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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. Vic

    Beloved readers,

    I see a lot of confusion about Salvation in the Lord Jesus Christ, so please know this:

    Salvation in the Lord Jesus Christ is a "FREE Gift," and the redundancy here is for emphasis as opposed to classification. It is an "Unmerited Favor." It is God's "Ultimate Provision" for our "Redemption."

    Do you know why we say the "Passion of Christ?" It is because it describes the 'suffering' of the Lord Jesus Christ at the 'Crucifixion' which He did out of "passion" to save us. That also encompasses the suffering He endured all the way leading up to the Crucifixion.

    When call upon the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ in Belief/Faith in Him, you are SAVED, regardless of your iniquity, sins, flaws, shortcomings, what have you. There is nothing else to it. You cannot prorate the "Ultimate Sacrifice," you cannot prorate the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ.

    Now, as a person, whoever we are, whatever our persuasion may be, we are not expected to be anarchists, we are all expected to have a basic decent civil conduct in dealing with each other, that's part of life. Please don't confuse that with Salvation in case of Christianity, it has nothing to do with it.

    John 3:16,17
    "16 For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him." (NASB)

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

    April 19, 2014 at 7:33 pm |
    • bostontola

      "that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life."

      This is just not true to me. My life, what I call life, includes all my senses, faults and virtues. It includes all the various social interactions with other people. When my body dies, one of two possible afterlifes can happen;

      1) it is spiritual, I some other dimension or whatever. This is not my life. 2) God simulates our earthly experience. This is not real and not my life. Either way, this is not eternal life as I would want it.

      There is no cheating death, and why do we want to? An eternity of consciousness is not attractive to me.

      I hear a lot about there is no purpose without God. I feel my purpose every day. It was created by me, and it evolves as I learn. I can see no purpose in an eternity of consciousness. There is the utter absence of urgency. Finite consciousness is the kernel of my purpose.

      So this offer in John 3:16 is not attractive to me. Further, it smacks of a con game that entraps those that have an intense fear of oblivion.

      April 19, 2014 at 8:29 pm |
      • Vic

        With eternal life, we are made immortals with glorified bodies.

        April 19, 2014 at 8:33 pm |
        • Vic

          The mortal constraints you account for would be gone then.

          April 19, 2014 at 8:37 pm |
        • bostontola

          I agree Vic, but I consider those mortal constraints part of my life. They shape my personality, my drives, my motivations, and hence my satisfactions. It's not life to me without them.

          April 19, 2014 at 8:47 pm |
        • Vic

          You are viewing the next eternal life realm of an immortal with transformed body and perspective, which is superior, from the perspective of this mortal life realm, which is inferior.

          As Christians, while we believe in eternal life through the Lord Jesus Christ, we cannot necessarily know or imagine every aspect of it. This is a matter of the Divine Realm. As I believe in God and trust Him in saving my life, I don't worry about the how.

          April 19, 2014 at 8:57 pm |
        • Reality

          "Glorified bodies"? Please define in scientific terms and where do these bodies go as there is no physical heaven.

          April 19, 2014 at 9:25 pm |
        • sam stone

          i don't see how anyone can believe that tripe. then, i remember it is a True Believer (TM) and i remember,

          April 19, 2014 at 9:28 pm |
    • Reality

      John's Gospel is of questionable historic value so why do people continue to "thu-mp" it??

      To wit:

      From Professor Bruce Chilton in his book, Rabbi Jesus,

      "Conventionally, scholarship has accorded priority to the first three gospels in historical work on Jesus, putting progressively less credence in works of late date. John's Gospel for example is routinely dismissed as a source......

      From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gospel_of_John#Authorship

      "Since "the higher criticism" of the 19th century, some historians have largely rejected the gospel of John as a reliable source of information about the historical Jesus.[3][4] "[M]ost commentators regard the work as anonymous,"[5] and date it to 90-100."

      "The authorship has been disputed since at least the second century, with mainstream Christianity believing that the author is John the Apostle, son of Zebedee. Modern experts usually consider the author to be an unknown non-eyewitness, though many apologetic Christian scholars still hold to the conservative Johannine view that ascribes authorship to John the Apostle."

      And from Professor Gerd Ludemann, in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years, p. 416,

      "Anyone looking for the historical Jesus will not find him in the Gospel of John. "

      See also http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/john.html

      April 19, 2014 at 9:34 pm |
    • Reality

      And Ephesians was written not by Paul but by a pseudo Paul so there was no divine guidance so why bother quoting from it and considering the fraud why bother quoting from any of Paul's epistles???

      April 19, 2014 at 9:39 pm |
      • Doris

        "by a pseudo Paul "

        Indeed. Lol – I have to remember that one. Or maybe it could be "faux Paul".

        April 19, 2014 at 9:52 pm |
        • alonsoquixote

          Another term often used to describe the pseudepigraphic, i.e., falsely attributed, epi_stles associated with the Apostle Paul is "deutero-Pauline letters". Most biblical scholars regard First Timothy, Second Timothy, Ti_tus and Ephesians as deutero-Pauline. There is disgreement on whether Colossians and Second Thessalonians were written by a pseudo-Paul.

          There are also a number of other non-canonical epi_stles purportedly written by Paul which weren't included in the BIble, which almost all biblical scholars now reject as being written by a pseudo-Paul. E.g., Third Epi_stle to the Corinthians, which was considered canonical for a time in the Armenian Apostolic Church, Epi_stle to the Laodiceans, which is found in the Codex Fuldensis, a New Testament manuscript based on the Latin Vulgate, and Epi_stle to the Alexandrians.

          April 19, 2014 at 10:22 pm |
      • kermit4jc

        and what evidence do you have that Paul did not write Ephesians?

        April 20, 2014 at 9:20 pm |
    • Doris

      Oh goodness – not Ephesians. Not this time of year. I need a good antihistamine and a lot of Kleenex if you're going to spray Ephesians all over me.

      April 19, 2014 at 9:48 pm |
      • Reality

        Bless you and Kimberly-Clark !!

        April 19, 2014 at 11:46 pm |
    • realbuckyball

      Beloved patronizing Vic,
      If we need you to explain anything, we'll be sure and ask.
      Go away with your preachy-weachy.

      April 20, 2014 at 12:38 am |
  2. Alias

    It always seemed Odd to me that something like a virgin birth would get so little attention at the time.

    April 19, 2014 at 4:41 pm |
    • colin31714

      Virgin birth claims at the time were very common. Everybody who was anybody in the Greco-Roman preaching/political World was "born of a virgin."

      Like politicians today claiming to love patriotism, it was a kind of political necessity.

      April 19, 2014 at 4:49 pm |
      • Alias

        If a woman claims to be a virgin, there are ways to check – at least before childbirth.

        April 19, 2014 at 4:54 pm |
        • colin31714

          But that's just it, it wasn't the women making the claim, it was the baby, years later, as they claimed religious or political prominence. They or their spin doctors would claim virgin birth.

          April 19, 2014 at 5:04 pm |
      • unsername1

        virgin births are no more miracles in 21st century, it is called IVF. no penetration is required to have a baby.

        April 19, 2014 at 7:08 pm |
      • alonsoquixote

        Zoroaster, the founder of Zoroastrianism is believed to have lived in what is now northeastern Iran sometime in the sixth or fifth century B.C.E, though some scholars believe it could have been as early as 1200 B.C.E. His mother, Dughdova, was a virgin who conceived him after being visited by a shaft of light. Zoroastrianism was once the state religion of the Achaemenid, Parthian, and Sasanian empires and influenced other later religions including Judaism, Gnosticism, Christianity and Islam. It was the Achaemenid King Cyrus who freed the conquered Jews held captive in Babylon after he conquered Babylon in 539 B.C.E.

        During the Babylonian Exile, the Jews had to change not only how they worshiped, since they no longer had their temple nor the animal sacrifices which had been at the center of their faith, but also how they thought about their god. The Jewish concept of Yahweh as their tribal protector, who would save them from being conquered or exiled, had to undergo revision. They incorporated elements from Babylonian religious beliefs and their religious beliefs also appear to have been greatly influenced by Zoroastrian ones. It was after the Exile that Judaism gravitated towards a moralized afterlife where the good are rewarded and the wicked punished; the Zoroastrian hell is a horrific place. Jewish angels gained names and personalities after the Exile and were spoken of as guardians of various natural phenomena like the Zoroastrian yazatas. The Jewish and Christian notion of a personal "guardian angel" may also have been inspired by the Zoroastrian fravashi, which was the divine guardian-spirit of each individual human being.

        Though the notion of a virgin birth for Jesus being a fulfilment of prophecy was based on a mistranslation of Isaiah 7:14 in the Septuagint, a Greek translation of the Hebrew scriptures used by the unknown author of the Gospel of Matthew, where the Hebrew word "almah", which means a young woman of marriageable age, was translated into the Greek word "parthenos", which implies virginity, the notion of a coming savior may have been introduced into Judaism after contact with Zoroastrianism. In Zoroastrianism, the Saoshyant (savior) brings about the final renovation of the world, the Frashokereti, when evil will be destroyed, and everything will be then in perfect unity with God (Ahura Mazda). Ahura Mazda will be triumphant over evil and the Saoshyant will resurrect the dead, whose bodies will be restored to eternal perfection and whose souls will be cleansed and reunited with God. Time will then end, and truth/righteousness (asha) and immortality will thereafter be everlasting.

        April 19, 2014 at 10:00 pm |
  3. hastein45

    "Dying-and-rising gods" is a misnomer.

    April 19, 2014 at 4:27 pm |
    • realbuckyball

      No it isn't.

      April 19, 2014 at 6:19 pm |
    • alonsoquixote

      Do you prefer "death-rebirth-deity" for such gods?

      April 19, 2014 at 10:43 pm |
    • realbuckyball

      Dr. Carole Fontaine (Andover-Newton School of Theology) "Dying and rising gods in the roman world were a dime a dozen". Simon of Perea : Birth announced by an angel, born of a virgin, died for sins, rose in 3 days.
      Philo's Jesus : Died for sons, rose from the dead.
      etc etc etc.

      April 20, 2014 at 6:51 am |
  4. Vic

    To the best of my knowledge, Christianity is the "fulfillment" of the Messianic Prophecies of Judaism, starting with the Virgin Birth of the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ (Savior Yahweh Messiah,) hence the name.

    John 7:42
    "42 Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from the descendants of David, and from Bethlehem, the village where David was?”" (NASB)

    April 19, 2014 at 2:33 pm |
    • Vic

      Intended as a "reply" below within:

      http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2014/04/17/did-christians-really-steal-easter/comment-page-9/#comment-2993121

      April 19, 2014 at 2:37 pm |
    • bostontola

      The OT has a few different types of content. It has some rules to live by, it has some stories to make points that have various interpretations, it has some prophesy that also has various interpretations, then there are the messianic criteria. These criteria are not va.gue at all, they are easily observable, and verifiable without interpretation.

      While people pretzel the prophesies to match the Jesus story, the unambiguous criteria laid down by Yahweh was unequivocally not met. If I believed in the Abrahamic God, I would have no choice but to reject Jesus as a false messiah no matter how beautiful his teachings are.

      April 19, 2014 at 2:49 pm |
    • realbuckyball

      Well your "best knowledge" is pretty skimpy, so that's not saying much.
      Jesus did not get the MAIN job a "messiah" was supposed to get done. So nothing can refer to him.
      There was no "prophesy" of a messiah to be "born of a virgin". Isaiah told the king OF HIS DAY that one of his wives, (a word in Hebrew which meant "young woman" and was later mis-translated by the Greek word "parthenos" was to be found to be pregnant. THAT was the "sign". NOT the manner of the birth. Why is it you believers know NOTHING about your own holy books, or Ancient History and culture ?

