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June 19th, 2013
03:28 PM ET

How the 'Francis effect' could rescue the church

Opinion by John Gehring, special to CNN

Can Pope Francis save the Catholic Church?

The question is part hyperbole, of course, but perhaps a fitting way to ponder what some are now calling the “Francis effect.”

At a time when nearly 1 in 10 Americans are former Catholics, Pope Francis is using a humble style to set a new direction for the church that could reinvigorate the multitude, many of whom are weary of culture-war Christianity.

While a rising number of young Americans no longer identify with a particular religion, many seekers still hunger for moral clarity and prophetic voices that challenge the shallow materialism and spiritual alienation of our fractured culture.

During his first 100 days, Pope Francis has emphasized the Gospel’s radical and still relevant messages of peace, compassion and justice for the poor. He also just might break through to reach the religiously disaffected where others have failed.

READ MORE: The pope said what? Six stunners from Francis

Catholicism is not an institutional bureaucracy, but “a love story,” Pope Francis said recently.

He criticizes a “self-referential” church that becomes spiritually “sick” when it hunkers down and fails to look outside its gilded cathedrals.

He has little patience for pastors who act like religious border guards by making it harder for lapsed Catholics to return to the faith and receive the sacraments.

Francis decries the "cult of money" and the "dictatorship of an economy which is faceless and lacking any truly human goal."

He even gently chided Jesus' first disciples for being a “bit intolerant, closed in the idea of possessing the truth.”

You can almost hear the ice cracking around a generation of disillusioned Christians who have a hard time finding Jesus frozen under ostentatious ecclesial trappings and hypocritical moralizing.

Just three months on the job, Francis’ servant leadership and focus on a “church of the poor” are drawing rave reviews, and it’s not just Catholics swooning.

“Seldom has a religious leader been embraced so warmly across the Christian world, including by many evangelicals,” Timothy George, the dean of Beeson Divinity School wrote last week in a Christianity Today op-ed entitled “Our Francis, Too.”

Jewish leaders also praise the new pope, who emphasized interfaith dialogue when he was still a bus-riding cardinal in Buenos Aires. On his first day as pope, Francis wrote to the chief rabbi of Rome expressing his hope for a “spirit of renewed collaboration.”

Atheists are even getting in on the act. Henrik Hertzberg, a writer for The New Yorker magazine who is critical of institutional religion, applauded the pope for his “kindness, tolerance, humanity, and common sense.”

READ MORE: Heaven for atheists? Pope sparks debate

Surely, this papal honeymoon will end, but these are early signs that something new is stirring in the air.

Pope Francis seems determined to live up to his namesake. Francis of Assisi, a 13th-century saint who gave away his hefty inheritance and sparked a profound movement of spiritual reform, famously said “preach the Gospel always, and if necessary use words.”

Pope Francis, who refused to move into the lavish papal apartments inside the Apostolic Palace, understands that symbols convey substance.

As the first Jesuit pope, Francis has taken a vow of poverty. He ditched the silk, fur-trimmed cape favored by Pope Benedict XVI for a simple white cassock. Golden throne? Francis prefers a wooden chair. The red carpet laid out in the Vatican’s Hall of the Throne has been rolled up.

"The world tells us to seek success, power and money; God tells us to seek humility, service and love,” Francis has tweeted.

All of these aesthetic changes signify deeper meaning, especially in a church where rituals and images seek to convey transcendent truths.

The pope’s toned-down style and pastoral touch are also a more fitting brand for a church built on the teachings of an itinerant preacher who in the Gospel says: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.”

If the Catholic Church hopes to inspire lapsed Catholics and others to embrace the faith with renewed vigor, it will require a radical return to the essence of Christianity. Gospel means “good news.” A smiling, good-humored pope stands in stark contrast to those dour-faced religious leaders who act as gloomy scolds and spy threats around every corner.

Pope Francis surely can’t turnaround the barque of Peter alone, but against stiff winds he is steering in the right direction.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of John Gehring.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Catholic Church • Christianity • Church • Opinion • Pope Francis

soundoff (481 Responses)
  1. Unhappiness

    I can smell the human litter. Only decay can wash away the exposed chicken bones now. Crunch. Stop. slivers of rainbow covered rock flaking away like salt.

    June 19, 2013 at 6:27 pm |
  2. Secular Humanist from Ohio

    I want to see a debate between Pope Francis and A.C. Grayling.

    June 19, 2013 at 5:42 pm |
    • Science

      For Chad and his fairy in the stars.

      http://vimeo.com/64868713

      June 19, 2013 at 6:33 pm |
    • Science

      Oops missed it.

      Daniel Pomarède

      Cosmography of the Local Universe (FullHD version)

      June 19, 2013 at 6:40 pm |
  3. Colin

    Dear Catholics:

    God here.

    First, I do not exist. The concept of a 13,700,00,000 year old being, capable of creating the entire Universe and its billions of galaxies, monitoring simultaneously the thoughts and actions of the 7 billion human beings on this planet is ludicrous.

    Second, if I did, I would have left you a book a little more consistent, timeless and independently verifiable than the collection of Iron Age Middle Eastern mythology you call the Bible. Hell, I bet you cannot tell me one thing about any of its authors or how and why it was edited over the Centuries, yet you cite them for the most extraordinary of claims.

    Thirdly, when I sent my “son” (whatever that means, given that I am god and do not mate) to Earth, he would have visited the Chinese, Ja.panese, Europeans, Russians, sub-Saharan Africans, Australian Aboriginals, Mongolians, Polynesians, Micronesians, Indonesians and native Americans, not just a few Jews. He would also have exhibited a knowledge of something outside of the Iron Age Middle East.

    Fourthly, I would not spend my time hiding, refusing to give any tangible evidence of my existence, and then punish those who are smart enough to draw the natural conclusion that I do not exist by burning them forever. That would make no sense to me, given that I am the one who elected to withhold all evidence of my existence in the first place.

    Fifthly, in the same vein, I would not make about 5% of the human population gay, then punish them for being that way. In fact, I wouldn’t care about how humans have $ex at all, given that I created all of the millions of millions of species on the planet, all of whom are furiously reproducing all the time. Human $ex would be of no interest to me, given that I can create Universes. Has it ever occurred to you that your obsession with making rules around human $ex is an entirely human affair?

    Sixth, I would have smited all traditional Catholics, (and evangelicals and fundamentalists) long before this. You people drive me nuts. You are so small minded and yet you speak with such false authority. Many of you still believe in the talking snake nonsense from Genesis. I would kill all of you for that alone and burn you for an afternoon (burning forever is way too barbaric even for me to contemplate).

