How Franklin Graham transformed a debate about Duke Chapel into a culture war (COMMENTARY)

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Evangelist Franklin Graham with his father, Billy Graham, at the elder Graham's final crusade in New York in 2005.

Evangelist Franklin Graham with his father, Billy Graham, at the elder Graham's final crusade in New York in 2005.

(RNS) Franklin Graham’s Facebook fulminations last week about plans to issue the Muslim call to prayer from the bell tower of Duke Chapel transformed what could have been a nuanced campus debate about religious establishment, sacred space, and pluralism into a countrywide fracas that calls to mind 1980s culture wars.

He helped generate enough publicity to ultimately lead a school better known for porn stars than piety to reclaim its chapel for Christianity.

Why did Franklin Graham’s Facebook post carry this much power? Two reasons. One, some people simply love his narrative about Islam. Recent polling shows that a significant number of Americans believe that Islam is more likely than other religions to encourage violence, and voice substantial support for police profiling of Muslims. Graham’s narrative builds off these suspicions that go far beyond his conservative evangelical constituency.

But more important, he’s a Graham. He carries the power of his father’s name and his legendary evangelistic ministry, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, or BGEA. According to Grant Wacker’s new biography, Billy Graham is the closest thing America has had to a pope, beloved by many for his ability to channel the ideals of middle America as much as a convicting gospel. The fact that, despite his retirement in 2005, the BGEA continues to use his likeness in promotional materials and that political candidates left and right still clamor for photo ops with Billy Graham are testaments to his enduring status as “America’s Pastor.”

But whatever “Graham” means now is different from what it meant in years past. For most of his career, especially in his later years, the elder Graham was the embodiment of a moderate evangelicalism.

After learning his lesson from entanglements with Richard Nixon, Billy Graham tried his best (albeit with mixed success) to stay nonpartisan, and avoid associating with the surging Christian right during the 1980s and ’90s.

He refused to take a hard line on biblical inerrancy. He moved away from speculating about hell or who would be there. Regarding Islam, Billy Graham once intoned “I have some wonderful friends among the Muslim people and have great respect and tolerance for them. Because we are a pluralistic society, we are going to have to recognize that we are no longer just a Jewish and Christian society.”

Billy Graham did meet with Mitt Romney before the 2012 presidential election. Shortly after, his elderly visage was plastered on a full-page ad promoting an unnamed candidate who professed “biblical values.” Some have questioned his actual involvement in this media campaign, but if nothing else, the exceptional nature of this near-endorsement proves the larger rule of how successful Graham has been historically in rising above the fragmentary cultural fray.

Franklin Graham, by contrast, has frequently criticized President Obama publicly (even questioning his Christian faith and repeating far-right rumors that Obama was born abroad). As CEO of the BGEA, he has recently led the organization into a much more conservative direction on questions of scriptural authority, eternal damnation, and hallmark culture war issues.

Recent covers stories of the BGEA publication Decision provocatively ask “Is Islam a Religion of Peace?” (with a blood-stained knife pictured prominently for effect), warn of the dangers of compromise on scriptural inerrancy, and posit hell as the likely result for those who do not toe the evangelical line on moral issues like homosexuality.

But the apple does not fall too far from the tree, because even though Franklin Graham seems to have departed from his father’s more gentle demeanor, there is commonality in their communication strategy. Like his father, the younger Graham is preaching to the choir.

Though Billy Graham was known as an evangelist to the unsaved, many attendees at his crusades were already Christians and most of those who made a decision for Christ were church attendees. They showed up not to be converted as much as to be reminded of who they already were, or at least aspired to be.

Franklin Graham, in his latest comments about Duke University and an Islamic prayer call, has delivered the same dynamic. He has taken a complicated debate about pluralism and made it about the inherent evil of Islam. This trope re-energizes those looking for an excuse to paint all Muslims with the same brush even as it gives liberals what they need to label other voices in the Duke Chapel debate as backwoods fundamentalists.

He has given the faithful of both camps what they want to hear, further proving the lasting legacy of the Graham name, for better or worse.

(Aaron Griffith is a doctoral student in American Christianity at Duke Divinity School. Reach him on Twitter @AaronLGriffith.)

YS/AMB END GRIFFITH

  • Frank

    For better no doubt.

  • Susan Price

    I repeat – Franklin Graham is a horse’s ass and represents Christ about as well as the far-right Muslims represent Muhammad. He has yet to show any Christian love or mercy or tolerance for any one who does not follow his narrow path, as far as I can see. Blood-stained knives? Really?

  • Karla

    Franklin Graham sticks to the Bible which is a rare thing today but he also
    needs to talk about all sins not just focus on abortion and/or gay marriage.
    1 Corinthians 6:9-12 lists many,many sins right along with the homosexuals.
    Two of those sins are getting drunk/drunkards plus all the greedy/coveters.
    Those two sins along with gossips,gambling,premarital sex,being mean and
    sharp tongues,jealousy,takin the Lords name in vain need to be confronted.

    Many people today seem to forget that Jesus said you are one of Mine only
    if you contine in My teachings/follow Me plus many will say to Me Lord,Lord
    and not enter heaven! If you say you love Jesus then don’t follow the Bible
    no Truth is in you! It’s not enough to believe in Jesus. We must follow Him!

    Luke 13 says we must bear good fruit so if someone says they are Christian
    and yet their life/lifestyle hasn’t change then it’s okay for Franklin Graham to
    question that if the person is truly a follower of Christ. We have a nation full
    of peole who want to go to heaven but don’t want to Repent which is why so
    many people still get drunk,be mean/have sharp tongues,sell sex,gossip and
    sleep around,do drugs. Luke 13 says Repent or perish! We all must Repent!

  • That seems to be the case with most Pastors today. It’s always been about the money (aka “The root of all evils”).

  • WTG

    I think you are a “horse’s ass” Susan! It is you who are walking down a narrow path of not just being blind to reality and stupid but wanting to be blind to reality and stupid.
    Blood stained knives, Susan? If you don’t see what is happening in the news all around the world then there is no hope for you! Wake up, Susan!!! That is, if you can!!!

  • Eric Charles Smith

    Is this really the way to keep Graham name and legacy relevant? And I am not so fond of that word “tolerance” his daddy uses. It is s term rooted in arrogance. Who the hell is Billy Graham that he should “tolerate” someone else’s brand of faith?

  • Larry

    You are right WTG, Calling Graham a a horse’s ass is inappropriate. Such a remark is insulting to horses.

    Franklin’s claim to fame is pure coattail riding and shameless pandering. He has run the reputation of his father’s ministry into the ground with ridiculous partisan nonsense.

    “If you don’t see what is happening in the news all around the world then there is no hope for you!”

    And that has to do with an American university showing a modicum of respect to another faith, how? It doesn’t. We don’t live in a theocratic dictatorship. Its not that Graham would have a problem with such things provided his faith can be given a position of privilege.

    Obviously Franklin has jihad envy. He wanted to emulate the heavy handed tactics of the Saudis and ISIS. Graham and cohorts have zero respect for religious liberties. It has always been a means to an end for that crowd. Never any respect for the concept.

  • Larry

    I have to say RNS’s own Boz Tchividjian, one of Graham’s grandsons, is doing a bang up job keeping the Graham legacy relevant. He is certainly “walking the walk” when it comes to addressing abuse and trying to combat it within religious circles.

    His postings here are compassionate and with a real zeal for touching a subject many would rather ignore. They elicit some of the most heartfelt responses seen here. Especially from victims of abuse.

  • Veronika

    Larry wouldn’t it be nice if that same modicum of respect were to go the other way..you know to actually have it occur in places like Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Qatar, Pakistan… where gee I wonder how many Christians are treated with respect?
    Wonder how many churches dot that landscape?
    You might open your eyes and read about the persecution of Christians on the entire planet at the hands of the ‘religion of peace.’
    Here’s a beginners guide for you:
    http://www.amazon.ca/Hatred-Islams-Christianity-Michael-Coren/dp/0771023847
    Susan you are correct.
    Sadly, it the thinking of Larry and his ilk which will hasten the demise of the Western Judeo-Christian liberal democraatic tradition.
    Read ‘America Alone’ by Mark Steyn.

  • @Veronika,

    There are no religions of peace – they are all evil.

    “Slay the infidels wherever you find them” – SURAH (9:2)
    “Kill the unbelievers in the daylight” – Yahweh (Deuteronomy)
    “Execute my enemies in front of me” – JESUS (Luke 19:27)

    Garbage. All of it.
    Civilization can proceed more effectively and produce happier people as soon as we abandon all of this nonsense.

  • Chaplain Martin

    “Tolerance” means to tolerate something that you nay later not tolerate. This is why early Baptist like John Leland, and Methodist dissenters rejected the Virgina Legislature bill that mentioned “toleration” instead of “religious freedom”.
    The Jefferson wording of the Va. amendment was later passed giving full religious freedom in Virgina. First amendment to the United States Constitution was greatly influenced by the Va. amendment and James Madison. It is clear that Franklin Graham who is not, as far as I know theologically or legally trained is clueless as many Americans about the difference between Tolerance and actual freedom of speech and freedom of religion. Franklin Graham is out of his league.

    To the point of this discussion, I understand that the dean of the chapel acted without being asked to do so by the Muslim Student Association, and without input from the dean of the theological school. Just decided it was a good idea without thinking anything about possible consequences.

    Did she think about the many Methodist and others who most likely contributed greatly to building such a wonderful structure? When the purpose of the Chapel was stated and given to Duke how did it read? What purpose was it to have? Duke seems to be making progress to completely demolish any signs of any Christian influence on its campus.
    In the recent past Duke kicked a Christian student organization off campus because the organization while admitting any student to join had a requirement that it’s officers had to be self identified as Christian.

    I’m all for the Muslim community raising funds for a prayer tower to broadcast the call to worship. Do they even want a prayer tower? Does not having one hurt their religious freedom in any way. In fact Muslim Students meeting in the chapel basement is fine, as a former chaplain to a prison I know that Muslim religion does not have any religious icon in worship so the actual Chapel set aside for worship would be improper for their services.

    I wonder if the Muslim Student Association would be kicked off campus if they wouldn’t allow non-Muslim’s to be officers in the association?

  • Chaplain Martin

    Larry,
    You are so right. I used Boz Tchividjian website G.R.A.C.E. to help the church I attend come up with a policy for protection of children in the church.

  • Veronika

    Atheist Max writes: “Civilization can proceed more effectively and produce happier people as soon as we abandon all of this nonsense.”

