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Battlefield chaplain’s war unfolded on many fronts
Army chaplain Darren Turner, left, wound up quitting the Army for a spell after returning home from Iraq.
May 26th, 2012
10:00 PM ET

Battlefield chaplain’s war unfolded on many fronts

Editor’s note: CNN.com writer Moni Basu is author of “Chaplain Turner's War,” published by Agate Digital.

By Moni Basu, CNN

Atlanta, Georgia (CNN) - Darren Turner insisted on going to war, even though the Army usually reserves desk jobs at home for new chaplains like him.

Turner was young and green, enthusiastic about taking God to the battlefield. The Army captain had learned that people in pain are often wide-open to inviting God into their lives.

Jesus always ran to crises. Turner was going to do the same.

He’d enrolled in seminary in 2004 at Regent University in Virginia, founded by evangelist Pat Robertson. And early in his spiritual journey, he was inspired by Christian writer John Eldredge, who suggests that American men have abandoned the stuff of heroic dreams, aided by a Christianity that tells them to be "nice guys."

God, says Eldredge, designed men to be daring, even dangerous.

Turner arrived in Iraq in May 2007 with the 1st Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment amid a raging insurgency. His soldiers faced an invisible but lethal enemy in booby-trapped houses and roads laced with massive bombs.

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

Chaplain Turner’s war would unfold on many fronts. He would be a soldier on the battlefield. A counselor behind closed doors. He was a friend, even a father, to his men.

And when his 15-month tour was over, Turner returned home to face all the problems he had counseled his soldiers about: anger, depression, stress and – most important for him – preserving relationships with loved ones.

Nearly 4,500 American troops died in the Iraq war. More than 30,000 more were physically wounded. Countless others live with scars that can't be seen, like post-traumatic stress syndrome and traumatic brain injury. Many have struggled with regaining their lives at home.

Darren Turner counsels a soldier inside a sleeping container at Patrol Base Hawkes, southeast of Baghdad.

Turner had recognized the needs his soldiers would have after witnessing the horrors of combat, after losing friends.

In Iraq, he had comforted and advised soldiers at Forward Operating Base Falcon, in southeastern Baghdad, and in the combat outposts around the villages of Arab Jabour.

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At Falcon, the Army provided a morale phone that allowed soldiers to make free 15-minute calls home. But Turner knew it wasn't enough. He carried a cell phone in the left shoulder pocket of his uniform and whipped it out whenever a soldier signaled domestic distress at home.

"Call her," he would say. "Call her now and tell her you love her."

When they returned to Georgia in the summer of 2008, Turner told his soldiers that their families would be their cushion. He knew his men were suffering; that the ghosts of Iraq would haunt them, maybe for the rest of their lives.

What he did not know then was that he would not himself be immune to the same threats. He neglected to heed his own advice and his life floundered.

I’d spent many weeks with Turner in Iraq for a story in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, but I didn't know about his troubles until I drove up to meet him and his wife, Heather, earlier this year at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

An exhausted Darren Turner catches a nap at his desk inside his tent at Forward Operating Base Falcon near Baghdad.

On that rainy February day, Turner told me that he’d come back from Iraq and felt like the bomb defuser in the movie "The Hurt Locker," who goes into a grocery store and is overwhelmed by the mesmerizing variety of cereals.

Remembering the fallen: Learn about casualties

It was a lot to process after having few choices in Iraq. Reverse culture shock.

"I wanted everything in there but I wasn't sure what to buy," Turner said.

He also detected a lack of public concern for the men and women fighting overseas. Off post, people went about their lives without a real understanding of the sacrifices made by American service members.

At first the anger boiled inside. But then it began to surface. He took it out on Heather. It was a release so that he could keep his work as normal as possible.

Little things like arranging the dishwasher became big fights with Heather. Big things like Heather’s life plans became small issues that Turner mocked or discounted because they did not fit his own plans.

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"I came home angry," Turner told me. "Even my attitude, which I thought I was in control of, was walling me in. I didn't realize it until my wife told me, 'You're no longer welcome in our house.'"

