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April 5th, 2014
08:56 AM ET

When God plays the villain

Opinion by Joel S. Baden, special to CNN

(CNN) - Most modern people tend to distinguish between the wrathful God of the Old Testament and the merciful God of the New Testament.

In our age, the merciful God reigns - or so we like to think.

But every so often, stories or books or natural disasters summon visions of a wrathful God, and nowhere is that more in evidence than in the biblical story of the Flood, now brutally depicted in Darren Aronofsky’s new film “Noah.”

With our notion of a God who loves us all individually, especially the little children, we struggle with a deity who would wipe out all of humanity. Surely there were many innocent people, children, who died in the Flood?

But let’s be clear: This is our problem, not the Bible’s.

According to the biblical story of the Flood, it was not individuals who were wicked; it was humanity as a whole, a wickedness encoded in humanity’s very nature. Young, old, male, female, “every plan devised by humanity’s mind was nothing but evil all the time,” says the Book of Genesis.

Nor is the Flood intended to eradicate humanity’s wickedness so that we might begin anew as a peaceful species, as the film “Noah” seems to suggest.

In the Bible, Noah and his descendants don’t promise to behave differently after the flood. Rather, God learns to accept their inherently evil nature: “Never again will I doom the earth because of humanity, since the devisings of humanity’s mind are evil from their youth.”

We are who we are.

In fact, according to the Bible, the reason that God accepts human nature is because we are the only species that can give him what he wants — which, in the view of Genesis, is bloody, burned animal sacrifices. (So much for the pro-vegetarian angle of Aronofsky’s film.)

MORE ON CNN: Does God have a prayer in Hollywood?

The God of the Old Testament is not uniquely protective of children. After all, this is the same deity who commands the Israelites to slaughter their enemies, “man and woman, young and old.”

The same God who accepts without comment Jephthah’s sacrifice of his own daughter, who allows children to be mauled by a bear for taunting one of his prophets, who threatens Israel with such devastating famine that they will be forced to eat their own infants.

Innocent lives are rarely a moral problem for Israel’s God.

Consider the debate between Abraham and God over the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah. Abraham asks his maker, “Will you sweep away the innocent along with the guilty?”

Abraham succeeds in talking God down to sparing the city for the sake of 10 innocent lives. When the city is then destroyed anyway, we are left to surmise that there must have been fewer than 10 good people there. But there might have been nine — and they burned with the rest.

Aronofsky must have recognized our modern moral conundrum: His depiction of humanity outside the family of Noah is almost entirely negative, so that we feel very little compassion for them. Even as they clamber for space on mountaintops as the waters rise.

MORE ON CNN: Noah's Ark discovery raises flood of questions

The one exception to humanity’s general wickedness, a young woman who does not make it onto the ark, stands in for all the innocents swept away in the Flood.

But how innocent is she, really?

The film hews close to the Christian notion of original sin: Noah states quite forcefully that humans have all been corrupted since the expulsion from the Garden.

From that perspective, there are no truly innocent humans, regardless of how innocently they may behave.

In the film, the only real innocents are the animals. They remain so, one character says, because they behave as they did in Eden. Which, of course, is more than anyone can say for Adam and Eve. Notably, Aronofsky does not show any animals drowning or struggling for life, though they also must have.

Again, this is not a problem for the Old Testament: The animals are as inherently guilty as the humans. “All flesh” — animals included — “had corrupted its way on the earth,” we are told in Genesis.

So, we have to separate our notion of innocence — and of God’s nature — from that of the Old Testament authors.

The God of the Old Testament does not love humans; he barely tolerates them. The relationship is not one of affection but one of necessity and of obedience.

We are promised that there will never be another Flood because God wants and needs our sacrifices.

The family of the patriarchs is chosen out of all humanity not because they are somehow more righteous but so that they can exemplify correct obedience for the other nations of the world.

Israel is saved from Egypt not out of love but in order that they will be uniquely beholden to God and will serve him — again, with sacrifices — in the way that God most desires.

Israel’s God is not a beneficent one. He is, in the words of his prophet Nahum, “a passionate, avenging God; vengeful, and fierce in wrath.”

It is not his job to keep us happy and comfortable; it is, rather, our job to make ourselves uncomfortable that he might be appeased.

And yet there is no question that the Old Testament God is not the same God we know and worship today, in modern America.

How, then, do we, who still hold the Bible dear, reconcile our idea of God with God’s actions, in the Flood story and elsewhere?

One possibility is simply to take the Bible at its word: All of humanity, and indeed all of the animals too, was wicked, and even Noah was not entirely righteous but only the most righteous of his wicked generation, as an ancient Jewish tradition stated.

The moral problem is then not why everyone perished, but why — as the movie version asks — anyone was saved at all.

Another possibility is to attribute a shift in personality to the deity: from wrathful to merciful, in line with the division between the Old and New Testaments.

For those who believe in a new dispensation with the arrival of Jesus, this option seems relatively easy. For those who don’t, not so much.

A third choice is to fall back — quite easily — on the essential unknowability of God.

We are not granted the same understanding or perception as is the deity. Which is to say: We have to give him the benefit of the doubt.

Whichever of these paths one takes — and there are surely others — we are struggling with the same basic problem, trying to find some solution that will bring the God of the Old Testament into line with our modern God.

In other words, it is our changing concept of God, over two millennia, that is responsible for the moral dilemma. It’s our problem, not the Bible’s.

Joel S. Baden is the author of “The Historical David: The Real Life of an Invented Hero,” and an associate professor of Old Testament at Yale Divinity School. The opinions in this column belong to Baden. 

Box office report: 'Noah' wreaks Old Testament havoc on its competitors

A flood of reviews for 'Noah'

Is 'Noah' film sacred enough?

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Art • Belief • Bible • Christianity • Death • Faith • Judaism • Media • Movies • natural disasters • Opinion

soundoff (1,259 Responses)
  1. adamjread

    If we simply acknowledged that the God of the Old Testament looks a whole lot like the adoptive father of Moses, then we can all start to stand down from this craziness and move on with humanity. Moses' primary male role model was an Egyptian dictator that, according to Genesis, had the very same trigger finger when it came to slaying the innocent. In Moses' "graduating class," there would have been a notable absence of all the boys his age that Pharaoh drowned at the time Moses was placed in the basket in the Nile when he was just an infant.

    Speaking of that... I'm pretty sure the near modern equivalent would have been that of that same Jewish infant being rescued out of the Rhine River by the daughter of Adolf Hitler. Then, raise him in the heart of Nazi Germany with the Fuhrer as "dad" while the rest of your people are being tortured and killed. Perhaps a bit more severe in WWII than in ancient Egypt, but the environments would have been very comparable.

    Do you think there might be an element of severe childhood trauma that ignites the imagination of this boy to save his own people at some point? He couldn't overpower Pharaoh, and quite honestly, Moses was terrified of him. THIS is the reason he had to bring Aaron to speak for him....a significant speech delay brought on by extreme fear.

    And look at the plagues...Could this not have been among the first evidence of rough-hewn bioterrorism? It's extremely convenient, for example, that the Nile River was turned to blood, as rivers have predictable directionality to them. An ocean front would have been practically impossible to perform this one. Slaughter a few hundred animals upstream at time X, wait for the flow to arrive downstream at Y, and time your announcement to Pharaoh just prior to that. This is NOT rocket science. No cameras, no forensic science or chain of evidence, no scientific method, and no paparazzi.

    This deity would have saved millions of lives down the road if he had taught these kids about the laws of physics before convincing them that they had all the answers. Teach them how to look for water and find food in the desert so that anyone could use these stories as a survival guide....then who in the world would question the compassion of this deity? But it's not there, as the author seem to have been convinced that a codependent relationship with this deity in the short term was more important than long-term education of people about the basics of survival and public health.

    This religion would have done so much better if they had had an Eternal Mom to help balance the energy and perspective of this trigger-fingered Dad. Gender equality today would be a non-issue, as simply presenting the valued opinion of a woman would have done wonders for setting the healthy example.

    April 6, 2014 at 1:37 pm |
    • whippstippler7

      Interesting point about an "Eternal Mom" Ever note that many religions are in place as a means to suppress and control women?

      April 6, 2014 at 1:42 pm |
      • adamjread

        Certainly.

        What they (and many others) fail to recognize is that any time someone plays the dominant role and forces someone else to adapt to their ways, it ignites the mind of the one who submits, as they must go into learning mode to adapt and survive. The education of the dominant person, though, is stunted because they only have to see things through their own perspective.

        I'm pretty sure that this pattern, repeated for thousands of years, is why "Men are from Mars and women are from Venus." They have been forced to multi-task, constantly adapt to the whims of men, and it has completely changed the format of their minds.

