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My Faith: Raising religious (but not too religious) children
Laurel Synder is raising her two sons Jewish, but not kosher.
April 13th, 2012
10:00 PM ET

My Faith: Raising religious (but not too religious) children

Editor's noteLaurel Snyder is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, a poet and author of many books for children. Follow her on Twitter at @laurelsnyder.

By Laurel Snyder, Special to CNN

(CNN) – A few years ago I was invited to my local Jewish Community Center to do a reading of my picture book “Baxter, the Pig Who Wanted to Be Kosher.” It was going to be a child-friendly event, so I took my kids along.

Now, “Baxter” isn’t really a book about being kosher. It’s about wanting to be accepted into a community. But I always like to make sure my listeners know what the word kosher means before I read it, since the joke at the center of the book depends on that. So as usual I asked the Jewish Community Center crowd if they could define the word.

Before anyone else could answer, my own son Mose, who was 5 at the time, jumped up and shouted out, “I know! I know! Kosher is us! We’re kosher!” Then he sat back down again, beaming proudly.

And I might have been proud too. Only, you see, we’re not kosher.

On the drive home I tried to figure out what to say to Mose about his mix-up. I wanted him to know what it means to be kosher, to live by a rigid religious dietary code, day in and day out. But I also needed him to understand that we’re not.

How could I show respect for this part of our Jewish tradition while also suggesting that it doesn’t seem relevant in our own household? Should I just blame it on my own parents, who didn’t raise me that way?

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

It’s not easy to explain something to a kid when you haven’t yet figured it out for yourself. One of the most helpful/terrible things about having children is that they require us to think things out explicitly. That often means they make us face the very things we’ve been avoiding.

Sometimes, as a result, kids challenge us to become more mindful or observant. I hadn’t been a member of a synagogue for years when I became a mom. I hadn’t hosted a Passover Seder or found the time to light Shabbat candles.

Even though I worked for a Jewish agency and wrote about religion professionally, when it came to my home life I was almost completely unobservant. Judaism was something I thought about more intellectually than personally. Religion was an interesting idea more than a belief system.

Now I light candles each week and say the blessings. I belong to a havurah – a cohort of local Jewish friends who get together for monthly potluck dinners – and also a synagogue.

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Because there’s something about having kids that makes me want to be a better version of my Jewish self. I want something special to pass on to them. Something more than “You’re Jewish because I’m Jewish.”

But sometimes the opposite is true. Sometimes my kids help me recognize the limits of my faith.

In truth, I do not keep kosher and I don’t really want to. My husband is not Jewish, though we’re raising our family to be. So, yeah, we eat tacos for Shabbat dinner most weeks and usually skip Friday night services.

This is the truth and I have to own it. I can only shift my life around so much without feeling inauthentic. Lying to my kids about my religious life is no way to model the value of faith.

So when, after the “Baxter”/kosher fiasco, I set out to write my new picture book, “Good night, laila tov” (laila tov means “good night” in Hebrew), I wanted to paint an honest portrait of my largely secular household.

I wanted my kids to recognize the family in my story as Jewish, but also as, well, like us. Which is to say, not exactly kosher.

On some level I was reacting to the fact that most of the Jewish picture books in my home feel like they’re about someone else. They’re usually set in a Polish village a century ago, or on the Lower East Side of New York City, where mothers cook and fathers pray.

I wanted “Good night, laila tov” to be a sort of lowest common denominator. Contemporary and universal. It’s not about Jewish history, and it doesn’t have a single rabbi in it. It won’t teach you new Hebrew words or show you how to say a certain prayer.

It’s just a story about a Jewish American family going camping, experiencing nature, love, work and rest. In writing it I hoped to capture something typical, something natural, something simple.

And it does present, to my mind, Jewish values: Nature is spiritual, and takes us beyond ourselves. Time spent with family is sacred.

The family in the book plants trees and picks up their campsite, because caring for the earth is part of Judaism, I think. Along with caring for each other.

But as I wrote, I found myself a little afraid that, in attempting to write a picture book for everyone, I was letting the Jewish particularity go. Aren’t family nature, and environmentalism tenets of faith beyond the Jewish world, in every religion?

What did it say about me, my choices, my household, that the Jewish life I was choosing to depict looked like it could be any household at all?

Then I come back around to that moment with Mose, that moment of realizing I’d somehow misled him. Because whatever I’m unsure of, whatever I don’t know about faith, I do know this: if it isn’t honest, it doesn’t count.

The purpose of faith, as I understand it, is to infuse life with greater meaning. To make it more real. Not to dress it up. Not to pretend.

My kids and I are on a journey together. We’re setting out for parts unknown.

And while we may find ourselves changing as we trek along, there is a sacred quality in simply being who we are today. Of stopping on the trail and taking a deep breath. It’s enough, I think, to be exactly who we are, kosher or not.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Laurel Snyder.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Judaism

soundoff (3,114 Responses)
  1. ANDERSON P00PER 360

    Wheres my lover Sanjay P00pta? Atheism is so "in" right now.

