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My Faith: How saying a blessing changed my secular family's meals
June 12th, 2011
01:00 AM ET

My Faith: How saying a blessing changed my secular family's meals

Editor's Note: Katia Hetter is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly.

By Katia Hetter, Special to CNN

"Hey, we didn't sing the blessing!"

After all these months, my 3-year-old daughter's words still startle me.

Since my family's move from New York to Atlanta, Georgia, last year, almost everything in our lives has changed. That includes the instruction of a blessing before eating. We do it to take a pause from the business of our schedules and to remember all that is good in our lives.

I like our new tradition, but it still surprises me. I rarely heard a blessing spoken before a meal during my childhood.

For one thing, we'd always had a mix of religions around my family’s table. My mom is Jewish and my dad was Lutheran. One person's blessing could exclude another person from the moment, even if neither parent was particularly religious.

I also had family and friends who were religious and those who were not. Who wanted to jeopardize congeniality at the table by invoking one version of God, knowing it wasn't another person's higher power?

As an adult, I continued to uphold my family’s tradition of eschewing spoken prayers at meals. I didn't want someone else's idea of God on my plate in my own house.

Yet I had an inkling that was missing, as I harbored a secret sense of gratitude that powers beyond me had brought bounty to my table.

The author and her daughter say a blessing before eating.

That feeling had crystallized in Thanksgiving in 1999, when I sat as a young adult at my friends' table at their Manhattan apartment. My hosts, Jennifer and Jason, shared their prayer and guests were coaxed into sharing gratitude lists. It was a lovely moment, with people stopping to think about what we had instead of what we wanted.

Later, when I started attending fancy foodie dinner parties with my spouse, where the work involved in preparing the food was enormous, the chef often got applause. But rarely was there any thanks for the people who tended the crops and animals or for the earth that nourished it all.

Around that same time, prayer began to enter my life on an occasion because of my father-in-law, who always says a Christian prayer of thanks at the dinner table. I saw the way it quieted the family and brought everyone together.

Last fall, my child's pre-school teacher introduced a blessing in her classroom, which is housed in an Atlanta, Georgia church but isn't religious (except about being green, recycling and composting).

"The blessing came from my wanting the children to appreciate their food and coming together," my daughter’s teacher told me.

Every child in the classroom knows not to take a bite of snack or lunch before holding hands and blessing the food. Although there isn't any mention of any particular God, a sacred feeling seems to come over the wiggly bunch of 2- and 3-year-olds as they recite it from heart:

Blessings on the blossoms,
Blessing on the fruits,
Blessings on the leaves and stems,
Blessings on the roots,
Loving hands together as we say,
Blessings on our meal,
And our time together.

Does the mention of God matter? If it does to you, yes. What matters to me is that my toddler seemed to benefit from the experience of a blessing, of acknowledging something greater than herself, and we followed her lead.

We haven't deconstructed it or edited it to include concepts she doesn't yet understand. We added "and we're grateful for our family" because she added it.

When my daughter asked that we say this blessing at the dinner table, I simply said yes and wrote it out on a blue sticky note for us to recite. I knew right away that it filled my need for some gratitude shared with family and thanks for everyone who worked to put that food on our table.

When we hold hands and say it or some version of it, we are transformed. We are consciously a family in that moment, grateful and present for each other and our food, regardless of the day's events. It is a sacred moment for me.

And although I'm still the grumpy person I've always been, I'm happier because of my daughter's introduction of a mealtime blessing. I am more likely to stop when I'm upset and remember my blessings because I have practice speaking them out loud.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Katia Hetter.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Food • Opinion • Prayer

soundoff (928 Responses)
  1. JoyfulGypsy

    George Carlin's skit on religion is brilliant. Spot on.

    June 12, 2011 at 12:06 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      George Carlin knows it now... He would give all he had in this earthly life, and exchange his place with the poorest beggar on this earth, just to have a chance to come back to renounce all things he said about the God who gave him life, and His Son Jesus Christ who came to save his pitiful soul!
      This man had plenty of talent he could have amused and entertained people with .... But he chose to mock God and people of God.....!

      And NOW he knows... and no, it's not GOd's fault , but his own choice! No, there will be no excuse for any man, because God has put in every human heart certain knowledge of Himself, so that by that knowledge man would be lead to seek to know Him more, but those who by love of their own sins, their self will, and pride and rebellion that's in their hearts have extinguished that knowledge written on their consciences...
      So what ever comes to those who reject it, it is their own doing...
      George Carlin knows that now very well. So will all those who follow in the same path!

