Atheist coems to believe in God

What would the world look like if more people realized that they were spiritual beings temporarily housed in human form — and then acted accordingly? To give you a clue, I present you with the story of “Thomas Coats,” as chronicled by Steve Hartman for CBS. Every year Mr. Hartman goes out with a businessman who poses as as “Secret Santa.” The anonymous good Samaritan gives out roughly $100,000 during the holiday season to people in bus stations and thrift stores. The effects are amazing.

Steve Hartman: You don’t really know what people are really going to do with this money. Do you care?

Secret Santa Businessman: No, because one of the things that I do is I do not judge.

It’s easy to look at a man and make all sorts of judgments about who he is and what he represents, but that is a dangerous game to play if those judgments fill us with pride while sapping our ability to empathize with those less fortunate.  The Secret Santa Businessman does not fall victim to pride, and that is why the story gets better:

Thomas Coats: “I didn’t earn that.”

Secret Santa: “You did earn it, because I can tell you’re a good man.”

Secret Santa Steve Hartman CBS

The Secret Santa Businessman says that Mr. Coats is a good man because he is. We all are. We all have the capacity for great good or great evil. Yin and Yang. The little devil on your shoulder vs. the little angel. However you describe it, that is the blessing and the curse of free will. We can be angels … or fallen angels, and those of us who realize that have an obligation to reach out a helping hand to those who have stumbled. It is our moral duty to remind others of the greatness inside them.

“When was the last time you heard that?” asks Steve Hartman to Thomas Coats. “Maybe … my mom?” he replies.

Steve Hartman: 30-year-old Thomas Coasts is a total deadbeat — at least by most accounts, including his own. Addicted to heroin, he recently hawked his own son’s toys for drug money. That’s how bad it is.

Thomas Coats: I haven’t worked in over a year. I’ve spent so much time in and out of treatment facilities.

Steve Hartman: Why his girlfriend hasn’t left him and taken their son is a mystery. Even to her. But she is now running out of patience, which is why the night before we met him, during another one of their many money fights, she suggested he try something radical.

Thomas Coats: “She said maybe you could shoot a prayer up to God real quick, you know? I know that you don’t really believe in Him, but maybe you could start.”

Steve Hartman: And so, he did pray — for the first time since childhood. Then, out of the blue this saint shows up, slipping hundreds into his hand. You could almost see the wheels turning. That kind of kindness from a total stranger the day after he prayed … it was too much of a coincidence for this atheist to bear.

Thomas Coats: It’s amazing. That to me was a miracle. That was God saying: “Have you had enough, now? I’m going to show you something.” So from here on out, it’s up to me.

Steve Hartman goes on to say that Thomas checked himself in to a treatment facility, although this time “he says this will be the first time with a higher power at the helm.”

The point of this story is not to say that this is definitive proof God exists. I’m not making that claim. What I am saying is that those of us who do believe in God have to think long and hard about how we go about reaching out to atheists, the poor and those who are just generally different than us.

Atheist finds God

One of my Catholic friends, who is just as annoyed with rumblings that Pope Francis isn’t “conservative” enough, put it to me this way:

This is why I support the Pope. By not being judgmental, “Secret Santa” found this guy. Maybe Thomas kicks addiction, maybe he doesn’t — but for the first time in years he has hope. Pope Francis has drawn criticism for not being “conservative.” That’s dumb. The guy is super conservative, but he’s not judgmental. He actually extends a “hand” to those different from him. Atheists, gays, juvenile delinquents … it’s amazing what a non judgmental hand can do. Catholic church attendance is even up around the globe.

We are told faith the size of a mustard seed can move mountains. In the story, it was the guy’s girlfriend that 1.) hasn’t left him, and  2.) told him to pray. That is faith. Kudos to her.  I hope it works out for them.

