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Proof of heaven popular, except with the church
They claim that they’ve glimpsed heaven but survivors of near-death experiences face a surprising skeptic: the church.
May 19th, 2013
06:00 AM ET

Proof of heaven popular, except with the church

By John Blake, CNN

“God, help me!”

Eben Alexander shouted and flailed as hospital orderlies tried to hold him in place. But no one could stop his violent seizures, and the 54-year-old neurosurgeon went limp as his horrified wife looked on.

That moment could have been the end. But Alexander says it was just the beginning. He found himself soaring toward a brilliant white light tinged with gold into “the strangest, most beautiful world I’d ever seen.”

Alexander calls that world heaven, and he describes his journey in “Proof of Heaven,” which has been on The New York Times bestseller list for 27 weeks. Alexander says he used to be an indifferent churchgoer who ignored stories about the afterlife. But now he knows there’s truth to those stories, and there’s no reason to fear death.

“Not one bit,” he said. “It’s a transition; it’s not the end of anything. We will be with our loved ones again.”

Heaven used to be a mystery, a place glimpsed only by mystics and prophets. But popular culture is filled with firsthand accounts from all sorts of people who claim that they, too, have proofs of heaven after undergoing near-death experiences.

Yet the popularity of these stories raises another question: Why doesn’t the church talk about heaven anymore?

Preachers used to rhapsodize about celestial streets of gold while congregations sang joyful hymns like “I’ll Fly Away” and “When the Roll is Called up Yonder.” But the most passionate accounts of heaven now come from people outside the church or on its margins.

Most seminaries don’t teach courses on heaven; few big-name pastors devote much energy to preaching or writing about the subject; many ordinary pastors avoid the topic altogether out of embarrassment, indifference or fear, scholars and pastors say.

“People say that the only time they hear about heaven is when they go to a funeral,” said Gary Scott Smith, author of “Heaven in the American Imagination” and a history professor at Grove City College in Pennsylvania.

Talk of heaven shouldn’t wait, though, because it answers a universal question: what happens when we die, says the Rev. John Price, author of “Revealing Heaven,” which offers a Christian perspective of near-death experiences.

“Ever since people started dying, people have wondered, where did they go? Where are they now? Is this what happens to me?” said Price, a retired pastor and hospital chaplain.

A little girl’s revelation

Price didn’t always think heaven was so important. He scoffed at reports of near-death experiences because he thought they reduced religion to ghost stories. Besides, he was too busy helping grieving families to speculate about the afterlife.

His attitude changed, though, after a young woman visited his Episcopal church one Sunday with her 3-year-old daughter.

Price had last seen the mother three years earlier. She had brought her then-7-week-old daughter to the church for baptism. Price hadn't heard from her since. But when she reappeared, she told Price an amazing story.

She had been feeding her daughter a week after the baptism when milk dribbled out of the infant's mouth and her eyes rolled back into her head. The woman rushed her daughter to the emergency room, where she was resuscitated and treated for a severe upper respiratory infection.

Three years later, the mother was driving past the same hospital with her daughter when the girl said, “Look, Mom, that’s where Jesus brought me back to you.”

“The mother nearly wrecked her car,” Price said. “She never told her baby about God, Jesus, her near-death experience, nothing. All that happened when the girl was 8 weeks old. How could she remember that?”

When Price started hearing similar experiences from other parishioners, he felt like a fraud. He realized that he didn’t believe in heaven, even though it was part of traditional Christian doctrine.

He started sharing near-death stories he heard with grieving families and dejected hospital workers who had lost patients. He told them dying people had glimpsed a wonderful world beyond this life.

The stories helped people, Price said, and those who've had similar experiences of heaven should “shout them from the rooftops.”

“I’ve gone around to many churches to talk about this, and the venue they give me is just stuffed,” he said. “People are really hungry for it.”

Why pastors are afraid of heaven

Many pastors, though, don’t want to touch the subject because it’s too dangerous, says Lisa Miller, author of “Heaven: Our Enduring Fascination with the Afterlife.”

Miller cites the experience of Rob Bell, one of the nation’s most popular evangelical pastors.

John Price ignored heaven until he met a woman with an amazing story.

Bell ignited a firestorm two years ago when he challenged the teaching that only Christians go to heaven in “Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived.”

The book angered many members of Bell’s church as well as many in the evangelical establishment. He subsequently resigned.

“Farewell, Rob Bell,” one prominent evangelical tweeted.

“It’s a tough topic for a pastor,” said Miller, a former religion columnist for the Washington Post. “If you get too literal, you can risk sounding too silly. If you don’t talk about it, you’re evading one of the most important questions about theology and why people come to church.”

If pastors do talk about stories of near-death experiences, they can also be seen as implying that conservative doctrine – only those who confess their faith in Jesus get to heaven, while others suffer eternal damnation – is wrong, scholars and pastors say.

Many of those who share near-death stories aren’t conservative Christians but claim that they, too, have been welcomed by God to heaven.

“Conservative Christians aren’t the only ones going to heaven," said Price, "and that makes them mad."

There was a time, though, when the church talked a lot more about the afterlife.

Puritan pastors in the 17th and 18th centuries often preached about heaven, depicting it as an austere, no fuss-place where people could commune with God.

African-American slaves sang spirituals about heaven like “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot.” They often depicted it as a place of ultimate payback: Slaves would escape their humiliation and, in some cases, rule over their former masters.

America’s fixation with heaven may have peaked around the Civil War. The third most popular book in 18th century America – behind the Bible and “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” – was "Gates Ajar," written in the wake of the war, Miller says.

The 1868 novel was “The Da Vinci Code” of its day, Miller says. It revolved around a grieving woman who lost her brother in the Civil War. A sympathetic aunt assures her that her brother is waiting in heaven, a bucolic paradise where people eat sumptuous meals, dogs sun themselves on porches and people laugh with their loved ones.

“This was a vision of heaven that was so appealing to hundreds of thousands of people who had lost people in the Civil War,” Miller said.

Americans needed heaven because life was so hard: People didn’t live long, infant mortality was high, and daily life was filled with hard labor.

“People were having 12 kids, and they would outlive 11 of them,” said Smith, author of "Heaven in the American Imagination." “Death was ever-present.”

The church eventually stopped talking about heaven, though, for a variety of reasons: the rise of science; the emergence of the Social Gospel, a theology that encouraged churches to create heaven on Earth by fighting for social justice; and the growing affluence of Americans. (After all, who needs heaven when you have a flat-screen TV, a smartphone and endless diversions?)

