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My Take: When Bedford Falls Becomes Pottersville
December 24th, 2011
03:00 AM ET

My Take: When Bedford Falls Becomes Pottersville

Editor's note: Larry Alex Taunton is the founder and executive director of the Fixed Point Foundation. This article is adapted from his book “The Grace Effect: How the Power of One Life Can Reverse the Corruption of Unbelief.”

By Larry Alex Taunton, Special to CNN

(CNN) - My favorite Christmas movie is, unquestionably, Frank Capra’s 1946 feel-good flick "It’s a Wonderful Life." Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed play George and Mary Bailey, a happy couple living a life of genteel poverty in the small American town of Bedford Falls.

George is a kind and generous man. He is active in his community and in the war effort. Most importantly, George is all that stands between the town’s mean old man, Mr. Potter, and the demise of all that is good in Bedford Falls.

As financial pressures crowd in on poor George, he begins to question his value to the community. So much so, that he wishes he had never been born. To demonstrate to George the folly of his wish, an angel is sent to give him a glimpse of what Bedford Falls would look like if that wish were granted. In Dickensian fashion, the angel takes him from one scene in that small town to another. The difference is stark. Indeed, Bedford Falls isn’t even Bedford Falls anymore, but a place called Pottersville. The town’s main street is a red-light district, crime is rampant, and life there is coarsened.

When George, in desperation, turns to the angel, seeking an explanation for these drastic changes, the angel says, “Why, George, it’s because you were never born!”

According to a recent poll conducted by The Hill, 69% of voters think America is in decline, and 83% say they are worried about the country’s future. And that has generated a lot of finger-pointing: Republicans blame President Obama; Obama blames Republicans; environmentalists blame industrialization; the “Occupy” people blame everybody who isn’t occupying something - most of us agree that there is a problem, but efforts to identify the source of it are incomplete, misguided or downright evil.

CNN's Belief Blog – all the faith angles to the day's top stories

The problems of human society are the problems of human nature, wrote "Lord of the Flies" author William Golding. Indeed. This was the discovery of the monastics. Seeking to escape the evil of the world, they found instead a doctrine central to Christianity: that evil is innate to us all. History tells us that a given philosophy, creed or religion will either restrain our darker impulses or exacerbate them, but escape them we cannot. Not in this life, anyway.

So what will save us from ourselves and preserve human dignity and life in the societies we create? Democracy? Socialism? Stitching up the ozone?

These days, there is a lot of talk about religion - Christianity in particular - and its role in public life. Whether it is protesting Nativities, the debate over “In God We Trust” as our country’s motto or the controversy surrounding the public faith of Tim Tebow, a national discussion is taking place on what the present and future role of Christianity in America should be. The consensus among the secular elites seems to be that it is a bit like smoking: It is harmful, but if you must do it, do it in the designated areas only. Richard Dawkins, the Oxford scientist and atheist provocateur, calls Christianity a “mental virus” that should be eradicated.

The professor should be more careful in what he wishes for. Like many others, he grossly underestimates the degree to which his own moral and intellectual sensibilities have been informed by the Judeo-Christian worldview.

"It’s a Wonderful Life" is a fitting metaphor for a nation absent Christian belief. Jesus Christ said that his followers were to be like “salt”; that is, a people whose presence is felt for the good that they do. As a man or woman’s evil nature is gentled and restrained by the grace of God, there is a corresponding outward transformation of society. The data bears this out. According to the research of The Barna Group, Christians are the most charitable segment of the population by a substantial margin. Hence, any society that is liberally sprinkled with them has a greater concern for the poor, sick, orphaned and widowed - “the least of these,” as Jesus called them. (This is precisely what Nietzsche, and Hitler after him, hated about Christianity.)

But Christian influence goes well beyond benevolence: Our laws, art, literature and institutions find meaning in a rich Christian heritage. In his new book "Civilization: The West and the Rest," Harvard historian Niall Ferguson argues that the decline of the West can, in part, be attributed to the decline of a robust Christian presence in Western culture. Ferguson’s point is largely an economic one, but the inference that Christianity has served to strengthen the fabric of life in the West as we have known it is unmistakable. T.S. Eliot made a similar observation: “If Christianity goes, the whole of our culture goes.”

