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Survey: Very religious rate higher on “well being” scale
February 17th, 2012
05:59 AM ET

Survey: Very religious rate higher on “well being” scale

By Dan Merica, CNN

Washington (CNN) – Very religious people rate higher – compared to the moderately religious and nonreligious – on a Gallup “well being” survey released Thursday.

According to the survey, very religious people from all religious groups surveyed higher than their nonreligious brethren. Very religious Jews scored highest on the survey with a score of 72.4. Very religious Mormons finished a close second with 71.5.

By comparison, moderately and non religious Jews scored in the 68 percentile, while moderately and non religious Mormons scored in the 63 percentile.

Gallup defines well being based on a number of emotional and physical health indexes in their Well-Being Index.

“The findings confirm that the strong positive relationship between religiosity and wellbeing that Gallup previously demonstrated holds regardless of faith,” stated a release by researchers Frank Newport, Dan Witters and Sangeeta Agrawal.

Though the difference from the top was only about 7 points, those who identified as not religious, atheist or agnostic finished at the bottom of the scale with 65.8 points.

“The relationship appears to be largely independent of the proportions of very religious, moderately religious, and nonreligious in each religious group, and it is more closely aligned with the faith itself,” the release stated.

An example: while Muslims have a lower level of well being than Jews, the gap between the most and least religious constituencies is roughly the same.

The results of the survey also show that Mormons are by far the most religious group surveyed.

Seventy-three percent of Mormons identified as very religious, compared to 50 percent of Protestants, 46 percent of Muslims and 43 percent of Roman Catholics.

In comparison, people from other non-Christian religions and Jews were predominantly nonreligious with 43.7 and 53.5 percent respectively identifying as such.

The survey was compiled from 676,000 interviews and has an error range of plus or minus less than one percent. These interviews were conducted from January 2010 to December 2011.

The data is part of a multipart Gallup series on “religiosity and wellbeing in America.”

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Christianity • Islam • Judaism • Mormonism • Polls • Protestant

soundoff (687 Responses)
  1. Michael

    I readily admit that much evil has been done in the name of religion. What so many people fail to realize is that (true) Christianity is not a religion at all. It is a personal relationship with the Living Lord – Jesus Christ. And you will never get there through human reasoning. He is a supernatural God – and you will never understand Him through human wisdom. "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the Lord. "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." (Isaiah 55:8-9) Before you can get to know Him, you have to realize YOU are not God!
    These things I know: 1) The Lord loves you, 2) He wants a relationship with you (He wants you to know Him, He already knows you!), and 3) your life with Him will be better than anything you can imagine. How to get there? Humble yourself, pray, seek His face, and turn from your wicked ways – from 2 Chronicles 7:14.

    February 18, 2012 at 10:41 am |
    • mcKraken

      Can you not see? You are certain of something that has, at most, a set of ancient and chaotic writings as evidence. You espouse the abandonment of reason as a way to some mystical truth. You were indoctrinated into a way of thinking and it makes you feel good. This is a drug. Nothing more. You have a self-induced high that is no less effective than any other narcotic (and apparently just as addictive). It's not your fault. You can get help.

      February 18, 2012 at 11:10 am |
    • Oh Yeah

      The evil was still done by followers of Jesus, no matter how much you want to distance yourselves from the word "religion" now. We can all hope that you 'relationship' types would be kinder and gentler than your predecessors, but it appears so far to be just a rebranding of the same ultra-conservative faction that gave Christianity such a bad name in the first place. Please, for all of our sakes, prove my fears wrong!!!

      February 18, 2012 at 11:10 am |
    • Oh Yeah

      Michael
      "And you will never get there through human reasoning."
      Didn't you come to this through human reasoning? You reasoned that it's fruitless to dig very deep into the nature of God. You reasoned that God is ultimately a mystery, right? Still the product of human reasoning.

      "He is a supernatural God – and you will never understand Him through human wisdom."
      Isn't this realization part of your human wisdom?

      Think about it!

      February 18, 2012 at 11:32 am |
    • Chad

      Very well said Michael

      Certainly we as Christians can never and should never attempt to dodge the horrific things we have done in the name of a completely misguided theology, at the same time it's important to realize that atheists regularly attempt to incorrectly describe what was done. "Religion is the root of all wars" is a complete myth

      "In their Encyclopedia of Wars, authors Charles Phillips and Alan Axelrod attempt a comprehensive listing of wars in history. They document 1763 wars overall, of which 123 (7%) have been classified to involve a religious conflict.[1] William T. Cavanaugh argues that what is termed "religious wars" is a largely Western dichotomy of different power configurations which serves a Western consumer audience.[2]" – wikipedia

      February 18, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
    • Abinadi

      So, apparently we have all forgotten what the world was like before Christianity. It was a brutal place where might made right and where the meek perished. It was a world of continual warfare. Most of us would not even survive. Your daughters and your wives would be required to offer themselves in fertility rites. Illegitimate babies resulting from this immorality would be required to be offered up as sacrifices so the state would not be burdened with the problem. Husbands and sons would perish in epic battles. Many of us would be slaves. Is this what we really want? Really?

