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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. Mr. T

    Watch Bob get excited hearing his favorite passages from Leviticus.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=5falw1KpSTc

    April 7, 2014 at 5:04 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      this video is fail.

      April 7, 2014 at 5:19 pm |
  2. Bootyfunk

    god drowned babies. babies can NEVER be evil sinners. babies are innocent. the author of this article is making excuses for the christian/hebrew god to murder children. only a monster can fill a child's lungs with water and call it divine justice. and only a brainwashed follower could follow such a disgusting deity. there are numerous examples of infanticide and child killing in the bible, either by god himself or commanded by him.

    like when God's prophet was made fun of by some children because he was bald, so God sends 2 bears to kill the offending children:

    2 Kings 2
    2:23 And he went up from thence unto Bethel: and as he was going up by the way, there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him, and said unto him, Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head.
    2:24 And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the LORD. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them.

    seriously, imagine your own child dead in a field, torn apart by bears sent by God. imagine the horror and carnage. how can anyone call the christian god a 'loving' god, a god of 'peace' when he murders children? all because they made fun of someone? really?
    the christian/hebrew god is disgusting.

    April 7, 2014 at 4:43 pm |
    • Choir Loft

      Babies are sinners too. As soon as they can do so they lie, steal and con their own way. A parent's biggest challenge is teaching the child to restrict such behavior – and then they get old enough to put on a uniform and committ murder in the name of patriotism.

      Sin is all the same, no matter the age. But the gift of God is salvation in the name of Jesus Christ. No other.

      and that's just me, hollering from the choir loft...

      April 7, 2014 at 4:58 pm |
      • observer

        Choir Loft

        "Babies are sinners too. As soon as they can do so they lie, steal and con their own way."

        Speak for your own family. Don't assume all babies were like those in yours.

        By the way, what does a lie in baby talk sound like?

        April 7, 2014 at 5:01 pm |
      • ausphor

        Babies like boobs, the boys never seem to grow out of it and some of the girls, oh well. Freedom to love who you want is an anti Christian trait. Of course they claim to love everyone they haven't yet slaughtered, go figure.

        April 7, 2014 at 5:04 pm |
      • Alias

        So what about teh ones who were too young to skeak or walk?
        They still deserved to die and go to hell in your enlightened opinion?

        April 7, 2014 at 5:08 pm |
      • Bootyfunk

        "Babies are sinners too. As soon as they can do so they lie, steal and con their own way."
        +++ something is wrong with you. seriously, seek help. you believe that a week old baby can "lie, steal and con"? you are dangerously deranged. it's obvious you are in a cult because what you're saying is religious lunacy. babies are sinners? you need help.

        April 7, 2014 at 5:11 pm |
    • observer

      Forty-two children ripped up. Apparently not as big deal in the Bible as God picking on gays.

      April 7, 2014 at 4:59 pm |
    • transframer

      I would start by saying they were not exactly children. The translation is wrong, the Hebrew word is usually used to denote young, unmarried men who can be up to 30 years old

      April 7, 2014 at 6:18 pm |
      • observer

        transframer,

        Your attempted EXCUSE for the Bible doesn't make God look any better for what happened.

        April 7, 2014 at 6:20 pm |
        • transframer

          It's not an excuse. I'm just trying to explain what happened.

          April 7, 2014 at 6:22 pm |
        • MidwestKen

          @tranframer1,
          While the word for children may allow for older males, doesn't the qualifier 'little', qatan, imply actual children?

          April 7, 2014 at 6:38 pm |
  3. Bootyfunk

    ♰ ♰ ♰ There is no such thing as God ♰ ♰ ♰

    My daily affirmation, I would like to share with my atheist brothers and sisters on this seventh day of April of 2014.

    April 7, 2014 at 4:36 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      rAmen brother bootyfunk

      April 7, 2014 at 4:43 pm |
      • ausphor

        Cheese
        As a modern Deist, I too am grateful for you affirmation.
        RAmen

        April 7, 2014 at 4:52 pm |
    • kudlak

      Bootyfunk
      Technically, we can't say that we know there is no God, correct? All we can say to the millions like Vic is that almost everyone use to feel just as strongly that The Earth is Flat! Just saying something doesn't make it so.

      April 7, 2014 at 4:53 pm |
      • Bootyfunk

        "Bootyfunk
        Technically, we can't say that we know there is no God, correct? All we can say to the millions like Vic is that almost everyone use to feel just as strongly that The Earth is Flat! Just saying something doesn't make it so."

        no, technically we can't say there is no god, just as we can't say my left nut is not god. but when you look at the evidence (or lack there of), the chance of a god (or that my left nut is god) is so miniscule that it's not worth considering. people may have felt the earth was flat, but had no proof to back it up. btw, the same bible that says god exists also says the earth is flat.

        and remember, just saying my left nut isn't god doesn't make it so...

        April 7, 2014 at 5:16 pm |
        • justpro86

          Science and everything around us proves there is a God...

          April 7, 2014 at 5:36 pm |
        • whippstippler7

          @ Justpro – if, as you state, "science and everything around us" proves there is a god, how does "science and everything" prove that it's the Abrahamic god of the bible? Why not the Flying Spaghetti Monster? The FSM is eternal, omniscient, and omnipotent.

          April 7, 2014 at 6:34 pm |
        • hotairace

          justpro86, are you claiming that you have evidence that would stand up to the scientific method? If yes, please provide.

          April 7, 2014 at 6:45 pm |
        • kudlak

          Bootyfunk
          Yup, the odds speak against God being any more real than Zeus, Ra, or any of the others. Nobody ever proved that any god wasn't real, but that hasn't stopped people from losing their faith in almost all of them.

          April 7, 2014 at 6:51 pm |
    • samsstones

      Your daily affirmation you are a fvcking idiot, thanks for playing.
      Me too, had to post twice missed the reply button.

      April 7, 2014 at 5:34 pm |
      • Bootyfunk

        you sound uptight.
        chill.

        April 7, 2014 at 6:45 pm |
  4. Vic

    ♰ ♰ ♰ Jesus Christ Is Lord ♰ ♰ ♰

    My daily praise, I would like to share with my Christian brothers and sisters on this seventh day of April of 2014.

    April 7, 2014 at 3:33 pm |
    • whippstippler7

      Woo woo! Thanks, Vic.

      And on this day, I give praise to the King. Elvis Presley. Another dead guy.

      April 7, 2014 at 3:42 pm |
    • zendraxus

      That may be ....but in a feudal system the Lords bow to a King- Kings bow to an Emperor .......

      and he is brought low by the minister of finance.

      Gritting my teeth just saying it- here it goes: All Hail the Federal Reserve!

      April 7, 2014 at 3:49 pm |
    • timetravelerfrom2121

      OH Lordy Lordy! Thank you ever so much, your highness lord, for granting your inferior creation eternal life forever upon our death. It's a wonderful clever way to never have to prove anything, "just die and you'll see"....but make sure you give plenty of your gold to the Priests...for they inform God upon your death that you have paid your monetary dues on earth as a Christian and then ~*boom*~ eternal life. Forget alchemist, forget the fountain of youth, just give priests your money, leave your little boys alone with them and then die and POOF you will live forever my brothers and sisters.
      Just as the bible predicted thousands of years ago. I'm so glad he loves white Christians in the early 21st century, they ARE the most worthy of followers.

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

      Vic
      You just can't stop yourself and here I thought a relationship with jesus would be a personal one, wrong again, you for one have to flaunt it to show how special you are. In the firm where I worked the only time I was ever aware of anyone's religion was to go to a wedding or an unfortunate funeral, it did not matter one bit. You fly some sort of flag, look at me I am special. Yes I know it is a belief blog but you are the only poster that comes out with this crap since, Atheism is.... disappeared.

      April 7, 2014 at 4:27 pm |
    • ausphor

      Jesus Christ is Lord of the Myths

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

      We can say – amen to that!!

      April 7, 2014 at 4:39 pm |
  5. neverbeenhappieratheist

    When God plays the villian, the Devil plays the violin...or was it a fiddle...?

    April 7, 2014 at 2:12 pm |
    • Akira

      Well, there was that incident in Georgia...

      April 7, 2014 at 2:31 pm |
      • whippstippler7

        Tell us more ...

        April 7, 2014 at 3:42 pm |
        • lunchbreaker

          The Devil went down to Georgia. He was lookin' for a soul to steal. He was in a bind 'cause he was way behind. He was willing to make a deal When he came across this young man sawin' on a fiddle and playin' it hot.And the Devil jumped upon a hickory stump and said "Boy, let me tell you what." "I bet you didn't know it, but I'm a fiddle player, too. And if you'd care to take a dare I'll make a bet with you. Now you play a pretty good fiddle, boy, but give the Devil his due. I'll bet a fiddle of gold against your soul 'cause I think I'm better than you."The boy said, "My name's Johnny, and it might be a sin, But I'll take your bet; and you're gonna regret 'cause I'm the best there's ever been.

          April 7, 2014 at 4:03 pm |
        • Akira

          You got it...

          April 7, 2014 at 4:25 pm |
        • kudlak

          Considering that segregated senior proms are only now disappearing in Georgia, maybe the Devil never really left?

          April 7, 2014 at 4:42 pm |
        • Bootyfunk

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K6RUg-NkjY4&feature=kp

          April 7, 2014 at 4:45 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      There is just too much sax and violins in the world...

      April 7, 2014 at 3:48 pm |
      • Akira

        Ba dum dum! Ching!

        April 7, 2014 at 4:27 pm |
      • ausphor

        Blasphemy
        Johnny Hodges and John Coltrane gods in their own right.

        April 7, 2014 at 5:00 pm |
  6. justpro86

    How can we tell a mans written book... to a book written by man through Gods infinite wisdom... Simple:
    For the age in which it was written, the Bible makes some rather surprising claims regarding the nature of the universe and how it was created. For example, the Bible says that time was created by God when He created the universe.19 Stephen Hawking, George Ellis, and Roger Penrose extended the equations for general relativity to include space and time, demonstrating that time began at the formation of the universe.20 Of course, the biggest coup of the Bible was to declare that the universe had a beginning21 through an expanding universe model.22 The New Testament even declares that the visible creation was made from what was not visible and that dimensions of length, width and height were created by God.23 In addition, the Bible refuted steady-state theory (saying that the creation of matter and energy has ended)24 long before science made that determination. The Bible also states that the universe is subject to decay and will wear out.25 The existence of the second law of thermodynamics, coupled with recent discoveries indicating that the universe is expanding at an increasing rate, with an insufficient amount of matter to stop that contraction, guarantees that the Bible is correct on this claim, also.

    Besides these stunning revelations about the nature of the universe, the Bible describes several properties of the earth that were not confirmed by science until hundreds of years after the Bible first made the claim. Examples include the claim that air has weight,26 the existence of valleys27 and vents28 on the bottom of the sea, ocean currents,29 and the fact that winds blow in circular paths.30 These are remarkable claims that could not have been directly observed by a bunch on nomadic sheep herders. Where did this information come from?

    April 7, 2014 at 2:10 pm |
    • lunchbreaker

      Ancient aliens?

      April 7, 2014 at 2:16 pm |
    • Akira

      You do know when you c/ p someone else 'a work without crediting them, it's STEALING.
      My goodness.

      April 7, 2014 at 2:17 pm |
      • justpro86

        I am not stealing anything.... I am not making a profit or getting recognition for the work... Just blogging and providing valuable information that could bring some light to the majority viewing these blogs...

        April 7, 2014 at 2:30 pm |
        • Akira

          You are c/ p other people's work. Justifying it by calling it "blogging" is disingenuous. While you're c/p, copy the name of the person who wrote it.

          Doing otherwise is deceitful.

          April 7, 2014 at 2:37 pm |
        • justpro86

          My references are too large for here...

          April 7, 2014 at 2:42 pm |
        • Akira

          You c/p. You can easily copy where the reference is from.
          You are stealing. Stop plagiarizing.

          April 7, 2014 at 3:20 pm |
    • mopizzle11

      Were you born a rambling man or did that develop later on?

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

      "Where did this information come from?"

      you are correct in asking this question. Much of it COULD be observed, much is interpretation that is what it says, but NOTHING incicating any gods.

      Asking the question is good. Answering it with baseless assertions is not.

      Why do so many believers go from we don't know to goddidit.?

      April 7, 2014 at 2:20 pm |
      • justpro86

        Atheists say they have the answer to why there is something rather than nothing—the nothing created it! However, their explanation takes science and turns it on its head—performing miracles of creation through unknown physics or mechanisms that are extremely unlikely to occur. The simplest explanation for the existence of all the something we see is that an extremely intelligent being, God, willed it to happen for His own purposes, and left evidence of that purpose in the nature of His creation and His communication with the creatures He created. The important things in life are not derived from the stuff we can see, but from the One who created it.

        The heavens declare His righteousness, And all the peoples have seen His glory. (Psalms 97:6)

        April 7, 2014 at 2:25 pm |
        • lunchbreaker

          Nice strawman. It would get better use sitting in a field protecting corn. Maybe ask an atheist what they believe before you make as/ses of everyone.

          April 7, 2014 at 2:31 pm |
        • Akira

          You just stole again. Thief.
          You want to have your position taken seriously? Stop stealing.
          You appear to be a lying Christian.

          April 7, 2014 at 3:24 pm |
        • kudlak

          justpro86
          Meanwhile, every ancient people could look up at the sky and see evidence for their gods, ... different gods. I really don't see how you can pull one aside and call all the others "myth".

          April 7, 2014 at 4:37 pm |
        • observer

          justpro86

          "However, their explanation takes science and turns it on its head"

          Interesting comment from someone supporting a book with the Noah's ark science fiction story and the premise that ALL laws of science/physics/etc. are OPTIONAL.

