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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. kermit4jc

    @neverbeemhappier I partly agree with you..don't worry about the afterlife.....the Bible tells us believers that....Jesus says He came to give us ABUNDANT life...so we need not worry..and enjoy this life God has given us here on earth..though temporary it is....

    May 17, 2014 at 5:33 am |
    • Reality

      And still waiting for you to address the "kyboshing" of all religions with reputable studies to support your cause.

      May 17, 2014 at 7:35 am |
    • TruthPrevails1

      kermi: Outside of your bible and the stories the men who wrote it tell about this god, how do you know with any certainty that the god you believe in exists or that there is anything more than death at the end of this life? It is dishonest to make claims of knowledge when you can't possibly have them.

      May 17, 2014 at 9:02 am |
    • samsstones

      Kermit
      I predict that you are going to be reincarnated as a frog, a green one or maybe a cow, you better hope it is in India or you could end up as veal. Silly isn't it, just like heaven without a str!pper factory and a beer volcano.
      RAmen

      May 17, 2014 at 9:21 am |
      • kermit4jc

        what brought about that silliness?

        May 19, 2014 at 4:44 pm |
    • neverbeenhappieratheist

      If people lived well now and didn't worry about later it won't matter whether there is an afterlife or not. If there is I trust any benevolent force behind it it will reward you for living as well as you could with the time you were given. Whats most frustrating to persons like myself is the general belief by many religious that you can only be moral, you can only be good, you can only be happy if you accept their brand of religion. That along with their belief that anyone who doesn't believe in their God must be a sad, angry unhappy person with no purpose, as if only their deity can grant purpose.

      Much like the story of stone soup, I believe the stone adds no flavor and in fact become a point of contention between people who argue over which stone should be used in the soup. Sure, religion has been used like the stone of the story to bring all the other ingredients of being a good person together in one pot, but its the ingredients that give it flavor, not the stone. No "religion" ever fed the poor and cared for the sick, it's the people who do that work which could be done with or without any religious theme. Religion has tried to hijack righteousness and morality as if you can't have one without the other and that I think is the real big lie.

      May 17, 2014 at 10:13 am |
  2. bostontola

    With all the religion on religion violence around the globe, I can't help but imagine what an advanced extraterrestrial race would think if they had scientists monitoring this. They would report back that there is an intelligent species that has advancing technology, that simultaneously has tribes of beings that worship imaginary beings. These tribes have different rituals and worship different imaginary beings. They are so devoted to their imaginary beings, that they fight and even kill each other because they think their imaginary being is real and the others' is not real.

    I can't even imagine what their scientific conclusion would be. The extraterrestrials back home may think the scientists are pulling their legs or maybe they have space fever. The home base extraterrestrials order the scientists to stay away from this planet. They are told they shouldn't return until the humans are more mature. The maturity criterion is that less than 1% of the human population worship imaginary beings.

    May 16, 2014 at 11:23 pm |
    • flightfromfrostmtn

      If they had any sense they would annihilate the solar system – just to be sure....

      May 16, 2014 at 11:31 pm |
    • flightfromfrostmtn

      So watch... the first E.T.s we meet worshop a E.T. god named Yaawill (no connection to Yahweh) and have a holy script called the Babble (no connection to the bible) – read your post, and conclude Creationists are in dire need of assistance and death-ray all atheists to ever post here- all 20 of us>)

      May 16, 2014 at 11:48 pm |
      • flightfromfrostmtn

        worship even... So watch human survival depends on perfect spelling ...reads my post and.....

        May 16, 2014 at 11:56 pm |
    • ddeevviinn

      Hence the term " science FICTION".

      May 17, 2014 at 2:13 am |
      • bostontola

        Of course. Fiction comes from the imagination, just as I stated up front. Gods come from the imagination, therefore Gods are fiction. Wouldn't you agree for every one of the thousands of gods man created but yours?

        May 17, 2014 at 7:52 am |
        • ddeevviinn

          Actually, it was your entire statement I considered science fiction. You used an illustration from your "imagination" to convey what you perceived to be a greater truth, namely that all individuals who have a belief in God are primitive, unenlightened beings.What I am saying is that both your illustration AND your perception of truth you are attempting to project in this case are fict itious.

          I would agree with your last statement. There is a common fallacy running around that implies " Since there are so many religions, each one claiming truth for itself, it therefore necessitates the impossibility of one being true." I simply reject this sentiment.

          May 17, 2014 at 8:47 am |
        • bostontola

          devin,
          You need to read more carefully, I did say my entire post was a fictional story, as I said, it came from my imagination. Fictional stories can and often do make good points.

          I never said the post proves anything. You agree that ALL other gods are fictional, imagined except yours. That makes my point.

          May 17, 2014 at 9:33 am |
        • ddeevviinn

          boston

          You need to be a little more forthright in admitting intent. I would dare say you hold the view that individuals who believe in God have the mentality you described in your illustration. As stated previously, you were using a make believe illustration to communicate what for you was a truth statement. The intent was not fictional.

          May 17, 2014 at 6:05 pm |
        • Alias

          @boston
          to say thet all gods come from the imagination is over simplified to the point of being incorrect.
          there is more to it than that.

          May 17, 2014 at 6:38 pm |
  3. Vic

    It's all relative.

    This article pretty much maps the top religious based persecution and intolerance by demographics.

    Religions are ascribed to nations by the majority of their people. Depending on the majority of people's religion and the level of adherence to "Human Rights" and "Freedom of Religion," let alone case by case scenarios, religious tolerance, or lack thereof, is mapped out. In other words, it all depends on what, where and why. In essence, when you are a Christian for example, and is persecuted as such somewhere in the world, you would logically seek refuge in a nation where the majority of people is Christian and adheres to "Human Rights" and the "Freedom of Religion." The United States is a prime example of that.

    May 16, 2014 at 8:26 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      "It's all relative"
      -----------
      Everything is relative. Time, space, morals, beliefs, everything.

      "Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so."

      "The History of every major Galactic Civilization tends to pass through three distinct and recognizable phases, those of Survival, Inquiry and Sophistication, otherwise known as the How, Why and Where phases. For instance, the first phase is characterized by the question, 'How can we eat?' The second by the question, 'Why do we eat?' And the third by the question, 'Where shall we do lunch?'" – Douglas Adams

      May 16, 2014 at 8:34 pm |
  4. flightfromfrostmtn

    I cant help but wonder where the two kids in the picture above will be in 20 years....will they make it? will the boy instill the same kind of fear and uncertainty he felt in that moment?

    needless ... and a waste.

    May 16, 2014 at 7:02 pm |
    • kenmargo

      Is that the boys names, needless ... and a waste.

      May 16, 2014 at 7:30 pm |
      • flightfromfrostmtn

        No....to go through life afraid is needless. Fear is an awful thing.

        he should be out playing – hanging out with friends,,,,not a damn refugee camp with a bullseye painted on his back.

        May 16, 2014 at 7:36 pm |
        • kenmargo

          I agree. All kids should be out playing, getting ready for school.

          May 16, 2014 at 7:48 pm |
        • flightfromfrostmtn

          Truly,

          If they do make it it will be an uphill climb for them to beat the cycle of violence.

          May 16, 2014 at 7:52 pm |
  5. sealchan

    What I see in this list is most any government with, let's call it, extreme faith or non-faith bias will use their power against others. Atheists against theists, Christian against non-Christian, non-Christian against Christian, etc.... My sense is that religion or lack thereof does not guarantee you against the violence of an unjust government.

    May 16, 2014 at 6:58 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Freedom of (and from) religion is an essential human right.

      May 16, 2014 at 7:00 pm |
      • sealchan

        As a Christian I would agree that it is virtuous for a government to promote freedom of and from religion. Although, in practice, this may be impossible as most people's morality is related to their belief whether religious or humanist. But it is not desirable to have the subjective qualities of religion directly involved with government.

        Although I might be in the minority of those in my faith, I reject the notion that Christianity is the only way to God.

        May 16, 2014 at 7:53 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          "people's morality is related to their belief whether religious or humanist
          --------------
          Please don't confuse the notion of "morality" with the conscience of an individual.

          Morality is the societal consensus of conscience. It is relative to the culture of the society. Our 'morals' as a society are where we find common cause in what we collectively consider to be right and wrong. Understanding this is key to being able to respect the rights of everyone in terms of freedom of (and from) religion. There are differences, but respecting that others will differ is an important element of this freedom.

          May 16, 2014 at 8:03 pm |
    • flightfromfrostmtn

      Those atheists you reference did not single out theists...but rather threats to their regimes whoever and whatever they happened to be.... normal human BS.

      May 16, 2014 at 7:15 pm |
      • flightfromfrostmtn

        As oppose to religious violence that can get you killed for whatever arbitrary reason that happens to float through the holy mens' heads – wrong religion in the wrong place? sucks to be you.. have a different take on God's intent? you'd better hope you have more clout than the Imam you are differing with.....

        May 16, 2014 at 7:27 pm |
  6. joeyy1

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZeedE8vH1FQ&w=640&h=360]
    ..

    May 16, 2014 at 6:51 pm |
  7. Salero21

    The Absurdity and NONSENSE of atheism/evolutionism/cultism/paganism/idolatry is Absolute, Complete and Total. The hypocrisy of atheists is extreme and their lying is compulsive and pathological. smiling

    May 16, 2014 at 5:47 pm |
    • bostontola

      Salty,
      Please clarify, do hypocritical liars become atheists, or do atheists become hypocritical liars?

      May 16, 2014 at 5:56 pm |
      • Salero21

        Are you or are you not?

        May 16, 2014 at 10:53 pm |
    • realbuckyball

      Well then they can't help it, now can they ? So why are you wasting your time pointing out what you think is obvious. If they can't help it, as you state, why are you wasting your time calling them names ?
      Oh. You LIKE calling people names. Jebus must REALLY like you for that. Jebus is Lard. Praise be.

      May 16, 2014 at 10:21 pm |
      • Salero21

        Hypocrisy IS NOT name calling, hypocrisy is a bad thing to do, a wrong thing to do and to be. Is a description of a moral and spiritual condition, a sin. Are you or are you not?

        May 16, 2014 at 10:58 pm |
    • Salero21

      And yet again 2 more pieces of Evidence of what I'v been saying all along courtesy of bostontola and unrealbuckyblockhead. JAJAJA... oops... pardon me please... I meant to say HAHAHA. See we need the emoticons, they saved time and space.

      May 16, 2014 at 11:01 pm |
  8. believerfred

    neverbeenhappieratheist
    "fred doesn't know why, but the creator of the universe thinks he's special and has come knocking on his brain instead of the other 6 billion people,"
    =>No. I was not and I am not special as all have fallen short. The promise of God is true and faithful regardless of what mankind (me included) does. It was the prayers of friends and family (prayer I was not even aware of and had I been would have rejected as foolishness) that was answered for which I am thankful. A Bible given to me from another I had just rescued. A Bible I rejected but could not toss because it had Bill's name on it. A Bible I found a short while latter when cleaning out the remains of my possessions. A Bible bent open by what would appear accident under some junk. Bent at the words of Jesus in Matthew and in red (latter discovered it was called the red letter edition). Jesus if you are real then save me I cried out and I was broken and humbled with all my sin before a loving God. This moment opened the window into the reality of Gods presence and wonder.

    "The fact is, flood geology contradicts the scientific consensus"
    =>Both scientific consensus and flood geology are predicated upon assumptions. Absent accepted assumptions both fail. Any contradictions you imply are the result of assumptions accepted not facts or evidence. Science and the Bible are complementary not contradictory.

    "Topher and fred don't care about that because they really really want the bible to be true because it has promised them all sorts of awesome stuff"
    =>As for me I must explain purpose for existence so that my goals and journey are in line with purpose. I have yet to be presented with a better purpose for existence than what the Bible presents. Please let me know if you have one.
    I cannot speak for Topher but admire his faith and intellect wishing only the best for a new Dad. Based on his posts you are very wrong about him.

    "God hasn't weighed in on shlt for two thousand years."
    =>A few million conversions complete with the personal experience of God last year alone. All sorts of millions of people weighing in on what God has just revealed to them. Exactly what are you looking for.....fire and brimstone?

    "Historical Science" which if used in any university science department will get you thrown out on your ear."
    =>yes, and we no longer cure leprosy with leaches. When I refer to the history of science it is to point out how major assumptions have changed and will continue to change. Our understanding will be very different in 200 years.

    "Our DNA proves we did not descend from a single pair of pre made humans"
    =>actually it does not prove we descended from groups of male or female but that this is the only possibility that fits what we can see. This is not accepted yet by consensus but is very close. If the consensus does accept say a group of females this changes nothing from a biblical point. We are speaking about a group of primates and the Bible does not specify the method God used to bring about "Adam and Eve" only that he formed them out of the dust of the earth. What is critical is that breath of life given to man by God. This is not DNA but the capacity to experience the wonder of God and creation as a soul.

    "claim that their God can suspend physics and breaks all his own rules to accomplish his goals"
    =>certainly if there is God we are speaking about power we cannot comprehend. We have no need to do that, however it does not change the fact supernatural events are the reality when God is involved directly.

    "If there was any sort of active supernatural force happening we would be able to detect it"
    =>sorry, supernatural forces that can be measured, detected and understood by natural laws must conform to natural laws and as such simply become a new part of the known natural.

    "The facts show that whether you pray to Allah, Jesus, Zeus, Vishnu or even Satan, you get the exact same statistical rate of answered prayers."
    >nonsense, no one has been able to figure out how to test prayer within acceptable standards of testing.

    May 16, 2014 at 5:39 pm |
    • bostontola

      fred,
      Do you believe that there was a great flood that killed all animals but a couple that repopulated the world?

      May 16, 2014 at 5:54 pm |
      • believerfred

        I firmly believe all the theology that is brought to light through the flood story. This account is the complete story of salvation and purpose for existence. It is a clear vision of the sovereign nature of God our creator and the supernatural reality of existence. I could go on for hours on the symbolism of the Ark, Noah, the family, wickedness, God's patience, cleansing of sin by the living waters of Christ, the beginnings of belief becoming pure wickedness by selfish desires and the list goes on.
        Personally I never gave the science of the flood story any thought whatsoever until cornered by a physicist. I did not debate the science as I was shocked it never crossed my mind. Physical events described are not possible assuming know natural laws applied 120 years before the event, during the event and after the event. The Bible does not specify the time and space dimensions for the flood story and even Stephen Hawking would agree a global flood is possible in one of the infinite number of universes possible. But, such speculation can go on forever as we cannot know the mind of God other than what God has revealed to us.
        The flood story uses easily understood people, places and things to tell a profound truth. The Divine nature of the Bible is revealed in the presentation that clearly sets out the truth for those seeking truth while exposing the heart (soul) of those who are seeking their own desire.
        Although science these days crosses past the line of metaphysical there is no conflict between the two in rational debate.

        May 16, 2014 at 6:37 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          So you like it as a metaphor then?

          May 16, 2014 at 6:42 pm |
        • MidwestKen

          @fred,
          If you want to believe the Bible that is fine, but don't try to say that it is accurate in a literal sense.

          May 16, 2014 at 7:06 pm |
        • believerfred

          GOPer
          Only the Divine could present such theological depth in so few words and such simple characterizations. Only the Divine could present a story that hit home thousands of years ago as well as today.
          I do not believe it is a metaphor but it could well be. I do not believe Moses or the people of that time thought it was a metaphor or presented it as a metaphor.
          I have never seen an atom but I have seen representations that just look like fuzz. Someday we may just find out what it really looks like.

          May 16, 2014 at 9:20 pm |
        • alonsoquixote

          Like other myths in Genesis the flood myth borrows from the Sumerians, but with the myth modified to make it consistent with Jewish mythology. It is a retelling of the flood story from the Epic of Gilgamesh with Noah and his family replacing Utnapishtim and his family. In the Sumerian version the god Enki warns Utnapishtim about a flood to be sent by the god Enlil, who is angry with mankind. Enki instructs Utnapishtim to build an ark to save himself and his family. Utnapishtim takes animals on-board his ark and at the end of the flood he sends out a dove, swallow, and then a raven. When he disembarks he sacrifices to the gods. The early Jews turned Utnapishtim and his family into Noah and his family and the gods Enki and Enlil are merged into the Jewish tribal god Yahweh. Many elements of the earlier myth are retained, with Noah also sending out birds at the end of the flood and sacrificing to his god, who also likes the smell of burning flesh, i.e., holocausts, as other gods of the time, when he disembarks.

          May 16, 2014 at 9:22 pm |
        • believerfred

          MidwestKen
          As I said it can only be literal if known natural laws did not apply.

