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My Faith: What I learned from my 46-day beer-only fast
J. Wilson adds hops to the doppelbock beer that sustained him through a Lenten fast.
February 25th, 2012
02:00 AM ET

My Faith: What I learned from my 46-day beer-only fast

Editor's Note: J. Wilson is an award-winning homebrewer and author of “Diary of a Part-Time Monk.”

By J. Wilson, Special to CNN

About this time last year, I set off down a path that hadn’t been traveled for centuries. I fasted on beer and water for the duration of Lent.

While that sounds like a frat boy stunt, my “Diary of a Part-Time Monk” project was actually rooted in the Catholic Church, though that’s not what brought me to the idea.

A homebrewer and certified beer judge who is passionate about the flavors and culture of craft beer, I am what they call a “beer geek,” and so the monastic origins of the doppelbock style of beer had long intrigued me.

According to legend, the 17th century monks of Neudeck ob der Au outside Munich, Germany, developed the rich-and-malty beer to sustain them during Lenten fasts, the traditional 46-day lead-up to Easter.

Unfiltered, the bold elixir was nicknamed “liquid bread” and is packed with carbohydrates, calories and vitamins.

With poor documentation available on the specifics of their fasts, I decided that the only way to know if the story was true would be to test the beer myself. I joined forces with Eric Sorensen, the head brewer at Rock Bottom Restaurant and Brewery in West Des Moines, Iowa, to brew a commercial release of one of my recipes, Illuminator Doppelbock.

Explain it to me: What's Lent?

I would survive on that beer, supplemented only by water, for 46 days of historical research.

With the blessing of my boss at The Adams County Free Press in Southwest Iowa, I consumed four beers a day during the workweek and five beers on the weekends, when I had fewer obligations.

I knew that I could stretch four beers over the course of a day and function well, but I hadn’t planned for the media attention that the investigation spurred. I found myself giving more than five interviews a day to the likes of CNN, BBC, Fox News, the Chicago Tribune, The Catholic Herald and Men’s Health magazine, among others.

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

My noncloistered style of living as a part-time monk was interrupted by print, radio and television interviews, preventing the introspection I had planned. After a couple of weeks, I found myself needing to fast from the media, my phone, e-mail as well as from food.

In addition to learning that A) other folks found the story as captivating as I did, and B) one actually can live on beer and water for 46 days, I made some profound discoveries on my journey.

One is that the human body is an amazing machine. Aside from cramming it full of junk food, we don’t ask much of it. We take it for granted. It is capable of much more than many of us give it credit for. It can climb mountains, run marathons and, yes, it can function without food for long periods of time.

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At the beginning of my fast, I felt hunger for the first two days. My body then switched gears, replaced hunger with focus, and I found myself operating in a tunnel of clarity unlike anything I’d ever experienced.

While hunger subsided quickly, my sense of smell provided persistent temptation for more than a week. But the willpower to carry out my objective brought peace to the “Oh man that cheeseburger smells good” thoughts. Soon, I could see, smell or discuss anything food-related without trouble.

Often, I cooked dinner for my boys, a task that became as simple and trouble-free as tying my shoes.

My fast also underscored for me that there is a difference between wants and needs. I wanted a cheeseburger, but I didn’t need one. I also didn’t need a bag of chips or a midday doughnut. I needed nourishment, and my doppelbock, while lacking the protein that might have provided enough backbone for an even longer fast had I sought one, was enough to keep me strong and alert, despite my caloric deficit.

Though I lost 25.5 pounds, I gained so much more. The benefits of self-discipline can’t be overstated in today’s world of instant gratification. The fast provided a long-overdue tune-up and detox, and I’ve never felt so rejuvenated, physically or mentally.

The experience proved that the origin story of monks fasting on doppelbock was not only possible, but probable. It left me with the realization that the monks must have been keenly aware of their own humanity and imperfections. In order to refocus on God, they engaged this annual practice not only to endure sacrifice, but to stress and rediscover their own shortcomings in an effort to continually refine themselves.

Though they lived out their faith at a higher degree of daily devotion than the average person, they could sense their loss of focus. Taking nothing for granted, they took steps to rectify that problem on an annual basis. Shouldn’t we all, whether or not our religious tradition includes Lent?

