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My Take: Stop using churches as polling places
The author says that churches that act as polling places can sway voters.
November 6th, 2012
09:19 AM ET

My Take: Stop using churches as polling places

Editor’s note: The Rev. Barry W. Lynn is executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

By Barry W. Lynn, Special to CNN

I live in Maryland, where we have a lot of controversial questions on Tuesday's ballot, including referenda on marriage equality, the rights of immigrants and the expansion of gambling.

Many churches and other houses of worship have taken stands on these issues and lots of others, which is their prerogative. Although federal law prohibits churches from endorsing or opposing candidates, they have the right to speak out on ballot referenda and on other issues, from abortion to zoning.

All of this church-based political activity makes me uneasy about casting ballots in houses of worship, especially those festooned with political signs. And yet today, hundreds, perhaps thousands, of churches around the country are being pressed into service as polling places.

At Americans United for Separation of Church and State, we get a steady stream of calls about this phenomenon every election season. Some complain of being forced to cast their ballot in a house of worship when there’s a nearby public school, library or community center that could just as easily act as a polling place.

Casting a ballot in a church? Tweet us about it

We shouldn’t dismiss these concerns as whining from an overly sensitive band of people who are religion-phobic. These concerns are legitimate. And some intriguing studies even suggest that voting in a church might influence voters.

The American Humanist Association, which filed an unsuccessful lawsuit against voting in churches in Florida, cited a recent Baylor University study published in the International Journal for the Psychology of Religion that found that people in the Netherlands and England reported more conservative views to a pollster when in the vicinity of a church.

“[The] important finding here,” said the study’s co-author, Wade Rowatt, “is that people near a religious building reported slightly but significantly more conservative social and political attitudes than similar people near a government building.”

My Take: On Election Day, I’m proclaiming loyalty to Jesus

An earlier study by Stanford University reported a similar effect. “Voting in a church could activate norms of following church doctrine,” said Jonah Berger, a Stanford researcher. “Such effects may even occur outside an individual’s awareness.”

In Maryland, this might mean that an on-the-fence voter facing the marriage equality question might be pushed to vote no by something as simple as a sign or pamphlet in the church/polling place. Such material might even affect a soft voter’s candidate choices.

How is this possible? Psychologists call it “priming,” the idea that even subtle visual or verbal cues can affect human behavior.

More studies need to be done to validate and explain this phenomenon. In the meantime it would make sense to avoid using churches as polling places. Neutral sites should always be preferred.

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

There are other reasons to skip casting ballots in the basilica.

I’ve talked with people who describe their unease voting on an abortion-related referendum in a Catholic church, where they may be surrounded by posters depicting abortion as a grisly holocaust. Others say they don’t want to back an abortion-rights candidate in a church that is known for anti-abortion activism.

No public library, public school or town hall would display such material next to the voting machines. No government building would have a towering cross in the voting area.

My Take: Charting Bible’s ‘GOP’ words

Many of those who have contacted us about this have reported that churches will not remove this material and that pastors argue that they have a right to keep it up.

As churches become more aggressive in the political arena, the argument that they can be neutral sites for voting, a concept that has been embraced by some courts, comes up short.

I’ve even talked with atheists, Jews, Muslims and other non-Christians who don’t want to exercise a basic constitutional right in a church. These people have nothing against Christianity; they simply don’t believe that a fundamental democratic right should hinge on their willingness to enter a church. (And yes, most of the houses of worship used as polling places are Christian churches.)

People who support using churches as polling places often point to the need to maximize the number of polling locations to increase turnout. That’s a laudable goal, but there are many ways to do this that don’t rely on using churches, like early voting and voting by mail.

Imagining the first Mormon White House

For those who prefer to show up in person on Election Day, there are plenty of schools, libraries, town halls and civic centers to meet the need for polling centers. In small towns and rural areas, well-known commercial sites would make better polling places than churches.

If there is absolutely no other option than voting in churches, I recommend that election officials make it clear to officials at the church that they must play by the same rules as every other site.

That means no politicking inside a certain zone. And the area where the voting occurs should be cleansed of all religious symbols and political material. The voting area should be as neutral as possible.

Voting is every Americans right, some would say duty. Let’s do all we can to avoid making people feel unwelcome at the ballot box.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Barry W. Lynn.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: 2012 Election • Church • Church and state • Politics

soundoff (1,507 Responses)
  1. Eliminate hinduism, religions corruption of truth absolute by hindu's lairs, for peace, Islam among humanity.