        This is a rather frustrating realization (as a man), but because I have no desire to perpetuate the post cave man era of traditional alpha male thought, I have shifted my primary role models to women. As far as I can tell, the minds of women and even that of children are the next "New Frontier" we have to explore as humans. So much repression of this intellect has locked us down developmentally as a species.

        April 6, 2014 at 1:56 pm |
  2. auntiekale

    God is false. silly article.

    April 6, 2014 at 1:31 pm |
  3. observer

    Rainer Helmut Braendlein,

    You have repeatedly stated that you support changing laws to FORCE gays to the fringes of society.

    Jesus said "Treat others as you want them to treat you. THIS IS WHAT THE LAW AND THE PROPHETS ARE ALL ABOUT.”

    Why are you on here trying to talk about Christianity when you don't have A CLUE IN THE WORLD what the law and prophets are all about?

    April 6, 2014 at 1:10 pm |
    • sam stone

      because he's yet another pious bigot?

      April 6, 2014 at 1:42 pm |
  4. ontpoli

    Great article.
    I had many of these same questions going through my mind. I was glad to see someone else thinking along the same lines.

    April 6, 2014 at 1:09 pm |
  5. calvinbobbs

    Indisputable proof that the "Flood" story is false:

    In the flood story "God" kills every human on the planet except for a few on a boat in the Middle East. That means that every man woman and child in Asia, Europe, Australia, and America would have been killed. Yet, literally billions of descendents of these people, including myself, are living proof that the "flood" never happened.

    April 6, 2014 at 1:03 pm |
    • whippstippler7

      Shhhh! Don't use logic. Or science. Because those are just doctrines that are based on the same faith as religious belief.

      Granted, the believers are perfectly happy relying on scientists and science to – I don't know – talk to people around the world instantaneously via this comment board, and then get in their cars, and fly in planes, and use electricity, and watch TV – all of those things based on science, and yet, when someone points out that scientists have mapped the human genome and other primates and can show, irrefutably, where the different primate families branched off – well, no, no no! We're NOT going to listen to THOSE scientists – we're going to listen to the Bible. You know – that big ol' book that claims that rabbits chew their cud, and that bats are birds.

      April 6, 2014 at 1:14 pm |
    • arthurpaliden

      There is a simulation you and get on the net that starts humans breeding under the most favorable conditions from Noah on. Never does it result in the number of people needed to build the great structures of Egypt nor support the infrastructure required. We will not even get into the problem of the lost knowledge base.

      April 6, 2014 at 1:16 pm |
  6. arthurpaliden

    God doesn't play the villain, He is the villain. Which is why it has always puzzled me why people would want to be associated with a genocidal mass murdering terrorist in the first place:

    "And it came to pass, that at midnight the LORD smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne unto the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon; and all the firstborn of cattle. And Pharaoh rose up in the night, he, and all his servants, and all the Egyptians; and there was a great cry in Egypt; for there was not a house where there was not one dead." (Exodus 12:29-30)

    Just imagine, possibly Mom, Dad along with the oldest sibling lying dead in the house and starting to bloat in the heat as the other children, now orphans, look on. How can Christians justify that?

    *terrorism – killing those with no political power to force political change by those with political power

    But that is not even the best part which is that God rigged it so that the Pharaoh would not free Moses's people in the first place.

    “And the Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh, and he hearkened not unto them; as the Lord had spoken unto Moses.” – Exidus 9:12

    So all that killing God did was just an object lesson for Moses. Now that is an example of pure unadulterated evil if ever there was one.

    April 6, 2014 at 12:45 pm |
    • ssq41

      I completely misread you yesterday...my apologies.

      April 6, 2014 at 12:49 pm |
  7. Vic

    It is good to question things, it enriches the Faith/Belief.

    Whatever the case may be with the Scriptures that we have today, we can see to the "Main Testimony" of it all, whether we have the details right or wrong. The "Main Testimony" of the Bible that we need to heed is "Salvation by the Grace of God through Faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior," the New Covenant.

    Note that throughout Biblical history God always imputed righteousness unto man on the basis of Faith, that is Belief in Him, whoever he/she was/is.

    Nothing pleases God like Faith/Belief in Him.

    I am a mainline Christian Protestant, born again—this is not a denominational reference, and I believe Christianity does not hinge on inerrancy of the Bible, rather, it hinges upon the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, He is our "focus," that is Faith/Belief in Him.

    Early on:
    http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2014/04/05/when-god-plays-the-villain/comment-page-3/#comment-2980756

    April 6, 2014 at 12:43 pm |
    • whippstippler7

      @ Vic: you are presupposing that Faith/Belief are GOOD things. What would you base that on? Faith is simply what one falls back on when there is no good, reasonable, rational reason for believing something.

      I have no good reason to believe that the Flying Spaghetti monster is real. No evidence for it whatsoever. Yet, if I were to order my life based on that foundational belief, based on faith, would that be a good thing? Replace "God" with the "FSM" in the above article, and I'll say that it enriches faith/belief.

      Doesn't that make me sound like a lunatic? Believing that some cosmic being made of pasta has created, and is ruling, the universe?

      April 6, 2014 at 1:40 pm |
      • jbc630

        Faith is not good or bad. It is a necessity if one does not posess universal knowledge. The good or evil of a faith depends on the object of that faith. Whether the object is true or not. I find theism easier to believe than materialism because of the evidence. Not despite of it.

        April 6, 2014 at 3:34 pm |
        • whippstippler7

          I would suggest that faith IS bad. No one possesses universal knowledge. What's wrong with saying, "I don't know"? As for belief, I'm absolutely fine with people saying, "My belief is such and such", However, when their beliefs are presented as facts, or as "THE TRUTH", and when questioned, they fall back on faith, that is when I have issues with it.

          Believe what you want, but present is as just that: a belief, and nothing more.

          April 6, 2014 at 3:42 pm |
        • jbc630

          What do you believe?

          April 6, 2014 at 4:29 pm |
        • whippstippler7

          @ jbc: what do I believe? About what? I don't believe there is an active intelligent being or force running the universe, or who is concerned with humans. I believe we arose out of natural processes. We're here – we live, we die. Try to be good to each other. get the most out of life.

          That's all.

          April 6, 2014 at 8:50 pm |
  8. amisc1970

    "Noah and his descendants don’t promise to behave differently after the flood. Rather, God learns to accept their inherently evil nature."

    If God was going to accept the inherent evil nature of people, then there was absolutely no reason to destroy mankind with the flood. Also, if God was omnipotent and really wanted people to not be inherently evil, he should have been capable of removing the evil; he could simply have allowed Noah and his family to be destroyed by the flood and start over by creating new people. He could have allowed all the animals to be destroyed by the flood and start over as well, eliminating the need for an ark. The whole story defies any logic and anyone who accepts it as factual is deluding themselves.

    April 6, 2014 at 12:28 pm |
  9. cgahaw

    Baden writes – "The God of the Old Testament does not love humans; he barely tolerates them. The relationship is not one of affection but one of necessity and of obedience." This guy teaches the OT – scary since he ignores all the OT scripture that specifically states God's love for us. You are an intellectual idiot Josh.

    April 6, 2014 at 12:22 pm |
    • whippstippler7

      Sure, just like the love that an abusive husband professes for his wife after he's beaten the crap out of her.

      April 6, 2014 at 12:27 pm |
      • cgahaw

        You should do a better job of connecting the dots before posting.

        April 6, 2014 at 12:31 pm |
        • whippstippler7

          And which dots are those? I judge your god by his deeds, not his words. Or am I missing the subtext of, "I love you so much, little innocent child somewhere in the world, that I will send flood waters to drown you and your family, and you get to die in terror and angst, watching your family die right in front of your eyes."

          Good thing it's just a myth – could you imagine if there really was such a monster running the universe?????

          That's not love. That's genocide.

          April 6, 2014 at 12:56 pm |
    • anesalba

      Yep, must agree. "You are an intellectual idiot Josh.

      April 6, 2014 at 12:42 pm |
  10. bostontola

    "Theory of evolution is very harmful because it teaches the survival of the fittest, a contest between all human beings. In contrast God wants us to cooperate like the organs of a body. Let us support and promote each other, and refuse any contest."

    This is a prime example of why we can't have a meaningful debate. Christians view evolution as a doctrine. That is how they view knowledge. Ignore it if it is "bad". Science doesn't make value judgments. It just tests hypotheses and keeps the ones that are compatible with objective tests. You judge the facts, and reject ones you don't like. Absurd.

