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March 11th, 2012
01:20 AM ET

My Take: Jesus would be OK with card counting

Editor's Note: David Drury is featured in the documentary "Holy Rollers: The True Story of Card Counting Christians” and is writing a book about his card-counting adventures.

By David Drury, Special to CNN

(CNN)–“Shackled by a heavy burden/'neath a load of guilt and shame/ then the hand of Jesus touched me/ and now I am no longer the same.”

So begins the popular William Gaither hymn. By popular, I mean Elvis once recorded a version of it, which is what it takes for a hymn anymore.

When I stumbled into a church on the outskirts of Las Vegas one Sunday morning in 2007, I was shackled with my own heavy burden of sorts. I had $80,000 in cash hidden on my person. It was crammed into pockets, stuffed into socks and strapped beneath my clothes. The pastor was just getting his sermon fired up when I slipped into a back row with all the grace of a stiff-limbed Frankenstein.

So much for going unnoticed.

The pastor stopped midsentence and stared my way. Had he cleared his throat or even made an offhanded comment about punctuality, I would have understood. Instead, he called my first and last name into the microphone, and every head turned.

Believe it or not, I had never been to this church. While I traveled to Vegas often, my time was spent in casinos, not churches.

Blackjack is a beatable game. With card counting, perfect decision-making and plenty of capital, you can gain and cash in on an advantage against the house. East Coast college students, known as the MIT Team, used the method to plunder casinos in the 1980s and 1990s, inspiring books and movies and making card counting famous. But people have been employing this winning strategy in casinos for 50 years.

Mark Treas stands outside of a casino.

A card counter assigns a value to every card as it is dealt out of the shoe. This creates a running count that always changes and allows a player to determine when a statistical advantage falls to him or her, by virtue of more aces and face cards than usual being poised to appear. More faces mean the dealer will bust more often.

More aces mean more natural blackjacks, which pay the player at a higher rate. A card counter keeps bets low when the casino has the statistical advantage and raises them high when the advantage shifts to them.

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

When I lost my Seattle office job in 2006, this was the strange career path down which I found myself traveling. I was not alone.

It started when I met a guy at church named Ben. He had made a small fortune counting cards. Ben was putting a team together comprising people he’d found through mostly church connections — pastors, worship leaders and students of theology. This was the team I trained for and joined. As card counters, our common faith was incidental, but as team members it held us together.

A scene from the new documentary Holy Rollers about Chrstians who count cards at casinos.

We took our craft to casinos, from Vegas to Atlantic City to Biloxi, Mississippi, to Bremerton, Washington. We won millions of dollars. The money was not funneled into any ministry or religious consortium.

Instead, the winnings were split between those who invested in the operation, those who managed the team - which ran between 10 and 25 players – and the players, who didn’t risk any of their own money at the tables. As a player I made what amounted to a modest annual salary with no financial risk and maintained, on average, a 10-hour workweek.

We returned home with the gift of time to our ministries and families and, yes, to plenty of questions.

If the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil, as the Bible suggests, what business did a bunch of Christians have throwing around big money on a game of chance? For us, chance had nothing to do with it.

To count cards is to remove the gamble. Anything can happen in one hand or on one night, but slowly, over time, the advantage you earn by executing perfect playing decisions and betting according to your advantage bears itself out. Playing the stock market is much more of a gamble.

Yes, money is attractive, and we dealt with a lot of it. Tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash. You can’t withdraw $50,000 from a casino ATM and it can take a half -day of red tape to get as much out of an account at a big bank. Our assets had to be liquid.

Until we had the better sense to put it in safety deposit boxes, we kept our cash in freezers and under mattresses. For our investors and for tax reasons, we were tasked with reporting our wins and losses accurately, but at any time any one of us could have pocketed thousands without a hint of suspicion.

While we were left to weigh our own motives, as a team we were forced to trust one another with money that could have collapsed the business if it ever went missing.

We were an uncommon fellowship, to be sure. But while we never claimed a full understanding on how God viewed our activities, I felt that he never left the room. He was ever present in our musings, discussions and deliberations. With the math on our side, we took confidence in the fact that that we lacked any of the traits of wild gamblers. But were we deceptive by hiding our intentions at the tables? Were we providing a service to the world by playing a card game? The answers varied.

