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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. Voice of Reason

    @Adam says:
    "Even scientific principles are rooted in faith."

    Hello?

    April 15, 2012 at 10:08 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Yeah. You're right. Adam's an idiot.

      April 15, 2012 at 10:10 pm |
    • Atheism is not healthy for cats and other stuff

      Eve is the smart one.

      April 15, 2012 at 10:15 pm |
    • Answer

      Their ilk can never realize the work that was put into the actual observations that went into discovering the stuff around us.

      It is so easy for them to just spout off drivel and not really take a hard look at what science can tell us. You flick on the lights in your room and the electricity is there. You strike a match and you will understand the chemical reactions and the materials we have discovered to make them work. The list of things .. so convenient nowadays. I pity these sack of s.h.i.t religious twits.

      April 15, 2012 at 10:17 pm |
    • Adam

      The special theory of relativity, the whole theory, hinges on the assumption that the speed of light is constant in a one-way direction between two points A. and B.

      We can’t give epistemic reasons for the fundamental principles that tell us what evidence to trust.

      April 15, 2012 at 10:24 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      This discussion isn't about the theory of relativity, dumbazz.

      April 15, 2012 at 10:26 pm |
    • Adam

      Insult, and pivot. No reason given back. Interesting.

      When someone posts a comment by me and insults me, I defend the reason behind it. Try to keep up.

      April 15, 2012 at 10:28 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      No, you don't. Try to develop some honesty.

      April 15, 2012 at 10:30 pm |
  2. neon5162

    as long as you dont turn your kids into super religious zealot nazi's "cough" most of the homeschooled chirstians "cough" no real problem with religion aside from that tiny part in the old testimant about shunning and killing those who are differnt from ya i belive it was somewhere round the part in solomans temple having just been built and the whole buring of a offering at the temple and taking parts from it or something or other that was stolen from pagen's after the one of the so called holy crusades aka the earliest recorded holocausts of sentiant man

    April 15, 2012 at 10:02 pm |
    • Besalel

      The Jewish people will live on as we shed the intermarried and non-believers. Those that choose to accept Judaism as a culture and not a religion will lose all connection to the Jewish people. In 2 or 3 generations, they will disappear from the Jewish nation and into the general population while the Jews will move on without them. We are happy. They are happy.

      April 15, 2012 at 10:17 pm |
  3. Eli

    To all the Atheists who think there is no God, all I have to say to you is "The Jewish People"
    There, that's your answer, case closed, game over. Learn the history of the Jewish people, that is all the evidence you need, if you reject this evidence then you reject Life, you are living in Denial, you are lying to yourself stop bothering us faithful believers cause you will be cursed by the God of Israel, simple as that.

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ydwxy9yqhzM&w=640&h=390]

    April 15, 2012 at 9:59 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      Go screw yourself!

      April 15, 2012 at 10:00 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Ditto.

      April 15, 2012 at 10:02 pm |
    • Truth7

      Voice of unreason – you are hateful. You need help, help that only God can give you.

      April 15, 2012 at 10:03 pm |
    • Answer

      You know the movie "The Book of Eli"? It was so hilarious .. a blind man with a blind copy of the bible being chased around throughout the whole movie. Got it stolen near the end and the bad guys couldn't use it to control or bring about another religious crockery in their midst.

      You see the bible getting a reprint and it's the King James version of all things. The most hilarious part was the Quran already sitting safely on the shelf of the library they had in storage. Talk about ironic.

      The over-glorification of the christian faith. Too hilarious!

      April 15, 2012 at 10:04 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      @Truth7

      Go screw yourself!

      April 15, 2012 at 10:06 pm |
    • Besalel

      Fact is, the Jewish people will continue with or without Ms. Snyder. The Fact that her grandchildren will not be Jewish will have no effect whatsoever on the nation as a whole. We will move on with or without Ms. Snyder. She wants to leave the fold, all the power to her.

      April 15, 2012 at 10:10 pm |
    • Truth7

      You sure like the word "screw" ..so do satanists. It's all about taking other men down to your darkness and depravity. Evil worships the pen.is. Go read about all old socieites, the pen.is and serpent.

      As God says: "There is nothing new under the sun".

      April 15, 2012 at 10:15 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      @Truth7 says:
      "Evil worships the pen.is."

      Man, you are one twisted m*other f*ucker.

      April 15, 2012 at 10:20 pm |
    • Answer

      As God says: "There is nothing new under the sun".

