Bradley Cooper as Chris Kyle in Warner Bros. Pictures' and Village Roadshow Pictures' drama "American Sniper." Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

Here’s the faith in the ‘American Sniper’ you won’t see in the film

Bradley Cooper as Chris Kyle in Warner Bros. Pictures' and Village Roadshow Pictures' drama "American Sniper." Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

Bradley Cooper as Chris Kyle in Warner Bros. Pictures' and Village Roadshow Pictures' drama "American Sniper." Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

 This image is available for web and print publication. For questions, contact Sally Morrow.

(RNS) Chris Kyle, often described as the most lethal sniper in U.S. military history, wrote in his autobiography that he prioritized his life in the following order: God, country, family.

But God doesn’t make a central appearance in the film “American Sniper,” which opens nationwide on Friday (Jan. 16). The film offers a few similarities to “Unbroken,” Angelina Jolie's recent World War II epic about POW Louis Zamperini.

Both stories focus on the dramatic stories of warriors who died before the movie versions of their lives came out. Both “American Sniper” and “Unbroken” include an early scene of their families sitting in church. Both men struggle with substance abuse after returning from war.

And both films largely skirt the faith that Kyle and Zamperini said were key to their identity -- and their survival.

As a Navy SEAL, Kyle reportedly recorded 160 kill shots during his four tours in Iraq. His story drew national attention after the release of his 2012 autobiography "American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History," which enjoyed a 37-week run on The New York Times' best-seller list.

The Clint Eastwood-directed biopic starring Bradley Cooper debuted with a limited release on Christmas Day, the same day "Unbroken" opened nationwide.

Bradley Cooper as Chris Kyle and Sienna Miller as Taya in Warner Bros. Pictures' and Village Roadshow Pictures' drama "American Sniper." Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

Bradley Cooper as Chris Kyle and Sienna Miller as Taya in Warner Bros. Pictures' and Village Roadshow Pictures' drama "American Sniper." Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

 This image is available for web and print publication. For questions, contact Sally Morrow.

Kyle opened his book by probing the ethics of combat as he wrote about his first sniper shot, when he had to kill an Iraqi woman holding a grenade.

“My shots saved several Americans, whose lives were clearly worth more than that woman’s twisted soul,” he wrote. “I can stand before God with a clear conscience about doing my job. But I truly, deeply hated the evil that woman possessed. I hate it to this day.”

In the film adaptation, Kyle is visibly moved by his first shot and later mentions meeting his maker and justifying each shot he took. He writes that he spent a lot of time praying during difficult times.

In 2013, Kyle was shot and killed at a Texas shooting range; Eddie Ray Routh, a fellow Iraq veteran suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, was charged in Kyle's death and is scheduled to stand trial in February. Former Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, sparked a backlash after he tweeted a biblical reference: “he who lives by the sword dies by the sword.”

Kyle was no straight-laced Christian. His book is filled with profanities and stories of his family struggles. But faith is nonetheless woven throughout the book.

“I was raised with, and still believe in, the Christian faith. If I had to order my priorities, they would be God, Country, Family,” Kyle wrote. “There might be some debate on where those last two fall -- these days I’ve come around to believe that Family may, under some circumstances, outrank Country. But it’s a close race.”

The God, country, family line is mentioned in passing in the film after another soldier asks Kyle if he believes in God. “There’s evil,” Cooper says.  “We’ve seen it.”

In the film, Kyle is shown putting his Bible in the pocket of his uniform.

“I’m not the kind of person who makes a big show out of religion,” Kyle writes in the book. “I believe, but I don’t necessarily get down on my knees or sing real loud in church. But I find some comfort in faith, and I found it in those days after my friends had been shot up. Ever since I had gone through BUD/S (SEAL training), I’d carried a Bible with me. I hadn’t read it all that much, but it had always been with me. Now I opened it and read some of the passages. I skipped around, read a bit, skipped around some more. With all hell breaking loose around me, it felt better to know I was part of something bigger.”

In his book, Kyle wrote about how his family shaped his faith during his upbringing.

“My family had a deep faith in God. My dad was a deacon, and my mom taught Sunday school,” Kyle wrote. “I remember a stretch when I was young when we would go to church every Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday evening. Still we didn’t consider ourselves overly religious, just good people who believed in God and were involved in our church. Truth is, back then, I didn’t like going a lot of the time.”

"American Sniper" movie poster. Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

"American Sniper" movie poster. Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

 This image is available for web and print publication. For questions, contact Sally Morrow.

Islam is mentioned a few times in his book, though the faith doesn't have a starring role in the film except when Kyle is asked to defend a shot after a wife claimed the victim was carrying a Quran. In his book, Kyle writes that he told an Army colonel: “I don’t shoot people with Korans. I’d like to, but I don’t.” The Muslim call to prayer appears twice in the film, but it doesn’t probe the differences between Sunnis and Shiites the way Kyle does in his book.

“I hated the damn savages I'd been fighting,” Kyle wrote. “I never once fought for the Iraqis. I could give a flying f**k about them.”

A 2013 New Yorker profile mentions Kyle’s faith as a deep motivator in his work: “Like many soldiers, Kyle was deeply religious and saw the Iraq War through that prism," journalist Nicholas Schmidle wrote. "He tattooed one of his arms with a red crusader’s cross, wanting ‘everyone to know I was a Christian.’” 

Stories of Kyle’s shootings earned him the nickname “Legend.”

“I don’t spend a lot of time philosophizing about killing people. I have a clear conscience about my role in the war. I am a strong Christian. Not a perfect one -- not close. But I strongly believe in God, Jesus, and the Bible. When I die, God is going to hold me accountable for everything I’ve done on earth. He may hold me back until last and run everybody else through the line, because it will take so long to go over all my sins.”

Kyle also wrote that he didn’t know what would happen on Judgment Day.

“But what I lean toward is that you know all of your sins, and God knows them all, and shame comes over you at the reality that He knows. I believe the fact that I’ve accepted Jesus as my savior will be my salvation,” he wrote. “But in that backroom or whatever it is when God confronts me with my sins, I do not believe any of the kills I had during the war will be among them. Everyone I shot was evil. I had good cause on every shot. They all deserved to die.”



  1. What has allowed religion and the religious to commit the atrocities that that have been committed in the name of God is precisely this kind of thinking. God won’t mind becuase hey! Those people are bad.

    When you believe absurdities, You can commit atrocities. It doesn’t matter whether the absurdity is that the Jews killed jesus, that witches exist, that Protestants are evil, that Jews are responsible for the woes of the world, that gay people want to destroy marriage, or that the people you want to kill are evil and that God won’t mind.

  2. I can’t believe I left this out.

    “Everyone I shot was evil. They all deserved to die.” And here is a mere man setting himself up as the Supreme Judge in one breath, and declaring himself to be a devout Christian in the other.

    There was a oonversation in the Lord of the Rings, where Frodo says that Gollum deserved to die. Gandalf replied, more or less. “and a great many that have died deserve to live. Will you give that to them as well? don’t be so quick to deal out death.”

    The ever willingness of a certain class of so-called Christian to deal out death and destruction, and their equal ability to justify it, never cease to amaze me.

    Someone once asked Gandhi what he thought of western civilization. He replied that he thought it would be a good idea.

  3. In all fairness as a military sniper, he had little choice over the targets in his cross-hairs. His role was to shoot people in service of military operations who are considered legitimate military targets. Its not like he was like one of those Bosnian War snipers who just shot at people randomly to spread terror.

    Personal opinion of those on the receiving end of his rifle are not relevant to anyone but Kyle. Things to tell himself to feel better about psychologically grueling duty. If he chose to say that God justified his actions, so be it. Its not like he was receiving his orders through divine provenance.

    Chris Kyle had other problems having little to do with his religious faith.

  4. The Military is a bad place to bring up religion. Especially when your job is to protect the 1st Amendment:

    “Congress shall make no law establishing a religion…”

    Nobody hands you a medal for claiming god is on your side.
    We don’t need American soldiers with “Gott Mit Uns” on their belt buckle!
    Nobody cares.

