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(Yahoo)   ...and then they went after the churches   (ca.news.yahoo.com) divider line 157
    More: Interesting, IRS, political faction, Crossroads GPS, Charles Koch, New York Attorney General, churches, charitable organizations, scrutiny  
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6468 clicks; posted to Politics » on 30 Jun 2012 at 2:17 PM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-06-30 04:38:47 PM  
Nail em' like an altar boy after his second glass of communion wine.
 
2012-06-30 04:43:08 PM  
I have the perfect test for qualification for religious exemption:

If your church or organization claims to be, say, Christian and doesn't match most of what Jesus teaches then you lose your exemption. Tada! No more GOP.

On a more serious note though, I've been pushing for removal of the tax exemption of churches for a long time. Freedom of Religion has NOTHING to do with taxes unless it's applied unevenly across the various religions.
 
2012-06-30 04:48:48 PM  

CmndrFish: UCC?


Yes. I've been a member for about 6 months; first time I went was the day they formed the marriage equality group. The pastor mentioned the group's formation during the service, so I decided to see what it was like (marriage equality being a hot-button issue for me... why should someone else's gay marriage be seen as less important than my gay marriage?) and got sucked in.

/I believe that when God moves, He moves through "random" chance and the smallest manipulations He can use. I'd planned to go to the church for several weeks, and kept having things get in the way of doing so.
 
2012-06-30 04:58:12 PM  

Dancin_In_Anson: HakunaMatata: shine a big bright light on all of them.

ALL of them?


I don't know what point your addled brain convinced you you just made, but to answer your stupid and shallow question:

Yes. ALL of them.

Idiot.
 
2012-06-30 04:59:24 PM  

KrispyKritter: what a bunch of maroons. it would not take very long for a crapload of churches and houses of worship across america to have to close their doors because they could not afford a new-found tax on their properties. then what do you have?

you have a crapload of pissed-off Ned Flanders that no longer have a place to re-inflate their world-weary souls every seven days. they won't put up with it and neither would you.

so you will have every little American Legion and V.F.W. and Firemen's Hall being rented for services. school auditoriums too if they can swing it. that means you'll have a crapload of people without a Hall to rent for their weddings, graduations and class reunions.

now you have a crapload of angry Ned Flanders along with a crapload of angry folks who can't get married, celebrate graduation, etcetera. surely you can see where this leads. it just gets uglier and uglier.

meanwhile most of these people are taxpayers whether or not they attend services on Sunday. they will rally together and protest the politicians who made the changes. cats will be living with dogs, ketchup will taste like mustard and all hell will reign down upon us.

people will worship in an open field, they don't care. if you want a country full of old churches that are empty and will eventually fail to the elements of weather and time then tax the crap out of them. just don't expect those taxes to be collected. peoples paychecks are not unlimited, the buck does stop somewhere. sooner or later we will all be paying higher property taxes as the townships have to absorb the costs of demolishing old churches and putting up protective fencing to keep children out.

as interest in religion slowly wanes you will have what you want: children raised in a faith-free environment. where they are not taught the importance of charity and acts of kindness. society will slowly decay, leaving us with a country filled with self-important greedy people that care for nothing more than making sure they get theirs.

then you can go after someone else you don't like, such as people over 6' tall, left handed people, those who stutter - you name it. no need to tolerate those that are different from you, why should you. slap a tax on them until they starve to death homeless. morans.


I love a good piece of satire. Krispykritter, you rock. Haven't laughed so hard in a while. Thanks
 
2012-06-30 05:00:05 PM  

deadcrickets: I have the perfect test for qualification for religious exemption:

If your church or organization claims to be, say, Christian and doesn't match most of what Jesus teaches then you lose your exemption. Tada! No more GOP.

On a more serious note though, I've been pushing for removal of the tax exemption of churches for a long time. Freedom of Religion has NOTHING to do with taxes unless it's applied unevenly across the various religions.


No. Sorry, but churches don't/shouldn't be taxed in general. Many churches don't make the money to support themselves; keep in mind that while the pastoral team may only include one to four people, the buildings (and therefore the lands) themselves are generally fairly large (and therefore require more energy to heat/cool, more maintenance, etc). While I certainly don't support the idea of megachurches, smaller churches could not survive if they were taxed - they have a hard enough time as it is.

Of course, I also think that churches should do more to help those outside the church. I know my church does a lot of work in the community.