This is why I think it is wrong to tell strangers they are going to hell. We (humans) don’t know that. It’s not our place to judge. I referenced St. Paul with that before. Second to Jesus, a huge chunk of the new testament is about/written by him. Before his conversion he made a living hunting down and killing Jews that converted to Christianity.  He worked for the ruling priest class of Israel and possibly the Romans. Now, he’s a saint.  He wrote of the tears when he felt Gods presence at his conversion, probably just like the “deadbeat” in the news story.

While I do not quite understand how individuals can walk through life and not realize that there are things at play beyond human comprehension, the fact remains: they’re here. As you move forward, try and figure out ways to reach out to those who are different from you politically, spiritually, and socially. Perhaps they’re just like Thomas, who went through his entire life with only his mother having told him he was a good man. Through your temperance, empathy, humility and random acts of kindness you too might become someone’s guardian angel — or the one who makes an atheist believe in God.

Related: New York Times finds ‘some’ conservative Catholics upset with pope — slow clap for NYT

Related: Miracles happen every day: Girls pull 3,000-pound tractor off trapped father

Related: Mysterious ‘angel’ priest at car crash reminds us of our true nature

Related: Break free of the Matrix: The 1-year challenge to see the world in a different light

Related: The effects of meditation: What if you could ask your nightmares why they haunt you?

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About the Author Douglas Ernst

I'm a former Army guy who believes success comes through hard work, honesty, optimism, and perseverance. I believe seeing yourself as a victim creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. I believe in God. I'm a USC Trojan with an MA in Political Science from American University.

43 comments

  1. “What would the world look like if more people realized that they were spiritual beings temporarily housed in human form…”

    *Cough* Babylon and Greece *Uncough*

    Anyways, though I differ from you in the relationship of the body and the soul (and despise you with the white hot intensity of a million hopelessly ideological Libertarians on a million foreman grills for viewing Van Damned as anything other than a washed up old Hazbin who squandered his potential), this is a great article Doug, especially for someone with a lot of anger like me who could never ever ever hope to convince an atheist that their line of thinking has lead to more suffering than Christianity and that they should come over to our side of the fence because of said anger that often falls to Islamic levels of shear unprocessed vitrol.

    I would argue, however, that discrediting the two out of the five branches of evolutionary theory that run contrary to Christianity (I.E. Chemical Evolution (living matter coming from non-living matter through Evolutionary magic) and Darwinian Evolution/Macro Evolution (radical changes from one type to another, like a fly ‘evolving’ into a horse) would be far better for us in the long run because, as you are no doubt aware, some of these atheists believe that things like goodness and morality were ‘evolved’ into humans (essentially making those things meaningless along with Justice and also meaning that the strong have every right to do to the weak what they want or pursue whatever pleasures they want and kill themselves if they want), so if we can stab a steak through the prophet Darwin’s heart like he and many of his disciples have tried to do over the years, theology (and I suppose the whole extra-terrestrial I.D. thing) would be the only game in town and thus it would be easier for us to be able to get more people onto our side where even acts of kindness could not move them so.

    1. Wait. How do you disagree with the idea that we have a spirit that is housed within a human shell?

      I also don’t see how evolution is in conflict with Christianity. Time to God isn’t the same as time to humans. Science explains “How” but it doesn’t explain “Why”. That’s why you get libertarians who go on TV telling us that we’d all be better off if we took a page out of the sexual playbook of bonobos. I know that we are spiritual beings, and that God separated us from the rest of the animal kingdom. I honestly don’t care if the earth is 2,000 years old or billions of years old. I don’t want to fight that argument. Let them have it, because at the end of the day everyone wants to know the “why”… and science doesn’t have it.

      When you keep rewinding and rewinding the clock, you get to the Big Bang. And when you get there, they’re stuck. “Hmmm, so there was nothing, and then there was this explosion of light…and then everything burst into existence in the most mind-bendingly improbable of ways so that you and I can live? Yep. Totally random. Lucky. Weird, huh.”

