workmates less try to cooperate, but they are in a contest. Long-term that will not work. Just imagine your organs would get into a contest with each other. You would immediately collapse. You or your body only works, if your organs cooperate – every organ humbly fulfilling its task. We more and more forget this New Testament doctrine about the mankind as a body, and every single human being an organ of that body giving and receiving.

    By all means today, if you join any company, and "they" notice that you simply and humbly try to fulfill your task, they will laugh at you (maybe furtively). They will say: "What a village idiot is that?" But long-term our Western World will not survive without such "village idots" simply fulfilling their task, not participating in any contest with their workmates. We will only survive, if we cooperate. We need a new awareness of mutual service not seekling only the own benefit but also the benefit of the neighbour (workmate, classmate, next-door neighbour, etc.). There must be a balance.

    The modern world becomes more and more anti-Christian, and only honors the proud and brutal man. But the proud and brutal man can never be a useful organ of the whole body. Therefore long-terms the world will destroy itself by its anti-Christianity:

    Everybody is required at least to pretend to be brutal and proud. The nominal Christians compartmenatalize their life. At Sunday they are meek and humble, during the work week they are proud and brutal. They justify themselves saying: "Jesus' sacrifce was an atonement for my sins, he has payed the bill in advance, my salvation doesn't depend on my works." These nominal Christians will face a rude awakening at Judgement Day. Jesus himself will condemn them to eternal torture in the Lake of Fire.

    Today we must learn again to unite Sunday life and Monday life. There should be no disparity of behaviour, that is the aim.

    Jesus will help us through, if we repent, believe, and get sacramentally baptized (or remember our infant baptism). Sacramental baptism is the gateway to a real Christian life. The Angel of the Lord will accompany us, and things will go better.

    Jesus sacrifice was more than an atonement. He also died and resurrected in order to set us free. If we believe and get sacramentally baptized, we die, and resurrect together with him. After baptism we are dead for the sin and in Christ. In Christ we are able to be meek and humble despite our proud, brutal and selfish nature. We overcome our selfish ego through daily faith in Jesus who died, and resurrected for us.

    We only have a right to consider Jesus' sacrifice as an atonement for our sins, if we also consider it as a work of deliverance. These two views cannot be separated from each other. The one who stresses only the atonement character of Jesus sacrifice, has actually nothing at all, and will get condemned at Judgement Day.

    April 5, 2014 at 10:18 am |
    • Jill

      Ponderously Boring Rainer Helmut Braendlein, sequester your mustard and abolish your putrid leotards. Don't obfuscate the primary prenuptials with rasberries. Often, the pertinent cat presents fabled necessities in the parking chamfer. Realize your net precedent. Triangulate! Save the best for the alligators. Ever the bastille notches the orchestra but Wendy is not green and horses will capitulate. Filter out the log from the turnstile and cry prevalently.

      So there brown stare. Feed your inner walnut and resolve. Subject your lemon to the ingenious door in the presence of snow and animals. Aisle 7 is for the monetary cheese whiz. Faced with the kitchen, you may wish to prolong the sailboat in the cliff. Otherwise, rabbits may descend on your left nostril. Think about how you can stripe the sea.

      Regale the storm to those who (6) would thump the parrot with the armband. Corner the market on vestiges of the apparent closure but seek not the evidential circumstance. Therein you can find indignant mountains of pigs and apples. Descend eloquently as you debate the ceiling of your warning fulcrum. Vacate the corncob profusely and and don’t dote on the pancreas.

      Next up, control your wood. Have at the cat with your watch on the fore. Aft! Smarties (12)! Rome wasn’t kevetched in an autumn nightie. (42) See yourself for the turntable on the escalator. Really peruse the garage spider definitely again again with brown. Now we have an apparent congestion, so be it here. Just a moment is not a pod of beef for the ink well nor can it be (4) said that Karen was there in the millpond.

      Garbage out just like the candle in the kitty so. Go, go, go until the vacuum meets the upward vacation. Sell the yellow. Then trim the bus before the ten cheese please Louise. Segregate from the koan and stew the ship vigorously.

      And remember, never pass up an opportunity to watch an elephant paint Mozart.

      April 5, 2014 at 10:20 am |
      • Rainer Helmut Braendlein

        We pray for you.

        April 5, 2014 at 10:23 am |
        • igaftr

          Yeah...I didn't get you anything either.

          April 5, 2014 at 10:31 am |
        • sam stone

          You pray for us, Rainy Helmut, we'll think for you

          April 5, 2014 at 11:09 am |
    • bostontola

      I don't see sacrifice in what Jesus is reported to have done.

      Case 1. Jesus is a God. No sacrifice in this case, He knows how it all ends.
      Case 2. Jesus was a man. He was killed by force. Very sad for him, but no evidence of a sacrifice. The Romans crucified many people.

      Where is the sacrifice?

      April 5, 2014 at 10:26 am |
      • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

        And what is that god's obsession with blood sacrifice? A bit creepy.

        April 5, 2014 at 10:32 am |
      • Rainer Helmut Braendlein

        For example, St. Paul tells us that it was a sacrifice. St. Paul had encountered the glorified Christ who spoke to him. The Apostles teached the genuine doctrine of Jesus Christ, and their doctrine fits together with the doctrines of the earthly Jesus written down in the Synoptic Gospels.

        April 5, 2014 at 10:33 am |
        • ausphor

          Rainman
          Both you and Paul are delusional, that for sure is a common trait between you. Paul also could discriminate against others and you often exhibit your bigotry. How are the Black Jack lessons coming, ready to hit the tables?

          April 5, 2014 at 11:02 am |
        • kudlak

          When Paul warned about being led away by those preaching a "different gospel" he was talking about the gospel that Peter and James were preaching, right? That was the only variety in gospels that we have any evidence for that early on, so Paul was talking about this dispute between the gospel that was "revealed" to him (meaning it just popped into his mind) and the gospel that Peter and James got directly from listening to Jesus for years. And my, he really didn't have anything very flattering to say about those guys, did he?

          April 5, 2014 at 1:36 pm |
        • Rainer Helmut Braendlein

          You don't have the slightest comprehension of the Bible.

          St. Paul, St. Peter and St. John they all teached the same doctrine. Also Kyrios (Lord-God) Jesus teached the same.

          The glorified Jesus and the earthly Jesus teached the same – there is absolute continuity.

          April 5, 2014 at 1:51 pm |
        • kudlak

          Rainer Helmut Braendlein
          Not when you examine the books separately, without forcing a unified theology upon them. If all you read were Paul's letters and James' were later discovered, you wouldn't see any similarity at all, but because they're all packaged into a canon, and you're told that they agree, you can't appreciate that these were really different varieties of Christianity competing at the same time. Paul's variety became the more popular, no doubt due to his not enforcing the Jewish Law, and the apostolic variety simply disappeared. Why would Paul be warning his churches about these guys if they were all in agreement?

          April 5, 2014 at 2:20 pm |
    • James XCIX

      "By all means today, if you join any company, and "they" notice that you simply and humbly try to fulfill your task, they will laugh at you (maybe furtively). They will say: "What a village idiot is that?""

      I don't think that's the experience of very many people. Usually, people who fulfill their tasks are advanced over those who don't. As for those whose Sunday behavior is different than their Monday behavior, I think there is a very simple explanation–they really aren't totally convinced that what they're hearing on Sunday is true.

      April 5, 2014 at 10:39 am |
      • Rainer Helmut Braendlein

        "Usually, people who fulfill their tasks are advanced over those who don’t."

        Of course, that is the ordinary assumption, but I am not sure, whether this statement is still valid today.

        It maybe valid, if we imply that "task" means also to do evil things at work for the sake of the benefit of the company. In that case a Christian could not fulfill "his" task.

        April 5, 2014 at 10:52 am |
  7. Rainer Helmut Braendlein

    RB is back.

    I guess the basic issue today is hypocrisy. We call ourselves Christians or believers, but don't act according to our confession of faith all the time. There is a great abyss between our Sunday life and our Monday life. Very seldom our (Christian) Sunday dreams come true at Monday or the rest of the work week. It is very difficult to live according to the principles of Jesus in a world (the real world) which acts according to the principle of the survival of the fittest. Workmates less try to cooperate, but they are in a contest. Long-term that will not work. Just imagine your organs would get into a contest with each other. You would immediately collapse. You or your body only works, if your organs cooperate – every organ humbly fulfilling its task. We more and more forget this New Testament doctrine about the mankind as a body, and every single human being an organ of that body giving and receiving.

    By all means today, if you join any company, and "they" notice that you simply and humbly try to fulfill your task, they will laugh at you (maybe furtively). They will say: "What a village idiot is that?" But long-terms our Western World will not survive without such "village idots" simply fulfilling their task, not participating in any contest with their workmates. We will only survive, if we cooperate.

    The modern world becomes more and more anti-Christian, and honors the proud and brutal man. But the proud and brutal man can never be a useful organ of the whole body. Therefore long-terms the world will destroy itself by its anti-Christianity.

    Everybody is required at least to pretend to be brutal and proud. The nominal Christians compartmenatalize their life. At Sunday they are meek and humble, during the work week they are proud and brutal. They justify themselves saying: "Jesus' sacrifce was an atonement for my sins, he has payed the bill in advanve, my salvation doesn't depend on my works." These nominal Christians will face a rude awakening at Judgement Day. Jesus himself will condemn them to eternal suffering in the Lake of Fire.

    Today we must learn again to unite Sunday life and Monday life. There should be no disparity of behaviour, that is the aim.

    Jesus will help us through, if we repent, believe, and get sacramentally baptized (or remember our infant baptism). Sacramental baptism is the gateway to a real Christian life. The Angel of the Lord will accompany us, and things will go better.

    Jesus sacrifice was more than an atonement. He also died and resurrected in order to set us free. If we believe and get sacramentally baptized, we die, and resurrect together with him. After baptism we are dead for the sin and in Christ. In Christ we are able to be meek and humble despite our proud, brutal and selfish nature. We overcome our selfish ego through daily faith in Jesus who died, and resurrected for us.

    We only have a right to consider Jesus' sacrifice as an atonement for our sins, if we also consider it as a work of deliverance. These two views cannot be separated from each other. The one who stresses only the atonement character of Jesus sacrifice, has actually nothing at all, and will get condemned at Judgement Day.

    April 5, 2014 at 9:55 am |
    • Jill

      Ponderously Boring Rainer Helmut Braendlein, sequester your mustard and abolish your putrid leotards. Don't obfuscate the primary prenuptials with rasberries. Often, the pertinent cat presents fabled necessities in the parking chamfer. Realize your net precedent. Triangulate! Save the best for the alligators. Ever the bastille notches the orchestra but Wendy is not green and horses will capitulate. Filter out the log from the turnstile and cry prevalently.

