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My Take: 113th Congress looks like old America
November 16th, 2012
12:01 PM ET

My Take: 113th Congress looks like old America

Editor's Note: Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar and author of "The American Bible: How Our Words Unite, Divide, and Define a Nation," is a regular CNN Belief Blog contributor.

By Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN

(CNN) - The 2012 election has been widely hailed as a diversity moment — a coming out party for an American electorate no longer dominated by white men. And it was a triumph as well for religious diversity, thanks especially to Hawaii, which is sending the first Hindu to the House and the first Buddhist to the Senate.

But is this religious change more symbolic than real? In “Faith on the Hill,” a study on religion in the 113th Congress released Friday by the Pew Forum, the story seems to be static rather than change.

For all the talk of the election of 2012 inaugurating a new era in American politics, Protestants will continue to be overrepresented on Capitol Hill, where they will account for 56% of our representatives versus only 48% of American adults.

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Moreover, the religiously unaffiliated will continue to be scandalously underrepresented in the 113th Congress. Though 20% of American adults are “nones,” there is only one “none” (Arizona Democrat Kyrsten Sinema) in the new congressional delegation.

That said, there are striking differences between Democrats and Republicans in the incoming 113th Congress.

The GOP delegation will be 69% Protestant, while Protestants will account for only 43% of the Democrats. Mormons also lean heavily Republican, with three Democrats versus 12 members of the GOP.

Catholics, by contrast, lean Democratic, accounting for 36% congressional Democrats and 25% of congressional Republicans. Moreover, all the Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists in the incoming Congress are Democrats. And all but one of the 32 Jewish members (Virginia Republican Eric Cantor) are, too.

The bottom line? I see two takeaways.

First, this data provides evidence for the now common wisdom that Republicans represent old-fashioned America while Democrats reflect new demographic realities. In the 113th Congress, Republicans will be disproportionately male and disproportionately Protestant. Democrats, by contrast, have a higher portion of women and minority religions.

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

Second, this data shows that the much heralded “new America” is still years away. Yes, the Senate will be 20% female, but women are more than 50% of the population. And the U.S. Congress will still be far more Christian (87%) than U.S. adults as a whole (70%).

At least when it comes to religion, the U.S. Congress doesn't yet look like the voters who are sending them to Washington.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Stephen Prothero.

- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: 2012 Election • Catholic Church • Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints • Judaism • Politics • Polls • United States

soundoff (1,540 Responses)
  1. REDFIREBALL

    jesus stated that "this good news of the kingdom will be preached throughout the whole inhabited earth then the end will come" All those destryed will know who Jehovah is just like adam and eve did. They made their free choice to believe satan instead of jehovah. you are making that free willed choice now today also. so those who are killed by jesus have no to blame but themselves -NO one.

    November 17, 2012 at 9:03 am |
    • Bob

      "so those who are killed by jesus have no to blame but themselves -NO one." = EVIL, not a loving God and anyone who believes otherwise is loony.

      The boogie man is coming watch out people.

      November 17, 2012 at 9:07 am |
    • the AnViL

      jebus loves you – but he's going to kill you.

      lolz

      mentally insane, delusional people who believe in imaginary men in the sky should be stripped of their liberties and afforded no equality.

      they should be relegated to a suboid class – with no ability to affect politics or public policy in any way.

      November 17, 2012 at 9:08 am |
    • REDFIREBALL

      Like I said, your free choice to believe what you want -people thought noah was "looney" for building a boat on high dry land also - but did not know jehovah could make it rain and flood the earth. Jehovah gave noah specific instructions for building the ark and followed them to the exactness required and commanded. noah and his family survived the flood, the rest of the human world died.

      November 17, 2012 at 9:13 am |
    • Smithsonian

      "Like I said, your free choice to believe what you want -people thought noah was "looney" for building a boat on high dry land also – but did not know jehovah could make it rain and flood the earth"

      The stories found in the Book of Genesis, Chapter 1-12, such as the flood story, the record is quite different: the time period under consideration is much more ancient. The factual bases of the stories are hidden from our view archaeologically. The stories remain a part of folk traditions and were included in the Bible to illustrate and explain theological ideas such as: Where did humans come from? If humans were created by God (who is perfect and good), how did evil among them come to be? If we are all related as children of God, why do we speak different languages? It must be remembered that the Bible is primarily a book of religion, a guide to faith. it was not a book of history, poetry, economics, or science. It contains all sorts of literary genre, which are used to teach about the relationship between God and mankind. Even biblical history is edited history: events were chosen to illustrate the central theme of the Bible. The Biblical writers did not pretend they were giving a complete history; instead they constantly refer us to other sources for full historical details, sources such as "The Annals of the Kings of Judah" (or Israel).

      It is therefore not possible to try to "prove" the Bible by means of checking its historical or scientific accuracy. The only "proof" to which it can be subjected is this: Does it correctly portray the God-human relationship? In the best analysis, the Bible is a religious book, not an historical document.

      November 17, 2012 at 9:14 am |
    • snowboarder

      red – the story of noah is not factual.

