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The worst places in the world to be religious
Rohingya Muslim children at a refugee camp in Burma, where authorities have incited violence against them, according to the State Department.
May 15th, 2014
10:56 AM ET

The worst places in the world to be religious

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Editor

(CNN) - Since 1999, the U.S. State Department has tracked the world's worst abusers of religious rights. 

As the most recent report notes, it has never lacked for material. Persecutions of people of faith are rising across the globe.

Among the most worrying trends, according to the State Department, are "authoritarian governments that restrict their citizens’ ability to practice their religion."

In typically bland bureaucratic language, the State Department calls these "countries of particular concern." But the designation can come with some teeth.

Sudan, for example, where a Christian woman was sentenced to death this week for leaving Islam, is ineligible for some types of foreign aid.

In addition to Sudan, here are the State Department's "countries of particular concern." You might call them "The Worst Places in the World to Be Religious."

Burma: The Burmese government puts a stranglehold on every religion except Theravada Buddhism, says the State Department.

Some government officials even enticed non-Buddhists to convert, and Muslims in the state of Rakhine, particularly Rohingya Muslims, are subject to discrimination and lethal violence, according to the State Department.

China: "The government harassed, detained, arrested, or sentenced to prison a number of religious adherents for activities reportedly related to their religious beliefs and practice," the State Department says.

That includes jailing Uyghur Muslims, one of whom was sentenced to 10 years for "selling illegal religious material," and Catholic clergy who were arrested for not belonging to the state-run Catholic Patriotic Association.

That pales compared with the persecution of Tibetan Buddhists, according to the State Department, who suffered through "an intense official crackdown at monasteries and nunneries, resulting in the loss of life, arbitrary detentions, and torture." 

Eritrea: Just four religious groups are officially allowed to openly practice their faith in this African nation; the rest are subject to jailing or worse.

So if you're not an Eritrean Orthodox Christian, a Sunni Muslim, a Roman Catholic or an Evangelical Lutheran, life could be tough for you here. Harsh detentions for religious dissenters are the norm, according to the State Department.

Iran:  This Muslim-majority country's respect for religious rights has declined in recent years, according to the State Department.

"There were increased reports that the government charged religious and ethnic minorities with moharebeh (enmity against God), 'anti-Islamic propaganda,' or vague national security crimes for their religious activities," says the department's report.

The government has imprisoned numerous members of the Baha'i faith and Saeed Abedini, an Iranian-American pastor who has been physically and psychologically abused, according to the State Department.

Iran begins trial for U.S. pastor 

North Korea: Human rights groups provided numerous reports that members of underground churches were arrested, beaten, tortured or killed because of their religious beliefs, the State Department says.

The authoritarian nation has jailed as many as 200,000 political prisoners, according to the State Department, many on religious grounds. The country discourages any religious activity not sanctioned by officially recognized groups.

Kenneth Bae, a Korean-American reportedly accused of spreading Christianity in North Korea, was sentenced in 2013 to 15 years of hard labor.

Kenneth Bae worried about his health in North Korean camp

Saudi Arabia: The oil-rich monarchy doesn't even pretend to respect religious rights for any faith other than Islam.

Sunni Islam is the official religion, and the country's constitution is based on the Quran and the teachings of the Prophet Mohammed.

The public practice of any other religion is prohibited, according to the State Department, and Arabian authorities beheaded a man in 2012 for engaging in "sorcery."

Sudan: This country has been on the State Department's naughty list since its inception in 1999.

Sudan penalizes blasphemy and conversion from Islam, sentencing a Christian woman whom judges say converted from Islam to death this week.

The country has also arrested and deported Western Christians suspected of spreading their faith, according to the State Department.

Christian woman in Sudan sentenced to death for her faith

The country's "morality police" require strict obedience to its interpretation of Islamic law, beating and stoning women accused of acting "indecently."

Uzbekistan: Technically, this country's laws respect religious rights.

But in practice, the Central Asian nation maintains strict control of its majority-Muslim population, according to the State Department.

"The government continued to imprison individuals based on charges of extremism; raid religious and social gatherings of unregistered and registered religious communities; confiscate and destroy religious literature, including holy books; and discourage minors from practicing their faith," the department said in its 2012 report. 

People jailed on charges of "religious extremism" have been beaten, tortured and even killed, according to the State Department.

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Africa • Baha'i • China • Christianity • Church and state • Discrimination • Foreign policy • Interfaith issues • Iran • Islam • Islamic law • Middle East • Muslim • North Korea • Persecution • Prejudice • Religious violence • Saudi Arabia • Tibet • Tibet • Violence

soundoff (2,628 Responses)
  1. idiotusmaximus

    The 8 worst places in the world to be religious........

    The reality is that there is only one......THE EARTH.

    May 16, 2014 at 10:09 am |
    • neverbeenhappieratheist

      Maybe we shouldn't be focusing on the worst places to be religious but the best place to be religious. I believe the Moon is the best place to be religious and encourage any and all religious persons to emigrate their immediately...

      May 16, 2014 at 11:28 am |
      • kenmargo

        What has the moon ever done to you to deserve that!

        May 16, 2014 at 7:17 pm |
  2. Dyslexic doG

    why doesn't ONE god show himself or herself or itself and then we can get past all this religious death and destruction and damage to the human race?

    Why do all gods seem to play the same childish games of wanting people to believe in them without a shred of evidence for their existence?

    If gods really love us as their cult followers say that they do, wouldn't they spare us all this pain and torment by letting the other god's cult members know that our god is the only god if they would simply show themselves?

    what a crock!

    May 16, 2014 at 9:06 am |
    • bostontola

      I know. There's 3 possibilities; 1. There is one God that has a relationship with people, 2. There are many Gods with those relationships, some for each religion (some could have no God), and 3. There is no God(s) or God(s) have no relationship with individuals.

      Given the mess you describe with all the intra and inter religion violence, the absolutely least likely option is 1. I can see various Gods having their proxy humans fighting it out before 1 loving God have this chaos as his product. The natural option of number 3 is obviously the highest likelihood as it is the only option that matches all the objective evidence.

      May 16, 2014 at 9:29 am |
      • Dyslexic doG

        thanks boston, I think you and I have just solved the world's problems. A job well done. We can enjoy our weekends now.

        May 16, 2014 at 10:43 am |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          Sadly you forgot the 4th possibility: God has not shown himself to us because he only wants a handful of humans along with him in heaven, preferably light skinned ones, and if he came out and told everyone who he was they would all want to come to the party. God only bought enough party hats and cake for the Christians and they have been planning this big "Surprise!" party for centuries, where they pop up into the sky during the rapture and yell "Surprise!!" It would really deflate them if God let the cat out of the bag too early...

          May 16, 2014 at 11:34 am |
    • idiotusmaximus

      Why do all gods seem to play the same childish games ...........

      Since GODS DON'T EXIST and never have since AND BEFORE the BIG BANG Dyslexic......this is a moot question.

      May 16, 2014 at 10:12 am |
      • Dyslexic doG

        amen!

        May 16, 2014 at 10:43 am |
    • Robert Brown

      I can’t answer your why questions, but consider this, to ask them, you must make one huge a.s.sumption, God thinks like you do. For example, because we are human and as you stated, we consider pain a bad thing that no loving human would inflict on another without very good reason. More than that, if a human were perfect in our eyes and could do anything, they would avoid causing any pain to anyone for any reason. So, either God has a reason for allowing pain that we do not know, or allowing pain is not always a bad thing to God. Your definition of what God should be will always be limited.

      Evidence is available to those who seek.

      May 16, 2014 at 10:46 am |
      • hotairace

        Or more likely, there are no gods, not even just one. But if you have any actual evidence, please do share.

        May 16, 2014 at 10:48 am |
        • Robert Brown

          I have plenty, but none you will accept. You have to get your own. I can share with you how to get your own. If you are interested, just let me know. Thanks.

          May 16, 2014 at 10:57 am |
        • hotairace

          Notice the word "actual" as in factual, verifiable, objective, independent. If you had actual evidence, you would produce it. You might have personal experiences, delusions, but you don't have actual evidence. Go ahead – prove me wrong.

          May 16, 2014 at 11:01 am |
        • kudlak

          Robert Brown
          The same level of "evidence" supports the belief in other gods too, but you would dismiss that, wouldn't you?

          May 16, 2014 at 11:02 am |
        • Robert Brown

          Kudlak,
          Yes, I would dismiss, just as I would reject the offer of a cool drink, if I weren’t thirsty.

          May 16, 2014 at 11:06 am |
        • hotairace

          But how do you know you are not in need of a drink?

