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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. Julie

    Very interesting article!! Love it

    December 4, 2011 at 12:47 pm |
  2. moda fashion

    whoah this blog is magnificent i like reading your articles. Stay up the great paintings! You recognize, lots of individuals are searching around for this info, you can aid them greatly.

    October 30, 2011 at 7:08 am |
  3. He_loves_me

    Christians beware!! Never should you be involved in any "interfaith" there is only ONE GOD and ONE FAITH our Lord The one and only Living God AND our savior Jesus Christ! Check out the forerunner777 on youtube. Be blessed in these very trying times and remember GOD will judge all one day, how will you stand?

    October 18, 2011 at 1:28 pm |
    • Can'ttaketheBS

      God, you're arrogant!

      November 5, 2011 at 8:05 pm |
    • Mitch

      http://www.youtube.com/user/NufffRespect#p/c/3CB1CD960E75FF17/18/9yTgbZSATTU

      Watch it dumbo and know what your so called christian brothers did to u

      November 29, 2011 at 1:26 pm |
  4. John

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

    October 18, 2011 at 10:33 am |
    • .....

      GARBAGE ALERT – click the report abuse link this garbage isn't worth viewing. TROLL ALERT AGAIN!

      October 18, 2011 at 10:33 am |
  5. AvdBerg

    For a better understanding of the history of Religion and Christianity and the Spirit it serves and what mankind must do to be able to understand the Word of God and what it means to be a Christian, we invite you to read the article ‘Can Christianity or Any Other Religion Save You? listed on our website http://www.aworlddeceived.ca

    Also, to give people a better understanding of the issues that divide your country and this world we have recently added the article ‘CNN Belief Blog ~ Sign of the Times’ to our listing of articles.

    It is unfortunate but nevertheless the truth that man(kind) in his natural state is unable to understand the Word of God, in fact he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned: meaning to be able to discern between darkness and light (1 Cor. 2:14,15, Acts 26:18). On our website we explain what mankind must do to be reunited with God. The Bible is true and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart (Hebrews 4:12).

    There is a natural body and a spiritual body (1 Cor. 15:44). The only element that separates the Natural body from the Spiritual body is the Baptism of Repentance (Mark 1:4). To repent means: to change spirits and to turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan, whose spirit mankind is of (Luke 9:55), unto God (Acts 26:18). This is not an interpretation.

    We depict the natural body and the spiritual body on top of every page on our website. The spiritual side represents the Tree of Life. A Tree signifies a person and the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil refers to a person that is able to discern (judge) between darkness and light (1 Cor. 2:15; Acts 26:18).

    Many people search the Bible for in them they think they have eternal life, but when we bring them the Scriptures they don’t believe us (John 5:38,39). Confused? There is no need to be confused any longer. For a better understanding of the mystery of God we invite you to read all the pages and articles of our website http://www.aworlddeceived.ca

    All of the other pages and articles listed on our website explain how this whole world has been deceived as confirmed by the Word of God in Revelation 12:9. The Bible is true in all things and is the discerner of every thought and the intent of the heart (Hebrews 5:12).

    So, before mankind will be able to understand the Word of God, mankind requires to be converted and transformed by God and only then mankind is able to understand the Bible, as it is God (John 1:1). Any kind of religion is a form of self-transformation and is like putting new wine into old bottles or like putting a new piece of old cloth into an old garment (Matthew 9:16,17; 2 Cor. 11:13-15).

    October 2, 2011 at 9:38 am |
    • He_loves_me

      AMEN!!!

      October 18, 2011 at 1:29 pm |
    • aldewacs

      I read your post but all I see is bla, bla, bla. Typical religious drivel, made to sound important. I guess that is what is required to impress some. It's no wonder dimmer people think they need to be 'converted' to understand the "word of God" if all they hear in church is this big-word double talk god-babble.

      Why is it that religious people think people need to be "saved" by a god? I think mankind would be much better off if we were saved FROM religious interference, man-made stories and fantasy books. There is no need to cloak everything in magic mumbo-jumbo, except to make some people think "there must be something to this since it all sounds so official". If people could just think critically for themselves, many of the world's ills would disappear.

      Be honest: why not just speak plain English? Afraid people might see through the nonsense?