      At some point you have to get into these deeper philosophical questions, and I’m confident that the educated man of faith wins hands down the vast majority of the time.

  2. “Wait. How do you disagree with the idea that we have a spirit that is housed within a human shell?”

    A man IS a soul. He does not HAVE a soul. Yes, there is a difference and it is an important one. The concept of the immortal soul separate and housed within the body is a concept that was originally created in Babylon and was introduced to and accepted in Judaism by way of Greece.

    “I also don’t see how evolution is in conflict with Christianity.”

    Ummm…most of its five branches AREN’T. I just told you that. Chemical and Macro/Darwinian Evolution (the two that people think of the most when the blanket term of Evolution is thrown out there) are the two parts that we have to watch out on as this vid below from Reasons to Believe will showcase:

    http://www.reasons.org/videos/through-the-lens-evolution-what-is-evolution-hd

    “Science explains “How” but it doesn’t explain “Why”. That’s why you get libertarians who go on TV telling us that we’d all be better off if we took a page out of the sexual playbook of bonobos.”

    Yeah…the fact that Bonobos do what they do isn’t indicative that they don’t have deep underlying problems with each other, it’s just that they ‘tend’ to express it through a different avenue rather than Chimps which will outright kill folks. However, they still have problems with each other and when sex doesn’t solve it, they’ll get violent like Chimps will. The fallacy the classical libs have is, funnily enough, the same fallacy that gun grabbers have. At the end of the day, the problems bonobos have with each other is still there and can get very bloody very quickly.

    “I honestly don’t care if the earth is 2,000 years old or billions of years old.”

    We’re not discussing the age of the earth here (which really doesn’t matter since I’m an old earth creationist/concordist anyways) so I don’t know why you brought it up since it’s largely irrelevant to evolution and the bible does indeed support the idea of an old earth and older Universe. We’re focusing on the blanket term Evolution here Douglas! I know science isn’t a strength of yours, but if someone stupid like me can keep focused on it, then darn it! Someone smarter like you should be able to as well! 😛

    “Let them have it, because at the end of the day everyone wants to know the “why”… and science doesn’t have it.”

    No…people are equally interested in the how part to and, in the case of die-hard Evolutionists who pray at the alter of Darwin, obsessed with it because to them, they already know the ‘how’ which is complete and utter chaos and blind randomness. Heck, you said as much when you mentioned the Big Bang. Hence why I said, if we could prove that the ‘why’ would have to be either some form of ID or Creationism, we could get them to our side of the fence. If you think Islamist are our enemies today…you’d be right. But, they are the OBVIOUS bad guys in this movie, while the Evolutionists are the sneaky backstabbers that right our textbooks and run our sciency institutions that have a far larger role to play in the West’s domestic culture wars. Crush the die-hard Evolutionists (which would be the Chemical and Darwinian/Macro Evolutionists) with the proof that the two highest tiers of their theory is a hoax and everything else falls into place.

    “At some point you have to get into these deeper philosophical questions,”

    Speaking of, from an Evolutionist perspective, would I be wrong to rob them blind, rape them, and then kill them because they had someone I wanted and I was stronger than them? Would I also be wrong for weeding out the sick, babies, elderly, mentally deficient, crippled, and so on so that they don’t ‘contaminate’ the gene pool any further and aren’t a drain to society through eugenics? Well, I suppose that I couldn’t assuming that I had the fear of the state bringing down retribution on me for breaking one of its laws which are probably subject to a lot of change to come down on me…but if I was friends with the state or could otherwise avoid the state…does that mean there is no such thing as Justice for the people I’ve harmed since they would have died and ceased to exist completetly and not be in good afterlife for their suffering and if I can get away from avoiding man’s punishment, die, and cease to exist myself?

    “and I’m confident that the educated man of faith wins hands down the vast majority of the time.”

    As am I Doug, as am I. Speaking of education, did you watch that video in its entirety and did you learn something new?