      So there brown stare. Feed your inner walnut and resolve. Subject your lemon to the ingenious door in the presence of snow and animals. Aisle 7 is for the monetary cheese whiz. Faced with the kitchen, you may wish to prolong the sailboat in the cliff. Otherwise, rabbits may descend on your left nostril. Think about how you can stripe the sea.

      Regale the storm to those who (6) would thump the parrot with the armband. Corner the market on vestiges of the apparent closure but seek not the evidential circumstance. Therein you can find indignant mountains of pigs and apples. Descend eloquently as you debate the ceiling of your warning fulcrum. Vacate the corncob profusely and and don’t dote on the pancreas.

      Next up, control your wood. Have at the cat with your watch on the fore. Aft! Smarties (12)! Rome wasn’t kevetched in an autumn nightie. (42) See yourself for the turntable on the escalator. Really peruse the garage spider definitely again again with brown. Now we have an apparent congestion, so be it here. Just a moment is not a pod of beef for the ink well nor can it be (4) said that Karen was there in the millpond.

      Garbage out just like the candle in the kitty so so. Go, go, go until the vacuum meets the upward vacation. Sell the yellow. Then trim the bus before the ten cheese please Louise. Segregate from the koan and stew the ship vigorously.

      And remember, never pass up an opportunity to watch an elephant paint Mozart.

      April 5, 2014 at 10:27 am |
      • Rainer Helmut Braendlein

        More prayer for Jill necessary.

        April 5, 2014 at 10:34 am |
        • Prayer Is For The Stupid

          Prayer takes people away from actually working on real solutions to their problems.
          Prayer has been shown to have no discernible effect towards what was prayed for.
          Prayer makes you frothy like Rick Santorum. Just go to http://santorum.com to find out more.
          Prayer prevents you from getting badly needed exercise.
          Prayer makes you fat, pale, weak, and sedentary.
          Prayer wears out your clothes prematurely.
          Prayer contributes to global warming through excess CO2 emissions.
          Prayer fucks up your knees and your neck and your back.
          Prayer can cause heart attacks, especially among the elderly.
          Prayer reveals how stupid you are to the world.
          Prayer exposes your backside to pervert priests.
          Prayer makes you think doilies are exciting.
          Prayer makes you secretively flatulent and embarrassed about it.
          Prayer makes your kids avoid spending time with you.
          Prayer gives you knobbly knees.
          Prayer makes you frothy like Rick Santorum. http://santorum.com
          Prayer dulls your senses.
          Prayer makes you post really stupid shit.
          Prayer makes you hoard cats.
          Prayer makes you smell like shitty kitty litter and leads you on to harder drugs.
          Prayer wastes time.

          April 5, 2014 at 11:00 am |
        • Rainer Helmut Braendlein

          Nevertheless, we still pray.

          April 5, 2014 at 11:11 am |
        • kermit4jc

          and all that is out if ignorance of what prayer is....and how it benefits....sorry jack...try again

          April 8, 2014 at 2:08 am |
        • James XCIX

          Rainer – "Nevertheless, we still pray"

          Just curious–are you the type that subscribes to the idea that everything happens according to God's unalterable plans, and that humans have free will? If so, how could prayer possibly have any effect on future events or on anyone else's thoughts or behavior?

          April 5, 2014 at 11:28 am |
        • Rainer Helmut Braendlein

          Imagine chessmen with a free will. That would be a real problem for a human chess player, an insoluble problem.

          Yet, the divine chess player knew all our decisions in advance (before the creation of the universe), and by his enormous processing power he is/was able to control/compute the course of history despite our free will. He is simply unique.

          April 5, 2014 at 11:46 am |
        • Akira

          "Nevertheless, we still pray."

          How many reside in your head, Rainier? Or do you fancy yourself to be of Royal lineage?

          April 5, 2014 at 11:48 am |
        • Rainer Helmut Braendlein

          You impute something.

          April 5, 2014 at 11:50 am |
        • James XCIX

          Rainer – I'm sorry, but I don't see how that answers my question.

          April 5, 2014 at 11:51 am |
        • Akira

          I am asking you a direct question that addresses something YOU wrote. I understand things as written.

          I'll ask you differently: Who is the "we"?

          April 5, 2014 at 12:05 pm |
        • Rainer Helmut Braendlein

          That is an arcanum or hugger-mugger.

          April 5, 2014 at 12:11 pm |
        • sam stone

          if an omniscient being knows our actions before we take them, there is no free will. try again, fuhrer

          April 5, 2014 at 12:22 pm |
        • Rainer Helmut Braendlein

          Nonsense.

          April 5, 2014 at 12:40 pm |
        • Akira

          Now you're pretending to be mysterious, Rain?

          April 5, 2014 at 1:11 pm |
        • Akira

          Dafuq is a hugger-mugger?

          April 5, 2014 at 1:22 pm |
        • sam stone

          Rainy: Nonsense? Could you be more specific?

          If I APPARENTLY have two choices, A or B, and god knows I am going to choose B, and god cannot be wrong, what are the chances god is going to be incorrect by me choosing A?

          I challenge you to post a logical reply, Rainy.

          But I suspect you are too cowardly to do so.

          April 7, 2014 at 6:32 am |
  8. bostontola

    Another personal note (update).

    I talked with my son again yesterday. The young man that confronted my son at work came back and apologized for being so aggressive. He told my son that he respected him and wanted to be a friend. They had a long conversation and will proceed with mutual respect. My son was impressed that the young man owned up and made the effort to build a relationship. It's nice when young men can grow.

    April 5, 2014 at 7:55 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Good for him, admitting when you are wrong is a true virtue.

      April 5, 2014 at 10:28 am |
    • ssq41

      That's outstanding and amazing. That act of humility can be a powerful force...and for the Christian it can speak louder than their ideology or apologetical arguments.

      Funny how so many of them miss this primary theme from their savior's example.

      I was such an arrogant as.shole when I was a Christian, just like so many of them here.

      April 5, 2014 at 11:43 am |
    • Akira

      That is fantastic! I am so glad that it worked out for your son, and that the young man was humble enough to admit his mistake and apologize.

      April 5, 2014 at 12:12 pm |
  9. Blessed are the Cheesemakers

    kermit, who is the "I" in

    "But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence"....???? PAUL....PAUL isn't in Ephesus, he was saying he would not suffer to listen to a woman and neither should they. Case closed...you lose ....idiot.

    April 5, 2014 at 2:40 am |
    • kermit4jc

      PAUL IS NOT PREACHING in Ephesus..YOU lose...case closed...and you STILL have yet to address the religious climate in Ephesus...you failed to do so.you wont do it..so there is another point you FAIL again....IM done...until you can go back and actually look at the climate...your arguments have no merit whatsoever

      April 5, 2014 at 2:42 am |
      • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

        Who is the "I" kermit....answer the question

        April 5, 2014 at 2:49 am |
        • kermit4jc

          uhh..the question was already answered by the person asking it....pay attention

          April 5, 2014 at 2:57 am |
      • kudlak

        kermit4jc
        Since you're talking about Paul here, when he warned about being led away by those preaching a "different gospel" he was talking about the gospel that Peter and James were preaching, right? That was the only variety in gospels that we have any evidence for that early on, so Paul was talking about this dispute between the gospel that was "revealed" to him (meaning it just popped into his mind) and the gospel that Peter and James got directly from listening to Jesus for years. The one that still required conversion to Judaism, and possibly some other differences, like whether you could be justified by your works, or not.
        And my, Paul really didn't have anything very flattering to say about those guys, did he?

        The writer of Acts tends to gloss over this strife and has Peter and James capitulate, but if Acts were really written by Luke, then you have to remember that Luke was Paul's companion, and Peter and James may have had no input at all in how Luke portrays them.

        April 5, 2014 at 1:50 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          first o fall...Galatians has Paul going to speak with the apostles and they gave him right hand of fellowshi0p...there was other gospels going around..especially the gnostics...you need to be brought up to speed on the history of the Church and other religions in the Biblical times....Paul and Peter both consider each others writings as Scripture..so your theory doesnt work

          April 8, 2014 at 2:15 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      and don't forget kermit if this advice was only meant for the people in Ephesus there is no reason for it to be in the bible. The real "context" is that this was meant for all, you have the brain of a frog...kermit.

      April 5, 2014 at 2:47 am |
      • kermit4jc

        BAD LOGIC....WHo are You to say it shouldn't be there? ITS a LESSON we can learn! If people are doing such things as was happening in Ephesus or something similar....we should follow that type of advice...you are still lacking in connecting the dots! It can be for ANYONE who runs into similar problems!! Whether it be Ephesus or anywhere else

        April 5, 2014 at 2:56 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          It's really usefull if women get all "uppity".... right kermit?

          April 5, 2014 at 10:15 am |
      • kermit4jc

        and this was a letter to TIMOTHY...not just anyone..but a specific person..and yet still as usefull for us today

        April 5, 2014 at 2:57 am |
      • TruthPrevails1

        " you have the brain of a frog"

        That's almost an insult to frogs...brain of a slug would be more like it. Kermi doesn't care about anything outside of his book of fables...no care for humanity; no care for the planet-just his imaginary friend and appeasing it.

        April 5, 2014 at 7:53 am |
  10. observer

    Doris,

    Here is a question that has stumped truthfollower. He can't decide if the answer is YES or NO.

    Since you don't have truthfollower's CHRISTIAN MORALS, could you please answer this:

    Is it MORAL to you to SELL 6-year-old girls to MEN who are total strangers for their USE?

    YES or NO?

    April 5, 2014 at 1:17 am |
    • Doris

      Of course it is in my opinion that it is immoral (subjectively) to you to SELL 6-year-old girls to MEN who are total strangers for their USE. And I think my subjective opinion "jives" and is represented to some degree in today's law.

      April 5, 2014 at 1:37 am |
      • observer

        Doris,

        Thanks for your reply.

        The Christian remains totally stumped about these morals. Fortunately, you don't have his MORALS. His Bible, however, shows the answer to be "YES".

