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Journey to Jerusalem and the West Bank
January 26th, 2013
10:00 PM ET

My Take: An American Jew finds MLK – and a new understanding – on the West Bank

Editor's note: Arri Eisen, PhD., is professor of pedagogy at Emory University’s Center for Ethics, Department of Biology and Graduate Institute of the Liberal Arts. Carlton D. Mackey, who took the accompanying photographs, is the director of the Ethics & the Arts Initiative at the Emory University Center for Ethics.

By Arri Eisen, Special to CNN

Monday was Martin Luther King Day. Monday, Barack Obama was inaugurated president for the second time.

This was one of the few glimmers of hope held up by many of the Palestinians I met with at the turn of the year in the West Bank: “Who would have thought in Martin Luther King’s day that you would now have a black president? If that can happen in the U.S., then maybe one day there can be peace here.”

I spent 10 days in Jordan, Israel and the occupied territories on a “journey of reconciliation” my university sponsored, with a dozen other Americans — I the only Jew among them — meeting with Israeli and Palestinian leaders.

We met with Vera Baboun, the newly elected and first-ever female mayor of Bethlehem, a small city in the West Bank. The mayor told us she earned her degree in African-American literature at the Hebrew University; she was inspired by Toni Morrison and Alice Walker. Like many of the Palestinian political leaders in the West Bank, she is Christian. She is a mother of five; her husband was detained by the Israelis for three years and died soon after his release. Just outside her office, across the square, Jesus was born.

As we stand in the lobby saying goodbye to the mayor, a full-sized picture of Yasser Arafat, waving and smiling at me. In the world I grew up in, the late Palestinian leader was considered nothing but a Jew-killer, a terrorist.

Take everything that is good in humans and everything that is bad, mix it together, pour it in a vat of irony and then boil it down and stick it in one small area. This is the Middle East.

As we leave Bethlehem, the “separation barrier” — tall, thick concrete walls topped with gnarly wires cutting through the land like a knife — is on our left. On our right, says our guide, is the valley where the shepherds were told by the angels of Jesus’ birth. As we cross through the checkpoint, one of 500 in the West Bank, I turn and look back to see a huge red sign warning that it’s illegal for Israelis to enter Bethlehem – as well as dangerous to their lives.

I think of another sign we saw earlier that day. We had driven our bus up a good road that led to a settlement — full of Jews, surrounded by their own fence and guarded gate — and then took a ragged road as far as we could, up to the boulders strewn across it. We got out and walked the wind-whipped path to the Tent of Nations, 100 acres owned by Daoud, a Palestinian with a deed for this land that dates to 1916. The sign on entering Daoud’s property: “We refuse to be enemies.” He fights as MLK would; his right to the land has been tied up in the Israeli courts for more than two decades. When Daoud puts up tents for a summer camps he runs for kids from Bethlehem, he is issued demolition orders for them. He sees swimming pools in the settlements, but his water and electricity are cut off; he collects his own rain water and produces his own solar power.

These were not the stories I was told. I was raised in the classical Jewish American Zionist narrative of black and white, good and evil. Seeing the endless stream of evangelical Christians and Jews on birthright trips from all over the world touring through Jerusalem, I want to stop and shake them and tell them what they’re missing, what I wasn’t told.

It’s not that the Palestinians are angels. When the Israelis built the separation barriers, the suicide bombings terrorizing Israeli citizens stopped. I had dinner with an old friend, an American who had moved to Israel decades before. She spoke of gas masks and bomb shelters and of fear for her daughter, who is in the army guarding a West Bank settlement.

In Jerusalem, I walk out of the Church of the Nativity with our Palestinian guide Nabeel, one of 42 allowed to enter the city (on a six-month renewable permit). He walks with a limp. I tell him, “I now know three men with your name, one from Pakistan, one from Lebanon and now you.” He smiles. “What is your name again?” he asks. “I’m glad you’re on the trip. You know, in America, outside, I have Jewish friends, but here ...”

At the place where Jesus was buried, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, bells compete in aural space with Muslim prayers over loudspeakers. Our guide shows us a side entrance for black Christians who at one time weren’t allowed to use the main entrance. We take it and wind upward. On the roof of the church, here in the middle of the Old City of Jerusalem, a group of African monks has set up their own village!

At the Wailing Wall, small birds have taken up residence in a very resilient plant that grows from its ancient bricks. The birds look out at me, at the man holding his iPhone to the wall so a distant friend can pray into its mortar, at the Israeli soldiers completing their training and swearing to die for their country before this last remnant of the second Temple, at the masses of praying men and women — the women in a smaller area, separated from the men and further from the holiest part of the Wall. I am humbled. I turn and am struck by a huge sign advertising “bar mitzvahs at the Wall.” I wonder what the birds are thinking.