      February 18, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
    • McKraken

      @!Abinadi – Before xianity? Really? And after? Thousands of years of social and scientific repression (i.e. crushing free thought), crusades, other assorted holy wars. dark ages, etc. Yeah. Xianity really helped. Hmmmm.... I wonder what really helps. Let's see: Advent of true scientific thought and reason (the western enlightenment) and the resulting development of modern medicine and technology. Go back even 100 years and you get to live half as long as today, if you're lucky.

      February 18, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
    • ReligionIs4Dolts

      Chad is full of $hi+ as usual! Wars that are "strictly about religion" are probably the only ones accounted for by whatever authors made up the stats you are quoting, but then there is no way that is even close to being correct. And regardless, that is not the whole story. When you're talking about religion's influence in warfare, it doesn't matter if the war was "strictly about religion," "started because of religious differences," etc. If one side recognizes that they also have religious differences after whatever catalyst actually started the war, then religion is thereafter inextricably linked to the war. Take for instance, WWII. It wasn't strictly started because of "Christianity versus Shintoism" (or whatever). But obviously Christianity had SOMETHING to do with the war. Hitler had his own extremist views about wiping out Jews. Americans were singing "Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition"

      February 18, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
    • ReligionIs4Dolts

      Chad: Also wars are not the only EVIL that Christian religious freaks do. There are the Spanish Inquisition, the Westboro Baptist idiots accosting people at funerals, the Salem witch trials, the Branch Davidian episode, the Heaven's Gate and Jim Jones mass suicides....etc., etc., etc., etc., etc., etc.

      February 18, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
    • Oh Yeah

      Abinadi
      We need only look at how peaceful Native American peoples lived before Christians entered their world to see the illogic of your claim.

      "Of all religions the Christian is without doubt the one which should inspire tolerance most, although up to now the Christians have been the most intolerant of all men." – Voltaire

      February 19, 2012 at 12:50 am |
    • Chad

      "Charity differences between religious and secular people persist if we look at the actual amounts of donations and volunteering. Indeed, measures of the dollars given and occasions volunteered per year produce a yawning gap between the groups. The average annual giving among the religious is $2,210, whereas it is $642 among the secular. Similarly, religious people volunteer an average of 12 times per year, while secular people volunteer an average of 5.8 times. To put this into perspective, religious people are 33 percent of the population but make 52 percent of donations and 45 percent of times volunteered. Secular people are 26 percent of the population but contribute 13 percent of the dollars and 17 percent of the times volunteered." – Arthur C. Brooks

      February 19, 2012 at 11:07 pm |
    • Chad

      @ReligionIs4Dolts "Take for instance, WWII. It wasn't strictly started because of "Christianity versus Shintoism" (or whatever). But obviously Christianity had SOMETHING to do with the war. Hitler had his own extremist views about wiping out Jews. Americans were singing "Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition""

      =>hmmm
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Causes_of_World_War_II

      I looked and couldnt find any reference to your claim that Christianity had anything to do with WWII.. The text "christian" isnt even on that page..

      what source were you using?

      February 19, 2012 at 11:13 pm |
  2. AtheistSteve

    This is hardly surprising. After all... ignorance is bliss.

    February 18, 2012 at 6:15 am |
    • Dude from Dallas

      My thoughts exactly.

      February 18, 2012 at 10:00 am |
    • AGuest9

      The deluded have no concerns or fears because they put them into their non-existent god's "hands". They blind themselves to the fact that they must dig themselves out of the hole that they got themselves into.

      February 18, 2012 at 10:14 am |
    • Michael p

      The irony of this post and it's responders is staggering.

      February 18, 2012 at 12:06 pm |
  3. McKraken

    Also, dude in the picture looks like Jesus is going down on him.

    February 18, 2012 at 12:46 am |
    • Man from Montana

      Looks like he's into bondage also. Notice the rope on the right hand.

      February 18, 2012 at 5:06 am |
  4. McKraken

    "Study shows that epically stoned people have greater sense of well being". Nope. Didn't see that coming...

    February 18, 2012 at 12:42 am |
  5. Jimmy-James

    Because a survey based on asking people questions about themselves by total strangers is rife with accuracy...What next? "People with more self-confidence rate selves higher on the 'better than other people' scale"?

