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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. nina

    10/10 on the quiz – atheists rule!

    http://ntrygg.wordpress.com

    June 8, 2011 at 7:09 pm |
    • Lycidas

      I would question how much "atheist rule".

      Pew also found that only about 1.6% and 2.4% of the adult population overall describes themselves as atheist or agnostic. Considering that a great deal of atheists want to be proven right about how they feel, it stands to reason that an active atheist would take such a quiz more than a majority of Christians comforatble in their knowledge that would. Just a theory.

      June 8, 2011 at 7:44 pm |
    • John

      I thought oDoyle ruled?

      June 8, 2011 at 7:54 pm |
    • what a maroon

      LOL@LycidasMark

      June 8, 2011 at 10:16 pm |
    • Steve (the real one)

      nina
      10/10 on the quiz – atheists rule!
      ------
      I aced it too and I'm a Christian! 10 questions prove little and have no eternal meaning! Jesus rules!

      June 9, 2011 at 9:51 am |
    • Frogist

      The 10 question test was a sample test and not the full questionnaire. The full one as I recall was 30 questions. I wish I could remember the link now but I can't. Besides which, a sampling of 2 (nina and Steve) isn't really a sufficient size to make determinations of who is better or worse in terms of atheists v believers. Also Lycidas – I think the results are based on percentages of Christians who took the test v percentages of atheists etc etc. That would make how many of each who took the test somewhat irrelevant. Your inference that atheists scored higher because they are just arrogant, attention-seekers is not only insulting, but kinda feels like sour gr-apes.

      June 9, 2011 at 12:01 pm |
  2. god

    here's another fact for you: the rest of the world and most people in america dont care one bit about this article.

    June 8, 2011 at 7:04 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Ok, so you wanna talk about the next World Cup ..... ohh.. never mind we do not follow that sport as much as the rest of the world. 🙂

      June 8, 2011 at 7:13 pm |
    • Salero21

      You must have been elected, as the spokeperson for the rest of the world and most people in America!!! Never mind I just forgot that you're "god"!

      June 8, 2011 at 7:53 pm |
  3. Robert - Atlanta

    The first thing apparent to me was – Most the religious commenters here are illiterate or at least hate filled, racist and completely lacking any real Christian values. The biggest haters I know are the very people who claim to be good Christians

    June 8, 2011 at 7:02 pm |
    • Spearwielder

      Yep, whereas atheists are a warm, fuzzy bunch as illustrated by the comments here. LOL!

      June 8, 2011 at 7:11 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      ROFL

      June 8, 2011 at 7:22 pm |
    • Salero21

      Really Robert! That can only make sense to you! How can anyone be illiterate and still be commenting, writing in a blog like this? Of course; maybe someone is doing the typing for her/him, but still is to their credit they can participate in any way. Could it really be that, the faults you see in other people are the faults you have within yourself.

      June 8, 2011 at 7:27 pm |
    • Doug

      Robert, I share much of that viewpoint with you. Pay no attention to the laughter of the bigots themselves.
      When religious people are on their deathbeds, a great many become atheists and agnostics as they find themselves with a dwindling set of distractions. This clears the minds of some.
      Others, not so much.

      June 8, 2011 at 7:55 pm |
    • Hound

      @Doug...It's obviously and completly the other way around. Believer's faith became much stronger in time of adversities even death and believe me or not, nobody dies an atheist.

      June 8, 2011 at 11:03 pm |
    • Frogist

      @Robert: I have also experienced what you have that a large number of the Christian commenters are very angry and unpleasant while at the same time proclaiming a 'better' morality and beauty imbued by God. It's the hypocrisy I cannot stand in that position more than anything. And you're right, it does appear that some of them are quite illiterate meaning coar-se in intelligence and not well read. As Salero sadly misunderstands that term to mean only one thing, he seems to fit into that category quite well.

