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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. shep

    My problem with being deployed was the same thing my father experienced in Vietnam. The idea behind war is conquest. Pure and simple. Since WWII, America has engaged in police actions. None have gone well. You must utterly defeat the enemy. Swiftly and without mercy. America is capable of destroying its enemies in short work. But it lacks the will to do it. And that is why America's fighting men are fed up. If I'm going to die, make it be for something.

    May 27, 2012 at 11:46 am |
    • jim thane

      be thankful they lack the will, just hope they lack the incentive to continue and pull out.

      May 27, 2012 at 11:48 am |
  2. alphonzo lester

    "Christ onto the battlefield." you people are sick.

    May 27, 2012 at 11:43 am |
    • whoryou

      If you are in trouble, you need help to get you through. Was is sick about that? Sometimes in life you must deal with situations you dont want, but have too. Its called life.

      So why not seek help especially on the battlefield?

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

      Get a therapist that lives in reality.

      May 27, 2012 at 12:02 pm |
    • Mike

      Yes they are sick. That's why they need 'thee' crutch. They've been taught that since they were born. That they are good for nothing. That they can't do it on their own. That their thinking is faulty. (In their case I would agree, agreeing to being brainwashed is proof.) The bible says to cast aside everything you own or desire and pick up your cross and follow jesus...but they really don't do that. They put the cross on everything they do and claim God is following them. Which clearly show the bible is fraudulent and they know it. They wield it as power and when those inevitable pesky questions arise...the attempt to kill the messenger, the message. They then go into divide to conquer mode, and reel off another 1000 yrs of futility.

      May 27, 2012 at 12:06 pm |
    • The Image of God

      whoryou... Is not your creator everywhere? Do you need to have the spirit to you? How fragile and fleeting is your knowledge of God. Learn about Love.

      May 27, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
  3. Gary Oppewall

    – Excerpt from a speech delivered in 1933, by Major General Smedley Butler, USMC.
    War is just a racket. A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of people. Only a small inside group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few at the expense of the masses.
    I believe in adequate defense at the coastline and nothing else. If a nation comes over here to fight, then we'll fight. The trouble with America is that when the dollar only earns 6 percent over here, then it gets restless and goes overseas to get 100 percent. Then the flag follows the dollar and the soldiers follow the flag.
    I wouldn't go to war again as I have done to protect some lousy investment of the bankers. There are only two things we should fight for. One is the defense of our homes and the other is the Bill of Rights. War for any other reason is simply a racket.
    There isn't a trick in the racketeering bag that the military gang is blind to. It has its "finger men" to point out enemies, its "muscle men" to destroy enemies, its "brain men" to plan war preparations, and a "Big Boss" Super-Nationalistic-Capitalism.
    It may seem odd for me, a military man to adopt such a comparison. Truthfulness compels me to. I spent thirty- three years and four months in active military service as a member of this country's most agile military force, the Marine Corps. I served in all commissioned ranks from Second Lieutenant to Major-General. And during that period, I spent most of my time being a high class muscle- man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the Bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism.
    I suspected I was just part of a racket at the time. Now I am sure of it. Like all the members of the military profession, I never had a thought of my own until I left the service. My mental faculties remained in suspended animation while I obeyed the orders of higher-ups. This is typical with everyone in the military service.
    I helped make Mexico, especially Tampico, safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefits of Wall Street. The record of racketeering is long. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912 (where have I heard that name before?). I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. In China I helped to see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested.
    During those years, I had, as the boys in the back room would say, a swell racket. Looking back on it, I feel that I could have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.

    May 27, 2012 at 11:39 am |
    • jim thane

      If we had been allowed to honor the dead. for example, they HAD shown the coffins arriving in the US, we would not have tolerated it as long as we have. We were spared the tragedy of this war, only the families of soldier who died suffered in silence, because we were unable to honor him, unless of course he was a local boy or girl, and you read about in your paper on page 3.

      May 27, 2012 at 11:43 am |
    • scatheist

      They forgot to read us that quote in Marine boot camp.

