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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. N. Onnimus

    Keeping kosher is a throwback to a time when there were no refrigerators and people ate off wooden dishes. It made sense to separate meat and dairy so people wouldn't have bacteria growing on their dishes that could make them sick. Keeping kosher kept people from eating certain meats and fish that were disease-laden. Today it seems like a waste of time and resources. I've never heard of people dying because they ate a cheesburger.

    April 15, 2012 at 4:52 am |
    • Composter

      How does separating meat and dairy prevent bacteria from growing on wooden plates?

      April 15, 2012 at 4:54 am |
    • Steven Brooks

      Sure, except for, you know, the number of people sickened and killed by pathogenic organisms easily destroyed by such 'ancient' restrictions.

      Humanity is at an even greater risk today than at any time in the past.

      April 15, 2012 at 4:57 am |
    • Jeff

      Mr Brooks,

      I assure you that the rate of food borne illness has never been lower. Kosher restrictions (except MAYBE oversalting beef) do nothing to prevent this. How do I know this? I am a gastroenterologist.

      April 15, 2012 at 5:04 am |
    • Cold Splash

      Jeff, for a proclaimed gastroenterologist, you sure are stupid. People don't report hardly any cases of food-poisoning because most doctors and clinics refuse to treat it or even show any signs of giving a rat's ass about food poisoning.

      Just because there are less "official" cases "reported" and "recorded" only means that less people are willing to bother asking for help – precisely what some people want to happen because food-poisoning isn't cool enough or profitable enough for them to care or treat.
      Go shove...no wait I think you're already there. Nevermind.

      April 15, 2012 at 5:11 am |
    • Composter

      I should also inject that these health-based justifications of the laws of kashruth are indeed just recent justifications after the fact, and are never claimed biblically. People are supposed to keep kosher because G-d tells them to, not because of supposed health benefits.

      April 15, 2012 at 5:17 am |
  2. Fallon Massey

    Let's see, like the war on drugs, religons war on sinners seems to not be working!

    After 2000 years, the number of sinners is at an all time high. Any sane person would at a minimum recognize that it isn't working, and it's time to try something else, but they won't!

    Draw your own conclusions...

    April 15, 2012 at 4:48 am |
  3. André

    Religion is for the idiots, or those too scared to live their life.

    April 15, 2012 at 4:41 am |
    • Ira Radnick

      Yep! Do I hear an, "Amen!" from anywhere in the room? Hmmm, got pretty quiet all of a sudden...

      April 15, 2012 at 7:56 am |
  4. Composter

    Dear Laurel:

    Your piece made me kinda sad. You seem to be representing yourself as Jewish, and are certainly representing "Jewishness" to your children. Yet you say you "don't really want to keep kosher." You seem to feel that you can define Judaism as whatever you want... and that doing that is honesty. I understand that your article deals with how you are aware of this and grappling with it... but the "not really wanting" really bothers me. I could understand if you were to say that it was too difficult, but to not want it is not honest, and not honorable. It really shows that what you want is to make your own comfortable rules, and call it Judaism. If it fits your (certainly reasonable) ideals of peacefulness, environmentalism, etc., it's OK; if you don't understand or resonate with something, it's out. That is not faith; it's not even "spirituality." I think you answer your own issues in your article... let your children's questions lead you down a more honest, perhaps more difficult but more spiritually fulfilling path and keep kosher. At least try it. If that's too much of an "out" Jewish thing, be vegetarian – a more restrictive, but less unpopular way to keep kosher.

    If you've had any Jewish education, you know what they always say: keeping kosher is the most important thing to living a Jewish life. When I was in Hebrew School, I too disregarded that. I only understand it now, years later, having decided to keep kosher (or at least what we used to call "half-assed kosher" in NY) only after marriage and children. Keeping kosher is something you do every day, every moment. Everything you eat has consequences for what you might eat hours hence. More meals are eaten at home, and cooked fresh. Choices outside the house are limited. Some pretty appetizing things must be passed up. But it keeps you mindful. It brings your spirituality into your basic needs, your daily existence. You can't go through even half a day without spending some time/thought to a spiritual world.
    So, please, try it. Try it with your family. Do something that really brings some Judaism into your lives every day, so you and they don't have to wonder why your "Judaism" seems just like everything else.

    April 15, 2012 at 4:35 am |
    • Cold Splash

      And here we see the clear intention to indoctrinate, to brainwash, using rote repetltion, fear, and oppressive cultural traditions to force the simple-minded into "always thinking" of their religion.
      Can't let any other thoughts in. Nope. That would be "bad". Think only of your religion like a brainwashed idiot, no matter if you have to do something stupid like become a vegetarian, because this "composter" wants you to "try" their brainwashing b.s...
      Just disgusting and as blatant as I've ever seen it. This is the slavery of the mind to the minds of others and nothing else.

      April 15, 2012 at 4:44 am |
    • Gaven

      ^ This.