      April 19, 2014 at 6:25 pm |
      • islamistheanswer

        How about you enlighten the rest of us here how YOU know about Ancient History? From the like of Robert Spencer I assume (you know what I mean. I am referring to a video you shared with us in an earlier article in which you used Robert Spencer as your source of why you believe Mohammed didn't exist. That was the most pathetic thing I have ever heard of and I refuted all the claims made by Mr. Spencer. You of course chose to ignore my responses altogether. That citation was evident of how you KNOW about ancient history nonetheless). I guess what I am trying to say is that when your HOUSE is made of glass, stop throwing stones at others.

        April 19, 2014 at 8:32 pm |
        • realbuckyball

          You refuted nothing. Nice try. Islam is all a moon-god cult.

          April 20, 2014 at 12:40 am |
        • islamistheanswer

          If I were you, I would tackle every point I presented in my response to have credibility (not just claim that I refuted nothing). Also, I would stop just calling things names unless I can provide an explanation of why I called them as such (i.e. Islam is all a moon-god cult. Care to elaborate and enlighten the readers?)

          April 20, 2014 at 8:30 am |
        • realbuckyball

          And BTW, I'm a grad student at an Ivy Leauge school. THAT's how I know about Ancient History. You on the other hand learned yours from the local Islamic cleric.

          April 20, 2014 at 12:41 am |
        • islamistheanswer

          Sorry. From your responses, it doesn't seem that this Ivy League school is doing you any good. Also, do you think that being a grad student in an Ivy League school gives you any cred.ibi.lity? Think again. I wouldn't use that to convince others that I somehow pos.ses.s certain knowledge just by being a grad student in an Ivy League School. Going back to how your responses reflect on your poor judgement and educational background, how did you come to assume that my knowledge comes from the local Islamic cleric? For your records, I too earned my graduate degrees from Ivy League Schools long ago and added to that experience in life that you clearly LACK and yet won't use that to claim that I know everything and that my opinion is the RIGHT one. Everyone is ent.itled to their opinion my friend but the one advice I want to leave you with is never again mention this grad student in Ivy League and to never attempt to undermine or underestimate the intellect of others based on YOUR own poor judgement.

          April 20, 2014 at 8:38 am |
        • realbuckyball

          You also have utterly FAILED to point out ONE thing wrong with what what written. Nice try at evasion, you pompous idiot.

          April 20, 2014 at 12:43 am |
        • islamistheanswer

          Why are you outraged? All of this because I pointed out that you shouldn't be talking down to others and accusing them of ignorance while you yourself demonstrate that same ignorance in your responses. Besides, why do you have to use bad words for people you don't know. I rather always keep discussions here civilized to live up to and respect the content being discussed here!

          April 20, 2014 at 8:42 am |
        • realbuckyball

          Al-Ilah was the precursor of Allah. The crescent phase of the Moon-god Sin. You cult is all built on a lie. Islam is the answer to absolutely nothing. You have no explanation why Mohammed put the Satanic Verses in the original Quran. Allah had the SAME 3 divine daughters as the god Sin. Oops. Explain that one.

          April 20, 2014 at 12:45 am |
        • islamistheanswer

          Stop talking about stuff 99% or readers know nothing about unless you explain and elaborate on what you mean. Islam is the answer to everything including life but you chose not to see, examine or better yet discredit logically and academically Islam as a religion. All I hear from you claims that Islam is a cult and that the God of Islam is the same Moon-God (all baseless and shameless).

          Now, you claim that I have no explanation why Mohammed (Peace and Blessings be upon him and all the prophets) put the Satanic Verses in the "original Quran". Such statement implies that you BELIEVE that the original Quran is a GOOD book and Mohammed put Satanic Verses there which we have no explanation of. Let me tell you something to set the record straight: there are no Satanic Verses in the Quran. We take the Quran in its entirety as Allah's word. Please show our respected readers what Satanic Verses you are referring to. The Quran is readily available online nowadays and you should be able to Quote those verses and present them here (by the way, for a grad student like your self, it behooves you to always cite your sources when involved in debates, discussions, etc...). Upon citation of your so called Satanic Verses, I WILL explain the content, the context and the lessons learned and you will be surprised that whomever told you about those "Satanic Verses" was as clueless as you are about the Quran, Islam and "Ancient History". Waiting eagerly for your response!

          As for the last point you made that Allah had the SAME 3 divine daughters as the god Sin, let me rather quote to you who GOD is from the QURAN so that you evolve in your knowledge base about Islam and the Quran and for once and for all learn about the God of Islam because you have demonstrated once and again that you KNOW nothing about His Majesty (except that which you hear from Ancient History "experts").

          Say, "He is Allah, [who is] One, (1) Allah, the Eternal Refuge. (2) He neither begets nor is born, (3) Nor is there to Him any equivalent." (4) Quran Chapter 112

          And Allah has said, "Do not take for yourselves two deities. He is but one God, so fear only Me." (51) And to Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and the earth, and to Him is [due] worship constantly. Then is it other than Allah that you fear? (52) And whatever you have of favor – it is from Allah. Then when adversity touches you, to Him you cry for help. (53) Then when He removes the adversity from you, at once a party of you associates others with their Lord (54)So they will deny what We have given them. Then enjoy yourselves, for you are going to know. (55) And they assign to what they do not know a portion of that which We have provided them. By Allah, you will surely be questioned about what you used to invent. (56) And they attribute to Allah daughters – exalted is He – and for them is what they desire. (57) Quran Chapter 16

          So inquire of them, [O Muhammad], "Does your Lord have daughters while they have sons? (149) Or did We create the angels as females while they were witnesses?" (150)Unquestionably, it is out of their [invented] falsehood that they say, (151) " Allah has begotten," and indeed, they are liars. (152) Has He chosen daughters over sons?(153)What is [wrong] with you? How do you make judgement?(154) Then will you not be reminded? (155) Or do you have a clear authority? (156) Then produce your scripture, if you should be truthful. (157) Quran Chapter 37

          Above is my response for your claim. Do you have anything to say about that? Is it a deal that you stop smearing FACTs and spread baseless claims about the God of Islam that you have no knowledge of?

          April 20, 2014 at 9:03 am |
        • realbuckyball

          Thanks for proving exactly what I thought. You actually think that quoting your holy book in some way proves Islam to be true.
          You need EXTERNAL evidence. Is THAT how you debunked Spencer ? Hahaha.
          You have not demonstrated anything. What others know about (or not) is irrelevant. Explain here and now the Satanic Verses, or S.T.F.U.

          April 20, 2014 at 10:56 am |
        • islamistheanswer

          First of all, you just proved that you don't read anything! You just march with your preconceived notions and are incapable of comprehending the simplest of concepts (so much for being a grad student at an Ivy League school). The quotation above was not meant to prove that Islam to be true as you contend. The quotation above clearly was to address your claim that the God of Islam is something that is not what He is (quoting from the Quran was to EDUCATE you on the God of Islam and not to prove Islam to be true). That was the first point.

          The second point is that it is evident and clear that you didn't read my debunk of Robert Spencer claims. I urge you to read my responses (assuming you actually watched the Spencer's video. By now, it is clear that you just browse the internet and paste here whatever you come across. It would be good for you to watch the video that you used to attack Islam and then read my response to that and then ATTEMPT to counter ANY of the arguments that I presented.).

          You keep saying that I haven't demonstrated anything but you are NEVER clear on any single point that I tackled. Go back to my response and have the courage to counter any of the arguments made in response to Spencer's video. ATTEMPT that.

          April 20, 2014 at 11:56 am |
        • realbuckyball

          http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/forum/Thread-Ask-a-Muslim-split-from-introductions?page=25
          See post 247. And answer every single point. THEN we can talk. Islam was taken form the already extant culture.
          Every bit of it was INVENTED for political control.

          April 20, 2014 at 10:59 am |
        • islamistheanswer

          If you KNOW the content of the link you shared, then present here only ONE of those Satanic Verses and TRY to elaborate on what the issue is. In return, I will easily illustrate your ignorance and lack of knowledge because you clearly appear to not know much about Islam and just follow the whims and desires of others (so called experts of Islam). Educate your self and speak for your self (your mind). Don't rely on others to draw an image in your head that is nothing but falsehood and incorrect. On to the challenge. Paste here only ONE verse that YOU know of and ARE capable of discussing before you run like a mad man uttering pure rubbish.

          April 20, 2014 at 12:00 pm |
        • realbuckyball

          The "issue" is that in the original Quran, Allah was said to have had the SAME 3 divine daughters as the god Sin. They were removed later, and they said "oh, the devil made me do it". I see you are totally ignorant of your own cult's origins.
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Satanic_verses Why do you think the Rushdie book "The Satanic Verses" caused such a furor ? I WROTE the linked article BTW. You got nuthing. You refuted nothing. All you can do is do quotes. You know NO Ancient History. Islam is not really an "Abrahamic" religion, no matter what the claim is. It developed from the Arabic moon-god cult.

          April 20, 2014 at 3:07 pm |
        • realbuckyball

          BTW, if Islam is the answer, why then is it one of the MAJOR sources of evil, death, strife, and destruction of life in the world today ?

          April 20, 2014 at 3:09 pm |
  5. bostontola

    What difference does it make if Christianity adopted pagan traditions to assimilate new members more easily? That seems very practical to me.

    My concerns with Christianity are more fundamental. I question the morality of a religion that sits on a foundation proclaiming all mankind as bad, as sinners because of a purported transgression of the very first human pair. Now that the religion has deemed humanity broken (as they were created mind you), they offer the cure. To make matters worse, the cure is not offered unconditionally, it is offered under threat of infinite duress (eternity in hell). The foundations of this religion offend my personal sense of justice and morality.

    So whether Easter, or Christmas borrow traditions from other religions seems like a small point to me.

    April 19, 2014 at 12:50 pm |
    • MidwestKen

      Well said!

      April 19, 2014 at 1:33 pm |
    • kevinite

      So, then are you saying that every Christian believes in original sin?

      April 19, 2014 at 1:41 pm |
      • Jeremy

        Where does he even imply that?

        April 19, 2014 at 1:47 pm |
      • bostontola

        Not every Christian believes in hell either. I'm talking about the mainstream Christians that make up the majority of Christians.

        If you don't believe in original sin, what did Jesus sacrifice for? While we're on that subject, if Jesus is a God and was resurrected shortly after human death, what was the sacrifice?

        April 19, 2014 at 2:03 pm |
        • new-man

          The sacrifice was to make it possible for the Spirit of God to move back into a person, therefore that person is no longer dead (death just means separation from God), but now has everlasting life. They are no longer separated from God. They can now have communion with God, in the same manner that Adam and Eve once did in the beginning before the fall.

          April 19, 2014 at 3:05 pm |
        • new-man

          Don’t Look Inside The Ark

          In the movie, Raiders Of The Lost Ark, the people who tried to look inside the ark were struck dead. What was inside the ark that brought judgment to those who looked into it?

          The Bible tells us that the ark held the two tablets of the Ten Commandments, the pot of manna and Aaron’s rod. (Hebrews 9:4) These items were tokens of man’s rebellion. The two tablets of the Ten Commandments represented man’s rejection of God’s standards. The manna represented man’s rejection of God’s provision, and Aaron’s rod, man’s rejection of God’s appointed priesthood.

          God did not want to look at these tokens of rebellion. He wanted to be merciful to His people, so He instructed them to place the items in the ark and to cover the ark with its mercy seat, which is also the place where the blood of the animal sacrifices was sprinkled.

