Editor's Note: Brian D. McLaren is author of "Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Mohammed Cross the Road? Christian Identity in a Multi-Faith World" (Jericho Books/Hachette Book Group).
By Brian McLaren, Special to CNN
I was raised as an evangelical Christian in America, and any discussion of Christian-Jewish-Muslim relations around the world must include the phenomenon of American Islamophobia, for which large sectors of evangelical Christianity in America serve as a greenhouse.
At a time when U.S. embassies are being attacked and when people are getting killed over an offensive, adolescent and puerile film targeting Islam - beyond pathetic in its tawdriness – we must begin to own up to the reality of evangelical Islamaphobia.
Many of my own relatives receive and forward pious-sounding and alarm-bell-ringing e-mails that trumpet (IN LOTS OF CAPITAL LETTERS WITH EXCLAMATION POINTS!) the evils of Islam, that call their fellow evangelicals and charismatics to prayer and “spiritual warfare” against those alleged evils, and that often - truth be told - contain lots of downright lies.
For example, one recent e-mail claimed “Egyptian Christians in Grave Danger as Muslim Brotherhood Crucifies Opponents." Of course, that claim has been thoroughly debunked, but the sender’s website still (as of Friday) claims that the Muslim Brotherhood has “crucified those opposing" Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy "naked on trees in front of the presidential palace while abusing others.”
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Many sincere and good-hearted evangelicals have never yet had a real Muslim friend, and now they probably never will because their minds have been so prejudiced by Islamophobic broadcasts on so-called Christian television and radio.
Janet Parshall, for example, a popular talk show host on the Moody Radio Network, frequently hosts Walid Shoebat, a Muslim-evangelical convert whose anti-Muslim claims, along with claims about his own biography, are frequently questioned. John Hagee, a popular televangelist, also hosts Shoebat as an expert on Islam, as does the 700 Club.
Many Christian bookstores that (used to) sell my books, still sell books such as Paul Sperry’s "Infiltration: How Muslim Spies and Subversives Have Penetrated Washington" (Thomas Nelson, 2008). In so doing, they fuel conspiracy theories such as the ones U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minnesota, promoted earlier this year.
In recent days, we’ve seen how irresponsible Muslim media outlets used the tawdry 13-minute video created by a tiny handful of fringe Christian extremists to create a disgusting caricature of all Christians - and all Americans - in Muslim minds. But too few Americans realize how frequently American Christian media personalities in the U.S. similarly prejudice their hearers’ minds with mirror-image stereotypes of Muslims.
Ambassador's killing shines light on Muslim sensitivities around Prophet Mohammed
Meanwhile, many who are pastors and leaders in evangelicalism hide their heads in the current issue of Christianity Today or World Magazine, acting as if the kinds of people who host Islamophobic sentiments swim in a tiny sidestream, not in the mainstream, of our common heritage. I wish that were true.
The events of this past week, if we let them, could mark a turning point - a hitting bottom, if you will - in the complicity of evangelicalism in Islamophobia. If enough evangelicals watch or try to watch the film trailer that has sparked such outrage in the Middle East, they may move beyond the tipping point.
I tried to watch it, but I couldn’t make it halfway to the 13-minute mark. Everything about it was tawdry, pathetic, even pornographic. All but the most fundamentalist believers from my evangelical Christian tribe who watch that video will be appalled and ashamed to be associated with it.
It is hate speech. It is no different from the anti-Semitic garbage that has been all too common in Western Christian history. It is sub-Christian - beneath the dignity of anyone with a functioning moral compass.
Islamophobic evangelical Christians - and the neo-conservative Catholics and even some Jewish folks who are their unlikely political bedfellows of late - must choose.
Will they press on in their current path, letting Islamophobia spread even further amongst them? Or will they stop, rethink and seek to a more charitable approach to our Muslim neighbors? Will they realize that evangelical religious identity is under assault, not by Shariah law, not by the liberal media, not by secular humanism from the outside, but by forces within the evangelical community that infect that religious identity with hostility?
If I could get one message through to my evangelical friends, it would be this: The greatest threat to evangelicalism is evangelicals who tolerate hate and who promote hate camouflaged as piety.
No one can serve two masters. You can’t serve God and greed, nor can you serve God and fear, nor God and hate.