          April 7, 2014 at 4:41 pm |
    • otoh2

      justpro,

      Every one of your (copied/pasted) assertions has been thoroughly debunked.

      I'm certainly not going to spend time here going over each one for you, but here's just a sample of the one about the seas:

      Just sticking to the Paths of the Seas one for now – David ruled (and perhaps wrote Psalms) around 1000 BC. Ancient seafaring goes back thousands of years before that with the Greeks (3000 BC), the Mycenaeans (2000 BC, the Minoans (2500 BC, the Phoenicians (1500 BC) and many others in the area and in other places around the Earth.

      It has been proven that the Phoenicians and the Greeks were expert seafarers. The captain knew every coastline, every wind and every current in the sea and could navigate on the sun and the stars. http://www.tharros.info/ViewText.php?id=1300&lng=en, and http://history-world.org/aegean_civilization.htm

      Jerusalem, where David lived, is only about 30 miles from the Mediterranean SEA, which, wonder of wonders, has currents (paths) and was well-travelled back in those days. Even if David didn't make that *impossible* journey to the sea, he was the freakin' King, for crying out loud, and he had access to information from people all over the place.

      There was NOTHING eerie, supernatural or at all unusual that David could have known these things about the sea.

      April 7, 2014 at 2:22 pm |
      • justpro86

        Sure there is

        April 7, 2014 at 2:30 pm |
        • whippstippler7

          No there isn't.

          Yes there is.

          isn't.

          Is.

          But that's not an argument.

          ......

          Yes it is.

          April 7, 2014 at 3:45 pm |
        • Akira

          Oh look, this isn't an argument.

          Yes it is.

          No it isn't. It's just contradiction.

          No it isn't.

          It is!

          It is not.

          Look, you just contradicted me.

          I did not.

          Oh you did!!

          No, no, no.

          You did just then.

          Nonsense!

          Oh, this is futile!

          No it isn't.

          Love Pythonian arguing...lol. Thanks.

          April 7, 2014 at 4:36 pm |
    • G to the T

      Ok – let's break this down a bit:

      1) "For example, the Bible says that time was created by God when He created the universe." No, it doesn't. It says "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth". If you are trying to say "in the beginning" means god created time than other mythologies that begin similarly must be given equal weight.

      2) As you are disingenous in your quoting and in your arguments, I think that's enough.

      Every one of these claims requires some fairly heavy lifting from the words used, and while you may be able to rationalize what you think they relate too, they are specious comparisons at best.

      April 7, 2014 at 2:26 pm |
      • justpro86

        What is time? Its a man made thing... With God there is no such thing as time... He never explains the creation of time yes however its common sense to know that time began at the beginning of the universe not hard to understand this...

        April 7, 2014 at 2:34 pm |
        • joey3467

          So is time a man made thing or was it created by god? You seem to be claiming both.

          April 7, 2014 at 2:42 pm |
        • justpro86

          The time that is on our watches and the calender was man made.. Besides God does not follow our time which is why I believe in Old earth creation rather young earth creation... So yes I do agree our universe could be billions of years old...

          April 7, 2014 at 2:48 pm |
        • joey3467

          I have often wondered why one would remain a Christian and not believe in a literal Adam and Eve considering it is their original sin which creates the need for Jesus to be sacrificed.

          April 7, 2014 at 3:34 pm |
        • kudlak

          If God experiences time like everyone else then he can't know the future.

          April 7, 2014 at 3:43 pm |
    • Akira

      Justpro proves he is a thieving liar.
      Thus breaking a couple of Commandments God gave...in order to convince people that god exists.

      Anyone see the hypocrisy in this?

      April 7, 2014 at 2:35 pm |
      • justpro86

        LOL now you are making me laugh LMAO

        April 7, 2014 at 2:46 pm |
        • bostontola

          Since LMAO is not a counter-argument, I must conclude you can't argue against the assertion.

          April 7, 2014 at 3:16 pm |
        • Akira

          He cannot. He is stealing other people's work, and when caught, he laughs.

          And continues the lying, thieving behavior.

          April 7, 2014 at 3:26 pm |
    • kudlak

      Frankly, I was way more impressed with the claims about the Mayan calendar back around 2012.

      April 7, 2014 at 3:33 pm |
    • kudlak

      justpro86 The ability to decide upon an action and them do it both require time, correct? So, if time began at the beginning of the universe, how did God have time to make the universe, or even decide that he was lonely and wanted some worshipers?

      April 7, 2014 at 3:49 pm |
      • justpro86

        If God created time as part of his creation of the universe, then it is important whether or not the universe had a beginning at all. Although it might seem strange to think that God could create the universe even if the universe had no beginning, it would not be strange to philosophers such as Thomas Aquinas. Working within the Aristotelean framework, he considered an everlasting universe to be a very real possibility. He argued (in his third way) that even a universe with an infinite past would need to depend upon God for its existence. In his view, even if time had no beginning, it was contingent. God sustains the universe, and time itself, in existence at each moment that it exists.

        The majority position today is that the universe did have a beginning. What most people mean by this claim is that the physical universe began. It is an open question for many whether time had a beginning or whether the past is infinite. If the past is infinite, then it is metaphysical time and not physical time that is everlasting. Arguments such as the Kalam Cosmological Argument aim to show that it is not possible that the past is infinite (Craig and Smith, 1993; Craig 2001b). Suppose time came into existence with the universe so that the universe has only a finite past. This means that physical time was created by God. It may be the case that metaphysical time is infinite or that God created “pure duration” (metaphysical time) also. In the latter case, God had to be timeless. God created both physical and metaphysical time and God existed entirely without time. God, then, had to be timeless. Unless God became temporal at some point, God remains timeless.

        April 7, 2014 at 5:18 pm |
        • fintronics

          " This means that physical time was created by God."

          What this means is you make ridiculous unfounded asumptions based on you imagination.

          April 8, 2014 at 12:19 pm |
      • kudlak

        justpro86
        The possible infinite quality of time is not something that can just be debated into solution as the Kalam argument would like to. As with many things about the universe, the truth often turns out to be stranger than any of our presumptions.

        Besides, the Kalam argument breaks down the moment it demands special pleading for a creator being, therefore it can never be characterized as a "logical" argument proving anything.

        April 7, 2014 at 7:02 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      When you focus on the perceived hits and ignore the misses it is called confirmation bias.

      April 7, 2014 at 3:55 pm |
  7. bostontola

    1. God is omniscient, and omnipotent.
    2. God of the OT and NT have very different characters.
    3. The bibles describe God as learning and changing.
    4. The bible have multiple stories where god has to fix/update his creation.

    If 1 is true, how can 2, 3, and 4 be true? I would appreciate something more substantial than we can't understand God.

    April 7, 2014 at 1:46 pm |
    • neverbeenhappieratheist

      How exactly can an omniscient and omnipotent being "regret" something?

      "6 The Lord regretted making human beings on the earth, and he was heartbroken. 7 So the Lord said, “I will wipe off of the land the human race that I’ve created: from human beings to livestock to the crawling things to the birds in the skies, because I regret I ever made them.” Gen 6:6,7

      April 7, 2014 at 2:03 pm |
    • Rynomite

      Exactly.

      "I would appreciate something more substantial than we can't understand God."

      Good luck with that. One of the inherent hypocrisies of the Abrahamic religions is that when an inconsistency in their scriptures cannot be answered they resort to "can't understand or know the mind of god." YET they frequently do JUST THAT VERY THING as they interpret their scriptures for their own purposes.

      April 7, 2014 at 2:06 pm |
      • bchev

        Just because you can't understad "Him", doesn't mean they don't know what "He" dislikes.

        April 7, 2014 at 2:10 pm |
        • Akira

          Using the excuse that people are too stupid to understand Him is rather weird, given that we are supposed to live by His book.

          April 7, 2014 at 2:19 pm |
        • G to the T

          "Just because you can't understad "Him", doesn't mean they don't know what "He" dislikes."

          Can't understand = don't know (for all pratical purposes) so you just proved the point.

          April 7, 2014 at 2:27 pm |
        • bchev

          I feel the need to point out that my comment should have been written in sarcasm font (if that existed, and it really really should). I think the fact that people will say that the Bible is the roadmap to life and we cannot understand "God", in pretty much the same breath, have a stunning and crippling inability to identify contradictions. If it wasn't entertaining I would start a charity to try and help find a cure.

          April 7, 2014 at 2:40 pm |
        • Akira

          Sorry... My response would have been better suited to amentogodonly, who I was reading prior to your post.

          April 7, 2014 at 4:43 pm |
    • mopizzle11

      From a Judaic perspective, the Torah is written in a way that speaks to a much more primitive people. Civilization was in it's early stages when it was given.
      God doesn't learn or change. That is just how we would perceive Him.

      April 7, 2014 at 2:17 pm |
      • bostontola

        You don't think God learned anything that drove him to destroy almost all life on earth? In that case, God knew mankind would falter and have to be destroyed? Why not create man so the greta flood wasn't necessary?

        April 7, 2014 at 2:34 pm |
      • kudlak

        mopizzle11
        If the people were so primitive why assume that God isn't just a primitive belief?

        April 7, 2014 at 5:14 pm |
  8. Rynomite

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

    The article like the Abrahamic religions fails at the first sentence. An omni does not change.

    April 7, 2014 at 1:15 pm |
  9. leavenwoman

    This article presents a terrible, albeit popular, distortion of the God of Israel. We need to move beyond this stereotype and articles like this do not help. I speak as a PhD theologian and minister.

    April 7, 2014 at 1:04 pm |
    • igaftr

      You say phd and theologan as if that carries any weight. You still cannot show any gods exist, or that your bible is anything but the works of men.
      You cannot claim authority on something that cannot be shown to exist.

      April 7, 2014 at 1:11 pm |
      • amen2godonly

        The most apparent flaw to your logic that no evidence of God exists is: You presume to think "man" has the capacity to understand the evidence of God's existence. Just because man is able to split the atom in half and go to the moon, swim in water when man is made for land (boats), travel faster on land (car, train) than walking, and fly when man naturally does not fly (plane) – all that is not enough to establish that man has the capacity to understand the evidence of God's existence. Only "gods" could understand such evidence and since "man" is not immortal, then "humanity" are not Gods therefore could never have the capacity to understand any evidence of the existence of a "God."

        April 7, 2014 at 1:21 pm |
        • hotairace

          Without meaning to exclude women, that is nothing but man made mumbo jumbo intended to allow a man made, alleged but never proven, god to hide from rational men.

          April 7, 2014 at 1:26 pm |
        • amen2godonly

          Of course, not to exclude women – but the true "mumbo jumbo" to use your phrase is "man thinking "he is all that" when he is not. If the chaotic world today is the product of the so-called "Rational men" – again to use your phrase – then heaven truly help us. What you see today in the world clearly is not a sign of "rational men."

          April 7, 2014 at 1:40 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          Are Leprechauns immortal? I only ask because it would seem you are saying that due to the nature of God we have no way to test for or verify the existence of the spirit realm, thus you have assigned those unknowable spirits superpowers the likes of which might be better found on the pages on a comic book or in ancient fairy tales. Will God give us our children back that he murders in the womb (approxamately 70% of all conceptions end in miscarriage) if we can guess his name correctly? God? Jesus? Yahweh? Allah? Rumpelstiltskin? If it is impossible to have some empirical proof of the right spirit or the right spirit realm then they are all just as valid as any other unprovable premise.

          April 7, 2014 at 1:32 pm |
        • whippstippler7

          What's stopping god from revealing himself to modern people? He did so in the bible, with some regularity. Why can't god just show up, instantaneously, to every man, woman, and child in the world? Why can't god demonstrate his power, for example, by suddenly making all nuclear weapons disappear?

          Hint: he can't, because he doesn't exist

          April 7, 2014 at 1:33 pm |
        • igaftr

          2
          "The most apparent flaw to your logic that no evidence of God exists is:"

          And then you present false baseless premises as if that somehow showed any gods. Yours is an excuse...nothing more. Something believers tell themselves when reality hits them in the face. There is still no evidence of any gods.

          April 7, 2014 at 1:45 pm |
        • amen2godonly

          When you re-read my comment you wil then realize that is it not a baseless fact that man does not have the capabilites to understand any evidence of God's existence because if "man" cannot even understand the Universe as yet (today man cant answer what really is the "Big Bang" and more importanly are there more "Big Bang" events to follow and if so what will happen to this Universe when it does) than how can man even understand God?

          April 7, 2014 at 2:04 pm |
        • igaftr

          2
          As far as any can show, god is imaginary, so if you imagine your god cannot be understood, fine.
          The bible is far too flawed for it to have been any gods, yet you choose to believe not only in "god" but YOUR specific god...what about all of the other gods that the myth in your bible shows your god acknowledging.
          It is 100% baseless. There are no signs of gods, and your saying we cannot comprehend is just another cop out.

          April 7, 2014 at 2:33 pm |
        • whippstippler7

          @ men: I'll ask it again: since your god is omnipotent, what's stopping your god from revealing himself to humanity, in a way that is clear and unequivocal? If a being can create an entire universe, surely that being can come up with a way of amazing the yokels, right? So clearly there is no reason why your god can't show himself.

          And let me guess – he ISN'T showing himself because he wants people to have faith in him. right. Create a species with giant, powerful brains, capable of amazing feats of intelligence, and then completely ignore those big brains and demand "faith".

          What a load of crap.

          April 7, 2014 at 2:36 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          "man cant answer what really is the "Big Bang" and more importanly are there more "Big Bang" events to follow"

          Let's put this in terms CSI fans might understand.

          "we can't answer what really caused the "blood splatter" and more importanly are there more "blood splatter" events to follow?"

          It is true, we are still investigating what caused the big bang, and we don't know if another big bang may be in our future, but just like a CSI and a blood splattered wall, the evidence is there and we need to follow it, not start inventing scenarios as to how it might have been the butler or the husband or the wife did it when there is no physical evidence to indicate thus.