          Once a year on the Day of Atonement, the high priest would enter the Holy of Holies to sprinkle on the mercy seat the blood of the animal that had been sacrificed. The two cherubim on the mercy seat stood as guardians of God’s righteousness and holiness.

          Representing God’s eyes too, they looked at the blood on the mercy seat. As long as the blood was there, the entire nation of Israel was forgiven. God’s judgment passed over them and they were blessed for another year. (Leviticus 16)

          Today, the blood sprinkled on the mercy seat is not the blood of bulls and goats, but the precious, eternal blood of the Son of God! (Hebrews 9:12) Jesus is our “mercy seat” for “He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world”. The word “propitiation” in the original Greek text is the same word as “mercy seat”. (Romans 3:25, Hebrews 9:5)

          Beloved, God does not see your sins and count them against you because He sees His Son’s blood. He sees His Son’s perfect work that has more than satisfied Him. God does not want you to see your sins either. He does not want you to look inside the ark by focusing on your sins. He wants you to focus on Christ and His finished work!

          Fr: Joseph Prince Ministries (I think this also should shed answer your question)

          April 19, 2014 at 3:10 pm |
        • otoh2

          new-man

          S.U.P.E.R.S.T.I.T.I.O.N.
          : a belief or way of behaving that is based on fear of the unknown and faith in magic or luck : a belief that certain events or things will bring good or bad luck

          April 19, 2014 at 3:26 pm |
        • kevinite

          It would seem silly if there wasn't a need for this sacrifice in the first place, but I do believe that there really was a need for Jesus's sacrifice. That is because I do believe that there are certain natural laws in which even God adheres to and respects. It is in adhering to these laws which makes God a perfect being and it is through following these laws in which God the Father receives the blessings and happiness he has and that he wants us to have as well if we choose to.

          All of us living our mortal lives who are accountable for our actions have a chance to choose whether to follow those commandments or not. However, all of us will make at times the wrong choices and mistakes would be made and because of those mistakes none of us on our own will ever make it back into the presence of the Father. When we make those mistakes the consequences have to be dealt with. The price has to be paid for making those mistakes. There is no way around it, there is no way to override it, there is no way to ignore it, even by God.

          The only way for us to have any chance of salvation here is for the price of our mistakes or sins to be paid for on our behalf by someone else. Someone who is not only mortal, who can then be able to physically suffer for our sins and die,(which was something God the Father could not do because he was already immortal), but is also of God would also be able to have the strength and power to overcome the bonds of death on our behalf. That could only be through God's own begotten son Jesus Christ.

          April 19, 2014 at 4:00 pm |
        • tallulah131

          How disturbing that you think that there was a need for human sacrifice. I can't imagine why any rational person would find human sacrifice good or even acceptable.

          April 19, 2014 at 4:04 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          new-man: Anyone who looks at sacrifice as a good thing, no matter what context they take it in, has some serious mental health issues and should be looked at as a potential danger to society. What a horribly morbid belief to hold!

          April 19, 2014 at 4:19 pm |
        • kevinite

          13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

          (John 15:13 KJV)

          April 19, 2014 at 4:20 pm |
        • tallulah131

          Excuses, excuses. You find human sacrifice to be desirable because you don't want to be accountable for your own actions. You want someone else to pay for your sins. Some friend you are, kev.

          April 19, 2014 at 4:26 pm |
        • kevinite

          Frankly tallulah,

          It doesn't matter what you think of me. The point was about what Jesus did on all of our behalf, which you are right in that he paid a price for me in which I cannot repay.

          April 19, 2014 at 4:38 pm |
        • tallulah131

          And your opinions and beliefs about your god have no validity to me. But I will comment on them, because you paint your irresponsibility and moral cowardice as virtues to which we should all aspire. I find that to be repugnant.

          April 19, 2014 at 4:45 pm |
        • kevinite

          tallulah,

          Aspire to what?

          April 19, 2014 at 4:47 pm |
        • kevinite

          tallulah,

          Just what virtues did I say that I had in the first place? From what I recall I didn't cite any personal virtues.

          April 19, 2014 at 4:49 pm |
        • Doris

          Read tallulah's reply a little more slowly kev. It's not that difficult to understand, but it's obvious from your last set of questions that you missed the boat. Her previous reply should be a hint.

          April 19, 2014 at 5:13 pm |
        • kevinite

          Let me rephrase that Doris,

          How does my lack of virtues be considered virtues to aspire to? How do you consider seeking help for one's lack of virtues as being something virtuous in of itself and if so why is it considered repugnant?

          April 19, 2014 at 5:29 pm |
        • Doris

          Strike two, kev. Notice that tallulah says "because you paint your irresponsibility and moral cowardice as virtues to which we should all aspire." The keyword there is "as". (Again, in the context of her previous reply, of course.)

          April 19, 2014 at 5:37 pm |
        • kevinite

          Just like those who serve and risk and also give their lives for our sakes, is somethng to revere I do believe that Jesus's sacrifice is also something that should be respected and revered. If you don't believe in that then you don't believe in that, but one should know why I believe in what I believe.

          April 19, 2014 at 5:39 pm |
        • kevinite

          Doris,

          Yes the key word is "as", so how are my lack of morals and irresponsibilities be considered virtues to aspire to? especially since lack of morals and irresponsibles can go so many different ways? One could be as immoral and irresponsible as all can get out but that doesn't mean that one automatically gains salvation out of it. As if you figure that all one has to do is just admit I'm a sinner and that I'll repent and because of Jesus's sacrifice that that is the end of it, when I didn't give any such indication that would be the case. It's when we strive and do all we can, when we make promises or covenants with Christ and keep them, and strive to make things right, then although that won't make up for the damages made, that is where the sacrifice of Jesus Christ comes into play. That is a sacrifice that I believe has eternal magnitude for each of us, and it is a sacrifice certainly made out of love.

          April 19, 2014 at 5:52 pm |
        • Doris

          "..then although that won't make up for the damages made, that is where the sacrifice of Jesus Christ comes into play. "

          Well, kev – this is yet another thing that makes me throw out Christian belief as a reasonable option. The disagreement over that one notion; how some at one moment speak of redemption through salvation as if it will cures all evils for a person at their alleged time of judgment; and in the next moment, for others, it may be as you expressed – something that Christian mortals cannot predict with regard to their eventual judgment. I guess I'm glad that I don't hold a Christian belief such as yours because if I did, I would spend my whole life worrying that maybe Jesus' contribution to sin forgiveness might only return one cent on the dollar when it comes to judgment time.

          April 19, 2014 at 6:27 pm |
        • realbuckyball

          "The sacrifice was to make it possible for the Spirit of God to move back into a person, therefore that person is no longer dead (death just means separation from God), but now has everlasting life."
          - So, why is it the creator of Reality (supposedly) is subject to it ? Why couldn't your (supposedly) "loving deity" just say "I forgive you". Your reasoning is all a convoluted pile of rationalizations for an ancient system of nonsense which is utterly meaningless in 2014. Grow up.

          April 19, 2014 at 6:28 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          @realbucky..because God is a JUST God..he cannot simply forgive...God isn't Just cause He feels like it either..it is His very nature..thus he cannot change that

          April 20, 2014 at 9:18 pm |
        • kevinite

          Well Doris,

          In all honesty I can't say that I don't worry about it myself. What I have to figure on is in believing and having faith that God does know what my intentions truly are and judge accordingly.

          April 19, 2014 at 6:52 pm |
      • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

        I can't think of any one thing that every Christian believes.

        April 19, 2014 at 7:37 pm |
        • Vic

          "Jesus Christ Is Lord," does that ring a bell?

          That is the "one thing" that makes one a Christian.

          April 19, 2014 at 9:17 pm |
        • Akira

          I don't think the JW's believe that, IIRC. So, not all Christians agree on that.

          April 19, 2014 at 10:41 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          Here you go Vic, do you still think they believe Jesus is Lord?

          There are many exceptions where Witnesses deviate from historical conservative Christianity:

          They do not believe in the Trinity. Instead, they follow a strict monotheism, in which: Jehovah is the Supreme Being,
          Jesus is the son of God, the first created being, who is separate from Jehovah. Christ is believed to have originally existed in a pre-human state as the Archangel Michael. He later took human form as a man like any other person, except that he was sinless at birth and remained so through life. After his execution, Christ was resurrected as an invisible, non-material, glorious spirit creature. He was enthroned by Jehovah as King and ruler over all creation, and "given all authority in heaven and on earth."
          The Holy Ghost is not a separate ent.ity, but is an energy or force - the method by which God interacts with the world.

          So no...it did not ring a bell.

          April 20, 2014 at 12:06 am |
    • TruthPrevails1

      As always, well said.

      April 19, 2014 at 2:13 pm |
  6. Vic

    ♰♰♰ Jesus Christ Is Lord ♰♰♰

    Many people miss the point of Easter, and Christmas for that matter.

    First of all, we shall not forget what we celebrate on those days, the Lord Jesus Christ, His Virgin Birth in the Flesh, Passion/Crucifixion and Resurrection.

    Second of all, Christianity is ecumenical, and lining up those celebrations with traditional holidays is but inclusive and inviting while keeping focus on the Lord Jesus Christ.

    Sure similarities with other stories are unsettling; however, all the stories share the same doubt and scrutiny, and the "Truth" always stands out.

    In Christianity, the Lord Jesus Christ is the "focus," nothing else matters, regardless of all the dogmas, traditions and knockoffs—Mithraism, BTW, appeared and ended post Christianity, somewhere between 1 and 4 AD/CE, what are the odds?!, and I've never heard of any related scriptures.

    On a dart board, there is only one "bull's eye," and everything else around it is out of "focus." Keep your eyes on the prize.

    Hebrews 12:2
    "2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." (NASB)

    April 19, 2014 at 12:03 pm |
    • midwest rail

      Happy Easter, Vic. Enjoy your weekend.

      April 19, 2014 at 12:14 pm |
      • Vic

        Likewise.

        April 19, 2014 at 12:48 pm |
    • MidwestKen

      @Vic,
      I'm wondering now if ecu.menical is intended to include all religions or just all Christian religions?

      Also, if something began in 1- 4 AD, isn't that Pre-Christianity? I mean Jesus didn't supposedly start preaching at birth did he?

      April 19, 2014 at 12:34 pm |
      • Vic

        Well, the Old Testament prophesied of the Messiah and His Virgin Birth, so it was already known.

        April 19, 2014 at 12:47 pm |
        • alonsoquixote

          The unknown author of the Gospel of Matthew, who probably composed his material near the end of the first century A.D., appears to have felt the need to claim a virginal birth for his godman to make him a fulfillment of an Old Testament prophecy based on a mistranslation of the Hebrew word "almah" to mean virgin rather than "young woman." He quotes from Isaiah 7:14: "therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel".

          But the original Hebrew text of Isaiah uses the word "almah" which means a young woman of marriageable age. However, the author of the Gospel of Matthew was using the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Hebrew scriptures, which inaccurately used the Greek word "parthenos" for "almah", thereby strongly implying virginity. The actual text of Isaiah, however, makes no reference to a virgin becoming pregnant other than by normal means. Some modern translations of the Bible, which are based on the original Hebrew text, replace the word "virgin" with the more accurate translation, "young woman", yet most Christians today will claim Jesus was born of a virgin. The early Christians would, of course, have needed a miraculous birth story to make their godman seem no less impressive than the deities of other religions with which they were competing, so its not surprising a virgin birth element would become part of Christian mythology.