That is just another way of saying that the difference between a nation with meaningful Christian influence and a nation without it is the difference between Bedford Falls and Pottersville.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Larry Alex Taunton.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Christmas • Church and state

soundoff (3,025 Responses)
  1. Manley

    For the love of all that is good, stop bringing Hitler up in every essay about the evils of atheism. Not only is the issue of Hitler's faith open for debate, it also doesn't account for the fact that only 1.5% of germans in 1939 were nonbelievers. Atheists think he was evil too. Just like every other fascist, or communist dictator of the 20th century. The root of the evil of the last century was blind faith in authoritative dogma. Atheists are certainly susceptible to it, but the church made it an art form.

    December 24, 2011 at 5:03 pm |
    • Answer

      The religious goons won't stop spreading their fallacies around. They'll continue with the same banter because it is all they have. They'll attempt anything – distort all of history – distort all views – distort anything they can. That's their motto.

      December 24, 2011 at 5:06 pm |
  2. Marc Parella

    So let me get this straight: I need to believe in an imaginary deity and the son of this imaginary deity along with all the silly notions of a heaven and hell in order for our society to continue progressing. What about the idea that as a result of religious intolerance, ignorance, persecution, racism, etc., decline of the West was inevitable? The good that is found in Christianity is the good that is found in people who give a damn about other people. No fairy tales or idol worship needed.

    December 24, 2011 at 5:03 pm |
  3. uberwelt

    Groomed, perfumed, clothed primates trying to convince other groomed, perfumed, clothed primates that some sort of super being created the universe and should be "worshipped." This is why I use my atheism like a hammer. FACE REALITY; FACE FREAKIN' REALITY!!!!!!!

    December 24, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
    • Answer

      Ya that is my view also. It's best that the religious goons just commit suicide though without us having the need to hammer them.

      I wonder when they will all commit suicide.

      December 24, 2011 at 4:56 pm |
  4. rick33

    Nietzsche was NOT a Nazi, or National Socialist. And as an admirer of many of his ideas I resent the underhanded connection (Although this type of deception coming from a Christian, or pro-Christian, is not surprising. Read about master-slave morality). Nietzsche was against Christianity for it's support and spreading of weakness which can be viewed as going against Nature (which when is healthy and strong stamps out weakness). He understood that people (societies) would eventually come to know (for lack of a better term) that belief in God was futile and provided only emptiness. And with no alternative these societies would turn to worshiping "things" and/or other empty concepts. (Lines around the block outside your local Apple Store and 'Jersey Shore' being successful AT ALL, ring a bell?)

    Nietzsche suggested that since we cannot find true values, morals and meaning to Life in some fictional god, we should strive to create our own meaning to our lives. To make our lives works of art. To pusue excellence in what each of us truly is.

    I am far from any kind of expert on his philosopy, but read up on "master-slave morality" and/or read his "On the Geneology of Morals".

    December 24, 2011 at 4:49 pm |
    • Haime52

      Read eugenics and rule of the strongest.

      December 24, 2011 at 5:06 pm |
  5. Bribarian

    Country sure looked a lot nicer back then.

    December 24, 2011 at 4:48 pm |
    • brock sampson

      Oh Yeah, everything was PEACHY back then.... Nazis, lynching, crippling poverty...

      December 24, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
    • Shelia Barnsworth

      It all started going bad when, BY ONE VOTE, MEN decided women could vote. How foolish. Pardon me. I should be back in the kitchen.

      December 24, 2011 at 5:00 pm |
    • Answer

      Religion clings to the past because the future is so bleak to them.

      December 24, 2011 at 5:01 pm |
  6. Unbeliever

    I see no evidence that those claiming to be religious are any more "charitable" or "good" than those that are not. I see a lot of citing of "facts" such as "Christians are the most charitable segment of the population by a substantial margin", but what does that *mean*??? I suspect it means that those whose tax return includes a deduction to a church have more charitable contributions than those that don't. But where do donations to a church go? A lot goes to pay for the operation of the church, pay the clergy, fund the indoctrination of the next generation of members, and otherwise recruit new members. How much is left to actually *help* the needy? In effect we have a taxpayer subsidized Sunday social club for churchy people.

