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August 2nd, 2013
08:00 AM ET

Why millennials need the church

Opinion by Rachel Held Evans, special to CNN

(CNN) – For a time, I counted myself among the spiritual but not religious, Christian but not churchgoing crowd.

Like many millennials, I left church because I didn’t always see the compassion of Jesus there, and because my questions about faith and science, the Bible, homosexuality, and religious pluralism were met with shallow answers or hostility.

At first I reveled in my newfound Sunday routine of sleeping in, sipping my coffee and yelling at Republicans who appeared on ”Meet the Press.”

But eventually I returned, because, like it or not, we Christian millennials need the church just as much as the church needs us. Here’s why:

Baptism

As former Methodist bishop Will Willimon has often said, “you cannot very well baptize yourself.”

In a culture that stresses individualism, the church satisfies the human need for community, for shared history and experiences.

And in a world where technology enables millennials to connect only with those who are like-minded, baptism drags us - sometimes kicking and screaming as infants - into the large, dysfunctional and beautiful family of the church.

Confession

“Sin” is not a popular word these days, perhaps because it is so often invoked in the context of judgment and condemnation.

But like all people, millennials need reminding now and then that the hate and violence we observe in the world is also present within ourselves.

We can be too idealistic, too convinced we can change the world from our iPads.

The accountability that comes from participation in a local church gives young Christians the chance to speak openly about our struggles with materialism, greed, gossip, anger, consumerism and pride.

Healing

While the flawed people who make up the church can certainly inflict pain on each other and sometimes on the world, we also engage in the important work of healing.

At their best, local churches provide basements where AA groups can meet, living rooms where tough conversations about racial reconciliation occur, casseroles for the sick and shelter for the homeless.

Millennials who have been hurt by the church may later find healing in it.

Leadership

Like a lot of millennials, I am deeply skeptical of authority - probably to a fault.

But when I interact with people from my church who have a few years and a lot of maturity on me, I am reminded of how cool it is to have a free, built-in mentoring and accountability program just down the street.

We can learn a lot from the faithful who have gone before us, and the church is where we find them.

Communion

One of the few things the modern church has in common with the ancient one is its celebration of the sacred meal— the Eucharist.

There is simply not the space here, nor in many volumes of theology for that matter, to unpack the significance of remembering Jesus through eating bread and drinking wine. But when I left the church, it was Communion I craved the most.

Churches may disagree on exactly how Christ is present in these sacred meals, but we agree that Christ is present. And millennials, too, long for that presence.

There are some days when the promise of Communion is the only thing that rouses me from bed on Sunday morning. I want a taste of that mystery.

Confirmation

Many churches practice a rite of initiation, sometimes called confirmation.

Theologian Lauren Winner, in her book “Still: Notes on a Mid-Faith Crisis,” quotes a friend who said:

“What you promise when you are confirmed is not that you will believe this forever. What you promise when you are confirmed is that that is the story you will wrestle with forever.”

The church, at its best, provides a safe place in which to wrestle with this story we call the Gospel.

Union with Christ

Those who follow Jesus long for the day when their communion with him becomes complete, and Jesus promises this will happen through the church.

The apostle Paul compared this union to a marriage. Jesus describes it as a banquet.

No matter what the latest stats or studies say, Christians believe the future of the church is secure and not even “the gates of hell” will prevail against it.

As much as I may struggle to fit in sometimes, as much as I doubt, question and fight for reforms, I am a part of this church, through good times and bad, for better or worse.

The astute reader will notice that each of these points corresponds loosely with a sacrament—baptism, confession, the anointing of the sick, holy orders, communion, confirmation and marriage.

Some would say there are many others. We could speak of the sacrament of the Word or the washing of feet.

But even where they are not formally observed, these sacraments are present in some form in nearly every group of people who gather together in the name of Jesus.

They connect us to our faith through things we can eat, touch, smell and feel. And they connect us with one another.

They remind us, as writer and Episcopal priest Sara Miles put it, that “You can’t be a Christian by yourself.”

This is why I haven’t given up on the church, and I suspect why it hasn't given up on me.

Rachel Held Evans is the author of "Evolving in Monkey Town" and "A Year of Biblical Womanhood." She blogs at rachelheldevans.com. The views expressed in this column belong to her.

Evans has written two previous posts for CNN's Belief Blog: Why millennials are leaving the church; and Not all religious convictions are written in stone.

