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My Faith: Returning to church, despite my doubts
Andrea Palpant Dilley as a child with her missionary family Kenya.
May 5th, 2012
10:00 PM ET

My Faith: Returning to church, despite my doubts

Editor's note: Andrea Palpant Dilley is the author of “Faith and Other Flat Tires.”

By Andrea Palpant Dilley, Special to CNN

During my junior year in college, I took a butter knife from my mother’s kitchen  and scraped the Christian fish decal off the back bumper of the Plymouth hatchback I’d inherited from my older brother. Stripping off that sticker foreshadowed the day, a few years later, that I would walk out of church.

The reasons for my discontent were complicated. By most standards, I had a healthy childhood.  I grew up the daughter of Quaker missionaries in a rural Kenyan community that laid the foundation for my faith. I spent the rest of my childhood in the Pacific Northwest, raised in a stable Presbyterian church that gave me hymns and mission trips and potluck dinners.

I was surrounded by smart, conscientious Christians, the kind of people who read 19th century Russian novels and took meatloaf to firefighters when much of eastern Washington state went up in flames in the fall of 1991.

When I started into my skeptic phase, my Christian community gave me space to struggle. They listened to my doubts about faith. They took my questions seriously.

And yet when I turned 23 I left the church.

Listening to a sermon at my older brother’s church one Sunday, I stood up, leaned over to my father and said, “This is bulls**t.” I made my way to the end of the pew and marched out of the sanctuary. The sermon didn’t sit right with me. The pastor was preaching about Psalm 91, saying in so many words that a person just needed to pray and have faith in order to be protected from suffering.

More than just that sermon, I was sick of church. I was sick, too, of all the spiritual questions plaguing me: Why does the church seem so culturally insulated and dysfunctional? Why does God seem distant and uninvolved? And most of all, why does God allow suffering?

These questions didn’t come out of nowhere. I’d spent time in high school volunteering in refugee camps in Kenya and in college working with families on welfare in central Washington. I saw hungry babies. I walked into homes that were piled with garbage and dirty laundry.

In an orphanage in the slums of Nairobi, I held AIDS babies and worked with disabled kids who’d been left at the front gates of the orphanage by parents who couldn’t afford to feed them. I saw things that I couldn’t make sense of as a Christian.

Walking out of church was a way of saying “To hell with it; I’m done.”

For two years, I skipped church. My Bible gathered dust on the shelf. The local bars became my temples. I indulged in the cliché rebellions of a Christian girl, smoking cigarettes and drinking hard alcohol. I got involved with men twice my age without thinking twice about it.  I wanted a break from being “good.”

And then, strangely, I woke up one morning at age 25, climbed into my car, and drove downtown to attend a 10 a.m. church service. I won’t relate here the whole story of how I came back to the church. But if I had to follow the standard testimonial narrative for Christians, the script for my life story would go something like this:

Step 1: Grow up in a Christian church.

Step 2: Go off to college away from said church.

Step 3: Be exposed to the enticements of secular life.

Step 4: Try drugs and cigarettes and Pearl Jam.

Step 5: Leave the church because of aforementioned enticements.

Step 6: Experience epiphany; realize vapidness of secular enticements.

Step 7: Return to church with penitent heart.

Step 8: Reestablish faith, discover good living.

In reality, I left the church more because of my own internal discontent than the lure of so-called secular life. When I came back, I still carried that same discontent. I was confused, and still bothered by questions and doubts. I stayed in the back row and didn’t sing or pray. I wasn’t really sure I wanted to be there.

And yet I sat there, Sunday after Sunday, listening to the pastor and the organ pipes and trying to figure out what was going on in my dark, conflicted heart.

Although I never experienced that dramatic reconversion moment, I did come to peace with two slow-growing realizations.

First: My doubt belonged in church.

People who know my story ask what I would have changed about my spiritual journey. Nothing. I had to leave the church to find the church. And when I came back, the return wasn’t clean or conclusive. Since then, I’ve come to believe that my doubts belong inside the space of the sanctuary. My questions belong on the altar as my only offering to God.