          April 7, 2014 at 2:39 pm |
      • justpro86

        Same as Atheists not able to prove there is no god. However the laws of physics do....The laws of physics must have values very close to those observed or the universe does not work "well enough" to support life. What happens when we vary the constants? The strong nuclear force (which holds atoms together) has a value such that when the two hydrogen atoms fuse, 0.7% of the mass is converted into energy. If the value were 0.6% then a proton could not bond to a neutron, and the universe would consist only of hydrogen. If the value were 0.8%, then fusion would happen so readily that no hydrogen would have survived from the Big Bang. Other constants must be fine-tuned to an even more stringent degree. The cosmic microwave background varies by one part in 100,000. If this factor were slightly smaller, the universe would exist only as a collection of diffuse gas, since no stars or galaxies could ever form. If this factor were slightly larger, the universe would consist solely of large black holes. Likewise, the ratio of electrons to protons cannot vary by more than 1 part in 1037 or else electromagnetic interactions would prevent chemical reactions. In addition, if the ratio of the electromagnetic force constant to the gravitational constant were greater by more than 1 part in 1040, then electromagnetism would dominate gravity, preventing the formation of stars and galaxies. If the expansion rate of universe were 1 part in 1055 less than what it is, then the universe would have already collapsed. The most recently discovered physical law, the cosmological constant or dark energy, is the closest to zero of all the physical constants. In fact, a change of only 1 part in 10120 would completely negate the effect. The physical constants required to produce carbon and oxygen in stars is also narrowly fine tuned. A value for Hoyle state 2% higher than the measured value would prevent the formation of carbon.5 A value 2% lower than the measured value would produce lots of carbon, but no oxygen.5 Both are essential atoms for life.

        So really think about it... How would us just happening on accident create such perfect laws of physics for life to work? The proof lies in the Laws of physics of life which a super-intelligent deity would be required to have to create to produce life.

        April 7, 2014 at 1:22 pm |
        • igaftr

          "Same as Atheists not able to prove there is no god. However the laws of physics do...." (pretty sure you misspoke on that)
          The laws of physics do not indicate one way or another the existance or non-existance of any "gods". The rest of your post is moot, since your math does not take everything into account, and still there is no conclusion about any gods. The laws of physics have nothing to do with any gods.
          Stop being ridiculous.

          April 7, 2014 at 1:39 pm |
        • justpro86

          Your being ridiculous for assuming my math is wrong when it is actually correct... In order for things to be correct like life itself the numbers have to be exact on point off and everything crumbles. Surly one cannot be that ignorant to take that into account and surly there is no chance of us just happening on accident based on chance. The universe cannot be without a creator I am sorry your logic fails.

          April 7, 2014 at 1:54 pm |
        • whippstippler7

          It's improbable. So what? Does the fact that I have a 1 in 100,000,000 chance of winning a lottery – extremely improbable – mean that god produced the winning numbers for me? Of course not. The universe isn't finely tuned for life. Hell, most of planet Earth isn't tuned for human life. Why isn't THAT evidence that there ISN'T a god?
          It's the same type of evidence you're relying on.

          April 7, 2014 at 1:40 pm |
        • justpro86

          Thats where your wrong... If the earth was not finely tuned for life than life would not be..

          April 7, 2014 at 1:55 pm |
        • igaftr

          justp
          "So really think about it... How would us just happening on accident create such perfect laws of physics for life to work? The proof lies in the Laws of physics of life which a super-intelligent deity would be required to have to create to produce life"

          the laws were not created perfectly for life to exist...you have it backwards. Life evolves to meet the conditions. The conditions are not set up for life, life grows to meet the energies available, and conforms to the laws of physics.

          April 7, 2014 at 1:42 pm |
        • justpro86

          If it were not than how are we here... Surely not by accident... Your logic once again fails

          April 7, 2014 at 1:56 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          That is a long argument from ignorance. Nature has many examples of things that have the appearance of an intelligence designing them...that were not actually designed by an intelligence.

          April 7, 2014 at 1:43 pm |
        • justpro86

          Everything was designed by an intelligence for if not hard by accident.... I cannot accidently drop my cup of coffee and something is created out of nothing

          April 7, 2014 at 1:57 pm |
        • fintronics

          "Evolution says that everything in the universe came from nothing."
          This is a common misconception that creationists, sadly, have yet to stop promoting. All the theory of evolution says is that life forms adapt to changes in the environment over time; that there are global changes in the gene pool of a given population of animals over time. Evolution doesn't deal with origins. Creationists have a difficult time separating evolution from the big bang theory. They dislike both theories, and often mistakenly connect them, confusing them as being related in a a way that they are not. The big bang theory is part of physics and cosmology, and only explains why the galaxies appear to all be moving away from the same central point. Evolution doesn't propose any explanation for the existence of matter itself, nor does it propose the idea that life came from non-life. That is another theory altogether called the theory of Abiogenesis. Though a biological theory like evolution, Abiogenesis is a completely separate theory based on connections discovered between organic and inorganic chemistry, protiens and DNA. Experiments such as the famous Miller/Urey experiment, produced self-replicating protiens in the lab under controlled conditions. Though nothing created was near the complexity of DNA or RNA-based life forms, the results proved that many of the basic components of DNA could easily come to be created by inorganic processes. Despite the promising results, nobody should ever confuse abiogenesis with evolutionary theory.

          April 7, 2014 at 1:44 pm |
        • justpro86

          ID theory has been criticized on the following basis:

          No model has been presented
          Since there is no model, there are no predictions from the theory
          No refinement of the theory is possible
          In an attempt to be all-inclusive, most ID proponents have failed to

          define the Intelligent Designer
          reject young-earth creationism
          A nebulous theory can never be tested. The Designer must be proposed or there will be no model to test. Most of the potential Designers are described in religious works that contain statements about the natural world that can be tested against the record of the natural world. For this reason, it is necessary to identify the Designer. Because of the failure to reject the poor "science" of young earth creationism, ID has been labeled as a repackaging of scientific creationism. Deceptive or unsupported "science" cannot be allowed to be part of ID or the entire concept will be discredited.

          April 7, 2014 at 2:19 pm |
        • justpro86

          ID is already used in many areas of science. In archeology, we know that stones don't naturally occur in square shapes piled on top of each other. They show signs of intelligent design (although the designer is not supernatural). A recent example is an underwater rock formation off the coast of Cuba. According to the discoverers, the formation consist of smooth, geometrically shaped, granite-like rocks that are laid out in structures resembling pyramids, roads and other structures at more than 2,000 feet in a 7-3/4 mile-square area. How does it exhibit intelligent design? Natural formations of rocks do not have geometric shapes arranged in recognizable structures.

          ArrowheadLikewise, rocks do not naturally have pointed ends with patterns of chips along the sides. This pattern is extremely unlikely through natural processes, so we say that it exhibits intelligent design. In the science of forensics, scientists examine patterns of trauma, for example, to determine if it has a natural or intelligent cause. ID is already used in many areas of science.

          Probably the best example is the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI). Radio waves can be produced by a variety of natural and "intelligent" processes. Naturally-produced radio waves exhibit patterns of changes in wavelength that are due to random or periodic variation over time. There is no pattern that would indicate any kind of intelligence designed the signal. However, over short periods of time, the pattern could occur by chance with the probability inversely related to the length of time that the signal demonstrates a pattern. Therefore, by examining the signal statistically, scientists can determine if its cause is intelligent or natural. Thus far, intelligent design theory has eliminated (falsified) all extraterrestrial examples of radio waves monitored as being the product of intelligent design

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

          Aren't we lucky that life is a side-effect of all those conditions you posted.....

          April 7, 2014 at 2:15 pm |
        • igaftr

          justp
          "ID is already used in many areas of science"

          No it is not . It is not used in any LEGITIMATE science at all. One simple reason. No intelligence behind the design has ever been shown to exist.

          There are many creation "scientists", but no actual creation science, nor science that delves into ID that is legitimate.

          April 7, 2014 at 2:25 pm |
        • justpro86

          Atheists say they have the answer to why there is something rather than nothing—the nothing created it! However, their explanation takes science and turns it on its head—performing miracles of creation through unknown physics or mechanisms that are extremely unlikely to occur. The simplest explanation for the existence of all the something we see is that an extremely intelligent being, God, willed it to happen for His own purposes, and left evidence of that purpose in the nature of His creation and His communication with the creatures He created. The important things in life are not derived from the stuff we can see, but from the One who created it.

          April 7, 2014 at 2:33 pm |
        • igaftr

          " The universe cannot be without a creator I am sorry your logic fails."
          How ironic, since you have not shown any capacity to understand logic.

          Does your math take into account all of the properties of the energy of life?( at this time, all is unknown about it)
          Does your math reduce the chances to zero?

          Of course the answer is no on both counts, showing your math is flawed as it is incomplete, and trying to say a slight chance is no chance is anti-logic.

          April 7, 2014 at 2:37 pm |
        • justpro86

          Have you shown any proof that the math I present is false? No so that means your talking from your backside... My logic did not fail because its all physics something you don't understand...

          April 7, 2014 at 2:46 pm |
        • zendraxus

          Justpro,

          does the God of the bible demonstrate even the slight understanding of the physics at work in 'his' universe?

          when he stopped the sun for joshua – did he mention that he in his beneficence, was preventing the people on the dark side from freezing to death...seems as attention hungry as he was he'd not miss that golden opportunity....

          or if he stopped the earths rotation, he have surely made the Jews aware that he was preventing radiation from frying them all when the earths core stopped rotating depriving the planet of its electromagnetic field.

          see the flood isnt the mightiest feat listed in the bible – the above was....and it occurred only 3500 years ago.....

          YOU could write a better, more consistent book than the bible, why? because your understand of science eclipses that of the god of the bible, gone would be the stone age morality – slavery, animal sacrifice, destroying whole segments of populations for absolutely insane reasons - at least I hope it would be better:)

          April 7, 2014 at 2:42 pm |
        • justpro86

          Actually I cannot, I cannot address all the following issues:

          Will the beings you create be equal to you or less powerful?
          What degree of free will will you allow to those beings?
          How will you prevent those beings from hurting you, each other and their creation?
          What will you do with those beings who break your rules?
          What laws of physics will you use?

          April 7, 2014 at 2:51 pm |
        • igaftr

          yes justp, I DID show your nath is false. Whta values did you apply to represent life energy?

          without it, you claerly have not taken a potentially major factor into account, invalidating your math entirely...also clearly showing YOU do not get it.

          April 7, 2014 at 2:56 pm |
        • Vic

          Adding to all that the fact that to this day Empirical Science does not know what Gravity really is, while measuring its acceleration rate at which it attracts objects, to the extent that it cannot reconcile the Strong and Weak Nuclear Forces, the Electromagnetic Force and Gravity to form a Unified Field Theory.

          It all boils down to the "Origin" of all things, which is the right basis for understanding the empirical evidences we have, hence the right interpretation.

          One of the most fascinating scientific facts is that Earth is the only known celestial body to have organic matter in its regolith. I cannot help but think of God making the dough from which living beings were made flesh and then breathed into with the "Breath of Life." So in all respects, it is all evidence of God creating and preparing matter and fine-tuning the universe all to host the "life" He breathed into its Earthly soil.

          April 7, 2014 at 2:57 pm |
        • zendraxus

          Justpro,

          If I had the powers attributed to the Christian god....all powerful, all knowing , in all places- at all times...

          a ...slightly different scenario would be playing out....at the very least id say no interference? at all.....why spoil what could most likely be an experiment in deviations in a predetermined environment?

          April 7, 2014 at 3:09 pm |
        • zendraxus

          Vic

          You god -and this is the point of my posts here- if hes all that- would not waste a second a universe like this...he already at the end and anything before he even starts...he knows the outcome of every scenario that has occurred or will occur before hes even conceived it.....like your 'free will' – god's plan...he is a complete paradox.

          April 7, 2014 at 3:29 pm |
        • Vic

          I can appreciate your impression.

          As created beings, we can only fathom so much. We cannot possibly know —nor made capable of, mind you— "everything" about God and His Divine & Sovereign Will, Wisdom, Justice, and Command, and how they totally work.

          April 7, 2014 at 3:43 pm |
        • igaftr

          vic
          "One of the most fascinating scientific facts is that Earth is the only known celestial body to have organic matter in its regolith. I cannot help but think of God making the dough from which living beings were made flesh and then breathed into with the "Breath of Life." So in all respects, it is all evidence of God creating and preparing matter and fine-tuning the universe all to host the "life" He breathed into its Earthly soil.

          Patently false, and a gross misrepresentation.

          First, there is life on Mars. It came with us and some strains are thriving. Second, you have no idea what is on the other planets. There is a high probability that life is there, but since we do not yet know for certain. Also, life evolves to meet the existing conditions...the conditions are not set for life, you have it backwards.

          April 7, 2014 at 3:47 pm |
        • justpro86

          Recent Studies have confirmed the fine tuning of the cosmological constant (also known as "dark energy"). This cosmological constant is a force that increases with the increasing size of the universe. First hypothesized by Albert Einstein, the cosmological constant was rejected by him, because of lack of real world data. However, recent supernova 1A data demonstrated the existence of a cosmological constant that probably made up for the lack of light and dark matter in the universe.2 However, the data was tentative, since there was some variability among observations. Recent cosmic microwave background (CMB) measurement not only demonstrate the existence of the cosmological constant, but the value of the constant. It turns out that the value of the cosmological constant exactly makes up for the lack of matter in the universe.3

          The degree of fine-tuning is difficult to imagine. Dr. Hugh Ross gives an example of the least fine-tuned of the above four examples in his book, The Creator and the Cosmos, which is reproduced here:

          One part in 1037 is such an incredibly sensitive balance that it is hard to visualize. The following analogy might help: Cover the entire North American continent in dimes all the way up to the moon, a height of about 239,000 miles (In comparison, the money to pay for the U.S. federal government debt would cover one square mile less than two feet deep with dimes.). Next, pile dimes from here to the moon on a billion other continents the same size as North America. Paint one dime red and mix it into the billions of piles of dimes. Blindfold a friend and ask him to pick out one dime. The odds that he will pick the red dime are one in 1037. (p. 115)

          Journey Toward Creation DVDThe ripples in the universe from the original Big Bang event are detectable at one part in 100,000. If this factor were slightly smaller, the universe would exist only as a collection of gas – no planets, no life. If this factor were slightly larger, the universe would consist only of large black holes. Obviously, no life would be possible in such a universe.