    December 24, 2011 at 4:41 pm |
    • Haime52

      Depends on the church's policies. Most have policies that stipulate that donations must be used for the purpose they were given for or returned.

      December 24, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
  7. WIll

    What is this nutcase arguing? America is the MOST Christian nation on Earth! Can you name me another nation in which Christianity is so prevalent and so strong? The problem in America isn't a dearth of Christian beliefs but an OVERABUNDANCE of the fundamentalist Christian viewpoint. Fundamentalist Christians comprise at least 25% of the population and are making life mighty miserable for the rest of us. If not for the fundamentalist Christians, there wouldn't be the militant atheists. One is a reaction to the other. So if we are REALLY serious about solving the problems that the author cites, we would do well to remove intolerant, uncompromising fundamentalist Christian thought from our midst. It is the problem, not the solution...

    December 24, 2011 at 4:38 pm |
    • NJreader

      My atheism was set decades before I even heard the term "fundamentalist."

      December 24, 2011 at 5:04 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      NJreader, so therefore, you're proud to state in writing that you are lazy and an ingrate and have no clue to what outcome is derived from your belief? Oh, my correction. You atheists don't care about outcomes as long as life went your way and as soon as you get what you want, you're off to another cause to create chaos.

      Merry Christmas.

      December 24, 2011 at 5:10 pm |
  8. David Johnson

    There is nothing about unbelief, that makes it corrupted.

    The Christian god, is just the adult Santa Claus. Neither actually exists.

    Cheers!

    December 24, 2011 at 4:33 pm |
    • just sayin

      100% pure bull sh it

      December 24, 2011 at 4:44 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      David, face the facts. You and your fellow atheists are just ingrates.

      Merry Christmas.

      December 24, 2011 at 5:03 pm |
    • Answer

      @HeavenSent

      You said it right there .. face the facts.
      You don't use facts – you may want to keep to using the word faith. Your kind doesn't accept facts so why bother saying facts?

      December 24, 2011 at 5:08 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Answer, give your fingers a rest for a while. I've stated in posts for over a year that true science proves Jesus' wisdom to be factual. Just because this truth doesn't fit into your bag of tricks to stay lazy and an ingrate with your ridiculous bashing of Jesus is TOO BAD for you. Time to go back to your drawing board and get new material to bash Jesus because the old ones from the 1950s never held water and still don't today.

      Then again, if you're gay. Get over yourself. This gay bashing of Jesus is so old.

      Amen.

      December 24, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
    • Answer

      @HeavenSent

      "True science" – there is no 'true' science except "science".

      The true part that you attach to it is to infer to your 'dream' of invoking "Intelligent Design". Give it a rest you bug.

      December 24, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      HS, you can state all kinds of ridiculous nonsense in your posts. And that's exactly what you do.

      December 24, 2011 at 5:39 pm |
  9. Xian

    “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” – Mahatma Gandhi

    Faith is meaningless without action to back it up.

    December 24, 2011 at 4:28 pm |
    • jpjessee

      Amen!

      December 24, 2011 at 4:29 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Xian, since Gandhi has gone back to the Lord, take a guess what side of the divide in paradise he's on?

      Amen.

      December 24, 2011 at 5:06 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Okay, HS, why don't you tell us? When I asked you where the Jewish chaplains were spending eternity, you said you "didn't know", after stalling for days before deciding you couldn't avoid answering. Now you seem to be saying you know where Gandhi is spending eternity. Is that right? How do you know that but not know where the Jewish chaplains are? If you know where Gandhi is, why don't you tell us all? Or are you going to wimp out as you always do?

      December 24, 2011 at 5:43 pm |
    • Concerned

      Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son: 3
      HeavenSent: 0

      December 25, 2011 at 12:09 am |
  10. d

    Larry, you really need to read, as I seriously that you have read, The God Delusion; in it you will find that Richard Dawkins, to some extent, appreciates the cultural artifacts leftover from Christianity (e.g. music). However, to assume that we are going to become immoral because we know that Christianity is intellectual rubbish, or to assert that we didn't know what was moral and not until Moses came down the mountain with the commandments is preposterous (my favorite commandment is thou shalt not boil a kid in its mother's milk). There is no new argument in this article; it is merely but a recycling of the same lazy-thinking theistic arguments.