      June 9, 2011 at 12:11 pm |
  4. Rhonda

    It's ironic that religion haters flock to blogs like this one. They congregate to sing their shrill hymns of contempt for those who do not share their doctrine. They preach as though they are trying to convince themselves of their persuasive eloquence. They proseletize with a mean-spiritedness that is a testimony to the defensive posture of their own hearts. They desperately worship their god of this-is-all-there-is for continuing faith in steadfast unbelief. Great fervor is required for unrelenting doubt to be born again and again. Religion haters condemn, ridicule, bait and shout down any who profess a dissenting point of view. And yet, they have the audacity to presnt themselves as the rational ones in the conversation.

    June 8, 2011 at 6:53 pm |
    • Pondering

      The faults you see in other people are the faults you have within yourself.

      June 8, 2011 at 6:56 pm |
    • Ummmm

      I thought it why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?

      June 8, 2011 at 6:58 pm |
    • Lori

      It's also ironic that you don't realize that those who ARE religious do exactly the same thing, and thus, extremes on both sides are no different than one another.

      June 8, 2011 at 7:02 pm |
    • RealityChecker

      Rhonda... you're 100% correct. And that's why they continue to be barely 3% of the population. They were at that level a century ago, and still haven't been able to gain any additional support among the American people.

      June 8, 2011 at 7:03 pm |
    • i wonder

      Rhonda,

      Do you believe that Tinkerbell is real? If not, what exactly are the all of the tenets of your atinkerbellist 'doctrine'?

      June 8, 2011 at 7:03 pm |
    • god

      shut up

      June 8, 2011 at 7:05 pm |
    • Sockness Monster

      Rhonda,
      Thats what you just did.

      June 8, 2011 at 7:05 pm |
    • Bad Checker

      RealityChecker should have his name revoked. I'd check those non theist numbers again.

      June 8, 2011 at 7:07 pm |
    • Stephanie

      No, you don't get it. It is because outside of this platform, it is stigmatizing at best and downright dangerous at worst to state you are a non believer. We, the people who do not subscribe to any religion or belief system, take advantage of this platform to try to wake up the believers out of their torpor. Ultimately, we all want to live in a world we are not afraid of saying we don't believe in this or that and would rather use evidence and logical reasoning to sort out what is most likely true and what isn't. It is not because we don't believe we are hateful. We cannot hate something we don't believe in.

      June 8, 2011 at 7:13 pm |
    • LinCA

      @Rhonda

      You seem to have made a few typos. I fixed them for you. But other than that, you couldn't be more right.

      "It's ironic that religious haters flock to blogs like this one. They congregate to sing their shrill hymns of contempt for those who do not share their doctrine. They preach as though they are trying to convince themselves of their persuasive eloquence. They proseletize with a mean-spiritedness that is a testimony to the defensive posture of their own hearts. They desperately worship their god of this-is-all-there-is for continuing faith in steadfast belief. Great fervor is required for unrelenting belief to be born again and again. Religious haters condemn, ridicule, bait and shout down any who profess a dissenting point of view. And yet, they have the audacity to present themselves as the rational ones in the conversation.

      June 8, 2011 at 7:13 pm |
    • Rhonda

      Stephanie, what you say helps me understand why some atheists frequent this blog. I respect what you are saying. I can hear your frustration. When the words of others seem only intent on hurtful confrontation I can only hear hate for believers. You have every right to feel that your point of view (unbelief?) should not be stigmatized or bring threats. The Bible , itself, teaches that God values and encourages free thought.

      June 8, 2011 at 8:09 pm |
    • LinCA

      @Stephanie.

      I come here strictly for the sheer entertainment value. I enjoy the debate, but if we can save a soul 😉 in the process, even better (but I'm not counting on it).

      June 8, 2011 at 8:10 pm |
    • Rhonda

      LinCa Thanks,. This is my first attempt at this.

      June 8, 2011 at 8:12 pm |
    • Rhonda

      Lori, you are so right about both sides being extreme at times. Forgive me if I sounded kind of hostile. I just wanted to get a stream going so that I can begin to understand why atheists seem so interested in belief blog.

      June 8, 2011 at 8:18 pm |
    • Rhonda

      LinCA I suspect your intentions are good, but do you realize how arrogant and offensive it is to some on this blog to hear you say 'save a soul'? Christianese can be a blunt weapon.

