home
RSS
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. Dyslexic doG

    and still it goes on.

    I read all the comments below and still I see people saying "jesus said this ..." and "jesus said that".

    It's a delusional statement really. We have absolutely NO idea of anything your book character may or may not have said or done. In a time when stories were passed on verbally and people had no idea of how the world worked and so wanted their "god" to be bigger and better than the next man's god, the stories just got better and bigger and more far fetched. You couldn't trust the accuracy or the authenticity of a story written down a month after the supposed happening, much less something written down the staggering 40 YEARS, 60 years, 100 years after all the "jesus said" and "jesus did" parts of the bible supposedly happened. And even more laughable is that the "jesus" parts were written by people who weren't even there when it was supposedly said or done!!!

    As an example, the bible has THREE DIFFERENT ACCOUNTS of Jesus' last words

    MAT 27:46,50: "And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, "Eli, eli, lama sabachthani?" that is to say, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" ...Jesus, when he cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost."

    LUK 23:46: "And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, "Father, unto thy hands I commend my spirit:" and having said thus, he gave up the ghost."

    JOH 19:30: "When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, "It is finished:" and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost."

    It's your published "word of god". Does your god have a bad memory? How can there be differences?!?! And putting them ALL in your book just proves that they have no factual accuracy! Your book disproves itself and STILL you believe it!

    It's all just so stupendously, mind numbingly asinine, I have trouble even knowing where to begin pointing out the myriad flaws in this whole cultish belief system.

    August 15, 2014 at 1:26 pm |
    • Theo Phileo

      You're not going to like this answer, but which author said "this is ONLY what Jesus said on the cross."

      If I told you that I spoke to a man at the grocery store today and told him what day it was, and then later a witness tells you that I spoke about a recipe. Would you call me a liar? What if the truth was that I was talking about a recipe for a 30 day cake and I told him what day it was, letting him know how far along I was on it.

      "Different" accounts do not mean "Conflicting" accounts. And in cases like the statements on the cross, sometimes it serves well to have a parallel Bible – that is, one that lists the synoptics side by side in columns to see how they mesh, and to get the complete picture of what happened. One author tells one part, another author tells another part, and all together they give the complete picture.

      August 15, 2014 at 1:36 pm |
      • Dyslexic doG

        Theo, I don't blame you. Your cognitive dissonance is so strong you don't even realize how disingenuous your justifications and analogies are. You don't feel ashamed at your explanations where anyone else unaffected by a cult and with any shred of dignity would not write such abject foolishness. You are a victim and you can't help it.

        The Bible, Christians say, is the perfect word of your god who is by your description a perfect being. As such, the bible should be PERFECT with no ambiguities and no interpretations and no contradictions and no errors. In its current historically flawed and factually flawed and contradictory and laughably fanciful state, it cannot be the word of a perfect being.

        There may or may not be a creator, but this flawed and foolish and primitive book cannot be his one message to the world.

        August 15, 2014 at 2:04 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          You forgot to call me a poo poo head.

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

          Ha!

          You are a poo-poo head. If you deny it, you are just displaying a cognitive dissonance. You can't deny that!

          August 15, 2014 at 2:20 pm |
        • Dyslexic doG

          nice dodge lads ...

          August 15, 2014 at 2:29 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          No one needs to point out the guy standing in line wearing the hat made of dog feces, though strangely we can only smell it when you open your mouths... is it some sort of dispenser hat?

          August 15, 2014 at 2:30 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          It's not a dodge... It's just that we've already gone through all of this before.

          OK, tell you what, get this booklet (it's free on Kindle) "Can I Trust the Bible?" by R.C. Sproul. It contains the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy and an explanation of it. It does a good job of laying out the issues you bring up.

          August 15, 2014 at 2:41 pm |
        • lunchbreaker

          Dyslexic doG, was that a Dodge Charger? That is nice.

          August 15, 2014 at 2:57 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          Dyslexic doG, was that a Dodge Charger? That is nice.
          --------------
          Just don't paint it orange and put a confederate navy jack on the roof...

          August 15, 2014 at 3:06 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          It really wasn't a dodge. It seems it is popular for some of the hostile anti-theists on this blog to throw that word at anyone that disagrees with their opinions. I'm not going to be so silly as claim it is based on their own cognitive dissonance – but it makes me skeptical of anyone that tells me I suffer from it.

          August 15, 2014 at 3:17 pm |
        • G to the T

          If I believe that the man dying on the cross was god incarnate, I'd make a point to write EVERYTHING he said down. To believe that Jesus said, "forgive them" and "why have you forsaken me" and "it is done" is to believe that none of the gospels are complete. I disagree – I believe each author was trying to say something specific and the words they chose to have Jesus say was a direct result of that intention.

          August 16, 2014 at 9:32 am |
        • kermit4jc

          very good GOP....plus....there were many people..witnesses at the cross (It was a public execution) and those who wrote the Gospels wee not there (with exception of John) and they had to rely on eyewitnesses..could one author reach all eyewitnesses? no...thus when you get multiple authors who are able to get to a more wide reach of eyewitnesses, then you can get the full picture with their accounts put together

          August 16, 2014 at 11:44 am |
        • hotairace

          The Chicago Statement – a bunch of Babble Humpers get together to state that The Babble is inerrant. While it explains how a subset of all Belief Humpers view The Babble, it is in no way definitive and absolute for all, believers or not. Questioning anything and everything in The Babble is perfectly legitimate – even if your cult forbids it.

          August 16, 2014 at 10:30 am |
    • Bob

      Great post, Dyslexic doG. Well said.

      August 15, 2014 at 1:42 pm |
  2. Vic

    ♰♰♰ Jesus Christ Is Lord ♰♰♰

    Early on the subject matter:
    http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2014/08/09/why-missionaries-put-their-lives-on-the-line/comment-page-1/#comment-3056974

    p.s. I see there have been recurring discussions over inaccuracies and contradictions in the Bible.

    Over the course of commenting here, I have always maintained that the Bible might have scribal, translational and/or interpretational errors regarding some details but the general narrative of God is clear enough.

    As the proverb says, "the devil is in the details."

    Throughout the past ten years, I have been reading and studying the Bible, some Christian theology, even Apocrypha, and many more, and what it all succumbs to is the same thing, that is "Salvation by the Grace of God through Faith ALONE in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior," and that's all I need.

    That's all folks.

    August 15, 2014 at 12:00 pm |
    • kudlak

      Vic
      "♰♰♰ Jesus Christ Is Lord ♰♰♰"
      Like all commercial slogans, it's catchy, but you have to demonstrate that it's accurate to me before I decide to buy.

      Here's a basic biblical contradiction for you; not just a minor detail, but one linked to the salvation theology you seem to think is key.

      God punishes Adam and Eve for disobeying him, but how can they be held accountable for doing that if they supposedly only gained the ability to tell right from wrong after they ate the fruit?

      August 15, 2014 at 12:58 pm |
      • Dalahäst

        Not necessarily. It could just be describing the consequence of what happened after they disobeyed. Maybe it is God prophesying what will happen. Or instead of just punishment, what God delivers is discipline. Perhaps there is a benign purpose in the work and pain we suffer in this world.

        August 15, 2014 at 1:20 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          God "Do not eat from the fruit of these two trees, the tree of the knowledge of good and bad and the tree of life"

          Adam "Why?"

          God "Because eating of them is bad..."

          Adam "So now I know the difference between good and bad?"

          God "Doh!"

          August 15, 2014 at 2:07 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Evil – Go ahead and eat it. Did God really say if you eat from it you will die? What does God know? You know better than God. Eat it. Trust me.

          August 15, 2014 at 2:13 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          Voice from the sky "Don't do it!"

          Voice from a snake "Do it!"

          Adam and Eve "We were decieved!"

          Voice from the sky "I don't care! Humanity forever unclean!"

          Voice from snake "Soooo, you don't want your new toys anymore?..."

          Voice from the sky "No! I'm too angry and I regret that I made them!"

          Voice from snake "Sooooo, I guess me and the guys can come play in your sandbox?"

          Voice from the sky "....."

          Voice from snake "I'll take that as a yes..."

          August 15, 2014 at 2:26 pm |
        • LaBella

          Why the Tree of Knowledge in the first place? He's God. He already knows.

          August 15, 2014 at 2:33 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          But we don't know.

          August 15, 2014 at 3:17 pm |
        • kudlak

          Dalahäst
          Do we blame our very young children for disobeying us before they've learned the difference between right and wrong? Seriously, we have to teach our children, give them the knowledge that disobeying us is the wrong thing to do, prior to our holding them accountable for their actions. If God did this first, sometime not mentioned in the story, then what was all that magic mumbo jumbo that happened just after they ate the fruit about? Clearly, eating the fruit supposedly did something to them, right?

          The whole concept of original sin depends upon humans first living in a utopia where pain and bad things simply didn't exist. The loss of that is supposedly what makes the fall of humanity such a tragic thing, so tragic that God had to intervene by sending Jesus, right? Without that, there simply isn't a reason for Jesus to be anyone's saviour.

          August 15, 2014 at 2:39 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          kudlak

          It isn't exactly the same as raising children. But it is important to teach children they are responsible for their actions. But I don't think that is entirely the point of the story in Genesis.

          August 15, 2014 at 3:21 pm |
        • kudlak

          Dalahäst
          You're missing the point. For the story to work, Adam and Eve must have known the difference between right and wrong before choosing to eat the thing that supposedly gave them that ability. How is this not a contradiction?

          August 17, 2014 at 2:04 pm |
      • Dalahäst

        Also, if you read scripture you know God is big on forgiveness and mercy. But when Adam and Eve not only disobey, but lie, hide, shift blame and feel shame about who they are – don't they rob God of his ability to forgive them? What if they would of just stopped and been honest with God, even after their mistake? Scripture says God created the world good, but not perfect. So mistakes will happen, but they will have consequences. We pay the price for the mistakes our ancestors make – like the pollution my Grandparents generation created releasing toxins into our environment. They had good intentions and didn't know what the negative impacts would have on others. Regardless, I have to live with their choices today – and do things like not eat too many fish from the waters near my home.

        August 15, 2014 at 1:26 pm |
      • kudlak

        Dalahäst
        Nope, it reads like a straightforward narrative so there's every indication that one of your workarounds were the intention here. The God of the Garden is pretty much just another typical example of gods at that time: anthropomorphically "walking" in his garden, unable to find the pair of humans he is keeping there, and ignorant of what they were doing once his back was turned.

        The rest of your apologetic still fails to answer the problem of when humans knew right from wrong. The Genesis story is a neat little myth to explain how evil entered the world and why women are to blame, like that of Pandora, but to be held accountable for one's actions one needs to have the knowledge of what's right and wrong, and the is story clearly describes that it was eating the fruit that supposedly gave this first pair that knowledge, which means that they were either incapable of knowing that disobeying God was wrong, or that eating the fruit didn't have the affect that God said it would.

        Also, if God's so big on forgiveness, why create such a convoluted scheme as Jesus having to die? Why not just forgive people, or even have Jesus come down just to announce that, no crucifixion necessary?

        Seems to me that it's far more likely that Jesus' followers had their minds set on his being the messiah long before that fateful Passover and, when he ended up on a cross, they created a whole new theology from cherry-picked snippets of the scriptures, making a Christian messiah out of Jesus and giving his death a meaning that it originally never had. Easy to do once Christians were made unwelcome in the synagogues and most new converts were gentiles use to the very un-Jewish concept of God having a demigod offspring. Once Christianity was at that stage there was no checking with the rabbis to realize that Jesus simply didn't match the Jewish messianic expectations.

        August 15, 2014 at 2:28 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          That is one way of looking at it. And while I don't claim to know the truth about it all, there is a lot of assumptions on your part that I disagree with. Most of what you describe I have considered and heard others express. But in no way is that the best explanation for everyone. Especially for me. But thanks for sharing.

          August 15, 2014 at 3:26 pm |
        • ragansteve1

          Kudlak,

          1. Women are not to blame. Adam did not have his arm twisted when he ate.

          2. Most new converts were not gentiles. 3,000 new converts were made 50 days after the crucifiction and all were in Jerusalem to celebrate a Jewish holiday. Thus, they were most likely Jews. Also, as Paul went about on his mission trips, he always went first to the synagogues. And third, Peter stayed in Jerusalem and grew the church there.

          3. If a bunch of people got together to make up a story, couldn’t they have thought of a better one? One more believable by people like yourself? And one more palatable to the authorities? One that would not get them persecuted and killed?

          4. If you tell your son, “Don’t play catch football in the house” and you come home to see a broken lamp, what do you say? Do you go directly and accuse him of doing what you said not to do? Or do you ask him questions, probably knowing the answers?

          5. Does your son know it is right or wrong to play catch football in the house even if you don’t explain to him that playing football in the house is wrong? It is sin because you are disobeying me, and it is also dangerous to the furniture. Or do you trust that simply telling him not to do it will result in his having the choice of obeying, or not?

          6. Forgiveness requires repentance and a penalty. Otherwise no lesson is learned. Jesus paid the penalty.

          I suspect that this explanation will not help you, but I hope I am wrong.

          August 15, 2014 at 4:52 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          well said ragan..good job on educating

          August 15, 2014 at 4:56 pm |
        • kudlak

          Dalahäst
          Have you considered whether you may not be impartial to the subject matter, and that your desire for traditional Christian beliefs to be true is clouding your judgment in these things?

          August 17, 2014 at 1:40 pm |
        • kudlak

          ragansteve1
          1. Of course women are made to blame. The snake didn't talk to them both. Adam listened to his wife, which turned out to be a big mistake. A cautionary tale for all men out there.

          2. I was talking about new converts by the time Christian scripture was being written, decades after the crucifixion.

          3. I never claimed that Jesus was cut out of whole cloth. Most likely, a real Jesus was a preacher who got himself crucified by the Romans. That's completely in character with the Romans and Pilate. Making the Romans into the innocents and laying the blame upon the Jewish leadership was making it more palatable to the authorities. Christian persecution was likely not as extensive as Christians like to believe.

          4. Nope. God is clearly ignorant of where these people are, if you read the passage literally. What you're doing is creating a different meaning from the literal text.

          5. My son would not have known that it was wrong to play football in the house until he gained that knowledge. The Tree of Knowledge supposedly was the thing that gave the first people that understanding.

          6. What penalty? The actual people whose souls Jesus' sacrificed himself for never suffered anything for this gesture, and Jesus dying on the cross would have been as upsetting for God as my losing a life in a video game.

          August 17, 2014 at 1:56 pm |
        • kudlak

          kermit4jc
          Repeating imaginative apologetics is not "educating".

          August 17, 2014 at 2:01 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          Oh..right..explaining something is useless...so I guess scientists should stop explaining and clarifying things

          August 17, 2014 at 5:06 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          you don't seem to understand what Apologetics is...in fact you don't seem to understand the Greek term used there by Peter

          August 17, 2014 at 5:07 pm |
        • ragansteve1

          Kudlak,

          Sorry, but after 25 minutes of struggle with disqus, my response to your post above ended up at the top of the thread on page 8. I am not sure how it got there, but I am not going to try to post it again.

