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March 23rd, 2013
09:38 AM ET

My Take: The Empathy President gives an empathy speech

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) - In religious studies courses, professors often try to get their students to see the world through Hindu eyes or to walk a few miles in the shoes of a Confucian. Anthropologists refer to this as cultivating an emic (or insider) perspective. The less fancy name for it is empathy.

Barack Obama is, for better or worse, an empathetic man who has tried for years to see the world through Republican eyes even as he has pleaded for Republicans to walk a few miles in Democratic shoes. As a former community organizer, he knows that you need a little empathy all around to get anything done among people with different world views. Alas, his efforts have met with little success in gridlocked D.C.

This week, Obama took his toolbox of hope, change, trust and empathy to Israel. Addressing a group of Israeli students in Jerusalem on Thursday, he spoke of Iran and of America’s unwavering support for Israel. He even fended off a heckler, joking, “We actually arranged for that, because it made me feel at home.”

But the heart of the speech, which was interrupted repeatedly by hearty applause, came when our Empathy President spoke — twice — of empathy.

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After referring to the necessity of a just and secure peace, and conceding that “Israel has faced Palestinian factions who turn to terror, leaders who missed historic opportunities,” he challenged his Israeli listeners to experience the world as Palestinians do. "Put yourself in their shoes,” he said. “Look at the world through their eyes”:

It is not fair that a Palestinian child cannot grow up in a state of their own, living their entire lives with the presence of a foreign army that controls the movements not just of those young people but their parents, their grandparents, every single day. It’s not just when settler violence against Palestinians goes unpunished. It’s not right to prevent Palestinians from farming their lands or restricting a student’s ability to move around the West Bank or displace Palestinian families from their homes. Neither occupation nor expulsion is the answer. Just as Israelis built a state in their homeland, Palestinians have a right to be a free people in their own land.

Turning away from his script, Obama then spoke of Palestinian youth he had met earlier that day. “They weren’t that different from my daughters,” he said. “They weren’t that different from your daughters or sons.”

Later in the one-hour speech, Obama harked back to his famous 2009 Cairo address to the Muslim world:

Four years ago, I stood in Cairo in front of an audience of young people. Politically, religiously, they must seem a world away. But the things they want, they're not so different from what the young people here want. The ability to make their own decisions, to get an education and a good job, to worship God in their own way, to get married, to raise a family. The same is true of the young people in Gaza ...

"That is where peace begins,” he continued, “not just in the plans of leaders but in the hearts of people.”

Obama has been praised for taking his message directly to the Israeli people, much like he has been trying to take his domestic message in recent weeks directly to the American people. And while some have described this Jerusalem speech as one of his best ever, others have demurred, arguing that, abroad as well as home, Obama has to deliver more than mere rhetoric.

Nonetheless, the president should be praised for getting to the heart of the matter on Thursday in Jerusalem. What he said will fully please neither Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu nor Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. And it is unlikely that any of his well-chosen words brought us any closer to peace in the Middle East.

But Obama is correct to point out that, as long as both sides continue to see things merely from their own parochial perspectives, neither real peace nor real security will be possible.

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

Secretary of State John Kerry is now being charged with jump-starting, yet again, the peace process by attending to growing settlements, the fate of Jerusalem and other hot-button issues. But what is really needed here is a shift of perspective that recognizes antagonists (on both sides) as human beings with aspirations for their children and their children's children.

Is it too much to hope that this is what the Israeli students who listened to this speech were applauding?

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

- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: Foreign policy • Israel • Jerusalem • Middle East • Obama • Palestinians • Politics

soundoff (203 Responses)
  1. Leroy Scharfenberg

    To Richard Cranium
    Why? Are you so afraid of your beliefs that you that need to hide?

    March 23, 2013 at 4:45 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      There is a little reply button on the bottom of each comment so you can keep a coherent thread.

      It is others beliefs that need to be feared, and you really do have to be an incredible moron if you are using your real name.
      Take a look around here, you will find nearly no one uses theri real name.
      Writers have used a nom de plum for centuries not because they have something to hide, but because they value their privacy. History has shown that over zealous nutjobs (like the religious fundimentalists here), do radical things and justify it by their great gtrandfather in the sky.
      If you do not believe you need security in place, you are nieve as well as a moron.

      March 23, 2013 at 4:53 pm |
    • End Religion

      I'm going with the simpleton hypothesis.

      March 23, 2013 at 4:57 pm |
    • Small 'c'

      End Religion
      Oh my, according to the white pages there's only one Leroy Scharfenberg in the country. How's Arkansas this time of year?

      He could be one of the two someone else found in Canada, though. I beleive it was in Edmonton.. Where it is very very snowy right about tonight.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:33 pm |
  2. Leroy Scharfenberg

    To HWB
    Wow! What convictions! Can't even give your name. That leaves me to the conclude that you don't really believe, do you? That goes to anyone. If you can't use your real name, your dung.