      –Too funny! A man is quoted and someone says it is from god's mouth. LOL

      April 15, 2012 at 10:20 pm |
    • Atheism is not healthy for cats and other stuff

      Why are you talking a pe.nis?

      April 15, 2012 at 10:25 pm |
  4. Adam

    It's always a little both sad and funny to see Atheists sound off about how objectively wrong religion is.

    Religion inherently can't be wrong. There can be wrong religions. But religion across the board cannot logically exist in an immoral form. Because if God exists, religion must therefore be objectively righteous. And if God doesn't exist, any act by humanity can never be ruled morally obligatory.

    April 15, 2012 at 9:56 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      More drivel. Did you have to smack yourself upside the head to come up with this dreck?

      April 15, 2012 at 9:58 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      Such wisdom, I am overwhelmed!

      April 15, 2012 at 9:59 pm |
    • sybaris

      The flaw in your logic is that morals and ethics evolved through the success of the group. They weren't bestowed upon a gray bearded mountain climber.

      Sociology 101

      April 15, 2012 at 10:05 pm |
    • Marcia

      God does not exist he was created by simple man who had no answers for the questions in his head so made up this thing he called god and put all the answers into gods hands. A simple denial of responsibility of his own life and all life.

      April 15, 2012 at 10:17 pm |
  5. Steve

    I am going to raise my kids to be Americans, but not with too much patriotism. If they want to experiment with the Taliban, Jihad, Illegal trafficking, any of these, who am I to stop them?

    April 15, 2012 at 9:53 pm |
    • Besalel

      This is the Jewish nation's evolutionary process at work. Intermarried Jews like Ms. Snyder who choose to accept Judaism as a culture and not a religion will disappear from our fold. In two or three generations they will not be a single connection between that family and the Jewish people. Meanwhile, the Jewish faithful move on "clinging" to their God and their Torah. Ridicule us, put us in concentration camps, run pogroms on us, we move on. Post hateful things about "those crazy believers" and we will still move on. And Ms. Snyder and those that choose that path leave the fold. Everyone is happy.

      April 15, 2012 at 10:21 pm |
    • gilbert

      Ephesians 6:1-4
      Children and Parents
      1Children, obey your parents because you belong to the Lord, for this is the right thing to do. 2“Honor your father and mother.” This is the first commandment with a promise: 3If you honor your father and mother, “things will go well for you, and you will have a long life on the earth.”
      4Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord.

      April 15, 2012 at 11:02 pm |
  6. Marcia

    Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things, HAVE you even noticed what "Religion" has done to children and other living things. More deaths due to religious war and persecution, than the Black plague, AID's, Malaria and all other diseases combined. During the burning times the priests would go through a town in Germany and all females in the town would die (grown or not) as well as half or more of the men. (the war on womankind is not new) The Spanish Inquisition killed and tortured so many that there was no room for the bodies. Religion has put Hell on earth. This is even without war being included.

    April 15, 2012 at 9:41 pm |
    • Adam

      Without God, there is no reason for morality's existence. So religion can't be wrong.

      Either God exists and we need to find which if any existing religions are right, or God doesn't exist and no one's acts are morally obligatory, including the religious.

      Bottom line, you can't have your cake and eat it too.

      April 15, 2012 at 9:49 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      @Adam says:
      "Without God, there is no reason for morality's existence. So religion can't be wrong."

      Does that really make any sense to you and if so please explain?

      April 15, 2012 at 9:51 pm |
    • Answer

      Religious people love clinging to that "without god equals no morality.. so hilarious.

      April 15, 2012 at 9:52 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Nonsense. There is no evidence that countries that are religious are more "moral" than those that aren't. Nor is there any evidence that people who are atheists are less moral than those who are believers.

      Really, dude, could you BE more of a pompous azz?

      April 15, 2012 at 9:52 pm |
    • Eric G

      @Adam: So, based on your statement, if there is no god, you have no morality? Hypothetically, if you discovered that no god exists, would you then act immoraly?

      P.S. Love the condecending tone there at the end of your post. How pious.

