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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.

Preparing clergy for war: How chaplains train for combat

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. Edna

    Death is not the end.

    May 28, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
    • Edwardo

      @Edna – keep on believing that. Santa will bring you presents at Xmas too. Enjoy this life... it's the only one you'll get babe.

      May 28, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
    • Daniel

      Can you prove this 100% without the smallest hint of a doubt? Can you prove this to everyone in the world? If not then you are Satan incarnate with your honeyed words and false promises.

      May 28, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
    • Glad I'll Be Left Behind

      And because we believe we only get this life and that's it, our lives are filled with a lot more happiness and tolerance. Jealous? WAKE UP! We don't take this life for granted. We don't hate for stupid reasons like color, size, gender, age, etc like god-fearing people do. If we are wrong? Oh well! We don't care. If you are wrong, you can look back and see how much time you wasted praying to the wind.

      May 28, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
  2. cd

    What would CNN know about this "subject"!

    May 28, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      And you are the expert on what?

      May 28, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
  3. Da King

    All the real Christians are out having fun today. See ya.

    May 28, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
    • Edwardo

      Takin' a hate break ? I guess the polls are closed today, so nobody to persecute. Enjoy that grilled shrim (abomination).

      May 28, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
  4. Voice of Reason

    Can someone enlighten me on this debate about free will? Thanks.

    May 28, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
    • Frank

      Yes. If one believes in a god then there is none.

      May 28, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      And the reasoning behind that is?

      May 28, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
    • Frank

      Ever notice that rapists and murderers always are the ones with free will but their victims do not? Why is it that the victim didn't have a choice? If one believes in a god then that god is one sick fuck.

      May 28, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      @Frank

      So, in essence, if you believe in a god both the murderer and the victim didn't have a choice and this event was predetermined?

      May 28, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
    • Edwardo

      God supposedly has freewill, and yet he does not make imperfect decisions. If humans are miniature images of God, our decisions should likewise be perfect. Also, the occupants of heaven, who presumably must have freewill to be happy, will never use that freewill to make imperfect decisions. Why would the originally perfect humans do differently?

      May 28, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
    • Fred

      Don't waste your time on Frank. He has an axe to grind with religion and really has no understanding of the subject.
      He was sick the day they discussed Calvinism at school.

      May 28, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
    • J-Man

      Free will is really a simple concept. God gave man free will. You can choose to do what is right or wrong. He could have made a planet full of zombies that were without sin and who loved him. God could show himself either physically or in spirit. But gave human's free will to choose their own path. Loving God is genuine when you have the choice to either deny him or not follow his commandments. I believe everyone's spirit knows that there is a God and what is right and wrong. It is free will that gives us a choice to deny that because we are selfish or vain. I believe that people who say they don't believe in God, in some part of their mind knows that he is real. What is the alternative? Evolution? That is the biggest fraud ever. There is zero proof of evolution. The entire theory requires you to assume that certain things happened that can't be proven. Despite what non-believers want you to believe there is more an more hard evidence that everything in the bible is factual. Events that happened in the bible are being discovered regularly. I'm sure with a quick Google search you can find things in the Bible that have been proven to be true that before had been thought a myth. One day every knee will bow.

      May 28, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      @J-Man

      Sorry J-Man, you lost me.

      May 28, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
    • Edwardo

      @J-man - Your statement has more holes in it, than a screen. So, if there is freewill, does that mean god doesn't have a plan for us? If he has a plan, then there is no freewill. There are numerous scriptures in the bible, when god deprived someone of their "supposed" freewill. For example, when he "hardened the pharoah's heart". The freewill argument is weak. Also, are you freakin' kidding me that there is no reason to believe evolution is a fact? It has been proven over and over and over again.

      May 28, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
    • Glad I'll Be Left Behind

      and over, and over and over again. FACTS DO NOT CEASE TO EXIST BECAUSE THEY ARE IGNORED.

      May 28, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
    • ןןɐq ʎʞɔnq

      There is no Free Will. The decision is made before we are aware of it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N6S9OidmNZM

      May 28, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
  5. Honey Badger Dont Care

    GOD HATES Polytextilites!!

