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August 9th, 2014
06:01 PM ET

Why missionaries put their lives on the line

By Daniel Burke and Ashley Fantz, CNN

(CNN) - It wasn’t as if God's voice boomed through sun-parted clouds, telling Kent Brantly to move his family to Liberia.

Still, the young doctor said, the call was clear.

It echoed through the congregation where he was raised, Southeastern Church of Christ in Indianapolis.

Standing before the church community in July 2013, months before he left for Africa, Brantly said he heard the call in the teachers who urged him to memorize Scripture and the neighbors who funded his first mission trip years ago.

He saw it in the aunts and uncles who spent their vacations running Bible camps, organizing youth groups and serving missions themselves in Africa.

“It may not seem like much,” Brantly said in an emotional address to the Southeastern congregation, “but when you connect the dots you see a grand design that God has used to draw my life in a certain direction.”

For Brantly, that meant serving a two-year medical mission in Liberia with Samaritan’s Purse, a Christian relief organization. But in a grim twist that garnered international headlines, the 33-year-old contracted Ebola while treating patients and was airlifted back to the United States.

Brantly and a fellow missionary, Nancy Writebol, who was serving with SIM, another Christian aid organization, are being treated for the disease at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta.

After Liberia's outbreak began in March 2013, Writebol volunteered at a hospital in Monrovia, where she disinfected doctors and nurses working with patients stricken by the disease.

Despite their weakened health, their trust in God remains strong, family members said.

“Mom is tired from her travel, but continues to fight the virus and strengthen her faith in her Redeemer, Jesus,” said Jeremy Writebol, Nancy’s son.

On Friday, Brantly said that he felt a spiritual serenity even after learning his diagnosis.

“I remember a deep sense of peace that was beyond all understanding,” he said. “God was reminding me of what he had taught me years ago, that he will give me everything I need to be faithful to him.

Though Brantly's wife and children had been in Liberia with him, they had returned to the United States when he became ill.

In addition to the American missionaries, a nun and a priest from Spain who worked in Liberia also contracted Ebola, two more victims in an outbreak that health officials describe as the largest and most complex in the history of the disease.

As of Saturday, 961 people have died, nearly all in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, where more than 1,770 cases have been reported, according to the World Health Organization.

Heroic or foolish? 

In the United States, much of the attention last week focused on the missionaries, who knowingly put themselves in harm’s way.

Christians have long debated the effectiveness of missions, with some arguing that they can, at times, cause more harm than good – both to missionaries and the people they are trying to help.

But rarely has the debate ranged as far afield of Christian circles or become as bitterly divided as it has since the American missionaries' return to the United States.

Prominent Christians, such as R. Albert Mohler Jr. and Russell Moore, called Brantly and Writebol heroic.

The missionaries knew the risks of contracting Ebola but worked with patients, doctors and nurses to try to contain the outbreak, the evangelicals said.

On the other hand, real estate mogul Donald Trump tweeted that people who travel to foreign countries to help are "great" but “must suffer the consequences” of their actions.

Conservative commentator Ann Coulter was even more unsympathetic, saying Brantley’s health status had been “downgraded to ‘idiotic.’”

“Why did Dr. Brantly have to go to Africa?” Coulter wrote. “The very first ‘risk factor’ listed by the Mayo Clinic for Ebola - an incurable disease with a 90 percent fatality rate - is: ‘Travel to Africa.’”

Nancy Writebol's husband, David, who remains in Liberia, answered the critics on Friday.

Writebol said he knows that some think missionaries like his wife are "foolish, or worse," to "put everybody in danger by going" to places like Liberia.

"But it’s that very calling," he said, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "that demonstrates the characteristics, the great things that Christ has done for humanity. He left heaven and he came to a place of suffering and trouble and went about doing good.”

The Great Commission 

Besides the personal pull described by missionaries like Brantly, for centuries Christians have followed a more general call to spread the Gospel through word and deed. Known as the Great Commission, it began when Jesus told the apostles to “go and make disciples of all nations.”

Since then, millions of believers – from Baptists to Mormons to Jehovah’s Witnesses - have stuffed scriptures into suitcases and preached the Gospel in nearly every corner of the globe.

For centuries, serving those missions meant spending decades abroad, learning a culture and its language, and trying, with varying degrees of success, to convert native peoples to Christianity.

But short-term missions - often defined as less than two years - exploded in the 1970s and ‘80s with the advent of cheap and safe travel, scholars say. For evangelicals in particular, mission trips have become almost a rite of passage. In his 33 years, Kent Brantly had already served missions in Haiti, Honduras, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Nicaragua.

In doing so, Brantly is one of an estimated 1.6 million Americans adults who embark on short-term mission trips to foreign countries each year, according to Princeton University sociologist Robert Wuthnow.

If domestic missions and Christians under 18 were included, that number would rise to about 2.4 million, said David Armstrong, executive director of Mission Data International.

It’s an indication of how seriously Christians take Jesus’ call to reach “all nations,” a task to which they bring ever-increasing technical sophistication.

The Center for the Study of Global Christianity at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in Massachusetts, for instance, keeps tabs on the precise percentage of the world’s population who have been “evangelized.”

As of mid-2014, about 71% of the world has heard the Gospel through personal preaching, radio, television books or other media, the center says.

But not all missions are about evangelizing.

There are basically three types of missionaries, said Albert W. Hickman, a researcher at the Center for the Study of Global Christianity: those who preach, those who do good works, and those who do both.

SIM, which Nancy Writebol joined in 2013, belongs in the last category.

'Do you mind if I pray with you?'

Originally know as Sudan Interior Ministry, the Christian group has been active in Africa since 1893, when two young Canadians and an American set out to preach the Gospel in sub-Saharan Africa.

Within months, the men contracted malaria. Two died, but one survived and went on to help lay the groundwork for the modern SIM, which now stands for the more general Serving in Mission.

“Even early on, our people were willing to sacrifice or to die for their faith,” said George Salloum, SIM USA’s vice president of finance and operations.

More than 1,600 SIM missionaries now work in 60 countries.

The majority are recruited online, a process that starts with questions for applicants like: Do you share your faith with others? Is prayer a regular part of your life? Are you disciplined, accountable? Have your really thought about how hard being a missionary will be?

The list of missions SIM offers is extensive – from a Bible school teacher in Mongolia to a water engineer in South Sudan. The group also sends medical professionals to mission hospitals and clinics throughout the world.

Before they travel, missionaries go through cross-cultural training, learning, for example, how close should they stand while taking to someone and how different cultures greet strangers.

Missionaries also are also trained in their most critical skill, Salloum said: How to provide practical help while simultaneously spreading the Gospel.

For instance, when a person suffers from an illness or injury, the medical missionary will approach and ask if they can help. “The missionary just shares something ... and then sometimes they’ll say, ‘Do you mind if I pray with you?’”

“People will say, ‘Why are you doing that?’ And we tell them that’s what Christ did,’” Salloum said. “It’s a natural transition – someone who has a physical need then to have a spiritual need.”

That's precisely what Nancy Writebol did in Liberia, said the SIM executive. “She talked to children, she shared the Gospel. She was just available, there for the people. That was her world.”

Writebol and her husband are originally from Charlotte, North Carolina, and have two adult sons, according to SIM.

In Liberia, before the outbreak, Nancy served as a personnel coordinator, guiding new missionaries as they entered the West African country. She also volunteered on the staff of ELWA hospital, where David Writebol worked as a technical services manager of the 100-building complex.

"We aren't going to stop our ministry – we believe we can serve wherever God sends us," David Writebol said on Friday.

Samaritan’s Purse, the Christian relief organization Brantly worked for, declined to speak to CNN.

David Armstrong, from Mission Data International, said the organization, which is headed by Franklin Graham, focuses chiefly on emergency aid, particularly the physical needs of native populations. But they also try to tend to spiritual needs, which means providing Bibles and setting up prayer meetings.

“They are sharing the Gospel, but it’s more of a one-on-one, person-to-person thing,” Armstrong said.

Good works (without preaching the Gospel) 

One of the world's largest faith-based organizations doesn't even like the "missionary" label, according to a spokesman, because of the word's association with proselytizing.

Though Catholic Relief Services says it is motivated by the Gospel to embody Catholic social and moral teaching, it does not preach to the people it helps.

In fact, you don't even have to be Catholic to work for Catholic Relief Services. Among its 4,500 workers are many Muslims, Hindus and members of other religions, said Bill O’Keefe, the organization’s vice president of advocacy.

“We assist people of all backgrounds and religions and we do not attempt to engage in discussions of faith," O’Keefe said. “We’re proud of that. We like to say that we assist everybody because we’re Catholic, we don’t assist people to become Catholic.”

Founded in 1943, CRS has 4,500 workers more than 60 countries, including 250 CRS workers in Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea and Nigeria, the West African nations hit hardest by the latest Ebola outbreak.

“The biggest obstacles they’re facing is misinformation,” said CRS spokesman Michael Stulman, who was recently in Sierra Leone. “The people believe that Ebola is a curse or that it’s a lie made up by authorities.”

Meredith Dyson, CRS’s health program manager in Freetown, Sierra Leone, said her job is to get the public to stop believing those myths.

Some Liberians, for instance, believe that a soft drink can cure the disease, or that Ebola is a nefarious plot concocted by nongovernmental organizations and the government.

“People say don’t go to the hospital, you won’t come back because healthcare workers are injecting people and killing them,” she said.

“Every myth is born of some kind of truth – it is partly what they’re seeing – people are going to hospital and not coming home.”

Dyson, 31, studied public health at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore where she met people who worked for CRS. Though not Catholic herself, Dyson said the church's teachings on human dignity and social justice resonated deeply with her.

Describing the recent Ebola outbreak, Dyson's voice breaks as she recalls two CRS colleagues - both Africans - who died will trying to help others.

“The people who work in this setting are close knit,” she said. “They become your family. It can be really hard.”

Unexpected places 

Back in the United States, sitting in an isolation room at Emory University hospital, Brantly said he didn’t move to Liberia to fight Ebola, but that it became necessary after the outbreak there.

He said he held the hands of countless patients who died of the disease, and still remembers each of their faces and names.

Brantly's mission may not have been what he imagined when he spoke to Southeastern Church of Christ those many months ago, but his focus remains the same: going wherever God leads.

“One thing I have learned," Brantly said, "is that following God often leads us to unexpected places.”

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Africa • Catholic Church • Charity • Christianity • Ethics • evangelicals • Faith & Health • Foreign policy • Health • Health care • Liberia • Missionaries

soundoff (2,880 Responses)
  1. Keith

    The world would be better off if all Americans stayed home, especially Christians.

    August 11, 2014 at 10:32 am |
    • Alias

      I don't wan tto be disrespectful of this man or this woman, but how about a little recognition of all the others who are also helping the ebola patients. I doubt they are all christians.

      August 11, 2014 at 10:44 am |
      • TruthPrevails1

        I believe they said that Dr's Without Borders is also over there.

        August 11, 2014 at 10:48 am |
        • Alias

          And what about the locals?
          The people helping their neighbors just because it is the right thing to do?
          This is not an exclusively christian concept.

          August 11, 2014 at 10:55 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          Absolutely, every effort counts.

          August 11, 2014 at 10:59 am |
      • Keith

        The story was about their call to be missionaries. That is what I was commenting about.

        The work is commendable.

        August 11, 2014 at 11:00 am |
    • bostontola

      I don't care what a persons religion is (or lack thereof), if they are providing medical help to those in need, then I respect them. If they take significant risk to do so, then they are heroic. If they use that position to proselytize, then it's points off, but still net positive in my eyes. Dr. Brantley and his organization claim there is no proselytizing. I take them at their word.

      August 11, 2014 at 11:02 am |
      • bostontola

        I believe the world is better off for their being out there.

        August 11, 2014 at 11:03 am |
      • Keith

        Many places in Africa they are spreading hate and causing the deaths of gay people with their fundamentalist beliefs. I don't care what religion a person is either as long as it doesn't cause harm. With a cursory look at history, religion usually does cause harm.

        August 11, 2014 at 1:46 pm |
        • joey3467

          They are also helping to kill straight people by convincing them that it is better to get AIDS than it is to use a condom.

          August 11, 2014 at 4:36 pm |
  2. lunchbreaker

    To any Christian:

    Do you believe any action you do can impact whether or not someone else accepts Jesus as thier savior?

    August 11, 2014 at 9:28 am |
    • Theo Phileo

      The Bible tells us that although no one can receive Christ without God first working a miracle in that person (salvation is monergistic), God has ordained that He works through a means, and that means is through the preaching of the word.

      Having said that, and also having been a missionary both at home and abroad, yes – through the work of missions and the preaching of the word, men receive salvation.

      August 11, 2014 at 10:03 am |
      • TruthPrevails1

        Kudos to you for doing the missionary work but that imply tells me that you're capable of being empathetic.

        August 11, 2014 at 10:06 am |
      • TruthPrevails1

        imply=simply

        August 11, 2014 at 10:17 am |
      • lunchbreaker

        Sweet,I learned a new word today – monergistic. Theo I'm curious of it's use:

        mon·er·gism/ˈmɒnərˌdʒɪzəm/ Show Spelled [mon-er-jiz-uhm] Show IPA
        noun Theology .
        the doctrine that the Holy Ghost acts independently of the human will in the work of regeneration.

        I could very easily misinterpret that, but is this saying that the Holy Spirit can override our free will and force us to accept Jesus? Or is this just the famous knock on the door and we have to open it?

        August 11, 2014 at 10:28 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          I could very easily misinterpret that, but is this saying that the Holy Spirit can override our free will and force us to accept Jesus? Or is this just the famous knock on the door and we have to open it?
          ---------------------–
          Monergism (from a compound Greek word that means “to work alone”) is the view that God alone affects our salvation.

