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Patriotism and the 'God gap'
Surveys suggest a 'God gap' in views on American patriotism.
September 28th, 2011
07:19 PM ET

Patriotism and the 'God gap'

By Dave Schechter, CNN

(CNN)– “And may God bless the United States of America” is a popular closing line in speeches by presidents and presidential hopefuls.

Does a higher power, if one exists, “shed his grace on thee,” as the lyrics of “America the Beautiful” proclaim?

And if so, does this make the United States of America the greatest country in the world?

Christianity Today crunched data from a Pew Research Center poll that asked more than 1,500 Americans for their views of the United States.

“Nearly all Americans think they live in the best country on Earth. While a majority of Americans believe there are other countries just as great, nine in 10 say no nation is better. Within this high view of America, there are differences between different religious groups,” the magazine noted.

To this end, Christianity Today suggested the existence of a “patriotism God-gap in America.”

Among those surveyed, evangelicals were the most likely to think the United States is No. 1.

“Other Christian traditions were less enthusiastic about America's position in the world, but they still saw the U.S. as one of the best on the planet. About 40% of other Christians said the U.S. stands alone as the greatest country; around 55% said it and some other countries were equally great. As with evangelicals, only a few said there were greater countries in the world.”

“Those with no religion, however,” hold a much less favorable view, according to the magazine.

"Only one in five of those without religious beliefs said the U.S. is the best country in the world, an equal percentage agreeing that 'there are other countries that are better than the U.S.' ”

Not everyone is enamored with equating religious conviction and patriotism. Consider these excerpts from the comments that followed the Christianity Today article:

“To call yourself a Christian evangelical and still think that America is the greatest is ironic to say the least. God is not about country. God is about love and everyone is equal in his eyes, including the rest of the world.”

“What's really sad is the widespread perception among evangelicals that there is some kind of link between America's standing and the work and purpose and success of God's kingdom. There is not. Two words: wrong kingdom. I repeat: wrong kingdom. It matters not a whit what America's status in the world is. The kingdom of Jesus Christ does not depend on this in any way and will continue regardless.”

“When our astronauts look down at the Earth it doesn't look like a classroom globe with lines on it. All of those lines are drawn in the minds of human beings. I am grateful to be an American. But sometimes I think that some elements of conservative Christianity really see their religion as patriotism, their scripture the Constitution and God their servant to gain their personal aims. This whole Earth is the object of God's love and concern. And to claim that any one nation in today’s world is more favored than another may be promoting a Christian heresy.”

Flying the flag is among the easiest ways to display patriotism. Is it also an expression of religion?

In an article titled “Flag Desecration, Religion and Patriotism,” Temple University associate law professor Muriel Morisey suggested that for proponents of a constitutional amendment, “the American flag is the equivalent of a sacred religious icon, comparable to Christianity’s crucifix, Judaism’s Torah and the Quran of Islam. No court has designated patriotism as a religion for Establishment Clause purposes, but in every other significant respect it operates as a religion in American culture. Regardless of the religious beliefs we profess, we simultaneously practice patriotism.”

That said, a “God gap” may exist in the flying of Old Glory as well.

A Pew poll taken March 30-April 3 suggested that 78% of religious people display the flag on their clothing, in the office or at home, while 58% of nonreligious do likewise.

Evangelicals were the most likely to say they displayed the flag; those Americans unaffiliated with religion the least likely.

As to the religious identity of the nation, 62% said the United States is a “Christian nation” in a survey of 1,000 adults done a couple of years ago for Newsweek, while 75% of Americans call themselves Christian, according to the American Religious Identification Survey also done in 2009.

And earlier this year, writing for the CNN Belief Blog, Boston University religion scholar Stephen Prothero analyzed the religious affiliations of those elected to serve in the 112th Congress and concluded: “Is this a Christian nation? No way, says the Constitution. But U.S. voters are telling us something else altogether.”

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Church and state • Courts

soundoff (2,100 Responses)
  1. SammyZ

    Joey Naylor: Dad, why is the American government the best government?
    Nick Naylor: Because of our endless appeals system.

