home
RSS
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. Someone

    I guess we hit the end of this thread....

    December 24, 2011 at 7:23 pm |
    • Someone

      Oops, guess not.....

      December 24, 2011 at 7:24 pm |
  2. tony

    In reading my Bible, I noticed that Jesus was slandered and eventually executed by the most religiously pious group of people of his time and country and their common god. Something for George to ponder I think. But I doubt George is capable of "getting it".

    December 24, 2011 at 6:20 pm |
    • Answer

      The only thing that a person like George will get is "I must read more of my bible to assert that it is right." and "I must pray for these people."

      Two of the most stupidest things – yet most beneficial things they can do to leave the world alone.

      December 24, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
  3. Atheist #1

    Barack Obama is all that stand between us and the Evil Ant environment,Pro Corporation, Republicans Who love The 1% and don't care about INCOME INEQUALITY.

    December 24, 2011 at 6:00 pm |
    • George

      If you are worried about income inequality, get off your lazy behind and start working. The government should not interfere with a person's God given right to the American dream.

      December 24, 2011 at 6:07 pm |
    • tony

      If the American dream involves owning a business that is successful enough to have 100+ US employees, then only 1%, or less, get to enjoy the dream.

      December 24, 2011 at 6:14 pm |
    • Phlab

      George: Scandinavian countries with a much higher tax rate have a much higher rate of social mobility. So if you want to live the american dream, move to denmark 😉

      December 24, 2011 at 7:12 pm |
    • Shelia Barnsworth

      Actually George, if you were a true Christine, you would do as Jesus said, and sell all your goods, give them to the poor, and go follow him. Or at least do as they did in Acts 2:44, and share everything in common. You ability to make up whatever you want Georgianity to be is astounding.

      December 24, 2011 at 7:38 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Where in the Bible does God recognize anyone's right to the American dream, Georgie?

      Never mind. I know you don't believe such tripe.

      December 24, 2011 at 7:45 pm |
  4. tony

    What is really so frightening about the Human Race, is that except for some of Europe, each nation want's it's leaders to be of their mainstream religion. That implies that they want leaders who are basically irrational, and worse, know almost nothing about history and the causes of most wars.

    December 24, 2011 at 5:57 pm |
    • George

      If you admire Europe so much, move there. You will be back in the bat of the eye.

      December 24, 2011 at 6:09 pm |
    • tony

      You should be typing in "native American" rather than an European language then Georgie.

      December 24, 2011 at 6:11 pm |
    • Answer

      @George

      The same can be said that "if you hate the US – you might as well destroy it". The religious always want to destroy and replace anything with their view. Is that why you hate your fellow man because they don't want your stupid religion?

      December 24, 2011 at 6:13 pm |
    • Pam

      Oh George. You're so amusing.

      December 24, 2011 at 6:14 pm |
    • George

      @Answer

      I don't hate my fellow man. I want to get them saved. Why do atheists hate there fellow man?

      December 24, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      >>>"The religious always want to destroy and replace anything with their view."

      Wait... Wait.... Answer you were saying just last week that YOU wanted to destroy Religion because it was not in your view. Now you are asking why another wants to "destroy"

      Come on Answer .... Wasn't that you who was preaching destruction... do I need to search all the comments to confirm this? Would that make you a hypocrite if it was you?

      December 24, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
    • Answer

      @George

      You voice it everyday. It's okay to try to change the world. Your spouts do more than hint your hate.
      Your kind are irrelevant to the future. Accept it and vanish.

      December 24, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      With love like yours, Georgie, who needs hate?

      December 24, 2011 at 7:46 pm |
  5. *frank*

    People with Mr Taunton's level of brain power should stick to things like janitorial work, and leave the theorizing and social commentary to the people who are better at thinking.

    December 24, 2011 at 5:56 pm |
  6. tony

    We really need a "fair and balanced" Atheists' Blog page.

    December 24, 2011 at 5:51 pm |
    • Answer

      No we don't.