The broad highway of us-them thinking and the offense-outrage-revenge reaction cycle leads to self-destruction. There is a better way, the way of Christ who, when reviled, did not revile in return, who when insulted, did not insult in return, and who taught his followers to love even those who define themselves as enemies.
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Yes, “they” – the tiny minority of Muslims who turn piety into violence – have big problems of their own. But the way of Christ requires all who claim to be Christians to examine our own eyes for planks before trying to perform first aid on the eyes of others. We must admit that we have our own tiny minority whose message and methods we have not firmly, unitedly and publicly repudiated and rejected.
To choose the way of Christ is not appeasement. It is not being a “sympathizer.”
The way of Christ is a gentle strength that transcends the vicious cycles of offense-outrage-revenge.
The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Brian D. McLaren.
I will start by quoting the Noble Koran “Who speaks better than one who invites human beings to God, acts righteously and says, ‘I am a Muslim’; Virtue and evil are not equal. If you replace evil habits by virtuous ones, you will certainly find that your enemies will become your intimate friends."(Koran, [41:33-34]).
We know who we are, and we know who Muhammad was! We should not respond with violence to Sam Bacile –AKA PJ Tobacco-, let`s just contemplate Go
d`s praise of his very own Prophet in the Koran, and let`s satisfy ourselves with that. Indeed, God speaking of the Prophet Muhammad said: “Noon. By the pen and what they inscribe, you are not, [O Muhammad], by the favor of your Lord, a madman. And indeed, for you is a reward uninterrupted. And indeed, you are of a great moral character-[And most surely you conform (yourself) to sublime morality][ You have attained a high moral standard.]. So you will see and they will see which of you is the afflicted by a devil[ which of you has been afflicted by insanity.] Your Lord knows best who has gone astray from His path and who is rightly guided.” (Koran, [68:1-7])
I will end this piece by reminding that God knows how to take care of his beloved Prophet. Indeed, The Koran, clearly attest that premise:”whoever is the enemy of God, His angels, His Messenger [Prophet Muhammad], Gabriel and Michael, should know that God is the enemy of those who hide the Truth.” (Koran, [2:98]). A last reminder to myself and to my fellow Muslim brothers, there is no need to criticize others for their faith or beliefs, always remember this verse of the Koran “You follow your religion and I follow mine.” (Koran, [109:6]).
Let us comfort ourselves knowing that your God is imaginary and your religion is insanity?
Yes, let's quote from the peaceful Quran.
2:190: Kill them wherever you find them...idolatry is worse than bloodshed.
2:216: Fighting is obligatory for you, much as you dislike it.
3:118: Believers, Do not make friends with any but your own people.
4:103: Seek out the enemy relentlessly.
5:51: Believers, take neither Jews nor Christians for your friends.
9:121: Believers, Make war on the infidels around you.
The more I read quotes from Koran and other religious books the more I get convinced that all religions are FRAUD and complete waste of human energy and time. They restrict human freedoms by trying to control and manage human instincts. They restrict human creativity to only a fixed domain and are a barrier to social, intellectual and economic growth of our society. Religions were created during the dark ages of the past when 99% people were illiterate, tribals, uncivilized and lived mostly in villages, hence were fatalists and gullible. In such backdrop religions were invented by a few smart people who saw tremendous business opportunity in exploiting societal weakness to their own material and moral gains. Besides there no technological tools available to verify all the claims made by the self declared prophets. Today we have modern medicine, technology, and communication tools that have made it impossible for new gods/prophets to be created because all claims can be investigated and verified. Hence religion is obsolete in today's world and should be abandoned because the followers are finding themselves as misfits in the modern era.
"Many of my own relatives receive and forward pious-sounding and alarm-bell-ringing e-mails that trumpet (IN LOTS OF CAPITAL LETTERS WITH EXCLAMATION POINTS!) the evils of Islam, that call their fellow evangelicals and charismatics to prayer and “spiritual warfare” against those alleged evils, and that often – truth be told – contain lots of downright lies."
Okay, but it is true that Muslims across the world are burning and killing because they got their turbans in a twist of a silly little movie, right?!?!?!
Agree with you entirely. We can't be called Islamaphobic for being leery of folks who hate us enough to burn, destroy and kill people every time they get upset over something that involves a freedom for US.