    April 6, 2014 at 12:09 pm |
    • cgahaw

      You make generalized statements on Christianity rather than a knowledge base of theology and doctrine, so your post is worthless. The physical universe cannot provide physical evidence of a God or spiritual world and to expect it to do so would be illogical itself. Science is integral to Christian discernment as it relates to the physical world and evolution of mankind is most likely scientific fact but not yet proven – has nothing to do with doctrine.

      April 6, 2014 at 12:25 pm |
      • igaftr

        Evolution is fact, just we do not know all of the mechanisms of it, and how would we know when we have all of the information?
        you know it is fact that bacteria and viruses make people sick, right?
        That is the Germ Theory...still considered theory even though we know it is fact...same with evolution.

        April 6, 2014 at 12:31 pm |
        • cgahaw

          Evolution is a fact but we do not have the scientific evidence yet to prove that man evolved. Again, the point is to not mix science and spiritual faith – both can exist without either validating each other. It s illogical to expect the physical and spiritual to be evidentiary for each other.

          April 6, 2014 at 12:36 pm |
        • cramerjean

          Then explain to me why there is a push to teach creationism and/or intelligent design in public school science classes?

          April 6, 2014 at 12:44 pm |
        • igaftr

          "we do not have the scientific evidence yet to prove that man evolved"
          Yes we do. It is in the DNA of every human on the planet.

          April 6, 2014 at 12:40 pm |
        • morsedan

          When you are discussing evolution are you discussing macro or micro evolution? This is one thing that bugs me about evolution scientist is that they find evidence for micro evolution and then lump into together with macro and pass it off as validating scientific proof it's just poor science. I'm a Christian and devote believer in the Bible. I also happen to be a historian and teach history. I in the past believed in evolution as a whole and I did not feel that it went against my faith. However in the past few years with scientific evidence I believe it's now false. I think scientist see evidence from Micro greatest example the Darwin's birds beaks and claim it as macro which would be that birds could eventually create a new species. Different beak sizes does not mean a new species in the end their still birds. If macro was true the fossil record would prove it but it doesn't even Darwin acknowledged that we also have no evidence of a entirely new species arising from another one. We adaptation within species but not something like dinosaurs evolving form birds or vice versa. All it is, is speculation being applied as fact.

          April 6, 2014 at 1:11 pm |
        • igaftr

          morsedan
          "macro or micro evolution"
          There is only evolution. Those terms you use are just a smoke screen used by creationists. There is no such thing as micro and macro evolution.

          April 6, 2014 at 1:14 pm |
        • morsedan

          https://www.google.com/search?q=macro++evolution&rlz=1C1KMZB_enUS530US530&oq=macro++evolution&aqs=chrome..69i57j0l5.6329j0j8&sourceid=chrome&espv=210&es_sm=93&ie=UTF-8

          https://www.google.com/search?q=macro++evolution&rlz=1C1KMZB_enUS530US530&oq=macro++evolution&aqs=chrome..69i57j0l5.6329j0j8&sourceid=chrome&espv=210&es_sm=93&ie=UTF-8#q=micro+evolution

          They are separate things if your going to make statements then provide proof.

          April 6, 2014 at 1:35 pm |
        • cramerjean

          "Contrary to claims by creationists, macro and microevolution describe fundamentally identical processes on different time scales."

          This was copied and pasted directly from first link you provided. Maybe you should read your own cited sources.

          April 6, 2014 at 1:39 pm |
        • cramerjean

          Sorry, my last comment was kind of snarky. I think this is a war of words, not of concepts. Scientifically, there is one functional process by which living things evolve. Macro and Micro just break it down into two areas of effect. The process and scientific principle behind both is the same. If you accept the principle as scientifically sound, then you have to accept both micro and macro evolution as scientifically sound.

          April 6, 2014 at 1:46 pm |
        • igaftr

          morsedan
          People who use the term micro and macro to describe evolution do not understand that they are the same thing, with only differing amounts of time, and since neither one is actually defined, they are not terms used by the scientific community. It is only creationists that use that term in an effort to try to put holes in valid science. When anyone uses the term, it is obvious they are creationists, and certainly NOT scientists.

          To us scientists, evolution is evolution. "mifcro" and "macro" are joke terms

          April 6, 2014 at 2:37 pm |
        • carashere

          morsedan - I'd like to point out that there are many different species of birds. You seem to think that as long as it is still a bird, it hasn't become a new species. This is completely false.

          April 6, 2014 at 2:43 pm |
      • ssq41

        Happy to see you dismiss Psalms 19:1...and do remind us which doctrine and theology is that from which you preach?

        April 6, 2014 at 12:32 pm |
      • bostontola

        1. You are not the arbiter of worth.
        2. I didn't say all Christians.
        3. You missed the point of the OP. It wasn't about who is right or wrong, it is about how many believers have a different way of viewing the world. A way that is incompatible with a scientific perspective.
        4. You exhibit this in your response. You assert science hasn't proven man evolved. Science doesn't aim to prove things, that is mathematics. Scientists have hypotheses, they test them, they review the results, they cross check the results with independent tests, they then keep the hypotheses that are not disproven. Not being disproven, is not affirmative proof. It just works.

        April 6, 2014 at 1:57 pm |
      • hotairace

        cgahaw, you make statements about your beliefs without a shred of actual evidence for them. Your statements are worthless. The only reason your alleged but never proven god might not be subject to science is because believers have conveniently defined it as such. You are pretending to know things you do not, based upon mythology with no actual evidence.

        April 6, 2014 at 2:55 pm |
  11. basehitter

    The word "sacrifice" appears 452 times in the bible. The term "burnt offering" appears 374 times. It seems the Christian god really likes sacrifice, preferably as burnt offerings. But when it came time to change his mind and lift the curse he put on all mankind because two people wanted knowledge, he required a human sacrifice, no less than his own son. This seems like a perverted blood cult.

    April 6, 2014 at 11:50 am |
    • bostontola

      There are so many contradictions in the Abrahamic faiths it could make your head spin.

      Believers chalk it up to: Man is not able to understand God or His intentions.

      To any casual observer outside those religions (about 4 billion people), it's obvious that the contradictions are due to man making up the whole thing. Men with a very limited knowledge base and with primitive morals.

      April 6, 2014 at 12:03 pm |
      • ssq41

        And that's really the sad part...if you just accept them as the stories they are...of humans trying to understand what this life is all about and making answers to fit their environment and circ.umstances, then the contradictions simply confirm just how wonderfully human we are...There are some great stories.

        Instead, when it is the literal word of God and is inerrant, then they have to resort to a pretzelized theology and hermeneutics to "make sense"...

        I do have to admit, the pretzel hermeneutics are entertaining

        April 6, 2014 at 12:08 pm |
        • sam stone

          And no one is more adept at twisting those pretzels than Theo Phileo/Larry of Arabia/Corn Pone

          April 6, 2014 at 12:14 pm |
        • ssq41

          Preach it, brother Sam!

          April 6, 2014 at 12:18 pm |
      • faithfulwatcher

        At no point, in all of the very word of God is there an actual contradiction. This is a falsehood that has been spread around and bought by the spiritually ignorant. In the 10 plus years that I have been studying (not just reading, studying) the word of God in the Bible, I have found no questions that cannot be answered. Just as in certain elements of science, one cannot immediately grasp it, unless one actually studies it. However, concerning Godly matters, all we need to do is ask HIM directly for His wisdom and to reveal Himself to us, and He will. James 1:5 and Jeremiah 29:11-14.

        April 6, 2014 at 1:48 pm |
        • whippstippler7

          Leviticus: Hares chew their cud.

          No, hares are not ruminants. They do NOT chew their cud.

          Leviticus: Bats are birds.

          No, bats are mammals, not birds.

          Leviticus: insects go about on all fours.

          No, insects have six legs, not four.

          April 6, 2014 at 2:12 pm |
        • doobzz

          Dead people do not return to life.

          April 6, 2014 at 2:38 pm |
        • whippstippler7

          @ doobzz: and dead, six-legged bats don't chew their cud. And we know this because the Bible never mentions Noah getting two six-legged, cud-chewing bats on the ark.

          April 6, 2014 at 3:44 pm |
        • jbc630

          whipplestippler is trying to make the bible walk on all fours

          April 6, 2014 at 4:15 pm |
    • igaftr

      Ja prefers burnt offerings too, and since he is the god of the Rastafarians, he also is the Most High God.

      April 6, 2014 at 12:26 pm |
    • faithfulwatcher

      The truth is this: "To carry on righteousness and judgment is more preferable to Almighty God than sacrifice." Proverbs 21:3. And also very important: "He has told you, oh earthling man, what is good. And what is Almighty God asking back from you but to exercise justice and to love kindness and to be modest in walking with your God." Micah 6:8, both in Old Testament.
      To truly know the mindset of God, people need to read Psalm 91, where God clearly states exactly who He will protect and provide for and most importantly, why.

