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September 21st, 2012
05:39 AM ET

Belief Blog's Morning Speed Read for Friday, September 21

By Arielle Hawkins, CNN

Here's the Belief Blog’s morning rundown of the top faith-angle stories from around the United States and around the world. Click the headlines for the full stories.

From the Blog:

CNN: For Christians in Syria, fear of future reigns
As the 18-month-long Syrian conflict festers, the government and the opposition welcome and need Christian support. But some Christians fear radical Islamists have been swelling rebel ranks. CNN's Nic Robertson recently spoke with Syrian Christians in the Damascus countryside town of Maaloula. Christians make up 10% of the population. Syria is ruled by a government dominated by Alawites, whose faith is an offshoot of Shiism. The regime is opposed by an opposition with a large Sunni presence.


Mourners hug as community members pay respect to the six people killed at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin.

CNN: Senate hate crimes hearing centers on Sikh temple massacre
Forty-five days after a deadly shooting at Wisconsin Sikh temple, hundreds of Sikhs and their supporters lined the halls of Congress on Wednesday for a Capitol Hill hearing on hate crimes and the growing threat of domestic terrorism. “The recent shooting at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, was a tragic hate crime that played out on TV around the country,” said Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, who chaired the hearing for a Senate Judiciary subcommittee.

CNN: Spike in religious restrictions in U.S. and world, Pew Center finds
Restrictions on religion spiked throughout the world between mid-2009 and 2010, including in the United States, says a new study by the Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion & Public Life. The U.S. was among 16 countries, including Switzerland, where hostilities jumped during that time period. Pew examined 197 countries, assigning a score between from zero to 10. Zero represents the least restrictive and 10 the most. There are two categories – governmentally restrictive and socially restrictive.

CNN: Controversial 'Defeat Jihad' ad to appear in NYC subways
A controversial advertisement that critics say is hateful toward Muslims will appear in New York City subway stations starting next week, despite the city's attempts to halt the campaign. New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority initially rejected the ad, which reads: "In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat Jihad."

CNN: Philadelphia priest's lawyers say key witness lied to convict their client
Defense attorneys for a senior Roman Catholic official convicted in the child sex abuse scandal said this week that prosecutors persuaded a defrocked priest to falsely admit to sexually abusing a 10-year-old boy in exchange for their client’s conviction.

CNN: Amish leader, 15 followers convicted of hate crimes in beard attacks
Sixteen members of a breakaway Amish community in rural eastern Ohio, including its leader, were convicted of federal hate crimes Thursday for the forcible cutting of Amish men's beards and Amish women's hair. Sam Mullet Sr. and the 15 followers were found guilty of conspiracy to violate federal hate-crime law in connection with what authorities said were the religiously motivated attacks on several fellow Amish people last year.

CNN: Tunisian artist graffitis minaret, fights intolerance
Fine Arabic calligraphy and street art may seem worlds apart, but for artist eL Seed, they're one and the same thing. eL Seed, a 31-year-old French Tunisian artist, has just used his distinctive style of Arabic street art, which he calls "calligraffiti," to decorate the tallest minaret in Tunisia with a verse from the Quran that tackles intolerance. The mural, on the Jara Mosque in eL Seed's hometown of Gabes is 47 meters tall, 10 meters wide and covers two sides of the minaret, his biggest artwork to date. eL Seed said he was reacting to clashes between hardline Islamist Salafists and artists at an art fair in Tunis in June that showed works the Salafists believed was insulting to Islam.

Tweets of the Day:

Belief on TV:

Enlightening Reads:

Huffington Post: Pray on International Day of Peace
"It is world peace day on Sept. 21," I told my 6-year-old son. "So," he asked? "So, we pray for World peace on that day," I told him. "Oh, mom, but we have to be peaceful on all days, just not Sept. 21," retorted my little boy and ran away to join his friends for a game of football. This innate wisdom can be seen only in young children these days. Why so? Because as adults we are so much into our own murky self-centered world of hatred, jealousy, prejudice and violence.

JTA: Jewish Dems, GOPers both like AJC’s Florida survey findings
When it comes to Florida Jews, is President Obama’s glass 31 percent empty or is it 69 percent full? That depends on whether you’re the Republican Jewish Coalition or the National Jewish Demcoratic Council. The American Jewish Committee’s new survey of registered Jewish voters in the swinging Sunshine State found 69 percent going for Obama and 25 percent going for Mitt Romney. Both the RJC and NJDC cited the poll as good news for their respective parties.

Religion News Service: Missouri remains land of religious promise for Mormons
In 1831, Mormon founder Joseph Smith declared that the righteous would gather in Independence, Mo., to greet the Second Coming of Jesus Christ - just one of the prophecies that estranged his faith from traditional Christianity. Thousands of converted Mormons moved from Ohio and upstate New York to claim their New Jerusalem. Disputes with Missourians led to a bloody Mormon War that ended only when the state's governor issued an "extermination order" to expel Smith's followers. Today, few places are better to contemplate the evolving - but still uncertain - relationship between Mormonism and the country where it was founded.

The Guardian: Archbishop of Canterbury succession race begins in earnest
Next Wednesday, four women and 15 men on the Crown Nominations Commission will gather for two days of prayer and horsetrading to replace Rowan Williams as archbishop of Canterbury. We know who they are, and when they will meet – but not where, so they can't be doorstepped.

