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10 things the Belief Blog learned in its first year
June 8th, 2011
01:01 PM ET

10 things the Belief Blog learned in its first year

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

(CNN) - In case you were wondering about all the balloons and cake: CNN’s Belief Blog has just marked its first birthday.

After publishing 1,840 posts and sifting through 452,603 comments (OK, we may have missed one or two) the Belief Blog feels older than its 12 months would suggest. But it also feels wiser, having followed the faith angles of big news stories, commissioned lots of commentary and, yes, paid attention to all those reader comments for a solid year.

10 things we've learned:

1. Every big news story has a faith angle. Even the ordeal of 33 Chilean miners trapped underground for more than two months. Even the attempted assassination of Arizona congresswoman Gabby Giffords. Even March Madness. Even - well, you get the point.

2. Atheists are the most fervent commenters on matters religious. This became apparent immediately after the Belief Blog's first official post last May, which quickly drew such comments as:

acerider
Can we have a fairy tale blog too?

Sunil
This is nothing but America moving away from its wondrous spirit of Apollo 11 into a mindset of the perpetually intellectually challenged.
I think there was some news today about scientists having created the first artificial cell. That should have been a HUGE story. And yet, what do we get? A faith blog. Pathetic.

Rachel
This blog is terrifying. It's amazing how much power the radical religious right is amassing in our country right now. If I can't have some legislation, can I at least have some news that does not cater to zealots?

Those early comments presaged an avalanche of alternately humorous and outraged atheist responses on virtually everything the Belief Blog publishes. They're more evidence that atheists are coming out of the closet to trumpet their disbelief, argue with the faithful and evangelize their godlessness. (It's worth noting that the Belief Blog does plenty of atheism stories.)

3. People are still intensely curious about the Bible, its meaning and its origins.

It's an ancient tome, but more than any other book in the Western tradition (with the Quran being the lone exception), the Bible still fascinates us. And it still feeds our most heated debates. In February, a guest post here arguing that the Bible is more ambiguous on homosexuality than traditionally thought elicited more than 4,000 comments. A response post insisting that the Bible clearly condemns homosexuality brought in an equal number of comments - and was the most popular story on CNN.com on the day it was published.

Other Belief Blog pieces about biblical scholarship - including a recent offering about biblical misquotations - have also caught fire. More of us may be reading it on iPhones these days, but the Good Book still matters a lot more than the popular culture lets on.

4.   Most Americans are religiously illiterate. Despite the appetite for stories and commentary about the Bible, most Americans know little about it. A huge Pew survey released in September found that most Americans scored 50 percent or less on a quiz measuring knowledge of the Bible, world religions and what the Constitution says about religion in public life. Ironically, atheists and agnostics scored best. How did you do on the quiz?

5. It's impossible to understand much of the news without knowing something about religion. Why did the Egyptian revolution happen on a Friday? Why was Osama bin Laden's body buried so quickly after he was killed? Why did Afghan rioters kill seven United Nations workers in April? You simply can't answer those questions without bringing in religion.

6.  Regardless of where they fit on the spectrum, people want others to understand what they believe. That goes for pagans, fundamentalist Mormons, Native Americans, atheists - everyone.

7. Americans still have an uneasy relationship with Islam. Nearly 10 years after the September 11 attacks provoked many Americans to pay attention to Islam for the first time, much of the country is still somewhat uncomfortable about the religion, which counts 1.5 billion followers worldwide.

The biggest domestic religion story in the Belief Blog's young life was probably last year's opposition to a proposed Islamic Center and mosque near New York's ground zero. And with the 10-year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks approaching, domestic tensions around Islam may flare again. The Arab Spring, meanwhile is raising weighty questions about Islam's role in post-autocratic regimes, guaranteeing the religion - and its relationship with the U.S. - will be one of the world's big stories for years to come.

8. God may not prevent natural disasters, but religion is always a big part of the response. We see it play out every time Mother Nature delivers a punishing blow, from March's Japan earthquake and tsunami to the recent tornado that flattened much of Joplin, Missouri.

