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May 1st, 2014
09:15 AM ET

Why Christians should support the death penalty

Opinion by R. Albert Mohler Jr., Special to CNN

(CNN) - The death penalty has been part of human society for millennia, understood to be the ultimate punishment for the most serious crimes.

But, should Christians support the death penalty now, especially in light of the controversial execution Tuesday in Oklahoma?

This is not an easy yes or no question.

On the one hand, the Bible clearly calls for capital punishment in the case of intentional murder.

In Genesis 9:6, God told Noah that the penalty for intentional murder should be death: “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image.”

The death penalty was explicitly grounded in the fact that God made every individual human being in his own image, and thus an act of intentional murder is an assault upon human dignity and the very image of God.

In the simplest form, the Bible condemns murder and calls for the death of the murderer. The one who intentionally takes life by murder forfeits the right to his own life.

In the New Testament, the Apostle Paul instructs Christians that the government “does not bear the sword in vain.” Indeed, in this case the magistrate “is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the evildoer.” [Romans 13:4]

On the other hand, the Bible raises a very high requirement for evidence in a case of capital murder.

The act of murder must be confirmed and corroborated by the eyewitness testimony of accusers, and the society is to take every reasonable precaution to ensure that no one is punished unjustly.

While the death penalty is allowed and even mandated in some cases, the Bible also reveals that not all who are guilty of murder and complicity in murder are executed.

Just remember the biblical accounts concerning Moses, David and Saul, later known as Paul.

Christian thinking about the death penalty must begin with the fact that the Bible envisions a society in which capital punishment for murder is sometimes necessary, but should be exceedingly rare.

The Bible also affirms that the death penalty, rightly and justly applied, will have a powerful deterrent effect.

In a world of violence, the death penalty is understood as a necessary firewall against the spread of further deadly violence.

Seen in this light, the problem we face today is not with the death penalty, but with society at large.

American society is quickly conforming to a secular worldview, and the clear sense of right and wrong that was Christianity’s gift to Western civilization is being replaced with a much more ambiguous morality.

We have lost the cultural ability to declare murder – even mass murder – to be deserving of the death penalty.

Oklahoma's botched lethal injection marks new front in battle over executions

We have also robbed the death penalty of its deterrent power by allowing death penalty cases to languish for years in the legal system, often based on irrational and irrelevant appeals.

While most Americans claim to believe that the death penalty should be supported, there is a wide disparity in how Americans of different states and regions think about the issue.

Furthermore, Christians should be outraged at the economic and racial injustice in how the death penalty is applied. While the law itself is not prejudiced, the application of the death penalty often is.

Opinion: End secrecy in lethal injections

There is very little chance that a wealthy white murderer will ever be executed. There is a far greater likelihood that a poor African-American murderer will face execution.

Why? Because the rich can afford massively expensive legal defense teams that can exhaust the ability of the prosecution to get a death penalty sentence.

This is an outrage, and no Christian can support such a disparity. As the Bible warns, the rich must not be able to buy justice on their own terms.

There is also the larger cultural context. We must recognize that our cultural loss of confidence in human dignity and the secularizing of human identity has made murder a less heinous crime in the minds of many Americans.

Most would not admit this lower moral evaluation of murder, but our legal system is evidence that this is certainly true.

We also face a frontal assault upon the death penalty that is driven by legal activists and others determined to bring legal execution to an end in America.

Controversy over an execution this week in Oklahoma will bring even more attention to this cause, but most Americans will be completely unaware that this tragedy was caused by the inability of prison authorities to gain access to drugs for lethal injection that would have prevented those complications.

Opponents of the death penalty have, by their legal and political action, accomplished what might seem at first to be impossible – they now demand action to correct a situation that they largely created.

Their intention is to make the death penalty so horrifying in the public mind that support for executions would disappear. They have attacked every form of execution as “cruel and unusual punishment,” even though the Constitution itself authorizes the death penalty.

It is a testament to moral insanity that they have successfully diverted attention from a murderer’s heinous crimes and instead put the death penalty on trial.

Should Christians support the death penalty today?

I believe that Christians should hope, pray and strive for a society in which the death penalty, rightly and rarely applied, would make moral sense.

This would be a society in which there is every protection for the rights of the accused, and every assurance that the social status of the murderer will not determine the sentence for the crime.

Christians should work to ensure that there can be no reasonable doubt that the accused is indeed guilty of the crime. We must pray for a society in which the motive behind capital punishment is justice, and not merely revenge.

We must work for a society that will honor every single human being at every point of development and of every race and ethnicity as made in God’s image.

We must hope for a society that will support and demand the execution of justice in order to protect the very existence of that society. We must pray for a society that rightly tempers justice with mercy.

Should Christians support the death penalty today? I believe that we must, but with the considerations detailed above.

At the same time, given the secularization of our culture and the moral confusion that this has brought, this issue is not so clear-cut as some might think.

I do believe that the death penalty, though supported by the majority of Americans, may not long survive in this cultural context.

Death penalty in the United States gradually declining

It is one thing to support the death penalty. It is another thing altogether to explain it, fix it, administer it and sustain it with justice.

We are about to find out if Americans have the determination to meet that challenge. Christians should take leadership to help our fellow citizens understand what is at stake.

God affirmed the death penalty for murder as he made his affirmation of human dignity clear to Noah. Our job is to make it clear to our neighbors.

R. Albert Mohler Jr. is president of  The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. The views expressed in this column belong to Mohler.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Bible • Christianity • Courts • Crime • Death • Discrimination • Ethics • Opinion • Violence

soundoff (2,706 Responses)
  1. fintronics

    "Whenever we read ... the cruel and tortuous executions, the unrelenting vindictiveness with which more than half the Bible is filled, it would be more consistent that we call it the word of a demon than the word of God. It is a history of wickedness that has served to corrupt and brutalize humankind. And, for my own part, I sincerely detest it, as I detest everything that is cruel." - Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason

    May 5, 2014 at 1:25 pm |
    • Dalahäst

      That is why we follow Jesus, not the Bible.

      John 13:34-35 “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

      May 5, 2014 at 6:11 pm |
  2. revrickm

    #@)!! CNN Filters!

    Quoting Mr. Mohler from the article, "God affirmed the death penalty for murder as he made his affirmation of human dignity clear to Noah. Our job is to make it clear to our neighbors."

    God also affirmed the death penalty for a number of things – including being a non-believer (i.e., see the story of Noah and how God destroyed the earth by flood). He also condoned the killing of babies in the Old Testament (1 Samuel 15). So, it seems, murder/slaughter is okay in some circ.umstances but not others. But, since in the Bible God gets to decide these things, it's all good.

    I am not sure where I stand on the death penalty issue. It's a troublesome question and one I hope I have to never face personally. I'm sure if it was one of my loved-ones who was ra.ped and murdered, I could be convinced. But to bring God into the discussion and then say God sanctions it so it's okay....that seems very self-serving.

    May 5, 2014 at 1:25 pm |
  3. Salero21

    JAJAJA... oops.... pardon me please... I meant HAHAHA. Extremely hypocritical and Compulsive Liars atheists and their deluded claims about the Bible or Christians supporting "Slavery" is nothing more than an Failed again attempt to deviate the attention from the Main subject matter of the article. That is the Death/Capital Penalty and whether or not "Christians" should support it.

    May 5, 2014 at 12:58 pm |
    • ddeevviinn

      What I wouldn't give to be in that noggin of yours, just for a minute.

      May 5, 2014 at 1:03 pm |
      • In Santa We Trust

        Really? It's bad enough seeing what it spews.

        May 5, 2014 at 1:14 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          Maybe ddeev is a sentient bullet...

          May 5, 2014 at 1:31 pm |
        • ddeevviinn

          I'm just a student of human nature. Always curious as to what makes people tick

          May 5, 2014 at 1:59 pm |
        • joey3467

          In Salero's case it appears to be something toxic, so i would be careful.

          May 5, 2014 at 2:01 pm |
      • Salero21

        Is there an argument, refutation or disprove there, somewhere? Or is just more Evidence on top of more Evidence of the Absolute, Complete and Total NONSENSE of Atheism/evolutionism/cultism/paganism and Idolatry.

        This is what the apostle Paul wrote in his first letter to the church in Corinth: 1st. Cor. 7:21-23
        21 Were you called while a slave? Do not worry about it; but if you are able also to become free, rather do that.
        22 For he who was called in the Lord while a slave, is the Lord's freedman; likewise he who was called while free, is Christ's slave.
        23 You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men.

        I don't see anywhere any Promoting of Slavery there rather is the recognition that there was as it has been such condition. Paul however said that is better to be FREE. Keep in mind that it was the a prevailing practice through the Roman Empire and the Gospel IS NOT a Socio-Political ideology. Both slaves and masters were in need of Salvation. Slaves in the Roman Empire could become FREE, buy their Freedom and even be adopted by their masters. They even rose to owners of land and even eventually had slaves themselves.

        May 5, 2014 at 1:28 pm |
      • Doris

        Of course Paul's testimony outside of his claimed personal experience was only hearsay. I guess early church fathers saw that his story needed reinforcing so they introduced this notion that Peter had given his stamp of approval for Paul's ministry as divinely-inspired. But of course most NT scholars agree that Peter did not author Peter 2.

        May 5, 2014 at 2:08 pm |
  4. Mike Ford

    Whenever someone says "The Bible says..." instead of "Jesus said..." we should have a red flag flapping in our minds. Christ is to be our interpretive lens for understanding the whole of the Bible. Furthermore, the Bible doesn't teach anything. It doesn't speak – the Biblical authors did. So, when preachers say "the Bible says..." they are conveniently bringing a religious or philosophical idea to the table to begin with and manipulating the Bible to twist our arms into going along with their argument, as Mohler does in this article.

    May 5, 2014 at 12:39 pm |
    • Dalahäst

      Good points. I've noticed that strict fundamentalists and a few militant anti-theists are usually the only ones that say "The Bible says..."

      May 5, 2014 at 12:43 pm |
      • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

        I don't disagree with your observation.

        When I see anyone say "The Bible says ..." it is usually a Christian emphasizing something in the Old Testament that is essentially contradictory to Jesus' message in the New Testament.

        May 5, 2014 at 1:51 pm |
    • G to the T

      "Whenever someone says "The Bible says..." instead of "Jesus said..." we should have a red flag flapping in our minds."

      I would say the more correct terminology is "The Bible claims that Jesus said..."

      May 5, 2014 at 12:52 pm |
    • Vic

      I would err on the side of it is more of a dialect than purposeful. And even if it is purposeful, we can still see past the polarization.

      May 5, 2014 at 12:56 pm |
    • neverbeenhappieratheist

      I'm curious, do you think you could remember any of the scoldings you recieved by your father 20 some years before? I can remember the jist of some of them but word for word? Hardly. Which begs the questions, how can we be so certain Jesus said anything at all? No one wrote down a single word he said for nearly two decades. You would think some of those five hundred who the gospel writers claim saw Christ lift up into heaven after his resurection might have had someone write some stuff down at that point. But instead we are left with second, third and fourth hand accounts written decades after the events, with each sermon getting a new polish with each re-telling.