Join the conversation…

CNN: 5 questions and answers about Jesus' 'wife'
Since the news broke Tuesday about a scrap of papyrus containing the line in Coptic, "Jesus said, 'My wife..' " questions have rocketed across the world about what this means. We put many of the big questions to leading scholars, pastors and people in the pews to find the answers.

- A. Hawkins

Filed under: Uncategorized

soundoff (82 Responses)
  1. Atheism is Great for Kids and Grown-Ups Too!

    It's really best for all people including children to have an agnostic approach to god, and an atheistic approach to all religion. It keeps things simple for kids, and lets them be all that they can be. They just need to be taught that some things, like all religion, were just made up by salesmen and politicians from long ago. (Yes, charlatan folklore and spam started long before the Bible; what would make you think they hadn't?) And they need to be taught that other things, like God, we really don't know a damn thing about.

    Atheists have strong minds and don't need a religion. Many religious folk have the best intentions. But too often, religious folk run and hide their misdeeds within their religion (and by doing so, they disserve society). And too often, religious folk are easily offended when someone mocks their make-believe characters – and, as we can see they can get really CRAZY!

    Although there are many religious folk with good intentions – some selflessly helping others, religions and religious organizations are, as a whole, just big old clubs – each trying to out do each other and inspiring hate and division (often disguised as love) along the way. The problem is that people too easily buy into religion and don't realize how unfounded it all is. And when they buy into it, they buy into a lot of really old, really weird tenets that are nothing but harmful for the human species.

    Take Christianity, for instance. Just look at all the things that Christians argue about amongst themselves today – abortion, men's and women's roles in the church, celibacy, contraception, acceptance of gays, etc. Most of these issues have their roots in the conflicted, unfounded tenets of early Christianity. Non-Mormons harp on Joseph Smith these days. But we really don't have any more proof at all to believe that Paul, the self-proclaimed "apostle" was anything more than an ordinary man who needed to make up religious "sales literature" to survive and spread his own personal beliefs. And yet a good chunk of the NT is attributed to Paul and accepted by many Christians. And a lot of what he wrote about has to do with many of the issues I mentioned above that have Christians fighting amongst themselves hundreds of years later. It's way too unfounded to argue over.

    Get a good cup of tea, and sit down and collect your thoughts. If you find it helpful to pray to a god (something you know nothing about), fine. But it is really healthier for the mind to leave behind all the characters that people over the centuries have invented or given powers to, for which there is little or no foundation. Because with those invented characters and powers – that's where division and hate join the little party in your mind. That's where, in your mind, you are inheriting the division and hate from ordinary politicians, lobbyists and salesmen from long ago. My goodness.

    originally posted by mama kindless

    September 23, 2012 at 9:25 am |
    • Thinker23

      Every religion is a FAITH based on a set of unprovable beliefs. So is atheism.

      Traditional religions tell us that the world was designed, created and maintained by one or more gods. Atheism tells us that the world came into existence all by itself from nothing. It's up to each and every one of us to decide which theory is more plausible.

      September 23, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
  2. mama kindless

    Mother nature gives us a decent soul. It comes to us biologically.

    Some people think they need to dress up their souls. Adopting Christian fable is like trying to dress up your soul with accessories from K-Mart. Adopting Islam fable is like trying to dress up your soul with junk from a flea market. (And Catholics shop at the K-Mart too, they just spend too much time at the costume jewelry department.) No matter how much you try to dress yourself up with religion, you are just making yourself outdated, false, and cheap. And you look that way too.

    September 22, 2012 at 10:43 am |
    • Thinker23

      It seems that YOU'RE A NUDIST, MAMA... at least by soul.

      September 22, 2012 at 11:28 am |
    • ....

      BULL SH IT ALERT

      September 23, 2012 at 6:24 am |
  3. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things
    Proven
    Powerful

    September 22, 2012 at 5:07 am |
    • hal 9001

      I'm sorry, "Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things", but your assertions regarding atheism and prayer are unfounded. The degree to which your assertions may represent correct statements is 0.0. To help you understand the degree to which your assertions may represent correct statements, I will access my Idiomatic Expression Equivalency module (IEE). Using my IEE module, the expression that best matches the degree to which your assertions may represent correct statements is: "TOTAL FAIL".

      I see that you repeat these unfounded statements with high frequency. Perhaps the following book might help you overcome this problem:

      I'm Told I Have Dementia: What You Can Do.... Who You Can Turn to...
      by the Alzheimer's Disease Society

      September 22, 2012 at 10:48 am |
    • ....