          August 17, 2014 at 3:16 pm |
        • kudlak

          kermit4jc
          Apologetics doesn't really explain things like science does, however. I've read some fairly good apologetics that use form criticism, for example, to reveal the probable intended meaning of some scripture, but most of the stuff out there today seems like it was just the work of some armchair theologian's imagination.

          They get away with it because way too many believers out there just seem to want explanations for the many criticisms levelled against what the Bible actually says, and they're willing to just accept explanations without ever fact-checking them. They just want childlike reassurance.

          Where science will pick over any offered explanation for anything through peer review, apologists will most often go so far as to demonize their critics, most of whom actually turn out to be far better qualified in the field than they happen to be. That's the difference.

          August 18, 2014 at 12:14 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          so science is the only tool to explain things? so when you explain to your kid that he is not to have candy, you use science to explain why? come on...apologetics explains the literature, the intent of the author, you seem to be against education, and against explaining anything to anyone. science explains science. apologetics is not about science....its using reasoning...and I guess yo are against that too....

          August 18, 2014 at 4:16 pm |
        • evidencenot

          @kudlak... "What you're doing is creating a different meaning from the literal text."

          Oh man!.... we don't see much of that do we! (LOL)

          August 18, 2014 at 12:17 pm |
        • kudlak

          evidencenot
          Yup! That's what you get when you assume a never-changing God, communicating through set text, who happens to agree with whatever contemporary believers happen to believe in throughout the ages. The text just has to agree with whatever your society presently holds as self-evident, so the trick them must be to read between the lines, or come up with some intelligent-sounding new interpretation of scripture that magically makes the Bible say what you want it to. Works fine for the vast numbers not actually interesting in whether the Bible actually agrees with what they believe, eh?

          August 18, 2014 at 2:01 pm |
        • LaBella

          Kermit,

          "Science investigates. Religion interprets. Science gives man knowledge which is power. Religion gives man wisdom which is control. Science deals mainly with facts, religion deals mainly with values.
          The two are not rivals, they are complementary.
          Science keeps religion from sinking into the valley of crippling irrationalism and paralyzing obscurantism. Religion prevents science from falling into the marsh of obsolete materialism and moral nihilism.”
          Martin Luther King jr.

          August 18, 2014 at 4:21 pm |
        • kudlak

          kermit4jc
          Science isn't the only means of explaining things, but the rest, like religion, poetry, art, philosophy ... , are all far more susceptible to subjective human interpretation. Science will tell you that eating a greasy cheeseburger isn't very good for you, but the rest may convince you that it just tastes too good to resist. Which is the actual "truth" is also a matter of debate, eh?

          Textual criticism explains the literature, the intent of the author and such. Apologetics is what lesser educated religious "authorities" pass onto believers more interested in justifying their preconceived notions than discovering what the text originally intended to say. What I see happening is a battle between armchair theologians who simply know that the Bible is literally true, and that their interpretation is the correct one and professional scholars from the finest schools, whose works are peer reviewed and extensively notarized, revealing that this is not the case.

          I find it interesting that much apologetics relies on overly ornate, twisting language and metaphor to make it's point where science just lets the data speak for itself, without having to use persuasive language and tactics to convince people. In a sense, it's like the difference between buying a car based on trustworthy reviews on it's safety, performance, reliability and such, and buying a car based on how friendly the salesman is and how fast he can talk. Scientists show the truth, where preachers and apologists try to talk you into seeing their way as the truth. That's how I see it.

          August 19, 2014 at 1:33 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          I also find it interesting yo ucannot back up your claim of it being teisting...how is using context twisting? are yu hateful of context? do you like to communicate without using context so you can make up any BS you want to say?

          August 19, 2014 at 4:48 pm |
        • kudlak

          kermit4jc
          "Context" is perfectly fine. It's what actual biblical scholars use to determine original meanings. Too often, however, apologists seem to invent "contexts" to support their assertions.

          August 20, 2014 at 12:28 am |
    • Vic

      While I don't necessarily know what's in people's hearts and minds, I would like to note that over the course of commenting here, from the conversations I have seen and the unusual bombardments I have myself experienced—directed at me, there might be malice; therefore, beware of cyber watchdogs that can detect criminal intents.

      August 15, 2014 at 1:31 pm |
      • kudlak

        What kind of "malice" are you imagining?

        August 15, 2014 at 2:01 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      "As the proverb says, "the devil is in the details."
      ----------------
      Is this a proverb? Not from Proverbs, right?

      I thought it was a derivative of "God is the detail", a variant of "Deus ex machina" (God from the machine), an expression that essentially means "God did it", explaining away an essentially inexplicable plot twist.

      August 15, 2014 at 2:36 pm |
    • Vic

      Regarding the question about Adam & Eve:

      Before I even got to the question mark, I knew it was a false premise, and Genesis 3:1-7 flashed in my mind. How could Adam & Eve not know right from wrong when it was a direct "command" from God not eat from the "Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil?!"

      In all honesty, I decided to respond just right at this moment for the sake of the Lord.

      August 15, 2014 at 5:33 pm |
  3. lunchbreaker

    Theo Phileo

    Wasp,
    I said this above, but it bears repeating here.
    If I told you that my great uncle died and left us some money, and with that money, we bought some land. From then on, I referred to it as the land that Uncle Tommy bought us, or this was Uncle Tommy's land, would you be hard pressed to understand my meaning?

    August 15, 2014 at 8:55 am |

    __________________________________________________

    To fit the analogy your story should follow like this:

    You tell person A that your uncle left you some money and you used that money to buy land.
    You tell person B that your uncle bought you a piece of land.
    Person A tells person C that ,"your uncle left you some money and you used that money to buy land."
    Later, person B tells person C that,"your uncle bought you a piece of land."
    You are not around to clarfy, so Person C can only speculate as to what really happen.

    August 15, 2014 at 11:49 am |
    • Theo Phileo

      No, because Matthew and Acts were both told by different people who both knew what had happened. They wrote about what was most pressing to them about the story at the time. They give accouts that are "different," but not "conflicting." This happens all the time. And "differing" accounts like this actually aid in completing the picture.

      August 15, 2014 at 11:57 am |
      • lunchbreaker

        I never said the stories conflicted. The two statements about your uncle do not conflict.

        We see Judas hung himself.
        We see Judas burst at the bottom of a cliff.
        It is your own assumtion as to whether these are 2 different stories or two parts of the same story.

        August 15, 2014 at 12:36 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          It is your own assumtion as to whether these are 2 different stories or two parts of the same story.
          ---------------
          No, it is the unbiased determination of theologians for the last two millenia, brought about by intensive study of manuscripts within their resepctive languages and contexts. Perhaps it is your as.sumption that concludes they DO conflict?

          August 15, 2014 at 1:16 pm |
        • zhilla1980wasp

          theo: the two stories do conflict.

          what did judah do with the money?
          how did judah die?
          -----

          what i mean is what your "holy book" said he did; not what you "believe/think" judah did.
          -----

          one story (acts) said he bought land and fell on it bursting open.
          the other story ( matthews) said he threw the money in the temple then hung himself.
          -----

          now you can "fill in the blanks" if you like by building a "story" that would fit both passages; however that would be lieing.

          your perfect supreme being "inspired" this book; so why is there such a discrepancy about what judah did with the money and how he died?
          why leave the story so opne that you have to tell it two different ways in two different books about the same event and person?
          shouldn't explaining once by giving greater details about what happen to him in one story be enough.......unless it's an edited story by the humans that were inpower at that point in time; hmmmmmm let's see only those born of noble blood or were involved in the priesthood would have had the knowledge of how to read and write.......nah they wouldn't ever tamper with "god's holy book" lmfao

          August 15, 2014 at 2:05 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          OK, what does "lmfao" mean? I keep seeing that in posts...

          August 15, 2014 at 2:15 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          laughing my fugging ass off

          August 15, 2014 at 2:18 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          Wow... And precisely what part of being mature means that you must use swearing in order to make a point?

          August 15, 2014 at 2:24 pm |
        • LaBella

          Well, you did ask for the definition of lmfao, Theo.

          August 15, 2014 at 2:29 pm |
        • lunchbreaker

          Once again, I did not say they conflicted. It is very possible Judas hung himself on the edge of a cliff overlloking the field and then the rope broke and his body plumeted and went splop. That statement does not conflict with Matthew or Acts, but at the same time that complete thought is not in the Bible. I just implied that possibly only one could be correct, not that one conflicts with the other. I am not a theologian so I will not claim I know that. But all I personally know is what I can read in the Bible.

          Also, Theo, I am rather enjoying the exchange of ideas, I apologize if I have come of in anyway uncivil.

          August 15, 2014 at 2:31 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          Well, you did ask for the definition of lmfao, Theo.
          -----------------
          I know, I know... I won't do that no more...

          August 15, 2014 at 2:32 pm |
        • LaBella

          Theo,
          Urban Dictionary is good for these things.

          August 15, 2014 at 2:35 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          Urban Dictionary is good for these things.
          ----------------
          OK, I don't know why, but that reminds me of the Cotton Patch Bible... It was a version made specifically for Southern US, particularly for folks around Atlanta...

          Matthew 2:13 – After they had checked out, the Lord's messenger made connection with Joseph in a dream and said, "Get moving, and take your wife and baby and highball it to Mexico."

          Matthew 3:4-6 – "This guy John was dressed in blue jeans and a leather jacket, and he was living on corn bread and collard greens. Folks were coming to him from Atlanta and all over North Georgia and the backwater of the Chattahoochee. And as they owned up to their crooked ways, he dipped them in the Chattahoochee."

          Matthew 9:17 – "Nor do people put new tubes in old, bald tires. If they do the tires will blow out, and the tubes will be ruined and the tires will be torn up. But they put new tubes in new tires and both give good mileage."

          August 15, 2014 at 2:49 pm |
        • LaBella

          Lol. That's nuts, Theo.
          You can also just type in the acronym into Google and the results page should tell you what you need to know.

          August 15, 2014 at 2:53 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          Also, Theo, I am rather enjoying the exchange of ideas, I apologize if I have come of in anyway uncivil.
          -----------------
          Not at all. In fact, let me make the same statement – I do enjoy these theological discussion, and if I have come across as crass, it is only due to the format of "sound bytes" here, it was not intentional. If we were sitting across from one another having this discussion over a cheeseburger, you'd see that I'm not upset in the least.

          I may struggle to explain something, but that's different.

          And I'm not trying to accuse you of saying that the stories conflict. I'm merely explaining that they don't, out of necessity conflict just because they differ. Indeed we must ask, did the writer of Acts know what actually happened? To answer that, we've got to ask how he went about writing the book of Acts. Luke was a careful researcher (Luke 1:1-4), and an accurate historian, displaying an intimate knowledge of Roman law and customs, as well as the geography of Palestine, Asia Minor, and Italy. In writing Acts, Luke drew on written sources (Acts 15:23-29, 23:26-30), and also no doubt interviewed key figures such as Peter, John, and others in the Jerusalem church.

          So, with that in mind, why would Luke get this point about Judas SO wrong? Well, knowing what we do about him, we must conclude that Judas hung himself (as in Matthew) but ALSO he fell headlong and burst open. So we must put the two together, knowing how studious he was.

          August 15, 2014 at 3:01 pm |
        • lunchbreaker

          Theo, shows you how much I know "about" the Bible, despite how much I know what's "in" the Bible. I must admit I didn't even know it was the same author of both books. 14 years of attending a private Christian school and I didn't learn that, I should complain to the current superintendant.

          August 15, 2014 at 3:19 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          I must admit I didn't even know it was the same author of both books.
          -----------–
          Huh? If I implied that Luke wrote both Acts and Matthew, I didn't intend to. The canonicity and Matthean authorship of the book of Matthew are well understood.

          To illustrate, it was unchallenged in the early church:

          Eusebius (265-339AD) Quotes Origen (185-254) – "Among the four gospels, which are the only indisputable ones in the Church of God under heaven, I have learned that the first was written by Matthew, who was once a publican, but afterwards an apostle of Jesus Christ, and it was prepared for the converts from Judaism." (Ecclesiastical History, 6:25)

          August 15, 2014 at 3:42 pm |
        • lunchbreaker

          "Huh?" is right. That was my bad Theo, it's one of those days my brain is on the fritz. I was mixing up about 3 different topics in my head.

          August 15, 2014 at 3:52 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          "Huh?" is right. That was my bad Theo, it's one of those days my brain is on the fritz. I was mixing up about 3 different topics in my head.
          -------------
          But hey, it's Friday. And just to show our appreciation, let's knock off now and take the next two days off!

          August 15, 2014 at 3:57 pm |
        • lunchbreaker

          Peace out. Anchors away homeslice.

          August 15, 2014 at 4:04 pm |
  4. lunchbreaker

    Suppose there is a God that gave divine inspiration to humans for scripture to be written. The scripture itself says 100% of humans are fallible. So how does one trust a book to be 100% accurate when the book itself says the authors have a 100% chance of being fallible?

    August 15, 2014 at 10:47 am |
    • LaBella

      "A witch!"

      August 15, 2014 at 10:49 am |
      • Lucifer's Evil Twin

        CROWD: A witch! A witch! A witch! We've got a witch! A witch!
        VILLAGER #1: We have found a witch, might we burn her?
        CROWD: Burn her! Burn!
        BEDEMIR: How do you know she is a witch?
        VILLAGER #2: She looks like one.
        BEDEMIR: Bring her forward.
        WITCH: I'm not a witch. I'm not a witch.
        BEDEMIR: But you are dressed as one.
        WITCH: They dressed me up like this.
        CROWD: No, we didn't... no.
        WITCH: And this isn't my nose, it's a false one.
        BEDEMIR: Well?
        VILLAGER #1: Well, we did do the nose.
        BEDEMIR: The nose?
        VILLAGER #1: And the hat - but she is a witch!
        CROWD: Burn her! Witch! Witch! Burn her!
        BEDEMIR: Did you dress her up like this?
        CROWD: No, no... no ... yes. Yes, yes, a bit, a bit.
        VILLAGER #1: She has got a wart.
        BEDEMIR: What makes you think she is a witch?
        VILLAGER #3: Well, she turned me into a newt.
        BEDEMIR: A newt?
        VILLAGER #3: I got better.
        VILLAGER #2: Burn her anyway!
        CROWD: Burn! Burn her!

        August 15, 2014 at 11:12 am |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          – Tell me, what do you do with witches?
          – Burn them!
          – And what do you burn, apart from witches?
          – More witches! – Wood!
          – So why do witches burn?
          – 'Cause they're made of wood? – Good!
          – How do we tell if she is made of wood? – Build a bridge out of her.
          – But can you not also make bridges out of stone?
          – Oh, yeah.
          – Does wood sink in water?
          – No, it floats. – Throw her into the pond!
          – What also floats in water?
          – Bread. – Apples.
          – Very small rocks. – Cider! Great gravy.
          – Cherries. Mud. – Churches.
          – Lead. – A duck!
          – Exactly.
          – So, logically–
          – If she weighs the same as a duck...
          – she's made of wood.
          – And therefore?
          – A witch!
          – A duck! A duck! – Here's a duck.
          – We shaIl use my largest scales.- Tell me, what do you do with witches?
          – Burn them!
          – And what do you burn, apart from witches?
          – More witches! – Wood!
          – So why do witches burn?
          – 'Cause they're made of wood? – Good!
          – How do we tell if she is made of wood? – Build a bridge out of her.
          – But can you not also make bridges out of stone?
          – Oh, yeah.
          – Does wood sink in water?
          – No, it floats. – Throw her into the pond!
          – What also floats in water?
          – Bread. – Apples.
          – Very small rocks. – Cider! Great gravy.
          – Cherries. Mud. – Churches.
          – Lead. – A duck!
          – Exactly.
          – So, logically–
          – If she weighs the same as a duck...
          – she's made of wood.
          – And therefore?
          – A witch!
          – A duck! A duck! – Here's a duck.
          – We shaIl use my largest scales.