      April 15, 2012 at 9:54 pm |
    • Pipe-Dreamer

      UuhH,,,,, what makes you write what you did? where are your proofs at for such claims? Have you ever heard of Joseph Stalin or of Marxism? Nowadays in the U.S.A. we lean more to psychotropic drugs in order to keep in line the depraved of love within many households where the parents cannot cope with child rearing. I'd put the odds of such drugging at being around 45 to 50% not bto mention many adults on psychotropic drugs! It is of little wonder that this nation is falling from their once reverred standings! This land's children have more rights than their parents do and it's due in part to the drugstore revolution explodion in duggie srcipts being sold at an ever increasing rate!

      April 15, 2012 at 9:54 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You would know, Pipe. You're the druggie here.

      April 15, 2012 at 9:56 pm |
    • Bob Boise

      Wrong< try Atheists Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Genghis Khan, etc. You are babbling atheist left wing propaganda without facts or understanding of world history.

      April 15, 2012 at 9:58 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Ridiculous. Morality doesn't exist simply because of a belief there's a god. If that were so, atheists would be committing crimes willy-nilly. They aren't. They don't seem to 'need' a god to behave morally. If that's the case, where's your proof that a god is required for moral behavior?

      April 15, 2012 at 10:01 pm |
    • Adam

      First quick thing: you can't prove anything. Faith is an intrinsic part of life and forming beliefs. Even scientific principles are rooted in faith.

      And please note the following: I am saying nothing as to whether one needs to have a belief in God to live a moral life. Certainly there have been plenty of God-believing people who have lived much more immoral lives than some atheists. I'm saying if God doesn't exist, there is no reason for morality's existence. And the main reason I believe that to be true is because none of the greatest human minds over the course of history, theist or atheist alike, have ever been able to give a reason for morality's existence if God does not exist.

      Anyone wanna give a reason? I'd love to hear it :)

      April 15, 2012 at 10:03 pm |
    • Truth7

      Marcia – try reading the Bible with God's help. The inquisition is in Revelation. "Wicked MEN" were responsible, just like these atheists here! This entire thing comes down to the DARKNESS OF MAN.

      MAN's number in the Bible is "6". Don't fall in the wrong group or to sheep in wolves clothing!

      April 15, 2012 at 10:10 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      No one has to give a reason, you idiot. The fact is that morality exists regardless of religious belief. You said so yourself. That's all the proof necessary. No god is needed for people to behave morally.

      April 15, 2012 at 10:12 pm |
  7. Rod C. Venger

    There's nothing worth doing if you only do it halfway...either do it right or don't even bother. You can't be a part-time mother, you can't go to work and only do half of what's required and you can't give just half of your heart to God. Fence-sitters cheat everyone around them. They cheat their kids, they cheat their boss, they cheat God and they cheat themselves. May as well just be a proper drunk, eh? That's easy enough.

    April 15, 2012 at 9:35 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      What a load of manure. If one can't go to work and be a mother, then one can't go to work and be a father, either, you idiot. There's nothing in research that shows that children of working mothers are deprived of any benefits that accrue to kids of mothers who stay home.

      Jesus, how stupid are you?

      April 15, 2012 at 9:38 pm |
    • Eric G

      Easy Tom Tom....
      Rod is not stupid, just another irrational believer who makes things up to support his world view.

      April 15, 2012 at 9:49 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Hey, you say "tomayto", I say "tomahto". You say 'irrational", I say "stupid". Who cares?

      April 15, 2012 at 9:54 pm |
    • Eric G

      Point noted. I just don't want to chase off all the fundies.

      April 15, 2012 at 9:57 pm |
    • Ed

      @Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      In response to your suggestion of no scientific evidence that a child lacks when a mother works. You're probably correct that there is no supporting evidence and most likely there won't be. Who benefits when mom's work? society, because more taxes are paid and more money is made from productivity. I personally believe society loses otherwise. If all you look for is scientific reasoning to base all your theories than you are very closed-minded. Not meaning that in an offensive way, js. Maybe you don't see his point, but some people are able to gain a persepective from stepping outside the forest (i.e. worldy view). Might seem crazy to you but hey, so is a lot of other things. I bet there's no scientific evidence to show that ever since prayer was removed from school, children's behaviour in school (and out) has declined.

      April 15, 2012 at 11:01 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      As I first thought, you're an idiot. You have no evidence that the removal of forced prayer in schools caused anything at all, you dolt. Go ahead and prove that it was. Do you really think that the ending of forced prayer is the only thing that's changed in schools in the last 40 years?? What a stupid git. In addition, you have not even attempted to show that children of mothers who work are any less successful in school or in life than those of stay-at-home mothers. You won't, because there is NO proof whatsoever that it's true.