          May 16, 2014 at 11:12 am |
        • Robert Brown

          I may be in need, but until I perceive the need, I have no motivation.

          May 16, 2014 at 11:15 am |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          So Robert, if you aren't thirsty and thus don't need any other religions spiritual "water", do you think everyone in other religions are still thirsty? Do you think their religion cannot provide that spiritual water as you believe you have found in your religion? And if you accept that they have just as valid spiritual water as you do then what is the difference and why choose yours over theirs?

          Also, on the topic of pain, pain is an evolved trait of humans and many other life forms that works as a warning system for our bodies when they are taking damage. There are those who are born without those pain receptors or born with something blocking them and those peoples lives are filled with problems as they don't have the same warning system most other do and thus can easily cause serious damage without knowing it from burns or cuts. So here is the theological question: Why would "pain" still exist after our bodies are gone? The entire premise of heII is based on the theory that pain continues after death and yet it would have absolutely zero purpose. It is no longer a training tool or a warning system for our bodies but just a tool of torture and torment with no hope for redemption. Anyone who believes pain continues after death is fooling themselves. Of course anyone who believes they continue after death in some form is deluding themselves as well.

          May 16, 2014 at 11:20 am |
        • Robert Brown

          Neverbeenhappieratheist,

          “So Robert, if you aren't thirsty and thus don't need any other religions spiritual "water", do you think everyone in other religions are still thirsty?”

          Some may be and some may not be.

          “Do you think their religion cannot provide that spiritual water as you believe you have found in your religion?”

          It depends on what their religion is.

          “And if you accept that they have just as valid spiritual water as you do then what is the difference and why choose yours over theirs?”

          I am a Christian and don’t believe there is any other way to God.

          “Also, on the topic of pain, pain is an evolved trait of humans and many other life forms that works as a warning system for our bodies when they are taking damage. There are those who are born without those pain receptors or born with something blocking them and those peoples lives are filled with problems as they don't have the same warning system most other do and thus can easily cause serious damage without knowing it from burns or cuts. So here is the theological question: Why would "pain" still exist after our bodies are gone?”

          Could be that it has nothing to do with physical pain.

          May 16, 2014 at 1:03 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          I think at last Robert has hit upon the primary problem in the world today:

          "I am a Christian and don’t believe there is any other way to God."

          which is interesting because the rest of the world says:

          I am a Muslim and don’t believe there is any other way to God.

          I am Hindu and don’t believe there is any other way to God.

          I am a Mormon and don’t believe there is any other way to God.

          I am a Jew and don’t believe there is any other way to God.

          Well I am an atheist and I just want the world to work together for our mutual survival instead of each group carving it up and claiming it as their divine inheritance.

          May 19, 2014 at 9:29 am |
      • sam stone

        "So, either God has a reason for allowing pain"

        what a sweetheart

        May 16, 2014 at 11:51 am |
  3. revrickm

    Ah! The separation of church and state is not so easy when the church (or religion) IS the state. Or in cases where one's religious teachings (or their church's teachings) runs afoul of the state. And why do so many fundamentalists (of any religion) believe God needs their help to "enforce" God's message. I mean, isn't God powerful enough to enforce his own laws? If He is not, then 1) – maybe God is not as powerful as we have been led to believe, or 2) – Maybe God could care less about what religion you adopt or profess. I personally believe it is the latter.

    May 16, 2014 at 8:57 am |
    • bostontola

      You're getting warmer...

      May 16, 2014 at 9:21 am |
      • revrickm

        Christians would tell me the same thing, but for different reasons...

        May 19, 2014 at 7:34 am |
    • Madtown

      Maybe God could care less about what religion you adopt or profess. I personally believe it is the latter
      ----–
      Agree 100%!

      May 16, 2014 at 10:36 am |
  4. taccado

    "Persecutions of people of faith are rising across the globe."

    Don't forget people of no faith.

    May 16, 2014 at 8:49 am |
  5. klapperslange

    I wonder what countries are the worst when you are not religious....at all?

    May 16, 2014 at 2:30 am |
    • rogerthat2014

      Texas would be on that list. "It's like a whole other country."

      May 16, 2014 at 8:38 am |
  6. bfkhan

    Disgusted to see four Muslim countries on the list. Sickened by the fact that these people act directly against the teachings of Quran and Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him and his family) and do so in the name of religion. The authorities of Iran, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Uzbekistan NEED to learn about Islam first.
    The Prophet's Treatment of Non-Muslims [ http://mercyprophet.org/mul/node/7471 ]
    How Did Prophet Treat His Enemies? [ http://www.onislam.net/english/reading-islam/about-muhammad/458575-how-did-prophet-muhammad-treat-his-enemies.html ]
    How Did Prophet Treat Non-Muslims? [ http://www.onislam.net/english/reading-islam/about-muhammad/458603-how-did-prophet-muhammad-treat-non-muslims-part2.html ]

    May 16, 2014 at 12:05 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      If there is anything religion has taught humanity it is that religious "truth" from scripture is completely subjective and the interpretation is like beauty...it is in the eye of the beholder.

      May 16, 2014 at 12:42 am |
      • Theo Phileo

        If you refuse to research theology for yourself, choose to remain ignorant, and listen only to the words of those who inflate themselves to be called "experts," then yeah, you're exactly right.

        The same methodical and systemmatic approach that is taken in any of the sciences can also be applied to theology in order to determine truth. Unfortunately, in this age of post modernism, even though they know it doesn't work in practice, many choose to feel that truth exists only by their own definitions and interpretations, but any thinking person recognizes that truth exists outside of us, our beliefs do not create truth, neither does our disbelief do any damage to truth – truth just is, and it is outside of us, and to anyone who wishes to seek for it, they will find it.

        May 16, 2014 at 7:41 am |
        • hotairace

          Go ahead – apply the scientific method and the justice system's rules of evidence to any of The Babble's claims about the divinity of a desert dweller sometimes know as jesus.

          May 16, 2014 at 7:51 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          I already have. But you can't use the scientific method, because it is a very flawed method of investigating certain things. It's not exactly the best method of researching anthropological facts. Evidence however is very persuasive – one of the many evidences is the very existence of the Jewish people.

          But to go into evidences with someone whose only wish is to mock (as evidenced by your use of the word "babble") is pointless. And I will not give pearls to swine.

          May 16, 2014 at 8:16 am |
        • hotairace

          You wrote above:

          "The same methodical and systemmatic approach that is taken in any of the sciences can also be applied to theology in order to determine truth."

          but are now backing away from that. Which way is it?

          May 16, 2014 at 8:20 am |
        • samsstones

          Philioidiotism is a condition that allows a person to reject all knowledge that does not agree with that persons a priori beliefs. (also known as Topherism)
          Theo has concocted the only "truth" that applies to all people on earth based on a 2000 year old book of BS; the sheer arrogance is astounding. On a day when a 13,000 year old skeleton of a young woman in North America has been found, the fundies will have to reject that knowledge and keep their heads imbedded up their asses.

          May 16, 2014 at 8:23 am |
        • hotairace

          And so where is this persuasive evidence that stands up to rigorous investigative methods, and what are those methods if not the scientific message? And the existence of the Jewish people is evidence for what, other than that other tribes failed to kill all of them?

          May 16, 2014 at 8:25 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          Science takes a methodical and systemmatic approach to examine evidence in order to draw conclusions about truth. Some may use the scientific method, sure, that works great in a lab, but it is very limited... And to say that the scientific method is THE ONLY methodical and systemmatic approach to examining evidence is ignorance at best.

          May 16, 2014 at 8:26 am |
        • hotairace

          So lay it out for us, oh wise one. Pick a single divine claim in The Babble and show us conclusively that it is true. If you are correct, your method and facts will be self-evidently correct and we will all see that. But I don't believe you can do it (you would be the first) and suspect you will hide behind a mountain of puffy words, or more likely slither away silently.

          May 16, 2014 at 8:32 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          hotair,
          In Ezekiel 26:12 (written from 590-570BC) and in Zechariah 9:3-4 (written from 480-470BC) it is prophesied that Tyre will be destroyed, and that the debris from the mainland city will be thrown into the sea. When Alexander the Great conquered Tyre in 332BC, he did just that, so that he could create a causeway to the island fortress of Tyre.

          So, do you think that Alexander read his Bible to get the idea of how to get to the island fortress?

          Furthermore, it is foretold that Tyre would never be built back to its original splendor, and it never has.

          May 16, 2014 at 8:42 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          Theo said

          "The same methodical and systemmatic approach that is taken in any of the sciences can also be applied to theology in order to determine truth."