Many, Palestinians and Israelis, talk of how “things have gotten worse the last two years,” how peace is not even an issue in this week’s Israeli elections.

We meet with a group of young men and women calling themselves Kids for Peace: Palestinians, Christians, Jews, Israelis, Muslims. They get together regularly and share stories; they bring their parents together across the enmity formed by walls and fences. I see my son in them. The oldest one clears his throat. “We have peace in our veins,” he says, “We are changing people. We must listen to each other.”

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • History • Israel • Jerusalem • Judaism • Middle East • Palestinians

soundoff (453 Responses)
  1. towers3

    I'm a Latin American Christian and forgive my ignorance in advance. I understand the whole Martin Luther King thing and not just because his words resonate with me and have reverberated through the timeless seas of humanity. I know I must have learned it in my history books but have probably forgotten. I guess the question is, why are we suppose to care about this again? I don't know if I've ever met any Palestinians, but I've met plenty of Jews both here in CT and NYC. I don't recall any of them really being that concerned about Latin American Christians and on the contrary I kind of sensed a little bit of contempt on their parts as a whole.

    January 27, 2013 at 7:34 am |
    • Jared

      You are stereotyping based on a few experiences you've had – be careful – that is dangerous.

      II've had a few experiences with Latin Americans who have shown all they like to do is sleep and get drunk – but I know better.

      January 27, 2013 at 10:16 am |
  2. Reality

    Why Israel needs more Conservative Jews:

    origin: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20E1EFE35540C7A8CDDAA0894DA404482 NY Times review and important enough to reiterate.

    New Torah For Modern Minds

    “Abraham, the Jewish patriarch, probably never existed. Nor did Moses. (prob•a•bly
    Adverb: Almost certainly; as far as one knows or can tell).

    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 doc-ument.

    The notion that the Bible is not literally true "is more or less settled and understood among most Conservative rabbis," observed David Wolpe, a rabbi at Sinai Temple in Los Angeles and a contributor to "Etz Hayim." But some congregants, he said, "may not like the stark airing of it." Last Passover, in a sermon to 2,200 congregants at his synagogue, Rabbi Wolpe frankly said that "virtually every modern archaeologist" agrees "that the way the Bible describes the Exodus is not the way that it happened, if it happened at all." The rabbi offered what he called a "LITANY OF DISILLUSION”' about the narrative, including contradictions, improbabilities, chronological lapses and the absence of corroborating evidence. In fact, he said, archaeologists digging in the Sinai have "found no trace of the tribes of Israel - not one shard of pottery."

    January 27, 2013 at 7:32 am |
    • Reality

      The above in Hebrew, one of the official languages of Israel (from Google Translate):

      מדוע ישראל זקוקה ליהודים קונסרבטיביים יותר:

      מקור: ביקורת http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20E1EFE35540C7A8CDDAA0894DA404482 ניו יורק טיימס וחשוב מספיק כדי לחזור.

      ניו תורה למוחות מודרניים

      "אברהם, האב היהודי, שכנראה מעולם לא היה קיימים. גם לא משה. (Prob • • ליי
      תואר פועל: כמעט ודאי; ככל אחד לא יודע או יכול להגיד).

      סיפור יציאת מצרים כולה כפי שסופר בתנ"ך כנראה מעולם לא התרחש. אותו הדבר נכון לגבי הנפילה של חומות יריחו. והדוד, רחוק מלהיות המלך האמיץ שבנה את ירושלים לבירה אדירה, היה סביר יותר מנהיג מחוזי מוניטין שמאוחר יותר הוגדל כדי לספק נקודת התלכדות אומה צעירה.

      הצעות כאלה מדהימות – התוצר של ממצאי ארכיאולוגים החופרים בישראל וסביבתה במשך 25 השנים האחרונות – זכו לקבלה רחבה בקרב רבנים לא אורתודוקסים. אבל לא היה שום ניסיון להפצת רעיונות אלו או לדון בם עם ההדיוטות – עד עכשיו.