During the deployment in Iraq, Turner had pined for Heather and his three young children, Elie, Sam and Meribeth. Now, he was losing them.

"The thing I was angry at was the very thing I was longing for during my deployment - my family," he said.

Heather said her husband was disengaged, impatient. She wanted them to seek counseling but Turner refused, insisting that she was the one who had issues.

Just a few months after his return from Iraq, Darren and Heather Turner separated.

“I was very selfish and tried to control my surroundings, which crushed those closest to me,” Turner said.

Turner eventually realized how much he had hurt his wife, he said. How he had stepped away from God's calling by failing those he cared about most.

After finishing Airborne School, he quit the Army in August 2009, believing the military would demand too much time away from his family at a critical juncture in their lives.

He took a job in sales at a Home Depot not far from his house in Dacula, Georgia. He struggled to mend his marriage and reconnect with his faith.

Four months later, Turner and his wife reconciled. He chose to return to the Army as a chaplain, he said, "a renewed man both in marriage and profession."

He and Heather found their calling. God, he said, gave them a special connection with soldiers and their families. They know they will stay busy for a while.

The U.S. mission in Iraq ended on December 18, 2011, as the last American soldiers climbed into hulking trucks and armored vehicles at Camp Adder, the southernmost base in Iraq.

The war, however, is sure to continue on a second front - in America's cities and homes. And in the offices of counselors and chaplains like Darren Turner.

Turner reminisces about Iraq often, and when I saw him at Fort Campbell, he told me he wrestled with mixed feelings on the day America's military presence ended. He hopes that, in the end, the war will have been worth the blood that was spilled.

Another war, the one in Afghanistan, is far from over, with casualties mounting every month. Today, Turner counsels soldiers serving there. His words, honed from experience, are more specific now.

Get Skype, he says.

Perhaps it's not what a soldier expects to hear from a man of God. It’s certainly not the stuff of Sunday sermons.

But it's practical advice that Turner knows will go a long way toward filling the emotional vacuum. He believes distance from one’s own family can trigger a breakdown, especially when a soldier is coping with injuries and combat stress.

"Being away from your family for that long is way more difficult than I anticipated," Turner said.

Skype, he discovered, is the next best thing to being at home. You can't feel someone or smell them but you can see and hear.

"That's two of the senses," he said. "That's exponential."

Turner’s pastoral passion is still driven by the force that first drew him to the chaplaincy: Jesus.

Everyone has faith in something, Turner said. His own conviction is that Jesus answers longings in the human heart and provides perspective. Beyond immediate emergencies, the larger story is one of hope.

“He's been there on the other side, and came back to tell us,” Turner said. “That's the biggest event in human history, something that maintains hope, even in battle. When soldiers get that, it changes everything.”

Turner said he may not have been God’s perfect messenger, but that his selfish choices do not negate God’s love.

Turner is thankful for that. And that he can carry on with his calling.

- CNN Wire editor

Filed under: Christianity • Military

soundoff (2,230 Responses)
  1. sziq

    if we are incapable of love, how can we love ourselves? and if (according to your *awesome* god) animals don't have souls then how is it that animals are capable of love? they must have souls, too. how do you know you are following the right god? what if you have the wrong one? what if allah is real and god is a sham..?

    May 27, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
    • jim thane

      wow, okay, you and i likely have a different definition of love. and which god is correct? none of them. man can not put god in a box, sorry. you have to find the truth within. if you have no soul, that may be difficult (lol).

      May 27, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
  2. scatheist

    The picture says it all – sleeping behind a laptop and a giant bowl of lollipops after a long day of baptizing soldiers in a wash tub.

    May 27, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
  3. LouAZ

    Another new book ADVERTISMENT by the Christian News Network. Chaplins at war . . . ridiculous ! Believe in MY god(s) or I'll kill you !

    May 27, 2012 at 12:11 pm |
    • scatheist

      They don't get near the real fighting unless by accident.

