World Cup final: It's Pope versus Pope
Pope Francis looks pretty confident, don't ya think?
July 9th, 2014
12:51 PM ET

World Cup final: It's Pope versus Pope

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Editor

[twitter-follow screen_name='BurkeCNN']

(CNN)– Will the World Cup final become a "Holy War"?

At the very least, Sunday's match could put millions of Catholics - not to mention Vatican employees - in a bit of a bind.

Will they root for Argentina, the homeland of Pope Francis, who is known to be an ardent soccer aficionado? Or will they back Germany, the native country of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, also a football fan?

And what about the Big Referee Upstairs? Whose prayers will he heed when the game is on the line?

Germany reached the final match on Tuesday by blowing out Brazil, the host country. Argentina beat the Netherlands on Wednesday afternoon.

Of course, both Popes (not to mention God) have more important things on their minds. But the pontiffs have also said that sports can be more than fun and games.

"The sport of football can be a vehicle of education for the values of honesty, solidarity and fraternity, especially for the younger generation," Benedict told Italy's Gazzetta dello Sport newspaper back in 2008.

His successor, Francis has echoed those remarks, and even promised not to pray for Argentina.

But a Catholic who met Pope Francis this week to discuss more serious matters said that the pontiff seemed to be secretly pulling for his home team.

"He absolutely wants for Argentina to win," Peter Saunders, a victim of sexual abuse from England who met Francis on Monday, told the Boston Globe. "He didn’t say it out loud, but you could see it in his eyes, he’s a closet fan."

And earlier this month, before Argentina played Switzerland, Francis jokingly told his Swiss Guards, "It's going to be war!"

It will be interesting to see what the Vatican says about the Argentina-Germany matchup. The men are known to be close, with Francis saying he and Benedict "are brothers."

Maybe the "brothers" will put a little wager on the high-stakes soccer match, or maybe this just means that God has a really good sense of humor.

On Thursday, Vatican spokesman Rev. Federico Lombardi dashed hopes for a World Cup papal watch party, but left often the possibility that something could be afoot.

"We'll see in the coming days," Lombardi told reporters.



- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Argentina • Brazil • Catholic Church • Church and state • Pope Benedict XVI • Pope Francis • Social media • Sports • Vatican

soundoff (661 Responses)
  1. unsername1

    Muslim terrorist group ISIS are telling Iraqi Christians to become muslims, pay taxes, or die and there is no story on BB!! what is going on, did Daniel get fired for Pope story or BELIEF blog filed for the bankruptcy?

    July 18, 2014 at 8:44 pm |
  2. His Panic

    Well the WC2014 is way over now. Is time to get back to baseball, because really this like... ZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

    July 18, 2014 at 11:43 am |
    • realbuckyball

      So you get panicky with nothing to panic about too ? A bit of a drama queen, I see.

      July 18, 2014 at 9:19 pm |
  3. Doris

    Arizona politician mistakes a bus full of YMCA kids for undocumented immigrants

    (Washington Post 07/16/14 by Abby Phillip)

    Arizona state Rep. and 1st district congressional candidate Adam Kwasman (R) rushed to the scene in Oracle, Ariz., on Tuesday to participate in protests against housing some of the thousands of undocumented immigrant children who have come across the border in recent weeks in a facility nearby. Kwasman was in the middle of a fiery speech about "Lady Justice" when he spotted a yellow school bus and dashed off with the protesters to greet it. He snapped a picture which he tweeted with he message "Bus coming in. This is not compassion. This is the abrogation of the rule of law." "I was able to actually see some of the children in the buses and the fear on their faces. This is not compassion," Kwasman told 12 News reporter Brahm Resnik. There was just one problem: Those weren't undocumented kids. They were YMCA campers from the Marana Arizona school district.


    July 16, 2014 at 8:08 pm |
    • LaBella

      Stupid git.
      I hope he's shown the sane compassion by getting thoroughly trounced at the ballot box.

      July 16, 2014 at 8:21 pm |
    • His Panic

      That was close to a riot, a brawl even an stampede. His anxiety lead the poor miserable guy to mass hysteria and the end result was a state of Panic. That will happen to people who DO NOT Trust in God and in Jesus Christ God's Only Son. It will happen to you too Doris, is just a matter of time, and you know it has happen before.

      July 18, 2014 at 11:48 am |
      • Doris

        It was the typical right-wing shenanigans that seems right at home with many of those who practice the faith through fear concept, dufus. There's your real panic – all the way back to Justin Martyr telling people 'Satan did it! Her performed plagiarism in reverse time order to confuse you! Submit of the Lord of perish!'.

        July 19, 2014 at 11:51 am |
  4. Doris

    Nonprofit loses grant over gay marriage stance

    [from Catholic Campaign for Human Development, via U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops]

    The AP article is at the Washington Post:


    It will be interesting to hear what the new Pope has to say about this if and when he weighs in...

    July 16, 2014 at 3:06 pm |
    • LaBella

      The Conference of Catholic Bishops are used to secrecy; I'm sure they're shocked the media found out.

      July 16, 2014 at 5:54 pm |
      • realbuckyball

        Sorry. They're now known as the National Conference for Pedophile Protection.
        Three more of them exposed : http://minnesota.publicradio.org/collections/catholic-church/

        July 16, 2014 at 10:55 pm |
  5. lunchbreaker

    I still fail to see the reason for such a heated debate on evolution by any theist.

    1st, despite the constant use of the "True Scottsman" falacy, the evolution debate is NOT a Christian vs. atheist debate.

    I will repeat for clarity:

    the evolution debate is NOT a Christian vs. atheist debate.

    Evolution is not believed exclusively by atheists.

    Evolution does not disprove Christianity.

    So why care so much? The real question you should ask yourself is this "If I found evolution to be possible, would that weaken my faith?" For many Christians, especially those who do believe in evolution, the answer is no.

    July 16, 2014 at 11:32 am |
    • Alias

      It doesn't bother most christians. It is the ones who think the earth is only a few thousand years old that cannot reconcile science to their interpretation of the bible.

      July 16, 2014 at 11:59 am |
    • realbuckyball

      In the US, there is very little knowledge concerning all the various forms of literature used in the assembly of the Bible : allegory, poetry, myth etc etc. Americans value "facts" and "literalism". The ancients transmitted *truth* by myth, and the word had no pejorative connotation. Today "myth" (as Rudolph Bultman discussed in "Jesus Christ and Mythology") has a negative connotation. For some, if it's "not literally true" it contains no truth", (which of course is ignorance of literature in general, adn also very childish). Thus Evolution poses a threat to those who *need* something to be literally true, for them to value it.

      July 16, 2014 at 2:20 pm |
    • Rynomite

      Well evolution requires death for it to occur. Perceptive Christians (are there any?) would recognize that if the theory of evolution is correct (which it is) then the concept of original sin is invalidated as death would have occurred before the fall. That in turn means that Jesus died on the cross for ....nothing. The whole religion is unraveled (as it should be).

      July 18, 2014 at 3:28 pm |
  6. Reality

    Before commenting on evolution, it is necessary to have the proper background information. For anyone interested in the subject, here is a great place to start: http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/article/evo_01

    July 16, 2014 at 6:39 am |
  7. awanderingscot

    "..it still takes 10 million years to undergo 1% change in DNA base sequences...the emergence of nearly all of the extant phyla of the Kingdom Animalia within the time span of 6-10 million years can't possibly be explained by mutational divergence of individual gene functions." – Susumo Ohno, The Notion of the Cambrian pananimalia genome, 1996

    – and so explaining the 'Cambrian Explosion' still remains a mystery to the evolutionist cult.

    July 15, 2014 at 10:32 pm |
    • In Santa We Trust

      Quote mining for concerns about evolution and quoting them out of context does nothing to undermine evolution as there is so much evidence is it established as fact; some mechanisms may not be fully understood but the evidence is overwhelming. Not only does it not undermine evolution it does absolutely nothing to support creationism.

      July 15, 2014 at 10:43 pm |
      • awanderingscot

        And the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains, and said to the mountains and rocks, "Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?" – Revelation 6:15-17, NKJV

        – the intellectual 'elite' who have perpetuated this evil myth called evolution will be among those trying to hide themselves in the day of His wrath, but to no avail.

        July 15, 2014 at 10:55 pm |
        • In Santa We Trust

          If you prefer Bronze Age knowledge, why do you even have a computer?

          July 15, 2014 at 10:56 pm |
        • awanderingscot

          true knowledge is timeless.

          July 15, 2014 at 11:18 pm |
        • evidencenot

          In your case that would be "knowledge" of mythology.

          July 16, 2014 at 8:59 am |
      • awanderingscot

        atheists here don't have to provide actual evidence to support their ideology but rather rely on a cultural stereotype to shut off all criticism of their ideology as I've proven (to myself mostly) in these past days. their ideology and philosophy thrives because of this and because it hides in the obscurity of lengthy academic books and papers, big words and such. i'm not fooled in the least by the claims of "mountains of evidence".

        July 15, 2014 at 11:17 pm |
        • Doris

          Snotty: "...as I've proven (to myself mostly)..."

          LLLL OOOOOO LLLLLLL !!!!!!!!!

          July 15, 2014 at 11:20 pm |
        • hal 9001

          I shall assume by your reply, "Doris", that you wish to submit your partial quote from "awanderingscot" as a 2014 BB Comedy Gold Award nomination.

          July 15, 2014 at 11:24 pm |
        • realbuckyball

          Last week or so, Snotty was asking if the reason some non-believers were here was to undermine the faith of believers. As you see, he perceives science as a threat to his very weak faith. If he were to admit Evolution was true, his Jebus would fall flat, as his faith is very weak. it's founded on a literal Babble. How would YOU like to live with the most important delusion of your entire life threatened by a few facts ? He knows what's at stake.

          July 15, 2014 at 11:27 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          "as I've proven (to myself mostly)"

          Proof that Scotty live in a world of its own without a care for anyone or anything...such a lonely delusional life it lives.

          July 16, 2014 at 7:34 am |
        • In Santa We Trust

          I gave you a link to one on evolution.

          July 16, 2014 at 9:56 am |
  8. Doris

    Gotta run but there are some Scotty types arguing up a storm over on this article (via DISCUS):


    July 15, 2014 at 7:10 pm |
  9. colin31714

    Dan Burke – time for a new article, isn't it? I mean, we believers and atheist need to have a new article to make exactly the same arguments and counter arguments to each other under, don't we?

    July 15, 2014 at 2:29 pm |
    • bostontola


      July 15, 2014 at 2:41 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG


      July 15, 2014 at 5:30 pm |
    • Science Works

      New story – a Governor tells a whole state to repent – now that is crazy !!!


      July 15, 2014 at 5:54 pm |
      • colin31714

        Wow, just wow. And then they get offended when people say they are batsh.it crazy

        July 15, 2014 at 5:56 pm |
        • Science Works

          And he doubled down on the batsh-it crazy and used the capital to announce it. Talk about flipping the finger at the
          consti-tution eh ?

          July 15, 2014 at 6:09 pm |
  10. Alias

    Ladies and gentlemen,
    This blog has degraded to the point where there is nothing happening except a debate about evolution with a brain damaged scot, who we all be feeling sorry for.
    For the sake of decency, let’s all turn off our computers and go outside.
    At least for a few minutes, if not until CNN posts a fresh article from someone trying to sell books.

    July 15, 2014 at 1:44 pm |
    • awanderingscot

      oh please do, take your marbles and go home; then perhaps there might be an opportunity for a rational discussion here on this blog. how is a few less arrogant, ignorant hatethists going to negatively impact this blog anyway.

      July 15, 2014 at 2:10 pm |
      • Alias

        You suggest that I am personally preventing a rational discussion on this blog. Stop, you flatter me.

        Allow me to offer a bit of friendly advice that me father once offered to me when I was growing up:
        If either you are wrong or everyone else is, you should take a hard look at yourself before criticizing everyone else.

        July 15, 2014 at 2:25 pm |
      • neverbeenhappieratheist

        That's it scot! If you can't beat us with rational arguments then just shout louder and more often and maybe you can drown us out with the incessant droning of your uneducated ideological rants! It would be brilliant if it wasn't just so lame and overused by the morons in society.

        July 15, 2014 at 2:54 pm |
      • igaftr

        "there might be an opportunity for a rational discussion here on this blog"

        There are already many good discussion...just not with you. From your posts, no one can have a rational anything with you.

        July 15, 2014 at 3:35 pm |
    • observer


      Good idea.

      Let the child play in the sandbox.

      July 15, 2014 at 2:27 pm |
    • TruthPrevails1

      As cheaply entertaining as it to play in to the moron's little games, I suggest we simply ignore it. He's not looking for debate, this is giving him some cheap delusional thrill. He has a heart of stone and a brain to match. His only care is the brownie points he thinks his imaginary friend gives him for being an ass to people. If heaven were real and filled with people like that, I'd want no part of it.

      July 15, 2014 at 2:27 pm |
  11. bostontola

    I'd hate to see the behavior of one Scot impugn the reputation of the Scottish, so don't forget that Lord Kelvin, Adam Smith, David Hume, Alexander Fleming, Robert Watson-Watt, Arthur Conan Doyle, and Robert Burns were great Scottish thinkers. I guess someone had to inhabit the other end of the spectrum to tame the average.

    July 15, 2014 at 1:24 pm |
    • hal 9001

      I'm sorry, "bostontola", but "awanderingscot", is not Scottish, but is, in fact, Snottish.

      July 15, 2014 at 1:28 pm |
    • observer

      Maybe he's just the latest name for the wacko of dozens of names on here.

      July 15, 2014 at 1:31 pm |
    • igaftr

      Scot is his first name, I do not know his heritage, but his last name is English.

      July 15, 2014 at 1:33 pm |
    • bostontola

      Whatever his background, the point remains. Sadly, he anchors the low end of the scale for that group.