9. Apocalyptic movements come and go. The May 21st doomsdayers drew loads of interest, largely thanks to a massive ad campaign, but they're hardly original.

10. Most Americans don't know that President Barack Obama is a Christian. It's ironic, since church-based community organizing led him to politics and since his close relationship with a pastor almost sunk his presidential campaign, but that's what a Pew poll found last year.

Only about a third of Americans correctly identified Obama's religion, while nearly one in five said he's a Muslim. Another irony: The longer Obama's been in office, the smaller the proportion of Americans who can correctly name his faith. As the 2012 presidential race approaches, this story bears watching, since views of candidates' religion influence voting patterns.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Comments • Technology • Trends

soundoff (1,520 Responses)
  1. YouHaven'tLearnedMuch

    My take on your ten learnings:

    1. No duh. If God created the universe, is omnipotent and all powerful, how could there be a story without a faith angle?

    2. If you think the Earth is round you have a fervent interest in the blog that discusses how interesting its flatness is.

    3. What interesting is how uncurious we are. It's the word of God and so few of us bother to read it.

    4. Replace "religiously illiterate" with "profoundly ignorant about everything" and you may be onto something.

    5. Impossible is a bit strong, don't you think? Especially after what you said in 4.

    6. People want others to know why their right? Fascinating.

    7. You just learned this?

    8. Really? Somehow sounds trite, patronizing and incorrect all at the same time.

    9. Why doesn't Christianity go, then? It's an apocalyptic movement. What you should be learning is that religion's staying power is independent of the facts.

    10. See comment on 4.

    August 12, 2011 at 6:34 pm |
    • PleaseUseLogic

      Haha, excellent summary.

      August 13, 2011 at 9:15 pm |
  2. matthew botsford

    I want to thank yo guys for doing the Belief Blog for I find the content very useful and intriguing....I'd just like to point a question to many out there in cyber world..."Where Will You Spend Eternity?" I for one have seen extensively the one side that many are debating its existence in and out of the church today, namely the reality of Hell after dieing from a gunshot wound to the head in '92. Yes Hell is real but it's not intended for us..and Jesus is the only way to avoid it's terrors. I spent time in Hell since I had no relationship with Jesus that is until my wife prayed and God granted thtough His Mercy to rescue me from the abyss...
    see seedsoflove.net for great details on Hell

    August 11, 2011 at 2:47 pm |
  3. Adam G.

    I wonder if "Sunil" (from #2) knew that Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin, Jr. took Communion in the Eagle the night they landed on the moon, hours before Neil Armstrong's historic words?

    August 4, 2011 at 5:11 pm |
  4. Al

    American Indian here first .. the so called Christians camo over , stole the land , killed, put on reservations and shoved a Bible in face. Also read Treaty of Tripoli where it plainly states thai country not founded on Christianity ... many of the fore fathers were pagan ..read up on that !!!!

    August 4, 2011 at 2:20 pm |
  5. Beth

    Belief Blog, thank-you for simply being here.

    August 4, 2011 at 12:14 am |
  6. Asklepios417

    "Ironically, atheists and agnostics scored best" (on knowledge of the Bible).

    Not ironic at all. Most people who praise the Bible have never read it through. Maybe they get stuck early on in those endless genealogies.

    ("And Ozias begat Joatham; and Joatham begat Achaz; and Achaz begat Ezekias...")

    All they know is some cherry-picked passages read from the pulpit ("Love thy neighbor as thyself"), wrenched out of context. You could probably do the same with the statements made by the Taliban.

    August 2, 2011 at 2:23 am |
  7. Grace

    Hey, why didn't the word "Atheist" get capitalized?

    August 2, 2011 at 12:45 am |
    • LinCA

      Why would it?

