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July 8th, 2014
01:01 PM ET

Eye for an eye: The Bible's role in revenge attacks

Opinion by Joel Baden, special to CNN

(CNN) - This past Sunday, six Israelis were arrested for the murder of a 16-year-old Palestinian boy. Israeli officials admitted the likelihood—already acknowledged by many—that this killing was carried out in revenge for the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers.

Both sides have stepped up their aggression in the past few days, with rocket launches from Gaza into Israel and Israeli airstrikes against Gaza.

It’s a familiar cycle: attack for attack, murder for murder. Such patterns are familiar from conflicts across the world, but they have a special resonance in the Holy Land.

After all, it was from Israel, nearly 3,000 years ago, that this famous concept spread.

The Book of Exodus in the Hebrew Bible says, “The penalty shall be life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise.”

The Book of Deuteronomy uses even stronger language: “Show no pity: life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.”

And the Book of Leviticus says again, “Anyone who maims another shall suffer the same injury in return: fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth. The injury he inflicted on another shall be inflicted on him.”

Few biblical laws are repeated three times; this is one of those few. It is known as the lex talionis, or “law of retaliation,” and it would seem to be central to the biblical worldview.

Flare-up in Israeli-Palestinian violence: Why now?

This law is often brought as evidence that the Bible cannot be a reliable guide for modern morality: Who today would truly advocate for this kind of retributive justice?

It seems barbaric that the penalty for arson, for example, would be burning the arsonist to death—this sounds like something out of the Middle Ages, not out of the 21st century.

Though famously biblical, lex talionis isn’t a biblical creation at all.

It was already present in the famous Code of Hammurabi, from the 18th century BCE: “If an upper-class man should blind the eye of another upper-class man, they shall blind his eye,” and so on through breaking bones, knocking out teeth, etc.

Earlier Mesopotamian law codes, two generations before Hammurabi, take what we would consider a more civilized approach to the matter:

“If a man bites the nose of another man and thus cuts it off” —don’t ask— “he shall weigh and deliver sixty shekels of silver; an eye, sixty shekels; a tooth, thirty shekels …”

It turns out that the oldest codes in the Near Eastern legal tradition, Sumerian laws from the 21st century BCE, also have payment in place of retaliation.

The concept of “eye for an eye” isn’t really representative of some primitive state of humanity—it’s actually a development from an earlier system of monetary compensation.

Yet it was not a permanent shift; some of the earliest interpreters of the Bible read the lex talionis as advocating for monetary compensation: the value of an eye for an eye.

This remains a very common interpretation even today—quite likely as an attempt to make the biblical custom seem less harsh in comparison to contemporary cultural and legal norms.

Has the Middle East crisis reached a tipping point?

In the Talmud, the fundamental Jewish legal text, there is an extended discussion about the phrase “eye for an eye,” with multiple rabbis arguing, and the text concluding, that the phrase means nothing other than financial compensation.

Eventually, in Judaism the literal reading of lex talionis came to be associated with heresy.

There is another important aspect of “eye for an eye” that is often overlooked: in the Bible, the law prescribes that the punishment be leveled against the offending individual by the state.

It is not permitted for the victim himself to turn around and inflict the same injury on the aggressor. On this the Bible and modern law agree.

But another biblical legal tradition provides the exception to this rule, and it too has enjoyed a long life down to the present: the idea that in the case of premeditated murder, someone from the family of the victim is appointed the “blood-avenger.”

The notion of putting a murderer to death is common enough even today (see: death penalty). But not so the idea that it is the obligation of the victim’s family, rather than of a central government.

This biblical passage enshrines in law the retaliatory instinct of anyone whose close relative has been injured. And it is this instinct that we see playing itself out in the Middle East today.

The problem, both between the two nations and for the rest of the world, is defining which side is playing which role. Both Israel and Gaza believe themselves to be the blood-avenger, and the other to be the murderer.

Yet even in the case of blood vengeance, biblical law at least keeps the system under the watchful eye of the elders, who arbitrate the claims of the respective parties, just as in the more direct cases of lex talionis.

Nowhere in the world is the Bible more alive and its traditions more present than in Israel and Palestine, the lands from which the holy book emerged.

Was teen's death a revenge killing?

As the conflict between the two parties worsens, yet again, comparisons with the kinds of retaliation and blood vengeance found in the Bible grow more and more apt.

And so, therefore, does the need for a third party to play the part of arbitrator: to settle the price of monetary compensation, to declare the terms of retaliation, and to put a stop to the cycle of blood vengeance.

That's a role the Bible calls for someone to fill - and we're all still waiting.

Joel S. Baden is the author of “The Historical David: The Real Life of an Invented Hero,” and professor of Hebrew Bible at Yale Divinity School. The views expressed in this column belong to Baden.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Bible • Ethics • Foreign policy • Israel • Jerusalem • Judaism • Opinion • Palestinians • Religious violence • Violence

soundoff (3,582 Responses)
  1. bostontola

    The morality debate is just like any cultural debate. Some people talk about morality like if it weren't for Christianity there would be no morals. That is observably wrong factually. Both before the bible and in areas where the bible is not read, societies/tribes have morals. It's just a fact. Chimpanzee groups show organized moral structure, and violators are punished or even driven out of the group.

    Christianity has a complex morality, like all such codes, it leads to contradictions requiring priority calls and a system with highly educated judges and scholars. These scholars even eliminate elements, like the tolerance of slavery, as society changes.

    The majority of moral systems around the globe agree on the big items, murder is wrong, theft is wrong. We ignore the universally agreed upons morals. There are some issues that get all the attention because different societies view some behavior as wrong while other are ok with it (e.g. role of women in the society, same se.x relationships, etc.).

    Morality has been and is being studied extensively. It comes from a combination of personal instincts (what is mine, what is fair, etc.), and social consensus (what is good for us as a whole).

    The business of my morals are better than yours is a tribal reaction similar to my societies art/music/food/architecture/etc. are better than yours. We're all proud of our cultural products, specific morality is no different.

    July 16, 2014 at 12:26 pm |
  2. Dalahäst

    The pious fellowship permits no one to be a sinner.
    So everybody must conceal his sin from himself and from the fellowship.

    We dare not be sinners.

    Many Christians are unthinkably horrified when a real sinner is suddenly discovered among the righteous.
    So we remain alone with our sin, living in lies and hypocrisy.
    The fact is that we are sinners!

    But it is the grace of the Gospel,
    which is so hard for the pious to understand,
    that it confronts us with the truth and says:

    You are a sinner, a great, desperate sinner;
    now come, as the sinner that you are,
    to God who loves you.

    He wants you as you are;
    He does not want anything from you,
    a sacrifice,
    a work;

    He wants you alone.

    You can hide nothing from God.
    The mask you wear before men will do you no good before Him.
    He wants to see you as you are,
    He wants to be gracious to you.

    You do not have to go on lying to yourself and your brothers,
    as if you were without sin;
    you can dare to be a sinner.

    Thank God for that; He loves the sinner but He hates sin…

    – Dietrich Bonhoeffer

    July 16, 2014 at 12:17 pm |
    • kudlak

      But, who gets to decide what "sin" is?

      July 16, 2014 at 3:39 pm |
      • Dalahäst

        Not I.

        July 16, 2014 at 3:41 pm |
        • kudlak

          Ah, but you are one of those rare, non-judgmental Christians, right?

          Plenty of other Christians seem to love nothing better than to judge everything that they wouldn't do personally as being somehow "wrong" for everyone. Often they claim to only be following God's desires with this, but I find it rather susp.icious that God shares their personal preferences.

          July 16, 2014 at 3:57 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          No way. I struggle with judging. It is one of my defects.

          I have to remind myself of this quote often:

          “You can safely assume you've created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.”

          ― Anne Lamott

          July 16, 2014 at 4:03 pm |
        • kudlak

          Dalahäst
          The ancient Hebrews certainly seem to have hated a few groups of people. Maybe God was originally created by them to justify all that hate?

          July 16, 2014 at 4:21 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          The ancient Hebrews were not chosen because they were super awesome people. They often were described as disobeying God. They are often a good example on how not to be.

          July 16, 2014 at 4:32 pm |
        • kudlak

          Dalahäst
          That wasn't my point. I asked, if people tend to invent gods in order to justify their own prejudices, then isn't it likely that YHWH himself was originally invented to justify Hebrew prejudices?

          Maybe the prophets reinterpreted (or even invented) Jewish history in order to spin the failures the Jewish people as the result of low piety in order to establish control for the priestly caste? Basically saying that they are constantly being conquered because the lay people and kings aren't listening to them! Plenty of religious leaders are doing that every day in the US, aren't they?

          July 16, 2014 at 6:53 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          I don't know if people tend to invent gods in order to justify their own prejudices.

          Why would the Hebrews invent a God that often was at odds with them for disobedience?

          July 16, 2014 at 6:56 pm |
        • kudlak

          Dalahäst
          He wasn't at odds with the priestly class, just the common folk, and the priestly class had an interest in keeping everyone else in check, right?

          The "disobedience" that is mostly recorded in the OT has to do with the common folk still depending on the old Canaanite gods for their day-to-day needs. What good was a sky god like YHWH to women in childbirth, or planting fields, after all? YHWH was most likely the patron god of the royal house, which was intolerant of all the worship to other gods, probably more so due to Israel's tendency to be conquered by everybody. Somebody was surely to blame for all that failure, and it wasn't going to be the kings or priests, right?

          July 17, 2014 at 6:46 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          No. He was often at odds with the priestly class. When Jesus, who can be described as a reflection of God, arrives the priestly class wants to murder him.

          Look at the good Samaritan parable for an explanation of how the priestly class compares to the lowly Samaritan – who were commonly despised by the Jews, especially their priests.

          July 17, 2014 at 6:52 pm |
        • kudlak

          Dalahäst
          Ah, but only the OT was written by the priestly class, and they cast themselves as the heroes. The NT wasn't written by the priestly class, it was written by lay folks who clashed with rabbis over proper synagogue observance. So, the Jewish religious leaders were cast as the villains because of that clash.

          When you get to write the books, you get to cast yourself anyway you wish.

          July 17, 2014 at 7:00 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          In what ways do you view the priestly class portrayed as heroes in the OT?

          July 17, 2014 at 7:15 pm |
        • kudlak

          Dalahäst
          They saw themselves as the authority of YHWH on earth. Recorded prophecy and the history that has been handed down in the OT portrays Israel's problems stemming from the people's disobedience of YHWH, right? Who speaks for YHWH, but the priestly class? So, Israel's problems actually come from the people not bending to the will of the priestly class, and it's successes ultimately come from their trust in this same class, yes?

          They got to write the books, and that's how they portrayed themselves. If the final outcome, the OT, represents anything close to the actual reality of life back then, only outside evidence can shed light. So far, there's no evidence for anything in the OT before some inscription noting "the House of David", correct? We have every right, then, to suspect that the writers of the OT were creating a history for themselves, like all their neighbours did back then. If they would create a history for themselves, then it only follows that they'd create a god to match, and have that god say and do certain things as part of that history, right?

          July 18, 2014 at 1:04 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          That may not be necessarily correct, but it is a compelling argument. I'm not sure stating that the priestly class was the only one who speaks for YHWH is correct. They may have thought they did, but that doesn't mean they were.

          July 18, 2014 at 1:11 pm |
        • kudlak

          Dalahäst
          You have to go back to who wrote the OT. If common people ever had an inspiration about YHWH that ended up in the scriptures, it would have had to go through the filter of the priestly class, right?

          TTFN

          July 18, 2014 at 1:24 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Not necessarily. It is difficult to say for sure – I can only imagine what it was like back then.

          July 18, 2014 at 1:53 pm |
        • kudlak

          Dalahäst
          How do you see any common person's experience with YHWH (or any other god, for that matter) getting into scripture without the priestly class at least having the opportunity to render it to suit their purposes?

          By it's very nature, OT scripture is the theology of the priestly class. Remember that there were other books that were popular with Jews, but nevertheless didn't make it into the canon. Why? Because the priestly class controlled what would be accepted as scripture, correct?

          Even with the NT, lots of books circulated and were popular with different groups of Christians until Constantine ordered that a standard Christianity be established. Then, the Christian priestly class of bishops gathered together and ruled in which books formed their scripture. This was more a political decision than a theological one. They already had their theology set, so they only picked books that supported that theology. Other books, and the different varieties of Christianity that appreciated them, were all labelled "heretic". Not because they were inherently "wrong" somehow, but only because they belonged to weaker groups. Who knows for certain whether the original faith of Jesus wasn't destroyed in this process, eh?

          July 18, 2014 at 3:05 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Yea, who knows. Luckily The Bible, just like those priestly castes, is not the authority on God. They just merely point to God.

          July 18, 2014 at 3:14 pm |
  3. LaBella

    Well, there's civil disobedience.

    July 16, 2014 at 12:14 pm |
    • ragansteve1

      At times civil disobedience is very my justified, no?

      July 16, 2014 at 2:13 pm |
      • LaBella

        Anything can be justified with enough self-rationalization.

        July 16, 2014 at 3:00 pm |
        • ragansteve1

          MLK? Ghandi?

          July 16, 2014 at 9:31 pm |
        • LaBella

          Yep.

          July 18, 2014 at 1:36 pm |
  4. Doris

    There goes Theo, just like truthfollower, making claims they can't support regarding objective morality:

    Theo: "I didn't. I made a good point. If there is no objective standard of morality, then there is no way to make a distinction between "good" and "bad." All that exists is mere opinion. "

    And of course the problem is, he can't prove that he is not doing exactly the same (opinion) in some other form. So, for the benefit of anyone else who may read that rubbish, I'll repeat:

    The question is a loaded statement and I'm thinking Theo knows it.

    hen discussing the possible existence of objective (divine) "truths", people like truthfollower/Theo appeal to their audience with various examples attempting to get the reader to agree to a non-qualifed value of "evil/incorrect/bad/good", as if this will lock in an agreement of an objective "truth" value (without it being explicitly specified). Theo has done so here with "good" and "bad".

    Of course they are not interested in a subjective answer but only in getting the responder to commit to a value that they can then attempt to claim as objective. They want their audience to agree to the objective moral claim – often using scenarios like rape and Hitler to entice what, for most, would be common agreement. (This is why truthfollower frequently asks simply – "on atheism, why is it wrong?" If they explicitly asks qualifying "good"/"bad" with "objective", then they will have exposed themselves as begging using objectivity in trying to demonstrate an instance of objectivity (which would look circularly foolish). They have to be disingenuous in trying to put the cart before the horse; to put an alleged divine "truth" in front of proving the source for it.

    @truthfollower/Theo:

    Prove that you do not just have a similar opinion that you have derived in the same subjective manner as atheists, only from something that only represents a claimed unsubstantiated source. Without such proof, we can only assume that you also arrive at your opinions, in whatever form you care to call them, subjectively.

    Prove that objective morality exists without resorting to subjective means. Can you do that? You know – demonstrate either your God or your direct connection to his "truths" without letting subjectivity taint the process? If you can't then, as I said, it is only reasonable to assume the moral absolutes you claim exist are also subjectively obtained and therefore, not objective, not absolute and not divine.

    July 16, 2014 at 11:47 am |
    • Doris

      Start of fifth paragraph should be "When discussing..."

      July 16, 2014 at 11:49 am |
    • Theo Phileo

      If I were to point to an example of objective moral truth, I need look no further than the life of Jesus. Even His detractors can lay no true charge against Him.

      July 16, 2014 at 11:53 am |
      • Doris

        Oh my, Theo, is that really the best you can do? I wouldn't think the head of the philosophy department would give the theologist "professor" very hight marks for that.

        July 16, 2014 at 12:09 pm |
      • LaBella

        Well, there's civil disobedience. That charge belongs to Jesus.

        July 16, 2014 at 12:16 pm |
        • ragansteve1

          Yes, and He paid dearly for it. Taxes! If it weren't for those pesky taxes.

          July 17, 2014 at 9:24 am |
        • LaBella

          Ragansteve, I wasn't aware that Jesus refused to pay taxes...wasn't it He who said, "render inter Caesar what is Caesar's..."?

          July 18, 2014 at 1:34 pm |
      • Doc Vestibule

        @Theo
        How old was Mary when God planted his ghost seed in her?
        By the moral standards of the time, it was perfectly normal for a 12 – 14 year old girl to be married off.
        Would you consent to your 13 year old daughter's marriage to a 30 year old man, or would you consider that immoral?

        July 16, 2014 at 12:31 pm |
        • Doris

          Give Theo a little time, Doc. He has to configure a new batch of punch cards, load and run them for his Analogia Scriptura algorithms.

          July 16, 2014 at 12:48 pm |
      • kudlak

        The Romans would have had cause to kill him if Jesus actually claimed to be the king of the Jews, and the Jewish authorities would have had cause if he had ever actually claimed to be God. They'd have stoned him in the street for much less than that, right?

        Since he was executed by Rome, the inference is that he broke Roman Law, or was seen as a threat to Roman rule. If we are to trust Josephus, Herod would never have played the role that the Gospels have him play. Possibly, Jesus's execution prevented mass rioting amongst the populace of Jerusalem, swollen due to the festival of rebellion that is Passover, which would have resulted in many dead Jews.

        July 16, 2014 at 4:12 pm |
  5. observer

    Theo Phileo,

    These are 2 very simple questions that you keep being AFRAID to answer. I am asking about YOUR MORALS. That is all. Nothing about judging YOUR MORALS, just asking what they are.

    Do YOUR MORALS say that if a woman defends her husband against an attacker and touches his genitals, that she should be PUNISHED?

    Do YOUR MORALS say that she should have her hand cut off?

    Are you still going to pretend that you have NO CLUE what your OWN morals are?

    July 16, 2014 at 11:42 am |
    • Theo Phileo

      These are 2 very simple questions that you keep being AFRAID to answer. I am asking about YOUR MORALS. That is all. Nothing about judging YOUR MORALS, just asking what they are.
      ------------–
      Fine. Bear in mind though, that if morals are relative, then you give up your rights to judge anyone else's morals.

      My morals can be found in Exodus 20:1-17. (Remember the Bible's Civil and Ceremonial Laws are not Moral Laws)

      July 16, 2014 at 11:50 am |
      • observer

        July 16, 2014 at 11:49 am | Reply

        Theo Phileo,

        Is your problem that you can't READ English or just that you can't COMPREHEND English?

        These are 2 very simple questions that you keep being AFRAID to answer. I am asking about YOUR MORALS. That is all. Nothing about judging YOUR MORALS, just asking what they are.

        Do YOUR MORALS say that if a woman defends her husband against an attacker and touches his genitals, that she should be PUNISHED?

        Do YOUR MORALS say that she should have her hand cut off?

        I have asked MANY TIMES for answers. I just need two answers with the words "yes" or "no".
        Why are you SO AFRAID?

        July 16, 2014 at 11:53 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          Do YOUR MORALS say that if a woman defends her husband against an attacker and touches his genitals, that she should be PUNISHED?

          Do YOUR MORALS say that she should have her hand cut off?
          ---------------------–
          You fail to see how something can be a civil law and yet have no bearing on morality. It can be illegal to spit on the sidewalk, but it isn't immoral. And, it may be legal to murder a child in the womb, but it isn't moral.

          In the case that you mentioned, it was obviously a Civil Law that was violated, but it doesn't apparently have any moral bearing that I am aware of. The problem is that in that instance, it may not be possible to know the full reason behind that Civil Law and why it was insti.tuted. All we do know is that it isn't a Moral Law. It is a Civil Law.

          July 16, 2014 at 12:04 pm |
        • SeaVik

          "It can be illegal to spit on the sidewalk, but it isn't immoral."

          That's debatable. If you live somewhere like India where tuberculosis is transferred by spitting, I would consider spitting on the sidewalk to be immoral.

          And obviously, your other example is not immoral to many of us as a zygote is not a human life.

          July 16, 2014 at 12:09 pm |
        • observer

          Theo Phileo,

          EVERY LAW has some kind of moral in back of it. Spitting on a sidewalk is immoral to people who might walk into it.