          May 16, 2014 at 9:24 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          "I could go on for hours on the symbolism of the Ark, Noah, the family..." Yes, I know. I could too. I could also go on for hours about the adventures of Harry Potter overcoming the dark lord. Or about any number of fantasy tales that humans have created as a reflection of ourselves and our struggle with survival when confronted by our ever evolving morality. We are evolving toward perfection, not from it. We are ridding ourselves of some of the most heinous yet previously accepted practices such as slavery, bans on interracial marriage, bans on women voting, bans on gay marriage and we will continue fighting for true morality and equality, and eventually the Churches will all flip and then look back at their past like "Who were those Guys?" like they did with slavery and others. Eventually we might progress to a point where everyone can practice whatever religion they want without fear of hostility in their homes and in their Churches and private lives all they want, they just keep it out of the schools and out of the government, both State and Federal. Is that really to much to ask? A secular government for all? No more asking for special privileges just because, you know, the big guy and all, wink wink, "everyone in here's a Christian right? So lets start with a prayer..." No more. It's really such a small thing to ask.

          May 16, 2014 at 9:55 pm |
        • realbuckyball

          Humans are just the same now as they were before the flood. Salvation was a complete bust.

          May 16, 2014 at 10:08 pm |
        • realbuckyball

          beiverfred,
          Moses was just as much a myth as Noah. None of the "patriarchs" were real. Take a History class some day. Moses didn't "think" anything. He also was every bit as mythical as Noah.

          May 16, 2014 at 10:11 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          @realbucky...take a history class sometime...LOLOLOL....like ALL history classes teach Moses as a myth? get real..they are still teaching Moses as an actual person in some secular schools...maybe you should get outta your mommas masement and get in touch with whats actually out in the real world

          May 17, 2014 at 1:52 am |
        • realbuckyball

          The Bible is not "divine" nor does it have a "divine nature". Those words are meaningless. Even a Christian theologian would bot claim it to be "divine". A divine nature is possessed only by the gods. You might claim it had a divine origin, but no theologin ever said it WAS "divine". I see you never took a theology class either.

          May 16, 2014 at 10:24 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          "they are still teaching Moses as an actual person in some secular schools"

          Kermi: Really??? Point to the evidence for this. I'm guessing as with many other things, you have dreamed this up and it is not fact. Moses who supposedly lived to be 900 and somehow you THINK they'd be teaching this as fact...are you insane? (rhetorical question...we know the answer) Secular schools are not allowed to teach anything biblical as fact, so if they are speaking for Moses they would be doing so in the fictional sense, not anything more.

          May 17, 2014 at 6:29 am |
        • kermit4jc

          Moses did not live to be 900...youre the one missing on facts....apparnelty you do nOT know the bIble and are the one dreaming thingngs up,,,,,second....I will look up some secular history books taught in schools and give you the links

          May 19, 2014 at 4:30 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          Sorry, 900 years is Noah (the other fictional character). Moses apparently lived to be 120 years old which was virtually impossible given the complete lack of medical care at the time he supposedly lived and given that life span was about a quarter of that.

          May 17, 2014 at 6:43 am |
        • kermit4jc

          forget that last post.I saw your next one.plus...I did not realize I was responding to you.....I will rpsond to the others..and you can see the answers if you wish..btw just because life span says so and so does not mean no one can live past it....

          May 19, 2014 at 4:31 pm |
        • thesamyaza

          i still think Hercules caused the flood. he broke one little damn then the next rainy season all hell breaks lose,... thank Herc,.. jost one mistake to the next with this guy.

          May 19, 2014 at 4:41 pm |
    • samsstones

      fredie
      Wrong about Topher, really? The lad is a liar and a coward and is going to teach his children to be the same. Point in FACT. Topher believes he has a right to distribute his crazy beliefs to other peoples children by handing out religious garbage at Halloween. Personally I would confront this nutter for trying to influence my or anybody else's children. But when it comes to his own offspring "Unless they are born again Christians who holds the bible to be 100% god's inerrant infallible word, I (TOPHER) don't want them anywhere near teaching my children." Does anyone not see the sheer arrogance and hypocrisy of a freak like Topher?

      May 16, 2014 at 6:01 pm |
      • believerfred

        "Topher believes he has a right to distribute his crazy beliefs to other peoples children by handing out religious garbage at Halloween."
        =>he is correct and any responsible parent goes through their kids bag of goodies letting only safe things in.

        "Personally I would confront this nutter for trying to influence my or anybody else's children."
        =>who is to decide which is the nutter if there are no absolutes and the truth is unknown. Some on this site refuse to let their children enjoy Santa during the few years pure innocence can experience the wonder.

        I do not know the context of Topher's response but it is not hypocrisy to give your own children the same advantage you try to give others. Keeping a child from experiencing Christmas is just as bad as forcing them to attend school only on the North Pole (I know dumb example just trying to make a point). Kids need to understand the world around them and be prepared for it. Even God allowed his chosen ones to be smack dab in the middle of everything that was opposed to God. It was up to them to remain separate from the world.
        Pastors kids have a difficult time if parents shield them to much from the world as it is.

        May 16, 2014 at 7:01 pm |
        • samsstones

          Fred
          You missed the point that Topher wants to have the ability to influence other peoples children but does not anyone that is not a fellow nutter influencing his children. Do you not find that hypocritical?

          May 16, 2014 at 7:47 pm |
        • believerfred

          Oh, I see how that could be viewed as hypocritical but it is not. The Bible commands us to teach our children the way of the Lord, this is not optional. We are also to go out and make disciples and share our testimony. It would be hypocritical to teach you child what you believe to be true and then teach another persons child what we know to be a lie.
          If we believe this truth saves your soul it would be wrong to withhold it. It is wrong to force it upon anyone or attempt to indoctrinate a child against the parents wishes.
          My guess is that Topher goes by the book.

          May 16, 2014 at 8:51 pm |
        • sam stone

          He then should not complain if someone else tries to influence his children toward a different religion.

          rational adults can see his blather for what it is. picking on kids is creepy

          May 17, 2014 at 7:25 am |
        • sam stone

          "It is wrong to force it upon anyone or attempt to indoctrinate a child against the parents wishes."

          I am certain that he got the parents' permission first (sarcasm)

          May 17, 2014 at 7:31 am |
      • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

        "Some on this site refuse to let their children enjoy Santa during the few years pure innocence can experience the wonder."
        -----------–
        I know an adult who was so upset with his parents for what he sees as their deliberate "lying to him" for perpetrating the Santa Claus ruse that he absolutely refuses to perpetuate Santa Claus with his own child.

        He still celebrates gift exchanges at Christmas. The gifts just come from Mom and Dad.

        May 16, 2014 at 7:26 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          His is an interesting study in faith. He kept believing in Santa when others did not, after all, he had compelling evidence that Santa was real and his parents whom he trusted reinforced that faith.

          He lost that trust in his parents when he learned the "truth" of the matter.

          May 16, 2014 at 7:29 pm |
        • believerfred

          Excellent point even the vast majority understand that dad dressing up as Santa was just for fun.
          Belief in God needs to be personally accepted and validated. Perhaps the reason 75% of church kids that go to college do not attend church after graduation is they cannot get passed the science of the flood, virgin birth and 6 days of creation.

          May 16, 2014 at 7:43 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          "Perhaps the reason 75% of church kids that go to college do not attend church after graduation is they cannot get passed the science of the flood, virgin birth and 6 days of creation."
          -----------–
          Fred I'm not sure exactly what you are striving at here, but I would agree that the disillusionment that results from realizing that things like global floods, virgin birth and 6 days of creation are not in any way consistent with science certainly contributes to the rejection of religion. All it takes is one more step, the rejection of the resurrection, and faith in Christianity instantly crumbles.

          Are you suggesting that it is best not to tell children that these myths are true? If so I would agree with you.

          May 16, 2014 at 7:58 pm |
        • believerfred

          GOPer
          I never call them myths as that is misleading and it is a lie.
          When age level or thought process indicate a greater level of understanding I explain that those who do not know God can only rely on their own understanding. That understanding is founded upon scientific evidence which claims there is no evidence that the universe was say spoken into existence (as an example) by God. If they are able to understand the concept if faith then I explain how faith makes visible what cannot be seen. At the next level I would present several options that they may expect to hear as to say singularity relative to causation. The result may not be the one God intended because it creates the impression that "God said let it be and it was so" is simply a card holder pending an understanding of what really happened.
          Then again absent of God science uses card holders called scientific facts that change as knowledge increases.

          May 16, 2014 at 8:27 pm |
        • realbuckyball

          Believerfred,
          It's "get past" not "get passed". I see YOU passed nothing in college.
          Show us the source of your claims about college students. You didn't just make up that did you, and think someone would buy your snake oil ?

          May 16, 2014 at 10:14 pm |
      • realbuckyball

        "The Bible commands us to teach our children the way of the Lord, this is not optional. We are also to go out and make disciples and share our testimony. It would be hypocritical to teach you child what you believe to be true and then teach another persons child what we know to be a lie."

        Oh I see. You mean when its not telling you can can kill them.

        If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them:

        19 Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place;

        20 And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard.

        21 And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die: so shalt thou put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear.

        May 16, 2014 at 10:33 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          @realbucky...do you think those passages refer to little children??

          May 17, 2014 at 1:54 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          kermi: Given that the original writers are not available to say who they were referring to, it is safe to say that no-one possibly knows but it doesn't matter what age category, the scripture stating to do those horrific things is not moral or in any way good regardless of how you may wish to spin it. The god you believe in is not moral and loves murder; rape; oppression of things that are natural (LGBT); oppression of women; loves slavery...but you'd know all of this if you actually read the bible for what it is instead of picking and choosing the parts that match what you deem to be a good loving god. (and please don't pull the 'I studied the bible' crap, that only makes you look like a child and is no different than someone sitting back and studying Grimms Fairytales and taking what context they want from it...all fiction, none based on any evidence)

          May 17, 2014 at 6:12 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          kermi: Given that the original writers are not available to say who they were referring to, it is safe to say that no-one possibly knows but it doesn't matter what age category, the scripture stating to do those horrific things is not moral or in any way good regardless of how you may wish to spin it. The god you believe in is not moral and loves murder; rape; oppression of things that are natural (LGBT); oppression of women; loves slavery...but you'd know all of this if you actually read the bible for what it is instead of picking and choosing the parts that match what you deem to be a good loving god. (and please don't pull the 'I studied the bible' crap, that only makes you look like a child and is no different than someone sitting back and studying Grimms Fairytales and taking what context they want from it...all fiction and all silly childish stories meant to instill fear...more of an abusive, control freak god you believe in than a loving one)

          May 17, 2014 at 6:13 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          Sorry for the double post...an attempt at editing gone wrong.

          May 17, 2014 at 6:21 am |
    • In Santa We Trust

      fred,
      "nonsense, no one has been able to figure out how to test prayer within acceptable standards of testing."

      It's been tested with the same standards as anything else. It never does better than random chance. What exactly do you feel was wrong with the previous tests?

      May 16, 2014 at 6:16 pm |
      • believerfred

        Effective prayer (for Christians) is in the Name of Jesus and through the Holy Spirit. The moment you interrupt a pure process you change the nature of the prayer.
        I know when I am in line with the will of God during prayer that comes from the heart. There is no way a test cannot help but effect prayer and even if it did not there is no way to measure the connection between God and the prayer/prayor

        May 16, 2014 at 7:14 pm |
        • likklehero

          The same argument has been made by psychics and mediums for centuries, how is that any different than what you are saying about prayer. You are basically saying there is no way to know if you are praying correctly (except for a gut feeling) and no way to know if it had any effect. Seems the same as wishing in my book.

          May 16, 2014 at 7:21 pm |
        • believerfred

          likkelhero
          From personal experience you know the difference between empty prayer and prayer that connects. Every time I have experienced that connection prayer was answered. It is not something I can control and any effort to control it destroys the purity of the prayer.
          As to contact with other mediums I agree there is no way to tell real from false.

          May 16, 2014 at 7:50 pm |
        • In Santa We Trust

          One test that has been suggested multiple times is prayer for amputees to regrow limbs. Easy to measure the quantity of prayer and the amount of growth. Prayer is only deemed successful for things that will happen eventually, e.g. rain or difficult to confirm illnesses where luck cannot be eliminated.

          May 16, 2014 at 10:06 pm |
    • Science Works

      Hey fred way too FUNNY – but this is hilarious !

      But you might believe it is true because it comes fro the ICR/Genesis Insti-tute operators manual dated 1992 or fred are you one of the authors listed for this chapter ?

      Direct Dating of Cretaceous – Jurassic Fossils (and other evidence for Human-COEXISTENCE)
      By Robert Garbe, Hugh Miller, John Whitmore, Goorge Detwiller, Doug Wilder, Frank Vosler,John Ditmars , D Davis.

      Now really fred did we really coexist with the dino ? – by the way they just found a new kind fred !

      May 16, 2014 at 6:17 pm |
      • believerfred

        Hey a Christian scientist just found soft tissue in a 68 million year old dino. Creationists claim it proves the earth is only a few thousand years old:
        http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/dinosaur-shocker-115306469/?no-ist

        May 16, 2014 at 7:34 pm |
        • hotairace

          But the scientist who made the discovery doesn't agree with the young earth creationists.

          May 16, 2014 at 7:47 pm |
        • believerfred

          hotairace
          You have discovered an honest Christian scientist ! They are not extinct.

          May 16, 2014 at 8:11 pm |
        • Science Works

          Hey calling believerfred FLINTSTONE – you will need something bigger than a bucket and a shovel if you co-existed with the BEAST !

          As heavy as 14 elephants, as long as 2 tractor trailers: Meet Mr. T-itanosaur
          By Greg Botelho, CNN
          updated 10:37 AM EDT, Mon May 19, 2014

          http://www.cnn.com/2014/05/17/world/americas/giant-dinosaur-discovery/index.html?iref=allsearch

          May 19, 2014 at 11:03 am |
        • believerfred

          Science Works
          If you look at the picture on the left from your link you will see a man lying next to the Titanasaur......... I will post that on my creationist web site as proof man coexisted with them.......I may need to Photoshop the guys cloths as they are from Walmart.

          May 20, 2014 at 6:15 pm |
    • neverbeenhappieratheist

      Just wanted to say thanks for re-posting my post for me. You might try refuting some of it next time instead of just calling peer reviewed science "assumption". In fact I think even scientists who are christian would be offended at your flippant disregard for the thousands of hours they spend trying to do their jobs without bias.

      May 16, 2014 at 9:27 pm |
    • thesamyaza

      i cant believe i read this tripe.

      May 19, 2014 at 4:39 pm |
  9. samsstones

    Topher
    New thread on purpose. Next time you deem to post, you fvcking coward, address the points you ran away from on this thread. Not very likely.

    May 16, 2014 at 5:26 pm |
    • noahsdadtopher

      I will address whatever I want to address and certainly don't have to answer to a potty-mouthed juvenile.

      May 16, 2014 at 6:04 pm |
      • gulliblenomore

        Potty-mouthed? Really? Wow.....

        May 16, 2014 at 6:06 pm |
      • samsstones

        Topher
        You yet again prove the coward that you are, really, potty mouth, are you fvcking ten years old? Swearing has been part of modern culture for decades, only someone deluded in the biblical nonsense can be so fvcking stupid. A guy that admits he has broken all of the silly biblical ten commandments has zero right to judge, I have never murdered anyone like you have admitted to ass hole. You are a hoot.

        May 16, 2014 at 6:13 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          yeah..but a potty mouth pretty much doesn't show much respect when using such language..no need to do such..its like a playground instead of a debate blog....also..a potty mouth seems to show that they don't have many words to their repetiore as to be able to make a point

          May 16, 2014 at 6:18 pm |
        • gulliblenomore

          Kermit....potty mouth again? Look....these are just words, nothing else. When people use the word 'freaking' instead of 'fvcking' it means the same thing, but you don't seem to have a problem with the word 'freaking'. Profanity is an integral part of our vocabulary actually....just shows that we have a wider range than you do.

          May 16, 2014 at 6:25 pm |
        • samsstones

          Kermy , oh well reality just seems to go over your heads, stay in your bubble where nothing bad happens or go visit a prison, there are so many right in your "hood.

          May 16, 2014 at 6:25 pm |
        • samsstones

          Kermy...
          Missed that, you are absolutely right, I have no, nil, zero respect for Topher, just to clear that up,. I am afraid he is going to screw up his children, scary sh!t.

          May 16, 2014 at 6:30 pm |
        • MidwestKen

          Generally, I agree that the language used is irrelevant to the argument, but try not using stupid fucking arguments like name calling.

          May 16, 2014 at 7:03 pm |
        • samsstones

          Midwest
          Please define or point out where name calling has been used. That Topher is a born again fundie jesus freaking nutter is not an accepted fact is really not name calling, is it?

          May 16, 2014 at 7:09 pm |
        • MidwestKen

          nutter, coward, ten-year old

          Can't you make a fucking argument?

          May 16, 2014 at 7:12 pm |
        • samsstones

          Midwest
          I know you are not new here it should not be surprising to you that no amount of rational discourse with the likes of Topher or Theo Philio is futile, they are cowards and liars. As Thomas Jefferson noted that the only recourse to these charlatans of religion is ridicule, derisions and mockery. If I come across as being crude to your standards, tough sh!t, kind of mild in my immediate culture, to each his own.

          May 16, 2014 at 7:24 pm |
        • MidwestKen

          I'd imagine that Jefferson's version of ridicule and derision wasn't simple crass insults, but as you say to each his own, go right ahead and continue putting your amazing intellect on display for all to see.