      You can do what you will with the words written here, your can mock them and make light of them, but it DOES NOT make them less true! And it is the destiny of every human being to find out just how true they are!

      June 12, 2011 at 12:40 pm |
    • John Richardson

      @Prism1234 Typical human hubris, presuming to know the will of god. Better watch out! I of course can't say, but there are those who say that the big guy in the sky takes a REALLY dim view of this sort of hubris. Hope you took good care of your teeth! You might need them for some heavy duty eternal gnashing!

      June 12, 2011 at 12:58 pm |
    • Eric G

      @Prism 1234: "You can do what you will with the words written here, your can mock them and make light of them, but it DOES NOT make them less true! And it is the destiny of every human being to find out just how true they are!"

      What does make them less true is the claims you make without supporting evidence.

      If you have verifiable evidence, please present it for review.

      June 12, 2011 at 1:01 pm |
    • John

      John richard. You speak of human hubris? Try this: mankind sitting on the edge of a universe proclaiming they know the origins of life, origins of the universe, they split the atom and make a bomb with the knowledge, claim life came from nothing and have no proof, yet demand proof of God. I can go on and on. If you dont call that hubris then im at a loss.

      June 12, 2011 at 1:06 pm |
    • John Richardson

      @John Yes, you clearly at a loss. You don't understand science and then get all antsy because those who understand it far better don't believe in ancient mythology. That's really silly. As for the atom bomb, science is not always used for good purposes. But take a look at the carnage in the Thirty Years War, a war between two groups of Christians who were horrified that anyone dared to believe other than the way they did, and tell me with a straight face that the religious zealots who waged that war wouldn't have used ANY technological advantage they might have gotten their hands on and didn't kill with modern bombs not because of self restraint but because of lack of availability.

      June 12, 2011 at 1:15 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      Eric G.,
      I was given the evidence. The evidence is given INDIVIDUALY to those who seek it. But there are CONDITIONS under which they are given and received!
      It is NOT in the nature of God to display His evidence to proud and arrogant, who seek the signs... Jesus Christ came the way He did so that ONLY those who truly sought God would recognize Him.
      The wisdom of God is not like the "wisdom" of men.
      Is that hard to understand?

      June 12, 2011 at 1:16 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      @John,
      You've put that very well! Couldn't have said any better! 🙂

      June 12, 2011 at 1:19 pm |
    • John

      J richard. I have studies science for many years. I have been in the fight for the unification theory and studied string theory for three years. Molecular biology for one. Bioweapons research for 8 months. I have been into science my whole life. The more i uncovered the more it led me to God. The more i discovered about science the more i realized how men were in denial and creating fairytales. Like evolution. At its core it is comedic. I am frustrated because instead of just admitting we dont know, we proclaim knowledge and at the same time ourselves as kings of the universe. Its scary

      June 12, 2011 at 1:23 pm |
    • John Richardson

      Maybe you should have studied actual evolutionary biology instead of bioweaponry before dismissing evolution so cavalierly. But how does positing some unknowable, all powerful creature actually explain anything? You can study science while remaining clueless about the nature of explanation in science. I submit that you are an example.

      June 12, 2011 at 1:32 pm |
    • John

      Evolution says life came from nothing. Scientists tell me thats impossible. Im only left with the possiblity of a creator. I believe in logic over religion. I have to use logic to assume there is a creator, science doesnt allow me any other options.

      June 12, 2011 at 1:53 pm |
    • John Richardson

      @John

      "Evolution says life came from nothing." Evolution says nothing of the sort! Darwin and other evolutionists have had their theories about the origin of life. No one has ever said it came from nothing. But evolution per se doesn't concern itself with life's origin, but on how later forms of life stemmed from earlier forms.

      "Scientists tell me thats impossible." But since no one evr said it, who cares? And who are these illiterate scientists who didn't spot your mistake in attributing to evolution something outside its technical scope that has also never been proposed by those who do seek life's origins in biochemistry and self replicating systems in inanimate nature.

      " Im only left with the possiblity of a creator. I believe in logic over religion. I have to use logic to assume there is a creator, science doesnt allow me any other options." Well, if you start with a premise "either life came from nothing or it was created by Ahura Mazda" presto, instant Zoroastrian! You might want to examine that premise a little more closely, eh?