With all its faults, I still associate the church with the pursuit of truth and justice, with community and shared humanity. It’s a place to ask the unanswerable questions and a place to be on sojourn. No other institution has given me what the church has: a space to search for God.

Second: My doubt is actually part of my faith.

In Mark 9:24, a man says to Jesus, “I believe, help my unbelief.” The Catholic writer Flannery O’Connor called this the foundation prayer of faith. I pray that prayer often and believe that God honors my honesty.

I also believe God honors my longing. The writer and theologian Frederick Buechner said “Faith is homesickness.” C.S. Lewis called it “Sehnsucht,” a longing for a far-off country. I feel that sense of unshakable yearning. It comes from the deepest part of my heart, a spiritual desire that’s strangely, mysteriously connected to my doubt.

Sitting in church every Sunday, my doubt is my desire – to touch the untouchable, to possess the presence of God.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Andrea Palpant Dilley.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Church • Opinion

soundoff (3,753 Responses)
  1. LOL atheism

    I have found that if you put an atheist in a bunker
    and start getting shot by a hostile force that they
    all start to pray and ask God to get them out.
    What is up with that?

    May 6, 2012 at 7:45 pm |
    • DarthWoo

      Somehow I doubt you've ever been anywhere near a bunker, except perhaps as part of a grade school field trip.

      May 6, 2012 at 7:47 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      So, you have first-hand experience with something of this nature?

      May 6, 2012 at 7:47 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Darth, haha.

      May 6, 2012 at 7:49 pm |
    • Jeb

      I have found that religious fanatics lie quite often.

      May 6, 2012 at 7:51 pm |
    • Mirosal

      The only bunker that LOL has ever heard of is named "Archie".

      May 6, 2012 at 8:04 pm |
    • One one

      There are no believers in hospital emergency rooms.

      May 6, 2012 at 8:24 pm |
  2. tony

    Reasons not to be a a Christian #34.

    . . . . Humans, who died before Christianity started, will outnumber us in Heaven by several hundred to one.

    May 6, 2012 at 7:44 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      It's simple observations such as this that make perfect sense to a rational thinking person but a christian will have some crazy irrational response and excuse. Just watch...

      May 6, 2012 at 7:46 pm |
    • Hitchens

      Salvation has always been by grace through faith. Those before Christs advent had their faith credited to them as righteousness. We will not precede them into God's kingdom. Read the book of Hebrews most notably the eleventh chapter.

      May 6, 2012 at 7:49 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      "Those before Christs advent had their faith credited to them as righteousness"

      What's the interest rate?

      May 6, 2012 at 7:51 pm |
    • God's Oldest Dreamer

      tony,,,,,,,,,,,, ,

      And just where do you think this Heaven is located? Where also do you think/feel is the Kingdom of God located? (Hint,,, They are 2 different places but are closer than one can tightffully imagine them to be!)

      May 6, 2012 at 7:55 pm |
    • God's Oldest Dreamer

      Hitchens,,,,,,,,,,,, ,

      What say ye regarding these few verses,,,,,,

      1. Eph 2:15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, [even] the law of commandments [contained] in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, [so] making peace;

      2. Mathew 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

      3. Luke 17:21 Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is "inside" you.

      4. 1Cr 3:9 For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, [ye are] God's building.

      May 6, 2012 at 8:02 pm |
    • PerceivedReality

      Only 2% of humans to ever live, lived before Jesus.

      May 6, 2012 at 8:31 pm |
  3. wdgmartin1

    Glad all of you "religion haters" have recognized that atheists and secularists/humanists are free from the problems, mistakes, weaknesses and faults that obviously plague all of the "religious" people. Really? Read history.

    You are all just like those "religionsists" you condemn – thinking that everyone who is not like you is damned in every way – both in this life and the next. Illogical Hypocrites. . .

    May 6, 2012 at 7:41 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      'Scuse me? I don't think anyone is damned at all. Damned to what? There's no such thing as hell.

      Really, Priscilla, get a grip.