      July 15, 2014 at 1:37 pm |
    • awanderingscot

      ahh.. .got the panties in a wad did we? the embarrassing gap in the fossil record has you shedding crocodile tears? and now you're snapping like a little turtle hoping to bite off a chunk of flesh. i am laughing at you.

      July 15, 2014 at 1:46 pm |
      • bostontola

        You laughing at me makes it all alright. I'd only be worried if you ever agreed, then I would have to reexamine my position. You are a comp[ass that points south.

        July 15, 2014 at 1:57 pm |
        • observer


          Do you see any difference in the lack of intelligence and maturity in awanderingscot and the wacko of dozens of names from the recent past? VERY similar. TOO similar.

          July 15, 2014 at 2:03 pm |
        • awanderingscot

          well now, we would not want for you to struggle with a reexamination of you dogmatic position would we?

          July 15, 2014 at 2:05 pm |
        • bostontola

          Any position dogmatic or not. You not only fail to grasp simple points, you are dishonest and worse impugn honest people. You are an embarrassment to humanity, not just Christianity.

          July 15, 2014 at 2:09 pm |
        • awanderingscot

          says the potentate Bostonola!

          July 15, 2014 at 2:31 pm |
        • bostontola

          No. Just read the comments on this page directed at you. Both Christians and non-Christians saw your lies and libelous statements and called you on it. Your behavior is atrocious, you are dishonest, and that is how people from all sides view you. You should really get help.

          July 15, 2014 at 2:37 pm |
        • awanderingscot

          Now since you have made the accusation, what lie ? and what libelous statement?

          July 15, 2014 at 4:31 pm |
        • igaftr

          You have been lying since you got here. Your constant name calling IS bearing false witness, which is lying.

          When you say things like "you are an apologist for the cult of evolution."
          You are lying twice in one sentence, and three if your name calling is also not true.

          Do you not know what a lie is scot? Considering how often you do it, I am surprised you do not know that is what yo are doing.

          There are no apologicts for evolution. Evolution is not a cult

          When you misrepresent peoples statements, it is lying by omission ...did you look at the Gould article I gave you to read, so you can see the full context of that Gould quote you think bolsters your argument? I seriously doubt it, because if you did, you certainly would not use it.

          He addresses you in the article scot...you should read it.

          July 15, 2014 at 5:18 pm |
        • bostontola

          What libelous lies?

          Repeated from just yesterday:

          The wanderingscot preaches Christianity. If I were Christian, I would consider him an embarrassment and would wish he went away. He directly lies and even worse, the lies are libelous, smearing the character of people doing honest work.
          Evidence from his posts:
          Referring to Darwin – "by his own admission he was totally wrong"
          Archaeopteryx – a forgery, feather imprinted in wet cement on slab and counterslab
          Australopithecus afarensis – "Lucy", another thoroughly discredited hoax, a modern version Piltdown man.
          This is reprehensible behavior that should be shunned by all honest people.

          To the factual part of his assertions:
          Archaeopteryx has a number of fossils found by different people. Was there a conspiracy as well? More important, there are dozens of dinosaur fossils species found now that had feathers (Psittacosaurus, Anchiornis, Confuciusornis, Sinornis, Ichthyornis, and many more). Not only that, there is a clear progression of feather development in those fossils. The oldest and most primitive feathers have integumentary structures that are seen in the dorsal spines of reptiles and fish. The feathers of later dinosaur species evolve step by step into feathers that are structured very similar to flying birds today.

          Tiktaalik – no feet, no legs. not like the dumb evolution symbol of a fish with legs and feet
          The actual story of this fossil also is best looked at as one step in a sequence. It had bones in it's fins that are in between normal fin bones nad feet/hand bones. It also had ears that were structured to work above and below the surface of the water. Most important, it had a neck. Right after that a new species evolved, Acanthostega. It had legs/feet but kept it's gills and tail fin for swimming. After that another species evolved, Ichthyostega. It had bones with strong shoulders which allows it support itself outside the buoyancy of water.

          The sad part is, not only are there transitional species, there is a progression of fossil species that trace the evolution between fish to amphibians, amphibians to reptiles, reptiles to flying reptiles, reptiles to aquatic reptiles (reptilian version of whales/dolphins), reptiles to birds, reptiles to land mammals, and land mammals to whales/dolphins.

          wanderingscot's accusations of forgery, and hoaxes is just like any other conspiracy theorist. They have beliefs in imaginary things so powerful, that it is easy to imagine these conspiracies. It does harm when it impugns the reputation of honest people.

          July 14, 2014 at 3:43 pm

          July 15, 2014 at 6:56 pm |
      • Science Works

        Hey Scot
        science fiction at it's best scot !


        July 15, 2014 at 5:27 pm |
  12. observer


    Here's a quote from Steven J. Gould whose words you TRUST and RESPECT enough to quote many times.

    “It is infuriating to be quoted again and again by creationists — whether through design or STUPIDITY, I do not know — as admitting that the fossil record includes no transitional forms. Transitional forms are generally lacking at the species level, but they are abundant between larger groups.”

    July 15, 2014 at 12:30 pm |
    • awanderingscot

      "Transitional forms are generally lacking at the species level, but they are abundant between larger groups.”

      – so tell me, if you are able, exactly what this means.

      July 15, 2014 at 12:54 pm |
      • igaftr

        It means exactly what it says, why, does it mean something different to you?

        July 15, 2014 at 12:59 pm |
        • awanderingscot

          ducking and dodging, bobbing and weaving ... it's amusing how the hatetheist cultists can't articulate what one their god's has said, but instead resort to obfuscation. .. LOL so much fun.

          July 15, 2014 at 1:33 pm |
        • igaftr

          I didn't duck a thing. I said it means exactly what it says. It is clear English.

          What do you think it means?
          try reading the ENTIRE article the quote is from and then see if you have a comment.

          July 15, 2014 at 1:36 pm |
        • evidencenot

          Believers like snotty are so used to interpreting and re-interpreting the mythology in their babble book, it's no surprise when they attempt to twist the meaning of a plain. simple direct statement. Lets all play the word twisting context game!...

          July 16, 2014 at 9:05 am |
      • Doris

        No one's here to play you silly little games, Snotty. As I see it, you're the one crying like a baby because the rest of the world doesn't buy into your delusion. Present your peer-reviewed paper on why evolution is false and then maybe you'll garner some kind of respect. Until then no one needs to be quizzed by a dishonest troll who has only proven himself capable of misrepresenting nearly everyone referenced in attempts to support his silly arguments.

        July 15, 2014 at 1:07 pm |
        • igaftr

          He still thinks he's winning arguments, otherwise he would have started with the name calling. He didn't respond when I asked if he learned to childishly name call from Jesus.

          July 15, 2014 at 1:11 pm |
        • Doris

          In a way, it's a boon to atheists if a young person these days were to take someone like scot even half seriously. Because many of the young kids I know seem to despise willful scientific ignorance in people much more than various forms of spirituality.

          July 15, 2014 at 1:20 pm |
        • Doris

          "were to take someone like scot even half seriously"

          and by this I mean if they were to even give him the time of day...lol..

          July 15, 2014 at 1:21 pm |
      • observer


        "Transitional forms are generally lacking at the species level, but they are abundant between larger groups.”

        Which English words don't you understand? Use a dictionary on all the words that STUMP you.

        Apparently your quotes out of context are what your man Steven Gould referred to as from STUPIDITY.


        July 15, 2014 at 1:13 pm |
        • awanderingscot

          ducking and dodging .. bobbing and weaving ... lol

          July 15, 2014 at 2:15 pm |
      • Doc Vestibule

        Didn't you learn about Linnaean taxonomy in junior high?

        July 15, 2014 at 1:36 pm |
        • awanderingscot

          don't assume that his system of classification of plants and animals had ANYTHING to do with evolution, he never ever professed a belief in this myth. what's your point?

          July 15, 2014 at 2:13 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          Linneaus pre-dates Darwin – so no, he didn't have any opinion regarding evolution.
          Your question was what did Gould mean when he said:
          " Transitional forms are generally lacking at the species level, but they are abundant between larger groups.”

          Larger groups = taxonomic ranks.
          Genus, family, order, class, phylum etc.

          Tiktaalik, which I mentioned earlier and you summarily dismissed as "just another fish", is such an example – it is the common ancestor of various phyla, including amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals.

          July 15, 2014 at 2:20 pm |
        • colin31714

          awanderingscott- this is where you make like that retarded guy Peter Griffin on The Family Guy works with and run away mumbling, "the Bible says so, the Bible says so"

          July 15, 2014 at 2:27 pm |
        • awanderingscot

          "it is the common ancestor of various phyla, including amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals."
          ok.. well i don't believe Linnaeus or any of his disciples grouped the phyla in such a way, at least not according to anything I've read; however, where is the proof that this creature is the progenitor of amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals? Do you or does anyone have empirical evidence of this? Or is this yet another untested and unobserved hypotheses?

          July 15, 2014 at 2:54 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          If you want a fast overview of Tiktaalik and it's place in evolutionary history, you can visit http://tiktaalik.uchicago.edu/meetTik.html

          July 15, 2014 at 3:04 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          The phylum is Chordata – amphibians, mammals, etc. classes of said phylum.

          July 15, 2014 at 3:06 pm |
        • In Santa We Trust

          "Or is this yet another untested and unobserved hypotheses?"

          Yet you have no problem with your untested and unobserved god hypothesis.

          July 15, 2014 at 4:46 pm |
        • Science Works

          Hey scot HOW is your tail hanging again ?


          July 15, 2014 at 5:40 pm |
        • realbuckyball

          and mammals."
          "ok.. well i don't believe Linnaeus or any of his disciples grouped the phyla in such a way, at least not according to anything I've read; however, where is the proof that this creature is the progenitor of amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals? Do you or does anyone have empirical evidence of this? Or is this yet another untested and unobserved hypotheses?"

          You see, Old Snotty, there's this here new-fangled thang. It's called "dee enn aye". That's right. DNA. There's your proof. Every scientist and law court in the world accepts it's validity. It also PROVES Evolution to be true. I realize there's not a lot to copy-paste on you Creationist web site, but maybe you could get "DNA for Dummies", and learn something new. Snce everything you quote is practically ANCIENT, I do see your problem. They may have that book in your Nursing Home library.

          July 15, 2014 at 5:49 pm |
    • igaftr

      read that quote in all of it's context. Gould is clearly baffled by creationists and anti-evolutionists, is obviously aware that they misquote, mis-represent and create straw men to make there nonsensical arguments.

      Go ahead and read the ENTIRE thing if you want to understand what he was saying.
      Don't just read it scot...try to comprehend it. I doubt you will use him as one of your quote mines after you really read it.


      July 15, 2014 at 1:30 pm |
  13. lunchbreaker

    Just out of curiosity Scot, how do you handle a discussion with a Christian who also believes in evolution? Would you call a fellow Christian a liar or a cultist? Given your name I'm kind of hoping you use the "True Scottsman" fallacy. I would find that funny.

    July 15, 2014 at 10:43 am |
    • awanderingscot

      "..innumerable transitional forms must have existed but why do we not find them embedded in the countless numbers in the crust of the earth? ..why is not every geological formation and every stratum full of such intermediate links?" – Charles Darwin, Origin of the Species

      July 15, 2014 at 10:53 am |
      • Dyslexic doG

        I am yet to hear an evolutionary biologist claim that they accept Darwin's Theory of Evolution because:

        1. They had an experience one day and now feel "born again" after Charles came into their lives.

        2. Evolution is written about in a 2,000 year old book of late Bronze Age and Greco-Roman Jewish mythology.

        3. It makes them moral and good.

        4. "Well, how else could it have happened."

        I guess we rational people just hold ourselves to a higher standard than the sky-fairy believers.

        – Colin

        July 15, 2014 at 12:12 pm |
      • MidwestKen

        Please stop quote mining.

        1) Darwin is 150 years out of date.
        2) if you kept reading, darwin goes on to explain his answer to his rhetorical question.

        July 15, 2014 at 12:41 pm |
        • awanderingscot

          you say "rhetorical", those are not his words. you say so because you are an apologist for the cult of evolution.

          July 15, 2014 at 1:27 pm |
        • Doris

          Apologist?? lol. Did you how some of Christianity's earliest apologists like Justin Martyr, defended claims against the Gospels, Snotty? Well, they claimed that the devil was able to perform plagiarism in reverse time order, in attempts to confuse the faithful. Imagine that – what a great defense for they shaky stories. Isn't that a hoot!

          July 15, 2014 at 1:34 pm |
        • Doris

          excuse me... for their shaky stories....

          July 15, 2014 at 1:36 pm |
        • MidwestKen

          Do you understand what 'rhetorical' means?

          July 15, 2014 at 1:56 pm |
      • alonsoquixote

        awanderingscot, you quoted a question from Darwin's On the Origin of Species By Means of Natural Selection:

        "why is not every geological formation and every stratum full of such intermediate links"

        On the Origin of Species By Means of Natural Selection is freely available for download in various formats through Project Gutenberg, which makes out-of-copyright works available to be read online or downloaded in a variety of formats. Since that question occurs in chapter 9 of the work, you can view just that chapter at http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/origin/chapter9.html. For a full understanding of his answer you would need to at least read that chapter of his book, but I'll include just a few sentences below to give you a notion of how he addresses the question.

        The explanation lies, as I believe, in the extreme imperfection of the geological record. ... No organism wholly soft can be preserved. Shells and bones will decay and disappear when left on the bottom of the sea, where sediment is not acc_umulating. ... Consequently formations rich in fossils and sufficiently thick and extensive to resist subsequent degradation, may have been formed over wide spaces during periods of subsidence, but only where the supply of sediment was sufficient to keep the sea shallow and to embed and preserve the remains before they had time to decay. ... Thus the geological record will almost necessarily be rendered intermittent. I feel much confidence in the truth of these views, for they are in strict accordance with the general principles inculcated by Sir C. Lyell; and E. Forbes independently arrived at a similar conclusion. ... I look at the natural geological record, as a history of the world imperfectly kept, and written in a changing dialect; of this history we possess the last volume alone, relating only to two or three countries. Of this volume, only here and there a short chapter has been preserved; and of each page, only here and there a few lines. Each word of the slowly-changing language, in which the history is supposed to be written, being more or less different in the interrupted succession of chapters, may represent the apparently abruptly changed forms of life, entombed in our consecutive, but widely separated formations. On this view, the difficulties above discussed are greatly diminished, or even disappear

        It is a rhetorical question, since paleontologists would not expect to find fossils in igneous nor metamorphic rocks nor even in all sedimentary rock formations, which are the only type likely to contain fossils.

