Opinion

Why a stout theological creed is not saving evangelical churches

“Together 2016,” an evangelical Christian prayer rally
“Together 2016,” an evangelical Christian prayer rally, attracted throngs of people to the National Mall in Washington, D.C., on July 16, 2016. RNS photo by Adelle M. Banks

(RNS) It’s time to bury the myth that liberal theology is causing the decline of mainline churches in America — and with it, the twin falsehood that because of their conservative creed evangelicals will own Christianity’s future.

For many years now, it’s been treated as common knowledge in some circles that the liberal beliefs of mainline churches have been the instruments of their decline. As the story goes, if you want to know why the Episcopalians, Lutherans and others like them  have suffered precipitous drops in members and cultural clout since the 1960s, you need look no further than their acceptance of society’s changing sexual mores, women’s equality and so on.

Conservative churches and their strict, unbending doctrine, we’re told, are why they have held onto, and have even grown, their numbers.

How different the picture looks in this fractious summer of 2016.

As Robert P. Jones documents in his important new book, “The End of White Christian America,” white evangelicals are also shrinking now when measured as a proportion of the population.

The Southern Baptists — the premier evangelical denomination — have reported membership declines nine years in a row. Overall, white evangelicals have dropped from 21 percent of the population in 2008 to 17 percent in 2015. (It’s important to count white evangelicals as separate from black evangelicals, as is Jones’ practice, because the two groups are very different politically and culturally. When evangelicals of all racial/ethnic backgrounds are counted as one, their numbers add up to just over a quarter of the population.)

Don’t expect white evangelicals’ numbers to shoot back up in the coming years. Their strength appears especially anemic among young adults and those coming up behind them, as evidenced by the fact that only 10 percent of Americans under 30 are white and evangelical. That’s the same figure, by the way, as for white mainline Protestants.

“The numbers point to one undeniable conclusion: white Protestant Christians — both mainline and evangelical — are aging and quickly losing ground as a proportion of the population,” writes Jones, CEO of Public Religion Research Institute.

It’s interesting to juxtapose the emerging statistical reality with the rhetoric that has been common among evangelical leaders.

Prominent evangelical spokesman Albert Mohler wrote in 2005, for instance, that “doctrinal beliefs are the crucial variable determining whether churches and denominations grow or decline.”

In a different article written the same year, Mohler mocked mainline churches, as “so doctrinally confused that there is no compelling reason for anyone to join. … They reject the one way out of their crisis — a return to biblical authority, Gospel preaching, and theological orthodoxy.”

Writing last October about evangelical rejection of changing sexual norms — especially wider public acceptance of homosexuality — Southern Baptist spokesman Russell Moore declared, “In a secularizing culture, churches that embrace the revolution are unnecessary.”

In view of the data, one might conclude that churches that reject the revolution are also unnecessary, at least in the minds of the younger Americans who hold the key to churches’ fates in the coming years.

Can’t conservative theology at least be credited with staving off evangelical decline for a while? Probably not, Jones says. More likely, demographic factors such as birthrates were the main reasons for evangelical strength through the ’80s and ’90s. Evangelicals were having more children on the whole than people in United Methodist and United Church of Christ churches and other mainline congregations.

White evangelicals have since become more upwardly mobile; more evangelical women have entered the workforce, and family sizes have tapered off.

Those who feel competitive with conservative Christians might be tempted to savor the moment. But as Jones is quick to note, this is no time for dancing on anticipated graves. If you’re a mainliner, what is there to celebrate? That fact that your church’s grim experience is now being endured by another branch of Christianity?

A victory shout might seem more in order for religiously unaffiliated Americans, who have surged to the point where they are now close to a quarter of the population and outnumber every religious category, including white evangelicals. But here, too, restraint is warranted.

For every damaging thing white evangelicals have said and done about gay rights, women’s equality and other social issues, we could probably cite equal numbers of positive contributions they and their churches have made to their communities. Will those of us in the growing secular movement be able to match their energy and commitment?

As for evangelicals themselves, it’s time to stop touting the attraction-and-retention superiority of their stout theology. If they need evidence for the beauty and truth of their doctrine, church membership numbers are no longer the place to look. They never were.

(Tom Krattenmaker is a writer specializing in religion in public life and is communications director at Yale Divinity School. He is the author of the forthcoming book “Confessions of a Secular Jesus Follower”)

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Tom Krattenmaker

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  • I don’t see data cited. I fear this is just opinion, and not based on anything. Simple, easily available data is all he needs. For instance, are the withering rates of the white evangelical churches as fast (or nearly as fast) as the liberal ones? If they are, then that supports his point. If not, then he’s just simply wrong – and that a stout doctrine could indeed be helping those evangelical churches. I started to look it up, but decided that I won’t do his job for him.

  • The only thing the younger generation like stout is beer. Rigid and uncompromising perfectionism and pietism that has been pushed in this county as Evangelicalism is finally dying off. You can have a strong faith in Jesus without all the P and P bull. You don’t have to dress a certain way, nor not drink alcohol, nor not dance, nor look at other faiths as evil, nor shun your LGBT brother and sisters. All this is P and P which has no place in Christianity.

  • There are much more deeper trends going on in society and changing culture then just whether some churches are more liberal and some more conservative. Birthrates have dropped especially in the white middle class which means some churches just are not having the growth they traditionally enjoyed. The mainstream media no longer respects or supports religious thought. People want more entertainment in their services and the sense of community found in religion is not there. More people are working and have alternative demands for their time on a Sunday such as sports and shopping. They do not have the time or desire for church related activities.

  • Proverbs 22:6New King James Version (NKJV)

    6 Train up a child in the way he should go,
    And when he is old he will not depart from it.

  • “The mainstream media no longer respects or supports religious thought.”

    More like religious groups lack the ability to coerce and exert control over mainstream media that they used to. Reactionary religion fouled it’s own nest with the public in their tacit support of legalized bigotry, indifference to the poor, and scandals of moral turpitude. Any respect they expect or demand nowadays is entirely undeserved.

  • I agree with the first few sentences, but would agree with Spuddie in regards to your comment about mainstream media. And in terms of what people want in church, I actually think it’s the opposite that’s happened – church has become entertainment and a show in many cases, and people are missing the community aspect. As someone who grew up in church, I got tired of the facade and it felt like a production. The church I am a part of now (after a good grip of years away from the church) is made up of many young people who were disillusioned by the church and hurt by it in personal ways. We came together because while our faith in God had not wavered, our experiences in church had, and we longed for a deeper sense of community in which people really cared for each other and lived life together. To say people today have alternative demands for their time such as sports and shopping overly simplifies what most people are going through in their thoughts towards church. It goes much deeper than that, and is nuanced per each person’s experience.

  • Another example of biblical error – it may work with some but very often it fails (as in my family).

    Interesting point though – shouldn’t Christianity be a freely made choice? Is forced Christianity anything other than a sterile performance of ritual? My dog is trained (through reward) not to help himself to my food – he doesn’t do it through love or choice, not even through fear of missing out on reward – he does it because it is a habit. Is it still Christianity (or Judaism) if it’s nothing more than an unthinking habitual behavioural trait?

    If you train someone to do what you want you’re removing their ability to choose aren’t you?

    Therefore you are ensuring that they can never become a true Christian?

  • The drop in the Christian share of the population has been driven mainly by declines among mainline Protestants and Catholics. Each of those large religious traditions has shrunk by approximately three percentage points since 2007. The evangelical Protestant share of the U.S. population also has dipped, but at a slower rate, falling by about one percentage point since 2007.

  • Oh you try so hard to feel good about yourself. You hide behind a mask of “love” and “acceptance”, but I can see you. You are the one who works your evil from within.
    Statistics mean nothing, the truth is that people are hurting. They have been sold the lie that we evolved from nothing. From here the lies only compound and people have lost faith in our institutions, leaders, and each other. People with nothing to believe are left with drugs, suicide, crime, sex, and anarchy. How can “love” and “acceptance” evolve? How can you not see to your own wishes and wants before the needs of your brother if he is just another animal? How can you not hate those who have not “evolved” enough to support any notion that makes you feel good about yourself.
    This is not about liberal vs conservative. It is rather this – either you accept the Bible or you don’t. You cannot reject the creation story and then proclaim yourself a liberal minded Jew or Christian. Once you accept that lie it opens you to more lies and deception. You are then lying to yourself that you are bestowed with unique knowledge to divine the Bible into something acceptable that you can believe in. History is on the side of the Bible and the only thing that evolves are the lies against it.

  • This is a pathetic apologetic for the wolves that Paul mentions in Acts 20. Modern trends have absolutely nothing to do with truth. After all, I do think this was predicted in Scripture. There is a great falling away from the truth. There is a “heaping to themselves teachers” only wanting to be taught whatever their wicked hearts desire. Jesus himself said that those who enter the gate and adore truth will be few. If the measure of success is numbers and modern trends and agreement with the godless cultural standards around us, then we cry uncle: you win. But if the measure of success is something radically different, and indeed it must be, then your article is little more than wishful thinking, propaganda, and rhetoric. It is meaningless dribble. What is happening in modern America is that fake Christians and fake Christian denominations are being exposed for what they are; fake! And I am celebrating the new trend. Social issues and persecution will separate the true from the false. The false will continue to adopt cultural trends, acceptable social behaviors, etc. And the church will be better off for it.

  • If you feel the need to reject scientific knowledge to support your religious faith, you don’t understand either.

    You demonstrate why evolution really needs to be taught accurately. Because what you are objecting to has no relation to the actual concepts of the subject.

    If your religious belief requires being told self serving pablum about one’s self, it speaks badly of it and it’s value to society.

    As an atheist, I value life and love in society because of its scarcity. That there is no magic mythical afterlife where everything is better.that we have only one life to get it right. Things are appreciated because they are fleeting.

  • You must have missed the various links that are embedded in this article, which provide some sources for and other articles that report on the data. This isn’t a white paper, so the author probably didn’t see the need to load the article down with data, which is out there and has been widely reported on. Agni Ashwin in this thread provides yet another respected source. Your own intellectual laziness is at least in part the source of your doubt. The data is readily available for you to view. It’s now up to you to inform yourself, but realize the author of this article is not in need of your assistance..

  • “This is not about liberal vs conservative. It is rather this – either you accept the Bible or you don’t.”

    In other words, it is about liberal vs. conservative. and authoritarian vs. egalitarian. And religious vs. non religious.

    Thanks for playing.

  • No one should “shun” your LGBT brothers and sisters, but you do NOT have to condone, approve of, or accept their lifestyle. For Protestant and Evangelicals in particular, there is plenty of very clear, unambiguous “guidance”–both Old and New Testament–about homosexual behavior.

  • To what degree do you “not condone” LGBT? To censure, condemn, forbid, not allow, or prevent it is the same as shunning.

  • ” . . . religious groups lack the ability to coerce and exert control over mainstream media that they used to.”

    Ben is right about that. It’s the diminished power of Christianity that evangelicals misinterpret as discrimination. The lessening of influence has been understood and accepted by denominations who understand that government dominance is not part of their mission.

  • Its why the word shun is in scare quotes. To pretend its really something else.

    A more honest thing to say is they want to treat gays as less than human but don’t like calling attention to such things.

  • In other words, It is about deception and the attempt to redefine Christianity and Judaism. You can live your life however you wish – egalitarian, religious, or even liberal. But telling me that being a Christian or Jew is about denial of the Bible does not make you a Jew or Christian, but rather makes you a deceiver and a puppet for evil.
    The Satanic bible is very accepting of all science, homosexuals, polygamy, and so on and it claims love, compassion, equality and so on. Why not accept this as your religion, or mold that religion to fit your desires?
    Just be true to yourself and embrace it, because the mask is wearing thin.

  • I’ve observed what you are saying Kristin. It’s not unusual for recent, young seminary grads to found very small worshipping groups. Those groups may meet in a variety of places and worship sitting together over coffee as equals. They’re not interested in structure, denominations, culture wars, or any kind of power over. They search for something solid and real in their lives.

  • Robert, most of Christianity and the entirety of Judaism reject Creationism as ridiculous nonsense.

    You are simply bellowing how your version of Protestant Christianity is the only belief worth having. You want to call your belief, “the truth” and chafe at the idea that other beliefs exist and may be worthy of respect. Flinging poo for God is still flinging poo.

    Shorter Robert Glass, “God thinks I’m special and everyone else can go to hell!”

  • Actually I find many young people who want their religion “stout,” though not necessarily in the rather superficial ways you list. I know quite a few young evangelicals who have converted to Eastern Orthodoxy, for instance. And the “young, restless, and Reformed” are still a thing.

    Evangelicalism is not dying off. Nor do I find popular American evangelicalism to be particularly “stout” or particularly creedal or orthodox.

  • Ed, the problem is that for years now conservatives have been gloating over the decline in mainline churches and have openly been claiming that doctrinal orthodoxy is the secret to numerical success. I’ve always found this distasteful and rather surprising, coming as I do from a conservative Holiness background where we assumed that any group that got too big was probably compromising something (my grandparents grew up in a church that considered the Nazarenes–back in their early days at that–to be hopelessly liberal and worldly, as proven by their relative numerical success compared to other Holiness groups).

  • I disagree Edwin. Reformed Protestantism has generally not added the conjunction. Perhaps some evangelicals have done so. What we say is that your version of Christianity is so much like the culture, like the pagan philosophies rejected in the world that your organizations are irrelevant and therefore your numbers are in decline. Why bother? The article is nothing more than a liberal, Christliness religious person poking others in the eye. It is meaningless dribble that moves the discussion nowhere.

  • I’m not sure what you are disagreeing with, or what the “conjunction” is. If you’re saying that one can say that liberal churches are declining because of a failure to proclaim the truth without saying that numerical success is a key sign of doctrinal orthodoxy, then you’re right in strict logic, to be sure. But then numerical decline isn’t really the important factor at all. If you’re willing to say that your views are true even if your churches are declining numerically, why can’t liberal :Christians say the same thing? I think the assumption behind this unfortunate rhetoric is that liberals are all about caving in to the culture.

    But, in fact, the liberal Christians I know believe what they believe for the same reasons conservatives do–because they think it’s true.

    I agree that Reformed folks generally are less likely to link success with orthodoxy in the way that many evangelicals do. There’s no “perhaps” about it, by the way, if you’ve been following evangelical discourse in the past few decades. The work of people like Rodney Stark has been trumpeted over and over again. (Conservative Catholics, who also ought to know better, have done it too.)

  • I have stopped going to church right now because I am tired of seeing the pews more empty every week. I am tired of the insular thinking and cliques. I am tired of being lonely in a church because I wasn’t born into the group. I am tired of closing church after church after church and seeing really strong pastors give up. I am really tired of folks cherry picking the Gospels for the parts that fit their political and social beliefs.(be they conservative or liberal) I tired of worship that is either a concert or a dirg. I am tired of visiting gigantic box churches and I am tired of walking into churches with 30-40 in the pews. Most of all I am really really really tired of the money issues. Clearly these places can no longer afford their building and their mission and instead of choosing mission they choose their building. Its not about the Bible or the statement of faith its about a lot of broken communities period. I find that in coffee shops and pancake houses lots of people of all ages willing to talk about God and Jesus and have fond memories of church as a child or interest in exploring a relationship. But its the institution of the Church that curls lips and builds walls. Getting people interested in a vibrant dialogue (not preaching or evangelizing) is so easy. More Christians should leave their shiny sanctuaries and do it.

  • Yes Spuddie, some Christians think that a person can reject Genesis’ historicity and accuracy without casting serious doubt on the rest of the Bible (especially the crucial parts about Jesus, sin, and salvation) in terms of historicity and accuracy likewise.

    Obviously that approach isn’t working very well. Not at all. In fact, that approach has been a boon to you atheists, but a bane to us Christians. It’s way past time for Christians to start accepting and believing ALL of the Bible, Genesis to Revelation.

    Meanwhile, Robert Glass is correct, it’s time to stop the sugar-coating. Mainline churches have messed themselves up via their own denial of the Bible.

  • You may worship the religion of evolution — most atheists do, of course — but it has plenty of weak spots and blank spots in it. If you were really into science you’d check them out.

  • The coffee shops and pancake houses aren’t perfect either, I’ve noticed.

    (Coffee’s good; pancakes are good; but the humans are as problematic as ever.)

    And the people who don’t go to church, don’t seem to be doing any better than the people who do.