      April 15, 2012 at 4:46 am |
    • Composter

      I suppose you could see it that way, but I don't think it plays out that way. "Mindfulness" is all about thinking, deciding carefully, observing the world around you, and questioning. To me, going to McDonald's and ordering a Happy Meal is kind of brainwashing and dehumanizing... thinking about all the ingredients of things you eat, and how they're prepared, leads to increased engagement with the world and your own basic needs... a lot more analysis and critical thought, a lot less simple "acceptance" of what's given.

      April 15, 2012 at 5:02 am |
    • Cold Splash

      Try as you might, you cannot whitewash what you have written above.
      But you seem rather stupid, too, so maybe you don't really know how indoctrination / brainwashing works even though you have been clearly heavily brainwashed yourself.
      Like a diseased and filthy rabid hyena, you seek to bite others and infect them with your rabid insanity.
      Try looking up brainwashing. You know, on the internet? Look at the methods that have been solidly proven to work in a very effective manner, and then ask yourself why this should work this way without any regards to moral values of anyone involved. And then just shut up and go clean the crap out of your brain before you talk to us. We don't need your slimy attempts to insinuate your psychotic parrot-talk into this discussion, even though you have that right. It's just that you don't deserve that right when it is clearly a felony-type assault on the mental health of other people.
      Your methods deserve no freedoms, no free speech rights. Your religion even less so.

      April 15, 2012 at 5:29 am |
  5. Gaven

    Parents should teach their kids HOW to think, not WHAT to think. Parents that indoctrinate their kids in their own personal belief system close the mind of that child. Exposing their children to any given religion and telling them why you believe what you believe is fine, but the choice to be religious or to claim a religion should be left up to each individual. Baptizing babies that have no say in the matter should done away with, at least in America where people are free to choose their own religion. Forcing religion on those who cannot choose for themselves should be prevented, not embraced.

    April 15, 2012 at 4:33 am |
    • André

      Well said.

      April 15, 2012 at 4:37 am |
    • Composter

      I think that seems like a reasonable approach at first, but has some problems. Whether religious, scientific, American, liberal, conservative, we all have many belief systems, and they are fundamental to existence, communication, and learning. The problem is where to draw lines. Our belief systems are shaken up more and more frequently (quantum physics, anyone? Incompleteness? Economic theory (Greenspan!)? Healthiness of cigarette smoke?). Yet we can't communicate, innovate... perhaps even think, without them. So, of course, we're all teaching kids our belief systems. You yourself say that in America everyone is free to choose their own religion... that itself is a belief system, and one that these days more and more seems not to be shared by many Americans, especially in current politics.

      April 15, 2012 at 5:13 am |
    • Cold Splash

      To Composter:
      What an empty head full of compost!
      A belief system is not necessarily a delusional one, like religion has been proven to be.
      A delusional belief system cannot be relied upon for sane decision-making nor for many other essential things.
      Your attempts to discredit all other belief systems by giving them a false equivalency with your delusional belief system is a waste of time. You are clearly stupid.

      April 15, 2012 at 5:21 am |
    • Composter

      Cold Splash, I don't think there's any call here for personal insult. It's possible to discuss things calmly and rationally.

      I do not seek to discredit any belief system... indeed, as i said, I think they are necessary for us to function. But they are just that – BELIEF systems, not "truth". Ask any true scientist, and they will tell you, all our knowledge is in the form of "the best we can figure out so far"

      April 15, 2012 at 6:15 am |
    • Cold Splash

      If I thought you were rational, I wouldn't bother trying to explain how reality works.
      Too bad about the insults. They are just my honest opinion. Nothing wrong with that, is there? ha ha.
      Seriously, you really suck at being honest with yourself and with others. I hate liars. Go die in a fire, liar.

      April 15, 2012 at 6:32 am |
  6. Kyle

    I agree that it would be a disservice to yourself and your children to be anything less than authentic and honest about what your faith means and doesn't mean to you. I believe in being who you are. But as you mentioned, Faith is also a journey.

    God creates us the way we are, but he doesn't want to leave us that way. He wants us to grow. I pray you will not settle for where you are, but will continue to allow the Lord to lead you and your family to where he wants you to be so it won't have to feel fake, but can be fully genuine.

    April 15, 2012 at 4:26 am |
    • Cold Splash

      I love how you proclaim, like any soothsayer or witch doctor, what is exactly going to happen and what your god is going to do in every instance and even how he thinks and feels – when he doesn't even exist.
      Truly, the delusional religious followers of every religion do this. Why don't you issue a fatwah? Start a new church and dress a special way and make up some solemn-faced traditions like walking in only 90 degree angles and swinging dusty chunks of roadkill in a golden bowl of "holiness" according to how you "feel" about it?
      Declare a death sentence from your god! I hear religious people do this every day. And don't forget to curse whoever you want for whatever reason you want anytime you want. As if you were your god. Funny how that works that way.
      And for your "sin" and being cursed by your god, you think this makes you one of the few people who are sure to understand everything in your god's mind and what he thinks about every little thing, no matter what it may be.
      Just your opinion, of course. Since your god clearly does not exist and nothing you can point to will ever show your god to exist in some sort of psychotic "hide-n-seek" game of epic proportions and despite all reason, logic, and common sense.
      Just keep it in your pants. I've had it with you people. Seriously.