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of J. Wilson.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Catholic Church • Food • Lent • Opinion

soundoff (430 Responses)
  1. GodsPeople

    Beer. Shiner Bock. mmm...

    February 25, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
  2. Nii Croffie

    Feel free to address me as "your royal highness".

    February 25, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Nope. I'll address you as you warrant: Your Royal Hiney.

      February 25, 2012 at 8:43 pm |
  3. Peter F

    Beer is good for my soul, you say? Excellent...

    February 25, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
  4. Four Jumps to Insanity

    Didn't the Benedictines, (Cistercians) invent champagne ? Yeah on the monks.

    February 25, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
  5. Bootyfunk

    'I hadn’t planned for the media attention that the investigation spurred. I found myself giving more than five interviews a day to the likes of CNN, BBC, Fox News, the Chicago Tribune, The Catholic Herald and Men’s Health magazine, among others."

    ummm yeah okay. i get the feeling that's all he planned on when he thought up this useless endeavor.

    February 25, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
  6. David Johnson

    What's the big deal? I fast on beer whenever possible. Umm... Do beer nuts count?

    Cheers!

    February 25, 2012 at 12:02 pm |
    • Nii Croffie

      Obviously u don't fast enough!

      February 25, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
    • Keith

      David Johnson, Did you see my post re: the muslim judge who allowed a muslim immigrant to assault and atheist walk free?

      February 25, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
  7. Nii Croffie

    Without these religious wackos you will be living in a Muslim country rather than a secular one. Even among the non-religious atheists are a tiny fraction. Mostly because amorality is like Communism. It is unnatural.

    February 25, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Gibberish. As usual.

      Prove that atheists are "amoral" or "immoral". Prove that believers are "moral". Define "moral".

      February 25, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
    • Oh Yeah

      Nii Croffie
      So we're better off with your brand of "religious wackos" than somebody else's brand of them?

      February 25, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
    • Nii Croffie

      I make so much sense, as you can see. If amorality is unnatural, then you don't need religion to support morality, now do you ? Oh, oh ,oh. I am SO friggin smart.

      February 25, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
    • Bobby

      Come on people, let Nii Croffie speak for himself. Hijacking people's handles just distracts from the issues being discussed, and it just plays into their hands. Nothing pleases them more than pointing how mean-spirited atheists are, so stop giving them the satisfaction.

      February 25, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
    • Nii Croffie

      I dont see my religion as superior 2 anyone else's. I believe all religions r a path 2 spirituality including atheism. Someway, somehow we humans have a sense of morality but r powerless 2 follow it. This is the reason for religion's quest to achieve spirituality to satisfy the conscience.

      February 25, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
    • Nii Croffie

      My only reason for being a Xtian is dat after considering all religions I felt Xtianity will satisfy my quest for spirituality more dan de others. Amorality is unnatural cos of conscience n justice being part of us. We cant lose standards comletely but only 2 a point we r comfortable with.

      February 25, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
    • AGuest9

      Because – you DON'T need religion to support morality.

      February 25, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
    • GodsPeople

      There actually is no morality without God. There never has been, and there never will be.

      February 25, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
    • Fallacy Spotting 101

      Root post by Nii Croffie is an instance of a red herring fallacy and presents a false dilemma .

      http://www.iep.utm.edu/fallacy/#H6

      February 25, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
  8. Kebos

    If I had to pick something to sustain me through the Lenten fasts, beer would be my first choice too. At least these religious whackos made a right decision on this.

    February 25, 2012 at 11:21 am |
  9. Reality

    "No matter how you absorb it, alcohol is alcohol, and it takes the same amount of time to process regardless of the source," explained Chris Lind, RN, director of National Health Services at Hazelden.

    Once alcohol is consumed, it is absorbed into an individual's blood system and can be measured as blood alcohol concentration (BAC). The rate of absorption varies according to an individual's height, weight, and the food ingested prior to drinking. Generally, the faster someone drinks, the more inebriated he or she will become, no matter what type of alcohol he or she consumes. And, says Lind, "If you drink enough of anything–even 3.2 beer–you can get drunk."

