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What God is saying, or trying to, over the din
Anne Lamott is the author of several books, including "Some Assembly Required," written with her son, Sam.
July 31st, 2014
03:56 PM ET

What God is saying, or trying to, over the din

By Dorrine Mendoza, CNN

(CNN) - Author Anne Lamott says she begins her day by checking the news as soon as she wakes up.

“If the world is coming to an end that day I am going to eat the frosting off an entire carrot cake: just for a start," she wrote in a recent essay on her Facebook page.

Lamott, the best-selling author of several books about spirituality, describes her specialty as topics that "begin with capital letters: Alcoholism, Motherhood, Jesus.” But in recent days, global events have been foremost on her mind.

“The last two weeks have been about as grim and hopeless as any of us can remember,” she wrote, listing events like the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 disaster in Ukraine, Palestinian children killed by rocket fire while playing football on the beach and protests against young refugees showing up at the U.S. border.

Lamott posted her response to those events on her Facebook page on Sunday; the essay quickly received more than 18,000 shares and thousands of comments.

“I used to think that if the world — or I — were coming to an end, I’d start smoking again,” she wrote. But that's going too far, Lamott said, settling for the simpler pleasure of sweet pastries.

Despite tragedies both deeply personal and worldly, Lamott said she turns to a hard-won, if somewhat restless faith.

“There is no one left in my circle who would dare say, brightly, ‘Let go and let God,’ because they know I would come after them with a fork,” she wrote.

Lamott said this isn’t because she doesn’t trust God, “or grace or good orderly direction.” She assures us, she does. It’s platitudes she finds unhelpful. Instead, her priorities are prayer, meditation and taking loving actions.

“It begins by putting your own oxygen mask on first: I try to keep the patient comfortable,” she wrote.

Once the flow of oxygen has steadied she turns her thoughts to the poor, the hungry and returning phone calls.

Readers and Lamott fans responded in kind.

“I wish we could all get together for coffee/water/whatever and just be,” wrote Diana Hartje in the comments. “I don’t feel quite so alone with all this going on around us.”

Charon Mangino posted a photo of flowers from her garden, writing, “I go into my garden … I weed, and with each weed I pray and release my own negative thoughts, beliefs and demons. Then I plant new seeds of love. May they flower into something beautiful to help heal this world of pain.”

Jodi Gabert revealed her own anger not just with the world, but also at the loss of a dear friend to cancer. Although Lamott did not personally comment, more than 20 others did, offering their support and own stories of recovery after loss.

Lamott concluded her essay, “You are my own, and I am yours–I think this is what God is saying, or trying to, over the din."

Read the whole essay here.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • End times • God • Inspiration • Internet • Middle East

soundoff (459 Responses)
  1. guidedans

    You atheists on this site are frustrating. Have you ever stopped to think about what you are all striving for? What if you got your wish and all of the Christians, Muslims, Jews, and Buddhists all vanished, or better yet, converted to your way of thinking?

    What would you have then? Imagine that no one ever fought any wars and science was free to advance without bound. Where would it take you?

    Here's the thing: You are all going to die one day. Either an asteroid will hit the Earth, or the moon will drift off and leave the Earth wobbling until it has a perpetual winter/summer, or Aliens will come and kill us all, or the Sun will go red giant and engulf the Earth.

    Even if we are able to make a serum that lets us live forever and we are able to take off into outer space and conquer the universe, then what? One day the universe will run out of energy and all stars will go dark. Even if we are able to find a way to move between universes, then what?

    What is the goal you are striving for? You want to know everything in the universe and conquer the entirety of it?

    Have you ever played a video game with the cheat codes turned on? How fun is that? How fun is it to have everything that the game can offer?

    I am frustrated by what seems to be striving for a terrible goal.

    August 1, 2014 at 6:09 pm |
    • harlow13

      Atheists are quite varied, so there is no uniform goal.

      Personally, a simple life suits me. But I want to believe things that are true. I strive to be honest with myself about what I do and do not know. I like to be surrounded by people doing the same. I think it increases the likelihood of our living well together.

      I don’t know that I have great hope for the future of humankind, but you never know. We have been dealt a very difficult hand to play. The beauty and horror seem about equal. But there is a satisfaction in trying to live honestly and decently.

      August 1, 2014 at 7:25 pm |
      • guidedans

        I agree with you, Harlow. It is important to live honestly and decently. But to what end? If there is no afterlife, then when you die, that honest, decent life is gone. It is like building the biggest, best machine in the world. One that can create energy from nothing. Then, after you create the machine, destroying it completely and forgetting about it. If you argue that the machine's impact could still remain after you destroy it, eventually, everyone will die and everyone's machine will be destroyed and forgotten.

        I believe that you do not stop existing after you die, and that you take your character with you into the afterlife. Do I know that that is true? No, but then again, If we were all truly honest with ourselves, we would admit that we don't really know that anything is true. I choose to believe in Jesus and the Bible. Not because I know it is true, but because I believe it is true.

        If you think that that is naive, then I ask you if you know that your beliefs are true or if you just choose to believe they are true as well.

        August 3, 2014 at 12:28 pm |
        • Keith

          It is quite simple, you live for today, you love for today. Take care of those you love today because tomorrow never comes. I have a father that has spent his whole life telling me that we would get together someday, and if we don't time now we will meet in heaven. Well Fu** Him, If he goes to heaven I don't want to join him there.

          I do not need to promise of an after life to be a good man nor do I need the threat of some horrible suffering to keep me on the straight and narrow. What is the point? Look into the eyes of your child, that is the point. Help someone that can not take care of themselves, that is the point. So one of a million selfless things we can do as human beings and you will mean more to that person than god ever will.

          August 3, 2014 at 11:12 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          "What would you have then? Imagine that no one ever fought any wars and science was free to advance without bound. Where would it take you?"

          The United Federation of Planets. Gene Roddenberry often imagined that world.

          August 4, 2014 at 8:40 am |
    • bostontola

      Your post is rife with assumption. You assume that all atheists want religious people gone or converted. Nope. You assume that atheists have inferior morality. Nope. Without those assumptions, no point survives.

      August 1, 2014 at 7:44 pm |
      • guidedans

        Boston, remove those assumptions completely. My question is, what are you striving for? If there is no life after death, then there is no way to value your life once you die. It is like having the best day ever, then taking a pill that makes you forget that day completely. Does that day still have meaning to you? I would argue that it does not because you forgot it entirely. Just like that forgotten day, if there is no life after death, then there is no meaning to your life once you die.

        August 3, 2014 at 12:33 pm |
        • Keith

          unless you live a completely meaningless life your last statement is just ignorant. Hour analogy is faulty in the fact that great men are remembered forever in the memory of man. If I only live in the memory of my family that will be enough.

          August 3, 2014 at 11:15 pm |
        • evidencenot

          It's pretty simple, the "meaning to your life" is while you're alive, not after you die. There is zero evidence to suggest there is life after death, Why waste precious moments of your life obsessing over ridiculous concepts based on nothing more than imagination and mythology?

          August 5, 2014 at 10:35 am |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      "Have you ever stopped to think about what you are all striving for?"
      --------------------
      Are you assuming there is an atheist mission statement' or manifesto somewhere? There isn't.

      For me personally, how about:
      • Live well
      • Be generous, thoughtful and help others
      • Be remembered fondly, leave a legacy
      • Leave the world a little better for your having been in it

      "I am frustrated by what seems to be striving for a terrible goal.
      -----------------------–
      What 'terrible goal' do you think we are 'striving' for?

      August 1, 2014 at 8:09 pm |
      • guidedans

        Hi GOP,

        Thanks for your answer, but I still think it falls short of having a good goal for your life.

        1. Live well
        You live for 80 years and then you die. Once you are dead, if there is no afterlife, your life means nothing to you (there is no "you" at that point for there to be meaning). With that in mind, then you have some value for 80 years, then no value for eternity. The value to time ratio is very very low if that is the case.

        2. Be generous, thoughtful and help others
        Again, that generosity has no value to you after you die and those to whom you have been generous will also die one day. Even if your impact lasted until the end of humanity, still all those people will be dead and any value you created in their lives will drop to zero. Again, the value you create would only exist while humanity exists. After that, there is no value.

        3. Be remembered fondly, leave a legacy
        One day, Everybody dead. Regardless of how impactful you after, everyone will be dead and, if there is no afterlife, then, upon the death of the last person who you impacted, your memory would be erased and your legacy destroyed. If there value in a forgotten legacy? I don't think so.

        4. Leave the world a little better for your having been in it
        The world will one day be engulfed by our beautiful sun. There is nothing you can do to stop it. Eventually, no matter how great we make this world, it will be gone one day, completely destroyed. It would be like spending years and years building a beautiful watch that keeps perfect time and has hundreds of complications only to throw it into molten lead and watch it melt down to nothing. I think that that goal is bad too apart from there being an afterlife.

        "I am frustrated by what seems to be striving for a terrible goal.
        -------––
        What 'terrible goal' do you think we are 'striving' for?

        I guess I am more frustrated by the lack of thought behind your goals than I am with the goals themselves. The goals you listed above are great goals, but only if there is an afterlife. If there is no afterlife, then the goals that you listed are meaningless. There is no point to build something only to destroy it and forget about it. That's what we are all doing if death is the end of things. Building a wonderful machine of our lives and then destroying it completely when we die.

        August 3, 2014 at 12:53 pm |
        • igaftr

          dans
          "Building a wonderful machine of our lives and then destroying it completely when we die."

          How sad you think that way.
          My children will go on, and their children, and their children...that is nature. If I had not had children, then my line would end, as is natures way.
          My knowledge is based on many, many people before me, and my contributions will be what others will base their work on long after I am gone.
          Our goal is to build communities that are better for our children that what we had, and to survive as a species. That is the survival instinct.

          August 3, 2014 at 1:00 pm |
        • tallulah131

          @guidedans

          Your list is probably among the most selfish things I've ever read. Basically you are admitting that you are a christian, not in order to be a good person, but because you fear death and want to be immortal.

          80 years is a good span for a human. Life is finite and the old should pass to make way for the new. Generosity tends to inspire generosity, so the good works of one lifetime may inspire good works in many lifetimes.

          The wish for your loved ones to remember you is not unreasonable. Of course memory fades with time and new memories replace the old. That's all part of life.

          And apparently you can't understand the value of leaving the world a better place. The world does not end when you die. There are new generations of life that will continue until our species or the planet dies. Why wouldn't you want to leave the world better for them?

          It's hysterically funny that you think that you have any right to judge anyone else. You sound like a very selfish child, and I doubt you would even be a christian if not for the promise of eternal life.

          August 3, 2014 at 1:10 pm |
        • guidedans

          tallulah and igaftr,

          These are not my beliefs that I am expressing. These are my thoughts and opinions regarding your beliefs. I believe that, when you die, if you are a Christian, God accepts you into the perfection of Heaven by cleansing you of your sins by way of Jesus. This means that my goals are all centered around doing good, being a good example to others, helping other financially and physically, and trying to bring them to Christ. My beliefs have value because, in my belief-set, there is an afterlife, there is a way to look back on your life and consider it... Without afterlife, there is no looking back, only non-existence.

          About your "legacy" discussion, your legacy ends one day too. That does not change anything in my diatribe.

          About your sassy remark that I sound like a child, I am not even a child anymore. You don't know me! You don't know my life!

          About the remark that the only reason I am a Christian is because I get a prize, that is not true either. I became a Christian because it felt terrible to do it. I always thought that I was open minded and not arrogant, and my wife asked, if I were so open minded, then why wouldn't I put my faith in Jesus, and if it were not true, then I would find out. I found myself just almost unable to do it. It was like something inside me was violently fighting the thought on me needing Jesus to be with God. I thought I was good enough to deserve to be with God on my own and I didn't want Jesus to be in the middle.

          It was shocking to me to begin to recognize these feelings in me. I did not recognize that I had these proud feelings in me. But I did, and it felt awful to convert to Christianity at first. Making that first step felt like renouncing my full beliefs. It was awful. However, since becoming a Christian, I believe now that it is the truth. Things have occurred in my life that are beyond my explanation. Your experience with Christ would be (or has been) different than mine. I am saying that my experience is just what has led me to truly believe in Jesus.

          The afterlife is just something that, after really thinking about the end-game, I have come to believe is necessary to having any meaning in life. Science tells us the world is going to end. without an eternal soul, all we have is materials and materials are temporary and forgettable and upon forgetting something, its meaning is gone.

          August 3, 2014 at 1:56 pm |
        • tallulah131

          @guidedans

          "Without afterlife, there is no looking back, only non-existence."

          So what? Non-existence is the perfectly natural conclusion to existence. Everywhere you look in nature, that which ceases to live decays and disappears. Self-importance will never trump nature, no matter how many gods are invented.

          Intelligence and self-awareness do not remain when the physical body dies. They go away, too, so all that's left of a person is the impression that they created with the life they did have. And that impression is temporary, too, except for the chosen few whom history remembers, whether by name or by invention or act.

          I get that you fear death and want to live forever. I get that you cling to your faith because it promises you that option, no matter that no one can prove that the promise is actually delivered. Everything in your comment indicates that your belief is all about your feelings and needs. The motives you give for believing are incredibly selfish.

          Personally, I have no need nor desire for eternal life. I cannot believe in things for which there is no evidence, not even gods. I try to do the right thing, because doing the wrong thing holds no appeal. I like being self-sufficient and really hate to be a burden on others. I'm a human. I like being human. I am really okay with the fact that one day I will die and will eventually be forgotten. Why would I need more than that? I'm not greedy. This life is enough.

          August 3, 2014 at 2:23 pm |
        • igaftr

          "The afterlife is just something that, after really thinking about the end-game, I have come to believe is necessary to having any meaning in life'

          And that is just sad.
          You know that place you were BEFORE you were conceived? Same place you go when you die.

          Why do you think there has to be some grand reason?

          August 3, 2014 at 3:01 pm |
        • LaBella

          "I became a Christian because it felt terrible to do it."
          Huh?

          August 3, 2014 at 3:31 pm |
        • guidedans

          Hey Tallulah,

          Your assertions that non-existence is the natural end to existence are just as baseless as by assertions in an afterlife. Where is the proof that you stop existing after you die? When you see that your mother or father or friend or non-acquaintance is dead, where is the hole in the material world that proves that they no longer exist? I understand that you see that their body is no longer functioning, but just because you can't see that they exist doesn't mean that they don't.

          You are making a very large and unfounded assumption when you say that we stop existing after we die and you should recognize that your assumptions are just as unfounded as mine.

          You might be fine with not existing one day, but don't try to argue that your life has meaning if you stop existing. If you are an atheist, you should recognize that there is no meaning in life. It doesn't matter today if we cure cancer or if today, we are all killed by a supernova. Regardless of which happens, to the atheist, both should be equally meaningful (with one being preferred by the atheist).

          August 3, 2014 at 4:48 pm |
        • igaftr

          dans
          "You are making a very large and unfounded assumption when you say that we stop existing after we die and you should recognize that your assumptions are just as unfounded as mine"

          Wow are you twisting things around. SInce we can see that things die, and that is permanent, there is no indication there is anything more. You claim an afterlife...no evidence at all, and that is but one in an infinite number of possibilities.
          It is a safe assumption that to live, we need to have a body. Once that body nolonger functions, it is safe to assume the person is dead.

          Anything beyond that is speculation, but since YOU think there is an afterlife, prove it, since it is but one of an endless number of possibilities....For instance, after you die, you will slip into another dimension where your soul will power an alien races soft ice cream machine. Since there is just as much evidence of that as there is for your afterlife hypothesis, all you really have is speculation once someone or some life form dies.

          Nature is where life comes from, and religions make people believe that we, as humans, are special , but nature says we are not, so honestly, ALL life would have some "afterlife" if we do.
          Your beliefs are based on nothing., so it is only a one in infinity chance that you are correct....not good odds to bet on. Best to do the best you can here, because this is likely all you get.

          August 3, 2014 at 5:05 pm |
        • guidedans

          hey igaftr,

          Where exactly were we before we were conceived? I would be impressed if you knew and had the evidence to back it up. Do you really not see that your beliefs on non-existence after death are as unfounded as my belief in an afterlife? Can you please produce all the scientific, peer-reviewed articles that prove out that we cease to exist after death?

          You are choosing to believe your beliefs on faith, just like I am. Your faith however is in the knowledge that you picked up over the years. Mine is in the Bible. If you are going to argue that your faith is more true than mine, you should start off by proving that this reality actually exists.

          August 3, 2014 at 5:08 pm |
        • guidedans

          hey igaftr, my odds in heaven are 1/infinity and if I am correct, I am rewarded with eternal bliss. The odds that your belief is correct are also 1/infinity, but if you are correct, then you get absolutely nothing.

          so my expected value is 1/infinity times infinity or infinity/infinity, while yours are 1/infinity times zero, or zero/infinity.