    I am sure it would — just take a look at the examples of atheist leaders in the past: Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, Mao….all haters of God, religion and man. They are true examples of how ‘great’ civilization would be without God.
    Thanks Max.

  • Larry

    “Larry wouldn’t it be nice if that same modicum of respect were to go the other way..you know to actually have it occur in places like Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Qatar, Pakistan”‘

    It would also be nice if North Korea and China stopped oppressing its people as well. Life is unfair that way. 🙂

    But as we all know all of the above countries are autocratic dictatorships where human rights are non-existent.

    As a person living in a free democratic nation, I feel the need to hold myself to a greater standard of behavior than what goes on in dictatorship craphole nations. We are better than them. We live free. We do not need to attack our freedoms in a race to the bottom.

    Sadly Veronika, delusional people like yourself, who have no appreciation for liberties they live under, are more dangerous to this nation than anyone who has called their god “Allah”. Terrorists merely kill people. You want to destroy our way of life.

    The answer to religious extremism isn’t more religious extremism. For example people who ran to Hitler our of fear of Stalin wound up getting crushed anyway.

    Btw Hitler was one of you guys. Every church in Occupied Europe (sans 1 small one) collaborated with the Nazis. Especially the Catholic and Lutheran churches.

  • Veronica

    The bible is a very sick, disgusting book, Karla, and it instructs you to do some very violent things. Atheist Max has posted some great examples of that. Look above your post.

  • Shawnie5

    Hitler was not a Christian. His allusions to Christianity in his speeches and propaganda were entirely political pandering to the populace and intended to rally them in opposition to the Soviet Union. All of his intimates described him as hostile to Christian beliefs and values.

    As our friend Max was kind enough to point out a while back, “when it comes to understanding what politicians believe we MUST disregard the public speeches as necessary genuflections to religious interests. Only the private records of public people reveal the truth.”

    Shame on you for calling Max ignorant! 😀

  • Veronica

    Shawnie5, Hitler was probably exactly as much a Christian as you are. His moustache was just a bit neater than yours is.

  • Shawnie5

    Oh greaaaaaat rebuttal, Ronnie. Really substantive and all. Quite characteristic of someone who would actually offer nobeliefs.com as a reference for anything.

  • Shawnie5

    Thank YOU for your demonstration of how “civil” and “happy” and “effective” Max’s all-atheist world would be. Please stop by again.

  • Larry

    “His allusions to Christianity in his speeches and propaganda were entirely political pandering to the populace and intended to rally them in opposition to the Soviet Union.”

    But you know in their heart it wasn’t genuine. Isn’t that special. Some kind of clairvoyance. Too bad they acted like everyone else who assumed the mantle of authority in Christianity at the time. No true scotsman indeed.

    The Nazis (and all Fascists) operated with full cooperation of the dominant Christian churches, even before they came to power. The Catholic Church was a major supporter of both Franco and Mussolini. THE CATHOLIC CHURCH FUNDED FASCISM AND CONTINUED TO DO SO AFTER THE WAR.

    Hitler and pals frequently made allusions to the virulent antisemitism promulgated by both Catholic and Lutheran churches at the time. Those ghettos the Jews were herded into were built centuries before. Kings intending to keep their good Christianfolk from having to associate with Jews. All Hitler had to do was revive the old hatreds to find willing enthusiastic mass murderers.

    Appeals to Christianity were frequently applied by Nazis and their collaborators when recruiting cannon fodder and people to commit atrocities. Both Rexists and Ustasha had specifically Catholic sectarian aims in their collaboration with Hitler.

    The ONLY church not to play along on an organizational level was the Danish Lutheran Church. Their story is a long post in of itself.

  • Jim Gloster

    http://www.samaritanspurse.org/ This is not the work of a horse’s a**. This is Christianity !

  • Larry

    Actually it is definitely the work of a equine posterior

    That stupid “charity” spends most of its resources trying to proselytize, not actually render assistance to the poor. These people always get in the habit of insulting local faiths, stirring up sectarian animosity and giving Islamicists more material to work with.

    If that is Christianity, it is a very poor showing of it.

  • The Great God Pan

    Hitler spoke and wrote time and again of the importance of Christianity to his vision of a functioning society. And let’s not forget that, prior to the establishment of Israel as a state, all anti-Semitism was rooted in the “Christ-killer” accusation. There would have been no reason for a supposedly atheistic Hitler to despise the Jewish people.

    The only evidence that he was insincere in his Christianity is a bunch of hearsay about what he supposedly said in private. I suppose that if his “intimates” claimed he really loved the Jews (or, hell, that he was from Neptune or had hidden gills and could breathe underwater), some people would find that more convincing than his own words. Oh well.

  • Billy Graham was true to his calling. That would be preaching the gospel. In that spirit I post an invitation: “Come to m all who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest.” …Jesus (Mathew 11:28) Jesus is the Prince of peace. When we receive Him as Savior and Lord we pass from death to life, are sins are forgiven and we truly have peace that passes understanding. God bless

  • Shawnie5

    Hey, GGP, don’t mind me…I’m just agreeing with your buddy Max. He claimed Lincoln for atheism that way…and he’s welcome to him, too, as long as he collects Hitler along with him. And if he won’t, well then, he’ll have to take Stalin instead, “who spoke and wrote time and again about the importance of atheism to his vision of a functioning society.”

    When are you guys going to make up your minds about who does and doesn’t belong in your camp?

    We can all agree that Veronica does, however. She’s a specimen to be proud of, to be sure.

  • Fran

    Billy Graham, however, does not teach, nor does his son, the good news of God’s kingdom or heavenly government as the only hope for mankind on earth (Daniel 2:44; Isaiah 11:1-9).

    The only way Christians can receive forgiveness of sins now is to ask God for that through the ransom sacrifice of his son, Christ Jesus, and ask it in the name of Jesus, our mediator (1Timothy 2:5).

    Also, it is through that ransom sacrifice and the upcoming millennial rule of God’s kingdom over mankind that sin and death will be eliminated so that we humans can enjoy everlasting life (John 3:16; 17:3) on earth under marvelous conditions and finally be free of those conditions.

    The Grahams teach that only the meek shall inherit the heavens after death; when only 144,000 spirit-anointed Christians, who were humans, have the heavenly hope to jointly rule with Christ Jesus, King, and Prince of Peace, in God’s heavenly government (Romans 8:17; Revelation 7:1-8; 14:1-5).

    It is the majority of mankind who are meek who will inherit the earth (Matthew 5:5; Psalm 37:10,11, 29), and receive that marvelous rule by God’s government.

    Even the dead who have passed away and never had the opportunity to know about God and his purposes have the hope of resurrection back to life on earth from their sleep in death (Ecclesiastes 9:5,10) to be reunited with family and friends (John 5:28,29; Acts 24:15) and get to know God, his personality and purposes.

    Yet, we never hear this great news from them.

  • Ben in oakland

    Karla, you’re quite right. There are more sins than abortion and gay marriage for Mr. Graham to be concerned with. Unfortunately, abortion and gay marriage are the only ones that provide power, money, dominion, and for some people, the exorcising of their personal demons.

  • Ben in oakland

    Shawnee, are you also claiming that 1900 years of official anti-semitism didn’t exist in Europe? Shtetl’s, pogroms, sermons, starting in the ?Gospel of John and the Book of Acts and continuing right down to Martin Luther, and from him right down l’Affaire Dreyfus to Kaiser Wilhelm, who was as virulently antisemitic as hitler? as well as the Lutheran Church in Germany? the Catholic Church and the Reichsconcordat? I have read over 50 quotes from hitler and the Nazi’s about their religious beliefs.Gott Mit Uns on their belt buckles.
    Kinder, Kuche, Lirche was the slogan for good nazi women.

    And not leaving out our own fair country: That Roosevelt denied entry to European Jews? And right on down to the KKK? And let’s not leave out the Baptists. “God almighty does not hear the prayer of a Jew’ said F. Bailey Smith, president of the SBC in 1978.

  • Susan

    Franklin Graham doesn’t have much interest the Western Judeo-Christian tradition. He thinks that Jews ought to accept Jesus and should stop existing. He really has not tolerance for Judaism. He just has tolerance for his version of what he calls the “Old Testament” and the converting Jews. He shares his views with his father.

    Unlike Muslims, he just doesn’t want to insult Jews because he wants to convert them. Jews fit into certain Chrisitan plans for the second coming of Jesus.

  • @Veronika,

    “..atheist leaders in the past: Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, Mao….all haters of God, religion and man.”

    Wrong.

    Totalitarianism is RELIGION.

    “A totalitarian state is in effect a theocracy, and its ruling caste, in order to keep its position, has to be thought of as infallible. But since, in practice, no one is infallible, it is frequently necessary to rearrange past events in order to show that this or that mistake was not made, or that this or that imaginary triumph actually happened.”
    ― George Orwell, Collected Essays, Journalism and Letters of George Orwell Volume 2

    These Straw-men are NOT examples of Atheism but RELIGION:

    Stalin was a Russian Orthodox seminarian, and self-appointed intermediary CZAR (a religious title) between God and the religion of the state which was Dogmatic Agrarianism. Stalin demanded faith in that religion including the miracles of Lysenko, or death. His Icons decorated Russian Orthodox Churches complete with HALOS over his head.
    That is not Atheism – it is FAITH.

    Pol Pot was a Theravada Buddhist who ‘divined supernatural heaven’ of which he appointed himself leader and demanded allegiance as head of the religion: an Cult of Agrarianism and Idolotry of Pol Pot – of the state of Cambodia. He was against all education and science. What Atheist ever outlawed science!?
    That is not Atheism – it is FAITH.

    Hitler and his SS were sworn Catholics and Christians, hailed allegiance to the Fuhrer (father) under ‘God’, demanded faith in the divinity of the Aryan Race and demanded each Nazi wore the belt buckle which read ‘God on our side’ (“Gott Mit Uns”) or God With Us. Hitler’s first peace treaty was the Vatican Koncordat in 1933 where the church swore allegiance to Hitler and Hitler would choose the Bishops for Germany. The Church still HONORS HITLER’S KONCORDAT!
    Hitler’s hatred of Jews was founded on the writings of Martin Luther, he declared Christ ‘his model of the great soldier’ fighting against the evil of the Jews. (Mein Kampf) His favorite words of Jesus ended the Parable of the Minas; “Execute them in front of me.” – Jesus(Luke 19:27)
    That is not Atheism – it is FAITH.

