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April 17th, 2014
08:00 AM ET

Did Christians really 'steal' Easter?

Opinion by Candida Moss, special to CNN

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(CNN) - It’s that time of year again: the time when chocolate comes in pastels, cherry blossoms start to bloom and well-marketed religion exposés are released to the world.

In other words, it’s Easter.

Among the rash of sensationalist stories we can expect through the season, the annual “Easter was stolen from the pagans” refrain has sprouted again just in time for Holy Week.

Don’t believe the hype.

Perhaps most misinformed theory that rolls around the Internet this time of year is that Easter was originally a celebration of the ancient Near Eastern fertility goddess Ishtar.

This idea is grounded in the shared concept of new life and similar-sounding words Easter/Ishtar. There’s no linguistic connection, however. Ishtar is Akkadian and Easter is likely to be Anglo-Saxon.

Just because words in different languages sound the same doesn’t mean they are related. In Swedish, the word “kiss” means urine.

But the biggest issue for Christians is the claim that Jesus’ resurrection - the faith’s central tenet - might have pagan roots.

Even apart from whether or not Jesus actually rose from the dead, many Christians claim that the very idea is unique.

There are other biblical examples of people being raised from the dead – think of Jesus raising Lazarus. But those people went on to die again. Only Jesus was raised from the dead to live forever.

But there’s a problem: Pre-Christian religions are replete with dying and rising gods.

Dionysius, most commonly thought of as the Greek god of wine, is one such example. He was lured to his death by the Titans, who then boiled and ate him. He was revived by his grandmother, and from his ashes humanity was formed, the Greeks believed.

Farther afield, Osiris – an Egyptian god-king who became ruler of the realm of the dead – was slaughtered before being brought back to life by Isis.

A similar story is found in the case of the Greek goddess Persephone, the daughter of the harvest goddess Demeter. Persephone was carried off to the underworld by the love-struck Hades. Because she ate pomegranate seeds in the underworld, she was permitted to leave only for six months a year.

Her annual resurrection is a metaphor for the changing of the seasons, and many scholars think that stories about dying and rising deities are essentially explanations for the coming of winter.

Then there’s Mithras, an ancient Iranian deity popular among Roman soldiers.

Among the many claims made about Mithras are that he was born on December 25, that adherents to his cult practiced baptism, and that he died and was resurrected.

The connections between Christ and Mithras are further amplified by the fact that the church of St. Clement, near the Colosseum in Rome, is built on top of an ancient Mithraeum.

The list goes on, and I’ll admit it’s a bit unsettling.

That's why the accusations that Christians “stole” the Resurrection from the Pagans is so popular and rhetorically powerful.

If, as many Christians claim, Christianity’s against-the-odds success is in some way proof of its authenticity and truth, then what does it say that parts of its truth were stolen from religious movements that no longer exist?

Spiritual “Manifest Destiny” looks less persuasive when extinct religious traditions supplied the backbone for the modern-day Church.

But there are ways around some of these problems.

Lumping all of these stories of dying and rising gods into a single category obscures important differences between them. Some of those who rose as gods, for example, were mere human beings prior to their return. Jesus, in contrast, was divine before his death, according to Christian theology.

Also, some of the parallels between the traditions come from a later period (post-Christianity) or are completely unsubstantiated. The arguments about Mithras and Jesus, for example, have completely fallen apart in the past 50 years because there simply isn’t enough ancient evidence to support them.

We should also ask whether the fishermen who followed Jesus around Palestine would have known about (much less adopted) stories from ancient Egyptians and Babylonians.

Greek and Roman mythology circulated widely on coins, but would the followers of Jesus who first claimed that Jesus was resurrected have known these stories in great detail?

Perhaps, perhaps not.

On the other hand, many Christians claim that Jesus’ death and resurrection is subtly different from that of other ancient deities and, thus, that the resurrection of Jesus was a wholly new idea.

The problem is, these apologists are one archeological discovery away from disaster. In the meantime, they are trying to pry Christianity apart from other late antique religions in order to protect it.

Perhaps the real problem here is with the idea of uniqueness.

As the University of Chicago scholar Jonathan Z. Smith showed, there’s a huge ideological and religious investment in the idea that Jesus was unique.

But there doesn’t have to be. Just because one idea is influenced by another idea doesn’t mean that its meaning is determined by the chronologically prior idea.

The Founding Fathers may have been influenced by Greek classical tradition, but this doesn’t mean that we should interpret the Constitution in light of Aristotle. You can recognize both the importance and innovation of the Constitution and its roots in ancient European civics.

Rather than battening down the hatches and looking for other signs of uniqueness, Christians need to think about how meaning relates to tradition.

Christians didn’t steal Easter, but it probably wasn’t a wholly new idea, either.

Candida Moss is the author of the “Myth of Persecution” and “Ancient Christian Martyrdom” and professor of New Testament and early Christianity at the University of Notre Dame. The views expressed in this column belong to Moss. 

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Church • Easter • Easter • Holidays • Jesus • Opinion • Paganism • Traditions

soundoff (2,118 Responses)
  1. realbuckyball

    As Dr. Bernard Brandon Scott (professor of New Testament at the Tulsa Seminary) explains in "The Trouble With Resurrection" what "seeing Jesus" meant (in the correctly contextually translated Greek of Paul) was "coming to *understand* Jesus *in a different light". It did not mean "physically risen". It's a great book. The early Christians did not actually believe had rose with a normal "physical" body. Jews believed in "shades" (dead souls). All the gospels say they did not recognize him as one would expect with a dead shade. Matthew says just before the "Great commission" they STILL were afraid of the shade they said they saw. Whatever was going on, they were not claiming to have seen a normal "risen" physical body.

    April 21, 2014 at 10:25 am |
  2. Doc Vestibule

    "Ishtar is Akkadian and Easter is likely to be Anglo-Saxon."
    Which is why the origins of the term 'Easter" are more likely related to Ēostre, a Saxon goddess of spring, renewal and fertility (sometimes called Eastre by the Teutons).

    April 21, 2014 at 9:13 am |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Agreed. Ishtar is a red herring.

      "Easter is likely to be Anglo-Saxon." Yup, and as you said Doc derived from Ēostre / Ostara.

      April 21, 2014 at 9:55 am |
      • normalpap

        But Ostara and Eostre were fertility goddesses like Ishtar, so we come full circle.

        April 21, 2014 at 3:17 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          I'm not trying to draw parallels between gods, merely the etymology of the word "Easter".

          April 22, 2014 at 8:22 am |
  3. southerneyes44

    None of you who say "I can't hold it in my hands nor see it with my eyes" are the first nor the best at that doubt.
    Truthfully, you never met Hitler either, but you believe the stories about him don't you? You see pictures of a guy and google speeches in Berlin, but you don't speak German so you don't know what he's really saying. You can't see an atom, but you would argue about String theory and Quantum Mechanics in a second, right? You believe life came from Mars and evolved through natural selection, yet in your life time more species will die than were discovered in Darwin's.
    You lead your argument with tidy demands for proof of a God and admonish those that quote His words. Clever.
    The only response for all of you is that the sum of all your correctness and cleverness will not provide you clarity. I nor any other person can give you the key to lose your ambiguity on this topic so to free yourself to view other topics with a clearer mind. Truthfully, if you don't believe then don't come here to argue. If you come here to argue accept that your nature is torn in reality of your belief.

    April 20, 2014 at 10:24 pm |
    • tallulah131

      Your relationship with reality seem rather tenuous.

      April 20, 2014 at 10:26 pm |
      • southerneyes44

        You don't seem very articulate. This is a common ploy of agnostics, place a clever jab and be cute for the cronies. You don't know me so if you want to discuss something, write it. If you have nothing to discuss move along. I'm not 12.

        April 20, 2014 at 10:36 pm |
        • ssq41

          "you don't seem to be..." Oh, the credibility of the average Christian poster here dies with such words. I guess Jesus needs to come back and die again for the arrogance of the Body of Christ.

          April 20, 2014 at 10:41 pm |
        • southerneyes44

          The quote was "You don't seem to be very articulate."
          You even missed the quote so it goes without saying for you. And again with the snarky jab, predictably in line.
          You answered the call though.

          April 20, 2014 at 10:52 pm |
        • tallulah131

          Oh I get that you're not 12. You're far to sanctimonious to be that young. You just don't seem to comprehend historical evidence. We know Hitler existed because we have evidence that was contemporary to his lifetime. We have living eyewitnesses. We have physical evidence: Films, photos, recordings, letters and even a profusion of accounts of him provided by his enemies. We have millions dead in concentration camps (or do you deny that?). We had a World War and thousands of American soldiers killed.

          On the other hand, there is not a single contemporary source recording the life of Christ. Every writing about him, even the biblical writings, came decades after his alleged death. There is no evidence that any of the miracles listed in the bible ever occurred. Indeed Noah's flood and the Exodus from Egypt are conspicuously absent from the geologic and archeological record. There just wasn't a major population of jewish slaves in Egypt that needed freeing.

          I'm not a scientist, but I trust the enforced integrity of scientists. Science is highly competitive and never complacent. Scientific claims are scrutinized, replicated and if they are wrong they are corrected or thrown out. Compare that with religion. Religion only changes when changes in society threaten to make that religion obsolete.

          Frankly, I don't need science to tell me your god - or any god - doesn't exist. History makes it very clear. Humans have invented thousands of gods throughout history. Your god is just another. When humans no longer need that particular crutch, your god will go away (possibly replaced by another.) Gods are like Tinker Bell; you stop clapping, they die.

          April 20, 2014 at 11:03 pm |
        • southerneyes44

          But your argument is null in your own words: YOU believe.
          You believe in history. You believe in science. So? Not that I was trying to get a Hitler discussion started, but Germany doesn't teach about him. Theories in science change with the newspaper. Integrity in science is based on how big the next grant is. Not strong elements to rest on.
          It's easy enough to refute the old Testament stories, except you know most of them have been proven to be at least partially true. You ever been to Africa? Me either. Lots of Jews in Africa though.
          I feel the key to really opening up in life is to appreciate that not being able to explain things is okay. To see through history that those same things have plagued men is not such a bad thing, either. Coming to terms with life like that through the teachings of Christ doesn't do it for you, that's fine. You're still talking about it. Hard as it is to believe, you have thought more about God today than most non-agnostics.

          April 20, 2014 at 11:35 pm |
        • gulliblenomore

          Southern.....wrong again. We have thought more about no god than most agnostics did today. Lack of proof of something tends to draw that obvious conclusion

          April 21, 2014 at 8:00 am |
        • ssq41

          Was hoping for a tallulah response...must have gone to bed.

          I'm surprised, southern, that with all your apparent education, you didn't even display knowledge of debate 101...you don't even know how tallulah defines "belief" and "believe". You didn't have the humility and courtesy to ask.

          Your thoughts might have actually had some measure of validity.

          Instead, as would be expected from a 12 year-old, you require that everyone defines the word (and the world) as you do.

          Such heady arrogance. You should run for office...the countries of the world are looking for dictators.

          April 21, 2014 at 12:22 am |
        • tallulah131

          It doesn't matter if Germans don't teach about Hitler. It doesn't change the fact that historical evidence proves that Hitler existed. It doesn't matter how many jews there are in Africa. It does not change the fact that there is still no evidence to show that ANY of the supernatural events described in the bible took place.

          You are a bald-faced liar about science. Perhaps someone could get a grant with bad data, but they wouldn't keep it. Fraud destroys careers, and because science is highly competive, claims get scrutinized. Before any new scientific idea is even published, it is peer reviewed. Before it's accepted, it must be tested and replicated, time and again. Do you know why science changes? Because new things are being discovered every day, and science by it's very nature is flexible enough to change with reality. Try that with your bible.

          You say this: "I feel the key to really opening up in life is to appreciate that not being able to explain things is okay." I'm perfectly fine with saying "I don't know" but I will still search for honest answers. You, on the other hand, seen to try to fill all the "I don't knows" with "god did it". Apparently you aren't as okay with "I don't know" as you claim.

          The funniest part about your statement is that you claim "But your argument is null in your own words: YOU believe." I went over my entire comment and I did not use the word "believe" even once. Those are your words, not mine.

          I feel sorry for you. You are a sad, self-important fool, exposing your weakness to anyone reading. I suspect that you admired yourself today more than you even thought about your god.

          April 21, 2014 at 3:04 am |
        • alonsoquixote

          southerneyes44, you wrote "Germany doesn't teach about him" in regards to Hitler That's a ludicrous assertion as is "Theories in science change with the newspaper." It sounds like you have "hypothesis" confused with "scientific theory." Just because you read an article in a newspaper on the topic of science doesn't mean the contents of the article consti_tute a scientific theory. You also write "It's easy enough to refute the old Testament stories, except you know most of them have been proven to be at least partially true." Yes, it is easy to refute them. As for them being partially true, the Trojan War in Homer's Iliad may be based on a historical conflict of the 12th century BC, even if Homer's writings are removed from the event by more than four centuries of oral tradition. Should one then believe in Zeus, Athena, Hera, Poseidon, and Hermes, since they appear in the Iliad and Odyssey? Historical fiction relies on actual places and some actual individuals. And mythological stories may be based on actual individuals whose life stories are greatly embellished over time so that they gain miraculous powers and even may become deities in time through apotheosis. The Greek mythographer Euhemerus, who lived in the 4th century B.C., described the process of how men are turned into gods. The Jesus stories may have been based on one of many Jewish messiah claimants, if the stories are based on the life of an actual individual, though there's not even any incontrovertible evidence that he even existed, if one searches for such evidence outside the Bible and doesn't rely on known forged material, such as the Testimonium Flavianum.

          April 21, 2014 at 8:04 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          "Hitler discussion started, but Germany doesn't teach about him."

          I'm not sure where you got that information, but it is patently false.
          The treatment of the Nazi period in all its aspects - Hitler's rise to power; his establishment of a dictatorship in Germany; the abolition of the rule of law; the persecution of all kinds of political opponents; the racially motivated persecution of the Jews, culminating in the Holocaust; the reticence and opposition of German citizens; and, Germany's instigation of World War II - is compulsory teaching matter at all types of schools in Germany and at all levels of education.
          The primary political and educational objective for confronting young Germans with their country's darkest past and their ancestors' guilt is, above all, to make them understand the consequences of Hitler's dictatorship, the uniqueness of the Holocaust, and to make them appreciate the values and inst.itutions that protect freedom and democracy.

          "Theories in science change with the newspaper."
          Very few scientific theories make the paper as they're simply too boring to justify the print space.
          A theory is what one or more hypotheses become once they have been verified and accepted to be true. A theory is an explanation of a set of related observations or events based upon proven hypotheses and verified multiple times by detached groups of researchers. In general, both a scientific theory and a scientific law are accepted to be true by the scientific community as a whole. Both are used to make predictions of events. Both are used to advance technology.