    1. Sorry, man. I don’t see how bio-genesis or macro-evolution, as this guy describes it, pose a threat to Christianity at all. Like I said, rewind the clock. If all these things were set in motion — if the machine was started — there still had to be a creator. God exists outside our understanding of time and space, so I don’t really don’t care if it appears as though gases mixed “randomly” hundreds of billions of years ago to produce living organisms. To me, it’s laughable. I think if smart men of faith occupy classrooms, we’ll be just fine.

      People have been predicting faith would fall for years. Generally, they’re the same kind of people who predict every generation that we’ll run out of natural resources. Guys of the Bill Maher variety make fun of Christians who talk about the end times, while simultaneously telling us the world is going to end violently due to climate change… “Haha, those idiot believers thing the world is going to end because of sinful behavior when really it’s going to end because we drive too many trucks and fly to many planes on our way to backyard barbecues and football games.”

      I don’t have any desire to have a soul debate, so I’ll just leave that to someone else if they’re up to it.

      And finally, I’d like to revisit this:

      “[T]his is a great article Doug, especially for someone with a lot of anger like me who could never ever ever hope to convince an atheist that their line of thinking has lead to more suffering than Christianity and that they should come over to our side of the fence because of said anger that often falls to Islamic levels of shear unprocessed vitrol.” — PersonIsPerson

      I think the question becomes: Why are you so angry? I think angry Christians pose more of a threat to Christianity than evolution.

  3. “Sorry, man. I don’t see how bio-genesis or macro-evolution, as this guy describes it, pose a threat to Christianity at all.”

    Ummm…I’m sorry, but are you getting abio-genesis (Chemical Evolution. Essentially the concept that living matter can come from non-living matter) confused with Macro-Evolution/Darwinian evolution? Or did you intentionally spell that word ‘bio-genesis’ since that’s another name for Macro/Darwinian evolution?

    If bio-genesis is indeed a legit term and you used it knowingly, then that would make you a theistic- evolutionist in the sense that you have no problem with the idea of a fly becoming a horse given enough time (since Macro/Biogenesis/Darwinian Evolution is distinct from Micro and Speciation in the sense that RADICAL and FUNDAMENTAL changes to the structure of a creature like Obama’s attempt to change the country would occur). In which case, I have to ask, what do you think then of the fossil records disconcerting lack of transitional forms for humans and indeed, other animals. What do you think then of the missing link between man and ape or an ape like creature not having been found for over a century?

    Go ahead, I can wait.

    “I think the question becomes: Why are you so angry? I think angry Christians pose more of a threat to Christianity than evolution.”

    Then wow are you a naive person since it was Evolutionists, not angry Christians, responsible for the vast majority of atrocities in recent times and who are turning people away from God at a much more rapid rate. Oh sure, you could say that I’m part of the problem, to which I would agree, but I would argue that I’m small fish compared to the Evolutionists in academia writing textbooks and that a large part of my anger comes from the fact that they are so prevalent and are so much more effective than I could ever be. For that matter, they’re more effective than those asshats at the Westboro Baptist church could ever be.

    As to why I’m so angry in the first place…I don’t know. I’ve always been an angry person. I remember once, when I was a kid, that I took anger management classes in Grade school. Back then I was liable to, if I didn’t like people or certain situation, run away screaming and yelling and fall down somewhere kicking and scream. I’ve improved since then with only a few instances like that and a few where I punched my stronger and littler brother, but my anger hasn’t abated, it’s only been channeled into more healthy pursuits, like trying to stab a steak through Darwin’s heart or arguing with folks over teh interwebz.

    Sometimes though, like when talking to a Libertarian (read: sexual anarchist whose life revolves around drugs and alcohol and who believe that those are the height of human expression and experience) it gets to the point where I wish I was one of the Israelite soldiers attacking the Canaanites or that I had converted to Islam so that it would be okay to cut their bathing suit area’s off, shove it down their throats, slit their throats, chop of their heads, and bury their bodies in an unmarked grave somewhere in the desert.