      Really, moron, get a clue. You're hopelessly stupid.

      April 15, 2012 at 11:07 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Oh, and dearie, I'd have a little more tolerance for your views if you knew how to use an apostrophe and bothered to consider subject-verb agreement. The fact that you don't do either leads me to think you're not very well educated yourself, and therefore, your views on education, child-rearing, and society are hardly worthy of respect.

      April 15, 2012 at 11:10 pm |
    • Ed

      @Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Man, you are so bitter. I bet you troll stories like this to let loose. I'm sorry if my comment hit a nerve. I will pray for you.

      April 15, 2012 at 11:59 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Don't waste your time. There's no one listening to you.

      April 16, 2012 at 12:01 am |
  8. Adam

    Judaism is inherently a religion in which its followers need no moderation of it in their lives. It is a religion that founds meaning and value of ones life in God. It holds that God is the greatest thing imaginable, that He is infinite, perfect, and the source of everything good and righteous. So with that being said, why would anyone who believed its fundamental teachings look condescendingly upon living the religion to an extreme? That living Judaism to the extreme means only a life lived with an extreme love for God?

    Being a moderate when it comes to owning a religion that believes in an all holy and righteous deity is about as foolish as it gets. If you believe in an all-powerful, all-righteous, all-knowing Lord and you respond by making sure you don't put too much into it because it will make you feel like a phony, it means you never had the right reason to follow the religion in the first place.

    April 15, 2012 at 9:35 pm |
    • Besalel

      Jews who have chosen to follow the path submitted by Ms. Snyder have always left the fold for good. Within 2 or 3 generations, there will not be a single Jewish member of such a household. The Jewish people will move on. This is the Jewish nation's way of weeding out those that do not belong.

      April 15, 2012 at 10:13 pm |
  9. Colin

    I guess Jewish Mom has gone away. Ever noticed that the penetrating light of reason and logic has the same effect on staunch believers that a kitchen light does on co.ckroaches?

    April 15, 2012 at 9:30 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Ahahhah. Ew. Yes.

      April 15, 2012 at 9:31 pm |
    • † In God We Trust †

      Most believers don't want to waste their time and money on you closet atheists

      April 15, 2012 at 9:32 pm |
    • I am God

      Closet Atheists? My father is a Christian and he knows I am an Atheist. I don't think that makes me a closet Atheist.

      April 15, 2012 at 9:33 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You don't have any money, you loser. You never had a job that didn't require you to wear a hairnet.

      April 15, 2012 at 9:34 pm |
    • just sayin

      Or the stench of pig manure becomes overwhelming. God bless

      April 15, 2012 at 9:36 pm |
    • Truth7

      God will be shining His Light in the dark corners shortly.

      If you truly believe in reason and truth, then you would simply ask God with an honest heart if He is real. If you don't, then He knows you truly rejected Him. God is real my friend. Call on Him today and then study at home.

      April 15, 2012 at 9:36 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      If your imaginary sky fairy shines his light in your corner, you'd better watch out-he's probably going to smack you with a fly-swatter, you ugly cretin.