    Just do the job you were trained to do and know that you are defending a great, godless Constitution.

  5. Neither Jesus, his disciples, apostles nor the first-century Christians got involved in war and/or politics. They put their faith in God and obey Gid as ruler rather than men; especially when man’s laws, statutes and promotion of nationalism go against God’s law.

    Yes, Jesus did say that “those who take the sword will die by the sword” (Matthew 26:52), and he also promoted peace and love over war and hate.

    My faith is definitely strengthened by those today who refuse to go to war to kill their fellowman; especially those who are imprisoned for long terms today by their governments because of their stand for God as conscientious objectors to war.

  6. I agree with you 100%, Fran. If Christians actually did not believe in war, we wouldn’t have so many of them.

    There is this, however: “Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35″For I came to SET A MAN AGAINST HIS FATHER, AND A DAUGHTER AGAINST HER MOTHER, AND A DAUGHTER-IN-LAW AGAINST HER MOTHER-IN-LAW.”

  7. Absolutely, Larry, he was doing his job.

    On the other hand, “Things to tell himself to feel better about psychologically grueling duty. If he chose to say that God justified his actions, so be it.”

    His conscience must be either very alive or very dead. And I guess he missed the part where jesus said, “What you do unto the least of my brothers, you do unto me.”

  8. Ben In Oakland,

    Greetings from Nevada, my neighbor in California!

    Yes, Jesus did make the statement you cited. That statement indicated that not everyone, even in the family unit, would be agreeable or accepting of the truths that Jesus taught. Even family members could become very divisive and abusive because of a person’s stand for what Jesus taught

    My own family members detest my faith, one even preferring that I be a Muslim instead (which won’t happen!!). I will still try to practice the wise and loving principles, guidelines and commandments provided by Jesus, as well as his Father, Jehovah God, as set forth in God’s Word, the Bible, despite how my family feels or treats me.

  9. Fran,

    “Neither Jesus, his disciples, apostles nor the first-century Christians got involved in war”


    JESUS PREPARED FOR WAR – He told his entourage:
    “if you have money, buy a sword” (Luke 22:36-37)

    Jesus didn’t forgive his enemies – he sent them to Hell (Mark 16:16)
    Jesus cursed his enemies – “Thou Fools!” (Matt. 23:17)
    Jesus stole things – “untie them”..”bring them to me” (Matt. 21:2-3)
    Jesus vowed to slaughter enemies – “execute them in front of me” (Luke 19:27)
    Jesus didn’t love his neighbors, – They are ‘Dogs’! (Matthew 15:26)
    Jesus told people to judge others – “Remove your blessings”! (Matt 10:14)
    Jesus was bigoted – “They are swine” (Matthew 7:6)
    Jesus violently whipped people – “GET THESE OUT OF HERE!” (John 2:5)
    Jesus didn’t want peace – “I do not bring peace.” (Matt 10:34)
    Jesus lied to people – “He went in secret” (John 7:8-13)

    If you think Jesus was not violent that is because
    you have invented your own Jesus, yet another imaginary one, which is not in the Bible.

  10. Enough already. You want to judge Kyle? Go ahead.

    You have a Judge as well. You’ll get to tell Him how well you’ve followed Jesus, as opposed to Kyle’s track record.

  11. You forgot to tell Fran that Jesus wanna kill everybody. That item is still on your laundry list somewhere, isn’t it?

  12. “Bring to me those enemies of mine and execute them in front of me”

    – JESUS (Luke 19:27)

    Almost all religions call on non-believers or disbelievers to be slaughtered.
    Not just Jesus.

  13. Max,

    1. Read the entire account at Luke 22, and you will see that at verses 50 and 51, one of his followers smote the servant of the high priest after asking Jesus if they shoukd smite with the sword. Jesus responded at verse 51: “And Jesus answered and said, Suffer thee thus far. And he touched the ear and healed him.” IS THAT A VIOLENT ACTION?

    2. Mark 16:16: Jesus said that the person that didn’t believe in him would be damned and not approved by Jesus; they cound face death but not a fiery place of torment forever (your reference to hell).

    3. Matthew 23:17: Read the entire chapter for complete context. Jesus spoke correctly of the Scribes and Pharisees, the Jewish religious of his days, for their hypocrisy and bloodshed. The same can be said of many religious leaders today!!

    4. Matthew 21:2,3: Jesus was asking his disciples to bring an ass and a colt with her. This was for the purpose of his triumphal entry into Jerusalem, as foretold at Zechariah 9:9 (look that up).

    5. Luke 19:27: This was an illustration of the ten minas, not literal, showing the actions of certain persons who be approved and/or disapproved by him, not literal.

    6. Matthew 15:36: I have already responded to you about this account. The bottom line from the entire account was that a Gentile woman asked for a miracle for her daughter who was possessed by a demon. Altho he told her his focus was centered on the lost sheep of Israel, her response showed she still had faith he could heal her daughter. He said how great her faith was, and healed her daughter. Was that a violent action?

    7. Matthew 10:14: Whoever did not receive them when preaching, “shake the dust of their feet.” They could move on and reach others who would be receptive.

    8. Matthew 7:6 (Jesus was bigoted according to you): Jesus was showing that some people would not appreciate the spiritual truths his disciples shared which they might reject and even go against them. Did Jesus not show humility to his disciples when he washed their feet, extolling them to show that same quality to others (John 13:6)?

    9. John 2:5: This was Jesus’ miracle of turning water into wine in connection with a marriage. Mary told the servants to do whatever Jesus asked of them to accomplish this miracle.

    10. Matthew 10:34: See my response to Ben from
    Oakland above.

    11. John 7:8-13: How did Jesus lie at this account? He knew that the religious leaders wanted to get rid of him, and as brought out at John 7:8, his time was not yet full, and things needed to be done before that took place.

    Finally, was Jesus a violent and war-like person when he gave his life as a ransom sacrifice for all imperfect mankind (Mark 10:45), even knowing full well that he would suffer at that time? NOT AT ALL!!! If anything, he showed GREAT LOVE for his Father as well as the entire human race!!!

    You evidently are determined to hate the son of God, Jesus; but I will continue to be grateful and appreciative of Jesus’ ransom sacrifice so we may receive forgiveness of our sins now; and everlasting life in the future (John 17:3).

    In addition, Jesus’ millenial rule will bring great blessing to meek persons worldwide (Isaiah 11:1-9; Revelation 21:1-4).

  14. Did this “American Sniper” ever shoot anybody “In The Name Of” Jesus?


    Do Muslims Snipers kill people “In The Name Of” Allah?

    Yes. Every single time.

  15. “Congress shall make no law establishing a religion…”

    Ellipsis ALERT !!!

    “. . . or the free exercise of.”

    Somehow the reality that there is no such thing as “separation of Church and State” anywhere IN the Constitution or the history of the US government of the founders (who wrote the wording), alludes the mob mentality of the “freethinker” club.

    Oops, pesky reality.

  16. Isn’t there extra-biblical history to show you are wrong? That Christians served Rome as soldiers. And were even Roman citizens and rich ones at that?

    In today’s world, the anti-military Christians are called murder victims of Muslim Jihadists.

    But if one is called to the task, so be it.

  17. The idiocy, or, rather lunacy, of your comment would be laughable except that the hatred towards Christians by the garden-variety atheist is becoming very dangerous for the average Church-going and incredibly peaceful Christians, that still exist in today’s rapidly debauched and violent secular society.

  18. “Don’t cast pearls before swine. Or the will trample them.”

    Why waste your time in the pig pen of society?

    Just clean off your shows and move on.

    This present secularized society has almost no ability left to reason from the scriptures. But they can text porn with talent.

