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My Take: How evangelicals could grow to love Muslims
The Islamic Center of America, a mosque in Dearborn, Michigan.
August 18th, 2012
10:00 PM ET

My Take: How evangelicals could grow to love Muslims

Editor's Note: Eboo Patel is founder and president of Interfaith Youth Core. His new book is called "Sacred Ground: Pluralism, Prejudice and the Promise of America."

By Eboo Patel, Special to CNN

Paul Ryan has set off joyous cheers in the land of conservatives largely because of his fiscal views but also because of his Catholic faith.

He is just the most recent member of his church – think House Speaker John Boehner, Republican runner-ups Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum, and Supreme Court justices Samuel Alito and Antonin Scalia – to be viewed as a flag-bearer for the conservative cause, a movement whose foot soldiers are largely evangelical Protestants.

The dynamic of evangelicals cheering for Catholics is one of the most stunning shifts in American political history. Just 50 years ago, evangelicals were ringing the alarm about the rising prominence of Catholics in American politics, not falling in line behind them.

“Our freedom, our religious freedom, is at stake if we elect a member of the Roman Catholic order as president of the United States,” Norman Vincent Peale told a conference of evangelical leaders in September 1960.

Materials handed out at the Peale conference claimed ‘Universal Roman Catholicism’ was both a religion and a political force whose doctrines were ultimately incompatible with the American ideals of freedom, equality and democracy.

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And the conference's keynote address alleged that Catholics practiced “mental reservation,” which allowed them to lie about their intentions in order to gain power. And when they succeeded, they would make second-class citizens of everyone else.

Replace “Roman Catholic” with “Muslim” and “Church hierarchy” with “caliphate” in those pronouncements and today we are witnessing a similar energy directed against a different faith community using largely the same categories.

In today’s parlance, Kennedy was part of a stealth jihad meant to replace the U.S. Constitution with sharia law and practicing taqqiyya to mask this dawa offensive.

As they believed about Catholicism then, many evangelicals now view the very nature of Islam as incompatible with American values. Evangelicals rate Muslims lower on a "‘favoribility" scale than any other religious group, according to "American Grace," a book by scholars Robert Putnam and David Campbell.

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Evangelical churches are favorite venues for Islamophobic speakers and prominent evangelical leaders like Franklin Graham regularly call Islam a threat to America.

It is easy to draw a straight line between the evangelical anti-Catholic prejudice of previous generations and the Islamophobia of today, essentially saying that “evangelicals have to hate someone.”

But that’s too cynical a take for me. The more interesting - and certainly more hopeful - storyline is the one about change.

Evangelical attitudes changed markedly towards Catholics in the past generation, and they are changing towards Muslims now.

Without doubt, the evangelical shift on Catholics can be partially explained by the two religion traditions finding common cause on political issues like abortion. But in "American Grace," Putnam and Campbell point to what they believe is a more important reason.

Over the course of the past fifty years, more evangelicals got to meet Catholics and the warmth in those personal relationships became generalized towards the larger community. If your Pal Al is Catholic and a good guy, then by extension Catholics as a group and Catholicism as a religion have some good qualities.

This is precisely the dynamic taking place between evangelicals and Muslims, a story for me best illustrated by a Dallas-based pastor named Bob Roberts. Bob grew up in the 1960s in East Texas and remembers the Pope regularly being referred to as “the Great Whore of Babylon” in his father’s Southern Baptist church.

He absorbed the anti-Catholic prejudice along with everyone else. But when he went on service trips to Southeast Asia as an adult, he discovered that the people doing the most intense, committed development work were inevitably Catholic. At first he admired them from afar. Then he got to know some up close, and they turned out to be not so bad.

After September 11, 2001, the anti-Muslim feeling was open and intense in Bob’s community. Truth be told, Bob felt it himself.

But he was self-aware enough to recognize the similarity between the irrational prejudice he absorbed about Catholics growing up and what he saw happening toward Muslims now.

So he did the same thing with Muslims that he’d done with Catholics: get to know them personally through common projects. Bob has traveled everywhere from Afghanistan to Gaza to do interfaith service projects with Muslims.

And now he is bringing fellow evangelicals along and involving the members of his Dallas mega-church in local interfaith projects. He’s speaking to young evangelical leaders about the importance of building relationships with Muslims as a Christian practice.

I know because in the midst of the opposition to the so-called Ground Zero mosque a couple years ago, a young pastor came to my office and asked me to guest preach about Islam at his evangelical church. He told me that Bob had sent him.

This is how communities change. Evangelicals make up 40% of America – when they change, America changes.

Maybe in 50 years, there will be no surprise when the loudest cheerleaders for Muslim presidential candidates and Supreme Court justices are evangelical Christians.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Eboo Patel.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Catholic Church • Islam • Opinion

soundoff (2,441 Responses)
  1. Veritae

    Interesting and alarming article:

    1. Roman Catholics have not, nor did not declare Holy War against America. Each organized religion has its share of black eyes, but I have trouble believing a Mus-lim presidential candidate even in 50 years. As long as video streams continue to show throngs of Mus-lims overseas burning flags and chanting, "Death to America!" it is difficult to conceive of voting for one.

    2. It would seem to me that the evangelical proposition has been long extended to Mus-lims and primarily rejected. In other words, it will be far easier to consider 'loving' them when they can better demonstrate a willingness to 'love' us back.