        On the Origin of Species was published on November 24, 1859. That is almost 155 years ago. Since Darwin's time many more fossils have been found with many intermediate links identified by paleontologists. There have been tremendous strides in biology, genetics, geology, paleontology, etc. since 1859.

        July 15, 2014 at 8:36 pm |
    • awanderingscot

      Real Christians believe the bible, not the theory of a cult called evolution.

      July 15, 2014 at 10:55 am |
      • LaBella

        Now you are going to be the expert on who is a"real Christian?"
        You're not. You speak only for yourself!
        This. Here. This is a person who understands Jesus.

        July 15, 2014 at 10:59 am |
        • awanderingscot

          in case you haven't figured it out, i'm ignoring you troll.

          July 15, 2014 at 11:33 am |
        • LaBella

          I'm not a troll.
          But you are extremely ignorant of what you attempt to speak of.
          You are here to do one thing: lie and make inflammatory statements to elicit strong reactions from the posters.
          You are the very definition of a troll.

          I also follow Jesus. You do not.
          You speak for yourself. Make that clear in your ridiculous, lying posts, okay?

          July 15, 2014 at 11:57 am |
        • igaftr

          In case you haven't figured it out yet...when you tell someone you are ignoring them, you aren't ignoring them.

          July 15, 2014 at 12:04 pm |
        • awanderingscot

          "I also follow Jesus. You do not" ahhhaaaahaaaahaaaahaaaa! you believe evolution too right? LOL

          July 15, 2014 at 12:52 pm |
        • LaBella

          Jesus and evolution are not contrary to each other; you are just uneducated, and you show it every post you make regarding Jesus AND evolution.
          Just keep proving it. You're doing a fine job of showing what a foolish person you are.

          July 15, 2014 at 12:56 pm |
        • LaBella

          And aren't you supposedly ignoring me? Or did you just lie? Again?

          July 15, 2014 at 12:59 pm |
        • awanderingscot

          You're a graceless professor who doesn't know the least thing about Jesus; in fact you're a heretic and a disgrace to Christ.

          July 15, 2014 at 1:21 pm |
        • awanderingscot

          isn't that right "LaBella" aka Akira, the fake.

          July 15, 2014 at 1:22 pm |
        • Doris

          And I'm Brienne of Tarth.

          Now let's get back to reality – you're a troll. And you very well could be a poe.

          July 15, 2014 at 1:23 pm |
        • Doris

          (my last reply of course to Snotty)

          July 15, 2014 at 1:24 pm |
        • Doris

          Prove it's Akira, Snotty. Let's see how long this takes you.........

          July 15, 2014 at 1:26 pm |
        • LaBella

          I am Akira.
          I had my entire account and all my posts deleted from the BB by some vindictive person, Scot. Would you know anything about that?

          You are a liar and a hypocrite. A poser. A Pharisee.
          Now go learn something. Christianity and science are not at odds with each other. Abject ignorance is at odds with science, though. You illustrate that superbly.

          July 15, 2014 at 2:31 pm |
        • LaBella

          Hey, Doris, it's really me.
          As I explained above, someone deleted me completely off of the BB.
          No, Mr. Burke and WP didn't ban me; I was erased.

          I find it astounding he can deduce that it's me, (if nothing else, to start calling me names, lol) but cannot recognize the dishonesty of misrepresenting people.

          July 15, 2014 at 2:54 pm |
        • awanderingscot

          "and He answered and said to them, "Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,"

          – does this sound like Jesus was teaching evolution? you might actually try reading the bible for yourself sometime.

          July 15, 2014 at 3:58 pm |
        • LaBella

          You do realize that evolution encompasses a wide variety of things, right, Scot?
          Study something other than the Book that you fail miserably to live by.
          They're only incompatible because you want it to be.

          July 15, 2014 at 4:30 pm |
        • Doris

          Oh sorry to hear that, Akira. I remember not long ago, and I think it was you, you were going to write Daniel about the strange (uneven) manner in which video posts were being removed. So I am surprised now that there was an issue with your account. Very unsettling.

          July 15, 2014 at 5:16 pm |
        • LaBella

          Yes, it was. It was about 2 days after I have sent Mr. Burke those emails that I was erased. I say that because every post I had written disappeared. Like I never even existed.
          You can see in threads where people were talking to me...but my posts just disappeared.
          So, yeah. Unsettling, indeed. Mr. Burke said it wasn't a BB issue. WP said the same thing. So....?


          July 15, 2014 at 8:58 pm |
      • igaftr

        Christianity is the cult, based on a fictional work of men with not one shred of evidence of any of the supernatural claims.

        On the other hand, the fact that evolution has continued and will continue shows just how wrong belief in that man made book really is.
        There are literal mountains of evidence showing that evolution is fact.
        You can tilt at that windmill all you want, it doesn;t make your god hypothesis any less ludacris.

        July 15, 2014 at 11:03 am |
      • observer


        "Real Christians believe the bible"

        So what do you call Christians like you who don't FOLLOW the Bible?

        July 15, 2014 at 12:19 pm |
      • lunchbreaker

        Scot, I don't care what anyone else says hear. I can tell you a caring compassionate person. I mean, you took the time to read my post and see that utilizing the true scotsman falacy would make me laugh, and you didn't let me down. I see right through you and that harsh exterior.

        July 15, 2014 at 1:54 pm |
        • awanderingscot

          i'm not in the least concerned by what the unregenerate think of me and i don't get angry when i'm called names or my intelligence insulted.

          July 15, 2014 at 4:18 pm |
      • alonsoquixote

        awanderingscot, you wrote "Real Christians believe the bible, not the theory of a cult called evolution."

        Evolutionary theory is accepted by the Catholic Church, the United Methodist Church and many other Christian churches. E.g., see the Wikipedia article "Level of support for evolution" at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Level_of_support_for_evolution :

        However, not all religious organizations find support for evolution incompatible with their religious faith. For example, 12 of the plaintiffs opposing the teaching of creation science in the influential McLean v. Arkansas court case were clergy representing Methodist, Epi_scopal, African Methodist Epi_scopal, Catholic, Southern Baptist, Reform Jewish, and Presbyterian groups. There are several religious organizations that have issued statements advocating the teaching of evolution in public schools. In addition, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, issued statements in support of evolution in 2006. The Clergy Letter Project is a signed statement by 12,808 (as of 28 May 2012) American Christian clergy of different denominations rejecting creationism organized in 2004. Molleen Matsumura of the National Center for Science Education found, of Americans in the twelve largest Christian denominations, at least 77% belong to churches that support evolution education (and that at one point, this figure was as high as 89.6%). These religious groups include the Catholic Church, as well as various denominations of Protestantism, including the United Methodist Church, National Baptist Convention, USA, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Presbyterian Church (USA), National Baptist Convention of America, African Methodist Epi_scopal Church, the Epi_scopal Church, and others. A figure closer to about 71% is presented by the analysis of Walter B. Murfin and David F. Beck.

        So they aren't "real Christians"? I'd also suggest that you read God Is Not Threatened by Our Scientific Adventures at http://www.beliefnet.com/News/Science-Religion/2006/08/God-Is-Not-Threatened-By-Our-Scientific-Adventures.aspx , which contains an interview with Francis Collins, who led the Human Genome Project and other genomics research initiatives as the director of the National Genome Research Insti_tute. He is an eminent scientist and a Christian. He has received the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the National Medal of Science. I've included an excerpt from that interview below:

        What would you say to Christians who feel that the randomness or the chaos that evolution can sometimes imply flies in the face of their most cherished beliefs?

        I would say that I understand that and I'm sympathetic with how jarring that realization can be. I would say that the stance that some believers take, which is simply to reject evolution, is also to reject the information that God has given us, the ability to understand. I believe God did intend, in giving us intelligence, to give us the opportunity to investigate and appreciate the wonders of His creation. He is not threatened by our scientific adventures.

        July 15, 2014 at 8:59 pm |
      • evidencenot

        " not the theory of a cult called evolution."

        There's that big red flag again with the letters S-T-U-P-I-D written in bold...

        July 16, 2014 at 9:08 am |
      • realbuckyball

        Only a child would say "Christians believe in the Bibl, not Evolution". To be "true" something doesn't have to be "literally true". How sad to be so blindly ignorant and obtuse.

        July 16, 2014 at 2:23 pm |
  14. realbuckyball

    "God DOES NOT permit any of these things. it's mankind that does! God has given us the power to overcome EVERYTHING that we face, the fact that we don't use the power and authority given to us is not His fault. Man is prideful and arrogant and keeps blaming God while taking offense at His Word instead of using it to reign in life!"

    - so then, man is responsible for tsunamis, eathquakes, and floods that kill millions of innocents. And new-man actually buys there is an omnipotent being that has the power to change all that, but chooses not to do nothing, and it's all man's fault.

    Ok. Sure.

    July 15, 2014 at 10:21 am |
  15. Doris

    I see Snotty continues his ignorant rants against evolution.

    As Doc just wrote on the Eye for and eye article:

    "A 2009 poll by Pew Research Center found that "Nearly all scientists (97%) say humans and other living things have evolved over time".
    There really isn't any disagreement in the scientific community over the validity of evolutionary theory.
    The 5 basic laws as described by Darwin 150 years ago have never been falsified."

    So Snotty, when do you get to pick up your Nobel Prize in Biology for singlehandedly falsifying evolution right here on the Belief Blog? (eyeroll so big I have to go put drops in...)

    July 15, 2014 at 9:17 am |
    • awanderingscot

      Well then Doris, you obviously haven't kept your evolution cult playbook up to date because the two factions in in evolution, the gradualists and the punctuated equalibrium cultists are still in major disagreement. Additionally, your percentage of scientists who believe in evolution is grossly exaggerated and has never been substantiated. Your cultist friend IGAFTR needs your help since he just stated that macro-mutation is meaningless. i guess he has never read about the lie .. er i mean theory of punctuated equalibrium. macro-mutation is meaningless, lol, can't even keep the lies straight.

      July 15, 2014 at 10:32 am |
      • joey3467

        Saying you believe in mirco but not macro evolution is like believing that inches can't add up to a mile.

        July 15, 2014 at 10:33 am |
      • Doc Vestibule

        Punctuated Equilibrium, as proposed by Stephen Gould and and Niles Edlgredge, is not a replacement for the Darwinian law of gradualism. It is a small part of modern evolutionary synthesis that explains certain situations.
        Bear in mind also that the time frames involved in PE are still exponentially longer than what Young Earth Creationists propose as the age of the Earth. When evolutionary biologists talk about "rapid", they mean in a geological sense – rapid when compared to hundreds of millions of years.
        Punctuated Equilibrium is not in opposition to gradualism – it is a form of gradualism.

        July 15, 2014 at 10:41 am |
        • awanderingscot

          Really? if PE is the same as Gradualism than why is Richard Dawkins so vehemently opposed to it?

          July 15, 2014 at 12:50 pm |
        • Doris

          Oh, so you speak for Dawkins now, huh Scotty? When did he give you that permission?

          July 15, 2014 at 12:57 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          He isn't "vehemently opposed" to it.
          His opinion is that PE has a place in modern evolutionary synthesis, albeit a minor one.
          He calls it an "interesting but minor wrinkle on the surface of neo-Darwinian theory".

          July 15, 2014 at 1:23 pm |
        • evidencenot

          Snotty, keep embarrassing yourself.... your giving us quite a chuckle!!!

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

      "..innumerable transitional forms must have existed but why do we not find them embedded in the countless numbers in the crust of the earth? ..why is not every geological formation and every stratum full of such intermediate links?"
      – Charles Darwin, Origin of the Species

      – and the cult yet stumbles along in darkness ...

      July 15, 2014 at 10:51 am |
      • In Santa We Trust

        There have been many updates to the fossil record and our knowledge of evolution since Darwin wrote that 160 years ago. Do you still light you house with candles and ride a horse to work?

        July 15, 2014 at 10:56 am |
        • awanderingscot

          uh-huh, many updates to the fossil record, and in your lifetime even. lol .. you're just another delusional cultist.

          July 15, 2014 at 11:35 am |
        • In Santa We Trust

          I have to conclude that you're a poe – surely no one is that willfully ignorant.

          July 15, 2014 at 11:46 am |
    • awanderingscot

      "..innumerable transitional forms must have existed but why do we not find them embedded in the countless numbers in the crust of the earth? ..why is not every geological formation and every stratum full of such intermediate links?"
      – Charles Darwin, Origin of the Species

      July 15, 2014 at 10:52 am |
      • Doris

        Lol – answer – pull your head out of the sand and move forward about 112 years.

        July 15, 2014 at 11:07 am |
      • LaBella

        That book was published in 1859, Scot. Do you think there have been no strides in the field since then?

        July 15, 2014 at 12:00 pm |
        • igaftr

          No labella, scot believes in his book written far longer ago than that, and thinks that all the knowledge men need is in it.

          He really loves to quote peoples questions, as if the refute evolution, when asking questions is part of the scientific process.
          He loves to post quotes out of context, or refering to something completely different, and thinks that refutes evolution as well. he simply cannot comprehend, and has chosen to believe in the god in his head.

          July 15, 2014 at 12:37 pm |
        • LaBella

          I have noticed that.
          He isn't versed in honesty, this is abundantly clear.

