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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. wealth and happiness go hand in hand!

    So apparently the Jewish people are the happiest people on earth!

    MAZEL TOV!

    February 19, 2012 at 11:58 am |
  2. wealth and happiness go hand in hand!

    If you took the same poll, and instead of asking who is "more religious", and asked who is "more wealthy"?
    You would find that the wealthiest groups would be the happiest.
    Why is that?

    February 19, 2012 at 11:12 am |
  3. christian american!

    The Jews are the most happy?
    makes me wonder if it was Jews that took the poll?

    February 19, 2012 at 11:03 am |
  4. religion ki11s!

    Those who have more money, have a much less trivial life, And
    Have fewer hard times, and believe that god has blessed them with a good life! And therefore become "more religious".
    Athiest are the "thinkers" of the world, realize what's going on around them. Is it any wonder they're not so chipper?

    February 19, 2012 at 11:01 am |
  5. what do you expect?

    Of course athiest aren't as happy!
    They're surrounded by religious idiots!

    February 19, 2012 at 10:55 am |
  6. ohpuleaz!

    Looks like Christians and Muslims, nearly the same results!
    Does this mean Christians, and Muslims are not as happy?

    February 19, 2012 at 10:50 am |
  7. thinking out loud!

    Sounds to me like Jews have the most financial wealth! And thank god for it!
    Mormons, are the next financially wealthy group.
    And Catholics, and Christians, are less than idea, for happiness, and wealth!
    is that what this artical is claiming?

    February 19, 2012 at 10:43 am |
  8. thinking out loud!

    So we should all be JEWISH if want to the happiest we can be?
    Cause apparently Catholics are not very happy.

    February 19, 2012 at 10:38 am |
  9. religion is for war. jesus is for love!

    Whitney Houston was super religious, and happy. But it didn't prove so healthier for her after all.
    Elvis? Same thing!
    and many many more!

    February 19, 2012 at 10:33 am |
  10. Susie

    Its hilarious that all these atheists are here mocking people who believe in God when they actually believe anyone cares what they think.

    February 19, 2012 at 7:14 am |
    • AGuest9

      It's funny. The same is said about the religious.

      February 19, 2012 at 10:24 am |
    • christian american!

      If athiest were mocking the religious, wouldn't that make them religious?
      Your post makes no sense!

      February 19, 2012 at 11:06 am |
  11. Susie

    Its hilarious that all these atheists are here mocking people who believe in God when they actually believe anyone cares what they think.

    February 19, 2012 at 7:14 am |
  12. Maya

    Sure. It is easy to believe that nothing bad is happening when you can't see it. It is kind of hard to see with your head up your backside.

    February 18, 2012 at 9:27 pm |
  13. Usman Akhtar

    Hi,

    Watch these videos to see who your Lord, Your Savior, is truly and who take Jesus back after his Cruisifiction. You are the people who enslaved themselves in the slavery of the people who cruisify Jesus. I Challenge you to deny these videos and the massage in these videos. Paradise, who’s Paradise? Think about your kids and what they believe in. Listen to these creatures very carefully. These creatures are saying the name of their and every bodies Creator. May be GOD wants to give you a chance? I hope you won't call these creatures terrorist. Good Luck.

    Watch these videos.

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AiX5AN1XiZg&w=640&h=390]

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mFcrCiaqfEg&w=640&h=390]

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=okazbOSMKSQ&w=640&h=390]

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LkXtzxKbthg&w=640&h=390]

    Watch where this Red car is going.
    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gpex5x6YlL4&w=640&h=390]
    Usman Akhtar

    February 18, 2012 at 8:33 pm |
    • wealth and happiness go hand in hand!

      They are not saying anything! They are simply roaring!
      I heard a frog say "rub it"!
      Should I take that as god telling me to master*bate?

      February 19, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
  14. Otasawian

    I think that the writers of this story have the terms well-being and brainwashed mixed-up. If I was taught from birth that all I had to do in order to achieve eternal happiness was to talk to and believe in an insecure imaginary friend, who needs constant praise, is supposed to have my best interests at heart, but may send me to a place where I will suffer for eternity if I don't do exactly as he/she wants, I would claim to be happy just so I won't upset this imaginary friend who might get offended if I said otherwise . I guess the old saying "ignorance is bliss" really has some meaning in the context of this story.

