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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.

- Moni Basu

Filed under: Christianity • Military

soundoff (2,230 Responses)
  1. Prayers are imaginary talking inside your head.

    Atheists are the most hateful, bigoted people on the face of God's green earth. We love these CNN "religious" blogs because they're really not blogs at all. They're softball pitches to us - so we can come on line and spew our ignorance and hatred.

    It's the only form of bigotry that is not only approved by CNN, but also encouraged.

    May 27, 2012 at 8:23 am |
    • Prayers are imaginary talking inside your head.

      And I am the biggest, dumbest troll on this website.

      May 27, 2012 at 8:24 am |
    • Frank

      Says the idiot who says prayers are imaginary...classic.

      May 27, 2012 at 8:25 am |
    • Prayers are imaginary talking inside your head.

      Yes. That would be me.

      May 27, 2012 at 8:27 am |
    • Mirosal

      Thanks for proving just how much religion rots the brain. I'm sure your mommy and the "daddy" she brought home last night from the bar will be so proud of you when they wake up with their hangovers.

      May 27, 2012 at 8:28 am |
    • Prayers are imaginary talking inside your head.

      But that's just it, Mirasol.... I am YOU. I agree with everything you say.

      And I'm a complete idiot. And I love to post my stupidity.

      Post some more. I love it!

      May 27, 2012 at 8:35 am |
    • CantMYOB

      atheists ae humans without souls, prayers have no use for them. it is those of us who possess a soul that benefit from prayer, why is this arguement still going on? atheists cant see it, it is not there. We who feel the connection, know the truth for wht it is, it can never be argued. my dog has no soul, but it doesnt argue wih me

      May 27, 2012 at 8:37 am |
    • Mirosal

      You can't be me. I know how to spell my screen name properly.

      May 27, 2012 at 8:38 am |
    • Mirosal

      So, just to be clear, you are saying that the 5 billion on this planet who do NOT follow the christian "god" have no soul, is that correct?

      May 27, 2012 at 8:40 am |
    • Jim Thane

      NO, what I am saying is that the creator did not give every human a soul. there are not 6 billion souls lol. it is why we have atheists. no one with a soul could ever concieve of their not being a higher power, we feel it. this arguement is stupid.

      May 27, 2012 at 8:45 am |
    • Hitchens

      I think what was said was "atheists" have no soul, or no more than 1% of the world population. More correctly the atheist would stlll have a soul but it would be shriveled and atrophied until it resembled dead. There is always hope for redemption as long as a person lives.

      May 27, 2012 at 8:45 am |
    • Mirosal

      So you are the new "chosen people"? How arrogant of you. And the other 5 billion people, are they just fodder?

      May 27, 2012 at 8:48 am |
    • cosmicsnoop

      There are people without SOULS?!? You people are truly crazy if you believe that nonsense. Keep going to Sunday school and learn all about mythology.

      May 27, 2012 at 8:51 am |
    • ןןɐq ʎʞɔnq

      According to the god delusion, ALL humans have souls, athesists or not. First you say atheists souls are "going to hell", now you say they don't have one. Sheeesh. Make up your mind.

      May 27, 2012 at 9:01 am |
  2. Jim

    He's a good man.

    May 27, 2012 at 8:15 am |
  3. PJ

    The defensive, nasty atheist trolls appear again resorting to hurling insults rather then some sort of intelligent persuasive remarks. Go away!

    May 27, 2012 at 8:05 am |
    • Prayers are imaginary talking inside your head.

      I can't help it. I'm an idiot and I have no life.

      What else do you expect me to do 7 a.m. on Sunday morning.

      May 27, 2012 at 8:07 am |
    • ןןɐq ʎʞɔnq

      The "Everything is all nice, everything will be ok, don't worry, let's pretend" board is under construction. You will have a home soon. Meanwhile, there is booz and valium.

      May 27, 2012 at 8:19 am |
    • Mirosal

      PJ, it isn't the Atheists who are doing the trolling and name stealing. we have nothing to hide, and nothing to fear. We don't have any reason to use different screen names.

