Study: 24% of Americans now either atheist, agnostic, or deist

posted at 5:50 pm on March 9, 2009 by Allahpundit

Red meat to cleanse the palate via the American Religious Identification Survey, well seasoned and tenderized thanks to a sample of 54,000 people. (Margin of error: 0.5 percent.) You’ll find the key data in Table 3. Self-identified atheists and agnostics have tripled since 1990, from 1.1 million people to north of 3.6 million — but the number who now claim “no religion” is 34 million, or fully 15 percent. So where does that 24 percent figure in the headline come from? Right here:

Note that the percentage who agree that “there is no such thing” is more than three times the percentage who self-identify as atheist in Table 3, meaning people are eschewing the label — probably either because of residual stigma in the culture or because high-profile proselytizing atheists have done such a good job of alienating the public that even those who agree with them don’t want to be associated. Meanwhile, people agreeing with any of the first three statements total 12.1 percent, which is more than seven times the total number of self-identified atheists and agnostics in Table 3. Toss in the deists via the fourth statement and you reach an obvious conclusion: A lot of people who identify as Christian have some highly nuanced beliefs about the Christian concept of God. What would one call a Christian who’s not sure he believes in a divine father? An atheistic theist? That label has been used before.

Exit question: How skewed is the data by the fact it only accounts for U.S. adults and therefore offers no prediction about the next generation? Hmmmm.


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There are many early Christian writings from the first 3 centuries that show that the first Christians clearly believed in Sacred Tradition.

And who does the Bible itself call the pillar and foundation of truth?

1 Timothy 3:15:
“But if I should be delayed, you should know how to behave in the household of God, which is THE CHURCH of the living God, THE PILLAR AND FOUNDATION OF TRUTH.”

Here are some other Scriptures:

Matthew 28:19-20:
“Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, TEACHING THEM TO OBSERVE ALL THAT I HAVE COMMANDED YOU. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.” (everything Jesus commanded them was not in the Old Testament)

2 Thessalonians 2:15:
“So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the TRADITIONS which you were TAUGHT by us, either by WORD OF MOUTH or BY LETTER.”

2 Thessalonians 3:6:
“Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is living in idleness and not in accord with the TRADITIONS that you RECEIVED from us”

John 14:25-26:
“I have told you this while I am with you. The Advocate, the holy Spirit that the Father will send in my name–he will teach you EVERYTHING and REMIND YOU OF ALL THAT I TOLD YOU.”

John 15:26-27:
“When the Advocate comes whom I will send you from the Father, the Spirit of truth that proceeds from the Father, he will testify to me. And YOU ALSO TESTIFY, because you have been with me from the beginning.”

John 21:25:
“There are also many other things that Jesus did, but if these were to be described individually, I do not think the whole world would contain the books that would be written.”

Act 2:42:“They devoted themselves to the TEACHING OF THE APOSTLES and to the communal life, to the breaking of the bread and to the prayers.”

1 Peter 1:25:
“‘but the word of the Lord remains forever.’ This is the word that has been PROCLAIMED to you.”

2 Peter 1:20-21:
“Know this first of all, that there is no prophecy of scripture that is a matter of personal interpretation, for no prophecy ever came through human will; but rather human beings moved by the holy Spirit spoke under the influence of God.”

2 John verse 12:
“Though I have much to write to you, I WOULD RATHER NOT USE PAPER AND INK, but I hope to come to see you and TALK WITH YOU FACE TO FACE, so that our joy may be complete.”

1 Corinthians 11:2:
“I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the TRADITIONS even as I have DELIVERED THEM TO YOU.”

1 Corinthians 15:1-3 and 11:
“Now I am reminding you, brothers, of the gospel I PREACHED to you, which you indeed RECEIVED and in which you also stand.
Through it you are also being saved, if you hold fast to THE WORD I PREACHED to you, unless you believed in vain.
For I HANDED ON TO YOU as of first importance what I also RECEIVED: that Christ died for our sins IN ACCORDANCE with the scriptures; . . .
Therefore, whether it be I or they, SO WE PREACH and SO YOU BELIEVED.”

1 Thessalonians 2:13:
“in receiving the word of God from HEARING us, you received NOT A HUMAN WORD but, as it truly is, the word of God.”

2 Timothy 1:13-14:
“Follow the pattern of the sound words which you have HEARD from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus; guard the TRUTH THAT HAS BEEN ENTRUSTED TO YOU BY THE HOLY SPIRIT who dwells within us.”

2 Timothy 2:1-2:
“You, then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have HEARD from me BEFORE MANY WITNESSES ENTRUST to faithful men who will be able to TEACH others also.”

2 Timothy 3:13-17:
“But wicked people and charlatans will go from bad to worse, deceivers and deceived. But you, remain faithful to what you have LEARNED and believed, because you know FROM WHOM you learned it, and that from infancy you have known (the) sacred scriptures, which are CAPABLE of giving you wisdom for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All scripture is inspired by God and is USEFUL for teaching, for refutation, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that one who belongs to God may be competent, equipped for every GOOD WORK.”

(Note: What you “LEARNED” and the reason being he “knows FROM WHOM he learned it.” Then he also talks about scripture. But the “sacred writings” from his “childhood” were not everything in the New Testament, because they weren’t all written yet. Many of the truths of Jesus Christ were not in the Old Testament or the very first New Testament writings, only some of them.)

Luke tells us why he wrote the Gospel and Acts of the Apostles. Luke 1:1-4:

“Since many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the events that have been fulfilled among us, just as THOSE WHO WERE EYEWITNESSES from the beginning and ministers of the word have HANDED THEM DOWN TO US, I too have decided, after investigating everything accurately anew, to write it down in an orderly sequence for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may REALIZE THE CERTAINTY OF THE TEACHINGS YOU HAVE RECEIVED.”

Elisa on March 10, 2009 at 1:22 AM

Jesus left this earth without writing anything down, except for when He wrote in the dirt, according to the Gospels. What Jesus left us was a Church founded on fallible men, His Apostles. The New Testament sprang from the Church and Christian Sacred Tradition. Which makes sense. Why would Jesus have left the written Word as the sole authority (without a sole authority for interpretation through the Holy Spirit), when for centuries until only a couple hundred years ago, the vast majority of people were illiterate and couldn’t read. And even if they could read, manuscripts were rare and costly, even after the later invention of the printing press. (We often don’t realize how lucky we are today. At one time the only access most people had to the valuable Bible was the one chained to a table in the front or back of the Church, like a telephone book, so the few literate people in the town could have access to it, day or night. People didn’t have their own Bibles.)

“there is no prophecy of scripture that is a matter of personal interpretation,” (2 Peter 1:20)

Elisa on March 10, 2009 at 1:31 AM

ronsfi on March 9, 2009 at 10:28 PM

I’m sure millions have been called such names; not an exclusive club.
And you’re in the not-so-exclusive club of the name-callers.

jgapinoy on March 10, 2009 at 1:44 AM

I certainly don’t want there to be fewer Christians, but if there are fewer people who don’t follow Jesus yet claim to be Christian, that’s a good thing.
Jesus called them “tares”, which was their word for weeds that look like wheat & grow among wheat, but they aren’t wheat.
There are few, if any, “tares” in places where the Church is persecuted.
Maybe the USA will become one of those places one day.

jgapinoy on March 10, 2009 at 1:46 AM

I’ll be at work tomorrow. So I hope you will all forgive me if I write just one more thing.

There are things about the belief in Sola Scriptura that I will never understand.