      May 6, 2012 at 7:43 pm |
  4. Truth is great

    I don't understand why us religious people even bother responding to idiot nonbelievers.... who cares if they end up burning in hell.... they deserve it anyway. We don't need idiot people like them in paradise. They are satans children and should be avoided everywhere!

    May 6, 2012 at 7:31 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Have fun painting your cave.

      May 6, 2012 at 7:32 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      Why do you consider us idiots?

      May 6, 2012 at 7:33 pm |
    • tony

      Won't paradise be full of all those innocent aborted fetuses you complain about. Having an interestzing conversation with them for eternity should be fun.

      May 6, 2012 at 7:36 pm |
    • jerry148

      I wouldn't go so far as to call them idiots. Misguided, one-dimensional, etc, maybe, but doesn't the Bible say that we should love our neighbor? I'm going to assume that also means our atheist/agnostic neighbors.

      May 6, 2012 at 7:37 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      This board provides a pretty good preview of that scenario, tony...

      May 6, 2012 at 7:37 pm |
    • apostate

      what a knuckle dragger

      May 6, 2012 at 7:38 pm |
    • Lance

      Shut up. We are deserve hell, but we get to go heaven because of God's gift to us: Jesus

      May 6, 2012 at 7:46 pm |
    • Shadowcandy

      I think you're a good person Truth judging by the post you your post. Good intentions indeed, but one thing I've learned in my life is that you can't change people by preaching to them. Just live your life by the example you preach.

      May 6, 2012 at 8:04 pm |
    • One one

      @ zack. I believe that gods came from man's imagination. However, I recognize a lot of people believe in gods and all the lore associated with them.

      I assume it makes them feel good to think they have a personal relationship with THE all powerful creator of the universe who loves them and will protect them.

      Their beliefs and values are aligned with god, therefore they must be 100% right.

      When they die, they get to go to heaven for eternal bliss.

      Finally, they have the satisfaction of knowing all those who doubted them will suffer god's eternal wrath.

      In the end, religious belief is really all about ME, ME, and, ME.

      May 6, 2012 at 8:20 pm |
    • PerceivedReality

      TruthIsGreat,
      That is no way to respond to Atheists! I like reading what they have to say, there can never be too much information. They bring arguments that force you to think, just don't get caught in the material box like they do. I give thanks to all the Atheists here, I enjoy your thoughts and I love each and everyone of you as brothers and sisters. One thing we can agree on is that we are on this ride together, for better or for worse!

      May 6, 2012 at 8:37 pm |
  5. .

    Few 100% true Reasons why Atheism is TERRIBLE and unhealthy for our children and living things:

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

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

    PS! the USA is a Christian nation and will always be.
    http://rightremedy.org/tracts/7 ...

    May 6, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      koo koo

      May 6, 2012 at 7:24 pm |
    • LeninSent

      A lie told 100 times becomes the truth.

      May 6, 2012 at 7:25 pm |
    • Mirosal

      According to President Obama, the U.S. is NOT a Christian nation.
      Atheism is NOT a religion. Nor is it a disease by any means. YOUR post is past stupid, it's asinine. How can Atheists be "satanic" when we don't believe in "satan"? The cross is a very common peice of jewelry in a goth wardrobe. How many Atheists do you see wearing a cross? Your religious society causes the problems when you encroach upon other people who don't want to hear your message, but you never give up. I am an Atheist, my mental helath is fine and dandy. Please provide YOUR statistics for your accusation. There is no heaven or paradise. It is akin to the Greek word "utopia", whch means "no place". Apparently you confuse political power and paranoia with Atheism. Take a poli-sci class or two and you'll see the difference. We only get angry when you won't leave us alone. Please provide your sources that say Atheists commit the most crime. 90% of felons in the prison system claim they are Christians, now why is that, hmmm? We don't convert anybody. We do not make them lose faith, Atheists reach their conclusions by doing the research and making up their minds, which is something that religions NEVER want you to do. I do exist, this is not a random computer just spitting out words. I had a very stable childhood. Atheists question things, a sure sign of intellect. While I do not have a college degree, I do have 21 years in the US military, and if you don't think THAT is an education, grow a pair of balls and put on a uniform, then talk to me. I think you need to look at the royal French family and see just WHY they were beheaded. There have been much worse things carried out that the French Revolution. It is true that we cannot explain the origin of the universe, but we are looking and researching. Just because we don't have an answer YET does not mean there has to be a "god", your logic is severly flawed there. Please correlate evolution and morality. You are comparing apples to automobiles. The bible is not always right, the events in Gen 1 are out of order. It's flawed from the start. Just because a book says it's true does not make it so. The Scandinavian countries are at the top of the list when it comes to happeist contries on Earth, so try again there. We won't go to "hell" because there is no such place. And while you're "happy to see us burn" while dancing for joy on streets made of gold, whatever happened to "love thy neighbor"? Sounds pretty hypocritical to most. Yep, typical X-tian.