          April 19, 2014 at 2:43 pm |
      • MidwestKen

        @Vic,
        What?

        So they borrowed it from Judaism, not Christianity, is that what you're saying?

        April 19, 2014 at 1:30 pm |
        • Vic

          Well, Christianity started at the Virgin Birth of the prophesied Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ, Who the Wisemen came from Babylon upon His Birth following the star.

          April 19, 2014 at 1:33 pm |
        • MidwestKen

          I would have thought that "Christianity" started with the gathering of disciples and the beginning of Jesus' teaching. Before that He was supposedly the Jewish messiah, right?

          April 19, 2014 at 1:37 pm |
        • Vic

          Christianity is the "fulfillment" of the Messianic Prophesies of Judaism.

          Matthew 2:1-6
          "2 Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, 2 “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.” 3 When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 Gathering together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. 5 They said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea; for this is what has been written by the prophet:

          6 ‘And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah,
          Are by no means least among the leaders of Judah;
          For out of you shall come forth a Ruler
          Who will shepherd My people Israel.’”" (NASB)

          April 19, 2014 at 1:43 pm |
        • Jeremy

          Bull.

          April 19, 2014 at 1:54 pm |
        • bostontola

          Don't get me started on how Jesus failed almost every criteria prescribed by Yahweh in the OT.

          April 19, 2014 at 2:15 pm |
        • MidwestKen

          @Vic,
          Jesus may supposedly be the fulfillment of prophecies, but "Christianity" would seem to be impossible until after Jesus began teaching, hence the name.

          April 19, 2014 at 2:25 pm |
        • Vic

          To the best of my knowledge, Christianity is the "fulfillment" of the Messianic Prophecies of Judaism, starting with the Virgin Birth of the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ (Savior Yahweh Messiah,) hence the name.

          John 7:42
          "42 Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from the descendants of David, and from Bethlehem, the village where David was?”" (NASB)

          April 19, 2014 at 2:34 pm |
        • MidwestKen

          @Vic,
          "To the best of my knowledge, Christianity is the "fulfillment" of the Messianic Prophecies of Judaism..."

          Wait. So, the religion of Christianity is the "fulfillment", not Jesus Himself? How's that work?

          April 19, 2014 at 2:38 pm |
        • Vic

          "Messianic Prophecies" mean "Prophesied Messiah based." The "Prophesied Messiah" is the Lord Jesus Christ, hence the Lord Jesus Christ is the "fulfillment" of the "Messianic Prophecies" of the Old Testament, hence, is Christianity.

          April 19, 2014 at 2:44 pm |
        • Vic

          Luke 2:11
          "11 for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord." (NASB)

          April 19, 2014 at 2:57 pm |
        • Jeremy

          Again, no.

          April 19, 2014 at 2:59 pm |
        • MidwestKen

          Ok, just so I'm clear. the first "Christians" were the Magi, but were they saved without Jesus' sacrifice or were they still bound by Jewish laws?

          April 19, 2014 at 3:05 pm |
        • Vic

          Well, as this is about the timing within 1 & 4 AD/CE, what matters is that the Birth of the Prophesied Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ, was already known to Babylon—where the Wise Men came from in the East, which is right next to Persia where Methraism started around the same time, mind you, they knew about the Old Testament and its prophecies of the Messiah and His Passion. To me, Methraism is a loud and clear knockoff.

          April 19, 2014 at 3:17 pm |
        • Vic

          Praise the Lord Jesus Christ.

          April 19, 2014 at 3:33 pm |
        • MidwestKen

          Ok, so you don't know. Just checking.

          April 19, 2014 at 3:38 pm |
        • Vic

          Know what?

          April 19, 2014 at 3:41 pm |
        • Vic

          Well, I lost track for a bit, sorry about that.

          To tie up loose ends, I believe the etymology of the word Christianity would follow the Birth of the Lord Jesus Christ, as already discussed; however, Salvation and the "Dispensation of Grace" and the end of the "Dispensation of the Law" would follow the conclusion of the Passion, Resurrection and Ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ, and to many the Arrival of the promised Holy Spirit, where it becomes a theological issue.

          April 19, 2014 at 4:12 pm |
        • Doris

          Vic: "To tie up loose ends, I believe the etymology of the word Christianity would follow the Birth of the Lord Jesus Christ, as already discussed; however, Salvation and the "Dispensation of Grace" and the end of the "Dispensation of the Law" would follow the conclusion of the Passion, Resurrection and Ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ, and to many the Arrival of the promised Holy Spirit, where it becomes a theological issue."

          LOL – My goodness what mental gymnastics as they say. I'm pretty sure that for me, Vic, the "spooky physics" issue encompasses the entire sentence.

          April 19, 2014 at 4:58 pm |
    • Doris

      "Keep your eyes on the prize."

      Lol – the ultimate box of cereal. The alleged prize so great, many will eat the cereal, regardless of its ingredients.

      April 19, 2014 at 12:50 pm |
      • tallulah131

        That's the thing isn't it? It seems a lot of christians ignore everything Jesus taught because all they're really interested in is that "Prize". As long as they personally get heaven, everyone and everything else can just go to hell.

        April 19, 2014 at 1:39 pm |
      • bostontola

        Nice analogy, kids will push their parents for the cereal with the best prize inside.

        April 19, 2014 at 2:22 pm |
    • Reality

      "the Lord Jesus Christ, His Virgin Birth in the Flesh, Passion/Crucifixion and Resurrection."

      And the only one that passes rigorous, historic testing- the crucifixion without all the "details".

      Happy Myth Day to one and all !!!

      April 19, 2014 at 1:02 pm |
    • realbuckyball

      Please stop your self-righteous patronizing preaching. You have nothing to offer.

      April 19, 2014 at 6:52 pm |
  7. Luke Prater

    Are you kidding, or just stupid? Saxon/English is an Indo-European language; Easter/Oestre/Ostara cognate directly with both Ishtar and the Jewish Esther. The bunny and eggs are also pre-Christian. It's a fertility ritual/festival. Every Christian festival in the year was put over a Pagan one (either Germanic pagan or Celtic) in order to convert. Christmas, Easter, All Saint's, etc etc.

    April 19, 2014 at 11:15 am |
  8. truth1914

    False Christianity did steal Easter from the pagan nation of Babylon. Just like they stole Christmas from the pagan Roman nation.

    April 19, 2014 at 10:35 am |
    • Doris

      "False Christianity"

      Lol – ah yes. Yet another Christian who thinks only they have a proper understanding of the "Word". A sect of one, perhaps? How many documented sects are we up to now – something over 41,000? Well hopefully you don't have similar thinking to the small group of well-educated "Christians" who sacrificed a baby to a bonfire a couple of years ago claiming it to be an antichrist.

      April 19, 2014 at 11:07 am |
      • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

        My money is on this one being a Jehovah’s Witness.

        April 19, 2014 at 11:37 am |
    • Luke Prater

      Christmas not stolen but put on top of Pagan Solstice festival (all over Europe, not just Rome) - Christ was actually born later

      April 19, 2014 at 11:17 am |
    • realbuckyball

      Scholars no longer use the word "pagan". Only Fundie idiots do that. All gods have as much value as any other. "Pagan" is just another way of saying "my god is real, and yours isn't, so na na, na na, na, na.

      April 19, 2014 at 6:55 pm |
  9. colin31714

    Anybody else at the American Atheists convention in Salt Lake City this weekend?

    April 19, 2014 at 8:15 am |
    • TruthPrevails1

      If you're going Ryan Bell (A Year Without God) is going to be there and should be interesting to listen to. If you haven't had the chance, his blog is worth the read.

      April 19, 2014 at 11:13 am |
      • colin31714

        Thanks, I'll look for him.

        April 19, 2014 at 12:27 pm |
  10. truth1914

    Jesus told his apostles to commemorate his death not his rising. 1 Cor. 11:24,25. There is no Biblical basis for Easter. The Bible tells use to worship God "with spirit and truth" John 4:23,24. Nothing about Easter is based on truth but is shrouded in pagan Babylonian rituals and unacceptable to God. It is an unclean celebration that is not sanctioned by God or his son. If you do the research you will see the God dishonoring aspects of Easter. DO THE RESEARCH AND STOP FOLLOWING THE CROWD! Matt. 7:21-23

    April 19, 2014 at 8:06 am |
    • Doris

      Oh please – your foundation is just as wobbly as that of any crowd. No one know who the heck authored Matthew or John. And as for motor-mouth Paul, you may as well follow Joseph Smith as Paul based on the evidence available for his claims. Of course once could say that Paul's "Word" was approved by Peter, except – oops, most NT scholars agree that Peter didn't author Peter 2.

      April 19, 2014 at 8:12 am |
      • Doris

        Of course, one could say....

        April 19, 2014 at 8:14 am |
      • truth1914

        My faith has complete confidence in God's "inspired" word. Believe what you want.

        April 19, 2014 at 10:23 am |
        • colin31714

          The problem is, mere faith is no basis for belief. Belief is a conclusion rationally drawn from facts. Billions of Hindus, Muslims and Buddhists have faith in their respective gods, too. They don't all exist.

          April 19, 2014 at 10:34 am |
        • truth1914

          If you understood God's word you would realize that you don't have to follow blindly. He has furnished more than enough proof that he exist and that we can have full confidence in his promises.

          April 19, 2014 at 10:42 am |
        • colin31714

          And what proof is that?

          April 19, 2014 at 11:07 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          Here lies the issue, what you have is man telling you it is gods word, yet no evidence outside of that for that god. It's not much different than me saying Colin told me that Odin told him that magical unicorns reside on Mars and that whoever doesn't fall for it will be struck down. Stories get embellished and made up all the time with character creation involved...why is the bible any different?

          April 19, 2014 at 11:04 am |
        • gulliblenomore

          truth....in virtually all cases, you motor-mouthed religious nuts rattle on about your god and how much proof there is that he exists, yet when asked about that proof, we never hear from you again. I, and many other atheists, would love to really believe there is something greater out there.....so please, please provide the truth. Just make sure it is something other than that musty 2000 year old book put together by Constantine. There has to be better proof than that for you to give up every Sunday of your life to sit in a pew with a bunch of other delusional people.

          April 20, 2014 at 6:15 pm |
        • truth1914

          Actually our services only last about an hour and forty- five minutes twice a week but we are Christians 24-7. If you don't want to believe in God that is totally your position. I personally don't believe that the blueprint for everything in the universe came about through blind luck. Their is to much order in everything we see not to have had a designer.

          April 22, 2014 at 8:26 pm |
        • truth1914

          False Christianity over the centuries misrepresented God and his word and that is why many are so confused, disgruntled, and ready to give up on Him. But those who have gotten to know Him by letting his word and not their own interpretation reveal the person behind the book have come to have a close personal relationship with him.

          April 22, 2014 at 8:36 pm |
    • realbuckyball

      Jesus never said anything. The people who cooked up the gospels "put words in his mouth" as a literary device. Actually if YOU "did the research" you would find no such person as "Jesus" likely existed, much less has anything reliable quoted by him.

      April 19, 2014 at 6:57 pm |
  11. Vic

    The heart and soul cannot be replete without God.

    Matthew 5:6
    "6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied." (NASB)

    April 19, 2014 at 12:00 am |
    • realbuckyball

      There are no "souls" and if you stuck a god in a heart it would stop beating.
      Got any more up your sleeve ?

      April 19, 2014 at 12:12 am |
    • Reality

      And exactly how will they be satisfied? In some mythical land called heaven?