      There are no chaplins in foxholes.

      May 27, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
    • whoryou

      Actually, yes along with doctors, leaders, and others, yes they are in the foxholes .... thats where the soldiers are ... they go where needed.

      Stop spreading your obvious hatred of Christians you fool

      May 27, 2012 at 12:18 pm |
    • LouAZ

      The "headline picture" looks like a waste of potable water. Guess he doesn't have a little canteen water to wipe his forehead. Good way to recruit christians, 18 year olds half way around the world, getting shot at.

      May 27, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
    • LouAZ

      whoryou – "hatred of christians" ? THEY HAVE EARNED IT !

      May 27, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
  4. Frank Ricard

    So, this guy is basically like every other soldier that goes overseas and returns home with issues. How is this worthy of an article? What about all the soldiers that still believe in the Easter bunny and Tooth Fairy – where are their articles? Because the Tooth Fairy is just as real as any god.

    May 27, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
    • scatheist

      It's worse than that Frank – he's a non-combatant. Let's save our sympathy for real Soldiers and Marines.

      May 27, 2012 at 12:10 pm |
    • ACertainflorentine

      Says the people sitting on their couches posting on the internet

      May 27, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
  5. saw

    I agree with Helena.

    "Everyone has faith in something" is non-sense. Some prefer to be guided by reason which may have better survival value on the battlefield than faith.

    May 27, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
  6. martog

    Top Ten Signs You're a Christian
    10 – You vigorously deny the existence of thousands of gods claimed by other religions, but feel outraged when someone denies the existence of yours.
    9 – You feel insulted and "dehumanized" when scientists say that people evolved from other life forms, but you have no problem with the Biblical claim that we were created from dirt.
    8 – You laugh at polytheists, but you have no problem believing in a Triune God.
    7 – Your face turns purple when you hear of the "atrocities" attributed to Allah, but you don't even flinch when hearing about how God/Jehovah slaughtered all the babies of Egypt in "Exodus" and ordered the elimination of entire ethnic groups in "Joshua" including women, children, and trees!
    6 – You laugh at Hindu beliefs that deify humans, and Greek claims about gods sleeping with women, but you have no problem believing that the Holy Spirit impregnated Mary, who then gave birth to a man-god who got killed, came back to life and then ascended into the sky.
    5 – You are willing to spend your life looking for little loopholes in the scientifically established age of Earth (few billion years), but you find nothing wrong with believing dates recorded by Bronze Age tribesmen sitting in their tents and guessing that Earth is a few generations old.
    4 – You believe that the entire population of this planet with the exception of those who share your beliefs – though excluding those in all rival sects – will spend Eternity in an infinite Hell of Suffering. And yet consider your religion the most "tolerant" and "loving."
    3 – While modern science, history, geology, biology, and physics have failed to convince you otherwise, some idiot rolling around on the floor speaking in "tongues" may be all the evidence you need to "prove" Christianity.
    2 – You define 0.01% as a "high success rate" when it comes to answered prayers. You consider that to be evidence that prayer works. And you think that the remaining 99.99% FAILURE was simply the will of God.
    1 – You actually know a lot less than many atheists and agnostics do about the Bible, Christianity, and church history – but still call yourself a Christian.

    May 27, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
    • jim thane

      Signs your an atheist

      1) you have no soul
      2) you have no conscience
      3) you dont understand those who believe in something greater
      4) you ridicule spiritual people as delusional
      5) you think only of yourself (if you dont fall in this catagory, you need to do some "soul" searching)
      6) your hateful and will hurt others and small animals (again if this misses the mark refer to 5 above)

      May 27, 2012 at 12:05 pm |
    • scatheist

      Pretty good top 10.

      May 27, 2012 at 12:06 pm |
    • scatheist

      Come on Jim Thane. Atheists hurt little animals? That's all you can come up wit? We just ask for some evidence before we believe in something.

      The prisons are full of Christians – hardly any atheists.