      April 15, 2012 at 4:37 am |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      Kyle: How does the following even make sense "allow the Lord to lead you and your family to where he wants you to be"?

      This takes away from any freedom a person may have. Humans are not robotic nor should they be subservient. The path in life people take is on them, not some unknown deity who apparently is some mas.sive control freak. Your views are skewed by that book. Only sheep need a shepherd and if you're that weak minded that you need someone to guide you, then you're not living life fully and you certainly should not be living without some form of professional supervision.

      April 15, 2012 at 5:34 am |
    • Kyle

      @TruthPrevails – I am not attacking you. My comments are directed at the author of the blog entry, who obviously already has a faith in God if she chooses to raise her family in the Jewish tradition. If you are not a believer, I do not expect you to understand the things of faith.

      April 16, 2012 at 2:33 am |
  7. Walter

    Yet another "Belief" piece where people question their beliefs. Clearly CNN has an agenda when it comes to religion.

    April 15, 2012 at 4:21 am |
    • Steven Brooks

      Clearly, they do not, given the long tradition of doubters from Abraham and Moses to Jesus, numerous Popes and Mother Theresa.

      April 15, 2012 at 4:30 am |
    • AOK

      Yeah, if everyone would just shut up and believe exactly what Walter believes and follow his "agenda", it'll all be hunky dory!

      April 15, 2012 at 4:30 am |
  8. SearchingForAnswers

    I would hope the mother here would exam her own faith more and come to realize that keeping the comandments set down by Judaism enables her children to not just learn moral values but to come to know God and develop a relationship with God. In both Judaism and Christianity I see the main message being To Love God With All Your Heart and Soul and To Love Your Neighbor as Yourself. But when you start to pull the teachings of the two faiths apart you will find there is a good bit of difference in how they interpret that message. You can be a person who does not believe in God and still behave according to major ethical and moral values of the society you live in, but to follow a faith requires a belief in God. In Judaism by keeping Kosher and keeping the commandments and living by Torah you are learning about God, who God is, what are God's values. You are connecting with the God of your faith through the practices of Judaism. Though it may not appear that this is what you are doing, it is what you are doing when you keep Kosher, the commandments, and practice all the ins and outs of your faith. Of course, it is all empty if it is practiced without love or Chesed in mind. And for all the Christians posting here, I would keep in mind that according to the theology of Christianity, the Christ in Christianity is supposed to be the fulfillment of the laws of Judaism, even if it was not called Judaism when Christ walked the earth. The Christ of Christianity was 100% Jewish, dressed like a Jew, kept the commandments like a Jew, and everything else in ancient times. The Christ of today's Christianty is not 100% Jewish, except maybe in a Messanic Jewish place of worship, which is a Christian based denomination, not Judaic in its beliefs. And as far as Islam goes, many of the practices of Islam are those that many Ultra Orthodox Jews practice or in otherwords, practices noted in the Old Testament (Christianity) or Tanakh (Judaism).

    April 15, 2012 at 4:18 am |
  9. Leif

    I think it is possible to believe and not believe in god, simultaneously.

    April 15, 2012 at 4:12 am |
  10. J

    why the hell is this on the front news. who cares about a babbling rant from some religious person talking about how theyre gonna/not gonna brainwash their kids....i thought cnn front page would have SOMETHING more important

    April 15, 2012 at 3:46 am |
    • Steven Brooks

      Humanity is more than your narrow opinion, agree or not.

      April 15, 2012 at 3:58 am |
    • Leif

      Since you were impacted strongly enough to voice an opinion, I would say that you have answered your own question.

      April 15, 2012 at 4:05 am |
  11. Gavin Ford

    The family that prays together ...is brainwashing the children.

    April 15, 2012 at 3:38 am |
    • Gaven

      /signed

      April 15, 2012 at 5:02 am |
  12. Bootyfunk

    parents who indoctrinate their children into one of he various cults of christianity do a disservice to their children.

    April 15, 2012 at 12:39 am |
    • Drew

      Judaism predates Christianity

      April 15, 2012 at 3:24 am |
    • abudum

      Oh yeah, then how come the word Judaism isn't in the Old Testament or the Talmud? The religion named by Old Testament as being relative to Moses was Shalom or as they call it in the Bible translation, Peace.

      April 15, 2012 at 3:44 am |
    • Ira Radnick

      Intelligent thought predates religion.

      April 15, 2012 at 7:58 am |
    • Drew

      I don't care if the religion carries a different name now, it is still the same beliefs and customs practiced by the same group of people

      April 15, 2012 at 8:13 pm |
  13. Roman Catholic Seminarian

    Hey man,

    I'm extremely proud of you. You have to be a real man in order to pull off what you just did. Continue to follow Christ and he will enable you to do things that you could never see yourself being able to do, because he loves you. Also, let me just say this about religion: Religion is the means by which we get to God. In fact, without religion we would know nothing about our Divine Creator. I hope that helps, God bless you, man.

