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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. Sheik Yerbouti

    Why do Christians assume other people are Christians, and treat you like a second class citizen if you are not?

    May 19, 2014 at 4:20 pm |
    • igaftr

      Standard religious teaching. The jews refer to everyone else as mud people, the muslims..infidels, the christians think everyone else is lost and needs to be saved, on and on and on. You wouldn't expect any religion to actually teach true humility.
      " Here is our religion...this is what we believe, but we really have nothing to base it on, and it won't make you better than anyone else"...not much of a sales pitch. "if you believe you will live forever in a magical place where it is impossible for bad things to happen, your REWARD for belief"...works much better.

      May 19, 2014 at 4:27 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Tribalism

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

        cheese
        Tribalism and dominance, hasn't changed since we started walking upright.

        May 19, 2014 at 4:45 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          And all that is asked to join is our belief...

          May 19, 2014 at 5:06 pm |
    • guidedans

      Sheik,

      You seem to write very trollish comments. If you are in fact a legitimate poster on this forum, this hardly seems like a relevant article to post such questions. The countries listed in this article were either squelching all religions or were squelching all religions aside from particular sects of Islam (one or two allowed Christianity, but only in certain forms).

      Christians do not look down on non-believers and in fact, we are called to love our neighbors as we love ourselves (that was Jesus's second commandment to us). I believe that you, in accusing Christians of assuming that everyone is a Christian and treating them poorly if they are not, are in fact stereotyping Christians yourself.

      God Bless, but I believe that you should develop your arguments more clearly if you expect to be taken seriously and not as a rabble-rouser.

      May 19, 2014 at 5:15 pm |
      • G to the T

        Actually I'd say addressing the "us vs. them" mentality common to many religious beliefs is right on target for the discussion.

        And while you may make such assumptions, in my experience, you don't speak for the many, MANY christians I have met that do indeed assume you are chrisitan and then treat you as if you've commited some kind of offense when they find out you aren't "one of them".

        Certainty of belief is the key. The more certain someone is that their beliefs are the ONLY truth, the less likely they will be inclusive in their thinking.

        That's my take anyways.

        May 20, 2014 at 10:23 am |
    • thesamyaza

      cultural teaching of exclusion, it comes from tribalism however their is good new
      [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l7AWnfFRc7g&w=640&h=360]

      are mind is growing to the point of viewing all humanity as a tribe hopefully you will evolve to see plant and animals like me as well

      May 19, 2014 at 5:18 pm |
  2. thesamyaza

    they forgot Uganda and the Christians majorities practice, oh wait this is coming from a nation who fevers Christianity so they wont speak ill of their own.

    May 19, 2014 at 3:47 pm |
    • Doris

      Indeed, TSY

      May 19, 2014 at 4:07 pm |
    • neverbeenhappieratheist

      well they aren't threatening to kill you for your religion, they just threaten to kill you if you are gay because of their religion...

      May 19, 2014 at 4:28 pm |
      • thesamyaza

        no their redirect on paganism is pretty atrocious as well, some Ugandan officials clam some one thousand child sacrifices a year that it grow to 800% this year never mind you Uganda birth rate is on an all time hi. it reminds me of the hate speech the Israelite gave about the children of Moloch that ever child was throne into a basin my his followers then eaten to justify their slaughter they must have only had a population of old men and women.

        May 19, 2014 at 5:08 pm |
        • thesamyaza

          there isn't much more then that besides a few witch burning that we actually caught pagans do not have a voice in Uganda, so much of what happens goes unnoticed.

          May 19, 2014 at 5:10 pm |
  3. Alias

    I am not Alias. I am Sheik Yerbouti. I just wanted to demonstrate how easy it is to hi-jack a name.

    May 19, 2014 at 3:29 pm |
    • Sheik Yerbouti

      This is what ran off thefinisher.

      May 19, 2014 at 3:32 pm |
      • bostontola

        That is scary that you can do that. The link goes to the Alias/krussel account.

        Can you do that with my account?

        May 19, 2014 at 3:49 pm |
        • Sheik Yerbouti

          Yes, do you want me to demonstrate?

          May 19, 2014 at 3:51 pm |
        • bostontola

          This is Sheik Yerbouti. Demonstration for bostontola.

          May 19, 2014 at 3:56 pm |
        • bostontola

          Indeed you can. Please don't instruct others.

          May 19, 2014 at 4:00 pm |
        • Sheik Yerbouti

          Agreed.

          May 19, 2014 at 4:06 pm |
        • tallulah131

          Sheik Yerbouti can change screen names! He must be satan!

          May 19, 2014 at 4:08 pm |
        • bostontola

          This is LET being a jerk posing as bostontola – test 1 2 3

          May 19, 2014 at 4:16 pm |
        • Lucifer's Evil Twin

          Well that's annoying that someone else can completely hijack your name w/blog address...

          May 19, 2014 at 4:18 pm |
        • Lucifer's Evil Twin

          Shouldn't the required password for WordPress at least block hijacking someone else's blog address? This is a poor information security practice...

          May 19, 2014 at 4:24 pm |
        • bostontola

          LET,
          That's what I thought. That's why I made a wordpress account in the first place (before it was required).

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

          samstones
          My lord, you mean I can become Topher and make him look like less than an idiot than he is? On second thought where would we find comic relief?

          May 19, 2014 at 4:36 pm |
        • samsstones

          That was not me, was it, I am confused.

          May 19, 2014 at 4:38 pm |
        • igaftr

          this is actually igaftr, posting as me, but I won't tell me if you don't.
          I know it is me though because after all, Igaftr....often.

          May 19, 2014 at 4:58 pm |
        • Alias

          Damn.
          So now we're back to not knowing who we are talking to.

          May 19, 2014 at 5:06 pm |
        • thesamyaza

          hmm me smells a lie,...you are
          Alias

          Alias. Sheik Yerbouti. bostontola are one person with three accounts.

          May 19, 2014 at 5:12 pm |
        • Alias

          Nope.
          I use one name – untilit gets banned because of what I post aboiut Israel, then I use another until it gets banned.