All Christians have the same New Testament canon. As a Catholic I have faith that this is the correct collection of Sacred books because I believe in the Sacred Tradition that it came from. But if I didn’t believe that the various Church councils of Bishops in the 4th century were inspired by the Holy Spirit, (as all Church councils are when defining truths of faith), then how could I be sure my New Testament was the correct canon?

From the later 4th century till 419AD there were several Church councils that discussed what was Scriptural and what wasn’t. There were many Christian writings being circulated and the Church wanted the faithful to know what was the true Word of God and what was heretical.

The official list of Old Testament and New Testament books from this last council were the only books allowed to be read at Christian Masses after that time, no changes for over 1,000 years until the Protestant reformation. The same Catholic canon used today. With the Old Testament coming from the Septuagint.

During the 4th century councils, some things were rejected by everyone from the start, like the stupid Gnostic “gospels.” Some things were universally accepted as Scriptural from the mid 2nd century on (the 4 Gospels, Act and Paul’s letters).

But they also had a deuterocanon, a list of maybe books that were discussed by the Bishops. These books were widely accepted as scriptural, but not universally. Some areas did not believe they were Sacred writings. This list included Hebrew, James, 2 Peter, 2 and 3 John, Revelation, the Didache, the Epistle of Barnabas, Clement’s 1st letter to the Corinthians and the Shepherd of Hermes. All good and beautiful Christian writings, not heretical, from the late 1st century to early 2nd. The Bishops, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, decided to keep some of the books and not others.

There was serious doubt as to who wrote Hebrews. (even today we don’t know for sure who wrote it.) The majority of Bishops (East and West) decided that they believed Hebrews was indeed either from Paul or one of his disciples and belonged in the Bible. And that the Epistle of Barnabas would be cherished, but not be in the Bible as the Word of God. If they had decided differently, then we would pick up our Bibles and after Paul’s letter to Philemon would be James or we would find the letter of Barnabas, and Hebrews would be no where in the Bible. Or we would have both books or neither one. Or we wouldn’t have Revelation, etc.

So, inspired by the Holy Spirit: fallible men wrote infallible scriptures, fallible men infallibly recognized God’s Word, picked, kept, cherished, hid, copied and passed on these infallible scriptures and fallible men came up with the infallible canon of Scriptural books. The Holy Spirit working through the men in the Church to give us Sacred Scriptures. Just like the Old Testament sprang from Jewish Sacred Tradition, of the Holy Spirit. Same with the New Testament and Christian Sacred Tradition. (note: 2 of Paul’s letters were lost early on, the work of the Holy Spirit through men.)

Also discussed at the councils were 3 Gospel passages that many did not believe were Scriptural. They were in some manuscripts, but not others. Some thought, as possible later additions, they were not part of the Gospels. The Bishops decided, again through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, that these were Scriptural. These were John 7:53 to 8:11, Luke 22:43-44 and Mark 16:9-20.

If they had decided differently, the Bibles we hold in our hands today would be different. How would it feel to pick up our Bibles and not find the story of the woman caught in adultery that they wanted to stone, and Jesus’ words saying He would not condemn her and to “go and sin no more?” Or reading about the Agony in the Garden and not finding that He suffered so much that “His sweat became like drops of blood falling to the ground.” Or Mark’s Gospel ending earlier?

So, if someone didn’t believe that the Holy Spirit guided the Church in formal faith matters, how would they have confidence that the canon is correct? And if one were to believe that those 4th century councils were an exception and the Holy Spirit worked only through those, what about the Old Testament canon of Scripture? The SAME Bishops during the SAME councils that discussed and came up with the New Testament canon, discussed and came up with the Old Testament canon from the Septuagint that Protestants reject. So the same decision and pronouncement was inspired by the Holy Spirit only in part, here and there. One sentence yes and the other no.

I just don’t understand that.

Good night, everyone, and God bless you all.

Elisa on March 10, 2009 at 1:46 AM

Nick (deaf)[written]: I don’t believe in God.
Mother Abigail: That’s okay, Nick, God believes in you!

/The Stand

Ugly on March 10, 2009 at 1:52 AM

You know, all law legislates morality.

Do you believe murder is wrong? Theft? False witness?

INC on March 9, 2009 at 11:27 PM

Sophistry.

Founding Fathers idea was to give the greatest amount of freedom they could… because they believed in self determination and the idea that a community can police itself by determining at the SMALLEST level possible, how they wished to live.

Is murder wrong? Yes, because you are taking away someones freedom permanently.

Is theft wrong? Yes… because you are taking what the worked for… and I believe that the right of private property makes us free.

False Witness? Wrong because you are fooling the law into taking someones freedom unjustly…

Notice it all comes back to Freedom… and Property… not to a religious text written One or Two Thousand years ago.

Murder being wrong is NOT a Christian creation… nor theft being wrong… its part of the social contract that humans need to survive… all religions, including those pre Christian, or Jewish, believed in these things as well.

What troubles folks like me however is when you use a Book, to justify forcing your way of life upon other people…

But heck… wasting my time here… as soon as relgion is the topic, belief becomes all important… and the zealot will control the discussion through volume… Kinda like both extreme sides of the abortion debate…. or the global warming stuff…

Romeo13 on March 10, 2009 at 1:55 AM

Founding Fathers idea was to give the greatest amount of freedom they could

Look Romeo argue all you want that the law can find a moral foundation in reason alone but don’t drag the “founding fathers” into it.

Our founding document and the bedrock of American liberty is the proposition that we “are endowed by our Creator with certain, inalienable rights…” This was a direct challenge to the monarchist notion of the Divine Right of Kings. Jefferson and Franklin, who you revisionists twist into being your philosophical allies, very clearly staked our Liberty on God’s personal love and intentions for Mankind.

And would you please STFU about “forcing your way of life upon other people”. That’s pure bullshit. Every God damn socio-political debate is basically one party or another trying to mold society into their way of thinking. You don’t think Pelosi and Reid want to force their way of life on you?

Stop using the cliche of the “Religious Right” as your Straw Man. You are the sophist here.

rcl on March 10, 2009 at 3:55 AM

I’m agnostic. My father is catholic and my mother is sort of a wishy washy anglican. But I’m agnostic. Which to me means that I can’t really know if there is a god or not and it shouldn’t matter to how I live my life. Anyone that needs a supreme being looking over their shoulder to live right probably isn’t very moral. I like to think that when I die I’ll be ok either way. If there is a God I can point at my life and humbly confident that I led a good life. If there is no God, then I’ve still got that even if I won’t have any more time to reflect upon it.

I just wish everyone would stop fighting with each other about it. Neither our various Gods or cold reason justifies the endless bickering.

Karmashock on March 10, 2009 at 4:06 AM

FWIW:

I couldn’t sleep, so I got up and started flipping channels and stumbled on to a segment on this study on Lou Dobbs. He had Tony Perkins and a representative of the Catholic League. Perkins mentioned something that I found very interesting. He said that these poll numbers have changed little since a survey in 2001. His point was that most of the decline occurred between 1990 and 2001. If I heard him correctly, there’s been only a 1% decrease in religious identification in the past seven or eight years.

Perkins seems like an honest man. Perhaps it’s only spin. But I also wouldn’t put it past the MSM messengers to cite the drop since 1990 as meteoric when, in fact, it’s old news and, indeed, the decrease has leveled off in the aftermath of 9/11. And in light of the economic woes coming down the road, maybe some of the anecodotal comments mentioned in the first page of this thread may eventually be reflected in statistics rather than anecdotal observations.