It's also a fairly large building built in one of the most expensive areas in town; I have no doubt that if the lot were to be sold it would be worth several million dollars.

Keep in mind that pastors etc are taxed (I think). Any money not used to improve the church's ability to perform it's mission should be taxed as well, but proving that they are doing so is harder than it sounds - the onus should be on the IRS to prove they aren't a church, not on the church to prove that they are.
 
2012-06-30 05:02:32 PM  
I seem to have raised the ire of a few people.
 
2012-06-30 05:02:54 PM  

Exception Collection: No. Sorry, but churches don't/shouldn't be taxed in general. Many churches don't make the money to support themselves; keep in mind that while the pastoral team may only include one to four people, the buildings (and therefore the lands) themselves are generally fairly large (and therefore require more energy to heat/cool, more maintenance, etc). While I certainly don't support the idea of megachurches, smaller churches could not survive if they were taxed - they have a hard enough time as it is.


You could easily craft a policy that draws a distinction.
 
2012-06-30 05:06:32 PM  

Exception Collection: deadcrickets: I have the perfect test for qualification for religious exemption:

If your church or organization claims to be, say, Christian and doesn't match most of what Jesus teaches then you lose your exemption. Tada! No more GOP.

On a more serious note though, I've been pushing for removal of the tax exemption of churches for a long time. Freedom of Religion has NOTHING to do with taxes unless it's applied unevenly across the various religions.

No. Sorry, but churches don't/shouldn't be taxed in general. Many churches don't make the money to support themselves; keep in mind that while the pastoral team may only include one to four people, the buildings (and therefore the lands) themselves are generally fairly large (and therefore require more energy to heat/cool, more maintenance, etc). While I certainly don't support the idea of megachurches, smaller churches could not survive if they were taxed - they have a hard enough time as it is.

Of course, I also think that churches should do more to help those outside the church. I know my church does a lot of work in the community.

It's also a fairly large building built in one of the most expensive areas in town; I have no doubt that if the lot were to be sold it would be worth several million dollars.

Keep in mind that pastors etc are taxed (I think). Any money not used to improve the church's ability to perform it's mission should be taxed as well, but proving that they are doing so is harder than it sounds - the onus should be on the IRS to prove they aren't a church, not on the church to prove that they are.


Two responses:

Megachurches
Pastors are taxes at 3.5%
 
2012-06-30 05:06:40 PM  

Exception Collection: CmndrFish: UCC?

Yes. I've been a member for about 6 months; first time I went was the day they formed the marriage equality group. The pastor mentioned the group's formation during the service, so I decided to see what it was like (marriage equality being a hot-button issue for me... why should someone else's gay marriage be seen as less important than my gay marriage?) and got sucked in.

/I believe that when God moves, He moves through "random" chance and the smallest manipulations He can use. I'd planned to go to the church for several weeks, and kept having things get in the way of doing so.


Amazing how this god of yours devoted so much time to keeping you from attending until that 1 day yet he can't be bothered to do anything of significance out here in the real world.
 
2012-06-30 05:07:52 PM  

Exception Collection: deadcrickets: I have the perfect test for qualification for religious exemption:

If your church or organization claims to be, say, Christian and doesn't match most of what Jesus teaches then you lose your exemption. Tada! No more GOP.

On a more serious note though, I've been pushing for removal of the tax exemption of churches for a long time. Freedom of Religion has NOTHING to do with taxes unless it's applied unevenly across the various religions.

No. Sorry, but churches don't/shouldn't be taxed in general. Many churches don't make the money to support themselves; keep in mind that while the pastoral team may only include one to four people, the buildings (and therefore the lands) themselves are generally fairly large (and therefore require more energy to heat/cool, more maintenance, etc). While I certainly don't support the idea of megachurches, smaller churches could not survive if they were taxed - they have a hard enough time as it is.

Of course, I also think that churches should do more to help those outside the church. I know my church does a lot of work in the community.

It's also a fairly large building built in one of the most expensive areas in town; I have no doubt that if the lot were to be sold it would be worth several million dollars.

Keep in mind that pastors etc are taxed (I think). Any money not used to improve the church's ability to perform it's mission should be taxed as well, but proving that they are doing so is harder than it sounds - the onus should be on the IRS to prove they aren't a church, not on the church to prove that they are.