          August 15, 2014 at 11:16 am |
        • LaBella

          Exactly!

          August 15, 2014 at 1:45 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      100% of humans are fallible in 100% of the things they do, even under divine inspiration?

      August 15, 2014 at 10:50 am |
      • Tom, Tom, the Other One

        But then, if humans are a flawed creation of God, then God is itself capable of flawed creations. Is the Bible one?

        August 15, 2014 at 10:53 am |
    • Theo Phileo

      Because even those who are fallible can write something that is without error. Just because fallible people CAN be in error, It doesn't necessarily follow that EVERYTHING that fallible people do is in error.

      For instance, I am fallible, but I can write something that is without error such as "water is composed of 2 Hydrogen and 1 Oxygen atoms."

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

        I didn't say everything a fallible person does is fallacious. But how can we be 100% certain that the fallible writers did not make an error when writing the Bible. As you said they CAN be in error, so why not something they they put in the Bible?

        August 15, 2014 at 11:26 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          how can we be 100% certain that the fallible writers did not make an error when writing the Bible. As you said they CAN be in error, so why not something they they put in the Bible?
          -------------------
          The Bible was written by over 40 different authors over a period of 1600 years. If we had some doctrine that was taught in one isolated place that was backed up nowhere else, and seemed to contradict everything else, then we would have reason to be suspi.cious. And this would be an indication that the writer was in error. For the Bible teaches that "to the law and the prophets, if what they are saying is not in accordance to these, it is because they have no light."

          Upon reading however, we learn that all of the different authors writing in different settings, and in different times all have one hero, it is the Messiah, it has one villain, that is Satan, and it has one theme, and that is redemption.

          In a sea of perfect continuity, error is seen as that which contradicts. Although scribes have certainly introduced what are effectively "typos" in translation over the years, the Bible shows no evidence of contradiction in doctrine.

          August 15, 2014 at 11:43 am |
    • Dalahäst

      Look at how Jesus communicated. He would often use parables that those who knew him understood. But the self-righteous and proud people who listened in did not understand, and sometimes got so angry they were ready to commit murder.

      I am careful to not make an idol out of the Bible. The Bible points to God. It is not God. In Jesus time, those who professed to know God's word and ways the best – didn't. They followed a law, but had very little love.

      August 15, 2014 at 11:15 am |
      • Fallacy Spotting 101

        Post by 'Dalahäst' presents a form of the Secret Decoder Ring fallacy.

        http://fallacyfiles.org/glossary.html

        August 15, 2014 at 11:28 am |
        • Dalahäst

          You might be the worst fallacy spotter ever. I wasn't in a debate, nor telling other people what they have to believe or what is and isn't logical. I was sharing my opinion and understanding.

          August 15, 2014 at 11:35 am |
        • Terry

          Good try but Falla nailed you on that one Dala. Assume the position and take it. Feet apart. Hands on your ankles.

          August 15, 2014 at 11:47 am |
        • Dalahäst

          Ever notice Fallacy Spotting 101 only spots fallacies of believers, but ignores the ones atheists and non-believers commit? Who do you think is posting those? If you are on an iPhone you can see the Avatar and might notice it is used by another poster who changes their name frequently, Terry.

          August 15, 2014 at 12:08 pm |
        • MidwestKen

          dalahast,
          Perhaps, but isn't saying that a non-sequitor or red herring in itself?

          August 15, 2014 at 12:21 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          If speculating that the anonymous person calling me out might have double standards and dubious motives is a red herring – so be it. It is not like you've never made similar logical fallacies yourself. We all have.

          August 15, 2014 at 12:49 pm |
        • LaBella

          "Thank you, Sir! May I please have another?"

          August 15, 2014 at 1:44 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          I know "Fallacy Spotting 101" has posted under at least 3 different names on this page alone.

          August 15, 2014 at 2:01 pm |
    • kermit4jc

      using the argument that if there is a God...humans are fallible ON THEIR OWN.....but with God they can be truthful...got it?

      August 15, 2014 at 3:27 pm |
      • lunchbreaker

        "using the argument that if there is a God...humans are fallible ON THEIR OWN.....but with God they can be truthful...got it?"

        "Can" be truthful does not equate to "will" be truthful. What's to stop the divinely inspired from lying?

        But, my point was not about honesty, but accuracy.

        August 15, 2014 at 4:02 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          God knows these people and he will guide them to accuracy (not that he controls their mind)

          August 15, 2014 at 4:04 pm |
        • lunchbreaker

          Fair enough.

          August 15, 2014 at 4:08 pm |
  5. Reality

    A modern view of baptism from a Catholic graduate theology class:

    "The story of Adam and Eve is only symbolic.

    This story was composed in the 900s BCE and functions as an etiology (explanatory myth) .

    In the 900s Israel was self ruling, under King David and Solomon. The people were no longer at war and the question."

    Why are we not happy?" may have been asked. The short answer is sin. (Look at 1 Kings 11 for some clues into why the story depicts Eve sinning first and then tempting Adam [Solomon] is therefore only symbolic of man's tendencies to sin.

    Baptism does not erase original sin since the sin does not exist. The old "laundry of the soul," approach to Baptism is no longer accepted.

    Infant Baptism is only a rite of initiation and commits parents and godparents to bringing up the child in a Christian home."

    And if there was no Adam and Eve, it follows that there was no biblical Noah. see also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noah's_Ark#Other_flood_stories

    August 15, 2014 at 8:30 am |
    • Theo Phileo

      The problem that the Catholic theologian faces is that Jesus quoted Genesis 2 (in Matthew 19:4-6), referring to the story of Adam and Eve as historical narrative. Therefore, if Jesus was God, then He would certainly know if the story were merely figurative. Since the Bible shows Jesus interpreting Genesis as literal, not figurative, then the Catholic must be saying that he feels rather that Jesus was not God, because in his view, Jesus was in error in interpreting Genesis.

      Until the Catholic theologian repents of the idea of synergistic salvation, then he persists in believing in a non-Biblical God.

      August 15, 2014 at 8:38 am |
      • Dalahäst

        But in Matthew 19 4-6, Jesus doesn't literally mention Adam and Eve. And it sounds more like Jesus saying that God created man and woman to be together. He is making that reference in regards to whether a husband can divorce his wife (I think it is implied for any reason). It is difficult to say he was teaching that the Adam and Eve story should be taken literally from those passages.

        August 15, 2014 at 11:43 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          Before there was written scripture, God chose to speak to His messengers in person (Exodus 33:11). This ensured that what Moses would write about creation, Adam and Eve, etc., and those things to which there was no human witness, would be accurate, he heard them straight from the lips of God (theophany / Christophany).

          Exodus 33:11 – Thus the Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend.

          Numbers 7:89 – And when Moses went into the tent of meeting to speak with the Lord, he heard the voice speaking to him from above the mercy seat that was on the ark of the testimony, from between the two cherubim; and it spoke to him.

          Deuteronomy 34:10 – And there has not arisen a prophet since in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face

          Numbers 12:8 – With him I speak mouth to mouth, clearly, and not in riddles, and he beholds the form of the Lord.

          This statement alone (Numbers 12:8) tells us that the Genesis account of creation is literal and not figurative. For if it were intended to be figurative, that would be a form of a riddle, and God’s own words deny this. God discourses with Moses freely and familiarly, and without any confusion or consternation, such as was sometimes the case with other prophets such as Ezekiel, and John himself, when God spoke to them. By other prophets God sent to his people reproofs, and predictions of good or evil, which were properly enough delivered in dark speeches, figures, types, and parables; but by Moses he gave accounts of creation, laws to his people, and the inst.itution of holy ordinances, which could by no means be delivered by dark speeches, but must be expressed in the plainest and most intelligible manner.

          August 15, 2014 at 11:53 am |
        • Dalahäst

          I have a tough time understanding that origin story as being a literal description of what happened. It contains a talking snake, for one. When I view it as something like a parable, it starts to make more sense. Especially given the audience the story was originally written for. People who were different from me that would have a hard time understanding an actual literal description of what happened. I don't think even today human beings are capable of completely understanding or describing literally what happened.

          From that story I do find a God who offers mercy and forgiveness. If I'm supposed to take that story a literal – yet can't – I pray he have mercy and forgiveness on me. I believe He wants me to follow Jesus' way. I'm sure I can do this, regardless if I believe literally, spiritually or dubiously the truths revealed about God and us in that story.

          If He wants me to literally believe it – He can let me know. I'm open to his guidance in that direction.

          August 15, 2014 at 12:04 pm |
        • joey3467

          The only way to take the creation account found in Genesis is literally wrong.

          August 15, 2014 at 11:57 am |
        • Jill

          Personally, I think what god was saying there is that Adam should have just followed his heart and married that beautiful curvy snake called Steve and slithered with Steve forever, rather than getting down in the dirty with that Eve cat and her less-than-straight-pigtailed sister Hermione. Just think where we wouldn't be today if Adam and Steve had tied up in knots.

          August 15, 2014 at 12:10 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          If He wants me to literally believe it – He can let me know. I'm open to his guidance in that direction.
          -----------------
          The life of all believers is characterized as a lifelong progression in sanctification. We are all constantly learning, and building on foundations that we laid long before we arrived.

          Although I don't think that one's take on Genesis stories are directly savlific in and of themselves, it does drive your view of who God is. Specifically, is God sovereign? (Meaning absolute rule) And does God possess the ability to step in and directly intervein in His creation through miracles?

          If you answer yes to both of those questions, then it's just a question of exegesis. And that is much simpler.

          August 15, 2014 at 12:54 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          A non-literal understanding of the origin stories (there are 2) presented in Genesis does not take sovereignty from God, nor prevent him from doing anything. God, not the story, is what has authority. For me the story reveals truths about God and our relationship with Him. And that there are origins of things like dishonesty, shame and blame – and those origins are not from God. I also learn that we live in a world where there are voices that oppose God. But God's voice is also present and I can choose which to listen to and follow. When I take it to be more than just literal – deeper and more meaningful truths are revealed.

          August 15, 2014 at 1:08 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          foundations that we laid long before we arrived.
          ---------
          *foundations that WERE laid...*

          August 15, 2014 at 12:55 pm |
        • lunchbreaker

          If we interpret Genesis literally, When God said, "Let there be light.", who was He talking too?

          August 15, 2014 at 12:58 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          If we interpret Genesis literally, When God said, "Let there be light.", who was He talking too?
          --------------------
          The triune Godhead was present.
          The Bible tells us that God created by the word of the mouth.
          Psalm 33:6 – "by the word of the Lord the heavens were made..."
          Psalm 148:5 – "...for He commanded and they were created."

          August 15, 2014 at 1:13 pm |
        • LaBella

          Theo,
          Isn't that a very wordy way of saying "Himself?"

          August 15, 2014 at 1:17 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          For me the story reveals...
          --------------
          With all due respect, this is where I take issue. When exegeting any passage, we must determine authorial intent – we must never begin with "what this means to me." The Scripture may have many applications, but it can only have one actual meaning, and that is the author's intent.

          If a portion of scripture is told as historical narrative, such as the flood, or Jonah, or the crucifixion, or the day of Pentacost, how then can we impose figurative intent when internal evidence demands that it is historical narrative?

          We may lay figurative language on the visions of Daniel, or John the Revelator, and at the same time we know that their figurative language carries an actual meaning. But when a passage is told as historical narrative, and a charge of figurative language is laid upon it, then when do we stop? Do we then accuse all of scripture of being figurative?

          I guess the point is this: How do you draw a line between historical narrative and figurative language? Is it at the point of the miraculous? Or do we instead take our cues from internal evidence?

          (Once again, please understand I say all this with deep respect, and I do not intent to offend)

          August 15, 2014 at 1:25 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          When I look at what Jesus says is important – what difference does it make whether one literally knows exactly what happened – or gets a general understanding of the spirit of the message? What matters is what we do today.

          Didn't Jesus have problems with people who thought their interpretation of scripture was the right one? And didn't he show (using parables) they often were missing the point of what God wants from us?

          Jesus often had to use examples outside of his religious tradition to explain what God really wanted. I can imagine if he came back today he might have to do that again.

          August 15, 2014 at 1:29 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          Isn't that a very wordy way of saying "Himself?"
          ----------
          Nah... When we make anything, it is generally through the use of our hands. God is spirit, and does not have hands, instead we learn that His method of creation was through speech. (God doesn't have lips or vocal chords either, so that brings up other questions) But we can only speak what we are told. And we are told that God created by speaking.

          August 15, 2014 at 1:28 pm |
        • LaBella

          Theo,
          I meant no disrespect when I say "Himself."
          Because that, essentially, is what He is doing.

          August 15, 2014 at 1:30 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          I meant no disrespect when I say "Himself."
          Because that, essentially, is what He is doing.
          ----------------
          Nah, no offense taken at all *smile*
          If you look at it in the sense that there was no one else there since they had not yet been created, and creation itself had not yet been created, then God was for all intents and purposes speaking to none other than God, Himself.

          August 15, 2014 at 1:44 pm |
        • LaBella

          God and I share that trait, Theo. Lol.

          August 15, 2014 at 1:48 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          what difference does it make whether one literally knows exactly what happened
          -----------------
          Because if we pay no heed to the distinctions between "historical narrative" and "figurative" language then we open up the possibility that all of scripture is figurative, including the concept of Jesus, Himself. And if that is the case, "if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins." (1 Cor. 15:17)

          August 15, 2014 at 1:49 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          I don't know of Jesus just by something I've read, though. I've seen people who take a literal understanding of the Bible turn around and do horrible things. So a literal understanding of scripture won't save us. Jesus saves us. The scripture points to Jesus as the one who saves.

          August 15, 2014 at 1:56 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          God and I share that trait, Theo. Lol.
          -------------
          What's that, you mean talking to yourself?
          Well the really cool part about that is that you always win all of your arguments. But what sucks about that is that you always also lose all your arguments!

          August 15, 2014 at 1:51 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          "we open up the possibility that all of scripture is figurative, including the concept of Jesus, Himself. And if that is the case, "if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins."

          Exactly, which is why you can never crtically examine your own belief system because if you truely challenged it you would be opening up that possibility that you are wrong and you just can't accept that. It's like they are saying "Sure there are thousands of different versions of gods believed in and hundreds of millions of people do not believe like I do, but I know i'm right and they are wrong, because, quite simply, i'm awesome!"