  19. Matthew 13:10 The disciples came to him and asked, “Why do you speak to the people in parables?”

    11 He replied, “Because the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. 12 Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. 13 This is why I speak to them in parables:

    “Though seeing, they do not see;
    though hearing, they do not hear or understand.”

    Adherents of Atheism referenced in Jerusalem 2000-plus years ago?

    Anyone that claims that Jesus advocates murder (see the beatitudes), OR killing in His Name, has left the literate world and the sane populace.

    But alas . . atheism huh.

  20. Christians have been looking for opt-outs and justifications for going to war since Constantine. Which is why all but a handful of sects are explicitly pacifist.

    Its a given that Christians will find ways to reconcile their belief and their participation as a combatant. Just like all other religions and beliefs. Its not something worthy of special criticism.

    A sniper is a military role is as close to committing murder as one can find. It is a notoriously psychologically distressing and taxing role. I do not begrudge Kyle trying to find solace in religion or any other form of belief.

    From what I have read, devoted belief (in anything) is a major psychological component to it. Be it religious belief, political belief, devotion to the unit, a love of hunting. In cases with some of the famous Russian snipers of WWII, revenge.

  21. Separation of church and state is a shorthand for the establishment clause. That part of the 1st amendment many conservative Christians attack on a regular basis.

    Without separation of church and state one cannot protect the free exercise of religion. The concept predates the Constitution by a century and the guiding principle of the Pennsylvania and Rhode Island colonial charters. It was the clear intention of 1st Amendment religious freedoms when the establishment clause was drafted.

    Attacking separation of church and state is pretty much an admission that one has no respect for any form of religious freedom.

  22. “This present secularized society has almost no ability left to reason from the scriptures.”

    NOBODY reasons from scriptures. They confirm their previous notions and excuse their present behavior based on scriptural excuses.

    Reason and religious belief are not related in any way whatsoever.

  23. Thanks for the shout out. I’m sorry to hear that your family is so “rude”, if you don’t mind me leaving it at that. Gay people sometimes have to go through the same sort of a thing with family. You’d think they’d just leave it at, “Hey. you’re happy. you’re a good person. Wonderful!”

  24. You condemn Kyle for being the “Supreme Judge” for dealing out death to the evil who kill in the name of Allah. And then you become the Supreme Judge by condemning Kyle for what he believes in conscience is his duty as a soldier! Take out the log in your own eye before you take the splint in Kyle’s eye! Remember what Jesus said????

  25. Ken

    “there is no such thing as “separation of Church and State”

    Well, sir. That will be big news to your Pastor.

    You see, I don’t care about your religion and neither does the United States Constitution.
    Atheists, Muslims, Hindus and all have the right to ignore your religion and to separate ourselves from it and to laugh at it if we choose to.

    Your God is absolutely invisible and powerless to me – like Zeus.
    And if you don’t think that LAW means there is separation from church and state you do not understand anything about our constitution or how it came to be.

    Homework assignment for Ken:
    The US Constitution: Why the Founder’s Hated Religion

    Look it up and learn yourself something.

  26. Ken,

    The problems with your bible are YOUR problems, not mine.
    I don’t care how you interpret the bible or The Three Little Pigs for that matter..

    Just Keep your Theology, your religion and your theories about God out of my laws.

    “Zombies ordered coffee in the cafe’s of Jerusalem and chatted with everyone in town” – (Matthew 27:52)

    Wretched nonsense. And I have every right and obligation to say so.

  27. @Fran,

    You are probably a nice person.
    But you sound like a bad Mother defending her spoiled, ROTTEN, selfish son who is a Sociopathic, Psychotic bully.

    The Bible was written by people who did not know where the sun went at night!

    Try to comprehend the bottomless ignorance of these desert fools!

    Jesus as described in the Bible is a total jerk. It is indefensible garbage.

    The Zombies ventured into Jerusalem and ate at all the finest restaurants for a week” (Matthew 27:52)

    It is time to abandon this children’s nightmare.

  28. Ken,

    You seem to have a problem with Jihadis?
    They arrived at their perfect, pure knowledge of Allah the same way you arrive at your perfect, pure knowledge of Jesus.

    They use a little trick:
    “Faith” – which means you just gotta believe what grandma taught you, no matter what happens”

    Are you still following your grandma’s directions or are you ready to grow up and think for yourself?

    “After Jesus died on the cross, Zombies walked through the art museums of Jerusalem ordering tea and crumpets and bought rounds of drinks for the townies” – (Matthew 27:52)

    People are killing their gay children because they claim this nonsense to be true! I appeal to humanity to wake up.

  29. Kyle was a soldier. As a soldier he acted in a war to protect himself, first, you Ben, his family and his country.
    He was given orders by his hierarchy and he had to obey them.
    Probably you have in your family several men who acted in the same way during WWI and WWII. They probably killed less people, or possibly much more if they were pilots in a bomber plane.
    Did they ever think the [racial slur deleted] they killed, who in my opinion were yet more cruel than the nazis, didn’t deserve to die?

  30. Ben, please take your bigotry and put it on the shelf long enough to review history: The greatest genocides were committed by ATHEISTS (Stalin, Pol Pot, Hitler, etc.) Fear godLESSness, not religion.Even Muslim terrorists haven’t come close to murdering millions!

  31. Sandra please take your ignorance and put it on a shelf long enough to read history. The greatest genocides were by regimes which extolled blind faith and deference to arbitrary authority. What every religion teaches as a matter of course. Hitler, Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot all either used religion or a substitute for religious faith to justify mass murder.

    There is nothing more infantile and ignorant than the “atheists are the biggest mass murderers in history”.

  32. C.S. Lewis, Oxford English professor, was an avowed atheist who when he read the Bible in context came to the conclusion that Jesus, who stated, “I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the father except through me” was either a liar, a lunatic or Lord. He could not historically prove that Jesus was a liar, or crazy, and intellectually understood He must be Lord. Lewis wrote Mere Christianity and every atheist and agnostic would do well to show enough integrity to read it.
    As for war and killing , nowhere did Jesus abrogate the Old testament laws regarding personal or national self defense. Just another view.

  33. @Douglas,

    “Jesus….was either a liar, a lunatic or Lord.”

    C.S. was a lazy thinker. He left out the most obvious answer: ‘legend’.
    Hercules was born of a virgin, died and went to heaven also. Was he Liar, Lunatic or lord? No. He was the same thing every other God ever was: Legend.

    Is religion fun? sure. But there is absolutely no reason to believe any of it is true at all. And it is bad for you.

    I was a Catholic for 50 years. Shame to miss so much for a delusion.
    Don’t waste a moment believing this nonsense.

  34. Sandra, your comment contains several of the very lazy lies moralizing Christians tell themselves to justify the immorality that religion so often fosters.

    Criticism isn’t bigotry. As so many Christians will tell me to excuse their own actions, disagreement isn’t hate.

    “The greatest genocides were committed by ATHEISTS (Stalin, Pol Pot, Hitler, etc.)”

    One of the biggest lies or slanders perpetrated by the religionists is that ATHEISM was responsible for the slaughter of so many people in the past 100 years. Mao and Pol Pot were atheists, absolutely, as was Stalin, though the latter started out as a priest. But in NO CASE were the atrocities they committed in the name of atheism, to achieve atheism, to promote any precept of atheism. They committed their atrocities in the name of fascistic, authoritarian communism, one aspect of which was atheism. And they wanted their ideologies to have no competition, especially religion.

    In other words, these people were not murdered in the name of atheism, but in the name of ideologies inimical to human health and happiness, to peace and prosperity and progress. THAT is the fact.

    Hitler was not an atheist, nor was Nazi Germany Atheist. Here’s Adolf in 1922. This is just ONE quote of many concerning the Nazi regimes fornication with religion; google Nazism and Christianity if you want more. “My feeling as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded only by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who, God’s truth! was greatest not as a sufferer but as a fighter. In boundless love as a Christian and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might …” blah blah blah god god god.

