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Why a president’s faith may not matter
We’re accustomed to presidential displays of piety but historians say a president’s faith is no sure guide to how he will govern.
June 30th, 2012
10:00 PM ET

Why a president’s faith may not matter

By John Blake, CNN

He called himself a “life-long Quaker and a church-going Christian,” and at first there was no reason to doubt him.

He played piano in the church, taught Sunday school, and praised Jesus at revivals. His mother thought he was going to be a missionary. His friends said he would be a preacher.

We now know this former Sunday school teacher as “Tricky Dick” or, more formally, President Richard Nixon. He was one of the most corrupt and paranoid men to occupy the Oval Office. Nixon gave us Watergate, but he also gave presidential historians like Darrin Grinder a question to ponder:

Does a president’s religious faith make any difference in how he governs?

“I don’t think so,” says Grinder, author of “The Presidents and Their Faith,” which examines the faith of all American presidents.

“If I asked George W. Bush what he thought about torture, I think outside the presidency he would say he hates it,” Grinder says. “But he’d do it for the country if he thinks it’s right in terms of American security.”

We elect a president every four years, but perhaps we also elect a high priest.  Ever since George Washington spontaneously added “so help me God” to his inaugural oath, Americans have expected their presidents to believe in, worship and publicly invoke God.

A presidential candidate who doesn’t meet these religious expectations won’t go far, Grinder says.

“It’s going to be a long time before anyone who openly admits that he or she is an agnostic or an atheist is elected,” Grinder says. “We tie character and religious beliefs together.”

Piety and presidential greatness don’t always mix

 History suggests, however, that piety and presidential performance don’t always match. Some of America’s most religious presidents have been its most brutal. And two of its greatest presidents wouldn’t even be considered Christians today, scholars say.

Consider Abraham Lincoln, who is widely acknowledged as one of the nation’s three greatest presidents, along with Washington and Franklin Delano Roosevelt. But Lincoln, who never joined a church, was not a Christian, says Niels C. Nielsen, author of “God in the Obama Era.”

“Lincoln believed in an active God, he believed in providence. But if you asked Lincoln if he believed in the deity of Jesus, he would have said no,” Nielsen says.

Or look at Roosevelt, who is virtually a national saint. With his perpetual grin and a cigarette holder perched jauntily in his mouth, he guided the nation through the Great Depression and World War II. His legacy is built on his New Deal, an array of programs that protected the poor and elderly from the abuses of unrestrained capitalism.

But Roosevelt was no saint in his personal life. He rarely talked publicly about his Episcopalian faith, preferred golf over church (before he was stricken by polio), and likely cheated on his wife, scholars say.

Yet few presidents embodied the biblical concept of “comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable” as much as Roosevelt, who once called the heartless business tycoons of his day “the money changers” in the temple.

Nielsen, the historian, suggests that it was Roosevelt’s suffering that drove him to look out for the most vulnerable, not his faith. According to his wife, Eleanor, polio taught her husband “infinite patience and never-ending persistence.”

“I think it made him more sensitive to the feelings of people,” Eleanor said, according to Nielsen.

Another contemporary president’s concern for others seemed to be driven more by his exposure to suffering than his faith.

Lyndon Johnson plunged America deeper into Vietnam. Yet his “Great Society” programs displayed a concern for “the least of these” in America. Under Johnson, the government launched programs to protect the civil rights of minorities, improve the educational chances of needy children and protect the environment.

Johnson saw poverty as a sin, something that should be attacked and defeated.

But Johnson never seemed to have any problem with a little personal sin. He grew up in Texas, where he affiliated with Disciples of Christ and Baptist churches. But he is widely believed to have stolen one of his earliest elections. He was a womanizer, historians say, and his speech was filled with such vulgarity that reporters had a difficult time quoting him on the record.

“He didn’t have any morality,” says Nielsen.

But he did have the experience of teaching in a poor, rural, immigrant school in Texas, Grinder says, where Johnson once said he learned “what poverty and hatred can do when you see its scars on the hopeful face of a young child.”

One of Johnson’s domestic advisers says in Grinder’s book that Johnson’s commitment to racial justice and eliminating poverty came from his teaching days in Texas.

“Equal opportunity became for him a constitutional obligation, and he pursued it with messianic conviction,” said Joseph Califano Jr.

Our first ‘infidel’ president

Some American presidents didn’t just seem indifferent to religion.  They were accused of being hostile to organized religion and dismissive of Jesus.