    And then other times when the haze of redrum (that’s murder backwards in case you haven’t seen the shining) has subsided and I am lucid again thanks to my own sanity or the sanity of someone else like you coming along and making me sane again, I realize how wrong I was, curl up in the fetal position in my bed and cry like a little girl, and fret that being of the flesh, I am doomed with the curse of wrath and cannot act upon it because God is the one whose going to be the final Judge and vindicator.

    Thank you Douglas for making me see the error of my wrath once more.

    1. Go ahead, I can wait.

      You’ll be waiting awhile. Like I said, I have no desire to debate evolution with you.

      Then wow are you a naive person since it was Evolutionists, not angry Christians, responsible for the vast majority of atrocities in recent times and who are turning people away from God at a much more rapid rate. Oh sure, you could say that I’m part of the problem, to which I would agree, but I would argue that I’m small fish compared to the Evolutionists in academia writing textbooks and that a large part of my anger comes from the fact that they are so prevalent and are so much more effective than I could ever be.

      See what you did there? First, you twisted what I said: I said angry Christians were more of a “threat to Christianity,” than those who teach the theory of evolution, and you took it into a blame game for the world’s atrocities. Then, after twisting my words, you insinuate I’m naive for something I never said. Classic. Instead of belittling someone who doesn’t agree with you, how about just explaining your point? Again, I think it will yield much better results. People will actually want to engage you.

      Then we get to the heart of the matter — your anger. Emmanuel says evolutionists “are so prevalent and are so much more effective than I could ever be.” So you’re angry because you’ve set limits upon yourself. You set the bar low — no one else did — and then you become angry for creating a self-fulfilling prophecy. Your pride (e.g., comments like “you must be naive”) only serves a temporary salve for that anger because ultimately you run into people who are able to objectively analyze your online behavior and remind you of what’s really going on.

      Sometimes though, like when talking to a Libertarian (read: sexual anarchist whose life revolves around drugs and alcohol and who believe that those are the height of human expression and experience) it gets to the point where I wish I was one of the Israelite soldiers attacking the Canaanites or that I had converted to Islam so that it would be okay to cut their bathing suit area’s off, shove it down their throats, slit their throats, chop of their heads, and bury their bodies in an unmarked grave somewhere in the desert.

      While it’s admirable that you’ve found ways to channel your anger, and that you’ve seemingly done enough introspection to know that the above-mentioned thoughts are not beneficial to your long-term mental health, I think you should try to really get to the root of this problem as soon as possible. That sort of pure hate corrodes the mind, body and spirit.

      I say this as someone who used to be filled with my fair share of anger — the sooner you stop letting the external world control your emotions, the better. You might not say all those angry thoughts that are swirling around in your head, but all of it is still projected through the computer screen. On some level, you’re telegraphing it to people. They pick it up and they’ll always back away from you. That’s why I said you’ve created a self-fulfilling prophecy.

      Have you tried meditation or looked into lucid dreaming? I had some Christian friends who weren’t thrilled that I meditate…but that’s a story for another time. I think having conversations with your subconscious via lucid dreaming is incredibly valuable. For instance, you’d be able to ask yourself why you’re angry. You’d be able to ask the deepest recesses of your mind how to rid yourself of it and … you’d get an answer.

      Anyway, that’s just some food for thought.

    2. The Person who is person I know we’ve had some disagreements on other threads but the things you’ve posted here are very interesting and I agree with you on the soul. Emmanuelle brought me to your post on Darwinism and I was hoping we could start an email correspondence. When I was younger I had the same righteous anger as you and I’m glad you’ve put your confidence in God as Judge and Vindicator for he assures us.

      “Vengeance is mine I shall repay.”

  4. A former colleague of mine has a degree in Physics but is a committed Christian who regularly attends church.

    He once said to me “In my years of studying Physics I was never taught anything that shook my faith that there is a God.”