      בתי ההכנסה של יהדות קונסרבטיבית, המייצג את 1.5 מיליון יהודים הקונסרבטיביים בארצות הברית, פשוט הוציאה תורה חדש ופרשנות, הראשון לשמרנים בלמעלה מ 60 שנים. בשם" עץ חי" (" עץ החיים" בעברית), היא מציעה פרשנות המשלבת את הממצאים האחרונים מהארכיאולוגיה, פילולוגיה, אנתרופולוגיה והמחקר של תרבויות העתיקות. לעורכים שעבדו על הספר, הוא מייצג את אחד מהמאמצים הנועזים ביותר אי פעם להכניס לזרם המרכזי הדתי נוף של התנ"ך כאנושי ולא doc-ument אלוהי.

      הרעיון שהתנ"ך הוא לא ממש אמיתי" הוא התמקם פחות או יותר ויובן בקרב רבנים קונסרבטיבים ביותר," ציינה דוד וולפה, רב בהר הסיני הבית בלוס אנג'לס, ותרם ל" עץ חי". אבל חלק מתפללים, הוא אמר," אולי לא אוהבים את השידור הבוטה שלו." פסח האחרון, בדרשה ל2200 מתפללים בבית ההכנסה שלו, הרב וולפא אמר בכנות ש"" כמעט כל הארכיאולוג המודרני מסכים" שהדרך המקרא מתאר את יציאת מצרים היא לא דרך שזה קרה, אם זה קרה בכלל." הרב הציע את מה שכינה" פזמון של התפכחות "על הנרטיב, כולל סתירות, סבירויות, נפילות כרונולוגיות והעדר אימות ראיות. למעשה, הוא אמר, ארכיאולוגים החופרים בסיני יש" לא מצאו זכר לשבטי ישראל -. לא שבר אחד של חרס"

      January 27, 2013 at 7:38 am |
    • Reality

      ما سبق في اللغة العربية، واللغة الرسمية الأخرى لإسرائيل

      The above in Arabic, the other official language of Israel: (from Google Translate)

      الأصل: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html؟res=F20E1EFE35540C7A8CDDAA0894DA404482 استعراض نيويورك تايمز ومهمة بما يكفي لتأكيد.

      جديد التوراة الحديثة للعقول

      "إبراهيم، البطريرك اليهودية، وربما لم تكن موجودة. ولم موسى. (مشكله • A • بلاي
      ظرف: بالتأكيد تقريبا، بقدر ما أحد يعرف أو يمكن أن أقول).

      قصة خروج كامل كما روى في الكتاب المقدس ربما لم يخطر. وينطبق الشيء نفسه من الهبوط للجدران أريحا. وديفيد، بعيدا عن كونها ملك الخوف الذي بنى القدس إلى عاصمة الأقوياء، كان أكثر عرضة زعيم المقاطعة التي اشتهرت في وقت لاحق تم تضخيم لتوفير نقطة تجمع للأمة وليدة.

      اكتسبت قبولا واسعا بين الحاخامات الأرثوذكس غير – المقترحات مذهلة مثل – نتاج النتائج من قبل علماء الآثار في إسرائيل حفر وضواحيها على مدى السنوات ال 25 الماضية. ولكن لم يكن هناك أي محاولة لنشر هذه الأفكار أو لمناقشتها مع العلمانيين – حتى الآن.

      أصدر كنيس المتحد لليهودية المحافظة، وهو ما يمثل اليهود 1500000 المحافظين في الولايات المتحدة، على بعد التوراة جديدة والتعليق، لأول المحافظين في 60 عاما أكثر من. ودعا"" ETZ حاييم (" شجرة الحياة" في العبرية)، وهو يقدم تفسيرا يتضمن أحدث النتائج من، وعلم الآثار علم الإنسان، فقه اللغة ودراسة الثقافات القديمة. إلى المحررين الذين عملوا على الكتاب، لأنها تمثل واحدة من أجرأ الجهود من أي وقت مضى أن نقدم في صلب وجهة نظر دينية من الكتاب المقدس كإنسان وليس الإلهي DOC-ument.

      فكرة أن الكتاب المقدس ليس صحيحا حرفيا" هو أكثر أو أقل فهم واستقر بين أكثر الحاخامات المحافظين، ديفيد" وحظ ولب، حاخام معبد سيناء في لوس انجليس وأحد المساهمين في" ETZ حاييم." ولكن بعض المصلين، وقال:" قد لا ترغب في بث صارخ على ذلك." عيد الفصح الماضي، في خطبة إلى 2،200 المصلين في الكنيس له، الحاخام ولب صراحة أن"" تقريبا كل الآثار الحديثة يوافق" أن الطريق الكتاب المقدس يصف سفر الخروج ليست الطريقة التي حدث، في حال وقوعها على الإطلاق." عرضت الحاخام ما وصفه" سلسلة من خيبة الأمل "" عن السرد، بما في ذلك التناقضات، improbabilities، هفوات الزمني وعدم وجود غيره. في الواقع، وقال: علماء الآثار حفر في سيناء و" وجدت أي أثر لأسباط إسرائيل – ليست واحدة من الفخار شارد"

      January 27, 2013 at 7:42 am |
  3. Shee

    A powerful, if limited, article. May we all continue to see with open eyes and minds. We are brothers and sisters.