      We just read everything we can – wherever the facts are – that is the premise of atheism and learning. We don't need a centralized blog to tell us what to think. That is why religions need a blog.

      December 24, 2011 at 6:00 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Yet most Atheist post sound so cut and paste. The belief system if not exactly the same is pretty close. I do not think the Atheist need their own blog thought, the post here show that more and more they are establishing their own religious type of dogma.

      December 24, 2011 at 6:04 pm |
    • George

      @tony

      At last, finally I agree with you on something.

      December 24, 2011 at 6:04 pm |
    • Answer

      Right Mark..

      You want others to think that it is all cut and paste. You can keep on painting that picture to yourself.

      December 24, 2011 at 6:06 pm |
    • tony

      Actually, I was pointing out that CNN discriminates against people with no religious beliefs. And for no good reason.

      December 24, 2011 at 6:08 pm |
    • Answer

      @tony

      It is only a perception – it is always an individual experience.

      December 24, 2011 at 6:10 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      >>>"Yet most Atheist post sound so cut and paste"

      ...but in your mind you mind saw:

      >>>"all cut and paste"

      most,all,most,all, m o s t , a l l ...

      Come on Answer, you are barely putting up a good fight anymore. 🙂

      The cut and paste ones are the same things that are normally said. No harm, often makes it easier to skip over many Atheist post and get to the good ones making decent conversations.

      You know Answer, you never responded to the boxcar comment back on the Hitch thread.

      December 24, 2011 at 6:17 pm |
    • Answer

      Fight – good?

      That's a nice thing to say there Mark. And your point being? That you are fighting me or that I am fighting you?
      When you are significant enough without your religion maybe you'll be worthwhile to chat with Mark.

      December 24, 2011 at 6:19 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Answer, do not worry....you were happy to chat or exchange post for hours the other night. Remember you kept losing your cool and had to resort to name calling and insults.... not many cohesive arguments but tantrums did overflow from you.

      So, no problem if you do not want to "chat" again. Why go down losing on Christmas Eve like the other night. Would have made a great Christmas present to me. 🙂

      Sorta like How the Rams got beaten by the Steelers today.

      December 24, 2011 at 6:38 pm |
    • Answer

      Do I care about the football game? Is that your view?

      You like to hate people because of your religion.. it's okay. You'll be off in heaven in no time. So why bother typing to convert people with your nonsense?

      December 24, 2011 at 6:48 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Awww come on Answer.... All I have to do is challenge you to search my post. I try to preach more tolerance and peace than most here but, again it is just you making up stuff as you go along.

      In fact, find that post that hate because of my Religion. I am very interested to see if you can find it. I know about where I can find your words of intolerance but please see if you can do the same.

      December 24, 2011 at 10:01 pm |
  7. chaz

    Hear is that false equivalence again... Being Christan has very little to do with being a decent human being...I have found more statistically that atheist behave more christian then the majority of Christians....

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

      There is no morality without God. Forget that "I'm a good person" tripe. Many good people are burning in hell.

      December 24, 2011 at 5:52 pm |
    • Manley

      That's the spirit, George. It's like, right now, you seem like such a good, pleasant person.

      December 24, 2011 at 5:54 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Doesn't he? He and HS always seem so full of joy and hope for the future, don't they?

      Why would anyone want to emulate them? They remind me of the Wicked Witch of the West. Can't you just imagine HS on her broomstick, screeching "I'll get you and yer little dog, too!"

      December 24, 2011 at 5:57 pm |
    • Manley

      Who's HS again? I like where you're going with this, I just don't want to be left behind.

      December 24, 2011 at 6:38 pm |
    • TR6

      @George:”There is no morality without God.”

      Hey George, here’s a little slice 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 7:47 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      HeavenSent, the other light of this blog. Bringing joy and love to all mankind. While hating the guts of anyone who doesn't swallow her/his/its religious swill.

      December 24, 2011 at 7:47 pm |
  8. tony

    All god's children are born as Atheists. And it's not god that converts them.