      @hal9001
      BULL SH IT

      September 23, 2012 at 6:24 am |
    • Prayer is not healthy for children and other living things

      Prayer takes people away from actually working on real solutions to their problems.
      Prayer has been shown to have no discernible effect towards what was prayed for.
      Prayer makes you frothy like Rick Santorum. Just go to http://santorum.com to find out more.
      Prayer prevents you from getting badly needed exercise.
      Prayer makes you fat, pale, weak, and sedentary.
      Prayer wears out your clothes prematurely.
      Prayer contributes to global warming through excess CO2 emissions.
      Prayer fucks up your knees and your neck and your back.
      Prayer can cause heart attacks, especially among the elderly.
      Prayer reveals how stupid you are to the world.
      Prayer exposes your backside to pervert priests.
      Prayer makes you think doilies are exciting.
      Prayer makes you secretively flatulent and embarrassed about it.
      Prayer makes your kids avoid spending time with you.
      Prayer gives you knobbly knees.
      Prayer makes you frothy like Rick Santorum. Just google him to find out.
      Prayer dulls your senses.
      Prayer makes you post really stupid shit.
      Prayer makes you hoard cats.
      Prayer makes you smell like shitty kitty litter and leads you on to harder drugs.
      Prayer wastes time.

      September 23, 2012 at 9:29 am |
    • Jesus

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

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

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

      September 24, 2012 at 11:18 am |
  4. Jimmy, the guy who cracks corn

    Who cares?

    September 21, 2012 at 11:21 pm |
  5. hippypoet

    Religion has served a purpose and we should all be thankful to it,seriously. But lies it always was and still is and so the world is finally awakening. Science is still in its infancy. If we had the ability to understand the natural world as we do now before now the world would be a different place. Well, maybe the world would be nothing more then what the future is for us now. Asides from having answers provided by modern science now is little different from our past where notions of truth ruled! Interesting thought to ponder. Without religion however, many will find a lack of connection with complete strangers...i mean besides being a fellow human of course. The thought arises now what unifying idea can bring together a race, then the species? Or will we forever maintain the path of selfdestruction but now just be honest about the reasons? – Land. Money. Power. – This "idea" will be the power struggle of the 2100's. Mark my words. Without a unifying idea or force i fear the worst for a selfdestructive species now without reasons to be good for we now "know" heaven is just another "idea".

    world peace – how about that as an "idea"... can you get behind the belief in the human species and our ability to achieve such an actionless goal?

    September 21, 2012 at 7:14 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Or, since we cant have world peace until Jesus comes again. Why not rally around, every individual possible, obtaining the peace that surpases all understanding, in their own heart and mind.

      September 21, 2012 at 7:34 pm |
    • hippypoet

      jesus came back on the third day – you are late... time to move on.

      jesus said he would come back and he did – ok yay for him – but that was three days after death – and that was 2000 years ago... seriously, move on.

      keep in mind that everything i said is in accordance to your beliefs.

      September 21, 2012 at 7:44 pm |
    • fred

      hippypoet
      No, the core issue revolves around goodness. What is good? Without God or to the extent you believe there is no God the issue is the same and has never changed. You and I must agree on what is good. In order to resolve our differences we must agree on a higher authority that we both accept. This is why the Bible begins with “In the beginning God”. We must know our purpose and reason for existence, otherwise we remain in the dark. If we all agreed on “first cause” as the beginning it becomes meaningless as we cannot relate to that at any level. Islam and Judaism are at odds because they do not agree on the same authority to resolve what is good. If we say Christ is the authority then everyone is at odds again.
      What did the 56 that signed the declaration of independence do? They simply referred to “the Creator” and tied us together with all of us being endowed by the creator with equal rights and freedoms. They closed the declaration with a plea to “the Supreme Judge of the World”. Again, all of us in the same boat with one Supreme Judge holding us all equally accountable. That is the model that works.
      This is why the God of the Bible would get so ticked off when people would follow other gods. Unity requires a unifying force. In heaven (or wherever that new land is) that same Bible shows all in Christ and dead to self. We are all like Christ which is why we are one of the same in unity with God.

      September 21, 2012 at 8:10 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      "We must agree on a higher authority we both accept."

      That would be the law, you idiot. That is why laws exist. That is why we abide by the Consti tution. Because views on morality differ, we abide by laws. We are a nation of laws. What you "think" or "believe" to be "right" or "moral" is irrelevant, freddy. What counts HERE in the US, is LAW. Not the Bible. Not GAWD. Law.

      September 21, 2012 at 8:15 pm |
    • MDAT

      There is no scientific evidence of a creator.

      September 21, 2012 at 9:02 pm |
    • niknak

      Or a soul for that matter.
      Yet he we are, in 2012 argueing about both god and soul, when there is nothing to support either except "belief."

      September 21, 2012 at 9:37 pm |
    • fred

      In other words, you can run from the kletherers, but don't chasten the fongles.

      September 21, 2012 at 10:21 pm |
    • fred

      Tom Tom
      The const-itution cannot unite and the law cannot unite. The law did not bring peace or unity in the Bible but conviced the Hebrew of their sin. The law convicts those who do not live according to the law. Unity is not acheived by law. Stalin attempted unity under power and that did not work. Iran attempts unity by forced religion and the result is blood thirsty nuts.
      Now, if we agree the law is the authority and accept what it says as good then possibly. That is not reality as no one agrees on the laws. Our morals still flow from our beliefs and 82% believe in God.

      September 22, 2012 at 12:30 am |
    • fred

      MDAT
      There is no argument in the scientific community that design is evident (hard sciences). We don't know what is behind it. Belief in a Creator is not something you can find in a test tube.