    He went on to say pretty much as Doug has that something had to start it.

    1. Thanks for adding tot he conversation, Andrew!

      Like your friend, my wife has dedicated her life to science. When I first met her, she was agnostic. Now, she believes in God and her faith is strong. Like I said, I see no reason why science and religion can’t peacefully exist side-by-side. Some of the greatest scientists of all time were men of faith…

  5. I heard on the radio this morning that in the Church of England may not exist in 40-50 years as younger people have stopped attending church.

    When I was younger I attended a Sunday school run by the local Salvation Army. My parents did not attend church. In both cases this was because they did not enjoy church as children. By attending the Sunday school I found comfort when my grandfather passed away when I was 7.

    I think a lot of the problems in the world today are down to a LACK of religious contact. Religion is a positive influence on peoples lives.

    1. “I heard on the radio this morning that in the Church of England may not exist in 40-50 years as younger people have stopped attending church.”

      Really? I thought it might stop existing because it’s a state run operation yet this fact seems to escape British Separation of Church and Staters when they want to talk smack about the land of Uncle Sam.

    2. Emmanuel, I have followed Doug’s blog for long enough to consider you a troll who makes inflammatory posts.

      I will not be responding.

    3. I’m less inclined to call Emmanuel a troll. Unlike Lizard19, he has a decent sense of self awareness. He knows what his flaws are and seems to have a desire to overcome them. I think the potential to become the right wing equivalent of Lizard19 exists, but I hope that never comes to pass. He seems like a good guy who just doesn’t realize how his aggressive nature is interpreted by complete strangers.

      I think that if he tones it down, the credibility gap that now exists with some readers will begin to close. Lizard19 (if he returns in January) has a lot more work to do.

    4. Doug, apologies. Troll probably isn’t the right word although in the case of his post to me I found his comment to be designed to get an angry reaction.

    5. No apologies needed. I completely understand how you could take it that way. I’ve been trying to convey that to him… Hopefully your response will help that sink in.

    6. Indeed, Andrew, one of the reasons I stopped going to church was primarily because I felt they were more concerned with money than sharing God’s Word and they seemed to be more interested in going on dangerous trips abroad than trying to spread the Word in the local community. I still believe in God, don’t get me wrong; I was briefly an atheist and later agnostic in my teens, but slowly but surely I’ve seen my faith come back a little bit.

    7. And personally, I have never seen any conflict between religion and science, either. My beliefs are a mixture of both, when you get right down to it. Even during my aforementioned atheist/agnostic phase in my teens. I believe the two complement each other and like Doug said, there had to be something that got the ball rolling.

    8. Luckily I’ve never had religion forced upon me. It is my own choice.

      I believe there has to something more. God may not be a bearded man in a white robe but I believe there is an entity that kick started creation.

    9. Atheists make jokes about what God looks like (e.g., Spaghetti Monster), but I think about it like this: The human mind can’t really comprehend God or what He really looks like. It would be just too weird. And so, the mind has to find a way to make it understandable. Just like in a dream, you have these electrical synapses firing in your head and your mind has to make sense of it all in real time. It literally creates a world on a moment’s notice. How do you use imperfect human words to describe a perfect being? You can’t. So we do the best we can given our limited vocabulary and “hardware” (i.e., the human brain).

    10. Quite a few years ago I saw the Kevin Smith film Dogma at the cinema. At the end God is revealed to be a woman. On leaving the theatre I heard complaints about the films content. Surprisingly most of these were about God being female.

      Before anyone comments I was in the middle of my “Religion Sucks” phase and pretty much embraced all forms of entertainment that mocked it.

