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Name of Israel’s anti-Hamas operation has biblical meaning
Smoke billows from a spot targeted by the Israeli military inside the Gaza Strip last week.
November 20th, 2012
09:49 AM ET

Name of Israel’s anti-Hamas operation has biblical meaning

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

(CNN) – To English speakers, the name of Israel’s anti-Hamas campaign sounds pretty straightforward: “Operation Pillar of Defense.”

But reading the name of the Israeli operation in Hebrew might provoke some head-scratching. In Hebrew, the Israel Defense Forces have branded their recently launched anti-Hamas effort as “Operation Pillar of Cloud.”

An IDF spokesman explained that most Israelis would recognize “Pillar of Cloud” as a biblical reference.

“It’s based on the pillar of cloud that accompanied the the nation of Israel during the Exodus as they left Egypt and traveling toward Israel,” said Eytan Buchman, head of the North American media desk for the IDF.

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“They wanted the protection from the troubles of the desert, from robbers and people that would attack them and from snakes and scorpions.”

Buchman said the anti-Hamas operation’s Hebrew name is meant to send the message that it is a defensive maneuver.

“We are coming up on a decade of rockets being fired indiscriminately at civilians,” Buchman said, referring to Hamas’ actions in southern Israel. The Jewish state’s current military operation, he said, “is a proverbial cloud that is coming to protect you.”

The Bible’s first reference to a cloud pillar comes in Exodus 14, which describes the Israelites’ flight from bondage, culminating in Moses’ parting of the Red Sea.

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“The angel of God who was going before the Israelite army moved and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud moved from in front of them and took its place behind them,” reads the passage in the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible.

"It came between the army of Egypt and the army of Israel,” the passage continues. "And so the cloud was there with the darkness, and it lit up the night; one did not come near the other all night.”

The idea of the cloud pillar refers to both physical and spiritual protection, according to Rabbi Shmuel Herzfeld, who leads Ohev Sholom, the National Synagogue in Washington.

“The spiritual message here is about praying to God for protection,” said Herzfeld, who heads an Orthodox congregation. “In Exodus, the pillar of cloud is spiritual protection of the Israelis.”

Herzfeld said the biblical reference would be instantly recognizable to the many Israelis who have had Jewish educations.

The phrase also appears in the Bible’s Book of Psalms, in a verse that says God spoke to Hebrew leaders like Moses, Aaron and Samuel “in the pillar of cloud.”

Israel’s choice of Hebrew words has provoked some criticism online.

"By calling this operation 'Pillar of Cloud,' the IDF are, in a sense, calling themselves God,” tweeted @joshua_eaton, whose Twitter bio describes him as a journalist covering religion and politics. “And they act like they believe that, too."

A blogger for the website Gawker, meanwhile, said that calling the Israeli operation a “pillar of cloud” evoked “an all-powerful, vengeful God seeking to demonstrate the primacy of his chosen people, to guide them in their affairs, and to confound their enemies.”

“Did Israel launch this attack because there was no other rational route to maintain its security?” asked the Gawker blogger, John Cook. “Or was it pursuing a broader agenda rooted in ancient mysticism?”

The IDF’s Buchman said he contacted Cook to challenge his interpretations, saying the Israeli military merely wanted to stress what he called the operation’s defensive nature.

“Inside the Bible,” Buchman said, “the cloud was defined as (following people that were) leaving and running away from a full army that had enslaved it.”

Buchman noted that previous IDF operations have also used biblical references.

In 2002, he said, the IDF used the name “Operation Noah’s Ark” for the seizure of a Palestinian vessel loaded with rockets, missiles and explosives.

And a 2008 IDF operation in Gaza was called “Operation Cast Lead,” which began during the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah and references a popular Hanukkah song.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Bible • Israel • Judaism • Military

soundoff (1,431 Responses)
  1. God

    Sounds more like a crusade.Many Christians are not reading Bible correctly

    November 20, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
    • Be honest

      more bible jibberish, huh?

      November 20, 2012 at 12:34 pm |
    • Dan

      Where do Christians factor into this?

      November 20, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
    • Be honest

      they're looking for the lions den..

