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6 other calamities blamed on divine retribution
Destroyed vehicles and rubble in Minamisanriku, Japan
March 16th, 2011
04:55 PM ET

6 other calamities blamed on divine retribution

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

Age-old questions about divine punishment are back. Again.

On Tuesday, the governor of Tokyo apologized for saying the earthquake and tsunami that killed thousands of Japanese were divine retribution for national egoism.

Television and media personality Glenn Beck, meanwhile, has sent mixed messages about whether he thinks God is behind Japan's natural disaster. “I’m not saying God is, you know, causing earthquakes,” he said Monday, adding he's “not not saying that, either.”

“Whether you call it Gaia, or whether you call it Jesus, there’s a message being sent and that is, ‘Hey, you know that stuff we’re doing? Not really working out real well,’” Beck said. “Maybe we should stop doing some of it.”

Blaming human sinfulness for natural and man-made disasters is nothing new. “This kind of thinking is actually typical rather than atypical in world history,” says Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion professor and CNN Belief Blog contributor.

Here’s a list of natural and man-made calamities that have been attributed to divine retribution for human transgression. Let us know what others should make the cut.

1. The Haiti earthquake

A day after Haiti’s devastating 2009 earthquake, U.S. Christian broadcaster Pat Robertson said the disaster was provoked by the Haitians' "pact to the devil."

The “700 Club” host said Haitians had entered that pact to gain independence from French rule in the early 1800s. “They said, 'We will serve you if you will get us free from the French.' True story,” Robertson said. “And so, the devil said, 'OK, it's a deal.' "

“Ever since,” Robertson continued, "they have been cursed by one thing after the other." The magnitude 7.0 earthquake claimed more than 200,000 lives.

2. Hurricane Katrina

A handful of politically conservative Christians blamed 2005’s Hurricane Katrina - which struck New Orleans, Louisiana, and left more than 1,800 dead - on the Crescent City’s embrace of gay pride events.

“All hurricanes are acts of God, because God controls the heavens,” John Hagee, a Texas-based evangelical pastor who leads the Christian Zionist movement in the United States, said after Katrina. “I believe that New Orleans had a level of sin that was offensive to God, and they are - were recipients of the judgment of God for that."

3. The September 11 attacks

Two days after the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, the Rev. Jerry Falwell said the attacks were, at least in part, God’s judgment on those who would secularize American public life.

“I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America, I point the finger in their face and say, 'You helped this happen,'” Falwell said on Pat Robertson’s “700 Club" program.

"God will not be mocked,” said Falwell, who was made famous by leading the Moral Majority in the 1980s.

In a phone call to CNN later the same day, Falwell stepped back a bit, saying that only the hijackers and terrorists were responsible for the attacks.

But Falwell reiterated that forces trying to secularize the U.S. “created an environment which possibly has caused God to lift the veil of protection which has allowed no one to attack America on our soil since 1812."

4. The Civil War

Abraham Lincoln entered the White House conceiving of God as a distant creator. But the presidency transformed that view into one of a God who acts in the universe. The turnaround was triggered largely by watching the Civil War’s casualty numbers rise into the hundreds of thousands.

In 1862, Lincoln scribbled down his thoughts about God and war. “I am almost ready to say this is probably true - that God wills this contest, and wills that it shall not end yet," he wrote. “He could give the final victory to either side any day - Yet the contest proceeds.”

Lincoln elaborated in his second inaugural address in 1865, framing the Civil War as divine punishment for slavery, which he considered a sin. It was his last speech to the American people before his assassination.

5. The Holocaust

During and after World War II, some Orthodox Jews attributed the murder of 6 million fellow believers to Jewish transgression. Many in that camp pointed a finger at Zionists, who they accused of trying to establish Israel too soon, before the Messiah’s return.

“There were groups that claimed this was divine punishment because there were no other theological options,” says Bernard M. Levinson, a Jewish studies professor at the University of Minnesota. “Their own piety made things difficult.”

More recently, one of Israel’s leading rabbis generated controversy for claiming that last year's devastating fire in the Jewish state - the worst in the country’s history - was divine retribution for Jews failing to observe the Sabbath.

6. The biblical flood

The God of the Hebrew Bible is frequently portrayed as a ruler who doles out major rewards - and some very harsh punishments. One of the most famous is the flood in Genesis, which God orchestrates in response to human wickedness. He allows the righteous Noah to build an ark to ride out 40 days' worth of rain.