    Thanks for your sacrifice,
    a Roman Catholic Seminarian

    April 14, 2012 at 10:44 pm |
    • reason

      This is about a Jewish woman, not a Catholic man.

      Also even with religion you know nothing about your creator, you just delude yourself into thinking you do.

      April 15, 2012 at 3:58 am |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      @Roman Catholic Seminarian: Given that you are a member of the cult of pedophiles, I would not trust your opinion on anything or trust you in general. How do you live with yourself knowing the group you are involved with covers up the harm to innocent children and keeps the monsters safe? Not a very reliable group of people!!

      April 15, 2012 at 5:45 am |
    • Sam Stone

      Roman Catholic Seminarian: Your training has been effective. You see a man where you should see a woman. Good luck with the alterboys

      April 15, 2012 at 6:45 am |
    • isolate

      "In fact, without religion we would know nothing about our Divine Creator."

      Is that a plus or a minus? :-)

      April 15, 2012 at 9:41 pm |
  14. Voice of Reason

    Do you want to do something good for your children? Keep religion out of it. Teach them about real things. How about evolution, that would be a start? When they get older they can then see what religion is, a belief in the supernatural.

    April 14, 2012 at 10:11 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      well said.

      April 15, 2012 at 12:39 am |
    • Joe Collison

      Agreed, well said.

      April 15, 2012 at 3:24 am |
    • Drew

      I'm not religious, but I can't imagine a greater disservice that could be done to a child than to raise him to conceive of a purely material, deterministic universe. The day we raise our children this way is the day we stop producing artists

      April 15, 2012 at 3:26 am |
    • Rick

      Drew: How about raising kids by telling them that they have sinned and angered god by being born? How about telling them they are deserving of "hell"?

      April 15, 2012 at 6:32 am |
    • Drew

      Rick, I certainly wouldn't condone that. But going too far in the opposite direction could be harmful as well

      April 15, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
  15. CSX

    Jewish? Religion sends people to hell. Jesus said a Jewish convert is twice the son of hell.

    Avoid religion and spiritually come to Jesus.

    April 14, 2012 at 8:17 pm |
    • reason

      Christianity is a religion. You are a religious person.

      April 15, 2012 at 4:00 am |
    • Rick

      CSX: Right, everyone has a "religion", but the followers of Jesus. Delusional much?

