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Four ways 9/11 changed America's attitude toward religion
Construction workers move steel beam pulled from ground zero rubble into its permanent home at the 9/11 Memorial Museum.
September 3rd, 2011
10:00 PM ET

Four ways 9/11 changed America's attitude toward religion

By John Blake, CNN

(CNN) - David O'Brien couldn't help himself. After the September 11 terrorist attacks, he became obsessed.

O'Brien read the stories of 9/11 victims over and over, stunned by what he was discovering.

He read about the firefighters who marched up the smoke-choked stairwells of the World Trade Center, though many knew they could die; the beloved priest killed while giving last rites as the twin towers collapsed; the passengers on hijacked planes who called their families one last time to say, "I love you."

"I was obsessed with these stories," says O'Brien, a Catholic historian at the University of Dayton in Ohio. "There were so many stories of self-sacrifice, not just by the first responders, but by people fleeing the building. There was this revelation of goodness."

O'Brien saw an Easter message in 9/11 - good rising out of the ashes of evil. Yet there were other religious messages sent that day, and afterward, that are more troubling, religious leaders and scholars say.

September 11 didn't just change America, they say. It changed the nation's attitude toward religion. Here are four ways:

1: A chosen nation becomes a humbled one.

One man died because he arrived early to work. A woman died because she decided to take a later flight. The arbitrary nature of some of the deaths on 9/11 still sticks with many Americans today.

Yet this is what life is like for billions of people on the planet today, some religious leaders say. A random event - a car bomb, a stray bullet - can end their lives at any minute.

Most Americans had not lived with this vulnerability until 9/11, says Mathew Schmalz, a religion professor at the College of the Holy Cross  in Massachusetts, who once lived in Karachi, Pakistan.

"We had this sense of specialness and invulnerability that 9/11 shattered," he says. "Given that a large section of the world's population deals with random violence every day, one of the outcomes of 9/11 should be a greater feeling of solidarity with people who live in cities like Karachi in which violence is a part of everyday life."

Recognizing that vulnerability, though, is difficult for some Americans because of how they see their country, Schmalz and others say.

They say Americans have long had a triumphalist view of their place in history. Certain beliefs have been engrained: Tomorrow will always be better; we're number one. The term "American" even reflects a certain arrogance. It casually discounts millions of people living in Central and Latin America.

The 9/11 attacks, though, forced many Americans to confront their limitations, says Rev. Thomas Long, a nationally known pastor who has been active in post 9/11 interfaith efforts.

"We're losing the power of the American empire and becoming more a nation among nations," says Long, a religion professor at Emory University in Atlanta. "The world is a much more dangerous and fragile place economically."

How Americans cope with their loss of power is ultimately a theological question, Long says. It's the same question the ancient Hebrews confronted in the Old and New Testaments when they faced national calamities.

The chosen people had to learn how to be humble people, Long says. Americans face the same test today.

"The challenge for every faith tradition is going to be helping people grieve the loss of an image of America that they once had," he says, "and acquire a modern understanding of ourselves on the world's stage."

2: The re-emergence of "Christo-Americanism."

Before 9/11, if you asked the average American about Ramadan or sharia law, they probably would have given you a blank look.

Not anymore. The 9/11 attacks prompted more Americans to learn about Islam. Books on the subject became best-sellers. Colleges started offering more courses on Islam. Every cable news show suddenly had their stable of "Muslim experts."

More Americans know about Islam than ever before, but that hasn't stopped the post-9/11 Muslim backlash. The outrage over plans to build an Islamic prayer and community center near ground zero; the pastor who threatened to burn the Quran; conservative Christian leaders who called Islam evil - all occurred as knowledge of Islam spread throughout America, scholars says.

"One of the sobering lessons of the decade since 9/11 is that religious prejudice is not always rooted in raw ignorance," says Thomas Kidd, author of "American Christians and Islam."

"Some of America's most vociferous anti-Muslim critics know quite a lot about Muslim beliefs, but they often use their knowledge to construe Islam in the worst possible light."

Many of these public attacks against Islam were encouraged by conservative Christian leaders such as Rev. Franklin Graham, the son of Rev. Billy Graham, who called Islam "wicked," and Pat Robertson, the Christian broadcaster who declared that "Islam is not a religion," says Charles Kammer, a religion professor at the College of Wooster in Ohio.