    World War I, still considered the greatest mutual slaughter of modern times, was the product of the animosities of professed Christian nations, many of which had state churches which blessed their endeavors and prayed to a loving god for victory over their enemies. Here’s what all had in common: 1) an allegiance to an agenda and a political platform that was inimical to peace, prosperity, health, and happiness. 2) A sociopathic insistence of one’s own importance and value as opposed to those defined as “others.” 3) A psychopathic willingness to inflict harm on innocent people in the name of one’s own self-importance, one’s own political and social agenda, one’s own advantage, and one’s own wealth. 4) A psychotic state of delusion, where in statements about the Jews, The Negroes, The Huns, The Gays, or The Slavs are defined as real, and thus are real in their consequences for the victims. This delusion is then used to justify the psychopathic willingness to inflict harm and further the values, goals, and wealth of the sociopathic personality that believes this.

    No one knows how many people were slaughtered in the name of religion. We don’t know about the number of deaths caused by the Crusades or the reconquest of Spain. No one knows how many so called witches were murdered by Christianity for a religious crime we now know doesn’t exist, but we know there were a lot. No one knows how many heretics were murdered in the religious wars of the reformation, the slaughter of the Cathars, or the sack of Constantinople by the invading Catholics, but we know there were a lot. We know about how many Jews were murdered by the Christian Nazis, and how those murders were condoned by the Lutheran Church in Germany, but we don’t know how many murdered in the 1000 years of Christian condoned anti-Semitism before that. We just know there were a lot.

    “Even Muslim terrorists haven’t come close to murdering millions!” No one knows how many people died over the 1200 years of Muslim conquest, the Muslim wars across North Africa to the West, and across Asia to the Philippines. But given the land area involved, the length of time, and the number of wars, there must have been a lot. If you don’t think it was terrorism in that 1200 years, well, what can I say? You certainly can’t ask the countless victims of those atrocities.

    The Romans, the Persians, the mongols, the Huns, the Egyptians and a host of other ancient peoples were all religious peoples. Yet they valued human life and happiness not at all, as they swept across whole continents, murdering and pillaging, raping and enslaving.

    But let us assume for the briefest moment that you are correct: atheism killed more people than religion. But atheism didn’t kill those people in the name of a god who is love, in the name of the fount of morality, in the name of holiness and goodness.

    Personally, I prefer people who are honest about their motivations.

    “Fear godLESSness, not religion.” I have no problem with godlessness. I’m godless, as are most of the people I know. None of us are trying to murder anyone in the name of a god we don’t believe in. We are all of us decent, kind, moral people, who try to live by that very simple rule: DO AS YOU WOULD BE DONE BY. We harm no one, we bother no one (except for the hyper religious), and we don’t want dominion over their lives.

    Please do not presume to school me about reading a history book. It’s very clear to me who has and who hasn’t.

  35. I’m not criticizing what he did for his job. I’m criticizing his assumption that The god Who Is Love and the fount of morality is just fine with it.

  36. No disagreement from me on that.

    but I happen to believe as a moral person that all killing is wrong, Regardless of whose name you do it in.

    I hope I am never in the position of having to kill someone. I hope if I ever am in that position, that I will have the strength and the fortitude and the cleverness to figure out a way to handle that problem without killing someone.

    And I am certain that if I am ever forced to kill someone, I will not try to weasel out of my moral responsibility and culpability by claiming it’s just fine with god.

  37. I absolutely understand that, Jack. But I am morally opposed to killing under any circumstance, if there is any other option. I am morally opposed to war, if there is any other option, and there usually is.

    In the case of the American Sniper, he was doing his job– in the name of a war that was entered into over false premises and lies, that need not ever have been fought, which destabilized the entire middle east, and which has brought untold misery to millions, without accomplishing one iota of good.

  38. RNS website vagaries again. This was posted down below.

    I absolutely understand that, Jack. But I am morally opposed to killing under any circumstance, if there is any other option. I am morally opposed to war, if there is any other option, and there usually is.

    In the case of the American Sniper, he was doing his job– in the name of a war that was entered into over false premises and lies, that need not ever have been fought, which destabilized the entire middle east, and which has brought untold misery to millions, without accomplishing one iota of good.

  39. Jack, I don’t think anyone “deserves” to die, though I shed no tears for Osama bin Laden, or Hitler, or Mao, or Pol Pot.

    There is a wonderful dialogue in Lord of the Rings that I already cited. It still applies.

  40. you meant not all but a handful, but ONLY a handful.

  41. Love god and love your neighbor.*

    Killing them isn’t love.

  42. you left out “business model”. See “Jesus and the Riddle of the dead Sea Scrolls.”

  43. Yes. You are absolutely correct.

    Typing on a phone in the absence of an edit function is a dangerous thing. 🙂

  44. John 15:13King James Version (KJV)

    13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

  45. Larry, you are wrong. Add up the deaths that Godless regimes have committed within the last century. Stalin…about 30 million….Hitler…about 54 million.
    But with or without God, people left to their own thinking will keep on killing. Christianity does not have a perfect history for sure, but that being said, no western Christian country has killed 84 million people within the last 100 years.

  46. Max, do you know that being an Atheist means you have absolute proof that God does not exist? Scientific proof.That means you have researched it, searched everywhere, and have undeniable proof that God does not exist.
    So, please show us the proof? Not talking points. Proof. I have much more respect for Agnostics, as they are at least honest in saying they are not sure if there is a God. To be an Atheist requires much more faith than any Christian has. You believe this all came out of nothing. Why have morals? Where did that come form? A big bang, maybe? Where did that energy come from? You have to ignore Science and Physics. to be an Atheist. Wow.

  47. ax, do you know that being an Atheist means you have absolute proof that God does not exist? Scientific proof.That means you have researched it, searched everywhere, and have undeniable proof that God does not exist.
    So, please show us the proof? Not talking points. Proof. I have much more respect for Agnostics, as they are at least honest in saying they are not sure if there is a God. To be an Atheist requires much more faith than any Christian has. You believe this all came out of nothing. Why have morals? Where did that come form? A big bang, maybe? Where did that energy come from? You have to ignore Science and Physics. to be an Atheist. Wow.

  48. John,

    “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

    I never understood this.
    If the whole bunch of them are going up to Heaven to live forever anyway – what does it mean to “Lay down one’s life” ?

    There is no “laying down of life” if the moment of death is just a door to a Paradise somewhere in the sky.

    It is yet more incoherence from the Jesus story.

  49. Larry, permit me.

    Bruce, you cannot prove a negative, except by inference. You cannot prove that the sky is not green, you can only prove that it’s blue, tohuigh this is a vastly over-simplified case.

    No one has any proof that god doesn’t exist, because you cannot prove a negative. Likewise, no one has any proof that God does. You can point to your bible, but 2/3 of the world thinks your bible is nonsense. They have the TRUE answers. You can point to your faith, but that’s not evidence. it only proves that you have one. Only an idiot– and Larry is not one of those– claims I KNOW THERE IS NO GOD. No thoughtful atheist would make any such claim.

    Why have morals? The answer to that question doesn’t require a god, it only requires a little study of how humans live together and how societies exist. But if you want an answer, try this one form Richard dawkins, who is quoting Michael shermer:

    As Einstein said: “If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope fore reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed”. Michael Shermer, in The Science of Good and Evil, calls is a debate stopper. If you agree that, in the absence of God, you would commit robbery, rape, and murder, you reveal yourself as an immoral person and we would be well advised to steer a wide course around you. If, on the other hand, you admit that you would continue to be a good person even when not under divine surveillance, you have fatally undermined your claim than God is necessary for us to be good. I suspect that quite a lot of religious people do think that religion is what motivates them to be good, especially if they belong to one of those faiths that systematically exploits personal guilt. It seems to me to require quite a low self-regard to think that, should belief in God suddenly vanish from the world, we would all become callous and selfish hedonists, with no kindness, no charity, no generosity, nothing that would deserve the name of goodness.”