          If this statement was even the slightest bit true Theo, Religions, including Christianity, would come to a concensus over time....like science does. But it doesn't, and it has nothing to do with your "postmodern" blather. It is the very the reason science is able to come to a concensus, regardless of country, race, personal backgraound, because Science is testable, provable and verifiable, religion is based on nothing more than personal opinion. That's why religions diverge instead on converge. And that's how your statement above can be proven to be completeley without
          merit.

          May 16, 2014 at 8:44 am |
        • hotairace

          So what. Prove cause and effect, not coincidence. What about the failed prophecies? When was jesus going to come back? Within a generation?

          May 16, 2014 at 8:44 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          Here's another one.
          In Isaiah 44:24-28, and in 45:1-7, 13, (Isaiah was written from 700-681BC) Isaiah predicts that a man named Cyrus would release Israel from its Babylonian captivity, build Jerusalem, and lay the foundation for the Temple. And beginning in 539BC, Cyrus took the city of Babylon, just as prophesied.

          May 16, 2014 at 8:46 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          coincidence??? That's rich...

          May 16, 2014 at 8:49 am |
        • hotairace

          Great, so you believe in fortune telling. But you aren't doing what I asked. The request was "Pick a single divine claim. . ". You know, like raising the dead, resurrection, etc. Quit pis.sing around at the Marilyn Agee level and get down to serious god-level magic.

          May 16, 2014 at 8:50 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          "Great, so you believe in fortune telling. But you aren't doing what I asked."
          -----------------–
          No one knows the future, but God. That is why whenever His prophets make a claim, it will most certainly come to pass. Men in this day and age may get lucky every now and then when it comes to prognostication, but God's record is 100% since He doesn't just "know" the future, God has authored the future.

          "The request was "Pick a single divine claim."
          -----------------
          The greatest divine claim is simply that God is God. Showing God's ability to order the future is one of the greatest proofs of the divine nature.

          May 16, 2014 at 8:55 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          "The greatest divine claim is simply that Allah is Allah. Showing Allah's ability to order the future is one of the greatest proofs of the divine nature."

          Just as valid, and yet completely contradictory.

          May 16, 2014 at 9:00 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          John MacArthur had this to say about the Bible's prophecies being fulfilled by "chance."

          "What are the chances that all of the Bible’s prophecies coming true are mere coincidences?
          Look at it this way, if you take a coin, say a dime, and flip it twice...there are four possible results. It could land heads both times, tails both times, heads, then tails or tails, then heads. The chance of its landing heads both times is one out of four. Or to put it another way, if four people each flipped a dime two times, one of them could be expected by the laws of chance to come with two heads in a row. The chance of getting heads three times out of three flips is, of course, greatly reduced to one out of eight – in other words, if eight people each flipped a dime three times, one of them could be expected to come up with three heads. One person in 16 could expect four heads in an uninterrupted sequence and so on. And it just goes from there…

          Now, if slightly more than a thousand people were all flipping dimes, chances are that one of them would turn up heads ten times in a row without any tails breaking the sequence. To get 20 heads in an unbroken sequence would require more than a million people flipping their coins. An uninterrupted run of 30 heads would require more than a billion people.

          To take the prophecies of the Word of God and say that they all happened by chance is an astronomical impossibility. Just to get 30 heads in a row, you'd have to have 1 billion people flipping dimes. A run of 40 heads in 40 flips could happen by chance less than once in 1 trillion times.

          Now, if you wanted to have 100 heads in a row, you'd have to have 1 and 72 zeros people flipping coins... Now to put that figure another way, you would have to have 4 billion people on each of 250 earths just like ours, and all of them were flipping dimes.

          Astronomers tell us there are something like 200 billion stars in the Milky Way. Imagine that with each of those 200 billion stars there is a planet where there lives 4 billion people...The population of all the stars in the Milky Way would add to 20 zeroes, that's all. Just 20 zeros.

          Now, bear in mind, there are thousands of prophecies in the Bible that have come true! It can't happen by accident. There's no chance. It has to be the Word of God."

          May 16, 2014 at 9:00 am |
        • hotairace

          Theo buddy, so your methodical and systematic approach is to regurgitate crap from The Babble without adding any value. No method, no facts, just words. You are a fraud whose time to slither away has come.

          May 16, 2014 at 9:01 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          Blessed,
          And yet, the so-called "un-erring" Quran says that Christians worship a trinity consisting of the Father, Mother, and Son. WRONG, and fail.

          The test of the prophetic utterances is perfection.

          May 16, 2014 at 9:02 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          hotair,
          Explain to me how Isaiah knew almost 150 years before Cyrus' birth that a man named Cyrus would rescue Israel from Babylon?

          May 16, 2014 at 9:04 am |
        • samsstones

          Do you actually read the crap you cut and paste, you are absurd.

          May 16, 2014 at 9:07 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          Luke 16:29-31 – But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ But he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent!’ But he said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.’

          May 16, 2014 at 9:09 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          And the so-called Bible is wrong on many issues as well. WRONG, FAIL.

          You are absurd.

          May 16, 2014 at 9:14 am |
        • hotairace

          "there are thousands of prophecies in the Bible" is not "methodical and systematic.". Exactly how many prophecies are there? Exactly how many have come true? How was it determined they came true? Are there are other possible explanations for the apparent fulfillment? If yes, how and why were they eliminated? Etc., etc.

          I don't have answers for your non-divine examples. The point here is for *you* to back up *your* claims. All you have done so far is attempt to deflect attention from your inability to demonstrate a methodical and systematic method that conclusively shows the truth of a single divine claim in The Babble. You claim you have done the work – it should be trivial to put it on display.

          May 16, 2014 at 9:15 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          Blessed,
          Just because you look at the Bible with a personal bias, and fail to give it an honest evaluation, that doesn't mean the Bible is wrong.

          You tell me then, how is it that Isaiah could know almost 150 years before Cyrus' birth that a man named Cyrus would rescue Israel from Babylon, rebuild Jerusalem, and lay the foundation for the Temple?

          May 16, 2014 at 9:19 am |
        • samsstones

          Theo you are a liar, taking everything about your supposed biblical prophecies out of context, not surprising, it is what you have to do.

          May 16, 2014 at 9:20 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          samsstones,
          Please tell me where I have lied.

          May 16, 2014 at 9:23 am |
        • hotairace

          Theo Puffy Words, it should be trivial for you to use your powerful but secret methodical and systematic method to debunk each of the claims made at http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Failed_biblical_prophecies.

          May 16, 2014 at 9:28 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          hotair,
          The methodical and systemmatic approach can be seen in textual criticism.

          The New Testament was written between 40-100 AD, and the earliest copies that we have are from as early as 100-125 AD – that’s a span of just 25 years. It has more than 5,800 Greek manuscripts, 10,000 Latin manuscripts, and 9,300 manuscripts written in various other ancient languages including Syriac, Slavic, Gothic, Ethiopic, Coptic, and Armenian.

          If you look at the sheer volume of manuscripts that now exist of the Biblical writings, then by applying the rules for textual criticism it is quite easy to see that the Scripture that we now have has remained unchanged since the original authors penned them, and it is the most accurate of any ancient manuscripts.

          This of course only goes to prove the authenticity of the Bible that we hold in our hands today. To validate its claims, one must examine its authors, and that is a study best undertaken by a thorough examination of the early church fathers who were direct pupils of the Apostles.

          It is so hard for some to believe in this day in age usually because of inconsistency in thinking. They accept writings of men who agree with their preconceived worldview, but reject anything that disagrees – even though the common thread are just the writings of an ancient manuscript.

          May 16, 2014 at 9:29 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          hotair,
          Yeah, I've been there before. Unfortunately, their problem is extreme ignorance of the text.

          May 16, 2014 at 9:31 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          Gotta get back to work. But I'm still waiting on the explanation of how Isaiah could know about Cyrus almost 150 years before he was born...

          May 16, 2014 at 9:33 am |
        • hotairace

          You are a liar and a fraud because you claim to have a methodical and systematic method for determining the truth of The Babble but are completely unable to demonstrate anything even faintly resembling a method or a conclusive result. But I do recognize it might be difficult to defend the indefensible while slithering away.

          May 16, 2014 at 9:33 am |
        • hotairace

          This isn't about me Theo. It's about you making claims you cannot back up. Deflect, deflect. Slither, slither. Fraud. Liar. Coward.

          May 16, 2014 at 9:35 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          @Theo

          The Book of Isaiah was written at different times and by different authors.
          From chapter 40 onwards, the style of composition changes and the writers stop mentioning Isaiah by name. The perspective also changes at this point and the author speaks of the Babylonian exile in the present tense – Jerusalem has already been destroyed.
          The last ten chapters or so speak in the present tense of the Jews already returned to Jerusalem and the Temple's reconstruction is under way.

