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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.

Follow the CNN Belief Blog on Twitter

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 • My Faith

soundoff (3,114 Responses)
  1. Truth7

    The authors confusion stems from one thing – she is focusing on man made "rituals" and doesn't even mention God ONCE.

    April 15, 2012 at 8:57 pm |
  2. Jewish mom

    My prayer goes to atheists this Passover....

    xx

    April 15, 2012 at 8:56 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Why? Atheists are less of a threat to you and your beliefs than are the Christian zealots.

      April 15, 2012 at 8:58 pm |
    • Colin

      Thanks Jewish Mom, you pray for us and we'll think for you.

      April 15, 2012 at 8:59 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      How 'bout a jet releases restroom waste as it passover your house?

      April 15, 2012 at 9:01 pm |
    • Jewish mom

      Think what for me? I could think and pray at the same time :)

      April 15, 2012 at 9:03 pm |
    • Colin

      And when you do "think" do you ever wonder why, of all the millions of people and thousands of cultures on the planet 2,000 years ago, all throughout Asia, Africa, Europe, North and South America, and the rest of the Middle East you Jews were the "chosen people"?

      Hmmmm, did Yahweh creat the Jews or did the Jews create Yahweh?

      April 15, 2012 at 9:08 pm |
  3. Oodoodanoo

    Tell your kids that the Three Stooges were Jewish, as were Captain Kirk and Spock. I would think that's enough.

    April 15, 2012 at 8:56 pm |
  4. new

    Next Article should be 'CNN legitimate- or lot of mental cases that didn't that they're medication'- teaching kids the truth about the garbage network CNN. That article I would like, a rational discussion on the topic. why not?

    April 15, 2012 at 8:56 pm |
    • Rollin

      What? Why is it that the most opinionated repliers CAN'T SPELL? Don't all computers have spell check? I misspelled opinionated and it underlined it in red. I'm always shocked when I read the comments on CNN. It scares me...

      April 15, 2012 at 9:18 pm |
  5. I am God

    I don't understand why Christians are even on this article since this isn't even about them. Maybe it is because they are scared of the Atheists spreading truth throughout these blogs.

    April 15, 2012 at 8:55 pm |
    • Jewish mom

      Why are Atheists on every single religious article?! It does NOT belong to them either.

      April 15, 2012 at 8:57 pm |
    • Dr

      Same reason why YOU are your satanic followers (atheists) are everywhere on every single religious blogs and articles

      April 15, 2012 at 8:59 pm |
    • I am God

      I haven't seen the Atheists attacking anyone on here, unless the religious crazies on here attack first.

      April 15, 2012 at 8:59 pm |
    • Truth7

      Jewish mom – exactly right.

      April 15, 2012 at 9:00 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Does it "belong" to anyone else? Whom? You? Don't think so. Last time I checked, this was a free country, and anyone can post here. Too bad for you, Yenta.

      April 15, 2012 at 9:00 pm |
    • Ingrid

      Yeah we're "scared" of idiots like you spreading false stuff

      go to hell your robber

      April 15, 2012 at 9:00 pm |
    • Jewish mother

      'I am God'

      You must be blind or ignorant and moron. The majority of 1700 comments here are posted by atheists attacking religious people

      April 15, 2012 at 9:02 pm |
    • I am God

      Jewish mother every time I come onto these blogs it is the religious crazies attacking the atheists. The atheists have been only posting quotes and verses from the Bible onto the blogs and you guys attack them for it. What you guys can't handle your dark little secrets you avoid from the Bible?

