And then they blame God


Last seen in school in 1962.

Last seen in school in 1962.

When we kicked prayer out of school, we kicked out God. It’s no surprise that the devil showed up instead.

What I don’t understand is: if the atheists hail every extraction of God from our society, when they have succeeded in taking Him from people’s minds, then why do they blame God for

Increasingly seen in schools since then.

Increasingly seen in schools since then.

the result?

My heart grieves for the Connecticut school, and for Virginia Tech, and for Columbine, and for the ever more frequent, ever worsening list of massacres. Our intelligence agencies work feverishly to “connect the images-4dots” to thwart terrorist plots, but we refuse to “connect the dots” about the direction of our society.

Forgive me this post. But I am so distressed, I wish to call people everywhere to turn to God. Our nation will NOT improve until we find Him again.

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104 responses to “And then they blame God

  1. I hope I do not offend you in my comment. I do you have a strong belief in God or as I like to refer to it a higher power, my beliefs do not follow mainstream religions. I support peoples’ right to believe in whatever they choose. I can kind of see why they took prayer out of school, because you have to be fair to every religion, which is impossible. No matter what you truly cannot kick god out of anywhere. I pray a couple of times a day, no one can keep you from God. God was there, some children he allowed the parents to take home, the rest he took home with him.
    I am truly sorry if this comment is offensive in a way.

  2. Amen. Like the frog in the pot, not only can they not tell that the water is boiling but when you point it out to them they foam at the mouth and scream that the water is not boiling and everything is fine.

  3. I am so sorry to see you so distressed and in pain. Public prayer has been kicked out of schools – private prayer has not. Our nation is predominantly Christian. Other faiths also pray. That is a lot more prayer than not…theoretically. Jesus’ ministry advanced forcefully with his followers praying in secrecy and hiding in catacombs. It’s not the atheists. It’s a culture of criticism and blame, and us versus them. Ignorance and misplaced priorities. And so much more. God has to be bigger than His name on or in public displays. Everyone who believes in God and serves God is a billboard for God, is LIVING His name before others, much more loudly than public prayer, Ten Commandments, or In God We Trust. James 5:16. Much respect. Diane

  4. Prayer in public places is contrary to the Constitution. Private prayer is OK.

    And from what I have read it also goes against Christianity.

    But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. Matthew 6:6

  5. NEVER apologize for telling the truth!

  6. I agree wholeheartedly. I am heartbroken, but angry at those who think religion is a dirty word and that God should be hidden in a closet. God will not be mocked. He will show the unbelivers that He exists. God help us alll when He does.

    • RELIGION becomes a “dirty” word because of the individuals who make it so. I gather from your comment that God is pretty scary, and will pretty much hammer those of us who don’t understand who He is because he is so misrepresented by the fraction of Christians who are angry, arrogant, and entitled. Is that right? God help us all.

      • Religion becomes a dirty word for those who would rather believe there is no God. God would never punish anyone who does not know Christ due to the actions of others. If God is going to punish anyone, He will chastise those who are His children. The lost may or may not suffer the consequences of their sin while on earth, but the Christian always does. The lost receive their judgement when Christ returns. The Christian is judged in the here and now. There are a large number of people who either falsely think they are saved or just act as if they are saved. These people lead others astray. God is not pleased with such actions. I have never been afraid of God, but I am in awe of God. He gives great love to His children, but as any father should do, He makes it unpleasant when we stray away from His teachings. We only hurt ourselves by not living under His ten commandants. We miss out on many blessings we could have had.

        God is love, but He is also powerful, in charge, and decides when to allow pain and suffering in each life and when to intervene. If this seems harsh, remember, God created each of us and has the right to tell us how to live so as to receive His blessings and the right to punish any of us at any time. One wonderful thing God always does though, He warns us before He pulls back His grace to allow us to suffer the consequences of our lives. I would say that is a good thing. I, too, pray that God will help us all open our eyes, take a hard look at ourselves and determine if changes are needed.

        • Actually, god killed and slaughtered many that did not know christ. He killed all those that ‘occupied’ the lands that he deemed for his people. Killed women, children and men uselessly because they were peacefully living on land that he decided was to be for others. The old testament is filled with god slaughtering and killing people, all of them did not know christ.
          If god is good, think about this:
          Is an act good because god decides it is good, or does god do it because it is good.

          • MR Bungle, Thanks for joining the dialogue. Before I get into technicalities, how do we define good without God? If we are all the product of evolution, the rage we feel at perceived wrong has absolutely no evolutionary benefit whatsoever. Where did this sense of justice come from?

            • the human experience of moral obligations was the result of evolutionary pressures, which attached a sense of morality to human psychology because it was useful for moral development; this entails that moral values do not exist independently of the human mind. There is a non sequitur when postulating a supernatural being with morality. Morality might be better understood as an evolutionary imperative in order to propagate genes and ultimately reproduce. No human society today advocates immorality, such as theft or murder, because it would undoubtedly lead to the end of that particular society and any chance for future survival of offspring. Human beings, as well as many other primates and organisms in existence today, have an understanding of why they behave morally without attributing any of it to an unsubstantiated supernatural claim. Morality is innate and natural and does not require a diety as an explanation. Unless there is a case of mental illness or a religious influence instructing an immoral act, an otherwise moral human being will have no justification to do something which is considered immoral. Morality is objective. However, it may be more logical to think of it as an evolutionary need to do good rather than holding a deity, for which there remains no reliable evidence at all, entirely responsible.

              • I’m glad to see you have such developed ideas about this. I might beg to differ that your assertion that “morality is an evolutionary imperative” is a bit of a stretch of the imagination. Again, morality along the supposed evolutionary chain makes no sense; the only thing that matters is pure survival. I don’t know about any primates having “morality.” But seeing as we disagree about the origins of morality, I might venture to say that your reference to “slaughter and wipe out entire peaceful populations” is anachronistic. I believe people migrations were quite common in ancient times. Attacking and dispossessing was the norm. To find this a historical reality and then deny the possibility to God’s people seems rather arbitrary. If we do it, we should be consistent; we will have to give back all of America to the Native Americans. May I ask what your position on dropping the bomb on many of the peace-loving people in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. You may be against it, but many will find a war context that if not justifies it at least explains it. It would be hard to find someone who favors war, but most people find it in some cases to be a necessary evil. I view the conquest of the Promised Land as something of a necessary evil, a war that was so historically commonplace in the ancient world as to render ridiculous modern criticism of it.