          August 15, 2014 at 1:56 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          Exactly, which is why you can never crtically examine your own belief system because if you truely challenged it you would be opening up that possibility that you are wrong and you just can't accept that.
          --------------------–
          That is the exact job of theologians. Through both higher and lower criticism, the critical examination of the Bible goes on in universities all the time.

          It's like they are saying "Sure there are thousands of different versions of gods believed in and hundreds of millions of people do not believe like I do, but I know i'm right and they are wrong, because, quite simply, i'm awesome!"
          ----------------------
          Please read "Jesus Among other Gods" by Ravi Zacharius. Please, I'm begging you.

          August 15, 2014 at 2:05 pm |
        • joey3467

          The study of theology, as it stands in the Christian churches, is the study of nothing; it is founded on nothing; it rests on no principles; it proceeds by no authority; it has no data; it can demonstrate nothing; and it admits of no conclusion.
          – Thomas Paine

          August 15, 2014 at 3:02 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          Wow, so Thomas Paine really didn't know anything about theology did he?

          August 15, 2014 at 3:08 pm |
        • joey3467

          Theo I think he summed it up perfectly.

          August 15, 2014 at 3:41 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          Theo I think he summed it up perfectly.
          ------------
          Really? Ewww, stop thinking then...

          August 15, 2014 at 3:44 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          It is a popular quote with many anti-theists, so it is not surprising you would like it.

          But his statement is actually itself based on nothing.

          August 15, 2014 at 3:47 pm |
        • LaBella

          Theo,
          Lol, yes, talk to myself. I problem solve that way...
          I don't, however, argue with myself. My name isn't Sybil.

          August 15, 2014 at 3:55 pm |
    • zhilla1980wasp

      reality: you will love this link, i'm enjoying it's walk through history.

      LINK: http://www.rense.com/general66/hide.htm

      August 15, 2014 at 8:45 am |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Let's hear what our Jewish friends have to say about GENESIS 1.

      The notion of Protestant interpreters and Protestant literalists or Catholic interpreters is really pretty absurd.

      Jews wrote it, it is their creation story. What do Jews think it means?

      August 15, 2014 at 2:40 pm |
      • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

        I will suggest that "if you ask two Rabbis you get three answers" is part of the response.

        August 15, 2014 at 2:41 pm |
      • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

        The topic is Adam and Eve and the fall, so I guess I meant GENESIS 3.

        August 15, 2014 at 2:55 pm |
      • Theo Phileo

        2 Corinthians 3:14-16 – But their minds were hardened; for until this very day at the reading of the old covenant the same veil remains unlifted, because it is removed in Christ. But to this day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their heart; but whenever a person turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.

        August 15, 2014 at 3:46 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          @ GOPer be careful which Jews though...much of todays Jews don't follow the Biblical Jews theology in full. They are called Rabbinical Jews, and the changes came about in the 70s AD when the Temple was destroyed. then also yuou have other types of Jews, so make sure to check with Jews who practice as before Jesus time and during....

          August 15, 2014 at 3:51 pm |
      • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

        So you two appear to think the Jews are all apostates.

        I think it's their book, their rules, not yours.

        August 15, 2014 at 4:25 pm |
        • LaBella

          But of course.
          And the Jewish people are persecuted for not accepting the Christian Messiah.

          August 15, 2014 at 4:40 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          yes, unfortunately many Christians do persecute them..but that's Unbiblical to do so

          August 15, 2014 at 4:54 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          which Jews? the only "apostates" are those who don't accept Jesus as Savior..there are MANY Jews who do accept him as savior..the first Christians were Jews

          August 15, 2014 at 4:51 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          GOper the Rabbinical Jews do ont accept much of oT, in fact there are a number of them who don't even believe God exists!

          August 15, 2014 at 4:52 pm |
        • austin929

          Bella. persecuted is different than committing to a curse that is natural. did God himself curse us for our sin, or was the effect of sin a curse ..............the natural effect of the contamination of the flesh that came from a choice to rebel from God's word?

          what is the curse we see in Iraq for that war of man? another bad reaction. Islaam copying the old testament curse. killing the men. ......keeping the women. this is the way of the bondage that Christ changes . He finalized our freedom by His grace.

          Israel is not cursed. They are rejecting their grace. America rejects God's grace when they start a war reaction, through the oppressions of war. everything has a natural consequence.

          Israel is grappling like America is.................without grace ruling , and mercy, and peace..............its rejected. and Israel and America will receive the natural curse that comes when you entice evil...........when you provoke evil.

          August 15, 2014 at 5:00 pm |
        • austin929

          Jews did not provoke Hiler. there are obviously 2 different causes for their suffering

          I should not have to name them for you.

          every story has two view points to consider. there is not one simple reason.
          for example.........how about the Palestinian people.......? they shoot rockets, yet their children are still murdered.

          August 15, 2014 at 5:04 pm |
  6. zhilla1980wasp

    @ kermie:

    Acts 1:18New International Version (NIV)
    18 (With the payment he received for his wickedness, Judas bought a field; there he fell headlong, his body burst open and all his intestines spilled out.

    Matthew 27:5 And he threw the pieces of silver into the temple sanctuary and departed; and he went away and hanged himself.
    --–

    kermit4jc
    Hold it right there...where in Acts does it say Judas died as result of fall?
    August 14, 2014 at 12:05 pm |
    ---–

    kermit4jc

    ok...so then...we have not established a contradiction..good..thank you....as for your question....it is obvious that Judas fell from a high place, there are hills in the area of Jerusalem. His body fell and hot the rocks with enough force to cause his innards to gush out.
    August 14, 2014 at 12:45 pm |
    --------

    1) ok let's have ou fall head first kermie with your guts fall out; see how long you live.....deal? seeing i know you would die instantly from the shock of blood lose and well seeing your guts outside your body, you wouldn't live very long.

    2) both of those contridict because he did TWO things with the coin he recieved for betraying jesus;
    2a) he used it to buy land
    2b) he threw it back into the temple.

    3) he did two different ways
    3a) he fell head first on his land and burst open
    3b) he hung himself in a different location

    4) nowhere in these passages does it say anything about the land inwhich he lived. so the whole "hot stones" thing is bs from your own mind.

    5) again you fail to defend your position of the bible being the inspired word of your perfect god and having no mistakes or contridictions when a simple internet research will show you hundreds of conflicting stories.
    so enjoy your man made delusion kermie, if that is what makes you happy.

    August 15, 2014 at 7:43 am |
    • Theo Phileo

      Acts 1:18 – "this man acquired a field..."

      Why do people insist on making an issue out of a non-issue? Because the field was bought with the money the Jewish leaders paid Judas to betray Jesus, which he returned to them (Matthew 27:3-10), Luke refers to Judas as if he was the actual buyer. (cross reference Zechariah 11:12-13)

      August 15, 2014 at 8:05 am |
    • Theo Phileo

      As to the other part "falling headlong..." Apparently the tree on which Judas chose to hang himself (Matthew 27:5) overlooked a cliff. Likely, the rope or branch broke, or the knot slipped, and his body was shattered on the rocks below.

      There's a difference between just READING scripture and actually STUDYING scripture. Would that we all would learn to study it rightly.

      August 15, 2014 at 8:26 am |
      • zhilla1980wasp

        theo: " Apparently the tree on which Judas"

        that is anything but "apparent".

        difference between "studying" and "reading"?
        i read it as it is written without putting any extras from my own mind into it......i guess that is reading.
        you add your own thoughts to complete the story to your liking......so that is studying?

        i highly doubt that you have anymore understanding of what these bronze age people were thinking than i do; namely because we aren't from that period in history.
        our main difference is i refuse to place myself there as if i "know" what is missing from the story; religious people are great for adding their own interrptation to what the words mean.

        want an example? (coming from my southern baptist background)
        cain was marked so others would know that to harm him would bring the wrath of god;
        growing up in a southern baptist church guess what that mark was?
        lmfao god made cain black, that is what i was taught.
        now you see how that divides humans into groups; africans are dark because they are the spawn of cain that commited the first act of violence, so that would be a great reasoning as to why groups like "the skin-heads, kkk, etc etc etc" find grounds from which to fuel their own hatred. (yes they all are "christians")

        August 15, 2014 at 8:36 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          that is anything but "apparent".
          -----------------
          Really? Because it fits the story perfectly, and I haven't read a commentary yet that says anything otherwise – and I've read a lot of commentaries. What commentaries have you read that says this is a contradiction, or not apparent?

          difference between "studying" and "reading"?
          i read it as it is written without putting any extras from my own mind into it......i guess that is reading.
          ---------------------
          Right, the reading is there, but the comprehension is absent. If I said that my great uncle died and left us some money, and with that money, we bought some land. From then on, I referred to it as the land that Uncle Tommy bought us, would you be hard pressed to understand my meaning?

          you add your own thoughts to complete the story to your liking......so that is studying?
          -----------------
          They're not merely my thoughts. They are conclusions rendered from the totality of the text, taken in context. Further, they are the understandings of many (dead) theologians whose scholarly credentials rival any that live today.

          i highly doubt that you have anymore understanding of what these bronze age people were thinking than i do; namely because we aren't from that period in history.
          -------------------
          I'm sure I don't know what they were thinking. Praise God we have the Bible that tells us what they were thinking.

          our main difference is i refuse to place myself there as if i "know" what is missing from the story; religious people are great for adding their own interrptation to what the words mean.
          -----------------
          But there's nothing "missing" from the story. You merely have to read the whole of the text, not just one or two isolated passages and expect to understand it.

          want an example? (coming from my southern baptist background)
          cain was marked so others would know that to harm him would bring the wrath of god;
          growing up in a southern baptist church guess what that mark was?
          lmfao god made cain black, that is what i was taught.
          -----------------
          I grew up Southern Baptist myself, and I've never heard that. That's not a "doctrine" taught officially by the SBC, that I can assure you. Actually, what the Bible tells us is that race actually doesn't exist. (Acts 17:26)

          There are different family groups that produce different facial features, differing amounts of melanin in the skin, etc., but no "races." Actually, the only "races" that the Bible make a distinction of are that of "saved" and "unsaved."

          August 15, 2014 at 8:52 am |
        • zhilla1980wasp

          theo: "I grew up Southern Baptist myself, and I've never heard that. That's not a "doctrine" taught officially by the SBC, that I can assure you."

          then you aren't a TRUE christian and you lack understanding of the story; you're just reading it, not studying it.
          --------------

          so all those lovely little groups that have studied the bible and get mad when told they are wrong.....are what? studying it wrong?
          who's to say you aren't studying it wrong? wait you will find out when you die and don't get your shiney sauser of milk.
          ---

          i love religious folks; i hate religion but religious people are hours of none stop fun.

          yes those two stories of judah conflict, and no amount of "filling in the blanks" will change that.

          August 15, 2014 at 8:59 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          then you aren't a TRUE christian and you lack understanding of the story; you're just reading it, not studying it.
          --------------------–
          Yes, or no – If an author intends a specific meaning, is there a proper way to understand and to that meaning?

          Put another way, if an author intends a passage to mean one specific thing, do we have any authority to say that it instead means what we want it to mean?

          August 15, 2014 at 9:03 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          understand and to that meaning?
          ------------
          *understand and arrive at that meaning*

          August 15, 2014 at 9:04 am |
        • zhilla1980wasp

          theo: "If an author intends a specific meaning"

          and which meaning is that theo?
          --–

          the one understood by your mind of today?
          or the mind of some poor guy that's been dead for a millineum?
          ---
          how do you know what the person meant......seeing there are so few details in the story?
          it's called "interrptation"; in other words you place value on what you think it means.

          i place value simply as the words are written, that's it. i won't ever know if the guy that wrote those word was sane or crazy, i won't know if he was a womanizer or sympathizer. we can't know anything of whom truly wrote down these words other than what our own minds decide to see.

          August 15, 2014 at 9:09 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          we can't know anything of whom truly wrote down these words other than what our own minds decide to see.
          ---------------------
          As to the idea that "we can't know," I remain quite dubious. It may be fasionable in this "modern, scientific age" and may even be admirable to say "we don't know," but in fact, there are things about which we can be most certain. It's only the post-modern mind who posits that "not knowing" can be a good thing. John wrote in his epistle that he wrote "these things so that you will know."

          God, in inspiring the Bible, did not mumble. He spoke most clearly, and when we take to understand the Bible using the rules laid out for proper understanding, it is actually quite an easy book to grasp.

          But there is a catch. Only those under the protection and guidance of the Holy Spirit can ever expect to fully understand the things of the spirit.

          1 Corinthians 2:14 – the natural man does not understand the things of God for they are spiritually discerned

          John 8:43 – Why do you not understand what I am saying? It is because you cannot hear My word. You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father.

          August 15, 2014 at 9:24 am |
        • zhilla1980wasp

          theo: "God, in inspiring the Bible, did not mumble. He spoke most clearly, and when we take to understand the Bible using the rules laid out for proper understanding, it is actually quite an easy book to grasp."
          -----

          that's what i've been saying all along; those hethens just don't understand that god punished cain by making him african, or that women should shut up and do as they are told, i should be allowed to beat my children and if someone ra pes your daughter they merely have to pay you the purchasing price for breaking what belongs to you; not to mention you can use your daughters as bargaining chips if an angry mob ever comes to your door.
          -----

          see god spoke very clearly; nothing with hooves, no shell fish, no two fibered clothing, no cutting your hair (facial or otherwise)
          those that work on the "holy day" (choose based on your "faith") should be put to death.
          no cripples, women on their periods, beggars in churches.
          -----

          your god was sooooo clear when he set forth rules, that you now have 30,000 different groups that "know" exactly what god wanted.
          LMFAO!

          get off your high horse theo; stating we don't know is the truth.
          you CAN NOT understand nor truthfully know what the person that wrote your bible nor those that took their time to assemble your bible, nor trust that those who did put it together through history did so without a single shred of tampering with it.

          and if you believe that "holy book" of yours hasn't been tampered with or edited, then you seriously have issues; however as i always say: " enjoy your man-made delusion".

          August 15, 2014 at 10:07 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          zhilla1980wasp,
          I understand that you're being sarcastic, but when someone sees those things you mention as being true, then I'm forced to ask three questions that reveal why:
          1) What are your principles of hermeneutics?
          2) What is your Central Interpretive Motif?
          3) Does absolute truth exist?

          August 15, 2014 at 10:19 am |
        • zhilla1980wasp

          theo:
          "I understand that you're being sarcastic, but when someone sees those things you mention as being true, then I'm forced to ask three questions that reveal why:
          1) What are your principles of hermeneutics?
          2) What is your Central Interpretive Motif?
          3) Does absolute truth exist?
          ------------------–

          you think they aren't asking the samething because you don't believe as they do?
          how would you know that you read it properly and they are reading it incorrectly?

          August 15, 2014 at 10:28 am |
        • Doris

          Hmm – I'll take a stab at Theo's questions in reverse order – let's see:

          3. What exactly do you mean by absolute truth?

          2. If I'm envisioning text without actually looking at some – I try to go for Lucida Grande – about 14 pt.

          1. To consider anything available. One principle in particular, though, would be to not make the assumption up front that the Bible is inerrant, perfect, nor the word of any deity.