    Seventh, the whole idea of members of one species on one planet surviving their own physical deaths to “be with me” is utter, mind-numbing nonsense. Grow up. You will die. Get over it. I did. Hell, at least you had a life. I never even existed in the first place.

    Eighth, I do not read your minds, or “hear your prayers” as you euphemistically call it. There are 7 billion of you. Even if only 10% prayed once a day, that is 700,000,000 prayers. This works out at 8,000 prayers a second – every second of every day. Meanwhile I have to process the 100,000 of you who die every day between heaven and hell. Dwell on the sheer absurdity of that for a moment.

    Ninthly, had I existed, do you really think my representation on Earth would have such a history of corruption, retardation of science, financial misdeeds, political intrigue, outright criminal behavior and $exual misconduct, including pedophilia, as the Vatican does. I mean, come on! As a CEO, I would be fired for allowing my organization to run amok century after century.

    Finally, the only reason you even consider believing in me is because of where you were born. Had you been born in India, you would likely believe in the Hindu gods, if born in Tibet, you would be a Buddhist. Every culture that has ever existed has had its own god(s) and they always seem to favor that particular culture, its hopes, dreams and prejudices. What, do you think we all exist? If not, why only yours?

    Look, let’s be honest with ourselves. There is no god. Believing in me was fine when you thought the World was young, flat and simple. Now we know how enormous, old and complex the Universe is.

    Move on – get over me. I did.

    God

    June 19, 2013 at 5:22 pm |
    • iReport

      Where do they teach non believers to write? Invariably, it is paragraphs followed by paragraphs of utter rubbish.

      June 19, 2013 at 6:02 pm |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      Rubbish? And christards quoting buybull verses isn't rubbish? You poor gullible person, fairy tales and imaginary friends are for children...time to grow up now!

      June 19, 2013 at 6:14 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      An unobvious claim, such as iReport's above, is irrelevant without some explanation or reasoning. The root post has excellent explanation and reasoning.

      June 19, 2013 at 6:23 pm |
    • Ajax

      Excellent point of view. Keep thinking. Keep writing.

      June 20, 2013 at 7:02 am |
  4. Colin

    The problem for the church is that young people are now exposed to the internet, that gives them access to different viewpoints. No longer can some priest monoplize them with the supersti.tious nonsense of Catholicism.

    June 19, 2013 at 5:17 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      it also allows quick reference to the plethora of spiritual writers from throughout history and the wisdom they have left us.

      June 19, 2013 at 5:23 pm |
    • Athy

      Some of it may be wisdom, but a lot of it is superstition.

      June 19, 2013 at 5:42 pm |
    • Colin

      At its core, there is some great philosophy in Christianity, but (i) it is rarely followed; and (ii) it is wrapped in so much supernatural bullsh.it as to be totally eclipsed.

      June 19, 2013 at 5:45 pm |
  5. Dyslexic doG

    People should be just as horrified that their friends are Christians as they would be if their friends were scientologists or Manson Family or People's Temple or any other cult.

    It's all the same ... grab kids while they are young. the repeated stories and nonsensical phrases. the pressure to not question the foolishness. the "donation" of money.

    big cults or little cults, old cults or new cults. All the same. all a cancer on humanity!!!

    June 19, 2013 at 5:09 pm |
    • Secular Humanist from Ohio

      I said the same thing to my brother-in-law. Catholicism and Scientology are no different. While he is a Christian, he basically asked me later to shut up.

      June 19, 2013 at 5:16 pm |
    • Athy

      "Shut up" is a typical response from one hearing a truth that conflicts with their brainwashing.

      June 19, 2013 at 5:21 pm |
    • Secular Humanist from Ohio

      And my sister dissed my email response from Lawrence Krauss!

      June 19, 2013 at 5:24 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Do tell

      June 19, 2013 at 5:24 pm |
    • Secular Humanist from Ohio

      Thanks ATHY.

      June 19, 2013 at 5:25 pm |
  6. the AnViL™

    in regards to the roman catholic church...

    the vatican should be razed...
    its adherents should be scattered...
    and the entirety of its clergy burned alive on great pyres of the roman catholic canon.

    June 19, 2013 at 5:00 pm |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I can't let you do that

      No, it shouldn't.

      June 19, 2013 at 5:03 pm |
    • Science

      Was going to post the evolution deal BUT............had to recover !

      Problem Event Name: APPCRASH
      Application Name: IEXPLORE.EXE

      Have fire fox open too !

      June 19, 2013 at 5:09 pm |
  7. Dyslexic doG

    If I was powerful enough to have created the universe, I wouldn't be so narcissistic that I would want people to worship me. That’s the difference between me and your God.

    June 19, 2013 at 4:58 pm |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I can't let you do that

      That's where I fall down. I'd want people to worship little effigies of me and bring me their most supple young virgins (what age is Chloe Moretz by the way).

      June 19, 2013 at 5:16 pm |
  8. Dyslexic doG

    If I was powerful enough to have created the universe, I wouldn't allow priests to molest innocent little children. That’s the difference between me and your God.

    June 19, 2013 at 4:57 pm |
  9. Dyslexic doG

    If I was powerful enough to have created the universe, I wouldn't allow the Pope to use my name to steal money from poor people. That’s the difference between me and your God.

    June 19, 2013 at 4:56 pm |
  10. Dyslexic doG

    If I was powerful enough to have created the universe, I wouldn't let tornadoes kill innocent little elementary school children. That’s the difference between me and your God.

    June 19, 2013 at 4:55 pm |
  11. fred

    Pretty ludicrous opinion piece. If this church really has god's support and god gives a hoot, why would it need rescue?

    Same for any other god cult. Total nonsense, most of it, and what isn't nonsense has nothing to do with any divine creature.

    June 19, 2013 at 4:55 pm |
  12. Dyslexic doG

    If I could stop a child from starving, I would. That’s the difference between me and your God.

    June 19, 2013 at 4:55 pm |
  13. Dyslexic doG

    If I could stop a person from raping a child, I would. That’s the difference between me and your God.

    June 19, 2013 at 4:54 pm |
  14. Brother Maynard

    Pascals Wager in reverse.
    So if there is no god ... and no after life ... would devoting your life ( ehem ehem Pope Francis ) to god be a waste of a life ?

    June 19, 2013 at 4:30 pm |
  15. Bill Deacon

    Pray for the pope.

    God bless pope Francis I

    June 19, 2013 at 4:20 pm |
    • Science

      Hey Bill way too funny...............he will need more than that maybe ?

      Do you know if the pope will call for help from the red horn-y beast ?

      June 19, 2013 at 4:27 pm |
    • Athy

      Why pray for a pope? Do they really need it? Seems like he would have the inside track already.