      November 16, 2011 at 7:41 pm |
  6. md2205

    I do not find it offensive that a president said "G-d is on our side." Whenever people are killed unjustly, G-d is on their side. I think anyone can recognize that. Atheists just want people to never mention the word "G-d" and will be offended anytime the word is mentioned, no matter in what context. Remember that America was formed with the intent that people have freedom of religion. A president is allowed to mention G-d. He is just not allowed to say that any established religion has become the official religion of the government.

    October 2, 2011 at 2:09 am |
    • Bruder

      If you're ok with the president using the word to justify feelings about war, then why are you so afraid to type it out yourself?

      October 2, 2011 at 11:00 am |
    • aldewacs

      Until there is freedom FROM religion, there can't be true freedom OF religion. As long as religion is the foundation upon which some want to govern (manipulate) the population, we're in for "bad weather".
      Private faith is fine. Shoving beliefs down others' throats, directly or indirectly, is wrong. Indoctrinating innocent children in the Koran, Bible, etc is a form of child abuse. Let thinking adults make their own informed choices.

      Organized religions, all of them, are a recipe for abuse and disaster. When George HW Bush said that "Atheists should not be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots" he lifted the veil on organized religions' desires to wipe out FIRST non-believers, and NEXT other-believers, using the US government as their platform. The comment has been played down, but it was captured on tape and it lives on in the Internet. Repugnant.

      November 16, 2011 at 11:54 am |
  7. md2205

    Being chosen and being humble are and never were mutually exclusive. Jews' chosenness came from G-d. Simply, He chose the Jews to teach the rest of the world how to create a just, peaceful society. The people living thousands of years ago were murderers, cannibals, very free in their intimate lives, and idol worshippers, meaning that they thought that stone and wood created the world and had spiritual power over people. Because that is insulting to the stature of man's intellect, and to G-d Himself, G-d didn't want people to think that way and gave Seven Laws for all mankind to practice and live by: To believe in One G-d, not to blaspheme or blame Him, not to murder, not to steal or kidnap, not to do adultery, not to eat the limb of a living animal, and to set up effective courts of justice. The responsibility to raise awareness of these laws was the Jews'. That is what being chosen meant. The Jews were humble as a nation and as individuals while living up to G-d's request of them. For too many years, non-Jews would not allow Jews to teach them these laws without killing them, so the knowledge of these laws as religion has dwindled. But now Jews are not killed for teaching these laws.

    October 2, 2011 at 2:05 am |
  8. Iqdal Khan

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0sGmsjq1UvU&w=640&h=390]

    October 1, 2011 at 5:54 pm |
  9. kasnudl

    The staggering thing about the Islam discussion in media and politics is the total denial of reality. The fact is that after 9-11 Bin Laden was probably the most popular person in the Islamic world (for example 59 % approval rating in the most populated and “moderate” Muslim country Indonesia in 2003, according to Pew Research).

    Of course there are many peaceful Muslims but most of them actually have very little knowledge about their religion, many of them have never read the Quran. If you actually read the Quran (or the Hadith) you will find dozens of verses commanding explicitly violence against “infidels”.
    America and the West won´t win the war against Islamic terror as long as we pretend that Islamic terror has nothing to do with Islam...the ideology of the 7 th century Arabic peninsula is not a religion of peace and tolerance and in fact Islam is a even much greater problem for the Muslims in Islamic countries than for us in the West, because Islam is not compatbible with human rights or any progress in human civilization..I hope America wakes up, greetings from Austria austroamericanfriendship.wordpress.com

    September 24, 2011 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse | Reply

    October 1, 2011 at 4:15 pm |
  10. Scrollman

    This is the scenario I used to bring my novel The Fallujah Scrolls to fruition. If anyone here would like a free e-book, send a request to scrolls2010@hotmail.com. I will honor up to 15 requests. I would appreciate feedback after you have read it.

    October 1, 2011 at 1:26 pm |
  11. william adamsen

    I believe in London saying that we must show up our colors,we are now seeing deportations of persona non gratas from all over the world including U.S.A.We may be building more jails in death valley and in Siberia for more people are not afraid of going to jails in their own cities or countries .Best we have done is jailing people not in their own countries, after 911 attacks and now we are realising the benefits.

    October 1, 2011 at 12:32 am |
  12. shshsh walk softly

    ANY religion that doesn't promote peace within this world & with others is WRONG. We should ALL treat each other as brothers & sisters. DO NOT kill in the name of your religion or kill at all. You're on the wrong path if you do this, ultimately, you are destroying yourself.

    September 30, 2011 at 3:07 am |
    • American Muslim

      Please tell the American Military that is mostly Christian to stop being violent. Thank You.

