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My Take: Occupy Wall Street looks like church to me
Protest Chaplains Robin Lutjohann, left, and Michael Zahniser take part in an Occupy Boston march September 30.
October 7th, 2011
08:00 AM ET

My Take: Occupy Wall Street looks like church to me

Editor's note: Marisa Egerstrom is a Ph.D. candidate studying American religious history at Harvard University. As a member of the Boston-based group Protest Chaplains, she has been involved in the Occupy Wall Street protests in New York and Boston. She is an Episcopalian.

By Marisa Egerstrom, Special to CNN

In the movement that's making campgrounds out of city squares across America, it might seem there's little religion happening. But Occupy Wall Street, and its local offshoots springing up everywhere from Boston to L.A., has described itself more clearly in the language of “soul” than in the language of federal financial regulation policy.

That’s because, at its heart, the Occupy movement is about creating a democratic society in which everyone matters, there is dignity in working together across differences, and there is enough for everyone. Is this vision tantamount to socialism? No. Once upon a time, we called this “American.”

It also sounds pretty Christian to me. What the early Apostles called “The Way” was a vision for peaceful living that built on Christ’s teaching, life, death and resurrection. The Way repudiates the pursuit of individual wealth in favor of building communities that care for the marginalized, the desperate and the powerless. Jesus demonstrated this by healing lepers and dining with prostitutes and tax collectors.

This is not to say that American democracy is synonymous with Christianity, nor to argue that it should be. Understanding what’s happening in these protests, though, requires that we quit impatiently insisting on a list of demands and listen for what the Occupy movement is saying. The US Day of Rage website, one organizational hub for the protests, says we’re “fighting a war for the soul of our nation.” Such language is unmistakably religious and reveals how deeply this popular discontent reaches.

The consistent message emerging from the protests against the concentration of wealth in the hands of 1% of Americans is this: We are the 99%, and we intend to chase the corrupt moneylenders out of a democracy created for the people. It’s a vision of inclusivity and participatory government that confuses pundits and politicians alike, because this movement is more about being for a way of living than it is against anybody or any group. It’s the thing Christianity talks about but often has a hard time doing. It’s a new politics fighting to restore the vision of equality laid out in the Declaration of Independence and enshrined in the checks and balances so brilliantly constructed in our Constitution.

Critics have derided the protesters with the usual rehearsal of slurs: spoiled kids, lazy hippies and so on. But the occupiers don’t want your money or your stuff. In this entitled era of “Have it Your Way” and overwhelming consumer choice, spend any time listening to people speaking about their grief and hope, and you hear a groan of longing for a different way of living. “I want less,” a friend told me once. “Less of everything.” She wasn’t talking about wanting to be poor. She just wants real life.

Protest Chaplains Heather Pritchard, foreground, Sarah King and Nicholas Hayes in New York on September 17.

Jesus teaches that in return for having less, we get more. More life, not more stuff. The little experiments in community arising in cities across the United States in the Occupy movement are revealing how much there is in “less.” For many, “less” is not a choice. The Boston camp is full of people who have lost homes to foreclosure, whose unemployment applications have gone unprocessed for weeks and whose retirements have been absorbed by the banks.

Yet in the music, conversations, meetings and daily work that come with running a community, there is a profound sense of abundance. A delivery of dry blankets and towels is met with cheers. Trained medics volunteer their skills to treat injuries and illness. The food station is “loaves and fishes” in action: There is always more than enough to eat, and homeless folks eat side by side with lawyers and students off of donated plates. There is always meaningful work to be done. It’s not charity. It’s cooperation. It’s The Way, and it’s happening right now. The Occupation is the church your church wants to be.

I’m with a group called the Protest Chaplains, and we have spent time at the New York and Boston protests, tending to the spiritual needs of protesters. We’ve found no shortage of work to do. Over and over, I hear the chaplains saying they’ve never had such an opportunity to put their faith into action. Coming from a mix of mainline and evangelical backgrounds, we’ve set up an interfaith spirituality tent in Boston where protesters are constantly meditating, leading workshops and holding services in Jewish, Muslim, Christian, Buddhist and other traditions. Just as in The Way, it turns out that ideology and theology matter less than what we do. And it’s bringing us all new life.

For Christians, the Occupy movement amounts to an invitation from people outside of the church to join them in prophetic witness to the failure of a hyperindividualistic consumerist society. Will Christians find the humility to accept the welcome and join? Or will we fail to recognize The Way in what’s happening in this movement simply because it doesn’t speak Christianese? Could it be that open-hearted participation in this growing experiment in abundant life is exactly what the church needs to recover its own sense of vitality and mission? As Jesus said, “Come and see.”

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Church • Culture wars • Opinion • Protest

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soundoff (769 Responses)
  1. Richard S Kaiser

    myweightinwords

    Wrote on Friday, October 7, 2011 at 12:01 pm, stating, “Richard, Respectfully, I disagree. Marriage should be a decision based upon love, willingness to join lives/futures/families/households, and the personal beliefs of those involved.
    Group morality should only reflect upon those things that affect the group in some way, and should not need to be legislated for all in said group to comprehend.

    The love of another in sameness should yes, be of a committal relationship but should not the land’s moralizing laws show appendaged declarations to fortify such? Are we to subvert our land’s laws soley for individualisms’ benefits and welfare? Do the beneficiaries of a two-folded committal relationship in sameness s.e.x. allow for family growth as in having children to further one’s namesakes? Or does such a relationship’s ending bemoan them who just want to love their one and own kind? The behaviorisms of the people should be non-antagonistic and yet should be of a morality basis to indemnify the relatives of morally sound promiscuities.

    You see Myweightinwords, the wants of likeminded individualisms needs declarative moral guidelines from which to benefit from. Who will be the beneficiaries of sameness s.e.x.u.a.lisms? Who will they leave their estate to when death beckons? No children of which to leave it. To my declaratives, your mixing of moralities and beliefs are not a suitable aggregate of submissive declarations. Morality and Belief are two very distinct relativisms. One should not be mixing the two. I am a moral person and my belief is as a Christian. Therefore how do you espouse your Moralism and Belief?

    October 7, 2011 at 12:47 pm |
    • myweightinwords

      @Richard,

      You said, "The love of another in sameness should yes, be of a committal relationship but should not the land’s moralizing laws show appendaged declarations to fortify such? Are we to subvert our land’s laws soley for individualisms’ benefits and welfare? Do the beneficiaries of a two-folded committal relationship in sameness s.e.x. allow for family growth as in having children to further one’s namesakes? Or does such a relationship’s ending bemoan them who just want to love their one and own kind? The behaviorisms of the people should be non-antagonistic and yet should be of a morality basis to indemnify the relatives of morally sound promiscuities."

      Outside the made up words and garbled prose, what I get from this is that you disagree with same gender marriage because it does not lead to children? It is immoral because it can not produce children? Please do correct me if I misunderstand.

      Does that mean that I, as a single woman with no intention to get married or have children am also immoral simply because I do not seek to "grow my family"? Or that two people of any genders who marry with no intent to have children are immoral?