Washington, the nation’s first president, was not a Christian but most likely a Deist, someone who believed in a divine, beneficent being who ordered the world. Clergy would often try to goad him into publicly stating that he was a Christian, but he refused to do so, Grinder says.

Thomas Jefferson, though, aroused the hostility of more religious leaders than any other president, except perhaps for President Obama.

The nation’s third president once said that he didn’t care if his neighbor worshiped one God or 20, and argued for the separation of church and state. His opponents called him a pagan and an infidel. New England farm wives buried their family Bibles in gardens because they heard Jefferson would confiscate them, Grinder says.

Grinder wrote that one pastor who campaigned against Jefferson’s election warned:

“If Jefferson is elected, the Bible will be burned, the French Marseillaise will be sung in Christian churches, and we may see our wives and daughters become the victims of legal prostitution.”

Most presidents, however, didn't speak out against organized religion like Jefferson. Some took on the high priest role of the office, and few did it as eagerly as our nation’s seventh president, Andrew Jackson.

Jackson was a devout Presbyterian who read three to five chapters of the Bible daily, built a chapel in his Tennessee home and publicly attended two Washington churches while in the White House. He is known as one of the most devout presidents.

Yet he was also known for his violent temper (he killed a man in a duel) and for being a rich slaveholder. Jackson’s claim to infamy, though, comes primarily from his treatment of Native Americans. Some historians describe it as genocidal. He slaughtered Seminole Indians and their families in Florida, and he is responsible for the deaths of thousands of Cherokees, who he forced from their homeland in Georgia.

How could Jackson reconcile his fervent religious beliefs with the mass killings of Native Americans? Grinder thinks he knows:

“He was brutal because he did not believe the persons he was being brutal to were human.”

 Obama and his faith

Anyone who doubts that a president’s faith remains important to the American people has only to look at the experiences of Obama.

Obama has declared his Christianity in his biography, and in many speeches. He evoked it recently when he came out in support of same-sex marriages. But arguably no president has had his faith so aggressively questioned. Many Americans still believe he is a Muslim.

Stephen Mansfield, author of “The Faith of Barack Obama,” is a political conservative who has written about the evangelical faith of President George W. Bush. He became curious about Obama and spent time talking to Obama’s spiritual cabinet, a collection of ministers who counsel Obama.

Mansfield says he has no doubt that Obama is a devout Christian. His belief has angered some fellow conservatives so much that he says he has had speeches canceled and received angry e-mails.

“I take him seriously as a Christian,” Mansfield says. “He’s a politically liberal Christian man who is making a deeper journey of faith all the time.”

Mansfield says Obama’s health care law is an expression of faith: his belief that Christians are obligated to look out for the most vulnerable.

“Barack Obama believes that the mechanism of the state ought to be used in service of the biblical idea of saving the needy and the poor and the oppressed,” says Mansfield.

For some, though, Obama’s faith will always be associated with the angry sermons of Jeremiah Wright, his former pastor. Yet Mansfield says Obama has embraced a more traditional form of Christianity since becoming president.

In his book, Mansfield tells a story about Obama ministering to a pastor who had experienced a death in the family. Mansfield says he was stunned that Obama could draw so easily from a deep well of scripture to minister to a minister.

“He is serious about his faith,” says Mansfield, also author of  “The Mormonizing of America.”   “He’s absolutely not a Muslim.”

Nielsen, author of “God in the Obama Era,” has a theory why some Americans believe Obama is a Muslim.

“They hate him so much,” Nielsen says. “He’s polarized the country.”

Nielsen says Obama’s unconventional religious background may arouse suspicion, but it’s an asset. Obama was raised in Hawaii and Indonesia, where he was exposed to Catholicism, Islam, Buddhism and other religions. When he lived in Chicago, his Christianity was shaped by the black church’s emphasis on social justice.

“He knows more about world religions than anybody that’s been in the White House,” Nielsen says.

The persistent scrutiny of Obama’s faith, though, has helped his presidential opponent more than the president, says Grinder, author of “The Presidents and Their Faith.”

“If [Mitt] Romney had almost any other opponent than Obama, I think we’d be hearing a lot more about Mormonism,” Grinder says. “He would be in the same place that Obama has been in the last five years.”

Once Obama leaves the Oval Office, don’t expect the religious scrutiny of presidents to fade, Grinder says. We still want our presidents to act like a politician and a priest.

“The religious rhetoric gets louder each year,” he says. “That’s not going to change anytime soon.”