      April 15, 2012 at 6:34 am |
  16. momoya

    TLDR

    April 14, 2012 at 6:08 pm |
  17. Pipe-Dreamer

    Pipe-Dreamer's Philosophied Revelations
    (Updated with regularity)
    The "Way" I see this world's End is when the sun, our star goes Super-Nova and it expands and does envelope this earth with waves upon waves of heat, fire and brimestone! Could it happen today,,,, maybe tommorrow or next week, maybe next year but most likely a few hundred thousand years or even longer! Meanwhile We who are but lowlife slaves & will ever serve our slave-masteries in a never-ending cyclical of biased pretenses meant to hellishly bind-up the general masses of people for the sakes of the chosen richer than most!
    April 14, 2012 at 4:56 pm
    There is no difference between Christ's Timeline and Today's Time-periods. Only the names have changed! We today have slaves and we have masters of slaveries! Instead of having God-heads we once had Kings. Instead of Kings we now have Presidents and Prime Ministers. The proverbial clincher of today is we are Free to do and to choose what we are to do! Oh what a farce freedom is! Only the very arrogant and the very waakly minded dares not to so believe in such verbased thoughts!
    April 14, 2012 at 4:46 pm
    The "Way" I see this world's End is when the sun, our star goes Super-Nova and it expands and does envelope this earth with waves upon waves of heat, fire and brimestone! Could it happen today,,,, maybe tommorrow or next week, maybe next year but most likely a few hundred thousand years or even longer! Meanwhile We who are but lowlife slaves will serve our slave-masteries in a never-ending cyclical of biased pretenses meant to hell-bound-up the general masses of people for the skaes of the chosen richer than!
    April 14, 2012 at 4:56 pm
    God was and is and ever will be just a God! Call God whatever one wills and God will never be changed! Throw all the verbal excrements one wants at God and God will never be moved! Love God even just a smidgen and God will open His Kingodms' Heavenly Gates wide when your time comes to leave this world! Showing mercies to the weak in mind and poor in spirit and God will adorn you with much when your time here reaches its' end! To those who keep their earthly treasuries in great abundant measure, knows not God's Will and God will not receive them when their time comes for is it not written to give all you have to the very poorest and the most needy? It may well be said by many that, "whoever has the most toys wins" but I say to all, "There are far too few winners and way too many losers in Life, so be that which you adorn to and cling ever closely to your spirited heart-felt teachings no matter the cost for living here among our Life's Tree of Celestial Cosmologies!"
    April 14, 2012 at 4:11 pm
    Feedings from the fodders of incrementally positioned vanguards of the illusitories' ramparts does ever tender the makings of Life itself! Being nurtured by inclinations of Godliness will never truly quench the thirstiest of allotted sakes! So, 'Go placidly amid the noise and wastes while always remembering the peace one finds in ever finding a piece thereof!"
    April 14, 2012 at 2:15 pm
    God is no respecter of humanisms' umbrages be they spoken or written! God ever wills the people to make better their ownliness Life! God could ever care less if and/or when ONE turns their back on God! The Gospels themselves have become strewn with falsehoods and bitter tasting amalgamations of indifferings laments! Tiz nowadays way better for one to be at distance from any and all Godly writings! To keep safe inside one's heart-filled soul only the verses needed to find comfort and a way to get thru daily regards is all anyone can do! The challenge to Life is to live it and not fall from it!
    April 14, 2012 at 2:04 pm
    @Scott: wrote on Saturday, April 14, 2012 at 1:06 pm stating, "he Gospel: Jesus gave up his life so his murderers might have life. Abortion: My life as I want it is more important than this helpless child's life."
    Women have misscarriages all the time and even have still-births. Societies need to allow people their due causes and reasonings for wanton abortions as the cases may be in the benefits of parental consternations relative to their life needs and wants.
    April 14, 2012 at 1:16 pm
    Mark wrote on Saturday, April 14, 2012 at 12:43 pm, stating, "Concerning Pipe-Dreamer: I have a degree in Philosophy. This guy is confounding the language not to make a point, but to make an appearance. There really is nothing in the way of fact here; rather a series of statements, each contingent upon his beliefs, all taken from an objective source – the Bible. Beliefs never equal Truth."
    So says "Mark" who makes claims for being a "Philosophy" contender! The "degrees" in living one's Life dare seems to outweigh the papered assortments one does entangle upon! One might view Truth to be physically relative yet one may see Truth via Spiritual cunning! The Peabodies of dogmaticalisms' rendered paperworks are pee'd upon and ever thrown away afterwards!
    April 14, 2012 at 1:37 pm
    The "integration" principle does not make "integrity" resolutionary nor does it become a righteous and sole claiming of atheist wanna bes who know very much but despise things they do not cherish!
    April 14, 2012 at 12:02 pm
    Young and somewhat Faithless are the deniers who do embellish in their sins, the unleavened rights to scoff at and spit in the faces of those who "TRULY" do believe in an Afterlife! The names do all change yet the "game" remains ever the same! The dearly departed and deadened from Life's Faithfulness in God's Sons and Daughters wherein Christ Jesus is as their crowned King and our unwaivering Redeemer will forever in the humanists' wills be the saving graces of one's eternalness of Life unto death into Life upon death and ever onward thru the undulations of Time immemorial! Humaisms' of renditioned Godliness is being next to the Being we call our God!
    April 14, 2012 at 11:52 am
    I too can quote "Star Wars"! I do believe in the "Force" as coming from beings the Jedi called as being "midichlorians" which are beings that inhabit all of life's embodiments deeply upon the inside on a scale of such miniaturation we will never really set sight upon them! Such a Faith does not go against the Gospels' certaining verses that tend to embellish our bodies as being mere buildings wherein the Sons and Daughters of God are kempt or living out their Lives!
    April 14, 2012 at 11:32 am
    2 Timothy 2:15, Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
    TrueWordofGod wrote stating, "Don't diss Almighty God. People with real intellect, know there is a mighty, supernatural God who created the world, the universe and all its living creatures. One day all people will come to know that there is a loving and mighty God who demands your attention and worship. There is coming a time when it will be too late to take back stupid comments or your ignorance. This isn't ancient mythology, it's about a relationship with a real God. My prayer is people here would come to know almighty God and that he would capture their hearts."
    On April 14, 2012 at 11:16 am
    I was birthed by parents who never attended church while I was being raised. They, my parents were named Joseph and Mary. In thier lifetimes dad revealed to me that he believed in a supreme being but did not go so far to call such abeing as being God. I found my Faith upon God when I turned 33! In loving of Godly principalities I did nourish and revel in the Gospels yet in "rightly dividing the Word of Truth" I did find certain verses of scripture an undeniability and beyond mere christian's rationalisms and atheists cunnings! God was God and He is God and will forever be God, the only immortal Being, by God!
    April 14, 2012 at 11:18 am
    Many of you atheists seem to forget that God's Son Christ Jesus was sent to us in order to redeem all us humanists and give to us an abundancy of everlasting Life! Living eternally does not, I repeat, does not mean becoming immortal! It means one is to live and die and live and die according to God's King of His Sons and Daughters, Christ Jesus, our redeemer of living the Life in abundant measurements! Only fools do believe in immortalities and living forever on one dimensional plain of existence!
    April 14, 2012 at 11:00 am
    Just on the accounts of humanisms' history trees are ladled with the religious being ever so fearful of God's impending wrath should they investigate things does in no way or shape or formula make today's closeted christians alikened to their pruned branches being thown upon the dung heaps!
    April 14, 2012 at 10:30 am
    God has a long held tradition for all us humanists who do and whomever doesn't believe in Godly reconciliations! One part heads North while the other part heads South! We all do service the users and even the abusers of Godliness endeavorments. Love therefore, one's own rationales and keep safely tucked away one's simplest of Truths for fear of the dawdlers of bickering and condemnation! Their days are as but second-hand clothes to be handed down come their End of Life!
    April 14, 2012 at 9:46 am
    God the conceptualization was long before man became flesh and bones! For the concepts of Creation itself needed to be nourished! Easy are the deniers' ways but weighty are their yolks. Would any of us humanists truly give up your Life in order for all of mankind to be spared death's beds of sorrows and forlornments? The Love from God is not without His Wrath but the Love of Christ Jesus for all of Humanism is our redemptions' branches! Clamoring to throw pea-like pebbles and spit toward the very traditions of the Gospel Truth in salvations' benefisciaries is harmful to one's simplest ideologies and humane strengths!
    April 14, 2012 at 9:26 am
    1 Corinthians 3:9 For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, [ye are] God's building.

