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How religion has been used to promote slavery
Moses led the Israelites out of slavery, but he and other religious giants accepted slavery for others, scholars say.
March 29th, 2012
09:19 AM ET

How religion has been used to promote slavery

By John Blake, CNN

Editor’s note: The CNN documentary 'Slavery's Last Stronghold' airs on CNN International TV March 29, 30, 31 and April 22. Check local listings for times.

(CNN) - Which revered religious figure - Moses, Jesus, or the Prophet Mohammad - spoke out boldly and unambiguously against slavery?

Answer: None of them.

One of these men owned slaves, another created laws to regulate - but not ban - slavery. The third’s chief spokesman even ordered slaves to obey their masters, religious scholars say.

Most modern people of faith see slavery as a great evil. Though the three great Western religions – Judaism, Christianity and Islam – disagree on many matters, most of their contemporary followers condemn slavery.

Yet there was a time when Jews, Christians and Muslims routinely cited the words and deeds of their founders to justify human bondage, scholars say.

At times, religion was deployed more to promote the spread of slavery than to prevent it.

Read about present-day slavery in Mauritania

“The lesson in all this is we need historical humility,” says Daniel C. Peterson, author of “Muhammad, Prophet of God.” “It’s stunning for us to look back now and say, how can people face themselves in the mirror after doing what they did, but they did.”

But what did the founders of the three great Western religions do? Did they have slaves and did they condemn the practice? Or were they, at least on this issue, squarely men of their times?

The answers to these questions are as murky and contradictory as history itself.

What’s a slave?

Part of the problem is historical context. Most contemporary people think of slaves as people condemned to a lifetime of bondage, working on plantations and being whipped like oxen.

That kind of slavery did exist during the lives of Moses, Jesus and the Prophet Mohammad. Many slaves were prisoners of war; concubines, gladiators, laborers in salt mines. They could be killed, raped and discarded at any moment.

Yet there were layers of slavery in the ancient world. Many slaves would be seen today as indentured servants, or people trying to pay off debts; royal bodyguards and entrepreneurs, historians say.

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

Sometimes the slaves became masters. In medieval Egypt, Muslim rulers trained and educated slaves to be their bodyguards. One group of slaves grew so powerful that they overthrew the rulers of Egypt and established their own dynasty, says Ali Asani, a professor of Indo-Muslim and Islamic Languages and Culture at Harvard University.

“Slavery meant different things in different cultures,” Asani says. “There wasn’t always this sense of powerlessness and oppression. In certain forms, it became an access to power.”

In other forms, it became access to freedom, says John Dominic Crossan, one of world’s leading scholars on the life and times of Jesus.

That was the case in the world of Jesus. The Roman Empire was the dominant power of Jesus’ day, and it survived on the backs of millions of slaves. Yet there was only one mass slave revolt against Rome, which was led by Spartacus, a gladiatorial slave, Crossan says.

The reason there were so few massive slave rebellions against Rome was because some of its slaves had avenues for advancement, dim though they may seem to modern sensibilities.

Slaves could buy their freedom. They ran businesses for their masters or tutored their children. Greek slaves, in particular, were often valued because of their education and culture, he says.

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Roman slavery was cruel and capricious, but not all Romans saw slaves as subhuman.

“One of the most extraordinary aspects of Roman slavery,” says Crossan, author of “The Power of Parable: How Fiction by Jesus became Fiction about Jesus,” was that the Romans ended up with a huge number of slaves who were smarter than their masters.”

The uncomfortable historical record

It’s been said that great religious figures transcend history. They rise above the peculiar customs of their day to show a new path forward.

It’s a matter of debate if Moses, Jesus and the Prophet Mohammad did that with slavery. All three seemed to either ignore or tolerate some forms of slavery, some scholars say.

The parables of Jesus, for example, were full of references to slaves. Terms like “servants” or “stewards” are what we would call slaves today. Yet Jesus doesn’t seem to make any moral judgments about slavery in his parables, Crossan says.

The subject may have been irrelevant to him or his audience, says Crossan, the Jesus scholar. Jesus didn’t own any slaves. Neither did his disciples or the crowds Jesus addressed. They were all too poor and lived under desperate economic circumstances.

“It may well be that the people he talked to were small farmers who would not have the luxury of slaves,” Crossan says. “He [Jesus] doesn’t say anything for or against it.”

Still, Crossan says that he believes that Jesus would have opposed slavery, given the nature of his teachings. Scholars aren’t so certain about Jesus’ most influential disciple, the Apostle Paul.