          God COMMANDED that that was the penalty. Is it that DIFFICULT to understand? Would a different language help you?

          Do YOUR MORALS say that if a woman defends her husband against an attacker and touches his genitals, that she should be PUNISHED?

          Do YOUR MORALS say that she should have her hand cut off?

          What are YOUR MORALS? Why are you SO AFRAID to tell everyone what YOUR MORALS are? Ashamed?

          July 16, 2014 at 12:11 pm |
      • SeaVik

        "Fine. Bear in mind though, that if morals are relative, then you give up your rights to judge anyone else's morals."

        What do you mean by morals being relative? And why would that require anyone to give up their rights to judge others' morals?

        July 16, 2014 at 11:54 am |
      • colin31714

        Theo, you said, "Bear in mind though, that if morals are relative, then you give up your rights to judge anyone else's morals."

        No, you don't. It just means different people will make a different judgment on the same behavior. Subjectivity does not equate with non-existence.

        July 16, 2014 at 11:58 am |
  6. SeaVik

    Continuing a conversation with truthfollower01 from last night...

    "On atheism, morality is whatever you want it to be. If you want ra-pe to be morally good, then for you, it is morally good, and you're not wrong! If the next day, you want ra-pe to be morally evil, then it is, and your not wrong! "

    I don't believe people choose their morals. I believe that what we consider to be moral results from a combination of instincts and influence from our parents, religions, society, etc. I believe that most of us are born with an instinctual sense of empathy and empathy is the core of morality in my view. In my experience, I have observed atheists to be more moral (on average) than non-atheists. My theory as to why that might be is that atheists have had their instinctual sense of empathy less-adjusted than religious people. Just a theory, but one that makes sense to me and is consistent with what I've observed in the world.

    Since I don't believe we choose our morals, I completely disagree with your premise that atheists can change their morals from day to day. The fact that my morals are based on instinct and parental guidance rather than an antiquated book does not make them flexible as you imply. In fact, I would suggest they're less flexible than yours since mine are based on instinct, not some confusing self-conflicting book that has been interpreted to mean anything and everything.

    July 16, 2014 at 11:39 am |
  7. bostontola

    Apologetics, interpretations, etc. can be influential. They can even determine the fate of an entire population of people for centuries.

    An illustrative example is Islam from the 6th to the 13th centuries. While Europe and Christendom were in the dark ages, Islam was in it's Golden Age. They saved classical philosophy, mathematics, science, literature, architecture, music, gardens, etc.

    Some of the first verses of the Quran revealed to Mohammed were:
    “Read! In the Name of your Lord, Who has created all that exists, He has created man from a clot
    Read! And your Lord is the Most Generous, Who has taught by the pen. He has taught man that which he knew not. (Qur’an 96: 1-4)

    At that time, those verses were interpreted to mean that the seeking of knowledge was paramount. They had a word to describe the philosophy behind the seeking of knowledge, ijtihad (independent reasoning). The Government heavily patronized scholars. They introduced paper and new writing systems to make teaching and learning egalitarian. Alhazen introduced experimental science, ushering in the scientific method. Many advances in all the fields above were made.

    Toward the end of this period, pressure from the Crusades and the Mongols led to the abandonment of ijtihad for new interpretations. Interpreting those same words as knowledge comes only from the Quran has led that once great civilization to a place of xenophobia and intellectual stagnation.

    The modern Christian creationist apologetics are falling into the same defensive trap. The leaders are short sighted. Follow them into stagnation if you choose.

    July 16, 2014 at 11:38 am |
  8. ausphor

    Ponder, if you will what the USA would like if Topher and Theo Phileo were to gain power of all three branches of government.
    Education...creationism would supplant evolution, all sciences that could possibly come in conflict with creationism would be forbidden, all children would be required to pray and be educated in fundamentalist Christianity, women teachers would not be permitted to teach males, girls only, etc.
    Women.....would be subjugated to males, they would not be allowed to make decisions about their own bodies, they would be pated much less for equal work, etc.
    Medical professionals would be hunted down and charged with murder if they dared to perform an abortion.
    I welcome anyone to add their observations what a fundamentalist theocracy would be like. It would be a place where I would not want to live.

    July 16, 2014 at 11:09 am |
    • ausphor

      payed much less...

      July 16, 2014 at 11:10 am |
    • Theo Phileo

      And if morality is relative, then you do not have the ability to say that it would be a "bad" thing. You may not like it, but your ideas of comfort do not dictate my morality.

      July 16, 2014 at 11:12 am |
      • sealchan

        Morality has an objective aspect but that objective quality is to be measured against the world God created more so than any collection of inspired writings.

        July 16, 2014 at 11:19 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          The universe that God created tells us that God is to be worshipped. The Word of God tells us how.

          July 16, 2014 at 11:23 am |
        • ausphor

          Theo
          It would be prudent to state which creation myth and which of the gods you are babbling about. I know I should have figured it out by now. BTW did you waste all your time just studying the christian myth or can you babble on about any number of religions?

          July 16, 2014 at 11:54 am |
        • igaftr

          theo
          The universe says nothing about god. We have been searching as much of the universe as we can, and not one shred of evidence of this god of yours.

          The "word of god" is a work of men...nothing at all, anywhere to show any "god" had anything to do with it.

          The universe that was created by the invisible pink unicorn tells us that invisible pink unicorns should be worshipped. The invisible pink unicorn is telling me to write this, so it must be true.

          That says exactly the same thing as you said theo, unless you can show some evidence of this "god" of yours.

          July 16, 2014 at 12:03 pm |
        • Sungrazer

          "The universe that God created tells us that God is to be worshipped."

          Even if your god created the universe, that alone doesn't deserve worship, just awe. The actions of the Biblical god are not those of a being that deserves worship. At least not mine.

          July 16, 2014 at 12:20 pm |
        • James XCIX

          Sungrazer – "Even if your god created the universe, that alone doesn't deserve worship, just awe"

          Well said. It seems Theo believes that worship is a logical result of power. Seems like a sycophantic point of view to me.

          July 16, 2014 at 12:32 pm |
      • Doc Vestibule

        We are selfish creatures by nature, yet our survival depends on cooperation. In order to balance these two conflicting instincts, mankind has had to develop rules that allow room for both.
        These rules are not the same for all communities – hence we've had so many different types of religion and government throughout history.
        Religion binds communities by giving a common frame of reference.
        Shared fears (like divine retribution), hopes (like going to heaven) and rituals allow the instinct for self preservation to extend beyond one's self and immediate family.
        Effective cooperation is a learned skill and the successful religions recognize this. Christianity reveals this truth about ourselves most poignantly in the character of Jesus Christ. His message is one of peace, charity, modesty and forgiveness – the traits most important to develop when living in a society.
        A prime example of the reality of moral relativism is cannibalism.
        Our culture has a very strong cannibalism taboo, but it cannot be "human nature" or something "written on our hearts by God" to feel repulsed by it as virtually every branch of the human species has praticed it at some point in their development.
        The Aztecs believed in transubstantiation. They consumed their human sacrifices in the belief that the dead literally became a part of the God to whom they were given.
        Binerwurs in India ate the sick amongst them to please Kali.
        The Karankawa, an indigenous Texan tribe, ritualistically consumed their enemies to gain their strength.
        The Wari, The Kuru, Fore, Caribs, Fijians, Popayans, Serengipeans, are all fairly modern examples (within the last 500 years).
        Indeed, Christians from the 1st Crusade consumed the fallen Arabs at Maarat.

        The Journal of Religion & Society published a study on religious belief and social well-being, comparing 18 prosperous democracies from the U.S. to New Zealand.
        #1 on the list in both atheism and good behaviour is Ja.pan. It is one of the least crime-prone countries in the world. It also has the lowest rates of teenage pregnancy of any developed nation. Over eighty percent of the population accept evolution.
        Last on the list is the U.S. It has the highest rate of teenage pregnancy and homicide rates are at least five times greater than in Europe and ten times higher than in Ja.pan.

        "Countries with a high percentage of nonbelievers are among the freest, most stable, best-educated, and healthiest nations on earth. When nations are ranked according to a human-development index, which measures such factors as life expectancy, literacy rates, and educational attainment, the five highest-ranked countries - Norway, Sweden, Australia, Canada, and the Netherlands - all have high degrees of nonbelief. Of the fifty countires at the bottom of the index, all are intensly religious. The nations with the highest homicide rates tend to be more religious; those with the greatest levels of gender equality are the least religious."
        – Dr. Greg Graffin

        July 16, 2014 at 11:26 am |
      • colin31714

        Theo, that is as illogical as saying, if taste in food is subjective, there is no way to say that food tastes good or bad. Taste in food is obviously 100% subjective and every person has their own idea of what tastes good and bad. The same is true of behavior. There is some behavior that some people find moral and others find immoral – abortion or the death penalty, for example.

        It is only where behavior is so repugnant that the overwhelming majority of people find it immoral – child molestation, for example – that it has the appearance of being "objective."

        There is just a tendency in many to ascribe their particular moral code to a make believe deity and thereby call it "objective" in order to give it greater credibility. The religious right in the USA opposing gay marriage, for example.

        BTW, if we were to do that with food, I would worship the gods of Thai, sushi and Indian foods. I would be polytheistic.

        July 16, 2014 at 11:40 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          There is only one supreme food and it is the potato – more specifically, the russet potato.
          While I can get along with Yukon Goldists, yam worshippers are heretics!
          Send'em to the gallows, I say!

          July 16, 2014 at 11:57 am |
        • colin31714

          Toronto has great restaurants. You are culinarally blessed, my friend.

          PS: Love your mayor, too. Well, maybe "love"is a little strong -:)

          July 16, 2014 at 12:04 pm |
        • ausphor

          Sweet potato pie is one of the gods gift to mankind. Probably Huitzilopochiti, praise his name.

          July 16, 2014 at 12:13 pm |
        • colin31714

          Ok, I am being theologically challenged, I can tell. So, here is the Truth. Take freshly caught barrumundi, cover it with egg-milk, flour and a bread crumb-crushed macadamia nut mix, wrap it in butter rubbed aluminium foil and cook it over an open flame.

          July 16, 2014 at 12:17 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          We've even got an all bacon restaurant!

          July 16, 2014 at 12:21 pm |
        • colin31714

          I don't know whether to picture a restaurant that serves only bacon or a restaurant constructed entirely from bacon. Maybe that third little pig, having escapd the wolf, went on to open a small business and then went all Hannibal Lecter on his species.

          July 16, 2014 at 12:35 pm |
        • igaftr

          Doc
          you guys may have an all bacon restaurant, but you guys call ham bacon, so is it ham or bacon?

          July 16, 2014 at 12:32 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          http://www.torontolife.com/galleries/bacon-nation-toronto-restaurants/e3249dcd9c0f02e45cd1e1c44c1664e5/#bacon-nation-toronto-restaurant-08

          July 16, 2014 at 12:37 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          All types of pig meat are welcome.
          A sample sandwich:
          The Notorious P.I.G –
          An all-bacon patty, two strips of peameal, pulled pork and cheddar cheese on a bun studded with bacon bits.

          July 16, 2014 at 12:39 pm |
        • igaftr

          Doc
          Yummmmmm
          I can be there in under two hours. I'm just down the lake from you.

          July 16, 2014 at 12:44 pm |
      • Alias

        This is really simple Theo,
        I don't know why you persist.
        According to YOUR beliefs:
        There are many rules in the old testament that no longer apply today. What was immoral then is now moral. Your religion is a clear example of relative morality.

        July 16, 2014 at 12:10 pm |
        • joey3467

          And of course anytime that god says to kill everyone is an example of good, but anytime a human does it is bad. This seems pretty subjective to me.

          July 16, 2014 at 12:43 pm |
    • igaftr

      ausphor
      You do realize that most of those situations were reality up and into the 1960's in some cases, and it was only by standing up to the christians that allowed us to progress away from it?

      July 16, 2014 at 11:28 am |
      • ausphor

        igaftr
        Partially I agree but I am just pointing out what an American version of a theocracy (Taliban?) would look like under the thumb of a fundamentalist government, scary stuff. Theo Phileo has some very frightening bigoted beliefs; I certainly would not want to be Jewish or gay in Theo's America.

        July 16, 2014 at 11:36 am |
        • igaftr

          Until recently, many aspects of America was under a theocracy...teaching the bible and prayer in public school was going on everywhere until 1961 when it was declared unconst!tutional.
          Slavery was justified using the bible.
          Oaths still have a reference to "god", although many allow one to affirm.
          There are still laws ( even though they have been struck down) preventing atheists from holding office and testifying in court.

          America WAS a theocracy, at least in many, many aspects of life, and in some ways it still is. We still have a long way to go.

          July 16, 2014 at 11:51 am |
      • Theo Phileo

        Actually, what's ironic is that the "secular" rebellion against society that seemed to culminate in the 60's free love and drug culture was actually religiously inspired. It began with the Egyptian Thoth, then translated into Greek, it was carried by the Gnostics, then through the Order of the Golden Robe, the 4 versions of Tarot, and finally into the "free thinkers..."

        It all began of course with the first lie that Satan ever told... That man is not indeed fallen, but is instead divine, and that he, himself can be like God. Lies, lies, lies... And people think that because they are free of a belief in God that they are actually being secular. They don't know how Satanically "religious" they are.

        July 16, 2014 at 11:47 am |
        • colin31714

          Wow, that's quite a thread. Haight-Ashbury to Adam. You might just have outdone the Area 51 conspiracy guys.

          July 16, 2014 at 11:51 am |
        • igaftr

          baseless belief babble theo.
          For all you know Satan wrote your bible and YOU follow him.
          Until you can show this Satan and or god to exist, your beleifs are completely baseless.

          July 16, 2014 at 11:55 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          Colin,
          I know it seems to be exaggerated when written in brief as I have done, but look to the beliefs and claims of these. I have left out a few links in the chain, but they are but some of the vilest offenders.

          July 16, 2014 at 11:56 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          igaftr,
          And that is of course exactly what Satan would say.

          July 16, 2014 at 11:58 am |
        • ausphor

          Just when you think Theo Phileo's posts can't get any crazier he out does himself.

          July 16, 2014 at 12:01 pm |
        • colin31714

          Oh come on Theo, 99% of the flower children were harmless, homeless hippies. Hardly the type to invoke the wrath of Beelzebub and his legions of demons.....

          July 16, 2014 at 12:20 pm |
        • igaftr

          Why do you think satan would say that? Wouldn't that spoil his trick?

          And you BELIEVE satan would say something like that. SInce you do not even know if satan exists, you have no idea if he would say that or anything, now do you?

          Perhaps this "god" of yours is trying to warn you through me...see the problem theo? With only belief to work from, all things are possible.

          July 16, 2014 at 12:26 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          So Timothy Leary was a secretly a worshipper of Ra?
          Is Bob Dylan the anti-christ or just a lesser demon?

          July 16, 2014 at 12:45 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      There would not be a 'United' States.. there would be religious/secular civil war.

      July 16, 2014 at 11:30 am |
      • Lucifer's Evil Twin

        We have come to far to be dragged back into the religious dark ages... In this hypothetical scenario, many of us have at least 13 years of experience on tracking and killing fundies...

        July 16, 2014 at 12:11 pm |
    • LaBella

      No. Just...no.

      July 16, 2014 at 11:42 am |
    • TruthPrevails1

      I think you got it.
      Outside of a few here, I'm not sure how anyone could possibly take Theo or Topher seriously. It seems extremely irrational for anyone to hold the extremist views they do in the 21st century. Oh to be oblivious...leave it in their imaginary friends hands and it's off their list of things to be concerned about...they don't care who gets hurt in the process.

      July 16, 2014 at 1:49 pm |
  9. awanderingscot

    Scientific Fact No. 1 – Birds Prove Natural Selection is Naturally Wrong

    The body and soul of Darwin's Theory of Evolution was the idea that evolution was made possible through natural selection. This concept is based on the suggestion that those members of a species that are a little stronger, a little larger, or run a little faster will live longer to procreate offspring with these superior adaptations.

    Darwin's theory suggests that millions of generations later the changes will result in new species. These adaptations are called links or intermediates between the old species and the new.

    The idea of natural selection sounds great when considering deer. The deer that can sense danger the quickest and run the fastest are able to escape the predator on a more consistent basis. However, other examples on the "evolutionary tree" have many flaws.

    One of the best examples of evolution nonsense is the thought that a wingless bird began to evolve a wing. Why this would occur is not answered by evolutionists. The wing stub did not make the bird more adaptable to his environment. The first wing stubs would be much too small for the bird to fly.

    Why would a bird evolve wing stubs that are useless? This is backwards from the evolutionary theory of natural selection, which states that birds adapt and change in order to survive better in their environment. The bird with a half-size wing is placed at a disadvantage in its environment.

    Why would the bird continue for millions of generations to improve a wing stub that is useless? The Theory of Evolution is based on natural selection of the most adaptable member of a species, not the weakest. A bird with a useless wing is at a severe disadvantage. This is the opposite of natural selection.

    According to natural selection, the members of the bird species with the smallest useless wing would be the most adaptable and most likely to survive in the largest numbers. According to the theory of natural selection birds could never evolve to fly.

    We are then led to believe that some birds got tired of carrying around a worthless half-size wing, so they grew fingers on the end to help climb trees. The wings became arms and a new species was developed.

    Evolutionists say birds grew hollow bones for less weight in order to fly. How would a bird pass this long-term plan to the millions of generations in order to keep the lighter bone plan progressing? The evolutionary concept of growing a wing over millions of generations violates the very foundation of evolution: the natural selection.

    Birds aren't the only species that proves the theory of natural selection to be wrong. The problem can be found in all species in one way or another. Take fish for example.

    We are told by evolutionists that a fish wiggled out of the sea onto dry land and became a land creature. So let's examine this idea. OK, a fish wiggles out of the sea and onto the land, but he can't breathe air. This could happen. Fish do stupid things at times. Whales keep swimming up onto the beach where they die. Do you think the whales are trying to expedite a multi-million generation plan to grow legs? That concept is stupid, but let's get back to the fish story.

    The gills of the fish are made for extracting oxygen from water, not from air. He chokes and gasps before flipping back into the safety of the water. Why would he do such a stupid thing? This wiggling and choking continues for millions of generation until the fish chokes less and less. His gills evolve into lungs so he can breathe air on dry land, but now he is at risk of drowning in the water.

    One day he simply stays out on the land and never goes back into the water. Now he is a lizard.

    Giant dinosaurs literally exploded onto the scene during the Triassic period. The fossil record (petrified bones found in the ground as at the Dinosaur National Park in Jensen, Utah, USA) shows no intermediate or transitional species. Where are the millions of years of fossils showing the transitional forms for dinosaurs? They do not not exist, because the dinosaurs did not evolve.

    Books published by evolutionists have shown the giant Cetiosaurus dinosaur with the long neck extending upright eating from the treetops. They claimed natural selection was the reason Cetiosaurus had a long neck. This gave them an advantage in reaching fodder that other species could not reach.

    One day during the assembly of a skeleton for a museum display someone noticed the neck vertebrae were such that the neck could not be lifted higher than stretched horizontally in front of them. The natural selection theory was proven to be a big lie. The Cetiosaurus dinosaur was an undergrowth eater. The long neck actually placed the Cetiosaurus at a disadvantage in his environment, just the opposite from the natural Theory of Natural Selection.

    Evolutionists will now claim the animal evolved a long neck because he had the advantage of eating from bushes on the other side of the river. This is typical logic of an evolutionist. – See more at: http://humansarefree.com/2013/12/9-scienctific-facts-prove-theory-of.html#sthash.vEuIpgez.dpuf – Alexander Light

    July 16, 2014 at 9:38 am |
    • awanderingscot

      oh the absurdity of evolution, the delusions of those cultists who believe this myth.

      July 16, 2014 at 9:43 am |
      • TruthPrevails1

        Oh snotsickle, grow up and move out of your incest loving religion..you'll be a much happier person.

        July 16, 2014 at 9:48 am |
      • ausphor

        Oh the absurdity of anyone quoting Alexander Light about anything.