          Now I know that, when dealing with infinities, the math comes out as undefined most the time, but any laymen can see in the above equation that infinity/infinity is greater than 0/infinity.

          I will take my bet over yours any day.

          August 3, 2014 at 5:18 pm |
        • tallulah131

          I base my lack of belief in an afterlife on the lack of evidence for an afterlife. There is no more evidence for an afterlife than there is for a god. I don't believe in ghosts, elves, the Loch Ness Monster or the supernatural for the same reason.

          Humans have a history of inventing supernatural answers when they have no real means to answer a question. Why do you suppose there were so many lighting gods? It makes sense that humans invent an afterlife as a "solution" for death, but belief in something does not make that thing exist.

          Perhaps there is an afterlife, but there is no logical reason for one to exist. Living things die and decompose. Rocks erode and become dust. There is nothing to indicate that immortality is anything other than a human conceit.

          The world has meaning for as long as it lasts. It is home to millions of living beings and your arrogance does not diminish their value. My life absolutely has meaning to me and I find it offensive that you presume to put words in my mouth after I have repeatedly said otherwise. You don't get to determine what other people think. You are simply not that important.

          You value your life, right now as you live it and that is why you want it to be remembered forever. Will your life have less value to you now if it is forgotten in 200 years? Will you just give up and die if you don't get to live forever? I really don't think so. You are a fearful, self-important little man and you're wasting your entire existence pining for a pretend afterlife.

          August 3, 2014 at 6:44 pm |
        • tallulah131

          "lightning" gods. Not "lighting" gods. Edison was a thief and an elephant murderer.

          August 3, 2014 at 6:45 pm |
        • igaftr

          guide
          Stating Pascals wager as an argument is foolish.

          Secondly, I did not say what my beliefs are so cool your jets.

          What I believe is that we do not know, my science background tell me the energy will dissipate into the universe and the coherent sentience that make up my personality will cease, but the energy will go on.

          You don't seem to like the math, but until we know more, the math is correct.

          August 4, 2014 at 8:11 am |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          guidedans entire post can be summed up as "Waaaah waaah, if I only get 80 years on this miserable rock then that sucks, i deserve eternity! waaah , 80 years is such a lame time ratio even though I have nothing to compare it to, waaah waaaah waaah! Life isn't worth living if this is all I get! Waaah waaaahh!"

          August 4, 2014 at 8:47 am |
        • guidedans

          You know, you guys are funny. You all spend so much time fighting against something you don't even believe in. I know that you say that you are impacted by us Christians because we force our opinions on you by way of laws, but guess what, that's what EVERY group of people does. We have our beliefs and we vote based on them. That is how the country's governance structure was set up. So when you say I am the Waah Waah one, I would like you to do some solid introspection and ask yourself who the ones are that are waah wahhing all the time.

          Anyhow, You guys like to throw around the term "logic" way too freely. When you are using arguments centered on evidence, that is not using logic. that is using the scientific method, which is not based in logic, but rather, based on observations of the natural world. Logic exists completely outside the natural realm. It is a tool that we are to use to actually prove stuff, not argue theories like science does.

          Logic is only effective very infrequently in the real world. You need to start with an indisputable premise, build on it with more indisputable premises and then, based on a strict rule set, derive conclusions based on those premises.

          Here is an example: all apples are fruits, all fruits are the product of plants, Therefore all apples are the product of plants.

          But that example, while logically sound, is not necessarily true. What if apples are not fruits but are really just a matrix-like simulation of fruits? Then we got an issue. We would need to prove concretely that apples are in fact fruits.

          This is much harder than you all make it sound.

          So don't be all throwing around your "logical arguments" like you are proving something. All the evidence in the world proves nothing. It only shows that you have observed something to be the case through your own perception, which may or may not be just the perception of a more complex being who is thinking you into existence.

          When are you going to realize that your science is as meaningless as my faith? Ya'll stand on your high-horses made of charts and graphs, yelling about your theories on stuff. think your so cool.

          You know what's cool? Jesus in sunglasses. That's cooler than any science junk you got.

          August 4, 2014 at 1:05 pm |
        • tallulah131

          What are you barking about now, dan? We get that you don't like atheists and that you think that if you don't get to live forever then your life isn't worth anything, so what are you going on about now? Can't you say anything in less than 2000 words?

          August 4, 2014 at 10:00 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          "Logic is only effective very infrequently in the real world."

          lol. Just lol.

          August 5, 2014 at 11:30 am |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          "When are you going to realize that your science is as meaningless as my faith? Ya'll stand on your high-horses made of charts and graphs, yelling about your theories on stuff. think your so cool."

          While I appreciate your willingness to admit the meaninglessness of your faith, science has in fact shown us it's value first hand. Science has eradicated small pox and turned the common cold from a killer into a kitten. It has allowed us to understand sanitation which has increased human health and life extending the average life span while increasing infant mortality rates. Apparently your God liked more babies dying but science had a heart and now birth mortality rates are higher than they have ever been in human history with fewer diseases and complications causing baby deaths. Personally I think that makes science matter. Now, how many people have you cured with prayer? How many diseases have been eradicated by prayer? Yes, your faith only has meaning to you, science matters to everyone.

          August 5, 2014 at 11:41 am |
    • realbuckyball

      So, you think because you don't like where you think something leads, you get to make up, or buy into something that leads to somewhere you want to end up, and then get to believe in your invention because you like it more ?
      Really ? I gave up Santy when I was 3.

      August 1, 2014 at 10:27 pm |
      • James XCIX

        Well said. Discomfort with reality is no excuse for accepting fantasy.

        August 2, 2014 at 10:28 am |
      • guidedans

        Bucky,

        You get to believe whatever you choose to. There is no one but you who chooses your beliefs. You get to filter information, interpret it, and intake that information into your core sets of beliefs. No one else does that for you.

        So when you say that I think that I can believe what I want to because I don't like where the alternatives lead, that is 100% correct. Why would you ever invest in believing something that sucks? There is evidence that I will get ebola one day and die. Should I believe that? There is evidence that I will be killed in a super volcano one day. Should I believe that too? Those things may end up being true, but I gain no value in believing those things. So I choose not to. I am not going to waste my time on beliefs that end with me dead and erased from existence.

        You know that you don't know what happens after we die too, right? Like, your beliefs about the afterlife (or lack there of) are just as presumptive as mine. So if I am choosing to believe certain things about the afterlife, then so are you. Why do you choose to believe something that sucks?

        August 3, 2014 at 1:01 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          "Why would you ever invest in believing something that sucks?"

          I believe I am unable to fly unassisted. Yes, that sucks, but that is my reality. You are welcome to your opinion, you can believe you turn into a galactic space bunny after you die for all I care, just stop trying to inject your imaginative opinion into legislation that effects others. It's pretty simple, I and other like minded people want reality based legislation and education in public schools, not completely unfounded religious opinion being given equal consideration when crafting laws and teaching children.

          August 4, 2014 at 8:37 am |
    • idiotusmaximus

      You forgot self-extermination by way of global heating which is actually in the process of happening now...so that should be first on your list....the sun expanding won't happen for another 5 billion or so years...we'll be long long gone by then.

      August 2, 2014 at 10:06 am |
      • guidedans

        yeah, I like to think that we will end up creating nano-bots that malfunction and end up turning all carbon on Earth into more nano-bots and we end up in the Grey Goo the futurists warn about.

        futurists... what a weird field. Hey, my job is to study things that haven't happened yet.

        August 3, 2014 at 1:06 pm |
    • G to the T

      It may sound trite, but I think it's appropriate – "Life's a journey, not a destination".

      The point of life is to live, and if you have any forethought at all, to help the continuation of life (esp our species, we are biased) into the future. There's no way to know what the ultimate fate of humanity will be, but I do have hope. For me, that's enough.

      August 2, 2014 at 10:32 am |
      • guidedans

        Hey G to the T,

        You are right that we don't know where humanity will go, but there is an expanse of evidence that we will go extinct. If we were just to be super scientific about it, it is all but certain that we gonna all die pretty soon on a cosmic scale. Even if we make it into the billions of years of existence mark, we have to deal with proton decay and solar deaths. Eventually, the universe will run out of energy and everything will be gone completely.

        I really just don't understand how you can say that there is meaning to building something that is going to be destroyed. Like, you say that it is not the destination, but the journey, but what if, once you reached your destination, you forgot the journey completely. If there is no afterlife, then, once you die, you don't remember the journey, so there is no way to value it. I don't get it. I really don't.

        August 3, 2014 at 1:13 pm |
      • G to the T

        "Like, you say that it is not the destination, but the journey, but what if, once you reached your destination, you forgot the journey completely."

        I think you are missing the point of the idiom. It's about the journey – it's about doing what matters now, because there's no certainty about the destination. For me, believing that I am a finite being makes that time more precious, not pointless.

        August 3, 2014 at 4:06 pm |
        • guidedans

          Hey G T,

          I get what you are saying, but I think you are discounting the importance of time and memory. As temporal beings, it is true that we feel that we only exist in this moment and should therefore value the moment immensely, but this moment is only in existence due to the infinite chain of moments that preceded it. Without those moments, this one would not exist. Furthermore, without the ability to remember past moments, they lose all meaning for the person living those moments. If I did not remember writing the first part of this response, then I would be at a loss for what point I was trying to make, regardless of how valuable I felt this current moment of writing the remainder of this response was.

          You see, in order to say that something is meaningful for you, you still have to be around. Something cannot have meaning for you if you do not exist. To say something has meaning to humanity, humanity still has to exist. If humanity does not, then nothing can be meaningful to humanity.

          What I am saying is, think about your end goals. Think about the reason for why you are on the journey in the first place. If the point of the journey is just to be on a journey, then everyone's life is just as meaningful/meaningless and we are still left with no one having meaning in their lives. Journeys are only journeys if they take you some place different from where you began. If, at the end of the journey, you no longer exist, the the journey really has no meaning to you.

          August 3, 2014 at 4:38 pm |
        • G to the T

          I think you are still hooked on the need for external validation – and I'm not.

          My life has meaning because I give it meaning – if it has meaning for others that's great too. I would argue that you give your life meaning as well, you just attribute it to an external source. Stop worrying about the destination – there's nothing you can do about it. From your perspective, think of it like this:

          "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference."

          August 4, 2014 at 11:39 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      "Have you ever played a video game with the cheat codes turned on? How fun is that? How fun is it to have everything that the game can offer?"

      No fun at all, you did nothing to earn your prize...kinda like Christianity.

      August 2, 2014 at 10:56 am |
      • guidedans

        Being a Christian takes work. I know that it is common thought that you just accept Jesus and get forgiven for everything and then just keep on living your life, but that is not the case. Once you accept Jesus, you are indeed forgive of all sins past, present and future, but you are also committing to Jesus that you will make Him your Lord. It takes an immense amount of work to lower yourself and get over your pride enough to do that. Anyway, Christianity, just like life is a constant journey. The end result of Christianity however is living in perfect harmony with your creator, functioning exactly as your were designed to. The end result in Atheism is either death or eternal mortality, conquering the universe and knowing everything as a part of a hive-mind. Not sure what you would do at that point.

        August 3, 2014 at 1:22 pm |
        • tallulah131

          It's funny. I've spent my entire life trying to do the right thing and to make amends when I've done wrong. I have tried to be kind to those who need kindness, and when I had the wherewithal, I have given to those who need it. Not once did it do it for any reward. I did it because it was the right thing to do.

          August 3, 2014 at 1:37 pm |
        • guidedans

          tallulah,

          You sound like a wonderful person. It is a shame that you believe that that wonderful person that you have created is going to be erased from existence one day. It sounds like you are confusing my motivations and my beliefs regarding meaning and purpose. My motivations are centered around bringing people to Christ. That desire propels me to do many of the things I do. I believe that those actions have meaning because, when I die, I believe that I will still exist and the ability to give meaning to the life I lived.

          You should go to Christ, Tallulah. Not for the reward, but because it is the right thing to do.

          August 3, 2014 at 2:20 pm |
        • LaBella

          Guidans, why do you think that anyone's legacy is erased because one dies? As if they never lived? Absurd.
          Your belief if the afterlife doesn't erase anyone's time here on earth.

          August 3, 2014 at 2:31 pm |
        • tallulah131

          I don't believe in gods because there is no evidence that gods exist. Christ (if he was actually a real individual) seems to have been a fairly decent, progressive human being. It's a shame that the religions that take his name don't seem to have any real interest in his teaching, but instead seek to profit from the hollow offer of immortality. But I am not interested in the pointless act of praying to a dead guy. I can and have learned from many sources. It's dangerous to lean on just one.

          I'm sorry that you think a finite life has no value. I disagree. My life has value to me, and to the people who love me. I have no interest in living forever and I don't honestly care if the good I do today is forgotten tomorrow. It's not about being remembered. It's not about being rewarded. It's about doing what's right because it's the right thing to do, and I'm sorry that isn't good enough for you.

          August 3, 2014 at 2:39 pm |
        • igaftr

          "Being a Christian takes work"

          Yes. To first convince yourself the stories are true with no evidence whatsoever is tough, and then maintaining that belief, again, with no supporting evidence...that is a lot of work right there.

          August 3, 2014 at 3:16 pm |
        • guidedans

          Hey LaBella,

          I am saying that a person's legacy gets erased when everybody dies (which science says will happen one day). Once you die, your life holds no meaning for you anymore. Once everybody dies, it holds no meaning for anyone anymore. I don't see how you can get around that.

          August 3, 2014 at 5:22 pm |
        • LaBella

          If belief in the afterlife is the only thing that makes your life meaningful here on earth, guidans, that seems much more hopeless than what you are trying to project the atheist position to be.

          August 3, 2014 at 5:42 pm |
    • ausphor

      guide
      I am glad you are frustrated, so am I. But what frustrates me on this blog are posters that make a comment by way of a sermon/declaration/pontification and then do not stick around to refute any replies that are made that the poster may disagree with. Kind of cowardly behaviour don't you think?

      August 2, 2014 at 11:14 am |
      • guidedans

        Woah, Sass much? : D

        Sorry, Ausphor, I have a job, and I have like 6 projects going on right now. I am super busy building applications and dealing with office politics between IT and strategy. It is like, come on guys, we are one company. Can't we just get along and work toward the common good? No, everyone is out to make a name for themselves.

        You know the two ways you can look good? One way is to actually be good and do good work. That takes effort though. The other way is by trying to make everyone else look bad. This is the option that most people take in corporate America.

        I am doing my best here to try to convert you heathens into a loving relationship with Jesus, but you are all like, "blah blah blah, atheism, blah blah blah, bible contradictions" Do you even know how many of you there are on this forum?!

        It takes a good amount of time to dedicate to YOUR eternal souls. I am sorry I have been busy lately.

        Disclaimer: God does all the converting by way of the Holy Spirit, I am just trying to do my part to bring you to Him.
        Disclaimer #2: I am just kidding about the heathens thing. I know you guys are legitimate in your beliefs even though you are completely wrong ; D

        August 3, 2014 at 1:34 pm |
    • tallulah131

      Wow, dan. Are you honestly such a shallow person to think that life is worthless if you don't get to live forever?

      August 3, 2014 at 1:39 pm |
      • guidedans

        Hey tallulah,

        Very ad hominem way to phrase that, but yes, I am that shallow. Tell me this, if you had the perfect day, but then forgot it ever happened, would that day have meaning?

        If you built a house, but then destroyed it and forgot that you built it entirely, then would that house have a purpose?

        If you lived a perfect life, then you erased yourself from existence, then you took everyone that you touched in your life and everyone they touched on and on and erased them all from existence, would your life have meaning or purpose?

        No. The answer is no. For something to have meaning, SOMEONE needs to give it meaning. For something to have a purpose, SOMEONE needs to give it a purpose. If, one day, there will be no "someones" left, then there is no one to give purpose or meaning, and therefore there is no purpose or meaning to the lives lived by anyone.

        August 3, 2014 at 2:03 pm |
        • tallulah131

          1) "Tell me this, if you had the perfect day, but then forgot it ever happened, would that day have meaning?"

          Of course it would. Forgetting something doesn't mean that it was unimportant when it happened. Our existence is informed by our experiences, even when we forget the specifics.

          2) "If you built a house, but then destroyed it and forgot that you built it entirely, then would that house have a purpose?"

          If I built a house, it had meaning and value at that time. If the house was destroyed and forgotten then the world had moved on to new things with new meaning and value. This is a natural progression. We use what we need when we need it. Only the truly self-important feel the need for personal monuments to forever.