      August 2, 2011 at 12:53 am |
  8. TheWatcher

    Webb Answer Man
    The most enduring religion would actually be Paganism. If you want to know the most enduring public monotheistic religion it would be Judaism. Not much else to say about the rest of your statement because you obviously did not read the whole Bible.

    August 1, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
    • Anita

      I beg to differ: HINDUISM!

      August 2, 2011 at 12:20 am |
  9. Robert Mayhew

    Christians, atheists, Muslims, agnostics, Wiccans, Jews, Hindus .... Everyone of us has a voice and in this country (USA) all have equal footing to be heard, while I believe Christ is my Savior, another believes I worship the "Flying Spaghetti Monster".
    To me, it seems utterly ridiculous to go on ridiculing and bad mouthing each other when all I know as learned from Christ in the Bible is love, now not to say there are complex issues that arouse in particular from the OT, but the key message I have learned from the Bible is to love one another. You do not have to be a Christian to understand and appreciate this, it only takes a dose of compassion or empathy.

    July 31, 2011 at 9:24 am |
    • Sin D Fetish

      All well and good...untill the teaching in the bible that it is the only way to God is assumed by a large amount of Christians that it APPLIES TO EVERYONE regardless of their beliefs and snakes it way into gov't etc. and conversion missions to dictate to others how/who to worship. THAT is the part those of us that believe in God, but do not adhere to a revealed religion such as Christianity, just can not get across to those that do adhere to a revealed religion such as Christianity. This is SO ingrained in that religion, those that practice it are blinded to this fact.

      July 31, 2011 at 12:21 pm |
  10. john hillman

    Why is Christianity the only "belief"?

    July 31, 2011 at 4:46 am |
    • Webb Answer Man

      John, there are many other beliefs but the one that is the most enduring and has the most hope for mankind is Christianity. It is the belief that produces miracles for those who have faith. It is the faith of love, hope and eternal life. I challenge anyone to find one iota of evil in the Christian religion, specifically the Holy Bible. Can the same be said for other religions/beliefs? Our Lord only asks for you to take him as your savior. So the answer to your question is really Christianity is the only true belief, it is the only one that is true and the only one that offers eternal life simply for your belief in it. No chanting required, no long life journey for nirvana, no martyrdom, no mind trips, no rituals, just faith, love and Jesus Christ. What harm could this do to anyone and why are so many opposed to it? The fact that there is proves evil abounds which makes me embrace it even tighter.

      July 31, 2011 at 7:56 am |
    • Sin D Fetish

      It is taught, and is A if not THEE main point OF the bible. Exactly the cause of many problems in our world...believe in what I do or you are going to Hell. I didn't make it up...it's in the book. Yea, that is a problem.

      July 31, 2011 at 12:26 pm |
    • ryan

      because it is the only one that threatens eternal damnation if you dont accept it fully, and dogmatically with absolutely no reservations. People are christians because they are afraid. They act happy, but that's part of the fear: if they dont act happy and fulfilled, they actually believe they may be in danger of not truly being saved. It is the ultimate self-delusion, a logical conundrum that confounds all but the most astute skeptics. As education and mental ability increases, adherence to christianity goes down, but this is why it is a very, very dangerous cult. History will show it to be one of the greatest challenges to civilization that we must overcome to survive.

      July 31, 2011 at 1:14 pm |
    • Disagree

      Webb Answer, I would have been willing to read your argument, but you completely disgust me and utterly offend me when you say "most enduring and has the most hope for mankind is Christianity". How can you denounce other religions without hearing a single word about them? For eg., Lets take Hinduism. It is the oldest polytheist religion that has been proven over time to be peaceful. There were no wars waged to glorify or spread the word of their god, in case you do not understand the meaning of peaceful. Can you say that about Christianity? There is no conversion into Hinduism, nor is there glorifying results for converting people into Hinduism. Can you say that about Christianity? You only want to convert others so you gain something out of it in afterlife. you call that unconditional love? What are you smoking, dude?

      August 1, 2011 at 10:40 pm |
    • ThatSoundsLogicalToYou?