    February 18, 2012 at 8:17 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      >>>"would claim to be happy just so I won't upset God who might get offended "

      So, your best argument is that they must be lying about being happy. Is it really getting you that upset that you are simply challenging they admissions? If it said the opposite, that the Religions were were rated lower... would you also say that they were lying? Or since it would then validate your views of the Religious you would then declare the article viable.

      February 19, 2012 at 12:09 am |
    • Susie

      Cant stand the fact that religious people are just better off than you with your skepticism? Get over it, the science proves it. Isn't that what you believe in? The research has shown that prayer increases the likelihood of recovery in hospital patients. Research has shown that religious people cope better and are happier than the non-religious. Research even shows that religious people are more compassionate and give more to both religious and secular charities. Get over your jealousy.

      February 19, 2012 at 7:06 am |
    • AGuest9

      Cite your evidence that "Research even shows that religious people are more compassionate and give more to both religious and secular charities." But, not just ONE report from some ultra-conservative think tank.

      February 19, 2012 at 10:26 am |
    • the thinker!

      If you ask someone, if believing in their god makes them happy, of course they are going to say yes! They may even throw in a "praise the lord!"
      However if you ask an athiest, if simply being an athiest makes them happy,of course they would say no! Athiest knows that happiness is achieved, not given!
      this doesn't mean that athiest are not happy!
      Im athiest, and im tickled fuk'n pink! :D

      February 19, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
  15. MashaSobaka

    If I got to pick and choose when to be empathetic and compassionate based on what my personal deity told me to do, I'd be a much happier individual myself. But I was not raised that way. I guess I'll just have to be a little more stressed. Fighting for everyone's life and well-being instead of just the life and well-being of the people who share my faith...yeah, it can get rough. But I wouldn't have it any other way.

    February 18, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
    • Susie

      Its a pity that the non-religious don't even have that to brag about. Religious people give more to both religious based and secular charities. They even donate about 30% more blood. LOL

      February 19, 2012 at 7:08 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Studies have shown that prayer is not effective in health care. Stop spouting crap, Susie.

      While you're at it, do explain the correlation between giving to charity and moral behavior. There is no proof that giving to charity is a sign of 'goodness' or 'altruism'. Giving to charity makes the giver feel good. That's why people give. Not because they're better people.

      February 19, 2012 at 9:24 am |
    • AGuest9

      Lying and bragging? That sounds religious and ethical, Suzie.

      February 19, 2012 at 10:34 am |
  16. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    February 18, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
    • IWASBS

      You mean as proved by the 2001 Colombia University Medical Center study? The one that was later show to be a fraud?

      http://www.csicop.org/si/show/columbia_university_miracle_study_flawed_and_fraud

      February 18, 2012 at 6:43 pm |
    • Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

      Prayer changes things
      Proven

      February 18, 2012 at 8:44 pm |
    • Ituri

      Sure, prayer changes things.

      Such as in the British study where the people healing from surgury took much longer to heal when they knew they were being prayed for by people in a group. Thier immune systems were stunted from the stress of thinking their condition was worth being prayed about, meaning they thought they were worse off than they were, so they BECAME worse off than they were. While the non-prayed for control group healed normally.

      Or how about how Governor Perry called for a mass prayer in a stadium with 30,000 people to pray for rain while Texas burned to the ground? That was a year after he cut the volunteer firefighter budget by 75%. And shock of shocks, no rain came.

      So yeah, prayer changes things. It makes things WORSE, because instead of actually DOING something, it keeps people busy doing NOTHING and even HARMS people when they know they're being prayed for.

      February 19, 2012 at 3:40 am |
    • Susie

      You do realize that the drought in Texas has ended. The rains came shortly after that prayer meeting. Oh I guess that was just coincidence.

