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May 24th, 2014
06:00 PM ET

Atheists in the Bible Belt: A survival guide

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Editor

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Raleigh, North Carolina (CNN) – Back home, they erase their Internet histories, look over their shoulders before cracking jokes and nod politely when co-workers talk about church.

But in a hotel ballroom here on a recent weekend, more than 220 atheists, agnostics, skeptics and freethinkers let it all hang out.

The convention was called “Freedom From Religion in the Bible Belt,” and it was part celebration of skepticism and part strategy session about surviving in the country’s most religious region.

They sang songs about the futility of faith, shared stories about “coming out” as nonbelievers and bought books about the Bible – critical ones, of course.

“Isn’t it great to be in a room where you can say whatever you want to whomever you want without fear of anyone criticizing you for being unorthodox?” asked Dan Barker, co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, as he opened the two-day convention.

The Wisconsin-based foundation co-sponsored the event with the Triangle Freethought Society, which draws its members from this state’s tech-heavy Research Triangle.

The nonbelievers came from as far afield as Ireland and France, but most described themselves as refugees from the heart of the South - atheist anomalies amid fiercely devout friends, family and neighbors.

We wanted to know what it’s like to be a nonbeliever in the Bible Belt, so over the course of the weekend we asked some of the folks here to share their secrets.

They had a lot to say, and some of their advice overlapped, but we came away with eight top tips. Some said they wished they’d had something like this list when they began their foray into religious infidelity.

So, without further ado, here’s a “survival guide” to being an atheist in the Bible Belt:

You may be lonely, but you aren’t alone

Not so long ago, every other letter sent to the Freedom From Religion Foundation would begin something like, “I’m the only atheist in Nebraska … “

It’s still lonely being an atheist in rural America, says Annie Laurie Gaylor, the foundation’s co-president, but there are plenty of skeptics and nonbelievers in God’s Country – if you know how to find them.

Even the most religious states like Mississippi and Alabama have secular meetup groups, although many keep quiet and require long drives to attend.

Gaylor’s favorite story about the secretive lives of Bible Belt atheists involves two neighbors in Georgia whose jaws dropped when they saw each other at an atheist gathering. Each had assumed that the other was a good, God-fearing Baptist.

“They were afraid to speak out," she says, "because they didn’t want to be stigmatized.”

Gaylor recommends looking online for atheist support groups in your area; and be sure to search for related terms as well: agnostic, freethought, skeptic and nonbeliever.

It’s no fun debating fundamentalists

Bart Ehrman doesn’t seem like the kind of guy who backs down from a fight.

The University of North Carolina scholar often seeks them out, regularly debating the Bible and early Christianity with evangelicals and other experts.

But Ehrman told the atheists gathered in Raleigh not to bother arguing with fundamentalists.

“You can’t convince a fundamentalist that he or she is wrong,” he says.

Their theology is a closed system, according to Ehrman, and their social bonds with fellow fundamentalists are too tightly knit to admit any wiggle room.

“You can point to any contradiction in the Bible and it just doesn’t matter. They will either find some way to reconcile it or say that even if they don’t understand it, God does.”

Technically, the term fundamentalist refers to a movement of 20th-century Protestants who rejected modernity and clung to a literal interpretation of the Bible.

But Ehrman has a different definition: “Someone who is no fun, too much damn, and not enough mental.”

People will think you worship Satan

Many Americans don’t actually know any professed atheists, according to surveys - which means they often seem to assume the worst about them.

Fewer than half of Americans say they’d vote for an atheist politician; a similar number say they wouldn’t want their children to marry a nonbeliever.

A recent study also showed that businesses in the South are more likely to discriminate against atheist job candidates.

“I don’t know what they think we are, Satanists or baby eaters or who knows what,” activist Todd Stiefel told the atheists gathered in Raleigh, “but it’s kind of scary."

A recent survey conducted for Stiefel's new “Openly Secular” campaign found that 20% of Americans can’t even define atheism. Far more don’t know what “humanist,” “freethinker” or “agnostic” means.

Behold, the six types of atheists

Based on “It Gets Better” and other gay rights campaigns, “Openly Secular” hopes to counter that ignorance by asking atheists to share stories online about their lives and beliefs.

“What we’re really trying to do is humanize us,” Stiefel says. “Frankly, most of the hate and distrust comes from misunderstanding about who we are.”

You don’t have to convince your friends, family and neighbors to accept all of your views, the atheist activist says. You just have to get them to accept you.

Sometimes it’s better to stay in the closet

After secular conferences like the one here Raleigh, many nonbelievers get so jazzed that they rush home and blurt out … "Guess, what? I’m an ATHEIST!!!"

That can be a really bad idea, says Sarah Morehead, executive director of Recovering From Religion.

It may help the atheist movement as a whole to share your lack of faith with friends and family. But it’s not always the best - or the safest - move for you, she says.

Recovering From Religion’s online support groups are filled with stories about people who lost their jobs, their kids or their spouses after coming out as atheist, Morehead says.

“It’s heartbreaking. People don’t realize how big a difference expressing their nonbelief can make.”

Recovering From Religion recommends having a plan in place before coming out as atheist.

“If you decide you’re a nonbeliever,” Morehead says, “you’re still going to be a nonbeliever in a year."

The group’s own 10.5-step plan includes creating a support network, declining to get into debates and preparing yourself for a “religious breakup” with friends and family. (The half-step assures budding nonbelievers they don’t have to be experts on atheism and points them toward educational resources.)

Don’t be the ‘office atheist’

Candace Gorham says her close family is accepting of her atheism - but she’s not completely “out” at work yet, and doesn’t know if she wants to be.

Gorham, who was raised in the black church, says religion is deeply embedded in the lives of many Southern African-Americans, and the borders between private and public spirituality often blur.

“I work for a black-owned company, and most of my supervisors are black females, and it’s just sort of OK for everybody to talk about God, or offer to pray for you,” says Gorham.

The 33-year-old is author of a new book called “The Ebony Exodus Project,” about black women leaving the church, which has pushed Gorham herself to become more public about being an atheist.

Recently, a co-worker told Gorham she had seen her talking about being an atheist on Roland Martin’s television show.

“I was like, Oh my God, shhh don’t tell anybody!”

A mental-health counselor who works with children, Gorham worries that people will stop referring clients to her once they find out she’s a nonbeliever.

According to a survey Stiefel presented in Raleigh, more than 50% of Americans believe atheist teachers and day-care employees - people who, like Gorham, work with children - are likely to face discrimination at work.

She knows it's only a matter of time until more of her office mates find out.

“It’s getting to a place where I don’t have a choice. I’m just going to have to be comfortable with it - but it does concern me.”

The Internet is your frenemy

A co-worker isn’t the only person who saw Gorham talking about atheism on television.

Her aunt read about the Roland Martin interview online, which led Gorham’s mother to call and ask if she is really an atheist.

The conversation went well, Gorham says, and her mother understands and respects her beliefs.

But the unexpected disclosure shows why many atheists cover their Internet tracks, even as they increasingly look for like-minded communities online.

Gorham says she used to delete her browsing history on her laptop after watching atheist debates and lectures online lest her husband or other family members find out her faith was wavering.

“I was still early in my deconversion and I wasn’t sure how he would perceive it,” says the Greensboro, North Carolina, native.

Others here for the conference said they keep two separate Facebook pages, one for friends and family and one for their secular communities.

“Facebook is my happy place,” says one middle-aged woman who made a nearly seven-hour drive to Raleigh from Crossville, Tennessee.

The woman, who didn't want to be identified, teaches at public schools. She says most of her neighbors and co-workers are Christians.

“Crossville is a small Bible Belt community with churches on every corner,” she said, “and everything shuts down on Sunday except for Wal-Mart and the hospital.”

Most co-workers assume she’s Christian, but she joins as many atheist groups online as she can and keeps an anonymous Facebook page called “Within Reason.”

One recent post asks people to click “like” if they’ve ever been unfriended because of an atheism-themed status update.

Some people take Bible-thumping literally

Adults may face more real-life repercussions for coming out as atheist in the Bible Belt, but that doesn’t mean kids have an easy ride.

Kalei Wilson, 15, says she lost friends after trying to start a secular student club at Pisgah High School in Canton, North Carolina; and someone used a Bible to destroy her science project, leaving the holy book on her smashed model of the universe.

The blue-haired, nose-pierced freshman says she’s not the only atheist at her high school, but most of them are closeted.

“I didn’t want to come out at first,” Wilson says, “but in order to start the club I had to.”

In exchange for her openness, Wilson says, some students mutter "Jesus loves you” as she walks down the hall, and she regularly receives text messages with the greeting, “Hey, Satan.”

“I’ve lost friends because of it,” the teenager says of her atheism, “but they’re not real friends if that’s what they do.”

Have a sense of humor

For all the heartbreaking stories, if was there was a soundtrack to the conference in Raleigh, it would include a lot of laughter.

It seemed as if the atheists and freethinkers here had been storing their sharpest religion jokes for weeks, preparing for the day when they would find an appreciative audience at last.

“I’ve been living in the South for 13 years,” says Pat Meller, who came to Raleigh from nearby Greensboro, “and I’ve had to watch my tongue for just as long.”

So for two days, Meller and her kindred spirits cut loose.

They quipped about the folly of prayer, bought bumper-stickers calling the Bible a “Grim Fairy Tale,” and wore T-shirts proclaiming their belief in life before death.

Harry Shaughnessy, president of the Triangle Freethought Society, played the cut-up emcee for much of the weekend.

“For every activist-oriented event we have, we want to have three to five things that are just fun,” says Shaughnessy, whose group holds regular “Heathen Happy Hours” and meets for barbecues in each other’s homes.

At one point, the youthful 44-year-old donned a crown and a form-fitting, skin-colored costume to bestow Freedom From Religion’s “Emperor Has No Clothes” award on Steifel for his activism.

Perhaps appropriately for an atheist event, Shaughnessy’s get-up left little to the imagination.

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Atheism • Belief • Black issues • Church and state • Culture wars • Discrimination • Internet • Lost faith • Nones • North Carolina • Prejudice • Religious liberty

soundoff (4,807 Responses)
  1. bostontola

    Trying to use the science of the universe's origin as an argument for a God is silly. Why?

    1. This science is new and very incomplete.
    2. No one knows if the Big Bang is the origin of all of existence.
    3. Most people don't understand the science that does exist and base arguments on false assumptions.
    4. None of the arguments support the particular God of any religion of man.

    May 29, 2014 at 9:03 am |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      http://www.hawking.org.uk/the-beginning-of-time.html

      May 29, 2014 at 9:34 am |
      • bostontola

        The Big Bang started our observable universe. That doesn't mean that there are no other existences. Our time dimension started with the Big Bang.

        May 29, 2014 at 9:53 am |
    • Reality

      The complexities of the Big Bang are reviewed at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Bang. It appears that testing of the theory continues to be positive even though conceptually it is hard go grasp for those of us who do not have PhD's in Physics.

      May 29, 2014 at 9:47 am |
      • Reality

        One way to think about the Big Bang is to consider the Big Bang of a hydrogen bomb and the bang it makes from just a few kilograms of deuterium/tritium?

        May 29, 2014 at 10:08 am |
      • Reality

        Oops, make that "hard to grasp".

        May 29, 2014 at 10:11 am |
  2. truthfollower01

    Do skeptics believe it's possible for something to come into existence uncaused out of nothing?

    May 28, 2014 at 10:44 pm |
    • midwest rail

      Since this line of questioning has been addressed repeatedly by multiple posters, I'm curious why you persist with this particular tack ?

      May 28, 2014 at 10:47 pm |
      • truthfollower01

        Gathering opinions.

        May 28, 2014 at 10:52 pm |
        • midwest rail

          Fair enough.

          May 28, 2014 at 10:53 pm |
        • ausphor

          truthf1
          Except your opinion is the only one that counts, right? You have already reached your conclusion and no amount of debate/knowledge/opinions will ever get you to change your mind, so it is rather pointless to engage you, a closed mind is always a waste.

          May 29, 2014 at 7:25 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          ausphor,
          So, when you have found the answer to a problem, is it necessary to keep looking for one? That's not being closed minded, that's being rational.

          May 29, 2014 at 7:48 am |
        • fintronics

          theo.... the only thing you've found is your imagination.

          May 29, 2014 at 8:45 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          "theo.... the only thing you've found is your imagination"
          ------------–
          Are you saying that "multi-verse theory" isn't the imaginings of men? What about the contradiction-embracing idea of an eternal, mutable universe?

          May 29, 2014 at 8:59 am |
        • Science Works

          Hey tf and Theo

          Wasp mentioned E=mc2 – you should review this

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

          May 29, 2014 at 9:02 am |
        • Science Works

          Here is the url oops.

          http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140518164244.htm

          May 29, 2014 at 9:04 am |
        • ausphor

          Theo
          Philioidiotism, the condition that allows a person to reject all knowledge that does not agree with that persons a priori beliefs. (also know as Topherism) Tf1 is using your methods, you know the only "truth" and nothing will ever change that, you are a fanatic, enough said. Topher is missing, could it be possible that he has seen the light and discarded his fundie beliefs, probably not.

          May 29, 2014 at 9:11 am |
        • lunchbreaker

          @truthfollower01, For the millionth time I have personally addressed this, no. But I'm sure that won't stop you and others like you from continuing the constant false strawman argument that we believe, "Something poofed out of nothing." Arguments such as this only serve to reafirm your own congregation while making you look completely uninformed to those who you might be trying to convince that your God exists.

          May 29, 2014 at 10:36 am |
        • hotairace

          Delusional believers think they have an answer, quit looking and defend their insanity to their death. Scientists continue to look for better, more definitive answers, discarding previous hypotheses and thereby continually improving their knowledge. Over generalizations perhaps, but true nonetheless. I'm going with the scientists.

          May 29, 2014 at 10:43 am |
        • kudlak

          Theo Phileo

          Some Christians have found an answer to a problem. A very ancient answer, which they have accepted unquestioningly, and they have refused to consider that may not be the actual answer. They effectively stopped looking for an answer once they decided to trust an ancient book in all things.

          Is that being open-minded and rational?

          May 29, 2014 at 11:21 am |
    • bostontola

      You need to define terms. What do you mean by nothing? When you say caused, does that mean purposeful causation by a sentient thing?

      May 28, 2014 at 10:57 pm |
      • truthfollower01

        This concept of "nothing" meaning "something" such as the quantum vacuum, etc. is insane. I mean Nothing being nothing (not anything / no thing). Are you familiar with cause and effect?

        May 28, 2014 at 11:01 pm |
        • Doris

          tf: "This concept of "nothing" meaning "something" such as the quantum vacuum, etc. is insane. I mean Nothing being nothing (not anything / no thing)."

          It seems to me, tf, that you're trying to impose your idea of nothing (not anything/no thing [or maybe we can call it the absence of anything]) onto some state or prior state of the universe at some point in time – perhaps in the past just before big bang. But we don't seem to know if what that state was really has any correlation to your definition. I wonder as well. And since we don't seem to really have an example of "not any thing", it seems to me that it makes it extra difficult to project that kind of state for anything at any time.

          My gut tells me that something can't come from nothing. But it seems some theoretical physicists think that it might be possible, even if not likely. I think Alex Vilenkin, coauthor of BVG thinks this.

          May 28, 2014 at 11:17 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          Doris,

          What we scientically have is a beginning of the universe via the Big Bang. We can go a few directions here. One is via a material eternal something (the singularity, a hypothesized world ensemble (no evidence for), material in general, etc.). All of these must face the problem of an actual material infinite which goes against logic and reason and leads to absurdity. The second is a transcendent Being who is immaterial, timeless and spaceless who created space-time.

          "My gut tells me that something can’t come from nothing."

          As well as all science.

          "But it seems some theoretical physicists think that it might be possible, even if not likely. I think Alex Vilenkin, coauthor of BVG thinks this."

          What does this show? It shows that Alex Vilenkin believes something that goes completely against science and logic might be possible.

          May 28, 2014 at 11:34 pm |
        • midwest rail

          For the record, Stephen Hawking believes it is possible that something can come from nothing, for lack of a better phrase.

          May 28, 2014 at 11:40 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          What does this show? It shows that Stephen Hawking believes something that goes completely against science and logic might be possible.

          Why do skeptics have to resort to something so anti-scientific and patently absurd as something coming into existence uncaused out of nothing?

          Do you believe that a horse could appear right now in your kitchen? Are you concerned that a bull could appear on top of your vehicle tonight and destroy it?

          May 28, 2014 at 11:46 pm |
        • midwest rail

          Most radical ideas are initially rejected as untenable. I have exactly zero understanding of M-theory and quantum gravitation, so I freely admit the science is beyond me. My point was that one of the greatest scientific minds of our age believes it is possible.

          May 28, 2014 at 11:51 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          Midwest,

          Just think about the concept of something actually coming from nothing, uncaused. It is anti-scientific. It goes against all science.

          Do you think it's possible that a raging Bengal tiger could just pop into existence uncaused in your residence and start destroying things? I doubt this really concerns you but if something can pop into being uncaused out of nothing, why wouldn't it be concerning? Why wouldn't anything and everything pop into being uncaused out if nothing (ocean liners, whales, palm trees, etc.)?

          May 28, 2014 at 11:59 pm |
        • midwest rail

          " It is anti-scientific. It goes against all science."
          Since one of the greatest scientific minds of our age disagrees with you, I suggest you take it up with Hawking. As I've already stated, the science is beyond me.

          May 29, 2014 at 12:02 am |
        • Doris

          tf: "What does this show? It shows that Stephen Hawking believes something that goes completely against science and logic might be possible."

          What midwest said. So I think in your statement above you just need to say: "It shows that Stephen Hawking seems to have good reason to believe that something(s) is possible that goes completely against that which is currently accepted and understood scientifically. Also note that when Vilenkin talks about BVG Theorem, he says that it's important to note it is limited to this universe.

          May 29, 2014 at 12:07 am |
        • truthfollower01

          So to clarify, you both are putting your faith in Stephen Hawking, who's own view goes against science, logic, reasoning and everything we observe?

          Doris and/or Midwest, please answer this question (I'm having a hard time getting an answer). Do you think it’s possible that a raging Bengal tiger could just pop into existence uncaused in your residence and start destroying things?

          May 29, 2014 at 12:19 am |
        • hotairace

          Come on people! You should know that any Babble Humper is more qualified to speculate on the origin of the universe than scientists such as Hawking and Krauss. But I am still waiting to see the scholarly article, published in a reputable peer reviewed journal, that successfully concludes with "some god did it."

          May 29, 2014 at 12:20 am |
        • benhoody

          Babble Humper' now isn't that cute, very funny, ha ha. You really don't think that was funny do you? Stupid and childish yes, but funny, no not a bit, it just enlightens us to your intelligence level.

          May 29, 2014 at 12:50 am |
        • truthfollower01

          Hotairace,

          Please address the questions and argument as opposed to resorting to an ad hominem attack, which make for weak arguments.

          May 29, 2014 at 12:25 am |
        • Doris

          tf: "So to clarify, you both are putting your faith in Stephen Hawking, who's own view goes against science, logic, reasoning and everything we observe?"