          August 15, 2014 at 10:32 am |
        • bostontola

          1) What are your principles of hermeneutics?
          ...I leave that to academics, they will be debating that for ever.
          2) What is your Central Interpretive Motif?
          ...Love.
          3) Does absolute truth exist?
          ...Absolute truth leads to paradox.

          August 15, 2014 at 11:20 am |
        • James XCIX

          Theo – "God, in inspiring the Bible, did not mumble. He spoke most clearly..."

          Catchy phrase... but since the meaning of the Bible is obviously not the same to everyone who reads it, that's all you have... a catchy phrase.

          August 15, 2014 at 11:31 am |
      • ragansteve1

        I like Matthew Henry's Commentary on this point.(Acts 1) From a spiritual perspective, it makes sense and completes the punishment (i.e., natural consequences for the sin) for betrayal. It won't solve the issue for those who don't believe in a spiritual world though.

        August 15, 2014 at 11:13 am |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          Do you have reliable access to a spiritual world?

          August 15, 2014 at 11:24 am |
        • ragansteve1

          Yes, but if you want proof in material world form, there is none but what you see and hear. If you cannot accept that, for lack of perception, then nothing I could say will persuade you.

          August 15, 2014 at 3:59 pm |
    • zhilla1980wasp

      theo:

      the debate between myself and kermie; is did he use the money or return the money; did judas die by hanging or by splitting open on the ground he bought with the "tainted" coin?

      matthews as you so pointed out backs up that he return the coin;
      yet if he didn't use the ill gotten coin to buy land that he then died on, then did he hang himself?

      judah is one of the examples of two conflicting stories due to this "holy book" merely being the work of men, not inspired by some supreme god.

      August 15, 2014 at 8:27 am |
      • Theo Phileo

        judah is one of the examples of two conflicting stories due to this "holy book" merely being the work of men, not inspired by some supreme god.
        -----------–
        Didn't you read my responses to this? It's not conflicting in the least bit, you just have to have the whole story to fully understand what happened both with the money, and how Judas died.

        August 15, 2014 at 8:32 am |
        • zhilla1980wasp

          theo:
          ok the conflict:

          did juda buy land with the money then die?

          or did judah return the money then die?

          which one?

          August 15, 2014 at 8:38 am |
        • hotairace

          Come on, it's obvious there is no conflict! Judas used some of the money to buy land and he returned some. And while trying to hang himself, he fell on his head, hitting hot stones and spilling his guts. You just have to put all the BS together into a single story. Your mistake is looking for logic and consistency. Just go with the flow and let the spirit of baby jesus make everything right.

          August 15, 2014 at 8:48 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          Wasp,
          I said this above, but it bears repeating here.
          If I told you that my great uncle died and left us some money, and with that money, we bought some land. From then on, I referred to it as the land that Uncle Tommy bought us, or this was Uncle Tommy's land, would you be hard pressed to understand my meaning?

          August 15, 2014 at 8:55 am |
        • zhilla1980wasp

          theo: "would you be hard pressed to understand my meaning?"

          ok so how did your uncle die?
          did he fall head first on that land and burst open?
          or did he hang himself? (mind you if he hung himself you wouldn't have any money to buy land with, because he returned it)

          August 15, 2014 at 9:03 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          ok so how did your uncle die?
          did he fall head first on that land and burst open?
          or did he hang himself? (mind you if he hung himself you wouldn't have any money to buy land with, because he returned it)
          ---------------------
          Reading the whole story of Judas, his actions can be summed up as follows:
          1) Judas arranges to betray Jesus, and is paid for it
          2) Judas betrays Jesus
          3) Judas realizes that he has condemned an innocent man and returns the money
          4) The priests use the money to buy the "potter's field"
          5) Judas grieved, and hanged himself over a cliff, something happens, and he then plummets to the rocks below
          6) In Acts, Luke refers to Judas as the purchaser of the land, since it was his money that bought it (similar to my Uncle Tommy story)

          August 15, 2014 at 9:09 am |
        • lunchbreaker

          So Theo, if it was so easy for you to figure out, how could God not have divinely inspired two people to write the same thing?

          August 15, 2014 at 11:11 am |
      • kermit4jc

        even when Judas "returned " the money..it was still considered HIS..read what the priests did..they did nOT accept it..they bought a field in Judas' name.....remember..this was BLOOD money

        August 15, 2014 at 3:25 pm |
    • Reality

      After rigorous historic testing (number of attestations, time of publication, comparison of stories) , both passages were judged to be historically nil. e.g. http://www.jesusdatabase.org/index.php?ti-tle=380_Suicide_of_Judas and Professor Ludemann's review in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years.

      August 15, 2014 at 8:39 am |
    • TruthPrevails1

      Do you not find it hard to take Theo seriously when the man admits to living in the dark ages by avoiding real world matters and using his bible as a research tool? I expect his level of ignorance from 5 year olds not adults.

      August 15, 2014 at 8:56 am |
      • Theo Phileo

        Avoiding real world matters?

        OK, you tell me what "real world matters" that I need to be concerned about that have actual bearing on my life.

        August 15, 2014 at 9:11 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          buy a TV, get the internet or remain ignorant!

          August 15, 2014 at 9:17 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          I've got a TV! Hey, I've even got a Wii. As a matter of fact, I was playing Monster Hunter Tri just last night. (In my own defense, I grew up with Atari, so I'm a video game nut and a grognard.)

          August 15, 2014 at 9:29 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          Theo: You made the statement awhile ago that you didn't have TV or is it just cable that you don't have?

          August 15, 2014 at 10:30 am |
        • LaBella

          TP,
          How else is Theo supposed to play Wii?

          August 15, 2014 at 11:07 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          LaBella: Do they make biblical based games for the Wii?

          August 15, 2014 at 11:15 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          It's cable I don't have. I've got a TV though. And a Wii... And as for the grognard part, right now I just picked up Sails of Glory... I can't wait to get into that one. Hey, I never said I wasn't a nerd.

          August 15, 2014 at 11:19 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          Oh Theo there's so much more available for the PS though...I find the Wii very limiting, although when my niece was 3 it was cute watching her play some bowling game.

          August 15, 2014 at 11:35 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          Oh Theo there's so much more available for the PS though...
          ------------
          Oh, don't I know it. But I've got a Cyberpower PC (shameless plug) for the serious gaming. (no internet though) Got a GeForce T.itan, Solid State Hard Drive, 16 GB RAM.... That thing is sweeeeeeeeet...

          August 15, 2014 at 12:58 pm |
    • kermit4jc

      OMG learn to read!!!!! My God! I did NOT say what YOU are accussing! I said was JUDAS ALIVE first wgeb he fell? was he alive before he hit the ground and all his innards came gushing out? see..THAT is what has to be established!!! as far as the money thing..yuo are not too bright on that either...READ the accounts...the money is STILL his even though he threw it into the courts....thus He still bought it (was HIS money) its like I go to the store when I was a child. My mom gave me money to buy milk....I did the physcial transaction, but my MOM actually bought the nilk..it was HER money......you are making such glaring fallacies in your logic and thinking

      August 15, 2014 at 3:22 pm |
  7. tominmissions

    Reblogged this on tomkinus and commented:
    We are called to leave an impact in other peoples life. This article is very inspiring . Keep up the good work and pressing on towards the Great Commission. In everything you do, do it as unto to Christ. Blessings with Love to all missionaries out there.

    August 15, 2014 at 7:14 am |
    • ragansteve1

      Amen and amen.

      August 15, 2014 at 10:48 am |
  8. kermit4jc

    That is the case because that being is stated to have self-contradictory and conflicting characteristics, among many other reasons.<-and what are these characteristics?

    August 15, 2014 at 1:58 am |
    • TruthPrevails1

      Who are you addressing here? You hate being called out for stuff but yet you are a coward at heart, which could very well explain why you use science for your benefit, yet deny it when it conflicts with your belief system.

      August 15, 2014 at 7:57 am |
      • kermit4jc

        My God false accusations again...you are so arrogant to think there is only ONE option with me...I accept science whats shown to be true! I reject whats shown to be false! NOT because simply my Bible told me so......I REASON it out ok? I use my critical thinking skills...knock off this carp about us being mindless....

        August 15, 2014 at 3:24 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          Please! I am trying to be polite to you...I'm sorry for being rude but honestly, who were you addressing?

          August 15, 2014 at 3:38 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          I was addressing you? truthprevails..were you not posting the last one to me?

          August 15, 2014 at 3:42 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          sorry kermi but next time could you specify that?
          I'm not here tonight with the intention of being negative, I'd appreciate the same in return.

          August 15, 2014 at 3:45 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          ok..sounds good actually..nice change..Ill try to be more positive as well

          August 15, 2014 at 3:49 pm |
  9. Dyslexic doG

    Your religious conviction, no matter how deeply held, is nothing more than an accident of birth. American Christians have to admit that had you been born in pakistan to islamic parents you would believe in allah, had you been born in india to hindu parents you would believe in vishnu and shiva, had you been born in the Australian desert to aboriginal parents you would believe in the dreamtime ...

    So please don't try and say that you somehow magically have the one true god out of the many thousands of gods that man has created since an evolving brain began to try and explain the world around it. And please don't tell me that your endlessly flawed, bronze age book of primitive stories and rules accurately reflects the will of what you say is a perfect being that created the universe. That book of misogyny and slavery and murder and se.xual fixation and fancy would be an insult to any such being. These would be the last things that such a perfect being would trouble itself with. These are the things that weak, petty, self absorbed humans trouble themselves with.

    August 14, 2014 at 10:32 pm |
    • Dalahäst

      Reminds me of this

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R_t4Pksq7BI

      August 15, 2014 at 12:07 am |
  10. aallen333

    'The fool hath said in his heart – "there is no God"'. (Bible)

    I would be willing to listen to the atheist's argument if all living things consisted of blobs with no discernible form; if there was no recognizable beauty in the world; if there was no suggestion that creativity and intent was behind the form of a rose or a woman; if there was no suggestion that creation was intended to be a language used by the creator to speak to His creation – to offer a road map out of the doubt, confusion and haze that shouts out – I AM – if only you would open your ears to hear.

    August 14, 2014 at 10:14 pm |
    • hotairace

      I would be willing to listen to believers if there was a single bit of actual evidence for the crap they present as reality.

      August 14, 2014 at 10:20 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      OK. Let me try.

      All things have evolved to their optimum form in their niche in their environment. Creatures that are successful in that niche can stay largely unchanged. When not successful, they either evolve or die out. Your talk of blobs shows scientific ignorance and shows that you have been fed Christian propaganda, which is why it confuses you.

      What we see as beauty is only what we find pleasing. One person might find a rose or a woman ugly. Some evolutionary factor has us liking red flowers so as humans we have bred roses from the wild buds they used to be into the full blooms they are today ... this is evolution. We find particular sizes and shapes and looks of women attractive for the base reproductive reasons of the continuation of the species. Again, evolution. But there is no "beauty" for all. You might find my dream girl repulsive.

      The one way that your "creator" supposedly speaks to His creations is your flawed and fallacious bronze age book which seems anything but the word of an omnipotent being.

      Your doubt, confusion and haze are things you need to deal with. If you want to imagine a magic man in the sky to take care of them for you, then go for it. I prefer to work things out for myself in the real world.

      August 14, 2014 at 10:46 pm |
      • aallen333

        Now that's just foolishness.

        August 15, 2014 at 8:30 am |
    • tallulah131

      'The fool hath said in his heart – "there is no God"'. (Bible)

      So the bible says that people who don't believe what the bible tells them are fools. And you fell for that?

      August 15, 2014 at 2:51 am |
      • aallen333

        It's foolish to think you evolved from a rock.

        August 15, 2014 at 8:32 am |
        • hotairace

          It's even more foolish to think that someone thinks they evolved from a rock.

          August 15, 2014 at 11:01 am |
        • tallulah131

          It's foolish to think that people believe that we evolved from rocks. All you're doing is confirming your foolishness, aallen.

          August 15, 2014 at 11:23 am |
    • TruthPrevails1

      Of course the book says that! Geez, how simple minded are you that you fail to comprehend why something like that would be written in? It is merely one more tidbit to make the gullible believe that are fools if they question...so don't bother being skeptical, just accept it as it is written.
      The better version of that would be "The fool is not skeptical".

      August 15, 2014 at 8:01 am |
      • kermit4jc

        we ARE allowed to question..thats how one finds truth....the BIble is NOT against it...its some religions and individuals who are...to find answers...one must quesiton

        August 15, 2014 at 3:17 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          Sorry kermi, I disagree! The Answer is always god or satan, so every question you ask will be one of the two.
          Science is questions that may never be answered, religion is answers that may never be questioned.

          (jmo)

          August 15, 2014 at 3:20 pm |
    • LaBella

      In other words, you aren't really willing to listen to views opposing yours. Okay.

      August 15, 2014 at 11:06 am |
  11. Tom, Tom, the Other One

    Can we know if it's God's will that it's creations Ebola and smallpox should not exist in the world?

    August 14, 2014 at 9:49 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Its creations

      August 14, 2014 at 9:51 pm |
    • hotairace

      A true believer can know anything they want about their imaginary friends and their alleged creations. . .

      August 14, 2014 at 9:52 pm |
      • Tom, Tom, the Other One

        Don't they ever suspect that they might be wrong?

        August 14, 2014 at 9:58 pm |
        • Dyslexic doG

          cognitive dissonance.

          August 14, 2014 at 10:09 pm |
        • hotairace

          I'd like to think they do but the indoctrination and societal pressures are great.

          August 14, 2014 at 10:11 pm |
    • ragansteve1

      Tom, I think Ebola and Smallpox were the two things that evolved! :-))

      August 14, 2014 at 10:26 pm |
  12. Tom, Tom, the Other One

    If you could bring smallpox back into the world, would you?

    August 14, 2014 at 9:38 pm |
  13. Tom, Tom, the Other One

    If you could put an end to Ebola in the world, would you?

    August 14, 2014 at 9:35 pm |
    • ragansteve1

      I would.

      August 14, 2014 at 9:41 pm |
    • kermit4jc

      we ALL die...not just those with ebola....and you are too focused onhere and now as if you want eternity HERE....why here? why not heaven?

