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My Take: 'I'm spiritual but not religious' is a cop-out
The author notes that more and more young people are rejecting traditional religion and taking up a variety of spiritual practices.
September 29th, 2012
10:00 PM ET

My Take: 'I'm spiritual but not religious' is a cop-out

By Alan Miller, Special to CNN

Editor’s note: Alan Miller is Director of The New York Salon and Co-Founder of London's Old Truman Brewery. He is speaking at The Battle of Ideas at London's Barbican in October.

By Alan Miller, Special to CNN

The increasingly common refrain that "I'm spiritual, but not religious," represents some of the most retrogressive aspects of contemporary society. The spiritual but not religious "movement" - an inappropriate term as that would suggest some collective, organizational aspect - highlights the implosion of belief that has struck at the heart of Western society.

Spiritual but not religious people are especially prevalent in the younger population in the United States, although a recent study has argued that it is not so much that people have stopped believing in God, but rather have drifted from formal institutions.

It seems that just being a part of a religious institution is nowadays associated negatively, with everything from the Religious Right to child abuse, back to the Crusades and of course with terrorism today.

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Those in the spiritual-but-not-religious camp are peddling the notion that by being independent - by choosing an "individual relationship" to some concept of "higher power", energy, oneness or something-or-other - they are in a deeper, more profound relationship than one that is coerced via a large institution like a church.

That attitude fits with the message we are receiving more and more that "feeling" something somehow is more pure and perhaps, more "true” than having to fit in with the doctrine, practices, rules and observations of a formal institution that are handed down to us.

The trouble is that “spiritual but not religious” offers no positive exposition or understanding or explanation of a body of belief or set of principles of any kind.

What is it, this "spiritual" identity as such? What is practiced? What is believed?

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

The accusation is often leveled that such questions betray a rigidity of outlook, all a tad doctrinaire and rather old-fashioned.

But when the contemporary fashion is for an abundance of relativist "truths" and what appears to be in the ascendancy is how one "feels" and even governments aim to have a "happiness agenda," desperate to fill a gap at the heart of civic society, then being old-fashioned may not be such a terrible accusation.

It is within the context of today's anti-big, anti-discipline, anti-challenging climate - in combination with a therapeutic turn in which everything can be resolved through addressing my inner existential being - that the spiritual but not religious outlook has flourished.

The boom in megachurches merely reflect this sidelining of serious religious study for networking, drop-in centers and positive feelings.

Those that identify themselves, in our multi-cultural, hyphenated-American world often go for a smorgasbord of pick-and-mix choices.

A bit of Yoga here, a Zen idea there, a quote from Taoism and a Kabbalah class, a bit of Sufism and maybe some Feing Shui but not generally a reading and appreciation of The Bhagavad Gita, the Karma Sutra or the Qur'an, let alone The Old or New Testament.

So what, one may ask?

Christianity has been interwoven and seminal in Western history and culture. As Harold Bloom pointed out in his book on the King James Bible, everything from the visual arts, to Bach and our canon of literature generally would not be possible without this enormously important work.

Indeed, it was through the desire to know and read the Bible that reading became a reality for the masses - an entirely radical moment that had enormous consequences for humanity.

Moreover, the spiritual but not religious reflect the "me" generation of self-obsessed, truth-is-whatever-you-feel-it-to-be thinking, where big, historic, demanding institutions that have expectations about behavior, attitudes and observance and rules are jettisoned yet nothing positive is put in replacement.

The idea of sin has always been accompanied by the sense of what one could do to improve oneself and impact the world.

Yet the spiritual-but-not-religious outlook sees the human as one that simply wants to experience "nice things" and "feel better." There is little of transformation here and nothing that points to any kind of project that can inspire or transform us.

At the heart of the spiritual but not religious attitude is an unwillingness to take a real position. Influenced by the contribution of modern science, there is a reluctance to advocate a literalist translation of the world.

But these people will not abandon their affiliation to the sense that there is "something out there," so they do not go along with a rationalist and materialistic explanation of the world, in which humans are responsible to themselves and one another for their actions - and for the future.

Theirs is a world of fence-sitting, not-knowingess, but not-trying-ness either. Take a stand, I say. Which one is it? A belief in God and Scripture or a commitment to the Enlightenment ideal of human-based knowledge, reason and action? Being spiritual but not religious avoids having to think too hard about having to decide.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Alan Miller.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Opinion • Spirituality

soundoff (9,994 Responses)
  1. mm

    Religion is man made.