      November 17, 2012 at 9:17 am |
    • John

      While I appreciate your comments and my knowledge of the scriptures agree, I also believe that the Almighty God is a loving God and will do what is necessary to alert those individuals that truly seek righteousness and God's ways still have a chance for survival. I hope that Jehovah will view me as worthy of that new system we all long for. May we all recognize that it is thru God's son Jesus that we have this hope.

      November 17, 2012 at 9:48 am |
    • Simran

      So, this God of yours is a partial God and I have other adjectives too....? Those who praise him and fall on their knees before him will be saved, others will perish???

      November 17, 2012 at 9:51 am |
    • End Religion

      Jesus, Adam, Eve, none of that ever happened. Basing your life on it is pathetic. Time and time again the bible has been completely refuted and yet you press on babbling how it holds some mystical power. It is fiction, written by men who knew less than the average 12 year old knows today. Move on.

      November 17, 2012 at 11:54 am |
    • End Religion

      Noah is probably the worst story you could have chosen as proof of your book of lies. Even some of the dimmest apologists chalk it up to allegory because it is overly easy to disprove, genetically and geologically. It shouldn't take even a child to extrapolate the entire book is fiction and not based on anything need to take seriously, much less base a worldview or government around.

      November 17, 2012 at 11:59 am |
  2. REDFIREBALL

    Jehovah is a merciful God - he was willing to spare Sodom and Gomorrah if even just ONE righteous person could be found- after Lot and Abram negotiated with Jehovah. Time for preaching the good news has been granted for centuries. The ark was not built in one day. It took decades if not hundreds of YEARS. People were preached to about Jehovah. Those who are destroyed will know Jehovah and blatantly reject Him like Satan and the deomns did long ago.

    November 17, 2012 at 9:00 am |
    • Bob

      "he was willing to spare Sodom and Gomorrah if even just ONE righteous person could be found- after Lot and Abram negotiated with Jehovah."

      Funny how your "merciful" God didn't think an innocent child was righteous enough but yet it killed everyone in the town, that is more evil than your boogie man Satan.

      November 17, 2012 at 9:03 am |
    • snowboarder

      i often wonder if people have a genetic predisposition to religious fervor

      November 17, 2012 at 9:03 am |
    • REDFIREBALL

      You present to false argument marketed by satan –"I don't kill babies like jehovah does -so I must be more merciful -come worship me" Babies were killed in the flood -mother's who did not listen to noah were drowning and screaming "save our babies" Jehovah kept the doors sealed knowing noah might weaken. Killing the seed of wickedness is righteous.

      November 17, 2012 at 9:08 am |
    • Saraswati

      @snowboarder, Yes, there is a good deal of research on the genetic predisposition to religiosity. People tend to be as religious as their birth parents, even if the belief system is different. A child of devout fundamentalists may become a devout atheist, hindu or muslim, but the odds are they will continue to be devout. There are certainly exceptions, and a cultural change can bring about slight modifications of individual tendencies, but for the most parts the trends will continue.

      November 17, 2012 at 9:09 am |
    • snowboarder

      red wrote "killing the seed of wickedness is righteous"

      now you're just being absurd. no one is stupid enough to believe that nonsense.

      November 17, 2012 at 9:10 am |
    • Bob

      "Killing the seed of wickedness is righteous."

      I am thankful today we are more moral than that. Red you would make a great recruit for Hitler.

      November 17, 2012 at 9:10 am |
    • .

      Red is a troll and not a real Christian.

      November 17, 2012 at 9:12 am |
    • saggyroy

      So Noah's ark had kangaroos, penguins, walruses, llamas, coyotes....

      November 17, 2012 at 9:14 am |
    • snowboarder

      sara – interesting. i was thinking more along the line of genetic, but not necessarily hereditary.

      November 17, 2012 at 9:15 am |
    • Saraswati

      See, it's that kind of logic that doesn't make sense if you aren't already a Christian. Why would someone (a god) save an entire community of "evil" folks because just one repented? If you have a believe system based on blame and responsibility and "free will" shouldn't people be responsible for their own behaviors and punished accordingly, not based on the acts of some random member? It just makes this god look like a sloppy, lazy loafer who can't bother to distinuish one individual from another.

      November 17, 2012 at 9:17 am |
    • Saraswati

      @snowboarder, in what way do you mean genetic and not hereditary?

      November 17, 2012 at 9:19 am |
    • snowboarder

      sara – i don't mean anything. i simply had not framed it that way in my mind. it makes plenty of sense, but also introduces significant environmental factors, such as a devout upbringing by devout parents. some part nature. some part nurture.

      November 17, 2012 at 9:25 am |
    • Saraswati

      @snowboarder, I agree you definitely have to have nurture. It just looks to me like that's more in the selection of what to believe (the religion itself) than in the level of belief in that system. But I don't think we have enough information yet beyond knowing there is some genetic element.

      November 17, 2012 at 9:30 am |
  3. Gedwards

    In liberal utopia, our Congress would be made up of an exact reflection of our racial (white 80%, black 13%, Asian 4%, Amerindian and Alaska native 1%, native Hawaiian and other Pacific islander 0%, two or more races 2%), religious (Protestant 51%, Roman Catholic 24%, Mormon 2%, other Christian 2%, Jewish 2%, Buddhist 1%, Muslim 1%, other or unspecified 2%, unaffiliated 12%, none 4%), and gender (female 50%, male 50%). Did I miss anything?