          May 19, 2014 at 5:14 pm |
        • bostontola

          Don't forget LET.

          May 19, 2014 at 5:28 pm |
        • Lucifer's Evil Twin

          I have plenty of names... but I don't need to use someone else's... and I don't believe I hide the fact that it is still me LET.

          May 19, 2014 at 5:41 pm |
        • thesamyaza

          you get banned for talking crap about Israel but their a bunch of hat full rapist and murderers. the whole country should be turned to ash that would be justice.

          May 19, 2014 at 6:26 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      While it takes a little more cleverness to steal someone's handle now, (it certainly didn't before) and I'll admit that sometimes such parody can occasionally be funny, the practice continues to be just as juvenile, tiresome and deceptive as it always was.

      I'd prefer people didn't do it.

      Yes, we enjoy free speech, but surely identi,ty theft is not necessarily a protected class of free speech?

      May 19, 2014 at 6:41 pm |
  4. Sheik Yerbouti

    Christians are prone to believing in the supernatural. This makes them a liability in business and other endeavors.

    May 19, 2014 at 3:21 pm |
    • Theo Phileo

      Actually, I've done quite well in business. How does that work exactly that I'm a liability?

      May 19, 2014 at 3:24 pm |
      • Sheik Yerbouti

        Do you make decisions based on the perceived outcome of prayer?

        May 19, 2014 at 3:25 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          Since prayer is not meant to change the will of God who cannot change, but rather is intended to align our maleable wills to His, in all we do, we are to glorify God, and if I was about to do anything, my prayer would be to understand which choice would honor God.

          If God would be honored by both choices, then the choice which would honor God more would get the nod. If neither choice would honor God, then neither would get the nod. If both choices were neutral, then either could get the nod.

          So, yeah, with a proper understanding of what prayer is intended to do, I make decisions all the time through prayer, since I am always in an atti.tude of constant, unceasing prayer that I might honor God in all that I do.

          May 19, 2014 at 3:37 pm |
        • Sheik Yerbouti

          Hence you are a liability. Your decision process does not stem from rational thought. Therefore you have placed yourself in the position to either blame or praise god for any outcome, moving your own responsibility into a box labeled "it's not my fault".

          May 19, 2014 at 3:41 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          "Therefore you have placed yourself in the position to either blame or praise god for any outcome, moving your own responsibility into a box labeled "it's not my fault"."
          ----------------
          No, the fact that God is sovereign in no way removes man's responsibility. Although our main goal in business would not be approved of by Eliyahu Goldratt, we have a responsibility to be good stewards of all that is under our control.

          May 19, 2014 at 3:45 pm |
        • Sheik Yerbouti

          Theo, this is not possible. God will come first for you but not for all. You are not capable of trusting those who do not share your faith, it that not true?

          May 19, 2014 at 3:50 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          "You are not capable of trusting those who do not share your faith, it that not true?"
          -------------–
          Nah, that's not true. Since we are to be good stewards of that which is under our control, that means we can come together in a business atmosphere to acheive common business goals. Where Christians are not to be "yoked together with unbelievers" is in the context of work that is spiritual in nature.

          For instance, a Christian missionary wouldn't want to have a Muslim with him passing out gospel tracks on the streets of San Juan. They both have a different message, and would be so concerned over converting one another, that the only reason crowds would gather would be to see which one will convert the other!

          May 19, 2014 at 4:00 pm |
        • Madtown

          They both have a different message
          ----
          How's this possible if there's only 1 true God?

          May 19, 2014 at 4:08 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          Madtown,
          One believes 2+2=4. The other believes 2+2=5. Both beliefs are sincere, but one is truth, the other is not.

          May 19, 2014 at 4:20 pm |
        • gulliblenomore

          Theo....your arrogance knows no bounds. And just what makes you think your belief is the right answer? There is no proof.

          May 19, 2014 at 4:25 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          you saying its arrogant to say 2+2=4 is truth...and 2+2=5 is not? if that's the case..I do NOT want to drive across any bridge built by you

          May 19, 2014 at 5:02 pm |
        • kudlak

          Theo Phileo
          Yet, Christians claim that 3 = 1, when it comes to their god. So, mathematical truth doesn't seem to mean all that much to them, eh?

          May 19, 2014 at 4:51 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          kudiak...WRONG...NO ONE says 3=1.....they say three PERSONS equals ONE God..yes....but to simply say 3=1 is a misrepresentation

          May 19, 2014 at 5:03 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          I can say 3 bananas are ONE type of fruit...3=1 in that sene..and would not be wrong..this is similar to Bible claim

          May 19, 2014 at 5:04 pm |
        • Madtown

          Both beliefs are sincere, but one is truth, the other is not.
          ---–
          Which is yours, and how would you know without an objective reference point?

          May 19, 2014 at 5:04 pm |
        • Alias

          and Pi = 3

          Pathagorus didn't die so we could all be this bad at math!

          May 19, 2014 at 5:09 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          I don't have a belief that 2+2=4 , I know that it does by time tested trial and error and education. One of something was called "One" and two somethings is called "two" and two somethings added to two of the same somethings now makes four somethings. I don't have any faith that it works that way like I do with magnetism and gravity, which while testable and repeatable are not easily observed and could be given other claims origins. The fact that gravity is still technically a theory while 2 + 2 = 4 is proveable by demonstration and definitions of symbols or letters combine into words. No matter how you change up the words or symbols 2 + 2 will always equal 4. It could be @+@=& as long as @ represented two of something and & represents four of something. Also being defines of course are the symbols we use in the equation itself. Again, no matter which symbol you use, if the definition is the same then 2 + 2 always equals 4.

          You can of course have the opinion that 2 + 2 = 5 but that would in fact be absolutely wrong every time, so there is no universe where that is true except the one that defines the symbol "5" as meaning four somethings.

          May 19, 2014 at 6:33 pm |
      • Sheik Yerbouti

        So you don't believe that missionary work is harmful?

        May 19, 2014 at 4:02 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          Well, I've been a missionary, and while employed with such duties, I have done not just witnessing, but repaired storm damaged homes, built handicap ramps for those in need and many like duties, so, no, it's not damaging.