Widely cited as the archetypal act of divine retribution, some biblical scholars say the story was intended less to warn of a vengeful God than to establish the role of human agency in world events. Levinson says the story is a counter-narrative to The Epic of Gilgamesh, a Mesopotamian tale that involves a massive flood but that depicts humans as powerless in the face of capricious gods.

“The author of the flood story is saying that God doesn’t act randomly, that God responds to human action,” Levinson says. He notes that the Noah story is set in prehistoric times, which he says shows the narrative is meant to be taken as metaphor, not as a practical explanation of natural disasters.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Asia • God • Holocaust • Japan

soundoff (939 Responses)
  1. Ted

    @Dave Godfrey; Plz clarify......you don't believe in a "DIVINE Realm" but you aspire to a belief in hell?? Isn't Hell a divine place – albeit a negative one. Were you being serious or just emotionally venting?

    March 18, 2011 at 1:49 am |
  2. Burt

    And He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.
    2 Cor 5:15

    Like it or not, He loves you.....accept it or don't accept it – that's the choice He gives you. But OWN your choice – cause you will have to live with it.

    March 18, 2011 at 1:45 am |
  3. lary

    sorry, folks,
    there IS a GOD: KRSNA,
    AND His Son: Jesus Christ.
    and to realize that consciously, one needs to be purified, and impeccable,
    and follow all rules of the game/universe/matrix.
    simple

    March 18, 2011 at 1:30 am |
  4. Reality

    If there were a god, he/she/it and/or spirit would not tolerate the stupidity of Beck thereby proving there is no god. Ditto for all others who consider natural disasters as being the work of some god.

    Think infinity and recycling with the Big Bang expansion followed by the shrinking reversal called the Gib Gnab and recycling back to the Big Bang repeating the process on and on forever. Human life and Earth are simply a minute part of this cha-otic, sto-cha-stic, expanding, shrinking process disappearing in five billion years with the burn out of the Sun and maybe returning in another five billion years with different life forms but still subject to the va-ga-ries of its local star.

    ////////////.....................................

    March 17, 2011 at 11:51 pm |
  5. Dave Godfrey

    Even it there were a "devine presence" in the universe, which is an absurd belief to begin with, there clearly must be a special place in hell for people that could believe that millions upon millions of innocent people could be subjected to unconscionable pain and torture, not only from purely physical phenomina, but from their fellow human beings, because some "all caring, all loving God' wished to hurt them for the actions of their ancestors.

    March 17, 2011 at 10:41 pm |
  6. M. P.

    The causes of these calamities have been conceived of by men, such as Falwell etc. It is their belief. It is they who decide what has displeased God. In actual fact they have been displeased by various things based on prejudice and irrationality and then they ascribe this displeasure to God. How ridiculous !! If there is a God, in all probability he/she/it is much more sophisticated and wise than these idiots make it seem.

    March 17, 2011 at 10:38 pm |
  7. KeithTexas

    If your god hates people and punishes them that is fine with me. My God doesn't choose to do that so I will keep him and you guys with the vengeful god can suffer whatever consequences you wish. I choose not to suffer.

    March 17, 2011 at 10:26 pm |
    • Magic

      KeithTexas,

      Ah, so you are a non-believer in the vengeful God... an amonstertheist.

      Keep going... maybe you will discover that the other attributes that people give this "God" are suspect too.

      March 17, 2011 at 10:47 pm |
    • Frederica

      Keith, mankind deserves punishment. Everyone is a sinner, everyone dies and faces judgment – a fact. You are just imagining up things about life and about God. As a fallen creature whose life is full of practical sins, you should admit your guilt and ask God's forgiveness in Jesus or face right consequences whether you like it or not. The Good News is God loves you and sent the Savior Jesus for you.

      March 17, 2011 at 11:48 pm |
  8. Dominus

    PraiseTheLard

    Dominus: You say: "When I was a child, my mother never pushed me in any direction where God was concerned."

    Really? You WERE taught to say your prayers at night, you WERE taught there's a "good" god in heaven, you were taken to several churches, and you were taken to Sunday school...

    But then you were "free" to make up your mind? You were already brainwashed...

    Wether you understand or not..my mother did believe in God, and thus shared that belief with me. I was taught to pray, love and respect God. I wan never forced to participate in any religion, but given a choice.

    I was free to make up my mind, yes.