    December 24, 2011 at 4:24 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      d, you gay's need to get over your sins just like every sinner that has ever lived in this world has had to do. Hint, hint. The flesh is sin. That should get you started in your research about Jesus' truth about spiritual wisdom to save your life in the hereafter.

      Merry Christmas.

      December 24, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Translation of HS's sign-off: "Phuck you".

      December 24, 2011 at 5:44 pm |
    • Really-O?

      @HeavenSent

      Have you reached puberty?

      December 24, 2011 at 5:49 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      It tried to, but puberty kept running away.

      December 24, 2011 at 10:53 pm |
  11. Christopher Parker

    This article sites the Barna group to support the assertion that Christians are the most charitable group. However, Barna explicitly states that they operate to "Serving the information needs of the church by offering statistics, resources, seminars and custom research on current cultural and spiritual trends," right on the google tagline. Seems like the first offense of bias. Additionally, this suggests a correlation between christianity and charitable nature, not a causal link. Perhaps it's the organizational structure, combined with cultural indoctrination of giving, that lead to higher charitable amounts. In the article, Ferguson's book suggests the economic role between christianity and the decline of the west. The church is an efficient funnel for funding.

    December 24, 2011 at 4:24 pm |
  12. Chris

    to SPLAT! - nope. I wish I were 100% sure that God existed. That would make life choices (small and large) a lot simpler for sure. That's partly why I can't believe so many people are 100% sure He does'nt exist. If the universe started from nothing, why/how?

    December 24, 2011 at 4:20 pm |
    • Answer

      Science is never 100%. Neither is math.

      Only religion claims to know 100%.

      Science can adequately equate to understanding just 1% (maybe even less – that we're sure of) of the known universe. Science can provide up to 99% understanding to a variable number of subjects because science has proven data and research on those subjects. Religion claims that everything is already explained in their ridiculous bible – they'll use the same annoying quotes to do it.

      December 24, 2011 at 4:33 pm |
    • Chris

      ... or religion offers a viewpoint on the "why" questions. Religion doesn't replace science. I completely support the scientific process. I love what's going on at CERN right now. However, no matter what we learn about how the universe works or reacts, we can't know why it does... or even if there is a why. Maybe the Universe started completely from nothing for no reason whatsoever. However, that seems just as plausible to me as saying that it was started for a reason. Either way, I'm not sure anyone can ever say they know 100% that they are correct.

      December 24, 2011 at 4:38 pm |
    • SPLAT!~

      Chris, why do you assume there is only one universe, is there only one planet , galaxy, star? Our universe could be one of an infinite number that come and go without beginning or end.

      December 24, 2011 at 4:43 pm |
    • Answer

      Exactly Chris.. no one can really know. To claim to know 100% is absolute absurdity.

      No one can watch it happen for real. No time machine if one is ever built can ever be programmed to acknowledge a reference point to see the big bang at the beginning. But the beauty of science is in proposing the "idea" of how it may come about.

      The very nature of science is to deduce the possible theory of how things come about by using our senses and when they are not up to the task we create instruments and devices to enhance them to perceive more than what is possible.

      December 24, 2011 at 4:44 pm |
    • Answer

      @SPLAT

      Most people are like that.. working on the assumption that they are in 'one' place – it's simple logic to just infer that 'one' universe is enough.

      December 24, 2011 at 4:47 pm |
    • Chris

      Pretty sure you both completely missed my point.

      December 24, 2011 at 5:07 pm |
    • Answer

      "If the universe started from nothing, "

      There is your point. It is answered in the posts. No one can know 100%. The why – and the how – it is common curiosity to want to find out. Science wants to find out – or at least think of the reasons for it. Religion claims to 100% certainty.

      December 24, 2011 at 5:11 pm |
    • Chris

      2 possibilities... 1. The beliefs that pertain to the religion are made up, lots of people have been misled. 2. The beliefs that pertain to the religion are actually correct. If option 1 is correct, then wow what a mess. If option 2 is correct, why not claim 100% certainty....... don't confuse the religion with the follower of that religion. Just because someone claims they are a Christian doesn't mean they are the "expert" or one to set the example.

      December 24, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
    • Answer

      @Chris

      "why not claim 100% certainty."

      There is your hypothesis. Now you have to tell people why that is relevant. To 'claim' something like what you propose.