      April 15, 2012 at 9:41 pm |
  10. gilbert

    Proverbs 15:1-33 (NLT)
    1A gentle answer deflects anger,
    but harsh words make tempers flare.
    2The tongue of the wise makes knowledge appealing,
    but the mouth of a fool belches out foolishness.
    3The Lord is watching everywhere,
    keeping his eye on both the evil and the good.
    4Gentle words are a tree of life;
    a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.
    5Only a fool despises a parent’s discipline;
    whoever learns from correction is wise.
    6There is treasure in the house of the godly,
    but the earnings of the wicked bring trouble.
    7The lips of the wise give good advice;
    the heart of a fool has none to give.
    8The Lord detests the sacrifice of the wicked,
    but he delights in the prayers of the upright.
    9The Lord detests the way of the wicked,
    but he loves those who pursue godliness.
    10Whoever abandons the right path will be severely disciplined;
    whoever hates correction will die.
    11Even Death and Destruction hold no secrets from the Lord.
    How much more does he know the human heart!
    12Mockers hate to be corrected,
    so they stay away from the wise.
    13A glad heart makes a happy face;
    a broken heart crushes the spirit.
    14A wise person is hungry for knowledge,
    while the fool feeds on trash.
    15For the despondent, every day brings trouble;
    for the happy heart, life is a continual feast.
    16Better to have little, with fear for the Lord,
    than to have great treasure and inner turmoil.
    17A bowl of vegetables with someone you love
    is better than steak with someone you hate.
    18A hot-tempered person starts fights;
    a cool-tempered person stops them.
    19A lazy person’s way is blocked with briers,
    but the path of the upright is an open highway.
    20Sensible children bring joy to their father;
    foolish children despise their mother.
    21Foolishness brings joy to those with no sense;
    a sensible person stays on the right path.
    22Plans go wrong for lack of advice;
    many advisers bring success.
    23Everyone enjoys a fitting reply;
    it is wonderful to say the right thing at the right time!
    24The path of life leads upward for the wise;
    they leave the grave behind.
    25The Lord tears down the house of the proud,
    but he protects the property of widows.
    26The Lord detests evil plans,
    but he delights in pure words.
    27Greed brings grief to the whole family,
    but those who hate bribes will live.
    28The heart of the godly thinks carefully before speaking;
    the mouth of the wicked overflows with evil words.
    29The Lord is far from the wicked,
    but he hears the prayers of the righteous.
    30A cheerful look brings joy to the heart;
    good news makes for good health.
    31If you listen to constructive criticism,
    you will be at home among the wise.
    32If you reject discipline, you only harm yourself;
    but if you listen to correction, you grow in understanding.
    33Fear of the Lord teaches wisdom;
    humility precedes honor.

    April 15, 2012 at 9:25 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      Go away freak!

      April 15, 2012 at 9:29 pm |
    • I am God

      Fear of the lord teaches wisdom? Sounds like Assad and Hitler.

      April 15, 2012 at 9:30 pm |
    • gilbert

      Romans 12:9-21
      9 Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. 10 Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. 11 Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. 12 Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. 13 When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality.
      14 Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them. 15 Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all!
      17 Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. 18 Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.
      19 Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say,
      “I will take revenge;
      I will pay them back,”
      says the Lord.
      20 Instead,
      “If your enemies are hungry, feed them.
      If they are thirsty, give them something to drink.
      In doing this, you will heap
      burning coals of shame on their heads.”
      21 Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.

      April 15, 2012 at 9:43 pm |
  11. † In God We Trust †

    *In 1776, 11 of the 13 colonies required that one had to be a Christian to be eligible to run for political office.

    *In 1777, the Continental Congress voted to spend $300,000 to purchase Bibles for distribution in the nation.

    *An image of Moses carrying the tablets of God's Law faces the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

    *The U.S. Congress begins every session with prayer.

    *The entering President takes his courtroom OATH OF OFFICE with his right hand on the Holy Bible, and concludes his vow "So help me God."

    April 15, 2012 at 9:23 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      And it is still a bunch of BS

      April 15, 2012 at 9:25 pm |
    • Reason Reason

      Nah it's true but should be abolished !!

      April 15, 2012 at 9:31 pm |
    • Ashrakay

      "In God We Trust" (Quran 7: 89)

      April 15, 2012 at 9:34 pm |
    • Pat

      The 1796 Treaty with Tripoli states that the United States was "not in any sense founded on the Christian religion"

      April 15, 2012 at 9:47 pm |
  12. † In God We Trust †

    JerUSAlem

    Just letting you know :)

    April 15, 2012 at 9:18 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      What in the world is wrong with you?

      April 15, 2012 at 9:19 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Trisomy defect.

      April 15, 2012 at 9:20 pm |
  13. Ruby - another Jew

    Tom Tom, I do too. Not because the Athiests are a threat to me but because they seem so very unhappy.

    April 15, 2012 at 9:18 pm |
    • † In God We Trust †

      You should be embarrassed when you see this ->

      April 15, 2012 at 9:20 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      How so?

      April 15, 2012 at 9:20 pm |
    • Colin

      Not really, another Jew. Some of the most successful, smartest, most articulate people I know tend to be (ex) Jewish atheists and people I truly admire and respect (Sagan, Aasimov, Krauss etc.). To the extent I am aware of any correlation between happiness and atheism, it is slightly suggestive that atheists are happier.

      April 15, 2012 at 9:22 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You do too what?

      April 15, 2012 at 9:23 pm |
  14. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    April 15, 2012 at 9:13 pm |
    • Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

      Prayer changes otherwise intelligent and rational people into believing they can talk to an imaginary super friend.