          Gosh – too many assumptions there, tf.

          I pay attention to Hawking; I do not put faith in what he says in the sense that I need to believe or not believe anything he says. After all, he is a theoretical scientist, so with that I assume that much of his work is on the frontier of science – constantly attempting to bridge that which is known and accepted with that which is unknown but where scientists have good reason for their suspi.cions. So therefore, I would say that a major function of the theoretical scientist is, to some degree, go against current science, logic and reasoning. I think that aspect of their work allows scientific understanding to correct itself or perhaps in some cases just extend itself.

          tf: "Doris and/or Midwest, please answer this question (I'm having a hard time getting an answer). Do you think it’s possible that a raging Bengal tiger could just pop into existence uncaused in your residence and start destroying things?"

          I think that is possible, but based on my observations and what I've learned from the observations of others – it's highly unlikely.

          May 29, 2014 at 12:39 am |
        • hotairace

          I'm going with scientists such as Hawking and Krauss. Given your complete lack of actual evidence for any alleged but never proven god, you have zero credibility.

          May 29, 2014 at 12:47 am |
        • truthfollower01

          You can go with Hawking's view on this but remember, it goes against science, logic, reasoning and everything we observe. It's your choice.

          May 29, 2014 at 12:54 am |
        • Doris

          tf: "You can go with Hawking's view on this but remember, it goes against science, logic, reasoning and everything we observe. It's your choice."

          Again, that's too narrow a description for what Hawking does, what his ideas are based on. I do believe he would argue that his ideas built on accepted science, logic and reasoning, but ultimately will breach what is currently accepted and known to open the door for the expansion of knowledge. That's his function. Yesterday's wild ideas put forth by theorists are often today's accepted science.

          May 29, 2014 at 1:08 am |
        • truthfollower01

          "I do believe he would argue that his ideas built on accepted science, logic and reasoning, but ultimately will breach"

          The concept of something coming into being, uncaused out of nothing is certainly not building on accepted science, logic and reasoning. It completely runs contradictory to it.

          May 29, 2014 at 1:13 am |
        • dandintac

          I would point out that we don't know anything about "nothing". We've never had an example of "nothing" to examine or test, and we don't even know if it's possible for "nothing" to exist. We quite literally know nothing about nothing. Usually when physicists say "nothing" in the context of The Big Bang, they are referring to the universe–matter and energy–that we observe today. We really don't know if there was "nothing" before, or the nature of this "nothing". So we cannot make any claims about "nothing", such as whether something can come from it.

          We are all in a state of profound ignorance when talking about pre-Big Bang cosmology. The difference between us is this: Christians who fall back on the cosmological arguments for god are making huge, sweeping, towering claims and using our very ignorance as "evidence" for these claims!

          May 29, 2014 at 1:30 am |
        • Doris

          I do believe Vilenkin stated in a youtube video something about it being mathematically possible. I don't think he indicated that it was probable, though.

          May 29, 2014 at 1:32 am |
        • truthfollower01

          "We’ve never had an example of “nothing” to examine or test"

          You can't have an example of "nothing" to test or examine. There is nothing.

          "and we don’t even know if it’s possible for “nothing” to exist. "

          Of course "nothing" doesn't exist. Nothing is not anything.

          Christians believe in an immaterial, spaceless, timeless God who created space-time.

          May 29, 2014 at 1:42 am |
        • Doris

          tf: "Christians believe in an immaterial, spaceless, timeless God who created space-time."

          And a god for all the universe that where man just happens to be in it's image. How quaint.

          May 29, 2014 at 2:03 am |
        • sam stone

          Not only that, Doris, he also loves us soooooo much that he had himself whacked so that we can be forgiven for us breaking the rules that he KNEW we were going to break

          May 29, 2014 at 6:25 am |
        • samsstones

          tru........
          So your tiger is made of matter meets an antimatter tiger and they annihilate each other in a burst of pure energy, only to reform into matter and antimatter in some distant future and even perhaps reform into tigers. Giving a stupid analogy requires a stupid answer. You people should understand that if there is a god it had to be created.

          May 29, 2014 at 7:02 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          A Creator God is a logical necessity based on the contingent nature of the physical universe.

          The argument for a First Cause first looks at the reality of our physical universe being one finite and interconnected causal chain. That is, everything in this physical universe, and this physical universe itself had a beginning.

          Relative to the contingent nature of the physical world, it is logically necessary that something exists whose existence is not derived from something else, and through whom the existence of everything else is derived. The First Cause…

          Infinite causal chains do not exist, (therefore the universe cannot be eternal) since an infinite causal chain could not explain how the causal chain began to be in the first place (think of a line of falling dominoes). Causal chains by definition are a series of causes and effects, and you cannot have an effect without a cause. Therefore the very existence of the causal chain (that is, our physical universe) demands the existence of a first cause. Since infinite causal chains do not exist, then that first cause must itself be eternal. Since the first cause stands outside of physical reality as its creator, and it is thus greater than the creation since the lesser cannot create the greater, and it is eternal, it must also be supernatural. That can be nothing other than God. Furthermore, it cannot be argued that the first cause itself had a cause, or you err in creating an infinite regress – an infinite causal chain that cannot exist. Therefore to deny the existence of an eternal creator who is outside of our physical reality is to dip into an illogical fantasy designed to fictionalize reality so that man may ease into a death without fear of having any contact with a God to whom they will one day be accountable.

          “Our common habits of thought allow for the existence of need among created things. Nothing is complete in itself, but requires something outside itself in order to exist. All breathing things need air; every organism needs food and water. Take air and water from the earth and all life would perish instantly. It may be stated as an axiom that to stay alive every created thing needs some other created thing and all created things need God. To God alone nothing is necessary.”
          A.W. Tozer, “The Knowledge of the Holy”

          May 29, 2014 at 7:37 am |
        • midwest rail

          " Do you think it’s possible that a raging Bengal tiger could just pop into existence uncaused in your residence and start destroying things?" "

          Since that is not what Hawking is suggesting, the question is irrelevant and you know it. Neither of us understands the science behind Hawking's idea here, and I admit it. You, however, choose to ask an irrelevant question in regard to the science in an attempt to discredit it. You are being intentionally dishonest, and sadly, you know it.

          May 29, 2014 at 7:59 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          "Neither of us understands the science behind Hawking's idea here"
          -----------–
          I've seen working mathematics that predict the spread of zombie infestations. So I guess that means that zombies are real? The same goes for Hawking. Unless the mathematics support observable reality, then even if the math "works" it's still fiction.

          May 29, 2014 at 8:06 am |
        • igaftr

          There goes theo again with the same, wrong, illogical , let's jump to wild conclusions "first cause" garbage again. How many times do we have to show you how completely flawed your argument is theo?
          Something caused the Big Bnag....something does not mean creator god. There...once again destroyed your argument.

          May 29, 2014 at 8:07 am |
        • midwest rail

          " Unless the mathematics support observable reality,..."
          I will assume you were not present to observe the Big Bang, which makes your statement irrelevant as well.

          May 29, 2014 at 8:11 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          igaftr,
          The universe is not eternal, because everything that we observe is mutable, and contingent.

          Also, you cannot go into any explanation of how there "might" exist a "possibility" of other universes that "might" have spawned our own. Because that is to delve into ideas for which there is no evidence, neither does there exist any method for even testing those ideas.

          So, weeding out the eternality of the universe as impossible, AND weeding out the multi-verse theory, because it's not observable reality, what theories are left?

          May 29, 2014 at 8:12 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          "I will assume you were not present to observe the Big Bang, which makes your statement irrelevant as well."
          ------------–
          I wasn't at the Creation, but God was, so I take His word for it. Besides, it's the only logical explanation that agrees with observable reality.

          May 29, 2014 at 8:14 am |
        • midwest rail

          " I wasn't at the Creation, but God was,"
          Since the subject at hand is observable reality and workable mathematics, may I assume you've presented the workable mathematics to support your assertion for peer review ?

          May 29, 2014 at 8:19 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          "Since the subject at hand is observable reality and workable mathematics, may I assume you've presented the workable mathematics to support your assertion for peer review ?"
          ----------------
          Funny you should mention that...

          From Dr. John MacArthur:

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

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

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

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

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

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

          May 29, 2014 at 8:23 am |
        • igaftr

          theo
          What theories are left? An INFINTE number of theories are left. Most have not been brought forth or even conceived as yet.
          Once again...SOMETHING caused the Big Bang.
          Something does not mean "god". Also, there are no theories involving any gods, since as far as any can show, gods are imaginary. There is no evidence anywhere of any gods to be able to theorize what these gods allegedly did.

          You do not know if the Big Bang was the begining. You do not know what was before the Big Bang.

          You are so busy trying to fit reality into your belief that you cannot see how flawed your whole concept of an eternal "god" is.
          You like to simply wave off people that want to know what caused your god, and you claim "he" is eternal and had no beginning....that is what you IMAGNINE your god to be, but there is nothing to suggest that, excepot for the OPINION of whoever wrote the clearly flawed and proven false book of Genesis. Basing anything on Genesis is a flawed argument, since we know things did not happen that way.

          May 29, 2014 at 8:26 am |
        • midwest rail

          Theo, that is a non-answer. Have YOU or the good Dr. MacArthur submitted your workable mathematics for peer review ?

          May 29, 2014 at 8:26 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          "You like to simply wave off people that want to know what caused your god, "
          ------------
          Do you believe in finfinite regress? Do you also believe that things that are shown to be mutable can also be eternal?

          If you think that God must have a "creator," that is to say that you believe in at least 2 impossible things. (kindof sounds like Alice in Wonderland in that you believe in at least 5 impossible things before breakfast)

          1) that you believe that causal chains can be of infinite length – this is impossible, because a causal chain that exists without a cause is a contradiction.
          2) that you believe that something that is mutable and contingent can at the same time be eternal – this option violates the law of non-contradiction, in that something cannot both be "A" and "non-A" at the same time and in the same way.

          May 29, 2014 at 8:32 am |
        • igaftr

          theo
          "Dr." John Macarthur's doctorates are both honorary, so not earned, and his master is in "divinity" but since no one has ever shown anything to be divine, it is in effect a masters degree in delusion.

          How about something from someone with valid credentials, and not someone who chases fairy tales and makes up reason for you to believe in things there continues to be no evidence for.

          Hey llok at that...my friend and I just gave each other honorary doctorates...isn't that nice...so now I am Dr. Igaftr....gosh that was easy wheen you don't actually earn it.

          May 29, 2014 at 8:34 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          "Theo, that is a non-answer. Have YOU or the good Dr. MacArthur submitted your workable mathematics for peer review ?"
          -----------
          Because although it can be interesting to apply tools such as statistics to make a point, to go into the field of physical science to prove the existence of something that is non-physical is to use a screw driver to put a nail into a 2×4.

          The tools that are given to us to learn about the physical world are not well suited to the discovery of that which is not physical. Therefore the scientific method is EXTREMELY handicapped to the point of being virtually useless in certain things – the field of cosmogony is one of those fields.

          May 29, 2014 at 8:39 am |
        • igaftr

          theo
          "Do you believe in finfinite regress"

          Does not matter what I beleive. Why are you continuing to try that trite, false argument over and over. In the end, you STILL leap to an unjustified conclusion, where no conclusion can be made.
          It does not matter the rest of your argument because as sson as you make that illogical leap, you throw the rest of your case out the window.

          I would suggest ou start with a different line of reasoning. I don't know how many times the flaws in your argument have to be shown to you for you to understand that you leap to a god...yet nothing points to anything specific at all...simply not enough info for a conclusion.

          May 29, 2014 at 8:40 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          igaftr,
          So, you have no idea who he is then. OK, I'll just ignore everything you just said then.

          May 29, 2014 at 8:41 am |
        • midwest rail

          Another non-answer. When asked originally if you had submitted workable mathematics for peer review, you said "funny you should mention that" and then quoted MacArthur as if HE had fulfilled that requirement. He hasn't. When asked again, since the subject remains workable mathematics and observable reality, you have once again deflected. Care to address the question yet ?

          May 29, 2014 at 8:45 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          ""Do you believe in finfinite regress"
          Does not matter what I beleive. Why are you continuing to try that trite, false argument over and over. In the end, you STILL leap to an unjustified conclusion, where no conclusion can be made."
          -----------------–
          Actually, it's not unjustified. OK, let's just do this then....
          What do we know?
          1) We know that the universe is not eternal.
          2) We know that infinite causal chains do not exist.

          I see only 4 categories into which any idea of cosmogony can fit:
          1) Option number one, the universe is an illusion, it doesn't exist.
          2) Option number two, it is self-created.
          3) Option number three, it is self-existent and eternal.
          4) Option number four, it was created by someone who is self-existent.

          May 29, 2014 at 8:51 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          When asked again, since the subject remains workable mathematics and observable reality, you have once again deflected. Care to address the question yet ?
          --------------
          It's not deflecting. The answer is NO because science is useless in the field of cosmogony. I thought that you could have gathered that from my responses.

          May 29, 2014 at 8:55 am |
        • midwest rail

          " The answer is NO..."
          Then your original answer was dishonest, since it was designed to give the implication that MacArthur had met the requirement. He hasn't, nor have you.

          May 29, 2014 at 8:59 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          "Then your original answer was dishonest, since it was designed to give the implication that MacArthur had met the requirement. He hasn't, nor have you."
          ------------–
          You failed to read where I said that "it may be interesting to apply things like statistics to make a point..." Which is what MacArthur was doing. Making a point, and delivering solid proof are two different things. And when it comes to those areas to which science is useless, proof does not come from methodology or formulae. Proof comes from some other means.

          May 29, 2014 at 9:05 am |
        • igaftr

          yes theo, I do know who he is...someone who studied something he BELIEVED to exist as if it actually existed, got a degree from other people who had the same belief, and then got two "doctorates" from still another group of people who believe. So in effect, no credentials at all to those of us who do not believe.

          He also leaps to an unjustifiable conclusion of deities.

          May 29, 2014 at 9:11 am |
        • Doris

          Theo: [ "Also, you cannot go into any explanation of how there "might" exist a "possibility" of other universes that "might" have spawned our own. Because that is to delve into ideas for which there is no evidence, neither does there exist any method for even testing those ideas.

          So, weeding out the eternality of the universe as impossible, AND weeding out the multi-verse theory, because it's not observable reality, what theories are left?" ]

          This is pure conjecture, Theo. If Vilenkin and others have found the idea of multiverse mathematically possible and have reason to think the idea is worthy of consideration, then I'll trust their judgement for now on what should be "weeded out" thank you very much.

          May 29, 2014 at 9:24 am |
        • Doris

          (To be clear, I find your statements, made as if fact, to be pure conjecture, Theo.)

          May 29, 2014 at 9:25 am |
        • midwest rail

          " You failed to read where I said that "it may be interesting to apply things like statistics to make a point..."
          Only one problem Theo – that line appears NOWHERE in your original answer, which is the one under discussion now. That assertion comes much later in the thread, and leaves only two possibilities for your original answer. It was dishonest, or it was a non sequitur. Take your pick.

          May 29, 2014 at 9:32 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          "If Vilenkin and others have found the idea of multiverse mathematically possible and have reason to think the idea is worthy of consideration, then I'll trust their judgement for now on what should be "weeded out" thank you very much."
          ------------
          Mathematics have been used to show the rate of zombie infestations... Does that mean that zombies are real too?

          Being that zombies are fictional, everyone makes assumptions about them. Is it a virus? Are they just monsters? Are they cursed into being zombies? Is it magic? It all depends on who you ask, so if a scientist assumes that zombification is accomplished through a virus, then he can develop mathematics along those lines.

          The same is true of origins. What assumptions are being made that directed the mathematics of those who would make claims to that which can never be observed?

          May 29, 2014 at 9:36 am |
        • igaftr

          theo
          Your "dcotor" is a fool. He is a young earth creationsit, which is cleraly a false belief, AND he rails against evolution ""ought to expose such lies for what they are and oppose them vigorously."

          He is just another who's belief has blinded them to reality, and clearly not someone you should listen to...ever.

          May 29, 2014 at 9:39 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          "That assertion comes much later in the thread, and leaves only two possibilities for your original answer. It was dishonest, or it was a non sequitur. Take your pick"
          -------------
          Or, option number 3 – that I wrongly as.sumed that everyone rightly recognizes the futility of science and mathematics in the field of cosmogony, so that everyone would automatically look at postings that use mathematics as merely making a point, not as a proof.

          Therefore, if I as.sumed wrongly about your views of the role of science and mathematics in the field of cosmogony, then I apologize.

          May 29, 2014 at 9:41 am |
        • midwest rail

          A more likely answer, given the flow of the conversation to that point, you wished to present MacArthur and the quote in question as something it was not. Context, Theo, context.

          May 29, 2014 at 9:43 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          "Your "dcotor" is a fool. He is a young earth creationsit, which is cleraly a false belief,"
          ---------------------
          "The fool says in his heart that there is no God."

          "AND he rails against evolution"
          -----------------
          And rightly so, since evolution cannot happen. We can observe adaptations, but it has never been observed that one kind of animal can change into another. And before you say that "science doesn't recognize 'kinds'" tell me, what kind of animal is a dog?

          "He is just another who's belief has blinded them to reality, and clearly not someone you should listen to...ever."
          -----------------------
          2 Corinthians 4:3-3 – if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
          > The one who is blinded is not the theologian who recognizes the Creator as the source of all things, but rather the one who looks only to this physical existence, and tries to invent ways that the physical world can be its own creator.

          Romans 1:22 – Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.
          > How well that passage describes the atti.tude of the evolutionist who places mere creatures in the place that only God should be held.

          May 29, 2014 at 9:49 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          "A more likely answer, given the flow of the conversation to that point, you wished to present MacArthur and the quote in question as something it was not. Context, Theo, context."
          ----------------
          Think whatever you will, that's your business, not mine.

          May 29, 2014 at 9:51 am |
        • ausphor

          Philioidiotism when clearly losing the debate revert to the book of silly to complete the circle. What all your babbling comes down to is that god is real because god says so in this here 2000 year old book of myths that Theo(the great) believes.

          May 29, 2014 at 9:56 am |
        • midwest rail

          Indeed I shall, Theo, since the objective evidence in the thread supports my belief. Your dishonesty does not bode well for your ultimate destination, does it ?

          May 29, 2014 at 9:57 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          I never did get a response to this...

          What do we know?
          1) We know that the universe is not eternal.
          2) We know that infinite causal chains do not exist.

          I see only 4 categories into which any idea of cosmogony can fit:
          1) Option number one, the universe is an illusion, it doesn't exist.
          2) Option number two, it is self-created.
          3) Option number three, it is self-existent and eternal.
          4) Option number four, it was created by someone who is self-existent

          May 29, 2014 at 10:01 am |
        • ausphor

          Theo
          No Theo, that is what you think you know, it is nonsense, there is your answer.

          May 29, 2014 at 10:15 am |
        • Alias

          This again Theo?
          If your sky daddy can be eternal, then te universe can be eternal.