    January 27, 2013 at 7:28 am |
  4. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Pray without ceasing in 2013
    Prayer changes things

    January 27, 2013 at 7:26 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!

      January 27, 2013 at 3:14 pm |
    • cwhicks

      Please seek a mental health professionals aid.

      January 27, 2013 at 11:01 pm |
  5. laugh

    religion, piile of dirt and stupid people. Bad combo

    January 27, 2013 at 7:19 am |
  6. Universe

    God in Quran says, (holy Islamic scripture)

    “They even attribute to Him sons and daughters, without any knowledge. Be He glorified. He is the Most High, far above their claims.” Quran [6:100]

    “The example of Jesus, as far as GOD is concerned, is the same as that of Adam; He created him from dust, then said to him, "Be," and he was.” Quran [3:59]

    ‘They said, "You have to be Jewish or Christian, to be guided." Say, "We follow the religion of Abraham – monotheism – he never was an idol worshiper." [2:135]

    “Proclaim, He is the One and only GOD. The Absolute GOD. Never did He beget. Nor was He begotten. None equals Him." [112:1]

    The Messiah, son of Mary is no more than a messenger like the messengers before him, and his mother was a saint. Both of them used to eat the food. Note how we explain the revelations for them, and note how they still deviate! [5:75]

    It does not befit God that He begets a son, be He glorified. To have anything done, He simply says to it, "Be," and it is. [19:35]

    “No soul can carry the sins of another soul. If a soul that is loaded with sins implores another to bear part of its load, no other soul can carry any part of it, even if they were related. ... [35:18]

    O people, here is a parable that you must ponder carefully: the idols you set up beside God can never create a fly, even if they banded together to do so. Furthermore, if the fly steals anything from them, they cannot recover it; weak is the pursuer and the pursued. [22:73]

    They do not value God as He should be valued. God is the Most Powerful, the Almighty.[22:74]

    If you obey the majority of people on earth, they will divert you from the path of God. They follow only conjecture; they only guess. [Quran 6:116]

    “There shall be no compulsion in religion: the right way is now distinct from the wrong way. Anyone who denounces the devil and believes in God has grasped the strongest bond; one that never breaks. God is Hearer, Omniscient.” [2:256]

    “God: there is no other god besides Him, the Living, the Eternal. Never a moment of unawareness or slumber overtakes Him. To Him belongs everything in the heavens and everything on earth. Who could intercede with Him, except in accordance with His will? He knows their past, and their future. No one attains any knowledge, except as He wills. His dominion encompasses the heavens and the earth, and ruling them never burdens Him. He is the Most High, the Great.” [2:255]

    Thanks for taking time to read my post. Please take a moment to clear your misconception by going to whyIslam org website

    January 27, 2013 at 7:14 am |
    • Science

      Evolution won in the Dover court trial. ID/creation can not be taught in public schools in US.. Moving forward, take a blood test map your genes.

      Creationists' tactics also have a more profound impact on science education which goes beyond biology because they communicate the idea that there is something lacking or something wrong with evolutionary theory, an idea which is not actually true from a scientific standpoint. This causes students to develop very mistaken beliefs about the nature of science, the scientific method, and how scientific research is used. This cheats students out of the proper science education which they deserve.

      Attempts to use the law to restrict or dilute the teaching of evolution in public schools matters because science matters. As society relies more and more heavily on science and technology on ever more fundamental levels, it becomes increasingly more important that all citizens receive a proper grounding in science and the scientific method. Science education is becoming a key part of what it means to be a well-informed and well-educated citizen of today; therefore, any effort to temper science education in order to placate a vocal religious group cheats the students, cheats society, and cheats our future.

      January 27, 2013 at 7:39 am |
    • Jayagor

      Sorry to disappoint you but the concept of monotheism comes from Zoraster- Zarathustra & Hinduism . The Jews adopted this concept from the Persians.