      April 6, 2014 at 1:38 pm |
      • cramerjean

        I think god should have provided the bible with an index that would tell us which statements we're supposed to believe and which ones rank lower and can be disregarded.

        April 6, 2014 at 1:51 pm |
        • faithfulwatcher

          Well, that's just it, cramerjean, NONE of God's words are to be disregarded. It is because of His word being disregarded or rejected, that there is so much confusion. Truth blows confusion right out of the water, but few are interested in the truth; most people today are much more interested in promoting their own ideas and misconceptions. Hopefully, they will wake up from their deep sleep soon.

          April 6, 2014 at 2:27 pm |
        • doobzz

          "Well, that's just it, cramerjean, NONE of God's words are to be disregarded."

          So we should continue owning slaves, selling children to strangers to be used as they wish, subjugating women, and thinking that human and animal sacrifice is a good and worthy thing.

          April 6, 2014 at 2:56 pm |
        • hotairace

          Maybe there is much confusion because there is no truth in The Babble.

          April 6, 2014 at 3:00 pm |
      • faithfulwatcher

        God never allowed human sacrifices. Jeremiah 7:31, where God tells of the people who have betrayed Him. "And they have built the high places of Topheth...in order to burn their sons and daughters in the fire, a thing that I had not commanded and that had not come up into my heart."

        April 6, 2014 at 3:35 pm |
        • G to the T

          Except for Jesus right? I mean that was kind of the whole idea, one "perfect" sacrfice to take the place of all the animal sacrifices of the past... odd that in light of the quote you produced.

          April 7, 2014 at 11:55 am |
  12. basehitter

    God is perfect, never makes a mistake.
    He tested mankind with a talking snake.
    Things didn’t work out like he originally planned.
    He decided to change his religious brand.
    He killed his son to “save” mankind.
    From the curse and wrath of his self centered mind.
    Now we have hell for those who doubt.
    To give fairy tale salesmen a lot more clout.

    April 6, 2014 at 11:37 am |
    • bostontola

      That's a dinger.

      April 6, 2014 at 11:57 am |
    • doobzz

      *finger snaps*

      April 6, 2014 at 2:57 pm |
  13. Rainer Helmut Braendlein

    "Most modern people tend to distinguish between the wrathful God of the Old Testament and the merciful God of the New Testament."

    Unquote.

    I rather believe that most modern people have no clue of the Bible. They are not interested in the issue, whether there is a difference between the God of the OT and the God of the NT. Modern people live in a world where God plays no more role. They are concerned about earning their livelihood, and taking care of their family. Young people struggle to live up to the high standards of the educational system, and have no time to contemplate about spiritual matters. The media are "faith-free". Our world has become extremly materialistic. Materialism is idolatry.

    There is no great difference between our time and Noah's time concerning the faith. Today the majority of the mankind has turned apostate from the faith in the Lord, the eternal God who has made heaven and earth. The same was the case at Noah's time. I don't know how the people justified their sin at Noah's time. Today we have plenty of cults, sects and false churches replacing practical love and righteousness in daily life (that would require the true faith) through ridiculous rituals (for example, the Muslims keep the 5 Pillars of Islam; that is enough to be a good Muslim, but they are not required to love all people independent from belief, nationality, etc.) The cults, sects and false churches make their members practicing a biased love. In contrast a true Christian practices unbiased love. The "world" is the total of all cults, sects and false churches. Though the true Christians practice unbiased love, they are hated by the world without any reason. It is very hard to live as a Christian today. We can be sure that this causes God's wrath, and we can be sure that Noah and his relatives had got a very hard life amongst their proud and brutal fellow human beings.

    St. Peter says that Noah was a preacher of righteousness. Certainly he told the people that the sacrifices of animals he offered were worthless in itself, and only valuable, if they would be considered as a reminder for the future sacrifice of the Son of God, the only sacrifice which can take away sins. Every contemporary of Noah had had the chance to escape God's wrath through faith in the future Redeemer who was pronounced by Noah. Today we can escape through faith in Jesus who lived on earth 2000 years ago, and is alive as the glorified Christ in heaven.

    Let us urgently repent, believe and get sacramentally baptized before the next divine Judgment descends upon us (I believe that that will happen soon). Jesus died and rose for us. If we believe and get sacramentally baptized we die for the sin, and enter Christ. We die and resurrect together with Jesus. Dead for the sin, and in Jesus we are able to overcome our selfish ego, and to love God and our neighbours. If we accept that view of Jesus sacrifice, it will also be an atonement for our sins. Let us present our bodies as a living sacrifice. Love of neighbour is the fulfillment of the Law of the Torah.

    God never alters. He loved the people of the old world before the Flood, and he loves us. He only requires us to love our fellow human beings with the same love with which He love us and them. God cannot endure when we imply he would love only us, and we could neglect, or even hate our neighbour. If we neglect our neighbour, we lose God's favour.

    Theory of evolution is very harmful because it teaches the survival of the fittest, a contest between all human beings. In contrast God wants us to cooperate like the organs of a body. Let us support and promote each other, and refuse any contest.

    April 6, 2014 at 11:19 am |
    • lewcypher

      You do understand that evolution encompasses all living things and that it would be very difficult, nay impossible to teach fruit fly's to not compete against each other

      April 6, 2014 at 11:27 am |
      • cramerjean

        Good response!

        April 6, 2014 at 11:28 am |
    • basehitter

      So god gave up mass murder and the wonderful smell of burnt offerings to love and peace ? Seems to me like he has changed his ways. But wait, he tortures people for all eternity for not worshiping him. I guess he hasn't changed his ways.

      April 6, 2014 at 11:35 am |
      • Rainer Helmut Braendlein

        The most hated people on earth are the people practicing an unbiased love. That is demonic. It is demonic to hate somebody practicing unbiased love.

        Why should we blame God for judging the haters ruled by demons. Wasn't it very bad that they hated the good people?

        April 6, 2014 at 11:40 am |
        • lewcypher

          That's just an opinion to bolster a twisted Christian martyr complex.

          April 6, 2014 at 11:51 am |
        • MidwestKen

          @Rainer,
          wait... so your saying unbiased love is a good thing and yet the supposedly most 'good' being, God, does not practice unbiased love, but "judges" those who don't practice unbiased love.

          April 6, 2014 at 12:02 pm |
        • Rainer Helmut Braendlein

          The ones not practicing unbiased love are the fanatics. Why shouldn't God judge fanatics. Ain't they evil?

          April 6, 2014 at 12:09 pm |
        • cramerjean

          "evil" is a religious term and requires belief for it to have any meaning at all. I don't actually believe there is such a thing as "evil." I do believe that there are people who act to better their environment and the lives of those around them and there are people who act in detriment to their environment and the lives of those around them. The latter require constraint and/or punishment for the good of society, evil doesn't have to enter in to it. My moral code is to treat others as I want to be treated because that creates a better quality of life for everyone. God doesn't enter in to it.

          April 6, 2014 at 12:18 pm |
        • MidwestKen

          Is judgement possible with unbiased love, I don't know.

          Is God not the ultimate fanatic? love me or burn for eternity.

          April 6, 2014 at 12:13 pm |
        • Rainer Helmut Braendlein

          God is love, life, fellowship, truth, light, health in himself. If someone rejects God, he rejects all that good things, that means he or she wants to be evil.

          April 6, 2014 at 12:27 pm |
        • cramerjean

          "love, life, fellowship, truth, light, health in himself"

          None of these things require a god.

          April 6, 2014 at 12:38 pm |
        • Rainer Helmut Braendlein

          Sin is the opposite of love. When we sin we act against the principle of love. Sin causes diseases, depression, death, fear, isolation, etc. Why does sin cause that all? Simply because with every little sin we diverge from Love, God himself. The more you diverge from a bonfire, the more you feel the cold.

          April 6, 2014 at 12:51 pm |
        • cramerjean

          Again, "sin" only has meaning within the framework of religious belief. Every religion defines sin differently. Your definition is no more valid than anyone else's. Since I believe the bible is just a collection of writings by a random selection of authors written at widely varying times in history, not some divine revelation, I don't accept your basis for defining "sin."

          April 6, 2014 at 1:08 pm |
        • sam stone

          Fanatics such as yourself, Rainy Fuhrer?

          April 6, 2014 at 12:16 pm |
        • igaftr

          "The most hated people on earth are the people practicing an unbiased love."

          In what way are lawyers practicing unbiased love?

          April 6, 2014 at 12:23 pm |
        • MidwestKen

          "God is love"

          Never understood this one. How can any being "be" an abstract idea? If God "is" love, then who "is" uncertainty, hunger, disquiet, confusion, embarrassment, falsehood, curiosity, addition, calculus, existentialism, communism, republicanism, democracy, etc., etc.