Oh and btw, Jesus already, also, gave you his responses to the need to pay taxes:

Matthew 12:17
 
2012-06-30 05:09:08 PM  

qorkfiend: Exception Collection: No. Sorry, but churches don't/shouldn't be taxed in general. Many churches don't make the money to support themselves; keep in mind that while the pastoral team may only include one to four people, the buildings (and therefore the lands) themselves are generally fairly large (and therefore require more energy to heat/cool, more maintenance, etc). While I certainly don't support the idea of megachurches, smaller churches could not survive if they were taxed - they have a hard enough time as it is.

You could easily craft a policy that draws a distinction.


I don't support taxing all of them. That gives them free reign to get all up in the state's business. The ones that break the rules should be taxed until they learn there are rules.
 
2012-06-30 05:25:33 PM  

pxsteel: Godscrack: Conservatives are always biatching about Obama not creating any jobs.

Now he will unleash an army of newly employed auditors to collect that holy cash.

God, I love this president.

Really, because in all the history I have read. Pi$$ing off the fundies to the point of them feeling threatenned has not ended very well.


Ending well is one thing, doing what is morally right is another. I'd rather take the latter than worry about the former
 
2012-06-30 05:27:41 PM  

Dancin_In_Anson: I seem to have raised the ire of a few people.


Apparently, being an idiot grates on people. Who knew?
 
2012-06-30 05:33:43 PM  

Exception Collection: No. Sorry, but churches don't/shouldn't be taxed in general. Many churches don't make the money to support themselves; keep in mind that while the pastoral team may only include one to four people, the buildings (and therefore the lands) themselves are generally fairly large (and therefore require more energy to heat/cool, more maintenance, etc). While I certainly don't support the idea of megachurches, smaller churches could not survive if they were taxed - they have a hard enough time as it is.


Do you advocate regulating tax breaks for churches in the same manner as those for any non-profit, or is there something special about a church that necessitates special privilege? Because the "Oh they have it so tough" argument you're making here could apply to any number of non-profits that don't qualify for these exemptions.
 
2012-06-30 05:46:19 PM  

Biological Ali: Apparently, being an idiot grates on people.


Actually I am amused by them. And FWIW, I have been somewhat entertained in this thread.
 
2012-06-30 05:53:05 PM  

Sabyen91: relcec: you people want limits on speech simply because you think you might disagree with it.
what a bunch of petty, tyrannical, and dogmatic losers.
go kill yourselves.

Shut up, pig-farker.


find a job deadbeat.
 
2012-06-30 05:57:49 PM  
i560.photobucket.com
 
2012-06-30 05:58:55 PM  

Biological Ali: Do you advocate regulating tax breaks for churches in the same manner as those for any non-profit, or is there something special about a church that necessitates special privilege? Because the "Oh they have it so tough" argument you're making here could apply to any number of non-profits that don't qualify for these exemptions.


Churches should be regulated in the same manner as any other non-profit... but the ability of a church to spread their message should be tax-exempt. At some point it becomes cost-ineffective to require tracking of the necessary documentation, and there are many more churches than there are other non-profits.

Boatmech: Amazing how this god of yours devoted so much time to keeping you from attending until that 1 day yet he can't be bothered to do anything of significance out here in the real world.


See, I believe that he does do things of significance. It's just that it's hard to see the avoided issues than it is to see the ones that couldn't be avoided. Add in the fact that I also believe that he doesn't violate the free will of humans - that is, humans can be scum to one another regardless - and avoiding issues is a little harder. Most of the issues facing this world are a matter of humans being stupid or evil, not nature attacking us.

deadcrickets: Oh and btw, Jesus already, also, gave you his responses to the need to pay taxes:

Matthew 12:17


Yes, he did. And as long as that applies nationwide to everyone that does what churches do, I support doing that. I don't believe it's the ideal, though I'm not sure what is.

Sabyen91: I don't support taxing all of them. That gives them free reign to get all up in the state's business. The ones that break the rules should be taxed until they learn there are rules.


Ding! I agree with this, it's why I push my church NOT to break the rules, even when we do have some advocacy I try to make sure it's OK within the rules the IRS has laid out. Many other churches don't do that, and their churches should be taxed.
 
2012-06-30 05:59:29 PM  

stoli n coke: relcec: you people want limits on speech simply because you think you might disagree with it.
what a bunch of petty, tyrannical, and dogmatic losers.
go kill yourselves.