      May 27, 2012 at 8:30 am |
  4. Prayers are imaginary talking inside your head.

    Hey, where did I go?

    May 27, 2012 at 8:02 am |
  5. ja-coffalotte

    Thanks for wasting your life believing in a fairy tale! Sorry Joseph, somebody hit that.

    May 27, 2012 at 7:58 am |
  6. ja-coffalotte

    A rube, corporate pawn, really wants Christ on the battlefield? What a loser, all wrapped up in organized religion and war, what a retard.

    May 27, 2012 at 7:57 am |
    • wilypagan

      I think that sums him up quite nicely.

      May 27, 2012 at 11:57 am |
  7. kentuckyscience.com

    A virgin birth is an evolutinary birth. It happens in several diferent speicies. The Komoto Dragon is a example. Thus there is a virgin birth gene.

    Therefore the principles of human evolution from an insane species require a virgin birth of Adam and Eve for the establishment of a moral and just human government (Isaiah 9:6).

    Unfortunately, many will not be saved. Because they do not love God, thus there is no desire within to accept the free gift of salvation.

    Satan hates free will; he desires to tell you exactly what to do and if it were up to him only Hell would exist. Satan is by definition a control freak (Mark 5:2-5). Legion was possessed by evil, so his behavior shows us the nature of evil. However Satan should not be feared, because Satan cannot fundamentally destroy or tear apart your spirit, which means that Spirit would no longer exist in Heaven or Hell. Why not to hell? That might be a decision of Moses (John 5:45). A power of God concerns being remembered (Matthew 26:24) (Matthew 18:6). This is the reason even the demons believe that God is real and obey his commands (Luke 10:17). God has the power to create and destroy.

    May 27, 2012 at 7:54 am |
    • ןןɐq ʎʞɔnq

      The first clue was "kentuckyscience". Bwahahahahahahaha. Fool. So pathetic THAT is what passes for "science" in Kentucky.

      May 27, 2012 at 8:00 am |
    • ןןɐq ʎʞɔnq

      The human genome has been unraveled. There is NO "virgin birth gene". Parthenogenesis is observed, but NEVER in humans. You know NOTHING about the bible.
      To wit :
      Isaiah 7 talks about the history of King Ahaz, son of Jotham, the son of Uzziah, who was king of Judah. At the time, King Rezin of Aram and Pekah, son of Remaliah, King of Israel, marched up to fight against Jerusalem, and the campaign was long and protracted. See the Syro-Ephraimite War, (Wikipedia : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Syro-Ephraimite_War ), and it happened in the 8th Century (734) BC. When Ahaz was loosing faith, Isaiah went to visit him, and told him to "buck up", keep the faith, and continue the war, and told him that the SIGN from god, that they were favored, was that one of his wives, (a "woman of marriageable age") would be found to be with child. The SIGN was the CHILD, (and NOT the manner of the birth). ...."And they shall name him Emmanuel" which means "god is with us". The CHILD was the SIGN. The sign was NOT the manner of the birth.

      b. Any devout Jew in the time of the Roman occupation, (around 60 AD), would know that story, from Isaiah, and when they heard the words "a woman, (of marriageable age) will be found to be with child" they would connect the stories in their brains, and recognize that the gospel text's intention was to remind them of the Isaiah story, and would "harken" back to it, and realize the intent of the author was to claim that THIS child also was a sign. The general intent of the Gospel of Matthew was to claim the fulfillment of the various prophesies regarding the messiah, and this one was another one of those claims/stories of fulfillment.

      c. The word "virgin" is a mistranslation, of a translation. So WE have a translation, of a mis-translation, of a translation. Matthew, writing in Greek about the "virgin birth" of Jesus, quotes the Septuagint text of Isaiah 7:14-16, which uses the Greek word "παρθένος" (parthenos,), (we still use the term "parthenogenesis") while the original Hebrew text has "עלמה" (almah), which has the slightly wider meaning of an unmarried, betrothed,or newly wed woman such as in the case of Ahaz' betrothed Abijah, daughter of Zechariah. He NEVER meant to imply that he was asserting "gynecological" claims, and THAT whole business was "off-the-wall", a mistranslation, taken to ridiculous extremes, by interpreters who missed the point. THE CHILD was the sign.

