Columns DIY Faith Opinion Tara Isabella Burton: Religion Remixed

If God is dead, is it OK if we save ourselves?

Reaching the light at the end of the tunnel, or glimpsing the center, might be completely up to the individual. Photo courtesy of Creative Commons

(RNS) — “The first virtue is curiosity. A burning itch to know is higher than a solemn vow to pursue truth.”

So begins the de facto manifesto of Eliezer Yudkowsky, an artificial intelligence researcher whose two blogs, Overcoming Bias and Less Wrong, have become foundational texts for the rationalist community: a loosely connected subculture defined by its commitment to, well, rational thought.

For rationalists, most of whom identify as secular, the brain is evolutionarily programmed to be irrational — evidenced by its need for meaning-making and its automatic biases. But through judicious application of intellectual rigor, they say, our natural tendencies can be “hacked.”

So for Yudkowsky, who elucidates 12 virtues in all, including evenness, argument, empiricism and humility, the most important is one he does not name, referring to it only as “the void”: “If for many years you practice the techniques and submit yourself to strict constraints,” he writes, “it may be that you will glimpse the center. Then you will see how all techniques are one technique, and you will move correctly without feeling constrained.”

Yudkowsky may be an avowed secularist, but this doesn’t sound exactly secular. Rather, his language and imagery are deeply rooted in the language and imagery of religious purification and gnostic knowledge. Practice techniques. Itch to know. Glimpse the center.

Eliezer Yudkowsky in 2006. Photo courtesy of Creative Commons

We see this a lot with rationalism: It sets itself up as the alternative to theistic religion, but when it comes to its systemic makeup, it leans heavily upon it. Self-purification — the eradication of biases, the swordlike honing of thought — leads ultimately to societal purification: an earthly kingdom optimized for maximal mental efficiency.

Lately, it’s not just the rationalists. In differing ways, our culture is becoming increasingly optimistic about our ability to hack our minds, our bodies and our relationships to create a better world. A new utopian positivism has taken hold. Like the Marxists of previous centuries, primarily secular groups are developing eschatologies of human self-improvement.

Last month, the conservative cultural commentator Andrew Sullivan made a similar point in New York magazine about the social justice movement, which he called a new civil religion, and archly compared today’s “social justice warriors” to religious zealots.

“Social-justice ideology does everything a religion should,” Sullivan wrote. “It offers an account of the whole. … Like the puritans who were agape when someone said ‘goddamn,’ the new faithful are scandalized when someone says something ‘problematic.’”

Sullivan is right to call “social justice” a kind of religion. He is right, too, that the movement, like nearly all religious movements, has jargon and rituals in place to police and “purify” its membership.

Andrew Sullivan in 2014. Photo courtesy of Creative Commons

But what Sullivan fails to grapple with is the fundamental optimism of these movements. He’s too busy criticizing to note how or why they’re reimagining the human condition.

Sullivan’s vision of “social justice religion” is rooted in the idea of substitution: People are drawn to their various secular religions because we no longer have the unifying religion that was, say, mainline Protestant Christianity. He also considers these civic religions somehow more insidious and less legitimate than their doctrinal counterparts.

But what we’re seeing is not a substitution of one kind of faith for another. As a culture we’re putting our faith in ourselves. Salvation has been relocalized; the new secular faiths think humans have the potential to save ourselves.

You can see this as communities across the United States actively attempt to remake and remap human nature. Transhumanists are attempting to radicalize cryogenics and reverse aging. “Intentional polyamorists” and “relationship anarchists” subvert “toxic monogamy culture.” They’re seeking out blueprints to rewire our bodies, our minds and our social relationships – exploring new avenues of what it means to become our “best selves.”

It’s possible, as Sullivan does, to read these quests as doomed attempts to override what we can never overcome. Maybe they are. But the increasing prominence of these “new utopian” groups represents more than the collapse of traditional religion. It also tells us about the collapse of traditional notions of human frailty.

Fewer and fewer of us may believe in God or spirits. But now, more than ever, we’re willing to put our trust in the better angels of our own nature.

About the author

Tara Isabella Burton

Burton, who received a doctorate in theology from Oxford University, is at work on a book about the rise of the religiously unaffiliated in America, to be published in November 2020 by Public Affairs. Her novel, “Social Creature,” was published in June 2018.