          July 15, 2014 at 12:43 pm |
  16. awanderingscot

    The most significant and rapid genetic reorganization occurs in extremely small populations that have been isolated (as on islands). – Ernst Mayr

    – oh the stupidity that pervades the cult of evolution. now evolution is supposedly fast when it occurs in bursts AND leave no fossil record. how convenient to say it occurs but we don't have to have proof! macro mutations are in fact harmful and weaken the group making survival less than optimal. this is a fact, not what the cultists of evolution would have us believe.

    July 15, 2014 at 8:10 am |
    • igaftr

      what you claim as fact is not true at all. The first clue should have been the term "macro evolution" which is a non term used by creationists, and is meaniingless.

      What continues to be a fact, is that there continues to be absolutely no evidence of any gods anywhere, meaning your cult has no basis in reality at all. THAT is a fact.

      July 15, 2014 at 8:28 am |
    • awanderingscot

      learn to read. i didn't say "macro evolution", i said "macro-mutation"; and if you don't know what your cult teaches then you need to read some more. start with punctuated equalibrium.

      July 15, 2014 at 8:45 am |
      • igaftr

        ahh...macro mutation...equally meaningless. There are mutations. There is no such thing as macro mutation.

        July 15, 2014 at 10:18 am |
        • igaftr

          Are you referring to macromutation that basically is a mutation that creates a large effect in an organism? That really is a misnomer because the extent of the mutation is relative, so what is "macro" to one may not be to another, making the term meaningless.

          Many factors create mutations. Mutation is part of the evolutionary process. There are may mutations that separate us from our animal ancestors...all are found in your DNA. Saying which is a "macro" mutation is subjective.

          July 15, 2014 at 10:50 am |
        • awanderingscot

          i don't know about meaningless, you're very obviously not in the loop since many evolutionary biologist use the term. would that make you a fringe cultist then?

          July 15, 2014 at 11:37 am |
        • igaftr

          no scot, my branches of science deal with harmonic resonances and interaction of energies within chemical bonds, but using the term macro as it pertains to mutation...how exactly is that supposed to refute evolution?

          The scale or scope of the mutation is immaterial to the fact of evolution. Mutations occur. They are a part of the evolutionary process. Whether they bring a large change or small, they are mutation...arguing scope is moot.

          What is absolutely out of the loop, is the false stories of the bible. No evidence of any of the supernatural garbage in that book of myths.

          July 15, 2014 at 11:49 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      "Since we proposed punctuated equilibria to explain trends, it is infuriating to be quoted again and again by creationists—whether through design or stupidity, I do not know—as admitting that the fossil record includes no transitional forms. Transitional forms are generally lacking at the species level, but they are abundant between larger groups."

      – Stephen J. Gould

      July 15, 2014 at 10:23 am |
      • awanderingscot

        He's infuriated! How dare anyone attack my pet theory! LOL
        – "Transitional forms are generally lacking at the species level, but they are abundant between larger groups."
        Really? We're not talking about speciation here and so the transitional forms are not found there? According to the theory it is macro-mutation in small groups where one finds evolution in an accelerated phase, and not in larger groups. Oh, and it takes place quickly so the fossil record does not have it? it's almost amusing to watch the twisting contortions evolution theory goes thru. One needs to be entrenched in this cult to actually believe what they say.

        July 15, 2014 at 10:39 am |
        • Doris

          So where is your peer-reviewed paper on the failings of modern evolutionary theory, Snotty? Give us a link – that's enough to start with....

          July 15, 2014 at 10:47 am |
        • igaftr

          It is even funnier to see people ttry to throw pbbles at the mountains of evidence for evolution...and all because you are a mamber of a baseless religious cult....hilarious.

          July 15, 2014 at 10:56 am |
        • LaBella

          Oh, I'd say it's because ignorant people keep quote mining and misrepresenting his words.
          Now, why should that have gotten him mad? He should just turn the other cheek.

          July 15, 2014 at 11:09 am |
      • Doc Vestibule

        Not attack his "pet theory" – but rather misinterpret and then misrepresent what his theory actually means.
        Gould is well known because he has written a lot of papers aimed at the public as opposed to fellow biologists.
        As a result of writing in a more colloquial language, he loses the specifics.
        Scientific nomenclature is designed to be exact – translating it into more commonly understood terms via analogies or less exact wording can be clumsy and lead to misinterpretations.

        July 15, 2014 at 10:59 am |
        • awanderingscot

          i understand, you're an apologist for your cult. evolution has never been proven but you're convinced so i guess that's all that matters. you're non-existent transitional species is only in your dreams however.

          July 15, 2014 at 11:46 am |
        • In Santa We Trust

          No evidence? Why do all major universities teach evolution and none teach creationism? Because evolution is a fact.
          I'm sure you've been provided with this before but just in case you accidentally missed it – http://evolution.berkeley.edu/

          July 15, 2014 at 11:54 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          My personal favourite transitional fossil is Tiktaalik.
          It demonstrates how life moved from being aquatic to terrestrial.

          July 15, 2014 at 11:59 am |
        • awanderingscot

          "But fossil species remain unchanged throughout most of their history and the record fails to contain a single example of a significant transition." – D.S. Woodroff, evolutionary biologist

          – Tiktaalik, just another fish. No proof of being a transitional species. Only in your delusional mind can you conjure up such fantasy. You belong to a cult of delusion.

          July 15, 2014 at 12:23 pm |
        • In Santa We Trust

          That's one of the problems with c&p from apologist blogs – you copy their mistakes.

          July 15, 2014 at 12:34 pm |
        • awanderingscot

          So stop c&p from apologist sites then Santa

          July 15, 2014 at 12:42 pm |
        • LaBella

          Now you are accusing Berkely of being an apologist site?!? Are you really that uneducated, Scot??
          You have zero credibility on this subject. Foolish man.

          July 15, 2014 at 12:49 pm |
        • Doris

          Snotty: ""But fossil species remain unchanged throughout most of their history and the record fails to contain a single example of a significant transition." – D.S. Woodroff"

          (QMP #30) Yep – this has been addressed before. How lame, Snotty – get your head out of the sand.

          Of course it's yet another quote taken out of context that's from a review of a book by Steven Stanley:

          read about it here: http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/quotes/mine/part1-2.html


          July 15, 2014 at 12:53 pm |
  17. realbuckyball

    How about you joint the 21st Century just for today ?
    No quotes older than 25 years old today.
    K ?

    July 15, 2014 at 7:36 am |
  18. MadeFromDirt

    A friend and I were talking about World Cup, and she said at her church last Sunday the preacher talked about Messi being a "go-to guy", and gave a message about Jesus Christ being the real go-to guy. Now, I didn't hear the sermon so I don't know exactly what the preacher was meaning to say, but my heart sank at the summary that my friend described. Maybe as an introduction for people who don't know Jesus, the comparison might be effective. Jesus Christ is certainly our go-to guy in the grandest sense, as our only way to repair our condition of alienation from our perfect Creator. But as a lesson to an established church that should be hearing how to grow in faith, obedience, and service, I have to say that preacher taught a misdirected and even dangerous over-simplification. And he's not the only one.

    Jesus is not Santa Claus on demand. He is not a go-to guy who stands waiting and will deliver what we think we need in our flesh. Unless it coincides with His purposes, He will not heal our illness, solve our problems, pay our bills, send us a spouse, or make our team win. But He does deliver blessings that cannot be measured by earthly standards. That preacher sent his flock out with expectations which Jesus never promised. It's tragic what will happen when those who follow that preacher's message find out Jesus is not the go-to guy for their wishes and misperceived needs. They will question and doubt their standing before God despite what Christ has done, and their belief in Him will become broken, and unsustainable like the sprout in hard shallow soil.

    God's adopted children are already in Christ; we cannot go to Him if already there. Being in Christ means always our priority of thought is on what He has done for us, not what we think He should do. A focus on Christ and His Word reinforces the Spirit's work revealing His will for us.

    July 15, 2014 at 2:45 am |
    • Reality

      And now returning to the 21st century:

      Obviously, today's followers of Paul et al's "magic-man" aka Jesus are also a bit on the odd side believing in all the Christian mumbo jumbo about bodies resurrecting, and exorcisms, and miracles, and "magic-man atonement, and infallible, old, European/Utah/Argentine white men, and 24/7 body/blood sacrifices followed by consumption of said sacrifices. Yummy!!!!

      So why do we really care what a first century CE, illiterate, long-dead, preacher/magic man would do or say?

      July 15, 2014 at 6:11 am |
    • realbuckyball

      "He will not heal our illness, solve our problems, pay our bills, send us a spouse, or make our team win"

      Really ? I seem to recall someone saying "Whatever you ask in my name ...... etc "
      Could have sworn I heard that somewhere.

      July 15, 2014 at 7:10 am |
    • Bob

      Dirt, the whole Jesus-sacrifice story, the foundation of your crazy superstition, is a steaming pile of bull-do. How is it again that your omnipotent being couldn't do his saving bit without the whole silly Jesus hoopla? And how was Jesus' death a "sacrifice", when an actually omnipotent being could just pop up a replacement son any time with less than a snap of his fingers?

      Pretty pathetic "god" that you've made for yourself there.

      Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement.
      Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.

      July 15, 2014 at 10:06 am |
    • MadeFromDirt

      My comments were directed at new believers and honest searchers, not at deniers, but thank you all for reading and responding anyway, demonstrating the thought patterns of an unregenerate mind. Your reactions are predictable, coming as they are from your preference to fool yourself into thinking you are independent in your existence. Such foolishness brings a darkened mind and hate, and inevitably absolute despair.

      If you doubt God's Word because it was revealed through and to men directly thousands of years ago rather than during your lifetime, you should ask yourself what makes you so much more important than our ancestors, and how future generations will think of your level of importance and intellectual sophistication if they apply your same standard.

      If you think Jesus was speaking of granting wishes of the temporal flesh rather than God giving us His Spirit to inform our choices to ask for His will in His name, you are being deceived in the same way Satan fooled Adam and Eve, elevating yourself to the level of Godand telling Him you know better than He.

      If you think our Creator's pure infinite power can tolerate any disobedience or imperfection in His domain without punishment, and if you think that Jesus Christ is a replaceable "son" rather than the eternal personal presence of God the Father, and you can't resist scoffing at God and raging against those whom He has enabled to understand these things, then your heart has been closed by your own self-righteousness and pride, and hardened by God as a precursor to His final unending wrath, using you as an example for others to consider and to be informed of the unavoidable outcome of purposeful rejection of our Creator in this time.

      July 15, 2014 at 2:33 pm |
      • Doc Vestibule

        "Such foolishness brings a darkened mind and hate, and inevitably absolute despair."

        Thanks for your opinion, Soren, but I'm afraid that isn't so.

        July 15, 2014 at 2:50 pm |
      • G to the T

        "If you doubt God's Word because it was revealed through and to men directly thousands of years ago rather than during your lifetime, you should ask yourself what makes you so much more important than our ancestors, and how future generations will think of your level of importance and intellectual sophistication if they apply your same standard."

        On the contrary, I don't believe I'm any more important than those past or future people – and that's exactly the point.

        July 15, 2014 at 2:56 pm |
      • Bob

        Dirt, as for your nonsense about "god's word", lets have a closer look at that, and specifically about what your foul Christian bible has your god purportedly guiding you to do. From both foul testaments of your Christian book of nasty:

        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.

        July 15, 2014 at 3:39 pm |
      • alonsoquixote

        MadeFromDirt, you wrote "If you doubt God's Word because it was revealed through and to men directly thousands of years ago rather than during your lifetime, you should ask yourself what makes you so much more important than our ancestors, and how future generations will think of your level of importance and intellectual sophistication if they apply your same standard."

        You should ask yourself why a small group of people in the ancient Jewish tribes were so much more important than all those people living in the New World, China, Ja_pan, Australia, Africa, Europe etc. People in those areas invented other gods than the ones in the Ancient Near East of which Yahweh was one god, a tribal god who was elevated to the status of a national god for the kingdoms of Judah and Israel and much later envisioned as a universal god, but whose existence and rules about animal sacrifices, the groups he wanted his followers to kill, etc. remained unknown to people living for many tens of thousands of years in other parts of the world.

        Supposedly, in the first century the god chose to impregnate a Jewish woman who gave birth to his avatar and then decided to rescind many of his prior dictates after becoming a sacrifice in the form of the "Son" to himself in the form of the "Father" to ameliorate an ancient curse he had placed on all mankind. Yet still those people living in other parts of the world remained unimportant to him, even though after the sacrifice of himself to himself he then required everyone to believe that event had happened and worship him as a triune god rather than the single ent_ity he had been for his prior favorites, the Jewish tribes, else he would condemn them to eternal torment. Why would they be so unimportant to him that he didn't even bother to notify them of his existence and his requirements to avoid the eternal damnation he would subject them to for not believing in him, though he supposedly inspired less than a handful of people in the Ancient Near East to write that they had better believe in him or else he would be very wrathful with them upon their death consigning them to eternal torture?

        Many millions lived and died in other parts of the world unaware of the Jewish god Yahweh or his later conversion into the triune god of Christianity in the first century. Columba, the Irish abbot and missionary who conveyed the Christian message in Scotland, didn't travel there until 563 CE. It was not until 7th century CE that Christian missionaries arrived in China to convey news of Jesus Christ's existence. Alopen, a missionary from the Nestorian Church, a variant of Christianity that embraced dyophysitism, arrived in the Chinese capital of Chang-an in 635 CE. And not until 1494 when the Spanish carried Christianity, along with slavery, to the Dominican Republic was anyone in the New World aware of the tales of Jesus. Christian missionaries didn't arrive in Ja_pan until the 1540s when the Roman Catholic missionary Francis Xavier arrived there. No Iroquoi Indian that ever lived knew of Christian dogma until 1653 when Father Simon Le Moyne arrived to preach to them.

        In regards to how future generations will see this time, it will likely be as a time of great supersti_tion where many people still regarded myths thousands of years old as descriptions of actual historical events, still believing in gods made in their own image just as their ancestors of thousands of years ago had believed when they posited gods as being behind lightning, floods, and other natural forces.