      June 19, 2013 at 4:30 pm |
    • Science

      From Bing and you know bill !

      http://www.bing.com/search?q=Do+you+know+if+the+pope+will+call+for+help+from+the+red+horn-y+beast+%3F&form=HPNTDF&pc=HPNTDF&src=IE-SearchBox

      http:/www.666beast.net/

      1,370,000 resultsAny time

      June 19, 2013 at 4:35 pm |
    • Brother Maynard

      Bill
      Ok I'm not trying to be a jerk ... REALLY I'm not ...
      But I seriously do not get "God bless the pope" I mean the guy is arguably the quintessential Christian. He's the #1 guy. I mean basically everybody BUT the pope needs god's blessing. When popes die ... they are in the express lane to heaven. No blessing needed.

      June 19, 2013 at 4:39 pm |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I can't let you do that

      Brother Maynard

      Many Protestant churches believe the Pope is the archetypal anti-Christian and that he is going to burn in Hell.

      June 19, 2013 at 4:43 pm |
    • sam stone

      wow, bill...why bother with prayer?

      doesn't prayer imply that god can be pet-it-ioned?

      if god has a plan, doesn't prayer imply that the person doing the praying knows better than god?

      June 19, 2013 at 4:48 pm |
    • Science

      What about the chains Bill Deacon. ?.............you know ...........what did you say on another thread ?

      June 19, 2013 at 4:49 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      The juvenile group mentality of atheists is a really interesting sociological phenomena.

      June 19, 2013 at 5:29 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Really though not that interesting.

      June 19, 2013 at 5:30 pm |
    • Science

      And you are GOOD entertainment Billy !

      New Research Backs Genetic 'Switches' in Human Evolution

      June 19, 2013 — A Cornell University study offers further proof that the divergence of humans from chimpanzees some 4 million to 6 million years ago was profoundly influenced by mutations to DNA sequences that play roles in turning genes on and off.

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130619091319.htm

      June 19, 2013 at 5:35 pm |
    • Secular Humanist from Ohio

      But really not that good.

      June 19, 2013 at 5:37 pm |
    • Akira

      Bill Deacon: "The juvenile group mentality of atheists is a really interesting sociological phenomena."

      The absolute same can be said of Christians, or indeed, any group with an impact on our society.
      Sweeping generalizations are rather disingenuous.
      And I’m waiting to hear a valid reason not to take every person we meet as an individual instead of as a representative of a group.

      All that being said, I like this Pope.

      June 19, 2013 at 5:41 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Akira, I'm willing to take you as an individual. Even though we often disagree, you are usually reasonable and fair minded. I just find no wit or even intelligence in the postings of people who continually set up straw men and non sequiters such as Science trying to start an argument with me about evolution. Doesn't he understand that the Catholic Church supports the science? Is he ignorant or just obnoxious? The others above also represent a profound ignorance about the things of the Church they they try to deride but just end up making themselves look ignorant like a bunch of school boys jeering at a man walking past a street corner. It makes for a dismal picture of atheism.

      June 19, 2013 at 5:50 pm |
    • Science

      Love it Billy to funny !

      June 19, 2013 at 5:55 pm |
    • Science

      By the way Bill Deacon check out the blue links in article..............Comedy Gold !

      June 19, 2013 at 6:00 pm |
    • Akira

      Bill, fair enough. However, there is a fair amount of snarky Christians here, also, that I do not take as representative of all Christians; this is where my wanting to take everyone individually comes into play.

      June 19, 2013 at 6:10 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      Deacon you've lied and been an absolute jerk plenty of times. Whether your belief is valid or not, I could not recommend that anyone follow it purely based on your individual behavior. Your method here turns people away from your faith rather than towards it.

      June 19, 2013 at 6:16 pm |
    • Science

      Whose chain Bill ?

      60,000 resultsAny time

      From the little blue box.............first one out of.................lmao !

      My take: A word to Christians – Be nice – CNN Belief Blog ...

      religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/02/09/my-take-a-word-to-christians-be...

      Feb 09, 2013 · Evolution WINS hands down...time for the horn-y red ... Evolution WINS hands down...time for the horn-y ... Time for the horn-y beast to get the hell out ...

      http://www.bing.com/search?q=Creation+vs+Evolution..............evolution+wins+hands+down++.........Time+for+the+horn-y+red+beast+to+get+the+hell+out+of+the+%0D%0A%0D%0AbedVrooooooom.&form=HPNTDF&pc=HPNTDF&src=IE-SearchBox

      http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/06/19/opinion-pondering-the-francis-effect-on-the-catholic-church/#

      June 19, 2013 at 7:25 pm |
  16. Dyslexic doG

    Christians, please explain to me how your Bible can be the word of God? Please explain to me how you can live your life by its words and use those words to oppress other people? Please explain, given that the King James version of the new testament was completed in 1611 by 8 members of the church of England. There were (and still are) NO original texts to translate. The oldest manuscripts we have were written down 100's of years after the last apostle died. There are over 8,000 of these old manuscripts with no two alike. The king james translators used none of these anyway. Instead they edited previous translations to create a version their king and parliament would approve. So.... 21st century christians believe the "word of god" is a book edited in the 17th century from the 16th century translations of 8,000 contradictory copies of 4th century scrolls that claim to be copies of lost letters written in the 1st century.

    This is just a question about the Bible. It has nothing to do with whether you have a personal relationship with God or if he has changed your life. I want you to explain how you can treat the Bible any more seriously than just a collection of stories by men with ulterior motives of greed and power and subjugation of those they wanted to rule.

    All answers that do not retreat into mysticism will be gratefully accepted. Other than that, save your breath for cooling your pies.

    June 19, 2013 at 4:05 pm |
    • Athy

      There can be no answers that do not retreat into mysticism.

      June 19, 2013 at 4:14 pm |
    • Reality

      Some starting references for your perusal:

      o 1. Historical Jesus Theories, earlychristianwritings.com/theories.htm – the names of many of the contemporary historical Jesus scholars and the ti-tles of their over 100 books on the subject.

