In Venezuela, a 'sacrilegious' Lord's Prayer
The late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is the subject of a "sacrilegious" new prayer.
September 3rd, 2014
11:43 AM ET

In Venezuela, a 'sacrilegious' Lord's Prayer

By Rafael Romo, CNN

(CNN) - A member of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela and follower of Hugo Chavez is raising eyebrows for changing the words of the Lord's Prayer to honor the late president.

Speaking during an event at the Third Congress of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela in Caracas on Monday, María Estrella Uribe read the changed prayer in front of hundreds of delegates and current President Nicolás Maduro.

"Our Chávez who art in heaven, on Earth, in the sea and in us delegates," she read, "hallowed be thy name. Thy legacy come so that we can take it to people here and elsewhere."

The delegate from the border state of Táchira kept on reading. "Give us today your light to guide us every day. Lead us not into the temptation of capitalism, but deliver us from oligarchy."

Delegates cheered Uribe loudly, especially when she shouted "Viva Chávez!" at the end of her speech. Maduro raised no objections.

But Uribe's actions have offended many Christians in the South American country, Catholics and Protestants alike.

They say the words of a prayer found in the books of Matthew and Luke in the Bible should not be changed for political propaganda or any other purposes.

Carlos Caripa, head pastor at the Saint Jude Thaddeus Chiquinquirá Church in Caracas, said the changed prayer was, at best, disrespectful.

"It's an expression of people who had a deep affection for Hugo Chavez, who was our president, and that's how they're showing that love and affection. But that's not a feeling shared by all of our people. They're changing a prayer that is highly important to us, a prayer that begins by saying that our father is God," Caripa said.

The Rev. José Piñero, vice president of the Evangelical Council of Venezuela, went further.

"From a Christian perspective, we consider changing the words of the Lord's Prayer sacrilegious, an act of idolatry and desecration and a trivialization of the sacred," Piñero said.

He said the evangelical leadership is deeply concerned about acts by loyal followers of Hugo Chavez who, Piñero said, are worshiping the late leader as if he were a divinity.

"There was a movement that fortunately failed that wanted to establish a church and name Hugo Chavez a bishop," Piñero said.

The cult of Hugo Chavez is not necessarily new. It started well before he died of cancer in March 2013. There is an altar to worship Chávez at Cuartel de la Montaña, the military barracks in Caracas where Chavez is buried.

During the campaign that led to his election as Chavez's successor in April 2013, Maduro famously said Chávez appeared to him in the form of a little bird.

An animated video published weeks after the president's death showed Chávez entering heaven and joining other deceased Latin American leaders, such as his revered independence hero, Simón Bolivar.

The changed prayer also offended some Chavistas, such as Carmenchi Chavez (no relation), an attorney who said people should give Caesar what is Caesar's and God what's God's, paraphrasing Jesus' words in Matthew 22:21.

"I'm Chavista," Chávez said, "but I believe that you can't mix politics with other things. You can have your own political persuasion, but you need to respect the beliefs people have been raised with."

Osmary Hernandez contributed to this report. 

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Americas • Christianity • Church and state • Venezuela

soundoff (503 Responses)
  1. Caleb

    Noe, you wrote, The Bible is the only book that starts with the very beginning, the very first relationship established between God and man and takes mankind all the way through the very end!

    –Amen, brother! Indeed, well said!

    –You should add to that statement what Jesus said about being the Alpha and Omega.

    –Nowhere else can you find the history of the relationship between God and man as well established as it is in the Holy Bible.

    September 5, 2014 at 10:41 am |
    • myweightinwords

      Every religion, every culture has its own origin story, its own gods, its own relationship to those gods.

      Christianity is not unique in this regard (or in most other regards either).

      You see it as unique because you believe it, out of the hundreds of choices, this is the one you believe. That alone does not make it true. It makes it true FOR YOU. There is a difference.

      Hope your Friday treats you well, regardless of your chosen belief...even if that belief is merely that a cup of coffee sounds divine, which for me it does.

      September 5, 2014 at 10:59 am |
    • Vic


      Noe's post on September 4, 2014 at 4:34 pm | Reply is very well put.

      I shared the following before:

      I find Christianity to be the most understanding of all the God-to-human relationship and affairs going from the very obvious to the very mysterious, starting with creation, going through a multitude of stages, the fall, the expulsion and curse, trials and covenants, rebellion and Law, culminating with God's "Ultimate Provision" for Salvation, the Good News of the Lord Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son, the New Covenant, the Millennial Kingdom to come, the end of time, and the afterlife. I find Christianity to be the most understanding and discerning of the complex nature of God's Divine Being and the multiple "Time Dispensations" that He put humans through in this lifetime for the purpose of the "Test of Faith" according to His Sovereign Divine, Will, Wisdom, and Command, that transcend all of His creation.

      September 5, 2014 at 11:12 am |
      • Alias

        What other religions are you an authority on?

        September 5, 2014 at 11:19 am |
        • Vic

          I don't speak out of authority, I speak out of conviction.

          September 5, 2014 at 11:52 am |
        • Alias

          So you speak out of ignorance.

          September 5, 2014 at 1:28 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          "I find Christianity to be the most understanding of all the God-to-human relationship"

          "What other religions are you an authority on?"

          "I don't speak out of authority, I speak out of conviction."

          You do see how ridiculous you sound right Vic?

          September 5, 2014 at 2:56 pm |
      • Caleb

        –That response about conviction was a gem!

        September 5, 2014 at 11:55 am |
      • believerfred

        Thanks for a breath of fresh air on a belief blog filled with anti theists !
        Oh, and your phrase "Time Dispensations" hit home this morning ! You are a blessing

        September 5, 2014 at 2:21 pm |
        • zhilla1980wasp

          hey scary feddie; which number you buy into? lol
          "Answer: Dispensationalism is a method of interpreting history that divides God’s work and purposes toward mankind into different periods of time. Usually, there are seven dispensations identified, although some theologians believe there are nine. Others count as few as three or as many as thirty-seven dispensations. In this article, we will limit ourselves to the seven basic dispensations found in Scripture.

          link: http://www.gotquestions.org/seven-dispensations.html

          September 5, 2014 at 2:26 pm |
        • believerfred

          You seem to have a good grasp of theology. I was actually observing my current situation,being surrounded by LDS these days, and some consider Joseph Smith a dispensation of time following Jesus. I once objected to the Golden Plates on the same basis some object to revelations of Moses. Although not theologically correct I like to view my journey as dispensations of time where I was oblivious=>agnostic=>New Age=>Fundamentalist=>Christian=>?
          Unless I were to die before the next "dispensation" I have no reason to believe my current Christianity is the last hurrah

          September 5, 2014 at 3:01 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      As MWIW has pointed out, just about every culture has had their own creation and end times mythologies.

      In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

      This universe existed in the shape of darkness, unperceived, desti.tute of distinctive marks, unattainable by reasoning, unknowable, wholly immersed, as it were, in deep sleep. Then the Divine Self-existent, himself indiscernible but making all this, the great elements and the rest, discernible, appeared with irresistible power, dispelling the darkness.

      In the beginning there was an empty darkness. The only thing in this void was Nyx, a bird with black wings.

      In the beginning , the heavens and earth were still one and all was chaos. The universe was like a big black egg, carrying Pan Gu inside itself.

      In the beginning there was nothing but Nzame. This god is really three: Nzame, Mebere, and Nkwa. It was the Nzame part of the god that created the universe and the earth, and brought life to it.

      In the beginning, Lord Con Ticci Viracocha, prince and creator of all things, emerged from the void and created the earth and the heavens.

      All of these stories eventually address the creation of humankind and our relationships to the Creator gods.

      Armageddon, Ragnarok, Frashokereti, are a few of the ways in which the world is said to end.

      September 5, 2014 at 11:13 am |
      • himpdahak

        Technically, Ragnarok isn't the end of the world. It is simply the end of this cycle. I always found it odd how specific the Norse were about how the gods die though. You would think that if you were a god and KNEW the specifics about the fight you die in, you might just want to try something different...

        September 5, 2014 at 1:59 pm |
      • believerfred

        While midwest rail and tallulah13 keep asking why God could not get his message out throughout the world you hit a home run. The message went out from the time of the first representative humans Adam and Eve. All but the Chosen Ones preserved only some key points as evidenced in your posts. The Chosen Ones were tasked with bringing the Word forward and preserving the Law. Given the detail preserved, God chose the right people who not only carried the Word forward they carried "The Word" (as John called Jesus ) physically to the Cross in the Perfect Lamb of God for the final sacrifice as they had practiced over hundreds of generations. How fitting when Jesus called out forgive them for they know not what they do. That is the living Word of God which to this day for any who would read the Word reveals the true nature of your soul.

        September 5, 2014 at 2:36 pm |
    • Caleb

      @Vic – Indeed.

      –The Bible starts at the very beginning and walks through that relationship throughout history up until Jesus and takes us all the way through the end.

      –Starting from the first man Adam to the last man Adam who became a life giving spirit.

      –That's what makes Christianity compelling.

      September 5, 2014 at 11:25 am |
      • Caleb

        Also, what the Bible is not is it's not abstract when it talks about this relationship. It was a real relationship God had starting with,





        –Jacob and so on... till God manifested Himself in the flesh through Jesus Christ and the relationship continued with

        Paul, John, Peter & Luke and others today.

        Nothing is left to imagination, the historical relationship with the first man up until Jesus is well doc umented which is what makes Christianity so compelling and convincing!

        September 5, 2014 at 11:31 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          Most people – including the majority of Christians – don't believe that man was literally created out of dirt and clay, that the first woman was cloned from said man's rib to be a "helpmeet", that they lived in a magic garden replete with talking serpents and fruit that imparts knowledge or that they lived to be 1,000 years old.

          Creation myths, including the Biblical one, are not literal history. They are allegory.