      November 20, 2012 at 12:40 pm |
    • newsintegrity

      Last time I checked Jews are Christians. As much as Persians are not Arabs.

      November 20, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
  2. correctlycenter

    Pillar of cloud sounds good. If the palestinian people desire peace, they must rid themselves of the terrorist element among them called hamas. Firing rockets into Israel, killing and wounding civilians, destroying property and then when the IDF fights back, they are holding a dead child and cursing the IDF. Really? These hamas thugs are cowards and use this stupid trick over and over again. If I lived in Gaza, I would distance myself from these extremists. The people of Gaza should not finger point at Israel, but finger point at the real culprits, hamas and the thugs in Iran for arming them...

    November 20, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
    • Dan

      They don't know any better. Too much indoctrination

      November 20, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
    • Peter

      Let's hope that one day no one on earth will need religion nor Gods to cope with the reality of one's life in this world.

      It is not that God is vengeful and has created suffering in this world. It is really that Man is nuts and has created the concept of Gods as a means of justifying misery and destruction.

      November 20, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
  3. Be honest

    ever see a wide receiver pray after making a huge touchdown play? As if a god was busy helping him while ignoring starving children. Religious people are wack jobs

    November 20, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
    • Tom Mayes

      How funny , Your God must be Limited. Mine is not and evidently niether is the the who gave thanks for his accomplishment.

      November 20, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
  4. Peter

    Tribal warfare. What humans do best. You got to love it. Ten thousand years of it.

    It will be nice once we get to travel to the nearest star system ... We'll show up to some other populated planet and start blasting away while at the same time we quote from the words of our own self created and insane Gods.

    November 20, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
    • Brian

      I am always amazed by those who choose to read & leave feedback to the stories featured in the religious section of CNN. Clearly most if not all of the haters come out to spat on the idea of religious views while always preaching yourselves the
      practice of tolerance but having no understanding of the meaning of the word. Its sad to see those who have not a clue of the prophecy being unfolded before there very eyes. If you would have taken any time to research truth than you would understand what is at hand.

      November 20, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
    • Peter

      Brian,
      your "prophecy" and religious writings are just a convenient way for Israel to have a powerful way of unifying a culture.

      Having said that, Israel has the right to defend itself. Not for religious reasons but because it is the right of any nation to do so.

      November 20, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
    • Brian

      Thanks Peter, I was not totally directing my comment to you personalty. God has freely given each one the gift of choice :)
      & you and all those who post here have the right to choose to fallow his Word or reject it. But please please understand that
      one and all should first read his Word before rejecting it and what it offers. Not just a history lesson but a book that accurately predicts future events. I have been a student for over 40 years. Its yet to be wrong. From Israel being scattered to being brought back from the farthest point of the earth & becoming a nation again. Hamas said " this has opened the gates of Hell" take a moment to search this out on an online bible search program.

      November 20, 2012 at 1:09 pm |
  5. Be honest

    I find it funny that the pope in a dress, ruby red shoes and ruby red hat claims gay is wrong.

    That the KKK, white supremacist and tea party pray to a black jesus.

    November 20, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
  6. mark

    I feel for the Palestinian & Israeli families that are killed it's horrible. But I also see in the news that they always portray Israel as the bad guy. Would any other country remain patient while another shoots rockets at them? No the wouldn't. Would another country drop flyers and drop "sound bombs" to warn an area that they are going to bomb a target in that area? No they wouldn't. Hamas places their rocket launchers in schools and hospitals so when Israel bombs them, they can show everyone the deaths. What gets me is that people don't look at the facts. Israel is defending themselves. Hamas are the destruction of their own people and the Palestinians know this but are too afraid to say anything as they would be killed.

    November 20, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
    • Peter

      As far a Hamas is concerned, they use the local population as Pawns. IMO, this is not a struggle of the local Arabs with Israel. It's a cold war between Iran and Israel.

      But, in a geopolitical way, this is good for Israel. It will make it easier for them to handle any political repercussions that may come after they destroy the Iranian nuclear problem and after they destroy any Iranian regional political plans and ambitions.

      November 20, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
    • Freeman

      Where were you? They just killed over 100 people mostly children. Only yesterday they flattened a house full of women and children! You make the visicious Istraeli army look like

      November 20, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
  7. Meliha

    What is the civilian death toll in Gaza vs. Israel?