- CNN Writer

Filed under: Books • Christianity • Church • Church and state • Culture wars • History • Poverty • Uncategorized

soundoff (2,727 Responses)
  1. careswho

    Obama's father was a black muslim and his mother was a white atheist.

    I'd rather vote for a "corrupt" christian president than a "corrupt" atheist president ANYDAY.

    July 1, 2012 at 10:35 pm |
    • Fact

      But a Mormon who isn't corrupt would be even better.

      July 1, 2012 at 10:39 pm |
    • Just Claims, No Truth

      Well at least his mom was right.

      July 1, 2012 at 10:39 pm |
    • Thomas

      It was the Christians that brought us the Spanish Inquisition... don't forget, the Bible quotes Jesus saying "Not everyone that says unto me Lord Lord shall enter into the Kingdom of Heaven"

      July 1, 2012 at 10:56 pm |
  2. Xman

    IT DOES MATTER, even if not as much as other criteria for being POTUS. For example, I believe that the bizarre teachings and customs of the mormon cult to be beyond questionable. This cult was founded on mental illness, poor treatment towards women, crime, murder, racism and a host of other traits that do not belong in any religion. "Magic" undergarments, coercing of women to know their "place" at home, and recent history of bigotry towards African Americans make this cult a no go, ESPECIALLY for our President. Romney is about as fit to represent the leader of the free world as much as any of the other psychos that the GOP threw into the pool of losers. I used to be a Republican until I realized what a hateful, backwards, and mentally challenged bunch this party became. Romney is unfit for any position in leadership. He has no vision, no plan (none that will work, anyway), and his place in the Mormon cult only reinforces the fact he is the worst option. May God help us if he beats Obama.

    July 1, 2012 at 10:35 pm |
    • lily

      Dear ignorant,

      I am a mormon Woman... I am encouraged to get an education and find a career. I can stay at home, or work, that is my choice. Don't call me brainwashed, I've probably had more of an education than you could ever dream! I am just finishing my physics degree (GASP! a man career!). Women in the mormon church are respected and revered. Pretty sure you won't find that many other places....

      So don't waste your sympathy on us! Go find a Muslim!

      July 2, 2012 at 1:08 am |
  3. TG

    Throughout history, religion and politics have worked hand in hand. At Revelation 17:1, 2, it says that "the great harlot", "Babylon the Great" (Rev 17:5), the world empire of false religion, has "committed fornication" with the "kings of the earth." These have been so closely tied, it is as if they were married.

    This mutual relationship will not be maintained permanently, for at Revelation 17:16, it says that the "kings of the earth" or "ten horns" (Rev 17:12), the political governments will tire of this "harlot" riding on its back.(Rev 17:3) As a result, they "will hate the harlot and will make her devastated and naked, and will eat up her fleshy parts and will completely burn her with fire."

    Though many presidents have professed a "faith", these have not followed in Jesus "footsteps".(1 Pet 2:21) Jesus said: "Why, then, do you call me ‘Lord! Lord!’ but do not do the things I say ?"(Luke 6:46) True Christians follow Jesus words to be "no part of the world" (John 15:19) never meddling in the political arena.

    July 1, 2012 at 10:14 pm |
  4. dyslexic dog

    the universe has always been. we are a product of the infinite combinations of elements and conditions.

    If you say the universe can't have always been and it must have been created then OK, who created God? If God has always been, then why can't the universe have always been?

    July 1, 2012 at 10:11 pm |
    • Yep

      That is a question to human can answer.If you are asking honestly that is the truth.If you are asking that to attack a "Theist" to "prove" that God cannot exist because of that reason is pretty sad.

      Some questions no matter the education won't be answered.

      July 1, 2012 at 10:14 pm |
    • Thomas

      The Universe has not always been... the Laws of Thermodynamics easily show that. But hey, a reoccurring Universe is possible... would explain de ja vue.

      July 1, 2012 at 10:58 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Then, Yep, why do you continue to insist that you know the "right" answer?

      July 1, 2012 at 11:25 pm |
    • Yep

      never did troll Tom Tom.

      July 2, 2012 at 12:06 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You certainly have, stupid little Yep/Nope.

      July 2, 2012 at 10:31 am |
  5. Dan

    While the examples were convincing that a typical President's faith may not affect their presidential decisions, I firmly believe that a President's faith CAN make a difference, depending on their level of conversion. For example, most Presidents have been Presbyterian – but how converted are they? Does that commitment affect their everyday decisions (whether or not they are making presidential decisions)? Most often, it doesn't.