    Leviticus: 19:19

    May 28, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
  6. Voice of Reason

    If there is just one thing that sticks-out in these conversations and debates is that the atheist is consistent and that would be on a world-wide basis.

    May 28, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
    • Glad I'll Be Left Behind

      Know what else sticks out, worldwide? The violence and hatred religion promotes.

      May 28, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
    • Glad I'll Be Left Behind

      I 'almost' feel sorry for you god followers because it's impossible for you to explain yourselves. I know you question it all in your head every time you talk to yourselves in your head, thinking some supreme being can hear you... come out of the closet, it's safe(r). I did. And I thank the bible for that.

      May 28, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      I couldn't agree with you more! See how consistent we are?

      May 28, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
    • Glad I'll Be Left Behind

      I KNOW! You know what they say, the truth never changes.

      May 28, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
  7. George Clifford

    Jesus did not run to crises. Instead, he prioritized relating to God, first for himself and then for others. If Jesus ran to crises, he would not have sought solitude instead of being with the large crowds that the gospels report gathered to see him and to hear him. Being a person of faith is not a prophylactic against being human. Indeed, just the opposite is true: being a person of faith makes one more human. Self-care is vital, as exemplified in the gospel accounts of Jesus’ life. As an experienced naval chaplain, I’m concerned that the Army would allow a new chaplain to immediately head into combat without adequate seasoning and preparation. I’m also concerned that Regents University offers such poor preparation for chaplaincy in spite of their alleged emphasis on preparing people to serve as chaplains.

    May 28, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
  8. Glad I'll Be Left Behind

    Stop quoting biblical nonsense. It doesn't prove ANYTHING; it only solidifies how absent your minds are. If Jesus comes back (because people come back to life all the time!!!), it will not only prove us atheists wrong (lol), but cleanse this world of the shenanigans that is Christianity (and Tim Tebow!)...If anything is worth being wrong, that is definitely it. (don't get me wrong, muslims, jews, and the rest of the worlds fillers for 'i don't know, lets play pretend' are just as corrupt, delusional, and outdated.) Christians are just more arrogant. When you go to your cultist church you are only paying for your priest to drive a Cadillac to the big business that is church to attempt brainwashing others, touch little children, and read from a book that is more violent than Grand Theft Auto 4. Wake up, dorks. Santa is fake too, in case you didn't get that memo. (oh, and your pope admits to extraterrestrial beings... how's that for a wrench in that crap book you live by?) Be gone, weaklings.

    May 28, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
    • Leo

      I thought this was a Belief site... If you don't want to see scriptures, etc. you should go to the unbelief site or something!!

      Why do you come here if you don't have any beliefs?

      Do you not see how silly it is to come to a site like this only to attack?

      And you claim there is something wrong with Christians?

      May 28, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      @Leo

      The last time I checked we are free to go and say what we please, same as you moron!

      May 28, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
    • Glad I'll Be Left Behind

      I know, truth hurts. Silly as it may be, it's required to keep some kind of sanity in this corrupt world.

      May 28, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
    • Glad I'll Be Left Behind

      Oh, and as far as this being a 'belief site', it's CNN in my country. It was a stain on my homepage, i couldn't resist.

      May 28, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
    • Leo

      My point was clear... You complained about scriptures on a belief site....

      May 28, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      @Leo

      The point is that if scriptures made any sense and it is clear that they don't because the religious people that believe in them cannot agree on the meanings of them. Thus the nonsense and it needs to be pointed-out.

      May 28, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
    • Cq

      Leo
      Sure we have beliefs. We believe that you are wrong, and that what you are teaching people is actually harmful. We speak out against you the same way that we speak out against faith healers, psychics, and Holocaust deniers.

      May 28, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
    • Fred

      His reason for being here is to spread hate. I don't know what his problem is.
      Maybe he was held too much as a child, maybe not enough. Tough to say at this point.
      He is what's known as a "griefer," someone who derives pleasure from aggravating others.
      Behavior like his is also associated with men who have extreme erectile dysfunction.