- CNN Belief Blog Editor

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Church • evangelicals • Faith • Opinion • United States

soundoff (4,825 Responses)
  1. Paul Dubuc

    It's interesting to compare the social media recommendation stats of this article with her prior one about "Why Millennials Are Leaving the Church." This article about why they need the church gets 6200 Facebook shares, 254 Tweets, 17 on LinkedIn and 38 on Google+. Those numbers for the previous article are 220,000, 3408, 372, and 648. It seems fair to say that Rachel's readers and their friends are far more interested in why Millennials are leaving the Church than why they need it. Draw your own conclusions.

    September 26, 2013 at 8:55 pm |
    • Matt

      I have found that most people link to articles that they disagree with more than they do ones they agree with. Evan's article about why Millennials leave the church was really not that much more popular until certain famous personalities started sharing it as something they disagreed with and then their followers started re-sharing it for the same reason. But, I guess details like that really don't matter to someone that decides to judge people's intentions without knowing them :)

      February 11, 2014 at 12:03 pm |
      • Paul Dubuc

        I wonder how you have found that. From what I see it's the opposite. I don't think the statistics that I mentioned really reflect the incidence of linking to an article. Linking generally shows up in the comments section as track backs. The comments themselves are a mixed bag. The social media statistics on this page count how many times the article is shared or "liked" on someone's Facebook, G+, etc. I think it's reasonable to suggest that people don't do that unless they are pretty much in agreement with the article, but maybe you are a better judge of people's unknown intentions than I.

        February 11, 2014 at 6:23 pm |
        • Matt

          Trackbacks are generally just from when blogs post about a topic. Links from Facebook,Twitter, etc tend to be more from people that disagree than agree according to recent research. People are generally trying to rally support against a topic when they post to Facebook. Likes generally come from people that like it, but that still is just a reflection of those that actually saw the post in the first place. It generally just takes a few trackbacks by key influencers to skew likes and Facebook links. There is a lot of fascinating research out there about this, but it mostly just concludes that you can't assume anything from the numbers on the bottom of posts.

          February 15, 2014 at 10:08 am |
        • Paul Dubuc

          You're saying that the counter above the Facebook "Recommend" button at the top of this article (and the other) also tracks those who disagree with the article? Hard to believe. I'd like to see the research that proves this. Thanks.

          February 15, 2014 at 4:09 pm |
  2. patw

    There is plenty of hate in the world. You don't need to go to a church to be subjected to more hatred.

    September 14, 2013 at 1:08 pm |
    • shadowspring

      Yup. Nailed it.

      September 14, 2013 at 2:34 pm |
  3. Steve Finnell

    CHRIST ALONE

    Jesus Christ is the only way to gain salvation, the only way to heaven, the only way to the Father. Do all Christians believe that? All who claim to be Christians do not believe that.

    A 2007 Pew research forum on Religion found that 57% of the evangelical Christians, who were polled, believed that many religions can lead to eternal life.

    Those who claim the Bible as God's word do not always use it as their guide for what they believe.

    CHRIST ALONE ACCORDING TO THE BIBLE

    Acts 4:10-12 let it be know to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead–by this name this man stands here before you in good health. 11 He is the stone which was rejected by you, the builders, but which became the chief corner stone. 12 And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved."

    If 57% of all so-called evangelical Christians believe that there are many ways to heaven, it is not difficult to understand why so many of them reject the words of Jesus when He said "He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved..(Mark 16:16). If you do not believe Jesus is the only way to heaven, then, it makes it very easy to deny that water baptism is essential for salvation.

    Did you ever notice how, well know, so-called Christian preachers will not say that Jesus is the only way to heaven? Billy Graham and Joel Osteen come to mind. They also claim water baptism is not essential for salvation. Is there a connection?

    YOU EITHER BELIEVE AND PREACH THE TRUTH OR YOU DO NOT. A PARTIAL GOSPEL CANNOT SAVE ANYONE.

    YOU ARE INVITED TO FOLLOW MY CHRISTIAN BLOG. Google search>>> steve finnell a christian view

    September 10, 2013 at 11:53 am |
    • shadowspring

      But why would we? >_<

      September 14, 2013 at 2:36 pm |
    • Jim Jones

      The Jesus of the gospels never existed, never said a word. He is a myth, like all 'gods'.