    Snoozie,,,, "freedom to work" you say? What about the freedom NOT to work? If one freely is unwilling to work then what are one's choices? I have deduced that "freedom to work" is but an outlandish and dastardly way to convince present day slaves to have choices as to which slave-master they hope to serve proudly or not.
    April 13, 2012 at 5:43 pm
    Catholocism is not worthy of even being considered a Christianizable religion for they hold back so much dough in their treasuries that one could with ease, feed many 3rd world countries for perhaps years if they were to "give up" their dough!
    April 13, 2012 at 5:57 pm
    Some, not many are child molesters. If one sees the clergy as a family would one not try to hide their family's dirty laundry from the neighbors? Because the clergy are devotionalists and dedicated to their Faith's inabilities to have sound reasoning skills does not make them all out to be evil sinners, but in harboring one's dirty laundry, the clergy needs to send it out to be cleansed, as in jail time.
    April 13, 2012 at 6:04 pm
    The religiously devoted are not "dumb", they are scared and they are not "ignorant", they need guidance to reconcile their lousy and immoral Life they have once led. They are scared and want to find reasons for changing their Life! God to them and myself is the answer to the many Acts and actions we all have done wrong in one's past. It isn't rocket science that one can learn to overcome their own rememberences if ills' wongdoings. They need a little push from people who are as a light and can be found a comforting flame of hope and inspiration to ever so slowly llead them to God and yes the King of all God's Sons and Daughters, our Redeemer Christ Jesus.
    April 13, 2012 at 6:15 pm
    Being of "pride" for getting or being laid is not for the faint of heart. In getting laid at such an early age in my or anyone's Life will eventually play in their Life's deck of cards and in dealing this deck one does ever come across the once were cards to ever be reminded of times' past. That's why I say and do regard myself as being but a lowly closeted Christian unworthy of being called a righteous man of 57 years and counting the days looking ever onward to my Life's End! If God and His Sons and yes, Daughters truly are a realism, then I will be given my justice accordingly for my deeds done here in this real of Celestial Cunning! If there is no God, then I will be none the wiser!
    April 13, 2012 at 6:31 pm
    It may one day be truth where the Mother of all Christendoms will bite the proverbial bullet! She will not, though go down without fighting and screaming and gouging the eyes out of many of her followers. Let's all get back to the basics. A horse to plough the fields with and a cow from which to husband with another's bull, some chickens and rabbits some pigs and goats. Ah for the good ol' days they will soon be a coming back! "Push the buttons you ingrates and let's get this show on the road again"!
    April 13, 2012 at 6:49 pm
    There is a time to hold onto and a time to let go of. There are times to remember and times to try and forget. Their are people who do scratch at and claw upon the words of others' faithed wordages. There are also people who stand by and listen and just plainly observe There are those who listen and observe justifiable people of pleasentries and others of ill will who might prey upon those who are unsheltered and in unleavened safe harborages. The young-in-heart's souls are spirited and weak in love knowledge and try unendingly searching the lands ever to seek loving from others away from their nest. Loving your children always is a test!
    April 13, 2012 at 7:14 pm
    One one wrote, "Religion offers the seductive simplicity of certainty, a temptation too strong for many to resist."
    April 13, 2012 at 7:18 pm
    The "trickery" of atheisms are their deluding others of weakened minds and fair gaminess in moments of despair. It is quite easy to see death as being one's end but such a death is of physical accords while the spiritual works of the Holy Ghost are an endless affair of God's whole-heartedness to give to beleivers another spirit-filled Life upon the inner-workings of the Micro-Chasms' unending places inwardly and not up in or even in the abovenss like many worshipper are led to beleive in their mind's eye. We are much more than a piece of flesh upon bones. We are of God and His whole families do live inside us! I Love in the joys of knowing God's few Truths He has let my mind's eyes see and I lay awake at nights ever dreamful of my next Life inside the kingdom Domain of God, the Heavens' Father and Creator of and of all Celestial manifestations! God's Will is ever to be done knowingly or unknwoingly for these are the choices one has. To believe or not to believe in God, the Father and His eons of Sons and Daughters and theirs and always on down the lines of each and every generation of His Godliness Kinds!
    April 13, 2012 at 8:22 pm
    Freedom? Is not Freedoms nothing more than laws meant to oblige one's tattering livelihoods? Who here can honestly say they are free? Do we not have obligations? Are we not obligated to work in order to gain sustanances for living? The curses of freedoms' laments weigh heavily upon those who gregariously plunder the needs of the many with undue justices! The poor of each and every nation or country find peace in their pittiful existence and their needs are few when compared to the needs of the most rich! "Give to the poor" is what the rich ever do deny and will never truly do! They are the true hypocrits of the Gospels!
    April 13, 2012 at 8:48 pm
    I was raised by parents who weren't one bit strict! In matters of Facts, they never did ever go to church! My very early years are but blurs and I remember bits and pieces, fragmented by time they were. I have no bitterness towards my parents. They were very kind and I do so cherish the moments we had together. May God grant them both their heavens' rewards for being the most gentle of parents toward brother and I!
    April 13, 2012 at 10:21 pm