163 Comments

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  • My late father always used to say, “work as though everything depended on you and pray as though everything depended on God.” I’ve always liked that because it covers all the bases.

  • Well let us again go to the specifics about religion (please skip if you are not new to this blog):

    The Great Kibosh of All Religions:

    Putting the kibosh on all religion in less than ten seconds: Priceless !!!

    • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are non-existent.

    • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Moses i.e the pillars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.

    • There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.

    • There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion.

    • There was no Moroni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.

    • Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.

    • Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated/reborn Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on Buddhism.

    • A constant cycle of reincarnation until enlightenment is reached and belief that various beings (angels?, tinkerbells? etc) exist that we, as mortals, cannot comprehend makes for a no on Sikhism.

    Added details available upon written request.

    A quick search will put the kibosh on any other groups calling themselves a religion.

    e.g. Taoism

    “The origins of Taoism are unclear. Traditionally, Lao-tzu who lived in the sixth century is regarded as its founder. Its early philosophic foundations and its later beliefs and rituals are two completely different ways of life. Today (1982) Taoism claims 31,286,000 followers.

    Legend says that Lao-tzu was immaculately conceived by a shooting star; carried in his mother’s womb for eighty-two years; and born a full grown wise old man. ”

    Now how does an atheist/secularist perform in this kiboshed environment?

    All religions will finally go extinct from their own absurdity.. It is therefore time to live with a few rules like “Do No Harm” “And Love Thy Neighbor” and convert all houses of “worthless worship” to recreation facilities and parks.

  • “Salvation exists in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” (The name being Jesus) Acts 4:12

  • “Put not your trust in princes, nor in the sons of men, in whom there is no salvation.
    When his breath departs, he returns to the earth; on that very day his plans perish.” (Psalm 146:3-4)

  • “God is Dead” is one of the most misunderstood phrases by Nietzsche. It is not a call for atheism, it does not even support it. It is a statement of a believer who attributes civilization to God and belief, who is dealing with it diminished. A lamentation against secularism.

    Only a believer can believe God existed in the first place, let alone to be dying or dead.

  • When you stop worshipping God, you start worshipping yourself.

    (An extremely poor substitute, I might add.)

  • Let’s try again:

    When his breath/ruach/pnevmatos/soul departs, he/his body/what is left when the spirit departs, returns to the Earth/decays and rots.

    On that very day all his plans are brought to nought.

    No mention of his thoughts perishing.

    The final disposition of the person – for good or ill – would be after the Last Judgement.

  • When a child is born to religious parents, they present him with a bible.

    When an atheist couple have a child – they present him with a library card.

  • All Man needs is to understand his inherited unique personal genetic attributes : the physical, psychological, emotional, values and knowledge, his ancestors – and all mankind have imbued him, and us, with for over 300,000 + yrs.

    And he will be at peace with himself and his fellow man.

  • And if the child of the atheist couple is wise, he’ll use that card to take out a Bible, the Lives of the Saints, and the writings of the ancient Church Fathers.

    if not, he will just follow his parent’s ignorant atheist darkness.

  • Funny how many people like to claim their personal views are really God’s word. Not so much worshiping God as it is using God as an excuse from personal responsibility.

  • You need to define what you mean by being saved? As one person pointed out below, saved from what, from whom? You get close with your comment that it is about becoming our best selves. “Being Saved” is about saving ourselves from our baser instincts.Religions of all stripes realized this BUT they lost their way with institutionalized doctrines and dogmas, and when the preservation of the institution became more important than what the institution was set up to do in the first place–help people find a way to live in the world without killing each other!

  • I hadn’t looked at Nietzsche’s comment in that light. It does give one food for thought! IF God is supposed to be a loving, compassionate, forgiving God that cares about his creation then the state of the world shows that there is something wrong and the only conlclusion for a believer would be to claim “God is dead”.

    This is the basis of the whole field of Theodicy, that Theologians have failed to deal with adequately. Theodicy is basically the study of why a perfect God could create an imperfect world, or to put it another way why this perfect God can allow suffering in this world. If he can do something and does nothing he isn’t perfect but a flawed character. If he can only watch and do nothing he isn’t perfect or all powerful. Again the only rational conclusion for a Theist would be that “God is dead”!