    Now, if you don't mind...How did you become a non believer, and how were you brainwashed..not to believe?

    March 17, 2011 at 10:20 pm |
    • PraiseTheLard

      I have a brain, and know how to use it.

      I also am able to recognize stupidity when I see it, and when I see it disseminated on such a grand scale, it irritates me.

      March 18, 2011 at 12:19 am |
  9. 21k

    and i pray: " dear lord, please visit various forms of incurable diseases upon pat robertson, james dobson, ralph reed, glenn beck, grover norquist, and that odd duck with the french-socialist name who runs the nra. for they do know what they do."

    damn, if only i was a religious man, this all might come true!

    March 17, 2011 at 10:07 pm |
    • Carmela

      GOD DOES NOT GIVE PEOPLE DISEASES!!! GOD DOES NOT DO THAT... HE IS LOVE.

      March 18, 2011 at 3:08 am |
  10. Jen

    My former mother-in-law expressed the opinion that the tsunami in Indonesia was God's way of punishing them for not being Christian. My feeling is, if that's how God works, if he does not follow his own rules of forgiveness and love, than I don't want any part of him. That is not the God I know. The religious leaders who call those disasters God's retribution are trying to shore up their own power over the sheep that follow them. The God I know does not hate, does not send wholesale punishments for sins.

    March 17, 2011 at 9:43 pm |
    • Muneef

      Would rather say for Indonesia,Bangladesh,Pakistan,and any Islamic country that might have had some sort of punishment , it is for not having been Good Muslims and for being injust to fellow men...

      March 17, 2011 at 9:51 pm |
    • Muneef

      It is our wrong doings that come back and punish us....

      March 17, 2011 at 9:55 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Re: "It is our wrong doings that come back and punish us....", perhaps but not because of any supernatural being or alleged prophets...

      March 18, 2011 at 2:13 am |
    • Carmela

      AMEN .... God does not punish. HE IS LOVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This is a natural disaster.

      March 18, 2011 at 3:00 am |
  11. Tony

    there is no Allah anf there is no GOD, we punish ourselves and we are martyr

    March 17, 2011 at 9:31 pm |
  12. Jenn

    Final thought (previously posted in response to another comment)....

    I do find it interesting how much time unbelievers spend debating this God "of fables and fiction". I don't sit around and debate the existence or characteristics of unicorns or Santa Claus or zeus. Because I am thoroughly, completely, 100% convinced that non of them exist and it would be an utter waste of my time to engage in such a debate.

    March 17, 2011 at 9:28 pm |
    • Magic

      Jenn,
      " I don't sit around and debate the existence or characteristics of unicorns or Santa Claus or zeus."

      Don't you think that if you lived in a place whose laws and public policies were heavily influenced by Unicornism, Santa Clausism, of Zeusism, you might have some concerns and something to say about it?

      March 17, 2011 at 10:07 pm |
    • KeithTexas

      Magic, that doesn't make any sense. All the Atheist that post on this BeliefNet site are more god centered than most Christians.

      March 17, 2011 at 10:21 pm |
    • Magic

      KeithTexas,

      1. The plural of atheist is atheists.

      2. Wait until Unicornism takes over - you will have learn a lot about them too, you aunicornist.

      March 17, 2011 at 10:34 pm |
    • Sybaris

      "I don't sit around and debate the existence or characteristics of unicorns or Santa Claus or zeus."

      .........................and yet here you are trying to assert your beliefs over people who don't subscribe to the nonsense you do.

      March 17, 2011 at 10:37 pm |
    • Godless

      "I don't sit around and debate the existence or characteristics of unicorns or Santa Claus or zeus. Because I am thoroughly, completely, 100% convinced that non of them exist and it would be an utter waste of my time to engage in such a debate."

      This is what baffles me about Christians – they are thoroughly and completely convinced that other gods don't exist, but don't understand why we think their god doesn't exist.

      Jenn, why are you completely convinced Zeus isn't real? Or that Santa isn't real? How is the Santa story different from the Jesus story?

      March 18, 2011 at 8:49 am |
    • Jenn

      @Godless – I understand that you all don't believe in the God of Christianity, my only comment was that I did not understand the purpose of debating it. I realize I am here too, but I do believe in Him so it doesn't seem as futile as it would be for me to discuss unicorns when I don't believe they exist.