    March 23, 2013 at 4:14 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      First it's "you're manure" and what a nice christian thing to say.
      second, only a true moron would use his/her real name.

      March 23, 2013 at 4:25 pm |
    • End Religion

      Oh my, according to the white pages there's only one Leroy Scharfenberg in the country. How's Arkansas this time of year?

      March 23, 2013 at 5:00 pm |
    • oOo

      @ER

      LOL.

      March 23, 2013 at 6:03 pm |
    • Small 'c'

      WUPS! replied to the wrong post. Sorry about the duplicate.

      Small 'c'
      End Religion
      Oh my, according to the white pages there's only one Leroy Scharfenberg in the country. How's Arkansas this time of year?

      He could be one of the two someone else found in Canada, though. I beleive it was in Edmonton.. Where it is very very snowy right about tonight.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:37 pm |
  3. Faith43

    Judea, the land of Jews, existed as a teritory for thousands of years. Romans called Jews by a derogatory name, philistine. Palestine as a culture has never existed, has no language, no tradition, no culture, etc. Israel has a right to exists, historically and philosophically.

    March 23, 2013 at 4:12 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Palestinians have as much right or more to exist than Americans. There were no "Americans" until Europeans came over and slaughtered forty or fifty million Indians in the name of their god and for his glory and decided that they had "been given" this land by their god. There is no logic that can account for the nation of the United States that cannot be used to account for the nation of Palestine. When people decide to band together and call themselves by a certain name, they attempt to gather enough power to expand and survive. Americans and Palestinians alike.

      March 23, 2013 at 4:20 pm |
    • XMW

      Moby- Was that comparison out of ignorance or passionate response related to dogma?

      March 23, 2013 at 4:26 pm |
    • End Religion

      XMW: are you still beating your wife?

      March 23, 2013 at 4:45 pm |
    • TANK!!!!

      "philosophically"

      Pulling words out of your a$$ now, are you?

      March 23, 2013 at 4:46 pm |
    • ISLAM FOUNDATION OF AMERICAN CONSTI TUTION

      Only in hinduism, fabrication of hindu Jews, criminal secular s, hinduism crime of hindu Migi s, tricksters recorded in hindu fabricated book of hindu Mithra ism, racist savior ism called Christianity. hindu Judea bastar d secular has one father, called hindu Lucifer, filthy self centered. denier of truth absolute GOD.

      March 23, 2013 at 4:57 pm |
    • STFU

      @ISLAMIC CROOK, IS IT WORTH TO COME OUT OF HIDING JUST TO POST YOUR GARBAGE ONLINE?, GO BACK TO YOUR HIDE OUT BEFORE DRONE GETS YOU.

      March 23, 2013 at 8:58 pm |
  4. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    March 23, 2013 at 3:42 pm |
    • Jiminy Cricket

      Wishing on a star changes things just as much.

      March 23, 2013 at 3:47 pm |
    • obvious

      reply by someone who doesn't have a clue as to what prayer is.

      March 23, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
    • Jiminy Cricket

      A prayer is a wish, said either aloud or in your conscious mind.
      a prayer is no different than a wish.

      March 23, 2013 at 4:00 pm |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      obvious: shouldn't your alias be oblivious? After all you do believe in prayer.

      March 23, 2013 at 4:24 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!

      March 24, 2013 at 9:45 am |
    • Really?

      "Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things"

      That's why the data, has shown that atheists have happier and healthier lives than conservative Christians. Your post is built on a lie!!

      March 24, 2013 at 9:50 am |
    • Small 'c'

      A dream is a wish your heart makes when you're fast asleep.
      In dreams you will lose your heartache- whatever you wish for, you keep
      Have faith in your dreams and someday your rainbow will come shining through!
      No matter how your heart is grieving, if you go on believing,
      The dream that you wish will come true!

      The gospel according to Livingston, David and Hoffman, cir 1949. Now, how is that sentiment different from prayer?

      March 24, 2013 at 9:44 pm |
  5. ISLAM FOUNDATION OF AMERICAN CONSTI TUTION

    words spoken in hindu Judaism, selfish self center ism do not help, but they are words in tone of a hindu Pundit, crook trickster,not to benefit listeners, but keep them on path of hinduism ignorance to help hindu Pundit, criminal crook extend his plot. Truth absolute of Philistine is visible to every one, hindu Jews, criminal secular, self centered are by faith not, what they claim to be, HEBREW ISRAELITE, BUT HINDU JEWS, CRIMINAL SECULAR S OF EGYPTIAN AND PERSIAN ORIGIN, OUT TO HIND FOOL HUMANITY, HAVING NO RIGHT TO BE IN PHILISTINE. Obama's hinduism denial of truth absolute with words of truth absolute have no other purpose, but to hind fool humanity, as has been the case with hindu Lucifer, filthy secular, every hindu Jew, criminal secular,self centered by faith prays to as his god, by use of name of truth absolute GOD, foundation of American consti tution .