      May 28, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
    • Glad I'll Be Left Behind

      Seriously though, if there wasn't people like me, we would still be in the dark ages. I am part of the world, and I make an impact... more than you can imagine... I'll let you ponder how. What do you do to make an impact? Spread the word of god? HOW IS THAT HELPFUL TO HUMAN BEINGS? You are living your life bound by some tale that was shoved down your throat growing up... It was shoved down mine, then I grew up.
      See, you look at this as 'griefing'... We have to start blatantly pointing things out because your thick skulls can't comprehend that MAN MADE GOD... not the other way around. The majority is wrong. Suck it up and accept it. I'm not one to walk on eggshells to preserve feelings for the delusional.

      May 28, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
    • Glad I'll Be Left Behind

      And Fred, really?... erectile dysfunction? lol. I'm female. Try again with some witty 2nd grade playground statement.

      May 28, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
    • Glad I'll Be Left Behind

      ...and Leo. Again, not a belief site... CNN.COM. LET GOD STRIKE ME DOWN IF HE SO PLEASES... I've been waiting for any proof. I know it won't happen. So do you. Stop fooling yourself. I know you have a deep seeded need to believe, and that's great. Just stop spreading the bullcrap and let it wear off like past religions of mankind. It does nothing but harm.

      May 28, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
  9. carlyjanew6

    http://www.Hear-The-Truth.com

    May 28, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
  10. Leo

    2 Timothy 3

    3 But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. 2 For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, 4 treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these. 6 For among them are those who enter into households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses, 7 always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. 8 Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men of depraved mind, rejected in regard to the faith. 9 But they will not make further progress; for their folly will be obvious to all, just as Jannes’s and Jambres’s folly was also.

    2 Timothy 3

    New American Standard Bible (NASB)

    “Difficult Times Will Come”

    3 But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. 2 For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, 4 treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these. 6 For among them are those who enter into households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses, 7 always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. 8 Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men of depraved mind, rejected in regard to the faith. 9 But they will not make further progress; for their folly will be obvious to all, just as Jannes’s and Jambres’s folly was also.

    May 28, 2012 at 1:15 pm |
    • Cq

      Was there ever a time between Jesus' death and the modern day in which people were not certain that these passages referred specifically to them?

      May 28, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
    • ןןɐq ʎʞɔnq

      Matthew 24:34 I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.

      Woops

      May 28, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
    • Leo

      Bucky once again showing his total lack of understanding to the Bible!

      What was the New Teastament written in Bucky? Greek Right?

      What is the Greek word translated into Generation? genea

      What Does Genea mean Bucky?

      May 28, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
    • Cq

      Leo
      The expression "this generation" appears 14 times in the gospels and always applies to Jesus' contemporaries who all passed away without his returning.

      May 28, 2012 at 6:51 pm |
  11. A Serpent's Thought

    Rick James, "Because that's usually how conversation works. And still making up words, I see."

    Aren't all words made up? Just because one uses a dictonary for guidance does not mean some words one uses can't be found in the dictionaries are not so! People of you cailper are stone-drunkards when it comes to beng force fed ideological relativisms of goodly godliness accordances! You are all weak in terminologies spiritual and lack of good consience!

    May 28, 2012 at 1:12 pm |
  12. Reality

    Memorial Day, 2012

    The Apostles' Creed 2012: (updated by yours truly and based on the studies of historians and theologians of the past 200 years)

    Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
    and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
    human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven??

    I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
    preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
    named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
    girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

    Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
    the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

    He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
    a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of
    Jerusalem.

    Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
    many semi-fiction writers. A descent into Hell, a bodily resurrection
    and ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
    Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
    grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
    and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
    called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

    Amen
    (references used are available upon request)

    =========================================================================================

    May 28, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
    • Fred

      Any references you'd care to cite are faulty and non-Biblical.