          "Integrity in science is based on how big the next grant is."
          That's why scientific theories must undergo a rigorous review process. Other qualified scientists with no vested interest in seeing a given theory succeed or fail attempt to find flaws in the methodologies described in the source paper by replicating the processes themselves to see if they get the same results. Many disciplines that directly impact the public have oversight committees to ensure the integrity of data, such as the ORI for health and human services in the U.S. ( http://ori.hhs.gov/ )

          April 21, 2014 at 8:39 am |
        • southerneyes44

          Alonso: you really dug around in the bin for that one. I'll admit that stories about men tend to get forwarded through history as much as society needs them if you'll admit that there ceased to be God stories after 33AD. Lots of messengers and preachers and wannabes, but no more Gods. Weird. None the less, I applaud your far reaching attempt to make a point although the fact that you even know about Euhemerus is a product of Christian learning and appreciation of alternate views. Keep digging.
          Doc-didn't mean to hit a nerve, I realize that for many of you science is the only crutch. It's not perfect either you know, that's the only point really. Many theories have changed over the years, yes theories. Scientists are people.

          April 21, 2014 at 4:47 pm |
        • tallulah131

          It's laughable when you claim "hit a nerve" when in fact you were completely schooled Doc. You are fooling only yourself. All your pontification and posturing is meaningless, because it takes very little effort to point out exactly how clueless you really are.

          April 21, 2014 at 5:47 pm |
        • tallulah131

          Southern: It's laughable when you claim "hit a nerve" when in fact you were completely schooled by Doc. You are fooling only yourself. All your pontification and posturing is meaningless, because it takes very little effort to point out exactly how clueless you really are.

          April 21, 2014 at 5:47 pm |
        • southerneyes44

          Are you two a thing? He schooled me in cut and paste from Hemant Mehta? Read it, commented there and got a better discussion. (apply school girl laughter here.)

          April 21, 2014 at 9:27 pm |
        • tallulah131

          ahh! Double post!

          April 21, 2014 at 5:48 pm |
        • alonsoquixote

          southerneyes44, you wrote "Alonso: you really dug around in the bin for that one. I'll admit that stories about men tend to get forwarded through history as much as society needs them if you'll admit that there ceased to be God stories after 33AD. Lots of messengers and preachers and wannabes, but no more Gods."

          People in various parts of the world maintained the stories of their own gods for centuries afterwards and to this day still do. Perhaps you believe no more gods were invented after 33 A.D.? Why would I agree with you when you are obviously wrong? It's certainly not true mankind stopped creating gods after the Jewish god was transformed into a triune deity by Christians. It doesn't take any "digging around in the bin", only a familiarity with history and mythologies other than the Jewish and Christian ones. I'll cite just a few men who were declared to be gods after 33 A.D.

          Claudius (10 – 54 A.D.) – he was a Roman emperor from 41 to 54 A.D. who was deified upon his death by Nero and the Roman Senate. A temple was erected to him in Camulodunum, which is the present day town of Colchester in England. The temple was destroyed in Boudica's uprising in 60 or 61 A.D. when the Icenic forces set fire to it.

          Antinous (c. 111 – 130 A.D.) – he was a favorite of the emperor Hadrian and was divinized after his death. Even Justin Martyr (c.100-c.165), also known as Saint Justin, and Early Church Fathers of Christianity, such as Clement of Alexandria (c.150-c.211) and Tertullian of Carthage (c.160-c.240) wrote of his apotheosis.

          Guan Yu (died 220 A.D.) – a general during China's Han Dynasty. After his death he became a god in the Taoist pantheon. Often called the God of War, he became a deity of popular religion by the early Tang Dynasty (618 – 906 A.D.) and was regarded as a special patron god of the military. He was associated with loyalty and bravery and was also a killer of demons.

          Sugawara no Michizane (845 – 903 A.D.) – he was a scholar, poet, and politician of the Heian Period of Ja_pan who was deified upon his death and who came to be revered as the god of learning.

          Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah (985 – 1021 A.D.) – the sixth Fatmid caliph who was proclaimed to be the incarnation of God by Muhammad bin Ismail Nashtakin ad-Darazi, an 11th-century Ismaili preacher and early leader of the Druze faith, but subsequently branded a heretic, who was the leader of an army that was sent from Cairo to put down the up-rising of the Unity movement that started in the mountains of Lebanon to unite Christian and Muslim Suna and Shiah under one God. Though ad-Darazi preached that al-Hakim and his ancestors were the incarnation of God, al-Hakim had him executed.

          And, of course, in the Judaeo-Christian tradition many messiahs, such as Sabbatai Zevi (1626 – 1726 A.D.), the founder of the Jewish Sabbatean movement, have appeared over the subsequent centuries. The descendants of his followers are today's Dönmeh. In the last century, one of those messiah figures was Haile Selassie (1892 – 1972), King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah, who is revered as the returned messiah of the Bible, God incarnate, by Rastafarians. And messiahs continue to appear even today, e.g., the Russian mystic Sergey Anatolyevitch Torop, aka Vissarion, who claims to be a reincarnation of Jesus, who has about 4,000 followers living in his settlement of of Petropavlovka and who has about 10,000 followers worldwide. There's a fairly long list of recent messiah claimants, a number of which, like Vissarion, who are still living and have far more followers than the number usually associated with Jesus during his life in the biblical stories.

          In regards to your comment "the fact that you even know about Euhemerus is a product of Christian learning and appreciation of alternate views", we should, indeed, be thankful for early Christian monks who helped preserve the knowledge of prior centuries, but perhaps you are unaware of the contribution of Greek civilization to Western culture and the "Age of Enlightenment" in late 17th century Europe with figures such as Denis Diderot, Jean le Rond d'Alembert, Voltaire, Baruch Spinoza, etc. Perhaps you are also unaware of the Islamic scholars, such as Avicenna, Averroës, and Muhammad ibn Zakariya al-Razi (854 – 925 A.D.) who helped preserve and build upon the knowledge of the Ancient Greeks. In regards to "appreciation of alternate views", I would suggest you also not forget the many, such as Girodano Bruno, burned at the stake in Christian Europe for their alternate views.

          April 21, 2014 at 10:01 pm |
        • southerneyes44

          You did good. I enjoyed Chapter 7: Man the Inventor. of the Middlebury Paper, but your paraphrasing was just fine. You realize I don't care, right? This thread was about the fact that if you come to a belief blog to troll you might not be as strong a non-believer as you think you are.
          That was well researched though.

          April 21, 2014 at 10:18 pm |
        • alonsoquixote

          I transposed the "o" and "r" in Giordano Bruno's name.

          April 21, 2014 at 10:04 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          "we should, indeed, be thankful for early Christian monks who helped preserve the knowledge of prior centuries,"

          I agree with pretty much everything you are saying, however this one line does give me pause. The reason is this: Christianity through the Catholic Church was evangelizing in the Andean region along with the new Spanish rulers brutally repressed the people and their traditions. Many aspects of Inca culture were systematically destroyed, including their religious history, burning and destroying vast library's of Inca literature. This was not the only time when they were the book burners trying to stamp out any alternate religions they felt threatened their controlling grip. There were of course some who saved records, but for the most part Christianity tended to condemn anything not like them, blamed them as heretics and causes of plagues and poisoners of wells trying to wipe out any alternate religions that remained in Europe through much of the last two thousand years.

          April 21, 2014 at 10:20 pm |
        • southerneyes44

          Thanks. Not what the thread was about, but thanks.

          April 22, 2014 at 10:04 pm |
        • alonsoquixote

          Due to the positioning of your comment, it appears you are replying to me when you mention " I enjoyed Chapter 7: Man the Inventor. of the Middlebury Paper", though, since I'm unfamiliar with the paper you reference, perhaps you intended to reply to someone else, even though the indicator that shows replies to me indicates you are replying to me. For whom was your reply intended?

          I am also curious as to what posting you are referencing in regards to trolling. Perhaps you regard anyone presenting a viewpoint that differs from your own as unacceptable. Public sites such as this one offer a forum for an exchange of ideas; if encountering alternate viewpoints upsets you, I would suggest you avoid such sites and look for ones that will provide you with an "echo chamber"

          April 21, 2014 at 10:34 pm |
        • alonsoquixote

          southerneyes44, out of curiosity I searched Amazon, Google Books, and Google Scholar for a book ti_tled "Middlebury Paper", but none listed a book by that t_itle. Perhaps you misremembered the t_itle? Though your posting suggested you had the book in front of you or had recently read it.

          April 21, 2014 at 11:28 pm |
        • Akira

          Southerneyes44 admits his purpose: to troll. Finally. He rally IS that guy, and we can ignore the pretencious little thing.

          April 22, 2014 at 12:24 pm |
        • alonsoquixote

          neverbeenhappieratheist, I agree with your posting. For many centuries after Constantine I, the Roman Emperor from 306 to 337 A.D., backed Christianity as a common religion for the Roman Empire in the 4th century, Christians used violence and the threat of death to expand and maintain their control of populaces. Constantine I, who was the first Christian Roman emperor and who also had his wife, the Empress Fausta, and his eldest son, Crispus, put to death, seized property from pagan temples and by the end of his reign was ordering the pillaging and the tearing down of pagan temples. Constantine's son Constantius II, who reigned from 337 till 361, ordered the closing of all pagan temples and forbade Pagan sacrifices under pain of death. The vandalization of many ancient Pagan temples, tombs and monuments continued under his reign. When Theodosius became emperor of the whole empire in 392 A.D., he authorized the killing of pagan priests and the destruction of pagan temples and holy sites. He also likely suppressed the Ancient Olympic Games, since the last record of the Olympics being celebrated in ancient Rome is from 393 A.D.

          In Europe, Charlemagne, who in 800 A.D. became the first emperor in western Europe, after the collapse of the Western Roman Empire three centuries earlier and who was a pivotal figure in the Christianization of Europe, issued the Capitulatio de partibus Saxoniae, which prescribed death for Saxons who refused to convert from their native Germanic paganism to Christianity. In 782 A.D., at the Massacre of Verden, he massacred 4,500 captive Saxons who had rebelled after his invasion and subsequent attempts to forcibly convert them to Christianity.

          There were other instances of Christian rulers using fire and the sword to Christianize their populace. E.g., Olaf Tryggvason who was King of Norway from 995 to 1000 A.D. routinely used force to compel conversions to Christianity, including executions and torture of those who refused. The Norse Seiðr priest and warrior Raud the Strong refused to convert. As an example to others who refused to convert, Olaf had a drinking horn inserted in Raud's mouth and a snake inserted into the horn. The snake wouldn't cooperate and go into Raud's mouth, so Olaf had a hot poker applied to the snake to force it into his mouth and down his throat. Another who refused to convert was Eyvind Kinnrifi. Olaf had him killed by placing a brazier of hot coals on his belly. According to Heimskringla, one of the Old Norse kings' sagas, Olaf also had völva (shamans) tied up and left on a skerry, i.e., a small rocky island, which was above water when the tide was low, but many many feet beneath it when the tide was high. By such examples Olaf converted the Norwegian Vikings, at least ostensibly to Christianity. Archaeological records show that many still adhered to the old religion for almost another two hundred years, however.

          There were also the Northern Crusades undertaken by the Christian kings of Denmark and Sweden against the Pagan peoples of northern Europe in the 12th and 13 centuries. Pope Celestine III proclaimed a crusade against the Baltic heathens in 1195. Of course, Christians often turned on one another as well in an effort to stamp out any Christian groups who deviated from orthodoxy. E.g., Pope Innocent III, who launched the Fourth Crusade to conquer Muslim-controlled Jerusalem, also launched the twenty year Albigensian Crusade in 1209 against the Cathars, a Christian dualist sect, with roots in the Paulician movement, in Southern France. The Cathars viewed the god of the Old Testament as an evil god.

          There were also the Hussite Wars from 1419 to circa 1434 in which the Roman Catholic Church went to war against followers of Jan Hus, a priest, philosopher, and master at Charles University in Prague who had tried to reform the Church, condemning its sale of indulgences, which were the equivalent of a "get out of jail" card in the game of Monopoly in that the Church sold them as a means for believers to get out of Purgatory. Internecine conflicts between Christian groups goes all the way back to Constantine I, the first Christian Roman Emperor. He issued an edict calling for the seizure of Donatist property, though later in 321 A.D., he asked the "catholic" bishops to show toleration towards them.

          Christianity was brought to the New World in 1494 by the Spanish when they arrived at the Dominican Republic whereupon they set about enslaving the native populace. The Spanish were quite brutal in their treatment of the native populace. The Spanish historian and Dominican friar Bartolomé de las Casas (1484 – 1566), who accompanied Spanish conquistadors to the New World wrote of the atrocities committed by the Spanish Christians against the native peoples, including the slaughter of women and children. He wrote "They pass'd through the several Cities and Towns, sparing neither Age nor S_ex, but kill'd Women and Children as well as Men: They rip'd up Women with Child, that Root and Branch might be destroy'd together."

          As you mention, they attempted to destroy many aspects of the culture of the peoples they encountered in the New World. When they began their conquest of the Andean region in 1532 they noted the quipus, aka "talking knots", which were used as a record-keeping system by the native populace. Many of the conquistadores deemed the quipus idolatrous and destroyed them. They deemed anything associated with the Inca religion idolatrous and an impediment to their efforts to Christianize the natives.

          And, as you mentioned there's a long history of book burning and book banning in Christianity. All of Giordano Bruno's writings were placed on the Index Librorum Prohibitorum, a list of books banned by the Catholic Church, in 1603. Recared (559 – 601 A.D.), the first Catholic king of Spain, when he converted to Catholicism, ordered that all Arian Christian books be burned according to the Chronicle of Fredegar. The Arians were non-trinitarian Christians who regarded Jesus as a subordinate enti_ty to "God the Father".

          Denis Diderot and Jean le Rond d'Alembert, who I mentioned in my prior posting, created the first encylopedia, the Encyclopédie, ou dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers (Encyclopaedia, or a Systematic Dictionary of the Sciences, Arts, and Crafts) to include contributions from many named contributors, which represented the thought of the Enlightenment. The 28 volumes of the encyclopedia were published in France between 1751 and 1772. Because writers of the encyclopedia's articles questioned the authenticity of historical events cited in the Bible and questioned the validity of miracles and the Resurrection and emphasized the shift of the origin of political authority from the Church to the people, the clergy attempted to stop the encyclopedia project. But, because there was support for the encyclopedia project from a few powerful individuals, such as Madame de Pompadour, the official mistress of Louis XV of France, they were unable to stop its publication. The king, to appease the Church, officially banned the enterprise, but then his government later turned a blind eye towards its existence. In an earlier time their work would have been burned and they would have been burned at the stake.

          So, though southerneyes44 writes of Christian "appreciation of alternate views", there's a long and brutal history of Christians persecuting adherents of other religions, including the followers of Judaism, from which Christianity arose, during various European pogroms against Jews throughout many centuries, and adherents of other branches of Christianity. But there were others like the English monk and scholar Bede (672/673 – 735), also known as "The Father of English History", who studied the works of Pliny the Elder, Horace, Virgil, Lucretius, Ovid, and other classical writers and who helped preserve the knowledge of prior centuries. His works also contributed to the Carolingian Renaissance in the late eighth century to the ninth century. I am thankful there were men like him.