    Every follower of truth absolute GOD, foundation of America, feels uncomfortable entering a place negating truth absolute GOD and American consti tution, such as a Church, dungeon of hinduism, illegality, decorated with sign of hinduism, racism, cross, not belonging to America, but of hindu Lucifer, filthy self centered, secular.

    Word hindu is driven from latin word hindered, negative, Hun, great, Han, to be in greatness, hin, to be negative to both of them, hindu, a noun in negativity, hinduism, way of negativity. to learn source of hinduism, racism, way of hindu's, criminals, please visit limitisthetruth.com.

    November 6, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
    • Hindu Mithra Ism etc.

      Word Puke is based on Latin absurd word Puki, Pe or Pa, Te, or Ta, meaning from stomach ism 180 and throat base word for Sick in English, Upchuck, blowing chunks or spewing ism, meaning, worshiping at the porcelain throne or a sweaty, infection of puke absolute ism, such as flu, or Food poisoning, in disregard diarrhea or Montezuma’s revenge ism , One who takes a s.h.i.t to be in violation of his body without his consent, considering himself to be dying, the truth you drank too much tequila ism 180, same as in barfing, denier it doesn’t work, word projectile abused vomiting is based on Latin word vomi, icky, smelly, horrible, icky, to be in a pool of sick and HeavenSent, to be dumber than the fluids leaking from your absurd ravished body ism to both of them, watery eyes, a noun in missing work, puke in your nose, way of making absurd filthy you even sicker, as in word “ralph”, a self-violating or a ja.panese p.o.r.n.o, otherwise known as a freak, a sadist. Puking is not an accident but a way to clear the crud ism 180 from your mutilated digestive system, defiance to the Lysol and filthy towels you will use ism absurd 180 filthy ism.

      November 6, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
    • KDK

      I know where "Criminal Minds" gets their plot lines from.

      November 6, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
    • Eliminate hinduism, religions corruption of truth absolute by hindu's lairs, for peace, Islam among humanity.

      Defend your hinduism, criminals, if you have any truth in you, may be just hinduism, absurdities, a hindu, ignorant lives by all his life like an animal.

      November 6, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
    • Pete

      This is an example of someone's brain on religion. It is much worse than a brain on drugs.

      November 6, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
    • Pete

      Also, I find it awesome that absolutely no one who reads these posts can take them seriously.

      November 6, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
    • Jon

      It is only because this crazy guy is a Paki, if he was pushing extremist Christian values there would be 8 or 10 people supporting him on here.

      November 6, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
  2. Budd

    If you would be intimidated by voting in a church you have other issues. Completely irrelevant to the election. Would voting in a school cause a high school drop out to fell intimidated and change their vote? I am in favor of separation of church and state but this is a ridiculous argument.

    November 6, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      @Budd

      You are incorrect. Churches are unpleasant places for many people. Voting should be on neutral grounds. For me, going into a church is like going to the dentist only 1000 times worse.

      November 6, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
    • madcow11

      You clearly missed the writer's point, Budd.

      November 6, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
    • Scott

      If they used a mosque as a polling place the right-wing would be going ape-sh!t about it. Churches are not neutral polling places. Unless they take down all of their stuff, which would be fine.

      November 6, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
  3. AbusedChuechBoy

    For some people, churches represent a place of terror. Fear of child molesting priests.......

    November 6, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      Correct. For me the dread is manifest as physical illness. Sweating, shaking. It's bad. I find churches repulsive for many reasons, but as a house of horrors for children, well nuff said.

      November 6, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
    • smartaz

      How many kids get molested in schools in comparison. I'm against polling in churches for other reasons, but that isn't a reasonable argument.

      November 6, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
    • Ann

      @ apple

      If you really have a phobia, you should consider going for some therapy. Don't take that as an insult – just a suggestion. Most people do not find it disturbing to go in or near a church, to the point that you do. If it bothers you so much, get some help.

      (They still shouldn't be used for polling places, though.)

      November 6, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
    • Jon

      Christian churches represent modern American hatred. The reason we don't want to go to them is the same reason we don't really want to go to a prison or a slaughterhouse. It is vile and very distracting when we should be concentrating. Churches should no longer be considered municipalities. That would fix not only the tax issues, but stuff like this.

      November 6, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
    • W247

      ..and for alot of people Churches are a source of comfort, support and community.