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

    Story time. for one thing the bible is symbolic wrapped in a story. But the thread of truth in it, is this. when he created man in "his image", that image was the soul, not the body (sorry creationist). not every human (animal) got one. those that did, were "his people". for those looking for answers to the violence in the old testament, that should clear things up. Another thing, there are a finite number of souls, all have been existence a looong time. bodys are possessed of a soul and are 'required' to grow spiritually. those without are just humans living on earth. but they can make it difficult, most animals are selfish in nature, and that friends is the challenge. Man created a church to control them, to tell them they would go to hell for doing bad things. those with souls fear those without, souls = conscience. atheists = animals. your pitbull is good as long as its needs are met

    .For some evidence, simply look at the anger and selfish acts and words performed by atheists. think about, where do most of the hateful comments come from? dont answer, just think on it. Now not all christians have souls, most are falling for the hell scenario. you have seen them, preaching fire and brimstone and running to church every sunday. giving their last dollar to hoping to save what they dont have. BUT, and its a big but, the creator in his wisdom does allow souls to enter those animals that have evolved to a level of caring. what did he say? thats right if an atheist prayers,(sincerely lol) a soul may possess him, and guess what? you got it , you dont have to return to dust when you die. oh i know your next question

    May 27, 2012 at 11:39 am |
    • Mike

      They call that plausible deniability. I call that lying. And complete bs.

      May 27, 2012 at 11:51 am |
    • jim thane

      Mike, thats cool and its alright, you dont have to. no harm no foul. your either in one catagory or the other,

      May 27, 2012 at 11:54 am |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      You are talking out of your ass, you have no way of showing any proof to what you say, You sound as loony as a scientologist and no it is not hate to point out you are deluded, it is out of repect for you that I say this and I hope you seek help.

      May 27, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
    • The Image of God

      How is it that you, jim thane, deem what "category" people are "in"? And that there would be only two? Impose ye not thy myopic understanding of All. Learn about Love.

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

      LOL guys. I do have proof, otherwise i wouldnt say it.

      May 27, 2012 at 12:15 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      No you don't, you claim proof. Would your proof hold up in a court of law? of course not. You are the type of religious nut that will eventually make reasonable people think critically about their own beliefs.

      May 27, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
  5. chosen2

    Physical water baptism is a false vision; false teachers are blind.The Lord Jesus Christ is the water. Acts 8:36 And as they went on way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? The eunuch is reading Isaiah 53, the scriptures or the Bible is a spiritual book; God opens the eyes of his chosen people to see spiritual truth. The baptism the saves the soul is the baptism of the Holy Spirit and it happens when Jesus Christ bring salvation (forgiveness of sins) in the life of a sinner.

    May 27, 2012 at 11:39 am |
    • The Image of God

      The sight of baptism -with the baptize pinching their nose closed with one hand- is one if the more ridiculous sights.

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

      As opposed to militant atheists you call names at Christians or swear at them just because of differing beliefs. ... now that is the most chidish, and silliest thing I have ever seen!

      May 27, 2012 at 11:59 am |
  6. John

    After reading from many here who reject the Truth though they have heard it spoken, I have come to truly understand and sympathize with Jeremiah. You speak vile things of my Father and His holiness. Through your own delusions and arrogance, you bring upon yourself judgment. So shall I lament. God help us!

    Jeremiah 7:28-29 “So you shall say to them, ‘This is a nation that does not obey the voice of the Lord their God nor receive correction. Truth has perished and has been cut off from their mouth. Cut off your hair and cast it away, and take up a lamentation on the desolate heights; for the Lord has rejected and forsaken the generation of His wrath.’

    May 27, 2012 at 11:35 am |
    • The Image of God

      Do not quote from ancient books; Learn about Love.

      May 27, 2012 at 11:43 am |
    • jim thane

      You speak of fine pearls and swine reember? but this is today and mankind is ready for the truth, will we have another episode as occured in ACTS? hmm,

      May 27, 2012 at 11:45 am |
    • scatheist

      What, do you think you're writing King James Bible verses or something?

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

      scatheist

      Would it be better to write gibberish in the Atheist book of nonsense?

      May 27, 2012 at 11:58 am |
  7. Phil in Oregon

    Notice how after being separated from his family, he(with God's help) got back together with them? Most of the people who try to do those things without His help are doomed to fail. Alcohol, drugs, wild partying, etc. won't fix the problems, they will only make them worse.