      May 5, 2014 at 12:58 pm |
    • igaftr

      Mike
      If you want to nitpick on a simple phrase like "the bible says", then you should also, since none of what anyone "says" in the bible can actually be confirned that the one creditied with saying something , actually said it. you should always say "jesus ALLEGEDLY said...in order to be accurate. No one knows if Jesus, or any other character in the bible, actually said any of what is credited to them.

      May 5, 2014 at 12:59 pm |
    • ddeevviinn

      I would disagree. Seems like you're making an issue out of a non issue. Whenever I hear someone reference " the bible says" I never think they have some philosophical or religious agenda they are attempting to use for manipulation. It's simply a phrase used to reference the source.

      May 5, 2014 at 1:00 pm |
      • In Santa We Trust

        It may be their source but there is the question of validity – the bible has been proven incorrect on all claims of science and many claims of history. Why trust it until it can be validated?

        May 5, 2014 at 1:27 pm |
    • SeaVik

      "Whenever someone says "The Bible says..." instead of "Jesus said..." we should have a red flag flapping in our minds."

      I see it exactly the opposite. None of us have any idea what Jesus said (or if the character described in the bible even existed at all). All we know is what the bible said. Anyone who says, "Jesus said..." is one additional level removed from reality since they are claiming to know something they do not. At least those who say, "The Bible says..." are correct in what it says, even if they are wrong as to whether or not it is true.

      May 5, 2014 at 1:11 pm |
    • Salero21

      Not an issue, nitpicking, non-argument. It's done all the time by everyone with all other Literature, especially in spontaneous and impromptu settings. When is difficult to quote exactly or memory fail. Is mostly acceptable for other situations. Atheism/evolutionism/cultism/paganism and Idolatry are Absolute, Complete, Total NONSENSE. You can quote me on that even if you don't remember when and where I said it. (wink) I miss the emoticons!!

      May 5, 2014 at 1:14 pm |
      • snuffleupagus

        "Christianity and it's forms of Idolatry are Absolute, Complete, Total NONSENSE. You can quote me on that even if you don't remember when and where I said it. (wink) I miss the emoticons!!"

        Ther ya go Sombrero, fixed it fo ya. But please do keep spouting you oral diarreha, along with Rainey, thefinisher, et al, you help our cuse. Keep it up!

        May 5, 2014 at 1:25 pm |
        • Salero21

          Your absurd only proves once more what I've been saying all along!! (wink)

          May 5, 2014 at 1:33 pm |
      • Doris

        Blablero: "Your absurd only proves...."

        Good job dufus.

        May 5, 2014 at 1:59 pm |
    • new-man

      Jesus had no problem quoting from Scripture. He did it time and time again, using the phrase "Scripture says" or "It is written"...
      Jesus knew who wrote the Scriptures, and He had no questions regarding the authenticity of Scripture. The only ones who question and ridicule those who quote scripture are those who don't know the WORD of God, nor the WORD of God made flesh.
      If it's no problem for the Son of God, who is the very WORD made flesh, it's no problem for me as the Scripture is all about Jesus.

      May 5, 2014 at 1:25 pm |
      • igaftr

        newman.
        You mean the ALLEGED word of god, since no one can confirm if a) any gods exist; b) YOUR particular god exists c) if any gods had anything to do with the bible.
        Since none of that can be confirmed, and there are MANY other possibilities ( like men made up the whole thing) the FACT is , you do not KNOW anything involving any gods. Belief is not knowledge.

        May 5, 2014 at 1:28 pm |
      • fintronics

        After God has sufficiently hardened the Pharaoh's heart, he kills all the firstborn Egyptian children. When he was finished "there was not a house where there was not one dead." Finally, he runs out of little babies to kill, so he slaughters the firstborn cattle, too. 12:29

        62.God gives instructions for killing and burning animals. He says that if we will make such "burnt offerings," he will bless us for it. What kind of mind would be pleased by the killing and burning of innocent animals? 20:24

        It's okay to beat your slaves; even if they die you won't be punished, just as long as they survive a day or two after the beating (see verses 21:20-21). But avoid excessive damage to their eyes or teeth. Otherwise you may have to set them free. 21:26-27

        May 5, 2014 at 1:32 pm |
      • Salero21

        Well said!! I think that's why a Chevrolet is a better car than a Ford.

        May 5, 2014 at 1:32 pm |
      • G to the T

        "Jesus knew who wrote the Scriptures, and He had no questions regarding the authenticity of Scripture"

        You're proving the point. The more accurate way to say it would be "According to the Bible, Jesus knew..."

        I don't believe you can actually know what Jesus thought/said, but we may be able gleen some of what he probably meant from the bible.

        May 5, 2014 at 1:34 pm |
  5. SeaVik

    I am very tired of those who imply that the secularization of our society has been a cause for moral decay. I struggle to think of a single instance where laws based on religion are more moral than the secular version. For example, on a morality scale:

    1) No slavery (secular) is more moral than slavery (supported by Christianity)
    2) Freedom to marry (secular) is more moral than marriage discrimination (supported by Christianity)
    3) Freedom to decide what to do with one’s body (secular) is more moral than having the government decide (supported by Christianity)
    4) Addressing the environment (secular) is more moral than assuming a god will take care of it (supported by many Christians)
    5) Protecting children from mental abuse (secular) is more moral than religious childhood indoctrination (supported by Christianity)
    6) Promoting birth control to overpopulated, starving, diseased societies (secular) is more moral than fighting against the use of birth control (supported by Christianity)
    7) Providing science education to our children based on actual science (secular) is more moral than teaching fantasies like creationism as if they were science (supported by Christianity)

    I could go on and on. Can anyone offer a single example of how a religious / Christian view is more moral than a secular view?

    May 5, 2014 at 11:04 am |
    • Dalahäst

      Secular society has supported all those immoral things, too, though.

      May 5, 2014 at 11:10 am |
      • In Santa We Trust

        Secular society did not exist a few hundred years ago, so it cannot really share the blame equally.
        Religion claims the higher ground because of its claims to be the representative of a god.

        May 5, 2014 at 11:27 am |
        • Dalahäst

          There are examples of secular society supporting slavery, inequality, pollution, child abuse, bad parenting and ignoring science.

          When did 'secular society' start?

          May 5, 2014 at 11:36 am |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          Thankfully a secular democracy can vote on what laws are best for their society which will by its nature continually evolve to meet the needs of its people. Religion, on the other hand, claims to never need an update since it is supposedly the unchanging word of a God who cannot make mistakes. It is funny to see how much religion has evolved though much like secular societies, but that is just because they don't actually worship an unchanging God, they worship and idea and that idea still changes with time, they just claim their God hasn't ever changed, just their understanding of him has "matured" so they no longer support slavery or bans on interracial marriage.

          May 5, 2014 at 11:51 am |
        • Dalahäst

          "Religion, on the other hand, claims to never need an update since it is supposedly the unchanging word of a God who cannot make mistakes."

          Religion does not always claim that.

          I belong to a religion that definitely does not support that statement.

          Are you trying to compare our secular government (which was set up by mostly religious people) to the concept of what a religion at its worst might be?

          May 5, 2014 at 11:59 am |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          Fine, i'll adjust my statement to be more true:

          Most religion, on the other hand, claims to never need an update since it is supposedly the unchanging word of a God who cannot make mistakes.

          Better? It doesn't change my point at all, but i'll allow your little out of "not always claim that."

          "Are you trying to compare our secular government (which was set up by mostly religious people) to the concept of what a religion at its worst might be?"

          No, I was comparing the secular government we have set up in this age of enlightenment by our founders who decided they would create a government for everyone in spite of their religious backgrounds to the theocracy it seems every evangelical claims to want in America today. The founders were intelligent enough to understand that you cannot run around policing everyones belief in God/gods and in fact doing so is detrimental to the society they were wanting to build. A secluar society is not one where religion doesn't exist, it exists right where it should, in the home, in the heart and in the church. Outside of that realm you begin hindering others rights to practice whatever religion they choose freely. When you insert your brand of religion into the school system you have children from atheist homes, hindu homes, muslim homes, budhist homes and more all being told to make Christmas decorations for a fun class project. Sure, those kids are "allowed" to opt out, but how exactly does that make them feel? Separated, excluded and different right from grade school. And that doesn't even get into the effects of some schools that teach "intelligent design" as an alternative to real science.

          May 5, 2014 at 12:51 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          I'm not an evangelical.

          Our forefathers set up a secular government to protect white rich property owners. I would not blindly accept a religion or a secular concept. I'm skeptical minded, though.

          May 5, 2014 at 12:59 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          white rich property owners* that were males.

          The secular government didn't want equal rights for females.

          May 5, 2014 at 1:01 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          That is pretty funny, the religious nut trying to dog on secular society by claiming secularism doesn't help women. You have read the bible right? Sure it says husbands should be "giving honor unto the wife as unto the weaker vessel" but she is still the husbands vessel or property. Secularism at least has tried to erase that wide gap in equality and continues to fight for equal rights in every sector.

          May 5, 2014 at 1:27 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          I'm not a religious nut that dogs on secular society. I'm a part of secular society.

          I didn't say that secularism opposes women. There are examples of secularism that do oppose women's rights. They still exist today.

          I belong to a church that clearly supports women's rights. We work with secular groups to accomplish that.

          But it is possible for something secular to deny rights to women. It happens. There is nothing in secularism that indicates equal rights.

          May 5, 2014 at 1:35 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          Would you support the right of a woman to be the head of the household? Does your religion allow women to teach and preach from the pulpit?

          "33 God isn’t a God of disorder but of peace. Like in all the churches of God’s people, 34 the women should be quiet during the meeting. They are not allowed to talk. Instead, they need to get under control, just as the Law says. 35 If they want to learn something, they should ask their husbands at home. It is disgraceful for a woman to talk during the meeting." 1 Corinth 14:33-35

          May 5, 2014 at 1:42 pm |
        • Doris

          Dala: "Our forefathers set up a secular government to protect white rich property owners."

          I think it's a little more complex than that Dala. The rich property owners have always worked to protect their interests in various ways. The need for secularization of the government was an obvious answer to the question of what could provide unity among those of differing beliefs where there was already ongoing feuding among Christian sects.

          May 5, 2014 at 1:48 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          neverbeenhappieratheist

          Why did Paul write that to the Corinthian's church? Did he mean for it to be a universal law?

          "For in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise."

          May 5, 2014 at 1:52 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Doris

          "I think it's a little more complex than that Dala. "

          Yes! Nothing is ever quite that simple. Even the OP's post qualifies for that statement.

          A simplistic statement is usually not sufficient.

          May 5, 2014 at 1:54 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          When did 'secular society' start?
          --------
          March 4, 1789.

          It's something we can all be proud of.

          May 5, 2014 at 1:55 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          "Why did Paul write that to the Corinthian's church? Did he mean for it to be a universal law?"

          "Like in all the churches of God’s people"

          Did the ancient Hebrews have a different definition of the word "all"? Was the greek word used by Paul have some other conotation to mean "all you Corinthians"?

          May 5, 2014 at 1:58 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          And if we are all equal under God then would it also be "disgraceful for a" man "to talk during the meeting"?

          May 5, 2014 at 2:01 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          March 4, 1789. A good day if you were a privileged, white property owning male.

          That wasn't the start of secular society though. Rich white guys didn't invent it.