          April 22, 2014 at 9:03 pm |
        • southerneyes44

          Thanks. Again not what the original thread was about, but thanks. History is important.

          Moving along now. I feel certain you'll be back.

          April 22, 2014 at 10:14 pm |
      • ssq41

        No, not really...look again at your post (and please, in the future, quote yourself properly)...

        I added "to be" to one claiming that another isn't articulate...if you are going to be an ass, please at least write a proper sentence...

        April 20, 2014 at 10:59 pm |
        • southerneyes44

          I excluded it as a point, but thanks. And you're right, I retyped the correct form in haste. You do know what articulate is right? Aw well, humor is a lost art. Thanks for the grammar check. It really does reinforce my previous point, you can't get past the general understanding because of this ADD you guys have. The real message is always lost in spell-check.

          April 20, 2014 at 11:09 pm |
        • ssq41

          Oh the excuses!

          April 20, 2014 at 11:11 pm |
        • Akira

          So, you blame your mistake on the person who pointed it out to you by claiming that the person who pointed it out, and a whole bunch of others, has ADD? And further claim that those folks are snarky?

          April 20, 2014 at 11:24 pm |
        • ssq41

          ...I just can't stop laughing that southern misquoted him/herself.

          April 20, 2014 at 11:26 pm |
        • southerneyes44

          I will again direct you to the rest of the statement: if you have something to discuss please do. Otherwise, move on. Juvenile snickering posts are on another page.

          April 20, 2014 at 11:38 pm |
        • ssq41

          ...still dictating to others...I'm sad for your tenuous life (to borrow from tallulah)

          April 20, 2014 at 11:41 pm |
        • Akira

          Juvenile snickering posts are on another page.

          Not to put too fine a point on it, but ..... you can’t get past the general understanding because of this ADD you guys have. isn't exactly the height of maturity, nor are the sly little digs you throw in, assuming nobody will notice.

          Perhaps you should practice what you preach? Unless you don't care if you're known as "oh, that guy.

          April 21, 2014 at 12:37 am |
      • ssq41

        "You're still talking about it...."

        . Your inability to think about why non-believers come here, your sophmoric assumptions about why they do, and your dictation as to what they can and cannot speak of is truly entertaining.

        Please, continue to display your life-phobias for all to see and comment on.

        Oh, and why are you so afraid to live?

        April 20, 2014 at 11:50 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      "You lead your argument with tidy demands for proof of a God and admonish those that quote His words."

      I admonish those who CLAIM to quote the words of a god.... there is no reason to believe anyone who makes such claims.

      April 20, 2014 at 11:23 pm |
      • southerneyes44

        This was a great example, thanks. I struggled with how to word it, but you nailed it. You've been practicing.

        April 20, 2014 at 11:49 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          Oh, well I am glad you have had a change of opinion then and realize all those authors in the bible were only claiming to quote a god and there is no reason to trust what they wrote...good for you.

          April 20, 2014 at 11:54 pm |
        • ssq41

          "You've been practicing..." LOL!

          April 20, 2014 at 11:58 pm |
        • Dyslexic doG

          southern tosser

          April 21, 2014 at 10:12 am |
    • gulliblenomore

      southern....you are a sanctimonious jerk. I despise people that think that they are the only ones that 'get it', and the rest of us have nothing to say about it. I will say unequivocally....I need proof that there is a god, any god (I know you think yours is the only one....but have you successfully excluded all other gods?) before I am going to believe anything you propose. Proof....that is all I need to believe. Quite simple, really. And....I do need more proof than a musty 2000 year old book with hundreds of contradictions.,

      April 20, 2014 at 11:23 pm |
      • southerneyes44

        Why?

        April 20, 2014 at 11:42 pm |
        • Dyslexic doG

          @southern ... Why won't your god just show himself and then we will all believe he is real. Why the childish games?

          April 21, 2014 at 10:14 am |
        • gulliblenomore

          Ddog.....the similarity between invisible and non-existent is too much to ignore. Ever notice how chatty their god was back in the ignorance age (Noah, Moses, Abraham, etc), but not a peep since then? If he were to appear at the halftime show at the Super Bowl, we would all be believers. I'm with you on this....why all the ambiguity?

          April 21, 2014 at 10:22 am |
    • ssq41

      "...if you don't believe then don't come here to argue."

      Ahhhh...the sounds of one in life-crisis that, in order to maintain some semblence of control, must dictate to others what they can and can't do. Your choice of Hitler is instructive...Freud would have much to say here.

      Southern, you look just like your god...better yet, your god looks just like you.

      April 20, 2014 at 11:25 pm |
      • southerneyes44

        "If you come here to argue accept that your nature is torn in reality of your belief."
        You can come up with your own stuff I hope, I'm tired of pasting my stuff for you.

        April 20, 2014 at 11:44 pm |
        • ssq41

          What is it with the Chads, the Russ', the truthfollowers, etc. and now this one that they can't read a response and consider what the other is saying.

          You don't get to dictate the content of a response. But if you're going to respond, then at least try...please...try to comprehend.

          Your inability to comprehend a simple response is indicative of our failure to educate in this day and age. If you have a degree, please retain an attorney in order to obtain a refund.

          April 20, 2014 at 11:57 pm |
        • Akira

          You thought that was such a fantastic quote you posted it twice?

          Buy a diary.

          April 21, 2014 at 12:45 am |
    • realbuckyball

      Fallacy of the false analogy. Stop being bossy, Church Lady. You don't get to decide who posts here and who not. If all you want to read, and can handle, is self-affirming nonsense, YOU can get that almost anywhere. I do realize people in your Bible Belt think they get to decide what nice people talk about, but ya know. That went out with the Civil War.

      April 21, 2014 at 12:15 am |
    • nclaw441

      I believe in Christ. But how do we come to believe? Is it a choice that we can make? I say no. Ephesians 2:8 says that even our faith is a gift of God's grace. We must pray for those who do not believe that they will start the search and perhaps receive God's gift of faith. There is no room for sanctimony by any of us.

      April 21, 2014 at 7:44 am |
      • igaftr

        Gosh, You'll pray for us...I didn't get you anything either, but hope you will see that the dogma you believe in is entirely man made, and hope you will find reality one day.
        Keep your witchcraft to yourself, attempting to invoke god magic like that.

        April 21, 2014 at 8:24 am |
        • nclaw441

          You did not see me try to force my belief on you. You should reciprocate.

          April 21, 2014 at 9:30 am |
        • gulliblenomore

          Nclaw....if you truly believe that prayer works, the minute you said you would pray for us, you were forcing your beliefs on us. Now, if you, like us, believe that praying is worthless, then you didn't force anything on us.

          April 21, 2014 at 9:33 am |
        • igaftr

          Praying for those who do not believe IS forcing your religion.
          Keep your witchcraft to yourself.

          April 21, 2014 at 9:33 am |
      • realbuckyball

        Exactly. "No one shall come to me unless the Father draw him".
        You have a capricious deity.
        "Many are called but few are chosen".
        St. Paul said faith was a "gift". Not every one is given the "gift".
        Belief is usually conflated with moral choice by fundies. No rational person can "chose" to suspend reason.

        How hypocritical these religionists are. If THEY were sick, THEY would employ science to get better. If THEY were falsely in prison, THEY would use Evolution (DNA) to get out. If THEY needed heart surgery, would THEY "just pray".
        Hahahaha. The fact is religionists cling to life as much if not more than non-believers. If they REALLY believed they would actually be in a hurry to go see Jebus. The fact is, when the chips are down, they tell themselves they believe, but really don't. Even THEY say "Eternal rest grant unto them" at funerals. Is "eternal rest" REALLY "eternal LIFE" ? Nope. They have no clue what they are actually saying, or think they buy into.

        April 21, 2014 at 9:56 am |
        • Dyslexic doG

          beautiful!

          April 21, 2014 at 10:06 am |
        • kermit4jc

          BUT what makes youthink God only calls a FEW? cause He may call..but the OTHER end needs to respond! Many people are called...but they ignore.....we all are given the gifst....many do not use them...again the blame shift on someone else...pitiful

          April 21, 2014 at 4:01 pm |
        • Akira

          What seminary did you attend, kermit?

          April 21, 2014 at 6:25 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          Simpson University

          April 22, 2014 at 1:59 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          "Simpson University is a private, liberal arts college located on a 92-acre (37 ha) campus in Redding, California."
          A Christian university...scary that they still exist.

          April 22, 2014 at 6:14 pm |
      • nclaw441

        gullible, my praying for you forced nothing upon you. I believe it. You may not. Had I prayed for you without telling you, would that have forced my belief upon you? Why does saying it do so? Having faith does not mean that one lacks any logic at all.

        April 21, 2014 at 12:54 pm |
        • igaftr

          nclaw
          What if there is a "god" but not yours, and it does not like your magic spells, and every one of your witchcraft prayers counts against me in the long run. For all you know, you ARE harming people with your witchcraft.
          Stop forcing others into your beliefs.

          April 21, 2014 at 12:59 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          Ho Hum...forcing our religion on you by praying.....are youa puppet or something..are you telling me yuhave no control over your own mind and choices????? ARe you telling me we control you???? lol....that's pretty much what you imply when you accuse us of "forcing our religion on your with prayer"

          April 21, 2014 at 4:07 pm |
        • gulliblenomore

          And how exactly is any atheist on this blog forcing their belief system on you, which was the original point.

          April 21, 2014 at 1:09 pm |
        • igaftr

          kermit
          Not surprisingly, you missed the point.

          What if there IS a god, who gets angry and tracks the number of prayers to YOUR god, and holds those prayers against me?
          In that case YOUR prayers for me ARE you forcing your religion on another and negatively impacting others because of YOUIR belief. Since you cannot say that is untrue, keep you prayers to yourself unless the individual WANTS your prayer, oitherwise you ARE forcing your religion on another.
          Keep you witchcraft to yourself.

          April 21, 2014 at 4:13 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          HUH? what nonsense are you talking of? God keeping track of the prayers? lol.....you making up a load of BS that's not even part of our beliefs...when we prayer...we ask that God gives you wisdom and insight.....you still have a choice in the matter...so really you got nothing on us...you wanna avoid prayer cause it seems you think it might be real and it might make you go to hell if you don't heed...sorry.....that don't change abit

          April 21, 2014 at 4:18 pm |
        • igaftr

          kermit
          Once again you aren't listening.
          You are forcing your beliefs on others. I simply gave you a possible scenario that has as much validity as your beliefs, in which your unwelcome prayers to another could be potentially harmful.

          Try paying attention. I did not say that is what I believe, but i AM offended when someone says they will pray for me. Since it offends me, I do not want YOUR beliefs forced on me. Since you do not KNOW if my scenario is incorrect, you do not KNOW if your beliefs in that case are negatively effecting others. You only BELIEVE they don't but YOUR beliefs should not trump others...that is forcing YOUR beliefs and is NOT welcome.

          DO you comprehend now?

          April 21, 2014 at 4:27 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          but you don't believe in prayers anyways...and they way IM praying for you does not do as you say......the possible scenarios are something you made up..has nothing to do with my prayers for you...and why are you offended by someone wanting good for you? would you be offended if someone wished the best for you as well? I DO know in MY beliefs what the outcomes could be...and one of them is not forcing my belief on you.....but I do comprehend your view..and its pretty much not applicable to what I pray for you as I do anyways.....what if I prayed for your without telling you? again....you seem to imply we control you...that you have no control over the matter...

          April 21, 2014 at 4:38 pm |
        • Akira

          What is your specialty in psychology, kermit?

          April 21, 2014 at 6:22 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          I work with children who have behavioral problems...mostly work in the homes or the schools

          April 22, 2014 at 1:58 am |
        • igaftr

          kermit
          Once again you clearly don't get it.

          You do not know what is out there. Your beliefs may be contrary to what is
          What may be is a god that is offended by your prayers, and counts those parayers against the ones who are prayed for.
          Since that IS a possibility, you could be harming me with your witchcraft.

          It does not matter what someone believes, since your belief does not effect what is actually there, and since what I propose as a possibility, you very well could be harming people with YOUR prayers for the wrong god.
          Keep your witchcraft to yourself

          April 22, 2014 at 8:18 am |
        • kermit4jc

          yeah..riiiiiiiiight...uh huh

          April 22, 2014 at 9:44 am |
        • igaftr

          kermit
          "yeah..riiiiiiiiight...uh huh"

          Yes , I should have known better than to think you were capable of intelligent thought. I stand corrected. I fear for any children you come in contact with.

          Good luck with your delusions and the further delusion that YOUR beliefs supercede others.

          April 22, 2014 at 9:48 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          "I fear for any children you come in contact with"

          As should any parent allowing their innocent child near this person. Do be careful though, kermi-our resident frog, likes to shout slander threats at people.

          April 22, 2014 at 11:45 am |
        • Akira

          Kermit,
          What state do you counsel in?

          April 22, 2014 at 1:13 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          why you want to know what state I counsel in?

          April 22, 2014 at 4:51 pm |
        • Akira

          No particular reason; I'm just curious. I think working with kids is admirable.

          April 22, 2014 at 6:03 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          Thanks..I work in California.....what I do is behavioral based counseling for children who have behavioral issues, be it in the home or the school or community. I been doing this particular work for 7 years and worked in the group homes before that for 3 1/2 years. It is tough cause a lot of kids initially do not appreciate my being there (as with any other TBS worker) but they learn to accept support and help...I had one 8 year old cuss at me the very first day and telling me to shut up ...after 6 months..on his last day..when I stuck my hand out to shake his hand..he gave me a bear hug instead....it makes it all worth it

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

      Southerneyes
      Your post is absurd. We can see atoms, I do speak German, and you claim you are not 12, but employ logic as if you were.
      Are you trying to suggest that since there is absolutley no evidence of any gods, that it is similar to other things that are less tangible.
      You make a lot of false assertions, so it is difficult to determine what your point is.

      April 21, 2014 at 8:18 am |
    • realbuckyball

      You read stories about Zeus and Romulus and Remus. By your logic, blindsoutherneyes00, you believe in them too.

      April 21, 2014 at 9:24 am |
    • James XCIX

      southerneyes44 – "if you don't believe then don't come here to argue"

      How many gods to you believe in? Just one, it seems? But why, when there are so many from which to choose? If it is only the one god, then I must point out that you, too, don't believe, since there are thousands of gods in whom you could believe but do not. So you are a believer in only a very narrow sense, and are therefore not very far removed from those who don't believe in any gods at all.

      April 21, 2014 at 10:05 am |
      • igaftr

        The funniest thing is that christianity is polytheism. Even their god wrote in on of their commandments not to worship the other gods...that is their own god telling them there are more gods.