Kammer says Graham and Robertson helped fuel the rise of "Christo-Americanism," a distorted form of Christianity that blends nationalism, conservative paranoia and Christian rhetoric.

"A segment of the religious community in the United States has been at the forefront of an anti-Islamic crusade that has helped to generate a climate of hatred and distrust toward all Muslims," says Kammer.

Other strains of Christo-Americanism have swept through America before.

After 9/11, some political leaders said terrorists hated the U.S. because of "our freedoms." But America's record on granting those freedoms to its citizens is mixed, says Lynn Neal, co-editor of the book, "Religious Intolerance in America."

In the 19th century, the U.S government passed numerous laws preventing Native American tribes from practicing their religion. Mormons were persecuted. Roman Catholics were once described as disloyal, sexual deviants, Neal says.

"Religious intolerance is not a new feature of the American landscape. Despite being the most religiously diverse nation on earth, despite having a first amendment that protects religious rights...we as a nation and as citizens have often failed to live up to those ideas."

3: Interfaith becomes cool.

Interfaith dialogue - it's not the type of term that makes the heart beat faster.

Before 9/11, interfaith efforts were dismissed as feel-good affairs that rarely got media coverage. The 9/11 attacks changed that.

Interfaith events spread across the country. Mosques and temples held joint worship services. Every college campus seemed to have an interfaith dialogue. The Obama White House launched a college interfaith program.

Becoming an interfaith leader is now hip, some say.

"A generation of students is saying that they want to be interfaith leaders, just like previous generations said they wanted to be human rights activists or environmentalists," says Eboo Patel, who founded the Interfaith Youth Core in 2002.

Patel says at least 250 colleges have signed up for the White House interfaith program, which he helped design. The program encourages students of different faiths to work together on service projects.

"These young leaders will make interfaith cooperation a social norm in America, similar to multiculturalism and volunteerism," Patel says.

These new leaders include people like Sarrah Shahawy, a Muslim-American medical student at Harvard University and the daughter of Egyptian immigrants.

After 9/11, Shahawy says she felt the responsibility to educate people about Islam. She became an interfaith leader at the University of Southern California,  where she noticed a steady increase in student participation in the years after the attacks.

Shahawy says her generation is drawn to interfaith efforts because 9/11 showed the destructive potential of any exclusive claims to religious truth. The 9/11 hijackers carried out their attacks in the name of Islam, but Muslim religious leaders and scholars said that the terrorists' actions did not reflect Islamic teachings.

"For one religious group to claim a monopoly on truth should be obsolete," she says. The interfaith movement doesn't teach people that all religions are the same, she says.

Shahawy calls herself a proud Muslim. "But for me, there's beauty and truth to be found in many different religions."

4: Atheists come out of the closet.

There's one group, however, that sees little beauty in any religion.

Before 9/11, many atheists kept a low profile. Something changed, though, after 9/11. They got loud.

Atheist leaders such as Richard Dawkins, author of "The God Delusion," and Sam Harris, author of "The End of Faith," wrote best-selling books. Atheist groups launched national media campaigns with bold billboard messages such as "Christmas is a myth."

The pugnacious journalist Christopher Hitchens became the public face of a more combative form of atheism as he went on talk shows and lectures to defend not believing in God.

Criticism of all religion, not just fanatical cults, was no longer taboo after 9/11, says Daniel Dennett, a philosophy professor with Tufts University in Massachusetts.

"Atheist-bashing is now, like gay-bashing, no longer an activity that can be indulged in with impunity by politicians or commentators," Dennett says.

Atheists were driven to become more vocal because of the 9/11 attacks and America's reaction, says David Silverman, president of American Atheists. He says many atheists were disgusted when President George W. Bush and leaders in the religious right reacted to the attack by invoking "God is on our side" rhetoric while launching a "war on terror."

They adopted one form of religious extremism while condemning another, he says.

"It really showed atheists why religion should not be in power. Religion is dangerous, even our own religion," Silverman says.

Atheists are still the most disparaged group in America, but there's less stigma attached to being one, he says.

"The more noise that we make, the easier it us to accept us," Silverman says. "Most people know atheists now. They knew them before, but didn't know they were atheists."