      April 15, 2012 at 9:06 pm |
  6. Pipe-Dreamer

    A Revelation for Dreamers
    Ashrakay wrote to me on Saturday, April 14, 2012 at 11:32 pm stating,"@Pipe-Dreamer, Yes, I've seen your off-handed comparison remark comparing atheists and "GBLT'ers" It was nonsensical then and nonsensical now. You still do not have proof or evidence of the invisible being you have conversations in your head with. Also, you disregard the fact that many of us, including myself were once just as delusional as you. We believed the same nonsense you believed in, professed it, preached, witnessed about it, and depended on it. If you want to know TRUE grace and TRUE freedom, it will come when you finally know yourself. You never can as long as you continue to look outside of yourself to the typical illusory stories you tell yourself to make yourself feel better. Freedom awaits you.
    God needs not humanisms nor humanists for him to be! Who do you think is in charge of conceptualisms? The energizer bunny? The quarks and gluons? Perhaps the electrons and protons? I stand in awe in front of those who know and yet don't know the whole of Truth!!!!
    April 15, 2012 at 12:00 am
    Here's a weenie of philosophical brevity for ya! Long ago in the ancient timeperiods of Greek and Roman civilizations, there were these Theological Philosophers who made stories as to just exactly what was the smallest things and their roles in the meanings of Life. In their still known to us writings they did write that the smallest things known were the "elemental gods". Todays scientists do scoff at such an idea and they have renamed an old fling to call these "elemental gods as being atoms putting to bed the ancient Theological philosophers' understandings. So much for pragmatisms' lamentations!
    Another tid-bit to ponder upon is the exact size of this "Celestial Cosmos we find ourselves living within. Just how big is it really? Do you agree with our sciences' rather mundane stand that the universe is all there is out there? If you do then you get the booby prize! This Celestial Cosmos is riddled with way more than just our knowable to us universe! The actual size and immensity of the Celestial Cosmos is beyond the "rigormorolled" perceptions of many science ladled folks!
    Another diddy to dawdle and to feast upon is called "Fractal Cosmology" Ever heard about it? Probably not so here is the main jist of it! Fractal Cosmology deals with the very real possibiliy that there are places where there are universes within universes. These places where there are "inner-universes" must and I dare say again, must be sheltered from the outward universes blasts of stellar radiation. What a better place to hide Micro-universes than within all forms of living bodies! Here's the clincher! All Life Forms and Life Formations are all made up of cellularized universes that are living places for the elemental gods' ever so smalled living generations of inward living life forms and life formations! Many verses of the KJVB does back up this diddy of thoughts!
    Luke 17:21 Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is INSIDE you.
    1Corinthians 3:9 For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, [ye are] God's building