      May 28, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
    • Reality

      AND THE INFAMOUS ANGELIC CONS/MYTHS CONTINUE TO WREAK STUPIDITY UPON THE WORLD

      Joe Smith had his Moroni. (M. Romney still does)

      "Latter-day Saints like M. Romney also believe that Michael the Archangel was Adam (the first man) when he was mortal, and Gabriel lived on the earth as Noah."

      Jehovah Witnesses have their Jesus /Michael the archangel, the first angelic being created by God;

      Mohammed had his Gabriel (this "tin-kerbell" got around).

      Jesus and his family had/has Michael, Gabriel, and Satan, the latter being a modern day dem-on of the de-mented. (As do B. Obama and his family)

      The Abraham-Moses myths had their Angel of Death and other "no-namers" to do their dirty work or other assorted duties.

      Contemporary biblical and religious scholars have relegated these "pretty wingie thingies" to the myth pile. We should do the same to include deleting all references to them in our religious operating manuals. Doing this will eliminate the prophet/profit/prophecy status of these founders and put them where they belong as simple humans just like the rest of us.

      Some added references to "tink-erbells".

      newadvent.org/cathen/07049c.htm

      "The belief in guardian angels can be traced throughout all antiquity; pagans, like Menander and Plutarch (cf. Euseb., "Praep. Evang.", xii), and Neo-Platonists, like Plotinus, held it. It was also the belief of the Babylonians and As-syrians, as their monuments testify, for a figure of a guardian angel now in the British Museum once decorated an As-syrian palace, and might well serve for a modern representation; while Nabopolassar, father of Nebuchadnezzar the Great, says: "He (Marduk) sent a tutelary deity (cherub) of grace to go at my side; in everything that I did, he made my work to succeed."
      Catholic monks and Dark Age theologians also did their share of hallu-cinating:

      "TUBUAS-A member of the group of angels who were removed from the ranks of officially recognized celestial hierarchy in 745 by a council in Rome under Pope Zachary. He was joined by Uriel, Adimus, Sabaoth, Simiel, and Raguel."

      And tin-ker- bells go way, way back:

      "In Zoroastrianism there are different angel like creatures. For example each person has a guardian angel called Fravashi. They patronize human being and other creatures and also manifest god’s energy. Also, the Amesha Spentas have often been regarded as angels, but they don't convey messages, but are rather emanations of Ahura Mazda ("Wise Lord", God); they appear in an abstract fashion in the religious thought of Zarathustra and then later (during the Achaemenid period of Zoroastrianism) became personalized, associated with an aspect of the divine creation (fire, plants, water...)."

      "The beginnings of the biblical belief in angels must be sought in very early folklore. The gods of the Hitti-tes and Canaanites had their supernatural messengers, and parallels to the Old Testament stories of angels are found in Near Eastern literature. "

      "The 'Magic Papyri' contain many spells to secure just such help and protection of angels. From magic traditions arose the concept of the guardian angel. "

      For added information see the review at:

      en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angel

      May 28, 2012 at 11:34 pm |
  13. Leo

    Matthew 24

    4And Jesus answered and said to them, "See to it that no one misleads you.
    5 "For many will come in my name, saying, 'I am the Christ,' and will mislead many.
    6 "You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end.
    7 "For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes.
    8 "But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs.

    Nation against Nation – the Greek meaning of the word Nation, you will find it is Ethnos, or Ethnic Group against Ethnic Group.

    Famines & Plagues

    With the world population reaching 1 billion people in the 1930's and then 2 billion in the 1970's more people die from famine than ever before. AIDS, SARS, Mad Cow, Bird Flu these are just the beginning. Just think if some of these deadly diseases were purposefully unleashed on the world?

    Earthquakes

    The rise in earthquakes has been measured and studied in the last century and in the last 7 years we have had 4 of the world’s top 10 earthquakes ever recorded. With death tolls of 230,000+ Indian Ocean 2004, 79,000+ in Kashmir 2005, 68,000+ Sichuan China 2008, and 222,000+ in Haiti 2010.

    9 "Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of my name.

    Now have thousands of Christians persecuted and killed every year just for their belief in Jesus!