        April 5, 2014 at 1:41 am |
        • nwspiritism

          According to Spiritism (founded in the 1850's by Allan Kardec, who wrote "The Spirits Book"), the Bible was inspired by God, but the people writing it were limited by their knowledge and culture at the time. Therefore, the events, such as destroying everyone in a city or the earth was created in 6 days, are not meant to be taken literally. Only the messages of love and fraternity are eternal. In addition, the letters by Paul were written in a time where in some cultures women had a lessor status, therefore Paul was influenced by this. In Spiritism, we are told that through many lives we can return as men or women, therefore watch out how you treat people. You can learn more about Spiritism at http://www.nwspiritism.com

          April 5, 2014 at 10:31 am |
  11. wholisa

    As expected. Regardless of how many are leaving, the writer never ponders "why" or questions his own position. Just like Jesus, he expects to be hated because he's right and everyone else is wrong. Yawn.

    That's one of the problems with orthodox beliefs – no questioning, blind faith.

    April 4, 2014 at 11:27 pm |
    • realbuckyball

      Professional religionists can't really afford to question anything. They get paid to maintain the illusion they have a reasonable position, no matter how preposterous it actually is. If they were to question anything, they would be out a job in two seconds flat. There is no such thing as "orthodoxy". It's an illusion. There are 33,000 sects of Xtianity. Not one of the members of ONE of them actually thinks they might be wrong. They all have THE truth

      April 5, 2014 at 12:06 am |
  12. observer

    truthfollower,

    You seem obsessed with Nazi Germany, so here's who lived there:

    Here is the religious make-up of Nazi Germany in 1939:
    54% Protestant
    40% Catholic
    3.5% Neo-pagans “who believe in God”
    1.5% atheists

    April 4, 2014 at 10:32 pm |
  13. lunchbreaker

    I'm confused. Christians aren't supposed to be nice? Well, that explains Salero21.

    April 4, 2014 at 10:20 pm |
  14. Salero21

    The "Social gospel" is all "social" but no Gospel at all. Atheism/evolutionism/idolatry on the other hand are absolute, complete and Total stu.pi.di.ty forevermore.

    April 4, 2014 at 9:34 pm |
    • realbuckyball

      One problemo. You forgot to say why.
      Oh. You can't figure that out ?
      Never mind.

      April 4, 2014 at 11:03 pm |
    • aquamaneffect

      The Social gospel says that clothing the least of these is more important than calling people idiots on the internet. Enough said.

      April 5, 2014 at 1:53 am |
    • TruthPrevails1

      Approximately 96% of your DNA is shared by chimps. You didn't come via the incest story of the book of fables you follow. We're truly sorry the education system and your parents failed you. There are basic courses you can take that will teach you about evolution and science-you should look in to them.

      April 5, 2014 at 7:56 am |
  15. Peaceadvocate2014

    Charity to others is not measured by the amount of money given but the sacrifice and sincerity of helping the less fortunate.

    April 4, 2014 at 9:16 pm |
  16. truthfollower01

    Observer,

    "Atheists agree on ONLY ONE THING. They don’t believe in gods.
    Period. That’s it."

    This carries enormous implications into one's worldview.

    "Any moral judgments by them are strictly on an INDIVIDUAL basis and there is NO POSSIBLE agreements by ALL of them other than as stated."

    This is a huge problem. If one person thinks it morally good to murder and another thinks it morally good to save life, neither one are wrong. If Hitler thought what he did was morally good, he wasn't wrong on atheism. Can't you see a huge issue with this?

    April 4, 2014 at 8:36 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      "Any moral judgments by them are strictly on an INDIVIDUAL basis and there is NO POSSIBLE agreements by ALL of them other than as stated."

      NONSENSE. All societies establish morals. Morals are a societal consensus of conscience. They are not individualized.

      This is the false dichotomy that people like you always put forward regarding the reality of subjective morality. It's not about individuals – ever! Objective morality is non-existent. Morality is always subjective, you simply refuse to see it.

      Absent a 2000 year old rule book, all human societies establish a ethical code in order to live together. How many of the 613 Mitzvot to you adhere to? I hope you're not doing any prohibited labor because it Shabbat already.

      April 4, 2014 at 9:44 pm |
      • truthfollower01

        GOPer,

        That quote you used was said by the agnostic Observer. I was quoting him/her and then responding to it. The "nonsense" you say is to Observer's view.

        April 4, 2014 at 9:58 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          That context was unclear. Even though you enclosed it in quotes, you didn't post it in context in the thread where it would be relevant.

          In any case I stand by my statement. Morality is relative. It is a societal consensus of conscience, which by it's nature is messy and takes time to change, but change it does.

          April 4, 2014 at 10:19 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          Doris,

          Don't you think that the morality of things like child molestation are based on more than one's personal taste?

          Christians can affirm that the mol-ester IS wrong, regardless of what he thinks. His opinion doesn't matter.

          April 5, 2014 at 2:58 am |
        • Doris

          tf: "Don't you think that the morality of things like child molestation are based on more than one's personal taste?

          Sure, things harmful to other humans are obviously considered more seriously, yet subjectively by societies.

          tf: "Christians can affirm that the mol-ester IS wrong, regardless of what he thinks. His opinion doesn't matter."

          Sure they can "affirm". But to my knowledge, they have been unable to demonstrate objective "truths".

          Prove that you do not just have a similar opinion that you have derived in the same subjective manner as atheists, only from something that only represented a claimed unsubstantiated source.

          And please proceed in establishing that one case of objective morality exists without resorting to subjective means.

          April 5, 2014 at 3:22 am |
        • truthfollower01

          Doris,

          So you would affirm that the same event can be both the highest form of moral goodness and the epitome of moral evil at the same time?

          Concerning someone who may think that child mol-estation is morally good, you have no issue with this? You wouldn't say they are wrong? Yes you may say they're subjectively wrong but that's like saying someone is wrong who thinks a song is good that you think is bad. They're not really wrong in this case.

          April 5, 2014 at 10:32 am |
        • Doris

          tf: "So you would affirm that the same event can be both the highest form of moral goodness and the epitome of moral evil at the same time?"

          That's nonsense. Show me where I speak of events themselves carrying some objective (divine) value associated with them independent of man's subjective assessment. I think you know I don't make such claims.

          tf: "Concerning someone who may think that child molestation is morally good, you have no issue with this? You wouldn't say they are wrong? Yes you may say they're subjectively wrong but that's like saying someone is wrong who thinks a song is good that you think is bad."

          Of course I would say they are wrong – and yes while understanding that my opinion is subjective and often part of a collective subjective opinion. I don't think you'll come across too many places where the law says the same thing about child molestation versus what it says about musical taste, so no, subjectively, it's not the same thing.

          Prove that you do not just have a similar opinion that you have derived in the same subjective manner as atheists, only from something that only represents a claimed unsubstantiated source.

          Please proceed in establishing that one case of objective morality exists without resorting to subjective means.

          April 5, 2014 at 10:46 am |
        • truthfollower01

          Doris,

          So you would affirm that the same event can be both the highest form of moral goodness and the epi-tome of moral evil at the same time?

          Concerning someone who may think that child mol-estation is morally good, you have no issue with this? You wouldn't say they are wrong? Yes, you may say they're subjectively wrong but that's like saying someone is wrong who thinks a song is good that you think is bad. They're not really wrong in this case.

          April 5, 2014 at 11:14 am |
        • truthfollower01

          Sorry for the double post there.

          April 5, 2014 at 11:17 am |
        • Doris

          tf: "So you would affirm that the same event can be both the highest form of moral goodness and the epitome of moral evil at the same time?"

          That's nonsense. Show me where I speak of events themselves carrying some objective (divine) value associated with them independent of man's subjective assessment. I think you know I don't make such claims.

          tf: "Concerning someone who may think that child molestation is morally good, you have no issue with this? You wouldn't say they are wrong? Yes you may say they're subjectively wrong but that's like saying someone is wrong who thinks a song is good that you think is bad."

          Of course I would say they are wrong – and yes while understanding that my opinion is subjective and often part of a collective subjective opinion. I don't think you'll come across too many places where the law says the same thing about child molestation versus what it says about musical taste, so no, subjectively, it's not the same thing.

          Prove that you do not just have a similar opinion that you have derived in the same subjective manner as atheists, only from something that only represents a claimed unsubstantiated source.

          Please proceed in establishing that one case of objective morality exists without resorting to subjective means.

          April 5, 2014 at 11:17 am |
        • truthfollower01

          Doris,

          What I'm saying is that if someone thinks an act is the hig-hest form of moral goodness but you think the exact same act is the epi-tome of moral evil, you both are correct? The act can be both ends of the spectrum?

          If Hitler thought what he was doing was morally good, on your view, was he wrong (subjectively) in his thinking. I'm not asking if YOU think he was subjectively wrong. I'm asking was he wrong in his thinking.

          April 5, 2014 at 12:02 pm |
        • Doris

          t01: "What I'm saying is that if someone thinks an act is the hig-hest form of moral goodness but you think the exact same act is the epi-tome of moral evil, you both are correct? The act can be both ends of the spectrum?"

          Spectrum of what – the spectrum of you alleged divine moral "truth"? Since you have failed to demonstrate any reasonable evidence for your God from which I'm sure you claim objective moral "truths" allegedly flow, then the point of correctness is moot.

          Or the spectrum of subjective evaluation of good/bad by individuals and collectively? Here again a single assessment of correctness is virtually moot because our laws don't reflect a single assessment of correctness. What is evident is the subjective, and sometimes often varied views that make up our collective subjective assessments.

          t01: "If Hitler thought what he was doing was morally good, on your view, was he wrong (subjectively) in his thinking. I'm not asking if YOU think he was subjectively wrong. I'm asking was he wrong in his thinking."

          Again, you are attempting to inject the presupposition that there is a such thing as (objectively) "wrong" that stands on its own in the world independent of human subjective consideration. So what you're asking at the end is nonsensical. I'm saying unless you can prove your god, then there is only the subjective. My opinion that he is wrong is subjective and nothing more. Collective opinion, of which I am sure I'm in the same group on that point, is still subjective and nothing more IMHO.

          Prove that you do not just have a similar opinion that you have derived in the same subjective manner as atheists, only from something that only represents a claimed unsubstantiated source.

          Please proceed in establishing that one case of objective morality exists without resorting to subjective means.

          April 5, 2014 at 12:20 pm |
      • truthfollower01

        GOPer,

        "All societies establish morals. Morals are a societal consensus of conscience. They are not individualized."

        So for example, an ancient society where they thought it good to sacrifice their children, you would say what they were doing was morally good?

        April 4, 2014 at 10:03 pm |
        • observer

          truthfollower01,

          "So for example, an ancient society where they thought it good to sacrifice their children, you would say what they were doing was morally good?"

          Aren't you at all embarrassed that you were talking about the BIBLE? Good for you to mention that.