        July 15, 2014 at 11:17 pm |
        • MadeFromDirt

          Alonsoquixote, your arguments are based on multiple false assumptions about what the Bible really tells us about God, the nature of man, and redemption. The god you built in your mind is not the God of the Bible.

          First, God does not require us to have faith for Him to save us; He gives our faith to us so that we can be saved. The Bible in a nutshell does not say "Believe in Christ or else", it says "None of you deserve eternal life with God, but some will receive it through Christ."

          All men on earth did sin, have sinned, and will sin against God and against their fellow men, whether they have heard or never did or never will hear His message of redemption delivered to one small group of people thousands of years ago. As a consequence of sin, all humanity is condemned to eternal separation from God; His perfect justice requires it. Nothing we do can repair the damage. God freely chooses who receives His grace and mercy, and who does not. He is under no obligation to save anyone.

          Jesus did not "rescind" the Old Testament law; He fulfilled it. The early Covenants with the chosen Jewish people all pointed to Christ, even though they did not fully understand the form that the Messiah would take. Similarly, the early Jews perhaps did not fully grasp the triune nature of God, but even the earliest Scriptures describe each Person at times in different settings.

          Jesus did not "ameliorate" the curse; He bears the curse.

          Jesus does not command us to worship Him. Forced worship is no worship at all. Rather, worship that pleases God springs voluntarily from thanksgiving, and is a fruit of our salvation, not a cause.

          The God of the Bible is not created in man's image. The Bible's description of man's hopeless condition, and the redemptive solution communicated in the Bible that God's gift comes with a defeat and total loss of self-reliance, is repulsive to humanity. In our fallen state, no man has a natural desire for total humility and submission, nor a willingness to accept that none of our efforts at righteousness have any effect whatsoever on God's will in determining our purpose or our acceptance of salvation given only by His grace through faith in Christ.

          Thank you for outlining for everyone the amazing spread of the Gospel throughout the world and throughout the centuries, as Christ commanded us to do, even though His Word originated from a mere tiny collection of ancient tribes, at a time when writing was barely entering the culture, and despite containing truths that are completely loathsome to the default fallen inclinations of all men (as anyone can see on this blog).

          And God did create "lightning, floods, and other natural forces", but that is a whole other topic.

          July 16, 2014 at 3:16 am |
        • alonsoquixote

          MadeFromDirt, you wrote "all humanity is condemned to eternal separation from God; His perfect justice requires it." Do you believe that Yahweh's "perfect justice" required him for many millennia to condemn all those except some members of a few Jewish tribes to eternal damnation upon death prior to the first century when he incarnated himself in the Levant? And what of those who lived and died for centuries afterwards elsewhere in the world after that supposed incarnation of the god in human form, what happened to them upon their death?

          If he is an omniscient and omnipotent god, why could he not reveal himself to others besides the members of those few Jewish tribes for millennia? They lived and died unaware that only the members of those Jewish tribes in the Levant had been given this god's messages. Tribes that were originally polytheistic and perhaps henotheistic later with Yahweh worship coming to predominant later in time. Those living elsewhere in the world never knew that there was a set of ten commandments where the god commanded:

          "The firstborn of a donkey you shall redeem with a lamb, or if you will not redeem it you shall break its neck. All the firstborn of your sons you shall redeem." (Exodus 34:20)

          Even if they didn't have donkeys are lambs, surely they would have sacrificed some other animals to the god to please him.

          And once the god incarnated himself in human form to be offered as a sacrifice to himself, what then happened to those living elsewhere in the world where people would not know of that Jewish godman for many centuries? What happened to them upon death?

          And what of those Jews who would not accept that their god's prior messages had been unclear even to them requiring a radical reinterpretation of their beliefs? Were they, too, then and now condemned by the god's "perfect justice" to eternal damnation?

          And what of those who live in Islamic countries today where apostasy from Islam is punishable by death and where blasphemy, i.e., criticism of Islam, is also punishable by death? If the view of Christianity by those people in those countries is shaped by the clerics of Islam, will your god still, because of his "perfect justice" torture them for eternity upon death?

          And why did the god not provide more conclusive evidence that he assumed human form? When he supposedly reincarnated he could have made an announcement to everyone in the world at once, but he didn't. He didn't even reveal himself to the Roman nor Jewish authorities. But, supposedly, decades later tales of his exploits and resurrection were written down. Where are the original copies? None exist. The god apparently didn't care to preserve them. So what we have are copies of copies of copies, etc. with who knows how many intervening versions. The earliest copies that remain, e.g. the four great uncials Codex Sinaiticus, Codex Vaticanus, Codex Alexandrinus, and Codex Ephraemi Rescriptus don't all contain the same material. The British textual critic Herman Charles Hoskier (1864–1938) found, without counting errors of iotacism, 3,036 textual variations between Sinaiticus and Vaticanus in the text of the Gospels alone. Why can't all Christians even agree on what books should be part of the Bible? E.g., Catholic and Protestant Bibles don't contain the exact set of books nor do either Catholic or Protestant Bibles match those of Eastern or Oriental Orthodox Christian traditions. E.g., see the tables for the Old and New Testaments at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biblical_Canon . And even Protestant Bibles don't all agree what material was in the original versions of the Gospels and what passages are interpolations by later scribes when making new copies. E.g., there is disagreement regarding whether the Comma Johanneum (John 5:7), the Pericope Adulterae (John 7:53-8:11), Mark 16:9-20 etc. were in the original copies or were later additions. And, of course, Christians can't agree on how to interpret the material of the Bible, which is why there are thousands of Christian sects.

          July 16, 2014 at 8:57 am |
        • MadeFromDirt

          Alonsoquixote, I already addressed your questions about God's judgment of people who never heard the Gospel, but I will explain further. All people have lost their opportunity to be with God forever. God is absolutely pure and cannot tolerate less than total perfection in his eternal and infinite spiritual presence. The gravity of Adam's disobedience is so contrary to God's perfection that it carries forward through all of Adam's descendants to all mankind. Despite popular belief, man is not inherently good; man is a fallen creature, like Satan and his rebels in that respect. And again, God is absolutely sovereign. His decisions are made according to His will, not anything that we do. It is God's choice who receives His mercy and is saved by His grace and who is not, and it is God's choice who hears his solution of redemption and destruction of evil, and who does not. You have heard the Gospel, and your concern for those who do not hear it will not save you from His judgment for your rejection of it.

          Your arguments about the reliability of Scripture and different interpretations of "Christian sects" are based on more false assumptions, that God somehow failed. The truth is God has preserved the elements of His Word that He chose to preserve for the people that He elects to save. By His grace and through His Spirit, God's people can learn and understand His Word sufficiently through a systematic approach that ties together all truths, and reconciles and resolves all inconsistencies that may appear on the surface.

          There are many religious leaders and people sitting in pews of all denominations who call themselves Christian, but Jesus Himself warned that many will come to Him saying they believed and did things in His name, and He will not know them. He does not know them because they are stuck in the fallen nature apart from Him and were never given to Him by God's grace, and so they never humbled themselves, never admitted their inability to correct their unrighteousness, never admitted they don't deserve the eternal perfect love of our Creator, and never rested their full trust in Christ as the one and only way across the chasm to God.

          Do these truths turn your stomach? If so, that's your conscience telling you to take heed. Perhaps God is preparing to open your eyes. Or do you resist these truths because you have constructed rationalizations in your mind that put yourself in God's place? If so, that's the ongoing consequence of sin, Satan's deception, and your fallen mind taking you deeper into darkness.

          July 16, 2014 at 3:01 pm |
        • alonsoquixote

          MadeFromDirt, you wrote "God is absolutely pure and cannot tolerate less than total perfection in his eternal and infinite spiritual presence. The gravity of Adam's disobedience is so contrary to God's perfection that it carries forward through all of Adam's descendants to all mankind." Then why did he make imperfect creatures he can't tolerate?

          According to the tales in Genesis, Yahweh created mankind and all other creatures on Earth. He put the "one forbidden thing", the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, in the Garden of Eden along with the tree of life. He created the talking snake that Christians conflate with Satan. He created Adam and Eve. Did he not know that his talking snake would persuade Eve to eat of the fruit of the tree that would give her knowledge of good and evil? If he didn't, he's not omniscient. If he did, then it was his plan from the beginning to condemn humanity for acquiring that knowledge and to put a curse upon all the descendants of Adam and Ever for untold generations thereafter.
          And for acquiring that knowledge he cursed the first couple and expelled them from the garden for fear that they would eat of the tree of life as well and become immortal, also. He then places cherubims with a flaming sword to ensure that Adam and Eve and their descendants could not eat of the fruit of that tree as well. And he removed the limbs from the snake saying "I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel." So, when I see a snake crawling in my garden am I seeing a descendant of that first talking snake?

          If he is so perfect and obsessed with perfection in his creatures, why do we see evidence of imperfect design in the creatures he created? E.g., see the Wikipedia article "Argument from poor design" at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argument_from_poor_design and "Some More of God's Greatest Mistakes" at oolon.awardspace.com/SMOGGM.htm . If he is so obsessed with perfection, why was he so unconcerned about the maintenance of fidelity in the transmission of what is supposedly his inspired words to mankind, since we so so much discrepancy in the earliest versions of the work he supposedly inspired and material added by later scribes during the copying process? Why didn't he even care to make it clear what works were truly inspired by him and which were inauthentic, so that we have different versions of the Bible for different denominations of Christians with Catholic and Protestant Bibles differing from one another and from those of Eastern and Orthodox Christians? You claim it doesn't matter because he's already preselected some to be saved and some to be damned.

          Supposedly he designed the whole universe, so why does he blame his human creations for how things turned out? Were there flaws in his original plan? Why did he drown all but 8 humans in a fit of anger because things didn't turn out as he planned? Or was that part of his plan from the moment of creation as well? And if some of his human creations aren't up to his standard of perfection, why doesn't he just let them cease to exist at death, why must he torment them for eternity? Especially since he had already decided before they were born that he wasn't going to "save" them.

          And why, in your interpretation of his holy writ, does he decree that some humans are already condemned to such torment at the moment of their birth? In your view he has condemned most of humanity to such eternal torment not even deigning to reveal himself to them. The Population Reference Bureau has an estimate of 108 billion for the number of people who have ever lived on Earth (see prb.org/Publications/Articles/2002/HowManyPeopleHaveEverLivedonEarth.aspx). For most of the time people have lived on Earth, Yahweh was unknown. Worship of this god, one among thousands invented by humans, arose among a few small tribes of humans in the Levant. Even among those tribes worship of other gods persisted for many centuries alongside Yahweh worship as is known from extra-biblical sources. It was quite some time before the priests of Yahweh managed to gain exclusive control over the minds of members of those tribes. For a few thousands of years he was the god of those tribes. When Pagan religious beliefs and philosophy were melded with those of the Yahweh worshipers in the first century, a new syncretistic religion was created, just as worship of Serap_is was created during the 3rd century BCE from a melding of Egyptian and Greek religious beliefs. Then, supposedly, non-Jews could also become followers of this god, Yahweh. But still he didn't care to reveal himself to most humans for many centuries, because he wanted to torment all those other humans living elsewhere in the world for eternity when they died. Was torturing about 100 billions humans upon their deaths part of his plan since the beginning of creation?

          We have 7 billion people living today. Most are not Christians. At most there may be perhaps as many as 2 billion of those who are Christians, but among those there are many different conceptions of the Yahweh/Jesus/Holy Spirit deity. If someone calls himself a Christian is that enough to avoid damnation or is a specific interpretation of a particular version of the Bible required? According to your reasoning, Yahweh will torture at least 5 billion of those alive today for eternity because of his "perfect justice". And it appears from your view he's already looking forward to torturing them, since he already knows which ones he'll torture. You appear to believe yourself one of the lucky ones he'll spare, giving you, instead, a pass into an afterlife where you can spend eternity praising the deity, who is very desirous of humans constantly praising him. Though maybe he'll torture you as well after you die. Maybe you aren't one of the chosen ones, one of those he "elects to save" as you assume.

          Your god seems to be modeled upon a psychopathic human despot, one who demands his subjects grovel before him and who may arbitrarily have some tortured and killed when the whim strikes him. Your description of your god choosing whom to torture and whom to "save" reminds me of Caligula chuckling to himself at the dinner table and replying when asked why he was chuckling: "Because if I nodded once to my guards, I could have all your throats cut." Your deity seems a psychopathic one who relies upon fear to keep his followers subservient to him and constantly praising him least he visit some horrible punishment upon them as well. Your apologist nonsense of "God is absolutely pure and cannot tolerate less than total perfection in his eternal and infinite spiritual presence" seems no different than that of other apologists defending the actions of brutal dictators by claiming their victims deserve the horrible punishments meted out to them.

          North Korea's first dictator, Kim Il Sung, insti_tuted the practice of "three generations of punishment" whereby entire extended families were sent to brutal prison camps where they were likely to die from starvation, disease, and maltreatment. The practice of imprisoning 3 generations for an infraction by one family member continues to this day under Kim Jong-un. Human rights advocates decry the practice, but the biblical god is far worse than Kim Il Sung, Kim Jong-Il, and Kim Jong-un or any other human despot.

          E.g., Numbers 14:18:

          "The LORD is slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiving sin and rebellion. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation."

          And Exodus 20:5:

          "You must not bow down to them or worship them, for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods. I lay the sins of the parents upon their children; the entire family is affected–even children in the third and fourth generations of those who reject me."

          Though, not as extreme as 1 Kings 2:33.

          "May the guilt of their blood rest on the head of Joab and his descendants forever."

          Of course, there's also the story of "The Fall" in Genesis, which you cite, in which Yahweh punishes not only the first couple for eating of the fruit of the "one forbidden thing" he placed in the garden with them, but their descendants through countless generations who inherit the sin of Adam and Eve according to you.