    10 "At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another.

    11 "Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many.

    12 "Because lawlessness is increased, most people's love will grow cold.

    13 "But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved.

    14 "This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.

    Are we past the beginning of sorrows? There are many false prophets, and the love of most people has already waxed cold.

    May 28, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
    • Honey Badger Dont Care

      I like this verse better:

      Ezekiel 23:19-21

      19 Yet she became more and more promiscuous as she recalled the days of her youth, when she was a prost itute in Egypt. 20 There she lusted after her lovers, whose genitals were like those of donkeys and whose emission was like that of horses. 21 So you longed for the lewdness of your youth, when in Egypt your bosom was caressed and your young breasts fondled.
      (NIV 1984)

      May 28, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
    • Leo

      10 "At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another.

      Most of the people that attack Christians here claim they were once Christians!

      Now they have fallen away!

      Now they betray!

      And Now they Hate!!

      May 28, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
    • Honey Badger Dont Care

      I dont ever remember being ignorant enough to be an xtian.

      May 28, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
    • Reality

      JC's family and friends had it right 2000 years ago ( Mark 3: 21 "And when his friends heard of it, they went out to lay hold on him: for they said, He is beside himself.")

      Said passage is one of the few judged to be authentic by most contemporary NT scholars. e.g. See Professor Ludemann's conclusion in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years, p. 24 and p. 694.

      Actually, Jesus was a bit "touched". After all he thought he spoke to Satan, thought he changed water into wine, thought he raised Lazarus from the dead etc. In today's world, said Jesus would be declared legally insane.

      Or did P, M, M, L and J simply make him into a first century magic-man via their epistles and gospels of semi-fiction? Most contemporary NT experts after thorough analyses of all the scriptures go with the latter magic-man conclusion with J's gospel being mostly fiction.

      Obviously, today's followers of Paul et al's "magic-man" are also a bit on the odd side believing in all the Christian mumbo jumbo about bodies resurrecting, and exorcisms, and miracles, and "magic-man atonement, and infallible, old, European/Utah white men, and 24/7 body/blood sacrifices followed by consumption of said sacrifices. Yummy!!!!

      So why do we really care what a first century CE, illiterate, long-dead, preacher/magic man would do or say?

      May 28, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
  14. Dr.Watch

    I wish God would stop wars now. They make me cry a lot.

    May 28, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
    • atheist_truth

      Why would He do that? He is one of the main reasons we have them. Religion is the basis of ALL wars.

      May 28, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
    • Reality

      The Twenty (or so) Worst Things People Have Done to Each Other:

      From: http://necrometrics.com/warstatz.htm#u (required reading)

      The Muslim Conquest of India

      "The likely death toll is somewhere between 2 million and 80 million. The geometric mean of those two limits is 12.7 million. "

      Rank <<<Death Toll <Cause <<Centuries<<<Religions/Groups involved*

      1. 63 million Second World War 20C (Christians et al and Communists/atheists vs. Christians et al, Nazi-Pagan and "Shintoists")

      2. 40 million Mao Zedong (mostly famine) 20C (Communism)

      3. 40 million Genghis Khan 13C (Shamanism or Tengriism)

      4. 27 million British India (mostly famine) 19C (Anglican)

      5. 25 million Fall of the Ming Dynasty 17C (Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Chinese folk religion)

      6. 20 million Taiping Rebellion 19C ( Confucianism, Buddhism and Chinese folk religion vs. a form of Christianity)

      7. 20 million Joseph Stalin 20C (Communism)

      8. 19 million Mideast Slave Trade 7C-19C (Islam)

      9. 17 million Timur Lenk 14C-15C

      10. 16 million Atlantic Slave Trade 15C-19C (Christianity)

      11. 15 million First World War 20C (Christians vs. Christians)

      12. 15 million Conquest of the Americas 15C-19C (Christians vs. Pagans)

      13. 13 million Muslim Conquest of India 11C-18C

      14. 10 million An Lushan Revolt 8C

      15. 10 million Xin Dynasty 1C

      16. 9 million Russian Civil War 20C (Christians vs Communists)

      17. 8 million Fall of Rome 5C (Pagans vs. Pagans)

      18. 8 million Congo Free State 19C-20C (Christians)

      19. 7½ million Thirty Years War 17C (Christians vs Christians)

      20. 7½ million Fall of the Yuan Dynasty 14C

      *:" Is religion responsible for more violent deaths than any other cause?

