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September 22nd, 2012
10:00 PM ET

Different Takes: Should we abandon idea of hell?

Editor’s note: The new documentary "Hellbound?" explores Americans' ideas about hell. We asked two prominent Christians who featured in the film to give us their very different takes on hell.

My Faith: The dangerous effects of believing in hell

Editor’s note: Frank Schaeffer is a New York Times bestselling author. His latest book is "Crazy For God."

By Frank Schaeffer, Special to CNN

Is it any coincidence that the latest war of religion that started on September 11, 2001, is being fought primarily between the United States and the Islamic world? It just so happens that no subgroups of humanity are more ingrained with the doctrine of hell than conservative Muslims and conservative Christians.

And nowhere on earth have conservative Christians been closer to controlling foreign policy than here in the United States. And nowhere on earth have conservative Muslims been more dominant than in the countries from which the 9/11 extremists originated – Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan.

What a pair George W. Bush and Osama bin Laden made! On the one hand, an American president who was a born-again evangelical with a special "heart" for the state of Israel and its importance to the so-called end times, and on the other hand a terrorist leader who believed that he was serving God by ridding the Arabian Peninsula of an American presence and cleansing the "defiled" land of Palestine of what he believed were “invader Jews.”

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So whether you're an atheist or not, the issue of who's going to hell or not matters because there are a lot of folks on this planet – many of them extraordinarily well-armed - from born-again American military personnel to Muslim fanatics, who seriously believe that God smiles upon them when they send their enemies to hell.

And so my view of "hell" encompasses two things: First, the theological question about whether a land of eternal suffering exists as God's "great plan" for most of humanity.

Second, the question of the political implications of having a huge chunk of humanity believe in damnation for those who disagree with their theology, politics and culture, as if somehow simply killing one's enemies is not enough.

What most people don't know is that there's another thread running through both Christianity and Islam that is far more merciful than the fundamentalists’ take on salvation, judgment and damnation.

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Paradise, which Muslims believe is the final destination of the society of God’s choice, is referred to in the Quran as "the home of peace"

“Our God,” Muslims are asked to recite, “You are peace, and peace is from You.”

Since Christianity is my tradition, I can say more about it. One view of God - the more fundamentalist view - is of a retributive God just itching to punish those who "stray."

The other equally ancient view, going right back into the New Testament era, is of an all-forgiving God who in the person of Jesus Christ ended the era of scapegoat sacrifice, retribution and punishment forever.

As Jesus said on the cross: "Forgive them for they know not what they do."

That redemptive view holds that far from God being a retributive God seeking justice, God is a merciful father who loves all his children equally. This is the less-known view today because fundamentalists - through televangelists and others - have been so loud and dominant in North American culture.

But for all that, this redemptive view is no less real.

Why does our view of hell matter? Because believers in hell believe in revenge. And according to brain chemistry studies, taking revenge and nurturing resentment is a major source of life-destroying stress.

For a profound exploration of the madness caused by embracing the “justice” of “godly” revenge and retribution, watch the film “Hellbound?”

The film shows how the "hell" of revenge thinking, and the resulting unhinging of some people’s brains through their denial of human empathy, leads them to relish the violent future of suffering that they predict awaits the “lost” in hell.

Do we really want to go back to a time of literalistic religion. Wasn’t 9/11 enough of an argument against retributive religion?

We need “hell” like a hole in the head. It’s time for the alternative of empathetic merciful religion to be understood.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Frank Schaeffer.

My Faith: Hell is for real and Jesus is the only way out

Editor's Note: Mark Driscoll is founding pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle.

By Mark Driscoll, Special to CNN

As a pastor, my job is to tell the truth. Your job is to make a decision.

When controversies over biblical doctrines arise, it’s a humbling opportunity to answer questions about what the Bible teaches without getting into name-calling and mudslinging. Near the very top of the controversial doctrines is hell.

What happens when we die?

Human beings were created by God with both a physical body and a spiritual soul. When someone dies, their body goes into the grave and their spirit goes into an afterlife to face judgment.

But death is not normal or natural—it’s an enemy and the consequence of sin.

Think of it in this way: God is the source of life. When we choose to live independently of God and rebelliously against God it is akin to unplugging something from its power source. It begins to lose power until it eventually dies.