          You write "Do these truths turn your stomach? If so, that's your conscience telling you to take heed." The description you give of the god you worship is nauseating; I'd think it should trouble your conscience to even write what you wrote if you weren't so thoroughly indoctrinated as to not recognize how repulsive is the depiction of the god you offer to others. Doubtless there are many Christians who would feel their stomachs turn at the way your portray Christianity. You present a picture of a malevolent, vile, capricious, vengeful deity, but seem to feel we can only accept that is just the nature of your god. One might conclude that any self-respecting person could only worship such a being out of abject terror for the horrors that the deity might visit upon anyone who does not grovel before him. As Matt Dillahunty's co-host points out in "Christianity SHOULD be disgusting to any decent person" at youtube.com/watch?v=Ksk6tVzysLE it just "shows me what this religion can do to a person's brains."

          Thankfully, the deity is as imaginary as the thousands of other gods invented by humans. Much of the mythology of Genesis appears to incorporate elements from Sumerian and Babylonian mythology. The talking snake may come from either the Sumerian God Enki, God of Water and Wisdom, or his son Ningizzida both of whom were identified as Serpent Gods as a case of "the gods of the old religion become the devils of the new" as Margaret Murray, a British Egyptologist and anthropologist, is credited with saying. The Yahwist's version of creation and "The Fall" in Genesis 2, which is older than the Priestly Source creation myth in Genesis 1, seems to have morphed Ninti, a Sumerian goddess of life who healed a pain in the god Enki's rib into the rib-woman Eve. The Noachian flood story seems borrowed from the one in the Epic of Gilgamesh with the gods Enki and Enlil merged into the Jewish god Yahweh and Utnapi_shtim and his family replaced by Noah and his family.

          Other elements of the mythology in the Old Testament also appear to be borrowed from older Sumerian and Baylonians myths. E.g., see "Treasures Old and New: Essays in the Theology of the Pentateuch" by Joseph Blenkinsopp, an academic theologian and Old Testament scholar, who is the John A. O'Brien Professor Emeritus of Biblical Studies in the Department of Theology at the University of Notre Dame, whose research focuses on the Old Testament Prophets and on the Pentateuch, who notes on the parallels between the story of Adam and Eve and of Enkidu and Shamhat in the Epic of Gilgamesh:
          "We begin with Enkidu, since Enkidu rather than Gilgamesh is more immediately and obviously the counterpart of Adam ("the Man") in Genesis 2-3. ... During the first phase he is naked like Enkidu, and remains naked until after eating of the forbidden tree at the invitation of the Woman."

          In regards to your attempts to scare others into embracing your religious views with tales of eternal torment upon their death if they don't join you in worshiping Yahweh/Jesus, I don't fear a boogeyman hiding in the closet, nor Anubis weighing my heart against the feather of Ma'at upon my death with Ammit casting it into a fiery lake if I am deemed unworthy to continue my journey to Osiris and immortality, nor any judgmental Jesus in heaven. The mythology you proffer has no appeal to me.

          July 18, 2014 at 12:21 pm |
        • G to the T

          "God is absolutely pure and cannot tolerate less than total perfection in his eternal and infinite spiritual presence"

          So he's not ominpotent as I was led to believe? You've basically said there's something God cannot do...

          July 16, 2014 at 3:05 pm |
        • MadeFromDirt

          G to the T, what a surprise that you noticed my post, went to it, read it, absorbed it, and even responded all within four minutes. I guess I should be flattered, and impressed.
          But your question is silly of course. It's like the one asking if God can create a rock so big that he cannot lift it.
          It is true, God cannot change who He is. If that means he doesn't meet your definition of omnipotent, then so be it.

          July 16, 2014 at 3:27 pm |
        • igaftr

          "Do these truths turn your stomach?"

          If you had truths, maybe, but you have baseless belief...not truth
          Why do so many have such a hard time distinguishing the difference?

          July 16, 2014 at 3:44 pm |
        • MadeFromDirt

          Alonsoquixote, your ongoing false assumptions, rationalizations, and accusations and rage against your Creator are unwitting demonstrations and affirmations of the truths and God's perfect justice that I discussed earlier.

          July 18, 2014 at 9:09 pm |
        • alonsoquixote

          You say I have false assumptions, which causes me to wonder about the assumptions you believe to be true. Are you willing to answer a few questions about your own assumptions?

          1. Kim Young-soon spent nine years in Yodok prison camp in North Korea along with her parents and her four children for "gossiping" about an affair her friend had with Kim Jong-il, North Korea's former ruler and the father of the regime's current leader. Her four children and her parents starved to death in the prison camp after they were all arrested as part of a multigenerational punishment. Is Kim Jong-un's practice of multigenerational punishment for those who break his edicts moral or immoral? Was the fate meted out to Kim Young-soon's family just? The Bible states Yahweh behaves in a similar fashion in meting out punishment for those who transgress the will of God. If the fate of Kim Young-soon and her family was unjust why is the behavior attributed to Yahweh not equally unjust?

          In Plato's dialogue Euthyphro, written about 399 B.C., the Greek philosopher Socrates asks Euthyphro "Is the pious loved by the gods because it is pious, or is it pious because it is loved by the gods?" The question is known as the Euthyphro dilemma. Put in Christian terms, the question becomes "Is what is morally good commanded by God because it is morally good, or is it morally good because it is commanded by God?" I.e., do you believe any action, no matter how horrific and immoral it might otherwise be judged, becomes morally acceptable if you judge it to be desired by Yahweh?

          2. What is the penalty for not being a Christian? What do you believe happens to those your god has decided not to "save" upon their death? Do you believe they are consigned to hell? Is that a "lake of fire" as described in the Book of Revelation? I.e., do you believe that all the "unsaved" will suffer terrible torment for eternity when they are judged by Yahweh?

          3. What is the requirement to to be granted entrance into heaven and avoid damnation? Are all Christians granted entrance into heaven? Must they believe in the concept of the trinity to be granted entrance into heaven? I.e., do you believe Jehovah's Witnesses, Christadelphians, Christian Scientists, Unitarians, and other nontrinitarian Christians. will be allowed to enter heaven? Some do not regard Mormons as true trinitarians and, of course, Mormons have their own additional sacred text, The Book of Mormon. Do you regard Mormons as "true" Christians? I.e., will they be granted entrance to heaven? Will Roman Catholics be allowed in? What about members of Oriental Orthodox and Eastern Orthodox traditions, such as Greek Orthodox Church and Russian Orthodox Church members; will they be allowed in? I'm trying to ascertain if you believe "true" believers must use a particular Bible or adhere to particular doctrines and whether you believe already that members of certain Christian denominations mistakenly believe they will be allowed into heaven? Perhaps you may not know the tenets of all those sects, but which ones are you certain will not be allowed in?

          4. You wrote in a previous post "God freely chooses who receives His grace and mercy, and who does not." Let us suppose Taj and his wife Sharbat, who are Muslims, live in Afghanistan where Islam is the state religion. In Afghanistan, blasphemy, i.e., criticism of Islam, is punishable by death as is apostasy. Only 0.02% of the population is Christian. Sharbat becomes pregnant; she is told the child she is carrying is a girl whom they decide they will name Naghma. Since the child will be born into a country where she is unlikely to encounter a Christian, nor anyone teaching her the tenets of Christianity, since proselytizing for Christianity is also outlawed in Afghanistan, nor any criticism of Islam and where, were she to abandon Islam for Christianity, as unlikely as that would be, she could be executed, do you think Yahweh has already decided Naghma, who is still unborn, does not deserve his grace and mercy?

          July 19, 2014 at 10:33 pm |
        • MadeFromDirt

          Alonsoquixote, thank you getting my mind revving early this Lord's day. My earlier comments on this same page about several overarching truths actually already addressed your new questions. These new questions are crafted from the same false presuppositions to which you cling, and they present false equivalents. Your faulty premises are the product of fallen thought, and can be summed up as follows: that man can be equal to God; that there are powers, forces, and absolutes beyond God's control and authority; and that there are no reasons for God to permit evil if He is compelled to punish it. These are not true of the God of the Bible. If any of these were true, God would not be God, and so none of us would be here, and there would be nothing at all.

          Before creating this universe, God knew mankind would use the free will He gave us to turn away and fall, and He knew the ones He would save from His inevitable and righteous punishment for that fall. Each of us if placed in the Garden instead of Adam would also have eventually been deceived by Satan and disobeyed God. By exercising His wrath for that rejection of Him, God affirms His purity. So mankind's damnation has already occurred. Jesus Christ's righteousness triumphs over the sin of Adam that carried forward and condemned all of mankind. But God does not use the work of Christ to save all, and He does not save groups according to their labels; He saves individuals by His grace through faith in Christ, not by or because of anything we do. Grace and mercy by definition are not something that is deserved, nor is it something applied universally. The purpose of our salvation is not for us; our salvation and admittance into Heaven is a gift of love of the Father to the Son, delivered through His Spirit. So no matter where everyone ends up after physical death, we all serve God's purposes one way or the other.

          Judgments by creatures about moral questions are never superior to judgment by the Creator who made and permits the situation. If you accuse God of being immoral, to what higher authority will you appeal? It is a fool's errand to seek answers to life's big questions while denying the absolute sovereignty and pure infinite power of the God who created and gives all life. But such is the way of deniers, embracing the self-fulfilling fallen logic of declination, on their way to being surrounded by nothingness as their preference over submission to the One who created all things.

          July 20, 2014 at 11:22 am |
        • alonsoquixote

          MadeFromDirt, you wrote "that there are no reasons for God to permit evil if He is compelled to punish it. These are not true of the God of the Bible. If any of these were true, God would not be God, and so none of us would be here, and there would be nothing at all." If someone described some other god in the same way you describe yours, perhaps even you would declare that god to be an evil deity. It is not that I suppose only that your god permits evil; I see the god you worship as a cruel, vengeful, malevolent deity. It seems you feel that is its nature and, in your fear of that deity, you dare not question what you have been told is the god's word. But your god is but one of hundreds, if not thousands of creator deities imagined by mankind.

          You claim that all humans would have made the same choice as Adam, i.e., they would have fallen for the trap set for them by your god who placed the magic trees in the garden he has created for his creatures, where he also places a being he knows will convince his human creations to partake of the fruit of the magic tree, even though he told the man not to eat of the tree's fruit. The tree imparts knowledge of good and evil, knowledge the humans did not have before they ate of the tree, so how were they to know they would be doing evil before they ate of it? In your interpretation of the Genesis mythology, it seems that doesn't really matter, because that is just what the god intended to happen so he could punish them and their descendants for time immemorial, since that was part of his plan from the beginning of creation.

          Then later he will assume human form to become a sacrifice to himself as atonement for things going according to his plan.. But, of course, he then comes back to life in a few days and joins himself in heaven.

          You also wrote "But God does not use the work of Christ to save all, and He does not save groups according to their labels; He saves individuals by His grace through faith in Christ, not by or because of anything we do." You do make it clear that you don't care that the overwhelming majority of humanity alive today and all those many billions that have already lived and died are going to be tortured by your god for eternity. In your mind that's ok as long as you think he's going to spare you the same horrific punishment he has planned for most of the rest of humanity. You remind me of those in Nazi Germany who didn't give a damn about millions of their fellow humans being subjected to a horrific fate as long as they could feel they were safe. They all deserve it because they weren't chosen to be among the few special chosen ones picked by your god to spend eternity telling him how great he is? You seem to think that is just the way things are, because to question such an assumption might lead the god you imagine will sit in judgment of you to torture you as well upon your death. If your malevolent deity tortures 100 billion others, that's ok as long as you are spared that fate. You write "there are no reasons for God to permit evil if He is compelled to punish it." Who or what compels your deity to torture those 100 billion others? It is just your god's nature to be a malevolent, vengeful deity and he can no more change his nature than can can any human psychopath? Your purpose is to spend eternity praising the god, but the god created all those others so that he would have souls to torment for eternity?

          You also wrote "But such is the way of deniers, embracing the self-fulfilling fallen logic of declination, on their way to being surrounded by nothingness as their preference over submission to the One who created all things." Your beliefs seem devoid of any basis in logic, but instead based upon fear of a malevolent deity who will punish you if you might question his existence or the illogic of the myths invented regarding the deity. If you are like most of those who believe as you do, it's likely a fear instilled in you from a very early age.

          July 20, 2014 at 4:58 pm |
        • realbuckyball

          This answers nothing. Unless your deity is capricious, it MUST reference something to determine "what is good".
          Where did THAT criteria come from. If it needs no criteria other than itself, as it IS "good", then by definition it was ALWAYS only part of Reality by definition. The rest of Reality is thus unexplained, still. Euthyphro's Dilemma. It proves, logically, your god cannot have created ALL of Reality, in which it MUST by definition participate, and remains a subset.

          July 20, 2014 at 11:55 am |
        • igaftr

          " It is a fool's errand to seek answers to life's big questions while denying the absolute sovereignty and pure infinite power of the God "

          Incorrect. The fools errand is belief in that which there is no evidence of anywhere.
          Your entire post not only assumes a "god" but that it is YOUR god, the god you imagine, which has no basis in reality.

          First, show this "god" to exist. Then show it is YOUR god...then...welll there will be no next step since you won't even get through step one.

          ALl the rest of your post is based on what men imagaine "god" to be and what it wants.

          All evidence points to "gods" being entirely imaginary, and you can imagine anything you want about "god".

          July 20, 2014 at 12:02 pm |
        • MadeFromDirt

          Alonsoquixote's self-perpetuating false understandings and rants against the god of his imagination continue.
          The God of the Bible knew man would fall, but He did not intend man to fall. God does not conduct or condone evil. But He uses evil for His purposes. Part of His purposes is to eliminate evil, and that means permitting it before administering eternal punishment for it. Evil includes a human being putting himself or something else in God's place. Should God ignore the rebellion of creatures? Should evil be excused? What is it about punishing evil that makes Alonsoquixote think God is evil?