    March 23, 2013 at 3:28 pm |
    • STFU

      IRRELEVANT ISLAMIC GARBAGE BY WORLD REDOUNDED BHUNG, A SPECIAL TYPE OF MUSLIM

      March 23, 2013 at 9:00 pm |
  6. Leroy Scharfenberg

    I realized, while watching the GOP debates, the following.
    The liberals would try to free Jesus. The conservatives would be shouting, "Crucify him!".

    March 23, 2013 at 2:45 pm |
    • HWB

      You got that absolutely wrong. The Democrats would deny the existence of Jesus and GOP praise him..

      March 23, 2013 at 3:46 pm |
  7. Richard Cranium

    Richard Cranium
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    Ridiculous.
    It is not a crime to acknowledge islam as a religion since it is one.
    One group clls me inifidel, the next calls me pagan...names are unimportant.

    The only real way to find peace, is to abandon all of these silly superst!tious religions.

    Join us in reality (though for you rainman it is a much longer trip.)

    seriously coward.... come forth and try having an intelligent comment rather than destroy others second amendment rights...or are you too much of a coward?

    March 23, 2013 at 2:30 pm |
    • Be honest

      The only way to have 1,000 years of Peace is for the Pope and Catholic Bishops to consecrate Russia to the Immaculate heart of Mary at the same time – on the same day. Peace guaranteed. Look it up.

      March 23, 2013 at 2:38 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      The only way to find true peace is to remove that which is fought over...religion is #1 on that list.

      March 23, 2013 at 2:50 pm |
    • Be honest

      Richard C – your comments lack just about everything but adolescent naivety. Seriously , how old are you? Read what I said – AGAIN – then look it up – THEN come back to me with an intelligent comment.

      Streuth, talking to some of you biggotted nut jobs is like wading through mokasses!

      March 23, 2013 at 7:46 pm |
  8. T

    .......To ask the GOP to walk in the shoes of an impoverished inner city 10 year old.....................is like asking the wind to feel for an earthquake...............NOT GONNA HAPPEN

    March 23, 2013 at 1:33 pm |
    • HWB

      To ask the Democrats to walk in the shoes of an impoverished inner city 10 year old.....................is like asking them to lift those poor souls out of poverty .............IT HAS NEVER HAPPEN and WILL NEVER HAPPEN. All they have ever done was keep them in poverty the rest of their lives and get their votes forever.

      March 23, 2013 at 3:53 pm |
  9. ME II

    How does one report the abuse of the 'Report Abuse' button?

    March 23, 2013 at 1:16 pm |
    • fyi

      try:

      try Belief Blog Editor – eric.marrapodi@cnn.com
      or
      Twitter: @EricCNNBelief

      March 23, 2013 at 1:39 pm |
  10. ME II

    Dang,
    Report-Abuse-bot is here too.

    March 23, 2013 at 1:06 pm |
  11. CommonSenseMother

    This article is a JOKE right? Comments like –
    "Turning away from his script, Obama then spoke of Palestinian youth he had met earlier that day. “They weren’t that different from my daughters,” he said." Sounds like "if I had a son he would be like Trevon". Just comments that are 'for the moment' and mean nothing!
    I cannot understand how the recipient of the "Noble Peace Prize" has done NOTHING to promote peace. In fact in the US he has done more to foment distrust and division than any one in my memory. He jumps into situations and makes stupid remarks (like the Trevon, the Cambridge, and many others) which only serve to create dissension.
    The writer is clearly a leftist / liberal / democrat and the article SHOULD be labeled as an EDITORIAL OPINION.
    This article is EXACTLY why people are tuning out media news!

    March 23, 2013 at 1:05 pm |
    • End Religion

      Turning away from media? You're here, aren't you? You felt compelled to comment. It looks like things are workign just as CNN hopes. Thanks for contributing, we know you'll be back!

      March 23, 2013 at 1:11 pm |
    • Raul

      This is opinion. It seems you are just another Obama hater. The president in your opinion can do nothing right. Hate on...you'll die out sooner just like the Dodo bird.

      March 23, 2013 at 1:36 pm |
    • Be honest

      Great comment from "Common sense mother" What a nice change from Obama apologists.

      Obama uses emotion in the same way he uses whining, blaming and bullying - to appeal to the uneducated who think life is the same as 24/7 trash TV!