      November 6, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
  4. Al

    Someone should not be forced to vote inside a house of ra pe, in mean worship.

    November 6, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
  5. Reasonably

    Why not vote in churches? So long as they don't get paid to host as a polling place. After all – they're tax exempt so we may as well get our money's worth once a year.

    November 6, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
    • Darth Cheney

      I guess you didn't read the article. Research has proven a bias when people are in proximity of a church.

      November 6, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      @Darth Cheney

      I find the bias thing hard to understand but if it exists, that is just one more reason. Not the most important reason though, in my opinion. People should not be forced to go into churches. Many of us find churches disgusting.

      November 6, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
    • smartaz

      Some people seriously need to actually read these 'studies'. They are not 'proving' anything. They are filled with the words 'might', 'could' and 'possibly'. There is nothing 'proven' in them. I swear, some people here the word 'study' or 'scientific' and automatically believe it is 100% accurate.

      November 6, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Scientific studies have shown that cancer is one of the leading causes of laboratory experiments involving the torture of mice.

      November 6, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
    • W247

      Apple – of all the people commenting here, you have some deep seeded issues with churches. I really do feel for you and hope that you can one day you can truly be free from all of your phobias.

      November 6, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
  6. Eliminate hinduism, religions corruption of truth absolute by hindu's lairs, for peace, Islam among humanity.

    Every follower of truth absolute GOD, foundation of America, feels uncomfortable entering a place negating truth absolute GOD and American consti tution, such as a Church, dungeon of hinduism, illegality, decorated with sign of hinduism, racism, cross, not belonging to America, but of hindu Lucifer, filthy self centered, secular.

    November 6, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
    • Matty Alou

      What th'?

      November 6, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
    • Hindu Mithra Ism etc.

      Closing window to awful sounds of crying babies Barking dogs ism, ambulance noise pollution ism, Nobody cares neighbor ism, open windows, crying babies emergency noise ism Damn fire trucks sirens louder ism in to neighbor one else on front of his main street, at last holidays fire trucks looked at HOME OFFICE and wailed and same was answered by HOME OFFICE, Damn fire trucks spewing water on ash, Damn fire trucks turned in to HOME OFFICE, and HOME OFFICE turned in to Damn fire trucks, ONE ON corner WAS NOT DAMN FIRE TRUCKS BUT HOME OFFICE, EVERY crying babies, puppy follower of crying babies Barking dogs ism, ambulance noise pollution ism making noises to as his Barking dogs, ambulance noise pollution man dog. Visit TurnOffTheNoise.com to learn crying babiesism, denial of noixe absolute chaos, by crying babies noise ism.

      November 6, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
  7. I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

    For my Christian compatriots here ...

    Would you feel comfortable casting your vote in a Mosque?

    November 6, 2012 at 12:18 pm |
    • DustyOnes

      Heck yea....Voting for Romney in a Mosque would be great.

      November 6, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
    • Chad

      I'd vote for Romney in a Mosque, but only if the imam gave me an HJ while I cast my ballot.

      November 6, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
    • Jon

      Exactly, suddenly all these self righteous Christians are silent.

      November 6, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
    • elephantix

      Yes, I'd be comfortable casting my vote almost anywhere. Just because I don't agree with what they teach at mosque doesn't mean I have to be 100% against them to the point that I can't stand being in the same room as them. You don't have to be entirely polarized about things you believe in.

      November 6, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
    • W247

      I would vote in a mosque! I would vote in a temple! I would vote in a smoke shop and then thank them for thier service to the community! I would have no complaints about voting in a place that is trying to give back to the community.

      "I am a Christian and I endorse this message"

      November 6, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
  8. Salsa Rider

    As an atheist libertarian who is for 100% separation of church and state, I didn't mind voting in a church. In addition to religion, churches are there for the community as a whole. Allowing voting is just another way to give back to the community. Plus, they typically have enough parking, large enough rooms for the voting stations, restrooms and a food prep area for the volunteers working the polls. Churches are also usually empty most of the day on Tuesday so there is minimal disruption to their normal activities.

    November 6, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
    • Mormonism is a cult- FACT

      "Churches are also usually empty "

      .
      Thats a good thing

      November 6, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
    • Hindu Mithra Ism etc.

      Churches are not there for me. I hate the vibe, I hate the smell, I hate the air of ignorance the fills the rooms. It is a horrible place and I find it repulsive. I should not have to vote their. Why not just make vote in a prison or mental hospital?