          According to Ja.panese Shinto Mythology, at the beginning of time, the heavens and the earths were mixed together in a great cloud. Slowly, the clearer, lighter parts of the cloud rose up and became heaven. The heavier parts of the cloud descended and became an ocean of muddy water. Between the heavens and the earth, a pale green sprout began to grow. It grew swiftly and was extremely strong. When the plant’s flower burst open, the First God emerged. This First God then created Izanagi, is the god of all that is light and heavenly. Izanagi, whose name means "the male who invites", and his wife and sister Izanami, whose name means "the female who invites". The First God gave Izanagi the task of finishing the creation of the world.

          There is a Chinese creation myth that says the ancestors of mankind were the fleas and lice on the body of the God Pan Gu.
          In the beginning, Pan Gu escaped from the great universal egg by cracking it open with a broadaxe. The light part of the yolk floated up and became the heavens while the cold, hard part stayed below to form earth with Pan Gu standing between them like a pillar to keep the separated. When He died, His breath became the wind and clouds, His voice thunder, His eyes the sun and the moon, his beard and hair turned to the stars in the sky, His blood the water. His veins became roads and his muscles fertile land.

          In the Orphic stories. The Beginning was known as "Unaging Time", when nothing existed and nothing grew old and the Creator and ruler of time was Chronus. Along with Chronus in this realm was Adrasteia (meaning "necessity") and they joined to create primordial Spirit (energy) and Matter known as Aether.

          September 5, 2014 at 11:41 am |
        • Caleb

          –The Bible is about the relationship between God and man that has been clearly established beginning with Adam up until God revealed Himself to man through Jesus Christ.

          –The actual verse quoted above should read as follows: "The first man, Adam, became a living person." But the last Adam–that is, Christ–is a life-giving Spirit."

          September 5, 2014 at 11:52 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          Are you a Biblical Literalist and/or Young Earth Creationist perchance?
          Do you believe that all human beings on Earth can trace their ancestry back to 3 breeding pairs of humans that climbed off a floating zoo 4,000 years ago wherein all of the males were 1st order relatives?

          September 5, 2014 at 11:55 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          You seem to like speaking over people and ignoring what others have to say.
          You can make the claims all you wish but if you fail to provide evidence outside of the main book that speaks of them, you are merely reverting to circular reasoning and that doesn't prove the validity of your claims. As other's have stated, every religion has its creation story...so why is your creation story the one we should accept? What makes you think you have the right religion?

          September 5, 2014 at 11:57 am |
      • Bob

        The whole Jesus sacrifice-salvation story, the foundation of the whacky Christian religion, is based on absurd and false premises. It is really a steaming pile of bull output. How is it that your omnipotent being couldn't do his "salvation" bit without the whole silly Jesus hoopla, just to begin with? 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.

        September 5, 2014 at 11:37 am |
  2. Tom, Tom, the Other One

    Daniel Burke – I, and perhaps others, would like to comment about ISIS. Why have you closed off comment on the latest and most appropriate pages for that?

    September 5, 2014 at 8:11 am |
    • CNN Belief Blog EditorCNN

      I bet you would, Tom. Or maybe you'd just want to post snide comments about the Pope smoking spliffs and how you like to ogle your neighbor. You're not contributing a whole lot of substance or thoughtfulness to the conversation here, Tom, which means you're part of the reason CNN is limiting the number of stories that allow comments.

      September 5, 2014 at 5:41 pm |
  3. unsername1

    "ISIS vs. mainstream Muslims: The media battle" comment section is closed, let's talk here; do you think barbaric beheading of journalists by ISIS was the final nail in the coffin of Muhammad?

    September 4, 2014 at 10:59 pm |
    • thesamyaza

      please don't call them barbaric its, offensive to us barbarians

      we barbarians wants natures natural chaos jihad want their ideal order.

      order and chaos are two sides of the coin, they want their own order not freedom and life like we barbarians want.

      September 4, 2014 at 11:09 pm |
      • thesamyaza

        oh and this was what i was going to post,...


        Phill Robertson = IS

        September 4, 2014 at 11:25 pm |
    • tallulah131

      No. Radical religion is the most convenient refuge for people who feel powerless in their lives. It has always been so. Islam isn't that much different than any other religion, but it's currently the one that is in the spotlight, committing atrocities. Christianity took it's turn committing it's worst atrocities a few hundred years ago and it's still doing fine. Islam will survive as well.

      The only way to unseat religion is through education and prosperity. As long as humans keep breeding like there's no tomorrow, education and prosperity will be out of reach for many people.

      September 4, 2014 at 11:29 pm |
      • Woody

        “Christianity took it's turn committing it's worst atrocities a few hundred years ago……”

        The difference with the whackos of a few hundred years ago and the contemporary religious nutjobs, is modern weaponry that can kill people much more efficiently. If these fanatics get their hands on biological, chemical or nuclear material, there’s little doubt that they’ll use it at the first opportunity. It's time for the civilized world to cooperate and say "enough is enough" and do whatever it takes to eliminate these animals.

        September 5, 2014 at 2:41 am |
        • himpdahak

          Don't fall into the same trap they have. They are all humans just as we are and to forget that is to give them an advantage. Or, since they feel that way about us, it levels the playing field; better to maintain an advantage than level the playing field imo. I would much rather consider an opponent smarter and more cunning than he actually is than reduce him farther than is true.

          September 5, 2014 at 2:08 pm |
    • bostontola

      No, religion has proven to be tough and resilient.

      Barfi is brave. I hope they don't target him for his effectiveness. I like his approach of battling on the mind front rather than the military front. It's sad that no Muslim leaders have the courage to do this as openly.

      September 5, 2014 at 9:45 am |
  4. blessed137

    ???What is happn??? Signs of the times.

    September 4, 2014 at 9:27 pm |
  5. Flavorful Favorites

    The joyful myth and eager messenger;

    Stained glass soars to the rafters;

    Surely God is here, and yet this house is empty;

    No salesman can close;

    Lovely building full of lies, heard less prayers than cries;

    Sacred this and sacred that;

    Babies raped and priests zipping up their pants;

    No leads to follow;

    This is what Jesus witnesses from His lofty perch in that glass;

    Abuse the sheep and pay the tithe;

    Fill the tray and please don’t stay;

    Such a lovely cathedral, such a vile torture chamber.

    September 4, 2014 at 7:24 pm |
  6. Flavorful Favorites

    Noe, atheists have common sense. Christians do not. It is not your fault you are childish, you were brainwashed as a child no doubt...

    September 4, 2014 at 6:54 pm |
    • Flavorful Favorites

      You, child
      Crossing the line without knowing
      Just for being who you are
      What confusion was hard wired?
      A developing brain, healthy and ready
      Sabotaged as a child
      Savage religion.

      September 4, 2014 at 7:20 pm |
    • Flavorful Favorites

      Choice not;
      Want not.

      Listen to the man;
      Save some truth as long as you can.

      A crazy insane and delusional ruse;
      A platform built to use and abuse.

      Children chained and preached up cold;
      Dysfunctional adults as they grow old.

      A world of timeless lies and affliction;
      Religion is the world’s addiction.

      September 4, 2014 at 7:26 pm |
      • thesamyaza

        Christianity is a choice one that is harmful the world we live in, it is unnatural, it is contrary to nature .

        September 4, 2014 at 10:31 pm |
        • himpdahak

          Nothing humans do is contrary to nature; we ARE nature. Everything we build is natural. Every atrocity we commit is natural. Every joyous occasion is natural.

          September 5, 2014 at 2:11 pm |
  7. Noe

    Understand your confusion, there are zillions of religions out there.

    But, Christ clearly answered that question as follows:

    “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. "

    Since He has answered the question clearly, the God of the Bible is the one true God.

    September 4, 2014 at 5:15 pm |
    • In Santa We Trust

      I'm not confused. Your claims have no more merit than all the other religions – until you can provide objective evidence of a god and that it is your god.

      September 4, 2014 at 5:17 pm |
    • Noe

      Look, it's very simple:

      You either believe what Jesus said and accept His word or you don't and walk away from knowing the one true God.

      I choose to believe Jesus and His word.

      September 4, 2014 at 5:20 pm |
      • Tom, Tom, the Other One

        You know One True?

        September 4, 2014 at 5:22 pm |
      • joey3467

        It is very simple, you either die gloriously in battle or you won't enter Valhalla.

        September 4, 2014 at 5:24 pm |
        • thesamyaza

          Ahemait ops i mean amen

          September 4, 2014 at 10:40 pm |
      • tallulah131

        Noe: So basically, you picked the god that you liked and chose to believe in that god. Or you lived in an area where most people are christian, so you believe out of habit. Either way, it was an emotional choice, not a logical one.

        September 4, 2014 at 11:31 pm |
    • khidir619

      Who's the Father? Is that the one true God you're talking about?

      September 4, 2014 at 7:14 pm |
    • TruthPrevails1

      Set down the bible and show us where else we can find evidence of anything jesus apparently said considering nothing was written about the creature until approximately 40 years after it apparently died.

      September 4, 2014 at 7:24 pm |
    • rogerthat2014

      Oh, I get it. The Bible is true because the Bible says that it's true.

      September 4, 2014 at 8:37 pm |
    • thesamyaza

      um no their are an unknown number of gods,the one thing you can be sure of is there is more then one

      September 4, 2014 at 10:34 pm |
    • mk

      There are many, many gods, books, religions, prophets, questions and answers and you believe only one?

      September 5, 2014 at 8:41 am |
    • G to the T

      I wasn't aware that Jesus had written any of the books of the NT. The quote you reference is from the book attributed to "John".

      September 5, 2014 at 9:05 am |
  8. Noe

    The Bible is the only book that starts with the very beginning, the very first relationship established between God and man and takes mankind all the way through the very end!