    February 17, 2012 at 11:13 pm |
    • Jakey

      Oh, I believe it. There have been other studies showing that conservatives are the happiest in the political spectrum as well. That feeling tends to be attached to moral superiority and indifference toward the concerns and feelings of others. (And, speaking of genuinely nice religious people who do a lot of charity work, obviously that would make them feel good as well.)

      February 18, 2012 at 12:56 am |
  6. TheRationale

    Interesting how they say it's more to do with which faith you have rather than the amount of faith you have.

    At least everyone's over 50. Over 60 even. Whatever that means.

    February 17, 2012 at 10:42 pm |
  7. nada

    Geeze... the sheer number of conflating factors in that poll.

    February 17, 2012 at 10:41 pm |
  8. well

    I understand the religious evangelicals. They want to share what makes them happy.
    I just don't understand atheist evangelicals. It seems they just want people to see how smart they are.
    Myself, I'm an agnostic evangelical. I want people to see how little we all know.

    February 17, 2012 at 9:02 pm |
    • Observer

      You should win a prize, my friend. Yours is the only coherent post on this page.

      February 17, 2012 at 9:07 pm |
    • Oh Yeah

      No, we're just trying to teach people something they ought to know, or to reason with them. Teachers aren't usually in it just to prove how smart they are, right?

      February 17, 2012 at 11:29 pm |
  9. You've heard the story?

    February 17, 2012 at 8:12 pm |
    • Godless, childless ...

      February 17, 2012 at 8:15 pm |
    • ...

      Stole a pig, and away did run;
      The pig was eat
      And Tom was beat,
      And Tom went crying
      Down the street.

      February 17, 2012 at 8:35 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Maybe you can explain to Abinadi what "begging the question" actually means. Go ahead, Einstein. Have at it.

      February 17, 2012 at 8:38 pm |
  10. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    February 17, 2012 at 7:29 pm |
    • Prayer Is No Different Than Associating a Meaningless Ritual With the Inert Act of Making a Wish

      REPORT ABUSE ON THIS SPAMMER!!!

      Spammety spam!!!!!!

      February 17, 2012 at 7:34 pm |
    • just sayin

      Truthity Truth

      February 17, 2012 at 7:40 pm |
    • Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

      Prayer changes things
      Proven
      Powerful
      Productive
      Prayer really changes things

      February 17, 2012 at 7:41 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      just lying=dumbity dumb.

      February 17, 2012 at 7:42 pm |
    • onehippypoet

      Tom Tom the Pipers Son
      stole a pig and away it run
      Why?
      Tom, Tom was
      Dumbity dumb

      February 17, 2012 at 7:59 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You know why I'm here, just sayin.

      February 17, 2012 at 8:04 pm |
    • just sayin

      9 months before you were born your dad broke a rubber?

      February 17, 2012 at 8:38 pm |
    • just sayin

      9 months before you were born the fleet was in?

      February 17, 2012 at 8:43 pm |
    • Oh Yeah

      Prayers to any god, or just yours?

      February 18, 2012 at 1:06 am |
    • just sayin

      Prayer is talking to God, the creator God. Talking to idols (false gods) invites disaster.

      February 18, 2012 at 7:25 am |
    • Ted from Tennessee

      I assume you are referring to Budah.

      February 18, 2012 at 10:05 am |
    • An inconvenient truth

      Sorry Ted, Budah was a man, a man with the wisdom to know there was a God and he wasn't him.

      February 18, 2012 at 11:44 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Budah? WTH was "Budah"? Are you talking about Buddha? Idiot.

      February 18, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
    • just sayin

      Read the question , the reference Ted made was for Budah not Buddah. When you but into other peoples conversations try to follow what was said and you will look less stupid Tom, Tom, you poor widdle dear. Awwwww

      February 18, 2012 at 8:50 pm |
  11. TR6

    Well, it’s nice to see they at least get a little compensation for having to conform to so much illogical, unreasonable and contradictory dogma.

    February 17, 2012 at 7:28 pm |
  12. Topher

    What a surprise the most religious hate the most. What's next their is going to be an article on how the most religious commit the most crimes or the ones who usually commit adultry are religous zealots, I swear religions create hypocrites by the dozen. What is about those religous scriptures that make people can do whatever they want in life and some invisible creator is going to forgive them for the way he knew people are going to act in the first. I wished America would turn secular so violent crime would start to go down. I'm the greatest person on the planet but I try my best to not be hateful or commit crimes that can hurt others but I don't believe in any religon because I studied religious scriptures and didn't see anything that teaches good morals but enforce hate. Oh well at one time most people thought the world was flat and when it comes to the idea of a deity or deities where still there it's just people kill over these barbaric silly beliefs. If only they stayed home and just prayed so the rest of us could just live in peace.