    "Thank you for Smoking" had it right. Asking Which is the best country is a crap question. How do you define "best?" Your definition and mine will always be different.

    September 28, 2011 at 9:38 pm |
    • Greg

      Awesome quote. Awesome film.

      September 28, 2011 at 10:47 pm |
  2. David Johnson

    From the article:
    Boston University religion scholar Stephen Prothero an_alyzed the religious affiliations of those elected to serve in the 112th Congress and concluded: “Is this a Christian nation? No way, says the Const_itution. But U.S. voters are telling us something else altogether.”

    The Evangelicals would change the Const_itution to declare this country to be a Christian Nation.
    They want a Theocracy, with their make believe demigod as the leader. But, this demigod has been dead for 2000 years and counting. If, He ever actually existed. Only the insane Christian Right will be able to hear Him.

    The true leaders would be the Religious Right. People like Bachmann and Perry...

    A little bit of throw up just came up in my throat, as I contemplated Evangelical rule.

    The Evangelicals are not content to live side by side. They are intent on ruling. We must stop them.

    We need to fight this, with all our might! Our country must remain a secular nation. Vote for the Dems in 2012.

    The Christian god is very unlikely to exist. It would be like calling our nation, a nation of fairies.

    Cheers!

    September 28, 2011 at 9:37 pm |
  3. ItSOnLyME

    What in the heck does religion have to do with patriotism? About as much as beer has to do with football (that is: nothing). This is what's distressing about America in 2011. America is only the greatest country on earth because we (some of us) say it is. Ask anybody else on the planet and you'll probably get a much different view. America is a great place, don't get me wrong. But who cares if it's "the greatest"? Is there a contest? Is there a committee of judges? Having the biggest stick doesn't make you the greatest, just the one who paid the most money (that you didn't have) to buy the big stick.

    September 28, 2011 at 9:37 pm |
    • Greg

      Well said.

      September 28, 2011 at 10:48 pm |
  4. USA#1

    I love how people say the US is neither the most free or most developed or whatever, without giving examples, or references to concrete data. These are the same folks who want us to take their word on it as they try to discredit someone else's opinion by claiming they have the facts . Forums like this are useless and a waste. You cannot disprove opinion, only use persuasion to try and change it. I think U.S. is the best country on the planet, maybe because i live here, maybe because I work here and try to make my community better, because my friends are here, my family, and most of the things I love.

    To all those who run down the country they live in, I hope you are doing something about it. To those who love this country, I hope we are doing things to keep it that way.

    September 28, 2011 at 9:36 pm |
    • ItSOnLyME

      If this forum is so worthless, why did you post? Just because I happen to think differently from you, does that make my opinion less valuable than yours? If the answer is yes, then you're the problem in America. And I *am* working to try to make that better by being open minded, inclusive, and compassionate. None of which I can say (sadly) for a large portion of the population.

      September 28, 2011 at 9:39 pm |
    • The Dude

      I am trying to do my part. I have lead 3 people away from Christianity. I will keep trying to save as many as possible.

      September 28, 2011 at 9:41 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @The Dude

      You said: "I am trying to do my part. I have lead 3 people away from Christianity. I will keep trying to save as many as possible."

      You sir, are a true patriot! I salute you.

      September 28, 2011 at 9:54 pm |
  5. Brandon

    Maybe religious people are more Nationalistic than nonreligious people, because religious people tend to believe everything authority figures tell them. That is why Christian Rock sucks. Rock is supposed to be about rebelling against authority, and these "rockers" are praising their "God"...The biggest authority figure of them all!

    September 28, 2011 at 9:32 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Brandon

      Yes! Here’s a quote from the Roman philosopher Seneca the Younger (5 BCE – 65 CE):
      "Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful."

      The Evangelicals (Religious Right) would rule.

      Cheers!

      September 28, 2011 at 9:56 pm |
  6. The Dude

    If America was the greatest there would be no debate going on .