    Emperor Hirohito, was the cult of the sun god – the sacrificial Kamikazes and the holy war of ‘sacred’ Japan SACRIFICED THEIR SOULS TO HIROHITO joining the Axis Powers against the infidel America.
    That is not Atheism – it is FAITH

    North Korea is the most religious country on earth.
    Its current leader had a supernatural birth where the birds sang in Korean. All of the subjects must worship the Dear Leader who has supernatural powers ARE SAID TO RULE THE UNIVERSE.
    Believe it or be executed!
    That is not Atheism – it is FAITH.

    However, there is no FAITH in the United States Constitution which remains the only ATHEIST constitution in the world.

    As in,
    “Congress shall make no law establishing a religion (Enforced Utopianist GODLY Dogma)…..”

    You show me an example where the non-religious democratic ideals of Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine, Voltaire and Lucretius spiraled into torture, brutality and dictatorship
    and we’ll have a level playing field.

    Don’t slander Atheism. by pretending it ever had a Dogma like this:

    “Slay the infidels wherever you find them” – Mohammed, Surah (9:2)
    “Kill the Unbelievers in Daylight” – Yahweh (Deuteronomy)
    “Execute my enemies in front of me” – JESUS (Luke 19:27)

    Atheism’s response to all such Utopian Godly Dogma is a simple word:
    “NO.”

    ____
    AM
    For Peace, Culture and The Separation of Church and State

  • Bob

    Fran, your whole religion, especially its Christ sacrifice-salvation rigamarole, is based on absurd and false premises. 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.
    http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

  • Karla

    Romans 1-18-32 says God created the world/creation is proof
    of God as the Bible says. Bible can be trusted cause of all the
    prophecy accuracy like Psalm 22:16-18 and also Isaiah 53:3-7.
    People not being able to find His body is proof Jesus rose from the
    dead plus why would the Romans soldiers/people who didn’t even
    believe in Jesus lie/say that His body was stolen? It’s because
    they didn’t want the Bible to be true and plus Saul wanted to stop
    Christianity then became Paul because Jesus appeared to him so
    that is even more proof. For people to say that the world just came
    into existence by chance and the sun is set where we don’t burn or
    freeze is just being blind. Many people deny God because they
    don’t want to be told how to live. God/Jesus Christ are very real!

  • @Karla,

    “People not being able to find His body is proof Jesus rose from the dead.”

    Wrong.
    Nobody has ever found Socrates either.
    Does that prove he rose from the dead?

    Arguments like this insult our intelligence and our dignity.
    Religion is truly an assault on humanity.

  • Karla

    Ben in oakland-Many people want to focus on/talk about abortion and
    homosexuality becasue they don’t want to face/look at their own sin so
    I hope some of these other sins get talked about/have an article written
    about them. We need more Christian leaders along with Franklin Graham
    to start speaking out. People need to talk about all of the sins because
    in 1 Corinthians 6:9-12 it lists many sins with homosexuality. We all need
    to look at ourselves/our own sin. We all need to Repent! We must Repent!

  • Karla

    Atheist Max-Why would the Roman soldiers lie and all say that
    His body was stolen if He/Jesus was still in the grave? The point
    I was making is that the Bible predicted all that would happen to
    Jesus and it happened just as the Bible predicted. For you to
    say that this whole universe/the design of it all just came about
    by chance is being blind. Read the Case for Chrst by Lee Strobel
    and also Jesus among other gods by Ravi Zacharias. God bless.

  • Gus

    Karla, please stop persistently trotting out Zacharias’ and Strobel’s rubbish. You should know better and we’ve been over this too many times before. Their work has been thoroughly debunked. As before, see here just as one example http://www.caseagainstfaith.com/.

    Please, cease and desist with that copy-paste; you’ve been put on notice now.

  • Gus

    Karla, the fewer Christian “leaders” we have in politics, the better.

  • Doc Anthony

    Franklin Graham did the right thing. Period. Sorry, liberals.

  • Nashid Muhammad

    Since Mr. Graham paints all Muslims with the brush of intolerance, violence, and barbarism exhibited by extremists like Al-Qada, ISIS and others, what does he think about groups such as the Ku Klux Klan and Hitler. They both claimed to be Christians. So, can we paint all Christians as murderers and terrorists of innocent people based on their skin color alone? Or can we say all Catholics are pedophiles because of the actions of some priests? I think and hope not!

    Is it only some among Muslims who react violently to things they don’t like in print or speech? What can we say about the death threats from some in the U.S., presumably Christians, towards other Americans who had a different take on the movie ‘American Sniper’?

    In the words of Christ, ‘we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of G-d.’
    (note: G-d was not misspelled. The ‘o’ was left out to prevent the reverse spelling)

  • Richard Nixon

    That’s right, Doc. And I did not tell a lie either. Sorry, Americans.

  • Karla

    Nashid- No true prophet can be revered if they are a liar so if Jesus wasn’t
    the Messiah He was a liar and can’t be revered or a true prophet so Jesus
    was a liar or He was/is the Messiah/only way to heaven! Jesus is the only way
    to heaven is what Bible says. Jesus Christ is the Messiah/only way to heaven!

  • Bob

    Karla, this Jesus-sacrifice-salvation story that you keep trying to sell us on, the foundation of your crazy Christian superstitions, is utter nonsense from the get-go. 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.
    http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

  • Ken

    Yup

    Too bad libs. Truth is hard to swallow for y’all huh.

  • Susan

    Karla, Jesus may have thought that he was the Messiah, but he wasn’t. None of the things that the Bible predicts would happen when the Messiah comes happened during Jesus’s life or after his death. Although, I don’t think Jesus ever actually came out and said himself that he was the Messiah.

    I don’t accept the New Testament and I don’t accept the idea that Jesus is the only way to God. The Hebrew word for repentance is teshuvah which comes from the Hebrew word for return. One can always return to God with or without Jesus. I don’t believe that a caring God would deny another to God than through Jesus.

  • Susan. Karla is right. Yeshua/Jesus is the only way to God The Father, the only hope for eternal life. The prophets are clear that Messiah would come first to suffer and die for our sins. Psalm 22, Isaiah 52-53, Daniel, Zechariah…etc, even Moses spoke of the Promised One whom God would raise up that the children of Israel must obey This is God’s plan. We must come to God on his terms, not our own. You are following the teachings of men not the teachings of God. Yeshua is indeed the Way, the Truth and the Life; and no one comes to the Father but by Him as He stated in John 14. Shalom

  • Ben in oakland

    Maggot? hateful scumbags? filth?

    Who is getting a comfy pass to post things like this?

    As always, polite, respectful, compassionate, and empathetic.

  • The Great God Pan

    They let you post your vitriolic, hateful excrement here. Why should you (and Doc, Frank, and the rest) get all the fun?

  • Doc Anthony

    Then why are you still an atheist, Larry? (This is a sincere question.)

    You finally found a living example of Christianity that fits your bill, Boz Tchividjian. By your own admission, he’s an example that garners your compliments instead of your complaints. You say he’s “walking the walk.’

    So why are you still sticking with the empty religion of atheism, a religion that doesn’t even insist on “walking the walk” at all? Time for an upgrade.

  • Doc Anthony

    Max is okay, but his Jesus-wanna-kill-everybody schtick probably isn’t winning any points for the religion of atheism.

  • Susan

    Sorry, I don’t agree. God accepts anyone who returns to him. You have to read messages into the Hebrew Bible that are not there to make a case for Jesus as the Messiah. Besides even if Jesus was the Messiah, the Jewish Messiah was never supposed to what Jesus is for Christians. You are the ones following the teachings of man or at least nothing you speak of is in the Hebrew Bible unless you are reading it backward to find it.

    Don’t Shalom me, you want to cease being Jewish and become Christian. If you and Karla had you way, there would be no more Jews on the planet.

  • Karla

    Susan-What you you talking about? Jesus was/is Jewish. You need to get
    your facts straight. You are loved by Christ and I want you to be in heaven!

  • Karla

    Mark-Amen/very well said! Thanks for backing me up! God bless.

  • Shawnie5

    That’s why it is a very good thing that they are here, Ken. They demonstrate atheist “civility” in all its glory.

    It’s really redundant to smear militant atheists, what with the continuing display they put on all by themselves around here.

  • Ben in oakland

    Shawnee, I believe it was ken who used the wordsmith and scumbag, and a host of other invectives for people he disagrees with.

  • The Great God Pan

    Shawnie isn’t often what you’d call the picture of civility herself.

    But remember, as the Christians’ favorite bumper sticker tells us: They’re not perfect, just forgiven. Their rules are for others, not for them.

  • Shawnie5

    @Max:

    “Totalitarianism is RELIGION.”

    No it isn’t. Totalitarianism is a matter of force — nothing to do with faith.

    “Stalin was a Russian Orthodox seminarian,”

    Kind of like you used to be a Catholic. Shall we continue to classify you as Christian, then?

    “and self-appointed intermediary CZAR (a religious title) between God and the religion of the state which was Dogmatic Agrarianism. Stalin demanded faith in that religion including the miracles of Lysenko”

    Czar is not a religious title. It simply means “caesar” or emperor. And why do you continually try misrepresent Lysenko as some kind of religious matter? Are you really that desperate? None of Lysenko’s methods were considered miraculous. They were simply pseudo-science which was advocated by the Soviet government in a desperate attempt to push the farmers into greater productivity.

    Here was Stalin’s “Five Year Plan of Atheism” issued in 1932: “…not a single house of prayer shall remain in the territory of the USSR, and the very concept of God must be banished from the Soviet Union as a survival of the Middle Ages and an instrument for the oppression of the working masses.” That is not religion. That is ATHEISM.

    “He [Pol Pot] was against all education and science. What Atheist ever outlawed science!?”

    Pol Pot, obviously.

    “You show me an example where the non-religious democratic ideals of Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine, Voltaire and Lucretius spiraled into torture, brutality and dictatorship
    and we’ll have a level playing field.”

    Believers in deities all. Haven’t you got any actual atheists that you aren’t ashamed to point to?

    “Atheism’s response to all such Utopian Godly Dogma is a simple word:
    “NO.””

    Um, no, Max, that is not “atheism’s” response but your own personal one. We have Christ as an exemplar, along with His emphatic instructions to use that exemplar in order to avoid deception by those who would come in His name and lead many astray, even the elect. Your problem is that there is no “atheist” exemplar, and no standards by which one may gauge whether one is acting as a “proper atheist” or not. Embarrassing as it may be, you guys are pretty much stuck with everyone who claims not to believe in God — particularly when they go about killing believers. Sorry ’bout that.