      February 19, 2012 at 7:10 am |
    • Susie

      You do realize that the drought in Texas has ended. The rains came shortly after that prayer meeting. Oh I guess that was just coincidence.

      February 19, 2012 at 7:12 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      How is it you're so "blessed" that you can't manage to post without doubling, dumb bunny?

      February 19, 2012 at 9:26 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Cracks me up when dolts like Susie cite weather and climate as being dependent on prayers.

      Yes, dear, it WAS coincidence that rain fell after a prayer meeting. Here, learn this: correlation does not equal causation. Figure it out.

      February 19, 2012 at 9:28 am |
    • AGuest9

      LOL. The drought in Texas. It was NEVER going to rain again if you didn't pray and send money to your local preacher, eh?

      February 19, 2012 at 10:28 am |
  17. A well being Psalm

    Psalm 23 :)

    February 18, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
    • Kylie

      [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CxIN79n4jVo&w=640&h=390]

      February 18, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
  18. McKraken

    Did you know that somewhere on the order of 60% of four year old children have imaginary friends? Neat, huh?

    February 18, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
    • Russ

      @ McKracken: I wonder what percentage of teens think their parents are idiots & wish their parents were dead...

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

      We grow out of such nonsense, don't we? Clearly most adults still need their security blanket.

      February 18, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
  19. Fairy Tales

    Ignorance is bliss.

    February 18, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
    • Russ

      @ Fairy Tales: as I said below...

      Forgot I had a trailer hitch on my vehicle once. Walked by while looking the other way. Hit my shin on it.

      Ignorance is not bliss – especially when you hit your shin on what you're ignoring.

      February 18, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
    • ReligionIs4Dolts

      Russ: That's a stupid response. The existence of a trailer hitch is in so many ways PROVABLE whereas the existence of a "god" is in NO WAY PROVABLE. Let's see, the trailer hitch is visible to the naked eye and has mass/volume. The list could go on, but these attributes alone make a hitch quite different from an imaginary "god". Since you can't see "god" how do you know it isn't just the Flying Spaghetti Monster after all? You don't! You can't prove that what you think is "god" isn't just FSM! So S T F U!

      February 18, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
    • Russ

      @ Dolts:
      1) you exist (pretty tangible, right?). you didn't make yourself. upon what do you base that? an infinite regression?

      2) secondly, as to the Flying Spaghetti Monster/Russell's teapot...

      Philosopher Paul Chamberlain says it is logically erroneous to assert that positive truth claims bear a burden of proof while negative truth claims do not. He notes that all truth claims bear a burden of proof, and that like Mother Goose and the tooth fairy, the teapot bears the greater burden not because of its negativity but because of its triviality, arguing that "When we subst'itute normal, serious characters such as Plato, Nero, Winston Churchill, or George Washington in place of these fictional characters, it becomes clear that anyone denying the existence of these figures has a burden of proof equal to, or in some cases greater than, the person claiming they do exist."

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russell's_teapot#Counterarguments

      Since Jesus was an historical living person – with as much if not more historical evidence than anyone else in the ancient world – there is an equal if not weightier burden on those who claim he didn't exist.

      February 18, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
    • ReligionIs4Dolts

      Russ:
      Infinite regression is a problem facing atheists and religious alike. The religious can't just claim "god always existed" because to that I can say "who created your god? SUPERGOD?" You can't have it both ways.

      Nice way to sidetrack with the Jesus argument. Jesus was a man. I am not arguing that Jesus didn't exist. Jesus either claimed he was "god" or others who authored his story claimed that he was "god" or something along those lines. But then you are left with proving the existence of "god". So you are stuck, too.

      February 18, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
    • Russ

      @ Dolts:
      a) infinite regression is not a problem for those claiming a completely independent being (i.e., Aristotle's Prime Mover). it *IS* a problem for those seeking to define existence w/o such an objective anchor.

      b) Jesus claimed to be God & then proved it by what he did. That's why Christianity spread. That's what made it distinctive. There have been other cults with megalomaniacal founders who made a claim of absolute divinity, but never has one grown beyond a mere handful (Jim Jones, David Koresh, etc.). Why has Christianity thrived? Jesus gave proof. He rose from the dead.