      Webb Answer Man, what do you mean by most enduring? Isn't Hinduism twice as old?

      What do you mean by hopeful? The apocalypse and the eternal damnation of all my non believing friends and family sounds unimaginably hopeLESS.

      Are you including The Old Testament as part of your Holy Bible? Specifying that you should kill your neighbor's slave if he kills yours seems pretty evil to me. Having slaves seems evil too.

      All God asks is from me is to accept him as my savior? Trust me, all he has to do is ask. In fact, he could just come out of hiding.

      You may have the strength to choose what you believe based on what idea promises the most benefit, but I have trouble doing that. I tend to belief that which seems to be true and to not believe that which doesn't.

      You argue that people not believing in Christianity proves the existence of evil. Are you sure? Maybe some people just don't think it's very believable. Maybe, without faith, many Christians would not find it believable either.

      August 12, 2011 at 8:21 pm |
    • herbert juarez

      spiffy isn't a belief, it's a disbelief
      spiffy is unlikely to exist

      August 12, 2011 at 8:26 pm |
  11. me

    In regards to point number 2 – Atheists generally troll the Internet, looking for any religious concept on any site that they can find, and attack it. They are incredibly vocal, and do not reflect any trend in the general public. They're "keyboard warriors" and "armchair activists". Most of them also seem to have anger issues, and many of them are kids.

    July 31, 2011 at 4:44 am |
    • Trog

      Facts and data please, or I call B.S.

      July 31, 2011 at 8:52 am |
    • ryan

      Atheists realize that religion, and particularly christian evangelicalism, is a poisonous mental cancer in society that needs to be fought on the "intellectual battle ground" so it cannot continue to victimize so many people. It is a massive enemy that can only be defeated with reason, knowledge, and logic. Ever wonder why Adam and Eve werent allowed to eat of the tree of knowledge? Knowledge is implicitly the enemy of religion. To know truth is to abhor religious faith. Websites like this belief blog offer one of many opportunities to fight this societal disease using tools of reason, while religion continues to indoctrinate children in their massive buildings covering the land like a black sludge of monuments to stupidity.

      July 31, 2011 at 1:20 pm |
    • me

      Ryan, the story of Adam and Eve were symbolic of the first humans to leave "the jungle" to become intelligent beings. As for the "poisonous effects" of religion, you should understand that 1/4 of the world's population lived in China, under an atheistic totalitarian regime.

      July 31, 2011 at 4:37 pm |
    • Spiffy

      What you say about China is completely false. For one China accounts for only 19.44% of the world's population. China is not atheistic or totalitarian. China has churches that are both independent and state run. China is also a Communist country. China does not control every aspect of people's lives so that immediately disqualifies it from being totalitarian.

      So you agree that Adam and Eve never existed? Good because then you would also understand how religion is poisoning our society by having creationism taught in schools.

      August 3, 2011 at 2:46 pm |
    • Frank Miller

      And atheism is a form of "belief" anyway. It is the belief that there is no god and religion is bad. These are unprovable opinions so atheism requires its own faith.

      August 7, 2011 at 11:24 am |
    • Spiffy

      Atheism isn't a belief. It is a disbelief.

      August 8, 2011 at 8:34 pm |
    • Fin

      Generalization.... tool of the ignorant.

      August 10, 2011 at 12:58 pm |
  12. tired

    First off, I am not an atheist, so Christians please don't yell at me. With that being said, I think more Christians need to understand that quoting the Bible to people who are not Christian will never be perceived as a valid argument. If they don't believe in Jesus, telling them that something is true because he said so...welll, it just doesn't make much sense.

    July 28, 2011 at 10:38 am |
    • snow

      Thank you.. At least one person understands that quoting or paraphrasing a book does not make an argument!