      "You see Myweightinwords, the wants of likeminded individualisms needs declarative moral guidelines from which to benefit from. Who will be the beneficiaries of sameness s.e.x.u.a.lisms? Who will they leave their estate to when death beckons? No children of which to leave it. "

      I have no children either, and yet my estate will be well handled and handed off to those who I chose to leave it. This argument holds no water.

      "To my declaratives, your mixing of moralities and beliefs are not a suitable aggregate of submissive declarations. Morality and Belief are two very distinct relativisms. One should not be mixing the two. I am a moral person and my belief is as a Christian. Therefore how do you espouse your Moralism and Belief?"

      Morality and Belief, are in fact two separate things, which is largely what I have been driving at. Morality is devised from many inputs, including our beliefs. However, that makes morality a subjective thing, a living, changing thing...relative to the time and place and person involved.

      Personally, I think I am a moral person. I am also Pagan and my beliefs regarding deity and religion are...complicated at best. Many things that others consider immoral, I find acceptable...but I don't ask them to live according to my morality and I appreciate it when they deign to do the same.

      October 7, 2011 at 2:31 pm |
  2. mjbell8

    Hhhmmmm....This article is extremely problematic. At least one of Jesus disciples was part of a group called the "Zealots." The Zealots opposed Rome's occupation of Jewish lands, their subsequent religious oppression and the great tax burdens Rome put on the people. The zealots would wage protests, burn down buildings and even kill people. Ironically, Jesus also chose a tax collector (the subject of the zealots wrath) named Matthew to also be a part of his disciples. Jesus changed people and they changed their ways. He never advocated protest or violent revolt. Using Christ conveniently for our own political purposes ends up making us just like both of these disciples. Christ was after something bigger and can't be used as a weapon by either the Left or the Right wing of American politics.

    October 7, 2011 at 12:44 pm |
    • Bob

      "He never advocated protest "

      Wow...read the bible sometime. Jesus' entire life was about protest.

      October 7, 2011 at 4:40 pm |
    • John

      Jesus at the Temple

      12Jesus entered the temple area and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. 13“It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’but you are making it a ‘den of robbers."

      Sounds like protest and civil disobediance to me.

      October 7, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
    • Jean Sartre Milwaukee, WI

      Who in the hell is this cretin christ that you delusional people keep trying to jam down our throats?

      October 7, 2011 at 5:59 pm |
  3. mjbell8

    This article is extremely problematic. At least one of Jesus disciples was part of a group called the "Zealots." The Zealots opposed Rome's occupation of Jewish lands, their subsequent religious oppression and the great tax burdens Rome put on the people. The zealots would wage protests, burn down buildings and even kill people. Ironically, Jesus also chose a tax collector (the subject of the zealots wrath) named Matthew to also be a part of his disciples. Jesus changed people and they changed their ways. He never advocated protest or violent revolt. Using Christ conveniently for our own political purposes ends up making us just like both of these disciples. Christ was after something bigger and can't be used as a weapon by either the Left or the Right wing of American politics.

    October 7, 2011 at 12:43 pm |
  4. Peace2All

    @EVERYONE

    Just an FYI...

    For anyone who is 'for' this movement, and if you are in the So. California area... L.A. is having a version of it's own demonstration today. For those interested,

    Go to: http://icujp.org/

    Peace...

    October 7, 2011 at 11:11 am |
  5. Richard S Kaiser

    “Sacredology 101”

    1. Beliefs

    A. What can one say about their own idealized beliefs? Are one’s beliefs but a subset of socialized commentaries one heard and then mimics? Are we just “parroting” that which we have heard? Where is the value toward mimicking beliefs? Where lays one’s own believable truths? Who is it that one daringly mimics? A friend? A brother? A sister? A mother or father? The next door neighbor? What one believes or disbelieves wraps around one’s social environment, be it negatively or positively for all that most people do is play the parrot: always mimicking and/or mocking that which one hears or reads.

    B. It is sacrilegious to think away or apart from the normalcies of mocking mimickery yet common place normality is in the abundancy of mimickery and/or mockery nowadays. The fool does stammer away their mocking ways while the jester forsakes many to laugh at their abundant witticisms. The commonalities of the propagandist-socialist bewails governed subdiffuses, while always in cunning yet mocked mimickery, the reprobates are.

    C. Belief itself is no longer or seldom of devoted individualisms for the moralizing majorities burns apart the singularities of self-endorsed faiths and/or beliefs. The self is fastly becoming the socialist’s puppet-like parrot or wagging dog ever fetching the newspaper. Will there in today’s time frame be a oneness for faith-based beliefs to conjure their souls around in mockery’s fashioning? Or are theologically based beliefs, the dawns’: of unending Christianic family organized separatisms?

    October 7, 2011 at 11:07 am |
  6. myweightinwords

    @Alfonso,

    You said, "Also, Christians do not have a monopoly on morality, for any person of any race, gender, belief, etc can be moral. The question comes down to the basis of morality, do atheists have a true basis of morality, or is it just something that can discard as they see fit? I'm not saying this to argue or claim atheists are all terrible people, just something to think about."

    I have to ask you if an action is moral does it matter what reasons drove the person to the moral act?

    Moreover, how do you define "true basis for morality" if morality, in and of itself, is the desired outcome?

    Three people endeavor to help feed the homeless. They gather and prepare food and deliver it out of a donated food truck. One is Christian and he does the work because he feels God calls him to. One is Atheist and he does the work because he feels the needs of his fellow man call him to. One is Pagan and he does the work because he feels his gods expect him to.

    Who then has a "correct" basis for their morality? Is any of them more moral than the other if they all do the same work?

    October 7, 2011 at 10:47 am |
    • Richard S Kaiser

      @ myweightinwords,,,et al,,,

      Moral relatives run the gambit of all socialisms, be they religious or be they secularist or even atheist. I see no differencce for anyone to be of moral soundness. Each who commits to moral actions does so because they deem themselves endowed to so do. Religious morals seem though to be criticized and yet their base moralities are in commonalities with moral atheists and even moral pagans.

      October 7, 2011 at 11:19 am |
    • Alfonzo Muchanzo

      No, none of them are "more" moral in that specific scenario and I've never claimed otherwise. But as I said in the previous post, an atheist and Christian both decide to steal something when nobody is watching and they never get caught. The atheist claims that he decides that's fine because those are his standards, can another atheist claim his morals are incorrect? The Christian can claim that that's fine, however he will quickly be rebuked because if he claims to be a Christian, then there are certain things one should follow.

      In addition, while all are doing admirable things in your example, good works in and of themselves are not enough to get entry into heaven. While we should all pursue to do things like this, we all have also fallen extremely short of being the kind of people we should be (ideally). This is where the need for a Savior comes in. A good example I once heard was:

      A person is convicted of a crime (i.e. sin), he stands before the judge and says "well yes judge, I did commit this crime, but also I've done many good things in society so this crime should be overlooked because of the good things I've done." The judge isn't going to say "Yup, you're right, you've done some good things, you're now found innocent of this one crime you're standing here before me for." In actuality, the judge wouldn't care what good things the person has done (aside from leniency purposes), he's at court for a particular crime. Likewise, when we are judged one day, God isn't going to forget our crimes because of a few good things we've done in our lives, he's going to judge us for what we've done wrong. We are should be sentenced to heII, however we are not because Jesus paid our fine. We are all guilty, but just lucky enough that somebody has paid our fine and taken our crimes upon their shoulders. Cheers 🙂

      October 7, 2011 at 11:23 am |
    • myweightinwords

      @Richard,

      Morality is relative. It is related to our culture, our insular societies, even our families and our personal religious (or lack thereof) codes. What is common morality to all is the intersection of these causes. There are the big ones that are easy, don't kill, don't steal, etc. Others are not as easy to define.