    November 20, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
    • Dan

      3 vs. +100.

      November 20, 2012 at 12:34 pm |
    • Dan

      Except reverse that

      November 20, 2012 at 12:34 pm |
    • Third Eagle of the Apocalypse

      That’s the wrong question. As if effectiveness has anything to do with intention. The correct question…who is dilberalty targeting civilians and who is making targeted strikes.

      November 20, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
    • Mike Landars

      Gaza deaths: 7978 (1620)
      Israli deaths: 1503 (142)
      (numbers in parenthesis are kids under 18)

      November 20, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
  8. ug

    The ragheads deserve everything they get.

    November 20, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
  9. the wise one

    people forget the muslims occupied spain for 800 years. The native Spanish people grouped in mountains and after 800 years they fought back to get their land back. The Palestinians are doing the same but it only has been 70 years.

    November 20, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
    • Darryl

      They are reoccupying Spain right now. Check the demographics. Israel is occupying the land it own. Check it out we were there long before anyone else.

      November 20, 2012 at 12:34 pm |
    • Zuhair

      Yeah, except you fail to mention the fact that the Arab occupation of Spain directly lead to Spain's most prosperous period in history. It was the Arabs who made Spain the European Mecca of science and philosophy. Without the Arabs we probably wouldn't even have the ancient Greek texts we base our democracy on.

      November 20, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
    • KLARGAR

      Oh stupid one the muslims conquered Spain and spent 800 years trying to convert all Christians and Jews to Islam it took 800 years but they were finally expelled. The Jews have been waiting 2000 years to go home to Eretz Israel no mongrel Muslims will force them out. The Jews have survived the Babylonians the Persians the Nazis their bones and skulls bleached white with time so it shall be with the Muslims.

      November 20, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
    • huh

      Jews were there first buddy.

      November 20, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
  10. Israel

    The world is waking up! Looking at history everyone can see the bible is talking about the so called african americans are the Israelites in the bible. Look at the black slaves history and then go look at what the bible says about Israel

    Coming from a white american.

    November 20, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Back off the bong dude, you sound a bit touched!!!

      November 20, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
    • newsintegrity

      Mitt Romney?! Is that you?

      November 20, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
    • Third Eagle of the Apocalypse

      @ William Demuth
      Don’t all religious types?

      November 20, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
  11. joe

    Having a really slow day, CNN?

    November 20, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
  12. Socal Reggae

    Why don't they just call it Operation Armageddon? Stupid ass Religious War. Listen to Reggae Music and Mello out!
    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zFlbKIHeouA&w=640&h=390]

    November 20, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
    • hindu filthy rasta ism

      Your rastafarian ism pot smoking called irie mon has no legalism in it, rastafarian ism, irie mon from start, Rasta Irie, dread locks irie ism to be reggae. Jamaica ism is blunt ism the dutchie ism and ganja mon, but rasta corrupt reggae is a tool to spread Rastafarian ism, denial of smoke shop passing the dutchie ism laid back among Jamaica and establish rastafarian ism, rasta ism among humanity.

      November 20, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
    • Socal Reggae

      I'm not a Rastafarian – I just run a website, smoke up and listen to/film Reggae Music. Screw Organized Religion!

      November 20, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
    • hindu filthy rasta ism

      ignorant filthy rasta ism, hind of thin GAWD drink pepsi.

      November 20, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
  13. bobhamiltonchicago

    The best proof that Judaism and Christianity are not the correct story of God, is simply to read the Bible. It is so ridiculous that it is not even funny. Most Christians (99%) have not read the Bible correctly. Meaning, every word, front to back, in order, in a short time frame (six weeks). By the way, that also rules out Islam as the correct word of God of course. So, what is the right answer? Good news, it's whatever you decide. There is no way to prove you're wrong, so your belief is about as good as any other. But you should give it some thought.

    November 20, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
    • Bruce

      Regarding the truth being whatever you want it to be... take some time and read this:

      http://www.gotquestions.org/correct-religion.html

      November 20, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
    • nosurprise

      what is it to "read the Bible?" These things are spiritually discerned and cannot be understood by the carnal mind, says the Bible...In other words if you are a meathead:-), you don't understand It...