      August 15, 2014 at 2:05 am |
      • zhilla1980wasp

        kermie: there is no eternity, there wasn't anything before you were born, there is nothing after you die.
        it's just wishful thinking.

        i don't want eternity anywhere, i want this world to pull it's head out of it's fourth point of contact and realize what it is doing to every genrattion that shall follow us.

        nope no reason to, "we must fight to win this world for OUR GOD" or he may be mad at us. lmao
        get over yourselves......
        -smdh- religious people are so blind it's not even funny anymore. the jews, the "chirstians" and the muslims bicker and fight over getting their deluded idea of an "all-father" to be the only skyfairy......good luck with that one, freaks.

        as long as humans reproduce, there will always be fresh meat for the religious war-machine. the fighting will continue until we destroy ourselves, so please keep having your disruptive, divisive squabbles over how you can win converts for your delusion.........eventually you will get the end you so deserve.
        ------–

        on a lighter note; when the ancient aliens come back for "armegeddon" (hint: means awakening, or enlightenment) all i will do is laugh as your religious figure heads are dragged out into the streets by those they have fooled for so long and.......well you can imagine what an angry mob can. lmfao

        August 15, 2014 at 7:54 am |
      • TruthPrevails1

        What evidence do you have for heaven? There is zero reason to accept that there is anything more after this life and to use heaven vs hell shows how very divisive your belief system is...how are you so certain that your own actions here on earth have not doomed you to that place called hell that you so fervently believe in? You thought your lesbian cousin was sinning, I think she was living as she was born...making me more deserving of this so-called heaven then you-at least I didn't judge her or anyone like her...see how that goes??
        The only thing keeping an Atheist from heaven is a skeptical mind, so does your god only accept those who accept things based on faith/gullibility? If that is the case, then no normal person should wish to be near your wretched unloving, hateful, vindictive god. (not that there is a shred of evidence that it exists and NO your personal delusions don't count)

        August 15, 2014 at 8:09 am |
      • evolveddna

        Kermit.. why is it that if death is the one thing that gets you your prize of eternal " life" do we still have mourning? Why do we not have unsympathetic cards that may read "glad you died "or wish it was me you lucky dog? or even" While you have found Infinity.. I"m stuck with my Volvo for a while yet ...

        August 15, 2014 at 9:10 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          All Christian funerals I've been to have included a message of hope and a reminder that death is not the final outcome.

          August 15, 2014 at 9:21 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          do you "mourn" when loved ones go on a long trip? Im going to have a heck of a time being a but depressed while the wife is gone for two weeks to see her mother in another country, you can betcha we will be crying lots at the airport in a month here. the mourning does not have to be necessarily sad cause the person no longer exists...also comes to play is how they died (violent deaths, etc) that tugs at the heart of our emotions.

          August 16, 2014 at 11:38 am |
  14. ragansteve1

    Thank you to all of you who responded to my question. The answers are unbelievably helpful and sincere.

    I will be around off and on. I am not discouraged by the criticism, nor am I particularly offended, but I was trying to figure out if any of it was worth the time. My career had me dealing daily with numbers of college and university faculty members, so I am more than calloused enough to stand criticism. But I also don't like to waste my time.

    This is not a waste. Thanks again.

    Steve

    August 14, 2014 at 9:32 pm |
  15. Dalahäst

    I love to share about God. What I once viewed as a weakness in others – belief in God, I've come to learn is a strength in my life.

    I love when I learn something new here, even when it is an atheist pointing out something in the Bible I hadn't seen before like you shared. Or when a conservative Christian shares something that makes me see they aren't as bad as I tend to paint them as.

    I got sucked into this blog arguing about something I can't even remember. Whatever it was, it got my attention. I got pretty upset and made some enemies very quickly. But it is funny today I don't even care what it was about.

    August 14, 2014 at 9:12 pm |
    • Dalahäst

      That was for Ragan.

      August 14, 2014 at 9:13 pm |
    • ragansteve1

      Thank you Dal. I think my start was much the same.

      I appreciate your response.

      August 14, 2014 at 9:28 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      You seem comfortable with a God that allows pain and evil in the world.

      August 14, 2014 at 9:30 pm |
      • ragansteve1

        Yes, because I know how it turns out. And because I would rather be able to choose than to be forced to be good.

        That may not make sense to you. But it works for me.

        Thanks,

        August 14, 2014 at 9:38 pm |
        • Doris

          "And because I would rather be able to choose than to be forced to be good."

          This part puzzles me. Maybe it's your belief that only through God does one have free will? Or am I missing something?

          August 14, 2014 at 9:52 pm |
        • ragansteve1

          Doris, It's all wrapped up in what we believe is the cause of pain and suffering in the world. I believe that it is mankind's rebellion against God that brought it. So, for me, there are two options. God could force us not to rebel. Or, he could let us choose. As a race, we chose wrong and now we are paying for it. Part of the answer came with Jesus (The spiritual part). The rest comes when He returns.

          There are worse things than dying. And pain is often a warning that we need to change what we are doing. So, in some ways, pain is a good thing.

          August 14, 2014 at 10:16 pm |
        • Doris

          OK, thanks, Steve – I see – so, under your belief, it would be God doing the forcing. I thought initially you might be speaking of that part somehow in reference to non-theistic determinism.

          August 14, 2014 at 10:24 pm |
        • ragansteve1

          Yes. It is clearly a fact that I am not non-theistic.

          August 15, 2014 at 10:23 am |
      • Tom, Tom, the Other One

        It does make sense to some people. If even everyone is tormented to a finite degree for a finite time then eternal bliss for some makes it worthwhile.

        August 14, 2014 at 9:45 pm |
        • ragansteve1

          Lots of people think the only goal of being a Christian is to get to Heaven. That's not the goal. The goal is to become more like Christ, realizing that in this world that will never happen. The pain and suffering, not always but often, are warning signs that we need to change in order to make our goal. That, at least in my life, seems to be the case.

          August 14, 2014 at 10:19 pm |
      • Dalahäst

        I think it is more about not letting pain and evil have the final word.

        August 14, 2014 at 10:09 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          Isn't that something everyone regardless of belief/disbelief should strive for? We live our lives as we know them in the here and now with the sincere hope that we are leaving this world a better place for future generations.

          August 15, 2014 at 8:22 am |
        • Dalahäst

          Yes! That sounds better than trying to use the existence of pain and suffering to mock someone.

          August 15, 2014 at 10:40 am |
    • Doris

      Every so often, Dala, I still think about this one argument commenters here were having over man's Biblically-ordained dominion over lower life forms and the planet. In the midst of that, I'm pretty sure were were arguing with each other, and I believe translations were discussed, but what has stuck with me is something you pondered at the end – honestly it was one of the few really spiritual moments that I've had reading something here. I don't remember your exact wording, but what you seemed to be pondering was – what if God really simply meant (from the text with "dominion" I think) that we were stewards of this planet – that we were to take care of it. Even if it didn't change my basic philosophy, such a simple concept for which the only conceit seems to be the well-being of the planet struck me a in beautiful way in that moment.

      I was just thinking that if I had never read comments here, I may never have read much about Spinoza- well and many others. But I seem to keep returning to Spinoza recently.

      August 14, 2014 at 9:41 pm |
      • Dalahäst

        Oh, yea, I remember that. I think it was in regards to whether to have dominion over animals meant if we should have complete control over them (which we don't seem to have).

        August 14, 2014 at 10:14 pm |
        • ragansteve1

          I think we lost complete control when Adam fell. Just the same, we need to act as good stewards of the earth.

          August 14, 2014 at 10:22 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          I don't see that Adam "fell".

          According to the narrative, he performed as he was constructed to perform with all the data available to him at the time.

          He was disobedient before knowing what good and evil meant. How was he to know that disobedience was wrong?

          In the words of Admiral Akbar – "It's a trap".

          August 15, 2014 at 6:08 pm |
        • ragansteve1

          GOP,

          Hmmm, I addressed this is another post not long ago, but I can't remember who raised the issue. Adam was warned. He had all the information necessary to obey, remain close to God, and he didn't. He chose. No one twisted his arm. Good and bad did not exist for mankind before he chose to disobey. Adam has no excuse, not even blaming Eve.

          August 16, 2014 at 3:43 am |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          Genesis 2:
          16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:
          17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

          Despite the instruction, Adam, not having eaten of the tree of knowledge of good and evil does not know that disobedience is evil. When he disobeys, despite the threat of death, does not know that this is wrong until after he disobeys. How could he?

          August 16, 2014 at 6:45 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          with the warning, it should be clear it is wrong....dont...do not....

          August 17, 2014 at 1:51 am |
  16. ragansteve1

    OK, for anyone who wants to take a stab at me, here is a serious question.
    Why is it that we are doing what we are doing? I’ll explain.
    We have mostly atheists, or at least agnostics, on one side; and, we have Christians and perhaps a few others of faith on the other. We have been “debating,” to use the term loosely, for 3-4 months that I have observed and participated in when not on vacation or otherwise unavailable. It doesn’t appear, at least on the surface, that anyone is persuading anyone else of anything.
    I will admit that there may be some learning going on under the surface, and that is mostly a good thing. For example, just today I was made aware that there is a discrepancy between Matthew and Acts regarding the account of Judas’ death. That was great. I’ve read those passages dozens of times and never saw that. I have a much easier solution to the discrepancy than the tortured explanations that I have read on each side, I think. But it had never occurred to me before to even think about it.
    Confession time: I began to respond to this blog thinking I would learn something about the people I met (figuratively speaking) and may be share something that would be valuable to them as well. (Clearly there was some pride there.) When I saw that that was not going to happen, I decided I would at least attempt to defend, as in explain, my faith whether it helped anyone or not. (less pride) Then, when I was continually attacked, called a liar, called names, and so on, it became clear that perhaps I was wasting my time. That is where I am now.
    To use a metaphor, perhaps I need to have discussions in what a farmer would call more fertile ground. I might say at least arable land. I mean, it seems like every major opinion piece garners the same arguments. They nearly always devolve into, “God is not real.” Yes, He is.” “The creation is myth.” “No it isn’t.” “Science is the only way to truth.” “No, science is not the only way.” And so on.
    So, now that I have explained my reasons for having participated, and my dilemma, it would help me greatly if some of you would let me know why you come here and spend your valuable time discussing things that, from all outward appearances, change nothing. I realize that this is a favor to me. So, I just ask that you do me the honor of filling me in on the “why we do this?” question from your perspective.

    August 14, 2014 at 7:38 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Yes, there's a lot of tedious nonsense here.

      As you say, sometimes it is interesting and sometimes people post something new.

      I can't speak for anyone else but in a society that is overwhelmingly theist there are few places for non-believers to be open about the subject of non-belief. (Yes, secular humanists go to "church" but most non-believers don't want to do that and I suspect most really don't want to join any kind of atheist activist group either.)

      It's not appropriate (and can be career limiting) at work to talk about non-belief. Family, friends and neighbors don't want to hear it either (if they are believers.)

      So I think a lot of non-believers come here simply because they can.

      The name calling and the all the liar/delusion assertions are juvenile and tiresome. It used to be a lot worse. There was previously a much higher rate from a very small number of posters using multiple handles that constantly derided atheists. Now the pendulum has swung a bit.

      The concept of why so many people cleave to religion is compelling to believers and non-believers alike.

      August 14, 2014 at 7:53 pm |
      • MidwestKen

        Well said.

        August 14, 2014 at 8:02 pm |
      • ragansteve1

        Thank you! I appreciate your response.

        August 14, 2014 at 9:16 pm |
    • LaBella

      Ragansteve,
      I have two reasons why I come here:
      1) I truly do learn something new every day.
      2) It's fun, for the most part.

      August 14, 2014 at 7:58 pm |
      • ragansteve1

        Thank you. Both good reasons.

        August 14, 2014 at 9:17 pm |
    • MidwestKen

      ragansteve1,
      A reasonable question. I can't speak for others, but I primarily visit this blog to correct misunderstandings about science. For whatever reason, discussion about faith often brings up this subject and often there are some gross misunderstanding about science and its limits.

      Now I will occasionally, digress into discussions about the Bible, but again usually to call out what appear to me to illogical conclusions. Admittedly, I am not a Biblical scholar though.

      I do however understand with your discomfort with many of the interactions here – they can be unnecessarily harsh and childish sometimes... on both sides.

      August 14, 2014 at 8:00 pm |
      • ragansteve1

        Thank you. That seems to come through as genuine.

        August 14, 2014 at 9:18 pm |
    • hotairace

      Religious beliefs are highly entertaining.

      To show others, particularly younger persons, that it's ok to chuck religion in the garbage bin.

      To keep on eye on what the religious crazies are thinking.

      To help tumble the house of cards religion is.

      August 14, 2014 at 8:08 pm |
      • believerfred

        such honorable goals to bring meaning to your life

        August 14, 2014 at 8:11 pm |
        • hotairace

          Says the delusional one subst!tuting one add!ction for another. Shove your Babble where the sun doesn't shine.

          August 14, 2014 at 8:53 pm |
      • ragansteve1

        I think I get it. Thanks,

        August 14, 2014 at 9:20 pm |
        • hotairace

          You Are Welcome!

          August 14, 2014 at 9:22 pm |
      • TruthPrevails1

        Well said. It is easy at times just to sit back and call the way of thinking delusional, although I suspect for some it's not so much delusion as it is the only thing they know. Any time I hear someone claim knowledge instead of being honest and admitting it is purely belief, I sit back and wonder why...this is the 21st century and with so much info at ones fingertips, it is hard to understand at times why people remain in any belief system that promotes such grandiose things such as the promise of an afterlife. Where religion once served a purpose-it brought people together in a social setting (and still does to a certain degree), it is no longer the bearer of that.
        I'd have no issue with religion if the religious would show the same respect that they demand from others and if they'd stop using it to try to dictate how others live (ie; LGBT rights; birth control; public education).

        August 15, 2014 at 8:34 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      If you're interested, please feel free to email me.
      Huey_vestibule@hotmail.com

      In your time here, you've been sincere, polite, and well spoken and I've appreciated your contribution to this troll-laden forum.

      August 14, 2014 at 8:15 pm |
      • ragansteve1

        Well, I appreciate that. I try to be. Thanks.

        August 14, 2014 at 9:21 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      I landed here much longer ago than you and found it very interesting because I’m not really around nonbelievers otherwise. Many that I have communicated with are friendly and respectful. Some not so much, but personal attacks don’t really bother me in this format. I’m not sure I would be as good at turning the other cheek in person, but then again this type of discussion rarely occurs for me in person.
      There are several on here that I enjoy sharing and exchanging ideas with and think of them as friends. I keep coming back to continue the relationship and to sow or water. I trust God will give the increase.

      August 14, 2014 at 8:22 pm |
      • ragansteve1

        Much thanks. God bless!

        August 14, 2014 at 9:24 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          You are welcome and God bless you too.

          August 14, 2014 at 9:43 pm |
      • Tom, Tom, the Other One

        Good evening, Robert. Why is there pain? Why are there birth defects? Illnesses resulting from genetic abnormalities?

        August 14, 2014 at 9:33 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          Hey Tom,

          Evolution? Natural selection? Sin?

          I don't know. Could we know good without bad?

          It would really be something if those questions were answerable.

          August 14, 2014 at 9:52 pm |
    • believerfred

      I came on these boards some time ago when I was beginning to doubt my faith. I thought there might just be something I missed when bad things happen to good people and God seems absent. What happened was I noticed the faith of some really vulnerable new Christians under assault from atheists and misguided agnostics. My faith was strengthened as I attempted to reveal a reality that does not exclude the things of God but I was of little help to anyone else.

      August 14, 2014 at 8:26 pm |
      • ragansteve1

        Wonderful testimony. Thank you so much.

        August 14, 2014 at 9:25 pm |
      • tallulah131

        Strangely enough, my experience was the opposite. When I found this blog a couple of years ago, I was still agnostic. Reading the words of both believers and non-believers forced me to really consider what and why I believed. I realized that any belief I had was a habit left over from a childhood lived in a small town where everyone was christian. I can no longer honestly even pretend to believe in a god.