      For example, the three men in my example may not agree that it is a morally good thing to engage in s.e.x outside of marriage. They might not agree that it is morally imperative that marriage be between a man and a woman. They might not agree that it is a moral thing to forgive someone who has hurt them.

      Yet, clearly they all agree that it is morally imperative of them to feed the homeless. Does it matter then what drives this morality? Or is it sufficient to agree that it is a moral good and all of them engage in it for the greater good of the society as a whole?

      October 7, 2011 at 11:27 am |
    • myweightinwords

      @Alfonso,

      There you go jumping the gun! LOL. I was merely addressing the morality issue. I was not leading this into a religious discussion regarding judgment. A moral man can still make immoral choices. That wasn't a part of my point.

      You used the words "true basis for morality" and that is what I was focusing on. What is true? Who determines it? Doesn't Jesus himself say that "you will know them by their fruits"? Would that not lead you to determine that a moral action, a fruit if you will, issues out of a moral decision? If the fruit is good, can the tree from which it grows be bad?

      You used the example of an atheist and a Christian both stealing something. You say fellow believers would rebuke the Christian, and yet the atheist would go on believing that it was okay because no one would say anything. I would have to argue. My brother is an atheist. His son stole something from a store when he was 8 or so. My brother found out two days later. He made my nephew take it back, tell the owner what he'd done and pay for it out of his allowance (that he'd been saving for weeks for something he really wanted).

      Why? Because stealing is wrong.

      Now, you are correct that a judge isn't going to dismiss charges against someone just because they've done good things. However, he may take that into consideration in many phases of a trial, to include bail amounts, as well as sentencing. For example, someone who has always done good work, who has lived a good life, but accidentally injures someone due to a moment's mistake or misjudgment might be released on a lower bond or on their own recognizance and might serve a lower sentence or probation over someone who has been in and out of jail their entire life for various crimes.

      October 7, 2011 at 11:37 am |
    • mattifolks

      The fact of the matter is that there is no judge waiting for you after you die. The desire to do good works comes from a persons character and has nothing to do with religion. Xtians do bad things, atheists do bad things...its your character that determines how you behave. Life is not black and white but many shades if grey so what is wrong in one case may not be so in another, though behavior may be the same...and one should not fear making the wrong choice because there is consequence after death, but because society may impose penalties in life...

      October 7, 2011 at 11:41 am |
    • Richard S Kaiser

      @ myweightinwords et al,,,,,

      "Moralism" is a slippery slope for one to engage in conversation with. Hierarchal moralism is a numbered declarative in one's soundness of beliefs,sociologically speaking. To say that it should be morally righteous for a man to marry one should be born out of the land's laws.

      October 7, 2011 at 11:53 am |
    • myweightinwords

      @Richard,

      Respectfully, I disagree. Marriage should be a decision based upon love, willingness to join lives/futures/families/households, and the personal beliefs of those involved.

      Group morality should only reflect upon those things that affect the group in some way, and should not need to be legislated for all in said group to comprehend.

      October 7, 2011 at 12:01 pm |
    • Alfonzo Muchanzo

      @myweight – Haha didn't mean to jump the gun. I'm about to run to lunch so I've gotta make this short. Yes Jesus did say you will know them by their fruits, and that judging their fruits can be a good source of determining their character, but not judging whether they are doomed to heaven or heIl.

      As far as what is true? I guess that's kinda the main discussion points here and where the main disagreement arises. I believe the Bible, and therefore the foundations laid in it, to be true. Atheists thinks otherwise. Your message about your brother punishing his son doesn't get to the basis of the question however, which is; what is his basis for saying stealing is wrong? Because society dictates that? Moral relativism? We both agree that stealing is wrong, however I think we have a different basis for believing that. Yes, society plays a large part is telling us right/wrong, but there are many things also listed in the Bible that are listed as wrong, but not necessary illegal in today's society (wrong nonetheless though). I personally think moral relativism doesn't hold up to intense scrutiny, which seems to be the basis of morals from many atheists (not all, but the vast majority from what I've seen, again my observation). I'll try and get on if I have time after lunch, otherwise I'll catch ya on the flip side bro lol. Cheers 🙂

      October 7, 2011 at 12:12 pm |
    • hippypoet

      i posted this already but it fits to perfect here.

      hippypoet

      @Alfonzo , re-read Chuckles's last post, he states that the society as a whole decides whats (chuckles said wrong/right) i;m saying accecptable, because right and wrong are always being changed with the time, but the word accecptable implies change will happen and it will be understood by the either leader or the governing body of what is and what is not OK to do. so morals are based on the accecptance of ones society not heart or head! over in afganastan its the normal to kill a sister who has spoken bad of a family as she has shamed herself and her family it is the families duty to kill her to regain the lost honor. its society that states thats accecptable, its the human race that deems that wrong!

      October 7, 2011 at 12:17 pm |
    • myweightinwords

      @Alfonso,

      "Haha didn't mean to jump the gun."

      Happens a lot around here. Everyone's in a hurry to make their point that they forget the basics of establishing definition and common ground so that everyone involved can follow along. I tend to like to take things a step at a time in a discussion of this kind.

      " I'm about to run to lunch so I've gotta make this short."

      Ah yes, food. I should see to that at some point myself.

      "Yes Jesus did say you will know them by their fruits, and that judging their fruits can be a good source of determining their character, but not judging whether they are doomed to heaven or heIl."

      Nowhere in our conversation did I bring up heaven or hell. Again, running to the end zone when you haven't even caught the ball! I am solely and completely talking about this life. The one here on earth with all the masses of people and all the big and small issues of morality. What comes after is a whole different discussion.

      "As far as what is true? I guess that's kinda the main discussion points here and where the main disagreement arises. I believe the Bible, and therefore the foundations laid in it, to be true. Atheists thinks otherwise."

      And therein lies the rub. How do we, as a society, function when truth is relative? And yet, somehow we do. How is that? Is it because as a society we can recognize the moral issues that are common to all (the ones we don't argue as much about: stealing, killing, etc)...or is the fact that they are common without regard to "truth" or reasons for belief that they are moral, simply a sign that belief and religious causes for believing a thing to be moral, are ultimately superlative to societal mores?

      "Your message about your brother punishing his son doesn't get to the basis of the question however, which is; what is his basis for saying stealing is wrong?"

      And my point is, what does it matter what the basis is? If we, as a group, agree that stealing is wrong, we choose to punish those who steal. It becomes a part of our joint morality that stealing is wrong.

      "Because society dictates that? Moral relativism?"