      June 8, 2011 at 8:25 pm |
    • LinCA

      @Rhonda

      My sincere apologies. I thought it would have been clear from my posts that I'm one of those pesky atheists.

      Let me try to clarify. I don't agree with your original post, at all. The "spelling corrections" that I claimed I made were slight modifications that in effect turned your argument around 180 degrees.

      As with the "saving a soul" part, I was only joking (hence the 😉 ). I don't believe in souls. I don't believe in gods. I don't believe in heaven or hell. There are no souls to be saved.

      Peace.

      June 8, 2011 at 9:00 pm |
    • Rhonda

      LinCA You got me. I had noticed the turnaround in your corrections, but I naievely believed you meant to be helpful. It is a relief to know that you are a 'pesky atheist'; not a clueless Christian. I wrote that rather hostile paragraph as a way of trying to find out why it seems like atheists are in attack mode on this blog. It is not as annoying as the bigoted fundys on the FOX blogs, but nearly as consistent in rancor. I now know that some see this as a safe place to vent in a culture that seems to hit people over the head with religion. But it is no less a non-constructive brawl whenthe hitting over the head is coming from both sides.

      June 8, 2011 at 10:00 pm |
    • LinCA

      Hi Rhonda,

      In a way I was trying to be "helpful". I was trying to show that with very minor modifications your argument would be turned around, and apply equally to those on the other side of the aisle.

      If you come here more often, and I encourage you to do so, you'll find that the rancor varies. It seems that some articles bring out more of the shoot-from-the-hip types (on both sides), while others feature more genuine discussion.

      There are some thought provoking discussions to be had on this blog. There is also some good-natured ribbing that goes on between posters that have engaged in debate. All (most, anyway) in good spirits. That's what makes it entertaining.

      Greetings,
      LinCA

      June 8, 2011 at 11:13 pm |
    • Rhonda

      LinCA Thanks for chatting with this newbie. In my awkward way my original post was meant to be a tongue in cheek comment on how non-believers can be just as zealous as believers in their defending and offending. I get the impression that many here are unaware of their own posturing. But I guess I have a lot to learn about the subtleties of this form of conversation. I look forward to doing this again. Have a good day.

      June 9, 2011 at 7:50 am |
  5. Keith

    Do no harm. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. If you adhere to those two fundamentals of a civilized society, I'll defend your right to be of any religion or non-religion that makes you happy.

    June 8, 2011 at 6:52 pm |
    • Jean

      Me thinks you have the Wiccan "Do no harm." mixed up with the Xtian " DO unto others..". By the way, does the later mean that a person who is a masochist should do that to others because s/he likes pain? Seems to me that is what the Biblical quote is saying.

      The Wiccan formula, btw, comes from Aleister Crowleys work and the actual quote they distorted was: "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. Love is the law, love under will."

      It was distorted by the Wiccans. Neopagans, pagans and Heathen serving the God/desses in the manner that a particular deity naturally requires out of love.

      June 9, 2011 at 10:07 pm |
  6. UCFKnightman

    Which god exists? No one has been able to tell me. The Presbyterian God? The Jewish God? The Muslim God? The Catholic God? The Methodist God? The Mormon God?

    Each one of these religions and dogmas each have a different view of God. Why is God male and not female? Better yet, why does an omnipotent, pious supreme deity have gender at all???

    When one does not grow up being indoctrinated by a spiritual belief system, one can see how confusing it all seems...and how fabricated it all seems also. I simply cannot comprehend the existence of a deity. I learned that time does not exist, there is no end or beginning to time, much less multi-dimensional space as proven by mathematics...so, that means there is no creation point. If there is no creation point, then there is no creator. Simple. Of course us non-theists are outspoken...we are still surrounded by religion in a period of industrial and scientific enlightenment because of the technology WE created. Knowledge is directly related to the level of technology we have to obtain it. In fact, it's funny...the Greeks learned thousands of years ago that the Earth was round using technology until Christians came along and said "nope". We are seeing the battle between the concrete/mathematically legitimate and the illogically fabricated right before our eyes and if history has any say, it will always continue. People believe what they want even with concrete evidence staring them in the face via microscope or telescope indicating otherwise.