          May 19, 2014 at 4:07 pm |
        • Sheik Yerbouti

          So you will go on record as saying missionaries have not done more harm than good in the world?

          May 19, 2014 at 4:09 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          I don't know. I haven't studied the affects of missionaries as a whole. For instance, are you referring only to Christian missionaries? Or are you including every other belief that also sends out missionaries?

          I cannot speak for the whole, only for what I, myself have done. Christians are commanded to be missionaries in the sense of spreading the gospel, as well as in helping our fellow travellers on this earth, and to that end, I can only hope that I have been a good servant.

          May 19, 2014 at 4:23 pm |
        • Sheik Yerbouti

          Theo, why can't you just leave people alone?

          May 19, 2014 at 4:24 pm |
  5. Sheik Yerbouti

    How many times per day do Christians gaze into the mirror and question their faith?

    May 19, 2014 at 3:03 pm |
    • Theo Phileo

      Every day. Several times a day. (2 Corinthians 13:5)

      May 19, 2014 at 3:14 pm |
      • Sheik Yerbouti

        So you examine yourself, but what is "the test"?

        May 19, 2014 at 3:16 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          There's a 10 question "litmus test" found throughout the whole chapter of 1 John.

          May 19, 2014 at 3:19 pm |
        • igaftr

          Theo
          I just refreshed myself with your refernce. That is no litmus test, nor any test. It is self-affirmation and does NOTHING to question the validity of your beliefs. It has far too narrow a scope, and does not bring into play all the other myriad possibilities, nor does it bring into question those who wrote your book. Simply self-affirming nonsense.

          May 19, 2014 at 3:28 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          igaftr,
          Did you read all of these???

          1)If you’re a Christian, then you like being with other Christians. (1 John 1:7)
          2)If you’re a Christian, then you will recognize to the very core of your being, that you have a vile, diseased, wretched, desp.icable, abominable, utterly sinful heart. (1 John 1:8)
          3)If you’re a Christian, then His commandments are not burdensome to you, and you will strive to obey His commandments. (1 John 2:3)
          4)If you’re a Christian, then you will not love this world and all of the evil that it offers you (1 John 2:15)
          5)If you’re a Christian, then you will know Jesus, and confess Him before others. That means, you understand and believe the true nature of Christ as revealed in Scripture – that He is God in the flesh, the 2nd part of the Trinity, coexisting and coeternal with the Father and the Holy Spirit. If you do not have that understanding of Jesus, then you are not saved. (1 John 2:23)
          6)If you’re a Christian, then you anticipate seeing God, not because you are tired, but because of who God is, and what He has done for you. (1 John 3:2)
          7)If you’re a Christian, then you will not practice a sinful lifestyle. That is not to say that a Christian will never sin, but you will not willingly run to sin – you do not have a lifestyle of constant sinning with no repentance. (1 John 3:8-9)
          8)If you’re a Christian, then not only do you like to fellowship with other believers, but you love them. (1 John 3:14)
          9)If you’re a Christian, then you will love the teaching and preaching of the Word of God. (1 John 4:6)
          10)If you are a Christian, then you will proclaim Jesus Christ to others. (1 John 4:15)

          May 19, 2014 at 3:41 pm |
        • Sheik Yerbouti

          It is all nonsense in my opinion, but number 10 is my least favorite.

          May 19, 2014 at 3:46 pm |
        • igaftr

          yes theo. I saw all of it. It is simply self-affirming nonsense. It does not have you question your beliefs, just re-affirms the beliefs. Standard brainwashing technique. If you want to believe, it will re-affirm your belief. Nothing more.

          But thank you for pointing out one of the finest examples in the bible of indoctrination and brainwashing techniques...for that is all it is.

          May 19, 2014 at 3:51 pm |
        • observer

          Theo Phileo

          "If you’re a Christian, then you will recognize to the very core of your being, that you have a vile, diseased, wretched, desp.icable, abominable, utterly sinful heart."

          So you have no business being a HYPOCRITE and picking on others. Oooops.

          May 19, 2014 at 6:34 pm |
    • MadeFromDirt

      Never.
      Faith that saves comes with assurance, and is a gift from God that is never lost.
      Thanks for asking.

      May 19, 2014 at 3:16 pm |
      • Sheik Yerbouti

        You and Theo seem to disagree, and based on the scriptures Theo is correct, at least for him.

        May 19, 2014 at 3:18 pm |
      • Madtown

        Faith that saves comes with assurance, and is a gift from God
        -----
        So all faiths are equal then? There's no single one that is available to all, yet God created all. He wouldn't give this "gift" to some of his creations, but not others, would he?

        May 19, 2014 at 3:20 pm |
      • Theo Phileo

        We don't differ in my answer. We have assurance, absolutely! After all, the Bible teaches the "Preserverence of the Saints," but Paul tells us to constantly be in a state of humility before God, making sure that we examine our lives that we might root out any source of that which would draw us away from Christ. To that end, John gives us a test found throughout the book of 1 John. That was the way I understood your question anyway.

        May 19, 2014 at 3:22 pm |
        • Madtown

          Who is "us"?

          May 19, 2014 at 3:26 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          Paul was speaking to those who are called by the name of Christ. That is the "us."

          May 19, 2014 at 3:47 pm |
        • Madtown

          Gotcha. So, no consideration at all for the humans God created to live in parts of the world devoid of christianity. How wonderful, how inclusive. A fine example of how religion is divisive to humanity as a whole.

          May 19, 2014 at 4:03 pm |
      • gulliblenomore

        Dirt.....so every day for Theo and never for you? Do you guys want to get together and hash over what the bible really says about that?

        May 19, 2014 at 3:32 pm |
        • midwest rail

          Theo says there is no difference between every day and never, so there ya go.

          May 19, 2014 at 3:43 pm |
        • gulliblenomore

          Midwest.....ok, now I get it. Every day really means never? Thanks. But....that only applies in the made up bible world, right?