BuckeyeSam on March 10, 2009 at 5:02 AM

jgapinoy on March 10, 2009 at 1:44 AM

.
Not sure what “names” you mean but, we certainly gain insight into your motivation don’t we? You are not elite. Nor special. Nor are you one of the chosen. You are simply one of many as am I. This persecution complex. This meme, is damaging to the forthright realistic administration of our Republic. Get your God out of our Republic. Let us Govern with reasoned deliberation devoid of superstition. We should all agree on that. No?

ronsfi on March 10, 2009 at 5:07 AM

Ugly on March 10, 2009 at 1:52 AM

.
Dude, that is Hollywood. FICTION! Jeeze. KILL TV!

ronsfi on March 10, 2009 at 5:14 AM

Arguing with an Atheist or Agnostic is the same as arguing with the

Relativist…
# All truth is relative
1. If all truth is relative, then the statement “All truth is relative” would be absolutely true. If it is absolutely true, then not all things are relative and the statement that “All truth is relative” is false.
# There are no absolute truths
1. The statement “There are no absolute truths” is an absolute statement which is supposed to be true. Therefore it is an absolute truth and “There are no absolute truths” is false.
2. If there are no absolute truths, then you cannot believe anything absolutely at all, including that there are no absolute truths. Therefore, nothing could be really true for you – including relativism.

It’s just too easy…

sabbott on March 10, 2009 at 5:22 AM

Jesus was a filthy communist.

I worship the ghost of Joe McCarthy.

thereverendag on March 10, 2009 at 8:21 AM

Why would Jesus have left the written Word as the sole authority (without a sole authority for interpretation through the Holy Spirit), when for centuries until only a couple hundred years ago, the vast majority of people were illiterate and couldn’t read. And even if they could read, manuscripts were rare and costly, even after the later invention of the printing press.
(2 Peter 1:20)

Elisa on March 10, 2009 at 1:31 AM

Why would the printing press create a limitation for God? Creating a book would have been less of a miracle than changing water into wine or raising the dead. You point out that he left the teaching to his apostles, which is understandable but even they could have used a book to resolve some of the differences between Paul, Peter and James.

dedalus on March 10, 2009 at 8:29 AM

Jefferson and Franklin, who you revisionists twist into being your philosophical allies, very clearly staked our Liberty on God’s personal love and intentions for Mankind.

rcl on March 10, 2009 at 3:55 AM

Jefferson’s “nature’s God” differed from the God of the Bible who revealed himself directly to the people or who was incarnated as Jesus. Jefferson saw a relationship with God as resting on reason rather than revelation.

dedalus on March 10, 2009 at 8:48 AM

Let us Govern with reasoned deliberation devoid of superstition. We should all agree on that. No?

ronsfi on March 10, 2009 at 5:07 AM

I agree, we shouldn’t govern a country with athetist drivel and lies…we’ve seen what it does, and the death and misery it brings far too often in history.

right4life on March 10, 2009 at 9:09 AM

Which to me means that I can’t really know if there is a god or not and it shouldn’t matter to how I live my life. Anyone that needs a supreme being looking over their shoulder to live right probably isn’t very moral.

Karmashock on March 10, 2009 at 4:06 AM

Hmm. So, if there is no God, or there is a God, but he/she/it is uninterested in you, your position is absolutely correct — how you live your life is of no consequence to anyone other than yourself.

However, if there is a God, and he/she/it is interested, they have undoubtedly advised us as to the correct way to live our lives, and it matters very much how one acts. And if some of us take what we believe is God’s guidance, then we are actually quite moral — at least by the standards of our God.

You cannot tar believers with the brush of immorality, especially if you don’t know whether they are right or wrong. In doing so, you are guilty of exactly the bad behavior you imput to them.

Jefferson’s “nature’s God” differed from the God of the Bible who revealed himself directly to the people or who was incarnated as Jesus. Jefferson saw a relationship with God as resting on reason rather than revelation.

dedalus on March 10, 2009 at 8:48 AM

Jefferson understood that reason requires data to operate properly, and that the Bible is data. That’s why Jefferson built his own Bible, based on Jesus’ ethical system. His ethical outlook was Christian, even if he didn’t view himself as necessarily in that camp.

unclesmrgol on March 10, 2009 at 9:10 AM

But Peter means “rock”. And if Jesus did it, it wasn’t spontaneous. It was deliberate.

unclesmrgol on March 10, 2009 at 12:14 AM

the point is that Peter is not the Rock that Christ would build His church upon..Christ is the rock He would build His church upon…only God is the Rock…

Deut. 32:3, “The Rock! His work is perfect, for all His ways are just; a God of faithfulness and without injustice.”

Psalm 18:31, “And who is a rock, except our God.”

Isaiah 44:8, “Is there any God besides Me, or is there any other Rock? I know of none.”

Rom. 9:33, “Behold, I lay in Zion a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense, and he who believes in Him will not be disappointed.”

and of course in Daniel…the Rock is obviously not peter..

Christ was referring to Peter’s declaration, not Peter…

right4life on March 10, 2009 at 9:19 AM

Jefferson understood that reason requires data to operate properly, and that the Bible is data. That’s why Jefferson built his own Bible, based on Jesus’ ethical system. His ethical outlook was Christian, even if he didn’t view himself as necessarily in that camp.

unclesmrgol on March 10, 2009 at 9:10 AM

No doubt that Jefferson had the highest regard for Christ’s teaching and Christianity as a moral system. As for the creator of the universe he seemed to believe in a kind of intelligent design but one where the supernatural forces operated by natural laws rather than direct revelation or ad hoc intervention.

dedalus on March 10, 2009 at 9:20 AM

I don’t know why you people are reading the Bible. The Rigveda is the true root of knowledge. Brahma is displeased.

DarkCurrent on March 10, 2009 at 11:12 AM

This explains why people are so willing to believe in Global Warming and other “truths”.

There is a human need for religon (put there by God) and when faith in God fails the hearts of men seek for something to believe. Some moral good to seek after and commit to. It is no different to be fooled by scientific religon or fooled by psuedo political/religous figures than to be fooled by false religons.

Science and religon and to some extent politics are all expressions of the human search for meaning and purpose.

However, when the need for religon is filled with deep and meaningful communication with God. Politics and Science can take their true place as tools for accomplishing good and not the end goal in and of themselves.

It is easier to evalutate science and politics if one is truly religous and finds the comfort that only Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit bring.

The Ten Commandments are keys to living happy lives. “Thou shalt have no other god’s before me.” This commandment keeps life in perspective and is a key to happiness.

petunia on March 10, 2009 at 11:21 AM

So the US is getting more atheist. And let’s see, also more left-leaning, socialist, in-your-face-government (read, ‘fascist’), and follow-the-leader-esque. No doubt this is all just a weird coincidence. Everything is governed by chance and natural selection you know.

Gaunilon on March 10, 2009 at 12:22 PM

Elisa,

I think you’re arguing against a straw man of “Sola Scriptura”. It’s an easy mistake, because I think the term is a little too pithy for its own good, but what it actually refers to is authority.

It’s not as though we protestants believe we are able to isolate all external resources (tradition, teaching, etc.) from our understanding, nor would we want to! What it means, though, is that when it comes down to it, all of those things are fallible, and prone to error. To distinguish the wheat from the chaff, so to speak, ultimate authority rests (solely) in Scripture.

Any tradition that is in line with the Word of God is most likely beneficial and should be welcomingly embraced. That which is not, though, can often only be recognized as such when weighed against the testimony of the Bible. That’s why the doctrine is important; it ultimately provides a single, objective point of reference.