      September 16, 2013 at 6:36 pm |
  4. try free

    I like this web blog very much, Its a very nice place to read and incur info. "Intimacy is what makes a marriage, not a ceremony, not a piece of paper from the state." by Kathleen Norris.

    August 24, 2013 at 3:55 pm |
  5. jjg777.

    I am a Christian so I won't even deal with the comments you made regarding other non Christian religions. However regarding the bible:

    The bible says there is only one name under heaven whereby men (and women) must be saved. The Lord Jesus.

    The bible claims that Jesus was raised from the dead by the Father. No other religion claims that a man was raised from the dead. That he was seen on the earth for 40 days after he was resurrected (by more than 500 people) and that he then went up to heaven on a cloud. That he now sits on the right hand of the Father making intersession for our sins.

    The rapture will take all born again believers to heaven. Leaving the rest of humanity in a horrible time of war and the coming of a man called the Antichrist and a season of horror for 7 years most of humanity will be killed by other men and Christ will return for 1000 years of peace. Then unbelievably after 1000 years of his rule on earth, man kind will still revote and be promptly put down.

    The bible has been incredibly accurate. Going back even to non Christian sources such as Josephus where he describes Christ in around the first century. The bible knows things that man has just recently discovered. For example in four places the bible says that "God stretches out the heavens like a curtain." If you read what Hubble discovered that the galaxies are flying away from each other in just that manner. His discovery was not made until 1929!!!

    Or how about looking at many of the (hidden) prophesies in the Psalms. For example: Each of the Psalms seems to describe events that match the number of that Psalm in the 20th and 21th century. For example Psalm 91 for 1991. It very accurately describes gulf war number one. The Psalms talks about arrows (scud missles) tipped with biological weapons (pestilences in the bible). Read the whole Psalm for your self. Or maybe you want to read Psalm 102 (for right after 9-11-2001). It describes a building (the trade towers) coming down and people in the dust! Read it for your self.

    Or maybe Psalm 46 (right after the 2nd World war) it says God ends all war and it describes the earth melting (atomic bomb). I could go on.

    Man has no other answers to why it we are evolved rather than made by God that every other planet that we have discovered is barren and weird with no chance of life.

    There is a all powerful, all knowing, all present God and he can give you eternal life if :

    You confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Jesus from the dead you will be saved!!!

    Finally, to prove this statement above read the story of the crucifixion of Christ, with 2 bad men one on either side of Christ also being crucifixion. The one bad man said to Christ on the cross, "If you be the Christ, come down off that cross and save your self and then save me." But the other bad man on the other side of Christ said to his bad friend, " You and I deserve what we are getting but this man (Christ) has done nothing amiss. Then he turned to Christ and said " Lord when you come into your Kingdom, remember me. Therefore he called Jesus "Lord" with his mouth, and must have believed in his heart that Jesus was going to be raised from the dead (because at the moment Jesus was on the Cross.) He met the requirements of the verse "Confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in your heart that God raised Jesus from the dead and you will be saved.

    What did Jesus say to the one thief who made this confession (but not to the other). He said "This day will you be with me in paradise (Paradise became Heaven).

    Fall away from the church if you will as the bible says–There will be a great falling away." But one day you will see the Lord Jesus standing before you with the nail prints in his hands and his feet and you will say "Lord I believe now."

    But it will be TO LATE.

    Yes as the bible says "EVERY KNEE SHALL BOW AND EVERY TONGUE SHALL CONFESS (THE LORD JESUS) TO THE GLORY OF THE FATHER.

    BUT SADLY FOR SOME OF YOU IT WILL BE TO LATE. "NOW IS THE ACCEPTABLE TIME OF THE LORD."

    August 23, 2013 at 2:57 pm |
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    August 22, 2013 at 10:32 am |
  7. Bubba

    I have heard the Church is dwindling because it lacks "feeling", however, I disagree. I believe the Church is fading due to the wrong "feeling".
    The Church, is the living embodiment of God. As a Christian, I believe the Church, are the Hands, Feet, and Voice of Christ. Hands which currently collect lots of money, but do not distribute it to help those in need, and instead builds fancy malls to congregate in. Feet, that run away from the challenge of helping "the least of these", and run toward any like minded group that remind them of how "Righteous" they are. Voice, that spends most of its time condemning the Sins of others, while making excuses for, or completely ignoring, their own Sins.
    I am a Sinner, and I will be JUDGED. But so shall all these hypocrites who call themselves Followers, but know no love for anyone other than themselves. The Church is dwindling because of Hypocrisy, and Selfish Greed.