      February 18, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
    • McKraken

      "Since Jesus was an historical living person – with as much if not more historical evidence than anyone else in the ancient world"

      Wrong. Besides the bible, there are two or three other references by proximate writers (e.g. Josephus) all have which have been shown to be later inclusions. No, it's fairly certain that no single man called Jesus existed. This character is most likely an amalgam of garden variety prophets and other myth-stories.

      February 18, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
    • McKraken

      "1it *IS* a problem for those seeking to define existence w/o such an objective anchor."

      Wrong again. The universe is almost certainly the result of a quantum fluctuation. The total energy is zero. Look up a video called "A universe From Nothing" – a talk given by physicist Lawrence Krauss.

      February 18, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
    • ReligionIs4Dolts

      Russ: You're so brainwashed you don't realize how full of $h|+ you are!
      Infinite regression IS a problem for you, too, because you can't just claim some "god" always existed. Who or what was there before your "god" to create IT? Same fvkkin problem!

      "Jesus claimed to be God & then proved it by what he did.....Jesus gave proof. He rose from the dead"
      Second hand accounts of what Jesus allegedly did are not proof because there were no video cameras around at the time to PROVE anything. Nor does the bible provide independent, unbiased accounts of the alleged resurrection. The authors are blind followers and their accounts cannot be trusted anyway.

      "That's why Christianity spread."
      WRONG again. Constantine, a power hungry politician seeking to unify his empire with the easy-to-use tool of a monotheistic religion, replete with a "hell" in which non-believers would be allegedly punished forever, is the reason it spread. Have you even studied western civilization?

      February 18, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
    • Russ

      @ McKracken: read CS Lewis' essay "Fern Seed & Elephants" – here's a real expert on myths, telling why the Gospel accounts cannot be myth... for example...

      "Either this is reportage... pretty close up to the facts... Or else, some unknown writer in the second century, without known predecessors, or successors, suddenly anticipated the whole technique of modern, novelistic, realistic narrative. If it is untrue, it must be narrative of that kind. The reader who doesn't see this has simply not learned to read."

      There is not time for an amalgamation to arise. And such details in fiction have no known parallel until 1700 years later. Homer never says things like "Odysseus left the Cyclops cave around 3:30pm and rowed out 3 or 3.5 miles." But you find that kind of detail throughout these accounts. Either these multiple authors were fictional geniuses w/o copycats for almost two millennia, or they believed they were reporting factual events. (Lk.1:1-4; 1 Cor.15:1-3; Jn.20:30-31; 1 Jn.1:1-3; Acts 4:20; etc.)

      February 18, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
    • Chad

      @McKraken "The universe is almost certainly the result of a quantum fluctuation. The total energy is zero. Look up a video called "A universe From Nothing" – a talk given by physicist Lawrence Krauss."

      =>you should try watching that video some time..
      Krauss acknowledges that the "nothing" of vacuum space within which he is talking about QF is NOT the nothing that existed before the Big Bang. The nothing before the Big Bang was truly nothing, no time, no space, nothing. Vacuum space is a entirely different kind of nothing, containing both space and time.
      Krauss QF posits a multi-verse, it is not put forth as a possibility for the big bang.

      The universe had a beginning, that is accepted
      Some force external to the universe had to have triggered that beginning.

      February 18, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
    • ReligionIs4Dolts

      "multiple authors were fictional geniuses"

      YES.

      February 18, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
    • ReligionIs4Dolts

      "The universe had a beginning, that is accepted
      Some force external to the universe had to have triggered that beginning."

      SO? That is not proof that "god" existed. Nor is it proof that, even if "god created the universe", that a SUPER-GOD wasn't there before "god" to have created "god". Infinite regression. Same dead end.