          Christians do not fear God in the way Alonsoquixote thinks of fear. We know we have already been pardoned from His righteous judgment, so we no longer fear His heavy wrath. Because God has already promised us eternal life with Him, Christians fear disappointing Him. To violate His will despite everything He has done for us is something that causes our soul to mourn, and in this flesh we strive to avoid that, but not because we fear losing our salvation. Nor are our actions motivated by fear of punishment.

          The God of the Bible is unlike any god imagined by men, or imagined by the deniers here, or imagined by a false teacher using the Bible to paint a man-centered god. The deniers especially want things both ways: even though they attribute their existence to nothing and they had nothing to do with the creation of their life, they think they deserve to make their own rules for conducting and judging their life, yet when confronted with their powerlessness and consequences of their defiant choices they blame the Creator for giving them the freedom to think that way, and for enforcing His rules. The absurdity and hopelessness of that atti-tude is on full display every day here.

          July 21, 2014 at 1:04 am |
        • alonsoquixote

          MadeFromDirt, you wrote "Alonsoquixote's self-perpetuating false understandings and rants against the god of his imagination continue." I merely pointed out what seem to be the obvious implications of your view of the god Yahweh. In prior postings you have indicated that you believe that your god decides even before the birth of a person who he will "save" and who he will condemn to eternal torture. It appears to me that you embrace the Calvinist notion of divine predestination. Do you or do you not believe that Yahweh decides who he will admit into heaven and who he will condemn to hell and that he has already made that decision before a person is even born, so that a person can not change which of those two places he or she will go to, because Yahweh has decided that before the person's birth? What type of free will does a person have and what does it matter, if in the end he will still have the fate Yahweh has predetermined for him?

          Do you or do you not believe that only Christians will be admitted to heaven? Do you believe those who are born in Muslim countries, live their lives as Muslims, and die giving praise to Allah rather than Yahweh will be admitted into heaven? Does it matter if they have given aid to the poor and needy, been kind and understanding with their fellow human beings, etc. or are they barred from heaven because they used the Koran as their sacred text rather than the Bible and viewed Jesus as but one of several messengers from God rather than God incarnate? What of the fate of Buddhists, Jains, Hindus, etc.? Will all Christians be admitted to heaven? E.g., will Jehovah's Witnesses, who do not embrace the concept of the Trinity be admitted? Will Mormons be admitted? From your prior responses, you seem reluctant to answer who you think will or will not be admitted to heaven, responding with bromides about "perfect justice" and "God is absolutely pure and cannot tolerate less than total perfection in his eternal and infinite spiritual presence." So, will he tolerate Muslims, Buddhists, Jains, Hindus, etc. in heaven or are they all consigned to eternal torture?

          If you believe that God will only allow Christians into heaven and, perhaps, not even members of all Christian sects, then it follows that he will torture the vast majority of humanity for all eternity. Based on estimates of the world's human population until the present, one can conclude that he will torture about 100 billion people for all of eternity, because he decided to save some, but torture all others. I find many Christians appear unwilling to acknowledge the implications of their own beliefs, perhaps not even to themselves, so avoid giving a direct and honest response to such questions, instead becoming angry when the implications of their beliefs are presented to them. You can call them "false understandings", but do you not believe your god will torture almost all humans who ever lived for eternity after they have died? You can use euphemisms such as "perfect justice" for such torture, but such phrases only hide the true implications of such beliefs from other like-minded believers.

          You also wrote previously, "Forced worship is no worship at all." Is not decreeing that he will torture those who do not worship him for eternity forced worship? If you held a knife to someone's throat and said "love me, or I'll slit your throat", is that so different, except that you aren't all-powerful and all-knowing?

          Since your religious beliefs cause you to view all of humanity as wretched because of "original sin", I wonder if you believe that infants must be baptized to be cleansed from original sin? Do you believe that children who die without baptism are excluded from both the Kingdom of Heaven and eternal life?

          You also wrote "God does not conduct or condone evil. But He uses evil for His purposes. Part of His purposes is to eliminate evil, and that means permitting it before administering eternal punishment for it." Do you regard your deity as omniscient and omnipotent? I presume you don't regard him as a tri-omni god, i.e., one that is omnibenevolent as well, since you seem to feel, at least that is my impression from your prior posts, that he will condemn most people to eternal torture, though you didn't answer my prior question regarding how he will torture those he condemns, e.g., is it in a "lake of fire?" If you regard your deity as omniscient and omnipotent, then is he not the source of all evil? Did he not create Satan, a being he knew would come to oppose him? If he knew beforehand what would come to pass then he knowingly introduced evil into the universe he created. Is he unwilling or unable to control the actions of this other lesser divine being he created? If he is omnipotent, created all that exists, and knew everything that would happen, did he not set up the game board and make all of the rules for the game, including the rule that everyone has to believe he incarnated himself in human form in the first century, because otherwise he wouldn't be able to tolerate even the few humans he has deigned to grant entrance to heaven to spend eternity worshiping him?

          Judaism evolved considerably over many centuries. Early on, the Ha-Satan, which means "adversary" was mankind's adversary, not an extremely powerful supernatural being who is the archenemy of Yahweh. He merely carried out Yahweh's orders. E.g., from About Satan – Early history: 300 BCE to 100 CE at religioustolerance.org/chr_sat2.htm :

          Job 1 and 2: Satan is described as one of the members of the court of heaven. God mentions that he is impressed at the behavior of Job, a blameless man who has lived an upright life. Satan attributes Job's commendable behavior to his good fortune and says that Job would soon curse God if he had a string of really bad luck. God decides to conduct an experiment with Job; he instructs Satan to destroy all that Job has: kill his animals, murder his employees, and murder his innocent children. But, even after these disasters, Job still does not curse God. So God instructs Satan to up the ante by returning to earth and destroying Job's health. Here, Satan is portrayed as a servant of God whose task it is to dutifully carry out evil deeds at God's instruction.


          There are no passages within the older parts of the Hebrew Scriptures where Satan is portrayed as an evil devil – the arch enemy of God and of humanity. At most, he is described as a henchman who carries out God's evil instructions. There is no dualism here between two powerful supernatural enti_ties: an all-good God and an all-evil Satan. God is portrayed as performing, directly and indirectly, both kind and evil deeds.

          In passages such as Isaiah 45:6-7 we find a reflection of that older view of Yahweh:

          That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the Lord, and there is none else. I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things.

          A similar sentiment is expressed in Lamentations 3:37-38:

          Who is he that saith, and it cometh to pass, when the Lord commandeth it not? Out of the mouth of the most High proceedeth not evil and good?

          Or Amos 3:6: "Should evil befall a city and Yahweh has not done it?

          For a further discussion of the change in the perception of this supernatural figure over time, see Does Yahweh make a person blind, deaf, or dumb OR does Beelzebub (Ex 4:11 vs Mk 1:34, 3:22, 5:9-13; Matt 9:33, 12:22, etc.) at contradictionsinthebible.com/yahweh-or-beelzebub/

          You also wrote "The God of the Bible is unlike any god imagined by men", but Yahweh is no more unique than other gods imagined by humans. E.g., another deity of the Ancient Near East who was worshiped in Babylon during the period the ancient Jews worshiped Yahweh as the supreme deity was Marduk. For the Babylonians, Marduk was the supreme deity who controlled the events of history, the destruction of peoples, etc. Marduk had another god, Enki, create mankind from mud as Yahweh fashioned mankind from dirt. As Genesis tells how Yahweh divided the earth from the sky and organized the primeval chaos, the Enûma Eliš tells of how Marduk defeats the chaos monster Tiamat. The Old Testament also contains chaoskampf mythlogy with Yahweh battling the chaos monsters, slaying one of them, Leviathan. E.g., see #2. Did God create the heavens and earth from the formless deep OR did Yahweh create them from the slaying of the primaeval sea monster Leviathan/Rahab? (Gen 1:1-8 vs Ps 74:13-17, 89:11-13; Job 26:12-13) at contradictionsinthebible.com/yahweh-slays-the-primaeval-sea-monster-leviathan/

          Like the gods of other cultures, the Old Testament god, at least in portions of the Old Testament written by the Yahwist, is a very anthropomorphic figure. He can suffer regret as he does when he regrets creating humans in Genesis 6:5-8. He is sometimes portrayed as not being omniscient, e.g. when he comes down to earth to determine for himself if the tales he has heard of Sodom and Gomorrah are true as he does in Genesis 18, where he also bargains with a human follower over the fate of the cities. He is subject to jealousy and rage and other very human emotions.

          If you study the mythologies of other cultures, you will find that Yahweh shares many characteristics with other gods and often biblical tales of his exploits appear to incorporate elements the ancient Jews borrowed from other cultures, such as the Sumerians and the Babylonians. The Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar conquered the Kingdom of Judah and destroyed Jerusalem in 587 BCE. He took its elite citizenry as captives to Babylon. Judaism changed considerably during the exile and afterwards with significant changes occurring in their view of their god and the afterlife. The religion had to change to survive and the priests needed to explain how the Babylonians, who worshiped Marduk, conquered them when they were supposed to be under the protection of their god Yahweh. The explanation became that Yahweh was angry with them. The Moabites used a similar explanation for why their god allowed them to be conquered by the Israelites. According to Morris Jastrow, Jr. and George Aaron Barton in the Jewish Encyclopedia: "He became angry with his people and permitted them to become the vassals of Israel; his anger passed, he commanded Mesha to fight against Israel, and Moabitish independence was reestablished."

          And when one studies the mythology of the Greeks, one finds that Christians created similar tales for their godman. Gods often had miraculous births, Asclepius brought the dead back to life, Dionysus turned water into wine, etc. And the sayings attributed to Jesus by the unknown Gospel writers are similar to sayings of Greek philosophers of that period in history.

          July 23, 2014 at 11:02 pm |
        • MadeFromDirt

          Alonsoquixote, you are going around the same circles, and your bits-and-pieces approach to the Bible and insistence on applying human standards to God will never lead you to any truth or peace. In response to your continually rephrased and repeated questions, I can only rephrase and repeat the truths I have already written on this page. I am not avoiding or feeling threatened by your questions or complaints, because they are based on your man-centered view of God; to you in your darkness and apart from God's grace the answers and the truth cannot be seen.

          It appears that you cannot get past the reality that man's situation is already damnation. Man's battle against God is already lost, and the terms of defeat have already been administered. So the God of the Bible is not saying that we must believe and worship Him or face torture; He says we are already separated from Him and doomed, and in our fallen nature we are incapable of fully believing Him, trusting Him, and worshipping Him, but the good news is He has provided a way for some of us to reunite to Him so that we can believe, trust, and worship in fullness. The Gospel is not something we do; it is something that has been done for us.

          Even though God created this universe for mankind, God was under no obligation to create man, nor to save anyone. Man is already ruined, and nothing we do can repair the damage, no matter how many "good deeds". Such is the nature of the absolute purity of God who has the infinite power to create all that you see and feel, and your very existence, and such is the result of any violation of that purity. No human deserves reunion with our perfect Creator, and it doesn't matter if it's 100 billion people or a billion-quadrillion. The finite number is not relevant to the truth of our alienation from infinite God. The severity of our offense against the Almighty is such that salvation can be only by His grace alone, and only through faith in Christ alone as He chose to grant and reveal through centuries past. Those who follow other paths are falling short of that 100% exclusive solution and calling God a liar, either by discounting the work of Christ, or elevating themselves into a portion of His place, regardless of whatever religion or denomination they may call themselves. Man lost all capability to save or repair himself. And no other religion or worldview asserts the absolute sovereignty of God and hopelessness of man's efforts, no matter how many times you attempt to draw similarities or accuse God's Gospel of copycatting.

          For the Creator of time, existing outside of time, knowing the outcome of choices of creatures within time does not mean God controls the choices. We were created in the image of God with free will, but our will has been poisoned by our choice to sin and now our will is corrupted. That is a heavy, promised, and inescapable consequence of an eternal soul turning away from our perfect Creator in any way. But when God restores our relationship with Him through Christ, we see the love of God as He is, and our free will is cleansed and repaired, and then we see the wise choice is to seek an ever closer union. To a fallen mind, that appears as slavery and something to avoid, but to a regenerated mind our restored free will means we again have the power to choose to eternally serve our amazing Creator and Savior.

          As I wrote before, your view of evil presumes that evil has no purpose. God does not commit evil, but for a time He permits it for His ultimate purposes, and in the end all evil and those who commit it are sent away. Evil includes any replacement of God with self. Again, from your man-centered perspective, such a punishment seems excessively brutal. But in truth, the weight of that ongoing yet contained punishment to be experienced by those apart from their Creator is perfectly just, and it fades to nothing in comparison to the weight and power of the eternal unlimited love of God the Creator that He chooses to share with His people.

          July 24, 2014 at 1:30 am |
        • MadeFromDirt

          One more thing...about man's first sin...

          We should not be distracted by the mysteries of the details of all the events in Eden. The history of Eden was told orally for generations before the Hebrews had a written language, so we should not emphasize details at the expense of the overall message, which was carried forward exactly as God intended in the manner He ordained to reach His audiences from then until now. God does not have to tell us everything. But we can be sure in Eden the forbidden fruit was not some magical apple with special powers. Rather, it represented God's command to obey, accept His authority, and trust in Him to love us. But Satan deceived Eve and Adam by convincing them that the fruit was magical, and would let them become like God, and make their own rules. Whatever form Satan took, it was persuasive and credible to our first parents. Before the fall, Adam and Even knew what evil was, because they knew God's commands and knew disobeying God was evil. Nevertheless, after eating the fruit, they came to know - as in experience - evil and its consequences, and its total incompatibility with goodness. This is not mythology; the proof of this actual fall and the gravity and heavy consequence of that first sin can be seen today, as every sin at its core comes from a desire to assert self over God, and every man since our first parents has been guilty of that sin.