The Bible is clear that one day there will be a bodily resurrection for everyone, to either eternal salvation in heaven or eternal condemnation in hell.

Christians believe a person’s eternal status depends on their relationship with Jesus and that “God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

Our lives are shaped by the reality that “whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.”

What does Jesus say about hell?

Jesus was emphatically clear on the subject of hell. He alone has risen from death and knows what awaits us on the other side of this life. A day of judgment is coming when all of us — even you — will rise from our graves and stand before him for eternal sentencing to either worshiping in his kingdom or suffering in his hell.

The Bible could not be clearer: “If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.”

These are not just obscure Bible verses. In fact, Jesus talks about hell more than anyone else in Scripture. Amazingly, 13% of his sayings are about hell and judgment, and more than half of his parables relate to the eternal judgment of sinners.

Keep in mind that Jesus’ words come in the context of the rest of Scripture, which says that God “desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” Furthermore, he “is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”

God is far more loving, kind and patient with his enemies than we are with our enemies.

What does the rest of the Bible say about hell?

The Bible gives us many descriptions of hell including (1) fire; (2) darkness; (3) punishment; (4) exclusion from God’s presence; (5) restlessness; (6) second death; and (7) weeping and gnashing of teeth in agony.

A common misperception of Satan is that he’s in a red suit, holding a pitchfork at the gates of hell. But Satan will not[j1]  reign there. Hell is a place of punishment that God prepared for the devil and his angels, and it’s where those who live apart from God will, according to Revelation:

. . . drink the wine of God’s wrath, poured full strength into the cup of his anger, and he will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb [Jesus Christ]. And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night.

At the end of the age, the devil will be “thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.”

Hell will be ruled over by Jesus, and everyone present — humans and demons and Satan alike — will be tormented there continually in perfect justice.

Jesus says, “Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. ... And these will go away into eternal punishment.”

Is there a second chance after death?

The Bible is clear that we die once and are then judged without any second chance at salvation. As one clear example, Hebrews 9:27 says, “It is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment.”

We live. We die. We face judgment. Period.

How long does the punishment last?

Some argue that the punishment of sinners is not eternal, a view called annihilationism. This means that after someone dies apart from Jesus, they suffer for a while and then simply cease to exist.

Annihilationism is simply not what the Bible teaches. Daniel 12:2 says, “And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.” Jesus speaks of those who “will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.

Grammatically, there is no difference here between the length of time mentioned for “life” and that for “punishment”; rather, there is simply eternal life and eternal death.

Am I going to hell?

The good news is that the closing verses of the Bible say, “Come!” Everyone is invited to receive the free gift of God’s saving grace in Jesus. Jesus is God become a man to reconcile mankind to God.

He lived the sinless life we have not lived, died a substitutionary death on the cross for our sins. He endured our wrath, rose to conquer our enemies of sin and death, and ascended to heaven where he is ruling as Lord over all today. He did this all in love.

The stark reality is this: either Jesus suffered for your sins to rescue you from hell, or you will suffer for your sins in hell. These are the only two options and you have an eternal decision to make.

My hope and prayer is that you would become a Christian.

Have you confessed your sins to Jesus Christ, seeking forgiveness and salvation?

If not, you are hellbound, and there is no clever scholar who will be of any help when you stand before Jesus Christ for judgment. You’re not required to like hell as much as you need to believe in it, turn from your sin, trust in Jesus, and be saved from an eternal death into an eternal life.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Mark Driscoll.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Devil • My Faith • Opinion

soundoff (7,963 Responses)
  1. The truth is Uncomfortable

    The American Dream is a collective compression of the delusionary expressions of hollywood. God does not call us to seek prosperity over justice or else he wouldnt have written more about that.There are 10 times more teachings on regarding the poor than walking in affluence unaware of the needs of the disadvantaged. Christianity has failed as a caring community. Having exchanged the practice of sharing with the desire to wipe out our ideological foes with venomous attacks. God says it is easy to love our friends tbut not as easy to love those who despitefully use us. Republicans seem to view God as an ATM machine or a biased grandparent that is obligated to treat the priviliged with more abundance. Self centred living makes it impossible to follow God ie: If you dont deny yourself and take up your cross and follow me you CANT be my disciple.. Under right wing idealogues there mantra is When you are strong you are strong Christs mantra is opposite: When you are weak you are strong. Romney is not a right wing idealogue. He is a narcistic person that sees himself as a prophet of uncontrolled and unjust materialism. To him money is more important than his fellow man. His enemies are to be nuked. His heart is void of any human kindness. His God is himself.