    Spirituality, meaning 'of the spirit', implies a gift of God.

    If you are a person interested in faith...this is a major difference. One would appear much more important than the other.

    October 2, 2012 at 7:27 am |
    • Rufus T. Firefly

      How are you certain that spirituality is not also manmade? As in a product of our neurology as opposed to some outside force?

      October 2, 2012 at 8:29 am |
  2. mm

    Religion is man made. And is as only good as the men that construct it, which could become irrelevant over time, just as they do.

    Religion does not save.

    October 2, 2012 at 7:23 am |
    • Steve

      I fell the same way. So many cultures and ways developed over time.All about the same thing essentialy. Keeps it pure in mind when you take organized religion out of the equation.

      October 2, 2012 at 7:44 am |
  3. pamik

    I went to a "religious" service in a very large local church a few months ago and have never felt so strange in my life. This was not a church. It was a singing, flag waving, tongue speaking, bunch of strangers. There was no verses from the Bible spoken, there were no hymns. I truly felt like I was being indoctrinated into a sect. To be made to feel un-religious because I don't want to sit with a bunch of "holy rollers" is most sanctimonious. I know my love for Jesus does not need to be put on display for all to see. Those who are most religious spout it the least.

    October 2, 2012 at 7:17 am |
  4. tesa

    Your argument describes perfectly why we are spiritual and not religious. You feel that all will be well once we pick a side, that we need to believe something, anything. For most of us SBNRs, your insistence on taking a side is exactly what repels us. Who's right? We don't know. But one thing is for sure: the more you tell us you're right, the more we're sure to believe the opposite.

    October 2, 2012 at 7:15 am |
    • notnecessarily

      not necessarily – the more they say their right – the more they will think about the possiblity that they are right or wrong – and try to determine the truths of both sides of right and wrong – something like that
      or
      they will not think about it – cuz the rightness and wrongness will be revealed in due time – until they think about it again – and so forth – something like that
      or
      they will think you are wrong unless they feel there is reason you could be right – and they think they could be wrong to think you are wrong for you – so they just ... think ... or ... don't
      whatever

      October 2, 2012 at 7:52 am |
    • stillthinking

      have you ever noticed this?:

      the more a person thinks they are right – the less they will allow for argument of wrong – therefore – the more they will insist they are right – when how can they be if something things they are wrong – then they are both right and wrong.
      and
      if they know they are wrong – they will not care whether you might be right – unless they do think you could be right for you.
      if they know they are right – but wonder about the wrong – since it exists in theory to their right – then they know they could also be wrong – in theory
      if they try to think in balance to right and wrong – then all things are right and wrong
      if they have to choose between right and wrong – just to choose – they will choose what is right or wrong – because that is what they have to choose – unless they do not choose – and therefore choose to not choose
      that's all
      or is there more
      still thinking

      October 2, 2012 at 8:50 am |
  5. Karon

    Only someone who is religious and not spiritual would call someone a cop out because they are spiritual and not religious.

    October 2, 2012 at 6:33 am |
    • thinkagain

      well actually – in theory – a person who is spiritual but not religious could know enough about this crowd to know that the way to rile them was to judge them unnecessarily and harshly based on no facts nor intelligence nor deeper thought – or something like that.
      also – if this spiritual person wanted these people he/she/they understand – they would or could think of ways to motivate these people to vote – or to at least think about voting ...
      theoretically ... and all

      October 2, 2012 at 6:54 am |
    • pamik

      Karon, love the analogy!

      October 2, 2012 at 7:11 am |
    • mm

      Absolutely. Using his own words – what is Alan Miller "peddling" there anyway...religion as an industry?

      October 2, 2012 at 7:20 am |
  6. Best News

    There is only one real GOD and His one true RELIGION

    that is revealed in an absolutely Matchless, most Powerful and Superb MATHEMATICAL LANGUAGE!

    So it is time to be Spiritual, and yes, also rightfully Religious now!

    http://www.holy-19-harvest.com

    "UNIVERSAL MAGNIFICENT MIRACLES"

    October 2, 2012 at 6:06 am |
    • Rufus T. Firefly

      okay, you do that.