  • I think we agree more than not. Nothing is perfect but the concept of a secret sause to rebuild evangelical church’s are simply ot valid and miss the point of what Jesus was doing.

  • floydlee – you’re doing it again aren’t you.

    If you wish to communicate rather than rant you need to use words accurately; that is – as other people understand them rather than as though they mean what you think they should mean.

    I think you don’t understand “religion”,
    I think you don’t understand “evolution”,
    I think you don’t understand “most”,
    I think you don’t understand “atheists”,
    I think you don’t understand “science”.

    I’m darn sure you don’t really understand what you describe as “weak spots” and “blank spots” either.

    Oh…, and checking things out is how you become an atheist…..you should try it sometime.

  • We have not been “gloating” over anything, just pointing out the decline and linking that decline to the lack of difference between a good secular lifestyle and a supposed liberal Christian one.

    Of course liberal Christians believe what they do because they think its true. So do atheists.

    I do not recognize the RCC as a legitimate Christian organization. Sorry.

    Liberals can claim that their views are true and do. But they will need to explain and defend the authority by which they make their claims. Reformed Christians anchor their beliefs in the authority of Scripture, claiming that Christian belief is a supernatural gift from God, as opposed to the rationalism that defines liberal theology everywhere for the most part.

  • Evolution doesn’t require belief. It is established science.

    Whatever weak spots you think exist, I am certain you lack the training, education and evidence to create credible claims for them. The great thing about experts are you can rely on their work on a given subject.

    There are no scientific challenges to evolution at present. Creationism is never even in consideration. It is warmed over mythology for the intellectually dishonest. All creationists must spread fiction to support their views

  • Any relation between the Bible and established facts is accidental or coincidental in nature. People don’t accept it as objectively factually true. They accept it on faith. Mr. Glass is just cheerleading for his sectarian beliefs. A sales pitch. Puffery for the Lord.

  • Ah, looks like we have **another** evolution worshipper. It’s an interesting cult, that’s for sure.

    Nor all evolutionists are atheists, but ir’s a stone fact that all atheists are evolutionists.

    Why, you ask? Because atheism is so totally unsupportable and baseless on its own, that atheists actually HAVE TO latch onto the religion of evolution in order to survive. What a mess !!

  • Of course there exist scientific challenges to evolution, Spuddie. Evolution isn’t a single theory but instead a whole family of theoties and assumptions, some of which are WEAKER than others.

    The very very Weakest parts are origin-of-life (prebiotic evolution) and humans.

    So if anybody asks me to rationally disprove evolution, I will simply reply to them, “Spuddie Exists.”

  • As usual, the author has missed the mark. The need for orthodoxy is the necessity of understanding the fundamentals of the faith – the nature of God, the proper understanding of Biblical interpretation,etc. The problem is the church has done a poor job of teachings these especially to young people. Apologetics is key. I agree that there is no need for any main line churches that reject these.

  • Unless you are claiming to be a well established biologist published in journals in the field or are referring to people who are, you are SOL.

    Evolution is not the origin of life. Different question. Different field. That being said creationism is not even in the picture.

    “So if anybody asks me to rationally disprove evolution, I will simply reply to them, “Spuddie Exists”

    Although I consider myself a freak of nature and a thing of unspeakable horror, I am very much the product of natural process. 🙂

  • Liberal churches bleed members because those members are well-educated, and sooner or later realize that they have no need of superstitions. So they leave religion forever. Mitt Romney said during his campaign that the churches of Europe were so very beautiful – and so very empty. He meant it as a criticism, but in reality all it shows is that Europe is a couple of centuries ahead of America culturally, and thus is that much farther down the road towards abandoning beliefs in gods and devils.

    Fundamentalist churches have done better because their members are not as well educated, fear the thought of a world that lacks an omnipotent deity, and thus cling together seeking solace in the claim that the Bible is literally true, science is a scam, and that a dead Jewish guy from 2000 year ago who incorrectly predicted that his God’s kingdom was at hand turned into a man-god. But when that group dies out (long life and health to them), the religion will die too.

  • Why should I consider asking an obviously daft question?

    Science is a process, it’s a way of seeking truth whilst minimising human tendencies such as confirmation bias and the sunk-cost effect. Science is always a work-in-progress – but some of it is so fundamental to the way the universe works that it is recognised as being, at its core, unassailable.

    If you don’t accept that the scientific theory of evolution is the only game in town which fits all the known (not made-up) evidence without invalidating any of the laws of physics you don’t/won’t/can’t understand the evidence.

    Atheism is the absence of belief in god(s). That’s it. The recognition that the total absence of either evidence or need for god(s) means that they are unlikely to exist and irrelevant if the do.

    PS You might consider looking up “Dunning-Kruger effect” before arguing about things you don’t understand.

  • I have more to say about this religious rhetoric. It is a fact that mainline liberal denominations are and have been in decline for years now. And it is obvious that the reason for that decline is a lack of genuine conviction surrounding the truth-claims of ancient, biblical Christianity. What is also true is that many evangelical churches have been slowly moving along the same trajectory of their liberal predecessors. And hence, we have witnessed, not surprisingly, a corresponding decline there as well.

    Be that as it may, neither trend has any bearing on biblical Christianity. The truth is that liberal Christianity has always been something other than ancient, biblical Christianity. It has been impotent and faithless from its inception. It’s moralistic, rationalistic, social gospel has always been contrary to the apostolic message given in the NT Scriptures. We can observe that the more moralistic, rationalistic, and socially focused that supposedly evangelical churches become, the more they see decline. But decline in and of itself means nothing.

    The true church has always been the master building of the Master Builder himself, Jesus Christ. And that church has always been few in number, meager to look at, difficult to understand how it continues to exist in hostile cultures over space and time, and by God’s definition, even thrive! That church has never abandoned her high view of God and Scripture, and her tenacious insistence that Scripture alone serves as our sole authority for belief and practice. That church purges the immoral (adulterers, liars, homosexuals, idolaters, the greedy), and the heretics (those who reject biblical authority, question the divinity of Christ, mock the miracles of Scripture). That church is the light of the world.

  • God is good with gay marriage. Were he not, he would have granted the fervid prayers of all those Christians who prayed for him to turn the Supreme Court against gay marriage. I know Christians who prayed for a right to gay marriage. They won.
    Jewish was a Jewish guy who predicted, wrongly, that the kingdom of God was imminent, and then after him the awful Paul, true founder of the religion that worships a man as a god, ran around telling people – like the Thessalonians – that Jesus would be back immediately, and then the dead would meet him and then Paul would rise to the clouds to meet him. Wrong, wrong, wrong.
    By the way, I guess Thomas Jefferson is roasting in Christian hell. Because Tom hated the Christian paganism of turning a dead Jewish chap into a man-god. As Tom told John Adams in an April, 1823 letter, Christians have “perverted” the Bible’s meaning “to build up a second person of their tritheism . . . .” Tom abhorred the awful Paul, rightly so, for perverting Jesus’ teachings.

    And Tom summed up thusly to Adams:

    “The truth is that the greatest enemies to the doctrines of Jesus are those calling themselves the expositors of them, who have perverted them for the structure of a system of fancy absolutely incomprehensible, and without any foundation in his genuine words. And the day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the supreme being as his father in the womb of a virgin will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter. But we may hope that the dawn of reason and freedom of thought in these United States will do away with all this artificial scaffolding, and restore to us the primitive and genuine doctrines of this the most venerated reformer of human errors.”

  • It seems I struck a nerve. Always a good thing.

    No dear, I am not trying to redefine Christianity or Judaism. You religionists do all of that all by yourselves. So, by your definition, you are puppets of evil.

    But wait! Christianity changed Judaism. I guess Paul was a puppet of evil? OF course, that explains the centuries of religious persecution.

    What on earth have I to do with religion? Why would I believe is Satan when I don’t believe in your God? Science, homosexuals, polygamy– the list is endless!

    You religionists s sure can be pretty silly sometimes.

  • So whatever the Supreme Court decides, God is good with. I would say that that is an interesting argument Richie but I would be lying.

    Jesus was Jewish and Jesus was a man. Jesus was also God. Christians possess epistemic certainty of this truth. Pagans do not, and cannot know that. So your comments are consistent with what Paul wrote about pagans and what Calvin wrote about cavils.

    Your understanding of Jesus’ kingdom and of Paul’s remarks about the coming of Christ are contrary to orthodox Christianity. They are nothing new, and quite frankly, they are boring and uninteresting because they have been refuted ad nauseam.

    Yeah, Tom was not a Christian and I fear for his eternal disposition. God’s will be done.

    Ah, autonomous human reason, the god of the pagans and the blasphemers and the unbelievers. Your reason is propped up by nothing other than irrationalism and your irrationalism, in your mind, is most reasonable. It is utterly ridiculous and entirely illogical to listen to men like yourself attempting to account for being, knowing, value, meaning, aesthetics, and such given your naturalistic understanding of the universe. Sheer nonsense, filled with landmines of one contradiction after another.

    Christ reigns supreme! Nothing that happens happens outside of God’s control. He is LORD over all creation and nothing is or has come to be outside of his divine decree. Even your comments were decreed by God in eternity past. Your ideas that there are “oughts” and even “oughts” in human reason given your naturalism is just mind-numbingly dense sir. May God grant you mercy and repentance before your time of judgment and may your eyes see the glorious gospel of the truth of Jesus Christ!

  • Actually the decline in the mainline churches in and of itself is not the issue. The point is that those mainlines were sure that watering down orthodoxy to make it less controversial and “offensive” would make their churches more “relevant” and appealing to people and thereby increase numbers. However, what happened was exactly the opposite. So if you’re convinced of the truth of your doctrine, watching the miscalculations of the mainlines gives you even less reason to compromise your stance.

    And nevertheless, some people still continue to sing the “relevance” song. Go figure.

  • “The truth is that liberal Christianity has always been something other than ancient, biblical Christianity.”
    Ummm, I hate top break it to you, but so has ancient, biblical Christianity.

  • “Even your comments were decreed by God in eternity past.”
    So god is cool with everything. Too bad that so-called Christians are not

  • “proper understanding”…
    which just happens to be yours, and not someone else’s. Gotta love the no true Christian Christians.

  • More flinging of the theo-poo by the True Christians at the Not True Christians.
    Apparently, the worst enemies of the Christians of that sort are the other Christians of that sort.

  • The reason that Christianity as a whole is dying out is because the rapid access to information and the free exchange of ideas on the internet is exposing it for the lie that it is and young people are not falling for it anymore.

  • So, ancient, biblical Christianity has always been something other than ancient, biblical Christianity? That is an unintelligible sentence Ben in Oakland.

  • At last, something we agree on. Yes, genuine Christians are far more concerned about fake Christians than they are outright pagans. This is true.

  • “Seem” being the operative word. But the reality is far different.

    You sound quite angry.

    Did I hurt your feelings with my assessment of your faith?

    Get over it you whinybaby!

  • The verse is a proverb and the English translation does not really capture the Hebrew. This is not a promise but a general statement about the role of parenting in the product of their adult children. Train a child to steal, you get an adult thief. Train a child to be selfish, you get a narcissist. You cannot raise Christians. It doesn’t work that way regardless of what so many modern Christians think.

  • Swinging in the wrong direction Eric. Scripture is clear about not forsaking the assembling of yourself with other believers regularly in worship. What city are you in? Maybe I can point you in a better direction. Your observations are very, very correct. I see the same things all over the place. Let me try to at least help.

  • Godzilla is not extinct. Get back to me when you are done flinging your poo like a chimp on chili night.

  • At least some of the decline in “white evangelicals” as a % of the population is a decline in WHITES as a % of the population. The author doesn’t address that. What we need instead is a statistic on whether the % of whites who are evangelical has fallen, and that’s not provided.

  • I am not a fan of YRR myself, though I may respect it more than you do because I know it mostly through former students–serious, geeky young persons who cared about truth.

    I cited it as an example of young people wanting “stout” religion, not necessarily as something I supported.

  • One subject is how many members (or active members) does some particular organization have, vs. what does said organization claim? Another subject is the validity of such claims.
    If one looks at a Bell Curve of any pertinent human ability, it becomes obvious that most folks are neither leaders nor even independent actors. They are part of the necessary vast majority, that simply goes along with whatever is established by the leaders. In our time, the old religions are dying – all of them!
    The reason is not difficult to discover. The religions were the product of a social, political, and technological world that has been gone for many generations. It simply makes no sense in today’s context, especially as all authority is in flux. The notion that some ancient sheep herders were selected by the one and only god for special revelation, is no longer credible to any thinking person. The Christian myth is even more alien from the modern experience.

  • The gay marriage religion. The evolution religion. And then you wonder why people criticize your religion,

  • A stone fact.

    Gawshamighty, doc , it’s practically the definition.

    And again, atheism isn’t a belief, it’s a lack of belief. Just like you don’t believe all of the other religion stories. I’m just more inclusive.

    But then, I’m a liberal. I don’t want to leave anyone out,

  • Like I said, Christianity, biblical Christianity, actual Christianity isn’t dying out. Christianity’s doom has been predicted by the experts since its beginning. But here we are, 2,000 years later and Christianity is still going as strong as it ever has been. What is dying are the various enlightenment versions of Christianity that are nothing more than the product of rationalism. You have had millions of people attending churches for decades now in America who have never really believed that God created everything from nothing miraculously. They really have never believed in a literal resurrection. They have never subscribed to the basic tenets or the value theory within Christian theism. They are Christian in name only. These people are figuring out that they don’t need to be called “Christian” in order to feel good about themselves any longer. So, they are identifying less with Christianity and more with the secular culture because they have really always been secuarlists disguised as Christians. Second, the more distinctive true Christianity becomes the less attractive that worldview is to people like this. After all, they want their shacking-up, their adultery, their fornication, their homosexuality, and their abortion. These things are repugnant to true Christianity. True Christians do not defect from the faith. This is only the fakes, the false converts. And if you knew anything about Scripture, you would know that false converts have been a continual thorn to true Christianity from the beginning and to one degree or another, they always will be until God says: ENOUGH. And that moment is fixed and approaching.

  • Your definition of biblical faith doesn’t even reflect the right category. You and your kind demonstrate no interest in truth. In fact, truth is an unintelligible concept given the basic presuppositions of naturalism. Your comment itself implies meaning, order, design. But your worldview claims accidents, chaos, randomness, etc. There is a canyon between your remarks and what you actually claim to believe. In other words, your remarks indicate that even you don’t buy your own dribble. I have a saying for non-Christian irrationalists like yourself: “People live what they believe; everything else is just noise.” You boys make lots of noise but when the hood is raised, there we find all sorts of components that are necessary for you to get along in life even though in your comments and claims you deny the very possibility of the existence of the sort of world that is absolutely necessary to even make sense of, not only your life and how you go about it, but also, your claims. But you are too much of a God-hater to even consider for a moment, this irrational state in which you carry on your life. You experience love, meaning, morality, honor, guilt, right and wrong every single day. And you are too dense and intellectually slow to recognize that none of these things are intelligible in the world you claim actually exists. It’s a fools game you play, and play it with all your heart you surely do.

  • There is no such thing as LGBT brothers and sisters. I think of the Jesus of Scripture who said “Be perfect as your heavenly Father is Perfect.” I think about Peter’s good word, “Because He is holy, you are to be holy also.” I think your comments indicate a gapping ignorance of biblical Christianity. I think of the man in 1 Corinthians 5 and how Paul ordered the immediate shunning of this man because he ignored God’s basic design for marriage and human sexuality. The fact that you mix in things like alcohol indicates you have no idea how to distinguish between true biblical holiness and modern American legalism.

  • The YRR crowd has done far more damage than good with their Mark Driscoll’s of the world. Yes, there are some in that camp that really are reformed, but Brad is correct. It is not a truly reformed movement nor is it a true resurgence of biblical theology. It is mostly a right reaction against worldliness in the church but because it is without foundations, it is more shallow than not and in many cases comes with its own worldliness. It seems to me that one of the most popular positions in that camp is the willingness to be really, really open, even to the idea of extra-biblical revelations and the non-cessationism that continues to claw at the door of the church, along with a very loose view of liberty. Everyone wants a dream from God or to be able to claim that God spoke to them…just like he did to prophets and apostles and others in Scripture. What the YRR does well on the front end, it spoils by leaving the back door open. The post-modernism of, not a post-Christian America, but an America that never really was Christian to begin with, represents a constant threat to the church. The individualism, the meism, the narcissistic attitudes, the refusal to understand true submission and so forth, the willingness to overturn great confessions on the ground that they are old, and the speed at which they are ready to displace one doctrine with their own is a measure of arrogance the likes of which should frighten anyone in leadership.