      February 18, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
    • Chad

      @McKraken "Wrong. Besides the bible, there are two or three other references by proximate writers (e.g. Josephus) all have which have been shown to be later inclusions. No, it's fairly certain that no single man called Jesus existed. This character is most likely an amalgam of garden variety prophets and other myth-stories"

      =>actually, I no longer present the mountains of data demonstrating that Jesus of Nazareth was indeed real. I'm quite happy pointing out that atheists who believe this:
      – stand in opposition to most critical scholars of our day
      en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historicity_of_Jesus

      – stand in opposition to their own preeminent atheists
      richarddawkins.net/articles/20-atheists-for-jesus

      attempting to argue that Jesus is not a real historical figure is akin to arguing the earth is flat..

      February 18, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
    • Chad

      @Chad: "The universe had a beginning, that is accepted, some force external to the universe had to have triggered that beginning."

      @ReligionIs4Dolts "SO? That is not proof that "god" existed. Nor is it proof that, even if "god created the universe", that a SUPER-GOD wasn't there before "god" to have created "god". Infinite regression. Same dead end."

      @Chad "true, it merely demonstrates that a force external to our universe triggered it's creation, and I'm happy to get atheists to the point where they are forced to acknowledge that fact"

      February 18, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
    • Russ

      @ Dolts: let's keep the conversation civil, shall we?

      1) infinite regression is not a problem for a singular, independent, being. Philosophically speaking, if there is truly Objective reality, an omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, eternal being is a philosophically logical answer to the question of regression. It is not an infinite regression b/c the Infinite is Objective and made time & everything else. Regression stops there. That is not the case for those denying such an objective reality.

      2) Note my response to McCracken, especially CS Lewis' essay.

      3) Constantine did not come to power until AD 312. Christianity had already claimed roughly 40%+ of the urban population of the Roman Empire. Why? Not through power – they were persecuted. Not thru marketing – they were persecuted. Short version: two plagues came thru. Families tossed out their own contagious. Christians were the only ones taking them in. Many Christians died nursing them back to health. Those who lived had their new family. Where did Christians get this idea of how to love? Their Lord gave his life in loving him – something American Christians unfortunately all too often forget. That's how Christianity permeated the Roman Empire – before Constantine ever came to power. Not thru the sword or political maneuvering, but thru acts of sacrificial love.

      See Rodney Stark, "The Rise of Christianity: how an obscure, marginal Jesus movement became the dominant force in the Western World in a few centuries." All before Constantine.

      February 18, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
    • McKraken

      @Chad: You should take your own advice. And also gain a greater depth of understanding. The state of things at T=0 is 99% speculation at this point. It may be meaningless to talk about time and space before then, but it may not be. A quantum fluctuation of a primordial vacuum state is indeed one very serious candidate for the beginning of the universe we observe. It may be infinite, or one of many instances in a vastly larger context (i.e. multiverse).

      February 18, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
    • Russ

      @ Dolts: "multiple authors were fictional geniuses – yes"

      you missed the rest of Lewis' statement: ...w/o known copycats for 1700 years. talk about statistically unlikely...
      If that is what you believe, that is a leap of faith.

      These people were not writing fiction. You can say they were delusional, but you cannot claim these are myths.

      February 18, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
    • McKraken

      I have read C.S. Lewis and find his reasoning to be naive at best, childish at worst. He was not a deep thinker. Referencing Lewis is more of a testament to the shortage of available arguments than anything else, IMO.

      February 18, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
    • Russ

      @ McCracken: reading Narnia is not the same as reading a scholarly essay. Even his academic opponents recognize that 'Fern Seeds & Elephants' represents a serious problem for modern biblical scholarship. Do you find both sides to be childish & naive?

      February 18, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
    • Chad

      @McKraken "The state of things at T=0 is 99% speculation at this point. It may be meaningless to talk about time and space before then, but it may not be. "
      =>nope... you are cutting and pasting from Krauss' response upon loosing his debate with William Craig, and of course missing the point entirely :-)

      The universe had a beginning, the Big Bang.

      @McKraken "A quantum fluctuation of a primordial vacuum state is indeed one very serious candidate for the beginning of the universe we observe. It may be infinite, or one of many instances in a vastly larger context (i.e. multiverse)."
      =>No again! ouch..
      "primordial vacuum state" is not equal in any way shape or form to the NOTHING prior to the big bang.. That was literally nothing, no space, no vacuum, no time, nothing.