    "The supposed benefits of alcohol consumption in reducing heart disease are not good enough reasons for people with alcoholism, or people at increased risk for alcoholism, to drink any amount of alcohol," continued Lind. "Any possible health benefits do not offset the risks. Alcohol–whether it is wine, liquor, strong beer, or 3.2 beer–will trigger relapse for the alcoholic. For someone with alcoholism, one glass of wine a day or a glass of 3.2 beer is a first step in the wrong direction. And, contrary to what some people believe, you can be an alcoholic and meet the criteria for addiction on 3.2 beer."

    In these days of marketing glitz and glamour, where wine coolers are made to taste like soda and "light" beer is promoted as a safe, low-calorie refresher, it is more important than ever for consumers to do their homework. Drinking wine instead of beer or distilled liquor does not reduce the risks of inebriation or many other health consequences associated with drinking. Research indicates that alcohol use can contribute to the risk of various cancers, including cancer of the respiratory tract, upper digestive tract, liver, colon, and rectum. And like the link to breast cancer, links between alcohol and cancer are dose-dependent–that is, heavy drinkers have the greatest cancer risk."

    February 25, 2012 at 11:15 am |
    • jg

      Reality – you're always tryin' to bring us down. You know Reality, you're actually the main reason people drink. Maybe if you chilled the ef out a bit, we'd quit trying to ignore you... just sayin... reality check.

      February 25, 2012 at 7:11 pm |
    • periwinkle

      Sorry, but "Reality" is right and 99% of the population needs to be better informed and get a "reality" check....

      February 26, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
  10. TruthPrevails

    Proof of how dangerous religion can be...
    The following are some very telling facts from bishop-accountability.org
    -Thousands of Catholic clergy and religious have ra.ped and sod.omized tens of thousands of children—perhaps more than 100,000 children—since 1950. These crimes were committed in secret, and bishops nurtured that secrecy.
    -Accused U.S. clerics and religious whose names have been made public
    19 bishops
    3,206 priests
    82 nuns
    194 brothers
    47 deacons
    18 se.minarians
    -The U.S. bishops report receiving allegations from 15,736 victims or 2.6 victims per priest.
    -Approximately two-thirds of sitting U.S. bishops were alleged in 2002 to have kept accused priests in ministry or moved accused priests to new as.signments.
    -What percent of parishes in each diocese have been affected?
    Studies suggest that many Catholic dioceses in the United States have had a priest accused of abuse living at the rectory and doing parish work. The Los Angeles Times determined from an extensive data study in 2005 that over three-quarters of LA parishes had been at risk since 1950. We have done similar studies of Davenport IA and Rockville Centre NY.
    56 of Davenport's 130 parishes – 43%
    221 of Los Angeles' 288 parishes – 77%
    90 of Rockville Centre's 134 parishes – 67%
    65 of Bridgeport's 98 parishes – 66%
    -Over $3 billion in awards and settlements have been made co.mprising:
    $750 million in settlements 1950-2002 (partly overlaps next item)
    $2 billion in large settlements and awards 1984-2008 with 3,547 survivors
    $500 million in smaller settlements 2003-2008
    -Fewer than 2 percent of se.xual abuse allegations against the Catholic church appear to be false. (4,570 allegations were substantiated (80%)
    1,028 allegations were unsubstantiated (18%) 83 allegations were deemed false (1.5%) )

    ***The point in posting this is to prove to anyone still supporting the RCC that the church you are supporting is nothing but a large group pf ped.o.philes. Exposing your children to this should be considered the same as if you beat them. The numbers do not lie! ***

    February 25, 2012 at 11:10 am |
    • Reality

      Why did today's pope, prelates, preachers and rabbis, so focused on society's se-xual sins, lose sight of clerical se-xual sins?
      "
      FEAR, SHAME and GUILT and COVER IT ALL UP!!!

      Obviously ordination in any religion is not assurance of good behavior !!!!!

      Neither is coronation!!! e.g. Henry VIII, King David.

      Neither is marriage as 50% of those men convicted of pedophilia are married.

      Neither is being elected president of the USA!! e.g. Billy "I did not have se-x with that girl" Clinton, John "Marilyn Monroe" Kennedy".

      Neither is possessing super athletic skill!!! e.g. Tiger "I am so sorry for getting caught" Woods.