Many Americans knew the people who perished on 9/11 as well, but they didn't know they were heroes until later, says David O'Brien, the Catholic historian who compulsively read the 9/11 obituaries.

O'Brien was so moved by the stories he read that he decided to write an essay for America magazine, a national Catholic weekly, entitled, "9/11 Then and Now."

He wrote: On 9/11, "Our people, my people, were tested and, for a shining moment ... they were found worthy."

He said many 9/11 victims didn't panic as their end drew near. They "thought not of themselves, but others ... when the chips were down." They saw themselves not as individuals, but as members of a "single human family."

So should we, he says, as we face new challenges 10 years later. The 9/11 victims aren't just heroes; they're our guides for the future, he says.

"The story is not over, not by a long shot," O'Brien wrote. "Look at all the love that day. Love can still write another chapter and keep hope alive for a better future. The meaning of 9/11 lies ahead, and it's in our hands, and maybe in our hearts.'

- CNN Writer

Filed under: 9/11 • Atheism • Christianity • Faith • Interfaith issues

soundoff (2,180 Responses)
  1. Everyones an atheist

    Sorry to burst your bubbles, but you're all Atheists.

    Christians, Jews,Catholics, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists...etc. Whose God is the right one? Christians believe Jesus is the way to god, while Muslims believe Jesus was simply a prophet and Mohammed is the right path to god. So whose right? Think a Hindu prays to Jesus or gives a crap about a Mohammad? Anyone who thinks they're religion is right and everyone else' is wrong then your an Atheist.
    Ask yourselves this: Are you a Muslim who thinks that Christians who follow the New Testament are going to hell? Or are you a Christian who thinks that Muslims who read the Q'uran aren't going to get into heaven because they don't keep Jesus in their hearts? Are you a Christian or Muslim who thinks that the Hindu's Bhagavad Gita is all wrong?
    If you answered Yes. You're an Atheist.

    September 5, 2011 at 2:36 pm |
    • pProf

      you apparently are somewhat confused about the definition of atheist.

      September 5, 2011 at 4:12 pm |
    • Peeje

      I don't understand your saying that a person who professes a certain religious affiliation but does not live up to the tenets of that faith is an atheist. An atheist I see as someone who does not believe in God. A person can certainly believe in God yet fail to do a single thing that the God he or she believes in requires. It's sort of like being married but not keeping any of your marriage vows. You are still married, you're just not being a good spouse. I consider myself a Christian, in that I believe in Christ as a living incarnation of God who died & rose from the dead & whose leadership, if we follow, will bring us to God. But I also hold that all real faiths or religions are true and valid in their own right, that there is no contradiction between them and that our perception of such a contradicition is due to our failure to truly see & comprehend. I believe all religions are equally right, and all of them are wrong in some respect, missing some element, because they are the word of God as filtered by the imperfect understanding of human beings. FYI, I say "real" faiths because there are specious sects that can spring up which are forms of personality cult, such as Jim Jones People's Temple, I don't count them as real because they worship an insane human being, not God.

      September 5, 2011 at 4:14 pm |
    • pProf

      @Peeje: I initially posted this in the wrong place...sorry.
      @Peeje: By definition one who is a Christian adheres to the teachings of Jesus Christ. One of his crystal clear teachings is that there is one way, and only one way, to God, and that is through him. He says that any who do not believe in him are under the wrath of God and condemned by God, while those who do believe in him are loved by God and accepted by God.

      September 5, 2011 at 4:26 pm |
    • iamdeadlyserious

      Please try and keep our good reputation for rational thought intact here.

      Atheists do not believe in any deities. Anyone who is part of a religion that does believe in a deity (regardless of how many other deities they don't believe in) is not an atheist. Some religions, however, can be atheistic. Many forms of Buddhism don't acknowledge any external gods or goddesses.

      September 5, 2011 at 4:47 pm |
    • Emilia

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      June 28, 2012 at 8:18 pm |
  2. John Richardson

    Since we've been visited by a few "Truthers" (the ironic name that 911 conspiracy dingdongs self-indenitfy with), here's a great debunking by Noam Chomsky, who is about the last person to absolve the Us Gov't of anything:

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TwZ-vIaW6Bc&w=640&h=390]

    September 5, 2011 at 2:13 pm |
  3. Jesus saves

    Bottom line: When you die, then you WILL get your answer. May Jesus Christ have mercy on your soul because the devil won't.