    3. Author Stephen Prothero's book, "God is Not One," seems to illustrate that the great war of the 21st century will be an ideological one primarily between Christianity and Islam. With over 80 decades left to go, I'm a little skeptical of supporting those who seem so earnest and willing to give up so much ground in the pursuit of an artificial and unsustainable peace.

    August 19, 2012 at 10:06 pm |
  2. Shakira

    I wonder how many of you actually have ever met a Muslim or spent any time with one to make you hateful opinions.

    August 19, 2012 at 10:02 pm |
    • Mark

      Not on my bucket list.

      August 19, 2012 at 10:04 pm |
    • Pamela

      I wonder if Shakira knows what a red herring is.

      August 19, 2012 at 10:06 pm |
    • Obama Supporter

      Hips don't lie!

      August 19, 2012 at 10:06 pm |
    • Damocles

      I've met a few, talked to a few more and just listened to many of them. I base my opinions on what I have seen and heard.

      August 19, 2012 at 10:06 pm |
    • edweird69

      @Shakira – I've never met a muslim, but I don't have any desire to really know anyone personally, who practices any bronze aged religions. I reject all religions. I have not singled out any in particular, as I reject ALL religions as fairytales.

      August 19, 2012 at 10:07 pm |
    • holy cow

      is it not evident that roughly, more than a billion people around this world, having already experienced Islam/Allah/Muhammad, fought against it and discarded it for a good reason? Islam’s demise is not a question of ‘if’ but ‘when’, as the process of its demise started with the advent of the media, IT, etc, and got speeded up exponentially, after 9/11.

      August 19, 2012 at 10:11 pm |
    • Bob

      I've known a number of Muslims over the years and always felt they were looking down on me. None ever became what one might consider a friend. It was clear they had no intention of being my friend except for business transactions.
      In all honesty, they appear to be where Christianity was 200 years ago and it may take another 200 years to civilize them.

      August 19, 2012 at 10:19 pm |
    • Shakira

      @ Pamela, yes I do. Would you like me to put the definition in here for you or others who may not know.

      @ Holy Cow – Your point is odd as Islam is the fasted growing religion in the world, and it was the media and internet that lead to my conversion 6 years ago. Islam is not going anywhere soon.

      August 19, 2012 at 10:24 pm |
    • Abbot

      Yes Shakira... you sit behind the computer and watch the video for your conversions. That is fine. Couch warriors like you do not live in the muslim world. You live in the free world.
      Many young people in the muslim world are not being fooled any more, as more and more are leaving Islam. I know many young muslims who do not want to be associated with Islam.
      It easy to destroy a religion invented by a mad man pedo phile from teh 7th century.
      The Koran is the worst book written. Disprove all teh crap in it and you kill Islam. Why do you think there is violence everytime someone questions Islam?

      August 19, 2012 at 10:36 pm |
    • Abbot

      Fastest growing religion through Breeding and Immigration. Yes we do have a few losers converting. But the ratio of conversion away from Islam or to any other religion like Budhism etc out numbers conversion to Islam.

      August 19, 2012 at 10:39 pm |
  3. Agnostic Pakistani

    Muslims hate Muslims. They kill eachother look at Pakistan, Syria, Egypt, Afganistan, Nigeria, Sudan, Somalia etc.
    If they hate eachother, then how can anyone else love them.
    2) Muslims may be can love to learn all other religions first and not kill minorities all over the muslim world. Look at Egypt, Nigeria, Thailand, Burma, Sudan, Pakistan, iran....

    August 19, 2012 at 10:01 pm |
    • Obama Supporter

      Yes. We are glad Obama left Iraq. Now Sunni can fight Shia and take back the country. Obama is a friend and brother to Islam.

      August 19, 2012 at 10:08 pm |
  4. Brad

    The difference between the anti-Catholic prejudice and the very legitimate criticisms of Islam is this. Islam has for centuries used religiously sanctioned violence to spread Islam and suppress free thought. Christianity and Catholics have long ago abandoned any use of violence to support the faith. Violence is mandated by Mohammed's last statements in the Koran. Violence is criticized in the New Testament.

    August 19, 2012 at 9:49 pm |
    • TheVocalAtheist

      How about psychological violence? Does that count?

      August 19, 2012 at 9:54 pm |
    • edweird69

      Oh Paleeeez ! Xtians have been violent since their religion began. The crusades, the witch trials, the horrors in Ireland. Their atrocities are too numerous to count. You'll never convince me that Xtianity is about love. The bible itself is rife with stories that no child should ever be subjected to... or adult for that matter.

      August 19, 2012 at 9:54 pm |
    • John

      You need to read Brad's post and understand it. He is not saying Christians never used violence to spread their religion, he is saying they aabandoned it centuries ago. In other words Christians are no longer in the dark ages; Muslims are.

      August 19, 2012 at 10:01 pm |
    • JD

      Ugandan Christians are kind of scarey. Death for anyone found to be a practicing hom.o.se.xual.

      August 19, 2012 at 10:03 pm |
    • edweird69

      Believing in any bronze aged religion, puts one in the dark ages. Xtians (as stated by vocal atheist) use psychological violence as their weapon of choice! They oppress gays, and others they find undesirable. Is there any punishment more violent than the threat of eternal death?

      August 19, 2012 at 10:04 pm |
    • Abbot

      Funny... now edweird is worried about Psycholigical warfare. Until now he was claiming Christianity is about violent wars, and now when he is debunked, he is talking about Psychological warfare.
      The teachings of Christ is all about love, especially to the least of my brothern. So a true Christian will never condemn you for being gay. Remember Jesus spent time with teh outcasts. And he himself was an outcast.
      I am athiest who believes Jesus was just a great man. but I live by his teachings.