  • There is no such thing as an evolutionist. It is a scientific principle. It doesn’t require belief. It is accepted based on evidence. Just bear in mind, you are typing on a machine made possible by rejecting ridiculous nonsense like creationism.

  • So you are saying fundamentalists need orthodoxy. “Proper understanding of Biblical interpretation” is an entirely subjective and sectarian based concept. As it looks, fundamentalists are declining as much as mainline sects. They are having trouble retaining it’s young adults. Most of that is because the increasing difficulty to enforce group coercion and cohesion methods. It has become so obvious that even higher education among evangelicals requires gulag like isolation. Lest students meet people of other faiths and beliefs and socialize with them.

  • I am only flinging the matter that you boys are attempting to spread…matter that has no basis whatsoever in fact…matter that is the product of an irrational system that takes ALL its energy not from anything positive, but from an outright hatred of God and a disdain for the truth which he has revealed. You steal the tools of the Creator, refuse to to acknowledge their true ownership, and using them, you create arguments that unwittingly destroy the very tools you are using to create them. It would be amusing if it wasn’t so pathetic, so blasphemous, so crude and foolish.

  • Good rhetoric is not a substitute for substance Benny. If your submarine had the capabilities of diving deeper into intellectual thought, perhaps I wouldn’t have to point this out to you.

  • You’re still here? Why bother? You really have a problem with the concept of people not sharing your beliefs. Anyone who defends creationism with “say it ain’t so” doesn’t even understand their own position, let alone is capable of defending it.

    Your intellectual capacity seems so limited that you can’t even conceive that people don’t believe as you do. Your whole post was an expression of your anger that someone does not share your love of irrational faith based junk. Get over it. Grow up.

  • As I have said before; rhetoric is no substitution for intellectually substantive argumentation. Ad homs do nothing to deal with the real issue: the irrationalism of a naturalistic worldview that cannot even account for its own claims. In your system, there is only meaningless dribble, no right, no order, no wrong, just chaos, molecules in motion. There can be no laws…of any kind. Uniformity makes no sense in your gigantic accident. Crush an ant crush a baby…no difference in your system. Defend it if you can. So far, you boys haven’t even bothered to try. All you have done to this point is offer one ad hominem upon another.

  • When I get an intellectually honest statement from you, it will be a first. I am not using an ad hominem, it’s outright insult and ridicule. There is a difference. Anyone who claims belief in God is rational, doesn’t understand what rational means. You are just beating your chest like a gorilla in mating season. Your whole argument is that mythology is preferable to facts, therefore I must deny facts. (And make up nonsense about what you think I believe, pure strawman argument)

    If you require the threat of divine reward or punishment to act like a human being, you are just a psychopath on a heavenly leash. A terrible person just being kept in check by fear. Someone unequipped to discuss morality with anyone.

    Also use an effing dictionary. It’s DRIVEL not dribble. Dribble is what you do over your keyboard after scarfing down those cheap microwave burritos. Drivel is what you are typing.

  • That’s just ridiculous. I study ad nausea apologetics. Some of the most educated people are Christians. This false narrative that if you are educated you find no need for God is arrogant,foolhardy, and frankly academic heresy. Rational people can look at the evidence for the reliability of Scripture, the evidence of the Gospel narrative, and the explosion of Christianity over 2,000 years and come to the conclusion that Jesus was who He claimed to be!

  • Not my point. But I can see how you consider apologetic an important part of reinforcing faith.

    My point is that fundamentalist belief practically required one to isolate themselves from anyone outside of their group. Hence evangelical colleges are notorious for emphasizing ideological and sectarian purity. As a place where people are assured not to meet people of other faiths or beliefs which run counter to a sectarian view.

    Rational people do not find evidence of anything from scripture outside of what a given group believes. The level of credibility of facts allegedly asserted varies greatly on how invested they are in their faith. Faith is belief in the absence of evidence. Claims like Christian belief had rational support cheapens both rational thought processes and methods and the nature of faith.

  • The supposed terminal decline of Christianity in America needs to be viewed with a lot of caution.
    * Even if Christianity is declining there is no guarantee that it will continue.
    * Even a sharp decline in a religious practice does not mean that it will die out in our lifetime. Secular marriages in Australia increased from 11.92% in 1970 to 74.1% in 2014. Yes, this is a great decline, but it took 44 years, and even at the end of this time, more than a quarter of Australian marriages were still conducted in religious ceremonies.
    * There is no evidence that Christians in Australia are advantaged or disadvantaged in comparison with Christians in New Zealand, even though the statistics suggest that New Zealand is more secular than Australia. The same applies to the apparently more pious New South Wales, which is neither advantaged nor disadvantaged in comparison with the apparently less pious Western Australia.

    I suggest that people calm down. Even if Christianity is declining, it’s not going to make all that much of a difference in a lifetime.

  • Let’s be rational: Rational [Only irrational] people can look at the evidence for the reliability of Scripture, the evidence of the Gospel narrative, and the explosion of Christianity over 2,000 years and come to the conclusion that Jesus was who He claimed to be!”

    And, by the way, do you look at the explosion of Islam over thousands of years and come to the conclusion that Muhammad was who he claimed to be?

  • “As I have said before; rhetoric is no substitution for intellectually substantive argumentation.” And, given your repeated use of the words, “rational,” “irrational,” “rationalism,” “irrationalism,” I assume you are a great admirer of Martin Luther’s “intellectually substantive” assertions about reason:

    “Reason is the Devil’s greatest whore; by nature and manner of being she
    is a noxious whore; she is a prostitute, the Devil’s appointed whore; whore eaten by scab and leprosy who ought to be trodden under foot and destroyed, she and her wisdom… Throw dung in her face to make her ugly. She is and she ought to be drowned in baptism… She would deserve, the wretch, to be banished to the filthiest place in the house, to the closets.

    “Reason is the greatest enemy that faith has; it never comes to the aid of spiritual things, but—more frequently than not—struggles against the divine Word, treating with contempt all that emanates from God.”

  • Genuine Christian = me
    Fake Christian = Christians who disagree with me.

    The utter lack of humility of fundamentalists is one of many reasons they are declining as fast as other sects. It breeds obnoxious behavior.

  • “I have a saying for non-Christian irrationalists like yourself . . .” But you are too much of a God-hater to even consider for a moment, this irrational state in which you carry on your life.”

    In other comments you have denigrated people for being rational, rationalistic, or subscribing to rationalism. So, is your problem with people who are rational, or irrational?

  • Maybe what’s dying out — judging by the increase in the number of self-described “Nones” — is belief in and allegiance to a middle Bronze Age creed that desperately clings to a belief in a deity of ethnocentrism, blood sacrifice, and genocide. Just sayin’

  • Every version of the non-Christian alternative is irrational, including rationalism. Rationalism reduces to irrationalism when its all said and done Richard. The laws of logic cannot provide epistemic justification for themselves. Hence, rationalism reduces to irrationalism. Skepticism wins the day, until it must stand up to its own scrutiny, and then, it fails to meet its own standards and cohere with its own claims. Every worldview that opposes Christianity reduces to irrationalism because the Christian worldview is exactly correct about reality, about epistemology, and about values/ethics. This is a necessary truth given the truthfulness of Christian theism. If Christianity is true, then all non-Christian claims reduce to irrationalism. That being said, true rationality is found only within the Christian worldview. This is because that rationality exists first in the mind of God. Claims that contradict the mind of God are ipso facto irrational. The failure is epic.

  • Unfortunately, ‘organized religion’ is beyond the tipping point and it’s not feasible to reverse that. The problem is that religious practice has become an intentional commitment. The slide started with the Reformation, particularly the Calvinist version: the destruction of ambient religiosity and folk religion—the fetishes and wayside shrines, the public events and ’empty ceremonies’.

    I’m not being facetious. What one wants are churches as pubic facilities providing religious goods and services to consumers without commitment or involvement, and without a moral agenda—whether liberal or conservative—where one can participate anonymously. Something on the lines of Greco-Roman paganism or Shinto. That isn’t going to happen–judging from the comments it isn’t even on the radar.

  • Genuine Christian = whoever Spuddie says they are.
    Fake Christian = whoever Spuddie says they are.

    The utter lack of humility of “whatever view you portend to represent” is one of many reasons why your ilk are so incredibly obnoxious.

    See how that works Spuddie? This is what happens to your entire system precisely because, at the central controls is a human being, a finite, changing, fallen, sinful, wicked human being claiming to have all knowledge without actually saying it. Your irrationalism and contradictions are painfully obvious to anyone reading with even a slightly critical eye.

    Fake Christians are what Scripture says they are. People who profess Christ but walk in the works of the flesh and violate God’s commands are liars. I didn’t make that up. Scripture says it unambiguously! If we say we love God but do not keep his commandments, we lie and do not know God. Its really quite simple. These are the basics of Christianity. If you do not know this, then it can only mean that you have no idea what the basics are Christianity are, Spuddie.

  • That would be clever if I was making noise about “real” and “fake” Christians. Like yourself. But I am doing no such thing. Very infantile response on your part.

    What is especially repulsive on your part is how you reserve your worst attacks and bile at people who share the same faith as you. Fundies just can’t get along with anybody it seems.

  • That is not a rebuttal Spuddie. You are free to provide justification for your comments at any time. So far, all you have to offer is rhetoric and ad hom. I see nothing with which I can interact.

  • “Every worldview that opposes Christianity reduces to irrationalism because the “Christian worldview is exactly correct about reality, about epistemology, and about values/ethics.”

    Here’s a fact for you: The means do not exist for anyone to legitimately conclude that any one religion is true while all the others are false. (But, it’s fairly easy
    to legitimately conclude that all of them are false.)

    “This is a necessary truth given the truthfulness of Christian theism.”

    I’ve noticed that you frequently refer to Christianity as the “truth” when you should really be referring to TRUTH (Truly Ridiculous and Ugly Theological Hogwash).

  • Your prior response was braindead. Your rebuttal moreso.

    “You are free to provide justification for your comments at any time. ”

    Huh???? I am responding directly to the nonsense you are posting. You initially decided to antagonize me with obnoxious postings. I guess you have trouble being on the receiving end. Typical troll behavior.

    BTW, you don’t even know what an ad hominem is. I am insulting you, I am impugning your intelligence, not using ad hominem argument. There is a difference. Much like your need for a dictionary concerning prior posts, it would behoove you to read up on various rhetorical fallacies before claiming they are being used.

  • Let me see if I can appeal to an external source: Abusive ad Hominem – A variant of the genetic fallacy is the abusive ad hominem, which, in addition to drawing attention to the source of an idea, attacks the advocate of that idea with insult or abuse. [Engel, With Good Reason]

    You have responded to my remarks, but you have not responded with an argument. You have engaged in ad hominem and empty rhetoric, short one-liners, insults, etc. You have not made a serious attempt to rebut anything that Christianity claims. To say that its anti-scientific to believe in creationism isn’t an argument. To say that I am unintelligent because I hold to Christian belief is fallacious. You must demonstrate precisely how it is possible to measure my intellect based on my belief in Christian theism. What does that look like? So far, all you have offered silly comments that any rational person would dismiss as rubbish.

  • I would love to hear how you go about knowing that there is no way for anyone to conclude that any one religion is true while all the others are false while at the same time knowing that its easy to legitimately conclude that all of them are false.

    First, you would have to be intimately familiar with all religions.
    Second, you would have to possess perfect knowledge. Even the slightest possibility that you could be wrong about anything could not exist.

    Now, if my cognitive faculties are functioning properly, having been designed to recognize and know truth when I see it, and I have compelling and indefeasible evidence that Christianity is true then your fact is actually not a fact at all. It turns out to be a misguided opinion. And if Christianity claims to be the only true religion, and I know that Christianity is true, then there is a means by which one can conclude that there is one religion that is true while all the others are false. Your theory fails and your claim should be rejected.

    Back to your claim:
    1. You do not have access to all religions of the world. That is enough, in and of itself, to defeat your claim.
    2. Your knowledge of the world is neither perfect nor certain. That is enough, in and of itself to defeat your claim.
    3. You have not proven Christianity false, nor even attempted to do so. Unless you can defeat Christian belief, that is enough to defeat your claim.
    4. You do not know what means every human being has available to them. That is enough, in and of itself to defeat your claim.

    The only way to disprove all the other religions of the world is if there is one religion that actually is true, and actually claims to be the only true religion, and finally, that it is possible for someone under some certain circumstances to know that that religion is true. Under those circumstances alone could someone legitimately conclude that all other religions are false. As far as I can see, there is no other way. As the state of affairs would have it, we do have such a scenario in Christian theism. Christian theism is true; it is possible to know with certainty that it is true; and Christian theism asserts that all other religions are false. Crede ut intelligas.

  • I think a better way to say it is that the politicised, show-bizzy, cult-like groups that call themselves “biblical” and “evangelical” have very little connection with ancient Christianity.

  • I think the reason why many people have initially embraced conservative-evangelical churches (particularly the “megachurches”) is not always because of the theology, or the politics, or the lifestyle of these churches.
    Many people were attracted to these churches because of the pop music / pop culture atmosphere of these churches. These churches were seen as far “cooler” places to be a worshipper than the mainstream churches. For many people, their attraction to the “rock and roll” atmosphere of these churches was frequently despite the theology, politics, and lifestyle promoted by these churches.
    Perhaps the falling-off in support for some of the groups is, at least in part, because some of the members of these churches are coming to the conclusion that shared musical and cultural tastes are an insufficient reason to attend a congregation with which one has increasingly little in common re one’s spirituality.

  • Don’t bother. You are not thrilling anyone with intelligent, cogent arguments. There is none to be found there. Again, i am insulting you. Your arrogant rude manner, your ridiculous obviously canned arguments and your preening like a peacock in mating season. It is not ad hominem. It’s just belittling you.

    To say you are anti scientific because you are a creationist isn’t an argument. It is a statement of fact and description of your position. Being that you are rejecting a scientific principle on the basis that misconceptions you have about it make you feel bad. That is simply your own statements in honest terms.

    To say you are unintelligent because you are a Christian, is to make a strawman argument, as I said nothing of the kind. Your need to make up arguments of others, rather than address what is said, makes you dishonest and infantile. There are plenty of intelligent Christians. You are just not one of them.

    Your whole spiel is summed up with;

    “I love Jesus and if anyone doesn’t love Jesus and exactly as I do, they are scum”. Everything else is just your lame elaboration of that theme. An expression of the immaturity and lack of understanding of the world in general.

    Btw you shouldn’t use the term rational so often. It is obvious you do not understand what it actually means

  • Depends on what you mean by “biblical” and “evangelical.” The church has no business involving itself in politics. The Church should not be a rock concert turning worship into something like an awards ceremony on Sunday mornings. It is repulsive, and it doesn’t resemble biblical worship at all. The Christian community is both intolerant and loving. We are intolerant because we insist you accept our beliefs, our creed, in order to participate. We insist your life reflect our values, our ethics which are derived from Scripture alone. We are loving because we reject no one who joins regardless of their past. There is nothing anyone could have done in their past that would cause us to reject that person from becoming part of the group. We are loving because even though we condemn ungodly behavior, we pray for those who hate us, like the homosexual and abortion movements. We do not turn them away when they are in need even though at the same time we are urging them to repent and believe the gospel.

  • Okay Spuddie. Nothing of substance coming from your quarter. You are created by God. You owe God your complete and undying allegiance. You must acknowledge God in all your ways, thanking him for his goodness to you. You must repent of your current attitude and place your faith in Christ because you stand guilty of violating God’s commands. God’s love is seen at the cross where Christ takes away the sin, the condemnation, and the guilt of the sinner. Believe the gospel and you will be saved. You must believe Christianity if you are to understand Christianity. So long as you refuse to believe, you will never understand the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is foolishness to people like you, so says Scripture, and so says you.