          May 29, 2014 at 10:36 am |
        • hotairace

          Theo Puffy Words, you are claiming to have the correct answers to all the questions scientists such as Hawking, Krauss and deGrasse Tyson are researching. When are you going to publish your findings and correct these wayward thinkers? I know that many people are anxiously awaiting a scholarly article that successfully concludes with "some god did it." Of course, after you are successful at establishing that some god did it, you will have to move on to proving that your god did it, not one of other few thousand alleged but never proven gods. Come on, get on with it!

          May 29, 2014 at 10:54 am |
        • Madtown

          Theo Phileo
          What do we know?
          ----–
          As of this time, we aren't even close to knowing everything that we DON'T KNOW. Impossible to draw conclusions. Religions are the result of mankind asking these questions, not the "answers" to the questions.

          May 29, 2014 at 11:27 am |
        • kudlak

          Theo Phileo
          A naturally occurring universe assumes a working of the physical laws that we just don't understand yet, but the idea of a Creator god assumes the use of a divine sort of magic that you conveniently claim can never be understood, so why bother getting worked up about it's utter irrationality, correct?

          May 29, 2014 at 11:29 am |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          What Theo is saying is that since all we have evidence of is the magic trick (big bang) and we got a brief glance at the stage (universe) and he doesn't see any trap door so the only conclusion he can come up with is that it really was magic. He now has faith that the trick will never be explained because he believes in a magician who actually can do magic, even though humanity has never been able to verify a single instance of magic (supernatural phenomenon) because someone left a magicians playbill 2000 years ago that promised him lots of cool stuff if he would just believe in the magic.

          May 29, 2014 at 11:33 am |
        • Akira

          Is that the same John MacArthur that has the "Grace to You" radio series and called our POTUS a non-Christian?

          May 29, 2014 at 11:47 am |
      • truthfollower01

        Bostontola,

        Do you believe the universe came into being uncaused out of nothing (no thing / not anything)? Or do you believe it's possible?

        May 28, 2014 at 11:08 pm |
        • bostontola

          I don't know if the universe came into being at all, it may be eternal. I don't even know if time is the same in all of existence, so cause and effect may not exist everywhere.

          Our local experience may not represent how the entire universe works. We have already learned that our experience at this scale is not the same at all scales (e.g. close to the speed of light, near black holes, at quantum scales, etc.). It is arrogant to think we can visualize the universe, so I can't say.

          What I do think is that if there is a finite universe that started at some point, I see no reason to think it was started by a sentient being, never mind the God imagined by ancient man.

          May 28, 2014 at 11:18 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          Bostontola,

          "I don’t know if the universe came into being at all, it may be eternal."

          So to clarify, you reject all scientific evidence for the Big Bang (expanding universe, red shift, etc.)? How do you reconcile the eternality of the universe with the fact that we are moving towards heat death?

          "I don’t even know if time is the same in all of existence, so cause and effect may not exist everywhere."

          You may reject the Big Bang but science teaches that space-time began at the Big Bang.

          May 28, 2014 at 11:24 pm |
        • bostontola

          truth,
          The observable universe started in the Big Bang. The observable universe is only a part of all existence.

          May 28, 2014 at 11:36 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          Bostontola,

          "The observable universe is only a part of all existence."

          Please elaborate. What other existence are you referring to?

          May 28, 2014 at 11:37 pm |
        • bostontola

          Truth,
          Firstly, since the Big Bang portion of existence went through inflation, there are parts that it's light hasn't had a chance to reach us yet.
          Secondly, the Big Bang result we think of as the universe may be just one of many other universes, they may not even occupy the same dimensions.

          May 28, 2014 at 11:48 pm |
        • hotairace

          The RCC believes the universe came from nothing. That would be good enough for faithful, but delusional, believers.

          May 28, 2014 at 11:50 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          Bostontola,

          "Firstly, since the Big Bang portion of existence went through inflation, there are parts that it’s light hasn’t had a chance to reach us yet."

          What are trying to argue concerning this?

          "Secondly, the Big Bang result we think of as the universe may be just one of many other universes, they may not even occupy the same dimensions."

          There is absolutely no evidence at all for a multiverse or world ensemble. This is a view pushed by many to try and avoid the fine tuning of our universe for life. In addition, even if there is multiverse, this introduces the problem of an actual material infinite. If our universe is the spin-off of the multiverse, which presumably has existed eternally in the past, then why didn't our universe come into and go out of existence an eternity ago?

          May 29, 2014 at 12:14 am |
        • dandintac

          TF–there is actual hard evidence for the multi-verse theory. Darkflow, gravitation waves, and cold spots in the cosmic background radiation.
          http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/03/140318-multiverse-inflation-big-bang-science-space/
          http://www.space.com/25100-multiverse-cosmic-inflation-gravitational-waves.html
          http://www.math.columbia.edu/~woit/wordpress/?p=5907
          http://phys.org/news/2010-12-scientists-evidence-universes.html

          This is after only a few years of searching for such evidence, and having technology able to perform the observations.

          Contrast this with claims of spirits and gods, where after over 2000 years of trying, not a single sti-tch of hard verifiable evidence has been produced.

          The multi-verse theory has far more going for it than the god claim.

          May 29, 2014 at 12:33 am |
        • Doris

          tf: "This is a view pushed by many to try and avoid the fine tuning of our universe for life. In addition, even if there is multiverse, this introduces the problem of an actual material infinite. If our universe is the spin-off of the multiverse, which presumably has existed eternally in the past, then why didn't our universe come into and go out of existence an eternity ago?"

          tf – you've sadi this before and I just don't understand the correlations you are making with either notion here.

          May 29, 2014 at 12:19 am |
        • Doris

          you've said this..

          May 29, 2014 at 12:20 am |
        • Doris

          Of course regarding fine tuning – I think you understand my position that things are not fine-tuned for life, but rather that our existence is part of the result of the conditions that evolved that surround us.

          May 29, 2014 at 12:23 am |
        • bostontola

          Truth,
          If the light hasn't gotten here yet, we don't have any idea what it looks like or what properties it has.

          No evidence for other dimensions is true, so what? There are completely consistent mathematical models of other dimensions. No evidence, but it is consistent with natural phenomena. God has no evidence, no model, and Christian God stories are not consistent with natural phenomena.

          May 29, 2014 at 12:30 am |
        • truthfollower01

          Doris,

          The probability of the conditions needed for a life permitting universe are what have caused skeptics to push the multiverse agenda.
          William Lane Craig, teaching on the teleological argument, indicated the following. P. C. W. Davies, a British physicist, has estimated that if you alter the force of gravity or the week force which is in the atomic nucleus by only one part out of 10 to the 100th power, the universe would be life prohibiting. To give you an idea what these numbers are like: if you have something that is one chance in 10 to the 60th power which is inconceivably smaller than 10 to the 100 power that would be like throwing a random dart across the universe 20,000,000,000 lightyears away and hitting a target 1 inch in diameter. That's just one quanti-ty! That's just gravity or that's just the week force. And you have loads of these constants and quanti-ties that all have to be precisely fine-tuned in that way or the universe would be life prohibiting.

          May 29, 2014 at 12:32 am |
        • bostontola

          Why didn't it come and go long ago? It didn't, that is a fact. There may have been other similar universes that did come and go.

          I don't know the definitive answer, no one does. So what? Nothing indicates there is a God. There is plenty to indicate the Abrahamic God is imaginary though.

          May 29, 2014 at 12:34 am |
        • truthfollower01

          "If the light hasn’t gotten here yet, we don’t have any idea what it looks like or what properties it has."

          All light in the universe had a beginning at the Big Bang.

          "God has no evidence"

          Romans 1:18-20

          "18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse."

          Creation itself is one of the many evidences for God's existence. I believe it was Hank Hanegraaff who indicated that nothing comes from nothing. Nothing ever has.

          May 29, 2014 at 12:50 am |
        • gulliblenomore

          TF....words in a book are not evidence of anything. They are just words written down by men that have no bearing on evidential proof. It seems from your arguments that are precluding that only the wave of a magic wand by some god (and, not even necessarily your particular god, by the way) could have possibly created the universe. Strange concept indeed, as we do not know everything at this point. And to answer your pointedly stupid question....no, I do not believe a Bengal tiger can pop into my living room. However, over 13 million years, possibly one could.

          May 30, 2014 at 8:50 am |
        • Doris

          tf: "The probability of the conditions needed for a life permitting universe......"

          Yes, I've heard all that before. But it's best not to be blinded by all those numbers like a deer in the headlights. Because then you then might find that you've limited some very good possibilities. And here you chose to ignore the important one I just brought up. That is, what if life simply is the result (or you might think of it as a side-effect) of those extremely delicate conditions arriving at the state they did? I can think of a good reason why you chose to disregard that possibility – because it didn't meet the minimum requirements of your world view – that things were designed for us – that we are the center of attention in the universe.

          May 29, 2014 at 12:50 am |
        • truthfollower01

          "And here you chose to ignore the important one I just brought up. That is, what if life simply is the result (or you might think of it as a side-effect) of those extremely delicate conditions arriving at the state they did?"

          Maybe I wasn't clear on this. What'll I'm asking is What is the probability of those "extremely delicate conditions" all aligning in our universe so that this universe is life permitting?

          May 29, 2014 at 12:59 am |
        • bostontola

          Not all light has made it here yet.

          None of that matters. The bibles have stories that are false. Even if there was a God or something else that triggered the universe, it isn't the Abrahamic God character. The bibles are wrong.

          May 29, 2014 at 1:03 am |
        • bostontola

          Truth,
          The probability is one, we exist.

          May 29, 2014 at 1:04 am |
        • bostontola

          One way to make the probability one is the multiverse. There may be other ways that will be discovered as we learn more. All we need is one way.

          May 29, 2014 at 1:07 am |
        • truthfollower01

          "The probability is one, we exist."

          One in how many?

          May 29, 2014 at 1:08 am |
        • Doris

          tf: "Maybe I wasn't clear on this. What'll I'm asking is What is the probability of those "extremely delicate conditions" all aligning in our universe so that this universe is life permitting?"

          It doesn't matter how little or how great that probability is when it comes to limiting the possibilities. Until we know better there will always be the possibility that we are simply the result of those conditions.

          May 29, 2014 at 1:12 am |
        • truthfollower01

          Dandintac,

          Can you explain how what you provided is hard evidence for the multiverse?

          May 29, 2014 at 1:14 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          Probability is 1...it happened

          May 29, 2014 at 1:16 am |
        • truthfollower01

          "One way to make the probability one is the multiverse."

          I believe I touched on this before but I will do so again. Aside from there being no evidence for a multiverse, the concept presents a number of absurdities. Let's say that the multiverse does exist and that there are an infinite number of universes, of which ours just happens to be one. If there are an infinite number of universes, then there are an infinite number of universes identical to ours. There would be an infinite number of you in each of these infinite universes. They wouldn't be you exactly but would each be there own distinct person in each universe with all the characteristics you possess. Let's say you had orange juice for breakfast this morning. Another one of "you" in an alternate universe had a bagel and so on and so forth.

          May 29, 2014 at 1:23 am |
        • Doris

          tf: "If there are an infinite number of universes, then there are an infinite number of universes identical to ours."

          Huh? How do you figure this is a requirement?

          May 29, 2014 at 1:25 am |
        • truthfollower01

          Blessed,

          What is the probability that a life permitting universe would form as opposed to a life prohibiting universe?

          May 29, 2014 at 1:26 am |
        • truthfollower01

          Doris,

          "Huh? How do you figure this is a requirement?"

          If there's infinite, why wouldn't there be? Is something or someone guiding the process?

          May 29, 2014 at 1:28 am |
        • truthfollower01

          Doris,

          Before I call it a night, I wanted to touch on the problem of an actual material infinite as it really is a powerful argument once understood.

          Let's say that there is a multiverse that is eternal in the past, that it has always existed. Let's say our universe came into existence some 13 billion years ago as an off-shoot of the multiverse. The logical question to arise is that if the multiverse has always existed, then why hasn't our universe already come into and went of existence forever ago? The reason being that an actual material infinite is absurd. It leads to absurdities.

          May 29, 2014 at 1:35 am |
        • dandintac

          "Can you explain how what you provided is hard evidence for the multiverse?"

          Did you read the articles? The data was predicted by the theory, and verified through experiment and observation. It was recorded, measured, and is verifiable. If the data had not been found, it would have been evidence against the multiverse theory. It is reliable also–meaning that other scientists (actually anyone with the equipment and know-how) can test or observe for themselves.

          May 29, 2014 at 1:36 am |
        • Doris

          I just find this assumptive scenario is pretty absurd. What makes you think that in some multiverse situation, there would have to be infinite copies?

          May 29, 2014 at 1:39 am |
        • truthfollower01

          Doris,

          1. Infinite universes are postulated to guarantee a finely tuned universe such as our would happen, given the probability of a universe such as ours existing.

          2. If not existing infinitely in the past, the multiverse came into being at some point and we are back to "Who created the multiverse?"

          May 29, 2014 at 1:50 am |
        • Doris

          tf: "1. Infinite universes are postulated to guarantee a finely tuned universe such as our would happen, given the probability of a universe such as ours existing."

          Where are you getting this postulate? Even if it is the case, why would it be a problem?

          tf: "2. If not existing infinitely in the past, the multiverse came into being at some point and we are back to "Who created the multiverse?"

          I would think – but at this point I don't see a reasonable answer for either case – I would just say it's beyond current knowledge.

          May 29, 2014 at 1:59 am |
        • bostontola

          Truth,
          Probability of one means certainty.

          I've said multiple times no one knows how existence started, yet you keep trying to get a definitive answer, why? The only issue relevant to religion is did a particular God do it. Science can't answer the question of whether existence started at all, never mind did a God start it. Science can address the creation stories of particular religions if they purport to be literally true. The creation story in every religion I've seen are all literally false. The bible story in particular is wrong on so many points that it is absurd.

          Again, some God may have been involved in starting existence (if there was a start), but it wasn't the literal God of the bible.

          May 29, 2014 at 7:53 am |
        • hotairace

          Doris, TFnot is taking the concept of infinities to the extreme. If there truly are an infinite number of universes, there will be an infinite number of identical universes which means an infinite number of you. He sees this as a problem but never clearly says why. Of course, there is no problem because each universe would be unrelated to the others.

          With respect to fine tuning, as I know you know, they've got it back azzwards, and there's no point in correcting them yet again.

          This all comes down to "we don't know" which the mentally ill delusionals believe means "some god did it" but after they make that claim, they're stuck 'cause they don't have a single bit of actual evidence to back up their claims, other than The Babble. Ho ho!

          May 29, 2014 at 10:03 am |
        • Alias

          Doris,
          This discussion has reached the point where Star Trec meets philosophy.
          The Multiverse concept is not established science.
          The idea that there was nothing and suddenly the big bang happened is a religious concept, science is not reaching that conclusion.
          It is possible that there is more to our universe than the big bang remnants, we just haven't found it yet.

          May 29, 2014 at 10:44 am |
        • kudlak

          truthfollower01
          Is it even possible for a "nothing" to even exist? "Existence" implies that a thing has qualities that can be defined, and how can that ever apply to a "nothing"? It wouldn't have any dimensions at all, not even a single point, so how could a "nothing" ever be? For all intents and purposes, claiming that there was ever a "nothing" appears to be as nonsensical as claiming that you have a four-sided triangle.

          May 29, 2014 at 11:36 am |
    • Reality

      As noted many times:

      o Think infinity and recycling with the Big Bang expansion followed by the shrinking reversal called the Gib Gnab and recycling back to the Big Bang repeating the process on and on forever. Human life and Earth are simply a minute part of this cha-otic, sto-cha-stic, expanding, shrinking process disappearing in five billion years with the burn out of the Sun and maybe returning in another five billion years with different life forms but still subject to the va-ga-ries of its local star.

      May 29, 2014 at 12:04 am |
      • truthfollower01

        Reality,

        If this is so, why wouldn't our universe have come into and gone out of existence an eternity ago? I hope you see the problem with your view.

        May 29, 2014 at 12:22 am |
        • Reality

          o "In the 1930s, theoretical physicists, most notably Albert Einstein, considered the possibility of a cyclic model for the universe as an (everlasting) alternative to the model of an expanding universe. However, work by Richard C. Tolman in 1934 showed that these early attempts failed because of the entropy problem: according to the Second Law of Thermodynamics, entropy can only increase.[1] This implies that successive cycles grow longer and larger. Extrapolating back in time, cycles before the present one become shorter and smaller culminating again in a Big Bang and thus not replacing it. This puzzling situation remained for many decades until the early 21st century when the recently discovered dark energy component provided new hope for a consistent cyclic cosmology.[2] In 2011, a five-year survey of 200,000 galaxies and spanning 7 billion years of cosmic time confirmed that "dark energy is driving our universe apart at accelerating speeds."[3][4]

          One new cyclic model is a brane cosmology model of the creation of the universe, derived from the earlier ekpyrotic model. It was proposed in 2001 by Paul Steinhardt of Princeton University and Neil Turok of Cambridge University. The theory describes a universe exploding into existence not just once, but repeatedly over time.[5][6] The theory could potentially explain why a mysterious repulsive form of energy known as the "cosmological constant", and which is accelerating the expansion of the universe, is several orders of magnitude smaller than predicted by the standard Big Bang model."

          May 29, 2014 at 12:30 am |
        • truthfollower01

          According to Vilenkin,
          "It is said that an argument is what convinces reasonable men and a proof is what it takes to convince even an unreasonable man. With the proof now in place, cosmologists can no longer hide behind the possibility of a past-eternal universe. There is no escape, they have to face the problem of a cosmic beginning (Many Worlds in One [New York: Hill and Wang, 2006], p.176)."

          In a debate between William Lane Craig and Sean Carroll, "In 2003 Arvind Borde, Alan Guth, and Alexander Vilenkin were able to show that any universe which is, on average, in a state of cosmic expansion throughout its history cannot be infinite in the past but must have a beginning.[9] In 2012 Vilenkin showed that cosmogonic models which do not fall under this condition, including Professor Carroll’s own model, fail on other grounds to avert the beginning of the universe. Vilenkin concluded, “None of these scenarios can actually be past-eternal.”[10] “All the evidence we have says that the universe had a beginning.”[11]

          May 29, 2014 at 12:36 am |
        • Reality

          Christians claim that you cannot create something out of nothing. That being the case who created their god?

          On the other hand, a solution to this problem is that the universe always was and will continue to be and the gods of religion, as per Carl Sagan, are nothing more than the physical laws of Nature.

          May 29, 2014 at 7:04 am |
    • tallulah131

      I believe that the universe or universes have always been around in some form. I don't believe that gods exist anywhere outside of human imagination.

      May 29, 2014 at 5:14 am |
    • TruthPrevails1

      We do not know what caused the Big Bang and it is far more honest to admit to not knowing than to pull the typical Christian apologetic stuff of plugging a god in to it, at least not without providing a cause for the god (if nothing can come from nothing, than a god can't come from nothing either).

