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My Take: Where are the Catholics (and how will they vote)?
Catholic Mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York.
June 23rd, 2012
01:00 AM ET

My Take: Where are the Catholics (and how will they vote)?

Editor's Note: Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar and author of "The American Bible: How Our Words Unite, Divide, and Define a Nation," is a regular CNN Belief Blog contributor.

By Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN

Where I live in Massachusetts, Catholicism is in the blood - even if you aren’t Catholic.

Coaches scheduling practice times for their soccer teams had better figure out when catechism classes are happening, otherwise they are likely to be playing a scrimmage with one defensive player and a wing, and perhaps no one on the opposing side.

But how does Massachusetts Catholicism match up the rest of the country? Where is Catholicism weak? Strong? And how will those strengths and weaknesses play into the 2012 election?

According to data provided to me by Rich Houseal of the Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies, Massachusetts is the most Catholic state in the nation. Here 44.9% of the total population are Catholics, versus 44.3% in Rhode Island, 36.8% in New Jersey, 35.1% in Connecticut, and 32.4% in New York.

None of these states, however, is as Catholic as the Supreme Court, which now features six Catholics out of nine justices, for a percentage of 66.7%.

The least Catholic states in the union are all in the South, with seven states in that region claiming fewer than 5% Catholics. But Tennessee tops that list, with Catholic adherents making up only 3.5% of its total population.

CNN's Belief Blog: the faith angles behind the big stories

A terrific map available at the ASARB shows the Catholic Church and the Southern Baptist Convention in something of a neck-and-neck race when it comes to the religious groups that predominate in U.S. counties.

Here the Catholic Church is the national winner, with 1,231 counties, with the Southern Baptist Convention close behind with 1,217, and the United Methodist Church a distant third with 244.

But as any political pollster can tell you, Catholics are far more widely dispersed geographically than Southern Baptists. In addition to the traditional Catholic strongholds of New England and the Southwest, Catholics predominate in the Pacific Northwest and in many Midwestern counties. Southern Baptists, by contrast, are confined almost entirely to the Bible Belt, though it should be noted that Catholics predominate in much of south Florida and south Texas.

How this plays out in the election of 2012 is hard to gauge.

Clearly the days when Catholics voted for Democrats en masse are long past. In fact, some observers now believe that there really isn’t any “Catholic vote” any more because Catholics, who now constitute roughly a quarter of the electorate, are so widely dispersed and evenly split among the two major parties.

But Catholics have been swing voters in recent presidential elections, supporting Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush in the 1980s, Bill Clinton in the '90s, and George W. Bush in the 2000s. In 2008, Catholics preferred Barack Obama over John McCain by a 54%-45% margin.

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If the 2012 election continues to tighten, part of the story as Obama and Romney kick their campaigns into high gear will be whether Catholics will push the president over the top in key swing states such as Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and New Mexico, where Catholics predominate.

Either way, pundits from both parties are likely to be reading this ASARB religion map against the electoral college map as we head into November.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Stephen Prothero.

- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: 2012 Election • Barack Obama • Catholic Church • Mitt Romney • Politics • Polls • United States

soundoff (231 Responses)
  1. Religion,lolwut?

    The sooner religion collapses the better. All they do now is block advances in everything. Find something new in the field of science and they claim that we are "playing god." I say good, our destiny is to become gods, that is what the sole purpose of science is, to make humans as god like as possible.

    Science is unstopable, i plan on making humans live at least 50-100 extra years, to end all illnesses and then show the world that science, not faith, save people.

    June 29, 2012 at 12:56 am |
    • Justin

      Check out this funny song about mormons.

      [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qR4En09lKmI&w=640&h=390]

      July 19, 2012 at 11:48 am |
  2. Reality

    As per Pew Research Center:

    "10% – America's Former Catholics

    Approximately one-third of those who say they were raised Catholic no longer describe themselves as Catholic; which means that roughly 10% of all Americans are former Catholics. "

    One wonders how they will vote.

    And of course Stephen P continues to be non-committal as to his own religious and political beliefs.

    "If ex-Catholics were counted as their own religious group, they would be the third-largest denomination in the United States, after Catholics and Baptists, according to the National Catholic Reporter."

    June 26, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
  3. Victor

    I'm a Catholic. I'm voting for NEITHER.

    June 26, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
  4. kindness

    My personal testamony
    I Follow Christ . I never wanted proof. I just had faith.

    HE WHO follows Me, walks not in darkness,” says the Lord (John 8:12). By these words
    of Christ we are advised to imitate His life and habits, if we wish to be truly enlightened and
    free from all blindness of heart. Let our chief effort, therefore, be to study the life of Jesus
    Christ.
    The teaching of Christ is more excellent than all the advice of the saints, and he who
    has His spirit will find in it a hidden manna. Now, there are many who hear the Gospel often
    but care little for it because they have not the spirit of Christ. Yet whoever wishes to understand
    fully the words of Christ must try to pattern his whole life on that of Christ.

    What good does it do to speak learnedly about the Trinity if, lacking humility, you
    displease the Trinity? Indeed it is not learning that makes a man holy and just, but a virtuous
    life makes him pleasing to God. I would rather feel contrition than know how to define it.
    For what would it profit us to know the whole Bible by heart and the principles of all the
    philosophers if we live without grace and the love of God? Vanity of vanities and all is vanity,
    except to love God and serve Him alone.