      All morality is relative. One need only look at history to realize that. At one time it was moral and right to sell and keep slaves. At one time it was moral and right to marry off your daughter at thirteen. At one time it was moral and right to marry first cousins. All of these were practiced inside nominally Christian cultures. Today all of them are frowned on and in some circles seen as horrific, terrible crimes.

      " We both agree that stealing is wrong, however I think we have a different basis for believing that. Yes, society plays a large part is telling us right/wrong, but there are many things also listed in the Bible that are listed as wrong, but not necessary illegal in today's society (wrong nonetheless though)."

      For those who hold the bible true, they are wrong. For the rest of society they are not, which is why they are not illegal.

      "I personally think moral relativism doesn't hold up to intense scrutiny, which seems to be the basis of morals from many atheists (not all, but the vast majority from what I've seen, again my observation)."

      Moral relativism is all we have. Personally, I tend toward believing that those who use personal responsibility as the driving force for their morals to be far more reliable than those that base their morality on something they are told is right or wrong. Of course, there will always be those human beings who disregard morality all together, which is why we have laws and police and courts....but not all moral issues can be decided for us. Many of them are left to the individual to decide.

      October 7, 2011 at 12:34 pm |
    • HellBent

      " We are should be sentenced to heII, however we are not because Jesus paid our fine. We are all guilty, but just lucky enough that somebody has paid our fine and taken our crimes upon their shoulders."

      So, god would sentence us all to hell, but god gives some people a get out of jail free card because they did what he wanted (whatever that is). Can you please explain how that isn't extortion?

      October 7, 2011 at 1:14 pm |
    • HellBent

      "but there are many things also listed in the Bible that are listed as wrong, but not necessary illegal in today's society (wrong nonetheless though)."

      God said that eating shellfish is wrong. God later rescinded that decision. God is a moral relativist.

      There's lots of things int he bible that we are told are wrong (wearing mixed textiles) that any sane person knows isn't wrong in the least. There's also lots of things that the bible condones (slavery, polygamy, etc.) that we all know to be morally wrong.

      October 7, 2011 at 1:17 pm |
    • Josh

      @ Richard
      All "Morals" are is a set of rules set upon oneself, these rules can come from different places and for different reasons. Yours stem from a version of the christian bible (probably new testament...doesn't matter) I personally don't follow any religious belief (not even atheism...hard to explain but bear with me) but i don't steal because i would be inconveniencing who/what i took from, and if i were to be caught i could be punished by the law of the land..aka society. Now depending on what i stole and where, i could possible not be committing a crime at all, there are situations and or places where theft/ murder and most of any other crime is allowed. As an example "Eye for an Eye" is law of the land in parts of India. So don't be presuming that all morals come only from the places you see them/ believe them, your beliefs and reasoning's are but one of...what 7 billion people? Open your eyes

      October 7, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
  7. Just Quoting Jesus

    Modern American "Christians" are (by and large) clearly selfish and deluded. Read the Sermon on the Mount. Read Luke 18:22 from the Sermon on the Mount to see what you people are "lacking" according to the Lord.

    October 7, 2011 at 10:40 am |
    • W247

      ...or just go to a different country and see how the Christians worship there.. very humbly and very joyfully...

      October 7, 2011 at 11:41 am |
    • Jean Sartre Milwaukee, WI

      Speaking of lacking, please read your holy, holy, holy book... Specifically, Luke 19:27!

      Deal with it: Luke 19:27 where JC is telling his flock “If they don’t want me to rule over them, then bring them here in front of me and kill them.”

      Any problems?

      October 7, 2011 at 6:07 pm |
  8. hippypoet

    from the article:
    "The consistent message emerging from the protests against the concentration of wealth in the hands of 1% of Americans is this: We are the 99%, and we intend to CHASE the corrupt moneylenders out of a democracy created for the people."

    this sounds like a theat of force, they will chase out...very very unhappy intentions towards there fellow man, not matter is job or poistion in life, there are still people and a certain amount of respect if due...afterall they do whorship the god of forgiveness, wheres there forgiveness here...chasing people out of there jobs, putting them out on the street. just terrible – oh and i'm not advacating anything, just an interesting action to take for a religious person. Has a cursade kinda ring to it!

    October 7, 2011 at 10:37 am |
  9. Alfonzo Muchanzo

    @hippy – Well thank you sir, cheers 🙂

    October 7, 2011 at 10:18 am |
  10. tallulah13

    From these comments, I get the impression that 'real christians' are more interested in their personal fortunes than they are in Christ.

    October 7, 2011 at 9:50 am |
    • myweightinwords

      Yes, that does sometimes seem to be the message that comes across.

      October 7, 2011 at 9:53 am |
    • Chuckles

      Isn't that how it always goes though? Christians say they monopolize morality and goodness and the afterlife and say that all atheists have baseless morals and worship themselves. Then the real war of words comes down to Christians condeming everyone to a very unpleasent afterlife while atheists advocate for charity, being good for goodness sake and generally asking people to appeal to logic and reason.

      October 7, 2011 at 9:53 am |
    • hippypoet

      and so being human as now come under theat by you..why? people should concern there lives and selves with there lives and selves, why not...because some dude 2000 years ago said thats wrong, focus on the IDEA of an after-life! thats abit backwards, i enjoy those who think for themselves and act so in turn. not always the best friends to have in a pinch but they have lives as well, should we be respectful of that.

      October 7, 2011 at 9:55 am |
    • Alfonzo Muchanzo

      I'm backkkkkkkkk 🙂

      @all – Sorry, but I have to disagree. "Real" Christians, so to speak, are absolutely more interested in Christ and his teachings over personal wealth. Unfortunately you mostly see the compelte opposite if you watch any Christian broadcast programs. Also, Christians do not have a monopoly on morality, for any person of any race, gender, belief, etc can be moral. The question comes down to the basis of morality, do atheists have a true basis of morality, or is it just something that can discard as they see fit? I'm not saying this to argue or claim atheists are all terrible people, just something to think about.

      @Chuckles – I advocate for charity and living a moral life. While I do profess Jesus as my savior, I do no condemn you to hell or anything likewise. We are not to judge, and while I do believe Jesus is the (only) person who has paid for our sins, I also have no idea how he's going to judge us in the afterlife (other than fair and just).

      There are certainly many Christians who judge others, which is wrong. But then again, people of all walks of life do that and it seems to just be human nature to some degree (doesn't make it right, but lets face it, all of us do it to a degree). Look at these boards, people of all faiths tend to judge and fling mud at the others. Just some food for thought people. Cheers 🙂

      October 7, 2011 at 10:03 am |
    • hippypoet

      @Alfonzo wow, i think this is the first post that you posted that i agree with, not fully, but the intention, i agree with your thoughts... some homeless are that way thou from there own doing and i will not help them as a principle.
      Hippypoet proverb – Let those who ruin there lives live in that which is ruined!

      October 7, 2011 at 10:12 am |
    • tallulah13

      Alphonso, my morals are based on empathy and the desire to treat others as they would be treated. There is nothing disposable there.