    May 27, 2012 at 11:32 am |
  8. sziq

    "The Army captain had learned that people in pain are often wide-open to inviting God into their lives." ahh, yes.. lets exploit people when they are the most vulnerable..

    May 27, 2012 at 11:32 am |
    • Scott

      that is exactly why the scientologists do a lot of work with recovering drug addicts, narconon, because they are looking to find people who have addictive personalitys and replace the drug for their scifi farytails

      May 27, 2012 at 11:46 am |
    • jim thane

      There are a number of organizations that try to make good men better. some maybe better then others. but its the intent that counts, even if the reults are scattered

      May 27, 2012 at 11:50 am |
    • whoryou

      No exploitation. When we need help the most, it is just to give it. Why not Christ to help out? Is it exploiting to give hope and counsel or to ignore a persons cries.

      Exploitation assumes you dont care ... only want to serve you won benefit. By calling Christianity exploitive, you promote your own bias, thus expoliting this situation. You are a hypocrite and a seedy human being.

      May 27, 2012 at 11:53 am |
  9. Gregory

    Lynda,
    The pipe dream that war will go away is just thst a pipe dream. If you look at the big picture all countries start wars not just th e the U.S. (in case you were wondering that the preverbial US you included) What really is the harm if this man can do something to help the soilders. Hope and comfort are human too.

    May 27, 2012 at 11:31 am |
  10. Allan

    The real delusion is thinking any war is about anything but power and greed. Religion, non-religion, fear of death, racism and the rest are just tools used to manipulate us. No solution will be found for what ails us that does not include personal goodness, self-discipline and a willingness to accept and respect others.

    May 27, 2012 at 11:31 am |
  11. Jeremy

    How can gawd be on the battlefield? If you were indoctrinated as a christian (no one is ever born with religion – that stuff is forced upon us) Then you believe in the ten commandments – I'm pretty sure one of those commandments is "thou shall not kill" – I don't remember the loophole that says it is okay to act as an instrument of killing for your government and all will be well. It would make sense to me that those who go to war to kill other humans would then forfeit their place in heaven (if it existed) but it doesn't seem to work that way. Funny how it works both ways isn't it?

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

      you are confused sir. some humans are born with a conscience, some not, that is the sole difference. it boggles the mind how someone can say because THEY dont have a soul, so no one else does either, so if you dont have a job, does that mean i dont, if u dont have a car, does that mean i dont,

      May 27, 2012 at 11:35 am |
    • Don

      And when others try to kill you, what will you do? Will you stand still and let them kill you saying it's the will of God that you die? All threats are not as obvious as a person standing in front of you. The 3,000 people in the Twin Towers never saw their killers. War is not simple. It is ugly, painful, ad terrible, but if it means your life or theirs, make a choice.

      May 27, 2012 at 11:44 am |
    • Mike S

      Thank God for grace – thank you Chaps for navigating the storms and working to reconciliation. God is good. Thank you for your service and for the many men and women who have gone before us all to pay the ultimate price for our freedom.

      May 27, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
  12. Nydia

    Do not cast judgment upon others. I am sorry to hear what this man went through, but in a sence, if it brought him closer to God, that is great! but there must have been a reason God had brought him to such a devistating state, I will pray for this man and his family. "The large story" here is how a man can go through an immence state of ruthlessness and although came out of it all with some form of being touched from what he had seen, he still ultimately came back to his family and his faith with greater longing for; thus, turning the "large story" into – how much faith will man have? Such as "Job" he had lost everything – except for his faith.

    May 27, 2012 at 11:25 am |
    • jim thane

      Why do you think the creator brought him to this state, could he not have brought himself there? Why must the creator be blamed for all the bad things in the world? If i am not mistaken, man occupies the earth at this time, and excersiing his free will he makes poor judgement calls. The creators roll in all this is creating the envoriment and the lifeforms and investing soem with a soul. Beyond that man makes his own decisions, this is worse then the alcholic blaming the drink.

      May 27, 2012 at 11:29 am |
    • scatheist

      He wasn't even a combatant. Save your sympathy for real soldiers.