        April 21, 2014 at 10:11 am |
    • southerneyes44

      So basically none of you has an original thought? Same lame stuff as everywhere else. Circular arguments and grammar checking. Freethought at its best. I'm told to 'try to' comprehend, but I think that you missed the original point. It consumes you all, you just deny it. That's not non-belief.

      April 21, 2014 at 4:56 pm |
      • Akira

        You do realize that you have contributed nothing original, have used the same circular logic, and have repeated your own lame logic in your complaints, SE44?
        And when one has presenting arguments against your own posts, just dismissed them with a pithy little quip instead of actually refuting them?

        How deep do you dig for those? Or does being that come effortlessly?

        April 21, 2014 at 7:22 pm |
        • southerneyes44

          I just said that.
          It was my thread, not at all up to me to dictate the biters just the bait.
          I'm not sure what you want me to refute? That scientists are all morally and ethically perfect? That doesn't deserve a response. None. Regardless, it's not as nice to have the frame of a well made argument dismissed as irrelevant when I didn't quote scripture or say I'd pray for you, right? No matter the subject.
          This post wasn't about tangibles, however, which really is the sticking point with you all. You and the rest blindly attacked the normal fallacies involved in any discussion about religion and fell head long into proving my point entirely.
          Thanks.

          April 21, 2014 at 9:58 pm |
        • Akira

          I'm glad you admit that the whole point of your coming here is to start a thread where you feel justified in being as big of a dick as you can by mere virtue of having starting the thread.
          Enjoy your victory doucheiness; you've succeeded admirably.

          April 22, 2014 at 12:58 pm |
        • tallulah131

          I'm thinking that Southern is either a troll, or one of the most baselessly arrogant people on this blog.

          April 22, 2014 at 10:14 pm |
      • In Santa We Trust

        Did I miss where you posted evidence of your god? You're making the claim – you should provide the evidence.

        April 22, 2014 at 10:19 pm |
    • TruthPrevails1

      Not only are you ignorant, you're condescending...the Holier Thou Atttitude is pathetic, immoral and immature. If you don't want responses that negate what you have claimed FAUX news would be better suited to your mentality (low level crazy).

      April 22, 2014 at 11:58 am |
      • southerneyes44

        Sticks and stones. Touched another nerve.

        April 22, 2014 at 10:07 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          You seem to get some cheap thrill from acting like a condescending wench...oh well, you hurt your own ilk when you act like that.

          April 22, 2014 at 10:09 pm |
        • southerneyes44

          I'm glad you're here there's a lot of information sharing going on. Keep coming back.

          April 22, 2014 at 10:16 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          Oh my, see you seem to miss the point that you started out with gibberish and then became condescending...useless trolling.
          Not one of us needs your uneducated authorization to be here nor do any of us care.
          Now run a long, it is a school night and I'm sure Mommy wouldn't appreciate her little grade 2 child being on the computer so late!

          April 22, 2014 at 10:20 pm |
    • In Santa We Trust

      I don't speak German but I could learn; I could also use a translator.
      I have not performed experiments outside my line of work since school but the method and techniques are available should I wish to.
      Whereas the bible is incorrect in all important "facts"; without the bible there is no evidence of your god. Evidence of a god doesn't seem likely and the only surprise is the number of people who suspend their reasoning powers when it comes to religion.

      April 22, 2014 at 10:18 pm |
  4. ddeevviinn

    tal

    Well, it is hard for me to relate in that I am a much younger man than yourself ( 51 and a half) Wink.

    I don't know if one's fear, or lack thereof, of death can be attributed to belief. I think a lot of it has to do with personal makeup of the individual. In that all we have ever known is being alive/life, I think there is a natural apprehension about entering a new dimension, no matter what one believes that dimension entails. Personally, there is a part of me that has had enough of this life and eagerly awaits the freedom and wholeness that I believe awaits me. There is another side of me that is apprehensive, only in the sense that I've got to get through the whole death thing.

    April 20, 2014 at 10:18 pm |
    • ddeevviinn

      Must be time for bed. Keep posting in the wrong place.

      April 20, 2014 at 10:19 pm |
      • tallulah131

        You must be on the East Coast. Goodnight.

        April 20, 2014 at 10:21 pm |
        • ddeevviinn

          No, Central time. Working 14 hour weekend shifts in a hospital brings sleep on early. Good night.

          April 20, 2014 at 10:25 pm |
    • tallulah131

      I actually agree, but you poked and I had to poke back. It's in my nature, you young pup.

      April 20, 2014 at 10:20 pm |
      • ddeevviinn

        Well, I'm glad we've found a point of agreement. Never like to disrespect my elders.

        April 20, 2014 at 10:23 pm |
        • tallulah131

          Damn kid. Get off my lawn.

          April 20, 2014 at 10:25 pm |
  5. ddeevviinn

    gulliblenomore

    " I am quite satisfied with that reality"

    But as previously mentioned, your belief in non existence is no more or less a verifiable reality than my belief in eternal life. Your's is also a faith claim based upon what you BELIEVE will come to be . Neither of has passed from this life to the next, so provability is not even an issue.

    April 20, 2014 at 9:13 pm |
    • ddeevviinn

      Oops, meant for a previous post

      April 20, 2014 at 9:25 pm |
    • realbuckyball

      Unfortunately for you, that's complete nonsense. We know where and how and when concepts of immortality arose.
      We also know what is and is not compatible with life, and mentation.
      Without a living set of healthy brain structures, we have repeatedly observed that brains do not work, and mentation is impaired or impossible. We also know you people *claim* that you pass to a spiritual (non-physical) realm. Everything about "eternal life" requires space-time, and physical brain structures, to remain intact. Your attempt to equate *dismissal* of illogical nonsense ideas as a "faith claim" is complete and utter nonsense.

      April 20, 2014 at 9:31 pm |
      • ddeevviinn

        Did you really just say " you people" ?

        April 20, 2014 at 9:34 pm |
        • realbuckyball

          Indeed. You religionists. You are all the same. Spouting illogical nonsense constantly. Nice try at evasion. There is no mechanism for a post-mortem preservation of consciousness. You cannot propose one. You have FAILED to address any salient point. Giving up so soon ?

          April 20, 2014 at 9:37 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          no evading..and youre using what you know of for THIS life here on earth...your arguments don't work....they are wrong arguments..since the afterlife does not concern with THIS life here

          April 20, 2014 at 9:41 pm |
        • realbuckyball

          You have no knowledge of anything other than here. YOU said dismissal of what NOW you are saying I'm NOT doing, was a "faith claim" So, you changed the goal-post already ? Just amazing. Next you'll be telling us you "know" because the Bible tells you so.

          April 20, 2014 at 9:44 pm |
        • realbuckyball

          Nice try. Fail. YOU know nothing about anything other than what you know from here.
          If not, explain where and how YOU got this "other knowledge" ?

          April 20, 2014 at 9:46 pm |
        • ddeevviinn

          " Giving up so soon"

          No, not exactly. What I will do, however, is out of courtesy explain while I will not dialogue with you. I have found over time that there are three basic types of non theists on this site: There are those who who enjoy discussing ideas and perspectives and yet never allow the conversation to get emotional. Then there are those who are passionate about their beliefs or lack thereof, and at times the banter gets rather heated ( these are my personal favorites). Finally, there is the third group. These are the militants. Their sole agenda is to discredit, vilify and otherwise belittle people of faith. Ad hominems are their primary weapon of choice. It is this group that I simply choose to ignore.

          I won't keep you guessing. You are a member of the third group.

          April 20, 2014 at 9:54 pm |
        • realbuckyball

          Oh noes. If you had anything intelligent to say, I would care. Since you already clearly demonstrated you got nothing, it would be like talking to a wall.

          April 21, 2014 at 12:19 am |
      • kermit4jc

        who is "you people" reealbucky...as for me..we do not go to a "spiritual state in the afterlife...we will live with resurrected bodies....physical..but in another realm....

        April 20, 2014 at 9:35 pm |
        • realbuckyball

          Prove it. Assertion is proof of nothing.
          Then explain how that works when YOUR brain is destroyed after death. Without YOUR brain circuits and patterns you are not you. I see you have never taken even ONE course in Biology or Neuro-science.

          April 20, 2014 at 9:40 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          uh hello??? If those of us are referring to the afterlife it is because of God who gave life in the first place? Science cannot prove nor disprove this claim...so what? that's where I have faith in gods Promises... (notice..I said faith in his promises..not faith in his existence) IM not going to base my whole life on science like some people do...science will fait...science does not say what Is moral and what is....so science cannot be everything

          April 20, 2014 at 9:44 pm |
        • gulliblenomore

          Kermit....so what you are saying is....you have no proof. That's what we all thought. It's just a belief by you and that is fine, but it is not proof.

          April 20, 2014 at 11:06 pm |
        • realbuckyball

          Tell us, what "other realm" ?
          Tell us what exactly "other realm" means, and how exactly you seem to know about "other realms" ?

          April 20, 2014 at 9:41 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          hmm..thought youknew about Christans and their beliefs..the other realm..heaven?

          April 20, 2014 at 9:45 pm |
        • ssq41

          ask kerm to provide you a verse that says "realms"

          April 20, 2014 at 9:48 pm |
        • realbuckyball

          Um hello . If your "god" told you that, where and how did she do that ? I hope you realize the Hebrews who wrote your Babble did NOT believe in "immortality". I see you really have never taken a course in Bible Studies. Scholars know when "immortality" arose. You do know I hope St, Paul did not believe in immortality for everyone ... just the "saved". Why are you so sure you're 'saved" ? Please explain how you can think in a timeless environment. Thinking is a PROCESS. Processes require time. Spacetime exists in the created universe. So, you get your own planet too, like the Mormons ?

          April 20, 2014 at 9:52 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          EXCUSE ME?? I Studied at a seminary...and yo uare pretty ignorant yourself..you made a blanket statement...apparently you must have study parts of Jewish culture etc...not ALL Jews believe in afterlife..yes..but SOME did! in the Bible it is evident..in fact do you even know what a Pharisee and a saducee is..and the differences in their beliefs? I have studied the Bible inside of academic courses and outside for over 20 years..what about you?

          April 20, 2014 at 9:57 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          BTW Paul did not believe in immortality for only the saved..

          April 20, 2014 at 9:58 pm |
        • ssq41

          The Sadducees did not believe in an afterlife...

          April 20, 2014 at 10:04 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          yes...and the Pharisees believed in an afterlife..thus making my point that realbucky made a blanket statement if not a misinformed one...

          April 20, 2014 at 10:06 pm |
        • realbuckyball

          Thanks for proving, Kery, you know nothing about teh OT or what St. Paul wrote.
          "Paul told the members of the congregation in Rome to "seek" immortality (Romans:2:5-7). He taught Christians at Corinth that they must be changed and "put on" immortality (1 Corinthians:15:51-55). Paul proclaimed that only God and His Son possess immortality (1 Timothy:6:12-16)) and that eternal life is a "gift" from God (Romans:6:23).
          Thanks for proving you know nothing about Paul.
          As for the Hebrews, the concept of immortality arose in the Apocalyptic period, Not before. Sheol was neither heaven nor hell.
          Psalm 39 :
          "Turn your gaze away from me, that I may smile again,
          before I depart, and am no more"

          Psalm 115 :
          The dead do not praise the Lord,
          nor do any that go down into silence".

          Please come back AFTER you get an education.

          April 21, 2014 at 12:24 am |
        • kermit4jc

          your argument is one sided and ignorant realbucky....yes..Paul was talking to CHRISTIANS and talking about th eternal life with God.....use the context..I noted how you ripped that out of context to try to discredit it....plus.....the verses yoi posted from Psalms..doesnot prove yourpoint either..yuo have not used context of what the Jews thought andhow they wrote of it.....IM no more would be in reference to here on earth.....and you have failed to answer my quesiotn abnoutthe differences between Pharisees and sadcuccees.....youre the ignorant one here..not me.....I got more info than you do...you seem to have not done a thourough reseacrhc in the issue..but merely a cursory reading....

          April 21, 2014 at 3:54 pm |
        • kevinite

          @realuckyball,

          7 To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life: (Romans 2:7) shows immortality and eternal life. Of one who seeks not merely immortality but also eternal life in addition to immortality.

          12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.

          13 I give thee charge in the sight of God, who quickeneth all things, and before Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession;

          14 That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ:

          15 Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords;

          16 Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen. (1 Timothy 6: 12-16) Again showing a difference between eternal life and immortality, and the the encouragement is to lay hold of eternal life as opposed to laying hold of immortality.

          Romans 6: 23 refers to obtaining "eternal life" as opposed to immortality. That the wages of sin is death. That being a spiritual death or being outcasted from God whereas overcoming that spiritual death and returning to God is the gift of "eternal life" as opposed to immortality. That means immortality is just overcoming physical death and live forever, but eternal life is where an immortal gets to have a life; a life with God.

          There is nothing specific in your citations from Psalms showing that physical death being permanent only that physical death comes and that the dead do not praise and that is basically it.

          20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.

          21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.

          22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

          (1Corinthians 15: 20-22)

          25 For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:

          26 And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God:
          (Job 19: 25-26)

          19 Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.
          (Isaiah 26:19)

          6 The Lord killeth, and maketh alive: he bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up.
          (1 Samuel 2:6)

          April 21, 2014 at 4:06 am |
        • realbuckyball

          The gods did not "give you life" in the first place". Life evolved from non-life. There is no absolute boundary between life and non-life, (which you would know IF you knew anything about science). You STILL have provided no mechanism for post-mortem continuation of consciousness other than "I believe it". I believe in pink sparkly unicorns. Does THAT make them true ? Scholars of the OT agree that Hebrews did not believe in personal immortality until some time between Maccabees 1 and Maccabees 2. It's absent in 1 , and present in 2. THAT is very very late. They invented it, but it was still for heroes only, not for everyone. Propose a mechanism or just shut up.

          April 21, 2014 at 9:03 am |
        • gulliblenomore

          Bucky....you will never get a definitive answer from Kermit on this question....not even "I just believe", which would be infinitely better than his stating categorically that 'he just knows'

          April 21, 2014 at 9:19 am |
        • kermit4jc

          Buttout gull....I gave realbucky some answers....pay attention to the conversation before you open your bog mouth

          April 21, 2014 at 3:55 pm |
        • realbuckyball

          So *some* ancient desert dwellers believed in an after-life. So what ? Why should ancient ignorance inform modern culture ? YOU pick and choose what YOU take from their belief system. Do YOU eat pork or meat from cloven hooves ? Do YOU wear plaids ? Do you kill your disobedient children ?