          May 19, 2014 at 3:54 pm |
        • MadeFromDirt

          Theo explained the difference above; he read more into the question than I did, so we answered differently. Faith is a broad word, and so the question was open to different interpretations. I looked at the question with a meaning like "Do I doubt my purpose and salvation?" Theo looked at the question as having a meaning of "Do I test my attetude and explore my intentions during my daily walk with Christ?" Hence two different answers, and both are truth.

          May 19, 2014 at 6:58 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      "Religious Vomit" – The Dead Kennedys

      [Chorus]
      All religions make me wanna throw up
      All religions make me sick
      All religions make me wanna throw up
      All religions suck
      They all claim that they have the truth
      That'll set you free
      Just give 'em all your money and they'll set you free
      Free for a fee

      They all claim that they have 'the Answer'
      When they don't even know the Question
      They're just a bunch of liars
      They just want your money
      They just want your consciousness

      [Chorus]
      All religions suck
      All religions make me wanna throw up
      All religions suck
      All religions make me wanna BLEAH

      They really make me sick
      They really make me sick
      They really make me sick
      They really make me sick
      They really make me sick
      They really make me ILL

      May 19, 2014 at 3:19 pm |
    • Alias

      Depends on how much the christian in question thinks for themself.

      May 19, 2014 at 3:19 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      "Every day"
      "Never"

      Classic believer behavior. (Ask two Rabbis, get three opinions). Though, in their defense, in the Jewish tradition the discussion is as important as the outcome.

      May 19, 2014 at 3:22 pm |
  6. Lucifer's Evil Twin

    There is unrest in the forest
    There is trouble with the trees
    For the maples want more sunlight
    And the oaks ignore their pleas

    The trouble with the maples
    (And they're quite convinced they're right)
    They say the oaks are just too lofty
    And they grab up all the light
    But the oaks can't help their feelings
    If they like the way they're made
    And they wonder why the maples
    Can't be happy in their shade

    There is trouble in the forest
    And the creatures all have fled
    As the maples scream 'Oppression!'
    And the oaks just shake their heads

    So the maples formed a union
    And demanded equal rights
    'The oaks are just too greedy
    We will make them give us light'
    Now there's no more oak oppression
    For they passed a noble law
    And the trees are all kept equal
    By hatchet, axe and saw

    May 19, 2014 at 2:53 pm |
  7. bostontola

    The weak being oppressed by the strong is a common theme in human history and should be abhorred. This data shows that in the Balkanized world, even globally strong groups, like Muslims or Christians, can have locally weak parts that get picked on.

    Karma can be a bi'tch (pun intended).

    I do see a difference between a locally weak, globally strong group getting picked on versus a globally weak group (e.g. Jews). There is no existential threat to Christians (again, no oppression should be condoned). It's like worrying about a local loss of a common deer species as much as an animal on the endangered species list.

    May 19, 2014 at 2:21 pm |
    • Theo Phileo

      If "being picked on" is all anyone is concerned about, then I say grow up. Get over it... We've got a job to do on this earth, and we can't be concerned about having our feelings hurt.

      May 19, 2014 at 2:31 pm |
      • bostontola

        Picked on in the context of this article is not acceptable and should not be condoned IMO.

        May 19, 2014 at 2:33 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          I would hardly use the word "picking" to connotate the context of this article where torture and murder are common. "Picking" brings to mind the mocking that goes on between a group of teenage girls. That doesn't normally end in death of the one being picked on.

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

          I also used the word oppressed more than once. Do you have problems with connecting the dots?

          May 19, 2014 at 2:45 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          Nope, I can connect the dots, I just felt that if the expression of being "picked on" was in connection to the word "oppression" as being synonymous, then that brings down the meaning of oppression to the level of backyard squabbles over who has ugly hair.

          May 19, 2014 at 2:56 pm |
        • bostontola

          Or, it brings up the meaning of being picked on. With no context, it could be either. In the context of this article, it is obviously oppression as usually understood. Connecting dots for you.

          May 19, 2014 at 3:08 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          So if a man walked up to you with a blade, threatened you with your life, and demanded your wallet, would you say that you were being "picked on?"

          Or, what if you stood up on a street corner and began sharing with the passers by whatever advantages you felt were in atheism, and someone came out of the crowd and shot you. Would you say that you were being "picked on?"

          May 19, 2014 at 3:17 pm |
        • bostontola

          Theo,
          You really auger in on side notes rather than the central point of things.

          Reread my comments and you'll get it. Picked on means singled out for being different. Add to that, that I said they were also oppressed. Please try to keep up.

          May 19, 2014 at 3:28 pm |
        • samsstones

          Theo
          Back to reality, in the first case you would have been a victim of an armed robbery, in the second you would be a victim of murder, what the hell is your point?

          May 19, 2014 at 3:33 pm |
      • Doris

        "We've got a job to do on this earth"

        Just what kind of a "job" is that, Theo? Stifling a child's education perhaps?

        May 19, 2014 at 2:47 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          Q.1. "What is the chief end of man?"

          May 19, 2014 at 2:52 pm |
        • gulliblenomore

          Theo....A.1. Nobody knows for sure.

          May 19, 2014 at 3:06 pm |
        • bostontola

          Theo,
          Your question assumes man has some higher purpose outside his own making.

          May 19, 2014 at 2:55 pm |
        • samsstones

          Theo
          Silly question, answer death of course.

          May 19, 2014 at 2:56 pm |
        • Doris

          Oh great, more of Theo's Westminster BS. Thank goodness we don't have the spots in our government reserved for representation directly by clergy here in the U.S.

          May 19, 2014 at 2:57 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          @Theo

          A1: Biologically speaking, worm food. And this is a biblical interpretation.

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

          May 19, 2014 at 2:58 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          "Q.1. "What is the chief end of man?"
          -----------–
          A.1. Structurally speaking, the 'chief end' would be the head.

          May 19, 2014 at 2:59 pm |
        • Doris

          (Lords Temporal vs. Lords Spooky); lol.

          May 19, 2014 at 3:00 pm |
        • samsstones

          The goal of all life is death. Sigmund Freud

          May 19, 2014 at 3:05 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          (Lords Temporal vs. Lords Spooky)
          --------------
          The Westminster Shorter Catechism (1647) is a purely an artifact of the English Civil War and is a perfect illustration of the use of religion to control the people through an established church. The original version, the Westminster Confession of Faith (1647), was adopted, minus some significant omissions, in the Parliamentary Act of Articles of Christian Religion in 1648.