    April 14, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
    • bhigh

      Dude, nobody is going to read that.

      April 14, 2012 at 9:35 pm |
    • abudum

      Really, no one is that concerned about how you were raised...

      April 15, 2012 at 3:46 am |
    • Ira Radnick

      One look at the rant and I opted to bypass it entirely. Just another rant of no significance.

      April 15, 2012 at 8:00 am |
    • isolate

      Our Mister Sun will never go nova, much less supernova: it lacks the necessary mass. It is a Population 1, G-type main-sequence star about halfway through its life span. It will follow the evolution of similar stars, eventually running out of hydrogen fuel, at which point it will shift to burning helium at a much higher temperature, and will eventually, 5 billion years from now, gradually become a red giant with a diameter greater than the Earth's present orbit.

      So, yes, the Earth will eventually be incinerated along with the other inner planets, but sulfur (brimstone) will not be part of the cycle, as what little sulfur is contained in the sun will be blown off along with its other components as the star shrinks to a white dwarf around a carbon/oxygen core. Since the mass at that point will be insufficient for carbon ignition to occur, it will slowly cool down over tens of billions of years until all that's left is a relatively tiny black dwarf.

      April 15, 2012 at 7:47 pm |
  18. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    April 14, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
    • Lilith

      There's "Just Sayin" at it again.

      April 14, 2012 at 6:02 pm |
    • just sayin

      Hard to breathe with your head up there lillith?

      April 14, 2012 at 6:59 pm |
    • AGuest9

      You can go to hell for lying, just lyin

      April 14, 2012 at 10:22 pm |
    • Bill M.

      Prayer all by itself changes nothing, you should wake up.

      April 15, 2012 at 1:06 am |
    • Dave A.

      Dogmatism and endoctrination are not healthy for children

      April 15, 2012 at 4:24 am |
    • Jeff

      I'm starting to think that this "person" has proven that we have all passed the Turing test.

      April 15, 2012 at 5:09 am |
  19. Rainer Braendlein

    Get the real thing!

    All manmade religions have proved, prove and will ever prove that man is sinful. However, dear Jew, Muslim, Anabaptist, Catholic and the like it is still a time of GRACE. Join the eternal God's Passover Lamb Jesus Christ right now and get released by Christ.

    Premise:

    As I am a German I first want to apologize for all the crimes we (the Germans) have committed against the Jews. I regret deeply.

    The blood of the people, which have committed these crimes flows in my veins. I only can continue to live, because God gave his precious Passover Lamb for me. Even the worst people on earth can get saved by God's Lamb.

    Actual comment:

    The Jewish prophet John the Baptist once said:

    29 The next day John seeth Jesus (a Jewish carpenter) coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. 30 This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me. 31 And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water. 32 And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him. 33 And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost.

    Jesus and John the Baptist fullfilled Ezekiel 36: 24-28:

    24 For I will take you (Israel) from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land. 25 Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. 26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them . 28 And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God.

    Dear Jew, Catholic, Anabaptist, Muslim, Mormon, etc. join God's Passover Lamb Jesus Christ and he will purify you perfectly.

    The gospel: God, the Father, delivered God, the Son (God's Lamb), for our sins and raised him from the dead for our justification.

    Simply believe that and get baptized (or remember your infant baptism, if you are yet baptized). At baptism your dirty, impure old man of sin dies (you die for the sin) and you resurrect to a new life in Christ. Your heart gets circu-mcised and you receive Jahve's Spirit. It is not only that God forgives you, but he also makes you a new creature (rebirth by Water and Spirit), which is able to live a life of divine love. By the love of the Spirit of God you fullfill the law of the Torah. If The Divine Legislator lives in you, how shall you break the law anymore?