      Also interesting that Matthew (1:25) only says that Joseph "knew her not till she brought forth her firstborn son". It does NOT say she REMAINED a virgin. (??)

      See also : Mother Goddess, ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mother_goddess ) and Joseph Campbell, ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goddess ) and Courtly Love, ( http://cla.calpoly.edu/~dschwart/engl513...ourtly.htm ). The business of Mary, and her idealized state, was extremely important in the civilization/culture of the West, and in some circles remains very important today, (Lourdes & claims of "Marian" apparitions" etc., etc.)

      May 27, 2012 at 8:23 am |
  8. Katie

    It's true America as a whole is disconnected from what the soldiers are going through, but by necessity, we have to be. We are not soldiers. Most of us couldn't handle the horrors of being soldiers – living in fear, shooting people and having people shoot at you, seeing people we live and work with blown into bloody bits. We would become an entire nation of PTSD. How dysfunctional would that be?

    War is not glorious. It's not righteous. It's not a video game. Nobody 'wins' in war. Most wars do not end, even with the drawing up of treaty, because the anger, fear, revenge, hatred smolder and sooner or later erupt again and the cycle starts over. People die. People get hurt. Innocent people who have little or no stake in the fighting are hurt, sometimes killed – and that alone can start someone else down the path toward war.

    I commend everyone who joins the military, who is willing to lay their life down for the sake of their president's decision. I don't always agree with the decision (MY freedoms aren't at stake in Afghanistan or Iraq) but I recognize the sacrifice these boys and girls are making, as well as the sacrifices their families are making. I salute you all for willingly entering a reality that no one should have to face.

    May 27, 2012 at 7:54 am |
    • ןןɐq ʎʞɔnq

      If your freedoms are not at stake, as everyone knows, then why commend them ? It's a waste of lives and treasure. So stupidity is what you commend ?

      May 27, 2012 at 8:02 am |
    • JSoto

      Those of us who are in don't always agree with the decision either, but it's impossible to know all the higher-up decision that are going to be made over the course of a military career. Regardless, you're committed once you raise your hand and swear your faith and allegiance to your country.

      May 27, 2012 at 8:17 am |
    • Di

      Katie: So true!!

      May 27, 2012 at 8:45 am |
  9. SilverHair

    If you are a believer, He is already on the battle field. A chaplain doesn't need to bring Him. A chaplain just needs to be around when one needs help when no other help is around. A firm hand squeeze at the last and a note to family can mean more that all the medals that some righteous want to pretend is of benefit.

    May 27, 2012 at 7:49 am |
  10. kentuckyscience.com

    The belief in God concerns his description. Either God is nothing that created everything out of emptiness or God is something that can neither be created nor destroyed that is dependent on nothing. How God is recognized does matter, since truth can't be deceived!

    Finite Universe – zero and one are equal (matter can be infinitely divided into nothing – God is Nothing that created everything out of emptiness) "At the Planck distance and the Planck time all physics, as we know it today collapses. This is the reason we call the beginning of the big bang a singularity. You cannot apply ordinary reasoning there. Zero and one have no sense there.OK?" J-P Burri There should be no doubt in anyone’s mind that the Big Bang views one and zero as being equal, since it states that zero appeared out of the absence of zero; then zero created something. Many scientists believe or have faith that light does not have mass, thus they believe the Universe is Finite. Religion promotes the most commonly accepted idea of the group. If light does not have mass, then it would be impossible to move an electron. Light described as a particle means nothing, if it has no mass since it would be impossible to distinguish from nothing because no mass means void of substance. If it has no substance, then nothing is present to distinguish the particle from other particles.

    The Big Bang theory prevents any condition where something has always been. Infinity is defined as the difference between one and zero. Once one and zero are the same according to the big bang, the definition of infinity as stated above is no longer valid. If the big bang occurred, all maths must deal with the proof of 0=1.