"Turbins in a twist." Nice line!
BTW: Dear Brian McLaren: Nice touch with the 'Crusader / Medieval Cross / Nun or Maid about to be Hacked with a Sword' background! No bias against Christians here! I think Mr. McLaren has "Issues" from his evangelical upbringing that make him a "Evangelicalphobe." C'mon, Brian, go on Dr. Phil or something instead of insulting an entire religion!
What about "Ameicanphobia" and why is that not being addressed? Why is the Muslim world exploding because of one person who made a movie? Why is the Muslim world attacking our Embassies because of a movie made by an Egyptian Coptic living in America? Why does the Muslim world blame America for.................? America is an inclusive nation where Muslims are allowed to practice their religion freely. Why does the Muslim world (countries) not allow Christians or Jews living in their countries to practice their religions without the threat of death?
I don't believe that Islamaphobia has taken over...yet....but can you blame Americans for having a fear? Look what Muslims have done to America and Americans, and other freedom loving countries around the world.
Why do you think muslims in the Mid east dont like the US? It's not for no reason. Its not for our freedoms. It's based on real events. You can't have it one way. You have to acknowledge their reasons.
Thank you for this well-thought article and I am so sorry that writing it, in this country that used to value sincere public discourse and free speech, you have drawn to yourself these incredibly hateful, vindictive personal attacks. I would just say, case in point. They are demonstrating exactly what you describe. You could not have asked for more remarkable validation than this.
The fact that this twisted opinion peace gets on CNN front page says it all about the US media.
Instead of standing up and saying "Yes people of Islam, "This movie may be offensive, wrong or misleading and it's not the opinion of most people in America, we have the right to free speech without the threat of death", instead we have this kind of warped thinking shoved in our face by the liberal media. If the movie was criticizing Christianity or any other religion there would be no deaths no controversy. It would be perfectly ok with the media.
What if in our quest to separate church and state regarding all religions, we banned using the word Ramadan, Hanukkah or other religious in any public place or reference? (Let's see what Islam would think of calling Ramadan Happy Holidays instead of Ramadan) What if stripped the word from any public reference, prohibited their prayer in public? There would be outrage in the media but there is silence if the attack is against Christianity. Instead of supporting religious tolerance and freedom which are the cornerstone of America's values we get this type of political correctness on steroids.
Yes, I do have friends and acquaintances who are Muslim and they don't believe or support this radical version of Islam. (Islamoextremism). McLaren claims we have a phobia of Islam. Well the Merriam-Webster dictionary defines phobia as an exaggerated usually inexplicable and illogical fear of a particular object, class of objects, or situation. There is nothing exaggerated, inexplicable or illogical about fearing a group of people whose religious beliefs say that it is necessary and ok to murder any and all people who don't believe in their warped ideology. How can he (McLaren) and CNN support a group of people whose radical religious beliefs and ideology would have me beheaded for writing this if I they could get to me. Wake up! Most religions exist to promote Any religion or ideology that supports, promotes or takes part in harming others in the name of their cause is a terrorist organization. Period!
Let me see, fire, bloodshed, hate, murder. Does this sound like the work of a God or the Devil?
McLaren, you and CNN are promoting terrorism and supporting hate against the US and Christians with your bizarre and radical views. Of course this is America and you have a right to your opinion but get the Hell (literally) and your hate for Christianity off the front page.
you just missed the whole point.
Poorly made, yes. But it is accurate and truthful. Mohamad was an evil terrorist, just like moses. Theism degrades the mind and the soul.
Maurice there's plenty of people and reporters who have said that their response to the movie is not appropriate and that we have a right to free speech. That doesn't mean we can't acknowledge what this piece is about. People like you are the problem, you care only about one part of this, just like the rioters care about one part. The truth is there are multiple parts. You're lying by claiming that reporters and others aren't standing up for our rights.
Ramadan is a name of a month it isn't holy in and of itself. It's like saying we shouldn't say Happy Friday.
It is an opinion, but it also pig CRAP. Here is what I know.....there is time for everything, and soon it will be our time to shoot back. We will make waste lands out of some of these muslim states.
How would we be shooting "back" when we never stopped shooting at them in the first place?
Christophobic and heterophobic evangelicalism isare A-OK though.