    Must be nice your' living in a tree with the rest of your family swinging from the vines! What an ape you truly are! You would rather say we swung from trees then to compare us with the Gods? Give me Green Lantern? Give me Superman? Give me Wonder woman? What has happened to us humanists? What is happening to our wholesomeness and sympathetic dignities? Where does one draw the line in the sandy shorelines of Godly reconciliations? Who does really run the shows of the wholeness? Why are children weilding guns and knives in the "public" schools? Who is to blame? God?
    April 15, 2012 at 4:26 pm
    I have never once said I condemn evolution! I stand up for it! Your falling into one your chasms of seeing others' perceptualisms as being an alottment of sameness regarding one's stances is sheer lunacies on your part!
    God, being the Universe in physicalities did 1stly and in dueness of Time, create the very 1st celled organism ever to be upon this earth and God called this 1st one-celled organism "Man". It, Life upon this celestial shoreline of Cosmological divinities within the framed workings of the ever so Grand Cosmos of all relative Dimensionalisms is ever to be a Godly discompensated revelry of quantumn configurations within the vorticees of algabraic fundements' constraining relatives!
    April 15, 2012 at 5:12 pm
    Implications for the main purposes to imply may well implode in on one! God once was and God tenderly is and God will forever be but a God! Though the world and its' humanists and their humanisms may one day be gone from the Celestial Cosmos, we will not be gone within the framed workings of Fractal Cosmologies every and any where that cosmological Life does ever abound! The implications regarding Fractal rythms in its' many dimensionalized quadrants of stellarized selectivities is the apartides of much rumors! God does ever so Love the imginative ways of the enlightened comrauderies of any life form with the capabilities to diAtheisms and their atheistic wailings toward the chivalries of today's humanely religious devotees resonates without really stating so! God was 1st in all things Celestial and even in 1st things Terrestrial! God is the enveloper who wraps up the developer! God is the sweetness and likewise the soured! God is the thorn upon a rose-stem! God is forever within all lines to ever be drawn! He is the Supremeness for the sublime and weakly formed! He is the shadows where the sun's rays cannot penetrate! God is forever the builder and we are His buildings! In sanctifications are humanists found Holy!
    April 15, 2012 at 5:44 pm
    Is it "immoral" for a religious person to comfort others whose heart felt and weakened mind is in distress? Is it "immoral" for a religious person to practice a mostly moral lifestyle knowing well their thoughts dare convict them? Is it 'immoral" for 0ne of religious depth to believe in a God Being? Is it "immoral" for the religious to believe in an afterlife once one dies after living a most perplexing life here upon a planet that has manifested millions upon millions of multi-diversities in living embolisms of Life sustaining forms and formations that permeate the grounds and the waters and the air? Who then are the Atheists and why do they resist believing in a God of salvational conformities and make temptations against many noble people of religious persiverances? I Love God's Spiritual comforts and yet I fear God's wrath against my past indignations against others whom I've spiritually antagonized and done wickedness towards! I know I am forgiven by God my past Acts and actions of sinfulness and yet still, I remain in perdition and purgatory awaiting my Life's finality and last breathe! I must die for my sins and only thru dying may one find God! I shall ever try to remain faithful to my repenting way and shall try mightily to spread that which has now become a life-long desire to just write whatever comes to me thru the Holy Spirit's guidances and as I so write, I am found a new meaning for living until death becomes me! As Love and Hate meanders my Will, God's fruits of the Word will never remain still!
    April 15, 2012 at 8:00 pm
    Phosphorus wrote on Sunday, April 15, 2012 at 7:22 pm, stating, "I'm sorry, but I'm not so well-mannered in my responses to those that uphold the principles of adhering to those things that exist only in our minds, and nobody can prove or disprove otherwise. I'm well-versed in denting the shields of my opponents with science, logic, facts, reason, and sometimes, rhetoric, but I'm not sure you'd like for me to be the candidate, because I really do not honor or respect the supernatural in this day and age of reason. In fact, if you look up the definition for Phosphorus, you'll see that I really don't play well with theism."
    What a strawman your words tend to! Can't you among others learn to do what scripture tells us all to do when we read the Gospel? Even within the Gospels it is so written to "rightly divide the word of truth"! I am not only mad at people who tend to make insindiary insults on Gospel "legends" and Gospel "truths" and even Gospel "revelations", it is those preachers and the like who I do realy hate for their Acts of smugness and unaltering manifestations meant only for the bewilderments sakes of their flocks! To Hell with the morbidly religious who use their religious precepts as being but blinders and they can only see where they want to and they dare not turn their eyes to the left or the right for frearing they might stumble and fall down! I am a firm believer in the theology of Christendom's "moral" revelations and while I do so believe in God, the Father of All Cosmologic Creation(s) and I am bound by my Faith in God's Sons and Daughters who do wherever possible in the wholeness of the Cosmos make manifest all the living Life Formations as are here upon and within this earth! I have much proof about my beliefs but the justice leagues here in this "Belief" blog are but as animals seeking whatever fodder that just suits their sensations! May God damn all of you who only fend for fodder's sakes their ownliness mindives and can't even dream a good dream! Where is one's imaginative spirit at? Where are the souls of imaginabilities?
    April 15, 2012 at 8:49 pm

    April 15, 2012 at 8:55 pm |
  7. NY

    " Atheists rarely EVER commit crimes "

    - LOL must be the biggest lie in history. Mao, Pol Pot, Stalin etc. killed hundreds of millions of religious people.
    Most crime in America are committed by atheists!!

    April 15, 2012 at 8:55 pm |
    • I am God

      Wrong, wrong, wrong, and wrong again. First there are differences between communism and atheism. Look it up you before spouting things you really have no clue about.

      April 15, 2012 at 8:58 pm |
    • new

      There is no such thing as a crime to an atheist. Nothing matters – no od- no right no wrong- they are like a bunch of mimes. mindless zombies – not knowing what to do- because nothing matters. Must be a great existence.

      April 15, 2012 at 8:59 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      new, you're so completely incorrect it's hard not to label you as a moron. There ARE wrongs. There are laws that protect our rights and those who infringe upon those rights are committing crimes.

      Idiot, grow a friggin' brain.

      April 15, 2012 at 9:02 pm |
    • Pipe-Dreamer

      NY,,,,,, ,,,,, ,.