    No need for hate. It's unattractive.

    Us christians will just pray the ones that aren't. :-).

    "It is very easy to be an atheist when you’re successful, but it’s very difficult to be an atheist when you’re lying on your death bed." (Dr Donald Whitaker). Thank goodness he converted before he officially died. Gods mercy.

    September 5, 2011 at 12:49 pm |
    • tallulah13

      I'm not afraid of death. I don't desire heaven and I don't fear hell. I think that death is the practical conclusion of life and that it is a perfectly natural process. I'm not ready to die, but when the time comes, I will leave this life with as few regrets as possible. Look elsewhere for your fearful atheist.

      September 5, 2011 at 12:52 pm |
    • Fred1

      Since heaven is going to be populated by televangelists, mega church pastors, pedophile priests and the like (because I’m sure they all have asked for forgiveness), I think hell might be the better option

      September 5, 2011 at 1:15 pm |
    • Jesus saves

      I appreciate the feedback. It's expected. However, I genuinely feel sad for you and others who don't want to know Christ and feel His love.

      Fred1. I pray you change your thinking if you're ever on your deathbed. It's just pretty silly to say that. If you knew any near death experiencers who've been to hell and back, perhaps you could change your heart and you're thinking. YouTube some. Pretty interesting.

      Peace to you both and may one day soon, you'll be touched by the Holy Spirit and save you. Heck, I dare ya to read the bible. I double-dog dare ya. :-).

      September 5, 2011 at 1:41 pm |
    • tallulah13

      No, thank you. I tried to read the bible but found it dry. It's also contradictory and anti-woman. It is often violent and vicious, and it has been used as an excuse to harm others. It offers nothing that I want.

      Frankly, I see no evidence for a god. I have friends and family who I love and who love me. The world is an amazing place; the universe as well. The discoveries made by scientists about the nature of the universe and the Earth leave me awed and amazed. I don't feel any need for a supernatural friend or for an eternal life. I am content with what I have.

      September 5, 2011 at 2:42 pm |
    • Awkward Situations

      @Fred1: I agree. If I found myself in heaven I'd kill myself.

      September 6, 2011 at 6:28 am |
    • Awkward Situations

      @Jesus saves: I double-dog dare you to read the entire bible front to back. Usually that's enough to make a Christian start questioning the nonsense they get so h_orny about.

      September 6, 2011 at 6:33 am |
  4. kimsland

    Additions to the holly books.

    Whilst in the water closet I looked down and to my surprise I saw the image of the prophet Allah.
    It was a joyous and relieving feeling that this creation was looking to me for my forgiveness.
    With one last wipe I smiled upon the blessed creation, then pushed the flush and he was gone.
    The prophet Allah is no more, but the stench he leaves behind is enough to make you sick.
    Please add the above to the ending of the Qur'an, it is a fitting end to this load of sh!t.

    I had a similar experience with the lord Jesus, as you would expect a burning sensation.
    The absolute relief to see him pass through me was everything I always felt it would be.
    With one last wipe I smiled upon the blessed creation, then pushed the flush and he was gone.
    The lord Jesus is no more, but the splashes he made must be cleaned and placed with Allah.
    Please add the above to the beginning of the Bible, it is a fitting start to this p!sser of a novel.

    My experiences were truly relieving, I would like these words written down for centuries to come.
    So as all can also feel what I felt, and we can all then celebrate with hysteric laughter and joy.

    The End (and good riddance)

    September 5, 2011 at 10:03 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Kim. It will soon be the day that you lay this hateful burden down. Folks will continue and while you are laughing at them, most will find themselves pitying you and the remaining will just dislike you.

      We will continue though.

      September 5, 2011 at 11:25 am |
    • harmonynoyes

      WoW!
      Sounds like Kim would flush anything that hits the toilet-
      What's wrong with kim?

      September 5, 2011 at 5:10 pm |
  5. Kj

    Wow! It's almost embarrassing to read these comments. I believe in America, but Americans...wow.

    Why so much hate? Ever heard of a little thing called tolerance? Not everyone is bad simply because they are different!

    Educate...Tolerate!