  50. It is sad you have to speak for the person I directed the question. But, whether you like it or not, that is the definition of an atheist. I have a seminary degree and have studied biblical and extra-biblical sources. You arguments sound educated and you are a good debater. However, extra biblical sources, (such as the first century historian, Josephus to name one), a Jew, talk about a man named Jesus who walked the earth during his lifetime. He is historically there. The Dead Sea Scrolls authenticate the book of Isaiah as being accurate in the prediction of Jesus. What are those odds? Let’s say you put a brick in every square foot of Texas. Then paint the bottom of one red. You have one chance to pick the red one. That is the mathematical odds of Jesus fulfilling the prophecies of Isaiah. Jesus was here. Now was He God? He said He was. So, either He was like Charlie Manson nuts, a great teacher or God. He doesn’t give you a choice. Think about it, please. If He was a liar, don’t you think one person would have told on Him?? Would not one of the historically authenticated torturous deaths of his immediate circle confessed of the lie? Would you die for a liar? We have eyewitness history of His life.
    Hitler was an atheist and look at how many of his followers turned on him.
    Do you believe Julius Caesar was real? The first historical account was written 1500 years after he died.
    You want to believe in a Big bang and we oozed out of some primordial goo? Man Prove it! Don’t give me you Harvard debate! Show me something to change my mind! I have first hand historical accounts.

    I have served as a Chaplain at Ground Zero, Katrina, Virginia Tech, and many other disasters. I have seen MANY believers die. I have seen some reach out with a smile as they drew their last breath.
    I once saw an admitted atheist die. She screamed at the moment of her death and pulled her bed sheet over her face yelling, “No!” I pray that you and the person you spoke for do not suffer the same sad fate.
    I always feel that people who call themselves atheists are the most sad, unhappy people I have met.
    You have NO hope.Where does your moral compass come from? Do some research. It is not false hope, it is real.
    The bottom line….I have more proof about Jesus then you ever will for your hatred for God, despite all your eloquent talk.
    Have a nice night. I have work to do. I will pray for you and the other unhappy people on this post.

  51. You have no idea what that really means do you? Please take the time to do an exegetical study of that passage and you will see that taken something out of context is horribly misleading. If you really want to learn please get yourself a study Bible, Greek dictionary and get to work. I challenge you to do that.

  52. thank you, Ken. That’s why I will not return to this post. we have given them the news. Now they are without excuse.

  53. taken out of context, Ben, Please study the whole book, with proper translations.

  54. You may have a degree from a seminary, but like your faith, all that proves is that you have one.

    As for the rest of it, I don’t have the patience to answer. You’ve just made up a bunch of stuff to justify yourself to yourself.

  55. OK. ONE refutation only, because I just cannot stand so much stupidity.

    Who wrote Julius’s Caesar’s accounts of his military campaigns? Who was cicero? Who was Suetonius?

    And most important of all: who has a bible believing degree from a bible believing university, and has nonetheless never heard of the commentaries of Caesar?

  56. Ben,your self righteousness and hostility is very sad. I made up Josephus??
    Please, I challenge you to read about Josephus, one the most well know first century historians. But I made that up…hmmm
    I didn’t want to carry this discussion anymore, but like you, felt compelled to reply. However, my reply is not filled with the anger you have displayed as I find most atheists do (I used to be agnostic myself), as you see no hope in anything and that is a sad way to live. I guess I would be pissed too if I were you. Yes, there were first century (and I am familiar with the names you mentioned in your anger) writings of Caesar campaigns, but they were not put into a cohesive form until many years later (I meant to write 150 AD, Not 1500, my mistake).
    But the point is the same. You believe Julius Caesar lived because of these writings, but dismiss Josephus writings in his book Antiquities of the Jews, written in 93 AD (and first extra-biblical sources that place Jesus in that historical setting), where he writes about a man named Jesus who is said to be stirring the crowds, claiming to be the Messiah. Josephus was a Jew who had been captured by the Romans. Go look it up.

    As I think about the Bible, there is a reference that seems to be consistent with what you say….

    Psalm 14:1 “The Fool has said in his heart there is no God”
    Sorry, couldn’t resist.

    Loosen up Ben, take a deep breath, do some homework and maybe you won’t be hostile to all who carry a different belief system than yours. Calling everything you don’t agree with “stupid” shows a lack of maturity.

  57. If he killed one person to save ten (his fellow soldiers) how is that murder? You could say he was a life giver not a killer. You liberals and your idealistic philosophy would change in a heart beat if you could kill the man that is about to throw a granade into your family reunion. To Kyle his fellow soldiers were family.

  58. Max, I have served as a Chaplain on the front lines of everywhere you can recall over the last 20 years. I have learned a lot about people. Sadly I have found that guys like you and Ben are a lotta big talk. You hide behind your keyboard where it is safe.
    I’ll cut to the line…It has been my experience that guys that talk like you and Ben are the first ones, as soon as it hits the fan, to crawl up in a ball, piss your pants and cry for Mommy. I don’t say that to be mean, it is just what I have see throughout my life.
    Do everyone a favor and stay right here on the internet. We don’t need you where it matters.
    Maybe I am wrong, but I doubt it. For your’s and our sake, please stay home and don’t head to the battlefield.
    Your battlefield is already in your head. Your enemy is YOU and everybody who disagrees with you,…

  59. I wish journalists and writers would stop referring referring to soldiers as warriors. Soldiers are people employed by nation states to defend their national interests or conduct peacekeeping activities on behalf of world bodies such as the UN. Soldiers of Western countries at least are expected to conform to the rules/guidelines of the Geneva Conventions on the conduct of war. By contrast, warriors are members of tribal groups who adhere to the codes of conduct of their tribe, though they may be fighting for wholly justifiable or understandable reasons. The Japanese considered their soldiers to be warriors during WWII, in fact knights of Bushido, who operated outside the guidelines of the European Geneva Conventions.

  60. Way to shift burdens of proof. It has been said before and it bears repeating, atheism doesn’t require proof of God’s non-existence.

    God’s existence is not a default given which has to be taken at face value. That is simply laziness on the part of people whose belief is based entirely on faith. Faith being belief in the absence of evidence.

    One can simply say, since there is no evidence God exists, there is no compelling need to believe in him.

    “A big bang, maybe? Where did that energy come from?”

    if you have to say, “God did it” as the answer to any mystery of science, you are too lazy to bother to research or understand the world around you. You have to ignore science and the scientific method to make such statements.

  61. Bruce, your arrogance and laziness is apparent to all. You simply rely on religious apologia rather than facts.

    Josephus never wrote about Jesus. He wrote about Christians long after the fact. He was a collaborator with the Romans against his own people. He wasn’t captured by them, he joined them!

    Romans did not value objective history. All Roman histories are better described in modern terms as “sensationalist propaganda”. Historical writers tailored their works to an Imperial noble readership. So “he was making it up” is a very distinct possibility.

    A work written 2 generations after the alleged facts involved and recalled essentially 3rd hand would not be considered a reliable account. Especially once the subject has become religiously venerated.

    We believe Julius Caesar lived because he not only wrote his own histories but was written about by CONTEMPORARIES. People who lived and wrote at the same time as him. His name is in tons of mundane records having nothing to do with official histories.
    Julius Caesar came from a well noted noble family, purchased a leadership position in the Roman army, had a wife who was also well noted, associated with Romans of note throughout his life (including one of its wealthiest citizens). Even indirectly, he appears in many records not having to do with his own writings.

    No such records are ever likely to possibly exist for a wayward peasant carpenter in a backwater province who caused a local ruckus but did not upset the Imperial authorities.

    “Hitler was an atheist …”
    This is a flat out lie.

    Hitler was not only raised Christian, but the Nazis relied heavily on support from churches. Christian appeals were common for stoking antisemitism and for recruiting people to fight the Soviets. What was on the belt buckle of every German soldier “Gott Mitt Uns” God is with us. Every church in Occupied Europe except 1 collaborated willingly with the Nazis at an organizational level. They even appealed to Islam to recruit collaborators.