          April 21, 2014 at 9:29 am |
        • realbuckyball

          " For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive."
          Great. Then by that logic, salvation is not necessary. Clearly he's talking about the saved.
          Neither of you have proposed a mechanism for post-mortem preservation. We KNOW that brain-dead people are not conscious. Your brain dies when you die. Period. The end. Making up childish nonsense fairy stories about heaven, (In Hebrew culture ALL souls went to Sheol, the just and the unjust, and Sheol was NOT where Yahweh lived), is just confabulation. Wishful thinking is for children. Grow up. We know that before the Exile, Hebrew immortality consisted in having male children. Scholars agree on that. If YOU disagree with that, you can take it up with them. AFTER the exile, family units were disrupted, and some heroes were granted "immortal" status. That did not mean they "lived" forever. It meant something like "Babe Ruth is an *immortal* baseball player. I realize that non-literal nuances are difficult for those who NEED to only think in simplistic childish term, but that doesn't change the fact, the Hebrews did not believe in immortality the way it's thought of today ..."By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return." Genesis 3:19.

          April 21, 2014 at 9:41 am |
        • kermit4jc

          u know..you can knock it off with the "childish" terms...ok?

          April 21, 2014 at 3:59 pm |
        • kevinite

          @ realbuckyball,

          " For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive."

          "Great. Then by that logic, salvation is not necessary. Clearly he's talking about the saved."

          Apparently you just ignored the whole point that there is a difference between the concepts of "immortality", where everyone will be resurrected and become immortal no matter who you are since physical death came abut through Adam and the fall, and "eternal life", which is living with God or in other words it deals with the quality of that immortal life. Therefore "immortality" is to be given to everyone but "eternal life" is not given to everyone.

          3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
          (John 17:3)

          "Neither of you have proposed a mechanism for post-mortem preservation."

          Is there requirement to do that? And to think if I was to believe in the miracles of obtaining immortality and eternal life that they have to be proven and no longer be considered miraculous in the first place, since miracles are acts that defy the laws of nature and therefore cannot be proven. It's not like God wants us to have faith in him....oh wait.

          "Making up childish nonsense fairy stories about heaven, (In Hebrew culture ALL souls went to Sheol, the just and the unjust, and Sheol was NOT where Yahweh lived),"

          Yes, there is the Sheol or a spirit world in which one who is deceased is in until the resurrection comes. That is where all the deceased go to, and Yahweh was not in that state since Yahweh was not a deceased spirit. In Sheol there were two different states of being for those in Sheol who await the resurrection. Those who lived a more righteous life being in a paradise state and those who did not being in a prison like state and that for those in a prison like state have a chance to overcome that state of being if they never had a chance in life to know and accept the gospel.

          18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:

          19 By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;

          20 Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.
          (1 Peter 3: 18-20)

          "We know that before the Exile, Hebrew immortality consisted in having male children. Scholars agree on that. If YOU disagree with that, you can take it up with them."

          Just what percentage of scholars agree on that? How is something considered to be actual fact if it is only based on scholarly opinion or even by scholarly majority vote? Also, do scholars even have a solid established date as when the events in the Job took place, or even there is no possibility whatsoever that the story of Job in any way shape or form took place after the exile?

          AFTER the exile, family units were disrupted, and some heroes were granted "immortal" status. That did not mean they "lived" forever. It meant something like "Babe Ruth is an *immortal* baseball player.

          After all Babe Ruth will always be go down in the immortality of being remembered for like Job when, the worms come in and the worms come out, yet in the flesh Babe Ruth comes back to life because those who remember the life of Babe Ruth talk about how specifically Babe Ruth will come out of his grave, and that Babe Ruth's physical body will be restored. Babe Ruth will always go down in memory for that.

          "I realize that non-literal nuances are difficult for those who NEED to only think in simplistic childish term, but that doesn't change the fact, the Hebrews did not believe in immortality the way it's thought of today"

          Was that for all Hebrews or not all Hebrews? After all the Sadducees didn't believe in resurrection, but the Pharisees did, so how does that prove universal consensus among the Hebrews?

          "By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return." Genesis 3:19.

          Yes, all will return to dust or to the earth.. However, that scripture does not state that when one returns to dust that they will forever remain dust.

          22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
          (1 Corinthians 15:22)

          April 21, 2014 at 11:50 am |
    • gulliblenomore

      devin...have to disagree....I know people die....I've seen it. You just want to believe there is more....that doesn't mean there is. When I see proof that there is more to it than just dying, I will switch to your side. Until then, all I know about dying is that nobody I know as ever made a personal appearance after they have passed on.

      April 20, 2014 at 10:55 pm |
      • nclaw441

        gullible– Do you only believe in things that you can prove? What about love, courage, kindness, compassion, etc.? Do you believe any of these exist? If not, you are in the very small minority. How would prove that they exist?

        April 21, 2014 at 7:55 am |
        • gulliblenomore

          Nclaw....do you guys all take a class on this stuff? I got the exact same question from southern yesterday. In order to keep you from having to scroll up I'll repeat myself. Love and compassion are tangible, while the actual existence of a god or gods is not. I do require proof of existence if I am going to follow or believe in something that I am then going to be forced to worship! Every person should.

          April 21, 2014 at 8:20 am |
        • nclaw441

          Love and compassion are not tangible. Explain what you mean.

          April 21, 2014 at 1:00 pm |
        • gulliblenomore

          Nc....air is not tangible either, but it can be measured, as can love and compassion. Evil and stupidity as well.

          April 21, 2014 at 1:13 pm |
    • Apollo to Zeus

      The fundamental flaw with your argument is that disbelief is not a belief; it is the lack of one. Just like bald is not a hair color, or not collecting stamps is not a hobby. It takes no more faith to not believe fantastical religious claims, than it does not believe in unicorns, or leprechauns, and by no more, I mean zero.

      Disbelief is the default position for all claims until enough evidence has been presented to make you believe the claim. The wilder the claim, the stronger the evidence needs to be for a rational person to believe.

      April 21, 2014 at 8:00 am |
  6. hearthetruthonline2014

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

    http://i.imgur.com/PJVX7Ee.jpg for the full photo album

    April 20, 2014 at 3:10 pm |
    • bostontola

      Luckily for mankind, few Christians believe that stuff.

      April 20, 2014 at 3:28 pm |
      • Peaceadvocate2014

        On the contrary, it is unfortunate not all mankind understand the teachings in this story.

        Father said, please..... Try ti understand.

        Ehat di you think the father should have done, or the brothers?

        April 21, 2014 at 3:58 pm |
    • TruthPrevails1

      Thank you...I'll be sure to let people know they are not worthy of visiting.

      April 21, 2014 at 8:24 am |
  7. truluv4u

    Christianity is alive and well – despite continuous persecution that began with the Lord Jesus himself. He was the only sinless human – sacrificing himself for the imperfections of us all. No other religious founder has made this claim – and then authenticated it by conquering death. Thousands have been martyred since for refusal to deny their divine revelations from Him. Sadly, many in this blog have yet to experience the spiritual rebirth that only He can provide. The truth will be made plain some day – I pray that unbelievers will discover it sooner than later. Abundant temporal and eternal life awaits those who open their hearts to the greatest lover of their souls! Happy Resurrection Day!

    April 20, 2014 at 2:54 pm |
    • igaftr

      "despite continuous persecution"

      Yes the christians have been persecuting everyone since there have been christians, so you are correct there.

      April 20, 2014 at 2:58 pm |
    • bostontola

      Have Christians ever been persecuted? Yes.
      Have Christians ever persecuted others? Yes.
      Have Christians ever persecuted other Christians with the "wrong" interpretation of Christianity? Yes.

      Today, Christianity is by far the largest religion on the planet. To cry persecution reminds me of the when the NY Yankees get into the World Series and self create an atmosphere of the underdog to motivate themselves. Whatever works for you.

      April 20, 2014 at 3:08 pm |
    • sam stone

      you sure make a lot of claims. can you support them through sources other than the bible?

      April 20, 2014 at 6:38 pm |
      • gulliblenomore

        Sam....I believe I can answer that for you.....no, they have no evidential proof of any god at all....they just believe blindly.

        April 20, 2014 at 7:22 pm |
        • sam stone

          thanks,but i was hoping for the faithful to provide an amusing response

          April 20, 2014 at 9:34 pm |
  8. Salero21

    Well, just one minute into this blog and the Evidence on top of more Evidence, of the Absolute, Complete and Total NON-SENSE of atheism/evolutionism/idolatry is OVERWHELMING

    April 20, 2014 at 2:35 pm |
    • bostontola

      Happy Easter Salty.

      April 20, 2014 at 2:45 pm |
    • TruthPrevails1

      And a Happy Jewish Zombie Day to you also...

      April 20, 2014 at 2:45 pm |
    • realbuckyball

      I see you have no clue what the word "evidence" means, or what const'itutes evidence.
      Good thing you're not on a jury, or are in the legal field.

      April 20, 2014 at 2:50 pm |
      • bostontola

        Salero is an excellent example of the wisdom requiring a unanimous 12 person jury for a guilty verdict.

        April 20, 2014 at 3:00 pm |
  9. chiniquy

    With The name of the Lord-Creator, The Merciful Benefactor, The Merciful Redeemer

    Tell them: "O you men! If you are in doubt as to my religion, (behold!) I worship not what you worship, other than The One True *G-D. But I worship G-D- Who will take your souls (at death): I am commanded to be (in the ranks) of the Believers,

    "And further (thus): 'set your face towards religion with true piety, and never in any wise be of the Ungodly;

    "'Nor call on any, other than The One True G-D- Such will neither profit you nor hurt you: if you do, behold! you shall certainly be of those who do wrong.'"

    If The One True G-D do touch you with hurt, there is none can remove it but HE: if HE do design some benefit for you, there is none can keep back HIS favour: HE cause it to reach whomsoever of HIS servants HE pleases. And HE is the Often-Forgiving, Most Merciful.

    Tell them: "O you men! Now Truth has reached you from your Guardian-Lord! those who receive guidance, do so for the good of their own souls; those who stray, do so to their own loss: and I am not (set) over you to arrange your affairs."

    Follow you the inspiration sent unto you, and be patient and constant, till The One True G-D do decide: for HE is the best to decide.

    Verses from the Holy Qur'an (Chapter: Jonah)

    *G-D instead of god because; god spelt backwards is dog. Not a fitting spelling for the Lord-Creator of the Heavens and Earth

    April 20, 2014 at 12:17 pm |
    • igaftr

      There are over 400 "one true" gods.
      Also, there is nothing holy about islam or the quran. It is just another man-made baseless religion.

      April 20, 2014 at 12:41 pm |
  10. Peaceadvocate2014

    http://youtu.be/pgODzUMscZ8

    April 20, 2014 at 11:47 am |
    • chiniquy

      Another example of the promotion of Caucasian supremacy teachings.

      April 20, 2014 at 12:31 pm |
      • Peaceadvocate2014

        Chin,

        Im not even caucasian.

        Father said, please.......try to understand.

        April 21, 2014 at 3:11 pm |
  11. ddeevviinn

    There is a common thread I have found running through this forum that I find both intriguing and perplexing. It is this sentiment expressed by a number of non theists that eternal life, immortality, perpetual existence, however you choose to define it, is something that holds little appeal. Stated more precisely; given the choice of immortality or non existence, many would opt for the latter. What makes this especially puzzling is the realization that the discussion is usually within the context of the Christian construct of heaven and eternal life, concepts that would be desired by most, even if only hypothetically. Why a rational, self serving individual ( which we ultimately all are) would choose to have their life extinguished/non existent is beyond my comprehension.

    April 20, 2014 at 11:39 am |
    • bostontola

      devin,
      I am one of those. I would prefer to live longer, but not eternally in a spirit form.

      April 20, 2014 at 12:33 pm |
      • ddeevviinn

        I really have no idea what it would be like to exist eternally in some sort of ethereal " spirit form " , but I've got to think I would much prefer it to that of non existence. There's just something about life, awareness, cognitive functioning that seems far superior to nothingness.

        Getting back to my initial thought, the difficulty for me is in understanding this mentality within the framework of Christianity. That we will have an eternal, although different from our present form, body is quite clear from scripture. Apparently it will be superior to our current fleshly bodies and yet capable of experiencing many of the same functions. It just strikes me as odd that in spite of this some still prefer annihilation.

        April 20, 2014 at 6:08 pm |
        • bostontola

          Annihilation connotes being destroyed prematurely. I accept life as finite and appreciate the benefits. Time in this life is then precious. To me, it's insane to bet on an afterlife that is extraordinarily unlikely and leave time on the table in this real life.

          April 20, 2014 at 6:17 pm |
        • gulliblenomore

          ddeev....do you remember anything about your existence before you were born? I am assuming that is what it's like when you die. To just believe in something because the alternative sucks is both disingenuous and not very smart. I'm guessing that reincarnation is probably the best alternative...then you can believe that you will come back as a wealthier, smarter, and better looking person. Isn't that better than what you currently believe? I'd switch if I were you...or, you could just believe the reality...that nobody comes back from anything, since of course, there is no proof at all. Your choice.

          April 20, 2014 at 6:28 pm |
        • ddeevviinn

          boston

          Yes, annihilation was probably not the best choice of words and that thought crossed my mind as I was typing, but the emphasis was on permanence.

          " I accept life as finite and appreciate the benefits"

          As do I. We both agree that existence in this present human form is finite, are difference lies in the reality after death. I would suggest that my appreciation of this current life and the fact that it is "precious", is no more or less passionate than your own.

          " To me it is insane to bet on an afterlife..."

          This is an entirely different discussion. I was just curious about the mindset of those who deemed non existence more desirable than eternal life, even when viewing the Christian option as hypothetical.

          Thanks for the input.

          April 20, 2014 at 7:49 pm |
        • gulliblenomore

          ddeev....I have always been curious about people that deemed eternal life more desirable than reality. Sure, the fairy tale of eternal life would be desirable if it were even remotely possible. But, to just blindly believe because the alternative is unpleasant borders on the insane.

          April 20, 2014 at 8:01 pm |
        • ddeevviinn

          gulliblenomore

          I think you've misunderstood my position. To be clear, my Christian faith is not predicated upon my desire to find an ideology that makes it all work out good for me in the end. I embrace my faith first and foremost because I believe it to be true. That I would determine my belief based on the notion that " the alternatives suck" is simply not the case.

          " you could just believe the reality... that nobody comes back from anything, since of course, there is no proof at all."

          But lack of proof that nobody comes back from anything does not necessarily validate your "reality". We currently have absolutely no proof that there is human life outside the sphere of our planet, but that does not mean it is non existent. Who knows, kepler 186f may some day verify this.

          April 20, 2014 at 8:07 pm |
        • gulliblenomore

          ddeev....because I would consider, and I do, that there might be other life forms on one of the 400 billion planets thought to be inexistence, does not mean that I would devote my life to that possibility. With no proof, I simply leave my mind open to the possibility that aliens might exist. I do the exact same with the possibility of a god. I am waiting for proof before I spend even one precious second of my life here on earth pondering if a god does or does not exist.

          April 20, 2014 at 8:17 pm |
        • ddeevviinn

          gulliblenomore

          Again, I'm not concerned with proving the reality of an eternal afterlife, I was more curious about the mind set that would cause someone to prefer non existence over immortality, even if that immortality was HYPOTHETICAL.