      Neither is being an atheist or pagan since pedophilia is present in all walks of life.

      If someone is guilty of a crime in this litany of "neithers" they should or should have been penalized as the law dictates to include jail terms for pedophiliacs (priests, rabbis, evangelicals, boy scout leaders, married men/women), divorce for adultery (Clinton, Kennedy, Woods), jail terms for obstruction of justice (Clinton, Cardinal Law) and the death penalty or life in prison for murder ("Kings David and Henry VIII).

      February 25, 2012 at 11:13 am |
    • maroon67

      Really? I suppose Satan didn't have anything to do with imposing in on the Catholic Church and infiltrating the lives of God's clergy. Every man falls, but can every man get back up and ask forgiveness for offending God? The greatest gift was the gift of free will. It is our moral responsibility to choose from that free will what is morally right and what is morally wrong through the eyes of our Father. Whether Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Muslim, Atheist, Agnostic, etc.... We are all God's people! We all need to take a good look in the mirror before we set judgment on one another.

      February 25, 2012 at 8:02 pm |
    • DarkMarcsun

      Pretty sure you could find similar statistics of accusations in almost any profession that works with children – youth sports leagues, scouts, teachers, to name a few.

      February 25, 2012 at 8:41 pm |
  11. Mark

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r2XXG5LUVXw&w=640&h=360]

    February 25, 2012 at 10:27 am |
    • Bob

      George Carlin on religion
      [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gPOfurmrjxo&w=640&h=360]

      February 25, 2012 at 10:45 am |
  12. Prayer is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer takes people away from actually working on real solutions to their problems.
    Prayer prevents you from getting badly needed exercise.
    Prayer makes you fat.
    Prayer wears out your clothes prematurely.
    Prayer contributes to global warming through excess CO2 emissions.
    Prayer fucks up your knees and your neck and your back.
    Prayer can cause heart attacks, especially among the elderly.
    Prayer reveals how stupid you are to the world.
    Prayer exposes your backside to pervert priests.
    Prayer makes you think doilies are exciting.
    Prayer makes you secretively flatulent and embarrassed about it.
    Prayer makes your kids avoid spending time with you.
    Prayer gives you knobbly knees.
    Prayer makes you frothy like Rick Santorum. Just google him to find out.
    Prayer dulls your senses.
    Prayer makes you post really stupid shit.
    Prayer makes you hoard cats.
    Prayer makes you smell like shitty kitty litter and leads you on to harder drugs.
    Prayer wastes time.

    February 25, 2012 at 10:22 am |
  13. PeterVN

    If he had beer to sustain him, he wasn't fasting. What a farce.

    February 25, 2012 at 10:19 am |
    • Oh Yeah

      Nobody fasts without any food whatsoever for 40 days. Doing that could lead to hallucinations, like seeing the devil. 😉

      February 25, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
    • Nii Croffie

      Hmm now can an atheist define fasting for us? I thought u cudn't fast. Hallucinations like I am hearing from God about the future which comes true abound. Are u brave enough to try. A crate of beer is waiting.

      February 25, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
    • Oh Yeah

      Nii Croffie
      Are you saying that you've fasted for 40 days without anything at all to eat? The incidents when this has happened, where people have gone without food for very long periods due to some disaster, for example, many of these people reported having hallucinations. Why does this surprise you?

      Jesus was merely doing what shamans all over the globe have done to for ages to contact the "spirit world." The number 40 just has some numerical significance for Jews and it's lucky perhaps that the story takes pains to follow the Jewish traditions, otherwise you might have read about Jesus doing magic mushrooms, or something similar, in Sunday school. 🙂

      February 25, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
    • Nii Croffie

      So shamans did it too, huh? But I thought shamans were pagans not atheists or I am mistaken.

      February 25, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
    • Oh Yeah

      Nii Croffie
      Shamans are (they're still around) kinda primitive clerics and prophets. Point is, Jesus was drawing on a very ancient religious practice when he went into the desert, a ancient practice that his missionaries would have worked hard to eliminate amongst the aboriginal groups they've converted which is kinda ironic, eh? My other point was that anyone undergoing 40 days of fasting in the lonely desert would have seen things that simply were not there, and there is tons of evidence to support this. Besides, who was there to witness this interaction between Jesus and the devil if they did this in private in the desert, hmmm?