      April 19, 2014 at 12:29 am |
    • sam stone

      the heart is a pump and there is no evidence for a soul

      you sure are funny, vic

      April 19, 2014 at 7:39 am |
  12. Dalahäst

    Violence in my community had me questioning God. Last night I went to church. I prayed to God, asking where he was. I asked him to reveal to me himself in a way I can easily understand.

    I heard a loud voice from above say "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? Why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?"

    It was a man in the balcony, and he was reciting Psalm 22. It was the start of a Maundy Thursday Service. I listened.

    Today at an early Good Friday service a lady I met 4 weeks ago handed me a wrapped up present and a card. It was a book – "Beautiful Outlaw: Experiencing the Playful, Disruptive, Extrava-ant Personality of Jesus" by John Eldedge. It has a warning about the poison of religion.

    I asked her what the occasion was. It was beautifully wrapped. A loving card with a nice message. I barely know here, so I was surprised. "Just because," she said. What a coincidence? I'm excited to read the book.

    Has anyone read it?

    April 18, 2014 at 11:00 pm |
  13. Salero21

    If I had nothing better to do at this time of the night. I could sit here in front of my Monitor and watch for the next 5 minutes, overwhelming Evidence of the Absolute, Complete and Total NON-SENSE of atheism, but I rather find something better to do. Or I'll go to sleep earlier tonight.

    April 18, 2014 at 10:49 pm |
    • Doris

      "If I had nothing better to do at this time of the night."

      I think you need some sleep. Maybe your sentence will complete itself in a dream.

      April 18, 2014 at 10:52 pm |
      • Salero21

        Pro 14:1 The wise woman builds her house, but the foolish tears it down with her own

        April 18, 2014 at 11:01 pm |
        • Doris

          Lol – poor butthurt troll can't even finish it's favorite verse from Gullible's Travels.

          April 18, 2014 at 11:10 pm |
    • whippstippler7

      Oh, come on, Sal – you can do better than that! Railing away at atheists, who use logic and reason, instead of the childish BS that is religion??

      C'mon!1!!!!!!

      April 18, 2014 at 10:55 pm |
      • Salero21

        Really!! Never notice that, but you're a prime example of what I've been saying all along. Atheism is Absolute, Complete and Total NON-SENSE.

        April 18, 2014 at 11:02 pm |
        • whippstippler7

          Of COURSE it is, Sal. BTW, what makes your religion right and all of the other thousands wrong?

          April 18, 2014 at 11:37 pm |
        • realbuckyball

          Too bad you forgot to saw how. You may as well be saying 'the moon is made of green cheese". That would make more sense than your gods.

          April 19, 2014 at 12:07 am |
    • realbuckyball

      So ancient angry deities do make "sense" to you ? Interesting.
      Actually this universe has been proven to be non-intuitive, (Relativity, Uncertainty, the math of Dirac).
      What makes "sense" to human brains is only a certain "bandwidth" of Reality which they evolved to deal with, basically on the plains of Africa. So what you're left with is that for which there is evidence. There is no evidence for any deity. You can stay up all night, but beliefs in deities will never make "sense".

      April 19, 2014 at 12:06 am |
    • TruthPrevails1

      "If I had nothing better to do at this time of the night"

      Apparently you didn't have anything better to do. Perhaps you were hiding from the nurses, not wanting your injection of your anti-psychotic meds.

      April 19, 2014 at 7:44 am |
  14. Doris

    Letting go of superst.i.tion

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yceHh5khkXo

    Speakers in order of appearance:

    1. Lawrence Krauss, World-Renowned Physicist
    2. Robert Coleman Richardson, Nobel Laureate in Physics
    3. Richard Feynman, World-Renowned Physicist, Nobel Laureate in Physics
    4. Simon Blackburn, Cambridge Professor of Philosophy
    5. Colin Blakemore, World-Renowned Oxford Professor of Neuroscience
    6. Steven Pinker, World-Renowned Harvard Professor of Psychology
    7. Alan Guth, World-Renowned MIT Professor of Physics
    8. Noam Chomsky, World-Renowned MIT Professor of Linguistics
    9. Nicolaas Bloembergen, Nobel Laureate in Physics
    10. Peter Atkins, World-Renowned Oxford Professor of Chemistry
    11. Oliver Sacks, World-Renowned Neurologist, Columbia University
    12. Lord Martin Rees, Astronomer Royal
    13. Sir John Gurdon, Pioneering Developmental Biologist, Cambridge
    14. Sir Bertrand Russell, World-Renowned Philosopher, Nobel Laureate
    15. Stephen Hawking, World-Renowned Cambridge Theoretical Physicist
    16. Riccardo Giacconi, Nobel Laureate in Physics
    17. Ned Block, NYU Professor of Philosophy
    18. Gerard 't Hooft, Nobel Laureate in Physics
    19. Marcus du Sautoy, Oxford Professor of Mathematics
    20. James Watson, Co-discoverer of DNA, Nobel Laureate
    21. Colin McGinn, Professor of Philosophy, Miami University
    22. Sir Patrick Bateson, Cambridge Professor of Ethology
    23. Sir David Attenborough, World-Renowned Broadcaster and Naturalist
    24. Martinus Veltman, Nobel Laureate in Physics
    25. Pascal Boyer, Professor of Anthropology
    26. Partha Dasgupta, Cambridge Professor of Economics
    27. AC Grayling, Birkbeck Professor of Philosophy
    28. Ivar Giaever, Nobel Laureate in Physics
    29. John Searle, Berkeley Professor of Philosophy
    30. Brian Cox, Particle Physicist (Large Hadron Collider, CERN)
    31. Herbert Kroemer, Nobel Laureate in Physics
    32. Rebecca Goldstein, Professor of Philosophy
    33. Michael Tooley, Professor of Philosophy, Colorado
    34. Sir Harold Kroto, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry
    35. Leonard Susskind, Stanford Professor of Theoretical Physics
    36. Quentin Skinner, Professor of History (Cambridge)
    37. Theodor W. Hänsch, Nobel Laureate in Physics
    38. Mark Balaguer, CSU Professor of Philosophy
    39. Richard Ernst, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry
    40. Alan Macfarlane, Cambridge Professor of Anthropology
    41. Professor Neil deGrasse Tyson, Princeton Research Scientist
    42. Douglas Osheroff, Nobel Laureate in Physics
    43. Hubert Dreyfus, Berkeley Professor of Philosophy
    44. Lord Colin Renfrew, World-Renowned Archaeologist, Cambridge
    45. Carl Sagan, World-Renowned Astronomer
    46. Peter Singer, World-Renowned Bioethicist, Princeton
    47. Rudolph Marcus, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry
    48. Robert Foley, Cambridge Professor of Human Evolution
    49. Daniel Dennett, Tufts Professor of Philosophy
    50. Steven Weinberg, Nobel Laureate in Physics

    FEATURED MUSIC:

    Mozart – Requiem Mass In D Minor K 626 – 1. Introitus 00:03
    Massive Attack – Two Rocks And A Cup Of Water 02:28, 19:14
    Max Richter – Embers 05:13
    Ludovico Einaudi – Andare 09:27, 24:30, 26:31
    Ludovico Einaudi – Nuvole Bianche 13:13
    Max Richter – Vladimir's Blues 29:21
    Ludovico Einaudi – Eni 30 Percento (The Earth Prelude) 33:16
    ..

    April 18, 2014 at 10:48 pm |
    • colin31714

      This is great Doris. Next time Dalahast claims Neil deGrasse Tyson as a believer or deist, I will refer him to this.

      April 19, 2014 at 8:19 am |
      • TruthPrevails1

        I've never seen Dala claim that but I'm 100% certain based on having paid great attention to Neil that he himself would disagree...he is definitely not a believer in a deity of any form.

        April 19, 2014 at 11:20 am |
  15. Salero21

    Well, what can I say? There you have it yet again! More Evidence on top of more Evidence that atheism/evolutionism/idolatry are all Absolute, Complete and Total Stupidity.

    April 18, 2014 at 10:44 pm |
    • Doris

      Total stupidity would be using the expression "evolutionism".

      April 18, 2014 at 10:46 pm |
      • Salero21

        Really, and who are you in THE GRAMMAR GESTAPO OF THE INTERNET? If there are evolutionists there is evolutionism. Either way I don't care what you think. You don't own the place, neither are you in charge of correcting Grammar here you little twerp.

        Pro 14:1 The wise woman builds her house, but the foolish tears it down with her own hands.

        April 18, 2014 at 10:59 pm |
        • Doris

          Good job oh butthurt one! See, if you try hard enough, even you can complete a verse from Gullible's Travels.

          April 18, 2014 at 11:13 pm |
        • realbuckyball

          Thanks for demonstrating your heart full of charity. Beligion sure has done YOU a lot of good ........ not.

          April 19, 2014 at 12:17 am |
        • jclund99

          What are you, 4? " I don't care what you think. You don't own the place" Did you stomp your foot while you said that? Arms crossed, pouting? You are the poster child for bad religion. "I don't care if I am wrong and have been proven wrong time and time again, I will never admit it! I would rather die believing in a known myth than live in the light."

          April 19, 2014 at 9:49 am |
        • sam stone

          suck a 12 gauge, you little twerp it will get you to jeebus right away

          April 19, 2014 at 11:31 am |
    • realbuckyball

      Thanks for proving how dumb you are. "Evolutionism" ? Really ? When you get sick, YOU use "evolution" (yes, you take antibiotics". If YOU were in prison unjustly, would YOU use DNA to get out if you could ? Yes. DNA proves Evolution to be true. You are : a. a hypocrite,
      b. too dumb to even get why.

      April 19, 2014 at 12:16 am |
  16. Reality

    A defining question: Where is this heaven that Jesus and Mary reside in since their living, physical bodies went somewhere?? (And then there is their mode of travel? Rockets? Airplanes? Wings? And how far could each take them in 2000 years? Are they still on-board? Has the Hubble T or any other telescope detected anything remotely analogous to a place called heaven?)

    Carl Sagan addressed this issue. He noted that we have looked out 10 billion light years and still have not found heaven.

    But again maybe the Egyptians had it right all along:

    "

    In Ancient Egyptian faith, belief in an afterlife is much more stressed than in ancient Judaism. Heaven was a physical place far above the Earth in a "dark area" of space where there were no stars, basically beyond the Universe. According to the Book of the Dead, departed souls would undergo a literal journey to reach Heaven, along the way to which there could exist hazards and other enti-ties attempting to deny the reaching of Heaven.[Their heart would finally be weighed with the feather of truth, and if the sins weighed it down their heart was devoured."

    April 18, 2014 at 9:17 pm |
    • Reality

      The Egyptian Book of the Dead, by the way, also has an earlier, more detailed version, of the Ten Commandments. Got to hand it to those early Jewish scribes when it came to copying/borrowing the writings of the Greeks, Babylonians and Egyptians.

      April 19, 2014 at 7:45 am |
    • alonsoquixote

      Jewish beliefs regarding the afterlife changed quite considerably over time. Early on before the ancient Jews developed the concept of a moralized afterlife, all went to the gloomy Sheol, which was akin to the view of the gloomy Hades early on among the ancient Greeks. Sheol was viewed as being located under the earth. Over time the Greeks developed a moralized afterlife where heroes and the pious would enjoy a more pleasurable afterlife in Elysium. Over time notions regarding Sheol among the ancient Jews also changed considerably with a more moralized view of the afterlife being developed.
      Remnants of the older beliefs regarding the afterlife, before Yahweh worship became dominant, can still be found within the Bible, before the priests of Yahweh succeeded in suppressing most of the older viewpoints. In spite of punishments levied on those who maintained the older beliefs, such beliefs persisted until long after the Babylonian Exile when the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar conquered the Kingdom of Judah taking many of its elite citizens in captivity to Babylon. There were many substantial changes in Jewish mythology related to the Babylonian Exile and notions regarding Sheol and the afterlife may have been influenced by Babylonian beliefs.