      August 19, 2012 at 10:23 pm |
    • TheVocalAtheist

      "I am athiest who believes Jesus was just a great man. but I live by his teachings."

      That's a first for me! I mean, come on.

      August 19, 2012 at 10:27 pm |
    • edweird69

      @Abbott – well, let me debunk your Jesus belief. A woman, in the bible, who was impregnated by her rapist, asked Jesus what she should do. He told her she should marry her rapist, and that he was now responsible for her and the baby. Oh, and Jesus also said that the rapist had to pay a fine to her father. So, that's who you think is a great man??? SICK is what he was... SICK. There are countless other lies he told as well.

      August 19, 2012 at 10:30 pm |
    • Prospero

      I don't know that story edweird69. Can you give us the full text?

      August 19, 2012 at 10:33 pm |
    • Damocles

      @abbot

      See, this is my problem.... to many versions of 'true christian'. I've seen 30 true christians condemn being gay and 30 true christians say it's ok. They can't all be true christians. Or can they?

      August 19, 2012 at 10:36 pm |
    • Damocles

      Oh geez... in the above post it should be too, not to... hope I caught that in tyme.

      August 19, 2012 at 10:38 pm |
    • edweird69

      @Prospero Deuteronomy 22:28-29 NLT

      August 19, 2012 at 10:38 pm |
    • Prospero

      Jesus isn't a character in Deuteronomy edweird69.

      August 19, 2012 at 10:42 pm |
    • edweird69

      @Prospero – God and Jesus, as I was taught, are the same thing. Jesus was god, robed in flesh. The way I was taught, they are indeed the same being.

      August 19, 2012 at 10:46 pm |
    • Prospero

      Is that something you actually swallowed edweird69?

      August 19, 2012 at 10:56 pm |
  5. mensa141

    What could possibly be wrong with a cult of people that like to crucify secularist and strap bombs to their bodies? There is simply no other path but to love their poor misguided souls.

    August 19, 2012 at 9:44 pm |
    • JD

      Hey! They know what excitement is.

      August 19, 2012 at 9:46 pm |
    • TheVocalAtheist

      I say, find the gene and destroy it.

      August 19, 2012 at 9:47 pm |
    • JD

      Someone did say kill all their males. I did that with mice once. Worked real well. The females were happy and well-groomed. Not a care in the world.

      August 19, 2012 at 9:50 pm |
    • TheVocalAtheist

      The poor meces, we use them for everything.

      August 19, 2012 at 9:52 pm |
    • John

      Right. Ask me to love them after they quit killing innocents and mutilating their own women.

      August 19, 2012 at 10:04 pm |
  6. Damocles

    Fanatics finding common ground with other fanatics.... what... could... possibly.... go.... wrong!?

    August 19, 2012 at 9:39 pm |
  7. Sincerely

    Like, how good do you have to be to become a Muslim or to be a Muslim.

    August 19, 2012 at 9:29 pm |
    • Ruhina

      Just follow the dictates of your concions

      August 19, 2012 at 9:37 pm |
    • Obama Supporter

      Not very. We accept you just as you are, Unabomber or sniper.

      August 19, 2012 at 9:39 pm |
    • Sincerely

      Well I do that. I don't hurt anybody or anything. I don't say bad things. I like to help people.

      August 19, 2012 at 9:40 pm |
    • Sincerely

      Other guy. What is a Unabomber?

      August 19, 2012 at 9:41 pm |
    • therealpeace2all

      @Sincerely

      " Like, how good do you have to be to become a Muslim or to be a Muslim. "

      Is there some kind of test or something...?

      Peace...

      August 19, 2012 at 9:50 pm |
    • Obama Supporter

      You know... Homicide bombers. We love them. Martyrs, all of them. They fight and die, not like those wimpy Christian so-called martyrs who peacefully advocated their views and died horrible deaths for it. Better to take me all with you when you go and die fighting.

      August 19, 2012 at 9:51 pm |
    • Sincerely

      I don't know. Is there a test? Do you know? There aren't any Muslims here or they won't talk to me.

      August 19, 2012 at 9:52 pm |
    • Sincerely

      Other guy. I think you need to chill. Watch some different movies or something without stuff blowing up.

      August 19, 2012 at 9:55 pm |
    • therealpeace2all

      @Sincerely

      " I don't know. Is there a test? Do you know? There aren't any Muslims here or they won't talk to me."

      Hmmm... No, I don't think there is a test. I believe to become or convert to Islam, one has to say aloud something(approximating here, since I'm not a Muslim),
      'There is no God but Allah(God), and Muhammad is his prophet' or something like that. I would guess there are a few other things that go along with it.

      If you're that interested in some kind of level of 'good' to become a Muslim, maybe... look it up ?

      Peace...

      August 19, 2012 at 10:03 pm |
    • Obama Supporter

      Movies!? I am not supposed to watch evil movies! I watch Al Jazeera and hear about the glorious martyrs in Iraq blowing up many people on a continual basis. That is Islam. Come fight Jihad with us.

      August 19, 2012 at 10:04 pm |
    • Sincerely

      OK No Muslims. Other guy you're a lot like my little brother. Try not to get as weird as he does. Bye!