      May 6, 2012 at 7:29 pm |
    • Truth is great

      Mirosal.... have you even thought about taking English 101 classes?

      May 6, 2012 at 7:34 pm |
    • Ernesto

      Your post does not belong in a forum of intelligent people. Your should erase it and go get a mental check.

      May 6, 2012 at 7:35 pm |
    • Ernesto

      Very good, Mirosal. At least atheists have the honesty to recognize that they don't have answers, the same as we agnostics. The theists don't have answers either, all they did was to fall for some fantastic dogmas that are nothing but nonsense. Any child (not raised in the religion) can see that.... hahaha

      May 6, 2012 at 7:39 pm |
    • tony

      It is better to be just thought a fool, than to post and prove it. Especially since you seem to be unable to read and answer any of the sensible questions you receive each of the hundreds of time you repeat yourself.

      May 6, 2012 at 7:39 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Truth is Great, why don't you explain in detail what you find wrong in Mirosal's post? Be specific about grammar and syntax, honey. I'd love to see what you have to say, considering you're a complete moron.

      May 6, 2012 at 7:41 pm |
    • Mirosal

      I'm still waiting for my syntax grammatical critique. eye gots me a kath-lick edji-ma-ka-shut.cuz dem nones and preests dun lernd mee reel gud in skool.

      May 6, 2012 at 8:01 pm |
    • Yikes

      Spoken like a truly brainwashed religious fanatic. I consider myself an agnostic who was brought in a religious family until I was a teenager. It's not that I don't believe in god. I require proof and have yet to see any. What I am against is organized religion...... any religion. All they do is brainwash their parishioners to their way of thinking. I also believe it is everyone's right to believe in what they want. That is the great thing about the USA.

      May 6, 2012 at 8:35 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You'll wait a LOOOONNNNG time, MIrosal. Truth is NOT Great. At anything.

      May 6, 2012 at 9:35 pm |
  6. Shadowcandy

    The controversy of a ,simple, and honest belief article is just sad. They way I see it, religion wont be man's downfall. Man will be man's downfall.

    May 6, 2012 at 7:20 pm |
    • jerry148

      We've known that for a while.

      May 6, 2012 at 7:24 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      Man in the absence of religion has a better chance.

      May 6, 2012 at 7:24 pm |
    • Ernesto

      Your fear of controversy is YOUR downfall. The only good thing about your pesimism is that it may contribute toayour faster fall down and leave more room for optimists.

      May 6, 2012 at 7:31 pm |
    • tony

      Religion is about sharing dishonesty. You teach it to your unwitting children, before they are mature enough to rationalize.

      May 6, 2012 at 7:40 pm |
    • Shadowcandy

      Fear? Pessimism? I'm calling it how I see it on the comment section. There's a place and time for everything, even optimism, but that time and place isn't here and now. No matter how optimistic you are, the world will never be an Ideal place.

      May 6, 2012 at 8:07 pm |
  7. Lilith

    Perhaps if she didn't have a "healthy" childhood being raised by Quaker missionaries she would've been equipped to handle life in the real world. Which brings up the question, how strong was her upbringing that she couldn't resist things that are easy for the vast majority of us to resist.

    May 6, 2012 at 7:19 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      Got to love that guilt-ridden indoctrination!