    -PROUD non-theist and free-thinker grounded in reality.

    June 8, 2011 at 6:51 pm |
    • RealityChecker

      Enjoy your irrelevance.

      June 8, 2011 at 7:04 pm |
    • Spearwielder

      While reading your post, I identified several myths you buy into whole-heartedly. I think you should take a remedial course or two in history, science, and the history and philosophy of science. It would serve you well.

      1) The medieval Christian flat-Earth myth is simply untrue. Look it up.
      2) No beginning to time? Physicists like Hawking disagree, stating that the dimensions as we know them (including #4, time) did not exist prior to the Big Bang*.
      3) Please look up "conflict thesis" and not that while the general public accepts it, experts in the field do not.

      That's a good start. Happy reading. 🙂

      * Bonus way to decrease your ignorance and obvious misunderstandings: look up the origin of the Big Bang Theory.

      June 8, 2011 at 7:09 pm |
    • Bad Checker

      You don't like what he said so you attack his "relevance". I wish you understood how much a troll you really are.

      June 8, 2011 at 7:09 pm |
    • Doug

      Spearchucker, there might not be a beginning to time.
      I suggest you read up on theoretical physics and cosmology instead of talking about stuff you have very little knowledge about.
      The math is still being worked on. To state something about time like it is concrete is to be a liar and a fraud.

      June 8, 2011 at 8:04 pm |
    • heliocracy

      Let me get this straight, Doug. To state something positively when all the evidence is not in makes one a fraud and a liar? That pretty much means that all religious people are frauds and liars. I wouldn't go that far, I'd merely call them incapable of knowing the truth...it's just that they refuse to recognize that about themselves.

      June 8, 2011 at 10:34 pm |
    • Spearwielder

      Doug, I realize this is the next day, but if you happen to read this...

      May I ask you to actually read my post? If you are literate, you will see that I made no "concrete" statements, just refuted one made by UCFKnightman. And I shared the views of a publicly well-known physicist in doing so.

      And may I ask, if you disagree with what I wrote, that you address the rest of my posts about the myths and untruths in UCFKnightman's post?

      Thanks!

      June 9, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
  7. jon

    What I've learned is that you will never show the true side of islam. You continually slant news in favor of muslims, yet hide the atrocities that ocur daily.

    June 8, 2011 at 6:42 pm |
    • jayman419

      Why is it that every time a Christian extremist does something outrageous, he wasn't true to his faith, but every time a Muslim extremist does something outrageous he is simply accurately and completely representing the views of more than a billion generally peaceful people?

      You can go through the Koran and find a lot of verses about war and violence. You can do the same thing for the Bible and the Torah, though. There are none righteous.

      June 8, 2011 at 7:01 pm |
    • god

      id say there are more muslim extremists than christian extremists but what do i know im only god

      June 8, 2011 at 7:06 pm |
    • Bad Checker

      God point: My small percentage of extremists is much smaller than your small percentage of extremists.

      June 8, 2011 at 7:12 pm |
    • Frogist

      @jon: I'm always impressed by the hard-on people, mostly Christians, have about attacking islam, and anyone who doesn't share your ridiculous bias. Seriously, what does your comment have to do at all with the article and/or any discussions going on around you?

      June 9, 2011 at 12:24 pm |
  8. Alverant

    It's not ironic that Atheists know more about religion than believers. It's the fact we do know about religion that has made us Atheists.

    June 8, 2011 at 6:36 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      You know, I have a friend who can, from memory, quote pretty much every scripture in the Bible. Often times I find it crazy anoying. His view is that because he is that learned and commeted to memory he is somewhat more relgious than other or most Christians.

      I think there are Athiest the same way. They know scripture up one wall and down another but then like others ... they automatically feel that the word is seen and interpreted by every Christian the same.

      I feel that some athiest believe they know Religions but it is the same as a Baptist and a Catholic arguing. Or a Methodist and a Mormon. Athiest just know the text and what they get from it. Know religion, no.