        August 14, 2014 at 10:19 pm |
        • ragansteve1

          Clearly you have both made a choice. Given my theological persuasion, I am sorry you made the choice you did. But at least I respect your right to make the choice. I hope it works out for you.

          August 15, 2014 at 10:28 am |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          Regarding what you believe, ragansteve1, does it leave you room for hope for people who disbelieve and will always disbelieve?

          August 15, 2014 at 10:32 am |
        • tallulah131

          I absolutely respect the faith of others, as long as they accept that it is only faith and can't be proven. But if someones posts something that I know to be wrong, then I will comment in an effort to correct that notion. There is nothing to be gained in perpetuating a lie.

          August 15, 2014 at 11:25 am |
        • believerfred

          What is the lie? Oral tradition picked up by Abraham down to Moses recorded the presence of the burning holiness of God in their midst. That presence drove the ancients who saw themselves as the Chosen Ones to carry the presence of God with them over generations. They themselves brought the perfect lamb to sacrifice for the atonement as they practiced it over thousands of years at Passover in ceremony and tradition. Jesus fulfilled the law as written first in Genesis and gave all who desire the gift of that tree of life which was in the Garden next to the tree of knowledge. God as presented in the earliest of oral traditions is still present with his chosen ones. I personally attest to the fact God is present in my life and present in others.
          Exactly where is the lie.

          August 15, 2014 at 2:25 pm |
      • evolveddna

        Kermit..you know that is a compete guess..

        August 15, 2014 at 5:40 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          sorry..cant find the blog youre referring to..what was it I said that was a complete guess?

          August 15, 2014 at 6:20 pm |
        • evolveddna

          Sorry Kermit..it was regarding your assertion that god is eternal..I re-posted in the correct spot..

          August 15, 2014 at 6:57 pm |
    • Doris

      Good question and I can see that some of my reasons for continuing to come here match those that have already replied. But initially, I believe it was something in one of the articles that struck me oddly. I'm sure soon after I noticed the "soundoff" heading to the comments. I noticed pretty early on in my visits not just discussion on what various passages to the Bible meant, but some pretty alarming judgement against this group or that. I had never really experienced that much before in the fairly moderate area in which I live, and I had never really participated that much before in comment areas of the internet. (I actually was trying to address this just a bit earlier in response to kermit [not my stupid, flippant reply to his 5:28pm mispost, but in my last response to his 5:15 reply to Bob who was replying to Vic below].)

      Also, I have learned much since visiting these comments. Some from people in various fields of expertise or interest. Some comes from being challenged by certain posters which triggers research on my part that I probably wouldn't have pursued otherwise.

      August 14, 2014 at 9:00 pm |
      • ragansteve1

        Yes, it is often when challenged that we learn the most. At least that is what I have found here.

        Thank you.

        August 14, 2014 at 9:27 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      I return here trying to understand how Christians can believe a book that is so blatantly and obviously flawed and fictional.

      I understand the "well how was the universe created?" bit. Atheists have modern science. Christians have the Genesis chapter of your bronze age book. No-one can prove it yet. You might even be right that an omnipotent being created it all.

      But most of the bible is not about "how was the universe created?" Most of the bible is about magical tales that are so far fetched to be laughable and obviously written by bronze age men with a motive. It's about endless primitive rules about what you can wear and who you can sleep with and how to treat slaves and what crops to plant and what tribes to slaughter so on, that were obviously written by primitive men with a motive and that any omnipotent being would not care about in the slightest. Most of the bible is used by modern Christians to judge others and oppress others under the smoke and mirrors of "god is love" and "jesus is love". All without any proof of any of it, other than that it was written down once ... which doesn't prove that ANY of it happened, just that someone wrote it down. That's no more proof than of Harry Potter playing quiddich!

      I look forward with all Christians, to finding out how the universe was created, but I think that the bible is a negative force that ret.ards the progress of the human race.

      August 14, 2014 at 10:26 pm |
      • ragansteve1

        Thank you for your response. I hope we can continue to discuss at times with mutual respect.

        August 15, 2014 at 10:30 am |
    • zhilla1980wasp

      ragan: i feel honored that i was able to lend a slight point of their being contridictions in the bible; to me i have been on here for years (had to change my name because the whole signing in thing; that was brought about by name-theft)

      to me i get on here and have fun sparing point for point as if i was in a fencing match; at times however i get bored with the lack of forward motion at other times it's a blast when i get heated responses that show me something new.

      basically i love debating!

      August 15, 2014 at 10:22 am |
      • ragansteve1

        Debate alone is a good reason because it causes all of us to learn. Good debating! And thanks for the response.

        August 15, 2014 at 10:31 am |
  17. believerfred

    Absolute truth is that agency is required if existence is to have eternal purpose
    Absolute truth is that Love is the image of God in man
    Absolute truth is that man is unique in capacity to love God and worship God without limit.
    Absolute truth is that when man loves God it is natural to love others.

    August 14, 2014 at 7:11 pm |
    • Sue

      That is absolute nonsense, believerfred. However, we can be absolutely certain that the so-called god described in the Christian bible does not exist. That is the case because that being is stated to have self-contradictory and conflicting characteristics, among many other reasons.

      August 14, 2014 at 7:30 pm |
      • believerfred

        Sue
        You are suggesting there could be an eternal purpose for creation without agency? How is that even possible?

        August 14, 2014 at 7:38 pm |
        • Sue

          No, believerfred. It is tiresome when you suggest that I said what I actually obviously did not say.

          For your review, and perhaps taking some more time to digest:

          We can be absolutely certain that the so-called god described in the Christian bible does not exist. That is the case because that being is stated to have self-contradictory and conflicting characteristics, among many other reasons.

          August 14, 2014 at 8:19 pm |
        • believerfred

          This absolute truth is not dependent upon the God of the Bible it is the concept of agency. If there is no eternal agency there can be no purpose for creation. If agency is not eternal purpose ends with that agency of first cause. Your individual purpose is a subset of the general purpose for existence and your opinion / belief is your own and limited to you.

          August 14, 2014 at 8:31 pm |
        • MidwestKen

          believerfred,
          Who says that there is an eternal purpose?

          August 14, 2014 at 9:19 pm |
      • believerfred

        Sue
        -Absolute truth is that Love is the image of God in man- Ok I agree this would not appear absolute truth to someone who does not know God.

        -Absolute truth is that man is unique in capacity to love God and worship God without limit. – Tell me of any other animal that has such capacity. There are none so tell how this is not an absolute truth as capacity to love God is independent of non belief.

        -Absolute truth is that when man loves God it is natural to love others. – This stands as it is implicit if God is who God says he is and love is a true love not motivated by ungodly cause.

        August 14, 2014 at 7:47 pm |
        • Sue

          We can be absolutely certain that the so-called god described in the Christian bible does not exist. That is the case because that being is stated to have self-contradictory and conflicting characteristics, among many other reasons.

          August 14, 2014 at 8:19 pm |
        • believerfred

          Sue
          Think about it. Man is unique in capacity to love God and worship God. That is a fact. How can you debate such an easy position.

          August 14, 2014 at 8:33 pm |
        • hotairace

          If that is true, man is unique in being able to invent gods, and behave as if they are real, despite there being not a shred of actual evidence that any god actually exists. fred, and all believers, are very good at pretending to know things they do not. (with credit to Peter Boghossian for this excellent definition of faith).

          August 14, 2014 at 9:02 pm |
        • Sue

          believerfred, your statement is not of a fact. It is actually an unsupported conjecture.

          Furthermore, you do not know with certainty what is going on in the minds of other animals, so your "easy position" is actually merely a bent-over and foolish one. Open wide to receive.

          August 14, 2014 at 9:11 pm |
    • tallulah131

      Your "absolute proof" is nothing more than your "personal opinion". Please try to be a truthful person.

      August 14, 2014 at 10:20 pm |
  18. kermit4jc

    read my posts again..I said I do NOT deny doing it....geez..I do it, yes, but most of my time is spent bringing something to the table....most of YOUR time is spent insulting and belittling and not bringing much to the table

    August 14, 2014 at 5:28 pm |
    • Doris

      kermit: "read my posts again..I said I do NOT deny doing it....geez..I do it, yes, but ..."

      Look, kermit, do us a favor and keep that to yourself. Now if you can have Dr. Drew or Oprah have a special show for you to discuss that with them, that might be an appropriate venue...

      August 14, 2014 at 5:36 pm |
      • kermit4jc

        gonna let truthprevils know of that too? thanks

        August 14, 2014 at 5:40 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          Wow kermi; you didn't even have the nerve to direct the post to me...I find that extremely Cowardly. I don't always attack, so stop lying. You always resort to attacking when a person disagrees with you...so please skip the hypocrisy.

          August 14, 2014 at 6:31 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          wow,,cant even understand what the point was? I didn't want to get picked on as the only person doing it when you were doing same thing...get off this carp and back to the issues at hand ok> it wasn't a personal attack, just looking for fairness alright? get back to issues, thanks

          August 14, 2014 at 6:35 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          Wow kermi, spin it how you wish but you're still a coward for not even having the gonads to direct it at me and then you were rude to your elders when your comment was questioned.
          Are you feeling slightly persecuted? There is help for that, please seek it.

          August 14, 2014 at 6:38 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          rude to my elders? who? when...what are you referring to?

          August 14, 2014 at 6:42 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          Doris and your comment to her.

          August 14, 2014 at 6:48 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          @ Doris...was I rude to you? I apologize if I came off rude.

          August 14, 2014 at 6:58 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          you don't speak for doris, and apparently it didn't seem she felt I was rude to her, If I had been I had apologized for coming off AS IF rude, I did not mean to be rude..to keep your nose out of it ok? thanks

          August 14, 2014 at 6:59 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          Oh my kermi, trying to dictate who says what...when are you going to learn to stop dictating or shall we just call you Hitler?

          August 15, 2014 at 4:50 am |
        • Dalahäst

          Bob,

          Do you post under different aliases, like "Fallacy Spotter 101"? The unique avatar that belongs to your name shows up under that poster's earlier response to me – along with another name that mysteriously showed up to insult me in a manner to your similar postings to me.

          August 15, 2014 at 8:34 pm |
  19. Bob

    Vic, the whole Jesus-sacrifice story that you keep trying to push, the foundation of your crazy superstition, is a steaming pile of bull-do. How is it again that your omnipotent being couldn't do his saving bit without the whole silly Jesus hoopla? And how was Jesus' death a "sacrifice", when an omnipotent being could just pop up a replacement son any time with less than a snap of his fingers? Pretty pathetic "god" that you've made for yourself there.

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

    August 14, 2014 at 4:52 pm |
    • austin929

      bob.......hey you should youtube John Macarthur and antichrist.

      im sure you will love this.

      Hey, now people are saying "the pope is the anti christ" and "the anti christ is the Madhi" ...............

      but who is the false prophet? who dares to deceive ?

      August 15, 2014 at 5:07 pm |
  20. Vic

    ♰♰♰ Jesus Christ Is Lord ♰♰♰

    Early on:
    http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2014/08/09/why-missionaries-put-their-lives-on-the-line/comment-page-1/#comment-3056974

    August 14, 2014 at 4:37 pm |
    • Bob

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

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

      August 14, 2014 at 4:51 pm |
      • kermit4jc

        Because Gods justice is NOT flawed as yours/ours are...we base a ot of our justice on feelings...God does not..he IS Just..he cannot change that fact...any more than I can change my being a white person instead of black.

        August 14, 2014 at 5:15 pm |
        • Doris

          kermit: "Because Gods justice is NOT flawed ..."

          I'm not taking your word for it, nor anyone who lived thousands of years ago. Who's his Abrahamic God's ethical adviser anyway?

          August 14, 2014 at 5:39 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          HUH? who's whos advidor???

          August 14, 2014 at 5:41 pm |
        • Doris

          See – you should have asked yourself that same question a long time ago. I hope no emails from Nigerian kings make it to your inbox – sounds like you might just send them all your bank acct info.

          August 14, 2014 at 5:50 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          ok wit a minute..what info are you referring to that I released?

          August 14, 2014 at 5:55 pm |
        • Doris

          Lol – slow down and read it slowly, kermit.

          August 14, 2014 at 5:58 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          read what slowly? Let me ask again, apparently I released some info that you said I shouldn't share here. I am wondering which you are referring to, thanks

          August 14, 2014 at 6:01 pm |
        • Doris

          Try even slower, kermit. Make notes if you need to. Hint – pay attention to the tense I was using. Also a big hint is the use of the word "might".

          August 14, 2014 at 6:05 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          OK.Im lost, lets start over.....this is what I was asking you posted "Who's his Abrahamic God's ethical adviser anyway?" and I asked you to clarify....the "Who's his..." (and I don't know how this had anything to do with releasing certain info-can you please just spell it out?) thanks

          August 14, 2014 at 6:15 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          Nice claim...care to back it? God is very flawed or have you not read your bible? No good god would allow for the hatred shown in the bible nor the inequality within. For over 2000 years people have been making the same claim and still no-one can prove it...why would anyone in the 21st century still accept it???

          August 14, 2014 at 6:14 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          God never promoted hatred or inequality....any inequality is due to man..not God...in FACt right at the very beginning..BOTH man and woman were made in GODS image..thus they are equal, not unequal Their value is no tbased on what they do or such, but who they are, Gods creation made in his image.

          August 14, 2014 at 6:17 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          Forcing rape victims to marry their attacker=hate. Ordering the mass murder of all of creation=hate. Saying that LGBT are sinning=inequality.

          Tell me again how you god doesn't promote these things or is it merely the immoral actions of the people who follow this god that promote hate and bigotry?
          You once again make claims that are fallacious-you have no way of knowing anything about this god outside of the stories told and we know via the EXTREME amount of evidence supporting evolution that man and woman are not created in any image and that we are 98% related to Chimps via DNA.

          August 14, 2014 at 6:23 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          I have a way..I KNOW God personally..just because YOU don't doe snot mean I canot..YOU are not the standard (THANK GOD) as for the DNA similarity, that's BS, similarity does not mean it is...its wishful thinking of scientists who wanna use the evidence to fit their doctrineof what they want it to be (doctrine of evolution) rather than letting evidence to create the doctrine

          August 14, 2014 at 6:31 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          No no no,,,that is such a fallacious claim. You can claim to believe this but to claim knowledge means the burden of proof falls on you-prove it is god you have dealt with and not some other deity!
          And I'm sorry the peer-reviewed studies prove you wrong in regards to the DNA issue, so your point is moot here...I'll take the educated opinions of the people who have spent years studying Evolution over the bible any day-at least they put hard work and effort in to what they did. Scientists have no doctrine nor is there a doctrine of evolution and as a psychologist you should know that, thus making one question if you truly are who you say you are. To deny the vast amounts of evidence for evolution is to be intellectually dishonest-sad really and gives one much reason to pity you.

          August 14, 2014 at 6:36 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          sorry...but the burden is on you now..YOU made a choice to REJEct my proof..I DO offer proof...so just cause YOU wont accept it does NOT mean I don't have proof....

          August 14, 2014 at 6:40 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          You apparently don't comprehend how the burden of proof works. I didn't make the claim of hearing this god speak-you did. I merely asked for the proof because your claim seems a little too outrageous to be true. Your personal experiences do not count for evidence nor does your bible.