      January 27, 2013 at 7:43 am |
    • End Religion

      "When you believe in things that you don't understand then you suffer. Superstition ain't the way." – Stevie Wonder

      January 27, 2013 at 10:22 am |
    • realbuckyball

      The Egyptians also tried out monotheism. The priests rejected it, (as it meant that a lost lost their jobs). Islam came from polytheism, as there were 359 other gods worship in the Kabbah originally, as did Yahweh. In the Satanic verses, even Muhammad said Allah had 3 divine daughters. Yahweh was one of many gods( the 40 son ) in the Sumerian council of gods, (the Elohim .. is plural), and Jewish culture was not strictly monotheistic until 2nd and 3rd Isaiah insisted on it well after the return from the Babylonian Exile. The reason the Jews insisted on one god, was that Yahweh was the god of the armies, and they wanted help in battle. The actually believed in many others. They were told not to WORSHIP the others. That did, in no way mean, they BELIEVED there were no others. Why do you think the First Commandment says "no other gods before me" ?

      January 27, 2013 at 8:19 pm |
  7. JR

    Individuals can share a humanity that a religion or poltiical party, cannot.

    I have always had this deep seated feeling that if there is a God and he meets up with people who met death through violence on behalf of religion, that he'd look them dead in the eye like a mad father and say 'that's not what I meant'.

    January 27, 2013 at 7:05 am |
    • Matt

      Most of those who kill in the lord's name are not the believers. It is those who use religion as a tool for what they actually believe in... be it power, money, or ego. I mean you need only look at those who claim to be 'born-again' and claim Jesus is their personal savior yet go on to ignore Just War Theory, forgiveness, and caring.

      January 27, 2013 at 7:23 am |
  8. Aristocles

    A very badly timed and badly placed fluff piece.

    January 27, 2013 at 6:59 am |
  9. empresstrudy

    Nice going CNN! a pro palestinian genocide piece on or about holocaust remembrance day.

    January 27, 2013 at 6:55 am |
  10. Matt in KY

    Nice piece. Always love when humans can see past their man-made fairy tales and realize they've been killing and being killed (in real life) for nothing. Again, humans have been on the planet for 250,000 years. Your religions, a smoothie of whack concepts stolen from the civilizations that preceded them, have absolutely nothing to do with mankind. God didn't build those fences, god doesn't drop smart bombs, god doesn't vote in elections. Hateful, ignorant men do. I don't have organized religion surviving three more generations....so go ahead and keep wasting your time on it.....you only live once!

    January 27, 2013 at 6:43 am |
  11. CSX

    I won't mention the Clintonian style they say he had with women.

    More amazing is the attack by his peaceful followers in 1968 that terrorized 220 plus US cities where thousands of businesses were looted and burned. Many across the country were killed. American inner cities began their decline after this.

    Then came the second King, Rodney and a billion in damages in one city plus over 50 killed.
    We fear riotous reprisal every time there is a trial like OJ or the power is out.

    But we are too PC to call it terrorism. I have a dream has been a 6 trillion dollar I have a nightmare.
    A curse on our land that no one wants to fix.

    So go ahead, use MLK as the hope of Palestine, they already are terrorists.

    January 27, 2013 at 6:37 am |
    • Pastor Bob

      Your hatred will only being shame upon your family.

      January 27, 2013 at 6:49 am |
    • So What

      MLK was a man of true peace. These PA arab animals are a spawn of the Devil who would love to murder in his name. To compare the 2 is an insult to peace. Any way you look at it that little sliver of land has never and does not belong to the muslim arabs. Jerusalem is mentioned in their koran ZERO times. Plus it says that their god gave the Jews that land. Read it, iIs there.

      January 27, 2013 at 7:10 am |
  12. Paul

    Obviously, the professor was listening to the peaceful overtones of Abbas stating Jews will not be allowed in a Palestinian State, Hamas states there can never be any acceptance of anything but an Islamic only Middle East, Egypt's "moderate leader according to Obama" says Muslims must teach their children and grand children to hate Jews, a Palestinian mayor says jews make toys for Palestinian children out of explosive materials, palestinians are told that jews use Palestinian children's blood to make Passover matzoh, textbooks call for killing jews and clerics teaching that Jews have no connection to the western wall and never lived in "israel" until after WW II when the Jewish press made up the Holocaust so that Jews could take the Arab lands. Obama asked Israel to stop settlement building for six months to meet an Abbas precondition and Abbas refused to negotiate. Maybe Obama should try saying something about the Palestinian tactics. He only criticizes Israel and we see how well that's brought about peace negotiations.