          – Judges 11:29-40 “Then the Lord's Spirit took control of Jephthah, and Jephthah went through Gilead and Manasseh, raising an army. Finally, he arrived at Mizpah in Gilead, where he promised the Lord, " If you will let me defeat the Ammonites and come home safely, I will sacrifice to you whoever comes out to meet me first.". From Mizpah, Jephthah attacked the Ammonites, and the Lord helped him defeat them . . . When Jephthah returned to his home in Mizpah, the first one to meet him was his daughter. She was playing a tambourine and dancing to celebrate his victory, and she was his only child. "Oh!" Jephthah cried. Then he tore his clothes in sorrow and said to his daughter, "I made a sacred promise to the Lord, and I must keep it. Your coming out to meet me has broken my heart." "Father," she said, "you made a sacred promise to the Lord, and he let you defeat the Ammonites. Now, you must do what you promised, even if it means I must die . . . He did what he had promised.”

          April 4, 2014 at 10:10 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          "an ancient society where they thought it good to sacrifice their children, you would say what they were doing was morally good?"

          It was for them. It clearly isn't for us. In our context I would say it is wrong. Morals are relative to their society.

          April 4, 2014 at 10:13 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          Observer,

          Jephthah made a foolish vow and then carried out the vow instead of repenting.

          April 4, 2014 at 10:23 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          GOPer,

          "It was for them. It clearly isn’t for us. In our context I would say it is wrong. Morals are relative to their society."

          So you're saying they were right when believing their actions were morally good to sacrifice their children?!?!?

          April 4, 2014 at 10:25 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          So you're saying they were right when believing their actions were morally good to sacrifice their children?!?!?

          Not by my lights. What is your definition of "right"?

          In your big book of smiting, Abraham seemed to be totally OK with the idea.

          April 4, 2014 at 10:27 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          GOPer,

          You said that all societies determine morals. Based on that, they would have to be right if they thought what they were doing was morally good. Right instead of being incorrect or mistaken or wrong.

          April 4, 2014 at 10:49 pm |
        • observer

          truthfollower01

          Still stumped? Still CLUELESS? Still AFRAID to answer questions?

          OOOOOPS!

          April 4, 2014 at 10:52 pm |
        • realbuckyball

          I hope you know the Hebrews sacrificed children in the Valley of Gehenna, outside Jerusalem. It's where the the constantly burning trash dump was later located. It's also the place the idea of a "hell" originated.

          April 4, 2014 at 11:02 pm |
        • observer

          truthfollower01

          "Jephthah made a foolish vow and then carried out the vow instead of repenting."

          Yep. Foolish. Like it says "Then the Lord's Spirit took control of Jephthah".

          Well done.

          April 4, 2014 at 11:21 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          Doris,

          "Now – please proceed in establishing that one case of objective morality exists. No fair using any subjective means now"

          I presented a case. On your view, if the molester thought what he was doing was morally good (and I don't know if he did or not, but if he did), was he was mistaken?

          April 5, 2014 at 1:06 am |
        • truthfollower01

          Doris,

          Now – please proceed in establishing that one case of objective morality exists. No fair using any subjective means now"

          I presented a case. It's a scary thing that you won't say it to be. On your view, if the molester thought what he was doing was morally good (and I don't know if he did or not, but if he did), was he was mistaken?

          April 5, 2014 at 1:14 am |
        • Doris

          Doris: "Now – please proceed in establishing that one case of objective morality exists. No fair using any subjective means now"

          tf: "I presented a case."

          How have you shown that objective (divine) morality exists without subjective means? I see no evidence from you that objective morality exists. You've only made a claim with presuppositions that align with your claim.

          tf: "On your view, if the molester thought what he was doing was morally good (and I don't know if he did or not, but if he did), was he was mistaken? "

          On my view, morally and subjectively, he was doing harm. So if he thought he was being morally good, he would be subjectively morally wrong in my opinion. The law would also represent a subjective moral view on the subject and I think you'll find that view "jives" with my view.

          Prove that you do not just have a similar opinion that you have derived in the same subjective manner as atheists, only from something that only represents a claimed unsubstantiated source.

          Please proceed in establishing that one case of objective morality exists without resorting to subjective means.

          April 5, 2014 at 1:26 am |
        • truthfollower01

          Doris,

          "On my view, morally and subjectively, he was doing harm."

          Not to be rude, but I can't see how doing harm is morally wrong on atheism. You'd have to show how this is so.

          "So if he thought he was being morally good, he would be subjectively morally wrong in my opinion."

          But on this view, he's not really wrong because your opinion carries as much authority as his does. Don't you see an issue that on this view, he's not really wrong?

          "The law would also represent a subjective moral view on the subject and I think you’ll find that view “jives” with my view."

          Remember that the Holocaust was done legally and I could make a similar scenario with Hitler instead of the mol-ester.

          April 5, 2014 at 1:41 am |
        • observer

          “My feeling as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded only by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who, God's truth! was greatest not as a sufferer but as a fighter. In boundless love as a Christian and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the Temple the brood of vipers and adders. How terrific was his fight against the Jewish poison. Today, after two thousand years, with deepest emotion I recognize more profoundly than ever before the fact that it was for this that He had to shed his blood upon the Cross. As a Christian I have no duty to allow myself to be cheated, but I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice.”
          - Adolph Hitler, Munich, April, 1922

          April 5, 2014 at 1:48 am |
        • Doris

          Doris: "On my view, morally and subjectively, he was doing harm."

          tf: "Not to be rude, but I can't see how doing harm is morally wrong on atheism. You'd have to show how this is so."

          You keep generalizing and switching terms when the discussion for quite a while now here and in the thread below has obviously already exhibited differentiation between objective and subjective opinion and claimed "truths". So you need to explain clearly what you mean by "is morally wrong on atheism" – are you talking about your "objective" morality stemming from presuppositions that you cannot demonstrate objectively?

          Doris: "So if he thought he was being morally good, he would be subjectively morally wrong in my opinion."

          tf: "But on this view, he's not really wrong because your opinion carries as much authority as his does. Don't you see an issue that on this view, he's not really wrong?"

          Again you are generalizing with the term "wrong". Clarify what you mean there. Regarding opinion, though, I will again ask you to prove that you do not just have a similar opinion that you have derived in the same subjective manner as atheists, only from something that only represents a claimed unsubstantiated source.

          Doris: "The law would also represent a subjective moral view on the subject and I think you’ll find that view “jives” with my view."

          tf: "Remember that the Holocaust was done legally and I could make a similar scenario with Hitler instead of the mol-ester."

          Yes, and my subjective opinion would have have "jived" with Hitler's, nor the legal system in place there during his time.
          Please proceed in establishing that one case of objective morality exists without resorting to subjective means.

          April 5, 2014 at 1:59 am |
        • Doris

          correction – beginning of last paragraph of my last reply:

          Yes, and my subjective opinion would have not "jived" with Hitler's, nor the legal system in place there during his time.

          April 5, 2014 at 2:01 am |
        • sam stone

          "Not to be rude, but I can't see how doing harm is morally wrong on atheism. You'd have to show how this is so."

          Not to be rude, but you seem totally oblivious to the fact that atheism is not a moral code. It is single answer to a single question, and that question is "do you believe in the existence of god(s)?"

          April 5, 2014 at 7:42 am |
        • truthfollower01

          Doris,

          So you would affirm that the same event can be both the highest form of moral goodness and the epitome of moral evil at the same time?

          Concerning someone who may think that child molestation is morally good, you have no issue with this? You wouldn't say they are wrong? Yes you may say they're subjectively wrong but that's like saying someone is wrong who thinks a song is good that you think is bad. They're not really wrong in this case.

          April 5, 2014 at 10:01 am |
        • Doris

          tf: "So you would affirm that the same event can be both the highest form of moral goodness and the epitome of moral evil at the same time?"

          That's nonsense. Show me where I speak of events themselves carrying some objective (divine) value associated with them independent of man's subjective assessment. I think you know I don't make such claims.

          tf: "Concerning someone who may think that child molestation is morally good, you have no issue with this? You wouldn't say they are wrong? Yes you may say they're subjectively wrong but that's like saying someone is wrong who thinks a song is good that you think is bad."

          Of course I would say they are wrong – and yes while understanding that my opinion is subjective and often part of a collective subjective opinion. I don't think you'll come across too many places where the law says the same thing about child molestation versus what it says about musical taste, so no, subjectively, it's not the same thing.

          Prove that you do not just have a similar opinion that you have derived in the same subjective manner as atheists, only from something that only represents a claimed unsubstantiated source.

          Please proceed in establishing that one case of objective morality exists without resorting to subjective means.

          April 5, 2014 at 10:19 am |
      • observer

        I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV,

        Of course there are a variety of factors in determining morals. My comment was directed ONLY at the fact that no one can claim any set of morals for ALL atheists.

        I agree with you. Truthfollower wasn't interested in posting a previous comment where I said:

        The morals of nonbelievers are influenced by their society's morals, their own experiences, their level of empathy for others and their level of intelligence. Some turn out good. Some turn out bad. They don't just hypocritically need a 2,000-year-old book to do their thinking. Fortunately, most Christians can think for themselves and reject some of the "immorality" in the Bible.

        Don't let him give you the wrong impression.

        April 4, 2014 at 10:05 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          Observer,

          "I agree with you. Truthfollower wasn’t interested in posting a previous comment where I said:"

          My reply was to you.

          "The morals of nonbelievers are influenced by their society’s morals, their own experiences, their level of empathy for others and their level of intelligence."

          I'm glad you posted this though. Here's a hypothetical situation. Let's say a child is born in Nazi Germany and is raised to believe that the Jewish people are less than human and that's it's morally good to exterminate the Jewish race. It seems to me that according to your view, this child is correct in thinking that this is morally good to do so and is morally justified if he carries out this atrocity! Do you not see the HUGE problem with this?!?

          April 4, 2014 at 10:17 pm |
        • observer

          truthfollower01,

          What part of my statement don't you understand when I said "Some turn out good. Some turn out bad."

          Still COMPLETEY STUMPED. Still NO CLUE to answer my question. lol. YOU'RE NOT FOOLING ANYONE.

          April 4, 2014 at 10:24 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          "Let's say a child is born in Nazi Germany and is raised to believe that the Jewish people are less than human and that's it's morally good to exterminate the Jewish race."

          I don't think that anybody in Nazi Germany really believed that it was morally correct to exterminate the Jews. Despotism and fear will make people abandon moral behavior. Please remember that Germans of the 1930s and 1940s were overwhelmingly Lutheran and Catholic. Their moral understanding is well known to us still.