Mark Treas baptized a woman before heading off to a casino to card count in the documentary 'Holy Rollers.'

Which is worse? To declare your path the righteous one and retire all questions of God’s will to the back of your mind, or to seek them out?

We chose the latter, engaging the hard questions as they arose rather than pretending to corner the market on righteousness. We wrestled with them in a way that we came to know intimately the stink of our own individual natures. But there was something pure born out of abandoning an easy, comfortable existence for a true fellowship with my teammates that came with plenty of hard questions.

Casinos have a dubious reputation as the gateway to vice and temptation. I think that’s unfair. I had Internet access and a bar around the corner from my home, so the casinos never represented any particular threat to my morality I didn’t already have at my fingertips.

Maybe that day I stumbled into that Las Vegas-area church I was looking for a familiar face in a strange town. For all the secrecy and questions, maybe I was looking for a little validation, too. I knew two of the pastors on staff because they had served at the church of my childhood.

One of those pastors was at the pulpit that day. He called my name out when he recognized me. After the service I had a brief conversation with the other in the church lobby.

“What brings you to Las Vegas?” he asked.

“I’m on a card-counting team.”

“Well, God can change anyone.”

What? I thought.

“I know a young man,” he said, “who came to Las Vegas for a dodgeball tournament. Now he’s on staff with us. Who knows what God has in store for YOU?”

This man of the cloth had essentially stuffed the cloth right in my mouth, as if to say that even I could be saved from whatever silly game I was playing. But he needn’t have tossed me a lifeline because I didn’t need saving.

Engage me. Ask the hard questions. Be confounded as I am confounded. But don’t write me off. We are all in the water together. Faith is a journey, and God calls us into relationship.

I remember a man at my table once who was furious with the aggressive way I was playing. “A fool and his money are soon parted,” he said in a huff. For six years I stood ready as ever to be the fool. But me and the money, by way of card-counting wins, never parted.

The team ended with the making of a documentary about our journey. My blackjack career ended with it. I have taken to writing my tales in the hopes of forging a new journey that doesn’t involve stacks of cash. I guess I am a gambling man after all.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of David Drury.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Christianity

soundoff (1,821 Responses)
  1. Rich

    Using card counting to win big is stealing. Thou shalt not steal. Seems pretty open and shut. Just as people do anything to justify their desire to believe a god exists, so people also do anything to justify their actions in the eyes of that god.

    March 11, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
    • Mastodonrocks

      They all want their body of christ and to eat it too.

      March 11, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
    • Charles Darwin

      What the..? Card counting is not illegal, nor is it cheating or stealing. I'ts just against the rules at casinos. Next time, try to post something you know what your're talking about.

      March 11, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
    • Four Jumps to Insanity

      What a bunch of crap. So they are supposed to loose on purpose ?

      March 11, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
    • Rich

      Look at it like a questionable tax practice, for instance. While it may be technically acceptable, we rail against people all the time who pay little to no tax because they use a loophole not intended by the system. It may not be illegal, and sure, they're giving up money if they don't use that loophole, but they know they're doing something unintended to game a system in a way that would destroy the system if everyone used it. The last person who should be doing so is a self-professed Christian.

      March 11, 2012 at 5:57 pm |
    • cbc

      So, is using card counting to win "small" OK? where is the line between "big" and "not big"?

      Is it "stealing" to bet more on a good hand than a bad hand?

      The casino sets the rules, the casino deals the cards. Neither the casino nor the player have any control over the order in which the cards come up. Place the same bet on every hand, on average the casino will come out ahead. Any method that the player uses to decide when and how much to bet is not "stealing", it is playing smart.

      March 11, 2012 at 6:08 pm |
    • Rich

      Firstly, you're deceiving the casino, who you know does not approve of or allow card counting and would toss you out if they knew you were doing so. So there's deception to start. Further, you are using a mathematical scheme to determine when to bet high or low, thereby increasing your winnings to above that which you'd normally achieve, and your reward for doing so is someone else's money. Therefore, you are, at minimum, taking claim on someone else's money by means of deception. You can choose to call that what you want, but I do not think it holds up to scrutiny as acceptable for a Christian. That said, I think both card counting and choosing to -not- be a Christian are things I'd describe as "smart".