      In "Immortality And The Unseen World A Study In Old Testament Religion", published in 1921 by the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, written by W.O.E. Oesterley (1866 – 1950) describes the views that the early Jews and Semitic peoples had regarding the afterlife and immortality and how those views changed over time. He also discusses the views of the ancient Jews regarding demonology, angelology, shades, Satan, the abode of the dead, ancestor worship, necromancy, and burial customs. He also hypothesizes on how primitive beliefs in immortality may have developed in pre-Christian times. Oesterley was a Church of England theologian and professor of Hebrew and Old Testament at King's College, London.

      Since the book is long out of copyright, it can be read or downloaded for free from the Internet archive at archive.org/details/immortalityandth014313mbp or downloaded in MP3 audio format from Librivox at librivox.org/immortality-and-the-unseen-world-by-w-o-e-oesterley/

      April 19, 2014 at 2:13 pm |
  17. Peaceadvocate2014

    http://youtu.be/pgODzUMscZ8f

    Fred,

    Jesus story of the prodigal son.

    Peace

    April 18, 2014 at 9:03 pm |
  18. kevinite

    13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

    (John 15:13 KJV)

    April 18, 2014 at 8:38 pm |
    • whippstippler7

      A fine thought, and in no way needs any involvement of any god.

      April 18, 2014 at 8:45 pm |
      • kevinite

        However, I do believe that when it comes to everyone's life, not just just everyone's physical life but also everyone's eternal future, it definitely had to take God's only begotten son laying down his life, and to me there is certainly no greater love.

        April 18, 2014 at 8:54 pm |
        • whippstippler7

          @ kevin: okay, let's look at that aspect of Christianity. God is all-powerful and all-knowing, right? So god could make as many sons as he wanted – an infinite supply of Jesuses. And, God being all-knowing, he knows in advance exactly what's going to happen: Jesus will live, be crucified, died, rise from the dead 3 days later, then ascend to heaven, to rejoin himself.

          So, there is no sacrifice. Nothing was lost.

          Think about it: 2000 years ago, what was the worst thing that could happen to a man (women didn't count). A man's lineage ends – he dies without sons to carry on his name. So just imagine the story of a guy – God – who only has one son, who voluntarily sacrifices his ONE son. WOW! Think of the impact that story would have had on those ancient primitives.

          But when you step back, and actually examine the whole Jesus/sacrifice story, it falls apart. it makes no sense whatsoever. It's silly.

          And yet an entire religion is based on this silliness. WOW!

          April 18, 2014 at 9:05 pm |
        • sam stone

          you have no evidence of an "eternal future", kev

          April 18, 2014 at 10:34 pm |
        • kevinite

          @whipstipler,

          " God is all-powerful and all-knowing, right? So god could make as many sons as he wanted – an infinite supply of Jesuses. And, God being all-knowing, he knows in advance exactly what's going to happen: Jesus will live, be crucified, died, rise from the dead 3 days later, then ascend to heaven, to rejoin himself."

          First of all, since Jesus was actually able to make the great sacrifice in paying the price for our sins and overcame death for our sakes, then why would the Father need any additional begotten sons? Second, what makes you think the God the Father could just makes all the Jesus's he wants? God may be omnipotent, which means anything he needs to do is possible to get what needed done, but that doesn't necessarily mean that God the Father can have an unlimited number of begotten sons to draw off of. I believe that there was only individual who was willing to follow his father's will more so than any of the rest of us as spiritual children of the Father that Jesus was specifically chosen to be the Father's begotten son (meaning his son not only in spirit but also in the flesh).

          To say that just because you know you have to pay for something before hand doesn't mean that when the time comes that there really is no payment to be made, so where did you ever get the idea that just simply knowing in advance of making the sacrifice and die on our behalf means that there really was no sacrifice?

          "Think about it: 2000 years ago, what was the worst thing that could happen to a man (women didn't count). A man's lineage ends – he dies without sons to carry on his name. So just imagine the story of a guy – God – who only has one son, who voluntarily sacrifices his ONE son. WOW! Think of the impact that story would have had on those ancient primitives."

          I do think about the impact and I'm sure everyone thinks about the impact of sacrificing one's only begotten son. That being much like when Abraham went about to sacrifice his beloved son Isaac. Abraham loved Isaac dearly but was about to sacrifice his son anyway and stopped at the last moment by an angel because Abraham was commanded to do the sacrifice, so Abraham felt that he had to make that sacrifice. That was very much like what God the Father would do in sacrificing his only begotten son, only this time the sacrifice had to be carried out for our sakes, because of his love for us knowing that
          we on our own in our mortal life would make mistakes and fail in being able to return to him in his perfect kingdom.

          "But when you step back, and actually examine the whole Jesus/sacrifice story, it falls apart. it makes no sense whatsoever. It's silly."

          It would seem silly if there wasn't a need for this sacrifice in the first place, but I do believe that there really was a need for Jesus's sacrifice. That is because I do believe that there are certain natural laws in which even God adheres to and respects. It is in adhering to these laws which makes God a perfect being and it is through following these laws in which God the Father receives the blessings and happiness he has and that he wants us to have as well if we choose to.

          All of us living our mortal lives who are accountable for our actions have a chance to choose whether to follow those commandments or not. However, all of us will make at times the wrong choices and mistakes would be made and because of those mistakes none of us on our own will ever make it back into the presence of the Father. When we make those mistakes the consequences have to be dealt with. The price has to be paid for making those mistakes. There is no way around it, there is no way to override it, there is no way to ignore it, even by God.

          The only way for us to have any chance of salvation here is for the price of our mistakes or sins to be paid for on our behalf by someone else. Someone who is not only mortal, who can then be able to physically suffer for our sins and die,(which was something God the Father could not do because he was already immortal), but is also of God would also be able to have the strength and power to overcome the bonds of death on our behalf. That could only be through God's own begotten son Jesus Christ.

          April 19, 2014 at 12:43 am |
        • kevinite

          @sam stone,

          Of course I don't have evidence of any eternal future. That is the whole point about relying on faith and belief. The thing is however that there is also no evidence to prove that there is no God either. Yet somehow that doesn't stop atheists from making a conclusion that there is no God anyway. Atheists seem to be satisfied just on the mere point that there is not enough evidence to convince them that there s a God and not care that there neither is any conclusive evidence to prove that there is no God who does not want to be made known but rather wants us to develop our faith in said God.

          April 19, 2014 at 12:57 am |
        • whippstippler7

          @ kevinite – staggeringly circular logic you are using. Obviously, someone who believes something that is not based on logic and reason will not be swayed by logic and reason.

          Enjoy your fairy tale.

          Oh, and this weekend, there's this big, invisible rabbit ...

          April 19, 2014 at 7:37 am |
        • sam stone

          nor is there evidence of no miniature, visible squirrel driving an equally invisible and miniature 1954 buick around saturn. however, it seems silly to believe that there is

          April 19, 2014 at 7:46 am |
        • kevinite

          whipstipler,

          Nothing proves circular logic, lack of reason, and proven fairy tale quite like just you saying so. Enjoy your name calling.

          April 19, 2014 at 8:59 am |
        • kevinite

          Correction. Enjoy your mere accusations. It's just as good as name calling.

          April 19, 2014 at 9:02 am |
        • kevinite

          Sam stone,

          Well then, that certainly proves my beliefs to be false. No wait....it doesn't. Anyway have fun keeping to your own just as verifiable belief that there is no God who does not want reliance on faith.

          April 19, 2014 at 9:10 am |
        • kevinite

          Correction, does want reliance on faith.

          April 19, 2014 at 9:13 am |
        • Vic

          The fall of Adam & Eve and our sinful state of the flesh are consequences of Satan's deceit. Therefore, to fulfill God's Divine Justice, man shall pay for his/her sins. Now, God is full of Love and Grace for His creation, He, out of His Love and Grace to save man form the wages of sin, which are death and separation from Him, chose to turn the table on Satan who claimed the dead and separated souls from God to himself, by incarnating in the flesh and atone on behalf of man. What is important to discern here is that the Lord Jesus Christ is not bound to Satan by death in the flesh whereas man is. It is a fulfillment of Divine Justice.

          April 19, 2014 at 9:33 am |
        • sam stone

          i did not attempt to prove your beiefs false, kev. try to keep up

          April 19, 2014 at 11:34 am |
        • sam stone

          The fall of Adam & Eve and our sinful state of the flesh are mythological stories from long dead people

          April 19, 2014 at 11:39 am |
        • kevinite

          @sam stone,

          Of course you didn't prove my beliefs to be false. Doing the whole miniature, visible squirrel driving an equally invisible and miniature 1954 buick around saturn bit entirely side steps the issue.

          April 19, 2014 at 12:07 pm |
        • kevinite

          @ sam stone,

          Oh, by the way that whole bit really was an attempt to invalidate my beliefs.

          April 19, 2014 at 12:13 pm |
        • tallulah131

          So basically, you're stoked that a guy was tortured to death so that you don't have to be accountable for your own actions. Sickening.

          April 19, 2014 at 1:41 pm |
        • alonsoquixote

          kevinite, when you wrote "Doing the whole miniature, visible squirrel driving an equally invisible and miniature 1954 buick around saturn bit entirely side steps the issue" it is apparent that you entirely missed the point of sam stone's post. You can't prove that there is no Invisible Pink Unicorn nor that Ahura Mazda nor thousands of other gods invented by mankind don't exist. Suggesting that it is not irrational to believe in something without any convincing evidence of its existence simply because someone can't prove it doesn't exist allows one to believe in any manner of nonsense that he finds appealing.

          April 19, 2014 at 2:30 pm |
        • kevinite

          @alonsoquixote,

          Actually you missed the point. Before Sam Stone went into the whole miniature invisible bit I already stated that I didn't have the proof and that my conclusion was based on belief and faith. After that I went into the point that Sam Stone's conclusion was like mine based on belief since he could not provide any more to back up his conclusion any more than I could with mine.

          Then Sammy reacted to that by brining up the whole miniature invisible bit as an attempt to invalidate my beliefs claiming that since that whole bit can't be proven either way then that automatically means my beliefs are invalid. The problem with that bit is that making such a comparison doesn't escape the point, which is a fact that he could not provide the proof that there is no God who does not want to be made known but would rather have us develop faith in said being. And frankly it doesn't matter how ridiculous it may sound, if you can't prove it to be false then you can't prove it to be false.

          What it all boils down to is that it is a matter of opinion. What I have is just an opinion, what Sam Stone has is just an opinion, what a believer in Zoroastrianism has is just an opinion, and what your POV is regarding religious belief is just an opinion. That in the end it is all a matter of opinion. That is the point I was making.

          April 19, 2014 at 3:10 pm |
        • kevinite

          If something like the existence of God could actually be broken down and deduced, there is a possibility that the results could be something quite unexpected.

          "How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?"

          Sherlock Holmes Quote

          -The Sign of Four

          April 19, 2014 at 3:24 pm |
        • tallulah131

          There is plenty of evidence that shows that the universe carries on without need of a "higher power". On the other hand, there isn't a single shred of evidence that any gods actually exist, but there is a preponderance of history showing that humans create gods to explain what they don't understand. This places gods in the camp of highly unlikely, if not impossible.

          By your borrowed logic, your god must be eliminated. Nice deduction, sherlock.