You want a group of tax-dodging freeloaders to have a voice in the political arena without paying their admission fee like everyone else.

Why do you love welfare queens?


wait, you want to restrict political speech to those who pay federal income taxes? you may be the dumbest liberal here tonight, and that's saying a f*cking lot.
 
2012-06-30 05:59:29 PM  

pxsteel: Really, because in all the history I have read. Pi$$ing off the fundies to the point of them feeling threatenned has not ended very well.


Maybe not in the short term, but in the long term, it gave us stuff like secularism and human rights.
 
2012-06-30 06:03:48 PM  

relcec: stoli n coke: relcec: you people want limits on speech simply because you think you might disagree with it.
what a bunch of petty, tyrannical, and dogmatic losers.
go kill yourselves.

You want a group of tax-dodging freeloaders to have a voice in the political arena without paying their admission fee like everyone else.

Why do you love welfare queens?

wait, you want to restrict political speech to those who pay federal income taxes? you may be the dumbest liberal here tonight, and that's saying a f*cking lot.


This coming from the dumbest conservative and worst strawman manufacturer in the thread - and that's saying a f*cking lot.
 
2012-06-30 06:07:21 PM  

DarwiOdrade: relcec: stoli n coke: relcec: you people want limits on speech simply because you think you might disagree with it.
what a bunch of petty, tyrannical, and dogmatic losers.
go kill yourselves.

You want a group of tax-dodging freeloaders to have a voice in the political arena without paying their admission fee like everyone else.

Why do you love welfare queens?

wait, you want to restrict political speech to those who pay federal income taxes? you may be the dumbest liberal here tonight, and that's saying a f*cking lot.

This coming from the dumbest conservative and worst strawman manufacturer in the thread - and that's saying a f*cking lot.


I have no idea who you are, and goodbye forever.
 
2012-06-30 06:17:43 PM  

Exception Collection: Churches should be regulated in the same manner as any other non-profit... but the ability of a church to spread their message should be tax-exempt. At some point it becomes cost-ineffective to require tracking of the necessary documentation, and there are many more churches than there are other non-profits.


I'm not sure what you mean by this. Would it entail them getting favourable treatment beyond the 501(c)(3) exemptions they already (usually) enjoy?
 
2012-06-30 06:20:57 PM  

relcec: stoli n coke: relcec: you people want limits on speech simply because you think you might disagree with it.
what a bunch of petty, tyrannical, and dogmatic losers.
go kill yourselves.

You want a group of tax-dodging freeloaders to have a voice in the political arena without paying their admission fee like everyone else.

Why do you love welfare queens?

wait, you want to restrict political speech to those who pay federal income taxes? you may be the dumbest liberal here tonight, and that's saying a f*cking lot.



Them's the rules. You can have a tax exempt church, but you can't try to influence legislation or interfere with campaigns. Those have been the rules for decades. If people are too dumb to follow the rules, I have zero sympathy for them.

Think of it like when your mom told you you could have a piece of cake if you could get through just one episode of Walker: Texas Ranger without touching yourself

It ain't her fault you didn't get no cake.
 
2012-06-30 06:25:00 PM  
No taxes = no politics from the pulpit.
It's pretty damn simple.
 
2012-06-30 06:30:34 PM  

Exception Collection:
Boatmech: Amazing how this god of yours devoted so much time to keeping you from attending until that 1 day yet he can't be bothered to do anything of significance out here in the real world.

See, I believe that he does do things of significance. It's just that it's hard to see the avoided issues than it is to see the ones that couldn't be avoided. Add in the fact that I also believe that he doesn't violate the free will of humans - that is, humans can be scum to one another regardless - and avoiding issues is a little harder. Most of the issues facing this world are a matter of humans being stupid or evil, not nature attacking us.

...


So getting his mug on burnt toast and dirty walls are pretty much it for miracles these days?
Why did he stop doing the miracle thing anyway?
 
2012-06-30 06:32:38 PM  

Biological Ali: I'm not sure what you mean by this. Would it entail them getting favourable treatment beyond the 501(c)(3) exemptions they already (usually) enjoy?


It means that saying churches should be taxed like everyone else is overly simplistic; unlike a typical non-profit, which (I assume) must prove that it is a non-profit, churches should be assumed to be non-profit with the onus being on the government to prove that they aren't. That said, churches that engage in behavior that violates the rules preventing them from getting involved in politics SHOULD be punished for that.