          3) "If you lived a perfect life, then you erased yourself from existence, then you took everyone that you touched in your life and everyone they touched on and on and erased them all from existence, would your life have meaning or purpose?"

          What you described is what actually happens. We are born, we live and then we die. The world moves on and eventually, even those who remembered us are gone and forgotten, except of course the remarkable few whom history embraces for their creations or actions. Of course our lives have meaning and purpose while we live, otherwise we may as well just kill ourselves. But the old gives way to the new. It's perfectly natural.

          4) "No. The answer is no. For something to have meaning, SOMEONE needs to give it meaning. For something to have a purpose, SOMEONE needs to give it a purpose. If, one day, there will be no "someones" left, then there is no one to give purpose or meaning, and therefore there is no purpose or meaning to the lives lived by anyone."

          Nonsense. You value your life, right now as you live it and that is why you want it to be remembered forever. Will your life have less value to you now if it is forgotten in 200 years? Will you just give up and die if you don't get to live forever? I really don't think so.

          August 3, 2014 at 4:26 pm |
    • TruthPrevails1

      Have you ever stopped to think about what you are all striving for? What if you got your wish and all of the Christians, Muslims, Jews, and Buddhists all vanished, or better yet, converted to your way of thinking?

      >>Very much so and it is to live the best life possible while I knowingly can. I don't wish all people who believe vanished but I do wish that they would learn to repsect others who don't share their beliefs.

      What would you have then? Imagine that no one ever fought any wars and science was free to advance without bound. Where would it take you?

      >>No Wars?? Bonus; Science Advancing?? Another bonus (if science didn't advance you might not be alive to have written what you did)

      You are all going to die one day.

      >>Yes and that is exactly why we must strive to our best while we are alive.

      Either an asteroid will hit the Earth, or the moon will drift off and leave the Earth wobbling until it has a perpetual winter/summer, or Aliens will come and kill us all, or the Sun will go red giant and engulf the Earth.

      >>Nice bit of speculation but that is all it is

      Even if we are able to make a serum that lets us live forever and we are able to take off into outer space and conquer the universe, then what? One day the universe will run out of energy and all stars will go dark. Even if we are able to find a way to move between universes, then what?

      >>More speculation.

      What is the goal you are striving for? You want to know everything in the universe and conquer the entirety of it?

      >>I'm striving to treat everyone on an equal basis and live the best life possible. I don't want to know everything about our universe, that would be boring.

      Have you ever played a video game with the cheat codes turned on? How fun is that? How fun is it to have everything that the game can offer?

      >>I think you have this all very twisted. We're not the ones purporting to have the answers. You start with an answer yourself...for argument sake we'll call it God...then you build your questions around that...ie; Answer: God Question: Who created the universe.

      Instead of being honest and seeking out the answer, you turn to your bible-the original book to speak of your god and what it is apprently all about.

      I'm quite content not having all the answers and in being content, I refuse to accept without evidence a god.

      Have your belief if that is what it takes to get you by but please don't use it to impede on the lives of others.

      August 3, 2014 at 3:39 pm |
      • guidedans

        Hey Truth,

        That speculation I threw out there was pulled straight from all ya'll's science books. Ya'll are all like, "heat death" and "red giant/main sequence stars" and "99% of species go extinct" So it is not my speculation, it's totes yours.

        Also, if you don't want us to stop believing what we believe, then why are you all constantly trying to convince us that we're wrong?

        Also also, I am not saying that you are purporting to have all the answers, I am saying that, it sounds like you all are constantly working toward the goal of having all the answers. Like, isn't that what science is all about? finding out all the answers? I am asking, once you find out all the answers, then what? What is the end goal of your existence? If it i just to live and then die and stop existing, I feel that that is meaningless.

        August 3, 2014 at 4:25 pm |
        • igaftr

          "I feel that that is meaningless."

          That sounds more like a you problem than anything. Perhaps you should seek some counseling for that.
          Is that why you cling to the crutch of religion, because a bunch of stories makes your life feel like it has more meaning?

          You do realize that all you have to do is die in glorious battle and you can enter Valhalla, right?
          or Give up all earthly desires to acheive total enlightenment, right?
          or sacrifice a virgin to the volcano from time to time so that your crops will do well and you will please those other gods, right?
          Or any of thousands of baseless beliefs...

          August 3, 2014 at 4:33 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          Well if you don't like science, why are you using a machine that science enabled you to have or why use electricity or drive a car or get medical attention? You are aware that scientists are allowed to speculate....right? In speculating it allows for more questions.

          I speak out against your ilk and any other group for that matter when they attempt t use their belief to dictate rights...LGBT rights; women's rights; education rights (in a secular country, no single religion has a place in the school system-teach about one, teach them all-fair is fair).

          All my side is guaranteed to agree on is that we don't believe your claims of a god or any of the other claims. I admit most of us our humanists but that is a good thing. You side will all agree that god created the universe and the bible is (hahaha) the word of your god-now there is pure arrogance for you.

          August 3, 2014 at 4:50 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          Sorry, I kinds missed this: " If it i just to live and then die and stop existing, I feel that that is meaningless.

          Wow, that's a sad way to view this life. I don't believe there is anything after this life, so I live the only life I am guaranteed of to its best. I will leave good memories behind or so I hope....I will go to my grave knowing I loved to the best of my ability and that I gave my all in this world. I do not look forward to death but once I'm dead, I won't be aware of it...just as you won't be and just as you nor any other believer can show proof of otherwise (the resurrection story is not evidence...nothing to support it) You're waiting for death...to me that is simply morbid...to me that says you're not striving to be happy. Maybe you need to find some friends...go hang out at a bookstore or library....it'll do that weak-mind of yours good.

          August 3, 2014 at 5:02 pm |
        • guidedans

          Ok, this has come up WAY too many times for such smart people as yourselves. I want to stop it right here. I do NOT believe that life is meaningless. Within my belief set there is an immense amount of meaning to everything I do. I am saying that, when considering YOUR belief set, it looks meaningless to me. I do not live my life thinking that one day I will stop existing. I live my life believing that one day, I will be reconnected with my creator. if I am wrong, oops, I am dead and I don't ever find out I was wrong. big whoop. Did I waste my life if i was wrong? I guess I will never find out will I? I will never know if I did not maximize my life greatness while I was alive if you all are right, so why would I ever change my beliefs?

          Just to reiterate, I do not hold the views I am criticizing, I am saying that the views you have make no sense to me and I do not understand how you can believe there is meaning in your lives when you believe the things you do.

          August 3, 2014 at 5:30 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          "I do NOT believe that life is meaningless. Within my belief set there is an immense amount of meaning to everything I do. I am saying that, when considering YOUR belief set, it looks meaningless to me."

          Without getting to imagine there was an invisible wizard directing things Dan doesn't feel like life is worth living. Apparently it's what the wizard wants and if Dan makes the wizard happy then Dan will find meaning in life. Of course if the purpose of life was to make the invisible wizard happy you would think he might be more visible...

          August 4, 2014 at 8:56 am |
        • igaftr

          guide
          Once again, NOT believing in any "god" is a not belief. Since I never said what my beliefs are, you once again are arguing a false argument, trying to define in YOUR head what I believe, which I have not stated.
          I simply point out there is no evidence whatsoever for your beliefs...so all you have is what you have created in your mind. There is only the slightest of chances that you are correct, so isn't it better to keep looking that to cling to someone elses interpretation in that man made book?

          August 4, 2014 at 9:43 am |
    • zhilla1980wasp

      dans: "My question is, what are you striving for? If there is no life after death, then there is no way to value your life once you die."

      there is value before we die; it's leaving the world more peaceful and safer than how we found it........for our children.

      do you seriously believe religion is doing anything to help make this world a safer place? let's forget the ancient history of war driven religion; let's focus on modern history we see everyday.

      1) ISIS
      2) conflicts in isreal over dirt
      3) 9/11
      4) suiside attacks in every major country of the world.
      5) afganistan, pakistan, iraq, syria, lebenon

      that's only a few of them. religion can't have peace on earth, until everyone believes as they do......one way or another.
      will there be peace if islam and jewish faith still exist? no

      August 4, 2014 at 9:35 am |
  2. idiotusmaximus

    “If the world is coming to an end that day I am going to eat the frosting off an entire carrot cake: just for a start," she wrote ...

    This the sign of an Idiot.......but smart enough to write crap for the God believe people so as to get the stupid's $$$$$$$$$$$.

    August 1, 2014 at 5:38 pm |
    • bostontola

      That was my reaction as well.

      August 1, 2014 at 7:48 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      People used to say 'party like it's 1999' only when y2k eve came, it was a day like any other.

      August 1, 2014 at 8:10 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      "but smart enough to write crap for the God believe people so as to get the stupid's $$$$$$$$$$$
      ---------------
      What $$$$$$$$? Carrot cake frosting futures? She's a blogger.

      August 1, 2014 at 8:12 pm |
      • doobzz

        She's written fifteen or so books, and a few of them were on the NYT bestseller list. So she does make a decent living from her writing, I imagine. But I concur, she sounds like she's regurgitating Richard Bach.

        August 1, 2014 at 11:01 pm |
        • LaBella

          She IS very woo-woo.

          August 1, 2014 at 11:06 pm |
        • ausphor

          Lets not forget that religion is right up there with health care as the largest service industry in the world. The number of people making their daily bread off of religions, including the editors of this blog, is enormous. Anne Lamont is just one of the many making a buck off of one the god myths and what has also become popular telling anybody that will listen how to live. Like most of the believers on this blog imply, do what you are told heathens or else; in short that is the message.

          August 2, 2014 at 7:39 am |
  3. Lucifer's Evil Twin

    The Pessimist's Guide to History: An Irresistible Compendium Of Catastrophes, Barbarities, Massacres And Mayhem From The Big Bang To The New Millennium – June 20, 2000
    by Doris Flexner & Stuart Berg Flexner

    August 1, 2014 at 8:25 am |
    • Theo Phileo

      And all on cable for your viewing pleasure!

      August 1, 2014 at 9:49 am |
  4. Theo Phileo

    Jesus tells us in Matthew 24 that we should not be suprised or even dismayed when we see tragedies in this world. For all these things must take place. So when we see discomforting things, it should only strengthen our faith, knowing that God is in control.

    The Christian must always start with the Sovereignty of God, knowing that God ordains whatsoever comes to pass. God’s providence is holy, wise, and powerful. He governs and controls the actions of all of His creatures for the purpose of His own glory. Even the sinful acts of men are under the control of God’s providence. (Acts 2:23, Psalm 145:17, Psalm 104:24, Isaiah 28:29, Hebrews 1:3, Matthew 10:29-31, Genesis 45:7-8, Romans 11:36, Isaiah 63:14)

    Everything that happens in life, happens because God has ordained it to be so. He created the righteous to demonstrate His mercy and grace, as well as the unrighteous to demonstrate His justice – after all, doesn’t the potter have the right over the clay to create some vessels for noble use, and some vessels for a common use? And in order to bring about His ultimate plan to glorify Himself, He ordains all of the intricate workings of His creation, but never violating the free will of humanity. Remember, even those ordained to destruction do so willingly because they would rather glorify themselves than God.

    While it is true that God’s providence controls all the acts of human beings, still, that does not destroy man’s “free agency.” God does not control man’s acts by forcing them to do things against their will, but by so ordering the facts and circu.mstances of their lives, and the moral state of their hearts, that they voluntarily, of their own accord, without any constraint, always do exactly what God has foreordained that they are to do.

    August 1, 2014 at 7:33 am |
    • James XCIX

      Theo –
      "Everything that happens in life, happens because God has ordained it to be so."
      "While it is true that God’s providence controls all the acts of human beings,..."

      Just curious, are you one to believe that prayer can have any effect on events or on other people?

      August 1, 2014 at 10:00 am |
      • Theo Phileo

        Stephen Lawson once said:

        "If I felt that prayer existed for the purpose of changing the mind of God, then I would never pray, for how could I presume to interfere with the sovereign and holy councils of Almighty God… Men do not frustrate the plans of God, but rather it is God who frustrates the plans of men.” (Isaiah 14:27, Psalm 33:9-11)

        Our faith is in itself a gift from God, and since God has chosen to operate through a means, He has ordained that our faith activates God’s power within the framework of His will…

        Prayer doesn't change God. But on the same hand, God ordains that we should pray. Our prayers are not to alter the will of a sovereign God who remains forever unchangeable, but instead, prayer molds our disfigured and malleable wills to be like His perfect will, as well as operating as a means of revealing His character to us through a personal interaction with His word that has been intricately meshed together with our lives. In short, prayer is the practice of the presence of God.

        August 1, 2014 at 10:23 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          Sorry, "Steven" Lawson.... I spelled his name wrong.

          August 1, 2014 at 10:23 am |
        • James XCIX

          Am I correct, then, in thinking that the short answer to my question is "No"?

          August 1, 2014 at 10:28 am |
        • Reality

          From my scrapbook of essential theology and religious history:

          Free Will and Future are inherent to all the thinking beings in the Universe. This being the case, it is not possible to alter life with prayers. Statistically, your request might come true but it is simply the result of the variability/randomness of Nature..

          So put down your rosaries and prayer beads and stop worshiping/revering cows or bowing to Mecca five times a day. Instead work hard at your job, take care of aging parents, volunteer at a soup kitchen, donate to charities and the poor and continue to follow the proper rules of living as gracious and good human beings.

          August 1, 2014 at 10:29 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          Am I correct, then, in thinking that the short answer to my question is "No"?
          ---------------------
          No... Because James says in James 5:16 that "the effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much."

          The point is that when we pray, we must pray "in God's name." That is, we must pray for and make supplication for things that align with the character and nature of God. God cannot deny Himself, and when we pray for things that align with the character and nature of God, and His will, that prayer can move mountains.

          For more information, see The Heidelberg Catechism, questions #116-129.

          August 1, 2014 at 10:35 am |
        • James XCIX

          OK, I'm confused then. Can prayer change your god's plan or not?

          August 1, 2014 at 10:37 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          Can prayer change your god's plan or not?
          -------------
          No.

          And when we find passages in the Bible that seems to contradict the idea of the sovereignty of God, it requires deeper study.

          For instance, in the case of Moses, when he confronted God in Exodus 32:11-13 after God had threatened to destroy Israel for their sins, Moses confronts God and recounts the promises that God made to Abraham, Isaac, and Israel to multiply them and give them the land as an inheritance forever – and this was exactly what God intended him to do, intercede for God’s people – of course God did not forget His promises that He had made to His people, but with the threatening of an omnipotent God, Moses was even more resolved to lead this people in righteousness.

          In scripture, when God threatens to do something, such as the case in Jonah, when God threatened to destroy Nineveh in 40 days unless they repent (Jonah 3:4), God’s severest threatenings are to bring about the repentance of sinful man, as well as for the strengthening of His people. When Nineveh did indeed repent, God “relented concerning the calamity which He had declared He would bring upon them. And He did not do it.” (Jonah 3:10)

          God always knew what He was going to do. God does whatever He needs to do in order to cause humanity to fulfill His perfect plan. “…declaring the end from the beginning, and from the past things which were not done, saying, My purpose shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure … What I have said, that will I bring about; what I have planned, that will I do” (Isaiah 46:10-11).

          August 1, 2014 at 10:48 am |
        • James XCIX

          "Just curious, are you one to believe that prayer can have any effect on events or on other people?"

          You said your answer to my original question was not "No". Is that because you believe that prayer can have those effects but those effects, and the prayers that bring them about, are all part of the plan? If so, does that mean everything is scripted by your god?

          August 1, 2014 at 10:51 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          If so, does that mean everything is scripted by your god?
          ------------------
          I've addressed this above, but yes. That's what the doctrine of the Sovereignty of God means.

          The Westminster Confession of Faith puts it this way:
          "God, from all eternity, did, by the most wise and holy counsel of His own will, freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass; yet so, neither is God the author of sin, nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures; nor is the liberty or contingency of secondary causes taken away, but rather established."

          August 1, 2014 at 11:02 am |
        • James XCIX

          OK, thank you for clarifying. As I said, I was just curious.

          August 1, 2014 at 11:06 am |
        • realbuckyball

          Truely amazing the amount of mental gymnastics you people need to do to keep reality at bay, and deceive yourselves. You answer is NOT what Jebus (supposedly) said : "John 14:13 "I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son."
          Someone is lying here. They cannot BOTH be true.

          August 1, 2014 at 1:49 pm |
        • realbuckyball

          "God, from all eternity, did, by the most wise and holy counsel of His own will, freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass; yet so, neither is God the author of sin, nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures; nor is the liberty or contingency of secondary causes taken away, but rather established."