  • Fran

    Bob,

    Even if I shared the answers to your questions from the Bible, showing how loving God and his son, Jesus, are towards mankind, you would evidently not appreciate it nor believe it.

    If anyone else cares about God, his son, Jesus, and God’s marvelous purposes for man on earth, then I will certainly answer on their behalf.

    God’s loving purposes for man and his forever home, earth, will be realized, whether you or others believe in them or not. I just have the hope and faith in a loving, just, compassionate, powerful and wise God, which you do not possess; but that is your choice.

  • Susan

    Yes, of course Jesus was Jewish and Jews have never believed that a savior was necessary for forgiveness or to get into heaven. If i believed I needed Jesus to go to heaven, I wouldn’t be Jewish anymore. Jesus was a Jewish man, but wasn’t the son of God and he wasn’t a savior, or the Messiah. He was an enlightened human being.

    You say you want me to go to heaven, but you think Jesus is necessary to do that, but Jews don’t. You think all Jews are going to Hell unless they stop being Jews, but you won’t say it.

  • Susan

    The Messiah in Judaism is a herald of a new age of Justice and Peace. Neither of which has happened yet.

  • @Shawnie,

    “Stalin’s “Five Year Plan of Atheism” issued in 1932: “…not a single house of prayer shall remain in the territory of the USSR, and the very concept of God must be banished….”

    You obviously do not know religion
    when it is staring you in the face.

    “I forbid worship any gods”… “You must comply or be killed”
    – Stalin

    “I forbid worship of gods other than me…comply or be killed”
    – YAHWEH (EXODUS 20:3) (Deuteronomy 13)

    The title ‘Czar’ was a RELIGIOUS title in Russia for centuries. Stalin seized the title because he know what it meant to Russians. Icons of Stalin appear in churches across Russia and he is wearing a HALO – that is not Atheism!

    Pol Pot – “PURIFY THE MASSES”
    Theravada Buddhism and The Path of Purity (Visuddhi-magga) = “Exterminate the 50 million Vietnamese… and purify the masses of the [Cambodian] people.”
    – Pol Pot (Theravada Buddhist)

    Supernatural, self-righteous, UNREASONABLE, religious garbage
    is exactly what you are complaining about – yet you fully endorse your own supernatural garbage in the next breath along with yet more TOTALITARIAN ENFORCEMENTS!

    ZOMBIES WALK FOR CHRIST
    TO RAISE AWARENESS
    – (MATTHEW 27:52)

    Religion is Totalitarianism!
    Just ask Charlie Hebdo!

  • @Shawnie,

    “If anyone does not love the Lord, let that person be cursed!” (1 Corinthians 16:22)

    When a non-believing person is presented with such a bigoted, hate-filled religion and is told that he must accept its commands whether he likes it or not you should expect a reaction!

    Christian; “YOU ARE GOING TO HELL, YOU BASTARD! I’M GOING TO HAVE TO PRAY FOR YOU!”

    Atheist: “I don’t believe it. Don’t worry. I’ll be okay”

    Christian: “YOU HAVE NO CHOICE!! YOU MUST BELIEVE GAYS ARE EVIL OR WE WILL HAVE TO OUTLAW YOUR OPINIONS!”

    Atheist: “It is against the law to insert your religion in our laws…”

    Christian: “WRONG! YOUR LAWS DEPEND ON CHRIST’S LOVE!”

    “The only cure for homosexuals is that they be put to death”

    – Pastor Robbie Gallaty, Tenneseee Megachurch, Sept 4, 2014

    Religion is nothing but trouble.
    You have a right to it – but if you push it on the rest of us, expect some angry words.

  • Larry

    Never mind Karla/Fran/Mark. They are sectarian trolls who think any religious belief but their own means one is hellbound. They won’t bother reading what you write in response and are in their own little world. Either they have no clue how offensive their views are or just don’t care.

    Best to just ignore them.

  • shawnie5

    I’ve said none of the above and no name calling or invective against me was justified or appropriate. But just as soon as you start pontificating about the civil and happy atheist world you envision, your compadres immediately come out of the woodwork and put the lie to it, almost as if they can’t help themselves. I used to click Report Abuse whenever I saw language like that but not anymore; it is important that everyone see what atheist civility is all about.

    And do you hear yourself? You advocate civility–except for those you don’t think deserve it. The classic “dehumanized other.” What else do you think we “don’t deserve?” Is it any wonder that you guys tend to dispose of human rights and freedom in short order once you get a little power?

  • Larry

    Just because I do not believe in God, doesn’t mean I cannot respect people who do, or their works. Boz is doing good work for people. His background allows him access to Christian groups which would normally avoid exposure or scrutiny. Unlike Franklin Graham, he is using the association with the Graham family name to do something for people.

    Despite your usual malicious yatterings, this sort of thing is not a zero sum game. One can respect a believer without attacking atheists and visa versa. I don’t have to agree with someone’s beliefs to admire their actions.

    He is a living example of strong moral fiber and character. Something you rarely see among people here calling themselves Christians. Never see from you. You would do yourself and your faith a favor by acting as such a “living example of Christianity”.

    Such characteristics are not the exclusive province of Christianity or any other religious belief. One can be moral and not religious. Being religioius does not make one moral.

  • Shawnie5

    Max, czar means caesar/emperor, purely and simply. Dictators have always loved to borrow symbolic elements from Rome because they crave the kind of absolute rulership of the known world that the caesars possessed. And Stalin didn’t put any images of himself in the Church of St. Nicholas that you’re so fixated upon. The people put that there out of slavish gratitude to Big Brother for easing up on them during WW2 in exchange for their support of the war effort.

    Unfortunately for you, no amount of spin is ever going to remove the world’s best-UNloved atheists from your doorstep. But it’s fortunate for everyone else, because they represent an important historical and philosophical lesson thaat we can not afford to forget.

    “Shame on anyone who promotes this nonsense.”

    In your world, Max, there is no such thing as “shame” because there is no “ought to be.” There is only what “is.”

  • Shawnie:

    I didn’t accuse you of those Christian lines. I’m pointing out that your ‘religion of Christ’ is a fascist litany of unfounded, nonsensical, militant decrees.

    “Homosexuals must be stoned to death” – Leviticus (20:13)

    If I promoted a book which said:
    “Christians must be stoned to death”
    How long would it take before you accused me of ‘hate speech’!?

    I denounce your Bible for what it is – an indefensible trash pile.
    And I reject your slander that says Atheism is the equivalent of Stalin’s Genocides.

    There is a world of difference between common Atheism:
    “I do not believe”

    And enforced Religious decrees as in: “There is no God and you must comply or be killed.”

    Good grief!

  • Shawnie:

    “Is it any wonder that you guys tend to dispose of human rights and freedom in short order once you get a little power?”

    We Atheists civilized your religion. We brought religious people to their senses by educating them against Witch Burnings and in favor of Science, Philosophy and Reason!

    This is what Atheism added to America:
    “Congress shall make no law establishing a religion…”

    That is what Atheists do under American Law – we relieve everyone of everyone else’s religious garbage while ensuring freedom of religion does not intrude on freedom itself!

    I advocate Separation of Church and State – which is the only vaccine to prevent the rise of dogmatic religion.

    You, however, advocate DOGMATIC RELIGION! Theocracy!
    Exactly what Stalin, Pol Pot and the Pope advocated.

  • Susan

    I just want them to be honest, but maybe they can’t face up to their results of their convictions. I don’t expect them to agree.

  • Shawnie5

    Max, under the Torah EVERYONE deserved death in one way or another. As per the NT, death is no longer the required penalty for sin. If you want to call that hate speech go ahead. It proves my point rather than yours.

    “And I reject your slander that says Atheism is the equivalent of Stalin’s Genocides.”

    Did I say it’s the equivalent? No, but the former, in political power, has always led to the latter.

    I advocate separation of church and state too — but you atheists didn’t bring it to us, nor did you bring us science or civilization. The only thing you can absolutely claim for your side (because you eliminated all your competition) is what nobody else wants — communist hellholes. Good job.

  • Robert12

    It’s a falsehood that religion is a reliable or foundational source of morals. Morality shifts over time and will continue to do so, and our changing laws and popular, social acceptables reflect that. Typically, humans themselves define moral and legal acceptables, and then religion bends to follow. The latest case where this can be seen is on issues such as gay marriage, where decades ago the whole topic was actually shunned, whereas now religious groups are jumping on the chance to bring gay people into their flocks. As usual, man-made religion, remaking itself to line up with what people will accept. There are many other examples of this. And inventing a deity and mythology such as the Christian one does not a solid moral platform make,

    There are exceptions where religion rules the day, as seen in Sharia law that Christians’ cousins have been able to push through violently in the Middle East recently, and in Christian-dominated areas in earlier history, but they tend to be temporary. We need to push back against similarly backward laws that our fundies are trying to foist on us here.

    Morality leads religion. Religion merely adapts as we make it so.

  • Karla

    Susan- You don’t need to stop being Jewish to be a Christian. You are
    very misinformed. The antichrist is coming to fool people before the real
    Jesus and he will deceive people through a false peace treaty/the devil
    poses as an angel of light/starts false religions to deceive people. The
    Bible prophecy accuracy is why you can trust the Bible/Jesus such as
    Psalm 22:16-18 and also in Isaiah 53:3-7. The book Case for Christ by
    Lee Strobel and Jesus among other gods by Ravi Zacharias are both
    very good books for you to read and the Bible. Do some more research.

    Other religions say you have to earn your way to heaven but then at the
    end of their life they still don’t know if they are saved/going to heaven but
    with Jesus if you Repent/put your trust in Him you are saved. Many today
    abuse Grace/don’t Repent but they need to Repent. We all must Repent!

    Only one God/Jesus went to the Cross because there is only one God!
    If there were other gods/ways to heaven why would God go to the Cross?
    Saying all roads go to heaven/there are other ways to heaven doesn’t
    make any sense because each belief system says something different.
    If you created something should someone else then get the credit for it?
    No they shouldn’t! It’s the same with God. One God created the world
    for all of us. Only one God went to the Cross/died for all of our sin and
    that’s because there is only one God! You can’t earn your your way to
    heaven which is why Jesus went to the Cross and why we need Jesus to
    forgive ours sins. To be saved we must Repent/accept Jesus as or Lord.
    Bible says Repent and believe the Gospel to be saved! We must Repent!

  • Susan

    “You don’t need to stop being Jewish to be a Christian. You are very misinformed.” Karla, yes, you do, you are very misinformed about Judaism. I tried to explain why, but you don’t want to listen. So let me be clear, what you are trying to do is reduce the number of Jews to zero. That is why Judaism and Christianity split in the first place.