    August 19, 2013 at 10:11 am |
    • Joshua

      Bubba,
      Well said, as a group only a minority of The church is the extension of Christ it should be. I wonder if it is more our selfish American culture invading the church? The church intern has embraced this culture versus holding to Biblical teachings? Just a thought.

      August 22, 2013 at 5:39 pm |
  8. pzh

    mzh who keeps pushing quotes from his evil storybook at us will go on all day with his repetitive posts trying to sell you on his god fraud. He has no proof to offer of his stories and you have to ask why his "god" needs an old, badly flawed book to get its message out. The reason is that his religion is all a big scam, entirely man-made. The god that his mythbook describes is just that, a complete fabrication. It is time to put such fictions aside and to tackle the problems of the world head on, instead. mzh's religion is one of those problems, and is the source of some of the worst ones. Witness what it demands that its followers do to "infidels" that happen to not buy into his stories.

    August 13, 2013 at 2:12 pm |
  9. Kenrick Benjamin

    Thank you JEHOVAH GOD.

    August 13, 2013 at 7:19 am |
    • mzh

      Who created the Sun?

      Can you or science create anything out of nothing? what about human creation? I understand you may say the science will create human as surrogate or so on... can u then create the sperm and the ovam?

      No one can create anything out of nothing... why human so ignorance in order to believe that there is A Creator who has no partner and He is not in need of any human to help Him in order to run this entire universe? and these humen were not exist and then they come to their mother's womd and then gets out of it and then they can't even feed themselves till certain age and then once they become little young, they forget their existance... don't they use their brain to think that they were not exist? don't they think that they are going towards old age and some of them they die... who can stop these? if you can then come to me and i will accept you...

      Peace!!!

      August 13, 2013 at 9:41 am |
      • lerianis

        It is ignorant to think that there is a 'god' at all and not a collective of higher evolved beings who created the Universe.

        Just because people have powers that humans DO NOT YET HAVE doesn't mean that they are 'gods' in the slightest, nor that they should be dictating to other people how they live their lives.

        August 13, 2013 at 9:49 am |
      • mzh

        Dear lerianis:

        I am glad to hear that from you...

        Quran rejects any human god(s) or any kind of association with god inlcuding ppl say only begotten son or daughter or wife or etc... it is very simple that 'there is no ILAH worthy of worship excpt Allah who is unseen and the creator of heavens and earch and anything between them and Muhammad, Jesus, Moses and others are sent as messanger or prophets...

        My humble suggestions to you is to study the quran and get to know what it says about The Creator and who is God and so on... it may take years but please do not give up... Quran is the ONLY MONOTHIESTIC religion on the face of earth as Jesus, Moses, Abraham and all other prophets...

        August 13, 2013 at 10:37 am |
      • pzh

        mzh who keeps pushing quotes from his evil storybook at us will go on all day with his repetitive posts trying to sell you on his god fraud. He has no proof to offer of his stories and you have to ask why his "god" needs an old, badly flawed book to get its message out. The reason is that his religion is all a big scam, entirely man-made. The god that his mythbook describes is just that, a complete fabrication. It is time to put such fictions aside and to tackle the problems of the world head on, instead. mzh's religion is one of those problems, and is the source of some of the worst ones. Witness what it demands that its followers do to "infidels" that happen to not buy into his stories.

        August 13, 2013 at 2:20 pm |
  10. mzh

    25:70 – Except those who repent and believe (in Islamic Monotheism), and do righteous deeds, for those, Allah will change their sins into good deeds, and Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.

    25:71 – And whosoever repents and does righteous good deeds, then verily, he repents towards Allah with true repentance.

    25:72 – And those who do not witness falsehood, and if they pass by some evil play or evil talk, they pass by it with dignity.

    25:73 – And those who, when they are reminded of the Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) of their Lord, fall not deaf and blind thereat.

    25:74 – And those who say: "Our Lord! Bestow on us from our wives and our offspring who will be the comfort of our eyes, and make us leaders for the righteous"

    25:75 – Those will be rewarded with the highest place (in Paradise) because of their patience. Therein they shall be met with greetings and the word of peace and respect.