      October 2, 2012 at 8:31 am |
  7. Nick Heise

    The author of this piece, though he admits that calling the spiritual but not religious movement a movement would be incorrect, still wrote this entire piece as these people were a united group whose thoughts and beliefs could be analyzed and criticized as a group. I'm no genius, but these seems to make his entire position quite flawed.

    I put myself out there as a point of reference since, as I'm talking about my own person, I don't have to rely on complete conjecture like the above article. Yes, I have used the expression "I'm spiritual, not religious." But what does that mean to me? Surely it can mean a lot to different people, just like the same scripture of the Bible can be inspiring to many Christians in countless different ways. To me, saying that I'm spiritual but not religious highlights that I'm not a person who is believes in the existence of God as a fact, but neither do I believe in his non-existence as a fact. It's my assertion of the respect and awe that I have in the face of a universe that I can't understand, which contains forces (perhaps a God) that I can never prove to exist or not exist. For me, it's not an unwillingness to think and make a decision - it's the result of years of thinking and consideration with the conclusion that I haven't yet gathered enough information to make a definitive choice.

    Frankly, refusing to take a side in an argument doesn't illustrate one's refusal to think - it shows that one has considered the relevant information and decided that the answer is not clear. I think this involves much more thought than people who have taken a stand - and more thought than the person who wrote this article put into it.

    October 2, 2012 at 5:40 am |
    • Epidi

      The difference between you, I, & the author is this
      You: You haven't decided therefore you have no faith that deity exists so you are still searching and learning for something to find faith in.
      Me: I am a Pagan. I've done my research but I'll always be learning. I have faith that there is an afterlife – I have seen too much not to believe our energy goes on after physical death. Therefore I do beleive in Spirit.
      The Author: Has faith that everyone else is wrong but him and how he views/worships deity and hasn't done his homework on other faiths or spirituality enough to make an educated guess on any of it or the people he seems to clump all in one group.

      October 2, 2012 at 6:55 am |
    • :)

      Amen brotha!

      October 2, 2012 at 7:05 am |
  8. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things
    Proven !

    October 2, 2012 at 4:31 am |
    • Twinkly Bob, Doom Leprechaun of the Apocalypse

      Pixies change things too!

      Proven!

      October 2, 2012 at 4:33 am |
    • Mark

      "Religious" people-christians-have murdered more people over the last 2000 years than any of the secular wars of that period.

      Atheists have not done this.

      October 2, 2012 at 4:39 am |
    • nope

      @mark
      nope

      October 2, 2012 at 4:40 am |
    • nope

      @twinkie...
      nope

      October 2, 2012 at 4:41 am |
    • nope

      @nope
      nope

      October 2, 2012 at 4:44 am |
    • Twinkly Bob, Kick-Ass Ninja Doom Leprechaun of the Apocalypse

      Actually, "nope" isn't really a word. It is the illiterate form of "no". Good choice if you are a blithering idiot, though.

      October 2, 2012 at 4:47 am |
    • nope

      @twink...
      nope

      October 2, 2012 at 4:49 am |
    • nope

      @nope
      yep

      October 2, 2012 at 10:34 am |
    • MaryJ

      "Proven" how?

      (sound of crickets chirping")

      October 2, 2012 at 11:07 am |
  9. Colin

    Why is it that hardly any millenials in the uSA are embracing religion? A few questions may help us understand..

    The completely absurd theory that all 7,000,000,000 human beings are simultaneously being supervised 24 hours a day, every day of their lives by an immortal, invisible being for the purposes of reward or punishment in the “afterlife” comes from the field of:

    (a) Children’s fairytales;

    (b) Medieval mythology;

    (c) New age pseudo science; or

    (d) Religions like Christianity.

    I honestly believe that, when I think silent thoughts like, “please god, help me pass my exam tomorrow,” some invisible being is reading my mind and will intervene and alter what would otherwise be the course of history in small ways to help me. I am

    (a) a delusional schizophrenic;

    (b) a naïve child, too young to know that that is silly

    (c) an ignorant farmer from Sudan who never had the benefit of even a fifth grade education; or

    (d) your average Christian

    Millions and millions of Catholics believe that bread and wine turns into the actual flesh and blood of a dead Jew from 2,000 years ago because:

    (a) there are obvious visible changes in the condiments after the Catholic priest does his hocus pocus;

    (b) tests have confirmed a divine presence in the bread and wine;

    (c) now and then their god shows up and confirms this story; or

    (d) their religious convictions tell them to blindly accept this completely fvcking absurd nonsense.