    April 15, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
    • edwardo

      Sanity should always be "in". Fairy tales are for children, reality for us adults. I actually find my admission of being a non-believer (aka atheist), refreshing, and much healthier than my days of trying to convince myself that there's some god who "loves me", while allowing babies to starve to death on a dialy basis.

      April 15, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
    • We know the truth...

      Anderson P00per? Sanjay P00pta?? How old are you?

      April 15, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
  2. Jesus Loves You

    If you want to be burning in a lake a fire and acid like Gandhi is right now, ignore Christianity and just live life being a good person. God will punish you accordingly.

    If you want to be sipping margaritas pool-side with Jesus like Hitler is right now, become a Christian. God will reward you accordingly.

    April 15, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
    • Obvious

      Nice try troll. Acquiring your IP address to send the local newcasters to ur house so youll have ample opportunity to clarify your statements in your city.

      April 15, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
    • Keith

      Obvious, send them mine too, you idiot

      April 15, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
    • just sayin

      Hitler was an atheist. FYI . God bless

      April 15, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
  3. James

    Is it wierd that my atheist friends are much more bigoted and anti gay/black than my other friends? Just curious and Id be interested in hearing some other opinions.

    April 15, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
    • martog

      Birds of a feather flock together?

      April 15, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
    • edwardo

      After a lifetime of living under Xtian tyranny, us athiests do tend to be a little angry. Go figure!

      April 15, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
  4. Bob Boise

    Yes being rigid is sooooo gauche. We don't need rigid people in America. We need mindless, self indulgent Narcissists who bend with the wind believing in nothing and achieving nothing. Their Gods are Dr Phil and Oprah.

    April 15, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
    • edwardo

      Not sure what your post is supposed to mean. Please clarify. I'm getting old now, perhaps senile.

      April 15, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
    • I thought jesus was white

      peopel aren't born rigid, christianity is taught.

      April 15, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      @I thought jesus was white
      peopel aren't born rigid, christianity is taught.

      Actually it is forced.

      April 15, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
    • Phosphorus

      There will always be mindless sheep that are unable or unwilling to be selective about their information input. People do the same with Pat Robertson, and have for decades. That's just a human truth: some take the easy road. Religion is an easy road. It's far easier to have blind faith toward that which can never be proven than to be content lo live in a reality based upon that which can be proven. Another way of putting this is that it is easier for some to live in a fantasy than to live in a reality.

      April 15, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
  5. Bob Boise

    A faith without religious foundation is not faith at all. Why bother with your hypocrisy. Cultural religion will not get you anywhere. You must be born again and change. It is too bad that is too inconvenient for you. It is even worse you fill your children's soul's with your hypocrisy. A cultural Jew is worse than a pagan.

    April 15, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
    • susie

      Oy vey!

      April 15, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
    • jacobsart

      It sounds to me like she is looking for the parts in faith that are real. Not the pretend parts like "pigs are unclean animals."

      April 15, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
    • MIT

      Wow, you're the reason children should have as little religious exposure as possible, to minimize the judgmental and retarded effects that deep-seated "rigid" religion has on people and society. I congratulate Laurel for not being afraid to distance herself a bit from the constraints of what can be a very limiting belief system. The whole world would be a much better place without religion, be it Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, or what have you.

      April 15, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
  6. the voice of reason

    Just simply treat religion as the form of mental illness that it is with the proper medicine and all will be well.

    April 15, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
    • Idiocy abound

      Why is religion a "mental illness"? I choose to following my Lord and Savior because I know that He is real and has changed my life.

      April 15, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
    • the voice of reason

      Thank you for proving my point, Idiocy.

      April 15, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
    • Bob Boise

      You mean your left wing "reason" is mental illness. It refuses to accept an ethical system outside of your own selfishness. Good luck with that.

      April 15, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
    • nookster

      The clinical term would be psychosis.

      April 15, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
    • Idiocy abound

      How did I prove your point? You are just saying words without any backing to them? Are you someone who is convinced that religious people are uneducated and therefore cannot understand when you say something without any meaning or substance to your statement?

      April 15, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
    • I thought jesus was white

      yep, point well made, voice.. All they have to do is post '..because I know that He is real and has changed my life'. I would imagine that is were the mafia got its strength to murder, hitler his and the catholics allowing children abused to fend for themselves.

      April 15, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      Actually it is delusion:

      delusion |diˈlo͞oZHən|
      noun
      an idiosyncratic belief or impression that is firmly maintained despite being contradicted by what is generally accepted as reality or rational argument, typically a symptom of mental disorder: the delusion of being watched.

      April 15, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
    • Bob Boise

      Yes you and Brother Bill M...the biggest Deludes on the planet.

      April 15, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
    • c'mon MAN

      the voice of reason was referring to your name paired with your silly statement. hence you proving the point he/she was trying to make. I can say it slower if you'd like.