      August 19, 2012 at 10:12 pm |
  8. Inez

    I don't hate Muslims, but their ideas of making slaves of infidelts, taxing the infidels or eliminating the infidels I definitely do not agree with. As a Christian, I hold no hard feelings about them or their faith - but keep it to yourself unless I ask you to explain. I will do the same. But I definitely think that giving Muslims priority over anyone else in the U.S is WRONG. For Instance, if a Christian brings a Bible to school or wears a "religious" T-shirt, they are punished. But, the Muslims have special places to pray, wash their feet before prayer and whatever else they want. But Christins can's even have an after school meeting without a big bruhaha. Things are turned upside down.

    August 19, 2012 at 9:16 pm |
    • edweird69

      Inez – the bible is pro-slavery? You "as a Christian" know this. Xtianity and Islam have much, much in common to say the least.

      August 19, 2012 at 9:17 pm |
    • John

      @weird – what they don't have in common is killing everyone that does not agree with them and mutilating women and young girls. Those are kinda biggies to me.

      August 19, 2012 at 10:08 pm |
    • edweird69

      @John – Xtians use psychology as their weapon of choice. They mistreat those they deem undesirable. They wage wars against people like, gay people for example. They raise monies, to oppress them with laws. They threaten the public with eternal fire, if they don't adhere to their religion. That's a biggie in my book.

      August 19, 2012 at 10:16 pm |
  9. rodriga

    Here in NYC every once in a while I see this guys walking feet ahead of their veiled wives. These men usually have this petulant and self-important demeanor while their wives look down the pavement so as to not establish eye contact with passersby. As a woman, seeing this infuriates me. Not only that, for me it this hard to separate this blatant chauvinism from a certain set of religious believes. Is there even room for such tableau in modern society?

    August 19, 2012 at 9:15 pm |
    • edweird69

      All religions treat anyone they feel is "beneath them", or "doesn't believe as they do", should be shunned, avoided, punished. The same thing goes on here. For example, Jehovah Witnesses will shun those whom they believe "know the truth", yet reject it. I've seen them reject their own family members.

      August 19, 2012 at 9:23 pm |
    • Jethro

      Rodriga, not all Muslims treat their wives that way.

      August 19, 2012 at 9:43 pm |
    • Obama Supporter

      Yes, but we do make them worship in a separate area of the mosque. Besides only .01% don't treat their wives like that, any more and it would be unIslamic. Islam means to submit, and they should submit.

      August 19, 2012 at 9:58 pm |
  10. Obama Supporter

    If Islam is good enough for Barack Hussein Obama, it's good enough for me!

    August 19, 2012 at 9:15 pm |
    • Daphne Demetrius Zeus

      Yup, my name makes me what I am. A god. Sure does.

      August 19, 2012 at 9:27 pm |
    • Obama Supporter

      Don't be silly, you're no God because of your name. Now, of you grew up on mount Olympus, I'd have to reconsider.

      August 19, 2012 at 9:55 pm |
    • John

      Which is of course why Obama has ordered the deaths of so many Muslims. He just loves them.

      August 19, 2012 at 10:10 pm |
    • Mark

      Daphne...you sound like a 10 year old.

      August 19, 2012 at 10:14 pm |
    • Obama Supporter

      John, have you missed it? Obama is still trying to close juantanamo to let his brothers go free. When released, they will make their way back to Iraq. Obama pulled US troops out of Iraq so that they could join the Sunnis in the Jihad against the apostasy that is Shia Islam. He will soon leave Afghanistan so that the Taliban can take back over and impose Islam again. Obama is a friend to Islam. It is probably good your eyes don't see it.

      August 19, 2012 at 10:25 pm |
    • Obama Supporter

      You also forget that he let the American puppet, Mubarak, be deposed so the Islamic Brotherhood could implement Islamic law finally. He helped liberate Lybia even though there was no other American interest there except to help his Muslim brothers back into power. Now the Syrian dictator will soon fall so that we will also win Syria back from the Shia. The Ottoman Empire is rising once again, thanks to Obama.

      August 19, 2012 at 10:28 pm |
  11. Joe

    This isn't about faith, and it isn't about a race of people. It's about an IDEOLOGY, that Muslims view as a "complete way of life". But it isn't my way of life, and I won't have it crammed down my throat. The sorry part is that a lot of readers will believe this Liberal AH's B U L L $ H I T.

    August 19, 2012 at 9:15 pm |
    • Daphne Demetrius Zeus

      Just like Christards shoving their values down your throat.

      August 19, 2012 at 9:28 pm |
    • Jethro

      When did you have Islam "crammed down your throat"? I don't understand why people who don't even know a single Muslim claim that Islam is being forced upon them.

      August 19, 2012 at 9:47 pm |
    • nadeem

      Hey Jethro, get out of your basement more often and you will what Joe is talking about

      August 19, 2012 at 10:04 pm |
  12. Manda

    You know sometimes it's said that two people are "too much alike to get along?"

    That's the problem here. Muslim extremists and fundamentalist Christians are just too much alike to get along.

    August 19, 2012 at 9:11 pm |
    • edweird69

      Alright Amanda! You go girl. Lovin' your posts already.

      August 19, 2012 at 9:13 pm |
    • Obama Supporter

      Ain't it the truth? I don't know how you could have made a more apt and intelligent comparison. Those crazy Christians are always strapping on bombs and blowing up unbelievers. The nutty Christians continually behead or stone silly American Atheists. Yep. I'm not sure why that hasn't been pointed out already!