    25:76 – Abiding therein; excellent it is as an abode, and as a place to dwell.

    August 13, 2013 at 7:00 am |
    • Just the Facts Ma'am...

      "Beep – whir – ping – bop – toot – beep – beep" R2-D2

      "The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time." Mark Twain

      August 13, 2013 at 2:13 pm |
    • pzh

      mzh who keeps pushing quotes from his evil storybook at us will go on all day with his repetitive posts trying to sell you on his god fraud. He has no proof to offer of his stories and you have to ask why his "god" needs an old, badly flawed book to get its message out. The reason is that his religion is all a big scam, entirely man-made. The god that his mythbook describes is just that, a complete fabrication. It is time to put such fictions aside and to tackle the problems of the world head on, instead. mzh's religion is one of those problems, and is the source of some of the worst ones. Witness what it demands that its followers do to "infidels" that happen to not buy into his stories.

      August 13, 2013 at 2:14 pm |
  11. mzh

    Conversation between Allah (The Ilah) and His first creation which Angels about human creation:

    2:30 – And [mention, O Muhammad], when your Lord said to the angels, "Indeed, I will make upon the earth a successive authority (human)." They (Angels) said, "Will You place upon it one who causes corruption therein and sheds blood, while we declare Your praise and sanctify You?" Allah said, "Indeed, I know that which you do not know."

    2:31 – And He taught Adam the names – all of them. Then He showed them to the angels and said, "Inform Me of the names of these, if you are truthful."

    2:32 – They said, "Exalted are You; we have no knowledge except what You have taught us. Indeed, it is You who is the Knowing, the Wise."

    2:33 – He said, "O Adam, inform them of their names." And when he had informed them of their names, He said, "Did I not tell you that I know the unseen [aspects] of the heavens and the earth? And I know what you reveal and what you have concealed."

    Human are so much honoured that the entire creation were commanded to prostrate on Adam:
    2:34 – And [mention] when We said to the angels, "Prostrate before Adam"; so they prostrated, except for Iblees. He refused and was arrogant and became of the disbelievers.

    2:35 – And We said, "O Adam, dwell, you and your wife, in Paradise and eat therefrom in [ease and] abundance from wherever you will. But do not approach this tree, lest you be among the wrongdoers."

    The first one to be disobedient and is not from Angel but from another nation called Jinn which Bible does not talk about it which is perhaps why Christians teaches satan is a fallen angel but angels are created of having no free will to disobey a command but Jinn are created with the privilege of free will like human:

    2:36 – But Satan caused them to slip out of it and removed them from that [condition] in which they had been. And We said, "Go down, [all of you], as enemies to one another, and you will have upon the earth a place of settlement and provision for a time."

    2:37 – Then Adam received from his Lord [some] words, and He accepted his repentance. Indeed, it is He who is the Accepting of repentance, the Merciful.

    2:38 – We said, "Go down from it, all of you. And when guidance comes to you from Me, whoever follows My guidance – there will be no fear concerning them, nor will they grieve.

    2:39 – And those who disbelieve and deny Our signs – those will be companions of the Fire; they will abide therein eternally."

    Please read more in the open book which is the Quran and judge urself...

    August 12, 2013 at 3:50 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      I have, and it the ramblings of a megolomaniac lunatic who was also a child molester.

      August 12, 2013 at 4:49 pm |
      • mzh

        Thanks and I feel sorry for you that you are so intelligent but not intelligent enough to understand the message in it but i would never give up my hope... one day you will realize either sooner or later...

        Peace...

        August 13, 2013 at 6:49 am |
        • pzh

          mzh, sorry that you are unable to understand the bulk of your post is the Secret Decoder Ring fallacy and that your last line is Pascal's Wager warmed over. Your beliefs are entirely fiction.Do some research before you post more nonsense like you just did.