      April 15, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • Idiocy abound

      Voice, you still have not made your point as to why people who believe in God are mentally ill or now delusional. You changing what you call it doesn't change the fact that you still have not said why you say this. Are you unwilling to do so?

      April 15, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
    • We know the truth...

      Idiocy – The mental illness (or psychosis) is the fact that religious people believe in things that have proven to be complete fiction (The Earth is 6000 years old, evolution is a myth, people walking on water, talking snakes). If you take religion out of the picture, each of these things is nothing more than a delusion. And when a person truly believes in something that is fictional, that is a sign of mental problems. his is the true source of the societal problems we're having right now. When you teach people to embrace something imaginary, they become capable of believing anything.

      April 15, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
    • BrokenWindow

      I wonder if @the voice of reason would say that to a close family member or friend who doesn't think like him/her. I have a feeling his/her sentiments would become more civil and tolerant.

      April 15, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
    • the voice of reason

      Idiocy, if an imaginary voice speaks to you in your mind, yes.....that is mental illness. It's (can never spell this correctly) schizophrenia. And to clarify something, voice of reason and THE voice of reason are two different posters.

      April 15, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
    • Idiocy abound

      So you are saying that if you believe in those things and believe in God, then that makes it delusion. What if I told you that I believe science and christianity can be, and in fact are, on the same track. I know what science says, and for the most part, I agree with the science. I also know that God's ways are not our own. I know that if it wasn't for Hom and His grace that I would not be where I am today.

      April 15, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
    • nookster

      psychosis: A severe mental disorder in which thoughts and emotions are so impaired that contact is lost with external reality.

      April 15, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
    • the voice of reason

      Broken window (interesting id, since a broken window casts no reflection)...correct. I have a neice who is a missionary. I consider that the height of being conceited about their religion.....that others MUST be changed to christianity becasue their current religion is wrong and their soul (another silly concept) must be saved.

      So I continue...all of it is a mental illness. If someone said to you he was Jesus, would you accept that, or tell him he was not. Maybe he thinks he is, and who are you to tell him he isn't.

      April 15, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
    • BrokenWindow

      None of you actually believe all religious people have mental illnesses. Think of all the great people in your life that believe in the supernatural. Would you walk up to any one of them and say "Lolz! You have a mental illness!!11!"? Declaring the other side mentally ill is pretty mentally WEAK if you ask me. Either give an argument or stop spewing venom.

      April 15, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
    • the voice of reason

      "I know that if it wasn't for Hom and His grace that I would not be where I am today."

      And therein lies the problem. You would be able to think much more clearly. Unfortunately, rational thought has left you years ago.

      April 15, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
    • We know the truth...

      "So you are saying that if you believe in those things and believe in God, then that makes it delusion."

      Belief in god is not delusion because no one has ever proven that god either exists or does not exist. But belief that the Earth is 6000 years old, evolution is a myth, etc. ARE delusions because, no matter how much you think otherwise, those beliefs have been proven with 100% certainty to be false... Those voices you hear in your head that you think are god are actually you, so give yourself some credit for your successes... And stop trying to force your beliefs on others. THAT is the real problem here and it is blatantly Un-American.

      April 15, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
    • BrokenWindow

      My ID is a reference to an old economic argument. I use it on other message boards. I'm not telling you to start anything, I just thought you'd want to know.

      Ok, so you wouldn't say that to your niece. I appreciate the concession, and I will concede that some missionaries are probably too pushy and have questionable motives and methods to convert. My only point was that this discussion...which is as old as human existence deserves more civility than declaring the other side mentally ill.

      April 15, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
    • the voice of reason

      "None of you actually believe all religious people have mental illnesses"

      Of course I do. And why is this called "venom"? To see REAL venom, try watching a few televangelists and fake faith healing. Oh well....time to do something really important. The car needs washing.

      April 15, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
  7. DarkBronzePlant

    "...there’s something about having kids that makes me want to be a better version of my Jewish self....But sometimes the opposite is true. Sometimes my kids help me recognize the limits of my faith"

    Why do those two views have to be opposites? Why does "better" have to equal "more rigid"?

    April 15, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
  8. martog

    If you need the promise of heaven and the threat of hell to be a good person, than you are NOT a good person. Please use all your bible expertise to explain why your Gawd would let someone like that into heaven but fry an otherwise great and moral person in eternal hell because they don't believe in jeebus....
    Can't wait to hear the irrational circular logic responses

    April 15, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
    • momoya

      Precisely.. And if you call an eternal torturer "loving," "perfect," and "omnipotent," you've got some psychological and reasoning issues.

      April 15, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
    • BrokenWindow

      I don't want to drop a human psychology bomb on you, but all humans are governed by reward and punishment to a certain extent. If my good actions are dictated by the hope of a reward or a desire to avoid punishment, so be it. I think it's a little unfair to declare all of these people "not good." Isn't your behavior controlled, at least in part, by reward and punishment?