        July 16, 2014 at 9:52 am |
      • awanderingscot

        His logic is undeniably good and you cannot refute it, and you can only resort to juvenile rebuttals.

        July 16, 2014 at 10:01 am |
        • igaftr

          His "logic" is completely refutable.

          Here is just one of many that have shredded his nonsense.
          http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/forum/Thread-9-Unscientific-Excuses-to-Ignore-Evolution

          He directly destroys..point by point, the nonsense of his article. Read it scot...see why it is nonsense.

          July 16, 2014 at 10:26 am |
        • awanderingscot

          i don't make you go on a wild goose chase. articulate if you can why he is wrong.

          July 16, 2014 at 10:28 am |
        • awanderingscot

          How and why did they run around for millions of years with 'wings' that did not enable them to fly? Weren't the wings useless? excess baggage? would not this excessive weight be a disadvantage to them?

          July 16, 2014 at 10:35 am |
        • igaftr

          "i don't make you go on a wild goose chase"

          this is scots way of saying he is too lazy to do actual research. No wonder you are an evolution denier.

          July 16, 2014 at 11:19 am |
        • G to the T

          Ah the "what good is half a wing (eye, lung, etc.)?" argument.

          The answer is – half a wing is still better than none if it means an animal can fall even slightly further than their compatriates without dying, it would be an advantage. Indeed in nature today we see many many examples of animals that are partially adapted to flight (frogs, flying squirrels, etc.). What you fail to realize is that it's a continuum – and anything that can exist as a continuum can be access through small incremental steps from one end to the other until the result is a major change from that of the orginal. Same with eyes, lungs, etc.

          July 16, 2014 at 11:43 am |
        • sealchan

          Fortunately, nature, or if you prefer God, is clever enough that there is no need for mal-adaptive transitions because the environment is varied enough and the diversity of life creative enough to allow for multiple paths to a similar outcome. Consider the first birds...did full wings pop out suddenly? Consider the flying squirrel...does it have wings? And the bat...it is a mammal, it looks like a rat with skin extensions. Recent archeology exhibits (I'm thinking OMSI in Portland) have highlighted the fact that many dinosaurs appeared to have feathers or proto-feathers even as they were bi-pedal, non-flyers. So you can see in the species of today some of the adaptive transitional body forms that enabled flight to be not such a huge "leap" or "glide" from one type to another.

          July 16, 2014 at 11:55 am |
      • igaftr

        There is no evolution cult. Evolution is a fact...plain and simple.

        You can deny all you want, evolution remains fact.

        July 16, 2014 at 10:14 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          Cool! I want a magic spleen! I want a magic spleen!!!!!

          July 16, 2014 at 10:37 am |
        • sealchan

          I don't think evolution is a fact, but genetic inheritance, random mutation and whether a particular living creature survives to procreate or not are facts. Evolution is simply a more objective story of how the forms of life we have today came into existence, more connected to other facts of God's world than is the inspired story of the creation of life in Genesis. I still give praise to the Genesis creation story as it was "down to earth" for its time as to how life formed and not altogether out of date given today's more developed creation story. The author(s) of this story lacked perspective on their calendar, or maybe they wanted to debunk astronomical principles of order in favor of making the statement that God made all that is in the universe in one "work" week a nice juxtaposition between divine and human potential to get things done.

          July 16, 2014 at 12:47 pm |
        • igaftr

          sealchan
          Evolution is fact. The mechanisms of evolution are what is being worked on and studied.

          July 16, 2014 at 1:07 pm |
      • Doc Vestibule

        The old "half a wing" argument for irreducible complexity.
        Exaptation is the process in which physical structures and behaviours that evolved for one purpose acquiring another one.
        Flapping forelimbs are useful for scrambling up steep slopes or climbing trees. Many birds exhibit this behaviour today.
        The fossil records shows a gradual transition from downy, hair-like feathers on some dinosaurs into the rigid flight feathers that form the key part of birds' wings.
        There is an entire branch of science, called evolutionary developmental biology, that is discovering the mechanisms behind all of this.
        There are all kinds of routes by which structures and behaviours that evolved for one purpose can contribute to new structures and abilities. Just because it is not immediately obvious how something evolved does not prove it did not evolve.

        July 16, 2014 at 11:04 am |
        • awanderingscot

          stronger legs are more useful for scrambling up steep slopes and climbing trees. stronger legs don't evolve into wings. of course the cottage industry of evolution doesn't want to hear this.

          July 16, 2014 at 11:39 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          OK Scot. You are the last word in which biological traits are advantageous in any given environment or situation.
          Because evolution doesn't follow the path that YOU think it best, it must therefore be false.

          So please, falsify any one of the 5 laws of Darwinian evolution.
          You'd be the first in over 150 years to do so and would completely dismantle the vast conspiracy of scientists that seek to replace God with atheistic naturalism and thus condemn the human race to fiery perdition.
          Once you've done that and DNA analysis is of course tossed out the window as a discredited discipline, you can go on to show how every human on Earth can trace their ancestry to 3 breeding pairs of people 4,000 years ago.

          July 16, 2014 at 11:52 am |
      • idiotusmaximus

        oh the absurdity of evolution, the delusions of those cultists who believe this myth....

        This person is very sick.

        July 17, 2014 at 10:04 am |
    • Theo Phileo

      I suppose a parallel could be drawn by stating that generations of men commit suicide at the age of 25 by shooting themselves in hopes of evolving bullet proof skin. It could happen, right? I suppose it's not as complicated as "evolving" wings and hollow bones.

      July 16, 2014 at 9:53 am |
      • SeaVik

        I am not sure if you're being facecious or really just don't understand how evolution works. Your analogy is backwards. The evolutionary change comes first and if it's a compet.itive advantage, it becomes a prevalent trait.

        In your example, the way it would actually work is FIRST, some humans would have to have a mutation that made them bullet-proof. If that proved to increase the chances that they would survive and pro-create, then it may become a common trait for all humans.

        Evolving wings and hollow bones is not complicated at all. It doesn't take much imagination to see how a tree-dwelling animal, born with a mutation that gave it webbing between its arms and body, could have a compet.itive advantage (less likely to fall to its death, able to access more food, etc) and be more likely to survive and pro-create. Over time, the webbing could become prevalent (ever heard of flying squirrels?). It's easy to see how similar incremental changes could be beneficial until eventually evolution results in wings and hollow bones.

        July 16, 2014 at 10:46 am |
        • awanderingscot

          "(ever heard of flying squirrels?)"
          yes but squirrels don't really 'fly' and they certainly don't have wings. this is a specious argument.

          July 16, 2014 at 11:05 am |
        • awanderingscot

          yes, and you 'flew' off the roof in your batman costume and cape didn't you? LOL

          July 16, 2014 at 11:07 am |
        • SeaVik

          "yes but squirrels don't really 'fly' and they certainly don't have wings. this is a specious argument."

          You have completely missed the point. The fact that squirrels don't really fly is part of the point. The point is, it is possible to have incremental changes towards wings and hollow bones that don't immediately result in flying, but still provide an advantage.

          July 16, 2014 at 11:11 am |
        • awanderingscot

          so according to your logic a mutation occurred in not one but a number of these creatures and their offspring and with their 'webbing' (not wings) not all of them fell out of the trees or cliffs to die and be eaten by predators? and this supposedly went on for millions and millions of years until they finally developed actual wings and hollow bones and other lighter structures enabling flight? uh-huh right, please do go on with your story. feel free to embellish it if you wish, keep me laughing, delude me some more. roflmao.

          July 16, 2014 at 11:13 am |
        • SeaVik

          "so according to your logic..."

          First of all, this is not "my" logic, this is the logic shared by the vast majority of scientists throughout the world. What amazes me is that you know that thousands of people much smarter than you believe in evolution, yet you think it's those of us who share their views who are the crazy ones.

          Secondly, you continue to miss the point. The point continues to be that small, incremental changes can be advantageous. This is all you need to know to realize that with enough time, it is perfectly reasonable that animals with wings could develop. I am talking about the validity of the concept and am not claiming to be a scientific expert in a position to explain the prevailing theory on how ever species may have evolved – you would have to do your own research if you're interested in learning about that.

          July 16, 2014 at 11:28 am |
        • awanderingscot

          it's highly doubtful you or anyone could come up with a true representative sample for your 'bird theory' and as the 'millions and millions' of years progress a sample would become virtually non-existent. your 'webbed' creatures never would have made it out of the dustbin of extinction and i believe a majority of intelligent and logically-thinking people would agree with me.

          July 16, 2014 at 11:47 am |
        • SeaVik

          "it's highly doubtful you or anyone could come up with a true representative sample for your 'bird theory' and as the 'millions and millions' of years progress a sample would become virtually non-existent."

          Thank you for explaining why it makes complete sense that we don't have direct evidence for every piece of the evolutionary process for every species on the planet.

          "your 'webbed' creatures never would have made it out of the dustbin of extinction"

          I'm not sure what you mean. There are plenty of webbed creatures that exist today, so obviously they made it.

          "and i believe a majority of intelligent and logically-thinking people would agree with me"

          I can assure you, you're wrong about that. As we already know, the vast majority of scientists do not agree with you. The more intelligent and educated one is, the more likely they are to believe the theory of evolution. Most of your points are bad, but this one is just flat out wrong.

          July 16, 2014 at 12:02 pm |
      • Theo Phileo

        The evolutionary change comes first and if it's a compet.itive advantage, it becomes a prevalent trait.
        --------------
        OK, so how do stubs protruding from the sides of some creature prove to be a "competi.tive advantage?" Seems to me that the kid that was born with what seems to be a deformity to ever other kid in the pack would have been killed and eaten as a freak.

        July 16, 2014 at 10:51 am |
        • SeaVik

          "OK, so how do stubs protruding from the sides of some creature prove to be a "competi.tive advantage?" Seems to me that the kid that was born with what seems to be a deformity to ever other kid in the pack would have been killed and eaten as a freak."

          I just explained how mutations to apendages could be a compet.itive advantage (flying squirrels). Of course, not all mutations are compet.itive advantages. I'm sure there are estimates about the percentage that are, but I suspect it's a relatively low number of mutations that actually prove beneficial. That's precicely the reason that evolution is so effective and beautiful. Only the very best mutations in terms of benefiting survival become prevalent.

          Your example about killing a mutated child as a freak is, well, pretty childish. What if the mutation makes the "freak" stronger than the rest of the kids? That would make him more likely to pro-create and strengthen the species.

          I really feel like you're going out of your way to try NOT to understand this. It's not that complicated.

          July 16, 2014 at 10:57 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          I really feel like you're going out of your way to try NOT to understand this. It's not that complicated.
          ------------------
          You may not believe this, but I actually do understand the precepts behind evolution. I just don't agree with some of the extrapolated conclusions that many suppose. For instance, selective dog breeding may be brought up as a good example of evolution. Although it is controlled by men rather than "time and chance" it still shows how traits and mutations can be selectively enhanced.

          Here's the problem. No one will ever tell you that selective dog breeding can make the dog sprout wings.

          For that to happen, one must engage the imagination. And unfortunately, the imagination is the only place where these kinds of adaptations may be shown to exist.

          July 16, 2014 at 11:03 am |
        • joey3467

          No one will ever tell you that selective dog breeding can make the dog sprout wings.

          Exactly, so why try and use that as proof that evolution didn't happen?

          July 16, 2014 at 11:14 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          Exactly, so why try and use that as proof that evolution didn't happen?
          ----------------
          Because evolution tells us that reptiles became birds. And that fish became men. And you think I'm being weird when I give an example that a dog could sprout wings through evolution? Of course its ridiculous. The whole idea is.

          July 16, 2014 at 11:18 am |
        • SeaVik

          "You may not believe this, but I actually do understand the precepts behind evolution."

          If this is true, then you must have intentionally misrepresented how evolution works with your bullet-proof-skin example. That's like saying that evolution would suggest squirrels just jumped off of cliffs to make themselves develop wings.

          "Here's the problem. No one will ever tell you that selective dog breeding can make the dog sprout wings."

          Nope. That would take a naturally occurring mutation, just like all evolutionary development. You can encourage certain existing traits, but you can't make traits occur that don't exist. That's not how evolution works.

          "For that to happen, one must engage the imagination. And unfortunately, the imagination is the only place where these kinds of adaptations may be shown to exist."

          I don't have to use my imagination to know that there are squirrels who don't fly, and ones who have developed the ability to fly (or glide at least). I don't have to use my imagination to know that we have endless evidence showing the evolution of many types of species, including humans. It is a fact that these things exist. Your only way around it is to say that your god made the earth with all of this fake evidence to try to trick us.

          July 16, 2014 at 11:19 am |
        • SeaVik

          "And you think I'm being weird when I give an example that a dog could sprout wings through evolution?"

          Your example had nothing to do with evolution. It had to do with breeders somehow making dogs sprout wings.

          And yes, evolution would be an absurd theory if the earth was really only thousands of years old. In reality, it took billions of years for life to evolve to its present state.

          July 16, 2014 at 11:21 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          Your only way around it is to say that your god made the earth with all of this fake evidence to try to trick us.
          -------------
          No, I'd never say something like that because God is not the author of confusion, but men sure are... And it is for that reason that I suggest to you the possibility that men have interpreted data incorrectly.

          July 16, 2014 at 11:28 am |
        • joey3467

          Well instead of just making up things that nobody thinks would happen. Why not take an example of something that people do think happened and explain why it is not possible. That would actually be useful.

          July 16, 2014 at 11:40 am |
        • SeaVik

          "No, I'd never say something like that because God is not the author of confusion, but men sure are..."

          You may not say it, but it's the only explanation for your position. Otherwise, how do you explain dinosaur bones? How do you explain bones from human predecesors? It doesn't take much imagination to connect the dots. What does take imagination is to think of a way to reconcile your young earth view with the evidence we have. The evidence very clearly shows that the earth is billions of years old. Either your god is trying to trick us or your theory is impossible.

          July 16, 2014 at 11:44 am |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          "Here's the problem. No one will ever tell you that selective dog breeding can make the dog sprout wings. "

          I disagree. Already you can breed a dog that is more adapt at climbing trees than other dogs. Given enough time forcing this new preed of dog to survive in a tree canopy I think we would see some significant adaptations that may indeed include flaps of skin that enables them to at first glide which could adapt even further over time. Bats are mammals that do fly, not just glide, I don't see why a species of dog couldnt adapt to fly eventually as well.

          July 16, 2014 at 1:52 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Irreducibly complexity is a load of bunk.

      July 16, 2014 at 9:55 am |
    • igaftr

      scot
      That was originally from humansarefree...an article allegedly showing 9 rasons evolution is wrong, but the entire article has been completely destroyed, refuted with facts.

      You really should find some info that is not completely discredited...oh that's right...you can't...because evolution is a fact.

      July 16, 2014 at 10:21 am |
      • awanderingscot

        How and why did they run around for millions of years with 'wings' that did not enable them to fly? Weren't the wings useless? excess baggage? would not this excessive weight be a disadvantage to them?

        July 16, 2014 at 10:36 am |
        • Lucifer's Evil Twin

          Even though I know talking to you is a useless endeavor (you're not actually interested in altering your willful ignorance)... maybe this will help you out... those actually interested in how we evolved would find it fascinating.

          http://www.pbs.org/your-inner-fish/home/ This is an excellent and informative NOVA show... there is also one specifically for birds

          July 16, 2014 at 10:52 am |
        • In Santa We Trust

          What is your evidence for creationism?

          July 16, 2014 at 10:54 am |
        • igaftr

          scot
          "Weren't the wings useless?"
          No. Probably not. There are many bird species that do not fly and their wings are not useless.
          Seriously...how old are you to ask such a question...you couldn't see that yourself?

          July 16, 2014 at 1:46 pm |
    • SeaVik

      "The evolutionary concept of growing a wing over millions of generations violates the very foundation of evolution: the natural selection."

      Completely incorrect. It is very easy to see how incremental changes could be a compet.itive advantage and result in a tree-dwelling animal evolving into a bird over time.

      July 16, 2014 at 10:34 am |
      • awanderingscot

        How and why did they run around for millions of years with 'wings' that did not enable them to fly? Weren't the wings useless? excess baggage? would not this excessive weight be a disadvantage to them?

        July 16, 2014 at 10:36 am |
        • SeaVik

          See my response to Theo. All it takes is a tiny amount of thought and it's easy to understand how things evolve. In fact, once it clicks for you, you'll have a hard time believing it wasn't always obvious.

          July 16, 2014 at 10:51 am |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      Nothing that Alexander Light says or does is "Scientific Fact." He is a creationist... which automatically precludes him from anything resembling scientific credibility.

      My 2 year old grandson has more scientific credibility than Light.

      July 16, 2014 at 10:42 am |
      • awanderingscot

        on the contrary, real science is on the side of creationism.

        July 16, 2014 at 11:52 am |
        • Lucifer's Evil Twin

          Willful creationist stupidity is not science...

          July 16, 2014 at 12:00 pm |
        • igaftr

          " real science is on the side of creationism"

          ANd yet another in a long line of completely false statement.

          Science and creationists are on different ends of the reality spectrum. Science studies, observes, tests.

          there is nothing to study test or observe in creationism. There is not one shred of evidence to back it up.
          Creationists begin with the answer and try to justify it into reality, which is the complete opposite of science. Creationism is not even a theory...it is nothing but a hypothesis that has been shown to be wrong.
          There is no such thing as a creation scientist, because the premise and bias preclude use of the scientific method.

          July 16, 2014 at 1:00 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          Right.
          Except for biology.
          And geology.
          And meteorology.
          And physics.

          But other than that, all real science supports Creationism.

          July 16, 2014 at 2:02 pm |
      • awanderingscot

        and guess what they found in the deepest layer at the dig in China? SOFT BODIED organisms, but virtually no organisms with an exoskeleton like arthropods and nothing with an internal skeleton. no ancestors to the majority of phyla of the 'Cambrian Explosion'. prominent evolutionists had defended the theory by saying that the precursors being soft-bodied would not fossilize. well they did and guess what, no missing links ! are you confounded? you should be.

        July 16, 2014 at 12:10 pm |
        • Lucifer's Evil Twin

          You win... your stupid level is too high for me... someone else can argue against your creationist troll nonsense...

          July 16, 2014 at 12:16 pm |
  10. Doc Vestibule

    Objective morality does not exist, despite the protestations of numerous, disparate religions.
    Religions that claim to have exclusive knowledge of right and wrong tend to come in one of two flavours – world accepting and world rejecting.
    The world accepting spritualities tend to be ethnocentric, meaning that membership is largely determined by geographical proximity and genetic identi/ty. They build communities by celebrating the group through shared myths, rituals and symbols. Their shamans tend to be social leaders whose power is legitimized through these myths.
    Their views are most often focused on worldly things like food, fertility and war.
    These religions are inextricably linked to the social and political life of a society.
    Ja/panese Shinto is a good example. Through the veneration of their ancestors, they reinforce ethnic bonds and stengthen the social order.

    World rejecting spiritualities, in contrast, are generally predicated on the acceptance of ethical and behavioural doctrines as laid down by a founder authority. Instead of being ethno-centric, they will welcome anyone who is willing to supplicate themselves to the authority of the founder's representatives and/or the dogma laid out by the frequently suprahuman founder. These belief system seek to trascend whatever sociopolitical environment their adherents find themselves in by asserting universal ideals over cultural traditions. In advancing their own identi/ties as the sole arbiters of Universal Truth, they tend to be divisive in nationalistic environments.
    Fundamentalist Christianity is a good example. A shared focus on overcoming man's shared character flaws in order to attain posthumous paradise through strict adherence to dogmatic ethical codices gives comfort, identi/ty and a sense of exclusivity over the wider, unenlightened populace.