      Obama had a cheek lecturing the Israelis on how to run their country and CNN [Obama's PR group] beefed it up. Pity America's going down the tubes and broke!
      America spends valuable air time on unimportant drivel. Why doesn't Obama take the politicians to task – the ones who are taking mega bucks from the Chinese to take thousands of gallons of water from aquifers that feed the Great Lakes ?

      The Lakes are draining at an alarming level and it is NOT global warming. I love America but the mind boggles when you think that :
      Water is the 'new oil'
      US politicians are draining their country's water for MONEY
      Us will have to buy BACK their own water from the Chinese!!!!! How stupid is that?

      Remenber folks – in a year or two – whoever has water has power. Unbelievable.

      March 23, 2013 at 2:21 pm |
    • .

      Haven't you noticed? It's the Republicans who are doing all of that; they suck the corporate teat. Obama is one man. Get a clue.

      March 23, 2013 at 3:33 pm |
    • Be honest

      For you with no name - Obama is the LEADER [lol] The buck stops with him. If he can take credit for the things that go well, with no input from him at all [like Bin Laden etc] – then he can take the rap for the wreckage that used to be a great USA till he divided it.

      He's off showing off in the M.E .while Ammerica is begging for action domestically. Talk about Nero fiddled while Rome burnt...............

      March 23, 2013 at 7:51 pm |
  12. Scott f.

    Empthy? Cranial/rectal inversion for sure, and a definite bromance.

    March 23, 2013 at 1:00 pm |
    • Be honest

      Excellent comment.

      March 23, 2013 at 2:24 pm |
  13. Richard Cranium

    Why are so many new posts on this storyline appearing in seemingly random time?

    Look at the time posts and see for your self.

    Also noticed that bethany has tried to post several times today but when I go to see the comment...nothing there...is it blocked?

    March 23, 2013 at 12:51 pm |
    • Reality

      WARNING for new commentators:

      • The moderators of this blog have set up a secret forbidden word filter which unfortunately not only will delete or put your comment in the dreaded "waiting for moderation" category but also will do the same to words having fragments of these words. For example, "t-it" is in the set but the filter will also pick up words like Hitt-ite, t-itle, beati-tude, practi-tioner and const-tution. Then there are words like "an-al" thereby flagging words like an-alysis and "c-um" flagging acc-umulate or doc-ument. And there is also "r-a-pe", “a-pe” and “gra-pe”, "s-ex", and "hom-ose-xual". You would think that the moderators would have corrected this by now considering the number of times this has been commented on but they have not. To be safe, I typically add hyphens in any word that said filter might judge "of-fensive".

      • Make sure the web address does not have any forbidden word or fragment.

      Sum Dude routinely updates the list of forbidden words/fragments.

      Two of the most filtered words are those containing the fragments "t-it" and "c-um". To quickly check your comments for these fragments, click on "Edit" on the Tool Bar and then "Find" on the menu. Add a fragment (without hyphens) one at a time in the "Find" slot and the offending fragment will be highlighted in your comments before you hit the Post button. Hyphenate the fragment(s) and then hit Post. And remember more than one full web address will also gain a "Waiting for Moderation".
      Zeb’s alphabetical listing

      o “bad letter combinations / words to avoid if you want to get past the CNN "awaiting moderation" filter:
      Many, if not most, are buried within other words, so use your imagination.
      You can use dashes, spaces, or other characters to modify the "offending" letter combinations.
      --–
      ar-se.....as in Car-se, etc.
      ba-stard
      co-ck.....as in co-ckatiel, co-ckatrice, co-ckleshell, co-ckles, lubco-ck, etc.
      co-on.....as in rac-oon, coc-oon, etc.
      cu-m......as in doc-ument, accu-mulate, circu-mnavigate, circu-mstances, cu-mbersome, cuc-umber, etc.
      cu-nt.....as in Scu-ntthorpe, a city in the UK famous for having problems with filters...!
      do-uche
      ef-fing...as in ef-fing filter
      ft-w......as in soft-ware, delft-ware, swift-water, etc.
      fu-ck......!
      ho-mo.....as in ho-mo sapiens or ho-mose-xual, ho-mogenous, etc.
      ho-rny....as in tho-rny, etc.
      jacka-ss...yet "ass" is allowed by itself.....
      ja-p......as in j-apanese, ja-pan, j-ape, etc.
      ji-sm
      koo-ch....as in koo-chie koo..!
      nip-ple
      pi-s......as in pi-stol, lapi-s, pi-ssed, therapi-st, etc.
      pr-ick....as in pri-ckling, pri-ckles, etc.
      ra-pe.....as in scra-pe, tra-peze, gr-ape, thera-peutic, sara-pe, etc.
      se-x......as in Ess-ex, s-exual, etc.
      sh-@t.....but shat is okay – don't use the @ symbol there.
      sh-it
      sl-ut
      sn-atch
      sp-ic.....as in disp-icable, hosp-ice, consp-icuous, susp-icious, sp-icule, sp-ice, etc.
      ti-t......as in const-itution, att-itude, ent-ities, alt-itude, beat-itude, etc.
      tw-at.....as in wristw-atch, nightw-atchman, etc.
      va-g......as in extrava-gant, va-gina, va-grant, va-gue, sava-ge, etc.
      who-re....as in who're you kidding / don't forget to put in that apostrophe!
      wt-f....also!!!!!!!