      October 7, 2011 at 10:14 am |
    • Chuckles

      @Alfonzo,

      You are quickly becoming one of my most/least favorite debaters. You come on and bring some interesting views, and then you leave too soon, I better not see that happen again ya hear!

      First on morality – define "true basis for morality" Are you saying can we ground our morality in a book and if so which one? The answer is yes, however I would say that it's a little more diverse among us than christians that can all point to the bible. I would argue however morals that atheists generally follow are more updated and apply to todays moral quandries than the bible could even attempt and is usually shoehorned imperfectly to do so. I rarely see anyone, regardless of faith or lack thereof that will just throw out their own moral values at the top of a hat, it sounds like a very hard pill to swallow.

      As for judgement: Yes, you are right that everyone judges everyone else, it's a way of life, but we shouldn't shy away from it, thats how we operate within society, judging through consensus what is good and what is not. You may not personally be condeming me to hell, however by simply professing jesus as your lord and calling yourself a christian implies through your doctrine that anyone NOT doing this is going to hell. Some christians come right out and say it, others imply it and still others (and I count you in this group) just say "ill leave it to jesus, who is the only person who's judgement counts" even though you don't then follow up with (but say in your head) " and he'l judge you an apostate and send you packing downstairs.

      October 7, 2011 at 10:20 am |
    • DamianKnight

      @Chuckles,

      My friend, you're generalizing. 🙂 Not all Christians feel that way.

      October 7, 2011 at 10:21 am |
    • Alfonzo Muchanzo

      @tallulah – What about the atheist whose morals are based on him acquiring as much as he can for himself, can you say he's wrong? I'm not saying this to claim that those are all atheist's morals or anything, but who's claim is correct and what is your basis for saying one is right compared to the other?

      October 7, 2011 at 10:22 am |
    • Hasa Diga Eebowai

      Alfonzo... There is nothing scarier than someone who gets their morals from a book from different millennium. God sanctioned ra pe, mur der, slav ery, war... Sorry, these morals have no place in the 21st century and if you think they do I suggest you move to Iran.

      October 7, 2011 at 10:24 am |
    • hippypoet

      @Alfonzo , re-read Chuckles's last post, he states that the society as a whole decides whats (chuckles said wrong/right) i;m saying accecptable, because right and wrong are always being changed with the time, but the word accecptable implies change will happen and it will be understood by the either leader or the governing body of what is and what is not OK to do. so morals are based on the accecptance of ones society not heart or head! over in afganastan its the normal to kill a sister who has spoken bad of a family as she has shamed herself and her family it is the families duty to kill her to regain the lost honor. its society that states thats accecptable, its the human race that deems that wrong!

      October 7, 2011 at 10:27 am |
    • tallulah13

      Alfonso, what about the christian who does the same? Look at the individual, not their faith or lack thereof. Actions speak louder than words, and faith is too often a pretty mask used to hide ugly personal ambitions.

      October 7, 2011 at 10:28 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Morality can be defined as behaviour that maximizes group cohesion and thus survival.
      Sin is inflicting harm on others unnecessarily.

      October 7, 2011 at 10:28 am |
    • Alfonzo Muchanzo

      @chuckles – Haha sorry but lots of times things come up at work and I have to get off these boards for a little while, much to my shagrin (I also get distracted by fantasy football articles lol). The group you put me in, the "I'll leave it to Jesus" group is correct, however in my head I don't think that you're automatically doomed to hell. I think it is only Christ who can save us, but as I said before, I have no way of how he'll judge us in the afterlife. What if he gives people a second chance after death to accept him? I really have no clue and am just speculating but my point is; the Bible tells us not to judge, that God judges fair, mercifully, and justly, and that Jesus is the only way. It doesn't give us a timeframe of when we are allowed to accept him, etc, so therefore I will not judge.

      As far as morality, I agree that most of us go with the morality of our day (to an extent), and there will always be some moral quandries that are not clearly define by religion. But I'd also say there are moral absolutes which are not debatable, such as murdering, stealing, cheating, etc., which are all listed in the Bible. Now ofcourse atheists can believe and follow these morals (which many undoubtedly do), but what is their basis other than self interest? And yes the Bible doesn't address every single moral quandry of our day, I don't know if a book could be written that does, but it seems to address the overarching rights/wrongs which can then be looked upon as a basis for todays dilemmas.

      October 7, 2011 at 10:35 am |
    • Alfonzo Muchanzo

      @tallulah – Good question. For the Christian who does the same then you can clearly point out to them that they are wrong because the Bible has it laid out. If they are Christian then they should try and follow what the Bible teaches. How can the atheist claim that something is wrong (i.e. selfishness that doesn't directly harm others, as an example)?

      I'm not trying to say Christians are better or have a claim on morality, just that I think the basis for morality is a little flimsy if there are no moral absolutes (i.e. moral relativism). We've all fallen short, have done bad things in our life, and deserve to pay for them. Christians, atheists, and those of all faiths really deserve punishment because we as a human race do not treat others as we should, which is why I believe we need someone who was perfect and who has volunteered to pay for our sins.

      October 7, 2011 at 10:42 am |
    • Hasa Diga Eebowai

      " moral absolutes which are not debatable, such as murdering, stealing, cheating, " These existed before and exist outside christianity therefore christianity is a moot point.

      October 7, 2011 at 10:52 am |
    • J.W

      I do not think that Christians have a monopoly on goodness. I think I do. I am obviously the most moral person alive.

      October 7, 2011 at 10:57 am |
    • Alfonzo Muchanzo

      @hasa – Correct, there were morals before the Bible, otherwise humanity probably wouldn't survive. But the Bible seems to have laid out many specific morals that weren't really absolutes beforehand. In addition, much of our morality seems to come from our conscious, where does this conscious come from? Since the beginning of humanity, there's been something in human's hearts that make feel something's right/wrong and also that there is something larger than themselves or something "more" out there so to speak. I don't know where or why there's always this feeling, and I couldn't figure it out for the longest time until I found God and Jesus, at which point that void (if you want to call it that) was filled. Kinda hard to explain if you haven't gone through it yourself. Cheers 🙂

      October 7, 2011 at 10:59 am |
    • DamianKnight

      @JW,

      And obviously the most humble. 🙂

      October 7, 2011 at 11:03 am |
    • J.W

      Too bad I was not around when Jesus was here right Damian? I would have been the perfect disciple.

      October 7, 2011 at 11:12 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @alphonso
      "there's been something in human's hearts that make feel something's right/wrong"
      This may be so – but the taboos that define right and wrong vary from culture to culture.
      At it's core, moral behaviour is that which enhances group survival.

      "and also that there is something larger than themselves"
      Certainly – it is called The Universe! The firmament is vast and has always begged for an explanation.
      Most cultures' creation myths involve anthropomorphic, if not anthropocentric, enti/ties. So humans have always looked for something much like ourselves, but bigger and smarter, as the rulers of the unknown.
      To quote Dr. Greg Graffin 'I know I'm part of something bigger than myself / don't know the meaning but I hope that matters less / I don't know anything when I'm factored out of scale.'

      October 7, 2011 at 11:19 am |
    • DamianKnight

      JW,

      You might have overshadowed Him. I mean, come on, your humility is astounding. Could He have possibly held a candle to you?