    Perhaps, RNS should do a post by Jews to explain why. It might get through to you.

  • Karla

    Susan- Sid Roth is a Messianic Jew and has a show that you should check
    out and Jonathan Cahn is a Messianic Jew and he is still Jewish so maybe
    you have to leave your religion but you don’t stop being Jewish is what I’m
    trying to tell you. Jesus was/is Jewish. You need to do some more research.

  • Bob

    No, Fran, the reality is that you can’t respond with any substance, because the core story of your religion is absurd and false,

    And why does your purportedly omnipotent creature need you to do its snowjob sales for it, such as you have aggressively been doing? The reason again is that your absurd sky god does not exist.

    Do the world a favor and stop pushing your disgusting, hateful, bigoted god fraud at us. If your god existed, he sure wouldn’t need you to be his mouthpiece.

  • Susan

    Sid Roth may think he is a Messianic Jew, but he isn’t. He is a Christian and the same with Jonathan Cahn. Just because you were born Jewish doesn’t mean that you understand Judaism. The fact that Jesus was Jewish makes no difference because even if he believed he was the Messiah, he never believed that if had to believe in him to be forgiven and go to heaven. The Messiah was never a personal savior.

    You need to talk to real Jews, preferably a Rabbi in you community and listen to them.

  • Conservative Member

    Ken, you sure do more than your share of swallowing.for our team. Glad to have you.

  • Terry

    Not gonna let you slide that lie in, Doc.

    Atheism is not a religion. It is primarily a lack of belief in god.

  • Terry

    That was hilarious, and it fits you.

  • Shawnie5

    Another atheist exemplar for your highly civil atheist world, Max. They’re out in force for you today.

  • Michael

    The “hellhole” is entirely a Christian thang.

  • Shawnie5

    Another believer in innate morality, evidently. Sorry but it was nothing innate that ended the human universals of infanticide and slavery and recognized the inherent human rights and worth of everyone regardless of tribal ties. Those things are tied to a very specific point in history.

  • Shawnie,

    “I advocate separation of church and state too”

    Then stop arguing that Atheism leads to Genocide. It doesn’t!
    Because with Separation of Church and State no dogma can ever dominate over anyone else.

    I am as much against Stalin as you are – but I maintain that the only thing that prevents Stalin and Pol Pot is the US Constitution with Separation of Church and State and its rejection of Dogma.

    Christians are working hard to dismantle this safety valve and that should concern you very much. Instead you prattle on about Stalin!

    And yes – BLASPHEMY is what created Separation of Church and State.
    Blasphemers like Paine, Madison, Jefferson and Franklin rejected the claim the conventional claim at the time that God needed to be worshipped within the constitution.

    Those Deists had no religion; no list of instructions from their god – no dogma to follow.

    The enemy of freedom is “Enforced Dogma” – and the common word for that is “Religion”.
    Religion is Dogma and that is what slips into Totalitarianism.
    Which is why all religion should be abandoned INCLUDING the religious hard Atheistic dogma which enforces the claim, “GOD DOES NOT EXIST”

    I do not believe in God. But I do NOT claim it to be impossible.
    I believe all religion should be abandoned until such time as a God can be found whose rules can be agreed upon by everyone.

    You don’t seem to understand that Secularism is not dogmatic – it is a peaceful, rational, reasonable way to live and it comes with no stupid rules such as:

    “Zombies walked for Jesus to raise awareness” – (Matthew 27:52)

    Religion is fluffy-minded brain rot.

  • Bob

    Karla, the whole Jesus story that you keep harping about, the foundation of your vile Christian superstitions, is simply nonsense.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.
    http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

  • Bob

    Karla, your Jesus tales are nonsense. 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.
    http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

  • Robert12

    Shawnie5, I am pointing out readily demonstrable reality to you. Read the news and you can see exactly what I described, over and over again. Religion changes often to suit present mores.

    We’re gradually, finally moving away from your religion having so much sway and power in the world. That will take time, but it’s happening.That at least is good news. The great pushback against Christianity and other religions is underway.

    Get with the times. lose your religion, or get swept aside by modern reality.

  • Shawnie5

    “Those Deists had no religion; no list of instructions from their god – no dogma to follow.”

    Max, Jefferson couldn’t even formulate a coherent rationale for inalienable human rights, the guiding force behind all our laws including the separation of church and state, without reference to a Creator. He knew perfectly well, as did the rest of the founders, that without a transcendent source human rights and liberties become a favor parceled out by government and able to be withdrawn at will by the same. In a purely secular world you may yourself believe that we should hold human rights sacrosanct but that is just your own private “dogma” and another atheist may roundly disagree with it — and dispose of it entirely if he persuades enough people. After all, why should your “dogma” dominate?

    I am not claiming that every atheist is dangerous. I am merely saying beware of atheists foaming about how much better the world would be without religion. That experiment has been tried several times and the results have been sufficiently disastrous that one would hope a retrial will not be necessary.

  • Michael

    Yeah, Christian morality, cuz we know how Christian god said you should beat your slaves, to death as needed…what a violent Klan Christians are…

    http://www.badnewsaboutchristianity.com/gaa_slavery.htm

    But now they interpret the bible differently to suit present acceptables when the old slave stuff wouldn’t sell any more. Buy this shiny new apple, don’t mind the maggots…

  • Michael

    Charlie Hebdo would have had a field day with Shawnie5. I’m just picturing the rolls in the cartoon image now. Maybe a holster on each side and a handlebar ‘stache too.

  • Shawnie5

    Oh for crying out loud, Robert, you guys have been proclaiming the death of Christianity off and on for the past 2000 years. It will still be here when you are long gone and forgotten. And while many will fall out of it to follow pop culture, as has always been the case, it will always have the scripturally faithful at its core.

    Now go enjoy your own personal freedom, brought to you by the Imago Dei. Cheers.

  • Shawnie5

    Michael, Christians opposed and ended slavery within their sphere of influence when it was at the very heart of global commerce and “selling” like hotcakes, not once but twice. No thanks to secularists at all. And it STILL sells quite nicely in the non-Christian world. Go back to school.

  • shawnie5

    Yes, slavery and divorce and vengeance and a number of other temporary concessions to universal fallen human nature. Until Jesus raised the bar on all of it.

    And thank you for more demonstrations of atheist civility. The irony of multiple such exemplars on the same thread with Max’s touching statement of faith in a civil atheist world is too delicious to disturb.

  • @Shawnie,

    “beware of atheists foaming about how much better the world would be without religion.”

    No. You should beware of Atheists who wish to ENFORCE Atheism.
    Just as you should beware of anyone who wishes to use the law to enforce any other dogma.

    Similarly, you should beware of people who would enforce a national ban on smoking.
    But it is perfectly appropriate to strongly advocate that people quit smoking.

    And that is the difference between the Atheism of Stalin
    and the Atheism which American Atheists are advocating.

    Separation of Church and State is the only way to safeguard freedom for all of us.

    I have been consistently a strong supporter of Religious Freedom
    on these comment boards – I have never advocated any enforcement of ATHEISM.

    But I strongly recommend that people question their religion.
    I do believe that Religion must be abandoned in order to save humanity – people should willingly come to their senses – one person at a time.

    “Slay the infidel wherever you find him” – Surah (9:2)
    “Execute them in front of me” – JESUS (Luke 19:27)
    “Kill the unbelievers” – Yahweh (Deuteronomy)

    And James Madison knew this was all rubbish.

  • Liberal Appendage

    Because so many conservative arguments are about having things crammed down one’s throat. Major oral fixation.

  • dmj76

    Holy cow, another instance when I agree with Doc Anthony!
    Yes, Max would be much effective if he toned down a bit.

  • dmj76

    Dear Max
    I know you are very busy but you might want to take a break and checkout the introduction to Benedict XVI’s book “Introduction to Christianity”. This introduction seems to be a model of humility. I thought it was interesting to read just because he is so smart.
    Best Wishes

  • Doc Anthony

    Larry, you were asked a sincere question, and I believe you gave a sincere answer. So, thanks for your reply.

    Let me comment on this one sentence: “Unlike Franklin Graham, (Boz Tchividian) is using the association with the Graham family name to do something for people.”

    You are probably unaware of this, but Franklin Graham is the president of Samaritan’s Purse. That organization is active in over 100 countries.

    They have distributed food to hundreds of thousands of people in Uganda and Darfur. No joke. They’ve distributed medical care in Somalia, Afghanistan, Rwanda, Kosovo, Iraq.

    (Remember that doctor from Liberia who caught Ebola while helping patients but then recovered at Emory University hospital? That doctor, Kent Brantly. was working for Samaritan’s Purse. Their Liberia medical mission is one of only two medical NGO’s in Liberia.)

    They’ve rebuilt or repaired thousands of houses after hurricanes Katrina and Mitch, the tsunami in India, the earthquakes in El Salvador. They’ve even done emergency airlifts to North Korea, Pakistan, China, etc.

    So I’ll tell you what. I’ll work hard at taking your advice to be a “living example of Christianity.” Meanwhile, YOU have a lot of work ahead of you, in order to match Franklin Graham’s track record of “doing something for people.”

    (Don’t bother criticizing him until you get that work done, of course.)

  • Doc Anthony

    I was wondering if anybody was going to really notice what I said there, Terry.

    Unfortunately, it’s not a lie, and these days, many atheists aren’t even TRYING to hide the fact that atheism is a religion.

    Witness the “Sunday Assembly” atheist megachurch in Los Angeles, with real “sermons” and rousing music and “fellowship” and stuff, openly recruiting for “non-believers” to join them. Trying to raise 800,000 hot dollars so they can fund other atheists’ new pop-up churches in other states.

    Other atheist churches are already up in New York, San Diego, Kansas City, Houston, Nashville, etc.

    People actually worshipping and celebrating their own conscious rejection of the very God who created them, the God who loves them with heartfelt tears. This is happening right now,folks. No joke.

    So Terry, it’s clear now that atheism IS a religion. No hiding that fact anymore.

  • Sufi Grubi

    Shwanie the Hindu should get more credit for social advances than your evil Christian lot with their conquest adventures and such. You too have killed “infidels” like the Moguls and their progeny too. You have merely now progressed further towards godfreeness whereas they are still in the same jihad stage yours were once in.

  • dmj76,

    Those falsely accused of witchcraft ‘toned it down a bit’
    and it didn’t do them much good. They were burned at the stake anyway.

