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July 23rd, 2010
12:45 PM ET

Do you pray before meals?

Your faith may or may not dictate what's on your plate, but how about what comes before? Take a poll on our sister blog, Eatocracy, and let us know!

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Culture & Science

soundoff (173 Responses)
  1. Anthony from Ohio

    I just got wind of this blog at church this morning and I figured that I would comment on it. There was a comment posted earlier that said that 45 percent of uneducated believe in God and that 19 percent of those who went to College do. Perhaps that may be the case perhaps it may not be. But I do know this: yes people did process the food and cultivate it. Yes people did put it in the package and freeze it or put it in the cans. Yes people did put it on the shelves at the grocery store and yes they did sell it to me and Most definitely the did cook it for me. Now I have to ask you who provided the ground for the farmers to use to plant the food? Who provided the trees for the packaging to put it in? Who provided the humans to prepare and cook it and get it to the shelf at the grocery store? Who provided for the abilities that these people have to complete the tasks? I know and I have the answer and it is one of the few answers that I actually have and the answer to that is God provided for all of the food and the processes that it has to go through. He provided the land, the abilities, and the skill to make sure that it arrived on the shelf so I can get it for my family. He also provided a means of income for me to purchase it for my family.

    I will say this: IF YOU ARE AN ATHEIST, YOU HAVE MORE FAITH THAN I DO. IT TAKES ALOT MORE FAITH TO SAY THAT THE UNIVERSE HAPPENED FROM A SIMPLE BANG THAN IT DOES TO BELIEVE IN A LOVING GOD WHO CREATED THIS WONDERFUL ENVIRONMENT THAT WE ALL ENJOY.

    August 8, 2010 at 4:41 pm |
  2. David Johnson

    @Bram Floria

    You said, "Centuries of honest textual criticism, archeology and history are virtually unanimous in their agreement that two of the Gospels are eye-witness accounts"

    The earliest I have read about, places the gospels at about 60 CE. None were eye witness accounts. The New Testament was written to "prove" Jesus was the messiah. To establish the Christian religion.

    Actually Margroks is more accurate than you.

    You said, "Religious texts should NOT 'always be taken with a grain of salt.' They should be dissected and analyzed, like a formaldehyde frog. Wise and discerning minds will plumb each for truth. If truth is found it should be celebrated. If falsehood, it should be challenged and rejected. "

    Well, the faithful think the religious texts are derived from god. They don't take their texts with a grain of salt.
    Any book that someone else thinks is important, should probably be read. I don't see the value in taking the parts I agree with and rejecting the rest. Remember: The texts are supposed to be derived from god. They either are or aren't. If they are, then everything written in them is sacred. If not then they are like the Aesop's Fables. We read them to get the moral of the story.

    I don't care for the way you write. I won't respond to further comments. Cheers

    July 27, 2010 at 3:17 pm |
  3. David Johnson

    @Bram Floria

    You said, "As to your Pink Floydish philosophy of "Hey Christians, leaves those tribes alone!" Well, there will always be a tension between those who hold a nature-worshiping Pollyanna view of primitive society and want it preserved, vs. those who see the exact same thing and are compelled to help alleviate the suffering of treatable diseases, fear, ignorance, malnutrition exploitation by unscrupulous 'moderns' and environmental degradation. "

    I have no problem with giving them medicine, tools, education, food etc. It's the "gotta give 'em Jesus" that I am opposed to. How does anyone know (can prove) that their tree god is any less real than baby Jesus? Maybe their tree god is the one true god. Missionaries always show up with a little food. Listening to the "good news" is the price of lunch. But only a little lunch. Hungry people listen better than satiated ones.

    July 27, 2010 at 2:58 pm |
  4. David Johnson

    @senoy

    Well you got me on that Harry Potter argument. Who could believe a Harry Potter book was anything but fiction?

    It's not like the 'ol King James that tells of 10,000 year old earths and 6 day creations. Talking snakes and fruits that yield knowledge and eternal life. A flood that demanded 2 of every animal be gathered. A tower that god feared might reach heaven. unicorns, satyrs, a leviathan that god defeated in battle, giants, virgin births, flat earths, and people rising from the dead.