                But saying that, allow me to extend to you my friendship. If we are alone on this dusk speck in the universe, let’s make the best of it by being friends and seeking points of agreement: things we can fight side-by-side against, such as human trafficking, or whatever your fancy.

                God bless! Yours, Mike

                • I’m willing to accept that many people get their morality from religion. I am rather offended, however, that these same people are so arrogant as to think that I couldn’t possibly be getting my morality from elsewhere.

                  First of all, many Christians commit murder and many atheists don’t, so being religious doesn’t guarantee you have morality and being atheist doesn’t imply you don’t. Second, people had laws and moral codes for thousands and thousands of years before Christianity was ever invented. It’s pretty clear that morality did not originate with Christianity (or any other religion) nor is it the only source of morality.

                  Morality actually comes from two places:

                  Evolution
                  Our brains

                  If you are unfamiliar with evolution/natural selection, my favorite definition is: “That which survives, survives.” I can’t think of any simpler way to put it. Traits that positively affect our chances of survival live on to the next generation, and traits that negatively affect them don’t. You don’t even have to do any studies or research to see that this is the only possible way it could be. It’s just so obvious.

                  Now, imagine a species composed entirely of murderers. That species will murder itself into extinction really quickly. Evolution, natural selection, and survival of the fittest guarantee that any species alive today necessarily cannot be made up of murderers. Voilà, we have morality.

                  It really is that simple. We have morality because we need it in order to survive. Even in a world of total randomness, we would still end up with moral species. Imagine a world with 100 species randomly filled up with murderers. The species with high concentrations of murderers would die out and the “moral” species would live on. There is no thought required, no grand design, no godly being, it just happens.

                  Of course, it’s not so black and white. There are, after all, other ways to be moral besides not being a murderer. Still, it’s pretty easy to imagine that a species filled up with thieves is worse off than a species with cooperative people.

                  An important part of human morality is that our brains allow us to go beyond simply what nature came up with. “Nature red in tooth and claw” is an accurate description. When a new lion takes over the group, for example, he kills all the baby lions because he wants to spread his genes, not the genes of the former leader. It makes perfect sense, but human beings have more evolved brains than lions and we are able to see why this is wrong.
                  So, what magic allows us the ability to judge morals beyond that which nature intended? Some people think it’s religion, but I think it’s our brains. A lion is just doing what comes naturally to him when he kills off all the cubs, but we humans are conscious and we are able to see that death sucks and do our best to avoid it.

                  Do you want to know where I personally get my morals from? The Ethic of Reciprocity:

                  Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.

                  I know, I know, it sounds like I’m getting my morality from religion, but I’m not. I just happen to like how it’s phrased. That phrase, or a similar one, shows up in over 21 religions throughout the world. The fact that so many people independently came up with the same moral law implies to me that it comes from our brains rather than some higher being.

                  The law also just makes sense, plain and simple. I don’t want to be murdered and I don’t want my stuff stolen, and the best way to ensure I live in a murder-free/theft-free world is to not commit murder or theft. It works in reverse with philanthropy, too. If I was down on my luck I would want people to help me out, so in turn I try to help out people who need my help as well.

                  I want to point out that evolutionary morality is not only the source of good in the world but also the source of evil. Unfortunately, we live in a world where being ruthless and greedy makes you rich and powerful, which in turn makes you attractive to the opposite sex and helps you pass on your genes. This is why there are so many greedy bastards in the world, and why we keep getting into wars and countries keep trying to take over the world.

                  Lastly, I want to point out that we are still evolving. “Ha ha,” I hear someone cry, “If evolution works as you say it does then why are there still murderers in the world?” People seem to think that we are at the end, that millions of years of evolution have finally culminated in the perfect being: humans. It’s not the end. Who knows what we will evolve into a million years from now.

                  We all have to take it upon ourselves to ensure that in the future we pay more attention to our brains rather than our instincts. We want to evolve into a species that values philanthropy over power, cooperation over greed, nice guys over tough guys, smart women over beautiful women. I only wish I could stick around to see what life is like in a million years :-)

                  • Dear MR Bungle, What a powerful comment! Thanks for taking the time to write such a lengthy piece. I admire your logic and your sentiment. Why did humans “evolve” religion? I don’t see any other species with the religious “instinct.” If it came from evolution, then is it a trait that guarantees and helps our evolution? To be honest, I have never heard or read any discussion about the evolution of religion. But if morality can evolve, then it makes sense that religion should too. And if the animal kingdom has its own brand of morality, do they have their own brand of religion? I think you are saying that mankind all over the face of the earth, all the different people and ethnicities, all have some form of religion. Is that a superior “evolved” quality or an inferior “devolved” quality? Waiting expectantly, Mike

                    • Religion was an exaptation or a spandrel, in other words that religion evolved as byproduct of psychological mechanisms that evolved for other reasons.
                      Such mechanisms may include the ability to infer the presence of organisms that might do harm (agent detection), the ability to come up with causal narratives for natural events (etiology), and the ability to recognize that other people have minds of their own with their own beliefs, desires and intentions (theory of mind). These three adaptations (among others) allow human beings to imagine purposeful agents behind many observations that could not readily be explained otherwise, e.g. thunder, lightning, movement of planets, complexity of life, etc. The emergence of collective religious belief identified the agents as deities that standardized the explanation.

                      While non-human primates are not religious, they do exhibit some traits that would have been necessary for the evolution of religion. These traits include high intelligence, a capacity for symbolic communication, a sense of social norms, realization of “self” and a concept of continuity. There is inconclusive evidence that Homo neanderthalensis may have buried their dead which is evidence of the use of ritual. The use of burial rituals is evidence of religious activity, but there is no other evidence that religion existed in human culture before humans reached behavioral modernity.
                      Elephants are the only other species known to have any recognizable ritual surrounding death.