    11. Speaking of dogma, I was talking with my brother off the grid about this post. He said something I thought was rather interesting:

      I share your opinion on those people that think they have all the answers to everything religious. There is no way that’s possible unless they are God themselves. Since they obviously are not, as you said, anger comes out — they are right and everyone else is wrong and going to hell. Since their perceived enemies are damned anyway, their life doesn’t matter. And when life doesn’t matter, I’d think that’s not Christian, let alone Catholic. I think what the Pope is trying to say through his actions in conjunction with his recent homily on progressiveness is that we can extend a hand and be inviting to a secular world without compromising our ideals.

    12. I think that God’s true form would be near-incomprehensible to humanity. We often depict Him as a Bearded Old Man in art, but I have wondered if that is just a “form we can understand.” The Spaghetti Monster nonsense came about during my freshman or sophomore year of high school year and even though I was an atheist/agnostic at the time myself I still found it a little tasteless.

      If memory serves, Alanis Morsiette played God in “Dogma.”

    13. Yeah she did. I agree that we probably could not comprehend God if we were to see “him” in our mortal bodies.

    14. I think it’s like school, work, or working out; you get what you put in. Can’t speak for the Church of England as I’ve been Catholic all my life and I think we do a poor job of explaining our traditions; they just come across as rules in our Sunday School; I think this scares younger people away. As an adult I took it upon myself to learn the “why” behind our traditions and it strengthened my faith.

      I did volunteer for to help out a mission in western Pennslyvania a couple times in my teens, we stayed a week at a time and helped out those that needed a hand; the area was reeling from steel/coal decline at that time. Seeing the good service side of religion made a lasting impression on me. I agree religious contact can be very positive; I hope the Anglicans can right their ship.

    15. I’m Lutheran myself, so I admittedly don’t know a lot about the Church of England other than its basic history. I’m not sure if there are Anglicians (or how many there are) in the United States, but I could be wrong.

      I agree that it comes across as rules instead of traditions and that could frighten some away. Some of the requirements to pass confirmation class were beyond ridiculous (the aforementioned trips abroad, which they called “work camp;” they also talked about going to dangerous urban areas) as I’ve mentioned before and led me to quit going altogether.

    16. Wait…isn’t the Church of England still state run and funded by the tax-payer or did they get rid of that finally because they looked at us and realized that having a single Church the government respected with cash flow was a bad idea and part of the reason why animosity between Protestants and Catholics happened.

    17. I believe they do not get direct taxpayer support, however they have gotten “one time” grants for special things like the restoration of historic churches and things like that. I would think they also have some hefty endowments/grants from wealthy Britons past and present.

      They had animosity with multiple groups which is why a lot of religions made their way to the colonies. If I recall their beef with Rome was that the Vatican wouldn’t sanction a monarch’s marriage (or remarriage) centuries ago. I don’t think it was the religion’s practices so much. I remeber growing up, a good friend of mine was Episcopelien (sorry, I’m sure I butchered that spelling) which is an offshoot of the Church of England, and their service was similar to our mass.

    18. So, I’m assuming the name, ‘Church of England’ is more of a vestigial name from a bygone time then?

    19. The Queen is technically its leader, and I think they have a voice in the House of Lords; also I read that British citizens can use the churches for weddings and funerals whether they are regular church goers or not; so in that sense it’s the church of England.

  6. When I say this it’s with absolute respect but if anyone wants to know where those traditions come from read The Two Babylons it’s a bit narrow but in 150 years no one has successfully been able to refute the essential points.

    1. And with utmost respect, a quick search will show plenty of refutations. The point isn’t a validation of my faith over another (why I hope the Anglicans right their ship), it’s that I agree with Andrew that exposure to religion isn’t a bad thing.

    2. “The Two Babylons….” I’ve heard of that…. an infamous anti-Catholic book from the 19th century. It smeared Catholics in the same nasty way that “Protocols of the Elders of Zion” smeared Jews. It alleged that Catholicism was a Babylonian mystery religion or something like that and has been debunked two ways to Tuesday; while it’s true that the Mesopotamian religions influenced the Abrahamic religions (Christianity, Judaism, Islam), the Two Babylons was just a smear campaign designed to demonize Catholics.