      September 30, 2011 at 1:39 pm |
    • jonathan

      @ American Muslim...sorry but the American military is taught violence first...that's what they are for...and it used to be a policy as a last resort..but 9/11 changed all that..Remember when President Bush gave Saddam 6 whole months to get out of Kuwait?
      and when the bombing campaign began he still waited before committing ground forces..Then Look as his son's reaction to 9/11.. personal attacks on US territory is different.. Now you want em to hold back....I personally see no reason to attack Saddam the second time, but them 9/11 blinded a lot of people...
      it is the armies duty though to be as violent as possible ..or necessary to achieve the ultimate goal.. in no uncertain terms to destroy the enemy that's job 1 . 🙂
      on the other hand it is the duty of every believer in Christ to lay down his life for the brethern, as Jesus did for us all.

      October 1, 2011 at 1:34 pm |
    • RossTrex

      American Muslim – The US Army, Navy, Marines and Air Force....... IS NOT CHRISTIAN... If you really were American you would know that.

      October 1, 2011 at 6:46 pm |
  13. gamey

    One must believe Islam to be evil after seeing all the DEATH it causes around the world. Striking out so arrogantly is a sure sign of fear and iignorance.

    September 30, 2011 at 2:26 am |
    • jonathan

      yeah they learned that from "Christian Europe".. look at it's history of bloodshed.. it took a WW2 to wake them up to their past ... now they're as liberal as Jesus almost ... 🙂 🙂 🙂

      October 1, 2011 at 1:36 pm |
  14. factspeaks

    A person who believes in religion for warmongering is stupid, and a stupid person never change, because they have no brain. But those who believes in religious to comfort themselves in difficult time, to watch their feet not let walk on the path of revenge, but to leave in peace, their religion is not divisible between Christianity, or Muslim, or into anything; it adds up, unite, includes all into one name of humanity God, and nothing will ever affect such religious person. I just don't understand how people kill people for century ago written by some philosopher of some track mind! Why can't we just kindness and care from each religion and forget the whole other trouble tale?

    September 29, 2011 at 7:13 pm |
    • jonathan

      Jesus said , the thief comes not but to destroy steal and kill.. 🙂
      it is the nature of man to walk in such a path..Satan..... who is denied by most people is behind all violence.. He inspire muhammad..my saying that is war or violence to a Muslim..because most Muslims REQUIRE more respect for his prophet , that what Jesus expects of his enemies..and we in Christ expect to be hated for Jesus' righteousness sake..and happy are we when we are persecuted for his righteousness sake..Those who are not happy with it are in the error of the devil.. 🙂

      October 1, 2011 at 1:43 pm |
  15. factspeaks

    It changed America into stupidity, leaders into warmongers,fearmongers. America lost moral standard, respect for the world; It is losing its status for revenge by spending treasure on fear than real threat olf this country, that is financial disaster; they are doing our worst enemies a great favor; our leaders speak like mean folks on the street, by name calling other leaders, their focus on rebuilding America has disappeared, and war and occupation on other's nations became so easy; destroying and rebuilding other nations has became our leader's priority than solving problems of our nation. And thus in many ways 9/11 has change our country forever.

    September 29, 2011 at 6:45 pm |
    • jonathan

      What you say is true.. 🙂
      But the end is not yet !!

      The gospel has not yet been preached. 🙂
      The truth is our Christianity which was a false image, to begin with has been exposed.. We are divided by our differences .. 🙂 which was always the case.. 🙂 For many of us the foundation in Christ was in fact exposed as not being in him...
      This was perpetrated by the false idea that our country was or is Christian.. It was never meant to be..The first amendment is the law against that. It gaurenteed us the right to be what we wanna be religiously, as individuals and groups but not through the law.. American have just spent 30 some years trying to force their beliefs in public through the law. 😦
      rather than being what they really believe in their hearts , because they wanted to see the image of Christianity as an outward show rather than the truth in our hearts...The TRUTH is in the bible.. a little here and a little there.. 🙂

      October 1, 2011 at 1:55 pm |
  16. Jon

    'The term "American" even reflects a certain arrogance. It casually discounts millions of people living in Central and Latin America.'

    This part of the article reflects a certain arrogance. It casually discounts millions of people living in the rest of North America.