BlueCollarAstronaut on March 10, 2009 at 1:04 PM

The constant Allahpundit flow of atheistic propaganda on HotAir has become a perversion. I think that it’s become some sort of psycho-sexual dysfunction.

And, for the record:

Our program necessarily includes the propaganda of atheism. – Vladimir Ilyich Lenin

OhEssYouCowboys on March 10, 2009 at 1:21 PM

The constant Allahpundit flow of atheistic propaganda on HotAir has become a perversion. I think that it’s become some sort of psycho-sexual dysfunction.

Terrific.

Allahpundit on March 10, 2009 at 1:21 PM

He Allahpundit you God hater you. Did you read this on your own site.

You must be real disappointed in the Tautology of natural selection now.

inchdeep on March 10, 2009 at 1:35 PM

Dr. Nyborg is a colleague of Dr. Richard Lynn, and a co-author of the Intelligence and Religiousity study published in the Journal of Intelligence.
You can download the pdf of the paper here, and read criticism and response by one of the authors.
g is a pretty standard psychometric measure.

strangelet on March 9, 2009 at 7:36 PM

g certainly is a well established measure, but not an uncontroversial one. As more of a Gardener fan, I think it misses some rather important things, but that’s beside the point.

The real issue is causality, and there’s nothing there to suggest they’ve established it. However, when your research is impregnated with value judgments form the very beginning it’s pretty ballsy to claim objectivity.

TheUnrepentantGeek on March 10, 2009 at 1:53 PM

The better educated, the less religious. That’s just how it is. That’s how it will always be.

As you folks continue on the path to being Canada south, keep in mind that our economy and banking are the best in the world by every measure.

Krydor on March 10, 2009 at 2:14 PM

The better educated, the less religious. That’s just how it is. That’s how it will always be.

As you folks continue on the path to being Canada south, keep in mind that our economy and banking are the best in the world by every measure.

Krydor on March 10, 2009 at 2:14 PM

Wow, those are some bold (and bald) assertions.

BlueCollarAstronaut on March 10, 2009 at 2:21 PM

Wow, those are some bold (and bald) assertions.

BlueCollarAstronaut on March 10, 2009 at 2:21 PM

Well, you can start here.

Krydor on March 10, 2009 at 2:26 PM

…and from there, where do I go? Or does that article cover every single means of measurement?

How about most likely to plummet when Chicken Little declares that the sky is falling? I think we’ve got y’all beat by that measure :)

BlueCollarAstronaut on March 10, 2009 at 2:30 PM

As you folks continue on the path to being Canada south, keep in mind that our economy and banking are the best in the world by every measure.

Krydor on March 10, 2009 at 2:14 PM

Yeah, but the weather? Is summer even a season? A safe full of loonies might be nice but so is the beach.

I will give you that your bankers are more responsible than our bankers.

dedalus on March 10, 2009 at 2:45 PM

Which to me means that I can’t really know if there is a god or not and it shouldn’t matter to how I live my life. Anyone that needs a supreme being looking over their shoulder to live right probably isn’t very moral.

Karmashock on March 10, 2009 at 4:06 AM

Au contraire. If there isn’t a god of any kind, there are no morals but that which man contrives, and no means but compulsion by force to ensure that man is moral.

Any man may construct a moral reality of his choosing, however bizarre or barbaric it may seem to others – and for him, it will be totally valid. This is an inevitable consequence of atheism. It’s something serious atheists must confront and answer in their own way … and then hope that they have either an answer everyone will agree with or that they possess means to compel other to agree.

TheUnrepentantGeek on March 10, 2009 at 2:58 PM

TheUnrepentantGeek, is it an “inevitable consequence of atheism?” I do not think Mohammed can be placed in the atheist category. Islam is a religion, it postulates one God, and it is the antithisis of anything an atheist can conjure. Do you honestly think any atheist could invent any code of conduct with the barbarity of Islam?

I’ll predict the answer; Islam is not the true religion and is therefore a construct of an atheist.

Pelayo on March 10, 2009 at 4:19 PM

TheUnrepentantGeek, is it an “inevitable consequence of

atheism?” I do not think Mohammed can be placed in the atheist category. Islam is a religion, it postulates one God, and it is the antithisis of anything an atheist can conjure. Do you honestly think any atheist could invent any code of conduct with the barbarity of Islam?

I’ll predict the answer; Islam is not the true religion and is therefore a construct of an atheist.

Pelayo on March 10, 2009 at 4:19 PM

Stalin and Mao gave Mo’ a run for his money, don’tcha think? After all, if we’re going to hold all theists accountable for the actions of some theists turnabout is fair play.

And you’re dodging my point. If there is no God, the Joker was right.

TheUnrepentantGeek on March 10, 2009 at 7:03 PM

TheUnrepentantGeek, I will not allow you to imply without a challenge that a belief in a god is a prerequisite for being a good person. It is a Big Lie.

The followers of Mohammed are still filling body bags; he was a fine example of a god worshipper. Mo’s legacy far overshadows Stalin, Mao, Hitler, and even Pol Pot.

Pelayo on March 10, 2009 at 7:16 PM

I’m sorry if I short-circuited the analysis.

Scott H on March 9, 2009 at 11:30 PM

I believe that our positions on this are in agreement!

Do you honestly think any atheist could invent any code of conduct with the barbarity of Islam?

Pelayo on March 10, 2009 at 4:19 PM

Yes. N.B.: Mao, Stalin, Hitler.

(d) doesn’t exist. The human attribute “caring” either exists or doesn’t exist in the posited “higher power”.

unclesmrgol on March 10, 2009 at 12:11 AM

True,as far as it goes. However, the fact that an attribute does not exist within an entity does not mean that it is relevant to that entity. You may call an avalanche “uncaring” if you like, but since the capacity to care is not an attribute of avalanches, what does that really mean?

During the 4th century councils, some things were rejected by everyone from the start, like the stupid Gnostic “gospels.”

Elisa on March 10, 2009 at 1:46 AM

Heh.

I don’t know why you people are reading the Bible. The Rigveda is the true root of knowledge. Brahma is displeased.

DarkCurrent on March 10, 2009 at 11:12 AM

Brahma (a god) may care. But Brahman (God) doesn’t.

The Liddel and Scott translation is “that by which the inner thought is expressed”. So, by that phrase, “Word” is certainly a good and correct translation. In the New Testament, that phrase translates to “Jesus” — the act of God which expressed his thought.

unclesmrgol on March 10, 2009 at 12:44 AM

Uh-huh. “Logos” means logic, or reason. “Word” is a poor but potential translation, rarely used–the actual Greek word for “word” (as a unit of language) is “lexis.”
“Jesus” is the Anglicization of the Romanized name “Iesu.” “Iesu” is the Romanization of the Hellenized name “Iesous.” “Iesous” is the Hellenization of first-century Aramaic Jewish name, “Yeshua,” (or possibly “Eeshoo,” the vowels are unclear) as in “Yeshua ben Yosef,” the Rabbi who was crucified by Pilate and worshipped as the Son of God. Similarly, “meshiach” (“messiah” in Hebrew) taken through Greek into Latin and then to English becomes “Christ,” a title which is often mistaken for Yeshua’s name (I can walk through the full etymology if you like).
Taken directly into English from the Aramaic, “Yeshua” becomes “Joshua.”

q2600 on March 10, 2009 at 7:20 PM

TheUnrepentantGeek, I will not allow you to imply without a challenge that a belief in a god is a prerequisite for being a good person. It is a Big Lie.

The followers of Mohammed are still filling body bags; he was a fine example of a god worshipper. Mo’s legacy far overshadows Stalin, Mao, Hitler, and even Pol Pot.