      April 15, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
    • FreedomFromAtheism

      There is no such thing as "doing good for the sake of doing good". For one thing, atheism is incapable of a coherent, overarching definition of "good" or "evil". Second, at the heart of every act is selfishness. Even supposedly altruistic acts are performed with the goal of making oneself look good in some way or with creating a legacy. From an atheistic perspective, it is absurd, unreasonable, and irrational to anonymously give to charity because there is no one and no God to see your "good" act, so why give to anyone who can't return the favor in some way? Holier than though atheists are no better than theists in their underlying motives. The difference is that having a belief that there is a "higher being" who knows what you do in private aids everyone to overcome their selfish underlying motives and behave in a less selfish way. It is the more difficult and noble way of life to believe in God, because you must overcome inherent selfishness.

      April 15, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
    • martog

      Atheism is incapable......Wow, that means religion is incapable. Afterall, most theists declare Atheism to be just another religion. Your words can be used against you as well.

      April 15, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
    • FreedomFromAtheism

      Martog, that is the poorest excuse for logic I've ever seen. I know you read what I wrote. I hope it eventually sinks in. Atheism is an wholly unworthy way of living life.

      “A little philosophy makes a man an Atheist: a great deal converts him to religion”

      ― David Hume, Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion

      April 16, 2012 at 12:00 am |
  9. Becky

    IIt's nice to see others, not struggling, but dealing with the problem of too much religion in family life. I was raised in a Mormon home to a religiously addicted mother and a less fervent father. Religion made my mother dependent and foolish; it gradually demanned my father. I struggled for years with issues like birth control, authoritarianism, misogyny, &c. Raised my sons in the faith but they've both chosen secularism and I too am unchurched and happier now. I pray, read the Bible, recently revisited the Book of Mormon and was surprised to find how many of my deepest values originated there and that they aren't crazy at all but basic and life affirming. Kind of wish I could find a congregation of people who really do know God as a living being, their source of daily light and advice, who love each other and take care of the poor and widows– all the stuff the churches to do well but without the stuff the churches shouldn't middle in but do. In the meantime, there's Eckhart Tolle and my neighbors, who are pretty much in the same boat.

    April 15, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
  10. nookster

    Religions can't survive without guilt, fear, and ignorance. Guilt of being born with a sin, fear of eternal damnation, and the ignorance to believe in what some other fool has passed down the line as the ultimate truth. Someday society will look back in disbelief at the incredible ignorance of people who profess to know what they have absolutely no way of knowing.

    April 15, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
  11. Ralph in Orange Park, FL

    As an openly non-religious person, I have to wonder how many "religious but not too religious" people are actually non-religious people afraid to say so for fear of being ostracized by family and friends.

    April 15, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      Absolutely. Saying one believes is a far cry from actually believing. I think most "believers" actually don't believe and are trying hard to convince themselves because it's easier to go along with the crowd. Does anyone really think that a Priest really believes God is watching (as they preach he is) while he's diddling kids?!

      April 15, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
    • genevieve

      and on that note... I wonder how many pastors and other religious leaders don't really believe in religion. It is scary to think that we are alone and that is why most people try and convince themselves that there is something else. It is a comfort. I wonder if sometimes pastors or religious leaders know this and they don't want other people to feel alone and scared like they do, so they make their followers think that there is religion.

      April 15, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
  12. Lisa

    A zealot for Religiosity? No. Nobody wants that. Passionately spiritual – absolutely. Don't waste your time, or your children's time teaching them the foolishness of 'luke-warmness' or of being a moderate. The world is FULL of menpleasers/politicians and the result of that in our culture and government is evident. Let's do our children's children a favor and teach them to stand for something worthy and everlasting.

    April 15, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
    • momoya

      Lisa, how can something be worthy and everlasting if it can't be proved?

      April 15, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
    • Phosphorus

      There's a fine line between passionate spiritualism and fundamentalist extremism. A person walking the line will never be fully aware of the side they are on. However, a person outside of the box can see it a mile away.

      April 15, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
  13. Russ

    The Shema (the basic Jewish confession of faith, Dt.6:4-5):
    "Hear, O Israel, the Lord your God is One. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul and all your might."

    Love with ALL your heart/soul/might... just not "too" much?

    April 15, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
    • Brian

      Exodus 35:2 "Whoever does any work on it (the Sabbath) Must be put to death."
      You gonna follow that scripture as well???

      April 15, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
    • Russ

      @ Brian: 2 things...
      1) Dt.6:4-5 is not a random verse. It's the central verse of confessional Judaism. The Shema.

      2) I'm not a Jew – so I can't answer for them. However, I can speak as a Christian.
      In that regard, yes, I believe that verse. I believe that's why Jesus had to die – because I deserve death for the things I have done. It exposes the lie we tell ourselves: "no way I'm that bad!"

      The cross tells me this:
      a) it's worse than we want to admit (he had to die for what I've done)
      b) it's better than we ever dared to imagine (he was willing to die for me)

      April 15, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
    • Keith

      Russ you must come up for air every now and then. Take smaller tokes on the hooka and breath in between. only a pot head could really believe the crap you have written.