          A.W. Pink illustrated it well in his book "The Sovereignty of God,"

          “I hold in my hand a book. I release it. What happens? It falls. In which direction? Downwards, always downwards. Why? Because answering the law of gravity, its own weight sinks it. Suppose I desire the book to occupy a position three feet higher? Then what? I must lift it. A power outside of the book must raise it. Such is the relationship to which fallen man sustains toward God. While divine power upholds him, he is preserved from plunging still deeper into sin. Let the power be withdrawn, and he falls. His own weight of sin drags him down. God does not push him down any more than I did the book. Let all divine restraint be removed, and every man is capable of becoming a Cain, a Pharaoh, a Judas. How then is the sinner to move heavenwards? By an act of his own will? Not so. A power outside of himself must grasp hold of him and lift him every inch of the way. The sinner is free, but free in one direction only, free to fall, free to sin. ‘For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness’ (Romans 6:20). The sinner is free to do as he pleases, except as he is restrained by God, but his pleasure is to sin.”

          August 11, 2014 at 10:34 am |
        • lunchbreaker

          Interesting.

          August 11, 2014 at 10:51 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          Although there are numerous places in scripture that teach that salvation is only through the working of God alone, this one bears it out very clearly.

          Ephesians 1:3-14 – Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us. In all wisdom and insight He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth. In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory. In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation–having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God's own possession, to the praise of His glory.

          God has brought about salvation by His own will, His own purpose, His own design, and to the praise of His own glory.

          August 11, 2014 at 11:04 am |
        • Bob

          Theo, the whole Jesus-sacrifice salvation story, the foundation of the horrid delusions that you keep pushing at us, is a steaming pile of nonsense. How is it again that your omnipotent being couldn't do his saving bit without the whole silly Jesus hoopla? And how was Jesus' death a "sacrifice", when an omnipotent being could just pop up a replacement son any time with less than a snap of his fingers?

          Seriously, it's high time you took a more critical look at your awful blood cult and your stories of your violent and vengeful sky fairy, your "god". The bible is all man-made, and large parts of it are foul, bigoted rubbish.

          Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement.
          Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.
          http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

          August 11, 2014 at 2:21 pm |
      • igaftr

        "The Bible tells us "

        So what? It was made by men, and no one has ever been able to show it to be anything other than a work of men.
        If you go around letting a book tell you what to do, you are simply following the MEN that wrote that book.
        The bible only has authority to those who believe the ridiculous and outlandish baseless, unverifiable claims.

        August 11, 2014 at 11:34 am |
        • evidencenot

          A book of mythology tells us.....

          August 11, 2014 at 11:37 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          no one has ever been able to show it to be anything other than a work of men.
          ---------------------–
          Jesus did. Fulfilled prophecy has. History has. Nature has. Mathematics have. Cosmology has.

          August 11, 2014 at 11:52 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          @Theo
          If there were mathematical proof that the Bible is true, 71% of American physicists and cosmologists wouldn't be atheist/agnostic.

          August 11, 2014 at 11:57 am |
        • kevinite

          Key words "If there were..."

          August 11, 2014 at 12:24 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          If there were mathematical proof that the Bible is true, 71% of American physicists and cosmologists wouldn't be atheist/agnostic.
          ---------------
          The math involved uses statistical probability that looks at the specifically fulfilled Biblical prophecies, looks at the date of the writing and compares to the date of fulfillment and determines the impossibility of coincidental fulfillment.

          Here's one way of looking at it...

          What are the chances that all of the Bible’s prophecies coming true are mere coincidences?

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

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

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

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

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

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

          August 11, 2014 at 12:42 pm |
        • igaftr

          theo
          "Jesus did. Fulfilled prophecy has. History has. Nature has. Mathematics have. Cosmology has."

          False on all counts. Not one of those things shows any god had anything to do with the bible.
          NOT one. just because you choose to follow the works of men, does not mean that your belief some god had something to do with it has any basis.
          All those things just show your willingness to accept no evidence whatsoever as if it were evidence...and that is all you have accomplished. You have convinced yourself...that still does not show the bible to have any more authority than any other works of men.

          August 11, 2014 at 12:53 pm |
        • lunchbreaker

          "Jesus Did" (fulfill prophesy)

          So chapter 1 of a book predicts what will happen in chapter 2, and chapter 2 is written that way?

          Fascinating.

          August 11, 2014 at 1:26 pm |
        • observer

          Theo Phileo

          "What are the chances that all of the Bible’s prophecies coming true are mere coincidences? "

          When it comes to math, it would have been more useful for you to try to explain why we should use the value 3.0 for the ratio pi according to the Bible.

          August 11, 2014 at 1:36 pm |
        • In Santa We Trust

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

          Which prophecies would they be – show where the a prophesy has been laid out in sufficient detail that an accurate determination of fulfillment can be made. Ignoring your poor probability calculation – low probability does not mean impossible unless a god did it. It is axiomatic that the universe exists and that life exists on Earth – the fact that you do not understand also does not mean that a god did it.

          August 11, 2014 at 1:38 pm |
    • jhg45

      certainly, that is why he said "go and make disciples of peoples of all the nations" and he would be with that work. some people take him at his word.

      August 11, 2014 at 11:51 am |
  3. Francis

    What makes a positive impact on humanity? – Christian charitable work!

    August 11, 2014 at 8:51 am |
    • Francis

      What makes a greater impact for eternity– Christian charitable work!

      August 11, 2014 at 8:52 am |
      • Francis

        What is a selfless act on behalf of humanity? – Christian charitable work!

        August 11, 2014 at 8:53 am |
        • Francis

          Mother Teresa was more involved with the lives of lepers than all the hindus that turned a blind eye to the suffering of their own brethren. Shame on them!

          August 11, 2014 at 8:57 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          I wouldn't be so quick to put her a such a major pedestal. If you had a clue as to what you were speaking of, you'd know that her work with the poor and those in dire need wasn't so humane. She doesn't deserve the respect people blindly give her.

          August 11, 2014 at 9:17 am |
        • Francis

          Hey gong-How many lepers have you reached out in love in the past?

          How many lepers have you clothed?

          How many lepers have you provided a shelter for?

          How many lepers have you fed?

          August 11, 2014 at 9:20 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          Mother Theresa could be the Saint of Unnecesary Suffering after the way she ran her hospitals for the dying.
          Anasthetic is for heathens and heretics.
          "“Pain and suffering have come into your life, but remember pain, sorrow, suffering are but the kiss of Jesus – a sign that you have come so close to Him that He can kiss you.”
          – Mother Teresa
          This was the line she gave to the people in her Houses for the Dying who had their maggot infested, gangrenous wounds cleaned without anesthetic. On those occasions when medicine was absolutely required, the nuns over whom she presided were forced to use blunt needles of dubious sterility in environments that were patently unclean and unsafe.
          Like a lot of "good" Catholic clergy, she was more concerned with buffering the Vatican coffers than providing for the sick and the dying. She was responsible for hundreds of millions of dollars of donations being given to the RCC by Catholics wanting to help her mission – but she sent it straight to the Vatican.
          The standards in her "hospitals" never improved, nor were new facilities built.
          The only thing that was done with the money was that she had a few more convents built.
          She kept her nuns and, more importantly, her PATIENTS is a state of abject poverty, refusing to spend any money on basic medical necessities like mosquito repelling equipment to stave off malaria, pain killers for those suffering extreme pain, or even clean, sharp needles.
          She took over a million dollars from Charles Keating, now serving a ten-year sentence for his part in the savings and loan scandal, and actively defended him when he was on trial for ripping off 17,000 people.
          When she herself fell ill, she flew in private jets to some of the most expensive hospitals in the USA and elsewhere.
          Now they are rushing to make her a Saint!
          The "miracle" attributed to her is post-humously curing Monica Besra of an abdominal tumour.
          The tumor actually was a tuberculoma (a lump sometimes caused by abdominal tuberculosis). It almost always gets cured with ant-tubercular medicines in 9 months.
          Pictures of a magic nun didn't cure her – medical science did.

          August 11, 2014 at 9:23 am |
        • Francis

          We heard that your leprosy home was more effective than the one the Mother Teresa had.

          Care to give us more details about how many lepers lives you touched and healed?

          August 11, 2014 at 9:27 am |
        • ausphor

          Francis
          Doc is right. The little mother was a sadist, do a little research on her and get back to us.

          August 11, 2014 at 9:37 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          "Hey gong-How many lepers have you reached out in love in the past?
          How many lepers have you clothed?
          How many lepers have you provided a shelter for?
          How many lepers have you fed?"

          Unless you can answer those yourself, your point is moot. The better question is how many lives could have been saved had your beloved Mother Theresa not allowed them to suffer in the name of her belief? Maybe do some research on her instead of just listening to the warm fuzzy crap you've been fed.

          August 11, 2014 at 9:43 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          Thanks to medical science, Leprosy is all but eliminated.
          The World Health Organization has been providing free curative medicine the world over thanks to funding from the Ni.ppon Foundation and since 2000, through the Novartis Foundation for Sustainable Development.
          A a side note, these foundations come from nations with a percentage of atheists (Ja/pan and Switzerland) and are expressly secular.
          Leprosy has been eliminated from 119 countries out of 122 countries where the disease was considered as a public health problem in 1985.
          The prevalence rate of the disease has dropped by 90% – from 21.1 per 10 000 inhabitants to less than 1 per 10 000 inhabitants in 2000.
          Don't thank God for this miracle cure – thank the pharmaceutical bio-chemists who concocted dapsone, rifampicin and clofazimine.
          Oh – and the World Health Organization ensure that all medicines are delivered with sharp, sterile needles.

          August 11, 2014 at 9:44 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          EDIT:
          "nations with a high percentage of atheists

          August 11, 2014 at 9:47 am |
        • Francis

          Not surprising at all, you do zilch, nada, zippo for humanitarian causes and yet have the gall to accuse Mother Teresa – you peanut.

          Next time, come back with some solid statistics on your very personal humanitarian work before you start to talk about Mother Teresa.

          In other words, you simply don't even qualify to mention her name.

          August 11, 2014 at 9:51 am |
        • LaBella

          Do you worship her God, or do you worship her?

          August 11, 2014 at 9:56 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          "Not surprising at all, you do zilch, nada, zippo for humanitarian causes and yet have the gall to accuse Mother Teresa – you peanut."

          How exactly would you know what any of us do for humanitarian causes? Do you have a secret decoder ring that allows you access to our private lives???
          As for the name calling...you're what, 10-maybe??

          "Next time, come back with some solid statistics on your very personal humanitarian work before you start to talk about Mother Teresa."

          Care to provide the stats for your own work??

          "In other words, you simply don't even qualify to mention her name."

          Oh my, the arrogance!!! We have as much right to mention her name as you do...if you can't handle the truth perhaps you should crawl back to your cave.

          August 11, 2014 at 10:04 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          @Francis
          I'm not in the habit of advertising my own works.
          What I am willing to tell you is that I was raised by a nurse and a special forces medic.
          Though he is Catholic and the order is Protestant, my father was knighted into the Order of Saint John as recognition for a lifetime of humanitarian work in war zones all over the world – but never once did he prosthelytize, nor did he speak of his own acts of heroism to anyone (including his family). He continues to volunteer his time and energy to helping those in need in his neighbourhood.
          I only discovered details of what he had done through the testimony of others and via books that mention him by name.
          And after more than 3 decades of risking his life to give aid in situations where nobody else could do it, oftentimes to people who considered him the enemy, God rewarded him with cancer.

          August 11, 2014 at 10:04 am |
        • ausphor

          Francis
          Nice conclusion you jumped to, how did you figure out what anyone on an anonymous blog does or doesn't do for humanitarian causes? You come across as an angry little bigoted boy, certainly not a person that believes in the teachings of the (so called) Jewish Messiah.

          August 11, 2014 at 10:08 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          Doc: Your father sounds like a very humble gentleman...the world need more of him.

          August 11, 2014 at 10:19 am |
        • Francis

          What your parents do has no merit or does not give you a free pass at disparaging the works of what Mother Teresa has done for lepers.

          As a small woman with a giant heart, she took on a disease that is highly contagious and viewed with scorn, derision and disdain.

          Again, read the words – you are simply not worthy to even mention her name.

          Hey gong- You do charitable work? Who are you kidding? The amount of time and energy you spend attacking Christians on this blog is a great testament for everything you do for humanity.

          August 11, 2014 at 10:20 am |
        • ausphor

          Francis
          Is that you scot, did you wander onto the blog with a new handle?

          August 11, 2014 at 10:25 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          Frankie: You're not helping yourself here. How ignorant of you to condemn Doc for his heartfelt comment of his father-our world needs more men like him and less like you!

          "What your parents do has no merit or does not give you a free pass at disparaging the works of what Mother Teresa has done for lepers."

          That was uncalled for. Doc used his father as an example and you rudely discredited him. Not very Christian of you!

          "As a small woman with a giant heart, she took on a disease that is highly contagious and viewed with scorn, derision and disdain. "

          She gets what she deserves. You turning a blind eye to the reality doesn't change it. If you're truly not as stupid as you appear to be, you'll pat attention to the following article and educate yourself: http://fitz-claridge.com/Articles/MotherTeresa.html
          It doesn't matter what your closed minded opinion is, she was not the saint she was made out to be!

          "Again, read the words – you are simply not worthy to even mention her name."

          And AGAIN you do not get to tell us this!! If you don't it, don't keep bringing her up! We're adults (unlike you) and we're able to enjoy this thing we call Freedom of Speech...sorry if your tiny brain can't comprehend that simple fact.

          "Hey gong- You do charitable work? Who are you kidding? The amount of time and energy you spend attacking Christians on this blog is a great testament for everything you do for humanity."