Muslims value their Christian and Jewish neighbors, and the Qur'an calls them People of the Book. As Pople John Paul said before he passed, "The three Abrahamic religions (Christiany, Judaism and Islam) walk a common path." Here are some verses from the Qur'an (translated by a Jewish convert to Islam named Muhammad Asad) for you to ponder upon:
(a) 2:62 Verily, those who have attained to faith [in this divine writ], as well as those who follow the Jewish faith, and the Christians, and the Sabians -all who believe in God and the Last Day and do righteous deeds-shall have their reward with their Sustainer; and no fear need they have, and neither shall they grieve.
(b) 5:69 for, verily, those who have attained to faith [in this divine writ], as
well as those who follow the Jewish faith, and the Sabians, and the Christians – all who believe in God and the Last Day and do righteous deeds – no fear need they have, and neither shall they grieve.
(c) 5:82 [and] thou wilt surely find that, of all people, they who say, "Behold, we are Christians," come closest to feeling affection for those who believe [in this divine writ]: this is so because there are priests and monks among them, and because these are not given to arrogance.
Rafik, then how do you explain these?
3:118: Believers, do not make friends with any but your own?
5:51. Believers, take neither Jews nor Christians for your friends.
To the several thousand fanatics and extremists of all persuasions, please go to an island (preferably not nice places like Hawaii) and fight it out among yourselves. Your problems are really with each other. Please leave the rest of us billions of peaceful people alone to go on with our lives.
Wow, what a hateful extremist you are! Why don't you go find a nice isolated Island somewhere?
There's an easy solution everyone... discard all religion to the dustbin of history and embrace reality.
People will think of some other excuses to continue doing what they have been doing...
Maybe some of us are just plain sick of it and recognize Islam's desire to make the holy book law. I have been listening to this radical crap most of my life. Suddenly, with the increase in access to technology, Islam raises. And what do they offer? Death. I am as about as big a bleeding heart liberal as they come. But I cherrish the first amendment above all. Including your right to relgion. This is NOT about a religion. This is about law and mentality. Both backward and they want to spread it to me. They want to kill us because of a stupid movie which is beautiful in that it is made in the U.S. under the first amendment, and reminds me that I HAVE A RIGHT TO REJECT ALL or NO RELIGION.
Like you opinion.
Dear Ms. Sheila.
After reading your comment, I can't help but notice something you wrote that I'm starting to see a lot of in the comments. Your comments make it sound as if there is a big conspiracy amongst Muslims to impose Islamic LAW on you. I'm a Muslim Canadian. Even though I practice Islam, I never thought of changing the laws in Canada that I so dearly cherish., neither does anyone in my Muslim Canadian community. Furthermore, Canadian or American law are far too good to change because of a very simple reason, and that is freedom of religious belief. If our laws in Canada was suddenly to change to favor one religion over the other, it would spell a disaster for the minority like the Muslims. Imagine, if the laws in America were to change to favor those who are spreading islamophobic lies and propaganda, what do you think would happen to the hard working Muslim Americans.
Ms. Sheila. It is unfortunate and barbaric what those people did to the American ambassador in Libya and I condemn it to the utmost extent as a Muslim. However, hate seems to be coming from both sides. As the director named it, a "politically" motivated movie that incites hate is far from freedom of speech. It is a repulsive insult. If we as a society starts accepting all sorts of abuse and bad images towards Muslims, it is slowly building a culture of hate towards all of us, even those who condemn the actions of the few criminals amongst us.
When was the last time you saw any media outlet, movie, cartoon etc depicting some Muslims as good hard working people. Reality is, while there are horrible evil terrorists out there, American media seems to ignore all the good Muslims and instead portray "Islam" as evil just because of the actions of these few. For what reason we don't know? but as this article is saying Islamophobia is growing and feeding your minds with hatred. Unfortunately, those who feel and hear your hatred the most are not the ones doing the actions over there, it's the hard working Muslims living with you.
Sorry, Mo. With respect to hate, murder and violent riots will trump a wordy, poorly acted and slanderous film any day.