      March 11, 2012 at 6:13 pm |
    • Four Jumps to Insanity

      You are NOT deceiving anyone. They got their license because they tole the state it could be a game of skill. It's non of their business how you play. The "mathematical scheme" is YOUR bias, and BTW what's wrong with math ? It's created by your god, right ? All you are doing is acting rationally, which clearly you are incapable of. Your definition of "normal" is false. It's not THEIR money. THEY chose to risk it. You don't like it, don't do it. Don't judge others. People don't "choose" to not be a christian. Idiot. Should they *SAY* they believe, when they DON'T ?

      March 11, 2012 at 7:29 pm |
    • Four Jumps to Insanity

      Your god must be REALLY stupid.

      March 11, 2012 at 7:30 pm |
  2. electroguy

    There are those that ask if God made us before we made Him. Those that ask if we are ascribing to Him as an all powerful being in our image, is nothing more than saying that we then are God. Some believe. Some dont. Some will never consider it. But God never said that money was the root of all evil. Making money would then be making evil. If making money is evil, then heaven would be a very empty place...

    March 11, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
    • chubby rain

      Except the actual quote is "the love of money is the root of all evil"...

      March 11, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
  3. DrYaweh

    You've got to hand it to the Christians! They are a clever lot. I mean they have been spinning the bible for their own personal interests and beliefs for centuries, but this represents a new level of accomplishment. Hats off to the Christian hypocrytes! Last time I checked the Good Book, gambling was sin, through and through. I am impressed. You guys sure you don't work for Wall Street?

    March 11, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
    • Observer

      Nah, many Catholic churches have sponsored the gambling lottery called bingo for many years.

      March 11, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
    • Mastodonrocks

      Many Catholics also abuse little boys.

      March 11, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
    • electroguy

      If you are considering religion "amoral" as a whole, then you are missing the point of religion. I personally dont like onions, but I dont hate people that swear by them. If you are trying to say that you think that all Christians are wearing the Bible like an overcoat, taking it off and putting it on when it suits them, that is your perogative. It just seems shallow to me, to write someone off because they are not like you..

      March 11, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
  4. kentuckyscience.com

    Baptism is associated with accepting Jesus and being saved by grace. Being saved by grace means you should have received a punishment for your sin which hurt other people. The problem is that Grace tends to be put above The Greatest Commandment Matthew 22:37. If Grace were above the Greatest Commandment, then the devil could be forgiven and he would be in heaven. The devil does not love God and this is the reason he is not in heaven. The purpose of following the law is to show others that we love God. Unfortunately, those that view Grace above the Greatest commandment are using the law as a means to judge others as being not good enough to follow it. This is the common argument against the Jew. Love or judge, the choice is yours! Matthew 22:37 states you are called to Love and the law tells us how. Not knowing that God loves us is associated with our inherited sin from the fall of Adam and Eve. For God so loved the world that he sent his son not to condemn the world but to save it. Christ forgives our old sinful ways, since being born again is associated with a change in behavior because we now see that God loves us and therefore we now desire to love him. If grace is infinite, then it would not be a choice to love God. If grace is infinite, there would be no reason to change our ways and become a new creation or be born again. If grace is infinite, then God would accept evil and thus be evil. To forgive and not expect any change in behavior would produce more of the same behavior that the original forgiveness required.

    March 11, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
    • lets be real

      Who's Grace?

      March 11, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
    • Charles Darwin

      Baptism is an ignorant ritual to indoctrinate people into a fantasy world of ancient mythology and superst!tious nonsense.

      March 11, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
    • Four Jumps to Insanity

      So that crap passes for science in Kentucky ? You guys need to lay off the hooch.