    This is the greatest wisdom—to seek the kingdom of heaven through contempt of the
    world. It is vanity, therefore, to seek and trust in riches that perish. It is vanity also to court
    honor and to be puffed up with pride. It is vanity to follow the lusts of the body and to desire
    things for which severe punishment later must come. It is vanity to wish for long life and
    to care little about a well-spent life. It is vanity to be concerned with the present only and
    not to make provision for things to come. It is vanity to love what passes quickly and not
    to look ahead where eternal joy abides.
    Often recall the proverb: “The eye is not satisfied with seeing nor the ear filled with
    hearing.”1 Try, moreover, to turn your heart from the love of things visible and bring
    yourself to things invisible. For they who follow their own evil passions stain their consciences
    and lose the grace of God.

    See for yourself.

    June 26, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
    • just sayin

      The origins of your religion go back to Sumerians, which the Jews took their stories from. Your Christ is based on a false and copied religion. Enjoy your delusions.

      June 26, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
    • Victor

      I agree with Kindness 100%

      June 26, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
    • Reality

      John's Gospel is of questionable historic value.

      To wit:

      From Professor Bruce Chilton in his book, Rabbi Jesus,

      "Conventionally, scholarship has accorded priority to the first three gospels in historical work on Jesus, putting progressively less credence in works of late date. John's Gospel for example is routinely dismissed as a source......

      From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gospel_of_John#Authorship

      "Since "the higher criticism" of the 19th century, some historians have largely rejected the gospel of John as a reliable source of information about the historical Jesus.[3][4] "[M]ost commentators regard the work as anonymous,"[5] and date it to 90-100."

      "The authorship has been disputed since at least the second century, with mainstream Christianity believing that the author is John the Apostle, son of Zebedee. Modern experts usually consider the author to be an unknown non-eyewitness, though many apologetic Christian scholars still hold to the conservative Johannine view that ascribes authorship to John the Apostle."

      And from Professor Gerd Ludemann, in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years, p. 416,

      "Anyone looking for the historical Jesus will not find him in the Gospel of John. "

      See also http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/john.html

      June 26, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
  5. kindness

    I Follow Christ . I never wanted proof. I just had faith.

    HE WHO follows Me, walks not in darkness,” says the Lord (John 8:12). By these words
    of Christ we are advised to imitate His life and habits, if we wish to be truly enlightened and
    free from all blindness of heart. Let our chief effort, therefore, be to study the life of Jesus
    Christ.
    The teaching of Christ is more excellent than all the advice of the saints, and he who
    has His spirit will find in it a hidden manna. Now, there are many who hear the Gospel often
    but care little for it because they have not the spirit of Christ. Yet whoever wishes to understand
    fully the words of Christ must try to pattern his whole life on that of Christ.

    What good does it do to speak learnedly about the Trinity if, lacking humility, you
    displease the Trinity? Indeed it is not learning that makes a man holy and just, but a virtuous
    life makes him pleasing to God. I would rather feel contrition than know how to define it.
    For what would it profit us to know the whole Bible by heart and the principles of all the
    philosophers if we live without grace and the love of God? Vanity of vanities and all is vanity,
    except to love God and serve Him alone.

    This is the greatest wisdom—to seek the kingdom of heaven through contempt of the
    world. It is vanity, therefore, to seek and trust in riches that perish. It is vanity also to court
    honor and to be puffed up with pride. It is vanity to follow the lusts of the body and to desire
    things for which severe punishment later must come. It is vanity to wish for long life and
    to care little about a well-spent life. It is vanity to be concerned with the present only and
    not to make provision for things to come. It is vanity to love what passes quickly and not
    to look ahead where eternal joy abides.
    Often recall the proverb: “The eye is not satisfied with seeing nor the ear filled with
    hearing.”1 Try, moreover, to turn your heart from the love of things visible and bring
    yourself to things invisible. For they who follow their own evil passions stain their consciences
    and lose the grace of God.

    See for yourself.

    June 25, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
    • just sayin

      The origins of your religion go back to Sumerians, which the Jews took their stories from. Your Christ is based on a false and copied religion. Enjoy your delusions...

      June 26, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
    • Victor

      i AGREE WHOLEHEARTEDLY KINDNESS!! The majority here posting all this negative nonsense have never had an experience with God nor known or seen what God does or can do. Their blind and they're also deaf. Their egoism and pride is above everything yet that is all they take with them to the tomb.

      June 26, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
    • just sayin

      Victor the Sumerian said "i AGREE WHOLEHEARTEDLY KINDNESS!! The majority here posting all this negative nonsense have never had an experience with God nor known or seen what God does or can do. Their blind and they're also deaf. Their egoism and pride is above everything yet that is all they take with them to the tomb."
      .
      And what are the origins of your bible?

      June 26, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
  6. catholic engineer

    The thinking of the general populace has been thoroughly engineered by a licentious media and Hollywood. Catholics have a counter balance to this. Namely, the vast human experience of the RCC. The church has operated in the most divergant cultures, established the WEst's first universities, established the Vatican Observatory which is one of the oldest scientific establishments, and developed the Code of Canon law which was the first systematic body of law in western civilization. Emerging European used the Catholic church's system of law as models for their own laws. With this kind of background, Catholics are some of the most thoughtful voters out there.