    Infinite Universe – zero is not equal to one (there is a point where matter can't be divided – God is Something that can neither be created nor destroyed that is dependent on nothing.) An infinite universe lacks a beginning, so there is no one set past or a given future.The infinite Universe supports the view that all particles considered to be energy have mass or substance; that there is one fundamental particle which accounts for all the diverse forms of matter in the Universe. It is the ultimate example of team work, since it fundamentally has no reason to destroy itself. So, why does evil exist? Free will and without freewill, God would lack choice. Balance is the nature of perfection in the Infinite Universe. In an infinite Universe the total amount of something remains constant. When an atom is divided it no longer has the characteristics of the original element. There is a point where matter can't be divided and at this point something and nothing are distinctly defined. In the infinite Universe, the term infinite is used to describe the difference between something (1) and nothing (0). There is an infinite difference between zero and one.

    May 27, 2012 at 7:47 am |
    • Prayers are imaginary talking inside your head.

      You get up early Sunday morning to think of this crap?

      Wow. Maybe there really is a bigger loser than me on this post.

      May 27, 2012 at 7:56 am |
    • ןןɐq ʎʞɔnq

      Explain please how the "creative act "began" BEFORE time was created ?

      May 27, 2012 at 8:03 am |
    • ןןɐq ʎʞɔnq

      "Nothingness" is not observed in this universe. YOu made up your concept of "nothingness". 'Nothingness" is teeming with Dark Energy and Dark Matter.

      May 27, 2012 at 8:04 am |
    • ןןɐq ʎʞɔnq

      Show us the "proof" 0=1.

      May 27, 2012 at 8:06 am |
    • ןןɐq ʎʞɔnq

      Prove there is a "point where matter can't be divided". You just haven't invented "a better ruler" yet. That is arrogance beyond belief.

      May 27, 2012 at 8:08 am |
    • Tim

      OMG....you really are brainwashed.
      Its your self fulfilling analysis that needs redirection. GOD...the puppet master...created the never ending galaxies. That dude can mulittask. You are enslaved by your religious tendencies.

      May 27, 2012 at 8:09 am |
    • ןןɐq ʎʞɔnq

      No matter how contorted your reason to justify a god, you got no god. It cannot possibly be Yahweh Sabaoth, (the "God of the Armies")
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MlnnWbkMlbg

      May 27, 2012 at 8:11 am |
    • ElmerGantry

      Religion equivalent of technobabble, aka the technique the con artist uses to sell snake oil to the credulous.

      May 27, 2012 at 8:31 am |
    • gunnde

      I believe you're trying to use your finite human reason to contain and confine infinite Truth – the totality of which you cannot truly imagine, because your perspective of it is absolutely skewed, as long as you're mortal. Accordingly, your 0 = 1 or 0 does not = 1 formulas are premised on logic that may not be applicable in the entirety of the infinite universe in which you find yourself contained one corner currently. Bottom line: only a fool would believe in Christ based on human understanding of science; yet, a scientist cannot absolutely disprove Christ's omniscience with known science. That's why the teners of Christian and non-Christian religious faiths trump human cognition/understanding/science precepts-concepts and always will - at least until humanity can actually separate fact from fiction, based on our ability to see with the same perspective that the religious believe is present with their god(s) or God.

      May 27, 2012 at 8:36 am |
    • ןןɐq ʎʞɔnq

      "infinite Truth – the totality of which you cannot truly imagine, because your perspective of it is absolutely skewed, as long as you're mortal"

      -There is NO proof that we are ANYTHING other than mortal, thus your premise is false. It's a rehash of "god of the gaps". "Oh we just don't understand yet". Well, what happens when we DO get more understanding. Your god is increasinginly, incrementally unnecessary. Thank you for agreeing the universe may not be intuitive. We know it is not, ("double slit"...). ""Believing in Christ" IS based on something. What is it ? There's the rub. "Christ", and "this christ" are human historical artifacts. When you know they history, and the bungling, he is impossible. A scientist would not even attempt to "disprove christ". That's nonsence. Impossible from any angle You can't "disprove spaghetti monster".
      As for "trumping", sorry...you JUMPED to that illogical conclusion, without saying what the process of the jump was, or why you CHOSE to do it. SO the tenets of Baal worship trump human understanding. Hahahahaha. No matter how ytou do it, it's ALL just going on INSIDE YOUR brain, and results from known chemical reactions. There is NO evidence for anything else.