      Universe creation with QF faces the obvious infinite regression problem. No getting around it.

      February 18, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
    • McKraken

      @Russ: Did the graves of many other holy men open at the time of Jesus' resurrection, and did they walk about freely, as the bible reports (and where are the extra-biblical reports of such an amazing event)? Was Jesus born in a house or a barn, as the bible doubly reports? Why don't "serpents" and donkeys (among other things) talk to people today? I could go on ad nauseum re the factual errors, contradictions, and just plain chaos of the bliblical "reports". Why do people like you insist on ignoring these things and cherry pickin the rare instances when, by luck apparently, they got something right? Why not just admit what it obviously is: a bunch of disjointed tales of events that mostly never happened and were cobbled together and edited over hundreds of years?

      February 18, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
    • McKraken

      @Chad: Well, it's too bad to see someone who probably has one or two sources he references for his understanding of current cosmology. I'd hope you would expand your exploration and research some current cosmological theory. No physicist, in a professional capacity, will state adamantly the he knows anything about conditions before T=0 as there is no theoretical underpinning for anything before this time. Please research (using reputable scientific sources) the primordial vacuum, Planck Era, universe from nothing, etc. Yes, it may be meaningless to speak of "time" before the BB, but do not embarrass yourself by dismissing the well known hypothesis regarding quantum fluctuation of a primordial vacuum.

      February 18, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
    • Russ

      @ McCracken: yes, let's talk about that. But recognize: now we've changed the discussion. I'd love to talk about WHAT the Scripture says rather than debate WHETHER or not it fits a literary category. But now we're dealing with it at face value: the Gospels claim to be historical accounts. Why wouldn't we take them at face value?

      Answer: it's just too far fetched. too preposterous. too ridiculous. but that's exactly why these authors stressed the historicity of their claims. they were just as blown away as we would be to find this to be true.

      So let me ask: if God really came in the flesh & rose from the dead, aren't all those other things small potatoes?

      February 18, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
    • Chad

      @McKraken "No physicist, in a professional capacity, will state adamantly the he knows anything about conditions before T=0 as there is no theoretical underpinning for anything before this time"

      =>precisely, since all of the matter in the universe, and time itself was created in the Big Bang, how can they? They cant, it's impossible by definition.

      You dont know how the universe came into being.

      February 18, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
    • Chad

      and again, "quantum fluctuation of a primordial vacuum" do not posit an explanation of the origins of the big bang.

      You dont know how the universe came into being.

      February 18, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
    • ReligionIs4Dolts

      Russ: "So let me ask: if God really came in the flesh & rose from the dead...."

      Your irresponsible, absentee "god" has so clearly not made a repeat performance now that we have advanced knowledge of how things work (i.e., NOT ancient supersti-tions which is ALL they had back then) and the technology to instantaneously and unequivocally show the world what really happened. Why would an omnipotent, omniscient "god" leave his all-important message to be distributed by an ancient, isolated, ignorant tribe of fallible, tampering, manipulative men who only had the "written record" instead of doing his resurrection trick in modern times when things could be recorded by VIDEO CAMERAS?

      February 18, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
    • McKraken

      @Chad: Well, one last thing and then you're on your own buddy. The ONLY thing that BB theory says about the observable universe at T ~ 1×10-35 second (I think that's the right number – which is about as far back as current physics can take us) is that it was hot and dense and somewhat less than the diameter of a proton. Your assertion that "space and time begin" at this time is popular tripe (and even some non-cosmologist physicists spout this nonsense, in public no less). The intention is simply to indicate that since we may never have the ability to say anything empirical about this, it could be pointless to talk about the nature of space-time before T~0. That does not preclude speculative hypotheses regarding mechanisms for the origin of this hot, dense region in some primordial context. Remember, the only region we can talk about is the one we can observe. The universe may well be infinite and the hot, dense conditions at T~0 applied to an infinity of adjacent regions that may or may not have expanded simultaneously. I think your physical intuition based on what you have read is wrong. I can't help you anymore.

      Bye bye and good luck.