    January 27, 2013 at 6:34 am |
  13. Hindu false stinky pot Mithraism of false Judaism and false Islamic followers of Christ and Jebus

    Hi. I'm back. No reasonable person would raise their family in the Middle East. Anyone with 1/2 a brain would get the hell out as fast as possible, and never look back. 500 years from now, humans looking at the Earth from space will shake their heads that so much time and blood and tears were wasted on that little strip of crappy territory. There is nothing new there. Humans have been fighting over it ever since the Jews declared that their god had promised it to them, and they had a right to grab the land from the Canaanites who already lived there. Since the Bible IS intended as a real estate contract, I guess that still goes now, doesn't it.

    January 27, 2013 at 4:30 am |
  14. Reality

    A fast road to peace in the Middle East:

    All the Muslims in the USA voluntarily move to Israel and all the Jews in Israel voluntarily move to the USA.

    January 26, 2013 at 11:42 pm |
    • A wine critic comments on Reality

      Subtle delicate flatulence with hints of moose dung and puss, finished with a clean tail of lobster vomit.

      All in all, a very stupid experience.

      January 27, 2013 at 1:56 am |
    • Fadi

      good idea

      January 27, 2013 at 6:49 am |
    • So What

      Take all the muslims out of the ME and send them to SA where they belong. Before they came the place was mostly Christian.

      January 27, 2013 at 7:23 am |
  15. Mohammad A Dar

    Take everything that is good in food and everything that is bad, put them through a mixture, pour it in a glass and then gulp it down, in morning shoot it in one small area. This is Middle East.

    January 26, 2013 at 11:38 pm |
    • realbuckyball

      Hey Mo. Your web site is one of the most hilarious, redciculous web sites I have ever had the displeasure to view. You know you need metal help, I hope.

      January 27, 2013 at 4:22 am |
    • So What

      The ME is the last remaining place the laggard remnant is on their last chance to redeem themselves. It looks like they will go through the fire.

      January 27, 2013 at 7:13 am |
    • Mohammad A Dar

      realbuckyball, my friend, I am not the same MO you thinking. I use his name because he is too scared to post under his own name.

      January 27, 2013 at 11:41 am |
  16. Brampt

    Matt 21:42,23: Jesus said to them: “Did ​YOU​ never read in the Scriptures, ‘The stone that the builders rejected is the one that has become the chief cornerstone. From GOD this has come to be, and it is marvelous in our eyes’?43This is why I say to ​YOU, The kingdom of God will be taken from ​YOU​ and be given to a nation producing its fruits

    January 26, 2013 at 11:33 pm |
    • The Bear Jew

      The strong eat the weak, Brampt. What's it to you if we take "the kingdom of God" and give it to someone else?

      January 26, 2013 at 11:38 pm |
    • Reality

      Matt 21: 42 = Mark 12: 10 like all the passages in the NT has been rigorously analyzed for historic authenticity by many contemporary NT scholars. And many of these scholars have concluded that this passage was not uttered by the historical Jesus. For example, see Professor Gerd Ludemann's conclusions in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years, pp. 80-82: "..........its degree of authenticity is nil. ". See also http://www.faithfutures.org/JDB/jdb047.html.

      January 26, 2013 at 11:58 pm |
    • Brampt

      reality – While the Gospel credited to Matthew does not name him as the writer, the overwhelming testimony of early church historians stamps him as such. Perhaps no ancient book has its writer more clearly and unanimously established than the book of Matthew. From as far back as Papias of Hierapolis (early second century C.E.) onward, we have a line of early witnesses to the fact that Matthew wrote this Gospel and that it is an authentic part of the Word of God. McClintock and Strong’s Cyclopedia states: “Passages from Matthew are quoted by Justin Martyr, by the author of the letter to Diognetus (see in Otto’s Justin Martyr, vol. ii), by Hegesippus, Irenæus, Tatian, Athenagoras, Theophilus, Clement, Tertullian, and Origen. It is not merely from the matter, but the manner of the quotations, from the calm appeal as to a settled authority, from the absence of all hints of doubt, that we regard it as proved that the book we possess had not been the subject of any sudden change.”* The fact that Matthew was an apostle and, as such, had God’s spirit upon him assures that what he wrote would be a faithful record.

      January 27, 2013 at 12:16 am |
    • Brampt

      Reality – Matt 23:37 – “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the killer of the prophets+ and stoner+ of those sent forth to her,how often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks together under her wings!+ But YOU people did not want it. 38 Look! YOUR house is abandoned to YOU.

      January 27, 2013 at 12:33 am |
    • ¿¿lol

      The gospel? OK. Like the gospel copied from pagans? The gospels where early apologists claimed there was no plagiarism, but that it was a pre-emptive strike by Satan? Oh yeah, that gospel. lol.