      There are more, some of them considered "racist", so do not assume that this list is complete.
      -–
      Allowed words / not blocked at all:
      anal
      anus
      ass
      boob
      crap
      damn
      execute
      hell
      kill
      masturbation
      murder
      penis
      pubic
      raping (ra-pe is not ok)
      shat (sh-@t is not ok)
      sphincter
      testes
      testicles

      The CNN / WordPress filter also filters your EMAIL address and NAME as well – so you might want to check those.

      March 23, 2013 at 1:04 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      reality
      I am well aware of the filter...this is different.

      The timestamps of the posts are out of sequence...post a new comment it may go to the bottom of the page, or the top.

      As far as bethany...under recent comments, the name has appeared but it goes no where when you click it...since bethany and the other hundred names it was posting under was one of the main culprits in the recent censorship, perhaps it lets her post, but immediately removes it.

      Just wondering what is going on.

      March 23, 2013 at 1:09 pm |
    • Damocles

      @RC

      Someone is getting trigger happy with the report abuse option and making life difficult for all on here.

      March 23, 2013 at 1:14 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      Damocles
      I'm aware of that too...but there is something more going on....The delete bot can't change the time stamps or put the comments out of time sequence.

      Look at the time stamps on the original posts on this topic....they are not consistant.

      March 23, 2013 at 1:17 pm |
    • Damocles

      Yeah, I see what you are saying, I saw it on the 'be nice' thread. Only thing I can think of is as posts are deleted it just screws everything up. I tried to respond to someone on the other thread and found that I was replying to something completely different.

      March 23, 2013 at 1:24 pm |
    • *

      Richard Cranium,
      "Look at the time stamps on the original posts on this topic....they are not consistant."

      Some have mentioned that the blue (WordPress registered) people's posts appear time-stamped differently - Ranier is blue and it's hard to see, but so is @.

      But yes, there are hijinks going on in other areas here, for sure.

      March 23, 2013 at 1:25 pm |
    • .

      From what I understand, when a OP post is deleted, the answering replies on that thread all drop down to the last page of the article. If one tries to reply to any of the dropped down reply posts, that reply won't appear as a thread, either.

      March 23, 2013 at 1:25 pm |
    • .

      I'm not logged into WP, @*. I'm just using mobile version on my phone. My time stamps come up EST.

      March 23, 2013 at 1:42 pm |
    • *

      ah, @. - good to know.

      Yeah, I think that time-stamp inconsistencies are understandable - the mass disappearance of posts is not. Sure wish the Eds/techs would get on it.

      March 23, 2013 at 1:50 pm |
    • Be honest

      I posted 2 comments in favor of the Pope. Both disappeared immediately. So yes – they're very definite' they will generally only accept comments that they want. I don't know WHY they have an opinion page! BBC are the only ones who only take out seriously abusive comments.

      Send CNN staff [and THAT includes their journalists who are so openly FOR Obama and AGAINST the GOP it isn't true] f to the BBC for training in ethical journalism and intelligent comment.

      March 23, 2013 at 2:31 pm |
    • Larry of Nazareth

      No. There has been troll who discovered that CNN changed the effect of the report abuse button from nothing to delayed automatic delete. They have been shredding the boards ever for about a week now.

      March 23, 2013 at 2:35 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      be honest
      CNN is not doing it...it is the work of one self righteous coward and the report abuse button.

      Coward can't argue its points so it tries to take its ball and go home...it won't work. It just amazes me the lengths that some people will go to to deny others their rights. What a waste of good oxygen.

      March 23, 2013 at 2:36 pm |
    • *

      Be honest
      "I posted 2 comments in favor of the Pope. Both disappeared immediately."

      What do you mean by "immediately"?

      Did your posts:
      - show up and then disappear after a short time... that's a Report Abuse troll.
      - or just never appear at all - that's the automatic word filter.

      March 23, 2013 at 3:20 pm |
    • Quest ion

      What in the world is going on with that so called "filter"?

      Who in the world came up with the idea of such a "filter"?