      March 11, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
    • MissusPowell

      Well–some translations say that–some translations don't–some RELIGIONS changed translations to use it to rule the masses–the bigger picture is what the main IDEAS are, not the so-called literal translations, which vary, and not even within one translation as there are many contradictions within those. Mythology is important because it tells a story to get a point across–some say the Bible is a Myth–there is no proof of any of it nor any proof their wasn't a Jesus or that there isn't a God. THE BIGGER PICTURE is about LOVE. Everyone HATING no matter the arguments are not LOVING. Is it possible to start right there?

      March 11, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
    • Rich

      Holy hell, do you actually operate and advertise a website built in Microsoft FrontPage? Wow, time for some evolution there.

      March 11, 2012 at 6:01 pm |
  5. Observer

    It's likely that the major reason Las Vegas doesn't allow card counters is that it would cost them a bundle to have to use new card decks more often. Card counting doesn't do much good on a brand new deck for each hand.

    March 11, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
    • pastafaria

      True. A lot of casinos are using Continuous Shuffling Machines on the cheaper tables that reshuffle every few hands, making those games uncountable.

      March 11, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
    • Charles Darwin

      A new deck for each hand wouldn't matter. But all of the casinos use multiple decks now. It's not that difficult to keep track of 52 cards but try keeping track of over a thousand. This article is pretty stupid since nobody counts cards anymore because of the multiple decks. They shuffle like 10 or 16 decks together and they shuffle often, try counting cards under that situation.

      March 11, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
  6. Ashrakay

    It's Sunday... time for CNN to troll out another religious article on their home page, dredging the internets for the low-hanging fruit.

    Dear CNN,

    Can we officially make Saturdays "Atheist Day" for your "Non-Belief" section. You could have intelligent guest writers like, Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris and Bill Maher. If you're really lazy, you could just re-purpose some science articles, since we're actually more interested in evidence and fact over opinion and conjecture. Please just put in under your new Non-Belief section and update it every Saturday and put a giant link to it on your home page.

    Disappointingly yours,

    Ashrakay

    March 11, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
  7. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    March 11, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
    • Observer

      How? Sometimes you win; sometimes you lose.

      March 11, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
    • Mastodonrocks

      Believing in things that can not be proven is unhealthy. Raising children up to believe there is a man in the clouds is the biggest lie people teach kids. PROVE IT!!! And I will not take that "its a matter of faith" argument. That's not an argument, its a cop out.

      March 11, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
    • Rich

      Prayer does change things. Specifically, it converts useful time into wasted time. Pray for specific, defined things and keep a scorecard of how often you get those specific, defined results. $20 says you don't even have the courage to do that. The faithful fear to question the foundations of their faith, because they know what a fragile thing it is.

      March 11, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
    • PallasAthene

      Two hands working have done more than any million hands in prayer ever have.

      March 11, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
  8. EX Card Counter

    This news story is funamentally flawed.

    First of all, most casinos can easily identify card counters. They know how to identify them.

    More importantly, card counting works when the house uses a single deck. Casinos typically use 4 decks of shuffled cards. This makes card counting impractical and rebalances the odds far in favor of the house.

    March 11, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
  9. Rich in NJ

    I don't see how this is morally any different from playing the stock market

    March 11, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
  10. Fufu

    For once, CNN should have a big, blaring headline about the millions of American Christians that are feeding the homeless, building infrastructure in third-world countries and living quiet peaceful lives. No balance here.

    March 11, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      Yes, a story about all the Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Atheists, Agnostics, Buddhists, Wiccans, Secular humanists, etc... that are doing the same things. Religions don't do these things .. humans do these things.

      March 11, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
    • Observer

      Nonbelievers are doing the same thing.

      What was your point?

      March 11, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
    • Fufu

      Ii agree that non-believers do the same and I love that. I don't have an argument with you. As to my point, it's pretty obvious: that CNN blares headlines all the time about corrupt "Christians," without giving credit to the many of us who are sane and care for humanity.

      March 11, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
    • Hugo

      Fufu, have you published an iReport on Christian charity? If not, why not? (If not, why blast CNN for something you haven't done? You might have a good reason but I don't know what it is.)

      March 11, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
    • Observer

      Fufu,

      Unquestionably most Christians are "sane and care for humanity". The problem is the large number of Christians who are hypocrites and use to Bible to trash others like gays and pro-choice people.