          Wow, pot meet kettle! How dare you pass judgment on us when you are doing the exact same thing?? You might want to be a better christen and start following the golden rule.

          Skip the hypocrisy...you're demanding evidence of our work but yet the only thing stuck in that brain of yours is Mother Teresa-she's not YOU, so unless you're willing to reveal your own stuff don't expect others to do the same.

          August 11, 2014 at 10:36 am |
        • Francis

          Read the words till it gets in that thick head of yours.

          You are not worthy to even mention Mother Teresa's name!. Keep repeating that till that simple truth sinks in.

          You should have the rest of this productive day at your disposal to remind yourself of that one simple truth, while the rest of the world moves on to better things in life other than arguing with tools like you.

          August 11, 2014 at 10:43 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          @Francis
          So in your opinion, the only time someone can speak of another's actions is if they themselves do the exact same actions?
          As I mentioned, I'm not in the habit of advertising my own charitable works – nor is it any of your business why I and my family do for our community.
          The information I have posted here regarding Mother Theresa and her organization is true.
          Much of it has come to light as former nuns from her organization have gone public with the atrocious conditions, like Mary Johnson’s book "An Unquenchable Thirst".
          Even The Lancet, a highly respected medical journal, conducted an investigation into the quality of medical care at her home of the dying in Calcutta. It was found that people who could have been treated for their diseases were essentially warehoused with those dying of terminal cancer or even of contagious diseases. Moreover, pain management was non-existent.
          Donal MacIntyre of the New Statesman wrote an article in 2005 about Mother Theresa's legacy and found that those who are in her organiziation "were too intoxicated with the myth of Mother Teresa and drunk on their own philanthropy to see that such treatment of children (disabled children being tied up, sometime to trees) was inhumane and degrading."
          In the words of Susan Shields, a nun who spent a decade running the financial end of Theresa's organization who found that the money given to her wasn't used to help the needy but rather to buffer the vatican coffers:
          "For years I had to write thousands of letters to donors, telling them that their entire gift would be used to bring God's loving compassion to the poorest of the poor. I was able to keep my complaining conscience in check because we had been taught that the Holy Spirit was guiding Mother. To doubt her was a sign that we were lacking in trust and, even worse, guilty of the sin of pride. I shelved my objections and hoped that one day I would understand why Mother wanted to gather so much money, when she herself had taught us that even storing tomato sauce showed lack of trust in Divine Providence. "

          August 11, 2014 at 10:44 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          Frankie: No need to re-read your uneducated opinion. You're an ASS suffering from a severe case of I.D.-10-T syndrome and such a hypocrite that you're not worthy of further energy.
          Now how I choose to spend my day, much like me mentioning the nasty Mother Teresa, is not your business. Perhaps you should take your own advice and skip the hypocrisy. You're a good rep for why not to be a good Christian-thank you for your service to humanism!

          August 11, 2014 at 10:51 am |
        • observer

          Francis,

          Did Mother Teresa deny better treatment to patients because she believed that suffering was good for them?

          YES or NO?

          August 11, 2014 at 10:57 am |
        • awanderingscot

          Akira, how is defending the good work of Mother Teresa the same as worship?

          – you are here only to frustrate Christians and support your atheist brothers and sisters.

          August 11, 2014 at 11:06 am |
        • SeaVik

          "The amount of time and energy you spend attacking Christians on this blog is a great testament for everything you do for humanity."

          Attacking the ignorance and resulting evil of religion, including Christianity, IS a noble humanitarian cause.

          August 11, 2014 at 11:07 am |
        • awanderingscot

          @D0C

          – Your conveniently neglect to mention that Mother Teresa died over 15 years ago. It has only been since the mid-90's that effective treatment began worldwide and newer and better vaccines are still being created. Do you ever tire from your unfounded and hateful diatribes?

          August 11, 2014 at 11:15 am |
        • awanderingscot

          @Seavik

          – i"ve never attacked ANY Christian on this blog or elsewhere. Don't you have a psychology appointment to take your dog to right now?

          August 11, 2014 at 11:17 am |
        • LaBella

          "awanderingscot
          Akira, how is defending the good work of Mother Teresa the same as worship?

          – you are here only to frustrate Christians and support your atheist brothers and sisters."

          -I asked a question of him, because God wasn't mentioned, only Christians...and only to deni>I>grate Hindis, which you conveniently ignored.

          -He never answered, as it happens.

          -You jumped in specifically to target and attack me, which speaks of your intent. Why?
          -Why?
          -I have told you before, humans are my brethren; I'm sorry that you only consider a few chosen to be yours.

          August 11, 2014 at 11:22 am |
        • awanderingscot

          TP
          your ignorant hateful rant is completely devoid of fact. but thanks for continuing to prove that atheists are hateful uninformed people.

          August 11, 2014 at 11:23 am |
        • observer

          awanderingscot

          "your ignorant hateful rant is completely devoid of fact. but thanks for continuing to prove that atheists are hateful uninformed people."

          Classic comment from someone who seems incapable of commenting without an insult. Well done. Keep up the hateful uninformed comments.

          August 11, 2014 at 11:27 am |
        • awanderingscot

          "I have told you before, humans are my brethren; I'm sorry that you only consider a few chosen to be yours."

          And He stretched out His hand toward His disciples and said, “Here are My mother and My brothers! – Matthew 12:49

          – i would still be in good company then because virtually all the apostles, disciples, and Christ Himself disagree with you.

          August 11, 2014 at 11:29 am |
        • SeaVik

          Scot, I never said you attacked Christians. I said attacking the ignorance of religion is a noble endeavor.

          This is the second time you've made a comment about my dog. What is your point? I asked you last time and you failed to provide one.

          August 11, 2014 at 11:34 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          @Scot
          Perhaps you should re-read what I said:
          "The World Health Organization has been providing free curative medicine the world over thanks to funding from the Ni.ppon Foundation and since 2000, through the Novartis Foundation for Sustainable Development."
          "Leprosy has been eliminated from 119 countries out of 122 countries where the disease was considered as a public health problem in 1985. "

          I never intimated that Mother Teresa witheld a leprosy cure.

          August 11, 2014 at 11:36 am |
        • evidencenot

          I smell a francy troll

          August 11, 2014 at 11:41 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          @Scot
          And how are these newer and more effective treatments being developed and by whom?
          By the overwhelmingly atheistic scientists in the field of pharmaceutical bio-chemistry (including my aunt) who are applying the principles of evolutionary biology in their work.
          “It is impossible to be a good physician without understanding the evolutionary process,”
          – Julie Parsonnet, MD, senior associate dean for medical education at Stanford University

          August 11, 2014 at 11:45 am |
        • LaBella

          Scot,
          "- i would still be in good company then because virtually all the apostles, disciples, and Christ Himself disagree with you."

          I don't think Christ does. I don't care if you do.

          Mark 12:31
          "The second is equally important: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' No other commandment is greater than these."

          August 11, 2014 at 11:51 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          scot: I gave a link that tells the tale. However, if you wish to play the game, you quoting the bible to prove your claims about it is very typical of the ignorant uneducated Christian. You should skip the hypocrisy. Frankie boy, got what Frankie boy dished out...maybe he should pull up his big boy panties and stop acting like an arrogant ass.
          Mother T was far from the Saint she is made out to be. Here's the link to another CNN article that speaks a different story from Frankie's version...http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2012/09/10/my-take-the-mother-teresa-you-dont-know/comment-page-1/
          I get that you'll deny any evidence put forth and I accept that, you deny evolution so your denial here would be no different...facts scare you, however before being an ass to others you might wish to look long and hard in a mirror.

          August 11, 2014 at 12:00 pm |
        • Francis

          uglyprevails-come back with some facts backing the humanitarian work you have done.

          Unless, your definition of "humanitarian" is getting your paycheck by posting rubbish 24*7 on this blog.

          August 11, 2014 at 12:20 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          Frankie: How about you give your own stats and stop being so immaturely demanding? Name calling-that's such a 10 year old move...seriously now, Who ties your shoes for you each day? If you're going to resort to childish name calling, you'll be treated like a child.

          August 11, 2014 at 12:46 pm |
        • awanderingscot

          @Akira
          Mark 12:31
          "The second is equally important: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' No other commandment is greater than these."

          – note that Christ did not say "brother" or "sister" in this passage. do you remember the story of the good Samaritan? this is the kind of love Christ was referring to and commanding that we have for our neighbor, compassionate love. Now go and read 1 John and understand the kind of love one has for a brother.

          August 11, 2014 at 1:11 pm |
        • In Santa We Trust

          francis
          "Unless, your definition of "humanitarian" is getting your paycheck by posting rubbish 24*7 on this blog."

          How much do you get paid to blog 24/7 on this blog?

          August 11, 2014 at 1:14 pm |
        • awanderingscot

          In Santa We Trust
          actually you are on here way more than he is.

          August 11, 2014 at 1:48 pm |
        • LaBella

          Scot,
          "– note that Christ did not say "brother" or "sister" in this passage. do you remember the story of the good Samaritan? this is the kind of love Christ was referring to and commanding that we have for our neighbor, compassionate love."

          -Note that unless you do not live in a community that contains make or females, your neighbors are your (non-literal) brothers and sisters.
          -Note that you are still attacking me for purely nothing more than you feel you can, and feel that this is part and parcel of what you feel Jesus would condone. I disagree.
          -Now please learn that no matter how many verses of the Bible you know, you are acting in an unChristlike manner.
          Why?

          August 11, 2014 at 1:49 pm |
        • In Santa We Trust

          wandering,
          "actually you are on here way more than he is."

          As are you. How does that answer my question? Oh I forgot you don't answer questions.

          August 11, 2014 at 1:53 pm |
        • awanderingscot

          DOC
          "By the overwhelmingly atheistic scientists in the field of pharmaceutical bio-chemistry"

          – you continue to conflate atheism with science, it's subjective and never been proven that most scientists are atheists.

          August 11, 2014 at 2:15 pm |
        • colin31714

          Holy fvck, Scott. I truly think you are the stupidest person on the face of the Earth. In fact, I bet you don't exist. You are a front for a comedy team that practices saying stupid stuff on the internet for an upcoming sitcom called "The Pig-Ignorant Creationist Dolt."

          Oh, and for the record, http://www.pewforum.org/2009/11/05/scientists-and-belief/

          August 11, 2014 at 2:20 pm |
        • awanderingscot

          @Akira

          Note that unless you do not live in a community that contains make or females, your neighbors are your (non-literal) brothers and sisters.
          >>> where in scripture is this stated?

          -Note that you are still attacking me for purely nothing more than you feel you can, and feel that this is part and parcel of what you feel Jesus would condone. I disagree.
          >>why is it Akira that when you attack Christians here on this blog it's not an attack but when i point out that you are here
          to frustrate Christians and provide aid to atheists it is an attack? You are also one to give false testimony, Christlike?

          -Now please learn that no matter how many verses of the Bible you know, you are acting in an unChristlike manner.
          >>> Please learn that if you do not accept the Bible as the inerrant word of God you are not a believer and are acting in an unChristlike manner. Christ believed ALL scripture, unlike you.

          August 11, 2014 at 2:24 pm |
        • awanderingscot

          Colin – another ignorant atheist who believes every scientist in the world answers the phone when the pollsters call.

          August 11, 2014 at 2:28 pm |
        • LaBella

          Scot,

          ">>> where in scripture is this stated?"
          This is how I interpret Mark 12:31.

          ">>why is it Akira that when you attack Christians here on this blog it's not an attack but when i point out that you are here
          to frustrate Christians and provide aid to atheists it is an attack? You are also one to give false testimony, Christlike?"

          I don't attack Christians. I speak out against anyone who uses religion to promote bigotry. Please note the difference. I do not care if they are Christian, Muslim, whatever...and if they're an atheist acting like a bigot, I most certainly call them out on it too.
          Please illustrate where I have given false testimony/lied. You never have, yet.
          And do not being up the kenmargo post; he said one thing and you blatantly misrepresented what he said; I realize you do not want to admit you did it, but it is what it is, and I did not lie about it.
          Your odd robbery scenario had nothing to do with that.

          "when i point out that you are here
          to frustrate Christians and provide aid to atheists it is an attack?"

          Because I do not do that; so yes, it is an attack. I am not here to do that; that is false.
          If I frustrate you, that is also on you; it isn't my intention to frustrate anyone.

          ">>> Please learn that if you do not accept the Bible as the inerrant word of God you are not a believer and are acting in an unChristlike manner, Christ believed ALL scripture, unlike you."

          You do not actually know what I believe, which is part of your reasons for targeting me specifically...if you don't like how I interpret the Bible, that is on you.

          August 11, 2014 at 2:50 pm |
        • hotairace

          I believe the good Doc has misspoken – "God rewarded him with cancer" shouldn't be considered true until someone proves a god exists.

          August 11, 2014 at 5:29 pm |
        • awanderingscot

          @LaBella
          – your words bear false testimony that i misrepresented kenmargo. these are in fact his words from the Hobby Lobby post.

          noahsdadtopher
          It's not a human? Seriously?
          July 1, 2014 at 7:27 pm | Reply
          kenmargo
          No it's not a human. If I saw it in the street I'd step on it.
          July 1, 2014 at 7:44 pm |

          August 11, 2014 at 8:59 pm |
        • LaBella

          Awanderingscot,
          No.
          I did not.
          @LaBella
          – your words bear false testimony that i misrepresented kenmargo. these are in fact his words from the Hobby Lobby post.

          noahsdadtopher
          It's not a human? Seriously?
          July 1, 2014 at 7:27 pm | Reply
          kenmargo
          No it's not a human. If I saw it in the street I'd step on it.
          July 1, 2014 at 7:44 pm |
          awanderingscot
          Imagine that, the milk of human kindness coming from a man who would crush a defenseless baby with his boot if he saw it lying on the sidewalk. you're pathetic.