      Like speaking in other languages in prayer as you are guided by G-d's Spirit, the Bible says that no man (canal) mind understands the man who speaks, for he speaks divine secrets in the Spirit...

      November 20, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
    • JonathanL

      No one has the right story about God because our images and stories of God and gods and prophets were all created by barbarians in the days of darkness when we knew next to nothing about anything. Back then you could write or say anything and it would be believed. In ancient Sumaria, long before Genesis was written, it was chisled into a clay tablet that the Universe was created in 7 days by a female goddess named Jeha (female warrior – as opposed to Jehova which means 'male warrior'), and so that was believed, until the tablet was lost and the story changed. The vatican is built on top of an older church dedicated to the Persian Prophet Mythra who was born on the winter solstice centuries earlier, had 12 disciples, performed miracles, had a last supper, was crucified, rose from the dead. There is an inscription on the part of that ancient church that is still exposed and it refers to Mythra's last supper where Mythra asks his disciples to remember his flesh and blood through the bread and wine served at the supper. But much of Mythraism is different though there are many more striking similarities. But who knows which story is it, if any. I say they all were fabricating myths for whatever purpose they served. People can be very creative, and imaginative, and gullible, hence religions abound in mnay varieties, believed by many.

      November 20, 2012 at 1:12 pm |
    • MeMelvin

      The "htp://www.gotquestions.org/correct-religion.html" was an interesting read, however, it has two main stumbling stumb;ong blocks.

      First, Jesus did not, could not have affirmed the validity (truth) about the New Testament, because it was written after the cruxification. His actual "advice" was to look for him in the "prophets and psalms". He made no reference to Proverbs, Kings, Chronicles, Song of Songs, The Torah or other Hebrew Biblical text. The absence of those references cannot be taken as affirmation of those references.

      Second, the Christian Bible (both Old and New Testaments) have been translated so much and have been altered in minor ways which modify the orginal Hebrew and Greek definitions and connotations, that the validity of any one translatation is suspect, Remember translations have not only been make into English, but German, Portuguese, Chinese and many others. In American English the word "blue" has a negative connotation (to bhttp://www.gotquestions.org/correct-religion.htmloe sad), while in Brazilian Portuguese "azul" means (everfything's great). It is not reasonable to conclude that the English connotations of Greek and Hebrew words mean the same.

      Conclusion, the entire argument presented falls flat because is based on the erroneous assumption that all Scripture is equal and true. I am a Christian by choice of faith in the unproveable trust in the concept of "Grace".

      November 20, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
    • MeMelvin

      BTW: It takes much longer than a few weeks to read the entire Bible.
      Even longer to inter-relate the messages therein. It is worth reading (believer or non-believer).
      The Good Book is actually a pretty good book!

      November 20, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
  14. clubschadenfreude

    It is too bad that people have been deluded by religion into thinking that some group of people or other has some "divine right" for a patch of land. One would think this supposedly benign god, that both sides purportedly claim to worship, would come down and show what it wants, but indeed it is hard for imaginary beings to do that. It is just the selfishness and willful ignorance of humans that continues this senseless killing on both sides.

    November 20, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
    • nanette briggs

      It's so sad that in this day and age people are still killing themselves over their particular notion of "God." We've come a long way scientifically and to still believe in the legend of ancient men is inconceivable. There are legends of a deity that predate the Hebrew so let's go back to one or two of them and start more wars. Sheesh!

      November 20, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
  15. anon

    Ignoring the many inappropriate comments here, it's obvious that the name isn't translating well to the Biblically-unfamiliar. Just imagine that the name was Guardian Angel or something, OK? It's the same intent/meaning as pillar of cloud here.

    November 20, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
    • Be honest

      drop a bomb on the holyland leaving a huge hole. Then watch the confused religious run in circles as ants when their ant hill is destroyed.

      November 20, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
  16. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    November 20, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
    • HeavenSense

      Hi Prayerbot.