/I am not an accountant
 
2012-06-30 06:37:58 PM  
Exception Collection: Biological Ali: I'm not sure what you mean by this. Would it entail them getting favourable treatment beyond the 501(c)(3) exemptions they already (usually) enjoy?

It means that saying churches should be taxed like everyone else is overly simplistic; unlike a typical non-profit, which (I assume) must prove that it is a non-profit, churches should be assumed to be non-profit with the onus being on the government to prove that they aren't. That said, churches that engage in behavior that violates the rules preventing them from getting involved in politics SHOULD be punished for that.

/I am not an accountant


What exactly would be the justification for churches being granted that special leniency?
 
2012-06-30 06:40:18 PM  
Boatmech: So getting his mug on burnt toast and dirty walls are pretty much it for miracles these days?
Why did he stop doing the miracle thing anyway?


Honestly? I'm not a literalist. I don't believe He did most of the miracles listed in the Bible. The burnt toast and dirty walls are mostly people having their minds deceive them (or deliberately deceiving others). On the other hand, I do believe that Jesus' miracles were (for the most part) real.
 
2012-06-30 11:51:31 PM  
AFT
 
2012-06-30 11:53:09 PM  

stoli n coke: No taxes = no politics from the pulpit.
It's pretty damn simple.


I think I'll start visiting the locals around here and recording their services. then send all evidence to the IRS
 
2012-07-01 12:09:27 AM  

Exception Collection: On the other hand, I do believe that Jesus' miracles were (for the most part) real.


OK.
From what premises do you reach that conclusion?
 
Ant
2012-07-01 12:13:43 AM  
It's about farking time!
 
2012-07-01 12:15:46 AM  
Well, much of the anti-Obama rhetoric has all the fervent irrationality of religious conviction anyway. When they came for the SuperPACs in a likely futile effort to enforce the rules, I cheered half-heartedly.
 
2012-07-01 12:49:08 AM  

Ant: It's about farking time!


This, Many of them aren't churches so much as fraudulent tax havens for unscrupulous assholes.
 
2012-07-01 01:13:25 AM  
At long last? Praise Supply-side Jesus.
 
2012-07-01 01:53:00 AM  
I just hope they go after the JWs over the whole blood transfusion thing. And the mormons for the magic underpants. Oh and the pentacostals for the snake thing. And the baptists for Billy Graham. Oh yah, and the catholics for the cannibalism. And the evangelicals for creationism. And hindus for the starving. And zoroastrians for having to walk on tiptoes to avoid killing bugs.
 
2012-07-01 02:12:28 AM  
Churches primary function is being a provider of hot spots for imaginary vertical communications.
They should pay taxes as any other communication entity. Their subscribers should do ALL the financing.
 
2012-07-01 03:24:43 AM  

relcec: you people want limits on speech simply because you think you might disagree with it.
what a bunch of petty, tyrannical, and dogmatic losers.
go kill yourselves.


I absolutely don't want limits on speech... I just want taxes on political lobbying organizations the same as any other business... nobody has proposed keeping them from speaking, just re-categorizing them as political organizations instead of charitable organizations if their prime focus isn't an issue, but a person.
 
2012-07-01 05:37:25 AM  

relcec: stoli n coke: relcec: you people want limits on speech simply because you think you might disagree with it.
what a bunch of petty, tyrannical, and dogmatic losers.
go kill yourselves.

You want a group of tax-dodging freeloaders to have a voice in the political arena without paying their admission fee like everyone else.

Why do you love welfare queens?

wait, you want to restrict political speech to those who pay federal income taxes? you may be the dumbest liberal here tonight, and that's saying a f*cking lot.


What rubbish. I am all in favor of churches saying what they please. I'm also in favor of them paying their taxes like everyone else.

I'm also in favor of them being able to get an exemption from their taxes if they follow a few reasonable rules, like not meddling in politics. If they want the special privilege of not paying taxes, they can follow the rules.
 
2012-07-01 06:17:14 AM  
Since a lot of churches are nothing more than hate based political groups.... I'm ok with some serious investigations.

/Christian.
//Sick of my religion being used as a reason to hate people.
 
2012-07-01 07:15:25 AM  

Exception Collection: Boatmech: So getting his mug on burnt toast and dirty walls are pretty much it for miracles these days?
Why did he stop doing the miracle thing anyway?