                      Evolution is the change of organisms in order to survive, I don’t think it’s for the better nor does it help evolution or humanity. Witness the wars that are fought in name of religion, be it islam or christianity or any other.
                      There is also many evidence of evolution that didn’t survive or do any good, go visit a museum ;-)

                    • So how and why did you become an atheist? All very fascinating!

          • God always sent prophets and preachers to warn people to change the way they were living. As is true of most of us, they ignored the prophets and went right on living the way they wanted. God then sent armies to wipe them out. It is true they had never heard of Christ. That is why God is allowing them to live again during the thousand-year reign of Christ. They will have the same opportunity to accept Christ as we have had. God is nothing if not fair to all. God never wipes out a people for the love of destruction. Read the entire bible from beginning to end. The answers to many questions are written within. Thanks for replying.

            • Not true, and if he did, it was rather unreasonable.
              Imagine your neighbour knocking at your door and telling you that he’s going to move in the next day and you should let him and be subservient to him as well, do everything he wishes and live the way he wants you to or suffer the consequences. Would you accept that?
              This god is definitely NOT fair to all but himself. The old testament god is one that loves destruction, there’s more murder, patricide, infanticide and rape in the old testament (all done with god’s approval if not by himself) than in any other book I have read. I have read the bible, front to cover, it’s the best way to become an atheist… READ THE BIBLE, it’s full of inconsistencies, immorality and unethical conduct. Even if you look past the inconsistencies and errors, how can one worship a being like that? That loves to bend people to his will or kill?

              How did I become to not believe in this fantasy? I read the bible and started thinking for myself.

              • MR Bungle, Good to see you back in the conversation. I feared you had dropped out. I guess what I meant is: were you raised in a Christian home? Was there any suffering that led you to view the scripture in a certain way? You mention God being unfair. Was there any unfair treatment that you suffered? Did church phariseeism drive you mad? Etc.

                It’s interesting to note that Josh McDowell started from the opposite position, trying to disprove God by reading the Bible, and wound up believing in God.

                I think one of the major historical facts that points to the resurrection is the collective testimonial of the disciples. It is hard to conjecture that they would be able to fabricate such a sophisticated lie given their lack of schooling. You point to minor discrepancies, but it is the major coincidences that are startling. Why would each of the disciples allow himself to be killed for Christ, when he was alone and no one is there to egg him on, when he was given the chance to recant and save his life — unless he had see the resurrected Christ. Anyone can fabricate a lie. Usually they do it for a purpose. It is hard for any set of liars to agree over a long period of time on details. (Just ask cops. Sooner or later, they break down and admit the fabrication). What motivated the 11 disciples to all allow themselves to be martyred? Who would do that for a lie?

                Well, these are just some thoughts for the ongoing debate. Thanks for debating! I appreciate you!

                I hope you had a merry Christmas! And I hope your new year is spectacular!

                • I was out for the holidays, hence no response.
                  I was raised in a loving home, my parents taught me to fear god like everybody is taught. I haven’t suffered in any way, everybody is treated unfairly in life at some point, so that’s no shocker. I simply started thinking, I read the bible and didn’t believe a word of it, it contradicts itself on multiple stories. The resurrection story is one of them, each disciple mentions different and contradictory details! These ‘minor discrepancies’ as you call them are significant enough to discredit everything! Yet you choose to ignore that fact… Every cop will tell you, it’s all in the details, that’s how you can tell a lie from the truth. The story is the same overall, yet each disciple has different details that contradicts each others account. Ignore it at your own peril and choice.
                  And this is only a small part of the inconsistencies and contradictions of the bible.

                  Start thinking for yourself, do you really need god and the bible to live a good life?

                  I sure don’t.

        • Thanks for clarifying, Barbara (that’s your name, right?).

          What you just said is fairly much what I have been taught, with a few exceptions – such as warning us before He pulls back his grace.

          And I DO want to believe in God, but see “religion” as “churchianity,” to be very different from God or Christianity. I’ve never heard that people can just “think” they are saved. But I guess that could explain a lot. And I’m with you in praying that eyes are opened and needed changes are revealed.

          Blessings!!!

          Diane

          • Diane, thanks for replying. I have been reading all of the comments here and realize that Christians (like me) can sound so condescending. I never meant to. I was lost in my sin before my eyes were opened to my lost state and I accepted the invitation from Jesus to follow Him. I have studied scripture and read commentaries and studies on scripture for 40 years. I am an Independent Baptist, but the literature from the Seventh Day Adventist church explains the redemption story better than anyone else in my opinion. You are right about churchianity. I attended a large church for 25 years. I began to feel empty inside and longed for the church I grew up in. I found one like it here in the North Georgia Mountains. We attend church on Sunday morning only. We don’t “play” church. We come together to worship and pray for each other. Sadly, like all things, man has perverted the reason and meaning of gathering together. It is not to raise money to build a new gym or basketball court. We should come together to praise God, sing praises, pray for each other and the world and to learn what God desires for us. As long as you know Jesus, you have salvation. Having salvation, God will show you how to live and how to think concerning all matters. God’s love and blessings are wished for you always.

            • Thank you, Barbara!

              Your newest response shows a warm heart that I didn’t perceive in your first response. I answered abruptly – It is a tender zone for me, but I don’t need to engage that way.

              I was truly feeling a little sad about this exchange with you at first – a too familiar sense of being outside of certainty that seems so possible for some, and of being in some sort of nebulous condemnation (from God or people). A too familiar rise of frustration and stab of sadness within myself in response (feeling left out by God, judged or patronized by those who seem to “get it,” a sense that there is “REAL” just beyond my current understanding).

              I also have studied quite a bit, sought and prayed long, but choose to leave it alone and listen for a while for God Himself and to kinder views of God from others for a while. I have a pretty good grasp of God’s judgement – it’s the grace and love that elude me. I know that lifting my head in my own version of righteous indignation is not the answer – bad energy there! Perhaps I am expressing too much vulnerability here for a blog exchange, but it’s there.

              I’m finding more sincerity and kindness among Christian bloggers than I have since 1991 when I left my church in Nevada, four states ago. Not that truly faithful Christians weren’t out there — they just weren’t the ones doing the talking.