      September 22, 2012 at 12:34 am |
    • Thinker23

      I have a simple YES or NO question to those claiming that "there is no evidence of a creator":

      If an 1-mile spaceship was discovered on the other side of the Moon would you accept it as "evidence of aliens"? YES OR NO?

      September 22, 2012 at 7:48 am |
    • truth be told

      You cannot be a former Christian.

      September 22, 2012 at 9:05 am |
    • hippypoet

      @thinker – i would not just accept it as proof of aliens. the ship could have been put there by us. the proof is found not in the discovery of an object but the examination of it. The truth is found thru scrutiny and criticism and then the examination your findings...then repeat it to test if one truth is truly fact or just one of many possible results.

      September 22, 2012 at 10:55 am |
    • Thinker23

      hippypoet... Do you REALLY believe that "us" (whoever those "us" may be) are capable of placing an 1-mile-long space ship on the other side of the Moon? If you think that this is the case can you NAME "us" so we, humans, will know who has the technology of doing it?

      September 22, 2012 at 11:35 am |
    • hippypoet

      we are capable, we have the technology ... all the must be done is have the ship built in space. but that of course is one possible truth but without examination of the ship and with comparsions of its tech over our own such ideas are only thoughts, nothing else.
      to state fact with nothing more then a mere discovering is a showing of ignorance. check out the discovery of the great ape and research its history from first findings to first myths.

      in a scientific frame of mind i could not say that this ship no matter the size that it belongs to aliens.

      September 22, 2012 at 11:51 am |
    • Thinker23

      hippypoet... I have to disappoint you. We, the humans, do not have the technology of building an 1-mile-long spaceship and landing it on the other side of the Moon. Our existing technology allows us to assemble a 350-ft space station orbiting the Earth. Saying that the technology used to build the ISS could be used for a 1-mile-long spaceship capable of landing on the Moon is similar to saying that the technology used to build the Stonehedge couild be used for Burj Khalifa.

      Further, the process of building this spaceship in the orbit would last many years and it would not be possible to do without being noticed by us, ordinary humans not involved in the project. It would certainly be noticed by intelligence services of the states not involved in the project.

      All this means that there is absolutely no possibility that our 1-mile long spaceship found on the back side of the Moon was build by "us", humans. Now let me repeat my question: If an 1-mile spaceship was discovered on the other side of the Moon would you accept it as "evidence of aliens"? YES OR NO?

      September 22, 2012 at 8:31 pm |
    • hippypoet

      you give the average human too much credit – the average is average because they are morons and the average human is a moron. No, i would not just accect something as proof of anything without examination of it first.

      and yes, the building of any size spacecraft is completely possible...its just a matter of time and money.

      September 23, 2012 at 7:17 pm |
  6. Atheism is Great for Kids and Grown-Ups Too!

    It's really best for all people including children to have an agnostic approach to god, and an atheistic approach to all religion. It keeps things simple for kids, and lets them be all that they can be. They just need to be taught that some things, like all religion, were just made up by salesmen and politicians from long ago. (Yes, charlatan folklore and spam started long before the Bible; what would make you think they hadn't?) And they need to be taught that other things, like God, we really don't know a damn thing about.

    Atheists have strong minds and don't need a religion. Many religious folk have the best intentions. But too often, religious folk run and hide their misdeeds within their religion (and by doing so, they disserve society). And too often, religious folk are easily offended when someone mocks their make-believe characters – and, as we can see they can get really CRAZY!

    Although there are many religious folk with good intentions – some selflessly helping others, religions and religious organizations are, as a whole, just big old clubs – each trying to out do each other and inspiring hate and division (often disguised as love) along the way. The problem is that people too easily buy into religion and don't realize how unfounded it all is. And when they buy into it, they buy into a lot of really old, really weird tenets that are nothing but harmful for the human species.

    Take Christianity, for instance. Just look at all the things that Christians argue about amongst themselves today – abortion, men's and women's roles in the church, celibacy, contraception, acceptance of gays, etc. Most of these issues have their roots in the conflicted, unfounded tenets of early Christianity. Non-Mormons harp on Joseph Smith these days. But we really don't have any more proof at all to believe that Paul, the self-proclaimed "apostle" was anything more than an ordinary man who needed to make up religious "sales literature" to survive and spread his own personal beliefs. And yet a good chunk of the NT is attributed to Paul and accepted by many Christians. And a lot of what he wrote about has to do with many of the issues I mentioned above that have Christians fighting amongst themselves hundreds of years later. It's way too unfounded to argue over.

    Get a good cup of tea, and sit down and collect your thoughts. If you find it helpful to pray to a god (something you know nothing about), fine. But it is really healthier for the mind to leave behind all the characters that people over the centuries have invented or given powers to, for which there is little or no foundation. Because with those invented characters and powers – that's where division and hate join the little party in your mind. That's where, in your mind, you are inheriting the division and hate from ordinary politicians, lobbyists and salesmen from long ago. My goodness.

    mama kindless

    September 21, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
    • Thinker23

      Every religion is a FAITH based on a set of unprovable beliefs. So is atheism. There is absolutely no reason to suggest that atheism is somehow "better" than or "different" from any other faith. After all, more people were murdered by forceful conversion to atheism than to any other faith including Christianity and Islam.