  • If the child of the atheist couple is wise he will read far more than just the Bible and he will follow his parents into enlightenment, a better, happier and fuller life!

  • No one can truly know what lies beyond, at least not in this earthly realm. But what we can do is commit and it is our commitments that define our lives. That, to me, is what faith is, the willingness to pitch one’s tent with a particular tradition and plumb it for all the wisdom one can find.

    I don’t begrudge anyone their belief system or lack of one. But I do find it curious (and tedious) when people feel obliged to spend so much time attacking and belittling the beliefs of others. That, to me, smacks of defensiveness and a lack of self-assurance.

    Personally, I find it much more interesting to discuss what different faiths, philosophies and perspectives have in common. When different paths lead to the same conclusions, that’s worth paying attention to.

  • Yudkowsky basically runs a doomsday-prevention scam with his project to protect the world from the science-fictional nonsense about “unfriendly AI.” He even latched onto the intellectual fad called “effective altruism” to try to shake more money loose and send it in his direction so that he won’t ever have to get real job which adds value to society. No one rational should pay attention to him or give him money.

  • How clever by half.
    Mans humility in seeking the creator compared to mans arrogance in his admiration of self.
    You continue to prove mans debasement is self-inflicted.

  • It’s important to read more than the Bible; that’s why I mentioned the extensive writings of the ancient Fathers and the Lives of the Saints.

    It’s also useful to read non-Christian as well as secular works, to become better appraised of their errors and shortcomings.

    Since a better, happier, fuller life, as well as true enlightenment, all come from God the Giver of Life, that child is not going to find any of those good things by following his atheistic parents.

  • If God is dead then who among us takes on his “Godly” powers. Men remove God in order to step into his place. Some of the most brutal leaders have been Atheists who exercised their power of life and death over 100s of millions.

  • That is what Jacob thought, may be he can climb the ladder to heaven somehow. But wait! Only Jesus said this after Nathaniel confessed as follows:

    “Nathaniel answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” Jesus answered him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these.” And he said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.” (End of John Chapter 1)

    No confession, no revelation.

  • If the child of an atheist couple is wise, he’ll burn some incense when he gets old enough to thank the deity, Karma, or luck that he wasn’t aborted.

  • “I hadn’t looked at Nietzsche’s comment in that light. It does give one food for thought! IF God is supposed to be a loving, compassionate, forgiving God that cares about his creation then the state of the world shows that there is something wrong and the only conlclusion for a believer would be to claim ‘God is dead’.”

    If you hadn’t looked at in that light, it is only because you lack a sense of humor.

    “If it turns out that there is a God…the worst that you can say about him is that basically he’s an underachiever.”

    – Woody Allen

    Of course that’s based on a lack of knowledge about what God is in the Abrahamic religions.

  • Where are empathy and compassion? Why aren’t they on his list of virtues? Trump is the perfect example of a person without empathy or compassion.

  • Funny how you like to comment about religious beliefs when you have none and know absolutely nothing about anyone else’s.

  • I agree. Why do Evangelical Christians quote the “New Testament” to answer every problem? It’s not even part of my Bible?

  • I see you subscribe to the Jeffrey Salkin school of evaluation.

    His big prediction for 2019 was that American Jews will remain Democrats.

    I have some family and friends I would like him to meet.

  • “But I do find it curious (and tedious) when people feel obliged to spend
    so much time attacking and belittling the beliefs of others.”

    Odd. That’s what half the official RNS pundits spend their time doing.

  • Then don’t listen.

    The entire world is not obligated to tailor their arguments and comments to suit your particular beliefs.

    I accept I live in a predominantly Christian nation.

  • Trump only cares about himself. He is narcissist. 70% of Jews voted for Hillary Clinton. Whoever the Democratic candidate in 2020 wil be, he/she will do just as well. Any family or friends that will vote for Trump are a tiny minority of Jewish Americans just like the far-left Jews.

  • Catholics, Orthodox, Anglicans, and many Protestants have their own versions of Saint’s Lives.

    Foxe’s Book of Martyrs is an example of the Protestant kind.

  • It’s enjoyable and very educational to argue religion as long as people stay reasonably civil – which is not always the case here. I wouldn’t be here if not for my spell as a Jehovah Witness.