          May 16, 2014 at 7:30 pm |
        • samsstones

          Midwest
          Thank you. I have all always desired your approval of what I can say or what I should not. Allowing me to express what I want to say is really none of your fvcking business is it. Why do you not go after Salero21 or thefinisher1 while you are at it, jees?

          May 16, 2014 at 7:37 pm |
        • MidwestKen

          You're welcome.

          May 16, 2014 at 7:42 pm |
        • samsstones

          Midwest
          Well as much as you might think as I came on crude with regards to Topher, he is a freak, just read the comments on this page. I have no problem in calling what I believe to be a deluded ass-hole just that.

          May 16, 2014 at 8:04 pm |
        • hotairace

          And it does look like Topher has slithered away yet again. . .

          May 16, 2014 at 8:30 pm |
        • realbuckyball

          Jebus no likey the potty mouth.

          May 16, 2014 at 10:35 pm |
        • sam stone

          kermit: topher does not seek to debate, he seeks to preach

          debate involves acceptance of the possibilty that you could be wrong

          topher does not seem willing to accept that possibility.

          after all, HE has the correct reading of the bible

          May 17, 2014 at 8:14 am |
        • kermit4jc

          MORE correct than you guys have ever shown..ALl I seen are people misusing, abusing and even ignoring willfully the context....of which NONE of you ever even attempted to disprove yet with context

          May 19, 2014 at 4:32 pm |
        • sam stone

          hotairace: that's what gopher does, slither away

          May 17, 2014 at 8:22 am |
      • samsstones

        Topher
        You backed yourself into a corner in the previous thread then ran away and are now back being offended by potty mouth comments, so sad, so pathetic, so ridiculous, so Topherism.

        May 16, 2014 at 6:36 pm |
      • sam stone

        "I will address whatever I want to address and certainly don't have to answer to a potty-mouthed juvenile."

        translation: 'when someone confronts my blather with reason, i will turn and run like a pant wetting 8 year old'

        you're welcome, gopher

        May 17, 2014 at 7:48 am |
  10. bostontola

    Searching the web, the vast majority of Abrahamic religious sites state that the great flood survived by Noah happened between 4,000 and 5,000 years ago. If you take that as truth, then the rate of human evolution is extraordinarily fast. In just 5,000 years, the east asian, african, european, indian, etc. genomes all diverged. These genomic differences are known to be quite broad. Any person in the mixed genes country of the US can find their ancestors to a few miles (over 80% of the time) with gene testing now.

    Taken at face value, that means that humans are not as God created them, and they are changing fast.

    May 16, 2014 at 3:03 pm |
    • James XCIX

      Not to mention the light we receive from very distant objects, light that has been traveling for billions of years.

      May 16, 2014 at 3:22 pm |
    • Alias

      It's not just us.
      there were only a few of each 'type' of animal on the biat. Look at how much some of them have changed.

      May 16, 2014 at 3:23 pm |
    • kermit4jc

      @ boston "Taken at face value, that means that humans are not as God created them, and they are changing fast." As what do you mean as God created them..to be middle eastern only?

      May 16, 2014 at 5:59 pm |
      • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

        " As what do you mean as God created them..to be middle eastern only?"
        --------------
        I don't think @Bostonola postulates anything, other than saying to be congruent with observable facts of racial diversity today, that if you hypothetically start the human species with two people in Iraq <10,000 years ago, means that racial differences evolve very fast.

        We don't all look like Iraqis.

        May 16, 2014 at 6:12 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          uh..would that not be the same for evolution? we came from different ancestors? You got to start somewhere....and genetic diversity would already be present in humans to do just that....become different races, etc.

          May 16, 2014 at 6:16 pm |
        • gulliblenomore

          Kermit....over the last several hundred thousand years, not the last 4000.

          May 16, 2014 at 6:21 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          There is no reason why it cant happen in the last 4000..which I don't use that number anyways......I am not one who believes the universe/earth is 6000 years old.....at the same time I don't think its billions or even millions either......I suspect it may be anywhere between 10,000 to 50,000....as the Bible does not make it very clear....it could be older...

          May 16, 2014 at 6:59 pm |
        • gulliblenomore

          I believe it is.....13.5 million years to be as close to exact as possible.

          May 16, 2014 at 7:55 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          We have very strong scientific consensus for the following:
          The universe: 13.7 BYA
          The earth: 4.54 BYA
          The emergence of humans: 120 kYA

          Human racial differences emerged over 120,000 years. Even in the last 200 years people have changed. With better nutrition people on average are taller than they were 200 years ago.

          May 16, 2014 at 7:08 pm |
        • alonsoquixote

          Since Genesis states that all of mankind was drowned by Yahweh, except for 8 individuals: Noah and his wife and Noah's three sons and their wives, biblical exegetes had to explain the origin of races from Noah's three sons, since Noah never had any more offspring after the flood. An explanation that was offered for centuries was that Ja_pheth was the ancestor of the Caucasian race, Shem of Asians, and Ham of Africans. E.g., "from Frauds, Myths, and Mysteries: Science and Pseudoscience in Archaeology" by Kenneth L. Feder

          *** begin quote

          Biblical Exegesis and American Indians

          If the lands explored by Columbus were not part of Asia, then the natives were not Asians, but some heretofore unknown group of people. This idea was problematical to sixteenth-century scholars and clerics. In their world view, all people could be traced to Adam and Eve. Beyond this, all people could be more recently traced to Noah and his family (his wife, sons, and daughters-in-law), for all other descendants of the first couple had been wiped out in a great flood (see Chapter 11).

          According to the Book of Genesis in the Old Testament, Noah had three sons, Shem, Ham, and Ja_pheth. Biblical scholars had long since decided that each of the three sons represented the source for the three "races" of man recognized by Europeans: European, Oriental, and African. Ja_pheth, apparently the best of the lot, was, naturally enough, considered to be the patriarch of the European people. Shem gave rise to the Asians, and Ham was the source for Africans. This was a neat enough arrangement for biblical literalists, but the recognition that the native people Columbus had encountered were not Chinese or Ja_panese created a problem. There simply was no fourth son of Noah to provide a source for a fourth race of people. Though some, like Issac de la Peyrère in 1655, suggested that Indians were part of a separate "pre-adamite" creation that had been unaffected by the biblical flood (Greene 1959), notions of polygenesis were never particularly popular.

          *** end quote

          For many centuries Christians viewed the "Curse of Ham", which was actually a curse Noah placed on his grandson, Ham's son Canaan, as marked by a black skin. In Genesis 9:25, Noah declares "Cursed be Canaan; a servant shall he be unto his brethren. Because the Torah stated that Ham's descendants settled Africa, it was believed that the African people were fated for slavery and slave owners used that passage as well as others supportive of slavery to justify their enslavement of people from Africa.

          The exact nature of Ham's transgression that resulted in the curse isn't clear. The phrase associated with the transgression is translated as seeing his father naked. Some early interpreters believed the sin was simply seeing his father naked after Noah got drunk. The Targum Onkelos, which was supposedly written around 130 CE by Onkelos, though it may have been writen as late as 400 CE, which was regarded by the rabbis of the Babylonian Talmud as the authoritative translation of the Bible, attributed the curse to Ham gossiping about Noah's shameful drunkenness in public.

          But other ancient commentators felt that Ham's transgression was so severe that his descendants should be enslaved because he either castrated Noah so he could not have any other children or sodomized Noah. The biblical writers used euphemisms for s_ex and to see someone's nakedness was a euphemism of having s_ex with that person. E.g. Leviticus 20:17:

          "And if a man shall take his sister, his father's daughter, or his mother's daughter, and see her nakedness, and she see his nakedness; it is a wicked thing; and they shall be cut off in the sight of their people: he hath uncovered his sister's nakedness; he shall bear his iniquity."

          Three 2nd century translations of the Bible into Greek, those of Aquila of Sinope, Symmachus, and Theodotion all replace the word "see" in Genesis 9:22 with a Greek word sometimes used to denote ho_mos_exual relations – see "Traditions of the Bible: A Guide to the Bible As It Was at the Start of the Common Era" by James L. Kuge. The explanation given as to why Noah cursed Canaan rather than Ham is that he couldn't curse Ham because God had already blessed his three sons.

          Another explanation for why Canaan and not Ham is cursed and for why the punishment for Canaan's descendants was so severe is that Ham had s_ex with his mother, Noah's wife and that Canaan was the result of that illicit union. The phrase translated as "uncover the nakedness" of a man means to have s_ex with that man's wife as Leviticus 20:11 states: "And the man that lieth with his father's wife hath uncovered his father's nakedness: both of them shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them." But a counterpoint to that interpretation is that Genesis 9:21 has Ham "seeing" his father's nakedness rather than "uncovering" it.

          May 17, 2014 at 12:24 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          "Bible does not make it very clear"

          Now there's a huge shocker!! Of course the bible doesn't make it clear, the men who wrote it were clueless dolts who made up stories to fool the gullible and place fear in to them. For anyone to deny the hard evidence that we have shows willful ignorance and blatant closed-mindedness. The bible tells us much that we know is wrong and could not have possibly have happened and yet we still have people accepting it and living for this imaginary being that has NEVER been shown to exist and who has book written about it depicting it as a vindictive ass....pathetic.

          May 17, 2014 at 9:21 am |
      • bostontola

        kermit,
        I was making a couple of points. First, most who argue against evolution say there hasn't been enough time for humans to evolve. Looking at the large genetic changes between these geographical groups, if that happened in 5,000 years, there would be plenty of time. Second, it is a directly observable thing to see that humans have changed since a purported initial pair (Adam & Eve), since there are so many different ethnic groups. The DNA data confirms substantial genetic drift. That means most humans are different than the purported God created them. Thirdly, you can project that forward and conclude humans will grow more different than the purported God created them.

        May 16, 2014 at 6:24 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          God never purported to end up with only one type of humans...the middle easterns or whatever you wanna say Adam and Eve supposedly was (I say supposedly since you may not agree with an Adam and Eve anyways)

          May 16, 2014 at 7:01 pm |
  11. Reality

    Our War on Terror and Aggression: (Note how much of this war is devoted to keeping religious ideologies in check and it is definitely not restricted to the eight countries listed above.)

    An update (or how we are spending or how we have spent the USA taxpayers’ money to eliminate global terror and aggression)

    The terror and aggression via a Partial and Recent and Not So Recent Body Count

    As the koranic/mosque driven acts of terror and horror continue:

    The Muslim Conquest of India – 11th to 18th century

    ■"The likely death toll is somewhere between 2 million and 80 million. The geometric mean of those two limits is 12.7 million. "

    and the 19 million killed in the Mideast Slave Trade 7C-19C by Muslims.

    and more recently

    1a) 179 killed in Mumbai/Bombay, 290 injured

    1b) Assassination of Benazir Bhutto and Theo Van Gogh

    2) 9/11, 3000 mostly US citizens, 1000’s injured

    3) The 24/7 Sunni-Shiite centuries-old blood feud currently being carried out in Iraq, US troops killed in action, 3,480 and 928 in non combat roles. 102,522 – 112,049 Iraqi civilians killed as of 9/16/2011/, mostly due to suicide bombers, land mines and bombs of various types, http://www.iraqbodycount.org/ and http://www.defenselink.mil/news/casualty.pdf

    4) Kenya- In Nairobi, about 212 people were killed and an estimated 4000 injured; in Dar es Salaam, the attack killed at least 11 and wounded 85.[2]

    5) Bali-in 2002-killing 202 people, 164 of whom were foreign nationals, and 38 Indonesian citizens. A further 209 people were injured.

    6) Bali in 2005- Twenty people were killed, and 129 people were injured by three bombers who killed themselves in the attacks.

    7) Spain in 2004- killing 191 people and wounding 2,050.

    8. UK in 2005- The bombings killed 52 commuters and the four radical Islamic suicide bombers, injured 700.

    9) The execution of an eloping couple in Afghanistan on 04/15/2009 by the Taliban.

    10) – Afghanistan: US troops 1,385 killed in action, 273 killed in non-combat situations as of 09/15/2011. Over 40,000 Afghan civilians killed due to the dark-age, koranic-driven Taliban acts of horror

    11) The killing of 13 citizen soldiers at Ft. Hood by a follower of the koran.

    12) 38 Russian citizens killed on March 29, 2010 by Muslim women suicide bombers.

    13) The May 28, 2010 attack on a Islamic religious minority in Pakistan, which have left 98 dead,

    14) Lockerbie is known internationally as the site where, on 21 December 1988, the wreckage of Pan Am Flight 103 crashed as a result of a terrorist bomb. In the United Kingdom the event is referred to as the Lockerbie disaster, the Lockerbie bombing, or simply Lockerbie. Eleven townspeople were killed in Sherwood Crescent, where the plane's wings and fuel tanks plummeted in a fiery explosion, destroying several houses and leaving a huge crater, with debris causing damage to a number of buildings nearby. The 270 fatalities (259 on the plane, 11 in Lockerbie) were citizens of 21 nations.

    15 The daily suicide and/or roadside and/or mosque bombings in the terror world of Islam.

    16) Bombs sent from Yemen by followers of the koran which fortunately were discovered before the bombs were detonated.

    17) The killing of 58 Christians in a Catholic church in one of the latest acts of horror and terror in Iraq.

    18) Moscow airport suicide bombing: 35 dead, 130 injured. January 25, 2011.

    19) A Pakistani minister, who had said he was getting death threats because of his stance against the country's controversial blasphemy law, was shot and killed Wednesday, 3/2/2011

    20) two American troops killed in Germany by a recently radicalized Muslim, 3/3/2011

    21) the kidnapping and apparent killing of a follower of Zoraster in the dark world of Islamic Pakistan.

    22) Shariatpur, Bangladesh (CNN 3/30/2011) – Hena Akhter's last words to her mother proclaimed her innocence. But it was too late to save the 14-year-old girl. Her fellow villagers in Bangladesh's Shariatpur district had already passed harsh judgment on her. Guilty, they said, of having an affair with a married man. The imam from the local mosque ordered the fatwa, or religious ruling, and the punishment: 101 lashes delivered swiftly, deliberately in public. Hena dropped after 70 and died a week later.

    23) "October 4, 2011, 100 die as a truck loaded with drums of fuel exploded Tuesday at the gate of compound housing several government ministries on a busy Mogadishu street. It was the deadliest single bombing carried out by the al Qaeda-linked al-Shabab group in Somalia since their insurgency began. "

    Continued below:

    Other elements of our War on Terror and Aggression:

    -Operation Iraqi Freedom- The 24/7 Sunni-Shiite centuries-old blood feud currently being carried out in Iraq, US Troops killed in action, 3,480 and 928 in non combat roles as of 09/15/2011/, 102,522 – 112,049 Iraqi civilians killed as of 9/16/2011/, mostly due to suicide bombers, land mines and bombs of various types, http://www.iraqbodycount.org/ and http://www.defenselink.mil/news/casualty.pdf

    – Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan: US troops 1,385 killed in action, 273 killed in non-combat situations as of 09/15/2011. Over 40,000 Afghan civilians killed mostly due to the dark-age, koranic-driven Taliban acts of horror,

    – Sa-dd-am, his sons and major he-nchmen have been deleted. Sa-dd-am's bravado about WMD was one of his major mistakes. Kuwait was saved.

    – Iran is being been contained. (beside containing the Sunni-Shiite civil war in Baghdad, that is the main reason we are in Iraq. And yes, essential oil continues to flow from the region.)

    – North Korea is still u-ncivil but is contained.

    – Northern Ireland is finally at peace.

    – The Jews and Palestinians are being separated by walls. Hopefully the walls will follow the 1948 UN accords. Unfortunately the Annapolis Peace Conference was not successful. And unfortunately the recent events in Gaza has put this situation back to “squ-are one”. And this significant stupidity is driven by the mythical foundations of both religions!!!

    – – Fa-na–tical Islam has basically been contained to the Middle East but a wall between India and Pakistan would be a plus for world peace. Ditto for a wall between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

    – Timothy McVeigh was exe-cuted. Terry Nichols escaped the death penalty twice because of deadlocked juries. He was sentenced to 161 consecutive life terms without the possibility of parole,[3][7] and is incarcerated in ADX Florence, a super maximum security prison near Florence, Colorado. He shares a cellblock that is commonly referred to as "Bombers Row" with Ramzi Yousef and Ted Kaczynski

    – Eric Ru-dolph is spending three life terms in pri-son with no par-ole.

    – Jim Jones, David Koresh, Kaczynski, the "nuns" from Rwanda, and the KKK were all dealt with and either eliminated themselves or are being punished.

    – Islamic Sudan, Dar-fur and So-malia are still terror hot spots.
    – The terror and tor-ture of Muslims in Bosnia, Kosovo and Kuwait were ended by the proper application of the military forces of the USA and her freedom-loving friends. Ra-dovan Karadzic was finally captured on 7/23/08 and is charged with genocide, crimes against humanity and violations of the law of war – charges related to the 1992-1995 civil war that followed Bosnia-Herzegovina's secession from Yugoslavia.