          Biblical scholars break it down into Chapters 1-39, but 40 onwards were written in the 6th century BCE, which is parallel with Cyrus' rule as King of Persia.

          May 16, 2014 at 9:35 am |
        • snuffleupagus

          Theo Phileo

          If you refuse to research theology for yourself, choose to remain ignorant, and listen only to the words of those who inflate themselves to be called "experts," then yeah, you're exactly right.

          The same methodical and systemmatic approach that is taken in any of the sciences can also be applied to theology in order to determine truth. Unfortunately, in this age of post modernism, even though they know it doesn't work in practice, many choose to feel that truth exists only by their own definitions and interpretations, but any thinking person recognizes that truth exists outside of us, our beliefs do not create truth, neither does our disbelief do any damage to truth – truth just is, and it is outside of us, and to anyone who wishes to seek for it, they will find it.

          Theo, bullschit, with horseschit for a topping.

          May 16, 2014 at 9:38 am |
        • hotairace

          "Unfortunately, their problem is extreme ignorance of the text." Wow! What a fantastic, "methodical and systematic" response!! We should all bow before the greatness of Theo Puffy Words.

          May 16, 2014 at 9:38 am |
        • samsstones

          Theo
          Ezekiel 26 explicitly mentions King Nebuchadnezzar as the destroyer of Tyre so you are lying by trying to stretch this so called prophecy to Alexander the Great. You are also lying every time you say that you are the possessor of the only "truth". Sheer arrogance.

          May 16, 2014 at 9:46 am |
        • Madtown

          Theo Phileo
          They accept writings of men who agree with their preconceived worldview
          -----
          Hilarious irony alert.

          May 16, 2014 at 10:18 am |
        • Robert Brown

          Theo, good job sowing. You never know when it will fall on good ground.

          May 16, 2014 at 10:25 am |
        • gulliblenomore

          Theo....I hesitate to even point this out to you because you are not really going to listen. But 2 things.....first of all, there were literally thousands of doc-uments that Constantine and the monks kept out of the bible, which means that there were literally thousands of 'predictions' that were prophesized that never came true. Only what they felt would enhance their position was put into the bible. Secondly, Nostradamus made hundreds of predictions....and many of them came true! But, many of them did not. A prophet or a psychic is not a true fortune teller if they do not get every single prediction correct. And, your bible does not even come close. Jules Verne accurately predicted we would go to the moon on a rocket ship, but he was just a writer. I am going to make a prediction. Sometime in the future, we will travel the planet in flying cars and we will colonize Mars. I'm not a psychic, by the way.

          May 16, 2014 at 10:31 am |
        • hotairace

          "Theo, good job sowing. You never know when it will fall on good ground."

          Yet another priceless example of delusional believers ignoring reality. . .

          May 16, 2014 at 10:37 am |
        • alonsoquixote

          Theo Phileo, you wrote "Ezekiel 26:12 (written from 590-570BC) and in Zechariah 9:3-4 (written from 480-470BC) it is prophesied that Tyre will be destroyed, and that the debris from the mainland city will be thrown into the sea. When Alexander the Great conquered Tyre in 332BC, he did just that, so that he could create a causeway to the island fortress of Tyre." What does the Bible actually say? The Bible says clearly that Nebuchadnezzar, a king of the Neo-Babylonian Empire who reigned from circa 605 BC – 562 BC, was to destory Tyre.

          Ezekiel 26 (King James Version):

          7 For thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I will bring upon Tyrus Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon, a king of kings, from the north, with horses, and with chariots, and with horsemen, and companies, and much people.

          8 He shall slay with the sword thy daughters in the field: and he shall make a fort against thee, and cast a mount against thee, and lift up the buckler against thee.

          9 And he shall set engines of war against thy walls, and with his axes he shall break down thy towers.

          ...

          20 When I shall bring thee down with them that descend into the pit, with the people of old time, and shall set thee in the low parts of the earth, in places desolate of old, with them that go down to the pit, that thou be not inhabited; and I shall set glory in the land of the living;

          21 I will make thee a terror, and thou shalt be no more: though thou be sought for, yet shalt thou never be found again, saith the Lord God.

          Nebuchadrezzar II attacked Tyre, besieging the city from 586 until 573 BCE until Tyre agreed to pay a tribute, but the city endured for many centuries thereafter. It certainly was not destroyed never to be found again. Your own dates for Ezekiel show that the biblical material was written during Nebuchadrezzar II's reign. The writer of Ezekiel didn't predict Alexander the Great's attack on Tyre, since he is clearly referring to Nebuchadrezzar II. Alexander the Great did raze the city in 332 BC, though the passage in Ezekiel refers to an earlier king, but the city was rebuilt. Tyre had about 117,000 residents in 2003; it certainly can be easily found today.

          You also wrote "In Isaiah 44:24-28, and in 45:1-7, 13, (Isaiah was written from 700-681BC) Isaiah predicts that a man named Cyrus would release Israel from its Babylonian captivity, build Jerusalem, and lay the foundation for the Temple. And beginning in 539BC, Cyrus took the city of Babylon, just as prophesied." You ignore the fact that much of the Book of Isaiah was written much later during the Babylonian captivity with portions written even after Cyrus II of Persia, the founder of the Achaemenid Empire, freed the Jews from their captivity in Babylon. For more detail, I'd refer you to "The Failure of Bible Prophecy: A Skeptic's Review of the Evidence" by Chris Sandoval from which I've excerpted a few paragraphs below regarding the passages you cite.

          *** begin quote

          Nonetheless, Jeremiah believed Baylonia's rule was only temporary. Once it had served its divine purpose, it was to meet the same fate as the other nations (Jeremiah 25:12-14,26) so that Israel could occupy the desolate lands of their neighbors after the Exile. The Medes were to destroy Babylon so that it would never be rebuilt, but would remain desolate river marsh forever (Jeremiah 50-51). Supposedly, King Cyrus the Great of Persia fulfilled the prophecies of Jeremiah in 539 BC at the end of the seventy-year Babylonian Exile (2 Chronicles 36:20-23; Jeremiah 25:11-14; 29:10-14).
          Much of the current Book of Isaiah was composed during the Babylonian Exile. It also predicts Babylonia's utter and eternal destruction at the hands of the Medes (Isaiah 13:1-14:23; 21:1-10). In the writings of Deutero-Isaiah (Isaiah 40-55), we read that God was to call a liberator (Isaiah 41:2-3,25; 44:24-28; 45:1) to liberate the Jews from their Babylonian captors (Isaiah 43:14; 46:1-2; 47; 48:14,20; 49:26; 51:23; 52:1-2,8-14; 54:3,7-8).
          In reality, Cyrus did take over and establish his rule over Babylon, but he did not destroy it as the prophets had foretold. According to the contemporary inscriptions known as the Cyrus Cylinder and the Nabonidus Chronicle, Babylon opened its gates to Cyrus and surrendered without a struggle. Archeology and the Greek historians agree that Babylon continued to be inhabited into the Christian era. Immediately after destroying the Empire of the Medes and Persians in 331 BC, Alexander the Great wanted to make Babylon the capital of his empire. These facts are common knowledge among ancient historians, and confirmed in any good Bible dictionary or commentary.

          *** end quote

          May 16, 2014 at 1:04 pm |
        • bfkhan

          It is sad how sincerely some place faith in the wrong place and how others reject faith without even taking the time to explore the truth of God in depth. It is rather ignorant to reject religiosity altogether just because one has found The Bible to be ailed with flaws and inaccuracies.

          This is not an attack to anyone's belief but no one should blindly believe or subscribe to a religion just because they are born in a family or society that practices so. God has blessed us with a magnificent brain that we must use to reason if any of the , and if yes which of the, religious scriptures currently in circulation has the merit to substantiate the claim of being Word of God.

          I request you all to watch the video in this link and get back to me with your opinion after watching it. Do not be discouraged by length, the search for truth requires dedication and passion. The Quran and the Bible in the Light of Science

          May 17, 2014 at 2:30 am |
        • bfkhan

          Apologies for missing to attach the link in my last comment [ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xk61hslLHlw ]

          May 17, 2014 at 2:34 am |
        • hotairace

          bfkhan, what a load of sh!t you are peddling! Your book of crap is no better than The Babble. Neither set of delusionals, christians nor muslims, has any actual evidence for any divine claim. Time for you to slither away, just like Theo Puffy Words and Topher have.

          May 17, 2014 at 2:47 am |
        • bfkhan

          You could have possibly not watched the full video I shared the link to in the few minutes since I posted my last comment. I provided you with evidence, you should have reserved your comments until you had taken the time to go through it.