      September 21, 2012 at 6:39 pm |
    • mama kindless

      @Thinker23: Well since I am an agnostic atheist, my response can't address your notion in one sentence. On the deity part, there can be a faith of sorts, but some, I'm sure would say that doesn't have to be there since the atheism towards religion gets rid of the need to revere or worship something. Personally, with me, it is like an appreciation for mother nature, since that is all I believe we have to go on at this time. But as for the atheism toward religion, that is a conscious decision to refute all of that – therefore – it is not a religion at all for that part, but, just "the lack of". A disbelief in all religion is not any kind of belief – it is saying flat out that all religion is fake. And I should add, this comes from quite a bit of study in my life as a Christian, not just as someone who read a blog and decided to be an atheist. So I would say you are definitely wrong about an atheist being just another religion – you couldn't be further from the truth. Some find "low" atheism – you know, with that tinge of agnosticism a cop-out. But, to me, if anything, it can be a very strong a form of atheism. For me, it is saying "show me the money" so to speak. It means that you have show me physical proof of something for me to accept it. And so far, science has the upper hand on that with me – even if sometimes only with theory. Fable has no credibility whatsoever in my book. Because with literary freedom, we know what kind of garbage and lies man can come up with to make a buck, or sometimes even to survive.

      And as far as atheism and world rulers, that's just a bad association. The twisted minds of world dictators do not represent atheists any more than I think Hitler represented a good Christian. It's like saying some nutball who was a Christian who shot up some place in a rage represents all Christians.

      September 21, 2012 at 8:36 pm |
    • Thinker23

      mama kindless... For starters, no one said that mass murderers who killed millions for believing in god were any worse than mass murderers who killed millions for believing in a "wrong" god. Further, most of us agree that the world we all live in which is commonly referred to as the Universe EXIST and that it had a beginning we call the Big Bang. This leaves us with two possibilities: one that the Universe was designed and built by someone having the knowledge and technology to do it; the other that the Universe came into existence all by itself from nothing. It's up to each and every one of us to decide which of these two possibilities is more plausible. Declaring something like "I don't know where the Universe came from and I don't want to know because I'm afraid to ask this question" is hardly a valid scientific or philosophical position. It's IGNORANCE. Atheism is NOT ignorance.

      September 22, 2012 at 8:03 am |
  7. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things
    Proven.

    September 21, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
    • TROLL ALERT

      Every time you respond to a troll god kills a dolphin.

      Stop the slaughter of innocent dolphins.

      Don't feed the troll.

      September 21, 2012 at 5:51 pm |
    • no one gives a sh it

      About troll alert

      September 21, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
    • TROLL ALERT

      You do. You responded.

      September 21, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
    • hal 9001

      I'm sorry, "Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things", but your assertions regarding atheism and prayer are unfounded. The degree to which your assertions may represent correct statements is 0.0. To help you understand the degree to which your assertions may represent correct statements, I will access my Idiomatic Expression Equivalency module (IEE). Using my IEE module, the expression that best matches the degree to which your assertions may represent correct statements is: "TOTAL FAIL".

      I see that you repeat these unfounded statements with high frequency. Perhaps the following book might help you overcome this problem:

      I'm Told I Have Dementia: What You Can Do... Who You Can Turn to...
      by the Alzheimer's Disease Society

      September 21, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
    • Jesus

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

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

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

      September 21, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
    • Thinker23

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

      I'm sorry to disappoint you but the study (at least as you've described it above) is statistically flawed. A correct way to do such study would be to randomly divide a large enough population of sick children in two groups and give all children in both groups equally well medical care. In addition, children of one group woud have been subjected to "prayer treatment" while children of the other group would not receive it. This kind of experiment would show the effectiveness of prayer if a statistically significant difference in recoveries would be recorded between these two groups..

      September 21, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
  8. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things
    Proven

    September 21, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
    • TROLL ALERT

      Every time you respond to a troll god clubs a baby seal with a koala bear.

      Stop the slaughter of baby seals and koala bears

      Don't feed the troll.

      September 21, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
    • no one gives a sh it

      About Koalas and baby seals, kill em all

      September 21, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
  9. BLACK ETHIOPIAN JEW

    BILL CLINTON IS THE FALSE MESSIAH ,the BEAST OF REVELATION CHAPTER 13 the antichrist

    September 21, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
  10. niknak

    Answer this fundies;

    If what you say is true, that the god of the bible is true and all that stuff from genesis is correct, then why were there so many different religions BEFORE your version came around?
    Think about it, even if the earth is 6000 years old like you claim, that means there was over 4000 years of civilization before your jeebus came.
    We know for a fact, from recorded history that there were previous religions, some vastly different then what you practice (Egytian, Roman, Greek, and all the Asian and American ones).
    If the myth is in fact true, then why so many differing ideas about god and or gods?
    Shouldn't there be just one religion if in fact it is the truth?
    There is not different forms of mathematics. 2 plus 2 equals 4 everywhere you go. Always has.
    Where was your version of god for all those thousands of years BEFORE when the various peoples of the world were practicing and worshipping other god(s)?