      May 6, 2012 at 7:26 pm |
  8. Chris

    Blame Pearl Jam? Poor form.

    May 6, 2012 at 7:19 pm |
    • Lee

      I must have read a different story than you. In the one I read she mentions Pearl Jam but didn't blame them for anything.

      May 6, 2012 at 7:27 pm |
  9. jerry148

    I see how it is, CNN. I write a 30 minute rant in defense of Catholicism, so you ban me from being able to post.

    What happened to freedom of speech?

    May 6, 2012 at 7:18 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      I know your frustration, it's the filter they use, you have to learn how to write your post's so they won't be blocked. It can be difficult but you will learn if you hang out.

      May 6, 2012 at 7:19 pm |
    • no god

      Leave you disgusting child molester. Go be a deprived pervert somewhere else.

      May 6, 2012 at 7:21 pm |
    • Helpful Hints

      jerry,

      See the list of tricky words on page #20.

      Try to page back to find your post and see if any of those are in there.

      May 6, 2012 at 7:22 pm |
  10. I_doubt

    Apparently atheists do not know or understand the feeling of doubt.

    May 6, 2012 at 7:14 pm |
    • I_doubt

      ;)

      May 6, 2012 at 7:14 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      I doubt it.

      May 6, 2012 at 7:16 pm |
    • no god

      No doubt there is no god. :P

      May 6, 2012 at 7:16 pm |
    • Lilith

      There's plenty to doubt ... like the reasoning ability of religious believers.

      May 6, 2012 at 7:18 pm |
    • Ernesto

      Atheists may not know about doubt. But AGNOSTICS know it perfectly well, and are ready to tag this story as absolute nonsense by a person infected with sanctimoniousness.

      May 6, 2012 at 7:26 pm |
  11. poodz

    Who is this Voice of reason person who is trolling the CNN religion blog with "My beliefs are better than yours" crap?

    May 6, 2012 at 7:10 pm |
  12. Lilith

    What a weak sad person she is to not be able to resist the inticements of drugs, cigarettes and "gasp" Pearl Jam. I'm glad she went back to the church, we need fewer frail weak people out here unable to control themselves.

    May 6, 2012 at 7:07 pm |
    • Ernesto

      Right, Lilith. She must have been brain-washed, damaged from early childhood to have such a naive way.

      May 6, 2012 at 7:19 pm |
  13. Nestor Makhno

    What an excellent example of how not to question your faith!

    Here is her formula:

    1. Have legitimate doubts. So far, so good. This is appropriate for either a religious or non-religious outcome.

    2. Leave the world of religion. Again, fine so far. This is still appropriate for either a religious or non-religious outcome.

    3. Get into drinking, drugs and promiscuity. What?!?! The train went straight off the tracks. She was supposed to explore other alternatives and ideas. There is no evidence that she did. She just ignored the question and made poor choices.

    4. Return to church, continue to be confused, decide that she and her doubt belonged in the place that caused the doubt. The train wreck is piling up pretty badly now. After failing to explore other possibilities, she returned to the source of the problem, thinking that being around the problem would solve the problem. That is like going back to an abusive spouse, thinking that will solve the problem too.

    5. Decide that doubt is actually part of her faith, that your longing for it to be true justifies staying there hoping it is true. Will this wreck ever stop? This is a playing-the-victim strategy: very unhealthy.

    6. Write and sell a book. This is the ambulance-chasing part of the equation, where she cashes in on the spiritual journey she did not take. She uses a shop-worn old cliche as her structure, because it is what people want to hear, not because it is true (it kind of isn't). Convince other confused people to continue to embrace the confusion. Give the self-righteous the ability to feel even more self-righteous. Make money from all of them.

    7. Remain confused.

    May 6, 2012 at 7:03 pm |
    • Ernesto

      A perfect summary, Nestor. And her brain must have one more major flaw: think the SHE can be for others an example of anything but a pitiful characterless ignorant lost lunatic that will go through life as a worthless slave of the brain-washing she received as a child. Pitty her children if she ever has some...