          May 17, 2014 at 2:56 am |
        • bfkhan

          You could not* have..

          May 17, 2014 at 2:57 am |
        • hotairace

          I just spent 15 minutes watching your video. I didn't see/hear any reason to spend another 4+ hours watching it or to change my comments above. Provide a summary and maybe I'll change my mind.

          May 17, 2014 at 4:10 am |
        • bfkhan

          The video itself is a summary of a much bigger topic; a summary of a summary will not help you much. As I noted before, the search for truth of God requires passion and dedication. It took the speakers in the video years of research to acquire the knowledge that enabled them to deliver the talk; you are already presented with the short cut of getting a summary of what they learnt over years in just four hours.

          I read this book The Bible, The Quran and Science by Dr. Maurice Bucaille. I wanted to find what a Christian scholar had to say about Dr. Bucaille's work which led me to watching the video. The book and the talk in the video essentially argues, if there is a God, The Omnipotent Creator, He must know best what He created and the laws of nature that He has written and so any book claiming itself to be the Word of God cannot contain statements that contradicts established, proven scientific facts (be careful of the distinction between facts and theories). [I can refer you to a more recent talk that addresses anyone who thinks one needs to be blind to science and reason to commit oneself to religion or for anyone who doubts the divine origin of Quran if you ask]

          One's ignorance must make one humble, not blind. What I do not know of does not exist, what I can't comprehend can't be the the truth is one deadly assumption. So make time to learn the truth with the use of your beautiful brain to reason.

          P.S. After years of being on it I am convinced The Quran is miraculous is more ways than I can understand or perhaps even appreciate in a lifetime. The scientific miracles of Quran is one of the first things I like to talk about because that is what first left me dumbfounded about the brilliance of The Book.

          May 17, 2014 at 2:51 pm |
        • hotairace

          In other words, nothing new, same old "please believe my sh!t for which I have no actual evidence." Thanks for nothing. Fuck Off!

          May 17, 2014 at 2:55 pm |
      • samsstones

        Theo a fundie apologist is...
        Blindly ignorant out of fear.
        Blindly ignorant out of sheer arrogance.
        Blindly declares that he is right and that all others are wrong by default without providing any evidence or proof to back up his assertions.
        Theo, why not work in a few Nostradamus prophetic BS coincidences while you are at it? Do you believe in magic?

        May 16, 2014 at 9:01 am |
      • bfkhan

        Humbly, beg to differ. A scripture is not be read as a piece of literature open to subjective interpretation but as a book of signs to aid the objective deduction of the truth of God.

        May 17, 2014 at 2:43 am |
        • hotairace

          Bullsh!t! Scripture without actual evidence is just a pile of childish fiction.

          May 17, 2014 at 2:49 am |
  7. Reality

    Just more of the brutal effects of stupidity:

    As noted previously–

    Putting the kibosh on all religions and their gods in less than ten seconds: Priceless !!!

    • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are non-existent.

    • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Moses i.e. the pillars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.

    • There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.

    • There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion.

    • There was no Moroni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.

    • Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.

    • Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated/reborn Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on Buddhism.

    Added details available upon written request but also given many times on this blog.

    A quick search will put the kibosh on any other groups calling themselves a religion.

    e.g. Taoism

    "The origins of Taoism are unclear. Traditionally, Lao-tzu who lived in the sixth century is regarded as its founder. Its early philosophic foundations and its later beliefs and rituals are two completely different ways of life. Today (1982) Taoism claims 31,286,000 followers.

    Legend says that Lao-tzu was immaculately conceived by a shooting star; carried in his mother's womb for eighty-two years; and born a full grown wise old man. "

    May 15, 2014 at 11:17 pm |
    • transframer

      Trying to deny in 10 seconds thousands of years of knowledge and study is an exercise in futility. Just a few notes:
      – Nobody can prove that Abraham, Moses and other people in Bible didn't exist.
      – Easter did exist as a pagan celebration. If you are talking about Christ resurrection, it did happen. There were countless tries to deny it but all failed.
      One more thing: Bible is not to prove God but to understand God.

      May 16, 2014 at 12:04 am |
      • Sungrazer

        You are confused as to where the burden of proof lies. The burden of proof lies on the claimant, not the skeptic. If you want to claim, for example, that Abraham was a real historical figure, or that the resurrection happened, then you have to prove it. It is not on the skeptic to disprove it.

        May 16, 2014 at 12:36 am |
      • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

        "Bible is not to prove God but to understand God."

        It failed on both counts.

        May 16, 2014 at 12:47 am |
      • Reality

        Added details as requested:

        1. origin: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20E1EFE35540C7A8CDDAA0894DA404482

        “New Torah For Modern Minds

        Abraham, the Jewish patriarch, probably never existed. Nor did Moses. The entire Exodus story as recounted in the Bible probably never occurred. The same is true of the tumbling of the walls of Jericho. And David, far from being the fearless king who built Jerusalem into a mighty capital, was more likely a provincial leader whose reputation was later magnified to provide a rallying point for a fledgling nation.

        Such startling propositions – the product of findings by archaeologists digging in Israel and its environs over the last 25 years – have gained wide acceptance among non-Orthodox rabbis. But there has been no attempt to disseminate these ideas or to discuss them with the laity – until now.

        The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, which represents the 1.5 million Conservative Jews in the United States, has just issued a new Torah and commentary, the first for Conservatives in more than 60 years. Called "Etz Hayim" ("Tree of Life" in Hebrew), it offers an interpretation that incorporates the latest findings from archaeology, philology, anthropology and the study of ancient cultures. To the editors who worked on the book, it represents one of the boldest efforts ever to introduce into the religious mainstream a view of the Bible as a human rather than divine docu-ment. “
        prob•a•bly
        Adverb: Almost certainly; as far as one knows or can tell.

        2. Jesus was an illiterate Jewish peasant/carpenter/simple preacher man who suffered from hallucinations (or “mythicizing” from P, M, M, L and J) and who has been characterized anywhere from the Messiah from Nazareth to a mythical character from mythical Nazareth to a ma-mzer from Nazareth (Professor Bruce Chilton, in his book Rabbi Jesus). An-alyses of Jesus’ life by many contemporary NT scholars (e.g. Professors Ludemann, Crossan, Borg and Fredriksen, ) via the NT and related doc-uments have concluded that only about 30% of Jesus' sayings and ways noted in the NT were authentic. The rest being embellishments (e.g. miracles)/hallucinations made/had by the NT authors to impress various Christian, Jewish and Pagan sects.

        The 30% of the NT that is "authentic Jesus" like everything in life was borrowed/plagiarized and/or improved from those who came before. In Jesus' case, it was the ways and sayings of the Babylonians, Greeks, Persians, Egyptians, Hitt-ites, Canaanites, OT, John the Baptizer and possibly the ways and sayings of traveling Greek Cynics.

        earlychristianwritings.com/

        For added "pizzazz", Catholic theologians divided god the singularity into three persons and invented atonement as an added guilt trip for the "pew people" to go along with this trinity of overseers. By doing so, they made god the padre into god the "filicider".

        Current RCC problems:

        Pedophiliac priests, an all-male, mostly white hierarchy, atonement theology and original sin!!!!

        2 b., Luther, Calvin, Joe Smith, Henry VIII, Wesley, Roger Williams, the Great “Babs” et al, founders of Christian-based religions or combination religions also suffered from the belief in/hallucinations of "pretty wingie thingie" visits and "prophecies" for profits analogous to the myths of Catholicism (resurrections, apparitions, ascensions and immacu-late co-nceptions).

        Current problems:
        Adulterous preachers, pedophiliac clerics, "propheteering/ profiteering" evangelicals and atonement theology,

        3. Mohammed was an illiterate, womanizing, lust and greed-driven, warmongering, hallucinating Arab, who also had embellishing/hallucinating/plagiarizing scribal biographers who not only added "angels" and flying chariots to the koran but also a militaristic agenda to support the plundering and looting of the lands of non-believers.

        This agenda continues as shown by the ma-ssacre in Mumbai, the as-sas-sinations of Bhutto and Theo Van Gogh, the conduct of the seven Muslim doctors in the UK, the 9/11 terrorists, the 24/7 Sunni suicide/roadside/market/mosque bombers, the 24/7 Shiite suicide/roadside/market/mosque bombers, the Islamic bombers of the trains in the UK and Spain, the Bali crazies, the Kenya crazies, the Pakistani “koranics”, the Palestine suicide bombers/rocketeers, the Lebanese nutcases, the Taliban nut jobs, the Ft. Hood follower of the koran, and the Filipino “koranics”.