    Dear Jews, God gave you the law of the Torah, so that you might realize your sinfulness and that you need a redeemer. When at last will you accept the saviour, which the God of Israel has sent to you?

    Dear Jews, you actually don't have a problem with the lousy Germans or other Antisemits. You actually have a conflict with your own God. You should gradually start to understand your own scriptures. Yet by the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible or Old Testament) it is possible to prove that every man needs a redeemer and that an Anointed One should come and get wiped out from the earth (Daniel).

    Addition:

    Through baptism we die for the sin and receive God's Spirit, which uses our actually sinful body as a tool for doing works of righteousness. Every day a Christian invites Christ or the Spirit, which has yet received at baptism, to rule his sinful body.

    In other words: The biological body of the Christian doesn't get delivered by baptism, it remains sinful (see Romans 7, where St. Paul describes his sinful past made of flesh and blood, his body). The Christian only appears holy, because the divine power, which he received at baptism, forces his sinful body to do works of righteousness and love.

    Gospel of Jesus Christ, Amen.

    April 14, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
    • MennoKnight

      You write way to long. From a Born Again Christian, who is Anabaptist.

      April 14, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
    • abudum

      Why do you condemn Catholicism when the author of Catholicism, apostle Paul, is also the author of what you call Christianity in America and most of the world today? You are quoting letters from Paul as if they are actual scripture from the Creator when at the same time his letters were cherry picked from many other writings that were and were not scripture but, still were made scripture by the CATHOLIC CHURCH to fit their own agenda. You have some serious studying to redo.

      April 15, 2012 at 4:05 am |
    • Jeff

      Look who is on your team!

      "My feelings as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who, God’s truth! was greatest not as a sufferer but as a fighter. In boundless love as a Christian and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the Temple the brood of vipers and adders. How terrific was His fight for the world against the Jewish poison. To-day, after two thousand years, with deepest emotion I recognize more profoundly than ever before the fact that it was for this that He had to shed His blood upon the Cross. As a Christian I have no duty to allow my self to be cheated, but I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice… And if there is anything which could demonstrate that we are acting rightly it is the distress that daily grows . For as a Christian I have also a duty to my own people." –Adolf Hitler, in a speech on 12 April 1922

      April 15, 2012 at 5:12 am |
  20. Rainer Braendlein

    @AtheistSteve

    "Relative or not...it makes no difference. My father could have killed people for a hobby but that doesn't make me guilty for his crimes or likely to follow in his footsteps. We are all accountable to others for our own actions alone." you said.

    Intentionally or not you quoted the Bible. Of course, you are right, we are accountable for our own actions alone.

    However, my remarks were not about the concrete sins, but about the inclination to sin.

    It seems that history gets repeated in Germany. First we murdered the Jews and now we become nervous on the Muslims. In that connection it means nothing that there is a great difference between Islam and Judaism.

    The German media, government, economy and others try to establish a moderated Islam, which has not much to do with the literal doctrine of the Koran. The big cities of Germany get overcrowded with Muslims. Reason: Merkel and other fools need them as cheap labourers for their car factories. Hence, they try to find a way to integrate them in German society, which is a moderated Islam. However, the ordinary people cannot endure all the multi-tudes of Muslim Arabs, Muslim Turks and the like (Munich is a Bavarian Islamabad).

    Gradually the Germans become angry on the Muslim foreigners and it is only a matter ot time, when the popular anger explodes inflamed by a second Hitler.

    The problem of the ordinary Germans is that they have nearly no Christian education. The mainline churches of Germany tell them absolute nonsense.

    I myself don't like the Islamic doctrine, I even condemn it, but I don't hate the Muslim human beings. On the contrary I love every Muslim, because he has got the full human dignity. Christ died also for the Muslims.

    The problem is that Judaism and Islam are indeed false religions, but this gives us no right to hate these people. We are obliged to love our fellow human beings, independent from their (false) belief.

    Yet a lousy dictator could use the fact of the falseness of Islam to stir up hatred.

    But the current democratic German politicans are yet guilty, because they misjudge the situation. They fill the German big cities with foreigners, which they abuse as human robots in their car factories and at building sites, ignoring the wrath of the ordinary Germans, which is about to increase again.

    No you have seen, how the German sin works.

    April 14, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
    • abudum

      You said "Of course, you are right, we are accountable for our own actions alone." You then directly and plainly contradict yourself with "Christ died also for the Muslims." How can everyone be accountable for their own actions only but, one lone individual died for sins he did not commit? You're batty.

      Germany took advantage of 6 million Jewish people from all over the region and murdered them. There are almost 6 million Muslims in Germany alone. Germany won't be pulling a Hitler on Muslims who unlike the Jewish people of the past have been known to blow up quite a few people they didn't like. There is a standing army of Muslims from ll over ready fight at all times. s matter of fact many of them are just looking for a fight.

      April 15, 2012 at 3:56 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.