    June 25, 2012 at 10:28 am |
  7. whybs on twitter

    It's funny that Catholics didn't whine about how Romneycare interferes with their religious freedom but do so with Obamacare!

    Go fak yourselves, Catholics.

    June 25, 2012 at 1:09 am |
    • Randy

      Not ourselves, but we will help ourselves to your kids. ummmm jonys looking good there whybs.

      June 25, 2012 at 6:18 am |
    • Jimmy G.

      Randy is a good name for you.

      June 25, 2012 at 6:26 am |
    • catholic engineer

      Go fak ourselves, you say. This is anatomically impossible. But perhaps you've found a way to do it?

      June 25, 2012 at 10:30 am |
    • gerald

      Whys....You are going to have to show me some Catholic insti.tions in MASS forced to provide contraceptive coverage by the government when Romneycare went in to affect for your claim to be true. I have not heard of any cases of this. That is the beef against the mandate. Not all of obomacare.

      June 25, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
    • gerald

      BTW – since when is it whining to stand up for what you believe in America? Also Catholics did "whine" as you call it when excercising AMerican freedoms of religion and speach when forced grant gays adoptions. Out of principal, something that you have none of, they closed down their adoption agencies. You can't fak yourself because you don't have the balls the CC has.

      June 25, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
  8. Kindness

    I Follow Christ . I never wanted proof. I just had faith.

    HE WHO follows Me, walks not in darkness,” says the Lord (John 8:12). By these words
    of Christ we are advised to imitate His life and habits, if we wish to be truly enlightened and
    free from all blindness of heart. Let our chief effort, therefore, be to study the life of Jesus
    Christ.
    The teaching of Christ is more excellent than all the advice of the saints, and he who
    has His spirit will find in it a hidden manna. Now, there are many who hear the Gospel often
    but care little for it because they have not the spirit of Christ. Yet whoever wishes to understand
    fully the words of Christ must try to pattern his whole life on that of Christ.

    What good does it do to speak learnedly about the Trinity if, lacking humility, you
    displease the Trinity? Indeed it is not learning that makes a man holy and just, but a virtuous
    life makes him pleasing to God. I would rather feel contrition than know how to define it.
    For what would it profit us to know the whole Bible by heart and the principles of all the
    philosophers if we live without grace and the love of God? Vanity of vanities and all is vanity,
    except to love God and serve Him alone.

    This is the greatest wisdom—to seek the kingdom of heaven through contempt of the
    world. It is vanity, therefore, to seek and trust in riches that perish. It is vanity also to court
    honor and to be puffed up with pride. It is vanity to follow the lusts of the body and to desire
    things for which severe punishment later must come. It is vanity to wish for long life and
    to care little about a well-spent life. It is vanity to be concerned with the present only and
    not to make provision for things to come. It is vanity to love what passes quickly and not
    to look ahead where eternal joy abides.
    Often recall the proverb: “The eye is not satisfied with seeing nor the ear filled with
    hearing.”1 Try, moreover, to turn your heart from the love of things visible and bring
    yourself to things invisible. For they who follow their own evil passions stain their consciences
    and lose the grace of God.

    See for yourself. Like seeing a new colour you can't explain it to anyone ... Evidence follows faith ...faith does not follow evidence.

    June 24, 2012 at 9:34 pm |
    • Terry

      Quoting your particular weak translation of your silly mythbook doesn't make its myths more real.

      June 24, 2012 at 10:31 pm |
    • sam stone

      evidence follow faith?

      faith supercedes evidence in some people's minds.

      but, it doesn't make it any more valid

      June 25, 2012 at 6:10 am |
    • Huebert

      "I Follow Christ . I never wanted proof. I just had faith."

      So you're proud of the fact that you think like a child?

      June 25, 2012 at 9:28 am |
    • Madtown

      What good does it do to speak learnedly about the Trinity if, lacking humility, you
      displease the Trinity?
      -----
      The trinity is a concept created by human beings. It really has no relevance. You can believe in God without it.

      June 25, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
    • sam stone

      i can appreciate the new color thing, but it took a handful of magic mushrooms to see them

      June 26, 2012 at 3:11 am |
    • Hakoo

      I'm sure it doesn't hurt that they're an authority site which is cited tdsnoauhs of times a day either. But since they get crawled every 10 minutes and are often the first source for news, I bet Google recognizes them as the original author on topics which adds to their authority.

      November 8, 2012 at 7:55 am |
  9. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer really changes things,

    June 24, 2012 at 8:16 pm |
    • Terry

      Yeah someone said it makes you hoard cats, and smell like them.

      June 24, 2012 at 10:30 pm |
    • truth be told

      All atheist wanna be types exhibit stupid when confronting or confounded by Truth

      June 25, 2012 at 4:33 am |
    • sam stone

      Beware of the inbred mothermounters who capitalize "truth"

      June 25, 2012 at 6:12 am |
    • Jesus

      Prayer doesn’t not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs!.

      June 28, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
  10. Kindness

    kindness
    This is my experience... Thank you.

    MY personal testimony.
    A thought to consider without an ego response

    Accept Jesus christ as your lord and saviour. You never know how soon is too late. Transcend the worldly illusion of enslavement.
    The world denounces truth....