          April 6, 2014 at 12:35 pm |
        • Rainer Helmut Braendlein

          Some of your ideas are personified through death and devil.

          April 6, 2014 at 12:45 pm |
        • igaftr

          " If someone rejects God, he rejects all that good things, that means he or she wants to be evil."
          Now you are just flat out lying rainman.
          Also, not seeing any evidence for any gods, and not believing is not the same as rejecting.

          April 6, 2014 at 12:38 pm |
        • Akira

          Rainier, please do not try and sell that you are one of those who practices 'unbiased love'. Anyone familiar with your theological musings knows that is straight up not true.

          April 6, 2014 at 12:42 pm |
        • MidwestKen

          @Rainer Helmut Braendlein
          "Some of your ideas are personified through death and devil."

          Let me know if I'm picking nits, but "being" something is categorical different than "personifying" something. is it not?

          per·son·i·fy transitive verb
          : to have a lot of (a particular quality) : to be the perfect example of a person who has (a quality)
          : to think of or represent (a thing or idea) as a person or as having human qualities or powers

          April 6, 2014 at 12:59 pm |
        • sam stone

          more bloviating on the part of rainy helmut.

          come on, fuhrer, isn't there a bunker you need to climb into?

          jeebus is waiting on you

          April 6, 2014 at 3:11 pm |
    • MidwestKen

      @Rainer,
      "Theory of evolution is very harmful because it teaches the survival of the fittest, a contest between all human beings. In contrast God wants us to cooperate like the organs of a body. Let us support and promote each other, and refuse any contest."

      You misunderstand Evolution, I think. It is not so much "survival of the fittest" in a physical sense but 'survival of the best adapted' and cooperation can be an advantageous survival trait. Remember which animal survived the KT extinction event; the small relatively defenseless mammals and not the huge ferocious dinosaurs.

      April 6, 2014 at 11:40 am |
      • cramerjean

        Excellent point.

        April 6, 2014 at 11:44 am |
      • G to the T

        Indeed – people often equate "fittest" with "strongest" which is not the case. Fittest literatlly means "the best fit for the environment". What is "fittest" in one environment may be completely useless in a different environment. This is one of the dangers of specialization. While is can make you much more "fit" for a particular environment, it makes you less "fit" in general and becomes a detriment if the environment changes too much too quickly.

        April 7, 2014 at 12:00 pm |
    • Doris

      I have read Rainy's bylaws before on baptism, etc., and maybe I missed it here, but aren't you also supposed to spread garlic around the door frames?

      April 6, 2014 at 12:04 pm |
    • cgahaw

      People – please don;t read this guys posts (which I doubt most do because they are way too long). This guy belongs to some crazy cult and does not represent a Christian doctrine.

      April 6, 2014 at 12:32 pm |
      • whippstippler7

        @ cha: you're missing the point. To an atheist, all Christianity sounds like a crazy cult.

        The basis of your belief system appears to be that, you will go to a place of eternal fire and torture, unless you accept that 2000 years ago god sent a piece of himself to Earth in human form (Jesus) knowing in advance that this Jesus would live, be crucified, died, then come alive again, then ascend to heaven to rejoin himself, and that this was the only way that humans could be cleansed of the evil that is inherent in them because a rib woman was convinced by a talking snake to eat an apple. But if you DO believe that, and accept the alive/dead/alive again part of god as your "saviour", then you'll live with god forever. Somewhere.

        See?

        Crazy..

        April 6, 2014 at 3:49 pm |
  14. sanjosemike

    I can do just fine without that god, your god or any other god.

    If I have to go to hell for it, fine. I can accept that. Your god is a psychopath anyway. It would be well in keeping with him.

    sanjosemike

    April 6, 2014 at 11:07 am |
  15. truth1914

    The God of the bible whose personal name is Jehovah (psalms 83:18) doesn't want animal sacrifices but simply for us to exercise love toward one another and towards Him no matter what part of the world we live in. Those who truly love God according to his will have already "turned their swords into plowshares" (Micah 4:3). They put their faith in the last sacrifice Jesus Christ, the lamb that washes away the sin of the world.

    1Sa 15:22 Samuel then said: “Does Jehovah take as much pleasure in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of Jehovah? Look! To obey is better than a sacrifice, and to pay attention than the fat of rams;

    April 6, 2014 at 10:33 am |
    • igaftr

      Why do so many have the word truth in the name, then spout nothing but belief. Can't you distinguish between the two?

      April 6, 2014 at 10:35 am |
      • truth1914

        Many of us have "STUDIED" the scriptures and have allow God's word and not our own interpretations to answer our questions. This is why we can say we have the truth. John 8:32

        April 7, 2014 at 11:06 am |
        • igaftr

          considering the FACT that men wrote your bible, and there is no evidence at all that any gods had anything to do with it, to claim it is truth is a lie in and of itself. You have no idea if your book was inspired by god, or satan, or just a group of seriously ignorant men. The proof that no gad had anything to do with it is all throughout the bible. A god would not have gooten so much wrong. For all you know, satan inspired your book to be written, and you are following his word.
          THAT is the truth. Stop lying.

          April 8, 2014 at 9:04 am |
        • truth1914

          Fortunately I understand God's word and can't be deterred by the rantings of the ignorant. You know not what you speak and hinder those who truly want a personal relationship with our loving creator.

          April 10, 2014 at 11:08 pm |
    • seedenbetter

      You sound terribly delusional. I can't believe anyone can believe such nonsense.

      April 6, 2014 at 10:36 am |
    • cramerjean

      Jehovah was never the christian god's "personal name." It's an Anglicized version of a word that was already a Latin/Hebrew hybrid. It probably didn't even come into use until sometime after 1000 common era. No one knows, either, how the original Latin or Hebrew characters were pronounced or even if they were ever meant to be spoken out loud.

      April 6, 2014 at 10:45 am |
      • faithfulwatcher

        The sincere and truthfully Christian worshipers know and love the exact same, one and only Almighty God that the Jews worship. There is only one true and LIVING God Almighty, who hears and responds to the prayers of those who seek Him in truth. The Hebrew letters of God's name that He gave to Moses at Exodus 6:2&3 is correctly transliterated in English in the Bible.

        April 6, 2014 at 3:04 pm |
    • lewcypher

      This is just a spin on, "You can't love someone else unless you accept the love of Jesus Christ"

      That is one of the most disgusting things about Christians. They think they corner the market on love, that marriages outside of Christianity aren't real and that 2/3 of the world is delusional if they think they really love someone.

      Christianity is a filthy perverted cult.

      April 6, 2014 at 10:47 am |
    • MidwestKen

      "doesn't want animal sacrifices but simply for us to exercise love toward one another"

      At best, this should be "doesn't want animal sacrifices [anymore]"

      April 6, 2014 at 11:16 am |
    • sam stone

      "truth": it's all mythology

      April 6, 2014 at 11:16 am |
    • faithfulwatcher

      Thank you truth1914, and our Almighty God's name is also found at Exodus 6:2&3 and Isaiah 12:2 and Isaiah 26:4, for all King James Edition readers. Jesus is clearly not Almighty God; he is His Son, as God told us at Matthew 3:16 &17 and Jesus told us at Matthew 16:13-17. All the controversy over who God truly is has been foretold, but the answer is coming soon. Zechariah 14:9, "And Jehovah must become king over all the earth. In that day Jehovah will prove to be ONE, and His name one.

      April 6, 2014 at 2:49 pm |
      • truth1914

        Hope our efforts help at least one person.

        April 8, 2014 at 8:51 am |
    • truth1914

      John 12: 39 The reason why they were not able to believe is that again Isaiah said: 40 “He has blinded their eyes and has made their hearts hard, so that they would not see with their eyes and understand with their hearts and turn around and I heal them.”

      2 Corinthians 4: 3,4 3 If, in fact, the good news we declare is veiled, it is veiled among those who are perishing, 4 among whom the god of this system of things has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, so that the illumination of the glorious good news about the Christ, who is the image of God,

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

      truth1914

      "The God of the bible whose personal name is Jehovah (psalms 83:18) doesn't want animal sacrifices"

      (Lev. 1:14-17 “If the offering to the Lord is a burnt offering of birds, he is to offer a dove or a young pigeon. The priest shall bring it to the altar, wring off the head and burn it on the altar; its blood shall be drained out on the side of the altar. He is to remove the crop with its contents and throw it to the east side of the altar, where the ashes are. He shall tear it open by the wings, not severing it completely, and then the priest shall burn it on the wood that is on the fire on the altar. It is a burnt offering, an offering made by fire, an aroma pleasing to the Lord.”