    September 4, 2014 at 4:34 pm |
    • Noe

      Any person that has read the Bible will know how carefully God's plan has been laid out for mankind.

      September 4, 2014 at 4:37 pm |
      • igaftr

        That is not even close to true.
        I have read the bible, and see that is is an extremely flawed work of men, and I see no evidence of any gods.

        September 4, 2014 at 4:42 pm |
      • joey3467

        Reading the bible is why I don't believe it anymore.

        September 4, 2014 at 4:53 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist


          Many religious only read the passages that are circular in their logic and theology. They read a scripture that says God is love, God loves them, God hates their enemies and God will fix all their problems and all they have to do is believe and they can trust in the bible because the bible is the word of God, and how do they know it's the word of God? Because the bible tells them so, thats how.

          September 4, 2014 at 5:02 pm |
      • Noe

        You read the Bible, then you ask God to reveal Himself to you.

        I think if you are not convinced by reading the Bible, it must be okay for you to ask God to reveal Himself to you. That in other words is called seeking Him.

        The Bible clearly says, those who seek Him will find Him.

        September 4, 2014 at 5:04 pm |
        • In Santa We Trust

          All religions make the same claim – they can't all be right but they can all be wrong.

          September 4, 2014 at 5:07 pm |
        • joey3467

          Then the Bible lied.

          September 4, 2014 at 5:09 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          "Here is my book, Dianetics, read it then ask the Xenu how to find your bridge to total freedom. If you are not convinced by reading my book, it must be okay for you to ask the Xenu to reveal themselves to you. That in other words is called seeking Them. My book clearly says, those who seek Them will find Them." – L.Ron Hubbard

          September 4, 2014 at 6:40 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          "The Bible clearly says, those who seek Him will find Him"

          Of course it says stupid little things like this, it Is catch phrases such as this that keep the flock from wandering away.

          September 4, 2014 at 7:28 pm |
        • himpdahak

          neverbeenhappieratheist: Hubbard never said that and Xenu is the bad guy! It is HUBBARD who you must seek as only HE can make you Clear (for the low, low cost of pretty much everything you own and your devotion to Hubbard forever). Now please, come to your local Scientology clinic and have your first session with our patented e-meter! The first one is free, but after that we will determine the cost based on your gross income!

          September 5, 2014 at 2:17 pm |
      • niknakk

        That's funny, because reading the bible made me an atheist.
        Maybe mine was busted.

        September 4, 2014 at 5:13 pm |
      • TruthPrevails1

        The quickest path to Atheism Is said to be an open-minded read of the bible, you should attempt to read it with an open-mind instead of cherry picking.

        September 4, 2014 at 7:29 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          Robert Brown has called that a tried and true way of meeting God. I've studied the Bible quite a lot. I can read the NT in Greek, in fact. It hasn't done much for me either way. The Torah is flat- out foundation mythos for the people of ancient Israel

          September 4, 2014 at 7:48 pm |
      • rogerthat2014

        Anyone that has read the Bible, knows that God is in desperate need of psychotherapy.

        September 4, 2014 at 8:43 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      LOL. Every religion has its creation myths. Being made from dirt. Being coughed up by a giant frog. Being imagined up by spirit beings. Your Christian "beginning" is not even one of the good ones. Too childishly simplistic. Go and read genesis again. It's a hoot!

      September 4, 2014 at 4:37 pm |
      • neverbeenhappieratheist

        Hey, you know we share over 93% of our DNA with frogs... that proves we must have been coughed up by them, right? I mean, i've been told by Christians that the bible says we were made from dirt and because dirt is made of carbon and we are made of carbon then the bible got it right and that proves Genesis... but I think sharing 93% of our DNA is a much better link dont you?

        September 4, 2014 at 5:05 pm |
        • niknakk

          Dude, don't you know that DNA is a trick of the devil to get you to not believe in god?
          Same with carbon.
          Man, you atheists are dumb......

          September 4, 2014 at 5:28 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          Hey, coughed up by a giant frog is a far better explanation than "Swish and flick!"...

          September 4, 2014 at 6:13 pm |
        • believerfred

          You also have 50% banana DNA. Did the banana come before or after the chimp?

          September 4, 2014 at 6:57 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          Mankind had to come before the banana, or at least before the banana hammock...otherwise no women would have mated with man...

          September 4, 2014 at 7:31 pm |
    • Noe

      You're challenging God's creation? Who are you?

      September 4, 2014 at 4:40 pm |
      • Noe

        People have tried to poke holes on the Genesis version of Creation and they have failed miserably!

        September 4, 2014 at 4:42 pm |
        • Nathan

          If you are interested in debating Creation Vs. Evolution, go to Uncommondescent.com and see if you are able to survive the barrage of arguments against evolution. Enjoy!

          September 4, 2014 at 4:49 pm |
        • In Santa We Trust

          "... barrage of arguments against evolution ..." but no evidence for creationism. How can you debate creationism when there is no evidence apart from the imaginings of nomadic Bronze Age sheepherders?

          September 4, 2014 at 4:53 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          "see if you are able to survive the barrage of arguments against evolution."

          Well, 99.9% of all scientists and biologists were able to "survive" the , ahem, "arguments" against evolution, though you may want to call them "speculative opinion" as none of the "arguments" have any basis in factual science or biology.

          September 4, 2014 at 4:59 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          If anyone has a significant argument against the core principles of evolution, I wish that person would publish. Those principles unify biology and inform the theoretical bases of information sciences, mathematics, physics and chemistry, even economics and political science. If they do not work, it is way past time to know why they don't work.

          September 4, 2014 at 5:09 pm |
        • believerfred

          Tom Tom the other one
          Evolution theory is the result of reverse engineering beginning with the foundation of naturalism and can only produce results consistent with an anti theist bias. Consider that past, present and future are nothing more than convenient partitions of cognition yet we force a linear causal chain into all observed mutation, migration, and genetic drift which is not necessarily the case hence we end up with anomalies such as Cambrian explosion which was not an explosion at all but a compression of time space. Time dating for evolution purposes relies on predictable rates of decay but most of all a constant speed of light. The speed of light is only constant within the observation horizon and we cannot know it is constant outside that horizon so we assume it constant otherwise nothing makes sense. An inversion of weak and strong forces within our universe or external forces could compress time. If that is the case the age of our universe has never been constant and you may not have had sufficient time to evolve from a Chimp.

          September 5, 2014 at 4:19 pm |
      • igaftr

        WHich god...there are over 100 "creator" gods...don't even bother with the "one true" god...there are over 400 of them.

        Who am I? A person who sees men imagining gods...thousands of them...but no evidence of any of them, anywhere.

        September 4, 2014 at 4:46 pm |
      • Reality

        Let us see what 1.5 million Conservative Jews and their rabbis have to say about the Torah:

        From my book of essential theology and religious history:

        origin: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20E1EFE35540C7A8CDDAA0894DA404482 NY Times review and important enough to reiterate.

        New Torah For Modern Minds

        “Abraham, the Jewish patriarch, probably never existed. Nor did Moses. (prob•a•bly
        Adverb: Almost certainly; as far as one knows or can tell).

        The entire Exodus story as recounted in the Bible probably never occurred. The same is true of the tumbling of the walls of Jericho. And David, far from being the fearless king who built Jerusalem into a mighty capital, was more likely a provincial leader whose reputation was later magnified to provide a rallying point for a fledgling nation.

        Such startling propositions - the product of findings by archaeologists digging in Israel and its environs over the last 25 years - have gained wide acceptance among non-Orthodox rabbis. But there has been no attempt to disseminate these ideas or to discuss them with the laity - until now.

        The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, which represents the 1.5 million Conservative Jews in the United States, has just issued a new Torah and commentary, the first for Conservatives in more than 60 years. Called "Etz Hayim" ("Tree of Life" in Hebrew), it offers an interpretation that incorporates the latest findings from archaeology, philology, anthropology and the study of ancient cultures. To the editors who worked on the book, it represents one of the boldest efforts ever to introduce into the religious mainstream a view of the Bible as a human rather than divine doc-ument.

        The notion that the Bible is not literally true "is more or less settled and understood among most Conservative rabbis," observed David Wolpe, a rabbi at Sinai Temple in Los Angeles and a contributor to "Etz Hayim." But some congregants, he said, "may not like the stark airing of it." Last Passover, in a sermon to 2,200 congregants at his synagogue, Rabbi Wolpe frankly said that "virtually every modern archaeologist" agrees "that the way the Bible describes the Exodus is not the way that it happened, if it happened at all." The rabbi offered what he called a "LITANY OF DISILLUSION”' about the narrative, including contradictions, improbabilities, chronological lapses and the absence of corroborating evidence. In fact, he said, archaeologists digging in the Sinai have "found no trace of the tribes of Israel - not one shard of pottery."

        September 4, 2014 at 4:52 pm |
      • In Santa We Trust

        Is there any evidence for your god outside of your religious texts? (same for all religions).

        September 4, 2014 at 5:04 pm |
      • niknakk

        Hey Moe, phuck god.

        September 4, 2014 at 5:15 pm |
      • G to the T

        "You're challenging God's creation? Who are you?"

        No, though I can see who you might think that. I'm challenging the reliability of the bible when read as a continuous narrative. Although it's the most popular way to view it, I don't believe it is appropriate to do so.

        September 5, 2014 at 9:09 am |
    • Noe

      God is revealed in the Bible, why do people ask which God?

      September 4, 2014 at 4:57 pm |
      • In Santa We Trust

        Because your god is only one of thousands currently believed in across the world (that may be millions depending upon the interpretation of hindu gods. And there are plenty of gods currently out of favor – Greek, Roman, Norse, etc. mythology.

        September 4, 2014 at 5:02 pm |
      • igaftr

        No one can be that dense.

        September 4, 2014 at 5:07 pm |
        • niknakk

          Noe Nothing is just a troll.
          It writes like a 5th grader too.