    Accepting Jesus Christ (for me) resulted in something like seeng a new colour. You will see it .....but will not be able to clearly explain it to anyone else..... Its meant to be that way to transend any selfism within you.

    Also... much the world arranges "surrounding dark matter into something to be debated" in such a way that protects/inflates the ego.

    The key is be present and transcend our own desire to physically see evidence. We don't know anyways by defending our own perception of dark matter.

    Currently.... most of us are constructing our own path that suits our sin lifestyle. Were all sinners. Knowing that we are is often an issue. But both christians and non are sinners.

    We don't like to Let go and let god. We want control to some degree. This is what Jesus asks us to do. "Follow me".
    It's the hardest thing to do... but is done by letting the truth of scripture lead you (redemptive revelation)... as I said .

    Try reading corinthians and see if it makes sense to you. Try it without a pre conceived notion of it being a fairy tale.
    See the truth...
    do we do what it says in todays society... is it relevant... so many have not recently read and only hinge their philosophy on what they have heard from som other person...which may have been full of arogance pride or vanity..

    Look closely at the economy ponzi, look at how society idolizes Lust , greed , envy, sloth, pride of life, desire for knowledge, desire for power, desire for revencge,gluttony with food etc .

    Trancsend the temporal world.

    Just think if you can find any truth you can take with you ....in any of these things. When you die your riches go to someone who will spend away your life..... You will be forgotten.... history will repeat iteslf.... the greatest minds knowledge fade or are eventually plagerzed..... your good deeds will be forgotten and only give you a fleeting temporary reward . your learned teachings are forgotten or mutated..... your gold is transfered back to the rullers that rule you through deception. Your grave will grow over . This is truth .

    Trancsend your egoism and free yourself from this dominion of satan. Understand you are a sinner and part of the collective problem of this worldly matrix... Repent.... Repent means knowing (to change) The Holy spirit (within) will convict you beyond what you think you can do by yourself. Grace is given to those who renounce the world. That are" in" the world but not "of " the world.

    Evidence follows faith. Faith does not follow evidence..... Faith above reason in Jesus Christ.

    Faith comes by Reading or Hearing the word of god from the bible . Ask Jesus in faith for dicernment and start reading the new testament... You will be shocked when you lay down your preconceived notions and ....see and hear truth ... see how christ sets an example ... feel the truth....

    Read Ecclesiastes. Read corinthians.

    You cant trancend your own egoism by adapting a world philosophy to suit your needs. Seek the truth in Christ.

    Sell all your cleverness and purchase true bewilderment. You don't get what you want ....you get what you are in christ.

    I promise this has been the truth for me. In Jesus christ .

    Think of what you really have to lose. ...your ego?

    Break the Matrix of illusion that holds your senses captive.

    once you do . you too will have the wisdom of God that comes only through the Holy Spirit. Saved By grace through Faith. Just like seeing a new colour.... can't explain it to a transient caught in the matrix of worldly deception.
    You will also see how the world suppresses this information and distorts it

    You're all smart people . I tell the truth. Its hard to think out of the box when earthly thinking is the box.
    I'ts a personal free experience you can do it free anytime . Don't wait till you are about to die.. START PUTTING YOUR TREASURES WHERE THEY REALLY MATTER >
    Its awsome and It's just between you and Jesus

    my testimony

    Romans 10:9

    "If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved

    June 24, 2012 at 7:30 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Kindness,

      please do us a kindness, and prune down your cut and paste effort to a shorter summary. By all means keep posting, but if you want people to actually read it, make it shorter.

      June 24, 2012 at 8:52 pm |
    • Rundvelt

      If I can replace Jesus with Mohammed and God with Allah and the content of your message has not changed, then it's clear that your argument isn't worth the digital pixels it's written on.

      June 25, 2012 at 12:08 pm |
  11. chief

    i am not sure i classify the catholics in south florida and south texas the same as the ped protectors in the northeast.....

    June 24, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
    • Jamest297

      And that is because .................................................................... ?

      June 24, 2012 at 8:11 pm |
    • Randy

      Because in the North we mollest children, in the south they mollest pigs!

      June 25, 2012 at 6:21 am |
  12. carol

    News flash! Mose Catholics that I know think for themselves whenever it comes to political leanings. We are a diverse group each with our own personal convictions. The church has a role in the fields of faith and morals, not politics.

    June 24, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
    • Mike Blackadder

      I think you are right that in general Cstholic faith transcends most politic concerns. Certainly there is plenty of room for diversity of opinion within Catholic ideology that there is no clear preference between Democrats and Republicsns. You would hope that there would be more general agreement about specific topics, such as opinions about HHS mandate, abortion, foreign policy, etc. We have to remember that not all Catholics are necessarily practicing Catholics and many struggle with church teaching surrounding contraceptives and even abortion. For this reason, although I think that Obamas policies will negatively impact the Catholic vote, I don't know that all Catholics would make their decision based on health care policy alone. For example, there are many Catholics who are just as vehemently opposed to Paul Ryan's budget proposal on grounds of social justice and would choose Obsmas economic policies instead.

      June 24, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
    • Terry

      Religion and thinking for yourself are kind of antithetical.