    The capture of Ratko Mladić: (Serbian Cyrillic: Ратко Младић, pronounced [râtkɔ mlǎːditɕ], born 12 March 1943[1][2]) is an accused war criminal and a former Bosnian Serb military leader. On May 31, 2011, Mladić was extradited to The Hague, where he was processed at the detention center that holds suspects for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).[3] His trial began on 3 June 2011.

    – the bloody terror brought about by the Ja-panese, Na-zis and Co-mmunists was with great difficulty eliminated by the good guys.

    – Bin Laden was executed for crimes against humanity on May 1, 2011

    – Ditto for Anwar al-Awlaki on September 30, 2011

    May 16, 2014 at 2:26 pm |
    • Alias

      Um .... What point are you trying to make here?
      I saw you started with the War On Terror but then you went back a few centuries before it started.

      May 16, 2014 at 2:48 pm |
      • Reality

        Most of our wars have been from to rid the world of terrorist regimes from the Brits in the Revolutionary war, to our Civil war and to WW II fought to end Nazi terror.

        May 16, 2014 at 3:46 pm |
        • Reality

          Oops, change "from" to "fought".

          May 16, 2014 at 3:47 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          " Most of our wars have been (from) to rid the world of terrorist regimes from the Brits in the Revolutionary war, to our Civil war"
          --------------------–
          This is pure hogwash.

          The government of King George III was hardly a reign of terror. There were two primary causes for the revolution:
          1. Massachusetts was founded by Cromwellians. They never wanted the restoration and simply didn't like kings in principle.
          2. The Virginians were ticked off when they didn't get the land grab from the natives that they expected after the British saved them from the French.

          Who do you represent were the terrorists in the Civil War? The Confederacy as slave-holders? As I recall, they started the war. Or the Union as evidenced by Sherman's March? We weren't rid of the Union.

          May 16, 2014 at 4:06 pm |
        • Alias

          Most of our wars have been recorded from the point of view of the winner.
          Most armies are inspired/motivated/united/ligitimized by some religion, too.

          May 16, 2014 at 4:34 pm |
    • Reality

      Recording the wars via body counts, etc.:

      o WHERE WAS YOUR GOD(S) WHEN THE FOLLOWING TOOK PLACE:

      The Twenty (or so) Worst Things GOD'S CREATURES Have Done to Each Other:

      M. White, http://necrometrics.com/warstatz.htm#u (required reading)

      The Muslim Conquest of India

      "The likely death toll is somewhere between 2 million and 80 million. The geometric mean of those two limits is 12.7 million. "

      Rank …..Death Toll ..Cause …..Century……..(Religions/Groups involved)*

      1. 63 million Second World War 20C (Christians et al and Communists/atheists vs. Christians et al, Nazi-Pagan and "Shintoists")

      2. 40 million Mao Zedong (mostly famine) 20C (Communism)

      3. 40 million Genghis Khan 13C (Shamanism or Tengriism)

      4. 27 million British India (mostly famine) 19C (Anglican)

      5. 25 million Fall of the Ming Dynasty 17C (Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Chinese folk religion)

      6. 20 million Taiping Rebellion 19C ( Confucianism, Buddhism and Chinese folk religion vs. a form of Christianity)

      7. 20 million Joseph Stalin 20C (Communism)

      8. 19 million Mideast Slave Trade 7C-19C (Islam)

      9. 17 million Timur Lenk 14C-15C

      10. 16 million Atlantic Slave Trade 15C-19C (Christianity)

      11. 15 million First World War 20C (Christians vs. Christians)

      12. 15 million Conquest of the Americas 15C-19C (Christians vs. Pagans)

      13. 13 million Muslim Conquest of India 11C-18C

      14. 10 million An Lushan Revolt 8C

      15. 10 million Xin Dynasty 1C

      16. 9 million Russian Civil War 20C (Christians vs Communists)

      17. 8 million Fall of Rome 5C (Pagans vs. Christians)

      18. 8 million Congo Free State 19C-20C (Christians)

      19. 7½ million Thirty Years War 17C (Christians vs Christians)

      20. 7½ million Fall of the Yuan Dynasty 14C

      May 17, 2014 at 7:31 am |
  12. bostontola

    The violence against people for religious reasons has not lessened much across historical times. It illustrates an important fact to me:

    People are so certain that their religion's precepts are right and others' religion's precepts are wrong, that they will violate their own precepts to suppress the others.

    That certainty comes from deep within them. So deep it is perceived to be evidence of the truth of their religion. They are just as certain that their God is real and yours is not, that their religious rituals, etc. are the right ones and yours are not, as you are. Every bit as certain that their God has spoken to them, lives in them, loves them, and that you are worshiping a false God. Some feel sorry for you, others don't care, and some see you as a threat that must be defended against.

    There are so many religions, sects, denominations, etc. that I am shocked that people can't step back and see that the overwhelming likelihood is virtually all are wrong. A few like Universalists, etc. accept all, but they are a tiny minority (but growing). Deists don't think God involves itself in any natural affairs, much less human affairs, but they are also a tiny minority.

    The nature of humans is they trust their own feelings. That works most of the time. But when your feelings conflict with facts and logic, a red flag should pop up. Sadly it doesn't for most and they go on believing they have special ability to detect truth, even though their truth is most likely a result of contingent randomness in being born into a region with that religion.

    May 16, 2014 at 2:05 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      "The violence against people for religious reasons has not lessened much across historical times
      ---------------
      and the Pew survey that @toleranceforall referred to concluded that "The share of countries with a high or very high level of social hostilities involving religion reached a six-year peak in 2012,"

      It doesn't seem to be getting any better.

      May 16, 2014 at 2:16 pm |
      • bostontola

        Thanks, I hadn't seen that.

        I'm just flabbergasted that so many people are certain of their faith, when so many others have equal certainty in something different, and they are all deciding purely on feeling with no objective evidence.

        May 16, 2014 at 2:26 pm |
        • Alias

          They all have the same evidence – dreams, visions, signs sent to them ....

          May 16, 2014 at 2:57 pm |
        • bostontola

          Alias,
          Exactly, only subjective evidence (feelings), no objective evidence.

          May 16, 2014 at 3:11 pm |
    • James XCIX

      bostontola – "... some see you as a threat that must be defended against."

      Yes, these are the people who believe their god doles out collective punishment to entire nations because of the transgressions of those who don't worship correctly (wrong god; or right god but wrong ceremony, intentions, thoughts, etc). And somehow, many of those who believe in a personal god don't see how that idea conflicts with the idea of divine punishment that affects the innocent along with the guilty.

      May 16, 2014 at 2:59 pm |
      • bostontola

        The OT is rife with that. Abraham's God ordered the Israelites to destroy all people in entire cities (but told them to keep the property).

        May 16, 2014 at 3:13 pm |
        • James XCIX

          And then had them conquered in turn and carted off because some of them weren't correctly following the instructions he had a few prophets pass along (obviously not an effective means of communicating critical information to millions of people). And so we have the "you not worshiping correctly might cause me to be punished" mentality.

          May 16, 2014 at 3:18 pm |
        • Madtown

          To add, God also created the human beings that inhabited the areas he told the Israelites to conquer! So, God commands 1 sub-set of the humans he created, to kill and take the lands of another sub-set of the humans he created. But of course. Why worship a God that operated like this?

          May 16, 2014 at 4:18 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          "Why worship a God that operated like this?"

          That's why they picked Yahweh (their favorite Canaanite God) over Ba'al or Asherah etc (other Canaanite Gods of the people they conquered).

          May 16, 2014 at 4:27 pm |
    • likklehero

      I would urge my atheist brethren on this blog to actually look into the Unitarian Universalists. They are very accepting of everyone and ask only that you abide by their set of principles:

      1st Principle: The inherent worth and dignity of every person;
      2nd Principle: Justice, equity and compassion in human relations;
      3rd Principle: Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations;
      4th Principle: A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;
      5th Principle: The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large;
      6th Principle: The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;
      7th Principle: Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.

      The UU's are generally very free thinking individuals and there are definitely some lively conversations. I am more than willing to donate my money to this church, and in our congregation 85% of the money that comes in, goes out as charity. Our small congregation built 2 homes for humanity houses last Christmas from a single holiday offering. I am extremely proud of our church, and am especially impressed by the youth education program. Public schools should have the s.ex-ed classes that are provided for teens, pre-teens, and even younger. This is the way you should teach ethics, responsibility, and comparative religion to our youth.

      May 16, 2014 at 6:52 pm |
  13. I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

    toleranceofall

    And yet, Christians are the most persecuted religious group in the world according to a 2014 report by the Pew Research Center.
    May 16, 2014 at 1:20 pm |
    -----------------------
    That's not exactly what Pew said.

    They said "harassment of Christians continued to be reported in the highest number of countries".

    They did not give indications of the relative number of people harassed.

    http://www.pewforum.org/2014/01/14/religious-hostilities-reach-six-year-high/

    "Harassment or intimidation of specific religious groups occurred in 166 countries in 2012, a six-year high. In 2012, government or social harassment of Muslims was reported in 109 countries; the previous high was 101 countries in the previous year of the study. Jews were harassed in 71 countries in 2012, slightly higher than the year before (69 countries, which was the previous high). Harassment of Christians continued to be reported in the largest number of countries (110), an increase from the previous year (105) but not a six-year high. There also was an increase in the number of countries in which Hindus, Buddhists and members of folk or traditional religions were harassed.

    On a per capita basis, Jews are much more likely to be harassed:

    "Jews, who comprise less than 1% of the world’s population, experienced harassment in a total of 95 countries, ... In 2012, some religious groups were more likely to be harassed by governments, while others were more likely to be harassed by individuals or groups in society. Jews, for instance, experienced social harassment in many more countries (66) than they faced government harassment (28).

    May 16, 2014 at 1:34 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      They did not give indications of the relative number of people harassed. and nor did this particular measure assess the severity of the harassment.

      May 16, 2014 at 1:44 pm |
    • toleranceofall

      Um, I don't know where you get this.

      "Among all religious groups, Christians are the most likely to be persecuted worldwide, according to a 2014 report by the Pew Research Center." – "Christian in Sudan sentenced to death for faith; 'I'm just praying,' husband says" by By Salma Abdelaziz, Catherine E. Shoichet, Daniel Burke and Ed Payne, CNN – Retrieved 5/16/2014 http://www.cnn.com/2014/05/15/world/africa/sudan-christian-woman-apostasy/index.html?hpt=hp_t2

      May 16, 2014 at 2:30 pm |
      • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

        "Um, I don't know where you get this.
        ------------–
        By reading the report published by Pew – not an interpretation written by a reporter.

        May 16, 2014 at 2:32 pm |
      • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

        Based on my reading of the actual report, your quote, by

        "CNN's Amara Walker, Jessica King, Dana Ford and Saad Abedine contributed to this report, as did journalist Isma'il Kushkush."

        misrepresents what Pew published.

        May 16, 2014 at 2:35 pm |
      • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

        You also changed

        "most likely to be persecuted

        to

        "most persecuted"

        The Pew Report categorically does not say "Christians are the most persecuted religious group". These kind of distinctions are subtle but important.

        Inadvertently perhaps, you have changed the meaning considerably from what was actually published in the report.

        May 16, 2014 at 2:42 pm |
        • toleranceofall

          "Harassment or intimidation of specific religious groups occurred in 166 countries in 2012, a six-year high. In 2012, government or social harassment of Muslims was reported in 109 countries; the previous high was 101 countries in the previous year of the study. Jews were harassed in 71 countries in 2012, slightly higher than the year before (69 countries, which was the previous high). Harassment of Christians continued to be reported in the largest number of countries (110), an increase from the previous year (105) but not a six-year high. There also was an increase in the number of countries in which Hindus, Buddhists and members of folk or traditional religions were harassed." – http://www.pewforum.org/2014/01/14/religious-hostilities-reach-six-year-high/#harassment-of-specific-groups

          May 16, 2014 at 3:00 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          Why did you paste the exact same paragraph that I pasted already?

          What point do you think that makes?

          May 16, 2014 at 3:08 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          I think it is a hilarious study as it says nothing about number of people effected, just how many countries it's found in. So because there are more countries that dislike Christians than any other single religion we can ignore the hundreds of thousands of Muslims we have killed or caused to be killed by our invasion into just one country, Iraq. By even the most modest survey we killed at least 110,000 Iraqis and possibly as high as 654,000.

          May 16, 2014 at 4:09 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          "I think it is a hilarious study as it says nothing about number of people effected, just how many countries it's found in.
          -------------
          I wouldn't say hilarious, it does have a point, albeit a very academic one that is tricky to interpret.

          For exactly the reason you point out, it can easily be wrongly misrepresented, as the CNN article on the Sudanese apostasy sentencing did.

          May 16, 2014 at 4:14 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          Neither the number of people affected nor the severity of the harassment is visible in the results published.

          Furthermore, there is no indication on a per-capita basis of how much harassment there is.

          The survey results speak more to @Bostonola's point above than anything else.

          May 16, 2014 at 4:16 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          I was laughing of course at the people who put this study up as some sort of representative truth in order to gain sympathy, not at those actually suffering in many countries around the world.

          May 16, 2014 at 4:26 pm |
  14. Alias

    Yes everyone, look at how free we are to have any religion we want in America!
    Unless, of course, you want to have a ceremony at Harvard, and you are seen as being too different from the majority religion. Then it is perfectly okay for society to tell you they will not be educated about what you believe.
    Or has everyone forgotten that article already?

    May 16, 2014 at 11:51 am |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Belief Blog articles are like house guests and fish.

      They're not very fresh after three days.

      "Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days" – Benjamin Franklin

      May 16, 2014 at 11:56 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      But they were going to treat the Magic Jesus Meat disrespectfully!

      May 16, 2014 at 1:07 pm |
      • Alias

        I see your point.
        We need to take the next logical step and remove any video game from the shelves that stereotype zombies as moving targets.
        Equal rights for all darnit!

        May 16, 2014 at 1:21 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          What do we want?
          Braaaaaaiiiinnnnssss....

          When do we want it?
          Braaaaaaiiiinnnnsssss....

          May 16, 2014 at 1:31 pm |
    • noahsdadtopher

      So you'd like to worship Satan?

      May 16, 2014 at 1:09 pm |
      • Alias

        I clearly did not say that.
        Satan is a god in your religion, not mine.
        I just respect the right of poeple to worship who ever they want.
        Christians are limiting the rights of people they dissagree with. I find that objectionable.

        May 16, 2014 at 1:16 pm |
        • toleranceofall

          And yet, Christians are the most persecuted religious group in the world according to a 2014 report by the Pew Research Center.

          May 16, 2014 at 1:20 pm |
        • noahsdadtopher

          Alias

          "I clearly did not say that."

          Didn't mean to insinuate you said that. Just trying to understand your point.

          "Satan is a god in your religion, not mine."

          Actually, he's not a god in my religion.

          "I just respect the right of poeple to worship who ever they want."

          So you're not one of those on these boards who wishes all religions to go away? Thanks for that!

          "Christians are limiting the rights of people they dissagree with. I find that objectionable."

          Which rights are those?

          May 16, 2014 at 1:20 pm |
        • midwest rail

          " Christians are the most persecuted religious group in the world according to a 2014 report by the Pew Research Center."
          Which is clearly reprehensible. Thankfully, that is not the case in the United States. Unfortunately, the fringes of the evangelical movement have usurped the center, and actively seek to persecute others. That, also, is reprehensible.

          May 16, 2014 at 1:26 pm |
        • In Santa We Trust

          topher
          "Which rights are those?"
          The right to have only science taught in science classes not religious myth – and it is not comparative myth, christians only wnat the christian myth taught despite a total lack of evidence to support and mountain of evidence to refute.

          The right to not have a state-supported religion.

          May 16, 2014 at 1:27 pm |
        • noahsdadtopher

          Actually, I'm one of those who only wants science taught in a science classroom. I don't think it's the government's business to teach religion (mostly because they'd be REALLY bad at it.) But of course you know that means I'm also opposed to evolution being taught. But that's another subject. Science in the classroom should stick with testable, repeatable FACTS.

          May 16, 2014 at 1:30 pm |
        • Alias

          @tolleranceofall
          You seem to be using your persecution as an excuse to persecute others.
          Jesus did not treach that was okay.

          May 16, 2014 at 1:36 pm |
        • Alias

          topher
          The true Satanist religion uses the old testament/torah.
          That is part of your religion.

          May 16, 2014 at 1:38 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          Evolution in school?!?!
          A biology classroom is no place to teach the most fundamental theory in the science of biology.

          " Does the evolutionary doctrine clash with religious faith? It does not. It is a blunder to mistake the Holy Scriptures for elementary textbooks of astronomy, geology, biology, and anthropology. Only if symbols are construed to mean what they are not intended to mean can there arise imaginary, insoluble conflicts.... the blunder leads to blasphemy: the Creator is accused of systematic deceitfulness."

          — Theodosius Dobzhansky, "Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution" (1973)

          May 16, 2014 at 1:40 pm |
        • noahsdadtopher

          Alias

          "The true Satanist religion uses the old testament/torah. That is part of your religion."