      April 6, 2014 at 10:05 pm |
      • truth1914

        1 Sam 15:22 use your powers of reasoning. With the ultimate sacrifice of the Christ there was no further need for animal sacrifice

        April 7, 2014 at 5:48 am |
  16. kat127

    I was raised Catholic, then became a born-again Christian. I believed everything I was told to believe. Then I really started studying the Bible and the history of it. Now I'm agnostic. I cannot, with a brain still intact, believe that the Bible is the inerrant word of God. There is too much evidence to the contrary. Even without biblical scholarship, all one has to do is really read the book, and will note hundreds of contradictions, and serious ones at that. I still believe there's some power source out there, but we all have different names for it. The driving force behind all humanity should be love. Jesus said Love your neighbor as yourself. That's what it's all about. I wrote a book a few years ago. It's a bittersweet story of how religious beliefs can divide ordinary, nice people. I have a link to it here. I'm not trying to make money on it. I just want people to think about how our stubborn beliefs can get in the way of being loving human beings.
    http://www.amazon.com/Across-Street-Katie-Younger-ebook/dp/B004HFS40M/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1396793503&sr=8-1&keywords=across+the+street

    April 6, 2014 at 10:20 am |
    • whippstippler7

      Awwww – you had us all going there until it turned into a sales pitch for your book.

      FAIL.

      April 6, 2014 at 10:22 am |
      • kat127

        It's 99 cents. I am very passionate about sharing the story. I am not trying to make money on it. I cannot share a 200 plus page story in the comment section. Don't buy it then!

        April 6, 2014 at 10:27 am |
        • ssq41

          Then post your address where we can send a request for the book and you can pay the postage to have it delivered to us....that is, if you really believe the importance of your testimony.

          Better yet, turn your computer off and go door to door in your neighborhood and tell your story. Invite your unknown neighbors over to dinner, lunch and breakfast and engage them and listen to their stories while you tell your own.

          I have to hand it to Keith Green, the Christian music artist of the '70s and '80s who labelled all of his albums with a note that said: "If you can't afford this album, please write (to the address provided) and we will send you one."

          A few Christians used to have a measure of integrity of realizing their message wasn't necessarily for sale.

          April 6, 2014 at 10:34 am |
      • TruthPrevails1

        whipp: You're right...it's on Amazon and nothing on Amazon is free. This girl is contradicting herself...claims not to believe in the bible but speaks of the jesus character that is directly related to it. I'm thinking she doesn't comprehend much.

        April 6, 2014 at 10:33 am |
        • kat127

          You're right. I want to delete the post, but I can't.

          April 6, 2014 at 10:37 am |
        • MidwestKen

          Believing that an historical figure Jesus existed doesn't necessarily mean that one is a "believer".

          April 6, 2014 at 10:39 am |
        • kat127

          I'm unpublishing it for awhile. You helped me realize it was a stupid move to put it up on this blog. Thanks.

          April 6, 2014 at 10:45 am |
    • igaftr

      What does your god have to say about stealing advertisement space, a clear violation of the terms of service?
      Pretty sure he is not happy you are a theif.

      April 6, 2014 at 10:26 am |
      • kat127

        You're right. I'm trying to delete it, but can't figure out how. Can you help me?

        April 6, 2014 at 10:36 am |
        • igaftr

          You can try emailing daniel.burke@cnn.com. He is one of the co-editors of the page. I know of no other way to delete it.
          State the name of the article and the time of the post.
          I'm glad you realize the error and are trying to correct it. I retract my original statement.

          April 6, 2014 at 10:43 am |
    • TruthPrevails1

      " I'm not trying to make money on it."

      There's a blatant lie! Why have it on Amazon if the intent is not to rake in people?

      By the way, agnostic doesn't tell us if you believe in a god or not...it simply defines the fact that you admit to not being certain. However by what you have stated in regards to what jesus apparently wanted/said, you are showing a tendency towards believing the bible (the main place to find stories of this creature).

      If you want to be taken seriously, try not to get caught contradicting yourself and for the sake of the people who taught you in this world (the education system), learn to use a dictionary.

      April 6, 2014 at 10:31 am |
      • kat127

        Wow, people are mean here. How can I delete my post. I'm trying, but I can't figure it out. Can you help me?

        April 6, 2014 at 10:32 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          Pointing out what we're seeing is mean? Re-read what you wrote and think hard about how others might see it. If you're not looking to make money and want to tell your story, why bother selling it on Amazon?? You say you don't believe in the bible but yet you refer to one its characters-sounds very contradictory. You sound more like an Agnostic Theist, although most theists are usually gnostic (they claim to know for certain that their god exists).
          There is no way to delete your post.

          April 6, 2014 at 10:38 am |
        • ssq41

          "People are mean here"???

          I'm guessing you've never been out your front door. What you describe as "mean" is merely a response to your brothers and sisters in Christ who claim to be providing the "Good News" but actually are more interested in their one true Redeemer: $$$

          ...and the supplementary inflationary effect to their ego.

          April 6, 2014 at 10:39 am |
        • MidwestKen

          @kat127,
          Yes, people on here can be very harsh, sometime that is unfortunate.

          I think you've done what you can, stated you regretted the post. Perhaps just let it go, now. Engaging often just escalates the vitriol, instead of mitigating.

          April 6, 2014 at 10:47 am |
        • CNN Belief Blog Co-EditorCNN

          That's okay, Kat,127 don't worry about it.

          Take it easy, people. She made a mistake. No need to break out the pillories.

          April 7, 2014 at 11:09 pm |
      • kat127

        Can you please help me delete it? I'm regretting it now.

        April 6, 2014 at 10:37 am |
        • whippstippler7

          Try prayer

          April 6, 2014 at 10:38 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          Maybe we were harsh and I apologize...think of what you said here though and how it might appear to other people. If you want to tell your story, feel free to do so but you'll be doing so with the chance that people will give negative feed back...just that posting the link to Amazon makes it appear that you're looking to make a profit, which you claim to not be.
          If you're going to get easily offended, I hate to say it but this might not be the best blog-it can get rather harsh.
          As for deleting your post, as far as I know there is no way to do so...you might try contacting CNN directly to make that request.

          April 6, 2014 at 10:43 am |
        • whippstippler7

          Truth makes a good point – we were harsh. But, if I may change the subject slightly: Kat – you referred to people here being "mean". It strikes me that, as a society, we have become overly sensitive to the slightest suggestion of "offence". Oh, I'm offended; that offends me, etc. Personally, I think being offended is a good thing for the person taking offence, because it gives them the opportunity to look at themselves to determine exactly what it is with their character that makes them react to someone else's comments.

          Think about exercise: yes, it can hurt at the time, but it makes us stronger, so that we can exercise more, do more. I believe it's the same with "offensive comments". It allows the person to become stronger, to be able to stand more, and to see comments for what they are: comments, and nothing more.

          The lively, spirited, and vigorous exchange of ideas and opinions is absolutely crucial. Sure, we can all get bashed around by other posters here, but is good for the brain, and it makes us all stronger.

          So, to Kat, I offer to you a handshake of welcome, a hug of fellowship, and – just maybe – a slight pat on the bum, because I like patting women on the bum.

          April 6, 2014 at 11:08 am |
    • bostontola

      "I still believe there's some power source out there, but we all have different names for it."
      The name of the force is – The Will to Survive. Animals that had it, out competed animals with less of it. After billions of years, competi.tion drove that will to a seemingly transcendent level.

      The driving force behind all humanity should be love.
      When a person tells me what should be, I fear they have a God complex. Why should anyone think you know what should be?

      April 6, 2014 at 10:38 am |
    • jhkim6567

      I don't blame you. After all, it takes more than a brain to believe God. Often, as a matter of fact, what we know intellectually comes in the way of accepting the concept of existence of God. It takes faith, and even that He has to give, that is, if He indeed is God. Don't remove the entry. You worked for it hard. Good luck with your search. I hope that someday He will be a reality to you.

      April 6, 2014 at 12:10 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      kat, as a a recovering Catholic myself....don't consume yourself with quilt. People on here don't like the appearance of "spam" posts or people selling things through the blog. If that was not your intention just move on and join the discussion elsewhere.

      April 6, 2014 at 12:14 pm |
    • doobzz

      Kat, I am also a former Catholic and born again Christian. I went through the same experience of studying the bible for years and realizing that it was full of contradiction and false teaching. I call myself an atheist now, I don't discount that there may be a higher power(s) but do not see any evidence for it. I don't believe in the bible as anything but a story book.

      I hope you'll join in the discussions here again. People (including me) don't take well to folks who come in here and post links to their blogs or refer to their books for sale and can be very blunt about it. Likewise, discussions get heated and sometimes insults and angry words abound. You'll learn which posters are just here to be rude to the "opposition" on all sides of the debate and which really have something to say.