      June 12, 2011 at 2:03 pm |
    • I_get _it

      Prism: "I was given the evidence. The evidence is given INDIVIDUALY to those who seek it."

      Mohammad claimed "individual evidence" too, as did Joseph Smith, David Koresh, Jim Jones, and oodles of other delusional people who murder their children or others because "God" "spoke" to them. Your "individual evidence" is not reliable.

      June 12, 2011 at 2:25 pm |
    • BobM

      How Christian of Prism to defile a man after he's dead and can't defend himself.

      You claim to have evidence. Where is it then? I was a devout Christian for decades, and never once was presented with any evidence of the existence of God other than the Bible itself. However, the Bible doesn't prove the existence of God any more than Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows proves the existence of Hermione Granger. It's a compilation of dozens of books written by men in the first century, voted into canon by a council of bishops from a selection of -hundreds- of such books after being "sanitized" of anything that didn't jibe with church dogma. It came into existence via politics, not divine inspiration. There's nothing divine about it.

      June 12, 2011 at 2:34 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      Nope, You_don't _get_it..
      There is much to be said about this matter, but I won't, since I can guess in advance your response!
      Jesus Christ said the
      "My sheep knows my voice and they follow me They will not follow the stranger, because they know not the voice of a stranger. I KNOW my own, and they KNOW me.. My sheep WILL NOT follow an impostor..."

      If these words spoken by Christ Jesus will not mean a thing to you, how would then anything that I would say ?!

      June 12, 2011 at 2:39 pm |
    • BobM

      Jesus Christ said the
      "My sheep knows my voice and they follow me They will not follow the stranger, because they know not the voice of a stranger. I KNOW my own, and they KNOW me.. My sheep WILL NOT follow an impostor..."

      And Captain Kirk said, "Why does God need a starship?"

      Again, it's a BOOK. By itself, it is proof of nothing, because EVERY RELIGION ON EARTH HAS ONE. You need something else to prove your faith as anything other than just another collection of ancient stories.

      June 12, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
    • Bucky Ball

      @ Prism 1234
      "Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain"
      Wizard of Oz

      June 12, 2011 at 5:42 pm |
    • Meh

      "Like evolution. At its core it is comedic."

      Spoken like someone who has no idea how evolution works, which is supported by the statement "life came from nothing." Tout all you want about all the "science" you studied; they were either taught by quacks or you got D's.

      June 13, 2011 at 2:52 pm |
  2. fierybuddha

    Thank you. Saying blessings w/o being religious is a tough task I constantly tackle, and this is simple and brilliant. And shared on Facebook.

    June 12, 2011 at 12:03 pm |
  3. Gordon Daily

    I love these anonymous forums where people feel like they can belittle and degrade people for their religious beliefs. I don't tell anyone that they have to believe in God, and I would certainly appreciate it if people who do not believe would not go around calling me names because I do believe.

    It's easy to sit behind a computer screen where you can remain totally anonymous and shout others down.

    June 12, 2011 at 12:01 pm |
    • Lawyer in Atlanta

      That's because you're a religious fruitcake. I have no problem telling you that to your face as well. Your god is fraud. Get over it you slime. god has done nothing for you because he doesn't exist. You want to "bless" your food? Try thanking mommy and daddy for working so hard, try thanking science and technology and secularism you religious cult slime.

      June 12, 2011 at 12:38 pm |
    • John

      Hey lawyer. If you know something that no other man in the history of mankind knows, than you must be all powerful. So yes, there is a god, and he must be you. Man has been searching for hundreds of thousands of years and here all along you know the answer. And you cant even be graceful or wise. No wonder people dont want anything to do with you. Bad god.

      June 12, 2011 at 12:45 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      @ lawyer inn Atlanta

      You see, neither do I have any problem telling you the same what I said to poster above! ! ! You, being a lawyer, should understand WHY!

      June 12, 2011 at 12:48 pm |
    • John Richardson

      Well, as gods go, Lawyer in Atlanta compares favorably to any god who plans to toss the lives he created into hell. I mean, seriously. THAT is okay, but calling someone names is really, really bad????