    September 28, 2011 at 9:30 pm |
    • msadr

      Nah.. America is great because we CAN debate without getting arrested.

      October 8, 2011 at 10:24 pm |
  7. Michael

    Patriotism, which is a debated philosophical term, is defined by Stephen Nathanson as involving:

    1) Special affection for one's own country.
    2) A sense of personal identification with the country.
    3) Special concern for the well-being of the country.
    4) Willingness to sacrifice to promote the country's good.

    None of these is equivalent to the definition of patriotism as proposed in this research; namely an individual identifying his or her country as the greatest country on earth. A person can easily identify with their country, love their country, be worried about their countries future and willing to invest in it to ensure that future without ever making the statement that their country is somehow the greatest country on earth. I know that I certainly fall into such a category.

    What the research presented here studied was NOT a religious correlation to patriotism....it was a religious correlation with Nationalism..

    September 28, 2011 at 9:28 pm |
    • Ryan

      I completely agree.

      I think Montaigne said it best that "assertion and dogmatism are positive signs of stupidity".

      September 28, 2011 at 9:33 pm |
    • Messymarsy

      This is the best response of the whole lot. Patriotism is so much more and so much less than the rah rah version pushed by the Evangelicals. it is an affection for a country with duty and sacrifice. It is not necessary to deride other countries to love your own. that is like saying I have the only good husband in the world.

      December 4, 2011 at 5:37 am |
  8. John Zee

    Nothing scare the world more than obsessive Nationalism. Look at this article. Trying to equate the American flag as a religious symbol/icon? That's treading on the most dangerous of ground. The sort of thing that is more fitting of a fascist society where they have large patriotic gatherings visible displaying their flags and national symbols and proclaiming themselves greater than any other nation of the world.

    This nationalistic righteousness leads to the conquering of other nations solely on the basis of them obviously being inferior to your country's greatness. They are wrong, their plan is wrong, and by conquering them we would be saving them from their own inferiority.

    And if a group of individuals, race, or nationality is demonized by that righteously nationalistic country it can quickly lead to MILLIONS of innocents being killed or at the very last their lives and the lives of their families utterly ruined.

    So in our arrogance, our nationalistic arrogance we can look at Nazi Germany and their nationalism that directly led to the annihilation of multiple MILLIONS of lives and instantly and immediately condemn all of them as being obvious very tangible evil...

    ...Yet we are just as blind as they were. Blinded by our righteous/almost religious nationalism that sees absolutely nothing wrong with killing at least a MILLION innocent foreigners in the Middle East who did absolutely nothing against us besides being in the way of our seeking vengeance against a handful of individuals. Individuals who managed to prove that as a country we weren't untouchable, and not completely invulnerable to the most common of dangers of living in the present day world, a powerful blow to the collective consciousness of America that primarily injured nationalistic pride.

    And now over a decade later there are still plenty of Americans that constantly cry out for MORE and MORE and MORE blood in righteous retribution.

    Whatever this bloodlust is evidence of, it is certainly not of being the most godly or Christian of countries. And I would hazard to say that man that taught the lessons about "He who is without sin being able to cast the first stone (Meaning NO ONE is without sin.)" and "Turn the other cheek" would do anything but weep at what we have wrought because of nothing more than too much nationalistic pride.

    September 28, 2011 at 9:28 pm |
  9. krehator

    GOP Patriotism = Karl Rove

    September 28, 2011 at 9:26 pm |
  10. SciGuy

    Contrary to widespread teaching by evangelical churches today, God does not love all men equally. But he most certainly does have a favored nation, one that he loves exclusively and fully, the one for which his son experienced the Father's wrath and judgment. That nation is the Israel of God, not the nation Israel, far from it, but the nation made up of peoples from all nations, those who have fled to the lamb of God for mercy, those who trust in him only and fully for their deliverance from the wrath to come. It is the nation known as the church, the elect of God, those whom he chose before the world began, those for whom the Lamb of God slain before the foundation of the world laid down his life.