      March 11, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      FUFU .. they do it for advertising $. Bait people with stories that cause controversy and they get tons of web hits .. and web hits = advertising dollars. Christians are not special, they just work well in generating hits/income to the site.

      March 11, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
    • Rich

      Most Christians, at best, toss a couple dollars into an offering plate and feel they've done their due diligence for humanity.

      March 11, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
  11. T

    you disgusting slobs never cease to amaze me

    March 11, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
    • Mastodonrocks

      Tsk tsk, only god can judge me right? Take your hypocrisy elsewhere and leave us to bash the kool aid drinkers.

      March 11, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
  12. rafael

    Stories like this about religious hypocricy don't even come close to surprising me anymore.

    March 11, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Time for you and your family to convert to muslim and see the benefits that you will reaping today and for your lifetime.

      March 11, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
    • John Hillman

      When "Christians" stop buying and selling commodities and playing the stock market, then you may be able to claim hypocrisy about card counters.

      March 11, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
    • TheTruth

      You muslims follow the same god as the Jews. That jaweh is a fake god and by association so is yours. The Christ came to tell us of the Father and the true god. Follow the true God not a fake one.

      March 11, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Thetruth-change that name you moron only we Muslims worships true god not anybody else.

      March 11, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
    • charles

      What part is hypocritical?

      March 11, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
    • TomCom

      I thought Christians are suppose to be above all this.

      March 11, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
    • LuisWu

      Yahweh was originally one of the gods in the pantheon called the "Council of El" or "Elohim". He wasn't even the head god, he was the god of volcanoes. Then Abraham comes along and latches onto him and suddenly he becomes the one and only god of everything. Nice promotion. It's amazing how many people blindly accept ancient mythology as fact. Sorry, I'll take science, logic reason and objectivity instead.

      March 11, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Hey, look! Some silly troll has stolen my name and is pretending to be a muslim. Of course, anyone who spends any time on these blogs and is familiar with my posts knows that I am very openly an atheist.

      Silly coward. This site is anonymous. Why don't you grow a pair and make up your own name instead of stealing mine?

      March 11, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
    • TheTruth

      Typical filthy muslim mouth when confronted with the fact that their god is a fake god. Suddenly their whole world would come crashing down if they only consider. This yaweh is a false god. He has fooled the Jews and the muslims as well as set them against each other endlessly fighting and killing. God the Father as presented to us by Christ is the only and true God of all. And if you noticed, its not the same.

      March 11, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      @ LuisWu .. love the historical facts and the scifi reference. If more people would learn historical facts (especially when it comes to religion) we could stop repeating it.

      March 11, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
    • Four Jumps to Insanity

      Louis..thanks for reminding me...the story of Yahweh
      .....

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

      March 11, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
  13. MissusPowell

    Aaron, I wonder if it is that we want to be free to be free wherever we deem to be ok. No more or less than that! It is a good thing there are laws, not all are good laws, but laws that protect others as some do harm to others for alot of reasons and if we had no laws, well imagine that. RE: other's posts–hey, I am a believer and am sick of the Santorums of the world who think ONLY THEY GOT IT RIGHT. I'm not sure ANY ONE OF US HAVE GOT IT ALL RIGHT. So how about cutting the arguments about who is right and who is wrong and WHY NOT , me who has zero tolerance for zero tolerance, let the folks believe what they want UNLESS THEY PUSH LAWS THAT INTERFERE WITH OUR FREEDOMS to believe as we believe ie: NO LAWS BASED ON ONE RELIGION THAT SOMEONE THINKS "I GOT IT RIGHT" like the Santorums of the world!! THEN we have to stand up for our freedoms!!!

    March 11, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
    • tallulah13

      As muslim our hopes is you will join us in our friday prayers and have conversion of yours hearts and yours mind.

      March 11, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
    • tallulah13

      There you are again, you silly troll. Why are you so afraid to post under your own made-up name? This site is anonymous. Does my atheism frighten you? Is that why you must steal my name to tell your lies? How horrible it must be to be such a coward. I pity you. Truly, I do.