      April 15, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
    • Russ

      @ Keith: glad to expose you to biblical Christianity, Keith.
      Don't take my word for it; just read the Gospels for yourself.
      The Jesus many have rejected is not the Jesus of Scripture.

      April 15, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
    • IsraelJudah

      And just exactly may I ask says "just not too much?"

      April 15, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
    • Russ

      @ IsraelJudah: did you read the article?

      April 15, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
    • IsraelJudah

      I did read it, why?

      Where in Torah does it say "Love with ALL your heart/soul/might... just not "too" much?"

      The question is ... did you read Torah? I'm sorry but "all" means "all". To some it might sound like "too" much but that would just be there personal opinion.

      April 15, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
    • Russ

      @ IsraelJudah: I think you missed my point... b/c you're making the same one.
      The Torah doesn't say that. But the author of this article is saying that is her approach.

      I'm saying (as a non-Jew) that according to the Torah (particularly the Shema), her position is untenable. Popular in American spirituality, but untenable nonetheless.

      April 15, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
  14. slawo

    The reason the author found out that kids have a tendency to make us more observant is because religion is dogmatic in nature and requires an all in commitment. She cannot justify her watered down approach to her kids because she realizes her outlook is flawed and contradictory to the teachings of Judaism. The major religions of the world do not allow a pick and choose mentality when it comes to which things you want to follow in a given religion. There is a significant difference between religion and faith. This type of half a$$ed approach to religion defeats the point. The best rationale the author could give to why she is raising her family jewish is because she believes in family and nature, and in some way justifies this as being Jewish. What does family and nature have to do with Judaism or distinguish it from, say, secular humanism? Pretty much all belief systems respect the family and nature. I was raised catholic, but couldn't stand all the dogmatic nonsense that came with it. I tried picking and choosing what to ignore and what to follow and quickly realized that if you do that, you cannot be sincere about your religion, and if you aren't sincere, then what's the point?

    April 15, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
  15. If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

    The Bible teaches us to love and fear God ...
    I teach my children to never get in a relationship like that!

    April 15, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
    • Crad

      Fear doesnt mean what you think it means. And you are basing your entire relationship with god on that?

      April 15, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
    • Phosphorus

      You are referring to the sky fairy that commanded mass genocides and infanticide all throughout the Old Testament, right? Define fear how you wish, but if you are trying to rationalize the word fear into a synonym for love, you really are beyond help.

      April 15, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      Yes, I know what fear means .. and how it's meant in the bible. No, I am not basing my entire relationship with God on that. There are infinite reasons to not have a relationship with God, God not being real is one of the best reasons with the bible itself being a close second.

      April 15, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
    • max

      fear is not actually fear, but rather the fear of being without God

      April 15, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
    • Phosphorus

      Oh, I understand. I think you misspelled the word, however. It's spelled: F-R-E-E-D-O-M.

      April 15, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      It's still fear Max. I don't want any of my children to have fear in their relationships. A good loving relationship has no fear.

      April 15, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
    • Keith

      LOL, thanks I needed a good laugh and another lesson in why Christainity is so wrong.

      April 15, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
  16. cd

    I am NOT Jewish but just came back from Church which was full of Family with young children. This will "DESTROY" CNN and MSNBC and other liberal Networks and there ANTI-god message. After 15 years of liberal-ISM 0bama was the point the NATION could not take any MORE. The CHURCH will be find CNN/MSNBC will go "BANKRUPT" WITH there moral's and idea's and NETWORK.!

    April 15, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
    • We know the truth...

      Considering that more and more people are identifying themselves as non-religious every year, your presumption is beyond ridiculous... Those kids in your church? Most will learn to think for themselves and will reject the lies and intolerance espoused by religion. Slowly, the human race is outgrowing religion. Thank god. :-)

      April 15, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
    • Phosphorus

      Does it offend you that some news articles express a concern over the indoctrination of the youth and question what is in the best interest for a child? Remember, there are lots of beliefs and paths in life, and some do not require mythology, magic, or the supernatural to lead a quality life that is full of happiness, wonder, and amazement.

      April 15, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
    • Leo

      Many of the Children of the US are more indocrinated at School than at Church! Secular Humanism has been in the increase for the last 50 years as God has been removed. Now lets look at the statistics for immorality that is consumming our Childrens minds. Pregnancy, Drugs, and now look how many kids are killing!!

      The Facts are there, but if your eyes are closed you can't see. We are just frogs in the slowly boiling water and too many don't even know it!!

      April 15, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
    • Pipe-Dreamer

      We know the truth...,,,,,, ,,,,, ,.

      Pure an unadulterated fantasy are your words declaring a growth of the non-religious upon this world! All humsnisms will ever flex and be made maleable and they cannot be with certainty fixated on numerologies perceptions!

      April 15, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
    • govspy

      Wow, you really don't make any sense.