But then a voice outside the church rekindled Americans' interest in the afterlife. A curious 23-year-old medical student would help make heaven cool again.

The father of near-death experiences

Raymond Moody had been interested in the afterlife long before it was fashionable.

He was raised in a small Georgia town during World War II where death always seemed just around the corner. He constantly heard stories about soldiers who never returned from war. His father was a surgeon who told him stories of bringing back patients from the brink of death. In college, he was enthralled when he read one of the oldest accounts of a near-death experience, a soldier’s story told by Socrates in Plato’s “Republic.”

His fascination with the afterlife was sealed one day when he heard a speaker who would change his life.

The speaker was George Ritchie, a psychiatrist. Moody would say later of Ritchie, “He had that look of someone who had just finished a long session of meditation and didn’t have a care in the world.”

Moody sat in the back of a fraternity room as Ritchie told his story.

It was December 1943, and Ritchie was in basic training with the U.S. Army at Camp Barkeley, Texas. He contracted pneumonia and was placed in the hospital infirmary, where his temperature spiked to 107. The medical staff piled blankets on top of Ritchie’s shivering body, but he was eventually pronounced dead.

“I could hear the doctor give the order to prep me for the morgue, which was puzzling, because I had the sensation of still being alive,” Ritchie said.

He even remembers rising from a hospital gurney to talk to the hospital staff. But the doctors and nurses walked right through him when he approached them.

He then saw his lifeless body in a room and began weeping when he realized he was dead. Suddenly, the room brightened “until it seemed as though a million welding torches were going off around me.”

He says he was commanded to stand because he was being ushered into the presence of the Son of God. There, he saw every minute detail of his life flash by, including his C-section birth. He then heard a voice that asked, “What have you done with your life?"

After hearing Ritchie’s story, Moody decided what he was going to do with his life: investigate the afterlife.

Raymond Moody revived interest in heaven by studying near-death experiences.

He started collecting stories of people who had been pronounced clinically dead but were later revived. He noticed that the stories all shared certain details: traveling through a tunnel, greeting family and friends who had died, and meeting a luminous being that gave them a detailed review of their life and asked them whether they had spent their life loving others.

Moody called his stories “near-death experiences,” and in 1977 he published a study of them in a book, “Life after Life.” His book has sold an estimated 13 million copies.

Today, he is a psychiatrist who calls himself “an astronaut of inner space.” He is considered the father of the near-death-experience phenomenon.

He says science, not religion, resurrected the afterlife. Advances in cardiopulmonary resuscitation meant that patients who would have died were revived, and many had stories to share.

“Now that we have these means for snatching people back from the edge, these stories are becoming more amazing,” said Moody, who has written a new book, “Paranormal: My Life in Pursuit of the Afterlife.”

“A lot of medical doctors know about this from their patients, but they’re just afraid to talk about it in public.”

Ritchie’s story was told through a Christian perspective. But Moody says stories about heaven transcend religion. He's collected them from Jews, Muslims, Buddhists and atheists.

“A lot of people talk about encountering a being of light,” he said. “Christians call it Christ. Jewish people say it’s an angel. I’ve gone to different continents, and you can hear the same thing in China, India and Japan about meeting a being of complete love and compassion.”

It’s not just what people see in the afterlife that makes these stories so powerful, he says. It’s how they live their lives once they survive a near-death experience.

Many people are never the same, Moody says. They abandon careers that were focused on money or power for more altruistic pursuits.

“Whatever they had been chasing, whether it's power, money or fame, their experience teaches them that what this (life) is all about is teaching us to love,” Moody said.

Under 'the gaze of a God'

Alexander, the author of “Proof of Heaven,” seems to fit Moody's description. He’s a neurosurgeon, but he spends much of time now speaking about his experience instead of practicing medicine.

He'd heard strange stories over the years of revived heart attack patients traveling to wonderful landscapes, talking to dead relatives and even meeting God. But he never believed those stories. He was a man of science, an Episcopalian who attended church only on Easter and Christmas.

That changed one November morning in 2008 when he was awakened in his Lynchburg, Virginia, home by a bolt of pain shooting down his spine. He was rushed to the hospital and diagnosed with bacterial meningitis, a disease so rare, he says, it afflicts only one in 10 million adults.

After his violent seizures, he lapsed into a coma — and there was little hope for his survival. But he awakened a week later with restored health and a story to tell.

He says what he experienced was “too beautiful for words.” The heaven he describes is not some disembodied hereafter. It’s a physical place filled with achingly beautiful music, waterfalls, lush fields, laughing children and running dogs.

In his book, he describes encountering a transcendent being he alternately calls “the Creator” or “Om.” He says he never saw the being's face or heard its voice; its thoughts were somehow spoken to him.

“It understood humans, and it possessed the qualities we possess, only in infinitely greater measure. It knew me deeply and overflowed with qualities that all my life I’ve always associated with human beings and human beings alone: warmth, compassion, pathos … even irony and humor.”

Holly Alexander says her husband couldn’t forget the experience.

“He was driven to write 12 hours a day for three years,” she said. “It began as a diary. Then he thought he would write a medical paper; then he realized that medical science could not explain it all.”

“Proof of Heaven” debuted at the top of The New York Times bestseller list and has sold 1.6 million copies, according to its publisher.

Alexander says he didn’t know how to deal with his otherworldly journey at first.

“I was my own worst skeptic,” he said. “I spent an immense amount of time trying to come up with ways my brain might have done this.”

Conventional medical science says consciousness is rooted in the brain, Alexander says. His medical records indicated that his neocortex — the part of the brain that controls thought, emotion and language — had ceased functioning while he was in a coma.

Alexander says his neocortex was “offline” and his brain “wasn’t working at all” during his coma. Yet he says he reasoned, experienced emotions, embarked on a journey — and saw heaven.

“Those implications are tremendous beyond description,” Alexander wrote. “My experience showed me that the death of the body and the brain are not the end of consciousness; that human experience continues beyond the grave. More important, it continues under the gaze of a God who loves and cares about each one of us.”

Skeptics say Alexander’s experience can be explained by science, not the supernatural.

They cite experiments where neurologists in Switzerland induced out-of-body experiences in a woman suffering from epilepsy through electrical stimulation of the right side of her brain.

Michael Shermer, founder and publisher of Skeptic magazine, says the U.S. Navy also conducted studies with pilots that reproduced near-death experiences. Pilots would often black out temporarily when their brains were deprived of oxygen during training, he says.