    September 5, 2011 at 9:28 am |
    • harmonynoyes

      Some wars are good and justifiable
      And Jesus can help me back to win the peace
      And if I'm still standing, that's good too
      But I know I would fight and die for American concepts of freedom
      Inspired by God, tempered by Jesus
      I know this for sure, because I was accosted by a muslim attired guy who tried to intimidate me into not wearing my cross-
      I was on a NY street- that can't happen here America- Land of the Free ,Home of the Brave, and yes, maybe crazy ggood too- I hope

      September 5, 2011 at 5:03 pm |
    • Awkward Situations

      Give me a good reason to tolerate religious insti_tutions that to this day violate basic human rights and freedoms.

      September 6, 2011 at 6:36 am |
  6. ChRIST TEMPLAR

    http://quran.com/6/155
    And this [Qur'an] is a Book We have revealed [which is] blessed, so follow it and fear Allah that you may receive mercy.

    http://quran.com/9/29
    Fight those who do not believe in Allah or in the Last Day and who do not consider unlawful what Allah and His Messenger have made unlawful and who do not adopt the religion of truth from those who were given the Scripture – [fight] until they give the jizyah (Security Tax) willingly while they are humbled.

    http://quran.com/9/30
    The Jews say, "Ezra is the son of Allah "; and the Christians say, "The Messiah is the son of Allah ." That is their statement from their mouths; they imitate the saying of those who disbelieved [before them]. May Allah destroy them; how are they deluded?

    http://quran.com/3/67
    Abraham was neither a Jew nor a Christian, but he was one inclining toward truth, a Muslim [submitting to Allah ]. And he was not of the polytheists.

    http://quran.com/2/115
    And to Allah belongs the east and the west. So wherever you [might] turn, there is the Face of Allah . Indeed, Allah is all-Encompassing and Knowing.

    http://quran.com/5/51
    O you who have believed, do not take the Jews and the Christians as allies. They are [in fact] allies of one another. And whoever is an ally to them among you – then indeed, he is [one] of them. Indeed, Allah guides not the wrongdoing people.

    September 5, 2011 at 7:37 am |
  7. ChRIST TEMPLAR

    Church and sinoge burned again in http://persecution.org/
    Number of Muslim convert to Christian raising in http://www.faithfreedom.org/
    Muslim told not befriend with Jews and Christian on http://quran.com/5/51/, but why this everlasting word of Quran for all ages, the Muslim still immigrant into west?? They broke their own law by the prouphpet mohammed?

    Martin Luther King, Jr. a
    -> “In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”
    –> “Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men.”
    –> “We are not makers of history. We are made by history.”
    –> “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

    “It may be true that the law cannot make a man love me, but it can keep him from lynching me, and I think that's pretty important.”

    September 5, 2011 at 6:12 am |
  8. csy

    I get this sense in this article that when Christian leaders criticize Islam, that's just plain intolerance that shouldn't be tolerated. However, when atheists criticize similarly, not just against Islam, but against ALL religions....well, that's just atheists coming out of the closet and something to be celebrated. Granted, I'm not against anyone criticizing anybody....the more criticism (as long as it's not lethal) the merrier. But why is it when Christians say Islam is "evil and wicked", that's considered bad....but when atheists do it, it's considered okay? Why doesn't t the author consider the latter to be just as intolerant as the former? Double standard?

    September 5, 2011 at 2:06 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      Perhaps this ana.olgy will help clear up your confusion. It's like one kid(christian) wallowing in the mud and slinging mud balls at another kid(muslim) for daring to come over and play in his puddle. Meanwhile the sensible kid(atheist) under his umbrella is berating both for being too foolish to come in out rain.

      September 5, 2011 at 7:49 am |
    • Chad

      csy: good point
      steve: your analogy fails because your Christian is criticizing for one thing, the atheist another. csy is noting that the same criticism is treated differently when leveled by one group.

      September 5, 2011 at 10:21 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      Sorry chad but no my ana.logy still holds. csy said similar, not same and anytime christians are picking on another faith it is about different dogma whereas anytime an atheist picks on any faith it's about the uselessness of any dogma.