          Another finely tuned constant is the strong nuclear force (the force that holds atoms together). The Sun "burns" by fusing hydrogen (and higher elements) together. When the two hydrogen atoms fuse, 0.7% of the mass of the hydrogen is converted into energy. If the amount of matter converted were slightly smaller—0.6% instead of 0.7%— a proton could not bond to a neutron, and the universe would consist only of hydrogen. With no heavy elements, there would be no rocky planets and no life. If the amount of matter converted were slightly larger—0.8%, fusion would happen so readily and rapidly that no hydrogen would have survived from the Big Bang. Again, there would be no solar systems and no life. The number must lie exactly between 0.6% and 0.8% (Martin Rees, Just Six Numbers).

          April 7, 2014 at 5:01 pm |
        • fintronics

          The intelligent design movement is exceptionally good at creating false controversies and misconceptions. Yet their basic claims are easily debunked.

          There is scientific controversy over evolution: There is no debate about evolution among the vast majority of scientists, and no credible alternative scientific theory exists. Debates within the community are about specific mechanisms within evolution, not whether evolution occurred.

          Structures found in nature are too complex to have evolved step-by-step through natural selection [the concept of "irreducible complexity"1]: Natural selection does not require that all structures have the same function or even need to be functional at each step in the development of an organism.

          Intelligent design is a scientific theory2: A scientific theory is supported by extensive research and repeated experimentation and observation in the natural world. Unlike a true scientific theory, the existence of an “intelligent” agent can not be tested, nor is it falsifiable.

          Intelligent design is based on the scientific method3: Intelligent design might base its ideas on observations in the natural world, but it does not test them in the natural world, or attempt to develop mechanisms (such as natural selection) to explain their observations4.

          Most scientists are atheists5 and believe only in the material world: Such accusations are neither fair nor true. The scientific method is limited to using evidence from the natural world to explain phenomena. It does not preclude the existence of God or other spiritual beliefs and only states that they are not part of science. Belief in a higher being is a personal, not a scientific, question.

          April 7, 2014 at 3:49 pm |
        • Vic

          Well, without going into such great details:

          Even if Mars ever supported microbial life form(s), that does not mean it could support or even could have ever supported humanlike life form. To sustain a humanlike life you need an atmosphere that contains enough oxygen and an ecosystem that recycles it — i.e. soil, plants and water— like what we have here on Earth, for starters. Earth has a very sophisticated electromagnetic shield, aka geomagnetic shield, that protects us from the solar and cosmic rays. Earth is at the right distance from the Sun with the right gravity to support life conditions —habitualness. And, as I already mentioned, Earth is the only known celestial object to have organic material in its regolith.

          Mars, on the other hand, has a very thin atmosphere (less than 1% that of Earth) containing mainly carbon dioxide (what we exhale!) Mars is completely exposed to the Sun's and cosmic radiation without any protection. Mars' atmosphere does not allow the formation of water on its surface —shocking. Mars' regolith is made of mainly iron oxide — rust! Mars' gravity is 62% less than that of Earth.

          That is a very basic and generic recollection of understanding the extremely complex life-sustaining environment here on Earth, and in comparison to Mars.

          April 7, 2014 at 4:07 pm |
        • igaftr

          vic.
          Just because Mars does not currently have life, does not mean id didn't in the past, or in the future. Earth itself would not support most of the life on this planet...enter the cytoplasm, which over many million years, slowly changed the atmosphere into one that was oxygen rich. You have NO IDEA what changes that occur over huge periods of time will have. There will come a time that the earth will lose its protective sheilding provided by the iron core, or any of a huge number of other thinggs that could wipe out all traces of life on our planet.
          You simply do not have enough information to jump to your conclusions.
          So sad when believers try to justify belief by using false science.

          April 7, 2014 at 4:30 pm |
        • justpro86

          Neither do you and how is it false science... Typical of an atheist to discredit scientists who believe that the earth was created by a superior deity... I can do the same with any evolutionists... The thing with mars as you said how do you know if it did support life? Because it did not simple and logical answer... How I conclude there are no evidence as most scientists would also back me up with that theory... I have more of an idea because I already explained with ease...Sorry

          April 7, 2014 at 4:55 pm |
        • observer

          justpro86,

          It's amazing that science and math have advanced to this point by using the Bible's value of pi as 3.0.

          April 7, 2014 at 5:03 pm |
        • justpro86

          those who have already decided that God does not exist and that all processes must have a naturalistic explanation, do not see the obvious evidence that the universe was designed, rather than happened by chance. As discussed on another page, rational explanations for the creation of the universe come down to two main possibilities:

          Design by an intelligent being
          Happened by random chance
          What are the differences between the two creators?

          Characteristic God Super Universe
          Transcendence Yes Yes
          Eternal Yes Yes
          Creation of Universe Designed Random
          Intelligence High Stupid

          April 7, 2014 at 5:21 pm |
        • kudlak

          justpro86
          It's your claim that God is real. Therefore, it's up to you to prove that, not me or any other atheist.

          April 7, 2014 at 5:17 pm |
        • justpro86

          The reality of God's existence is the most important question, since it has eternal consequences. The evidence for God's existence comes primarily from the design of the universe. It is virtually impossible that all the physical laws would just happen to be tightly constrained by chance in order for stars and galaxies to exist.

          Rich Deem

          April 7, 2014 at 5:19 pm |
        • observer

          justpro86,

          Even if intelligent design could be proven, it certainly DOES NOT prove that God exists.

          It all could have been designed by Zeus or a committee of zombies or the Three Stooges for all you can PROVE.

          April 7, 2014 at 5:26 pm |
        • justpro86

          The reality of God's existence is the most important question, since it has eternal consequences. The evidence for God's existence comes primarily from the design of the universe. It is virtually impossible that all the physical laws would just happen to be tightly constrained by chance in order for stars and galaxies to exist.

          Rich Deem

          April 7, 2014 at 5:32 pm |
        • kudlak

          justpro86
          And other gods promise to make you pay in their afterlives too. You're not giving proper worship to Zeus, but I'll bet you don't lose any sleep wondering what ironic punishment awaits you in Hades, now do you? Perhaps you'll be a science teacher with a class of creationist students?

          April 7, 2014 at 7:12 pm |
    • neverbeenhappieratheist

      If I spent three years studying Harry Potter should people respect me more?

      April 7, 2014 at 1:14 pm |
      • timetravelerfrom2121

        Give it a couple hundred years. People need to "realize" Christianity is a hoax to make money off them before you can start spewing J.K. Rowling's nonsense as fact....but if you promise eternal life AFTER death and charge people for it, you are guaranteed no one can you prove you wrong.

        April 7, 2014 at 4:05 pm |
        • justpro86

          The Bible teaches a rational faith, based upon knowledge and refined through testing. Christians are encouraged to use their minds in all aspects of life, including our spiritual life – prayer and worship. God values truthfulness to a high degree and wants us to know the truth about his creation, the nature of His being and His scriptures. Ultimately, God wants all people to come to the knowledge of the truth of His salvation through Jesus Christ,37 so that they may spend eternity with Him in the new creation.

          April 7, 2014 at 5:31 pm |
        • observer

          justpro86

          "Christians are encouraged to use their minds in all aspects of life"

          Yep.

          (I Cor. 3:18-20) “Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you seems to be wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their own craftiness”; and again, “The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.”

          April 7, 2014 at 5:35 pm |
        • Bob

          justpro, the whole Jesus-sacrifice-salvation think is a stinking pile of bull output. How is it that your supposedly omnipotent being couldn't do his saving bit without the whole silly Jesus hoopla? And how was Jesus' death a "sacrifice", when an omnipotent being could just pop up a replacement son any time with less than a snap of his fingers? Pretty pathetic "god" that you've made for yourself there. The foundation of your whole religion is nonsense.

          Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement.
          Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.
          http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

          April 7, 2014 at 5:36 pm |
        • Bob

          justpro, the whole Jesus-sacrifice-salvation thing is a stinking pile of bull output. How is it that your supposedly omnipotent being couldn't do his saving bit without the whole silly Jesus hoopla? And how was Jesus' death a "sacrifice", when an omnipotent being could just pop up a replacement son any time with less than a snap of his fingers? Pretty pathetic "god" that you've made for yourself there. The foundation of your whole religion is nonsense.

          Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement.
          Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.
          http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

          April 7, 2014 at 5:38 pm |
    • bostontola

      I'll take your word for it that you are a PhD, but I would expect a person with that kind of depth to follow up a general criticism of distortion/stereotype with some specifics.

      April 7, 2014 at 1:40 pm |
    • Akira

      I see that you consult Catholic Parishes and ministries. What church are you a minister in, since plainly it isn't the RCC?

      April 7, 2014 at 2:07 pm |
    • kudlak

      So the LORD said, "I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created–and with them the animals, the birds and the creatures that move along the ground–for I regret that I have made them." Gen 6:7

      How can an omniscient God ever make a mistake?

      April 7, 2014 at 3:37 pm |
  10. bostontola

    Replenishing the human population with Jennifer Connelly would be a difficult task, but I'd tough it out if I had to.

    April 7, 2014 at 1:00 pm |
  11. zendraxus

    When something isn't true – why pretend that it is? why give it a hugely exaggerated amount of respect?

    when a superst ition can dominate the landscape and change real world policy to the point that the state can be used to enforce religious dogma then enough is enough...it needs to go.

    I do not want to live in your fantasy, their fantasy ....people need to keep their superst itions to themselves- we are having a hard enough time dealing with the human garbage that isn't tied to superst ition, and bad news folks...it isn't going getting any easier- time to get rid of the useless division lines that we can.

    April 7, 2014 at 12:51 pm |
    • zendraxus

      blown reply

      April 7, 2014 at 12:52 pm |
  12. justpro86

    Killing an average of 146 people each year in the United States,23 flash floods are another natural evil, which should be eliminated according to atheists.1, 13 We have already discussed the problem caused by eliminating the water cycle. Since this is not an option, there are only a few other means to prevent floods. Some floods are the result of land being nearly flat and thus being unable to drain following major storms. Other floods occur when excess rain causes rivers to overflow their banks into the surrounding area. The solution to the flatness problem would be to create hills and mountains. However, these features often result in landslides. It is unclear how atheists propose that both floods and landslides be eliminated simultaneously.

    Floods are good—Most people think that floods are evil and have no redeeming properties. In fact, some rivers throughout the world used to flood every year. The flooding brought much needed silt and minerals to the surrounding land, making it more fertile. However, people didn't like the inconvenience of having to rebuild their houses every year. So, we dammed the rivers or built levees to control their flow in the rainy season. The result was that the land now needs to be fertilized, since the natural means of soil renewal has been eliminated.

    April 7, 2014 at 12:29 pm |
    • igaftr

      justp
      " It is unclear how atheists propose that both floods and landslides be eliminated simultaneously."
      equally unclear how anyone else can do it either.

      Is there some point to this?

      April 7, 2014 at 12:44 pm |
      • justpro86

        This argument is often argued with atheists...Evil why would a loving god allow "evil" to run rampant in our world. However many things that people consider to be bad are, in fact, useful in our spiritual growth. The Bible says that trials in our lives produce perseverance, which helps make us mature and complete.19 These trials also increase our faith – a "refining by fire."20 The Bible tells us that "all things to work together for good to those who love God."

        April 7, 2014 at 1:12 pm |
        • igaftr

          justp
          AHHH, here you have an example of the human social animal, creating societies and rules within those societies to survive. That is humanities rules. These rules were then written into your bible where it is claimed that god inspired it. If you remove "god" from those passages, you are simply left with the original form where men are social animals, and we can accomplish more with cooperation.

          You have chosen one of the MANY portions of the bible where "god" can be completely removed, and humanities rules ( such as the golden rule") was written in. There is a lot showing that to be MENS word, still nothing showing anything from any gods.

          April 7, 2014 at 1:35 pm |
        • justpro86

          If God was completly removed we would not have such an intellectual book to even believe in... God can speak through man and many predictions that were in the bible came true already... How can men that have no back grounds of science or physics and basic understand of the world and how it works be able to come up with half the stuff in the bible... Really hard to come up with the figures when your just a fisherman or even a king... Only explains God even more

          April 7, 2014 at 1:41 pm |
        • whippstippler7

          @ Justpro – Holy crap! I just read your comment about the bible being an intellectual book. Do you realize that in that great intellectual book (Leviticus) your god – you know, the creator of all life – describes bats as birds. Do you understand that a bat is a mammal, not a bird? Leviticus describes rabbits as chewing their cud. Nope – rabbits aren't ruminants – they don't chew their cud, because they have no cud to chew. How about the 4-legged insects of Leviticus? Now there's the work of a real intellectual!

          April 7, 2014 at 1:49 pm |
        • justpro86

          Recent scientific evidence is adding to the evidence supporting the reliability of biblical chronology from the scriptures. This study demonstrated the reliability of the Biblical record regarding the Egyptian plagues and demise of Jericho.