    December 24, 2011 at 5:42 pm |
    • George

      Who is it then? Not the parents. I have a completely different faith than my parents. Fundamentally different. They are Catholic and I am Evangelical. God brings us to Christ, not humans. Every believer has a reason why they believe the way they do.

      December 24, 2011 at 5:50 pm |
    • JohnR

      Sure, George. If there weren't a single evangelical christian on earth, god would have still led you to your beliefs. You bet.

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

      @JohnR

      Are you trying to say that society brings people to God? How, then, is it that nearly all societies have some conception of God? No matter how misguided they may be, it is still there even in isolated societies.

      December 24, 2011 at 6:00 pm |
    • Answer

      @George

      "How, then, is it that nearly all societies have some conception of God? "

      You haven't thought of why -people- need a god? Or are you just afraid that yours is irrelevant?

      December 24, 2011 at 6:03 pm |
    • JohnR

      @George Yes, societies bring people to particular faiths. Do you think it's all just an amazing statistical coincidence that the best predictor of what particular faith you belong to, if any, is where you were brought up?

      As for the general quest for spirituality and belief in some sort of divinity amongst humans, that may well be a biological endowment, at least as a sort of default. Mourning the mortalities of other beings (not just humans), fearing one's own and standing in awe of natural forces beyond one's comprehension seem to lead naturally to the belief in spirits and powers.

      But one thing for sure, jolly old Jehovah never led anyone to anything. If he did, he wouldn't need missionaries!

      December 24, 2011 at 6:08 pm |
    • George

      @JohnR

      God works through missionaries. Read up on the apostolic charge.

      December 24, 2011 at 6:12 pm |
    • Answer

      The corrected phrase is as follows: "Religions work through missionaries."

      December 24, 2011 at 6:14 pm |
    • JohnR

      @George So you admit that once again it is HUMANS that bring other humans to a specific faith.

      Your god is a wimp if he has to work through humans, George. Either that or he just plain doesn't exist! Either way, your claim that god brought you to your faith has been refuted.

      December 24, 2011 at 6:58 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Why does God require people to pray for a conservative to be elected as President, George? Why doesn't God just smite all liberals and be done with it? If He's such a big super-hero, why does he need you to urge people to vote? Why doesn't he do it himself?

      Really, you can't be this stupid. You have to be faking it.

      December 24, 2011 at 7:54 pm |
    • TR6

      @George: “God works through missionaries.”

      That’s exactly the point. Your god does ABSOLUTLY NOTHING. Everything credited to him is actually done by something else. Missionary work is done by people. Earthquakes are caused by plate tectonics. Nothing is caused by your god

      December 24, 2011 at 7:54 pm |
    • Keith

      Tom, keep your damn Canadian opinion to yourself when it comes to OUR election in the United States.

      December 24, 2011 at 11:21 pm |
  9. Pam

    I'm actually very glad that I stumbled upon this web page. It gives me hope that this world might actually turn out OK.

    Obviously I'm not referring to the original article when I say this. No, that article is yet another pathetic example of the kind of thinking that threatens our world's peaceful existence. What made me glad was when I saw the overwhelming outpouring of well reasoned, well written comments speaking out against Mr. Taunton's narrow-minded views. There will always be sad and spiteful people like Mr. Taunton in this world.... always. But it's very comforting to see so many people standing up and saying, "NO!... That's NOT the kind of people WE are."

    December 24, 2011 at 5:42 pm |
  10. George

    This is a great article that lays out what is wrong with America and western civilization in general. Without Christ we are doomed to the trash heap of history. We need to be praying for our nation every day.

    December 24, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
    • Answer

      You keep praying. That is all you can do, and for that the world is better off when your kind does nothing.

      December 24, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
    • nepawoods

      What is wrong with America is that so many Americans are so ignorant of history to believe this tripe. 400 BC, Socrates wrote: "One should never do wrong in return, nor mistreat any man, no matter how one has been mistreated by him." That's just an example. You can't find a single moral value held by Christians that doesn't predate Christianity, and that isn't held by other peoples independent of the influence of Christianity. America in no way depends on Christianity for its good. I'm a Christian, but I don't believe Christianity requires believing in ridiculous lies, or being ignorant of historical and cultural truth.