      May 27, 2012 at 12:08 pm |
    • Dave

      Shame on Jim Thane. His views are all that is wrong with Christianity, religion, and faith. Jesus would cry if he saw that list.

      May 27, 2012 at 12:11 pm |
    • sziq

      haha... i don't love because i don't believe in god? i mean, your god. animals supposedly don't have souls (according to your god) yet they love more than any christian i have ever met. so animals must also have souls. ouch.

      May 27, 2012 at 12:12 pm |
    • jim thane

      I AM NOT CHRISTIAN, stop saying because someone is christian they have a soul. read what i say, dont put your own thoughts into it.

      May 27, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
    • martog

      Jim, your list is pretty lame there budd.....
      When you can prove ANYONE has a 'soul' please get back to us. AND, I love my animals BUT, I would HURT YOU if you were to hurt them. Can your little brain understand that?

      May 27, 2012 at 12:14 pm |
    • awaysaway

      @jim thane – ha ha. You can be an atheist and still be humane, caring and loving. But yes we eat babies. Ha ha.

      May 27, 2012 at 12:15 pm |
    • Skipper

      Not a very creative retort there Jim...... The truth of Martog's posting just too difficult to handle?

      May 27, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
    • whoryou

      Actual Jim,

      You forgotten hateful, bias, irrational reasoning, bent on hating others for their empty beliefs.

      May 27, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
    • Mark

      The top 10 was good -Jim, however just sounds cranky and not very bright

      May 27, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
    • jim thane

      NO, stop the flames (get it the hell pun) . go reread all my posts, they will enlighten you.

      May 27, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
    • ןןɐq ʎʞɔnq

      The proof you don't actually know any atheists : Saying

      " Signs your an atheist

      1) you have no soul
      2) you have no conscience
      3) you dont understand those who believe in something greater
      4) you ridicule spiritual people as delusional
      5) you think only of yourself (if you dont fall in this catagory, you need to do some "soul" searching)
      6) your hateful and will hurt others and small animals (again if this misses the mark refer to 5 above)

      May 27, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
  7. theend

    The life and teachings of Jesus Christ are incompatable with war and empire. seek instead Satan for your justifications. if you wish to see the future of Amerika look for a boot smashing a human face forever.

    May 27, 2012 at 11:59 am |
    • robert

      “Do not think that I came to bring peace on Earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household. He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me. He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it.” (Matthew 10:34-39 NASB)

      Seems pretty consistent to me.

      May 27, 2012 at 12:06 pm |
    • jim thane

      Ah, satan interesting subject, he represents freewill, not many know that. he is the yang. without which we would all be good. j/k , satan is uh...the element in nature that opposes creation (the soul). i think the atheists just got something to think on.

      May 27, 2012 at 12:08 pm |
    • Victor Schwartzman

      The reply to the comment about Christianity being incompatible with war received a classic response: denial of the teachings of Christ by quoting a convenient section of the Bible. Christ never spoke about an 'eye for an eye', he spoke about turning the other cheek. One of the saddest parts of modern christianity is how many people ignore the teachings of the prophet they claim to follow. Although I am sympathetic to the personal problems the chaplain faces, I have zero sympathy for what he calls his "profession"–making it easier for Christians to kill people.
      I have these concerns and, for the record, I am not Christian myself, although in my life I appear to act in a far more Christian way than most "Christians".
      The Bible should not be a filing cabinet where you dip in, pull out the folder you like,but ignore the rest.

      May 27, 2012 at 12:15 pm |
    • robert

      @"denial of the teachings of Christ by quoting a convenient section of the Bible" but isn't that what the christians do!? Whatever is convenient? If christ didn't mean what he said then why did he say it? If it wasn't meant to be quoted, why is it in the bible? I didn't post just one sentence, I posted the entire verse. Again, nice to have it both ways, you can use the bible to call men into unquestioning service but when the bible's own words are turned against it, somehow I am just quoting a convenient section of the bible. Hypocrisy is truly the cornerstone of religion.