      July 29, 2011 at 3:51 pm |
  13. Name

    A great artical on this same subject...

    http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2011/06/08/10-things-the-belief-blog-learned-in-its-first-year/comment-page-18/

    July 27, 2011 at 4:20 pm |
    • LinCA

      Here is another one:
      http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2011/06/08/10-things-the-belief-blog-learned-in-its-first-year/comment-page-17/

      July 30, 2011 at 3:50 pm |
    • LinCA

      Oops. Forot my tags.

      <sarcasm>
      Here is another one:
      http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2011/06/08/10-things-the-belief-blog-learned-in-its-first-year/comment-page-17/
      </sarcasm>

      July 30, 2011 at 3:55 pm |
  14. cm

    You forgot that outed atheists here rarely have a kind or even a valid point on this Belief Blog. They do need their own Blog since like one of their poster children, Ayn Rand, who liked to hear herself talk and pay homage to her selfishness, continues to go on and on about nothing of substance.

    July 27, 2011 at 2:41 pm |
    • snow

      Well you know why you can not find valid arguments in what athiest say.. dont you? Its because you put your fingers in your ears, yelling "Lalalalala.. I can't hear you so you don't have anything meaningful to say..Lalala" !

      Listen to logic for once

      July 27, 2011 at 7:28 pm |
    • Colin

      Yes, the atheists need a blog to self-aggrandize and spew messages without substance, unlike the religious who would never even think of having a blog on CNN where they would spew unintelligible, hateful messages about those who disagree with them. Seriously, you have a major problem going on in your thinking. It is like you don't even see yourself. Also, the very comment that you left isn't even proper English. You leave us hanging when you say "since". After you say "since", you just go on with one big run-on sentence about Ayn Rand that doesn't even mean much of anything.

      July 28, 2011 at 2:59 am |
    • Tripp

      @colin....You think Atheist are angry and hate religion? I for one, who is an Athiest, do not hate. You cant hate something thats is not real. Hating religion is like hating a fairytale. What I do hate are self-ritious a$$hats who want us to live under their fairytale while quoting scripture from the main fairytale book. Thats One major reason I will never vote for a repulican-until they keep their religion out of our government. I also hate people like Dave Barton who try to rewrite American history into a christian nation. Same goes to Glen Beck, Bill oRiley, RushLimbauh, and the scores of other delusional fundies in this world wether you be christian, muslim, hindu, etc....

      August 4, 2011 at 1:29 pm |
  15. SCAtheist

    As for point "2". Maybe that's because it so easy to poke holes in religious nonsense.

    July 27, 2011 at 12:48 pm |
  16. ThanksCNN

    As an agnostic who believes in God and trying to settle down on a religion, I actually really enjoy the Faith Blog. I think it helps immensely. It points out things that people have gotten wrong for a while and strives towards educating people about what religious beliefs really are (and what the Bible actually says). It really has made me think that I need to take some theology courses before I actually settle down on Christianity and know what I really am saying I believe in. For the most part I feel like CNN has done a very good job at being un-biased and open towards everyone. Thanks CNN for not making this blog uncomfortable to read!

    July 26, 2011 at 5:05 pm |
    • MikeC

      Thanks for being honest. Cause the one true belief i have is that for everything we think we know there is a million possibilities that are yet to be considered and another million that we could never comprehend. So moral of the story is nobody has it truely right.

      July 27, 2011 at 4:40 pm |
    • nwatcher

      to ThanksCNN: On your journey consider this: Those who who seek God will find Him, if they seek Him with all their heart"

      MikeC – so you have the one true belief? Out of all those millions? wow- you should start your own blog. So many 'true' things posted here, yet in conflict with each other. I'll go out on a limb here and humbly suggest that someone is wrong.....

      August 1, 2011 at 12:17 pm |
    • AvdBerg

      Thank you CNN for helping bringing understanding. Painful at times and pleasant others. By reading the comments on this Blog it seems very obvious to us that people need to learn more about the gayness of Christ . The truth of Christ’s gayness is coming out more and more each day. For a better understanding of this scriptural verse we invite you to visit our website http://www.gaychristian101.com..