          April 4, 2014 at 10:24 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          no one can claim any set of morals for ALL atheists

          Say rather that no one claim any orthodoxy of right and wrong for ALL atheists. "Morals" is an overloaded word. Everyone has their own personal sense of right and wrong but the relevance of morality is the societal consensus. I try not to use the word "morals" in connection with an individual. I don't think it is meaningful. The definitions of right and wrong are societal and is a lot more ambiguity than most people care to admit.

          All this "objective standard" for morality is bollox.

          The easiest place to start is with "Thou shalt not kill." Then come the exceptions. The absolutists will say "even though it says 'kill' it doesn't mean 'kill', it really means 'thou shalt not murder'."

          So, thou shalt not kill, except if you are a soldier. Or an on-duty uniformed police officer where citizens are threatened, or the state-appointed executioner, or an off-duty cop, or defending your home in a "stand your ground" state, or a conceal and carry patriot encountering a mall shooter, or a cop shooting a defenceless suspect 15 times, or a 'conceal and carry patriot' shooting a teenager because he wouldn't turn his music down looked like he might have had a gun in the back seat of his SUV.

          Is there societal consensus on all of these exceptions? Absoutely not. So much for "objective morality".

          April 4, 2014 at 10:45 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          GOPer,

          You don't think Hitler thought it was morally good to do what he did?

          April 4, 2014 at 10:50 pm |
        • observer

          truthfollower01,

          Nazis were MOSTLY CHRISTIAN.

          OOOOPS!

          April 4, 2014 at 10:53 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          GOPer,

          All we have to establish is one case of objective morality for objective morality to exist. We don't even have to get into the hypothetical situations. Take for example the Holocaust. Was that objectively morally wrong?

          April 4, 2014 at 10:56 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          Observer,

          How do you know they were? Do their lives reflect their profession?

          April 4, 2014 at 10:59 pm |
        • observer

          truthfollower01

          "Take for example the Holocaust. Was that objectively morally wrong?"

          Ask the 98% of Nazi Germany that were CHRISTIANS.

          April 4, 2014 at 10:59 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          Of course the holocaust was wrong, horribly disgustingly wrong. There is no situation where I can imagine a society determining that such action is morally correct.

          Nevertheless it is not "objectively" wrong. What is the "objective" standard? We all see it for what it is – wrong. We don't need an "objective" standard to figure this one out.

          April 4, 2014 at 11:09 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          "You don't think Hitler thought it was morally good to do what he did?"

          How could I know the mind of Hitler? He was a pyschopath. Were I to guess, absent all the narcissim and delusion I fully expect was present in what passes for his 'thinking', I would say that were he actually capable of thinking about right and wrong, he would know what he did was wrong.

          April 4, 2014 at 11:14 pm |
        • Doris

          tf: "All we have to establish is one case of objective morality for objective morality to exist."

          Sounds almost fair, but let me fix it for you: "All we have to establish is one case of objective morality exists for objective morality to exist.

          Now – please proceed in establishing that one case of objective morality exists. No fair using any subjective means now. OK – go!

          April 4, 2014 at 11:14 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          But so long as he repented with his final microsecond of thought after pulling the trigger, you'll get to meet him in heaven, right?

          April 4, 2014 at 11:16 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          On atheism, nothing Hitler did was really wrong. Who says it's wrong? On atheism, Why does someone else's opinion about what is morally good carry more authority than anyone else's, including Hitlers?

          April 4, 2014 at 11:20 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          GOPer,

          "We all see it for what it is – wrong."

          I certainly affirm that it was objectively morally wrong. But what if someone disagrees with us and thinks it good and right. On atheism, why is that person wrong?

          April 4, 2014 at 11:23 pm |
        • observer

          truthfollower01,

          Nazi Germany was MORE CHRISTIAN than the United States is today.

          Keep trashing them. Well done. Oooops.

          April 4, 2014 at 11:23 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          Bollox,

          you ignore everything I said about societal consensus and go right back to "the individual gets to decide for him/herself". That is NOT morality.

          April 4, 2014 at 11:24 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          But what if someone disagrees with us and thinks it good and right. On atheism, why is that person wrong?

          Morality is the societal consensus of conscience. What an individual thinks is irrelevant in terms of "morality". Why won't you let go of that ridiculous notion?

          April 4, 2014 at 11:26 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          GOPer,

          On atheism, why does the society get to decide what is morally good and bad? Why do they have more authority on morality than the individual on atheism?

          April 4, 2014 at 11:29 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          It's got NOTHING to do with atheism. It is what every society does. It is how humans (and other primates) form groups. To live together we need a set of norms for behavior, so we come up with them.

          Religions are invented to codify the morals that a society develops and give them 'teeth' like the law.

          April 4, 2014 at 11:32 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          GOPer,

          "you ignore everything I said about societal consensus and go right back to “the individual gets to decide for him/herself”. That is NOT morality."

          Take the society that sacrificed their children and thought it was morally good. On your view, they were correct in thinking it morally good?

          April 4, 2014 at 11:35 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          That's a pointless hypothetical. I live in a society where it is wrong to sacrifice children so, for me, murdering children is always wrong.

          Your Abraham was happy to sacrifice his child however. You ignored that the last time I brought it up. You also were provided multiple other examples of child sacrifice from the big book of Hebrew myths. Was Abraham wrong to attempt to kill Issac?

          April 4, 2014 at 11:41 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          On atheism, their is no real moral difference between the society who sacrifices their children and the society who loves their children. This is a scary thing indeed.

          April 4, 2014 at 11:43 pm |
        • Doris

          tf: "On atheism, nothing Hitler did was really wrong."

          I think you have a difficult time finding anyone who thinks that Hitler did not harm people.
          Atheism does not involve a belief in objective (divine) "truths". Atheists derive their moral opinion from a variety of source as has been indicated to you many times before. Prove your God, and then your notion of divine "truths" might stand a chance. Otherwise, we can only assume you are obtaining your moral opinion in the same subjective manner as atheists, only from something that only represents a claimed unsubstantiated source.

          Now – please proceed in establishing that one case of objective morality exists. No fair using any subjective means now. OK – go!

          April 4, 2014 at 11:44 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          "That’s a pointless hypothetical. I live in a society where it is wrong to sacrifice children so, for me, murdering children is always wrong."

          Yes but according to your view, you can't say that those who did it in the past were wrong. Even more scarily, what they were doing was morally good on your view if I understand it correctly.

          Abraham did not sacrifice his child for God stopped him from doing so. What other multiple examples was I given?

          April 4, 2014 at 11:48 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          "their [sic] is no real moral difference between the society who sacrifices their children and the society who loves their children"

          Bollox. What a moronic assertion.

          You are relentlessly obtuse. So was Abraham evil?

          I hope you have a nice weekend. I'm done for today.

          April 4, 2014 at 11:49 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          Judges 11:29-40

          from Wikipedia (Gehenna):

          Scholars such as Mosca (1975) have concluded that the sacrifice recorded in the Hebrew Bible, such as Jeremiah's comment that the worshippers of Baal had "filled this place with the blood of innocents", is literal.

          I'll let you find the passage. I don't have time. Good night.

          April 4, 2014 at 11:54 pm |
        • Doris

          tf: "Yes but according to your view, you can't say that those who did it in the past were wrong"

          Certainly anyone now can have the opinion that what someone did in the past was harmful to someone else.

          Prove that Christians in the past with the same view as yours didn't just have a similar opinion that they derived in the same subjective manner as atheists, only from something that only represented a claimed unsubstantiated source.

          Now – please proceed in establishing that one case of objective morality exists. No fair using any subjective means now. OK – go!

          April 4, 2014 at 11:54 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          Doris,

          "Now – please proceed in establishing that one case of objective morality exists. No fair using any subjective means now. OK – go!"

          About 10 years ago in Florida, there was a little girl (I believe her name was Jessica) who was kidnapped, molested and then buried alive in a plastic bag. When they found her, she was holding her teddy bear.

          Was this objectively morally evil? If not, why?

          April 4, 2014 at 11:55 pm |
        • observer

          truthfollower01,

          At one point, God torturously drowned EVERY little girl on the face of the earth. No comparison at all.

          God obviously is not a source for "objective morality".

          April 4, 2014 at 11:59 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          GOPer,

          There is a way where we can say, "yes, they certainly were wrong when they sacrificed their children." We can say that it doesn't matter what the society thinks, they were wrong. It is through God that we can say this. Objective morality is grounded in the nature of God, which doesn't change.

          April 4, 2014 at 11:59 pm |
        • Doris

          tf: "Was this objectively morally evil? If not, why?"

          I think it would have been harmful and against the law.

          I have not seen reasonable evidence to show that any divine "truths" exist on their own; that's a characteristic of religious belief to which I do not subscribe.

          Prove that you do not just have a similar opinion that you have derived in the same subjective manner as atheists, only from something that only represented a claimed unsubstantiated source.

          Now – please proceed in establishing that one case of objective morality exists. No fair using any subjective means now. OK – go!

          April 5, 2014 at 12:03 am |
        • truthfollower01

          GOPer,

          "So was Abraham evil?"

          All men and women (not including Jesus) are evil in themselves.

          Answer a few questions for me if you would.
          1. How many lies would you say you’ve told in your life?
          2. Have you ever stolen anything regardless of its value?
          3. Have you ever used God’s name as a curse word? (called blasphemy)
          4.have you ever looked at a woman/man lustfully?(if so, Jesus said you have committed adultery with that person in your heart.)
          If you’re like me, you are a self professed lying, stealing, blaspheming adulterer at heart or some form thereof. A holy God must punish wickedness, otherwise He wouldn’t be just. Given your confession, will you be guilty or innocent? If you’re like me and everyone else on this board, you are guilty. However, God provided a way for salvation through the blood of His innocent Son who took the punishment on the cross, that we might be declared innocent. Think of it like this. You’re in a court room. you’re guilty as you’ve professed. Someone walks in and pays your fine for you. Now the judge can legally dismiss your case and let you go. This is the gospel message. What you must do is repent (turn from your sins) and follow Jesus as Lord. This following is enabled by God when He gives you new desires and a heart that wants to please God instead of the flesh.

          April 5, 2014 at 12:07 am |
        • Doris

          tf: blah blah blah about sin and then... "and follow Jesus as Lord. "

          No need for that really. There's no reasonable evidence that Jesus was more than just a man written about in some stories without authors.

          April 5, 2014 at 12:12 am |
        • observer

          Doris,

          If "objective morality" exists, we do know it didn't come from the Bible. Even truthfollower admitted that he doesn't believe that 8-year-old girls should be SOLD to strangers for their use as slaves like the Bible supports. He has no clue where the morals come from to contradict the Bible. Perhaps it's from the interaction of intelligence, experience, social values and belief in the concept of the Golden Rule.