      November 6, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
    • W247

      Could it be that you are repulsed by it because you are bringing such an intense dark vibe into it with you?

      November 6, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
  9. dave

    Is it only the white churches that disgust you? To say they are conservative places would lead one to believe that the black church members are not voting for Obama. I think history proves whom they vote for.

    November 6, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
  10. ginger315

    Absolutely no polling at schools, school would have to be canceled. Schools can barely provide security now, and with 1000's of additonal people coming to vote, children would not be safe at all. Our community tried a community center, but it was way too small. We vote in a church that seats 5000 and has lots of open space. I think it's wonderful that the church is open to people tracking leaves, snow, salt, etc., in..people spitting on the sidewalk, throwing their cigarette butts on the sidewalk before they enter, trashing their restrooms, etc.

    November 6, 2012 at 12:15 pm |
    • ME II

      Just voted in a school today for the first time. Previous polling places included county offices (which made the most sense to me) and churches.
      Classes were not canceled and security was not an issue as far as I know.

      November 6, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
  11. chris

    I guess I have no problem with voting in churches since we have voting in some many other much more contravercial places (e.g. people's homes in California).

    I *DO* think that churches should lose their tax exempt status whether or not they they attempt to exert pressure to vote one way or another. They don't need tax exempt status and they've done nothing to deserve it. And recently, they've done plenty to abuse the privilege.

    But given their lost of that privilege, they become just like every other place – and that would be OK for voting.

    November 6, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
  12. Alex

    I can understand feeling uncomfortable about voting at a church. I am not a Christian and yet I have voted at a christian church for the last 14 years. Today due to redistricting I had a new polling place at an apartment complex in what my city has designated as a gang neighborhood. There was little parking none cose to the poling place. If this continues to be my polling place I will consider voting by mail next time even though I look forward to going to vote.
    One of the advantages of churches is they have plenty of parking and are not open for business on Tuesdays unlike schools. That is disadvantage of using schools is that class is in session and adding unknown adults to a school campus. I know at my daughter's school all visitors have to sign in before entering campus can you imagine requiring voters to sign in at the school before they are allowed to enter a polling place? Polls are open earlier than libraries so would a city be required to pay overtime to an employee to open the building for poll workers? While churches are not perfect as polling places they do offer a logistical solution not available other places.

    November 6, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
    • Reasonably

      What about churches in gang neighborhoods?

      November 6, 2012 at 12:18 pm |
  13. Jon Durham

    I am sure that using a Mosque as a polling place is fine.

    November 6, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
  14. JamesS

    Interesting article. Is the author saying that he and others are conscience-stricken when near a church? I don't know any reason why a good practicing humanist/atheist would feel a conservative "pull" in the presence of all the fake symbols of God and religion, except that perhaps in their heart of hearts they feel guilty about their outwardly-expressed opinions.

    Would they also feel averse to voting for education-related issues in a school? Against a tax increase for fire departments in a fire station?

    Look, if the author feels guilty inside a church, I think that says more about him than about the building. Maybe he should take a good look at himself and try to figure out why he's got this problem.

    November 6, 2012 at 12:10 pm |
    • MagicPanties

      The point is "separation" of church and state.
      We don't have any need to "separate" fire stations and state, or schools and state.
      You miss the point.

      November 6, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
    • Reasonably

      Swing and a point well missed. Try again, but this time take off your self-righteous blinders.

      November 6, 2012 at 12:14 pm |
  15. Dallas

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with having to cast your ballot in a church. People just need to get over themselves (and that includes YOU – Reality)!

    November 6, 2012 at 12:04 pm |
    • O'Really

      Let's say, they put up a voting booth in a mosque. Would you have a problem voting there?

      (Personally, I wouldn't. But I can bet a lot of Americans would.)

      November 6, 2012 at 12:12 pm |
    • Reasonably

      Would you allow a polling place to be setup at a Wiccan church? A mosque? A Planned Parenthood location?

      November 6, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
    • W247

      I would love to vote in a Planned Parenthood location! That way i can come on the CNN Belief boards and loudly proclaim how my life has been invaded by the propaganda that they are so proudly displaying, how my opinions have been swayed by the very AIR of the place that I HAD to breath in!!!!! I believe if we had to vote in a plannd parenthood, they should completely EMPTY OUT THE BUILDING until the voting is done. It is repulsive to me. So There.