    In a conservative reality, our Congress would be made up of the people who the voters elect.

    November 17, 2012 at 8:55 am |
    • Duh

      We'd never get anything done, because no one could agree.

      November 17, 2012 at 8:57 am |
    • snowboarder

      duh – no one agrees now.

      November 17, 2012 at 8:57 am |
    • the AnViL

      liberal utopia? lolz

      coming close to fixing things would require an educated, atheist congress with a collective iq over 150.

      November 17, 2012 at 9:14 am |
    • Saraswati

      Congress is made up of the people who the voters elect, it's just that in the current system the single winner in each geographic region gets a seat. This means that if the groups are evenly spread, the majority groups pretty much get all the seats. The only answer is to remove the geographic element, or at least diminish it, and give the top 5 or 10 vote takers in each larger region a seat. This would massively increase minority representation...and hence will not likely happen any time soon.

      November 17, 2012 at 9:21 am |
    • End Religion

      there is no utopia. Who would clean the toilets? However it's pretty easy to see life would be better without all the religious vitriol, er, I mean "love", around.

      November 17, 2012 at 12:05 pm |
  4. REDFIREBALL

    Satan blinds the eyes of the non-believers -- Jesus will come and open those eyes in ways they wished never happened. To know the inevitable future as foretold in the Bible is to be able to ltranscend above the dirty and corrupt earthly politics. All world rulers are Satanic puppets since satan rules this world for now. Dis Satan offer Jesus all the earthly kingdoms if he performed an act of worship to him? that was one of the 3 great temptations in the wilderness after Jesus was baptized -and before jesus started his ministry here on earth before put to death and returning to his father Jehovah in the heavens.

    November 17, 2012 at 8:50 am |
    • snowboarder

      red – you are really out there. i would almost think you are an atheist troll creating a bad caricature of a looney christian.

      November 17, 2012 at 8:53 am |
    • Bob

      Watch out the boogie man is coming...ahwwwahwwaaah

      Fear is the greatest selling tool known to man kind and weak minded people like you buy into it hook, line and sinker, doesn't mean it's true. If only 33% of the people on this planet actually believe in your God that means your God is going to kill billions of people, that is not a loving God, that is an evil monster – far worse than this "Satan" you keep babbling about.

      November 17, 2012 at 8:55 am |
    • End Religion

      red, back on the meds before you hurt someone.

      November 17, 2012 at 12:09 pm |
  5. REDFIREBALL

    CNN knows the religious argument well, but is a secular media and canot promote these Bible-based truths. CNN does good to create blogs like this to stimulate exposure of what we all really know and believe. The good news is that Revelation describes a brighter and happier future for all mankind who seek it. Noah and his family were building the ark and preached. They invited all who chose to join them before it rained. But how many chose to join them? NONE. Jesus stated, "Just like back in the days of Noah....." Remember? CNN knows all of this.

    November 17, 2012 at 8:44 am |
    • Smithsonian

      "Noah and his family were building the ark and preached. They invited all who chose to join them before it rained. But how many chose to join them? NONE. Jesus stated, "Just like back in the days of Noah."

      The stories found in the Book of Genesis, Chapter 1-12, such as the flood story, the record is quite different: the time period under consideration is much more ancient. The factual bases of the stories are hidden from our view archaeologically. The stories remain a part of folk traditions and were included in the Bible to illustrate and explain theological ideas such as: Where did humans come from? If humans were created by God (who is perfect and good), how did evil among them come to be? If we are all related as children of God, why do we speak different languages? It must be remembered that the Bible is primarily a book of religion, a guide to faith. it was not a book of history, poetry, economics, or science. It contains all sorts of literary genre, which are used to teach about the relationship between God and mankind. Even biblical history is edited history: events were chosen to illustrate the central theme of the Bible. The Biblical writers did not pretend they were giving a complete history; instead they constantly refer us to other sources for full historical details, sources such as "The Annals of the Kings of Judah" (or Israel).

      It is therefore not possible to try to "prove" the Bible by means of checking its historical or scientific accuracy. The only "proof" to which it can be subjected is this: Does it correctly portray the God-human relationship? In the best analysis, the Bible is a religious book, not an historical document.

      November 17, 2012 at 8:45 am |
    • saggyroy

      Bible verses. The font of all knowledge.

      November 17, 2012 at 8:48 am |
    • REDFIREBALL

      To deny belief in the flood is to deny belief in Jesus then -since he is the one who caused the downpour at Jehovah's command - and since Jesus did mention its occurance while on earth

      November 17, 2012 at 8:55 am |
    • Bob

      Red can't handle the book they're quoting is just fiction, now you'll have to deal with reality.

      November 17, 2012 at 8:57 am |
    • snowboarder

      biblical literalists are entirely divorced from reality.

      November 17, 2012 at 8:59 am |
    • End Religion

      Red, you mean "...cannot promote the Bible-based beliefs." Fixed it for you.