      January 27, 2013 at 12:54 am |
    • End Religion

      Analytical thinking can dissolve religious belief. It's like Draino for nutters!

      http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/244662.php

      January 27, 2013 at 10:27 am |
  17. Chad

    When the Israelis built the separation barriers, the suicide bombings terrorizing Israeli citizens stopped

    that's about all we need to know.

    January 26, 2013 at 11:22 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Who's "we", asshole?

      January 26, 2013 at 11:26 pm |
    • Good thunking, Chud!

      Yes, that obviously ended the violence and solved the problem.

      You must save a fortune on aspirin, because you definitely have the "no btain, no headache" thing going on.

      January 27, 2013 at 1:45 am |
    • realbuckyball

      Except they didn't, idiot.

      January 27, 2013 at 4:23 am |
    • Chadlessness

      ..."that's all we need to know"

      Chad, such finality, such certainty...after the assertion that all suicide bombings had stopped. Yet the Israeli government's own stats say that 12 attacks occured over a three year period after the West Bank wall was completed in 2003. Prior to that, 73 attacks had occured over the previous three years.

      12 does not equate with 0...at least in most folks understanding of numbers and mathematics. It is an important decrease, but, Chad, it is not none.

      I'm disappointed to find your historical bias is as dogmatic as your apologetics. I wonder if the facts that don't fit comfortably in your worldview are consistently filtered out.

      I hope no easily-influenced minds are subjected to the tutelage of your self-certain claims, such as "that's all we need to know."

      January 27, 2013 at 5:35 am |
    • Sanfrancisco

      Chad, Point well made!!!

      January 27, 2013 at 7:51 am |
    • Science

      @ CHAD
      They are trying to reply but filter is preventing the message in print form
      Peace
      Published on Jan 25, 2013

      Keepers at the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington DC have taught their Orangutans to use iPads as part of the Apps for Apes initiative which was started by a non-profit organization, Orangutan Outreach.

      Category

      News & Politics

      January 27, 2013 at 8:27 am |
    • End Religion

      In Chad's mind the separation barriers are "people".

      January 27, 2013 at 10:30 am |
    • Chad

      If for some reason you are still uncertain as to the source of the problem in the middle east, just ask yourself two easy questions:

      1. If all the Arabs in the middle east were to destroy all their weapons tomorrow, what would happen?
      2. If all the Israelis in the middle east were to destroy all their weapons tomorrow, what would happen?

      Answer to question #1: peace in the middle east.
      Answer to question #2: every Israeli would be killed withing 3 days.

      and, there's your answer to the source of the problem.

      January 27, 2013 at 1:40 pm |
    • S-3B Viking

      There is a bit of Freud in every one of your posts, Chad...I wonder why you are so desperate for walls...are you that terrified of life?....in all of your presentations here there seems to be a theme, a need to protect yourself from common-sense thinking....a fortress mentality that ignores anything other than the (ir)reality that you've conjured, formed, and fashioned for yourself.

      Perhaps if you actually spent some time caring for others (and keeping quiet while you're in their presence), you might be forced back into some semblence of humanity

      ...plenty of hospitals, Chad, that need you Christians to visit (other than the 'check-in-the-block after Sunday services visit). Plenty of elderly abandoned by their families that are desperate for the presence of someone who cares...24/7

      But that would get in the way of your relationship with Jesus, of course....

      January 27, 2013 at 3:05 pm |
    • Bob

      Viking

      What have you done for humanity lately? visited hospitals?, comforted the elderly? adopted a child? or even cared for a sick one in the family?
      We hear Christians do that a lot! how 'bout YOU???

      January 27, 2013 at 3:12 pm |
    • Damocles

      @bob

      Far be it for me to speak for Viking, but I have done all those things except adopt a child. Man, I'm a terrible, terrible person.

      January 27, 2013 at 3:17 pm |
    • Todd

      Bob, atheists do those things we just don't have to continually brag about nor do we force those we are helping to listen to the rhetoric of religion.

      January 27, 2013 at 3:19 pm |
    • Bob

      Toad

      Atheists help a lot? how? with a book of darwinian evolution as guidance? LIAR!

      January 27, 2013 at 3:40 pm |
    • S-3B Viking

      @ Bob.

      Hi, Bob...no longer a Christian...when I was one, was never compelled to comply with Matthew 25:31 (I was born-again at age 8)...no pulpit demand, no Sunday School admonition...but spent an abundance of time with my fellow believers wringing my hands over hom ose xuality and abortion and making sure that a Chick tract was placed in every bathroom stall (as cowards tend to do)...