      May 27, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
  8. robert

    "His own conviction is that Jesus answers longings in the human heart and provides perspective." how exactly does he do that? Does he change brain chemistry? Does he change the structure of the brain? Does he plant thoughts in the person's mind? How does that interaction take place? Does he use some electric field? Or does he just magically create physiological changes? Or, is this person deluded? If a person believes that some unseen force is manipulating them, we call it schizophrenia. If they call that force god, we call it religion.

    May 27, 2012 at 11:58 am |
    • Linda

      I agree with you Robert. I've seen otherwise logical people just go berserk when their religion is questioned then in the same breath condemn acts of terror committed by religon zealots. The religious people I count as friends bend their religious beliefs to suit their purposes and are Jekyll and Hyde prone.

      May 27, 2012 at 12:05 pm |
  9. EdL

    I regretably continue to have ill feeling for my fellow Americans with regard to their non-interest in Laos and Vietnem where friends of mine died serving our country. I had and have more respect for the anti-war protesters than I have for those who didn't care. I also regretably have ill feeling about press reporting during the Vietnam days when the only news reported was bad news for America, and the almost complete lack of news regarding our Laotian activities. Perhaps the ultimate was Cronkite's offering his expertise regarding Laos when he described our activity in Pakse, calling it Paksee where I served. He could not even pronounce it correctly, it is pronounced Paksay. There were of course the many who digested every word Cronkite uttered, now knowing he knew nothing about which he was reporting. I like the British news reporting, when they say here is so and so who will read the news. Cronkite was also reading the news, he obviously knew litttle about what he was reading but his admirers berlieved every word he uttered.

    May 27, 2012 at 11:57 am |
    • Victor Schwartzman

      I am sympathetic to your concerns, but was not Laos ignored because it was an illegal war? Is that not why news about U.S. military actions in Laos and Cambodia were not reported–because therte was no legal justification for fighting there?

      May 27, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
  10. Flo

    The Iraq war was/is bogus. And look at all the horrible suffering it has caused. Escalated by W, a supposed Christian. What a farce.

    May 27, 2012 at 11:56 am |
  11. John

    A new name shall be given to you o'nation that rejects the Creator and the Truth. No longer shall you be called "America". Henceforth, your name will be "Babylon the Great". Thus shall the mystery be revealed. I say, "Blow the trumpets across the earth and the nations."

    May 27, 2012 at 11:56 am |
    • robert

      please get back on your meds

      May 27, 2012 at 11:59 am |
    • HenryB

      Oh, save this nonsense for yourself. This so-called Christianity is what got us into this mess to start with. The most un-Christian Christians I have ever met.

      May 27, 2012 at 12:02 pm |
    • ןןɐq ʎʞɔnq

      John, I knew I had seen you/heard you somewhere :

      May 27, 2012 at 12:04 pm |
    • Namvet67

      Santa Claus is comin' to town..........everybody......you better not pout, you better not shout.......hahahahahaha......he has the holy ghost watch you while he sleeps

      May 27, 2012 at 12:11 pm |
    • awaysaway

      Ha ha. O thowest speaketh in pseudo biblical babel. I say unto you that you are still full of sh.1.t

      May 27, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
    • ןןɐq ʎʞɔnq

      Wherefore thou art right, my child. Whereas, and whereunder thou has the point unto thyself indeed, forsooth, accepted. Havest thou thyself the bestest of weekends !

      May 27, 2012 at 12:41 pm |
  12. AC

    Nut Jobs in the name of JEsus.

    May 27, 2012 at 11:55 am |
  13. ןןɐq ʎʞɔnq

    Jeebus loves me, this I know.
    Cuz the babble tells me so.

    May 27, 2012 at 11:55 am |
    • AC

      Good one, man.

      May 27, 2012 at 11:56 am |
    • jim thane

      Does he? or are you a soulless animal? if you are a soulless animal, not sure if he loves you or not, I think what he loves is the soul that resides in some humans. that is who Jesus loves.