        And who funds this muck and stench of terror? The warmongering, Islamic, Shiite terror and torture theocracy of Iran aka the Third Axis of Evil and also the Sunni "Wannabees" of Saudi Arabia.

        Current crises:

        The Sunni-Shiite blood feud and the warmongering, womanizing (11 wives), hallucinating founder.

        4. Hinduism (from an online Hindu site) – "Hinduism cannot be described as an organized religion. It is not founded by any individual. Hinduism is God centered and therefore one can call Hinduism as founded by God, because the answer to the question ‘Who is behind the eternal principles and who makes them work?’ will have to be ‘Cosmic power, Divine power, God’."

        The caste/laborer system, reincarnation and cow worship/reverence are problems when saying a fair and rational God founded Hinduism."

        Current problems:

        The caste system, reincarnation and cow worship/reverence.

        5. Buddhism- "Buddhism began in India about 500 years before the birth of Christ. The people living at that time had become disillusioned with certain beliefs of Hinduism including the caste system, which had grown extremely complex. The number of outcasts (those who did not belong to any particular caste) was continuing to grow."

        "However, in Buddhism, like so many other religions, fanciful stories arose concerning events in the life of the founder, Siddhartha Gautama (fifth century B.C.):"

        Archaeological discoveries have proved, beyond a doubt, his historical character, but apart from the legends we know very little about the circu-mstances of his life. e.g. Buddha by one legend was supposedly talking when he came out of his mother's womb.

        Bottom line: There are many good ways of living but be aware of the hallucinations, embellishments, lies, and myths surrounding the founders and foundations of said rules of life.

        Then, apply the Five F rule: "First Find the Flaws, then Fix the Foundations". And finally there will be religious peace and religious awareness in the world!!!!!

        May 16, 2014 at 8:25 am |
      • snuffleupagus

        transframer

        Trying to deny in 10 seconds thousands of years of knowledge and study is an exercise in futility. Just a few notes:
        – Nobody can prove that Abraham, Moses and other people in Bible didn't exist.
        – Easter did exist as a pagan celebration. If you are talking about Christ resurrection, it did happen. There were countless tries to deny it but all failed.
        One more thing: Bible is not to prove God but to understand God

        A stinking pile of fecal matter, mixed with a zealots belief (no facts or concret evidence), and you have tranny's blabbering BS.

        May 16, 2014 at 9:42 am |
    • nclaw441

      When you say "putting the kibosh" on all religions, exactly how would you propose to do this? Jail, death or torture for those who observe a religious belief? If not, how would the "kibosh" work?

      May 16, 2014 at 7:18 am |
      • Reality

        Education!

        May 16, 2014 at 8:13 am |
      • colin31714

        Reality said it. Education, especially in logic, science and natural history is the one thing religion cannot stand against, because all religions are founded upon baseless presumptions and myths and crumble upon the application of any disciplined analysis.

        May 16, 2014 at 8:18 am |
  8. myweightinwords

    These are all reasons why we MUST continue to uphold the separation of Church and State here in the US.

    Individual freedoms are the hardest to defend when the choice a person makes with that freedom contradicts what we ourselves would do with that freedom.

    May 15, 2014 at 10:36 pm |
  9. I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

    I see we have yet another lively off-topic debate on the notional Biblical flood on page 2.

    Let's do some math (again).

    The radius of the earth is 6,371 km.
    Mt. Everest is 8.848km high.

    15 cubits (the height to which flood waters notionally covered the earth) is an additional 0.007km. This is noise level but we'll keep it in the math, just because people will insist.

    Calculating the volumes of spheres* with radii of 6,371 and 6379.8 we get a difference of 4,522,828,790 km^3 of extra water required to flood the earth above sea level.

    * Yes, I know the earth is not spherical, but this is close enough for our purposes here.

    The USGS states that the TOTAL volume of water on, in and above the earth is 1,386,000,000 km^3.
    http://water.usgs.gov/edu/earthhowmuch.html

    The TOTAL water on earth today is less than one third the ADDITIONAL water required to flood the earth.

    So:
    Where did this water come from?
    Where did it go?

    Our keen Bible readers will note Genesis 7:11
    "all the fountains of the great deep burst forth

    It turns out that there actually is water deep in the mantle of the earth. It is dragged deep into the crust in oceanic subduction zones and is suspended in a mineral called serpentine.

    Apparently 170-318 Tg (teragrams) of water may be dragged down into the mantle every million years. The mass of the oceans is about a billion times bigger than this. To get to even 1 x the oceanic volume, we need a million, billion years. A thousand years or so doesn't get us there folks.

    Some estimates compute the volume of this water today to be equivalent to the Arctic Ocean (18,750,000 km^3) or about 1% of the USGS estimate for TOTAL water. This still doesn't get us there.

    Even if the USGS did not accurately count this mantle water* (and based on their numbers we can't tell, though they did count aquifers) we need four times as much water than presently exists to create a global flood.

    The math does NOT sustain the plausibility of a global flood.

    May 15, 2014 at 10:16 pm |
    • transframer

      Genesis 7:11: All the fountains of the great deep burst forth, and the windows of the heavens were opened.
      This suggests much more than a simple meteorological phenomenon: huge geologic movements which affected the whole earth. Mountains were raised and lowered, appeared and disappeared. Computing the necessary water using current measurements is useless

      May 15, 2014 at 10:35 pm |
      • observer

        transframer,

        Your comment says that logic, physics, science and math are useless.

        That kind of raps it up.

        May 15, 2014 at 10:41 pm |
        • observer

          typo: "wraps it up"

          May 15, 2014 at 10:42 pm |
        • sam stone

          no more than gopher's "death is unnatural" summation

          May 16, 2014 at 6:09 am |
      • Doris

        "This suggests...."

        This suggests very vivid imaginations let loose across the ages – for something that most likely started off as a puddle.

        May 15, 2014 at 10:44 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          I can easily imagine the origins of the Gilgamesh myth in a big flood at the confluence of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers that covered the whole region from horizon to horizon.

          To those ancients 5,000 years ago, it would have covered the whole (known / visible) world, just not literally the world.

          May 15, 2014 at 10:50 pm |
      • hotairace

        This suggests believers will say anything, and ignore anything, to keep their delusions in place.

        May 15, 2014 at 10:54 pm |
      • realbuckyball

        It doesn't matter "what it suggests". Humans wrote it and made it up. There is not one reason to actually take those words literally. Not one. It "suggests" only that they were borrowing a myth, and using it to create from scratch the national story when they were in Exile, and cooking up the Bible from the various strands, (called the "Docu'mentary Hypothesis". ) 75 years ago the best most respect RELIGIOUS scholars already knew it was a myth, and did not take it literally. (See "The Interpreters Bible", edited by Dr. William Foxwell Albright).

        May 15, 2014 at 11:00 pm |
        • transframer

          The best and most respected religious scholars were the Church Fathers, some 1500-2000 years ago. All of them accepted the flood

          May 15, 2014 at 11:13 pm |
        • observer

          transframer

          What did respected Greek and Chinese scholars say about the flood that must have killed EVERYONE of their people in the past?

          May 16, 2014 at 12:10 am |
        • Doris

          The best and most feared religious nutjobs were the Church Fathers, some 1500-2000 years ago. All of them pushed the flood [story]. There, that's better

          May 16, 2014 at 6:44 am |
        • nclaw441

          Believers differ on the origins of the books of the Bible, but nearly all believe that men were inspired by God to write what they wrote. No one has to prove anything to anyone, it is a matter of faith, which in this country, at least for now, is protected. Others do not have to believe, but there is no right to prevent others from doing so, and asserting it as the truth, based upon their faith.

          May 16, 2014 at 7:24 am |
        • sam stone

          you certainly have a right to proclaim your faith.

          but you do not have a right to be free from it being challenged

          May 16, 2014 at 7:49 am |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      " Computing the necessary water using current measurements is useless"

      So, magic, then?

      Water is an incompressible fluid. It occupies a fixed volume in its liquid state – and floods are comprised of liquid water.

      Even at half the height of Mt Everest you still need almost twice as much water as exists on the planet. It is clear from Genesis that mountains exist during and after the flood.

      May 15, 2014 at 10:41 pm |
      • transframer

        Why half? How about all? First lower 8km (or whatever it measured before flood) then raise 8km. In 40 days.

        May 15, 2014 at 11:00 pm |
        • flightfromfrostmtn

          all obstructions (read land mass) decrease....avg dept of our oceans is 20k ft in depth....scale a gradual decrease in land mass per rise in elevation and you get goper's figures.

          May 15, 2014 at 11:18 pm |
        • observer

          transframer,

          Unless God did something like bring in some water tanker trucks from outer space, there isn't enough water to put Mt. Everest underwater. The Bible says noting about the water coming from outer space nor returning to outer space.