      December 24, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
    • Chris

      Poor word choice on my part. What I was trying to do was differentiate, in this case, Christianity and Christians. If the second scenario were true, then Christianity is 100% right (that's the definition of the second scenario in itself). Christians will never be able to say (maybe even know) they are 100% right. The concept/idea/background/philosophy/whatever-you-want-to-call-it of Christianity itself would be 100% correct, not the Christian with Christian beliefs because they are only human.

      December 24, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
    • Answer

      Well Chris you've touched upon that 100% – that is only possible if you are completely ignorant or religious.

      When someone wants to know about the possible universe they have to accept that one does not even know even .01% of it. There is so much to learn.

      December 24, 2011 at 5:34 pm |
    • Chris

      Exactly... I agree with you Mr. Answer. That was the point I was trying to make. That's why I see religion-bashing equivalent to atheism-bashing. There's no substance behind either.

      December 24, 2011 at 5:39 pm |
    • Chris

      or Ms. (sorry and/or my bad)

      December 24, 2011 at 5:40 pm |
    • JohnR

      If all complex things require a creator, then god requires a creator.

      December 24, 2011 at 9:16 pm |
  13. Dr NoVA

    I, as a Muslim, believe absolutely what the author is stating. I think back to 12 years ago as an undergrad, it was those students who had strong religious beliefs (almost all were Christians), who displayed the most sound moral behavior. Of course some screwed up, they were only 18 or 19, but even my ethics and morals have been largely influenced by the Christian ethics of the small town I grew up in where we were the only Muslim family.

    Our nation absolutely needs faith, and Christianity, when not overtaken by radical zealots like Pat Robertson, the late Jerry Falwell (may he rest in peace), John Hagee, etc...it is a beautiful faith with an absolutely trmenedous message and good news for its followers. The same goes for Islam.

    I hope we wisen up, and embrace our faiths in an open manner, one where we can receive the faith of others in a way that doesn't have to necessarily be a repudiation of our own faith.

    December 24, 2011 at 4:15 pm |
    • Christopher Parker

      I think that the ethical message of faith often is overshadowed by the media representation of faith, which turns it into zero-sum game with one belief winning over the other. However, if we as a society were to accept the view that you support, I think we could have a much healthier moral code.

      December 24, 2011 at 4:26 pm |
  14. Steve

    Arrogant and ignorant, just about what I expect from a Christian. Why is this garbage represented here at all? If I wanted to read this nonsense I would be on Fox's site.

    December 24, 2011 at 4:12 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      It's good to give believers the opportunity to display the nuttiness of their beliefs and their true nature about other's beliefs. The more religion is exposed, the more obvious it is that religion is a collection of cults whose time has come to go. Religion, one step way from astrology.

      December 24, 2011 at 4:20 pm |
    • captain america

      canadians should keep their nutty and bull sh it opinions in canada and away from sane Americans. Go screw yourself hot air. There's your sign

      December 24, 2011 at 4:40 pm |
    • Concerned

      "Captain America", you're the goofy one here. Americans (a group that includes me) is perhaps THE most religious "first world" country. Being American or Canadian has nothing to do with it.
      The rise of non-belief is due to a number of things, all LONG overdue.

      No wonder Republicans hate funding educatiion so much. It might bring about people who can think for themselves, and therefore discard their backward and evangelical based agenda. These are the same idiots who keep trying to supress science and leaning with thinly veiled religious crap like "intelligent design".

      Dear readers, always remember, if you're not already brainwashed:
      The lack of a factual explanation to any given event or phenomena does NOT mean it's magic or that an invisible man in the sky willed it so. Human inagination is simultaneously the source of our species greatest strengths, and it's greatest weakness. Imagination tempered with wisdom and intelligence, applied through critical thinking and reason, can produce such amazing things as the computers you're all reading this on. At the same time, imagination conjures up all the various gods and demons mankind has used to "explain" that which no answers are available for (a line that keeps moving), and that mankind has also used to enslave the minds of others.

      When it comes to religion, logic dictates that there are only two possibilities:
      1). Either all the various religions and their divided, splintered sects, that exist now and have existed through all of human history are wrong EXCEPT ONE VERY SPECIFIC BELIEF SYSTEM, or...
      2). All of them are wrong. Period.