    Unlike most other Christian denominations, being a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) is usually a HUGE commitment, and membership is not as lax as it usually is in other denominations. Therefore, while I agree that Presidents' faith has often not influenced their presidency, I am of the firm opinion that due to Mitt Romney's religion, if elected – HIS faith WOULD have a great impact on his presidency.

    July 1, 2012 at 10:08 pm |
    • lily

      So? What are you afraid of? Giving the nation a flat 10% income tax?

      That's about as mormon as it gets... LOL! You people are freaking yourselves out...

      July 2, 2012 at 1:13 am |
  6. ReligiousGuy

    President's religious faith should affect his work the same way a Judge's religious faith should affect his work. Religious faith should not impact the decision making skills in Law and running a country. Else, there is bug danger that people will not be able to differentiate between America, Saudi Arabia and Iran.

    July 1, 2012 at 10:05 pm |
  7. An Egyptian

    Obama a Christian? another head in the sand. In his visit to Egypt Obama has told the interior ministry of Egypt that he is like him a devout muslim and shared with him his muslim roots, he even told him that he will make the muslim world proud of him in dealing with Israel. This article is an attempt to help Obama win again. no doubt about it.
    America! please understand that there is something in Islam called "Takeya" which is you show people another face while maintaining your muslim standards to achieve a goal. you are allowed to even eat pork and even deny Islam during the mission of deceit.
    Regards,
    An Egyptian.

    July 1, 2012 at 9:52 pm |
    • dyslexic dog

      codswallop!

      July 1, 2012 at 9:56 pm |
    • Elizabeth

      You are making it up. Although Jesus and Mary are in the Koran, the Muslim people do not pray to Jesus. If they were ever Muslim and pray to Jesus, there is a severe penalty for that, sometimes death, so a person who actually prayers to Jesus cannot be, or ever have been, a Muslim.
      The Mormons on the other hand do not believe in One God in Three Persons, but rather three separate Gods, which does not resemble any of the religions that are monotheistic. They also aggressively spread their faith, and are barred from some countries; I'm not sure if Israel allows them there, so it is surprising that religious people support Romney. On the other hand, the job of a President is secular, but at least ought to follow some moral and ethical guidelines.

      July 1, 2012 at 10:01 pm |
    • Disgusted

      "In his visit to Egypt Obama has told the interior ministry of Egypt that he is like him a devout muslim ..."

      Do you have a legitimate citation for this? From an actual news organization that has a reputation for journalistic accuracy? I doubt it. The problem with so many Obama haters is that they're willing to lie while wearing self righteous faces. Nothing Christian about that.

      July 1, 2012 at 10:14 pm |
    • An Egyptian

      It was printed in an Arabic news paper, but I am sure if you google it up you can find it. I can not put a link here, it has been deleted.

      July 1, 2012 at 10:23 pm |
    • An Egyptian

      Beside arabic newspapers, I found it also mentioned in HAARETZ, a Jewish newspaper and other middle eastern News. It is only America who refuse to know. Whether he is or not, why is he hiding it. Please note that in one of the articles about Obama being a muslim mentioned that Obama said in 8 years he will make America a very muslim friendly nation, and he will pass laws to protect Islam. You do not have to believe this truth, just look at his actions people.
      Regards,

      July 1, 2012 at 10:34 pm |
    • KyleGlobal

      Well, considering I believe in freedom of religion and believe an American of any or no faith should have the chance to be president, I couldn't care less what religion Obama is or is not. If he is a Muslim, so what? Are we in the business of looking American children in the eye who are Muslim and telling them they can't be president?

      July 1, 2012 at 11:00 pm |
  8. MalcolmXcrement

    I would expect nothing less than this atheist trash from the pages of DNCNN.

    Liberals are a Godless bunch. Let them lose their souls...

    July 1, 2012 at 9:50 pm |
    • Dan, TX

      you seemed so full of hate. Sad

      July 1, 2012 at 10:11 pm |
  9. chris

    Faith matters. It has nothing to do with God or Ala or Jahova Witness...what Faith tells us is that you believe in something beyond yourself which all people live better under. Basic Human Kindness, Basic Human Morals, Basic Human Respect. The Golden Rule, the basic understanding that we live together under an unspoken responsibility to not harm each other and help each other. Thats Faith. Without it. we're just a bunch of wild dogs coming up with arbitrary forms of social behavior, more often than not limited to a small group or ourselves without concern for the whole. Faith matters.