    September 28, 2011 at 9:26 pm |
    • ItSOnLyME

      Wow... you're scary. I grew up in the Lutheran church, and I sure never learned that in Sunday school class. Am I one of the people god hates? How about you? How about gays? How about Muslims? How about aborigine hill tribes who have never heard of this Jesus character?

      Frightening... Please don't vote, okay?

      September 28, 2011 at 9:41 pm |
    • SciGuy

      What is truly frightening (or, ought to be but won't be to most) is that one could grow up in Lutheran SS and be ignorant of the biblical truths contained in my post. Read John 3 where Jesus states that God's wrath abides upon all those who do not believe in the Son of God. Read John 17 where Jesus prays for the ones he loves which were his disciples and all those who would ever trust in him. If the Lutheran church is not openly teaching these fundamental truths of the Gospel, why would any true follower of Jesus want to be associated with them?

      September 28, 2011 at 9:52 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      SciGuy=crazed zealot

      September 28, 2011 at 10:03 pm |
    • SciGuy

      TomTom, the use of ad hominem speaks poorly of you.

      September 28, 2011 at 10:14 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Bite me, you sanctimonious azz.

      September 28, 2011 at 10:26 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Then, when you finish, do it again, for penitence.

      You're nothing but a self-congratulatory jerk, Sci.

      September 28, 2011 at 10:28 pm |
    • John Richardson

      @SciGuy Does righteous self-absorption come naturally to you or did you have to learn it?

      September 28, 2011 at 10:50 pm |
    • SciGuy

      Poor Tom, his only tool's the hammer.

      We wait with bated breath your next finely-honed ad hom.

      Maybe you're out of your element on BeliefBlog. It seems when it comes to debate here, you don't have a prayer.

      September 28, 2011 at 10:51 pm |
    • SciGuy

      JR, Hello! Have you stopped beating your wife?

      September 28, 2011 at 10:53 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Do tell, Sci. Apparently, I have your attention. What's that say about you?

      September 28, 2011 at 11:10 pm |
    • John Richardson

      @SciGuy Ah, such wit! But whereas your question is a hackneyed example of presupposition failure, your posts on being amongst god's favored ooze of righteous self-absorption.

      September 28, 2011 at 11:21 pm |
  11. Brandon

    I doubt the "best country on Earth" would elect the magnificent George Bush to presidency twice. On second thought, maybe it shows how powerful we really are? We elected one of the most moronic politicians to ever grace this Earth in the most powerful position on Earth, and we only had the biggest recession in America in the past 70 years.

    September 28, 2011 at 9:25 pm |
  12. Ryan

    Maybe the fact I don't think we're "number 1" has less to do with me being an Atheist and more to do with it being an entirely inane thing to think or argue about to begin with. It's like "worlds greatest dad".

    September 28, 2011 at 9:25 pm |
    • Brandon

      My dad has a bigger Dick than your dad!

      September 28, 2011 at 9:26 pm |
  13. hippypoet

    THIS MORON DOESN'T WANT YOU THE US CITIZEN TO HAVE RIGHTS!

    I'M PROOF, HIS POST-
    Maus

    WE HAVE THE POWER

    Lol, keep your leftover political slogans to yourself.

    September 28, 2011 at 9:25 pm |
  14. Matt

    Claiming that one nation is better than another at all times, regardless of the religious state of its people, would be wrong. Ever since Moses led the children of Israel out of Egypt, Israel has been a chosen nation. However, God has made clear to them that this will only be the case while they remember him and keep his commandments. As can be seen in the Bible, Israel often forgot this and was often reminded.

    America has the promise from God. As long as its citizen remember his, it will be a chosen nation above all others. But if we do not live worthy of the blessing of such a land, we will no long inhabit it and it will be given to another.

    September 28, 2011 at 9:24 pm |
    • PR

      When exactly did god make that promise to America and who did he make it to?