          1. If god's "counsel" is his own will, it begs the question (as Euthyphro's Dilemma states) where did THAT "goodness" come from. If it is just innate to god, it's not "goodness" as it just *exists*, and it's NEITHER good nor bad. It just is. The distiction means Reality is LARGER than your god, and THAT needs an explanation.
          2. It's obviously the Special Pleading fallacy.

          It's nonsense.

          August 1, 2014 at 1:53 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          Bucky,

          It depends on how you understand the meaning of "in my name."

          August 1, 2014 at 7:45 pm |
        • MidwestKen

          It depends on what the definition of "is" is.

          August 1, 2014 at 8:01 pm |
      • new-man

        James,
        did you really understand what Theo wrote below re: "the doctrine of the Sovereignty of God means. The Westminster Confession of Faith puts it this way: "God, from all eternity, did, by the most wise and holy counsel of His own will, freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass; yet so, neither is God the author of sin, nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures; nor is the liberty or contingency of secondary causes taken away, but rather established."

        This makes no sense.
        If God ordains "whatsoever comes to pass" why did He tell A&E not to eat of the tree of good and evil. Why does He tell you and me "let this mind be in you..." "let not your heart be troubled"...etc. The point is You have to "LET" not God.

        August 1, 2014 at 7:07 pm |
      • new-man

        James,
        Theo is correct though that prayer doesn't change God's plan. Prayer is just communicating with God.

        Majority of people think prayer is begging and pleading with God to do something. what they're missing is that God has already done everything! It's a totally finished work.

        You can use prayer to appropriate what God has already done. ex. There's a drought in your area- instead of praying 'dear God, please send rain' (not a good prayer)... you simply command it to rain. "I command it to rain in the name of Jesus" – (an effective prayer)..

        August 1, 2014 at 7:13 pm |
        • James XCIX

          ""I command it to rain in the name of Jesus" – (an effective prayer).."

          I highly doubt that such a prayer has ever been effective.

          August 2, 2014 at 9:18 am |
        • evidencenot

          "Prayer is just communicating with God."

          Complete nonsense.... prayer is you talking to yourself.

          August 5, 2014 at 10:57 am |
      • new-man

        Fr. AWommack – The Sovereignty of God

        My heart was really stirred this last month. I attended a meeting where an old friend of mine was ministering. He had been through some terrible things that nearly destroyed his faith. He became bitter and angry at God for the things that had happened. When I heard him, he had humbled himself and was again loving the Lord and excited about the future. Praise the Lord! However, in the process, he had come to believe that it was the Lord that caused all his problems. He had resigned himself to the "sovereignty of God."

        I believe this is the worst doctrine in the church today. I know that this is a shocking statement and is near blasphemy to some people, but the way sovereignty" is taught today is a real faith killer. The belief that God controls everything that happens to us is one of the devil's biggest inroads into our lives. If this belief is true, then our actions are irrelevant, and our efforts are meaningless. What will be will be.

        If we believe that God wills everything, good or bad, to happen to us, it gives us some temporary relief from confusion and condemnation, but in the long-term, it slanders God, hinders our trust in God, and leads to passiveness.

        it continues- the above was more an intro.

        August 1, 2014 at 7:16 pm |
        • James XCIX

          "However, in the process, he had come to believe that it was the Lord that caused all his problems."

          Perhaps not caused, but certainly allowed to happen. Surely you've read Job?

          August 2, 2014 at 9:19 am |
      • new-man

        "The word "sovereign" is not used in the King James Version of the Bible. It is used 303 times in the Old Testament of the New International Version, but it is always used in association with the word "LORD" and is the equivalent of the King James Version's "LORD God." Not a single one of those times is the word "sovereign" used in the manner that it has come to be used in religion in our day and time.

        Religion has resulted in the invention of a new meaning for the word "sovereign," which basically means God controls everything. Nothing can happen but what He wills or allows. However, there is nothing in the actual definition that states that. The dictionary defines "sovereign" as, "1. Paramount; supreme. 2. Having supreme rank or power. 3. Independent: a sovereign state. 4. Excellent." None of these definitions means that God controls everything.

        It is assumed that since God is paramount or supreme that nothing can happen without His approval. That is not what the Scriptures teach. In 2 Peter 3:9, Peter said, "The Lord is...not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." This clearly states that it is not the Lord's will for anyone to perish, but people are perishing. Jesus said, "Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat" (Matt. 7:13). Relatively few people are saved compared to the number that are lost. God's will for people concerning salvation is not being accomplished.

        This is because the Lord gave us the freedom to choose. He doesn't will anyone into hell. He paid for the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:2; 1 Tim. 4:10), but we must choose to put our faith in Christ and receive His salvation. People are the ones choosing hell by not choosing Jesus as their Savior. It is the free will of man that damns them, not God

        August 1, 2014 at 7:18 pm |
        • James XCIX

          "People are the ones choosing hell ..."

          In making a choice, one decides between two or more options they acknowledge to be valid. Those who you would say are "choosing" hell are, generally, not even acknowledging its existence, so they really aren't making a choice about it at all.

          August 1, 2014 at 10:32 pm |
        • G to the T

          "1. Paramount; supreme. 2. Having supreme rank or power. 3. Independent:"

          I'd argue that this definition does indeed imply total control. Paramount, supreme and independent.

          August 2, 2014 at 8:50 am |
      • new-man

        "People virtually have to climb over the roadblocks that God puts in their way to continue on their course to hell. The cross of Christ and the drawing power of the Holy Spirit are obstacles that every sinner encounters. No one will ever stand before God and be able to fault Him for withholding the opportunity to be saved. The Lord woos every person to Him, but we have to cooperate. Ultimately, the Lord simply enforces the consequences of people's own choices.

        God has a perfect plan for every person's life (Jer. 29:11), but He doesn't make us walk that path. We are free moral agents with the ability to choose. He has told us what the right choices are (Deut. 30:19), but He doesn't make those choices for us. God gave us the power to control our destinies.

        Typical teaching on the sovereignty of God puts Jesus in the driver's seat with us as passengers. On the surface that looks good. All of us have encountered the disastrous results of doing our own thing. We desire to be led of the Lord, and teaching that nothing happens but what God wills fits that nicely. However, the Scriptures paint a picture of each of us being behind the wheel of our own lives. We are the one doing the driving. We are supposed to take directions from the Lord, but He doesn't do the driving for us.

        Man has been given the authority over his own life, but he must have the Lord's direction to succeed. Jeremiah 10:23 says, "O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps." God created us to be dependent upon Him and our independence is at the root of all our problems. As if it wasn't bad enough for man to try to run his affairs independently of God and His standards, it has been made even worse by religion teaching us that all our problems are actually blessings from God. That is a faith killer. It makes people totally passive.

        August 1, 2014 at 7:19 pm |
        • James XCIX

          "God has a perfect plan for every person's life (Jer. 29:11), but He doesn't make us walk that path."

          These two ideas seem contradictory. Such a plan seems useless and unnecessary.

          August 2, 2014 at 9:25 am |
      • new-man

        "James 4:7 says, "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." This verse makes it clear that some things are from God, and some from the devil. We must submit to the things that are of God and resist the things that are from the devil. The word "resist" means, "Actively fight against." Saying "Whatever will be will be" is not actively fighting against the devil.

        If a person really believed that God is the one who put sickness on them because He is trying to work something for good in their life, then they should not go to the doctor or take any medicine. That would be resisting God's plans. They should let the sickness run its course and thereby get the full benefit of God's correction. Of course, no one advocates that. That is absurd. It is even more absurd to believe that God is the one behind the tragedy.

        Acts 10:38 says that Jesus healed all those who were oppressed OF THE DEVIL. It was not God who oppressed them with sickness. It was the devil. It's the same today. Sickness is from the devil, not from God. We need to resist sickness and, by faith, submit ourselves to healing, which is from God through the atonement of Christ.

        I know someone is thinking, What about the Old Testament instances where God smote people with sickness and plagues? There is a lot I could say about that if I had the space, but a simplified answer to that question is that none of those instances were blessings. They were curses. God did use sickness in the Old Testament as punishment, but in the New Testament, Jesus bore our curse for us (Gal. 3:13). The Lord would no more put sickness on a New Testament believer than He would make us commit a sin. Both forgiveness of sin and healing are a part of the atonement Jesus provided for us.

        August 1, 2014 at 7:21 pm |
        • evidencenot

          Mythology Just like the bible;

          "According to Greek Mythology, humans were originally created with 4 arms, 4 legs and a head with two faces. Fearing their power, Zeus split them into two separate parts, condemning them to spend their lives in search of their other halves."

          August 5, 2014 at 11:00 am |
      • new-man

        "Deuteronomy, chapter 28, should forever settle this question for all who believe the Word of God. The first 14 verses of Deuteronomy 28 list the blessings of God and the last 53 verses list the curses of God. Healing is listed as a blessing (Deut. 28:4). Sickness is listed as a curse (Deut. 28:22, 27-28, 35, 59-61). God called sickness a curse. We should not call it a blessing.

        Knowing that God is not the author of my problems is one of the most important revelations the Lord has ever given me. If I thought it was God who killed my father when I was twelve, and some of my best friends before I was 20, if it was God who had people kidnap me, slander me, threaten to kill me, and turn loved ones against me, then I would have a hard time trusting God, if He was like that.

        On the contrary, it is very comforting to know that God only has good things in store for me. Any problems in my life are from the devil, of my own making, or just the results of life on a fallen planet. My heavenly Father has never done me any harm and never will. I KNOW that.

        I am not saying that there is nothing to learn from hardships. Most of you reading this article have come to the Lord because of something in your life that overwhelmed you and caused you to turn to the Lord for help. That situation was not from God regardless of the results. It was you turning to the Lord and the faith you placed in Him that turned your life around, not the hardship.

        If hardships and problems made us better, then everyone who has had problems would be better for them. Those who have the most trouble would be the best. That simply is not so.

        August 1, 2014 at 7:23 pm |
        • James XCIX

          Sorry to learn about your past troubles... glad you've found a way to some comfort.

          August 1, 2014 at 10:38 pm |
        • otoh2

          James,

          new-man is quoting someone else's sermon.

          August 1, 2014 at 10:53 pm |
        • James XCIX

          otoh2 – Oh, thanks, got it.

          August 2, 2014 at 9:26 am |
      • new-man

        "God is sovereign in the sense that He is paramount and supreme. There is no one higher in authority or power, but that does not mean He exercises His power by controlling everything in our lives. God has given us the freedom to choose. He has a plan for us. He seeks to reveal that plan to us and urge us in that direction, but we choose. He doesn't make our choices for us.

        In many instances, it is our wrong choices that bring disaster upon us. In other cases, our problems are nothing but an attack from the devil. In some cases, natural forces of an imperfect world cause us pain. Our tragedies are never the judgment or correction of God. Jesus came to give us abundant life. The devil came to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10). Don't ever get that confused. If it's good, it's God. If it's bad, it's the devil.

        This is a fundamental doctrine of Christianity that must be understood properly if you want victory in your life. Believing that God controls everything renders a person passive. Why pray and believe for something better? Whatever God wants will come to pass. That simply is not true.

        The Lord is the answer to all our problems. He is not the problem.

        August 1, 2014 at 7:56 pm |
        • James XCIX

          I know there are several different ideas about free will, prayer, God's plans, and the like. Theo's post made me curious about his. It was interesting to read yours as well... thanks for sharing them.

          August 1, 2014 at 10:42 pm |
        • evidencenot

          "The Lord is the answer to all our problems. He is not the problem."

          The "lord" is just your imagination... nothing more. The "problem" is your deluded confusion of mythology with reality.

          August 5, 2014 at 11:02 am |
    • Reality

      And Theo, the king of "thu-mptations", continues to cite passages that fail rigorous historical review:

      For example: Matthew 24:

      "24 For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. "(borrowed from Mark 13:22)

      See Professor Gerd Ludemann's analysis in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years, p. 90.

      August 1, 2014 at 10:26 am |
      • Theo Phileo

        It requires no very detailed study to discover that these three (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) have a considerable amount of material in common. For instance, the substance of 606 out of the 661 verses of Mark appears in Matthew, and that some 350 of Mark's verses reappear with little material change in Luke. To put it another way, out of the 1,068 verses of Matthew, about 500 contain material also found in Mark; of the 1,149 verses of Luke, about 350 are paralleled in Mark.
        Altogether, there are only 31 verses in Mark which have no parallel in either Matthew or Luke.

        When we compare Matthew and Luke by themselves, we find that these two have about 250 verses containing common material not paralleled in Mark. This material is cast in language which is sometimes practically identical in Matthew and Luke, and sometimes shows considerable divergence. We are then left with some 300 verses in Matthew containing narratives and discourses peculiar to that gospel, and about 550 verses in Luke containing matter not found in the other gospels.

        The evidence indicates that the written sources of our Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) are not later than c. AD 60; some of them have even been traced back to notes taken of our Lord’s teaching while His words were actually being uttered… We have then in the Synoptic Gospels, the latest of which was complete between 40-50 years after the death of Christ, material which took shape at a still earlier time, some of it even before His death, and which, besides being for the most part 1st hand evidence, was transmitted along independent and trustworthy lines.”

        F.F. Bruce, “The New Testament Docu.ments: Are they Reliable?,” (Sixth edition, 1981)

        August 1, 2014 at 10:40 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          some of them have even been traced back to notes taken of our Lord’s teaching while His words were actually being uttered…

          That is an outright lie.

          August 1, 2014 at 11:47 am |
        • Robert Brown

          Blessed,

          Why do you think so?

          August 1, 2014 at 11:51 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          That is an outright lie.
          ------------
          Really? Are you more studied than F.F. Bruce or Frederic Kenyon whom he often quotes? What about Dr. James White?

          August 1, 2014 at 12:01 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          How exactly could anyone confirm or even speculate that a fragment was written as the person was saying it? We do not know who wrote the gospels, they are anonymous.

          August 1, 2014 at 12:05 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          Argument from authority Theo...they would still need to demonstrate the claim to be true and that has not been done.

          August 1, 2014 at 12:07 pm |
        • realbuckyball

          Actually that's also not true. It doesn't take "a great deal of study". Any Freshman in Biblical Studies learns about the Q doc'umant which was a source for all the synoptics. The fact they material in common proves nothing, except they used a common source. It says nothing about the reliability of the one source.

          August 1, 2014 at 12:09 pm |
        • LaBella

          Theo,
          Did you not say that original notes from the time of Jesus didn't exist? Then how can this author claim that? Does he have the notes? Then he couldn't say definitely they were the exact utterances, could he?

          August 1, 2014 at 12:12 pm |
        • ausphor

          The evidence indicates... Would you care to present that evidence from an unbiased source of course? No probably not.

          August 1, 2014 at 12:13 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          Bucky,

          Please tell us what you have learned about the Q.

          August 1, 2014 at 1:13 pm |
        • Reality

          And once again, an attempt to give Theo et al the proper education in their pursuit of the real Jesus: (in the meantime, their words fall on deaf ears as they have not done the research needed for commenting on anything Jesus said or did)

          o 1. Historical Jesus Theories, earlychristianwritings.com/theories.html – the names of many of the contemporary historical Jesus scholars and the ti-tles of their over 100 books on the subject.