          September 4, 2014 at 5:16 pm |
    • thesamyaza


      September 4, 2014 at 10:36 pm |
    • tallulah131

      I suspect the proper name for this poster should be "Poe", not "Noe".

      September 4, 2014 at 11:32 pm |
    • mk

      The relationship between god and man in the bible is this: I gave you life, so you either do what I want or I will smite you. Sounds exactly like a child-abusing parent.

      September 5, 2014 at 8:38 am |
    • myweightinwords

      Every culture has its own origin story, its own gods, its own understanding of why.

      Christianity is not unique nor is it special.

      September 5, 2014 at 10:10 am |
  9. Dyslexic doG

    Co-opting and plagiarizing from earlier religions is as old as religion itself.

    The Chavistas tool the Christian "lord's prayer" and modified it for their own ends.

    – Christianity took the Ten Commandments from the earlier Code of Hammurabi.
    – Christianity took the jesus character from the earlier gods like Mithra, Attis, Horus and more.
    – Christianity took holy dates from pagan religions.
    – Christians even co-opted jewish lore ... UNCHANGED ... for the beginning of their christian book

    the list of plagiarism and unoriginality goes on and on ...

    September 4, 2014 at 4:27 pm |
    • himpdahak

      I wouldn't say the Jesus story is exactly plagiarized. Rather, it holds many common themes as those themes have proven to be the most useful in garnering belief. To call it plagiarism would be like calling Star Wars a plagiarism of Star Trek considering the deep differences between the stories. It follows the same formula as the others, but is different enough that no court would uphold Mithraists' copyright claims.

      September 5, 2014 at 2:26 pm |
  10. Noe

    This simply goes to prove that people need Jesus in their lives, whether you live in Venezuela or not!

    September 4, 2014 at 4:17 pm |
    • Noe

      And, the Lord's prayer is probably the most recited prayer in the world!

      September 4, 2014 at 4:19 pm |
      • In Santa We Trust

        Even though christians are a minority? I doubt it. Muslims pray multiple times daily.

        September 4, 2014 at 4:21 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          You would think if any one of these theologies was true, that you would find a difference between prayer outcomes. Muslims pray constantly so shouldn't their prayer have a real measurable effect on them and their lives? Christians will tell you none of their prayer matters because they are praying to a alse God, and yet they themselves have no better record when it comes to fulfilled prayers. I am left to conclude prayer is one of the most useless and wasteful ways for a humans to spend their time on this planet. It is litterally plssing away the little time you do have on this planet while closing your eyes dreaming of another world where everything is roses for you while those you dislike or don't agree with writhe in torment. You might as well lock yourself in your house for several years while carefully cutting and pasting each letter from each word from your favorite Twilight book on the walls of your room... yeah, prayer is that important.

          September 4, 2014 at 5:27 pm |
        • believerfred

          Prayer is a humble position and simply taking a humble position creates a better self and a better world. Effective prayer is a deep passionate exchange where our thoughts and feelings are brought in line with Gods will for our lives. Much of prayer is actually thankfulness and expression of love and concern for others as well as worship of God. The outcome from such extended periods of inner reflection, in particular if in the presence of God is always positive and rewarding. It is a blessing in itself.

          September 4, 2014 at 5:48 pm |
        • In Santa We Trust

          It may help the prayer in some way, but there is no evidence of an extraordinary effect on the object of the prayer.

          September 4, 2014 at 5:54 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          "a humble position and simply taking a humble position creates a better self and a better world."

          So is yoga. Also, I doubt the majority of prayers are as you describe but petty greedy plees for help from a group who has been taught not to do things for themselves but to fall on their knees and proclaim how imperfect and flawed they are as they make excuses for their failings. Try to just be a better person and take responsibility for your actions, they are yours alone.

          September 4, 2014 at 6:01 pm |
      • thesamyaza

        allah akbar is the most rested pryer, the average Muslim says it like 40+ times a day

        i say this once a day
        Don't hide in your cave of clouds, Amaterasu,
        and deprive our world of your splendor.
        Come to the mirror we have prepared,
        washing it with clear water.
        See, we are clean too;
        nothing is here that would defile.
        We are worthy of your presence and eager to see you.
        Leave your cloud cave and shine for us.

        September 4, 2014 at 10:47 pm |
        • himpdahak

          Traditional Shinto or the later mixing with elements of Buddhism? Honestly curious.

          September 5, 2014 at 2:29 pm |
        • Alias

          Sounds like the prayer they used in Star Wars to avoid traps.

          September 5, 2014 at 2:36 pm |
    • igaftr

      No one has ever "needed" Jesus in their lives, especially for the fact that is is only belief that you really have.

      September 4, 2014 at 4:23 pm |
    • Reality

      Jesus in our lives? Give us a break !!

      A quick comment from my Jesus notebook:

      . JC's family and friends had it right 2000 years ago ( Mark 3: 21 "And when his friends heard of it, they went out to lay hold on him: for they said, He is beside himself.")

      Said passage is one of the few judged to be authentic by most contemporary NT scholars. e.g. See Professor Ludemann's conclusion in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years, p. 24 and p. 694.

      Actually, Jesus was a bit "touched". After all he thought he spoke to Satan, thought he changed water into wine, thought he raised Lazarus from the dead etc. In today's world, said Jesus would be declared legally insane.

      Or did P, M, M, L and J simply make him into a first century magic-man via their epistles and gospels of semi-fiction? Many contemporary NT experts after thorough analyses of all the scriptures go with the latter magic-man conclusion with J's gospel being mostly fiction.

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

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

      September 4, 2014 at 4:55 pm |
  11. Flavorful Favorites

    The history of Earth:


    September 4, 2014 at 3:53 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      Eat Mor Chikin!

      September 4, 2014 at 4:19 pm |
  12. unsername1

    what good is it for Hugo Chavez or Jesus or Muhammed?

    September 4, 2014 at 2:13 pm |
  13. Flavorful Favorites

    Keep your beliefs to yourself.
    No one needs to care.
    If you kill people you are a psycho. It has little to do with religion except the excuse.
    If you don't do bad things, good for you whether you are an atheist or religious.
    Keep your shoes on in the car.

    September 4, 2014 at 1:48 pm |
    • igaftr

      Don't tug on Superman's cape
      Don't spit into the wind
      Don't pull the mask off that old Lone Ranger
      and you don't mess around with Jim

      September 4, 2014 at 2:00 pm |
  14. Dyslexic doG

    I was there in Venezuela and I saw Hugo Chavez rise up out of his grave and ascend to heaven!


    I said it and it has been written down so it MUST be the truth!

    Hugo is LORD! I believe! I have Faith!

    September 4, 2014 at 1:15 pm |
    • Flavorful Favorites

      Where do I send my check?

      September 4, 2014 at 1:30 pm |
      • Dyslexic doG

        look for Hugo's face on a piece of toast and sell it on ebay ... you'll be set for life.

        September 4, 2014 at 1:33 pm |
        • himpdahak

          What if I secretly use a novelty toaster? Will it still work?! If it does, it is time to make a retirement investment from that custom toaster place...

          September 5, 2014 at 2:32 pm |
      • joey3467

        If you want I can e-mail you my home address.

        September 4, 2014 at 1:35 pm |
    • realbuckyball

      Not only did Hugo rise, but rocks were split, the big curtain in one of the big government offices was torn, (even though no one mentioned that in the newspsper), and the graves of many others who had "fallen asleep" also rose, (even though no one mentioned who they were or what actually happebned to them). Praise be Hugo. Hugo loves me this I know.

      September 4, 2014 at 1:55 pm |
      • Flavorful Favorites

        Now ISIS is really pissed.

        September 4, 2014 at 2:00 pm |
        • Dyslexic doG

          is it now IPIS?

          September 4, 2014 at 3:35 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          Soon it will be IPIS Blood...

          September 4, 2014 at 7:43 pm |
  15. Archie Bald

    For your "hair" problems see NHDI in CA.

    September 4, 2014 at 12:55 pm |
  16. David

    Lord's prayer in the language Jesus spoke.

    Avvon d-bish-maiya, nith-qaddash shim-mukh.
    Tih-teh mal-chootukh. Nih-weh çiw-yanukh:
    ei-chana d'bish-maiya: ap b'ar-ah.
    Haw lan lakh-ma d'soonqa-nan yoo-mana.
    O'shwooq lan kho-bein:
    ei-chana d'ap kh'nan shwiq-qan l'khaya-ween.
    Oo'la te-ellan l'niss-yoona:
    il-la paç-çan min beesha.
    Mid-til de-di-lukh hai mal-choota
    oo khai-la oo tush-bookh-ta
    l'alam al-mein. Aa-meen.

    Matthew 6:9-13

    September 4, 2014 at 12:39 pm |
    • Flavorful Favorites

      Lord's prayer in the language Treat Williams spoke.

      Gimme head with hair
      Long beautiful hair
      Shining, gleaming,
      Streaming, flaxen, waxen

      Give me down to there hair
      Shoulder length or longer
      Here baby, there mama
      Everywhere daddy daddy

      Hair, hair, hair, hair, hair, hair, hair
      Flow it, show it
      Long as God can grow it
      My hair

      September 4, 2014 at 12:49 pm |
      • harlow13

        They'll be ga-ga at the go-go when they see me in my toga...

        September 4, 2014 at 12:59 pm |
      • Tom, Tom, the Other One

        From London to Milan
        stilettos are an "ism"
        in red and neon light
        Gimme Jimmy Choo Choo Choo Choo Choo Choo shoes
        in New York, Paris, encore
        Live it like an "ism"
        Seduction at the thigh
        The heel is the transmission

        September 4, 2014 at 1:17 pm |
    • Archie Bald

      That got posted in the wrong spot earlier, so here it is in the right spot- For your "hair" problems see NHDI in CA.