      February 25, 2012 at 10:57 pm |
    • Oh Yeah

      Four Jumps to Insanity
      The Flat Earth Society are harmless now, but if they started behaving like some Christians, protesting that our shipping shouldn't cross the oceans in fear that they slip off of the edge of the world say, then they wouldn't be so quaint, would they?

      February 26, 2012 at 12:40 pm |
  14. Kylie

    Wilson-Did the 40 days of Lenten include daily prayer, reading scriptures alongside your fasting?

    February 25, 2012 at 9:52 am |
    • Bobby

      The beer would certainly help with the praying and reading of scriptures, wouldn't you say?

      February 25, 2012 at 12:18 pm |
  15. Atheists Are Cowards

    It takes courage to be a Christian, to endure the criticism.

    February 25, 2012 at 8:38 am |
    • Mirosal

      Only because deep down you know you have doubts and have to keep defending your position. Is this your new name just spewin' .. I mean just sayin? We atheists have no religious position to defend. We have nothing to fear.

      February 25, 2012 at 8:43 am |
    • Atheists Are Cowards

      Exactly; doubts; yes! there are doubts, but it takes belief, faith and courage to overcome those doubts. It takes no courage to stand up and say, “I don’t believe in God.” Anyone can do it.

      February 25, 2012 at 8:57 am |
    • Mirosal

      You open yourself up to ridicule when you believe in something that has NEVER EVER been shown to exist throughout the history of man on this planet. You might as well say you still believe in Santa and the Tooth Fairy. All we hear from the likes of you is "He is real you better believe because we have a book that says so or you'll be punished!!" We simply ask for your proof and/or evidence, and we're STILL waiting. We just want you to substantiate your claim, that's all. One simple little request.

      February 25, 2012 at 9:09 am |
    • Atheists Are Cowards

      You are getting the point so very well. What you describe takes courage for a Christian to defend its their their belief and faith.
      Absolutely, there is no proof of a living God, It takes courage to believe and have faith. Like you said, “We atheists have... [nothing] ... to defend.” What soldier will face the enemy and death if he didn’t believe in what he doing? (There were many Americans that fled to Canada to avoid the draft because they didn’t believe in the cause, or were simply cowards)

      February 25, 2012 at 9:35 am |
    • Mirosal

      I AM a veteran, and I can tell you that it isn't a faith in a "god" that gets you through. It's faith in your team's training. Not YOURS, but your team's training. Also General George S. Patton's words ring in the ears. "You don't win a war by dying for your country. You win it by making the other poor dumb bas'tard die for his." Pick another ana'logy, the 'soldier' one isn't going to cut it.

      February 25, 2012 at 9:41 am |
    • PeterVN

      In response to the base comment, no, and as the quote says,

      "Religion is for the ignorant, the gullible, the cowardly and the stupid, and for those who would profit from them."

      You are apparently at least in the stupid and cowardly sets yourself.

      February 25, 2012 at 10:15 am |
    • PeterVN

      Mirosal: great posts you made. Thanks and thanks for your service.

      February 25, 2012 at 10:18 am |
    • Atheists Are Cowards

      I don’t what to get into the subject of evolution because it is just a theory of weak evidences, some of it down right lies of scientists and cover-ups of truth and to be quite frank, I have not studied evolution enough to make an argument, only enough to know I don’t accept it. And for me, there is equal evidence of a God, in particular the prophecies of the Bible. For just one, just one (there are others) the prophecies of Daniel 2. This is an almost completely fulfilled prophecy; we are right down to the “toe-nails” of it being completed. (We are living in the day of the feet made of iron and clay, the “Rock, cut out of a mountain with out hands represents the second coming of Christ, so those parts of the prophecy has yet to be fulfilled. The the head of gold, [Babylon] the breast and arms of silver, [Medo Persia] the belly of brass [Greece] and the legs of iron [Pagan Roam] is history that can be read in secular books of history. The feet of partly iron and partly clay is modern Europe.) This is only one example, and there is no doubt when this was written by Daniel.
      You may answer this, but I got’a go, will pick this up later if you wish. Have a good day.