          2. Early Christian Writings, earlychristianwritings.com/
          – a list of early Christian doc-uments to include the year of publication– with a review of each

          30-60 CE Passion Narrative
          40-80 Lost Sayings Gospel Q
          50-60 1 Thessalonians
          50-60 Philippians
          50-60 Galatians
          50-60 1 Corinthians
          50-60 2 Corinthians
          50-60 Romans
          50-60 Philemon
          50-80 Colossians
          50-90 Signs Gospel
          50-95 Book of Hebrews
          50-120 Didache
          50-140 Gospel of Thomas
          50-140 Oxyrhynchus 1224 Gospel
          50-200 Sophia of Jesus Christ
          65-80 Gospel of Mark
          70-100 Epistle of James
          70-120 Egerton Gospel
          70-160 Gospel of Peter
          70-160 Secret Mark
          70-200 Fayyum Fragment
          70-200 Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs
          73-200 Mara Bar Serapion
          80-100 2 Thessalonians
          80-100 Ephesians
          80-100 Gospel of Matthew
          80-110 1 Peter
          80-120 Epistle of Barnabas
          80-130 Gospel of Luke
          80-130 Acts of the Apostles
          80-140 1 Clement
          80-150 Gospel of the Egyptians
          80-150 Gospel of the Hebrews
          80-250 Christian Sibyllines
          90-95 Apocalypse of John
          90-120 Gospel of John
          90-120 1 John
          90-120 2 John
          90-120 3 John
          90-120 Epistle of Jude
          93 Flavius Josephus
          100-150 1 Timothy
          100-150 2 Timothy
          100-150 T-itus
          100-150 Apocalypse of Peter
          100-150 Secret Book of James
          100-150 Preaching of Peter
          100-160 Gospel of the Ebionites
          100-160 Gospel of the Nazoreans
          100-160 Shepherd of Hermas
          100-160 2 Peter

           4. Jesus Database, http://www.faithfutures.o-rg/JDB/intro.html –"The JESUS DATABASE is an online a-nnotated inventory of the traditions concerning the life and teachings of Jesus that have survived from the first three centuries of the Common Era. It includes both canonical and extra-canonical materials, and is not limited to the traditions found within the Christian New Testament."
          5. Josephus on Jesus mtio.com/articles/bis-sar24.htm
          6. The Jesus Seminar, http://en.wikipedia.o-rg/wiki/Jesus_Seminar
          7. http://www.biblicalartifacts.com/items/785509/item785509biblicalartifacts.html – books on the health and illness during the time of the NT
          8. Economics in First Century Palestine, K.C. Hanson and D. E. Oakman, Palestine in the Time of Jesus, Fortress Press, 1998.
          9.The Gn-ostic Jesus
          (Part One in a Two-Part Series on A-ncient and Modern G-nosticism)
          by Douglas Gro-othuis: http://www.equip.o-rg/articles/g-nosticism-and-the-g-nostic-jesus/
          10. The interpretation of the Bible in the Church, Pontifical Biblical Commission
          Presented on March 18, 1994
          ewtn.com/library/CURIA/PBCINTER.HTM#2
          11. The Jesus Database- newer site:
          wiki.faithfutures.o-rg/index.php?t-itle=Jesus_Database
          12. Jesus Database with the example of S-u-pper and Eucharist:
          faithfutures.o-rg/JDB/jdb016.html
          13. Josephus on Jesus by Paul Maier:
          mtio.com/articles/bis-sar24.htm
          13. http://www.textweek.com/mtlk/jesus.htmm- Historical Jesus Studies
          14. The Greek New Testament: laparola.net/greco/
          15. D-iseases in the Bible:
          http://books.google.com/books/about/The_d-iseases_of_the_Bible.html?id=C1YZAAAAYAAJ

          16. Religion on- Line (6000 a-rt-ic-les on the hi-story of religion, churches, theologies,
          theologians, eth-ics, etc. religion-online.o–rg/
          17. The New Testament Gateway – Internet NT n-tgate-way.com/
          18 Writing the New Testament- e-xi-sting copies, o–r–al tradition etc.
          n-tgat-eway.com/
          19. JD Crossan's c-onclusions about the a-uthencity of most of the NT based on the above plus the c-onclusions of other NT e-xege-tes in the last 200 years:
          http://wiki.faithfutures.o-rg/index.p-hp?t-itle=Crossan_Inventory
          20. Early Jewish Writings- Josephus and his books by t-itle with the complete translated work in English :earlyjewishwritings.com/josephus.html
          21. Luke and Josephus- was there a c-onnection?
          in-fidels.o-rg/library/modern/richard_carrier/lukeandjosephus.html
          22. NT and beyond time line:
          pbs.o-rg/empires/pe-terandpaul/history/timeline/
          23. St. Paul's Time line with discussion of important events:
          harvardhouse.com/prophetictech/new/pauls_life.htm
          24. See http://www.amazon.com for a list of JD Crossan's books and those of the other Jesus Seminarians: Reviews of said books are included and selected pages can now be viewed on Amazon. Some books can be found on-line at Google Books.
          25. Father Edward Schillebeeckx's words of wisdom as found in his books.
          27. The books of the following : Professors Gerd Ludemann, Marcus Borg, Paula Fredriksen, Elaine Pagels, Karen Armstrong and Bishop NT Wright.
          28. Father Raymond Brown's An Introduction to the New Testament, Doubleday, NY, 1977, 878 pages, with Nihil obstat and Imprimatur.
          29. Luke Timothy Johnson's book The Real Jesus

          August 1, 2014 at 1:27 pm |
        • Reality

          Where the brainwashing of Frederick Fyvie Bruce started:

          "Bruce was born in Elgin, Moray, in Scotland, the son of a Christian Brethren (Plymouth Brethren) preacher and educated at the University of Aberdeen, Go-nville and Caius College, Cambridge and the University of Vienna, where he studied with Paul Kretschmer, an Indo-European philologist.[2]"

          And the following explains a lot about Bruce et al:

          "His first book, New Testament Doc-uments: Are They Reliable? (1943), was voted by the American evangelical periodical Christianity Today in 2006 as one of the top 50 books "which had shaped evangelicals".

          August 1, 2014 at 1:37 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      my hovercraft is full of eels

      August 1, 2014 at 11:01 am |
    • realbuckyball

      "Jesus tells us in Matthew 24 that we should not be suprised or even dismayed when we see tragedies in this world. For all these things must take place. So when we see discomforting things, it should only strengthen our faith, knowing that God is in control.

      Actually *Jesus* "tells us nothing" of the sort. In the ancient literature known as "gospels", BELIEVERS placed what they wanted (as a literary device) *Jesus to say*. and presented it as a reminder for believers what they "believed" Jesus *would say* about a given subject, or "understood" what he would say. The FACT that the gospels were written according to the format of ancient myths, (see Dr. Carrier's scolarly video : //www.youtube.com/watch?v=MclBbZUFSag) in which this FACT isa demonstrated.

      August 1, 2014 at 12:02 pm |
      • Robert Brown

        "FACT," in the eye of beholder perhaps.

        August 1, 2014 at 1:12 pm |
        • realbuckyball

          If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, acts like a duck, sounds like a duck, it is a duck.
          The formatting and literary form is perfectkly obvious upon comparison.
          And YOU Robert are not a scholar, or competent to argue with Carrier.

          August 1, 2014 at 1:57 pm |
    • realbuckyball

      Jesus tells us in Matthew 24 that we should not be suprised or even dismayed when we see tragedies in this world. For all these things must take place. So when we see discomforting things, it should only strengthen our faith, knowing that God is in control...... He governs and controls the actions of all of His creatures for the purpose of His own glory. Even the sinful acts of men are under the control of God’s providence. Everything that happens in life, happens because God has ordained it to be so. He created the righteous to demonstrate His mercy and grace, as well as the unrighteous to demonstrate His justice – after all, doesn’t the potter have the right over the clay to create some vessels for noble use, and some vessels for a common use? And in order to bring about His ultimate plan to glorify Himself, He ordains all of the intricate workings of His creation, but never violating the free will of humanity. Remember, even those ordained to destruction do so willingly because they would rather glorify themselves than God.
      While it is true that God’s providence controls all the acts of human beings, still, that does not destroy man’s “free agency.” God does not control man’s acts by forcing them to do things against their will, but by so ordering the facts and circu.mstances of their lives, and the moral state of their hearts, that they voluntarily, of their own accord, without any constraint, always do exactly what God has foreordained that they are to do.

      - How anyone can write that garbage with a straight face is beyond me. A set of asserted contradictions. He wants/needs to have his cake and eat it too. A true testament to intellectual dishonesty.

      If "these things must happen", then his god is SUBJECT to Reality, and not it's creator/master.

      August 1, 2014 at 5:31 pm |
      • idiotusmaximus

        Right...only the mindless can buy this garbage...and there are millions of them!!!!

        August 1, 2014 at 5:40 pm |
    • idiotusmaximus

      Total crap!

      August 1, 2014 at 5:39 pm |
  5. monica7c

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DU9MbXueRFg

    August 1, 2014 at 7:21 am |
    • TruthPrevails1

      Spam spam spam!

      August 1, 2014 at 7:25 am |
      • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

        Spam, bacon, sausage and Spam

        August 1, 2014 at 9:32 am |
        • LaBella

          I DON'T LIKE SPAM!!!

          August 1, 2014 at 10:48 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          You could have the Egg, bacon, sausage and Spam...it doesn't have much Spam in it...

          August 1, 2014 at 11:02 am |
        • LaBella

          I'll take the Lobster Thermidor aux crevettes with a Mornay sauce, garnished with truffle pâté, brandy and a fried egg on top and Spam, hold the Spam.

          August 1, 2014 at 12:39 pm |
        • evidencenot

          something of a fishy requisite

          August 5, 2014 at 12:44 pm |
      • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

        Another great Viking victory was at the Green Midget cafe at Bromley. Once again the Viking strategy was the same. They sailed from these fiords here, assembled at Trondheim and waited for the strong north-easterly winds to blow their oaken galleys to England whence they sailed on May 23rd. Once in Bromley they assembled in the Green Midget cafe and spam selecting a spam particular spam item from the spam menu would spam, spam, spam, spam, spam ...

        August 1, 2014 at 1:28 pm |
        • LaBella

          Bloody Vikings.

          August 1, 2014 at 1:35 pm |
  6. theoldadam

    Any color Jesus will save you!

    Then again…maybe not...

    August 1, 2014 at 1:20 am |
  7. Reality

    "The last two weeks have been about as grim and hopeless as any of us can remember,” Lamott wrote, listing events like the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 disaster in Ukraine, Palestinian children killed by rocket fire while playing football on the beach and protests against young refugees showing up at the U.S. border."

    Obviously, the author did not pay attention during her history classes. A refresher:

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

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

    The Muslim Conquest of India

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    7. 20 million Joseph Stalin 20C (Communism)

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

    9. 17 million Timur Lenk 14C-15C

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

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

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

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

    14. 10 million An Lushan Revolt 8C

    15. 10 million Xin Dynasty 1C

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

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

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

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

    20. 7½ million Fall of the Yuan Dynasty 14C

    July 31, 2014 at 11:32 pm |
    • Reality

      HISTORY 101 continued:

      Number of god's creations who died horrible deaths from the following diseases:

      1. 300,000,000 approx.
      Smallpox

      2. 200,000,000 ?
      Measles

      3. 100,000,000 approx.
      Black Death

      4. 80,000,000–250,000,000
      Malaria

      5. 50,000,000–100,000,000
      Spanish Flu

      6. 40,000,000–100,000,000
      Plague of Justinian

      7. 40,000,000–100,000,000
      Tuberculosis

      8. 30,000,000[13]
      AIDS pandemic

      9. 12,000,000 ?
      Third Pandemic of Bubonic Plague

      10. 5,000,000
      Antonine Plague

      11. 4,000,000
      Asian Flu

      12. 250,000 or more annually Seasonal influenza

      July 31, 2014 at 11:35 pm |
  8. Doris

    This was pretty interesting:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/30/russell-brand-hannity-sean-fox-news-gaza_n_5633622.html?utm_hp_ref=mostpopular

    July 31, 2014 at 10:38 pm |
    • LaBella

      Hannity is a tool.

      July 31, 2014 at 11:16 pm |
      • tallulah131

        That is an insult to tools.

        August 1, 2014 at 1:56 am |
        • tallulah131

          Hannity is a pathetic piece of trash. He offers nothing of value to the world and in fact the world would be a better place if he just worked himself into a heart attack and died.

          August 1, 2014 at 2:04 am |
        • LaBella

          That vein in his forehead looks like it's going to burst any second second now...

          August 1, 2014 at 6:22 pm |
    • tallulah131

      Russell Brand is really growing on me.

      August 1, 2014 at 1:56 am |
      • igaftr

        There is an ointment for that.

        August 5, 2014 at 1:17 pm |
  9. I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

    The geopolitical situation does feel grim.

    It is worse right now than what is "average" with the worst ebola outbreak in West Africa, people killing each other over their interpretation of the 'one true God' in places like the Central African Republic, Nigeria, Syria, Iraq and of course Israel and Gaza, not to mention Vlad and Sergei with their itchy button fingers on SAM launchers in the Ukraine. The Ukrainian situation feels like it has a huge potential to escalate in really scary ways, but it hasn't yet.

    A month ago ISIS in Iraq pushed Syria off the front page and today the El-Sisi regime in Egypt is our ally against the monumental pigheadedness of Hamas in the face of an implacable and stronger foe and Libya is back in the news for all the wrong reasons.

    And I will agree with the Facebook blogger, plat.itudes don't cut it. If believing in God makes people feel less overwhelmed, great, good for them, but, like prayer, it doesn't change a thing in the real world.

    July 31, 2014 at 10:13 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      News overload pushes aside Libya, Syria, Nigeria stories

      http://www.cnn.com/2014/08/01/world/libya-china-nigeria-syria-immigration-hotspots/index.html

      Yes, it has.

      August 1, 2014 at 4:09 pm |
  10. MadeFromDirt

    The news and events of today are no worse than during the height of the Cold War, or during WW1 or WW2, but overall it is true that man's world gets progressively worse and will continue to do so until man's effort to deny and hide from God reaches its cl-imax. Such is the self-perpetuating and insidious nature of evil, breeding more deception and alienation from God along the way, and Ms Lamott's musings are a symptom and confirmation of that truth. Her essay follows a familiar deception, dancing around and outside the uncomfortable truths, and putting the cart before the horse, asserting that we can be justified and find peace by our actions independent of the God of the Bible. It is true that God calls us to love one another, but not as the means to an end, and not at the expense of loving God with all our strength, heart, soul, and mind. Loving each other fully can only come out of loving God fully.

    Clinging to a man-centered approach to existence will lead to a man-centered destiny, and destination. Seeking internal answers from meditation and other subjective and emotional experiences as a substi-tute for the Bible is one example of a man-centered approach. Failing to accept that God has spoken to us loud and clearly in His creation, in history, and in the Bible is another.

    Contrary to the plati-tudes abhorred by Lamott and put forth often by people who claim to be Christian, putting faith in God does not mean letting go, it means grabbing on to the truth of God, trusting fully in Him, and acting responsively to His love which endures for us despite our undeserving nature. Scripture instructs us to never mistake God's patience for tolerance or forgiveness, and never should we put the gifts God gives us (including our minds) in mothballs. Forgiveness and freedom from our fallen nature comes only from mercy granted by God's grace through faith in the Person and life of Jesus Christ, who serves as our proxy, taking God's righteous punishment for us and covering us with His perfect life, and our lives should reflect our grat-itude for that gift. Man's world will continue to crumble from within, and man's solutions always ultimately fail, but the good news is that God provides peace to those who continually seek to understand and strive to serve His Kingdom, and part of that for us is trusting that any hardships we encounter on the way will ultimately bring us closer to Him, our perfect and loving Creator.

    July 31, 2014 at 9:15 pm |
    • Doris

      Goodness, you need to go join Rainer Braendlein's self-flagellation workout session and work off some of that self-deprecation.

      Did you ever consider that there are more people, more things happening every day, and we're more aware of it than ever before?

      "and never should we put the gifts God gives us (including our minds) in mothballs."
      My goodness–do you actually have moth balls?

      July 31, 2014 at 9:44 pm |
    • LaBella

      I can't even read it.
      This is what I get:
      The page you requested cannot be displayed right now. It may be temporarily unavailable, the link you clicked on may be broken or expired, or you may not have permission to view this page.

      July 31, 2014 at 9:46 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Amen madefromdirt

      July 31, 2014 at 9:46 pm |
      • realbuckyball

        Buncha nonsense. Thanks to SCIENCE the world for most humans is FAR FAR better than it used to be before antibiotics and vaccines, (neither of which Jebus said ONE thing about. The world is FAR better fed and has FAR better healthcare than in the past. There is no deity looking on to be "alienated from". If there were, it sure doesn't give a rip about all the children it lets starve and die every day. The nasty angry gods of the Bible who DEMANDED a sacrifice of his own son before it could feel better in no god I would worship. The fact is many of the horrific events in the world are rooted in the evil divisions religion purveys. Hopefully soon, humans will give up such nonsense, and grow up.

        July 31, 2014 at 10:07 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          Relax Bucky, everything is going to be ok.

          July 31, 2014 at 10:33 pm |
      • realbuckyball

        "Relax Bucky, everything is going to be ok."
        - Oh it will be, but your evil impotent god will not have had anything to do with it.

        July 31, 2014 at 10:36 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          Why are you so upset, surely the thoughts of a believer in God wouldn't stir you so?

          July 31, 2014 at 10:47 pm |
        • realbuckyball

          No one is "upset" about anything. You need to stop "projecting.
          I'm merely making a comment.
          There is nothing about religion or religionists that is worth the energy to be "upset" about.

          August 1, 2014 at 2:09 pm |
      • evolveddna

        Robert..I bet that you will not see a god..any of them.. poke their head from the sky at all. They have missed every opportunity so far to reign in their adherents and explain what love, peace, compassion really is. It will be men and women (humans) who solve the problems of the world..always has and always will be. Mindless devotion and unjustified love of an unproven deity devalues human life as is evidenced daily.

        August 1, 2014 at 12:00 am |
      • TruthPrevails1

        Cute, one member of the Paste Eating Crew supporting the other.