      May 29, 2014 at 7:01 am |
    • zhilla1980wasp

      follower: science doesn't state "something from nothing." religion blieves everything came from nothing by your "creator" using magic to make all we see in 7 days no less.

      religion: genesis.1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

      science: The 1st Law of Thermodyamics simply states that energy can be neither created nor destroyed (conservation of energy).
      (thus energy is eternal and has and always will be here.)

      The implications of E=mc2 are profound. For centuries, scientists had considered energy and mass to be completely distinct and unrelated to each other. Einstein showed that in fact, energy and mass are different forms of the same thing.
      (matter/energy conversion)

      so this shows how the universe doesn't require a "creator".

      May 29, 2014 at 7:17 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      This is known as the "Cosmological" or "Prime Mover" argument, first postulated by Aristotle and later adapted by Islamic philosophers like Al-Kindi and Christian theologian Thomas Aquinas.
      It has been argued endlessly over the centuries, and perhaps most successfully refuted in the modern era with our fledgling, but rapidly expanding understanding of quantum mechanics.
      From the start, the Prime Mover argument has been handily dismissed by metaphysicians who view reality as 4 dimensional with the past, present and future all equally real and objects exist on a temporal plane as well as physical (time-slice ontology).

      May 29, 2014 at 8:18 am |
    • igaftr

      belieffollower
      "Do skeptics believe it's possible for something to come into existence uncaused out of nothing?"
      No... no one thinks that. Why do you keep trying this strawman?

      May 29, 2014 at 9:20 am |
  3. bostontola

    Apollonius of Tyana, a 1st-century CE philosopher, said about Aesop:

    ... like those who dine well off the plainest dishes, he made use of humble incidents to teach great truths, and after serving up a story he adds to it the advice to do a thing or not to do it. Then, too, he was really more attached to truth than the poets are; for the latter do violence to their own stories in order to make them probable; but he by announcing a story which everyone knows not to be true, told the truth by the very fact that he did not claim to be relating real events.

    Pretty good summary of the value of fables in general. They convey/teach deep truths about human ethics, morality, and decision making. They are made more impactful by admitting they don't relate to actual events.

    Stories that are not likely relating actual events but are claimed to be lose credibility. Some people treat the bibles this way (claim they are literally true).

    May 28, 2014 at 7:52 pm |
  4. kenmargo

    Since "reality" has turned the subject into s3x. Lets deal with some REALITY. Women have periods and men have wet dreams for a reason. NATURE (god or whatever) wants you to have s3x. Having s3x is as natural as breathing. Since christians say god is watching (a pervert) Why doesn't god simply move a woman's period to when she's 21. Guys shouldn't have wet dreams until the same age also. No more teenage pregnancies, kids will be mature and life will be perfect. (Yeah right)

    Yes you can get an STD. You can also get a lot of other diseases that don't involve s3x (cancer). Sarah Palin's grand kid proves not teaching s3x and relying on abstinence doesn't always work.

    Reality will cut and paste the same crap as always and you know what, people are going to screw. Period.

    May 28, 2014 at 3:42 pm |
    • awanderingscot

      “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’

      “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’

      “Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’

      “Then they also will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’ Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” – Matthew 25:31-46

      May 28, 2014 at 4:01 pm |
      • SeaVik

        Was there a point in there anywhere or was that just a copy and paste from the bible?

        May 28, 2014 at 4:04 pm |
        • awanderingscot

          it is for those who will be saved, i don't care about your opinion.

          May 28, 2014 at 4:09 pm |
        • tallulah131

          This is scotty's new thing: He posts something, then when people disagree, he says "I don't care."

          I don't know how old he is, but he has the maturity if a 10 year old.

          May 28, 2014 at 4:12 pm |
        • igaftr

          Tallulah, he is 56, but is one of the self deluded who think they have found the answers. If you show where he is wrong, he sticks his fingers in his ears...he won't listen to reason ror valid information because he WANTS his belief to be true.

          He is not looking for truth, he wants his belief to be true.

          May 28, 2014 at 4:21 pm |
        • SeaVik

          I didn't express an opinion. I'm just trying to understand why you would copy and paste a passage from the bible. Any of us can look up anything we want from the bible if we're interested – there's no need for you to do that unless you have a point to make, which you apparently don't.

          May 28, 2014 at 4:29 pm |
        • Alias

          Obviously his point is that the bible gives many different standards for how to be saved.

          May 28, 2014 at 4:33 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          56 physically maybe but definitely not intellectually. That man is evidence of what homeschooling in the wrong hands can do.

          May 28, 2014 at 6:07 pm |
      • Doris

        Of course no one knows who wrote Matthew. To be taken with a half a grain of salt or less really.

        May 28, 2014 at 4:04 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          Matthew wrote Matthew

          May 28, 2014 at 6:09 pm |
        • gulliblenomore

          theological scholars disagree on that....how do you know for sure?

          May 28, 2014 at 6:11 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          By faith +

          May 28, 2014 at 6:17 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          See Matthew 9:9

          Papias says, Eusebius confirms, & many other church fathers agree. It was written originally by Matthew in Hebrew for the nation Israel

          May 28, 2014 at 6:22 pm |
        • hotairace

          Faith: Pretending to know things you do not. Peter Boghossian.

          May 28, 2014 at 6:38 pm |
        • kudlak

          Robert Brown
          Matthew 9:9 basically says that Jesus had a guy named Matthew as a disciple. It says

          As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him.

          Why would Matthew refer to himself in the third person?

          And why should anyone just trust what Papias, Eusebius, or the church fathers claim to know about who authored this book?

          May 28, 2014 at 6:47 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          why not? is it a crime to write about yourself as a third person?

          May 28, 2014 at 7:00 pm |
        • kudlak

          Faith is believing what you know ain't so.
          Mark Twain

          May 28, 2014 at 6:50 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          Twain was hilarious

          May 28, 2014 at 7:11 pm |
        • Doris

          RBrown: "Matthew wrote Matthew"

          lol–good one.

          May 28, 2014 at 7:12 pm |
        • kudlak

          Robert Brown
          I think you're confusing a satirical wit that too often laid the hard truth bare for all to see with simple comedy, like creationist arguments.

          May 28, 2014 at 7:22 pm |
        • kudlak

          kermit4jc
          What purpose does it serve? It would only cast doubt on it's authorship, if the book itself ever claimed to be written by Matthew. Also, wouldn't the gospel be even more compelling if it spoke in the first person from the viewpoint of an actual eyewitness?

          May 28, 2014 at 7:27 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          not at all..I mean....to me it would not sound as compelling by those who put restrictions on communication and literature...to be put forth in third person does not lessen the credibility or such....and thus the reader has only himself to blamefor putting restrictions on literature

          May 28, 2014 at 7:39 pm |
        • Doris

          It is, of course, generally accepted that Matthew was written in Greek, not Hebrew nor Aramaic; a product of 2nd generation Christians – most likely those active after 70CE.

          Ehrman states on his blog (6/2013)(portion of post):

          "In this post I want to give two reasons for thinking that the Gospel was not in fact written by Jesus’ disciple Matthew (and at every point it needs to be remembered that the Gospel does not *claim* to be written by Matthew; quite the contrary, not only is it anonymous: it speaks of Matthew as one of the characters in the story in the third person).

          FIRST point. According to the Gospel of Matthew (chapter 9), Matthew the tax-collector was a Palestinian Jew. As such, his native language was Aramaic. That makes it highly unlikely that he could have written this book.

          To begin with, apart from the books written by the extremely highly literarily elite Josephus, we don’t have any literary books composed in written Greek by any Palestinian Jews of the first century. Zero. And as I will be showing in a moment, this book was certainly composed in Greek.

          Relatedly, as I have stressed before on this blog, the vast majority of Palestinian Jews in this period were illiterate – probably around 97%. The exceptions were urban elites. There is nothing to suggest that Matthew, the tax collector, was an urban elite who was highly educated."

          May 28, 2014 at 7:49 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          Only problem with Barts argument is he assumes that since Matthew as palestinian that he absolutely did not know Greek or such...the other problem is WHy write it in Greek? to reach an audience..He had a purpose....Bart does not seem to even acknowledge this.....

          May 29, 2014 at 3:03 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          I think matthew wrote 3rd person out of humility.

          It has been a long time since I read Twain. I enjoyed most of his stuff before I was twelve.

          May 28, 2014 at 7:53 pm |
        • Akira

          Most scholars agree it was anonymously authored.

          May 28, 2014 at 8:17 pm |
        • MidwestKen

          I remember the Bible, it was interesting when I was twelve.

          May 28, 2014 at 8:32 pm |
        • sam stone

          Apparently, Robert is STILL unable to distinguish knowledge from belief

          May 28, 2014 at 9:51 pm |
        • zhilla1980wasp

          i love when christians do this.

          "Robert Brown
          By faith +
          May 28, 2014"

          it's absolutely hilarious; "by faith" better written as "by no proof" because i just believe it to be true.

          i have some ocean front property in arizona to sell you robert; you can trust me, take it on faith..........oh and your god inspired me to sell this to you. lol

          May 29, 2014 at 7:25 am |
        • kudlak

          kermit4jc
          Remember that a great many people believe that the Pentateuch was written by Moses himself despite Deuteronomy 34 reporting his death. Does that sound credible to you?

          May 29, 2014 at 10:14 am |
        • kermit4jc

          its still credible..who said Moses wrote Deuteronomy 34 about his own death? you ever think that POSSIBLY Joshua could have added to it? LOOK at the books we have today! They have introductions and such in the beginning written by OTHER people! The argument you bring dos not negate that Moses wrote the first 5 books! Even then Moses could have gotten special revelation from God about his death.....most likely though..someone like Joshua added that part to the Book..and there is notnign wrong with that

          May 29, 2014 at 3:07 pm |
        • kudlak

          Robert Brown
          "I think matthew wrote 3rd person out of humility."
          That would mean that the NT writers who wrote in the first person, like Paul and John of Patmos, weren't humble people?

          Twain was a very prolific writer. His most candid quotes can be found in his less popular works.

          May 29, 2014 at 10:25 am |
        • kudlak

          kermit4jc
          The tradition is that Moses wrote every word of the Pentateuch, but the majority of scholars hold that it's a compilation from texts of the 9th to 5th centuries BCE. Nowhere does it actually say that Joshua wrote anything, or that Moses was writing about some vision of his own death. You're just wildly speculating with those, perhaps hoping to convince yourself that it's still true, but ask yourself: Is it really all that important to your faith whether this tradition is correct, or are you simply arguing for the sake of being a contrarian to some atheist's point?

          May 29, 2014 at 8:25 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          IM not the one wildly doing that..it makes PERFECT sense! Moses did not wrote of his deah...so OBVIOIUSLY someone added that....the fact that Moses death is recorded in the Book that is said to have been written by Moses does nOT put the rest of the book in doubt...that's plain silly! again its same thing s someone adding a forward, introduction or commentary to a book written by someone else....seeing that you would not say "oh he didn't write the book then"

          May 30, 2014 at 1:57 am |
        • kudlak

          kermit4jc
          Or it's more likely that the scholars are right, and that the Pentateuch was compiled over several centuries by different authors. It's possible, I suppose, that one of them may have been Moses, but archeology doesn't even support the idea that there ever was a Moses, or an Exodus.

          Regardless, that particular tradition of authorship, that Moses wrote the whole thing, is obviously wrong, correct? So, why is it so difficult for you to accept that the canonical gospels were probably not written by actual apostolic eyewitnesses? Look at all the other gospels, the rejected ones, that also have apostles and eyewitnesses attached to them. Look at the Pauline letters that modern scholarship has determined are not authentically written by Paul. Doesn't that suggest that this was the fashion, to write as someone of authority, in order to give your work their authority?

          Then again, and I don't even know why I need to keep pointing this out, none of the canonical gospels actually say who supposedly wrote them. The names given them are all just tradition. Why should you be so hellbent on defending what is only just a tradition?

          May 30, 2014 at 10:18 am |
        • kermit4jc

          so SOME scholars say such..doesn't mean they are right..I believe we have enough evidence to say otherwise....I just do not see any evidence to the contrary......many conclusions are again based on assumptions (such as a supposed "rule" that an eyewitness is not allowed to write in third person-or that someone cannot add an obituary to another persons book) and very few scholars today deny Pauls authorship...as for the rejected Gospel..I suggest you read some books on them...one book comes to mind "Why 27" by Brian H Edwards.....there is already a list of Books considered as canon by 150 AD with most of the NT...the early church fathers quote from them....the rejected ones were written too late to be considered, and also by those who have no clue of the Jewish culture (some of the pseudo gospels have glaring errors in consideration of Jewish culture of the time!) Those are but a few examples of why the other so called gospels were rejected

          May 30, 2014 at 11:59 am |
        • kudlak

          kermit4jc
          Not "some" scholars, but the pool of professional biblical scholars. The ones who get grants and teaching positions from the best schools, not the few researchers who end up a Liberty University, or some other Christian college where they are expected to defend standard theology, and not do honest scholarship.

          Not many deny that Paul never wrote any of the letters. Most agree that First Thessalonians, Philippians, Philemon, First and Second Corinthians, Galatians, and Romans are authentic, that First and Second Timothy, T.itus, and Ephesians aren't, leaving a split on Colossians and Second Thessalonians.

          The popular books that try to argue for an early set canon generally gloss over, or even distort Church history. The forming of the canon appears to have been via committee, and not even finalized after Constantine granted Christianity it's favoured status. The Gospel of John and Revelation were opposed by many of the Church Fathers. Instead of the common image of scripture shaping theology, the winning variety of Christianity, the one with Constantine's backing, only accepted the books that agreed with the theology they had already established.

          What were the reasons for rejecting the Gospel of Thomas? It may be contemporary with the canonical gospels, and most scholars agree that it records an oral tradition of Jesus' sayings that may be the earliest record of all. Of course, it has none of the pretensions of a storyline, or claims of divinity, so that may be why it wasn't so popular?

          May 30, 2014 at 4:22 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          so in other words...they qualify only if they agree with you..Im sorry,.but your argument was totally lame..seriously....sounds more bigoted than informed

          May 30, 2014 at 4:58 pm |
      • gulliblenomore

        Scot....it is useless to post verses from a book that none of us atheist believe is nothing more than a fairy tale....

        May 28, 2014 at 4:06 pm |
      • Athy

        Just more mindless bible babble. Move along, folks, nothing to see here.

        May 28, 2014 at 4:08 pm |
      • Akira

        This passage has nothing to do with what kenmargo wrote.
        Perhaps something from the Song of Solomon would be more appropriate.

        May 28, 2014 at 7:04 pm |
      • kudlak

        awanderingscot
        In that entire passage, does Jesus judge anyone on their believing in him?

        Seems to me, he judges people here on their good works, contrary to other parts of the Bible (and protestant preference) that salvation is through faith alone, correct? How do you account for that obvious contradiction?

        May 28, 2014 at 7:35 pm |
    • observer

      kenmargo,

      Don't forge that if you and your spouse lusted for each other before marriage, you have both committed ADULTERY before marriage.

      May 28, 2014 at 4:06 pm |
      • kenmargo

        I'll give you even more ammo. Not only did we screw, we had a baby before we were married. That child is in her third year at UCONN, excellent grades, perfect health and popular. I guess god is waiting to punish us at some point for sin.

        May 28, 2014 at 4:39 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          At some point, yes. But, most importantly, he is waiting for you to hear the gospel with more than your ears.

          May 28, 2014 at 6:13 pm |
        • kenmargo

          Ok rob I'll play along. What kind of punishment am i getting? No abortion obviously, no credit for that? Got married and had another baby. No credit for that? Working and taking care of my family, no credit for that either? Why don't your crooked christian azz find a nice pool to drown in.

          May 28, 2014 at 6:30 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          Ken,

          You are correct, your good deeds can never outweigh your sin. There is no good vs bad ledger. No one is keeping score. Once you reach the age of accountability you are guilty and condemned. Your only hope is Jesus. You can't earn forgiveness. God makes the offer, will you accept?

          May 28, 2014 at 6:41 pm |
        • kenmargo

          Sad to say, no offer is on my way. Honestly I wouldn't accept it. God/lord/jesus failed us all on 9/11. He is all knowing, yet he allowed it to happen. With friends like that, who needs enemies.

          May 28, 2014 at 7:14 pm |
        • observer

          kenmargo,

          Don't forget that George W. Bush talked to God all the time. Guess God wasn't impressed with Bush enough to warn him that THOUSANDS of his fellow Christians would die..

          May 28, 2014 at 8:33 pm |
        • kenmargo

          If bush had talked to real people instead of his imaginary friend, maybe we'd all be a little better off.

          May 28, 2014 at 8:40 pm |
        • observer

          kenmargo,

          Guess God didn't tell Bush "No, no, no. You're invading a country that had nothing to do with 9/11 and you are using false reasons" before Bush sent more men to die there than were killed on 9/11.

          Bush's conversations with God apparently didn't help our country at all.

          May 28, 2014 at 8:45 pm |
        • kenmargo

          @observer...............That's why bush is my BENCHMARK. There are plenty of christians that will tell you bush is going to heaven. With all the blood on his hands (5,000 soldiers dead, over 200,000 innocent Iraqis killed, tens of thousand soldiers injured and these figures don't count coalition forces) If he's going to heaven, I KNOW I'm going to heaven. I haven't killed anybody! There's no reason for ANYBODY to go to church. Maybe we can start a #bushismybenchmark movement and put the church out of business.

          May 28, 2014 at 9:17 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      if god made adam first and eve was just an afterthought, why did god give adam a pen1s?

      May 28, 2014 at 4:33 pm |
      • Alias

        Because man was created in his image.
        it is clearly painted on the ceiling of a chapel somewhere ....

        May 28, 2014 at 4:45 pm |
      • meatheist

        Goats?

        May 28, 2014 at 5:37 pm |
        • meatheist

          Or, you don't think that God expected Adam to.....no it just couldn't be so! Goats.

          May 28, 2014 at 5:40 pm |
        • Akira

          That is too awful to contemplate...although God did create Eve (after Lilith) because he was lonely.

          May 28, 2014 at 8:27 pm |
      • Robert Brown

        Dog,

        God is all knowing.

        May 28, 2014 at 6:15 pm |
        • Lucifer's Evil Twin

          Yes, Odin is all-knowing.

          May 28, 2014 at 6:29 pm |
        • igaftr

          RB
          Yes, you imagine your god knows everything...why would you worship an ignorant god?
          You imagine your god is perfect and all knowing and can do nothing wrong.

          May 29, 2014 at 8:02 am |
        • fintronics

          Zeus rocks!!

          May 29, 2014 at 9:10 am |
        • kudlak

          Robert Brown

          How could God be all-knowing? Assuming that he's real, it's only possible for him to believe that he knows everything, right? As the old saying goes "Maybe he don't know what he don't know"?

          May 29, 2014 at 10:08 am |
    • Reality

      Obviously, you did not read my commentary. I did not say don't have se-x. In summary form, I said practice safe se-x or risk the Brutal Effects of Stupidity !!!!

      May 28, 2014 at 4:34 pm |
      • Alias

        Reading your commentary and reaching that conclusion would be like reading the bible and concluding jesus is lord.