The man whose writings make up most of the New Testament had to deal with slavery. As Christianity spread through the Roman Empire, many slaves joined the church.

At various parts of the New Testament, Paul seems to accept slavery. He tells slaves to obey their masters. At other times, Paul seems to challenge the morality of slavery. In one New Testament letter, Paul intercedes on behalf of a runaway slave and chides the master for calling himself a Christian and holding a slave.

Crossan, along with some other biblical scholars, says there are actually two versions of Paul in the New Testament: the authentic, “radical” Paul who opposed slavery and a “Pseudo-Paul” inserted into the texts by early church leaders who were afraid of antagonizing Rome.

“It’s one thing to say that Jesus is Lord,” Crossan says. “Now if you’re saying a Christian can’t have slaves, then something must be wrong with slaves. So now you’re attacking the Roman system, which is a slave economy.”

Jesus’ apparent silence on slavery and Paul’s ambiguous statements on the issue had dreadful historical consequences. It helped ensure that slavery would survive well into the 19th century in the U.S., some scholars say.

American Christians who owned slaves had a simple but powerful defense in the run-up to the Civil War. The Old and New Testament sanctioned slavery and, since the Bible is infallible, slavery is part of God’s order, says Mark Noll, author “The Civil War as a Theological Crisis.”

“The defenders of slavery said Jesus condemned quite a few things that were standard in the Old Testament,” Noll says. “He condemned polygamy, violence, easy divorce, but he never condemned slavery.”

Let my people go, but keep the others

Neither did Moses, the founder of Judaism, say other scholars.

There’s no record of Moses owning slaves, but the Mosaic laws permitted and regulated slavery, says Peterson, the author of “Muhammad, Prophet of God” and a religious scholar at Brigham Young University in Utah.

Still, under Mosaic law, a master was encouraged to free slaves and forgive debts after a certain period of time that was called the year of jubilee, Peterson says.

“They were not trying to create a permanent underclass of slaves that went from parents to child and child and grandchildren,” Peterson says of the ancient Israelites.

But how could ancient Israelites sanction any form of slavery given their exodus from Egyptian captivity? Didn’t their God explicitly condemn slavery when he ordered Moses to tell Pharaoh to “let my people go?”

The text is not clear on that question, says Brannon Wheeler, a religious scholar.

He says the Exodus stories suggest that the God of Israel was angry at Pharaoh not for enslaving a group of people, but for unjustly enslaving the “Chosen People” - the people God had promised to give their own homeland.

“In order to make that promise stick, He [God] has to get them out of Egypt,” says Wheeler, director of the Center for Middle East and Islamic Studies at the United States Naval Academy in Maryland.

“It’s not like He [God] says slavery is bad and I want to abolish it.”

The Prophet Mohammad never explicitly condemned slavery, and actually owned slaves, some scholars say.

Yet he recognized the humanity of slaves, teaching followers that freeing slaves was an act of piety. He allowed slaves to buy their freedom and demanded that they should be treated with love and respect, says Asani, author of  “Celebrating Muhammad: Images of the Prophet in Popular Muslim Poetry.”

“He himself did own slaves but he treated them as family,” Asani says. “One called Zayd he treated like an adopted son and one of his wives was a Coptic Christian slave.”

The followers of men like the Prophet Mohammad, though, would take a harsher attitude toward slaves.

By the time of the crusades, Christians and Muslims were enslaving one another by the thousands. They cited their faith as justification, says Robert C. Davis, author of “Holy War and Human Bondage.”

“Religion was the defining principle of slavery—this person is another faith and can be enslaved,” Davis says.

Some church leaders preached that enslaving others was an act of evangelism, Davis says.

“One pope said that the justification for slavery was that it was important for spreading the faith,” Davis says. “Once they were enslaved, they would more readily take to Christianity.”

Those kinds of actions may now seem barbaric, but the texts and stories that were used to justify slavery still exist in the sacred texts of Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

Few, though, would quote those scriptures today, and many don’t even know they exist.

“We shouldn’t be surprised,” says Jonathan Brockopp, a religion professor at Pennsylvania State University. “Religions redefine themselves and people draw on different stories and underplay other stories. This happens constantly.”

It happened with slavery, and, who knows, perhaps it’s happening again in our time. There may be a religious practice accepted today that future generations will look upon and ask the same question we ask about people who enslaved others in the name of God:

How could they?