  • The Christian apologist must point out the mostly uncritical philosophical presuppositions that most secular pagans operate under. The pagans in this com box presuppose certain beliefs that are not basic and cannot be based on basic beliefs, such as evolutionary theory or the origins of life. They prefer to assume their theories are true, facts if you will, and then rush past them to call anyone that disagrees with them ignorant. They never stop to critically examine the things they read so long as those things lend support to who they want to live their lives. The only thing that meets with criticism, or better, the only thing that receives scrutiny are beliefs that threaten their lifestyle…such as Christianity’s message of repent and believe the gospel. They presuppose their metaphysic, their epistemology, and their ethic without the slightest attempt to demonstrate that their worldview is true. They cloak their insecurity in insults, baseless propaganda, and clever rhetoric. But in their hearts they know that the Christian God exists. They know that they do not measure up. They know they have done wrong. They know that they have not been as good as they could have been as humans. They know that they do not have all knowledge. They know that God is there and that they must, sooner or later do something with him. Have you ever seen a hungry dog with a piece of meat? He gets pretty mean when someone threatens to take that meat away. He will do anything to keep his food. This is what we witness in the hostile atheists who encounter Christian truth. They growl and posture like a hungry dog afraid that God is going to take away their desired lifestyle. They love their sin. They love their unbelief. They love feeling like they are in complete control of their own life, their own destiny. They love their delusion. Pray that God grants them repentance.

  • Cute canned spiel. I applaud the preacher you crib from. Complete nonsense which doesn’t make a single intelligent point.

    Shorter Ed, “I love Jesus, if you don’t love Jesus the way I do, you stink”

  • So much typing to say absolutely nothing. Shorter Ed, “believe as I do or the big sky fairy I worship will punish you”

  • “I would love to hear how you go about knowing that there is no way for anyone to conclude that any one religion is true while all the others are false while at the same time knowing that its easy to legitimately conclude that all of them are false.”

    No religious belief is based on evidence and rational arguments. All of them are based on faith. Therefore none of them are capable of determining an objective measure of truth. They are only capable of personal subjective truth.

    Your posts denote a great deal of insecurity about your own faith. Hence the antagonism to those who do not share it and your dishonest nonsense pretense of objective rational truth to your belief. All done to deny personal faith in public, despite it being the obvious basis for your belief. You don’t trust faith so you pretend it is unnecessary. Hence the insults, threats and obnoxious behavior. You are annoyed faith lacks the convincing power in others that it has in you. Your insecurities compel you to 1ie for God.

  • The moral foundation of the West was in fact religion, whether or not that plays well with young people is irrelevant. Young people are no better than their older contemporaries in discerning truth. At least for the US, we already played the anti-religion, “the man” sucks, power to the people theories in the 60’s. Now those same cowboy philanthropists are busy counting their IRA’s, homes and assorted wealth as they are in retirement. Christianity today nor any religion does not necessarily reflect the life of Jesus. Religion is not a prerequisite to belief in God and that which is righteous and just. But for society to flourish a shared belief system that edifies the truth of God is required to continue in a civil and possibly any existence. Especially as warrior states continue to taunt one another and have the power to end life on the planet as it exists today. Who speaks for the all humans, certainly not powerful Governments nor violent protestors.
    We as a God-less “evolved” society excuse abortion, starvation , war and hurting our fellow man as a way of life. A living God demands a polar opposite existence, whether “young” people reject any religion is of little concern to righteousness and the truth of the God.
    Experiments in God-less societies have produce genocides by the barrelful. Apparently since we still have despotic regimes all over the planet Earth the internet isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. The only thing young people in the US seem to be good at is violently protesting against societal norms which somehow equates to improvements in their minds.
    We already did this experiment in the 60’s, with LBJ and all the welfare demagoguery which now has created a violent subclass that the liberals still try and talk their way around, point fingers and throw money at in hopes it goes away.
    If religion is false so is this tired old rhetorical drivel that each generation keeps trying to outdo the other in continued immoral behavior in hopes that if we keep denying the existence of God, personal responsibilities towards our creator and fellow man will disappear. You and you alone are responsible for your life once you cross over, denying it doesn’t make it false.
    Religion isn’t the problem, man’s continued inability to edify the truths of God in their hearts and towards their fellow man is. New man-made systems, theories, science nor laws will not and does not change this fundamental truth and we will continue to reap the whirlwind in each successive generation either until man edifies God in his hearts or we destroy ourselves.

  • Right, which doesn’t support the article’s main point (that “stout theology” doesn’t help). The actual data could very well show that stout (conservative) theology does help – by keeping a small, culturally driven decline from being a large decline (like the large declines seen in the liberal Christian churches).

  • “… because some of the members of these churches are coming to the conclusion that shared musical and cultural tastes are an insufficient reason to attend a congregation with which one has increasingly little in common re one’s spirituality.”
    The Unitarian’s struck me precisely that way- with the added twist that they had substituted political and social causes for gods. Like gods, their political causes were above criticism, or review, while the members appeared to share no inner spiritual life at all.

  • Spuddie
    No religious belief is based on evidence and rational arguments. All of them are based on faith. Therefore none of them are capable of determining an objective measure of truth. They are only capable of personal subjective truth.

    Ed
    I really am at a lost for how to begin a response to these statements. First, at least there is an attempt to make an argument, and that is a step in the right direction. Thank you. However, the structure of these statements do not meet the necessary criteria for good argument. This is how Spuddie has constructed his argument:

    1. No religious belief is based on evidence and rational arguments.
    2. All of them (religious beliefs) are based on faith.
    3. Therefore, none of them are capable of determining an objective measure of truth.

    (1) is a universal negative and impossible to prove. Spuddie would have to be familiar with all religious beliefs in the universe. S/he is not. (2) appears to beg the question by assuming that anything based on faith cannot also come with good evidence and argumentation. It presupposes specific criteria for evidence and rationality that it fails to prove. That is precisely our disagreement. (3) does not follow from (1) and (2). Since all valid arguments must contain a conclusion that necessarily follows from the premise(s), this means that we are looking at an invalid argument form. In addition, the experience of millions of Christians over the centuries contradicts Spuddie’s conclusion. And this means that Spuddie’s conclusion is false.

    Spuddie
    Your posts denote a great deal of insecurity about your own faith. Hence the antagonism to those who do not share it and your dishonest nonsense pretense of objective rational truth to your belief. All done to deny personal faith in public, despite it being the obvious basis for your belief. You don’t trust faith so you pretend it is unnecessary. Hence the insults, threats and obnoxious behavior. You are annoyed faith lacks the convincing power in others that it has in you. Your insecurities compel you to 1ie for God.

    Ed
    I do not recall extending any threats, but I do acknowledge that I have employed satire and mocked your belief system on occasion just as Elijah mocked the prophets of Baal in 1 Kings 18. At any rate, your last paragraph is nothing more than another ad hominem.

    The religious experience of Christian theism is anchored in the objective revelation of Scripture. A good number of reputable Christian philosophers contend that religious experience constitutes a mode, a way by which we have communion with God. You refuse to appreciate that Christian theism sees experience of God as a mode of perception. You do so to the destruction of your own system. Your problem is that you are trapped in the platonic idea that knowledge is limited to what can be put into words and justified. You think of knowledge as statements and proof.

  • (1) is a universal negative and impossible to prove.”

    Wrong. It is possible to prove if you show a religious belief which is demonstratively proven true by evidence. You are claiming your own religious belief is based on objective evidence. That is even the premise of creationism. Creationism posits that Fundamentalist Christian belief can be proven true by scientific evidence. All creationists are 1iars by nature. They fabricate proof and deny their own faith in public, yet rely on it privately. No evidence exists to support their view and they don’t rely on evidence for their belief anyway.

    Now you are claiming it is impossible to rationally prove the truth of your religion. You are contradicting yourself. Like many insecure religious believers, the structure of an argument or logical consistency takes a backseat to getting to a pre-ordained conclusion. Any method will be employed. Intellectual honesty is neither required nor expected. So contradictions are expected.

    “(2) appears to beg the question by assuming that anything based on faith cannot also come with good evidence and argumentation.”

    Wrong. You are using phony and contradictory definitions. Faith is the opposite of belief based on good evidence and argumentation. Faith is defined at its nature belief in the absence of evidence. You are simply being dishonest here. Pretending faith is something it is not.

    (3) does not follow from (1) and (2)

    (3) was another premise. Not a conclusion.

    Since you have made all false statements from the outset, everything derived from them is false as well.

    “In addition, the experience of millions of Christians over the centuries contradicts Spuddie’s conclusion. “

    Bandwagon appeal. Not actually support which needs to be accepted.

    “The religious experience of Christian theism is anchored in the
    objective revelation of Scripture. A good number of reputable Christian
    philosophers contend that religious experience constitutes a mode, a way
    by which we have communion with God. “

    None of which compels belief unless one is predisposed by faith to do so. Faith is the belief in the absence of evidence.

    “You refuse to appreciate that Christian theism sees experience of God as a mode of perception.

    Because there is no necessity to do so. It is only your sectarian arrogance which makes you think everyone must appreciate it. Your insecurity about faith and its strengths to convince others.

    “You do so to the destruction of your own system.”

    No threats, huh? LOL.

    “Your problem is that you are trapped in the platonic idea that knowledge is limited to what can be put into words and justified.”

    Nope. Religious belief is not knowledge. Its not a platonic ideal either, its adherence to methods of thought which produce the most credible information. You are typing your response on a machine, can live past age 50, and have food which is available and safe all made possible by modes of thought which specifically reject the supernatural answers as a matter of course.

  • I see that dialogue with you on this issue is impossible. Your system fails to provide the necessary preconditions for the intelligibility of human experience. You cannot account for the uniformity of nature, the laws of logic, or the value of human life. And yet, I am the one that is unintelligent and irrational. Christian theism is impossible to rebut because Christian theism is how the world is, it explains why and how we know about the world that is, and it is the only system that provides an objective, transcendent morality that rises above every individual and society to hold all of us accountable for the lives we live. You must believe in order that you may understand. You depend on God for all that you are, to include your next breath as well as your next rant.

  • “You experience love, meaning, morality, honor, guilt, right and wrong every single day. And you are too dense and intellectually slow to recognize that none of these things are intelligible in the world you claim actually exists.” Spot on. IOW, atheists have been borrowing moral capital from Christianity for so long that they’re no longer aware that they’re doing it. Which is why Nietzsche was the last atheist thinker worth his salt, for he was the last one with the courage and integrity to repudiate not just Christianity but everything that proceeds from it. Which left him a stark raving lunatic, of course, but at least an honest one.

  • What people like Spuddie do not realize is that every philosophy must use its own standards in testing its own claims to truth. The problem enters when you attempt to subject non-Christian philosophies to their own respective standards. They prove to be self-refuting. So we take the smoking gun of pagan philosophy and turn it on its own self. It commits suicide. Christian theism, on the other hand, never suffers the same fate when it is presented in accord with its actual truths as revealed in Scripture. Pagan philosophies, rightly presented, collapse when they are subjected to their own standards. Christian theism, rightly presented, proves coherent and consistent down the line.

  • Well, you insist on making dishonest spurious arguments. So it’s best you break it off with what little dignity can be mustered. Christian theism needs no rebuttal. It’s acceptance is entirely at ones discretion.

    Your insecurity is apparent. Especially in the inability to deal with the concept that faith has its limits in how it can convince others. The inability to understand the concept of “your mileage may vary” compels you to make obnoxious and uncivil remarks about beliefs different from yours. It’s a sign of immaturity on your part. Maybe one day you will learn. But not today.

    Bless your heart. I will pray for you.

  • And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how you take a god-hating atheist and turn him to prayer! Celebration time…come on! Spuddie….don’t ever stop praying for me please!

  • Actually, the above shows Ed flinging that substance first, and then having to eat his words.

  • I saw the links the first time. What he didn’t show (and aren’t at the top level in his links) is simply that the conservative churches are dying as fast as the liberal ones. If the conservative churches are in fact doing better than the liberal ones, then the claim of his article is wrong. It would have taken two sentences to provide that data, and he didn’t do it. Hint – because the conservative churches are in fact doing better than the liberal ones, so the claim of his article is wrong after all. Stout theology does appear to be helpful – even though I’d prefer otherwise.

  • Your Jesus hung out in the desert with a male entourage (except possibly Mary Magdalene–who her own religion had declared a repentant prostitute without any evidence– and a woman dressed as a man,) and preached about how to “love one another as you love yourselves,” and you somehow think he would have been anti-LGBT?

  • Most younger people are getting tired of old perverts like you telling them that sin is ok.

  • The Bible is very open about the fact that most will end up on the path to Hell. It’s always weird to see these “religious articles” saying “all of the other Christians are sinning, so it should work for you!”
    It’s not a mystery to see how sexual sins work out for Christians who give up on church. They’re miserable like all the other people living perverted, morally bankrupt Secularist lifestyles.

  • If evangelicals focused more on the teachings of Jesus instead of on gays and abortions, they would do better and be happier.

  • A lot more become Catholic than Eastern Orthodox because the Catholic Church is the One True Church and, though it is also plagued with evil Secularists, it is protected by the Holy Spirit, unlike schismatic Orthodox and heretical Protestants and Evangelicals.

  • You’re so full of garbage. You’re a pervert who loves sexual sins and you’re happy to call people who are genuinely concerned for you evil simply because you hate people and love sin. This is what your perverted behavior has reduced you to.

  • Homosexual perversion is a dangerous behavior. This is a proven scientific fact you pathetic, perverted nutjob.

    We don’t shun people who steal. We shun their behavior just like we shun homosexual perversion. Only an evil, pervert Secularist would try to argue that encouraging dangerous sins is the way to love people.

  • I reject all sins just as Christ did. Christ came to fulfill the Law. The Law is very clear that you’ll end up in Hell if you don’t repent of your favorite sexual sins. You’re miserable because you’re living life as a pervert, not because Christians remind you of virtue.

  • Jesus never said sex was a sin.
    You should follow the teachings of Jesus instead of your false prophets.

  • So you think Christ taught that it was ok to murder babies while they screamed in horror in the womb?

    You guys are the wolves in sheep’s clothing that Christ warned us of. You all come saying you’re so loving and friendly and then you encourage dangerous sexual perversions and the mass murder of children.

    You are the citizens of Sodom and Gomorrah.

    God save your black soul from Hell.

  • Abortion and infanticide existed when Jesus was alive. If he was against either, he would have said so.

  • The Law is very clear that sex outside of marriage is a sin. All homosexual perversion is sex outside of marriage.

    You’re the one who is obsessed with your favorite pervert sins. People who reject stealing aren’t obsessed with thieves–the thieves are obsessed with stealing. Perverts like you are the ones who are obsessed with sex.

    It’s not going to work much longer anyway. You heathens are destroying society and murdering all your babies. You better pray religious Christians are the ones who take over your countries because Muslims will cut your pervert heads off and be done with you.

  • Nope, according to the bible a man can have sex with unmarried women.

    He just has to pay 50 sheckles if the woman is a virgin.

  • “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you, everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one of your members than to have your whole body thrown into Gehenna.”
    – Matthew 5:27-29

  • There were a lot of sins existent when Christ came that he doesn’t specifically condemn. He leaves it to us to use our God-given intellect to interpret his laws.

    “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you, everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one of your members than to have your whole body thrown into Gehenna.”

  • There are more verses than I know of which condemn homosexual perversion and other forms of lust. The fact that you ignore them because you love sexual sins doesn’t change the fact.

  • Please cite the verse you’re referring to. The Bible unequivocally condemns all forms of adultery as sinful.

    Who taught you all of this nonsense?

  • I have struck a nerve here. Thank you for proving my point. You want excuses to act like a raging d-bag to others and use religion to do that. You are a dishonest hateful turd who makes believe treating other people badly is some form of “genuine concern”. Nobody needs that kind of “concern”. Its simply looking for ways to cover malicious behavior and attitudes.

    Grow a spine and own up to your bigotry. You don’t to hide behind religion and nonsense dishonest euphemisms to express how much you hate other people.

  • “Homosexual perversion is a dangerous behavior. This is a proven scientific fact you pathetic, perverted nutjob.”

    Yes because gays have that danger of being discriminated against assaulted, murdered by bigots like yourself.

    You want to pretend your bigotry and hateful behavior is different from all other kinds. Well it isn’t. You want to treat people like garbage but with a socially acceptable excuse. How spineless of you.

  • I should of course said “Catholicism or Orthodoxy.” Probably I’m struck by the numbers of young people who are interested in Orthodoxy precisely because I often ask myself, “why aren’t they considering Catholicism?” Since Catholicism seems like the obvious choice to me, people converting to Catholicism probably don’t jump out at me as much. It seems to me that the young people I’ve worked with were, on the whole, more interested in Orthodoxy than in Catholicism, but that might just be perception bias, as I said.