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    September 27, 2012 at 9:27 am |
    • Amniculi

      I didn't realize this was a political article...but seeing as it is Romney-bashing I'll allow it. Oh, and "God" isn't real.

      September 27, 2012 at 11:29 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      You'll allow it? So, there is a moderator after all and it's you!

      September 27, 2012 at 1:09 pm |
  2. Dean Osborne

    Are you kidding? I know hell is real. I live in Texas!

    September 27, 2012 at 7:35 am |
    • niknak

      I feel sorry for you then.
      Too bad, as the state looks pretty, from the air.
      It is the people that make it hell.
      That is why heaven would suck, because once the novelty of it wore off, you would have to spend eternity with the kinds of fundies that live in Texas, and THAT would be hell.

      September 27, 2012 at 9:07 am |
  3. Anybody know how to read?

    Evolutionists are the bride of the beast. Here's your chance to hang with the worker bees in the educational-governmental complex. Join the Society for the Study of Evolution that says, '....we also encourage K-12, community college educators, and affiliated professionals to join us in our mission.......' Don't work for nothing. Get your rewards when you become a missionary. You receive bonus points when you offer up your children by abortion to continue your quest for ever higher degrees. To help you retain ' everyday life in the spirit of Stephen Jay Gould' other missionaries are always on call.

    September 27, 2012 at 5:22 am |
    • Anybody know how to read?

      Actually I think the beast gumit has many brides. Adultery means zip to him. But, wow, the bennies for the brides!

      September 27, 2012 at 5:28 am |
    • Rufus T. Firefly

      "Evolutionists are the bride of the beast."

      That is awesome.

      September 27, 2012 at 8:48 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      I will wear white regardless of what people might say.

      September 27, 2012 at 8:53 am |
    • WASP

      @read: they do have a cure for your illness.
      it's called Schizophrenia
      Symptoms
      Schizophrenia symptoms usually develop slowly over months or years. Sometimes you may have many symptoms, and at other times you may only have a few symptoms.

      People with any type of schizophrenia may have trouble keeping friends and working. They may also have problems with anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts or behaviors.

      At first, you may have the following symptoms:
      Irritable or tense feeling
      Trouble concentrating
      Trouble sleeping
      As the illness continues, you may have problems with thinking, emotions, and behavior, including:
      Bizarre behaviors
      Hearing or seeing things that are not there (hallucinations)
      Isolation
      Lack of emotion (flat affect)
      Problems paying attention
      Strongly held beliefs that are not real (delusions)
      Thoughts that "jump" between different topics (“loose associations”)
      Symptoms depend on the type of schizophrenia you have.

      Paranoid schizophrenia symptoms may include:
      Anxiety
      Anger or arguing
      False beliefs that others are trying to harm you or your loved ones
      Disorganized schizophrenia symptoms may include:
      Childlike behavior
      Problems thinking and explaining your ideas clearly
      Showing little emotion
      Catatonic schizophrenia symptoms may include:
      Grimacing or other odd expressions on the face
      Lack of activity
      Rigid muscles and posture
      Not responding much to other people
      Undifferentiated schizophrenia may include symptoms of more than one other type of schizophrenia.

      in my medical opinion seek help if anyone you know meets these symptoms. :)

      September 27, 2012 at 9:13 am |
    • christ_child

      "Evolutionists are the bride of the beast" You are right because the beast is satan.

      September 27, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
    • Anybody know how to think?

      You don't qualify.

      September 27, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
  4. Evolution favors the faithful

    Don't weed yourself out of life. Follow Jesus.

    September 27, 2012 at 5:19 am |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      Do you follow Santa Claus? Thor? Odin? Jehovah? The tooth fairy? Leprahauns?

      Evolution is based on facts and evidence. Faith is belief without evidence. The terms are contradictory!

      September 27, 2012 at 6:47 am |
    • sam stone

      Lining up to be nailed to a cross, are ya?

      September 27, 2012 at 7:13 am |
    • Madtown

      Darn it. I was born in primitive Aboriginal Australia. I don't know who Jesus is.