    The greater problem is that both types are necessarily sectarian and thus divisive.
    Becuase of this, sociological evolution is slowly but inorexably dimishing the importance of these types of spiritualities as humanity begins to knit together a globally cooperative identi/ty.
    Whatever one's beliefs, we are starting to recogize that supernaturalism in any form is not a reliable means to build a universal consensus.Any proposition that relies on faith can and will be twisted by unscrupulous individuals for their own gain. Its just far too easy to manipulate those who are willing to suspend critical thinking and accept something without evidence.

    July 16, 2014 at 8:01 am |
    • awanderingscot

      "twisted by unscrupulous individuals for their own gain."
      – What gain?

      July 16, 2014 at 8:07 am |
      • Doc Vestibule

        Often it is about supporting the shamans and/or church via ti/thes.
        Piety pays – just ask the Vatican.
        Other times, religious authorities cite divine authority as their reasons for committing all manner of atrocity.
        Followers are more willing to fight against those they believe evil, or at least inferior by branding the target a heathen or a heretic.

        July 16, 2014 at 8:33 am |
    • ausphor

      Gain, bling bishops all over the world, imams living like princes, TV evangelists enough said abut those hustlers and the scam goes on and yet so many Christians can't see it is all about profit, so sad.

      July 16, 2014 at 8:14 am |
    • Theo Phileo

      Objective morality does not exist...
      ---------------
      If that's true, then no one has any grounds to call Hitler a bad person, or that he even did anything bad or wrong at all. The most that anyone can say is that they may not agree with what he did, but that doesn't make it wrong.

      Furthermore, all of those Catholic clergymen who se.xually molested children didn't do anything wrong either. You may not agree with what they did, but they were perfectly in the right for doing so, simply because they didn't feel it was wrong.

      After all, who are YOU to judge the actions of another?

      July 16, 2014 at 9:29 am |
      • ausphor

        Theo
        Don't you ever get tired of making a fool of yourself?

        July 16, 2014 at 9:40 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          I didn't. I made a good point. If there is no objective standard of morality, then there is no way to make a distinction between "good" and "bad." All that exists is mere opinion. So, you have no basis to call anything "bad", other than your own definitions of personal comfort.

          July 16, 2014 at 9:48 am |
        • ausphor

          Theo
          You can't really believe that atheists, agnostics, deists and other religions cannot determine right from wrong because they do not believe in an objective morality, don't be so obtuse.

          July 16, 2014 at 9:56 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          You can't really believe that atheists, agnostics, deists and other religions cannot determine right from wrong because they do not believe in an objective morality, don't be so obtuse.
          ------------
          Actually, that's EXACTLY what I'm saying. If there is no objective standard of morality, then all is merely opinion, and there is no "right" and "wrong." And how dare anyone IMPOSE their opinions on me!

          You see, when people make the statement that objective moral standards don't exist, most people are not willing to think that through to its implications. No moral standards means that anyone can do anything they wish, because "right" and "wrong" are now determined by the individual alone.

          July 16, 2014 at 10:00 am |
        • ausphor

          Theo
          So I assume you think that a society can not make laws and standards based on precedents, is that not how most societies were developed without the need of divine intervention?

          July 16, 2014 at 10:15 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          ausphor,
          My point is that with no objective standard of morality, the laws continuously change according to the dictates of the majority.

          When evil rules the majority, then those laws will gradually be changed so that behavior gradually becomes more inclined to selfish gratification at the expense of others, wickedness then becomes expected, then it becomes normal, then it becomes the law.

          With no objective moral standards, one can be most certain that even the worst of human atrocities can eventually be viewed with legal protection.

          July 16, 2014 at 10:23 am |
        • ausphor

          Theo
          Most civilized countries base their morality on a const!tution and bill of rights and a supreme court to ensure that these standards are maintained, you seem to suppose there are zero safe guards present. In dictatorships in Africa for example there are no safe guards and crimes up to genocide are committed, that these crimes are modally wrong does not need a god to tell us so.

          July 16, 2014 at 10:49 am |
        • ausphor

          morally...

          July 16, 2014 at 10:51 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          that these crimes are morally wrong does not need a god to tell us so.
          ----------------
          And why is that? Is it because you have a moral standard written upon your heart that informs your conscience of right and wrong?

          July 16, 2014 at 10:54 am |
        • observer

          Theo Phileo

          Do you have a moral standard written upon your heart that informs you that if you were married and suddenly attacked by a stranger and your wife defended you and touched the genitals of the attacker, that she should be PUNISHED by having her hand cut off?

          July 16, 2014 at 11:00 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          observer,
          You lack reading comprehension skills if you can draw no difference between the Moral, Civil, and Ceremonial Laws of the Bible.

          July 16, 2014 at 11:06 am |
        • observer

          Theo Phileo,

          You lack reading comprehension if you can't READ what God COMMANDED.

          So do your MORALS say the woman should be PUNISHED? Do your MORALS say she deserves to have her hand cut off?

          Try to answer the question THIS TIME.

          July 16, 2014 at 11:12 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          Try to answer the question THIS TIME
          ------------------
          Moral Relativism means that you have no right or ability to judge anyone else's morality.
          Are the morals of the Bible wrong? Based on what?

          July 16, 2014 at 11:21 am |
        • ausphor

          Theo
          No, not a moral standard written on my heart by some supernatural mythical god. You do realize that god was made up by his "chosen people" and your jesus figure was to be the messiah of his chosen people and had little or no import on most of the rest of humanity whose hearts your god forgot all about.

          July 16, 2014 at 11:28 am |
        • observer

          Theo Phileo,

          So do YOUR MORALS say the woman should be PUNISHED? Do your MORALS say she deserves to have her hand cut off?

          Don't you have any CLUE what your OWN morals are?

          Stop being SO AFRAID to answer the question. Try to answer.

          July 16, 2014 at 11:30 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          No, not a moral standard written on my heart by some supernatural mythical god.
          ------------
          Then you have no way of labelling something right from wrong unless it conforms to your own accepted standards. (Even then it is just your opinion) And because there are no objective standards, then you waive the right to tell anyone that they are wrong about anything.

          July 16, 2014 at 11:31 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          Stop being SO AFRAID to answer the question. Try to answer.
          ---------------------
          You don't need an answer because you have no right to call anything right or wrong. (if morality is relative)

          You keep demanding that I answer for the Moral Law written in the Bible (even though you are very confused as to what that moral law is, and you keep confusing it with the Israeli Civil Law), but you would not demand an answer if you truly felt that morality is relative.

          In fact, NO ONE actually believes this. They may say that they do because it fits their worldview, but when something doesn't agree with them, they are usually the first to call foul.

          July 16, 2014 at 11:35 am |
        • ausphor

          Theo
          Your view gives absolutely no merit to the combined wisdom of a society through its history and the laws and standards developed in order to have an orderly society. Your Christian god missed out on 5 billion people today that do not believe any of your supernatural Christian beliefs, pretty lame omnipotent god you have there.

          July 16, 2014 at 11:43 am |
        • idiotusmaximus

          Theo
          Don’t you ever get tired of making a fool of yourself?

          Actually in the universe there is no right or wrong.....this is a human invention....animals don't even subscribe to this concept.

          July 17, 2014 at 10:00 am |
      • observer

        Theo Phileo,

        If there is objective morality, it certainly isn't found in the bible with all the HORRENDOUS and HEARTLESS things that it said God did.

        July 16, 2014 at 9:41 am |
      • Doc Vestibule

        Morality is a covenant by and for human beings that allows us to live as a cooperative group. The rules followed are not the same for all communities – hence we've had so many different types of religion and government throughout history.
        Concepts such as ‘state’ and ‘society’ and ‘government’ have no existence save as physically exemplified in the acts of self-responsible individuals, just as blame, guilt, responsibility etc. are matters taking place inside human beings singly and nowhere else.
        In general, behaviour that needlessly inflicts harm on other members of your community is considered immoral by said community. The Old Testament is a good example of this – God's rules for how to treat fellow Hebrews was quite different from what He considered suitable for those not of the Chosen People.

        July 16, 2014 at 9:42 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          But again, if there is no objective standard of morality, then Catholic priests who molest children are not doing anything bad, because it was right in their own eyes.

          You may not agree with it, but there is no way that you can call it wrong.

          July 16, 2014 at 9:46 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          In general, behaviour that needlessly inflicts harm is considered immoral.

          July 16, 2014 at 9:53 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          In general, behaviour that needlessly inflicts harm is considered immoral.
          ---------------
          But, without an objective standard of morality, that's just your opinion.
          What if my opinion is that chaos rules the universe through chance, so everyone should be able to murder anyone for any reason. And if there's no objective moral standard to judge me by, it's just you exerting your opinion over me. You are repressing me. After all, it's survival of the fittest, and if I kill you, then there's more food for me, and more opportunity for me to pass on my genes to the next generation.

          July 16, 2014 at 9:57 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          Moral relativism doesn't mean anarchy – it doesn't mean that nihilistic individuals can run amok with impunity.
          It means that cultures and societies define their own standards of ethical behaviour.
          From the Code of Hammurabi to the Consti/tution of the United States – there are formalized codices by and for individual cultures. The ethical definitions are always specific to the time and place in which they are created.

          July 16, 2014 at 10:01 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          It is always man himself who determines and enforces moral standards. Codes of conduct are required for a social creature such as ourselves, but it is absurd to postulate a divine source for morality. If that was the case, then why have not all cultures had the same concept of propriety the world over and all throughout history?
          Humans create and enforce their own morality.
          Religion codifies the rules of conduct and joins people together into a community not necessarily based on proximal community, which can be a good thing. However, whenever a group gets together and decides that "Truth" is determined by consensus, they will spread that "truth" by any means necessary. Preachers and missionaries are the polite first attempt, which is inevitably followed by the armies of God, bringing truth and light at sword point.
          The conceit that one cultures morality is superior to another's is the catalyst for war!

          If we had been born and raised in Aztec culture, we would find cannibalism to not only be acceptable and moral, but a blessed practice as well for both the consumers and the consumed.

          July 16, 2014 at 10:06 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          Moral relativism doesn't mean anarchy
          -----------------–
          If "chance" be the creator of all things, then that is PRECISELY what moral relativism means.

          Man is a noble creature, so that constant state of chaos may be occasionally broken by intermittent times of peace that men may work together for some purpose or endeavor that may seem advantageous at the time, but the morality of men by themselves is a fickle thing, and it is ever changing to please an ever declining sense of morality of the masses. To get a clearer picture of that, just look to how immodestly people dress and act as opposed to 200 years ago.

          "If Chance be the father of all flesh, disaster is his rainbow in the sky, and when you hear of a “state of emergency,” “sniper kills ten,” “troops on rampage,” “youths go looting,” “bomb blast in school,” it is but the sound of man worshipping his maker."
          > Steve Turner

          July 16, 2014 at 10:14 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          "To get a clearer picture of that, just look to how immodestly people dress and act as opposed to 200 years ago. "

          In which culture?
          Standards of modesty differ between societies.
          Again harkening back to the Old Testament, a woman who wore pants was an abomination and ripe for getting stoned to death.
          A Catholic woman's concept of modest clothing 200 years ago doesn't match fundamentalist Islamic standards of today.

          July 16, 2014 at 10:26 am |
        • observer

          Theo Phileo

          Since objective morality wouldn't come from the Bible, where does it come from?

          July 16, 2014 at 10:46 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          In which culture?
          Standards of modesty differ between societies.
          ----------------
          Red herring. You know exactly what I mean. In America, pick up a magazine next to the checkout counter at the grocery store, and on its cover are images that would get you arrested in the 19th century. The point is that the laws of a people change according to the majority opinions of that people. When the majority of people find it in vogue to kill one another for a meal, that too, it is conceivable, could be protected under law. If you doubt that, just look at the startling speed with which ho.mose.xuality has gone from a crime worthy of committal into a psychiatric ward to being accepted, and now so-called ho.mose.xual marriage is now being legalized, and the outcasts of society are now the ones who still disaprove of this as being sinful.

          Again harkening back to the Old Testament, a woman who wore pants was an abomination and ripe for getting stoned to death.
          ------------------
          Wrong. No one wore pants then, men or women. Men wore a long, tunic-like shirt, gathered at the waist. Women wore somewhat similar.

          July 16, 2014 at 10:46 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          Since objective morality wouldn't come from the Bible, where does it come from?
          -----------------–
          Your premise is based on incorrect conclusions drawn from poor observations of current data.

          July 16, 2014 at 10:48 am |
        • observer

          Theo Phileo,

          You need to actually READ a Bible. Just wishful thinking doesn't hack it.

          God did HEARTLESS and HORRENDOUS things like FORCING marriage on r@pe victims and others.
          God did HEARTLESS and HORRENDOUS things to the family of Job.

          Don't try to PRETEND those are examples of GOOD "objective morality".

          July 16, 2014 at 10:51 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          "God did HEARTLESS and HORRENDOUS things...
          Don't try to PRETEND those are examples of GOOD "objective morality".
          --------------------–
          Since morality is relative, then how can you say that what God did was "horrendous?" You may not like what He did, but that doesn't mean that they are automatically wrong just because you don't like it.

          July 16, 2014 at 10:57 am |
        • observer

          observer

          Theo Phileo,

          Do YOU think that FORCING marriage on r@pe victims and others makes GOOD OBJECTIVE MORALITY?
          Do YOU think that God's watching the KILLING of someone's family to win a bet makes GOOD OBJECTIVE MORALITY?

          Let's see what kind of MORALS you have.

          July 16, 2014 at 11:03 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          "Let's see what kind of MORALS you have."
          -------------------
          Upon what standard do lean in order to draw the conclusion that anyone's morality may be judged as wrong? If you have no other standard than the dictates of your own comfort, then so what? That means nothing.

          July 16, 2014 at 11:10 am |
        • observer

          Theo Phileo,

          Sorry you missed the questions Here they are AGAIN.

          Do YOU think that FORCING marriage on r@pe victims and others makes GOOD OBJECTIVE MORALITY?
          Do YOU think that God's watching the KILLING of someone's family to win a bet makes GOOD OBJECTIVE MORALITY?

          July 16, 2014 at 11:13 am |
        • idiotusmaximus

          Morality is a covenant by and for human beings that allows us to live as a cooperative group. The rules followed are not the same for all communities – hence we’ve had so many different types of religion and government throughout history.

          This is absolute truth ...sorry people there is no other truth except what you fantasize in your imagination.

          July 17, 2014 at 10:02 am |
  11. TruthPrevails1

    tf: You keep using the phrase 'on atheism' and I'm not certain you have the slightest clue as to the meaning of the word. Atheist means a disbelief in a god or gods, thus making you an Atheist in regardless to all other gods but your own.
    It is a broad spectrum label with the meaning being what has been given and has no other connotation attached to it (it doesn't speak to any other belief/disbelief one may have).\
    You're a theist and so are muslims...so can we attribute their beliefs to you also?
    Theist is another broad spectrum term meaning one who believes in a god or gods-muslims; pagans; JW's; etc.
    You say your god imprinted morals on man's heart but what's super funny about that is up until the time man first learned of your god, no-one knew of it but still had morals...so with your claim you must now explain why we should accept it as being true when there is no evidence that your god was even known about until we as a species had been here for numerous years...why did your god apparently wait so long to make itself known to humans?
    Morals do not come from religion of any form...if you need religion to help you determine right from wrong, you lack empathy (not surprising when you claim that LGBT need to repent for having been born that way...don't care what your outdated 2000+ year book says-it has been proven wrong on this and many other accounts).
    For you to keep denying the facts is merely you showing a complete lack of intellect.

    July 16, 2014 at 5:25 am |
    • awanderingscot

      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.

      July 16, 2014 at 8:00 am |
      • TruthPrevails1

        Did your sitter help you locate that info?

        July 16, 2014 at 8:19 am |
    • awanderingscot

      You don't know what you are talking about. There is only one God, the creator of the universe. Your feeble attempts to deny Him won't make Him go away, you'll be going away, but He won't since He is eternal.

      July 16, 2014 at 8:03 am |
      • igaftr

        scot
        Even your god says there are other gods. Why else would he warn you not to worship the OTHER gods.

        One thing is certain...there continues to be absolutely no evidence anywhere of any "gods".

        July 16, 2014 at 8:11 am |
        • awanderingscot

          other "gods" are in actuality not gods but evil spirit beings we now know as demons.

          July 16, 2014 at 8:23 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          Oh my Snotsickle, twist it how you wish but that is not how it reads and without further explanation from the actual writer it is safe to say you're making a grand assumption that is baseless and only meant to make you feel smart (you're not).

          July 16, 2014 at 8:27 am |
        • igaftr

          scot
          So you are claiming your god was wrong when he told you not to worship the OTHER GODS...not demons, not spirits...gods...are you calling your god a liar?

          One thing is certain...no evidence of any gods has ever been found.

          July 16, 2014 at 8:28 am |
        • idiotusmaximus

          Even your god says there are other gods. Why else would he warn you not to worship the OTHER gods....

          This should RED LIGHT anyone to question why A GOD would say this...but not the faithful to fantasies and non-responsibility of ones self...they've invest a lot of time energy and money to buy their TICKET TO THIS HEAVEN THAT NO ONE HAS EVER SEEN....hence the term...PIE IN THE SKY one of the greatest scams in the history of humans..

          July 16, 2014 at 9:38 am |
        • awanderingscot

          twisting nothing, the Hebrew word for spirit being is 'adonai' and it depends upon the context it is used in whether it refers to a created spirit being or the divine almighty.

          July 16, 2014 at 8:35 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          Snotsickle: You did twist it. Nowhere does that scripture say anything of the claim you made...that is merely you making up lies to fit your small-minded view.

          July 16, 2014 at 8:41 am |
        • ausphor

          scot
          I think you should drop your allegiance to the Christian god and take up with the Wizard of Oz, at least the Wiz maybe able to grant you a functioning brain!!!

          July 16, 2014 at 8:42 am |
        • awanderingscot

          God is never wrong but because you have a mortal perspective it must be placed in terms you can understand. you might for example worship a demon by carving an idol and bowing down to it in worship, perhaps even be persuaded to sacrifice a human to it. there are modern examples of idolatry and worshiping "other gods" so the problem has not gone away. these things require a spiritual discernment which you unfortunately do not possess at this time. i'm not being arrogant in saying this, it's just a fact.

          July 16, 2014 at 8:44 am |
        • awanderingscot

          "For I will pass through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the Lord." – Exodus 12:12, NKJV

          – "and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment" sun god, river god, fertility god, etc etc etc.

          July 16, 2014 at 8:51 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          Snotsickle, stop lying. It is not fact, it is your opinion. Geez, your imaginary friend is sure to send you to the imaginary place called hell for all the lying and misrepresenting you do on here...do you think your imaginary friend pays attention to your small minded rants?

          July 16, 2014 at 8:53 am |
        • igaftr

          "a spiritual discernment which you unfortunately do not possess at this time. i'm not being arrogant in saying this, it's just a fact."

          Stating your belief as a fact is arrogant. it is not fact. If it is, by all means...prove it. Since it is baseless belief, and not even close to being a fact, it is just another in a long line of false statements.

          Here's a fun fact...there continues to be no evidence of any "gods"

          July 16, 2014 at 8:55 am |
        • Science Works

          Well scot it looks like you might fit in the fox camp eh ?

          http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/07/16/colbert-shreds-fox-news-for-complaining-that-obama-embraces-knowledge-over-witchcraft/

          July 16, 2014 at 8:56 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          Sometimes Jahweh Himself sends some pretty weird visions that result in murder and mayhem.
          Paulo Kashaku, a devout Christian, had multiple divine visions – the first of which was from the spirit of his deceased daughter who told him to expect Heavenly visitation. Sure enough, some 30 years later, Paulo was visited by Jesus Christ, the Virgin Mary, and Saint Joseph.
          He knew, without a doubt, that people had fallen away from the Word of God – most especially the 10 commandments.
          He travelled throughout his home country of Uganda, gathering followers. They even brought defrocked priests and nuns into their fold, as well as disgruntled Christians who bemoaned the declining morals of their old churches.
          They were so concerned with adhering to God's word that they would frequently refrain from speaking so as not to violate the 9th Commandment. They fasted every day except for Fridays and Mondays when they ate a single meal. S.ex was completely forbidden. Through self denial, they sought to please God.
          The leaders of this Christian sect were convinced that the End Times were to happen in the year 2000 and so prepared themselves.
          In the end, after Doomsday came and went and disgruntled followers started demanding their possessions back (which, of course, they had given to the church), the leaders decided it was time for them to meet God anyways.
          More than 750 people wound up dead – some strangled, some poisoned, many dead by their own hands – and almost all of them burned in various structure fires.