      April 15, 2012 at 9:14 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      Education changes everything.

      April 15, 2012 at 9:14 pm |
    • just sayin

      Agreed prayer and education an excellent combination. God bless

      April 15, 2012 at 9:17 pm |
    • just sayin

      As long as an atheist steals the name Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things a wonderful Truth gets posted. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

      April 15, 2012 at 9:19 pm |
    • Atheism is not healthy for cats and other stuff

      True.

      April 15, 2012 at 9:36 pm |
    • Hear This

      And the god of the bible is? The same god that created everything, including small pox, HIV/AIDS, malaria (which even today kills 1-2 million people each year, many children), tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, a planet that who's primary resource for sustaining human life (water) is 98% undrinkable, and countless other things too numerous to mention in a post. You want to talk about what is not healthy for children and other living things? You need to rethink your post.

      April 15, 2012 at 9:45 pm |
    • Jesus

      Prayer doesn’t not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs!!!!. .

      April 16, 2012 at 11:58 am |
  15. † In God We Trust †

    Atheists...... not too late to convert.

    April 15, 2012 at 9:12 pm |
    • I am God

      In God We Trust, not to late to stop your bigotry.

      April 15, 2012 at 9:13 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Idiots: not too late to get an education.

      April 15, 2012 at 9:13 pm |
    • † In God We Trust †

      Well be ignorant now.... remember life is short and you could die tonight. Don't cry on your judgement day....

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

      Crying? Ha. I'll be laughing my a^^ off watching you cry wondering why you never entered the so-called pearly gates.

      April 15, 2012 at 9:16 pm |
    • AGuest9

      There is no such thing as "judgement day". It's just something the deluded can try to "lord" over one another. It's disgusting how death is supposed to be feared.

      April 15, 2012 at 9:36 pm |
  16. Leigh2

    This Jewish mother has every right to express her opinion about her faith. If the rest of you don't like it, too bad. Get a life already.

    April 15, 2012 at 9:11 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      The jewish mother is a moron.

      April 15, 2012 at 9:13 pm |
    • AGuest9

      But, I guess it's just fine when just sayin is spewing his lies from multiple names? Lies and hate are OK when done from a religious point of view? I see how this works, now.

      April 15, 2012 at 9:41 pm |
  17. Jesus Loves You

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

    April 15, 2012 at 9:09 pm |
    • jrumor

      what if hindi or budda is right and you suffer whatever wrath their non-believers suffer?

      April 15, 2012 at 9:23 pm |
  18. Jewish mom

    America is a Judeo-Christian country

    http://rightremedy.org/tracts/7

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

      So, are Americans now the "Chosen people?" God's favorites? Did he promise them México?

      April 15, 2012 at 9:09 pm |
    • I am God

      Wrong on so many levels.

      April 15, 2012 at 9:09 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      1st amendment and the establishment clause says differently.

      April 15, 2012 at 9:10 pm |
    • Ashrakay

      America is a country occupied by jews and christians, et al. Countries, as they are not living and do not have brains, etc., are incapable of being of a particular religious affiliation.

      April 15, 2012 at 9:11 pm |
    • Truth7

      Colin – JerUSAlem

      April 15, 2012 at 9:16 pm |
  19. I am God

    As I can see from these blogs, many of the religious types here will probably end up in hell (if it exists that is). Reason is because they spout off against people that God created in his own image. It is funny how contradictive religious people can be.

    April 15, 2012 at 9:03 pm |
    • St. Louis

      At least they could ask for forgiveness.
      You nonbelievers will be sent to hell directly

      and you said "if it exists".... that means you're an agnostic and not sure yet! :D

      April 15, 2012 at 9:08 pm |
    • I am God

      Yeah no that doesn't mean I am agnostic; it just means I don't really give a hoot. Atheists to hell? Please tell me what sins I have committed? By the way, not believing in God is not a sin. Fact.

      April 15, 2012 at 9:09 pm |
    • † In God We Trust †

      I am God...

      Please go to church, and seek your Lord and Saviour.

      April 15, 2012 at 9:14 pm |
    • I am God

      Hey in God We Trust what sins have I committed? Oh thats right absolutely nothing.

      April 15, 2012 at 9:15 pm |
    • † In God We Trust †

      I don't know what crime you made behind your computer screen

      One thing is that you don't believe in God.
      A big one

      April 15, 2012 at 9:21 pm |
    • I am God

      Not believing in God isn't a sin. Where does it say that in the Bible? Oh wait you are one of those religious nutjobs who loves to post things that don't actually exist. Nvm. Dumb troll.