    February 17, 2012 at 6:49 pm |
  13. One one

    It's because they live in a fantasy world. Reality isn't always pleasant.

    February 17, 2012 at 6:12 pm |
    • strongbelief2

      They rank their "well being" high because they know the TRUTH.

      February 17, 2012 at 7:09 pm |
    • ......

      Hit report abuse on every reality garbage posting

      February 17, 2012 at 7:42 pm |
    • Oh Yeah

      strongbelief2
      Many of them sure do seem angry a lot of the time though. Health-wise, I wonder if they actually do live longer, or that people near the end of their lives find religion in their old age?

      February 18, 2012 at 1:11 am |
  14. Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

    The whining from HS and its second banana, just lying, is nothing but hypocrisy. They live for this forum. They love having agnostics, atheists, and those who disagree with their views on belief here. If no one ever responded to their posts, they'd be out of here in a flash. They'd have nothing to say,

    February 17, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
    • just sayin

      This from a useless pos that spends its life in a forlorn hope of being a wit? The pigs it steals will fly before Tom tom adds wisdom to this world.

      February 17, 2012 at 7:32 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      And there's your sign.

      February 17, 2012 at 7:40 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      And here's yours.

      February 17, 2012 at 7:44 pm |
    • just sayin

      Aw poor Tom, tom is um trying so very, very hard?

      February 17, 2012 at 7:47 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Not as hard as you are, troll. I guess you find posting difficult and a challenge. I don't.

      February 17, 2012 at 7:54 pm |
    • just sayin

      Poor widdle tom tom all together now everybody post awwww

      February 17, 2012 at 8:01 pm |
    • Well she is kind of sad.

      February 17, 2012 at 8:06 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Oh, just lying isn't 'sad'. It's just a troll. Nothing more. It isn't a Christian. It's not a 'believer'. It's a troll. It's not here to discuss belief or religion or faith. It's some noodle-headed kid with no friends who has nothing better to do than yap. It has many screen names and isn't particular about what side of the argument it's on. There's no belief or faith in it at all.

      It's a troll. Just like George. Seen HIM around lately? No? Why do you suppose that is? Because he was exposed as a phony.

      That's all just lying is. That's all HS is.

      February 17, 2012 at 8:29 pm |
    • Alfred E Neuman

      Tom, Tom : awwwwww

      February 17, 2012 at 8:39 pm |
  15. TR6

    @Jennymick ” Prayer does work … prayer has healed me more than once”

    If you have so much faith in prayer next time you get really sick, just pray instead of seeing a doctor. If prayer works, why do you have health insurance?

    February 17, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
    • Jennymick

      I only ask for God's help when a doctor can't help me...or when I am not able to get to a doctor. God does not always answer my prayers the way I would like Him to:). How can I explain to you a lifetime of revelations! I am the ultimate "Doubting Thomas". I require constant proof of His existance ~ He made me that way and so He lovingly supplies me with the proof that I need -- YOU would require proof in a completely different way – You're not going to be satisfied with anything I share with you -- you have your own journey to take – if you don't believe in prayer -- tell God right now! What do you have to lose??? What if He answers your prayer? ONLY God can answer your doubts ~ wishing you the best :)

      February 17, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You didn't answer the question. Why do you have health insurance? Why do you go to a doctor at all? If prayer can heal you, why would you need anything else?

      February 17, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
    • Jennymick

      God doesn't always cure me – :) doesn't keep me from believing in Him! He is not some puppeteer in the sky! I rarely ask for things:). He also answers our prayers through other people in our lives ~

      February 17, 2012 at 6:21 pm |
    • sybaris

      Jennymick, I believe you!

      At my church one of the members came to service and who had lost their entire pinkie in an accident the previous day. We all prayed and prayed for God to grow it back and it did right before our eyes!!

      February 17, 2012 at 6:33 pm |
    • Prayer Is No Different Than Associating a Meaningless Ritual With the Inert Act of Making a Wish

      sybaris: BULL$HI+!!! You were all either tripping on LSD or the pinkie was not lost in the first place! Or were you all looking at a salamander?!

      February 17, 2012 at 6:41 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Oh, so your faith isn't actually complete, then. Good to know. You can't depend on God. Thanks for admitting it.

      February 17, 2012 at 7:03 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      sybaris, unless you can cite the proof, you're a liar. Had this actually occurred, it would have been in every newspaper and on every televised newscast. And it certainly would have been described on CNN.

      Never happened.

      February 17, 2012 at 7:05 pm |
    • sybaris

      @Prayer Is No Different Than Associating a Meaningless Ritual With the Inert Act of Making a Wish

      Sir, you are obviously practicing the wrong religion if prayer has not worked for you.