    I believe that an all powerful being, capable of creating the entire cosmos watches me have $ex to make sure I don't do anything "naughty". I am

    (a) A victim of child molestation

    (b) A r.ape victim trying to recover

    (c) A mental patient with paranoid delusions

    (d) A Christian

    You are about 70% likely to believe the entire Universe began less than 10,000 years ago with only one man, one woman and a talking snake if you are a:

    (a) historian;

    (b) geologist;

    (c) NASA astronomer; or

    (d) Christian

    I have convinced myself that gay $ex is a choice and not genetic, but then have no explanation as to why only gay people have ho.mo$exual urges. I am

    (a) A failed psychologist

    (b) A fraudulent geneticist

    (c) A sociologist who never went to college; or

    (d) A Christian with the remarkable ability to ignore inconvenient facts.

    The only discipline known to often cause people to kill others they have never met and/or to commit suicide in its furtherance is:

    (a) Architecture;

    (b) Philosophy;

    (c) Archeology; or

    (d) Religion

    What is it that most differentiates science and all other intellectual disciplines from religion:

    (a) Religion tells people not only what they should believe, but what they must believe under threat of divine retribution, whereas science, economics, medicine etc. has no “sacred cows” in terms of doctrine and go where the evidence leads them;

    (b) Religion can make a statement, such as “there is one god comprised of God the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit”, and be totally immune from experimentation and challenge, whereas science can only make factual assertions when supported by considerable evidence;

    (c) Science and the scientific method is universal and consistent all over the World whereas religion is regional and a person’s religious conviction, no matter how deeply held, is clearly nothing more than an accident of birth; or

    (d) All of the above.

    If I am found wandering the streets flagellating myself, wading into a filth river, mutilating my child’s genitals or kneeling down in a church believing that a being is somehow reading my inner thoughts and prayers, I am likely driven by:

    (a) a deep psychiatric issue;

    (b) an irrational fear or phobia;

    (c) a severe mental degeneration caused by years of drug abuse; or

    (d) my religious belief.

    If I am worried that my children, who I love very much, will not believe something I tell them, such as "smoking is bad for you," I should:

    (a) have our family doctor explain to them the various ill effects of smoking.

    (b) show them a film produced by the National Inst.itute for Health on the topic.

    (c) set a good example for them by not smoking; or

    (d) refuse to give them any evidence of the ill effects of smoking, insist they rely on faith and then take them out into the backyard and burn them to death if I ever catch them smoking.

    October 2, 2012 at 2:55 am |
    • nope

      @colon.
      nope

      October 2, 2012 at 4:30 am |
    • Epidi

      I'm Pagan and after everything they did to us in the burning times even I'm not so down on Christians. But you are not prejudice by any means – you seem to hate everyone lol.

      October 2, 2012 at 7:00 am |
    • Earl

      Well said, colin

      October 2, 2012 at 8:14 am |
  10. Twosocks42

    My oh my, an article full of vitriol for a subject clearly not understood and written by someone who obviously has quite an agenda to spread.

    I consider myself a free thinking Spiritual Christian. Yes, I believe in a God, and I choose that path through Christianity, but I will NOT step foot into a church with the intent of letting them preach to me what their interpretations of scripture. I read and understand in my own way. I live life as a decent person, and unlike many other ‘Christians’, I learn to have tolerance and love for people of all walks of life.

    The article just spews that lack of the closed eyes approach of an every changing world, and the inability to show acceptance of other people and other’s beliefs. Let people find their own ways, because frankly- I feel that is how god planned it in the first place. Why are there so many different religions? Perhaps the way to guide a people is to come to them in ways they best relate and understand.

    Choosing spirituality over ‘dogmatic religious views’ is far from a copout, nor is it a means for ‘the self-interested generation’ to justify their behaviors. It’s finding an approach and appreciation for life in a way that they relate to and understand.

    October 2, 2012 at 2:50 am |
    • Johna

      Why choose religion then? You seem to be a kind person person. Why believe in a book full of contradictions and bigotry? Why can you not be good and kind as you are now without needing to believe in a god?

      October 2, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
  11. Gabriel Malakh

    @ Jay

    How would you calculate the length of time that represented "the day" referred to in this verse? Because notice that the scripture is counting the collective creative days as one day!