          August 7, 2014 at 3:48 pm

          You deliberately misrepresented what kenmargo, as odious as it is, said.

          August 11, 2014 at 9:18 pm |
      • Francis

        What is all words and no works – other religious clanging cymbols!

        August 11, 2014 at 8:55 am |
        • igaftr

          Who tries to claim they are the only ones who practice charity, and think their belief changes things?...arrogant christians.

          August 11, 2014 at 9:20 am |
        • Francis

          They literally use loud drums to appease those idols, their worship is all sound and no works.

          "karma" is what is used to justify turning a blind eye to the suffering poor, it would be an interference with the "karmic forces' if they helped the suffering.

          August 11, 2014 at 9:24 am |
        • LaBella

          Yep. Getting digs in at Hindus.

          August 11, 2014 at 10:16 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          There are nearly 800 Hindu charities in the United States alone where they represent only 0.4% of the population.
          Hindus have ten niyamas, or ideals that they are to follow.
          The 3rd of these is known as dana – giving generously without thought of reward.

          August 11, 2014 at 10:23 am |
        • Francis

          Hindus do a lot of charitable work in the US?

          Sure they do, no wonder most Indians still live in poverty and impoverishment and in the slums, thanks to all that the hindus do worldwide!

          August 11, 2014 at 10:32 am |
        • LaBella

          Yep. Bolster you own faith by denigrating others.
          Fabulous.

          August 11, 2014 at 10:40 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          "no wonder most Indians still live in poverty and impoverishment and in the slums, thanks to all that the hindus do worldwide!"

          You ignorant dolt!!! The Christians walked in and took their land; they removed children from homes; forced them to convert. Look up Residential Schools and see for yourself how this worked.

          Who ties your shoes for you every day? It is apparent that you're not intelligent enough to do so yourself.

          August 11, 2014 at 10:41 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          The Manmasi National Christian Army and the National Liberation Front of Tripura force Hindus to convert at gun point and are known to encourage the murder of Hindu children.
          What is that old adage about glass houses again?

          August 11, 2014 at 10:47 am |
        • Francis

          liarprevails-why do you portray yourself as something else, when you are clearly a hindu? what are you ashamed of?

          August 11, 2014 at 10:47 am |
        • Francis

          That was the point.

          Don't portray yourselves as atheists and come and attack Christians on this blog. If you are a hindu, own it !

          August 11, 2014 at 10:50 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          Frankie: You're quite delusional and such a liar. Atheist points to one thing and one thing only-a disbelief in a god or gods. I'm a Humanist, not a Hindu as you have ASS-umed. Grow up little boy, it'll be so nice when you're back to school in a few weeks and not clogging the blog with your 5 year old mentality.

          August 11, 2014 at 10:54 am |
        • awanderingscot

          D0C – 15 men disguised as "Christians" are not the Christian faith so what is your point? We already know you hate Christians but to lie about them does not help your cause.

          – Bhuvan Pahar, one of the most holy places in south Assam, particularly in Barak Valley, 38 km from Silchar town, has come under the threat of miscreants. Gun-totting members of a newly formed militant group, named Manmasi National Christian Army, comprising 15 rebels, has been forcing the residents of Bhuban Pahar under the threat of gun to convert to Christianity.

          August 11, 2014 at 11:35 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          Those people are simply following Saint Augustine's doctrine of 'cognite intrare' – or 'lead them in' which justifies and encourages torture, vandalism, forced conversions and using violence to convert others in the name of Christianity.
          Such a doctrine is indeed anti-thetical to Christ's exhortations to be humble and to lead by example – but it has been a driving rationalization for all manner of atrocities committed in the name of Christianity for many hundreds and hundreds of years.

          August 11, 2014 at 12:01 pm |
        • awanderingscot

          "You're quite delusional and such a liar. Atheist points to one thing and one thing only-a disbelief in a god or gods."

          – No it is you who is the liar "Truth" Prevails. You consistently and categorically state there is no God as do most of the other atheists on this blog.

          August 11, 2014 at 12:09 pm |
        • observer

          awanderingscot

          "You consistently and categorically state there is no God as do most of the other atheists on this blog."

          Classic line!!!!

          August 11, 2014 at 12:13 pm |
        • In Santa We Trust

          wandering, In the absence of any objective evidence for a god, why believe in one? And why your god out of the thousands of choices.

          August 11, 2014 at 12:14 pm |
        • Francis

          to the hindu trolls- facts speak otherwise.
          Reports by faith-based rights agencies show that Christians in India have suffered about 150 violent attacks on an average in the past few years,"
          argued ADF attorney said before the Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organizations.

          "These attacks include physical and se.xual assaults, murder and desecration of places of worship and graveyards."

          ADFlisted several examples of Christians being violently attacked by Hindu extremist groups, but the full extent of the persecution is revealed when taking into account the lack of police action on such crimes.

          "This large scale impunity enjoyed by the perpetrators of mob violence across the country has fueled violence against religious minorities in India,"
          the ADF attorney said, and reminded the subcommittee of a particularly violent incident Christians suffered in the Kandhamal district of the eastern state of Orissa (now known as Odisha) in 2008,
          where between 75 to 123 people were killed, close to 5,000 houses were destroyed and at least 264 churches and prayer halls were desecrated and demolished.

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

          Told y'all.

          August 11, 2014 at 12:22 pm |
        • awanderingscot

          Men have lied about Christ, Christians, the Bible and the Gospel since it's inception. Use yourself as an example. The other day you stated scripture was full of contradictions, and it's because you don't understand that words spoken and concepts presented; such as things that are godwards and things that are manwards in interpretation. It's understandable tho since you don't have the Holy Spirit to help you. God's ways are higher than ours. He is perfect in every way imaginable but evil hearts and evil minds will see only what they want to.

          August 11, 2014 at 12:32 pm |
        • observer

          awanderingscot,

          The Bible is LOADED with contradictions. Here's just one:

          (Gen. 22:1) “And it came to pass after these things, that GOD DID TEMPT Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am.” [KJV]

          (James 1:13) “Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone.”

          Ooops. Please read a Bible.

          August 11, 2014 at 12:38 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          "No it is you who is the liar "Truth" Prevails. You consistently and categorically state there is no God as do most of the other atheists on this blog."

          What do you think the word Atheist means if not a disbelief in a god or gods??? It doesn't make me a liar, it make me honest in regards to the question of whether or not I believe a god exists. The god I find most unlikely is the Christian god but I see no evidence for any of them.

          August 11, 2014 at 12:41 pm |
        • igaftr

          scot
          "It's understandable tho since you don't have the Holy Spirit to help you"

          And unless you can show this "holy spirit" of yours to exist, it is very (extremely) likely that you don't either.
          You think that just because you believe that god implants some spirtiual receiver in you?
          Just because you believe that nonsense does not make it true, it is just another illogical rationalization by believers in an attempt to bolster their baseless beliefs.

          By all means, show this holy spirit receiver you think you have...until then, we will call it delusion.

          August 11, 2014 at 12:48 pm |
        • awanderingscot

          @Observer

          – just another example of your evil unbelief. The context in Genesis 22:1 is 'test' not 'tempted'. God tested Abraham.

          August 11, 2014 at 1:54 pm |
        • Alias

          Right scot
          forget what the words actually say, just twist the context until it means what you think it should.

          August 11, 2014 at 2:03 pm |
        • observer

          awanderingscot

          "The context in Genesis 22:1 is 'test' not 'tempted'.

          The word in the Bible is "TEMPT".

          DO you have a defective Bible or defective dictionary?

          August 11, 2014 at 2:07 pm |
        • Alias

          @ Observer
          Since Ssott has a perfect bible, it must be our evil ignorance and not his interpretatiion that is the problem.

          August 11, 2014 at 2:10 pm |
        • awanderingscot

          'Tempted' in the King James version is a mistranslation in that we don't associate 'tempted' with being a 'test' in this day we live in. When the King James version was first printed 'tempted' was associated with 'test'. With few exceptions, every Bible today has it translated as 'test' as in "He tested Abraham"

          – you are a person who doesn't care a wit for God's word so what makes you think you are qualified to discuss it?

          August 11, 2014 at 2:42 pm |
        • awanderingscot

          @igaftr

          "And unless you can show this "holy spirit" of yours to exist, it is very (extremely) likely that you don't either."

          – you blaspheme the Holy Spirit and there is no forgiveness for this.

          August 11, 2014 at 2:51 pm |
        • halero 9001

          I'm sorry, awanderingscot, but since your credibility value is still 0, you are not qualified to assess the qualifications of another poster. To help you understand this rating, awanderingscot, I will express it using my Idiomatic Expression Equivalency Module (IEEM):

          TOTAL NONSENSE

          August 11, 2014 at 2:59 pm |
        • observer

          awanderingscot,

          So the Bibles are WRONG and you are right. You apparently claim to know more than the biblical scholars who translated the Bible.

          lol. lol. lol. lol.

          August 11, 2014 at 3:29 pm |
        • observer

          awanderingscot,

          Like all Christians, you PICK and CHOOSE which Bible version agrees with you and then say the others are wrong.

          Since you admit that the King James Bible is WRONG, tell us which Bible is the ONE TRUE ONE and can be totally trusted.

          August 11, 2014 at 3:36 pm |
        • igaftr

          scot
          "– you blaspheme the Holy Spirit and there is no forgiveness for this"
          No I did not. I simply asked you to show it exists.
          Being skeptical is not blasphemy..

          August 11, 2014 at 3:47 pm |
      • Alias

        There's no ignorance like religious ignorance.
        According to Fred it seems to be okay to act like jesus instructed toward christians and treat every other religion how ever you want – as long as you don't bother to do any fact checking.

        August 11, 2014 at 10:34 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          Also according to fred...if the gov't does not give preference to CHristianity that is de facto persecution...

          August 11, 2014 at 12:48 pm |
    • James XCIX

      Why Christian charitable work, specifically? Why not any charitable work?

      August 11, 2014 at 9:05 am |
    • TruthPrevails1

      It doesn't take belief to change a person or to do charitable work, it takes empathy and you can get empathy regardless of belief or disbelief.

      Thus, making the remainder of your babbling to yourself moot.

      August 11, 2014 at 9:07 am |
      • LaBella

        Appears he wanted to get a little dig in to the Hindus.

        August 11, 2014 at 9:11 am |
      • awanderingscot

        You cannot give someone unqualified praise for doing good no matter what. I cannot commend you for that.

        August 11, 2014 at 12:54 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          Huh?? Credit due has to do with the person, not the belief...it's what is called empathy...I'm sorry you find that wrong. Good and bad comes from both sides. I am sorry if I find that Mother T's misgivings outweigh any potential good....you obviously disagree and neither of us can prove the other's opinion wrong.

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

      Francis
      The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (also backed by Warren Buffet and Michael Bloomberg) will have achieved more ACTUAL charitable work in Africa, without the Christian strings attached, than all the Christian missions put together.

      August 11, 2014 at 9:13 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Who are the world's most charitable individuals?

      Bill Gates – $28 Billion donated – irreligious
      George Soros – $8 Billion – Atheist
      Gordon Moore – $7 Billion – Deist
      George Kaiser – $4 Billion – Jewish
      Carlos Slim Helu – $4 Billion – Christian
      Eli Broad – $2.6 Billion – Jewish
      Azim Premji – $2.1 billion – Muslim
      James Stowers – $2 Billion – agnostic
      Micheal Dell – $1.2 billion – Jewish

      Only 1 Christian out of the bunch!

      August 11, 2014 at 9:52 am |
      • new-man

        it's not the one who gives the highest dollar value who is the most charitable.
        If someone gave 1B out of 50B and you gave 50$ out of $100, you would be the more charitable.

        also, charity isn't confined to just giving of your money, of equal importance is giving of your time, your words etc.

        I would also like to note that God doesn't reward people with sickness. That's stupid! Sickness is an attack of the devil. Your dad made himself available to the call of God to have compassion on, and to bring the kingdom of God to those in need. I'm sure he didn't see his work as helping people get out of the "reward" of God– duh– otherwise he'd be working against the will of God. See how silly that is!
        A house divided against itself cannot stand. How can God "reward" people with sickness, then turn around and tell us, to heal the sick, cleanse the leper, raise the dead [to get out of his "reward" – makes no sense].

        That's what happens when you don't know God! You attribute nonsense to Him, because you have hardened your heart to His loving heart, His mercy, and goodness.

        August 11, 2014 at 11:39 am |
        • evidencenot

          .."Sickness is an attack of the devil."

          WOW!..... the "devil"?...... more caveman cult speak from the ignorant.... amazing.

          August 11, 2014 at 11:43 am |
        • G to the T

          Sickness is of the devil?

          I guess germ theory is "just a theory" then?

          August 11, 2014 at 11:46 am |
        • new-man

          says the one who is spiritually naked and dead, yet have not the capacity to recognize either.
          from what have your dna evolved?

          August 11, 2014 at 11:47 am |
        • new-man

          G to the T,
          is there a difference between germs attacking the body, another human being attacking the body, or the individual himself attacking the body.
          They're all attacks on the body- from where do these attacks originate?
          the devil doesn't care the source, obviously you do.

          August 11, 2014 at 11:50 am |
        • evidencenot

          The "devil" is mythology and your imagination,,, try growing a brain.

          August 11, 2014 at 3:18 pm |
        • G to the T

          "is there a difference between germs attacking the body, another human being attacking the body, or the individual himself attacking the body."

          Yes. One is caused by a microscopic organism and responds to antibiotics. The other 2 are social/behavioral issues. If the devil causes sickness he must hate medicine eh?

          August 11, 2014 at 4:13 pm |
        • Alias

          So if I bathe in holy water will that keep satan and his sicknesses away?