      I'd like to hear more of your story. Thanks for sharing and best to you in the future.

      April 6, 2014 at 12:33 pm |
    • Akira

      I can't find it anymore on Amazon, so she did take it off there.

      Let's let it go.

      April 6, 2014 at 12:55 pm |
    • faithfulwatcher

      Kat 127, it is truly unfair to judge our Almighty God by His betrayers. I was raised Catholic and then delved into other organized religions, too, but when we truly seek God, on our own, with our whole heart in utmost sincerity, He allows us to find Him; and when you do, the experience is one of absolute joy and absolute knowledge of the truth of Him. God does not lie; what He says, He fulfills. "And you will certainly call me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. And you will actually seek me and find me for you will search for me with all your heart. And I will let myself be found by you, is the utterance of Almighty God. Jeremiah 29:11-14. I certainly hope that you will do just that. You have everything to gain.

      April 6, 2014 at 2:05 pm |
      • whippstippler7

        You're right on about that. Don't judge God by his betrayers. Judge God by his actions. Like genocide. allowing and promoting slavery. and R-ape. Child abuse.

        Don't judge god by his betrayers. His betrayers never murdered an entire planet-full of people in an inescapably horrific and cruel manner. And not just the people – think of all the poor animals God killed in the flood.

        God's betrayers have nothing on God.

        April 6, 2014 at 2:19 pm |
      • doobzz

        She didn't say she left religion because of "god's betrayers". She left because she studied the bible and saw the contradictions, the impossibilities in it and the violence and bigotry displayed by the god of the bible.

        April 6, 2014 at 2:48 pm |
        • faithfulwatcher

          doobzz, Like I, this person left because of the inconsistencies and obnoxious falsehoods taught by the church administrators, then while reading the Bible (without asking God for His wisdom in the search for the truth, James 1:5), was unable to reconcile the falsehoods from the teachings of men to the word of God. One must actually study the word of God in the Bible, on their own, with a sincere and determined search for the truth in order to receive it. Beginners should always start with the teachings of Jesus Christ found at the book of John in the Bible. Jesus' teachings blow today's falsehoods right out of the water and expose them for what they are.

          April 6, 2014 at 3:17 pm |
        • doobzz

          You are making assumptions about the OP that are not true. Here is what kat said:

          "Then I really started studying the Bible and the history of it. "

          Likewise, I studied the bible for many years and found that I could no longer rationalize the inconsistencies, inaccuracies and just plain wrong things that I read there.

          Stop assuming that anyone who doesn't buy into your beliefs just hasn't read the bible "the right way".

          April 6, 2014 at 3:30 pm |
        • hotairace

          Come on doobzz! Ya gotta believe to believe!! You just have to let that alleged but never proven god into your heart. You're just not trying hard enough. It's your fault, not the fault of any alleged but never proven god.

          April 6, 2014 at 3:26 pm |
        • doobzz

          Don't you just love it when Christians assume they know your life and your experiences?

          April 6, 2014 at 3:33 pm |
        • igaftr

          faith
          "unable to reconcile the falsehoods from the teachings of men to the word of God"
          And neither can you since you have no idea if your book is the word of any "gods".
          For all you know, Satan inspired your bible, and you are following his word. Considering how much of the bible is wrong, it seems far more likely Satan inspired it, since god would not have gotten so much wrong.

          April 6, 2014 at 3:29 pm |
    • hotairace

      Any reasonable person, based on the BS of The Babble and available actual evidence (none!) would conclude that the god of The Babble is the Supreme Azzhole or more likely, non-existent. Why do people believe The Babble?

      April 6, 2014 at 2:30 pm |
  17. jeremywest333

    What do you think Jesus meant when he said, "25 But first I must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation. 26 Just as it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the days of the Son of Man. 27 They were eating and drinking and marrying and being given in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all"?

    April 6, 2014 at 10:03 am |
    • bostontola

      Why should I think Jesus ever said that?

      April 6, 2014 at 10:14 am |
    • arthurpaliden

      And Jesus spoke thus to his disciples, "Guys, you know if we do this Messiah thing right we'll never have to do any real work again for the rest of our lives". (Arthur 1-1)

      April 6, 2014 at 10:18 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      "25 But first I must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation." Said practially any cult leader ever.

      April 6, 2014 at 10:22 am |
    • MidwestKen

      Not that we know that Jesus said any of it, but it sounds like the typical 'the end is nigh' prophecy that's been wrong for 2000 years.

      April 6, 2014 at 10:30 am |
    • lewcypher

      I think that passage is one that blows the whole thing apart. If this Jesus fellow was truly a god incarnate, omnipotent and omniscient then it would have known that the whole Noah flood story was just fiction.

      April 6, 2014 at 11:10 am |
    • sam stone

      why do you accept translated, edited hearsay as the words of jesus?

      April 6, 2014 at 11:20 am |
    • MidwestKen

      @lewcypher,
      "If this Jesus fellow was truly a god incarnate, omnipotent and omniscient then it would have known that the whole Noah flood story was just fiction."

      Priceless

      April 6, 2014 at 11:28 am |
    • doobzz

      It sounds like he had a delayed adolescence. "Nobody understands me!!!"

      Or, it's just a story in a book.

      April 6, 2014 at 12:40 pm |
  18. arthurpaliden

    People who justify the Flood should be made to retrieve the bodies of children and infants after a real major flooding disaster.

    April 6, 2014 at 9:59 am |
  19. Rainer Helmut Braendlein

    "Most modern people tend to distinguish between the wrathful God of the Old Testament and the merciful God of the New Testament."

    Unquote.

    I rather believe that most modern people have no clue of the Bible. They are not interested in the issue, whether there is a difference between the God of the OT and the God of the NT. Modern people live in a world where God plays no more role. They are concerned about earning their livelihood, and taking care of their family. Young people struggle to live up to the high standards of the educational system, and have no time to contemplate about spiritual matters. The media are "faith-free". Our world has become extremly materialistic. Materialism is idolatry.

    There is no great difference between our time and Noah's time concerning the faith. Today the majority of the mankind has turned apostate from the faith in the Lord, the eternal God who has made heaven and earth. The same was the case at Noah's time. I don't know how the people justified their sin at Noah's time. Today we have plenty of cults, sects and false churches replacing practical love and righteousness in daily life (that would require the true faith) through ridiculous rituals (for example, the Muslims keep the 5 Pillars of Islam; that is enough to be a good Muslim, but they are not required to love all people independent from belief, nationality, etc.) The cults, sects and false churches make their members practicing a biased love. In contrast a true Christian practices unbiased love. The "world" is the total of all cults, sects and false churches. Though the true Christians practice unbiased love, they are hated by the world without any reason. It is very hard to live as a Christian today. We can be sure that this causes God's wrath, and we can be sure that Noah and his relatives had got a very hard life amongst their proud and brutal fellow human beings.

    St. Peter says that Noah was a preacher of righteousness. Certainly he told the people that the sacrifices of animals he offered were worthless in itself, and only valuable, if they would be considered as a reminder for the future sacrifice of the Son of God, the only sacrifice which can take away sins. Every contemporary of Noah had had the chance to escape God's wrath through faith in the future Redeemer who was pronounced by Noah. Today we can escape through faith in Jesus who lived on earth 2000 years ago, and is alive as the glorified Christ in heaven.

    Let us urgently repent, believe and get sacramentally baptized before the next divine Judgment descends upon us (I believe that that will happen soon). Jesus died and rose for us. If we believe and get sacramentally baptized we die for the sin, and enter Christ. We die and resurrect together with Jesus. Dead for the sin, and in Jesus we are able to overcome our selfish ego, and to love God and our neighbours. If we accept that view of Jesus sacrifice, it will also be an atonement for our sins. Let us present our bodies as a living sacrifice. Love of neighbour is the fulfillment of the Law of the Torah.

    April 6, 2014 at 9:54 am |
    • whippstippler7

      Rainer; can you give us one – just ONE – good reason to believe anything that you just said? I can replace "God" with "Easter Bunny" in your post, and it would carry the same authority. Sure, people can be schmucks – always have, always will. Why do we need – let alone why should we believe – in YOUR myth? There are thousands of other god-myths out there? Why believe in any, let alone yours, where your myth's scripture describes a horrific monster of a god?
      Why?

      April 6, 2014 at 10:20 am |
      • Rainer Helmut Braendlein

        "There are thousands of other god-myths out there?"

        Unquote.

        That is right, but the true Christian faith is very old. Christianity was acknowledged as legitimate religion of the civilized world through the Eastern Roman Empire yet in the 4th century when it certainly had emerged, if the Christian scriptures had been forged because the regarding events had taken place not long ago.