      September 29, 2011 at 11:15 am |
  15. Edwin

    The real issue is this: what does "greatest" mean? Those without the absolute moral compass that religion creates may find the question more difficult to answer. Atheists are generally good, decent people, but they are more prone to wonder what is right and what is wrong than people whose answer to those questions comes from a specific book.

    Without a good absolute definition of best, the question is problematic (to say the least). This is probably also why "patriotic" feelings are associated with religion, too - absolute belief in one's country requires the acceptance that absolute belief in something is valuable.

    September 28, 2011 at 9:22 pm |
  16. Doug

    Evangelicals are also most likely to believe that snakes talk, people rise from the dead, and an invisible sky wizard lives up in the sky that watches your every move.

    So the delusion that we're number one at anything (except maybe destroying economies and wasting money) makes sense.

    September 28, 2011 at 9:21 pm |
    • Edwin

      Not true. The only person I know who thinks snakes talk is a bona fide schizophrenic

      Belief in God is no more ludicrous than a naive belief that the Laws of Physics do not change from minute to minute. Both seem to be supported by directly measurable evidence of the types most recognized by its believers, and neither is provable. Both must ultimately be accepted without proof.

      September 28, 2011 at 9:25 pm |
    • Eric

      Edwin, you can't be serious.

      September 28, 2011 at 9:28 pm |
    • Randolph Carter

      Doug, Why don't you go test the theory of gravity by jumping out a window. I'll bet you half a peach it works just the same as when it was first postulated.

      September 28, 2011 at 9:29 pm |
    • Randolph Carter

      Oops! I meant Edwin. Sorry, doug. Now who's the idiot? Randolph Carter.

      September 28, 2011 at 9:32 pm |
    • Eric

      Though I suppose one could say that in the end even accepting the truth of the laws of physics is a leap of faith I tend to place my faith in something that has a couple hundred years of experimentation, peer review, more experimentation, more peer review, more experimentation..... than in something that has absolutely no experimentation or study of any kind to support it's claims.

      September 28, 2011 at 9:33 pm |
    • Steve

      Edwin, do me a favor. Take a few physics classes before you make such an uninformed comment. The laws of physics are laws because they do not change. The speed of light, in this universe, is a constant. This is fact. All religions, monotheistic and polytheistic have little to no proof to back them up. It is the difference between faith and fact. There is nothing wrong with believing in a higher power, as long as you don't let it interfere with the knowledge that science is fact and not immutable just because it flies in the face of your faith. Maybe it's time to reassess your faith, not the science.

      September 28, 2011 at 9:33 pm |
    • yep

      please keep bashing religion. we all love to hear about your intolerance and hatred.

      September 28, 2011 at 9:36 pm |
    • Randolph Carter

      "Science flies you to the moon. Religion flies you into the World Trade Center."
      -Some person on the interwebs

      September 28, 2011 at 9:36 pm |
    • yep

      those that are "aggressive atheists" are making the evangelical mistake of the 70s and 80s. You're going to find a few decades down the road that you will lose your audience with your bigotry and fundamentalism.

      Why would I want to be an atheist if all they do is hate on people?

      September 28, 2011 at 9:39 pm |
    • Randolph Carter

      We don't hate on people in general. Just people who tell us we'd better live our lives a certain way or face eternal damnation. Those people deserve nothing but contempt and scorn.

      September 28, 2011 at 9:42 pm |
    • Max

      I really don't understand how you can be a person of faith. I used to be a "christian". Now i thank god i am an Atheist.

      September 28, 2011 at 9:49 pm |
    • sharoom

      And just want to point out, gravity and the laws of physics are constantly tested whereas there is no test for the existence of God. You can't really equate the two in terms of a belief or faith. In terms of acceptance, gravity holds more weight.

      September 28, 2011 at 9:51 pm |
    • yep

      unfortunately, my point still stands randolph.

      Like it or not, most people you will meet are in the middle: believing that some God exists, not sure of what to think, looking for something to believe in, or trying to find answers.

      I think Christians have learned from their mistakes. We are trying to share our beliefs compassionately, carefully, logically and lovingly, like Jesus.