      September 4, 2014 at 12:57 pm |
      • Flavorful Favorites

        California is a weird place for the New Hampshire Dance Institute, but hey, at least everyone's hair will be in a nice tight bun.

        September 4, 2014 at 1:09 pm |
    • Noe

      Beautiful rendition on Youtube! Check it out!

      Thanks for posting this prayer and to hear it in Aramaic adds spiritual depth to it.


      September 4, 2014 at 4:15 pm |
      • Reality

        I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
        preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
        named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
        girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

        Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
        the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

        He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
        a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of

        Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
        many semi-fiction writers. A descent into Hell, a bodily resurrection
        and ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
        Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
        grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
        and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
        called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.


        And if you want to sing yourself to sleep (not quite Aramaic but Arabic has some roots in it)

        أعتقد أن هناك الميلادي 1، اليهودي، بسيطة،
        رجل الواعظ الذي حبل به نجارا اليهودي
        اسمه يوسف يعيشون في الناصرة وولد من الشباب اليهودي
        فتاة تدعى مريم. (ويقول البعض انه كان الممزر.)

        كان يسوع المصلوب محاكمة لكونه المعبد محرض الغوغاء من قبل
        القوات الرومانية في القدس تخدم تحت بيلاطس البنطي،

        دفن في قبر غير معلم وما زالت تقع
        A-التفتيت في الأرض في مكان ما خارج

        وقال ومنمق قصة يسوع و"mythicized" حسب
        العديد من الكتاب شبه الخيالية. والانزلاق الى الجحيم، وجسد القيامة
        وتم إصدار قصص صعود للتنافس مع
        الأساطير قيصر. قال ان القصص الشعبية بحيث
        نما إلى دين يعرف اليوم باسم الكاثوليكية / المسيحية
        ويضم عصر الظلام، النبيذ اليومي للدم والخبز لطقوس الجسم
        دعا ذبيحة الإفخارستيا من المسيح الكفاري غير.


        Or then there is the melodious Hebrew rendition:

        אני מאמין שהייתה המאה ה -1, יהודית, פשוטה,
        מטיף איש שהיה יזום על ידי נגר יהודי
        בשם יוסף המתגורר בנצרת ונולד מיהודי צעיר
        בחורה בשם מרי. (יש אומרים שהוא היה ממזר.)

        ישו נצלב על הסף בשביל להיות מנהיג אספסוף מקדש על ידי
        החיילים הרומיים בירושלים המשרתים תחת פונטיוס פילטוס,

        הוא נקבר בקבר לא מסומן ועדיין נמצא
        -עבש באדמה במקום כלשהו מחוץ ל

        אמר סיפורו של ישו היה מיופה ו" mythicized "על ידי
        הרבה סופרים למחצה בדיוני.ירידה לגיהינום, תחייתו גופנית
        וסיפורי התרוממות הותקנו להתחרות עם
        מיתוסים קיסר. אמר סיפורים היו כל כך פופולריים שהם
        גדל לתוך דת הידועה היום כקתוליות / נצרות
        ושמציע אפל בגיל, יין יומי לדם ולחם לטכסי גוף
        נקרא קרבן לחם הקודש של ישו אינו המכפר.


        September 4, 2014 at 5:13 pm |
  17. awanderingscot

    Chavez most famously invoked the name of our Lord Jesus Christ when he exhumed the remains of Simon Bolivar some years ago according to sources close to him had actually been hopeful of a resurrection. Chavez fancied himself a modern day savior, at least for the Venezuelan people but it would appear he left them much poorer, spiritually and materially.

    "For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect." – Matthew 24:24, NKJV

    September 4, 2014 at 12:20 pm |
    • awanderingscot


      September 4, 2014 at 12:38 pm |
  18. unsername1

    This how the Jesus became a Christian God, someone crazy changed the words of the 'Lord's Prayer'.

    September 4, 2014 at 12:10 pm |
    • guidedans

      Our Father, which art in heaven,
      Hallowed be thy Name.
      Thy Kingdom come.
      Thy will be done in earth,
      As it is in heaven.
      Give us this day our daily bread.
      And forgive us our trespasses,
      As we forgive them that trespass against us.
      And lead us not into temptation,
      But deliver us from evil.
      For thine is the kingdom,
      The power, and the glory,
      For ever and ever.

      Wait, where is Jesus mentioned in that prayer again?

      September 4, 2014 at 12:29 pm |
      • unsername1

        don't take it literally, that is how the evolution process of religion started, some begun with fairy tales!! right!! Unfortunately, Jesus never lived long enough to enjoy fruits.

        September 4, 2014 at 2:12 pm |
        • guidedans

          Well, I would argue that Jesus's death IS the fruits of Christianity and that His sacrifice on the cross is the only reason why Christianity is here today.

          You do bring up an interesting point that I had not really thought about. Jesus was only around for 35ish years and His ministry only lasted for less than 5. It is pretty amazing that 5 years of ministry can create a 2000 year old religion. Also kind of interesting to think about the lives of the first people trying to spread Christianity. They didn't exactly "gain" a whole lot from their efforts in the worldly sense. They kind of all got murdered, imprisoned, or banished. Very few, if any, of the early church fathers got to see the "fruits" of the religion as you call them, but they still did what they did for some reason. Just interesting to think about I guess.

          September 4, 2014 at 5:26 pm |
      • awanderingscot

        "Wait, where is Jesus mentioned in that prayer again?"

        – Our Father, which art in heaven

        September 5, 2014 at 9:23 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          Funny, two different Christians-two different interpretations and we're expected to take you seriously when you can't even agree amongst yourselves.

          September 5, 2014 at 10:31 am |
  19. kevinite

    So, how does one differentiate between one's political beliefs with one's own sense of morality or with one's own religious beliefs?

    September 4, 2014 at 11:30 am |
    • MidwestKen

      One place to start might be the difference between what one thinks is right and what one thinks is right for the gov ernment to dictate must be done.

      September 4, 2014 at 11:37 am |
      • kevinite

        Except how does that make for certain that what is considered a must do for government action not be considered the right thing to do?

        September 4, 2014 at 11:43 am |
        • MidwestKen

          Not certain I follow you, but I suspect that it has to do with whether or not your personal morality says its okay to dictate the behaviors of others, or at least to what degree.

          September 4, 2014 at 12:03 pm |
        • kevinite

          Well, if you believe then that it is moral to dictate the beliefs of others, that would fit one's own idea that political morals are the same thing as one's own personal morals or beliefs.

          So, what then would be considered for certain one's political morals or political policy be truly separate from one's personal morals or beliefs?

          September 4, 2014 at 12:15 pm |
        • MidwestKen

          You are changing the question. To "differentiate" between personal and political beliefs might be as simple as acceptence that while you believe in religion X, not everyone must believe in religion X.

          That may not be totally "separate" from personal beliefs, but it is a difference from the rules your beliefs dictate that you live by.

          I.e. the difference is what one expects of oneself versus what one will accept of others.

          September 4, 2014 at 12:34 pm |
        • kevinite

          Midwest Ken,

          So then how does separation between church and state be truly enacted when it comes it comes to creating legislation that is based on morality whether that be religious based morality or nonreligious based morality? One might figure that the concept of separation of church and state can be a means to reconcile differences between political parties. That it brings a sense of nonpartiality and objectivity and yet since legislation is determined by one's sense of morality then how can separation between church and state be of any help?

          September 4, 2014 at 1:35 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          Ethical codices have existed without religion – from the Code of Hammurabi to the Sengo-Kenpō.
          In the 21st century we have numerous examples of irreligious governments running successful societies, like Ja/pan, Switzerland and my home, Canada.
          Some of our elected officials may be religious, but we expect them to act as Humanists, not religionists.

          September 4, 2014 at 2:01 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          "So then how does separation between church and state be truly enacted when it comes it comes to creating legislation that is based on morality whether that be religious based morality or nonreligious based morality?"

          It's quite simple. The "moral" laws enacted by State for the wellfare of its citizens should be based purely on whether or not an action harms another citizen or citizens dependant. The law sets the age of consent at 18 here in the US which is also the age of adulthood and legal self responsibility. Now if a law is suggested like "Prison time for booger eaters" it should be weighed for it's possible damage to citizens. After a judge reviewed it they should strike it down because as gross as eating boogers is, there is no damage caused to other citizens. Smoking cigarettes would be looked at and recognized for the damage it causes to other citizens and is banned in most public spaces but you can go home and smoke all you want because you are not harming anyone but yourself. Blasphemy, while annoying to those who hear someone tell them their God is a joke, is and should be perfectly legal, because even though someone may have described taking your Gods nuts and snipping them off with a rusty hedge trimmer they didn't actually cause any physical harm to any US citizens. If you have firm religious beliefs that gay people aren't really people or deserving of the same civil rights everyone else gets to enjoy, should you really be able to make laws effecting other citizens lives just because you think what they are doing is icky? Why wouldn't your conscience allow you to vote for civil rights for all while personally sticking to your faith by not being gay yourself? That isn't even a compromise, it's just asking you not to impose your personal beliefs on anyone else. If I felt every man looked better in a sweater vest should I attempt to pass legislation forcing all men to wear them? No, but I myself can go buy and wear as many as I like without effecting anyone elses freedoms. It is just that simple.

          September 4, 2014 at 5:54 pm |
        • kevinite


          You realize that when any legislation is enacted that you are going to have someone imposing their morals (beliefs) on someone else. It doesn't matter whether they are religious-based morals or not or whether those morals are considered to be subjective or objective, you are going to have a situation where at least someone is imposing their beliefs on others.

          The same also goes when you ask someone to not impose their beliefs on others that in fact you yourself are trying to implement your beliefs on to the person you are asking. Now whether or not that attempted implementation is considered a good thing or not is a matter of opinion, but it is still an attempt to implement one's beliefs on to someone else.