- CNN Writer

Filed under: Africa • Belief • Bible • Books • Christianity • Church and state • Egypt • History • Islam • Islamic law • Islamic law • Israel • Jesus • Moses • Muslim • Uncategorized

soundoff (3,207 Responses)
  1. lol

    Hey reason you made my day with that video – funniest thing I have seen in ages

    March 29, 2012 at 10:29 pm |
  2. Frank

    Perhaps it is important to point out that Buddha neither had slaves, nor promoted slavery. Unlike Jesus, he venerated nature. Mohammed and Moses are pretty awful leaders of religions, killing, at will, masses of people, oppressing slaves, etc. Jesus is pretty much mute on the subject, though his other actions in the New Testament suggest he was not into slavery. It seems that religion does not bring people together, but separates them; how ironic since most religions claim to bring people together. How many wars, now much murder and injustice, has occurred because of religion? America is one of the most religious countries on Earth, and one of the most warlike. I like Buddhism because it is not a religion, but more a philosophy; Buddha condemns no other religion, demands no obedience, but asks us all to live justly, accept all, focus on nature, and live in peace. I am not a practicing Buddhist, but he makes most other religions pretty much suck.

    March 29, 2012 at 10:16 pm |
  3. † In God We Trust †

    Who knows what's written in our federal buildings, on our currency and as our official motto?

    In God We Trust

    Proud :)

    March 29, 2012 at 9:48 pm |
    • Northern2014

      I'm still laughing at your
      "Christians never done anything wrong throughout History comment"

      It is quite comical.

      March 29, 2012 at 9:53 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Northern, did this fucktard actually SAY that?

      OMFG.

      Its idiocy is deeper than I could have imagined.

      March 29, 2012 at 10:13 pm |
  4. Northern2014

    " † In God We Trust †

    We tell the truth. Christians have NEVER done anything bad in history at all, other than helping and loving everyone.
    Maybe some bad things happened in Christian countries, but that was perfomed by atheists/non-Christians ! "

    LoLoLoLoLoLoLoLoLoLoL !!!

    March 29, 2012 at 9:46 pm |
    • Northern2014

      I repeat...

      LoLoLLoLoLLoLoLLoLoLLoLoLLoLoLLoLoLLoLoLLoLoLLoLoL !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      March 29, 2012 at 9:47 pm |
    • † In God We Trust †

      So funny... stop trolling around!

      The only bad thing happened was the Nazi Germany... but 90% of the Nazis were Atheists and few Christians who were forced to join them.....

      March 29, 2012 at 9:50 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      So the crusades were won through hugs and kisses?

      March 29, 2012 at 9:51 pm |
    • momoya

      It's full incorporation of the "no true scotsman" mental filter. In some, the virus is just to integrated.

      March 29, 2012 at 9:56 pm |
  5. † In God We Trust †

    Ah I can't wait for Obama to leave the white house... he's waaay too secular which makes me throw up! We deserve a strictly religious person who run this IN GOD WE TRUST nation, not any silly closet non-Christian !!

    May God Bless all Christians and those who believe in our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

    March 29, 2012 at 9:33 pm |
    • Northern2014

      Is your gullible brainwashed mind finding it hard to stay focused on the actual story topic ?

      March 29, 2012 at 9:34 pm |
    • Theism is not healthy for your sanity and other reasonable things

      I thought Obama was supposed to be a secret Muslim.

      March 29, 2012 at 9:42 pm |
    • martin

      Becarefull what you wish for because if some ultra fundementalist christian group ever got into power and they start judging who is properly christian enough who is to say you meet the standards they judge by.

      March 29, 2012 at 9:43 pm |
    • AGuest9

      Since this IS a secular nation, I'm not sure I see the issue.

      March 30, 2012 at 8:50 pm |
  6. † In God We Trust †

    Funny how we forget all the good things the Bible teaches Feed the poor, love your neighbor, consider others more important than yourself.

    Matthew 5

    1 When Jesus saw the crowds, He went up on the mountain; and after He sat down, His disciples came to Him. 2 He opened His mouth and began to teach them, saying,

    3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

    4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

    5 “Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth.

    6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

    7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

    8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

    9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

    10 “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

    11 “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

    March 29, 2012 at 9:29 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      It seems your using the same tactics "In God". When you can no longer defend your poisition you ignore the argument and start a new thread.

      March 29, 2012 at 9:32 pm |
    • Northern2014

      I guess Christians find it hard to focus on the actual story topic ?

      March 29, 2012 at 9:33 pm |
    • † In God We Trust †

      Hawaii.............. Go out to the beach and eat some Sushi !!