These pilots didn’t go to heaven, but they often reported seeing a bright light at the end of a tunnel, a floating sensation and euphoria when they returned to consciousness, Shermer says.

“Whatever experiences these people have is actually in their brain. It’s not out there in heaven,” Shermer said.

Some people who claim to see heaven after dying didn’t really die, says Shermer, author of “Why People Believe Weird Things.”

“They’re called near-death experiences for a reason: They’re near death but not dead,” Shermer said. “In that fuzzy state, it’s not dissimilar to being asleep and awakened where people have all sorts of transitory experiences that seem very real.”

The boy who saw Jesus

Skeptics may scoff at a story like Alexander’s, but their popularity has made a believer out of another group: the evangelical publishing industry.

While the church may be reluctant to talk about heaven, publishers have become true believers. The sales figures for books on heaven are divine: Don Piper’s “90 Minutes in Heaven” has sold 5 million copies. And “Heaven is for Real: A Little Boy’s Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back” is the latest publishing juggernaut.

Colton Burpo says he saw heaven and describes the color of Jesus' eyes.

“Heaven is for Real” has been on The New York Times bestseller list for 126 consecutive weeks and sold 8 million copies, according to its publisher.

The story is told from the perspective of Colton Burpo, who was just 4 when he slipped into unconsciousness while undergoing emergency surgery for a burst appendix.

Colton says he floated above his body during the operation and soared to heaven, where he met Jesus. Todd Burpo, Colton’s father, says he was skeptical about his son’s story until his son described meeting a great-grandfather and a miscarried baby sister — something no one had ever told him about.

Todd Burpo is a pastor, but he says he avoided preaching about heaven because he didn’t know enough about the subject.

“It’s pretty awkward,” he said. “Here I am the pastor, but I’m not the teacher on the subject. My son is teaching me.”

Colton is now 13 and says he still remembers meeting Jesus in heaven.

“He had brown hair, a brown beard to match and a smile brighter than any smile I’ve ever seen,’’ he said. “His eyes were sea-blue, and they were just, wow.”

Colton says he’s surprised by the success of his book, which has been translated into 35 languages. There’s talk of a movie, too.

“It’s totally a God thing,” he said.

Alexander, author of “Proof of Heaven,” seems to have the same attitude: His new life is a gift. He’s already writing another book on his experience.

“Once I realized what my journey was telling me," he said, "I knew I had to tell the story.”

He now attends church but says his faith is not dogmatic.

“I realized very strongly that God loves all of God’s children,” he said. “Any religion that claims to be the true one and the rest of them are wrong is wrong.”

Central to his story is something he says he heard in heaven.

During his journey, he says he was accompanied by an angelic being who gave him a three-part message to share on his return.

When he heard the message, he says it went through him “like a wind” because he instantly knew it was true.

It’s the message he takes today to those who wonder who, or what, they will encounter after death.

The angel told him:

“You are loved and cherished, dearly, forever.”

“You have nothing to fear.”

“There is nothing you can do wrong."

- CNN Writer

Filed under: Art • Belief • Bible • Books • Christianity • Culture & Science • Faith • God • Heaven • History

soundoff (4,945 Responses)
  1. Sockratease

    In about 160 B. C. some of the Jews had a problem. “God’s Word” said that the righteous prosper and the wicked suffer, but it was apparent to many of the opposite being true. At that time the Jews believed that the dead slept in Sheol, the Hebrew underworld.

    To keep God from being shown to be a liar they kicked the can down the road by borrowing a pagan concept, Eternal Life, which allowed them to say the righteous and the wicked will both get their just rewards in the “Next World”, i.e., Heaven or Hell.

    If you want to know what they believed before they saved God’s credibility with pagan mythology, you only need to look at Ecclesiastes 9:5, written about 250 B.C. which states:

    “For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten.”

    That’s how religion and mythology come to be. As products of human invention, they are cultural artifacts which evolve.

    May 21, 2013 at 9:31 am |
    • richunix

      From the Greek Septuagint (circa 250BCE)
      Chapter 9:5

      "For the living will know that they shall die: but the dead know nothing, and there is no longer any reward to them; for their memory is lost"

      May 21, 2013 at 9:49 am |
    • faith

      lol

      May 21, 2013 at 10:21 am |
  2. Truth Prevails :-)

    We all know that after yesterdays horrific tornadoes in Oklahoma there will be well needed funding to help them recover. Atheists Giving Aid has set up a page for donations: http://us2.campaign-archive1.com/?u=c92a438ffc6bd9f68ed211d8e&id=43ec2921c1&e=12a30cb846

    May 21, 2013 at 9:26 am |
    • derp

      Looks like god really hates Oklahoma.

      Maybe he is punishing them for their support of gay rights.

      May 21, 2013 at 9:28 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      When doesn't god hate?

      May 21, 2013 at 9:46 am |
    • The Jackdaw

      When he is banging Mary.

      May 21, 2013 at 10:16 am |
    • Always™, The God of Traditional Menstrual Regulations

      I'm sorry, did you think I had money?
      And that I would give it to people who have insurance?
      And who are getting more government help than I have ever received in my life?
      Because why, exactly?
      This is why I pay taxes.
      Churches will never fix all that stuff.
      They are too busy stuffing dollars in their pockets.
      If they wanted to help people, they'd stop turning this country into dumbfuckistan.
      I can't afford to help thanks to the dumbfuckistanis who think inflation is bad and who oppose paying people enough to live on, while supporting illegal government subsidies of religious establishments.
      I'm already picking up the churches' slack because they are too greedy to pay taxes and think they are above the law.
      If people were banned from getting government money for refusing to pay taxes, the Tea baggers would disappear faster than shit coming out of a politician's mouth and churches would be asking to pay more in taxes within a day.

      May 21, 2013 at 10:17 am |
    • derp

      "When he is banging Mary"

      She was a virgin, it must have been a n a l.

      May 21, 2013 at 1:21 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      You verge on anal conception, derp. That's daring.