          May 5, 2014 at 2:07 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          neverbeenhappieratheist

          It is not disgraceful for a woman to talk during a meeting. I think Paul was addressing a specific issue within that church. The "women" he was referring to were the ones that were disrupting and trying to change what Jesus said.

          My pastor (who is a women, who leads, and is fully Christian) explains it better than I. But context is important.

          May 5, 2014 at 2:10 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          "March 4, 1789. A good day if you were a privileged, white property owning male."

          The Const.itution of the US was certainly imperfect. It still is. 2nd amendment anyone??

          And It certainly was created by (relatively) rich white men.

          You asked the question when did secular society start? The US Const.itution is, to the best of my knowledge, the first Western legal apparatus that was explicitly and deliberately outside the scope of religion.

          I think the Consti.tution is a better answer to your question than any other I can think of. It is the embodiment of so-called enlightenment thinking that predates it.

          The French tried to replicate a secular society with disastrous results in the First Republic.

          You could argue that the Greek city states started it but I would contend that they were not secular as we would define that word today.

          May 5, 2014 at 2:30 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          They created a style of secular government. Yes. It was mostly religious people that wanted it.

          Nothing suggested secularism for society, though.

          May 5, 2014 at 2:39 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          "They created a style of secular government. Yes. It was mostly religious people that wanted it.,
          --------
          To their credit, yes.

          "Nothing suggested secularism for society, though."
          --------
          What is "society" if not reflected though the prism of the government it chooses for itself? I think you make a distinction without a difference.

          You said elsewhere that the religious can live in and contribute to a secular society. That is of course true. I think you are being unnecessarily argumentative on this point.

          May 5, 2014 at 2:44 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          I really don't know what the op meant by "society" "secularism" and "religion".

          Most religious people in society support a secular government. Even though our society is not secular. There is nothing inherent in religion that is opposed to a secular government.

          The role of the government is not to create a secular society. Such an action is forbidden. Thank God.

          May 5, 2014 at 2:52 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          Well i'm glad you and your female pastor have decided on an end run around Pauls words that seemed pretty clear to me. It always has amazed me to see the mental gymnastics believers go through to maintain their belief that the bible has no flaws or never says anything that can't be explained away as completely moral. Most other Christian religions have not attempted such acrobatic leaps of logic but I applaud you for doing so on something so obviously heinous.

          May 5, 2014 at 2:55 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          im sick and tired of the word "mental gymnastics" probably as you are tired of the word context....why do you detest context?

          May 5, 2014 at 3:02 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          I follow Christ, not Paul.

          Paul's letters were written to a specific people about specific issues.

          There are examples in the United States of Lutheran Churches granting leadership roles to women way before our secular government guaranteed them.

          What is the fruit of the spirit look like? Are we created to follow laws or be people that love others as we love ourselves? Not because of a law, but because that is what we are.

          There is no law against letting women lead a congregation.

          May 5, 2014 at 3:00 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          "I really don't know what the op meant by "society" "secularism" and "religion".
          -----------------–
          In his diatribe Dr. Mohler makes three references to 'secularizing' including comments like:

          "We must recognize that our cultural loss of confidence in human dignity and the secularizing of human identity has made murder a less heinous crime in the minds of many Americans."

          The distinction is the op is secular versus sectarian.

          We live in a society with a secular government which has, by extension, secular laws*. We do not live with "sectarian" laws – like a theocracy would.

          * Doubtless, some of our laws at the state level do date back to sectarian, Colonial laws.

          You also said:
          Most religious people in society support a secular government. Even though our society is not secular. There is nothing inherent in religion that is opposed to a secular government.
          -----------------–
          In terms of your meaning, of course not, The counter example though is Sharia and sectarian, Islamic countries. We don't want Christian sectarian law here either.

          "The role of the government is not to create a secular society.
          -----------------–
          The beauty of the US Const.itution is that, though imperfect, it created a secular government to reflect the secular society the founders wished to create. It opposes sectarianism. Sectarianism is the enemy of religious freedom.

          May 5, 2014 at 3:07 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          why do I detest "context"?

          I think detest is a bit of a strong word, but I am disgusted by the frequancy of its use by believers when what they really mean is "you are taking that scripture in a different way than I want to read it". I have read the bible several times, cover to cover, I have the "context" and yet scriptures like the one above from Paul are right there in black and white and no matter how much you want to "contextualize" something you cannot know for sure what the author was intending. You can claim that the "God" you worship wouldn't do that or say this so it must be "out of context" and yet you never provide the context, you just say silly things like "that was for the Corinthians, not for us!"

          Just own up to your book or throw it out, don't cherry pick what you "feel" is right and call that "context".

          May 5, 2014 at 3:14 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          HOWEVER...no one has yet to prove we are doing that to make it say what we want to say..expecially for me....lets take examplepf Paul telling that women should not preach...who was Timothy? he was a young preacher in Ephesus..what was happening in Ephesus? what kinds of religions are there....there was a large population of pagan worshippers who had women dominate the religion in teaching and putting men under subservience....Paul is trying to temper that and also avoid false teachings to trickle in from the newbies..especially women who were not well informed of the Christian religion and of Jesus....read the Book of Ephesians to get the background..Paul was saying that heresies were trickling in..and implied a lot of it had to do with the women who used to be (or still part of) worshipping the false gods in Ephesus.....as for women being quiet in church..ALL people were to be quiet..ever been to a church service? does EVERYONE speak at same time? no...one person speaks...the women did nOT sit alongside their husbands as they do today..so there is no "whispering" going on..does that make it sound like the way I want it? prove it..show me that what I said was not happening in Ephesus and such

          May 5, 2014 at 3:19 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          "yet to prove we are doing that to make it say what we want to say"

          You're right, we can't prove you are doing it just to make it say what you want it to say, just like you can't prove your God exists. So it's a catch 42. You know a catch 22 but also the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything.

          May 5, 2014 at 3:32 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          + Sectarianism is the enemy of religious freedom.

          Amen. Yes.

          May 5, 2014 at 5:25 pm |
      • SeaVik

        Yes Dala, but the difference is secular views evolve as we grow as a society. Religious views are still based on an ancient book that doesn't change. That's why you get outrageous Christians like Theo who still believe slavery and the Holocaust are consistent with his Christian views.

        May 5, 2014 at 11:34 am |
        • Dalahäst

          Not all secular views evolve as we grow as a society.

          Some religious view do evolve as we grow as a society.

          We've got outrageous views from secular society, too. People who follow a religion are a part of the secular society you talk about. They have contributed to the things you enjoy about secular society.

          May 5, 2014 at 11:38 am |
        • SeaVik

          I'm not sure what your point is Dala. How about some examples rather than generalities? My original question remains unanswered.

          May 5, 2014 at 11:46 am |
        • Dalahäst

          You are making broad generalizations about 'secular society' and 'religion'.

          A majority of our secular society is composed of religious people.

          + Can anyone offer a single example of how a religious / Christian view is more moral than a secular view?

          Our secular society follows the ideals that many Christians find important – like equality, freedom and helping those in need.

          May 5, 2014 at 11:52 am |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          "Not all secular views evolve as we grow as a society."

          Example? I can't think of a single secular concept or view that hasn't evolved over time.

          May 5, 2014 at 11:59 am |
        • Dalahäst

          There are people who are not religious that support slavery, pollution, child abuse and many others horrors in society.

          Removing religion from a person doesn't end those faults.

          There are secular people that are horrible examples of human beings.

          Our government is largely a secular inst.itution and it is guilty of crimes against humanity – like kidnapping, denying rights, killing innocent people, supporting slavery (yes, even today), dishonesty.

          These things are human problems. Not religion problems.

          May 5, 2014 at 12:07 pm |
        • SeaVik

          Dala, we are talking about religion vs. secularism. You don't get to claim the benefits of secularism simply because there are many religious people in our society. The question remains – can you provide an example of where a religious view is more moral than a non-religious / secular view? That was the question in my post which you still have not addressed.

          sec·u·lar·ism/ˈsɛkyələˌrɪzəm/ Show Spelled [sek-yuh-luh-riz-uhm] Show IPA
          noun
          1. secular spirit or tendency, especially a system of political or social philosophy that rejects all forms of religious faith and worship.
          2. the view that public education and other matters of civil policy should be conducted without the introduction of a religious element.

          May 5, 2014 at 12:47 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          + can you provide an example of where a religious view is more moral than a non-religious / secular view?

          Yes.

          My non-religious/secular government says it is ok for banks to mislead desperate people and charge them 455% interest on a pay day loan.

          My church thinks this is a crime and has teamed up with other churches (and even some non-religious people) to fight for reform. These victims are poor and often are in a desperate situation. Our secular society turns a blind eye to their plight. But my church is fighting for these poor victims.

          There is nothing inherent in secularism that is against slavery, inequality, pollution and other crimes.

          There are secular religions that oppose those things. But secularism by itself does not.

          May 5, 2014 at 12:56 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Also, it is not religion vs secularism.

          Religion is a part of our secularism. There is nothing in secularism that pits religion against it. You can follow a religion and secularism, too.

          May 5, 2014 at 12:57 pm |
        • SeaVik

          "My non-religious/secular government says it is ok for banks to mislead desperate people and charge them 455% interest on a pay day loan."

          That issue really has nothing to do with religion vs secularism. There are people in both groups on both sides of that one.

          May 5, 2014 at 1:01 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          There were and are today secular people that support slavery.

          May 5, 2014 at 1:02 pm |
        • SeaVik

          "It is not religion vs. secularism. Religion is a part of our secularism."

          This post IS about religion vs. secularism since as I said, many religious people blame the problems in our society on secularism. And I posted the definition of secularism since your posts suggest you don't know what it means. Religion is not part of secularism.

          May 5, 2014 at 1:05 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          The banks that are committing those crimes are SECULAR.

          May 5, 2014 at 1:06 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          secular [sek-yuh-ler] Show IPA adjective 1. of or pertaining to worldly things or to things that are not regarded as religious, spiritual, or sacred; temporal: secular interests.

          Your secularism definition you provided sounds like a religion.

          What kind of secularism are you talking about? There are just as many different types of secularism as there are type of a religion.

          May 5, 2014 at 1:09 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          "a system of political or social philosophy that rejects all forms of religious faith and worship."

          Our const.itution forbids that. I'm free to accept a religious faith and worship. People are drawn to our country because of that freedom.

          May 5, 2014 at 1:13 pm |
        • SeaVik

          "The banks that are committing those crimes are SECULAR."

          They're neither secular nor religious – they are companies. Many of the people running those banks are religious. I see no reason to think they are any less religious than the rest of America and I would guess they are more religious given the demographics.

          May 5, 2014 at 1:17 pm |
        • SeaVik

          "Your secularism definition you provided sounds like a religion."

          "My" definition is just the first one that appeared when I googled define: secularism.

          Your diverting the issue here. The point is that there are many imoral positions held by Christians that are driven by the fact that they are held to the views of an ancient book and not as free to use sound judgement to come to their own conclusions as to what is moral. I am not aware of any examples where this is an exception.

          If, for example, non-religious people wanted murder to be illegal and religious people didn't, that would be an example where the religious position is more moral than the secular position. I am not aware of any actual examples of that.

          May 5, 2014 at 1:21 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          They are a secular company.