      August 19, 2012 at 9:44 pm |
    • nadeem

      Obama supporter: You are absolutely right. These left wing nut bags are intelectually bankrupt. They are simply fullfilling thier roles as useful idiots.

      August 19, 2012 at 10:07 pm |
  13. PRISM 1234

    I have no problem with Muslim people. I have a problem with Islam's theology to which they adhere.

    August 19, 2012 at 9:02 pm |
    • Manda

      Of course you do, you're a religious zealot. Any other way but your way is an "abomination"

      August 19, 2012 at 9:07 pm |
    • edweird69

      What is the difference between their theology, and any other theology?

      August 19, 2012 at 9:12 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      Mandalina, you have a lot to learn!

      August 19, 2012 at 9:28 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      A World of diffference! Google has much info!

      August 19, 2012 at 9:29 pm |
    • edweird69

      I've studied both Prism. All religions are the same in one way or another. Indoctrinating children, when they're young and impressionable, and despising anyone who rejects your theology. They are all the same!

      August 19, 2012 at 9:35 pm |
    • John

      Hey weirdy they don't both mutilate their children though.

      August 19, 2012 at 10:13 pm |
    • Abbot

      Islam is the only religion that preaches divisiveness. It teaches that you are either in Dar-El -Harb(house of war) or Dar – El -Islam(house of Islam). This is the only religion that taeaches hatred to EVERYONE that is non – muslim.

      EdWeird, you need to go out and meet some muslims for a change.

      August 19, 2012 at 10:15 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      You could say that they are pretty much the same... It is in man's nature to be religious. Man knows instinctively that he is more then a n animal, and it has been imprinted on our inner man to seek to know our Creator. the problem with all world religions is that every one of them is man's own attempt to reach God But God can not be found by man's own efforts and methods. It is ONLY by God's own initiative and revelation of Himself to that man can find Him.

      When Jesus Christ came, God came embodied in a human being. He declared and explained eternal God , the Father, the Creator. That's why there is no other person, no other way, no other path, but Christ Jesus. And that's why those who reject Him are lost, because after God reveals Himself and is rejected , and man rather takes his own path, there is no other hope for him, no other way.
      But not all will receive God's offer of salvation, even after they have been shown who Christ Jesus is.
      Jesus Himself explained it clearly in St John 3 16-21 what God did, and WHY, and what man does not, and also WHY. There lies the secret for so many denying even His existence. It all stems from what's in someones heart!

      August 19, 2012 at 10:51 pm |
    • edweird69

      @Abbott – they would shun a gay man. The choice is not mine to make. Hmm.. Xtians seem to do the same thing. Go figure! Oh well. Maybe there's a support group for atheists like myself. Guess I'll just have to continue living in reality.

      August 19, 2012 at 10:52 pm |
    • Damocles

      Prism,

      In your post you say that man can not know the way to his/her deity yet then go on to state how man can know his/her deity. I find that odd.

      August 19, 2012 at 10:56 pm |
    • Bob

      PRISM 1234, it's high time that we took a closer look at the specious claims of you and your religion. First, the whole premise of Christianity that the death of the son of god would have been any kind of "sacrifice" and was required to deal with "sin" is utter nonsense. This is a supposed omnipotent being that we are discussing. Christians, think this through a bit: how come your 'omnipotent' creature couldn't do all that supposed saving without the loony son sacrifice bit? And for that matter, how was it a sacrifice at all, when an omnipotent being could just pop up a replacement son any time it wants with less than a snap of its fingers? Pretty feeble god it is that you've made for yourself there. Give that some thought and maybe it will help you leave your delusions behind. You will remain a laughingstock otherwise, and the more you dwell in your silly delusion and ancient myths, instead of keeping up with advances in medicine and technology, the more America slips downward relative to the rest of the world in science and other fields.

      Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement. Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.
      http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

      August 19, 2012 at 10:57 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Damocles: "I find that odd."

      Consider the source, Damocles.

      August 19, 2012 at 11:03 pm |
    • Damocles

      @tom

      So very true and good evening to you. 🙂

      August 19, 2012 at 11:07 pm |
    • Damocles

      "odd"

      The word suits you best, buddy!

      August 19, 2012 at 11:11 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Thanks, Damocles, to you as well.

      August 19, 2012 at 11:12 pm |
    • Damocles

      Oh my. Have I reached the lofty heights of having my name hijacked? I feel all warm and fuzzy.

      August 19, 2012 at 11:15 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Ooooh, Damocles, you have a little herbie running after you!

      August 19, 2012 at 11:16 pm |
    • Damocles

      I will not stoop-down on your level.

      August 19, 2012 at 11:17 pm |
    • herbie

      Ey, guys! Do you miss me?

      August 19, 2012 at 11:19 pm |
    • Damocles

      What you won't stoop down to is answering the tough questions posed to you. Since you can't answer, all your child-like mind can come up with is to hijack people's names.

      August 19, 2012 at 11:24 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      Damocles

      You said "In your post you say that man can not know the way to his/her deity yet then go on to state how man can know his/her deity. I find that odd"

      Did you cherry pick the portions of my post, or will it remain a mystery why you didn't comprehend the things I wrote?
      I'll pass it before you again, just to make sure...

      every one of them (religions) is man's own attempt to reach God.
      But God can not be found by MAN"S OWN efforts and methods.
      It is ONLY by God's own initiative AND revelation of Himself to that man, that He can find Him.
      THEN HE SENT CHRIST JESUS, the REVELTION OF HIMSELF TO MANKIND

      Now, you can go back to the rest of my previous post, and read it again, and I hope you'll fit it together this time!