          July 16, 2014 at 9:10 am |
        • awanderingscot

          "Sometimes Jahweh Himself sends some pretty weird visions that result in murder and mayhem."

          you of course have proof of this? a separate testimony? a newspaper article? a testimonial in a magazine, what is the source?

          July 16, 2014 at 1:42 pm |
        • awanderingscot

          The Movement for the Restoration of the Ten Commandments of God was a breakaway religious movement from the Roman Catholic Church founded by Credonia Mwerinde, Joseph Kibweteere and Bee Tait in Uganda. It was formed in the late 1980s after Mwerinde, a brewer of banana beer, and Kibweteere, a politician, claimed that they had visions of the Virgin Mary. The five primary leaders were Joseph Kibweteere, Joseph Kasapurari, John Kamagara, Dominic Kataribabo, and Credonia Mwerinde. In early 2000, followers of the religious movement perished in a devastating fire and a series of poisonings and killings that were either a group suicide or an orchestrated mass murder by group leaders after their predictions of the apocalypse failed to come about.[1] In their coverage of that event, BBC News and The New York Times referred to the Movement as a Doomsday cult.

          July 16, 2014 at 1:57 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          @Scot
          The story of The Movement For the Restoration of the Ten Commandments of God is all over the place.
          You can start by checking out the following references:

          Kabazzi-Kisirinya, S., R.K. Nkurunziza, and Gerald Banura. (eds). The Kanungu Cult-Saga: Suicide,Murder or Salvation . forthcoming
          Cauvin, Henri. 2000. "Mystery of the Pious Man Who Led a Cult to Death," New York Times . (March 28). [Accessible in NYT archives or Lexus/Nexus]
          Hammer, Joshua. 2000. " Uganda: An Apocalyptic Mystery- The End of the World Was Delayed, So a Cult Leader Took Matters Into His Own Hands," Newsweek . (April 3). (last updated: April 5).
          Hexham, Irving. 2000. "What Really Happened in Uganda?" Religion in the News . 3:2 (Summer 2000). 7-9 ,24.
          Introvigne, Massimo. 2000. "Tragedy in Uganda: the Restoration of the Ten Commandments of God, a Post-Catholic Movement," Cesnur (April 5).
          Matshikiza, John. 2000 " Uganda Deaths Recall Early Martyrs," Mail and Guardian . (March 31). Available from Beliefnet.com .
          Melton, J. Gordon. 2000. "Tragedy in Uganda: the Restoration of the Ten Commandments of God, a Post-Catholic Movement," Cesnur Web Page.
          Opolot, Erich, Michael Wakabi, and Abbey Mutumba Lule. 2000. "Government Could be Held Liable for Deaths," The East African (March 27).
          Robinson, Simon. 2000. "An African Armageddon." Tim e April 3).
          Sullivan, Tim. 2000. "Christian Groups Proliferate in Africa." Beliefnet.com . (April, 5)
          Thawite, John B. 2000. "Kibwetere Faked Death In 1990," Africa News Online . Kampala: New Vision. (April 3).
          Vick, Karl. 2000. " Uganda Cult Orchestrated Doomsday,""Masada," The Washington Post . (April 1).
          Vick, Karl. 2000. "Ugandan Horror Grows" , Washington Post . (March 29).

          July 16, 2014 at 1:57 pm |
      • igaftr

        " Your feeble attempts to deny Him"

        False again. Not denying anything. Show this "god" of yours to exist and then you can claim people deny him, but until you can show your god exists, it is not possible to deny.
        You are falsely claiming something exists when there is no evidence anywhere of this alleged "god".

        July 16, 2014 at 8:18 am |
        • awanderingscot

          the evidence is all around you, you just choose to ignore it.

          July 16, 2014 at 8:25 am |
        • idiotusmaximus

          the evidence is all around you, you just choose to ignore it..............

          Lolololololololololololol...the god cop-out answer...there is NO evidence of anything resembling a god anywhere throughout history....if your god loves you so much why did he wait until the earth had been around 4.6 billion years and created many different forms of life before creating you?

          THE BURDEN OF PROOF LIES ON RELIGION…..
          If you propose the existence of something such as a god, you must follow the scientific method in your defense of its existence, otherwise I have no reason to listen to you… And anyone that does is a fool.

          July 16, 2014 at 9:32 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          oh Snotsickle, what evidence???

          July 16, 2014 at 8:31 am |
        • igaftr

          scot

          Yet another in a long line of completely false statements.

          Existance is not evidence of any god. You are falsely atributing existance to something you cannot even show exists.
          There are an infinite number of other possibilities you have blinded yourself to.

          Just because you have blinded yourself does not mean you are right. You have no evidence of any god, and you can't accept that fact.

          July 16, 2014 at 8:33 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          "the evidence is all around you, you just choose to ignore it."

          That argument could be made for any and every god ever conceived by man...and probably has. As such it is inane.

          July 16, 2014 at 12:08 pm |
      • TruthPrevails1

        Hahahaha, this coming from the one who never made it past grade 3. Considering the one-man-world you reside in Snotsickle, I'll stick with the TRUE facts and discredit you at every chance possible. We do love you Brother-Ape-Man even if you're a little slow mentally.

        July 16, 2014 at 8:18 am |
      • Doc Vestibule

        There is only one God and Mohammad is His prophet.
        There is only one God and Joseph Smith is His prophet.
        There is only one God, and he exists in three manifestations – Father, Son and Holy Ghost.
        There is only one God and Brahman is His name, though He has many manifestations.
        There is only one God, The Parent – and Tenri-O-no-Mikoto is His name.
        There is only one God and Ahura Mazda is His name, though He sends various manifestations of Himself to Earth.
        There is only one God and Waheguru is His name – He is a natural part of the Universe and not outside of it.
        There is only one God and Bondye is His name – His works are done through His minions, the lwa,

        July 16, 2014 at 8:42 am |
    • ausphor

      Thou shall have no other Gods before me.
      Even God knew he had compet!tion out there and yet some Christians believe there is only one, theirs, ridiculous.

      July 16, 2014 at 8:09 am |
  12. Doris

    Oh looks like I just missed tf.

    OK let's see, truthfollower wrote at the bottom:

    "The whole point is that subjective answers are meaningless on morality. Its on par with thinking a bowl of cereal tastes good or bad. If you say, "no, morality carries more weight than the subjective taste of a bowl of cereal," it's only because you choose to give it more weight. You could choose to give more importance to the taste of the cereal and you wouldn't be wrong! It's crazy!"

    And of course the problem is, truthfollower can't prove that he is not doing exactly the same in some other form. So, for the benefit of anyone else who may read that rubbish, I'll repeat:

    The question is a loaded question and truthfollower knows it. It has been explained many times to him.

    When discussing the possible existence of objective (divine) "truths", truthfollower over and over appeals to his audience with various examples attempting to get the reader to agree to a non-qualifed value of "evil/incorrect/bad/good", as if this will lock in an agreement of an objective "truth" value (without it being explicitly specified).

    Of course truthfollower01 is not interested in a subjective answer but only in getting the responder to commit to a value that he can then attempt to claim as objective. This is why he frequently asks simply – "is it wrong?" If he explicitly asks qualifying with "objective", then he will have exposed himself as begging using objectivity in trying to demonstrate an instance of objectivity (which would look circularly foolish). He has to be disingenuous in trying to put the cart before the horse; to put an alleged divine "truth" in front of proving the source for it.

    @truthfollower01

    Prove that you do not just have a similar opinion that you have derived in the same subjective manner as atheists, only from something that only represents a claimed unsubstantiated source. Without such proof, we can only assume that you also arrive at your opinions, in whatever form you care to call them, subjectively.

    Prove that objective morality exists without resorting to subjective means. Can you do that? You know – demonstrate either your God or your direct connection to his "truths" without letting subjectivity taint the picture? If you can't then, as I said, it is only reasonable to assume the moral guidelines you follow are also subjectively obtained and therefore, not objective, not absolute and not divine.

    July 16, 2014 at 1:07 am |
    • ddeevviinn

      Doris

      Do you recognize even the POSSIBILITY that objective morality could exist, and that its source could be that of a supernatural being?

      July 16, 2014 at 1:39 am |
      • Doris

        Of course devin. Although I consider it remote. I'm fine with someone saying that they have a belief in something as long as I don't see them trying to hurt someone else using that belief or trying to prove something to me that has poor evidence behind it. I think if tf was honest and told me that he can't prove to me his God even though he may know the truth of it in his heart, then I could accept that, and he might also then see he shouldn't be trying so hard to put that cart before the horse regarding these absolute assertions on morality. But, as you see, night after night, this disingenuous game is started: "on atheism...." It's ridiculous.

        July 16, 2014 at 2:25 am |
        • ddeevviinn

          Doris

          " Of course"

          Good, we've established that.

          Now, hypothetically,if you personally maintained belief in a supreme being ( one in which you had no verifiable proof of its existence, but yet what you considered ample evidence to place your faith in) and that being had communicated morality in absolute terms, would you define that morality as subjective or objective?

          July 16, 2014 at 3:46 am |
        • Doris

          Under those hypothetical terms, you should define it as objective.

          July 16, 2014 at 3:52 am |
        • Doris

          Careful, devin – my issue with tf I believe is a bit different than what Blessed is noting below even though we are both using the terms objective. It's probably important to consider whether we are talking about actions or alleged laws that exist or not and in either case, is it related to the divine outside of us or are we talking about our own actions as related to alleged external divine laws. (I think this latter is what I am arguing with tf about.) But for other considerations, one might ask – who is the God of Abraham's ethical adviser?

          July 16, 2014 at 4:00 am |
        • ddeevviinn

          Cheese

          Again, we have a fundamental difference of opinion, and it is glaring in the phrase " wrong regardless of the being committing it."

          Your hypothetical God is one who reasons, plans, and is motivated no differently than a created being. It is why you look at a directive by God to destroy the Amalekites ( men, women, children, infants and animals) and you scream " God is a monster". And on this we would agree, your concept of this man/God hybrid is a monster.

          If there is one overriding theme throughout the biblical narrative, it is this: God is sovereign above all. The Apostle Paul depicts Him as a Potter at the wheel and we as created beings are the clay. Paul asks a simple question: " Does not the Potter have the right to do with the clay as He pleases? Will the thing molded say to the Potter why did you make me this way?" So when you make claims that God is involved in genocide, as in Rwanda, it is because you speak of God in the only terms you know, that of a human being inherently altered by sin, but one you desperately want to be the potter.

          As to your question, no.

          July 16, 2014 at 4:20 am |
        • ddeevviinn

          Doris

          " Under those hypothetical terms, you should define it as objective."

          Thank you. We have consensus. And while it is purely hypothetical in your particular case, it is nothing short of reality for tf, hence the reason he defines morality as objective.

          " Who is the God of Abraham's ethical adviser?"

          Even a cursory reading of the biblical narrative will reveal that YHWH is the self existent one, the one alone in whom righteousness dwells.More to the point, nobody.

          July 16, 2014 at 4:37 am |
        • ausphor

          devin
          "it is nothing short of reality for tf" probably true. What gives tf the right to try and impose his version of reality and objective morality on the rest of humanity? An isolated tribe in the Amazon jungle has just been contacted by the outside world for the first time, do you believe as tf does that his god has written his morals on the hearts of these people? Really, what an absurd notion.

          July 16, 2014 at 5:36 am |
        • Science Works

          Hey Dev really and their god is suppose to be the one that gave morals to everyone ?

          http://kstp.com/news/stories/S3503990.shtml?cat=1

          July 16, 2014 at 7:44 am |
        • ddeevviinn

          ausphor

          I'm not that familiar with tf"s posts, so not really sure if he is attempting to "impose" his morality. What I do know is thta he has every right to hold his particular view of morality and understand it to be absolute, just as you do with your particular version of morality.

          I start with the presupposition that God created human beings. As a result, writing morals on the hearts of his creatures is not only not "absurd" it is what common sense would dictate.

          July 16, 2014 at 2:18 pm |
      • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

        devin,

        Defining a god as the source of morality and at the same time defining all god's actions as "moral" regardless of the action does not make them objective.

        If genocide is objectively wrong, it is wrong regardless of the being(s) committing it. Arguing otherwise is just special pleading.

        July 16, 2014 at 2:30 am |
      • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

        And I have a question for you,

        Do you recognize even the POSSIBILITY that objective morality could exist, and that its source could be humanity as a collective?

        July 16, 2014 at 2:37 am |
        • ddeevviinn

          Let me change my answer to your question.

          I guess there is a possibility that one day I could awake and find myself an inhabitant of Whoville, firmly planted inside the dust speck and being cared for by an elephant. Upon awaking I would come to the realization that what I thought was my life was in actuality a dream.

          So in that sense, yes, human contrived objective morality could exist.

          No sarcasm here, just recognizing the POSSIBILITY of anything, no matter how small. ( hehe, did you make the connection with that last phrase?).

          July 16, 2014 at 4:52 am |
        • ddeevviinn

          Just noticed I put my second reply to you in Doris's thread.

          July 16, 2014 at 4:56 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          devin, I will address both responses here.

          "No sarcasm here, just recognizing the POSSIBILITY of anything, no matter how small."

          And that is exactly how I feel about the Christian god being the author and source of morality. Or that such a thing as your concept of Objective Morality actually exists.

          As to Paul's "Potter analogy"...

          Paul seems to be arguing that we are no different to his god than inanimate objects. If that is the case...inanimate objects cannot be held responsible for their creation...or for anything for that matter. Paul created a paradox with this view. If god is going to require us to certain standards, god himself would have to adhere to standards or they become meaningless. Now could it be the case that god CAN do what he wants....? Certainly, that COULD be the reality of the situation. But why in the world would that be something to worship or to respect? At that point one is not respecting god because he is "good" and "moral"...it is because he is all powerful. If I just eschew all my reason and ability to be a moral agent...by defining god as "all good" regardless of intent or action, I am now "amoral"....I am acting and reasoning without any morals. I am obedient, obedience is by definition acting "amorally". I am now that inanimate object Paul was talking about.

          July 16, 2014 at 11:47 am |
        • ddeevviinn

          "Paul seems to be arguing that we are no different to his God than inanimate objects."

          A categorically false assertion. It shows me either a willful disregard for the flow of the biblical narrative or simply lack of familiarity. The pages of Scripture are replete with God's love for His created beings and their place of preeminence in the created order. The potter/wheel metaphor is illustrating God's sovereignty in creation, not his disregard for or demeaning of his creatures.

          " If God is going to require us to certain standards, God himself would have to adhere to those standards or they would become meaningless."

          Agreed. Back to your genocide comment. As I've already indicated, you view God's "atrocities" against humanity in the OT in the same way you view Hitler's actions in the Holocaust. I reject that "standard" you are starting with. When American Forces bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki they did so not out of evil, malicious intent, but instead they took in the ENTIRE picture, realizing that in spite of their horrific brutality many more lives would be spared in the long run. So you see, it is possible to carry out the same action but with completely different "standards."

          July 16, 2014 at 2:48 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          But if god loves his creation so much he would not need to require belief for reconcilliation. My point is if god created us as independent, reasoning, moral agents he should be able to see the world from our perspective. He should be able to understand why belief in him is rejected by some and why some of us do not see him as "all good". My children reason the best they can, I don't beat them up for being wrong, nor would I ever reject them for it.

          As to the bomb analogy....

          Our options were very limited, according to Christian theology god's options are not, and that analogy fails on that basis alone.

          July 16, 2014 at 3:12 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          Also devin,

          What did you use to determine god is "all good"? Is that just a presupposition?

          I have to go but will check back later this evening...it is an interesting discussion.

          July 16, 2014 at 3:33 pm |
        • ddeevviinn

          I'll start with your last question first.

          "What did you use to determine God is all good"

          " Give thanks to the Lord , for He is good. His loving kindness is everlasting."

          " This is the message we have heard from Him and reveal to you, God is light and in Him there is no darkness at all."

          " And Jesus said to him "" Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone .""

          To answer the question, the bible.

          " According to Christian Theology God's options are not"

          No, according to Christian theology God determines and acts by the counsel of his own will, independent of human thought or input, and for the sole reason of accomplishing His divine purpose.

          " He should be able to understand why belief in Him is rejected by some and why some of us do not see him as all good"

          Well, I really hesitate going here because I know it will be misconstrued and interpreted as egotistical, exclusivity, and the epitome of human arrogance, when in fact it is quite the opposite. But, I think you and I have developed a certain level of mutual respect where we can air out our beliefs, no matter how divergent, remain cordial, and then move on to fight another day. So here goes.

          The issue is not why God does not understand why some reject him, but rather why those who reject Him don't understand why they do so. I am a determinist, in the line of Calvin, in the line of Augustine, in the line of the apostle Paul, in the line of Jesus, in the line of God the Father. Scripture is abundantly clear that before the foundation of the world God determined a plan. In this plan He allowed for creation, the fall of man, and redemption and justification through the person of Jesus Christ. Long before any human came on the scene He, by his own sovereign will alone, chose a people whom He would call to Himself. It is known as the doctrine of election ( from the Gr. elektos- chosen out) Scripture paints this picture that God has predestined individuals to become His children and inherit eternal life. His choice has absolutely nothing to do with the goodness, valor, intellectual abilities or lack thereof, or any other merit on the part of the individual. It is based on His choice alone.

          The dynamic at work in this process of choosing is the Holy Spirit . He convicts individuals of sin, righteousness and judgement. We are all spiritually dead/blind until God the Holy Spirit " turns on " our spiritual lights and we experience regeneration. Which leads to the answer to the question of why God does not understand that some reject Him. He does, they reject Him because it is their nature to do so, " the natural mind is enmity against God". Unless God regenerates a human heart/nature and gives the individual the "gift of faith" the individual remains in their state of rejection and unbelief. It is why we can dialogue on a CNN forum ad nauseum, and opinions do not change.

          Don't think I take these implications lightly. I fully understand the philosophical implications ( does this not negate human responsibility etc ,,, etc../. ) they have kept me up at night. I understand this grinds against human nature and our perception of what is fair and just. Hopefully we can get into that at a later time. Off to Steak n Shake with my son at 1230 AM. I should know better.

          Cheese, hard to do justice to this topic in a short blurb, but I did feel the need to lay it out there for you.

          July 17, 2014 at 1:33 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          So the bible (god) told you he was good....so therefore he is...got it. (Sorry, couldn't help it)

          I have a very basic understanding of Calvinism so what you said is not surprising. Thank you for letting me know, it at least allows me to understand where you are coming from and maybe I will try to look into it a little more. I have to say from what I have read about it, it is a bit like a Star Trek episode where they time travel and because of the implications nothing quite makes sense in the end.

          So I am an atheist because god determined I would be one then....so many questions....

          July 17, 2014 at 11:24 am |
        • ddeevviinn

          Yep, it all hinges on the veracity of the Scriptures. I wouldn't know if God was "all good" if that information had not been conveyed .

          I have no allegiance to John Calvin, one positive contribution he did make was expounding upon what is known as the doctrines of grace, i.e. the 5 points of Calvinism. These are in no way original ideas or thoughts from Calvin, simply the reiteration of the biblical writers expression of the sovereignty of God. I could recommend some good books on the topic but I doubt you want to get bogged down in the stuff. I did just check Wikipedia when I searched " Calvinism", and there is a fairly concise summary of " The 5 points of Calvinism". Can't believe I just suggested Wikipedia as a reference source. How crazy is that.

          July 18, 2014 at 12:03 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          "I wouldn't know if God was "all good" if that information had not been conveyed ."

          He could be lying....or the bible could be just a work of fiction framed as non-fiction. (the latter is my position obviously).