        May 28, 2014 at 4:42 pm |
        • Reality

          I thought it was fairly clear but if not, see my summary.

          May 28, 2014 at 4:46 pm |
        • Akira

          Your summary is thus:

          "BRUTAL EFFECTS OF STUPIDITY!!!!"

          "Practice safe sex" is much more to the point, and a whole lot less hyperbolic.
          Even better: state which method is best.
          Something you don't seem to do; and if this many people ask you questions about what you wrote, you're obviously not writing clearly.

          May 28, 2014 at 7:01 pm |
        • kenmargo

          Thank you Akira, that's what i've been trying to tell him. He sounds more like a preacher than an atheist. Non committed couples should practice safe s3x. Just pick a method that works best for you. Consult with your doctor if you have any questions. It's as simple as that. Nobody wants stats. I could give you stats the murder rate went down, but it means nothing if your loved one was killed.

          May 28, 2014 at 7:21 pm |
      • Reality

        People don't want stats? Give me a break!!! Educated people always want proof of comments.

        May 29, 2014 at 12:08 am |
        • Akira

          The stats are fine. The commentary is what is flawed.
          The summary, in particular, shows that even looking up copious amounts of data doesn't make one appear intelligent.

          May 29, 2014 at 12:06 pm |
    • TruthPrevails1

      I just don't comprehend why anyone thinks they have the right to tell others what their bedroom activities should involve. I understand we have vastly over-populated and that there are some social issues involved but denying sex for what it is-a part of human nature, is denying who we are as a species-without sex, we fail to exist.

      We know from the numerous failings that abstinence doesn't work...sorry Reality but that is reality. Education is key in ensuring we see fewer unwanted pregnancies. Society has put this 'hush' thing on sex and teaches it to be dirty...its no wonder we see unwanted teenage pregnancy, we need to talk to these kids.

      awanderingtot: You poor misguided old bitter man. What does the bedroom activities of others have to do with your life? Is it maybe the fact that you're jealous? After all no normal woman would have sex with you. Most women find a sense of humor and intelligence sexy and you show neither quality...please never reproduce.

      May 28, 2014 at 6:40 pm |
      • kenmargo

        @truth.................You called him awanderingtot. I called him a awanderingscat. He's either a small child or big piece of sh1t.

        May 28, 2014 at 7:36 pm |
  5. SeaVik

    R.ape can happen to people who practice abstinence. Therefore, abstinence is not 100% effective in preventing pregnancy. In addition, teaching abstinence as the best / only method to present pregnancy results in a much higher rate of pregnant teens than teaching more effective methods of birth control. Those are just facts. Bottom line is that if you want to reduce abortions, teaching abstinence is not effective.

    May 28, 2014 at 2:38 pm |
    • SeaVik

      Oops, meant as a reply below.

      May 28, 2014 at 2:39 pm |
    • igaftr

      Teaching abstinence is also teaching you to try to ignore the strongest instinct in your body, so it is like trying to make a house out of quicksand...you have the natural elements working against you, so fails for that simple reason as well.

      May 28, 2014 at 2:42 pm |
      • Akira

        According to Reality, it appears sex = BRUTAL STUIDITY!!!!

        May 28, 2014 at 3:00 pm |
        • gulliblenomore

          If Reality thinks that, he is doing it wrong!

          May 28, 2014 at 3:03 pm |
        • Alias

          It is hard to understand something you have never experienced yourself.

          May 28, 2014 at 3:08 pm |
        • Akira

          I'm assuming you're not referring to me...

          May 28, 2014 at 3:14 pm |
        • gulliblenomore

          No....sorry if I did not make that clear

          May 28, 2014 at 3:21 pm |
        • Akira

          Gullible, I meant Alias, lol.
          Sorry I didn't make that clear to you.

          May 28, 2014 at 3:31 pm |
      • Reality

        Working down the page: obviously, you did not read my commentary. I did not say don't have se-x. In summary form, I said practice safe se-x or risk the Brutal Effects of Stupidity !!!! And please note, I started my commentary by saying "From an atheist who enjoys safe s-ex."

        May 28, 2014 at 4:37 pm |
        • kenmargo

          You wrote a lot of stuff just to say practice safe s3x. You went on and on about this stat and that stat. You also pushed abstinence a lot. So yes, you don't wan't people to have s3x. Typical phony christian.

          May 28, 2014 at 4:44 pm |
        • Reality

          You do appear to have some reading comprehension problems and obviously you missed my comments on kyboshing all religions if you consider me to be a Christian.

          May 28, 2014 at 4:51 pm |
        • kenmargo

          You may call yourself an atheist. You don't act like one. Stop the preaching and get to the point w/o all those useless stats.

          May 28, 2014 at 4:53 pm |
        • Akira

          Why are you spelling kibosh wrong? You never used to.

          May 28, 2014 at 9:32 pm |
        • Reality

          The proofs of the Brutal Effects of Stupidity are in the statistics. Statistics by the way, presented routinely by the Guttmacher Insti-tute. I recommend everyone read Guttmacher's reviews on contraception statistics before making any more judgments.

          e.g. http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/fb_contr_use.html Get back to us after you peruse the reference.

          May 29, 2014 at 12:15 am |
        • Reality

          Kybosh or Kibosh

          ki·bosh

          /kəˈbäSH,ˈkīˌbäSH/
          noun
          informal

          noun: kybosh

          put an end to; dispose of decisively.
          "he put the kibosh on the deal"

          synonyms: put a stop to, stop, halt, put an end to, quash, block, cancel, scotch, thwart, prevent, suppress

          May 29, 2014 at 12:21 am |
        • Akira

          Yes, so why are you spelling it in the way no one ever uses, instead of the way everyone does?
          Perhaps I should have not termed it wrong. Perhaps I should have said archaic.

          Kibosh is the way it's used now.

          May 29, 2014 at 12:15 pm |
        • Akira

          Perhaps you should refrain from calling children born from failed birth control a brutally stupid effect. Especially since you are anti-abortion.
          To put it in the most distasteful way possible, abortion is 100% effective in avoiding unwanted children.

          So, it follows that any birth control is better than an abortion, so stop freaking knocking it.

          May 29, 2014 at 12:22 pm |
  6. Lucifer's Evil Twin

    What right does a christian have to tell me that I'm wrong, that I am evil, or that I am going to their hell?

    I served my country for 24 years defending the Constitution that they use to suppress my rights.

    Why am I not free to tell them to keep they fantasies to themselves and away from my government?

    Why is my right to be free from religious delusion being infringed upon? Why are these religionists trampling my liberty?

    These are just some of the questions that drive me to comment on this board and to articles like this one... and I know that there are like-minded people on here that wonder these same things...

    May 28, 2014 at 11:37 am |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      The right to free exercise of religion and the monopoly on "truth" presumed by the religious are in constant conflict.

      It takes tolerance to resolve the conflict – something that fundamentalism will not tolerate.

      May 28, 2014 at 11:42 am |
    • moderatedx

      They think their book gives them that right, but they forget about the part where Jesus doesn't want people to be proselytizers.

      May 28, 2014 at 12:32 pm |
    • mp863

      I always say to them....it's your Hell ..you burn in it.

      May 28, 2014 at 2:23 pm |
    • tallulah131

      Let these christians threaten and posture. It only alienates fair-minded, tolerant people. Let them hang themselves with their own actions.

      May 28, 2014 at 2:36 pm |
      • Lucifer's Evil Twin

        Yes, but they are simply not hastening to the gallows quick enough... meanwhile humanity continues to suffer for their delusions

        May 28, 2014 at 2:43 pm |
        • tallulah131

          Yeah, but you can't force it. Force can change rules, but it can't change minds.

          May 28, 2014 at 2:46 pm |
        • Lucifer's Evil Twin

          Roger that... but it is still frustrating

          May 28, 2014 at 2:47 pm |
        • tallulah131

          No doubt.

          May 28, 2014 at 2:48 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Thank you for your service. Everyone has their own style, Christians included. I'm sorry you are frustrated, but you know you are free to not believe. We just hope you will.

      May 28, 2014 at 6:49 pm |
  7. Reality

    STOP, STOP, STOP,- the kybosh was put on all religions years ago so why is this blog still in existence? See p. 12 of the comments for details.

    May 28, 2014 at 11:17 am |
  8. moderatedx

    You'd be afraid, too, if you were surrounded by people who would physically harm you for your beliefs because they differ from yours.

    May 28, 2014 at 11:17 am |
  9. bostontola

    Headline in 2050:
    Survival Guide for Christians in the Developed World

    May 27, 2014 at 10:43 pm |
    • Doris

      Hmm – based on what I'm seeing in some of the grand kids and their friends, I'd say more like 2040.

      May 27, 2014 at 11:31 pm |
    • bostontola

      The Matthew 7:12 prophesy could come true sooner than you think...

      May 28, 2014 at 7:40 am |
      • Reality

        Matthew 7:12

        New International Version (NIV)

        "12 So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets."

        Did the historical Jesus utter a version of the Golden Rule? Luke 6:31 = Matt 7:12- no he did not according to the findings of many contemporary NT scholars.

        e.g Professor Gerd Luedemann [Jesus, 151f] notes the ancient and diverse attestation of this saying in antiquity, including its earliest occurrence in Herodotus III 142, 3:

        "I will not do that for which I censure my neighbors."

        From Ludemann's book, Jesus After 2000 Years, pp. 151-152, " In view of the widespread attestation of the Golden Rule in antiquity and its generality, it cannot be attributed to Jesus."

        See also: http://www.faithfutures.org/JDB/jdb033.html

        And because of the common sense nature of the Golden Rule, most humans to include myself follow said rule.

        May 28, 2014 at 11:04 am |
  10. kenmargo

    Why all religions get smacked around by non believers:

    Lets start with the middle east.
    They have ZERO abortions.
    No birth control.
    No gay rights/marriages.
    No stem cell research.
    Women treated like 15th class citizens.
    Divorce is nearly impossible.
    Marriage is forced upon the women.
    Islam has total devotion of it's followers.

    These are rules Christians would kill for in this country. Are the people over there happy? H3LL NO.

    Lets look here in the good 'ol USA.

    How many times has some religious whack job said "The world is coming to an end"?
    Pro lifers that shoot/blow up abortion providers. (talk about contrast)
    Gun nuts that think they have a "god given right" to own a gun.
    How many times has a conservative repubs say something stupid based on religion.
    Why do religious people give god credit when things go right but none of the blame when things go wrong?

    I could go on, I'm sure you get the point. Believers refer to god as a perfect being. Non believers EXPECT PERFECTION. When it appears the mighty god\lord\jesus fails to live up to the hype, it makes the believers look like fools proping up a being that screw ups as much we do. Maybe if the believers toned down the act and keep it on the down low, MAYBE they could get some traction. Of course if you keep it hush hush, you can't get new recruits to keep the fallacy going. Not to mention, help the rev. pay off the Benz.

    May 27, 2014 at 9:33 pm |
    • Reality

      Please leave the horror of abortion out of the comparison.

      Only for the new members of this blog:

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

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

      The Brutal Effects of Stupidity:

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

      Added information before making your next move:

      "Se-xually transmitted diseases (STDs) remain a major public health challenge in the United States. While substantial progress has been made in preventing, diagnosing, and treating certain S-TDs in recent years, CDC estimates that approximately 19 million new infections occur each year, almost half of them among young people ages 15 to 24.1 In addition to the physical and psy-ch-ological consequences of S-TDs, these diseases also exact a tremendous economic toll. Direct medical costs as-sociated with STDs in the United States are estimated at up to $14.7 billion annually in 2006 dollars."
      See also: http://www.cnn.com/2013/04/26/opinion/bolan-s-exual-health/index.html?hpt=hp_t4

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

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

      The most effective forms of contraception, ranked by "Perfect use":
      – (Abstinence, 0% failure rate)
      – (Masturbation, mono or mutual, 0% failure rate)
      Followed by:
      One-month injectable and Implant (both at 0.05 percent)
      Vasectomy and IUD (Mirena) (both at 0.1 percent)
      The Pill, Three-month injectable, and the Patch (all at 0.3 percent)
      Tubal sterilization (at 0.5 percent)
      IUD (Copper-T) (0.6 percent)
      Periodic abstinence (Post-ovulation) (1.0 percent)
      Periodic abstinence (Symptothermal) and Male condom (both at 2.0 percent)
      Periodic abstinence (Ovulation method) (3.0 percent)

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

      May 28, 2014 at 12:49 am |
      • SeaVik

        Not the subject here, but since you brought it up...

        States that only teach abstinence have the highest rate of teen pregnancy. Denial of reality is not an effective technique. Regardless, this doesn't change the fact that the government has no business telling women what to do with their bodies.

        May 28, 2014 at 10:42 am |
        • Reality

          The Brutal Effects of Stupidity have nothing to do with government telling women what they can do with their bodies. Just don't ask us who pay for health insurance to cover said acts of stupidity.

          May 28, 2014 at 11:08 am |
        • SeaVik

          "Just don't ask us who pay for health insurance to cover said acts of stupidity."

          If you wan to make it a financial matter, we as a society pay a LOT more to support an unwanted child than the cost of an abortion.

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

          SV, I would venture a guess that he doesn't approve of feeding the brutal stupid ones, either. After all, they shouldn't have had the kids if they couldn't afford to feed them.

          So goes the circle of life.

          May 28, 2014 at 12:21 pm |
        • Reality

          Please go back and reread the comments on the Brutal Effects of Stupidity this time paying close attention to the statistics and conclusions.

          May 28, 2014 at 12:33 pm |
        • SeaVik

          No thanks Reality. I read enough to know that you have a skewed, factually inaccurate view on the matter (as if your bias isn't obvious by calling it "The Brutal Effects of Stupidity"). If the pill only worked 8.7% of the time, I'd have a small army of children. And if abstinence was 100% effective, the states that promote abstinence wouldn't have the highest teenage pregnancy rates.

          May 28, 2014 at 1:10 pm |
        • hotairace

          SeaVik, you really should read what Reality wrote or prepare yourself for being piled on for your silly comment about 8.7%.

          May 28, 2014 at 1:14 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          I think the point is that actual abstinence is 100% effective, but that very few young people actually abstain. Teaching abstinence is useless.

          May 28, 2014 at 1:15 pm |
        • SeaVik

          Hot air, would you care to share a point if you have one?

          And even actual abstinence is not 100% effective given the possibility of r3pe.

          May 28, 2014 at 1:27 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          Every Christian can name at least one instance in which abstinence did NOT work.

          May 28, 2014 at 1:38 pm |
        • SeaVik

          Good point Doc, that never occurred to me! Christians don't believe abstinence works, yet they are usually the ones who support it!

          May 28, 2014 at 1:48 pm |
        • doobzz

          "Every Christian can name at least one instance in which abstinence did NOT work."

          LOL, and the result was Jeebus.

          May 28, 2014 at 1:49 pm |
        • gulliblenomore

          And Bristol Palins son

          May 28, 2014 at 2:24 pm |
        • hotairace

          Reality claimed the *failure rate* of the pill is 8.7%.

          May 28, 2014 at 2:10 pm |
        • hotairace

          And claiming that r.ape invalidates abstinence is simply sick, but what are the rates of r.ape in the states that preach abstinence? Surely you are not claiming that the number of r.apes is the dominant driver of the number of pregnancies, or are you?

          May 28, 2014 at 2:13 pm |
        • SeaVik

          "Reality claimed the *failure rate* of the pill is 8.7%."

          You're right, I meant to say, if the pill only worked 91.3% of the time, I would have a small army of children. My mistake. The statistic is still obviously WAY off.

          May 28, 2014 at 2:35 pm |
        • Akira

          HAA, with all due respect, doesn't that mean that there's a 91.3% success rate?

          May 28, 2014 at 2:36 pm |
        • SeaVik

          R.ape can happen to people who practice abstinence. Therefore, abstinence is not 100% effective in preventing pregnancy. In addition, teaching abstinence as the best / only method to present pregnancy results in a much higher rate of pregnant teens than teaching more effective methods of birth control. Those are just facts. Bottom line is that if you want to reduce abortions, teaching abstinence is not effective.

          May 28, 2014 at 2:39 pm |
        • Akira

          Actually, the pill is at 0.3% failure rate, if I read it correctly.
          The Pill, Three-month injectable, and the Patch (all at 0.3 percent)

          May 28, 2014 at 2:44 pm |
        • hotairace

          I wasn't commenting on Reality's numbers, the ones he claims personally nor the other ones he presented. I was commenting on SeaVik's claim that he didn't need to read Reality's post but then went on to misquote him. Not too bright!

          Now that that is cleared up, I doubt the pill's failure rate is anywhere close to 8.7%, and I do understand that the *teaching* of abstinence is useless because it is very difficult to maintain abstinence. That being said, I still think it is sick to use r.ape as an excuse for the failure of abstinence.

          May 28, 2014 at 3:01 pm |
        • Akira

          From what I understand, the pill taken correctly has a failure rate of 0.3%...it jumps to 8.7 if the woman doesn't take it as prescribed.

          Rape shouldn't even be brought into a conversation about birth control, as it is considered an act of violence, and not sex...I agree there.
          So, in that scenario, abstinence has nothing to do with it, because the victim clearly isn't a willing participant.

          May 28, 2014 at 3:13 pm |
        • SeaVik

          Hot Air, If you think making a typo (and readily admitting to my mistake) makes me "Not too bright" and stating a fact (abstinence is not 100% effective) makes me "sick", then I must say, you're an idiot.

          The point here is this: It's incredibly hypocritical to oppose abortion and effective birth control, which is exactly what a huge portion of the religious right do.

          May 28, 2014 at 3:18 pm |
        • hotairace

          SeaVik, you're not too bright because you claimed you didn't need to read Reality's stuff but you misquoted it. Using r.ape as a reason for abstinence's ineffectiveness is sick because no one would chose r.ape over abstinence.

          May 28, 2014 at 8:17 pm |
        • SeaVik

          Hot Air – I am actually very bright. Much brighter than you, I'm sure. I did read "Reality's" stuff. I just said I'm not going to read it a second time as he suggested because it was rambling bs.

          You seem to completely miss my point (and I'm not surprised since you're clearly not too bright). My point is that if you're objective is to prevent unwanted pregnancies, abstinence is MUCH less effective than the pill. Even if you practice abstinence, there is a small chance that you'll get pregnant via r.ape. If you take the pill, there is almost zero chance you'll get pregnant. Anyone who is anti-abortion should also be pro-pill.

          SeaVik, you're not too bright because you claimed you didn't need to read Reality's stuff but you misquoted it. Using r.ape as a reason for abstinence's ineffectiveness is sick because no one would chose r.ape over abstinence.

          May 28, 2014 at 9:16 pm |
        • hotairace

          SeaVik, fucking hopeless. Still doesn't get it. Too busy regurgitating his point to see how wrong he is.

          May 28, 2014 at 9:25 pm |
        • SeaVik

          Hot Air, Do YOU have a point? If so, what is it exactly? You pointed out that I made a mistake in quoting "Reality", which I admitted. Other than that, you seem to have nothing to contribute.