      November 6, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
  16. Rick

    And I say..

    You are a complete mental case .... ANY voting location ~might~ sway some small minotiry of voters. UNBELIEVABLE what trash CNN will allow online. Journalism? I say it is right on the edge of being some rambling of a brain dead human.

    November 6, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
    • Dallas

      True!

      November 6, 2012 at 12:05 pm |
    • Jim

      Like Lynn and "reality"....

      November 6, 2012 at 12:06 pm |
    • TheVocalAtheist

      @Dallas Rick

      Hey, sounds like you two hit it off! Maybe they should set-up a polling booth in the Sandusky Bath House just for the likes of you!

      November 6, 2012 at 12:08 pm |
    • NotRick

      Yes, just absolutely unbelievable that CNN would allow someone to express an opinion that "Rick" doesn't support.

      November 6, 2012 at 12:10 pm |
  17. David Ellis

    Voting in a chuch is ok. It is a large place, good for gatherings etc so it works out logistically. What is not ok is any overt political message or pictures on the day of elections. It should be an apolitical meeting ground, not a place for intimidation of one party.

    November 6, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
    • Jim

      Would that include this mural in the voting place as well? It is overtly political.

      http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/11/06/judge-issuing-order-to-reinstate-booted-philadelphia-election-officials/

      November 6, 2012 at 12:05 pm |
    • upside down

      Check out the picture in Philly at a school on foxnews dot com home page.

      November 6, 2012 at 12:06 pm |
    • David Ellis

      @Jim
      Wildly inappropriate at a polling site.

      November 6, 2012 at 12:09 pm |
    • Andy

      Most rational people are allergic to the filth coming out of the Fake News channel – have those stories from another source maybe?

      November 6, 2012 at 12:10 pm |
    • David Ellis

      @Andy
      It's just a photograph. Regardless of who you vote for you should still be able to go to a website and look at a photograph without your head exploding.

      November 6, 2012 at 12:12 pm |
    • BRC

      @Jim,
      Yes, that material is just as innapropriate. But that doesn't make political materials displayed in churches being used for polling any less wrong.

      November 6, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
    • JFCanton

      Why isn't it a rule that the voting personnel can/should cover up what's on the walls?

      November 6, 2012 at 1:15 pm |
  18. Jim

    Hey Barry and all the idiots that think they are so rational in siding with Barry Lynn on this one.

    We have a public space with a mural of the present POTUS up when people are voting!!!!!!

    We need to stamp this out because people will feel intimidated and influenced by the mural of Obama standing over them when they vote!!!!

    Separation of State and Personality Cult!!!!

    Picture included below!!!!

    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/11/06/judge-issuing-order-to-reinstate-booted-philadelphia-election-officials/

    November 6, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
    • Andy

      Uh – the link shows Fox News – well you might want to start with a reputable news source before opening you big trap.

      November 6, 2012 at 12:09 pm |
    • Jo Richard

      Exactly what I was thinking as I read this "article"! Giant mural of Obama with "Hope" and "change" speech prominently displayed, Black Panther in official capacity as Dem "observer" outside this school polling place, GOP election officials needed a judge's order to allow them to be reinstated after being denied access to polling site to monitor voting with Dem officials. Wow! Now that's way more intimidating than voting in a place of worship!

      November 6, 2012 at 12:15 pm |
    • Reasonably

      Lol...Hey Fox News Junkie Jim...the National Enquirer called – they want their tinfoil hat back.

      November 6, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
    • JFCanton

      Sure, Fox is dreck, but unless the photo is photoshopped the facts are more relevant to this argument than the source.

      November 6, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
    • KDK

      I would liik directly at that mural, smile and vote for Romney.

      November 6, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
  19. Reality

    My Take:

    The "vomit-inducing" ped-ophilia and coverup will simply hasten the decline of all religions as they finally go extinct from their own absurdity.. It is time to replace all religions with a few rules like "Do No Harm" and voluntarily convert all houses of "worthless worship" to recreation facilities, polling places and/or parks/parking lots.

    November 6, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
    • Jim

      The only reality you represent is the reality is that there are idiots that try to besmerch all over the few.

      With your "logic" we need to close down all public schools due to the every day discovery of pedophiles that are molesting our kids and the unions that maintain the "teacher" benefits and jobs!!!

      November 6, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
    • Eliminate hinduism, religions corruption of truth absolute by hindu's lairs, for peace, Islam among humanity.