          Theo is apparently *not* a fan of the doctrine of separation.

          May 19, 2014 at 3:39 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          It probably should be noted that the Westminster Assembly of Divines who authored the Confession of Faith (in 1646, not 47 as stated above) were not the Lords Spiritual (who were high church appointees of King Charles).

          They were Puritans appointed by the Long Parliament during the civil war.

          May 19, 2014 at 3:55 pm |
      • igaftr

        Yes theo, no one ever gets hurt from being picked on...there aren't suicides from the emotional damage...that never happens...just grow up...get over it. How horrible you are so unempathetic, and you claim to teach? I feel sorry for your students.

        May 19, 2014 at 3:04 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          It is the fault of society who has allowed men to take such pride in themselves so as to give actual importance to things like outward appearance, or in accomplishments in doing something of agility with a ball... It is only when men realize that what is only skin deep is unimportant, and that self-esteem (self-love) is one of the most damaging emotions that a man can have, can he begin to be crushed over the things that are of actual importance.

          I have empathy for one who is crushed for any reason, but the last thing that I am going to try to do is to reinforce that which only fluffs his ego.

          May 19, 2014 at 3:10 pm |
        • samsstones

          Theo has admitted he is not really a full time teacher but an architect, carpenter, home builder, boat builder, religious fanatic and of course the voice of his god on earth, proselytizing is just a hobby. Man of many parts, Theo, who should stick to working with his hands, his brain is severely confused.

          May 19, 2014 at 3:11 pm |
        • observer

          Theo Phileo,

          That was good advice for YOURSELF. Remember that when you are HYPOCRITICALLY picking on gays.

          May 19, 2014 at 3:14 pm |
        • samsstones

          Theo
          Oh the irony, the most pompous arrogant knower of the only "truth", how can anyone get any more egotistical than you and Topher?

          May 19, 2014 at 3:17 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          Theo has admitted he is not really a full time teacher but an architect, carpenter, home builder, boat builder, religious fanatic and of course the voice of his god on earth, proselytizing is just a hobby. Man of many parts, Theo, who should stick to working with his hands, his brain is severely confused
          --------------–
          I'm confused because I think that outward appearance is vanity, and wrong to consider as important? I'm confused because I think that self-love is only a source of pride, and pride is itself a wicked thing? Due tell, how am I confused. Am I confused to think that the only thing that is important is the inner man? That is – WHO we are, not WHAT we are.

          And for what it's worth, good memory on what I've done for work... But you forgot bowyer as one of my hobbies.

          May 19, 2014 at 3:30 pm |
        • samsstones

          Theo
          Had to look up bowyer, maker of bows, good one. Your confusion comes from the fact that you claim to KNOW the only truth that applies to all the people on earth, you are wrong terribly wrong. That is why I call you pompous arrogant and egotistical, you seem to think you are the font of all knowledge and you have it all wrong/confused.

          May 19, 2014 at 3:41 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          sam,
          If you can say in math class that 2+2=4, then why is it offensive when people say that there is but one answer for God? OK just look at it this way, in math class, there can be an infinite variety of wrong answers to 2+2=? And each one of them could be argued very convincingly that their answer was correct, but, in the end, if the answer isn't "4" then it is wrong, no matter how it was sugar coated.

          All I'm asking you to do is to just consider the possibility that there is just one right answer.

          May 19, 2014 at 3:55 pm |
        • gulliblenomore

          Theo....the problem is....there is only one right answer....and that answer is....NOBODY knows for sure. We are all guessing, including you!

          May 19, 2014 at 4:01 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          " in math class, there can be an infinite variety of wrong answers to 2+2=? And each one of them could be argued very convincingly that their answer was correct"
          -----------–
          In a Philosophy class maybe, but not in a math class. That's the nice thing about math. You cannot argue convincingly that 2+2=3.141579.

          Sometimes the answer is infinity, not in your example mind, but infinity is an understood mathematical concept.

          May 19, 2014 at 4:02 pm |
        • samsstones

          Theo
          A belief in god, any god, is not a simple arithmetic answer. All educated persons agree that 2+2=4 but not all people on earth agree that there is only one god, in your case the Christian god. You keep saying that there is only one truth, that is where your analogies do not make an sense. I forget the author that states that you are as much an atheist as he is, you just believe in one less god than he does; that is true because you reject all other gods but your chosen favorite.

          May 19, 2014 at 4:07 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          That's why I used math – because there is rationally only 1 right answer.

          May 19, 2014 at 4:10 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          "A belief in god, any god, is not a simple arithmetic answer. All educated persons agree that 2+2=4 but not all people on earth agree that there is only one god..."
          ---------------–
          I know that. That's why I was asking you just to consider the "what if's" of if there was but one God. I wasn't trying to convince you one way or the other, just that you might ponder the consequences of there being but one God.

          "You keep saying that there is only one truth, that is where your analogies do not make an sense."
          ---------------
          Yeah, there's only one truth that 2+2=4. Any other answer is just an opinion, and one's opinions have no bearing on truth. I can believe that I'm actually typing on a green fish named Wanda, but if it isn't true, then it's just opinion, no matter how strongly I feel about it.

          "I forget the author that states that you are as much an atheist as he is, you just believe in one less god than he does; that is true because you reject all other gods but your chosen favorite."
          ---------------
          I think that was Dawkins, but I could be wrong. And yeah, he's right of course in that sense. As a matter of fact, Christians have been called atheists long before he came along. The first Christians were called atheists by the Romans because they didn't follow their pantheon of so-called gods.

          When Polycarp was brought before the Roman authorities and was told to denounce the Christians by saying "away with the atheists," he smiled to himself, pointed a finger at the authorities and yelled "AWAY with the atheists!!" Yeah, they didn't think that was very funny... And they burned him alive...