      But when your leaders are the likes of dawkins and hitchens, you will alienate your hearers. And when atheists begin to make public moral failings (which will happen eventually because we all are not perfect), people will say the same about atheists too being nasty and morally backwards.

      I think your problems are just beginning.

      September 28, 2011 at 9:52 pm |
    • Eric

      yep, no one here seems to be hating. I for one think I am more loving than your typical Christian. Atheists love their kids, they volunteer, they work hard, they fight to defend their country as needed, they are law abiding citizens. They are not evil, Satanic or hateful. They are just people, people who base their beliefs on knowledge.

      September 28, 2011 at 9:54 pm |
    • yep

      I def dont have a prob with that Eric.

      My only question then is why atheists insist on bashing religion. On an article that doesnt even speak about such things. I've looked at atheists articles on cnn and elsewhere and dont feel my fingers tingle. Whats the difference between these people and the door to door Jehovah's Witnesses?

      I've heard your arguments hundreds of times and have logical and thought out counterarguments of my own and am sticking to them, and if called upon, willing to speak on them graciously. Now can we all just love our kids, volunteer, and serve the military now?

      September 28, 2011 at 10:01 pm |
    • Eric

      I agree to a point with yep, in that it is usually best to take the moral high road in any discussion or debate. However, when dealing with the likes of Pat Robertson, Benny Hinn and the like, it is difficult to refrain from treating them like the total morons that they are. These are evil, hate filled people who, unfortunately, have a following. It is very difficult to be civil when confronted with their brand of willful ignorance, bigotry, and cruelty.

      September 28, 2011 at 10:03 pm |
    • Eric

      I will end my involvement here by saying that if more Christians were gracious and thoughtful they might find more atheists acting in the same manner. There are jerks on both sides of the discussion and it does nothing to further the search for truth.

      September 28, 2011 at 10:08 pm |
    • sharoom

      Many nonbelievers take issue with organized religions because they are empiricists at heart. In their minds it's hard to reconcile that any religion is correct when there are so many people who fervently believe their own version is true. Take for example the three most followed monotheistic religions today (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam in order of founding). Each has a devoted following, but if one group holds truth, which one is it? If you were raised in any particular one, you are probably connected to that one and believe it to be true. But step back and view all three believers and you will see three people who each believes he is right.

      Perhaps you could try and decide by looking at the teachings and legacies that each religion has left us. Deciding by scripture is tough, because each religion describes some sort of terrible judgement or feelings of great shame for nonbelievers in the afterlife, something that an empiricist cannot test and experience until they are, well, dead. What about morality? Which one seems the most "good?" You can find moral teachings in each of them, but history shows that each religion has its own share of violence, persecution, and spite committed with divine authority. The past extremism in Christianity and the current extremism in Islam are the most notable in my mind. But more importantly, each religion also contains many believers who can be described as having high integrity, humility, and empathy. If you have a hard time accepting that, meet some of them first hand. Just go out and try to find them, it's really not that hard. You probably never hear about them because they don't tend to be very vocal. You'll find they range all over the belief spectrum, from religious to atheistic. Good and evil are not solely dictated by any particular religion nor is goodness only brought upon from faith in the divine. From an empiricist's point of view, all three organized religions have flaws and cannot hold a monopoly on truth or morality.

      Finally, not all empiricists are atheists. On the issue of the existence God, some are atheistic because they cannot accept something they cannot directly test. Others are agnostic because they acknowledge that no conclusions can be drawn from absence of evidence.

      September 28, 2011 at 11:44 pm |
    • Nik

      This, is the best thing i've ever heard...

      September 29, 2011 at 9:25 am |
  17. Eric

    Absolutely. America, though far from the worst country on Earth is certainly neither the most free or the most developed. It's time people quit spouting patriotic gibberish, got the facts and then worked to actually make this country what they have been claiming, erroneously, that it is.