      June 8, 2011 at 6:48 pm |
    • UCFKnightman

      AMEN!!! 🙂

      June 8, 2011 at 6:52 pm |
    • tuffgong71

      Amen! LOL. Seriously, the more you know the more you realise what a fairy tale it is.

      June 8, 2011 at 6:57 pm |
    • GeneK

      Knowing what the scriptures of various faiths actually say to their followers, as opposed to what their appointed leaders tell them from pulpits and how they treat others in the real world makes it easier to recognize the difference. I suspect that many atheists and agnostics actually have more genuine respect for the actual intent of scriptures than those who recite them and then go out and do the opposite of what the words tell them.

      June 8, 2011 at 7:00 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      >>“Knowing what the scriptures of various faiths actually say to their followers, “

      The wall you will continue to run into will be that you can sorta generalize but how would you know what the scriptures and text mean to every follower of a specific faith?

      June 8, 2011 at 7:11 pm |
    • Ted M

      "they automatically feel that the word is seen and interpreted by every Christian the same. "
      You like labeling everyone the same, too, I see.
      I have never seen anyone with this ridiculous point of view. You think you speak for everyone and know what everyone thinks.
      But it is clear that you don't.
      Also, your points had nothing to do with the original post. There's a name for that sort of thing.

      June 8, 2011 at 8:10 pm |
    • Dave

      I'm not sure that's a reasonable statement. In fact, I'd be surprised if respectable atheists would agree with the "atheism is just plain smarter" mentality. There are people of religion who are way smarter than both you and me, and atheists who are way smarter than you and me. The difference, I think, is that they both understand that whether they believe in something, or believe in nothing, there is still a strong element of belief. What I've read from people on the highest level of thinking is less dismissiveness and more debate. I'm not sure there's respectable room on the table to dismiss people who don't believe the same way. For instance:

      http://www.peterkreeft.com/topics-more/20_arguments-gods-existence.htm

      June 8, 2011 at 11:38 pm |
  9. syzito

    Obama is a Christian????? Give me a break.

    June 8, 2011 at 6:34 pm |
    • Hawaiikaos

      I'm about 50% sure he's a closet atheist (he was raised by athiests/agnostics, and he is well-educated, plus the way he speaks about his Christianity suggests to me, an atheist, that he is actually one of my ilk). And I like him the better for it. I'm also much more positive that John McCain is a closet-atheist. Plenty of President's past have been atheist–closeted, or not so much (like Teddy Roosevelt–flaming atheist, but it's only apparent to other atheists).

      Obama however, not matter how the radical right likes to paint him, is not a Muslim (not that there's anything wrong with it if he were).

      June 8, 2011 at 6:49 pm |
    • heliocracy

      Let me guess, back when Obama's Christian Pastor was in hot water for fiery rhetoric, you were right there accusing Obama of being in lock-step with him. Imagine, a Muslim who is a slave to his Christian pastor's views! You mindless conservative idiots believe anything that suits your fancy, even when your beliefs contradict each other.

      June 8, 2011 at 10:40 pm |
  10. Rob

    John Richardson/Frogest
    I am not saying Athiest don't have a moral code. I am saying we were forced to take these concepts out of schools because they were deimed to religious. Nothing was put in to replace them by school districts because of the fear of parents getting upset. So we live with the aftermath.

    June 8, 2011 at 6:31 pm |
    • GeneK

      I grew up in the 50's, when they were still making us recite prayers in the mornings. We were taught nothing about "moral codes" in school, other than that disobeying our teachers would result in punishment. My moral and ethical codes came from my parents, and to a lesser extent from our church (a much lesser extent because the church preached love and tolerance but did nothing to combat the bigotry I saw happening in my community every day, which was why I eventually walked away from its hypocrisy). If parents paid more attention to what is supposed to be their job instead of whining about how the schools aren't doing it for them we'd have a more ethical society.

      June 8, 2011 at 6:51 pm |
    • Anonymous Reader

      It's just an observation, but in my 62 years on this earth I've noticed the kindest, most loving people I've met are are non-religious. Many religious people are self-centered and will use their badge of religion to impress others.