      March 23, 2013 at 3:29 pm |
    • Science

      They do not like FACTS

      It would be NICE......... but
      Maybe they should not have created the wedge !!!
      The wedge strategy is a political and social action plan authored by the Discovery Insti-tute, the hub of the intelligent design movement. The strategy was put forth in a Discovery Insti-tute manifesto known as the Wedge Docu-ment,[1] which describes a broad social, political, and academic agenda whose ultimate goal is to defeat materialism, naturalism, evolution, and "reverse the stifling materialist world view and replace it with a science consonant with Christian and theistic
      convictions.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wedge_strategy

      Peace

      March 23, 2013 at 4:09 pm |
  14. Reality

    Does one have any empathy for a religion professor who promulgates the love of all gods even though he knows they do not exist????

    March 23, 2013 at 12:45 pm |
    • ME II

      The only way any religion works is because the god(s) doesn't exist.

      If God existed there would be no need for religion.

      March 23, 2013 at 1:15 pm |
    • Larry

      How does anyone know that any god exists, or not? Thor could be making personal connections with a lot of people somewhere else. How could you claim that they aren't actually talking to a god?

      March 23, 2013 at 2:02 pm |
    • Be honest

      Prothero is a wannabee theologian. Any old fool can cram for exams, whereas you need intellect and ethics to rationalize what you've read in books.

      This idiot was bragging that in America, the PEOPLE vote their leader – so why don't the Catholic Church let the PEOPLE vote for their Pope!!!!!
      Like voting in a country is the same as 1.2 BILLION Catholics scattered worldwide could vote their leader in 3 DAYS??

      See what I mean? Prothero is NOT an intelligent man. But he IS anti-Catholic so he suits CNN.

      March 23, 2013 at 2:35 pm |
    • .

      Where does he say that in this article, be honest?
      Although Prothero IS an awful columnist, and I take nothing he says seriously. I find his articles vastly amusing.

      March 23, 2013 at 3:43 pm |
  15. End Religion

    You sin. We all sin. I just sinned and I'm ready to sin again. Don't tell me you don't sin.

    March 23, 2013 at 10:53 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      Idiot box? Why would ER obey you? You're using a product or two invented by Atheists and yet you still read Gullibles Travels (aka the buybull)...should you not be on your knee's praying to your imaginary friend for forgiveness for being rude?

      March 23, 2013 at 11:52 am |
    • End Religion

      Oops... I just sinned all over the idiot box. "Clean up on Aisle 69!"

      March 23, 2013 at 12:14 pm |
    • Larry

      We all do bad things, some of us more often than others, but you have to believe in a god who is easily offended in order to "sin".

      March 23, 2013 at 2:03 pm |
    • Johnny Guitar

      Sin is a religious concept. There is no way to sin in a theological sense if you are not religious.

      March 23, 2013 at 2:29 pm |
  16. Cookie Monster

    Me has a question. Do you have cookie?

    March 23, 2013 at 10:49 am |
  17. Guided by the light

    You're a comedy writer, right? I love it. David Letterman could reallly use you.

    March 23, 2013 at 10:39 am |
    • Firesign Theater

      Oh blinding light...oh light that blinds...
      I cannot see
      look out for me.

      Hymn from the church of the blinding light

      March 23, 2013 at 10:43 am |
  18. Meki60

    I wonder if Obama believes in Noah's ark.

    March 23, 2013 at 10:38 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      Obama believes in equal treatment for everyone, just as any good president should.
      Noahs Ark is a fallacy and could not have happened-science has proven this point numerous times over, so I would hope a smart man like Obama would believe the peer-reviewed studies over a 2000 year old story.

      March 23, 2013 at 11:57 am |
    • End Religion

      Yeah, Rainer, we're all aware of that "Christian love." Rational humans call it violence and hate.

      March 23, 2013 at 12:15 pm |
    • .

      Rain, you idiot, the United States is a secular nation. Everyone has the right to practice religious freedom, even the religions YOU don't like.
      You know little to nothing about American politics. I'd advise you not to comment on them, or our POTUS, because you are only ever still stuck in your beloved Germany of the 30's.

      March 23, 2013 at 12:21 pm |
    • Be honest

      Truth prevails –
      He supports abortion. America has slaughtered 53 MILLION of it's own children I don't call THAT a man with "equal love and consideration for all" do you?
      He support ethnic groups – but ignores Americans [for votes]
      He supports women but not women who believe in living by Christian standards [for votes]
      He sold Israel down the river during Netanyahu's last official visit – now he "values" Israel , his new BFF.[ because he needs their Intelligence – Mossad being the best!]

      Nah! Obama has 2 slogans above his bed:
      [1] "There are 2 sides to every argument but I don't have time to listen to yours!"
      [2] "So what if I ain't efficient – I'm cute!"

      March 23, 2013 at 2:51 pm |
    • End Religion

      [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P78_V1Z9CO4&w=640&h=360]

      March 23, 2013 at 2:57 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Abortion is not "slaughtering children" anymore than hanging a schoolkid's picture on your refrigerator is "publishing an author."