Pelayo on March 10, 2009 at 7:16 PM

If Greek’s assertion is correct, that belief in God (I don’t think that “a god” qualifies, since they are generally considered capricious and personal) is necessary to be a good person, it does not necessarily follow that all who believe in God are good. Only that all who do not, are not.

q2600 on March 10, 2009 at 7:26 PM

If Greek’s Geek’s assertion

corrected.

q2600 on March 10, 2009 at 7:28 PM

The constant Allahpundit flow of atheistic propaganda on HotAir has become a perversion. I think that it’s become some sort of psycho-sexual dysfunction.

And, for the record:

Our program necessarily includes the propaganda of atheism. – Vladimir Ilyich Lenin

OhEssYouCowboys on March 10, 2009 at 1:21 PM

Geez, take a chill pill.

aikidoka on March 10, 2009 at 7:36 PM

TheUnrepentantGeek, I will not allow you to imply without a challenge that a belief in a god is a prerequisite for being a good person. It is a Big Lie.

The followers of Mohammed are still filling body bags; he was a fine example of a god worshipper. Mo’s legacy far overshadows Stalin, Mao, Hitler, and even Pol Pot.

Pelayo on March 10, 2009 at 7:16 PM

Ah, but I didn’t imply that at all, and don’t believe it in the least. Many atheists are excellent people. They just can’t tell me why.

TheUnrepentantGeek on March 10, 2009 at 7:46 PM

If Greek’s assertion is correct, that belief in God (I don’t think that “a god” qualifies, since they are generally considered capricious and personal) is necessary to be a good person, it does not necessarily follow that all who believe in God are good. Only that all who do not, are not.

q2600 on March 10, 2009 at 7:26 PM

Of course, that’s also not my assertion, but don’t trouble yourself. I can see you’re actually arguing with that blasted Mediterranean counterpart of mine.

TheUnrepentantGeek on March 10, 2009 at 7:54 PM

Founding Fathers idea was to give the greatest amount of freedom they could… because they believed in self determination and the idea that a community can police itself by determining at the SMALLEST level possible, how they wished to live.
Romeo13 on March 10, 2009 at 1:55 AM

They also had the sense to describe these freedoms as being granted “by the Creator.” Had they been granted by the government, or the Founding Fathers, they would have been subject to revocation by the government at any time.

Is murder wrong? Yes, because you are taking away someones freedom permanently.
Romeo13 on March 10, 2009 at 1:55 AM

But I also take away someone’s freedom permanently if I kill them in self-defense. Or what if I murder a man who is himself about to murder a thousand people? Or what if I feel that security is more important than freedom, anyway, and change the laws of the government so that it is no longer considered “murder” to kill people who disagree with me?

Is theft wrong? Yes… because you are taking what the worked for… and I believe that the right of private property makes us free.
Romeo13 on March 10, 2009 at 1:55 AM

I agree. But there are over a billion Communists who don’t. Why is your opinion more important than theirs?

False Witness? Wrong because you are fooling the law into taking someones freedom unjustly…
Romeo13 on March 10, 2009 at 1:55 AM

Not necessarily. What if you’re just spreading gossip?

Notice it all comes back to Freedom… and Property… not to a religious text written One or Two Thousand years ago.
Romeo13 on March 10, 2009 at 1:55 AM

But notice also that you have no more authority than any other human. If you attribute your rights to your beliefs, they can be trumped by the beliefs of others who disagree with you and can bring greater coercive force to the argument.

Murder being wrong is NOT a Christian creation… nor theft being wrong… its part of the social contract that humans need to survive… all religions, including those pre Christian, or Jewish, believed in these things as well.
Romeo13 on March 10, 2009 at 1:55 AM

Do I really need to explain how insipid it is to attempt to distinguish between the Jewish and Christian objections murder and theft? Is the name “Moses” familiar at all?

What troubles folks like me however is when you use a Book, to justify forcing your way of life upon other people…
Romeo13 on March 10, 2009 at 1:55 AM

I am troubled by people–whether theist or atheist–who think that God is a freakin’ book.

q2600 on March 10, 2009 at 7:57 PM

I can see you’re actually arguing with that blasted Mediterranean counterpart of mine.

TheUnrepentantGeek on March 10, 2009 at 7:54 PM

D’oh! I made the correction! :)

q2600 on March 10, 2009 at 8:03 PM

I am troubled by people–whether theist or atheist–who think that God is a freakin’ book.

q2600 on March 10, 2009 at 7:57 PM

The book is the tangible medium He used to distribute His message, as opposed to doing it in person or by responding to e-mails.

dedalus on March 10, 2009 at 8:12 PM

Any man may construct a moral reality of his choosing, however bizarre or barbaric it may seem to others – and for him, it will be totally valid. This is an inevitable consequence of atheism.

That’s what Geek wrote. It is in fact a statemente that means atheists cannot create a moral or non-barbaric society.

I can’t tell you why most atheists are good people. The only reason that religious people are good is because they are threatened with eternal hellfire and suffering? Is that it?

Pelayo on March 10, 2009 at 8:18 PM

The book is the tangible medium He used to distribute His message, as opposed to doing it in person or by responding to e-mails.

dedalus on March 10, 2009 at 8:12 PM

Then I must ask, “Which book?” Suddenly, the Upanishads are looking very important. Or do you mean a specific book from the anthology commonly referred to as “The Holy Bible,” such as the ‘Gospel of Matthew?’

And, if the book really was the chosen medium, then why bother with burning bushes, prophecies, and crucified incarnations? Why not just make the book?

q2600 on March 10, 2009 at 8:24 PM

D’oh! I made the correction! :)

q2600 on March 10, 2009 at 8:03 PM

I just couldn’t pass up the line. ;)

Is murder wrong? Yes, because you are taking away someones freedom permanently.
Romeo13 on March 10, 2009 at 1:55 AM

Wrong according to who? You? Why is your moral understanding superior to that of anyone else? Just as atheism can present no overarching meaning for life, it also does not present an overarching morality. This does not prevent atheists from creating a code many would call commendable and sticking to it; many do. But it provides few rational reasons for them to eschew changing it as it suits them.

An atheist has only a few options – they must create their own meaning to life, ignore the abyss that is the inevitable consequence of their belief system, or give in to madness. Many atheists ignore the abyss for their whole lives, content to while away the time in various pursuits. That’s fine and all, but when the talk comes to theists and morals it becomes impossible to ignore if we’re to have an honest discussion.

When atheists pass moral judgments on others and then pretend at being the most rational people in the room it’s hard to take them seriously. They can’t pass said judgments unless they have a reason to presume others must follow their code (or a code they establish for others, but that’s really splitting hairs). And unless the other person is willing to accept that code, nothing but force will compel them. The entirety of their universe is, at the core, red in tooth and claw for this reason. There’s no shame in stating that if you’re an atheist, but I can see how it would make most of them uncomfortable.

TheUnrepentantGeek on March 10, 2009 at 8:29 PM

Pelayo on March 10, 2009 at 8:18 PM

Actually, hellfire is a late addition to the Abrahamic traditions, and certainly not present in all religions anyway.

Not all religious people are good–but religion provides the capacity for morality, because it provides a higher authority from which morality may be derived. Being “moral” is a meaningless condition if one can only derive a code of “morality” from what is one’s own nature, anyway. No one could hope to be anything BUT moral in such a case.

q2600 on March 10, 2009 at 8:32 PM

And, if the book really was the chosen medium, then why bother with burning bushes, prophecies, and crucified incarnations? Why not just make the book?

q2600 on March 10, 2009 at 8:24 PM

The burning bush seemed to have motivated the authors. Perhaps God has been forcing man to carry most of the weight. He could be on 100 cable channels every night (though the Fairness Doctrine would eventually be an issue) but instead humans have to do the legwork of delivering the message to one another.

dedalus on March 10, 2009 at 8:34 PM

That’s what Geek wrote. It is in fact a statemente that means atheists cannot create a moral or non-barbaric society.