          I don't know that that's true, but even if it is, he's still not a god.

          May 16, 2014 at 1:41 pm |
        • Alias

          Satan has godlike powers.
          He rules over the underworld.
          He is eternal and influences people to give him their souls.
          Even if you don't believe he is as powerful as another god, he is clearly A god in the bible.

          May 16, 2014 at 1:54 pm |
        • noahsdadtopher

          Doc Vestibule

          "Does the evolutionary doctrine clash with religious faith? It does not."

          False. It conflicts with the Bible in several ways.

          "It is a blunder to mistake the Holy Scriptures for elementary textbooks of astronomy, geology, biology, and anthropology."

          I agree. That's not the point of the Bible. But the statements it does make on these subjects are accurate.

          May 16, 2014 at 1:55 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          @Topher
          I humbly suggest you take a few minutes to peruse Dobzhansky's paper.

          May 16, 2014 at 1:57 pm |
        • noahsdadtopher

          Alias

          "Satan has godlike powers."

          Such as?

          "He rules over the underworld."

          Only in cartoons. Not in the Bible.

          "He is eternal and influences people to give him their souls."

          We are all eternal in a spiritual sense.

          "Even if you don't believe he is as powerful as another god, he is clearly A god in the bible."

          No.There is only one God.

          May 16, 2014 at 1:59 pm |
        • noahsdadtopher

          Doc Vestibule

          "I humbly suggest you take a few minutes to peruse Dobzhansky's paper."

          How long is it? I already know his ideas are false just by the one paragraph you posted.

          May 16, 2014 at 2:00 pm |
        • sam stone

          "Which rights are those?"

          Marriage, Topher

          You want to deny gays the right to marry because your religion says it's a sin

          May 16, 2014 at 2:05 pm |
        • Alias

          Topher, king of the close minded!
          You didn't say you believe there is only one god. I would agree and respect that you believe that.
          You refuse to acknowledge that other people have different beliefs that are just as valid as your own.
          Satanists believe there is more than one god. You would be a better person if you at least respected their opinions and beliefs.

          May 16, 2014 at 2:12 pm |
        • noahsdadtopher

          Alias

          "You didn't say you believe there is only one god. I would agree and respect that you believe that."

          I believe the Bible and IT says there's only one.

          "You refuse to acknowledge that other people have different beliefs that are just as valid as your own."

          I acknowledge other people have different beliefs. But you'll have to tell me what you mean by "valid."

          "Satanists believe there is more than one god. You would be a better person if you at least respected their opinions and beliefs."

          I respect their right to believe whatever they want. That doesn't mean they are right, though.

          May 16, 2014 at 2:17 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          "8 Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. 9 And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.” Matt 4:8,9

          If Satan isn't a god in the bible then how could he make this offer?

          The bible clearly states "2 “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. 3 “You shall have no other gods before Me."

          Notice it doesn't say "And there are no other gods" or "And am the only God".

          The problem is what is defined as "God" is different for every person who has ever lived, ever. No two people have the exact same understanding of something no one has ever seen, they can't, it's an impossibility. As such any alien race or unknown entlty would likely be considered a "god" or "God" and much like the ever elusive "alien visitors" many nut jobs like to imagine have visited earth, so too is your God, a figment of your imagination.

          May 16, 2014 at 2:24 pm |
        • noahsdadtopher

          neverbeenhappieratheist

          I thought you atheists knew the Bible better than Christians.

          "If Satan isn't a god in the bible then how could he make this offer?"

          "You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father's desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies." John 8:44 ... just because he made the offer doesn't mean he'd be able to make good on it.

          "Notice it doesn't say "And there are no other gods" or "And am the only God"."

          "“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one." Deuteronomy 6:4. The whole "no other gods" means there should be nothing in your life more important than Him. Anything can be your "god." Sunday football games. Alcohol. Your children's activities.

          May 16, 2014 at 2:38 pm |
        • Alias

          So when god said 'Choose no other god before me' he wasn't talking about RA or Zues, but he meant not to get too into your football. Nice slip into a new context there.

          May 16, 2014 at 2:55 pm |
        • noahsdadtopher

          Alias

          "So when god said 'Choose no other god before me' he wasn't talking about RA or Zues, but he meant not to get too into your football. Nice slip into a new context there."

          “You shall have no other gods before me." Exodus 20:3. Let's make sure the quote is correct. Now, if your "god" is "Zeus" then that would be putting something besides Him in importance, wouldn't it. So it still has the same meaning. It's not a "new context" at all. It's the historically held position on the verse.

          May 16, 2014 at 3:08 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          By every single measurement available to humans today, one would have to conclude that Satan is a god/God as defined by his description in the bible. The general world view of what a god/God is states: a superhuman being or spirit worshiped as having power over nature or human fortunes; a deity.

          You can have a sub folder if you wish of "Most High God" or "Creator" if you wish, but that doesn't change the fact that the Satan in the bible is a god by just about every definition.

          I believe both your God and Satan are Gods as much as Zeus was or any other invented name to represent a peoples imagined supernatural deity. Since we have found exactly ZERO evidence of any gods/Gods I must conclude that either none exist or we just have not come in contact with them yet and all previous impressions of what a God is should be thrown out the window.

          May 16, 2014 at 3:42 pm |
        • noahsdadtopher

          neverbeenhappieratheist

          "By every single measurement available to humans today, one would have to conclude that Satan is a god/God as defined by his description in the bible. The general world view of what a god/God is states: a superhuman being or spirit worshiped as having power over nature or human fortunes; a deity."

          You need to go back and read the Bible if that's what you think it says about him. Not only does he not match your definition, the Bible is very clear he is not God or "a god." "Every measurement," as you claimed, would include the Bible and it's very clear on the subject. So you've kind of defeated your own argument.

          May 16, 2014 at 3:46 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          I recommend reading the bible again Topher without your "I really really want to believe" glasses on. Just try coming to it as a reasonable human reading a book written by humans instead of a needy child looking for a magical story that tells you that you're super special.

          May 16, 2014 at 3:48 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          You have not provided a single scripture that says Satan is not a god, so i don't know what you are smoking. I have read it cover to cover several times and from Satan using a snake to speak to eve (supernatural power over nature) to his trip into heaven to sit before God and discuss Job, to his offer of world to Jesus who, if he didn't have the authority to offer it would not have done so unless he thought Jesus was a total idiot who hadn't just been given the knowledge of his pre-human existence when baptized by his cousin John in the Jordan river. You are running your logic around in circles and all its done is kick up enough dust for you to lose sight of your pursuer, you know, facts, truth and reality.

          May 16, 2014 at 3:52 pm |
        • sam stone

          topher, are you going to respond to my allegation that you want to deny gays the right to marry, or are you going to run and hide like your dominant alter ego, gopher?

          May 16, 2014 at 4:01 pm |
        • noahsdadtopher

          neverbeenhappieratheist

          "You have not provided a single scripture that says Satan is not a god, so i don't know what you are smoking."

          You mean besides the quote that says God is one? So unless you want to argue that God claims not to be God ...

          This is just foolishness.

          May 16, 2014 at 4:10 pm |
        • noahsdadtopher

          sam stone

          "topher, are you going to respond to my allegation that you want to deny gays the right to marry, or are you going to run and hide like your dominant alter ego, gopher?"

          Rabbit trail. It has nothing to do with the subject at hand.

          If all you atheists have is name-calling, scripture twisting and general ridiculousness, there's no point in continuing the conversation.

          May 16, 2014 at 4:12 pm |
        • Alias

          We have science too.
          Along with logic and reason.
          That being said, We agree – there's no point in continuing the conversation.

          May 16, 2014 at 4:18 pm |
        • sam stone

          you asked which rights you were denying others and i pointed one out

          you did what was expected, you avoided the question by saying "rabbit trail"

          you are truly a coward

          you will be an embarrassment to your children someday soon

          May 16, 2014 at 4:22 pm |
        • sam stone

          run, gopher, run

          May 16, 2014 at 4:23 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          "besides the quote that says God is one?"

          maybe you are getting yourself all confused thinking everyone has the same impression of what you mean by "God" as a scripture that says God is one would be far more persuasive an argument against the trinity and not a claim that no other gods exist.

          Your narrow definition of God is the problem here.

          May 16, 2014 at 4:30 pm |
      • Doc Vestibule

        [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I4FQoznrVwU&w=640&h=360]

        May 16, 2014 at 1:16 pm |
      • samsstones

        Topher
        Your first dumb question of the day, congrats.
        Just another piece of knowledge you will have to reject. A 13,000 year old skeleton of a young woman has been discovered in a cave in Mexico, kind of screws your young earth belief yet again. Mind you a born again fundie jesus freaking nutter like you is safely in your delusional bubble that no amount of knowledge will ever be able to penetrate. I just hope your kid can escape before it's mind is totally fvcked up.

        May 16, 2014 at 1:27 pm |
        • noahsdadtopher

          samsstones

          "Your first dumb question of the day, congrats."

          Thanks!

          "Just another piece of knowledge you will have to reject. A 13,000 year old skeleton of a young woman has been discovered in a cave in Mexico, kind of screws your young earth belief yet again."

          13,000 ISN'T young? And of course my question would be: Which dating method was used?

          May 16, 2014 at 1:39 pm |
        • samsstones

          Topher
          What does it matter to you what method was used, you would find a way to refute all information that you nutters cannot accept. That is what you do, blind ignorance.

          May 16, 2014 at 2:10 pm |
        • noahsdadtopher

          samsstones

          It matters because dating methods have proven to be suspect. No two give you the same numbers, so there's always bias when you declare a number. Why did the scientist use that one? Why are they not willing to explain themselves in their research? There are many problems with dating methods and I choose not to put my trust in them.

          May 16, 2014 at 2:20 pm |
        • samsstones

          Topherism a condition that allows a person to reject all knowledge that does not agree with that persons a priori beliefs. (also known as Philioidiotism).
          You really do not give a fvck if the rest of the world, that would be the sane part, agree that a combination of dating methods can provide an accurate age because you can't, it would prove a lie to young earth nutters. You are a pathetic liar who has admitted breaking all of your rather weird ten commandments. Turn yourself in to the authorities, the society would be much safer if you were incarcerated.

          May 16, 2014 at 2:30 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          Topher likes to imagine that scientists just use 1 method, usually whichever one shouyld give the least accurate date and then never cross check it again and just jot that down as fact. The problem is that the entire scientific community gets to peer review, study and verify the data from the initial scientist doing the work and making the claim. The big dating method out for young earth creationists is to claim that radiocarbon dating is flawed and shouldn't be used because of it's short half life. Well that is true when dating things over 50,000 years but for anything within 50,000 years it works very well and has been proved accurate within a few hundred years. Young earth creationists want to claim that beacuse the data could be off a few hundred years then you might as well discard any and all data because unless you give them the exact second the fossil was created they won't believe its any older than a few thousand years. Much like flat earthers who you would have to take into orbit to prove to them the shape of the earth, young earth creationists won't accept any data that disagrees with their uneducated world view.

          May 16, 2014 at 2:35 pm |
        • samsstones

          never...
          Quite right. Topherism rules among the born again fundie jesus freaking nutters.

          May 16, 2014 at 2:41 pm |
        • noahsdadtopher

          neverbeenhappieratheist

          "Topher likes to imagine that scientists just use 1 method, usually whichever one shouyld give the least accurate date and then never cross check it again and just jot that down as fact."

          I'm sure they use multiple methods, but in the end they have to pick one's results. No two give the same numbers. All I'm asking is that they state which the ended up using and why they went with that number opposed to the others. I don't see why this is a problem.

          "The big dating method out for young earth creationists is to claim that radiocarbon dating is flawed and shouldn't be used because of it's short half life."

          Yes, that's a problem with radio-carbon dating. But there's also the problem of it "working" when we don't know how old the thing is and NOT working when we DO know the date. You don't see the problem here?

          May 16, 2014 at 2:44 pm |
        • samsstones

          Topher
          Are you to stupid to understand what an average result would be or a median result would be when determining the age of a relic? You are.

          May 16, 2014 at 2:47 pm |
        • noahsdadtopher

          samsstones

          You didn't answer my question. Is 13,000 years not YOUNG?

          May 16, 2014 at 2:54 pm |
        • samsstones

          Topher
          In my world 13,000 years ago is indeed young in the history of mankind. In your world a 13,000 year old human is not possible, what point are you trying to make other than asking yet another stupid question?

          May 16, 2014 at 2:59 pm |
        • noahsdadtopher

          I believe the date is off, yes.

          May 16, 2014 at 3:04 pm |
        • samsstones

          Topher
          My error. The first "humans" date back to 200,000 years and "modern" human activity date back to 50,000 years. So a skeleton of a human found in North America dating back 13,000 years is relative in terms of young or old. What you believe is that this age could not be possible given you believe in Genesis and the great flood and all.

          May 16, 2014 at 3:08 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          If a 13,000 year old womans remains don't seem plausible to you Topher, what about Göbekli Tepe ? The imposing stratigraphy of Göbekli Tepe shows many centuries of activity, beginning at least as early as the epipaleolithic, or Pre-Pottery Neolithic A, in the 10th millennium BC. The PPNA buildings have been dated to about the close of the 10th millennium BCE. There are remains of smaller houses from the Pre-Pottery Neolithic B (PPNB) era and a few epipalaeolithic finds as well. There are a number of radiocarbon dates from charcoal in the lowest levels of the site and would date the active phase of occupation. All the different dating methods used give a fairly accurate date of of construction to be approximately 9000 BCE +/- 500 years. That means humans built a city over 11,000 years ago, not 6,000 as your bible would like to imply. I guess i'm wasting my breath because you will never accept it as fact as long as you want to believe in your fairy tale.

          May 16, 2014 at 3:10 pm |
        • noahsdadtopher

          samsstones

          "What you believe is that this age could not be possible given you believe in Genesis and the great flood and all."

          True. I have no problem with the discovery (as some of you have claimed) ... my problem is with the date. That's all.

          May 16, 2014 at 3:15 pm |
        • samsstones

          Topher
          Blindly declaring that you are right and that all others are wrong by default without providing any evidence or proof to back up your assertions. Topher ignoring the wealth of information to remain ignorant is what you are going to teach your child, you are desp-icable.

          May 16, 2014 at 3:25 pm |
        • noahsdadtopher

          samsstones

          "Blindly declaring that you are right and that all others are wrong by default without providing any evidence or proof to back up your assertions."

          How can I provide any more proof when the scientists don't reveal the dating method they used? All I can do is comment in general why I don't put any faith in dating methods.

          May 16, 2014 at 3:39 pm |
        • samsstones

          Topher
          Yet again another cowardly cop out. You can easily determine the methods used to determine the age of relics just by searching the subject. Do you rally think they make it up as they go along? Your idiot remarks on soft dinosaur tissue is a perfect example of how you nutters twist a scientists findings to suit your agenda. Liars and cowards the whole bunch of you.

          May 16, 2014 at 3:47 pm |
        • hotairace

          Topher, where can we find your scholarly article that assesses each dating method, conclusively showing why each is wrong? Such an article, reviewed and accepted by independent scientists, would be of great service to all scientists, but especially to those who have provided incorrect dates in the absence of your superior knowledge.

          May 16, 2014 at 3:53 pm |
        • noahsdadtopher

          samsstones

          "Yet again another cowardly cop out."

          How so?

          "You can easily determine the methods used to determine the age of relics just by searching the subject."

          Unless this specific scientist tells us on this specific discovery, I won't know which method was used. There's a LOT of methods and likely more than one was used (or at least I hope more than one was used.)

          "Do you rally think they make it up as they go along?"

          No, not at all. I never said anything close to this.

          "Your idiot remarks on soft dinosaur tissue is a perfect example of how you nutters twist a scientists findings to suit your agenda. Liars and cowards the whole bunch of you."

          I don't recall EVER commenting on dinosaur soft tissue. It's amazing that it's out there, though.

          May 16, 2014 at 4:00 pm |
        • noahsdadtopher

          hotairace

          "Topher, where can we find your scholarly article that assesses each dating method, conclusively showing why each is wrong?"

          It's called Google. Do your own research. There's tons of not only articles, but books.

          "Such an article, reviewed and accepted by independent scientists, would be of great service to all scientists, but especially to those who have provided incorrect dates in the absence of your superior knowledge."

          It has nothing to do with my knowledge, just want everyone to be honest in their research. It's well known the problems with the dating methods. And you can believe them if you want to, but don't pretend there aren't problems. Especially when it's been established they don't work when we know the age of something (days) and the test results come back as millions. Or the methods that require evolution to be true. Or when Carbon 14 is used to date things in the millions (which it cannot possibly do as pointed out earlier.) You're putting a lot of faith in something that has been shown to be suspect at best.

          May 16, 2014 at 4:06 pm |
        • samsstones

          Topher
          Did you ever consider going to the article announcing the discovery and seeing what information they provided? The article would also provide a link so that you could ask the scientists what methods they used for dating. No that would be too difficult for you because you really do not want to know, do you? Grovel in your ignorance but let your child be educated in the REAL world, please.