          And I find Wikipedia to be a great reference...but I don't trust any reference completely...it is a good place to get started though.

          July 18, 2014 at 12:20 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          Oh and I shouldn't have read into your post that you were a Calvinist....but I know determinism is a Calvinistic view...I should have used "determinism".

          July 18, 2014 at 12:25 am |
        • ddeevviinn

          Yes, it could be the ultimate " Divine Comedy" in which the potentate is lying, it could be fict i tious mythology, or it could be that which it claims to be: the word of God.

          I have said many times, if I was an atheist I would be hell bent ( no pun intended) on disparaging the bible. I would attack its authorship, canonicity and infallibility with great ferocity. I would constantly bring to the forefront that significantly small percentage of biblical passages ( the majority within the framework of Levitical Law) that speak about slavery, selling of daughters, and God commanding the destruction of various tribes. I would do this because I would realize that the claims of the Christian faith stand or fall on the validity of that revealed propositional truth we call the bible.

          On the flip side, in that I am a Christian, I take this perspective:

          " All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers
          and the flower fades, but the word of God remains forever."

          July 18, 2014 at 1:25 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          Well for me at least the Christian claims fell on the Jesus story. It was no longer coherent, and the history of Christianity was too convoluted to accept it was divinely inspired. It was the realization that no CHristian theology was able to demostrate it's "truth" or claims over any other. Whichever one I should/would pick would be based on what I wanted or liked...not on what was actually true.

          As far as the "divine comedy" angle. I like the position that if there is a god, it is a god based on reason and logic, and therefore god allowed all religions to evolve requiring a religious faith and will only reward those who have rejected dogma.

          Ya never know...

          July 18, 2014 at 2:15 am |
  13. truthfollower01

    I'm out for the night. Night all.

    July 16, 2014 at 12:17 am |
    • Dalahäst

      Peace out!

      July 16, 2014 at 12:30 am |
    • observer

      truthfollower01,

      Yep. We can always count on you to RUN AWAY to avoid answering questions. So much for integrity.

      July 16, 2014 at 12:32 am |
  14. observer

    truthfollower01,

    In ancient Greece, they did not believe in God and had never heard of Jesus.

    So did they –

    (a) run around wildly out of control killing each other, or
    (b) develop great thinkers, mathematics, scientists, and set up educational systems?

    July 15, 2014 at 11:27 pm |
    • truthfollower01

      On atheism, those who did (a) and thought it morally good were right.

      To clarify, God has written His morals on the hearts of men and women.

      July 15, 2014 at 11:42 pm |
      • observer

        truthfollower01,

        Please answer the question this time.

        Were the ancient Greeks famous for scenario (a) or (b)?

        July 15, 2014 at 11:51 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          I'd say there are probably examples of both.

          July 15, 2014 at 11:54 pm |
      • observer

        truthfollower01,

        How about answering the question for a CHANGE?

        On stupidity, the ancient Greeks did not believe in God and should have run around killing everyone since the had "no morals"..

        So are they FAMOUS in history for being a wild, uncivilized group of people just running around killing each other or were they famous for their deep thinkers, mathematicians, scientists, education system?

        Still waiting. Look up the answer if you are CLUELESS.

        July 16, 2014 at 12:00 am |
        • truthfollower01

          On atheism, morality is whatever you want it to be. Some kill, some help. On atheism, all is equal morally.

          With that being said, God has written His morals on the hearts of men and women.

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

          truthfollower01,

          On stupidity, the ancient Greeks did not believe in God and should have run around killing everyone since the had "no morals"..

          So are they FAMOUS in history for being a wild, uncivilized group of people just running around killing each other or were they famous for their deep thinkers, mathematicians, scientists, education system?

          Since you are TOTALLY CLUELESS about world history, please consult an 5th-grader for help if necessary.

          What's the answer?

          July 16, 2014 at 12:11 am |
        • observer

          Typo

          Should read "Please consult a 5th-grader"

          July 16, 2014 at 12:13 am |
        • truthfollower01

          "On stupidity, the ancient Greeks did not believe in God and should have run around killing everyone since the had “no morals”.."

          For the third time, God has written His morals on the hearts of men and women.

          July 16, 2014 at 12:14 am |
        • observer

          truthfollower01

          "For the third time, God has written His morals on the hearts of men and women."

          That wasn't the question. Is English a SECOND language for you? Did you learn English through a correspondence course.

          For the fifth time:

          On stupidity, the ancient Greeks did not believe in God and should have run around killing everyone since the had "no morals"..

          So are they FAMOUS in history for being a wild, uncivilized group of people just running around killing each other or were they famous for their deep thinkers, mathematicians, scientists, education system?

          If you are stumped by ENGLISH words, please ask the 5th-grader.

          July 16, 2014 at 12:20 am |
        • tallulah131

          Good people do good things. Bad people do bad things. Religion has little effect on behavior, except to provide an excuse for the bad.

          July 16, 2014 at 12:21 am |
        • truthfollower01

          For the sake of he conversation, let's say I say they are more famous for (b) than (a). I'm interested to see your point. Also, who said they had no morals?

          July 16, 2014 at 1:16 am |
        • observer

          truthfollower01,,

          "On atheism, moral goodness and moral evil are whatever you want them to be. If you want ra-pe to be morally good, then for you, it is morally good, and you’re not wrong! If the next day, you want ra-pe to be morally evil, then it is, and your not wrong! The same goes for child molestation, the Holocaust, and millions of other atrocities throughout history"
          --- truthfollower01

          July 16, 2014 at 1:21 am |
        • truthfollower01

          What is the point of quoting me?

          July 16, 2014 at 1:24 am |
        • observer

          truthfollower01,

          You keep talking about all the horrible things that can happen "on atheism". This shows how wrong you can be about people NEEDING God's list of morals.

          Ancient Greece showed that good things can happen MORALLY without God or Jesus. At the same time as Greeks were making rapid advances in math, science, etc. WITHOUT God, those nations "under God" were not close to making the notable advances made by brilliant Greek thinkers.

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

          "You keep talking about all the horrible things that can happen “on atheism”."

          On atheism, morality is whatever you want it to be.

          "This shows how wrong you can be about people NEEDING God’s list of morals."

          For the fourth time, God has written His morals on the hearts of men and women. This includes the Greeks and you and I. When you remove God from the picture, you remove the foundation for morality and are left with a game of "Says who?"

          "Ancient Greece showed that good things can happen MORALLY without God or Jesus."

          Two things.
          1. God has written His morals on the hearts of men and women. This includes the Greeks and you and I.
          2. On atheism, who or what determines what is morally good?

          "At the same time as Greeks were making rapid advances in math, science, etc. WITHOUT God, those nations “under God” were not close to making the notable advances made by brilliant Greek thinkers."

          It seems here, you're not even talking about morality.

          July 16, 2014 at 1:37 am |
        • observer

          truthfollower01,

          "God has written His morals on the hearts of men and women. This includes the Greeks and you and I."

          On stupidity, are you going to claim that the God-less Greeks had God's morals written on them, but men like Hitler, Stalin, etc. did not?

          You can't have your cake and eat it too. Make up your illogical mind.

          July 16, 2014 at 1:42 am |
        • observer

          truthfollower01

          "On atheism, morality is whatever you want it to be."

          On Christianity, morality is whatever you want it to be like the Salem witch hunts.
          On Christianity, morality is whatever you want it to be like whatever Fred Phelps said.
          On Christianity, morality is whatever you want it to be like following slavery or not.
          On Christianity, morality is whatever you want it to be like PICKING and CHOOSING from the Bible.
          On Christianity, morality is whatever you want it to be like supporting discrimination against women or not.

          On stupidity, people can't figure out that morality is different for individual Christians too.

          July 16, 2014 at 1:46 am |
        • truthfollower01

          Just because one knows what is morally evil doesn't mean they abide by that. Also, men can sear their consciences by continually sinning to a point where they may have difficulty separating evil from good.

          Also, why the add hominem attacks?

          July 16, 2014 at 1:49 am |
        • observer

          truthfollower01

          "Just because one knows what is morally evil doesn't mean they abide by that."

          Yes, it is PERSONAL morals which EVERYONE has, believer or not, that makes them accept or reject "conventional morals" for the society. Again, on stupidity, people fail to see that Christians and non-Christians ALL have their own idea of morals.

          July 16, 2014 at 1:55 am |
        • truthfollower01

          Morality is grounded in the unchanging nature of God. This leads to objective morality. Once you remove God from the picture, it's just personal opinions and your opinion of what is moral carries equal authority with Hitlers.
          Remember, if one thing and only one thing is objectively morally evil or good, the objective morality exists.

          July 16, 2014 at 1:59 am |
        • observer

          truthfollower01,

          Why would the HORRIBLE HEARTLESS things done by God qualify him as a good source for anyone's idea of "objective morality?

          Do you think that cutting off the hand of a wife who touches the genitals of a man ATTACKING her husband is a good OBJECTIVE MORAL? Yes or no?

          July 16, 2014 at 2:02 am |
        • observer

          truthfollower01

          "Morality is grounded in the unchanging nature of God."

          Please read a Bible. God CHANGED many of his commands such as PUNISHING generations to come for the sins of ancestors.

          It's pointless to talk if you aren't familiar with a Bible.

          July 16, 2014 at 2:04 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          Morality is grounded in the arbitrary view of the nature of God. This leads to a claim of objective morality, where none actually exists. Once you equate your morality to the morality of a "God" , it's just personal opinions framed as "objective" and your opinion of what is God's "morals" carries equal authority with anyone elses.
          Remember, if you can claim one thing and only one thing is objectively morally evil or good, then objective morality exists as an opinion, because it has not been demonstrated to actually exist.

          **fixed**

          July 16, 2014 at 2:09 am |
        • truthfollower01

          "Do you think that cutting off the hand of a wife who touches the genitals of a man ATTACKING her husband is a good OBJECTIVE MORAL? Yes or no?"

          Do you honestly read my posts?!?! I have already addressed this to you in the past.

          Do you believe that Hitler's view of morality carries equal weight as yours?

          July 16, 2014 at 2:09 am |
        • observer

          truthfollower01

          "Do you think that cutting off the hand of a wife who touches the genitals of a man ATTACKING her husband is a good OBJECTIVE MORAL? Yes or no?"

          Is this a good OBJECTIVE MORAL?

          Your answer should be "yes" or "no". Quit dodging. Just give the simple ONE WORD answer.

          July 16, 2014 at 2:12 am |
        • observer

          truthfollower01

          Do you believe that Fred Phelps view of morality carries equal weight as yours?

          Do you believe that the Christians at the Salem witch hunts view of morality carries equal weight as yours?

          Do you believe that the Christian Mormons who massacred settlers have a view of morality that carries equal weight as yours?

          July 16, 2014 at 2:16 am |
        • observer

          truthfollower01,

          It's too late to waste anymore time while you are STUMPED on a simple yes-or-no question that concerns an obvious HEARTLESS and BARBARIC punishment.

          The next time you go to church, see how many of your fellow Christians think that's a good PUNISHMENT. I'd bet there are a LOT QUICKER to figure out the answer to such a question about MORALS. Ask them.

          July 16, 2014 at 2:26 am |
        • observer

          typo: should say "they are".

          July 16, 2014 at 2:27 am |
        • igaftr

          belief follower
          "On atheism, morality is whatever you want it to be."

          It would seem you are making stuff up about people you do not understand...is that your christian "morality" again?
          Humanity is where morality comes from. your religion was made BY humans, for humans.
          your Christian "morals" come from the same place as all of them do...they've just been intertwined with belief in some god.
          Atheism simply means NOT believing in gods...that is it...there is no "on atheism" because it has nothing to do with morality, it ONLY has to do with basic belief in gods or not.
          You are trying to ascribe traits to atheism that are simply not there.
          you seem to be a very confused individual.
          Is it moral to allow another to take your just punishment?
          To force a victim of ra.p.e to marry her attacker?
          To put someone in eternal torture for not believing the bible stories?

          On christianity, where is the morality?

          July 16, 2014 at 2:44 pm |
        • redzoa

          Regarding writing moral codes on "men's hearts," apparently those with mental disease/defects and very young children don't get this particular attention. Even mere mortals recognize that some individuals lack the capacity to distinguish "right" from "wrong."

          Regarding the "immutable good nature of god" argument, this falls within that branch of Euthyphro's dilemma which indicates there is a moral standard above and apart from god. Additionally, it removes god's omnipotence in that he cannot act according to his own "free will"; rather, he is obliged to act only in accordance with this "good nature."

          July 16, 2014 at 3:52 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          Redzoa,

          ""Regarding writing moral codes on "men's hearts," apparently those with mental disease/defects and very young children don't get this particular attention."

          Why not trust God to do what is just? I have addressed in the past the situation concerning babies and children who haven't reached the age of accountability.

          "Regarding the "immutable good nature of god" argument, this falls within that branch of Euthyphro's dilemma which indicates there is a moral standard above and apart from god."

          This has been addressed multiple times. Why am I forced to adopt a certain horn of the dilemma. The answer is: I'm not. Objective morality is grounded in God's unchanging nature.

          "Additionally, it removes god's omnipotence in that he cannot act according to his own "free will"; rather, he is obliged to act only in accordance with this "good nature."

          God acts in accordance with His unchanging nature. How does this remove His omnipotence? Is His omnipotence removed if He can not sin and become less than morally perfect?

          July 16, 2014 at 9:11 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          Observer,

          Morality is not grounded in mine of Fred Phelps opinions. I hold that it is grounded in the unchanging nature of God.

          July 16, 2014 at 9:15 pm |
        • Doris

          But Fred Phelps might very well have a completely different moral outlook than you. And he might be able to be just as convincing if not more for his reasons for feeling differently than you. Now you see, it then becomes important to show the horses that pulled the cart. Because otherwise, what is there – subject opinion from the two of you – subjectively influenced by many things over time – including William Tyndale and much, much more.

          July 16, 2014 at 9:21 pm |
        • MidwestKen

          truthfollower,
          "Why not trust God to do what is just? "

          Seriously?
          First, trusting a likely non-existent being seems ridiculous.
          Second, if your supposed God does exist then he has a horrible record, e.g. floods, fire storms, salt pillars, fathers killing sons, etc. Why would I trust that?

          July 16, 2014 at 9:28 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          Doris,

          Objective morality is not dependent on what I nor Fred Phelps thinks.

          July 16, 2014 at 11:09 pm |
        • Doris

          I understand that's the claim, tf. I understand that's what it's supposed to be by definition.

          You just haven't shown how you can escape subjective influence in your quest to follow the "truth", therefore we must assume it's just a conceptual ideal where we see much more plainly the real life effects of the subjective interpretation; the disagreement; the consequences of those misunderstandings for others.

          As I've said before, prove that you do not just have a similar opinion that you have derived in the same subjective manner as atheists, only from something that only represents a claimed unsubstantiated source. Without such proof, we can only assume that you also arrive at your opinions, in whatever form you care to call them, subjectively.

          Prove that objective morality exists without resorting to subjective means. Can you do that? You know – demonstrate either your God or your direct connection to his "truths" without letting subjectivity taint the process? If you can't then, as I said, it is only reasonable to assume the moral absolutes you claim exist are also subjectively obtained and therefore, not objective, not absolute and not divine.

          What's an example of a subjective influence? There are many when it comes to Christian belief – but here's one: William Tyndale – first person to translate the Bible into English drawing from Greek and Hebrew texts.

          July 16, 2014 at 11:20 pm |
        • redzoa

          "Why not trust God to do what is just? I have addressed in the past the situation concerning babies and children who haven't reached the age of accountability."

          Why should you trust “God” to do what is just? It’s rather clear that most arguing this position do so from a primary motivation founded in a self-serving acquiescence in hopes of avoiding their mortality. This motivation is evidenced in the frequent abdication of any personal moral responsibility to critically evaluate your alleged deity’s behaviors. Why would you trust an alleged deity whose moral framework is bookended with threats of punishment and promises of rewards? Would you trust the cop who coerces a confession with a gun to the back of the suspect’s head and pile of cash in front? Would you trust the suitor who promises a lifetime of joy if one agrees to marriage, but simultaneously threatens a rejection will be met with a severe beating? Why should you trust “God” to do what is just when this deity has indiscriminately and torturously killed children and infants for the sins of others? Why should you trust this deity who abandons judgment according to an exercise of free will? Why should you trust this deity who alleged possessed the power to remedy these situations without needless suffering?

          Nonetheless, your response evades the point. The examples I suggested confound the notion that humans are inherently and invariably engraved with a particular moral sensibility. We clearly recognize that, regardless of how they are allegedly posthumously judged, young children and those adults with various mental diseases/defects lack the capacity to tell right from wrong, i.e. the deity who allegedly wrote a moral code on their hearts failed miserably.

          “This has been addressed multiple times. Why am I forced to adopt a certain horn of the dilemma. The answer is: I'm not. Objective morality is grounded in God's unchanging nature.”

          You aren’t obliged to adopt a horn of the dilemma, but you do so nonetheless by the manner in which you frame your argument. Your claim of “God’s unchanging nature” is simply definitional fiat with no support. Any behavior can be ascribed to this alleged unchanging nature when combined with the convenient explanation of mysterious ways, unknown plan, and the other horn of the dilemma, i.e. whatever the deity does is invariably good because it is the deity acting. Furthermore, there is certainly enough evidence in the discrepant personalities of the OT v. NT deity to indicate a “changing nature,” i.e., one who sees no other option but to destroy humanity and then later destroy entire civilizations as opposed to one who prefers the option of alleged self-sacrifice coupled to a merciful “grace” for those who are willing to just believe in the sacrifice.

          "God acts in accordance with His unchanging nature. How does this remove His omnipotence? Is His omnipotence removed if He can not sin and become less than morally perfect?"

          Yes. Omnipotence is by definition unrestricted. A constraint which limits the range of potential choices and behaviors is a restriction. Your notion of a perfect unchanging nature is above and beyond your alleged deity’s ability to choose, i.e. it is a source of morality apart from the free will agency of the deity. Again, claiming the nature is unchanging and claiming the nature is invariably good are simply exercises in definitional fiat. I could claim God’s nature is always changing and that God’s nature is apathetic or malevolent with the same degree of support. Any objection you might make is rebutted in the same manner you attempt to rebut challenges to your view, i.e. mysterious ways, unknown plan, etc.

          July 17, 2014 at 1:31 pm |
      • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

        "Why he might have used the practice in his parable is simply because it was a common practice in that day."

        You mean god's morals like .....'genocide is okey dokey'?

        July 16, 2014 at 12:04 am |
    • Dalahäst

      http://www.crystalinks.com/greekslavery.html

      July 15, 2014 at 11:54 pm |
      • tallulah131

        Christians have a history of owning slaves. You must think them savages.

        July 16, 2014 at 12:18 am |
        • Dalahäst

          One similarity most slave owners had was that they were rich. The rich Christians who supported slavery seemed to be more interested in economics, than practicing a program that defines true religion as helping the poor. We can find examples of slave owners from every group, including the non-religious and atheistic ones.

          July 16, 2014 at 12:29 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          And yet we can't find one example of god or Jesus saying...."don't own other human beings as property".

          July 16, 2014 at 1:01 am |
        • G to the T

          "The rich Christians who supported slavery seemed to be more interested in economics, than practicing a program that defines true religion as helping the poor."

          The other challenge is you only have to apply your morality to those you consider "human". I'm sure many plantation owners were quite generous to charities, etc.

          July 16, 2014 at 8:20 am |
        • Dalahäst

          Yea, all kinds of people have owned slaves and donated to charity for whatever reason. None of them, whether Christian or atheist or free-thinker or a secularist, seemed to be a good example of how to love thy neighbor. You've really got to do something different from what Jesus suggests to declare your brothers and sisters as not being human.