    Instead, perhaps you should explain a bit more about Jesus?
    Why not have a parade like the Zombies did?

    Zombies once walked for Jesus to increase awareness.
    (Matthew 27:52)

  • @Ken,

    This is why I am here responding to comments and articles.

    I lurked at RNS for several months to read the stories and the comments only to find that countless Christians were praising Jesus’ awful preachments over and over again. But there was almost no serious rebuttal from the Atheists.

    So I decided to put in a few minutes every day to read the articles more carefully and rebut the Catholics, Protestants, Mormans, Pentecostals etc and at least try to show them how absolutely insane their arguments were.

    1. Atheists like myself have every right to be here making comments just like Christians.

    2. I don’t make personal attacks – ever. I hate Christianity, not Christians and that is because I was a Christian myself for many decades (most Atheists are former believers).

    3. When I say Jesus is filthy, hateful nonsense I am criticizing what is attributed to Jesus – I don’t think Jesus actually existed. But even if he did exist, these stories are legends. Awful legends of primitive hate and divisiveness.

    I respect RNS. And I respect the commenters.
    I hate religion. Not religious people.

  • Fran

    Karla,

    In reference to your first statement to Susan above, please take note that:

    Jesus fulfilled the Law (Matthew 5:17) being the “lamb of God” (John 1:29) who willingly gave up his perfect life as the last sacrifice and legal basis required, on behalf of all imperfect men, to eventually put an end to inherited sin and death.

    The Mosaic law pointed to Jesus as the Messiah. Modern-day Jews still want to rebuild the temple and follow the traditions of the Law when they are no longer necessary or required since Jesus’ death and resurrection, and God’s acceptance of Jesus’ sacrifice (Hebrews 9:11-14).

    However, they still refuse to accept Jesus as the Messiah, who is also the present King of God’s kingdom or heavenly government (Isaiah 11:1-9).

    Jews today will still need to believe in Jesus and God’s kingdom, through whom and which all nations of meek mankind will soon be blessed, to be Christian (Acts 26:28).

  • Fran

    Larry,

    Please don’t include me in the group of those who believe in the “hellfire torment forever” doctrine by a loving God, which is so contradictory to his personality and purposes.

    There is only the common grave where the dead (both good and bad persons) are sleeping in death, not aware of anything (Ecclesiastes 9:5,10) at all.

  • Terry

    No, Doc. You told a lie.

    Now you are contorting to try not be responsible for it, coward.

    Not surprising, given that your religion is all about avoiding personal responsibility.

    “Atheism is no more a religion than not collecting stamps is a hobby.”

  • Susan

    I went to Sid Roth and Jonathan Cahn’s web sites. Neither of them are men of religion I would agree with as Jews or as Christians. If that what you want to sell me, no thank you. They are not examples of loving Jews or loving Christians.

  • Barry Tender

    There’s not complete “civility” from either side here, but the point that has been mostly ignored amongst the mudslinging is that no matter how good or bad the behavior of such a group as the Christians or Hindus or Moslems is, it is not evidence for the existence of their deity or deities, nor for the truth of their tales.

    Me, I’ll remain a doubter and non-believer until one of you can show me modern, plain, verifiable evidence for the modern existence and activity of the god or gods of your belief set.

  • Shawnie5

    “no matter how good or bad the behavior of such a group as the Christians or Hindus or Moslems is, it is not evidence for the existence of their deity”

    Nor was it offered as such.

  • Larry

    See my prior comments on Samaritan’s Purse. It is one of the most backhanded, counterproductive, charities out there. They spend more of their efforts proselytizing, than providing services to the needy. Their hamfisted efforts at conversion seriously undermine their alleged goal of helping the poor and suffering.

    Their efforts in Darfur and every country where Christianity is not the majority faith have been met with controversy and hostility because of their blatant linking of gifts with religious tracts and dogma. But any notion of toning down the proselytizing rhetoric in favor of unconditional aid to people is met with indignation.

    Franklin can’t even run a charity without acting like a self-righteous ruminant posterior.

  • dmj76

    Bart Ehrman, a prominent agnostic bible scholar, just wrote a book explaining that Jesus did indeed exist and is an actual historical figure.(He, like Bertrand Russell, refers to himself as an atheist or an agnostic depending on the context.

  • “Bart Ehrman, a prominent agnostic bible scholar, just wrote a book explaining that Jesus did indeed exist…”

    I’ve read the book and it stinks. All of his other books are excellent – but his argument for the historical Jesus is the worst i’ve read, and I have read at least a hundred books on Christianity.

    When he is teaching to his class he refers to himself as AGNOSTIC meaning he does not know if there is a god – because as a professor the emphasis is on his ‘knowledge’ and not his beliefs.
    When he is asked about his beliefs he explains he is ATHEIST – meaning he does not believe.

    Atheism is only about belief.
    Agnosticism is only about knowledge.

    The vast majority of us Atheists refer to ourselves as AGNOSTIC ATHEISTS – as Bart Ehrman does.
    We neither claim to know, nor do we believe in a god.

  • dmj76

    Dear Max
    You have studied Christianity much more than I have, given the number of books you have read.
    Please give me examples of secular university first century scholars who reject Jesus as an actual figure of history. I am not challenging you, and do not know enough to do so, just asking for information.
    Thanks

  • ryan

    Susan,
    Perhaps you should check out the work that Samaritan’s Purse does before you say that Franklin Graham ‘has yet to show Christian love or tolerance for anyone who does not follow his narrow path,’
    Also, as a pastor in the UMC, I don’t find his comments too far out of line. I am not on facebook, so I have just read about this comments rather than the actual comments on facebook. In the UMC though, our sacred spaces are consecrated to Christian worship. I would find it a chargeable offense for a pastor in the UMC who is appointed to a consecrated space to use it for something inconsistent with the application of Christian worship. We can disagree about the rhetoric we should use to describe Islam, but I would imagine we can all agree that Islam is not Christian.

  • @Dmj76m,

    Richard Carrier, Columbia University – “The Historicity of Jesus”, “The God who wasn’t there”
    Robert M. Price, Drew University – “The Incredible Shrinking Son of Man” and “Deconstructing Jesus”
    David Fitzgerald, UCAL – “Nailed: 10 Christian Myths that show Jesus Never Existed”

    These are controversial but fascinating books. The authors are (mostly) convinced that there never was a particular person named ‘Jesus’, just as there never was a particular talking serpent, garden of Eden or Noah.

    The messiah movement seemed to be a forced event caused by the destruction of the second Jewish temple by the Romans in Jerusalem in 70 C.E. – ‘Judas’ for example means ‘the Jew’ and may have been the first anti-Semitic (yet entirely fictional) figure in literature.

    The Jesus narratives line up with too many other myths from Greek culture to be a mere coincidence – the parallels are too astonishing. Dionysus and the Bacchae are just one example.

    I don’t know if there ever was a Jesus. I don’t claim to know.
    But after reading these books there is plenty of reason to doubt it.

  • Susan

    There were plenty of Jewish preachers around the time Jesus lived, if he did live. Jesus was not especially different or remarkable from any of them.

  • dmj76

    Dear Max
    Thanks for the detailed reply.
    What do you mean by using the word controversial?
    Thanks for taking the time to reply.

  • Controversial – meaning these books have stirred up a lot of debate which has not been settled.

    As I said, I don’t know whether Jesus existed.
    The common opinion of scholars is that Jesus (or some such figure) did exist.
    If that is the case, the stories about him are legendary and not factual cases.

    If it is true that Jesus existed, the common opinion of scholars at the time agreed that he needed to be executed.

    The common opinion of scholars is not the same as reading the books and learning this stuff for yourself.
    I no longer believe Jesus really existed and I owe it to these books which have unveiled the allegorical nature of the gospels.

  • Shawnie5

    Dmj76, by all means check out these books, but be aware that only one of the three authors cited are bona fide “experts”. Richard Carrier has a doctorate from Colombia but has never held a professorship anywhere. David Fitzgerald has a history degree from UCAL but no doctorate and is of course not an expert but a writer and public speaker.

    And as for stirring up controversy, none of these works introduce anything new on the subject that has not been suggested, and addressed, many times before. The only “controversy” they stirred up consists in the fact that the general public is relatively ignorant of the subject and therefore every so often it makes a ripple among laypeople when someone repackages and republishes it.

  • Shawnie5

    Make that “…IS a bona fide expert.”

    Although certain buddies of Max would probably dismiss Price as well, since he is not a historian but a theologian. LOL!

  • Susan

    There were Jews who believed the Messianic Age was coming during Jesus’s lifetime. Jesus was in no way unique. The Jews were looking for an end to Roman rule and to peace and social justice. They were NOT looking for a personal savior or for a way to get into heaven. Jews at that time and place believed that they would be physically resurrected when the Messiah came. The idea survives in a few very old prayers that still exist even though most Jews don’t believe in it anymore.

  • Larry

    See my prior comments on Samaritan’s Purse. It is a “charity” mired in proselytizing and frequently acts in a way counterproductive and hostile to providing for the needs of the poor. Even when running a charity, Graham manages to act like a self-interested [insert expletive here].

    As for the chapel, it doesn’t belong to the UMC. It hasn’t been used exclusively as a Christian chapel for a very long time. It is under the control and discretion of Duke University, It is their choice to use as they see fit. Graham’s bullying tactics are a direct broadside attack on the American notion of free exercise of religion and basic respect for the faith of others.

    Graham shows the nation how tenuously we cling to our values as Americans in the face of pressures and bullying. A man like Graham has no respect for religious freedom. Neither do his supporters or those who caved in to his nonsense demands.

  • Susan

    Karla, modern day Jews believe that prayer, good deeds and torah study have replaced the sacrifices. This idea goes back thousands of years. It is in the Talmud. There are a small minority of Jews who believe that sacrifices will return when the Messiah comes.

    I’ve read Isaiah 11, 1-9. You have assumed that it is about Jesus and read it backward to fit your belief. I doesn’t say Jesus, it says “a shoot shall grow out of the stump of Jesse”. That means descendant of David. It never says the Messiah who is also the present King of God’s kingdom or heavenly government. I’m not sure where you got that from, but it isn’t in Isaiah. Well, at least your honest, but wrong.

  • Larry

    “Jews today will still need to believe in Jesus and God’s kingdom, through whom and which all nations of meek mankind will soon be blessed, to be Christian (Acts 26:28).”

    That is not sectarian, offensive and tone deaf?