      Which do you think is more logical?

      December 25, 2011 at 12:20 am |
  15. Theron Corse

    Nonsense. First of all, humans are not innately evil. If we were, society never could have come into existence. Humans are a social animal - altruism, taking care of each other, working together are absolutely necessary or humans would not be humans. Lord of the Flies is a fictional novel about isolated children, not a work of scholarship. We of course are capable of evil, but if we were always evil, there would be no society. Do you really need an invisible magic man in the sky to tell you don't steal, be helpful, don't harm, be truthful? And you are enormously prejudiced if you think these ideas only come from Christianity. No, they come from humanity, because they are precisely the values a social animal like ourselves need to survive.

    December 24, 2011 at 4:09 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Theron, you haven't a clue to what you are talking about. My life as I knew it was destroyed (I was left as road kill) by big egoed non-believers who thought of themselves as gods and could do what they want, any time they want. Obviously you've never been tested in life to see where your strength or weaknesses are. For if you were, you'd never write such garbage.

      Amen.

      December 24, 2011 at 4:23 pm |
    • Jim

      Lord of the Flies is a fictional novel about isolated children, in the same way Huckleberry Finn is about a boy painting a fence. You've totally missed the point, and also, you're wrong. The whole point of fiction is to take real truths and put them in an artificial scenario, in order to prove a point. That you think human evil has to be "proved" by a bunch of lab rats, is just baffling.

      December 24, 2011 at 4:30 pm |
    • Theron Corse

      Huh? I've had troubles in my life because of religious folks doing their religious thing, but I don't assume all religious people are terrible. Whatever happened to you is not instructive as to the nature of all humans.

      December 24, 2011 at 4:31 pm |
    • Theron Corse

      Jim, you missed my point. I thought I was pretty clear that humans are not innately evil. I did not say anything about it needed to be proved. To the contrary, the evidence is very strong that we are not. If we were, human society simply would be impossible. And we are getting better - you should read Steve Pinker's The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined. Contrary to what many believe, violence had been on decline for quite some time now.

      December 24, 2011 at 4:36 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Theron, look up who and what sociopaths/psychopaths/anti-social personalities are and how they surround us in all walks of life today.

      Amen.

      December 24, 2011 at 4:41 pm |
    • Keith

      Jer 17:9 ¶ The heart [is] deceitful above all [things], and desperately wicked: who can know it?
      Gen 6:5 ¶ And GOD saw that the wickedness of man [was] great in the earth, and [that] every imagination of the thoughts of his heart [was] only evil continually.

      December 24, 2011 at 4:47 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Ahahha. That's a good one, HS. By any definition, you are a sociopath.

      December 24, 2011 at 5:45 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Oh, here we go: HS is going to begin her self-pitying whine-fest about what the "big egos" did to her and her stellar career.

      Wahhhh!

      December 24, 2011 at 5:53 pm |
    • TR6

      @ Keith” The heart [is] deceitful above all [things], and desperately wicked…every imagination of the thoughts of his heart [was] only evil continually.”

      The authors only believed that because they hung around with a bunch of religious types

      December 24, 2011 at 9:00 pm |
  16. Scriptured

    While I desire to be with my Father, I know He put me here for a reason. I have witnessed to my coworkers, friends, and family but have had little progress. I can only pray to be the salt Jesus speaks of in Matthew 5:13. Brothers and sisters, if you do not have Christ in your life, I plead with you to recognize your sin. See and believe that everything you have done up to this point has been done in vain. Nothing else matters except Christ and Christ alone. Look upon your Father, and stay held on to him throughout the trials of this life. Find a church and get fellowship with other believers. Communion with God daily through prayer, thanking Him for everything he has blessed you with. The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.

    December 24, 2011 at 4:05 pm |
    • Todd in DC

      Your coworkers do not want your crap. Religion is like a peni$. I'm glad you have one, but please don't wave in in public, and don't try to shove it down anyone's throat.