          July 16, 2014 at 11:50 am |
  15. colin31714

    I saw a quote from Martin Luther King below. I could never imagine him nonchalantly using an analogy about beating slaves in order to make a point, unless the point was how abhorrent the practice is. Well, Jesus did. He clearly had no issue with slavery, nor with beating slave:

    “And that slave who knew his master’s will, and did not prepare himself or do according to his will, shall be severely beaten. But he who did not know, yet committed things deserving of a severe beating, shall be beaten only lightly. For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.”

    Luke 12:47-48.

    It is implicit in these words, straight from his own mouth, that Jesus supported or, at a minimum, was nonchalantly accepting of slavery and the beating of slaves.

    July 15, 2014 at 9:25 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Or, more likely in my humble opinion, Jesus was using a well known situation in that place and time to make a spiritual point. But, thanks for sharing your opinion with us.

      July 15, 2014 at 10:10 pm |
      • colin31714

        Oh nonsense. Why would he choose something so abhorrent as beating a slave and not even express distaste for the practice, unless he had no issue with the practice.

        July 15, 2014 at 10:14 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          Why he might have used the practice in his parable is simply because it was a common practice in that day. Why he didn't speak out against the practice is because he did not come to judge the world, he came to save it.

          July 15, 2014 at 10:20 pm |
        • observer

          Robert Brown

          "Why he didn't speak out against the practice is because he did not come to judge the world, he came to save it.

          It's AMAZING to hear that Jesus didn't speak out against anything bad.

          July 15, 2014 at 10:22 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          Observer,

          Is this a good example?

          Matthew 18:6
          But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.

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

          Robert Brown,

          It looks like he did speak out against bad things. Please now go back and explain why he didn't speak out against slavery.

          July 15, 2014 at 10:41 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          Observer, he didn't speak out against a lot of specific bad things. Instead, he covered it all with love. Love God and your neighbor as yourself.

          July 15, 2014 at 10:56 pm |
        • observer

          Robert Brown,

          Love God and your neighbor as yourself and SEVERELY BEAT that slave who knew his master’s will, and did not prepare himself or do according to his will.

          July 15, 2014 at 11:01 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          Robert,

          An all knowing god could have used a better analogy that would not have been used to justify atrocities later...

          Unless he really wasn't god and had the common view of slavery being moral for the time...then it makes sense.

          July 15, 2014 at 11:30 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Doesn't that parable involve the servant being punished for beating men and women? He is using a story in that time that would be very understandable to the people listening? Especially to the people he is slyly comparing to the wicked servant?

          When Jesus is telling that story, who was listening? Not just the disciples, but other people, including the religious leaders. It appears it would be understood that the religious leaders were the ones who acted like the servant who got drunk, stole food and beat up men and women. So it wasn't a story promoting beating or slavery, but rather the truth being revealed was about the nature of the religious leaders and how what they were doing was against God's will.

          July 16, 2014 at 12:19 am |
        • G to the T

          "Why he didn't speak out against the practice is because he did not come to judge the world, he came to save it."

          As I understand it, you have the original role of the "Son of Man" completely backwards. When the kingdom of heaven came to earth, he would be judge over all.

          July 16, 2014 at 8:21 am |
        • Dalahäst

          "For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn (or judge) the world, but to save the world through him."

          July 16, 2014 at 12:01 pm |
        • colin31714

          The development of the myth of salvation through the death of Jesus is interesting. In Mark, Jesus is not God. By the time Matthew and Luke are penned (about 15 years later than Mark) we start to see the first hints that he is being elevated to be a god and by John (or at least, soon after the original John was written, when the forged first 8 chapters were likely added) Jesus has been elevated in Judeo-Christian theology to be a part of God.

          This caused a theological dilemma for the early Christians because, in Mark, Jesus stated clearly that there were things he did not know (when the end was coming, to be precise). After he was elevated to be part of an omniscient god, this obviously caused heartburn for Christian scholars. So many of them started redacting the relevant verse from Mark in Bibles they were copying.

          July 16, 2014 at 12:11 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Why does Mark's Gospel begin with God's promise? And quickly Jesus is there full-filling that promise? Don't some scholars suggest Mark presents Jesus as God in these very opening few verses in his gospel? Don't some say that is often missed on a quick reading of that passage? Why was Mark writing a "gospel" about Jesus in the first place?

          July 16, 2014 at 12:40 pm |
      • Reality

        Luke 12: 47-48: Said passage is a single attestation i.e. not found in any other scriptural docu-mentation and was written between 80-120 CE thereby failing rigorous historic testing and therefore historically nil. http://www.faithfutures.org/JDB/jdb452.html). See also Professor Gerd Ludemann's analysis of this passage in his book Jesus After 2000 Years, pp. 347-349.

        And Robert Brown had you done the required reading about the historic Jesus, you could have defused Colin's statement. Too late. (suggested reading materials about the historic Jesus were previously presented). Of course 70-95% of your Jesus' sayings and actions noted in the NT are historically nil so you indeed have some issues to resolve.

        July 15, 2014 at 11:47 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          Why should we listen to the Jesus Seminar who developed their own criteria for what Jesus did and didn't say? They are removed from the majority scholarly view.

          July 15, 2014 at 11:52 pm |
        • Reality

          Obviously truthfollower did not read the recommended historic Jesus references. Once again for his or her perusal:

          o 1. Historical Jesus Theories, earlychristianwritings.com/theories.html – the names of many of the contemporary historical Jesus scholars and the ti-tles of their over 100 books on the subject.

          2. Early Christian Writings, earlychristianwritings.com/
          – a list of early Christian doc-uments to include the year of publication–

          30-60 CE Passion Narrative
          40-80 Lost Sayings Gospel Q
          50-60 1 Thessalonians
          50-60 Philippians
          50-60 Galatians
          50-60 1 Corinthians
          50-60 2 Corinthians
          50-60 Romans
          50-60 Philemon
          50-80 Colossians
          50-90 Signs Gospel
          50-95 Book of Hebrews
          50-120 Didache
          50-140 Gospel of Thomas
          50-140 Oxyrhynchus 1224 Gospel
          50-200 Sophia of Jesus Christ
          65-80 Gospel of Mark
          70-100 Epistle of James
          70-120 Egerton Gospel
          70-160 Gospel of Peter
          70-160 Secret Mark
          70-200 Fayyum Fragment
          70-200 Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs
          73-200 Mara Bar Serapion
          80-100 2 Thessalonians
          80-100 Ephesians
          80-100 Gospel of Matthew
          80-110 1 Peter
          80-120 Epistle of Barnabas
          80-130 Gospel of Luke
          80-130 Acts of the Apostles
          80-140 1 Clement
          80-150 Gospel of the Egyptians
          80-150 Gospel of the Hebrews
          80-250 Christian Sibyllines
          90-95 Apocalypse of John
          90-120 Gospel of John
          90-120 1 John
          90-120 2 John
          90-120 3 John
          90-120 Epistle of Jude
          93 Flavius Josephus
          100-150 1 Timothy
          100-150 2 Timothy
          100-150 T-itus
          100-150 Apocalypse of Peter
          100-150 Secret Book of James
          100-150 Preaching of Peter
          100-160 Gospel of the Ebionites
          100-160 Gospel of the Nazoreans
          100-160 Shepherd of Hermas
          100-160 2 Peter

           4. Jesus Database, http://www.faithfutures.o-rg/JDB/intro.html –"The JESUS DATABASE is an online a-nnotated inventory of the traditions concerning the life and teachings of Jesus that have survived from the first three centuries of the Common Era. It includes both canonical and extra-canonical materials, and is not limited to the traditions found within the Christian New Testament."
          5. Josephus on Jesus mtio.com/articles/bis-sar24.htm
          6. The Jesus Seminar, http://en.wikipedia.o-rg/wiki/Jesus_Seminar
          7. http://www.biblicalartifacts.com/items/785509/item785509biblicalartifacts.html – books on the health and illness during the time of the NT
          8. Economics in First Century Palestine, K.C. Hanson and D. E. Oakman, Palestine in the Time of Jesus, Fortress Press, 1998.
          9.The Gn-ostic Jesus
          (Part One in a Two-Part Series on A-ncient and Modern G-nosticism)
          by Douglas Gro-othuis: http://www.equip.o-rg/articles/g-nosticism-and-the-g-nostic-jesus/
          10. The interpretation of the Bible in the Church, Pontifical Biblical Commission
          Presented on March 18, 1994
          ewtn.com/library/CURIA/PBCINTER.HTM#2
          11. The Jesus Database- newer site:
          wiki.faithfutures.o-rg/index.php?t-itle=Jesus_Database
          12. Jesus Database with the example of S-u-pper and Eucharist:
          faithfutures.o-rg/JDB/jdb016.html
          13. Josephus on Jesus by Paul Maier:
          mtio.com/articles/bis-sar24.htm
          13. http://www.textweek.com/mtlk/jesus.htmm- Historical Jesus Studies
          14. The Greek New Testament: laparola.net/greco/
          15. D-iseases in the Bible:
          http://books.google.com/books/about/The_d-iseases_of_the_Bible.html?id=C1YZAAAAYAAJ

          16. Religion on- Line (6000 a-rt-ic-les on the hi-story of religion, churches, theologies,
          theologians, eth-ics, etc. religion-online.o–rg/
          17. The New Testament Gateway – Internet NT n-tgate-way.com/
          18 Writing the New Testament- e-xi-sting copies, o–r–al tradition etc.
          n-tgat-eway.com/
          19. JD Crossan's c-onclusions about the a-uthencity of most of the NT based on the above plus the c-onclusions of other NT e-xege-tes in the last 200 years:
          http://wiki.faithfutures.o-rg/index.p-hp?t-itle=Crossan_Inventory
          20. Early Jewish Writings- Josephus and his books by t-itle with the complete translated work in English :earlyjewishwritings.com/josephus.html
          21. Luke and Josephus- was there a c-onnection?
          in-fidels.o-rg/library/modern/richard_carrier/lukeandjosephus.html
          22. NT and beyond time line:
          pbs.o-rg/empires/pe-terandpaul/history/timeline/
          23. St. Paul's Time line with discussion of important events:
          harvardhouse.com/prophetictech/new/pauls_life.htm
          24. See http://www.amazon.com for a list of JD Crossan's books and those of the other Jesus Seminarians: Reviews of said books are included and selected pages can now be viewed on Amazon. Some books can be found on-line at Google Books.
          25. Father Edward Schillebeeckx's words of wisdom as found in his books.
          27. The books of the following : Professors Gerd Ludemann, Marcus Borg, Paula Fredriksen, Elaine Pagels, Karen Armstrong and Bishop NT Wright.
          28. Father Raymond Brown's An Introduction to the New Testament, Doubleday, NY, 1977, 878 pages, with Nihil obstat and Imprimatur.
          29. Luke Timothy Johnson's book The Real Jesus

          And regarding the Jesus Seminarians:

          Contemporary NT exegetes specializing in historic Jesus studies. Requirements to join, typically a PhD in Religious History or Religion with a proven record of scholarship through reviews of first to third century CE scripture and related doc-uments.

          July 16, 2014 at 6:49 am |
    • Dalahäst

      I'm sure Martin Luther King, JR was very familiar with that text. But he seemed to form a different opinion than what you describe it as.

      That text you shared, is it teaching about slavery or is slavery used as an example? Is this text clearly in support of slavery? What is the context of the passage about? At best the text tells us that slavery was a reality it doesn't tell us that Jesus is advocating for it.

      -

      Luke 4:18 wrote:

      “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
      because he has anointed me
      to bring good news to the poor.
      He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
      and recovery of sight to the blind,
      to let the oppressed go free,"

      Would you think that slavery was being supported by the phrases, "to proclaim release to the captives" and "let the oppressed go free" or rejected?

      July 15, 2014 at 10:31 pm |
      • truthfollower01

        Dalahast,

        I can see no exceptions. Women, slaves, and gays are Christians, too. The freely choose to be so."

        Do you believe that a practicing gay person who has never repented of this can be a Christian?

        July 15, 2014 at 11:24 pm |
        • observer

          truthfollower01,

          Skip all the THOUGHTLESS HYPOCRISY.

          How many Christian churches are FULL of Christian who are ADULTERERS because they have divorced and remarried?

          Get real.

          July 15, 2014 at 11:31 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          I'd have to say that this can't be just as a person who never repented of lustfully looking (in the manner Jesus spoke of in the Book of Matthew) cannot be a Christian.

          July 16, 2014 at 12:12 am |
        • truthfollower01

          See Luke 13:3,5

          July 16, 2014 at 12:19 am |
        • Dalahäst

          There are Christians who happen to be gay. Whatever sins they commit, if they don't harm me, are between them and God. He has shown me what sin is, I trust He can do that for others. It is not my job to decide who is and isn't a real Christian.

          July 16, 2014 at 12:33 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          Practicing gay person? So in your small mind they're merely acting? Sorry, regardless of your book they are born that way and anyone who thinks they are wrong is a bigot.
          I wasn't aware that you were given authority on who is a true Christian and who isn't....sad that you take on this superiority complex and think you're better than them. I'd say that if hell exists, it is people like you (the bigots) who will be there.
          You could learn from Dala on this one...you'd be a better person for it.

          July 16, 2014 at 4:54 am |
        • igaftr

          belief follower. Have you repented for being straight?

          July 16, 2014 at 8:45 am |
      • Doris

        Yes, Dala, on gay Christianism, do tell.....

        July 15, 2014 at 11:27 pm |
      • Reality

        Add Dalahast to the list of those who have not read the recommended historic Jesus references. Had he done so, he would have concluded that Luke 4:18 as well as Luke 13:3.5 have been, after thorough review, judged to be historically nil. Added details available upon request.

        July 16, 2014 at 6:58 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Sorry, but your recommended cherry picked readings are not necessarily as reliable as you demand that they are. Some do bring up interesting questions that people consider (I'm pretty sure my Bible mentions them, too, in the footnotes), but you declaring your understanding of them as the only acceptable form is not helpful.

          July 16, 2014 at 7:10 pm |
        • Reality

          Said reference list was not cherry-picked as it has references to all the contemporary NT scholars to include conservative believers in the OT and NT and the scriptures themselves had you bothered to check. e.g.

          2. Early Christian Writings, earlychristianwritings.com/

          – a list of early Christian doc-uments to include the year of publication– plus a discussion of each by clicking on the name of the scripture.

          30-60 CE Passion Narrative
          40-80 Lost Sayings Gospel Q
          50-60 1 Thessalonians
          50-60 Philippians
          50-60 Galatians
          50-60 1 Corinthians
          50-60 2 Corinthians
          50-60 Romans
          50-60 Philemon
          50-80 Colossians
          50-90 Signs Gospel
          50-95 Book of Hebrews
          50-120 Didache
          50-140 Gospel of Thomas
          50-140 Oxyrhynchus 1224 Gospel
          50-200 Sophia of Jesus Christ
          65-80 Gospel of Mark
          70-100 Epistle of James
          70-120 Egerton Gospel
          70-160 Gospel of Peter
          70-160 Secret Mark
          70-200 Fayyum Fragment
          70-200 Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs
          73-200 Mara Bar Serapion
          80-100 2 Thessalonians
          80-100 Ephesians
          80-100 Gospel of Matthew
          80-110 1 Peter
          80-120 Epistle of Barnabas
          80-130 Gospel of Luke
          80-130 Acts of the Apostles
          80-140 1 Clement
          80-150 Gospel of the Egyptians
          80-150 Gospel of the Hebrews
          80-250 Christian Sibyllines
          90-95 Apocalypse of John
          90-120 Gospel of John
          90-120 1 John
          90-120 2 John
          90-120 3 John
          90-120 Epistle of Jude
          93 Flavius Josephus
          100-150 1 Timothy
          100-150 2 Timothy
          100-150 T-itus
          100-150 Apocalypse of Peter
          100-150 Secret Book of James
          100-150 Preaching of Peter
          100-160 Gospel of the Ebionites
          100-160 Gospel of the Nazoreans
          100-160 Shepherd of Hermas
          100-160 2 Peter

          July 17, 2014 at 12:04 am |
  16. Bob

    It's no surprise to see followers of the old testament of the bible and of the koran going at each other violently yet again, when both books demand so much vengeance, cruelty, and violence from their flocks of followers. Take a look at these fine examples just from the bible, from both its foul testaments, especially the OT in this case for Jewish folk in this latest bloody battle series. This whole conflict in this area of the ME will continuing popping up violently until these violent texts and their deluded followers fade away:

    Numbers 31:17-18
    17 Now kiII all the boys. And kiII every woman who has slept with a man,
    18 but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

    Deuteronomy 13:6 – “If your brother, your mother’s son or your son or daughter, or the wife you cherish, or your friend who is as your own soul entice you secretly, saying, let us go and serve other gods … you shall surely kill him; your hand shall be first against him to put him to death”

    1 Timothy 2:11
    "Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor."

    Revelation 2:23 And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.

    Leviticus 25
    44 “‘Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves.
    45 You may also buy some of the temporary residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country, and they will become your property.
    46 You can bequeath them to your children as inherited property and can make them slaves for life, but you must not rule over your fellow Israelites ruthlessly.

    Note that the bible is also very clear that you should sacrifice and burn an animal today because the smell makes sicko Christian sky fairy happy. No, you don't get to use the parts for food. You burn them, a complete waste of the poor animal.

    Yes, the bible really says that, everyone. Yes, it's in Leviticus, look it up. Yes, Jesus purportedly said that the OT commands still apply. No exceptions. But even if you think the OT was god's mistaken first go around, you have to ask why a perfect, loving enti-ty would ever put such horrid instructions in there. If you think rationally at all, that is.

    And then, if you disagree with my interpretation, ask yourself how it is that your "god" couldn't come up with a better way to communicate than a book that is so readily subject to so many interpretations and to being taken "out of context", and has so many mistakes in it. Pretty pathetic god that you've made for yourself.

    So get out your sacrificial knife or your nasty sky creature will torture you eternally. Or just take a closer look at your foolish supersti-tions, understand that they are just silly, and toss them into the dustbin with all the rest of the gods that man has created.

    Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement.
    Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.
    http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

    July 15, 2014 at 6:43 pm |
    • truthfollower01

      Bob,

      Why, on atheism, is anything morally wrong or evil?

      July 15, 2014 at 7:17 pm |
      • midwest rail

        Why, on Christianity, is it perfectly acceptable to hate an entire group you have never met ?

        July 15, 2014 at 7:25 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          Can you be more specific?

          July 15, 2014 at 7:26 pm |
        • midwest rail

          Since there are many groups to choose from, sure, I'll pick one. Gay people. Go.

          July 15, 2014 at 7:28 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          Why would I hate a gay person?

          July 15, 2014 at 7:38 pm |
        • midwest rail

          Nice deflection. I never said you personally did.

          July 15, 2014 at 7:39 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          There is no "except" or "unless" on the type of people Jesus commands us to love. Anyone that says or demonstrates different is acting out of God's will.

          July 15, 2014 at 7:41 pm |
        • midwest rail

          Dala – agreed. Of course there are individuals (and individual churches) that are exceptions to today's norm, thankfully.

          July 15, 2014 at 8:03 pm |
        • Ruth The Antibabe

          Oh there is plenty of excepts. Women, slaves, gays, and members of more than one of those groups are all too aware of their lesser standings in Jesusland and according to supposedly Jesus-sanctioned text.Jesus was a mean beast, if you weren't part of his special team. You'd have to have a pretty twisted version of love to think otherwise, when you read up on it.

          July 15, 2014 at 8:05 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          I can see no exceptions. Women, slaves, and gays are Christians, too. The freely choose to be so.

          July 15, 2014 at 8:24 pm |
        • SeaVik

          "I can see no exceptions."

          Dala, you don't seem to be an extremist like Theo or some of the others, so although I don't agree with you, I don't think you're crazy like them. But you have to admit that there are many people who are driven to discriminate against gays and use Christianity as their excuse. Anyone who votes against the government recognizing gay marriage is a bigot and most of them are driven by religious views. That is only one of many examples of religious discrimination.

          July 15, 2014 at 8:44 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          I use Jesus as my ideal on how to love. I see many people, myself included, fail to live up to that ideal. It seems impossible to love how Jesus loves. I believe he actually said it is impossible without God.