          All rain clouds would add 3 feet of water. Let's get real.

          May 15, 2014 at 11:25 pm |
        • flightfromfrostmtn

          one thing to note about even Goper's halfway up everest: weight...certainly make the interior MUCH hotter...you go messing with the core and we lose our electromagnetic field....we lose that and radiation burns away our atmosphere....fries the Ark and every living thing on it.

          May 15, 2014 at 11:39 pm |
        • transframer

          While the flood could have been produced by God (not necessarily, maybe he just knew that such natural phenomenon will happen) we don't need to rely on magic. The same rocks and water was before and after flood, only differently distributed. There are complex geological models backed by natural observations and research that describes the mechanism. Also, a similar process was recorded on Venus in 1990 by NASA Magellan mission

          May 15, 2014 at 11:48 pm |
        • observer

          transframer

          "The same rocks and water was before and after flood, only differently distributed."

          That's the whole point. The volume NEVER changed. You don't pull water out from below the earth's surface and not have water from above fill it back in. You can't throw away gravity and the effects of a vacuum where the water "used to be".

          May 16, 2014 at 12:02 am |
        • transframer

          observer: it has been calculated that if the earth's surface were completely flat, with no high mountains and no deep oceans, that water would cover the earth to a depth of about 8,000 feet. So the volume is there

          May 16, 2014 at 12:08 am |
        • observer

          transframer

          So the Bible was just kidding when it talked about mountains like Ararat?

          May 16, 2014 at 12:12 am |
        • observer

          Gen. 7:19 "They rose greatly on the earth, and ALL THE HIGH MOUNTAINS UNDER THE ENTIRE HEAVENS were covered."

          May 16, 2014 at 12:18 am |
        • flightfromfrostmtn

          there are no geological signs of such a global catastrophe ....the flood fails on several levels ...biological (hemophilia and increasing amount of defects in the surviving humans, Australia and New Zealand having an untouched evolution in their existing animal species traceable back tens of thousands of years...their human inhabitance 30k years) Geological ( the Missoula Ice dam scarred the pacific nw heavily each time it broke- its power a tiny fraction in comparison to a global event over such a short amount of time – call it 3 months for God to jet the water in and Shop Vac it back out), and realistically .... Omnipotence.... why not start over from jump...a mere though to create and destroy...why play it out?

          May 16, 2014 at 12:23 am |
        • flightfromfrostmtn

          so what? God was a huge fan of Quik-Level? lol!!

          May 16, 2014 at 12:29 am |
        • transframer

          There are enough signs of catastrophic movements. The other issues you mentioned were addressed many times in various places. A mountain can be covered in water if is lowered enough. It was high before or after the flood.

          May 16, 2014 at 12:29 am |
        • observer

          transframer

          "A mountain can be covered in water if is lowered enough"

          If it's LOWERED enough it ISN'T a "HIGH MOUNTAIN" anymore. Please use a dictionary. Was the Bible lying about "HIGH MOUNTAINS"? Was it really referring to deserts?

          Your answers are ridiculous. Please try to apply some logic.

          May 16, 2014 at 12:33 am |
        • hotairace

          Transframer, can you point us to a single scholarly article, published in a reputable scientific journal, that successfully makes the "lowering and raising of mountains" argument and successfully concludes that a worldwide flood actually happened? And you do know that The Babble is not a reputable scientific journal or considered historical, don't you?

          May 16, 2014 at 12:47 am |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          "that water would cover the earth to a depth of about 8,000 feet. So the volume is there"
          -------------------–

          No, it's not.

          Everest is 8,848m, NOT 8,000'. This is somewhat consistent with the calculation you cited since is off by a factor of more than three*, which is *exactly* the number I computed.

          What your calculation doesn't factor is that you would need to dramatically increase the current water on the world to get to around 8,000' / 2438'.

          * one meter = more than three feet.

          May 16, 2014 at 10:00 am |
      • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

        Let's remember that all the 'global warming' doomsday scenarios about rising sea levels with all the ice melting talk about increases in sea level in the region of 20' / 6m. This is a long, long way from almost 9,000m.

        May 16, 2014 at 10:07 am |
    • realbuckyball

      There was no flood. All the ancient myth systems had flood myths. The one in Genesis is almost word for word a copy of the one on the 11th Tablet of Gilgamesh. It's called "syncretism". They borrowed myths from each other. All floods leave silt layers. There is no silt layer, anywhere on the planet which corresponds to a world-wide flood. Archaeology has never found any silt layer anywhere which corresponds. The genetic bottleneck it would have created demonstrates by DNA, it simply never happened. No rational person can buy into the nonsense of a flood. (It's also a theological nightmare. A "timeless" supposedly omniscient god changes his mind and "regrets". Hahahahahahaha.

      May 15, 2014 at 10:55 pm |
      • transframer

        Among other things, Genesis is older than Gilgamesh

        May 15, 2014 at 11:17 pm |
        • zhilla1980wasp

          transframer:

          accually the story of gilgmesh pre-dates the torah which gives rise to the old testament.
          if you do the research it pre-dates the torah by about a 1000 years before the early jewish went from polytheistic beliefs to monotheism.

          where you are getting your "information" on jewish faith pre-dating gilgemesh story; which was mesopataina; is sadly flawed.

          May 16, 2014 at 7:21 am |
        • QuestionsEverything

          transframer

          In order to make such a bold claim, please provide the year that Genesis was written.

          May 16, 2014 at 4:04 pm |
      • nclaw441

        It seems to me if all "myth systems" had flood references that that makes it more, not less, likely that it occurred.

        May 16, 2014 at 7:27 am |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          Of course there was a flood. The fertile crescent, where these myths arise, lies between the Tigris and Euphrates, which regularly experienced floods. We know the Nile flooded every year.

          Imagine a big flood that covered the confluence of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. Flat marshy land could easily have been covered from horizon to horizon, (the whole visible world) which as the oral retelling of the story grows to be the whole world.

          There was no 'global flood'.

          We know that most of the earth was inundated with shallow seas in the Devonian, but I don't think this is what people who believe in the Genesis flood are referring to.

          May 16, 2014 at 10:15 am |
  10. jameshunt81

    About a dozen countries have laws on the books that make it legal to imprison or kill atheists, and they do it all the time. Not to mention atheists are second class citizens in the US.

    One christian is sentenced to death and everyone loses their minds!!!

    May 15, 2014 at 9:18 pm |
    • kenmargo

      One thing about being an atheist is you don't have to tell anyone about it. You can just blend in.

      May 15, 2014 at 9:47 pm |
  11. mcquestion5000

    A few things of note in this article:

    1) FOX news would definitely re-write this list and have America at the top.

    2) Saudi Arabia is a huge Muslim area that is anti-everything else and yet America loves to kiss their behinds. Just goes to show it's not a bad thing to be Muslim if you have oil by the boatload.

    3) The separation of church and state is the absolute GREATEST achievement in American history.

    May 15, 2014 at 8:54 pm |
    • kenmargo

      Please explain the third point to the republicans.

      We need oil. Fortunately it won't last forever.

      May 15, 2014 at 8:59 pm |
      • nclaw441

        My geology professor in college told me the world would be out of oil in 20 years. I took his class in 1978, I believe. Under current requirements of adopting scientific findings, there is no oil today. Forget what you may have pumped into your car this morning– it was not a petroleum product.

        May 16, 2014 at 7:30 am |
        • midwest rail

          " Under current requirements of adopting scientific findings, there is no oil today "
          Untrue. Your geology professor was expressing an opinion, not publishing a scientific finding.

          May 16, 2014 at 7:34 am |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          They hadn't figured out how to do hydraulic fracturing back in 1978. All that oil was considered unreachable back then.

          Plus they found a lot more oil. There is plenty more oil left, but it remains a finite resource.

          May 16, 2014 at 10:19 am |
  12. realbuckyball

    Or perhaps the US. Where in many fundie places stating publicly or even to the wrong people privately, that you don't have a sky daddy, can get you fired, or if you go to a government meeting, you are forced to sit through a "prayer" to a certain deity, even though the Const'itution guarantees you will be free of such crap.

    May 15, 2014 at 8:48 pm |
  13. naturechaplain

    So, I guess this means that Christians who claim to be persecuted in America (by our Godless Secular Government, I guess) will sympathize and stand up for people of all faiths throughout the world who feel persecuted? For instance, Muslims in America. And how about people who aren't members of the Dominant Religion. . .for instance, nonbelievers? Isn't persecution persecution? Oh, and then there's that pesky stuff about Who is my neighbor?