      March 29, 2012 at 9:38 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      Oh such a witty comeback. I'm sure everyone will take you seriously now, how will I continue on. Seems like you really need to do some growing up.

      March 29, 2012 at 9:40 pm |
    • Theism is not healthy for your sanity and other reasonable things

      Indeed, what about all the GOOD things Hitler did, like make the trains run on time, LOL.

      March 29, 2012 at 9:41 pm |
    • † In God We Trust †

      Yepp I should 'grow up' when I tell 100% the truth? Right...

      Hitler was half Catholic and half Jew but later left his faith and became an Atheist. Mao, Pol Pot and Stalin were proud Atheists as well.

      March 29, 2012 at 9:44 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      You spread divisiveness and misinformation. You also run away when you can no longer defend a position, which you've done for the past 2 days. So I'd say yes, you need to grow up.

      March 29, 2012 at 9:50 pm |
    • TR6

      Here’s another loving quote from the bible… Moses himself

      And Moses said unto them “Have ye saved all the women alive?... Now therefore Kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known a man by lying with him, but all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves” Num 31:1-2, 9-11, 14-18

      March 30, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
  7. archibald

    With that Jesus spoke an illustration to them: Note the fig tree and all the other trees: When they are already in the bud, by observing it YOU know for yourselves that now the summer is near. In this way YOU also, when YOU see these things occurring, know that the kingdom of God is near. Luke 21: 29-31

    March 29, 2012 at 9:26 pm |
    • Northern2014

      This article wasn't posted so that you could quote your entire bible for everyone.

      March 29, 2012 at 9:29 pm |
  8. Vermilionskin

    I have no religion, but I studied Islam as I was a Muslim, Mohammed did ban Slavery and that was his biggest achievements, he was buying slaves with his own money to free them, and he wanted to honor one of the slaves he freed his name was Bilal, one the first mosque was built, he asked Bilal to be the first person to call people for prayers. Please do some reading or watch the Movie ‘’The Message’’ 1977 Antony Quin.

    March 29, 2012 at 9:21 pm |
    • Anon

      [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ib9rofXQl6w&w=640&h=390]

      March 29, 2012 at 9:25 pm |
    • Northern2014

      Yawn...
      I don't think anyone is interested in your silly video.

      March 29, 2012 at 9:27 pm |
    • † In God We Trust †

      Muhammed got married to several women, ra.ped 9 year old girl, killed many people etc. etc.

      March 29, 2012 at 9:28 pm |
    • Northern2014

      @† In God We Trust †
      You self proclaimed part – time Christians are always so quick to judge other Religions and point out the evil in them but always seem to leave out the sadistic and murderous crimes committed by Christians throughout History.
      Gotta love the hypocrisy.

      March 29, 2012 at 9:30 pm |
    • † In God We Trust †

      We tell the truth. Christians have NEVER done anything bad in history at all, other than helping and loving everyone.
      Maybe some bad things happened in Christian countries, but that was perfomed by atheists/non-Christians !

      March 29, 2012 at 9:37 pm |
    • Northern2014

      @† In God We Trust †
      LoL, seriously ? Is that what you think ?
      Christians never done anything bad ?

      Talk about being ignorant and uneducated. Religion obviously doesn't do anything positive for your education.

      March 29, 2012 at 9:44 pm |
    • Anon

      Northern2014: That "silly little video" denounces Islam and Sharia Law, not advocating it.

      March 29, 2012 at 9:55 pm |
    • Elexsor

      Oh?! So the priests raping kids is not considered bad by you. How about the raping and killing that happened during the Crusades? "In God" you are the worst type of Christian and give the religion a bad name.

      March 29, 2012 at 10:10 pm |
  9. Northern2014

    Religion has no credible evidence to support it. Nobody can claim it as the truth. It's just another theory, but one of the few that actually has nothing to back up it's claims.

    March 29, 2012 at 9:20 pm |
    • Leo

      You fail to understand that in a wourld that did not have a welfare state being a slave that could eventually become free was better than starving to death.

      In many cases as Exodus 21 shows, slaves desired to stay with there masters.

      March 29, 2012 at 9:58 pm |
  10. FifthApe

    Exodus 21.

    Read your bible. Its all there.

    The bible is one of the most evil books in all fiction. Bronze age myths written by goat herders, and it reads like just that – if you have a thinking mind at all.

    March 29, 2012 at 9:16 pm |
    • † In God We Trust †

      Troll.... Move to North Korea

      March 29, 2012 at 9:20 pm |
    • Northern2014

      So now you're a troll for telling the truth ?
      LoL, gotta love the gullible minds of the Religious.