      September 5, 2011 at 12:44 pm |
    • Chad

      Steve, csy's point is that when a Christian criticizes a religion its called intolerance. When atheists do it, it's called coming out.
      The nature of the criticism is irrelevant to the point he is making.
      Atheists are sometimes clever, but rarely stay on topic...

      September 5, 2011 at 7:47 pm |
  9. popeye1128

    I don't get it. If anything, 9/11 made me more atheistic. If there is a god I don't believe he/she/it watches over everything we do or controls it. Sorry, my right not to believe just like yours to do so.
    That cross looking chunk of steel is over the top no matter what one believes in my opinion.

    September 5, 2011 at 1:48 am |
  10. Erin

    I'm an American-Muslim whom converted from being an Evangelist. I am proud to be muslim,,, for all of you who are haters, racists, biggots, anti-muslim radicalists or terrorists,,, We are staying and we ain't leaving. So get over it! We are here! So if you don't like it,,, do us (muslims) a favor and LEAVE.... I'm praying some day that the azan will play everyday in the streets of America... America you are beautiful!!!! PEACE-–allah akbar!!!!

    September 5, 2011 at 1:11 am |
    • Awkward Situations

      Relax. Nobody is making you to leave. But don't play that racket over the loud speakers. It's really annoying and disrespectful to your neighbors.

      September 5, 2011 at 1:21 am |
    • RichardSRussell

      I agree with Awkward Situations, but in my neck of the woods the complaint applies more to really annoying church bells.
       
      One of the nice things about Buddhists is that they're much more into meditation, which makes for quieter nabors.

      September 5, 2011 at 1:25 am |
    • Awkward Situations

      Yes, I hear it takes a lifetime of quiet meditation for a Buddhist to achieve omnipresent supergalactic oneness. Except for Ace Ventura of course.

      September 5, 2011 at 1:29 am |
    • harmonynoyes

      I hope you don't become radicalized because then you will be easy to hate. I'm sure you can't be making any of us leave' either just because you're a muslim now, sounds like you're feeling superior now, like I said, try not to become radicalized

      September 5, 2011 at 1:33 am |
    • RR

      Theres no cure fo Stupid..There never will be

      September 5, 2011 at 3:52 am |
    • ChRIST TEMPLAR

      Erin, LOL, you're funny! Now look you are so emotional, angered, and un-passion. Do you sure that your life while you were evangelist was emotional, angered, and un-passion? Maybe you stepped into darkness and yet you can't see it! Lo lo lo, back to jahilliah ages?

      September 5, 2011 at 6:16 am |
    • Erin

      Lol, to christ templer,,,Im not angery, un-passioned, if anything I'm happier being a muslim than I was a christian, I'm defending what I believe....freedom of speech...

      September 5, 2011 at 6:45 pm |
  11. DanW

    What I think is amazing is that with a little technology, education and planning, a few cave dwellers could have such an impact. I don't think the problem is Islam – look at the Christians who murder abortion doctors, who blow up government buildings, who let their children die without medicine because they know their god will bring health, or the mothers who murder their children because god speaks to them. These are all CRAZY people. If they didn't have their religions then they would have other reasons they do the unspeakable things they do.

    September 5, 2011 at 12:53 am |
    • Free

      It just proves the old adage: All things in moderation.

      Problem is, conservatives think 'moderation' means the same thing as ' be liberal in your beliefs', so they resist self-restraint, especially when it comes to religion.

      September 5, 2011 at 12:36 pm |
  12. Romulo

    I don't like Muslims nor do I care for them... But you idiots you question your own government and stop believing the media!

    September 5, 2011 at 12:50 am |
    • dg

      I don't like I.d.iots but unfortunately the world is full of them, you being a perfect example. Questioning the govt or those in power has nothing to do with id.io.cy and believing the media or govt.s is for the gullible and those that can't think for themselves. It seems you are quite happy being lead around by your nose.

      September 5, 2011 at 1:23 am |
  13. Romulo

    First of all... For anyone who still doesn't know... 911 was a UNITED STATES PROJECT has nothing to do with Muslims... You idiots just believe what ever they tell you because you are too ignorant to ask questions!

    September 5, 2011 at 12:48 am |
    • Awkward Situations

      Your statement tells the me that you're stupid and gullible. Get back to working on those conspiracy theories. Precious time is being wasted.. you gotta follow up on those leads!