          September 5, 2014 at 12:43 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers


          That is absurd. Laws do not necessarily impose morality. It is legal to get divorced. For many people divorce is immoral. Legally allowing divorce does not impose immorality on those that deem divorce immoral.

          September 5, 2014 at 1:27 am |
        • kevinite

          Actually cheesy,

          If one who sees divorce as immoral and the law is implemented making divorce legal you are still imposing that person to accept something. Now whether that something is considered to be a good thing or not is a matter of opinion but that is still imposing someone to accept someone else's morals or beleifs.

          September 5, 2014 at 1:36 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          Actually kevin you are wrong.

          No one is forced to accept anything in that situation. Catholics do not ACCEPT divorce...and they are not forced to.

          September 5, 2014 at 1:53 am |
        • kevinite


          Any implementation of any law consists of at least someone imposing someone else to accept something as a part of their everyday life and culture. Whether you it is consider it to be a big deal or not that may not necessarily be the case for everyone else.

          September 5, 2014 at 2:02 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers


          That is not true. They can decide not to intereact or have anything to do with anyone or anything having to do with divorce.

          September 5, 2014 at 2:06 am |
        • kevinite


          What makes you so certain that is the case? You could try to escape or try to not let that aspect of say divorce enter into your life but there is no guarantee that will happen. There could be a family member or close friend who may get involved with a divorce and though you may not like it or want to have that divorce take place there really is no option, you just have to deal with it because that law was implemented and no matter how hard you may try to keep away from it there is no guarantee that the law will not effect your life in one way or another.

          September 5, 2014 at 2:12 am |
        • kevinite

          For that matter even your own spouse may file for a divorce and like it or not you have to accept it because it is the law. It is very presumptuous to say that such a law will in no way effect you.

          September 5, 2014 at 2:15 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          Your argument is so broad as to be essentually absurd and meaningless. Using your position I could argue Christianity is forced on me. Lutherans could say Catholic morality is forced on them.... and vice versa. All because there is a freedom of religion. Of course that really isn't the case.

          Saying any action or behavior that is legal is therefore "forced" on everyone else is inane.

          September 5, 2014 at 2:28 am |
        • kevinite

          Actually cheesy,

          It's your point that is so broad based that if you figure if there is a possibility that some law "might" not effect someone to mean that a law "won't" effect someone. That you are all to willing to make that judgement call without considering all the ramifications.

          September 5, 2014 at 2:34 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          You really need to quit beginning most every post with "actually"...you are forcing me to regard you as a pompous ass.

          Equating having to "deal with" individual freedoms as "forcing" those behaviors on others is just dishonest. You are arguing like a 13 yr old.

          September 5, 2014 at 2:59 am |
        • kevinite

          Well cheesy,

          It's actually dishonest to say something would not have any impact on someone when you know very well that it is very presumptuous to promote that conclusion while you refuse to accept the possible ramifications.

          September 5, 2014 at 3:06 am |
        • joey3467

          Kevin everything you are trying to argue here is absurd. Allowing everyone to decide for themselves if they want to enter into a gay marriage or not leaves you perfectly free to no enter into one, and thus nothing is being forced on you. While banning it would certainly be forcing beliefs onto gay people.

          September 5, 2014 at 2:55 pm |
    • atlantic9

      People have to understand that their religious and moral beliefs are theirs and it cannot be presumed that other people hold or agree with those personal beliefs. It's not an easy task but we must reach agreement on what is best for society.

      For example some people hold (through religious or other belief) that being gay is wrong and that gay marriage is wrong. Somehow they have to learn that there is no problem with being gay or with gays being married and that their belief applies only to themselves personally, not to society at large.

      Each issue must be examined and the different possibilites considered. It's not an easy topic as so many pepole have their religion burned into their heads from a very early age and parts of society still believe their personal religion is what is right for everyone and the everyone should believe their way.

      This is the job politicians face is generally to consider the different views and options and choose what is the best course that can work for people. Hence gay marriage shoudl be accepted.

      It was a great day when the politicians here stopped forcing children to recite the lord`s prayer in school. A simple solution that worked for all.

      September 4, 2014 at 11:44 am |
      • kevinite

        So, for political reconciliations to occur there must be moral and religious universal acceptance?

        September 4, 2014 at 11:50 am |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          What do you mean by "political reconciliation"?

          September 4, 2014 at 12:12 pm |
        • kevinite

          I mean that in this case political reconciliation to be like say for some miracle chance Congress being able to come to a mutual agreement despite their political differences or moral differences or religious beliefs or whatever the case may be.

          There is this emphasis of there must be a separation between church and state, yet one's religious beliefs can also be considered one's own personal moral beliefs and that any legislation proposed is presumably based on what some people believe is the right thing to do. Can one truly propose any legislation that is totally separate from one's own personal beliefs?

          September 4, 2014 at 12:29 pm |
        • tallulah131

          This is why we have the Constitution. It's the framework upon which our laws are built, and when used correctly it grants rights to individuals without all the irrational limits that religion would put on those rights.

          September 4, 2014 at 12:42 pm |
        • igaftr

          " Can one truly propose any legislation that is totally separate from one's own personal beliefs?"

          Yes, but considering the goal of legislating, we propose laws based on our personal beliefs, for example I believe that school busses should stop at railroad crossings...it is proposed, debated and voted on. It is the goal of legislation to make laws, and why wouldn't those laws be based on what one believes?

          Lobbyists are constantly proposing legislation, but that does not mean the representative cares one way or another about it, but ultimately all laws are based on the fact that someone believes it should be law, not necessarily the one who actually submits it for legislation.

          Do you even know how our legislation process works?

          September 4, 2014 at 12:43 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          Broadly speaking (ignoring for the moment corruption and special interests etc) the government enacts (or should enact) legislation to prevent abridgement of the rights of the citizens.

          Morality exists as a societal consensus. It is not defined by a church. Religious beliefs certainly influence individuals but do not define it for the society. The people as a whole define it.

          The key part of freedom of expression of religion is that all have rights to pursue their faith, not that their faith gets legislated. Freedom of religion also means freedom from someone else's religion.

          September 4, 2014 at 12:47 pm |
        • kevinite

          The problem is that ultimately in a democracy people vote for either their representatives or for for their executives or vote directly on propositions in which each voter (whether that voter is in the majority or not, or whatever their religious or nonreligious, or ethnic background comes from) views as what they feel is the right or wrong thing to do. So, how can one truly vote or propose legislation or do anything in regards to function of a democratic-based system of government truly have complete separation between one's politics and one's personal beliefs? There might be instances where such separation can be possible, but how can that be the case in every instance?

          September 4, 2014 at 12:55 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          'So, how can one truly vote or propose legislation or do anything in regards to function of a democratic-based system of government truly have complete separation between one's politics and one's personal beliefs? '
          The doctrine of separation is not about one's personal beliefs. You can believe anything you want to.

          The doctrine of separation essentially declares that the state does not prefer one religion over another, or one religion over no religion, for the purposes of legislation or other governmental functions.

          September 4, 2014 at 1:03 pm |
        • kevinite


          The government not picking religious favorites still doesn't escape the point that legislation is determined greatly by what someone considers to be the right thing to do. That "right thing to do" legislation can very well be based on one's morals that are religious based. So how can separation between church and state truly be enacted in that case?

          September 4, 2014 at 1:09 pm |
        • igaftr

          "The problem is that ultimately in a democracy people vote for either their representatives or for for their executives or vote directly on propositions in which each vote"

          not in A democracy, but in OUR democracy.
          There are many forms of democracy...even Cape Buffalo are democratic.

          September 4, 2014 at 1:19 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          "That "right thing to do" legislation can very well be based on one's morals that are religious based."
          Avoiding the 'tyranny of the majority' is a fundamental aspect of our system.

          The crux of your argument comes down to the question you asked earlier regarding 'majority rule'. In our system of respecting the natural rights of everyone there are cases where a law that is enacted with majority approval is unconst.itutional on the basis of the separation of church and state.

          The majority of residents of a state could vote to ban wearing turbans. This would (or at least should) be struck down as a violation of the first amendment rights of Sikhs.

          September 4, 2014 at 1:19 pm |
        • tallulah131

          Again, kevin, the purpose of our Constitution is to be the standard that all laws must conform to. Thus, you can elect a fundamental baptist, a orthodox jew or a member of ISIS to office in this country, but their actions and the laws that they seek to enact cannot be in violation of the Constitution, which separates church from state and allows equal protection to all believers as well as non-believers.

          September 5, 2014 at 2:13 am |
        • kevinite


          That still doesn't doesn't bypass the point that any legislation is legislation that involves one's moral beliefs whether they may be religious or not. One can be guaranteed freedom of religion but that doesn't mean that polygamy is alright and legal because someone believes in it. Where does one draw the line?

          September 5, 2014 at 2:25 am |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV


      Morality is a societal consensus on what is wrongful behavior. It changes with time and societal makeup.

      This is very different from what is 'legal' v. 'illegal' and very different from what you are thinking of when you use the term "personal morals" which is what your own conscience and religious teachings tell you.

      Political beliefs should have nothing to do with religion. Political beliefs are about what form of government you want in terms of the type of legislation (legal v. illegal) you want enacted for the society you live in.

      We live in a republic with democratically elected representatives. Democracy is not about majority rule – this is what the post-Arab Spring states are struggling with. A critical component of democracy is avoiding the tyranny of the majority and respecting the natural rights of all citizens.

      September 4, 2014 at 12:12 pm |
      • Tom, Tom, the Other One

        Indeed. In fact, we may tolerate representatives who go outside of moral boundaries. We require them to act within the law and to faithfully represent us under the Constitution and according to the law.