      May 6, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
    • tony

      Good work!!!

      May 6, 2012 at 7:52 pm |
  14. Kenjitheman

    My god is the right one. Doesn't matter what you say or do, you canNOT convince me otherwise. I will be safe at the second coming of christ and will watch all you haters BURN!!!!!!!! LMAO. I will be one of the greatest ever.

    May 6, 2012 at 6:59 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      One of the greatest what?

      May 6, 2012 at 7:02 pm |
    • no god

      He will be one of the greatest song blazers of all time

      May 6, 2012 at 7:05 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Oh.

      What is a song blazer? How will I recognize a "great" one as opposed to a "mediocre" one?

      May 6, 2012 at 7:06 pm |
    • no god

      I ment dong blazer.

      May 6, 2012 at 7:10 pm |
  15. AKW

    Secular humanism (atheism) is not neutral. It is a view of reality. It is not a referee. It is a player in the world of ideas and must compete. If you give up one worldview, you accept another whether or not you are conscious of it.

    May 6, 2012 at 6:59 pm |
  16. Andrew

    Christians are ignorant of the fact that the ressurection story, which is the core of their faith, is based on the Winter Solstice. It is simply the ancient story of our Sun(Son), the 'great life giver' which between Dec 22nd and Dec 25th every year stops moving South on the horizon for 3 days then on Dec 25th begins to move North again. The new born Sun then Passes over (Passover) from death to life as it moves into Spring, bringing life back to the earth. This is why every Easter (EASTER(n)) Christians often celebrate with a SUN-RISE service. Easster is the vernal equinox. It is when the sun reches a point where days and nights are now equal in length – it represents the Sun now passing over from death (mostly nighttime hours every day) to Life, (mostly daytime hours).The Christian day of worship is on SUN-day. The 12 diciples represent the 12 ages and 12 months of the Zodiac. Each Age of the Zodiac lasts approx 2,160 years. We are currently in the age of Pisces which is represented by the symbol of the 2 fish. This is why the bible has so many references to fish and fisherman and fishers of men. Every Dec 25th the '3 kings' in the constellation of Orion's belt line up or "follow" the brightest star in the eastern sky, Sirius. Sirius is located in the constellation of Virgo, meaning Virgin. The 3 kings in Orion and Sirius all line up or follow the brightest star in the east to the new born Sun precisely on Dec 25th morning. There have been 16 Sun Gods before Jesus going back to the beginning of recorded history. They all have the same attributes and share the same story. This is the big picture.

    I too used to 'be a christian' until I learned the Truth. It is true, the truth surely does set one free – free of ignorance, and the chains of beleif systems.

    I find it sad that here we are living in an information age, yet people bumbling like sheep every Sunday still are led into churchs to listen to lies and give away their hard earned money to continue to propagate lies to people worldwide.

    Maybe one can start by asking themselves why it is that before the Jesus character came along there were 16 other Sun Gods with the same attributes.
    All were born of a virgin on dec 25th and had 12 diciples and died for 3 days and were resurrected. before the Jesus story came along. Ever heard of Isis, or Amen-Ra, or El? Take a good look at the word Israel (Isis – Amen-Ra-El) Many people still , even in this information age are not even aware of the story behind the story.

    What is really sad is that dim witted, ignorant folks, even while living in the midst of the information age still fall for the lies of the Church. I mean seriously, pick up a book sometimes besides a 2000 year old story and read, learn, investigate, question what you have been told. It is a free society you know. We do have the option to do such things.

    16 Sun Gods later, and here we are, the more things change, the more things stay the same.

    "The christian religion is a parody on the worship of the Sun, in which they put a man whom they call Christ, in the place of the Sun, and pay him the same adoration which was originally paid to the Sun." – Thomas Paine

    May 6, 2012 at 6:55 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      Andrew

      The truth is a very hard row to hoe. Keep it up buddy!

      May 6, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
    • jerry148

      Oddly enough, Paine also "believed in one God". I guess it was just deism....

      May 6, 2012 at 7:14 pm |
    • no god

      jerry148 is registered s ex offender

      May 6, 2012 at 7:18 pm |
    • jerry148

      Funny, no god. Funny...