      May 27, 2012 at 8:59 am |
  11. Howie76

    His personality was probably like that before she just did not realize it while raising 3 kids. She probably married him at a young age. Once he was gone for over a year she realized she could load the dishwasher with out his obsessive compulsive disorder and that is where the problem comes in. He will continue to be that way. He will not change. Going oversea just made his personality disorder magnified. Most pastors are in it for the control over the flock and to hear everyone tell them how great they are.

    May 27, 2012 at 7:45 am |
    • Chuck

      spot on I think

      May 27, 2012 at 7:53 am |
    • keith travis

      You are an idiot. You presume to know him. I do know him and his wife personally...you are wrong on all counts.

      May 27, 2012 at 7:59 am |
    • msadr

      You don't know that guy or his wife. But you feel the arrogant urge to make judgements about them personally on a public forum? And you make judgements about ALL pastors? Do you personally know even 1 pastor? My father was a pastor and I promise you he wasn't in it for "control" over anybody. You don't know what you're talking about, but you're arrogant enough to believe you do. astounding.

      May 27, 2012 at 8:39 am |
    • Howie76

      I'm feeling the love. Perhaps this will make this man look deeper into why he is a pastor.

      May 27, 2012 at 9:28 am |
    • Miriam

      I cannot believe the unkind, uninformed and judgmental posts on this man, whom none of the posters have ever met. He went to places most of us will never go, and a lot of his ciritics would never have the guts to go, to give comfort to his fellow men – and you sit here on a Memorial Day and condemn him, his beliefs, his profession? You act like you know what his early married life was like? Or I suppose you all have perfect marriages and have never had to work through an issue with yur spouse? I know atheist returned vets and Christian returned vets and many of them suffer from PTSD – and in the same ways. . Hypervigilance and tryng to control your environment ( because war is so chaotic) is a symptom. So, this man realizes it, addresses the symptoms and tries to heal himself and reconciles with his wife. Sounds like an upright man to me.

      Perhaps the trolls and haters on here can visit some of our war memorials on this weekend (for those in DC, there is one to the Nuns of the Battlefield located at the intersection of Rhode Island Ave NW, M St & Connecticut Ave NW in Washington, D.C., ) and re-engage their hearts and humility. None of us have all the answers.

      May 27, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
    • Howie76

      Spent 4 years at Fort Carson know a little about the military.

      May 27, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
  12. Prayers are imaginary talking inside your head.

    I see my name has been stolen.

    This shows me that there is a Christian here who thinks this is the only way to respond to my words.
    And this also shows me CNN is allowing this to happen.

    To CNN: Your Belief Blog is worthless because of this sort of thing.
    To my name-stealing stalker: You show your weakness and lack of intelligence by stealing my name.

    May 27, 2012 at 7:38 am |
    • Prayers are imaginary talking inside your head.

      Besides being a loser, I also like to argue with myself on line.

      As you can see, I'm quite an idiot.

      May 27, 2012 at 7:50 am |
    • wrong

      the worst part about people like you is you assign blame. do you really think someone sits around and gives a hoot what we write beyond an autobot spotting "hot words" to review? you don't own this user name your dumbsh$%&t!!! it's an open field on a cheap old school system.

      May 27, 2012 at 8:02 am |
  13. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    I went to po.op and God was watching me. We watches me p.oop all the time. I pray that he will stop watching me p.oop but he won't. Prayer must not work.

    May 27, 2012 at 7:34 am |
    • common sense needed

      What a sad pathetic little creature

      May 27, 2012 at 7:37 am |
    • Prayers are imaginary talking inside your head.