      A: No, of course not – unless you define religion so broadly as to be meaningless. Just take the four deadliest events of the 20th Century – Two World Wars, Red China and the Soviet Union – no religious motivation there, unless you consider every belief system to be a religion."

      Q: So, what you're saying is that religion has never killed anyone.

      A: Arrgh... You all-or-nothing people drive me crazy. There are many doc-umented examples where members of one religion try to exterminate the members of another religion. Causation is always complex, but if the only difference between two warring groups is religion, then that certainly sounds like a religious conflict to me. Is it the number one cause of mass homicide in human history? No. Of the 22 worst episodes of mass killing, maybe four were primarily religious. Is that a lot? Well, it's more than the number of wars fought over soccer, or s-ex (The Trojan and Sabine Wars don't even make the list.), but less than the number fought over land, money, glory or prestige.

      In my Index, I list 41 religious conflicts compared with 27 oppressions under "Communism", 24 under Colonialism, 2 under "Railroads" and 2 under "Scapegoats". Make of that what you will."

      May 28, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
    • Fred

      Religion is not the basis for all wars. Read a book or turn on a television. Get educated.

      May 28, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
    • Glad I'll Be Left Behind

      Religion is almost always an underlying reason to go to war. Have you read any history books aside from the bible? Get educated please, evolution and global warming are real.

      May 28, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
  15. Leo

    Matthew 5
    5 When Jesus saw the crowds, He went up on the mountain; and after He sat down, His disciples came to Him. 2 He opened His mouth and began to teach them, saying,

    3 “ Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

    4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

    5 “Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth.

    6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

    7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

    8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

    9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

    10 “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

    11 “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

    May 28, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
    • Frank

      Psalm 137:9 – Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones.

      May 28, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
    • Honey Badger Dont Care

      I can quote nonsensical bible quotes too.

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

      “If a man’s testicIes are crushed or his pe nis is cut off, he may not be admitted to the assembly of the Lord.”
      –Deuteronomy 23

      “All right,” the Lord said. “You may bake your bread with cow dung instead of human dung.”
      –Ezekiel 4:12-15

      May 28, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
    • Leo

      Psalm 137

      137 By the rivers of Babylon, There we sat down and wept, When we remembered Zion.

      2 Upon the willows in the midst of it We hung our harps.

      3 For there our captors demanded of us songs, And our tormentors mirth, saying, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion.”

      4 How can we sing the Lord’s song In a foreign land?

      5 If I forget you, O Jerusalem, May my right hand forget her skill.

      6 May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth If I do not remember you, If I do not exalt Jerusalem Above my chief joy.

      7 Remember, O Lord, against the sons of Edom The day of Jerusalem, Who said, “Raze it, raze it To its very foundation.”

      8 O daughter of Babylon, you devastated one, How blessed will be the one who repays you
      With the recompense with which you have repaid us.

      9 How blessed will be the one who seizes and dashes your little ones Against the rock.

      Yes the Prayers of the captives were recorded and unedited, yes they hoped for vengence for what the Babylonians did to them.

      The Chaldeans latter came and Conquered Babylon.

      Out of Context doesn't provide the real picture.

      The Bible also says there is no God?

      But in Context a Fool says there is no God!!

      May 28, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
    • Leo

      Deuteronomy 23 – Persons Excluded from the Assembly

      23 “ No one who is emasculated or has his male organ cut off shall enter the assembly of the Lord. 2 No one of illegitimate birth shall enter the assembly of the Lord; none of his descendants, even to the tenth generation, shall enter the assembly of the Lord. 3 No Ammonite or Moabite shall enter the assembly of the Lord; none of their descendants, even to the tenth generation, shall ever enter the assembly of the Lord, 4 because they did not meet you with food and water on the way when you came out of Egypt, and because they hired against you Balaam the son of Beor from Pethor of Mesopotamia, to curse you. 5 Nevertheless, the Lord your God was not willing to listen to Balaam, but the Lord your God turned the curse into a blessing for you because the Lord your God loves you. 6 You shall never seek their peace or their prosperity all your days.