      November 17, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
    • redzoa

      "To deny belief in the flood is to deny belief in Jesus then -since he is the one who caused the downpour at Jehovah's command – and since Jesus did mention its occurance while on earth."

      Jesus made many references to parables and allegory. A reference does not translate into "must accept literally." Furthermore, there is absolutely zero evidence of a global flood and literally mountains of empirical evidence against it. Not least of which is the notion of repopulating the entire earth's biodiversity and human population from 8 humans and pairs of "kinds." The irony is that literal creationists must invoke hyper-evolution to account for this discrepancy...

      November 17, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
  6. REDFIREBALL

    There are many "religions." Most are false. The trick is to find the Truth. Broad and spacious road versus the narrow and cramped pathway to everlasting life -where is that little pathway hidden?

    November 17, 2012 at 8:39 am |
    • snowboarder

      red – "everlasting life" is the invention of superst!t!ous men and their fear of death and the unknown. kinda like 73 virgins for martyrs.

      November 17, 2012 at 8:43 am |
    • saggyroy

      The religious always claim they want the truth, but it is quite the opposite. They only want the truth on their terms. Sorry, truth doesn't work that way.

      November 17, 2012 at 8:43 am |
    • Imagine No Religion

      @REDFIREBALL
      "There are many "religions." ALL are MYTHS."

      Fixed it for you. You're welcome.

      -–
      "There ain't no jesus gonna come from the sky.
      Now that I found out, I know I can cry." – John Lennon

      November 17, 2012 at 8:53 am |
    • End Religion

      There is no path. Your beliefs, what you erroneously call "truth," is as different as the hundreds of thousands of other "one and only truths" other nuts claim.

      November 17, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
  7. Go away Barack

    Who represents non-believers?? Why, Barack Hussein Obama, of course. They supported him in droves, and he carries their standard.

    While we're at it, can we revoke the war monger Barack's Nobel peace prize? He never closed Guantanamo. Afghans have been killing more of or boys and girls in supposedly peaceful operations. He's covertly bombing the heck out of Pakistan's tribal areas. He is allowing Islamic extremists to gain a foothold in countries we actually had some sway with at one time. He's allowing Iran to develop nuclear weapons while continuing to lie that sanctions are working and is going to get us into a nuclear war rather than making sure they don't get nuclear weapons to begin with. He's allowing a genocidal civil war to take place in Syria without intervening as he chose to do in Libya. He's allowing all out war between the Palestinians and Israel rather than trying to do anything to forward the peace process. His "reset with Russia" is a big joke, and their bellicose rhetoric is stronger now than ever before, as they send bombers and submarines to our shores all but uncontested.

    Why did Obama win the Nobel peace prize before he had even settled in a president to make a mess of or world again?! Oh yeah, almost everyone was hypnotized by his speeches and had blind faith that his inexperience would actually somehow make the world a better place just because that's what he said he'd do. Oops!

    November 17, 2012 at 8:39 am |
    • Duh

      People were snowed and still are.

      November 17, 2012 at 8:49 am |
    • Kittens In a blender

      Obama promotes peace all over the world, like Labya.

      November 17, 2012 at 8:54 am |
    • End Religion

      Wait... you want to take away his peace prize because he's too peaceful for your liking?

      November 17, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
  8. Thankful

    I think Christians bring about way more good than bad.... They are change agents. The church makes a difference in our country and in the world. However I do think this hiccup of skewed stats this election, might strengthen the work of Christ followers... The church thrives when persecuted.

    November 17, 2012 at 8:31 am |
    • saggyroy

      Religion in general retards progress.

      November 17, 2012 at 8:32 am |
    • saggyroy

      Religion gives people something to die for, which seems to be a motivator for terrorists acting in the name of their chosen god(s). Atheism gives me nothing to die for.

      November 17, 2012 at 8:35 am |
    • Thankful

      I don't think it's an coincidence that our american money declares "in god we trust" and we are the strongest nation to ever exist.

      November 17, 2012 at 8:37 am |
    • Brent

      "I think Christians bring about way more good than bad"

      Religion-based bigotry use religious teachings to justify discrimination against Native Americans, African Americans, minority religious groups, woman and interracial couples.

      Connecting the dots between historical bigotry against other groups and the attitudes of some people today toward homosexuality is one of the most effective ways to educate people about the denial of equal rights to the LGBT community.

      Most people know that, historically, religion has been used to justify discrimination against women, religious minorities and people of color. Putting anti-gay religious beliefs in this historical context can be a powerful tool in connecting discrimination that most Americans today accept as morally wrong and the discrimination faced by LGBT people. By citing historical instances of religion-based bigotry and prejudice, you allow people to be more comfortable with attitudinal change – they realize they are not stepping out alone against a commonly accepted viewpoint but rather following historical progress toward justice and equality.

      When talking about the misuse of religion to justify discrimination in the past, it is important not to say that the LGBT community’s struggle with discrimination is exactly the same as the Civil Rights Movement. Rather, the point is that religion-based bigotry has been a common denominator of injustice toward many groups in American society’s past. When given a chance, many people will see the underlying historical pattern of using religious teachings and beliefs to justify harmful discrimination.