      April 15, 2012 at 9:23 pm |
    • Truth7

      I am God – sin is knowing God's commandments and laws and breaking them.

      Some are born godless or became that way through sin. Spouting hate towards His believers will not be over looked. If you really want to know the Truth, just ask God directly if He is real. If you don't, then you know that you CHOSE to keep on hating Him.

      April 15, 2012 at 9:23 pm |
    • I am God

      Truth7 you spouted some bigotry there. The Ten Commandments doesn't say "Believe in God and if you don't it is a sin." Just because I am an Atheist; it doesn't mean I disregard the Ten Commandments. I don't believe in their existence, but that doesn't mean my family and I don't follow through with them during my daily life.

      April 15, 2012 at 9:25 pm |
    • Robert Trca

      "I am the Lord your God, you shall have none other than me." Doubt you follow that one.

      April 15, 2012 at 9:41 pm |
  20. Colin

    I have never understood why a Jew would celebrate passover, the wholesale slaughter of thousands of innocent children. Should it not be a day of mourning that their sky-fairy was so evil as to murder innocent children when he is all-powerful and could have simply freed the Jews himself.

    I guess the poisoning effects of religion includes the ability to ignore the genocide of babies.

    April 15, 2012 at 9:02 pm |
    • Ashrakay

      Good point. Religious people always play the victim, even when their religion is responsible for mass death and destruction. Somehow they always feel like THEY are the ones being attacked.

      April 15, 2012 at 9:05 pm |
    • Jewish mom

      You're an anti-semitic freak

      April 15, 2012 at 9:09 pm |
    • Colin

      My apparent personality flaws aside, Jewish Mom, would you care to answer the question? Why do you celebrate such an act?

      April 15, 2012 at 9:10 pm |
    • Jewish mom

      Mind your own business

      I don't answer questions to trolls

      April 15, 2012 at 9:13 pm |
    • Colin

      Hmmm, will you answer this one, then? Why would an immortal super-being, powerful enough to create the entire Universe and its billions of galaxies care about how much skin I have on my d.ck?

      April 15, 2012 at 9:16 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      @Colin
      "Hmmm, will you answer this one, then? Why would an immortal super-being, powerful enough to create the entire Universe and its billions of galaxies care about how much skin I have on my d.ck?"

      Now that's funny!

      April 15, 2012 at 9:18 pm |
    • † In God We Trust †

      Us Christians do not get circ.umstized.... so what's your point?

      There are some that get it, but not mandatory

      April 15, 2012 at 9:30 pm |
    • Truth7

      He gave His Spirit to those children! He took them as firstfruits in the land of Egypt. A MAN named named Herod is the one who actually killed children, trying to end Jesus.

      April 15, 2012 at 9:30 pm |
    • Colin

      In God We Trust. Read the thread, I was debating with a Jew.

      April 15, 2012 at 9:32 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Hahah. Jewish Mom is meshugana.

      April 15, 2012 at 9:32 pm |
    • Ashrakay

      @Colin, See what I mean? Always the victim.

      April 15, 2012 at 9:40 pm |
    • Colin

      @ashkray – it's a way for believers to avoid a logical flaw in thier belief.

      April 15, 2012 at 9:45 pm |
    • Beth

      I'm Jewish and celebrate Passover and I don't believe in Exodus and my type of Judaism does NOT celebrate the idea of the death of Egyptian first born sons. In that part of the seder my type of Judaism actually says this is NOT something we celebrate (ditto the part about the pursuing Egyptian army getting drowned). I do not think Exodus happened. What Passover is for me is many things but one important thing about it for me is a reminder to be mindful that modern day slavery still exists and I (and we) should try to find ways to stop it! That's a much bigger concern to me than whether Exodus happened or not, etc. It is also a nice family holiday. I would guess you sometimes have celebrations - Thanksgiving or Christmas or whatever and that the gathering of family is perhaps enjoyable for you or that you gather with friends on occasion and enjoy that. It is a time for Jewish families to spend time together.

      April 15, 2012 at 10:27 pm |
    • Ashrakay

      @Beth, Would that there were more religious people in the world like you. As an atheist, I find your perspective quite reasonable.

      April 15, 2012 at 11:44 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.