          May 28, 2014 at 9:39 pm |
        • hotairace

          Two points both already made above, but let's try again because you seem to be an especially slow learner.

          1. It's not very bright to say you don't need to read somebody's stuff and then misquote it. If you hadn't slammed Reality, it would have been a simple mistake, but by misquoting him, you clearly showed you did need to reread it.

          2. You've harped on that r.ape makes abstinence ineffective. It's unlikely there's enough r.ape activity for r.ape to be the dominant cause for the failure of abstinence.

          May 28, 2014 at 9:50 pm |
        • SeaVik

          Hot Air, if I'm slow, I'm not sure what you are. If you want to re-read my last post and provide a point, that would be great.

          May 28, 2014 at 10:47 pm |
        • SeaVik

          And to be clear (since you seem to be a little slow), r.ape doesn't make abstinence ineffective. It's just one example of why even perfect abstinence doesn't mean abortions aren't required in some situations.

          May 28, 2014 at 10:53 pm |
      • Reality

        As noted, the failure rate statistics of the pill and condom were taken from the Guttmacher Insti-tute statistics.

        Running the numbers:

        And why are there ~ one million abortions every year in the USA?

        The failure rate of unprotected se-x in preventing a pregnancy? As per Guttmacher, 85%

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

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

        Followed by: (the two most widely used forms of contraception)

        The Pill, at 0.3 percent) (33,000 unplanned pregnancies)

        Male condom at 2.0 percent (138,000 unplanned pregnancies)

        So where is the problem?

        ACTUAL FIRST-YEAR CONTRACEPTIVE FAILURE RATES – Guttmacher Inst-itute

        Percentage of women experiencing an unintended pregnancy

        Method……………..Typical

        Pill……… 8.7 (resulting in one million unplanned pregnancies- the Pill was not taken daily was the major reason for the high failure rate)

        Male condom ……….17.4 (resulting in one million unplanned pregnancies- the condom was available but was not used is the major reason for the high failure rate)

        All the numbers are posted on line by Guttmacher if you want to run the calculations yourselves.

        So again we see the BRUTAL EFFECTS OF STUPIDITY!!!!

        May 28, 2014 at 2:52 pm |
        • Akira

          So your answer is what?

          May 28, 2014 at 2:59 pm |
        • gulliblenomore

          Reality.....I'm a little unclear here. What are you actually referring to when you say the brutal effects of stupidity?

          May 28, 2014 at 3:08 pm |
        • SeaVik

          Reality, I am more than a little unclear. What is your point? What do you think people should do?

          May 28, 2014 at 3:19 pm |
  11. crescenthawk1959

    Not that I think someone should be discriminated against because they are an atheist, but why is there so much about atheist agenda that seems almost attack like in return to religion and especially Christianity? I have seen atheist billboards proselytizing atheism, which I don't understand if an atheist believe you only live once why spend not money to help kids get an education or feed people or cloth them instead of a billboard . There was a monument built in FL that was in essence an "attack" on religion (90% of it was why not to believe in religion.) Then you have Freedom From Religion group and Recovering From Religion. To be honest those group names make religion seem like it is this icky bad thing just in name and in all honesty that is how they act. Names and events all picked to make a politically charged statement.

    "They quipped about the folly of prayer, bought bumper-stickers calling the Bible a “Grim Fairy Tale,” and wore T-shirts proclaiming their belief in life before death." And they want to be taken seriously? Why make fun of another's belief and then quip about acceptance? I bet percentage-wise there just as many close minded atheists as there Christians, it is just there is a larger number of Christians. You are going to find jerks and extremists in ANY group. The larger the group, the more there is.

    May 27, 2014 at 7:36 pm |
    • whippstippler7

      Some atheists are more outspoken than others because they recognize the danger inherent in religion and are working toward a society where religion does not play such a central, dominant role. By advocating in such fashion they hope to inspire people around the world to question religion, to shed light on the harms caused by religion, and to push back against theocracies everywhere.

      May 27, 2014 at 7:47 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      "I have seen atheist billboards proselytizing atheism"
      -----------------
      These are simply a response to Christian billboards attacking atheism.

      But I happen to agree with you that they are a waste of money.

      May 27, 2014 at 7:51 pm |
    • MidwestKen

      "....why spend not money to help kids get an education or feed people or cloth them instead of a billboard "

      One reason is that kid's educations are being ruined by religious teachings of fictional creation stories taught as literal truth. In other words, the billboard, indirectly, ARE helping kids get an education.

      May 27, 2014 at 7:53 pm |
      • crescenthawk1959

        And more to my point. The belief that children must be saved by being exposed to religion. That thought process points to an intolerance of religion, which fine, but don't complain against people who are intolerant of non-religion. Intolerance is intolerance. It doesn't have to be believe in science or believe in religion.

        May 27, 2014 at 8:13 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          I don't find Jesus or the god of the Bible to be all that tolerant of anyone who does not accept the belief. Tolerance has never been the strong suit of religion...I don't have a lot of sympathy for your position.

          May 27, 2014 at 11:57 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          WHy should Jesus/God be tolerant of lies?

          May 28, 2014 at 2:14 am |
        • hotairace

          Kermy has a point. Imaginary beings don't need to be tolerant. In fact, they don't need to be anything, but they can be anything their human creators want them to be. I understand Kermy has experience with mentally ill people that make up and believe all kinds of things for which there is no actual evidence.

          May 28, 2014 at 2:25 am |
        • kermit4jc

          , but they can be anything their human creators want them to be...can be true for some..but noit all..like me..it isn't that I want it that way..it is t what it is..and I accept that...God is a HOLY God..Hliness can NOT tolerate lies and sins...period....its not basedon feelings of God..its based on his very nature...He is Holy not cause he feels like being Holy..its who He is

          May 28, 2014 at 2:30 am |
        • hotairace

          Alleged god is allegedly a holy god . . .

          Allegedly, not proven, no actual evidence for, nothing, just bullsh!t. . .

          May 28, 2014 at 2:32 am |
        • kermit4jc

          the comments are for the sake of the argument that such a god exists....nice try...

          May 28, 2014 at 2:36 am |
        • benhoody

          Prove it ?.

          May 28, 2014 at 3:55 am |
        • gulliblenomore

          Ben....I'm guessing a holy god wouldn't destroy every living thing on this planet just because his creation didn't turn out the way he hoped it would, which he would have known anyway, since he is omnipotent.

          I'm also presupposing that a holy god would reveal himself to everybody, instead of a select few, if eternal life were dependent on belief of such.

          I'm guessing that a holy god, with one wave of his almighty hand, would not have allowed a tsunami to wipe out 130,000 people.

          I'm guessing that a holy god would not allow microscopic germs and bacteria to run rampant amongst his creation.

          I'm guessing a holy god would be able to dispel other religious beliefs quite easily and do better than control only 30% of the worlds population.

          I'm guessing that a holy god wouldn't be such a p-rick to one of his most loyal followers, Job, in order to prove a point to Satan.

          Just a few examples.....I could go on and on and on.....but do I really need to? Granted, that's not proof, but it's pretty compelling evidence

          May 28, 2014 at 5:36 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          crescent: Look at kermi's comments, he is a prime example of the type of Christian that gives the belief a bad name. He is hateful, comes across as an angry old-man, he's a liar and he's very hypocritical of those who don't share his belief...should we be tolerant of people like him? People who claim to care about humanity but tell others they are baby killers if they abort; or that they're sinning for being LGBT? People who fail to comprehend that there is a difference between the words believe and know but yet claim arrogance in supposedly 'knowing' and strictly base it off of personal experience, refusing to comprehend that personal experience is simply personal and has no pertinence to what is truly considered evidence for proving something?

          May 28, 2014 at 6:08 am |
        • gulliblenomore

          TP.....nice description of not just Kermit, but Scott, Fred, and a few other supposed Christians in this blog. Saler/finisher are just nuts, but there are some truly hateful non practicing Christians on here. And no, they deserve no tolerance. Just avoidance, if possible

          May 28, 2014 at 6:17 am |
        • kermit4jc

          prove IM hateful

          May 28, 2014 at 9:51 am |
        • gulliblenomore

          Practically every one of your posts Kermit proclaims that whoever disagrees with what you are saying is either pathetic or ignorant. Sounds hateful to me.

          May 28, 2014 at 9:55 am |
        • kermit4jc

          that's not being hateful...that's pointing out what is happening...your attempts to debate are pitiful....you cant bring up good responses

          May 28, 2014 at 9:59 am |
        • gulliblenomore

          Kermit....what is really funny about your replies is that you are too blind to see what everybody else seems to see! You are hateful with just about every one of your posts. Evidently, you don't care, which is fine.

          But, I will not ever engage in a conversation with you because you do not know how to present your point without insulting and trying to belittle your opponent. That shows lousy debating skills, and I don't see the purpose. You are a clown.

          May 28, 2014 at 10:14 am |
        • sam stone

          TP: Don't forget Corn Pone and Gopher.

          May 28, 2014 at 6:27 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          gullible and sam: Yes those others are much the same. These people would hate if someone tried to take away their private rights but yet have no issue attempting to do so themselves. They seem to be unable to 'put the shoe on the opposite foot' and consider how they'd feel if they were in the position they scream so loudly against. awanderingtot told me yesterday that I'm a baby murderer for supporting a woman's right to have an abortion should she wish to....not comprehending that a) it's not murder to have an abortion and b) in his small mind, it is almost a guilt by association issue-if this is the case, then maybe we should start blaming him and his nasty crew for all the bad of their god.

          May 28, 2014 at 6:53 am |
        • gulliblenomore

          TP....Theo actually thinks that the Jews were deserving of the Holocaust because they abandoned god! I doubt you can get much more delusional than that. Well....calling somebody a baby murderer because of a stance comes pretty close. I was never able to associate a zygote as a baby, though.

          I certainly hope that the att-itudes and failings of the so-called Christians on this site are not indicative of the majority of Christians out there, although I have seen many examples of these types before. I guess the really crazy part is us continually engaging them in conversation, as it is really not even discussion most of the time. I refuse to discuss anything with Kermit, finisher, salero, and theo, and am coming close with scot and benhoody. Their types do not wish to discuss...they only want to preach. And I'm tired of having fairy tale quotes thrown at me as if that is supposed to make me see the light somehow. Strange people indeed.

          May 28, 2014 at 8:13 am |
        • kermit4jc

          pretty disnonest statement there...zygotes are hardly aborted.....abortions happens much later......and you know it

          May 28, 2014 at 9:53 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          gullible: They have a double-standard and kermi shows that when he condones his god for doing such horrific acts but condemns mankind for those same things. Theo's condoning of the Holocaust is ludicrous. The Christian's I know (and there are many) are no usually so hateful and if they show hate or bigotry, I tend to stop associating-they are not what I consider moral, loving people. I find in using their belief, they become too divisive in area's that if they set aside the belief, they wouldn't be.

          May 28, 2014 at 8:23 am |
        • kermit4jc

          yes..God is not a human being..He is above humans...He Is Holy..HE is Judge..HE is righteous..NOT us..HE is Creator..im sorry you cant accept that cause you know youd be judged by Him as well.....I have no right to do these things..IM Nt the creator of the Universe..Im not the Righteous Judge of Life...and yo uare being childish for talking like you do...basically trolling.....debate or shut up

          May 28, 2014 at 9:55 am |
        • gulliblenomore

          Kermit....you asked for proof of you being hateful? Retread your last post to TP.

          May 28, 2014 at 9:57 am |
        • kermit4jc

          that wasn't out of hate.....

          May 28, 2014 at 9:59 am |
        • gulliblenomore

          And yet, it was hateful. I do believe you would benefit with a bit of self examination, but I doubt you would be truly honest with yourself. If you don't believe that calling someone pathetic and ignorant is hateful, then you are indeed clueless.

          May 28, 2014 at 10:25 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          kermi: You claim to have evidence but it is not true evidence and does nothing to verify that your god exists, it is merely your own personal experience and it can't be verified and thus counts for nothing outside of your head/personal life. You claim not to hate but then say 'debate or shut up'-such hypocrisy. I don't give a rats ass what you think your god is or does or how you think it has pertinence in this world, they are merely your thoughts about what this god is and still do not validate your god. Your god has no control on me or anyone and fortunately not all of us are so weak minded that we need invisible, non-existent supervisor to survive in this world. Grow up, get an education (in the least watch COSMOS...it's based on hard evidence and holds more validity in this world than gullibles travels aka the bible ever will) and live in the 21st century...stop disrespecting the Secular country you reside in and for the love of life, mind your own damn business when it comes to the personal lives of others...you're not paying their way, so keep your absurd belief to your home (trailer) and your church.

          May 28, 2014 at 10:18 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          kermi: Btw, it's not trolling when I was responding to crescenthawk and merely giving examples of bad Christians who give the belief system a bad name...sorry that you're too blind to see why you'd be considered one of those Christians.

          May 28, 2014 at 10:38 am |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          I think the most hateful invention of mankind was the concept of heII. A place of eternal torment with no chance of redemption that serves no purpose other than to make his tiny creations suffer and writhe in pain. Not even Hitler deserves an eternity of torment for his few years of bad acts. Sure, he would deserve being wiped out of existence, but torturing him indefinitely would do nothing other than satisfy some persons desire for revenge, it would not bring back a single person he murdered.

          If you believe in and support the concept of heII where supposedly the majority of mankind will be going and suffering for eternity then you are a vile hateful person promoting hate towards your fellow man. If you are waiting on God to fix the worlds problems instead of trying to work together to solve them then you are a vile hateful person working to sabotage anything positive humanity tries to create.

          May 28, 2014 at 11:46 am |
        • gulliblenomore

          Any god that would punish his own creation eternally for a finite disbelief due to ambiguously presented information is not only evil, but hardly worthy of worship.

          May 28, 2014 at 12:02 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          thatsnot the logic here....we all sin..yuo may say finite sins..but you forget who the sins are done against..an infinite God...If I were to threaten to beat up a dog..I might get a slap on the wrist..a good talking to....if I threaten to beat up my neighbor..I can be cited..possibly short jail time...if I threaten to beat up the US president..you can bet your sweet butt I will get sWAT all over me and see some serious time in the pen

          May 28, 2014 at 3:34 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          with no chance of redemption<-poor excuse..you been given your whole life for a chance at redemption..don't blame God..blame yourself

          May 28, 2014 at 3:32 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          "I think the most hateful invention of mankind was the concept of heII."
          --------------
          Blame the Canaanites. The idea might have historical roots.

          Gehenna, (literally "Valley of Hinnom") appears to be the place in which the people would "burn their sons and daughters in the fire" as part of the worship of Moloch – a Canaanite God.

          May 28, 2014 at 11:55 am |
        • Alias

          kermit4jc
          there are thousands of different opinions of what the bible is trying to say. There are thousands of different denominations of christianity, and they all think they are the only ones to have it right. Ther is no reasonable way your all knowing god (if he existed) would send people to hell for not understanding the bible.

          May 28, 2014 at 3:45 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          God dies not send people to hell for not understanding the Bible..he doesn't let us in heaven because we understand the Bible either...it is about a relationship with God.......however...there is a awesome word that's great way to understand others in communication..its called context.....it helps us understand the Bible better.

          May 28, 2014 at 3:57 pm |
        • Athy

          Kermy, have you ever written anything using a single period as a punctuation mark?

          May 28, 2014 at 4:12 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          yes....when I write to be published, writing letters to others, research papers, or when writing up progress notes at work, etc thisi s a blog

          May 28, 2014 at 4:15 pm |
        • kudlak

          kermit4jc
          What if my understanding of the Bible leads me to believe that you can't have a relationship with a literary character like God?
          Then it really would be my misunderstanding of the Bible that leads me to Hell, if you happen to be right, correct?

          Also, everyone who reads the Bible reads it in a certain context. Your context appears to presuppose that everything in the Bible is 100% correct, right? How do you know that your context just so happens to be the only correct one?

          May 28, 2014 at 7:10 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          PARTLY true..remember...innocent until proven guilty,,,,,BUT..the CONTEXT I use is the context of the Bible being written by Jews in another culture (from ours) in another location, another time...in other words..Im not going to look at the Bible in English and read it as if it were originally written in todays enlglish language in the culture of todays America (which I find a lot of people doing) that is only part of it....taken into account also is literary styles (poetry, narratives, figures of speech, etc),

          May 28, 2014 at 7:21 pm |
        • kudlak

          kermit4jc
          It appears that I use the same context as you do, but getting vastly different results. The entire Bible was written by believers, for believers. There isn't a hope in hell that anyone can argue that it's an impartial, unbiased history that accurately records events in every case. The authors had an agenda. They had access to the previous prophecies. It would have been an easy thing to write books that seemingly foretold events current to them.

          Using this same context has led me to the conclusion that the Bible is as full of myth and legend as the stories of any other culture contemporary to the ancient Jews and first Christians. That's just the way people expressed what they considered truths back then, and how they viewed great people.Even the Roman historians were not immune to this. There are stories of Vespasian performing miraculous healings and Josephus speaks of Hercules as being a historical person. The Bible still has value, as long as you don't fall into the trap of taking it as being literally true in all regards.

          May 29, 2014 at 8:39 am |
        • kermit4jc

          There isn’t a hope in hell that anyone can argue that it’s an impartial, unbiased history<-of course...most of these were eyewitnesses!!!!! you say agenda..of course! they were writing of whatthey had seen.....

          May 29, 2014 at 3:31 pm |
        • kudlak

          kermit4jc
          The claim is they were written by eyewitnesses, but you have that "third person" problem again. An actual eyewitness would write in the first person, like John of Patmos did in relating his vision.

          May 29, 2014 at 8:15 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          An actual eyewitness would write in the first person, like John of Patmos did in relating his vision.<-there you go again..telling people how to write..SAYS WHO? WHO says they are supposed to write in first person..WHERE is the literary law that says it has to be 1st person?? very silly and seems like you want it that way so you can make excuses to not believe the Bible

          May 30, 2014 at 2:01 am |
        • kudlak

          kermit4jc
          I'm not telling people how to write. I'm just point out that, when people are relating events that they personally witnessed in non-fictional books, it's pretty much always done in the first person, right?

          May 30, 2014 at 8:19 am |
        • kermit4jc

          no..you should not assume always....literature is freedom

          May 30, 2014 at 9:48 am |
        • kudlak

          kermit4jc
          And you're not just assuming that the canonical gospels were written by actual eyewitnesses, apostles of Jesus?

          Literature is freedom, but ruling some bit of writing as sacred, and thus beyond all criticism, tends to take whatever freedom it once possessed away.

          May 30, 2014 at 10:03 am |
        • kermit4jc

          Matthew, and John have the marks of being written by eyewitnesses..describing events accurately..places and such...see no reason why it canot be eyewitneses...it takes more than (writing in 1st person or third person to show truth in literature...one cannot assume things based on one issue, especially in writing

          May 30, 2014 at 10:07 am |
        • kudlak

          kermit4jc
          How would you know that they're "describing events accurately"? Compared to what, their own descriptions, or the synoptic gospels that most scholars agree shared common sources? Is there any independent source that can verify any of their conflicting accounts, and they do conflict, terribly.