          Drs. Hendrik J. Bruins and Johannes van der Plicht reported in the prestigious British journal, Nature (14), that the destruction of Jericho was dated to 1580 (+/- 13 years) B.C. (using 14C dating). This date is significant, since several archeologists have insisted that Jericho was destroyed by the Egyptians between 1550 and 1300 B.C. The recent study discredits the Egyptian theory, since the date is much too old.

          What is even more exciting is that scientists, using 14C dating and tree rings, have found evidence of a volcanic eruption from the Aegean island of Thera, which recently has been dated to 1628 B.C. (15). This would place the eruption at 45 years prior to the destruction of Jericho, at a time which coincidentally corresponds to the time of the plagues the Lord unleashed upon Egypt. Check out Exodus 10:

          Then the Lord said to Moses, "Stretch out your hand toward the sky, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, even a darkness which may be felt." So Moses stretched out his hand toward the sky, and there was thick darkness in all the land of Egypt for three days. (Exodus 10:21-22)

          Even the researchers commented that the 45 years difference in events was "rather striking."

          April 7, 2014 at 2:02 pm |
        • igaftr

          Only explains God even more

          How? You still haven't established any gods exit, let alone explain it.

          April 7, 2014 at 1:54 pm |
        • justpro86

          Carl Sagan talked about how to test religious truth claims:

          "Now, what happened before that [Big-Bang]? There are two views. One is 'Don't ask that question,' which is very close to saying that God did it. And the other is that we live in an oscillating universe in which there is an infinite number of expansions and contractions. The former of these views happens, by chance, to be close to the Judeo-Christian-Islamic view, the latter, close to the standard Hindu views. And so, if you like, you can think of the varying contentions of these two major religious views being fought out in the field of contemporary satellite astronomy. Because that's where the answer to this question will very likely be decided. This is an experimental question. And it is very likely that in our lifetime we will have the answer to it. And I stress that this is very different from the usual theological approach, where there is never an experiment that can be performed to test out any contentious issue. Here there is one. So we don't have to make judgments now. All we have to do is maintain some tolerance for ambiguity until the data are in, which may happen in a decade or less." (Carl Sagan, 1985 Gifford Lectures).

          .Guess what? Sagan was right (although it took a little more than a decade). Sagan's second alternative, the oscillating universe model has been discredited by a lack of sufficient matter to cause a contraction.1 It was further discredited by the discovery of dark energy, which shows that the universe is actually expanding at an ever increasing rate.2 So, Sagan's first alternative is the one that turned out to be true. My guess is that he was betting on the second. Of course, the atheists haven't lined up to become Christians, but instead have invented their own form of metaphysics (i.e., religion). Atheists have invented the multiverse, a kind of super-universe that randomly spews out other universes (with differing physical laws) at will. The multiverse sounds scientific, but it is really philosophical wishful thinking, since there is no evidence supporting the idea. If one really thinks about it, the multiverse is impossible over the entire period of eternity (which is what atheists would propose for the age of the "invisible" part of our universe – if such a thing exists at all). The problem is that our part of the multiverse has managed to make itself completely inaccessible to contraction and future expansion. If it were possible for one part of the multiverse to become thermodynamically dead, it would be expected to be possible for others. Even if entry into such a state is extremely unlikely, eternity is a very, very long time. Certainly by now (over all eternity), the entire multiverse would have entered into one of these thermodynamically dead zones. So, one would expect the entire multiverse to have suffered thermodynamic death by now. Therefore, it makes absolutely no sense that the universe is eternal with the characteristics that we observe. We are left with Sagan's first alternative – God did it. Atheists like to say that there is no evidence for God's existence and pretend such evidence doesn't exist. However, Sagan realized that science could judge between religious claims.

          April 7, 2014 at 2:05 pm |
        • whippstippler7

          @ Justpro – you DO realize that just because there may be things in the bible that happened historically does't make the entire bible true, right? A simple example – Spiderman is set in a city – New York City. hey – New York City is real, and it's mentioned in the Spiderman comics, so therefore Spiderman is real.

          It doesn't work that way.

          April 7, 2014 at 2:28 pm |
        • justpro86

          Sorry your logic makes little sense... Spiderman is proven to be a fictional character revolved from the imagination of man something else God has given us... Our creation did not just happen out of the blue there has to be some super natural being that had a strong imagination of what life should be like and how things are needed to be to bring life to a reality...

          April 7, 2014 at 2:38 pm |
        • amen2godonly

          What perplexes me most is people cryinmg why God allowed "such terible things" to happen (ie Newtown school shooting), yes terrible, but if God intervened in bad times to make it good times, then we would be living in a "perfect World." How cruel of a God to do that when we are mortal – as in we will die. Imagine that God giving us perfect lives only to die and leave it behind – now thats cruel! The reason God doesnt intervene in this world is because ist not "Heaven." As such, we eventually would want to leave and not perpetually exist in a chaotic universe – what we call the mortal life.

          April 7, 2014 at 2:29 pm |
        • justpro86

          With out evil there won't be life lessons and anything... God already admitted this is an imperfect universe to prepare people for a perfect world.

          April 7, 2014 at 2:41 pm |
        • joey3467

          But Troy has been proven to be a real place so all of the Greek gods must be real?

          April 7, 2014 at 2:47 pm |
        • igaftr

          "God doesnt intervene in this world"
          Which makes prayer and worship meaningless and pointless.

          April 7, 2014 at 2:53 pm |
        • fintronics

          Religion... one fail after another,,,,

          April 8, 2014 at 12:26 pm |
    • hotairace

      Please provide an example of an atheist saying floods and earthquakes are evil.

      April 7, 2014 at 1:17 pm |
      • justpro86

        Atheists tend to use this as examples of natural evil they often use the argument that there is no God because he would not allow this to happen if he was a loving God described in the bible.

        April 7, 2014 at 1:24 pm |
        • zendraxus

          If there was a loving God – would he actually create the universe at all? Why waste the time? being omniscient and Omni temporal and all.....

          April 7, 2014 at 1:28 pm |
        • justpro86

          God's purposes in creating the universe go beyond merely creating free will beings that love Him in this temporary universe. Jesus explained the ultimate goal of God in the parable of the banquet:

          Jesus replied: "A certain man [representing God] was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, 'Come, for everything is now ready.' But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said, 'I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.' Another said, 'I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I'm on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.' Still another said, 'I just got married, so I can't come.' The servant came back and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and ordered his servant, 'Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.' 'Sir,' the servant said, 'what you ordered has been done, but there is still room.' Then the master told his servant, 'Go out to the roads and country lanes and make them come in, so that my house will be full. (Luke 14:16-23)

          This parable tells that God wants not only a relationship with humans in this universe, but a relationship with billions15 of these creatures in His future, perfect creation. If God's purpose is to have relationships with free will beings in a future creation, then there must be a means by which these beings can make a choice to enter or not enter into this relationship. The means by which we make this choice is exactly the message of the Bible.

          Therefore. the Bible says that God allows temporary, bounded evil16 in order to allow free will beings to have the ability to love and to make choices. I am going to propose something which seems to support the atheists' arguments regarding evil. I agree that there is a lot of evil in the world. In fact, there is too much evil in the world from what would be expected from chaos theory or the laws of physics. Evolution does not explain the vast amount of evil done by mankind. None of the other creatures on our planet have the capacity for evil that mankind have. No other mammals kill arbitrarily. They only kill to eat and survive – but not mankind.

          So there is an ultimate plan by God before he created everything..

          April 7, 2014 at 1:38 pm |
        • hotairace

          I didn't ask for tendencies, I asked for a specific example. And if you do believe that atheists think evil exists in the biblical sense then you you need to sharpen your reading skills.

          April 7, 2014 at 1:32 pm |
        • hotairace

          God's *alleged* purposes ...

          Jesus *allegedly* explained ...

          Jesus *allegedly* answered ...

          Etc., etc.

          April 7, 2014 at 1:43 pm |
        • whippstippler7

          @ justpro: you said "God's purposes in creating the universe go beyond merely creating free will beings that love Him in this temporary universe".

          Wow – that is SO staggeringly arrogant of you. You, a mere human, claiming that you know what god's intentions are? That's laughable. Does an ant know the intentions of the backhoe operator who digs up the anthill?

          Now multiply the gulf between ant and operator by infinity – that is the gulf between a human and your god.

          And you claim to know god's purpose!

          April 7, 2014 at 1:46 pm |
        • justpro86

          God explained it in the Bible how hard not to understand

          April 7, 2014 at 2:00 pm |
        • Akira

          Justpro, you do know that c/p someone else's work without giving credit from that source, and presenting it as your own is stealing, don't you?

          April 7, 2014 at 2:14 pm |
        • fintronics

          "God explained it in the Bible how hard not to understand"

          How completely laughable.... god doesn't exist and the bible with it's thousands of errors and contradictions is clearly mythology, a work of man,

          April 8, 2014 at 3:36 pm |
      • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

        natural evil ????

        Surely a contradiction in terms don't you think. Clearly you misunderstand the argument. Atheists will attribute natural events, like disease, floods, eathquakes, etc, to the randomness of our world. It's not evil. Stuff just happens.

        Christians believe in a loving, omniscient God who is in total control of everything including when, how and why people die. The atheist strawman argument is "If God loves us, why does he punish the innocent with disease and natural disasters?"

        If you want to tell me that little babies are sinful, then personally I find that line of thinking sickening and repulsive.

        April 7, 2014 at 1:36 pm |
        • Akira

          "If you want to tell me that little babies are sinful, then personally I find that line of thinking sickening and repulsive."

          Yes. That people believe this unquestionably is one of the biggest concerns I have with zealous belief...

          April 7, 2014 at 2:25 pm |
  13. highplainsparson

    You've put your finger on something, that is, that it's necessary for us modern folk to conform our conception of God to the picture int the Bible, where God is seen to have wrath against sinners. There are several misconceptions and omissions in the article, however, like the suggestion that a biblical narrative "without comment" implies a moral example, it doesn't, necessarily. Or failure to reference the wrath God speaks out against sin in the New Testament, and the judgment to come. God didn't come to terms with human sin. He has foreborne until the judgment day, of which Noah's flood was a foreshadowing. Like with the ark in Noah's day, only those who cling to Christ the Savior will be saved from the wrath to come.

    April 7, 2014 at 12:17 pm |
    • observer

      highplainsparson,

      Why should we conform to support slavery and mindless discrimination against women, gays and the handicapped?

      April 7, 2014 at 12:21 pm |
      • highplainsparson

        The morality of the Bible cannot be improved upon. It is absolutely perfect, but I suspect you have a lot of misunderstandings on what it says.

        April 7, 2014 at 12:24 pm |
        • observer

          highplainsparson,

          Have you ever read a Bible? You are the first person I know who says slavery and mindless discriminations against women, gays, and the handicapped is PERFECT.

          Classic! Incredible! Ignorant.

          April 7, 2014 at 12:30 pm |
        • highplainsparson

          Hours per day, friend. It's my calling.

          April 7, 2014 at 12:31 pm |
        • doobzz

          Please explain how it is okay to sell your young child to a stranger for them to use however they wish. Then you can show us how it's okay to force your daughter marry the person who ra.ped her.

          April 7, 2014 at 12:32 pm |
        • highplainsparson

          Strawmen.

          April 7, 2014 at 12:35 pm |
        • doobzz

          No, it's not. You are making the claim that the morality of the bible can't be improved upon.

          I'm asking you to explain the perfect morality of selling your child to strangers or forcing your daughter to marry her rapits.

          April 7, 2014 at 12:40 pm |
        • highplainsparson

          Those things are not taught in Scripture. They are your own misunderstandings.

          April 7, 2014 at 12:42 pm |
        • observer

          highplainsparson,

          Good. Maybe you can answer a question. Why do so many Christian HYPOCRITES CHOOSE negative verses when dealing with gays rather than CHOOSE the MUCH MORE IMPORTANT Golden Rule?

          April 7, 2014 at 12:35 pm |
        • highplainsparson

          I don't claim to speak for hypocrites, of which there are many, but the "golden rule" means warning people of sin, as we would wish that others would warn us also, if we were living in sin.

          April 7, 2014 at 12:37 pm |
        • igaftr

          highparson
          So it is moral for a man to ra.p.e a woman, which then leaves a stain on the VICTIM, and the attacker can make it right by giving her father 50 sheckles of silver and marry his victim, thus removing HER immoral stain.
          That is right out of your immoral bible, and is still practiced in Morocco today, resulting in many young women killing themselves to get away from theior abuser.
          It is right out of your bible, so it MUST be moral, right?

          How is it moral for anyone to allow another to take YOUR just punishment? Your false religion is BASED on that immorality, so it is not surprising you think the rest of the garbage in the bible is moral as well.

          April 7, 2014 at 12:37 pm |
        • observer

          highplainsparson,

          So you don't know why so many Christians are HYPOCRITES?

          April 7, 2014 at 12:38 pm |
        • highplainsparson

          I do know why, I just don't claim to be their representative.

          April 7, 2014 at 12:39 pm |
        • igaftr

          high parson
          "but the "golden rule" means warning people of sin, as we would wish that others would warn us also, if we were living in sin. "

          First, for there to be sin, there must be a god to sin against. You cannot show any gods to exist, so how is it moral to warn people of something you cannot even show exists? It is akin to yelling fire in a crowded movie house, when there is no fire. You can't justify it by saying there MIGHT be a fire, like there might be YOUR god.

          April 7, 2014 at 12:40 pm |
        • highplainsparson

          I know that my God is the true God, because I know Him personally.

          April 7, 2014 at 12:41 pm |
        • hotairace

          What business of yours is it what others, not members of your cult, do? Why can't you confine your activities to the confines of your home and your cult's clubhouses?

          April 7, 2014 at 12:40 pm |
        • highplainsparson

          Because I love my neighbor.