      June 12, 2011 at 12:55 pm |
    • ConsiderTheEvidenceDude

      Lawyer in Atlanta:
      Consider the Evidence...
      [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rZhUrKiRGrQ&w=640&h=390]

      June 12, 2011 at 12:56 pm |
    • I spam vids

      [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PqJpZOljjG8&w=640&h=360]

      June 12, 2011 at 1:05 pm |
    • Artist

      Gordon Daily

      It's easy to sit behind a computer screen where you can remain totally anonymous and shout others down.
      ---–
      You are correct. I would just like to offer som food for thought:
      .
      Schizophrenia is a mental disorder that makes it difficult to tell the difference between real and unreal experiences, to think logically, to have normal emotional responses, and to behave normally in social situations.
      As the illness continues, psychotic symptoms develop:
      • False beliefs or thoughts that are not based in reality (delusions)
      • Hearing, seeing, or feeling things that are not there (hallucinations)

      June 13, 2011 at 3:02 pm |
  4. John Richardson

    Does the mention of God matter? Yes. It should be left out. Nature and the hard work of many, many people produce this bounty. Give credit where it is due.

    June 12, 2011 at 12:01 pm |
    • hansbronson

      Where do you think the dirt came from to grow the food.

      June 12, 2011 at 12:09 pm |
    • Richard Cheese

      But they aren't blessing the dirt, are they? Try some critical thinking classes next time so you don't embarrass yourself with logical fallacies.

      June 12, 2011 at 12:18 pm |
    • Colin

      Hansbronson – to answer your question, all elements heavier than hydrogen, helium and lithium were created in stars. To get to where I think this is going, the mere fact that at one point'I will say "I don't know" to a question you will pose, such as "where did stars comef from?" or "where did the Big bang come from?" does not mean a god did it, much less the christian god. It just means we do not yet know.

      June 12, 2011 at 12:19 pm |
    • John Richardson

      The soil came basically from nature, which I had already mentioned, genius, though of course anyone who composts knows that you can improve the soil for agricultural purposes. Modern farms of course also use chemical fertilizers. There are surely aspects of modern farming that are less than laudable, But that's where the bounty comes from. To thank a non-actor while leaving all of those actually responsible out of your expressions of grati-tude is really quite reprehensible.

      June 12, 2011 at 12:20 pm |
    • Bucky Ball

      @JR
      Thanks for bringing that up. Norman Borlaug and Norm Berg both deserve some credit here. 😈

      June 12, 2011 at 6:50 pm |
    • John Richardson

      Yo Bucky! Not familiar with those specific names, but the only form of grace I've ever heard of that made any sense was that which a former kibbutznik related to me, one in which those who worked to produce the food were thanked, not some mythical bring. Is that the connection?

      June 12, 2011 at 10:39 pm |
  5. Anon_e_mouse

    Saying a blessing before meals is important to us as well. Our extended family represents a mixture of faiths, so for us the simple motzi of my faith (Praised are you, Adonai our G-d, who brings forth bread from the earth, Amen) is recited, with additional thoughts expressed by others around the table if so desired. It sets the tone for the meal and for the rest of the day.

    June 12, 2011 at 11:59 am |
  6. Colin

    While it is somehwat unfortuante that this poor little girl seems destined to inherit the Bronze Age superst.itions of her parents, at least being exposed to incosistent faiths may help her see the inherent inanity in religious beliefs as she ages.

    I like the line, "Who wanted to jeopardize congeniality at the table by invoking one version of God, knowing it wasn't another person's higher power?"

    Hopefully, the fact that different faiths have different "versions" of god, or more acurately, totally different gods, may invoke her into thinking perhaps there is something purely cultural about these magic beings and perhaps her daughter may be better served by having her young mind think about whether such beings are realistic, rather than automaitcally subscribing to one team or another.

    June 12, 2011 at 11:55 am |
    • John

      Perhaps they are all the same God. And only the ones who represent hate are false.

      June 12, 2011 at 12:01 pm |
    • Colin

      John no more than all languages are really English.

      June 12, 2011 at 12:33 pm |
    • John

      Colin. Exactly. There are thousand of languages and ways to say "i love you" but they all mean the same thing. To argue that, you are merely tangling with semantics.

      June 12, 2011 at 12:40 pm |
    • Flora

      Because a little girl being introduced to the idea of thankfulness is just SO tragic.

      Get off your high horse, and try the air down here in Sanity-land.