    Yep, world of difference between Harry Potter and the bible. I feel foolish man.

    July 27, 2010 at 12:50 pm |
    • Gary

      David Johnson....you nailed it again.

      July 27, 2010 at 1:39 pm |
    • senoy

      There is no need to accept a young earth theory or a literal 6 days of creation in order to accept the existence of God. Most liberal Christian theology has rejected the necessity of either of those things. Treating the Bible as metanarrative on the condition of man still produces a viable and rich theological perspective on the transcendent.

      July 27, 2010 at 9:15 pm |
  5. Camille in Raleigh

    I don't pray before eating, but I have been known to set aside a "gods' portion" at holidays like Midsummer and Yule.

    July 27, 2010 at 8:46 am |
    • David Johnson

      @Camille in Raleigh

      That is perfectly acceptable.

      On December 31, 1999, I set out a plate of cookies and a glass of milk, just in case everyone was right and Jesus was coming back. He didn't. The milk and cookies were untouched the next morning. Maybe Jesus didn't like oatmeal?

      July 27, 2010 at 2:42 pm |
  6. senoy

    I pray before meals. I can't help but believe that there is more to existence than just physical processes. The world is wonderful and beautiful and mysterious. Maybe it all got here by chance, but maybe, just maybe there's a divine artist. If there is, then someone needs to thank him. It's a great world out there and I think he'd appreciate knowing that someone out there likes it. Maybe I'm wrong and there isn't anything behind all this, then what's a few seconds of dwelling on how great it is that I have plenty of food and clean water?

    I like the Christian ideals (though not always how they have been put into practice, but we're all flawed and people will be people in spite of their best efforts and ideals). I love the idea of grace and divine forgiveness for failings. I like the concept of God coming down and trying to experience one of our lives instead of just observing them. I like the idea of loving one another and loving your enemy instead of hating them. I like the idea of helping the poor and being servants of one another rather than masters. Maybe it's not true. Maybe it's all just me hoping, but if it's a fiction, it's a pleasing fiction.

    July 26, 2010 at 4:29 pm |
    • David Johnson

      My daughter found the Harry Potter books to be pleasing. She loved all the spells and characters. What was pleasing to me, was when she put the book away, she came back to reality. Think about it.

      July 26, 2010 at 6:40 pm |
    • Kate

      Ah, so therefore the main activities of the Christians appears to be preventing gays from legally forming families and insisting everyone jail women if they get an abortion. Aren't they so delightful, sharing and forgiving?

      July 26, 2010 at 6:44 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Kate

      You are so right. And, if you don't want to be ruled by the religious right, you and everyone you can muster should register to vote and then vote the religious right puppets, the Republican Party, out of office.

      I see very little difference between the Taliban and the Religious Right. They both rule with a bible in one hand and a gun in the other.

      July 26, 2010 at 6:57 pm |
    • senoy

      I think that the difference between theism and Harry Potter is fairly obvious, but in the interests of debate. I think that philosophically cogent arguments can be made for the existence of God. You have arguments like the modal ontological argument or the transcendental argument that while certainly not concrete, they are reasonable and one would not be foolish to find them persuasive. I don't believe that the same can be said for Harry Potter. There is also very little evidence that directly disproves the existence of God. Certainly, logical arguments can be made for his lack of existence and I'm not claiming that one is foolish for believing them, but they all have reasonable criticisms and one is not foolish for disbelieving them either. The arguments against Harry Potter are fairly concrete and I believe that one would be unreasonable for not listening to them. I think that none but the craziest fundamentalist–either atheist or theist–would be willing to claim that there is no possibility of the other being right. I believe that most people would say that the possibility of Harry Potter existing is zero.

      July 26, 2010 at 8:17 pm |
    • SR

      It is a great idea to pray before meals not only to God but your parents or the spouse that makes that meal.

      But for the book toting Christians and Islamists to claim that somehow it is a gift from "Their God" alone surely makes me laugh. Hey you one-book Ponies: When are you going to come out of "My God is Superior to Your God" claims? Hello, it is 2010.

      Just as: All Men Are Equal, All forms of the God and all names of the God are equal.

      Why can't you understand this simple universal truth? If you can't believe this, then too bad. History will prove it. If you are around, to see it.