    Why are you here?

  • I rarely see veneration of saints in Protestant sects outside of Anglicanism. It cuts too close to idolatry for some of them. But you supported your point there. Good job.

  • No. Who says Floydlee is right? The Bible states you either serve god or satan. I don’t serve god therefore, according to Bible, I serve Satan. But I don’t believe the Bible.

  • Its funny how the most arrogant people one generally sees in their lives are the ones who claims to be besties with God. Irony incarnate.

  • Since when does religion entail economic theory?

    I will say one thing, its much easier to support a position when you are not tied down to habitual liars and bigots like conservatives do. Intellectual honesty is not a trait of conservative religious belief either.

  • But the most longstanding and destructive brutality has been done in the name of religion.

    The most destructive war ever fought by humanity was instigated by two countries deeply tied to reactionary religious belief.,

  • Socialism is not a religion. Its funny how you pretend the economic political polices of the entire developed democratic world are somehow this “Great Satan” to you. Those Evil Canadians and South Koreans!

    Is the sky brown colored in your world?

    Religion of the State = State sponsored religion. Entanglement of church and state. Its telling the only depictions of a Christian Dominionist state in popular culture are dystopian hellholes.

    All I have to say is nobody ever called Nazis or Japanese Imperialists, Left Wing groups (with a straight face).

  • My impression is to serve God to the best of my ability in this world, and to be happy with him in the next.

  • The Jews in Israel like him a lot better than Barack Obama.

    The statement “Whoever the Democratic candidate in 2020 wil be, he/she will do just as well.” more or less says a thought process and evaluation may not occur.

    Anti-abortion pro-Second Amendment Jews like Trump better than Barack Obama and did not vote for Hillary.

    On the other hand:

    https://hotair.com/archives/2019/01/22/poll-74-dems-consider-voting-ocasio-cortez-president-eligible/

    Frightening really.

  • Oh, like happened in the Soviet Union or the Third Reich?

    Could you fill us in on what religion they were?

  • No Mr. Brant, we create a better, happier, fuller, life for ourselves WITH the help of family and friends and other people we come in contact with.

  • That seems not to be working out all that well in North Korea, which of course is officially atheist.

    Perhaps you can point to an example, such as those atheist hospitals, or atheist charities?

  • I have no idea about atheist hospitals or charities in North Korea. Nor does North Korea have anything to do with Atheism in the UnitedStates.

  • I’ll tell you what, you often come in a close second to the angry dog with how you talk to people here.

  • Of course if existing ‘theological’ Christology had ever delivered on the Promises of the first Incarnation, resolving the problem of evil, making known unambigously the reality of G-d, by some authentic experience of omnipotent transcendence, this conversation would not be happening. So it is no wonder that others are looking elsewhere to seek out and fulfill their ‘spiritual’ aspirations and a greater understanding of the human condition. They may fail in their search, but breaking free of the self limiting box of scholastic theology, someone may yet stumble upon something both unexpected and outside the ability of institutional religion to control. If as I suspect, the first Incarnatnion failed, only to be replace by the theological counterfeit of history and tradition, I can imagine a second coming, not to confirm any existing religious claims, but to expose the folly of man’s intellectual attempt to comprehend the mind of G-d and offering correction to our understanding of the Father; to those with the humilty to comprehend the magintude of error which Christology is founded upon.

  • “When you stop worshipping God, you start worshipping yourself.”

    No . . . When you stop worshiping God, you’ve stopped kissing his butt.

    It’s obvious that “worshiping god,” “praising god,” and “glorifying god” are nothing but euphemisms for “kissing god’s butt” in a desperate effort to avoid his infamous wrath and perhaps even gain some personal favors. Any god that has a need to be worshiped, praised, and glorified is no better than Donald Trump, and therefore deserves to be condemned. But of course, the reality is that a god needing to be worshiped, praised, and glorified was obviously invented by humans as part of their personal delusions and/or for fraudulent purposes such as exercising dominion over other people.

  • You stated that the basis for your assessment was “atheism”, but your response indicates it was just your assessment and you happen to be an atheist and happen to be in the United States.

    You happen to know what you like.

  • The final words of the author from above encapsulates the situation: “But now, more than ever, we’re willing to put our trust in the better angels of our own nature.