          April 7, 2014 at 12:41 pm |
        • observer

          highplainsparson,

          Why do Christians make a big deal out of the gay "abomination" (you know, like eating lobster and Alaskan king crablegs) yet IGNORE the MUCH MUCH GREATER number of Christians who are ADULTERERS through divorce and remarriage?

          April 7, 2014 at 12:45 pm |
        • highplainsparson

          I don't know why some Christians do that. I don't.

          April 7, 2014 at 12:50 pm |
        • igaftr

          highparson
          " know that my God is the true God, because I know Him personally"
          Really? I'm certain you have seduced your own mind into believing that through your own delusions, but how did you exclude all other possibilities.
          For all you know, what you think is god is actually Satan walking with you...he's tricky you know, so how do you know it isn't Satan that you know?

          April 7, 2014 at 12:47 pm |
        • highplainsparson

          From experience.

          April 7, 2014 at 12:51 pm |
        • kevinite

          So, Observer,

          How is treating others as how you would like to be treated mean that others have to just accept you doing whatever want to do?

          April 7, 2014 at 12:48 pm |
        • observer

          kevinite

          "How is treating others as how you would like to be treated mean that others have to just accept you doing whatever want to do?"

          Your fallacy is the assumption that "doing whatever you want to do" is a license to ignore the Golden Rule.

          April 7, 2014 at 12:51 pm |
        • highplainsparson

          It seems like your "rule" is, don't tell anyone that they are sinning, even if they are. But this is not love.

          April 7, 2014 at 12:52 pm |
        • kevinite

          Observer,

          That is the point you are bringing up in your take regarding the "Golden Rule", that others have to accept whatever it is you want to do.

          April 7, 2014 at 1:05 pm |
        • igaftr

          highparson
          "It seems like your "rule" is, don't tell anyone that they are sinning, even if they are. But this is not love. "

          False again. you should not tell anyone they are sinning until you can show sin exists, which requires a god or gods to exist. since you cannot show any gods, or any rules of any gods to violate, you cannot claim anyone sins.
          By claiming someone else is a sinner, you violate one of the things that YOUR belief would dictate is a sin, by bearing false witness. You have no idea if "sin" exists.

          April 7, 2014 at 1:08 pm |
        • highplainsparson

          That's been done already.

          April 7, 2014 at 1:21 pm |
        • hotairace

          Many people don't need or want your insanity or your version of love. Please leave us alone, and stay away from children.

          April 7, 2014 at 1:13 pm |
        • highplainsparson

          No, I won't. Love constrains me to speak up.

          April 7, 2014 at 1:21 pm |
        • observer

          kevinite

          Treating others as you want to be TREATED is not the same as DOING whatever they want. You can respect people without doing everything they want.

          April 7, 2014 at 1:14 pm |
        • Doris

          One of the primary reasons we have separation of church and state in the U.S. is because of the inherent Christian need to dirty up the lives of others with trying to prepare them for some alleged next life. Of course the biggest part of that problem is that the "rules" are different from one Christian to the next.

          April 7, 2014 at 1:26 pm |
        • highplainsparson

          That wall of separation won't hide anyone from the wrath to come.

          April 7, 2014 at 1:29 pm |
        • igaftr

          "That's been done already."
          Where? Do not say the bible since that is the source of your claim and therefore can not be used to verify your claim.

          When has any god been shown to exist?

          April 7, 2014 at 1:27 pm |
        • highplainsparson

          By countless names and scholars throughout history. Where would you like to begin? Aquinas, Anselm, Van Til, Bahnsen, etc.

          April 7, 2014 at 1:30 pm |
        • Doris

          Child of the Corn, Self-Elevated: "That wall of separation won't hide anyone from the wrath to come."

          So be it. I take comfort knowing that, other than through your vote, you do not affect the quality of my life to any degree more than I permit.

          April 7, 2014 at 1:34 pm |
        • highplainsparson

          No, I wouldn't. I'm just the messenger. It's God you need to be concerned with.

          April 7, 2014 at 1:41 pm |
        • kevinite

          Observer,

          So then following the Golden Rule doesn't mean that proclaiming ones beliefs as to what is considered moral or immoral and having such a voice in a democracy goes contrary to the Golden Rule?

          April 7, 2014 at 1:35 pm |
        • hotairace

          They just spew mumbo jumbo intended to bolster The a Babble for which there is no evidence either. No one yet has ever produced actual (physical, objective, independent, verifiable, factual) evidence for any alleged (but never proven) god.

          April 7, 2014 at 1:35 pm |
        • highplainsparson

          Keep telling yourself that if it makes you feel better. Sometimes the truth is frightening.

          April 7, 2014 at 1:42 pm |
        • hotairace

          So where's the actual evidence?

          April 7, 2014 at 1:45 pm |
        • highplainsparson

          The actual evidence is actually everywhere.

          April 7, 2014 at 1:48 pm |
        • kevinite

          Observer,

          Where Jesus does say something in the Gospels regarding adultery or in other words to not have relations outside of marriage, how is same gender relations be considered an exception to committing adultery since there is no known record of same gender marriage in first century Palestine?

          April 7, 2014 at 1:47 pm |
        • hotairace

          Surely you can be a little more specific. Unless you are bullsh!tting of course.

          April 7, 2014 at 1:50 pm |
        • Doris

          Of course no one knows who authored John, Mark and Matthew. Luke was just a disciple of Paul's.

          And what about Paul's works? That's pretty convincing – especially getting that stamp of approval in Peter 2 from Peter – deeming Paul's works as divinely-inspired scripture.

          OOPS – I almost forgot – most scholars agree that Peter did not author Peter 2. Oh my – swiss cheese would have a difficult time standing up with all these holes...

          April 7, 2014 at 1:56 pm |
        • highplainsparson

          You can't always trust the word of someone just because he has a degree on the wall.

          April 8, 2014 at 1:36 am |
        • fintronics

          "The actual evidence is actually everywhere"...

          Nope, no "evidence", just your imagination.

          April 7, 2014 at 2:06 pm |
        • highplainsparson

          What are you afraid of?

          April 8, 2014 at 1:37 am |
        • joey3467

          Kev, when Christian come together and try to ban everything the bible says is a sin, such as getting remarried once you have been divorced I might take them seriously. Until then it just appears that Christians are singling out gay people. I don't understand how you can argue you want bans on gay marriage because of the Bible and then not also try to ban everything the Bible says is sinful? Seems like they are just picking on gay people because they no it will not effect their life because they are not gay.

          April 7, 2014 at 3:44 pm |
        • highplainsparson

          No fault divorce should have never been allowed.

          April 8, 2014 at 1:38 am |
        • observer

          kevinite

          "how is same gender relations be considered an exception to committing adultery"

          a·dul·ter·y

          noun: adultery; plural noun: adulteries

          voluntary s3xual intercourse between a married person and a person who is not his or her spouse.

          April 8, 2014 at 1:58 am |
        • kevinite

          Observer,

          a·dul·ter·y

          noun: adultery; plural noun: adulteries

          voluntary s3xual intercourse between a married person and a person who is not his or her spouse.

          So, then since there were no same gender marriages that were sanctioned in first century Palestine then it definitely looks like that the definition you gave on adultery then would apply to same gender relations in which case it then appears that Jesus may not have been supportive of same gender relations.

          April 8, 2014 at 2:50 am |
        • kevinite

          Joey 3437,

          What makes you think that I'm into and just into being on some sort of anti same gender marriage crusade? After all, a different gender marriage-based family that say has a deadbeat or abusive father or husband is also considered to be a morally wrong as well.

          April 8, 2014 at 3:15 am |
        • kevinite

          25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;

          26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,

          27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.

          28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.

          29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:
          (Ephesians 5:25-29 KJV)

          April 8, 2014 at 3:22 am |
        • fintronics

          "What are you afraid of?".....

          Lots of things, but certainly not your imaginary god!...

          April 8, 2014 at 12:30 pm |
        • highplainsparson

          You sure don't want to look at the evidence for Him, that's for sure.

          April 8, 2014 at 1:02 pm |
    • hotairace

      There is no need to conform anything to an alleged but never proven god.

      April 7, 2014 at 12:22 pm |
      • highplainsparson

        Hogwash. The evidence is all around you.

        April 7, 2014 at 12:23 pm |
        • doobzz

          No, it isn't. If it was, you'd be able to point to specifics, not just "look at how pretty nature is. Goddidit".

          April 7, 2014 at 12:26 pm |
        • highplainsparson

          I can point to plenty of specifics.

          April 7, 2014 at 12:28 pm |
        • doobzz

          Have at it.

          April 7, 2014 at 12:28 pm |
        • highplainsparson

          Yourself.

          April 7, 2014 at 12:31 pm |
        • doobzz

          Pardon? You said you have examples.

          April 7, 2014 at 12:32 pm |
        • highplainsparson

          Yes. You are an example.

          April 7, 2014 at 12:36 pm |
        • doobzz

          LOL, I'm evidence that my parents had sex. Nothing more. Do you not understand reproduction? It's nothing special. Every living thing reproduces. It's not evidence of a deity.

          April 7, 2014 at 12:44 pm |
        • highplainsparson

          Do you expect reproduction to work tomorrow the same that it worked 9 1/2 months ago? If so, why?

          April 7, 2014 at 12:45 pm |
        • doobzz

          You stated that you have evidence of the existence of a deity and point to simple reproduction as evidence. The fact that living things reproduce is not evidence of a deity.

          April 7, 2014 at 2:33 pm |
        • highplainsparson

          Yes, of course it is. Account for it otherwise.

          April 8, 2014 at 1:37 am |
        • doobzz

          It's a simple biological drive. No god required, and certainly no god evidenced by it.

          April 8, 2014 at 2:04 am |
        • highplainsparson

          Is it going to work tomorrow just like it did a year ago?

          April 8, 2014 at 2:09 am |
        • hotairace

          Then you should be able to trivially point some actual evidence out. Actual, as in physical, verifiable, objective, independent, factual, not hearsay or a bunch of mumbo jumbo found in a book of fiction.

          April 7, 2014 at 12:27 pm |
        • highplainsparson

          Sure. You are evidence.

          April 7, 2014 at 12:30 pm |
        • igaftr

          high parson
          Becasue something exists is NOT any indication of any "god".
          If I calim that giant invisible dragons make the wind...you feel the wind, so that proves that the dragons are doing it. That is the same thing you are saying, going from one thing to a completely disconnected conclusion, where no conclusion can be drawn.

          Now, what ACTUAL evidence do you have. I am not evidence and neither are you. I mean actual evidence that you have of a direct cause/effect relaitionship.

          Please show this evidence so I can show you how it is not evidence at all.

          April 7, 2014 at 12:50 pm |
        • highplainsparson

          That is completely irrational.

          April 7, 2014 at 12:51 pm |
        • igaftr

          highparson
          "That is completely irrational."

          If you are referring to your posts, you are correct. If you are referring to mine, how is what I sais irrational.
          Irrational is belief in something that cannot be shown to exist.

          April 7, 2014 at 1:04 pm |
        • highplainsparson

          The notion that dragons created things. That is not the nature of the concept of dragons.

          April 7, 2014 at 1:20 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          It is just as rational to believe tiny invisible dragons fly out of my ass each night to blow the winds accross the waters and makes plants grow and flowers open also keeps the earth spinning, yup, all my dragons fault. When will you people get a clue and come start worshiping my mighty butt dragons? In fact, I have way more evidence for them that you do of your God. Every time they escape my butt you can faintly smell their passing...it's often a robust musky smell that can only be that of dragons breath...

          April 7, 2014 at 1:48 pm |
        • LinCA

          @highplainsparson

          You said, "The notion that dragons created things. That is not the nature of the concept of dragons."
          The notion that dragons create the winds is no more irrational than any other imaginary creature creating anything. Your imaginary friend isn't any more real than dragons, whether they originate from neverbeenhappieratheist's butt or not.

          There is equal evidence for your god as there is for the Tooth Fairy, or the Easter Bunny, or wind making dragons.

          April 8, 2014 at 2:08 am |
        • observer

          The fact that living things reproduce is not PROOF that God exists. There are an infinite number of possible explanations like Zeus or a committee of zombies.

          April 8, 2014 at 2:16 am |
    • doobzz

      But he's a "loving" god. And he needs money! He always needs more money!

      April 7, 2014 at 12:25 pm |
      • highplainsparson

        He owns all the money. He's quite generous to allow us to use 90% for our needs.

        April 7, 2014 at 12:26 pm |
        • doobzz

          Tell that to a Somalian child.

          April 7, 2014 at 12:27 pm |
        • guidedans

          Hey doobz,

          My church has an initiative in Rwanda to find homes for the thousands of orphans there. I know that that doesn't help the Somalian child necessarily, but I am happy to give money to my church to help them provide services to the community and abroad.

          April 7, 2014 at 12:58 pm |
    • guidedans

      Hi Plains,

      Thanks for the positive note. I agree that God does not change throughout the Bible. There is plenty of wrath in the New Testament, it is just saved for judgement day.

      We should pray for the people on this board who are hardened against the word that they may be softened and can accept the truth that is all around them.

      God Bless

      April 7, 2014 at 12:53 pm |
  14. I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

    What a classic piece of pointless apologia.

    The biblical story of Noah makes no sense in terms of contemporary Christian belief so here's Joel Baden attempting to try to rationalize the inconsistencies.

    For me it fails on so many levels it is pointless to try to enumerate them.

    My favorite one is perhaps this: "God learns to accept their inherently evil nature"

    In essence Mr. Baden is telling us that Yahew is an impotent deity who capriously destroyed all of his "creation" for no purpose whatsoever. Well that's inspiring.

    Nice God that Yahew.

    April 7, 2014 at 11:49 am |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Ooops – Yahweh.

      April 7, 2014 at 11:58 am |
    • frankbeattys

      There is a purpose for the flood and it is very clearly stated in the bible.