Honestly? I'm not a literalist. I don't believe He did most of the miracles listed in the Bible
. The burnt toast and dirty walls are mostly people having their minds deceive them (or deliberately deceiving others). On the other hand, I do believe that Jesus' miracles were (for the most part) real.


Excuse me sir, but WTF?
 
2012-07-01 07:26:29 AM  

Exception Collection: Boatmech: So getting his mug on burnt toast and dirty walls are pretty much it for miracles these days?
Why did he stop doing the miracle thing anyway?

" The burnt toast and dirty walls are mostly people having their minds deceive them (or deliberately deceiving others). " *


*

/I believe that when God moves, He moves through
"random" chance and the smallest manipulations He
can use. I'd planned to go to the church for several
weeks, and kept having things get in the way of
doing so.

 
2012-07-01 07:53:39 AM  

relcec: you people want limits on speech simply because you think you might disagree with it.
what a bunch of petty, tyrannical, and dogmatic losers.
go kill yourselves.


Shut up relcec, you cock.
 
2012-07-01 09:19:07 AM  

DarwiOdrade: All IRC section 501(c)(3) organizations, including churches and religious organizations, must abide by certain rules:
■ their net earnings may not inure to any private shareholder or individual,
■ they must not provide a substantial benefit to private interests,
■ they must not devote a substantial part of their activities to attempting to influence legislation,
■ they must not participate in, or intervene in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office, and
■ the organization's purposes and activities may not be illegal or violate fundamental public policy.


The Church of Scientology is going to get walloped by this some day.
 
2012-07-01 09:48:59 AM  
You all do realize that with the current state of the GOP and Dem's, this will would affect unions, for example, long before it ever considered going after churches, right? Did I miss the part of the thread where the blinders were handed out?
 
2012-07-01 12:32:53 PM  

urban.derelict: Sabyen91: I've met Paul, I've been to one of his restaurants where I sometime vacation.

[libertywebmarketingandseo.com image 402x336]

I LOVE that place (haven't been there since I was a kid though.)

now that i have a 96 900 I would love to visit some someday soon. Furthest west I've been was Nashville in '96.

[sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net image 402x604]
speeding at dawn in Virginia
May 18th 1996
with a backpack full
of warm beer we picked up at UDel
and half a pound of schwag stuffed
in the driver's side door
of a beat up baby blue 1976 Caddilac
with no ac and no radio


God bless you my son. Pass the sacrament.
 
2012-07-01 03:05:33 PM  

xanadian: Also, that they can be taxed if they get involved in politics is probably part of that whole "separation of church and state" thing.


Has that ever happened? Has any church ever successfully been taxed as a result of getting involved in politics? There was even a movement a while back where a bunch pastors blatantly preached politics on the same Sunday and said "we dare you". Nothing happened to any of them.
 
2012-07-01 04:19:56 PM  

Boatmech: Exception Collection: Boatmech: So getting his mug on burnt toast and dirty walls are pretty much it for miracles these days?
Why did he stop doing the miracle thing anyway?

Honestly? I'm not a literalist. I don't believe He did most of the miracles listed in the Bible. The burnt toast and dirty walls are mostly people having their minds deceive them (or deliberately deceiving others). On the other hand, I do believe that Jesus' miracles were (for the most part) real.

Excuse me sir, but WTF?


Allow me to clarify. I don't believe that most of the miracles described in the Bible happened. I believe in intelligent design, though I don't think that this disallows evolution - and I believe that evolution, as the scientific explanation, should be taught. Most of the rest of the biblical miracles - the walls of Jericho, the burning bush, etc - can have a scientific explanation for them, or are fairly clearly hyperbole.

However, I do believe that Jesus was the Son of God. It's a faith thing, and tied to several extremely personal experiences that I've had - not something I can explain to others very well, and I will be the first to admit that it could just be a delusion on my part (though if it is, it's been a rather unique one). But the fact remains that I do believe that Jesus is the Son of God, and that He performed miracles that were, in fact, miracles. His followers... not so much. As for God writing the Bible (literalism), I don't believe that... I believe that he inspired the Bible, not wrote it directly. His words were translated by humans, who wrote them down... and other humans, who chose which books to keep... and other humans, who chose how to translate them to English... resulting in a four tiered system (God the inspiration, and 3 humans with free will) rife with chances to fark things up (see again, free will).
 
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