          April 20, 2014 at 8:11 pm |
        • gulliblenomore

          ddeev....I think I answered this before, but to me, the prospect of a grim reality is much more satisfying than a mystical fairy land. At least I know that my life here on earth is extremely precious and is the only one that I will get. And, I am quite satisfied with that reality. Of course, I would love to believe there was something better once I pass, but with no proof, reality must be the order of the day, regardless of how grim the prospect.

          April 20, 2014 at 8:22 pm |
        • tallulah131

          devin: I can see how some people might want immortality, but I just don't want it. I like my life.I like that it has a beginning, a middle and in it's time, an end. I like that it has joy and sorrow, pleasure and pain, ease and struggle. It has been and will continue to be a very rich experience. I like that my life will one day be complete and that I will eventually be forgotten. It pleases me to be part of that natural process. It's part of being human, and I like being human.

          This is strictly my opinion. But since you wondered, this is the mind-set of someone who is not interested in immortality.

          April 20, 2014 at 8:44 pm |
        • ssq41

          tallulah13(1),

          Great response...a rare human in the US.

          April 20, 2014 at 8:49 pm |
        • ddeevviinn

          tal

          Thanks for your perspective. While I obviously do not share it, it is one I can respect.

          It would be interesting to know if you will maintain this perspective when your demise is imminent.

          April 20, 2014 at 9:05 pm |
        • ddeevviinn

          gulliblenomore

          " At least I know my life here on earth is extremely precious and the only one I will get. And I'm quite satisfied with that reality." " ... reality must be the order of the day"

          But again, it is not a verifiable "reality". Your belief in non existence has no more or less provability than does my belief in an eternal after life. Both are faith claims based upon what we BELIEVE will come to be. If you have ever read any of my other posts you will know that I never make the argument for "proof', it is always for :"evidence" , and I believe that evidence is significant.

          April 20, 2014 at 9:24 pm |
        • gulliblenomore

          Devin...the difference is....evidential proof. I have evidential proof that people die and do not ever return. My 'belief' if you want to call it that is the reality that death is final, because that is what all the evidence points to. Your belief is completely unfounded. When you have further evidence we can resume this conversation.

          April 20, 2014 at 10:59 pm |
        • tallulah131

          I don't see it changing, Dev. I'm 52 years old and I understand myself very well. I watched three people I loved die of horrible diseases so I am not ignorant of death. I am well aware of my mortality and don't fear it. There is no reason.

          I have a greater concern for believers. As they approach death, they seem to be afraid to let go of their lives despite their belief in an afterlife. I wonder if in those moments, their faith is not a strong as they thought?

          April 20, 2014 at 9:37 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          Beleivers that you know? I know of no believers personally who was afraid of the death..even my grandmothers....

          April 20, 2014 at 9:39 pm |
        • southerneyes44

          Tal
          You manifest a protected and isolated view on the world given to you by people that didn't believe that way. Thankless as it is and predictable. What if no Christians ever existed? Would you? Would your ancestors? No probably not. Fact is, mostly all of us owe Christ a nod if nothing else for changing how LIFE was viewed on the Earth. Not just the living of it. He was a man, He was deity whatever, he changed things. Period. You don't speak Latin or Mongolian right now because He was here. You have your choice because the people that came before you had a choice and that choice only came because of Him. Enjoy your existence.

          April 20, 2014 at 9:50 pm |
        • tallulah131

          southerneyes: You manifest a condescending and ignorant opinion about me. Had Christ not been invented, you would simply be claiming that I owe something to Mithras or Odin or Osiris or some indigenous god. Humans have always invented gods to explain - and to bargain with - the unknown. The more we know about the world, the fewer gods we need. History bears this out.

          If I owe a debt to anyone, it's to those brave enough to question blind faith and to explore reality without the taint of the supernatural. For much of history, the church greeted that sort of curiosity with prison, torture or even death. In the end, though, the need to know was more powerful than the fear of reprisals from those who wished to protect their power. How wonderfully, courageously human.

          I am also aware of what I owe those brave men who founded this nation, not on religious belief, but on the principles of The Enlightenment - reason and science. They are the ones who understood that there could be no freedom if the church was allowed power in government. They needed only to look to Europe to recognize that. I will always be grateful that I was not born in the theocracy that some christians in this country still fight for.

          So no. My world was not given to me by christians. It was given to me by people brave enough to cast mythology aside in favor of humanity. You can keep your god, but I don't want or need him. He's held back humanity long enough.

          April 20, 2014 at 10:13 pm |
        • nclaw441

          ddeevviinn– Many seem to treat the concept of belief as something people can just DECIDE to do. I disagree. For those who believe in God, Christ and the afterlife, to suggest that they ought not believe would be foolishness. But that is true also for those who do NOT believe. They cannot be convinced to decide to believe as Christians do. That is not their choice, nor is it ours.

          If you are a Christian who believes in the Bible, you must acknowledge this from Ephesians 2:8: "For by grace are you saved though faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God." God grants us faith through His grace. We get no credit for it.

          If you are a non-believer, telling someone not to believe something that they believe is just as foolish.

          April 21, 2014 at 9:42 am |
        • gulliblenomore

          Nclaw....we non-believers are not telling you not to believe. We are merely asking how and why you can possibly believe anything with no proof. It's simple really. Show us evidential proof of your god, making absolutely sure you eliminate the possibility of any other god (we don't want to have to explain to Zeus why we didn't select him), and we will subsequently believe right along with you.

          April 21, 2014 at 9:56 am |
        • ddeevviinn

          nclaw

          Thanks for the input.

          The only t i t l e I go by as a believer is "Christian" That being said, my theology is reformed and is founded upon the doctrine of the sovereignty of God. I get where you are going, I'm just not sure it's germane to this particular conversation.

          April 21, 2014 at 12:38 pm |
    • nwspiritism

      I have bad news for you then, we do live as eternal spirits, the reason for our life and our destiny can be found in Spiritism. Which teaches us we are an immortal soul going
      through successive lives in a quest to be better spirits. That any wrong
      action causes a reaction now or in a subsequent life. Also, the Bible,
      was created by people who could only understand what their culture and
      knowledge allowed them to understand at the time it was written. The
      sections about the earth being created in 6 days was an incorrect
      interpretation of what they were told, the but message of love and
      forgiveness is eternal. Also, Hell is not eternal, but only a construct
      in our mind, in which we can escape once we learn to accept the doctrine
      of love and forgiveness. If you would like to learn more explore
      http://www.nwspiritism.com

      April 20, 2014 at 2:49 pm |
      • bostontola

        Can I get ice cream whenever I want in your idea of the afterlife? If so, sign me up.

        April 20, 2014 at 3:02 pm |
      • gulliblenomore

        Nwspirit....now...do you have evidential proof of this, or is it just what you believe may be the case?

        April 20, 2014 at 4:57 pm |
        • tallulah131

          Making stuff up is a time-honored tradition among those who seek supernatural answers instead of honest solutions.

          April 20, 2014 at 5:02 pm |
        • gulliblenomore

          Tallulah....yeah, I know....it was a rhetorical question, as I know there is absolutely no proof whatsoever for the belief in any god. I just always ask that to get them to actually think about the stupid things that they say. If anybody truly had evidential proof, every pew would be filled every Sunday...

          April 20, 2014 at 5:47 pm |
        • nwspiritism

          I have indirect evidential proof. Please read "how my wife's NDE made me a spiritist" on my blog and let me know what you think. It is my only good explanation as to what happened. http://Www.nwspiritism.com

          April 21, 2014 at 11:48 am |
        • gulliblenomore

          Nw.....sorry..,,I don't believe anybody's NDE's anymore than I believe that people claim to be abducted by aliens. The mind can project tricky things. Last night, I dreamt I was in Paris.....woke up this morning in Texas.

          April 21, 2014 at 11:52 am |
        • nwspiritism

          I suggest you read mine. Certain predictions were made that led me to believe in predestination. I certainly understand your thinking. I was the same way. And by the way, according to spiritism you don't have to believe in god or any religion to go to heaven. Just be a honorable and selfless person

          April 21, 2014 at 11:56 am |
        • gulliblenomore

          Nw.....sorry again, but since I know neither you or your wife, you could be just as nutty as those alien abducted people. I don't tend to believe third party visions from anybody. I have somewhat sane people in my own family claiming to have seen ghosts. I didn't believe them either. But, if there is a heaven, and I see no indication that there is, then I believe you are right about who gets to go there.

          April 21, 2014 at 12:15 pm |
        • nwspiritism

          I completely understand your point of view

          April 21, 2014 at 12:48 pm |
  12. Jill

    Disgusting bigot Rainer Brandlein, dessicate yourself in the venerable primordial yogurt ,for there is the deepest vehicle for geese. Understanding this global giraffe preserves key declinations for the introverted chipmunk in the parliamentary icefield.

    Pressurize, evacuate, sigh. That is the only way to satisfaction for the diesel chicken.

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

    April 20, 2014 at 10:26 am |
  13. bostontola

    Being reflective on Easter Sunday regarding Jesus. When I consider the full man, I find myself admiring him as a man way ahead of his time. He came from a brutal era in a region oppressed by a brutal foreign power. In those circu.mstances, he invented the nonviolent resistance, 2,000 years before Gandhi. He taught love as the supreme power. Some may take his teachings for granted, but they were radically new back then.

    Following the theme of considering the full man, as progressive as Jesus was, he also revealed his true status as human. Like many other progressive geniuses, he couldn't fully pull himself out of his time. Jesus proclaimed many progressive ideas, none greater than loving your neighbor as yourself, but not one word denouncing slavery. Slavery was so prevalent in every society, it wasn't even questioned by Jesus. While many things were explicitly forbidden; idolatry, ho.mose.xuality, witchcraft, adultery, lying, etc., not one word against slavery.

    This is very understandable regarding the highest of geniuses. Einstein revolutionized our understanding of space and time, but he was shackled to the notion of a static eternal universe, "obvious" to people of that time. A God, outside of time, would not have that constraint.

    Another very human flaw revealed by Jesus was a character flaw, vindictive hubris. Many great teachers throughout history had these characteristics, but many didn't. To conceive of an infinite, eternal punishment may have been genius, but it also reveals that vindictive hubris (not to mention immoral). Many great teachers reacted to students that didn't listen with patience and humility, not anger and certainly not with infinite, unbounded punishment.

    So like all great humans, Jesus gave us great gifts, but also had imperfections of their own.

    April 20, 2014 at 10:24 am |
    • Peaceadvocate2014

      Boston,

      I have to respecfully disagree with your post.

      To say Jesus was not against slavery is total falsehood. His teachings preaches euality as exhibited in do not do unto others what you dont want done onto you. Or in other text, love your neighbor as thy love oneself. The isrralites at the time of jesus wwere not slaves, they were oppressed by the romans but not slaves like the time of moses. The isrealites were taxed by the romans for the services the roman probided such as roads, aqueducts, etc. which is the same taxation we have today. Jesus said give ceasar what is ceasar but give god what is god.

      Jesus did not lobby to free servants or slaves or economic reforms but preached on the opposition on oppression. The focus is morality for all, both believers and non-belivers regarding greed, lying, cheating, etc.

      On the issue of being angry, rude or as you put it vindictive. Dont know why you choose the word vindictive. May be his outburst at the temple. I dont see anything wrong, he did not kill or hurt anyone . He expressed his discontent. We can do thay right?

      April 20, 2014 at 11:30 am |
      • tallulah131

        Could you please cite the verse where Christ condemned slavery?

        April 20, 2014 at 11:33 am |
        • Akira

          I have asked this before, Tal. The answer is when He commanded to love thy neighbor as thyself, it was somehow tacitly implied that He condemned slavery.

          April 20, 2014 at 10:27 pm |
        • gulliblenomore

          Wouldn't it have been smarter just to say "Thou shalt not own other human beings"? If he had a limit of only 10 commandments, I believe he should have dropped "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbors wife". Nobody pays any attention to that one anyway.

          April 20, 2014 at 11:16 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          its even better if one loves the other person and wants the best for them..rather than just a law/rule/commandment ...certainly...Jesus says The greatest commandments are to love God and love others, for the law and the prophets hang on these two things..if I love my neighbor..I will not want to steal fromthem..or covet what they have

          April 21, 2014 at 3:50 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          well....doent it make sense? of you love another..do you enslave them?

          April 21, 2014 at 3:47 pm |
        • tallulah131

          Oy. Some people.

          April 20, 2014 at 10:31 pm |
        • ssq41

          This is what happens when one believes in the literal word...

          They then have to serve pretzels and mustard as an explanation for a clear challenge to their beliefs

          April 20, 2014 at 10:36 pm |
        • Akira

          I'll admit, I was flabbergasted. I thought, "well, that's a new one..."

          April 20, 2014 at 10:57 pm |
        • Akira

          Supposedly, the "love thy neighbor" edict was supposed to free the people's minds from the need to keep slaves. Which didn't work, because people still kept slaves. Those people were not really Christian, then; apparently, "No True Scotsman" goes further back that previously thought.

          April 20, 2014 at 11:02 pm |
        • ssq41

          despite what Jesus clearly said about the inquiry of "who is my neighbor," these followers of their own personal Jesus choose their neighbors very carefully

          April 20, 2014 at 11:05 pm |
      • bostontola

        Peace,
        You are part of a tiny minority that thinks that. The NT mention slavery, regulates behavior towards slaves, but never even says slavery as a general practice is bad, never mind prohibited. This is revealing. Most apologists say slavery was different then, I've never heard a serious apologist take your position.

        April 20, 2014 at 11:42 am |
      • bostontola

        "I dont see anything wrong, he did not kill or hurt anyone"

        Biblical Jesus does something I find much worse than killing someone, he subjects people to eternal infinite punishment.

        April 20, 2014 at 11:45 am |
        • Peaceadvocate2014

          Boston,

          How do you deal with sinners or wrong doers that does not admit they wrong, no remorse , no repentance. Our God is a forgiving God for those who ask for forgiveness.

          April 20, 2014 at 12:03 pm |
        • bostontola

          Peace,
          I personally would find that a loving God would be more consistent with a carrot only policy with no stick. If you accept Jesus, you get an eternity of love, if you don't, you get an eternity of non-existence. Isn't that enough of an incentive, and consistent with an all loving God? The best would be an unconditionally loving God, you get an eternity of love either way. Even evil people would see the error of their way or then get eternal oblivion in the afterlife. Of course, this is all hypothetical, I don't believe in any afterlife, this one is it.

          April 20, 2014 at 12:29 pm |
        • Peaceadvocate2014

          Boston,

          Believing or accepting Jesus and God is in my opinion not enough. Belief and acceptance means trying to follow the teachings. I believe and accept my parents or our justice system but i also try to follow their teachings or laws. I dont just beleive, brown nose, impress them and forget or dont follow their teachings or laws.