    May 15, 2014 at 7:46 pm |
    • transframer

      Yes, Christians should stand up and sympathize for people of al faiths who are persecuted.

      May 15, 2014 at 8:06 pm |
      • kenmargo

        You'll be so busy you won't have time to pray.

        May 15, 2014 at 8:09 pm |
  14. Semper Cogitatus

    SO not bad places to be religious really, but bad places to be in a minority religion. Not quite the same thing. SOme of those are great paces to be religious if you are an adherent of the accepted religions.

    May 15, 2014 at 7:00 pm |
    • kenmargo

      Kind of puts a crimp into the religious freedom thing.

      May 15, 2014 at 7:07 pm |
  15. ddeevviinn

    The cool thing about atheism is that you never need to worry about living in a " worst place" as an atheist. The vast majority of the modern world simply dismiss it as inconsequential and irrelevant.

    May 15, 2014 at 6:57 pm |
    • dgcasey0325

      Really? Why don't you move to Sudan or Saudi and let the people around you know that you don't believe in any God and see how it goes. Let us know how you make out.

      May 15, 2014 at 8:20 pm |
      • kenmargo

        Why don't you go there and tell them you're a christian and let's see how you make out?

        May 15, 2014 at 8:36 pm |
    • gulliblenomore

      ddeev.....there are so many good things about being an atheist I don't even know where to start. Not living in constant fear that if I were to slip up I could end up burning for eternity in some horrid place. I don't have to look foolish trying to defend an untenable position that has absolutely no proof. I don't have to thank god every time a mundane occurrence happens in my life....scoring a touchdown, watching the sunset, when the tornado misses my house, etc. And, the best thing....I don't have to miss the start of the football game because I'm stuck in some dumbazz church on Sunday morning.

      May 15, 2014 at 8:44 pm |
      • ddeevviinn

        " there are so many good things about being an atheist"

        But there are infinitely more :good things about being a Christian. I don't have to live in fear because even when I do slip up I know I have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ, who through justification by faith I have peace with God. I only have to "appear" foolish to those who have suppressed the truth God has made available, and when I "consider the source" of those to whom I would appear foolish, I recognize the irrelevance. It is such a satisfying experience to watch a sunset or any other marvel in the natural world and in your spirit give thanks and worship, all the time cognizant of the fact that it is a privilege and not an obligation to do so. It so good to be in church on Sunday, worshiping my creator with like minded friends and family, thankful for the fact that I do not have to settle for the superficial, mind numbing act of watching NFL football all day. ( I say this as one who played baseball in college and grew up thriving on sports).

        Oh, I almost forgot one little extra " good thing" . When this body of mine relatively soon ceases to function, my soul will not perish but I will have everlasting life. It is then that real life will begin.

        May 15, 2014 at 10:28 pm |
        • kenmargo

          "Oh, I almost forgot one little extra " good thing" . When this body of mine relatively soon ceases to function, my soul will not perish but I will have everlasting life. It is then that real life will begin."

          If death is sooooo great. Why don't you kill yourself?

          May 15, 2014 at 11:02 pm |
        • Madtown

          .....to those who have suppressed the truth God has made available
          ----
          "Made available" to who? Certainly not the entirety of the human race. Unfortunate that you're ok with that, and at the same time believe you have universal truth.

          May 15, 2014 at 11:25 pm |
        • ddeevviinn

          Mad

          For clarification, my reference to those who suppress truth was directed at atheists ( the commenter I was replying to), those who deny a creator.

          May 15, 2014 at 11:40 pm |
        • hotairace

          Atheists do not suppress the truth. In fact, they seek it, but withhold grovelling at the feet of alleged but never proven gods because no one has produced objective evidence for the truth of any god.

          May 15, 2014 at 11:44 pm |
        • sam stone

          if you do "slip up", no worries. there is no god to punish you

          try logic, ddeevviin, it sure beats sycophantry

          May 16, 2014 at 6:17 am |
    • realbuckyball

      You've never been to the Bible Belt.

      May 15, 2014 at 8:49 pm |
      • kenmargo

        Isn't South Carolina in the bible belt? The same South Carolina that re-elected Mark Sanford. The man that lied to the people about where he was and cheated on his wife?

        May 15, 2014 at 9:55 pm |
      • ddeevviinn

        I live in the buckle.

        May 15, 2014 at 9:59 pm |
    • tallulah131

      The cool thing about atheism, at least in this era, is that you can no longer get murdered (at least in most industrialized nations) by the church for not believing. It wasn't that easy, even 100 years ago.

      May 15, 2014 at 10:04 pm |
      • ddeevviinn

        You're right, that dubious distinction seems to go to christians with a greater frequency in this era.

        May 15, 2014 at 10:33 pm |
        • MidwestKen

          Honestly, I'm guessing that more Muslims, Hindus, etc. are killed for their religion than Christians.

          May 15, 2014 at 10:37 pm |
        • ddeevviinn

          Ken ( Got it right this time)

          You may be right, I honestly don't know. I do know that in my lifetime I don't recall hearing about Christians being persecuted with as much frequency abroad.

          May 15, 2014 at 11:02 pm |
        • MidwestKen

          When I hear Christians talking about being persecuted, I always have a hard time telling if they are complaining or bragging.

          May 15, 2014 at 11:05 pm |
        • ddeevviinn

          Complaining? About what?

          May 15, 2014 at 11:31 pm |
  16. waynegage

    "The government harassed, detained, arrested, or sentenced to prison a number of religious adherents for activities reportedly related to their religious beliefs and practice," the State Department says. So the muslim does honor killings and the state department says they don't have religious freedom.

    May 15, 2014 at 6:40 pm |
  17. Alias

    Forgive me if I use an analogy twice in one day.
    If a child has a dream that there is a boogie man in the closet, and other children at school have had similar dreams, the child may start to think there really is a boogie man, and he lives in closets. If parents and teachers tell the children that they have had the same experiences, it will be very easy to accept that there is a boogie man in the closet because everyone believes it and most people have had a personal visit from the boogie man. Given the number of children who have had bad dreams about closets, it would be stupid to not believe it even if the boogie man hasn’t been seen by you in your closet yet.
    As soon as you really believe in the boogie man, you will have a dream about him and you can have proof that he exists too.
    Never mind that everyone describes the boogie man differently. Obviously he is telling different children different things. Once you all compare stories you dreams will be more alike. It doesn’t matter how carefully you search the closet and find nothing, you had a personal experience and everyone else believes it, so you must be right and you know the truth.

    May 15, 2014 at 5:09 pm |
    • kenmargo

      You can say the same thing about Santa Claus, Tooth Fairy and the Easter Rabbit. Keep in mind, children are the main point of your story. We tell children stories all the time hoping they'll respond by being good. Another point is nobody is proposing or making laws based on your belief of these mythical creatures. Finally grown ups should know better.

      May 15, 2014 at 6:07 pm |
      • Alias

        This wasn't an attempt at subtle.
        The point is (obviously) that you can easily teach children to believe in any god you choose.

        May 15, 2014 at 6:39 pm |
        • kenmargo

          Same thing for adults. Makes you wonder do people actually grow up?

          May 15, 2014 at 6:59 pm |
  18. unsername1

    wrong, the worst country in the world to be religiou is USA, guaranteed to lose your religion in couple of years.

    May 15, 2014 at 4:38 pm |
    • neverbeenhappieratheist

      Is it the "give them enough rope" theory?

      Give them religious freedom and they soon find out that pretty much every religion out there is a total scam...

      May 15, 2014 at 4:44 pm |
  19. transframer

    In Santa We Trust
    These old books haven't been prove as incorrect. They may be not believed but that's another thing.
    Also I am not talking about rejecting the evidence but about presenting assumptions as evidence.Limiting to evolution, no such evidence was presented

    May 15, 2014 at 4:04 pm |
    • gulliblenomore

      Transframer....it is completely impossible to have a discussion with somebody that is absolutely closing their minds to the mountain of fossil and DNA evidence there is to support evolution. Have a nice life....

      May 15, 2014 at 4:46 pm |
      • kenmargo

        He can believe we evolved from cotton candy. Does it really matter? You can't reason with crazy so why try? The birthers are gone and as climate change deniers houses wash or burn away, even they finally see climate change is happening. The man believes that someone is monitoring everything we do, then sort us out like UPS packages deciding if we should go up or down. That is a prime example of a person that's a few bricks shy of a load.

        May 15, 2014 at 7:33 pm |
  20. bostontola

    These findings are really about: "The Worst Places to be the Wrong Religion".

    Even China and NK have recognized religions that are allowed (Buddhism, Taoism, Islam, Catholicism, and Protestantism in China).

    May 15, 2014 at 3:57 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.