      2. Early Christian Writings, earlychristianwritings.com/
      – a list of early Christian doc-uments to include the year of publication–

      30-60 CE Passion Narrative
      40-80 Lost Sayings Gospel Q
      50-60 1 Thessalonians
      50-60 Philippians
      50-60 Galatians
      50-60 1 Corinthians
      50-60 2 Corinthians
      50-60 Romans
      50-60 Philemon
      50-80 Colossians
      50-90 Signs Gospel
      50-95 Book of Hebrews
      50-120 Didache
      50-140 Gospel of Thomas
      50-140 Oxyrhynchus 1224 Gospel
      50-200 Sophia of Jesus Christ
      65-80 Gospel of Mark
      70-100 Epistle of James
      70-120 Egerton Gospel
      70-160 Gospel of Peter
      70-160 Secret Mark
      70-200 Fayyum Fragment
      70-200 Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs
      73-200 Mara Bar Serapion
      80-100 2 Thessalonians
      80-100 Ephesians
      80-100 Gospel of Matthew
      80-110 1 Peter
      80-120 Epistle of Barnabas
      80-130 Gospel of Luke
      80-130 Acts of the Apostles
      80-140 1 Clement
      80-150 Gospel of the Egyptians
      80-150 Gospel of the Hebrews
      80-250 Christian Sibyllines
      90-95 Apocalypse of John
      90-120 Gospel of John
      90-120 1 John
      90-120 2 John
      90-120 3 John
      90-120 Epistle of Jude
      93 Flavius Josephus
      100-150 1 Timothy
      100-150 2 Timothy
      100-150 T-itus
      100-150 Apocalypse of Peter
      100-150 Secret Book of James
      100-150 Preaching of Peter
      100-160 Gospel of the Ebionites
      100-160 Gospel of the Nazoreans
      100-160 Shepherd of Hermas
      100-160 2 Peter

      3. Historical Jesus Studies, faithfutures.org/HJstudies.html,
      – "an extensive and constantly expanding literature on historical research into the person and cultural context of Jesus of Nazareth"
      4. Jesus Database, faithfutures.org/JDB/intro.html–"The JESUS DATABASE is an online annotated inventory of the traditions concerning the life and teachings of Jesus that have survived from the first three centuries of the Common Era. It includes both canonical and extra-canonical materials, and is not limited to the traditions found within the Christian New Testament."
      5. Josephus on Jesus mtio.com/articles/bissar24.htm
      6. The Jesus Seminar, mystae.com/restricted/reflections/messiah/seminar.html#Criteria
      7. Writing the New Testament- mystae.com/restricted/reflections/messiah/testament.html
      8. Health and Healing in the Land of Israel By Joe Zias
      joezias.com/HealthHealingLandIsrael.htm
      9. Economics in First Century Palestine, K.C. Hanson and D. E. Oakman, Palestine in the Time of Jesus, Fortress Press, 1998.

      June 19, 2013 at 4:18 pm |
    • sam stone

      fred: where is the justice in punishing one person for another person's "sins"?

      June 19, 2013 at 4:50 pm |
    • sam stone

      sorry, wrong location

      June 19, 2013 at 4:51 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      @Reality

      So you have given me a long list of people in your cult writing about your cult.

      you should peek outside your bubble and read/see/touch/taste the real world rather than limiting all your inputs to those vetted by the cult.

      June 19, 2013 at 4:52 pm |
    • TDidmus

      I'll just start by saying that the King James Version (KJV) is not the only (or most accurate) translation of the Bible. Many translations do their level best to take into account all of the oldest versions from the original languages (Hebrew and Greek). Don't quote me on this, but I believe the KJV was translated from the Vulgate (the original Latin translation) which had in turn been translated from Greek. Better translations (directly from the original languages) I believe include the English Standard Version (ESV), New International Version (NIV), or the New American Bible (NAB).

      June 19, 2013 at 4:53 pm |
    • TDidmus

      If are looking for authenticity of the words, though, try comparing the Bible to other ancient writings. Try looking at: http://www.everystudent.com/features/bible.html#writings for a VERY easy to read table that answers your exact question (I think).

      Hope this helps!

      June 19, 2013 at 4:54 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      thanks @TDidmus

      But if God is powerful enough to create the universe, don't you think he'd have a more foolproof way of getting his message across to future generations than this mixed, matched, confused, translated, edited, modified, twisted book of stories?

      June 19, 2013 at 5:01 pm |
    • TDidmus

      Yes, I do. Since I am a Catholic, I will give you the Catholic answer. Got gave us 3 sources of authority, not only the Bible. While Protestants rely on the Bible alone, catholics have Sacred Scripture (the Bible), Sacred Tradition (Teachings of the Apostles), and the Magesterium (the teaching authority of the Church).

      I'll give an example from the old testament to explain how this played out. The Jewish nation had the Torah (sacred writings), and and oral tradition passed down by the priests. When a clarification of these was needed, they asked the High priest and he gave the correct interpretation (as inspired by God).

      Since Protestants broke from the Catholic Church (and decided to rely on the Bible alone for God's will), there went from being ~2 branches of Christianity to >20,000 (in the US alone).

      June 19, 2013 at 5:17 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Beg the question much Dog?

      June 19, 2013 at 5:31 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      @Dyslexic doG

      Well stated. If the bible is the best god can do, then he doesn't deserve any followers. God is invisible, undetectable, and so....irrelevant.

      June 19, 2013 at 6:20 pm |
    • Reality

      Dyslexic doG,

      Had you reviewed the referenced information, (earlychristianwritings.com/theories.htm), you would have noted that many of the scholars referenced are not members of the Christian or Jewish cult. (e.g. Professor Ludemann is an atheist and Professor Crossan is an ex-RCC priest).

      June 19, 2013 at 11:53 pm |
  17. Dyslexic doG

    Just because the new leader of this foolishness is a cool guy, doesn't make it less foolish.

    How any adult could believe this collection of nonsensical children's stories is a source of continual amazement.

    June 19, 2013 at 4:03 pm |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I can't let yu do that

      It doesn't make it less foolish but it makes their organization less reprehensible.

      June 19, 2013 at 4:10 pm |
    • fred

      Exactly what foolishness has you confused?

      June 19, 2013 at 4:15 pm |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I can't let yu do that

      If Yahweh is so powerful, why did he need his son (who is also him) to make a blood sacrifice to save our souls (whaterver they are? Why not just click his tentacles and just make it happen? Also, why not nip the whole Satan thing in the bud, unless Satan is an agent of Yahweh (which the Jews believe) which means that Yahweh supports agents of evil, thus making him evil?

      June 19, 2013 at 4:20 pm |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I can't let yu do that

      Ignore the typos.

      June 19, 2013 at 4:21 pm |
    • Athy

      Sorry dave, you might want to check the spelling in your handle.

      June 19, 2013 at 4:32 pm |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I can't let you do that

      Thanks Athy.

      June 19, 2013 at 4:41 pm |
    • fred

      I'm sorry Dave, I can't let yu do that
      Christ simply came in a form that man could relate to in order to show the way. Jesus said I am the way the truth and the life. The model of Jesus the man is very easy to follow as is the way. The crucifixion of Christ was a picture of what sin looks like and the severe offense against a holy God sin really is. Sin results in separation from God (Jesus words on the cross my God my God why have you abandoned me). God took all the sins upon himself because of His mercy and grace. The result of sin is death (eternal separation from God) and God has given everyone that wants it a way back into Gods presence.