Oh CNN, like Obama, you are a joke already! It's pathetic that our embassy's are being burned and you want to act like Christians have some role in this or Obama thinks some movie has a role in this! LOL they hate America. These attacks happed on the 11th anniversary of 9/11 and the Obama administration actually has the guts to say this was about a movie not 9/11? You have to be as dumb as they come- if you believe this. It's just a coincidence that it happened on 9/11??? LOL Clearly they are using this "movie" to try to help Obama look good. The fact is Obama has been a horrible failure in every way! And now his foreign policy is just as disasterous as his economy. This is what you get when you elect a community organizer who wants to be friends with terrorist groups!
That was funny. Thanks for the laugh.
You can crawl back into your tea cup now.
I'll be laughing harder after Obama wins his 2nd term this November.
It wasn't Pres. Obama's watch that we were attacked under in the first place.
I like and agree with your comments.
Right, it was all due to Clinton who had Bin Laden in his sights and failed to pull the trigger fast enough, leaving him around to plot and perpetrate 9/11.
Remember that vacant look Bush had right after they told him: "What the fuck do I do now? Where's Dick Cheney? " Watching him I felt like I was in a plane and the pilot had just bailed. Remember what Republicans are made of.
Magic & I think- are perfect examples of the uneducated Americans! When you have nothing intelligent to say, say anything. LOL so magic you WANT the country to fail and I think- if you were educated and knew history, you would know that Clinton had warnings before bush and did nothing! You would also realize that after 9/11 bush kept us safe for 7 years with interrogations that you liberals cry about. There hasn't been an American killed in an embassy attack since 1979! This is Obama's failure. Even the prime minister of Israel is pleading with American voters today to vote for a tougher president. Anyone who would give Obama 4 more years is a simpleton.
If these attacks are all about 9-11 and the spread of the video is just a coincidence, then why weren't there numerous attakcs on al the other 9-11 anniverseries? Think about that a moment if you can..
What are you going to do after Pres. Obama wins in Nov.? You will also be sad when you find out there is no time machine that will take you back to the time of dinasaurs.
I don't think the raving idiot "How" has the mental capacity to think about what "asdrel" wrote. Republitard. I wouldn't be surprised if we find out these recent flare-ups were "seeded" by Repubs. to make the president look bad. That's OK, I think Romney's chances will turn to dust once we know more about his taxes.
"Loving Christian" Your God certainly doesnt come across as love. Far from it.
Dont be a fool. It is 2012 no one is coming. How many thousands of years will go by and you will tell your children God is coming while the rest of laugh at you
September 16, 2012 at 9:51 am | Report abuse |
The rest of Whom, John??
Look around you. Almost everyone else believes in a Higher Being, John.
You're the guy with the smaller group. We're laughing at you, not with you.
Dennis was Sleepless. All better now that he's got his meds on board. Delusional thinking is still a problem – Higher Beings and all that – but an aluminum foil hat should block out the rays that cause it.
Would you care to know how many people believed that one god or another threw lightning bolts down from the sky - up until just a couple of hundred years ago, actually. Even Ben Franklin was roundly castigated for interfering with "God's" power when he invented the lightning rod.
A phobia is an unfounded fear.
Consider the fact that in addition to those Muslims who are overtly violent and intolerant, there are those who covertly support them with planning, training, weapons, logistical, and more importantly monetary support.
So the reality is that there is no such thing as "islamaphobia". Islam has a network of thousands of supporters who count on fear through terror and who are stuck in a fourth century mindset with access to twenty first century weapons.
And that is a rational, realistic fear.
Furthermore, the recent riots over a movie – or in the past, cartoons – shows that intolerance is inherent in Islam. The only way Muslims tolerate others is if everyone cowtows to their beliefs system, and when others do not, they scream, riot, demand, threaten – everything we have just seen. Is that really what the rest of the world wants to welcome into their societies?
I don't fear Islam as much as political correctness and our blindness to its danger. Polio is nothing to fear if you've been immunized. Re Islam we are totally vulnerable. Watch what will happen to Europe these next several years.
Whatever it is, the movie "Innocence of islam" depicted the truth in a nutshell.
this chump isn't qualified to tell anyone anything.yet another uncle tom.the evangelicals or anyone else that thinks islam is evil are proven correct almost daily.i think the real reason for the article is to charge this man with hate speech in hopes of silencing the christian right.
Well, anything that silences the Christian Right can't be all bad...