          July 15, 2014 at 9:11 pm |
        • Ruth The Antibabe

          That is a VERY low ideal. Read up on the bible. It is downright demeaning to women lots and as usual has a male figurehead. No thanks. And says pretty awful things to do to gays. Frankly Jesus sucks hugely that way. An ideal? No friggin way.

          July 15, 2014 at 9:28 pm |
        • colin31714

          Yes, when not supporting the beating of slaves, violence toward non-believers and tearing families apart to keep his followers in line, Jesus was a real peach.

          July 15, 2014 at 9:54 pm |
        • observer

          truthfollower01,

          Why on stupidity can't you comprehend that all atheists have NOTHING in common besides believing that gods don't exist. Why is this beyond your mental capacity to understand?

          July 15, 2014 at 10:11 pm |
        • Doris

          observer: "on stupidity...."

          spot on...

          July 15, 2014 at 10:35 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          Observer,

          You need to understand that an atheistic view is a worldview that carries huge implications. On atheism, the universe and everything in is an accident. We would be accidents ourselves with no real purpose or meaning. Morality is whatever we want it to be. There is no hope in the end, just nothingness. Surely you see some of the huge implications of holding such a position.

          July 15, 2014 at 10:49 pm |
        • observer

          truthfollower01,

          On stupidity, people equate morality with Christianity no matter how TERRIBLE those "morals" can be.

          On stupidity, people actually think that atheism requires having no good morals. It is beyond their mental capacity to realize that people can feel that it is good for themselves and mankind to be considerate of each other REGARDLESS of whether there is a God peeking into windows or not.

          July 15, 2014 at 10:55 pm |
        • In Santa We Trust

          tf
          "... Morality is whatever we want it to be. There is no hope in the end, just nothingness. Surely you see some of the huge implications of holding such a position."

          You seem to be laboring under the misunderstanding that morals can only come from a god or the bible and that hope can only come from a god or the bible. Absolutely untrue.

          July 15, 2014 at 11:00 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          "On stupidity, people actually think that atheism requires having no good morals."

          Who determines what morals are "good" and "bad"? Let's say you think ra-pe is morally evil but someone else thinks it morally good. Who gets to define which view is right?

          "It is beyond their mental capacity to realize that people can feel that it is good for themselves and mankind to be considerate of each other REGARDLESS of whether there is a God peeking into windows or not."

          But what of the people who feels it's good for themselves to destroy other people and kill? Why are they wrong and you right?

          The answer is that on atheism, all views are equally authoritative.

          July 15, 2014 at 11:03 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          "You seem to be laboring under the misunderstanding that morals can only come from a god or the bible and that hope can only come from a god or the bible. Absolutely untrue."

          Can you elaborate on this more.

          July 15, 2014 at 11:07 pm |
        • observer

          truthfollower01

          On stupidity, all atheists views are equally authoritative. Actually, most atheists have the SAME moral views that our laws support as anyone else. EVERYONE has their own "morals" including Christians. WAKE UP.

          On stupidity, claiming that there are no morals for atheists is like saying that Fred Phelps represents all Christians.

          July 15, 2014 at 11:11 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          Observer,

          "Actually, most atheists have the SAME moral views that our laws support as anyone else."

          So are you saying that the whatever is lawful determines morality?

          "On stupidity, claiming that there are no morals for atheists"

          On atheism, moral goodness and moral evil are whatever you want them to be. If you want ra-pe to be morally good, then for you, it is morally good, and you’re not wrong! If the next day, you want ra-pe to be morally evil, then it is, and your not wrong! The same goes for child molestation, the Holocaust, and millions of other atrocities throughout history. On atheism, these things are whatever you want them to be morally. In God’s nature, a Christian can ground objective morality and say that things like child molestation and the Holocaust are objectively morally evil. The atheist has no grounds for objective morality which leads to game of, “Says who?”

          July 15, 2014 at 11:17 pm |
        • observer

          truthfollower01,

          On Christianity, if you are a good parent, you BEAT your helpless child with a rod for discipline.

          On Christianity, it's okay to SELL your 8-year-old daughter to a stranger for his use as a slave (if you follow God's word).

          On Christianity, believing in God can result in God watching your family and servants be MURDERED just so God can win a bet.

          Still waiting. Do you have any point?

          July 15, 2014 at 11:23 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          Observer,

          I see you didn't address my post. I think it's because there is no getting out of it. On atheism, morality is whatever you want it to be.

          It is nice to see that you have revamped your list somewhat, though I have addressed the Exodus 21:7 scenario multiple times and you keep repeating it.

          "Still waiting. Do you have any point?"

          Tell me why anything is morally good or evil aside from just giving me your personal opinion.

          July 15, 2014 at 11:32 pm |
        • observer

          truthfollower01,

          You still don't see any difference between the morals of an individual and the collective morals of a society. Any individual will have their own morals like the Christian priests who molest boys or the Christian ministers who molest their daughters or the Christian "MORALS" of Fred Phelps.

          The collective morals of atheists are probably nearly identical to the collective morals of Christians when it comes to murder, r@pe, theft, lying, etc. On stupidity, people aren't bright enough to figure that out.

          July 15, 2014 at 11:41 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          So are you saying you believe in a majority population vote determining morality?

          July 15, 2014 at 11:44 pm |
        • observer

          truthfollower01

          "It is nice to see that you have revamped your list somewhat, though I have addressed the Exodus 21:7 scenario multiple times and you keep repeating it."

          I keep repeating it because it is TRUE. God supported the selling of 6-year-old or 8-year-old or ANY age daughters to STRANGERS for their use as slaves. He gives the rules for how to TREAT those young girl slaves and NEVER EVER once says it's wrong to sell them. On stupidity, you can't comprehend what it says.

          July 15, 2014 at 11:45 pm |
        • observer

          truthfollower01

          "So are you saying you believe in a majority population vote determining morality?"

          Sometimes it happens. Like when women were given equal rights instead of what the Bible said. It happened when slaves were free over-ruling the Bible's support of slavery. It's just a matter of time until that happens for all gays, too.

          Fortunately, this nation is NOT run on laws generated from the Bible.

          July 15, 2014 at 11:49 pm |
        • Doris

          The question is a loaded question and tf knows it, tf because tf asks it that way nearly every night and it has been addressed many times before:

          When discussing the possible existence of objective (divine) "truths", truthfollower01 over and over appeals to his audience with Hitler and the story about the 9 year old molested Florida girl in an attempt to get the reader to agree to a non-qualifed value of "evil/incorrect/bad", as if this will lock in evidence of an objective "truth".

          Of course truthfollower01 is not interested in a subjective answer but only in getting the responder to commit to a value that he can then attempt to claim as objective. This is why he frequently asks – "is it wrong?" with no qualification that should be present for such an argument. If he explicitly asks qualifying with "objective", then he will have exposed himself as begging using objectivity in trying to demonstrate an instance of objectivity (which would look circularly foolish). He has to be disingenuous in trying to put the cart before the horse; to put an alleged divine "truth" in front of proving the source for it.

          @truthfollower01

          Prove that you do not just have a similar opinion that you have derived in the same subjective manner as atheists, only from something that only represents a claimed unsubstantiated source. Without such proof, we can only assume that you also arrive at your opinions, in whatever form you care to call them, subjectively.

          Prove that objective morality exists without resorting to subjective means. Can you do that? You know – demonstrate either your God or your direct connection to his "truths" without letting subjectivity enter the picture? We wouldn't want subjectivity tainting your demonstration of your direct connection to your god.

          July 15, 2014 at 11:53 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          "Of course truthfollower01 is not interested in a subjective answer"

          The whole point is that subjective answers are meaningless on morality. Its on par with thinking a bowl of cereal tastes good or bad. If you say, "no, morality carries more weight than the subjective taste of a bowl of cereal," it's only because you choose to give it more weight. You could choose to give more importance to the taste of the cereal and you wouldn't be wrong! It's crazy!

          July 16, 2014 at 12:02 am |
        • midwest rail

          After deflecting from the question, truthfollower returns over 3 hours later and still never addresses the question. I'm shocked.

          July 16, 2014 at 5:09 am |
      • SeaVik

        "Why, on atheism, is anything morally wrong or evil?"

        Morals have nothing to do with atheism or religion. Morals are a result of what we've evolved to believe to be the right way to live. We have evolved to have the emotion of empathy. Our instincts are such that we feel bad when other people are hurt and we try not to cause that to happen. It is my view and experience that atheists are generally more "moral" than religious people, probably because we are not hindered by some archaic views of right and wrong.

        July 15, 2014 at 8:41 pm |
        • kenmargo

          I don't think atheists are more moral than anyone else. Morals are based on your opinions, nothing else. (At least they should be)

          July 15, 2014 at 8:47 pm |
        • SeaVik

          "Morals are based on your opinions, nothing else."

          I would disagree with that. Morals are instinctual. We instinctively have a sense of empathy. However, parents, religion and society can adjust our views over time. Atheists simply have their natural instincts of empathy less-adjusted than religious people and so, generally are more moral. This, of course, is just my theory...

          July 15, 2014 at 8:51 pm |
        • kenmargo

          Morals are based on how YOU feel about a subject. Morally Bin Laden was correct about 9/11. IN HIS VIEW. And there are plenty that agree with him. Morally Bush was right to invade Iraq. IN HIS VIEW. And there are others that agree with him.

          "Morals are instinctual" I don't agree. Morals are a combination of what you're taught, feel and experience. If morals are instinctual people would know right from wrong.

          July 15, 2014 at 9:34 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          "Morals are a result of what we’ve evolved to believe to be the right way to live."

          And who says what is the right way to live?

          "Our instincts are such that we feel bad when other people are hurt and we try not to cause that to happen."

          And what of the person who doesn't feel this way? What of the person who thinks it morally good to cause pain and harm others? On atheism, why are they wrong?

          July 15, 2014 at 10:33 pm |
        • observer

          truthfollower01,

          What good are morals if the one giving them supports morals that most people consider to be awful like slavery and discrimination against women, gays and the handicapped, as well as beating children and slaves without punishment in some cases?

          July 15, 2014 at 10:37 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          Kenmargo,

          "I don’t think atheists are more moral than anyone else. Morals are based on your opinions, nothing else. (At least they should be)"

          On atheism, morality is whatever you want it to be. If you want ra-pe to be morally good, then for you, it is morally good, and you're not wrong! If the next day, you want ra-pe to be morally evil, then it is, and your not wrong! The same goes for child molestation, the Holocaust, and millions of other atrocities throughout history. On atheism, these things are whatever you want them to be morally. In God's nature, a Christian can ground objective morality and say that things like child molestation and the Holocaust are objectively morally evil. The atheist has no grounds for objective morality which leads to game of, "Says who?"

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

          truthfollower01,

          On Christianity, a rapist was FORCED to marry the victim. It doesn't get much more HEARTLESS than that.
          On Christianity, you are supposed to BEAT your helpless children for discipline.
          On Christianity, you could have your family and servants KILLED to let God win a bet with the devil.

          What was your point, if any?

          July 15, 2014 at 10:44 pm |
  17. Dalahäst

    "The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral,
    begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy.
    Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it.
    Through violence you may murder the liar,
    but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth.
    Through violence you may murder the hater,
    but you do not murder hate.
    In fact, violence merely increases hate.
    So it goes.
    Returning violence for violence multiplies violence,
    adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars.
    Darkness cannot drive out darkness:
    only light can do that.

    Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that."

    Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

    July 15, 2014 at 6:20 pm |
    • MidwestKen

      Well said, Dr King!

      July 15, 2014 at 6:27 pm |
    • Vic

      That is so profound and beautiful, and very relevant to this Blog post. Maybe that's a sage advice people in the Holy Land need to heed.

      Back in January, when I started reading the Blog post "The greatest MLK speeches you never heard"

      ["https://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2014/01/20/the-greatest-mlk-speeches-you-never-heard/"],

      I was stopped dead in my tracks by the pop quiz ""Can you name any of his great speeches or written works without citing "I Have a Dream" or the "Letter from Birmingham Jail"?"

      Later on, I believe you posted the line "Darkness cannot drive out darkness:only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that." from the above quote, and I thought it was beautiful. I also thought that the infamous "I Have a Dream" should've been made second to that.

      July 15, 2014 at 7:23 pm |
      • Dalahäst

        Yea, Romans 12:21 states it in another but very relevant way, too.

        July 15, 2014 at 7:26 pm |
      • Science Works

        But Vic – topher and fred might have a saddle for the beast eh ? And something about an ark no ?

        http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/07/15/the-changyuraptor-yang-a-125-million-years-old-flying-dinosaur-with-four-wings/

        July 15, 2014 at 8:24 pm |
  18. Dyslexic doG

    Why don't christians just pray for their god to stop any revenge attacks on them?

    Matthew 7:7 ”Ask, and it will be given to you seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.
    Matthew 21:22 And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.”
    Mark 11:24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.
    John 14:13-14 Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it

    seems pretty clear cut, eh?

    July 15, 2014 at 4:02 pm |
    • Theo Phileo

      Tell me, what does it mean to pray "In Jesus Name?"

      July 15, 2014 at 4:09 pm |
      • James XCIX

        Most Christians seem to think it means to end a prayer with "in Jesus's name we pray, amen"

        July 15, 2014 at 4:13 pm |
      • joey3467

        To me it means you are probably crazy.

        July 15, 2014 at 4:21 pm |
      • ausphor

        Theo
        Tell me what does it mean to pray In Zeus Name? Pray, prey great hom-ophones that the clergy love.

        July 15, 2014 at 4:39 pm |
    • kenmargo

      There's a reason some states allow guns in churches. Praying doesn't work.

      July 15, 2014 at 4:24 pm |
    • colin31714

      Indeed, DD. Image I built a golden calf. I put it on an altar and I assured everybody that if you prayed to it, it would answer your prayers. Now think about what would happen when people prayed to it. Most times what they asked for would not transpire. Every now and then, through sheer luck, it would, but, most often, prayer would fail.

      Now, if people doubted that my golden calf answered prayers, how would I respond? I bet I would say things like:

      1. The golden calf always answers prayers, it’s just that sometimes the answer is “no” or “not yet.”

      2. The golden calf moves in mysterious ways.

      3. The golden calf knows what is best for you. You should take into account the bigger picture.

      4. You should not question the golden calf.

      5. The golden calf gives us free will and how we exercise that free will is up to us.

      6. The golden calf is not just something where you can just pull a lever and he jumps through hoops for you.

      Now think about the excuses Christians give when God does not “answer prayers.” See any difference? Of course you don’t, because there isn’t any.

      July 15, 2014 at 5:47 pm |
      • djangoboy

        Well, at least you can SEE a golden calf.

        July 15, 2014 at 6:11 pm |
        • kenmargo

          LOL.

          July 15, 2014 at 6:15 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Can you see hope?

          July 15, 2014 at 6:22 pm |
        • kenmargo

          @dalah................It's one thing to have hope. At some point common sense and reality has to kick in.

          July 15, 2014 at 6:26 pm |
        • idiotusmaximus

          @dalah…………….It’s one thing to have hope. At some point common sense and reality has to kick in...

          Reality doesn't have to ever kick in....to know this is simple....just count the percentages of people that think there are such things as gods throughout the ages that have come and gone.

          July 16, 2014 at 9:21 am |
        • Dalahäst

          Common sense tells some people that life is hopeless.

          July 15, 2014 at 6:42 pm |
        • kenmargo

          That sounds suicidal. Maybe we're dealing with a mental issue when a person feels that way.

          July 15, 2014 at 6:49 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Definitely.

          July 15, 2014 at 6:56 pm |
        • djangoboy

          No, I can't SEE hope (that was a joke by the way). But then I don't worship hope, or pray to it in the hope that it will intervene in something or other, or believe that it inspired people to write down its thoughts and laws in a set of books that encapsulate truth for all eternity, or believe that it sent its son to redeem us from sin.

          And so on and so forth.

          July 15, 2014 at 7:30 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Where do you see hope? Where does your hope come from?

          July 15, 2014 at 7:38 pm |
  19. ausphor

    Chris, Theo, Vic
    Why can't we all just get along? Of course I don't mean everyone, just the different Christian sects. You all are so precious, can't really stand each other but will get in a defensive ring (much like Musk Ox) when attacked from an outside threat. Two billion of you that denounce one another's particular brand of delusion, hilarious.

    July 15, 2014 at 3:54 pm |
  20. neverbeenhappieratheist

    All the Palestinians need to do is proclaim their undying devotion to Jesus. Once we have hundreds of thousands of Christians being bombed in the most densely populated Christian nation in the world the US would step in to aid the Gaza strip and prevent further bombings. It's a win win. Of course they would have to give up their long held religious belief system, but that can't be too hard, right?

    July 15, 2014 at 1:37 pm |
    • ragansteve1

      I get teh sarcasm. But with this administration they would be more likely to get US aid by keeping their current religion.

      July 15, 2014 at 3:17 pm |
      • kenmargo

        Still bitter your great white dope, Mutt Romney lost huh?

        July 15, 2014 at 3:22 pm |
        • ragansteve1

          Nope. Just my opinion of the probability of President Obama's interest in Palestinians vs Jews and Christians. I am simply observing his behavior.

          July 15, 2014 at 3:41 pm |
        • kenmargo

          You could have done that without the back hand "He's a muslim" nonsense.

          July 15, 2014 at 3:48 pm |
        • ragansteve1

          Show me where I said or even implied he WAS a Muslim. I simply said he was more likely to favor them as they are rather than as Christians. I stand by that statement based upon his behavior and his rhetoric.

          July 15, 2014 at 3:59 pm |
        • LaBella

          Ragansteve, Ibama favors peace in the reagion. Too bad those you seem to support don't.

          July 15, 2014 at 4:18 pm |
        • LaBella

          *Obama

          July 15, 2014 at 4:20 pm |
        • kenmargo

          "But with this administration they would be more likely to get US aid by keeping their current religion."

          I guess you don't read what you write.

          How has Obama expressed anti christian rhetoric or behavior? He's more christian than those phony azz republicans claim to be.

          July 15, 2014 at 4:20 pm |
        • ragansteve1

          Well, at the risk of being mocked again (I'm getting used to it), I will give you a couple of examples. The argument is not worth much more than that.

          (1) His rhetoric includes such saying as "They cling to their religion, Bible and Guns" in a setting and manner that clearly shows disdain for the Christians of whom he speaks.
          (2) He goes to the Middle East and apologizes for America to several Islamic nations and ignores our closest ally in the region.
          (3) And, most recently, he moves heaven and earth (excuse my lapse here, I know you don't believe in heaven) to get an alleged deserter released even though there are credible reports that that deserter has converted to Islam, but practically ignores a Marine stuck in a Mexican prison for making a wrong turn.

          Now, those are just a couple of the pieces of rhetoric and behaviors that I base my opinion on. Let me emphasize that it is MY OPINION. I wouldn't want anyone to conclude that I know anything about or am an authority on any of the issues beyond what everyone else can read and watch on TV.

          Now if there were only one of these examples, indeed if there were only these three, I would not have come to the conclusion I did. But there are many more, and if you count the people in his administration and what they have done and said, I doubt i could write out all the examples. So, whatever you think of the individual examples above, the pattern of rhetoric and behavior tells the tale.

          July 15, 2014 at 7:34 pm |
        • ragansteve1

          LaBella, We all favor peace in the region. I imagine both the Palestinians (including Hamas) and the Jewish people favor peace. There will likely never be peace in the region until that event occurs in which you do not believe. The reason is that the hatred goes back literally thousands of years. And the battle is really over land and water.

          It is now we get to peace that is the problem. Israel wants to be recognized as a nation with a right to exist. The Palestinians and especially Hamas and their brethren to the north will not grant that recognition. In return, every few years when the rocketing and killing gets too severe, Israel retaliates. And that sets off another cycle.

          So, we can all favor peace as much as we want. But getting there is not likely any time soon. The decision to be made, and Israel has made their part of it, is whether Israel will continue to exist. I believe it probably will, but peace will not.

          July 15, 2014 at 7:45 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.