      So why not just snap Gods finger and all is forgiven? Where is the justice in that? Sin is serious and causes real loss and suffering perfect goodness and perfect justice must be reconciled. Perfect goodness is satisfied with all given the free gift of the way to Gods presence while perfect justice is satisfied in payment if full for the sin.

      Can you think of a better way?

      June 19, 2013 at 4:46 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      @fred

      thanks for explaining the foolishness.

      June 19, 2013 at 4:50 pm |
    • Athy

      No. Nor can I think of a more ridiculous way either.

      June 19, 2013 at 4:51 pm |
    • sam stone

      fred: where is the justice in punishing one person for another person's "sins"?

      where is the justice in punishing people for the way they were made?

      where is the concept of free will with an omniscient god?

      June 19, 2013 at 4:53 pm |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I can't let you do that

      My brain hurts. How can somebody say so much and mean so little? Now I'm even more confused than before I asked.

      Hold the newsreader's nose squarely, waiter, or friendly milk will countermand my trousers.

      June 19, 2013 at 4:53 pm |
    • Veronica

      @Fred, if I said "I am the way the truth and the life" would you worship me? Hell no, so what makes you think that this guy was divine?

      June 19, 2013 at 4:58 pm |
    • Secular Humanist from Ohio

      I agree Dyslexic doG, I don't understand it either.

      June 19, 2013 at 4:59 pm |
    • fred

      I'm sorry Dave, I can't let yu do that
      Even an atheist knows the need for strong and weak force in physics or natural selection in the process of evolution. Good and evil are necessary bi products of existence outside of the presence of God. They serve to refine the good or contrast the difference. All things work to the good of those who believe is a thread throughout the Bible. Evil has done nothing nor can it do anything to alter the purpose of creation it only exposes itself in the presence of good. In other words I could claim to be good but if I never had opportunity (exposure to evil) that would be an empty statement. The presence of God and the presence of evil allows the free will choice to exercise its true nature. I will choose one or the other.

      June 19, 2013 at 4:59 pm |
    • fred

      Athy

      "No. Nor can I think of a more ridiculous way either."
      => ok, step up to the plate and tell me what your way would be

      June 19, 2013 at 5:01 pm |
    • Athy

      Was that supposed to clear up your earlier post, fred?

      June 19, 2013 at 5:01 pm |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I can't let you do that

      Well, I don't believe in good and evil so that preceding statement was senseless to me.

      June 19, 2013 at 5:02 pm |
    • fred

      sam stone
      Man was made to fully embrace the wonder of goodness and eternal unfolding of awe beyond anything presently known. That full cognitive capacity of man requires freedom without bounds for expression. Only allowing good cuts off full capacity as well as true freedom. You would never know who you were if God locked you up in a monastery your whole life.

      June 19, 2013 at 5:07 pm |
    • Athy

      fred, there is no official way to "de-sin" ourselves. We are what we are, nothing more. No super being is watching us to punish us for our sins. As a social animal, we have developed our own mores and laws to deal with sins against one another. It ain't perfect, but it's all we got. No eye in the sky does it for us. Altruism has evolved naturally to maximize the chance of survival of our species (not individual members of it). It's really no more complicated than that.

      June 19, 2013 at 5:11 pm |
    • fred

      Veronica
      Jesus was Divine as his life was the full expression of the glory of God. On a personal level I know Jesus was Divine because I applied His specific way to my life and found the presence of God and the Kingdom of Heaven just as He promised.
      Those who have not had a personal experience with God can by faith know Divinity,

      June 19, 2013 at 5:11 pm |
    • sam stone

      "Man was made to fully embrace the wonder of goodness and eternal unfolding of awe beyond anything presently known. That full cognitive capacity of man requires freedom without bounds for expression. Only allowing good cuts off full capacity as well as true freedom. You would never know who you were if God locked you up in a monastery your whole life."

      lots of dancing around without answering the questions. congrats, freddie, you are every bit the coward that gopher is.

      June 19, 2013 at 5:13 pm |
    • fred

      I'm sorry Dave, I can't let you do that
      "Well, I don't believe in good and evil so that preceding statement was senseless to me."
      =>Reality is that which exists regardless of how you or I believe. The reality is that there is Good and Evil as evidenced by a terrorist bombing a busload of children vs an atheist that visits children in a cancer center to bring cheer.

      June 19, 2013 at 5:17 pm |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I can't let you do that

      No, the reality is that these things are actions, with values placed on them by people. That suicide bomber is a martyr, a hero and completely good and virtuous to many people as that is the value they place on his actions.

      June 19, 2013 at 5:25 pm |
    • fred

      athy
      I agree we cannot de-sin ourselves only sin to a greater or lessor extent. Perfect goodness simply excepts us and understands fully offering complete forgiveness for anyone that wants it.

      You did not offer an alternate plan you simply acknowledged the condition of man. To say that's all there is to existence is a sad belief. We exist in sinful manner out of an accident in nature then no longer exist. A hopeless beginning and end without purpose. When you look out into life that surrounds your presence in it self awareness reveals your position as more than the physical momentary location. That self awareness is contrary to your believe that is nothing more to your existence than flesh and bones.

      June 19, 2013 at 5:33 pm |
    • Pssst...

      Fred: "The reality is that there is Good and Evil as evidenced by a terrorist bombing a busload of children vs an atheist that visits children in a cancer center to bring cheer."
      One does it in the name of his God, fully convinced he is doing what God commands. The other is doing it out of his natural empathy and altruism.
      Which one, according to you, would get into Heaven?
      You will say, no doubt, that if the terrorist repented and asked for Jesus to forgive him, so it naturally would be him. Assuming he died at that moment, so he didn't have a chance to "go and sin no more."
      See, I have a problem with that.

      June 19, 2013 at 5:33 pm |
    • fred

      I'm sorry Dave, I can't let you do that
      "No, the reality is that these things are actions, with values placed on them by people. That suicide bomber is a martyr, a hero and completely good and virtuous to many people as that is the value they place on his actions."
      =>excellent point as without absolute goodness and authority value becomes whatever you want it to be which means it is of no value
      =>Perhaps you think we are only animal so that when a lion kills all the cubs that are not biologically his it is not evil or good it simply is what it is. I agree with you as without absolute morality it's all good. We have the capacity to feed starving children around the world 3 times over but choose not to do so. That is neither good or bad it simply is what it is.

      June 19, 2013 at 5:45 pm |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I can't let you do that

      Exactly, actions only have value in terms of the value people attach to those actions. There are no absolutes.