      February 25, 2012 at 10:27 am |
    • Prayer is not healthy for children and other living things

      Prayer is for cowards.
      Prayer takes people away from actually working on real solutions to their problems.
      Prayer has been shown to have no discernible effect towards what was prayed for.
      Prayer prevents you from getting badly needed exercise.
      Prayer makes you fat.
      Prayer wears out your clothes prematurely.
      Prayer contributes to global warming through excess CO2 emissions.
      Prayer fucks up your knees and your neck and your back.
      Prayer can cause heart attacks, especially among the elderly.
      Prayer reveals how stupid you are to the world.
      Prayer exposes your backside to pervert priests.
      Prayer makes you think doilies are exciting.
      Prayer makes you secretively flatulent and embarrassed about it.
      Prayer makes your kids avoid spending time with you.
      Prayer gives you knobbly knees.
      Prayer makes you frothy like Rick Santorum. Just google him to find out.
      Prayer dulls your senses.
      Prayer makes you post really stupid shit.
      Prayer makes you hoard cats.
      Prayer makes you smell like shitty kitty litter and leads you on to harder drugs.
      Prayer wastes time.

      February 25, 2012 at 10:29 am |
    • Bobby

      Atheists Are Cowards
      You mean it takes a lot to suppress your better judgment. You don't have any doubts that Thor, Zeus, or Isis are fictional, and were never real gods, do you? Your better judgment is screaming to you that God is no different, but you push that down. Why?

      February 25, 2012 at 11:23 am |
    • Kebos

      It takes courage to be a Christian. Really? To belong to a club who all fall in line believing the same thing takes courage? I think not. True courage is thinking for oneself. To say "no, that doesn't sound right" when it doesn't. Hardly takes courage to belong to any religion. Just blind faith and lack of intelligent thought.

      February 25, 2012 at 11:26 am |
    • Bobby

      Does it take courage to be a bully in high school (conservative Christians), or courage to just stand around and not stop the abuse (moderate Christians)?

      February 25, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
    • Oh Yeah

      Atheists Are Cowards
      There are people who still profess to believe that the Earth is flat, and ask for people to treat their beliefs seriously as well, but no matter how much you want to admire their dedication it's still difficult to earnestly engage in discussion with them.

      http://theflatearthsociety.org/cms/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=48&Itemid=65

      "There were many Americans that fled to Canada to avoid the draft because they didn’t believe in the cause, or were simply cowards."
      You're forgetting how Loyalists were often burned out of their homes, and tarred and feathered which often led to death due to the infection of losing so much skin. Men often have to swallow their pride for the sake of saving their families, and is there ever much shame in that?

      February 25, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
    • Oh Yeah

      Atheists Are Cowards
      First you say" I don’t what to get into the subject of evolution because it is just a theory of weak evidences, some of it down right lies of scientists and cover-ups of truth"

      and then you say "and to be quite frank, I have not studied evolution enough to make an argument, only enough to know I don’t accept it."

      So, you are actually admitting that your denial of evolution is rooted in ignorance of the subject? Amazing! Just Amazing!

      BTW, what exactly do you see Daniel 2 predicting in our near future? You weren't at all clear on this. I know that coming up with new and current interpretations of what power the "feet of iron and clay" refers to has become a cottage industry in itself within Christian book publishing circles, but the traditional view of it being the divided Roman Empire doesn't seem very imminent. That empire has been divided for many hundreds of years.

      February 25, 2012 at 1:15 pm |
    • Four Jumps to Insanity

      It takes courage to endure the criticism for still believing the world is flat.

      February 25, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
    • kenny

      Properly read, the Bible is the most potent force for atheism ever conceived.
      I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours

      February 25, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
    • tallulah13

      @ "Atheists Are Cowards"

      You screen name should be "Christians Are Liars". Why is it that christians think it's okay to lie when they are insulting people who don't believe the same thing they do? If you had any integrity, you would be ashamed of yourself for telling such lies.

      February 25, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
    • AGuest9

      Apparently, your brain-washing caused your "faith and courage" to overcome the doubts generated by your mind, that you now willfully reject.

      February 25, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
  16. Brad

    A beer fast sounds pretty Lutheran to me. It also reminds me of a fun book: Tim Powers' The Drawing of the Dark. That will make a beer drinker of anyone.