      May 27, 2012 at 11:35 am |
    • whoryou

      Correction, he was there helping soliders through their misery. He was a pillar of support. Not like you ... why arent you there serving your country? Why dont you stop belittling others for their efforts. I dont see you sending supports or support to our soldiers.

      You hypocrasy and bias makes me sick.

      May 27, 2012 at 11:54 am |
  13. Knucklehead

    "Why, of course the people don't want war. Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally, the common people don't want war; that is understood.

    But after all, it's the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it's always a simple matter to drag the people along whether it's a democracy, a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship.

    Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism, and exposing the country to greater danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Goering at the Nuremberg trials, 18 April 1946

    May 27, 2012 at 11:23 am |
    • mark

      GODISNOWHERE

      (READ IT AGAIN)

      Just remember why your here, its not just a coincidence. you can't see air but you can feel air. you cant see Jesus but you can feel the Holy Spirit if you open your Heart. Atheist choose to deny Jesus and all you do is complain about how you are all Victims of redicule, Your just the blind leading the blind.

      May 27, 2012 at 11:34 am |
    • Goatlocker

      20 years of service and still serving you??? Get out of your parents basement. I was trying to honor a countryman, but you rather disrespect them...Grow Up

      May 27, 2012 at 11:41 am |
    • jim thane

      Mark, that is the problem, atheists dont feel God. no one who feels him would think that way. now granted some atheists do feel him but lash out because they arent getting what they want, and they dont understand his will. But there are some who lack conscience and cant feel him.

      May 27, 2012 at 11:52 am |
  14. Goatlocker

    Thank YOU Chaps.....For those that serve this GREAT Nation, we know how important the Chaplain Corp is. Regardless if you believe or not, these wonderful men and women of faith, are the friends, therapist, counselors, of myself and my brothers and sisters. After 20 years of service, and still serving I salute and tip my hat to the Chaplain Corp, our true unsung heros. God Bless America and Happy Memorial Day.

    May 27, 2012 at 11:23 am |
    • Knucklehead

      I wonder what you could have accomplished if you had applied yourself to something besides warcraft.

      May 27, 2012 at 11:25 am |
    • scatheist

      They are generally nice to people who agree with them. They do all kinds of nasty crap to the rest of us.

      May 27, 2012 at 11:27 am |
    • Billy O

      There is no winning a war when you count the destruction in humanity lost. Arguing about religion is a dead end as well but the dichotomy built into most religions of "do not kill unless..." show a basic flaw that people of no religion are bewildered by. I unstained that a representative of faith most likely has a background if psychology which is really helpful at the front lines. I still think talk of jesus and god after a solider has been in a position where he drew fire upon other humans and perhaps took lives is using a lie to sooth pain from a horrible event. We sometimes tell children when they loose a pet or even a close relative that the "angels" have come for them to ease their pain and to explain something that is too abstract for them to understand. I think an adult soldier should have a better grasp of what he or she has elected to do by joining the military during war time. There will be killing, you or your fellow solders may be killed and you may need to kill other humans. I feel great empathy for our solders that weret put into this situation by a government that thinks killing will be the answer to our problems. I am just baffled by god fearing people's not understanding that they are going against their faith's teaching and yet find it as a way back to a normal life. Going to war has become too easy for our society regardless of how we tell the world we are a god fearing Christian nation.

      May 27, 2012 at 11:54 am |
  15. Josef Bleaux

    What an ignorant moron, peddling ancient mythology and superst!tion to our troops. The last thing they need is to be indoctrinated into the cult nonsense that is Christianity. They need reality, not delusional fairytales about invisible, supernatural beings.

    May 27, 2012 at 11:22 am |
    • jim thane

      And you know this how? your comment is stupid, the only person you can say doesnt have a soul is yourself, do not speak for me sir

      May 27, 2012 at 11:30 am |
    • Goatlocker

      why not let people believe, I know a lot of atheist that have know problem with what people believe in as long as those people dont push it on them. This article was about a soldier and his belief, so back off with the hate. Believe or not believe that is or choice as Americans It is people like you that are sitting in there parents basement , with nothing better to do than spread hate. Why don't you put your cheetos down, walk outside and go to a veterans grave and say thank you. If that isn't your thing, then go to a homeless shelter, children's hospital, state park, damn Walmart and enjoy your freedom....