      June 19, 2013 at 5:50 pm |
    • Athy

      fred: Yes, it may be a sad belief, but it is the truth. Not wanting to believe that it is the truth is the fundamental reason for birth of religion. Many people are unable or unwilling to accept the truth, so they turn to religion for solace. I was that way as a child, until the truth became evident. Sure, you can day dream all you want, but don't let it take over your life. I'm perfectly happy knowing the truth; it doesn't affect me at all. We simply live, and then we die. And that's it. Brutal, but true.

      June 19, 2013 at 6:01 pm |
    • fred

      Psst
      None of us are worthy or can do anything to enter the Kingdom. It is a gift from God out of eternal goodness that created for the purpose of extending that goodness into everyone of us. We cannot know another person or sometimes even ourselves which is why we are not to judge. There were two criminals hanging next to Jesus (not innocent people or one more worthy than the other). One with his dying breath mocked Jesus while the other simply said to the other criminal "do you not fear God, we deserve this he (Jesus) is innocent then turned to Jesus and said remember me. Jesus replied today you will be with me in heaven.

      Note, both were guilty criminals, both were given opportunity before Jesus and both true dispositions of heart are made clear before Jesus. That covers every possibility.

      June 19, 2013 at 6:06 pm |
    • fred

      I'm sorry Dave, I can't let you do that
      "Exactly, actions only have value in terms of the value people attach to those actions. There are no absolutes."
      =>without absolutes your statement is in error as you cannot claim there are no absolutes if there are no absolutes. I would think we could agree on that?

      June 19, 2013 at 6:09 pm |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I can't let you do that

      Jedi mind tricks won't work on me.

      June 19, 2013 at 6:16 pm |
    • fred

      Athy
      Ok, so I know the truth because I had a personal experience that lined up with the words of Christ and the events surrounding that were miraculous (or at least not very probable). My perspective now involves the presence of God in most all life (i.e. prayers are answered while agnostics would say it was coincidence etc.). There can only be one truth or reality (i.e. presence of God or no presence). I believe God knew I needed that personal experience when I received it and I believe you have not been given that experience for a reason onto God.

      By the way it is a blessing not to know and experience God when God knows you will reject that gift. You are not held accountable for what you did not know.

      June 19, 2013 at 6:25 pm |
    • fred

      I'm sorry Dave, I can't let you do that

      Those were not the absolutes you were looking for?

      June 19, 2013 at 6:26 pm |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I can't let you do that

      You don't want to sell me death sticks. You want to go home and rethink your life.

      June 19, 2013 at 6:35 pm |
    • Pete

      "God took all the sins upon himself because of His mercy and grace. The result of sin is death (eternal separation from God) and God has given everyone that wants it a way back into Gods presence.

      So why not just snap Gods finger and all is forgiven? "

      Fred you're hilarious, based on what you just wrote..... guess what your god did snap his fingers, see the first sentenced I copied. Plus what's even more hilarious is your god supposedly is all knowing but yet it still created beings he knew would sin and make him angry, yet in it's stupidity did it anyway but then held this creation accountable for something it already knew would happen. We go round and round in a circle. It's hilarious and the fact you bought into bogus story is a great example of human gullibility.

      June 19, 2013 at 6:45 pm |
    • Pete

      "Reality is that which exists regardless of how you or I believe. The reality is that there is Good and Evil as evidenced by a terrorist bombing a busload of children vs an atheist that visits children in a cancer center to bring cheer."

      The problem with your analogy is the person who you are calling a terrorist is someone who believes they are doing their gods will and by doing that act will go to their heaven, to them and those like them, what they did was good. Plus the fact that the definitions of good and evil have changed throughout human history.

      June 19, 2013 at 6:50 pm |
    • fred

      I'm sorry Dave, I can't let you do that

      Cade Skywalker used death sticks to keep Luke from speaking to him from beyond the grave. See, more proof in life after death. Also, Cade turned from the dark-side ................we call that a conversion experience. The force could well be trying to get your attention.

      June 19, 2013 at 6:52 pm |
    • Kelly

      "By the way it is a blessing not to know and experience God when God knows you will reject that gift. You are not held accountable for what you did not know."

      That's a lie, according to the bible if you have heard about God, and reject him, you will burn in hell forever. Stop being a coward fred and speak the truth of God!

      June 19, 2013 at 6:53 pm |
    • Kelly

      " We have the capacity to feed starving children around the world 3 times over but choose not to do so. That is neither good or bad it simply is what it is."

      No it's not the bible clearly states that Christians are to help those in need and if you are not doing something to help then you are not a true Christian. Many call themselves Christians but they are too lazy to follow the scriptures the way God intended us to be examples for Christ.

      June 19, 2013 at 6:57 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      fred, and all the other mentally ill delusional believers, given that you are completely unable to provide the slightest foundation for your god(s), it is impossible to take anything you say about your cult seriously.

      June 19, 2013 at 6:59 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      Kelly
      "No it's not the bible clearly states that Christians are to help those in need and if you are not doing something to help then you are not a true Christian."

      So take that up with the majority of churches which have accumulated vast wealth while people starve.

      June 19, 2013 at 7:00 pm |
    • fred

      Pete
      With or without God we go round and round.
      The beginning and end was written out in the Creation story in the first book of the Bible. The rest of the Bible is man going round and round repeating the same mistakes.

      Now, you are confused as to what it means for God to "know" what would happen. God is not bound to our time line as we are and need not see events in linear sequence as we do. Notions of past, present and future are unique to our existence and is all we know. The plan is you get the opportunity to exercise your free will as you write the story of your life that reveals who you really are. With or without God you are approaching your destination. The Bible records 10,000 years of God redeeming a people and their revelations concerning God. You have read some parts and concluded God is stupid.......well that is not the conclusion of the people or writers of the Bible or even close to the story.

      June 19, 2013 at 7:15 pm |
    • fred

      Kelley
      => my reference to feeding starving children was regarding what was moral or immoral for humans is different than what is moral or immoral when a lion kills cubs. Point was relative morality or claiming there is no good or evil does not make sense thus absolute truth or goodness was necessary.

      =>sorry Kelly according to the Bible we are only held accountable for what we were given. "to whom much is given much is expected"

      June 19, 2013 at 7:24 pm |
    • Pete

      "Now, you are confused as to what it means for God to "know" what would happen. God is not bound to our time line as we are and need not see events in linear sequence as we do. Notions of past, present and future are unique to our existence and is all we know. The plan is you get the opportunity to exercise your free will as you write the story of your life that reveals who you really are. With or without God you are approaching your destination. The Bible records 10,000 years of God redeeming a people and their revelations concerning God. You have read some parts and concluded God is stupid.......well that is not the conclusion of the people or writers of the Bible or even close to the story."