        August 1, 2014 at 3:45 am |
    • observer

      MadeFromDirt,

      Nothing new at all.

      "I see no hope for the future of our people if they are dependent on frivolous youth of today, for certainly all youth are reckless beyond words... When I was young, we were taught to be discreet and respectful of elders, but the present youth are exceedingly wise [disrespectful] and impatient of restraint"
      - Hesiod, 8th century BC

      July 31, 2014 at 10:19 pm |
      • LaBella

        Those pesky kids...

        July 31, 2014 at 10:44 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      "it is true that man's world gets progressively worse and will continue to do so until man's effort to deny and hide from God reaches its cl-imax."

      Yeah...because denial of a god has been the largest issue contibuting to world problems...ffs

      July 31, 2014 at 11:15 pm |
    • evidencenot

      More meaningless word salad from the deluded nut jobs.

      August 5, 2014 at 12:46 pm |
  11. ddeevviinn

    On occasion, usually at the request of my wife, I find myself walking the aisles of a christian bookstore. Fortunately, it is a rare event. What I find there is the noticeable absence of any serious theological, philosophical or exegetical works. Instead, the shelves are pregnant with self help, how to, " What God really wants from you", and a plethora of other whimsical nonsense providing me with the "key" to a successful christian life. It is a nauseating experience, one which makes me wish for a good cathartic vomit .

    Sorry for the rant, it's just been a perpetual sore spot.

    July 31, 2014 at 8:26 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      penicillin might help with that perpetual sore spot ...

      July 31, 2014 at 8:34 pm |
      • ddeevviinn

        Just don't knowingly fabricate and attribute MY quotes to Sam Harris anymore and we'll be good.

        July 31, 2014 at 8:57 pm |
    • LaBella

      I find most "self-help" books, Christian or not, to be rather tedious. It merely seems to help the author's wallet, and little else, IMHO.

      July 31, 2014 at 8:39 pm |
      • ddeevviinn

        I think your "IMHO" is actually factual.

        July 31, 2014 at 8:59 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          I like Dennis Leary's take on therapy...self help

          "Shut the f*** up.....next"

          "He told me to shut the f*** up...I feel so much better!"

          July 31, 2014 at 11:08 pm |
        • ddeevviinn

          Hey Cheese

          Haven't forgot our previous discussion. My answers may take a little more thought and typing than the usual drivel I spit out in a couple of sentences. Sleep is calling me early tonight so I'll try to post tomorrow.

          August 1, 2014 at 12:21 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          Sounds good devin, I will check back.

          August 1, 2014 at 12:26 am |
      • alonsoquixote

        “I went to a bookstore and asked the saleswoman, 'Where's the self-help section?' She said if she told me, it would defeat the purpose.”

        ― George Carlin

        July 31, 2014 at 9:40 pm |
        • LaBella

          Lol. Ba da dum...tish.

          July 31, 2014 at 9:56 pm |
    • new-man

      while I get your post, and I know you weren't asking, however I would still like to recommend the following if neither of you have read them:

      1. Destined to Reign – Joseph Prince
      2. Health & Wholeness Through the Holy Communion – Joseph Prince
      3. Smith Wigglesworth The Secret of His Power – Albert Hibbert
      4. Smith Wigglesworth on Healing – S.W.

      July 31, 2014 at 8:42 pm |
      • Doris

        I don't know. I don't want to invest a lot just to be disappointed. How much is a wigglesworth?

        July 31, 2014 at 9:25 pm |
        • new-man

          *smile*
          He's worth Jesus, and so are you.
          Blessings!

          July 31, 2014 at 9:54 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          Doris,

          You mean in money or in common sense?

          July 31, 2014 at 11:18 pm |
        • ausphor

          Doris
          Of course you can get the complete works of Denis Diderot summed up in one quote for free...
          "Man will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest."
          The sooner that all the religious scams are killed off the sooner mankind will be able to advance away from priests and despots. Destined to Reign indeed=new-man being a sheep/slave all his life.

          August 1, 2014 at 6:41 am |
        • alonsoquixote

          ausphor, Diderot also wrote in Addition aux Pensées philosophiques (1770):

          Wandering in a vast forest at night, I have only a faint light to guide me. A stranger appears and says to me: "My friend, you should blow out your candle in order to find your way more clearly." This stranger is a theologian."

          August 1, 2014 at 12:17 pm |
      • realbuckyball

        Anything by Richard Carrier, debunking Christianity and Jesus is good. Also "Good and Evil by Martin Buber, the Jewish Philosopher/Scholar who in Part II debunks Christianity and "salvation:, also Bart Ehrman PhD has a lot of good books. Also Richard Elliott Friedmann PhD "Who Wrote the Bible", and "How the Bible Became a Book...the Textualization of Ancient Israel" by William Schniedewind PhD are great books by real scholars. As well as "The Trouble with Resurrection" by Dr. BB Scott, (Tulsa Seminary Professor).

        July 31, 2014 at 10:14 pm |
        • tallulah131

          Personally, I'm a big fan of "Why Evolution is True" by Dr. Jerry Coyne.

          July 31, 2014 at 10:41 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Next to the science fiction / fantasy section in a book store I recently visited was a table labelled "Christian Fiction".

      My first though on seeing that label was of course 'this must be where they keep the bibles' but the bibles were across the aisle.

      What I saw was a collection of what appeared to be novels featuring illustrations of (what I presume were) chaste young women (who equally presumably were saving themselves for their wedding night).. I was distracted from further study by other parts of the book store but I found myself thinking there really is a niche for everyone.

      July 31, 2014 at 8:47 pm |
      • LaBella

        Amish Romance novels are quite popular, too.

        July 31, 2014 at 8:54 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          Are they in German?

          July 31, 2014 at 9:13 pm |
        • LaBella

          Nope. Although I would imagine those in German libraries are.

          July 31, 2014 at 9:27 pm |
        • Doris

          I don't know. If certain writers go on at length in describing beards, I think I'll pass.

          July 31, 2014 at 9:33 pm |
        • LaBella

          Lol. I've never read one, and I certainly don't intend to...not my cuppa.

          July 31, 2014 at 9:37 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          Actually these books looked similar. There was an illustration of what appeared to be a young Mennonite or Amish woman on one of the covers.

          July 31, 2014 at 9:54 pm |
        • LaBella

          That's basically it...Beverly Lewis and Kate Lloyd are two very big in the genre.

          July 31, 2014 at 10:05 pm |
        • tallulah131

          But what good is a romance novel if it's not chock full of poorly written amateur porn? Those books are intolerable without the unintentional laughs.

          July 31, 2014 at 10:47 pm |
        • LaBella

          I especially like the various euphemisms for the various parts of anatomy.

          August 1, 2014 at 6:39 pm |
    • evolveddna

      Devlin.... what you need is a good dose of reality to keep you healthy...Keeping your god as a philosophical construct and not allowing him to prove him/itself must be constipating?

      August 1, 2014 at 12:07 am |
      • ddeevviinn

        I appreciate the advice and I'll give it some long, hard consideration.... I just did, I find it worthless.

        I'm also grateful for your thoughtful and yet unnecessary concern for my GI health. I eat a lot of Raisin Bran and whole wheat bread so things are moving right along.

        August 1, 2014 at 12:30 am |
  12. unsername1

    what does her story tell us? People are making their lives complicated more than they need to by making world problems their problems; go to some small town and ask farmer's wife what is her biggest worry when she wakes up!! feeding chickens, milking cows, Is she worried about the world is going to end tomorrow!! definitely, not. She lives simple life because her world is her farm, cows, and chickens. I say keep your world smaller and life simpler to live happy.

    July 31, 2014 at 8:11 pm |
  13. bostontola

    I continue to be confused by a purported God that is omniscient and omnipotent, but has trouble communicating over the din. I get the whole free will point, but why can't humans have free will and God 'speak" loud and clear.

    The bible certainly doesn't do that. It is interpreted almost as many ways as there are (and have been) believers. Add to that, there hasn't been a peep in 2000 years.

    This looks more like another poetic interpretation to me. This kind of poetry is likely born of a relatively privileged life in the US. We are so used to relative peace and order that we forget that much of the world has been, and continues to be in chaos and brutality. That is the normal state of affairs for the people over there. The world isn't suddenly going to hell in a hand basket. It's been brutal all along. It does seem to me to be getting better on average. I expect it will take quite some time before this kind of brutality is rare. We should do what we can to accelerate that. I prefer action to thinking about it.

    July 31, 2014 at 6:56 pm |
    • harlow13

      2000 years? Need I remind you of Mary on the grilled cheese sandwich? Made with American cheese. It all fits together. Palin in 2016!

      July 31, 2014 at 7:15 pm |
      • bostontola

        Mary on grilled cheese...mmmm.

        July 31, 2014 at 7:21 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      if the Christian god had all the love his followers proclaimed, he wouldn't let so many billions of people in the world go to hell for not believing in him ... he'd show himself so we could believe.

      if the Christian god had all the omnipotence his followers proclaimed, he would have designed our brains more like sheep or lemmings, rather than giving us smart inquisitive minds that look for proof ... and then not give us any proof.

      July 31, 2014 at 8:39 pm |
    • believerfred

      bostontola
      why can't humans have free will and God 'speak" loud and clear.
      =>God has spoken with the perfect strength and clarity as necessary to save the maximum souls while allowing the least possible suffering.

      "The bible certainly doesn't do that. It is interpreted almost as many ways as there are (and have been) believers. Add to that, there hasn't been a peep in 2000 years."
      =>Big deal that is the design. You cannot express with full creative and emotive capacity if everyone is in a brown shirt. In the image of God we have access to good and evil then reveal our selves exactly as we are. Everyone sees love, beauty etc through their own lens.

      "I prefer action to thinking about it."
      =>then ask Jesus to reveal himself to you and guide you to all truth

      July 31, 2014 at 6:56 pm | Reply

      July 31, 2014 at 9:05 pm |
      • realbuckyball

        "God has spoken with the perfect strength and clarity as necessary to save the maximum souls while allowing the least possible suffering."

        --Wow. What a very very very strange thing for a belieber to say. So. You god IS actually constrained by a larger Reality. Hmmm. Who created the Reality which constrains your deity ?

        July 31, 2014 at 10:40 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          fred's a belieber? That partially explains why he's not logical.

          August 1, 2014 at 3:52 am |
        • believerfred

          You lost me where is the limitation on perfection of God.

          August 1, 2014 at 6:50 pm |
      • tallulah131

        "God has spoken with the perfect strength and clarity as necessary to save the maximum souls while allowing the least possible suffering."

        What utter nonsense. Your god wasn't even strong enough to "speak" to the indigenous people of the Americas and Australia until about 500 years ago. Apparently the god who created the Universe was stymied by the lack of a boat.

        July 31, 2014 at 10:44 pm |
        • believerfred

          You limit God with your concept of God. Please let know of any Atheists that existed in the Americas and the outback prior to AD1514

          August 1, 2014 at 6:53 pm |
        • G to the T

          "Please let know of any Atheists that existed in the Americas and the outback prior to AD1514"

          Are you implying that all theists (regardless of belief) during all of the time before Jesus and up to AD1514, were saved?

          August 1, 2014 at 7:00 pm |
        • In Santa We Trust

          fred, They were atheists as far as your god is concerned, but I think the point was why couldn't an omniscient and omnipotent god have made itself known on all continents before the European invasion of the New Worlds?

          August 1, 2014 at 7:00 pm |
        • believerfred

          G to T
          We do not know who will and will not be saved and are not to judge salvation as this is the work of God. When Jesus was on the cross he said it is finished .........i.e. sin is forgiven. Christ is presented to all as every knee shall bow. We simply have the privilege in our life times to experience God currently. Mankind has looked to the heavens since the beginning of recorded time.

          August 1, 2014 at 7:20 pm |
        • G to the T

          "We do not know who will and will not be saved and are not to judge salvation as this is the work of God."
          I'm pretty sure the primacy of belief in Jesus and his sacrifice would indicate otherwise. This is a huge hole in the "justice" of God as portrayed in the bible.

          "When Jesus was on the cross he said it is finished .........i.e. sin is forgiven."
          Supposition. He said "it is finished" could mean many things other than what you are supposing. He also cried out asking why god had forsaken him...

          "Christ is presented to all as every knee shall bow. We simply have the privilege in our life times to experience God currently. Mankind has looked to the heavens since the beginning of recorded time." Again – I have no idea what you are actually, functionally saying here. Are you implying that non-christians can potentially be "saved"?

          If you are, it means the only way to the father ISN'T via Jesus and I was pretty sure that's kind of a sticking point.

          August 1, 2014 at 7:36 pm |
        • believerfred

          In Santa we Trust
          Your concept of God, tallulah's and mine are all very different yet the soul has a tilt. That leaning is towards God or opposed to God. We are not accountable for anything we were not given and everyone has been given what they needed to reveal their soul.

          In Santa We Trust said:
          "They were atheists as far as your god is concerned"
          =>well, there is evidence of some localized tribes in 600BC that left no evidence of worship, but atheism as we know it came around 1600 AD.

          "why couldn't an omniscient and omnipotent god have made itself known on all continents before the European invasion of the New Worlds?"
          =>certainly God could have but for reasons unknown to me God chose to use the Hebrew up to the time of Christ then the Holy Spirit. My take is that God is revealed through creation, through the Word and through man. Faith requires stepping out into that which cannot be known by man without the help of God. A path is presented and we can embrace it or fight it. Desire conflicts with the spirit and we decide. Consider Gods word to the first offspring of Adam "if you do what is right will you not be accepted? But, if you do not what is right, sin is crouching at your door, it desires to have you , but you must master it."

          August 1, 2014 at 7:40 pm |
        • believerfred

          G to the T
          "I'm pretty sure the primacy of belief in Jesus and his sacrifice would indicate otherwise. This is a huge hole in the "justice" of God as portrayed in the bible."
          =>I do not understand as Jesus mentioned those the Father has given me are safe. Jesus said we are to leave the weeds with the wheat and God will sort it out in the end as each of us gives an account.

          "Supposition. He said "it is finished" could mean many things other than what you are supposing. He also cried out asking why god had forsaken him..."
          =>Jesus said to Pilate I was born for this purpose and I came to bring truth to the world. All who love the truth are my followers.

          "Are you implying that non-christians can potentially be "saved"?"
          =>Jesus said no one comes to the Father but through me has some breathing room. Those existing before the Cross were presented with the Gospel by Jesus and the criminal on the Cross that went with Jesus to paradise did not make any unique confession of Christian faith only asked Jesus to remember him.

          "only way to the father ISN'T via Jesus and I was pretty sure that's kind of a sticking point."
          =>We are not saved by anything we do but by the grace of God.

          August 1, 2014 at 8:10 pm |
        • G to the T

          "We are not saved by anything we do but by the grace of God."

          But his grace is conditional, and if conditional, it does indeed require action/belief on our part. Otherwise, by what criteria is God using and if we don't know, how can we possibly follow it?

          You may point to the bible, but upwards of billions of people lived/died in the world with absolutely no knowledge of the hebrew god. That's why there were/are missionaries!

          August 2, 2014 at 9:01 am |
        • believerfred

          G to T
          =>"29For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; 30and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.
          =>Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord. He and his family were called to the Ark. This is the story of salvation. God chose Noah and brought him through escaping the cleansing by water that washes away all that is not of God. Noah did need to respond to the call and did so. Noah appeared foolish as did Gods story of a flood in the days and place where there was no rain. The Ark and 120 years of building an Ark on dry land did not match the great minds around Noah in his day that preferred their world and loved their lifestyle and their prideful knowledge of this weak unknown God they reject.

          August 2, 2014 at 9:45 am |
        • G to the T

          Sorry Fred – but you picked the wrong man to quote. Paul is one of the primary reasons I am not a christian anymore. The way I see it, he took the religion of Jesus and turned it into a religion about Jesus.

          And you still haven't truly spoken to those who lived in South America/Australia for the thousands of years while all this was going on the opposite side of the planet.

          August 2, 2014 at 9:55 am |
        • believerfred

          G to T
          "You may point to the bible, but upwards of billions of people lived/died in the world with absolutely no knowledge of the hebrew god. That's why there were/are missionaries!"
          =>We have the Word of God which the Hebrew were tasked with bringing this light to the people. They carried out the task of bringing the Word but many failed in being "Christ Like". We have the Word and the Holy Spirit yet many fail. However, it is God who is faithful, it is God who is good and it is God who chooses. God uses missionaries and all things to bring about good.
          =>Adam and Eve raised their kids to worship as evidenced by Cain and Able. Able loved God most but Cain did not yet God came to warn Cain telling him what to do. So it is to this day Able is with God while Cain led the the wicked in the way of man.