I can’t tell you why most atheists are good people. The only reason that religious people are good is because they are threatened with eternal hellfire and suffering? Is that it?

Pelayo on March 10, 2009 at 8:18 PM

I wrote that, but you misrepresent the meaning.

It’s possible that atheists could create a non-barbaric society with an agreed upon system of morals. They just lack a rational basis for doing so beyond concepts like survival – assuming that’s universally valued. There is no “good” or “bad” in an atheist world. Only “things I favor” and “things I do not favor.”

At times religious people do refrain from doing evil for fear of eternal consequences. At other times they do good things because they want eternal rewards. Or they might do good things because it makes them feel good to do good things. Or they might do good things because they believe they love their creator and wish to do good out of thankfulness and obedience. People’s motivations are complex that way. And?

TheUnrepentantGeek on March 10, 2009 at 8:38 PM

Not all religious people are good–but religion provides the capacity for morality, because it provides a higher authority from which morality may be derived. Being “moral” is a meaningless condition if one can only derive a code of “morality” from what is one’s own nature, anyway. No one could hope to be anything BUT moral in such a case.

q2600 on March 10, 2009 at 8:32 PM

Read this. It’s much better stated than what I wrote. I blame the Greek.

TheUnrepentantGeek on March 10, 2009 at 8:40 PM

And unless the other person is willing to accept that code, nothing but force will compel them. The entirety of their universe is, at the core, red in tooth and claw for this reason. There’s no shame in stating that if you’re an atheist, but I can see how it would make most of them uncomfortable.

TheUnrepentantGeek on March 10, 2009 at 8:29 PM

Force is certainly a coercive element of the Jude-Christian tradition. The God of the OT is an enforcer and the Christian tradition conveyed a detailed and terrifying image of hell that would make a person think twice about stealing or shagging without accountability.

dedalus on March 10, 2009 at 8:43 PM

The burning bush seemed to have motivated the authors.
dedalus on March 10, 2009 at 8:34 PM

Author, singular. The Pentateuch were written (or at least, set into oral tradition) by Moses.

Perhaps God has been forcing man to carry most of the weight. He could be on 100 cable channels every night (though the Fairness Doctrine would eventually be an issue) but instead humans have to do the legwork of delivering the message to one another.

dedalus on March 10, 2009 at 8:34 PM

According to Christianity, God incarnated, lived as a Man and let Himself be tortured and crucified. And it still took 400 years before the “book” was actually put together.
According to Islam, God sent an angel and told Mohammed, “Write this down.”
If the whole point is a book of instructions, the second scenario is much more plausible than the first. If you believe that the Bible is the message that God sent, doesn’t that actually make you a “Biblican,” rather than a “Christian” (who would rather put the Christ is the message and sole authority of the Church)?

q2600 on March 10, 2009 at 8:45 PM

Romeo13 on March 9, 2009 at 11:25 PM
You know, all law legislates morality.
Do you believe murder is wrong? Theft? False witness?
INC on March 9, 2009 at 11:27 PM

All laws do not legislate morality. Is taxing someone’s income at 40% morally right? Is denying certain people their right of self defense morally right? Is the Endangered Species Act with all its abuses morally right?

The word all is a rather dangerous word.

Pelayo on March 10, 2009 at 8:49 PM

Author, singular. The Pentateuch were written (or at least, set into oral tradition) by Moses.

dedalus on March 10, 2009 at 8:34 PM

Moses was too senior to do all the writing himself. He had a nation to lead–one that was wandering around in the desert and likely often mutinous. Also, probably someone other than Moses wrote the part about Moses dying.

dedalus on March 10, 2009 at 8:50 PM

If you believe that the Bible is the message that God sent, doesn’t that actually make you a “Biblican,” rather than a “Christian” (who would rather put the Christ is the message and sole authority of the Church)?

q2600 on March 10, 2009 at 8:45 PM

How do you know the story of Jesus except through the Bible? Josephus?

dedalus on March 10, 2009 at 8:53 PM

Geek, looong before Judiasim and Christianity came along people put together some very well organized and pleasant places to live and work.

Pelayo on March 10, 2009 at 8:57 PM

Oh, there was commentary added later, certainly. That’s why there are two separate and contradictory creation accounts in Genesis. But making such commentary and addenda does not make one an “author” of the work–is Christopher Tolkien to be considered an author of LOTR because his commentary is sometimes added as footnotes?

q2600 on March 10, 2009 at 8:58 PM

Moses was too senior to do all the writing himself. He had a nation to lead–one that was wandering around in the desert and likely often mutinous. Also, probably someone other than Moses wrote the part about Moses dying.

Gee whiz, that sounds like an Obama excuse.

Pelayo on March 10, 2009 at 9:00 PM

How do you know the story of Jesus except through the Bible? Josephus?

dedalus on March 10, 2009 at 8:53 PM

How did people know the story of the Christ in the 350 years between His death and the creation of the Bible? How do missionaries make conversions in areas that speak languages that don’t have translations of the Bible yet?

In point of fact, it is arguable that anyone who hasn’t read the original Aramaic doesn’t really know the story of the Christ–there were significant errors made in both major families of Greek translations.

q2600 on March 10, 2009 at 9:03 PM

Gee whiz, that sounds like an Obama excuse.

Pelayo on March 10, 2009 at 9:00 PM

The senior guys usually have staff-level people. Moses had thousands of people that he had to provision for in a hostile environment.

dedalus on March 10, 2009 at 9:10 PM

In point of fact, it is arguable that anyone who hasn’t read the original Aramaic doesn’t really know the story of the Christ–there were significant errors made in both major families of Greek translations.

Have you ever had a true believing Christain fundamentalist point his finger at your nose and tell you that God would not let errors be made in the translations? I was once told that there were absolutely no errors in the King James Version. I was also told that my opinion was blasphemous and I would be punished in Hell for that opinion. I soon left that church and later left religion altogether.

Pelayo on March 10, 2009 at 9:10 PM

dedalus, I should have put the sarcasm tags on that.

Pelayo on March 10, 2009 at 9:12 PM

How did people know the story of the Christ in the 350 years between His death and the creation of the Bible?

q2600 on March 10, 2009 at 9:03 PM

My understanding is that there were rival fractions of Christians. As early as James, Peter, and Paul there was contention over how to implement the church that would teach the lessons of Jesus.

dedalus on March 10, 2009 at 9:15 PM

Have you ever had a true believing Christain fundamentalist point his finger at your nose and tell you that God would not let errors be made in the translations? I was once told that there were absolutely no errors in the King James Version. I was also told that my opinion was blasphemous and I would be punished in Hell for that opinion. I soon left that church and later left religion altogether.