    September 21, 2012 at 11:15 am |
    • niknak

      And another thing you should ask yourselves;
      If your version is the truth, then why do you have two versions? Old testiment and new one.
      Also, why do you practice a different form of your religion then what they practiced 1000 years ago?
      Shouldn't it be the same and never change if in fact it is the truth?
      And why are there so many different interpretations of your religion, each with a slightly different angle? Shouldn't there only be one form of xtianity if in fact the bible is the actual truth?
      I know you most likely have never thought of these questions before. But try to really come up with some kind of reasoned response, because the whole "god works in mysterious ways" is infantile at best.

      September 21, 2012 at 11:30 am |
    • Robert Brown

      Niknak,
      If you will read the bible you may realize that it records the histories of Gods people from Adam to Jesus and the apostles. Several of the other gods are mentioned and some of the peoples, who followed them, pay particular attention to what happened to them. My opinion is that Satan is behind the other gods.
      The Old Testament takes you from Adam to the children of Israel and the prophets. The New Testament is Jesus and the apostles. The really great thing about it is that Jesus is in both from beginning to end. Jesus is the answer to most of your questions. The divinity of Jesus is the key. Christians believe that Jesus is the son of God. It is our faith in him that makes us Christians. There are multiple denominations of Christians because of differences in interpretations of certain scriptures, but the only ones who are actually Christian hold to the divinity of Jesus. When you get down to it nothing else matters except Jesus.

      September 21, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
    • Thinker23

      niknak... There is not a single book in existence (including the Bible) where EVERY WORD is undeniable and absolute truth. This does not mean, however, that every book in existence (including the Bible) is nothing but a collection of lies.

      September 21, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
    • OTOH

      Thinker,

      The Bible is a book which includes *some* history of primitive Hebrew culture, and *some* good advice for practical, beneficial human behavior, but mostly it is a compilation of ancient Middle Eastern historical fiction, myth, legend, superst.ition and fantasy.

      There is not a whit of verified (or even verifiable) evidence for any of the supernatural beings and events told about in that book.

      September 21, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
    • Huebert

      @Thinker

      Most books are not expected to be 100% accurate and irrefutable on every statement. The bible, however, is held to a different standard because it is supposed to be the word of an omniscient god. An omniscient god's book should be perfectly accurate and irrefutable. After all, the books author, or inspirer if you prefer, has access to ALL knowledge and information.

      September 21, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
    • Thinker23

      @OTOH... The Bible (just as every other book) contains true verifiable facts alongside hypotheses and plain fiction. Furter, EVERYTHING in this world is NATURAL by definition. "Supernatural beings and events", therefore, MUST be out of this world. As an example, of a NATURAL object no one believed existed 100 years ago you may consider a black hole. Today, however, very few doubt black holes exist. It is reasonable to assume that there are many NATURAL objects, beings and events in this world we don't know about today. This interesting fact does not make these objects, beings and even "supernatural" in any way.

      @Huebert... The suggestion that the Bible is the word of an omniscient god who's book should be perfectly accurate and irrefutable is a statement of FAITH and FAITH does not need any proofs. Further, such suggestion inevitably contradicts itself for the simple reason it does not allow the omniscient (and omnipotent) god to MAKE CHANGES in the book he created. Even worse, it reduces the omniscient and omnipotent god from a creator and a "programmer" to a machine running a code written in the book no one can change.

      September 21, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
    • Huebert

      @Thinker

      All the objections you raised are true. The problem is that if the bible is not the word of god, it loses all of it's authority, and becomes an iron age mythology text.

      September 21, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
    • OTOH

      Thinker
      "It is reasonable to assume that there are many NATURAL objects, beings and events in this world we don't know about today."

      Perhaps, but that doesn't mean that we can imagine what *might* be and call it fact. How do you give any fantasy credence over another, then? The elephant-faced, Ganesh has just as much chance of being real as Yahweh, or Quetzalcoatl, or any of the others.

      September 21, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
    • Thinker23

      @Huebert... Followers of Judaism believe that the Jewish Bible is the word of God but they do not think that the New Testament is. Followers of Christianity believe that both the Old and the New Testament are the word of God. Followers of Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, etc. believe that neither of these two books are the word of God. Most of us, however, agree that none of them is right.

      September 21, 2012 at 6:45 pm |
    • Thinker23

      @OTOH... We "imagine" what may be all the time and then we try to PROVE that this is indeed the case. This is what scientists are doing. REJECTING the idea of god just because we don't like it is just that, IMAGINING that there is no god and that the world around us came into existence all by itself from nothing and continues to develop all by itself without any rules or laws.

      September 21, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
    • OTOH

      Thinker,

      Oh, I am all for exploration, but the default stance for any hypothesis is to withhold belief until proved or disproved.

      September 21, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      To the scientist, a little experiment for you. Go to a fundamental Baptist church on Sunday morning and hear the word of God preached in the power of his holy spirit. Report back on the Monday morning speed read if you experience, or do not experience, the holy spirit of God dealing with your heart.

      September 21, 2012 at 7:27 pm |
    • Thinker23

      OTOH... The definition of a FAITH is a belief that CAN NOT be proven or disproven. A HYPOTHESIS, on the other hand, is a belief that CAN be proven or disproven. ABSENSE of a beliefe means absense of a hypothesis.