    July 1, 2012 at 9:46 pm |
    • so many trolls

      This comment thread is so bad, I was glad to come across a spammer.

      July 1, 2012 at 9:57 pm |
  10. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things*

    July 1, 2012 at 9:41 pm |
    • dyslexic dog

      troll

      July 1, 2012 at 9:57 pm |
    • truth be told

      Truth is never trolling

      July 1, 2012 at 10:19 pm |
    • Greyhound37

      How's that working in Colorado Springs for ya?

      July 1, 2012 at 10:20 pm |
    • truth be told

      well

      July 1, 2012 at 10:21 pm |
  11. abcontador

    less "faith" = more intelligence

    July 1, 2012 at 9:41 pm |
  12. rumplestilskin

    I would like to have a President that doesn't have an invisible friend particularly if he claims his invisible friend talks to him.

    July 1, 2012 at 9:40 pm |
    • dyslexic dog

      hear hear!

      July 1, 2012 at 10:13 pm |
    • Yep

      its sad..atheists mock the real disorder of what the mentally insane suffer from.

      how childish..*cough*

      July 1, 2012 at 10:19 pm |
  13. ThsIsNotReal22

    FDR was NOT one of our greatest 3 presidents

    July 1, 2012 at 9:30 pm |
    • sqeptiq

      You're a professor of history? Would you go for fourth? Fifth? Most of the people who spend their lives studying presidents put him in the top five.

      July 1, 2012 at 9:34 pm |
    • Yep

      Could YOU do better?

      July 1, 2012 at 9:36 pm |
  14. Spencer

    Do not trust a Mormon. Ever. That "church" is relentless in finding new members. Do you see Lutherans sending young men out on bicycles to call on prospective members while wearing magic underwear and under strict orders not to listen to any media? Drink the kool aid and hunt for converts. The church wants nothing more than one from the hive in the White House. By the way, what's his wife's secret church name again? Hmmm. In THIS case religion matters. A lot.

    July 1, 2012 at 9:28 pm |
    • sqeptiq

      Her "secret" name is Mary. Just like his is Joseph. Just like all the other couples.

      July 1, 2012 at 9:35 pm |
    • Gabe

      Exactly! Every mormon I know fits that description completely; untrustworthy, evil, someone you would hate to have as a neighbor.... Oh wait. Actually, they are the opposite of that. I love my Mormon neighbors.

      Golly, someone has a chip on the shoulder!

      July 1, 2012 at 9:51 pm |
    • dyslexic dog

      [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7q6brMrFw0E&w=640&h=390]

      July 1, 2012 at 10:14 pm |
  15. Bev

    HOGWASH! It doesn't now matter because we want to put a Mormon in the White House. After all the slander and backstabbing, etc. against this President's religious faith we now think it is OK. First we questioned his Pastor when he said he was Christian, then we said he was Muslim and finally we can all kiss and make up because in the end we have decided that a president's faith makes no difference how he governs. Again I say, HOGWASH!!!

    July 1, 2012 at 9:15 pm |
  16. Yep

    So if atheist can't stand one "forcing" religious law into "secular" law,what would stop an atheist if elected into office,would try and force atheism upon the people?

    Their logic stops when they ignore themselves.

    July 1, 2012 at 9:09 pm |
    • hippypoet

      your silly...and make no sense.

      Only you and people like you talk without really considering what you say. You realize that any person elected in office will not would inject their ideas into the government. It is however only those that follow a god type dogma form of thinking and acting that force things without reason...example.. like banning g@y marriage or making abortion illegal....we understand that personal choices have needs too and they don't require the ok of some god. Everyone has the right to be as happy as another and sometimes we all fu k up...at 7 billion and food running low – its not a real matter of personal feelings for the state anymore, its practical but more importantly – LIFESAVING but not allowing more!

      Our rights and our wrongs aren't based solely on what we read in a story book. We are better then that!

      July 1, 2012 at 9:27 pm |
    • hippypoet

      LIFESAVING "by" not allowing more!

      July 1, 2012 at 9:28 pm |
    • Yep

      Hippy do you have a crush on me?

      Sorry taken man.

      July 1, 2012 at 9:34 pm |
    • Gordon Singh

      Are you daft? A religious person would force his religion on everyone, and an atheist would ensure that no religion is forced on anyone. Guess which one is real freedom?