      August 19, 2012 at 11:26 pm |
    • Damocles

      @Prism

      Right. You said that man can't find god, but then give instructions on how man can find god. So to recap: man can't find god, but you, Prism1234, found god. Still odd.

      August 19, 2012 at 11:33 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      Well, I see where you are, and we'll leave it at that!
      I've got a job to go too, so – have a good one!

      August 19, 2012 at 11:42 pm |
    • Cotton Mather

      PRISM,

      Yes, hurry... you have less than 15 minutes to meet me in the grove for our witch hunt.

      August 19, 2012 at 11:47 pm |
    • sam stone

      I got no problem with Christians, I just have a problem with their ideology.

      See how dumb that sounds, Prissy?

      August 20, 2012 at 6:19 am |
  14. sandy

    Lets see if this gets past CNN censors..

    Trying to live with Muslims is like living with Snakes.

    August 19, 2012 at 8:58 pm |
    • sam

      Replace 'muslims' with 'any fundies'.

      August 19, 2012 at 8:59 pm |
    • edweird69

      Well, you made it past the censors Sandy. Too funny. But, all religions have their murderous attributes.

      August 19, 2012 at 9:00 pm |
    • sam

      sandy believes TEH LIBURAWLS are out to censor her.

      August 19, 2012 at 9:01 pm |
    • :(

      Ah yes. The huge bank of CNN censors. All sitting there, scrutinizing ever fucking thing we say. Kind of like the big room of NASA scientists.

      August 19, 2012 at 9:07 pm |
    • sandy

      None other religion has the fanatic murdureous characteristics of Muslims...I say with experience.
      Look at the minorities in any muslim country, there are none left .. they have been all murdered.

      August 19, 2012 at 10:45 pm |
  15. Colin

    The dialog below is from (what appears to be) a defuct website caleed jhuger.com. It nisely epiomizes Christianity (and Islam for that matter)

    This morning there was a knock at my door. When I answered the door I found a well groomed, nicely dressed couple. The man spoke first:

    John: "Hi! I'm John, and this is Mary."

    Mary: "Hi! We're here to invite you to come kiss Hank's ass with us."

    Me: "Pardon me?! What are you talking about? Who's Hank, and why would I want to kiss His ass?"

    John: "If you kiss Hank's ass, He'll give you a million dollars; and if you don't, He'll kick the guts out of you."

    Me: "What? Is this some sort of bizarre mob shake-down?"

    John: "Hank is a billionaire philanthropist. Hank built this town. Hank owns this town. He can do whatever He wants, and what He wants is to give you a million dollars, but He can't until you kiss His ass."

    Me: "That doesn't make any sense. Why..."

    Mary: "Who are you to question Hank's gift? Don't you want a million dollars? Isn't it worth a little kiss on the ass?"

    Me: "Well maybe, if it's legit, but..."

    John: "Then come kiss Hank's ass with us."

    Me: "Do you kiss Hank's ass often?"

    Mary: "Oh yes, all the time..."

    Me: "And has He given you a million dollars?"

    John: "Well no. You don't actually get the money until you leave town."

    Me: "So why don't you just leave town now?"

    Mary: "You can't leave until Hank tells you to, or you don't get the money, and He kicks the guts
    out of you."

    Me: "Do you know anyone who kissed Hank's ass, left town, and got the million dollars?"

    John: "My mother kissed Hank's ass for years. She left town last year, and I'm sure she got the money."

    Me: "Haven't you talked to her since then?"

    John: "Of course not, Hank doesn't allow it."

    Me: "So what makes you think He'll actually give you the money if you've never talked to anyone who got the money?"

    Mary: "Well, He gives you a little bit before you leave. Maybe you'll get a raise, maybe you'll win a small lotto, maybe you'll just find a twenty-dollar bill on the street."

    Me: "What's that got to do with Hank?"

    John: "Hank has certain 'connections.'"

    Me: "I'm sorry, but this sounds like some sort of bizarre con game."

    John: "But it's a million dollars, can you really take the chance? And remember, if you don't kiss Hank's ass He'll kick the guts out of you."

    Me: "Maybe if I could see Hank, talk to Him, get the details straight from Him..."

    Mary: "No one sees Hank, no one talks to Hank."

    Me: "Then how do you kiss His ass?"

    John: "Sometimes we just blow Him a kiss, and think of His ass. Other times we kiss Karl's ass, and he passes it on."

    Me: "Who's Karl?"

    Mary: "A friend of ours. He's the one who taught us all about kissing Hank's ass. All we had to do was take him out to dinner a few times."

    Me: "And you just took his word for it when he said there was a Hank, that Hank wanted you to kiss His ass, and that Hank would reward you?"

    John: "Oh no! Karl has a letter he got from Hank years ago explaining the whole thing. Here's a copy; see for yourself."

    From the Desk of Karl
    1. Kiss Hank's ass and He'll give you a million dollars when you leave town.
    2. Use alcohol in moderation.
    3. Kick the guts out of people who aren't like you.
    4. Eat right.
    5. Hank dictated this list Himself.
    6. The moon is made of green cheese.
    7. Everything Hank says is right.
    8. Wash your hands after going to the bathroom.
    9. Don't use alcohol.
    10. Eat your wieners on buns, no condiments.
    11. Kiss Hank's ass or He'll kick the guts out of you.