    Genesis 2:4
    4 This is a history of the heavens and the earth in the time of their being created, in "the day" that Jehovah God made earth and heaven.

    The word “day” refers to other units of time of varying length. In both the Hebrew and the Greek Scriptures, the word “day” (Heb., yohm; Gr., he·me′ra) is used in a literal and in a figurative or even symbolic sense.

    Man’s situation does not compare with that of the Creator, who does not reside within our solar system and who is not affected by its various cycles and orbits. Of God, who is from time indefinite to time indefinite, the psalmist says: “For a thousand years are in your eyes but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch during the night.” (Ps 90:2, 4) Correspondingly, the apostle Peter writes that “one day is with Jehovah as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day.” (2Pe 3:8) For man, a 1,000-year period represents some 365,242 individual time units of day and night, but to the Creator it can be just one unbroken time period in which he begins the carrying out of some purposeful activity and brings it on to its successful conclusion, much as a man begins a task in the morning and concludes it by the day’s end.

    October 2, 2012 at 2:49 am |
    • sam stone

      More talking in circles from the religious folk trying to make their views not seem absurd

      October 2, 2012 at 7:28 am |
  12. ted

    It is 1000000 times easier to reject God than to believe in one. So the atheists are the ultimate cop-out.

    October 2, 2012 at 2:37 am |
    • sam stone

      how can someone reject a being in which they do not believe?

      October 2, 2012 at 5:18 am |
    • TrueBlue42

      If that's true, Ted, then which "god" do you believe in? Why not believe in all the others? Whichever "god" you follow is no more valid then the rest, so why believe in any of them? Seems you're more the cop-out than those of us who are smart enough to realize the obvious: There is no god.

      October 2, 2012 at 6:58 am |
  13. George

    This is truly a stupid article!! Who says that you have to belong to some sort of religious belief? Why is that? Who can tell someone that what they believe and how they feel is wrong!! I am very spiritual! Is that a SIN??? Man write a story on something relevant without the name calling! I am truly getting tired of these dumb articles that are written to divide. Typical America, wants everybody categorized and separated.

    October 2, 2012 at 2:37 am |
  14. ted

    It is 1000000 times easier to reject God then to believe in one. So the atheists are the ultimate cop-out.

    October 2, 2012 at 2:36 am |
    • sam stone

      don't believers reject every god but theirs?

      October 2, 2012 at 5:20 am |
  15. MattyMO

    In the words of Aesop Rock, "I got a basic good and evil sensibility born. A good neighbor knows a halo wouldn't fit over horns. I'm more science than faith, I'm more karma than bread and booze. I'm not an a**hole, I'm just a little confused."

    October 2, 2012 at 1:50 am |
  16. Cris

    ...being spiritual is being in touch with yourself, nature & your environment; having your own personal relationship with the Univers & everything in it & with God as you understand it to be... Being religios is worshiping God acording to a doctrine, a set of rules put in place by people who only proffit and get rich off your lack of understanding...

    October 2, 2012 at 1:38 am |
    • George

      I like that response Chris. I agree with it whole heartedly!!

      October 2, 2012 at 2:39 am |
  17. Anybody know how to read?

    So the churches are all corrupt. That's not news. Is your gubmint god corrupt? Corruption is normal. That's why you have a problem. You will kill each other until it looks like it's a done deal for the race. God stops the slaughter for his purposes. Enjoy the pain!

    October 2, 2012 at 1:20 am |
    • MattyMO

      Wwwwwwwwwwwwhat?

      October 2, 2012 at 1:52 am |
  18. PITTI

    SPIRITUALITY UNITES,RELIGION DIVIDES.
    LET ALL HUMANITY KNOW THAT WHERE RELIGION ENDS,SPIRITUALITY BEGINS,WHERE SPIRITUALITY ENDS REALITY BEGINS AND WHERE REALITY ENDS IS THE STATE OF BLISS ALL OF US HAVE TO ASPIRE FOR. AND IS POSSIBLT THROUGH MEDITATION.
    MEDITATION FOR HUMAN INTEGRATION.

    October 2, 2012 at 1:10 am |
    • Athy

      Turn off your caps lock and maybe someone will read your post. Typing in all caps is for small children or incompetent adults. Which are you?

      October 2, 2012 at 1:15 am |
    • End Religion

      a small, incompetent man-child.