              If your new church was several states closer – I’d visit! (smile)

              Blessings to you, new friend!

              Diane

              • The blog tends to bring out a different side to people. What is it about the church that brings out the worst (sometimes)? I have seen it. I have done it. But what is the wrong element? It seems like we become more like the self-righteous Pharisees than like Jesus. I need God’s help on this one.

                • I want God’s help on this one, too.

                  My thoughts on the wrong element:

                  1) A core of shame – back to Adam and Eve – the first thing sin brought was wanting to cover up, then to blame to cover up some more. Which leads to deceit, confusion, isolation, misrepresentation – as we pretend to know more than we do, lose transparency and honesty.

                  2) the need to be right – back to #1 plus needing to be valued and secure in our subculture (church).

                  3) Good intentions – wanting to fix it, whatever it is, quickly and efficiently with good advice rather than relationship – (but things with people don’t fix quick and easy), and

                  4) instead of being IN the world but NOT OF the world, churches can become NOT IN the world either by isolating to themselves to sometimes uninformed, narrow perspectives that they defend too loudly having forgotten to pay forward God’s grace to them (back to #1).

                  If they (me too) can really believe the meaning of their salvation, #1 is void, and would go a long way to correcting 2), 3) and 4). Ya think?

                  • I think your observations are right on. I think there are other things. When I came back from the mission field, I wound up offending people (unintentionally, of course!). My pastor who was my biggest support turned out saying some things that really hurt. I am in the process of re-inventing myself, of trying to figure out how I am to be His minister in the new world (things have changed since 20 years ago when I left for Guatemala). Thanks for helping in that process!

                    • Hi, Mike. What a group of conversations here! Wow. People will be clicking in to check out the arguments and resolutions!

                      I would like to hear more about the experiences you mentioned. If you care to talk more. No weird boundaries here but very interested in your insights as a pastor and missionary.

                      I think re-inventing is a good place to be. Can be really uncomfortable. But our entrenched paradigms get uprooted and that allows a different view to penetrate. Maybe could be stated that we’re able to think (or maybe “hear”) outside the box. I’m hearing myself talk here – hadn’t realized it but my big scary decisions are my own reinvention process.

                      Very blessed by your blog. Diane

              • I love the way God brings two strangers together and opens a door for them to be friends. I also know that God has a time and place for each of us to come to a full understanding of Himself and Jesus. Your time will come simply because you have a desire to know more. I pray for you ultimate peace and for good health and happiness. Thank you for forgiving me. I don’t always stop to think how to word what I am feeling so that all people will understand – the saved and the lost. I wish we were closer so we could attend church together. I pray you will find what you seek. For then, I know you will be happy and at peace and that is what I wish for you. God bless.

                • Thank you for forgiving me as well! Thank you for your kindness and prayers! For the blessing in your response. What a good conversation we’ve had.

                  Blessings, Barbara!

                  • After reading your blog, I have a better understanding of where you are coming from. You have emerged a stronger person, I believe. God bless you, not just at Christmas, but every day. May there be many happy days in your life and the comfort of peace that Jesus gives.

                    • You are speaking a beautiful blessing, which is powerful, and much appreciated. Thank you. And I hope all the same good things to you! Have a wonderful Christmas!
                      Diane

  7. Amen! If you wan’t to take the credit away from God from good things, don’t suddenly put God to blame only when terrible things happen. The world isn’t perfect, any many people need to learn that without Evil there can be no Good. As terrible as this situation was, it only gives me hope that something equally as great will happen.

  8. Hi Pastor Ashcraft. I am leaving my family home in Japan for Shanghai once again. I once thought God closed the door by took my work out of the blue in the end of March. I trust Him in faith decided to go again. I miss my family though they made my life difficult sometimes.. They are not believers.. may I ask you to keep them in your prayers that they will meet the Lord..? Thank you so much. Keiko

  9. I miss prayer at the flagpole… we don’t have a flagpole at work… but I think we may see a few of us meeting there at the start of our shift to pray again.

  10. Yes I agree we need to stop blaming God and start remembering what causes all of this. I know that no one likes this word but
    ~SIN~ is the issue here, also remembering as hard as it is to hear, NO ONE IS INNOCENT, not even the little children who died. Having said that I don’t think it was ok that this young man took their lives, but Romans 5:20(b) says it best… but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more. I’m praying for the families and the churches close to where these people live so they might draw near to God.

  11. Hello dear I have awarded you the blog of the year 2012 award please check it out. http://ardentpt.com/2012/12/17/blog-of-the-year-2012-award/

  12. Ridiculous, atheists do not blame god for this travesty. However, christians DO blame the absence of (a fictitious) god in regular everyday life for this travesty. Religion should stay in the churches and in the privacy of one’s own home, not in public where it is forced on people.
    Research has shown religious people to do the most harm in the world.
    Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.

  13. Such a good point–we desperately need a move of God in our nation!

  14. We can never keep God out. We have to work Hard to keep Him in our lives. In public and most importantly, in secret. When we’re with Him.. alone and unbiased to anothers judgement which may alter a confession or prayer. God see’s all and I have faith that the innocent who were harmed are placed within God’s grace. My prayers go out to those who have lost loved ones and need the support and strength of those who are near and sincerely care. God Bless.

  15. No. People of God should agitate to get the crazy gun laws in the US repealed. Or perhaps that is what”s caused the problem in the first place: too many people saying they are Christians saying they have the right to bear arms. But not just one or two minor arms. Lots of arms. Lots of semi automatic arms. I never heard about Jesus blowing anybody’s head off.

  16. to say that God was not present is so cruel and cold, a joke of a lazy doubt filled man. For it is writen that man is given this thing he calls free choice and that is why it is written you should not commit murder but we do.
    the young mann in question from all reports never heard these word was never taught to value honor or respect all human life.His was of a family of the left where pro choice and others ways are taught..From a side which helped eliminate Gods word his moral code from schools. .Saying it was of no use it was cruel and evil to subject those who do not believe to it.Yet now you wish to blame God, but it was man who made the choice and did the heinouse deed. God is here and there and still waiting for the prayer and the request that you allow his grace his love his forgiveness to become your way.