      September 5, 2011 at 1:23 am |
    • ahmed

      ,,,,it was a reason to go to Afgan. but first lets stop in iraq & end daddy Bush's old war with saddam and take the oil..and then finally go to afgan/pakistan to get other rich metals, oh... and opium sell it to china to pay our debt then finally getting osama... waste billions of tax payers dollars, dead soldiers, loved ones missing their families,and left a rich country in a resession...

      September 6, 2011 at 7:04 pm |
  14. Mr. Rogers

    The truth is that Islam is a cancer.

    September 4, 2011 at 11:56 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      The truth is that ALL religion is a cancer, but instead of ruining your lungs or prostate or liver, it ruins your brain.

      September 5, 2011 at 1:22 am |
  15. Reality

    Bottom line on the major religions in short form:

    • There probably was no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are non-existent.

    • There probably was no Moses i.e the pillars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.

    • There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.

    • There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion.

    • There was no Moroni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.

    • Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.

    • Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated Buddhas/Buddhists everywhere makes for a no on Buddhism.

    More details upon request or simply scroll back to p. 22.

    September 4, 2011 at 11:50 pm |
    • DanW

      Wow, you sure know a lot!

      September 5, 2011 at 12:46 am |
  16. Matthew Damon

    So what's the deal with all of these ni&&ers! I mean seriously.

    September 4, 2011 at 11:46 pm |
    • dg

      The best I can figure is your momma got together with one and thus you came into being.

      September 5, 2011 at 12:09 am |
    • dg

      I have to laugh at people that think that atheists and agnostics don't have morals or all morality is based on religion or christianitys ten commandments. The ten commandments don't appear to say anything about making people slaves, or treating women or minorities as equals... so these concepts came about from the evolution of human kind and thought. It is hard for many young people to undersdtand that only a hundred years ago it was ok to descriminates against those with different colored skin, different religions, women, etc. Which is one of the reasons hom.ose.xu.ality is becoming more acceptable... kids today are disavowing the prejudices of their parents. People today are more and more seeing how religion is used to control people... that for centuries it was intrinsically tied to govt and that now it should not. So many religions want to take us backwards and many of us don't want to go. They want to debunk science but then utilize all the things it has brought mankind. God didn't miraculously create smart phones or cars.. man did. Religion is a comfort for many so have I at it but don't legislate that ridculousness so that I can't enjoy my life to the fullest.

      September 5, 2011 at 1:18 am |
  17. Ielton

    After what has happened and the support from all musslums overseas and in this country It is plain to see that the worship of Islam is of the Anti-Christ and not that of God. So please leave this country.

    September 4, 2011 at 11:28 pm |
    • Matthew Damon

      Your mom just called you to come upstairs from your bedroom. She has finished sewing your KKK outfit.

      September 4, 2011 at 11:47 pm |
    • Awkward Situations

      I'm sure they're packing their bags right now since you asked so nicely.

      September 5, 2011 at 1:36 am |
    • esra

      I'm so proud of you Jen! I think because I am arnuod you so often I didn't really understand how much change you have accomplished, nor given you the credit you deserve. You Rock, and you will continue to rock and even rock harder as the years go bye, this much I'm sure of. Way to hold yourself accountable to the world! Here's to being more Strong and Beautiful (aka Strutiful)Love,anonymous ;-p

      June 29, 2012 at 12:30 am |
  18. FredF

    Absolutely, people are waking up to the fact that Islam is an insatiable monster that is set on converting the world to serve it's fake god allah...

    September 4, 2011 at 11:17 pm |
    • Curt

      That's what I've been saying for years. The same thing with Christianity and its fake god.

      September 4, 2011 at 11:23 pm |
    • Free

      Any population that is marshaled under a dictator, be it a human, or heavenly one, who is deemed beyond criticism, is a population without freedom.

      September 5, 2011 at 12:31 pm |
  19. uprisebobm1

    Let's think, everyone posting today have some sort of morals. Morals were made to civilize humans. It was to keep fellow people from killing or stealing from each other. We all were taught by parents, teachers, peers that it's not okay to hurt another person as a child. Many people forget that "10 Commandments" was core moral structure to maintain order. Otherwise, humans would still be uncivilized, like early ancestors. It seems religion came after to explain using stories and express those rules to children. Each religion has a core moral structure, in which even an Athiest has. Or all Athiests would be killing his neighbor for food. We don't see that happening. If you are a decent human being who feels humble and secure, morals keep you from getting out of line.