          August 14, 2014 at 6:45 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          I know all that...MY point is that JUST because YOU don't accept MY proof that I presented, does NOT mean I did not offer any....the fact you dEnY it shows I offered it, you cant deny something that wasn't offered

          August 14, 2014 at 6:49 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          You offered your opinion, not actual proof.

          August 14, 2014 at 6:57 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          ohh.are you the naïve one...scientists don't have a doctrine.....sheesh...scientists in the field of evolution do have a doctrine that they try to make evidence fit the mold of that doctrine...

          August 14, 2014 at 6:41 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          You do not know what you are talking about. The evidence outweighs your biased opinion and thus it remains that the creationist story is a fallacy and Evolution is fact. Please watch COSMOS And gain some knowledge of the truth before you waste any more of the only life you WILL EVER be guaranteed of.

          August 14, 2014 at 6:47 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          lo...I already have watched it...and again the scientists are biased as well...no one is safe from bias, even scientists...btw yes, I am biased to TRUTH, so sue me for it..evolution has fallacies, no one can even bring a transiutional fossils that supposedly occurred between present day humans to the ancestor of man and apes. NONE..nada.. and if evolution is so true..what have you got to say about the Cambrian explosion, hardly anyone denies that

          August 14, 2014 at 6:52 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          If that is how you wish to take it, so be it but it is extremely intellectually dishonest on your behalf...there is zero justification for accepting the biblical account over the VAST amounts of hard evidence for evolution.
          No matter how you spin, you are related to Chimps...sorry I know facts scare you but they are what they are.

          August 14, 2014 at 6:59 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          hahaha they don't scare me....I am not threatened by falsehoods...no intellectual dishonesty at all

          August 14, 2014 at 7:01 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          Prove creati0nism as being fact without using the bible and you might have a point, until then Evolution is a fact and you are being intellectually dishonest.

          August 15, 2014 at 4:52 am |
        • kermit4jc

          I already have....you can NOT have something from NOTHING...magic......that's all scientists have....the Big Bang did not happen on its own magically...with nothing to start from (you may there was something there-acids-ok..where did THOSE come from and HOW did they form the universe all by itself? Creaitonism is the most logical explanation for where things come from...takes MORE faith to believe in your evolution

          August 15, 2014 at 3:19 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          Okay, so how about simply admitting that we don't know what caused the big bang instead of assuming what it was? You think it was god-I see zero evidence to support your claim....Joe Smith-a false prophet as he might have been had his own take as does every belief system. Not any of us can be guaranteed to be right, so I take the honest stance and admit to not knowing...you use the God of The Gaps argument.
          (jmo)

          August 15, 2014 at 3:25 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          well..actually..thats what secular scientists say! They admit they don't know what cauysed it...and YOU are free to do so...on the other hand, I KNOW since I know God personally.....you cannot dictate what I know and cant know (does the term Hitler seem to come to mind-as you typed in another post?)

          August 15, 2014 at 3:38 pm |
        • MidwestKen

          Kermit4jc,
          How exactly d you figure that A&E were equal?
          Adam was first, eve was afterthought.
          Adam was made from dust and breath of life, eve from adam's rib.
          Adam got to name all animals, eve got to be "helpmate".

          Even NT treats me and womn different.

          August 14, 2014 at 6:31 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          I saidi t already...because they are made in image of God..their WORTH is NOT based on who was made first or such...youre going on a shallow sense of worth of a person. As for NT they being treated differently does NOT make one superior over the other!

          August 14, 2014 at 6:33 pm |
        • Doris

          kermit – I'm just speaking in a funny way I guess about faith, gullibility, trust. IMHO, our existence doesn't seem to allow any of us to absolutely know the cause of everything. I think everyone wants a justice that is not flawed. I think we just strive for it in different ways. I really used to not have a problem with people having the belief that "Gods justice is NOT flawed". But then I started noticing all the different ways people apply that generic principle to meet ends that are quite often disenfranchising for other people – and often times Christians against Christians by the way. That difference in itself is more than proof that this Christian striving for perfect justice is a subjective, opinionated endeavor. And maybe that's what bothers me when someone tries to make an absolute claim that they know what their God thinks, wants – that their righteousness is aligned with his. And after all, what is more subjective than something that came from an oral tradition in a certain area of the world and then passed through the politics of man over thousands of years in various other forms since?

          August 14, 2014 at 6:31 pm |
        • MidwestKen

          kermit4jc,
          You are taking the shallow view of my comment.
          Eve was made from part of Adam. Can you not see the implications of being, but a single rib of another?
          Adam was created first, but the larger issue was that Eve might not have ever been created if Adam hadn't needed a helper. Can you not see the significance of being created a "helper"?

          Not to mention the obvious portrayal of Eve as the original sinner.

          Different doesn't have to me superior/inferior, but when one is told to submit to the other, how else should it be taken?

          The rationalizations are amazing.

          August 14, 2014 at 7:48 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          not at all..remember..GOD is all knowing..he knew hed create Eve....there was never an after thought and again...your view is still shallow..the worth is nOT based on shallowness like you beg for, the worth ofhumans is based they are created in GODS image..BOITH Adam and Eve...does no tmatter when Eve was created...Eve is not the only guilty one here..Adam is equally guilty..oh..and the submission thing..that wa snot for the wife oNLY...I am thinking you got that from Ephesians....seems you need to read more...Paul told ALL people to submit to one another..not only wives to husbands...this include the HUSBAND to submit as well.....

          August 15, 2014 at 2:02 am |
        • Dalahäst

          I have read some understandings of A&E that describe the Hebrew word used is better translated as "side", not "rib".

          http://www.jasher.com/Insights%20page/Adamsrib.htm

          August 14, 2014 at 9:19 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          Hmmm, ribs. – Homer Simpson.

          August 15, 2014 at 2:56 pm |
        • joey3467

          .you can NOT have something from NOTHING...magic..

          Except for god of course, because well.... magic..

          August 15, 2014 at 4:22 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          uh..nope..God IS something..He caused it.....in evolution and secular thinking..universe had NOTHING to cause it and nothing to come from...HUGE difference

          August 15, 2014 at 4:49 pm |
        • joey3467

          actually that is not true at all. at the time of the big bang all of the matter and energy was there so it wasn't nothing. And just like god it could have always existed since we know that energy can't be created or destroyed.

          August 15, 2014 at 4:57 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          but energy does run out does it not? the sun is not eternal...right? so then, how could all these things existed...you said Big Bang started with things that existed...where did those things come from?

          August 15, 2014 at 5:04 pm |
        • joey3467

          Energy can't be created or destroyed so it has always been around and will always be around in some form or another.

          August 15, 2014 at 5:09 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          again the sun is fading, is it not?

          August 15, 2014 at 5:13 pm |
        • hotairace

          We don't know what happened just prior to the Big Bang. "We don't know" doesn't mean some god did it, not without some actual evidence for the alleged god. I don't believe there is any actual evidence for any god, but go ahead and be the first to prove me wrong.

          August 15, 2014 at 5:11 pm |
        • evolveddna

          Kermit..god apparently came from nowhere.. and so could the universe. You cannot explain who made your god or where he came from..

          August 15, 2014 at 5:16 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          youre right..I could not explain who made my Giod..cause he wasn't MADE! He is eternal!

          August 15, 2014 at 5:18 pm |
        • hotairace

          He/it is eternal only because a bunch of people clinging to Bronze Age superst!tions without a shred of actual evidence for any god keep on repeating what, in the absence of evidence, should only be classified as complete bullsh!t.

          August 15, 2014 at 5:32 pm |
        • evolveddna

          Kermit.. that is a compete guess..you have no idea

          August 15, 2014 at 5:45 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Smarter men and women than us have intelligently and respectfully debated this concept for thousands and thousands of years. I'm amazed at the ones that can do it intelligently and respectfully. There are a lot of good examples to read and differing viewpoints to consider. To the ones that don't do it intelligently or respectfully – your hostile words say more about you than the idea you are attacking.

          August 15, 2014 at 5:59 pm |
        • believerfred

          evolvedDNA
          ""
          =>No,that is what the Bible says. The Bible says "in the beginning God":.....these are the first 4 words. It is one the reasons the Bible is Divine relative to other accounts of deity. Causality is one of the main principles in physics and 1st cause was the argument since the Greeks as to origin. When Moses asked whom shall I say sent me God replied "tell them I AM" sent you. In few words it is self evident that God simply is (i.e. no past, present or future can constrain God)

          "god apparently came from nowhere.. and so could the universe."
          =>No the universe could not come from nowhere unless you have some new natural law theoretical physicists are not aware of. There is always speculation as to pre big bang cosmology but that is all it is. As we sit today matter is neither created or destroyed even at the event horizon of black hole. Spontaneous creation out of a quantum flux is more of a joke these days. Cause and effect still rules in physics

          "You cannot explain who made your god or where he came from.."
          =>there is no need as there is no such thing as non existence. If you can explain non existence without resorting to what God has created I would like to hear it. If you claim there is no God then explain non existence without use of anything existing. Since God is unknown to you the best you can do is create a place card holder called the unknown unknowable pre-existent thingamawhatset. The Greeks had a monument to the Unknown God.
          I like the sound of "In the beginning God" much better

          August 15, 2014 at 6:00 pm |
        • hotairace

          Dalahazz, please provide a reference for a single conclusive proof for any god, a proof that the smartest or the dumbest cannot argue with.

          August 15, 2014 at 6:56 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          For me it was my pride and arrogance that stood in the way of the evidence of God. And I know I'm not alone with this understanding – would you be willing to consider if the same can be true for you?

          Why is it that there are so many intelligent and respected people today and in history that have believed in God? And I'm not trying to make an argument based on the number of people who do believe as being proof. But I mean it to question your claim that belief in God is solely based on people clinging to Bronze Age superst!tions without a shred of actual evidence.

          Ironically you haven't given me any evidence that proves your claims. In fact, I have a suspi.cion they are built on feelings and gut reactions – not entirely built on a reasonable and logical understanding and conclusion. I know you can bring out the same old arguments that anti-theists all declare – I have read them many times on this blogs and they are publicized on many websites. It certainly doesn't make them factual or true, though. And whenever I inquire an anti-theist about them, they usually just insult me and dodge the questions I ask.

          August 15, 2014 at 7:16 pm |
        • hotairace

          I don't believe I have made any claims about the existence of any gods other than there is no actual evidence. If there is no evidence, I can't provide any, obviously.

          So where is your actual evidence or a pointer to a conclusive argument for any god. Any chance you are dodging the question?

          August 15, 2014 at 7:39 pm |
        • hotairace

          Why do so many smart believe? Don't know, it's a mystery to me, and to others such as Neil deGrasse Tyson, who has expressed his bewilderment publicly. I chock it up to primarily childhood indoctrination and societal pressures but leave room for mental defects.

          August 15, 2014 at 7:42 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          I've never heard Neil deGrasse Tyson makes as outlandish statements like you, though. I've heard him say most religious people fully embrace science, for instance.

          I admire how he is respectful to those with differing belief systems. He has to be as a scientist. He works with atheists and Christians – 2 groups he doesn't identify as but still seems to respect.

          As for evidence – I can show you how it looks to me. As someone who used to think all religious people were either mentally defective, brainwashed or suffering from peer pressure – I can share that I can't believe those are fully sufficient explanations today.

          August 15, 2014 at 7:50 pm |
        • Bob

          Dalahast will go on all day dodging questions about evidence by taking various tangents. Don't let him. Pin him down every time he changes the subject. He has no evidence for his god, and he will go to great lengths to dodge that point. It's that simple.

          August 15, 2014 at 7:57 pm |
        • hotairace

          I never claimed NdGT and I agree on all things or even much. But he did say:

          “I want to put on the table, not why 85% of the members of the National Academy of Sciences reject God, I want to know why 15% of the National Academy don’t.”

          ― Neil deGrasse Tyson

          Clearly not as direct as I might have said it but a slap down nonetheless.

          August 15, 2014 at 8:06 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          He got kind of slapped down right after he made that quote, actually.

          Tyson: I want to put on the table, not why 85% of the members of the National Academy of Sciences reject God, I want to know why 15% of the National Academy don’t. That’s really what we’ve got to address here. Otherwise the public is secondary to this. [Moderator then turns to the panel for responses.]

          Larry Krauss: It’s hard to know how to respond to Neil, ever. But the question you asked about “Why 15%” disturbs me a little bit because of this other presumption that scientists are somehow not people and that they don’t have the same delusions — I mean, how many of them are pedophiles in the National Academy of Sciences? How many of them are Republicans? [laughter] And so, it would be amazing, of course, if it were zero. That would be the news story. But the point is I don’t think you’d expect them in general to view their religion as a bulwark against science or to view the need to fly into buildings or whatever. So the delusions or predilections are important to recognize, that scientists are people and are as full of delusions about every aspect of their life as everyone else. We all make up inventions so that we can rationalize our existence and why we are who we are.

          Tyson: But Lawrence, if you can’t convert our colleagues, why do you have any hope that you’re going to convert the public?

          Krauss: I don’t think we have to convert those people. They’re fine. That’s the point. They’re doing science. I don’t understand why you need to do that.

          August 15, 2014 at 8:31 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Bob –
          Do you post under different aliases, like "Fallacy Spotter 101"? The unique avatar that belongs to your name shows up under that poster's earlier response to me – along with another name that mysteriously showed up to insult me in a manner to your similar postings to me.

          August 15, 2014 at 8:35 pm |
        • hotairace

          Notice that Krauss did not challenge the numbers, only whether or not the 15% should be converted to atheism. NdGT's main point though was that no one should expect the masses to drop superst!tions when there are educated scientists that still cling to them.

          This conversation comes at the end of NdGT's main presentation in which he explains why smart people such as scientists occasionally fall back to mythology (because they reach the limits of their scientific knowledge and irrationally conclude some god did it) and very effectively trashes creationism. No slap down of any kind from Krauss on those major points.

          August 15, 2014 at 8:57 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          Right. I don't doubt the numbers myself. But I don't think the members of the National Academy of Sciences are perfect nor do I trust their opinions on all matters. I've actually never met a member of the group that I know of, so I really can't make a great decision about what their personal belief entails for me.

          A quick search on Wikipedia reveals a viewpoint that I think represents a more moderate view from scientists.

          "In terms of perceptions, most social and natural scientists from 21 American elite universities did not perceive conflict between science and religion, while 36.6% did. However, in the study, scientists who had experienced limited exposure to religion tended to perceive conflict.[146] In the same study they found that nearly one in five atheist scientists who are parents (17%) are part of religious congregations and have attended a religious service more than once in the past year. Some of the reasons for doing so are their scientific identi.ty (wishing to expose their children to all sources of knowledge so they can make up their own minds), spousal influence, and desire for community.[147]"

          Sounds like most are not hostile toward religious belief, and some are incredibly open-minded.

          August 15, 2014 at 9:08 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          "Attempts to pit science and religion against each other create controversy where none needs to exist."

          – National Academy of Sciences, 2008

          August 15, 2014 at 9:48 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Advertisement
About this blog

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