      The simpleton minds of atheisms and all religions today are not the one's we need worry about anyomre! Only when religions break down and socialisms decay will we seek the one(s) that our masses weakened minds and heartfelt souls shall gravitate towards!

      April 15, 2012 at 9:03 pm |
    • Ashrakay

      @new, Interesting box you live in. If anyone comes knocking, just hide under the covers until they go away.

      April 15, 2012 at 9:03 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I can't believe anyone so stupid can afford to buy a computer and pay the electric bill. Jesus, you need to get a clue, you moron. There's nothing "holy" about the laws of this country-this is a secular nation. No one needs an invisible sky-fairy to know that people have rights under secular law.

      Were you born stupid, or did you have to take lessons, you moron?

      April 15, 2012 at 9:04 pm |
  8. Tappan

    NONBELIEVERS SHOULD BE PUT IN PRISON OR IN ELECTRIC CHAIR TO BE DONE WITH THEM

    April 15, 2012 at 8:51 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      That's very godlike of you!

      April 15, 2012 at 8:52 pm |
    • I am God

      Nonbelievers? Will that would be you wouldn't it, because God doesn't punish those who commit sin. I bet you have committed sin all the time though?

      April 15, 2012 at 8:53 pm |
    • I am God

      *that don't commit sin.

      April 15, 2012 at 8:53 pm |
    • hellonews

      as a fellow christian Tappan, I think you need to examine where you were prior to Christ...an unbeliever...praise the Lord that He had mercy on you....

      April 15, 2012 at 8:56 pm |
  9. 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 iron 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 live your life. Rejecting reason and deluding yourself in blind faith does not help your case.

    April 15, 2012 at 8:50 pm |
    • Truth7

      You come on every article regarding religion and paste the same nonsense. Over and over again. It is sad to see your hatred towards God and fellow man.

      April 15, 2012 at 8:56 pm |
  10. Steve

    WoooooooooooooW there are bunch of closet atheists on CNN

    April 15, 2012 at 8:46 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Wooo! There are a bunch of moronic religious zealots on CNN's forums. And you're one of 'em.

      April 15, 2012 at 8:51 pm |
  11. mia

    as the mother of a eight year old and a woman who has been raised as a catholic, I love this article. I thank this woman of a differant faith but of the same love of a child for saying what so many of us think. I take my son to mass every sunday, we honor lent and , but I am not married to his dad just in a monogomous relationship for thirteen years with him. We dont preach redirect to our son . we teach him kindness love and the belief that it through G-d that all things are possible and thus we should be greatful...beyond that I expose him to church so that when he is a man and has free will w/ the ability to reason that he will have someone other than me to turn to in time of need and celebration. I have been thru so many perils but when push comes to shove my belief that he gives us no more than we can handle sustains me.

    April 15, 2012 at 8:45 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      Why do you have to teach your son that god makes all things possible?

      April 15, 2012 at 8:50 pm |
    • hellonews

      the most "loving" thing that you can do for your child is to seek out the truth and passionately teach it to your child. Children don't raise themselves correctly in this very messed up world. If you're really legitimately seeking that truth, I would encourage you to pray that God enlightens your heart that you would truly come to know his salvation through Jesus Christ. If you're looking for a church that will teach biblical truth and help support you in teaching your child, I would suggest starting at 9marks.org

      April 15, 2012 at 8:54 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      @hellonews says:
      "the most "loving" thing that you can do for your child is to seek out the truth and passionately teach it to your child."

      I agree 100% and that would be that there is no god.

      April 15, 2012 at 8:56 pm |
    • new

      Yes I agree- the truth should be taught the 'Voice of Reason' – is really the voice of sleeze in disguise. By the way, god is watching.

      April 15, 2012 at 9:03 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      If "He" exists, new, "He" is watching you make a complete azz of yourself. And laughing the whole time.

      April 15, 2012 at 9:06 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      @new says"
      "...By the way, god is watching."

      By definition that means you are delusional.

      April 15, 2012 at 9:06 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      "new" is the new stupid.

      April 15, 2012 at 9:07 pm |
    • gnoll

      Which is easier to parent, the child or the woman raised as a Catholic?

      April 16, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
  12. Jew

    THIS ARTICLE IS OF JEWS/JUDAISM............ NOT CHRISTIANITY!