      May 6, 2012 at 7:20 pm |
    • Ken

      While i find your strange "truth" interesting, it is, in fact, not the truth. it is a misguided attempt to attack Christianity and, in a way, all religion. I agree religion can be a negative thing. however, it has also produced people who give to others with no thought of return. a people who believe they are supposed to help others and love others. i happen to be an extremely successful professional, as is my wife. we are both Catholics. we love going to Mass on Sunday as do our children who are doing exceptionally well in school and in their personal relationships. faith helps us. it does not hinder us. you can believe or choose not to believe. this is a free country. if you choose not to believe, that is fine, but why bother to crticize those who do? while some "religious" people do things that are borderline insane, most of us are good loving people who have a desire to feel something greater than us exist and to live our lives to love and help others. in today's society, that cannot be a bad thing.

      May 6, 2012 at 7:27 pm |
    • God's Oldest Dreamer

      Andrew,,,,,,,,,,,, ,

      Here is a diddy for you to consider,,,,,,,,,

      Ephesianns 2:15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, [even] the law of commandments [contained] in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, [so] making peace;

      abolish the commandments,,,, these 10?

      May 6, 2012 at 7:31 pm |
    • jerry148

      Thanks for that, Ken. Do you notice that people tend to lump us Catholics in with the "Fundies"?

      May 6, 2012 at 7:33 pm |
    • Provingyouwrong

      I love how you post this long, drawn out bunch of dribble as fact, when it's not.

      Amun-Ra, seriously? He was not born of a virgin. HE suposedly created himself, out of nothing. He did not create the universe in the mythology. Basically, all the crap you just posted to relate Amun-Ra to Jesus is laughable. Keep that trollin'.

      May 6, 2012 at 7:51 pm |
  17. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    May 6, 2012 at 6:54 pm |
    • jerry148

      Don't provoke the haters, dude. Why do you do that to yourself? If you know it's true, then just keep believing it!

      May 6, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
  18. Shadowcandy

    This was a nice testimony. I hope she finds peace that she's searching for.

    May 6, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      I can see all the angels around her bedside, working it through with her.

      May 6, 2012 at 6:55 pm |
    • Shadowcandy

      Do you now? What do they look like?

      May 6, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      Well, what do you think angels look like?

      May 6, 2012 at 6:57 pm |
    • Shadowcandy

      I don't know VOR. I imagine they've have wings like in Greek mythology, but you see them, don't you? What do they really look like? O' wise one.

      May 6, 2012 at 7:01 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Why would they need wings? Doesn't an angel have the power to move about without apparent means of locomotion?

      May 6, 2012 at 7:04 pm |
    • Shadowcandy

      Good point Tom Tom, but I wouldn't know.

      May 6, 2012 at 7:06 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      But you "know" there's a god, Shadow? Or am I mistaken?

      May 6, 2012 at 7:07 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      Well, they are all female in their late teens, milky complexion's with red lipstick. A lot of silky fabrics, white like satin. Their wings look as though they are spun with gold.

      May 6, 2012 at 7:07 pm |
    • Shadowcandy

      @ Tom tom.. Do I "know" there is a God? No. Do I "believe" in the possible existence of one? Yes, but as far as "knowing", I claim no knowledge of such thing.
      @VoR That's lovely, lol

      May 6, 2012 at 7:14 pm |
    • Electric Larry

      If there are angels there, they are probably going to slaughter her, like they did at Sodom and Gomorrah.

      Are there any places in the Bible where angels show up to help people understand their confusions?

      May 6, 2012 at 7:14 pm |
  19. Ernesto

    She is such a bad personal example! She left the church enticed by drugs and cigarettes. Then later she realized that these were bad and then returned to the church. NOWHERE is cited her reason or intelligence as the reason to abandon religion. She probably has neither of these.

    Those who embrace religion out of fear of the evils of this world, and who try to be righteous out of their fear of punishment in a hell are part of the problem instead of the solution. By explaining all evil with "devil" and "sin", remedies for evil are discarded in favor of mythologies that only benefit the industry of religion.