    February 25, 2012 at 8:30 am |
  17. Reality

    "Wine, beer and spirits all contain ethyl alcohol, and the amount of alcohol in standard servings of 5 ounces of wine, 12 ounces of regular beer or a wine cooler, and 1.5 ounces of 80 proof distilled spirits is the same, whether one drinks it straight or in a mixed drink. Ethyl alcohol–the substance that intoxicates–is the substance that increases the risk of breast cancer in moderate and heavy drinkers.

    "No matter how you absorb it, alcohol is alcohol, and it takes the same amount of time to process regardless of the source," explained Chris Lind, RN, director of National Health Services at Hazelden.

    Once alcohol is consumed, it is absorbed into an individual's blood system and can be measured as blood alcohol concentration (BAC). The rate of absorption varies according to an individual's height, weight, and the food ingested prior to drinking. Generally, the faster someone drinks, the more inebriated he or she will become, no matter what type of alcohol he or she consumes. And, says Lind, "If you drink enough of anything–even 3.2 beer–you can get drunk."

    "The supposed benefits of alcohol consumption in reducing heart disease are not good enough reasons for people with alcoholism, or people at increased risk for alcoholism, to drink any amount of alcohol," continued Lind. "Any possible health benefits do not offset the risks. Alcohol–whether it is wine, liquor, strong beer, or 3.2 beer–will trigger relapse for the alcoholic. For someone with alcoholism, one glass of wine a day or a glass of 3.2 beer is a first step in the wrong direction. And, contrary to what some people believe, you can be an alcoholic and meet the criteria for addiction on 3.2 beer."

    In these days of marketing glitz and glamour, where wine coolers are made to taste like soda and "light" beer is promoted as a safe, low-calorie refresher, it is more important than ever for consumers to do their homework. Drinking wine instead of beer or distilled liquor does not reduce the risks of inebriation or many other health consequences associated with drinking. Research indicates that alcohol use can contribute to the risk of various cancers, including cancer of the respiratory tract, upper digestive tract, liver, colon, and rectum. And like the link to breast cancer, links between alcohol and cancer are dose-dependent–that is, heavy drinkers have the greatest cancer risk."

    February 25, 2012 at 8:01 am |
    • Byron Delaney

      It's actually the acetaldehyde in alcoholic beverages that's toxic, not the ethanol. Acetaldehyde when associated with alcohol is a class 1 carcinogen.

      February 25, 2012 at 7:10 pm |
  18. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    February 25, 2012 at 4:55 am |
  19. The Central Scrutinizer

    Snore

    It is time to lose the Belief Blog. Put a fork in it.

    February 25, 2012 at 3:00 am |
    • Nii Croffie

      Blog fatigue already? Why they cud do an atheist blog too? O let me see that is all their secular blogs if u r secularist non-religious. Seems like atheist are stuck here.

      February 25, 2012 at 3:17 am |
    • TruthPrevails

      No Nii...we actually have numerous websites we could go to but with this one we get plenty of humor.

      February 25, 2012 at 5:33 am |
    • Nii Croffie

      Likewise, my Canadian friend! Likewise! And the atheists are the stars of the show. lol

      February 25, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
    • Bobby

      Nii Croffie
      We're the straight man Bud Abbott to your bumbling Lou Costello. 😉

      February 25, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
    • Nii Croffie

      *Blinking naively* I am not American. I cannot connect with that joke!

      February 25, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
    • AGuest9

      No, the religious whackos are trying to take over the science blogs (just like they are trying to eliminate science education from our schools). Fair is fair.

      February 25, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
    • Bobby

      Nii Croffie
      Let me educate you. This one's a classic!

      [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sShMA85pv8M&w=640&h=360]

      February 26, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
  20. RightTurnClyde

    I'd like to see the author go on a 40 day chewing tobacco fast where the only thing he gets to eat is three chaws of Red Man chewing tobacco every day. For breakfast he can chew off a piece and just keep chewing and spitting until noon... then a new piece until 6 and then a new piece again.