      What you condemn is holy tradition of your hindu hinduism, filthy secularism, having nothing to do with truth absolute, GOD, hindu, lair son of Lucifer, atheist.

      November 6, 2012 at 12:05 pm |
    • Looking at the biggest heathen on this site

      Reality, you can stay the heathen, it's perverted lifestyle seems to fit you.

      November 6, 2012 at 12:15 pm |
    • smartaz

      They should shut down schools too. Same thing goes on in those.

      November 6, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
    • psst's understudy

      "It's" = "it is"
      "Its" = belonging to 'it'.

      November 6, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
    • Reality

      Only for the those interested in a religious update:

      1. origin: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20E1EFE35540C7A8CDDAA0894DA404482

      “New Torah For Modern Minds

      Abraham, the Jewish patriarch, probably never existed. Nor did Moses. The entire Exodus story as recounted in the Bible probably never occurred. The same is true of the tumbling of the walls of Jericho. And David, far from being the fearless king who built Jerusalem into a mighty capital, was more likely a provincial leader whose reputation was later magnified to provide a rallying point for a fledgling nation.

      Such startling propositions – the product of findings by archaeologists digging in Israel and its environs over the last 25 years – have gained wide acceptance among non-Orthodox rabbis. But there has been no attempt to disseminate these ideas or to discuss them with the laity – until now.

      The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, which represents the 1.5 million Conservative Jews in the United States, has just issued a new Torah and commentary, the first for Conservatives in more than 60 years. Called "Etz Hayim" ("Tree of Life" in Hebrew), it offers an interpretation that incorporates the latest findings from archaeology, philology, anthropology and the study of ancient cultures. To the editors who worked on the book, it represents one of the boldest efforts ever to introduce into the religious mainstream a view of the Bible as a human rather than divine docu-ment. “
      prob•a•bly
      Adverb: Almost certainly; as far as one knows or can tell.

      2. Jesus was an illiterate Jewish peasant/carpenter/simple preacher man who suffered from hallucinations (or “mythicizing” from P, M, M, L and J) and who has been characterized anywhere from the Messiah from Nazareth to a mythical character from mythical Nazareth to a ma-mzer from Nazareth (Professor Bruce Chilton, in his book Rabbi Jesus). An-alyses of Jesus’ life by many contemporary NT scholars (e.g. Professors Ludemann, Crossan, Borg and Fredriksen, ) via the NT and related doc-uments have concluded that only about 30% of Jesus' sayings and ways noted in the NT were authentic. The rest being embellishments (e.g. miracles)/hallucinations made/had by the NT authors to impress various Christian, Jewish and Pagan sects.

      The 30% of the NT that is "authentic Jesus" like everything in life was borrowed/plagiarized and/or improved from those who came before. In Jesus' case, it was the ways and sayings of the Babylonians, Greeks, Persians, Egyptians, Hitt-ites, Canaanites, OT, John the Baptizer and possibly the ways and sayings of traveling Greek Cynics.

      earlychristianwritings.com/

      For added "pizzazz", Catholic theologians divided god the singularity into three persons and invented atonement as an added guilt trip for the "pew people" to go along with this trinity of overseers. By doing so, they made god the padre into god the "filicider".

      Current RCC problems:

      Pedophiliac priests, an all-male, mostly white hierarchy, atonement theology and original sin!!!!

      2 b., Luther, Calvin, Joe Smith, Henry VIII, Wesley, Roger Williams, the Great “Babs” et al, founders of Christian-based religions or combination religions also suffered from the belief in/hallucinations of "pretty wingie thingie" visits and "prophecies" for profits analogous to the myths of Catholicism (resurrections, apparitions, ascensions and immacu-late co-nceptions).

      Current problems:
      Adulterous preachers, pedophiliac clerics, "propheteering/ profiteering" evangelicals and atonement theology,

      3. Mohammed was an illiterate, womanizing, lust and greed-driven, warmongering, hallucinating Arab, who also had embellishing/hallucinating/plagiarizing scribal biographers who not only added "angels" and flying chariots to the koran but also a militaristic agenda to support the plundering and looting of the lands of non-believers.