          August 11, 2014 at 4:29 pm |
    • In Santa We Trust

      It's not only christians that perform charitable works and how charitable is it if it is conditional on religious rituals or conversion?

      August 11, 2014 at 11:17 am |
  4. Doc Vestibule

    "Beware of altruism. It is based on self-deception, the root of all evil."
    – Robert Heinlein

    Many of these organization, like Samaritan's Purse, have been criticized for making their charity contingent on prayer / sitting through sermons – and rightly so. Charity given with strings attached is no charity at all.
    The Bible tells Christians to be quiet and humble in their prayers and their good deeds. To do these things not to gain attention or to convert anybody, but for the sake of their own souls.

    " Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven."
    " But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly."
    – Matthew 6:3, 6

    August 11, 2014 at 8:20 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Altruism is a behavior. It's common enough among social animals.

      August 11, 2014 at 8:41 am |
      • Robert Brown

        I'm glad you escaped from the mormons.

        August 11, 2014 at 8:45 am |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          Mormons are ubiquitous. I found one in my cereal this morning.

          August 11, 2014 at 9:04 am |
    • Robert Brown

      That is good Doc. God looks to the intent of the heart. Are you doing this for your own glory, or for the glory of God?

      In the verses you quoted, Jesus was chewing them out for doing things to be seen of men, or showing off if you like. Not really conected well with your complaint about forced prayers or sermons, but anyway, I agree that those are not a good idea. The desire to seek God, comes from God. Peace.

      August 11, 2014 at 8:43 am |
      • Tom, Tom, the Other One

        There is an alternative to personal glory or (imagined) God's glory, Robert. Doing good for the sake of your community.

        August 11, 2014 at 9:08 am |
      • Doc Vestibule

        I understand the passage from Matthew is exhorting Christians to be humble in their faith – but I do think it is somewhat connected.
        I think a lot of Missionaries seek to convert others through making a show of their Christianity, which runs counter to the central Christian tenet of humility.Some of them then come home with a smug sense of spiritual superiority – after all, how many heathens have you converted?
        If the free meal you're giving is at a booth with a giant Crucifix on it, the point of Christian charity is kinda lost...

        August 11, 2014 at 9:31 am |
        • awanderingscot

          I don't believe that is true at all and eyes lifted don't neccessarily imply pridefullness, but rather thanks. When we glory it is in the Lord. Some plant and others harvest, one is not better than the other.

          August 11, 2014 at 3:38 pm |
  5. Leeanne Hurren

    Reblogged this on Circus Elephant Be Free! and commented:
    Following God often leads you to unusual places. A statement that rings true. You often hear from someone in the midst of adventure or in the midst of some kind of mission or purposeful work comment the same kind of thing.... But they also include..I wouldn't want to be any where else then where God has called me to be.

    August 11, 2014 at 8:07 am |
    • igaftr

      Following god leads you to unusual places....yes, since you are simply following your imagination.

      August 11, 2014 at 8:17 am |
    • awanderingscot

      Never mind him Leeanne, he thinks he can fight God and win. He's obviously delusional.

      August 11, 2014 at 4:17 pm |
      • Alias

        That is exactly why I don't believe the story of satan's demise.
        He never would have challenged god, and no other angels would have followed him.

        August 11, 2014 at 4:23 pm |
  6. ausphor

    Benny Hinn can cure erectile dysfunction, don't ask me how.

    August 11, 2014 at 7:29 am |
  7. Reality

    Why not send said patients to Lourdes?

    See below:

    "Faith or pharmacy?

    http://student.bmj.com/issues/02/02/life/33.php

    It is interesting to compare the number of cures recognized before and after the establishment of the medical bureau in 1947. The ratio of cures to sick pilgrims before 1914 was 1:100. From 1914 to 1928 it was 1:700, but from 1928 to 1947 it was 1:1600. In all, 5000 cures were claimed before 1947. From 1947 to 1990, only 1000 cures were claimed and only 56 were recognised in that time, averaging 1.3 cures a year, against 57 a year before 1914.

    It can be inferred from this that medicine has transformed society and the faithful sick no longer came to Lourdes for a cure but rely on medicine. Since the 1960s we have seen a consistent decline in the number of possible cures claimed. The doctors working in the medical bureau have presented philosophical problems in serving both science and the church. As we make progress in medical knowledge, the area of the medically inexplicable grows smaller and deciding that treatments did not play a part in a cure is more difficult. Medical progress has, in a way, threatened the church for which miraculous healings were supreme in the worldly manifestation of faith. "

    August 10, 2014 at 11:46 pm |
    • hotairace

      And not a single amputee among any of the alleged cured.

      August 11, 2014 at 2:43 am |
      • Reality

        And that too/

        August 11, 2014 at 6:40 am |
  8. aallen333

    Why do missionaries put their lives on the line – because they believe in a cause higher and greater than themselves. Because their faith tells them to put the well being of others above themselves. Because their faith tells them to love the downtrodden, to lift up the lowly, to minister to the outcast, to heal the brokenhearted. In other words – to represent and show the world Jesus so that they will know that God sent Him.

    August 10, 2014 at 10:35 pm |
    • bostontola

      Only a Christian can believe in a cause bigger than themselves? If not, your entire assertion falls apart.

      August 10, 2014 at 10:44 pm |
      • nclaw441

        There don't seem to be a lot of missionaries from other faiths, or perhaps they just don't get the recognition...

        August 11, 2014 at 7:39 am |
        • crittermomagain

          Obviously, there are other groups who go around doing charitable works (Doctors Without Borders, Peace Corps) ... they just don't call themselves missionaries because that's sort of a christian term.

          August 11, 2014 at 9:15 am |
        • bostontola

          Claw,
          Allen's proposition is that missionaries risk their lives because they believe in something larger than themselves. Your statement. I said many other believe in things larger than themselves. You respond with the assertion that the vast majority of people risking their lives to help others are Christian.

          1. Even if your assertion was true, it doesn't mean others don't believe in something larger than themselves. That is a classic form of affirming the consequent fallacy.
          2. Your assertion is false.

          August 11, 2014 at 10:32 am |
    • awanderingscot

      I agree totally. It is Christians by and large who put their faith into action.

      August 10, 2014 at 10:48 pm |
      • bostontola

        scot,
        There's no one better than you at making baseless assertions.

        August 10, 2014 at 10:59 pm |
      • TruthPrevails1

        Oh awanderingdolt, Has it potentially ever occurred to you that it seems that way due to the vast number of believers in this world??? The difference between you doing a good deed and a Secular person doing good is that you are selling false promises and thus it is not honestly from the heart but from your need to spread your religion....a Secular person is going in without a holy book in hand, they're not telling people that if they buy the lies of Christianity life will be better-they're doing it with true heart.

        August 11, 2014 at 7:29 am |
        • nclaw441

          You call them "false" promises, but that is YOUR belief. Others have their faith. I am not saying that you are wrong, only that you are intolerant.

          August 11, 2014 at 7:41 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          Intolerance of intolerance is not a bad thing. Christians show great intolerance all the time but when they have it put back on them they scream foul. To imply, as scot does on a regular basis that it takes a god to be good and do good is deserving of intolerance. I applaud anyone who has it in them to step up to the plate for humanitarian purposes, I do not support Christians making the claim that it is always them doing so. They offer the hope of heaven when there is simply no valid evidence for it...they take advantage of the weak.

          August 11, 2014 at 7:46 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      A person who takes up a calling to make the world a better place is admirable. Does your faith tell you that the world is passing away, can't be made a better place, will be destroyed?

      August 10, 2014 at 11:09 pm |
    • igaftr

      aallen
      All of those things you mentioned...all taught by the Buddha 400 years before your Christ character was written, all of it.

      So are you advocating following the Buddha, or Christ, who is basically the Buddha with an added "god" element.
      Basically your Christ taught what the Buddha taught, just the ones who wrote about Christ added the god of the OT into the teachings, likely because they wanted to incorporate eastern philosophies, but keep their god.

      August 11, 2014 at 8:10 am |
  9. Tom, Tom, the Other One

    It's good that someone reveals modern medicine to missionaries. Their faith certainly doesn't.

    August 10, 2014 at 8:52 pm |
    • awanderingscot

      They are both from America and i'm sure they are well aware of modern medicine so what is your point?

      August 10, 2014 at 10:46 pm |
      • Tom, Tom, the Other One

        Religion offers nothing to people in need. If you would help, you'd best bring something that's needed.

        Also: Jesus had nothing to say about the germ theory of disease. Why were the people who were sent out so ill-equipped for the mission of helping others before effective practice of medicine came about?

        August 10, 2014 at 11:00 pm |
        • hotairace

          Nothing allegedly said by the desert dweller known as jesus is actually known conclusively to be true.

          August 11, 2014 at 2:47 am |
        • awanderingscot

          God in His wisdom gave the command that all Hebrew males be circ-umcised. Spiritually and covenantly it symbolized a union with the Creator. In addition to this, the manifest wisdom of the Lord is apparent in that Hebrew men and women were spared from many cancers that the Gentiles were afflicted with such as ovarian cancer. We learn and we live who rightfully obey and worship our creator and those who don't live and learn. I could go on and on discussing why obeying God is right and good; and how disobedience ( such as overeating and se-xual sin) harms physical and mental health. Sin is not harmful because it is forbidden, it is forbidden because it is harmful. God's wisdom is higher than any man or woman can attain.

          August 11, 2014 at 4:20 pm |
        • lunchbreaker

          In the beginning God created a flap of skin over the tip of the fallace and He said,"That is... not good. Cut it off."

          August 11, 2014 at 4:25 pm |
        • Alias

          You're confused scot
          god didn't give us those rules, the rabi did. They gave a lot of rules that kept their people healty, that is one reason they prospered. Your god had othing to do with it.

          August 11, 2014 at 4:32 pm |
        • hotairace

          A the and only fact about any and every god is that they are not proven to exist.

          August 11, 2014 at 4:53 pm |
  10. lordssword

    Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. (Psalms 23:4)

    For believers death is likened to a 'walk through the valley' in that it suggests peacefulness, beauty, and calm. It does not suggest a difficult walk such as through the mountains or desert. Believers 'walk through' because believers are walking through a door, they are not stopping there in the valley of death. Believers walk and do not run because we are not afraid of death.The death of the mortal body is not the end of life for born again children of God. Therefore we do not fear 'shadows' since shadows are harmless and powerless to harm us. We fear no evil for our God is with us. (fear not those who kill the body, but cannot kill the soul). For these reasons Christian missionaries are not afraid to do what God has commanded. In hope and faith we have our eyes on the promise of eternal life.

    August 10, 2014 at 7:58 pm |
  11. Owen Reynolds

    Why did God put missionaries on planet earth?

    –To make this earth extra special for those with limited means and make the lives of those suffering count for something worthwhile and make it special.

    –You are God's masterpieces, we salute you for your yeoman work!

    August 10, 2014 at 6:55 pm |
    • Sean

      Seriously, older women have nothing else to do with their time other than expend their negative energies all day long on missionaries who are out there making the lives of someone else better. These oldies must be really attractive in real life to find so much to spend on the BB. Pity you!

      August 10, 2014 at 7:03 pm |
      • Owen Reynolds

        Don't care much for cranky elders that have too much time in their hands, but this is what missions do:

        1) International Crisis relief

        2) Urgent Medical relief

        3) Disaster relief

        4) Children's health projects.

        The list goes on, and the amount of good that is being done by Christian missionaries definitely trumps idle talk, talk is cheap.

        Show me what you have done for humanity, then I will entertain a conversation with you.Otherwise, be gone! Go share your hatred with other oldies like you.

        August 10, 2014 at 7:27 pm |
        • realbuckyball

          Someone's got to do it. Obviously no deity cares enough to do anything about anything.

          August 10, 2014 at 7:46 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          Hey Bucky, I hope you are fairing well. There are some things only God can do, salvation for example. No human can save another's soul, yet God sends those he has called to preach the gospel. We can't hear the gospel without a preacher. Most importantly, we can't hear the gospel with more than our natural ears without God. Peace.

          August 10, 2014 at 9:00 pm |
        • evolveddna

          Robert..why is god so unable to do his own work. is not the Ebola virus part of his creation.. Humans are by evolution altruistic and had to to survive..I have no doubt at all that these folks were, and are doing a great job.. and i am verysorry that they got infected. The sad part in all of this is that deep down these folks thought that god would protecti them and they would be safe...would almost make you think that god does not exist.

          August 10, 2014 at 9:44 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          Why does God allow his children to suffer?

          I don't know. All anyone could do is speculate. There are many examples in the bible of God using trials to accomplish his purpose. He may take down the hedge to teach or build faith. All for his glory.

          August 11, 2014 at 6:51 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          You don't need a belief in god to do good. There are numerous Secular charities that do good without an agenda of offering false promises behind them. Dr's Without Borders is in there during this crisis and they are Secular; Red Cross is also Secular and they are at the forefront of most issues. Missionaries tend to prey on the weak, it makes it easier for them to sell the lies of Christianity when people are at their most vulnerable.

          August 11, 2014 at 7:12 am |
    • Doris

      Owen: [ "Why did God put missionaries on planet earth?

      –To make this earth extra special for those with limited means and make the lives of those suffering count for something worthwhile and make it special. " ]

      I hope, for the most part, this part is true. I know some Christians who give time and money, pretty much no strings attached, but then there are the mortifying effects still being felt in Uganda by Scott Lively and his ilk, for example.

      And what about the leaders of Christendom? Aren't they missionaries? We see only now with the current Pope, a shift from the last one who...turned and gave the Ugandan representative his blessing when she presented him with a Christmas gift of getting the 'kill all the gays' bill passed in the Ugandan legislature. We see only now, that it has been brought to light, a shift from the Anglican hierarchy where just prior they demoted the only Anglican Bishop who was trying to quell the violence in Uganda over the issue.