      June 8, 2011 at 7:19 pm |
    • Frogist

      @Rob: I don't ever recall having any classes with the purpose of indoctrinating any moral code and I went to a school with a religious background. But I disagree with you that secular schools cannot or do not teach moral ideals. Every school endorses moral behaviour like no physical violence, no prejudiced behaviour towards others, no cheating on tests, no stealing another's property, respecting your teachers and fellow students... Even mental discipline like getting your assignments in on time and being prepared for class. A lot of these are even in the school's code of conduct by which both students and teachers must abide. Again you seem to be equating religion with morality and that's simply not accurate. Morality lives very well beyond the boundaries of religion.

      June 9, 2011 at 12:45 pm |
  11. Heather in SoCal

    got perfect scores on both quizzes; I'm a liberal, and a Methodist.

    June 8, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
  12. omaso Stephano DiVincenzo sipping wine on the Via Flaminia

    There IS a god, and I AM in heaven.

    June 8, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
  13. Rob

    "The Bobinator

    Why have crime rates been dropping since the 70's then. That fact seems to disprove your entire point."

    If you live in Alaska. Is this Sarah?

    June 8, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
  14. John

    The truth speaks for itself and requires no faith. This should be obvious to all and taught to our children. We need to abolish lies. That would be a great start on some 21st century enlightenment. I feel we are currently moving backwards. You know, something like 60% of Americans believe in angels. That's not a good indication at all. I too am frightened of the indoctrinated and I refuse to stay in the closet any longer.

    June 8, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
  15. Stupid non-believer

    If we were created in GOD's image, does "it" have a dong, a clam, and b00bs?

    June 8, 2011 at 6:19 pm |
    • kingnpriest

      I would be careful making comments like yours. God takes it all in stride, but mockers and blasphemers will be judged. Repent and believe the gospel while you have time. John 14:6

      June 8, 2011 at 7:04 pm |
    • LinCA

      @kingnpriest.

      You are correct. The Flying Spaghetti Monster has no mercy for those that deny or mock him.

      June 8, 2011 at 7:15 pm |
    • Def Jaime

      So many religious poster love to make threats. Their hate and violence is clear. Their religion is not one of love, but one of fear and hate without any factual basis for that fear and hate.
      Ooooh! The big bad god is not mocked! Whooo!
      The boogieman is gonna get ya for being bad!
      And the name "kingnpriest" is so pompous and arrogant it simply helps to make my case against religious threats.
      Your fake piece of sht god is nothing more than your own ego all blown up bigger than it should ever be allowed to be.
      Your judgments are your own. Nothing more than your own ego making giant farting noises like thunder.

      June 8, 2011 at 8:18 pm |
    • Frogist

      @kingnpriest: Why the threat? It's a fair question to ask...
      Does God have se-xual organs? What does s/he use them for? Can't be for procreation unless there are other gods too. So does s/he mast-urbate with them? And if s/he doesn't have them, how did he impregnate Mary? And if he didn't, then who did? Does he have sperm?
      Just curious questions. I mean if your kid came to you and asked you something like this, would you try to intimidate them with your god's wrath too? I still don't really understand why god would be threatened by my asking this. I'd think he'd at least, as a loving, understanding god try to explain.

      June 9, 2011 at 12:55 pm |
  16. Blessed Geek

    "Most Americans don't know that President Barack Obama is a Christian"

    Of course most Americans know Obama is a Christian. They are simply feigning ignorance. Feigning ignorance is a very powerful and offensive tool.

    "Most Americans are religiously illiterate." Bible literacy is appalling. I had quoted 23rd Psalm without attributing it (in fact, I hate attributing book-chapter-verses when quoting the Bible) – someone commented that I was silly writing about sheep and pastures in my comment. He/she obviously did not know the religiously ubiquitous Psalm 23.

    June 8, 2011 at 6:18 pm |
  17. Wait, what?

    I got 9 out of 10. Missed the question on Indonesia.
    I crack up at the comment that they referenced in #2 where the person was up in arms about the "religious right". She does know that there are plenty of religious/spiritual people who aren't Republicans, right? lol.
    Hilarious.