      As for how Jesus is not the same as Santa...I actually do get what you are saying. Santa was based on a figure, Jesus was too, etc. However, for me, I believe the accounts that are recorded in the Bible, not because I am blindly following what I have been told, but because I have investigated it for myself and believe them to be true. I believe the Bible is trustworthy whether or not I fully understand all of it. Quite frankly, I don't want to worship and love a God who can be comprehended by human minds. This is a good (although simple and surface) help on this at: http://www.equip.org/articles/bible-reliability

      For every Dawkins or Hawking or Ehrman, there are brilliant Christian minds who have and continue to counter the arguments they set forth. In the most recent issue of the Christian Research Journal there is a great article about The Grand Design. My point is, while there are many uninformed Christians, we are not all that way. Some of us have made our decision after struggles and research and thoughtful reflection. However, intellectual ascent to the truth of Christianity is not the full deal, there is submission and acceptance of Christ as Lord, and then daily living out His commands. That is not a recipe for an easy life or a trouble-free existence. But, it does mean that when trouble comes, it is processed differently (in the lives of genuine believers, not nominal name-only Christians).

      I am getting off track and apologize (it's early and I am off coffee). I hate it, but I can't be on here today, I have got to get some work done....so perhaps we can just respect each other and agree to disagree? I hope you have an excellent weekend.

      March 18, 2011 at 9:28 am |
  13. Muneef

    Az-Zumar sura 39:
    In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
    Allah is Creator of all things, and He is Guardian over all things. (62) His are the keys of the heavens and the earth, and they who disbelieve the revelations of Allah – such are they who are the losers. (63).

    Al-Anfal sura 08:
    But Allah would not punish them while thou wast with them, nor will He punish them while they seek forgiveness. (33).

    Well when nature calls for clamity such as this subject discussion and the Guardian over all things is not eager to use power of keys to save those then here the clamity becomes so huge...since God said he is guardian over those who remember him and call his names asking forgiveness...

    March 17, 2011 at 8:36 pm |
  14. PraiseTheLard

    Long Live Dawkins!!

    March 17, 2011 at 8:28 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Yes! And please contribute to the relief effort in Ja-pan and elsewhere via richarddawkins.net.

      March 18, 2011 at 2:09 am |
  15. False Reality

    "If you are a believer in God and read HIS Word (the Bible) it is clear that when people disobey His Word, they will suffer for it. In Deuteronomy 28, God specifically tells us the blessings that we will receive for obeying His commands and the curses that will befall us if we disobey. He further says that we should obey His Word so that we will live long in the land and be blessed. If nations continue to reject Him than they should expect to receive just dues for that rejection. We all have choices and anyone can choose eternal life with God or choose eternal damnation without God. "

    Are you saying that if you are a believer in God that by those standards then you MUST believe all disasters are a result of him/her/it? Or are you asserting these statements as absolute truth?

    March 17, 2011 at 8:17 pm |
    • PraiseTheLard

      You have no idea whether the bible is "his" word... You're the victim of a long line of snake-oil salesmen... You believe all this fiction because you can't muster up the courage to look for answers that aren't easy...

      March 17, 2011 at 8:25 pm |
  16. Irene

    If you are a believer in God and read HIS Word (the Bible) it is clear that when people disobey His Word, they will suffer for it. In Deuteronomy 28, God specifically tells us the blessings that we will receive for obeying His commands and the curses that will befall us if we disobey. He further says that we should obey His Word so that we will live long in the land and be blessed. If nations continue to reject Him than they should expect to receive just dues for that rejection. We all have choices and anyone can choose eternal life with God or choose eternal damnation without God. Being good is not the key – being obedient is the key. Each of us must choose today whom we will serve and commit to it. Once Jesus returns for His people there are no second chances left. It is over. God is a God of love, however, He expects us to obey Him – just like our earthly father expects us to obey him. Though our earthly father may be lenient, God expects us to be obedient and set apart from worldly things. Each person will stand before God and give an account of his/her life on this earth and of all words, thoughts, deeds, and actions. Gods thoughts are higher than our thoughts but He gives us His Word as a plumbline to live by. This world will always suffer disasters and terrible things because it is a fallen world. There is much more than just this world to come according to God's Word.

    March 17, 2011 at 7:57 pm |
    • PraiseTheLard

      Preposterous nonsense...

      March 17, 2011 at 8:19 pm |
    • KeithTexas

      Those things were written by men that wanted to control how life was lived in their time. Don't be so gullible to believe that it has anything to do with your god.