      June 12, 2011 at 12:43 pm |
    • John Richardson

      @John What if they're all the same god? If you can't tell the difference between, say, Gaia and Jehovah, I question your discernment. But if you are really, really one of those universalists content to boil it all down to some small amorphous mass of supposed commonality amongst all religions, why are you so upset by atheism and agnosticism. Real universalists tend to be cool with both.

      June 12, 2011 at 1:26 pm |
    • John Richardson

      @John And while you presumably can say 'I love you' in every language and have it mean more or less the same, you DON'T say "if you don't believe as I do, the loving god will subject you to eternal torment and, oh by the way, gays are an abomination and god doesn't want them to have the same rights that you and I enjoy" in every religion.

      June 12, 2011 at 1:38 pm |
    • John

      God says nothing of gay coice. That is a human interpretation. If man would abandon religion as Jesus had taught, we would be able to commune with God the way we should. But people such as yourself equate religion with God and reject God because of religion. Its a weird logic thing. Its a shame.

      June 12, 2011 at 1:59 pm |
    • John

      By the way, the bible also "it is better to cut your hand off than to sin with it" and since we all sin i dont see many religious leaders walking around handless. Picking and choosing what ever fits us from the bible and throwing away the rest is what Jesus preached against. Its a shame people cant love God because of what they choose, instead of letting go, and dying to these selfish ways.

      June 12, 2011 at 2:02 pm |
    • John Richardson

      @John Actually, I'm not an atheist. I call myself an agnostically tinged neo-animist, for want of a pithier term. I do reject "big personal" gods. Positing some "uncaused cause" at the beginning is okay by me. Calling it 'god' bothers me because of connotations. But whatever floats your boat. I am mostly interested in spirit and spirituality that might be said to be emergent from biology just as biology is emergent from chemistry and chemistry from physics.

      June 12, 2011 at 2:07 pm |
    • John Richardson

      @John, I am glad to see you reject Abrahamic religious dogma, but would encourage you to similarly drop the assumption that all religions are striving for god as you conceive god and consider that in fact NONE of them are seeking that sort of god at all. Mystical movements within the different religious traditions may have been. But mystics tend to end up getting burned at the stake by the orthodox.

      June 12, 2011 at 2:11 pm |
    • John

      Mystics get burned at the stake because of fear and ignorance. People use the knowledge and love of God as a weapon, and have been for thousands of years. You and i believe in the same God, but neither of us know it. I learn more about my love for God and his ways from nonbelievers than i ever have from the bible or church, that is how God speaks to me. I see Gods mind in the workings of science. He created science. If we can escape semantics and stop arguing we can learn of love. People asked Jesus about the miracle of healing people and he said that healing simple. Its nothing. The real power is love. And none of us practice it. We hate and hate and hate. We hate each other,God, life and love. We hate.

      June 12, 2011 at 2:20 pm |
    • John Richardson

      @John I hate somethings unapologetically and others because I am subject to all the same petty failings everyone else is. But just because I hate somethings doesn't meant I hate everything. I love quite a bit. I love some people and the animals I work with. Studying and being convinced of the truth of evolutionary biology didn't me love people or animals less. Indeed, I see a lot of the contempt for animals I see in this world stemming from the human hubris of assuming that we are fundamentally separate from the animal world, which we clearly aren't and evolutionary theory explains a lot about how deeply rooted in the rest of the animate world we are. Evolutionary theory has deepened my appreciation of both nature in general and of humans as creatures of nature.

      June 12, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
    • John

      There is a saying that humankind can be judged by how it treats its prisoners. I always thought that should be "the way it treats its animals". Because i beleive animals are a gift from God and a primary means of communication. Primarily with love. Well, i have to run errands. Best of luck on your journey and may you find and give love on your path, wherever it may lead. I think we will all find ourselves when the roads meet. God bless you and keep safe. Thank you for the enlightening conversation. I have learned a lot.