      September 27, 2012 at 11:25 am |
    • Todd

      "Evolution is based on facts and evidence. Faith is belief without evidence. The terms are contradictory!"

      Evolution is based on the interpretation of facts – not the facts themselves. Fact – there is a fossil, a bone of a creature. Interpretation – it came from a long line of other creatures, finally becoming this. The facts are not the problem or the issue, it is the interpretation of the facts that are at issue.

      Evolution (as Darwin thought of it) was based on a your definition of faith or belief – if x is true, I will find y. Well, y was not found, but it did not stop Darwin from saying this – "With respect to the absence of fossil remains serving to connect man with his ape-like progenitors, no one will lay much stress on this fact . . . those regions which are the most likely to afford remains connecting man with some extinct apelike creature, have not as yet been searched by geologists" Descent, chapter 6

      My point stands with this reference – a belief in something is held to in spite of the perceived facts. Darwin made a conjecture, and when faced with a lack of "evidence" believed it anyway.

      All people have their own presuppositions that color the way in which they interpret "evidence" or "facts". The one who holds to pure empiricism – presupposes nothing but matter. It's not proven, it's assumed. And everything is interpreted in that light. The one who holds to rationalism has his presuppositions as well, and all is colored by those assumptions. The question then becomes for whatever presuppositions – "Is the worldview one is holding to consistent?"

      September 28, 2012 at 8:20 am |
  5. Religion is good

    Please don't abandon the idea of hell. I'm begging you.

    September 27, 2012 at 4:41 am |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      Given your alias, one can safely assume, you gave up the idea of thinking for yourself.

      September 27, 2012 at 4:57 am |
    • Dodney Rangerfield

      Did you hear the one about the Canadian that minded its own F'n business?

      September 27, 2012 at 5:28 am |
    • Dodney Rangerfield

      You won't as long as liar prefails is around it thinks it has something to tell the rest of the world, truth really is no one in its own country can stand its bigotry either.

      September 27, 2012 at 5:30 am |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      Dodney: Did you happen to miss what AtheistSteve said to you last night??? Let me reiterate: if hell is exclusive to your country, wonderful...we're obviously better if that is the case. However, in case you completely missed it the last 1000 or so times, this is an INTERNATIONAL news site and your opinion about my opinion matters none to me. BTW: Did you know that we are important to your country??? We supplied your country with more oil than any other country did last year. So for once please get off your Mommy's computer and do something constructive with your time (like get an education).

      September 27, 2012 at 6:45 am |
    • sam stone

      Apparently, begging is something the pious do on a regular basis......after all, it is the only way they can avoid the wrath of their pr1ck god

      September 27, 2012 at 7:14 am |
    • Religion is good

      I think for myself. JFK didn't let his religion affect what he did in office and I don't let my religion dictate how I run my life.

      September 27, 2012 at 7:38 am |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      You do not think for yourself when you use a religion as a basis for living. Religion is dangerous to society functioning properly and your statement of not abandoning hell proves that you not capable of using your brain to its full capacity. If you were caable os using your brain to its full capacity you would have come to the conclusion that hell is not anything that can be proven to exist.

      September 27, 2012 at 7:52 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      TruthPrevails-

      "You do not think for yourself when you use a religion as a basis for living."

      I don't think religious people think in a fundamentally different way from the rest of us. Moral choices, for example, are usually made by intuition consulting a store of experiences and attitudes that have accumulated from sources we don't necessarily know. The difference in the religious is in how they regard that knowledge base. Religious people attribute it to God and don't examine it further. The rest of us acknowledge that it is contrived by us and probably not internally consistent. We feel obligated to make it a better basis for life in our society.

      September 27, 2012 at 8:37 am |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      Tom: Good point...ty :-)

      September 27, 2012 at 8:43 am |
    • niknak

      I am not that sure about what you posted Tom.
      I work with fundies, and I get to see them when they are not around their family and friends (we travel for work and are in hotels around the country half the month together).
      I see them do all kinds of things that are supposedly against their teachings. It seems to me that they use religion as a get out of jail free card to indulge in bad behavior but use the whole "the devil made me do it," or "I am absolved" excuse to cover them. I don't see much internal moral compass thinking going on with them.
      That is why religious people scare me.
      They are like pit bulls, one never knows when they will snap and kill. All that bull in their magic books really means nothing to them.