        September 4, 2014 at 12:18 pm |
      • guidedans

        I agree with you for the most part, but I would argue that Democracy IS about majority rule, and that is why it is a bad political system. We live in a Democratic Republic with enough laws and buffers to prevent the majority from taking over and the country falling into a mob rule-situation. Republics are probably the best political system but it would take a very wise and knowledgeable culture to implement the appropriate laws to make that republic successful and just.

        September 4, 2014 at 12:27 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          " it would take a very wise and knowledgeable culture to implement the appropriate laws"
          This is certainly the idea. We seem to have forgotten that elected representatives represent all their consti.tuents – not just the ones who voted for them (or, more accurately, funded their campaigns).

          The representatives are supposed to represent the will of the people, governed by consent. This is very different to "majority rule" which is what we saw implemented in the Morsi / Muslim Brotherhood government in Egypt.

          September 4, 2014 at 12:38 pm |
        • guidedans

          I agree with you completely on this. The representative democracy aspects of our government are meant to function in that way. I personally believe that the U.S. government has lasted so long because it is so hard to change anything about the consti.tution and the legislation without getting a ton of support. That is not to say that the original set of laws was perfect, but it is to say that it was good enough to keep things in order and keep things advancing so that eventually, we could get to the point that we are at today. If you keep changing things around as the times change, then you end up with a confusing set of unstable laws that makes people distrusting of all laws (e.g., thoughts like, "if this is legal now, but wasn't legal before, then what about other illegal things" or the opposite, "if this is illegal now and wasn't illegal before, then how can I trust that laws are not arbitrary"). Some changes are good when they reinforce the values of that America was built on (women's suffrage, illegality of slave ownership, etc.), but if laws changed as frequently as opinions change, I believe that there would be a great distrust of laws in general.

          September 4, 2014 at 1:46 pm |
        • joey3467

          America was built on (women's suffrage, illegality of slave ownership, etc.)

          Where did you come up with that? It is hard to argue that America was built on those values when women couldn't vote until the 1920's and slavery was completely legal for almost 100 years after the county was formed. America was built mostly on the value of not want to pay taxes.

          September 4, 2014 at 1:53 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV


          "Some changes are good when they reinforce the values of that America was built on (women's suffrage, illegality of slave ownership, etc.),
          He's talking about good *changes* like suffrage, abolition, etc.

          September 4, 2014 at 2:02 pm |
        • guidedans

          Joey, I got that from the Declaration of Independence where it says:

          "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness–That to secure these rights, Governments are insti.tuted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to inst.itute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."

          Now, I guess you could argue that they were specifically talking only about "men," but it sound much more like they are using the term to classify all human beings. Furthermore, those who were slaves were also men, so it would be in line with the values described in this docu.ment that slaves should also have the same rights as freemen (Liberty included).

          That's what I was saying when I mentioned law changes that make America more in line with the country's foundational values.

          September 4, 2014 at 5:18 pm |
      • kevinite

        That leads me to the same questions though that what is considered legal or illegal is based on no matter how one spins it on what is considered to be right or wrong, so how can a government truly have complete separation between church (i.e. personal moral beliefs) and state?

        September 4, 2014 at 12:35 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          You don't need a church to have moral beliefs.

          September 4, 2014 at 12:39 pm |
        • kevinite

          I agree, now does one differentiate ones personal nonreligious moral beliefs to be really any different than ones beliefs that are religious based? Should one's nonreligious-based morals have any preferential consideration over another person's morals when it comes to government function simply because that other person's morals are religious based?

          September 4, 2014 at 1:02 pm |
        • tallulah131

          Morals are what society decides, not what religion decides, especially in a nation where all beliefs (and non-beliefs) are equally protected. If you let religion decide morals, then you end up with things like ISIS. No thank you.

          September 4, 2014 at 12:46 pm |
        • kevinite

          Whether those beliefs, both religious and nonreligious, are protected or not still doesn't address the point that legislation is still proposed and enacted based on one's moral beliefs. How can separation between church and state be applied in this instance?

          September 4, 2014 at 1:19 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          "Should one's nonreligious-based morals have any preferential consideration over another person's morals when it comes to government function simply because that other person's morals are religious based? "
          The question is not about personal beliefs but the 'will of the people' and not abridging the natural rights of citizens.

          September 4, 2014 at 1:07 pm |
        • kevinite

          And if the will of the people is based on their beliefs?

          September 4, 2014 at 1:12 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          Does it abridge the natural rights of citizens?

          September 4, 2014 at 1:21 pm |
        • guidedans


          I think your question is valid and I think that a person's morality sets their opinions on what should be legislated, which sets their opinions on who to vote for, which then leads to laws being created that are in line with that original person's morality. That is how the system is set up. Whether that is good or bad is not something that I can determine, but that is what happens.

          The alternative would be to get an all-knowing being to set the laws and ensure that enforcement is set up in a way that ensures the most-just punishment for those who break the laws. Or, in the absence of that all-knowing being, just get a dictator that you trust to set the rules and give him or her enough power to enforce them.

          Those do not seem like such great situations either, so it is probably best that we have a system where we took the best laws we could think of, then made them very difficult to change, then gave the power to change the laws to only those who were elected by a majority of their consti.tuents, then gave the power of enforcement of these laws to a select group of people. Not perfect, but it is probably the best we can do with the knowledge and wisdom that we have.

          September 4, 2014 at 1:57 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          "Not perfect, but it is probably the best we can do with the knowledge and wisdom that we have"

          So your explanation for why we should keep discriminating against people and making laws based on uneducated bigots votes is because we've always done it that way? How very reassuring. Thankfully the next generation is already starting to vote and boy will you be surprised at how quickly the pockets of religous conservative bigots will dry up in the house and senate. By 2020 we will have a young progressive president who will be able to replace two or three of the conservatives on the court and we can actually get America thriving again instead of bent over sucking its own cod piece in an attempt to appease a bunch of racist octagenarian white males.

          September 4, 2014 at 6:11 pm |
        • kevinite

          What makes you think that the opposition will just go away so readily in just a few years? There were political parties that just come and went but opposition will always be around.

          September 5, 2014 at 1:20 am |
    • guidedans

      Individuals and governments have different goals. Individuals have individual goals and governments have societal goals. A government's role can be debated, but it is generally to restrict some of the rights of the populace (e.g., the right to murder other people), in order to protect other rights of the populace (e.g., the right to not get murdered). Said differently, a government's goal is to maintain the stability of society by enforcing rules on the citizenry and protecting them from real or perceived harm.

      Individuals have different goals. Usually selfish ones (e.g., be important, or be successful, or have a big family). Because individuals have different goals than governments, you will see conflict between the two. For example, if a person wants to be important, they may want to perform some chaotic action on the public to gain infamy.

      Morality is different from goals however. If you subscribe to the belief that morals are subjective, then you could argue that a person's moral beliefs are always in sync with their political beliefs because their particular moral code was completely invented by that person and therefore can take on any form that person chooses (even containing seemingly conflicting values). If morality is not subjective however, and was instead defined outside of any subject, then you would have to align yourself with that morality to be moral even if it conflicted with your political beliefs.

      I believe that morality is objective and therefore can conflict with political views, but I am sure that many folks on this forum feel otherwise.

      September 4, 2014 at 12:22 pm |
      • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

        " If you subscribe to the belief that morals are subjective, then you could argue that a person's moral beliefs are always in sync with their political beliefs because their particular moral code was completely invented by that person and therefore can take on any form that person chooses (even containing seemingly conflicting values)."

        Morality (the societal consensus of conscience) is demonstrably subjective. Societal morals change with time.

        Personal conscience (what you call a "person's moral belief") has little to do with politics. Businesses legally behave in what to me is unscrupulous (what I see as wrong) behavior all the time. (Think of lending mortgages to people who can't afford them and then fore-closing as an example.)

        My 'politics' don't dictate that we enact masses of legislation to make all unscrupulous business practices illegal though I will agree it's a good idea to legislate a lot of the more egregious ones.

        September 4, 2014 at 12:33 pm |
        • guidedans

          principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behavior.

          Nowhere does that definition mention "society." Morality is just a set of values. It is a very large debate as to whether morality is subjective or objective. Your example of different societies having different morals is not proof of morality's subjectivity, only of different societies' disagreement over morality. A different example of this would be different societies believing different things about the make-up of stars. Just because some societies thought that the stars were just holes poked through a black sheet of paper by hummingbirds while others believed that they were gaseous giants burning hydrogen, does not mean that they were both correct.

          I believe that there is moral truth and that people are either in alignment with it or are out of alignment with it. I know that this position is not without it's detractors, but it is what I believe. I agree with you about personal morality not aligning with political beliefs because I believe in objective morality. That is to say that a person might believe that the Bible sets the true morality for everyone, but that the government should not enforce this morality on everyone through laws because you feel that that would infringe on a person's free will to perpetrate an immoral action.

          If morality is subjective, I think that the subject is free to define whatever moral code that he or she wants to. That could mean a very complex moral code that defines certain rules for people and certain rules for businesses. In that case, the person's political beliefs are completely in sync with their morality because their morality contains their political beliefs.

          September 4, 2014 at 1:34 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          When you talk about objective versus subjective morality only the wider consensus interpretation of morality is relevant – not an individual conscience. That's why I purposefully made the distinction.

          Societal morals do change – even within the same society. More than half of Americans believe that gay marriage should be permitted. This is an example of how morality changes. We don't hang people any more. We now think hanging is morally wrong.

          "Individual morality" is a meaningless concept and negates you argument about the subject being free to define their own morals. They are not.

          Individuals may exhibit or express morals that conform to the definitions of their broader society. "Individual morality" is meaningless.

          September 4, 2014 at 2:10 pm |
        • guidedans

          I think that I do not agree with you on your definition of morality. Societies do not establish what is objectively moral. Societies merely create their own morality. That morality, created by societies is subject-dependent, that is, different societies will define their own definitions of what is moral. Individuals do the same thing. They create their own subject-dependent moralities and their own definitions of what is moral.