          The dictionary supports that statement.

          May 5, 2014 at 1:21 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Secularism and secular are not the same thing.

          See that "ism"?

          Blindly accepting that secularism is a good thing is a dangerous mindset.

          May 5, 2014 at 1:24 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          How about this:

          Most religious people fully embrace a secular government.

          But human beings are not secular beings. So our secular government grants us rights to seek our spirituality. Or to not seek it. Our society is not secular. But we strive to have a government that is.

          There is nothing inherent in religion that opposes a secular government that defends the rights of all equally.

          May 5, 2014 at 1:28 pm |
        • SeaVik

          "Most religious people fully embrace a secular government."

          I'm not sure that's true. Between those who oppose gay marriage and those who want to teach creationism in science classes, "most" religious people probably don't support a secular government.

          May 5, 2014 at 1:41 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Most religious people do such things.

          Is there anything in secularism that protects equality for all people? (There isn't).

          There are Secular Humanists that state they are for equality of all people. But now it is becoming something that is religious-like.

          May 5, 2014 at 1:44 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Most religious people * DON'T do such things.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JbvDYyoAv9k

          That was the inspiration of what I was trying to say.

          May 5, 2014 at 1:45 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          My religions full supports science and strives to have science taught in the classroom. It also supports and fights for equal marriage rights for h.mos.exuals, lesbians, and transgenders.

          There are members in my religion that are science teachers and/or married h.mos.exuals, lesbians, and transgenders.

          May 5, 2014 at 1:49 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          I asked for an example of a single secular concept or view that hasn't evolved over time. What did you come up with?

          "banks to mislead desperate people and charge them 455% interest on a pay day loan."

          Are you intentionally being a moron or was that just accidental? Besides the fact that your claim is not an example of a secular concept or view that has not evolved (bank interest rates have been long debated and rules set that have changed many times, at one point there was no limit and at another point the limit was 999%) your example is an arbitrary rule for one member of that secular society and is not a "concept or view". That would be debating whether charging interest at all is legal or not, not how much the percentage should be.

          May 5, 2014 at 1:54 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          What is a secular view or concept?

          There is nothing in secularism that is against predatory pay day lending. There is nothing in secularism that is against inequality or murder.

          A secular government can endorse crimes against humanity.

          A secular company can practice immoral business practices.

          They are fully 100% secular.

          I'm not being a moron. Not all secular companies are bad. But they can be. And there is nothing in secularism to prevent that.

          Unless you are a Secular Humanist or something like that.

          May 5, 2014 at 1:58 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          "There is nothing in secularism that is against inequality or murder."

          Really?

          "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instltuted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to instltute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."

          Notice again: "deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed"

          That is the difference between a "secular" democracy and a "theocratic" society. Even though the declaration says "endowed by their Creator" it is very specific making it clear that is not where the power of the government is derived.

          And again to your claim that there is nothing against inequality and murder, what do you think "most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness." means?

          May 5, 2014 at 2:15 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          It is not a secular manifesto.

          The doc.ument guarantees me the right to practice my religion.

          It doesn't promote secularism. It protects me from secularism.

          May 5, 2014 at 2:29 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Secularism can agree with this:

          "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are not created equal, that they are not endowed by whatever created them with any rights."

          If a secular person disagrees with that they have to explain why – and then they start to get religiony.

          That is why there are secular religions today.

          May 5, 2014 at 2:44 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          "It doesn't promote secularism. It protects me from secularism."

          Which is why I said above:

          "A secluar society is not one where religion doesn't exist, it exists right where it should, in the home, in the heart and in the church."

          Yes it protects the right of everyone to practice their religion within the limits of that secular society. I could not claim to have the right to practice my religion if the way I practiced it was by setting up chairs to sit and pray in the middle of a busy intersection, that would be forcing my religion on everyone else. Now if I want to paint my own intersection in my front room and sit there and pray no one is stopping me.

          May 5, 2014 at 2:49 pm |
        • SeaVik

          "Is there anything in secularism that protects equality for all people? (There isn't)."

          No. But there also isn't anything that requires discrimination for some people like Christianity does (gays). There isn't anything that requires children to be taught fairy tales in science class as if they were legitimate scientific theories. That's the point – secular laws are based on common sense, not pre-determined biblical rules.

          May 5, 2014 at 2:56 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          There is nothing in my religion that requires discrimination of g.ays. (We do a lot to protect and grant equal rights – I bet we do more than the typical anti-theists that rag on religion do.) And we definitely support science education. Some people from my religion are pioneers in the field.

          Laws are laws.

          What is common sense about the secular law that allows a secular company to charge secular poor people 400% interest on a predatory payday loan?

          May 5, 2014 at 3:07 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          "I bet we do more than the typical anti-theists that rag on religion do"

          Please approach any gay person you know (i'm sure you know a ton of them seeing as how supportive you are of them) and ask them how atheists and anti-theists treat them compared to the general run of the mill Christian. I'd just love to hear your report.

          May 5, 2014 at 3:36 pm |
        • SeaVik

          "There is nothing in my religion that requires discrimination of g.ays. And we definitely support science education."

          Well many Christians use their religion to justify discrimination and teaching fiction in science.

          May 5, 2014 at 4:20 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          SeaVik

          Many Christians use their religion to justify fighting for equal rights and teaching science in the classroom. Some even when prestigious awards from secular groups for their contributions to science.

          May 5, 2014 at 5:19 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          neverbeenhappieratheist

          We are not like the typical people you are imagining, though. I do know a lot of ga.ys that are Christians, believe it or not. One church I go to has a lesbian pastor. The congregation is overwhelmingly g.ay, lesbian and transgendered. The services are similar to the church I go to which is not made up of member like that (I only know of 2 members in my church who happen to be g.ay) – you really wouldn't know the difference by what is preached.

          May 5, 2014 at 5:23 pm |
      • flightfromfrostmtn

        Dalahast,

        your "you do it too" tactic is not going to work here either. Here in the US, the slave owners in the south used the bible and their faith to justify slavery preventing its abolishment well after the rest of the west had done so.

        Name a secular western society that discriminates against a particular type of union between consenting adults. Most Christian faiths would have certain types unions outlawed if they could.

        you said: "The secular government didn't want equal rights for females."

        Which at the time was heavily influenced by faith....they got the idea of male dominance directly from the Bible.

        most of- if not all, the inequalities in the US have a faith driving it.

        May 5, 2014 at 1:55 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Nope, you are missing my point.

          May 5, 2014 at 1:59 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Slave owners even used secular arguments to justify their slavery – like science and economics.

          It was mostly religious people, not mostly secular people, that mostly led the fight against slavery.

          May 5, 2014 at 2:02 pm |
        • Alias

          And I thought it was the slavery issue that caused the seperation of the Southern Baptists from moral society.
          Was I wrong?

          May 5, 2014 at 2:07 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Southern Baptists do not represent all of religion though.

          Just like Jeffery Dahmer doesn't represent all atheists as products of secularism.

          May 5, 2014 at 2:11 pm |
        • flightfromfrostmtn

          Yes, many Christians opposed slavery. Most because freedom for all is some what of a no brainer....they did so inspite of their faith. Most Christians at that time believed skin color was a divine curse/blessing based on shade.

          It was fair minded people trying to uphold our secular laws – yes they were Christian..but at the time who wasnt? It was almost mandatory.

          May 5, 2014 at 2:13 pm |
        • igaftr

          Dahmer had a biblical background, and was affiliated with the Chruch of Christ...why do you think he could represent atheists?

          May 5, 2014 at 2:19 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          George Palermo, a psychiatrist who testified at Jeffrey Dahmer's trial, was of the opinion that a major motivating factor for his heinous crimes was a hatred of hom/o/se/xuality and his inability to come to terms with his own leanings.
          This may well stem from his family's affiliation with a small, Baptist sect known as the Church of Christ who are vehemently anti-gay. Though Dahmer stopped attending church early in his life, early childhood indoctrination to self-loathing was very likely a factor in his adult psychology.
          Shortly before being murdered in prison, Dahmer was re-baptized into his childhood church by Minister Roy Ratcliff.

          Whether atheist or not, can't we just agree that he was guano insane and leave it alone?

          May 5, 2014 at 2:33 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          The framers of the Const.itution had a biblical background, and a majority were affiliated with a church... these mostly religious men set up a system that protects a non-religious person like yourself.

          Does that mean most religious people support protecting and guaranteeing rights for people. Even people they disagree with?

          May 5, 2014 at 2:49 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          "Does that mean most religious people support protecting and guaranteeing rights for people. Even people they disagree with?"
          ------------–
          If they believe in the Const.itution, it certainly does. I think it's even fair to say that "most" religious people desire this. Many fundamentalist Evangelical Protestants do not act this way.

          The problem is the politicizing of religion. That has no place in a society that respects freedom of religion.

          I'm not talking about a religious group lobbying for particular legislation. They have the right to do that.

          I am talking about deliberate manipulation of the electorate on religious lines.

          May 5, 2014 at 2:55 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Right. I'm against that, too. For very good reasons, which are similar to your concerns.

          Parts of my family moved here to escape a theocracy – but still wanted to practice their religion. They started a new church and had no desire to force their beliefs on others. That is not what Jesus wants.

          May 5, 2014 at 3:03 pm |
        • flightfromfrostmtn

          The writers of our consti tution, in my opinion, left their religion at the door. They were brilliant men – maybe caught up in the euphoria of creating a nation- that asked themselves what was wrong with the existing governments and how we could avoid their mistakes. A truly far sighted bunch.

          Dalahast, you said: Does that mean most religious people support protecting and guaranteeing rights for people. Even people they disagree with?

          Religious people generally use their religion as a yardstick to judge others....so in my opinion, you ll get a much fairer shake from somebody who doesnt have the added complication measuring you up to their chosen brand of god.

          May 5, 2014 at 3:03 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          "They started a new church and had no desire to force their beliefs on others.

          And that is what is so special about the US. Freedom of, and from, religion is an important freedom.

          It requires a system that opposes sectarianism in public policy and law.

          May 5, 2014 at 3:24 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          I think a lot of the writers brought their religion in with them. The ideals they expressed in the consti tution were similar to their religious views.

          Non-religious people use religion as a yardstick to judge others. It happens to me a lot.

          May 5, 2014 at 5:49 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          + And that is what is so special about the US. Freedom of, and from, religion is an important freedom.

          Yes.

          May 5, 2014 at 5:50 pm |
        • flightfromfrostmtn

          Dalahast,

          When you proclaim your beliefs publicly, they are going to be examined, critiqued and criticized. If there is a problem, it will be highlighted.

          Why it seem so harsh to you is you are defending something that has never once manifested itself in any form in any way, yet you claim it exists. Its only physical "poof" ,the bible, is full of inconsistencies, contradictions and falsehoods.

          that is why you use the " oh yeah? well you do it too" line so much....you cant reasonably defend it – nobody could... I d go ahead and leave you to it except this madness keeps trying to creep its way into our government.

          May 5, 2014 at 6:30 pm |
    • Vic

      United States Declaration of Independence
      July 4, 1776

      Preamble

      "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

      That's the basis for all "Human Rights."

      May 5, 2014 at 11:23 am |
      • bostontola

        Interesting that Jefferson had written, "We hold these truths to be sacred and un-deniable..."