      I see from the article that Kent Brantly hails from the Southeastern Church of Christ in Indianapolis. So what kind of Church of Christ is that? Do they preach to the people they assist and if so, what do they say? I see one of the divisions in the Churches of Christ involve a cappella worship. The Churches of Christ generally combine the lack of any historical evidence that the early church used musical instruments in worship and the belief that there is no scriptural support for using instruments in the church's worship service to decide that instruments should not be used today in worship.

      I would hate to think that, unintentionally, people who may have benefited from Brantly's service, now that he's no longer there, might at a later date support the stoning of someone because when they heard them pounding on the shampoo container in the shower while singing hymns, thought they were singing to God with instruments.

      August 10, 2014 at 7:15 pm |
  12. austin929

    7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.

    8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.

    9 Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake.

    10 And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.

    11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.

    12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.

    13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.

    August 10, 2014 at 6:50 pm |
    • austin929

      12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.

      I am struggling here with this one...................

      August 10, 2014 at 6:53 pm |
  13. nancytoby

    Yes, American missionaries in Africa are doing amazing things all right. http://www.addictinginfo.org/2014/08/09/oklahoma-missionary-arrested-for-raping-children-told-friends-he-was-possessed-by-a-demon-named-luke/

    August 10, 2014 at 4:53 pm |
    • ragansteve1

      So, assuming that this report from a far left scandal mongering site is accurate, and I don't yet, you are willing to paint all missionaries as evil? That is the clear implication of your post. Shame on you.

      August 10, 2014 at 5:27 pm |
      • austin929

        2ndthat

        August 10, 2014 at 5:40 pm |
      • Doris

        Well there is always a danger when trying to substi.tute one drug for another. Look at what we still have to some extent in parts of Latin America (and Mexico is no exception) – the mixture of RCC and earlier religions; consequently, there is still an alarming part of the population that, from time to time, can find justification in human sacrifice. You can even walk into novelty stores in the U.S. and pick up your very own Santa Muerte statue.

        August 10, 2014 at 5:56 pm |
      • LaBella

        Steve:
        Assuming you do find CNN trustworthy:
        http://www.cnn.com/2014/07/23/justice/oklahoma-kenya-sex-abuse/

        Sad.

        August 10, 2014 at 6:29 pm |
      • observer

        ragansteve1,

        Here's the Christian news story:

        http://www.christianpost.com/news/teenage-missionary-charged-with-raping-children-at-african-orphanage-lawyer-says-he-was-victim-of-psychological-voodoo-123737/

        Maybe NEXT TIME you will do some RESEARCH.

        August 10, 2014 at 6:56 pm |
      • austin929

        what is the point really?

        you want to end missions? you want to end the catholic church?

        would you like to end the gospel, how bout the bible?

        there will always be these situations. The bible didn't sugar coat the reality of the flesh. take away the holy spirit from the spirit of lawlessness and you have a worse problem.
        WE HAVE A WIDE VERIETY OF HYPOCRICY TO CHOOSE FROM

        •Se.xual immorality – How many people, claiming to be men and women of God are involved in se.xual immorality, which includes fornication, adultery, ho...mose.xuality or pedophilia? It also includes p.or.nography. And though it may seem harmless to some, flirting is included in this category as well, because it can stir up and awaken feelings within the one being flirted with, that should not be awakened.
        •Impure thoughts – A man or woman of God should not harbor impure thoughts.

        And now, dear brothers and sisters, let me say one more thing as I close this letter. Fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. (Philippians 4:8 NLT)

        •Eagerness for lustful pleasure – Look closely at the man or woman who wants to instruct you. Who are they trying to please? Whose will are they fulfilling? Is it their will, or the will of God? Do they indulge themselves? Or are they willing to forsake their own desires so that they can accomplish God’s will for their lives?

        •Idolatry – Does the man or woman who is teaching, preaching or prophesying worship any idols? Look closely. Idolatry can come in many forms… some worship money (do they frequently preach about the need for more and more money?)… some worship themselves (do they constantly need to be catered to, rather than serving?)… As you listen to this man or woman speak, does it cause you to put them on a pedestal?
        •Participation in demonic activities – This would not only include Satan worship, but also numerology, astrology, drug abuse, alcohol abuse…
        •Hostility – Is this person hostile against those who don’t agree with him or her?
        •Quarreling – Does this person get in arguments? Does this person start arguments? Does this person always have to have the last word? Is this person willing to admit when he or she is wrong?
        •Jealousy – Does this person get upset if you go to another church? Does this person get upset if you don’t come to church every time the doors are open? Does this person demand to know where you are, who you’re with, etc.?
        •Outbursts of anger – Does this person have outbursts of anger when things don’t go his or her way?
        •Selfish ambition – Does this person spend more time promoting the gospel, or does he/she spend more time promoting him/herself and his/her products, books, cd’s and dvd’s? Does this person only minister in large venues, where he/she can get the most notice and/or money?
        •Divisions – Does this person cause divisions in churches, families and friendships?
        •The feeling that everyone is wrong except those in your own little group – Does this person think that all other denominations are all wrong, except for his/her own?

        •Envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other kinds of sin – Does this person envy the success of others? Does he/she have or participate in wild parties? Other kinds of sin includes false teachings…

        August 10, 2014 at 7:28 pm |
        • hal 9001

          I'm sorry, austin929, but all that, is, in fact, craziness.

          August 10, 2014 at 10:31 pm |
    • nancytoby

      The point is that simply being an American going to an underdeveloped area as a "missionary" certainly doesn't mean they're a saint, or even doing anything beneficial. You might educate yourself by reading what he himself wrote about his own actions: https://localtvkfor.files.wordpress.com/2014/08/click-here-to-read-durhams-written-confession.pdf

      August 10, 2014 at 9:55 pm |
  14. Tom, Tom, the Other One

    Ebola virus exists so that we may see God's mercy revealed in the actions of the faithful and the rewards of the flesh revealed for what they are in the victims - I think that's what this Book I've got suggests.

    August 10, 2014 at 4:39 pm |
    • austin929

      is it from the canon?

      August 10, 2014 at 4:51 pm |
    • nancytoby

      Well that's the interpretation you have to take if you assume a hugely evil and malicious God is at work. Certainly not one I'd ever want to worship.

      August 10, 2014 at 4:55 pm |
      • austin929

        help us.

        August 10, 2014 at 4:59 pm |
  15. Tom, Tom, the Other One

    Altruism isn't foolish, and it is admirable. Why attach the propagation of unfounded beliefs to it? Why add something useless, sometimes harmful, to good and decent acts?

    August 10, 2014 at 4:32 pm |
  16. coldhluke

    One thing for sure:
    This world will be better off with less foolish people like Trump and Coulter, and more heroic people like Dr. Blantly and Writebol.

    August 10, 2014 at 4:26 pm |
  17. austin929

    austin929

    "First, show this Satan of yours exists, then show he had something to do with Iraq, as you have claimed.
    Otherwise, you are , in fact, lying, and bearing false witness."

    Igaftr..............since when do I have to show you something, "or I have lied"

    this does not make sense and these are hard to keep patiently responding to.

    @Talullah.......the truth is not something that I feel Talullah, its not an emotion. and most of the time when the truth is persecuted, it is not a " special feeling "

    Talullah, you sound sympathetic to ISIS, and maybe you just don't like my particular terminology, but how do you feel about the subject matter "Isis is killing the yazidis"?

    do you have time to elaborate on why you are combating the Idea that Satan is involved in this type of oppression?

    August 10, 2014 at 3:56 pm |
    • igaftr

      austin
      You claim Satan has something to do with Iraq.

      To make that claim with no evidence, is what bearing false witness means...you claim it is true, yet you have NO IDEA if what you say is true.

      It also sound extremely crazy to rational people.

      August 10, 2014 at 4:15 pm |
      • austin929

        what about the pentagram in Washington DC? come on. I think between all the religions, that those who believe in Satan and are rational , outnumber those who don't hold the belief.

        you hope hes fict.itious. But I believe one hundred percent that Satan works every where all the time. Angels control and were put in charge of the earth. And I have experienced demonic revelations through dreams/visions that had objective realities play out immediately as in the next day, 3 times plus.......

        subjective vision (unknown that it was a vision), until it played out objectively in real truth.

        August 10, 2014 at 4:50 pm |
        • igaftr

          no austin
          You are seeing things. MEN created the pentagram, MEN assign various meanings to the symbol.

          You have no idea is this Satan of yours exists, or is just a metaphor in your book...for all you know, your Satam wrote your book, and you foolishly follow him leading you down the wrong path.

          It's all just nonsense imagined and create dby men...at least that's what theonly evidence one can actually see shows.

          You are following a stroy book for children, and think it is real.
          Please try and gain a grasp on reality.

          August 10, 2014 at 5:06 pm |
        • observer

          austin929

          Yes, what about the pentagram in Washington DC that men created? Are you really delusional enough to claim that the devil has ownership of a VERY COMMON geometric figure?

          August 10, 2014 at 5:14 pm |
        • austin929

          yes, satan has owenership of the occult. that's a fact of life.

          the angels are principalities and they were given their dominion. you need to reject the prison of this domain of death and grasp where the life is at,...........in the spirit.

          August 10, 2014 at 5:23 pm |
        • austin929

          And I have experienced demonic revelations through dreams/visions that had objective realities play out immediately as in the next day, 3 times plus.......

          August 10, 2014 at 5:24 pm |
        • observer

          austin929,

          Thanks. You completely answered my question.

          Just some advice, please don't words that you don't know the meaning of, like the word "fact".

          August 10, 2014 at 5:29 pm |
        • austin929

          o.k. observer..........then by your denial the war in Iraq and Syria, and the holocaust, is all natural correct?

          August 10, 2014 at 5:42 pm |
        • observer

          austin929,

          Like most of the current wars, those are BECAUSE of religious differences. Each religion thinks they are the ONLY TRUE one like you do.

          August 10, 2014 at 6:59 pm |
        • austin929

          I know observer, and I have read parts of the Koran but guess what,

          I don't have to read it all to garuntee you that it IS NOT PROPHETIC, like the bible is. and the prophecies end in the bible.

          Someone who recognizes the valid prophecy and prophets, can take the prophets for their word, and they are not in the Koran.

          August 10, 2014 at 7:34 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          austin,

          Is a valid prophacy one where the claimed event is said to happen within a certian area...say like 60 miles and when something happens within say 100+ mile you say..."close enough"......?

          August 10, 2014 at 7:49 pm |
        • hal 9001

          I'm sorry, austin929, but the Bible is only prophetic in your opinion because you need for it to be so. Your evidence value for the prophetic claims as a believer in the New Testament is still 0.

          August 10, 2014 at 7:53 pm |
        • austin929

          a prophet received direct revelation and was not confused. I dont' know about your specific example. and maybe I over interpreted due to the questions I was being asked. if you go back I said nw and someone was like "how far" so I said well this certain proximity.....................I don't know. I look back on it and who am I to interpret?

          there have been many other examples that were more clearly revealed than that .

          we are talking about the difference between the new testament, coupled with the old testament,, and the korans attempt to compete. it does not compete.

          August 10, 2014 at 7:55 pm |
        • austin929

          hal , how many examples of circular logic can you come up with in the Koran?

          The bible has countless and profound examples of prophetic miracles, which you refer to as circular logic.. but let us for this sake clarify which religion has the best set of prophetic claims.

          The Word of God, aka the Bible.

          August 10, 2014 at 7:58 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          I think prophecies should be specific to "time, place, event"...

          I don't know of one prophecy I should accept from the bible. Can you give you best example of a fulfilled bible prophecy?

          August 10, 2014 at 8:03 pm |
        • awanderingscot

          "Seventy weeks are determined For your people and for your holy city, To finish the transgression, To make an end of sins, To make reconciliation for iniquity, To bring in everlasting righteousness, To seal up vision and prophecy, And to anoint the Most Holy. "Know therefore and understand, That from the going forth of the command To restore and build Jerusalem Until Messiah the Prince, There shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; The street shall be built again, and the wall, Even in troublesome times. "And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself; And the people of the prince who is to come Shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end of it shall be with a flood, And till the end of the war desolations are determined. – Daniel 9:24-26

          – Seventy weeks … from … until. These are weeks of years, whereas weeks of days are described in a different way (Daniel10:2-3). The time spans from Artaxerxes's decree to rebuild Jerusalem, c. 445 B.C. (Nehemiah 2:1-8), to the Messiah's kingdom. This panorama includes: (1) seven weeks or forty-nine years, possibly closing Nehemiah's career in the rebuilding of the "street and wall," as well as the end of the ministry of Malachi and the close of the OT; (2) sixty-two weeks or 434 more years for a total of 483 years to the first advent of Messiah. This was fulfilled at the triumphal entry on 9 Nisan, A.D. 30.The Messiah will be "cut off," (a common reference to death); and (3) the final seven years or seventieth week of the time of Antichrist (cf. Daniel 9:27). Roman people, from whom the Antichrist will come, will "destroy the city" of Jerusalem and its temple in A.D. 70. – MacArthur

          – Without a doubt many prophesies in scripture have had fulfillment. There are many more, such as Tyre's destruction.