          Why should it be compelling whether some author can describe a place accurately? What would be surprising about a gospel writer who had once lived in Jerusalem? John Grisham can describe Mississippi accurately, and he has written about eyewitnesses to things too, but do you believe them?

          May 30, 2014 at 3:46 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          MOST scholars don't agree on a common source...that's an old thing.....second..the common soujrce are eyewitnesses themselves....if Matthew asks a person..and Luke asks the same person..youre gonna get same answers.

          May 30, 2014 at 4:55 pm |
    • gulliblenomore

      hawk...there is not one single closed minded atheist on the planet. Show us the proof of any god (making sure that you can distinguish which god is the correct one of the thousands of gods) and we will be sitting there every Sunday in the pew

      May 27, 2014 at 8:02 pm |
      • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

        ".there is not one single closed minded atheist on the planet."
        ------------------–
        Honestly, that's a pretty outrageous claim to make.

        May 27, 2014 at 8:10 pm |
        • gulliblenomore

          Maybe.....but I have a feeling if god were to appear at the halftime show of the Super Bowl, we would all pretty much believe in god. But maybe you are right...there might be some that were conspiracy nuts. So....maybe not every one, but I think you get my point, though.

          May 27, 2014 at 8:14 pm |
        • fascinatedspectator

          Outrageous? REALLY?

          Is it more "outrageous" than teaching gullible children that a magical invisible being will solve all of their problems for them, so they don't need to worry about real world knowledge and don't need to worry about solving their own problems ?!!!!

          THAT is the epitome of "OUTRAGEOUS" !

          May 28, 2014 at 11:10 am |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          If you prefer the word 'ridiculous' rather than 'outrageous' that would be fine with me.

          There are plenty of atheists here who make very close-minded observations.

          Most statements saying there is not one single person on the planet who _____ have a 99.99% likelihood of being wrong.

          Unless of course you fill in the blank with "rose from the dead". /pun/

          May 28, 2014 at 11:37 am |
      • transframer

        Nobody can show you any proof. But if you want some sort of proof try it for yourself, alone. Ask Jesus to help you I am sure every human being needs some help from time to time. You don't have to pray or go to church or anything like this. Just, directly, in your mind, ask Jesus to help. Nobody will know what you did. You have nothing to lose. Try it.

        May 27, 2014 at 10:28 pm |
        • gulliblenomore

          transframer....I appreciate the gesture, but for me, that would be just like me asking the tooth fairy for help. I really don't see the need and I also do not have the desire. I am glad that you pointed out there is no proof.....I keep hearing there is, but still none appears. And, while I am happy that it works for you, I am quite sure that very few recipients of any help really exist, as there are millions of abused, neglected, poor, lonely, depressed, alcoholic, and suicidal people that just don't get the help from your god like you do. Seems a bit unfair of a proposal to me.

          May 27, 2014 at 10:37 pm |
        • skytag

          What a dumb suggestion. Why would anyone who doesn't believe in God "ask Jesus" anything? You don't do something like that until you've already decided to you want to believe he's real.

          May 27, 2014 at 11:44 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          I did, I truly did. Nothing.....

          Now do you accept that as evidence against Jesus being a god?

          May 27, 2014 at 11:49 pm |
        • ausphor

          trans...
          So your telling me to try out jesus because it may have worked for you, can work both ways. Consider that I am a follower of Family Radio and tell you to follow the prophecies of Harold Camping because I am believer. What do you do, sell all your junk and prepare yourself for the rapture or just write it off as a pile of BS? I know all about jesus and he is no more believable than any other scam artists interpretation of him. What you are really getting from jesus when you ask for help is enough gumption to lift yourself up, no supernatural influence required. You could do the same with anything that you have convinced yourself is beneficial, another god figure, a doctor, a person you respect, etc.

          May 28, 2014 at 8:44 am |
    • TruthPrevails1

      Wow, what rock are you residing under? Christians are the ones out front on almost every issue in this world-personal rights; LGBT; education; prayer in public hall meetings; going door to door; Atheist rights...the list does go on and on.
      Believe as you wish but please respect the fact that not everyone shares those beliefs and the respect Christians demand really does go all ways.
      There are numerous groups that are not religious affiliated that do much in this world: Red Cross; UNICEF; Dr's Without Borders; OXFAM (to name a few) and they do it all without selling the 'invisible reward' of heaven for believing or the 'invisible punishment' of hell for not believing.
      Why is it Christians are feeling so persecuted? Could it be that they're finally getting a taste of what of they have been dishing out for centuries and simply don't like it?

      May 27, 2014 at 8:19 pm |
      • crescenthawk1959

        I am not saying that all of Christianity be absolved of the intolerant close minded people who are out there doing those things. I am saying don't I don't like my belief being attack or I don't like intolerance and go attacking and being intolerant. Don't be the pot calling the kettle black. That is all the statement was. There is nothing wrong with having a group of like minded people where you can share you thoughts or sharing your thoughts with other. Don't make an argument that was never there. There are plenty of organizations as you pointed out that do good things that don't have any other agenda, but to do good things. There are plenty of people who rightfully teach religious tolerance and separation of church and state without making into this crazy us vs. them deal.

        May 27, 2014 at 8:48 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          " I am saying don't I don't like my belief being attacked"

          Beliefs should be scrutinized, all beliefs. Religious belief makes claims concerning the reality we live in. We should be allowed to respond to those claims. Religion at base level is an idea and as an idea it should stand or fall on its own merits. Wouldn't you agree?

          May 28, 2014 at 12:02 am |
    • neverbeenhappieratheist

      I think for centuries atheists have accepted living in isolation because of their fear of attack which was very real. Now many of those people are finding out they aren't so alone and that many of them feel the same way about religion and are speaking out and reaching out to others.

      One thing to keep in mind, many atheists did not come to atheism because they simply understood there was no evidence supporting the wild claims of believers, but often they come as victims of abuse where they have been mentally and in some cases physically abused by religion and its representatives. I believe this is the reason some attack religion so vehemently and refute the spurious claims made by religion at every turn. I myself was an evangelical Christian for over 30 years and I only realized after I left how much trauma I was caused during that time. So much drama, so much guilt, so much frustration, no wonder they are all praying for the world to end. Once out it felt like the world was lifted off my shoulders. Not only were my worries gone but all those boring frustrating problems of the endless whiners and complainers was gone. No more meeting with couples who hated each other but I had to counsel them to stay together even though they had nothing in common other than the Church.

      I don't think it excuses atheists who constantly attack believers, but it does help to explain it a bit.

      May 27, 2014 at 8:28 pm |
      • crescenthawk1959

        I would have to agree with everything you say. I get it, I went through a period where I was being attacked for what I believed (I was a wiccan for quite some time), I honestly just find it sad that sometimes people without realizing become that, which they are arguing against.

        May 27, 2014 at 8:54 pm |
    • thesamyaza

      those billboards advertise not proselytize

      advertise draws attention and get people to come to you

      insider outside

      iv only ever met one Atheist proselytize because we thought it would be funny to go door to door with it, to agitate the neighbors. he did it in a heavily Christan community. after words i spread the word of Lucifer

      her name is Lucifer. Lucifer, who
      once was the most beautiful angel in the whole of Heaven.
      Lucifer, who came down to Earth so that he could grant
      knowledge to us, humans. And because of that she was scorched by
      the anger of God, cast down and turned into demon. And still,
      she bravely fought God for the sake of us, humans.
      .. yadada any ways made a whole pamphlet it was hilarious,. i think three people moved out of the neighborhood.

      May 27, 2014 at 8:45 pm |
      • tallulah131

        That's kind of funny.

        May 27, 2014 at 8:48 pm |
    • kudlak

      Meanwhile, the vast majority of signs outside of churches attack all non-Christian beliefs, but I don't see anyone apologizing for sending the message that other religions are useless, or even dangerous. Some of what I see in atheist billboards appears to be a satirical "giving them a dose of their own medicine".

      May 27, 2014 at 8:54 pm |
      • kudlak

        I forgot to add that they apparently, most definitely, do not like getting their own medicine. Has there been a single atheist billboard that wasn't condemned by some group of Christians?

        May 27, 2014 at 9:09 pm |
    • tallulah131

      It's amazing how many billboards I've seen damning me for all eternity because I'm not a christian. It's astonishing how many people have come to my door, wishing to share their "good news" even though I had not invited them and was already well aware of christian mythology. In the city where I live, we have a public square in the center of town. Nine days out of ten, you have a group of christians holding signs, handing out flyers and sometimes preaching at the top of their lungs.

      These are just a few of the ways that christians have forced their way into my life, yet I'm grateful, because I live in a time when the only weapons they have are words, and I can no longer be legally punished or killed for not believing. I'm sorry that you are upset by signs, but I respectfully say "get over it." Christians are reaping what they have sown.

      May 27, 2014 at 8:57 pm |
      • crescenthawk1959

        I will point out never did I say I was upset by the signs. I pointed out that it is unfortunate instead of standing alone on their own beliefs that some feel the need to poke fun at others. The point is intolerance shouldn't be responded to with intolerance. Intolerance, condemnation etc. is wrong. A dose of their own medicine is a childish argument. The original post was just a logical statement acknowledging hey there are jerks everywhere and honestly it was really saying don't be a jerk in response to someone being a jerk. If you stand on your own beliefs and feel they are sound there is no reason to even address another's set of beliefs in a negative way. I am all for hey don't persecute me because you believe something different, but the argument gets lost when it is drowned out by politically charged statements etc. I am saying don't drown out a good argument. Hey I am an atheist, please don't persecute because I am an atheist. I want to share what I believe and I want to be with others who believe the same. That is awesome. That is commendable. That gets lost when you want someone to listen and you make fun of what they believe at the same time saying take me seriously or worse behaving in the same way as those who you asking not to treat you that way.

        May 27, 2014 at 9:34 pm |
        • gulliblenomore

          Hawk....when you run around proclaiming "only I know the TRUTH" and spell out truth as if it really was the truth (when in fact, it is an imagined truth), that's when I think there should be some retribution. And when ministers start proclaiming that its the "end of the world" from their pulpits when gays were legally able to get married, then there should be retribution. When Christians say nutty things like "when a woman is r-aped, they have a way of shutting reproduction down", there should be retribution..

          Christians tend to be the most self righteous, arrogant azzholes (please see the posts on this blog from them). They just know there is a god, but when you ask for evidential proof, that is nowhere to be found. If they would just confine their enthusiasm to their house of worship, then I am pretty sure they would be left alone in their insanity. But, when they bring that same insanity to the legislative floor, then you can bet that there will be blowback from the non-conformists.

          May 27, 2014 at 9:54 pm |
        • tallulah131

          In a perfect world, everybody would be nice to each other. But it's not a perfect world, and frankly, atheists shouldn't have to sit silent while believers ride roughshod over them, all in the name of one-sided civility. Silence is no better than approval.

          May 28, 2014 at 1:18 am |
        • kudlak

          If the signs are a satirical comment on Christian declarations of having the "only" truth, then that isn't a childish thing at all. More likely, they serve as a reminder that atheists aren't alone in this world. Some Christians live in such closed communities that they only ever get the straw man definition of atheists that their pastor gives. They may never even hear any of the arguments for atheism without these signs. They may never even realize that atheism is a valid alternative to feeling guilt for not being able to believe in this stuff. All good reasons for signs, eh?

          May 28, 2014 at 7:55 pm |
    • skytag

      If there is no god, as atheists believe and is consistent with all objective evidence, then believers are basing their lives on myths and fairytales, making important life decisions based on false beliefs. Why shouldn't atheists try to help them realize this?

      May 27, 2014 at 11:31 pm |
    • lilithlore

      First of all, there is no 'atheist agenda' – there is an atheist movement insofar as trying to educate people that the ancient dark aged myths are just that – and have positively no bearing or benefit to modern times. The atheist billboards are not 'proselytizing' – they're helping people understand that they don't have to live with the religious fear.

      Religion is an icky, bad thing. The murders and harm it has bestowed on humans over milleniums is infinite. Pointing out the sheer absurdities of religious beliefs does not mean they're making fun of them – it just comes out that way. Yes, you will find jerks in any group of people, in all walks of life – however, you are incorrect to say that atheists would be or are as close-minded as theists. Many atheists would readily accept that there is a 'god' if there were valid proof. Doesn't mean they'd worship it, but, they'd accept that there is one.

      May 27, 2014 at 11:40 pm |
    • kudlak

      It's like anything that many people consider harmful, isn't it? Be it killing animals for their fur, overeating, smoking, abortion, oil pipelines, h0meopathic drugs, gay marriage, or what have you, many will oppose it, but few will be enough of an activist to actually do something in opposition to it.

      May 28, 2014 at 10:23 am |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      "I have seen atheist billboards proselytizing atheism, which I don't understand if an atheist believe you only live once why spend not money to help kids get an education or feed people or cloth them instead of a billboard . ...

      Then you have Freedom From Religion group and Recovering From Religion. To be honest those group names make religion seem like it is this icky bad thing just in name and in all honesty that is how they act.
      --------------------–
      Do yourself a favor and Google "christian billboard" images.

      Notice billboards that say:

      "ATHEIST | Someone who believes that nothing made everything. | A scientific Impossibility! – PullThePlugOnAtheism.com"

      "Why Do Atheists Hate America? http://www.InGodWeTrustUSA.org"

      "Attention: Lunatic Atheists & Their Lawyers | Anti-God is Anti-American | Anti-American is Treason | Traitors lead to Civil War"

      "IMAGINE NO RELIGION? | SO DID HE. (picture of Stalin) | Read the Grace Effect"

      "Big Bang Theory, You've Got To Be Kidding. – God"

      "To all of our atheist friends: THANK GOD YOU"RE WRONG | 1:1 AnswersInGenesis.org"

      The pro-atheist billboards are just the other side of the coin to this sort of thing.

      The Freedom From Religion Foundation (ffrf.org) and Americans United for Separation of Church and State (au.org) exist to support the first amendment from incursions by tyranny of the majority. What they support is clear cut.

      May 28, 2014 at 8:28 pm |
  12. I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

    Perhaps it will be a future topic here on the Belief Blog.

    From PRRI, the Public Religion Research Insti.tute:
    "Study: “I Know What You Did Last Sunday” Finds Americans Significantly Inflate Religious Participation
    http://publicreligion.org/research/2014/05/aapor-2014/

    Basically, the study finds that Americans exaggerate about church attendance when surveyed by telephone. When surveyed online, the total weekly attendance attendance figures drop from from 36% to 31%.

    White mainline Protestants have the highest rates of hidden non-attendance. (Seldom attend: 29% telephone versus 45% online.) Under-reporting occurs for Catholics, Evangelical Protestants, historically Black Protestants and even the unaffiliated.

    It's an interesting illustration of the subtle hypocrisies of people answering telephone surveys about religion.

    It makes me wonder if the same effect can be quantified for people who are willing do declare as atheist / agnostic, and just how many people are in the 'closet of unbelief' when it comes to surveys.

    May 27, 2014 at 7:18 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      "It makes me wonder ... just how many people are in the 'closet of unbelief' when it comes to surveys.
      ----------------–
      Interestingly, this question is answered in the report.

      In both modes (telephone / online) about the same number reported atheist / agnostic. 5%* / 4%.

      * 4% by telephone.

      There were some interesting results in reporting on the 'unaffiliated'.

      May 27, 2014 at 7:29 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Of the unaffiliated:

      .............................................. telephone ..... online
      God is a person ........................ 30 ..............19
      God is an impersonal force .... 34 ............. 35
      Do not believe in God ............... 31 ............. 43

      Which is a plurality of non-belief amongst the unaffiliated. The biggest disconnect between modes was in "never attend" for unaffiliated, which doubled from 36% (telephone) to 68% (online).

      May 27, 2014 at 7:38 pm |
  13. sealchan

    I wonder if it would be an effective tactic for those neighbor atheists in the deep South to answer the question "What church do you go to?" with "I'm having trouble finding a church that I like." This way they can test how open-minded the other person is.

    May 27, 2014 at 6:42 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      What you will get is:

      "Then come with me to my church. I just love our pastor. I'm bringing my fried chicken / gumbo / whatever to the potluck afterwards. You should really come with me."

      Then what? You have to go at least one time but not again. Then what's the excuse when people are watching to see if your car moves on Sunday morning.

      Neighborhood trainwreck.

      May 27, 2014 at 6:49 pm |
      • sealchan

        Gotcha

        May 27, 2014 at 6:51 pm |
    • meatheist

      You are suggesting that atheists should lie? Trying to trick us and send us to Hell?

      Tee hee.

      May 27, 2014 at 7:10 pm |
    • fascinatedspectator

      I tried that tactic DECADES ago to no avail! It only seem to embolden their attempts to "witness" me into attending THEIR favorite church and once they began this pattern of harassment, it was EXTREMELY difficult to convince them to leave me alone!!!!!

      Very BAD advice!

      May 28, 2014 at 11:27 am |
    • kudlak

      Remember that they're actually trying to sell you something. They feel that it's their duty to sign up as many new members as possible, like AMWAY, or something similar. So, treat them like you would the office AMWAY salesperson. Unless you want to end up with cabinets full of weird products you won't ever use, it's best to be direct and clear with your disinterest.

      If you don't even know what AMWAY is, think of telemarketers instead. If you start chatting with them instead of getting off the line quickly you'll probably regret it, right?

      May 28, 2014 at 7:45 pm |
  14. Maksim

    Really? The last time we checked, the only people that were fired for their religious belief were the Christians – Benham Brothers, Phil Robertson and the list goes on...

    It's the atheists that are suing the religious and taking people to court. If Christmas time antagonism by atheists is not enough proof of their rudeness, YT is a good source of how belligerent , obnoxious and loud atheists are, not just in the real world but also in the virtual world. Who is bothering who again???

    Calling bunkum on this article!

    May 27, 2014 at 5:00 pm |
    • kenmargo

      They aren't being fired by athiests.

      May 27, 2014 at 5:03 pm |
    • Akira

      This is funny. Thanks.

      May 27, 2014 at 5:17 pm |
    • tallulah131

      So all Maksim actually cares about are celebrities who are being held accountable by their employers (and would-be employers) over behaviors that could potentially damage the employers' product. And of course, that Duck Dynasty guy wasn't fired, though given the drastic fall in ratings he might be, so Maksim apparently doesn't care much for the truth, either.

      May 27, 2014 at 6:01 pm |
      • Doris

        I get the strange feeling that Maksim is trying to turn SimCity into a theocracy.

        May 27, 2014 at 6:09 pm |
        • tallulah131

          He(?) is a troubled, troubled individual.

          May 27, 2014 at 7:27 pm |
  15. Dyslexic doG

    Religion is like a pen1s. It's fine to have one and be proud of it, but when you take it out and start waving it in my face we have a problem!

    May 27, 2014 at 4:39 pm |
    • thefinisher1

      Atheism is like having a pen1s. It's fine if you have one and are proud of it, but when you take it out and start waving it in my face we have a problem!