    June 8, 2011 at 6:18 pm |
    • Hawaiikaos

      An individual result does not a trend make.

      June 8, 2011 at 6:52 pm |
  18. Daniel

    Here's one of the points: "5. It's impossible to understand much of the news without knowing something about religion."

    And below is the latest headlines copied and pasted from the main CNN page:

    Latest news

    Fed: Economy still chugging CNNMoney ---> not religious related
    Economy drags down Obama's rating ----> not religious related
    OPEC deadlocks; oil spikes CNNMoney ---–> not religious related
    Big Exxon find in Gulf CNNMoney ---–> not religious related
    4 heat-related deaths in Maryland, Tenn. ----> not religious related
    Hurricane expected to form off Mexico -----> not religious related
    Germans trash tons of fresh produce -----> not religious related
    5,700 flee as winds stoke fires | Photos -----> not religious related
    Autism may be related to chemicals ----–> not religious related
    2 killed as bear flies through SUV ----–> not religious related
    Anthony trial: Search for 'chloroform' ----–> not religious related
    Soldiers' $2,800 bag fee sparks outrage ----–> not religious related
    Bennett: Afghanistan debate is urgent -----> religious related
    Weiner reaches out to Bill Clinton ----–> not religious related
    Cinema boots texter; rant goes viralVideo ----–> not religious related
    Fishburne won't return to 'CSI' EW ----–> not religious related
    Stewart's Weiner skit ends in injuryVideo ----–> not religious related
    City fountain being used as toiletVideo ----–> not religious related
    10 things our Belief Blog has learned -----> religious related
    Connelly welcomes baby People ----–> not religious related
    This Just In: CNN's news blog ----–> a few religious related articles in there

    (If the formatting is off; it's because I CNN doesn't provide a preview post button.)

    As seen by looking at a majority of the news articles above the reader doesn't need to know a lot about religion to understand the news. If someone were to look at a majority of the news headlines on any day of the year you will see this is mostly true also.

    #5 on the list is bogus.

    June 8, 2011 at 6:12 pm |
    • brad

      Fed: Economy still chugging CNNMoney -> Bible teaches we reap what we sow
      Economy drags down Obama's rating --> Character and integrity are taught in the bible
      OPEC deadlocks; oil spikes CNNMoney -–> the love of money is the root of all evil
      Big Exxon find in Gulf CNNMoney -–> not religious related
      4 heat-related deaths in Maryland, Tenn. -->Jesus said life will not be easy
      Hurricane expected to form off Mexico -–> There will be bad weather, earthquakes,earthly groanings.. (means bad weather,floods, etc)
      Germans trash tons of fresh produce -–> not religious related
      5,700 flee as winds stoke fires | Photos -–> see above
      Autism may be related to chemicals --–> another reaping what you sow
      2 killed as bear flies through SUV --–> read the book of Job
      Anthony trial: Search for 'chloroform' --–> thou shall not do murder (since all the 10commandments are gone from public eye, so many have no chance of knowing what morals are)
      Soldiers' $2,800 bag fee sparks outrage --–> lots of biblical stuff about being fair and just
      Bennett: Afghanistan debate is urgent -–> wars and rumours of wars, tulmults
      Weiner reaches out to Bill Clinton --–> thou shall not commit adultry (goes for actions,inactions and thoughts also)
      Cinema boots texter; rant goes viralVideo --–> not religious related
      Fishburne won't return to 'CSI' EW --–> not religious related
      Stewart's Weiner skit ends in injuryVideo --–> not religious related
      City fountain being used as toiletVideo --–> read about sodom and Gamorah
      10 things our Belief Blog has learned -–> religious related
      Connelly welcomes baby People --–> not religious related
      This Just In: CNN's news blog --–> a few religious related articles in there

      if there was more "belief, faith" in something more then ourselves, money or the wrong things or people, and more people learned the basic lessons in the bible, there'd be less problems.
      now of course there's metaphors, allegories, and parables, and parts of the bible reflect the times they are talking about.. it was written over 1600 years, by 40 different authors , on 3 different continents and all the information in there coincides with history more then any book or quatraine by Nostrodamus.
      But you can laugh as you read this or think about it and read, learn about what many here are scoffing about.. its good to be informed.. but of course I'm an uneducated Christian that's told what to do, say, believe.. lol.. hillarious the irony