      People in my church have prayed for fumbles, jobs, lost car keys, Rocky V, rain, missed free-throws, missing limbs, cures for cancer, extra innings, snow days, Van Halen reunion, sleepy goalies and they all have been answered.

      February 17, 2012 at 7:09 pm |
    • Prayer Is No Different Than Associating a Meaningless Ritual With the Inert Act of Making a Wish

      sybaris: Again, BULL$hi+! Try praying for something that you know beforehand is HIGHLY IMPROBABLE! World peace is a good example. How about getting rid of Muslims (assuming you are a Christian)? How about making it so cancer never happens in the first fvkkin place? Any "cure" for cancer that exists is purely MAN-MADE. Make your "god" prove that "he" can cure cancer without man....or just making it not happen in the first place. RETARD!!

      February 17, 2012 at 7:27 pm |
    • Prayer Is No Different Than Associating a Meaningless Ritual With the Inert Act of Making a Wish

      sybaris:
      "People in my church have prayed for fumbles, jobs, lost car keys, Rocky V, rain, missed free-throws, missing limbs, cures for cancer, extra innings, snow days, Van Halen reunion, sleepy goalies and they all have been answered."

      If you're praying for crap like that which is HIGHLY PROBABLE, then it is no wonder that you can "enforce" your belief in the magic of prayer! Why not just pray that a coin turns up heads when you flip it? DUH!

      Praying for a Van Halen reunion? I like Halen, too, but why not pray for something that's actually IMPROBABLE....like a Led Zeppelin reunion with John Bonham. Come on, your "god" can raise from the dead. Let's see it!!!

      February 17, 2012 at 7:32 pm |
    • sybaris

      @Prayer Is No Different Than Associating a Meaningless Ritual With the Inert Act of Making a Wish

      I just prayed to Quexalcote that you will acquire an insatiable desire for Pringles, will gain 500 pounds and be house-bound for the rest of your life!!

      February 17, 2012 at 7:37 pm |
    • Prayer Is No Different Than Associating a Meaningless Ritual With the Inert Act of Making a Wish

      Well at least you're getting warmer on the IMPROBABLE idea. Try a trim, muscular 180 pounds.... and I avoid potato chips like McDonalds! (iow I never eat them)

      February 17, 2012 at 7:51 pm |
    • Prayer Is No Different Than Associating a Meaningless Ritual With the Inert Act of Making a Wish

      Go ahead and try praying for something that you know could NEVER happen. Guess what? It will keep on NEVER HAPPENING!

      February 17, 2012 at 7:53 pm |
    • sybaris

      @ Prayer Is No Different Than Associating a Meaningless Ritual With the Inert Act of Making a Wish

      I just prayed to Zeus that you eventually learn to detect sarcasm on online forums

      February 17, 2012 at 11:30 pm |
  16. Jennymick

    What about ALL the near death experiences – where people that were "dead" -- could recite back word for word what the doctors/nurses were saying as they were working to revive the person...and they could recite back what was happening in the surrounding rooms with relatives waiting ...not once have I heard someone die and come back and say there was "nothing" – they ALL talk about being drawn to a Light. – filled with unimaginable Love – that is what real religions/faiths are based on...Love. My mother had a near death experience – she said she was never afraid of dying from that point on and she also had an unshakeable faith in God afterwards.

    Beyond and Back (about NDE) is a program on the Biography channel – full episodes are available to watch. For those of you that have a hard time believing that something such as this exists – I hope you will open your mind to the possibilities of a loving God that created you for a reason...only God can change a person's heart, certainly not my humble little post:)

    February 17, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
    • Topher

      Penn and Teller did an episode of this on their show Penn and Teller's Bull$h!+ which explains how people's subconceious feeds into their dellusions. I've talked to plenty of people who have been dead before and they didn't recall any NDE what so ever.

      February 17, 2012 at 6:34 pm |
    • EvolvedDNA

      Jennymick..there are far better ways for god to make him self known if he wanted to.. NDEs are not proof any more than dreams are...you have been dead before remember ...no.. can you recall the first 14 billion years before you were born...neither can I.
      Real tangible evidence is never available..there is more proof of bigfoot than god.