  • Barry Tender

    Funny, then, Shawnie, that you spent so many posts whining about what you dislike in the behavior of others. I think that you are a hypocrite, and a very mean one. That’s not a good mark for your case.

    Anyway, such arguments do get heated. I stand by what I said: What is your modern, plain, verifiable evidence for the modern existence and activity of the god or gods of your belief set? So far, I’ve seen none that I find acceptable, and so I do not believe in your god stories.

    Present your modern, plain, verifiable evidence, please.

  • Barry Tender

    Uh huh, like Sweden, modern Ireland, and many other places that are gradually and peacefully leaving religion behind, for better and less hateful societies. Sure, there are counterexamples, but religion, yours or any other one, is not the solution to their problems.

  • Bob

    Mark and Karla, your whole Jesus-salvation story, the core of your religion, is complete nonsense out of the gate. 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.
    http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

  • @Shawnie,

    “has never held a professorship anywhere…no doctorate and is of course not an expert but a writer…”

    WHO WAS MARK?
    WHO WAS LUKE?
    They were not disciples of Jesus. By what authority did they write?
    Where were their doctorate degrees? Where were their professorships? What colleges did they go to?

    Yet you grant perfect credence to their pages of drivel.

    “The Zombies walked for Jesus to raise awareness” – (Matthew 27:52)

    How ridiculous and embarrassing!

    The doctoral and professorial experts of the first century apparently decided Jesus needed to be crucified.

    Since these discrepant books cannot be literally true one must defer to those who explore every possible avenue and not limit themselves to DOCTORATES AND PROFESSORS.
    Bart Ehrman – a PHD and a Professor – wrote a crappy book which is worthless when compared to Carrier’s.

    Read the books before you judge them. I have read them all.
    I am convinced:

    1. the first gospel was Mark.
    2. It was written after 70 C.E. after the fall of the Jewish Temple and the massacre of a million Jews at the hands of Romans.
    3. Mark is completely allegorical – not literal. And it uses motifs and tropes from Greek mythology; Wine, Bread, Water, Eternal Life,
    4. The other 3 gospels followed with embellishments tailored to specific groups of people.
    5. Matthew reverse-engineered Mark’s story and decorated it with connections to the Old Testament prophecy.
    6. Luke added other Greek motifs and tropes.
    7. John is a complete fantasy of wild contradictions and hallucinations written 25 years after Mark.

    Mark may have been the founder of the Marcianites – a non-Jewish Christianity – which died off 1600 years ago.

    I find it amazingly ironic that only ‘doctorates and professors’ are supposed to be the legitimate interpreters of this – while in the same breath Christians are commanded to SHUT UP AND HAVE FAITH as a method to TESTIFY TO ITS VERACITY!

    How convenient for the Church to argue that way.
    Humanity must have more respect for itself than this!

  • dmj76

    Dear Max
    Unfortunately I rely on the common opinion of scholars all the time. I am just a burned out coder trying to pay attention. The only subject I have any confidence in is freshman physics, because you see it confirmed all around you every day.
    Do you have any comments on E. P. Sanders? Some years ago he wrote what many non-religious people thought was a good Jesus book
    Thank you for your patience.

  • Shawnie5

    “WHO WAS MARK?
    WHO WAS LUKE?
    They were not disciples of Jesus. By what authority did they write?
    Where were their doctorate degrees? Where were their professorships? What colleges did they go to?”

    It doesn’t require special credentials to record people’s recollections of their recently-dead teacher. But to pronounce non-existent a figure from two millenia ago whose life was documented by four different biographies requires a heck of a lot more than a doctorate — such as a time machine.

  • Susan, you seem sincere. However, you seem to care more about what others may think about your “Jewishness” than about what God has commanded.. God the Father rose Yeshua from the dead thus demonstrating that His sacrifice for our sins as the Lamb without spot or blemish was accepted by God. God allowed the sacrificial system to be destroyed shortly thereafter and Jews were dispersed throughout the world. Will you ignore these facts? Is that wise? Yeshua is our only hope for peace with God and forgiveness of sins and eternal life. Ask Elohim if Yeshua is His Son. Have you ever done that? Don’t be afraid. God will not mislead you. Shalom

  • Susan

    I just care that other people who don’t know about Judaism are trying to tell me what it means to be Jewish and they are wrong. What they think about my personal Jewishness is not important. It’s just that I seem to be the only Jew here. I am trying with my limited ability to represent the Jewish view of Jesus.

    My relationship with God is fine thank you. I don’t need Jesus to improve it. I don’t believe Jesus was resurrected from the dead. I am not afraid. I just don’t believe that. Your ability to throw in Hebrew words doesn’t affect my opinion. Why would I ask God if something that I think is impossible is true. I don’t think that God would or could have a human son.

  • Larry

    Nothing tone deaf, sectarian or offensive about insulting Susan’s religious faith in favor of aggrandizing yours. /sarcasm.

  • Shawnie5

    Oh? And what exactly did I say that was “mean,” if you please?

    I don’t believe any of my posts were removed for abusive language, unlike some others.

    And I was hardly whining about said language. Far from it. I find it very convenient when Max’s own compadres openly prove him wrong.

  • Susan

    I already responded to this comment, but my post landed way above it for some reason. I do not care what other people think of my Jewishness. I do care when Christians who are wrong about Judaism, start telling me what Jews believe and they don’t know what they’re talking about. There are no other Jews posting here. I am trying to use my limited abilities to represent Judaism.

    My own personal relationship with God is fine without Jesus. Christians are the ones who have continued the sacrificial system, but Jews have replaced sacrifices with prayer, good deeds and torah study. Jesus was Jewish and a human being. He was not without flaws. The Hebrew word for repentance is teshuvah. It comes from the root for return. Jews believe we can always return to God and be forgiven and we don’t need Jesus to do it and so do I. Throwing in Hebrew words doesn’t change my mind or make me believe that you really know anything about Judaism. You have to read what you call the “Old Testament” backwards already believing in Jesus to find Jesus there at all.

  • Susan

    If I can accept that for you and other Christians ,Jesus is a valid way to God, Why can’t you accept that a way to God without Jesus is just as valid for many non-Christians throughout the world?

  • Susan,

    “Why can’t you accept that a way to God without Jesus is just as valid ”

    Because there is no God without the delusional path.
    To surrender their path is to surrender their god fantasy.

    Religion is the most self-centered philosophy ever invented.
    All religion boils down to “My fantasy right or wrong”

    Until such time as a real god can be universally confirmed and agreed to, all religion should be abandoned for the good of humanity.

  • Susan

    I go to synagogue nearly every week. I say the traditional prayers in Hebrew. I don’t believe them literally. I find it
    doesn’t matter. I can reinterpret them to make sense for me. You don’t even need to believe in God for it to work. When the prayer is about God’s love and compassion, you can evoke those qualities in yourself. If that is self-centered I don’t care. I think it makes me a better person.

  • Karla

    Atheist Max-That’s what the antichirst is going to do after the rapture of the
    church. He well set up a world wide peace treaty/say all roads/religions are
    the same/he will unite the world with fasle peace to deceive people cause
    the devil poses as an angel of light to deceive people with false religions.
    Romans 1:18-32 says that God created the world and He also gave us our
    conscience to know between right and wrong. Conscience/con-science and
    conscience means with knowledge. We also have Bible prophecy accuracy
    that came true which shows the God of the Bible is who He says that He is!
    Jesus Christ is the Messiah and the only way we can be saved/go to heaven!

  • Susan,

    “prayer..god’s love and compassion…..If that is self-centered I don’t care. I think it makes me a better person.”

    Prayer and worship do not make most people behave better.
    It makes them more self-satisfied that they are better.

    I donate to Doctors Without Borders not to make me a better person, but to make someone else happier.

  • Dear Karla, The Unquestioning Victim of Religion.

    I wish I could figure out what to say to help you consider applying the thought process.

    I hate religion so much when I read your comments.
    Because it has infected you and indoctrinated you in such a way that you literally cannot consider anything outside of your box.

    You have paid no attention to the thousands of replies
    well-meaning people have sent to you.

    You are quoting the Bible. And you might as well quote “The Three Little Pigs”.

    “The big bad wolf huffed and he puffed and he blew the house down” – (Pg. 5)

    Please understand that what you are doing is absolutely no different from that.

    You are warning me about God.
    Shall I warn you about the Big Bad Wolf?

    Religion is such a pathetic illness.

  • Barry Tender

    Better take a closer look in the mirror, Shawnie5. Your posts are mostly chock full of mean sarcasm. I reiterate what I said.

    There’s not complete “civility” from either side here, but the point that has been mostly ignored amongst the mudslinging is that no matter how good or bad the behavior of such a group as the Christians or Hindus or Moslems is, it is not evidence for the existence of their deity or deities, nor for the truth of their tales.

    Me, I’ll remain a doubter and non-believer until one of you can show me modern, plain, verifiable evidence for the modern existence and activity of the god or gods of your belief set.

    So, present your modern, plain, verifiable evidence for your god stories please. Your “god” stories so far don’t pass muster with me, nor does your vicious, sarcastic tone throughout your posts.

  • Barry Tender

    Ahh, now you are starting to realize that 2 thousand year-old tales are just a little moldy and shaky. Now look at your own such tales. Oh that mirror, Shawnie5. See above.

  • Shawnie5

    And I reiterate in turn, nothing I said was presented as evidence of God’s existence. That was never the issue. All the points I made were in response to misrepresentations of fact.

    So I’m “mean,” but you can’t seem to put your finger on how. I see. I suppose it might come off as “mean” to counter someone’s favorite misconceptions but hey, that’s the nature of discussion in any place that’s not a total echo chamber. Do you really want this to be one?

    While you’re on the subject, would you like to weigh in on the “meanness” of epithets concerning weight and sexual orientation???

  • Shawnie5

    Is there something in particular that that was supposed to be a response to, Barry?

  • Susan, ” Without the shedding of blood their is no remission of sins”…Leviticus/Hebrews God told us what is required to pay for sins in Torah. In Leviticus specifically. All these animal sacrifices pointed us to the Lamb of God who would shed His own blood “once for all” as the final and only atonement given by God. We cannot make up our own “way to God”. That is God’s job. He has completed it. Jesus final words “it is finished” attest to that. The resurrection demonstrated that God received this atonement for all of us, Jews and Gentiles. There is no other provision given by God whereby we must be saved.

  • Susan

    Max, of course you want to help others, but if you say that donating to Doctors Without Borders doesn’t make you feel good, you are lying. It seems that atheists can feel morally superior too.

    Can you prove that prayer and worship don’t make people behave better?