    April 15, 2012 at 8:39 pm |
    • Jesus Loves You

      Jesus was a Jew and so are you.

      April 15, 2012 at 8:43 pm |
  13. IN GOD WE TRUST

    Reasons why Atheism is TERRIBLE and unhealthy for our children and living things...

    † Atheism is a religion that makes you stupid, ignorant & blind.
    † Atheism is a disease that needs to be treated.
    † Atheism makes you post stupid things (90% of silly comments here are posted by closet Atheists)
    † Atheist are satanic and have gothic lifestyle.
    † Atheists causes problem in our religious society.
    † Atheists are mentally ill, that's why they have no faith.
    † Atheism won't take you to kingdom of heaven and paradise.
    † Atheism making you agree with Stalin, Hitler (Denied his faith later), Mao, Pol Pot & other terrible mass murder leaders.
    † No traditional family lifestyle, no holidays, no culture, boring and feeling 'outsider'
    † Atheists are angry, drug additcted and committ the most crime.
    † Atheist try to convert people over internet because they feel "safer" behind closet.
    † Atheists do not really exist, they just pretend that they don't believe in God and argue with religious people.
    † Atheists have had terrible life experience, bad childhood and not being loved.
    † Most Atheists are uneducated... No Atheists could run for presidency.
    † Atheism brought upon the French Revolution, one of the most evil events of all of history.
    † Atheism cannot explain the origins of the universe, therefore God exists.
    † All atheists believe in evolution, which means they don't believe in morality and think we should all act like animals.
    † The Bible says atheism is wrong, and the Bible is always right (see: Genesis 1:1, Psalms 14:1, Psalms 19:1, Romans 1:19-20)
    † Countries where Atheism is prevalent has the highest Suicide rate & Communist countries = Atheism!
    **Only 2-3% of the U.S. are Atheists/Agnostics VS. over 90% who believe in God (80% Christians) in the U.S.**

    †† Our Prayers goes to Atheists to be mentally healthy and seek their creator ††

    April 15, 2012 at 8:38 pm |
    • reason

      If you think atheism is a religion you should watch this:

      April 15, 2012 at 8:40 pm |
    • edwardo

      I read the first line of your post and knew it discredited the rest. Atheism is as much of a religion as anarcy is a type of government. You are truly a dolt !!

      April 15, 2012 at 8:43 pm |
    • !

      It is a religion.... I'm not watching that trash

      April 15, 2012 at 8:43 pm |
    • MandoZink

      Although every single point of yours is utterly wrong, I'll just mention ONE you can check – crime.

      Atheists rarely EVER commit crimes. You can easily look that one up. Obviously you looked NONE of your facts up.

      April 15, 2012 at 8:43 pm |
    • Ashrakay

      You've yet to respond to my comment about your nom de plume being taken from the quran. "In God We Trust" (Quran 7: 89) Do you worship Allah?

      Also, you say we need to convert people over the internet so we feel safer. What do we have to be afraid of exactly? Just curious what a brilliant mind like yours will come up with.

      April 15, 2012 at 8:45 pm |
    • I am God

      Wow you just proved how idiotic some people on the religious side can be. Congrats on proving Atheists are far more intelligent then their religious counterparts (at least they are smarter than you that is).

      April 15, 2012 at 8:46 pm |
    • edwardo

      Your post is absolutely retarded. There is no truth to any of it. It's a feeble attempt to discredit, and it has no relevance, and all those myths have been debunked.

      April 15, 2012 at 8:48 pm |
    • edwardo

      @reason – Thanks so much for video. That is totally awesome. LMAO thru the whole thing. Thanks again!

      April 15, 2012 at 8:59 pm |
    • Phosphorus

      You're either a troll, or a very pathetic human being. I feel quite sorry for you, and truly, I pity you.