      October 2, 2012 at 1:27 am |
  19. Gadflie

    My religious beliefs are: I try to be the best person I can. If there is a god and that's not good enough for him or her, then so be it.

    October 2, 2012 at 12:20 am |
    • JesusNotReligion

      Gad...We meet again...It's De ja Vu all over again...

      Here's hoping for this to be the night you are overtaken by the power of the Word of God and His Holy Spirit for His glory...

      Read carefully...The following is the "gospel", which is "the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes..." Romans 1:16...

      BIBLICAL SALVATION IS ABOUT JesusNotReligion

      BIBLICAL SALVATION IS NOT BY WORKS – IT'S THEGIFT OF GOD – UNEARNED & UNMERITED
      Ephesians 2:8-9...For BY GRACE are we saved THROUGH FAITH, and this not of yourself, it is THE GIFT OF GOD, NOT OF WORKS, so that no one can boast.

      BIBLICAL SALVATION/"ETERNAL LIFE" IS "IN" JESUS NOT RELIGION – NOT IN OUR WORKS or IN A DENOMINATION
      Romans 6:23...For the wages (payment) of sin is death (lit. Hell), but the FREE GIFT OF GODis eternal IN Jesus Christ the Lord.

      BIBLICAL SALVATION/RIGHTEOUSNESS IS NOT GAINED THROUGH THE LAW
      Galatians 2:21...I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!

      BIBLICAL SALVATION IS BY BELIEVING IN JESUS (NOT RELIGION)
      John 3:16-18, 36
      16) For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17) For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18) Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 36) Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.

      YOU CAN "KNOW" IF YOU HAVE BIBLICAL SALVATION/"ETERNAL LIFE" – IT'S "IN" JESUS, not ourselves (i.e. NOT IN RELIGION)
      1John 5:11-13
      11) And this is the testimony: God HAS GIVEN US ETERNAL LIFE, and this life is in his Son. 12) Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. 13) I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may KNOW that you have eternal life.

      These passages, whether or not you believe them, speak for themselves...and they also speak against "RELIGION" & THE "SPIRITUALITY" OF SELF RIGHTEOUSNESS, WORKS and any form of Spiritual ASCETICISM...If you could be a 'good enough person' (according to how you define "good" – by whatever "truth" you are using to define what "good" means for you today), then Jesus is not your savior because you still think you can (or have the potential to) save yourself! You still think you can swim from California to Hawaii by training hard enough (i.e. Work your way to heaven by traiming yourself to be a "good person" – doing your own "good works")...but the "wrath of God" is on you...it has not been transfered onto Jesus...and you will indeed "perish" as you read above...BELIEVE IT OR NOT...either way you are still excercising a type of "faith" that says "I don't BELIEVE in the Bible or in Jesus,!" KNOW THIS: You just heard the BIBLICAL gospel of JesusNotReligion...

      I hope and pray that someone tonight will believe and receive the Jesus of the Bible that I just wrote about. He is truly God's love, forgiveness and gift of salvation, who did for us what we could not do for ourselves. This "Jesus" is "Immanuel", God with us! AMEN!

      October 2, 2012 at 12:36 am |
    • Athy

      First of all, it's "déjà vu". Other than that, the rest of your post is bullshit.

      October 2, 2012 at 12:40 am |
    • Gadflie

      JNR, sorry, it's just not very convincing to me. Actually, not at all. It just doesn't pass the sniff test.

      October 2, 2012 at 12:45 am |
    • JesusNotReligion

      Thanks for the correction...But your other comment won't stop me from praying for you...Perhaps you were the one that Jesus wanted me to reach tonight...and if you are, there ain't nothing you can do to stop Him from changing your life like He did mine 26 years ago when I too was an unbeliever like you...YOU ALL JUST DON'T GET IT, DO YOU??? Salvation is about JesusNotReligion...It's about His grace and power to reach down and changes lives :-)

      October 2, 2012 at 12:48 am |
    • Gadflie

      JNR, Again, it's not that we don't get it. It's that we don't believe it. It's really that simple.

      October 2, 2012 at 12:50 am |
    • Athy

      I don't think we can make it simple enough for him.