      September 27, 2012 at 9:03 am |
    • Amniculi

      It's not nice to compare fundies to pit bulls. Pit bulls are waaaaay better.

      September 27, 2012 at 11:24 am |
  6. shoos

    13% of Jesus sayings are about hell, how was that statistic determined? You got it all figured out Mark, good for you. Dumb article.

    September 27, 2012 at 1:25 am |
  7. Anybody know how to read?

    The earthlings have big problems. According to SI, '...study of the same aspects of the chimpanzee genome indicates a difference of about 1.2%....' You are 98.8% chimp, chumps.

    September 26, 2012 at 11:07 pm |
  8. mugwump

    So hell doesn't sufficiently scare the pigeons anymore, aye? Does this mean I can finally stop burning my old Black Sabbath albums? So you religious types better get on the stick and figure out another way to keep the sheep from straying.

    September 26, 2012 at 10:28 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      "Get on the stick"? Someone already did that for me.

      September 27, 2012 at 11:13 am |
  9. AtheistSteve

    A common refrain from theists is the claim that if you're an atheist then you must therefore believe in nothing, While I won't go into detail demonstrating that in fact atheists share a great many beliefs in common with theists, just not the supernatural variety, it's worth noting that in respect to this article they may be right.
    For example when I die the essense of me becomes nothing...
    I will face judgment from nothing....
    Nothing like a terrible place of torment or glorious place of bliss awaits.....

    September 26, 2012 at 8:09 pm |
    • Dodney Rangerfield

      Did you hear the one about thew ass hole Canadian that minded its own business?

      September 26, 2012 at 8:12 pm |
    • Dodney Rangerfield

      You won't the dumb pos still thinks someone somewhere needs its opinion. News flash to Canadian, if your opinion had value your own country would respect you, as it is you come off as an ass hole without a home.

      September 26, 2012 at 8:15 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      I was convinced of our ultimate "destination" by my near-death experiences under general anesthesia. Those hours passed by with no me in them to note their passing. Imagine that going on forever. That's all that waits for people after death – nil.

      September 26, 2012 at 8:17 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Did you hear the one about the infantile troll who calls himself "Dodney Rangerfield" and thinks he's clever?

      No, you didn't, because it's a stupid troll who can't even wipe his own azz without written instructions accompanied by a "how-to" video.

      September 26, 2012 at 8:17 pm |
    • onehippypoet

      Tom Tom the pipers twit
      Rolls up little balls of sh it
      And stomps them flat with stinky feet
      Now Tom Tom has more to eat

      September 26, 2012 at 8:28 pm |
    • AtheistSteve

      Hey Dodney Dipshit
      If discussion about hell is an exclusive American dilemma then I'm thrilled that it's a problem that only concerns you..(as it certainly should).
      Meanwhile the rest of us will continue to enjoy expressing our opinions on this international news sites blog page.
      Dont like it?...well now that's just too fucking bad...

      September 26, 2012 at 9:13 pm |
    • Dasher

      Steve, you forget that exclusion is what they do best.

      September 26, 2012 at 9:32 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Aww. How tragic. I hurt herbie's feeeeewings again! Gosh, I feel just awful about that.

      September 26, 2012 at 10:28 pm |
    • onehippypoet

      I was born without any s3xual organs. Pity me. I have to act out my frustration with crummy attempts at poetry. It's my only outlet for my s3xual inadequacy.

      September 26, 2012 at 10:32 pm |
    • onehippypoet

      Onehippypoet is another of my alias'
      signed Tom Tom the Piper's Son
      excuse me my breath really stinks
      must be something I eat

      September 27, 2012 at 5:34 am |
  10. niknak

    Must be bible study night, as all the fundies are missing.

    September 26, 2012 at 8:01 pm |
    • niknak

      Which makes me have a question;
      When you study the bible fundies, what are you really doing?
      Since each passage can have many meanings and be interpreted many ways, what is it that you actually study?
      Who is the definative authority as to which meaning is the right one?
      Are there some people who are more "scholarly" then others?
      If so, do they wear insigneas to show that, like a martial arts master has his black belt?

      September 26, 2012 at 8:05 pm |
  11. mclovin

    Neither side knows the truth. Case closed folks. Stop the judging and insults....and start loving each other. what a beautiful world we could have.......