      My mommy watches me poop. Then she comes and cleans me.

      I'm 35 years old.

      May 27, 2012 at 7:51 am |
  14. libertarian atheist

    There are no chaplains in foxholes.

    May 27, 2012 at 7:32 am |
    • Brent Slensker

      Amen!

      May 27, 2012 at 7:34 am |
    • Michael

      Neither atheists.

      May 27, 2012 at 7:42 am |
    • Prayers are imaginary talking inside your head.

      There aren't any atheists, either.

      May 27, 2012 at 7:52 am |
    • KG

      I'm willing to bet you were didn't fight in Afgahnistan or Iraq nor have ever been directly confronted with your own mortality. I pray that God grants aetheists their wish upon death: a long, dark sleep and oblivion. Personally, I choose to believe that God does exist and has a place of contentment waiting for all mankind when we pass from this life. It's a bit much to ask though, as I see how petty and selfish people can become. I'm not sure many deserve such an afterlife.

      May 27, 2012 at 7:56 am |
    • Chuck

      This atheist was in a foxhole with another atheist and we were shooting and killing the m-- f-- that were trying to kill us.

      May 27, 2012 at 7:56 am |
    • dear KG

      it's sad to think the only reason you find your religion is you believe in a silly tale about pearly gates and getting to see your dog in heaven!

      May 27, 2012 at 8:05 am |
    • babooph

      I have seen a few people die ,who knew they were soon to be gone,but could still speak lucidly-NONE of them spoke of ANYTHING involving religion....

      May 27, 2012 at 8:12 am |
  15. Reality

    Sunday Morning, 2012

    The Apostles' Creed 2011: (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 27, 2012 at 7:28 am |
    • .....

      Do not waste precious time on reality BS

      May 27, 2012 at 7:30 am |
  16. ja-coffalotte

    "He wanted to bring Jesus to the battlefield".........Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa? There has not been a war with honor since WWII, now days our soldiers are just corporate pawns who's lives are not worth squat to the likes of Romney and the GOP.

    May 27, 2012 at 7:27 am |
    • Reality

      LBJ – Vietnam
      Clinton- The Balkans
      Obama- Iraq and Afghanistan

      May 27, 2012 at 7:31 am |
    • Reality

      Some elements of our War on Terror and Aggression:

      -Operation Iraqi Freedom- The 24/7 Sunni-Shiite centuries-old blood feud currently being carried out in Iraq, US Troops killed in action, 3,480 and 928 in non combat roles as of 09/15/2011/, 102,522 – 112,049 Iraqi civilians killed as of 9/16/2011/, mostly due to suicide bombers, land mines and bombs of various types, http://www.iraqbodycount.org/ and http://www.defenselink.mil/news/casualty.pdf

      – Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan: US troops 1,385 killed in action, 273 killed in non-combat situations as of 09/15/2011. Over 40,000 Afghan civilians killed mostly due to the dark-age, koranic-driven Taliban acts of horror,

      – Sa-dd-am, his sons and major he-nchmen have been deleted. Sa-dd-am's bravado about WMD was one of his major mistakes. Kuwait was saved.

      – Iran is being been contained. (beside containing the Sunni-Shiite civil war in Baghdad, that is the main reason we were in Iraq. And yes, essential oil continues to flow from the region.)

      – North Korea is still u-ncivil but is contained.

      – Northern Ireland is finally at peace.

      – The Jews and Palestinians are being separated by walls. Hopefully the walls will follow the 1948 UN accords. Unfortunately the Annapolis Peace Conference was not successful. And unfortunately the recent events in Gaza has put this situation back to “squ-are one”. And this significant stupidity is driven by the mythical foundations of both religions!!!