      May 21, 2013 at 4:57 pm |
  3. richunix

    @Carman,

    Sadly it was a later Church invention. The early Jesus (and his followers) were apocalypticists (Ebionite’s), they did not have the same vision of heaven or hell as do the modern world. It was only the later church leaders such as Tertullian, Ignatius, Irenaeus and Athanasius who fought against the Enionites, and Docetism, Marcionites (Gnostic Gospel), in creating the Trinity and Church doctrine we see today. It was more to do with power and the maintaining of Church power, less about Jesus, more about what Christianity should be. Most people do not know that to date we have over 5700 different version of the Christian Testament and none are the same. The mainstay of the early Catholic religion was the Latin Vulgate (Vaticanus circa 4th century CE). It wasn’t until the discovery of the Codex Sinaiticus that we learned there was a different version of the New testament much older that what the Church was preaching. To question the Catholic Church up until the later part of the 17th century was certain death. In the past two hundred years we have learned so much more about the Bible than was ever known before, like the Gnostic Gospels of Thomas, Judas, Mary, Barnabas, Peter and more important Jesus (himself). You need to understand who were the “Proto-Orthodox” and why the corruption of the scripture. It is because of the new discoveries like those at Nag Hammadi and others, without the Church having the power to suppress these works, it has shown a very different light on the early Christian belief. Before you jump at say you’re wrong, I can reference my source with physical manuscript (codex’s) that are now online and housed across various nations. No longer does the Crunch have a monopoly on who God is and what you are required to believe. Here is a trivia question for you. Most of you know the Book of Revelation, what book was used by the early Christian (both books are consider Gnostic) and why did the early fathers decide on using this version. Hit John son of Zebedee or was it John of Patmos?

    May 21, 2013 at 9:21 am |
  4. FaithisSin

    The Church, and all organized religion for that matter, uphold their religious writings over experiences. Religions are in fact non-spiritual organizations that try to establish their legitimacy through punctilious adherence to a particular writing. ie. bible, koran, etc. So they innately attempt to discredit anything that challenges thier perceived source of authority. NDEs are the closest thing to proving the existence of an afterlife but because they seem to transcend and even contradict tenets of organized religion, they are mis-trusted. More and more evidence is mounting for the persistence of a type of spiritual consciousness after death, regardless of culture or religion background. In fact, these experiences seem to be even more heavenly than anything imagined by the ancients who first penned early religious writings. No matter what we believe, it seems the truth is grander than anything dreamt of in our philosophies!

    May 21, 2013 at 9:18 am |
    • sam stone

      experiences are personal. that does not jibe with organized religion

      May 21, 2013 at 9:21 am |
  5. Vic

    !!!Our Hearts & Prayers Go Out To Moore, Oklahoma!!!

    May 21, 2013 at 9:12 am |
    • sam stone

      vic: if god is omniscient, what is the point of prayer?

      May 21, 2013 at 9:14 am |
    • derp

      Well that is a stupid thing to do.

      Why don't you pray for god to stop making tornadoes?

      Wouldn't that be the smarter thing to do?

      What prayers are you going to do now?

      OPreay for a time machine so you can go back and warn them that god is about to royally fvck up their lives.

      How come you religiots never hold your silly superhero responsible when he fvcks things up, but immediately pray for him to make things better after he fvcks things up?

      May 21, 2013 at 9:25 am |
    • Richard Cranium

      God just sent a giant tornado to wipe out an entire town, and you pray to that same god for mercy?

      May 21, 2013 at 9:32 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      Prayers??? If your god is real, then your god is a vindictive ass who didn't give a damn about those innocent children or anyone else. So instead of praying (something that does no good and is only a feel good measure for the person praying) do something worthwhile...a link is posted above that will give one way of ACTUALLY helping; you can also donate by texting:
      REDCROSS to 90999 for The Red Cross
      FOOD to 32333 for Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma

      May 21, 2013 at 9:33 am |
    • Vic

      Well, this is wishing people well!!!

      Regarding God's Omniscience, God foreknows everything, and as he created this universe and life in it and set them in motion, He lets them take their Natural Course! God executes His plans for whatever reason that we might not know about! I might not understand God's prudence but I don't question His wisdom while wondering about it!

      Furthermore, Intercessory Prayers do work besides physical means!!!

      May 21, 2013 at 9:47 am |
    • The real Tom

      Vic!!!!!!! Got any proof? !!!!!!!!!

      May 21, 2013 at 9:49 am |
    • sam stone

      "Regarding God's Omniscience, God foreknows everything"

      So, there is no free will.

      Your god desires to punish people when they had no free will to choose their path

      That makes your god a punk, and you a slappy

      May 21, 2013 at 9:53 am |
    • Vic

      Everybody,

      The Truth Lies In Your Heart

      May 21, 2013 at 9:53 am |
    • Honey Badger Don't Care!

      Vic,

      Please rip out your heart and send it to OK. We would appreciate that.

      May 21, 2013 at 9:56 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      "I don't question"

      And there in lies your biggest problem...you obviously don't care enough to question anything. Maybe if you did care, you'd see how totally worthless your god is and how much of an ass it comes across as.

      May 21, 2013 at 9:57 am |
    • Vic

      You and a lot others are confusing God's Foreknowledge with Predestination! God gave man FREE WILL and revealed His Natural Law to him to maintain order and live happy in this Life! It's up to man what to do with it! In the meantime, God, as He is Omniscient, foreknows what man will choose to do but He does not interfere with man's Free Will because He honors it! Contradiction would be if man was predestined to what he is to do, which is NOT the case!

      To reiterate, Foreknowledge and Predestination are two DIFFERENT things!

      May 21, 2013 at 9:57 am |
    • derp

      "He lets them take their Natural Course! God executes His plans for whatever reason that we might not know about!"

      You can't have it both ways moron.

      He either lets things take their "natural course" or he executes his plan.

      It amazing the level of stupidity that pours out of the christard pie hole.

      If superdude has a plan, part of his plan was to kill a bunch of school kids via tornado attack.

      Your god is a dick.

      A big fat tornado wielding dick head.

      May 21, 2013 at 9:59 am |
    • sam stone

      if there is foreknowledge, and god cannot be wrong, how does it differ from predestination?

      May 21, 2013 at 10:02 am |
    • Science

      Hey Vic................you and Chadie come from the same sh-ity diaper ?

      The horn-y dedil then ?

      May 21, 2013 at 10:04 am |
    • Madtown

      Vic
      You and a lot others are confusing God's Foreknowledge with Predestination!
      --------
      You are confusing your "knowledge" with your "opinion". You may be right about all this, or you may not be. But, for certain YOU DON'T KNOW. No one does. Get some humility. Humble yourself, and accept that there are a great many things we cannot know.

      May 21, 2013 at 10:04 am |
    • Richard Cranium

      Vic
      Either god has foreknowledge, or men have free will. It is an impossibility for both to be true.