          May 16, 2014 at 4:07 pm |
        • noahsdadtopher

          samsstones

          Give me the link to the article you read.

          May 16, 2014 at 4:08 pm |
        • samsstones

          Topher
          There is a video clip on the main page of CNN on this story. If you are really interested you can follow that information that is provided. I also think there is a link on another news service that I will try to find, but to what point you would not believe it in any case, you simply cannot!!!!

          May 16, 2014 at 4:18 pm |
        • samsstones

          Topher
          I absolutely know you will reject this but search Roberto Chavez Arce via Science/Associated Press more knowledge you can reject.

          May 16, 2014 at 4:28 pm |
        • hotairace

          Topher, let's cut to the chase. You will not accept anything that conflicts with your understanding of The Babble. You have no reason to be concerned about the date or the dating method other than the date does not agree with your understanding of The Babble. Your entire objection is intended to maintain your delusional belief in something for which there is no actual evidence.

          May 16, 2014 at 4:32 pm |
        • samsstones

          Hotairace exactly
          Topherism a condition that allows a person to reject all knowledge that does not agree with that persons a priori beliefs. (also known as Philioidiotism)
          Topher is a born again fundie jesus freaking nutter that does not seem to mind being a liar and coward and really quite stupid.

          May 16, 2014 at 4:43 pm |
        • hotairace

          From an article about the 13,000 year old girl at http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2629505/Was-Naia-American-Teenage-girls-skeleton-dating-ice-age-13-000-years-ago-oldest-Americas.html:

          "HOW SCIENTISTS GAVE NAIA AN AGE
          "
          Assessing the skeleton's age required a novel approach given the challenging environmental conditions.
          The research team analyzed tooth enamel and bat-dropped seeds using radiocarbon dating and calcite deposits found on the bones using the uranium-thorium method, establishing an age of between 12,000 and 13,000 years.
          Analyses of DNA extracted from the skeleton's wisdom tooth found it belonged to an Asian-derived lineage that occurs only in America (haplogroup D, subhaplogroup D1).
          Finding a skeleton with DNA from one of America's founding lineages in Central America greatly expands the geographic distribution of confirmed Beringians among the earliest Americans.

          Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2629505/Was-Naia-American-Teenage-girls-skeleton-dating-ice-age-13-000-years-ago-oldest-Americas.html#ixzz31uhXm2tB"

          Go ahead Topher, shred their methodology.

          And while your at it, tell us why you think numerous scientists would provide incorrect dating? How would that enhance their standing within the scientific community?

          May 16, 2014 at 4:50 pm |
        • samsstones

          hotairace
          Of course when backed into a corner Topher will run away like the coward he is but will be back later and simply ignore this thread. How these born again fundie jesus freaking nutters can live with themselves is a mystery.

          May 16, 2014 at 4:57 pm |
        • hotairace

          Yup, I agree and it's a mystery. I feel sorry for his child. How fucked up will it be? Only point of disagreement is I don't think they run away, more like they slither. . .

          May 16, 2014 at 5:06 pm |
        • samsstones

          hotairace
          Well I can see Topher finding a verse or two in the book of silly saying that he is doomed to be ridiculed by the heretics and that he and his family should suffer by the wrath of his loving god. Let us just hope that Topher just flagellates himself and does not take it out on the wife and kiddies. Hard to tell with these nutters since he thinks his new born child is already a sinner and has to tow the biblical line. East of Eden comes to mind.

          May 16, 2014 at 5:22 pm |
        • hotairace

          Topher, can we expect an answer or two when you are done being offended by a few naughty words?

          May 16, 2014 at 6:52 pm |
  15. Rainer Helmut Braendlein

    It is really sad that people get persecuted for their different belief. I myself am a Christian, and would never support the persecution of people of different faith. Certainly conversion of many people is desireabel, but God forces nobody and is very patient. The decision is voluntary.

    One could get the impression that here in the West the situation would be better: Free exercise of religion.

    But that is only ostensively true. There is a religion in the West everybody is compelled to join: Materialism, meritocracy, the idolatry of the Mammon in biblical terms.

    Today only the high-performance man matters. People in the West are competing: Better job, bigger car, bigger house, better wife, etc. That system is against the principle of love of neighbour, it is anti-Christian. Jesus also loves the weak people.

    The persecution of Christianity in the West is more subtle: Unbiased love of neighbour undesireable. Only the high-peformance man experiences appreciaton. Forget the weak.

    Solution: We need a new (Christian) power elite which seeks the holistic happiness of the peoples. The current power elite is only interested in the increase of the national product of the flocks even on the cost of the soul's health of the people.

    Don't get me wrong: The Western laws which protect free exercise of religion are very good. Yet, seemingly, nobody notices the evil beast which walks around an eats us up. The laws protecting free exercise of religion are of no benefit for us as long as the beast materialism is not tamed. This evil religion suppresses all other religions including Christianity. Bottom line all religions save materialism still exist in name only today. The power elite thinks: Let them (religious idiots) celebrate their ridiculous rites at Sunday as long as it doesn't affect too much their performance during the work week.

    Prayer: God, please send us a new Christian ruler.

    May 16, 2014 at 11:17 am |
    • Alias

      You are reaching new levels of delusional.
      you are almost ready to report for FoxNews.

      May 16, 2014 at 11:24 am |
    • zhilla1980wasp

      rainer:

      1) america has seen what a "christian ruler" would do, that's why we fought for independence from england.

      2) i'm pretty certain the "beast" you speek of would be argued by the vatican and those properity preachers in L.A. that have million dollar homes and bentleys.

      3)" but God forces nobody and is very patient. The decision is voluntary."
      well that just completely falls apart when you realize that gods are all powerful and all knowing, thus you never had a choice to begin with; simply the illusion of choice.

      4) no one is forcing you to live in the modern world; you can opt out and go live in the woods. most folks simply wouldn't care. we also aren't forcing you to take modern medicine that would extend your life beyond that of your god's wish; however i imagine you take meds to help with all sorts of disorders...............or once the time arises.

      May 16, 2014 at 11:32 am |
      • Rainer Helmut Braendlein

        I think there is no more unspoiled countryside where I could escape.

        May 16, 2014 at 11:52 am |
        • zhilla1980wasp

          rainer:

          sure there are.
          the yucan is still mainly undisturbed.
          plenty of national parks are large enough that if you kept moving day to day you wouldn't be found.
          some folks in america have yards so large they never check most of it, so you could hide in those easy enough.

          so if the material world is too much, please go find a tree or cave to dwell in; there are quite a few left to occupy.

          May 16, 2014 at 1:46 pm |
    • transframer

      You are right but I don't understand what you mean by a new Christian ruler. Are you talking about a political ruler (a president maybe?), a religious leader (the pope?) or what?

      May 16, 2014 at 11:35 am |
      • Rainer Helmut Braendlein

        I talk about a political ruler whose personal faith is Christianity.

        May 16, 2014 at 11:49 am |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          Right, you want someone ruling the planet that gives favors to you and your friends, so basically you want what Hitler wanted.

          May 16, 2014 at 11:56 am |
        • Rainer Helmut Braendlein

          You err. I would welcome a ruler who would fight people like Hitler.

          May 16, 2014 at 12:00 pm |
        • Alias

          Look at how well Germany did under Hitler, for example.
          I mean until he started the war and all.

          May 16, 2014 at 11:56 am |
        • Rainer Helmut Braendlein

          Hitler was not led by Christianity but by his basest instincts.

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

          Unfortunately real Christians are modest human beings who don't have the desire to rule the world. On the other hand many political figures pose as Christians in order to achieve their goals and altering the reputation of Christianity. Take US for example where GOP pretends to be Christian but keep pushing weapons and wars all around.

          May 16, 2014 at 12:09 pm |
        • G to the T

          I'm pretty sure the last one (Bush) was a christian, and I can't say I was too impressed by the results.

          May 16, 2014 at 12:09 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          References to Godwin's Law aside, the notion of welcoming a "Christian Ruler" is exactly what got the German people in trouble in the 1930s.

          Let's all hope (and those who like to pray can pray) that this never happens again. The disturbing conclusion here is that if there are enough people like Rainer who want an overtly "Christian" ruler it just might.

          Even the use of ruler is disturbing, though it might be a language thing. There is a very good reason Ranier might not pick the word "leader". It has unfortunate associations in his native German.

          May 16, 2014 at 12:10 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          "On the other hand many political figures pose as Christians in order to achieve their goals and altering the reputation of Christianity. Take US for example where GOP pretends to be Christian but keep pushing weapons and wars all around."
          -----------------–
          I agree with you 100% there. Humility is not well correlated with ambition for high office.

          May 16, 2014 at 12:12 pm |
        • kudlak

          Rainer Helmut Braendlein
          "I would welcome a ruler who would fight people like Hitler."

          Hmmm... you don't strike me as a FDR fan.

          May 16, 2014 at 12:20 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          If only America were ready to have an openly Christian President.
          Or maybe 44 of them in a row...

          May 16, 2014 at 1:06 pm |
        • kudlak

          Rainer
          It seems to me that a lot of people's Christianity are led by their basest instincts, as well. There are many good people who call themselves Christian, and also many selfish and vile people who call themselves that too. What that says is that Christianity doesn't guide people's behavior, but the other way round.

          May 16, 2014 at 1:07 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          Kudlak,

          Being a Christian doesn’t make you immune to the flesh we are clothed in.

          May 16, 2014 at 1:11 pm |
        • kudlak

          Robert Brown
          That's like saying that AA won't actually help you manage your alcoholism.

          If it can't help you become a better person, what good is it?

          May 16, 2014 at 1:18 pm |
        • transframer

          kudlak: People can call themselves whatever they want. It's not what they are called but how they behave that defines them

          May 16, 2014 at 1:42 pm |
        • kudlak

          transframer
          Then it doesn't matter whether you be Christian, Taoist, Jewish, atheist, Muslim, Satan worshiper, or whatever; people doing good and bad can be found anywhere. So, what's the point of religion then?

          May 16, 2014 at 2:02 pm |
        • Alias

          The point of religion is to controll the masses.
          Same as it has always been.

          May 16, 2014 at 2:06 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          Kudlak,
          Help you be a better person, biblically speaking, yes. Guarantee that you will never mess up, no way. An interesting fact about Christianity is that your personal salvation is not tied to your prior or future behavior. All other religions require adherence to a particular set of behaviors in order to gain entry into heaven. That doesn’t mean anything goes for the Christian. Paul explained it well in his writings. We love God and our neighbor because God loved us first. We try our best to obey God because he loved us first. We demonstrate our love for God and our neighbor by our behavior. When we fail forgiveness is available. What could be better than that?

          May 16, 2014 at 2:10 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          "gain entry into heaven." So why do I want to go there again? What will I do once I get there? Will I still be me? If not who will I be? If I am me then won't I get bored with eternity? Will I ever have to behave again? Will I no longer have the ability to sin since the test is over? And if I can't sin then wouldn't I just be like the robots Christians claim God doesn't want which is why he gave us free will? Or is it not so much that you want to get into heaven as you want to avoid going to heII? And whats with heII anyway? Will it really be painful even though I will no longer have any nerves as those would have been left in my physical body? And if there is pain, why? What is the purpose of the pain? On earth it is a warning system for our bodies to help keep us out of harms way, to move our hands from the hot stove before we burn our fingers off. In heII what good is it? Is it purely revenge?

          May 16, 2014 at 2:43 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          Neverbeenhappieratheist,

          “"gain entry into heaven." So why do I want to go there again?”

          We are told heaven is a place of peace and joy. No more pain, no more sorrow. Who wouldn’t want to be in a place where those things no longer exist? If God would give us a place like this to live our short physical lives, could we even imagine the place he has prepared for us to spend eternity?

          “ What will I do once I get there?”

          Don’t know.

          “Will I still be me? If not who will I be?”

          You will be you, minus the corruptible flesh.

          “ If I am me then won't I get bored with eternity?”
          No, I don’t think so.

          “Will I ever have to behave again?”
          No

          “ Will I no longer have the ability to sin since the test is over?”
          You won’t sin because you won’t have this flesh.
          “And if I can't sin then wouldn't I just be like the robots Christians claim God doesn't want which is why he gave us free will?”
          Don’t know.

          “ Or is it not so much that you want to get into heaven as you want to avoid going to heII?”
          There is a heaven to gain and a hell to shun.

          “ And whats with heII anyway? Will it really be painful even though I will no longer have any nerves as those would have been left in my physical body?”
          Your body will be resurrected.

          “And if there is pain, why? What is the purpose of the pain?”
          I don’t how much physical pain, but I can’t imagine the pain of knowing that you are eternally separated from the creator of the universe.

          “On earth it is a warning system for our bodies to help keep us out of harms way, to move our hands from the hot stove before we burn our fingers off. In heII what good is it? Is it purely revenge?”
          Revenge no, judgment yes. It is better to be judged now than later.

          May 16, 2014 at 4:11 pm |
        • kudlak

          Robert Brown
          Forgive me for saying it, but being a "biblically better" person isn't my definition of being good. Maybe in less than a 100 years Christians will have outgrown the last of the Bible's bigotries, but I doubt that it will ever outgrow it's reliance upon superst.ition and fear.

          "Personal Salvation" from what; an awful afterlife that God forces upon those who reject him?

          Creating the first couple wasn't an act of love, was it? God supposedly created Adam to worship him, and then he created Eve to keep Adam happy. Maybe afterwards he loved them, but only until they disobeyed, and what child does not disobey?

          Then he made them suffer, correct? What kind of a loving father does that, even to the worse of his children?

          May 16, 2014 at 4:50 pm |
        • kudlak

          Robert Brown
          If a man left a collection of dangerous things around his home, things that he could easily remove, but chose to keep them anyway because he wanted to see which of his children would disobey his command to keep away from them, would he still be a "good" father?

          May 16, 2014 at 5:04 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          "There is a heaven to gain and a hell to shun."

          While worrying about that many forget about the only actual life they have and may ever get. Truly sad.

          Choose to be happy here. Choose to be happy now. The way to be happy is to make others so. It's a pretty simple recipe and it never fails as long as you follow it to the letter.

          May 17, 2014 at 4:11 am |
        • sam stone

          "We are told heaven is a place of peace and joy. No more pain, no more sorrow. Who wouldn’t want to be in a place where those things no longer exist?"

          If you truly believed that, what are you doing down here?

          May 17, 2014 at 9:39 am |
        • Rainer Helmut Braendlein

          Christ is still present on earth through his Church where the Spirit dwells, and he tries to save guys like you. That is the reason why we are not yet allowed to leave, though all of us would prefer heaven, and the full presence of Life (the Father, the Son and the Spirit).

          May 17, 2014 at 9:48 am |
        • kermit4jc

          We are working...that's what we are doing down here..biding our time when we are called

          May 19, 2014 at 4:45 pm |
        • kudlak

          Rainer
          But the question is, "save us" from what? Any way you boil it down it's still God being so narcissistic as to not want to "save" people who don't worship him, correct?

          May 17, 2014 at 2:04 pm |
        • Rainer Helmut Braendlein

          God has built an universe which basic foundation is love. God as the head loves us, and he wants us to love each other and Him. I don't feel like blaming God for being a God who likes the principle of love, and I don't feel like blaming God for being a God, who will once condemn for ever the individuals who prefered hatred against their fellow human beings and God himself against love.

          May 17, 2014 at 2:12 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      "God, please send us a new Christian ruler.
      ------------

      I'm imagining something that is 12' long (or 30cm take your pick) with graduated markings on the long edges and little fish and crucifix pictograms on it.

      May 16, 2014 at 11:40 am |
      • midwest rail

        + 1

        May 16, 2014 at 11:43 am |
      • hotairace

        I was trying to come with the atheist, superior version but you made that hard by mentioning metric units.

        May 16, 2014 at 11:45 am |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          Our Lutheran friends in Germany do use the metric system.

          May 16, 2014 at 11:50 am |
        • hotairace

          I understand Europe is almost exclusively metric. With regard to Lutherans, sometimes even the dumbest get something right.

          May 16, 2014 at 11:54 am |
      • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

        Something like this:

        http://www.adoremusbooks.com/images/view.aspx?productId=35113

        "The Golden Rule(r)"

        May 16, 2014 at 11:52 am |
    • sam stone

      No, Rainy, you just want to persecute them for being gay

      May 16, 2014 at 11:48 am |
      • Rainer Helmut Braendlein

        A Christian ruler would never persecute gays. He only would make sure that gay lifestyle would not get legalized too much. They would be allowed to live on the fringes of society.

        The Church would always preach the gospel to them, and welcome them as soon as they repent.

        God doesn't want the death of the sinner, but his or her restoration.

        May 16, 2014 at 11:56 am |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          So, "separate but equal" eh Rainer?

          I know you are not American. Are you familiar with the context for the expression "separate but equal"?

          May 16, 2014 at 11:57 am |
        • Alias

          Limiting their rights and making them live on the fringes of society is not persecution?
          You really are a Nazi.