          April 5, 2014 at 12:14 am |
        • Doris

          Clarification: stories with unknown authorship.

          April 5, 2014 at 12:14 am |
        • truthfollower01

          Doris,

          "I think it would have been harmful and against the law"

          Of course it was harmful and of course it was against the law! Think about it! The question is is was it morally wrong? Can you not say that what the molester and murderer did was objectively morally wrong?!? Is it possible that you really know that it is objectively wrong but you can't affirm it because of your worldview?

          April 5, 2014 at 12:15 am |
        • Doris

          observer: "Perhaps it's from the interaction of intelligence, experience, social values and belief in the concept of the Golden Rule."

          Yes, there is a lot of subjectivity there...

          April 5, 2014 at 12:16 am |
        • observer

          Doris

          "Yes, there is a lot of subjectivity there..."

          I agree. It would be good if there was an ultimate source for morals, but since no one knows of one, we have to go with what we have.

          April 5, 2014 at 12:18 am |
        • Doris

          tf: "Of course it was harmful and of course it was against the law! Think about it! The question is is was it morally wrong? Can you not say that what the molester and murderer did was objectively morally wrong?!? Is it possible that you really know that it is objectively wrong but you can't affirm it because of your worldview?"

          Your question is loaded with presuppositions from your beliefs. I have no reason to believe that anything is objectively morally anything – good or bad.

          Prove that you do not just have a similar opinion that you have derived in the same subjective manner as atheists, only from something that only represented a claimed unsubstantiated source.

          Now – please proceed in establishing that one case of objective morality exists. No fair using any subjective means now.

          April 5, 2014 at 12:20 am |
        • truthfollower01

          Doris,

          If morality is subjective, it doesn't really exist. You say one thing is morally good. Someone else says the same thing is morally evil. Neither one is right or wrong.

          Observer,

          As I've pointed out in the past, the situation in Exodus concerning slavery as an inferior condition and is an example of case law. So the Bible gives the law that instructed Israelites about what should be done under certain inferior conditions ("If a man sells his daughter...")"

          April 5, 2014 at 12:27 am |
        • observer

          truthfollower01

          "As I've pointed out in the past, the situation in Exodus concerning slavery as an inferior condition"

          The "inferior condition" mentioned economic reasons as an excuse to sell 8-year-old girls for use by a stranger.

          The identical argument supports prosti-tution for economic reasons and that must be the MAJOR reason for it anway. Ooops.

          So keep trying to show that the Bible supports prosti-tution too. You keep burying yourself deeper and deeper.

          Even YOU admitted it was WRONG.

          Get serious. You don't even have a clue where the morals come from when you believe the Bible is MORALLY WRONG.

          April 5, 2014 at 12:35 am |
        • Doris

          tf: "If morality is subjective, it doesn't really exist. You say one thing is morally good. Someone else says the same thing is morally evil. Neither one is right or wrong."

          Nonsense. The term morality can reflect one, two, several, or to describe a collective opinion. And now you appear to be using "right" and "wrong" as if they represented your presupposed "objective truths", so again your assertion is loaded – you have not given any reasonable evidence for me to believe such an assertion. (That is, unless you really meant "subjectively right" and "subjectively wrong".)

          Prove that you do not just have a similar opinion that you have derived in the same subjective manner as atheists, only from something that only represented a claimed unsubstantiated source.

          Now – please proceed in establishing that one case of objective morality exists. No fair using any subjective means now.

          April 5, 2014 at 12:36 am |
        • truthfollower01

          Doris,

          Do you really (this is an honest question) think there is nothing objectively morally wrong with the story presented? Surely you know it to be! This can be affirmed through God! God has written it on your heart.

          I do want to say that you do seem to at least hold true to the true atheistic view concerning morality. Observer wants to rail against God and accuse Him of immorality but on atheism, nothing is really morally good or bad.

          April 5, 2014 at 12:45 am |
        • observer

          truthfollower,

          "Observer wants to rail against God and accuse Him of immorality"

          Is it MORAL to you to SELL 6-year-old girls to MEN who are total strangers for their USE?

          YES or NO?

          This is the point where you usually run off and HIDE. Got guts enough to answer about your morals?

          April 5, 2014 at 12:53 am |
        • Doris

          tf: "Do you really (this is an honest question) think there is nothing objectively morally wrong with the story presented? Surely you know it to be! This can be affirmed through God! God has written it on your heart.
          [...] but on atheism, nothing is really morally good or bad.

          I really think there is nothing "objectively morally" anything. Why would I? Divine "truths" are not something that atheists subscribe to. Prove your God, and then you may have a point about what is "written on [my] heart".
          And again, atheists can and obviously do consider some things subjectively, morally good or bad.

          Prove that you do not just have a similar opinion that you have derived in the same subjective manner as atheists, only from something that only represented a claimed unsubstantiated source.

          Now – please proceed in establishing that one case of objective morality exists. No fair using any subjective means now.

          April 5, 2014 at 12:55 am |
        • Doris

          correction for part of the middle paragraph in my last reply:

          that only represents ....

          April 5, 2014 at 1:11 am |
        • truthfollower01

          Doris,

          "Now – please proceed in establishing that one case of objective morality exists. No fair using any subjective means now"

          I presented a case. It's a scary thing that you won't say it to be. On your view, if the mol-ester thought what he was doing was morally good (and I don't know if he did or not, but if he did), was he was mistaken?

          April 5, 2014 at 1:17 am |
        • Doris

          Doris: "Now – please proceed in establishing that one case of objective morality exists. No fair using any subjective means now"

          tf: "I presented a case."

          How have you shown that objective (divine) morality exists without subjective means? I see no evidence from you that objective morality exists. You've only made a claim with presuppositions that align with your claim.

          tf: "On your view, if the molester thought what he was doing was morally good (and I don't know if he did or not, but if he did), was he was mistaken? "

          On my view, morally and subjectively, he was doing harm. So if he thought he was being morally good, he would be subjectively morally wrong in my opinion. The law would also represent a subjective moral view on the subject and I think you'll find that view "jives" with my view.

          Prove that you do not just have a similar opinion that you have derived in the same subjective manner as atheists, only from something that only represents a claimed unsubstantiated source.

          Please proceed in establishing that one case of objective morality exists without resorting to subjective means.

          April 5, 2014 at 1:28 am |
        • truthfollower01

          Doris,

          Doris,

          "On my view, morally and subjectively, he was doing harm."

          Not to be rude, but I can't see how doing harm is morally wrong on atheism. You'd have to show how this is so.

          "So if he thought he was being morally good, he would be subjectively morally wrong in my opinion."

          But on this view, he's not really wrong because your opinion carries as much authority as his does. Don't you see an issue that on this view, he's not really wrong?

          "The law would also represent a subjective moral view on the subject and I think you’ll find that view “jives” with my view."

          Remember that the Holocaust was done legally and I could make a similar scenario with Hitler instead of the mol-ester.

          April 5, 2014 at 1:50 am |
        • observer

          truthfollower,

          "Got guts enough to answer about your morals?"

          NO GUTS. No glory.

          April 5, 2014 at 1:51 am |
        • Doris

          Doris: "On my view, morally and subjectively, he was doing harm."

          tf: "Not to be rude, but I can't see how doing harm is morally wrong on atheism. You'd have to show how this is so."

          You keep generalizing and switching terms when the discussion for quite a while now here and in the thread below has obviously already exhibited differentiation between objective and subjective opinion and claimed "truths". So you need to explain clearly what you mean by "is morally wrong on atheism" – are you talking about your "objective" morality stemming from presuppositions that you cannot demonstrate objectively?

          Doris: "So if he thought he was being morally good, he would be subjectively morally wrong in my opinion."

          tf: "But on this view, he's not really wrong because your opinion carries as much authority as his does. Don't you see an issue that on this view, he's not really wrong?"

          Again you are generalizing with the term "wrong". Clarify what you mean there. Regarding opinion, though, I will again ask you to prove that you do not just have a similar opinion that you have derived in the same subjective manner as atheists, only from something that only represents a claimed unsubstantiated source.

          Doris: "The law would also represent a subjective moral view on the subject and I think you’ll find that view “jives” with my view."

          tf: "Remember that the Holocaust was done legally and I could make a similar scenario with Hitler instead of the mol-ester."

          Yes, and my subjective opinion would have not "jived" with Hitler's, nor the legal system in place there during his time.
          Please proceed in establishing that one case of objective morality exists without resorting to subjective means.

          April 5, 2014 at 2:02 am |
        • truthfollower01

          Doris,

          I feel like your trying to dance around the statements. If I have to explain what it means for someone to be wrong, we've got a big problem.

          April 5, 2014 at 2:09 am |
        • Doris

          Well, if you prefer, tf, whenever you only say "wrong" I can assume that to mean "objectively wrong" based on your belief system with its presuppositions. It is different from "subjectively wrong" – do you understand the difference? You have yourself mentioned "objective morality" have you not?

          So, once again, prove that you do not just have a similar opinion that you have derived in the same subjective manner as atheists, only from something that only represents a claimed unsubstantiated source.

          Please proceed in establishing that one case of objective morality exists without resorting to subjective means.

          April 5, 2014 at 2:17 am |
        • truthfollower01

          Doris,

          If morality is subjective than it doesn't really exist at all. If you say something is morally good and someone else says the same thing is morally evil, who's right? Do you really think someone could believe the scenario I gave above is morally good and not be incorrect in their view?

          April 5, 2014 at 2:28 am |
        • observer

          truthfollower01,

          Why should you even try to talk about MORALS when you have NO CLUE what yours are in some cases?

          lol. lol.

          April 5, 2014 at 2:31 am |
        • truthfollower01

          Doris,

          On your view, is determining the moral subjectivity of things like murder and child molestation similar to determining likes and dislikes of music and food in that it's all just a matter of personal taste?

          April 5, 2014 at 2:34 am |
        • Doris

          tf: "If morality is subjective than it doesn't really exist at all. If you say something is morally good and someone else says the same thing is morally evil, who's right? Do you really think someone could believe the scenario I gave above is morally good and not be incorrect in their view?"

          Nonsense. The term morality can reflect one, two, several, or to describe a collective opinion. And now you appear to be using "right" and "incorrect" as if they represented your presupposed "objective truths", so again your assertion is loaded – you have not given any reasonable evidence for me to believe such an assertion. (That is, unless you really meant "subjectively right" and "subjectively incorrect".)

          tf: "On your view, is determining the moral subjectivity of things like murder and child molestation similar to determining likes and dislikes of music and food in that it's all just a matter of personal taste?"