      June 24, 2012 at 10:33 pm |
    • sam stone

      My morality is attributable to empathy. And, due to this, I have no problem standing up to bullies, including those waving around "holy" texts

      June 25, 2012 at 10:17 am |
    • sam stone

      Sorry, that was posted to the wrong post.

      June 25, 2012 at 10:20 am |
  13. AGuest9

    Where are they? Just coming out of 11AM mass.

    June 24, 2012 at 12:08 pm |
    • AGuest9

      Leaving before the end of the mass, pushing to get to the parking lot to cut one-another off pulling out on the street so they can get good seats at brunch. Oh, the irony!

      June 24, 2012 at 12:10 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      AGuest9, you joke while walking on that wide path to destruction. No eternity for you for denying Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. Have a good laugh, those that laugh first, don't get to laugh last. Oh, didn't hear that truth either?

      June 24, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
    • JWT

      Sticking up for the schoolyear bully agians HS? At least he's not real.

      June 24, 2012 at 8:14 pm |
    • Fallacy Spotting 101

      Post by 'HeavenSent' is a threatening form of the flawed argument known as Pascal's Wager.

      http://fallacyfiles.org

      June 24, 2012 at 10:38 pm |
    • Topher

      Ok, I'm getting tired of the misuse of the Pascal's Wager claims by atheists. If you're going to use it, know what it means. Don't get me wrong, I don't like Pascal's Wager, either, but at least I know what it is. Pascal's Wager basically says you should become a Christian "just in case it's true." Christianity isn't just some sort of cosmic fire insurance. As Jesus said, you must be born again. This is a complete life change once you believe. It isn't just you saying, "ok, I'll say I'm Christian so that if Heaven and Hell are real, I'm good to go." You must repent (turn from your sins) and trust in Jesus to be what He claimed to be. Then you'll see that fruit in your life and know you are saved.

      June 25, 2012 at 1:26 am |
    • sam stone

      Topher: How is your definition of Pascal's Wager any different than Heaven Sent has been spewing?

      June 25, 2012 at 6:15 am |
    • Jimmy G.

      Topher, I cannot fully express my earnest desire that you actually go and look up Pascal's Wager and read about the damn thing before speaking about it.

      June 25, 2012 at 6:31 am |
    • Topher

      sam stone

      "Topher: How is your definition of Pascal's Wager any different than Heaven Sent has been spewing?"

      Well, unless Heaven Sent said something different in another post, what was said here is not Pascal's Wager. Here it is just what the Bible claims. It says the way to salvation is a narrow path and few find it. The path to destruction is broad. This is not Pascal's Wager.

      June 25, 2012 at 8:38 am |
    • sam stone

      "Have a good laugh, those that laugh first, don't get to laugh last"

      June 25, 2012 at 8:48 am |
    • sam stone

      Fair enough. It is an empty proxy threat by someone who spews them frequently.

      June 25, 2012 at 8:50 am |
    • Topher

      sam stone

      "Have a good laugh, those that laugh first, don't get to laugh last"

      Still not Pascal's Wager. I have no intention of speaking for Heaven because I have no idea what his/her beliefs are. But if I'm understanding what Heaven is talking about, they are right. If you are making fun of God and His word, when Judgment Day comes, you atheists will be in big trouble. The Bible says He will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain. I certainly don't want this for you and it's not too late for you to repent and trust in the savior.

      June 25, 2012 at 8:58 am |
    • AGuest9

      I laugh at the foolish every day, HeavenSent, you most of all.

      June 25, 2012 at 9:06 am |
    • sam stone

      First of all, Topher, what makes you think I am an athiest?

      Secondly, if there is a god, and it is not the one you worship, you could be as much trouble as you claim atheists are with your god.

      Thirdly, do you think your threats/warnings to atheists are effective? Why should someone fear retaliation (known as "judgement" to pious folk) from beings in which they do not believe? Do you fear the judgement from other religion's gods?

      June 25, 2012 at 9:30 am |
    • sam stone

      Also, Topher, that "if i understand what heaven is all about...." is a mighty big "if"

      June 25, 2012 at 9:32 am |
    • Primewonk

      Again, Pascal's Gambit is not valid because the base assertion if false. You assume a one-off situation – it is your god vs no god. In actuality it is 10,000 vastly different gods vs no god. If you choose the wrong god, out of all the gods we invented, you are just as screwed as everyone else who chose the wrong version of the wrong god.

      June 25, 2012 at 9:33 am |
    • sam stone

      AGuest: HS is worthy of ridicule, as is Evangelical.

      June 25, 2012 at 9:36 am |
    • Topher

      sam stone

      "First of all, Topher, what makes you think I am an athiest?"

      I have no idea what you are. But if you are anything short of saved you'll be in big trouble.

      "Secondly, if there is a god, and it is not the one you worship, you could be as much trouble as you claim atheists are with your god."

      Possibly. Depends on which is true if Christianity has it wrong. Most other belief systems say I can do works to make me good enough to go to Heaven. Christianity says I can only get there by grace through the work of Jesus Christ, i.e., the work is already done for me. Sounds like a better system. But again, the question is which is true?

      "Thirdly, do you think your threats/warnings to atheists are effective? Why should someone fear retaliation (known as "judgement" to pious folk) from beings in which they do not believe? Do you fear the judgement from other religion's gods?"