      Don't you just love it when christians make up crap about their god cause they can't get around the all knowing part of the bible. LMAO!

      Nice spinning job there fred but you're still full of crap, you're lying again and being deceptive (hi Chad), your god can't be all knowing and not know the choices you'd already made, otherwise there would be no plan. What an idiot. So my posts still stands you're god was stupid enough to create beings it knew would make mistakes it would hold against them and it still created them anyways so it could find ways to torture them. It's why the story is so bogus and isn't true.

      June 19, 2013 at 7:25 pm |
    • Kelly

      "=>sorry Kelly according to the Bible we are only held accountable for what we were given. "to whom much is given much is expected""

      John 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

      June 19, 2013 at 7:28 pm |
    • Science

      Sorry fred but you are back here are you not ?

      60,000 resultsAny time

      From the little blue box.............first one out of.................lmao !

      My take: A word to Christians – Be nice – CNN Belief Blog ...

      religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/02/09/my-take-a-word-to-christians-be...

      Feb 09, 2013 · Evolution WINS hands down...time for the horn-y red ... Evolution WINS hands down...time for the horn-y ... Time for the horn-y beast to get the hell out ...

      http://www.bing.com/search?q=Creation+vs+Evolution..............evolution+wins+hands+down++.........Time+for+the+horn-y+red+beast+to+get+the+hell+out+of+the+%0D%0A%0D%0AbedVrooooooom.&form=HPNTDF&pc=HPNTDF&src=IE-SearchBox

      http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/06/19/opinion-pondering-the-francis-effect-on-the-catholic-church/#

      June 19, 2013 at 7:30 pm |
    • Kelly

      "=>sorry Kelly according to the Bible we are only held accountable for what we were given. "to whom much is given much is expected"

      Psalm 9:17, The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.
      Isaiah 66:24, And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcasses of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be abhorring unto all flesh.
      Matthew 13:41-42, The Son of man [Jesus] shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; and shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

      June 19, 2013 at 7:37 pm |
    • Secular Humanist from Ohio

      The Bible is a work of editorial creation, not god's creation. Theology is an irrelevant and purposeless endeavor.

      June 19, 2013 at 7:39 pm |
    • fred

      Kelly
      Watch your translations whenever a verse you use does not agree with other verses or the Bible in context as whole. In this case "believeth not" does not mean what you infer as ἀπιστεῖν and ἀπειθεῖν are used interchangeably. The word means one who is (ἀπειθής distrustful, who refuses to be persuaded, is contumacious and expresses the opposite to faith in active exercise, who repudiates faith on its fiducial and practical side. Nothing is said of those who have had no opportunity of coming to a knowledge of the Son of God.

      June 19, 2013 at 7:42 pm |
    • fred

      Secular Humanist from Ohio
      No, the Bible hits home every time and will reveal the true nature of your soul. No written story has impacted more lives than the Bible. In case you doubt me the 7 day week is an international standard that came from .............yep Genesis carried by oral tradition 10,000 years ago and written 3,400 years ago. Just because you can argue (without proof) it was written some other time by some other person does not change the fact it's roots were in religion.

      June 19, 2013 at 7:50 pm |
    • Secular Humanist from Ohio

      Oops, my bad. Humanity has existed for 150,000 years. Dying by 25 or 30 years old, often of or during childbirth, fighting over land and women, afraid of earthquakes, lightning, meteors, dying of disease, struggling for survival to the point of near extinction, and it was maybe 3000 years ago that god decided to intervene, saying, "Oh my! I'd better put a stop to this!" Then, he chose an illiterate, barbaric part of the mid east (not China, where people could read) to reveal himself to a bunch of supersti.tious peoples who believed the dead rose from their graves like it was a common occurance. That Biblical basis. You insult your intelligence.

      June 19, 2013 at 8:05 pm |
    • fred

      Secular Humanist from Ohio
      God's timing is perfect as the fastest growing minority religion in China today is...............drum roll...............Christianity! You could argue it is because they want all our intellectual property but I think it more than that.

      June 19, 2013 at 8:14 pm |
    • Secular Humanist from Ohio

      fred, now you're insulting my intelligence. Circular reasoning is pitiful. God's timing is perfect, what an intellectually irresponsible and pathetic response. Tell that to the millions of humans who died of disease and ignorance before god decided to "intervene" in human affairs.

      June 19, 2013 at 8:35 pm |
    • fred

      Secular Humanist from Ohio
      I think you need a better argument as proof that God picked a perfect time and place is in the pudding. You see the largest faiths today (Christianity and Islam) are from those goat herders and right out of the Bible. The Bible remains the #1 holy book with 6 billion sold (one for each Mcdonalds hamburger) and 800million Koran.

      It was a perfect time and place as the Romans brought stable government to that area in a central point for world distribution.

      June 19, 2013 at 8:40 pm |
    • fred

      Secular Humanist from Ohio
      =>I was referring to Gods perfect timing relative to time and space not the Christian sound bit so you are very wrong as to circular reasoning. The time could not be more perfect as we have BC (before Christ and AD the year of the Lord) which splits time before and after Christ birth to mark time. We live in AD 2013 the common world date system. No doubt the announcement of Christs birth was important. The events that formed our Western World View came from those goat herders.

      June 19, 2013 at 8:54 pm |
    • Pete

      Fred, most of the world now use C.E. and B.C.E. it is really only the super crazy religious people who want to use AD and BC as if that would somehow prove god exits. All it proves is that the people who came up with the calendar we use believed in god, which in the end proves nothing. Trying to use that as proof of your god might be one of the dumbest things I have read anywhere on the entire internet, and that is saying something.

      June 20, 2013 at 12:56 pm |
    • A Frayed Knot

      fred,

      Pete is correct about the B.C/A.D. deal.

      The B.C./A.D. dating system was the brainchild of a monk named Dionysius in the 6th century. The Church was very powerful in those days and controlled many aspects of society, including politics, science, economics, literature and history-writing... still, his dating system took hundreds of years (nearly 1000) to be inst-ituted world-wide. Many cultures still keep their ancient calendars going on the side.

      June 20, 2013 at 1:10 pm |
    • A Frayed Knot

      p.s. I think I might change my screen name to A Fred Not!

      June 20, 2013 at 1:15 pm |
  18. Reality

    Too little, too late. The pedophile horror exposed the weak underbelly of all religions.

    To wit:

    Only for new members of this blog:

    Putting the kibosh on all religions in less than ten seconds: Priceless !!!

    • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are non-existent.

    • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Moses i.e. the pillars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.