      • @ J. G. Lord: if you really believe that survivialists are left wing then immediately you destroy your argument. They are right wing. And if you really want to base your moral code on a two thousand-year old collection of heavily-ideological narrative texts (and dubiously selected for inclusion in the canon), then go ahead, but i don’t agree with your stance. I do believe that God was there in Newtown on the day of the massacre, as he is everywhere at any time – i simply believe that he is heartbroken like any right-thinking person because he couldn’t do anything about it. We have to learn. He gave the life of his ‘only begotten son’ for us – what more do you want him to do? If he intervenes whenever there is anything bad then we will never learn. BTW The ‘young man in question’ was acculturated in Christianity, since the US is a Christianised society (to varying degrees). If he hears about people shooting with semi-automatic firearms and calling themselves Christians (of which there are many), then how is he going to think that Christians are any different to anybody else?

        • My dear friend did you read what I said? have you ever read the ten my dear friend? do you understand them and what they teach? If you did you would be ashamed of your self I am sorry if you feel that the ten commandments are an evil of old so did Stalin So did Hitler as did Mussolini and many others tyrants. how many Jewish children do you see stoned? how many Jewish girls do you see whipped in public? yet there are religions which do these things, A great Jewish thinker when asked how shall we treat the children answered like this, spare the rod, spoil the child.teach him the word of God daily in his youth guide him and he shall grow strong.that is what a majority of Christians do also: we spare the rod; we spoil the child and we teach them these ten simple rules of life. I am preparing an answer to one angry man it will be posted soon; I imagine it will in flame your anger but I can hope not. May you be blessed my friend

          • So you choose to ignore the rules of your god? (as majority of christians do).
            I have read the ten commandments, I wonder if you have?

          • @ JG Lord. What a quaint, condescending response. If you believe that the ten commandments are anything other than a system of idealogical precepts that suited the ancient Judaic race then i think you are blinded by the wings of an angel. I mentioned nothing about the ten commandments in my text.(However for that matter some commandments are obvious (thou shalt not kill/steal/covet etc) in that they contribute to an orderly society, and you don’t need a religious system to point that out.) I agree with MR_Bungle that religious fundamentalists cause wars. I am far above rising to such condescenscion as yours. You call me your friend but i assume that you would stone me at the first opportunity of a religious state? It is warped Christianity that i object to. And that includes the orthodox version of Christianity. Sometimes i think that if he were to return Jesus would spend the first few days laughing, amazed that the Church has interpreted his teachings as it has. I imagine him walking around shaking his head and saying, “What? They said THAT about me?!”

            • I must add this then I shall leave you alone , I asked for guidance in how to deal with you and I was given Proverbs 11 verse 12. I thank you for your time and I am so sorry I wasted so much of it please accept from me my deepest and heartfelt apology for my words. may you find all you seek and and all you desire just remember you may not believe in Jesus the Christ but he knows you thank you once again and I am sorry

              • @ J.G.Lord. How you should deal with me? DEAL with me? Is it such a problem that anybody should ask questions about what you hold to? (Or, God forbid, that they hold contrary views than your own?) Is your faith so insecure that you have to hide behind a wall of passive aggression if it is ever questioned? (Well, this is infinitely less harmful than flying airplanes into buildings or shooting dead anti-abortionists, i suppose) “He that is void of wisdom despiseth his neighbour: but a man of understanding holdeth his peace.” So you are saying that you are ‘a man of understanding who holds his peace’??! What is the point of quoting scripture to someone who doesn’t hold by it? How is that supposed to mean anything except to you, and to reveal that you live behind a wall of your own making? This is unfortunate for i am sure that you could be truly discerning if only you took your blinkers off. Silently seething that others have different ideas about something you live your own life by is not peacefulness. It is self-righteousness; and that is not wisdom. It is the sort of vanity of which the Teacher in the Book of Ecclesiastes speaks. The comedian Tim Hawkins has a phrase: “Jesus loves you, but you’re annoying.” Selah.

    • Absolute rubbish, this is what annoys me of religious people. You don’t look at history and ignore facts! You’re saying: Those that don’t believe in god, think all things are permitted. By your reasoning, I should be killing, raping and stealing because I do not believe in this god of yours, yet I’m living a life far more pure than most christians! I have never killed, raped or stolen, strange for an atheist that doesn’t follow gods ‘moral’ codes to do so. Looking at history, far more wars have been fought in name of god than otherwise, religious people have killed far more, raped far more and stolen far more than any other!
      God and morality are contradictory! Let’s take a look at the 10 commandments: the first 4 are all about god, nothing moral about them. The others are plain common sense, I don’t need god to tell that I shouldn’t kill people. Then there’s the punishments, a very moral piece:
      -Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death
      -If a man commits adultery with another man’s wife—with the wife of his neighbor—both the adulterer and the adulteress are to be put to death
      These are just a couple, does this seem moral to you? If it does, you need your head checked.

      Consider a thought experiment. Let us imagine that there was never a God-based moral system, no Divine Commandments, no rules of conduct springing from Supernatural Revelation. From this perspective, let us now look at the great moral debates of our age. Would they look different to us?

      First, consider some of the current contentious debates, including abortion, stem cell research, euthanasia, cloning, drug use, contraception, sex education and gay marriage. God’s finger actively stirs up these debates. So my question is how they would look without God’s intervention. Would they seem so intractable and cause so much heat and sometimes violence? I believe not.

      Let us consider just two: euthanasia and gay marriage. Would these be such big issues if God had not pronounced against them? Yet, is God’s prohibition a good reason to ban them? With respect to the first, we are more humane with animals than with humans. The only issue with euthanasia from a Revelationless point of view is whether the person who wants to die is certain in resolve. As for gay marriage, it is even more plain that it would be a non-issue if God had not forbidden same-sex unions. It would be an interesting project to go down the list and discover if these problems could be more easily resolved without God’s input.