      March 17, 2011 at 10:18 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Don't be so gullible to believe there are gods – even just one.

      March 18, 2011 at 2:07 am |
    • Carmela

      GOD DOES NOT CAUSE NATURAL DISASTERS!!!!!! IT'S THE LAW OF NATURE....

      March 18, 2011 at 2:58 am |
  17. trumod

    Wow, Glenn Beck iis a spiritual expert in the sense that he is an alcoholic. As for Jerry Falwell, his death was God's judgment for his gluttony.

    March 17, 2011 at 7:54 pm |
    • brad

      The script is obvious, now. The Christian states his beliefs. Then, like the beating of a snare drum, the atheist responds "drivel", "nonsense", "stupid", "Idiot". " brainwashed". I suggest we turn it around. If a scientific atheist does not THOROUGHLY understand Darwin, then the atheist is a follower. If Mr Atheist does not understand the Fundamental Theorem of Calculus, he cannot possibly understand a vast amount of physics. He is a follower. The atheist likes to feel at the forefront of human endeavor. He does this on the cheap if he doesn't understand the science he has faith in ,because that word "science" has a lofty sound which the atheist loves to associate himself with. Mention religion, he collapses into his emotions. This places him lower on the evolutionary scale. Evolution will eventially eliminate atheists.

      March 17, 2011 at 9:52 pm |
    • Q

      @Brad – Well, while I don't believe name calling is very constructive, "nonsense" can be an accurate descriptor for some espoused beliefs. Nonetheless, I'm comforted that you at least accept evolution.

      March 18, 2011 at 12:29 am |
    • HotAirAce

      @brad

      The difference between religious followers and scientific followers is that scientific leaders and followers depend upon an open self-correcting process, the scientific method, that over time ensures a better and better answer, the truth, about whatever scientists research. Please tell us about an equivalent process for determining the truth of religion. Of course, I believe there is none – just a bunch of increasingly complex lies to support the basic, and unproven, lie that gods exist.

      March 18, 2011 at 2:06 am |
    • Carmela

      What does being an alcoholic have anything to do with it?????????? They are people too!!!!!!!!!!!!

      March 18, 2011 at 2:53 am |
    • brad

      @HotAirAce
      I've written a response twice explaining how I cope with the question of god. The censors censor, don't they? Anyway, your question was worth discussing. Have a good day.

      March 18, 2011 at 9:47 am |
  18. Tony

    Diasporas are necessary ....

    March 17, 2011 at 7:43 pm |
  19. SheilaKA

    I don't subscribe to the "divine retribution" theory...things happen. The earth is a living thing and constantly changes. We, as a species, tend to think we can outsmart nature. THAT is our ego getting the best of us...and why we build in untenable and ill-advised places. God created nature, and nature does its "thing".

    On the other hand I hear that Karma can be a B_ TCH...

    March 17, 2011 at 7:19 pm |
    • Dominus

      Eric G.

      Dominus: The question is why do you have Faith in your God when you have no evidence that supports his existence? Can you give me an example of any other aspect of your life that you do not use rational thought and the examination of evidence to support your world view?

      I am not trying to offend you. I really am curious.

      Hi Eric....Thanks for being kind...I will try as best I can to answer you. When I was a child, my mother never pushed me in any direction where God was concerned.
      What I mean is, I did all the things kids do, said my prayers at night, was taught there is a good God in Heaven. Was told to respect God, and taught the 10 Commandments. But, nothing out of the ordinary.

      When I was still quite young, my mother took me to several different churches, where I attended Sunday school at least for a class or two. After a few months, my Mom asked me where do you feel you would like to go? What faith do you feel that you would like to join?
      She also told me I did not need to join any, should I not care to. That I could wait until I was older, and make my choices.

      However, I did have this love of God, and it was something I felt inside, I wanted to go to church on Sunday. I liked going to Sunday school. I associated God with the way my family was, good and loving.
      My Mom actually did not go to church, and I would'nt say she was "religous". She did believe, however.

      We all lived at my Grandfathers house..my Mom and I, am my Grandma, and 2 Aunts. None of them went to church, except for one Aunt. She was a Catholic.

      A few times, I went to church with her. One day, I told my Mom, I wanted to attend the Catholic Church, that was my choice if I were going to attend and practice a faith.