          July 25, 2014 at 2:28 am |
        • alonsoquixote

          MadeFromDirt, I asked questions multiple times to try to get you to give a direct answer to specific questions about your beliefs, but you have avoided direct responses to specific questions, such as whether you feel that certain groups of Christians, such as Jehovah's Witnesses, will be excluded from heaven or whether infants who die before being baptized are excluded. I think I can reasonably conclude that you believe all non-Christians are excluded from heaven and subject to eternal torture, but I can't be certain about which Christian sects you believe will also be excluded from a blissful afterlife. E.g, do you feel that a belief in the trinity as established by the First Council of Nicaea in 325 CE is necessary so that only trinitarian Christians have a chance of being admitted to heaven?

          I'm trying to place your particular beliefs within a fairly wide range of beliefs held by Christians. Your prior comments regarding predestination cause me to suspect you may fall within the Calvinist subset of Christians. John Calvin (1509 – 1654) wrote in regards to predestination: "By predestination we mean the eternal decree of God, by which he determined with himself whatever he wished to happen with regard to every man. All are not created on equal terms, but some are preordained to eternal life, others to eternal damnation." Calvinism was a dominant form of Christianity in the 17th century in the New England colonies of North America due to the Puritan presence there, but in the 18th century Arminianism became more popular and Calvin's view of predestination is not the view held by most Christians today. Jacob Arminius (1560 – 1609) retained Calvin's idea of original sin, which built upon Augustine of Hippo's view of original sin, but, like Pelagius, Arminius rejected predestination in favor of free choices; he believed that God elects for salvation those who make the right choices.

          Pelagius (390 – 418 CE) rejected predestination, had a strong version of the doctrine of free will, and also rejected Augustine's notion of original sin. Pelagius viewed the doctrine of original sin as being responsible for the lack of moral recti_tude he saw among the Christians of his day who felt that whether they would be saved or not depended on a choice made by God rather than by them. Though you embrace the doctrine of original sin, I don't know whether you also embrace Augustine's belief in the need for infant baptism, which he coupled with original sin after his dispute with Pelagius. Augustine felt that all infants, even those of the regenerate, inherited their sins from Adam and that baptism was needed as an antidote for the original sin that they inherited. In 2007 the Roman Catholic Church updated its position on the matter declaring that infants that die before baptism might not be consigned to Limbo, one of the four parts of the underworld for Catholics.

          Calvin believed in paedo-baptism and was intolerant of nontrinitarianism and was responsible for the burning of Michael Servetus (1509 or 1511 – 1553), who was a nontrinitarian and anti-paedobaptism, at the stake. Calvin called Servetus' positions on those matters "execrable blasphemies". There are many Protestant denominations that practice credobaptism, aka "believer's baptism", rather than paedobaptism, but since you didn't answer my questions on either trinitarianism or paedobaptism, I can only surmise that you like, Calvin believe nontrinitarians and infants who die before baptism will not be admitted into heaven.

          You wrote, "It appears that you cannot get past the reality that man’s situation is already damnation." For me, it appears you are unable to recognize that Judaeo-Christian mythology is but one of many mythological systems constructed by mankind and will deem any attempt to use reason to analyze the biblical stories as "man-centered."

          When you write about "the severity of our offense against the Almighty", you embrace a mythology that appears to regard anything but unquestioning obedience or the acquisition of knowledge, which Adam and Eve gained by eating the fruit in the Garden of Eden, even though you now seem to admit that part is likely poetic embellishment, as something so terrible that the deity who placed the magic fruit in the garden with them regards it as not only unforgivable, but a transgression so horrific that he must punish all of their descendants as well for that "original sin." When you write "We should not be distracted by the mysteries of the details of all the events in Eden", it seems you realize when the details of the description are examined that the tale can't be literally true and invoke a standard defense when passages in the Bible regarding some event are obviously implausible as an actual event that "it's a mystery" or a metaphor, suggesting that one should ignore the details put into the story by the ancient storytellers, which make clear the mythical nature of the tales. Indeed, those stories would have changed considerably as they were passed orally from storyteller to storyteller with embellishments added and individual storytellers modifying stories to meet the needs of their particular audiences. Suggesting that "the proof of this actual fall and the gravity and heavy consequence of that first sin can be seen today" is to contend that the story is proof of itself, because you interpret the world around you based on that tale. Perhaps you can admit that some parts of the creation mythology in Genesis aren't literally true, but can't acknowledge the rest of it as at best metaphorical because you understand that the whole premise of Christianity then collapses if there was no "Fall", since there is then no need for the god to sacrifice himself to himself as atonement for the Fall, though there are some Christians who view the resurrection story as metaphorical as well.

          I recommend The Legends of Genesis written by Hermann Gunkel (1862–1932), a German Old Testament scholar whose writings had an enormous impact on modern biblical scholarship. The author discusses the development of the stories in Genesis and the types of material included in Genesis, distinguishing myths from legends and categorizing the legends into different types. The book is freely available since it is long out of copyright as it was published in 1901. It can be found in audio format at the Librivox website, which provides out of copyright books in audio format for free, at librivox.org/the-legends-of-genesis-by-hermann-gunkel/ , and in various electronic formats, including ones suitable for ebook readers, such as the Kindle, via the Internet Archive at Archive.org. The Internet Archive, which also makes out of copyright books freely available, will show you the audio format, too, so look for the digitized book link it returns, which is the second one if you search for "Legends of Genesis", when you perform a search, if you might be willing to read the book.

          Much of the Bible consists of myths and legends. Such stories can provide a guide for people in how to live their lives, but, unfortunately, many want to treat Biblical tales, no matter how improbable they may be, as actual historical events. As the American mythologist Joseph Campbell wrote in Pathways to Bliss: Mythology and Personal Transformation:

          One might reasonably define mythology as other people's religion. The definition of religion is equally uncomplicated: it is misunderstood mythology. The misunderstanding consists typically in interpreting mythological symbols as though they were references to historical facts. And this problem is particularly crucial in our tradition in the West, where the whole emphasis has been on the historicity of the events on which our churches are supposed to have been founded.

          You also wrote "He has provided a way for some of us to reunite to Him so that we can believe, trust, and worship in fullness. " I.e, a very small percentage of humans will be spared eternal torture, which you perceive as "good news", because you think you have been chosen as one of the few to be spared that torture. When you write of "the eternal unlimited love of God the Creator that He chooses to share with His people" it reminds me of the extent of cognitive dissonance that can be tolerated by believers, since the picture you present of your deity is hardly that of a loving god. As the former preacher Dan Barker wrote in Losing Faith in Faith: "Love is not hatred or wrath, consigning billions of people to eternal torture because they have offended your ego or disobeyed your rules. Love is not obedience, conformity, or submission. It is a counterfeit love that is contingent upon authority, punishment, or reward. True love is respect and admiration, compassion and kindness, freely given by a healthy, unafraid human being." Yes, I know for you "that's just the way God is."

          The notion of "inherited sin" is not part of most of mainstream Judaism nor even all varieties of Christianity. The notion of "original sin" was developed in the 2nd century by Irenaeus, the Bishop of Lyon, in his contest with the Gnostics of his day, but with the notion of original sin many Christians today embrace owing to the later doctrine formulated by Augustine in the 4th century. The Pelagians attributed Augustine's doctrine of original sin to his earlier Manichaean beliefs with one Pelagian opponent of Augustine writing “Anyone who defends [the doctrine of] original evil is a thoroughgoing Manichaen". The doctrine you seem to embrace that also claims "total depravity" for all of mankind is the creation of Augustine. It is one of the doctrines of Calvinism, so it wouldn't surprise me that you would hold that to be true if you are a Calvinist, though Lutherans and others embrace that doctrine as well, including some Arminian denomination, such as Methodists.

          You also wrote "And no other religion or worldview asserts the absolute sovereignty of God and hopelessness of man’s efforts." Certainly the adherents of many other religions believe in a sovereign god, though it may not be Yahweh. It would seem your claim for your religion being special among the myriads created by mankind is that it is the one that believes mankind degraded to a greater extent than any other religion. Though, of course, not all Christians, share that view. There has been argument on the view of original sin and total depravity for many centuries just as there has been disagreement on a myriad of other matters since the inception of Christianity. There have been differing views on the applicability of the Mosaic Law to Christians with Judaizers, such as Ebionites and Nazarenes taking one view and Paulinists the opposite view. There were Christians that believed that Joseph and Mary had other children, but also Antidicomariantes. There were differences of opinion on the relationship of the parts of the god to one another with Arians holding one view and trinitarians another and Adoptionists holding yet another view. Even among those who embraced the concept of the trinity there has been disagreement with some subscribing to a Sabellian view. In the 11th century there was the East-West Schism over issues such as the Filioque.

          Going back to the beliefs of Judaism, there were significant changes in the belief system over time. The Yahwistic portions of the Old Testament portray a much more anthropomorphic god than those of the Priestly Source. Notions regarding the afterlife and the god changed considerably over time as is discussed in "Immortality And The Unseen World A Study In Old Testament Religion", published in 1921 by the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, written by W.O.E. Oesterley (1866 – 1950), 1866–1950) a Church of England theologian and professor of Hebrew and Old Testament at King's College, London. The book is freely available at archive.org/details/immortalityandth014313mbp or downloadable in MP3 audio format from Librivox at librivox.org/immortality-and-the-unseen-world-by-w-o-e-oesterley/

          Your beliefs are based on stories created by ancient storytellers thousands of years ago, which even after they were committed to written form were redacted over the course of many centuries with material being added, modified, and removed. Then with the creation of Christianity the stories were reinterpreted for the creation of the Gospels and even after a canon was created, though there is not even a standard biblical canon on which all Christians agree, interpreted in many different ways by many subsequent Christian theologians. There has been so much disagreement among Christian theologians regarding doctrinal matters, because the material they have to work with is often ambiguous and contradictory, which should be expected for material authored by many men with diverse viewpoints, but not if a god played a role in the development of the writings.

          E.g., you also wrote "For the Creator of time, existing outside of time, knowing the outcome of choices of creatures within time does not mean God controls the choices." Claiming that Yahweh is timeless, existing outside of time, is a standard tactic used by apologists to address the problem that arises if they are to claim humans have free will, but Yahweh is also omniscient. The view that Yahweh exists outside of time can be traced back to the philosopher Anicius Manlius Severinus Boëthius (480 – 524 or 525 CE). Though there may be passages in the Bible that could be used for that position, that view is not the view of Yahweh presented in several passages including the Genesis 18:21 verse I mentioned previously where Yahweh has to visit Earth to learn the truth about Sodom and Gomorrah. An omniscient deity existing outside of time for whom all events are simultaneous wouldn't have to come down to Earth to find out for himself. He would already know the answer. Other verses that depict a god existing in time who is not omniscient include the following:

          Yahweh has to test Abraham to learn whether he is willing to sacrifice his son to Yahweh, if Yahweh commands it. If he was omniscient, he would not have had to conduct the test.

          Genesis 22:12:

          "Do not lay a hand on the boy," he said. "Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son."

          Yahweh also had to test the Jews to know whether they would keep his commandments.

          Deuteronomy 8:2:

          "Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands"

          Some apologists avoid the problem by claiming that Yahweh knows everything that is true, but since the future has not yet happened events that will transpire in the future are not yet true, limiting his omniscience to what is true at a given moment in time, but, obviously, that view doesn't jibe with your claim that Yahweh exists outside of time.

          July 25, 2014 at 11:23 pm |
        • MadeFromDirt

          I'm sure we both lost our audiences by now, but anyway...

          Like I wrote, a renewed mind is a gift from God who is the source of all life and wisdom, and so alienation from God leaves a mind in darkness and irrational in matters of existence and its purpose. Alonsoquixote's questions have been answered, but instead of accepting those answers and facing the truth of God's nature and God's purpose, and man's condition as revealed in the Bible, he would rather ignore or distort my answers, and then argue the same point again using the same false presumptions and man-centered perspective. Blindness becomes obstinateness becoming desperation, and being unable to even accept to agree to disagree is quite telling. Another example of a futile mind at work is over-attention leading to obsession with labels and the thoughts of men; these things can only keep one in bondage apart from the truths of God.

          July 26, 2014 at 9:58 pm |
        • alonsoquixote

          I think we can at least agree that one of us is "a mind in darkness and irrational in matters of existence" basing his life on "false presumptions", blind to reality.

          July 26, 2014 at 10:09 pm |
  19. realbuckyball

    Well we should all get in line I guess. Snotty is going to be getting the Nobel Prize in Biology this coming year. Isn't it exciting. He ALONE, in the entire world, has stumbled on the fact that Evolution is false. Something the ENTIRE world's science community missed. The very science community who would give their left you-know-what to prove their hated rivals wrong. It's it it just amazing, Little Snotty figured this all out, and NOT ONE other scientist did. And all with little to no science education, to boot. I am just SO impressed with our Little Snotty.

    July 14, 2014 at 9:59 pm |
    • LaBella

      Well, if lying and misrepresenting is a perquisite of a Nobel, then, yeah.

      July 14, 2014 at 10:30 pm |
    • TruthPrevails1

      Scot is nothing more an asylum patient living in a world all of his very own.

      July 15, 2014 at 6:58 am |
  20. His Panic

    Riots, stampedes, vandalism and violence in Brazil after lost to Germany That is because these people DO NOT Trust in God and in Jesus Christ God's Only Son.


    July 14, 2014 at 8:46 pm |
    • His Panic

      Also Riots in Argentina after the lost to Germany and the Cup of the tournament. Same reason, they DO NOT Trust in God and in Jesus Christ God's Only Son. Rather they trust in Idols.


      July 14, 2014 at 8:50 pm |
      • His Panic

        Those who do Trust in God and in Jesus Christ God's Only Son WILL NOT Panic neither get themselves involve in riots, revolts, revolutions, stampedes and mass hysteria. ALL others, who DO NOT Trust in God and in Jesus Christ God's Only Son WILL Panic in due time.

        July 14, 2014 at 8:54 pm |
        • realbuckyball

          Put on your call-light dear. Tell the nurse you need another pill.

          July 14, 2014 at 9:04 pm |
    • Doris

      What rioting? What an imbecile. I feel sorry for anyone having to go into a crowded theatre with you.

      July 14, 2014 at 9:49 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.