      October 7, 2011 at 11:27 am |
    • J.W

      I have tried to tell people I was the second coming but they do not believe me.

      October 7, 2011 at 11:35 am |
    • Hasa Diga Eebowai

      conscious come from?... evolution, duh. These morals have help our species survive.. no more no less

      October 7, 2011 at 11:43 am |
    • Chuckles

      Good debate y'all!

      First and foremost to Damina: Yes, I generalized a little bit, but at one point you have to start lumping people together or else religion doesn't really have cohesion. Whenever I make a generalization it should probably go without saying but I will say it to make sure, there are always exceptions to the rule.

      From what I can glean from your posts, your question is basically that everyone regardless of faith has morals and generally follows the same set. Christians can say they get this set from the bible and so they can clearly point to each end of the spectrum and say "Well god/jesus is always good so he is the best example we can follow and satan he is always evil so he is the best example of how not to be" And your question for atheists are "where's the end of your spectrum? Where is the paragon of good you try to live up to and the paragon of evil that you do everything to avoid?"

      If that is correct (if its not, sorry for putting words in your mouth) then my answer is this. For me personally there are people who I know to have lived that I try to live the best I can by – ie MLK jr. Ghandi, Mother Theresa, et al, you get the picture. There are people especially renowned for being good people and almost have the same status as jesus in terms of being the epitomy of good. However, both you and I know they are human, acted the best they could in the time they lived and probably committed their fair share of evil acts that were never known or publicized. At the opposite end, without having to go too much into it, there are clearly evil characters in history that I try avoid their charcteristics. However, both these sides could be easily twisted had history gone different right? I mean, had say, Hitler won, He wouldn't be the boogyman/satanic figure he is today, he might be even among the ranks of best people ever in the world. Similarly had Ghandi's gambit failed, he might have been known as a rabblerouser, a terrorist trying to undermine the system. Morality is all in the eye of the beholder and in this case as a society as a whole. That's how we've always lived and whether or not we have a real person or a characiture of what it is to be perfect, society will always set the spectrum on morality whether its set by god or man. It's not necessarily wrong to take all your morals from the bible, even though its incredibly outdated and condones action that in modern society we would find abhorrent, but the difference I think comes into play that Atheists are more flexible in a case by case issue and can look at something more objectively and say, "Well, Jesus may not have approved of this, but in 2011 that action was moral because of all the circu.mstances"

      I also wanted to highlight another thing I think you said to Tallulah, you asked about a selfish action if there was no victim. It depends what you mean. I see no issue with selfishness to a degree. Everyone is selfish and should prioritize themselves pretty high up on the list or their priorities, its how you survive and thrive. If I'm missing something here, please clarify.

      I also wanted to clarify one other thing, you said to Hasi "Correct, there were morals before the Bible, otherwise humanity probably wouldn't survive. But the Bible seems to have laid out many specific morals that weren't really absolutes beforehand." If the absolutes you were referring to (Ra.pe, murder, etc...) keep in mind that both Jesus and the OT advocate all these moral imperitives FOR ONLY JEWS, which I think is pretty key because we read for instance "thou shalt not kill" to mean that it is not cool to kill someone anywhere, whatever religious creed they follow, but the bible in its hayday was more concerned about inter-community violence, it was completely cool to do whatever you wanted to heathens. So these moral absolutes you laid down actually aren't the absolutes you make them out to be.

      October 7, 2011 at 12:41 pm |
    • Chuckles

      P.S.

      JW – I am WWAAAAAAY more humble than you are, like, if there was a humility contest, I would be the winner by a landslide, that's how humble I am.

      October 7, 2011 at 12:44 pm |
    • J.W

      Hey Chuckles you said you like astronomy right? I bet that song really annoys you when it says "written in the stars, a million miles away"

      October 7, 2011 at 12:52 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @JW

      Like? More like Obsessed, and yes that line just about kills me inside, however when Timon and Pumba are talking in the Lion King about what the stars are and Pumba's line "really? I always thought they were giant balls of gas floating millions of miles away" after being told they're fireflies just about makes up for it.

      October 7, 2011 at 1:11 pm |
  11. Colin

    I have never understood how any credible University can still have a religious department in the 21st Century. What do they learn? Surely not the supersti.tious mumbo jumbo of Christianity? Anything other than a pure history course by and large means buying into the supernatural elements of the faith.

    How can a professor seriously teach that garbage about Jesus dying for our sins, rising from the dead, living happily ever after in heaven, a god supervising all 6,000,000,000 humans 24 hours a day and reading their minds.

    Do they also offer courses in UFO tracking or Bigfoot hunting?

    October 7, 2011 at 9:05 am |
    • Chuckles

      Personally I find having a religious department in colleges around the US the same as philosophy department or a specialized history department. At least most of the religious courses I took we learned about the dogma of that religion and then how they came about historically, what was the reasoning behind creating such myths. Maybe it was just my school that tool the religiousity out of the religion and taught it from an academic POV but I always found my religion courses very interesting, from an academic point of view that is.

      October 7, 2011 at 9:09 am |
    • Colin

      Agreed Chuckles, and taught that way, they are fine. I'm speaking of places like Yale Divinity School where they actually teach Bronze Age mythology as real.

      October 7, 2011 at 9:15 am |
    • True Story

      UFO and Bigfoot=Pseudoscience, and yes a few accredited universities have them. There's nothing wrong with taking a theology course. After all, it makes you better equiped to battle on CNN.

      October 7, 2011 at 9:20 am |
    • Chuckles

      Yeah, I'm still debating if its a good thing or not. I mean the people getting into Yale are supposed to be our best and brightest right? If they are getting the best education possible about their own mythologies and those of the other religions out there, it may be a way to smuggle in a wolf in sheeps clothing as it were. Start teaching them the true ins and outs of religion, any religion, and people start to really doubt how such nonesense can actually be taken seriously.

      October 7, 2011 at 9:29 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      If comparative religion courses should be taught in high school, places like Oral Roberts University would hopefully shut down for lack of interest.

      October 7, 2011 at 9:58 am |
    • Alfonzo Muchanzo

      @chuckles – Be careful sir not to claim that those with knowledge all agree on the stupidiy of religion. There are many smart/dumb people who believe in every belief/non-belief out there. To make a vast generalization like that is dangerous. Just because you have reached one conclusion doesn't mean those who have studied just as much, if not more, cannot reach a different conclusion 🙂

      October 7, 2011 at 10:08 am |
    • DamianKnight

      @Colin,

      What you're not taking into perspective is the what religion means. Religions have defined countries for hundres and thousands of years. Without understanding the religion, it becomes very difficult to understand culture. It's why Americans and Western countries in general struggle so much in places like Africa and the Middle East.