      October 2, 2012 at 1:00 am |
    • JesusNotReligion

      You have no idea what you don't know. Trust me on that. You have no idea what Jesus meant when He said, "You must be born again" in order to see and believe. It happens like the wind blowing, my dear Gadlie (and Athy)...He said in John 3... vs. 8) "The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit born again)." 9) 'How can this be?' Nicodemus asked."

      When and if it happens to you, you will know exactly what Jesus was teaching...Btw: This "Nicodemus" fellow became a believer in spite of his arogant, ignorant unbelief...and that's how JesusNotReligion works...He does things in such a way that HE GETS THE GLORY...

      What was that? Was that the wind.....?

      October 2, 2012 at 1:03 am |
    • End Religion

      @jnr: Religion is a manmade club like any other, with rules and perks to make the club feel special from other clubs. The club gets together periodically and reinforces the delusions of members. Many branches of this club have dues.

      You've chosen the club that aligns best with your own fantasy of how minimize your fear. You and others in the club are afraid so you've made up a god that soothes your fear by making decisions for you, helping you feel less alone in the universe, and promising you you'll live forever. Club gods offer other various perks to induce membership such as seeing dead relatives, virginal sex partners, planets to rule or even one's own god status.

      Jesus never existed, was and is king of nothing. You don't have to be afraid. You do not need religion.

      Deal with the lack of afterlife by celebrating life and family in the here and now. Be responsible for your own decisions or "go with the flow" and let life determine the course if you really don't want to decide. Either way, you don't need a god or a club for any of that.

      October 2, 2012 at 1:06 am |
    • Athy

      Jesus didn't say anything. All this biblical BS was written years after he died (assuming he ever lived). And what they thought he said has been translated and modified for about 2000 years. How can you believe this bullshit? Because some kindly guy wearing a white robe in a fancy building told you so when you were a gullible child? Time to grow up and see the truth.

      October 2, 2012 at 1:11 am |
    • Gadflie

      Again, sorry kid, we don't believe it. It's just recycled claptrap. Frankly, it's hard to see how any thinking person can buy it anymore. So many religions, so many true believers. They ALL think that their way is the only correct way. YAWN! I'm sure that your belief give you some sort of comfort. But, well, delusions often do.

      October 2, 2012 at 1:13 am |
    • JesusNotReligion

      Read it and weep...NOW or LATER when it's too late...Neither of you got to the point where you were killing Christians, but the Apostle Paul did...and then he was born again and wrote most of the New Testament. I hear the sound of that wind again...here it comes...wait for it...wait for it....BAMMM!!

      1Corinthians 15 
      1 Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. 2 By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance[a]: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,5 and that he appeared to Cephas,[b] and then to the Twelve. 6 After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8 and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.9 For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect.

      October 2, 2012 at 1:20 am |
    • JesusNotReligion

      Good night all..."You must be born again"...that is why you don't believe...no other reason...wooooooosh! << WIND

      October 2, 2012 at 1:30 am |
    • Athy

      How can you be born again? Isn't once enough?

      October 2, 2012 at 1:34 am |
    • End Religion

      I think that wind you hear is a Hobbit fart...

      "In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty wet hole, filled with the ends of earth worms and an ozzy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole, with nothing to sit down on or to eat; it was a hobbit hole, and that means comfort."

      From the book of Bilbo, 1:1

      October 2, 2012 at 1:35 am |
    • thoughts

      born again – does that mean like – when you were a child – it was easier to believe in things because you didn't know the truth about the lies – only about the experiences within that continually led rise (hopefully) to growth – but at 5 and 10 you were still able to believe and feel and see a life beyond reality – and be at complete awe and acceptance of it.
      so ... to be born again – does that mean that your brain or mind is somehow re-opened to this ability as a child to live in wonder and believe those things which are not seen nor understood?
      scientifically – this could make sense

      October 2, 2012 at 3:56 am |
    • sam stone

      jnr: your empty proxy threats are laughable. get back on your knees and open your mouth, jeebus is coming again

      October 2, 2012 at 5:25 am |
    • JesusNotReligion

      Athy...Look at this quote from John 3:4 and then look at your post above:

      4 “How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!”

      You may hot be far off from coming to kmow the Jesus of the Bible....

      As far as you others who posted in reply...The Word of God will not come back void...it will accomplish what it sets out to do...

      I do hope you will receive the forgiveness that Jesus offers BEFORE He returns...Know this, I was not much like you so if anyone knows that there is hope for you all, it's me. Your words do not offend me...trust me on that...