      March 29, 2012 at 9:21 pm |
    • Anon

      Numbers 31 is far more revolting and apologists actually defend those verses.

      March 29, 2012 at 9:21 pm |
  11. George Washington Carver

    My brethrens, would it be amiss of me to speculate that the enslaved brethrens of the plantations should have poured the oil of that humble yet noble fruit of the soil–the peanut–on the master's head, and lit him on fire?

    March 29, 2012 at 9:00 pm |
  12. archibald

    "Remember," alerts a trusted book of prophecy, the Bible, that "there will be difficult times in the last days. People will be selfish, greedy, boastful, and conceited; . . . they will be unkind, merciless, slanderers, violent, and fierce; they will hate the good; they will be treacherous, reckless, and swollen with pride . . . Keep away from such people." (2 Timothy 3:1-5, Today's English Version)

    March 29, 2012 at 8:58 pm |
    • plucky

      So how many days are in these "last days" You could interpret that to be a couple or a billion, right?
      You would think the word of god could have been a bit more precise? Oh, but where would be the mystery!

      March 29, 2012 at 9:00 pm |
    • John

      Hey, I got a quote from Timothy as well

      "I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence."
      – 1 Timothy 2:12

      March 29, 2012 at 9:57 pm |
  13. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things. .

    March 29, 2012 at 8:51 pm |
    • Theism is not healthy for your sanity and other reasonable things

      LOL, you believe that magic sky wizards grant wishes.

      March 29, 2012 at 9:16 pm |
    • Northern2014

      Prayer does not do anything. In fact, praying to an imaginary deity in the sky and praying to a rock in your garden has about the same success rate. Give it a go.

      March 29, 2012 at 9:24 pm |
  14. PRISM 1234

    People who struggle with these issues need to understand that Christ Jesus did not come to save the human society. He came to save the human race from it's corrupted nature, and to set the prisoners free – those who are in bondage to sin.
    He came that we may have life, and have it more abundantly. Abundant life does not consist in wealth and/or position one has in this world. It consists in the life he has through relationship with his Creator. Those who don't know Christ, can not possibly know what does this mean. The Scriptures say that if Christ sets someone free, they shall be free indeed....
    Because we are both: physical and spiritual beings. Those who only live for physical, have denied their own souls. Finally, Jesus Christ said that all evil proceeds out of/from human heart. So when you have one (hu)man mistreating, enslaving and abusing another, it's becaue of what is in their heart.
    But just as God did not leave us orphaned, but sent His Son Jesus Christ to declare Him and explain Him, who offering Himself for our sins, died andf rarose again, so that we may die to ourself, and live unto Him... neither did He leave us without the promise of His Rule on this Earth, which is to come.
    God does not work as man does. He sees the broad , complete picture, we don't.
    In one place of the Scriptures He said through the prophet Isaiah :
    “For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
    Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.
    “For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
    So are My ways higher than your ways,
    And My thoughts than your thoughts..."
    But God will bring all things to pass according to His sovereign will, and in His appointed time, not according to the demands of men, nor does He go by majority of votes... and no, He NOT impressed with our idea of democracy... He knows what is in human heart!
    But blessed are those who put their trust in Him, who with longing hearts await His kingdom that is to established on this earth, because it SHALL COME!
    To those who love Him He says that the eyes have not seen, ears have not heard, nor has it entered into the hearts of men — the wonderful things God has prepared for them.
    And this is a promise that is more sure then life itself, and it will not fail!

    So, to those who hate slavery that mankind puts on another human beings... it is evil, but what's even more tragic, it's that one can think of himself being free, and be the wealthiest person on earth, but yet still be a slave, a prisoner in his/her soul.
    Because man's life is like a grass of the field, today here, tomorrow is gone and he won't take anything he owned on earth with him. Only what he has done toward God, and how he responded to the gift of salvation offered to him through His Son Jesus Christ, THAT is what will matter. And that is what will determine every one's eternity!

    March 29, 2012 at 8:51 pm |
    • Cool story, bro!

      Dude! Your story! It so rocks!

      March 29, 2012 at 8:56 pm |
    • plucky

      Very few people know God as good as you do.

      March 29, 2012 at 8:58 pm |
    • Anon

      It's basically I think not, therefore Jesus.
      You'll all screwed up in the head.

      March 29, 2012 at 8:58 pm |
    • PeterVN

      PRISM, nice of you to come here and try to sell us on your religious beliefs. Sure hadn't heard them before.