      • My dearest friend;

        I am so sorry for your anger at the Christian way. I do so enjoy exchanges such as these to enlighten and ease the pain and outrage some feel or retain against those who they do not know.
        I could tell you of myself but that would be of no use I can tell you of my friend Paul James John Mark Like and Solomon. Friend first and foremost you said from your own words you are not a follower of the way but an Atheist a believer is self and self dignity. Also you have pre-judged me for my faith for I do not have a religion nor do I have set doctrines except those which I will tell you of. I will address your fear of war with this man has been at wars since Able was murdered by his brother Cain over who did God love more.
        Now can I ask you a question; why did not God kill Cain? Please refer to Genesis
        A clue Gods ways are not our ways, man even when he feels like your self superior to another can always find a justification for murdering his brother or enslaving his brother. Perhaps this when they asked Jesus why then did Moses give us divorce responded with: because of your cold cruel hearts. The problem is not with God but has always been with man. We were given the ten as Paul relates so we would see the true depths of our wretchedness how much we hurt but more how much we hurt those around us. Please read the book of Romans…
        Before I address euthanasia, religious wars, what defines a religion or a none religion such as yours; we must understand what the ten are what are the two mean to the ten and the way and why we worship the one. First I like words they carry meaning their structure tell us stories, but we must not infer things that the words do not convey for in so doing you change the true meaning.
        The ten were rejected and taken out of our public schools, why? The simple answer is those against them said like you the ten were promoting a religion. While the Atheist felt free will and self should be promoted.
        My dear friend what religion do the ten promote that you and others hate so much from where do they come? They are the cornerstone of the Jewish faith. Every Jewish child learns them they are talked about and taught daily in most Jewish homes.
        Look now at the ten and tell me if you can what god has been forced on anyone?
        A chief corner stone of our nation is and has always been choice. Now you skipped these in your note to me so I will start with them:

        1. This one says I AM meaning simply choose me or what ever. In all the translation I have read I have found no mention of punishment.We read have none other before me. Follow my ways keep my commands. Here is the thing my friend we expect our Children to follow what we teach and keep our commands.
        Key word is CHOICE
        2. Do not make any idols of and there is a list of animals rock bird and trees: refere to Deuteronomy chapter five for a complete listing.
        Now way back when we had the ten in schools; what were children making in school? I guess they were not making idols right? Friend an idol is anything you esteem far above self life and others. People today have so many we could spend days just discussing the idiocy of the tailgater or the irate soccer fan or the teen idols of each generation. We are told not to do that and friend we have and do see the reason why all around us do we not.
        I believe that we must choose to be a respecter if not of God then of all men and women.
        3. Take not my name in vane, I find this odd for what is the name we are not to use?
        If you are followers of the Christ then that is Jesus, of Islam Mohammad, Buddhist Buda and so on. However the one name invoked and spat on most is the name Jesus.

        Number four is where you started; so let’s see
        4. A day of rest for all men, now what an evil thing to teach.
        5. Honor your mother and father so that your days maybe log upon the earth.
        6. Do not do murder
        7. Do not commit adultery
        8. Do not steal
        9. Do not lie
        10. Do not covet
        After fifty six years now I can not see how anyone in their right mind could say that teaching this to children is evil. I never saw a man or woman beat or behead for refusing to worship Jesus, but I have seen women and men murdered for rejecting Allah. Your condemnation of war is commendable war is an evil visited upon mankind not by God but by men who claim to be gods. In all the things you claim to hate you do not see that it was always people’s choices that lead to the consequences.
        Now you will say so they choose to be murdered, by no means no. But those in the know having seen the course of events around them did not use good sense in their actions. Where we live there are armed deputies at the schools, people are checked in and out through a secure check point.
        But each state each district makes its own choices.
        So now my pat answer as you can well see is choice, it’s not for me to judge you and yet you judge me. If you could understand Paul you would know as I do that you should be happy in your choice of a domestic partner. It seems you are well aware of the word and the way so make your choice. I will pray that you come to understand that man is not an animal but is a loved and spiritual being but he must choose his way. Freewill is a wonderful gift. Should we murder our unborn children so we can earn more money or satisfy a want or desire? Should we then take the flesh of that child and use it for experiments? We condemned the Germans for this, we called the Japanese in human, but now we justify what once we called evil.
        Read Romans to learn more: For they cheered all the more as they sank ever deeper into their depravity and evil, calling all they did good and all that was once good evil.
        Paul also tells me and your words hint at the fact that even though you deny God as a creator you inwardly know he does exist. For why fight, why argue ; if God is unreal to you why all the contempt and the hate for those who say I have faith in Jesus Christ as my Lord; meaning leader and head whom I follow and as my savior gave his life so I might live. You are an enlightened man I am sad for you but that is your CHOICE not mines.
        Next you brought up killing the infirm or ill:
        Should we murder the ill the infirm the retarded the insane? Well the Germans did and to this day deny they ever did.
        I have learned this about man in my life time as He begins to define and refine his likes and dislikes suffering increases.
        This is a question that is veiled for it has to do with cost not life. How much does it cost the state to care for the old the sick the infirm? So justification is made to humanly euthanize them just as one would a loved pet. For this is the way of Atheist man.

        However in my Book which is well worn I am asked a question one which a man while shaking his fist at God said am I my brothers keeper, should I care for the hungry the ill. Now you as a modern man of science of enlightenment a none believer, one who believes in nothing but self; say what? That those like my self who say no to murder are evil; someone has to say no, someone must stand and say it is wrong.
        Mr Bungled you must look at the real reason for the suffering all around us, man is not good not one; man has choice it’s that simple. One great man said after reading to the entire nation the words of the law he concluded with these few words as for me and my house we will serve the lord.
        You and your friend condemn the word of God and look for ways to tear it apart, but it defines you and you hate. One knows from who it came thus your rage is directed not so much at the Christian who is grafted in but at the vine on which it grows for your hate is for the Jews. Only you hide behind excuse and made up isues.

        • I’m not angry for christian ways, I’m annoyed that people don’t see reason over religion.
          First of all, many people have been killed/murdered for refusing to worship Jesus or god. When the Europeans invaded America and Africa, the natives were slaughtered if they didn’t convert to praise and worship god.
          Oh, and then there’s the crusades, just so you know, more people have been murdered for refusing to worship or convert to jesus and god than any other.
          Thankfully, most of the western world has evolved beyond that.
          This is your first mistake.