      February 18, 2012 at 6:59 pm |
    • McKraken

      @Russ: 1"So let me ask: if God really came in the flesh & rose from the dead, aren't all those other things small potatoes?"

      Yep. But the blindingly obvious problem you ALL fail to see (which clearly marks your particular brand of delusion) is that you are trying to use – as your only source of all revealed knowledge about your god – a book that is demonstrably inconsistent and wrong in a ridiculous number of ways. It's the most basic issue of them all. God exists. How do you know? The bible tells me so. And the bible is correct why? Because God says it is.

      Ta Da! Your only defense at this point is literally "Well, I just have faith". Wa-wa-wa-waaaa (sound of "fail trombone").

      And anyone wonders why atheists are so dismissive of adults who engage in such asinine behavior? Sheesh!

      February 18, 2012 at 7:11 pm |
    • Russ

      @ Dolts: an excellent, worthwhile question. Two things to consider:

      1) Jesus was the "Word" in the flesh. It is not surprising that God chose words to convey who he is. Ironically, flipping "a picture is worth 1000 words" on its head.

      2) Consider why God would prefer words to pictures:

      a) what do people tend to do with religious artifacts? they worship the item instead of the One who gave it. People would gather & worship a movie.

      b) do you find that video footage today is accepted without those who would equally disqualify it? how many people don't believe we walked on the moon or think there was some sort of government conspiracy on 9/11? There will always be detractors.

      c) Jesus asked: "who do you say that I am?" Peter said: "you are the Christ, the Messiah." Jesus said: "it was not flesh & blood that revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven." In other words, seeing Jesus in the flesh didn't guarantee people understood who he was. After all, he kept telling the disciples and they didn't get it fully until after he rose. You had to get to know him – and still do.

      3) But most importantly, and ultimately, if the God of the Universe chooses to convey himself – who are we to try to dictate to him the manner in which he reveals who He is?

      February 18, 2012 at 7:11 pm |
    • McKraken

      But Russ, you're not getting it. You want to discuss the philosophical issues and implications of a god that no one has shown to exist in any way. You've got your horse way before your cart. You can't make us think in any serious way about your claims and assertions without first establishing that your premise is true, i.e. a god exists. Then all you would have done is make is think like deists. You'd have a long way to go, given the shoddy nature of your "evidence" that it was the xian god (and which brand at that?).

      February 18, 2012 at 7:18 pm |
    • Russ

      @ McCracken: the irony is, by your tone, I sense you don't believe that you equally have faith (though in a different set of propositions). We all begin with circular logic. It's the nature of being finite. Otherwise, you're not admitting your subjective point of departure. It's a lack of self-awareness for atheists to criticize theists as having faith.

      For example, take Frederich Nietzsche, a prominent atheist who made that exact point to his atheist friends who were putting their faith in science (not as subjective human observation, but as scientism):

      “Strictly speaking, there is no such thing as science ‘without any presuppositions’; this thought does not bear thinking through, it is paralogical: a philosophy, a ‘faith,’ must always be there first of all, so that science can acquire from it that direction, a meaning, a limit, a method, a right to exist. … The truthful man, in the audacious and ultimate sense presupposed by the faith in science, thereby affirms another world than that of life, nature, and history; and insofar as he affirms this ‘other world,’ does this not meant that he has to deny its anti'thesis, this world, our world? … IT IS STILL A METAPHYSICAL FAITH THAT UNDERLIES OUR FAITH IN SCIENCE.”

      February 18, 2012 at 7:20 pm |
    • Russ

      @ McCracken: if Jesus Christ was God in the flesh, it's not about what 'brand' of Christianity. All Christianity is as a faith is a reaction to what God himself has done. His coming IS the particular proof – above & beyond the proof of existence itself.

      February 18, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
    • McKraken

      @Russ "But most importantly, and ultimately, if the God of the Universe chooses to convey himself – who are we to try to dictate to him the manner in which he reveals who He is?"

      Ah. The most popular cop out. "God can do whatever he frickin' wants".