      May 27, 2012 at 11:35 am |
    • scatheist

      Time for you to get out of the military and get an education. Your grammar and critical thinking skills are both terrible.

      May 27, 2012 at 11:38 am |
  16. jim thane

    There are two comments a few pages back that all atheists should be killed and one other. by someone who used the name I had been using "are there really atheists..." those posts are not mine, pls stop flaming me lol.

    May 27, 2012 at 11:21 am |
  17. heywatchthis

    prove to me that god doesent exist , because i know you can't you are too filled with hate and are afraid of what you can't see
    so you lash out at what you see as a threat to your own personal belief and attack every thing else that is not on your own terms and say that you are low because you believe this way so i say live and let live go live the way you want to and i will go to heaven and be with my holy father

    May 27, 2012 at 11:20 am |
    • scatheist

      That's a 3rd grader fallacy. Prove to me Zeus doesn't exist or unicorns or whatever.

      May 27, 2012 at 11:24 am |
    • In Reason I Trust

      Prove to me unicorns don't exist.

      You can't prove something does NOT exist. You should have learned this in grade school. Next time pay attention to science instead of fairy tales.

      May 27, 2012 at 11:26 am |
    • fuzzynormal

      "prove to me that god doesent exist"

      That challenge cuts both ways. But the argument is so childish and intellectually empty it hardly deserves a response.

      May 27, 2012 at 11:27 am |
    • Josef Bleaux

      The only thing I hate is people pushing ancient mythology and superst!tious nonsense as reality. I wish they would stop trying to force their ignorant nonsense on everyone else. If Christians (and people of other religions) were content to believe what they believe and mind their own business, that would be fine. But NOOO they have to push their fairytales on everyone else, especially impressionable children. Keep your ignorant nonsense to yourself and away from my children!

      May 27, 2012 at 11:28 am |
    • scatheist

      I hope you're not talking to me because then you didn't understand what I said.

      May 27, 2012 at 11:29 am |
    • jim thane

      those lashing out lack conscience a necessary ingredient to "believe". many believe for fear of hell. fire has that effect on people. its why the church uses it.

      May 27, 2012 at 11:32 am |
    • atheist_truth

      The ball is in your court, believers. Show us this 'god', ANY EVIDENCE. I'm sorry you were brainwashed from birth. It's not your fault. You just have to find the strength to see through the crap, ask the hard questions, and WAKE UP SHEEP! We don't need to prove something 'doesn't exist'. You need to prove it does.

      May 27, 2012 at 11:33 am |
    • Jon

      @Josef; much of science is conjecture and guessing. Do you agree to do the same with your religion? As a scientist, and a Christian – I think both sides have much to work on. Atheists enjoy belittling and condescending to those who claim there is a God. Those who claim there is a God, quote the Bible in the defense of their believes (which of course you cannot do and expect to be taken seriously). I love science. I love God. I do not understand why they must be mutually exclusive.

      May 27, 2012 at 11:34 am |
    • FSM

      It is not upon the non-believer to provide proof non existence. When will you jesus krispys understand that? If I said to you, "There is a little green man living on the other side of the moon in a teacup that grants wishes to children". You would ask me to prove it. As you rightly should. You are the ones making the claim that something exists therefore it is up to YOU to prove it. Not us.

      If heaven does exist and its people like you, filled with hatred and beliefs in imaginary beings that control the universe. I am so glad that I won't be there. Praise the Invisible Pink Unicorn!

      May 27, 2012 at 11:35 am |
    • Jon

      @Atheist – Why must I prove anything? You are the one who raised the question. Do you love your mother? Your Father? Your Sister or Brother? Prove it. Your challenge is no different than mine.

      May 27, 2012 at 11:37 am |
    • atheist_truth

      @Jon... Here's the difference. YOU can show me that your loved ones EXIST IN THE REAL WORLD.

      May 27, 2012 at 11:41 am |
    • Jon

      @FSM – Why would I ask you to prove anything? I don't really care what you believe. I am confused why you are so concerned with what I believe. Religion has been abused by men for bad purposes; to be sure. But that does not make religion bad. That makes men who abuse it bad. Do not confuse the message with the messenger. The messenger is usually wrong. This, however does not mean the message follows suit (though I admit it brings us discredit).