    So we now all know you can do a Gish Gallop and have an aversion to actual facts.

  62. “I’ll cut to the line…It has been my experience that guys that talk like you and Ben are the first ones, as soon as it hits the fan, to crawl up in a ball, piss your pants and cry for Mommy. ”

    There is nothing more infantile than someone trying to talk tough in an internet discussion. A Chaplain is not someone who performs necessary duties in a given situation. You come in after the fact and are supposed to make them feel better. You are someone who is simply glomming off the efforts and sacrifices of others who are doing real work. Given your arrogant and patronizing tone, I doubt you are much use as a chaplain either. You don’t strike me as the comforting and consoling type.

  63. Well I hope your not I that situation either because I would hate to see the out come, it’d be a damn mess. We Christians never claimed to be perfect. That’s an issue for you take up with us not with our religion. If you look to Jesus and our religion you couldn’t find one thing wrong with it, all the faults you point out are in mere humans living with sin by nature. Also, no one is assuming anything. He is telling you our God will not hold a single thing against us. We are forgiven and the one unforgivable sin is denying Jesus Christ (Matthew 3:28-29) I hope you are able to separate the problems you find in religion which is easily corrupted by finite from the truths evident in the Savior of the world Jesus Christ. When you do I’m sure this worry of yours will be lifted from your shoulders and you’ll find the freedom only He can offer.

  64. Also when you say you are “morally” opposed to it, what do you mean? Without God where does your standees for morality come from? Who assures you it is right? Without God everyone’s moral standards would differ.

  65. Bruce, calling Hitler an atheist is not only wrong, but betrays a level of ignorance or dishonesty which makes any kind of discussion with you pointless.

    Stalin and Mao simply replaced old state sponsored religions with new state sponsored ones. The Kims have taken it to the point where they venerate prior leaders as having supernatural powers. Atheism having nothing to do with justifying their carnage. Every communist leader has felt the need to accommodate religion when it suited their purposes.

    In addition to Hitler, you can pin 30 million deaths on Christianity with the Taiping Rebellion. The bloodiest civil war ever fought. Started by a person who was following Christian theological concepts.

    Evidently they don’t teach modern history at seminary school.

  66. “Without God where does your standees for morality come from?”

    Some answers come to mind. Empathy, understanding of the human condition and not being a psychopath on a divine leash. If you need God to tell you that harming people maliciously is a bad thing, you need help. Professional help. You have no connection to humanity whatsoever and must be kept in check lest you run amok.

    Religious morality is the most “differing” relativistic thing out there. It is the epitome of “the ends justify the means”. Any act, no matter how malicious or atrocious can be justified if one claims God commands it or you are doing it on his behalf. Child sacrifice, genocide, discrimination, murder. Say you are doing it for God and all is OK. Rather than make moral decisions, you simply outsource it to arbitrary authority and follow rules out of self interest. There is nothing moral about following God. You are simply going through divine CYA.

    Not being a pacifist, I have no qualms about soldiers fighting in a war if they comport themselves in a proper manner. Not committing atrocities, war crimes, crimes against humanity. Following legal commands and disobeying illegal ones. If they want to claim their religious faith got them through a conflict, so be it. If they say their actions in combat are inspired by God’s command, then I would worry.

  67. Wow, Atheist Max…as an ex-catholic of some 50 years standing, you actually expect us to believe that you don’t know what that verse means? Really? (By the way, your juvenile re-casting of Matthew 27:52,53 is just silly, and not worthy of you, so drop it.)

  68. Don’t insult our intelligence by denying wars and other atrocities committed throughout history in the name of Christianity. Disavowing such things as by people who “weren’t true Christians” is such common dishonest tripe there is a name for the fallacious argument, “No True Scotsman:.

    Plenty of religious writings are more repugnant in print than in practice. Plenty of acts in the name of religion aren’t directly justified by what is on the pages of scripture. You will know a Christian by their deeds. Their deeds taken as a whole for the whole faith are not that much to crow about.

  69. Hmm you sure seem to be against death Ben in Oakland, let me ask, why is your top priority angering over people who were looking to cause harm’s death when a sickning number of innocent lives are lost each year to abortion.. No one could claim they deserved death, and I think your enthusiasm on “no one deserves to die” would be much more useful there because you aren’t talking crap to us here

  70. Larry, was the Taiping Rebelliion the one that featured god’s Chinese Son?

  71. No, bruce. YOU ARE WRONG. read my post below.

    THAT contains facts. Your posting contains propaganda.

  72. I’m not against death. that’s a natural part of life.

    I’m against murder and hate justified by belief in god.

  73. I have seen a lot Larry. You have no idea what you say. I was a Certified Chaplain with the DOD. I am retired now. You obviously don’t understand the role of today’s chaplain nor the tears I have shed over the years for the brave who have given their lives for love of country and God. I have held those that die in my arms. Maybe you are right Larry. Perhaps I was harsh. Maybe I have seen too much myself to be able to console those who run away from what they are called to do. I tell you this from my experience. I can only take so much too. I am human. I love my God. May He forgive me if I lose my cool sometimes. I am not perfect. I have done what I could. He will judge me. May God bless you. Larry, you don’t have a clue what I have seen or where I have been sent. Sometimes I wonder why I even try to have input on these forums, only to have you, Larry, call me a liar. Who are you, Larry?? What will you tell God you have done with what He has given you?

  74. Hello Max. Just read your post under mine on Jesus being a “Legend” akin to Hercules. Just one small problem with that Bro, It’s called History. By the rules of historical evidence, Jesus lived in the early 1st century – not one , again , not one- of even the most liberal, secular historians alive- denies that Jesus was an actual historical figure. The debate is consumed with is he whom he said he was. C.S.Lewis , an Oxford English Professor , way more intelligent than you or I, concluded that He was.
    Really Max, and you too Larry, all of your best arguments just pale into nothingness until you resolve to settle that 1 question. And if Jesus , who by the way loves you just as much as he loves me, is who he claimed to be, then you- when you accept Him, Like C.S. Lewis did and said of himself, will come “kicking and screaming” into His loving arms.
    As for you Bruce, God bless you for the sacred service you gave to those soldiers in their time of need. God will reward you more than you will ever imagine .

  75. Larry, You may be correct that Hitler, Stalin, Mao or Pol Pot used religion to justify their actions. If you are willing to add Humanism, the occult, and other forms of mythology to the list of religions. I assure you they did not use a relationship with Jesus.

    The aforementioned dictatorial leaders didn’t commit their evil in the name of the Christian God. In fact, they did it quit to the contrary to all biblical teaching. Stalin left the seminary because he didn’t believe in God. He in fact was a strong believer in Darwinism. In essence, he did what came naturally to him. Same with Mao, he was not a person of faith. Hitler was obsessed with the occult.

    On the other hand, numerous people over the years have invoked the name of Jesus to justify their behavior. However, let us not confuse someone who invokes the name of Jesus and what behavior Jesus actually endorsed. If you look at the teachings of Jesus, and are intellectually honest, you could not place the two together. Let us also remember there is a difference between a cultural christianity and authentic faith in Jesus.

    Now on to Chris Kyle. The power of the sword, in Christian doctrine, is always in the hands of the State and never in the hands of the individual. If Mr. Kyle had went to Iraq on his own and wages war, he would have been outside of the bounds of Christian teaching. He however was not waging war on his own. He did it under the rules of engagement laid out by our military. I’m guessing that your next objection will be to ask it Hitler’s SS troop’s were without sin for murdering Jews. The answer is no. The original Hebrew of the bible states that one should not murder, not kill.

    The Just War Doctrine established by Thomas Aquinas is a good guide. Among the things outlined are the three points of the right intent, possibility of success, and the military option being the last resort. There are other points but I’ll leave those to you. In the case of Chris Kyle, his intent appears to be right. The other two points are dedicated to the State not to the individual Soldier.