Pelayo on March 10, 2009 at 9:10 PM

I have, and I did exactly the same thing. I was an atheist from age 18-22. I am still not a Christian. After much study (of several religious traditions) and personal searching, I have accepted myself as a Gnostic (not to be confused with the pot-smoking Hippies who think calling themselves “Gnostic” makes them sound cool).

q2600 on March 10, 2009 at 9:20 PM

My understanding is that there were rival fractions of Christians. As early as James, Peter, and Paul there was contention over how to implement the church that would teach the lessons of Jesus.

dedalus on March 10, 2009 at 9:15 PM

Which certainly hasn’t been solved by the issuing of book of canon; witness the hundreds of competing Christian denominations today. But you didn’t ask about the TEACHINGS of the Christ; you asked about his STORY.

q2600 on March 10, 2009 at 9:23 PM

Pelayo on March 10, 2009 at 9:10 PM

In fact, I actually can’t count the number of times that I’ve been called a Devil-worshipper. Often when it comes out in a discussion of religion that I don’t believe in the Devil.

Explain THAT logic to me… :)

q2600 on March 10, 2009 at 9:25 PM

Q2600. I found out a long time ago that there is no logic in religion – any religion.

The same mind set that claimed you were a devil worshipper probably claim atheism is a religion.

There are some New Testament passages that claim non-believers are “of the Devil.”

Pelayo on March 10, 2009 at 9:33 PM

Q2600. I found out a long time ago that there is no logic in religion – any religion.
Pelayo on March 10, 2009 at 9:33 PM

Oh? Then you have not looked far into religion, my friend. Is there anything illogical in the Four Noble Truths of Buddhism? Pythagoras based his studies in geometry and music on the same Graeco-Egyptian mystery traditions that inform modern Gnositicism; is the Pythagorean Theorem illogical?
You have been approached about religion by too many superstitous people, and you have confused one with the other.

The same mind set that claimed you were a devil worshipper probably claim atheism is a religion.
Pelayo on March 10, 2009 at 9:33 PM

For some, it certainly functions as one! Richard Dawkins comes to mind–every bit as proselytizing and superstitious (ever heard of “memes?”) as the worst that Protestantism has to offer.

There are some New Testament passages that claim non-believers are “of the Devil.”
Pelayo on March 10, 2009 at 9:33 PM

You will have to give me a reference. I can assure you, however, that it is a matter of translation. First-century Jews did not believe in a personification of evil.

q2600 on March 10, 2009 at 10:28 PM

There are some New Testament passages that claim non-believers are “of the Devil.”

Pelayo on March 10, 2009 at 9:33 PM

I missed the reference. Even if you found such passages–I don’t recall any off-hand, are you sure you aren’t thinking of the Q’ran?–it wouldn’t refer to disbelievers in the Devil as “of the Devil.”

q2600 on March 10, 2009 at 10:31 PM

Any tradition that is in line with the Word of God is most likely beneficial and should be welcomingly embraced.

BlueCollarAstronaut on March 10, 2009 at 1:04 PM

I think that is the point that I guess I didn’t explain well enough. For Catholics the Word of God (written) is perfectly in line with the Word of God (oral through Sacred Tradition.)

Sacred Tradition, Catholic and Orthodox Christian beliefs, do not contradict our interpretation of the written Word of God. But they contradict your interpretation of the written Word of God.

To us, the written Word clearly points to our Tradition and beliefs. Perfectly in harmony. Some of them jump right off the page and it’s hard for us to understand how someone who isn’t Catholic or Orthodox doesn’t see it. (“For my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink”. . . . “this saying is hard; who can accept it?” . . . As a result of this, many (of) his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him.” (John 6)

To us, Protestant tradition beliefs contradict the Word of God and to you Catholic beliefs contradict it.

So there we are. My whole point. We interpret the Word of God differently. But we both put it up as an authority that ones’ beliefs cannot contradict.

So you interpret according to Protestant tradition and I interpret according to Sacred Tradition. And we come up with different beliefs. And I do not believe that is how God set it up.

The Orthodox have been separated from the Catholics for 1,000 years on matters of authority in the Church, so we are in schism from each other,(but working towards full unity.) But they hold the same faith beliefs we do. How can that be after so much time? Because they also believe in Sacred Tradition and we believe the Holy Spirit guards the truths of Jesus Christ through it.
God bless you always.

Elisa on March 11, 2009 at 1:40 AM

petunia on March 10, 2009 at 11:21 AM

I couldn’t agree with you more.

“We were made for you, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee.” St. Augustine – Confessions page 1.

God has built Himself into our DNA and written His name into the hearts of men. Some struggle, but in the end “anyone who seeks will find and anyone who knocks, it will be opened onto you.” Prayer is key. Asking for the grace to believe if it is true. But not wanting to believe a falsehood if it is untrue.

“I believe, Lord, help my unbelief.” (Mark 9:24)

God bless you.

Elisa on March 11, 2009 at 1:46 AM

I am still not a Christian.

q2600 on March 10, 2009 at 9:20 PM

I hope you don’t think it presumptuous of me, but I take hope in that one word you wrote – “still.”

If you don’t mind I will pray for you. I know that some do not want to believe. But it breaks my heart that there are many who do want to, but can’t for some reason. I pray they overcome those reasons. I don’t know where your sentiments lie.

But I believe with all my heart and I want everyone to believe.

Jesus is the truth. He really is. “I am the way and the truth and the life.”

Again, I hope you don’t take offense to this post. See my last post at 1:46 AM also.

q2600, The Lord bless you and keep you and make His face to shine upon you and give you peace.

(PS This prayer from Numbers is the oldest copy of written scripture found so far by archeology. It is on a stone that is about 600 years before Christ.)

Elisa on March 11, 2009 at 1:56 AM

the point is that Peter is not the Rock that Christ would build His church upon..Christ is the rock He would build His church upon.

right4life on March 10, 2009 at 9:19 AM

Just to be clear, Catholics also believe that Jesus is the rock. He is the stone that the builders rejected. But He gave His authority to Peter to be His earthly steward (like the Old Testament Davidic Kings who had chief stewards who held the keys to the kingdom and had the King’s authority while the King was away traveling. He was still the King and the head, but he gave his authority to the steward. Jesus is still our Davidic King forever and the head of the Church, but He gave His earthly authority to His steward.

Jesus made Simon Peter the rock on which He built His Church. There are many other New Testament scriptures that show Jesus set up Peter as the head of the Church. The one I love the most is at the end of John’s Gospel when He tells only Peter to “tend my sheep.”

But the most important quote is the one you are discussing. Look at all the “yous” in it.

And He is talking only to Peter. No one else. It was the whole point of changing Simon’s name to Rock/Kepha/Petros/Peter. (Jesus would have used the Aramaic Kepha when speaking to Peter since it was their daily common language amongst each other and we even see this in the original Greek uses Aramaic when it says “Simon, son of Jonah/John’ – ‘Simon, bar-Jona.’)

The original Greek words used here for “this rock” are “tautee petra.” Tautee really translates as “this same rock” or “this very rock.”
And Jesus was definitely setting up a physical Church and it was His.

Matthew 16:16-19:

Simon Peter said in reply, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”

Jesus said to HIM in reply, “Blessed are YOU, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to YOU, but my heavenly Father. And so I say to YOU, YOU are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give YOU the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever YOU bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever YOU loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

There are two whole sentences between Peter’s declaration of faith and Jesus saying “upon THIS ROCK.

Elisa on March 11, 2009 at 2:36 AM

This is long, but I will post it for anyone interested in this topic. It ties it to the Old Testament.

All the following is my paraphrasing and condensing of a section of the book “Upon this Rock” by Stephen K. Ray. It’s a great book and I would recommend it to anyone. The footnotes are very long and as interesting as the book is. It is filled with scripture, early Christian writers, and both Catholic and Protestant scholars.

First I’ll talk about “binding and loosing.”

“Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

In Jewish tradition this meant the “legislative and judicial powers of the Rabbinic office.” All of the middle east used these terms. This power was also given to all the Apostles in John’s Gospel.