          April 19, 2014 at 3:35 pm |
        • kevinite

          @tallulah,

          Care to actually cite the evidence you were referring to that proves irrefutably that there is no God who does not want to be made known (which the idea of seeming without the need for a creator relates to in that scenario), but would rather want us to develop faith in said God?

          April 19, 2014 at 4:32 pm |
        • tallulah131

          "Irrefutable" is your word, kev. These were my words:

          "there isn't a single shred of evidence that any gods actually exist, but there is a preponderance of history showing that humans create gods to explain what they don't understand. This places gods in the camp of highly unlikely, if not impossible "

          The rest of what you said had nothing to do with my comment. Your reading comprehension skills could use some work.

          April 19, 2014 at 4:36 pm |
        • alonsoquixote

          From your postings, it seems that you believe in a god who created mankind, but only wanted a few tribes in the Middle East to know about his existence. He didn't care about the humans living in Asia, Australia, Europe, the New World, etc., so didn't let them know that when they sacrificed animals to him, as he demanded, since he loved the smell of burning animal flesh as did many of the other gods of that area of the world, that they should not offer the blood of his sacrifice with leaven, nor should they offer him any castrated male animals when they sacrificed to him, nor should men shave the hair off the sides of their head, nor should women wear men's clothing. Nor did he pass on any of his 613 other commandments to any but those few tribes. Then later, to ameliorate an ancient curse he had placed on a guy he made from dirt and his consort whom he made from the guy's rib, which he levied on all that couple's descendants, because they ate of the fruit of a tree that granted them the knowledge of good and evil, and so all of their descendants were cursed as well, he incarnated himself in human form in the 1st century where he served as a sacrifice to himself.

          Once the sacrifice of the god to the god was done, he rejoined himself in heaven, then everyone had to believe it had happened and must know that the god was a triune god made up of a Father, Son, and Holy Ghost or suffer eternal damnation upon death. Of course, since he didn't want to offer proof that he had sacrificed himself to himself and then resurrected himself, his resurrected avatar didn't make himself known to the religious or secular authorities of the land.

          Since Christian missionaries didn't arrive in China until the 7th century A.D. anyone living there prior to that time was doomed to eternal suffering after death, but if they did believe the missionaries tales, they could go on to a happy afterlife after they died. In the New World, the Spanish carried Christianity to the Dominican Republic in 1494 when they set about enslaving the native populace. If the natives accepted the biblical tales the Spanish brought with them, they too would be vouchsafed a blissful afterlife, though. But prior to 1494, since the god chose not to reveal himself to them, they were doomed to eternal punishment for being born in the wrong part of the world or at least the wrong time for that part of the world, since the god didn't want to make his presence and his requirements for a blissful afterlife known to them prior to that time.

          But, as you say, no one can prove to you that this god, Yahweh, does not exist. He appears, for you, to be a god who does not want to make himself known, but instead wants people to believe without evidence. And, if they don't believe on faith, they must face eternal damnation. The god wants them to believe on "faith", which as Mark Twain put it in "Following the Equator", Pudd'nhead Wilson's Calendar is "believing what you know ain't so." Friedrich Nietzsche said "A casual stroll through the lunatic asylum shows that faith does not prove anything", but for you that is what the god demands.

          As for the Sherlock Holmes quote you posted, "How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?" from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's "The Sign of Four" (1890), mankind has invented thousands of gods, and it is hardly impossible that the triune god of Christianity created from the Israelite national god, is but one of those many thousands. Indeed, as put by Doyle on page 339 of the "The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes" (1893), "It is more than possible; it is probable."

          April 19, 2014 at 8:41 pm |
        • kevinite

          @ tallulah,

          Not a shred of evidence proving there is a God is not evidence in of itself. Apparently you need to brush up on reading comprehension. Using that logic then due to there not being a single shred of evidence proving there is no omnipotent being who does not want to be made known but would rather have us develop faith in said omnipotent being, then that in of itself is would be proof that there is in fact such an omnipotent being.

          April 19, 2014 at 10:43 pm |
        • kevinite

          @ tallulah,

          Not a shred of evidence proving there is a God is not evidence in of itself. Apparently you need to brush up on reading comprehension.

          April 19, 2014 at 10:44 pm |
        • kevinite

          @ alonsoquixote,

          "From your postings, it seems that you believe in a god who created mankind, but only wanted a few tribes in the Middle East to know about his existence. He didn't care about the humans living in Asia, Australia, Europe, the New World, etc.,";.

          What makes you think that I only believe that God only wanted a few tribes in the Middle East to know about his existence? What makes you think that don't believe that God would in no way have prophets, or have his word in scripture or that God would not have appeared elsewhere in the world? What makes you think that I don't believe that the Old Testament style of sacrifices were never done anywhere else at any time in history? And what makes you think that I believe in the trinity?

          "Of course, since he didn't want to offer proof that he had sacrificed himself to himself and then resurrected himself, his resurrected avatar didn't make himself known to the religious or secular authorities of the land."

          Who would figure that revealing himself tho those people would ever through a kink into works regarding faith?

          "Since Christian missionaries didn't arrive in China until the 7th century A.D. anyone living there prior to that time was doomed to eternal suffering after death, but if they did believe the missionaries tales, they could go on to a happy afterlife after they died. In the New World, the Spanish carried Christianity to the Dominican Republic in 1494 when they set about enslaving the native populace. If the natives accepted the biblical tales the Spanish brought with them, they too would be vouchsafed a blissful afterlife, though. But prior to 1494, since the god chose not to reveal himself to them, they were doomed to eternal punishment for being born in the wrong part of the world or at least the wrong time for that part of the world, since the god didn't want to make his presence and his requirements for a blissful afterlife known to them prior to that time."

          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 KJV)

          Because after all if those poor spirits from back in Noah's day were doomed then why did Jesus preached to those spirits? If those poor spirits became not so lost after all then perhaps other lost spirits from other times and places would still get their chance to be preached to and learn about the gospel as well.

          "But, as you say, no one can prove to you that this god, Yahweh, does not exist. He appears, for you, to be a god who does not want to make himself known, but instead wants people to believe without evidence. And, if they don't believe on faith, they must face eternal damnation. The god wants them to believe on "faith", which as Mark Twain put it in "Following the Equator", Pudd'nhead Wilson's Calendar is "believing what you know ain't so." Friedrich Nietzsche said "A casual stroll through the lunatic asylum shows that faith does not prove anything", but for you that is what the god demands."

          Oh, of course because nothing proves fact quite like citing certain peoples opinions...go figure.

          "As for the Sherlock Holmes quote you posted, "How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?" from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's "The Sign of Four" (1890), mankind has invented thousands of gods, and it is hardly impossible that the triune god of Christianity created from the Israelite national god, is but one of those many thousands. Indeed, as put by Doyle on page 339 of the "The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes" (1893), "It is more than possible; it is probable."

          Of course the point I was getting at was that just because something may seem ridiculous at the time doesn't necessarily mean that it cannot possibly be the truth. That also includes whether or not the negative reactions to seeming ridiculous notions being either considered possible or even probable, and what it really boils down to weather the odds against it are possible or probable, they are for sure not impossible.

          It makes it difficult at times to find the truth, but truth can be found. Of course that may not be such an easy thing that it may have to take a leap of faith, but perhaps God intended it to be that way. There is a way to find out.

          April 19, 2014 at 11:31 pm |
        • alonsoquixote

          kevinite, you wrote:

          "What makes you think that I only believe that God only wanted a few tribes in the Middle East to know about his existence? What makes you think that don't believe that God would in no way have prophets, or have his word in scripture or that God would not have appeared elsewhere in the world? What makes you think that I don't believe that the Old Testament style of sacrifices were never done anywhere else at any time in history? And what makes you think that I believe in the trinity?"

          Whether you acknowledge it or not, the Old Testament makes it clear that Yahweh was orginally the tribal god of the Jews, who according to the Old Testament were his favorites, the "apple of his eye" according to Zechariah 2:8. His message and 613 commandments were given only to them.

          Early men searching for an explanation for the natural forces they observed in the world around them imagined they were the work of a god or gods much like themselves, but much more powerful. Peoples in different parts of the world invented different gods, thousands of them, each god with specific personality traits, rules, and stories, though, of course, when cultures came into contact with one another there was an interchange of elements from one religion to another. The Jewish god, his rules and his stories though not specific to the Jews, since many of the stories are borrowed from other cultures in the area in which Judaism arose, such as the flood myth, which is borrowed from the Sumerians and Babylonians with Noah and his family substi_tuted for Utnapi_shtim and his family, were unknown to the peoples of Australia, China, the New World, etc. until missionaries carried them to those places many centuries after Yahweh supposedly took human form, whether or not you wish to imagine he might have appeared elsewhere. Many cultures have their own sacred texts, e.g., the Digha Nikaya, Havamal, Gathas, Upanishads, etc. with different prescriptions for conducting one's life, different views of the afterlife, and the gods. Are you suggesting your god gave conflicting advice and rules to different peoples?

          Since you imply that you don't believe in the concept of the Trinity, what do you believe in? Are you a Jehovah's Witness, Christadelphian, Mormon, or a member of some other nontrinitarian Chrisitan sect? Do you believe that Jesus is a subordinate being to God rather than a hypostasis of God?

          You also wrote "Who would figure that revealing himself tho those people would ever through a kink into works regarding faith?" I can't determine what you meant by that sentence. Are you suggesting that the god Yahweh didn't reveal himself to other peoples because that would throw a kink into his requirement that people believe in his existence on faith rather than evidence?

          As for the Bible verses you included in your reply, they in no way change the fact that Yahweh, though a god who supposedly created the entire universe and all life within it was obviously originally a tribal god. He likely became a national god for all of the Jewish tribes when Saul created the United Monarchy sometime between 1020 and 930 B.C.E. Later, after the Assyrians conquered the northern Kingdom of Israel and the Babylonians conquered the southern Kingdom of Judah and took the royal family and the kingdom's elite to Babylon starting in 597 B.C.E, when the Jews had to re-evaluate their religious beliefs, because of the calamity that befell them, there was a shift to view their god as a universal god in works such as the Book of Isaiah, which were composed after the Exile. But the Old Testament passages make it clear that Yahweh was originally a tribal god of the Jews who focused his attention on the Jewish tribes and was seen as a protector for those tribes.

          You also wrote "Of course that may not be such an easy thing that it may have to take a leap of faith, but perhaps God intended it to be that way." Your emphasis seems to be that your god doesn't want to supply evidence of his existence to people, but instead wishes people to believe on "faith". I can certainly understand why clerics would promulgate the notion that one should believe everything they say without question and without evidence, since that certainly makes it easier to maintain and control their flocks. But as the author and former preacher Dan Barker states in his book "Godless: How an Evangelical Preacher Became One of America's Leading Atheists":

          But this is a huge cop out. If the only way you can accept an assertion is by faith, then you are admitting that the assertion can't be taken on its own merits. If something is true, we don't invoke faith. Instead, we use reason to prove it. Faith is intellectual bankruptcy. With faith, you don't have to put any work into proving your case or overcoming objections. You can "just believe."

          Truth does not ask to be believed. It asks to be tested. Scientists do not join hands every Saturday or Sunday and sing, "Yes, gravity is real! I know gravity is real! I will have faith! I will be strong! I believe in my heart that what goes up, up, up must come down, down, down. Amen!" If they did, we would think they were pretty insecure about the concept.

          Faith is actually agnosticism. Faith is what you use when you don't have knowledge. When someone says, "The meeting is at 7:30, I believe," they are expressing some doubt. When you tack "I believe" onto a comment, does it make it stronger?