  • Reminds me again of the following:

    “The Two Universal Sects

    They all err—Moslems, Jews,
    Christians, and Zoroastrians:

    Humanity follows two world-wide sects:
    One, man intelligent without religion,

    The second, religious without intellect. ”

    Al-Ma’arri
    , born AD 973 /, died AD 1058 / .

    Al-Ma’arri was a blind Arab philosopher, poet and writer.[1][2] He was a controversial rationalist of his time, attacking the dogmas of religion and rejecting the claim that Islam possessed any monopoly on truth.”

    Read more: http://www.answers.com/topic/resalat-al-ghufran#ixzz1lI6DuZmZ and http://www.humanistictexts.org/al_ma'arri.htm

    “Death’s Debt is Paid in Full

    Death’s debt is then and there
    Paid down by dying men;
    But it is a promise bare
    That they shall rise again. ”

    Al-Ma’arri

  • Obviously if there is deity, and he can do bad things to you for eternity, kissing his ring, his butt, or anything else would probably be a good idea if that is the deity’s wish.

    Donald Trump can’t create matter out of nothing or give life to anything.

    So, thanks for sharing your personal delusions for your own amusement and/or fraudulent purposes.

  • God is not dead and reaching the light at the end of the tunnel is somewhat up to the individual. Moses did go over to the burning bush to see what was going on. Samuel did not answer God until after he went in to inquire of Eli. Naomi and Ruth did not sit on their hands and pine away, they actively sought after Boaz. We certainly cannot save ourselves, but it might not hurt to keep Him in mind and be proactive.

  • Mark Connelly aka Bob Arnzen aka Jose Carioca

    The Right Honorable Fresh-Dump Custodian of the Papal Privy

  • The Christian God, du jour, has only been fashionable for a few thousand yrs, and is only one of several thousand currently extant Gods.

    Mankind has been around for 200,000 – 300,000 yrs. There were thousands of Gods who were around long before JC’s alleged father seduced a very minor girl-child, and cuckolded her husband. Something like you would read in an unexpurgated story by the Brothers Grimm.

    The Christian God will join the ranks of Osiris, Marduk and Baal, who were the Gods du jour of their day.

    The Christian God, in the not too distant future, will be replaced by another God du jour.

    Her name will probably be something like : Srekcus, Duarf or even Malf-Milf etc….

  • Yes, in the Holy name of Jesus!
    But here it seems that some want to save themselves instead of the salvation proposed by Jesus.
    For me science and technological evolution is not necessarily opposed to Jesus (Traditional religion).
    We still need the Salvation from Heaven, those of Jesus, no matter the scientific evolution.

  • You are right @elegabalus:disqus. And I personally took mine this statement from St. Ignatius of Loyola.

  • “someone may yet stumble upon something both unexpected and outside the ability of institutional religion to control.”
    It’s already here. It’s called variously science, secular humanism, and atheism.

  • Because you make statements about Evangelicals, various churches and denominations, and what they believe/teach… so, finally, people say, “Who cares what the various denominations teach? If Jesus words were written down, that’s the “source”…not what the Catholics say, or the Methodists, and others. No institution supersedes His words.

  • Trump is bad for American Jews. Israeli Jews don’t have to care about that. They don’t vote in US elections. There aren’t many anti-abortion or pro-Second Amendment Jews. Jewish law allows abortion if the life or health of the mother is in danger. More Jews are pro-choice than any other religious or ethinic group in the US. The easy availability of guns made the Tree of Life murders possible. The far-left and the far-right have one thing in common, they ignore the opinions of the vast majority of Jews.

  • I all pro science, and won’t even consider any faith claim that wasn’t backed up by direct, testable evidence. but contrary to the scriptural record, even while no such religious ideal exists, secular humanism and atheism, unfortunately as systems or maodels of value, have no more authority then what pretends to be religion as far a taking mankind of the slippery slope of his own man made hell. And that would appear to be the conundrum our species faces. The is no intellectual, moral, spiritual or idealogical potential on the table, able to save man from himself. And that space between a rock and a hard place gets smaller every day. So what do you imagine will blow this status quo out of the water?

  • They have no more authority than religion, true. But no one has ever been murdered in the name of secular humanism.