      No. And I think I'm usually not making threats. IF Christianity is true and you don't have forgiveness of your sins, you will be in big trouble. That's not a threat. It's simply reality if Christianity is true. What I try to tell people is that despite our deserving Hell, Christ paid the penalty for us. We can walk out of God's courtroom with our fine paid. This is a wonderful things and THAT is why someone should come to God. Because they love Him and appreciate what He did for us.

      June 25, 2012 at 9:40 am |
    • Topher

      sam stone

      "Also, Topher, that "if i understand what heaven is all about...." is a mighty big "if""

      Sorry, I meant if I understand what Heaven Sent is saying. Sorry for the confusion. Though as far as the afterlife, I'm reading a really interesting book on it called "Heaven" by Randy Alcorn.

      June 25, 2012 at 9:42 am |
    • sam stone

      Topher: I misunderstood your post about Heaven. My bad.

      Still, you have no authority to speak for god.

      June 25, 2012 at 9:43 am |
    • Topher

      sam stone

      "Still, you have no authority to speak for god."

      Depends on what you mean. I have God's word in the Bible, so I can certainly speak for what He reveals there. But if you mean I can't reveal anything new, I agree.

      June 25, 2012 at 9:48 am |
    • sam stone

      "I have no idea what you are. But if you are anything short of saved you'll be in big trouble."

      What incredible fvcking arrogance to purport to speak for god.

      "No. And I think I'm usually not making threats."

      What do you call them?

      "IF Christianity is true and you don't have forgiveness of your sins, you will be in big trouble. That's not a threat. It's simply reality if Christianity is true."

      An awfully big IF.

      "What I try to tell people is that despite our deserving Hell, Christ paid the penalty for us. We can walk out of God's courtroom with our fine paid."

      You have no authority to speak for god.

      June 25, 2012 at 9:49 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Topher
      Are you ever going to address the fact the Mendelian genetics disproves Noah's flood?

      June 25, 2012 at 9:50 am |
    • sam stone

      No, Topher, what I am saying is that your belief that the bible is god's word is an opinion, not a fact. You have no more authority to speak for god than the people who wrote, translated or edited the bible did

      June 25, 2012 at 9:51 am |
    • Topher

      Doc Vestibule

      "Are you ever going to address the fact the Mendelian genetics disproves Noah's flood?"

      No. According to you it's a fact. But I've never heard of Mendel and thus have no idea what he says. So I don't think that would be fair to comment on.

      June 25, 2012 at 9:54 am |
    • Topher

      sam stone

      "No, Topher, what I am saying is that your belief that the bible is god's word is an opinion, not a fact."

      Ah, I see what you are saying. Yes, that is my opinion. I think that is true. That's the conclusion I have come to. But it COULD be a fact. You better be SURE it is not if you're going to reject Christianity.

      June 25, 2012 at 9:58 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Topher
      Did you not attend any junior high biology classes?
      Gregor Mendel is know as The Father of Genetics – in the late 19th century, he proposed the theory of dominant and recessive genes.
      A population bottleneck inevitably leads to inbreeding. Within a small gene pool, negative genotypes are reinforced. Without a sufficiently large gene pool of about 40 breeding pairs per species, extinction is assurred within a handful of generations.
      A 600 year old man, his three sons and their respective wives could not possibly have re-populated the entire human race in all of its genetic diversity in the span of a few thousand years.
      Keeping 2 of every type of animal would lead to global extinction as assuredly as if all the creatures had drowned in the flood.

      June 25, 2012 at 10:04 am |
    • sam stone

      Fair enough.

      Your opinion of what god is or is not means little more than entertainment to me, and most of the other posters.

      So, your threats/warnings are ludicrous and just self-important bloviating

      June 25, 2012 at 10:05 am |
    • Topher

      sam stone

      So what exactly is your position?

      June 25, 2012 at 10:08 am |
    • sam stone

      Topher: Sure, it COULD be a fact. So could the Flying Spaghetti Monster. So, you'd better be SURE before you reject his Holy Noodly Appendage

      June 25, 2012 at 10:10 am |
    • sam stone

      My position is more closely described as an agnostic than anything else. I do not know what (if anything) created the uiniverse. I do know that what people see as god depends in large part to what culture in which they were born. I do know that texts were written by men. I do know I feel most "spiritual" when I am in the middle of the woods.

      June 25, 2012 at 10:14 am |
    • Topher

      sam stone

      Personally I like the Flying Spaghetti Monster with a slice of garlic bread. But c'mon, now. At least there's evidence of Christianity being true.

      June 25, 2012 at 10:18 am |
    • sam stone

      My morality is attributable to empathy. And, due to this, I have no problem standing up to bullies, including those waving around "holy" texts

      June 25, 2012 at 10:20 am |
    • Huebert

      Topher

      Their is evidence that some of the characters in the bible were actual historical people. Their is no evidence for any deity, which is rather central to christian dogma.

      June 25, 2012 at 10:21 am |
    • sam stone

      And that would be?

      June 25, 2012 at 10:21 am |
    • Topher

      sam stone

      Yeah, there's something cool about being in the woods, isn't there?

      "I do know that what people see as god depends in large part to what culture in which they were born."

      Isn't it interesting that there has never been a culture in which the people didn't naturally believe in a god of some type? I think this is evidence that we all KNOW there is something more than us just being a cosmic accident.