        Ben Franklin changed it to, "We hold these truths to be self-evident."

        From religious framing to reason, intentionally.

        May 5, 2014 at 11:37 am |
      • SeaVik

        Really? So there was no basis for human rights prior to that time?

        Btw, I had two creators myself.

        May 5, 2014 at 11:37 am |
      • G to the T

        "That's the basis for all "Human Rights."

        Welll... not really. The Declaration is essentially a letter to King George saying we aren't part of England anymore. Our laws and rights are based off of the Consti.tution and Bill of Rights.

        May 5, 2014 at 12:43 pm |
        • joey3467

          That is true, by and large the Declaration of Independence is by and large just a list of the reasons why we wanted to be no part of England.

          May 5, 2014 at 1:10 pm |
      • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

        @Vic,

        the Declaration of Independence is not the law. It's purpose was to foment rebellion, not frame laws.

        And Jefferson never wrote "creator" by the way.

        Are you still worried about invasion from Canada? (That's in the declaration of Independence too.)

        May 5, 2014 at 2:19 pm |
      • MidwestKen

        @Vic,
        The const.itution, the actual founding docu.ment, states, "We the people ... do ordain and establish..."

        May 5, 2014 at 3:18 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Are US laws based on The Bible?
      The first three commandments not only aren't laws, they do not in any way apply to non-christians.
      Honouring your parents isn't a law.
      Not coveting isn't a law.
      No adultery isn't a law.
      Keeping the sabbath isn't a law.
      That leave mudering, lying and stealing – things that are generally considered anti-social and illegal in every civilization throughout history.

      The Journal of Religion & Society published a study on religious belief and social well-being, comparing 18 prosperous democracies from the U.S. to New Zealand.
      #1 on the list in both atheism and good behaviour is Ja.pan. It is one of the least crime-prone countries in the world. It also has the lowest rates of teenage pregnancy of any developed nation. Over eighty percent of the population accept evolution.
      Last on the list is the U.S. It has the highest rate of teenage pregnancy and homicide rates are at least five times greater than in Europe and ten times higher than in Ja.pan.
      Countries with a high percentage of nonbelievers are among the freest, most stable, best-educated, and healthiest nations on earth. When nations are ranked according to a human-development index, which measures such factors as life expectancy, literacy rates, and educational attainment, the five highest-ranked countries – Norway, Sweden, Australia, Canada, and the Netherlands – all have high degrees of nonbelief. Of the fifty countires at the bottom of the index, all are intensly religious. The nations with the highest homicide rates tend to be more religious; those with the greatest levels of gender equality are the least religious.

      May 5, 2014 at 11:57 am |
    • Reality

      "3) Freedom to decide what to do with one’s body (secular). "

      Yes, but along with that freedom comes the responsibility of practicing safe s-ex.

      Added details for the new members:

      The reality of se-x, abortion, contraception and STD/HIV control: – from an atheist guy who enjoys intelligent se-x-

      Note: Some words hyphenated to defeat an obvious word filter. ...

      The Brutal Effects of Stupidity:

      : The failures of the widely used birth "control" methods i.e. the Pill (8.7% actual failure rate) and male con-dom (17.4% actual failure rate) have led to the large rate of abortions and S-TDs in the USA. Men and women must either recognize their responsibilities by using the Pill or co-ndoms properly and/or use safer methods in order to reduce the epidemics of abortion and S-TDs.- Failure rate statistics provided by the Gut-tmacher Inst-itute. Unfortunately they do not give the statistics for doubling up i.e. using a combination of the Pill and a condom.

      Added information before making your next move:

      "Se-xually transmitted diseases (STDs) remain a major public health challenge in the United States. While substantial progress has been made in preventing, diagnosing, and treating certain S-TDs in recent years, CDC estimates that approximately 19 million new infections occur each year, almost half of them among young people ages 15 to 24.1 In addition to the physical and psy-ch-ological consequences of S-TDs, these diseases also exact a tremendous economic toll. Direct medical costs as-sociated with STDs in the United States are estimated at up to $14.7 billion annually in 2006 dollars."

      See also: http://www.cnn.com/2013/04/26/opinion/bolan-se-xual-health/index.html?hpt=hp_t4

      And from:

      "Adolescents don’t think or-al se-x is something to worry about (even though is becoming a major cause of throat cancer)," said Bonnie Halpern-Felsher professor of pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco. "They view it as a way to have intimacy without having 's-ex.'" (Maybe it should be called the Bill Clinton Syndrome !!)

      Obviously, political leaders in both parties, Planned Parenthood, parents, the "stupid part of the USA" and the educational system have failed miserably on many fronts.

      The most effective forms of contraception, ranked by "Perfect use":

      – (Abstinence, 0% failure rate)
      – (Masturbation, mono or mutual, 0% failure rate)

      Followed by:

      One-month injectable and Implant (both at 0.05 percent)
      Vasectomy and IUD (Mirena) (both at 0.1 percent)
      The Pill, Three-month injectable, and the Patch (all at 0.3 percent)
      Tubal sterilization (at 0.5 percent)
      IUD (Copper-T) (0.6 percent)
      Periodic abstinence (Post-ovulation) (1.0 percent)
      Periodic abstinence (Symptothermal) and Male condom (both at 2.0 percent)
      Periodic abstinence (Ovulation method) (3.0 percent)

      Every other method ranks below these, including Withdrawal (4.0), Female condom (5.0), Diaphragm (6.0), Periodic abstinence (calendar) (9.0), the Sponge (9.0-20.0, depending on whether the woman using it has had a child in the past), Cervical cap (9.0-26.0, with the same caveat as the Sponge), and Spermicides (18.0).

      May 5, 2014 at 12:02 pm |
      • SeaVik

        Just a LITTLE bit off topic there buddy.

        May 5, 2014 at 12:52 pm |
        • Reality

          No it is not as you brought the issue of abortion into the discussion with your comment about women having control of their own bodies.

          May 5, 2014 at 4:58 pm |
    • Salero21

      Liar, liar pants on fire. All of those are in place and being supported also by secularists NON-christian societies and worst than that yet. This is why I've been saying that atheists are compulsive pathological big Fat Liars and extreme hypocrites.

      May 5, 2014 at 12:50 pm |
      • SeaVik

        Thanks A Loser 21. You always add such interesting insight to the conversation. It is very surprising for me to learn that you are intellegent and I am apparently an idiot but your logic is bullet proof.

        May 5, 2014 at 12:57 pm |
  6. bostontola

    Justices allow public prayers at New York town's council meetings
    By Bill Mears, CNN Supreme Court Producer
    updated 10:37 AM EDT, Mon May 5, 2014

    I respect the SCOTUS and realize we need to accept their rulings, but I disagree with it. I think this erosion of the separation will be viewed poorly by historians in the future.

    May 5, 2014 at 10:53 am |
    • igaftr

      I'm going to go to churches and make them deal with town business before the mass.

      " Thank you ladies and gentlemen and welcome to (church name). Before we have our mass, there is a zoning issue we need to discuss."

      Just as inappropriate as praying at a town council meeting.
      Christians just love to force their religion on others.

      May 5, 2014 at 11:16 am |
      • Doris

        Agreed. Although for this situation to improve, there needs to be a better example at the top first. I think it will come someday soon.

        In 2004, FOX News host Sean Hannity stated three times in one week that James Madison, the fourth U.S. president, father of the Const.itution and the author of the Bill of Rights, "hired the first chaplain for the United States Congress." It is true that Madison was on the committee that proposed the appointment of the first paid chaplain in the U.S. House of Representatives and voted to pass the bill that included the establishment of congressional chaplains. But Madison later wrote that the provision of the bill establishing paid congressional chaplains had passed without his approval and that such chaplains were unconst.itutional.

        In a July 10, 1822, letter to Edward Livingston, Madison criticized the decision to use public funds to pay congressional chaplains:

        "I observe with particular pleasure the view you have taken of the immunity of Religion from civil jurisdiction, in every case where it does not trespass on private rights or the public peace. This has always been a favorite principle with me; and it was not with my approbation, that the deviation from it took place in Cong[ress], when they appointed Chaplains, to be paid from the Nat[ional] Treasury. It would have been a much better proof to their Consti.tuents of their pious feeling if the members had contributed for the purpose, a pittance from their own pockets. As the precedent is not likely to be rescinded, the best that can now be done, may be to apply to the Const[.itution] the maxim of the law, de minimis non curat [definition]."

        In an undated detached memorandum (fr Library of Congress) on church and state issues (believed to have been written between 1817 and 1832), Madison further delineated his view that congressional chaplains are unconst.itutional:

        Is the appointment of Chaplains to the two Houses of Congress consistent with the Consti.tution, and with the pure principle of religious freedom? In strictness the answer on both points must be in the negative. The Const.itution of the U. S. forbids everything like an establishment of a national religion. The law appointing Chaplains establishes a religious worship for the national representatives, to be performed by Ministers of religion, elected by a majority of them; and these are to be paid out of the national taxes. Does not this involve the principle of a national establishment, applicable to a provision for a religious worship for the Const.ituent as well as of the representative Body, approved by the majority, and conducted by Ministers of religion paid by the entire nation?"

        May 5, 2014 at 11:44 am |
  7. hotairace

    "At the same time, given the secularization of our culture and the moral confusion that this has brought, this issue is not so clear-cut as some might think."

    The only ones confused are delusional believers that cling to their Babble as if it is truly the word of some (alleged but never proven) god. The world is moving on and leaving believers behind, just like astrologists got left behind and now only provide minimal amusement as fortune tellers.

    May 5, 2014 at 10:23 am |
  8. colin31714

    Of interest is what drives grown adults to believe in gods, an afterlife, heaven, hell, saints, angels and other things they themselves would dismiss as childish were they not part of their religion (know many believers who believe in magic/miracles etc. OUTSIDE of their religion?).

    Fear of death is obviously a strong motivator. We’ve all met the Christian who claims that “faith in Jesus” will cause them to dodge death and live happily ever after in heaven. So is control of one’s environment. Once again, we’ve all met the Christian who claims they can, to a certain extent, control their environment by having their prayers answered. Their God can somehow monitor their inner thoughts, such as “please God make my wife’s cancer go away,” and may well intervene to cure her.

    The common elements in virtually all faiths, from the smallest tribal beliefs of New Guinea highlanders up to the most popular faiths in the World –Christianity, Islam etc. seem to be:

    (i) An ability through the religion to dodge one’s inevitable death. People live on after death as spirits, “presences” or through having a soul.

    (ii) In order to achieve the above immortality, one must conform to certain rules consistent with the faith – not killing, stealing etc. These rules that cause eternal bliss in heaven etc. are generally norms of the society and the religion helps to cement them in place.

    (iii) There is generally a priestly caste that has special communicative powers with the god(s) and/or spirits and understands their wishes and desires a little better than the rest of the population. Sometimes this caste has special rule making authority. Almost always, they live off the rest of the population – priests, rabbis, ministers, witchdoctors, imams, etc.

    (iv) Rituals presided over by the priestly caste invoke the pleasure of the gods/ancestors/spirits and also help control an otherwise uncontrollable environment – tornados miss certain trailers, cancers are cured, bread and wine becomes flesh and blood, prayer wheel communicate with the gods etc.