      December 24, 2011 at 4:15 pm |
    • Thomas

      While I am a man of faith, I disagree with your post. Religion to me is something that I choose to believe. I will not force my beliefs on others. If they ask, I will share but it is not my job to "witness" to others. I do not need a congregation to share my beliefs with. I have my family and friends. I do not need a mega church that costs millions of dollars to operate. Also, Christ does matter but he is not the only thing in my life. I'd give up my relationship with Christ long before I'd give up my relationship with my family and children. To me, THEY are everything. Without them I am nothing. That whole He is Everything garbage makes me ill. Your actions and life here are also not in "vain" and it is not a sin if someone doesn't have the level of belief that you claim to have. That is crazy talk. Also, you need to think twice about doing that at work. People are there trying to make a living. Not listen to you "witness" your God is the only thing worth getting up for talk. In short, live a good life. Help those in need when you can. Pray if it makes you feel better. Be accepting of others and their beliefs. That last one is something I bet you struggle with.

      December 24, 2011 at 4:23 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Thomas, it's obvious that you've never openrf up Jesus' letter He wrote to all (the Bible) and read His wisdom. I suggest you do so and you'd get out of the category of being an infidel.

      Merry Christmas.

      Amen.

      December 24, 2011 at 4:37 pm |
    • Drew

      I think you missed the point. Christians do good things more often. Unfortunately many folks are turned off by the preaching aspect, not to mention those they try telling you "their" way of respecting God is the only one and all else are sinners. You know no more than anybody else what a God would truly want. Christianity has many great ideals, one of which is acceptance of other religions. You should do good for your community, but you may be inhibiting your ability to do such things by telling people they are wrong for not believing or worshipping in the same manner you do.

      December 24, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
    • TR6

      @Drew: “Christianity has many great ideals, one of which is acceptance of other religions.”

      I CALL BS ON YOU!!! Please list the chapters and verses from the bible that support your statement. Or shall I quote you a few that are diametrically opposed to your statement?

      Christians don’t even accept other Christian’s beliefs.

      Haven’t you been reading what HS has said?

      December 24, 2011 at 9:08 pm |
  17. Elaine

    The arrogance continues. Religion does not have a monopoly on charity, compassion, and order. Religious extremists have been destroying people for centuries. I don't need a god to do the right thing.

    December 24, 2011 at 4:02 pm |
    • Omar

      what is the right thing Elaine?

      December 24, 2011 at 4:15 pm |
    • Todd in DC

      Omar: the right thing to do is to treat others better than you treat yourself and to allow for the fact that everyone, regardless as to what they believe, have certain basic inalienable rights like freedom or speech, freedom from religion, and freedom of the press.

      CHristianists want to take away rights from other people. Good people do not.

      December 24, 2011 at 4:18 pm |
    • Omar

      Tood, the point is you won't know what the right thing is without the knowledge of God.

      December 24, 2011 at 4:22 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Typical answer of a LAZY non-believer. You wouldn't know what truth, never mind everything you listed, it weren't for the teachings of Jesus. Talk about arrogant. All you non-believers reap what other generations before you did in their faith of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

      Merry Christmas and I pray your eyes be open to see, and your ears can hear His truth.

      December 24, 2011 at 4:33 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Todd in DC, every time you put your fingers to the keyboard, more ridiculous baloney pours out as you posted "Omar: the right thing to do is to treat others better than you treat yourself and to allow for the fact that everyone, regardless as to what they believe, have certain basic inalienable rights like freedom or speech, freedom from religion, and freedom of the press."

      Answer: I am living proof that you only have those rights when you fight for them in a court of law because you have money to pay attorneys. If not, say by by to those so called rights because sociopaths will take advantage of them every chance they can get away with it.

      Amen.

      CHristianists want to take away rights from other people. Good people do not.

      December 24, 2011 at 4:48 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      I dropped Todd's moronic statement that he posted at the end and is stuck to my answer back to him.

      Answer: Todd, lazy, lazy, lazy. Christians fought for your rights. You haven't done diddly yet. Do you believe your fellow atheists give two hoots about you? LOTF.

      Amen.

      December 24, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
    • TR6

      @Omar “you won't know what the right thing is without the knowledge of God.”