      June 25, 2012 at 10:22 am |
    • sam stone

      Either that, or we are progammed to believe in a leader. Have you ever read The Naked Ape?

      June 25, 2012 at 10:25 am |
    • Topher

      sam stone

      You think I'm a bully?

      June 25, 2012 at 10:25 am |
    • Topher

      "Have you ever read The Naked Ape?"

      No. What is it about?

      June 25, 2012 at 10:27 am |
    • sam stone

      It wasn't specifically about you. It is more about inbred punks like HS and Evangelical. Yet, you are issuing warnings about god's judgement. How is that not being a bully? The Naked Ape is an old book which is a biologists look at the human animal

      June 25, 2012 at 10:35 am |
    • Topher

      sam stone

      "Yet, you are issuing warnings about god's judgement. How is that not being a bully?"

      I'd see it as loving. I'm warning you of the wrath to come. IF Christianity is true and you've sinned, you'll have to pay for those sins. But God has offered to forgive you and has already taken the punishment you deserve. I don't want you to go to Hell. I'm pleading with you to repent and trust in the savior because of the incredible kindness God has offered to us. I'm sure I've said this to you before, but consider my motives. I don't want your money and I'm not inviting you to my church. I simply care about where you spend eternity.

      June 25, 2012 at 10:45 am |
    • sam stone

      You may see it as loving, but comes off as otherwise.

      June 25, 2012 at 10:46 am |
    • sam stone

      Once we have established that we do not believe in your version of god, what is the point of repeated warnings? Spiritual battery? Maybe it is like Nelson Muntz on The Simpsons, grabbing someone's hand and hitting them with it, while say "stop hitting yourself"

      June 25, 2012 at 10:54 am |
    • Topher

      sam stone

      "Once we have established that we do not believe in your version of god, what is the point of repeated warnings? Spiritual battery?"

      Well, because I still believe it is true. IF I'm correct, on Judgment Day you are going to want to say to me "Why didn't you slap me in the face and tell me about all of this?!" I can't slap you in the face. You'd be offended. All I can do is keep pleading with you and talk about the evidence we have. Would you rather I lie to you and say you can believe whatever you want?

      June 25, 2012 at 11:05 am |
    • sam stone

      I accept that you THINK it is true. We do not. So, additional warnings are not only redundant, they are ineffective

      June 25, 2012 at 11:58 am |
    • Topher

      sam stone

      So then let me ask you this. What is your understanding of the Gospel?

      And 2, what problems do you have with Christianity? Why do you think it isn't true?

      June 25, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
    • sam stone

      And, your "evidence" is ENTIRELY subjective, meaning it is no "evidence" at all. It is merely "I think it's true".

      June 25, 2012 at 12:02 pm |
    • sam stone

      I do not claim to have much understanding of the gospel.

      what understanding of the bhagavad gita do you have to claim it isn't true?

      the story seems to be too far fetched to be believable.

      June 25, 2012 at 12:05 pm |
    • sam stone

      Basically, Topher, your "evidence" is the intellectual equivalent of diarrhea. You are a clown.

      June 25, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
    • sam stone

      Basically, a major problem I have with Christianity are blowhard Christians

      June 25, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
    • Topher

      sam stone

      "Basically, Topher, your "evidence" is the intellectual equivalent of diarrhea. You are a clown."

      Ouch. Why did you have to say that? I thought we'd been having a nice conversation like adults.

      June 25, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
    • sam stone

      Because of your incredible arrogance. Because you continue to put forth opinion as evidence. This is not something an adult does. This is something a petulant child does

      June 25, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
    • Topher

      sam stone

      All I asked was if you know what the Gospel says. If you reject it I hope you have looked into it. I haven't put forward ANY evidence today. You didn't ask for any. You call me a petulant child, yet you are the name caller. C'mon, you're better than that.

      June 25, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
    • sam stone

      If you want to present opinion as evidence, do it in front of people who already agree with your viewpoint. If you present it in a public forum, expect to be challenged. If you continue to do so, expect to be ridiculed

      June 25, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
    • sam stone

      The point is, you NEVER put forth evidence. All you do is repeat your opinion ad nauseum

      June 25, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
    • sam stone

      Have you looked into all the religions you reject?

      June 25, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
    • sam stone

      In discussing the FSM, you said "at least there's evidence of Christianity being true" and I asked you what evidence you speak of. You then say that it is evidence because you believe it to be so.

      June 25, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
    • Topher

      sam stone

      "Have you looked into all the religions you reject?"

      Not all, but many. Christianity is the only one that answered the most important question. How are sins forgiven and what must I do to be saved? All others say you must work to get there and even then it's a crap-shoot on whether that god would let you in. Christianity says you can KNOW if you're getting in.

      June 25, 2012 at 1:12 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Topher
      For $30, The Church of the Subgenius offer eternal salvation or triple your money back.

      June 25, 2012 at 1:15 pm |
    • Topher

      Doc Vestibule

      Huh?

      June 25, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
    • sam stone

      Topher: So, you feel that Christianity's answer is more valid than others?

      What makes you think man is a "sinful" being?

      June 25, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
    • sam stone

      I don't particularly care about heaven nor hell. I think they are both man made concepts (as is god). So, what I have to do to get to a place in which I do not believe is as absurd of being able to be concerned about retaliation (judgement you pious folk) from a being in which i do not believe.