    Me: "This appears to be written on Karl's letterhead."

    Mary: "Hank didn't have any paper."

    Me: "I have a hunch that if we checked we'd find this is Karl's handwriting."

    John: "Of course, Hank dictated it."

    Me: "I thought you said no one gets to see Hank?"

    Mary: "Not now, but years ago He would talk to some people."

    Me: "I thought you said He was a philanthropist. What sort of philanthropist kicks the guts out of people just because they're different?"

    Mary: "It's what Hank wants, and Hank's always right."

    Me: "How do you figure that?"

    Mary: "Item 7 says 'Everything Hank says is right.' That's good enough for me!"

    Me: "Maybe your friend Karl just made the whole thing up."

    John: "No way! Item 5 says 'Hank dictated this list himself.' Besides, item 2 says 'Use alcohol in moderation,' Item 4 says 'Eat right,' and item 8 says 'Wash your hands after going to the bathroom.' Everyone knows those things are right, so the rest must be true, too."

    Me: "But 9 says 'Don't use alcohol.' which doesn't quite go with item 2, and 6 says 'The moon is made of green cheese,' which is just plain wrong."

    John: "There's no contradiction between 9 and 2, 9 just clarifies 2. As far as 6 goes, you've never been to the moon, so you can't say for sure."

    Me: "Scientists have pretty firmly established that the moon is made of rock..."

    Mary: "But they don't know if the rock came from the Earth, or from out of space, so it could just as easily be green cheese."

    Me: "I'm not really an expert, but I think the theory that the Moon was somehow 'captured' by the Earth has been discounted*. Besides, not knowing where the rock came from doesn't make it cheese."

    John: "Ha! You just admitted that scientists make mistakes, but we know Hank is always right!"

    Me: "We do?"

    Mary: "Of course we do, Item 7 says so."

    Me: "You're saying Hank's always right because the list says so, the list is right because Hank dictated it, and we know that Hank dictated it because the list says so. That's circular logic, no different than saying 'Hank's right because He says He's right.'"

    John: "Now you're getting it! It's so rewarding to see someone come around to Hank's way of thinking."

    Me: "But...oh, never mind.

    August 19, 2012 at 8:54 pm |
    • ....

      BULL SH IT ALERT

      August 19, 2012 at 8:56 pm |
    • sam

      Bullshit alert? Hank? Is that you?

      August 19, 2012 at 9:00 pm |
    • save the world and slap some sense into a christard today!

      ".... BULL SH IT " is what is consistently bull sh it since it is always unfounded

      August 19, 2012 at 9:17 pm |
    • John

      No way in the world I'll read all that.

      August 19, 2012 at 10:15 pm |
  16. edweird69

    The use of supernaturalism to manipulate and control people is the world's oldest confidence scheme,
    it relies on the ritual abuse of children at their most impressionable stage by adults who have themselves
    been made childish for life by artifacts of the primitive mind.

    August 19, 2012 at 8:49 pm |
  17. edweird69

    I guess Xtians lining up to buy chicken sandwiches, does make the Muslims look just a little more barbaric than them.

    August 19, 2012 at 8:46 pm |
  18. Colin

    Bumper sticker of the year goes to..."Scinece & Math too hard for you? Try religion."

    August 19, 2012 at 8:44 pm |
    • truth be told

      God gave science and math to mankind, neither is the opposite to God.

      August 19, 2012 at 8:46 pm |
    • Colin

      TBT- no, in your mythology he did. In the adult world, we developed it ourselves.

      August 19, 2012 at 8:47 pm |
    • truth be told

      You couldn't develop enough to pass gas if God hadn't given you life.

      August 19, 2012 at 8:50 pm |
    • edweird69

      TBT – so who gave god life? If it takes a god to make someting from nothing, then it takes a god to make a god.

      August 19, 2012 at 8:51 pm |
    • truth be told

      God is. In the beginning God,existent without beginning or end. It is part of the nature that makes God, God.

      August 19, 2012 at 8:54 pm |
    • sam

      God dun stuck his finger in the primordial ooze and started it awl.

      August 19, 2012 at 8:54 pm |
    • truth be told

      Before God there was no ooze, there was nothing but God.

      August 19, 2012 at 8:57 pm |
    • edweird69

      Maybe all things existed, without the help of a supernatural being. I mean, if a being can always exist, isn't it plausible that all things that exist, existed without his interference? It's illogical to assume that a magic being created all things. It would take magic, to create magic. The logic is circular, therefore must be dismissed.

      August 19, 2012 at 8:58 pm |
    • truth be told

      Some of this worlds greatest genius' were and are Christians and all the wisdom of men amounts to a little over 0% compared to the mind of God. On your puny scale Gods IQ would continue indefinitely.

      August 19, 2012 at 9:01 pm |
    • truth be told

      God did not interfere God created.

      August 19, 2012 at 9:02 pm |
    • :(

      God is. In the beginning God,existent without beginning or end. It is part of the nature that makes God, God.

      In Logic, that's called Special Pleading.
      TBT, name one property of existence that does not require spacetime.

      August 19, 2012 at 9:02 pm |
    • truth be told

      God

      August 19, 2012 at 9:04 pm |
    • sam

      Only people who practice the super special handshake understand this is not circular logic. It's that god is so unknowable that we should just trust that he has always been and always will be whether that makes any sense or not. If you don't believe that, there is a lake of fire waiting for you.