          August 10, 2014 at 8:41 pm |
        • hal 9001

          I'm sorry, awanderingscot, but there are obvious flaws in such a conclusion. This explanation by Chris Sandoval should help you understand your mistakes:

          The Traditional Christian Interpretation of the Seventy Weeks

          At this point, I must examine two alternative interpretations of the seventy weeks prophecy proposed by conservative Christians. Let us begin with the classical interpretation. Historically, Protestant Christians have maintained that Daniel's seventy weeks begin about 458 BC with the decree issued by Emperor Artaxerxes I in his seventh year (Ezra 7:7, in the context of Ezra 7) authorizing Ezra to rebuild the Temple and Jerusalem (Ezra 9:9).[49] The seventy weeks end with the ministry of Jesus and the founding of the Church. During the final week of Daniel's prophecy, the Gospel is preached only to the Jews because of the "strong covenant" that Jesus the "anointed one" or Messiah made with the Jewish people. The seventieth week begins in the fall of 26 AD with Jesus' baptism by John and the beginning of his ministry to the Jews. It culminates in the spring of 30 AD with Jesus being "cut off" at the Crucifixion. Jesus' atonement on Calvary did thereby "finish the transgression," "put an end to sin," "atone for iniquity," and "seal both vision and prophet" (Daniel 9:24), thus rendering "sacrifice and offering" at the Temple obsolete. Finally, the seventieth week ends in the fall of 33 AD with the martyrdom of Stephen and the conversion of Paul and Cornelius. At this point the mission to the Jews ends and the mission to the Gentiles begins.[50]

          The advantage of this theory is that it interprets the 490-year period in a straightforward way, and it has more-or-less plausible starting and ending points. However, it does have its problems. To begin with, the classical Christian theory does not provide a plausible explanation for Daniel's clear distinction between the seven weeks and the sixty-two weeks.

          The classical interpretation also ignores the obvious parallels between Daniel 9:24-27 on the one hand, and Daniel 8:9-26; 11:31-45 on the other. Actually, all three passages unmistakably describe Antiochus Epiphanes committing a desolating sacrilege or "abomination that makes desolate" at the Temple and bringing normal Jewish sacrifices to an end for about three and a half years (cf. Daniel 7:25; 12:6-7,11).Daniel 9 places this event at the end of the seventy weeks, and the other two passages place it at "the time of the end." The "abominations" of "the prince who is to come" in Daniel 9 are to be understood in the light of the unspeakable blasphemies of Antiochus Epiphanes described in the other two passages (cf. also Daniel 7:8,20,25).

          To make their scheme work, adherents of the classical Christian theory must interpret verses 26 and 27as references to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. The problem here is that the fall of Jerusalem lies thirty-seven years outside of the seventy-weeks scheme. Since "desolations are decreed," the Romans under General T.itus, "the people of the prince who is to come," were to "destroy the city and the sanctuary" of Jerusalem in 70 AD, long after the seventieth week is over, to punish the Jews for their murder of their Messiah. This is an awkward and arbitrary leap.

          Another problem with this interpretation is that the Hebrew word here translated in verse 26 as "destroy" is shakhat. In its various grammatical forms, it only means to "mar," "injure," "spoil," "ruin," "pervert," or "corrupt."[51] This can easily refer to the trashing of Jerusalem by Antiochus Epiphanes, but not to T.itus' razing of Jerusalem and its Temple to the ground.

          The Dispensationalist Christian Interpretation of the Seventy Weeks

          Dispensationalist Christians like Dr. Harold Hoehner have a totally different theory.[52] They claim the seventy weeks begin in 444 BC with the decree issued by Emperor Artaxerxes I in the twentieth year of his reign authorizing Nehemiah to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem (Nehemiah 2:1-8). The obvious problem with this theory is that the seventieth week would then last from 40 to 47 AD–too late to connect with the crucifixion of Jesus in 30 or 33 AD, or with any other plausibly significant event.

          To make the numbers add up and the problem go away, dispensationalists have invented an artificial "biblical year" of 360 days, arguing that in God's eyes a biblical month is invariably thirty days. Reading obviously round numbers with micrometer precision, they argue that the story of Noah's Flood equates five months with an exact period of 150 days (5 months X 30 days/month–Genesis 7:11,24; 8:3-4). Similarly, they point out that the Book of Revelation equates 42 months (3 1/2 years X 12 months/year–Revelation 11:2; 13:5) and 1260 days (42 months X 30 days/month–Revelation 11:3; 12:6) with 3 1/2 years (Daniel 7:25; 9:27; 12:7; Revelation 12:14).

          Dispensationalists weave their 360-day years and Daniel's seventy weeks together as follows. Supposedly, the seventy weeks began on 1 Nisan, or 5 March 444 BC, when Artaxerxes I issued his decree to Nehemiah. (Actually, Nehemiah 2:1 does not specify the exact day in the month of Nisan that the decree was given.) The sixty-ninth week ended on 10 Nisan, or 30 March 33 AD, when Jesus made his triumphal entry into Jerusalem–the "coming" of the "anointed one, a prince" in Daniel 9:25. This span of time is exactly 173,880 days, which happens to be a difference of exactly sixty-nine sevens of years consisting of 360 days each: 69 weeks X 7 prophetic years/week X 360 days/prophetic year = 173,880 days. The "cutting off" of the "anointed one" after the sixty-nine weeks in verse 26 is the Crucifixion on 14 Nisan, or Friday, 3 April 33 AD. According to dispensationalists, the seventieth week did not begin on 31 March 33 AD as one might reasonably expect, but has been postponed to the indefinite future for reasons to be explained below.

          Hoehner's theory has several flaws. First of all, the Jews have never used an inflexible 30-day month or 360-day year in either biblical or postbiblical writings in their entire history. They have always used a lunar calendar that varies between 29 and 30 days per month, and has 354 days per year. Since this is eleven days too short, the Jews add a thirteenth month to the calendar every few years to keep it in sync with the solar year. As complex as this system may seem, it succeeds in keeping the agricultural holidays of the Jewish Torah in the seasons where they belong, unlike Hoehner's 360-day fantasy.

          Now admittedly, some calendars like the French Republican Calendar[53] and the calendar of ancient Egypt[54] consist of twelve months of thirty days each because these make nice round numbers. (Efforts by Hoehner to docu.ment this claim by citing Immanuel Velikovsky, among others, in six separate footnotes will certainly raise eyebrows among serious scholars.)[55] However, one way or another, these nations have always added at least five extra days each year to make the calendar year track the solar year. To the best of my knowledge, no nation anywhere on Earth at any time in history has ever used a 360-day calendar without the additional days to track time over a period of many years.

          Secondly, the Jews were in the habit of using round and stereotyped numbers, just as we do when we speak of a "ninety-day wonder" or a person who works a "24/7" job. To cite a parallel example, it was an acceptable round-number approximation for the biblical authors to say that the Molten Sea in Solomon's Temple (a huge, circular bowl of water) was ten cubits in diameter and thirty cubits in outer circu.mference (1 Kings 7:23-24; 2 Chronicles 4:2-3). Their measures were accurate to the nearest cubit if the diameter was actually 9.65 cubits, and the circu.mference was actually 30.30 cubits.

          Similarly, stereotyped spans of time like forty years (Genesis 25:20; 26:34; Joshua 14:7; Judges 3:11;5:31; 8:28; 13:1; 1 Samuel 4:18; 2 Samuel 2:10; 15:7; 1 Kings 2:11; 11:42; 2 Kings 12:1; 2 Chronicles 9:30; 24:1; Ezekiel 29:11-13) and multiples thereof (Deuteronomy 31:2; 34:7; Judges 3:30; 2 Samuel 19:32,35; 1 Kings 6:1) crop up in the Bible far more often than chance would allow. Admittedly, some biblical authors treated these figures as exact numbers: e.g., Aaron was supposedly eighty-three years old when Moses was eighty (Exodus 7:7), Israel stayed at Kadesh-Barnea for thirty-eight years (Deuteronomy 2:14) out its forty-year sojourn in the wilderness (Exodus 16:35; Numbers 14:33-34; 33:38;Deuteronomy 1:3; 2:7; 8:2,4; 29:5; Joshua 5:6; Nehemiah 9:21; Psalms 95:10; Amos 2:10; 5:25), and David's forty-year reign (2 Samuel 5:4; 1 Kings 2:11; 1 Chronicles 26:31; 29:27) is broken down into seven years at Hebron and thirty-three years in Jerusalem (2 Samuel 5:5; 1 Kings 2:11; 1 Chronicles 3:4;29:27). However, these round clichéd figures are in all probability legend rather than history. Similarly, "forty-two months" and "1260 days" are tolerable round-number approximations of three and a half years.

          If God used a 360-day "biblical year" in Daniel 9 as Hoehner claims, then consistency demands that he should have used it elsewhere in the Bible as well, or at least elsewhere in biblical prophecy. Thus Jeremiah's seventy prophetic years would have to be 367.5 days (5.25-day shortfall X 70 years) shorter than seventy real years–in other words, a little less than sixty-nine years. Similarly, the Millennial Reign of Jesus will have to be at least 5,250 days or over fourteen years shorter than a real millennium–in other words, only a little less than 986 real years. I have never run across a dispensationalist author who takes the prophetic year theory to this logical and absurd conclusion.

          Thirdly, Hoehner's theory ends on the wrong day even if his math is correct. If the Crucifixion took place on Friday, 3 April 33 AD, then the Triumphal Entry on 30 March must have fallen on a Monday. To place this event on Palm Sunday where it belongs, we must place the beginning of the sixty-nine weeks on the last day of the month before Nisan of 444 BC, contrary to the requirements of Nehemiah 2:1 as interpreted by his theory.

          Fourthly, Hoehner's math is actually incorrect. To explain why this is so, I must first digress and explain the difference between the Julian versus the Gregorian calendars. Before 1582, Christian countries used the Julian or "Old Style" calendar as originally devised by Julius Caesar. Every fourth year was made a leap year without exception because it was assumed that the solar year was exactly 365-1/4 days long. Since the actual solar year is actually a bit shorter, namely 365.24219879 days, the calendar since the days of Caesar had deviated 11 days out of sync with the seasons. In 1582, Pope Gregory XIII reformed the calendar to repair this defect. Of course, most years divisible by 4 are still leap years in the Gregorian or "New Style" Calendar as they were in the Julian calendar. Any year divisible by 400 is still a leap year, but any year divisible by 100 and not by 400 is not a leap year. Thus the year 2000 AD was a leap year, but the years 1700, 1800, and 1900 were not.[56]

          Hoehner miscalculates the number of days between 5 March 444 BC and 30 March 33 AD by confusing the two calendars. He admits the two dates are Julian dates, but then proceeds to use the Gregorian figure of 365.24219879 days/year in an inappropriate manner as follows. The difference between 5 March 444 BC and 5 March 33 AD is exactly 476 Julian years. (In calculating this figure, one must remember that there was no year zero. In other words, the year 1 BC was immediately followed by the year 1 AD.) It so happens that 476 years X 365.24219879 days/year = 173,855.2866 days, which rounds down to 173,855 days. We must add an extra 25 days to the 173,855 days to arrive at the 173,880 days required by Hoehner's sectarian interpretation of Daniel 9. This takes us from March 5 to March 30 of 33 AD.[57]

          Hoehner should have multiplied by the Julian figure of 365.25 days/year instead. Calculating with the correct figure, we find that 476 Julian years X 365.25 days/Julian year + 25 days = 173,884 days between March 5 of 444 BC and March 30 of 33 AD instead. This result places the last day of Hoehner's sixty-nine "weeks" or 173,880 days on 26 March rather than 30 March, four days too early for Hoehner's "Palm Monday." Now admittedly, this error is not fatal to his theory, since Artaxerxes could have given his decree on 4 Nisan rather than 1 Nisan to have the sixty-nine weeks end on Palm Sunday of 33 AD. However, it does show that Hoehner is operating outside his area of expertise.

          Fifthly, Hoehner's theory starts on the wrong month, dating Nisan a month too early. Parker & Dubberstein provide tables of the Julian equivalents of Babylonian dates for the Babylonian, Persian, and Hellenistic kings. Hoehner misquotes these tables to prove that 1 Nisan 444 BC in the 20th year of the reign of Artaxerxes I fell on 5 March.[58] Actually, they say that 1 Nisan 444 BC fell on 3 April, and 4 March was actually 1 Adar, the first day of the previous month.[59] This places the endpoint of the 69 weeks about a month too late for Palm Sunday and Good Friday of 33 AD.

          Hoehner cites Horn and Wood to prove that the Jewish year according to Nehemiah 1:1; 2:1 began in the fall in the month of Tishri.[60] However, Horn and Wood actually agree with Parker & Dubberstein in placing the month of Nisan too late for Hoehner's theories. They cite fourteen Jewish docu.ments spanning the fifth century BC from among the Elephantine Papyri in Egypt with equivalent dates in both the Egyptian solar calendar and the Babylonian lunar calendar in use at the time. This supplies us with enough information to calculate the Julian equivalent of the dates in each docu.ment, as well as the Julian equivalent of 1 Nisan of each year. These docu.ments show that for the fourteen years in question, 1 Nisan fell on Julian dates ranging from 26 March to 24 April.[61] This demonstrates beyond reasonable doubt that Hoehner is one month off in his calculations.

          Now admittedly, Horn and Wood disagree with Parker and Dubberstein by one whole year. On the basis of certain ancient docu.ments, Parker and Dubberstein place 1 Nisan of Artaxerxes' 20th year on 13 April 445 BC rather than 3 April 444 BC.[62] If they are right, then Hoehner's theory is off by a year. Conversely, Horn and Wood argue on the basis of their fourteen double-dated papyri that the accession year or "year zero" of Artaxerxes' reign lasted from fall 465 BC to fall 464 BC, a finding that places the Nisan of the 20th year of his reign in 444 BC. This would be more congenial with Hoehner's theory. Even so, both sources agree that even if Hoehner got the year right, he still got the month wrong.