      November 20, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
    • clubschadenfreude

      really, "prayer changes things". How hilarious. Did prayer change the presidential election? I'm sure that the "good Christians" in the GOP sure were praying. Does prayer change the fact that people are dying uselessly in the Middle East? That children are dying of starvation in Africa? that American soldiers die from IEDs in Afghanistan? I'm sure people are praying lots and NOTHING happens that would show anything more than pure chance. To claim prayer works and then be unable to show this is lying.

      November 20, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
    • Be honest

      I prayed he went away for good. Guess prayer doesn't work.

      November 20, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
    • 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:
      "John 3:16" degenerates to;
      "pervert alert" is the degenerate.

      This troll is not a christian

      November 20, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
    • JonathanL

      What is that based on, faith reasoning, the fabricator of factoids? Prayer has little to no affect on anything according to the latest extensive clinical study published in the Wall St. Journal. There was no statistically significant difference in any outcome based on whther the outcome was prayed for or not. There was an exception. They found that when dying people knew they were being prayed for, they died faster, otherwise no difference.

      November 20, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
    • 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 20, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
    • Bruce

      Why are you focusing on prayer being used to make man's life better, or to improve our worldly situation? God is not some magic lamp that you wish upon every time you selfishly want something for yourself.

      November 20, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
  17. nosurprise

    So what is the issue. The Bible clearly tells us that to those who the Word of G-d came are the Sons of G-d – see Psalm 82.

    All those who believe in Moshiach (also called Jesus) should accept this Truth which sadly is twisted by religious ignorance in "christianity." See the Words of the Lord in John 10:35-36, Philipians 2:5-6, Hebrews 2:11, 1John 4:17...

    November 20, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
    • nosurprise

      A Son of G-d is equal to G-d. This is why they tried to stone the Lord in John 8. He called Himself the Son of G-d and they knew that A Son is identified with His Father. We should not hesitate to say, "G-d is I." The Jewish people don't hesitate to say it. Pagan influences in christianity have caused it to stumble on this Truth; and G-d is a far off "deity" like other pagan religions, including those that influenced roman catholicism.

      November 20, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
  18. behonest

    No one discusses the history. England gave the Jewish people Israel after WWII because the ME got involved in World Wars...fighting for the losing side. Basically, Arabs involve themselves in wars and are poor losers.

    The British defeated Ottoman Turkish forces in 1917 and occupied Ottoman Syria, which would later be divided to British Palestine and TransJordan and French Syria and Lebanon. The land remained under British military administration for the remainder of the war, and beyond. The Gaza issue stems from the June War, 1967 Arab-Israeli War, Israel had won a decisive land war and Israeli forces had taken control of the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula from Egypt, the West Bank West and East Jerusalem from Jordan, and the Golan Heights from Syria. Palestinians per se are actually Arabs from Jordan and other ME countries.

    Arabs are still upset that they lost the war and creating "Palestinians" and claiming occupation is a way to re-coupe their losses. Palestinians have elected Hamas, a terrorist group to represent them. Hamas fires rockets and mortars at Israel constantly and the Palestinian people support this. So my question is, why does the press portray these people as innocents? Are they not held responsible for their behavior and for the fact that they elect and support terrorists that bring military actions on themselves when they shoot off rockets? Really, I don't get why there is always talk of victimization of Palestinians, it appears that they do it to themselves in an effort to continue a war that they have already lost in 1967. So again, Arabs involve themselves in wars and are poor losers.

    Also, every time there is a problem between Israel and the Palestinians, reporters and politicians always say the solution is not through military action, the solution is political. How many years now? Actually, I think if everyone would stop holding it back with endless "cease fires" it could finally be settled. It doesn't make sense to keep repeating the same behavior and expecting different results, let them see it all the way through and finally get it over with.

    November 20, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
    • Norm

      The garbage you're spewing out sounds like you were commissioned by such philanthropic guys like Natanyahu or Lieberman. I am glad most people in the world reject your ideas.

      November 20, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
    • the wise one

      and they are still fighting for it. so, why callt hem terrorists? the war is still going

      November 20, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
  19. Jay

    God is One! He is the one who has no needs. He doesnt have a Father, Nor does he have a Son!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    People who are agnostic are in fact people who lack basic intelligence. How else can one explain their disbelief in a miracle called birth!! I guess its just convenient for them to just say that God doesnt exist!!!!! I pity their ignorance. May God bless them!!