      August 1, 2011 at 12:20 pm |
    • Jerry

      "As an agnostic who believes in God...."

      Erm, what?

      ag·nos·tic
      Noun: A person who believes that nothing is known or can be known of the existence or nature of God or of anything beyond material phenomena; a person who claims neither faith nor disbelief in God.

      You can't be both. I think you might be an oxy short of an oxymoron.

      August 4, 2011 at 3:10 pm |
  17. Just Saying

    This shouldn't be called 'Belief Blog' it should be called 'Anti-Christian Blog' because most of the stories posted seem to attack traditional Christianity. What about the trillions of dollars Christians have poured into communities all over the world feeding people, clothing people and meeting needs? No, you just want to talk about the scandals, not the sacrifices.

    July 26, 2011 at 2:30 am |
    • whirlingmerc

      Definitely an anti Christian blog..... some things that would be noteworthy might include
      lets try again

      The New Testament ratchets up both the love of God AND the wrath of God, since Jesus spoke of hell more than anyone else and yet called for loving your enemies and died for sinners

      Abraham fought one recorded battle which was a rescue mission for lot and in the process saved the citizens of Sodom ( and some say God has no sense of humor – rubbish !!! ) In the narative of the King of Sodom coming out to meet and reward Abraham for his successful mission of mercy the narrative is interupted most awkwardly and in the middle of the sentence Melchizedek appears. Not that is remarkable. Like a supernaove wrapped in the seemy shadow of the King of Sodom with blinding contrast., one narrative inside the other

      Wouldn';t it be great if CNN could discuss religioun in a more mature sense

      In the recent boogyman case, the Norwegion tragedy, the guy was a secular humanist who ridiculed people who trusted in God as weak. He was first and foremost a nationalist and considered nationalist atheists and nationalist agnostics as "Christian" He was also a Darwinist. He was raised in a secular home and described himself as not particularly religious

      It is a sad commentary on the shallowness of the American and European press when a very non religious person who ridicules trust in God in Neitche-esque manner is painted somehow someway as a 'Christian" and gasp... a "Christian Fundamentalist" no less !! perhaps this is a bellwether that the book "The closing of the American Mind" was spot on in saying the Western World is decreasingly able to think about religious issues in a serious mature manner

      July 26, 2011 at 7:13 am |
    • Slumberjack

      There are alot of non-religious charitable organizations around the world that do good humanitarian work. Giving to the poor is not evidence of a supernatural creator. Thousands upon thousands of years before the three Abrahamic belief systems appeared, early humans were known to share amongst one another as a matter of survival. If people require religion's promise of a reward in the afterlife in order to be kind to their fellow human beings, it doesn't say a whole lot about the character of the believer that they would only do good deeds in order to get something out of it for themselves.

      July 26, 2011 at 7:16 am |
    • SCAtheist

      Would you folks kindly read all of your bible. Maybe you could reference after the next batch of mass murders or ethnic cleansing or whatever.

      July 27, 2011 at 12:50 pm |
    • ryan

      you can always just keep your head buried in your church, evangelical websites like focus on the family and conservapedia, and avoid any comments from dissenters since they actively block all voices that do not fully agree with their strict dogma. Out here in the real world, god is imaginary and religion is a constant threat to peace.

      July 31, 2011 at 1:24 pm |
    • Tripp

      What about the millions killed in the name of god? If you dont beleive in god it states in the bible for you and your fellow sheep to stone them. You keep picking and choosing your scripture. It only shows to me how irrevalent "god" and religion actually is and should not be taken seriously.

      August 4, 2011 at 1:34 pm |
    • Jerry

      As somebody who grew up in Northern Ireland, many people assume that my atheism is a result of witnessing the horrors that are carried out in the name of religion. In actuality, it has nothing to do with that. Whether a religion is kind or cruel, altruistic or selfish, violent of peaceful has always been irrelevant to me.

      The question is whether it's real or imagined.