      June 12, 2011 at 2:49 pm |
    • John Richardson

      Thanks, John! Things started rough, but we found a way to be civilized! Chalk one up for sticking with the conversation till one actually understands the other. I'm off to errands as well. Which is just as well, as I am so addled at the moment that when I meant to hit the appropriate "reply" button to post this, I accidentally hit the "report abuse" button on my immediately prior post! 😀

      Anyway, Gandhi is said to have made that very emendation to the quote you gave, ie say 'animals' instead of 'prisoners'. Indeed, Gandhi's quote is cited a lot amongst the people I tend to hang with because of my animal work, not surprisingly, and I had never heard the version with 'prisoner' before! Learn something new every day! By the way, I had always felt that Gandhi's quote was a bit self-serving coming from him, as respect for animals is one of the few things that Hinduism and other eastern religions does better than most. (Hindus also use bright colors to very good effect, I might add. I'll take Hindu decorative art over just about anything outside of the mescaline inspired Native American art of the Southwest and Mexico and points south!) The Hindus and their caste system might query themselves about their treatment of many two-legged animals in their midst! But yes, animals deserve better than we have generally given them and for sure deserve more love and respect than they typically get.

      June 12, 2011 at 4:00 pm |
  7. DoodleSheep

    If thanking god for your food makes you feel better, it is a sign of a mental deficiency. If you think there is a god to begin with, to quote a movie: Let me give you a little inside information about God. God likes to watch. He's a prankster. Think about it. He gives man instincts. He gives you this extraordinary gift, and then what does He do, I swear for His own amusement, his own private, cosmic gag reel, He sets the rules in opposition. It's the goof of all time. Look but don't touch. Touch, but don't taste. Taste, don't swallow. Ahaha. And while you're jumpin' from one foot to the next, what is he doing? He's laughin' His sick, fskn' ass off! He's a tight-as$! He's a SADIST! He's an absentee landlord! Worship that? NEVER!

    June 12, 2011 at 11:54 am |
    • John

      Your mom told you not to play in the street because she knew cars killed. You didnt understand death as a child so you hated her because you thought she just didnt want you to have fun. I can see things havent changed in your mind in terms of God.

      June 12, 2011 at 11:59 am |
    • adam

      Hey fellow atheist! Please don't be such an arrogant jerk; you make us all look bad. Just because we don't believe in a higher power doesn't mean we should ridicule those who do.

      June 12, 2011 at 12:36 pm |
    • Flora

      So, your issue with God is that you don't like rules. Tell you what; you don't have to follow God's rules, but the next time someone steals something from you, don't call the cops. That would be hypocritical of you, after all.

      June 12, 2011 at 12:48 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      Hey, Doodle Dude,

      You do worship something or rather, someone, because you were meant to do so!
      But it is the Devil, the father of lies who has you in his hand and whose will you're performing.......That's to whom you are worshiping and giving your allegiance . And all the while he's mocking you, by telling you that you are FREE! ..... And you don't hear him laughing?
      He is laughing because he's got you where he wants you! Because that is what you are : a beggarly servant of your father , the devil!

      June 12, 2011 at 1:05 pm |
    • LoneZero

      PRISM 1234

      Come on prism use your head, Why would the devil even try to over throw God, knowing God is all knowing and all powerful? He could never win, the devil and God know this and God knew it would happen before the devil ever thought of it yet God still created the devil just to do it. Plus why would an all knowing and loving god grant the devil his own doman to rule as his own and to mess with us like your claiming his doing to everyone that doesn't think like you? After trying to overthrow God and take over, the devil is granted his own domain? Why would God reward the devil?

      the devil does not exist and we have free will and choice because god doesn't exist either, unless God can prove otherwise

      June 12, 2011 at 9:57 pm |
  8. Anna2Infinity

    I love it when Xstains offer you peace and love in one hand and when you reject it they slap you with the other.
    Out of the billions of galaxies in the universe
    Out of the billions of systems and planets
    Out of the hundreds of gods humans have produced
    You have the hubris to think that your little god listens to your prayers
    And if you don't believe then that little loving god will burn you for eternity.
    You can tell me that your god is full of love all you like but through you all I can see is how
    hateful, petty, sanctimonious, ignorant and arrogant your god is
    And I can see the joy when xstains think of the unbelievers burning in hell.

    June 12, 2011 at 11:52 am |
    • Popadockalis

      "You can tell me that your god is full of love all you like but through you all I can see is how
      hateful, petty, sanctimonious, ignorant and arrogant your god is"
      Pat Robertson and all televangelists.

      June 12, 2011 at 12:02 pm |
  9. sandi

    nicely said RGENERATION. If the athesists don't believe there is a God then why do they keep commenting on it. Maybe we who believe in God should pray for THEM. They need it.

    June 12, 2011 at 11:49 am |
    • Demiurge

      Because of the ill-effects caused by religion, especially those based on YHWH or Allah worship.