          Question as to why slavery, hom0s3xuallity, etc, were not specifically mentioned in the new testament is true but generalized. As in love one another, illness at birth, etc.

          In addition, slavery was addressed in the old testament when moses led the israelites to freedom. Humans as constantly evolving and jesus addressed the sins of all humans at the time.

          April 21, 2014 at 3:47 pm |
      • gulliblenomore

        Peace....I have to dis-respectfully disagree with your post. There is not one instance in the bible....not one....where either god or Jesus condemned slavery. Not one! Supposedly knowing how future Christians would treat slaves (see slavery in the U.S.), they both missed a golden opportunity to right wrongs that were going to happen in the future. He made certain that you people hated gays, but said nothing whatsoever about the criminality of slavery. Your god is truly unworthy of worship.

        April 20, 2014 at 6:02 pm |
        • Peaceadvocate2014

          Read my replies to boston. Questions ir comments by you and others are basically the same.

          Disrespectfully funny though.

          April 21, 2014 at 3:54 pm |
    • realbuckyball

      One of the major themes in Rabbinic debate at that time was trying to simplify the Mosaic Law. Jesus was not the inventor of "love your neighbor". Just one of many wandering preachers who promoted that. The only reason you know of him at all is that the Roman Emperor decided to use that cult IN JUDAISM (John Chrysostom as late as 400 CE was STILL yelling at HIS congregation to STOP going to synagogue .. see his collected sermons), to politically unify his empire.

      April 20, 2014 at 11:33 am |
      • Peaceadvocate2014

        True or not. Unity is a good thing.

        April 20, 2014 at 12:07 pm |
        • realbuckyball

          Not if it's a sham created by a sham.

          April 20, 2014 at 2:51 pm |
        • tallulah131

          Come on, Peace. Where are those biblical verses that prove that Jesus condemned slavery? You are missing a great opportunity to prove your claim.

          April 20, 2014 at 5:04 pm |
        • Peaceadvocate2014

          Sham according to you. Judgment should come from God. Unless you think youre God or a God.

          April 21, 2014 at 4:04 pm |
        • Peaceadvocate2014

          Why not mention the perservation of the environment?

          Read my replies to boston and please..... Try to understand.

          Jesus was sent to address the sins of all humans at the time. I could be wrong.

          April 21, 2014 at 4:20 pm |
  14. mcquestion5000

    Funny how Lazarus was brought back from the dead... and never had a thing to say about it. Maybe because it's not true?

    Indeed, history is replete with resurrections. It seems almost a banal occurrence in ancient times. The same could be said of the birth canal and religion's hatred for it. Many gods and demi-gods are born avoiding the birth canal for whatever reason. What makes your god special? Oh. Right. He was divine BEFORE he was killed and came back. Talk about splitting hairs.

    The world is waking up. It's outgrowing the unnecessary myths religions of all stripes try and sell you. None of you have any claims to special truths, not Christians, Muslims, Jews or followers of The Monkey God Hanuman.

    April 20, 2014 at 9:52 am |
    • alonsoquixote

      Jesus is credited with not only bring Lazarus back from the dead, but also the daughter of Jairus, and the widow's son at Nain (Luke 7:11-17). Though in the story of Jairus' daughter in Mark 5:35-43, Jesus says that she was merely asleep and not dead as the people believed. Another biblical figure with the power to bring the dead back to life was Elijah. In 1 Kings 17, he brings the son of his landlady back to life.

      Of course, the power to bring the dead back to life was not unique to biblical figures. In the religion of the ancient Greeks, Asclepius, who was also the son of a god and a mortal woman, brought dead individuals back to life. After his death, he was resurrected as a god, becoming the god of medicine and healing in ancient Greek religion.

      The Greek Neopythagorean philosopher Apollonius of Tyana (c. 15 – c. 100 CE) also, reputedly, could bring the dead back to life restoring life to a bride who died on the day of her wedding.

      April 20, 2014 at 12:47 pm |
  15. ausphor

    I took the time to view the slide show that is part of the article. I find it amazing that in the 21st century that there still exists some very strange/crazy cults that are part of the Christian belief system. Some of those groups look like they are headed out for an old timey inquisition hunt and several look strikingly like the KKK. Scary sh!t.

    April 20, 2014 at 7:55 am |
  16. Rainer Helmut Braendlein

    Longwinded, but necessary for the sake of YOUR salvation. HE wants you!

    We enjoy scrutinizing similar to our "father" Adam who experienced a fall. I don't refuse rational consideration to a certain degree. Yet, there is a point when rational consideration becomes a smokescreen for disbelief: Somebody not wanting to believe simply tries constantly to find new rational arguements against the faith. I have heard there are people refusing to go to work saying that there could be a lion outside (indeed, the mathematical probabiltiy that a lion is around is not zero). Would we call them rationalists? No, we would call them lazy.

    Christianity fits too good in our world. A few people doubt the reality of the sun and the moon. We should not doubt the reality of Christianity.

    It is too manifest that mankind is beset by evil. Turn on TV, and the first news will be that somewhere a Muslim idiot has blown himself up using an explosive belt killing many innocent people. Ain't that evil? Of course, that is evil though Muhammad, the worst of all idiots, has commanded Jihad. What about the US spree killers? What about former German Nazis? What about former Stalinists? What about former Catholic crusades? The list is without end. Endless bloodshed!

    Yet, this is only the tip of the iceberg.

    What about our evil acts through which we harm our fellow human beings daily? What about our lack of worship?

    Even if there would be no Bible, we could not deny that evil is there. It befalls us daily.

    When people harm each other daily, it is odd to imply that man has got an evil germ inside which can take control of him under certain conditions?

    Wouldn't it be reasonable to welcome a religion which provides a solution for that issue of evil?

    The core of the solution is Jesus death and resurrection which we really should celebrate at Easter. Jesus laid the foundation for the destruction of evil: "He is the death of death and the destruction of the hell."

    Even (religious) people putting in every effort to improve (to sin less, and to love more) notice that they cannot overcome their intrinsic sinfulness (their evil germ) by natural strength. We are interwoven with evil.

    St. Paul says that when Jesus died also we have died, our evil germ. It is only that we have to believe that, and to get sacramentally baptized in order to participate in Jesus death and resurrection. All religions try to improve man by ridiculous means, but don't mind the evil germ within us. The man who smells of sweat should be washed, but not doused with perfume. All religions save Christianity do that. The only real solution is to humble the evil germ within us. No painkiller, but killing the cancer.

    If we believe in Jesus Christ, and get sacramentally baptized (or refer to our infant baptism) the evil germ within us gets disempowered, the sin gets dethroned. The evil germ is still there even after conversion and baptism, but through remembrance of our baptism and Jesus' sacrifice we can suppress it which is actually dead, declared dead.

    Through baptism we also resurrect together with Jesus who is love in himself. In Jesus we are able to love God and our neighbour. Love is the opposite of sin or breach of law, love is the fulfillment of the law of the Torah.

    Repent, convert, believe in Jesus, get sacramentally baptized, and you will experience a real Easter.

    Jesus waits for you. He loves you, and he can set you free.

    If you accept all this, Jesus sacrifice is also an atonement for your sins, for our sins. We are forgiven.

    Don't scrutinize, but believe in the Ruler of the Universe who is ready to come to judge the quick and the dead.

    Here we go again. I know. But for the sake of YOUR salvation I will repeat it endlessly.

    HE wants us!

    April 20, 2014 at 7:44 am |
    • Reality

      Simply more hopping down the mythical, Lutheran bunny trail !!!

      April 20, 2014 at 8:30 am |
    • sam stone

      jeebus wants you NOW, rainy. go meet him. DO NOT hesitate!

      April 20, 2014 at 8:41 am |
    • Jill

      Disgusting dimwitted bigot Rainer Brandlein, dessicate yourself in the venerable primordial yogurt ,for there is the deepest vehicle for geese. Understanding this global giraffe preserves key declinations for the introverted chipmunk in the parliamentary icefield.

      Pressurize, evacuate, sigh. That is the only way to satisfaction for the diesel chicken.

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

      April 20, 2014 at 10:25 am |
    • realbuckyball

      3 name Rainy is too long winded. He thinks he actually has something to contribute. He doesn't. He thinks preaching is the way to convince people that HIS personal views are "the truth". Poor little Rainy.

      April 20, 2014 at 10:50 am |
    • chiniquy

      You are the idiot Rainer and also a religious bigot.

      April 20, 2014 at 12:09 pm |
    • Akira

      Rainier, you posted this AGAIN, leaving your religious bigotry in?

      Shut up. You are not doing one good thing by embarrassing Jesus and God with your long-winded, nasty diatribes.

      You have learned nothing, have you?

      April 20, 2014 at 10:34 pm |
    • Keith

      I do not believe in your Three-in-One God, so I believe there are other gods that offer peace and solace that I will believe in just fine.

      April 21, 2014 at 3:20 pm |
  17. Vic

    ♰♰♰ Jesus Christ Is Lord ♰♰♰

    Happy Easter Everyone.

    Matthew 28:6
    "6 He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying." (NASB)

    The Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ
    Matthew 28
    Mark 16
    Luke 24
    John 20,21

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=YY0EGfghw6o

    April 20, 2014 at 3:33 am |
    • realbuckyball

      Too bad it's totally different in each one. Which one really is true ? You REALLY expect anyone to buy the one in Matthew where many others also rose, yet not one was ever doc'umented ? Not one empty tomb verified ? Not One Jewish historian bothered to mention the temple curtain was spontaneously ripped ? Not one of the naturalists who docu'mented all the other earthquakes mentioned this one ? You really expect us to buy that if the Romans and Jews went to all the trouble to arrest and execute him they wouldn't go try to find and re-arrest him ? The fact is the language in Paul's letters about resurrection, correctly translated in context, means "exalted" (as commonly meant in Jewishapocalypticism), NOT "physically/bodily" risen. IF he actually had regained a physical body every time there was a
      "post-resurrection" siting, they would have recognized him, and not "been afariad". Even at the very end of Matthew, they STILL were "afraid but *believed*". IF you actually see a real physical body, there is no need for "belief". Sorry Patronizing-and-Annoying-alwayspreaching-Vic. Your myth is not credible, in any way. It's a nice allegory though. Gospels (the "good news" ... by definition self-admitted biased materials) are statements of beliefs for believers about what they already believe. They are in no way "historical accounts".

      April 20, 2014 at 6:41 am |
    • Reality

      None of the cited "thum-ptations" pass rigorous historic testing. And considering the day, simply more hopping down the mythical bunny trail !!!

      April 20, 2014 at 7:37 am |
    • ausphor

      Vic
      Jesus Christ is Lord of the Myths

      April 20, 2014 at 7:45 am |
    • bostontola

      Happy Easter Vic and everyone else celebrating.

      April 20, 2014 at 9:01 am |
      • realbuckyball

        Yes indeed. Happy Easter to all those for whom the bunny left candy. That's about the extent of it.

        April 20, 2014 at 10:51 am |
  18. I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

    Whether the notion of resurrection is stolen from paganism is academic and is the subject of this article.

    The very name "Easter" was co-opted from pagan mythology. Doublless someone in 1,720 posts has mentioned Ēostre.

    (See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C4%92ostre )

    Easter (as practiced by Christians) has clear roots in the Jewish calendar. It happens in the Spring because of the Jewish calendar. Happening in the Spring is where it co-opts the Germanic pagan traditions.

    All the other stuff about Easter (as a holiday), eggs, rabbits etc are directly stolen from pagan fertility symbols that are relevant to the return of earthly fecundity in the Spring.

    Thanks be to Ēostre / Ostara.

    April 19, 2014 at 10:55 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      The weirdest thing I saw this Easter were the "Christian" Russell Stover Easter candies.

      (They have removed illustrations from their website.)

      I guess because the eggs and rabbits have too much connection to paganism that Russell Stover has decided to market specifically "Christian" Easter candy this year.

      A candy bar with a handsome neatly beaded white Jesus on the wrapper anyone?

      How about a candy celtic crucifix. Yes kiddies, let's celebrate the gruesome torture of our Lord and savior by eating yummy chocolate crucifixes.

      http://www.chow.com/food-news/76787/did-jesus-die-on-a-chocolate-cross/

      I guess it could have been worse. They might have made them with a moulded chocolate Jesus in his death agony. Which part do you eat first – the feet, or do you bite the head off.

      Jesus died for our sins and his ancient torture device tastes yummy too!

      Apparently they make "chocolate Jesus" fish too.

      April 19, 2014 at 11:03 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      You could argue that the Anglo tradition of hot cross buns are the same thing as a chocolate crucifix in that it contains an edible cross.

      OK, but I'd say they are not. While today I see do versions where the cross is frosting, these were traditionally done with a flour and water paste or shortcrust.

      The cross was purely symbolic and not intended as a tasty topping.

      In any case the tradition of hot cross buns is quite possibly pagan in origin:

      I found this quote in a recipe.

      "Originally eaten by the Saxons to honor their goddess Eostre the buns are marked with a cross as it is believed the bun represented the moon and the cross the moon's quarters. To Christians, the cross symbolizes the crucifixion.

      April 19, 2014 at 11:12 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Happy Easter dear Belief Bloggers, whatever the holiday weekend means to you personally.

      April 19, 2014 at 11:13 pm |
  19. cosmostheinlost

    It would be more appropriate to speak of Christianity preserving and modulating the great heritage of world religions it has encountered. This is what sets it apart from the destructive leveling of its only current rival, globalism:

    http://cosmostheinlost.com/2013/06/20/pagan-symbols-and-the-coming-christianity/

    April 19, 2014 at 10:21 pm |
    • realbuckyball

      Actually nothing "sets it apart". It's just the same as all the other symbolic systems humans have cooked up, and in some ways worse, and in some ways distorts utterly what it claims are it's roots. If anything it did not "preserve" Judaism but corrupted it. Nice try. Your beligion is the the same as all the others.

      April 20, 2014 at 12:32 am |
      • cosmostheinlost

        Please supply me with historically accurate and academically verifiable facts. Bald assertion just won't do.

        Christianity is a Judaism, so I don't know what you're talking about there.

        April 20, 2014 at 3:12 am |
        • realbuckyball

          Too bad your education is so poor on the subject. You get to "supply" yourself with your education. Christianity is in NO WAY "Judaism". YOU are the one making the "bald assertion here". Any divine being equivalent to Yahweh was UNTHINKABLE in Judaism. Too bad you know NOTHING about the ancient Hebrews, what and how they thought about evil. The Jews did not believe in immortality. They were not expecting IN ANY WAY a "spiritual redeemer" but a POLITICAL one. What do the disciples ask Jebus in Acts ? "Wilt thou at this time restore the kingdom to Israel ?" Even THEY thought he was a political figure. The kingdom is not now, nor ever has been restored. No "messianic" expectations have ever been "fulfilled". (See Dr. Bart Ehrman's "How Jesus Became A god".)