          August 2, 2014 at 10:06 am |
        • G to the T

          Ah a biblical literalist – I don't believe we will ever agree on that.

          But are you trying to say that amazonian tribes that only recently have been contacted somehow had a path to salvation that was available to them? That the "original" religion of Adam was somehow carried on? If so, I think you have a woefully inaccurate view of world religions and their beliefs. I'll give you a primary example – in most "primitive" religions, your afterlife was most often determined by the nature of your death, not your beliefs/conduct in this one.

          August 2, 2014 at 10:28 am |
        • believerfred

          Jesus said it is the will of God that none should perish but all come to the glory of God. Yet, it is the hardness of our heart not Gods that we reject. Jesus said if I could gather you as a hen gathers chicks.
          How does an omnipotent God fail to carry out his own will. Unlike us God is perfect love and perfect justice at the same time. That which is not of God is consumed by the burning holiness of God while that which remains is perfect love, perfect hope, peace, patience ....the fruits of the Spirit.
          It does not matter if you are in south america or the pope all that is not pure is consumed by this burning holiness. Christlikeness is the leaning of your soul and it was so with Able and is so with peoples that never heard of Christ. Those in Christ are covered by Christs sacrifice from the consuming fire as our sin has been forgiven "it is finished". All that is not Chirstlike will no longer exist regardless if you are Able, worshiped the God of Abraham, a bird, a Christian etc. Location and time means nothing as all is a gift to bring out that which is Christ like, to enhance that which is Christ like setting the stage for what is an eternal glory that we call God.
          Your concept of God as exemplified by Jesus is very limiting and confined to the things of this world. You look at the Ark and remind Noah it has never rained in South America. How did you ever lose a heart for the miraculous.

          August 2, 2014 at 10:30 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          " are not to judge "

          Oh the hypocrisy in those 4 words! You judge all the time as is evident from your attack on my family last night! If there is a hell, it is you who will be there!

          August 2, 2014 at 10:33 am |
        • G to the T

          "Christlikeness is the leaning of your soul and it was so with Able and is so with peoples that never heard of Christ. "

          No offense, but I really wish you could be a bit clearer in your answers. All I'm really getting from you is that some people may be enough like christ, no matter their other beliefs (which makes no sense to me) to attain salvation?

          Like I said before, what you are describing does not line up with any of the "primitive" religions we are aware of outside of the middle east. Even the concepts of afterlife, proper conduct, etc are fundamentally different from anything in the Bible. If you can show me how these two elements can co-exist (what we see when we study the beliefs on "primitive" groups vs. your claim that the original religion of Adam carried on somehow), we might have somewhere to start. But I don't believe you can – I know, I've tried.

          August 2, 2014 at 10:39 am |
        • bostontola

          fred,
          Your idea of perfect justice must be different than mine. Biblical justice is obsolete and not just.

          August 2, 2014 at 10:39 am |
        • believerfred

          TruthPrevails1
          Jesus said who is your famiily and hate your mother and father. Now, go twist that as you will but here is what he said in today's language. Your true eternal family are your bothers and sisters in Christ as all else will pass away.
          I sent you a warning that you could hear, which you obviously did hear. Atheist Steve may be the greatest guy you ever met and the pope may be the greatest guy to some but what matters is where you tether your essence. If you tether it to the physical you and all those you convince likewise remain tethered. As such you have willfully chosen to tether to that which you know ends in death. The alternative is to tether your cumulative emotive consciousness to that which is not subject to death. There you at least have a hope regardless of how little hope you have in such a possibility.
          There is not one attack on your family it is a statement of fact an observation. Your big fit is a smoke screen because you know there exists the possibility Steve is wrong about godlessness and you are afraid to face the truth

          August 2, 2014 at 11:01 am |
        • believerfred

          bostontola
          "Your idea of perfect justice must be different than mine. Biblical justice is obsolete and not just."
          =>it is an ideal not something I could know. Perfect justice is as you sow so shall you reap. Jesus modeled well you blew it just like everyone else so here is your get of jail free card.
          Jesus was perfect love then mocked, beaten to a pulp and tortured to his last breath on the cross. This is how God reconciled perfect mercy and perfect justice as God cannot have internal conflicting attributes. All the justice that was well deserved (consumed by eternal burning holiness) is covered in perfect love taking onto self the pain (consequence) of sin up to the maximum evil could imagine. That wickedness of mankind that knows no end was taken in by love.

          August 2, 2014 at 11:15 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          fred,

          There is absolutely no reaso to think the Jesus story is anything more than a legend. There may have been a historical Jesus...but buying in to the idea he walked on water, rose from the dead, changed water to wine is just ridiculous. Notice that every miracle attributed to Jesus was claimed to have been accomplished by some other supposed god before him. The early church leaders were very aware of this. You may think that is just a coincidence but I don't.

          Jesus was not original in either his claimed "miracles" nor his general philosophy. I would think that the creator of the universe could have come up with an original thought or an original trick...

          August 2, 2014 at 11:20 am |
        • observer

          believerfred,

          If you think that "perfect justice" is having no punishment for beating elderly female slaves, encouraging beating children for discipline, cutting off the hand of a wife defending you, forcing marriage on r@pe victims, etc. then you have NO CREDIBILITY. Don't try to talk about justice to other people until you develop a sense of fairness, logic, and some empathy..

          August 2, 2014 at 11:27 am |
        • believerfred

          Blessed are the Cheesemakers
          You should more impressed by the fact you just expressed Jesus to be of form and substance more like God than scientifically provable organic matter that existed and is falsifiable. Even if we found the DNA of Jesus you would just proclaim see there 98% ape.

          August 2, 2014 at 11:28 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          Fred: You are a horrible Christian. Once again you insult my husband!! Who the hell do you think you are to judge anyone when you yourself are not perfect? When you learn to treat others equally regardless of belief or disbelief, you can pull Holier than Thou card, until then I stand by the fact that is hell exists, it is you who would be there for not following the Golden Rule!! If you're speaking to me, be an adult and don't bring my family in to this-that is a low, childish thing to do and doesn't merit you respect!

          August 2, 2014 at 11:29 am |
        • In Santa We Trust

          fred
          "Even if we found the DNA of Jesus you would just proclaim see there 98% ape."

          That's because human DNA is 98% identical to chimpanzee DNA – you can't successfully deny the facts whose implications you don't like. No chance of any god DNA – Jesus was just a Jewish preacher.

          August 2, 2014 at 11:39 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          fred,

          Good job dodging my point....

          You couldn't deal with the implications of what I said so you went the red herring route.

          August 2, 2014 at 11:42 am |
        • believerfred

          G to T
          I am going off the verse that claims it is the fruits of the spirit that are stored up in Heaven and it is only "in Christ" that we are saved. Visions of Gods holiness as a burning holiness as a purification of all that is not of God. I try not to get lost in the details which I do whenever I hear theologians going at each other. That refinement into pure does not distinguish between cultures over time only between light and darkness aka good and evil. Jesus was pure and thus could be one with the Father the rest of mankind could not.
          Creation is simply the plan of restoration out of the abyss. It came about by the word of God as God spoke creation into existence. Let there be light and it was so. The light shines through the darkness and the darkness can never extinguish it. Eternal life is in the light which is why we must remain focused on the light not attempts to reconcile observations of darkness which is what the Tree of Knowledge does. Before Adam and Eve were two trees in the center of the
          Garden. The other was the tree of life. The tree of knowledge of good and evil has taken you from God just as it does with anyone looks away from God. You ask about the darkness and evil as to how that reconciles with good. It cannot be reconciled by man.
          Although he made the world the world did not recognize him, even his own (the Jews) did not accept him. It is the darkness in us that blocks complete understanding of good. That serpent is deception itself and could well be self deception when we think we have figured out good and evil. To say there is no God because there is darkness cannot be because the darkness knew it not. Those tribes and cultures in darkness is the way of the world so one should expect it to be prevalent. Jesus said the way is narrow and few find it. So it is.

          August 2, 2014 at 12:13 pm |
        • believerfred

          TruthPrevails1
          You should bring you family into the Ark it is the plan. Noah's family was brought into the Ark without mention if they found favor in the eyes of the Lord only Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord. I have exchanged thought with Atheist Steve several times and he is the least concerned with the cleansing by water or facing the burning holiness of God.
          Ask yourself why you are so defensive about the truth.

          August 2, 2014 at 12:24 pm |
        • believerfred

          Blessed are the Cheesemakers
          I don't think you want to go over all those points again as I thought we beat that horse to death.
          You are not going to believe any of this God stuff if you cover your ears and eyes. I did not want to hear it either so I could not. It was someone I once helped who put a bible under my seat and God who removed everything of this world leaving me in the shadow of death that allowed me to see. I pray that is not what it will take for you.

          August 2, 2014 at 12:35 pm |
        • believerfred

          observer
          The things people do to one another from the time of Cain to this moment is a reflection of mankind. Perfect justice is an ideal attribute and no one in the Bible other than Jesus came close. You and I do no have knowledge of what Moses was really thinking while chopping off heads or whatever you want to address nor do we have firm grasp of that old time symbolic language. Good gosh we have laws on our books today that fortunately no one applies that were left from only a few hundred years ago.

          August 2, 2014 at 12:45 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          fred,

          I did believe this god stuff. It was only when I uncovered my ears and eyes that I let it go. You can go around lying to people with your claimed certainty and your delusion of truth.

          Your "truth" does not conform to fact or reality.

          August 2, 2014 at 12:54 pm |
        • G to the T

          Our original discussion was about the "perfection" how/when/where God worked to allow for the most people possible. What you have described still does not convince me this is the case. But I feel the deeper issue is one of time and history. We believe fundamentally different versions of history (apparently). Right now, I think mine still has a lot more evidence to back it up than yours.

          August 2, 2014 at 1:08 pm |
        • believerfred

          Blessed are the Cheesemakers
          It is not lying to begin with. I began with only the words of Jesus which presented an experience with a reality I did not know existed (i.e. the kingdom of God). I experience miracles and answered prayer none of which a skeptic will accept nor would I have accepted such accounts prior to that point when the Holy Spirit began to reveal a reality governed by what is not scientifically falsifiable. I understand science and most natural laws necessary to make predictions as well as where natural laws are self limiting. What you refer to as facts are only fact by consensus at the moment as things often are not as they appear.
          It was not a lie to present a position on an issue when foundation is set out (in my case assuming the bible is true). When we get into discussion of say cosmology the Lambda-CDM model is assumed unless stated otherwise. If I speak about creationism I assume the biblical model. Both models are fundamentally different yet address our universe. Not a lie

          August 2, 2014 at 1:28 pm |
        • believerfred

          G to the T
          The history going back to the first representative man an women shows a small segment and often down to a remnant as being chosen. Jesus opened it up to any that would believe Jew or Gentile said few will find it. Does not the "tree" of social evolution point to only a small branch of Jew and a small branch of Christlikeness? Many think (and I could be deluded as well) they are on "the way" but really are not when viewed objectively.

          August 2, 2014 at 1:42 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          fred,

          Claiming to "know" something you don't know is the same as lying.

          August 2, 2014 at 7:07 pm |
        • believerfred

          blessed are the cheesemakers
          "Claiming to "know" something you don't know is the same as lying."
          =>There is knowledge other than what is current consensus of scientific facts (they change as we have a history of science). Scientism is a dogma that says any dimension that cannot be exhaustibly explained by the scientific
          method doesn't exist or doesn't mater. This is as bad as one who takes everything in the Bible literal. Scientism itself could never be proven or established by the scientific method so you have conflict from the get go (i.e. only knowledge out of scientific method is fact cannot be proven and it is actually the reverse as the Hubble constant alone disproved all previous known cosmology as to age of the universe).
          Your belief is flawed and contradictory as I have noted you agree with William Provine @ Cornel University:"He says, "Let me summarize my views on what modern evolutionary biology tells us loud and clear." This is a claim that the field of evolutionary biology has established. "There are no gods, no purposes, and no goal-directed forces of any kind. There is no life after death. When I die, I am absolutely certain that I am going to be dead… There is no ultimate foundation for ethics, no ultimate meaning in life, and no free will for humans, either."
          Just as a mater of scientific inquiry, if you were to ask, "What is a single article in a single per-reviewed journal to support this" NONE not ONE
          We are not just a blob of tissues and I know this just as you know only natural laws exist.

          The indistinguishable human desire for meaning, for purpose, to mater, tells us something about existence. Wonder and awe reflected in worship, since Neanderthal, exists. C.S. Lewis writes: "Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for those desires exists. A baby feels hunger: well, there is such a thing as food. A duckling wants to swim: well, there is such a thing as water. [People] feel sexual desire: well, there is such a thing as sex. If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world."

          I know this

          August 3, 2014 at 10:38 am |
        • G to the T

          "The history going back to the first representative man an women shows a small segment and often down to a remnant as being chosen. "

          Exactly my point. There is no "first representative man and women" – biology doesn't work that way. If you want to say that these stories are allegorical and speak to the relationship between man and his god, that's one thing – and I wouldn't argue. Believing there was an actual "Adam", "Eve" and/or "Noah" goes beyond the realm of history to me and into the mythic (again from my point of view).

          August 3, 2014 at 10:46 am |
        • G to the T

          "Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for those desires exists."

          You really need to update your reading lists. The "desire" for there to be a god can be explained without the need for an external object to fulfill it.

          August 3, 2014 at 10:49 am |
        • believerfred

          G to T
          What makes the Bible divine is that a symbolic picture language in oral tradition as captured in writing transmitted the message over thousands of years and cultures that still reveals the absolute truth. What science today claims has zero impact on the truth concerning the purpose and meaning of creation or anything concerning wonder. The Word of God as contained between the codex of our translated Bible continues to reveal the heart of man today as it did to Adam and Eve regardless of their physical form or substance. Noah and the Ark is not a lesson on physics or hydrology etc but captures favor in the eyes of the Lord and summarizes the story of salvation. You are the one imposing a limited temporal scientific constraint upon that which cannot be constrained. Creation is about a way to learn perfect love as this is the will of God that you could experience the eternal nature of what is not tethered to death (the physical). It is a gift and is worship and we are the only known animal that can do that

          August 3, 2014 at 11:11 am |
        • bostontola

          fred,
          Any idea how an omniscient omnipotent being that created the 100's of billions of galaxies, ours with 100's of billions of star systems, provided his word to so few humans over the last few millennia?

          August 3, 2014 at 11:28 am |
        • igaftr

          fred
          "What makes the Bible divine is that a symbolic picture language in oral tradition as captured in writing transmitted the message over thousands of years and cultures that still reveals the absolute truth"

          That is funny, but what makes the bible NOT divine is tha fact that MEN wrote it, and there is no evidence of any gods.

          August 3, 2014 at 11:36 am |
        • tallulah131

          A little late to the party, but...

          Atheism has nothing to do at all with my original statement. Throughout history, humans have created gods in an effort to understand and appeal to the unknown. The indigenous people of the Americas and Australia had their own gods, ones created by their cultures, for their cultures. Those gods had little in common with the god created by desert tribesmen in the Middle East.

          You keep making excuses for your god, but it's glaringly obvious: Your god couldn't cross oceans because your god only exists in the minds of those who believe in him.

          August 3, 2014 at 12:42 pm |
        • believerfred

          bostontola
          "Any idea how an omniscient omnipotent being that created the 100's of billions of galaxies, ours with 100's of billions of star systems, provided his word to so few humans over the last few millennia?"
          =>The Bible says "many are called but few are chosen" so your observation matches the Bible.
          =>The Bible further says God brings though a remnant from chosen generations of man. The flood story shows as few as one found favor in the eyes of the Lord when wickedness peeked.
          =>Jesus said the path is narrow and few find it.

          Now, if you are attempting to correlate size of the universe to size of mankind that is nonsense as that would be say a whale is of greater importance than man because of relative scope.
          It is the reverse as it is a miracle intelligent life exists at all. Any thought to the contrary is speculative as zero other evidence of intelligent life exist.

          August 3, 2014 at 5:01 pm |
        • believerfred

          igaftr
          There is not one other written work which reveals the true heart of a man and has communicated the concept of God to as many people over such an extended period. 2014AD and you are still defending your godlessness against an oral tradition that extends from Adam and Eve. That is Divine. 2014AD and you stoop to science to justify the miraculous when science tells you it cannot address God.

          August 3, 2014 at 5:07 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          fred,

          The fact you hang you hat on the inability on science to falsify your god and your claimed supernatural non explanations is not a "feature".. it is a flaw.

          August 3, 2014 at 5:16 pm |
        • believerfred

          tallulah131
          "Throughout history, humans have created gods in an effort to understand and appeal to the unknown."
          =>correct so just say you agree with the fact one cannot desire what does not already exist.