      May 28, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
  16. A Reasoner

    Evangelize the traumatized! Works almost as well as warping vulnerable children's minds before they turn into critical thinkers. PTSD should not be used as a recruiting tool for "god's army," and treated by instilling Bronze Age mythology. Without that nonsense, people tend to value the only life afforded everyone and are less willing to waste them.

    May 28, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
    • Frank

      Agree..there's nothing more repugnant and repulsive than some believer in a sky daddy taking advantage of victims of trauma at their most weakened state and inject their poison into them. I can't believe this guy is being paid with my tax dollars to essentailly rape these poor guys. Same with missionaries who swoop in after an earthquake or other desperate people and lure them with food and shelter if they succumb to their treachery.

      May 28, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
    • A Serpent's Thought

      A Reasoner & Frank,

      Do you 2 honestly and consciensciously consider yourselves to be the know-it-alls of venerabilities common? Is your conscience so skewered and discombobulated with hate and denial of unsoundness to make unfavorable clamourings of worded disruptions! Your judgments are not only unsound, they are unreasoned and do spark the kindling wood of desparation on your counts! Flame on you bring forth! Well, hell's bells and fvck this shlt for you both are so full of deviltries' conscience minglings you may never be right and may well carry your loads of dung to your death-chambers!

      Let God and let God do what God does best! He ctreates life from life's seeds and He does watch over all lifes construction from conception to birthing!

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

      May 28, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
    • Frank

      @Serpent...we couldn't have asked for a better example of what religion does to the human mind. I hope you get well soon.

      May 28, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
    • Cq

      Interestingly, if their impressionable young people found their answers in a less popular religious group here at home that group would likely be accused of preying on their vulnerability, and likely called a cult.

      May 28, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
  17. Voice of Reason

    Human = 86 billion neurons

    Octopus = 300 million neurons

    Believers = 0 neurons, the same as a sponge, thus the reasoning why they soak-up the BS!

    May 28, 2012 at 11:59 am |
    • Rick James

      I don't truly think that all believers are stupid. It's just that they are being intellectually dishonest without knowing it. If nothing in the Bible raises your eyebrow, then you are not thinking.

      May 28, 2012 at 12:04 pm |
    • A Serpent's Thought

      As nuetrons and protons quiver easily centered, the electron waiver about and around! These super small seeds of celestial Life and all atomically centered planetary celestialness are the kingdoms domains of God and all Godliness treasures! That which cannot be seen microscopically is of God's Kingdoms! The things celestially recognized is mankinds' domains! Live one's life here upon the celestial province and either die knowing or die not knowing. These are the only 2 choices in death's gates!

      May 28, 2012 at 12:15 pm |
    • Rick James

      Serpent, why do you write? Do you truly think what you write makes sense to anyone but yourself?

      May 28, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      @Rick James
      "I don't truly think that all believers are stupid."

      Really? If you show them scientific proof and they say it is false, you don't think that's stupid? I totally disagree with your reasoning.

      May 28, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
    • Rick James

      I get what you are saying. The concept of religion certainly makes a person seek less information and not believe evidence which is stupid. I just don't think all believers are the same. Some won't believe evolution despite the overwhelming evidence it has (truly stupid) while some would (although those that would attribute it to God, which is wrong).

      May 28, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
    • A Serpent's Thought

      Rick James,

      Why Rick do you write and answer that which I and others post in writngs? I am no more levied as being leveled does construe one to surmize let alone ponder upon! God watches with much pleasentries as we banter about here to there in our volumes of scripted personalisms!

      May 28, 2012 at 12:41 pm |
    • Rick James

      Because that's usually how conversation works. And still making up words, I see.