      October 2, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
    • JesusNotReligion

      CORRECTION ON ABOVE POST:
      I was much like you...OR...I could have said, I was not that different from you.
      The point is, YOU MUST BE BORN AGAIN...and that has nothing to do with "religion"...

      October 2, 2012 at 7:53 pm |
  20. Reality

    Putting the kibosh/”google”/"bing"/ "yahoo" on religion and spirituality:

    • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are non-existent.

    • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Moses i.e the pillars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.

    • There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.

    • There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion.

    • There was no Moroni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.

    • Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.

    • Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on Buddhism.

    Added details available upon written request.

    A quick search will put the kibosh on any other groups calling themselves a religion.

    e.g. Taoism

    "The origins of Taoism are unclear. Traditionally, Lao-tzu who lived in the sixth century is regarded as its founder. Its early philosophic foundations and its later beliefs and rituals are two completely different ways of life. Today (1982) Taoism claims 31,286,000 followers.

    Legend says that Lao-tzu was immaculately conceived by a shooting star; carried in his mother's womb for eighty-two years; and born a full grown wise old man. "

    (simply more immaculately concieved mumbo jumbo akin to the Caears and messiahs of all kinds)
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++=

    October 2, 2012 at 12:17 am |
    • samstubbs

      Well most scholars believe that the original Lao-Tzu was just name given to a compilation of proverbs and sayings, in an attempt to unify them. Still, even if it were, there is some cool insights there. Once again, I believe there is a grain of truth in most of these mythologies...

      I still feel that ancient scriptures are valuable to us even if every word isn't literally true. Why do people believe that it's all or nothing? Even if it wasn't Moses, or Lao-Tzu, or Buddha who wrote the words exactly.. it still was SOMEBODY... just because they may not have a scientific knowledge equal to our own, they still obviously felt something that they thought was significant. To dismiss such things lightly, is to do oneself a grave disservice IMO.

      October 2, 2012 at 1:46 am |
    • xushenmao

      Well most scholars believe that the original Lao-Tzu was just name given to a compilation of proverbs and sayings, in an attempt to unify them. Still, even if it were, there is some cool insights there. Once again, I believe there is a grain of truth in most of these mythologies...

      I still feel that ancient scriptures are valuable to us even if every word isn't literally true. Why do people believe that it's all or nothing? Even if it wasn't Moses, or Lao-Tzu, or Buddha who wrote the words exactly.. it still was SOMEBODY... just because they may not have a scientific knowledge equal to our own, they still obviously felt something that they thought was significant. To dismiss such things lightly, is to do oneself a grave disservice IMO.

      October 2, 2012 at 1:47 am |
    • xushenmao

      sorry it wasn't working... so I tried my other name. This site seems a little buggy on my computer. It's probably just me though ;)

      October 2, 2012 at 1:48 am |
    • Reality

      Proceeding now to the 21st century:

      o Think infinity and recycling with the Big Bang expansion followed by the shrinking reversal called the Gib Gnab and recycling back to the Big Bang repeating the process on and on forever. Human life and Earth are simply a minute part of this cha-otic, sto-cha-stic, expanding, shrinking process disappearing in five billion years with the burn out of the Sun and maybe returning in another five billion years with different life forms but still subject to the va-ga-ries of its local star. (note: some words hyphenated to defeat the moderators' "secret" word filter.

      What we do know: (from the fields of astrophysics, nuclear physics, geology and the history of religion)

      1. The Sun will burn out in 3-5 billion years so we have a time frame.

      2. Asteroids continue to circle us in the nearby asteroid belt.

      3. One wayward rock/comet and it is all over in a blast of permanent winter.

      4. There are enough nuclear weapons to do the same job.

      5. Most contemporary NT exegetes do not believe in the Second Coming so apparently there is no concern about JC coming back on an asteroid or cloud of raptors/rapture.

      6. All stars will eventually extinguish as there is a limit to the amount of hydrogen in the universe. When this happens (100 trillion years?), the universe will go dark. If it does not collapse and recycle, the universe will end.

      7. Super, dormant volcanoes off the coast of Africa and under Yellowstone Park could explode catalytically at any time ending life on Earth.

      Bottom line: our apocalypse will start between now and 3-5 billion CE. The universe apocalypse, 100 trillion years?

      October 2, 2012 at 8:33 am |
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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 with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.