      April 16, 2012 at 3:21 am |
    • YeahRight

      Atheism is a religion that makes you stupid, ignorant & blind. -LIE
      Atheism is a disease that needs to be treated. -LIE
      Atheism makes you post stupid things (90% of silly comments here are posted by closet Atheists) -LIE
      Atheist are satanic and have gothic lifestyle. -LIE
      Atheists causes problem in our religious society. -LIE
      Atheists are mentally ill, that's why they have no faith. -LIE
      Atheism won't take you to kingdom of heaven and paradise. -LIE
      Atheism making you agree with Stalin, Hitler (Denied his faith later), Mao, Pol Pot & other terrible mass murder leaders. -LIE
      No traditional family lifestyle, no holidays, no culture, boring and feeling 'outsider'-LIE
      Atheists are angry, drug additcted and committ the most crime. -LIE
      Atheist try to convert people over internet because they feel "safer" behind closet. -LIE
      Atheists do not really exist, they just pretend that they don't believe in God and argue with religious people. -LIE
      Atheists have had terrible life experience, bad childhood and not being loved. -LIE
      Most Atheists are uneducated... No Atheists could run for presidency. -LIE
      Atheism brought upon the French Revolution, one of the most evil events of all of history. -LIE
      Atheism cannot explain the origins of the universe, therefore God exists. -LIE
      All atheists believe in evolution, which means they don't believe in morality and think we should all act like animals. -LIE
      The Bible says atheism is wrong, and the Bible is always right (see: Genesis 1:1, Psalms 14:1, Psalms 19:1, Romans 1:19-20) -LIE
      Countries where Atheism is prevalent has the highest Suicide rate & Communist countries = Atheism! -LIE

      Thanks for proving what a LIAR you are.

      April 16, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
  14. NYC

    I use the torah as toilet paper

    April 15, 2012 at 8:37 pm |
  15. Jesus Loves You

    If you want to burn in a lake of 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 sip margaritas pool-side with Jesus like Hitler is right now, become a Christian. God will reward you accordingly.

    April 15, 2012 at 8:34 pm |
  16. Bob

    And then you have to ask when the believers such as Leo trot out the usual, failed "context" arguments, how it is that their inept "god" couldn't produce a book that can't so easily be taken out of context. Pretty poor excuse for a god that you've made for yourself there, Leo.

    Look into the eyes of a suffering victim of any of the multiple disfiguring, debilitating, painful diseases that your "loving" god has purportedly created. Then you might understand that Christian god as described in the bible is not loving, doesn't give a hoot about human suffering, and in fact does not exist.

    Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement. Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.
    http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

    April 15, 2012 at 8:28 pm |
    • MandoZink

      You know, you've either got to want to change, or at least suspect something is amiss. Good logic and facts just harden the heart and mind of the blind believer. I must admit, it is an evolutionary survival skill adaptation, but it does NOT serve us in this day and age.

      April 15, 2012 at 8:34 pm |
    • reason

      It's interesting that people's gods are only capable of curing exactly what today's medicine is capable of curing.

      April 15, 2012 at 8:39 pm |
    • Leo

      Bob, Join the movement of what? Hopelessness? Despair? Anger? Lies? Deception? I feel your pain ...

      April 15, 2012 at 8:51 pm |
    • Leo

      Bob, Yes Christians have hope, and the evil in this world makes us stronger, and moulds us, and tests us, so that we can become vessels worthy of Gods Glory!!

      The message of Christianity is not this world, but that which comes after.

      Revelation 21

      The New Heaven and Earth
      1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. 2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, 4 and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.”
      5 And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And He *said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.” 6 Then He said to me, “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost. 7 He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son.

      April 15, 2012 at 8:57 pm |
  17. MandoZink

    Imagine when humans finally realize that the existence of good and moral people are the results of good examples you experience in your upbringing. Churches project a subconscious divisiveness that infects the core mentality of supposedly "god-fearing" people who think they have the moral upper-ground. Raised Catholic, I was taught to love others, but also that I was lucky enough to be in the one true religion. Understanding the inheritance of blind belief before you ever have the chance to think is important to our continued survival as humans on this planet we share. See the whole picture, if you dare.

    April 15, 2012 at 8:27 pm |
    • hellonews

      I'm sure you've convinced yourself that God isn't real...but as far as this whole "morality" thing...where did that come from. Moral laws imply a moral law giver. If you got the "morals" from your parents, where did they get them? The common response to this is that "moral" laws are individual, yet for some reason all of us have the same "morals" ultimately. It's just a matter of whether or not we're willing to admit it. Yes there is that south american tribe in the 1900s that freely kills and cannabilizes others...do they follow the same morals? Yes, in their heart's they know it's wrong. Why? B/c when you try to kill and cannabilize them, they would somehow protest this as "wrong" and "unfair".