          "The indigenous people of the Americas and Australia had their own gods, ones created by their cultures, for their cultures. Those gods had little in common with the god created by desert tribesmen in the Middle East."
          =>nonsense it is the search for a known meaning and purpose outside of self. A self limiting existence in atheism is contrary to nature and observation of mankind even in the Americas and Australia. Tell me where mans creativity ends or the universe ends. There is no boundary in time or space as something must exist as there is no such thing as non existence or nothing.

          "Your god couldn't cross oceans because your god only exists in the minds of those who believe in him."
          =>You confuse concept with form and substance that may or may not reflect concept. The concept of God with say the Hebrew reflected and agreed with the form and substance as held over thousands of years. The concept of god with some tribes in Australia and the Americas differed yet the majority had worship outside of the known physical man which was the prime purpose of God as written by the major religions.

          August 3, 2014 at 5:21 pm |
        • believerfred

          Blessed are the Cheesemakers
          I hang my hat on the fact God cannot be falsified. I hang my hat on the fact scientism is in conflict with the scientific method it claims is the reason for rejection of God. This cannot be argued and no scientist will ever support scientism other than a philosophical application or non falsifiable extrapolation of a valid scientific principal or theory.

          August 3, 2014 at 5:27 pm |
        • believerfred

          Blessed are the Cheesemakers
          I could spend all day correlating causation in a classical quantum state with the form and substance of the Holy Spirit yet never publish an accepted study simply because certain laws of physics cannot be applied outside the field which limits their reflective properties (matter and energy chain of causation).
          That is very different than the argument I hear repeated on this site that one cannot prove something does not necessarily exist.

          August 3, 2014 at 5:34 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          "This cannot be argued"

          Sure it can fred...it can be argued that your god cannot give verifiable proof of his existence and therefore it would unreasonable, illogical and fallacious to do as you do and assume the conclusion.

          August 3, 2014 at 5:37 pm |
        • austin929

          If you had the truth bearing spirit, would you be a believer?

          August 3, 2014 at 5:41 pm |
        • believerfred

          Blessed are the Cheesemakers
          You are doing it again, arguing your concept of god against God who in fact exists in form and substance as expressed. Your concept of god does not exist and cannot offer any evidence. I agree with you that there is no evidence for your concept and your concept does not exist in form or substance.
          Now God has manifested in Christ such that the full radiant Glory of God was upon Him in Jesus the man. What part of that can you argue about?

          August 3, 2014 at 5:55 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          You could spend all day correlating causation in a classical quantum state with the form and substance of the Holy Spirit yet never publish an accepted study simply because "my god did it" is not a reasonable explanation for things that are not known.

          I think you know that "religous faith" is a terrible reason to believe anything, that is why you have convinced youself these arguments you put forth are somehow sound.

          August 3, 2014 at 5:55 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          It not my concept of god it's yours, you just continue to think it is reasonable to believe in your non verifiable god...good for you fred....you just argued yourself into self delusion...

          August 3, 2014 at 6:01 pm |
        • bostontola

          fred,
          '...few are chosen'.

          I guess it's not an all loving God.

          August 3, 2014 at 6:11 pm |
        • believerfred

          Blessed are the Cheesemakers
          Yes, I was a much more content believer before someone cornered me and asked how I could possible believe when everything we know scientifically contradicts accounts of creation in Genesis. That was easy even though I believe a physical Adam and Eve and God saying let it be and it was so makes for better reading. On the other hand i get backed into a corner with the flood story as I believe that something is being told in this story that I am missing. For some reason I want the flood story to be a real event when it does not need to be a real event. The flood story touches on just about every aspect of God and salvation and I want it to be more than spiritual.

          August 3, 2014 at 6:14 pm |
        • believerfred

          bostontola

          '...few are chosen'. I guess it's not an all loving God
          =>You missed the first part many are called. Everyone gets the call that would hear the call. Those that would not hear are blessed by not being called as this would cause unnecessary pain and suffering (the more opportunity you are given to reject God the greater the sin when you do). "To each is given a measure of faith" "It is the will of God that none should perish but that all come to the glory of God". God would not act contrary to his own will
          =>Chosen is a state of being that increases blessing and responsibility which typically includes greater persecution.

          August 3, 2014 at 6:32 pm |
        • believerfred

          austin929
          If you had the truth bearing spirit, would you be a believer?
          =>Austin I don't think Blessed can answer this without getting stuck in the maze of denial.

          August 3, 2014 at 6:35 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          "If you had the truth bearing spirit, would you be a believer?""

          I have no idea what a "truth bearing spirit" is. I don't know why one would need such a thing to believe something. All I need is to be able to objectively verify a claim and I will believe it, that is all it would take to change my mind...

          See no denial fred...I have admitted I would change my mind, the denial is all yours.

          August 3, 2014 at 6:50 pm |
        • austin929

          "I have admitted I would change my mind"

          God bless you, my heart and prayer is for you as well.

          August 3, 2014 at 7:04 pm |
        • bostontola

          fred,
          Many are called, not all, that means many more were not called, much less chosen. That takes me back to my earlier comment, so many are not called at all. Your notion of an omnipotent God, can create trillions of star systems for every human ever born, yet most humans never got his word. That seems incongruous.

          August 3, 2014 at 7:10 pm |
        • believerfred

          bostontola
          I don't know and the scripture does not give a specific answer as to what happens with those that never have the chance to hear the word of God. However, since Paul mentions God places you just where you need to be then God was involved in the placement of some lost tribes. Who else but Christ with perfect love should judge their fate and why would you presume Christ would make the wrong decision. The wicked in the days of Noah were blotted from the face of the earth as will be all in the last days who are wicked and for the same reason. Their fate appears grim yet still in the hands of Christ who will judge. There will be a complete accounting and no doubt perfect information and perfect justice in the face of perfect love will be administered.
          The best example we have is with the two criminals next to Christ where one mocked to his last breath while the other proclaimed he (criminal) deserved this crucifixion while Jesus did not then simply asked Jesus to remember him. Jesus said today you will be with me in paradise while Jesus was silent about the mocker.
          Exactly what about this judgement bothers you. Hell is reserved for Satan and his demons and rightfully so given they are only evil and desire this fate away from God. God will be perfectly just with the rest.

          August 3, 2014 at 8:16 pm |
        • bostontola

          fred,
          I wasn't talking about judgment. Judgment by God is irrelevant to me until existence of God is established. My point is that a God that can create trillions of star systems for every human ever born, would be capable of reaching every human, especially if this God was all loving as advertised. This incongruity erodes the foundation of this God's existence. I add this to many other incongruities of the biblical God(s). So judgment by this purported God is not relevant as it is in the same basket as Zeus, Odin, etc., mythological judgment. But I respect your right to fear the judgment of your God.

          August 3, 2014 at 11:01 pm |
        • believerfred

          bostonola
          "a God that can create trillions of star systems for every human ever born, would be capable of reaching every human, especially if this God was all loving as advertised."
          =>Oh, so you want a perspective of man not the perspective of God
          =>Assuming by star systems you mean galaxies there are about a trillion or if you mean stars there are about a Septillion. Consensus has it that from singularity galaxy formation and evolution is a natural process of clustering mass. God did not need to snap his fingers as time is not of consequence in an eternal landscape so this observed natural process works. Humans likewise could have evolved from a simple organic structure into diverse life forms that includes man just as galaxies or stars have diverse properties. Science seems to be hung up with evolution of galaxies, social evolution and human evolution all base on limited observable laws. In this case it would be natural for information to pass down a particular line such as the Hebrew beginning with Adam and Eve as the first generation of Hebrews while other lines due to location or isolation may not have been exposed to "God" as revealed through man. Just as the form and structure of the milky way, our Sun and Earth was refined by the natural so too is the image of God.
          We are not is a position to determine the process as the process is shaping us and what you observe is that process. In the Bible we see that process is generational refining spirit and soul into the image of Christ. No two stars look exactly alike why should two images of Christ.
          =>what you are saying is that all stars and Galaxies would look the same as God could have provided a uniform command superstructure encoded and all humans for all time should have received the same information packet. That is not what what is observed in the natural so your concept does not fit the natural laws or Biblical laws and thus can be dismissed.

          August 4, 2014 at 12:38 am |
        • bostontola

          fred,
          Our solar system is an example of a star system, I wasn't referring to a galaxy.

          You are making assumption after assumption about the motivation behind my comments, all are incorrect. I simply stated facts. There are trillions of star systems for every human ever born, fact. If God created everything, then that is a fact. If God is that capable, I would expect God could reach the tiny number of humans, all clustered on the head of a needle, relative to the universe. That didn't, and isn't happening.

          This isn't human perspective or God perspective, just simple facts.

          August 4, 2014 at 7:43 am |
        • believerfred

          bostonola
          Because every human on the head of that pin is unique individually and unique in community. This is the design from the start. We each have different wonder and awe within and physically as this is the image of God, this is why each of us sees a slightly different vision. This is the central point of man that is different than animal as we were gifted with capacity to worship God (worship is closely connected with the emotive expressions of love). This worship presents infinite joy from infinite perspectives unique to the individual and community.
          Some are filled with faith or abundance of communication with God while others just catch a passing hint from God because it is tailored to optimize their experience in God and potential joy, love, creativity now and eternally.
          If there is God then what we observe is the best way to bring about our eternal position in love with unlimited creative diversity.

          August 4, 2014 at 12:40 pm |
        • bostontola

          fred,
          I agree with much of your last comment. Have a great day!

          August 4, 2014 at 12:42 pm |
        • G to the T

          "This is the central point of man that is different than animal as we were gifted with capacity to worship God (worship is closely connected with the emotive expressions of love). "

          I don't know about that. After all, dogs howl at the moon.

          Also – not all religions have an aspect of worship associated with them so I'm not sure of your point (i.e. it's not a universal quality of man).

          August 5, 2014 at 1:02 pm |
        • G to the T

          "If there is God then what we observe is the best way to bring about our eternal position in love with unlimited creative diversity."

          Unless you were born in the Amazonian rain forest in 521 CE.

          You assume it must be the best because of the perfect nature your god is supposed to possess. I am still not convinced of your original statement – that the timing/method ensure the most saved possible. And if that is not the case, then your god's "justice" is flawed from the start.

          August 5, 2014 at 1:04 pm |
        • believerfred

          G to the T
          "I don't know about that. After all, dogs howl at the moon."
          =>I think you are joking as howl has a very different purpose, however the owl thought it was a hoot.

          "not all religions have an aspect of worship associated with them so I'm not sure of your point (i.e. it's not a universal quality of man)."
          =>which religion are you thinking about? Worship is akin to love as the worship of God has mix to it when one fear's God.

          "If there is God then what we observe is the best way to bring about our eternal position in love with unlimited creative diversity." Unless you were born in the Amazonian rain forest in 521 CE."
          =>in the natural not all salmon make it upstream but with God every knee shall bow. If those in the rain forest were given the image of God they have opportunity if they have not the image of God they are a blank slate as to soul i.e. they do not have capacity to love

          "You assume it must be the best because of the perfect nature your god is supposed to possess. I am still not convinced of your original statement – that the timing/method ensure the most saved possible. And if that is not the case, then your god's "justice" is flawed from the start."
          =>God at a minimum is an ideal of love perfected, justice perfected, knowledge perfected etc regardless of existence other than in concept. There is no logical flaw
          A potential flaw is only created if God is incompetent. In this case you are arguing a case for a concept of god that exists for you. Why would you harbor a concept of an incompetent God then search for evidence (a lost tribe) to support your god? The reason for your search is the root of what you truly seek.

          Aug

          August 6, 2014 at 5:46 pm |
  14. tallulah131

    Yet another believer, telling us what "god" is saying. More proof that every believer creates their own god using the framework of the religion of their choice.

    July 31, 2014 at 5:36 pm |
  15. Vic

    Here is what I believe God is saying:

    John 3:16
    "16 For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life." (NASB)

    p.s. I wonder what Anne Lamott's necklace pendants mean.

    July 31, 2014 at 5:13 pm |
    • LaBella

      She likes astronomy?

      July 31, 2014 at 5:36 pm |
    • tallulah131

      They look like stars and moons to me. Maybe she likes Lucky Charms.

      July 31, 2014 at 5:37 pm |
      • realbuckyball

        Maybe she like the moon-god Sin. Yahweh's brother.

        July 31, 2014 at 10:42 pm |
        • G to the T

          Or his Dad El?

          August 1, 2014 at 6:41 pm |
    • noahsdadtopher

      Good catch.

      July 31, 2014 at 5:37 pm |
      • tallulah131

        Why?

        July 31, 2014 at 5:39 pm |
        • LaBella

          And what message is she trying to send with those earrings?!?

          Sigh.

          July 31, 2014 at 8:46 pm |
        • tallulah131

          To be perfectly honest, the only message I'm getting is "fashion victim".

          July 31, 2014 at 10:42 pm |
        • LaBella

          It had to be said.

          July 31, 2014 at 10:57 pm |
        • Lucifer's Evil Twin

          I would have mentioned her dirty-hippie dreads... before the earrings

          August 1, 2014 at 10:23 am |
        • LaBella

          The hair is obvious. The jewelry isn't.

          August 1, 2014 at 6:54 pm |
    • Bob

      Vic, then you must also believe that your violent, vengeant sky fairy is also giving you these vile instructions, from both testaments of your horrid Christian book of nasty AKA the bible:

      Numbers 31:17-18
      17 Now kiII all the boys. And kiII every woman who has slept with a man,
      18 but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

      Deuteronomy 13:6 – “If your brother, your mother’s son or your son or daughter, or the wife you cherish, or your friend who is as your own soul entice you secretly, saying, let us go and serve other gods … you shall surely kill him; your hand shall be first against him to put him to death”

      1 Timothy 2:11
      "Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor."

      Revelation 2:23 And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.

      Leviticus 25
      44 “‘Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves.
      45 You may also buy some of the temporary residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country, and they will become your property.
      46 You can bequeath them to your children as inherited property and can make them slaves for life, but you must not rule over your fellow Israelites ruthlessly.

      Note that the bible is also very clear that you should sacrifice and burn an animal today because the smell makes sicko Christian sky fairy happy. No, you don't get to use the parts for food. You burn them, a complete waste of the poor animal.

      Yes, the bible really says that, everyone. Yes, it's in Leviticus, look it up. Yes, Jesus purportedly said that the OT commands still apply. No exceptions. But even if you think the OT was god's mistaken first go around, you have to ask why a perfect, loving enti-ty would ever put such horrid instructions in there. If you think rationally at all, that is.

      And then, if you disagree with my interpretation, ask yourself how it is that your "god" couldn't come up with a better way to communicate than a book that is so readily subject to so many interpretations and to being taken "out of context", and has so many mistakes in it. Pretty pathetic god that you've made for yourself.

      So get out your sacrificial knife or your nasty sky creature will torture you eternally. Or just take a closer look at your foolish supersti-tions, understand that they are just silly, and toss them into the dustbin with all the rest of the gods that man has created.

      Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement.
      Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.
      http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

      July 31, 2014 at 5:48 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      But Vic, don't you know that John 3:16 is now shown to be wrong:

      A 1500-year-old bible has been discovered in Turkey. Discovered in 2000, the book that contains purportedly the Gospel of Barnabas has been transferred by the Turkish government to the Ethnography Museum of Ankara with a police escort. Barnabas was a disciple of Christ, and in the work, claims that Jesus was not crucified, instead it says he ascended to heaven alive and Judas Iscariot was crucified in his place. Furthermore, the 1500-year-old bible states that Jesus Christ was not the son of God, but simply a prophet who passed on the word of God.

      July 31, 2014 at 8:41 pm |
  16. Dyslexic doG

    Ann is an aging hippie believing a conglomeration of different religions as her daily mood dictates.

    July 31, 2014 at 4:55 pm |
  17. Løki

    "You are my own, and I am yours–I think this is what God is saying, or trying to, over the din"

    Ok... thanks for sharing and wasting my time reading this vacuous article.

    July 31, 2014 at 4:41 pm |
    • Reality

      Ditto those sentiments !!

      July 31, 2014 at 4:52 pm |
    • tallulah131

      I don't personally get it, but some people just eat up saccharine-laced tripe like this.

      July 31, 2014 at 5:39 pm |
  18. G to the T

    People are always thinking the "world is worse than it's ever been" – they are rarely right.

    July 31, 2014 at 4:30 pm |
  19. LaBella

    Why link the Facebook page if I cannot view it?

    July 31, 2014 at 4:27 pm |
  20. Dyslexic doG

    Black Jesus will save you.

    July 31, 2014 at 4:10 pm |
    • Løki

      Dammit! I was going to post that!

      July 31, 2014 at 4:34 pm |
      • Dyslexic doG

        fooW

        July 31, 2014 at 4:44 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.