          August 13, 2013 at 11:11 am |
        • mzh

          Dear pzh:

          I appreciate your comments on my posting… I do not expect that everyone will like these verses from Quran… but I believe there are folks who are in seeking of the truth… this is for those who seek for it and not for those who does not seek… so no worries…

          I have done my search enough to feel that I am obligated to let others know about the truth… during the first generation of Islam, folks accepted Islam by seeing the behave of a Muslim and by reading of the verses of the quran as it was their own language and they ponder upon it as soon as they heard it… some of them got emotionally sick for days and months after they have listened to some of the recitation and this is how they accepted this truth… I understand these days, people are basically seeing what some people with the banner of Islam do and they think this is the Islam but this is NOT… so I thought to share the verse so that people will know that the Islam is not what they see in media or people doing wrongly with the banner of Islam…

          I have also seen folks here born in different denominations and than got confused as they thought it make no sense what they were told and then they have spend years and some decades in order to know the quran and then accepted it as The Truth here in America and all over the world…

          So I am not really worry about what people calls me or call the religion…

          Peace be upon you...

          August 13, 2013 at 2:04 pm |
        • pzh

          mzh who keeps pushing quotes from his evil storybook at us will go on all day with his repetitive posts trying to sell you on his god fraud. He has no proof to offer of his stories and you have to ask why his "god" needs an old, badly flawed book to get its message out. The reason is that his religion is all a big scam, entirely man-made. The god that his mythbook describes is just that, a complete fabrication. It is time to put such fictions aside and to tackle the problems of the world head on, instead. mzh's religion is one of those problems, and is the source of some of the worst ones. Witness what it demands that its followers do to "infidels" that happen to not buy into his stories.

          August 13, 2013 at 2:16 pm |
  12. mzh

    A call to mankind:

    2:21 – O mankind, worship your Lord, who created you and those before you, that you may become righteous

    2:22 – [He] who made for you the earth a bed [spread out] and the sky a ceiling and sent down from the sky, rain and brought forth thereby fruits as provision for you. So do not attribute to Allah equals while you know [that there is nothing similar to Him].

    2:23 – And if you are in doubt about what We have sent down upon Our Servant [Muhammad], then produce a surah (chapter) the like thereof and call upon your witnesses other than Allah, if you should be truthful.

    2:24 – But if you do not – and you will never be able to – then fear the Fire, whose fuel is men and stones, prepared for the disbelievers.

    2:25 – And give good tidings to those who believe and do righteous deeds that they will have gardens [in Paradise] beneath which rivers flow. Whenever they are provided with a provision of fruit there from, they will say, "This is what we were provided with before." And it is given to them in likeness. And they will have therein purified spouses, and they will abide therein eternally.

    August 12, 2013 at 3:07 pm |
    • Jeb

      A call to mzh:

      Umm, why does your all-powerful being who has everything need worship? Better make yourself a better god next time, stupid.

      August 12, 2013 at 3:13 pm |
      • 808

        That is not why we worship God. And if we worship ourselves we become just like you. And that kind of life sucks.

        August 12, 2013 at 3:19 pm |
        • Jeb

          No, you suck, and you don't have any balls.

          August 12, 2013 at 3:23 pm |
        • 404

          god worship pretty much is self worship. Let's see, as the tiny spec of dust that I am in the universe, some deity cares for me because I'm so special but lets millions of innocent kids die horribly painful deaths elsewhere in poorer places in the world because they don't matter as much to him as wonderful me does...

          Some god you've made there, little fella.

          August 12, 2013 at 3:26 pm |
        • mzh

          Dear Jeb,

          Calm down... angry takes nowhere... no one is forcing anyone to accept any faith... i am here just to share the message and it is up to you whether to accept or to reject... if you accept it will not benefit me of any earthly benefit and on the other hand if you reject it will not help me in anyways... decision is urs...

          One of the teaching of prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is 'the one who can control his anger when he or she is angry is the most powerful one and not the one who is physically pwoerful or who wrastles'.....

          August 12, 2013 at 3:56 pm |
        • Jeb

          Dear mzh, honey, do look up straw man argument. That is what you just presented. Let's look deeper at your religion, then, shall we:

          1. There is no evidence for Muslim beliefs about god. None. Zero.

          2. Islam is the most violent religion going. For that reason alone, it needs to get shut down, big time.

          3. Christianity is not much better.

          Now, let's yank you back on track, now that we have tossed aside your straw man attempts:

          Again, why does your "god" demand worship from its stupid sheeple, such as yourself? Yes, your Quran has such demands in it, and you have quoted from it.

          August 12, 2013 at 4:59 pm |
        • lerianis

          What? Sorry, but I have to disagree. Islam is NOT the most violent religion in the slightest. A lot of the 'violence' that Arabics do against other Arabics and other races is NOT because of Islam. In fact, it's flagrantly in violation of Islam's tenets, however they have some radical madrassas and their leaders who have basically rewritten the Koran.