      August 19, 2012 at 9:07 pm |
    • :(

      Apparently he doesn't know the definition of "property".

      August 19, 2012 at 9:12 pm |
    • therealpeace2all

      @truth be told

      A s s erting a version of the no... 'infinite regress' argument, are we ?

      Interesting

      Peace...

      August 19, 2012 at 9:46 pm |
    • Iconoclast

      @ 😦
      Space time is a result of the big bang and physical matter and affects everything within the "circle" of our universe. We know the universe is constantly expanding since the big bang. What do you think lies BEYOND the border of outer part of that expansion? So our universe is like a bubble adjacent to God, which God created for a specific reason and with specific physical rules. Outside of our bubble, existence and reality are completely different. Since God exists outside of our physical realm, God is not bound by space or time. Science AND Religion should be the pursuit of Truth, however the great majority of people DO NOT WANT THE TRUTH. This is the real problem, not science or religion. In both science and religion there are those who are persecuted and even killed if they don't go along with the dogma of the time. This would not be an issue if people were unbiased and simply subjected everything to a test of logic and consistency. I really just want people to know that you don't have to be a part of a religion to follow the truth to and be lead in truth to the existence of God. Whatever view you have of existence and reality, it should be able to pass the test of logic, reason, and be consistent so that it does not contradict itself. That should be the test for truth whether it's in science or religion. Any religious view that is true should be able to pass the same scrutiny that scientists use. That is how we as people CAN figure out what the truth is among all of these opinions. You just have to actually WANT the truth which requires keeping an open mind and not just to prove or disprove what you already believe. I promise you that the truth possible to attain. I used to think that if there were a truth of existence that everyone would know it and therefore, there couldn't be one truth. However, I sought understanding and then the truth was given to me from God. Every single person can do this. It is nothing special to me. The problem is that most people are preoccupied with other things and they do not strive and seek the truth. So I say to you, ask for the truth of life and existence and it will be given to you.

      August 20, 2012 at 5:33 am |
    • Mark From Middle River

      >>>""Scinece & Math too hard for you?"

      Seeing as how Religious based schools out perform their secular counterparts in the fields of Science and Math. Chances are if Science and Math are too hard for you... you probably are not in a Religious private school.

      Wait..."Scinece" ... I would say if spelling is too hard for you .... but that would be too easy of a counter Colin. I will respect you enough and knowing I have made spelling mistakes as well because I understood the point you were trying to make.

      August 20, 2012 at 5:42 am |
  19. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    August 19, 2012 at 8:43 pm |
  20. Colin

    So many Christians, so few lions.......

    August 19, 2012 at 8:43 pm |
    • truth be told

      Not to worry the lake of fire is sufficient for all your kind.

      August 19, 2012 at 8:44 pm |
    • Colin

      Ya gotta love it when a Christian scorns you with the admonition that you will "go to hell" .

      Out of all the silly superst.itious beliefs of the Christians, I think the myth of hell is my favorite.

      Think it through. I don't have to kill, I don't have to steal, hell, I don't even have to litter. All I have to do is have a reasonable, honest and rational disbelief in the Christian god and he will inflict a grotesque penalty upon me an infinite times worse than the death penalty. And he loves me.

      Dark Ages nonsense at its best

      August 19, 2012 at 8:46 pm |
    • truth be told

      Not scorn, warn. The pit of hell if you prefer was not established for mortal man and it is made very clear you will never want to be there.

      August 19, 2012 at 8:48 pm |
    • sam

      Ooooh, lake of fire. Way to go, truth. Toss that old fear based chestnut out there again.

      August 19, 2012 at 8:49 pm |
    • Robairdo

      Colin, don't forget that snakes work pretty good too.

      August 19, 2012 at 8:51 pm |
    • truth be told

      Not fear common sense. The wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ. God is not willing that any should perish but God will never force you to accept Salvation.

      August 19, 2012 at 8:52 pm |
    • sam

      Oh, right...'sin'. Which is defined as....

      August 19, 2012 at 8:54 pm |
    • truth be told

      Sin is defined in the Holy Bible as is anything that separates you from God.

      August 19, 2012 at 8:55 pm |
    • Colin

      In that case, Truth be Told, an IQ over 100 is probably a sin

      August 19, 2012 at 8:57 pm |
    • sam

      Ah yes. Sin, as defined by the ruling class two thousand years ago. Sin is always whatever the ruling class thinks it is.

      August 19, 2012 at 9:01 pm |
    • truth be told

      Actually Jesus came to set the ruling class straight.

      August 19, 2012 at 9:02 pm |
    • sam

      IQ's over 80 need never actually apply.

      August 19, 2012 at 9:03 pm |
    • sam

      But I thought Jesus was actually god representing himself to fix the problems in the rules he himself had laid down. So then he sacrificed himself to himself...

      And we still have one hell of a mess. God should just start over.

      August 19, 2012 at 9:04 pm |
    • :(

      Colin,
      Aquinas said that part of the joy of those in heaven, will be watching the evil suffer in hell. They actually get off on others suffering. It's a ki'nky thing, that religion.

      August 19, 2012 at 9:14 pm |
    • Mark

      Truth..careful you don't fall off that soapbox.

      August 19, 2012 at 9:40 pm |
    • therealpeace2all

      @Colin

      " In that case, Truth be Told, an IQ over 100 is probably a sin "

      LOL ! 😀

      Peace...

      August 19, 2012 at 10:08 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.