    September 26, 2012 at 6:45 pm |
    • Madtown

      One of the few good posts in this story. Absolutely true.

      September 26, 2012 at 10:22 pm |
  12. 2357

    Heat is an absolute hierarchy of power without a limit in the universe. If God says it's hot , it's damned hot.

    September 26, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
    • Islam source of Islambeautifulnihilism

      God is pure crystal substance at absolute zero.

      September 26, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
    • Damocles

      @2357

      What?

      September 26, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
    • Dasher

      The Devil sounds way more fun to talk to for eternity than God.

      September 26, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
    • 2358

      Problem is, god never actually says anything, and he never has. He doesn't exist.

      September 26, 2012 at 8:16 pm |
    • sam stone

      The fact is that you do not know what god said, only the translated, edited blatherings of Iron Age sheep mounters. These, in turn, were taking from earlier writings

      September 27, 2012 at 3:13 am |
    • Huebert

      Heat is a form of energy and also a transfer of energy that can be measured and used to do work. It is not "an absolute hierarchy of power."

      September 27, 2012 at 11:21 am |
    • GodFreeNow

      Might I also add that heat which is energy, is a finite source. It will come to an end. Heat is very easy to produce and it's the most wasteful of energies. Cold is the only absolute... pun intended.

      September 28, 2012 at 2:12 am |
  13. CGAW

    Whatever your belief – you cannot prove it. It is only your personal opinion based on your personal experiences. Easier just to let people be and let them experience their life without assuming they are crazy or stupid becasue you have a sense of omnipotence. Never hurts to believe in possibilities and what scientist or theist doesn't believe in possibilities?

    September 26, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
    • JDog

      Ok, I agree that not much can be proved about hell, but that doesn't mean it isn't important......

      September 26, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      "Whatever your belief – you cannot prove it." Factually inaccurate.

      I could simply say that I believe that 1+1 = 2. The answer is by definition proof, but I could go farther to show you that 1 apple plus this other apple = 2 apples.

      September 26, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
    • CGAW

      I agree the topics are important but if one just projects hate on another's belief then the discussion and rantings become useless.

      @godfree – that's whay we have mulitple words in the english language – facts are separate from beliefs. Fact indicates it is supported with proof. So if you believe in fact then you are factually inaccurate belcasue you don't need to believe in it because it's proven.

      September 26, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
    • Dasher

      @GodFreeNow
      But eventually either through consumption or decomposition, those 2 apples will disappear, leaving you with no apples.
      In conclusion: stop having people suggest to me how to live, and threatening me about going to hell. It's annoying.

      September 26, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      @CGAW, The point was that beliefs can be proven true. Despite your reply, your original point remains factually inaccurate.

      September 27, 2012 at 4:31 am |
    • Coloradosarge

      @GodFreeNow A very simplistic explanation for truth. So in part you are right. Some things can be proven empirically. Other things are abstract and can't necessarily be proven although you would have a tough time arguing they exist. For example, I would like for you to prove honor, artistic, pious or righteous to me empirically or prove they don't exist. I don't think you can argue your point until you complete that successfully.

      September 27, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      @ Coloradosarge, I completely agree. And I would say that I know that many beliefs cannot be proven today or in the near future, including some beliefs held by scientists. I wasn't saying otherwise. I just have a personal distaste for factually inaccurate statements, especially if they are blanket statements that use words like, "All" or "Everything", etc.

      September 27, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
  14. Dasher

    I bought my very first bible today. "Made in China", interesting...

    September 26, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
    • Sony Bozo & Chair

      Yes, religion is like imported goods. It sounds/feels better if it NOT made here ... you get what you pay for with mad'inChina :-)

      September 26, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
  15. Sony Bozo & Chair

    Earth, where Were are living right now is HELL ! Don't you see all the sufferings. injustices right here, right now

    September 26, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
    • Huebert

      If this world is hell, then hell is pretty awesome! At least for me. ;)

      September 26, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
  16. Good News

    Please, read and know about one and only true GOD,
    and His one and only true Religion supported by tangible Evidence,
    Here is the most Clear and Solid Proof:

    http://www.holy-19-harvest.com
    UNIVERSAL MAGNIFICENT MIRACLES

    September 26, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
    • sam stone

      Tangible evidence?

      Nothing but conjecture.