          May 19, 2014 at 4:16 pm |
        • samsstones

          Theo You use math because it suits your purpose. There hundreds of answers to who or what is god, yours maybe the most popular and powerful for now but is losing steam quickly. The fact that you can state your version is the only truth is sheer arrogance, 5 billion people would not agree; number one on the charts but fading fast.

          May 19, 2014 at 4:18 pm |
        • bostontola

          Theo,
          Even in math there can be more than 1 form to an answer.

          2+2=11 in base 3.
          1+1=1.414... when adding orthogonal vectors.
          etc.

          May 19, 2014 at 4:20 pm |
        • samsstones

          Theo
          Why not use modern technology and have an old timey revival with jesus himself reprising the sermon on the mount as a hologram of course; would really impress the fundie evangie nutter crowd and bring in lots of bling.

          May 19, 2014 at 4:43 pm |
      • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

        Substi.tute the word 'harassed'.

        The level of 'harassment' here varies from the scope of being 'picked on' to being incarcerated, tortured or even killed.

        May 19, 2014 at 3:07 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      Hmmm... It's like being concerned about a few common deer being killed by a few cars, as the same deer species over-populates and strips its habitat beyond its capacity to support the population... and simultaneously there are thousands of car drivers suffering from lack of food.

      May 19, 2014 at 2:38 pm |
      • bostontola

        Overpopulation can create pests.

        May 19, 2014 at 2:56 pm |
      • samsstones

        LET
        Road kill venison on the barbeque, sweet, but be sure it hasn't aged too long.

        May 19, 2014 at 3:52 pm |
  8. Sheik Yerbouti

    I notice "thefinisher1" is gone. Run off no doubt.

    May 19, 2014 at 1:43 pm |
    • neverbeenhappieratheist

      Don't worry, i'm sure you'll see a Salero post soon followed quickly by a bunch from fini.

      May 19, 2014 at 1:51 pm |
      • Sheik Yerbouti

        I don't think Salero is the same person has thefinisher. thefinisher isn't smart enough to have multiple accounts or remove the hyperlink.

        May 19, 2014 at 1:55 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          I thought they might be a pricycle's since they always came in pears...

          May 19, 2014 at 2:22 pm |
    • Alias

      Probably waiting for Satan to give him more marching orders.

      May 19, 2014 at 1:59 pm |
      • Sheik Yerbouti

        I think thefinisher1 has been run off by the name-jacker.

        May 19, 2014 at 2:01 pm |
        • Alias

          I HOPE YOU'RE JOKING.
          There was no name jacking, he just wanted to reply to himself and paly games.

          May 19, 2014 at 2:56 pm |
        • Sheik Yerbouti

          No I am not joking. thefinisher1 was clearly name-jacked. It is easy to do.

          May 19, 2014 at 3:04 pm |
  9. Sheik Yerbouti

    How long do we have to look at the kid with the fly on his face?

    May 19, 2014 at 1:24 pm |
    • tallulah131

      You have to look until you feel an irrational guilt about the fate of this unknown child. Or maybe they're showing it just to bug you.

      May 19, 2014 at 1:29 pm |
    • Alias

      Ujntil we all feel adequate amounts of sympathy for the poor persucated christians, I guess

      May 19, 2014 at 1:32 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      Christians (or whatever) being persecuted around the world... don't care.

      Things worth caring about:
      Our children going hungry http://www.nokidhungry.org/
      Our veterans going hungry http://www.feedourvets.org/
      Disabled American Veterans http://www.dav.org/
      Wounded Warrior Project http://www.woundedwarriorproject.org/

      May 19, 2014 at 1:48 pm |
  10. Sheik Yerbouti

    There is still a generation remaining that simply cannot fathom the idea that someone doesn’t believe in the Christian God. I have been criticized and dismissed for even admitting that I am an atheist. Couple this with these same feelings permeating the business world and leading to discrimination against non-believers. Christians are not typically tolerant, although they are very good at working the pity and fake smile angle.

    May 19, 2014 at 1:00 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      "Christians are not typically tolerant, although they are very good at working the pity and fake smile angle."
      -----------------
      Oh, you're an atheist, well bless your soul.

      May 19, 2014 at 1:11 pm |
      • Lucifer's Evil Twin

        A key indicator that someone is a religious simpleton... "Oh, you're an atheist, well bless your soul" or "I'll pray for you"

        This has happened to me on a couple of occasions... my response? "That's useless... but thanks for trying." That usually leaves them staring at you with a stupid look on their face.

        May 19, 2014 at 1:29 pm |
        • Alias

          It amazes me how sheltered some people can be.
          The mormons are actually very good at making the church the center of every part of their lives.

          May 19, 2014 at 1:36 pm |
        • Sheik Yerbouti

          I usually give them the old: "Why do you insult me?"

          May 19, 2014 at 1:54 pm |
        • Lucifer's Evil Twin

          A coworker/friend was telling me all about her church and their social interactions with people from her congregation... I pointed out to her that it sounded all very petty and cultist to me and that I had no desire or need for any of it. She was mad at me for a few days... but oddly enough because I called her christian faith a cult more than me telling her that the people at her church sounded stupid.

          May 19, 2014 at 2:02 pm |
        • gulliblenomore

          All religions are cults....by mere definition of the word.

          May 19, 2014 at 2:06 pm |
  11. Sheik Yerbouti

    What part of god corresponds to the sensual part of the human being? Sex is the key to human proliferation and perhaps even happiness. Does god condone hot wild sex and all the kinky variations therein, provided it creates offspring? Does god care how one arrives at intercourse?

    May 19, 2014 at 12:42 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      The Word: It get's worse.

      http://thecolbertreport.cc.com/videos/qnfsur/the-word-it-gets-worse

      May 19, 2014 at 1:03 pm |
      • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

        "“Yes, marriage is for straight people who can go to a wedding, get tanked on Chablis and make a baby bare-backing it in a coat closet. That’s how God intended it. Planning to have kids just isn’t right.”

        May 19, 2014 at 1:06 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      From one of my favorite pieces from Richard Carrier

      "Consensual se.x that causes no one any harm and that everyone benefits from involves no lack of compassion, no cruelty, and produces no human misery, nor consists in delighting in any such thing, but, exactly the opposite, it involves delighting in human happiness.