      May 27, 2012 at 11:59 am |
    • ןןɐq ʎʞɔnq

      Am a Pink Monkey, and proud of it. Your fake "soul", (which you cannot prove), and you pretend makes you different from the animals ain't gonna help,and Jeebus long dead. Tell, me, if you had a body amputation, (and were only your brain and it's blood supply), would you still have a "soul" ?

      May 27, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
    • jim thane

      Yes, you understand, body and soul are two different things!! dogs have no souls, but they live, i have one, I have proof. yes proof. I KNOW. but alas i am delusional. if my body died i would continue, a constant flow of consciencsousness (sp).

      May 27, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
    • Jen

      Let's see Jim – you say in this post that dogs have no souls. Then you say in another post that the soulless have no empathy. Have you ever seen a dog? They are the most empathetic creatures out there. I just read a story about a dog that stayed with his companion dog for 14 hours after the other dog was killed by a car. And they are loving and loyal to their owners.

      Soo...they clearly have empathy. Yet to you empathy = soul (why are they two different words if you say they are the same thing?). You completely contradict yourself. I see that you have changed your handle to Jim from Are there really atheit – Or are people just soulless. Clearly you are the same person. By the way, atheist is spelled with an s. By the way, you often get you're and your mixed up. They have completely different meanings. Just like empathy and soul. Perhaps it's time to head back to school?

      May 27, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
  14. Cliff

    Great success story. We need the Chaplains so you can vent and have a shoulder to lean on. Glad everything went well for him. Retired after 41years total service and would not change a thing. Just open your heart and minds and think about what is in front of you. Asking for help is the first step to recovery. Never be ashamed to step forward to get help and help your fellow soldiers.

    May 27, 2012 at 11:55 am |
    • Ann

      Cliff, I agree that soldiers and marines all need help and someone to lean on during times of stress. I just think they'd all be better served if they were helped by trained mental health professionals, or "morale officers" as I suggested elsewhere, who have no ulterior motive of trying to recruit more sheep to their "flocks."

      I work in a prison, and I admit, our chief chaplain is one heck of a nice guy. He's very useful to both staff and inmates, as someone to talk to (if they don't want to come to me – I'm the psychologist). The thing is, he focuses on LISTENING to them, and does not try to sway them to his own particular brand of religion unless they request information about it. He's someone I would even go to for counsel, although he knows I'm an atheist.

      I've seen other chaplains, however, who look at every problem and situation only through their own narrow lens of their particular faith, and try to convince others that the ONLY solution is to convert to their beliefs. Those guys, I have no use for.

      May 27, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
  15. AC

    Fool anyone, in the name of Jesus. Religion and CRAP go together.

    May 27, 2012 at 11:54 am |
  16. atheist_truth

    We thinkers do not care that you believe in some god, we just don't understand why. The more 'doubt' we can spread, the smarter and more advanced our civilization will become. YOU ARE SLOWING US DOWN.

    One day we'll look back on these silly religions like we look at Greek Mythology today.

    May 27, 2012 at 11:53 am |
    • AC

      Greekk Mythology is wonderful reading. The BIBLE is BS

      May 27, 2012 at 11:55 am |
    • jim thane

      gotta love the soulless, without them there would be no corporate greed or wars, thank you atheists. we owe you one

      May 27, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
    • atheist_truth

      We live, then die. That's it. Just because it sucks, doesn't mean it isn't true. Have faith; go ahead. Whatever gets you through the day. I, myself, treat this life like it's my only one... which makes non-believers more peaceful and tolerant for many reasons. It doesn't make any logical sense to live life walking on eggshells so you can have a better afterlife... absolute ridiculousness. Religions separate people, create hate, and initiate war. Congrats on being a member of the cults that kill more people than cancer.

      May 27, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
    • atheist_truth

      lol. Atheists create wars? What planet are you on? RELIGION IS THE BASIS FOR ALL WARS.