    November 20, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
    • FatSean

      Show me your god or GTFO.

      First the Canaanites, then the people of Ai, now the Palestinians :(

      November 20, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
    • Be honest

      simple minded people profess arrogance with silly limited thinking topics as birth. Hey, if you don't understand it, a god created it! Just like the volcano worshipers prayed to volcanoes not knowing they were a natural occurrence in a lively celestial body as the earth. A god created nothing. However man did create god.

      November 20, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
    • Jay

      Thank God. The most beneficient, the most meciful. God of the heavens and of all the creatures. Show us the path of the righteous people who have taken the path you have shown and not of the people who went astray. Ameen!

      November 20, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
    • atheistguy

      You statement has no real arguement other than "we don't know so it must be God." This doesn't prove a thing on the existence of a higher power. You offer no proof that god did it other than you're silly outdated beliefs. I really pity the fact that there are people out there like yourself that still believe in magic and traditions from the bronze age. Open up your eyes to science and reason and messes like the one we see unfolding in the middle east would be solved.

      November 20, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
    • Jay

      @Be honest:
      What if I tell you that I know a scripture which described birth 1400 years back, when there was no science around ?

      What if I tell you that I know a scripture which described how mountains formed and that the earth and all the planets revolved around it, when the whole Europe was engulfed in Dark ages and believed that Earth was FLAT!!!

      What if I tell you that I know a scripture which described how and what happened to Pharaoh, when there was no knowledge of what pyramids are ?

      Open your eyes dude!!!

      November 20, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
    • Bruce

      Show me proof that God does NOT exist. Believing that God does not exist takes more faith than believing that He does. How else do you ultimately explain something (the entire universe) coming from nothing?

      November 20, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
    • Charles

      Do you realize that religion has the distinction of causing the most wars and blood shed? Why do people hate other peoples choices to believe in this God or that god, or if their is a God at all. It's terrible to me that Religion which says love your fellow man can be translated into hate towards them. Whatever your religious choices, stop trying to convert others. Just be happy with your choice and keep your judgements to yourself.

      November 20, 2012 at 12:41 pm |
    • Collin

      "People who are agnostic are in fact people who lack basic intelligence" i think the pot is calling the kettle black here. Birth is not a miracle but rather an act of nature. i find your statement ignorant, and its ignorance like yours that leads to wars. more people in this world have died in the name of god because of people like you and their stubborn mindset. Agnostic people believe there is a higher power but with no certanty as to what or who that god is let alone who made that god. You will not find an agnostic person persecuting someone for their faith let alone KILLING IN THE NAME OF. while i choose to believe there is a higher order with NO PHYSICAL EVIDENCE to prove it, i refuse to be brain washed by oraganized religion.

      November 20, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
    • Jay

      To people who dont believe in GOD!!.... other words you believe that you were NOT CREATED, but just HAPPENED ???? LOL!!!!

      Its like saying.... if someone dumps... some steel, some leather, some rubber... in a tin can and shakes it... YOU GET A LEXUS OUT OF IT !!! Wake up guys before its too late!

      November 20, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
    • Jay

      The Best proof that God does exist... is you yourself!!!!!!! How do you explain what makes your heart beat ? How do you explain how your brain functions, which science is yet to figure out ? How do you explain what makes a tiny heart in your wife's womb beat ?

      November 20, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
    • Science and Probabilities

      I think we all have to be careful throwing around the "arrogant" word. To call others simple and arrogant is, in itself, an arrogant statement. Hypocrisy abounds!!!! Enough said.

      Regarding the age old question of the existence of God: Two relatively recent discoveries in science must be considered. (1) science has established that the universe is about 13.75 billion years old, and (2) science can estimate the number of atomic particles in the universe. Based on that, we can actually calculate the probability that life would come from non-life based on the number of potential molecular reactions in the universe since its inception. It is something on the order of 1 x 10 -18 (citation is Hugh Ross, "The Genesis Question"). Of course, that still leaves the question of how/why chromosomes would form when no cells yet existed and coincidentally form next to a random assortment of cells that are simultaneously forming a cell wall.

      Think about it honestly and with an open mind (if that were even possible for any of us) and come to your own decision. But remember, you have to put your faith in something – either a 1 x 10 -18 chance or a Creator.