          I'm no Muslim, I'm an Atheist myself but Islam is no more nor less violent than Christianity is. Christianity just couches their violence under 'fiat of law'.

          August 12, 2013 at 6:22 pm |
        • Spud

          larianna, you're spitting hairs there. Muslim society and religion are tied together in a gordian knot, hence the violence is part and parcel with the religion, as is the excessive respect for the imams. We know how to release the knot, but anyway, still more violent than most Christian societies now fo sho.

          August 12, 2013 at 6:37 pm |
      • 808

        Basic Muslim theology is not that difficult to grasp. Keep at it, Jeb. I know you can get it eventually!

        August 12, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
        • Jeb

          Basic logic is not that hard to grasp, 808. You fail to get it so far, but keep trying, and with that and some courage that you lack at present, you might be able to grow out of your childish religious fictions.

          August 12, 2013 at 5:01 pm |
      • mzh

        Jeb:

        I am not here to convince anyone... thats not what i am intend to but just to let u know... so peace... you do your religion and I do mine – 107:6

        So peace :)

        August 12, 2013 at 6:36 pm |
        • Jeb

          mzh, you are obviously a liar and a hypocrite, since you actually have obviously been pushing your religion at us.

          As for "you do your religion", um, I don't have a religion, and nor do I need one. I'm smarter than that, and much smarter than you are. The problem with your request is that religion such as yours brings with it some awful laws that impact others, including its demands for murder of "infidels"

          So, mzh, now that you have clearly exposed yourself as a liar, put that in that fat pipe that you stick in your ass, and smoke it.

          August 12, 2013 at 6:43 pm |
        • Jeb

          mzh, you are obviously a liar and a hypocrite, since you actually have obviously been pushing your religion at us.

          As for "you do your religion", um, I don't have a religion, and nor do I need one. I'm smarter than that, and much smarter than you are. The problem with your request is that religion such as yours brings with it some awful laws that impact others, including its demands for murder of "infidels"

          So, mzh, now that you have clearly exposed yourself as a liar, put that in your fat pipe and smoke it.

          August 12, 2013 at 6:45 pm |
        • Jeb

          mzh, you are obviously a liar and a hypocrite, since you actually have obviously been pushing your religion at us.

          As for "you do your religion", um, I don't have a religion, and nor do I need one. I'm smarter than that, and much smarter than you are. The problem with your request is that religion such as yours brings with it some awful laws that impact others, including its demands for murder of "infidels"

          So, mzh, now that you have clearly exposed yourself as a liar, put that in your pipe and smoke it.

          August 12, 2013 at 6:46 pm |
        • mzh

          Thank you Jeb for your kind wordings... and this actually prove what type of smart human you are who does not know how to respect others and live with peace...

          by the way when u said that you do not have any religion, this is not correct... there is not a single human who could say that has no religion... one of the definitions of 'religion' is 'follow a list of do vs don't' as you are so nice person and you do not tend to harm others or do something which could harm others or th e community that is past the the list that you follow... now the list, either you come up with your own list in this case you already have and you follow anyone of the list we have in the face of earth i.e. hinduism, christianity, muslim, buddha and so on...

          i hope it will be little helpful for you...

          peace be upon u...

          August 12, 2013 at 7:13 pm |
        • Jeb

          mzh, you have been clearly shown to be a liar. Go on posting all you like, but you have no credibility left.

          And as others have said, atheism is no more a religion than bald is a hair color, or than not collecting stamps is a hobby. That point exceeds your limited grasp of logic, but that is your problem, not mine.

          Now, mzh, you should not dare to call someone else down re their quality as a person, when you have been unequivocably shown to be a liar yourself.

          mzh, you are a liar and a coward. Plain and simple. That is what your posts demonstrate. You should be ashamed of yourself.

          August 12, 2013 at 7:44 pm |
        • Johnny

          Mzh, allah doesn't exist.

          August 13, 2013 at 11:55 am |
        • mzh

          Dear John,

          Can you please prove that Allah does not exist?

          Peace!!!