      Ok, here's a question for you. If your god returns, how will you know it's really him and not satan? Or aliens? Or aliens seeding the atmosphere with magic mushroom dust to distract us? Will you just "feel the holy spirit"? Will atheists feel the holy spirit? Will muslims? What about Hindus? Buddhists? Scientologists? Even Mormons? Or just the ones with the correct programming? Come on dude. I know that appeals to incredulity are no form of argument, but this religious nonsense really almost forces it.

      February 18, 2012 at 7:26 pm |
    • Russ

      @ McCracken: but your incredulity is honest – and the most forthright objection.

      Christianity claims God is a person. Meaning it's a personal thing (relationship with God). Yes, logically, it only makes sense that an omniscient, omnipotent being can do whatever he wants – but that's not the substance of your objection (if I'm rightly hearing you). It's that he doesn't do it the way you want. Again, it's personal.

      Consider: if he's personally after you, what would that 'feel' like? How long would a truly benevolent, self-sacrificing God pursue the object of his affection – no matter how often rebuffed?

      As to his return: the glimpses Scripture gives simply make it clear that everyone on earth will know – at once. As someone attempting to be as biblical as possible, I don't think that future, historic event would be one anyone could miss.

      February 18, 2012 at 7:34 pm |
    • McKraken

      Russ, spare me the philosophical quotes. I'd rather hear your ideas. And no, I'm an evidential rationalist. I do not require faith in any endeavor. I have reasonable expectations based on evidence. In everything. I do not claim there are no gods, I just have as much conviction in their existence as I do in garden fairies. And your statement that "we all begin with circular logic" is philosophical nonsense. We all begin with observations and a set of analysis and synthesis tools. Some of us know how to use those tools, while others shamefully disregard them. Millions of years of evolution have made you one of the lucky few to be currently alive and you and your ilk squander that like so much cheap beer at a football game.

      I think I'm done with this wearying conversation. It's too much like every other conversation I've had with theists. I have no doubt you feel the same. Bye bye now. Take care.

      February 18, 2012 at 7:38 pm |
    • Russ

      @ McCracken: sorry to hear that you're out. Parting thought then:

      "We all begin with circular logic" – is not philosophical nonsense. It's admitting our subjectivity.

      You said "we all begin with observations and a set of analysis & synthesis tools." How is that not *faith* in logic itself? Why are you not equally skeptical of your own faculties?

      February 18, 2012 at 7:46 pm |
    • Chad

      @McKraken "Well, one last thing and then you're on your own buddy. The ONLY thing that BB theory says about the observable universe at T ~ 1×10-35 second (I think that's the right number – which is about as far back as current physics can take us) is that it was hot and dense and somewhat less than the diameter of a proton.

      =>well yes, of course. an artful dodge there :-)
      The BB itself doesnt say anything about what happened before the BB, the BB is the coined term for that which produced the observable universe (And God said "Let there be light" – Genesis)

      The issue is what was before the BB, answer == nothing.

      =====================
      @McKraken "Your assertion that "space and time begin" at this time is popular tripe ".
      =>Universe has a finite age
      =>Universe has point in time it was created

      all of time and space was created in the BB,

      =>Atheists HATE the thought that the universe had a beginning because that would imply that something outside our universe triggered the Big Bang.

      "Time didnt exist before the Big Bang so it's pointless to talk about it", is just an in-artful dodge :-)

      February 18, 2012 at 9:16 pm |
    • Chad

      @McKraken "I'm an evidential rationalist. I do not require faith in any endeavor. "
      =>hmm... why does the universe obey laws? What triggered the Big Bang? What created the first life on earth?

      Don't be so hard on yourself, you have tremendous faith!
      You have no idea the answer on those questions, but you have faith it wasnt God!

      February 18, 2012 at 9:19 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Chard says:You dont know how the universe came into being.

      And neither do you. Yet you continue to pretend that Goddidit.

      You have no proof or evidence that such was the case.

      February 18, 2012 at 10:59 pm |
  20. Michael p

    "studies show that people who eat cheese from the left corner to the right on Thursdays are happier than those that do not."

    February 18, 2012 at 12:11 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.