      May 21, 2013 at 10:06 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      Vic: Why does the reality scare you so much? Stop making excuses for something that doesn't exist and face the world on your own.

      May 21, 2013 at 10:06 am |
    • sam stone

      You say they are separate things, but then describe the same thing

      water is not wet, it's just the absense of dry

      May 21, 2013 at 10:06 am |
    • sam stone

      god's omniscience IS predestination

      May 21, 2013 at 10:08 am |
    • The real Tom

      I think Vic gets a little thrill every time he uses an exclamation point. When he figured out how to do italics and bold, he must have been over the moon.

      May 21, 2013 at 10:12 am |
    • NE II

      @Vic,
      "Furthermore, Intercessory Prayers do work besides physical means!!!"

      "Intercessory prayer itself had no effect on complication-free recovery from CABG..."
      (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16569567)

      May 21, 2013 at 10:14 am |
    • ME II

      NE II
      @Vic,
      "Furthermore, Intercessory Prayers do work besides physical means!!!"

      "Intercessory prayer itself had no effect on complication-free recovery from CABG..."
      (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16569567)

      May 21, 2013 at 10:15 am |
    • Vic

      !!LOL!!

      Actually, I knew about formatting text since longtime ago! I did some html programing before. I just didn't want take too long to type my comments; it is time consuming! Then, I just followed the trend on this blog.

      May 21, 2013 at 10:17 am |
    • The real Tom

      It makes you look even more ridiculous.

      May 21, 2013 at 10:23 am |
    • Pete

      Vic
      Jeremiah 23:19

      19 See, the storm of the Lord
      will burst out in wrath,
      a whirlwind swirling down
      on the heads of the wicked.

      Were those children wicked enough to deserve this?

      This and many other verses in the Bible all clearly say that it's God who controls the weather, all of it! There are numerous anti-Global Warming treads on the net that all confirm that we humans cannot affect the weather because it's God's domain. You can't claim that this wasn't a God-targeted smiting on biblical grounds.

      May 21, 2013 at 10:30 am |
    • Vic

      Before the Dispensation of Grace (Salvation of the Lord Jesus Christ,) God intervened DIRECTLY to get His Message across several times but NOT to force people to believe NOR to interfere with FREE WILL!

      He may very well choose to intervene however and whenever as He sees fit! That does not mean we can know all about it! As a human and a Christian, it is not my job to judge nor condemn anyone! If I were to judge or condemn anyone, that would be myself!

      God gave man FREE WILL and revealed His Natural Law to him to maintain order and live happy in this Life! It's up to man what to do with it! God honors FREE WILL on His part!

      But to be saved and have Eternal Life, ALL what God wants from man is to BELIEVE!!!

      !!!SALVATION!!!

      John 3:16,17
      "16 For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him."

      New American Standard Bible (NASB)
      http://www.biblegateway.com

      May 21, 2013 at 10:40 am |
    • Madtown

      But to be saved and have Eternal Life, ALL what God wants from man is to BELIEVE!!!
      ------
      Believe in God, or believe in God via christianity? Because those are 2 different things. Followers of any specific religion "believe in God". It's just that the details of how they believe, and how they practice this belief, are different from yours. Are they wrong? What if God placed them in a sector of the world where they will never learn the first thing about christianity? In that case, how could they possibly be wrong? What's far more likely, is that if God exists he doesn't care which religious tradition we follow, if any at all.

      May 21, 2013 at 10:47 am |
    • sam stone

      Gee, vic, you use your mouth as good as a high priced escort. You still have not shown how omniscience and free will are compatible.

      May 21, 2013 at 10:51 am |
    • Vic

      In <extreme short:

      In my trek/quest seeking the God's Truth, the ONLY thing that makes sense to me is Jesus Christ!!!

      May 21, 2013 at 10:57 am |
    • Vic

      In extreme short:

      In my trek/quest seeking the God's Truth, the ONLY thing that makes sense to me is Jesus Christ!!!

      May 21, 2013 at 10:57 am |
    • sam stone

      still running like a little punk from the question, eh vic?

      May 21, 2013 at 10:59 am |
    • LinCA

      @Vic

      You said, "In my trek/quest seeking the God's Truth, the ONLY thing that makes sense to me is Jesus Christ!!!"
      Your premise is flawed. You start off on an assumption that there is a god who's truth is to be found.

      Without any indication that there is such a creature, it's alleged offspring is even less likely to be anything other than deluded into thinking he is it's offspring. Without first establishing there is a god, it is ludicrous to assume your Jesus is special in any way.

      Odds are far better that his mother didn't want to divulge an extramarital affair, and made up a bullshit story about her god impregnating her.

      May 21, 2013 at 11:06 am |
    • Honey Badger Don't Care!

      I can quote nonsensical bible quotes too.

      Numbers 31:17-18
      17 Now kiII all the boys. And kiII every woman who has slept with a man, 18 but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

      “If a man’s testicIes are crushed or his pe nis is cut off, he may not be admitted to the assembly of the Lord.”
      –Deuteronomy 23

      May 21, 2013 at 11:10 am |
    • Vic

      Huh!

      I'd rather be a punk in God's Kingdom than a king in torment/death!
      Besides, I don't go for escort nor 4 2 0, I only go for clean dating!

      May 21, 2013 at 11:10 am |
    • Bob

      Vic, like most Christians, is a coward. He will go on dodging questions all day if you let him. Pin him down; repeat your question when he dodges it.

      May 21, 2013 at 11:33 am |
    • sam stone

      "I'd rather be a punk in God's Kingdom than a king in torment/death!"

      Good for you.

      You, like many of the other christians posting here, are a coward. You cannot stand logic and when confronted with it, pull out the old empty proxy threat card.

      May 21, 2013 at 12:23 pm |
    • sam stone

      What is 4 2 0 and why is it bad?

      May 21, 2013 at 12:26 pm |
    • sam stone

      vic: can you answer the question, or do you need to go get your shinebox?

      May 21, 2013 at 12:34 pm |
    • sam stone

      come on, vic, you can do it. answer the question......

      May 21, 2013 at 12:38 pm |
    • sam stone

      Enjoy eternity servicing the lord, vic

      May 21, 2013 at 12:39 pm |
  6. Reality

    Tis tough to cure the Three B Syndrome, i.e. Bred, Born and Brainwashed in religion.