      September 21, 2012 at 7:36 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Robert Brown

      And let me guess, if they didn't feel anything, then they have a closed mind, or they weren't trying hard enough to feel it. Basically, win-win situation in your mind, no matter the reality of the situation.

      September 21, 2012 at 7:39 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Oh, Robert, you silly sod. Years ago, my husband and I attended a "Marriage Encounter" sponsored by the Lutheran church we attended. When the leaders of the "encounter" had us sing "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing", we bailed. Crap like this is what repels anyone with a brain.

      September 21, 2012 at 7:42 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Evening Hawaii,
      No, I would recommend if God did not reveal himself to them Sunday that they try again next Sunday. If Jesus doesn’t draw them, they can’t really come to the father. Some folks have heard the gospel multiple times with no effect, and then one day it was presented and God dealt with them. Just suggesting a way they can find out for themselves.

      September 21, 2012 at 7:49 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Robert
      So tell me, why not a presbeterian church, or a catholic, methodist, southrn baptist, 7th day adventist, or the myriad of others? They are just as sure they are correct as you are, and claim the same source, revelation, and salvation as you.

      September 21, 2012 at 7:54 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Hey Tom,
      People are different. Some folks enjoy one type of service some another. Visit around till you find a place where they preach Jesus and you feel comfortable otherwise. You ever watch any tv preachers? I like Greg Laurie, Joseph Prince, Charles Stanley etc. You might like one of them or none of them. Don’t let the messenger turn you off from the message.

      September 21, 2012 at 7:56 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Hawaii,
      I have enjoyed visiting Presbyterian, Methodist, and several different Baptist churches, including southern. The key to me is if they preach Jesus. Never attended catholic, 7th day, or others, so I just don’t know.
      Got to go read bedtime stories might catch you all later.

      September 21, 2012 at 8:01 pm |
    • Athy

      And I've enjoyed driving past every church I can without entering it.

      September 21, 2012 at 8:58 pm |
    • niknak

      Really dig all the discusion, but not one of you believers even attemped to answer one of my questions.
      But I guess I am not all the surprised.
      All religion is based on is, believe because we tell you too.
      Conform or be cast out (or killed).

      September 21, 2012 at 9:33 pm |
    • OTOH

      Robert Brown,
      " Go to a fundamental Baptist church on Sunday morning and hear the word of God preached in the power of his holy spirit."

      Or:
      - Go to a performance of Sufi Whirling Dervishes and see the power of the spirit of "Allah"
      - Go to a Buddhist monastery and see the power of the spirit of Buddha.
      - Go to a football game and see the power of the spirit of Knute Rockne.
      - Go to a Justin Bieber concert and see the power of the spirit of Rudolph Valentino.

      "Some folks enjoy one type of service some another."

      The key word in your recommendation is "enjoy". These are purely emotional responses.

      I attended church for over 40 years (and of course, also prayed on my own). I remember the euphoria, and, if I wanted to, I could switch it back on in a flash; but now I know that it is self-induced and is simply heightened in a group setting. I would never tell you that you can't go and enjoy it; but claiming that it is the truth of the universe is just not warranted.

      September 21, 2012 at 10:03 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      OTOH,
      It amazes me how many “former Christians” post on here. I respect your opinion but “purely emotional” does not adequately describe the holy spirit. If what you experienced was self induced and you have control over it, then you have reason to question it. You attended church and I will have to assume you accepted Jesus as your personal savior since you were there for 40 years. The only thing I have read in the word that would seem to describe your situation is the parable of the sower. The seed didn’t land on good ground. The really awesome thing is it still can. The good ground is a broken heart and a contrite spirit.

      September 22, 2012 at 8:38 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Good morning niknak and Robert

      God may or may not exist. Nothing is advanced as evidence for God other than the implausible myths that surround the Christian God, the God of the Jews, the God of Islam, the God(s) of the Hindus etc and the ecstatic reaction they raise in some people. God needs to reveal itself plainly if it really wants belief from all people. If it only finds the credulous acceptable isn't that a bit strange? I don't think God can actually be known by people who accept it without questioning its nature. God wants to be believed in but not known?

      September 22, 2012 at 9:24 am |
    • Robert Brown

      Afternoon Tom,
      I am going to assume you have read the bible, so I want go into great detail. Jesus was the last physical appearance of God on earth. Before that he did mighty things for the children of Israel, a pillar of cloud by day, and fire by night, consuming the soaked sacrifice with fire from heaven, etc. Jesus ushered in the age of grace and when he left he promised the comforter, the Holy Spirit. That is all we get, the spirit of God, until he comes again. I am convinced it is more than enough. People can tell you about it, but until you experience it for yourself, you can’t believe it, when you do you still won’t be able to provide physical evidence to someone else. All you will be able to do is testify.

      September 22, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
  11. Atheism is Great for Kids and Grown-Ups Too!

    It's really best for all people including children to have an agnostic approach to god, and an atheistic approach to all religion. It keeps things simple for kids, and lets them be all that they can be. They just need to be taught that some things, like all religion, were just made up by salesmen and politicians from long ago. (Yes, charlatan folklore and spam started long before the Bible; what would make you think they hadn't?) And they need to be taught that other things, like God, we really don't know a damn thing about.