      May 28, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
    • A Serpent's Thought

      Voice of Reason & Rick James,

      People of the world are just that worldly in their offerings! People of God are Godly and in spiritual recogning they do live in their supplanedness way(s)! Either one does or they do not! Simple simplicities, nothing more and never the less!

      May 28, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
    • Glad I'll Be Left Behind

      This thread made my day. lmao. 'still making up words, i see'... i think i peed a little.

      May 28, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
    • Glad I'll Be Left Behind

      I can agree that not all delusional people are stupid, they just have stupid beliefs and thoughts. I have some delusional people in my family, but i still love them. Yes, a naughty atheists can still love, WITHOUT BEING TOLD BY GREATER BEINGS THAT DON'T EXIST. ... just sayin'

      May 28, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
  18. Honey Badger Dont Care

    Since you have no evidence that any of that is true I can dismiss it just as quickly.

    May 28, 2012 at 11:52 am |
    • Honey Badger Dont Care

      Sorry, that was to Serpent below.

      May 28, 2012 at 11:52 am |
    • A Serpent's Thought

      Honey Badger Dont Care,

      "Evidence" is not needed where faith does abound and flourish within the minds of truth-filed believers in a spirit filled void of vastly enormous immensity beyond the framed works of celestial tranquility! All things celestial are made up of the atomic civilities commonwealths.

      God is the presence of things searched for and the reality of issues wondered upon. Death is just the beginning of one's soul-journies and the end of living one's life upon this celestial void. Back into and upon the atomic plains of reletivities does one's energy flow, to return and become that which was and is to forever and always be the part and parcel of atomic cosmologies!

      Therefor, live in one's abundant measure and make good conscience your pressured life ways! Lead one's own life along your beaten path and make waves upon the waters of Life! Let denial alone! Let God allow you to see spiritual realities for Christ's sake!

      May 28, 2012 at 12:05 pm |
    • Tom Leykis

      A Serpents thought is one of those uneducated, racist/bigotted, ignorant, delusional "team jesus/godsquad" members with no background in science, math, logic or reason but has done plenty of snake dancing in tennessee. Lol facepalm. They are what comprise the te@baggers.

      May 28, 2012 at 12:10 pm |
    • A Serpent's Thought

      Tom Leykis,

      Your headiness is spewing forth your dungeons wit and reviling pseudo cyanatical wordisms with little pleasentries of my fan faired wanting!

      May 28, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
  19. Don

    I think what the Army should do is pair him up with the Muslim equivalent and put them both on the front line. When they can get along throw in a Rabbi and when they finally get along we can figure out how to end these wars and start using our most valuable resources for something more constructive

    May 28, 2012 at 11:50 am |
  20. A Serpent's Thought

    God is the presence of things searched for and the reality of issues wondered upon. Death is just the beginning of one's soul-journies and the end of living one's life upon this celestial void. Back into and upon the atomic plains of reletivities does one's energy flow, to return and become that which was and is to forever and always be the part and parcel of atomic cosmologies! Therefor, live in one's abundant measure and make good conscience your pressured life ways! Lead one's own life along your beaten path and make waves upon the waters of Life! Let denial alone! Let God allow you to see spiritual realities for Christ's sake!

    May 28, 2012 at 11:47 am |
    • Rick James

      What a bunch a crap you threw up. I guess serpents can't really think well.

      May 28, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
    • Tom Leykis

      Take your lips from the crack pipe. You're a cretin. Lol

      May 28, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
    • A Serpent's Thought

      Rick James

      Serpents know the truths of realisms far better than mere human mortals can comprehend and consciously acknowledge! Afterall, did not the father of all serpents put a curse upon all mankind without one shot being levied?

      May 28, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
    • A Serpent's Thought

      Tom Leykis,

      Been there and done that! Been many years ago though. Smoke is where i'm now at and may well be till my day of death does come!

      May 28, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
    • Cq

      How do you know that death isn't the end? Because you yearn for it not to be?

      May 28, 2012 at 2:41 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.