      Here is some of your god’s morality… Straight from Moses himself

      And Moses said unto them “Have ye saved all the women alive?... Now therefore Kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known a man by lying with him, but all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves” Num 31:1-2, 9-11, 14-18

      December 24, 2011 at 9:15 pm |
    • TR6

      @HeavenSent:”You wouldn't know what truth, never mind everything you listed, it weren't for the teachings of Jesus. “

      You tell them HS! For example those lousy Greeks and their civilization and philosophy and morality. None of that actually existed before Christ came along (rolling eyes)

      December 24, 2011 at 9:22 pm |
    • Concerned

      Morality and knowledge of "right" and "wrong" are perfectly explainable without evoking a deity.
      There is no god or devil at work there or anywhere else.

      We are social creatures, we need eachother. We create family groups, societies, whole cultures.
      Humans, like many higher social animals, come into the world with *some* inate knowledge of what is conducive to continued existence, and what is not, but most it it learned. And what one person or culture considers "good" may be considered very evil indeed by another. "Good" and "evil" are not absolutes, and exist only in the minds of we emotional beings who assign meaning to events that affect us positively or negatively.

      But alas, I know I'm wasting my time with the zealots... their beliefs have long since made them immune to pesky things like logic and reason, or even facts...

      December 25, 2011 at 12:30 am |
    • Omar

      Concerned you have a strong contradiction, who gave us the " inate knowledge of what is conducive to continued existence" ? where did that come from? from a mindless random process?

      get your facts straight, you sound like a theist to me!

      I re-post in despite what you atheist think, without God you wouldn't know what is good or what is wrong!

      Go back and do your homework!

      December 25, 2011 at 8:57 am |
  18. Gordon

    Of course salt is also very corrosive and destroys things that are exposed to it for a long enough time.

    December 24, 2011 at 4:00 pm |
    • Scriptured

      Jesus doesn't combine salt with things. He combines it with food, it's what gives food taste. That's why we are not corrosive.

      December 24, 2011 at 4:06 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Ghee Gordon, science tells us it's a preservative.

      Amen.

      December 24, 2011 at 4:42 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Here's a little clue for you, HS: "Ghee" is clarified butter.

      December 24, 2011 at 5:54 pm |
  19. Rob

    So, suddenly the Atheist is God? Just like a human secularist....making oneself (emphasis on "self") "God."

    December 24, 2011 at 3:58 pm |
  20. Rob

    Loather,

    Have a Blessed evening. Don't forget about the cultural infrastructure and religious foundation that allows you to voice your opinions on this Silent and Holy Night.

    December 24, 2011 at 3:52 pm |
    • Todd in DC

      You mean, like the Inquisition?

      December 24, 2011 at 4:18 pm |
    • Jim

      And when was the last time you were "Inquisited" by the religious authorities Todd? I mean if ever there was a straw man, that was it.

      December 24, 2011 at 4:32 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Todd in DC, since you live in the world today, you are just as guilty with blood on your hands for the wars that are currently raging. Therefore, get rid of your stupid argument. Hypocrite.

      Amen.

      December 24, 2011 at 4:44 pm |
    • Kreitsauce

      Yes, and don't forget that scientists made atrocities like Chernobyl, mustard gas, tanks, missiles, RPGs, and atom bombs possible. Down with scientists! (said tongue in cheek)

      December 24, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
    • Keith

      Todd, there is an Inquisition today perpetrated by muslims against Christians in Pakistan. Thanks for pointing that out.

      December 24, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
    • TR6

      @Jim, HS, Have you forgotten that in the 90’s Christian troops slaughtered over 8000 unarmed Muslims at Srebrenica?

      December 24, 2011 at 9:28 pm |
    • Jim

      @TR6 – Yes that was terrible. I'd argue that Eastern Orthodoxy in Serbia is really barely more than a cultural relic in Serbia, but since Orthodoxy is a part of Christianity, I'll just go ahead and accept that for the sake of argument.

      Since religions are comprised of human beings, you're always going to get those who commit such evils in the name of religion, Christianity included. Nobody disputes that. But there is nothing in Christianity that promotes, celebrates, or rewards such evil behavior. In fact, it is repeatedly condemned. The same isn't true of other some of the world's other religions, or, of atheism. 20 years ago, Muslims slaughtered 1.5 million Armenian Christians. And it was celebrated by Muslims everywhere. You'll not find a single example anywhere in history of people specifically calling themselves Christians doing any such thing, and additionally having it celebrated by other Christians elsewhere.

      December 25, 2011 at 12:20 am |
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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.