      June 25, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
    • Praying is not healthy for a sound mind

      God made man in his image, God has DNA, God is human. Adam named the animals but could not write and the Jews didn't learn to write for thousands of years later and copied from religions (Sumerians) in the region established well before Adam/Eve. Cain went into the land of Nod and scored a wife....further evidence there were civilizations predating Adam. The Serphant never lied, their eyes were openned and saw God for what he was...one of them. It was God/men that lied to Adam attempting to protect him and keep him ignorant of the truth and from the outside world that was well established. Beings with DNA need flying vehicles like Ezekiel saw. The Jewish religion is simply copied and not original and is ismply false. Jesus was jsut another delusional person thinking they were a prophet. Men created and organized the "word of God"

      June 25, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
    • Praying is not healthy for a sound mind

      To have DNA is to be mortal and subject to the laws of nature.

      June 25, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
    • Praying is not healthy for a sound mind

      Interesting how many people have been killed in the name of Christ when Christ is based on a fraud religion.

      June 25, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
    • just sayin

      Jews and Christians don't give proper respect to the Sumerians...without them the Jews would never had any stories to copy/steal from..there never would have been a delusional guy running around thinking he was the son of a God.

      June 26, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
    • kerfluffle

      "get a room" comes to mind...

      I look forward to an end of days in which some deity or another pulls up my records and says, 'well, you didn't believe, but more importantly, you were a good person, which is more than i can say for my supposed believers'.

      Because that is what it is all about.

      If tou need the threat of eternal damnation to be even remotely decent, then you deserve derision.

      June 27, 2012 at 1:03 am |
  14. GT

    I don't think Catholics vote as a block. I don't. I certainly don't want Catholics uniting to recapture the 7 lost provinces of the 1870 Franco-Prussian war or the Irish Catholics dwelling on how they endured hundreds of years of persecution. Let us move forward with love and mutual respect and never lay a guilt trip on our brothers and sisters.

    June 24, 2012 at 7:43 am |
    • Moby Schtick

      Me neither, but I think that overall most catholics are democrat.

      June 24, 2012 at 11:05 am |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Catholics don't vote as a bloc.

      If you like data rather than opinions, look here:
      http://www.pewforum.org/Politics-and-Elections/Americans’-Religious-Values.aspx

      From this report you can find the following data:

      (Party affiliation percentages are Republican, Independent, Democrat)

      White Evangelical Protestant ... 49 30 17 .... (R, R-D = 32%)
      White Mainline Protestant ........ 38 31 26 .... (R, R-D = 12%)
      White Catholic ......................... 30 39 28 .... (I, R-D = 02%)
      Unaffiliated .............................. 12 50 32 .... (I, D-R = 20%)
      Hispanic .................................. 11 46 32 .... (I, D-R = 21%)
      Black Non-Hispanic ................. 05 22 69 .... (D, D-R = 64%)

      White Catholics are the group that is the most evenly distributed across R, I, D preferences, though less so with Hispanic Catholics (29% of all Catholics).

      The Catholic 24% of America represents a vote that is pretty evenly split down the middle – particularly the white Catholics.

      39% of white Catholics and 46% of Hispanics represent the "independent" swing vote.

      39% x 65% x 24% = 6% of Americans are white 'independent' Catholic voters – and even this group still won't vote as a bloc.

      (65% of Catholics are non-Hispanic White)

      June 24, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      I should clarify. The following:

      "39% of white Catholics and 46% of Hispanics represent the "independent" swing vote."

      Should read:

      "39% of white Catholics and 46% of Hispanics represent the "independent" swing vote that Mr. Prothero suggests might have an impact in the fall."

      June 24, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
  15. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer really changes things

    June 24, 2012 at 6:11 am |
    • john the guy not the baptist

      Religious brainwashing is not healthy for chidren and other living things.
      An open mind changes things.

      Beer and spaghetti and meatballs are, of course, never out of place.
      RAmen....Peace and Love to you and yours from the FSM

      June 24, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Not the Baptist, joke all you want ... all the way to the eternal flames for not being bright enough to follow Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior's truth.

      June 24, 2012 at 3:01 pm |
    • JWT

      Your god – not the christian one – is unworthy of being worshiped by a shredded worm.

      June 24, 2012 at 8:18 pm |
    • Zeus

      JWT, don't let me catch you standing on wet ground with bare feet.

      June 24, 2012 at 10:36 pm |
    • sam stone

      HS: Jesus is all excited and waiting for the silky goodness of your mouth

      June 25, 2012 at 6:17 am |
  16. Prayer is nifty and pehaps cathartic, but changes nothing.

    Proven.

    June 23, 2012 at 10:43 pm |
    • by no one

      but thanks for playing

      June 24, 2012 at 6:12 am |
    • AGuest9

      Absolutely nothing but lowering blood pressure.

      June 24, 2012 at 11:42 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Has anyone ever looked up who the Kenite's are?

      June 24, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
    • Terry

      The Kenites are those guys always after some Barbie-ite tail.

      June 24, 2012 at 10:34 pm |
    • Zeus

      Na Ken-ite was a gay model. He just got shaved and oiled to pose-ite with Barbie a lot. Left the babes to me-ite.

      June 24, 2012 at 10:41 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 with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.