    September 28, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
    • jonathan

      It is not intentional.... it's just easier to say rather than United Statesian 🙂 🙂 🙂

      the whole idea behind American making every thing shorter...and faster and easier & better..
      no brag just fact... 🙂

      in some way we represent almost if not every , every nation on the Earth... we are specifically and especially special in that way..in comparison to every other nation..we were designed that way... if you look at a map of the World you should see an image of Spain and Portugal bearing the image of a woman looking west.... coincidence? naw 🙂 that's Isabella ...

      This is the place where every nation will meet and Christianity will correct itself for the coming of the Lord... 🙂

      October 1, 2011 at 2:02 pm |
  17. ben

    arbitrary being the key word in this article. religion depends on location = arbitrary. anyone with half a brain who understands if something is arbitrary is going to be an atheist unless they are so brainwashed that they are no longer capable of forming their own thoughts = 80 % of society (conservative estimate)

    September 28, 2011 at 1:35 pm |
    • jonathan

      I know I let Jesus form my own thoughts for me.. 🙂 I mean I know without a doubt that I am incapable of forming my own thoughts for myself...
      as it is written, " Let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous his thoughts, for as the heavens are higher than the earth even so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than you thoughts...in short he says, his words will accomplish what he pleases and prosper in the thing (that's me 🙂 ) that he sends it to... 🙂 🙂 🙂 ....

      October 1, 2011 at 2:10 pm |
  18. steven m

    is there a way to cite this page?

    September 27, 2011 at 3:22 pm |
  19. oneone

    How many gods are there to believe in?

    God has angles, Satan has demons.

    My god and religion are real and true.

    YOUR religion is just a pile of bull poo.

    They say there’s only ONE god to believe in.

    If you don’t believe, it’s the ultimate sin.

    No more Zeus, Odin, or Thor, MY hero.

    We’re just one god away from the true number…. ZERO.

    September 23, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
    • Matt

      I am a Jesus-guy myself, but I haven't let that ever stop me from forming bonds with others. My closests friends are atheist, agnostic, Christian, Jesus-people, Jewish, and Muslim. The fact is, I get along great with all of them and I have had very open and honest conversation with them on religion.

      The truth is, that no matter your personal views/beliefs/facts (as many people have their own "facts") you must respect the other person's views/beliefs/facts for what they are, even if you don't see it that way. After all, relgion isn't all about "how the world started", "who said what", and "what miracle was performed when"... they all have a certain credibility that isbased upon human morality and ethics. Even enlightened atheists can agree with this as my atheist and agnostic friends often have agreed with certain tenants of my own faith. Where conflict comes in, is when I state items as fact, that are not necessarily fact from their view point...and vice versa.

      It takes an evolved sense of humility on both ends of the conversation to admit that you don't agree with someone else's viewpoint, but you don't necessarily "disagree" with them. So as long as I don't tell my atheist friends they are going to "burn in hell" because they don't believe in the "fact" that Christ died for them, and they don't tell me the "fact" that Christianity has killed more people than any other religion, or the "fact" that God doesn't exist. We can have pretty open conversations.

      I suppose this will fly over some of the more emotionally charged readers on this blog which is sad because those are really the only individuals who need to read this. For everyone else, this is just common sense.

      I wish peace, joy, and sanity upon you all!

      September 30, 2011 at 4:30 pm |
    • Credenza

      True, Europe was pretty bloody but it was spread out over more than a thousand years

      Considering the USA has only been around for a couple of hundred years, you've not only caught up with – but overtaken Europe for murder on a massive scale. You must have learnt that by practising genocide on the Native American people, yes? Now you're at it everywhere.

      October 2, 2011 at 12:14 am |
  20. Mike Reidy

    READ: THIS IS ISLAM, THE SO CALLED "RELIGION OF PEACE":

    September 23, 2011 at 11:15 am |
    • American Muslim

      Read the Holy Quran and don't be a mindless, brainless, sheeple. WAKE UP!!!!

      September 30, 2011 at 1:41 pm |
    • jonathan

      @ American Muslim, all Mike has to do is visit a Muslim nation to get a real idea... 🙂 take Muratainia for example where a muslim who converts to Christianity will be killed ....executed if he does not return to Islam.
      The same in Saudi Arabia.... in Pakistan they want to put an 8th grader and his whole family to death for misspelling a word in school...which must have meant blasphemy ... that's the Islam Mike is talking about....
      There have been C(K)hristian extremes but not to that extreme... 🙂 🙂

      October 1, 2011 at 2:18 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.