    (v) The society is always “God’s chosen people,” favored over their enemies, provided, of course, they stick to the relevant faith.

    (vi) The above beliefs all receive an immunity from scrutiny and rational analysis. It is “wrong” to doubt or question the society’s religion and rules of common sense that apply to every other aspect of the society’s well being are suspended when dealing with religion. Those who apply reason and logic to the superst.itions are seen as circu.mspect or outcasts. They sometimes even suffer social ostracization or even harm.

    But, then again, if you are a Christian, you happen to have the one true religion, right? lol

    May 5, 2014 at 9:30 am |
    • Alias

      If we could get rid of (vi) I could ignore the rest.

      May 5, 2014 at 10:17 am |
      • colin31714

        If we could get rid of (vi) there would be no "rest." The other five would disappear. It seems to be happening, but soooo slowly.

        May 5, 2014 at 10:19 am |
        • Alias

          That was kind of my point.
          Subtle is often the wrong approach here.

          May 5, 2014 at 2:21 pm |
      • Dalahäst

        I'm glad I belong to a community of Christ followers that embrace scrutiny and rational analysis, not discourage it. We are taught it is not “wrong” to doubt or question the society’s religion and rules of common sense that apply to every other aspect of the society’s well being are suspended when dealing with religion. Those who apply reason and logic to the superst.itions are not seen as circu.mspect or outcasts. We love them.

        May 5, 2014 at 10:44 am |
        • bostontola

          It would be a lot better if all Christians thought and behaved that way.

          May 5, 2014 at 10:59 am |
        • Dalahäst

          Yea.

          Every group provides examples of bad and good behavior.

          May 5, 2014 at 11:06 am |
        • palmettoandcrescent

          That was an excellent comment.

          May 5, 2014 at 11:16 am |
        • bostontola

          Dalahast,
          I agree, every person has examples of good and bad behavior. Every person has a slightly different definition of good and bad behavior. More tolerance would be beneficial across the board in my opinion.

          While all groups have some more and less tolerant members, some groups have a lower percentage of tolerant people.

          May 5, 2014 at 11:30 am |
        • Dalahäst

          That's right.

          May 5, 2014 at 11:39 am |
  9. Reality

    The SBC and pedophilia- Something Mr. Mohler never mentions:

    Mr. Mohler should be more concerned about the following: pedophilia in the SBC ranks

    From: http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1855948_1861760_1862212,00.html#ixzz0jg0lEyZj

    “Facing calls to curb child s-ex abuse within its churches, in June the Southern Baptist Convention — the largest U.S. religious body after the Catholic Church — urged local hiring committees to conduct federal background checks but rejected a proposal to create a central database of staff and clergy who have been either convicted of or indicted on charges of molesting minors. The SBC decided against such a database in part because its principle of local autonomy means it cannot compel individual churches to report any information. And while the headlines regarding churches and pedophilia remain largely focused on Catholic parishes, the lack of hierarchical structure and systematized record-keeping in most Protestant churches makes it harder not only for church leaders to impose standards, but for interested parties to track allegations of abuse."

    May 5, 2014 at 6:28 am |
    • Theo Phileo

      And I'm sure there's not a SINGLE non-religious organization in the US that has had problems with this. (sarcasm)
      The truth is, there are abusers in both religious and non-religious insti.tutions – BOTH need repentance.

      May 5, 2014 at 7:27 am |
      • midwest rail

        Name one non-religious insti.tution that has transferred the abusers from location to location AND destroyed doc.uments to help them hide.

        May 5, 2014 at 7:31 am |
      • bostontola

        Maybe you don't get it Theo, these priests are not just abusing children, they are abusing power. Children are taught by their parents that priests can be trusted. Most parents teach, beware of strangers. But for priests, you must look up to them, respect them. You must love and fear God. These children view the priest as a representative of that God. That is immense power, and they know it and abuse it, with children. Non religious organizations don't have that kind of power over children to abuse. Disgusting.

        May 5, 2014 at 7:46 am |
      • Science Works

        Hey Theo and it looks like the UN is calling out the Vatican.

        Did the Vatican Violate U.N. Convention Against Torture?

        http://www.nbcnews.com/news/religion/did-vatican-violate-u-n-convention-against-torture-n96986

        May 5, 2014 at 8:44 am |
      • Doc Vestibule

        Of 130 media reported cases of Southern Baptist clergy being arrested, convicted or sued for se.xual abuse of minors over the last 10 years, the police were first made aware of allegations because of a pastor or other church leader’s report in only 6 instances.

        As Reality points out in the root post, the SBC's primary tactic to avoid culpability is to claim that their churches are independent enti/ties and therefore cannot be subject to anything resembling an oversight committee.
        This excuse falls short given that this supposed autonomy has not prevented Southern Baptists from kicking out churches for reasons like acceptance of hom.ose.xuality and calling a female pastor.

        Just as with the RCC's scandals, it isn't that there are statistically more pedo clergy, it's that there is a culture of denial, cover-ups and a primary pre-occupation with the avoidance of scandal, the preservation of assets and maintaining the reputation of the Church.

        May 5, 2014 at 9:05 am |
  10. His Panic

    Riots, Rebellions and Revolutions in Ukraine, stampedes, anxiety, Mass hysteria and Panic all over the world. That is because the world DOES NOT Trust in God and in Jesus Christ God's Only Son. They WILL indeed Panic, but not those who really, Trust in God and in Jesus Christ God's Only Son, these WILL NOT Panic ALL other WILL Panic

    May 5, 2014 at 12:53 am |
    • saggyroy

      What do you mean? The believers far outnumber the non-believers. Who is in charge? Name an atheist who is the ruler of a country? Even Putin has a street in Bethlehem named after him.

      May 5, 2014 at 5:47 am |
    • fintronics

      Definition of OBSESSION = "a persistent disturbing preoccupation with an often unreasonable idea or feeling"

      Obsessed with "panic"

      May 5, 2014 at 8:03 am |
  11. His Panic

    OMG, there was another stampede caused by Panic yesterday after the Mayweather vs Maidana fight in Las Vegas. This is part of the report: "An estimated 300 to 400 people were caught in the claustrophobic scene, and Poleski stated that 24 fans were treated for injuries at local hospitals, with the most severe ailment being a leg laceration for a woman in her mid 30s.

    If they would have Trusted in God and in Jesus Christ God's Only Son they would not have Panic and go into a stampede like that. Those who really, for real Trust in God and do not Fake it WILL NOT Panic all others including boxing fans and other "Sports" FANATICS WILL INDEED Panic and get into stampedes like animals, who also stampede when overtaken by Panic.

    May 5, 2014 at 12:46 am |
    • fintronics

      Definition of OBSESSION = "a persistent disturbing preoccupation with an often unreasonable idea or feeling"

      Obsessed with "panic"

      May 5, 2014 at 8:04 am |
    • kudlak

      So, are you implying that one is an atheist fanatic just because they are willing to discuss the reasons why they're atheists?

      May 5, 2014 at 10:21 am |
  12. Bootyfunk

    Christians should very clearly support slavery. the death penalty is one of those things in the bible for which you will find plenty of parts that support it and plenty that go against it. but nothing bad is ever said about slavery in the bible. there are only stories that support slavery - how to sell slaves (including your own daughter), how to beat slaves, which countries to take slaves from, etc. jesus himself says to beat disobedient slaves. people can make their excuses, but an all-knowing and all-loving god would have told people not to own other people. it goes to show the bible was written by people that were victims of their own times, producing 2K old outdated ethics/morals by today's standards. seems weird god would miss "thou shalt not own other human beings - it is the greatest of all evils"

    May 4, 2014 at 10:04 pm |
    • Dalahäst

      My church is committed to ending slavery and caring for survivors. They also try to tackle some of the root causes of slavery, such as poverty, hunger, and se.xism.

      I've never personally met a follower of Jesus that supports slavery. Any I've talked to are horrified by the practice.

      I think I know Christian that do more to oppose slavery than you probably do. Isn't that probably true?

      May 4, 2014 at 10:22 pm |
      • Bootyfunk

        yes, absolutely true, christians are usually fighting to end slavery... these days. during the civil war, the bible was used as a justification for slavery, but times have changed. but you're pointing out exactly my point - christians fight against slavery in spite of what the bible says. the bible supoorts slavery throughout - christians with modern day sensibilities know slavery is evil.

        May 4, 2014 at 10:42 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          People used religion, science and economics to justify owning slaves.

          Not all people used the Bible to justify slavery. There were a lot of people that used the Bible to point out that slavery was a crime against human beings.

          The Bible doesn't ask Christians to support slavery. What Jesus teaches clearly doesn't ask people to support slavery.

          May 4, 2014 at 11:09 pm |
        • colin31714

          Dalahast is, once again, misrepresenting the Bible. Slavery was a promoted practice in the Bible for the simple reason that it was a common, purely acceptable practice in the biblical Mediterranean. Male slaves were held for labor and female slaves for se.x (and labor). Everybody did it. In the ancient Greco-Roman world, slaves were obtained by one of two principal ways, by conquering a rival society and forcing its members into slavery or by debt or other social obligation. Often family members would spend time as the slave of another to pay off a family debt.

          The Jews and early Christians held slaves and, at times, were slaves. The Bible treats owning slaves like it does any other day to day activity of the time, somewhat nonchalantly but with tacit approval, like it treats owning livestock. The following examples are typical of the approach:

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

          “Anyone who beats their male or female slave with a rod must be punished if the slave dies as a direct result, but they are not to be punished if the slave recovers after a day or two, since the slave is their property.

          Jesus’ view on beating slaves was similarly nonchalant. This is not necessarily a personality flaw, given the times he lived in. Plato and Aristotle also supported slavery, as did most of the World until relatively recently. Jesus felt that a slave who screwed something up accidently should only be beaten lightly, whilst one who did so intentionally was deserving of severe punishment: “And that slave who knew his master’s will, and did not prepare himself or do according to his will, shall be severely beaten. But he who did not know, yet committed things deserving of a severe beating, shall be beaten only lightly. For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.”

          The Bible also suggests branding slaves by piercing their ears (to demonstrate ownership). If you buy a Hebrew slave, he is to serve for only six years. Set him free in the seventh year, and he will owe you nothing for his freedom. ….. If his master gave him a wife while he was a slave, and they had sons or daughters, then the man will be free in the seventh year, but his wife and children will still belong to his master. But the slave may plainly declare, 'I love my master, my wife, and my children. I would rather not go free.' If he does this, his master must present him before God. Then his master must take him to the door and publicly pierce his ear with an awl. After that, the slave will belong to his master forever.

          As to female se.x slaves: When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she will not be freed at the end of six years as the men are. If she does not please the man who bought her, he may allow her to be bought back again. But he is not allowed to sell her to foreigners, since he is the one who broke the contract with her. And if the slave girl's owner arranges for her to marry his son, he may no longer treat her as a slave girl, but he must treat her as his daughter. If he himself marries her and then takes another wife, he may not reduce her food or clothing or fail to sleep with her as his wife. If he fails in any of these three ways, she may leave as a free woman without making any payment.