    February 25, 2012 at 2:16 am |
    • Nii Croffie

      Oh no Clyde I can't believe it! Are u saying u r not capable of contextual reading comprehension? that is de prime skill for understanding the Bible. Let me break it down 4 u! He was testing a historical hypothesis! What is that hypothesis 4 chewing tobacco. Maybe Atheists Anonymous can help!

      February 25, 2012 at 3:11 am |
    • TruthPrevails

      Maybe Nii, you could take it for what it was-SARCASM!! You are blatantly ignorant!

      February 25, 2012 at 5:32 am |
    • Mirosal

      And he's incapable of spelling the most basic of English words. It makes his posts look like the ramblings of a distracted 3rd grader (8 yrs old).

      February 25, 2012 at 5:50 am |
    • TruthPrevails

      Mirosal: I've caught this guy contradicting himself so many times, it's ridiculous. I agree that his posts look like the ramblings of a child and sadly someone has lead this fool to believe he knows what he speaks of. Maybe he'd stop his stupid thinking if he actually read his buybull. It is a fact that Atheists are more in-tune with the buybull than most christards are because we have read the book.

      February 25, 2012 at 6:00 am |
    • Mirosal

      Hello m'lady 🙂 .. and we also know what to do with it. It's either in the fiction section of a home library, used as a coaster for drinks, to level uneven table legs, or as emergency toilet paper. These same uses can also be applied to the qu'ran as well.

      February 25, 2012 at 6:09 am |
    • TruthPrevails

      Mirosal: Too many uses for those books and learning from them is not one of them. Nii figures that since he has attended seminary, he is an authority on all belief but that's like saying that a 5 year old who read Jack and Jill is an authority on fairy tales.

      February 25, 2012 at 7:14 am |
    • Nii Croffie

      Help. I am an arrogant sob, and am REALLY p1ssed that mommy named me Nii. What am I to do ?

      February 25, 2012 at 7:17 am |
    • Mirosal

      Aren't seminary students SUPPOSED to be experts on fairy tales? 😉

      February 25, 2012 at 7:20 am |
    • TruthPrevails

      Yes Mirosal and of course they're also experts on Delusions of Grandeur and brainwashing techniques.

      February 25, 2012 at 8:05 am |
    • Mirosal

      Delusions of Granduer, certainly. But expert on brainwashing techniques .. I'll have to think about that one. It didn't work on me lol They just THINK they know it all, and they ended up brainwashing themselves, like hypnotizing the person you see in the mirror.

      February 25, 2012 at 8:16 am |
    • Nii Croffie

      Why wud I b angry 4 being named Nii? It means His Royal Highness in my language. Also I don't know why u guys r angry so much. It isnt healthy. Atheists Anonymous is on hand 2 help u deal with ur issues. I've heard a lot of I've read de Bible stuff but if u understood it u wudn't b atheist, wud u?

      February 25, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      What an idjit. Reading the Bible and understanding it don't make one a believer, Nii.

      February 25, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
    • Keith

      Tom, Tom the village idiot, Speaking of idjits, I left a little something for you about the Obama "my muslim faith" interview with George Stephanopolous. You know, the video that ABC won't allow to be posted because of "copyright issues". More like "truth issues" if you ask me. But why let a little thing like the TRUTH cloud peoples critical thinking?

      February 25, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
    • Keith

      [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=18VOGykrgHo&w=640&h=360]

      February 25, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
    • Keith

      Just a reminder there for Tom, Tom the village idiot on the video that she claims doesn't exist. The truth must be painful eh, Tom?

      February 25, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
    • Keith

      Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Oh, please, Keith. You can't "access it" because it doesn't exist except in your fevered imagination.

      February 25, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
    • jg

      Keith – you are ridiculous. And honestly, even if he was Muslim, which he isn't, it's not against the law. You and your k k k buddies are just racist. Deal with it.

      February 25, 2012 at 7:15 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Keef, you leave a lot of "things" behind you. Most of them are turds.

      February 25, 2012 at 8:45 pm |
    • Keith

      I left you behind, Tom.

      February 25, 2012 at 10:19 pm |
    • Keith

      jg, the only portion of the video I want is the interview with George Stephanopolous. I'm not racist. You cannot get the original video from ABC. Try it. If you can, more power to you.

      February 26, 2012 at 4:22 am |
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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.