This was “profound to First Century Jews.” Early converts would not be “confused or uncertain about what Jesus meant.” The first century Jewish historian, Josephus used these word also.

This meant that Peter and the Apostles had authority. To judge and to make laws, and also to forgive and retain. The original Greek words in this New Testament passage and the Hebrew words they stood for in part meant “to forbid and to allow” in rabbinical religious law.

While the binding and loosing power was given to all the Apostles (the first priests and Bishops), the “keys” were only given to Peter.

“I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven.”

This had huge significance. The “keys” were the “hallmark of royal authority.”

They belonged to Jesus and they were His to give and entrust to His steward. This would also be unmistakable to the Jews of Jesus’s time. The Davidic kings were “possessors of the keys of David” and had the power to “open and shut.”

Luke 1:30-33
Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the LORD GOD WILL GIVE HIM THE THRONE OF DAVID HIS FATHER AND HE WILL RULE OVER THE HOUSE OF JACOB FOREVER, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”

Revelation 3:6-7
“Whoever has ears ought to hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”‘
“To the angel of the church in Philadelphia, write this: ” ‘The holy one, the true, who HOLDS THE KEY OF DAVID, WHO OPENS AND NO ONE SHALL CLOSE, WHO CLOSES AND NO ONE SHALL OPEN, says this: . . . “

Jesus was the Davidic king forever and He was the “holy one.” He held the “key of David” and would reign “forever.”

The Davidic Jewish kings of Israel followed the customs of other Middle Eastern kingdoms, such as Egypt. They had stewards who had “dominion over the house” like the Egyptian royalty and other Eastern rulers had Viziers and Majordomos. The Steward/Vizier/Majordomo was not simply a person, but an office that had succession. The king would entrust this office to someone he trusted and that person had royal authority over the land.

Isaiah 22:19-22
“I will thrust you from your office and pull you down from your station. On that day I will summon my servant Eliakim, son of Hilkiah; I will clothe him with your robe, and gird him with your sash, and give over to him your authority. He shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to the house of Judah. I WILL PLACE THE KEY OF THE HOUSE OF DAVID ON HIS SHOULDER, WHEN HE OPENS, NO ONE WILL SHUT, WHEN HE SHUTS, NO ONE SHALL OPEN.”

Here we see the Jewish king’s steward, Eliakim. The king places the “key of the house of David on his shoulder.” The steward is entrusted with the king’s power to “open” and “shut,” like in Revelations Chapter 3 above, where Jesus, as Davidic king, has the “key” and the power to “open” and “close.” Jesus also conferred his royal power to His steward, Peter.

Here is another passage which talks about the Egyptian steward (called a Vizier), Joseph (son of Hebrew Patriarch, Jacob).

Genesis 41:38-45
“Could we find another like him,” Pharaoh asked his officials, “a man so endowed with the spirit of God?” So Pharaoh said to Joseph: “SINCE GOD HAS MADE ALL THIS KNOWN TO YOU, no one can be as wise and discerning as you are. You shall be in charge of my palace, and all my people shall dart at your command. Only in respect to the throne shall I outrank you. Herewith,” Pharaoh told Joseph, “I place you in charge of the whole land of Egypt.” With that, Pharaoh took off his signet ring and put it on Joseph’s finger. He had him dressed in robes of fine linen and put a gold chain about his neck. He then had him ride in the chariot of his VIZIER, and they shouted “Abrek!” before him. Thus was Joseph INSTALLED OVER THE WHOLE LAND OF EGYPT.
“I, Pharaoh, proclaim,” he told Joseph, “that without your approval no one shall move hand or foot in all the land of Egypt.”
Pharaoh also BESTOWED THE NAME OF Zaphnath-paneah on Joseph, and he gave him in marriage Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera, priest of Heliopolis.”

Note the three things I capitalized. Joseph, as Vizier, was chosen because God had made things known to him. Just like Jesus said to Peter. His heavenly father revealed the truth to Peter and that is why Peter was chosen.

The Pharoah changed Joseph’s name upon giving him the office and the power. Just like Peter’s name was changed by Jesus (the king) when Jesus gave Peter (the steward) the “keys.”

It seems that Protestant and Catholic Bible scholars alike believe that Joseph was also given “the gift of infallible interpretation as the ‘preserver’ of Egypt.” (I don’t understand where this comes from. Maybe from “no one can be as wise and discerning as you are.”) Anyway there seems to be agreement on this point concerning Joseph. Catholics also believe that Peter had the “gift of infallible interpretation.”

And Joseph had power over the “whole land of Egypt.” In Isaiah above, the steward, Eliakim, “shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to the house of Judah.” Peter was also given authoritative power and was to be a “father” to the Christians.

Page 266 says, “Once the work of redemption had been completed and all authority had been given to Jesus, he passed the keys of authority over to Peter to administer the kingdom as a visible steward in his ‘absence.’”

This key of royal authority is not the only key conferred upon Peter. Jesus said, “I will give you the KEYS to the kingdom of heaven.”

What are these other keys? The keys to the Netherworld/Hell/Hades.
“Abyss” is also translated as “bottomless pit” and “Netherword” is also translated as Hades or Hell in some Bible versions (Catholic and Protestant.)

Revelation 1:17-18
When I caught sight of him, I fell down at his feet as though dead. He touched me with his right hand and said, “Do not be afraid. I am the first and the last,
the one who lives. Once I was dead, but now I am alive forever and ever. I hold the KEYS TO DEATH AND THE NETHERWORLD.”

Revelation 9:1
“Then the fifth angel blew his trumpet, and I saw a star that had fallen from the sky to the earth. It was given the KEY FOR THE PASSAGE TO THE ABYSS.”

Revelation 20:1-2

“Then I saw an angel come down from heaven, holding in his hand the KEY TO THE ABYSS and a heavy chain. He seized the dragon, the ancient serpent, which is the Devil or Satan, and tied it up for a thousand years. . .”

These passages in Revelation describe Jesus having the keys to death and the Netherworld. Jesus gave the Church the power to save souls and overcome sin (evil and Satan) and death by preaching Christ’s message. Jesus gave Peter authority over the Church, by giving him the keys.

These keys (over sin and death and royal Davidic authority forever) were given by Jesus to Peter alone. The office of Steward was an office with succession and Jesus reigns forever. So we believe that this office given to Peter also had succession.

(end of paraphrase of Ray’s book)

Good night and God bless you all.

Elisa on March 11, 2009 at 2:48 AM

Which certainly hasn’t been solved by the issuing of book of canon; witness the hundreds of competing Christian denominations today. But you didn’t ask about the TEACHINGS of the Christ; you asked about his STORY.

q2600 on March 10, 2009 at 9:23 PM

The Bible is the only reliable source for either the teachings or story of Jesus. The canon informs the faithful which accounts are valid.

Jesus didn’t oversee the founding of His church or edit His own biography. It would have reduced fractionalism but apparently was beyond his earthly mission. The various denominations provide institutional support for individuals to find their way to Christ.

dedalus on March 11, 2009 at 8:17 AM

Murder being wrong is NOT a Christian creation… nor theft being wrong… its part of the social contract that humans need to survive… all religions, including those pre Christian, or Jewish, believed in these things as well.

Actually it is. Just look at how many religions dismiss murder.

Baal allowed the murder of babies (abortion anyone) by roasting them as an offering. The longer they screamed, the more god was pleased.

Hinduism allows the murder of untouchables.

Islam allows the murder of infidels.

Tim Burton on March 12, 2009 at 5:53 PM

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