    As for religious belief or non-belief, why should you care what your fellow person does? Live your life how you want and don't mind what others are doing with their time. Believe in what you want, do how you do, respect others tangible and non tangible property, feel good to be existing in the first place, whether or not god put us here.

    September 4, 2011 at 11:17 pm |
    • alma1313

      You see the atheist have gotten their panties in a wad because their in a minority and they can't stand the majority talking about God. It hurts them in countless ways and they are on a mission now to silence the majority. Now they are not playing around. If you read earlier posts they are on a mission to wipe out religion of all kinds and are expecting success in near future. They want a sterilized world

      September 4, 2011 at 11:49 pm |
    • Fred1

      @alma: Here’s a little story about some of your good Christians trying to sterilize the world

      Nuns – brining gasoline
      On 22 April 1994, Séraphine Mukamana had hidden herself in a garage when militias attacked a convent in Sovu in southern Rwanda. "We sought refugee in the garage and closed and barricaded the doors. Outside a bloodbath is going on. Suddenly an orphan begins to weep as it gets to hot in the garage. At once, the killers approach the garage." As the refugees refuse to come out, the militia leader Emmanuel Rekeraho decides to burn them alive in the garage. "'The nuns are coming to help us. They are bringing gasoline,' I heard [Rekeraho] say. Looking through a hole that the militiamen meanwhile had made in the wall, I indeed saw Sister Gertrude and Sister Kisito. The latter was carrying a petrol can. Shortly upon that, the garage is set on fire." Testimony against two Catholic nuns, Sisters Gertrude and Maria Kisito in a Brussels court, May 2001.

      September 5, 2011 at 12:05 am |
    • alma1313

      Must have been atheist posing as nuns. Wolves in sheeps' clothing

      September 5, 2011 at 1:05 am |
    • dg

      Atheists would be the last people posing as nuns. Alma1313 is really off the deep end here and grasping at straws. Is this the best you can do in the way of coherent counter srhument?

      September 5, 2011 at 3:29 am |
    • Free

      alma1313
      I think that the actual 'majority' of Christians in this country hold much more moderate beliefs when averaged out than the very noisy, ultra-right wing minority who claim to be the only 'true' Christians in the world.

      September 5, 2011 at 12:26 pm |
  20. well

    Atheists have become as judgmental and as big a bunch of humorless a$$wipes as Jehovah's Witnesses.

    September 4, 2011 at 11:01 pm |
    • LinCA

      Not all Jehovah's Witnesses are humorless asswipes

      September 4, 2011 at 11:13 pm |
    • Jim

      'Humorless' as in not willing to humor people's fantasies any more? Well, yes! 😉

      September 4, 2011 at 11:44 pm |
    • well

      Jim. Point made.

      September 4, 2011 at 11:52 pm |
    • Real Deal

      @well,

      I see a generous serving of judgmentalism and a.sswipieness right there in your statement. Pot, meet kettle.

      September 4, 2011 at 11:56 pm |
    • dg

      Heh, atheists and agnostics are just sick of so many people being lead around their noses by religions based on ridiculous premises. As well as christians in this country proclivity to legislate their religious morality against other religions and those that don't believe in religion.

      If you want to believe in some kooky fine, but don't force the rest of us to live by laws based on such. Speration of church and state, and the freedom to practice whatever religion you like or not is what this country is based on... not on a judeachristian ethic like so many christians erroneously believe because some preacher or politician told them so. Quit following like sheep, which are some of the dumbest animals on the planet and which your bible tells you to do, otherwise it is the blind or manipulative leading the blind.

      September 5, 2011 at 3:37 am |
    • Jim

      dg
      Yes, but it's not just about Christians vs atheists. By enacting laws that only reflect their own religious beliefs, aren't religious conservatives actually denying more moderate believers the ability to practice their beliefs? I mean, if liberal churches have no problem with allowing practicing gays into their congregation and want to hold their marriage ceremonies like they would their straight couples, then aren't the movements against gay marriage just infringing on their religious freedom?

      September 5, 2011 at 12:22 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.