      There is another benefit to citing other times in the past when religious teachings have been used to justify discrimination. Many times, when people of faith are challenged about their anti-gay views, they cite biblical verses or other religious texts as a safe haven when they are unable to articulate why they hold prejudiced attitudes toward LGBT people. Instead of telling people that their interpretation is wrong, you can remind them that other religious texts have been used in the past to justify attitudes and laws that are recognized today as morally wrong and unjust – such as discrimination against women, people of color and religious minorities.

      History provides the moral judgment, and we do not have to be theologians engaged in scriptural debates to point people to the judgment rendered by history.

      November 17, 2012 at 8:37 am |
    • snowboarder

      thankful – you don't think that is a coincidence? that's just plain stupid.

      November 17, 2012 at 8:40 am |
    • saggyroy

      @Thankful The original was "E Pluribus Unum" (Out of many, one) until the 50's.

      November 17, 2012 at 8:47 am |
    • Saraswati

      I think it can go either way depending on the issues and how outdated the religion is. A number of Christian churches were quite instrumental in the civil rights movement of the 1960 (though some were a hinderence). Currently, the churches are more of a hinderence to gay rights, and so that is how young people see them. It becomes harder as a religion ages and science progresses to become an agent of socially and contextually appropriate change, unless one has had the forethought to build change into the religion.

      November 17, 2012 at 8:59 am |
    • End Religion

      Change agents? Why is every other nutter on here screaming that "the bible hasn't changed"? The policies of the church are medieval. The church is not *supposed* to change – god is supposedly inerrant and his words are supposed to be good for all time as they were thousands of years ago.

      November 17, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
  9. no gäds

    religion is the evil root of man's inhumanity to man

    November 17, 2012 at 8:30 am |
    • saggyroy

      All you need is to memorize 20 bible verses, a nice suit, and a microphone and you can be rich rich rich beyond your wildest dreams.

      November 17, 2012 at 8:39 am |
  10. REDFIREBALL

    Satan and his demons will be chained an abyssed for a 1000 years while the righteous follow the "big divine circle" from "paradise lost to paradise regained." A big wide circle of time. Genesis 3:15 - Jehovah told Satan he would eventually die in the hands of Jesus Christ - after he had the chance to temporarily kill Jesus (when he FIRST came down to earth) -then satan bruised Jesus on the heel only. After 1000 years of being imprisoned, Satan will be set free again, along with the demons. They will do their do with humans –the final melding of righteousness. Then Satan, the demons and all humans who succombed to satan will be hurled into the "lake of fire" of etrnal destruction. No more Satan. No more demons. No more people like Obama. A paradise Earth forever and ever -no more pain or sorrow. No more death. The "former things" wiped from our memory.

    November 17, 2012 at 8:30 am |
    • Reality

      Why?

      November 17, 2012 at 8:32 am |
    • The Truth

      So who did you vote for Red? Let me guess, you didn't...

      November 17, 2012 at 8:36 am |
    • REDFIREBALL

      jehovan created the earth and adam then eve to have a pardise earth fully populated by humans to worship him -in return, man was to live eternally in paradise pleasure. not a bad deal huh? then stan ruined it TEMPORARILY. jehovah will restore things back to where adam and eve left off before sinning.

      November 17, 2012 at 9:22 am |
    • Saraswati

      If you want to convince people who aren't Christians of anything you say, you can't just quote the bible, since it isn't considered a reliable source of anything. You have to first start by making arguments about why one should believe in the bible, otherwise you're just taking up space and wasting time you could be spending working or feeding the poor or doing pretty much anything useful.

      November 17, 2012 at 9:26 am |
    • Simran

      @ Saraswati,
      I have been visiting this blog on and off, usually on days when I need a good laugh. Just enjoy what the Bible worms keeps saying and have your share of laugh too!
      "I have decided not to say "How stupid can you be." People (read Bible worms) these days take it as a challenge.

      November 17, 2012 at 9:34 am |
    • Saraswati

      @Simran, For me it's also entertainment, and I certainly don't expect to make any real dent in the number of people spouting long biblical tirades to no end. But if there's any chance of getting just one person to even slightly increase their level of discourse, or to understand how an argument is made, I'd be happy to see that done. Or imagine that I'd done it. I've seen people learn how to debate properly in the real world, so it isn't too far flung a fantasy for me to imagine that someone in cyberspace could learn to present their position better. Of course I realize I won't actually know when this has happened. :)

      November 17, 2012 at 9:40 am |
    • Simran

      Yeah, I get that. What I like most however is how I feel challenged to read more and more about stuff outside my own field in the process of these arguments... And improvise on my own knowledge. But some book worms sadly won't ever read beyond the book they have been conditioned to read since birth:)

      November 17, 2012 at 9:45 am |
    • Saraswati

      Yeah, it's good to talk with people you wouldn't normally, even if it's kind of in twists and games and exaggerated comments. I think though that people are influenced a bit more than we see. In my own experience I often don't grow immediately from something someone says, but it can sink into my consciousness over days, weeks, and months. I've seen the same in others I know in person, who argued against me vigorously, only to tell me years later they thought it over and agree. So I while I agree those dependent on the bible may not branch out immediately, I think it's possible. But I'd be happy just to see (or imagine in this case) people make better quality arguments with the resources they do have. Eventually if you understand how an argument works, you start to see the flaws in your own.