  • I agree with the majority of what you’ve said, but it should be noted that the more doctrinaire religions hold no ideological high ground, nor even a practical ability to survive due to their stronger tendency to indoctrinate. They’re just a bit more brittle because of their stricter adherence to the categorical, indefensible, and unequivocal. Like any fundamentalist belief, religious or secular, they break before they bend. Witness the current state of the GOP. The history of religion is riddled with fractures and schisms, where sometimes even the most minor of squabbles, or personal affronts or secular conditions of politics and science and society that religion is supposed to be “above,” have permanently separated former marching companions. Christianity alone has over 33,000 denominations. These “other” religions often wind up receiving the brunt of the enmity and derision that characterize this dis unification that is both endemic and characteristic of faith in general.

    I doubt that the more liberal of religions are losing members faster that their fundamentalist brethren (if they indeed are) simply because those members are better educated. While education itself probably does make one more “liberal,” in the sense of having a greater empathy and awareness of the diversity of ways to approach our lives, and thus more apt to think outside ourselves, it cannot fight closeted belief like time and tide can, where the dissonance and consonance we’re bombarded with in our own lives eventually forges us into something approaching what we were meant to be, and where everyone must eventually come to terms with their own subjective morality, or abnegate it.

  • If you think accepting homosexual practice is “loving homosexuals” then not only are you ignorant of Christianity, you are ignorant of love. Rejecting homosexual behavior is not unloving any more than rejecting adultery or fornication or lying or any other sin is unloving. The LGBT movement does get to redefine morality. You want to redefine sex, redefine marriage, redefine love, and even redefine Christianity. You think that Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Transgenders should be the standard for morality. Dream on.

  • Sorry if I was grumpy. I wouldn’t actually be surprised if more youth were converting to Eastern Orthodoxy.
    It’s the beauty of the Orthodox liturgy. The Latin Mass is just as beautiful (I was actually in a Latin Mass choir), but most Catholics now celebrate the Novus Ordo, which is almost always aesthetically horrendous. (I cannot make it through most Novus Ordo Masses because they’re so offensive given my belief in the Real Presence.) It’s a huge problem that I try to pray about as much as possible, because I have no idea how anyone could fix it, especially given Pope Francis.

  • African Americans faced far more oppression in slavery and during Jim Crow than people who engage in homosexual perversion suffer now (in fact they’re openly celebrated in taxpayer-funded public parades like no other non-ethnic group in history), yet African Americans never exhibited such off the charts levels of depression and suicide during Jim Crow because, at the time, they regularly attended church at a greater rate than whites. In fact, African Americans had LOWER rates of depression and suicide back then because of the high rate of church attendance. (Their social stats went downhill fast after they stopped attending church, just as has occurred with whites.)
    So, if the power of abuse from society were capable of these effects, they would have been seen among other persecuted groups, but they weren’t. This makes it clear that it is the behaviors associated with homosexual and other perversion that cause the high rates of depression and suicide, not some external influence.

  • .
    S I N N E R !
    .
    You’re going to HELL !
    .
    A message from the First Federated Foursquare Fundamentalist Evangelical Pentecostal and Charismatic Church of the Sacred Bleeding Heart of Jesus Christ , Christian With Signs Following . G-zus ❤ U
    .
    If you disagree with us , you will go to HELL and be tortured with sharp pointy things FOREVER and EVER !

  • “…you pathetic, perverted nutjob.”
    You’ve just proved you DO shun people who fail to conform to your perverted religion based standards by this rather hateful and puerile response. Sectarian entities in this country who flourish under the premise of religious liberty enable sex abusers on a grander scale than the very people you shun. In other words, clean your own house BEFORE you shun others. As my minister brother preached one day, “How clean is your cup?”

  • Sometimes I’m genuinely concerned. Other times I’m offended by hypocritical fools trying to act like they’re sharing their Secularist wisdom. Your Secularist beliefs are an absolute cancer, so forgive me if I’m not going to let you preach them unchallenged.

  • And by the way, you seem pretty hateful yourself bud. At least I admit that I let my anger get the best of me and ask God for forgiveness rather than acting like it’s always righteous and I’m a morally perfect man who never makes mistakes, as you and your Secularist brothers always do.

    The truth is you need God but you’re afraid to admit it.

  • You start in with personal insults and don’t expect it in return? What kind of self entitled nonsense is that?
    If you wanted a civil discussion, you start off with civil remarks.

    Now you want to apologize? Fine. Truth is, you are insecure in your faith and can’t deal with the notion that others don’t share the same ideas as you.

    My view is believe anything you want, just don’t act like a dbag about it.

  • That is insincere garbage. You want an excuse to make unwarranted trespasses on the lives of others. You want to attack people and say, “god says its OK”.

    Attacking secularism is merely a way to say you have no respect for beliefs other than yours. ISIS rails against secularism like you do.

  • You are not only a bigot, but an ignorant one. I am not going to play “who is more oppressed?” Nothing you said excuses your hateful attitudes or desire to treat others like garbage. You are not refuting that you are prejudices against gays,only that you may not be racist. (Which you may be also, but not the subject here)

  • If you think treating people one garbage is an expression of Christian love, then people should really rethink what the concept really means. You have made it clear moral thinking has nothing to do with your views. Merely using arbitrary religious beliefs to justify repugnant behavior to others.

  • Calling people to repentance for sinful behavior is not treating them like garbage. Again, you do not get to substitute your morality for the ones Christians actually follow. We follow the law of God which calls men to holiness of life in all areas to include human sexuality. If you don’t like that value, take it up with God, not us. We subscribe to divine law. The same God that is love is the same God that demands that we submit to his design for human sexuality. No adultery, no fornication, no homosexuality, no bestiality. God defines what it means to love and God said it means keeping his commandments, one of which is no sexual activity between people of the same gender; no sexual activity outside of marriage; marriage is between one man and one woman. That this is God’s command is crystal clear. In your way of reasoning, calling anyone to repentance is ipso facto treating them like garbage. And if that true, Christianity ceases to exist in any meaningful sense. And that ladies and gentlemen is precisely what the LGBT and radical atheists really want. They want to dictate to Christianity what it can and cannot be. But this is nothing new. I am glad because all the fake Christians will submit to these quibblers. And that will help separate true Christianity from this liberal, modern, watered down version that resembles biblical Christianity NOT AT ALL.

  • Because people enjoy being insulted, demeaned, attacked, discriminated against,assaulted and murdered? Because that is what you advocate. You are just too dishonest to say it like that.

    Grow a spine. It’s not God, it’s your belief. You chose to accept those religious based prejudices and bad behavior. You are so beholden to bigotry that it defines your belief. So much so that you attack fellow Christians who do not share it.

  • Christianity does not assault or murder to condone such behavior. If you think the demand to repent, that homosexual behavior is sinful, is actually insulting, attacking or discriminatory, then that is your own definition of those things. Christianity acknowledges that God has something to say about human sexuality. And what God says, matters. And people like you, your atheist pals, and the LGBT movement have no right to revise ancient Christianity simply because you don’t like what God has to say about it. Too bad. What God says matters. And on this issue, what God says is clear. Nothing will change that. Nothing.

  • “Christianity does not assault or murder to condone such behavior.”

    In general, most sects don’t. But your version most definitely does
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/news/scott-lively-crimes-against-humanity/
    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/jun/13/westboro-baptist-church-god-sent-the-shooter/

    Btw nobody requires your judgment about what you think are their personal sins. If you think God excuses you from attacking, insulting and demeaning others, well that is your problem. Calling hateful and malicious behavior something else doesn’t change what it is. I guess it is easier for you to be self-righteous than honest.

  • You are partially correct. Access to information is helping people make decisions but more importantly, it’s helping us get to know one another. In the past, it was easy to demonize gays or muslims or the French or the Scottish. Most people weren’t educated and never traveled more than a few miles from where they were born. If you told them there were giants and dragons living just beyond the mountains, they would have no way to assess that. The same was true for stories about other people.

    Those barriers are melting away in the modern age. You meet people of other races, religions, sexual orientations, etc everywhere online. Games, social media, even discussion forums like this one.

    On the whole, I think this type of information (knowing one another) has a much larger effect on things than scientific evidence. People believe largely whatever they want. I choose science because it is reproducible and because I find ‘God’ improbably and just not be a very intellectually stimulating answer to anything I don’t know. Sure, maybe God is an explanation for whatever phenomena I am puzzling over, but I would prefer to exhaust all other explanations first.

    I also find Pascal’s wager rather lacking. Being a kind a decent person is its own reward. If there’s no God, you
    are at least remembered lovingly by those whose lives yours touched and
    you become immortal in their memories of you. There are so many different religions that even if there were a God, either they would be quite tolerant of us silly mortals and recognize whether or not we tried to live a good and loving life, that we’re probably fine whatever we believe, OR there’s the one petty God of whatever extremist religious group happens to be ‘right’ and everyone else on the entire planet will burn. In which case, I’d rather burn in defiance of such a small deity. There are too many good people in the world from too many different beliefs for me to respect any entity that would forever torture 99% of humanity because they were influenced by their family and friends and society and did not figure out the exact right dance moves to please this being.

    I think this is where you’re going wrong. Shouting gleefully at the faithful might be cathartic but to them, you seem just like the Westboro Baptist Church seems to me. That I think ends up being more important than all the scientific evidence. People who are hostile drive others away from their beliefs because deep down, we all recognize that if someone is angrily condemning groups of people, then it won’t be that long before they see whatever flaws we see in ourselves and we are also ostracized so it’s better to have your social network composed of people are more accepting of those who are different from themselves. Judgemental people just aren’t reliable allies.

  • You just don’t get it. Believe what you want. Homosexual behavior is an ungodly sexual act and also one that is called “unnatural” by God. It goes against nature…even science teaches you this. To face the truth of it is not hateful, it is not bigoted, it is not cruel. I suppose that for those who love bestiality, it is equally cruel to tell them they cannot mate with their dog. How cruel of me! It isn’t malicious. What is hateful and malicious is for human beings, creatures of God, to give God the middle finger and refuse to submit to his commands. That is malicious, that is hateful, that is evil.

  • I don’t get it because I have a moral sense. I do not seek excuses for treating others badly nor feel the need to fib about the nature of my beliefs or actions. I don’t pretend my beliefs are a license to commit unwelcome trespasses upon the lives of others. I don’t pretend your life is my business.

    I also don’t get the idea that calling bad behavior something else makes it proper.

    I very much don’t get you. I am thankful for that.

  • You have no rational basis for your moral sense. You treat bible-believing Christians like they’re stupid, like they’re bigots, like they’re irrational. Just look at the things you have said about Christianity and people that embrace it. The truth is, you don’t treat people who agree with your views badly. But dare to disagree with you, and all bets are off.

    You seem to be perfectly fine with Americans losing religious liberty to the point that they cannot even hold a job or own a business unless they agree to give up their convictions. That is tyrannical, totalitarian, abhorrent. And yet you thump your chest because you approve and celebrate homosexuality. They make up less than 3% of the population. Christians make up a much larger number and yet, they are bashed with complete abandon. Your position is hypocritical on its face.

  • You have no rational basis for your moral sense. Given your views of the origin of life, of creation, there is no ground for an objective morality. God himself lays claim on the lives of everyone. No one has the right to tell God that they are going to redefine reality, morality, and even Christianity because they just don’t like what he has done with it.

    Again, you will have to prove or show why Christianity’s rejection of homosexual sex is actually bad behavior. Why is it that Christians who reject homosexual sex are engaging in bad behavior, but those who reject Christianity are not engaging in bad behavior? I would LOVE to see you prove that it is absolutely immoral to reject homosexual sex and gay marriage. I would love to have that debate with you. Here is your chance to show the superiority of your worldview over against Christianity.

  • There you go again, misusing the word rational to mean “whatever I
    stipulate to be so”. You really have no concept of what rational means and should stop using the term. It makes you look silly.

    The whole idea that life is precious in of its own merits, without being told so from on high is completely foreign to you. As is the idea that we cherish those things which are fleeting and temporary in nature because they are rare and valued. As is the idea that all human being are entitled to a basic level of civility and dignity just for existing.

    These are objective basis for morality not requiring any religious belief and in most cases (with yours excepted) are part of religious belief as well.

    Your view of morality is nonsense. Life only has value to the extent that you interpret God’s will to be so. Some people are more worthy of basic dignity than others because you think scripture tells you so. Your moral concepts are as subjective as they come. Life’s value is conditional on following arbitrary rules accepted by your sect. Atrocious behavior towards others is OK because you are not really attacking them, you are “pointing out their sins for the sake of their soul”. Even though from any honest objective standards your actions are no different from malicious attacks.

    Following arbitrary rules out of fear is not moral thinking, its self-interest. Your actions are done because you fear God, not because you care about their impact on others. Sociopathic moral thinking at its clearest.

    “God himself lays claim on the lives of everyone. No one has the right to tell God that they are going to redefine reality, morality, and even Christianity because they just don’t like what he has done with it.”

    You are not God. You just think you are. I am not addressing God, I am addressing someone who believes in him and is delusional enough to think his ideas are God’s own.

    I am morally superior to you because I don’t need to act out of fear of divine punishment or with expectation of divine reward. That will always color your actions as self-interest. Moral thinking is weighing one’s actions against how they impact others. It means in most cases forgoing personal benefit to avoid harm to others. You seek to harm others and blame God for the behavior.

    Btw the human being whose works were of the greatest benefit to civilization as we know it, Mr. Norman Borlaug, a man whose compassion, rational thinking and devotion to the greater good of mankind, saved the lives of about a billion+ people, was an atheist.
    http://atheisthaven.blogspot.com/2008/12/greatest-man-in-history.html

  • All life’s precious in its own merits? Like, ants, roaches, plants, cows, etc.? That all life is precious in its own merits is not, on the face of it, obvious. No death penalty? Hitler’s life is just as precious as the newborn baby? And the newborn fish is just as precious as the newborn human? So if I reject your view that all life is in its own merit, precious, what do you say?

    The fact that someone cherishes something is not in and of itself rational ground for your inference that they “ought” to cherish it. Some people actually do NOT cherish it. Hitler denied your claim that all life is precious in and of itself. Who is right? You or Hitler? And if I choose you, how can I provide a rationally compelling reason for why you and not Hitler?

    I don’t value homosexuals any less than I value others. You presuppose that I have to approve of their lifestyle in order to value them. My children, all of whom I adore, oftentimes do things which I disapprove. But they do not lose value in my sight even a little.

    You do not understand Christian morality. Christians follow divine law. Divine law is not arbitrary precisely because it is a reflection of God’s perfectly good nature, which never changes. So Christian morality is very personal, very purposeful, anchored in the very person of God himself.

    Again, you have no rational basis even to open your mouth about what is morally superior and what is not. Life is one big accident in your worldview. It’s just molecules in motion. Your view that life is obviously precious in and of itself is simply not shared by all humans and to think it is is simply naive on your part.

    Stop with the rational definition nonsense please. That you would keep saying that is just plain silly. I have critical thinking and logic I and II in my academic portfolio. To say that I am trying to redefine human reason is a red herring that is more than a little irritating. Deal with my arguments or just stop talking.

    If life is an accident, then life has no intrinsic value.
    According to atheism, life is an accident.
    Therefore, life has no intrinsic value.

    All life has intrinsic value.
    A roach has life.
    Therefore a roach has intrinsic value.

    A baby and a roach have the same value in your worldview. None, or the same.

    You could argue that only rational life has intrinsic value but I would have to accuse you of being arbitrary and of looking for a rescuing device.

    I will debate this with you all day long sir. And we haven’t even scratched the surface.

  • “So if I reject your view that all life is in its own merit,
    precious, what do you say?”

    I say that is fairly obvious of you. You want to claim treating human beings as less than people to be excusable behavior. You want to pretend malice and harm to others is somehow moral. Because any act, no matter how atrocious is moral if you can pretend it has the OK from your mythical sky daddy.

    Those who casually disregard the preciousness of life act immorally, like Hitler, ISIS and people like yourself. Harming others should require some level of contemplation and consideration. Not something that comes easy with cheap excuses. To quote the Lone Ranger, “killing a man should be a costly thing to do” (hence the silver bullets).