      March 23, 2013 at 3:02 pm |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      "He supports abortion. America has slaughtered 53 MILLION of it's own children I don't call THAT a man with "equal love and consideration for all" do you?
      He support ethnic groups – but ignores Americans [for votes]
      He supports women but not women who believe in living by Christian standards [for votes]
      He sold Israel down the river during Netanyahu's last official visit – now he "values" Israel , his new BFF.[ because he needs their Intelligence – Mossad being the best!]"

      Abortion is not slaughtering children!! You are blinded by your faith and lack of education if you seriously believe that.
      So what if he supports ethnic groups? and no, he didn't ignore American's, considering they voted also...it wasn't only republitards American's voted for...now if you can prove me wrong, please list the web-site where this is shown, otherwise it's another stupid claim.
      His support for women is all around...prove otherwise.
      The issue with Israel is never going away, at least not any time soon and as much as I get what you are saying here, it still does not merit him being labelled as the bad one-many other presidents before him supported them also. The only thing you seem to see is all the bad and not one bit of good about him. You have pre-conceived thoughts due to your devotion to your belief (why the hell else would you speak against abortion when the matter has been settled in Roe v Wade and will NEVER be over turned?).

      So yes he does want equal rights for all regardless of what you may think. Equal rights to you would mean that the buybull is what is used to dictate the country...thus making abortion; women's rights; same gender relationships illegal but yet keeping child abuse; slavery; rape legal.

      March 23, 2013 at 3:17 pm |
    • .

      .....And let's be honest: you are an Obama basher. The man could simultaneously cure cancer and AIDS, end world hunger, put a chicken in every pot, and you would still find fault with him. Time to turn of hate talk radio and get a clue.

      March 23, 2013 at 4:51 pm |
    • Be honest

      Truth prevails
      I'm a Reproductive Biologist. I and ALL doctors, Foetologists, Nurses and Reproductive Biologists [who don't make Millions a year from abortions], will tell you that life begins at conception. So – Abortion is an abomination which slaughters children.
      Cope.

      March 23, 2013 at 7:57 pm |
    • End Religion

      be honest, follow your own advice.

      March 23, 2013 at 8:06 pm |
    • oOo

      @Be honest. One cannot judge a Christian for having an abortion without having heard their personal story and reasons. For God may have spoken to them personally, having already determined that the unborn fetus will be a most heinous sinner of the kind that were yet unborn in the population that God destroyed before Noah; God may have instructed the mother-to-be to abort. What good Christian could in good conscience deny or attempt to interrupt their fellow Christian who heard directly from God without understanding their story and communication with God? Judge not, until you have all the facts.

      March 23, 2013 at 8:12 pm |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      Be Honest: First off, I call bs on your profession. Second, Roe v Wade would not be legal if it was not scientifically backed. Science does not say that life begins at conception. Even if some scientists disagree with that fact doesn't change the fact that it is a legal procedure between a woman and her physician and is strictly none of your business. You don't want people in your private affairs then stay out of theirs. Women have abortions for numerous reasons but I guess saving their life doesn't matter to you as long as you continue to step on their rights to do as they wish with their own body. No woman should be forced to carry through with a pregnancy. If it doesn't directly affect you, then mind your own business. Quite simple really but obviously something you're not capable of doing...people like you hold society back!

      March 23, 2013 at 8:46 pm |
  19. no thanks to Abraham and Sarah

    Pray for Peace!

    March 23, 2013 at 9:47 am |
    • Richard Cranium

      For thousands of years people have prayed for peace...it obviously is not working...and never will.

      Wish on a star for peace

      March 23, 2013 at 9:51 am |
    • no thanks to Abraham and Sarah...

      ..for the impatience, great life lesson for all of us.

      Pray for Peace!

      March 23, 2013 at 9:52 am |
    • no thanks to Abraham and Sarah

      I hope there will be a peaceful solution. State of Israel has the right to exist. Pray for peace.

      March 23, 2013 at 9:56 am |
    • Richard Cranium

      Did Isreal have the right to exist in 1947?

      March 23, 2013 at 10:05 am |
    • no thanks to Abraham and Sarah

      history goes back to eons into BC

      March 23, 2013 at 10:08 am |
    • Richard Cranium

      "no thanks to Abraham and Sarah

      history goes back to eons into BC"

      That statement makes no sense.

      March 23, 2013 at 10:11 am |
    • no thanks to Abraham and Sarah

      let us read history...it will make sense.

      March 23, 2013 at 10:18 am |
    • Richard Cranium

      You haven't answered the question.

      Did isreal have the right to exist in 1947?
      1900?
      1500?