  • There is no criticism of religion you can make that I don’t wholly agree with. But I don’t default to your reliance on secualr humanism or atheism. My original post is simply asking, if everything we call religion is false, what yet might be possible. The problem with knowing what is false, is that it still doesn’t point to what might be true. So the G-d question remains unresolved. . . for now!

  • The Gospels were all written after Jesus’s death. We don’t know if they were really Jesus’s words.

  • I’ve been taught that we may refer to our “savior” by any name we wish, depending on what sect we belong. What is so special about the name “Jezus”, that we must use it to attain salvation?

  • Do people really believe His name is Jezus, in heaven?
    If that’s case then I’m way off base. I have some entirely different in mind. I wander how many Christians know what His ‘holy’ name actually is.

  • I certainly have no problem at all if you overidentify with the Democratic Party platform – along with Rabbi Salkin, and underidentify with the scriptures and the commands of G-d.

    What I don’t particularly care for is:

    1 – the notion that YOUR view and his are THE Jewish view based on any religious notions, and;

    2 – that all the Jews who disagree with you are somehow less Jewish than you are.

  • He died for you and He is the only way to the Father”
    English Standard Version
    “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6

  • Is there really “no other name” that we can use in order to obtain salvation? What if I wanted to refer to Him as ‘Justice’ instead of Jezus?

  • What if I my church believes that is name should be pronounced ‘Justice’ rather than Jezus. Why wouldn’t that work. If I believe that I know to whom I am referring. Didn’t ‘men’ just create the word ‘jezus’ through the christian church? How did they come up with the name “jezus”?

  • Why not in the “holy name of” James, or John, or Jacob or any other name as long as we know to whom we are referring. 2019 years is a long time to remember someone’s name in its correct form. If you are depending on salvation through a “name” shouldn’t you be careful that you get the name exactly correct if possible and not substitute another name in its place?

  • I said it was the view of the majority of Jews and that is true. 70% of Jews voted for Clinton. There are numerous places in he Bible that say to remember the stranger and treat them well. Nowhere in the Bible does it say to separate the stranger from their children or to mistreat workers. When you back someone who thinks there are fine people who are Nazis, then yes, I do think Jews should not support that person. The Torah says that to be holy is to care for the poor.

  • Unfortunately nothing that you wrote convinces me that beyond misusing the Torah to try to void laws you don’t like and to justify continuing to vote for a pro-abortion party filled with anti-semites and enemies of Israel you have a firm grasp on Judaism as a religion.

  • The Pope – according to his religion – has no particular authority to opine on how any particular government should care for the poor, or whether the theories of man-made climate change are good science or smoke and mirrors.

    Catholicism leaves those decisions up to the lay members, who run governments, who vote, and who have expertise on what best accomplishes the state’s purposes.

    Lining yourself up with a loose bolt who makes comments off the hip without much thought doesn’t raise your stock price.

  • Connelly is a paid apologist for the RCC. He is also known as Bob Arnzen and Joe Carioca. Don’t waste your time attempting to ” educate ” him to any other view than that which he is paid to promulgate and defend.
    Is there anyone else who posts so many comments on a single subject.

  • Christians are of the mind :
    If it’s in the New Testament – I already have it.
    If it’s not in the New Testament – I don’t need it.
    The Luddites of libraries.

  • I think all is about belief here. My answer was a reply to a such comment. We christians believe, according to the Revelation, that we could be saved only in the Holy Name of Jesus. When we say Jesus is the Savior of Humanity, it is about the Heaven. Any salvation, even if unknown is through Him.
    Then, about technological progress, we have to contribute together to Humans well-being and let each one freely choose his God.

  • “The Pope – according to his religion – has no particular authority to
    opine on how any particular government should care for the poor….”

    but he does .

    the pope, as the highest teaching authority in the catholic church has not only the authority but the duty to speak on issues that relate to those poor, at risk, or outcast by society .

    as far as your last sentence i assume you were going for some self-analysis .

  • it seems that Mark Connelly who tries to speak for the catholic church though it seems it he not catholic, now wants to speak for the jewish community though he is not jewish .

    mark is a man of many pretensions .

  • “Donald Trump can’t create matter out of nothing or give life to anything.”

    don’t tell us, tell trump . he still labors under the delusion he can run a government .