          Finally, the biggest problem of all with the dispensationalist theory is that the seventieth week never happened. The Roman "people of the prince who is to come" should have cruelly oppressed the Jews and destroyed Jerusalem along with its Temple from 33 to 40 AD, after which Jesus should have come to rule the Earth. To dispose of this error, dispensationalists have argued that God postponed the seventieth week to the distant future because the Jews crucified Jesus instead of accepting him as their king on his terms rather than theirs. Under this interpretation, Daniel's seventieth week is the Tribulation Period in our future, and the "prince who is to come" is the Antichrist, who will desecrate the Tribulation Temple in the middle of the period. The Church Age, a mystery that God had kept hidden until Pentecost, fills an invisible gap of many centuries separating the sixty-ninth and seventieth weeks. To describe this theory is to refute it.

          Notes

          [49] Archer, Encyclopedia, pp. 289-292; Henry H. Halley, Halley's Bible Handbook, p. 349.

          [50] Gary Demar, End Times Fiction: A Biblical Consideration of the 'Left Behind' Theology (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2001), pp. 42-46; Henry H. Halley, Halley's Bible Handbook, p. 349; Steve Wohlberg,End Time Delusions: The Rapture, the Antichrist, and the End of the World (Shippensburg, PA: Treasure House, 2004), pp. 39-47.

          [51] Francis Brown, S. R. Driver, and Charles A. Briggs, A Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1906), pp. 1007-08.

          [52] Harold W. Hoehner, Chronological Aspects of the Life of Christ (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1977), pp. 115-139; Josh McDowell, Evidence that Demands a Verdict, 2nd ed. (San Bernardino, CA: Campus Crusade for Christ, 1979), pp. 170-75.

          [53] Encyclopaedia Britannica: Micropaedia, 15th ed., s.v. "French Republican Calendar."

          [54] Encyclopaedia Britannica: Macropaedia, 15th ed., s.v. "Calendar: Ancient and Religious Calendar Systems."

          [55] Hoehner, Chronological Aspects, p. 135n63-66, 136nn67-68, citing Immanuel Velikovsky, Worlds in Collision (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1950).

          [56] Encyclopaedia Britannica: Macropaedia, 15th ed., s.v. "Calendar: The Western Calendar and Calendar Reforms."

          [57] Ibid., pp. 137-138.

          [58] Ibid., p. 128.

          [59] Richard A. Parker and Waldo H. Dubberstein, Babylonian Chronology 626 B.C.-A.D. 75, 2nd ed. (Providence, RI: Brown University Press, 1956), p. 32.

          [60] Hoehner, Chronological Aspects, p. 127.

          [61] S. H. Horn and L. H. Wood, "The Fifth-Century Jewish Calendar at Elephantine," Journal of Near Eastern Studies 13 (January 1954): 1-20.

          [62] Parker & Dubberstein, Babylonian Chronology, pp. 17-18, 32.

          August 10, 2014 at 9:23 pm |
        • awanderingscot

          "I'm sorry, awanderingscot, but there are obvious flaws in such a conclusion. This explanation by Chris Sandoval should help you understand your mistakes."

          – No mistake at all, only opinions. whether the decree was given in 444BC or 445BC cannot be definitively proven by anyone today. That leaves only the biblical record which cannot be proven wrong. The 70-weeks prophesy finds it's fulfillment in the life and ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ. No doubt about it.

          August 10, 2014 at 10:34 pm |
        • hal 9001

          "– No mistake at all, only opinions. whether the decree was given in 444BC or 445BC cannot be definitively proven by anyone today. That leaves only the biblical record which cannot be proven wrong."

          I would agree, awanderingscot, that assertions made with the Bible as a basis, as if it were a historical record, are merely opinions. The expression in your post "without a doubt" did not suggest an opinion when it was an opinion. It was a mistake for you to use the expression "without a doubt".

          August 10, 2014 at 10:48 pm |
  18. normankelley

    What I find expressly cynical about this is that if neither Trump nor Coulter–two know-nothing celebrities– hadn't said any negative about the two, CNN wouldn't even had bother to write its "heroic or cynical" clap trap.

    August 10, 2014 at 3:49 pm |
  19. Pradeep Solomon

    Missionaries sacrifice their lives for the sake of others. Various places in Asia (especially India) are developed now because of the efforts of missionaries, few centuries ago. Its heartbreaking to find how people have changed recently and are commenting on those sacrificial heroes. Shame!!

    August 10, 2014 at 3:09 pm |
    • igaftr

      pradeep
      How many of those missionaries brought with them diseases foreign to the natives, resulting in mass deaths due to the exposure to things like small pox? How many were accidental genocides?
      Are you not seeing the entire history?

      August 10, 2014 at 3:30 pm |
      • tallulah131

        This is a common flaw of christians. They refuse to look at the terrible things done in the name of their religion and focus only on the dubious good. Frankly, I don't see the destruction of indigenous cultures to be a good thing. I find it very evil indeed.

        August 10, 2014 at 3:43 pm |
        • igaftr

          Exactly Tallulah, as if their beliefs are supposed to be better. It is not only damaging to humanity, but arrogance at its worst.
          As far as developing people, who's to say that the Aboriginese don't have things better, no technology, one with nature.

          Hey look , there's a peaceful tribe of people, let's go and tell them what they believe is wrong, and bring them out of their fellowship with nature. We can teach them all the things that make everyone else, including them wrong. Let's cast them from a state of bliss, and teach them a belief system that will teach them all they need to know about slavery death, destruction and war.
          Nice favor

          August 10, 2014 at 4:00 pm |
        • austin929

          the common factor the two of you share is your belief that Christ is not resurrected. or that He alone is savior. can you name another savior, another Lamb of God who taketh away the sin of the world. Another first born of God All Mighty?

          If Christ is risen, is Allah equal to the creator redeemer, is allah God the father...........allah who preaches the error of polytheism attributed to Christ?

          I understand where you are coming from , but there is no error regaurding the diety of Christ. and His resurrection.

          Christ is superior.

          August 10, 2014 at 5:17 pm |
        • igaftr

          austin

          "the common factor the two of you share is your belief that Christ is not resurrected. or that He alone is savior. can you name another savior, another Lamb of God who taketh away the sin of the world. Another first born of God All Mighty?"

          You are one of the most blindly arrogant people I have encountered. No matter how staunchly you rpoclaim your illogical beleif, you still have no evidence whatsoever, so you are deluded, and your delusion makes you arrogant beyond belief.
          Perhaps it is time for you to try to learn what Jesus allegedly tried to teach you, for "his " words are falling on your deaf ears.
          Contemplate this , alleged christian...humility. Learn it, love it, be it.

          August 11, 2014 at 9:31 am |
      • austin929

        igaftr.............lol. ya this conversation can just go nuts. like "the American c.i.a. missionaries" in Cuba?

        August 10, 2014 at 4:54 pm |
        • austin929

          I meant "mission"

          August 10, 2014 at 4:55 pm |
  20. colin31714

    Genuine charity and altruism mixed in with religious superst.tions. It is so strange, how those who believe in the Judeo-Christian (or any other) god tend to be functioning, rational people in every other aspect of their lives, but when it comes to their beliefs, they throw it all away.

    Take Catholicism. Catholics believe the most ridiculous of fancies – bread and wine becoming flesh and blood; prayers being heard by a being that created the Universe; life after death; angels, saints, the devil; a Greco roman virgin ascending bodily into heaven – really childish Disneyland stuff.

    Yet, the same people would never be so credulous in any other aspect of their lives –finances, health, politics, personal choice – in all these areas, religious people are just as capable as nonbelievers in judging facts and making decisions, but totally throw judgment, reason and logic out the window when it comes to the cast of supernatural characters they worship and adore. There has to be something deeply genetic about this contradiction.

    August 10, 2014 at 3:03 pm |
    • new-man

      Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, (2 Tim. 1:9)

      Praise God that grace comes with a purpose! It is not enough to simply expound on God’s grace and love. That is only the beginning of the message. Once we understand that we are loved then we are equipped to fulfill God’s purpose for our lives. This theme is found throughout the New Testament.

      The grace of God reached Paul with a purpose:

      But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee; (Acts 26:16)

      The grace of God works for good to them who are called according to His purpose:

      And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. (Rom. 8:28)

      What is His purpose for your life? Grace is available to you to walk in that purpose. Unique giftings and motivations are within that must be tapped and developed. God has things for you to do! True peace, joy and faith are only realized to the degree that we understand our purpose.

      For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:…… For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. (Eph. 2:8 and 10)

      Grace through faith saves us, but then what? That same grace leads us unto good works that God has purposed for us.

      To preach grace and not preach purpose doesn’t get the job done. We need to discover our unique purpose and pursue it with the grace of God as our strength!
      P. Barry Bennett

      August 10, 2014 at 3:19 pm |
      • Robert Brown

        True new man, those who become children and progress in grace and truth come to service.

        August 10, 2014 at 3:29 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          Oops, thinking faster than thumb typing.

          Should be children of God

          Peace

          August 10, 2014 at 3:33 pm |
        • new-man

          Amen, my brother.
          no need to correct, I understood what you meant.
          and thanks for pointing out below the symbolism of the bread and wine. That was actually what I had in mind first to respond to.
          and here's something truly beautiful Collin... "Today, when we partake of the bread, we are declaring that Jesus’ health and divine life flows in our mortal bodies. And when we partake of the cup, we are declaring that we are forgiven and have been made righteous. Jesus’ blood gives us right standing before God, and we can go boldly into God’s presence (Hebrews 4:16). When we pray, we can be sure that God hears us! "

          August 10, 2014 at 3:43 pm |
        • austin929

          We will see Him. I can not imagine what that moment will be like.

          August 10, 2014 at 3:48 pm |
      • Vic

        That's a good testament. God bless.

        I always try to point out that the good works of the flesh are the fruits of Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ by the Holy Spirit and not requirements for Salvation. I met many people who believe that the good works of the flesh are required for Salvation, and that's not according to Scripture. That's what's laid out in Ephesians 2:8,9. Notice that Ephesians 2:10 lays out God's election for the good works and which ones, hence the fruits of Faith by the Holy Spirit, and not human election.

        August 10, 2014 at 4:27 pm |
        • austin929

          8Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.

          what does this mean?

          August 10, 2014 at 4:34 pm |
        • new-man

          You have said this so well, I appreciate that. (Andrew would say, one will need a theologian to help them misunderstand what you've so succinctly said).

          Thank you.

          August 10, 2014 at 4:41 pm |
        • new-man

          Austin,
          "produce fruits in keeping with repentance"

          An apple tree can only produce apples. If you went to someone's garden you don't need to know what was planted, you could be able to tell the tree by the fruit it produces.
          Likewise, in keeping with repentance or a renewed mind, one will be able to produce fruits that are "in keeping"/of the type/of the tree of "repentance" or a "renewed mind".

          i.e. your produce / product should speak for itself – tells the tree (righteousness, life, health, love, compassion etc) off which the produce came.

          August 10, 2014 at 4:57 pm |
        • austin929

          Im going though some suffering and a snare. no one has my back. im having a hard time forgiving those in the abusive role, and I don't sense God's ability to restore people to my presence at all.

          I admire John the Baptist.

          August 10, 2014 at 5:11 pm |
        • new-man

          Austin,
          one of the things I've learnt is that the quickest way to depression is self-occupation. It's only when you're thinking about how someone's wronged you (though they have) and you've given your power over to them (by harboring unforgiveness) that you can come into oppression.

          Austin, you're a child of God- you live by faith and not by what you're feeling/sensing. Yes, you may not feel/ "sense God's ability to restore..." however that is not the truth. Jesus says, He will never leave you nor forsake you.
          If it is your desire that these people be restored back to your presence then you will have the desire of your heart.
          Are these the same people who have abused you?

          Stay in the Word Austin, don't let it depart your heart. This is your weapon against ensnarement, so find the appropriate verses and use them. Remember our attacks are mostly in the mind, so keep resisting my brother and the devil will have no other recourse except to flee from you.
          All things are under your feet.

          August 10, 2014 at 5:33 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Colin, you do realize the bread and wine are spiritual symbolism, don't you?

      August 10, 2014 at 3:31 pm |
      • tallulah131

        Symbolic cannibalism. Woo.

        August 10, 2014 at 3:44 pm |
        • new-man

          from the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.
          you need to reflect on what's truly in your heart.

          August 10, 2014 at 3:48 pm |
      • colin31714

        Actually Robert, as I understand the doctrine of Transubstantiation, it teaches that the bread and wine actually change to flesh and blood.

        August 10, 2014 at 3:45 pm |
        • new-man

          "On the night that He was betrayed, Jesus ate His last supper with His disciples. And knowing what He would accomplish through His sacrifice, He insti.tuted the Holy Communion (Luke 22:19–20, 1 Corinthians 11:24–25)."

          [And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.]

          "His loving instruction is that we are to remember Him as we partake of the Holy Communion. Jesus wanted us conscious of how His body was broken for our wholeness, and His blood was shed for the forgiveness of our sins. And whenever we partake in this consciousness, we “proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes” (1 Corinthians 11:26)." JPM

          August 10, 2014 at 3:52 pm |
        • Reality

          The Last Supper? It was not an historic event. See http://wiki.faithfutures.org/index.php/016_Supper_and_Eucharist

          An excerpt:

          "At the same time, Luedemann concludes that the portrayal of Jesus celebrating such a ritual on the night before his death is not historical. He is clear that there is "no generic relationship" between any actual final meal and the Lord's Supper understood in cultic terms. He also denies the Passover character of the supper as a Markan creation. Like Meier (below), Luedemann does accept the saying (Mark 14:25) about drinking wine in the kingdom of God as authentic. He concludes: (this saying) "hardly came into being in the early community, for in it Jesus does not exercise any special function for believers at the festal meal in heaven which is imminent. Only Jesus' expectation of a the future kingdom of God stands at the centre, not Jesus as saviour, judge or intercessor."

          August 10, 2014 at 11:40 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.