      Plus, there is the matter of the propagation of rational thinking skills, as most believers don't actually exhibit those.

      June 12, 2011 at 11:56 am |
    • Popadockalis

      "Maybe we who believe in God should pray for THEM. They need it."
      This is sanctimonious and condescending. Sandi is afraid because she's wrong and needs to chastise others for comfort.

      June 12, 2011 at 11:59 am |
    • Colin

      Sandi, at the risk of sounding pejorative, it is for the same reason that doctors go to hospitals. Not because they like germs, but because they hope to cure disease.

      June 12, 2011 at 12:00 pm |
    • John Richardson

      Excellent response, Colin!

      June 12, 2011 at 12:25 pm |
    • BobM

      Okay Sandi, you pray for me.

      I'll think for you.

      June 12, 2011 at 12:30 pm |
    • Magic

      sandi,

      If you saw huge crowds of people hopping and leaping down the street so as to not step on a crack and break their mothers' backs, and this was causing great problems for everyone's progress, wouldn't you say something?

      June 12, 2011 at 1:53 pm |
  10. Jobe

    We say Grace every night as we sit down to eat. I don't think it matters if you believe a God or not, be we should be grateful for whatever, great or small, we have. Take that moment as a family to thank you to the cosmos, or nature, the chef, the farmer or if you have a faith, God. Many Americans, maybe the majority, do not realize how much we have in comparison to many around the world and we take it for granted. Saying Grace especially with your children is simply about saying 'thank you'.

    June 12, 2011 at 11:46 am |
  11. Chris

    Beautiful blog. Chilling comments.

    June 12, 2011 at 11:42 am |
  12. My 2 cents

    I may as well start asking Zeus to bless my food, but it's kinda silly since I don't believe he or any other god exists.

    June 12, 2011 at 11:30 am |
  13. Reality

    From a "flocking agnostic" as a suggestion for another prayer before meals:---–

    The Apostles' Creed 2011: (updated by yours truly and based on the studies of historians and theologians during the past 200 years)

    I might believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
    and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
    human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven.

    I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
    preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
    named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
    girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

    Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
    the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

    He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
    a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of
    Jerusalem.

    Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
    many semi-fiction writers. A descent into Hell, a bodily resurrection
    and ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
    Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
    grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
    and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
    called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

    Amen

    June 12, 2011 at 11:25 am |
  14. SillyRabbit

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

    June 12, 2011 at 11:21 am |
  15. RGeneration

    Ah....nice to see all the atheists out in force. Thankful for nothing, yet whining at a God who they don't even believe exists when something goes wrong. I am absolutely glad that you'll have no excuse when you stand before the "flying spaghetti monster" or "fairy" at Judgement day. You've heard about Him, read about Him and yet rejected Him. Likewise, you will be rejected too.

    Cue to start the humor and arrogance........

    June 12, 2011 at 11:03 am |
    • gozer

      RGeneration: Read up on Pascal's wager. The premise of your post is a common fallacy.

      Some reading about logic might cure you of your backward supersti-tions, but there isn't much hope for that since you seem to have bought into the silly dead-guy-on-a-stick scapegoat story hook line and sinker.

      June 12, 2011 at 11:18 am |
    • Electric Larry

      Thanks for acknowledging that atheists have much better senses of humor. I too have noticed that the religious people who post here are completely incapable of being funny.

      June 12, 2011 at 11:20 am |
    • BobM

      I would prefer the peace of oblivion to an eternity in any "heaven" ruled by a god that behaves like the one in the Bible. Sorry, but I'm not scared.

      June 12, 2011 at 11:30 am |
    • Electric Larry

      I would far prefer oblivion to being stuck for the rest of eternity with blithering religious extremists. Can you imagine having to spemd the rest of eternity hanging out with Mormons, or Muslims, or evangelicals? That's definitely Hell.

      June 12, 2011 at 11:35 am |
    • John Richardson

      I am thankful for all the many people, from agricultural researchers to farmers to the truck drivers who bring food to market to the retailers and on and on who are TRULY responsible for the bounty we enjoy. I am thankful to the people who see fit to give me a paycheck so that my animals and I can partake of this bounty. I am so, so sorry to see all these people taking for granted by self-impressed, sanctimonious fools who instead thank imaginary beings.