      I went to Catholic classes to become a Catholic. The nuns were mean, (well, most of them were) but that never tarnished my belief or faith in god. I just KNEW (faith?) he was REAL! For me, God was just always a part of me, I don't know how to say that any better, There was this feeling I had, and it was like deep within myself. Not just a thing you think in your head, and try to convince yourself that you believe. It was there, I called it God.

      I would read my bible, as I always did, and when I got older, I left the Catholic faith, because I found it in conflict with God as I knew him, and what was being taught there. To tis day, I am not a member of any religion, persay.

      I did ask Jesus to forgive me for my sins, and accepted his death on the cross for me. I was then baptised by immersion, and filled with the Holy Spirit.

      Once that happened, I found the God I always knew was there, to come alive within my in a way I never really knew existed. How can I explain it? I can only say by personal revelation of him in my life, and in my being. You can't feel" him by touch in the physical sense, but that spirit which we all have, (at least in my belief) knows and feels him. It is a supernatural event, but something that happens like plugging a plug in a fully charged electrical outlet.

      You will know it when it happens. trying to make it real for someone that does not believe, is almost impossible. So faith being the absence of things not seen (as with a physical element..like your eyes), to me is a reality. A blind person cannot see, but uses a great part of thier ingrained senses (intuitiveness, for example) , to function, as well as the others..

      I don't know if if they explains what you are asking me, but it is the most honest answer I can give.
      I aslo don't have a problem with Evolution and Intelligent design, I think somehow they are all part of the greater picture.

      Hope this helps you to understand more of where I am coming from.
      Again, thanks for your kindness. I did not respond to some of the other posters, because I knew t was futile and would lead to that circular argument.
      What one believes is thier choice. Mayby both side have validation, but for some reason, the twain never seems to meet.

      March 17, 2011 at 8:11 pm |
    • PraiseTheLard

      Dominus: You say: "When I was a child, my mother never pushed me in any direction where God was concerned."

      Really? You WERE taught to say your prayers at night, you WERE taught there's a "good" god in heaven, you were taken to several churches, and you were taken to Sunday school...

      But then you were "free" to make up your mind? You were already brainwashed...

      March 17, 2011 at 8:22 pm |
    • Jenn

      Brainwashed? Please explain all of the kids who were also exposed to the same things and are atheists or agnostics or some other religion today.

      March 17, 2011 at 8:59 pm |
    • Sybaris

      Jenn, the persecuted christian card doesn't play well in the U.S.. Approximately 19% of the population in the U.S. is atheist, unafilliated, or subscribes to something other than the abrahamic god based religions. So no, it's not ALL the other kids who are not christian, it's a minority. Love how you lumped non-christian religions in with atheists.

      Go read some Dawkins.

      March 17, 2011 at 10:33 pm |
    • Magic

      Jenn,

      It *is* possible to overcome brainwashing. It is not easily achieved, nor lightly undertaken.

      March 17, 2011 at 10:38 pm |
    • Jenn

      @Magic – then one would assume it would be the exception to the rule to see kids who have been exposed to some pieces of a religion reject it. But, that is not what I see at all. It doesn't appear to be very difficult to overcome from where I sit.

      March 18, 2011 at 8:09 am |
    • Jenn

      @Sybaris – checking a box marked "Christian" on a survey does not make one a Christian. Based on what I see on my TV, in magazines, at the movies, etc. it is impossible for me to accept that the majority of our nation are real Christians. Might they claim to be? Sure. There's a lot of scripture that addresses that, so it is not surprising.

      Regarding your comments – I didn't say "all other kids" (as in all the kids in the US) are anything. He said the poster was brainwashed. I said "explain all the kids who have been exposed to similar and are not something other than Christian" – not all kids in the US, but all kids with similar experiences and a different outcome. That is also why I "lumped" everything together, because the core argument was whether or not being exposed to some tenets of Christianity specifically brainwashed a person to be part of that forever.

      I hope this has cleared up my post for you.

      March 18, 2011 at 8:27 am |
  20. X

    Unfortunately this harsh view of sin and retribution brings back very bad memories of a fundamentalist Christian upbringing.

    God is not just sitting there waiting to zap you, and you and you. Only self righteous "Christian"s perpetuate this myth. Literally – God help them. Hope they continue to live a charmed live.

    March 17, 2011 at 6:37 pm |
    • KeithTexas

      I am with you. I was raised by those horrible abusive people that called themselves people of god. Glad I got out before they beat me to death. Same folks that think Hagie is some kind of bible scholar

      March 17, 2011 at 10:15 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.