      April 7, 2014 at 12:10 pm |
      • hotairace

        The bible aka The Babble, a crappy bit of fiction.

        April 7, 2014 at 12:13 pm |
      • observer

        frankbeattys,

        Yes. God so badly misjudged how things would turn out that he basically had to wipe out all the people including children, babies and fetuses and start all over even though it meant saving a moral loser like Noah.

        April 7, 2014 at 12:14 pm |
        • frankbeattys

          They were not innocent. They were the offspring of Nephilim. If God did not cause the flood, you might not have been born.

          April 7, 2014 at 3:19 pm |
      • doobzz

        Yes, the purpose of the flood was for god to let off a little steam by killing nearly every living thing, including the unborn, infants and animals.

        He has quite a temper, you know.

        April 7, 2014 at 12:17 pm |
      • otoh2

        frank,

        The dead dove's blood cure for leprosy is also clearly stated in The Bible - pffft!

        April 7, 2014 at 12:18 pm |
        • ausphor

          Cull the pigeons. No lepers in the hood.

          April 7, 2014 at 12:27 pm |
    • doobzz

      How does an omniscient being "learn" new things?

      April 7, 2014 at 12:13 pm |
      • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

        And didn't he create the humans in the first place?

        Was the flood story a failed global Mulligan? That's what I get out of Mr. Baden's apologia.

        April 7, 2014 at 12:18 pm |
        • doobzz

          That sounds about right. The flood story is God's do over.

          April 7, 2014 at 12:21 pm |
      • guidedans

        You know in Mouse Trap where the boot kicks the bucket and the marble rolls down the stair thing? Well, before that happens, you have to wind the little wheel to build up enough tension in the rubber band so that the boot has enough energy to kick the bucket.

        Also, if you didn't have the foresight to set the bucket up first, then when the boot kicks, it will just kick into the air.

        When you look at the whole Mouse Trap game, you can see all of the little things that need to be set up to get to the goal of catching the mouse. It is pretty obvious then.

        God can see the entirety of creation from beginning to end and He knows exactly what needs to occur in order to get to the goal. The flood was a part of that chain. If it didn't happen, then we would have a much different world than we have today. Probably a really bad one. Like if the diver missed the bath tub and knocked your game piece off of the board.

        April 7, 2014 at 12:41 pm |
        • doobzz

          Good morning, guidedans.

          That throws your whole "free will" argument out the window.

          April 7, 2014 at 12:47 pm |
        • guidedans

          Good morning!

          I disagree. God's foreknowledge of our behavior does not determine our behavior.

          Imagine the following scenario: You videotape an event. Then you go back in time before the event occurred and deposit this video tape of the event somewhere out in space. The videotape clearly contains all of the actions that will take place during that event, but does the existence of that tape equate to it determining what will occur.

          I would argue it does not. Just because you know something will happen does not mean that you force it to happen.

          I don't see free will and foreknowledge being in conflict.

          April 7, 2014 at 1:32 pm |
        • doobzz

          If god has a plan, and god is omnipotent, that excludes any ability on our part to choose differently. What's not to get?

          April 7, 2014 at 2:35 pm |
    • kevinite

      So, this makes it very easy to dismiss it all because you are viewing Baden's comments as being universal for all Christians or are you just dismissing Baden's comments?

      April 7, 2014 at 12:15 pm |
    • guidedans

      Hey GOP,

      This guy is barely rationalizing the flood story in the bible. He is basically attributing it to either God changing His ideas, which is silly because God is constant, or to just us not knowing why God does what He does, which is more likely.

      Neither of those are really good rationalizations. This piece reads much more like an opinion piece on God's morality than an explanation of why God flooded the Earth.

      You know why God flooded the Earth? Me neither. You know why we don't know that? Because we aren't God.

      Anyway, here's a list of other things that we don't have a "why" for, yet we still accept:
      Gravity pulls bodies of mass together
      Life started on Earth
      Water, when frozen, becomes less dense and floats
      Atoms are held together
      Hydrogen can be combined to make energy and helium
      Light travels through a vacuum
      People enjoy music
      People report Near Death Experiences

      I think that that is probably it. Everything else, we have already understood completely.

      April 7, 2014 at 12:27 pm |
      • hotairace

        We don't know why many people still cling to religious superst!tions in the 21st century.

        April 7, 2014 at 12:30 pm |
      • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

        "He is basically attributing it to either God changing His ideas, which is silly"

        And is precisely what Mr. Baden did – which is rationalizing. To accept the flood story in concert with a contemporary view of God, such rationalization is necessary.

        April 7, 2014 at 12:50 pm |
        • guidedans

          I guess you are right about Baden, but it is bad rationalization.

          God hasn't changed from the Old to the New Testament. The difference now is that He provided a method that we can absolve ourselves of sin without going through the animal sacrifices.

          John 19:30
          "When he had received the drink, Jesus said, "It is finished." With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit."

          With that sacrifice, God gave us the possibilities of escaping our bondage to sin.

          April 7, 2014 at 2:47 pm |
  15. Vic

    I met and worked with atheists in the corporate world and elsewhere. Over the course of commenting on the CNN Belief Blog, it is evident to me that there are no atheists here, rather, anti-theists.

    Positive......Negative
    Active........Passive
    Belief.........Disbelief
    Theism.......Atheism

    The logical negative —which is a passive state— of Theism is Atheism. One can only be an atheist if he/she is passive. The moment you actively pursue the Atheism stance, it is automatically a belief, hence Anti-Theism.

    April 7, 2014 at 11:47 am |
    • Vic

      p.s. This comment is in reference to the barrage by anti-theists over these pages.

      April 7, 2014 at 11:49 am |
      • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

        I am compelled to agree that there are many anti-theists who post here.

        April 7, 2014 at 11:57 am |
      • Troy

        While one cannot fully disagree with you, you would have to notice that not all commenters here are Christians or Atheists. There are a vast majority that are Hindus, Buddhists and a few Muslims who comment on a regular basis. When you recognize that tidbit of information, it becomes a lot easier for you to appreciate where the other person is coming from.

        April 7, 2014 at 12:06 pm |
        • Vic

          I am not talking about who posts comments here, I am talking about those who constantly attack me and other Christian posters for stating our Christian belief in the course of discussion.

          I myself never engaged in any insults, badgering, etc., towards anybody here, and yet, I receive the exact opposite. I always choose to engage in objective and respectful discourse, and quite honestly, I don't blame those who stoop down the level of the attackers in self-defense anymore.

          April 7, 2014 at 12:22 pm |
        • observer

          Vic is right. Both sides need to be more civil. There is no reason why we can't all have respect for those who have respect for us and attempt to practice the Golden Rule. This applies not only to rude nonbelievers but to those who gloat about others going to hell.

          April 7, 2014 at 12:27 pm |
        • Troy

          Vic,

          You are right, but as a Christian you are called to a higher standard than the person of another faith. On a positive note, your behavior serves as model for other human beings to emulate. Now, that behavior cannot be expected from those others because of their faith or lack thereof. Keep that smile, don't let these comments distract you from your faith. Remember as a Christian your standards are very high, that is what ultimately differentiates you from those of other faith. Keep up the good work!

          April 7, 2014 at 12:39 pm |
        • ausphor

          observer
          When Vic posts his Christian beliefs do I not have the right to then whine about him being Anti-Deist or Anti-Maltheism. Of course if someone gets offended, as Vic does, when he is told that people find his beliefs delusional, that he has a little mind or can't stop spreading his beliefs ad nauseam. The boy has free will, he does not have to post here and I have found many blog sites much more uncivil than this one. You may also notice no mention of Saero21, thefinisher01, atheist hunter, et al. I find the persecution complex a bit one sided.

          April 7, 2014 at 12:42 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          Vic,

          There is a difference between attacking the religious ideas you promote and attacking you personally.... though I have seen attacks on you personally so I am not discounting that that behavior is present.

          April 7, 2014 at 12:44 pm |
        • observer

          ausphor

          If someone RESPECTFULLY disagrees with you, there is little justification for you to not be respectful too. Few people would say that calling someone "boy" and "delusional" shows the same amount of respect that you have been shown.

          Yes, you are COMPLETELY RIGHT about Salero21, thefinisher01, atheist hunter, et al.

          April 7, 2014 at 12:58 pm |
        • ausphor

          observer
          Well it must be that I do not live in an esoteric environment of people beyond reproach. The rough and tumble of my world these comments would be considered insignificant. Of course I also agree with ex-NY Mayor Koch who stated something like, I don't believe in turning the other cheek, I give back as much as I get. If Vic can't handle himself well ne can.....

          April 7, 2014 at 1:15 pm |
        • ausphor

          observer
          Well it must be that I do not live in an esoteric environment of people beyond reproach. The rough and tumble of my world these comments would be considered insignificant. Of course I also agree with ex-NY Mayor Koch who stated something like, I don't believe in turning the other cheek, I give back as much as I get. If Vic can't handle himself well he can.....

          April 7, 2014 at 1:15 pm |
        • Troy

          One more thing, don't spend too much time reading these comments, if you must, don't expect too much from these commenters — when your expectation is low, you won't be disappointed by the crudity.

          April 7, 2014 at 1:22 pm |
        • observer

          ausphor

          "I give back as much as I get."

          Fine. Just give examples of when Vic has called you names and been disrespectful.

          April 7, 2014 at 3:22 pm |
      • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

        @Vic,

        these two statements:

        "I am talking about those who constantly attack me and other Christian posters for stating our Christian belief in the course of discussion."

        "The moment you actively pursue the Atheism stance, it is automatically a belief, hence Anti-Theism."

        Are very different. I am very sympathetic to the viewpoint that all the rudeness here is unecessary. I agree with that. It happens to non-believers too.

        I will say that your proselytizing with your "Jesus is Lord" type posts are like waving a red flag at a bull to the anti-theists. While I don't condone people attacking you personally, if you constrained your comments to the topic and proselytized less, I think you would find that the attacks will decrease.

        April 7, 2014 at 12:34 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          Well put

          April 7, 2014 at 12:47 pm |
        • Vic

          Many people who attack Christian believers here say they are atheist and that there is no God. Then they go on condescending Christianity and Christian believers. That makes the two statements very much inline.

          Regarding my "Jesus Christ Is Lord," This is a "Belief Blog," and many Christian believers are here. It is common for believers to say things like that all the time, I guess everybody is familiar with "Praise the Lord," and I clearly stated before that it is my daily praise. Now, a non-believer being offended by it proves my point. An atheist won't be offended by it while an anti-theist would.

          April 7, 2014 at 12:49 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          @Vic,

          your proselytizing doesn't offend me. It is indeed a "Belief Blog" and you can say anything you want. My point was simply that your proselytizing creates an incentive for the anti-theists here to attack you.

          I think you know that your proselytizing will bait the anti-theists into attacking you. I don't condone their attacks but it's as predictable as sunrise. It's a choice you make.

          April 7, 2014 at 12:55 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          Vic,

          You have every right to state your belief the "Jesus is Lord" ...but if you do so others have every right to oppose that idea and claim.

          April 7, 2014 at 1:01 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          "That makes the two statements very much inline.

          If you subscribe to the idea of "Love the sinner, hate the sin" then "Respect the believer, dismiss the belief" is an understandable position, no?

          April 7, 2014 at 1:01 pm |
        • ausphor

          Vic
          As a Deist I am offended by you daily praise on a public site and so would a Maltheist. Always someone to be offended, Jesus Christ is Lord of the Myth.

          April 7, 2014 at 1:05 pm |
        • Vic

          Well, if you insist.

          With all due respect to my fellow Evangelicals, I am a mainline Christian Protestant, I do not aim to proselytize. As a matter of fact, I don't do it on purpose. In many situations it is inevitable due to the course of discussion that I need to explain who a Christian is, and so on and so forth. I try as much as possible, like I have done so many times already, to state that whoever is at 100% "Free Will" to take it or leave it.

          April 7, 2014 at 1:10 pm |
        • ausphor

          Vic
          Alright, reasonable response, but why do you have to display your praise in public, does it make you feel superior. There must be a reason you cannot share your praise with the one you are praising, you prefer to preach, right?

          April 7, 2014 at 1:21 pm |
        • Vic

          To whom it may concern:

          Stating my daily praise "Jesus Christ Is Lord" is always relevant to the subject matter, that is the Blog's Article at hand. This is a "Belief Blog" where Christianity is center stage, and Jesus Christ is the center of Christianity, its "focus."

          Again, an atheist won't be offended by it while an anti-theist, let alone anti-Christian will.

          April 7, 2014 at 1:21 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          To whom it may concern:

          Opposing your daily praise "Jesus Christ Is Lord" is always relevant to the subject matter, that is the Blog's Article at hand. This is a "Belief Blog" where Christianity is center stage, and Jesus Christ is the center of Christianity, its "focus."

          Again, opposing Jesus Christ and CHristianity does not equate to being offended.

          April 7, 2014 at 1:32 pm |
        • ausphor

          Vic
          You are here promoting your religion, dare I say preaching Christianity but can't seem to take the push back from those that believe your religion is any more than a myth, one of the ugliest versions of the god myths BTW. Your persecution complex is unbecoming, the other cheek and all.

          April 7, 2014 at 1:44 pm |
        • hotairace

          Vic just wants to return to the days when nice people didn't talk about religion. He wants everyone to respect his beliefs no matter how silly and without foundation they are. Fuck that!

          April 7, 2014 at 1:48 pm |
        • ausphor

          Vic You are getting as obtuse as Theo with your own definition of words. Look up theist there are many different kinds. You can not be an Anti-Monotheist and an Anti-Maltheist at the same time or maybe YOU can.

          April 7, 2014 at 1:52 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      "One can only be an atheist if he/she is passive. The moment you actively pursue the Atheism stance, it is automatically a belief, hence Anti-Theism."

      I disagree with your statement vehemently. Passivity is not a determinate here.