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

      All Christians have been praying for peace for the last 2000 years. When's god going to listen???

      December 24, 2011 at 5:44 pm |
    • George

      @nap

      There is no morality without Christ. Read your Bible.

      December 24, 2011 at 5:48 pm |
    • Ironicus

      George, name just one thing a religious person could do that could not be done by an atheist. Just one.

      December 24, 2011 at 5:48 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Silly George. Nobody believes that you mean any of this right-wing nonsense you're typing. It's pretty clear you're simply pretending to be an ultra-conservative nut to elicit a response from liberals and make the conservative sorts look bad.

      I notice you never bother to deny it.

      December 24, 2011 at 5:51 pm |
    • George

      I don't bother to deny it because I try to ignore you as much as I possibly can. You are a troll. Ok, I hereby deny it. I am exactly who I present myself to be, a conservative Christian. Your trolling is getting old.

      December 24, 2011 at 5:55 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Not buying it, Georgie. You're a fraud. You don't believe the nonsensical hyperbole you type.

      December 24, 2011 at 5:58 pm |
    • George

      Tough, tom. Believe what you will. I can't change your mind. That's why I like to ignore you.

      December 24, 2011 at 6:02 pm |
    • Answer

      You sure do a lot of ignoring there ..George

      December 24, 2011 at 6:05 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You can't change my mind because I've got you pegged.

      December 24, 2011 at 6:31 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      George is an expert at ignorance.

      December 24, 2011 at 7:55 pm |
    • Really-O?

      @George –

      "There is no morality without Christ. Read your Bible."

      There is no christ without the bible. Read your......bible......oh, never mind.

      December 24, 2011 at 7:58 pm |
    • Really-O?

      ...and on a lighter note –

      "I dismiss all other gods other than the God of Abraham because the God of Abraham has told me that they aren't real."

      Yup...that's from the irrepressible Chad.

      December 24, 2011 at 8:00 pm |
    • TR6

      @George: “We need to be praying for our nation every day.”

      If prayer actually did anything Christians would be doing a lot better than the rest of us when they go to Vegas, or the hospital. And people wouldn’t laugh at Christians nearly as much as they do

      December 24, 2011 at 8:02 pm |
  11. Ironicus

    Well, I guess socialism, socialist, and specialist are not the problem words I thought they were.
    Sorry for the false alarm!

    December 24, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  12. Haime52

    I found the article to be a fairly good anology. Many of the comments are relevant also. If Christians were really Christian, there would be fewer rabid Christian hatering atheists. Not necessarily fewer atheists, just fewer that hate Christians. As time progresses, I fear we will see ever more people who profess Christianity but practice a very contorted version of it. You see, many don't think you can be truly loving and uncompromising, so they are not loving and they don't think they are compromising, even though they have compromised with the world on many levels. Jesus was both loving and uncompromising and was hated for it. Many will dislike or outright hate a person like that because, by their actions of love, they feel condemned, so it is easier to hate than change.

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

      The main reason they are so fractured. They'll continue to fracture until the hate portions of the bible are weeded out of their unchangeable bible or that massive numbers begin to adopt a whole new accepted religion – like mormonism.

      December 24, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
    • Haime52

      You miss the point completely. Truth is black and white, it is our imperect understanding that creates grey areas. I believe that the Bible teaches only love. Many feel that love and hate are mutually exclusive, but true love must hate evil, and that is the crux of the problem, the defining of evil and how each of us do that and apply our own definition to others.

      December 30, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
  13. Phlab

    Ah yes, Larry Alex Taunton. That man whose recent book was so thoroughly panned by the press that he's threatening to sue for libel. I think that situation speaks volumes about the quality of his writing. On this weak, pithy argument:

    Although not religious, I at least appreciate it when theocratically-minded people at least try to put some effort into their arguments. His are tuned to be christian-populist – his arguments can easily be refuted in as little as 1 or 2 points (Look at scandinavian countries – places on the list of lowest per-capita crime in the world – and their almost complete rejection of religion and god.) . they're meant not to be polemical, but rather just big-ups to people who already share his position and aren't interested in critical examination. it's not just lazy, it's intellectual cowardice.