      November 17, 2012 at 9:51 am |
    • End Religion

      Red, thanks for all the help in creating more atheists. I appreciate your efforts!

      November 17, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
  11. a12yearold

    stephen prothero= captain obvious

    November 17, 2012 at 8:27 am |
  12. saggyroy

    What America needs is more like Bill Foster. He is a member-elect of the U.S. House of Representatives, and wants more scientists in Congress who can bring to bear an analytical mind-set to lawmaking. Hope he runs for president. Kudos to the people that elected him !

    http://www.nature.com/news/physicist-elected-to-congress-calls-for-more-scientists-statesmen-1.11839

    November 17, 2012 at 8:23 am |
    • Saraswati

      I would rather have more scientifically respectful economists and social scientists in congress – folks who know how to delegate to and take the word of scientists in their respective fields, but who have a broad enough knowledge of how society, politics and economics work to do the day to day work of an elected official.

      November 17, 2012 at 8:45 am |
  13. Frannie

    I believe in the separation of " Church and State" as originated by our founding fathers. They had a reason to include that prase. Historically, when church leaders involve themselves in government, the people suffer. eg; the Crusades, torture chambers, death camps, etc. Read your history.

    November 17, 2012 at 8:22 am |
    • snowboarder

      when religion has insinuated itself into government, there can be no liberty.

      November 17, 2012 at 8:27 am |
  14. REDFIREBALL

    As the "time for second coming" draws closer, the Evil One will get more deparate - the gathering of increasing numbers of blinded human souls - to gather in ultimte confrontation. As good confronted evil in the heavens, good will confront evil here on earth - Earth will be the final universal battle ground. Guess who will win (again)? (wink)

    November 17, 2012 at 8:14 am |
    • snowboarder

      red – are you winking because you realize how absurd your posts are?

      November 17, 2012 at 8:18 am |
    • Yeah!

      All hail Mithra he is coming back again to destroy the false idol of Jesus – Jesus is the anti-messiah! ;-P

      November 17, 2012 at 8:21 am |
    • Reality

      Why does there need to be an 'army' of angels and a 'war'? Why doesn't God just wave his 'arm' or 'wink', or whatever, and just make it happen? Why does there need to be suffering?

      November 17, 2012 at 8:21 am |
    • saggyroy

      Where can I get that for my XBOX?

      November 17, 2012 at 8:25 am |
    • snowboarder

      reality – that doesn't make for much of a pager turner, does it?

      November 17, 2012 at 8:25 am |
    • Reality

      Apparently, common sense and logic are 'tools' of satan.

      November 17, 2012 at 8:30 am |
    • Mirosal

      Reality, I have asked that question for decades to religious "scholars". "What does god need an army for? Isn't he supposed to be all-powerful?"... To date, not one has given a resonable answer to that.

      November 17, 2012 at 8:30 am |
    • REDFIREBALL

      Jehovah God cannot just wipe everything out like a chalkboard and eraser. He needs the whole universe of angels and humans to see and realize that Satan is a liar and Jehovah is truth. If he wiped it all out in an instant then that would never be proven. Satan lied to Eve: "If you eat of the fruit you will NOT die." This was AFTER jehovah warned Adam and Eve that they would die. So who was the liar? Job was rewarded for proving the Devil a liar after Jehovah allowed Satan to test Job's faith. This went on for melleniums between Jehovah and Satan. It will end soon - for Satan -and he knows it.

      November 17, 2012 at 8:35 am |
    • snowboarder

      red – who would it be that the omniscient, omnipotent god needs to prove himself to? christian doctrine is so absurd.

      November 17, 2012 at 8:45 am |
    • End Religion

      is this the same "second coming" that's been on deck for thousands of years? Didn't you say above that Satan was chained only for 1000 years or some such? Might want to check your times to get your fantasy back in sync.

      November 17, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
    • End Religion

      red, you did not answer why god needs an army.

      November 17, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
  15. Duh

    Could it be that the reason for the makeup of congress is that the majority of those running for office are still Protestant Christians? Hmmm....

    November 17, 2012 at 8:11 am |
    • snowboarder

      duh – it is more likely political pragmatism, since the majority of voters are supposedly religious.

      November 17, 2012 at 8:15 am |
    • REDFIREBALL

      All things earthly will only get worse -MUCH worse - until both heaven and earth are totally cleansed by our Creator

      November 17, 2012 at 8:16 am |
    • snowboarder

      if i were you, i wouldn't hold my breath red.