      March 11, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
    • Rex T

      It must be awful to be swinging between being a Muslim and switching over to being an atheist. Why does it bother to troll so hard posting its nonsense?

      March 11, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
  14. ann west

    🔴 Card Counting is far less Sinful than the Casinos and Race tracks that Cheat. Insurance companies and Big Business rip people off all the time but if you defraud an insurance company you go to jail for life.

    March 11, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
    • Lillith

      Don't forget the Religion industry and all the immoral and illegal wrongs it has perpetuated on the human race and gotten away with simply because it is "THE CHURCH" and one cannot question the church!

      March 11, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
    • TomCom

      Yes that is true, but isn't this story about Christians doing this? So, are you are saying it's okay for a Christian to decieve a business, not play by the rules?

      March 11, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
  15. b

    There is nothing wrong with card counting, these things are natural in some people.

    March 11, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
    • TomCom

      Vegas does not accept card counting. They look at it as cheating and stealing. It's thier business and they set the rules.

      March 11, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
    • JeffinIL

      Card Counting, otherwise known as Paying Attention. Yeah, the casinos definitely don't want you to pay attention.

      March 11, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
  16. Nate (Seattle, WA)

    You're not a true Christian these days unless you exhibit a large amount of hypocrisy.

    The heck with card counting. I'm pretty sure Jesus wouldn't have been too keen on gambling, period, whether you respected the casino's rules, or not.

    March 11, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
  17. Matt

    Something doesn't add up. Why on earth would you ever say “I’m on a card-counting team”, in LAS VEGAS for that matter! All it takes it 1 person in the church to be head of security and you and your buddies are blacklisted from every casino in the nation. Either this story is BS, or he's really really dumb.

    March 11, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
    • Nate (Seattle, WA)

      Anyone who believes in a virgin birth, a man parting a sea, another man herding all the animal species onto an ark, yet another living 3 days inside a whale, and an invisible deity who cares about everyone's personal ethics, but yet is so shallow as to be jealous and vengeful ... that's dumb.

      March 11, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
    • Read It

      Matt,

      The author does not play anymore.

      March 11, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
    • Matt

      @ Read It

      He was still playing when he made that statement in the church, infact he had $80k on himself.

      March 11, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
    • Rhonda

      That's why he doesn't play anymore. After the book was published, he was blacklisted...

      March 11, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
    • charles

      Nate, once you realize that you are on a ball spinning around 1000 mph while at the same time circling the sun at around 67,000 mph, and at the same realizing any slower spinning and the seasons don't change properly and we die. If the earth spins too fast, we are spun off and we die. If the earth orbits around the sun much slower we are sucked into it by gravity and we die. If the earth orbits around the sun too fast we are taken out of the proper distance and we die. Once you realize the delicate and precarious nature of life in general, then miracles don't seem too hard to fathom. I suggest reading material by professor John Lennox if you are looking for more erudite material, but at the end of the day, faith and logic don't always seem to fit, from our limited perspectives. God Bless

      March 11, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
  18. SueEllen

    There are so many things going on that god doesn't like. Killing innocent fetuses, people of the same gender getting married, interracial marriage, gambling, we should be ashamed of what this world has become!

    March 11, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
    • palintwit

      BWAAHAHAHHAHA !!! Good one !! You are freakin' hilarious !!

      March 11, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      Still beats the heck out of the days where God(s) would destroy entire cities (including infants) or wipe out all life on earth including infants and animals in favor of Noah and his family! I'll take today over that any day. God should be ashamed of what he's done!

      March 11, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
    • Ashrakay

      How do you know god doesn't like killing fetuses? 1 in 5 pregnancies end in miscarriage and that's with modern medicine. Seems like god is pretty okay with killing fetuses himself.

      March 11, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
    • someone

      Are you serious? I know you're already alone and bitter so I'll leave you to it

      March 11, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
    • Nate (Seattle, WA)

      So, all the pregnancies that miscarry, or otherwise don't make it to birth naturally, or fertilized eggs that don't attach to the uterus ... how do you explain that?