      The total lack of evidence would tens toward the latter.

      August 4, 2011 at 3:19 pm |
  18. snow

    It took me all of 5 seconds to realize that this list of 10 things is written by another bible thump-er! He counted that atheists are the most fervent commenter.. How about counting the number of people quoting bible verses in each and every one of those articles?? If you want to put such a comment, base it on a radio button that says Theist Vs Atheist. Otherwise this is just another opinion.. and you know what they say about opinions...

    July 25, 2011 at 10:58 pm |
    • Mr. A

      Snow:
      Before you bash an article's validity look at the source. Granted CNN isn't the most vetted or ubiased news agency, "Dan Gilgoff–Religion Editor" would post libel just to back up his fundamentalist besties. On the contrary your less than inteligent response is indicative of one of his first points: the ferverency and frequency of atheistic commentators.

      July 26, 2011 at 2:31 am |
    • Mr. A

      *wouldn't*

      July 26, 2011 at 2:41 am |
    • Slumberjack

      I thought it was obvious as well. When Atheists use freedom of speech to put forth the mildest challenge to religious orthodoxy, they're described a strident, in your face, fervent etc. When religious people contend the existence of a supernatural creator who has always existed, who created the entire universe and supervises and records our very thoughts here on Earth, they're described as quite reasonable people. Nothing at all wrong with them in fact.

      July 26, 2011 at 7:24 am |
    • Slumberjack

      A megalomaniac requires constant worship. With an entire universe apparently at his disposal, the religious would have us believe that an all powerful creator who always existed and always will, requires the constant groveling of weak minded mortal beings living on a tiny speck of microscopic dust in an insignificant solar system among billions, potentially trillions of other solar systems. And for those who publically grovel before him but harbor illicit thoughts, he apparently reads the minds of young and old alike, children included, and catalogues the thoughts for a final judgment, where a fiery hell awaits our ghosts for all eternity. As JS Spong once wrote: "The God understood as a father figure, who guided ultimate personal decisions, answered our prayers, and promised rewards and punishment based upon our behavior was not designed to call anyone into maturity." Then again, Spong attempts to modernize religion in order to make it more palatable for modern times and audiences, which largely consists in cherry picking the good bits out if it.

      July 27, 2011 at 3:26 pm |
  19. Anon

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wUVXEmJRGns&w=640&h=360]

    July 25, 2011 at 8:55 pm |
    • whirlingmerc

      actually the whole point of Christianity is to glorify God. It's possible that both sides of the debate were wrong.
      The atheist and the Christian. Too often Christianity is portrayed as a man centered me me me God did it all for me thing
      No. The highest treasure in heaven is God Himself and God is the Gospel.

      Those in hell do not have God as their treasure and those in heaven do. The heart of man is happiest when it resonates with the glory of the real and true God.

      July 26, 2011 at 7:18 am |
  20. jofro

    Maybe less people believe Obama is a Christian as time goes by is perhaps becos the man has not even gone for regular Church services since his "personal" pastor turned out to be an anti-white anti-America bigot. The President and his family had been going to that church for years and becos of the controversy seem not only to have left that church, but seem to have no interest in church at all.
    I'm not saying Obama is a Muslim or even a bad Christian, but you can at least understand that people who once belived the man was a "Church-going Christian" are now probably thinking, perhaps even rightfully, that Obama probably didnt go to church becos of his love for Christ's message, but more becos he loved his pastor's rants against how America was unfair to his people....now that his pastor has been exposed, what need does Mr Obama have for Christ?...Christ never was the main reason he went to church in the first place.

    July 25, 2011 at 8:04 pm |
    • Svetlana

      How do you know he went to United Trinity more regularly than his current church? I mean, that little distraction known as the presidency might be a factor, but what else?

      July 25, 2011 at 11:59 pm |
    • Unanimous300

      And, you know this because God told you? Oh, God, You are such a Prankster.

      August 4, 2011 at 5:24 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.