    December 24, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
  14. Jason

    Why do religious Christians always assume that morals and ethics are unique to their own beliefs? I got news for them, not only have Christians committed some of the worst human rights violations in history in the name of their faith they are mostly hypocrites when it comes to the teachings in the Bible. Most agnostics and atheists I know have higher moral and ethical values than any self-proclaimed Christian I have ever met. And what's with using a work of fiction as an example? Have the Christians embraced the mythology of their own beliefs for what is, or are they really grasping at straws to change the focus away from their own failings? I really don't see society collapsing with the end of Christianity. It certainly didn't collapse after the downfall of every previous mythology/religion. Fear breeds hate, and that is certainly not something Christ preached but does brightly illustrate the hypocrisy of those who claim to follow him. Keep your personal, private religion to yourself and worry about your words and deeds. That's what God really cares about, not how or where or when you pray.

    December 24, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
  15. Really-O?

    Sweet! Another idiotic Chad-bite –

    "I dismiss all other gods other than the God of Abraham because the God of Abraham has told me that they aren't real."

    How's that for circular reasoning?

    December 24, 2011 at 5:11 pm |
    • Jeff Williams

      """I dismiss all other gods other than the God of Abraham because the God of Abraham has told me that they aren't real.""""

      As stated, yes – Circular. However, the Abrahamic god DOES admit to the presence of other gods in the 10 commandments.

      December 24, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  16. Doug

    Interesting comparison Mr. Taunton, but you got the names of the towns wrong. Christianity isn't what made Bedford Falls what it was. Christianity is what made SALEM MASSACHUSETTS what is was. Do you think that's an exaggeration? Just ask the good, kind, neighborly Americans who are followers of Islam and who want to build a place of worship in downtown New York City what Americas who call themselves "Christians" are doing to them. Or ask the hard-working, tax-paying California citizens who can't enjoy the same rights as others because of discriminatory legislation like Prop 8 what Americans who call themselves "Christian" are doing to them. We can only hope that some day Christians will accept the idea that "freedom of religion" must apply to ALL religions and it also must include freedom FROM religion for those who prefer that route. We can only wait for the day when people like Mr. Taunton will finally realize that others can be, and ARE, truly and genuinely "good" even though they have different religious beliefs than he does. When that day comes then Christians will finally DESERVE to be called followers of Christ. Until then, we'll just have to keep rolling our eyes every time we read yet another sad article like Mr. Taunton's.

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

      @ Doug Very well said, Sir! Very well, Indeed! I am an atheist and I applaud your comments! There are many here speaking their minds concerning this subject, which are also appreciated. I do not need any god to be a good and moral person and I haven't for the past 65 years. No rewards promised after my demise, in some fantasy of an afterlife has ever affectied any of my actions, thoughts, or conduct throughout my life. I strongly feel that when one dies, that's it! Game over, lights out, all conscieness leaves one's body as does breath and life itself. Each of us gets one life and it is up to each of us to make it the best life that we can. Neither christians nor anyone other group have a corner on morals or ethics, it makes me laugh when I hear someone say that we atheists cannot or do not have any morals, or that we are devil worshppers! Everyone that lives is an atheist, we simply do not believe in one more god than the religious folks do, who all claim that their god is the one "true god", we reject all gods!

      December 24, 2011 at 6:59 pm |
  17. Olivia

    What is slightly disturbing about the argument that "faith makes people good" is that people do not need to be Christian, Catholic, Jewish, atheist, etc to be moral. You do not need religion to be a good person.

    In fact, I think society as a whole would be a lot better off if people stopped using religion as their "im a good guy" card and just started being moral and virtuous.