    Back your point of “Hitler, Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot all either used religion or a substitute for religious faith to justify mass murder.” Since we already discussed their lack of religious belief I’ll skip mentioning it again. As to your point of “or a substitute for religious faith to justify mass murder.” Can you help me understand what other options are there? If something is not religious it can’t be, at the same time, religious. That violated the Law of Non-Contradiction. Of course they used something else to justify their actions. That’s human nature. If they didn’t invoke God how can you blame their actions on God?

    With all that said here is the big question. Why to you care? If there is not theistic god then there is no objective standard for what is right or wrong. Hitler and Mother Theresa are no different. Actually, Mother Theresa would have been acting foolishly when she placed the needs of others above herself.

    Violence is the natural outpouring of a natural world with out objective standards.

  76. Larry, can you tell me when something came from nothing? Not a sort of nothing, actual nothing.

    I’m asking for a couple of reasons.

    1. We know that the universe had a beginning. This beginning is supported by the Second Law of Thermodynamics which states that universe is running out of usable energy which means it is not eternal and by default must have began. This beginning is also confirmed Stephen Hawkins and other modern physicists. Hardly a group of theist.

    2. The Law of Causality states that anything that has a beginning must have had a cause.

    What caused the spark? If it’s a matter of waiting for science to discover the cause, it sound a lot like faith to me.

    You mentioned someone else ignoring science and the scientific method. But how can you use the scientific method with the beginning of the universe? As you know, for the scientific method to be used, the experiment must be repeatable and observable. Both of which can’t be done with a one time event. In fact, since the beginning of the universe is outside the normal function of the natural order one should refer to it as supernatural.

    Given the evidence available today, not what we hope science or religion will discover later, have you considered the following in relation to the beginning of the universe?

    Is it possible? Is it possible for something to come from nothing or ex nihilo? Our human experience says no. But what if (faith)

    Is it plausible? Is it reasonable to think something came from nothing, given the evidence available?

    Is it probable? Is something coming from nothing the best explanation, considering the competing options?

    We have current evidences for the beginnings of time, space and matter. That evidence demands a verdict. The question is are you going to be intellectually honest enough with yourself to fully explore the evidence? If we truly seek truth, Veritas. How can we do that if we are not open to all possibilities?

    You strike me as an intelligent person. I encourage you to seek Truth. We should all agree with Sherlock Holmes who declared: “It is a capital mistake to theorize in advance of the fact.”

  77. “You obviously don’t understand the role of today’s chaplain nor the tears I have shed over the years for the brave who have given their lives for love of country and God.”

    You seem to be under the delusion that entitles you to act like an equine posterior. It doesn’t. Plenty of people see service and experiences in conflict and don’t use it as excuses to act as sanctimonious cretins.

    Your non-apology is duly noted. Typical passive aggressive nonsense. Trying to excuse behaving badly on an excess of zeal. Give me a break. God may forgive you, but it certainly doesn’t excuse how others see your behavior.

    Btw I was not calling you a liar. You made no assertions of facts. Nothing for you to lie about. I was calling you an unpleasant, arrogant, nasty minded person.

    I would be hard pressed to figure you as someone well suited for a position which involves giving counsel and comfort to people in difficult situations. Nothing of that kind of humility and compassion one expects in such positions comes through on the page.

  78. As an atheist, I have no problem with the existence of Jesus. The things said about him, however, are another matter. THOSE are the legend, not his existence.

    When I was young, Lewis nearly convinced me to become a Christian. A few more years of education showed me that Lewis was indeed a sloppy thinker, starting with his idea that there were only three alternatives. Liar, madman or lord? How about legend, deception, business model.

    You have the clue to that right here: Matthew 13:10 The disciples came to him and asked, “Why do you speak to the people in parables?”

    11 He replied, “Because the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. 12 Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. 13 This is why I speak to them in parables:

    “Though seeing, they do not see;
    though hearing, they do not hear or understand.”

    In short, there was one set of words and meanings for the leaders, another set of meanings for the masses. There’s a fascinating book called “Jesus and the riddle of the Dead Sea Scrolls”, where this idea is explored at length.

    A good example of Lewis’s sloppy thinking: “If my thoughts are merely theresult of random atoms moving randomly in my brain, then I have on reason to think that my thoughts are merely the result of random atoms moving randomly.” I showed it to one of my physics professors, who responded immediately “Then you also have no reason to think that you are sitting at a typewriter writing “”If my thoughts are merely the result of random atoms moving randomly in my brain,””

    In other words, you have no reason to think anything is true. But since you are sitting at a typewriter, writing “”If my thoughts are merely the result of random atoms moving randomly in my brain,” you obviously don’t believe that.

  79. CS Lewis was a good writer of fantasy fiction at a time when the genre was rather sparse. Most “Pulp” writers of the time were far more talented but lacked the cachet of the upper classes Lewis pandered to. Lewis could spin a reasonably decent Christian apologia. But appealing to his intelligence does not make up for the glaring holes in his arguments for religious belief.

    Lewis was a historian of Medieval literature and culture, not of the cultures depicted in the Bible. He lived at a time when Christian domination, racism and colonialist ideas were an unassailed given. His take on the Bible is far too credulous considering the actual evidence existing at his time and presently. His apologia are rather lazy and not actually geared towards an unbelieving audience. He was writing for Christians and making arguments they would accept. At no point did he every really address atheism in a real way.

    Even as a fiction writer he draws a lot of serious criticism by modern writers. Lewis had trouble writing adult female characters. Neil Gaiman, JK Rowling and Philip Pullman wrote fantasy works which were intended as broadsides to Lewis’s works and literary tropes. Frankly I always found Robert E Howard to be a far better writer in the fantasy genre.

  80. “Larry, can you tell me when something came from nothing? Not a sort of nothing, actual nothing. ”

    That would be the province of myth and religious belief.

    No actual scientific evidence or theory states such a thing. The Big Bang theory does not state there was ever a time of “nothing”. The beginning to an astrophysicist means something far different than it does to someone who thinks “God did it” will ever be a satisfactory answer to a question of fact.

    You appear to be arguing against a false premise. Your entire post betrays a lack of knowledge on the subject as you are arguing false talking points used by creationists. Pure dishonest nonsense.

    The “2nd law of thermodynamics” argument is ignorant nonsense because the Earth is not a closed system. We get energy coming in from the sun and send energy out in various forms.

    “The Law of Causality states that anything that has a beginning must have had a cause.”

    Say hello to my little friend, infinite regression. Turtles all the way down. You cannot give a cause for God’s existence, so there goes your argument. If something can’t come from nothing than you cannot have a God who just winks into existence. God would need a cause as well.

    “Law of causality” is not a scientific law, it is merely a shorthand for a philosophical argument. A rather weak one whose flaws are apparent when a 4 year old asks, “who made God” 🙂

    “But how can you use the scientific method with the beginning of the universe? ”

    Like every other form of scientific study, look for evidence and make interpretations which are methodologically sound. One never has to resort to “God did it” as an answer to an open question. That is simply just an admission of ignorance and refusal to look further.

    You strike me as someone who is too lazy to look past overused religious apologia and philosophical arguments which were debunked several centuries ago.

    David Hume’s work deflated the arguments for the existence of God and creation about a century before Darwin’s birth and 2 centuries before The Big Bang Theory was conceived. His work is worth a look and a rather quick read as philosophers go.

  81. “If you are willing to add Humanism, the occult, and other forms of mythology to the list of religions.”

    Legally it is considered one.

    “The aforementioned dictatorial leaders didn’t commit their evil in the name of the Christian God.”

    Hitler certainly did. As did every monarch and leader who claimed their power came from a mandate from God. Communist dictators committed their evil in the name of “higher powers” be they God or “the people”. The reality is ALL dictators commit their evil in the name of themselves. Any attempt at distinguishing them ideologically is dishonest apologetic nonsense.