    To wit;

    “John Hick, a noted British philosopher of religion, estimates that 95 percent of the people of the world owe their religious affiliation to an accident (the randomness) of birth. The faith of the vast majority of believers depends upon where they were born and when. Those born in Saudi Arabia will almost certainly be Moslems, and those born and raised in India will for the most part be Hindus. Nevertheless, the religion of millions of people can sometimes change abruptly in the face of major political and social upheavals. In the middle of the sixth century ce, virtually all the people of the Near East and Northern Africa, including Turkey, Syria, Iraq, and Egypt were Christian. By the end of the following century, the people in these lands were largely Moslem, as a result of the militant spread of Islam.

    The Situation Today
    Barring military conquest, conversion to a faith other than that of one’s birth is rare. Some Jews, Moslems, and Hindus do convert to Christianity, but not often. Similarly, it is not common for Christians to become Moslems or Jews. Most people are satisfied that their own faith is the true one or at least good enough to satisfy their religious and emotional needs. Had St. Augustine or St. Thomas Aquinas been born in Mecca at the start of the present century, the chances are that they would not have been Christians but loyal followers of the prophet Mohammed. “ J. Somerville

    It is very disturbing that religious narrow- mindedness, intolerance, violence and hatred continues unabated due to randomness of birth. Maybe, just maybe if this fact would be published on the first page of every newspaper every day, that we would finally realize the significant stupidity of all religions.

    May 21, 2013 at 9:08 am |
  7. steve

    A baby in the womb would have no way of proving the universe exist if it had a developed brain.

    These books speak of proof, and i'm sorry but you will never prove it. It scientifically impossible to prove the existence of heaven. I keep an open mind, and not so egotistical to think humans know everything. We cant even explain why ice is slippery and a whole lot of others things. B

    May 21, 2013 at 8:57 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      And yet you're egotistical enough to think your life and soul are cosmically significant. If believing you have a personal relationship with the creator of the universe isn't ego then I don't know what is.
      And where did you get the idea that non-believers think we know everything. That's YOUR claim. We are happy to acknowledge that we don't know. We don't know how the universe came into being. We don't know how life emerged from non-life. We may learn these things eventually or not but in either case we aren't bothered by our lack of knowledge like YOU people seem to be.

      May 21, 2013 at 9:21 am |
    • derp

      "We cant even explain why ice is slippery"

      You seriously can't be that stupid.

      May 21, 2013 at 9:27 am |
    • sam stone

      steve: it is not sounding like you are keeping an open mind.

      perhaps you are to the possibility that heaven and hell exist, but not to the possibility they do not

      it is not open mindedness, but the faithful have a way of twisting words

      May 21, 2013 at 9:43 am |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      Took me about 2sec to find.

      There are three misconceptions. Ice is slippery not because it's smooth or because its melting point drops when pressure is increased (tennis shoes still slip the same as skates). In addition, friction melting the ice has nothing to do with the slipperiness of ice (people standing still slip).

      The correct answer is that the surface of the ice has a microscopic film that is liquid-like. In a liquid, molecules are free to move around, but on the surface of ice, they move up and down. This also explains why when ice cubes are held together, they fuse. This was discovered very recently.

      May 21, 2013 at 11:13 am |
  8. Jane

    Most of the world’s religions teach that something inside a person continues living after the body dies. Some religious groups still cling to the idea that God punishes the wicked by subjecting them to eternal suffering in a fiery hell.
    But is that the truth?
    What does the Bible really teach about death?

    God’s Word states: “The living are conscious that they will die; but as for the dead, they are conscious of nothing at all, neither do they anymore have wages.” Since the dead “are conscious of nothing at all,” they cannot hear, see, speak, feel, or think. They no longer earn any wages. How could they? They are incapable of any work! Moreover, “their love and their hate and their jealousy have already perished,” for they cannot express any emotion.—Ecclesiastes 9:5, 6, 10.

    What the Bible says on this subject is simple and clear—the dead do not continue to live somewhere. There is nothing that leaves our body at death and lives on so as to be reborn in another body, as stated by those who believe in reincarnation. We might illustrate matters this way: The life that we enjoy is like the flame of a candle. When the flame is extinguished, it does not go anywhere. It is simply gone.

    May 21, 2013 at 8:57 am |
    • sam stone

      Jane: You seem to confuse the words of man with those of god. It is a common mistake

      May 21, 2013 at 9:15 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      I like that better sam, don't you?

      May 21, 2013 at 9:30 am |
    • sam stone

      like it better than what, bill?

      May 21, 2013 at 9:44 am |
    • The Jackdaw

      Bangers and mash.

      May 21, 2013 at 10:24 am |
    • sam stone

      bangers and mash?

      May 21, 2013 at 12:45 pm |
  9. JDJ

    "There is nothing you can do wrong[?]" Really? That does not match up with the Bible. It is correct that God loved the world so much that He sent Jesus to die for our sins. However, we are not all God's children. In fact, before a person becomes a Christian, they are an enemy of God. That's what makes Jesus dying for us so incredible- He did it for us even though we did not deserve it.

    May 21, 2013 at 8:54 am |
    • steve

      Couldn't AGREE with you more. Why did Jesus come?? You HAVE TO ACCEPT HIM to go to heaven. If you don't you go to HELL. The Bible is pretty clear about that. People don't want to talk about that. I know at my church our preacher talks about heaven, but he also talks about hell and tells folks that those that don't except Jesus as their savior, will go to HELL!! As my preacher says, I am just the mesenger. This is GODS WAY. The problem with people is that they want to go to heaven their way and not GOD'S way.

      May 21, 2013 at 9:08 am |
    • sam stone

      steve: good for the bible. i do not seek heaven and i do not fear hell. both are man made concepts.

      May 21, 2013 at 9:16 am |
    • sam stone

      JDJ: Do you whip yourself?

      May 21, 2013 at 9:18 am |
    • sam stone

      JDJ and Steve: Your god is a vindictive petty pr1ck. Grovel if you feel it is necessary

      May 21, 2013 at 9:19 am |
    • John

      how sad for you to believe that your creator created you to be his enemy????? thank God I'm not a christian with such limited beliefs.

      May 21, 2013 at 9:33 am |
    • Frankhy

      The Bible is a collection of Bronze Age and Iron Age stories from one corner of the world, a tribe in the Middle East. Where, except from it's own claim, is the evidence or even hintof proof that it does not have the exact same zero-value as the fairytales of the Celts, Hindus, Australian Aboriginees, tribes of Southern Africa or Native Americans. Or the fairytales of Star Wars and Lord of the Rings, for that matter. I can understand why people believe in a God or Heaven due to stories like the one in this article, but people who say they believe the Bible is true just because the Bible (or Quran or any other book) claims so are completely incomprehensible to me.