    • There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.

    • There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion.

    • There was no Moroni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.

    • Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.

    • Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated/reborn Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on Buddhism.

    • A constant cycle of reincarnation until enlightenment is reached and belief that various beings (angels?, tinkerbells? etc) exist that we, as mortals, cannot comprehend makes for a no on Sikhism.

    Added details available upon written request.

    A quick search will put the kibosh on any other groups calling themselves a religion.

    e.g. Taoism

    "The origins of Taoism are unclear. Traditionally, Lao-tzu who lived in the sixth century is regarded as its founder. Its early philosophic foundations and its later beliefs and rituals are two completely different ways of life. Today (1982) Taoism claims 31,286,000 followers.

    Legend says that Lao-tzu was immaculately conceived by a shooting star; carried in his mother's womb for eighty-two years; and born a full grown wise old man. "

    June 19, 2013 at 4:01 pm |
    • Bill Speakin'

      Never too late for you, the Pope beckons you.

      June 19, 2013 at 4:07 pm |
    • Reality

      Jesus was a bit "touched". After all he thought he spoke to Satan, thought he changed water into wine, thought he raised Lazarus from the dead etc. In today's world, said Jesus would be declared legally insane.

      Or did P, M, M, L and J simply make him into a first century magic-man via their epistles and gospels of semi-fiction? Many contemporary NT experts after thorough analyses of all the scriptures go with the latter magic-man conclusion with J's gospel being mostly fiction.

      Obviously, today's followers of Paul et al's "magic-man" are also a bit on the odd side believing in all the Christian mumbo jumbo about bodies resurrecting, and exorcisms, and miracles, and "magic-man atonement, and infallible, old, European/Utah/South American white men, and 24/7 body/blood sacrifices followed by consumption of said sacrifices. Yummy!!!!

      So why do we really care what a first century CE, illiterate, long-dead, preacher/magic man or the pope would do or say?

      June 19, 2013 at 4:14 pm |
    • Bill Speakin'

      'So why do we really care what a first century CE, illiterate...'

      Jesus could not have been illiterate, He was well versed in the Old Testament scriptures that He quoted them throughout His ministry and He most likely knew more than one language..

      Stop running away from Jesus, turn toward Him.

      June 19, 2013 at 4:20 pm |
    • JeffR

      Jesus was schooled by oral traditions. He was most likely illiterate in that he did his teaching in the same manner. Where are HIS writings? Why isn't the NT filled with HIS testimony, instead of dubious writings of many, whose authorship is called into question even today?
      Nah. He was most likely illiterate. It doesn't make his ministry any less helpful to those who embrace it, but he was most likely illiterate.

      June 19, 2013 at 4:50 pm |
    • Sean

      Jesus was a scholar who was well versed with the scriptures and religious literature of his time. Anyone who has read the New Testament would know this. There are many who referred to him in the New Testament as 'Rabbi'

      Jesus' purpose on planet earth was not to write to scriptures, he came with a divine purpose and that was to reconcile God with mankind.As God incarnate he was the source of wisdom, a fact very clearly established in the accounts of Luke's gospel of Jesus at the temple when he was twelve.

      Do not remain ignorant about who Jesus is, learn the truth, it will go a long way to knowing more about who Jesus really is.

      June 19, 2013 at 5:47 pm |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I can't let you do that

      Jesus was a guy, possibly a preacher or rogue rabbi, who upset the apple-cart in Judea during the post-Republic, early-Empire era. The Jewish establishment took exception to his teachings and got the Romans to kill him. Simple as that.

      June 19, 2013 at 5:54 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      The mythological character "Jesus" is an amalgamation of 50-200 preachers-claiming-to-be-messiah wandering around Palestine within a few decades of the time in question.

      June 19, 2013 at 6:00 pm |
  19. EX catholic

    IDOLATRY IS A VERY VERY SERIOUS SIN. It is not Religion. Bowing before statues and paintings on the walls, believing they are representations of the divine etc. is gross Idolatry not Religion.

    June 19, 2013 at 3:36 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      As if there was something as a non-serious sin.

      Sin is just a made up portion of made up religions.

      June 19, 2013 at 3:42 pm |
    • I wonder

      EX,

      And what do you do now? Are you just an IDOLATER of a mental image?

      June 19, 2013 at 3:46 pm |
    • Science

      Hey Ex................dot too............the gang !

      Follow the blue links in article Comedy Gold !

      June 19, 2013 at 3:47 pm |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I can't let yu do that

      I wonder

      Gotta jack it to something.

      June 19, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
    • STFU

      EX Catholic, do you pay respects, in any form, if not bowing, to the portraits of your deceased relatives, friends? Just curious. What is the difference if someone bows before statues and paintings on the walls, and you bow to your parents, friends, relatives, assuming you do that?

      June 19, 2013 at 4:33 pm |
  20. Shadrach

    From what we know so far, the Pope indeed is a humble servant of God.

    June 19, 2013 at 3:32 pm |
    • Athy

      But isn't that the definition of a pope?

      June 19, 2013 at 3:34 pm |
    • Daniel

      It's not about what people say, ultimately it's about pleasing God, when a man strives to please God all else would fall in place. Put God first.

      June 19, 2013 at 3:36 pm |
    • Salero21

      If you believe that you're as stupid as atheists and atheism is stupidity in Full bloom.

      June 19, 2013 at 3:37 pm |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I can't let yu do that

      Daniel

      How? Should I send him flowers and champagne? Perhaps a weekend in Paris? I imagine he's a deity of expensive tastes.

      June 19, 2013 at 3:46 pm |
    • religion; a way to control the weak minded

      "If you believe that you're as stupid as atheists and atheism is stupidity in Full bloom."

      sorry to burst your bubble, but stating things are fact, with zero proof, is pretty ignorant. No matter the side.

      June 19, 2013 at 4:01 pm |
    • Veronica

      @Salero21, there was a recent study that showed atheists and agnostics tend to have significantly higher IQs and be much better educated than Christians in the United States. Oops, there goes your theory.

      June 19, 2013 at 5:03 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      Sally, What a fool believes, no wise man has the power to reason away.

      June 19, 2013 at 5:05 pm |
    • Athy

      Veronica: Actually, there have been several studies that show atheists and agnostics have significantly higher IQs and be much better educated than Christians. But, studies aside, all one has to do is compare the writing skills of religies, such as Salero, and atheists on this blog to see the obvious IQ differences.

      June 19, 2013 at 5:19 pm |
    • Salero21

      The hom.os will give you all the butt flu.

      June 19, 2013 at 7:08 pm |
    • Athy

      Thanks, Salero. You just proved my case.

      June 19, 2013 at 11:08 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.