      June 8, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
    • who is that

      brad,

      really all you did here was insert some loosely related religious "fantasies" into the previous poster's remark. the Sodom and Gommorah (and please learn to spell if you're trying to make a point) reference to the fountain story is particularly laughable. the point that daniel is trying to make is that religion really doesn't permeate any of these topics unless it is inserted by folks with a one track mind. you are included in that group, so please go pray quietly somewhere for enlightenment.

      June 8, 2011 at 6:47 pm |
    • quip

      brad is like a small nail pounded into Jesus' forehead.

      June 8, 2011 at 8:30 pm |
  19. Ralph T

    I got 9 out of 10 correct on the religion quiz! The only thing I didn't know is the majority religion of Indonesia.

    June 8, 2011 at 6:10 pm |
  20. Liz

    Life must be so simple as a 'believer.' You never have to think for yourself or wonder why things are the way they are. You believe what you're told and leave it at that. At least now you have a blog to read to keep your mind somewhat mobile.

    June 8, 2011 at 6:09 pm |
    • Ralph T

      Not at all true, Liz. I'm a believer and I ponder those things all the time. Knowing that God exists doesn't mean that all questions are answered. We still must seek out things for ourselves. Life is a journey and the scriptures are the road map, but you still have to get there. Faith cannot rob effort. At least that's what Mormons believe.

      June 8, 2011 at 6:12 pm |
    • right

      How's life as an elitist jerk that thinks they know so much more than everyone else...but yet...can't scientifically prove there is no god about as much as you can prove there is one. Welcome to the belief blog...atheism is a belief, and you are no better than the believers you hate.

      June 8, 2011 at 6:43 pm |
    • kingnpriest

      Hi Liz, interesting comment. It is true that believers in Christ have a simple life. We don't get attached to this world, and the things in it, for it's not our home. We understand that disasters, and the unimaginable things that humans do, are all related to living in a world under a curse. So, we have much less to worry us. God is in control, we are not, we can enjoy life. Knowing this, we look foreward to living forever in an immortal body like the one Jesus now has. So, I guess we have a much more simple life compared to someone who fears death, and has no idea why things happen, or what to expect when they die. John 14:6 BELIEVE IT

      June 8, 2011 at 7:23 pm |
    • jayman419

      But it is a belief that we chose, without coercion or promises, after careful examination. As for scientific proof, lack of evidence IS the proof. All evidence points to "0 != 1". If you say that is untrue, the burden to prove it rests with you. As for the proof that the people were offered 2,000+ years ago, at the founding of the Judeo-Christian/Islamic world movements, those things were no different from what Cris Angel is doing today.

      Jesus was far from the only person walking around the holy land claiming to be the promised Jewish savior. Peter squared off with Simon, and when Simon's tricks were exposed he tried to keep his job by asking to purchase the rights to the new "lay on hands" trick instead. Touching an idol that tingles because of primitive batteries hidden in the base, unwrapping a bandaged man who is revealed to be whole, even flying around, that stuff wouldn't fool anyone today. That's why there hasn't been a prophet or a miracle worker since.

      June 8, 2011 at 7:24 pm |
    • frank

      It's not thinking, it's typing...

      June 8, 2011 at 7:26 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      "... That's why there hasn't been a prophet or a miracle worker EVER!" No charge for the correction.

      June 8, 2011 at 7:33 pm |
    • Paul

      John 14:6 "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."
      Jesus is neither the way, the truth, nor is he the life. Jesus is a fable without proof. A fake man with fake words.
      He never wrote a single thing. How's that for a fake son of a fake god? He couldn't even write!
      And he isn't coming back. The only thing you'll accept is another fraud in his place.
      king and priest of what? Little boys' b.ot.toms?

      June 8, 2011 at 8:38 pm |
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About this blog

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.