      But what say you about the clear support for that "evil slavery", that is present in the 'holy book' of your religion? Seems like your god was a pretty strong advocate for slavery, or someone speaking on his behalf was. That sure makes Christianity not something I'd want to follow.

      March 29, 2012 at 9:01 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      Oh, the depth of the riches both of wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out... He has hidden them from those who are wise in their own eyes, but revealed them to the humble, and those of broken and contrite hearts...
      But those whom God calls fools, treat treasure offered to them as pigs in a pigpen would do, trampling it in the mud, not recognizing when they are trampling on!
      That's about the summing up of the fallen nature of unregenerate man!

      March 29, 2012 at 9:16 pm |
    • PeterVN

      err, thanks. Now take a stab at answering my question, since you don't seem to be at a loss for words, however vacant yours have been so far.

      March 29, 2012 at 9:22 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I got as far as your misuse of "it's".

      You know what, you f2ckin' idiot? Either learn to write like an intelligent, educated person, or shut the hell up. Why should I pay any attention to some friggin' moron who couldn't pass a high school English class?

      You're no more qualified to interpret the Bible than you are to interpret Sanskrit, you ninny.

      March 29, 2012 at 10:19 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      @Peter
      God knows human heart. We live in fallen world, and consequences of sin are all around us. You can go to the Old Testament and dig out many bloody things. But even the bloody animals that were sacrificed , were the picture of bloody, disfigured Christ, who suffered to redeem fallen human race. Sin is ugly, rebellion of man, whom God created in His own image is a painful, ugly thing, and it cost God all HE had, because He gave all He had, HIMSELF! Before Christ came, in the Old testament, God dealt with His people Israel in harsh manner, because they were people hard and stif-necked. Jesus said , because of their hardened hearts God allowed them some things. But all things, every scenario in O.T. pointed to the cross. There is NO OTHER WAY.
      Now we have no excuse. When Christ died, HE said it is finished. The veil was torn from the top to the bottom, because God tore it Himself.
      Those like yourself, who presumptuously say they don't want Christ(ianity), will find themselves without covering for their sins. What will you do when you stand before your Maker then?
      I rather swallow my pride, and say, even though some things are hard to understand, I still will trust the character of my God who loved me so much that He sent His only begotten Son that I may not perish, but have everlasting life.
      It is the primary job of the enemy of ouar souls (satan , the deceiver) to smear the character of God and convince those who will heed to him that God is evil, and unjust. Because if he can do that, then he has accomplished his purpose, and that is to separate man from the only hope he has, Lord Jesus Christ. Because in Him all fullness fo Godhead dwells, and He is the beginning and the end, in whom all things consist. And that's precisely what he, satan has done with so many, being evident even on these blogs. It's amazing how people are RIOTING against God, yet don't see who their real enemy is! Its' evident whom they are serving, and whose will they are doing. That, friend, is real slavery, and bondage.

      March 29, 2012 at 10:50 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      Tom, Tom
      The words you wrote come out of the mouth that's infected, because the words passing through it are full of poison. And even though you didn't speak them, but write them, they still affect you, making you full of infectious sores, resembling a leper.
      But here is something beautiful to ponder in your heart: Jesus didn't shun the lepers, He went to them, He touched them, and they were healed. But those who didn't receive Him, and ran away, refusing His touch.. they only got worse, till they just roted away in their own misery.
      There is a message in those words for you, friend! And even though my english is not according to your requirement of "perfection", just remember this:
      1.) I never went to English speaking school, yet I've learned it very well on my own. So, you see, I have an excuse.
      2.) if every word that I wrote here were misspelled, yet you understood the meaning of them, God WILL hold you responsible for what you did, and how you reacted to them, and YOU will have NO EXCUSE, becau you do know , even though you are to proud to admit that what I wrote in my posts is the truth, becaeu it is according to the Word of God , and the testimony of His Spirit. That's who you'll have to deal with, not me, freind! He'll have the last word, and your poison mouth will be silent then!

      March 29, 2012 at 11:15 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Prissy, the moment you learn to write a coherent sentence that's grammatically correct and worthy of a high school so ph om ore, alert the media. You're too ignorant to be worthy of notice until you can do so.

      I don't have the time of day for zealots who are uneducated and/or stupid. You're both.

      March 29, 2012 at 11:38 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Hey, Prissy, your threats are useless. I don't believe in the vengeful, merciless and violent god you espouse. I've studied religion and your beliefs are simply not valid for me.