      – – Fa-na–tical Islam has basically been contained to the Middle East but a wall between India and Pakistan would be a plus for world peace. Ditto for a wall between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

      – Timothy McVeigh was exe-cuted. Terry Nichols escaped the death penalty twice because of deadlocked juries. He was sentenced to 161 consecutive life terms without the possibility of parole,[3][7] and is incarcerated in ADX Florence, a super maximum security prison near Florence, Colorado. He shares a cellblock that is commonly referred to as "Bombers Row" with Ramzi Yousef and Ted Kaczynski

      – Eric Ru-dolph is spending three life terms in pri-son with no par-ole.

      – Jim Jones, David Koresh, Kaczynski, the "nuns" from Rwanda, and the KKK were all dealt with and either eliminated themselves or are being punished.

      – Islamic Sudan, Dar-fur and So-malia are still terror hot spots.

      – The terror and tor-ture of Muslims in Bosnia, Kosovo and Kuwait were ended by the proper application of the military forces of the USA and her freedom-loving friends. Ra-dovan Karadzic was finally captured on 7/23/08 and is charged with genocide, crimes against humanity and violations of the law of war – charges related to the 1992-1995 civil war that followed Bosnia-Herzegovina's secession from Yugoslavia.

      The capture of Ratko Mladić: (Serbian Cyrillic: Ратко Младић, pronounced [râtkɔ mlǎːditɕ], born 12 March 1943[1][2]) is an accused war criminal and a former Bosnian Serb military leader. On May 31, 2011, Mladić was extradited to The Hague, where he was processed at the detention center that holds suspects for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).[3] His trial began on 3 June 2011.

      – the bloody terror brought about by the Ja-panese, Na-zis and Co-mmunists was with great difficulty eliminated by the good guys.

      – Bin Laden was executed for crimes against humanity on May 1, 2011

      – Ditto for Anwar al-Awlaki on September 30, 2011

      May 27, 2012 at 7:36 am |
    • DeTamble

      LBJ – Vietnam
      Clinton- The Balkans
      Bush – Iraq and Afghanistan.....

      Fixed that for you, free of charge.

      May 27, 2012 at 7:42 am |
    • Katie

      Hey Reality – Obama INHERITED Irag and Afghanistan, don't go pinning those on him. Bush longed for a reason to get into Iraq and Cheney wanted to make money for Haliburton. They only supposedly went to Afghanistan to get Osama bin Ladin. Obama did that – in Pakistan. Obama put an end to the illegal fighting in Iraq.

      Reality is NOT in the eyes of the beholder. Yes, the Dems can take responsibility for Vietnam – blame Kennedy, too. And yes, Clinton can take responsibility for our being involved in the Balkans. But Reagan invaded Panama, and Grenada. Bush I sent troops into Kuwait. And Bush II is 100% responsible for our being in Iraq and Afghanistan.

      May 27, 2012 at 8:00 am |
  17. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    May 27, 2012 at 7:21 am |
    • Chuck

      Get a grip. Prayer is just meditation and changes nothing unless you get off your knees afterwards and do something to make a change.

      May 27, 2012 at 7:48 am |
  18. Praying is imaginary talking inside your head.

    I'm sorry if I have offended anyone with my ignorance. The only reason I'm line this morning is because I have no life and there's nothing better to do but spew my stupidity on the web. Actually, I'm quite a wretch of a human being.

    And the hatred hurts.

    May 27, 2012 at 7:19 am |
    • Prayers are imaginary talking inside your head.

      To my name-stealing stalker: Enjoy your worthless game. You only show people that you think I am too much for you to handle.

      May 27, 2012 at 7:40 am |
    • Prayers are imaginary talking inside your head.

      Stop arguing with me!

      Oh, God.... I hate myself.

      I wish I could stop.

      May 27, 2012 at 7:53 am |
  19. To all those who are hurting this morning...

    We remember you in our Prayers.
    May God Almighty heal and comfort you!

    May 27, 2012 at 7:19 am |
    • Frank

      But since remembering them in our prayers is a total waste of time and doesn't help them one bit how 'bout you just tell them we hope they get better and spend quality time today with those who care most for them.

      May 27, 2012 at 8:14 am |
  20. Stacy

    To my point, Brother Jake.

    May 27, 2012 at 7:11 am |
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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.