      February 17, 2012 at 8:30 pm |
    • Jennymick

      Just to clarify – my mom's NDE wasn't a miracle because she recovered – it was her experience while she was dead – the accuracy of the account of events during this period, the peace she felt, etc. that convinced her there was life after death...This is not what convinced me that God cares about us, etc... I had a very personal experience when I was caretaking a relative over an extended period of time – I will try to give you the short version – basically, I'm not the heathiest person in the world – after about two straight days of taking care of this person, I began to physically become unable to carry on – I was what many people call "bone tired". as I started to collapse on the floor – tears were also flowing because I knew my relative desperately needed me and she was calling my name as I was collapsing...well, what happened to me I believe was a miracle (I did have a slew of people praying for the both if us during this time period) ... As I began to fall to my knees, I felt a warm feeling envelop me – it started with my feet and worked it's way up throughout my entire body... I was completely energized – it was like I had the best night of sleep i had ever had...and on top if that I felt this unconditional love for this relative – I could not do enough for her – I was full of energy and attentive for the remaining duration of this time – I can't prove it...but, I believe God gave me a glimpse of how much he loves each if us. I will never forget it – even if someone can explain away my sudden surge of endless energy – where did this unimaginable love come from? It was the most profound and life changing thing that has ever happened to me – I tasted God's love for all if us ~ I hope that God shows you something as wonderful and personal ~ I don't expect for you to believe me or even think it's that big of a deal – it was designed to be significant for me...

      There are many other things as well – similar to the Beth Moore story mentioned in an earlier post – trying to write these experiences in a short post doesn't do it justice...I'm not about to convince you of anything – that is not even my goal – I'm hoping you become open to – at the very least – asking God to reveal Himself to you - I hope you'll just ask ~ may peace be with you ~ I have to sign out now :-)

      February 18, 2012 at 12:25 am |
    • Oh Yeah

      If the mind weren't so easily fooled there wouldn't be any optical illusions or magical tricks, and little children wouldn't be afraid of monsters in their closets. What you think something is isn't always what it actually is, right? So, why are you so sure that NDEs have to be the real deal, and not just another trick of the mind?

      It's like the story of Jesus fasting in the desert for 40 days and then "seeing" the devil. Christians consider this as true, but when Native American shaman saw animal spirits after fasting those were just a hallucination brought on by lack of food, right?

      February 18, 2012 at 1:22 am |
    • EvolvedDNA

      jennymack..if god was looking after you why would he have not cured your family member. Why does god put people through hell in order to prove anything. Is he/she that insensitive...you most likely think that god is an A hole to do what he does, but your fearful upbringing makes you scared to question the reasons you believe.

      February 18, 2012 at 1:22 am |
    • Prayer Is No Different Than Associating a Meaningless Ritual With the Inert Act of Making a Wish

      jennymick:
      "it was her experience while she was dead – the accuracy of the account of events during this period, the peace she felt, etc. that convinced her there was life after death."
      If you have a NDE and then "come back" you were NEVER DEAD in the first place, so your statement is invalid.

      "I felt a warm feeling envelop me – it started with my feet and worked it's way up throughout my entire body... I was completely energized – it was like I had the best night of sleep i had ever had..."
      I experienced this so many times in college...it's called a "second wind." The body does some "magic" to keep you awake because it realizes you're too stubborn to get any rest, so it might as well give in...

      "and on top if that I felt this unconditional love for this relative.....where did this unimaginable love come from?"
      You were particularly vulnerable because of the NDE. Other than this, "love" is felt by plenty of people all the time and under a wide variety of conditions.... and "love" is reducible to a set of electrochemical reactions. Nothing more. Nothing special about it.

      February 18, 2012 at 8:57 am |
  17. Prayer Is No Different Than Associating a Meaningless Ritual With the Inert Act of Making a Wish

    If you put as much belief in the grain of salt, or the coin/fountain, or the star, and then make your wish, the results are exactly the same. It is a mind trick. I don't argue that "positive thinking" has no effect on the body.

    PLEASE try to pray for something that you know beforehand is HIGHLY improbable!!! Then tell me what happens! NOTHING!!!!!!!!!

    February 17, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
    • Prayer Is No Different Than Associating a Meaningless Ritual With the Inert Act of Making a Wish

      This was meant as a reply!

      February 17, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
    • Jennymick

      My personal "miracles" are for my spiritual growth – One of my experiences could resonate with you, but I don't know ~ my gift set has never been "witnessing" ~ as I told another poster here – your life is unique and special ~ if you want proof – God will answer your prayer in a way that is special and meaningful to you ~ all you have to do is ask Him ~ He will always be waiting for you ~ peace be with you:)

      February 17, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
    • Prayer Is No Different Than Associating a Meaningless Ritual With the Inert Act of Making a Wish

      Please get cancer and then pray that it be healed. Do not go to a doctor because that is contrary to faith healing. "god" should be able to heal it in such a way as to prove it was "god" alone, and not have to involve any man.

      February 17, 2012 at 6:39 pm |
    • Jennymick

      Good luck ~ I don't owe you any more explanations because you don't WANT to understand my personal experience – you want to argue, not share real personal beliefs. I am trying to respect you're beliefs, but you are belittling mine – I'm signing off...I can't have a conversation with someone so arrogant and closed minded.