      November 17, 2012 at 8:19 am |
  16. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    November 17, 2012 at 8:11 am |
    • TrollAlert

      "Ronald Regonzo" who degenerates to:
      "Salvatore" degenerates to:
      "Douglas" degenerates to:
      "truth be told" degenerates to:
      "Thinker23" degenerates to:
      "Atheism is not healthy ..." degenerates to:
      "another repentant sinner" degenerates to:
      "Dodney Rangerfield" degenerates to:
      "tina" degenerates to:
      "captain america" degenerates to:
      "Atheist Hunter" degenerates to:
      "Anybody know how to read? " degenerates to:
      "just sayin" degenerates to:
      "ImLook'nUp" degenerates to:
      "Kindness" degenerates to:
      "Chad" degenerates to
      "Bob" degenerates to
      "nope" degenerates to:
      "2357" degenerates to:
      "WOW" degenerates to:
      "fred" degenerates to:
      "!" degenerates to:
      "pervert alert" is the degenerate.

      This troll is not a christian. ..

      November 17, 2012 at 8:13 am |
    • Duh

      Trolls can still be right. And judging by insanity of collecting all his alleged monikers, I'd say he hits a nerve with his right-ness. LOL

      November 17, 2012 at 8:15 am |
    • Jesus

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

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

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

      November 17, 2012 at 8:15 am |
    • REDFIREBALL

      What was prophesied by Jehovah God MUST come to pass-nothing can stop the inevitable, only perhaps delay it -sorry

      November 17, 2012 at 8:18 am |
    • Duh

      Hey, pseudo-Jesus. Funny, but I've read scientific studies and statistics that are the complete opposite of yours. You understand that you can find something scientific to back up almost any complex position, right? It comes down to faith, which you apparently do not have. Your choice, but don't expect to convince others of it.

      November 17, 2012 at 8:21 am |
    • TrollAlert

      Add "Duh" degenerates to: – to the list.

      November 17, 2012 at 8:23 am |
    • Thankful

      You're right... Prayer works. I agree.

      November 17, 2012 at 8:24 am |
    • Duh

      Add yourself while you're at it, TrollAlert, because you seem to post every time you see that post. To me that says you're the same person just being a moronic troll.

      November 17, 2012 at 8:41 am |
    • Imagine No Religion

      @Ainhfcaolt

      Again I ask, have you ever threatened YOUR children with eternal dam nation? I haven't, but I'll bet you have! Why won't you answer the question?

      Prayer changes nothing.

      I've repeatedly challenged you to take the George Carlin Prayer Test. Pray to your imaginary god friend for a month, then pray to Joe Pesci for a month. You'll find the percentage of prayers answered by god, and those by Mr Pesci, will be about the same (50/50). Have you taken the test? If so, please report your results.

      Are you a real live troll, or nothing more than a xianbot?

      [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6RT6rL2UroE&w=640&h=390]

      "There ain't no jesus gonna come from the sky.
      Now that I found out, I know I can cry." – John Lennon

      November 17, 2012 at 8:44 am |
    • nope

      @Duh

      nope

      November 17, 2012 at 8:44 am |
    • Duh

      Hmmm. I wonder why prayer doesn't work for you, and certainly not for Mr. Potty-mouthed Carlin? You know? I can't understand it.

      November 17, 2012 at 8:46 am |
    • Imagine No Religion

      @Duh

      Mr Carlin had a better grip on REALITY than you ever will.

      -–
      "There ain't no jesus gonna come from the sky.
      Now that I found out, I know I can cry." – John Lennon

      November 17, 2012 at 8:57 am |
    • Duh

      Imagine, almost anyone has a better grip on reality than Carlin. He did drugs.

      November 17, 2012 at 9:14 am |
    • Imagine No Religion

      @Duh

      Religion is the most insidious drug of all. It is, by far, the most destructive invention of mankind, killing exponentially more humans in its name than any self-induced chemical. Tell me, how does it feel to be on the ultimate inescapable delusional trip?

      -–
      "There ain't no jesus gonna come from the sky.
      Now that I found out, I know I can cry." – John Lennon

      November 17, 2012 at 9:32 am |
  17. Nick

    The lack of religiously non-affiliated representatives is just one of the many distortions of the winner takes all electoral system, based on custom-designed districts. There are very few districts where non-religious individuals are the majority, even if overall they are 20% of the population. Add to this the partisan design of the districts and voila, 20% of Americans are treated as second class citizens.

    November 17, 2012 at 8:06 am |
    • Thankful

      You're right.

      November 17, 2012 at 8:08 am |
    • saggyroy

      "...based on custom-designed districts" I love it can I use that? I think it is meme-able.

      November 17, 2012 at 8:21 am |
    • Saraswati

      Even without "custom designed" districts, a minority can only ever have representation if it is "clustered" spatially. A spatially (regionally) based representation system is therefore always going to favor the majority, or largest group. You don't need to redistrict...it will never work. You need to entirely eliminate the spatially based system of representation, or at least present a combined method. The world has changed and geography is much less important. If various regions have a number of representatives each, elected through ranked balloting, you will end up with far more minority candidates. But would those in power ever agree to such a change?

      November 17, 2012 at 9:04 am |
  18. Thankful

    I glad the church isn't taxed.

    November 17, 2012 at 8:03 am |
    • Thankful

      As a Christian, I think it's awesome that the government allows the work of the church to be done in and through the country and world without dealing with taxes. The church is the single largest, and most effective organization on the planet... Wouldn't you agree?