      July 1, 2012 at 9:40 pm |
    • hippypoet

      Most excellent rebuttal! You are quite the intellectual.

      No crush, I was just one cnn and saw your moronic post...well from that point the words you used and mine pretty much speak for themselves! :)

      July 1, 2012 at 9:43 pm |
    • Yep

      No seems like you atheistic trolls hate to hear the truth.

      July 1, 2012 at 9:46 pm |
    • hippypoet

      no, not at all – please.....i am sitting down, tell me the truth....i ask you to show me the truth that as a believer you possess and i as an atheist do not....please.
      :)

      July 1, 2012 at 9:48 pm |
    • Yep

      Go away troll.

      July 1, 2012 at 9:51 pm |
    • hippypoet

      if having god in your life means you believe you are happier or live now a more full life thats all grand.....all i see is a less then true appreciation for the living and one who'd rather worship the dead and senseless.

      if not having god in your life means a meaningless life well again all i see is a less then true love of life and a yearning for death.
      both are pointless – just live, be happy....why does one need god in it? god doesn't come down and su ck your di ck....everything after conversion is the same only with a sense of meaning....basically, you lack an ability to adjust outside the age of reason so you require a "god" that replaces your parents as the rule maker and enforcer....wow, thats sad.

      July 1, 2012 at 9:56 pm |
    • Yep

      lol its sad how you think you know me.I have my reasons to say I am blessed by God yes but many things your mind can't comprehend because its warped by another atheists.This and that is "stupid" or this and that is considered a "fairy-tale" warped by the mind of the believer.Everything is dismissed because this "logic" you claim to have isn't even real.If someone says "God saved my life" why does that anger or make atheists attack it?

      If you were so happy being an atheist yoi wouldn't even have a reason to even troll religous articles spreading your vile hatred.

      This delusion that everybody is forcing you to believe is a LIE.Its all in your mind.YOU made it up.

      enjoy your little Fairy-tale.Stop lying.

      July 1, 2012 at 10:06 pm |
    • hippypoet

      i believe you suffer from Veritas Metus....fear of the truth, or for a layman, you, you are in denial.

      July 1, 2012 at 10:11 pm |
    • hippypoet

      if you require a non-existent being to tell you how to live and die then you may have any one of many mental ailments....might want to get that checked.

      July 1, 2012 at 10:12 pm |
    • Yep

      A person who states that knows nothing about Christianity.

      July 1, 2012 at 10:15 pm |
    • hippypoet

      ohh, we both know thats not true – at this point your reaching....can we even argue at all? do you understand the basics for presenting an argument? where did you leave your helmet?

      July 1, 2012 at 10:21 pm |
    • Yep

      I don't agrue with anyone who's mind is warped with hatred.

      July 1, 2012 at 10:24 pm |
    • hippypoet

      no hate....i have never said i hate anyone. i seek to understand and am befuddled by others who claim to know anything thru simple belief without any seeking of any truth of the claims of what you believe... it is simple not rational...so i ask and i never seem to get anywhere due to a serious lack of answers.

      i do however seem to get the same answers over and over again....have faith! lol

      July 1, 2012 at 10:27 pm |
    • Yep

      Like your doing right now?

      truth be told

      not even you know but claim you do.You pretty much say everyone is wrong and you are right oh wait its not done.You want them to prove they are correct but you only select usually one group out the millions to billions possible god or gods.I mean why only one? Because its " popular"? Islam is popular with over a billion Muslims and growing fast all over the planet.I never heard out of your mouth "Prove Allah exists".How about other religions or is your choice narrowed down to one but you are actually in total denial about it? Thing is..with the numbers of humans growing larger and larger each day,new religions form.For some strange reason with the new and old..God is the most demanded for proof.Now if its because you wish to challenge a Christian but your posts prove it goes way beyond that.

      Its not a trick.I see it how it is.Many non-Christian religions have millions of followers.Why don't you ever demand they prove they are correct? oh wait the excuse of "They don't force anything" kicks in.

      But the strangest thing is..only many many many many many atheists across the planet want evidence of just one God.

      so its a narrowed down choice not the excuse of "No one else imposes their religious law on us".Yet you seriously want proof of God.

      It does make a big statement on you:

      July 1, 2012 at 10:36 pm |
    • hippypoet

      lol, no....no grand statment on me. i always add the (s) to god when i type it in. =) i stand firm on the a@sertion that no gods exist at all. they are for comforting the weak.