    3. Yes, I can’t say I’m a fan. 😉 I spent some time in Inter-varsity Christian Fellowhip in college, and met people from a wide spectrum of Christianity; and respect all they brought to the table. It was more productive to build each other up than tear each other down.

    4. Hislop claimed- without evidence- that the Biblical king Nimrod, the mighty hunter before the LORD (he is believed to be an early Sumerian and/or Babylonian king by some) was the inspiration for Jesus. That doesn’t even begin to make sense, but then again, he was blinded by anti-Catholic bigotry.

      If he were alive toay, he’d probably work for Salon.com or the Democratic Underground. That’s how insane his theories were.

    5. LOL. I thought it was a valid comparison. Another site he’d probably write for would be the Daily Kos, if he were alive. Those are the types of sleazy websites were those kind of insane conspiracy theories are tolerated.

    6. Somewhat unrelated, but I’ve always found it interesting when I’m talking to someone about being Catholic and they tell me what I believe. It’s like, “Actually, no. You’re telling me what someone who doesn’t particularly care for Catholics wants you to believe about me.” That’s why I generally avoid these discussions unless I’m talking with friends who I know are willing to listen to what I say — and maybe (just maybe) reevaluate their stance.

    7. Yeah, Doug I’ve experienced the exact same thing… in regards to my conservative beliefs. A girl I used to work with at McDonald’s actually guessed that I was conservative one day. Because she was black and also a lesbian, she asked me if I was bigoted in any way. Seriously. I said, no, I don’t hate anyone. She said, “I guess I assumed all conservatives were backwards bigots. You don’t seem to be.” I replied, “That’s what someone who doesn’t like conservatives is telling you.” After that initial, admittedly awkward conversation, we got along just fine.

    8. A lot of people (namely liberals), when you get right down to it, have these straw man views of conservatives and Christians, which are formed by the pundits they listen to and probably by Hollywood as well. And we all know how Hollywood depicts conservative Christians, especially if they’re white.

      I was always get a kick out of people who think they know me better than I do. When they come in with nothing but straw men and try to characterize you based on that. I think I might’ve forced my co-worker to reevaluate her stance on conservatives after our conversation that one day. She came in with a preconceived straw man view of conservatives… and left with a different view entirely, simply because she talked to a real conservative (me).

  7. I’m not protestant I have no reason to support Hislop I said that his work was narrow and the last prophetic section of his book is well meaning garbage. I haven’t read all refutations I’ll give you that but the portion I have seen from catholic books and websites have been pretty lacking.

    1. So, you don’t have a reason to support him, yet you put the comment out…..why? Again, I see no point in tearing each other down; good day sir.

    2. “So, you don’t have a reason to support him, yet you put the comment out…..why?”

      Well, I guess the reason he did is the same reason us non-RINO cons like to quote Ayn Rand. Sure, she was loopier than a roller coaster and looser than one of Chris Christi’s shirts on Doug, but she made a lot of points and observations that align with what we say and support what we say even if she could never shake her godless materialist indoctrination by the Soviets at the end.

      Apply that principle to what Arachnobat said and you have his line of reasoning down.

      Anyways, again, this infighting amongst ourselves is only going to lead to the slaughter that befell the Churches of the Middle-east when the Muslims came, only now, they’re not alone.

      I still maintain that the best way to lead people towards Christ nowadays, whatever denomination they decide to follow, though, is through the scientific method and poking at the flaws of naturalistic Chemical and Darwinian evolution as much as possible.

    3. I’m trying to reply seriously, but I keep picturing Chris Christey’s shirt flowing on Doug like a tent! 😄. Anyways, yes you may have a key to leading people to Christ, and it comes with unity on our part too. We’ve been infighting for centuries, and it’s tiresome. I think different denominations work for different people.

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