      April 15, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
    • Phosphorus

      Leo, you have a knack for picking and choosing your data, and leaving out that which does not fit your paradigm. Drugs have been around since recorded history, and can be found in the roots of all cultures and all religions. Promiscuity is nothing new in the last 100 years. In fact, life has been promiscuous for nearly 4 billion years now! You might not be aware, but the educational system teaches kids to think for themselves, ask questions, scrutinize the validity of an explanation or an authority figure, and use inductive and deductive reasoning as a part of a process to ask questions, analyze and test a hypothesis. Religion states something is a fact and that there can be no argument because it is the word of gawd. Seriously, we no longer live in the Dark Ages of religious indoctrination. The world has moved on and grown up.

      April 15, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      Leo .. I don't think you know what "indoctrination" means, at least in the context you used. You can't indoctrinate someone to non belief. Example: I don't beleive in garden fairies and no one "indoctrinated" me to that reality.

      April 15, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
    • Phosphorus

      True. One cannot argue that I was indoctrinated not to believe in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, pots of gold at the end of the rainbow, etc.

      April 15, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
    • nookster

      Another slobbering under educated evangelical who in hisl world of psychosis thinks he has the ultimate answer. Why would anyone listen to a maniac like you?

      April 15, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
    • Leo

      Secular Humanism is not a non belief it is a religion. Our country is going down for the last 50 years period. That is what heppens when you remove God.

      Do you really think this world and our School system is doing well?

      It is not only the schools that effect our Children it is TV as well....

      April 15, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
    • Phosphorus

      The churches really do a number on children's minds. They grow up believing in an Eternal Hell of fire and brimstone, talking snakes, the Doctrine of Original Sin, animals in an ark, a Young Earth paradigm, the notion that people lived to be hundreds of years old a few thousand years ago, patriarchs that practiced child sacrifice and committed genocides, books that are supposed words of gawd that contradict real world observations, deities that kill their own children (human manifestations of their own selves) for the sake of sins that they never committed, the symbolic cannibalism and vampirism of a deity...I could go on for days. The point is, have you ever heard the expression, "look at the pot calling the kettle black!"

      April 15, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
    • Leo

      Here are some solid statistics that prove my point.

      http://www.jrsa.org/programs/Historical.pdf

      April 15, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
    • Leo

      What changed in the 50-60's the rise of secular humanism and the removal of God in our school systems!!

      Name one "patriarchs that practiced child sacrifice"

      April 15, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
    • Pipe-Dreamer

      Phosphorus wrote,"Religion states something is a fact and that there can be no argument because it is the word of gawd. Seriously, we no longer live in the Dark Ages of religious indoctrination. The world has moved on and grown up."

      If what you say is a truth then whi is it written in scripture to rightly divide the "word of truth" or the word of the Gospel(s)?

      2Timothy 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

      It seems to me that you among others have a concepualization that dictates toward pastros and preachers and the likes make such claims as you have so written and in so saying you are True to your words! i, on the otherhand do earnestly believe that the Gospels ought to be seen with a more clearer understanding than just believe it or leave it analogy. There are many Truths in the Gospels and there are many untruths. Sorting them out should be of utmost importance to one and all if we are to come to agreements and rationalities. :-)

      April 15, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
    • Phosphorus

      So, the scriptures are truth because it is written in the scriptures that they are true? I'm sorry, but how does a man of your years buy into that kind of a rationalization? You defend that the words of the Bible are true because the Bible says that they are. You are wrestling with Bronze-aged wisdom in an age of science and technology. That must be painful.

      April 15, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
    • Phosphorus

      Sorry, but I don't have the time nor the patience to filter through hundreds of pages of agonizingly-dull and insane writings to find a few pearls of wisdom spread throughout the pages. I can derive value from a vast repository of information that exists outside of the Bible, and is by far much more relevant to my life and the world in which I live.

      April 15, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
    • Phosphorus

      Leo, the founding Patriarch of the Judeo-Christian faith was Abraham, and it is written in the Old Testament how he would have sacrificed his son for the Lord. Whether or not he actually did is a matter of debate, for there are other records written in which he went through with the deed. Whether he did or not is besides the point. He willfully would have sacrificed his son at the Lord's request, and he is the founding Patriarch of this backward thinking religion.

      April 15, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
    • Keith

      I don't think so, give it a rest, your halo is just too bright today

      April 15, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
    • Leo

      Phosphorus, So you use the Bible and tell a lie and then you have to resort to " there are other records written in which he went through with the deed. "

      Ok then prove this to me...

      April 15, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
    • Phosphorus

      How about you prove it doesn't exist. Isn't that what your ultimate defense is surrounding the issue of your gawd? If you think it is silly for me to ask you to prove that other versions of this story do not exist, then you'll understand why we think it's funny for a religiously-minded person to keep stating that it is up to us Atheists to prove that your celestial butterfly does not exist.

      By the way, your king is in check and your shoe laces are untied. You've also got some drool on your chin.

      April 15, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I love it when some sh!twit like Leo bashes our public schools and does so in a post in which he capitalizes words like "school" and "church" in the middle of a sentence.