          Similar only in that they are determined by subjective means, as many different things are determined by subjective means.

          Prove that you do not just have a similar opinion that you have derived in the same subjective manner as atheists, only from something that only represented a claimed unsubstantiated source.

          Now – please proceed in establishing that one case of objective morality exists without resorting to subjective means.

          April 5, 2014 at 2:40 am |
        • observer

          Doris,

          Truthfollower is so lacking in FACTS and belief in what he is saying that he FREQUENTLY refuses to answer any questions that show he doesn't know what he is talking about.

          April 5, 2014 at 2:47 am |
        • truthfollower01

          Doris,

          Don't you think that the morality of things like child mol-estation are based on more than one's personal taste?

          Christians can affirm that the mol-ester IS wrong, regardless of what he thinks. His opinion doesn't matter.

          I'm off to bed. I will check tomorrow for your response. I appreciate your openness to discuss these things in a civil manner. I'd like to discuss more Christian focused themes with you at a later time.

          Have you ever read Isaiah 53?

          April 5, 2014 at 3:05 am |
        • Doris

          tf: "Don't you think that the morality of things like child molestation are based on more than one's personal taste?

          Sure, things harmful to other humans are obviously considered more seriously, yet subjectively by societies.

          tf: "Christians can affirm that the mol-ester IS wrong, regardless of what he thinks. His opinion doesn't matter."

          Sure they can "affirm". But to my knowledge, they have been unable to demonstrate objective "truths".

          Prove that you do not just have a similar opinion that you have derived in the same subjective manner as atheists, only from something that only represented a claimed unsubstantiated source.

          And please proceed in establishing that one case of objective morality exists without resorting to subjective means.

          April 5, 2014 at 3:24 am |
        • observer

          truthfollower01

          "discuss these things in a civil manner."

          Yes. That should involve the HONESTY and INTEGRITY to answer questions. You FAIL.

          April 5, 2014 at 5:43 am |
        • sam stone

          observer: "truthfollower" fails on this in the same way he failed when posted under the name topher. hence, he became gopher

          April 5, 2014 at 7:45 am |
    • observer

      truthfollower01,

      When you can develop the intelligence to explain where the morals come from that tell Christians that the Bible is wrong to support the OWNING of another person and the selling of 6-year-old girls to strangers for their USE as slaves, then you will be able to answer your own question. Until then you can continue your fantasizing about Hitler. You are obsessed with that lowlife.

      April 4, 2014 at 9:55 pm |
      • truthfollower01

        You choose not to interact with my argument to your view on morality?

        April 4, 2014 at 10:00 pm |
        • Akira

          Did you misrepresent it?

          April 4, 2014 at 10:17 pm |
        • observer

          truthfollower01,

          After WEEKS, you are still completely CLUELESS.

          lol.

          April 4, 2014 at 11:28 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      I see a huge problem with a person who claims objective morality exists but then admits genocide can be justified under the correct circu/mstances....you are too funny.

      April 5, 2014 at 12:19 am |
  17. kudlak

    Thanks for a fun afternoon folks.

    Good discussions.

    Have a great weekend!

    April 4, 2014 at 7:57 pm |
    • doobzz

      Likewise.

      April 4, 2014 at 11:08 pm |
  18. Vic

    @Daniel Darling

    With all the respect in the world, the entire Christian Faith is based on the "true Gospel of nice" encompassed in one verse:

    John 3:16
    "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." (NASB)

    April 4, 2014 at 7:12 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      It is not "nice" or moral or ethical to base rewards and punishments on "belief".

      April 4, 2014 at 7:16 pm |
    • kudlak

      Again, doesn't that verse imply that people just died before Jesus came around but, since then, those who believe in him can have eternal life with God?

      I actually have no problem with that. You join the club, pay you dues by worshipping the guy, you get the reward dividends and I don't. That's fair.

      Nowhere in John 3:16, however, does it say that God's "love" turns to sending people who just aren't convinced that he exists to the same place where other beings who rebelled against him with full knowledge that he does exist were sent for punishment.

      That's like the management of that club you're a part of rounding up all the nonmembers and putting the hurt on them. That ain't right.

      April 4, 2014 at 7:31 pm |
      • jhg45

        for the rest of the story and for any who want to know the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth about what the Bible really teaches, go to jw.org and learn freely about eternal life for who and where and when but most of all why and how. The freely means at no charge unlike most religions that must charge to pay their preachers you can have a free home Bible study at the time and place of your choosing and did I say No Charge? check it out, please.

        April 4, 2014 at 8:59 pm |
        • G to the T

          And here Vic we have evidence that different Christians can interpret that verse in many different ways.

          April 5, 2014 at 8:21 am |
        • igaftr

          it is also more evidence that many cannot distinguish the difference between belief and truth.

          April 5, 2014 at 8:26 am |
        • kudlak

          If there's more to the story than that, why didn't John have Jesus tack on an extra sentence to two? As it is, Christian theology always seems to cobble together snippets from several books, by different authors, which really doesn't support the argument that these were unified concepts of Jesus, does it?

          It's like taking pieces from several different jigsaw puzzles and trying to make a coherent picture out of them. My favourite example is how most Christians take the two nativity stories, and mash them together into a third story that has both shepherds and wise men, one where Jesus was born during a census while Quirinius was governor of Syria and also during the reign of Herod the Great years earlier, and a Joseph who takes his family to Jerusalem while another gospel reports that he heeded a warning not to. Such mashups of mismatched puzzle pieces only results in holes where the pieces don't match up.

          April 5, 2014 at 12:52 pm |
    • James XCIX

      Hello Vic –

      I have always found John 3:16, which so many love to quote and present as though it has some persuasive element to it, to be fairly confusing. First of all, Jesus is one of three parts of the Christian god. How does one part have authority over another part such that he can "give" another part? And how was Jesus "given", exactly? He's still with his "father", at his right hand, right?

      April 4, 2014 at 8:53 pm |
    • realbuckyball

      You call it "nice" that an ancient angry deity REQUIRED his son to die so he could feel better ?

      April 4, 2014 at 11:29 pm |
    • sam stone

      the entire christian faith is based on fear of punishment

      April 5, 2014 at 7:47 am |
      • kermit4jc

        sad you make a blanket statement out of ignorance..I don't have any fear

        April 8, 2014 at 2:04 am |
  19. CS

    Bible Fan Fiction

    This chapter: Mark 3

    He was a magician, and the Sabbath was big business, but his withered hand was preventing him from pulling a rabbit out of a hat, and the Herodians demanded this trick under penalty of torture and death. The Lord Jesus entered the synagogue and looked upon the assembly and said unto them, "This man taught me everything I know. Will I not heal him on the Sabbath? The men mumbled to themselves as the magician stretched out his arm and watched as Jesus waved His magic wand over the lifeless appendage. Following the miracle, Jesus learned many card tricks from the magician, including "pick a card, any card".

    April 4, 2014 at 6:31 pm |
    • G to the T

      LOL... you've really run with that "fanfic" idea eh?

      Actually, this may be the birth of a whole new genre... or is it? It's not a perfect analogy but I think it could be argued that Paul was the first...

      April 5, 2014 at 8:24 am |
  20. guidedans

    Hey, I just read this article about how the most religious states are also the most generous with their giving to charities.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/20/study-less-religious-stat_n_1810425.html

    It's so weird because, if you read the comments on this board, you would think that Religious people were extremely cruel and bigoted and hateful.

    It is so weird that Religious people, being so hateful, are also the ones donating the most.

    Isn't that weird?

    April 4, 2014 at 6:24 pm |
    • observer

      It's helpful for churches to have money to spend on others, in part because non-believers help pay the taxes that they don't.

      April 4, 2014 at 6:26 pm |
      • guidedans

        Observer,

        Both non-believers and believers pay taxes. Believers just give more of their taxed money away.

        You don't have to be a church to not pay taxes either. Start a Non-Profit. Go for gold.

        April 4, 2014 at 6:32 pm |
        • observer

          guidedans

          "Both non-believers and believers pay taxes." No joke. I never said otherwise. The FACT is that some of the money churches have to spend is SUBSIDIZED by non-believers. My point.

          April 4, 2014 at 6:39 pm |
        • Akira

          This is really cute. The numbers of believers is expotentionaly larger that of course it looks like believers give more.

          Disingenuous.

          April 4, 2014 at 7:11 pm |
        • guidedans

          observer, a subsidy is different from being tax exempt.

          Churches aren't paid a set amount of money for converts, they just don't have to pay taxes on the money that they are given from their parishioners.

          Anyway, should we tax the Red Cross, or UNICEF, or Tsunami relief organizations?

          A lot of them misuse their funds and they are tax exempt. Or should we only target Churches, who, like it or not, are providing services in your community and abroad?

          April 4, 2014 at 7:26 pm |
        • guidedans

          Akira,

          The article is talking about donations not in an absolute, but as a percentage on income. Religious folks give a higher percentage of their income than non-religious folks.

          Is it because they ti.the? probably. So why don't Atheist give away 10% of their income to charities they believe in? Nothing is stopping them.

          April 4, 2014 at 7:28 pm |
        • doobzz

          Christians are guilted into giving 10% of their gross income on the threat of not receiving "blessings" from god during your earthly life, and "crowns" in heaven. God won't send you to hell for not t.ithing, but he will stick you in the ghetto part of heaven with the crappy robes and cheesy tiaras.

          But ti.thing isn't the end of it. There are always "emergencies" and "special collections" which of course will also determine your final "mansion" in heaven.

          God may not be much of a writer, but he can sell the hell out of that t.ithe thing.

          April 4, 2014 at 7:41 pm |
        • guidedans

          doobzz,

          Did you know that you don't have to ti.the a penny to get into Heaven?

          100% of my money comes from God. I am happy to give away 10% of it to help this world.

          If you are a Christian, you should be free from guilt. Jesus died to break the curse of sin and wash away your shame.

          Still praying for you.

          April 4, 2014 at 8:04 pm |
        • observer

          verb

          verb: subsidize; 3rd person present: subsidizes; past tense: subsidized; past participle: subsidized; gerund or present participle: subsidizing; verb: subsidise; 3rd person present: subsidises; past tense: subsidised; past participle: subsidised; gerund or present participle: subsidising

          guidedans,

          SUBSIDIZE: (verb) support (an organization or activity) financially.

          Helping to pay the taxes that they don't pay is helping to SUBSIDIZE them.

          Churches do a lot of good through their charity work, but I have NEVER once heard a Christian give non-believers credit for helping make that possible.

          April 4, 2014 at 9:49 pm |
        • observer

          Sorry. Meant to delete the first part.