  • The constellation of Jews in the two countries are polar opposite. The majority of Jews in the US subscribe to Reform Judaism. Reform Judaism in Israel is a small minority. One would expect that the Jews in the two countries would follow along with the denominational pattern of their particular country.

  • The Bible says that you worship either God or mammon (wealth.) Ha Satan doesn’t figure into the equation in any manner.

  • There are plenty of local, county, regional, state and federal hospitals that are not connected to religious faiths. That steer a path to avoid favoring any faith over another or any faith at all. Constitutionally, they must at least be agnostic.

  • The child should count its lucky stars that its mother was safely able to carry it to term and that anything that might have been wrong in the gestation or birth were overcome enough to allow its life.

  • More likely one would expect the Jews in Israel to be more focused on reality, survival, and realpolitik than their increasingly blue sky cousins in the States who think Senator Charles Schumer is the return of Moses.

  • When the God-men threaten you with hellfire and eternal damnation – it’s not an offering – it’s extortion.

  • 1 John 5:19 ESV
    We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.

  • Three years ago – so how many more – “In 2015, 638,169 legal induced abortions were reported to CDC from 49 reporting areas. The abortion rate for 2015 was 11.8 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15–44 years, and the abortion ratio was 188 abortions per 1,000 live births.” https://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/data_stats/abortion.htm
    Most murdered in the name of “secular humanism” and, that number is only the US.

  • I don’t need to – I read your comments – as heretical as they are.
    Christ will forgive you of your sin – all of them, should you turn to Him, repent and follow Him.

  • Well let me judge rightly then…….no more than me?
    God is faithful to forgive when we turn to Him, repent of our sin, and follow Him. You may be interested in the need for that.

  • Yes, yes, funny face. We all know how highly you think of yourself, not only in your own eyes, but in your fantasy, also in God’s.

    Paul said that (y)our righteousness is like seagull shit. So I’m not impressed with your judging.

  • No, clown girl, everyone can tell from your arrogant pronouncements about everyone else’s sin and need to repent.

  • That’s just your sad deflection.

    What’s more sad is how self-righteously arrogant and judgmental you are to others.

    I’m moving on. I won’t be responding to any more of your childish games tonight.

  • According to HHS, in 2012 some 21,000,000 fetuses worldwide suffered miscarriage and died – and that number has been increasing annually.

    Your God is the most prolific abortionist humanity has ever known.

    According to UNICEF – about 29,000 children under the age of five – 21 each minute – die every day.

    You worship a monster

  • “Fewer and fewer of us may believe in God or spirits. But now, more than ever, we’re willing to put our trust in the better angels of our own nature.”

    And as a result, are likely to make a Hell on Earth, the 20th Century should be a clear, resounding warning of what Utopian thinking leads to. The SJW movement seems to have adopted the aristocratic viewpoint, that some people are fools and need to be hammered into line and ruled by their betters. To paraphrase Chesterton, the problem with the aristocratic view is that it doesn’t reflect reality–better is the Christian view that ALL men are fools, otherwise known as Original Sin. It can also be called the Democratic viewpoint.

  • Every life, according to Islam, Judaism, and Christianity is a direct creation of the Creator.

    One cannot steal what one owns.

    If you happen to run across an abortionist who creates life, and therefore owns it, you’ll be cooking with gas.

    As it is you appear to simply have gas.

    The fact that people die is one of the reasons, btw, that you’re not up to armpits in people 100 to hundreds of thousands of years old.

    I am impressed at your sudden reference for life, however.

    If you hang in there with that you’ll eventually figure why abortion is reprehensible.

  • patrick is a known anti-Catholic who used to haunt the Comments at National Catholic Reporter until they wisely closed them.

    His path to anti-Catholicism and anger is a sad one, and only the fact that Disqus rules prohibit sharing personal information on others precludes me from sharing it.

    Pay him no never mind.

  • Christ didn’t cause these women to murder their children patrick.
    As far as unicef – those children were not aborted

  • If God is dead, where’s the party?

    If I show up at the Pearly Gates and am told that fundamentalists and reactionaries are within, I’m going to ask Peter to send me to Heaven, instead. Sharing space with closed-minded types would be my hell :o)

  • In similiar vein the Prophet said, “Work for the affairs of the world as if you were going to live forever but work for the Hereafter as though you will die tomorrow.”

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