      Morons like you can threaten me all you want; it is a useless waste of time. If your god punishes those who question and doubt, if he allows the innocent and faithful to suffer without cause, if he demands worship, you can have him. I've no faith in his existence and no desire to honor or obey such a being.

      It's your hell; you burn in it.

      March 29, 2012 at 11:57 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      Tom,Tom, you're telling on yourself with your silly remarks.It's not my grammar errors that are a thorn in your side, but the words written in those posts, that stir up hatred inside of you. It is hard to kick against the pric'ks(Christ's words), but its much harder what is awaiting you on the end of your journey. No threat here, just a bold, red sign with word "DANGER" on it. You've seen them before...... You know what happens when one thinks they're follish and go on ignoring them.... But you make your own bed, and you'll sleep in it. Just don't blame God for the outcome!
      P.S. My grammar "check bar' disapeared, so no spell check here... I don't think is a coincidence :)

      March 30, 2012 at 9:07 am |
  15. IT PUTS THE LOTION IN THE BASKET!

    PUT THE LOTION IN THE F'IN BASKET!!!!

    March 29, 2012 at 8:49 pm |
    • Buffalo bill

      Or get the hose again ....

      March 29, 2012 at 8:56 pm |
  16. God loves you

    Also, the Founding Fathers were mostly Christian. This nation's money says: "In God we trust."

    March 29, 2012 at 8:44 pm |
    • plucky

      US money says in god we trust? OMG!!!! I concede to you. There must be a god!

      March 29, 2012 at 8:46 pm |
    • Anon

      They were secularists, not theocratic like your republican candidates.

      March 29, 2012 at 8:48 pm |
    • Tom

      Did the founding fathers put in god we trust on dollar bills in 1957? Please learn a little bit of history.

      March 29, 2012 at 8:51 pm |
    • Theism is not healthy for your sanity and other reasonable things

      And they all owned slaves. Thanks for making the article's point, lol.

      March 29, 2012 at 9:21 pm |
    • Bad

      Can't any of you read? It doesn't say the founding fathers put it there, only that it is. I don't want any of you on my jury.

      March 29, 2012 at 9:35 pm |
  17. God loves you

    Are any dictators who abuse and oppress people (past and present) Christian? I don't think so.

    March 29, 2012 at 8:41 pm |
    • plucky

      Hitler was. Next point sir?

      March 29, 2012 at 8:42 pm |
    • just sayin

      Hitler was an atheist who came from a catholic background as did most of Europe.

      March 29, 2012 at 8:47 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      Pope Gregory XVI abused the power he had and abused the jewish communities, as did Pope Paul II.

      March 29, 2012 at 8:49 pm |
    • Anon

      Hmm, Hitler had a liking for Jesus though and invoked him various times.

      March 29, 2012 at 8:50 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @just sayin

      That's why "Gott Mit Uns" (God With Us) appeared very frequently on Nazi belt buckles. Not to mention Hitler himself was obsessed with "items of power" one of where was the fabled Lance of Longinus, which he claimed to have been in possession of.

      March 29, 2012 at 8:53 pm |
    • just sayin

      Indiana Jones was fiction you know. Got mitt us = propaganda tool, Nazis were either Teutonic via Himmler or atheist via the god of national socialism Hitler himself. Would you expect the Germans to say God is with the other side?

      March 29, 2012 at 8:59 pm |
    • just sayin

      Hitler lied like a rug. Only a moron would quote Hitler for Truth.

      March 29, 2012 at 9:01 pm |
    • lolwut

      a quote by Hitler "Today they say that Christianity is in danger, that the Catholic faith is threatened. My reply to them is: for the time being, Christians and not international atheists are now standing at Germany’s fore. I am not merely talking about Christianity; I confess that I will never ally myself with the parties which aim to destroy Christianity. Fourteen years they have gone arm in arm with atheism. At no time was greater damage ever done to Christianity than in those years when the Christian parties ruled side by side with those who denied the very existence of God. Germany's entire cultural life was shattered and contaminated in this period. It shall be our task to burn out these manifestations of degeneracy in literature, theater, schools, and the press—that is, in our entire culture—and to eliminate the poison which has been permeating every facet of our lives for these past fourteen years."

      March 29, 2012 at 9:01 pm |
    • Anon

      What can I expect from christian apologists. If they didn't lie, they'll be out of a job.

      March 29, 2012 at 9:01 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @just sayin

      What does Indiana Jones have to do with anything? You really don't have anything to say to back up any assertion you make.