      May 27, 2012 at 12:02 pm |
    • jim thane

      yes religions do start wars, but few religious leaders have souls. wake up, dont just read, think, absorb. because someone says they are christian, doesnt mean they have a soul. if a christian starts a war, he likely is soulless.

      May 27, 2012 at 12:10 pm |
    • lightingdarkness

      We "thinkers"?
      You "thinkers' deny Jesus's existence because it does not fit you although to deny him is equal to denying shakespeare, caesar, and plato's existence for example
      You "thinkers" are intolerant and spread hate with your message of supposed free thought to all those who don't agree with you
      You "thinkers" attack a god you don't even believe exists – why would you do that? I don't believe in Santa but I don't go around formulating arguments to win others to my side of non-belief. Thats just weird and hateful
      You "thinkers" believe that the Universe came into being uncaused out of nothing – which is horrible logic
      You "thinkers" admit that the universe appears designed but deny a designer because you don't like the idea
      You "thinkers" hate William Lane Craig because he debates the best of your "thinkers" and expose their illogical use of arguments
      You "thinkers" will die like the rest of us.
      And, at best, return to a state of non existence – you'll never see your parents, kids, friends again – all is dead and void
      At worst, you end up in a place of emotional agony knowing that you rejected our only Lord and Savior Jesus Christ
      However, at worst, for us "non-thinkers" we return to a sate of non-existence – we'll never see our parents, kids, or friends again – all is dead and void
      And at best, our sins are forgiven us and we live forever eternal in love and unity with our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ
      At those ultimate choice endings – To believe in a personal creator who i feel in my heart and mind exists and who revealed himself through Jesus of Nazareth is a risk I and many others are willing to take.
      Or, at worst, return to a state of non existence

      May 27, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
    • robert

      @jim thane, please look up the, "no true Scotsman" fallacy. Out of one side of your mouth you say, no one can know the mind of god therefore act without question. But when history judges those acts as "evil" out of the other side of your mouth you say, well they weren't "really" christians. You want it both ways, unquestioning obedience and no accountability. Sounds like the sort of ideology millions of people gave their lives to rid the world of last century.

      May 27, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
    • jim thane

      @ robert, sorry, if you dont read my comments and understand them, i have no response for you.

      May 27, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
    • Mark

      Jim, so lets pull that statement a part. Men who create wars are not Christian, Iraq was war, that war was created by Bush – Bush was a Christian – do you the problem now?

      May 27, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
    • ןןɐq ʎʞɔnq

      "Thinkers" do not fear the windbag Craig, who is full of sh'it. Listen to his debate with Krauss. He is "laid waste". He can do nothing but parrot his predone "points". He cannot think for himself.

      May 27, 2012 at 12:46 pm |
    • Get Real

      lightingdarkness,

      "You "thinkers' deny Jesus's existence because it does not fit you although to deny him is equal to denying shakespeare, caesar, and plato's existence for example"

      – Any wisdom or claims of fact made by, or attributed to, those people from history require verification. The same goes for Jesus. There is no evidence to verify the claims of the supernatural attributed to him.

      You "thinkers" attack a god you don't even believe exists – why would you do that? I don't believe in Santa but I don't go around formulating arguments to win others to my side of non-belief. Thats just weird and hateful

      – If Santa Clausians were trying to control your government, set public policies affecting you, and were insisting that Santa Clausianism be taught in public schools, I'm just betting that you would have a thing or two to say about it...

      You "thinkers" believe that the Universe came into being uncaused out of nothing – which is horrible logic

      – No, I think that most of them say, "We don't know (yet) and there is no verified evidence for your supernatural scenario."

      You "thinkers" admit that the universe appears designed but deny a designer because you don't like the idea
      – Nope, see above.

      You "thinkers" hate William Lane Craig because he debates the best of your "thinkers" and expose their illogical use of arguments
      – Nope.

      The rest of your post is Pascal's Wager - others have explained this fallacy to you.