      July 27, 2010 at 1:55 pm |
  7. Margroks

    No, we don't pray before meals; instead we try to treat others with respect and be decent human beings on the whole.

    As far as tribes in the wilderness-leave them alone! They don't need anyone telling them what to do. I don't believe the Bible or any other religious text was written with direct input from God; in the case of the Bible, it was written down by people who incorporated cultural mores at the time into the supposed gospels and those gospels were picked hundreds of years alter by soem priest who decided what the public should hear. There is a huge gap between what Christ may have said and what was written down by people who claimed to know what he said or what he told the Apostles. Religious texts shoudl always be taken with a grain of salt. So, no, I refuse to let any of that rule my life. Seems to me that if God created everything adn everyone, he's responsible for those non-Christian tribesmen just as much as he's responsible for you and me. I'm not about to question God's decision to make them non-Christians. I think it's none of my business.

    July 26, 2010 at 4:12 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @senoy

      You said, "The world is wonderful and beautiful and mysterious. Maybe it all got here by chance, but maybe, just maybe there's a divine artist. If there is, then someone needs to thank him. It's a great world out there and I think he'd appreciate knowing that someone out there likes it. Maybe I'm wrong and there isn't anything behind all this, then what's a few seconds of dwelling on how great it is that I have plenty of food and clean water?"

      How wonderful and beautiful do you find a blood filled tick, or a cancerous tumor on a child's brain? How wonderful was that earthquake in Haiti?

      If that divine artist of yours is responsible for all the good and beautiful things, he must also be responsible for the bad, ugly things. I think I would rather believe it all happened through evolution. An all loving god could not be responsible for a 6 foot tapeworm.

      July 26, 2010 at 8:17 pm |
    • Bram Floria

      @Margroks:

      Your first two statements are not mutually exclusive. Every Christian I knows works hard to do both a) show gratitude to God for His provision and b) "treat others with respect and be decent human beings on the whole."

      As to your Pink Floydish philosophy of "Hey Christians, leaves those tribes alone!" Well, there will always be a tension between those who hold a nature-worshiping Pollyanna view of primitive society and want it preserved, vs. those who see the exact same thing and are compelled to help alleviate the suffering of treatable diseases, fear, ignorance, malnutrition exploitation by unscrupulous 'moderns' and environmental degradation.

      On the subject of scriptural pedigree: what time-frame do you have in mind when you claim "There is a huge gap between what Christ may have said and what was written down by people who claimed to know what he said or what he told the Apostles?" Centuries of honest textual criticism, archeology and history are virtually unanimous in their agreement that two of the Gospels are eye-witness accounts, two are commissioned investigations by the early church and all of the canonical Epistles were written by first-generation apostles. The two Testaments were undoubtedly written by at least 60 authors over approximately 1600 years, making it the most ambitious recorded multi-generational dialogue ever. Jews, Christians and even some Muslims consider it revelation as well in its consistent message of faithful god/unfaithful people.

      Religious texts should NOT 'always be taken with a grain of salt.' They should be dissected and analyzed, like a formaldehyde frog. Wise and discerning minds will plumb each for truth. If truth is found it should be celebrated. If falsehood, it should be challenged and rejected.

      You are correct – God did not create animists, Christians, Muslims or atheists. He created people. And He gave those people minds. He's hoping they'll use them to do more than just pursue the next meal and oppress others in that pursuit.

      July 27, 2010 at 12:03 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      David Johnson,
      If we knew all the answers....... why God created wood ticks, tumors, or tapeworms, then we would be God. Obviously we are not God; yet some claim they worship themselves, each being his own god. But I wouldn’t expect they know anymore about those mysteries than you or I do.

      July 27, 2010 at 4:01 pm |
  8. SEW

    I do not attempt to cast magic spells before eating. I also don't try to use ESP to communicate with the dead.

    July 26, 2010 at 2:27 pm |
    • Kate

      Sane rationality is so under valued.

      July 26, 2010 at 6:35 pm |
  9. MK

    I pray before meals. Some pray after. Either way, I give thanks to God, knowing that He is the provider of all things.

    July 26, 2010 at 1:45 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.