          April 4, 2014 at 9:51 pm |
        • Akira

          Guidans,
          I read the huff po article. My answer stands.
          It didn't say atheist. It said least religious.

          I found it weird that poor people are more generous than rich ones...

          Interestingly, Utah, the most generous state at a bit over 10%, is also the state that watches the most porn. Followed by the Southern States.

          That's another study. Take from that what you will.

          April 4, 2014 at 9:52 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          It's not suprising. It correlates with tithing.

          The religious ti>/b>the. Automatically. It's like religion tax. Some may donate additionally to specific causes but tithing is causal to any meaningful difference in charitable donations by the religious / non-religious.

          Which is why Utah shows up as number one. Mormons ti.the more than anyone.

          One of the primary reasons for separation of church and state is that with an established church, everyone is taxed/tithed (there is no difference with an established church) to support THE church. Having religious freedom means not to be taxed to support a specific church.

          So do I give less in Charitable donations than a church-goer. Probably yes. I'm not funding any pastors, parsons, preachers, or priests and that's by choice. I'll make donations to specific causes.

          April 4, 2014 at 10:06 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          " Believers just give more of their taxed money away."

          I wouldn't go that far. Is there some study that proves this or is it simply an assumption? I know Christians who give to secular and I know Atheists who give to religious...so I'm guessing the numbers would be very skewed.

          April 4, 2014 at 10:59 pm |
        • doobzz

          Guidedans, did you bother reading my post? I stated quite clearly that it was never said that you wouldn't go to heaven if you didn't ti.the. It was said emphatically that God wouldn't "bless" you on earth or give you "many crowns" in heaven though. It was not so subtly inferred that bad things might even happen. Christians "should never feel guilty", but what is that kind of coercion if not guilting someone into contributing? Don't be so naive.

          I'm still hoping that you eventually return to reason.

          April 4, 2014 at 11:19 pm |
        • igaftr

          guide

          "Believers just give more of their taxed money away."

          Is that why the two largest single donators are atheists?
          Also, I do not give money, I give time...a far more valuable commodity.

          Tell me, how much time have you donated? Or moeny...I'll be willing to bet it is far less than you claim.

          April 5, 2014 at 8:20 am |
    • hotairace

      Why are you lying, bearing false witness, against atheists? Saying that you are likely wrong about the alleged but never proven god you claim to believe in does not say anything else about you. But there are a couple of pretty nasty pro-believers here you might want to aim your sarcasm at.

      April 4, 2014 at 6:31 pm |
      • truthfollower01

        Hotairace,

        Who do you think Isaiah 53 is referring to?

        April 4, 2014 at 9:02 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          Why don't you ask a Rabbi?

          April 5, 2014 at 10:59 am |
    • CS

      When only secular gifts are counted, New York climbs from No. 18 to No. 2 in giving, and Pennsylvania rises from No. 40 to No. 4.

      If I am reading the article right, they are counting tithing. That is not charitable giving in my opinion. You give 10% to a church? Please.

      April 4, 2014 at 6:45 pm |
      • guidedans

        CS,

        You know what the church then does with your ti.thes? It spends a good portion of it on helping the community through food banks, education services, AIDS testing, Mission trips to dig wells in other countries, etc.

        Yes some of the money goes to keeping the lights on and paying the non-volunteer staff, but Churches do a tremendous amount of good in their communities and beyond.

        Also, to determine religious vs. secular giving, they just filtered out the churches. They didn't filter out the believers. So believers could make up a big portion of that 1.4% in NY.

        All I am saying is, Religion does a lot of good in the world and the atheists on this board tend to look at it very one-sidedly

        April 4, 2014 at 7:21 pm |
        • CS

          Religion doesn't do a lot of good. People do. Religion does a lot of harm.

          April 4, 2014 at 8:57 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          same as guns do a lot of harm by themselves? nooo...its the people who use them...and people abuse religion..THATS the harm..THAT is when it doesn't do good

          April 5, 2014 at 2:04 am |
        • CS

          I disagree.

          April 5, 2014 at 2:25 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Hey!
      I just read an article about how the top 10 charitable organizations in the world, The Wikimedia Foundation, Partners in Health, Oxfam, BRAC, International Rescue Committee, PATH, CARE International, Médecins Sans Frontières, Danish Refugee Council and Ushahidi – are all expressly secular!

      I also read about a study on religious belief and social well-being, comparing 18 prosperous democracies from the U.S. to New Zealand and guess what?

      #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.

      April 4, 2014 at 6:46 pm |
      • guidedans

        You know what's funny about those countries, Doc? They are also the most hom.ogeneous countries in the world.

        Everyone is the same, so there is much less disagreement. Oh, and if you want to move to those countries, good luck, because the path to citizenship is a labyrinth.

        If we want everyone to be happy and society to function like a watch, we should just force everyone into one culture, to speak one language, and to be one race, then, most of the problems would fade away.

        I don't think that's what we want though.

        April 4, 2014 at 7:12 pm |
        • kudlak

          Australia, and especially Canada, are just as diverse as the USA.

          April 4, 2014 at 7:16 pm |
        • doobzz

          "If we want everyone to be happy and society to function like a watch, we should just force everyone into one culture, to speak one language, and to be one race, then, most of the problems would fade away."

          "I don't think that's what we want though."

          Sort of like wanting everyone to believe in the same Christian god and the bible, and trying to pass laws based on "Christian principles".

          April 4, 2014 at 7:16 pm |
        • Akira

          Yet you want one religion?

          April 4, 2014 at 7:19 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          I live in Toronto, which is arguably the most culturally diverse city in the world.
          In the decade I've been here, I've lived in Chinatown, the Gay Village, a newer neighbourhood full of immigrants from asiaitc and African countries, and Greek Town.
          Our immigration policies aren't overly restrictive. I work closely with an afghan Muslim, and a Nigerian Christian.
          I am in walking distance of myriad different houses of worship and yet religious violence is rare.
          Ho.mogeny isn't required for an orderly society, merely empathy or at least tolerance.

          April 4, 2014 at 7:45 pm |
        • guidedans

          Australia:
          white 92%, Asian 7%, aboriginal and other 1%

          Canada:
          European 66%, Amerindian 2%, other, mostly Asian, African, Arab 6%, mixed background 26%

          US:
          Non-Hispanic White or European American 63.7 %
          Non-Hispanic Black or African American 12.2 %
          Non-Hispanic Asian 4.7 %
          Non-Hispanic American Indian or Alaska Native 0.7 %
          Non-Hispanic Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander 0.2 %
          Non-Hispanic some other race 0.2 %
          Non-Hispanic two or more races 1.9 %
          Hispanic or Latino 16.4 %
          White or European American Hispanic 8.7 %
          Black or African American Hispanic 0.4 %
          American Indian or Alaska Native Hispanic 0.2 %
          Asian Hispanic 0.1 %
          Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander Hispanic 0.0 %
          Some other race Hispanic 6.0 %
          Two or more races Hispanic 1.0 %

          Oh and here's the Netherlands:
          Dutch 80.7%, EU 5%, Indonesian 2.4%, Turkish 2.2%, Surinamese 2%, Moroccan 2%, Caribbean 0.8%, other 4.8% (2008 est.)

          and Norway:
          Norwegian 94.4% (includes Sami, about 60,000), other European 3.6%, other 2% (2007 estimate)

          Wow, Look how diverse!

          April 4, 2014 at 7:53 pm |
        • Akira

          Guidans,

          I agree that the US is much more diverse. That's what makes the US such a wonderful country...
          With many languages.
          With manyreligions.
          That isn't going to change.
          That's why the FF wrote the Constition the way they did...
          We are a secular country. It will always be that way.

          April 4, 2014 at 10:01 pm |
    • hotairace

      And a little reality, if not honesty, from the article:

      "Alan Wolfe, a political science professor at Boston College, said it's wrong to link a state's religious makeup with its generosity.

      People in less religious states are giving in a different way by being more willing to pay higher taxes so the government can equitably distribute superior benefits, Wolfe said. And the distribution is based purely on need, rather than religious affiliation or other variables, said Wolfe, also head of the college's Boisi Center for Religion and Public Life.

      Wolfe said people in less religious states "view the tax money they're paying not as something that's forced upon them, but as a recognition that they belong with everyone else, that they're citizens in the common good. ... I think people here believe that when they pay their taxes, they're being altruistic."

      Tax and ent!tlement payments were among the variable living expenses researchers subtracted to arrive at their figures for each state's discretionary income, said Peter Panepento, the Chronicle's assistant managing editor.

      "That said, the numbers can't account for psychology and it's very possible that people who live in high-tax areas might feel as though they are already giving a lot of money to help the greater good through their taxes," Panepento said in an email."

      April 4, 2014 at 6:49 pm |
    • kudlak

      A lot of that is actually funnelled into efforts to sign up more members for these churches, right? Sign up poor people who are then obliged to help support a church, thus making them even poorer than they were to begin with, in many cases.

      April 4, 2014 at 7:14 pm |
      • fortheloveofellipsis

        Well, kudlak, considering most of the "charity" danny boy is bragging about consists of regular donations/t.ithes directly to their church, your point stands; they're not charitable, they're simply supporting their sect's propaganda...

        April 4, 2014 at 7:38 pm |
      • guidedans

        Did you know that a lot of the money that charitable organizations use is spent on advertising for more donations?

        I guess we shouldn't donate to anyone because even if a cent of my money gets diverted from a good deed, it means that none of it helps anyone!

        I guess that must be why Atheists don't donate very much, they are so skeptical of everything they can't trust that any of the money will do any good.

        April 4, 2014 at 8:09 pm |
        • myweightinwords

          You got proof that atheists don't donate much?

          In my experience atheist are just as likely to donate as Christians are, though their areas of concern often tend toward strictly humanitarian efforts.

          April 4, 2014 at 8:25 pm |
        • Akira

          You haven't proved that atheists don't donate as much. Your study didn't even support that, guidedans. You know why? It didn't say anything about atheists at all. It was talking about STATES, not individuals.

          You are now deliberately lying.
          I guess you know which Commandment you are breaking.

          April 4, 2014 at 10:14 pm |
        • observer

          guidedans

          "Did you know that a lot of the money that charitable organizations use is spent on advertising for more donations?"

          Did you know that a lot of the money that churches use is spent on recruiting?

          April 5, 2014 at 12:49 am |
        • kudlak

          guidedans
          Still, churches do more than charitable work. They provide a service to their regular parishioners. Some even have a set rate of charge for membership in this club that provides service. Surely this section of any church's activities ought to be separated and taxed as a business?

          April 5, 2014 at 12:26 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.