      November 20, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
    • Bruce

      Science and Probabilities, I'll put my faith in God the creator of all things. For those who don't believe at all, if you're right, then none of us have anything to lose. If they're wrong, not even God will help them once this world passes and we enter eternity.

      November 20, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
    • Jay

      I am a Muslim. And one thing I KNOW is, God loves us ALL. He sent messenger after messenger from Adam to Noah to Abraham to Moses to Jesus Christ to Muhammad whenever we as humans went astray, to help us show the right path. And BTW, these were ALL RIGHTEOUS PEOPLE!!!!!!!! WHY would someone send messengers if it was not for LOVE ? Somehow, we as humans go back to our own ways of deception, killing innocent people. The wars happening in our contemporary times are the result of our own misgivings. God Help us All.

      November 20, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
  20. asddas

    Why are we stuck on something that occurred 2000 years ago ? I dont get our obsession with the past and trying desperately to understand why we did things 2000 years ago. Lets just learn from our past mistakes and work towards a future vision where we are religionless, moral and accepting.

    November 20, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
    • Bill S.

      asddas: To be religionless is to be immoral. Morality came from God. If there is no standard of morality then it is dependent on each person's perception of it. This leaves you wide open to anything being moral. In this case society would end fairly quickly indeed.

      November 20, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
    • Michael

      First, just because your vision for our future is that we are religionless, doesn't mean that is everyone's vision. So my question is what put's your vision and a small percentage of others view over everybody elses?

      Second, you say let's be moral. The fact is we are not naturally born moral. We have this thing called a "sin nature" and when we are tempted, we subcome to it. Sure, you can dodge the bullet here and there. There are maybe even things that don't seem appealing to you that you wouldn't do. However, everybody has something that they are more apt to do when tempted that is immoral. There is no way around this fact. There will always be murderers, theifs, liars, rapists....so on and so on. The only way to overcome this sin nature is by a relationship with Jesus and even then until we are in our perfected bodies we still battle the nature of sin in our lives. You ask how do I know that we are doomed to have a sin nature? Easy answer, I never taught my 3 year old how to lie, but the nature inside of her taught her that.

      Finally, you say why the obsession with what happened 2000 years ago? Well, if you ask me, I think that it is a testament that something that happened 2000+ years ago is still a huge influence in today's world. For it to survive generations upon generations of people who thought they had all the answers and generations upon generations of arguments against it, to me, speaks for itself. Religion will never go away, because with in our DNA we were created with a sense that there is a God. Sure, some people supress those feelings and try to make arguements against it. But, I am willing to bet that at some point in your life you either directly believed there is a God or even if you didn't believe, you at the very least questioned yourself (if you are honest with yourself).

      I pray that God reveals Himself to you in a real and undeniable way and places people in your live to point you to truth!

      November 20, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
    • Mrs. Pepperpot

      Bull, Bill. Moralitycomes from within, not some book. I know more immoral "religious" people that immoral atheists; yet they justify their behavior BY that book, and BY that God...total fvcking bullsh!t!!

      November 20, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
    • Michael

      @ Mrs. Pepperpot -- Yes, but you demonstrated your point nicely, but cussing at a complete stranger, who besides this one topic, you might find out you could have a lot in common with. Maybe not, but maybe so.

      The point Bill is making, is while you say that the people you know that are atheists are "moral". You are judgeing their moriality by your standards. If my standards are different then yours I may view those atheists as "immoral". So, whose view is right. Does your's trump mine or does mine trump yours? You say it comes from within, well we are all different. We have different backgrounds, different influences in our lives, different areas, different hurts and different failures and successes. So, what your "within" tells you may be different than my "within" because usually our feelings and opinions are shaped by things that happen to us.

      Thus why Bill said that we are in trouble if we leave it up to each other. I don't know if you are from the USA or not, but if you are look at our country we are divided and can't get things done, why, because we have differences in opinions on the direction the country should take and how to get there.

      I think I have gotten my point across on this, so I will stop here. But just know while something may sound good in therory, you have to apply that logic across the board and then usually it doesn't sound as good anymore.

      November 20, 2012 at 1:18 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.