    “The fact that someone cherishes something is not in and of itself
    rational ground for your inference that they “ought” to cherish it.”

    Spoken like someone looking to act maliciously to others and seeks excuses for their behavior. Thank you for demonstrating what a sociopath you are.

    “I don’t value homosexuals any less than I value others. ”

    Except you support malicious and harmful acts against them in the name of your religious faith. Why be honest now? You can stop pretending you actually have concern for those you are attacking. But you won’t.

    “Christians follow divine law. Divine law is not arbitrary precisely
    because it is a reflection of God’s perfectly good nature, which never
    changes”

    Making it arbitrary, unquestioned authority, lacking in any context of dealing with people in a humane fashion. God says so is as arbitrary as you can get. No reflection on why such things are considered moral. Just devotion for its own sake. You are only following orders. How very Godwin’y.

    “Again, you have no rational basis even to open your mouth about what is morally superior and what is not.”

    You have demonstrated no knowledge of moral thinking. Nor the meaning of the word “rational”.

    “Stop with the rational definition nonsense please. ”

    I guess you are annoyed that I am not taking your nonsense canned arguments at face value, nor see any outward sign of rational thought in your posts. Tough luck. You keep misusing the word, I keep calling attention to it.

    So no response to the fact that the man who saved more lives than any individual in history didn’t owe his acts to God or religion. ‘

    “If life is an accident, …”

    Except that is your view of what I believe, not what I actually believe or have stated. It would be nice if you addressed what I say rather than make stuff up and form strawman arguments around them. But that requires a level of honesty you do not possess. Better to rail against what you claim I believe than what I have actually said.

    “All life has intrinsic value.”

    All numbers have intrinsic value as well but 3 is greater than 1.

    “I will debate this with you all day long sir. And we haven’t even scratched the surface.”

    But you aren’t debating, you are mass-debating. You are using canned arguments based on misconceptions and outright fictions about what my position is. Not addressing a thing about them. There isn’t an honest argument made in your entire spiel. Its all about phony premises, conflation and reductio ad absurdum.

    All in order to justify your very simplistic and immoral point that you think God gives you license to attack people.

    Interestingly you didn’t bother to address the single human being, who saved more lives than anyone else in history, owed absolutely nothing to religion or your notions of God.

  • “I say that is fairly obvious of you. You want to claim treating human beings as less than people to be excusable behavior. You want to pretend malice and harm to others is somehow moral. Because any act, no matter how atrocious is moral if you can pretend it has the OK from your mythical sky daddy.”

    Stop with the juvenile insults please.
    I do not agree that treating practicing homosexuals as unrepentant sinners is treating them as less than human. That is your burden to prove.

    Whatever God does is just because God is perfectly just. This I wholeheartedly affirm. The burden is on you to show how there can be an absolute morality in a universe of chance.

    “Those who casually disregard the preciousness of life act immorally, like Hitler, ISIS and people like yourself. Harming others should require some level of contemplation and consideration. Not something that comes easy with cheap excuses. To quote the Lone Ranger, “killing a man should be a costly thing to do” (hence the silver bullets).”

    Only Christian theism can lay claim to the view that human life actually is inherently precious, of the highest value. This is because we are created in God’s image. Your view cannot coherently condemn Hitler or ISIS. They are simply doing what molecules in motion do. What is normal life in a system where all life is a spontaneous accident? Hitler has just as much logical ground for being normal as your view does. You are equally matched and if you don’t see that, then stop talking to me about reason.

    “Spoken like someone looking to act maliciously to others and seeks excuses for their behavior. Thank you for demonstrating what a sociopath you are.”

    This is a most outrageous and ridiculous statement.

    “Making it arbitrary, unquestioned authority, lacking in any context of dealing with people in a humane fashion. God says so is as arbitrary as you can get. No reflection on why such things are considered moral. Just devotion for its own sake. You are only following orders. How very Godwin’y.”

    Having an unquestioned authority over one does not make that authority arbitrary. What makes morality arbitrary is for it to have no purpose, for it to have no basis whatsoever. For instance, I declare the rule: “don’t look at that corner of the room.” I have no reason for the rule. It could just as easily not be a rule. Its only a rule because I said so. That is not how Christian morality works. Christianity morality is an expression of the perfect nature of God, who he is, what he is like. Therefore, it is not arbitrary. To question authority is not a virtue regardless of what you post-moderns think.

    “All numbers have intrinsic value as well but 3 is greater than 1.”

    Did you really just categorize moral value with mathematical values? The greatest head slap ever!

    I am not using canned arguments dude. I am reacting to your claims and showing you how inconsistent and incoherent they actually are. Introducing mathematics into an ethical values debate is simply mind-blowing.

    So, since you are upset that I am misrepresenting what you believe, why don’t you tell me: what is your philosophy of reality, of knowledge, and of morality. What are you? How do you know you are that? And being that, how ought you to go about life?

    People live what they believe; everything else is just noise.

  • Actually, it’s your strange prejudice against “ancient sheep herders” that seems irrational to this thinking person 🙂

  • Political Evangelical Churches followed Karl Rove into the same-sex marriage swamp in 2004, and lost much of a generation.
    With the choice between a pagan/Trump and a Methodist/Clinton, many Evangelical leaders, such as Rev. Moore, are finding that many of their flock were more interested in who they were against, rather than what they were for.

  • Are many words necessary to communicate truth? For example, the bible’s book of Proverbs has many single-sentence chunks of wisdom. Was God wrong to make them so small? Just wondering.

  • I suspect that today’s touchy-feely, left-wing Christians have abandoned the most important commandment and have elevated number two into the top spot. This allows them to ignore sin and embrace sinful lifestyles.

  • Jesus healed the Centurion’s slave, without reproach, so they could go back to “loving” each other.

  • OK, you two, these posts are growing too long. Old farts like me have weak eyes and can’t read that much. Clearly Spuddie will never agree that God’s word defines morality as God sees it. He prefers his own sense of morality. Why not let it go, and wait until judgment day to see who’s correct?

  • Frederica Mathewes-Green said in an informal talk at Point Loma Nazarene University a few years ago that there had been a surge in converts to Orthodoxy. Can’t remember if this was worldwide or U.S. only. By the way, I love CH magazine–please pass along my thanks to JWT! I’ve enjoyed your contributions, too.

  • I have no bias against sheep or their caretakers. I do, however, question the quality of rational thought of those who accept their testimony of of incredible events at face value. Burning bushes are also on my list of things to ignore.

  • How did I prove that? I’m not shunning you. I’m simply refusing to tell you that your favorite sins are ok. That’s what drives Secularists such as yourself into a rage. You can’t tolerate hearing the truth about your sins because it hurts your feelings.
    YOU hate those who remind you of the truth.

    God bless you.

  • Do you care to actually answer my argument? Why would societal oppression only affect people who suffer from homosexual perversion that drastically, but never a racial or ethnic group???

  • It’ll be good for you to encounter beliefs you disagree with. It’ll strengthen your mind and you won’t be intellectually weak like all of the other Secularist snowflakes.

  • Because it doesn’t. Your premise is phony. Calling attention to another form of prejudice doesn’t make yours any more reasonable. You want to discriminate against gays in exactly the same methods used previously against other groups.Different prejudice same actions.

    Why do you advocate treating gays as less than people? Because you can still get away with it for the moment.

  • 17″Now therefore, kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman who has known man intimately. 18″But all the girls who have not known man intimately, spare for yourselves.

    I guess it was just so that they could treat them to a nice dinner.

  • No, no rage here. Just amazed at the degree to which sectarian fundamentalists go to insist others conform to their warped ideology. Yet they willingly turn a blind eye to the rot behind their facade.
    THIS. IS. YOUR. TRUTH. The deceptions. The violence. The abuse. The theft. The adultery. The public piety and the private perversion… “How clean is your cup?” Can YOU tolerate the blackened inner core of YOUR sectarian culture? Can YOU account for the lack of discipline within your sectarian culture? Can YOU atone for the harm currently being inflicted upon the innocent with your culture?

  • Funny notion religious wackos have re “judgement day”. Do google Pascal’s Wager and read deeply on it.

  • Augustine, reading above, the rage and insults have clearly mainly been coming from you, whereas the truth has not.

  • I am no fan of abortion. But please provide specific evidence that babies scream in horror in the womb during abortion. Please provide specific evidence of “mass murder” of children. Far more children die in utero from natural causes (i.e., according to kooky christian fundies, god caused those deaths) than abortions. Is that mass murder?
    Given that the christian god approved gay marriage by denying the prayers of nasty christians to turn the Supreme Court against it, seems to me that the nasty christians are the ones who ought to buy a clue. We all know that if the Court had ruled against gay marriage, nasty christians would have been jumping for joy in the street and praisin’ Jesus. But when it doesn’t go the way nasty christians want, then all of a sudden the rules don’t apply anymore.

  • As history shows, your claim “Only Christian theism can lay claim that human life is inherently previous” is chock full of so many exceptions that it is a laughable lie. You have already demonstrated you do not value the lives of anyone who does not share your views.

    The history of Christianity is written in the blood of millions, Genocide, dictatorship, discrimination, murder, theft, terrorism, all done in the name of Christianity. You are trying to use Christian belief to justify hatred of a group of people. So take your phony apologetic frictions and shove it somewhere painful. You have no concept of morality, honesty or rationality. You are just an insecure believer who can’t trust your own faith and can’t play nice to others.

  • interesting that your moral code requires threats of divine punishment to be enforced. My own sense of morality, is morality. Not self interest and fear.

  • Belief in a cruel God makes cruel people
    -Thomas Paine

    For a religion about love of humanity, Christians of a reactionary bent spend so much of their effort trying to justify inhumane actions. Go figure.

  • Your clever post (especially the sharp pointy things), put me in mind of one of my religion professor’s favorite sayings:
    “Even the gods are defeated by stupidity!”

  • Of course, “epistemic” just means “knowledge.” So in attempting to clothe your superstitions in logic, you’ve ended up saying that christians have knowledge of knowledge of the dead Jewish chap. You’ve also tried the old christian sleight-of-hand with me, which is really, really tiresome: christians, lacking the intellect and courage to determine how there can be beauty, morality, etc. without a god, jump from that silly conclusion to “the pagan worship of a dead Jewish guy as a man-god is the way to go.” Of course, the Greeks had LOTS of gods. They didn’t do too badly in the old art/beauty department.

    As Thomas Paine, the Founding Father that got the ball rolling on the American revolution said about superstitious twaddle, “The opinions I have advanced … are the effect of the most clear and
    long-established conviction that the Bible and the Testament are
    impositions upon the world, that the fall of man, the account of Jesus
    Christ being the Son of God, and of his dying to appease the wrath of
    God, and of salvation, by that strange means, are all fabulous
    inventions, dishonorable to the wisdom and power of the Almighty; that
    the only true religion is Deism.”

    By the way, why do so many christians claim my country was founded on their pagan beliefs?

  • Thomas Paine also said:
    “I believe in one God, and no more; and I hope for happiness beyond this life” (1794)
    “Were man impressed as fully and as strongly as he ought to be with the belief of a God, his moral life would be regulated by the force of that belief; he would stand in awe of God and of himself, and would not do the thing that could not be concealed from either” (1794).
    “it is the fool only, and not the philosopher, or even the prudent man, that would live as if there were no God.”
    it is “rational to believe” that God would call all people “to account for the manner in which we have lived here” (1794).

    Thomas Paine in no way represented the majority opinion of the founding fathers.

    He left America is 1787 and did not return until 1802.
    Only 6 mourners attended Paine’s funeral. That’s how popular his views were during his time. Try your revisionist tactics elsewhere Richie.

    You atheists hate history. Some of you are silly enough to deny that Jesus Christ was a historical figure and now you are attempting the unthinkable: denying the history of the founding of America. It’s outrageous, underhanded, and nothing more than a desperate act by a desperate sect.

    You see, no one said that atheists don’t recognize beauty and morality in the world. Of course you do. You must do so just to get along in the world. What I said was that you cannot account for the existence of these things in your system. And by the way, those Greeks you speak of would have killed you had you suggested there was no reason to believe in the gods. You see, Richie, there was this man, Socrates was his name. Do you know the story? It really feels like you don’t.

  • Name one good thing that Secularists have done. They murder unborn babies and pervert the ones who survive. They’ve reversed the Flynn Effect. The world is far more violent and unstable than when Christians ruled. They are no different as a whole than the Muslims and their “prophet”, who Emperor Manual II referred to all of those years ago:

    “Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached [or the Secularist call to murder all unborn babies in defense of sexual perversions].”

  • This is a common mistake for amateurs in theology/philosophy. God is not the author of the evil in the world, nor of death. Death came into the world through sin. God is who redeems us from death, not what causes it.

    You can’t have an opinion on abortion until you’ve witnessed the most current videos of the babies being murdered in the womb. Given the breakthroughs in ultrasound technology, we can see their facial expressions clearly at the moment the murderer/”abortionist” delivers the death blow.

    By the way, when referring to God, you are referring to the monotheistic, Creator God, the one who Christians and Jews worship, called Yahweh in the OT. It’s bad grammar to refuse to capitalize God. A god is any divine power but God refers to a specific entity. (So, for instance, I still capitalize Donald Duck even though I don’t believe he’s real.)

    I’m not sure why you think it’s ok for you and your ideological allies to be happy when you get what you want, but not for Christians.
    We all have free will. God doesn’t bring evil into the world. We’re the ones who are making these things occur. The “elite”, including the Supreme Court, is not made up of gods as most Secularists, having been brainwashed in public school, seem to think. They’re all men, who are just as capable of evil as Hitler was.

    God bless you!

  • I think you’re biased because you agree with the person I’m arguing with. Otherwise please cite where I was enraged.

    I think you guys are Secularist snowflakes so whenever anyone says something you don’t like, you call it “rage” or “hate” and try to have the person silenced. It’s because you’re intellectually weak and incapable of argument. All you can do is fall back on a mob mentality and the fact that you’re part of the Immoral Majority.

    And you’ve heard of passive aggressiveness right? It’s the only art that Secularists are capable of anymore! 🙂

    For the record, I love all of you and wish you the best in life!

    God bless you!

  • “Just amazed at the degree to which sectarian fundamentalists go to insist others conform to their warped ideology. ” You’re referring to yourself right? And how all of your pervert Secularist buddies are trying to jail Christian bakers for not celebrating your favorite, disgusting, sexual perversions??

    Secularists, such as yourself, are the worst murderers in history. Christians have done more charity than any other group in history and built modernity and gave you everything good in your life, so this is really ironic.

    You would absolutely be a backward, illiterate, pagan barbarian if not for Christians. Your ignorance is no excuse for your belligerence and bigotry.

  • If you truly want to start learning about the context of that verse, go here: http://forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=245477

    Quickly, I’ll say that God is the author of life and can choose when to take it away. Your revulsion at this passage is because you have no faith in God. If you had faith in God you would trust that he knows who should live or die at any given moment. If you don’t have faith in God, then obviously it’s going to seem unjust, especially given that you were probably brainwashed by lying, hypocritical “social justice warriors” at the public schools and/or universities you went to.
    The tribe which God commands the Israelites to kill had nearly eradicated them. God knows the hearts of all people and he knows who would destroy his people if left to their own devices.

    Lastly, if you believe in Christianity, you believe everyone can be forgiven and that Heaven is the ultimate reward. Therefore those people dying and leaving their sinful lives to be given the chance to be happy with God for eternity is no real punishment at all but the greatest blessing imaginable.

    Being a Secularist, you’re a materialist, so you can’t imagine anything better than the here and now. If you believe in something better after death, then God doesn’t seem so cruel, but merciful and the source of all love as he truly is.

    God bless you!

  • Nope. It’s no wonder that people are still trying to celebrate sin in the street. It’s all written in the Bible and you can read about it any time you want! 🙂

  • What’s not charming is slaughtering a tiny, defenseless baby in the womb while he or she writhes in agony. Let me guess: you refuse to watch the videos because “you don’t need to”.

  • ” … your moral code requires threats of divine punishment to be enforced.”

    Straw man Spuddie, I never said that.

    My moral code requires that God defines it. If and how He enforces it is His business. “Vengeance is mine, saith the Lord.”

  • The only thing which makes any Church or organized religious group viable is an adherence to biblical admonitions. If one were to do good in the community but then accept and embrace modern sociall norms, then it cannot expect anyone to continue to support such a church. Any church which joins in with the world in opposition to biblical teaching is and should be considered and exposed as irrelevant as judged by scripture.