          Why did god not kill Cain? Simple, both have never existed.
          Genesis is a sad first century tale trying to give an explanation to what was then far beyond people’s grasp of the world and universe. A badly written fantasy story.

          The ten have absolutely nothing to do with our wretchedness, the first 4 are nothing other than complete banter by a selfish, disillusioned “god”.
          the remaining I don’t need as it is COMMON SENSE.

          You obviously don’t understand the basics of euthanasia or mercy, so I won’t go into that.

          I don’t hate jews, that you come to that conclusion is simply mind boggling and ridiculous.

          I really don’t like God. You know, it’s silly to say I don’t like God because I don’t believe in God, but in the same sense that I don’t like Iago, or the Reverend Slope or any of the other villains of literature, the god of traditional Judaism and Christianity and Islam seems to me a terrible character. He’s a god who will… who obsessed the degree to which people worship him and anxious to punish with the most awful torments those who don’t worship him in the right way. Now I realize that many people don’t believe in that any more who call themselves Muslims or Jews or Christians, but that is the traditional God and he’s a terrible character. I don’t like him.

          God and religion…honestly, haven’t we outgrown all this?

          • you can not see the reason for you choose not to, you perfer blindness and deafness. Like it is writen one who debates with a fool battles a heavy wind. in simple speak sir no matter what I would say you would argue. where if you were but wise perhaps you could and will save your self. May you be blessed

            • Who is the bigger fool?
              The fool himself or the fool that battles him?

              • I must agree I was foolish in thinking I could dissuade an avowed Athiest or as you now aptly admit a fool from his own self destruction it is a vain appeal that I make and made to his reason forgetting he sees none other than himself his own reasonso he is know only of himself; to deny the one true God I find his follie but you may laugh that is your right enjoy I the fool give into your self righteouse ways I hope that on the day we stand before our judge I can at least say to you I am sorry I was not a better fool than you.

              • Hey, Mr Bungle, Happy new year! I enjoyed making your acquaintance in 2012 and hope it shall continue into 2013. I enjoy the banter of ideas. Yours, Mike

      • Mr. B. one can in their rage commits all manner of harm for we learn what a man thinks how he feels he may well do. you need to get control of you rage my dear friend I am not your enemy nor Is the Christ. why are the ten an evil thing to you.why is it evil to teach a child that an idol is not to be worshiped it is nothing that taking a name in vane and using it as an insult harms others.. you see friend you do not understand love your fellow man as your self. one must choose to do no harm one must choose to forgive.

        • A child is not taught religion, being taught means he has a choice not to believe. Children are indoctrinated by their parents and often chastised or banished when they see the light and stop believing.
          I choose to do no harm, and love my fellow man. I don’t need a god to tell me to do that.

          • A child is taught right from wrong it is your narrow mind which wants to argue that applies labels. were you taught to be American?

            • Sigh… I’m not American.
              Who’s applying labels now?

              • LOL now you see if I try and show an example you argue and then tell me I am applying labels.LOL you are so like my son do you suffer from ADHD? That is not a label it is a diagnosis and an assumption I am making about you. Thank God your not American possibly a Brit or a Canadian.As my kids say sucks to be yo living in a country where you never learn the truth but ready to tear down a country and people you do not know. wow. my boy this is fun reminds of a younman who built site after site of fake persoalities just to fight. God bless you son. I will pray and await your next exchange. di you ready my little response on the ten? well probally not but hope you did read Pauls respose to the Romans.

                • Not American, nor Canadian, nor Brit. Do you dislike Americans? Why thank your imaginary friend for me not being American?

                  I do not have ADHD. Do you even know what this is? You would not be able to tell or diagnose someone with this just by reading online posts.

                  This discussion is like digging a tunnel with a teaspoon, it’s going nowhere. I hope you will one day outgrow believing in imaginary friends.

                  • I would wish people discuss ideas and not finger point. We could poke out an eye! Mr. Bungle, if we believe in God, we’ll do you no harm. J.G. Lord, if he doesn’t believe, he does us no wrong. Let’s be friends despite our differences of opinions!

                • I’m just listening in on this conversation, but Mr. Lord…I see you doing the following: 1) quoting scripture to prove your point to an athiest – no point, 2) he’s being direct and a little insulting – you are responding in kind – if Christ dwells in you, and you are showing Him to Mr. B, I’m not too impressed, either 3) you use blaming words to essentially accuse Mr. B of refusing to believe – uh..is that productive?, 4) next step – patronize him by psychoanalyzing his anger and alluding to psychological issues, 5) then apply some American arrogance to insult his national origin, and 6) interact with him on a patronizing purely intellectual level. If YOU really knew the author of the universe, I doubt you would need to rely on these tactics, but instead would be humbly talking to God, with love, about Mr. B — instead of to Mr. B. about God, in your flesh. I don’t plan to engage you in dialogue – just putting this out in case you actually do care how you represent Jesus.

                  • I thank you for your kind words and have give them much thought.What you read into my responses what not what was intended however each person interputs what they read differently. when I spoke of ADHD I was as I said comparing his curt dry response to those my son and others and if I did not know better I would Ass u me he suffered from that condition; futher he pointed out he was not an American nor a follower so why or what has given Hime the right to judge the ten or God.I use the word to oint our what God said not as any moral or spiritual higher stand. if you had followed as you say the you would not have need to comment for I di apologize to Mr. B. for any implied or any missunderstood references and I do that now for you also. my action were nothing more nor less than true comments on what he asked. please feel free to read all the exchanges my intent was not what was implied. But as he apply said who is the fool he who argues or contends with the fool or the fool who eggs him or her on. all I can say is I enjoy good and open debate ,but to do so one must deall and be dealing with others who are being hjonect about who they are.I will offer to you Proverbs 8. wisdom speaks,

  17. You know what’s interesting is that every article I have read about the proliferation of massacres says “there has been NO increase.” As you read deeper into the article, you see that there has been NO increase since the 60s. But before the 60s, there was a huge and horrible increase. This shows 1) that statisticians and reporters are liars and misrepresent the facts to their own pleasing, and 2) my suggestion that kicking prayer out of school (as part of a bigger phenomena of kicking God out of our society) has led to horrible consequences. Nobody is willing to correlate this cause and effect. They are linking other things. Honestly, I am no gun enthusiast, but why don’t they jump on alcohol as the problem??? The mother was at the bar constantly! The correlation between violence and alcohol is high, but no one wants to attack that! It seems to me that they aiming at (excuse the pun) the wrong cause. Happy new year!