      If you're going to make a claim that your God exists and that Jesus is the only way to the father, then you had better be living a live that reflects ALL of your scripture...

      But, Bob, I'll be leaving in a few hours for another 12-hour shift at my local hospital, as I do at least 3 times per week, and then there are the extra shifts because healthcare is still an employment-friendly field...not to mentioin a vocation (something Christians have long ago abandoned)...

      And it is there, Bob, that I get to clean the sh.it, pu.ss and vomit of the truly suffering, the truly in-need souls that are desperate for a complete healing (not just the "healing" inflicted upon them by Western medicine)....I get the honor of hearning their stories, of hearing the agony of human existence, of listening, Bob, not pontificating or proselytizing...and get the honor of caring for them, in all of their raw vulnerability...one human at a time...

      Care to join me, Bob?

      Oh, and adopt? Really? If Christians spent as much time caring about the living, abandoned kids dying to be adopted in the US alone (you know, those teenage black kids no one dares to touch, for instance), instead of hiding behind the safety of abortion, then there wouldn't be any kids to adopt...(check the state-by-state figures, Bob).

      But, Christians, en masse, don't care.

      Do you?

      January 27, 2013 at 3:51 pm |
    • Bob

      viking

      Christians are in the forefront caring for the less fortunate attacking their stance on ho m o se xu ality does not diminish in any way, shape or form their contribution to the poor and the suffering. They have and continue to do yeoman service around the globe for the betterment of humanity at lartge.

      Your support of h o m o s e x ua l behavior does not automatically give you any more credence to being benevalent which claim is doubtful to begin with

      January 27, 2013 at 4:04 pm |
    • S-3B Viking

      @ Bob...

      Nice assumptions about me, Bob...like Chad, you lack the very fundamental quality of a Christian: humility. And what did Paul say about having a whole bunch of things, but if you don't have "love"?

      But, Bob, you are in great company...for most Christians in the US simply don't care...my hospital floors confirm this each and every day, each and every night.

      There is no question that there are many Christian organizations supporting those in needs...but they are few relative to the significant majority of Christians in the US who sit in pews, walk the aisles of Target and Wal-Mart, and sit on their couch wondering whether or not Honey Boo Boo has hear the Gospel.

      Just remember, Matthew 25:31ff isn't for the atheist or the unbeliever, Bob...it's for you and Chad and the tragic majority of Christians in the US whose lives confirm their God does not exist.

      January 27, 2013 at 4:12 pm |
    • S-3B Viking

      ...and Bob...

      "Less fortunate"...really...don't you just feel so superior!

      They're your fellow humans, Bob...they are your equals...your Jesus supposedly died for them....but I know they are "less" than you....

      Such arrogance is the hallmark of those of your faith.

      January 27, 2013 at 4:15 pm |
    • S-3B Viking

      @ Bob....

      Headed out for Vocation in a few, did you want me to pick you up?

      January 27, 2013 at 5:13 pm |
  18. Apple Bush

    There are only three things:

    1. The Mother.
    2. The Offspring.
    3. Music.

    January 26, 2013 at 11:12 pm |
    • Paul Simon

      No I would not give you false hope
      On this strange and mournful day
      But the mother and child reunion
      Is only a motion away
      Oh
      Little darling of mine.

      January 26, 2013 at 11:14 pm |
    • Akira

      APPLE! Is it really you???

      January 26, 2013 at 11:22 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      Hi Akira. How are you? Been busy but plan to hang around more now!.

      January 26, 2013 at 11:33 pm |
    • Akira

      Apple:
      I've been okay, just trying to get over this shity flue I've had for over a week now...
      I'm glad you're back.
      I've missed you; S-3B Viking and I were rather worried.

      January 26, 2013 at 11:58 pm |
    • Akira

      Lol, I mean shitty flu...yeesh!

      January 27, 2013 at 12:01 am |
    • Mohammad A Dar

      welcome back AB ! Did you read any new book?

      January 27, 2013 at 12:02 am |
    • Mohammad A Dar

      believe it or not I have started reading Perry Mason again!

      January 27, 2013 at 12:03 am |
  19. Tom, Tom, the Other One

    This Road Leads From the Left Armpit of the World to the Right Armpit of the World. Enjoy your stay.

    January 26, 2013 at 11:07 pm |
  20. Happy Happy Joy Joy

    It's fun to visit Fantasyland.

    January 26, 2013 at 10:10 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.