          May 16, 2014 at 12:00 pm |
        • Rainer Helmut Braendlein

          This has nothing to do with National Socialism. Gays were always marginalized by the older Western socities independent from any Nazis.

          The legalization of gay lifestyle is an phenomenon of the most modern time.

          May 16, 2014 at 12:07 pm |
        • zhilla1980wasp

          rainer:

          if you truly bothered to study history you would find most civilizations and their rulers had male and female partners.
          some kings were well known for being "friendly" toward the guys.

          gay people weren't pushed to the fringes until the christian movement had a head of steam. a lot of what is written and spoken about your bible was only put in there during recent times.

          May 16, 2014 at 12:24 pm |
        • Alias

          zilla beat me to it

          May 16, 2014 at 12:43 pm |
        • sam stone

          no, Rainy, i am not talking about a christian ruler

          i am talking about you

          you want to segregate gays

          you are nothing but a bigot hiding behind a bible

          May 16, 2014 at 9:35 pm |
    • kudlak

      Rainer
      You aren't getting persecuted for your different belief, but your different beliefs are getting criticized because they don't match measurable reality. Surely, we can both agree that people have the right to call something ridiculous when they see it, right?

      May 16, 2014 at 11:50 am |
      • Rainer Helmut Braendlein

        Genuine Christianity is no more desireable – that is the modern persecution of Christianity.

        May 16, 2014 at 11:57 am |
        • G to the T

          "Genuine Christianity" you need a little "(TM)" next to that Rainy.

          Odd that I've never met a christian who thought they didn't have THE proper interpretation of christianity.

          May 16, 2014 at 12:12 pm |
        • kudlak

          Didn't "Genuine Christianity" lose it's popularity to Paul's gentile-friendly version?

          May 17, 2014 at 1:53 pm |
        • Rainer Helmut Braendlein

          Boring!

          If you had a minimalist comprehension of the Bible, you would be clear in your mind that the earthly Jesus and St. Paul teached the same doctrine. St. Paul teached the doctrine of the heavenly Jesus; after all identical with the earthly Jesus, only that he was glorified. It plays no role, if Jesus was on earth, or is in heaven, it is always the same person, revealing the same doctrine.

          May 17, 2014 at 2:00 pm |
    • Madtown

      Prayer: God, please send us a new Christian ruler.
      ----
      No, God send us a "ruler" who thinks of all people as equal, and who won't give preference to any sub-grouping of humans based on man-made opinions, like religion.

      May 16, 2014 at 11:55 am |
      • Rainer Helmut Braendlein

        The Christian faith is the only faith enabling us to practice unbiased love. We are biased by nature. Without faith we are extremly selfish.

        May 16, 2014 at 11:59 am |
        • G to the T

          Your knowledge of world beliefs is woefully incorrect then.

          May 16, 2014 at 12:13 pm |
        • Madtown

          So, humans who have no concept of the existence of christianity are not able to love in an unbiased fashion? That seems kind of silly.

          May 16, 2014 at 12:15 pm |
  16. gulliblenomore

    Are the religious nut posters on this blog typical of the many nuts out there walking around with us? I have seen posts on here stating that the Jews had the Holocaust coming to them, that they believe the earth is really less than 10,000 years old, that the story of Noah....a 600 year old man building a wooden boat and floating around in it with 2 of every creature on the planet for over a year...was true, and that the bible was accurate in literally every printed word (including Leviticus, who claimed that I can stone my neighbor to death for wearing a cotton poly-blend shirt). They seem to have been born 2000 years too late and have yet to accurately defend even one of their positions. Their arrogance of 'they KNOW the TRUTH' is galling in every sense of the word and frustrating for any common sense person here. All religions need to die a quick, painful death.

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

      Your post provides excellent examples of how religion requires ignorance to perpetuate

      May 16, 2014 at 10:56 am |
    • Russ

      @ gullible:
      you said: "Their arrogance of 'they KNOW the TRUTH' is galling in every sense of the word and frustrating for any common sense person here. All religions need to die a quick, painful death."

      you are hoist by your own petard.

      May 16, 2014 at 10:57 am |
      • Lucifer's Evil Twin

        +1 for correctly using 'hoist[ed] by your own petard"

        May 16, 2014 at 11:26 am |
      • Madtown

        you are hoist by your own petard.
        ---–
        Wrong. He's not stating what he believes "truth" is, only that he correctly recognizes that any 1 religion declaring that it is "universal truth" is arrogant, and absurd.

        May 16, 2014 at 11:59 am |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          The tone @gulliblenomore used in this paragraph does have an ironic ring given when he accuses others of arrogance.

          Russ got the zinger here.

          May 16, 2014 at 12:05 pm |
        • gulliblenomore

          Madtown, you are indeed correct in your summation. That was exactly what I meant. The fact that every religion thinks they have the only truth is complete arrogance. I really did not think it was that difficult to understand.....

          May 16, 2014 at 5:18 pm |
      • gulliblenomore

        Russ......sorry, but if you were actually trying to say something clever, you were not understood. Try again, please.

        May 16, 2014 at 5:11 pm |
  17. transframer

    A common question asked here: Why doesn't ONE god show himself or herself or itself?
    The answer in also a question: Why don't you show up to your children at Christmas tree but instead bring the toys silently in the middle of night when they can't see you? Why don't you tell them : "I am Santa, I bring the toys" ?
    We are God's children and, for the same reasons, only at much larger scale, God can't show up in this life. He'll do it when we grow up, way up...

    May 16, 2014 at 10:41 am |
    • hotairace

      How childish! To use behaviors associated with an obvious myth to explain the behavior of an alleged but never proven god.

      Yet another example that delusional believers will say or do anything to maintain their delusions.

      May 16, 2014 at 10:44 am |
    • gulliblenomore

      transframer....that has to be the most stupid analogy of any kind that I have ever seen on this blog. But, you did get one thing right.....a child believing in Santa Claus is cute, but an adult believing in Santa Claus is insane.

      May 16, 2014 at 10:46 am |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      I know parents who are still offended by the Santa Claus lie they heard as children that their children get no gifts from Santa. Everything is labeled as being from Mom and Dad.

      May 16, 2014 at 10:53 am |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      "God can't show up in this life" What a useless and impotent being you worship...

      Jesus promised the end of all wicked people.
      Odin promised the end of all ice giants.
      I don't seen many Ice Giants walking around....

      May 16, 2014 at 11:02 am |
      • zhilla1980wasp

        all hail odin!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        wait what did zues promise to do........................well other than all the women? lol
        zues the original pimp. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

        May 16, 2014 at 1:50 pm |
  18. jblack321

    The writer of this article apparently has never been to China and only relies on other western articles written about China from other writers who seem to also have never been to China. I'm a Christian and I've lived in China and despite that there are SOME limitations to religious expression in China, I was surprised to discover that in some situations there are far more religious freedom in China than in America. I was an English teacher for a university and I was encouraged by the school, not to witness or try to convert, but to share the history, beliefs, and culture of the western Christian religion in an attempt to help them better understand western culture. I was encouraged to pass around a bible to my students and they were quite intrigued. Try doing something like that in an American classroom and see what happens. I freely expressed my faith to Chinese friends and strangers in public places when they asked without fear. I've been to their state sanctioned churches and found that they teach the same thing churches teach here in the west. The churches in China that get in trouble are those ones that either give off the impression that they are trying to hide something or the ones that open voice their opinion against the government.

    May 16, 2014 at 10:19 am |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      An open curiosity to religion would be a wonderful thing – and it is Consti.tutional in the US to look at religious texts in a literary context.

      If applied in the US public school context, the third rail is that this needs to be done as a comparative study.

      If the Bible is to be examined, then so too is the Q'uran and the Vedas and any other religious texts need to be in scope. I think this is a fantastic idea, but so many Christians will object to their children being exposed to other ideas and other religious minorities will object to their beliefs being 'explained' by a non-adherent such that in a public high-school it is usually impractical rather than impossible.

      May 16, 2014 at 10:40 am |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      "but to share the history, beliefs, and culture of the western Christian religion in an attempt to help them better understand western culture"

      “To know your Enemy, you must become your Enemy.” – Sun Tzu

      May 16, 2014 at 10:53 am |
    • alonsoquixote

      According to a 2013 "The Economist" article, "In the beginning was the ideogram" ( http://www.economist.com/news/china/21574529-china-has-become-one-largest-producers-bibles-world-beginning-was ), Christians make up 5% of China's population according to the Pew Research Center. China allows only one publisher in China, Amity, to produce Bibles, but that company is one of the largest producers of Bible in the world. It printed its 100-millionth bible in 2012. But most of those are shipped overseas. The article mentions that Bob Fu, founder of the Christian charity ChinaAid, which is based in the U.S., states that the China Christian Council (CCC), a government-approved Christian organization in the People's Republic of China, which serves as an umbrella organization for all Protestant churches, keeps a tight rein on who gets Amity's bibles by distributing them only to 55,00 "official" churches. Bob Fu was jailed in the 1990s for organizing an illegal "house church" in China while teaching English there. The article mentions that unofficial churches are frequently persecuted by the government for refusing to register with the government and that some churches refuse to join with official churches, which they regard as stooges of the Communist Party.

      Christianity Today has a February 2013 article written by Bob Fu "Persecution in China Is Very Real" at http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2013/february-web-only/persecution-in-china-is-very-real.html?paging=off regarding the persecution of "house church" Protestantism in China which notes:

      The ChinaAid annual report states simply that the number of incidents of "persecution" increased in 2012 from the previous years, including a number of arrest, sentencing to labor camps, short term detentions, ra_pe and torture in police custody, destruction and confiscation of property, beatings, fines, the loss of jobs or business licenses, and police intimidation. ... Abuses faced by Christians in China are not only a matter of corrupt local officials stealing land or because a church leader is publicly critical of the Communist Party. They occur because it is a policy set by the Communist Party, assisted by the Public Security Bureau and the State Administration of Religious Affairs and carried out by provincial police, an extra-legal anti-cult team called the 6-10 office, and local Religious Affairs Bureaus, a pervasive security and bureaucratic apparatus that does not exist to ensure the freedom of Chinese religious believers. ... Fearful of a collapse reminiscent of the Velvet Revolution in Eastern Europe, the Party sees all organizations it cannot control—Protestants and Catholics who refuse government oversight, democracy and free speech advocates, intellectuals, and labor unions—as the biggest political threat to their power.

      The government controls Catholic churches in China through the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association. The government uses that association, which is not recognized by the Vatican, to control the appointment of Catholic bishops in China. Pope Benedict XVI referred to the agents of the association as "persons who are not ordained, and sometimes not even baptised", who "control and take decisions concerning important ecclesial questions, including the appointment of Bishops".

      In regards to China having more religious freedom because you could pass around a Bible to students, you mention you were teaching at a university level. There are many university-level courses on Christianity in the U.S. where the Bible is the topic of study. At the elementary and high school level in the U.S., most students are already familiar with Christianity, since it is the predominant religion of the country, and the distribution of Bibles by teachers to students in public, taxpayer-funded schools would, obviously, be a mechanism for proselytizing. Private, religious schools can certainly do so, though.

      If such a distribution was allowed by teachers in public schools, many parents would doubtless not object as long as only Bibles were distributed, but can you imagine the outcry if teachers were also allowed to distribute Korans, Bhagavad Gitas, etc.?

      And if teachers were allowed to distribute Bibles, but no other sacred texts, to elementary and high school students, there would still be many parents objecting to teachers distributing the wrong Bibles, since there is no standard biblical canon used by all Christians. Catholic and Protestant Bibles don't match exactly in the books that are included within the Bibles. And Catholic and Protestant Bibles differ from those used by Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Christian denominations in the books that are considered canonical and thus included within them – see the tables for both the Old and New Testaments in the Wikipedia article "Biblical canon" for lists of books considered canonical by various Christian denominations.

      Even if a school district was almost exclusively Protestant, there would still likely be objections from Christian parents to schools distributing the wrong Bibles, since some denominations believe only the Authorized King James Version is authoritative. Other Protestants believe it is outdated and contains interpolated material, i.e., verses not written by the original authors, but inserted by later scribes copying Bibles.

      In 1844 in the city of Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Prayer Riots, also known as the Bible Riots, occurred. There were numerous deaths and injuries as a result of the riots in which opposing forces clashed with muskets and cannons. Rioters fired on the Church of St. Philip Neri with cannons and several Catholic churches were burned during the riots.

      What triggered the riots? Students in Philadelphia schools in the 1840s began the school day by reading the Protestant version of the Bible. In 1842, Philadelphia's Roman Catholic Bishop, Francis Kenrick, wrote a letter to the Board of Controllers of public schools, asking that Catholic children be allowed to read the Douai version of the Bible used by Roman Catholics. He also asked that they be excused from other religious teaching while at school. As a result, the Board of Controllers ordered that no child should be forced to participate in religious activities and stated that children were allowed whichever version of the Bible their parents wished. About a year later a school teacher, Hugh Clark, after learning that several students had left a school Bible reading to read a different version of the Bible commented that if reading the Bible in school caused this kind of confusion it would be better if it was not read in school. Anti-Catholics then claimed that Catholics were trying to remove the Bible from schools and the riots ensued. After the riots, Bishop Kenrick of Philadelphia ended his efforts to influence the public education system and began encouraging the creation of Catholic schools, with 17 being founded by 1860.

      In the U.S. we have separation of church and state. The government is not permitted to favor one religion over others nor even appear to promote one religion over others. It is that separation of church and state that has allowed Americans to avoid repeti_tions of such religious conflicts and enjoy freedom of religion.

      May 17, 2014 at 10:31 am |
  19. Lucifer's Evil Twin

    There are those who think that life has nothing left to chance
    A host of holy horrors to direct our aimless dance

    A planet of play things
    We dance on the strings
    Of powers we cannot perceive
    'The stars aren't aligned
    Or the gods are malign...'
    Blame is better to give than receive

    [Chorus:]
    You can choose a ready guide in some celestial voice
    If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice
    You can choose from phantom fears and kindness that can kill
    I will choose a path that's clear
    I will choose freewill

    There are those who think
    That they were dealt a losing hand
    The cards were stacked against them
    They weren't born in Lotus-land

    All preordained
    A prisoner in chains
    A victim of venomous fate
    Kicked in the face
    You can't pray for a place
    In heaven's unearthly estate

    [Chorus]

    Each of us
    A cell of awareness
    Imperfect and incomplete
    Genetic blends
    With uncertain ends
    On a fortune hunt that's far too fleet

    [Chorus]

    May 16, 2014 at 10:15 am |
  20. Ally

    Come on people. Wake up. It's 2014 already doh. Fuck your stupid Jesus stories already. A real god would not need anything to die.

    May 16, 2014 at 10:11 am |
    • hotairace

      Amen!

      May 16, 2014 at 10:19 am |
    • Russ

      @ Ally:
      “If God were not angry at injustice and deception and did not make a final end to violence—that God would not be worthy of worship…. The only means of prohibiting all recourse to violence by ourselves is to insist that violence is legitimate only if it comes from God… a belief in divine vengeance will be unpopular with many in the West…. But it takes the quiet of a suburban home for the birth of the thesis that human non-violence [results from the belief in] God’s refusal to judge. In a sun-scorched land, soaked in the blood of the innocent, it will invariably die… [with] other pleasant captivities of the liberal mind.”

      -Miroslav Volf, "Exclusion and Embrace" (pp.303-4)

      May 16, 2014 at 11:35 am |
      • neverbeenhappieratheist

        "insist that violence is legitimate only if it comes from God"

        And just who gets to decide what Gods will is when no evidence of anything supernatural or divine has ever been verified? Divine vengeance is not unpopular as everyone thinks they are on the right side of that vengeance, theirs is the right God and they live the right way. I think it far more likely that none of them are right then some of them.

        May 16, 2014 at 11:46 am |
        • Russ

          @ neverbeen:
          Volf is Croatian. he lived through what you're addressing in the theoretical. you might want to delve deeper into what he's arguing (against such misuses of 'God' which he saw from BOTH Christians & Muslims in the Bosnian conflict).

          May 16, 2014 at 11:51 am |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          I will willingly accept your Gods right to violence as soon as he steps up and claims it. Until then it is ONLY men that claim the right of violence in the name of their Gods. So far not one has been able to prove they serve the right God so how do you propose we go about deciding which one is the right one? If you say "Well, you are right, we'll just have to wait to find out" then I agree with you, but if you say "well I feel this God is real so we should go with mine" then you are just like all the rest who have given up on your God and have decided to take matters into your own hands. For all their pompous self agrandizing Christians do they can sure be impatiant little children...

          May 16, 2014 at 2:09 pm |
        • Russ

          @ neverbeen:
          1) self-aggrandizing? the cross tells me i deserve H.ell – but in his love, God traded places with me.
          there's no room for a superiority complex at the foot of the cross. i need Jesus as much as anyone on the planet.

          2) proving who God is? we're not claiming our *concept* of God is better.
          Christianity is God coming in person to do what we could not.
          it's not advice – it's news.

          3) seriously, even just read an online review of Volf's work. it will clear up some of your misconceptions here.