      May 27, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
    • lightingdarkness

      I've watched his debate with Krauss and it was the same as all of the rest. He uses Hume's outdated argument about extraordinary evidence – demonstrably false

      Krauss actually said that 2+2 does not necessariy = 4. Really? I cannot believe that he would deny logically necessary, mathematical truths in order to avoid theism. Very strange

      Krauss said the universe doesn’t need to begin to exist because we know in mathematics how to deal with infinities. He is just confused here. Why? Because it may be possible on paper, in the realm of mathematics, but it’s not possible in the realm of reality b/c of the inherit contradictions. This has been proven true and no one has done anything to prove otherwise.

      Krauss also appealed to Stephen Hawking to say that the universe did not begin to exist..What!?! Thats funny cause Hawking’s model involves an absolute beginning of the universe! It has the beginning of the universe, though it does not have a beginning point of infinite density. Just goofy, very goofy.

      Lastly I will just say that Krauss also tries to confuse ppl into thinking that nothing is actually a quantum vacuum of energy. That is not nothing! Plato said, "nothing is what rocks things about." I agree with his definition, not Krauss's – sorry.

      Bottom line is that Craig absolutely won that debate and exposed for the 30th time the weaknesses in atheistic thought. Gone are the times when the "smart atheist" like Hitchens can go on stage and bash old testament ethics. When it comes down to actually intellectual conversations on the nature of reality and our existence I am afraid that the theist is the more plausible view

      @Get Real: I don't use Pascal's wager as an argument to prove or disprove anything. Rather it is literally the way it is. Therefore, for your sake you better be right and we both just die. Otherwise, If you believe you have a soul – I pray for you and all the others who have not asked for Jesus to come into their lives.

      To all atheists, we believers have read about you. –

      Even after Jesus had done all these miraculous signs in their presence, they still would not believe in him. 38This was to fulfill the word of Isaiah the prophet:

      “Lord, who has believed our message
      and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?”

      For this reason they could not believe, because, as Isaiah says elsewhere:

      “He has blinded their eyes
      and deadened their hearts,
      so they can neither see with their eyes,
      nor understand with their hearts,
      nor turn—and I would heal them.”

      May 27, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
  17. Poe

    All religious organizations should be taxed. All chaplains should be removed from the military pay roll. If a soldier wants religious comfort he can seek out any of the religious organizations (businesses) that cater to his personality. To have a preacher in my military telling my fellow soldiers that a God will save you, or take you to a better place (as long as you drink the kool-aid) if he doens't save you, is criminal.

    May 27, 2012 at 11:53 am |
    • AC

      Tax them to oblivion or to the dark ages where they belong.

      May 27, 2012 at 11:54 am |
    • Grendog

      I agree that religion is a business and should be taxed. Just look at all the Mega-churches out there. In my experience every successful religious leader dresses to the nines in thousand dollar suits and drives an 80,000 dollar+ car, and live in houses bigger then their churches. Religion is a business and people should boycott.

      May 27, 2012 at 12:10 pm |
  18. me2

    And the number one reason to be an Atheist is............

    drum roll.....

    No Mandatory meetings!!!

    May 27, 2012 at 11:51 am |
  19. me2

    Hey, don't touch me there. You're not a a priest!

    May 27, 2012 at 11:50 am |
    • Fake Priest

      I got a priest's collar from the cosplay shop so its all good. I will even use Gregorian chant in the candle lit room as we make super sweet religion together.

      May 27, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
  20. sziq

    its funny that christians, muslims etc call everyone who doesn't agree with their faith hateful, soulless, disrespectful and so on... athiests and agnostics are the most accepting people.. the most loving and caring people. we don't hate others because they believe in the wrong god. we don't hate people for loving the "wrong" gender. we don't hate people for making mistakes.. we don't even hate you theists, even if we do think your faith system is kind of sick.. :)

    May 27, 2012 at 11:49 am |
    • jim thane

      your funny, did you know that, no i dont think the soulless love anyone but themselves, how can you love? you lack conscience a requirement for empathy. and if you do have empathy, bad news ...you have a soul. ouch.

      May 27, 2012 at 12:02 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.