        Beginning with the 7th century a large part of the Christian Church (Byzantine Church) was corrupted through papacy.

        Through Luther in the 16th century parts of the Catholic Church were reformed, and became again the Christian Church (Protestant Churches, Anglican Church, etc.).

        Regretably nealry all churches which emerged through the Reformation have turned apostate today. The Christian Church has almost disappeared, and that is a strong hint that Jesus will return soon.

        By means of ecclesiastical history it is possible to prove that there was always a Christian Church with a certain clearly defined doctrine.

        Today we have the problem that many sects, cult and false churches have emerged which don't refer to ecclesiastical history but spread their own ideas. They have no roots in the Early Church.

        That is the difference between me and the sects, cults and false churches: I have my roots in the Early Church, and those base on nothing.

        April 6, 2014 at 11:08 am |
        • cramerjean

          By your logic, the Greco-Roman gods should be even more legitimate than the christian god because they predate the oldest books of the bible. So do the Norse gods.

          April 6, 2014 at 11:22 am |
        • Rainer Helmut Braendlein

          No, the civilized world or Byzantine Empire (Eastern Roman Empire) realized the validity of Christianity and the falsehood of paganism. They rejected paganism and legalized Christianity. This decision is still valid today!

          Christianity is the legitimate faith of the Western World for about 1700 years. Of course, it was the right faith yet before, but it needed some time to gain acceptance.

          April 6, 2014 at 11:29 am |
        • cramerjean

          Constantine made christianity the official religion of the Roman empire solely because certain of its teachings would help him to pacify a discontented, downtrodden population. Accepting a poor lot in this life would be rewarded in the next. This solved his problem of trying to keep order in an empire where the citizens and slaves had a myriad of different religious beliefs and practices. The Nicene council, called by the early roman christian church, selected specific christian writings for the bible that would support this pacification agenda. Any christian writings that didn't were banned. It was all politics.

          April 6, 2014 at 11:37 am |
        • Rainer Helmut Braendlein

          No, actually Christianity spread despite severe persecution by the Roman Empire. Seemingly, the Roman Empire had to bend down before God's power.

          On the Nicine Council Constantine kissed bishops who still had scars of the last persecution.

          April 6, 2014 at 11:45 am |
        • cramerjean

          If you believe the successful spread of a religion is the test of its authenticity, then you must be Muslim. Islam is currently the fastest growing religion in the modern.

          April 6, 2014 at 11:55 am |
        • Rainer Helmut Braendlein

          Islam was spread with the sword. Mohammed was a killer. You can spread every idiocy worldwide through using violence. In contrast, Christianity spread despite it was persecuted with the sword. Ain't that a difference.

          The Church did not fight back, was very peaceful, but grew nevertheless.

          I guess that I exaggerate only a little when I claim that save Mohammed never ever somebody had believed in Allah, if Mohammed had not forced people through his sword.

          Islam is the worst idiocy of all times. Forget that crap.

          April 6, 2014 at 12:05 pm |
        • cramerjean

          Christianity also spread through violence so your argument doesn't hold up. Christianity was responsible for the Crusades and the inquisition. If one truly believes that people are only saved through one's version of god, then wouldn't any action, no matter how violent, be justified in "saving" those people? That's the argument that has been used for millennia by all religions, including christianity.

          April 6, 2014 at 12:11 pm |
        • Rainer Helmut Braendlein

          Catholicism has been spread through violence, but genuine Christianity has not been spread by violence.

          There is no great difference concerning the lousy character between the wicked popes and Muhammad and his successors (the Caliphs).

          The pope is the Western forerunner of the Antichrist, and Muhammad or the caliphs the Eastern forerunner of the Antichrist.

          The genuine Christian faith is spread through unbiased love. A real Christian practices the Sermon on the Mount. That is the mystery of the success of the true faith.

          April 6, 2014 at 12:25 pm |
        • cramerjean

          Ok, so you are going to pick and choose what ideas you want to believe and what ones you don't. If you can, so can everyone else. Just recognize that everyone else is just as sure of their position as you are of yours.

          April 6, 2014 at 12:33 pm |
        • Rainer Helmut Braendlein

          Of course, but I have my roots in the historical Early Church.

          My faith did not burst into history, but it was yet the faith of Abel (the brother of Cain), it is the faith which is deeply ingrained in the history of God's people.

          April 6, 2014 at 12:44 pm |
        • cramerjean

          You bring up another issue that I have always had trouble with during my very christian upbringing. What's up with there being "god's people?" If he created the earth and everyone in it, why doesn't everyone qualify as "god's people?" Why didn't he speak to everyone from the beginning in ways they could each understand and accept? If he didn't, that seems to me to be on him.

          April 6, 2014 at 12:51 pm |
        • Rainer Helmut Braendlein

          Every house has an entry door. That is very normal. Also the Kingdom of God has an entry door. We shouldn't blame God for such an ordinary thing.

          The entry door to the Kingdom of God is the rebirth through Water and Spirit or sacramental baptism.

          Everybody who repents, and accepts the gospel of Jesus as true can be baptized, is allowed to enter the Kingdom of God.

          Come in!

          Inside you will understand much more than outside.

          Yet Abel knew of the coming Redeemer, the lamb of God, who would sacrifice himself for the whole mankind, otherwise Abel had not sacrificed lambs.

          The lambs were only a reminder of the lamb Jesus.

          April 6, 2014 at 1:01 pm |
        • cramerjean

          And I should believe this just because you and the author's of a book tell me to? Why should I believe you over someone of Jewish faith who is just as confident in their beliefs as you are. Or someone who is Buddhist or Hindu? Give me something empirical and I'll listen.

          April 6, 2014 at 1:16 pm |
        • sam stone

          hinduism is older than christianity, rainy. why are you not bloviating about that?

          April 6, 2014 at 11:24 am |
        • sam stone

          here we go again with the "i'm right and everyone else is wrong" drivel from our own Belief Blog fuhrer. can you be any more pompous? why are you not rushing off to be in heaven? you can have your head bobbing up and down in jeebus's lap in no time. you are a coward.

          April 6, 2014 at 11:30 am |
    • adamjread

      Rainer,

      One of the biggest issues is that the God of the Bible lives by a different moral code than the one he tells his followers to. Stories such as the Flood, Sodom and Gamorrah (in Genesis) and the Lake of Fire (in Revelations) mimic our modern understanding of terrorism as has been noted here by others many times. We have even gone so far as to artistically euphemize this event as the story of a floating zoo and painted murals of this over the cribs of our infants.

      Would this not be tantamount to any other people, such as the Nazi's in WWII, creating "Precious Moments"-style cartoons and painting them in their own nurseries? And what happens, Ranier, when we begin to discuss the importance of leaders setting the example for their followers such as discussed about pastors in James 3:1? I was taught growing up in the church that if you say one thing and then do another, that is the basic definition of hypocrisy. Yet if I bring this up with the church, it is met with a strong defense.

      My concern, Rainer, is that the affection and defense of this literary deity is beginning to look a great deal like what modern psychologist refer to as the Stockholm Syndrome. It's where some of those that are captured and held hostage by someone eventually begin to shift allegiance and bond with their captor. But it's very much a time-delayed response, and those that are welcomed into the church through family related activities and such are not even aware that it is happening. In fact, the leaders themselves have no idea that it has happened.

      But look what happened when we came over from England to the Americas...Was our arrival here part of a missionary endeavor to bring the gospel with the "shoes of peace" (Ephesians 6) and spread the love of this merciful God or was that methodology and mindset set aside because we simply wanted a place to create and expand our own kingdom just as God does in the Bible? The warm, Christian smiles were set aside at that point, and the time-delayed effect of our own indoctrination came into play: We dropped the guise of warm, friendly God-the-Son and reverted back to God-the-Father who looks at the entire world as described in Psalm 50:10 and says, "Everything I see is MINE."

      And this is the confusion that even Congress has, as we don't understand the Father/Son conflict between the two version of "God" in the Bible. The Republicans have clearly bonded to the Psalm 50:10 Father while the Democrats have notably bonded to the character of the Son. Aren't miraculous healings and feeding the 5000 comparable to affordable healthcare and handouts to the poor?

      This goes very deep.

      April 6, 2014 at 2:27 pm |
  20. sameeker

    What's with the wordpress garbage? Never had a problem commenting her until it all popped up here yesterday.

    April 6, 2014 at 9:26 am |
    • TruthPrevails1

      It has been a few months now and it was done after pages upon pages of comments went missing due to someone hitting the report abuse link on posts.

      April 6, 2014 at 9:54 am |
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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.