      July 1, 2012 at 10:39 pm |
    • Yep

      I wasn't talking about that.Atheists typically demand evidence of one creator,one God,one faith.Why? Even with the old religions that people still believe and also the millions that billions of people have believed throughout history no atheist demands those are proven correct.Its the proof that makes this correct.

      you locked down your choice leaving all other religions yes even the branches of Christianity out.Demanding on proof of one God and no others only makes it true.

      so go ahead.Deny it.at the end of the day..that's all atheists do.

      So many religions but many atheists locked it down to just one..so until another religion imposes religious law is when you care? Hmm.Lies.

      July 1, 2012 at 10:48 pm |
    • hippypoet

      actually no...i ask for proof of god....the word god is a generic term....its you folks that take it as your god....you a$$ert much but know very little.... which by the way do you even know your gods name? i do. every god has a name. it is almost a sign of disrespect to call your god with the word god, its too open – afterall if one exists then perhaps they all do and whose to say everytime a god "talks" to you its not always the same god.......ever consider this?

      July 1, 2012 at 10:55 pm |
    • Yep

      You know when putting a capital "G" in God it makes a statement you are refering to God of the bible? And atheist targets for that is usually Christians not Muslims not even anyone else.

      You talk about logic but none of this,you don't even lift a finger for.You sit back like a king while everyone else does the real believing.You think in your mind you are special enough to skip over faith.The atheists have brainwashed you into believing that's logical yet even a pro-football player goes hard even tho they went pro.A police officer works hard even tho they have a badge.Get it yet?

      No human should bow down to someone like you.You aren't above faith and its sad to see how brainwashed you really are.

      You can think for yourself? If you could you would the searching for yourself and NOT have someone else do it.

      July 1, 2012 at 11:03 pm |
    • hippypoet

      lol you missed where said i have done all my own research....maybe not this convo – doesn't matter....anyway, i know plenty more then the average believer of any belief that i talk to....its pathetic....

      July 1, 2012 at 11:08 pm |
    • Yep

      You can question whatever you want..that argument usually happens when a parent etc HATES that.I got my own reasons but I can't prove it.Do i believe blindly? Well I must ask you..have you searched everything or deny the religion you grew up with? or deny all religions because of what you see or hear? How do you know atheim is correct? Do you relay on evidence or faith?

      Save your "I'm more logical than you so prove your god exists".you aren't a king and you aren't special.You are human like us.

      you aren't gods who are above the human condition.nor the life of it.And you aren't above faith.

      This "logic" only blinds you further.Its a security blanket for you.

      July 1, 2012 at 11:12 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Are you still blathering? How is it that you don't grasp the fact that we have a Const itution and a system of government that ensures the President, regardless of his/her faith, doesn't have absolute power? How old are you? You should already KNOW this if you're beyond 8th grade, Yep.

      July 1, 2012 at 11:15 pm |
    • hippypoet

      you really are funny...there is no right or wrong.... belief in any god is simple illrational and illogical. the belief of god is a emotional one, a personal one. lacking that emotional need is called being an atheist. it doesn't mean we are right because perhaps there is a god or gods...no proof exists of this however and so belief in anything of that sort makes absolutly no sense. that is all. If any god was tp appear in front of me right now.... i would bow – but nothing.

      July 1, 2012 at 11:19 pm |
    • Yep

      So you rather be forced to believe rather than to make a personal choice and deciding? You say you know a belief well but..even if God appeared many will deny he even exists.People make their own choice

      I have done research.But i respect anyone who believes in other religions.I do not even care what it is.I'm always curious to learn something knew.Many are afraid of doing that because they leave their faith but i have not.

      Find out on your own.Believe because you want to.Seriously consider it.I can't for you..

      July 1, 2012 at 11:33 pm |
    • hippypoet

      so your telling me that you did the research and found god to be real?
      where was he hiding?

      July 1, 2012 at 11:35 pm |
    • Yep

      So if God appeared you would believe? Yet you spent all this time denying him?

      You know what? THAT doesn't make sense.Actally any logical sense.

      Humans know so much but so little.Of course many atheists follow that trap of "science is the answer" but science is run by humans.Not perfect know-it-all logical humans.Just humans.

      July 1, 2012 at 11:39 pm |
    • hippypoet

      your an idiot...to not believe what can't be proven is logical...if what was previously not real appeared in front of me – that would prove its existence to me and therefore its logical to believe however belief then wouldn't be for knowledge would be in its place.....the knowledge of its true existence – nothing about it gets gained from simple appearence aside from real or not real so a convo would be required.

      you see you don't believe what you know, you know it....you believe something that you don't know....is the difference?