      November 17, 2012 at 8:05 am |
    • snowboarder

      thankful – which church? with the myriad of schisms in christianity they are more fragmented and overlapping than any other organization on earth.

      November 17, 2012 at 8:09 am |
    • Thankful

      The followers of Jesus Christ... The Church.

      November 17, 2012 at 8:10 am |
    • snowboarder

      thankful – there are thousands of denominations all going about "their" view of gods work in disparate ways. the u.s. government looks sleek and efficient by comparison.

      November 17, 2012 at 8:13 am |
    • Imagine No Religion

      It's way past time for the churches to pull their weight in this country. Every one of them should be taxed just like the rest of us. They are preaching politics from the pulpit, which is illegal under the law. Over 1000 preachers openly defied this law a few Sundays ago in an attempt to sway the election, and they need to be immediately str ipp ed of their tax-free status. They are criminals, but that's really nothing new for religion, is it?

      -–
      "There ain't no jesus gonna come from the sky.
      Now that I found out, I know I can cry." – John Lennon

      November 17, 2012 at 8:16 am |
    • Thankful

      I don't see that to be the case... There may be many denoms, but there is only one lord and one goal. As a result, there is no other organization so widely "together" as the church is. That's why FEMA and other government programs rely so heavily on the Church to help in natural disasters, starving kids as many other issues... No one can refute that the church plays a huge role in our country and the world...

      November 17, 2012 at 8:17 am |
    • snowboarder

      thankful – of course you don't see it that way. you aren't viewing it objectively, but instead with the bias of a member.

      November 17, 2012 at 8:23 am |
    • Thankful

      Snow.... Not knowing if you are a member or not, how would you see it?

      November 17, 2012 at 8:26 am |
  19. REDFIREBALL

    REVELATION 12 - War broke out in Heaven. Michael and his angels battled with Satan and his wicked angels (demons). Jesus won and the "Great Dragon" and his demons were hurled down upon the earth with "great anger" knowing they only had a "short period of time" to do their thing with humans. We are seeing it start to increase in geometric proportions all around the globe now. Add to the violence all the signs privately listed by Jesus to his disciples on the mount of olives (see Matthew 24). the good news is that Jesus will come down to clean our Earth like he did the Hevens. Sound like a "fairy tale"?

    November 17, 2012 at 8:01 am |
    • snowboarder

      an exciting story, but what does it actually have to do with reality?

      November 17, 2012 at 8:06 am |
    • truth be told

      It is history and accurately depicted. The most significant areas of struggle will be in the near future. Only a fool would avoid the warnings.

      November 17, 2012 at 8:11 am |
    • snowboarder

      be told – superst!t!ous nonsense.

      November 17, 2012 at 8:16 am |
    • Mirosal

      TBT.. please tell us how a book of FUTURE prophecy is regarded as HISTORY?? History is about what HAS happened, not what WILL happen. Your little book of gloom and doom is nothing more than the rantings of someone who DID inhale. Even Timothy Leary couldn't conceive a trip as bad as Revelations.

      November 17, 2012 at 8:17 am |
    • End Religion

      i find it so incredibly ironic that religion, which lays claim to the only goodness in the universe, is constantly dishonest about the definitions of words. It is their game to constantly redefine language so they can use words that don't actually apply, such as calling their belief "truth". Calling their false future prophecy "history". I don't remember that kind of outright dishonesty from the church when I was a kid but I do see it often these days, from more than just Red. It's the whole cognitive dissonance thing, like Jim Carey in Liar Liar when he is attempting to convince himself his blue pen is actually red, except nutters don't seem to have any trouble with the lies.

      November 17, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
  20. Margie

    Why cant we just stick with seperation of church and state? If governing is going to be based on religious beliefs, then religion should be taxed.

    November 17, 2012 at 8:01 am |
    • REDFIREBALL

      Even Satan and his demonic forces all know the Bible well -- The earth will soon be cleansed like the heavens - you already know that is inevitable. Think about it (wink)

      November 17, 2012 at 8:04 am |
    • Thankful

      As a Christian, I think it’s awesome that the government allows the work of the church to be done in and through the country and world without dealing with taxes. The church is the single largest, and most effective organization on the planet… Wouldn’t you agree?

      November 17, 2012 at 8:07 am |
    • Mirosal

      tell the church to quit trying with all their might to influence my legiSlature and other government functions, and I won't bit'ch about them not being taxed. But, since they are so adamant about wanting a say in government, they need to pay the price of admission to do so(taxes). Until then, they need to shut the #$%$% up!!!!

      November 17, 2012 at 8:21 am |
    • Mirosal

      And if you REALLY, TRULY, want religion to run your government, I hear Iran is lovely this time of year. Have a nice trip, and we'll wait patiently for the ransom note, or news of your kangaroo court hearing for heresy.

      November 17, 2012 at 8:24 am |
    • End Religion

      Red, when you say "soon" you mean in another 2000 years? Can you narrow it down at all so we know when to wrap up the party?

      November 17, 2012 at 1:17 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.