      September 26, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
    • sam stone

      All gods are true to their adherents. To think you have the objectively correct one just shows you are irrational and confuse your opinion with facts

      September 26, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
  17. From the heart

    Well, speaking only for myself what WOULDN'T I do to avoid being miserable. I'm the girl who is wanting to take out
    a loan in order to air condition my porch. I have no shame at all when it comes to my own fear of death and discomfort and bad weather. Whatever happens when we are dead I wish the atheists and the Christians would come together and figure it out because quite frankly the clock is ticking and I find the end of myself totally unacceptable.

    September 26, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Acceptance will come

      September 26, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
    • Huebert

      You will end one day, whether or not you accept it. Best thing you can do is not worry about it and enjoy your life. Though if you need a little perspective think of it this way, you were dead for 13.7 billion years before you were born.

      September 26, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
    • oh boy..

      what is wrong with you bill.. someone asks you for help, you do not get high and almighty about it.. you try to say something that will actually help the person asking.. not use the opportunity to make a stupid statement.. is that what your crazy book taught you?

      ps.. try to comprehend what huebert said.. that is help

      September 26, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
    • sam stone

      "figure it out"?

      hooo boy....

      September 26, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
    • ME II

      @From the heart,
      "...I wish the atheists and the Christians would come together and figure it .."
      They have and decided that Marduk is the only real god. Unfortunately, most of the holy scriptures of Marduk have been lost, so we're all pretty much screwed.

      September 26, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
    • Huebert

      @ME II

      Heathen, The Fat Orange Cat, lasagna be upon him, Is the one true god!!!

      September 26, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
    • ME II

      You may be thinking of his evil, though better known, twin Marmaduke.

      September 26, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
  18. Ruffs

    If you were born into a Christian family and grew up Christian, that is what you believe. But, what if you would have been born into the Muslim faith? Would you not think that Muslim is the true religion? What are the chances that you just happened to be have been born into the right religion in all the world??? This is what I struggle with. I was raised Christian, but I am not naive enough to think that I just happened to get lucky enough to have been raised to believe the one true way. I want to believe, but how can I? And, will God really punish me in the end for applying logic to this question (something he allegedly designed us as human beings to be able to do), and after watching me struggle with this question in my heart???

    September 26, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
    • Snow

      well, according to the holy moly book,
      you have a mind.. but don't use it
      you have freewill.. but don't use it
      you have power to think logically.. but don't use it
      you have the power to accept others who are different from you.. but don't use it

      you DO NOT have the right to judge.. BUT, use it to prove why you are better than others!!

      That about sums it up..

      September 26, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
    • Coloradosarge

      @Snow

      I'm calling you out on your ignorance. Provide specific references and examples.

      September 27, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
  19. CGAW

    Very interesting how religious zealots and atheists think they can prove their belief. No one can prove thier beliefs in the spiritual. I think the sooner everyone gets that the faster we can all move on.

    September 26, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
    • Huebert

      While not provable, atheism is a supportable position, theism is not.

      September 26, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
    • Snow

      Schrödinger's cat !!

      September 26, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
    • sam stone

      What atheist says they can "prove" their belief?

      September 26, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
  20. Skillet

    My God Jesus, created me with a human DNA code make up of over 3billion charaters, which would streatch out over 6 feet end to end. There are no 2 human DNA codes exactly alike. :) we are fearfuly and wonderfully made. :)
    Thank you Jesus

    September 26, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
    • sam stone

      Welcome to the non-sequitor club. We may not make sense, but we like pizza

      September 26, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
    • Adam

      that code as developed over millions of years of evolution.... it's amazing that you learned a few facts and then all of sudden throw in a fictional character... that's like listing how many newtons of gravity a person is affected with and then saying Mickey Mouse created gravity. You are on the right track though scientifically sans the Jesus thing.... what is more fascinating that our origin, keep reading sounds like you have the potential to understand a lot more. no offense at all intended, just pretend for a second, just for fun that there is a god, he set this in motion... and you get to figure out how it happened. In that framework you and I can both learn the same truth and if jesus is real, well hey cherry on top.

      September 26, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
    • Huebert

      Skillet

      OR you evolved, via the processes of mutation and natural selection, over the course of billions of years from a very simple organism to the apex predator on this planet. There is evidence for one of our positions.

      September 26, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
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About this blog

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 and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.