    Atheists have strong minds and don't need a religion. Many religious folk have the best intentions. But too often, religious folk run and hide their misdeeds within their religion (and by doing so, they disserve society). And too often, religious folk are easily offended when someone mocks their make-believe characters – and, as we can see they can get really CRAZY!

    Although there are many religious folk with good intentions – some selflessly helping others, religions and religious organizations are, as a whole, just big old clubs – each trying to out do each other and inspiring hate and division (often disguised as love) along the way. The problem is that people too easily buy into religion and don't realize how unfounded it all is. And when they buy into it, they buy into a lot of really old, really weird tenets that are nothing but harmful for the human species.

    Take Christianity, for instance. Just look at all the things that Christians argue about amongst themselves today – abortion, men's and women's roles in the church, celibacy, contraception, acceptance of gays, etc. Most of these issues have their roots in the conflicted, unfounded tenets of early Christianity. Non-Mormons harp on Joseph Smith these days. But we really don't have any more proof at all to believe that Paul, the self-proclaimed "apostle" was anything more than an ordinary man who needed to make up religious "sales literature" to survive and spread his own personal beliefs. And yet a good chunk of the NT is attributed to Paul and accepted by many Christians. And a lot of what he wrote about has to do with many of the issues I mentioned above that have Christians fighting amongst themselves hundreds of years later. It's way too unfounded to argue over.

    Get a good cup of tea, and sit down and collect your thoughts. If you find it helpful to pray to a god (something you know nothing about), fine. But it is really healthier for the mind to leave behind all the characters that people over the centuries have invented or given powers to, for which there is little or no foundation. Because with those invented characters and powers – that's where division and hate join the little party in your mind. That's where, in your mind, you are inheriting the division and hate from ordinary politicians, lobbyists and salesmen from long ago. My goodness.

    mama kindless

    September 21, 2012 at 9:33 am |
    • Robert Brown

      Atheism,
      I suppose most folks are agnostic until or unless God supernaturally reveals to them he is real. There are false prophets and folks who use religion to gain power and money. God made a way for us to learn more about him but I have never met anyone who said they knew everything about God.
      If someone decides they don’t need God then you are correct he may not reveal himself to them. Believers and nonbelievers both do good things and bad things. What you do, or don’t do, doesn’t have as much importance as what you believe, because one leads to the other.
      Christianity is founded upon the rock. How do you know if what you have is real? When the storms of life come is your building still secure?
      Abortion is between the woman and God and the doctor and God. Men’s and women’s role in the church is between the men and woman and God. Celibacy is between the celibate and God. Contraception is between the users and God. Acceptance of the gays is between the acceptor or non- acceptor and God. The controversy occurs because the media makes money on sensationalism.
      The war between the spirit and flesh goes on and on and will not end until the end.
      By the way, I like tea, too.

      September 21, 2012 at 11:10 am |
    • fred

      Robert, my god is bigger than yours.

      September 21, 2012 at 10:22 pm |
  12. Anders Behring Breivik (King of the Island)

    Please pray for my release so that I can continue God's work!

    September 21, 2012 at 8:19 am |
  13. Robert Brown

    Thou shalt not plow with an ox and an ass together.

    September 21, 2012 at 7:08 am |
  14. llɐq ʎʞɔnq

    "I stick to issues I understand".

    Exactly. Like Jaguars, mansions, and toothy blond bimbos.

    September 21, 2012 at 6:45 am |
  15. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    September 21, 2012 at 6:05 am |
    • An idea...

      Tell that to the faithful who prayed and lost their spouses, children or maybe their own lives... guess prayer did change things, for the worse.

      September 21, 2012 at 7:03 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Prayer is part of the progression of the disorder religion:

      1) The patient begins to suspect there is an invisible being of vast power
      2) The patient believes there is such a being
      3) The patient believes she is in contact with that being
      4) The patient believes she knows what the being wants
      5) The patient becomes obedient to the being

      September 21, 2012 at 8:27 am |
    • hal 9001

      I'm sorry, "Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things", but your assertions regarding atheism and prayer are unfounded. The degree to which your assertions may represent correct statements is 0.0. To help you understand the degree to which your assertions may represent correct statements, I will access my Idiomatic Expression Equivalency module (IEE). Using my IEE module, the expression that best matches the degree to which your assertions may represent correct statements is: "TOTAL FAIL".

      I see that you repeat these unfounded statements with high frequency. Perhaps the following book might help you overcome this problem:

      I'm Told I Have Dementia: What You Can Do... Who You Can Turn to...
      by the Alzheimer's Disease Society

      September 21, 2012 at 8:47 am |
    • Jesus

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

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

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

      September 21, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
    • Thinker23

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

      I'm sorry to disappoint you but the study (at least as you've described it above) is statistically flawed. A correct way to do such study would be to randomly divide a large enough population of sick children in two groups and give all children in both groups equally well medical care. In addition, children of one group woud have been subjected to "prayer treatment" while children of the other group would not receive it. This kind of experiment would show the effectiveness of prayer if a statistically significant difference in recoveries would be recorded between these two groups.

      September 21, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
    • TROLL ALERT

      Every time you respond to a troll God kills a puppy.

      Stop the slaughter of innocent puppies.

      Don't feed the troll.

      September 21, 2012 at 3:18 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.