      Leo, the reason the schools are "failing" (and they AREN'T all failing) is because parents like you are idiots who never got a decent education and can't even manage to figure out something 3rd graders should know.

      April 15, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
  17. itoldyouso10

    Well how about this instead? Why don't you let people, regardless of any demographics they are bound too, make the decision as to what they believe themselves and how they can find happiness? Not only would that allow the individual (of any age) to see things as they do, but maybe it would allow more inner peace which in turn could allow people to accept and understand one another more as well. Then maybe we can stop blowing each other up over ideas and use ideas to build the future? Not that my statement would sole all arguments and automatically create world peace, but having a culture where one can find their own inner peace however they like may at least start a positive cultural shift to be more understanding.

    April 15, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      But that doesn't stop the problem of childhood indoctrination (abuse). I agree adults have the right to believe what they want and most Atheists I know (including me) don't care what someone believes as long as they keep their beliefs off my laws, my rights and all innocent children.

      April 15, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
  18. TG

    Our Creator, Jehovah God, made a covenant (the Law covenant) with Jacob's (later called Israel, meaning "Contender with God") descendants in 1513 B.C.E.(Ex 19:5, 6) However, this covenant was not binding forever upon the nation of Israel, but only "to time indefinite" (Hebrew ohlam)

    Thus the Law covenant, upon which Judaism is built, was only a "tutor leading to Christ, that we might be declared righteous due to faith"(Gal 3:24), and not "by works of law" in which "no flesh will be declared righteous."(Rom 3:20)

    When Jesus arrived on the earth as the Messiah or Christ, he stated that he came to ' fulfill the Law'.(Matt 5:17) He further stated that Judaism, with all its wrong religious practices and customs of the Pharisees that it now incorporated, could not be sustained, for he said: "Nobody sews a patch of unshrunk cloth upon an old outer garment; for its full strength would pull from the outer garment and the tear would become worse. Neither do people put new wine into old wineskins; but if they do, then the wineskins burst and the wine spills out and the wineskins are ruined. But people put new wine into new wineskins, and both things are preserved.”(Matt 9:16, 17)

    Hence, Christianity would not be a continuity of Judaism, which was fast passing away, but would be a fresh start, like putting new wine in new wineskins, and not old ones. Judaism was to be discarded (Matt 21:19; Heb 8:13) and the true religion that Jesus established (but which Christendom has not followed) would remain forever.(John 3:16)

    April 15, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
    • LOL

      All true except for the part where you're delusional, snakes can't talk, Jews aren't magic, and eating an apples doesn't make us ashamed to be naked.

      April 15, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
    • Pipe-Dreamer

      Our and "All" Creations ever being created by God, a name above all mannerisms to-be-named such as Jehova or Elohim or any other name calling and/or labellings other then the most simplstic and of God should all be stricken from all peoples' minds and doctrines and teachings! Call God just that,,, GOD! To do otherwise creates tensions and in praactices of faiths does little for anyone nor everyone who are in Life's Hands!

      April 15, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
    • Phosphorus

      I prefer the name Omni, myself. It has a better ring to it. God just sounds flat and...well, dead!

      April 15, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
    • Pipe-Dreamer

      Phosphorus wrote on Sunday, April 15, 2012 at 1:55 pm, "I prefer the name Omni, myself. It has a better ring to it. God just sounds flat and...well, dead!"

      My father Joseph did only but once told me he believed in a "supreme bieng". Call me a "dead-head" if you must! I would rather call a supreme being as being a God of supremeness ond omnisciencies beyond compare of ue mere humanists who can't even keep fire-ants from engulfing all one's yards and their raisnung hell by biting the beegeezums out of people and their unwary pet animslisms!

      April 15, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
    • Phosphorus

      You know, when I was a little boy, I referred to my parents as mommy and daddy. When I got older, I referred to them as mother and father. Now that I'm of age that I would be a responsible parent, if I chose to, I refer to my parents by their first name, and they accept and understand it. You see, when we are young in our understanding, even our parents seemed somehow supernatural, to a degree. They knew everything, they were our protectors, they were our source, and no matter what bad would come of things, they were there to life our spirits. When we become adults, we realize that we are able to become that which our parents were, and a new generation looks up at us in the reverence that we looked at our parents with. The same is true of religion. When mankind was mentally young, we needed an eternal mother or father to fulfill that parent role. As we grow as a species, we realize that we can fulfill that role ourselves, and become that which we once attributed to the supernatural. While you might not think of our species as divine, if you were to bring representatives from ancient cultures forward in time to gaze upon our advancements, they would most certainly think of us as divine. We will only continue to grow and expand beyond self-inflicted limitations. That is our purpose: keep growing, keep learning, keep evolving, and become that which was considered impossible by generations of the past.