      July 1, 2012 at 11:56 pm |
    • Yep

      Its typical for an atheist to think only they should get proof of God and only them.

      July 1, 2012 at 11:58 pm |
    • hippypoet

      so what now your claiming you HAVE proof of god? or are you whinning because you think i said only atheists get visits from non existent beings from the other world?

      seriously, your an idiot...but entertaining.

      July 2, 2012 at 12:09 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Yep, I suspect you are in summer school today, trying to make up some class you failed.

      You are clueless. People who don't believe there's a supreme being aren't demanding you prove there is one unless you attempt to tell them that you know there is one and insist they obey the one you believe exists. Shut up, go your own way, and stop pretending you have a single brain cell that works.

      July 2, 2012 at 10:34 am |
  17. john-michael

    according to John Blake... Jesus wouldn't be considered a christian either...

    July 1, 2012 at 9:01 pm |
  18. Smokey

    I don't think it really matters in terms of how a President governs because Presidents these days govern in a box, they do not have very much free will in terms of what they're able to do. They're a cog in a machine as much as anyone else in governance. But for my part it reassures me to know that if an emergency situation comes up where the President is called upon to take decisive actions, that they are a believer in God and a person of faith who has a solid and carefully considered worldview. It would be very unnerving to me if the most powerful person in the world was an avowed skeptic or ignorant of God.

    July 1, 2012 at 8:58 pm |
    • sqeptiq

      It's very unnerving to me that our president would believe in a magical being for whom there is NO evidence.

      July 1, 2012 at 9:37 pm |
    • Yep

      You want an atheist who believes in literal magic of chance and random?

      That's what many many atheists follow.That we poofed randomly onto existence but so far science has not proved it.

      please stop spreading your lies.

      July 1, 2012 at 9:54 pm |
    • EvolvedDNA

      Yep.. you believe in magic and wizards . Abiogenesis is what you think is magic and get that confused with the fact of evolution.. Maybe abiogenesis is magic ... there is just as much a chance that we were all sneezed out of the nostrils of a giant goat as god starting life. At some time in the near future we will have a better understanding of the causes of the first cell.

      July 2, 2012 at 12:46 am |
    • EvolvedDNA

      Yep..We agree that many folks believe we came into being from a single ancestral cell...it is also correct that science has not yet been able to answer fully how that came to be. But for you to assert that it could only be "god" is the lie as you also have no proof.. we admit it is still up for debate and conjecture..but it will be answered at some point in the future and if it is god..it will be science that finds him/her.

      July 2, 2012 at 12:52 am |
    • Smokey

      God is not "magic." Because our human science is too primitive and foolish to understand the divine, because we are still so very, very far from proving even the barest glimmer of reality by what we arrogantly think is the very height of knowledge...what is science? Science is the process of DISproving. What does vedanta say God is? "Not this...not this." Perhaps one day humanity will be in a position to prove or disprove God but until that day, faith trumps science.

      July 2, 2012 at 5:57 am |
  19. jjacobson

    You can believe sponge bob is the creator almighty for all I care. Come november Obama and any Democratic leadership has got to go. Not because of any god but because they are leading this country to self destruction. There is not a single thing we can point to this administration and call a success. I am not in the least bit concerned however as last election cycle proved we the majority reject this administration and any remaining democratic leadership.

    July 1, 2012 at 8:57 pm |
    • Yep

      But would atheists ignore those who believe he is the creator and demand proof of only God not spongebob?

      that should be the real question here.

      July 1, 2012 at 9:14 pm |
    • Tim

      That description could be said of the last administration as well. Romney (too bad Romney has to placad to the neocons) and the neocons are not going to solve this either but your propganda "right" media sure has you convinced ot that, don't they?

      I think Ron Paul would have been best in terms of what needs to happen for the deficit but he went no where with the right because he doesn't speak their "lingo".

      July 1, 2012 at 9:32 pm |
    • sqeptiq

      Death of Osama and virtually all of his lieutenants? Not a success? Fair pay for women legislation, Ending Iraq war. End of DADT and allowing all Americans to openly serve their country. Not successes??? You have a skewed sense of success.

      July 1, 2012 at 9:41 pm |
  20. Jack

    Hello everyone. All are cordially invited to visit – thestarofkaduri.com

    July 1, 2012 at 8:56 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.