      May 21, 2013 at 9:37 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      So a newborn child is an enemy of god? All children are born Atheist and by no choice of their own are forced in to the belief system of their parents.

      May 21, 2013 at 9:51 am |
    • Madtown

      we are not all God's children. In fact, before a person becomes a Christian, they are an enemy of God.
      -------
      Here's some glaring evidence of the damage religion can do to a person. This poor soul has bought into the guilt that organized religion has put upon him, and he's been convinced he's not a worthy person and requires saving. Truly sad. Someone else already mentioned it, but God created us and then we are "enemies of God"?! Astounding twisted thinking.

      May 21, 2013 at 9:55 am |
  10. hippypoet

    anyone looking for some fun atheistic conversation look no further then https://www.facebook.com/PoeticAtheism

    May 21, 2013 at 8:54 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      Great page and thank you for pointing it out. 🙂

      May 21, 2013 at 10:13 am |
  11. dave

    @Larry. It sounds like these are your thoughts, not the thoughts of the "Church," as you suggest. Christians do not consider their faith to be dying. They see that the world is simply diverging once again into its separate camps: those with faith and those without. For a long time, those lines have been blurred, where someone with no faith could easily be mistaken for someone with faith–because they went to church, played nice, did the drill. But these days, it's perfectly acceptable socially to reject faith, so why go through the motions. No, the Church isn't dying, the people in it are simply more and more the ones who want to be there.

    May 21, 2013 at 8:50 am |
  12. hippypoet

    yeah all those flashes of light as your brain dies is some really awesome heaven...for about 15-35 seconds, until true brain death. imagine there is no heaven, imagine there is no hell...don't waste time imagining, there isn't any such places. grow up, move on, and life happy.

    May 21, 2013 at 8:50 am |
  13. Science

    The afterlife................twiiter ..................COMEDY FVCKING GOLD !

    Saudi religious police boss condemns Twitter users

    posted on May 21, 2013 04:01AM GMT
    Thanks to Leif for the link!

    http://www.richarddawkins.net/news_articles/2013/5/17/saudi-religious-police-boss-condemns-twitter-users#

    May 21, 2013 at 8:47 am |
  14. Sogom

    There's more proof in flying saucers than there is of heaven or jesus.

    May 21, 2013 at 8:47 am |
    • Maranatha

      Not true.

      May 21, 2013 at 8:59 am |
  15. I Am

    I wouldn't mind going to heaven as long as no bank CEOs' or lawyers are admited. There has to be some kind of standard after all in the after life.

    May 21, 2013 at 8:47 am |
  16. Larry

    The church is recognizing that science is rendering faith unnecessary. Most of the faith believe heaven is up in the skies. We have been there with space trips and with the telescopes that are very very powerful. Heaven is not up there. So where can heaven exist? Fact is heaven cannot physically exist. So if you want to render faith more of a dinosaur then try to convince people that do understand science that something exists they can prove does not and all you end up doing is pushing more people out of your dying faith. What we do know about after dying is that you will no longer be here and you will no longer be suffering with your earthly problems.

    May 21, 2013 at 8:38 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      From the catechism of the Catholic Church:

      1024 This perfect life with the Most Holy Trinity – this communion of life and love with the Trinity, with the Virgin Mary, the angels and all the blessed – is called "heaven." Heaven is the ultimate end and fulfillment of the deepest human longings, the state of supreme, definitive happiness.

      So, your image of heaven as a place in the clouds is a bit immature. You probably formed it when you were ten and decided science was cool and Bible study was not.

      May 21, 2013 at 9:08 am |
    • Science

      And look who shows up..............Billie................more what billie...................the origin story is BULLSH_IT!

      May 21, 2013 at 9:15 am |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      The bible implies a flat-earth, sky-heaven in numerous places and by the means of various anecdotes. In order to "climb a high mountain" and see "all the kingdoms of the earth," and in order for the resurrected Christ to "ascend in the clouds" where believers will join him, heaven has to be "up there" above a flat plane of the earth.

      May 21, 2013 at 9:15 am |
    • Science

      You do know the old pope kicked the angels with pitch fork off the team.....last xmas.........don't you Bill ?

      All these years .Bill..............there are angels.....................then poof............go the red horn-y thingy too HA BILL.

      Where are the fvcking morals there BILL or ethics ?

      May 21, 2013 at 9:22 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      You keep making some obscure reference to angels science. Would you care to make a lucid reference that I might respond to? I've given you the catechism on angels which is the definitive statement. Perhaps something you've read has led you astray.

      May 21, 2013 at 9:33 am |
    • John

      read the Seth Material. It makes much more sense than any religion.

      May 21, 2013 at 9:35 am |
    • Science

      Pope's book on Jesus debunks Christmas myths.....................which one where you BILL ?

      By Laura Smith-Spark, CNN

      (CNN) – It's Christmas, but not as you know it: a new book by released this week by Pope Benedict VI looks at the early life of Jesus – and debunks several myths about how the Nativity really unfolded.

      http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2012/11/22/popes-book-on-jesus-debunks-christmas-myths/?iref=allsearch

      May 21, 2013 at 10:17 am |
    • Science

      Come on Bill the Cat got a hold of something..............or is it ht e beast ..............666 ?

      May 21, 2013 at 10:37 am |
    • Science

      Oops............the.................red horn-y devil comes from WHERE BILL ?

      May 21, 2013 at 10:39 am |
    • Science

      Education....................Bill ?

      Moving forward CREATIONIST............chadieie too ............ you might want to take a blood test?

      Scientists Find Genes Linked to Human Neurological Disorders in Sea Lamprey Genome

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130224142915.htm

      Peace

      Facts work .

      May 21, 2013 at 11:02 am |
    • lol??

      Cpt. Obvious sayz,
      "The bible implies a flat-earth,............." Do I take yer comment metaphorically or literally??

      Pro 15:3 The eyes of the LORD [are] in every place, beholding the evil and the good.

      May 21, 2013 at 12:25 pm |
  17. Lisa

    If I ever ended up in heaven and I knew that some of my loved ones were in the other place then I would never be happy. If heaven MADE me happy despite this then it wouldn't be ME there anyway, so why would I care to go?

    May 21, 2013 at 8:30 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      Yes that does pose a problem doesn't it? And what about unrequited love? How can you be reuinited with those you love if it isn't shared? Someone loses here. Must you endure for eternity the affections of those you can't stand?