      Your God apparently doesn't care too much about that, so what on earth makes you think he gives a rip about abortion?

      It's ridiculous to think that (a) there is such thing as God, and (b) that this God actually values human life, when there's so many ways that he/she/it kills us, having nothing to do with our own moral choices.

      March 11, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
    • Lillith

      I love the part where SueEllen personally knows what God specifically does or doesn't like!

      March 11, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
    • Really-O?

      @SueEllen-
      Perhaps you should be ashamed of your bigotry and intolerance.

      March 11, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
    • MissusPowell

      Sue Ellen–I am a believer but YOU nor I KNOW EXACTLY WHAT GOD THINKS!!! So stop pushing YOUR IDEAS on everyone else and be thankful you are free to believe what you do in this country AND STAND FOR OTHERS TO HAVE THE SAME FREEDOMS!! Sheesh!

      March 11, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
    • SueEllen

      @someone I am not alone or bitter. I have a loving husband who gave me 3 wonderful children. Unfortunately my 4th child decided to be like some o y'all and take the path towards darkness so we had to part ways but just like y'all I continue to pray for his soul.

      God Bless!

      March 11, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
    • LuisWu

      What's sinful is the fact that so many people are still getting sucked into a fantasy world of invisible, supernatural beings in the sky. The ignorance of it all is what's sinful.

      March 11, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
    • Lillith

      That's very sad SueEllen that you "had to part ways". Did you part ways because your child is an Atheist? If so, that's infinitely more sad.

      March 11, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
    • IceT

      Sorry Sue, but it sounds very bitter to dump your fourth "unloving" child because they don't share your fantasy.

      March 11, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
    • SueEllen

      No not because he was an atheist but because he decided that he enjoyed the company of men and performing those immoral acts

      March 11, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
    • Ashrakay

      @SueEllen, And I thought love was about accepting who a person is, in spite of their different philosophies of lifestyles. I'm lucky enough to have that kind of loving mother. At least you're practicing love like god does... "choose my way or else!" Very mature.

      March 11, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
    • Lillith

      I understand how hard that is to deal with. I too came face to face with my child's orientation & I'll admit it was very difficult at first. But as an Atheist I've come to grips with the reality of the situation and love my child and their partner with all my heart. I truly hope you can either shed the religion that causes this to be a problem or that you can find a way to love your child back into your heart.

      March 11, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
    • xeno

      SueEllen, you are not a nice person. You abandoned a son because of your hate, and you bring up interracial marriage? Hey, it's not 1954. I don't know what deep issues you are trying to repress with religion, but get some help.

      March 11, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
    • Charles Darwin

      SueEllen – I feel very sorry for you. You've rejected your child because of your bigotry. Being gay is NOT a choice, it's something you're born with. Would you reject a child that was born with a deformed hand or a cleft palate? You are one pathetic excuse for a human being.

      March 11, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
  19. Aaron

    In the video that accompanies this article it is interesting that he mentions "living in the grey" as a good thing. We as humans, Christian or not, like to push the bounds. We make things as racy as we can but not quite inappropriate, because we want to push. We speed, but just what we can say "I'm not going too far over the speed limit, just a little bit." rather than following the law. What is it that constantly pushes us to test all boundaries?

    March 11, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
  20. Sagebrush Shorty

    Anyone who can count into a 4 deck shoe has my admiration.

    March 11, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
    • dave

      most tables that I see at Vegas are single deck...and counting into a 4 deck shoe is not any harder...you just have to divide by 4 to get the true count.

      March 11, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
    • Nate (Seattle, WA)

      Dave,

      Most Americans do admire the few among us who can successfully divide by four. This is a stupid, stupid country.

      March 11, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
    • pastafaria

      Actually, 6-8 decks seems to be the norm now, at least in AC. @Nate While card counting is not rocket science, counting multiple decks is not just a matter of simple division. You divide by the number of remaining decks, which requires you to either keep track of the number of cards already dealt (nearly impossible with all of the distractions in a casino) or learn to accurately estimate how many cards are in the discard tray to the nearest 1/8th of a deck or so – try doing that at an 8 deck table without a lot of practice.

      March 11, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
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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.