          April 20, 2014 at 6:48 am |
        • gulliblenomore

          cosmo....I find it hysterical that anyone of your faith is demanding historically accurate and academically verifiable facts from anybody! Before any of us should even considering answering any of your questions, please show us historically accurate and academically verifiable facts that god even exists!

          April 20, 2014 at 10:17 am |
        • cosmostheinlost

          @realbucky: Judaism? Which Judaism? There were about five different kinds with different beliefs on all those. Ehrman is a popularizer, not a serious scholar.

          @gullible: Over 2000 years of history (see the date below your post) that has produced you and this conversation. By the way, Christ is Risen!

          April 20, 2014 at 11:45 am |
        • gulliblenomore

          cosmo...nice sentiment....but...prove it! Got any evidential proof? Just because 2000 years has passed doesn't prove anything at all. If you could produce the evidence (remember your request above.....verifiable evidence), you would create a string of followers never before seen in history. Good luck with that. In the meantime, if you don/t mind, I will stay here comfortably in reality.

          April 20, 2014 at 12:22 pm |
        • cosmostheinlost

          @gullible/dopey: It's created those 2000 years. The very categories of thought you're using to make yourself look dumb, emerge from that very tradition!

          April 20, 2014 at 12:40 pm |
        • gulliblenomore

          Cosmo....Fvck off you stupid supposed Christian. If hurling insults is part of your cult, I'm certainly glad that I'm not part of it! You don't even know what evidential proof means. Our existence is not proof of any god, especially yours!

          April 20, 2014 at 2:17 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          cosmos: You can't possibly hope to win an argument without backing your own claims and since you seem rather butthurt right now, I'll help you somewhat-you're only partially right:

          "Christianity has a close relationship with Judaism, both historically and theologically. Jesus, the twelve disciples, the author of most of the New Testament, and the members of the earliest Christian churches were all Jews. Jesus' family followed Jewish customs and Jesus frequently quoted the Hebrew Bible. Jesus' followers believed him to be the Messiah, a Jewish figure predicted in the Jewish Bible. (See Christian Beliefs main page and Judaism beliefs main page"
          (http://www.religionfacts.com/christianity/charts/christianity_judaism.htm)

          gullible: Hope you're enjoying this beautiful day celebrating the Jewish Zombie. You and I both know there is no use is trying to convince the uneducated of anything. The website I have referenced is one you might find useful...it is exactly what it says it is-quick reference point.

          April 20, 2014 at 2:25 pm |
        • cosmostheinlost

          Hey, either one of you have a PhD?

          It is a historically obvious fact that there was no ONE Judaism during the time of Jesus. But, after the destruction of the Temple there were TWO major new Judaisms of which rabbinical Judaism (what we think of as Judaism these days) was just ONE.

          http://cosmostheinlost.com/2013/06/12/supersessionism-two-for-the-price-of-one/

          April 20, 2014 at 2:31 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          Your own personal blog and we're supposed to take you seriously?? Wow!! I listed a website and without one iota of care you somehow think you know better than those people??? Talk about arrogance.
          It doesn't matter if I have a PH D-your PH D is not in theology, therefore it means nothing more here than my lack of one does. Once again pure arrogance on your behalf.
          I don't care what you think of any other religion because until any of you have scientifically verifiable evidence for your god(s), there simply is no rational justification for accepting it.

          April 20, 2014 at 2:39 pm |
        • cosmostheinlost

          As for evidence for God (not to be confused with gods): that's a category mistake.

          All of y'all are making the possibility of any dialogue impossible with your irrationalism.

          I do have degrees in comparative religion, history, and comparative literature.

          What are your credentials, if any?

          April 20, 2014 at 2:56 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          Wow, you are arrogant!! You still don't get to act like an ass and pretend you're better than others!!
          You say the Christian god exists-prove it with verifiable scientific evidence!! Your blog is complete apologist crap, nothing more and you still fail to prove anything outside of the fact that you're an arrogant person who doesn't respect or care about the opinions of others.
          The site I listed is more trustworthy than your blog, I'm sorry you're too arrogant to accept that.
          Grow up!

          April 20, 2014 at 3:01 pm |
        • cosmostheinlost

          Bless your heart. Jesus and I love you.

          April 20, 2014 at 3:02 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          gullible: Pay not attention to this dolt. I went to his blog that he is trying to use to back his claims...it is full of apologetic crap that holds no water in the real world. He goes so far as to use the No True Scotsman Fallacy on his sub-heading group Atheists where he lists Atheists Who Weren't Atheists. He claims to have a PH-D but given his lack of manners and his ignorance, I'm willing to guess he failed out of university. He's an arrogant ass. I will be exposing his facebook page and ensuring people know he is selling propaganda and polluting young minds. Oh and sadly, someone was foolish enough to marry this and sadly now a child is left in his care to be horribly brainwashed-I feel for the innocence lost.

          April 20, 2014 at 2:53 pm |
        • cosmostheinlost

          Onward atheist solider!

          April 20, 2014 at 2:56 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          What is an Atheist soldier? You do comprehend that all Atheist means is without a belief in a god or gods, right???
          I'm not the one claiming a god and given that you refuse to answer any questions, it is rather safe to say you're lying about all you claim. You know an education is a wonderful thing-you might wish to consider actually getting one instead of pretending to have one!
          Happy Jewish Zombie Day...we are done!

          April 20, 2014 at 3:05 pm |
        • cosmostheinlost

          Your credentials please?

          I like how long it took all you trolls to actually look at all those links you were arguing against. It sure doesn't inspire faith in your academic honesty.

          April 20, 2014 at 3:06 pm |
        • realbuckyball

          Ehrman has a PhD from Princeton. Where is yours from ? Oh wait, you don't have one. Fail. Nice try though.
          There were many SECTS in Judaism, but they all shared many similar core beliefs. Thanks for demonstrating you actually know NOTHING about the subject.

          April 20, 2014 at 2:56 pm |
        • cosmostheinlost

          Srsly man, they had plenty of disagreements on fundamental things such as whether there is even an afterlife.

          Checkmate.

          April 20, 2014 at 2:59 pm |
        • realbuckyball

          An afterlife had never been a core belief of the Hebrews. The fact that it arose in the Apocalyptic Period is basically irrelevant. Immortality was NOT ever a core belief of classical Judaism. Thanks for yet again demonstrating your ignorance of that period, and its nuances. YOU claimed Christianity "modulated" Judaism, (and NOW you're saying there was no such thing). Nice. The concept of ONE deity Yahweh was common to all the sects. The idea of a co-equal "trinity" was not even conceivable to Jews. That's not "modulation". It's the creation of a DIFFERENT cult entirely. The concepts of salvation and original sin were absent totally. That was entirely cooked up by humans much later. Keep it up. Show us how little you actually know.

          April 20, 2014 at 3:53 pm |
        • gulliblenomore

          truthprevails....I seldom, if ever, pay any attention to morons like cosmos. All I ever ask for is actual, evidential proof for anything that anybody believes in. Since I know it is impossible to produce any real proof of any god, I always find it entertaining how they dance around the issue of evidence of their beliefs, insisting that they, and only they, know the truth, but they just don't ever seem to be able to articulate that. I just don't care what people want to believe. What I do care about however, is their total arrogance in insisting that only they have the true answer to lifes questions. They can't say how, but they do. So....your interpretation of this guy as a dolt is being way too kind to him. Thanks for the support!

          April 20, 2014 at 5:34 pm |
        • cosmostheinlost

          Now you can go home self-satisfied with your secure truth, whereas I can continue with my doubts.

          April 20, 2014 at 6:21 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          gulliblenomore: There are a few other less polite terms I could use. After a brief visit to his blog, I realized he is only looking to sell his delusional opinion, nothing more. He is one who it wouldn't matter what you stated, he'd find a way to put it down. I feel sorry for the child he is raising, that type of brainwashing should be considered child abuse and the child should be removed from the home.

          April 21, 2014 at 8:16 am |
        • gulliblenomore

          TruthP....yeah, I recognized him as a nut yesterday and just quit responding to him. I like to debate if people show they have a legitimate point to make, but quacks like cosmos and salero just aren't worth my time

          April 21, 2014 at 8:26 am |
        • cosmostheinlost

          You were dumb enough to give me hits. Thanks dum-dum. I count on morons like you to keep the advertising money coming. Much obliged!

          April 21, 2014 at 11:26 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          cosmos: There you go again with the immoral name calling. Not our intention to give you hits (like that proves anything), more like our intention to expose you for the fraud and liar you are. Please turn your child over to childrens services so he can be raised without the abuse of brainwashing!

          April 22, 2014 at 12:00 pm |
        • cosmostheinlost

          Sounds like you're the one who got brainwashed. Read about it here:

          http://cosmostheinlost.com/2013/12/04/advent-atheism-consoling-delusion/

          April 22, 2014 at 12:12 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          oh my you crazy man, I'm not the one using apologetics and lies to make a god appear real....no need to go to your blog, it is nothing more than delusional cult speak full of lies and proof that religion makes one stupid! Exposing you for the lying ass you are is fun though...just shows people that people like you are in need of serious mental health help and shouldn't be allowed near any human unless they are injecting you with anti-psychotic meds. You need a rubber room, not the internet (that Atheists gave you...be a good boy and use your manners-Thank you will suffice).

          April 22, 2014 at 12:21 pm |
        • cosmostheinlost

          uhh, the military killing machine gave me the internet. get with it, dodo.

          April 22, 2014 at 12:34 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          Uh no you uneducated dolt.
          This is who gave you the machine you use that enables you to use the internet...geez if you're this stupid when it comes to facts, why should we believe anything else you say?
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Turing

          April 22, 2014 at 12:49 pm |
        • cosmostheinlost

          Is your skin that thin?

          April 22, 2014 at 12:35 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          Not thin at all, just pointing out the hypocrisy! If you were as good of a Christian, as you claim to be, you would treat people better but instead you resort to infantile name calling to attempt to p\make your point valid. Keep it up, dolts like you bury the religion and don't help it.

          April 22, 2014 at 12:47 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          @cosmos....truthprevails is a child.....they whine about name calling and they do it themselves..even worse...then make stupid comments like "don't go near children" or "I fear for the kids you work with" etc.......

          April 22, 2014 at 4:50 pm |
        • cosmostheinlost

          I wasn't going to belabor the obvious, but yes.

          April 22, 2014 at 4:55 pm |
        • igaftr

          cosmo
          Since you are claerly only fishing for website hits, can you summarize your rant here?

          I am not fool enough to look at your exposed ego, on some diatribe you probably just reversed the actual psychology data trying to say why atheists console themselves with non-belief, which is absurd.

          April 22, 2014 at 12:17 pm |
        • rgalinato

          Did anyone else watch Cosmos while celebrating Easter?

          April 22, 2014 at 12:21 pm |
        • cosmostheinlost

          You're as lazy as the undergraduates I teach at a state college. DO YOUR OWN DAMN WORK!

          April 22, 2014 at 12:34 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          igaftr: He has an entire list of Atheists who are no longer Atheists; he attempts to debunk Atheism with apologetic crap...he's no different that truthfollower or Kermit or Vic-all talk, no actual evidence to support them.

          rgalinato: Wouldn't miss it...Neil De Grasse does an excellent job at filling some rather big shoes.

          April 22, 2014 at 12:27 pm |
        • cosmostheinlost

          Neil deGrasse Tyson needs a history researcher who has a PhD, not that MA hack he's got working on the show. It shows:

          http://cosmostheinlost.com/tag/neil-degrasse-tyson/

          April 22, 2014 at 12:33 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          Neil De Grasse would shoot your site down in a heartbeat and show you how very wrong you are. The man has more intelligence in his thumb nail than you do the whole of your closed mind. You are an apologist, he a scientist-you clueless, him not so much; him honest-you not so much. He admits to not knowing and thus is being honest, you plug a god of the gaps in to it and thus are being dishonest.

          CNN doesn't approve of people stealing advertising space and theft is a sin-so if hell exists (HAHA) you will be burning a long side many of your ilk-HAPPY BURNING LIAR!

          April 22, 2014 at 12:38 pm |
        • cosmostheinlost

          He's making a fool of himself on history. As someone who has a degree in history, I cringe every time I watch the show.

          April 22, 2014 at 12:42 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          Of course you cringe!! You're the fool, not him! You don't have his education and given that you think god exists, it is well expected you would disagree. Your degree is not in history, so don't go making an ass of yourself by speaking on something you know nothing about.

          April 22, 2014 at 12:45 pm |
        • gulliblenomore

          TP.....too late....he already has

          April 22, 2014 at 12:47 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          I think the best we can hope for now is that CNN blocks this dolts IP address for violating their terms via theft of advertising space...he's an uneducated fool, not worthy of further communication from anyone. I suspect he has lied about his education also-probably a drop-out from high school.

          April 22, 2014 at 12:57 pm |
        • igaftr

          the lost
          "cosmostheinlost

          You were dumb enough to give me hits. Thanks dum-dum. I count on morons like you to keep the advertising money coming. Much obliged!

          SInce you clearly have some loose screws, you keep directing people to your website, then call them morons for going, then say do your own work, but if I do you claim I am a moron.

          Seriously, you should consider reaching out to a non-religious mental health professional.

          By the way, Neil needs none of your "advice". He's doing just fine without you.

          April 22, 2014 at 12:39 pm |
        • cosmostheinlost

          He's making a fool of himself in history and losing face by doing it. Read about the details so you can avoid the same mistakes.

          April 22, 2014 at 12:43 pm |
        • igaftr

          reading anything you have to say on the subject would be good for a laugh, but otherwise, I am not stupid enough to go to your ego driven site.

          I'm certain you have your opinion, which again is insignificant and certainly moot.

          April 22, 2014 at 12:47 pm |
  20. thatinthebible

    To the casual observer, Christ's death may seem like just a case of "murder/execution," but according to the bible He voluntarily "gave up" His life.

    If one looks at the biblical account of Christ's death from the point of view of just a casual observer it may look like his captors and eventually His executioners had the upper hand in the situation. But the really UNIQUE thing is that He willingly consented to die, even though He was completely innocent.

    I really like the idea of taking any random current local, national, or international news event and just seeing what the bible has to say about that particular subject; if anything.

    I blog at http://isthatinthebible.com

    April 19, 2014 at 8:09 pm |
    • sam stone

      it is a book of mythology

      April 19, 2014 at 9:24 pm |
    • realbuckyball

      He did not. He was arrested and executed (if he even existed) by a standing order in the Pax Romana. No trial. Even the gospel says he asked (in the garden) to have the cup removed "but not MY WILL, but THINE be done". What you think he lied ? He admitted HE did not want to do it, but felt compelled to do it. Of course it's all bunk. All trouble-makers in the Pax Romana were summarily executed. He attacked the very economic foundations of a city built on money exchange / priestly sacrificial power. The primary business of Jerusalem was the temple economy. EVERYTHING was centered around it. Here comes a trouble-maker who tries to stop the ritual currency exchange. Nice try. Fail.

      April 20, 2014 at 12:37 am |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.