    In Nazi Germany/Occupied Europe, it was a Christian’s duty to remove the Jews from society. It was Christian’s duty to wage war against the Soviets. The churches played right along with that (except the Danish Lutheran Church, the only exception).

    As for Chris Kyle, he was a soldier in the service of the United States. A nation which eschews entanglement of the political with the spiritual. Whether Christians can reconcile their doctrines with military service is of no concern for me. That is between them and their God.

    Unlike Ben, I do not harbor a belief in pacifism. Kyle did not claim he was following the will of God. He was following orders of his chain of command. Actions in wartime are considered just if one avoids committing atrocities. Follows legal orders, disobeys illegal ones. To avoid engaging in what would be considered war crimes or crimes against humanity.

    I think we are in agreement on this point.

    As for Mao, Stalin and Pol Pot, their actual belief means little compared to their practice. They simply substituted one state sanctioned religious belief with another. Turned themselves into the object of religious devotion. One can look no further than North Korea as to how that plays out. North Korea has turned state sponsored belief into a religion with supernatural claims, dogma and past prophets.

    “Why to you care?”

    Because the statements are dishonest, ignorant and used as a way to attack through false notions of guilt by association.

    “If there is not theistic god then there is no objective standard for what is right or wrong. ”


    There is no objective standards in theistic morality, whatsoever. Any act is justified if one is claiming to do it on God’s behalf. Any atrocity, any lies, any bad acts can be excused by invoking religious motivations. Religious morality is about outsourcing moral thinking to arbitrary authority and rules without thought. About avoiding the fundamental question of moral behavior, “how does my action affect others?” Christian morality is all self serving action. Doing what gets you into heaven or avoids hell. Not, “how does my actions impact others?”

    If you need God to keep you from running amok, you need help. You are a sociopath on a divine leash. You have no connection to humanity whatsoever.

  82. Douglas, It was a privilege to serve this people. I was a Police/ Military/Disaster Service Chaplain with a background that allowed me to travel with the people up front. Sometimes I wonder why I commented on this forum. I comforted many people, and have shown tough love where it was needed. I could talk to these folks in a way many Chaplains could not only because I had a similar background. Yeah, sometimes I was harsh. And sometimes I had the honor of leading them to Jesus. But I think we need to stop talking about what God allowed me to do and pray for people like the Larry’s of this world. Larry…may your heart be filled with the love of Jesus Christ. As Jesus said, “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it Hated you.” John 15:18. Larry, May God bless you abundantly. My family will pray for you tonight.

  83. Bruce, I know plenty of service people and my fair share of chaplains. People who have been “in the thick of it ” so to speak in times of troubles both military and civilian.

    I have to say, I have never met one who was as arrogant, so disingenuous, so wrapped up in their sectarian nonsense, and so self-important as you. Your smug non-apologies continue. Whatever traits you think are important as a chaplain obviously do not include humility, honesty, compassion or grace.

    You may think your service entitles you to act this way, but it doesn’t.
    “pray for people like the Larry’s of this world”

    Ahh Christianspeak for go f–k yourself. I am familiar with that little insincere passive aggressive spiel. I will give you a hint. If you don’t want people to think badly of you, be a better person.

    “I don’t want the prayers of someone who is so blatantly mean-spirited, and I am fully capable of praying for myself if I feel so led.

    Far be it from me to encourage you to ask for help on my behalf before the thousands of people who will starve to death while you’re praying get fed. If your god can’t help the hundreds of millions of people who are far worse off than I am, I don’t think there’s anything he can do for me. But if talking to your walls makes you feel better about yourself, you go right ahead.”

  84. Slavery of the blacks, indians, and Latin people. Close to a billion people died and counting based racism at still continues……

  85. That is false. Didn’t God himself once flood the world and kill every single living thing upon it? I’d say that is single handedly the largest mass killing ever committed.

  86. Why would you quote Thomas Aquinas at all? I was under the impression that God told Moses directly, “Thou shall not kill.” Hard to be more clear than that.

  87. Wow Larry! You know what…I really don’t care what you think about me. You can mock me, mock God, curse at me, attack my character, It does not matter. It does not bother me. I will pray for the true God to reveal Himself to you. I will not go back and forth every day like this with you. It serves no constructive purpose. At some point it needs to stop. This is my last post. I will not come back to this website again. No need to do that. So, go ahead and call me all the names you want, call me arrogant, whatever. I will pray for you. You can laugh and curse at that too. But I will pray. Goodbye Larry.

  88. the movie is a story of young man who answered the call of his nation to do a dirty job. He came home scarred by his experiences, like many before and after him. The government t that trained and sent him had no answers about how to prepare for reentry into society. Rand Paul is a nut. He speaks as a fool speaks. Let Chris’s memory rest in peace. Blessings to his family

  89. well he’s a proven liar. so was god not his top priority when he broke that commandment? did it go money, family, country,…………………………………………………………………….god

  90. GOD will be fine with it. There is such a thing as Grace and Kyle with Him in everlasting paradise.

  91. Jesus didn’t steal the donkey; He borrowed it with the owner’s permission. When the owner/caretaker asked the disciples, “Why are you untying the donkey,” they replied, “The Master has need of it,” and he let them continue. Presumably, the owner was himself a Christian, so when Jesus’ disciples said that He needed the donkey, he lent Him the donkey.

    Jesus pardons all who turn to Him for salvation, but those who are adamant in their rebellion against God He will kill both body and soul, executing righteous judgment against the wicked. He justly drives out those desecrating His Father’s house, and He does not give that which is holy to wicked people. He is zealous for righteousness, and He defends His people. The contrite sinner can approach Him without fear and be healed, but the arrogant tremble in His presence.

  92. Legends don’t arise while the witnesses are still alive, nor do men willingly die for stories they invented. Of the eleven faithful Apostles, ten died for their testimony to Jesus and the eleventh survived torture and died in exile. Now you could possibly argue that one or two men would be fanatical enough to die for a myth they invented, having come to believe their own propaganda, but ten? With the eleventh willing to die but surviving despite many painful attempts on his life? Not one of them recanted despite the most grueling of tortures: crucifixion, flaying, being burned alive, and the one who once denied Him chose to be crucified upside-down because he considered himself unworthy to die in the same manner as his Master. Crucifixion is so terrible on its own that the Romans had to invent a word to describe its pain, yet Peter, despite having once denied Jesus to save his own life, chose to increase the pain he would suffer by volunteering to be crucified upside-down instead of right-side up, giving himself a bad headache on top of the normal pain of crucifixion.

  93. Actually, it’s that He was keeping His teachings secret from those whose hearts reject the Truth. Thus it is fulfilled, “The hungry You fill with good things, while the rich are sent away empty.” Jesus never turned away those who desired Truth, but He sent away empty those who were only interested in worldly status or a life of ease.

  94. Well that would be because he was more interested in teaching through parables than entertaining through fantasy.

  95. Well I don’t know much but as a vet I was thinking like Kyle but now trying to put my faith in Jesus . I would die rather than want to kill out of anger or evil…. It really doesn’t matter if we are slautered and killed , Jesus was and if he can do it I will too because as a parent I don’t want my kids to think like most american Christians … To destroy evil .. In the end it makes you evil. And as it is written we are to suffer for the truth look at the world they hate us .. It is Witten so it shall be done. I love all and there is no disrespect to any but only the truth I see now after many years of anger confusion and hate but no more!!!! GOD BLESS ALL

  96. I’m sick of hearing people bash being a Christian.

  97. We need more men of courage and backbone like Chris Kyle. His death was a terrible, terrible loss for this country. I admire him for his courage and candid acceptance of his faults, but his qualities too. God bless you, Chris, wherever He took you! (And I’m sure He did not hold you long in the line: you were probably one of the first to step in Heaven!)

Leave a Comment