Sometimes I try to defend religion by pointing out how it can sometimes be good for people as it brings them together and seems like it could have social benefits. Then I read about these things happening in the Middle East and it makes it very hard to not view religion as a negative thing. The more I learn, the more I think the world would be a better place without religion. I just don't understand these people.
Islam is not hinduism, religion but Theen Allah, consti tution of truth absolute and foundation of every consti tution on earth.
Just without Islam , their honor killings, homicide bombings and the like.
really,you don't understand them?then pay attention.
McLaren obviously hit a nerve based on the volume of hateful comments. Pretty sad.
Truth in hear of hindu's, deniers of truth absolute.
that nerve is deceit.
The writer of this article is completely out of touch with reality. Everywhere there is a Muslim kingdom there is violence and suffering: codified violence is violence. Clean streets and tortured citizens is violence. I think this guy needs to get beat up really badly. Anyway, all the anti-christian are like this or will be there was just a "bundle of sticks" shooting people and a Christian center because they won't support Gay marriage and child molestation-the Gay agenda.
Caller: Please help my Mohammad
Operator: what is the emergency?
Caller: He is burning, I smell his burning flesh. Please help.
Operator: What is the address?
Caller: I think he is in HELL, please send help.
Operator: stop making prank calls Mohammad.
hinduism, absurdity of a hindu, ignorant. visit http://www.limitisthetruth.com/blog.html to learn more about hinduism, illegality.
You islamic terrorist minded "hinduism source of hindufilthyracism", descendant of Buddhists/Hindus tortured and converted by mohamed's army. Wake up.
Islam orders to obey only Islam, not a country, family . I have been an Egypt and Christian women are being forced to cover, I have seen photos of coptic men cruxified.
I have walk the streets in Tehran during the Shah and in the Bazaar area were followers of the Mullahs live I was hit with rocks trown for not covering my head .
I have lived in Saudi where we can not celebrate Mass or religion ceremonies in public, no Christmas trees permited or even dolls are banned.
This author reminds me of the jewish leaders that even on the way to the death camps kept believing "It will pass"Rabbis that hand over lists of people to save the rest.
I am not Islamophaic I am a Roman Catholic that knows that the goal of Islam is to apply Sharia Law all over the world and conquer one way of another, To force female mutilation, pedophilia, honor killing ,death to converts are a realty. wake up and smell the churches, consulates and people been burned by Islamists.
Some more hinduism, lies of a hindu denier of truth absolute, Christian. Same as his hindu pagan religion called Christianity.
The movie "Innocence of islam" maybe corny but it depicts the truth in a nutshell.
the anti-christian crowds primary enemy is of course christianity.they will continue to use political correctness and the force of law in this country to silence the right.they know very well what islam is.for now at least islam is a useful tool.
The author of this article needs to join up with Obama and leave this country! Why are you idiots still living here if you embrace the muslim world so much? Could it be you are afraid of their violence towards Americans?
The people of this country or fed up with our abusive relationship with the arab world. We give them what they want and they keep slapping us in the back of the head. No more appeasement, no more aid, when the blood of my brothers runs through their streets. They have marked themselves an enemy, and I'm tired of hearing all this tollerance crap. America holds the power not them, they cannot disrespect us in this manner.
Kinda reminds one of the Inquisition. Those without sin surely wouldn't cast the first stone. And Pedophilia...Strange you should mention that...
Islam is a disease that will destroy the world if given a chance. They still live and think the same way 1500 years.
Dear REALIST; Because of your experience, I think your comments carry the most weight and the most somber, sobering comments written today. Thank you for your input. Thank you for your courage. God bless you for standing for Him.
Muslims hate everything about America, God, and freedom. Just like their messiah Obama.
Romney is Anti-Christ. Obama is some sort of Muslim Messiah (what is that anyway?). How to choose?
hinduism, absurdity, Muslim love truth absolute GOD and hindu's denires of truth absolute Christians deny truth absolute enshrined in Ccon sti tution of USA GOD.
Well, Tom Tom, you are also anti-Christ, so it should be an obvious choice for you, right?
Obvious choice? I do love pulled-pork barbecue so a Muslim Messiah is probably out. Anti-Christ? – you do know that Anti-Christ and Christ came into existence spontaneously and simultaneously and will annihilate each other in the future. Hmm...
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.