      June 12, 2011 at 11:50 am |
    • John Richardson

      You already started the arrogance, RG. As for the humor, you really ought to be grateful that so many non-believers do indeed manage to keep their humor in the presence of eager adherents of some of the most brutal, thuggish inst-itutions ever to infest the earth.

      June 12, 2011 at 11:53 am |
    • Sean

      @RGeneration
      I'm always intimidated by the "just you wait until Judegement Day – you'll be sorry" bit.

      June 13, 2011 at 2:24 pm |
    • weluvyew

      [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VPIZARnti1A&w=640&h=390]

      June 13, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
    • Artist

      Sean

      @RGeneration
      I'm always intimidated by the "just you wait until Judegement Day – you'll be sorry" bit.
      --------

      I crap myself when they say this.

      June 13, 2011 at 3:08 pm |
  16. LouAz

    Nothing has changed. Indoctrinate the little children, 3 years old ! Fill their head with ideas that children can not understand. It reinforces the CONTROL that all adults feel compelled to exert on children, and each other, because they were "taught" when they were young. The boogie man stories will soon follow about death and living forever. But those stories to children last a lifetime. Makes for good little christians, and muslims, and jews, and hindis, and crusaders, and nazis, and murders of all kinds of organizations and national origin. No wonder we have made so little social and civil advancement.

    June 12, 2011 at 11:00 am |
    • Simonds007

      Your that person who sucks all the life from the party aren't you?

      June 12, 2011 at 11:16 am |
  17. SillyRabbit

    Even if you don't believe in God, can't you take a moment once a day before you start shoveling food in your piehole to reflect on how great your life is and think about the other 90 percent of the world who face hunger every day? Oh wait, that might cause you to be less self-centered. Never mind...

    June 12, 2011 at 10:52 am |
    • SillyRabbit

      I just posted that to show how important I am.

      June 12, 2011 at 11:19 am |
  18. Matt

    @ BobM
    Are you correct? Mankind does not need "comfort" from wars, crime, violence, injustice, wickedness, etc?

    Where do you find "comfort"? Is it from Mans governments, science, and big business and technology? Such "comfort" is a falsehood and temporary at best.

    June 12, 2011 at 10:49 am |
    • BobM

      LIFE is temporary, Matt. If you want comfort, do something comforting. Comfort is being brought to victims of atrocity and disaster by the actions of PEOPLE, not a supernatural force. Prayer doesn't help them, clothes, shelter, food and medicine do.

      In life, good things happen and bad things happen. They happen to good people and bad people in equal measure. If you want justice, you need to work for it in this life. I know you can't grasp the concept of a person not needing the crutch of faith to live their life, but that's just the way it is.

      June 12, 2011 at 11:41 am |
    • Derrick

      @BobM – good and bad do not happen in equal measure to anyone. But the rest of your post is good eatin'. Tanks.

      June 12, 2011 at 6:47 pm |
    • Artist

      BobM

      ........I know you can't grasp the concept of a person not needing the crutch of faith to live their life, but that's just the way it is.
      ----
      Most of them cannot. Religion is for the delusional, weak minded or defective personality disorders.
      .
      food for tought:
      .
      Schizophrenia is a mental disorder that makes it difficult to tell the difference between real and unreal experiences, to think logically, to have normal emotional responses, and to behave normally in social situations.
      As the illness continues, psychotic symptoms develop:
      • False beliefs or thoughts that are not based in reality (delusions)
      • Hearing, seeing, or feeling things that are not there (hallucinations)

      June 13, 2011 at 3:12 pm |
  19. Lynnie

    We all need to give thanks for what we have and recognize how blessed we are to live in the U.S. If there was
    more prayer in this land of "free speech", our country would be a better place. Good for this
    mother and good for her preschool.

    June 12, 2011 at 10:48 am |
  20. Chuck Rogera

    too bad your mother didn't listen to her parents, not to intermarry- than you would know you are a Jew and that the Jewish people brought the concept of Blessing to the world. You are a Jew and your daughter is a Jew. Do something about it!

    June 12, 2011 at 10:41 am |
    • SillyRabbit

      and thank you for trying to help your child to grow into a kind person who speaks nicely to people (unlike Chuck).

      June 12, 2011 at 10:53 am |
    • frank

      Moses, is that you?

      June 12, 2011 at 10:53 am |
    • PraiseTheLard

      I bet the daughter will believe in Santa Claus – if she doesn't already...

      June 12, 2011 at 6:37 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.