          Upon conquering a rival tribe, Moses himself admonished his people to kill all the non-virgins, but keep all virgins as se.x slaves;“Have you allowed all the women to live?” he asked them. “They were the ones who followed Balaam’s advice and enticed the Israelites to be unfaithful to the LORD in the Peor incident, so that a plague struck the LORD’s people. Now kill all the boys. And Kill every woman who has slept with a man, but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

          The New Testament continues the same theme. Saint Paul had a message for slaves: Slaves, obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear. Serve them sincerely as you would serve Christ.

          So did the unknown forger who snuck his Letter to Timothy into the Bible under Paul’s name: Christians who are slaves should give their masters full respect so that the name of God and his teaching will not be shamed. If your master is a Christian, that is no excuse for being disrespectful. You should work all the harder because you are helping another believer by your efforts. Teach these truths, Timothy, and encourage everyone to obey them.

          In short, despite Dalahast’s attempts to rewrite history, the Bible asks people to support slavery.

          May 4, 2014 at 11:27 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          I'm not trying to rewrite history. The Bible is a book that describes slavery. It describes a time when slavery was accepted. And that slavery predated The Bible, Jesus and Christianity. It even describes Christians that were enslaved.

          It doesn't ask me to support slavery.

          May 4, 2014 at 11:40 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          And I'm going to continue to help those that actively oppose slavery.

          You can cherry pick all the Bible verses like the slave owners did all day long. I'm guessing the Christians I know have done more to end slavery than you have. Actions speak louder than your copy/pasted packaged answers.

          May 4, 2014 at 11:43 pm |
        • colin31714

          Dalahast said: "The Bible doesn't ask me to support slavery." in the face of direct quotes from:

          (i) The Old Testament
          (ii) Jesus himself
          (iii) 2 Pauline Epistles

          directing people how to acquire slaves, hold slaves, treat slaves, bequeath slaves, beat slaves, brand slaves and directing slaves themselves to obey their masters. If this isn't proof that believers ignore fundamental flaws in their silly Bronze Age book of mythology, I don't know what is. lol

          May 5, 2014 at 8:12 am |
        • Dalahäst

          Colin,

          Just because something is described in the Bible, does not mean I'm supposed to follow it. One giant error in your logic is that I never said those verses do not exist. I don't really comprehend why you seemed to not understand the context of my post – other than your tendency to completely ignore what someone says so you can reply with one of your pre-packaged answers.

          May 5, 2014 at 9:23 am |
        • colin31714

          Dalahast, you said, "The Bible doesn't ask Christians to support slavery. What Jesus teaches clearly doesn't ask people to support slavery."

          I was pointing out what utter garbage such a statement is.

          May 5, 2014 at 9:31 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          @Dalahast
          Colin is simply pointing out that you and your brethren who fight slavery in all its forms are doing so to answer your own, personal ethics – not because of The Bible.
          Both the NT and the OT deal with the subject in a matter of fact way, but never once call for resistance to slavery, let alone its abolition.

          May 5, 2014 at 9:38 am |
        • Dalahäst

          But in reality I see those who follow Jesus Christ doing more to oppose slavery than you do.

          Why are those Bible verses included in the Bible? Why don't we take them out? Is it possible what you interpret may not be the point? The Bible honestly describes the people as they were. Warts and all. It doesn't sugar coat it.

          May 5, 2014 at 9:44 am |
        • Dalahäst

          Doc Vestibule

          He is using a common anti-theist message board tactic, except in what I'm describing it doesn't really apply. I can go to many websites and read the same things Colin has posted. I have a different understanding of it than Colin and Bootyfunk.

          I'm not the stereotyped Evangelical Right-Wing Fundamentalist Christian they are seeking out. Sorry to disappoint them...

          May 5, 2014 at 9:50 am |
        • kudlak

          Dalahäst
          If the Bible just describes a time when slavery was accepted then you're arguing that much of what the Bible teaches is only applicable to a particular time and society. Clearly, it describes atti.tudes toward women, children, gays and slaves that don't match our present understandings, correct? This, of course, begs the question as to why the Bible should be considered any kind of guide for people living in today's society?

          May 5, 2014 at 10:29 am |
        • Dalahäst

          I follow Jesus Christ, not The Bible.

          I obviously read The Bible. I certainly don't read what it states as the laws for the Irsarelis 4,000 years ago as a guide to how I should live my life. Nobody is suggesting I should, except extremist atheists and extremist Fundamentalists.

          May 5, 2014 at 10:35 am |
        • hotairace

          Atheists think you (all believers) should simply sh!tcan you silly beliefs, not follow them!

          May 5, 2014 at 10:41 am |
        • colin31714

          The point is, Dalahast, if your book was inspired or written by an all loving God, why does it NOT openly condemn slavery? We know the answer – because it wasn't. It was written by late Bronze Age Jews and reflects their societal norms – norms which fully accepted slavery.

          May 5, 2014 at 10:44 am |
        • Dalahäst

          Most atheists are not like you. And they don't want you to speak for them. Some atheists follow a religion themselves.

          May 5, 2014 at 10:45 am |
        • hotairace

          So Dalahazz, you know most atheists and have been appointed to speak for them/us? I think not. Your "game" is to minimize statements and arguments you can't defeat with statements such as the one above about Colin. Your strategy is meaningless and you can't actually defend the crap you believe because you, nor any other believer, has a scrap of actual evidence for any of your myths. You are simply pretending to know things you do not.

          May 5, 2014 at 10:50 am |
        • colin31714

          Hot Air Ace pretty much said it. You keep trying to twist objective criticism of your religion into personal arguments. It won't work.

          May 5, 2014 at 10:54 am |
        • Dalahäst

          colin31714

          I'm not as certain about the answer as you are. There are a lot of different theories floating around about the texts. I've never denied they exist, like you suggest. But I am not entirely sure what they entail. Most people do not draw the same conclusions that you do – and that includes non-Christians. When Jesus Christ used slavery in one of his metaphors (he wasn't literally endorsing slavery), the type of slavery he was describing was indentured servitude. Some have compared it to modern day Americans who enlist into the Army. They become slaves to the military. There are a whole bunch of valid arguments that counter your theories.

          Those verses you mention are there. Yes. I don't ignore them. We discuss them. We get puzzled by them. In following Jesus – I oppose slavery. It doesn't match with Jesus' command to love others as I would love myself. I have to twist Bible passages to justify supporting slavery. Instead, I follow Jesus.

          May 5, 2014 at 11:01 am |
        • Dalahäst

          hotairace

          So HotAirAce, you know most atheists and have been appointed to speak for them?

          I do know atheists that claim anti-theists like you and Colin are the equivalent of Right Wing Fundamentalists of Christianity. They avoid both groups like the plague.

          You are free to speak for anti-religious Christian bigot atheists. But not other kind of atheists. They really don't want to be grouped with you.

          May 5, 2014 at 11:04 am |
        • kudlak

          Dalahäst
          Do you believe that Jesus was actually the same God who supposedly gave the Israelites all those laws 4000 years ago that you now disregard? That would be the same Jesus who also said

          "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them."
          Matt 5:17

          If he meant everyone to follow some new covenant with him, who would he be saving this Law for?

          May 6, 2014 at 8:23 am |
      • realbuckyball

        Most fundie Christians support slavish adherence to a literal interpretation of ancient ignorant human myth systems. If that's not "slavish" I don't know what is.

        May 4, 2014 at 11:28 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          They are kind of like slaves. Kind of like addicts are similar to slaves to the drug of their choice. Or some people are like slaves to money. Or power, status or career.

          May 4, 2014 at 11:32 pm |
        • sam stone

          faith can be a drug.

          prayer releases endorphins

          May 5, 2014 at 2:37 am |
        • Dalahäst

          When you posted that message – your brain released endorphins. It is like a drug to you, too.

          May 5, 2014 at 9:25 am |
  13. Dalahäst

    Akira –

    There is a reply on the blog to one of my posts from "thandie", – but on my "notifications" tab it says it is actually from you.

    May 4, 2014 at 8:51 pm |
    • Dalahäst

      justpro86

      Hey, you have replies from your logged-in name from Thandie. Who does it say the replies are from on the notifications tab?

      May 4, 2014 at 8:54 pm |
    • Akira

      You would be mistaken. But that's nice if you to try to smear me.

      May 4, 2014 at 9:42 pm |
      • Akira

        But in all fairness, I must tell you that I am on a shared device. I thank you for calling this to my attention, however.

        May 4, 2014 at 9:44 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          That probably would explain it.

          The name links to the site: http://banasyblog.wordpress.com/ – if that helps you explain anything.

          May 4, 2014 at 10:09 pm |
      • Dalahäst

        I'm not mistaken. I'm not trying to smear you.

        I m just curious why it posted under your name in my notifications tab. It might be a bug. I"ll send a note with examples saved from screen grabs to the editors and see what they say.

        May 4, 2014 at 9:59 pm |
        • In Santa We Trust

          I haven't really studied how this all works but Akira is blue and thandie was black. If someone were playing games I would expect that the name would have the same color.

          May 4, 2014 at 10:13 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          The thandie handle is black on the blog.

          On my notifications tab it is blue, says "Akira" and links to the "bansy blog".

          May 4, 2014 at 10:15 pm |
        • myweightinwords

          I was getting the same thing a while back, and every time I looked, the name changed. But if I went to the actual conversation it was unchanged.

          May 5, 2014 at 10:02 am |
  14. Dalahäst

    For those interested in Jesus, interesting thing I listened to tonight at church – The parallels between the first meal described after creation and the first meal described after the new creation in Jesus.

    6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.
    Genesis 3: 6-7

    (Jesus with a husband and wife)
    30 When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight.
    Luke 24: 30-31

    May 4, 2014 at 8:12 pm |
    • whippstippler7

      WOW! 2 meals are described, in which people eat something! And then they open their eyes! There's your proof of god right there!

      May 4, 2014 at 8:25 pm |
      • Dalahäst

        They didn't open their eyes. Their eyes were opened, as in their hearts were changed by an outside force.

        The intention wasn't to prove God to you. It was meant to be something interesting to consider for those who love Jesus.

        May 4, 2014 at 8:31 pm |
        • whippstippler7

          Fair enough. I've always said I fully support people's right to believe whatever they want. Now – the right to be free from having the CONTENT of your belief held up to scrutiny – that's entirely different!

          May 4, 2014 at 8:57 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          I support that right. And I also support that right to scrutinize others. There is no right to be free from that.

          May 4, 2014 at 9:00 pm |
        • kevinite

          It's an interesting correlation. The ultimate eye-opening "ah ha"! realization moment in each instance.

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

          May 4, 2014 at 9:01 pm |
        • hotairace

          "Their eyes were opened, as in their hearts were changed by an outside force." Yet another claim without evidence. . .

          May 5, 2014 at 10:14 am |
    • Doris

      "and he disappeared from their sight."

      Is that supposed to mean he went poof magically out of sight or that he got bored watching them eat and headed on down the road?

      I have a funny feeling if Luke were here today, the writing staff over there at General Hospital might take him on part time... maybe...

      May 4, 2014 at 8:30 pm |
      • Dalahäst

        More like he hid from them. Not like magic and not like he got bored watching him eat.

        In Genesis, Adam and Eve hid from God (and became self-centered, self-protective, bitter, angry, depressed and dreadfully sad).