      October 7, 2011 at 10:30 am |
    • fred

      Colin
      They go into real deep stuff you could never wrap your head around. You just see God as purple but, at divinity students exhaust such topics in Hebrew and Greek feeling very assured purple is but the color of royalty. Professors then give grades based on the color of the rainbow that first appeared when Noah found land. Those that see purple for the royalty of god, in Noah’s rainbow which occurs at a 40 degree angle, because there were 40 days and 40 nights of rain, get a D for dogma. Those that see purple as; the crown chakra of pure consciousness, within which there is neither object nor subject (When the female kundalini Shakti energy rises to this point, it unites with the male Shiva energy, and a state of liberating samadhi is attained) , get an A and are taken back to the professors office immediately. The Yale students in science department get to watch via live video feed as they are studying the law of motion and why bodies stay in motion. Those that approve of the video feed get an A and those that don’t get a D for dogma.

      October 7, 2011 at 11:10 am |
    • Tony Samosa

      fred, "real deep stuff you could never wrap your head around. " -ad hominem much? jerk much? You must be a Christian.

      October 7, 2011 at 11:20 am |
    • Peace2All

      @fred

      Hmmm... This can't be the 'real fred' that just posted this above, could it...? That particular posting doesn't sound like anything you would even come close to saying !

      Peace...

      October 7, 2011 at 11:21 am |
    • Fred

      Tony Samosa
      Tu quoque

      October 7, 2011 at 12:20 pm |
  12. begbie

    What the hell is this dribble? I keep seeing the media cover this story like there's actually some substance to it. The fact is, this is not a religious movement by any stretch. You have brought your faith to a riot scene, not a church. There is no interest by these folks in solving the problems that capitalism faces. Socialism is the way they want to go, even if they don't realize that's exactly what they're asking for. SOCIALISM MAKES YOU POOR, and that's not good change.

    Nancy Pelosi condemned the Tea Party for their protests, but these folks got the gold star and got her blessing, literally! The big difference between Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party protests?.......Tea Party people don't get arrested into the thousands, cause property damage, and violently clash with citizens and police. Why are these criminals NOT being called out for their actions??? Do you think Jesus would approve of that, Ms. PhD?

    October 7, 2011 at 8:44 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @begbie
      After watching the U.S. through the McCarthy years, we try not to advertise it too much, but we Canadian are far more socialist than you folk.
      A civil society provides for its disadvantaged citizens that which is needed.

      October 7, 2011 at 8:48 am |
    • begbie

      @doc vestibule....A civil society YES, not a civil society's government...... must provide for the disadvantaged and the needy. I contribute regularly and generously to several charities and my community. I make a difference. My government tends to make things worse.

      October 7, 2011 at 8:58 am |
    • hippypoet

      @begbie – maybe your not doing enough, be more like jesus and give all your crap away, live as the meek and truly understand them as a whole and lifestyle – give up your car, your house, everything!

      "Jesus teaches that in return for having less, we get more. More life, not more stuff."

      i'm not saying don't help, thats not even close to what i'm about, but you act like your a saint... act like one then!

      October 7, 2011 at 9:01 am |
    • begbie

      @hippypoet...give it all away?? Why? I'm not the son of God (or a Saint, haha). And I surely don't have to prove myself to you or anyone else. I serve my wife and family first.

      October 7, 2011 at 9:20 am |
    • hippypoet

      so maybe you should try to get them into heaven....best act according to the good book before its too late, those horsemen will just ride right over you if your not like jesus!

      October 7, 2011 at 9:30 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @begbie
      Do you not love in a representative democracy?
      Your freely elected government is a reflection of the people, and you believe people should be charitable – ergo, so should your government.

      October 7, 2011 at 9:50 am |
  13. Rational Libertarian

    If there is one group of people I hate more than moaning leftists, it is Christians. So Miss Egerstrom, I say boo to you and your hippy Christian group. Society can only ever triumph through secularism, economic libertarianism and social libertarianism.

    October 7, 2011 at 8:41 am |
    • hippypoet

      whoa – now now with the hate against the hippies... however if they whorship some fake god in the sky, fuk em! lol

      October 7, 2011 at 8:43 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Mr hippypoet

      Hippies are worse than communists. Communists at least work to think they should have an equal share of the wealth. Hippies expect the wealth to be shared for free.

      October 7, 2011 at 9:01 am |
    • hippypoet

      if money is worthless and only has what value we place on it, then why not freely share. i prefer food and hugs, but money can buy me and my family food...i have plenty of hugs – bought whole sale back in the day.

      October 7, 2011 at 9:03 am |
    • Chuckles

      May I add something to this?

      Hippies are possibly the worst people alive, and I'm not talking about the ones in the 1960's, I'm talking about the current slew of Hippies that dot boulder like cancerous growths. These hippies believe in nothing and are wastes of space.

      No offense to you hippypoet, but at least from my encounters with the hippies of today, you've already done way more today than most hippies in Boulder will do in the next couple of months.

      October 7, 2011 at 9:13 am |
    • hippypoet

      i find that people are generally dumb, slow to learn, close minded fools who are set in the ways – that includes hippies of all ages, from all timezones across the historical timeline. but as individuals we are capible of many things just not willing to try unless th group goes along as most are followers by nature. Hippies i find more and more are willing to go out on a limb to try something new, just to gain from the experience. That is something i miss when amoungst others not so hippy-ish. The idea of common sense is lost to the common man, and with all the modern "at your fingure tips" day and age – why fight for what you want when all you have to do is wait.... and yes they are the ones who believe in nothing and are a waste of space. i call myself a hippy for a few reasons, i offer hugs and kisses to all who want them, and i have met some of the coolest people ever from the 60's who were at woodstock and other events of the like, i have spent many hours talking to those folks – we see eye to eye on many things. one being the freedom of people (not citizens, that implies ownership by a country) to go and do nearly anything under the SUN! 🙂 After all this is our home, our planet, why should be fight over land boundaries that don't really exist, saying that i live in R.I. and you live in whereever is like saying we live on this land, we are all just people – just people! mistakes are living learning experiences that are needed to grow, and by making it seem that others are less then you, you create an image of youself that you yourself never see, its the face of the modern man, terror and hate, death and moronic at!tudes!

      October 7, 2011 at 9:28 am |
    • Chuckles

      @Hippy

      I can jive with all that (I also enjoy the irony that everytime you mention the SUN you capitalize it) however the different attributes you said hippies generally exhibit are the ones from a while ago, the ones now aren't the way you describe. They aren't open to new experiences, or peace and love and freedom and all that stuff that is usually as.sociated with hippies. THESE hippies I speak of are little more than braindead quasi-homeless people who depend on everything in the universe coming to them. I can empathisize that there are some times better opportunities to wait for instead of going out and looking for them, but only to a certain degree.

      October 7, 2011 at 9:37 am |
    • hippypoet

      yup, i agree.. the so called modern hippy is nothing more then a whinny kid who enjoys the idea of being a hippy- too bad most of them don't even know what a yippie is! which if any were REAL hippies there actions would make them yippies! but anyway – a name or t!tle is not something you give yourself – i was never hippy as a child, it was a gift bestowed upon me from a teacher of mine. the poet part is an aftermath of being a poet , people call you a poet and i love the sound of Hippypoet! but just to clear something up, i am only 24 – so i am infact not a real hippy, but i do adhear to most if not all of the true meaning of hippy-hood! Being as i am and having kids makes it impossible for me to live as i want without it being called child abuse so here i am, on a computer at WORK! 😦 before kids i spent my life writing while drunk and tripping out on anything that i thought would make my thoughts move like the rain, flow like the rivers of great civilizations...now i write bed time stories- so is life.