      May 27, 2014 at 4:44 pm |
      • kenmargo

        Is this the real or fake finisher?

        May 27, 2014 at 4:49 pm |
        • thefinisher1

          Fake finisher was some nutcase atheist that bashed his/her own atheism at an attempt to make me leave. He/she failed.

          May 27, 2014 at 4:51 pm |
        • hotairace

          They're both full of sh!t so it really doesn't matter.

          May 27, 2014 at 4:51 pm |
        • thefinisher1

          Lol! No wonder your name is hotairace. You're full of hot air! LOL!!!

          May 27, 2014 at 5:02 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          Funny how when you click the name it leads to the same page...seems thefinisher is lying again-so many personalities, it's losing track of them all.

          May 27, 2014 at 8:29 pm |
      • meatheist

        Parrot.

        May 27, 2014 at 6:57 pm |
      • neverbeenhappieratheist

        thefinisher1 is a pen1s. It's fine to be one but i wouldn't be proud of it, and when he walks around he can't help waving it in everyone's' face tickling noses with his short hairs. We may be laughing at you but we don't want to.

        May 27, 2014 at 8:37 pm |
    • kudlak

      When it comes to the religious, not everyone would have a problem with having a pen1s waved in their face, metaphorical or literal.

      May 27, 2014 at 4:45 pm |
      • Madtown

        "We agree."

        – yours, the Catholic priesthood

        May 27, 2014 at 5:22 pm |
        • kenmargo

          That's a good one.

          May 27, 2014 at 5:38 pm |
        • kudlak

          And you suppose that Ted Haggard is alone in this on the other side?

          May 27, 2014 at 6:10 pm |
    • kenmargo

      What if you're a woman? Is it still ok to have one?

      May 27, 2014 at 4:46 pm |
      • kudlak

        Contrary to what you may have learned from p0rn, not all women are interested in pen1ses.

        May 27, 2014 at 6:13 pm |
        • kenmargo

          "Religion is like a pen1s. It's fine to have one and be proud of it"

          Note the words "fine to have one" So again I ask, what if you're a woman?

          May 27, 2014 at 6:25 pm |
        • Akira

          It does beg the question, what about female atheists?
          That's where the analogy fails.

          May 27, 2014 at 6:59 pm |
        • sam stone

          i've seen those movies......purty hot

          May 27, 2014 at 8:07 pm |
  16. kenmargo

    Why do you see the need to come out as an atheist? I don't come out as non believer of bugs bunny or Santa Claus. I don't see the need to talk about what you don't believe.

    May 27, 2014 at 3:39 pm |
    • doobzz

      I'm guessing it's in the context of "Hello, nice to meet you. What church do you go to?" or something similar.

      May 27, 2014 at 3:43 pm |
      • kenmargo

        If someone asks me if I go to church, I'll tell them that I don't have time and don't want to go. If they get deeper, then i'll get deeper. I don't see the need to make it public if i don't have to.

        May 27, 2014 at 4:28 pm |
        • gulliblenomore

          Ken....actually, I like people to know that I'm not stupid enough to believe in fairy tales, so I usually blurt it right out. I'm sure it makes some people uncomfortable, but I'm not sure I really care. They have no problem blasting religion in my face, so why should I worry?

          May 27, 2014 at 4:31 pm |
        • igaftr

          ken
          If the POTUS came out and said "No, I don't know that Christians should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation where there are no gods"

          How would it make you feel, especially considering he is the most influential, most powerful man on the planet?

          May 27, 2014 at 4:33 pm |
        • gulliblenomore

          igaftr....to be fair....it was that moron Bush that made that statement....not exactly a model of humanity there.....

          May 27, 2014 at 4:36 pm |
        • kenmargo

          @gull.................If it works for you by all means let it fly. You can handle it.

          @igaftr.............I wouldn't agee because we're all citizens no matter what you believe (or don't) On the other hand not being a believer myself I'd say he's pointed in the right direction.

          May 27, 2014 at 4:44 pm |
        • igaftr

          yes, he was an idiot to be sure, his son far worse, but the people KNEW that and still elected these morons.
          Take a look at the whole interview and the follow up...not only did he not apologize, he defnded it with the final insult of ""What you should do for me is what you should do for everybody: Believe in God. Get off our backs." Ed Derwinski, speaking for the Bush campaign, and eventually went on to be the Secretary of VETERANS AFFAIRS...defending someone who called THIS veteran and patriot someone who should not even be a ctizen.

          Here was an individual that was THAT ignorant and bigotted, saying something like that. When someone has that much power, puts down a patriotic vetertan like me...it ignites the fire to fight more than ever. I just have a problem with people minimizing the negative impact...it is a HUGE problem...but doesn't necessarily effect people everyday, but a HUGE problem nonetheless.

          May 27, 2014 at 4:51 pm |
        • gulliblenomore

          igaftr....I agree with you wholeheartedly....that guy was an embarrassment to this country and I believe will go down in history as the worst president we have ever had in this country. Remember...god used to talk to him every night.....

          May 27, 2014 at 4:55 pm |
        • kenmargo

          @igaftr..................Only thing I can tell you is make sure you vote. I like to complain, so I vote. Not enough dems vote unless it's a big election.

          May 27, 2014 at 5:01 pm |
        • tallulah131

          I'm fundamentally an honest person. I am also a very opinionated person. There is no way I could keep silent in the face of religious BS. Fortunately, I live in a part of the country where people really don't care if you're religious or not.

          May 27, 2014 at 6:03 pm |
        • doobzz

          Not disagreeing with you, just a comment.

          May 27, 2014 at 7:37 pm |
        • kenmargo

          @doobzz................Not taken that way at all. Just explaining my experience. If it sounded harsh, no intent meant.

          May 27, 2014 at 8:33 pm |
    • gulliblenomore

      Ken....last time I checked, neither Bugs nor Santa have tried to enact legislation promoting ideas that benefit only their beliefs

      May 27, 2014 at 3:57 pm |
      • kenmargo

        You are right. But it's not Santa Claus or bugs bunny that's the problem. The problem is the repubs that believe that religious croc. Democrats need to vote to keep repubs out and you'll kill some of that laws based on religion out of the books.

        May 27, 2014 at 4:23 pm |
    • meatheist

      Was you comment coming from, "Shut up, I don't want to here about your atheism," or "I think I'd prefer to stay in the closet",?

      May 27, 2014 at 4:06 pm |
      • kenmargo

        I'm as religious as a rock. I don't go to church, have zero interest in going to church. I don't talk about it to anyone. I don't think it's worth my time to bring it up. If someone talks about religion I'll bring up why I think what they're saying is a bunch of croc and offer proof as to why I feel that way.

        May 27, 2014 at 4:20 pm |
        • meatheist

          " If someone talks about religion I'll bring up why I think what they're saying is a bunch of croc and offer proof as to why I feel that way."

          So I take it that you disagree with everyone whether they are religious or not.

          Why do you need proof to "feel" the way you do? It's an emotion. Emotions don't require proof. OTOH you do need evidence to back up a claim.

          May 27, 2014 at 7:04 pm |
        • kenmargo

          When someone makes a point, any point about anything. If it doesn't make sense, I will question it. Offering proof reinforces what you're saying. Speaking without proof means you are either misinformed, guessing or lying. That is the way I feel. When dealing with facts, emotion is taken out of the equation and you're left with only one outcome. dealing with reality.

          May 27, 2014 at 8:39 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      It's not about 'coming out' it's about being accepted for who you are.

      May 27, 2014 at 4:31 pm |
      • kenmargo

        I see your point but people are always going to hate someone for whatever the reason. As an atheist, If you don't say anything, it has no impact on you. Gays and lesbians on the other hand, sometimes can't express their love for their partner publicly so it has an impact on their lives.

        May 27, 2014 at 4:36 pm |
      • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

        What do you say when asked (pointedly) by a neighbor "what church do you attend?"

        This is a common situation in the south.

        You really only have two choices:
        1. Lie
        2. Be 'outed'

        Trying to change the subject with "How about those "Braves" / "Falcons" / whatever", won't get you off the hook for long.

        May 27, 2014 at 4:48 pm |
        • kenmargo

          I'm in NY So it's not unusual for someone to not go to church. If I move to the south, They'll going to get a non church going person and they'll know because I'll be watching the game on sunday.

          May 27, 2014 at 4:55 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          "I'm in NY"
          --------–
          And that is what makes all the difference.

          Living as an atheist makes a very real difference living in a blue state v, southern red state. Western red states (like the mountain west) are a bit different, independence is valued there.

          May 27, 2014 at 5:09 pm |
        • kenmargo

          Like the song says. "I gotta be me."

          May 27, 2014 at 5:32 pm |
        • fascinatedspectator

          Having lived in Alabama my entire life, I cannot count the number of times I have been asked this very question!
          I usually tell them that I do not attend any church at all, but sometimes I cannot resist saying something like, "I spend each Sunday morning worshiping at the church of Pillow and Mattress" , and just wait for the confused reaction.
          I have even gone as far as telling uninvited Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormons who knock on my door, that I worship Satan! That usually shuts them up quickly and discourages them from coming back!

          "What church do you attend"? is a VERY common question here in the heart of Dixie and I have lost several "fair weather" friends as a direct result of truthfully answering that question! Too bad. But I realize that is THEIR personal problem, not MINE!

          May 28, 2014 at 2:15 pm |
        • kenmargo

          "I spend each Sunday morning worshiping at the church of Pillow and Mattress"

          A good one. I'll have to steal that one. Someone else used to answer the door naked. For some reason, that discourages people also.

          May 28, 2014 at 5:08 pm |
    • thesamyaza

      no one should have to hide who they are for fear of reprisal, exile or losing trust in the community. if your on the belt and it become known your an Atheist you get all three, so what live a lie. . you can only hide the lie for so long. so yes their is a need to come out as an atheist a cultural and physiological one. until you finally do you will fill less then human. every one wants two thing the need to belong and the need to be right. and we struggle to balance these two thing. this is a classic case of that balance. you do not fell like you belong and you fell wrong for laying to every one including yourself. you want to still be excepted in your community but do not what to lie to do it. because you cannot belong to the community if you lie, you are untrustworthy.
      it took me all of thee minutes to go public of my bisexuality. but i held my disbelief in Christ and the "One God" for 6 years for fear of losing my family, when i could no longer hide it, i got disowned from my family and striped of my birthright

      giving you a class in cultural physiology is not possible in the allotted space so here is something that should help.

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

      May 27, 2014 at 9:06 pm |
      • kudlak

        thesamyaza
        "no one should have to hide who they are for fear of reprisal, exile or losing trust in the community."
        Not exactly true. If someone is a pedophile or a card-carrying neo-Nazi skinhead racist most people would feel perfectly justified in at least shunning them, correct?

        Well, for a lot of Christians we atheists are portrayed as being on par with such people. They can point to their own scripture that says that all people know that God is real, so anyone who claims to be an atheist must just be rejecting God's authority and what he stands for, namely goodness, kindness, lawfulness, truth, adorable little puppies and freedom.

        Not all Christians view atheists this way, but certainly a huge percentage do, and especially in the Bible Belt where "Bible-believing" churches are more prominent. I have had conversations with those kind of folks and some of them really cannot wrap their minds around the idea that someone simply isn't convinced that God is real. They'll say something like "Just look at the sky. Well, who do you think made that?"

        May 27, 2014 at 9:46 pm |
        • thesamyaza

          Not exactly true. If someone is a pedophile or a card-carrying neo-Nazi skinhead racist most people would feel perfectly justified in at least shunning them, correct?

          i disagree as long as no one comes to harm they should not be shunned for their beliefs.

          May 28, 2014 at 1:45 am |
        • kudlak

          thesamyaza
          Maybe you're right about the neo-Nazi skinhead, but for someone to be considered an actual pedophile at least one child would have been harmed, correct?

          May 28, 2014 at 9:59 am |
  17. Lucifer's Evil Twin

    @Daniel – "Perhaps appropriately for an atheist event, Shaughnessy’s get-up left little to the imagination." An interesting play on words, LOL. It is interesting to me though... if you actually think being an atheist implies not having an imagination. Because, I think most Atheists would disagree with that assertion. On the flip-side, your comment implies religious people have an overabundance of imagination to believe the strange things that they do. Atheists would generally agree with that statement.

    May 27, 2014 at 2:33 pm |
    • sealchan

      I didn't see Daniel's comment but I suspect you may have both missed the point...“Emperor Has No Clothes” award probably references an act of near nudity which "left little to the imagination" is also indicating. Risque.

      May 27, 2014 at 6:39 pm |
      • Akira

        Sealchan, the comment came from the article; did you read it?

        May 27, 2014 at 7:06 pm |
  18. bchev

    I've lived in southern VA several times in my life, and I came to the conclusion that church was wierd and gods were something people made up when I was 5, so I've spent most of my life as an open athiest, and honestly I've never noticed any backlash for it. And that makes sense to me, there shouldn't be any backlash, people shouldn't care what other's think and believe about the supernatural as long as it doesn't come spilling out into the real world. Anecttodaly I know that it does happen to people, and I've always wondered if there would be that day when someone had a problem with my lack of faith, but I have never seen it.

    I think a big part of it comes from people's projection bias. When you're in a place where most of the population is religious, if you don't go out of your way to bring up that you're not, people jus tassume that you are too. People are always surprised when something does cause religion to come up adn they learn that I'm very very much and athiest, and think organized religion is awful (got nothing against personal religion, do your thing). It's just not something I brign up because except for outlets like this page where it can provide some stimulating dialogue on a boring work day, it's not something I think about.

    May 27, 2014 at 2:18 pm |
    • Alias

      I'm not sure I agree with your point.
      If I can find one african-american who was never openly discriminated against, does that mena there is no racism in this country?

      May 27, 2014 at 2:21 pm |
      • bchev

        Alias,
        I see the point your making, and you're right, just because it doesn't happen to everyone does not mean everything is okay. I would NEVER compare the effects of discrimination against athiest to the toll that racism has taken, but I obviously don't have any personal reference to draw from.

        I'm not saying that there is no intollerance to people of no faith, but it would be interesting to see if in those cases where atheists have suffered descrimination, was it because of the fact they were athiests, or just because they didn't share the faith of the person who was doing the discriminating? If a bigotted Christian fired a guy because he was an athiest, would that employee have faired any better as a scientologist or a muslim? Is it specifically that people hate athiest, or that some people of faith just don't like anyone who isn't of there faith?

        May 27, 2014 at 2:28 pm |
        • Alias

          It may have something to do with the people you associate with. I don't have any close minded religious people in my circle of close friends.

          May 27, 2014 at 2:33 pm |
        • bchev

          Nor do I, maybe some people just get lucky. Or maybe just know how to avoid closed minded tools, who knows.

          May 27, 2014 at 2:38 pm |
        • samsstones

          bchev
          I assume you are not gay or lesbian, if you were in that same community, would you be willing to come out? On the same track, I would assume that if your wife or daughter had an abortion you would not advertise the fact? In the area that I live neither situation would be a problem.

          May 27, 2014 at 2:45 pm |
        • kudlak

          I like to say that the theist / atheist dynamic is a lot like the sports fan / non-sports fan dynamic. If you're a basketball fan and you run into a group of soccer fans watching a big game in a bar, you may not know all the players, history between the teams and such, but you do know the experience there having and you can still appreciate their excitement. Someone who isn't a fan of any sport could almost feel uncomfortable around any large crowd of fans watching a big game, and they wouldn't know what to make of him either.

          A fan of any particular sport knows that he could turn a fan of another sport into one of his, but he may feel slighted by someone who isn't interested in any sports at all. That really plays out a lot in religion, I think. A Christian can talk to someone of almost any other religion and secretly hope that he may one day convert him, but he may resent an atheist who isn't interested in having any kind of faith because it feels like a criticism of their having one, even if the atheist never says a word about it to them.

          May 27, 2014 at 9:32 pm |
  19. I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

    Doubtless in almost 2,000 posts since Saturday, someone has claimed that without God, atheists have no morals and that morality is an absolute, immutable gift from God.

    To those who would claim this position, have a look at Pew's comparative study of global morality.
    http://www.pewglobal.org/2014/04/15/global-morality/

    Do an experiment and compare countries like Spain, Mexico and the Philippines.

    All three countries have a common religious heritage, yet their sense of "morality" varies markedly.

    If morals are absolute, how can this be?

    Ah, but they're all heretical Catholics I hear you say. OK, compare historically Protestant countries like Britain, Germany and the United States. They all vary markedly.

    May 27, 2014 at 1:33 pm |
    • Akira

      Awanderingscot just said that on the previous page.

      May 27, 2014 at 1:41 pm |
      • Lucifer's Evil Twin

        Scotty is a re-branded troll from the past... I just haven't figured out which one yet

        May 27, 2014 at 1:52 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          Why it just might be Cap'n Sayin' Nope Atheism Isn't an Angry Pervert Newmann Rangerfield Hunter21!

          May 27, 2014 at 2:03 pm |
        • Lucifer's Evil Twin

          Considering some of his responses... Yup. That sounds about right.

          May 27, 2014 at 2:20 pm |
        • Akira

          I always thought that was finisher and Salero.

          Scot seems to have an online presence elsewhere under the same name, if I read igaftr correctly.

          May 27, 2014 at 3:58 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      You don't need religion to have morals. If you can't determine right from wrong, then you lack empathy, not religion.

      May 27, 2014 at 1:48 pm |
      • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

        'You don't need religion to have morals."
        --------------
        Of course not.

        Not only does every society have morals, but they are relative to that society and they vary over time.

        May 27, 2014 at 1:55 pm |
        • Lucifer's Evil Twin

          I wasn't disagreeing with you... just piling on

          May 27, 2014 at 1:57 pm |
  20. Salero21

    JAJAJA...oops... pardon me again please... I meant to say... HAHAHA. Atheists meeting in the "Bible belt. How much more NONSENSE can that be! Which is more stupid the "Bible belt" idea or atheism?

    May 27, 2014 at 1:01 pm |
    • SeaVik

      "JAJAJA...oops..."

      Why do you keep saying that? Is that supposed to mean something? Are you implying that English is not your first language and if so, is there a point you're trying to make?

      May 27, 2014 at 1:03 pm |
      • doobzz

        For Salero, thinking is not his first language. Ja ja ja!

        May 27, 2014 at 3:09 pm |
    • tallulah131

      Hi, Finny. So you're being Sally today. How very exciting for you! Happy trolling!

      May 27, 2014 at 1:17 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      BLABLABLA...oops... pardon me again please... I meant to say... BAABAABAA.

      Atheists are stupid and bad. They take the word of science backed up by extensive research and observation and proofs, over the words of a bronze age book that is factually, scientifically and historically flawed. Those awful Atheists take quotes from the Christian book and point out that they are nonsense when everyone knows just because the words mean one thing, their true meaning is something very different because I want those words to mean something very different. The words are the words of god, so they can mean whatever I want them to. Atheists are so arrogant to say otherwise.

      This is proof that Atheists are wrong and stupid.

      May 27, 2014 at 1:58 pm |
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About this blog

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.