  18. I agree with you, Mike. There are multiple variables. Jumping on one single issue or another misses all the others.

    And, reading and thinking about this post more, I can see that consistent instruction in making wise and moral evaluations and choices is much needed – the 10 Commandments as example is good. In that respect, God in schools is good, if the version shown is moral and wise. You might find this funny, given my current theological status, that I actually homeschooled my girls for three years (various reasons – but among them was Christian curriculum!). My joke for the day! Seriously, I believe that kids don’t raise themselves and need to be deliberately instructed in word and example by their “village,” whatever group that is in their world – school, parents, neighbors, etc. If possible. On the other hand, I also think that they may have deeper conviction by being educated to choose a high road for themselves than by being force-fed. No answers, just thinkin into the keyboard.

    Blessings!

    • Dear Diane, Always a pleasure to hear from you and to see your face. I certainly don’t mean to sound like a know-it-all when I post. Actually, some of the time (such as the case with the unfortunate incident in Connecticut) my intention is to suggest some thoughts that others aren’t thinking, to weigh in the dialogue, to make sure we don’t just “miss it” because everybody’s hyping about the wrong cause. In any case, kudos on the home-schooling. I don’t know what “current theological status” means; is that an option on FaceBook? Hahahaha. In any case, you have a sincere heart and you have plowed through more years of hurt than anyone should ever, so I don’t think your “theological status” should be any problem.

      • HAHAHAHA back! Let’s add that as a facebook status! Wahoo…that would generate some conversation! We could have some fun with the category options! Yeeks. Never mind.

        Hey, didn’t mean to imply you sound like a know it all…you don’t. Just agreeing with you about missing it because we are hyping the wrong cause. I’m totally on the same page with you here!
        Diane

        • I didn’t take it that you implied I was a know-it-all. I just thought that would be good for anyone to see — that as a general rule, if I give an opinion, I’m not speaking ex-cathedra (or however it’s spelled).

          On another subject, when are you going to blog about your recovery and new life? I would like to hear the good parts now. At first when I read your blog, I was alarmed. But now I have the idea that you want to help people who might be allowing themselves to suffer through the unsufferable.But it might be good to point out some positive directions people can take. you know, they feel trapped in an abusive relationship. what to do? it looks like you spent years trying to find the solution. i’m thinking there might be a lot of people who might like hearing about what they should do? also, i think it’s incredibly powerful that you are able to have the largeness of heart to understnad that your ex also went through great suffering (victims turn into victimizers more often than not). what should a victimizer do? there might be men reading your post who need some help! I’m thinking you could really reach a lot of needy people.
          sorry for butting in with my two cents
          but it seems like you have such a noble heart and it seems like you have battled through some extremely difficult issues and would have wisdom to offer on the subject! :)

          • Mike:
            I always like your two cents! I will consider what you suggest. My recovery isn’t very evolved – I’m struggling and messed up right now, and don’t want to misinform or be toxic. I include the sad tales to pass on an insider view that will help those who would jump in and further abuse with scripture to have empathy and be more compassionate/wise – to help better and avoid undermining the hope and faith of victims who need it more than ever. I guess that is the angle of abuse I can do something about in my little circle of inflluence. Truly there are MANY people who deal with recovery far better than I can. If I knew what to do with the sneaky, lasting residuals of abuse, I would be doing better and would certainly pass it on. As for abusers….hmmm. Don’t know. I guess, for now, I address that by encouraging kindness and lack of judgment, since alienation and emotional pain are at the heart of both sides. This is my current thinking, but I’m still thinking about your suggestions.

            Blessings!

            Diane

            • Hmmmmmm….
              You might be further along than you realize. I say this because:
              1) you recognize the problem
              2) you are able to talk about it
              3) you have remarried and appear to be happy.
              I’m no expert on the subject, but you might be 75% of the way there. Don’t know.
              In any case, a lot of blogs are “directional.” What I mean is that they chart a person’s progress: saying dieting, or getting fit. I just think your blog could use some positive notes, maybe at the end of each posting. “Sneaky, lasting residuals” is quite poetic. I think that when you can identify so nicely something that is very difficult to identify, you are doing well…
              Pray about it. I’ll be praying for you!

  19. Thank you, Mike, for the vote of confidence and friendly input!!!
    Another note….I just made a comment to an ongoing discussion on this post, and wish I hadn’t. Feel free to pull it or not approve it if you think best. I think it may not be helpful.

  20. I agree. What happened that God became a word not to say because it offends some people? What happened that God became a word not to capitalize to be “politically correct?” I have many friends who will not read what I write if I insert religion into my essays but I write about nature and I photograph nature and I paint nature and the reason I do is to give testimony to God as Creator of this beautiful earth we are so rapidly destroying. I know this is unpopular but I have to stand up and do it anyhow. That is my mission now and I want to die doing this for I cannot do other forms of ministry. My world is very small and my contribution is teeny and that is the way it is.

  21. Thank you so much for the encouragement and clarification of my goals. I copied the comment to remind myself of just what I am trying to do and why I am doing it. Thank you so much for your kind words!

  22. Solid Post – You mention God in the west and people ridicule you. A lot of the bad things happening can be avoided with simple prayers of protection. So simple, yet so powerful. We live in a world full of powers of darkness. For now I encourage people to pray over their kids. When they are at work or away, send a prayer to their kids and loved ones wherever they are and for those that don’t believe in God yet, at least Affirm in their mind, that all is well with their kids and family. That helps but it’s not as powerful as prayer.
    Please keep getting the word out – it shouldn’t take calamities to happen before we turn to God. God wants the best for us, if only we will turn to Him. He won’t force people. It’s their choice. Best Wishes, Elena.

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