      April 15, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
    • OldOne

      An old trick created by Paul of Tarsus to try getting us Jews from studying and following our Torah and abandoning our G-d. Paul lied to get his way. Well, it hasn't worked yet as many of us read Torah and follow it as much as we can today in the diaspora. Torah was given to us forever and no man's word will change that. Devarim (Deuteronomy) 4: 30-40. Devarim 29:28. Say what ever you want but we will continue to believe in our true G-d, the G-d of our forefathers, our G-d that took us our of Egypt and gave us Torah. We will not fall into your tricks and start worshiping your gods/man-gods. In the past in Israel many Jews followed other gods and for that we have sent to other lands and are now in the diaspora. We are in the diaspora today but our Saviour who is and has always been our G-d and the G-d of our ancestors will save us once again as G-d has promised. Our G-d does not change for our G-d is One and besides our G-d there is no other. Malachi 3:6. Yirmiyahu 30 (Jeremiah).

      "The kindling of the Lord's anger shall not return until He has executed it, and until He has fulfilled the plans of His heart. At the end of the days you shall consider it. At that time, says the Lord, I will be the G-d of all the families of Israel, and they shall be My people."

      "For I, the Lord, have not changed; and you, the sons of Jacob, have not reached the end." Malachi 3:6

      April 15, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
    • Know What

      OldOne "Paul lied to get his way."

      Yep... and so did Moses.

      April 15, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
    • PaulLied

      Atheist ... they are and will always be their own god. Nothing is above them. They are everything and everyone. Me, me, me, me, me.

      Anyway, It is true ...
      Paul lied to convert people to the religion he founded. 1 Corinthians 9:20-23. "And so to the Jews I became as a Jew; that I might gain Jews ... to those without law I became as without law .... to the weak I became weak, that I might gain the weak. I have become all things to people of all sorts ...."

      April 15, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
    • AJW

      This is a JWitness ..... I recognized their cpy/paste way of writing.

      April 15, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
    • AJW

      This is a JWitness ..... I recognize the cpy/paste way of writing.

      April 15, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
  19. Ed

    It is a free country. People can observe what they want, any way they want, and call it what they want. And, a Jew who chooses not to eat kosher food is still a Jew. But, to publicly brag about this practice as "religious" is very condescending and insulting to practicing Jews. You can be on whatever journey you want, and have your kids with you or not. But if you are going to make it up as you go, please don't call it "Judaism". And why does CNN think that this person's journey qualifies as news to be applied to Judaism?

    April 15, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
    • Keith

      We don't think you are the arbiter of Jewishness. Anyone can claim to be a Jew, no one knows where most of the tribes went anyway.

      April 15, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
    • IsraelJudah

      The tribes were exiled to different lands such as Syria, Babylonia, etc. Even though exiled, there have always been Jews who have followed the Torah, Daniel being one of them. Today we are still in the diaspora but we Jews know who we are because the links have never been broken. There have always been Jews who have studied and followed Torah. Soon we'll all be returned. "For I, the Lord, have not changed; and you, the sons of Jacob, have not reached the end." Malachi 3:6.

      April 15, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      "Jewishness"? Really, Keith, I know you're an idiot, but even an idiot knows better than that.

      April 15, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
  20. Pipe-Dreamer

    I was born into a family setting where religion was not a practicing Art. My parent's names were Joseph and Mary! I was their 1st born son! Between mother Mary's two births were 5 misscarriages. All 5 were said to be females. In God's Will did God not allow for any other births except my brother and I to be born by Mary and Joseph! There was almost 10 years difference in age between brother and I.

    As a grew up in my tender years, I did so cherish mother Mary's awe so comforting ways! Being but an only child for nearly 10 years, I was left in childhood loneliness, not have a playmate to share growing up with. Still, I was content in Mother Mary's tenderness ways! I did little care for Father Joseph's innabilities to share himself with me back then. We, Father and I were ever distant from each other's thoughts.

    When brother was finally born, I was almost 10 years his elder and I found little patience with his baby-ish ways that Mother Mary swooned over! At birth, my brother needed 2 blood transfusions for he was born yellowish looking and had what I think they called, yellow jaundice". Still, I did put up with my brothers baby-ish antics.

    For you see, My solitary early years of growing up was without and Godly reformations nor even any teachings of Christ. I did not come to Christ until I turned 33. Funny thing, my Life. In being fathered by 2 people named Mary and Joseph and not finding Christ till age 33 and now 57, I have found an ever moving faith in God anf God's Sons and Daughters of which the King of all God's sons and Daughters if our Redeemer the Lord of Hosts, Christ Jesus!

    April 15, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
    • Bryan

      And It seems OK to you to give your being up to a LORD, Jesus Christ. Ignorance I suppose is bliss. If it helps you sleep at night I suppose. Just don't glare at me when I say the very concept of a big Magic guy in the sky pre-determining every action within the universe seem highly unlikely; and I would go on to say, and could prove, also a very dangerous idea.

      April 15, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
    • Pipe-Dreamer

      "Ignorance" is other peoples' perplexisms of seeded arrogance and to belittle by acquitals of humanisms' pleasings is but atheistical disgruntalings that tend to mutate and reprobate!

      April 15, 2012 at 1:46 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.