      October 7, 2011 at 9:47 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      The pseudo-hippies being described here would do well to study the teachings of J.R. "Bob" Dobbs.
      The central tenet of the Church of The Subgenius is the acquisition of slack. In other words, get the universe to give you your money for nothing and your chicks for free.
      Plus, they're the only religion that offers eternal salvation or triple your money back for the low low price of $30.

      October 7, 2011 at 10:02 am |
  14. silly religious nuts

    "Jesus teaches that in return for having less, we get more. More life, not more stuff." if this is true then please give all your belongings to the poor and live as jesus did! thats being devoted, preaching being humble while you wear silk and sip scotch (yummy scotch) is not humble but gluttoniness sin that leads one to hell fire and brimstone – where shrek saves phiona from the dragons keep! nice view thou.

    October 7, 2011 at 8:41 am |
  15. Ashlyn

    Thank you, Marisa, for this blog. I have wondered why churches have not been more instrumental in a movement like the "We are the 99%." One in six Americans is living in poverty, millions have no jobs, and politicians from both sides of the aisle are pushing for lower taxes for the wealthy while simultaneously cutting aid to the needy. Our current societal climate is contrary to any message I've ever heard in a church, and more Christians should be standing up and speaking out.

    October 7, 2011 at 8:31 am |
    • begbie

      There are lots of Christians standing up in protest for hard work, less government, more freedom, reform and real fairness. They are the Tea Party folks and they do it without the violence and "rage". Do they not count?

      Also, if you think these violent, angry protests on Wall St. and beyond are representations of people expressing their core Christian beliefs then you need to get yourself to church quick and start praying they don't "occupy" your street.

      October 7, 2011 at 8:52 am |
  16. NoSocialism.com

    Wow, and here I thought that in the Bible it teaches that people should GIVE their money of their own free will, not have it forcibly taken from them by an out of control Government.
    Thanks for the Edumacasion

    October 7, 2011 at 8:31 am |
    • Chuckles

      Yeah, because charity and helping people is only good when you WANT to right? I mean, screw that if I don't feel like helping and someone makes me anyway. If I am making a 6 figure salary and paying almost nothing to the governement to help it run or help the poor and dying on the street, it aint no thang, I'll go drop a dollar into a charity box and feel awesome!

      October 7, 2011 at 9:41 am |
    • Alexa

      Your government IS YOU. The United States is a representative democracy/republic. The US Government is WE THE PEOPLE. As a Christian you should be pleased to see your government provide for those in need, because it is really YOU who is helping to provide.

      October 9, 2011 at 7:19 pm |
  17. Reality

    To the nitty-gritty of Christianity:

    JC's family and friends had it right 2000 years ago ( Mark 3: 21 "And when his friends heard of it, they went out to lay hold on him: for they said, He is beside himself.")

    Said passage is one of the few judged to be authentic by most contemporary NT scholars. e.g. See Professor Ludemann's conclusion in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years, p. 24 and p. 694

    Actually, Jesus was a bit "touched". After all he thought he spoke to Satan, thought he changed water into wine, thought he raised Lazarus from the dead etc. In today's world, said Jesus would be declared legally insane.

    Or did P, M, M, L and J simply make him into a first century magic-man via their epistles and gospels of semi-fiction? Most contemporary NT experts after thorough analyses of all the scriptures go with the latter magic-man conclusion with J's gospels being mostly fiction.

    Obviously, today's followers of Paul et al's "magic-man" are also a bit on the odd side believing in all the Christian mumbo jumbo about bodies resurrecting, and exorcisms, and miracles, and "magic-man atonement, and infallible, old, European/Utah, white men, and 24/7 body/blood sacrifices followed by consumption of said sacrifices. Yummy!!!!

    So why do we really care what a first century CE, illiterate, long-dead, preacher man would do or say?

    October 7, 2011 at 8:25 am |
  18. Darren

    Whatever you're smoking, I'll take five.

    October 7, 2011 at 8:18 am |
  19. Wally

    you're a looney and have failed to understand anything in the New Testament. stop being brainwashed by your marxist loser professors and sodomite church and get a real life.

    October 7, 2011 at 8:17 am |
    • Hasa Diga Eebowai

      "Understand the new testament" this is a ridiculous statement. There is nothing to understand more than they are a few "testimonies" most likely not even written by the people whose names are on them for power/profit. Then some of these chapters were selected by romans as a way to control pagans..... That is all you need to know.

      October 7, 2011 at 10:08 am |
  20. steveinmo

    If that looks like your idea of church, then I pray you'll find your way to a real church, part of the Lord's real Church, not those things the world and universities deceive people with by calling churches.

    October 7, 2011 at 8:04 am |
    • Martin Luther

      Amen! I was thinking the exact same thing! Did you see the author's bio? PhD in American Religious History from Harvard (Knowledge puffeth up!). She is so convinced through her education that she cannot see the truth! What really erks me is when she starts actually trying to interpret Christ's teachings. I mean she totally does not get it. Even a shallow Christian can see the error of her words. The sad truth is, most people do not read their bible to know she is full of it.

      October 7, 2011 at 8:23 am |
    • Darren

      Her PhD Religious History education isn't so she will understand and accept religious ideology, it's so she can manipulate its ideas by using the same vocabulary. You don't have to go to school to understand religion and apply it to your surroundings.

      October 7, 2011 at 8:40 am |
    • Just Quoting Jesus

      Jesus's 4 Commandments from the Sermon on the Mount:

      1. Love your neighbor as yourself.

      2. Love G-d above all things.

      3. Sell all that you own and distribute the money to the poor.

      4. Follow Jesus.

      Who's not reading their Bible?

      October 7, 2011 at 10:38 am |
    • Hasa Diga Eebowai

      Whose not ready their bible... the majority of christians

      October 7, 2011 at 10:53 am |
    • Hasa Diga Eebowai

      *reading* their bible

      October 7, 2011 at 11:45 am |
    • Hasa Diga Eebowai

      "Lord's real Church" where does god say in the bible that you need to build brick and mortar idol to worship and collect money for him?

      October 7, 2011 at 11:48 am |
    • steveinmo

      Hasa, you are quite right and I did not mean or imply that a church is a building, that's only the house. My apologies if I confused you.

      The church is the people, members in fellowship. Each individual church (of the True Churches – not the modernized garbage or anything of or out of the catholics) collectively are what make up The Church of the Living God.

      October 7, 2011 at 12:26 pm |
    • Alexa

      Harvard was founded by Puritan/Calvinist ministers based on the belief that unless the people are educated, they would not be able to understand the Bible as fully and completely as necessary to righteously serve God.

      October 9, 2011 at 7:22 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @Alexa

      Interesting comment. Also, when you consider the Calvinist view-point of pre-determinism anyway, it would seem kind of moot that anyone would really need to understand the Bible fully, as some were already going to heaven or hell... and there wasn't anything they could do about it.

      Regards,

      Peace...

      October 9, 2011 at 7:25 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.