      Yes, if your belief is that religion should be destroyed, you are an anti-theist. If you attack believers as "stupid" simply because they are believers, you are an anti-thesist. If your purpose is to "unconvert" believers you are an anti-theist.

      However, if you are happy to live and let live and primarily respond here to people who attack disbelief, or to point out the weakness of an argument made by a religionist, you are not necessarily an anti-theist.

      April 7, 2014 at 11:56 am |
      • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

        I think one can be an anti-theist if they perceive religious belief as inherently harmful to society and have no further agenda than that specific opinion.

        April 7, 2014 at 12:23 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          I don't object to that defintion.

          My own perspective is that like all human inventions, religion has positive (beneficial) and negative (harmful) aspects. Personally I don't consider myself to be an anti-theist.

          April 7, 2014 at 12:29 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          And I agree that religious belief can have and even does have benefits. But in the end I think the harm out weighs the benefit.

          April 7, 2014 at 12:34 pm |
    • ausphor

      Vic
      Everything seems to be black and white in your little mind. Are agnostics also anti-theists? I am a modern day deist and of all the man made gods I find the Christian one the most disgusting and has caused so much suffering in the world. You may also want to expand on what type of theism you are talking about there are many different types.

      April 7, 2014 at 12:01 pm |
    • Doris

      Vic: "One can only be an atheist if he/she is passive"

      Where do you get this garbage, Vic?

      April 7, 2014 at 12:05 pm |
      • hotairace

        It's Monday. Members of the dead jew zombie cannibal vampire death cult aka christianity got topped up with "Jesus Juice" yesterday.

        April 7, 2014 at 12:10 pm |
      • ausphor

        Vic
        If I wasn't a Deist I would probably prefer a belief in Malthiesm especially in regards to your holy trinity.

        April 7, 2014 at 12:18 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Translation:

      If you voice your opposition to the validity of my belief statements I will dishonestly lump you into a single catagory, use a false dicotomy and define words any way I see fit to make my point.

      April 7, 2014 at 12:12 pm |
    • samsstones

      Stop using the words logic and reason in your posts, you ass-hat.

      April 7, 2014 at 12:21 pm |
  16. truth1914

    I found this article very informative. It talks about many of the issues brought up by this movie and this CNN article. It talks about 5 misconceptions about God:
    1. God is a mystery
    2. God does not really care
    3. God is vengeful
    4. God is unfair
    5. God accepts all forms of worship

    http://wol.jw.org/en/wol/lv/r1/lp-e/0/13043

    April 7, 2014 at 11:40 am |
    • LinCA

      Even more so, it glosses over the biggest misconception of all about gods. That they are real.

      April 8, 2014 at 2:01 am |
  17. Lucifer's Evil Twin

    "A third choice is to fall back — quite easily — on the essential unknowability of God" In other words... 'pay no attention to the man behind the curtain'. Ask no questions... be good little stupid sheep...

    April 7, 2014 at 11:30 am |
  18. ausphor

    Doris
    If we could just get him to understand that a casual chain is based on natural facts and cannot be influenced by the supernatural, thus the first cause cannot be" his god did it". Then he could go back to cutting and pasting lucid arguments from apologist sites (that is meant as a joke) and/or those oh so clever bible verses, just as boring.

    April 7, 2014 at 11:27 am |
    • ausphor

      reply to Doris, coffee is wearing off.

      April 7, 2014 at 11:28 am |
  19. ausphor

    Guys and gals, you know by replying to Theo Phileo you are just encouraging him to get on his philosophical hobby horse and rant his nonsense all day. Well if you don't mind being bored to a near death experience, go for it.

    April 7, 2014 at 10:02 am |
    • Doris

      lol – maybe that should be a new level beyond extra bold for coffee strength – "will be reading Theo Phileo"

      April 7, 2014 at 10:44 am |
      • doobzz

        Maybe they could use him in Planes, Trains and Automobiles instead of Del Griffith.

        " I could tolerate any insurance seminar. For days I could sit there and listen to them go on and on with a big smile on my face. They'd say, "How can you stand it?" I'd say, "'Cause I've been with Theo Phileo. I can take ANYTHING." You know what they'd say? They'd say, "I know what you mean. The CNN Belief Blog guy. Woah."

        April 7, 2014 at 3:08 pm |
  20. Bob

    Since Vic and Theo keep blathering about their sky fairy, their supposed "creator" of the universe, it is now appropriate to point out that the foundation of their religion is complete nonsense, along with other issues regarding their sicko bigoted, se.xist supersti.tion known as Christianity:

    First, regarding Vic's standard post about his "Jesus that he keeps spamming us with, how is it, Vic, that your omnipotent being couldn't do his saving bit without the whole silly Jesus hoopla? And how was Jesus' death a "sacrifice", when an omnipotent being could just pop up a replacement son any time with less than a snap of his fingers? Pretty pathetic "god" that you've made for yourself there. Again, the foundation of your whole religion is nonsense.

    Now, regarding the Christian god of the Christian book of nasty AKA the bible, he really is presented as being quite the murderous ass hole, when one considers his purported demands of his followers such as these. Straight from both foul testaments of the Christian horror book, and note the text following the quotes:

    Numbers 31:17-18
    17 Now kiII all the boys. And kiII every woman who has slept with a man,
    18 but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

    Deuteronomy 13:6 – “If your brother, your mother’s son or your son or daughter, or the wife you cherish, or your friend who is as your own soul entice you secretly, saying, let us go and serve other gods … you shall surely kill him; your hand shall be first against him to put him to death”

    Revelation 2:23 And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.

    Leviticus 25
    44 “‘Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves.
    45 You may also buy some of the temporary residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country, and they will become your property.
    46 You can bequeath them to your children as inherited property and can make them slaves for life, but you must not rule over your fellow Israelites ruthlessly.

    Note that the bible is also very clear that you should sacrifice and burn an animal today because the smell makes sicko Christian sky fairy happy. No, you don't get to use the parts for food. You burn them, a complete waste of the poor animal.

    Yes, the bible really says that, everyone. Yes, it's in Leviticus, look it up. Yes, Jesus purportedly said that the OT commands still apply. No exceptions. But even if you think the OT was god's mistaken first go around, you have to ask why a perfect, loving enti-ty would ever put such horrid instructions in there. If you think rationally at all, that is.

    And then, if you disagree with my interpretation, ask yourself how it is that your "god" couldn't come up with a better way to communicate than a book that is so readily subject to so many interpretations and to being taken "out of context", and has so many mistakes in it. Pretty pathetic god that you've made for yourself.

    So get out your sacrificial knife or your nasty sky creature will torture you eternally. Or just take a closer look at your foolish supersti-tions, understand that they are just silly, and toss them into the dustbin with all the rest of the gods that man has created.

    And further, ask yourself why we should have to rely on very stale, thousands-of-years-old, many-versioned old text, that is only reasonably subject to debates over its meaning. Why is it that your pathetic sky fairy can't even get with the past decade and create his own web presence (no, religious shill sites don't count), or push some tweets out? Even the pope, that creepy hider of criminal priests, could do that much, as can most children. After thousands of years of radio silence, reasonable doubt in the existence of your sky creature is easily justified, to say the least. Your absurd "god" is also apparently less capable at communication than any modern 10 year old.

    Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement.
    Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.
    http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

    April 7, 2014 at 9:52 am |
    • Theo Phileo

      May God bless the reading of His word.

      April 7, 2014 at 9:59 am |
      • Ed

        Your comment is fscking stupid, Theo, and so are you. If those are your god's blessings, and you are an example of his faithful subjects, you can shove your disgusting faith and your abusive "god" where the sun don't shine. You are totally deluded. Get a better brain, stupid.

        April 7, 2014 at 10:20 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          Why should I explain scripture to anyone who only wishes to mock that which they do not understand?
          "Do not give what is holy to dogs..." Matthew 7:6

          April 7, 2014 at 10:24 am |
        • ausphor

          Ed
          Totally agree, everyday in every way Theo gets dumber and dumber

          April 7, 2014 at 10:26 am |
        • Doris

          Theo's answer, of course, keeps him within his comfortable circle. Not only is his reasoning faulty for excessive self-reference, but what he refers to is untrustworthy. The authorship of Matthew is unknown.

          April 7, 2014 at 11:00 am |
      • whippstippler7

        The Word? And what is the Word? Bird, bird, bird! Bird is the word!

        Speaking of the Word, and birds, Theo: did you know that your god, you know – created everything, all the universe, the people, the animals, etc, – was sooooooooo stupid, that he thought that bats were birds! Imagine! He created bats – clearly an unequivocally mammals, and then, in his big book of fables aka the Bible, he said that bats were birds!!! What a loon!

        So maybe bird really IS the word.

        And I promise not to bring up the cud-chewing rabbits and the four-legged insects in the bible, because that would be downright embarra-ssing for any god!

        April 7, 2014 at 10:22 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          "Bird, bird, bird! Bird is the word!"
          ---------–
          Hey! Great Trashmen reference! Cool surfing song too...

          April 7, 2014 at 10:25 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          "that he thought that bats were birds"
          ----------
          I know, right!?!?
          And he had the audacity to speak to a group of people and called them "men" when He knew full well that there were women and children in there! (OK, I'll turn the sarcasm machine off...)

          But these are words of generalization, and it's used a LOT in modern literature too, so if you've got a problem with the Bible when it uses generalization, then you've got a problem with the literary device in any book.

          April 7, 2014 at 10:28 am |
        • whippstippler7

          It IS a great song. Don't dodge the real question: why does your god refer to bats as birds? Why does your god say that rabbits chew their cud? Why does your god say that insects go about on all fours?

          April 7, 2014 at 10:28 am |
        • whippstippler7

          How is calling a bat a bird a generalization? it's not – it's a downright mistake.

          Rabbits do NOT chew their cud. A mistake – not a generalization.

          Insects have 6 legs, not 4 – another mistake – not a generalization.

          Is the bible the inerrant word of god, or not?

          April 7, 2014 at 10:33 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          "Is the bible the inerrant word of god, or not?"
          ----------–
          Yes, of course. But don't expect it to be a textbook in the sense you seem to be expecting it to be. Ancient Hebrews didn't have the same taxonomy that we have today, and many things were classified by function or form. It's really a non-issue.

          The word transliterated as 'owph that we get "bird" from means "owner of a wing," which comes from a root word which means to cover or to fly.

          See? The original languages are what is inerrant. Men have taken great care to properly translate from Hebrew to English, but it's not an easy job, and occassionally you get "generalizations" like this that require context to fully understand what is meant.

          April 7, 2014 at 10:44 am |
        • whippstippler7

          And speaking of insects, all we get from Theo on that point is "cricket, cricket, cricket".

          Typical.

          April 7, 2014 at 10:45 am |
        • whippstippler7

          Ah – so the bible is full of human-generated mistakes? Thank you.

          Since the bible, as you have now admitted, IS full of mistakes, there is no way to determine what is right and what is wrong – what is god's word, and what is a human mistake.

          So therefore, one cannot say with ANY certainty what is the word of god. Use the bible for the good bits – love your neighbour, etc – (which is common sense, by the way) and throw out the god mumbo jumbo

          April 7, 2014 at 10:48 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          "Ah – so the bible is full of human-generated mistakes? Thank you."
          ---------------
          I don't think that Evil Knievel could make that leap.... How do you call a generalization a mistake? Do you also call the "feeding of the 5,000" a mistake? Unless of course the apostles went around taking a roll count of everyone there and it was found to be precisely 5,000...

          You see, you seem to think that taking the Bible literally means ignoring whatever literary device it may be using, and read it in a rather hyperbolic manner.

          Principles of interpretation (Hermeneutics)
          1)Literal Principle – Scripture is to be understood in its natural, normal sense, read literally
          2)Grammar Principle – Deal with what it says in the way it says it, be it using metaphor, simile, narrative, etc.
          3)Historical Principle – Read the Bible in its historical context
          4)Synthesis Principle – No one part of the Bible contradicts any other part (Scripture interprets Scripture)
          5)Practical Principle – It contains a practical application
          6)Illumination of the Holy Spirit – It is the job of the Holy Spirit to enlighten the child of God to the meaning of Scripture, without Him, one is without the ability to interpret Scripture

          1 Corinthians 2:14 – the natural man does not understand the things of God for they are spiritually discerned

          John 8:43 – Why do you not understand what I am saying? It is because you cannot hear My word. You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father.

          April 7, 2014 at 10:55 am |
        • whippstippler7

          Cut the BS, Theo – you lost this one.

          The bible is just a collection of stories, written by people, to control other people. Just like other religious texts. There is no god, only us.

          And babies ARE innocent – and I know your inherent morality – which comes from being human, NOT from a book – is telling you that.

          Peace out.

          April 7, 2014 at 11:06 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          "Cut the BS, Theo – you lost this one."
          ----------
          How is that? Because I showed you that your understanding about scripture is misguided?

          And babies ARE innocent – and I know your inherent morality – which comes from being human, NOT from a book – is telling you that.
          ---------------
          If an infant baby, when he tries to grab his grandfather's watch, and is told no, and breaks out into a screaming tantrum had the strength of an 18 year old man, he would rip the watch from his grandfather's arm, and leave bloody footprints back to his room where he goes to hide alone to play.

          One does not teach immorality to children, but morality. Immoral behavior comes naturally to every one of us because we are all sinners from birth.

          April 7, 2014 at 11:15 am |
        • Doris

          No one knows who authored John.

          And as for Paul's Corinthians, well no one knows who authored Peter 2. So much for Peter's alleged stamp of approval of Paul's works as divinely-inspired Scripture.

          April 7, 2014 at 11:16 am |
        • hotairace

          Theo is one sick puppy, especially when it comes to the nature of children. Seek the help of a mental health professional Theo.

          April 7, 2014 at 11:26 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.