      May 21, 2013 at 8:58 am |
    • Honey Badger Don't Care!

      The only purpose for you going to heaven, and the only thing that you will do after you get there, is to grovel at the feet of the heavenly dictator.

      Why would you want to go and do that?

      May 21, 2013 at 9:01 am |
    • Pete

      Lisa
      Another way to look at it is that, if you are worrying about the injustice of your being separated from your loved ones, then you are questioning God and likely wouldn't qualify for heaven anyway. The people who really believe that they're going there don't seem to think very much about the actual reasons why God supposedly separates the two groups.

      May 21, 2013 at 9:47 am |
    • lol??

      XX's should ask their XY hubbies instead of asking psychopathic sociopaths on a CNN belief blog. Maturity is a goal for you??

      May 21, 2013 at 11:56 am |
  18. Carmen M. Molina

    I can't understand why some of your ministers don't want to recognize heaven as a real place. Ever since I can remember, our Catholic priests have talked about heaven. We firmly believe that heaven does exist. There are countless stories about heaven. Many of the saints have been to heaven and have talked about their experiences. You can read about this in the lives of the saints. There are hundreds of saints that have been recognized by the Catholic Church throught history. Read about Padre Pio, Cure of Arcs, Saint Joan of Arc, Saint Rosa de Lima, Saint Patrick, Saint Philip Neri, Saint Teresa of the Child of Jesus, Saint Teresa of Calcuta, Teresa of the Andes, and many many more. If you read about their lives, you will find that they too had experiences that had to do with heaven. Our Lady, Virgin Mary wherever she has appeared she has told the children that she comes from heaven. She has appeared at Fatima, Portugal, Medugorie, Yugoslavia, Lourdes, France, Knock, France. Read about it and you will be amazed. It has taken the Church years in making sure that everything is free from fault.

    May 21, 2013 at 8:23 am |
    • sam stone

      Believe what you want, but if you are looking to convince people, stories don't make the grade

      May 21, 2013 at 8:37 am |
    • Pete

      "Many of the saints have been to heaven"
      Many have claimed to have been there, you mean? Would you believe anyone who told you that they had visions of Atlantis, Camelot, Shangri-La, or even the United Federation of Planets? There's a reason why utopias only ever exist in fantasy, you know?

      May 21, 2013 at 10:08 am |
    • Richard Cranium

      Pete
      Actually there is a lot of evidence that Atlantis existed in the Mediterranean Sea....from the descriptions it was most likely built on the site of an ancient volcano, and the evidence suggests it was completely destroyed when the volcano erupted once again. The records of the description of Atlantis say that it was basically two sets of circular islands, one within the other, which is a normal configuration of a certain type of volcano. Furthermore, the ice cap information shows a significant volcanic eruption around the time of the disappearance of Atlantis, the chemical signature has been matched to a volcano in the Mediterranean Sea.
      Most likely Atlantis DID exist, and was wiped out by a sudden explosive volcanic eruption. Cross that one off the list of myths and put it into the more than likely category.

      May 21, 2013 at 10:36 am |
  19. Science

    This was in there to faith the ................peach...............Chadie...........No red horn-y thingy needed !

    Whom ever is doing the deleting on article below................you know..............thanks.........have a great life !

    http://www.richarddawkins.net/news_articles/2013/5/5/when-christians-become-a-hated-minority#

    Human stem cell cloning: 'Holy Grail' or techno-fantasy?

    By David King, Special to CNN

    updated 10:40 AM EDT, Fri May 17, 2013

    http://www.cnn.com/2013/05/17/opinion/human-cloning-king/index.html?iref=allsearch

    Cloning stem cells: What does it mean?

    By Elizabeth Landau, CNN

    updated 9:20 AM EDT, Mon May 20, 2013

    http://www.cnn.com/2013/05/18/health/stem-cells-cloning/index.html?iref=allsearch

    Peace

    May 21, 2013 at 8:21 am |
  20. VidiSensiVici

    The encounter of those who experienced life after death for a moment proved that our souls do not die. Jesus was dead and came back to earth to prove that there is life after death. We know of when God appears to us, and there is no mistakes about it regardless of age as told in the story. We, humans, are very unique, endowed with lots of energy, and most of all we are dearly loved and cherished by the Creator. The greatest love is to allow the person to exercise his or her freewill, to let them be, and if they choose to be with the Creator always, then it is true love until eternity. God allows us to roam the earth, to explore, to learn, to take advantage of what He built for us to enjoy. We are powerful creature, the best of the universe in many ways. In our dreams, subsconciously, we could encounter things or vision of the future intended for us to know. The Lord communicates to us via many media, we just have to be in tune by living a sinless, healthy life and loving others for loving generates love, the energy we need to thrive each day. The Lord needs love, too, lots of love from us, to keep on going. What we could not see, we call it blind faith, but whom could be more blind when he or she refuses to see. God lets us discover Him in our own ways, and we owe it to ourselves to seek Him while we still have time roaming the earth. Love is the greatest gift of all, bestowed upon us, and to love is to give without expecting anything in return. Let's just practice to love unconditionally whenever we could. Let it be that whenever we visit somewhere, someone, that the earth, the person whom we crossed path with would be glad because of our presence, and see for ourselves the energy that love created beyond our dreams.

    May 21, 2013 at 8:13 am |
    • sam stone

      you seem to have a low standard of proof

      May 21, 2013 at 8:19 am |
    • Len

      The "Lord" can't be all that perfect, or all-powerful if he needs our love. When the last person stops giving it will "the Lord" simply cease to exist? I think so.

      May 21, 2013 at 8:20 am |
    • sam stone

      how is freewill consistent with an omniscient god?

      May 21, 2013 at 8:39 am |
    • VidiSensiVici

      In order to understand God, we really have to trade places with God to see from God's perspective. Perhaps, we could only understand God when we learn about unconditional love. For example, when one has a child, being involved with the child, seeing from the child's perspective, and realizing that when we tell a child not to do something not once but hundreds of time because children need to learn and to experience things from different perspectives to know the difference. Yet, parents still love them anyway no matter what. At the same token, we are His children, flaws and all, and God loves us dearly. God gives us freewill, the power to choose to do whatever we see fit including betraying Him. He could destroy the dark force, evilness, satan so to speak, but He let it be because of love, and if we still return to God afterall, then it is true love.

      May 21, 2013 at 11:22 am |
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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.