    May 6, 2012 at 6:49 pm |
    • Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

      Prayer changes things .

      May 6, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
    • Hitchens

      A relationship with God is based on love, not fear. God has not given us a spirit of fear.

      May 6, 2012 at 6:55 pm |
    • Ernesto

      Children CANNOT BE ATHEISTS or anything else because they don't have the reason and experience to make an intelligent assessment of the world. To teach chidren religion is to WASH THEIR BRAINS.

      May 6, 2012 at 6:57 pm |
    • God's Oldest Dreamer

      For many so many years I imbibed alcohol! I tried many times to quit drinking butwas always drawn back! My last stand was September 4th 2,009 and on the 5th off September 2,009 I finally gave it up and have not since drank! Lokking back at the moment I finally quit drinking can only be attrbuted to this eeling or want of drinking alcohol to finally be abated! I no longer eel the need to drink any liquor whatsoever! I sill do go to bars due my desire to play pool on the pool league! Do I feel any urges to drink as my pool team members do? No! I even buy them drinks! Who am I to charge another to stop drinking? I am not like that! This September 5th will be 3 years of sobriety and I did it with my urge to drink being erased!

      May 6, 2012 at 7:02 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      That explains a lot. Your brain is pickled.

      May 6, 2012 at 7:09 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      @God's Oldest Dreamer

      Good for you old man! This next beer is for your success!

      May 6, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
    • Ernesto

      Very good "God Oldest Dreamer". Now you could replace alcohol with religion. It creates addiction, hallucination, without any risks for your liver.

      May 6, 2012 at 7:13 pm |
    • God's Oldest Dreamer

      Ernesto,,,,,,,,,,,, ,

      Yes, I am but a lowly christian! I will not attend church or church functions because I am bitter towards many such churches and their rooted-in secularisms travesties the bewial and do bemoan their tawdry undulations to give so little and keep their most within their framing natured sakes! Most are so much more richer financially speaking then I ever was or will be!

      May 6, 2012 at 7:39 pm |
    • God's Oldest Dreamer

      Voice of Reason,,,,,,,,,,,, ,

      Better be the "good-stuff" and not no generic equivelancy! :-) :-) :-)

      May 6, 2012 at 7:44 pm |
  20. Zack Ramos

    If you atheists don't believe in god. Why are you commenting on this article about religion? To me you actually believe but dont want to because you fear what god has in-stored for you.

    May 6, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
    • no god

      Fear no god(s). For they do not exist.

      May 6, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
    • justme

      i also wonder why they are here so if they are searching for truth like any others here please go to www. watchtower.org and find out what the bible really teaches, and free.

      May 6, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      No fear here either.

      May 6, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      @justme

      Let me give you some "free" advice. Stop the insanity.

      May 6, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
    • Ernesto

      I tell you why: it's a reaction to seeing people being duped. An AGNOSTIC like me thinks that nobody has true knowledge of religious issues because this is beyond us, and our ignorance opens the door for charlatans to step in and make up stories and fantastic dogmas about gods.

      May 6, 2012 at 6:54 pm |
    • Shadowcandy

      No God? Where did you obtain such vast knowledge to "know" such a thing? Enlighten me, as it seems you have some knowledge that I don't.

      May 6, 2012 at 6:55 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      No, I'm just here to make fun of people who think the term is "in-stored".

      May 6, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
    • rachel

      i am eating my dinner alone right now and i find the entertainment value great. cheaper than a movie.

      May 6, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      @rachel

      What 'cha eatin'?

      May 6, 2012 at 6:59 pm |
    • EvolvedDNA

      Zack.. what has he in store for us..oh and you will be off to heaven i expect.. I am trying to find out if you are naked in heaven or if you have clothes..I am working out to look good, you know, just in case..If you do have clothes where do they come from are they made in heaven or imported ? do the clothes wear our or get dirty at all and if you need more are there stores? Like who would want to work when you are like a spirit or something...just curious.

      May 6, 2012 at 7:36 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.