      Therefore…

      For God to know everything, he must know what it is like to enjoy being gangban.ged."

      May 19, 2014 at 1:31 pm |
  12. I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

    To all our believer friends who insist on using fallacious Argumentum ad populum reasoning such as:

    God is real because 90% of people believe in God(s)

    let me share this gem.

    "More doctors prefer Camels to any other cigarette"

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

    It also contains a bonus fallacious argument: "argumentum ab auctoritate or appeal to authority.

    May 19, 2014 at 12:38 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Oops: More doctors smoke Camels than any other cigarette" (from 1949)

      May 19, 2014 at 12:40 pm |
      • Alias

        That is still true today.
        OF course, I'm basing that on the one doctor I know who smokes – but all the smoking doctors I know prefer Camels

        May 19, 2014 at 12:47 pm |
      • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

        You know doctors who admit smoking???

        Do they live in North Carolina?

        May 19, 2014 at 12:53 pm |
        • Alias

          I know ONE doctor – technicly still an intern – who started smoking in highschool and still hasn't quit.

          May 19, 2014 at 1:21 pm |
      • Lucifer's Evil Twin

        Unfiltered Camels + life in the fast lane (for lung cancer)

        May 19, 2014 at 1:51 pm |
  13. Sheik Yerbouti

    Christians avoid the rest of the world in favor of their own community of like thinking individuals. Those that would disagree with them are either pitied or ostracized. They tend to be more tolerant if you participate it the good works that you do, but it also triggers hope that you can be converted. They don’t understand that many people are kind regardless of their religion or lack there of.

    May 19, 2014 at 12:35 pm |
    • Alias

      I hate to take the christian's side here,but that is not a religious thing. That also happens with race, money, political parties, etc.

      May 19, 2014 at 12:43 pm |
      • Sheik Yerbouti

        I don't disagree...I was just referring to religious folks particularly.

        May 19, 2014 at 12:46 pm |
  14. Sheik Yerbouti

    I feel certain that the majority of people who pray know in their heart it does no good, but their fear of the unknown keeps them from foregoing their rituals. I see this often working with Christian groups as a volunteer. They always pray but it is never spontaneous. It is a job that god makes them perform.

    May 19, 2014 at 12:31 pm |
    • Alias

      Just one way to obsolve themselves of any responsibility. They asked god, and if he didn't do it, there must be a really godd reason for things to be the way they are.

      May 19, 2014 at 12:40 pm |
  15. Science Works

    Hey Theo and believerfred Flintstone this might be over your head but you should read this .

    mperial College London. "Scientists discover how to turn light into matter after 80-year quest." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 May 2014. .

    May 19, 2014 at 12:11 pm |
    • gulliblenomore

      Science Works.....the worst thing about religious people is that they are not interested in reviewing anything contrary to their beliefs. That eliminates evolution for them. They would have heart attacks trying to understand anything on the link you posted.

      May 19, 2014 at 12:16 pm |
      • Sheik Yerbouti

        I was thinking about this yesterday. I read a lot of magazines and books filled with science and the exciting work being performed in multiple disciplines. The religious will tend to avoid articles or programming the might threaten the belief system they have carefully cultivated. Religious people are very strange.

        May 19, 2014 at 12:26 pm |
        • bostontola

          It's a pretty human behavior that is displayed by people well outside religion. Nationalists avoid articles that put their country in a bad light, sports enthusiasts avoid articles that put their teams in a bad light, etc. Atheists are not immune from confirmation bias. That's why the scientific method is so important. It weeds out the biases of individual people as well as we have ever done.

          May 19, 2014 at 12:47 pm |
  16. Sheik Yerbouti

    I bit into a protein bar and did something to the left side of my face. I think a filling came out or something. Anyway, it is really painful. I tried to pray it away but no luck. That means I will have to go to the evil dentist. More pain. The mouth is perhaps the most deadly part of the human body. Imagine those who came before us fighting took decay without benefit of a dentist or good oral hygiene. How many people have died from mouth disease? That is where our attention should be, not religion.

    May 19, 2014 at 12:10 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      They solved that problem by having teeth extracted, which of course has other risks.

      May 19, 2014 at 12:14 pm |
      • Sheik Yerbouti

        I am about ready to get a couple of teeth extracted and replaced right now. Hurts like a mother.

        May 19, 2014 at 12:23 pm |
      • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

        Modern prosthetic teeth (implants) are pretty amazing – if that turns out to be the right answer for you. Of course root canals and crowns are cheaper and arguably a bit more natural.

        May 19, 2014 at 12:32 pm |
        • Sheik Yerbouti

          I think I just lost a filling. Pain!

          May 19, 2014 at 12:55 pm |
    • doobzz

      They are barely beyond believing that evil spirits cause disease – witness all the "miracles" that take place in hospitals after the patient has received expert medical care and proper medication. Yet when the patient recovers, it's never the doctors or the medicine that did it – it's a "miracle" and they give all the credit to their god of choice.

      Tooth pain is horrible and I hope you get relief quickly.

      May 19, 2014 at 12:37 pm |
    • tallulah131

      I feel your pain, dude! I've had four trips to the dentist in the last 3 weeks. Not fun!

      May 19, 2014 at 1:07 pm |
      • Sheik Yerbouti

        I was able to get an appointment today. I hope they will give me some pain killers!

        May 19, 2014 at 1:28 pm |
        • tallulah131

          That would be good!

          May 19, 2014 at 1:33 pm |
  17. igaftr

    devin
    "More than 90 percent of the world's population looks at the planet and universe and makes the determination it is the result of a creator. This is the Achilles heel of atheism"

    Not even slightly an achilles heel. The number of people believing in a given thing has no bearing on the validity of the belief.

    Also, atheism is not looking for "validity". It is simply NOT believinig in gods or any creator because THOSE assertions have no credibility.
    You are seriously looking at this from the wrong end, and using non-logic and false statements to assure yourself you are right. Classic delusional thinking.