      May 27, 2012 at 11:41 am |
    • esmiranda

      Show you God exists? You think more of your opinion than I do HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      May 27, 2012 at 11:45 am |
    • atheist_truth

      Sorry Jon, I misread your post... I can physically show you my loved ones. Can you?

      May 27, 2012 at 11:49 am |
    • FSM

      What kind of scientist are you? Much of science is about guessing you are correct, however, it is then proven over and over through experiments and constant scrutiny. Further, atheist don't "enjoy" belittling anyone. We simply are combating the constant prosthelytizing that is shot at 360 degrees constantly. I think its quite amusing that you having the privelege and majority of claiming to be a Christian and feign to say that atheists are the one's causing all the rhetoric problems. Atheists are constantly pummeled with religion everyday from every angle. Unforunately, just like every other non-believer or unsuspecting child that is being indoctrinated, and yet for some reason you think that Christianity should be immune to criticism. You must suffer from severe cognitive dissonance to know what you claim to know about science and still believe in a god. As a current pediatric resident, soon to be oncology fellow, you can rest assured that if any child you ever know happens to suffer from cancer I will resort to science and its medicines to treat them. I will never rely on blind faith and an invisible man in the sky to lead my life or solve my problems. I am a wonderfully evolved human and I plan to use all the common sense and logic that time, history, and evolution has given me.

      May 27, 2012 at 11:57 am |
  18. Hypatia

    The delusional preying on cannon fodder. Charming.

    May 27, 2012 at 11:20 am |
    • esmiranda

      It is kind of gross that the chaplain admitted that. The fear of death does make people susceptible, just look at the people who have a change of heart at the end of their life. I wonder if non-believers of other religions experience the same phenomena if in a similar situation. Is it a human thing, or a christian thing? I believe in a creator, but not the vengeful god of the judeo/christian bible. I just can't do the "better believe or else!" thing. I refuse to be bullied into believing in any god or prophet. Christians can respond with all the dire threats of hell fire punishment they want, the fear is just not there, no matter how much the good christians want to see me burn for all eternity because they just care so much about MY soul LOL

      May 27, 2012 at 11:53 am |
  19. scatheist

    "Preparing for the battlefield" is totally misleading. Chaplains are non-combatants by law.

    There are no chaplains in foxholes.

    May 27, 2012 at 11:19 am |
    • jim thane

      No they ride in hummers

      May 27, 2012 at 11:46 am |
  20. Helena Hanbaskit

    Why is our government paying for chaplains to evangelize to our troops anyway? How is this constltutional? I think we would be better off replacing them all with legitimate and licensed psychologists, counselors, and social workers.

    May 27, 2012 at 11:18 am |
    • scatheist

      I totally agree.

      May 27, 2012 at 11:20 am |
    • Josef Bleaux

      Good point and well said.

      May 27, 2012 at 11:24 am |
    • Marinna D.

      Chaplains are used because there are many soldiers, just like a lot of other people in this country, who have religious backgrounds that serve as psychological coping mechanisms. The familiar brings comfort, and those that don't want it, don't go. Denying those that wish this service is just as bad forcing it on others.

      May 27, 2012 at 11:38 am |
    • yeap that's right

      Yet, another good point.

      May 27, 2012 at 11:41 am |
    • steven harnack

      @Marinna, but, as you just read, it's a false support that doesn't help even the proponents of it. It's a false sense of security that will fail and leave people even worse off for being lied to.

      May 27, 2012 at 11:56 am |
    • Marinna D.

      @Steven, I did read the entire article. If it's a false sense of security that failed, why then is the guy still preaching it? According to him, the reason he got into trouble was because he didn't follow his own advice. People do that often; I used to have a good neighbor that was cardiologist and yet morbidly obese–smart guy, but he was weak-willed, had a lot of money, and just loved to spend it on fancy food. Even professional psychological counseling will fail if the client doesn't follow it. But even if hadn't worked for this one guy, so what? I consider myself an atheist, but I've sen religion work for other people for all sorts of different reasons, and thus I respect their decision to use it. If it doesn't work then don't use it, it's as simple as that. To deny others the choice, though, is tyranny.

      May 27, 2012 at 12:11 pm |
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About this blog

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