      February 17, 2012 at 7:42 pm |
    • EvolvedDNA

      Jennymick..we ask for proof of your assertions...if I told you god came and spoke to me and told me that only those folks who like the Life of Brian will get to heaven.(.god has a great sense of humor and it not at all like bible tells us by the way..some say he invented religion as joke but some took it seriously and even believed it)) would you think that was miracle..or would you want something else ..like evidence to back up my comment.

      February 17, 2012 at 8:37 pm |
    • Jennymick

      Dear Evolved: I keep saying the same thing over and over...if you want proof you are asking the wrong person – go to God – you don't have to believe in Him or have faith for Him to give you the proof you need - If you are sincere...he will give you a sign that is special and unique to YOU! You want examples from my life – how am I going to prove them to your liking – you know I can't – they are personal to me, but I can tell you without them, I would be agnostic!

      There are tons of examples all over the Internet – a very humble example of how God tries to help us learn from one another is given in a beautiful story by Beth Moore – just google her name and the words "old man airport" with her name – these types of things are very common for people that seek out living a life that is in the service of others..(I am not the same faith as Beth Moore, but I have always loved this story).

      I wish you luck in your honest quest for the truth and I do hope you have peace in your life.

      Someone else was mentioning things such as praying for world peace – God gives us free will, so world peace is in our hands...

      February 17, 2012 at 9:56 pm |
    • Prayer Is No Different Than Associating a Meaningless Ritual With the Inert Act of Making a Wish

      jennymick: "God gives us free will, so world peace is in our hands..."

      You are an artful dodger, sir/ma'am. Keep on ignoring the challenge. Just sidestep and maybe it'll go away.

      My point was that you should try praying for something as impossible as world peace and see if it happens. It definitely will NOT. Just like if you were to pray cancer away without going to get radiation or chemo. Or just like you trying to pray that cancer never happens in the first place. Or just like you trying to pray that Mt. Everest becomes flat overnight. Or any number of other impossible tests that prove prayer is FAKE!

      February 17, 2012 at 10:08 pm |
    • Jennymick

      I'm sorry if you believe I am dodging your point – I will try to speak very clearly: I agree with you – if we prayed for world peace...wouldn't happen (free will) If we prayed for a cure for cancer and it happened ( well that can be explained away to not be God's doing) if we prayed that everyone be cured of cancer – now that would be amazing if everyone was cured – but, highly unlikely because every person being cured may not be the will of God, a mountain being leveled would be explained away by some scientist... so that leaves us back to the beginning of our discussion – miracles/answered prayers are extremely personal – just because God doesn't answer ALL prayers does not mean that he answers NO prayers.

      It is a mystery to me as well as to why God doesn't do something more magnificent so all can see and believe – since I'm not God – I can't answer that question :-) I do know He is real to me and has shown me over and over that He is in control.. As I said before, my mother had a near death experience – she was DEAD on the table and was revived – she was able to recite back everything that the doctors were doing AND what was being said and done by our relatives in the surrounding area – can I prove this? No:-). It's personal to me, my mom doesn't lie, my mom is a huge skeptic, and her beliefs changed dramatically after the fact -- again, all very personal things that my family can't prove:)

      There are some amazing examples of miracles that have happened and were witnessed by thousands of people at once – just search miracles on YouTube: Lady of Guadalupe – Mexico to get you started - has it been explained away – probably I don't know! :-). That is why you must ask God to show you...that's what I did because as I said before – that is the only way I would have believed:-)

      My hope for all of us us that we live a life based on loving and helping out those around us.

      February 17, 2012 at 10:54 pm |
    • Prayer Is No Different Than Associating a Meaningless Ritual With the Inert Act of Making a Wish

      jennymick:
      if we prayed for world peace...wouldn't happen (free will)
      Surely "god" could overcome "free will" especially if we are to accept that "miracles" can be the products of prayer

      "if we prayed that everyone be cured of cancer – now that would be amazing if everyone was cured – but, highly unlikely because every person being cured may not be the will of God"
      This is my point. You will never be able to pray for something so improbable and then see it happen. Instead of acknowledging this forthrightly you are attributing it to being "not the will of God" which is a cop-out.

      "a mountain being leveled would be explained away by some scientist"
      So? It would still be a miracle if it happened overnight! But "god" can't and won't do this no matter how much you ask for it. I guarantee you!

      Near death experiences are of course personal and very touching, especially when someone recovers, but recovery from such experiences is not unheard of (as another poster has already said). Thus the probability of this event happening ANYWAY makes it a non-miracle. Now, parting the Red Sea would be something to watch, on the other hand.

      February 17, 2012 at 11:15 pm |
    • Jennymick

      My response was put in the wrong postings - it's a few comments up from here – sorry about that!