          If faith is valid, then anything goes. Muslims believe in Allah by faith, so they must be right. The Hindus are right. The Greeks and Romans were right. More people claim to have seen or been healed by Elvis Presley than ever claimed to have seen the resurrected Jesus. With faith everybody is right. Suppose an atheist, refusing to look at any religious claims were to say, "You must have faith that there is no God. If you believe in your heart that nothing transcends nature and that humanity is the highest judge of morality, then you will know that atheism is true. That will make you a better person." Wouldn't the Christians snicker?

          April 20, 2014 at 10:58 am |
        • kevinite

          "Whether you acknowledge it or not, the Old Testament makes it clear that Yahweh was orginally the tribal god of the Jews, who according to the Old Testament were his favorites, the "apple of his eye" according to Zechariah 2:8. His message and 613 commandments were given only to them."

          Of course Yahweh was the God of the Jews or Israelites who claimed that he was also the God of their ancestors which included Noah and even further ancestry going back to Adam. Although there is no found physical evidence thus far such as written record to suggest Yahweh was ever a deity outside of the Israelites, that does not necessarily mean that there never were any ancestral cultures whether Israelite and non-Israelite who also believed in Yahweh or in a similar deity under a different name. Since there also other Israelites outside Judah, not just from the lost tribes of Israel that were carried captive away by Assyria, but also nearly all of Judah as well in 701 BCE except for just the city off Jerusalem. In addition not all those Jews who were in exile in Babylon did not all return back to the Levant under the Persian Empire as well. So in regards to those lost peoples as well as any other possible lost Israelites, there is also a distinct possibility that there may have also been continuation of God's own gospel was continually given to at least some of these other peoples at some later point in time.

          "The Jewish god, his rules and his stories though not specific to the Jews, since many of the stories are borrowed from other cultures in the area in which Judaism arose, such as the flood myth, which is borrowed from the Sumerians and Babylonians with Noah and his family substi_tuted for Utnapi_shtim and his family, were unknown to the peoples of Australia, China, the New World, etc. until missionaries carried them to those places many centuries after Yahweh supposedly took human form, whether or not you wish to imagine he might have appeared elsewhere. Many cultures have their own sacred texts, e.g., the Digha Nikaya, Havamal, Gathas, Upanishads, etc. with different prescriptions for conducting one's life, different views of the afterlife, and the gods. Are you suggesting your god gave conflicting advice and rules to different peoples?"

          Of course not, but that doesn't mean that there wouldn't be any later break offs in belief or apostasy in those other regions of the world resulting in later beliefs that come into conflict with each other not unlike what became of Christianity.

          "Do you believe that Jesus is a subordinate being to God rather than a hypostasis of God?"

          I do believe in the divinity the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost and that they are one in purpose like a perfect team; always three acting as one.

          You also wrote "Who would figure that revealing himself tho those people would ever through a kink into works regarding faith?" I can't determine what you meant by that sentence. Are you suggesting that the god Yahweh didn't reveal himself to other peoples because that would throw a kink into his requirement that people believe in his existence on faith rather than evidence?

          Yeah.

          "As for the Bible verses you included in your reply, they in no way change the fact that Yahweh, though a god who supposedly created the entire universe and all life within it was obviously originally a tribal god. He likely became a national god for all of the Jewish tribes when Saul created the United Monarchy sometime between 1020 and 930 B.C.E. Later, after the Assyrians conquered the northern Kingdom of Israel and the Babylonians conquered the southern Kingdom of Judah and took the royal family and the kingdom's elite to Babylon starting in 597 B.C.E, when the Jews had to re-evaluate their religious beliefs, because of the calamity that befell them, there was a shift to view their god as a universal god in works such as the Book of Isaiah, which were composed after the Exile. But the Old Testament passages make it clear that Yahweh was originally a tribal god of the Jews who focused his attention on the Jewish tribes and was seen as a protector for those tribes."

          You realize that your whole paragraph really boils down to one key word you gave "likely". What you gave about the Jews developing their concept regarding Yahweh not happening until Babylonian captivity hasn't really been proven to be true. That is was also distinctly possible that gathered fragmented written sources as well as oral traditions regarding the laws of Moses and histories of the kings of Israel and Judah coming from prior to Babylonian captivity were then secured and placed into a combined written sources from which what we know as the Books of Moses as well as other books that would be comprised into what we refer to as the Old Testament. Of course that is a matter of belief.

          "You also wrote "Of course that may not be such an easy thing that it may have to take a leap of faith, but perhaps God intended it to be that way." Your emphasis seems to be that your god doesn't want to supply evidence of his existence to people, but instead wishes people to believe on "faith". I can certainly understand why clerics would promulgate the notion that one should believe everything they say without question and without evidence, since that certainly makes it easier to maintain and control their flocks. But as the author and former preacher Dan Barker states in his book "Godless: How an Evangelical Preacher Became One of America's Leading Atheists":

          "But this is a huge cop out. If the only way you can accept an assertion is by faith, then you are admitting that the assertion can't be taken on its own merits."

          You really don't know what I went through, what I studied, what I questioned, what I've tested for myself, or what I have actually experienced, nor to what degree has my faith been tested thus far. You merely assumed that I have just been told to follow my religious leaders blindly, that I actually had religious leaders who never encouraged me to question my beliefs, which wasn't the case for me at all.

          "If something is true, we don't invoke faith. Instead, we use reason to prove it. Faith is intellectual bankruptcy. With faith, you don't have to put any work into proving your case or overcoming objections. You can "just believe."

          Whether or not to invoke faith is your belief and I certainly can't prove your beliefs to be false. But you do realize that your "...we use evidence to prove it" that you never actually provided proof that there is no God out there who does not want to be made known but would rather have us develop our faith in said God. Of course there is the whole point that you can't prove a negative, and as far as I know that does seem to be correct, yet even though it appears that a negative could not be proven, somehow that hasn't seemed to stop either you and many others from coming to a conclusion anyway that just on the mere point that since there is not sufficient evidence to prove there is such God that therefore there is no such God.

          "Truth does not ask to be believed."

          How do you know that? Do you know all the truths there are? If you don't then there is a distinct possibility that there are certain truths out there that cannot be tested and proven through science. That there are certain things that can only be made known through actual experience on a personal level and not through any other way. It would be like if someone who never tasted salt before asked you what salt tastes like, how would you go about explaining how salt tastes like that would give a more accurate description without having that person actually tasting it first hand?

          "Faith is actually agnosticism. Faith is what you use when you don't have knowledge. When someone says, "The meeting is at 7:30, I believe," they are expressing some doubt. When you tack "I believe" onto a comment, does it make it stronger?"

          Physical evidence wise faith doesn't make the claim stronger, but faith doesn't necessarily mean that there is no knowledge. Faith can be actual knowledge that just cannot be proven. When you say that "I believe" that there there is no such God, does it make your claim any stronger, since there is no irrefutable evidence showing that there is no such God?

          "If faith is valid, then anything goes. Muslims believe in Allah by faith, so they must be right. The Hindus are right. The Greeks and Romans were right. More people claim to have seen or been healed by Elvis Presley than ever claimed to have seen the resurrected Jesus. With faith everybody is right. Suppose an atheist, refusing to look at any religious claims were to say, "You must have faith that there is no God. If you believe in your heart that nothing transcends nature and that humanity is the highest judge of morality, then you will know that atheism is true. That will make you a better person." Wouldn't the Christians snicker?"

          Well, I would certainly believe that your anything goes bit would be valid if I believed that everything that everyone believed were true. However, I don't have any such belief. I don't believe that everyone's belief is correct, but I do believe that there is there are truths (untasted salts) out there that can only be made known through just first-hand experience. Of course that is not such an easy thing to do, but I also do not believe that God ever wanted these things to be made known easily. That the knowledge has to be personally earned through exercising ones faith, study, prayer, and practicing the teachings so that one can know the good by doing those things. Other people will also exercise their faith and may come out to different conclusions. As to say who is right and who is wrong cannot be outwardly proven. So, how you are to know? Again you are going to have to taste the salt and find out for yourself. Although having to only taste the salt first -hand may not satisfy your criteria, there are however certain things out there that cannot be made known any other way.

          April 20, 2014 at 5:20 pm |
    • realbuckyball

      Speaking of John's gospel, today is repeatedly asserted that it was the Day of Preparation that the trial and crucifixion was held on. Repeatedly. Then it says that the narrator is truthful, and is to be believed. Well then, why is it that the day and times don't coincide with the other gospels ? They can't all be true, and not say the same thing. If one of them lied about this one important fact, then nothing they say, can be believed AT ALL.

      April 18, 2014 at 10:25 pm |
      • kermit4jc

        there are no conflicts with days and times...only in your ignorance is there conflicts....you seem unaware of the differtent feasts...different time reckonings used Roman time vs Jewish time...etc....

        April 19, 2014 at 1:57 am |
        • Jeremy

          "only in your ignorance is there conflicts…." ...this is your answer to

          "Well then, why is it that the day and times don’t coincide with the other gospels ?"

          You answered "different time reckonings used Roman time"

          Why would the JEWISH people who wrote the gospels not use the so-called "time reckonings?

          You proselytize poorly and if you are actually a psychologist, you are an abusive one, judging by your inability to answer a question without being rude.

          Be more Christian and less combative, hmmmm?

          April 19, 2014 at 10:26 am |
        • Jeremy

          Or give the source you got your information from. You act/write like such a child that it's not a stretch to think you make up your answers in an attempt to make yourself look smarter.

          April 19, 2014 at 10:30 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          Jeremy: Careful...kermi has anger issues and has no problem pretending to know what he speaks of and then avoiding answering you by talking over you (so to speak). Numerous people here have been threatened by him with slander due to questioning the legitimacy of his claim that he's a psychologist. He doesn't care about facts...he is merely looking for a battle.

          April 19, 2014 at 11:10 am |
        • sam stone

          kermy does have issues.....

          April 19, 2014 at 11:47 am |
        • sam stone

          i forgot all about the slander thing

          you going to sue us for slander, kermy?

          go home and get your fvcking shinebox, boy

          April 19, 2014 at 11:50 am |
  19. rgalinato

    This discussion was meant to last forever...

    April 18, 2014 at 7:33 pm |
    • whippstippler7

      It's all an evil plan by CNN to boost page views to generate more ad revenue. Put the believers and non-believers together in a glass bottle, put the lid on, give it a shake, and watch them go at each other.

      April 18, 2014 at 7:51 pm |
  20. thefinisher1

    Atheists stole "logic" and "reason" and claim only they have it. Atheists are spoiled brats!

    April 18, 2014 at 7:03 pm |
    • realbuckyball

      Thanks for demonstrating you lost your reason and logic to *someone else* time and again.
      There are meds for Paranoia.

      April 18, 2014 at 7:29 pm |
    • whippstippler7

      Well done, Finisher: that is hands down the most moronic post I have read on this blog in years!

      April 18, 2014 at 7:48 pm |
      • observer

        whippstippler7,

        Are you sure you want to hand out that award right now? Have you read some of his other comments or those of salero (who may be the same)?

        April 18, 2014 at 9:48 pm |
        • whippstippler7

          You're right. Silly me – I should never underestimate the ability of the extreme believer to say the most ridiculous things. But stealing logic??? It's way up there.

          April 18, 2014 at 10:52 pm |
    • TruthPrevails1

      Geez, shouldn't you be grieving the loss of your jeebus?

      Oh, did you remember to pray for Bunny Dude to bring you a dictionary for Sunday's Zombie Day Celebration? Maybe if you do that and read it next week you won't sound so uneducated.

      April 18, 2014 at 9:25 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.