        When Jesus hides from their sight, the people became filled with joy and hope. They returned back to their home to proclaim the great news.

        May 4, 2014 at 8:36 pm |
        • G to the T

          "More like he hid from them. Not like magic and not like he got bored watching him eat."

          Not sure what you mean. Sounds like you're saying he ducked under the table or something (i.e. hid), but I'm pretty sure that's not what you meant.

          May 5, 2014 at 12:46 pm |
    • new-man

      Dalahast,
      thanks for sharing this.
      Adam and Eve's eyes were opened to the physical and thus their awareness of their physical nakedness was also reflective of their spiritual nudity.
      Jesus breaking bread with the couple and after eating their [spiritual] eyes were opened and hence they could see Him before He disappeared from their midst. This also signifies what Jesus, the second Adam achieved for man – restoring his spiritual sight.
      Yes, we're currently in the period of explosion of knowledge as prophesied by the prophet Daniel for these times... and also increasing revelation and a lifting of the veil between the physical and the spiritual [for the children of God]... we're awakening from Adam's sleep – from our spiritual slumber/blindness.

      May 4, 2014 at 9:26 pm |
      • new-man

        I wanted to add, I sure other believers have other levels of revelation as well, and I'd love to hear from them.

        May 4, 2014 at 9:28 pm |
  15. justpro86

    One powerful way to determine truth is to test claims against reality. Time and time again, the claims of the Bible match the data derived from studying this universe. Given that record, we can trust what it says about the uniqueness of humanity with confidence that future tests will continue to affirm its truthfulness.
    DR. Jeff Zweerink

    May 4, 2014 at 7:49 pm |
    • bostontola

      I agree with your test. The bible fails that test miserably, unless you think a bat is a bird, or Pi = 3. There are many other examples.

      May 4, 2014 at 8:00 pm |
    • whippstippler7

      Hmmm – a test? Alright. So rabbits chew their cud? Bible says that. Insects go about on all fours? Bible says that. And, as Boston has pointed out, bats are birds – the bible says that as well.

      Interesting reality you inhabit, there Justy. Oh, let me guess – I'm misinterpreting the words of Leviticus. Riiiiiiight!

      May 4, 2014 at 8:22 pm |
    • In Santa We Trust

      The bible doesn't match evolution, cosmology, geology, and much much more.

      May 4, 2014 at 8:55 pm |
    • In Santa We Trust

      Jeff Zweerink is a progressive creationist. A ministry founded in 1986 by Hugh Ross, which holds that the universe and the earth are billions of years old, and claims that this is the literal reading of Genesis scripture.
      It may reflect reality a bit more but a literal reading it is not. 6 days = billions of years!!!

      May 4, 2014 at 9:11 pm |
      • fintronics

        The more we learn about the universe the more you'll see the religious back pedaling to force fit their mythology into reality.

        May 5, 2014 at 10:36 am |
  16. ddeevviinn

    The death penalty should be subject to one very simple criteria: Is there 100 % certainty that the convicted perpetrator is guilty of the crime? This criteria could only be met through confession or irrefutable evidence. In all other scenarios it should be taken off the table ( no pun intended).

    May 4, 2014 at 7:33 pm |
    • bostontola

      Devin,
      I agree the bar must be very high. I wouldn't accept an admission, too many people want notoriety or want to commit suicide by state. I'd also insist on a mental health criteria. The evidence must be overwhelming given the mistakes that have been made.

      May 4, 2014 at 7:38 pm |
      • ddeevviinn

        " I wouldn't accept an admission"

        Yes, I would agree in certain scenarios. I would defer each individual case back to the criteria of " 100% certainty".

        I will note here that this criteria will make an allowance for many guilty individuals to avoid the death penalty. However, in that the human element is involved there can be no room for "mistakes" when eliminating a human life.

        May 4, 2014 at 7:51 pm |
        • bostontola

          Life in prison with no chance for parol is good enough for me. Too few 100% certainty cases exist to even have the death penalty in my opinion.

          May 4, 2014 at 7:55 pm |
    • realbuckyball

      No. Involving the state in the taking of life devalues and corrupts the state,
      Lock em up, and throw away the key.

      May 4, 2014 at 7:42 pm |
      • ddeevviinn

        I would take the opposite approach. In contrast to "devaluing", it establishes the state as the purveyor of justice and law.

        May 4, 2014 at 7:56 pm |
        • Akira

          It also establishes the state to act as God in deciding who lives and who dies; I find that unacceptable.

          May 4, 2014 at 8:20 pm |
        • realbuckyball

          Wishful thinking. Corrupt prosecutors and arbitrary laws prove that does not happen.

          May 4, 2014 at 11:30 pm |
  17. bostontola

    Why Christians Should Support a Geocentric Universe

    Chronicles 16:30
    tremble before him, all earth; yea, the world stands firm, never to be moved.

    Ecclesiastes 1:5
    The sun rises and the sun goes down, and hastens to the place where it rises.

    Psalms 104:5
    Thou didst set the earth on its foundations, so that it should never be shaken.

    May 4, 2014 at 7:32 pm |
    • justpro86

      And science proven those scriptures to be true...

      May 4, 2014 at 7:47 pm |
      • bostontola

        None of them are true.

        May 4, 2014 at 7:53 pm |
      • MidwestKen

        @justpro86,
        What?

        How is the earth on a foundation and not moving?

        May 4, 2014 at 8:06 pm |
        • whippstippler7

          I think that just pro is referring to the giant turtle that the earth sits on. Or maybe the even bigger turtle that the first on e stands on. On the one under that. Or the one under that.

          May 4, 2014 at 8:26 pm |
      • Akira

        With all due respect, the sun doesn't scurry (hasten) from west to east to rise again.

        May 4, 2014 at 8:24 pm |
  18. justpro86

    "As to Jesus of Nazareth, my opinion of whom you particularly desire, I think the system of morals and his religion, as he left them to us, is the best the world ever saw, or is likely to see;" Benjamin Franklin

    May 4, 2014 at 7:28 pm |
    • Doris

      "Some books against Deism fell into my hands; they were said to be the substance of the sermons which had been preached at Boyle’s Lectures. It happened that they wrought an effect on me quite contrary to what was intended by them. For the arguments of the Deists, which were quoted to be refuted, appeared to be much stronger than the refutations; in short, I soon became a thorough Deist."

      –Ben Franklin, from his Autobiography

      Of course Deists did not believe in the divinity of Christ, nor any of the supernatural aspects of the Bible. They also believed that the Creator God did not play an active role in the lives of people.

      May 4, 2014 at 7:57 pm |
    • fintronics

      @just,... you're taking that out of context..... see how easy it is???

      May 5, 2014 at 8:14 am |
  19. justpro86

    This view, that we were a Christian nation, was hold for almost 150 years until the Everson v. Board of Education ruling in 1947. Before that momentous ruling, even the Supreme Court knew that we were a Christian nation. In 1892 the Court stated:

    "No purpose of action against religion can be imputed to any legislation, state or national, because this is a religious people...This is a Christian nation." There it is again! From the Supreme Court of the United States. This court went on to cite 87 precedents (prior actions, words, and rulings) to conclude that this was a "Christian nation".

    May 4, 2014 at 7:23 pm |
    • bostontola

      Really. How many times was the name Jesus invoked in our founding docu.ments?

      May 4, 2014 at 7:27 pm |
      • justpro86

        He was not... Jesus was not mentioned but God Almighty was...

        May 4, 2014 at 7:29 pm |
        • bostontola

          If it was meant to be Christian, I would think we'd see Jesus' name at least 1 time.

          No. They all believed in some God, but the founding docu.ments are clear, no particular religion represents the US.

          May 4, 2014 at 7:34 pm |
        • justpro86

          This nation was built on Christian principles and our Declaration of Independence states the God of the bible 5 times if you read it... If you knew the story of our great nation you would appreciate the fact majority of the colonists were serious Christians...

          http://www.heritage.org/research/lecture/2011/06/did-america-have-a-christian-founding

          May 4, 2014 at 7:45 pm |
        • bostontola

          Funny that you mention not knowing our foundations. The Declaration of Indep never mentions the bible, not even once. If you think so, show me where. You can't because it's not there. There's not even a passage from the bible or even language similar to a bible passage. Your claim is false.

          May 4, 2014 at 7:51 pm |
        • bostontola

          Don't forget that the Consti.tution is the defining docu.ment of the US. God is not mentioned in it.

          May 4, 2014 at 7:58 pm |
    • Doris

      In the 1892 case, justice Brewer delivered the opinion.

      The paragraph containing "But, beyond all these matters, no purpose of action against religion can be imputed to any legislation, state or national, because this is a religious people." is separate from :

      "These, and many other matters which might be noticed, add a volume of unofficial declarations to the mass of organic utterances that this is a Christian nation."

      This case was not a church-state separation case but rather on whether an alien labor law passed by Congress in 1887 referred to only manual labor and not professional or skilled labor. In the non-legally binding *obiter dictum*, or "footnote" section, Justice Brewer went off on a tangent and wrote a completely unrelated discourse on religion and this nation:

      This case is frequently cited as by organizations seeking to amend the Const.itution to include an endorsement of Christianity. To correct this misinterpretation, Justice Brewer himself wrote a book in 1905 to correct the record, ti.tled "The United States: A Christian Nation". He explains:

      "But in what sense can [the United States] be called a Christian nation? Not in the sense that Christianity is the established religion or the people are compelled in any manner to support it. On the contrary, the Consti.tution specifically provides that 'congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.' Neither is it Christian in the sense that all its citizens are either in fact or in name Christians. On the contrary, all religions have free scope within its borders. Numbers of our people profess other religions, and many reject all."

      "...Nor is it Christian in the sense that a profession of Christianity is a condition of holding office or otherwise engaging in public service, or essential to recognition either politically or socially. In fact, the government as a legal organization is independent of all religions."

      Whatever his ideas about the United States as a Christian nation may have been, that did not include any official endorsement or special status for religion by government, and this position is reflected in other legal decisions he made.

      Justpro86 needs to get his azz out of David Barton books. You remember him, the one who twisted history so much his publisher pulled out from under him.

      May 4, 2014 at 7:51 pm |
      • redzoa

        Posts like this one are why I read Belief Blogs.

        May 7, 2014 at 2:07 am |
    • Akira

      Justpro, we are a secular nation with a Christian minority.
      This is not the same as a Christian nation.
      We do not have a theocratic government. We have a secular one.

      May 4, 2014 at 8:34 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      "As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion,—"
      – Treaty of Tripoli, 1797

      May 5, 2014 at 8:34 am |
  20. Doris

    David Wood destroyed by Bart Ehrman

    Bart Ehrman, from the video [regarding the Gospel of Mark]: "These lots and lots of copies are from many centuries after Mark was written. How could we know that these copies stemmed from a correct copy, instead of an errant copy? Our earliest ones are all highly errant."

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p-IG05dQ88Y
    Published 04-14-2014

    NT scholar Bart Ehrman holds a PhD from Princeton Theological Seminary (magna cum laude). He is the James A. Gray Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He currently serves as co-editor of the series New Testament Tools, Studies, and Documents (E. J. Brill), co-editor-in-chief for the journal Vigiliae Christianae, and on several other editorial boards for journals and monographs.

    May 4, 2014 at 6:21 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.