      April 15, 2012 at 8:45 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      "Moral laws imply a moral law giver." Says who? Why? Support your statement. There's no reason to conclude thus.

      Produce proof that shows otherwise.

      April 15, 2012 at 8:56 pm |
  18. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things ..

    April 15, 2012 at 8:27 pm |
    • MandoZink

      My old roommate once proposed this test:

      Place one man in front of a church full of devout people, place a second man in front of an emergency trauma center. Then shoot each of the two men in the stomach with a 45. Then let the entire church pray relentlessly and sincerely for their guy, and let the trauma center take care of the other. See who fares better. That should sort out the difference between science and religion.

      April 15, 2012 at 8:27 pm |
    • edwardo

      You so suckk!!

      April 15, 2012 at 8:32 pm |
    • Phosphorus

      That's actually pretty good!

      April 15, 2012 at 8:35 pm |
  19. Brian

    "Faith" is a big business in this country, which is one reason it lacks credibility. Newspapers come out with these feel good articles about religion on a regular basis because it helps sell their advertizing.

    April 15, 2012 at 8:27 pm |
    • Jew

      That's good..... now go to hell

      April 15, 2012 at 8:40 pm |
  20. Bob

    As you can see in Leo's comments below, believers will go on defending their delusions because they lack the courage to accept reality, but the bible provides some pretty clear directives supposedly from god, to do some pretty evil stuff, and that can't be denied. Like this:

    Numbers 31:17-18
    17 Now kiII all the boys. And kiII every woman who has slept with a man, 18 but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

    Now, Leo, since you keep spewing about your evil bible, note that the bible is also very clear that you should sacrifice and burn an animal today because the smell makes your sicko Christian sky fairy happy. No, you don't get to use the parts for food. You burn them, a complete waste of the poor animal.

    Yes, the bible really says that, everyone. Yes, it's in Leviticus, look it up. Yes, Jesus purportedly said that the OT commands still apply. No exceptions. But even if you think the OT was god's mistaken first go around, you have to ask why a perfect, loving enti-ty would ever put such horrid instructions in there. If you think rationally at all, that is.

    So get out your sacrificial knife or your nasty sky creature will torture you eternally. Or just take a closer look at your foolish supersti-tions, understand that they are just silly, and toss them into the dustbin with all the rest of the gods that man has created.

    Look into the eyes of a suffering victim of any of the multiple disfiguring, debilitating, painful diseases that your "loving" god has purportedly created. Then you might understand that Christian god as described in the bible is not loving, doesn't give a hoot about human suffering, and in fact does not exist.

    Please, stop referencing that Christian book of nasty, AKA the bible, as a guide to, well, anything. Humanity has suffered enough already from the horrid, evil cr@p that people like you shove at them.

    Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement. Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.
    http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

    April 15, 2012 at 8:26 pm |
    • Jew

      This article is about Judaism your moron..... go to hell

      April 15, 2012 at 8:41 pm |
    • !

      Go fuck yourself your Anti-Christian bigot

      April 15, 2012 at 8:41 pm |
    • Certain

      Bob makes rational posts and is generally nice.

      April 15, 2012 at 8:45 pm |
    • Colin

      Good post Bob. I would give the Bible a little more credibility if 90% of its approximately 600 laws weren't relevant only to a farimg and herding life in rural Palestine 2,000 years ago.

      Hmmmm, did God create the Jews or did the Jews create God......

      April 15, 2012 at 8:57 pm |
    • Truth7

      You have absoluetly NO IDEA what that passage even means! "K.ill" does not mean physically kill! A "woman" is doctrine, church, religion. We are married to God! He is the husband!

      The Bible is SEALED to many. Snares are set to catch people just like you. What's in your heart is what you see! If you do not have the Holy Spirit, you cannot even begin to comprehend what He means. Read Jesus response when asked why He speaks in parables. So some people don't understand! Animals, tres..all people and positions inthe Bible....words have alternate meanings. Blind means "without knowledge", not physically can't see.

      April 15, 2012 at 9:14 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 and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.