  • I. Well aware of the context of he passage. Apparently, God is love and gives virgins to rape. No thanks.

  • Try again. I’ve been subjected to misogynistic, racist, and violence at the hand of your Christians…while I was still claiming to be a Christian. Puff yourself up with self righteous piety until you burst. It will not wash away the stain Christianity has left and is still leaving upon this soil and across the globe.
    You’re assuming I’m homosexual, well you’re assumption is incorrect.

    BTW: Texas just locked away ANOTHER pious Christian pastor for raping a child over a four year span. He used the Goddard technique to manipulate her. The Christian cake bakers your mentioned, well, during their attempt at martyrdom they published the contact information of the couple wanting their services. Didn’t take long for perverted Christians to hurl dangerous threats towards these women. Of course they were taking advantage of the anonymity of modern technology. Couldn’t risk losing their God Points by shunning them in public. Go back into your bible darkened corner with a computer and educate yourself on the atrocities committed by YOUR Christians upon the innocent. Start with the natives of this continent and move on. Modernity, as you call it, isn’t as great as it seems.

  • “Why not let it go, and wait until judgment day to see who’s correct?”

    So what is expected to happen to me on judgment day again? Oh right divine punishment for failing to follow your God’s arbitrary pronouncements.

    “He enforces it is His business.”

    Divine punishment IS expected as a way to enforce your form of morality. Not a strawman at all. Just more than you were willing to say at the time.

    “My moral code requires that God defines it”

    So if God required genocide of non-believers, that will be OK. After all he has done it before in the Bible. If God requires that you treat women as property, that will be OK as well. After all nothing is more Biblical than owning people as chattel property.

    ISIS has a moral code which requires that God defines it. As did people who collaborated with Nazis out of appeals to their Christian faith such as the Rexists, Chetniks and Spanish Carlists

  • Just for fun, I read christian FB pages and websites every now and then. One of my faves is that of Frank Graham. Yesterday, Frank did a post where he attacked Obama for turning over the right to name websites to an international organization.

    Now, I’m not sure what any of that has to do with the “stout evangelical creed” of pushing belief in superstitious twaddle about an alleged man-god. But wow! I loved reading all the comments of Frank’s devoted christian followers, like these:

    “Obama is a blood sucking leach on our country. A lot of people thought he would be assassinated in his first year as president. I now believe that would have been doing America a huge favor.”

    “I didn’t say anything about liking Obama or not. I just said he is a dirt bag. For your information I am a Christian, who is judging who‼️”

    “Obama and his followers has ruined us and continuing to do so then Hillary will take over and make it worse!!!!!!,and there ain’t a darn thing we can do about it to save ourselves, and it’s scary!!!!”

    “HUSSIEN OSAMA OBAMA is the anti-Christ. He Hates this country and KILLary Clinton is going to be his Puppet. WAKE UP America and take back this Country.”

    What a horrible plague these stout evangelicals are.

  • In the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, the Bible discusses that women are lying with women and men are lying with men and that’s part of the reason that God destroys it. Of course the overall reason is their faithlessness to God, but then, just as now, it is the faithlessness that inspires the loyalty to sexual sins. When people don’t have God, they cling to anything, almost always their favorite sin(s).

    God bless you. I really mean that. I wish the best for you and I hope something really good happens in your life soon!

  • I’m not sure if you think I’m defending every Christian everywhere. There are bad Christians all over. This only seems shocking or enraging to someone who refuses to believe that all humans are fallen because of Original Sin.

    I’m truly sorry for what bad Christians have done to you. Bad Christians have done a lot of evil things to me and I’ve done evil to non-Christian people. I don’t want you to think that sensible Christians refuse to acknowledge the fact.

    Christ is the savior. Christians are wicked just like you and everyone else. God is the source of all goodness and our only hope. Only he can remove the part of us that is evil so that he can bring our true selves to fulfillment.

    God bless you.

  • If you focus on following the teachings of Jesus instead of judging other people for violating your sexual rules, you will be happier and Jesus will be proud of you.

  • God doesn’t command them to rape the women. He commands them to spare the women and allow them to live among the Israelites. That seems pretty merciful to me.
    God commands them to kill only the people who would murder and destroy the Israelites. (It’s telling that you’re mad at the Jews for listening to God’s command to defend themselves but not at the Midianites for coming to murder and rape the Jews.)
    It would never have come to that if those people hadn’t come to murder the Jews. (Do you hate the Americans, British and Russian for killing Nazis, including women and children, to defend the Jews? Are all of them evil because some American, British and Russian soldiers no doubt raped German women as they conquered the Nazis?) Again, you’re simply mad that you’re not God and you refuse to trust that God knew everyone’s hearts and who should live or die. (It’s offensive when we think we know who should live or die, but not when the Author of Life shows that he knows who should live or die.)

    I understand you’ve chosen to be mad at God about the evil in the world. I hope you’ll see that it’s Satan who brings temporal evil into the world and God who brings redemption and eternal goodness.

    God bless you.

  • The Bible is very clear that all sex outside of marriage between a man and a woman is a sin.

    The reason you’re so angry at me is because you’ve put your sexual perversion above God’s Law. I’m just as much a sinner, for whatever reason, I simply have decided to be sorry for my sins rather than worship them.

  • The Bible defines adultery as sex outside of marriage–that means any sex and the Bible specifically refers to homosexual perversion and the fact that it angers God because it has no purpose, causes illness and misery and is directly contradictory to God’s command to be fruitful.

  • “This only seems shocking or enraging to someone who refuses to believe that all humans are fallen because of Original Sin.”
    I refuse to begin with a negative when dealing with humanity. Everything is a clean slate until humans begin teaching other humans that they’re better or less than the next based on some man made pretext.

  • You understand nothing about me. But that’s ok.

    Not the women, but the VIRGINS. Sounds like an invitation to rape to me.

    “Mad at” this and “mad at” that. Again, you understand only what you tell yourself. I believe in neither gods nor Devils.

  • Except you want to treat them as less than human, subject them to discrimination, encourage their harm and deaths. Other than that, you are fine with them.

  • wrongo.
    The old testament explicitly allows a man to have sex with an unmarried women as long as he offers to marry her or to pay 50 bucks to her dad.

  • I’m not angry in the least.
    I’m trying to help you find heaven on earth.
    Now, you are in heck because you are judging others.

  • Instead o judging others and being sorry for your sins, you should forgive yourself and others and stop judging and stop accumulating wealth and then you will find true happiness.

  • I assume that you ignore or reject the holy books of all other religions, so, on what basis do you accept the Bible as your source of authority? The fact is that, so far, there is no basis to legitimately confirm that Christianity and its Bible are true while all the other religions are false.

    And regarding homosexuality . . . It has never ever caused any harm
    whatsoever to anyone, so there cannot be even one legitimate objection
    to people living in accordance with that innate orientation. And
    furthermore, more homosexuality and less heterosexuality would benefit
    the earth and humanity by reducing the vast number of
    unintended/unwanted pregnancies. And, thus, your holy book, along with some others, should be ignored on this issue because the assertions have no basis in rational thinking and evidence.

  • The word of God in the Law and the Gospel is what makes a house of worship worthy.

    A major enemy of the Christian Church on earth is Syncretism, defined by the American Heritage Dictionary, is “the reconciliation or fusion of differing systems of belief.”

    This is most evident in the areas of philosophy and religion, and usually results in a NEW TEACHING or belief system. Obviously, this cannot be reconciled to biblical Christianity.

    More recently, religious syncretism can be seen in such religious systems as the New Age, Hinduism, Unitarianism, and Christian Science. These religions are a blending of multiple different belief systems, and are continually evolving as the philosophies of mankind rise and fall in popularity.

    Therein lies the problem, for syncretism relies on the whim of man, not the standard of Scripture. The Bible makes it very clear what true religion is.

    Think on just a few things stated in Scripture: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Deuteronomy 6:5; Matthew 22:37); “Jesus replied, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me'” (John 14:6); “Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” (John 20:31-32); and “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

    Religious syncretism is simply not compatible with true Christianity. In fact, any modification to biblical law and principle for the sake of a “better” religion is heresy (Revelation 22:18-19).

  • YOU WROTE: “You can have a strong faith in Jesus without all the P and P bull…”

    ~~~~~ I think I understand what you mean about the “outward pretensions” of being a Christian and possibly the concept of “work righteousness”.

    You spoke of a strong faith in Jesus. I assume you would agree with the axiom about faith stated: “Either it is growing or it is dying.” Begging the question of how does our faith grow? Growth is via the Holy Spirit through the use of God’s Word…. reading it or hearing it on a regular basis…. in a way correspondent to watering a plant to keep it from dying.

    How many of those who hardly ever attend a church that teaches salvation through the Gospel of Jesus Christ, study their Bible on a consistent basis?

  • ALL….ALL churches that teach and preach the Law & Gospel of Jesus Christ and the orthodox words of the Scriptures are blessed and protected by the Holy Spirit as long as they remain TRUE to God’s Words…. “and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

  • I sympathize with your frustrations. You are not alone.

    I try to focus on the only thing that will matter when we die….. whether we trust only in Jesus Christ and His merits for the forgiveness of sins. Liturgical practices and procedures mean nothing compared with the faith in Christ that the Holy Spirit put in the hearts of believers. This is the only thing that will give us peace and contentment knowing we are a child of God through faith in His Son Jesus.

  • Unfortunately, when we descend into Protestant and “Evangelical” “liturgies” from the proper liturgy, people don’t follow Christ anymore and the faith dies. This is why God gives us specific commandments. This is why he specifically gave St. Peter the keys to the kingdom and talks about One Church, unified in spirit and body.

    You should also recognize that the illegitimate actions of Luther and other Protestants are what led to the Secularist Apostasy. After those Protestants said “why do we have to listen to the pope?”, eventually people said “why do we have to listen to Luther?” It went from “why do we need the Church as an authority?” to “why do we need Christ?” to “why do we need God at all?”

    Christ only promises that the Holy Spirit will protect his One Church. He doesn’t speak of 40,000 Protestant/”Evangelical” denominations. The people in the Church are just as sinful, but the Holy Spirit guides and protects the Church while all of the denominations rise up and die.

    The perfect liturgy is a result of the proper development of the tradition of following ALL of God’s commandments (not picking and choosing them as Protestants do). The purpose of the liturgy, Holy Communion, is “the source and summit” of Christian life. It is what draws everyone in and keeps them. Protestant and “Evangelical” churches, or whatever else they’re called in the future, will always rise, then wither and die like all the others.

    God bless you.

  • They’re not teaching the Gospel and the Law if they don’t celebrate Holy Communion and obey the pope, who Christ gave the keys to.
    The keys to the kingdom are a direct reference to the giving of the keys in the Old Testament as a symbol of authority over the kingdom while the king was away. Christ is with the Father in Heaven, so he has left the keys to St. Peter.
    This makes perfect sense, as Christ was always using the OT to explain himself and his intentions.

  • So you’re going to move in with the Hindus and live as an untouchable? Do you want to live in a Muslim society and genitally mutilate young girls?
    Why is it that you prefer Christian societies? I’ll tell you. Christianity is the True Religion and Christ’s wisdom is the absolute basis of modernity. The very reason your sensibilities are so delicate is because Christ’s wisdom caused Christians to address so many of the brutal truths of the world.
    Christians are the reason that women aren’t considered equivalent to livestock anymore (as even the noblest of the savages in the Secularist mind, the Ancient Greeks, believed them to be). Christians are the reason state-sponsored slavery has been abolished.
    No other religion was responsible for any of that. Other religions either make small, ultimately insignificant contributions or lead society backward. Only Christian cultures and those which imitate them are pushing forward in any meaningful sense.

    On top of all of that, the cosmology of Christianity makes far more sense than any other, including the lunatic theories of Secularists.

    Contraception, abortion and homosexuality have never reduced poverty or the unwanted pregnancy rate. They’re straight from Satan and only harm people and never help them.

    Homosexuality is a form of lust and adultery. It breaks down the family. Engaging in homosexual perversion increases the rate of STDs, depression and suicide. Children are far more healthier with one father and one mother who are married to each other. Homosexual and other sexual perversions break the family apart, which weakens society. This is exactly what the Soviet Union did to its people in order to control them and that’s why our elite is making sexual perversion “cool”.

    God save your soul.

  • She was rewarded for being faithful to God and cooperating with his plan even though she didn’t like the idea of her husband sleeping with another woman. I know it’s almost impossible for the average Secularist to imagine the possibility of sacrificing one’s own desires in order to be obedient to God for the greater good! 🙂

  • Judging involves handing down a sentence. What sentence have I handed down to you or anyone else?
    God made the judgment that engaging in homosexual perversion is a sin. I’m simply repeating his judgment, not making my own.
    For the record, I used to defend sexual sins because I enjoy sexual sins and hoped against hope that God was ok with it before I could no longer deny clear Church teachings against sex outside of marriage.

    God bless you.

  • There is no Heaven on Earth. You’re only going to find Hell pretending that this sinful place is your home. Your heart should be with God and away from the sins that people love so much on Earth.

    God bless you.

  • The rejection of homosexual behavior that is found in the Old Testament is well known. In Genesis 19, two angels in disguise visit the city of Sodom and are offered hospitality and shelter by Lot. During the night, the men of Sodom demand that Lot hand over his guests for homosexual intercourse. Lot refuses, and the angels blind the men of Sodom. Lot and his household escape, and the town is destroyed by fire “because the outcry against its people has become great before the Lord” (Gen. 19:13).

    Throughout history, Jewish and Christian scholars have recognized that one of the chief sins involved in God’s destruction of Sodom was its people’s homosexual behavior. But today, certain homosexual activists promote the idea that the sin of Sodom was merely a lack of hospitality. Although inhospitality is a sin, it is clearly the homosexual behavior of the Sodomites that is singled out for special criticism in the account of their city’s destruction. We must look to Scripture’s own interpretation of the sin of Sodom.

    Jude 7 records that Sodom and Gomorrah “acted immorally and indulged in unnatural lust.” Ezekiel says that Sodom committed “abominable things” (Ezek. 16:50), which could refer to homosexual and heterosexual acts of sin. Lot even offered his two virgin daughters in place of his guests, but the men of Sodom rejected the offer, preferring homosexual sex over heterosexual sex (Gen. 19:8–9). Ezekiel does allude to a lack of hospitality in saying that Sodom “did not aid the poor and needy” (Ezek. 16:49). So homosexual acts and a lack of hospitality both contributed to the destruction of Sodom, with the former being the far greater sin, the “abominable thing” that set off God’s wrath.

    But the Sodom incident is not the only time the Old Testament deals with homosexuality. An explicit condemnation is found in the book of Leviticus: “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination. . . . If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall be put to death, their blood is upon them” (Lev. 18:22, 20:13).

    http://www.catholic.com/tracts/homosexuality

  • Do you seriously need me to address every atheist conspiracy theory about the Bible? Are you incapable of your own research? You clearly either haven’t heard of Google or don’t even care about the truth.

    It’s such a typical thing. The American public “educational” system makes Americans so stupid, but they think they’re so smart because they’re full of nonsense Secularist myths.

    —–

    “28 If a man find a damsel that is a virgin, who is not espoused, and taking her, lie with her, and the matter come to judgment: 29 He that lay with her shall give to the father of the maid fifty sides of silver, and shall have her to wife, because he hath humbled her: he may not put her away all the days of his life.

    From the Haydock Bible Commentary
    Ver. 29. Life. A law nearly similar occurs, Exodus xxii. 16, (Haydock) only there Moses speaks of seduction. (Menochius) — If the father or the woman refused their consent to the marriage, the person had only to pay 50 sicles; which the woman received, if her father was not alive. But if they consented, the person who had been condemned by the judge, was bound to marry the woman, how deformed soever. (Selden, Uxor. i. 16.) (Calmet)

    No this doesn’t force a raped woman to marry her attacker”

    http://forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=312861

  • I encourage people to be good to everyone. That doesn’t involve lying to people. We don’t help drug addicts by lying to them and telling them it’s fine to use drugs.

    You’re a codependent and an enabler. You hate anyone who wants to stop the addiction. Devout Catholics are like drug counselors and you’re like the mother of a drug addict and you’re in denial that there’s a problem.