    September 28, 2011 at 9:19 pm |
  18. Bob

    As someone who has lived in both Canada and the USA, I can assure you that the USA is not the best country for it's citizens. Canada provides more opportunities and greater freedom (all things considered). Canada has lower tax rates, better public education (necessary for raising good entrepreneurs), and universal health care. The life of the middle class is much better in Canada than the USA and Canada has more opportunities for immigrants (and more acceptance of them as well). The shopping is better in the USA, but that is changing as the Canadian dollar continues to grow vs the USA dollar. This is happening because Canada actually regulates its financial and housing sector. All in all, its not even close.

    September 28, 2011 at 9:18 pm |
    • Alex

      Canada is great but I would like to see the same standard of living if Canada had the US population

      September 28, 2011 at 9:23 pm |
    • USA#1

      yeah, probably because you couldn't get on welfare in the US and you could in Canada

      September 28, 2011 at 9:28 pm |
    • Cogito

      USA#1...based on your post, I take it you know how hard it is to get on welfare in the US, and possibly Canada too. Your mom must be so proud.

      September 28, 2011 at 11:16 pm |
  19. hippypoet

    ok, lets take it from the top... first god says we are his creation and modeled after him, this is the backwards arguement for why the greek gods resemble man, well all gods have a HUMAN appearance, so this is the first time that humans say that WE are formed after the god... that kinda makes me feel like a god. only in face anyway, but we all have different faces, it can get confusing! oh thank god he has choosen a special people to be his, lets call them the jews. so as for the rest, what, are we formed after lucifier? cause i'm hot! got a hot wife, sweet looking kids... dude satan must have been some awesome looking dude! ok back to basics – after creation god said we have the FREEDOM of choice, i call it bs but lets just argue with it for the moment, so adam chose to allow his rib made flesh to wonder around and eat of things HE knew wasn't to be touched... perhaps he didn't want to be in the garden anymore, perhaps he saw it as a prison! NOW, free of gods voice and control Cain chooses a wife while the book stated only the offspring of adam and eve are there... right so moving past the clear incest, cain has kids, seth has kids, oh did i skip over something, maybe your bible did that too?

    LETS STOP THINKING IN THE STONE AGE AND LIVE IN THE NOW!!! WE HAVE THE POWER, WE HAVE THE CHOICE, EVEN IF YOU BELIEVE IN GOD YOU STILL KNOW YOU HAVE THE POWER OF CHOICE, SO LETS STOP THE RELIGIOUS STATE OF OUR LOVELY COUNTRY, IT HAS THE POWER TO DESTROY OTHERS BY SIMPLY EXISTENCE... SO TO TRUELY BE THE GREATEST NATION ON EARTH WE FIRST NEED TO LEARN FROM PAST MISTAKES. I WILL GIVE US 20 YEARS BEFORE WE COLLASP, AS I FORSAW IN SCHOOL 10 YEARS AGO, THIS COUNTRY WILL BE A THIRD WORLD COUNTRY IN 30-50 YEARS. WE ARE ON TRACK FOR A RELIGIOUS UPHEAVEL AND A SUPER DOWNFALL OF AN EPIC SCALE! JUST MY THOUGHTS ON THE MATTER. PLEASE DON'T JUDGE, JUST have and keep conversation. thank you.

    September 28, 2011 at 9:18 pm |
    • BG

      Sounds like you're already on a "super downfall of an epic scale." Better roll another fatty.

      September 28, 2011 at 9:46 pm |
  20. RobertOfNJ

    Atheists are less likely to believe that America is the greatest country in the world because their beliefs are fact based rather than faith based and the facts don't support the claim.

    September 28, 2011 at 9:11 pm |
    • Eric

      Absolutely. America, though far from the worst country on Earth is certainly neither the most free or the most developed. It's time people quit spouting patriotic gibberish, got the facts and then worked to actually make this country what they have been claiming, erroneously, that it is. It could be the greatest, it just isn't.

      September 28, 2011 at 9:21 pm |
    • goodwithoutgod

      well said, Robert!

      September 28, 2011 at 9:30 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.