          May 16, 2014 at 2:22 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          Yes, yes, Miroslav sounds like a very nice man but his discussion of church theology and the differnces between dogma, ethics and biblical interpretations says nothing to the veracity of any of the theology.

          My point is that until God himself shows up and passes judgement on a human, no one else on the entire planet can claim the right to be above others and be able to pass violent judgement. Volf is just another protestant who argues for their version of God to suplant the "false Gods", it just won't come until the end as he says "Christians believe that there will be a Judgment Day at the end. And it is my belief that on that day justice will be done and there will be a reconciliation between those who have profoundly injured one another takes place." So whos definition of "justice" do you think he imagines? The muslim view of justice? The Catholic view of justice? No, he see's his own brand of justice being wielded by HIS God on judgement day, just like everyone else believes they picked the right God/religion/faith. Funny how the "right" faith always seems to be the one you were handed along with your rattle.

          May 16, 2014 at 2:59 pm |
        • Russ

          @ neverbeen: much to the contrary, Christianity says:

          a) submit to the governing authorities (Rom.13:1f)
          b) unless they explicitly go against God (Acts 5:29)
          c) judge those inside the Church, let God judge those outside (1 Cor.5:12f)

          May 16, 2014 at 3:26 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          well then 99% of Christians are doing it wrong and you happen to be one of the few who will be going to heaven. Bravo for you Russ.

          May 16, 2014 at 3:32 pm |
      • snuffleupagus

        Russ, as has been pointed out, countless times to you, your god is impotent. It can do nothing, has done nothing, and if it exists, will do nothing. Your god is nothing, though it is a figment of your imagination.

        May 16, 2014 at 11:52 am |
        • Russ

          @ snuffy:
          1) i only recall talking with you one other time.
          2) your preoccupation with imaginary claims seems ironically self-projected (esp. considering your choice of handle).

          May 16, 2014 at 11:58 am |
        • snuffleupagus

          Well russie, snuffie was on tv and millions saw him. No one has ever seen your god. What has your god done for the world, russie? It has done nothing. It is a phantom, something that blows through your imagination, russie. Suffy could be seen, was seen, interacted with others on tv. Your godd has done nothing, because it can't do anything russie-boy.

          May 16, 2014 at 12:55 pm |
        • Russ

          @ snuffy:
          even in attempting to give you the benefit of the doubt here (reading you as purely sarcastic), it's difficult to take your argument seriously. do you really believe there is more evidence for Snuffy than Christ?
          note well: that includes all the connotations that come with it (real, historical person – not demonstrably fabricated, etc.).

          in that regard, your argument is preposterous on the surface – or even if taken seriously.
          do you really regard all Christians as 4 year old children who simply don't know the difference between make believe and real life? if so, do you recognize why this dialogue is at an inherent impasse?

          May 16, 2014 at 2:28 pm |
        • snuffleupagus

          russie, you said it, not me: "do you really regard all Christians as 4 year old children who simply don't know the difference between make believe and real life?"

          I most certainly do russie, and while you may be an adult, you have a four year old min.

          May 16, 2014 at 3:18 pm |
        • snuffleupagus

          Opps, that should read mind.

          May 16, 2014 at 3:20 pm |
      • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

        That's quite an indictment of God you've posted there Russ.

        May 16, 2014 at 11:59 am |
        • Russ

          @ GOP: on the contrary, it's quite an indictment on false conceptions of God.
          note well what he's saying: a God who does not claim to bring an ultimate punishment for justice is no god at all...
          AND a god who refuses to judge means his 'followers' must seek justice on their own – if they will have justice at all.

          May 16, 2014 at 12:07 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          Rather different to Jesus' instructions in Matthew 5:39 don't you think Russ?

          May 16, 2014 at 12:15 pm |
        • Madtown

          an indictment on false conceptions of God
          ----–
          "If only we had a true conception of God."

          – signed, humans God will create today, born into areas of the world where christianity doesn't exist

          May 16, 2014 at 12:18 pm |
        • Russ

          @ GOP:
          if i'm hearing you correctly, you read Mt.5:38-48 like the Amish or Mennonites – as a call to complete passivism?

          you don't have to believe the Bible to understand that most Christians hear Jesus' words in light of his *entire* ministry (which includes defending the defenseless, chewing out the Pharisees & Sadducees, as well as kicking over tables & using a whip to clear the temple courts). while it might be convenient to simply chalk those seeming incongruities up to a flawed text, for those of us who believe the Bible, the same Jesus who said these things and gave his life without defending himself ALSO defended others... something we believe to be *faithful* to this same sentiment.

          by your read, actions of self-defense and/or defense of others are no longer legitimate. but Jesus' ministry spoke loudly to the exclusion of that interpretation of his words.

          May 16, 2014 at 2:14 pm |
        • Russ

          @ Madtown:
          1) God didn't send a watertight argument, he sent a watertight person – himself.
          which is better: a concept or coming in person?

          2) as for those without Christianity, that's why we were given the Great Commission.

          May 16, 2014 at 2:17 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          @Russ,

          I'm sure you know your Bible better than me.

          Find me a Gospel passage where Jesus advocates violence (with the exception of the money changers in the temple – which has a very specific 'house of God' context and reads more like he lost his cool).

          Regarding:
          "while it might be convenient to simply chalk those seeming incongruities up to a flawed text
          ------------–
          This is always an outcome with Biblical literalism – the 'flawless' is inevitably flawed.

          May 16, 2014 at 2:23 pm |
        • Madtown

          @ Madtown:
          1) God didn't send a watertight argument, he sent a watertight person – himself.
          which is better: a concept or coming in person?

          2) as for those without Christianity, that's why we were given the Great Commission.
          ----–
          1. – a God capable of creating the entire universe, and all life within, is certainly powerful enough to have multiple offspring, enough to send one to each human settlement at the time, to deliver the message. Because this still hasn't happened as of today, is it that he's not capable, or apathetic to get this one message out to all?

          2. – sorry Russ, I don't believe you're given a commission. That just comes from your belief system, which again is human-crafted and only available to you because of where you were born, and where you have lived. Besides, you wouldn't even know where to start to look for some of these humans we reference, with no access to christianity. Their homes aren't on maps, they don't have airports or roads. How would you even expect to find them, to deliver the message? It's not possible. However, since God placed them where they are, certainly he knows how to get to them. So, why wouldn't it just be his responsibility, if he really cared that they have this message?

          May 16, 2014 at 2:32 pm |
        • MidwestKen

          @Russ,
          But your supposed God has not brought "ultimate justice" or a "final end to violence", but merely stories and hopes of such. Why should such plati.tudes even be cosidered?

          May 16, 2014 at 2:38 pm |
        • Russ

          @ GOP:

          1) you said: "Find me a Gospel passage where Jesus advocates violence (with the exception of the money changers in the temple – which has a very specific 'house of God' context and reads more like he lost his cool)."

          This is a very fair question. in short, read ANY of Jesus' claims about his second coming (esp.Mt.10:34). also, read his immediate judgment on the religious conservatives of his day (saying one thing, doing another). he is most harsh with them.

          but does he advocate physical violence on the part of his own disciples to advance Christianity? NOT to advance his kingdom ("put away your sword, Peter"... "don't you know that i could call armies of angels to my defense?"). and that notably sets apart HOW Christianity grew in its first 300 years from almost every other major religion.

          however, he does take a decidedly defense posture for the defenseless & 'sinners' of his day – even being willing to lose his life for them (isn't this a *form* of substi.tutionary violence? even the extreme passivist must see that). again, do you think Jesus is advocating we stand idly by and watch children get abused or a murder take place? the clear & immediate application of these verses are when Christians are under persecution for his name's sake – something that you can rightfully point out we American Christians FAIL repeatedly to do (we instead invoke our "rights" – despite what the Bible says about that [1 Cor.9]).

          2) you said: "This is always an outcome with Biblical literalism – the 'flawless' is inevitably flawed."

          a) consider the opposite: by simply assuming the text is fatally flawed, one avoids actually dealing with the final form – much less the actual implications for those who claim to believe the text. it becomes an easy out (not to mention begs the question) which simply avoids substantive discussion.

          b) Jesus himself read the text as "God's Word" – even making entire arguments based solely off a singular word. that presents a serious problem for anyone claiming to be a Christian who does not regard the Word as more authoritative than their own experience.

          c) "literalism" has become a politically charged & poorly defined word. as such, it easily lead to equivocation.

          for the sake of our conversation (in order to honor a secular mindset), i would press you on being "literary." read the Bible with all the integrity you'd give the final form of any other piece of literature. obviously, much more grandiose things are being claimed here – but often times what results from saying "literalism" is a purposefully shallow read of an obviously complex text (ignoring genre, figures of speech, direct narrative claims, etc.). and precisely because grandiose things (supernatural & miraculous) are being claimed, often the realities of the genre are ignored (e.g., no ancient myth reads with the realistic detail of the Gospels, making it impossible to classify or read in such a fashion, etc.).

          within those parameters, *many* (though clearly not all) of the arguments on this blog disappear as mere caricatures. but that's also where substantive debate begins – because the center of the faith is a historical claim for something preposterous: God entered time and space. he was born, lived the life we couldn't, and died the death we deserved. then he was raised from the dead. that is the hope of the Christian faith: this is who God is. ridiculous from the outset... but certainly not dismissible purely on the grounds of 'oh well, such is biblical literalism...'

          May 16, 2014 at 2:57 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          Russ,

          "if i'm hearing you correctly, you read Mt.5:38-48 like the Amish or Mennonites – as a call to complete passivism?
          I couldn't tell you what Amish or Mennonites specifically believe.

          If you start with Matthew 5-7, which I think you would agree is the best summary of Jesus' message there is nothing that advocates violence.

          Whatever Paul of Tarsus may have to say on the matter is irrelevant when Jesus is pretty specific about non-violence. Not just once, but in multiple places. If you are a Christian, Jesus' own words should be paramount, right?

          It's pretty well summarized in Matthew 5:43-46

          "43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’
          44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
          45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven"

          Not much taking up the sword of vengeance to defend the defenseless there.

          May 16, 2014 at 3:04 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          "because the center of the faith is a historical claim for something preposterous: God entered time and space. he was born, lived the life we couldn't, and died the death we deserved. then he was raised from the dead.

          I understand you Russ. I simply don't believe in the resurrection. Jesus has a lot of worthy things to say. I don't believe he is God.

          May 16, 2014 at 3:07 pm |
        • Russ

          @ Madtown:
          1) you said: "is it that he's not capable, or apathetic to get this one message out to all?"

          neither. this is a false dilemma. you have not included the biblical answer here: God *purposefully* acted in this way. primarily: he reveals himself (Jesus) & his character (including broken people like us in his plans). he's not looking to make us spectators, but participants.

          2) you don't have to believe the Great Commission to understand it.

          a) you are posing a question to our faith (asking me to answer within our beliefs), then disavowing our answer because you don't believe it. you can't have it both ways. you don't have to believe Christianity to understand what we believe.

          the Bible teaches us that God's plan – including in the OT – was to 'bless all the nations' through his promises, which came to full fruition in Christ. the Great Commission is the logical application of this plan.

          b) you said: "That just comes from your belief system, which again is human-crafted and only available to you because of where you were born, and where you have lived."

          i) "human-crafted..."
          this is explicitly begging the question.

          ii) "...only because of where you were born..."
          you seem to be holding on to some sort of social determinism here. it fails to recognize 1) my ancestors were not Christian, 2) Christianity is prevalent almost everywhere EXCEPT where it originated, 3) Christianity – uniquely among all the major religions of the world – finds almost equal representation (by percentage) on the 5 major inhabited continents of the world.

          furthermore, consider your logic here...
          “Suppose we concede that if I had been born of Muslim parents in Morocco rather than Christian parents in Michigan, my beliefs would be quite different. [But] the same goes for the pluralist...If the pluralist had been born in [Morocco] he probably wouldn't be a pluralist. Does it follow that...his pluralist beliefs are produced in him by an unreliable belief-producing process?”
          ― Alvin Plantinga

          c) you said: "Besides, you wouldn't even know where to start to look for some of these humans we reference, with no access to christianity."

          you seem utterly unaware of how wide the efforts are of those who believe the Bible to actually reach "every tribe & nation." aside looking at historical resources, i'd tell you to google a few Christian missions organizations – even just check secular references (e.g., do you know where "Dr. Livingstone, I presume?" comes from? or check: John Paton, William Carey, Hudson Taylor, etc.). let that demonstrate to you the comprehensiveness and seriousness (financial, social, personal costs being given) with which we take that command.

          and yes, God placed them there – just like he placed my ancestors in a pagan Europe. and the same way he called earlier Christians to evangelize Europe, he calls us to reach other groups – even the re-secularized West.

          May 16, 2014 at 3:13 pm |
        • Russ

          @ MidwestKen: the cross demonstrates the exact opposite.
          a) justice has already begun in ways unfathomably merciful.
          b) it's an inestimably valuable down payment on his "investment" in bringing about ultimate justice.

          May 16, 2014 at 3:16 pm |
        • Russ

          @ GOP: one of the primary exegetical failures of those who claim to want the ethics of Jesus found in the Sermon on the Mount (SMT) is that the SMT was not given as a distinction between the religious and non-religious, but rather as the difference between religion and Christianity.

          in short, Jesus is teaching his followers the difference between religiosity and real faith in the one true God – namely, him. i'm not pitting Paul against Jesus (which i think is an incredibly flawed argument – for another discussion). i'm simply taking the Gospels in context. the VERY SAME Matthew to which you are appealing portrays Jesus defending the marginalized, screaming at the theological conservatives, mocking the theological liberals for their lack of belief in the Bible, and clearing the temple through explicitly violent means.

          in other words, the way you want to read the SMT is utterly contrary to its literary function within the Gospel itself. it *requires* divorcing it from the final form of Matthew. that's the definition of "out of context."

          May 16, 2014 at 3:22 pm |
        • Russ

          @ GOP: you said: "I understand you Russ. I simply don't believe in the resurrection. Jesus has a lot of worthy things to say. I don't believe he is God."

          i respect your honesty. what do you make – then – of Mt.16:13-17?
          considering his ethical teaching is intertwined with such claims, why do you think they can be divorced?

          May 16, 2014 at 3:24 pm |
        • MidwestKen

          @Russ,
          " the cross demonstrates the exact opposite."

          How so?

          "a) justice has already begun in ways unfathomably merciful."

          ... and apparently 'undetectably' too.

          "b) it’s an inestimably valuable down payment on his “investment” in bringing about ultimate justice."

          Huh? How is Jesus' crucifixion 'ultimate justice'? At best it is scapegoating, but more likely simply unjust execution by an autocratic regime.

          May 16, 2014 at 3:30 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          in other words, the way you want to read the SMT is utterly contrary to its literary function within the Gospel itself. it *requires* divorcing it from the final form of Matthew. that's the definition of "out of context."

          Nonsense. The non-violent message of the SMT is the message of Jesus in Matthew. Your only counter example is the money changers where Jesus (who is construed to be fully human) loses his cool.

          I am not a Christian. I don't give Matthew 16:13-17 any more credence than the idea that the meek will inherit the earth, or that those who are persecuted will inherit the kingdom of heaven but the SMT is Christ' message and Christians, if they follow Christ, should follow these words.

          The whole resurrection message is the triumph of non-violent submission over violence.

          Having said that, the ideas of the SMT are inspirational. I suspect this and the ideas of a loving merciful God instead of vindictive capricious Gods is one of the reasons that Christianity took off in the Roman world.

          I think there are a lot of inspirational passages in the Qur'an too, but I don't believe Allah spoke to Mohammad.

          May 16, 2014 at 3:54 pm |
        • Madtown

          he's not looking to make us spectators, but participants.
          -----
          How are you defining "us"? It's real simple: at this very moment in time, there exist many humans that don't know the first thing about christianity. These humans are creations of God, as are you. No different. Why are they unaware of this message, if God wants them to participate in it?

          May 16, 2014 at 4:27 pm |
        • Madtown

          you seem utterly unaware of how wide the efforts are of those who believe the Bible to actually reach "every tribe & nation."
          ---–
          I'm very aware that there are humans extremely dedicated to their belief systems, enough to believe them to be the only correct one, with all others incorrect. A few years back, a group of humans flew airplanes into buildings because of the fervency of their beliefs. Fervency of belief, and wide scope of effort still renders you unable to reach every last human being on the face of the planet, even in this day and age of advanced technology. And again, God can reach all, so why would God call you to an impossible task?

          May 16, 2014 at 4:30 pm |
        • Madtown

          Suppose we concede that if I had been born of Muslim parents in Morocco rather than Christian parents in Michigan, my beliefs would be quite different.
          ---–
          Right, exactly. This demonstrates that there's a large degree of arbitrariness behind selection of religious affiliation. Doesn't exactly bolster the case that one follows the "correct religion" when they didn't decide for themselves which culture they were born into in the first place. Highly likely that whichever religion prevails where someone is born, that this is the religion they would lable the "only correct one". Accident of birth.

          May 16, 2014 at 4:36 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.