    May 19, 2014 at 8:10 am |
    • samsstones

      igaftr
      Topherism is the condition that allows a person to discard any knowledge that does not agree with that persons a priori beliefs. (also known as Philioidiotism).
      This cnodition/disease of the mind seems to be spreading among all of the theist posters. The common thread appears to be that each individual knows the only "truth". dev... fits the category.

      May 19, 2014 at 8:24 am |
    • tallulah131

      Devin had me confused with his statement. I thought he was trying to say that there was a "creator" because the majority of humanity believe in a creator. But now I see what he is doing is simply assigning motives to other believers without even asking why they believe. He does not know if they see a "design" in the universe. He has not idea why other people believe as they do. He's simply stating his opinion and pretending that he has a consensus, but in truth he is only be speaking for himself.

      May 19, 2014 at 10:56 am |
      • MidwestKen

        @tallulah131,
        You are correct I think.

        Devin seems to be analyzing the effectivness of an organization to spread, which misses the point, I think.
        Additionally, there is some begging-the-question involved by assuming his design reason is acurate, but denying that the design argument itself is his claim.
        Very confusing.

        May 19, 2014 at 12:46 pm |
      • Alias

        The other problem with that statement is that many of that 90% believe indifferent creators.

        May 19, 2014 at 12:52 pm |
    • bostontola

      There was a time when almost 100% of humanity thought that the earth was stationary and all the heavenly bodies went around us.

      At some point a few people realized that wasn't correct. If they were called astationists, there would have been people explaining how ridiculous their position is. By direct observation we can see that the earth is stationary. If it weren't, we'd all be flung off.

      Long after the earth was shown to be revolving, most people still had a stationary model of the earth, for the same reasons many people deny evolution today, bias and poor education.

      Atheists are very similar to astationists, they believe objective evidence more than subjective experience. Religious people are like stationists, they believe their subjective experience more than objective evidence. I wouldn't care at all if all religious people didn't proselytize and/or tamper with our children's educational content to better suit their bias.

      I have never heard about a case where a scientist tried to change the operation or content of church teachings. I do hear about religious people tampering with science texts and classes.

      May 19, 2014 at 11:00 am |
      • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

        "I have never heard about a case where a scientist tried to change the operation or content of church teachings."
        -----------
        The religious are more than capable of doing that entirely on their own. Religious orthodoxy mutates faster that biology.

        It is interesting that scientists (like Darwin or Copernicus or Galileo) take care not to rush to present their findings, because they understand the turmoil their findings may have amongst the religious.

        May 19, 2014 at 12:10 pm |
        • bostontola

          I also find the irony amusing. Religions behave like organisms that mutate, evolve, and survive right under the noses of many that deny evolution.

          May 19, 2014 at 12:24 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          I chose mutate over evolve, since 'survival of the fittest' didn't seem to apply in that case.

          Memetics might be a relevant explanation of religious diversity.

          May 19, 2014 at 12:45 pm |
        • bostontola

          I actually think it is evolution and the fittest have survived (with number of members as the fitness metric).

          May 19, 2014 at 12:51 pm |
  18. samsstones

    dev...
    As an deist, Invictus last stanza by W. E. Henley
    It matters not how strait the gate,
    How charged with punishment the scroll,
    I am the master of my fate:
    I am the captain of my soul.
    You folks that need some supernatural crutch/saviour because you are afraid of death are simply pathetic. Get off your knees and get on with living the only life you have, jees.

    May 19, 2014 at 6:57 am |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      You have brains in your head.
      You have feet in your shoes.
      You can steer yourself
      any direction you choose.
      You're on your own.
      And you know what you know.
      And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go....
      – Dr. Seuss, (Oh! The Places You'll Go!)

      May 19, 2014 at 1:07 pm |
  19. Vic

    ♰♰♰ Jesus Christ Is Lord ♰♰♰

    Given the subject matter, IMHO:

    "Christianity (Jesus Christ)" presented the world with "Freedom and Liberty." Now, where "Freedom" reigns, the state adopted and implemented that "Freedom and Liberty" and prevented extremism and persecution by the Church while the Church prevented the loss of that "Freedom and Liberty" by the tyranny of the state. What an amazing balance.

    God Bless The USA

    May 18, 2014 at 9:03 pm |
    • neverbeenhappieratheist

      So which "Freedom and Liberty" did Christians bring? Freedom to live by their morality and the liberty to practice their religion or be shunned? Talk is cheap.

      May 18, 2014 at 9:10 pm |
    • hotairace

      How do you explain all the evil done by christian organizations, often working with governments?

      And Jesus Is Lord is almost assuredly bullsh!t but enjoy your delusions.

      May 18, 2014 at 9:15 pm |
    • sam stone

      Jesus Christ is mythology

      There, Vic, I fixed it for you

      You're welcome

      May 18, 2014 at 9:56 pm |
    • realbuckyball

      Freedom and liberty were know long before Jebus. You never read the Greek philosophers, I see.
      But I do appreciate your demonstration that everything you say is based on ignorance, and can be dismissed as such. Putting crosses around assertions does not make them true.

      May 18, 2014 at 11:14 pm |
    • ssq41

      Sorry, Vic....

      The (godless) Consti.tution prevents the tyranny of both state and church.

      But your need for Jesus to be "Lord" makes we wonder why you are an American....you sound like you need a dictator or a royal sovereign to lead your way.

      May 19, 2014 at 2:59 am |
    • Madtown

      "Christianity (Jesus Christ)" presented the world with "Freedom and Liberty."
      ----
      Presented "the world". Not so much. Christianity still isn't available and accessible to "the world", in totality. So, this statement of course is not accurate.

      May 19, 2014 at 10:45 am |
    • kudlak

      Vic
      All most atheists are asking is that the State actually prevent the "extremism and persecution by the Church" in things like pushing for Christian prayer in public government meetings and religiously-based laws against things like gay marriage.

      Unfortunately, things are completely out of balance, in the Church's favor. There is no real freedom of religion in the USA.

      May 19, 2014 at 1:53 pm |
  20. joeyy1

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

    May 18, 2014 at 8:30 pm |
    • tallulah131

      So how much is Coldplay paying you to spam their lame music?

      May 19, 2014 at 10:57 am |
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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.