      This agenda continues as shown by the ma-ssacre in Mumbai, the as-sas-sinations of Bhutto and Theo Van Gogh, the conduct of the seven Muslim doctors in the UK, the 9/11 terrorists, the 24/7 Sunni suicide/roadside/market/mosque bombers, the 24/7 Shiite suicide/roadside/market/mosque bombers, the Islamic bombers of the trains in the UK and Spain, the Bali crazies, the Kenya crazies, the Pakistani “koranics”, the Palestine suicide bombers/rocketeers, the Lebanese nutcases, the Taliban nut jobs, the Ft. Hood follower of the koran, and the Filipino “koranics”.

      And who funds this muck and stench of terror? The warmongering, Islamic, Shiite terror and torture theocracy of Iran aka the Third Axis of Evil and also the Sunni "Wannabees" of Saudi Arabia.

      Current crises:

      The Sunni-Shiite blood feud and the warmongering, womanizing (11 wives), hallucinating founder.

      4. Hinduism (from an online Hindu site) – "Hinduism cannot be described as an organized religion. It is not founded by any individual. Hinduism is God centered and therefore one can call Hinduism as founded by God, because the answer to the question ‘Who is behind the eternal principles and who makes them work?’ will have to be ‘Cosmic power, Divine power, God’."

      The caste/laborer system, reincarnation and cow worship/reverence are problems when saying a fair and rational God founded Hinduism."

      Current problems:

      The caste system, reincarnation and cow worship/reverence.

      5. Buddhism- "Buddhism began in India about 500 years before the birth of Christ. The people living at that time had become disillusioned with certain beliefs of Hinduism including the caste system, which had grown extremely complex. The number of outcasts (those who did not belong to any particular caste) was continuing to grow."

      "However, in Buddhism, like so many other religions, fanciful stories arose concerning events in the life of the founder, Siddhartha Gautama (fifth century B.C.):"

      Archaeological discoveries have proved, beyond a doubt, his historical character, but apart from the legends we know very little about the circu-mstances of his life. e.g. Buddha by one legend was supposedly talking when he came out of his mother's womb.

      Bottom line: There are many good ways of living but be aware of the hallucinations, embellishments, lies, and myths surrounding the founders and foundations of said rules of life.

      Then, apply the Five F rule: "First Find the Flaws, then Fix the Foundations". And finally there will be religious peace and religious awareness in the world!!!!!

      November 6, 2012 at 6:13 pm |
  20. Eliminate hinduism, religions corruption of truth absolute by hindu's lairs, for peace, Islam among humanity.

    Celebrating hinduism, illegality, way of hindu's, criminal's, one has to be a hindu ignorant or borne in hind, filth of hinduism, ignorance, way of hindu's blinded, not living but mentally dead.
    Word hindu is driven from latin word hindered, negative, Hun, great, Han, to be in greatness, hin, to be negative to both of them, hindu, a noun in negativity, hinduism, way of negativity. to learn source of hinduism, racism, way of hindu's, criminals, please visit limitisthetruth.com.
    DEFEND YOUR hINDUISM, ILLEGALITY, hINDU'S, DENIERS OF TRUTH ABSOLUTE GOD, hINDU CRIMINALS SON'S OF HINDU LUCIFER, CRIMINAL SELF CENTERED, INVENTORS OF HINDU, FILTHY JUDAISM, ATHEISM AND SECULAR ISM, HINDU'S, LOW LIFE CLAIMING TO BE CHILDREN OF MONKEY'S BY THEIR hINDUISM, ABSURDITY OF EVOLUTION.
    DEFEND YOUR hINDUISM, CRIMINALITY hINDU HOTO'S IN PUBLIC, IF YOU HAVE ANY TRUTH IN YOU.

    November 6, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
    • Akira

      WHAT religion do you actually embrace, Filthy? I have never seen you say anything FOR a particular religion, only AGAINST a great many. That, and your command of grammar and syntax sucks.
      I only want to know, because if I ever decide to join a church, I want to avoid yours at all costs. Your posts makes my eyes bleed.

      November 6, 2012 at 12:11 pm |
    • Eliminate hinduism, religions corruption of truth absolute by hindu's lairs, for peace, Islam among humanity.

      Religion's are hinduism, corruption of truth absolute is hinduism, illegality of hindu's, criminals to hind, fool humanity, a hind, crime against humanity and truth absolute GOD, I follow truth absolute GOD and ""HIS" consti tution of turh absolute, constant, foundation of existence. hind, hell with your hinduism, criminality called religions.

      November 6, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
    • Mohammad A Dar

      I am proving myself idiot over and over again. HA HA HA HA.

      November 8, 2012 at 8:48 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 with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.