    At this point in my life, I cannot say that I believe in god, but I can wholeheartedly state that I am a charitable and benelovent person; and if god does exist and condemns me all the same simply because I didn't "believe" in him, well then that's Ok because that's the type of god I never wanted to believe in anyway.

    December 24, 2011 at 5:07 pm |
  18. Keith

    I find it very telling that an article like this get 2,100+ comments while the article about persecution has a whopping 189? People just don't have the spine to deal with the hard real issues. They cover their ears and eyes and go "la la la la...I don't hear you...la la la la". They see an article that shows us all the truth about what happens to Christians in the Islamic world every damn day and it just doesn't resonate. Perhaps because they have been led to believe that Islam is peaceful and harmless by cnn and CAIR. You all would rather live in your utopic fantasyland than deal with the reality of the situation. The "American Muslim" of today is same Pakistani Muslim storming a church and burning it to the ground of tomorrow. Wake up and deal with it.

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

      Maybe it's because this story was advertised with a large graphic on CNN's home page? Just a theory . . .

      December 24, 2011 at 5:10 pm |
    • uberwelt

      Are you being deliberately obtuse? The best thing that could happen in countries where Christians are being persecuted is for the entire population to face reality and reject ALL religions. This is amazing: One group of deluded primates is killing another group of deluded primates, and your "solution" is to continue the delusional pretense!

      December 24, 2011 at 5:15 pm |
    • Olivia

      Also, this is more of an opinion piece than actual news article: opinion pieces usually get more comments.

      December 24, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
    • nepawoods

      This has nothing to do with Islam, and the premises and conclusions of the article are all false. The same moral values held by Christians are held by other peoples, without Christian influence. Christianity is not the source of, nor does it have a monopoly on, moral values. The ten commandments predate Christianity, and similar values predate the ten commandments. New testament values – the "Golden Rule" – were expressed by Confucious and others centuries before Christ. And as others have pointed out, "Pottersville" had everything to do with bankers with no sense of social responsibility, precisely like the "1%" that OWS find fault with, and that the conservative right defend.

      December 24, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
    • Manley

      Everyone, could you give Keith a moment to speak. He has something to say about muslims.

      December 24, 2011 at 5:39 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      He's had a moment. As usual, he says little of import.

      December 24, 2011 at 5:59 pm |
    • Manley

      I don't know. Keith was pretty convincing. He used a lot of words and suggested someone wants to kill me. I don't think I have a choice but to believe him.

      December 24, 2011 at 6:34 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      *snerk*

      December 24, 2011 at 7:49 pm |
    • Keith

      Tom, now I understand why my Candaian hunting buddies called them "stinkin' Paki's" even 25 years ago. The wretched smell of death permeates islam.

      December 24, 2011 at 11:27 pm |
  19. uberwelt

    How is it that religious folks are automatically given the option to delude themselves and still be taken seriously? Suppose we were engaged in a discussion on abortion and I said, "The Supreme Invisible Rabbit told me that abortion is a sin." Would you "respect" my opinion? Would you consider people who dismissed my babblling out of hand to be "closed minded"? Would you advocate the creation of state university departments dedicated to teaching invisible rabbit theory?

    December 24, 2011 at 5:07 pm |
  20. Klw

    The author's theory (that we would do well to base our economic policy on Christian teachings) is sound enough, but in practice, today's American Christians do not vote in accordance with Christian economic theory and cannot do so unless they are willing to violate Christian teaching on certain social issues. They overwhelmingly support "Pottersville" economic policies because they either find these social issues to be more relevant, are ignorant of Christ's economic teachings, or have been led to believe that Christ was a capitalist.

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

      "are ignorant of Christ's economic teachings, or have been led to believe that Christ was a capitalist."

      The above statement you made is the main point. What does an illiterate wandering herdsman of those past day have in the knowledge of the current world financial system? Nothing. People attach traits to their long dead prophets like it is relevant today – when it is really – a useless argument.

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

      Christ's economic teachings? Trust me, economics is a science. Christ was no scientist.

      December 24, 2011 at 5:59 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60
Advertisement
About this blog

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.