          While these "moral codes" are all subject-dependent, it does not then lead to morality being subjective. I believe that morality is objective (and in my view, set by God), and people and societies merely create moral codes that are either in line with that objective morality or out of line with that morality. This means that regardless of what a society defines or what an individual defines, following their own subject-defined morality may lead them to in fact be objectively immoral.

          Societies do not establish what is moral, they establish what is acceptable within that society. I am sure you would not argue that, just because a large group of people believe something is true, that that thing actually is true. It is the same thing with morality. Even if the entire world thought that murder was moral, it would not make murder moral. I do not believe that morality is defined by the subject or the society. I believe that subjects and societies build that own ideas of what is moral and those ideas either align with the objective morals or they do not.

          September 4, 2014 at 5:06 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          "Even if the entire world thought that murder was moral, it would not make murder moral. I do not believe that morality is defined by the subject or the society."

          Well you sure have "Idiot" define perfectly in your comments. With your example of murder you forget the very subject of the murder making it subjective morality. If it were a pig it wouldn't be murder and it wouldn't be immoral, though eating the pig, according to the bible, would be immoral. Sure you can claim it's not immoral anymore because Christ fulfilled the mosaic law blah blah blah, but there again you have "subjective" morality that was subsequently altered. Fabric made from more than one type of material? Immoral. Eating lobster? Immoral!

          We are the subjects and the only subjects of morality, anything else is purely individual opinion and personal preference. In indonesia they eat dog like we might at a pig here but we make laws banning such behavior here. In india cows are sacred, here they are slaughtered in the hundreds of thousands in giant slaughter houses to feed our hunger for beef. Meat is murder? Not unless it's a human who is of course the subject of all our laws. Morality is subjective whether you want to believe it or not and will be until your powerless God comes and tells humanity otherwise.

          September 4, 2014 at 6:25 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          Societies merely create their own morality.
          Certainly, that is what morality is. No more, no less. It is a human invention created so that people can live together.

          All primates do it. Monkeys establish 'rules of conduct' for belonging to the tribe.

          There really is no such thing as immutable absolute unchanging morality. It changes, therefore it is not absolute.

          September 4, 2014 at 9:20 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          "Even if the entire world thought that murder was moral, it would not make murder moral."
          But it doesn't so this argument is moot.

          Are animal sacrifices moral?

          September 4, 2014 at 9:22 pm |
        • awanderingscot

          Moral relativism. The evil heart dictates subjective morality and it's this slothful and immoral generation that proves it's fruit is rotten. One doesn't need to look far to see it. There is absolute and objective morality that comes from the moral lawgiver, our Creator, but the Godless have rejected Him and His laws and therefore will not be healed.
          'And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, se.xual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.’ – Romans 1:28-32, NKJV

          September 5, 2014 at 10:42 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          It's time for another installment of:
          Doc Vestibule's Primer in Moral Relativism

          From the Code of Hammurabi to the Consti/tution of the United States – there are formalized codices by and for individual cultures. The ethical definitions are always specific to the time and place in which they are created.
          Concepts such as ‘state’ and ‘society’ and ‘government’ have no existence save as physically exemplified in the acts of self-responsible individuals.
          It is impossible to shift, share, or distribute blame . . . as blame, guilt, responsibility etc. are matters taking place inside human beings singly and nowhere else. Therefore, we should be rational and realize that not everyone will share the same evaluations of good and evil.
          Effective cooperation is a learned skill and the successful religions recognize this.
          Christianity reveals this truth about ourselves most poignantly in the character of Jesus Christ. His message is one of peace, charity, modesty and forgiveness – the traits most important to develop when living in a society.

          But moral relativism is still a truism. Ethical codices existed prior to the Abrahamic religions and have evolved independently since.
          People are inherently selfish. We instinctively do that which is least painful. Children do that which is least painful to themselves. Maturity comes when we are able to put aside our own immediate comfort and do that which is least painful for the group. Were it not for our ability to reason this out and cooperate, our species would not survive. As individuals, we are prey animals – soft, squidgy, slow and bereft of in-built offensive capabilities. As a cooperative group, we have become the dominant species in nearly every eco-system on Earth.
          But it takes a mighty big stick to beat the selfishness out of us! Historically, it has been a God sized stick capable to inflicting unimaginable devastation in this life and the hereafter.

          A prime example of the reality of moral relativism is cannibalism.
          Our culture has a very strong cannibalism taboo, but it cannot be "human nature" or something "written on our hearts by God" to feel repulsed by it as virtually every branch of the human species has praticed it at some point in their development.
          The Aztecs believed in transubstantiation. They consumed their human sacrifices in the belief that the dead literally became a part of the God to whom they were given.
          Binerwurs in India ate the sick amongst them to please Kali.
          The Karankawa, an indigenous Texan tribe, ritualistically consumed their enemies to gain their strength.
          The Wari, The Kuru, Fore, Caribs, Fijians, Popayans, Serengipeans, are all fairly modern examples (within the last 500 years).
          Indeed, Christians from the 1st Crusade consumed the fallen Arabs at Maarat.

          Sociological evolution is leading us away from religion – not because Christianity, Islam, Hinduism etc are negative in and of themselves, but becuase they are necessarily sectarian and divisive.

          Furthermore, it is empirically proven that religious societies do not fare better than explicitly secular ones when it comes to harmful behaviour.
          The Journal of Religion & Society published a study on religious belief and social well-being, comparing 18 prosperous democracies from the U.S. to New Zealand.
          #1 on the list in both atheism and good behaviour is Ja.pan. It is one of the least crime-prone countries in the world. It also has the lowest rates of teenage pregnancy of any developed nation. Over eighty percent of the population accept evolution.
          Last on the list is the U.S. It has the highest rate of teenage pregnancy and homicide rates are at least five times greater than in Europe and ten times higher than in Ja.pan.
          Countries with a high percentage of nonbelievers are among the freest, most stable, best-educated, and healthiest nations on earth. When nations are ranked according to a human-development index, which measures such factors as life expectancy, literacy rates, and educational attainment, the five highest-ranked countries – Norway, Sweden, Australia, Canada, and the Netherlands – all have high degrees of nonbelief. Of the fifty countires at the bottom of the index, all are intensly religious. The nations with the highest homicide rates tend to be more religious; those with the greatest levels of gender equality are the least religious.

          Widely accepted ethics can never be based on the supernatural. Any proposition that relies on faith can and will be twisted by unscrupulous individuals for their own gain. Its just far too easy to manipulate those who are willing to suspend critical thinking and accept something without evidence.

          September 5, 2014 at 10:55 am |
        • awanderingscot

          "Maturity comes when we are able to put aside our own immediate comfort and do that which is least painful for the group."

          – This is not maturity. Maturity is being selfless even to the point that it is perhaps MOST painful.

          September 5, 2014 at 11:19 am |
        • awanderingscot

          "Countries with a high percentage of nonbelievers are among the freest, most stable, best-educated, and healthiest nations on earth."

          – Sure, and atheistic countries like Russia (highest alcoholism) and China (freest?) come to mind as an examples. Pure rubbish. Anyone can slant a study but facts speak for themselves. As for unbelief, a case could certainly be made that the U.S. has a very high number of unbelievers on a par with the officially atheistic countries.

          September 5, 2014 at 11:31 am |
        • joey3467

          Only about 20% of Russians are unbelievers, and thus it is hardly an atheistic country. Though it is not like you actually care about the truth.

          September 5, 2014 at 12:49 pm |
        • awanderingscot

          "Only about 20% of Russians are unbelievers, and thus it is hardly an atheistic country. Though it is not like you actually care about the truth."

          – Of course you were there and took an official poll or you don't provide a source so it's not like you care about the truth.

          September 5, 2014 at 1:16 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          "Maturity is being selfless even to the point that it is perhaps MOST painful."
          You haven't sudied much behavioural psychology, have you?

          "atheistic countries like Russia (highest alcoholism) and China (freest?) come to mind"
          You'll note that the statement is not "ALL countries with a high percentage of nonbelievers"
          The communist leaders of the nations you list replaced traditional religions with their own cults of personality – swapping one religion for another. They were more autotheists than atheists.

          "a case could certainly be made that the U.S. has a very high number of unbelievers on a par with the officially atheistic countries."
          Well Scot, you don't provide a source so it's not like you care about the truth.

          September 5, 2014 at 1:34 pm |
        • awanderingscot

          "Maturity is being selfless even to the point that it is perhaps MOST painful."
          You haven't sudied much behavioural psychology, have you?

          – don't believe it's necessary to "sudied" it much, why are you an expert?

          "atheistic countries like Russia (highest alcoholism) and China (freest?) come to mind"
          You'll note that the statement is not "ALL countries with a high percentage of nonbelievers"

          – If you didn't want me to pick a few countries then you should have distinguished in some way such as developed countries versus undeveloped countries. Not a very persuasive argument nor very technical.

          The communist leaders of the nations you list replaced traditional religions with their own cults of personality – swapping one religion for another. They were more autotheists than atheists.

          – Whatever, try sweetening it however you want. Prior to the fall of the Wall, East Germany had the highest percentage of atheists in the world, close to 90%; check it out.

          "a case could certainly be made that the U.S. has a very high number of unbelievers on a par with the officially atheistic countries."
          Well Scot, you don't provide a source so it's not like you care about the truth.

          – note that i said "a case" which signifies ownership, ie i myself could present an argument that there are more unbelievers in the U.S. than one might expect.

          September 5, 2014 at 2:03 pm |
        • LaBella


          September 5, 2014 at 2:14 pm |
  20. mk

    Although they disguise it as a belief of the party, politicians often use their religious beliefs to garner support. (ie. The only time the abortion issue is at the forefront of a politician's agenda is at election time.) So what's the problem with treating a political figure like Jesus?

    September 4, 2014 at 11:05 am |
1 2 3
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.