      February 18, 2012 at 12:31 am |
    • EvolvedDNA

      Dear Jenny..yes, i am very happy in my life..I do not need any belief in a god.. I was religious once mainly because it was learnt from my parents. You may not remember , due to your age, a disaster called Aberfan in Wales UK.0(.Google it) where a mud wall buried a school in a village. An entire generation wiped out as they suffocated in mud at a school. Tell me your god is real . Hundreds of folks would be living with the loss of their children for ever. That is what made me think and rationalize that god was fiction, a figment of a controlled mind. Look at the world, Jenny. Would you trust your self is it was proved tomorrow that god was not real..of course you would, because nothing has changed..he was never here and never will be. you are the same with out god as you are with the myth. Think Human and love because you are.

      February 18, 2012 at 1:40 am |
  18. JiminTX

    The mentally ill tend to be delusional.

    February 17, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
  19. Robert

    You know that Karl Marx quote "Religion is the opium of the people"? It's not that far off from reality.

    February 17, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      ...and after so many countries have dropped Marxism the last major hold out are, I believe Cuba and North Korea.

      A few decades ago you might have been able to count China, but they went sorta Capitalist and are doing better. Or maybe that is because Christianity and other Faiths are growing there :)

      February 17, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
    • Opium?

      [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RG2keYgBiZc&w=420&h=315]

      February 17, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Mark from Middle River

      I know you do realize that political and economic systems are not the same thing.

      China is a communist nation, and will be for decades. Russia, Belarus and most Soviet Bloc countries still are not DEMOCRATIC by any stretch of the imagination.

      February 17, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
    • Chad

      So you're a fan of Marx?

      how's that whole Marxist–Leninist atheism working out?

      en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marxist–Leninist_atheism

      February 17, 2012 at 10:12 pm |
    • Oh Yeah

      Mark from Middle River
      Lots of very secular, non-believing countries are still capitalistic and actually doing better than us. The communist governments were mostly interested in breaking the power organized religion had on people because it rivaled their own. Plenty of the "relationship" Christians also sound pretty anti-organized religion too. Perhaps they have a lot in common with the communists, but more likely the communists were just authoritarian, like the Fascists of Christian Germany and Italy, right?

      February 18, 2012 at 1:30 am |
  20. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    February 17, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
    • Prayer Is No Different Than Associating a Meaningless Ritual With the Inert Act of Making a Wish

      The results would be exactly the same if you chose to throw a grain of salt over your left shoulder, toss a coin in a fountain, identify the first star you saw on a given night, etc., prior to making your wish.

      Furthermore, anyone wanting to convince themselves that their "god" or their "faith" is true would merely have to deliberately pray for things that have a high probability of happening anyway. Go ahead and pray for world peace, or that you have the winning Powerball ticket. Your faith will soon die.

      February 17, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
    • Jennymick

      Prayer does work...check out the below link/article...Tell you what – I won't criticize what you do, if you don't criticize what I do...prayer has healed me more than once ~

      http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/778564.stm

      February 17, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
    • just sayin

      We are on an article detailing the scientific benefits of belief. Prayer is an essential part of belief and still these morons come on screaming that prayer doesn't change things? If coffee is priced at a buck will they then argue you can't but coffee with a buck? I have seen stupid but these pretend atheist types take the cake.

      February 17, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Nobody holds a candle to you, just lying, when it comes to being a troll. You're just here because you want to bellyache about atheists, not because you want to discuss faith or belief. If there were no atheists here, you would disappear immediately. They are your raison d'être.

      February 17, 2012 at 5:56 pm |
    • just sayin

      Go steal a pig. Back under your bridge Tom, Tom let the intelligent folks talk.

      February 17, 2012 at 7:28 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I say, "Jump!" and just lying says, "How high?"

      February 17, 2012 at 7:41 pm |
    • just sayin

      Aw poor Tom ,Tom is no one helping you to understand the posts tonight?

      February 17, 2012 at 7:45 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Listen just sayin, I can offer you things beyond your dreams and power too.

      February 17, 2012 at 7:54 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Why would anyone need help to comprehend the diaper-filler you produce, just lying?

      You aren't here to discuss anything, so there's no need to look for any 'meaning' in your posts. You're here because you're a teen-aged troll.

      February 17, 2012 at 7:56 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Jenny, please google "The Followers of Christ Church". This is a sect that strictly uses prayer to heal the sick among their congregants. They believe that seeing a doctor is enough reason for god to forbid their entrance into heaven.

      They pray with the greatest of devotion. They anoint the sick with oil. They also have a cemetery full of children dead from diseases that could have been cured by a simple visit to a doctor. This is a shiny example of the value of prayer. Prayer has the same success rate as blowing out a candle and making a wish.

      February 18, 2012 at 1:49 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.