  • The Midianite adult men and women are the ones who conspired to destroy the Jews. The norm in that day would have been for the invading army to rape and kill all of the women, including the little girls.
    God commands the Jews to kill the adult Midianites, who otherwise would have regrouped and rallied more support for destroying the Jews, and the young males. Watch the Godfather 2. Before modern times, it was the norm to go after who ever killed your father and kill them to avenge your father. That’s what the Midianite boys would have done later, just as the adults would have rallied support to destroy the Jews. Little girls weren’t known for avenging their mothers (or fathers). Therefore God says take them among your people. It doesn’t mean rape them. It means take them into the tribe and allow them to grow up and take husbands instead of being raped and murdered, which would have happened if they had been defeated by pretty much anyone other than the Jews.

  • “This is a common mistake for amateurs in theology/philosophy. God is not the author of the evil in the world, nor of death. Death came into the world through sin. God is who redeems us from death, not what causes it.”
    Well, this amateur sees your swallowing whole of an illogical explanation for human suffering an insult to human intelligence. “Respondent superior” is a logical position if the creator really is all powerful and not just a pitiful demon.
    In modern terms, your god has made a defective product, so is responsible for the injuries that it has caused. Apparently god is either the amateur or he is the evil one.

  • Oh give me a break. That’s why the Soviets, who sounded exactly like you when discussing the alleged inferiority of religion, built us such a utopia, am I right? That was a great attempt to “move past societal constructs”!
    And you accuse Christians of ridiculous, impossible dreams!

    That’s the point. Only Christ can save us. It’s ridiculous to put your faith in perfecting mankind or creating some political system that will allow people to move past gender and then hiz and hir can live in eternal utopia.

    It’s nonsense. People are miserable without God. People were absolutely brutal and demonic before Jews and then Christians started to civilize the world a bit. But, just as God promised, most people still refused to listen and thus the world is still full of evil.
    If Secularist beliefs somehow cured religion, then crime rates would plummet and everything would go wonderfully in Secularist countries. Instead, Secularist countries are aborting and euthanizing themselves out of existence and inviting in Muslims to conquer them.

  • God is a proper name. It’s foolish to call him “god”. I don’t believe Donald Duck is real, but I would still appear lazy or illiterate if I referred to him as “donald duck”.

    How is the possibility of evil through free will illogical? It’s perfectly rational. It would not be free will if we couldn’t choose evil.

  • Augustine! What you have chosen to do with your “free will”, is to turn it over to somebody else (the church). This is cowardly. Life constantly demands that we make choices and to enjoy, and to suffer, the results of those choices. You have just buried your talent in the ground (to use a biblical. reference). Shame!

  • I shall try again, in baby steps.
    1. The Christian God(s) are reputed to have limitless power.
    2. They are the prime cause, and have created everything – including we humble beings who are to do the choosing.
    3. We can and do choose evil, on occasion.
    4. The God(s) have the power to correct the situation, but since he/they can never make mistakes (really repent of making man), they must have had that insight before we were created, and have foreseen the results of their creation.
    5. Since we had no hand in our creation, limitations, and inclinations, it is the fault and responsibility of the creater -not the created.
    6. Christian theology tries to shift the blame to the victims (us) with the freewill doctrine, but it is a sham.
    7. If there really were gods (no capitalization needed). I would hate them bitterly (go to a children’s hospital ward sometime).
    8. Since there are no gods (or God(s)), the whole theology gig is just a fraud,
    and the whole notion of a redeemer, is merely a way to control the gullible public – like your honorable self.
    9. The emperor (of heaven) has no clothes to hide behind, but the fearful will not look.
    10 It is shameful and cowardly to call those who can see clearly, EVIL. Look in the mirror instead.

  • You’re comfortable in believing some unseen, all knowing, all controlling entity will engulf you with all these unseen rewards for blindly following its will. Knock your lights out. I’ve seen religions of all sorts create all sort of needless havoc in pursuit of conformity. Fine, dream of reaching that utopia.
    I’m choosing to follow the earthly beliefs of respect towards ALL. I see no purpose in knuckling under to Christian hegemony, theodicy, and all the hypocrites associated with it.

  • You may think that pointing your finger and yelling “sinner” is an easy path to righteousness. However, following the real teachings if Jesus is not a burden. If you followed his teachings, you would live in a heaven in Earth. I can attest to it.
    Stop judging and start loving.

  • I quit the Catholic Church when it became clear to me that it had become a shill for the hypocritical Republican party and was no longer the church of that great liberal Jesus Christ.

  • “. . . Christ’s wisdom is the absolute basis of modernity.” No, modernity began with The Enlightenment which encouraged rational thinking along with the rise of science, and weakening the stranglehold of religion.

    “Christians are the reason that women aren’t considered equivalent to livestock anymore . . .” Isn’t it interesting that, to this day in the US, fanatical Christians are the people who are most resistant to women having equal rights.

    “Christians are the reason state-sponsored slavery has been abolished.” Oops, apparently today’s Christians need to do a better job of sweeping the Southern Baptist Convention under the rug.

    If homosexuality is “a form of lust and adultery,” then heterosexuality must also be as well.

    “Homosexual and other sexual perversions break the family apart, which weakens society.” No, never. It’s bigots like you who do that.

    Isn’t it interesting that God never cared about children being raised by a father and mother. Until science gave us modern medicine, multitudes of women died during childbirth, and many fathers went off to die fighting in holy wars.

    STDs are the result of unsafe sex. And, to whatever extent that depression and suicide may be more prevalent among gay people, it has been documented that it is caused by living in a society among bigots like you.

    If your religion still exists many decades from now, I’m absolutely sure that Christians following in your footsteps will be claiming that
    Christianity was the driving force in ending society’s persecution of
    gay people.

  • I don’t think so. MY moral code requires that I do what’s right. I don’t do it, because of threats from God. I do it, because I believe it’s right. I see no contradiction.

  • You’re full of nonsense. The Church is full of brainwashed Secularists who love their favorite sins more than God just like you. You’d be right at home–scumbag that you are. 🙂

  • I never yelled ‘sinner’ at anyone. I discussed the nature of sin and that made you enraged because you love your favorite sins more than life itself.

    God save your soul!

  • Not blindly. God gave us all the rules we need very clearly.

    You’ve seen religions of all sorts create havoc. You’ve only seen one religion create modernity.

    I’ll also remind you that your fellow Secularists are the worst murderers in history. I don’t agree that you guys lack religion–I think saying you lack religion is simply part of your religion.
    Even if you did truly lack religion, people who say they’re moving beyond religion and have to help evolve the world are the worst murderers in history.

    Why on Earth should I answer for Christians, who have done more charity than any group in history, when you apparently don’t have to answer for the worst murderers in history, your fellow Secularists???

  • You’re making a whole bunch of unsupported, false claims here.

    Move to North Korea if you think atheism is true. Right now you’re voting with your feet and you’re voting to live in a Christian nation and enjoy the fruits of Christian civilization.

  • You don’t even recognize your fallacies.
    If accepting the teachings of an entity means turning your free will over to it, then you turn your free will over to whichever of the 40,000 Protestant versions of theology you follow.
    Me and you are both agreeing to follow a set of rules. I’m simply choosing the set of rules laid out by God’s Church.

    You’re working against God’s Church by lying about it. Your Protestant heresy is all about you being right. I guarantee there’s no humility in your Protestant theology, just triumph that you’re right and everyone else is wrong.
    That’s the problem. In Protestantism, every man is an island with a one-man church on it. You’ve simply all made yourselves your own popes.
    That’s why we need to follow the only Church that has a direct connection to Christ: the Catholic Church.

    God bless you brother.

  • You might want to refresh yourself with world history. Christian “modernity” is based on the knowledge and practice of pre-Christian civilizations. Knowledge that Christians managed to conveniently forget and or condemn following the fall of Rome. Now, justify the Christianity supported genocide of millions of non-Christians on North American soil. Explain how Christian “modernity” managed to turn its collective back on the 20th genocide on the continent of Europe. IF you had studied your history thoroughly, you’d undoubtedly learn that many who willfully murdered millions of Jews were practitioners of some brand of Christianity.

    Notice how you point out the genocidal history of non-Christians yet skip over the genocidal history of Christians? What is it? Can you not account for their behavior?

    “God gave us all the rules we need very clearly.”
    No your god did not. Study of pre-Christian culture, agriculture, medicine, and science. If you god gave these “clear rules”, why has man constantly manipulated these rules since the pre-Vulgate edition.
    You’re not dealing with a hide bound, narrow viewed atheist here. I’ve traveled the globe during my military career and carefully studied just about all the cultures I experienced directly. Had a history lesson on the Coptic while transitioning the Suez Canal atop the flight deck of an aircraft carrier. Yeah, that’s right. I and my immediately family served to protect your rights to practice your chosen religion in accordance with the 1st amendment. However, no where in our commissioned and enlisted oaths was it mandated the we back Christian hegemony only. Yet that’s what North America has been since Spanish, Italian, and English speakers first touched its soil. So tout all the greatness of Christian modernity all you wish, yet do not forget all the vile behavior of Christians during the establishment of all this modernity upon US soil.

  • “You’re making a whole bunch of unsupported, false claims here”
    I have made no claims at all, except to be a thinking and observant human being. It is the Church that has made all the claims, and deliberately persuaded ordinary people to confuse mythology with history. Alfre Loisy, for one, has detailed the history of the fraud which you so enthusiastically

  • embrace. Naturally Loisy was excommunicated- what else could they do? Well, the poor man was exiled to a (gasp) secular university, where he chaired the department of religion for the next couple of decades. Must be a small difference of scholarly opinion-no?

  • I think I’m a scumbag too because I was raised Secularist. (I really don’t think either of us are “scumbags”. I was joking. I think we act like scumbags sometimes because we were raised Secularists, but that, underneath it all, we’re both children of God.)

  • “The Law is very clear…” As a lawyer, I am very edified that “the law” (in this case, somebody’s opinion concerning church law) is very clear. I am more than confused when Catholics get divorces, annulments, (pick your word to describe permission to disobey the “clear” rules), for the consideration of a bit of money and some legal jargon (If I may be so bold). You really do appear to be a simpleton. Men, not moral principle, govern the church. It has alway been thus. FWIW, I have been married (only once) for some 45 years, without the blessing of any church. Moral behavior usually results from the desire of a person to behave morally, and be recognized as reliable by his community- not from fear of punishment. Anybody with a child should realize that.

  • The Church teaches the fullness of truth. Secularists such as yourself are full of false myths to justify your morally bankrupt ideology. The only reason your belief system exists is because the Immoral Majority love their favorite sins.

  • You do nothing but accuse others falsely. I have no belief system, nor any beliefs. I desire no belief system. I agree with those who consider all such systems arrogant, presumptuous, and superficial. Siddhartha refused to speculate about the Gods. Who dares calls him immoral or uncaring?

  • Haha! You’re so silly. Are you really so foolish that you don’t realize that you’ve just attempted to articulate your belief system for me?
    Why should I have any more respect for Siddhartha than any other broken, son of Adam? God save his soul from Hell and God save all of our souls as well!

    The most arrogant fools are the Secularists who pretend to have no religion and no belief system and be above everyone else–that’s how they became the worst murderers in history.

  • Tribes, their gods, the cities, the empires, they come and go- but, the pirates, pickpockets, the priesthood and petty con men, go on forever, because most men do not spend the effort to think and observe, but happily follow the glitter and not the wealth in life. Desire must be contained before one can see clearly. Those consumed with desire for the impossible (to know the truth, to live forever, etc., etc.) will always be conned and controlled by those more clever than themselves. That is why Siddhartha (the Buddha) is more important than your so called secularists or the religionists. He is among the great men who help us know ourselves better and escape from Plato’s cave.

  • You seem to have an extreme desire to be right, so your claims seem incredibly hypocritical. It’s quite silly when Secularists try to embrace Far East religions because in almost every case, they’re too lazy to understand anything at all about them. This is why real Buddhists and real Hindus despise hippy impostors–you guys make their religions look like a joke to serious people. (I’m not trying to be mean–we Christians have plenty of fundamentalists and conspiracy theorists to make us cringe in polite company.)

    Jesus Christ is God. All other men are capable of flashes of genius, but ultimately fail us. Even great Christians can’t save us.

    God bless you.

  • I am neither a Buddhist nor a Platonist. nor in any of the other pigeon holes that you insist of disposing of me in. I am merely an independent critical thinker that stopped being a follower over thirty years ago, when I finally came to the realization that nobody “knew” about reality, or even “knew” themselves. The real art of priesthoods is rhetoric, backed by intimidation. There is no supernatural, there is only what is in our heads, and that is distorted both going in and coming out.
    Jesus and Siddhartha, have in common that neither intended to found a religion, and It is fairly easy to prove that they would have disowned their followers who did.

  • Would be better if we all started shunning religious perversion. Stop sending scammers “seed” money to prove their faith and gain a reward Stop creating the breeding ground for pederasts and perverts of all stripes (24 Protestants of various stripes arrested in one month, in one state, for sexual crimes ranging from violent rape to rape of children). Stop supporting a Catholic church that routinely puts its interests first and allows priests to crawl under the (low secular) bar that determines what is punishable by law, which in theory would be an easy criterion to meet when their putative, erroneous “objective morality” lays claim to such an exalted high ground. Stop lending even a political ear to those who feel they need to correct others with their own houses in such disarray. And stop financially supporting religion with our tax laws, allowing them to shun their own financial obligations to the government, and so onto the backs of everyone else, with the premise that this is anything but a form of welfare for freeloaders.

  • But then he dresses it up at the end with a “God bless you,” as if that actually did anything but tie his egregious behaviors directly in our minds with his belief.

  • Your entire life is based on an unprovable fantasy and you try to deflect by saying secularism (whose basis is supremely rational–to the exclusion of unfettered “opinion”) is intellectually weak? Projection ( a secularist/intellectual/rational concept by the way) is not your friend.

  • I think you’re confused.

    Christians (St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Thomas More, Duns Scotus, Erasmus, etc.) developed proper Secularism. Secularists have made an incredibly powerful, worldwide cult of their perversion of proper Secularism.

    So what are you? An atheist? Atheists believe the most ridiculous nonsense imaginable–that everything comes from nothing for no reason. Christian cosmology is completely logical and makes more sense than any other. There is nothing irrational about a Creator God creating the world and bestowing intelligence upon us (just as we beget new forms of intelligence with the intelligence that God gave us). That makes perfect sense. The ridiculous idea is that our intelligence comes from nothing for no reason (i.e. Atheism).

  • The basis of your whole belief system is one of confusion. In that way you’re more like a dog–than a dog. We know they have morals, because they have shame. Their owners shame them. You have neither.

  • You don’t actually have an argument so I feel comfortable relying on authority and saying that Galileo, who was a devout Catholic, was more intelligent than you are. Why would I listen to a relatively uneducated young man like you when you contradict Galileo’s beliefs?

  • He’s treating you, in particular, as stupid, and bigoted, and irrational, because you are saying and believing in stupid and bigoted and irrational notions. It’s your behavior that is characterizing you. All anyone need do is start typing your name in Google, and before they are even done they will see a religious website, your reputed brethren, that is dedicated to discrediting you and your delirium, your derangment, your delusion, your dementia. I’d call that disquieting, but you still rant on.

  • That doesn’t make any sense. We were talking about the absurdity of your belief system. Stop trying to change the subject.

  • Nothing in your whole system makes sense, so it stands to reason that anything outside of that would leave you befuddled.

  • Civilization is not Christian. This nation is not Christian; it isn’t even religious. It is explicitly non-religious. Such is the state of your confusion, or delusion.

  • The media never gave a r*ts *ss about religious thought, or any thought at all. The press focuses on events, acts and behaviors, always has. The curtain has been pulled back. So many of those espousing “religious thought” are being characterized now, not by what they declaim, but by what they do.

  • Yes, that is what the world is doing. Thank the Lord that Jesus and His truth can beat the world with just a little faith, eh?

  • You’re regurgitating Secularist myths. 99.9% of the people who founded this country were very explicit about it being a proudly Christian nation. Even the Founders who questioned established churches were never uncertain about the superiority of Christian civilization above all others because of the truth of Christ’s wisdom and claims.

    And anyway, there are always going to be doubters. It’s human nature. You and most the other Atheists, Agnostics and other “enlightened” Secularists are simply stuck at the Age of Not Believing. 🙂

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