      March 23, 2013 at 10:25 am |
    • no thanks to Abraham and Sarah

      answered the question in the last post...gotta run.

      Peace. I will continue to pray for peace in Israel.

      March 23, 2013 at 10:28 am |
    • Richard Cranium

      You did not answer the question.

      You basically said look at history. That does not answer the question.

      March 23, 2013 at 10:31 am |
    • midwest rail

      Typing a response does not equate to answering the question. Nice try though.

      March 23, 2013 at 10:31 am |
    • Be honest

      Richard Cranium – Israel were GIVEN the right in 1948 in a vote by 76 UN countries. Palestine were given in too on the same day but REFUSED it saying they would not take citizenship un til every Jew was oushed into the sea.

      I wish people who knew nothing of the history of Israel would shut the heck up.

      March 23, 2013 at 2:55 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      be honest
      I know more of the history than most.
      My question was to the idiot who started with an ignorant comment.
      My question remains. Did Isreal have a right to exist in 1900?1500?

      Great response by the way... I don't understand whats going on so everyone else shut up....

      March 23, 2013 at 2:59 pm |
    • Ray of Hope

      [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J9xI5BeXcys&w=640&h=360]

      March 23, 2013 at 6:30 pm |
  20. My Take

    The Bible will keep you from sin, or sin will keep you from the Bible.
    D L Moody

    March 23, 2013 at 9:45 am |
    • Richard Cranium

      Since sin is in the bible, if you do not know the bible, you will not know sin.

      If you know the bible, you know sin.

      I prefer reality.

      March 23, 2013 at 9:48 am |
    • what is it..

      when someone lies, cheats, watches p o r n, f o r n I c a tes , is jealous, prou...

      March 23, 2013 at 9:54 am |
    • Richard Cranium

      "what is it..

      when someone lies, cheats, watches p o r n, f o r n I c a tes , is jealous, prou..."

      It is human, and part of human nature.

      March 23, 2013 at 10:41 am |
    • Peregrine

      I sin all the time, otherwise Jesus died for nothing.

      March 23, 2013 at 10:52 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      Peregrine: Jesus didn't die...he slept for 3 days, nothing more...if he was dead he would not have gotten back up (no-one else has ever come back to life after 3 days...what makes your imaginary friends kid so special?). It's a fairy tale with no substantiating evidence to back it and no the buybull doesn't qualify as evidence.

      March 23, 2013 at 12:07 pm |
    • Be honest

      Truth prevails – what a really childish remark! I've always upheld the notion that it takes intelligence and Faith to understand the New Testament. Eminent doctors, scientists, professors and thinking men and women accept it with the evidence from the New Testament written by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. They were EYE WITNESSES. John was with Mary, Jesus' Mother when He died.

      Surely you don't BELIEVE that no Gospels were written for 140 years after Jesus' death? No sireebob – THEY were the Apochryphal gospels and were written from hearsay.

      March 23, 2013 at 3:01 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Be Honest is an idiot who only accepts "evidence" under the duress of his own confirmation bias.

      March 23, 2013 at 3:04 pm |
    • Peregrine

      Sorry, T.P. Old joke. Btw I agree with you.

      March 23, 2013 at 3:27 pm |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      Be Honest: You call my remark childish but yet you're the one accepting a god that can't be shown to exist with any evidence. Your claim that many professional's believe is silly...it doesn't make them right either, it just means they haven't let go. Approximately 30% are christian with another 17% being Atheist...the numbers for Atheists is rapidly inclining. Once again if you have information to the contrary, please provide the link for it (do not use a site that comes from a theological standpoint-that is circular reasoning and proves nothing. My point is that the resurrection makes absolutely no sense and is impossible to have happened according to what science has shown. You are blinded by your faith (belief without evidence) and obviously don't care if what you believe is true or not, you only care that you get to think you're more intelligent because you have a book written 2000 years ago, by 40 different men that provides what you believe to be the answers. If you were truly intelligent, you would take advantage of this wonderful thing called the internet (that you would not have if not for an Atheist) and you'd open your mind to the updated evidence. If for one second the buybull held vital evidence in this world, it could be taught in schools but fortunately it can't be.

      Peregrine: My apologies for the misunderstanding.

      March 23, 2013 at 4:47 pm |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      Be Honest: One more thing: if the gospels are the true eye witness accounts of those men, then the buybull is not the word of god.

      March 23, 2013 at 4:49 pm |
    • Cowell

      hey liar, don't spew nonsense about something you know nothing about . and/or something that you seem to think you 'know of' by browsing infidels.org

      March 23, 2013 at 5:07 pm |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      Cowell: You're an idiot! You'd know nothing of what I know. You call me a liar but fail to back your claim...show me where I lied.

      March 23, 2013 at 8:48 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.