    Self-compassion helps you feel more compassionate to other people too.

    What about Sam Harris who is serious about meditation? Prayer can be also be a form a meditation. There have been many study of meditators.

  • Susan

    I hate to repeat myself, but “Old Testament” prophecy has not come true in Jesus. You have to already believe in Jesus and read the “Old Testament” backward to believe that it has come true in Jesus. Nor is Jesus the ONLY way to be saved. You believe that millions of good people who are not Christian will go to Hell. The Jews who were murdered in Auschwitz are now in Hell, according to you.

    I also have a problem with Christians trying to convert Jews, because of centuries of persecution, murder and forced conversions and I am excluding the Holocaust.

  • Susan,

    “Can you prove that prayer and worship don’t make people behave better?”

    No. I can’t prove it. But I see a direct correlation between strong religion and evil actions. look at how useless prayer has been for these religious people:

    Osama Bin Laden
    Rudolf Hess
    Adolf Eichmann
    Cardinal Bernard Law
    The Koch Brothers
    Marshall Herff Applewhite, Jr.
    Ayman Al Zawahiri
    Robert Tilton
    Joseph Mengele
    Ayatollah Khomeini
    Hahmoud Ahmadinejad
    Peter Popoff
    Reichsfuhrer SS Julius Shreck
    Reichsfuhrer SS Joseph Berchtold
    Max Koegl (Manager of Auchwitz)
    Reichsfuhrer SS Erhard Heiden
    Reichsfuhrer SS Heinrich Himmler
    Reichsfuhrer SS Karl Hanke
    Archbishop Cardinal Law
    Adolf Eichmann
    Adolf Deikmann
    Fritz Hardjenstein
    Werner Braune
    Bob Morehead
    Fred Phelps, Sr.
    Oral Roberts
    Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker
    Matthew Hale
    Al Queda
    Billy James Hargis
    Bob Larson
    Jim Jones
    Saddam Hussein
    David Koresh
    Zionists
    John Paulk
    Suicide Bombers
    D.V. Grant
    Mike Warnke
    Emperor Hirohito
    Ariel Sharon
    Yasser Arafat
    Benjamin Netanyahu
    Paul Crouch
    Pat Robertson
    Marcial Maciel Degollado
    Michelle Bachmann
    Sarah Palin
    Franz Stangl
    Paul Blobel
    Hermann Goering
    Josef Kramer
    Jerry Falwell
    Oskar Dirlewanger
    Jimmy Swaggart
    Creflo Dollar
    Ilse Koch
    Joseph Goebbels
    Reverend Sun Myung Moon
    Sunday Adelaja
    Pope Leo X
    Anathole Serromba
    Jean Bertand Aristide
    Mel Gibson
    Benny Hinn
    T.D Jakes
    Dick Cheney
    Adolph Hitler
    Kaiser Wilhelm II
    Rush Limbaugh
    Erst Kaltenbruenner
    Michael Bray
    Paul Jennings Hill
    Father Charles Edward Coughlin
    Tomás de Torquemada
    Emperor Constantine

    If prayer is good – why does it fail so miserably?
    If God is moral, why does reaching out to him lead to such immoral behavior?

    The only obvious answer is that God does not exist, and the belief in God is a vanity – the sort which leads people to excuse their own insensitivity to humanity.

  • Increasing humanism, reason and rationality should save the world from more Holocausts.

    Religions are at war with reason and poised against humanity.

    “Kill them all” – Yahweh

  • susan:

    “if you say that donating to Doctors Without Borders doesn’t make you feel good, you are lying. It seems that atheists can feel morally superior too.”

    Sure it makes me feel good. But feeling good isn’t my objective.
    To actually help is my objective.

    I don’t mind feeling morally superior if I am doing something which is morally superior.
    Prayer is doing nothing at all while puffing up that one is superior to those who actually do things.

    “No one can ever do good if they don’t have god” – Pat Robertson

    Religion simply poisons every thing. I don’t think it is possible to do much good with religion.

  • Garson Abuita

    Your implication is that the Torah stated shedding of blood is required for the remission of sin. It didn’t. Your quote is from the Christian book of Hebrews and that’s fine but it doesn’t prove anything about what the Torah teaches. The part of Leviticus to which I think you’re referring — 17:11 — states why the consumption of blood is forbidden for Jews. It doesn’t state that animal sacrifice is the only method of atonement. Long before the first century, from the Prophets to the Psalms, the Jewish canon included many other methods of atonement than those talked about by the Levitical priests. And all of this is aside from whether Jesus would have been a proper sacrificial animal and whether the crucifixion itself was in accordance with the laws governing sacrifice.

  • Susan

    I accidentally clicked on report abuse instead of reply first. I don’t want to report any abuse. It’s early in the morning.

    Max, I agree that one can be a good person without religion. I have just seen numerous examples of how religion helps people. I have examples at my synagogue that I see every week. There is my rabbi and cantor and members of the congregation that I know. There is the synagogue’s current president and her Catholic husband who supports her and doesn’t think she is going to Hell.

    I participate in an interfaith group and there are plenty of Christians who are good people who accept me as a Jew and don’t think I’m going to Hell or try to convert me. Would they be just as good or better if they were without religion? I don’t know, but they are personal examples of how religion helps people be better people.

  • Susan,

    This is what I grapple with:

    “Would they be just as good or better if they were without religion? I don’t know, but they are personal examples of how religion helps people be better people.”

    It troubles me. And it is very important to get to the bottom of this.

    If following god’s orders is what makes these people do good things in your Synogogue (as in my old Catholic church) then we must allow – BY EXTENSION – that Muslim Suicide Bombers are doing ‘good’ also.

    Religion is follow the dictates of God. That is what it is.

    If going to a house of worship leads someone to do good I certainly do not object to that.

    But if we claim that the God’s commands, and the house of worship itself is the REASON for the good deed and even the definition of what is ‘good’ – we are immediately trapped in a paradox.

    We are trapped by the argument itself.
    because no house of worship can claim to be superior to another house of worship. no religion appears to be more ‘true’ than another.

    The Muslim who says it is okay to send his enemy to heaven through fire, is no different than the priest who says it is okay to send a witch to heaven through fire.
    Each thinks he is doing ‘good’. But clearly this is not good but evil.

    I’m sorry for going on about it. I realize I was trying to broaden a conversation which nobody really wants to have.

  • Susan

    “If following god’s orders is what makes these people do good things in your Synogogue (as in my old Catholic church) then we must allow – BY EXTENSION – that Muslim Suicide Bombers are doing ‘good’ also.

    Religion is follow the dictates of God. That is what it is.”

    Max, religion is not following the dictates of God blindly or unquestioningly or at least it doesn’t has to be. In Judaism I was always taught that even questioning God was valid and arguments for the sake of heaven are a good thing and that all sides have something to say.

  • Barry Tender

    Better take a closer look in the mirror, Shawnie5. Your posts are mostly chock full of mean sarcasm. I reiterate what I said.

    There’s not complete “civility” from either side here, but the point that has been mostly ignored amongst the mudslinging is that no matter how good or bad the behavior of such a group as the Christians or Hindus or Moslems is, it is not evidence for the existence of their deity or deities, nor for the truth of their tales.

    Me, I’ll remain a doubter and non-believer until one of you can show me modern, plain, verifiable evidence for the modern existence and activity of the god or gods of your belief set.

    So, present your modern, plain, verifiable evidence for your god stories please. Your “god” stories so far don’t pass muster with me, nor does your vicious, sarcastic tone throughout your posts.

  • Barry Tender

    Ahh, now you are starting to realize that 2 thousand year-old tales are just a little moldy and shaky. Now look at your own such tales. Oh that mirror, Shawnie5. See above.

  • Barry Tender

    WordPress bug: reply won’t appear in correct place past N comments.

  • Barry Tender

    WordPress bug: reply won’t appear in correct place past N comments.

  • Barry Tender

    WordPress bug: reply won’t appear in correct place past N comments.

  • susan,

    I grew up with a similar, liberal freedom to doubt and argue these matters within Christianty.
    But we are facing a world wide crisis caused by religion. We can’t afford to clutch our religions anymore. We are granting too many rights to too many gods and humanity cannot survive it.

    If a God does not exist, we are blowing ourselves up for nothing.
    If a God does exist, the vast majority of us have the wrong religion anyway.

    So I say, abandon religion until further notice.
    Let’s find out which god is the real one
    before any of us proceed to cause more trouble with these claims about which religion is correct.

  • Susan

    I could argue that our current situation makes a truly questioning religion far more necessary than ever. You are not going to turn the entire world into atheists.

  • Susan

    Max, btw, I am a Zionist. Zionists are not evil. They merely think that there should be a tiny peace of land where Jews can control their own destiny. There are also atheist Zionists. We have gone through this before and you can’t seem to accept that fact.

  • Susan,

    “atheist Zionists.”

    I have told you a hundred times that I am an Atheist Zionist.
    I agree that Israel needs to exist to protect people would would otherwise be obliterated for their religion. That is not however an argument in favor of Judaism over other religions only a recognition that Jews are like many other people who need protection and won’t get it any other way.

    But I do NOT endorse the Status Quo. Jews, Muslims, Christians all need to climb down from this God baloney at the heart of their religions and abandon these beliefs – children should not be raised with these practices and to be told they are compulsory!!

    Peace will not happen in the middle east or anywhere else if religion is continued to be taught as a compulsory truth. The nonsense about Yahweh, Allah and Jesus must end through the secularization of our children.

  • Penny

    Re

    You are not going to turn the entire world into atheists.

    You already are an atheist, to all gods but the man-made one that you apparently follow for the time being. You just have one more to get past.Good on ya, keep it up – just one more to go!

  • Garson and Susan, Leviticus 5 clearly teaches that the most common method of atonement in Torah was the shedding of blood. The book of Hebrews which is also given to us by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit confirms this, the exact quote is: “according to the law, one may almost say, all things are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.”..Heb 9:22. The most significant evidence that Yeshua is indeed the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world is 1) the curtain or veil to the Holy of Holies was torn in two at the moment of Yeshua’s death on the cross, demonstrating that through faith in His finished work, we now have access to the very throne of God. 2) On the 3rd day following, God rose Yeshua from the dead. What further need have we of God’s acceptance of this perfect sacrifice? If that was not enough, God allowed the old sacrificial system to be destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD and it has NEVER been rebuilt to this day! Let us not resist the work of the Lord on our behalf and go about trying to establish our own righteousness when God Himself has done this for us through the death, and burial and resurrection of His Son. Shalom

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