      March 29, 2012 at 9:03 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      Why do you say Hitler was a Christian?
      In fact many of you who have hatred for Christ and His people, say he was a Christian. If you, who love to claim your intellectual superiority obtained through your "high levels" of education, why is it that you fail to remember the historical fact that Hitler was obsessed with occult, deeply immersed in it? Those who are such, can not be Chritians!
      Do you do this because you suddenly develop amnesia, and just don't remember what you were taught? Or is it that you deliberately pretend not tho know? But in any case, it shows that your talk is only hot air in the wind!

      March 29, 2012 at 9:03 pm |
    • PeterVN

      Seems 'just sayin' will discard truth and honesty, in trying to support his cause. I'm not sure that Christians would actually want such a person on their side, but regardless, just sayin's posts sure don't move me in favor of Christianity. I also suspect he's the original poster of the thread, too.

      March 29, 2012 at 9:05 pm |
    • Tom Robson

      @PRISM 1234 You are welcome to provide proof of Hitler's obsession with the occult.

      March 29, 2012 at 9:08 pm |
    • lolwut

      @PRISM 1234: look up No true Scotsman fallacy

      March 29, 2012 at 9:10 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @PRISM

      The occult is a word with a distorted public meaning. If you look at the official meaning, then you will see it's quite possible. The base of the word (occultus meaning clandestine, hidden, secret) commonly refers to "knowledge that is hidden". Popular meanings for the word are: "Knowledge of the Paranormal" "knowledge of the hidden", but for most practicing occultists it is simply the study of a deeper spiritual reality that extends beyond pure reason and the physical sciences. You are equating occult with demonology, witchcraft, and satanism. At least that is what I am gathering from your post.

      March 29, 2012 at 9:12 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @Tom Robson

      Oh there's no doubt that he was, Hitler himself admitted to as much.

      March 29, 2012 at 9:13 pm |
    • Theism is not healthy for your sanity and other reasonable things

      Hitler, Mussolini, Bush, Josef Kony, the list goes on and on.

      March 29, 2012 at 9:17 pm |
    • TR6

      @just sayin:” Nazis were either Teutonic via Himmler or atheist via the god of national socialism Hitler himself. “

      Almost every soldier in the German army (the individuals that killed Jews) was a Christian

      March 29, 2012 at 9:26 pm |
    • Theism is not healthy for your sanity and other reasonable things

      "Gott mit uns"

      On every Nazi belt buckle.

      March 29, 2012 at 9:39 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      PRISM is about as smart as a belt buckle...and far less interesting.

      March 29, 2012 at 10:44 pm |
  18. Anon

    There is zero archeological evidence for the mo'fo (pun intended) known as Jesus.
    If apologists (religious and secular) get to admit it, they'll be out of a job.

    March 29, 2012 at 8:33 pm |
    • Leo

      Why does there have to be archeological evidense when people wrote history on Pappyrus? There is no archeological evidence for 99% of History?

      Too funny!!

      March 29, 2012 at 8:46 pm |
    • just sayin

      Actually there are at least 20 known texts, some full books that refer to Jesus, beyond the Holy Bible which is a credible work of testimony by itself.

      March 29, 2012 at 8:50 pm |
    • Anon

      Show evidence of the mythological mo'fo's skull then.

      March 29, 2012 at 9:00 pm |
    • wrob

      Tell us what you *will* accept as archeological evidence for someone who purportedly lived 2000 years ago, and I'll give you a list of historical figures who fail the same test.

      March 29, 2012 at 10:34 pm |
  19. reason

    The gods of all organized religions, if true, would all be horribly unjust and evil deities to send billions of people to eternal suffering for choosing the wrong one or being born in the wrong place. Looking at organized religion objectively, they are myths from stone age societies that were trying to explain the world, and there is virtually no chance any one is truth.

    Rationally speaking if there is a just god and an afterlife, you will be judged on how you lived your life. Rejecting reason and deluding yourself in blind faith does not help your case.

    To the commentor who thinks atheism is just another religion, you should watch this video:
    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g6zGK-XblGA&w=640&h=390]

    March 29, 2012 at 8:33 pm |
  20. Truth Teller

    Christianity and the "West" are not unique in participating in slavery – but they were unique in commencing the abolishment of the practice. 1833 the first anti-slavery movement – check out the film Amazing Grace.

    March 29, 2012 at 8:30 pm |
    • just sayin

      William Wilberforce, prayer changed slavery.

      March 29, 2012 at 9:03 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Wrong. Laws abolished slavery. God endorsed it.

      March 29, 2012 at 11:59 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.