          August 13, 2013 at 1:54 pm |
        • pzh

          mzh, go google and read up on "Russell's Teapot". Read about it at least 1000 times, and until you understand it. The content speaks well to your post. Stop pushing your desipicable god fraud at others.

          mzh who keeps pushing quotes from his evil storybook at us will go on all day with his repetitive posts trying to sell you on his god fraud. He has no proof to offer of his stories and you have to ask why his "god" needs an old, badly flawed book to get its message out. The reason is that his religion is all a big scam, entirely man-made. The god that his mythbook describes is just that, a complete fabrication. It is time to put such fictions aside and to tackle the problems of the world head on, instead. mzh's religion is one of those problems, and is the source of some of the worst ones. Witness what it demands that its followers do to "infidels" that happen to not buy into his stories.

          August 13, 2013 at 2:19 pm |
        • Johnny

          I don't need to prove anything, it is safe to assume allah doesn't exist until you prove that allah does exist. So I eagerly await your proof, afterall, my soul depends you.

          August 13, 2013 at 3:25 pm |
  13. Joel Oilsheen

    New Headline: Why The Church Needs Millenials

    And the answer: because religion needs money! Give us your money for our god fraud ponzi scheme. I need more money to pay for my many buckets of hair grease and my limos.

    Money! Money! Money! God needs money. Well, OK, I do, and I'm as good as god to you gullible fools.

    August 12, 2013 at 10:32 am |
    • mzh

      what fascinates me is there are lots of Christian preachers like Joel, Dollar, JH and his Son and there are lot more who owns a private jet where there are most of the Muslim scholars struggle to pay their bills...

      August 12, 2013 at 2:52 pm |
      • Jeb

        That's merely because most Muslims live in backward places with weak economies, and/or where wealth isn't equitably distributed.

        Go figure...

        August 12, 2013 at 3:11 pm |
        • mzh

          Thank you Jeb...

          I don't think you got my point... :)

          I have already figured it out but was thinking if anyone else give it a thought that how these preachers gets this rich by just teaching of whatever they do ...

          August 12, 2013 at 3:22 pm |
        • 404

          Oh, Jeb seemed to get what you were trying to say just fine, mzh. He just pointed out an obvious problem with it, that you apparently haven't got a valid response for.

          August 12, 2013 at 3:29 pm |
  14. tony

    This has been voted Best Comedy article on CNN.

    August 12, 2013 at 12:08 am |
  15. Peds

    good article

    August 10, 2013 at 1:40 am |
  16. bostontola

    "He should blame the people for the violence and suppressed science, not religion, right?"

    I disagree, religion was invented by people, administered by people, and its decisions are made by its people. You can't separate people from religion. Now god is a totally different story.

    August 9, 2013 at 11:40 pm |
    • Peds

      May God bless you.

      August 10, 2013 at 1:40 am |
      • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

        May Skeletor bless you.

        August 10, 2013 at 2:29 am |
    • Ken

      Yeah, it's like not being able to criticize Communism just because people didn't implement Marxism purely enough. What good is a religion if it's only viable in theory, and people can't make it work in real life?

      August 10, 2013 at 11:23 am |
      • bostontola

        Great point.

        August 10, 2013 at 12:03 pm |
      • haime52

        Perhaps because aspiring to a higher calling or higher moral purpose is the essence of what humankind has hopes for itself to attain. It has been said that evolution tends toward thinking rather than feeling creatures. In some ways, so does religion.
        I fail to see how religion currently suppresses science, in any way. Although I have seen academia suppressing free discussion of the merits of some theories. How sad that the very places that should celebrate free thought, seek to suppress it.

        August 10, 2013 at 7:56 pm |
        • skytag

          "It has been said that evolution tends toward thinking rather than feeling creatures. In some ways, so does religion."

          On the contrary, religion puts a heavy emphasis on feeling. Most of the thinking is devoted to rationalizing why the real world isn't consistent with what the religion's teachings would have you expect.

          August 10, 2013 at 8:59 pm |
  17. bostontola

    I'm amazed that no religious person contested the following assertion:

    Religion Starts with complete certainty of truth, no need to search any further, defends that truth by attacking any alternative. Track record of many foolish defenses up to and including violence.

    August 9, 2013 at 11:03 pm |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

      For the most part, it's incontestable.

      August 9, 2013 at 11:07 pm |
      • bostontola

        That doesn't seem to deter some of them.

        August 9, 2013 at 11:08 pm |
        • lamelionheart

          Why would any rightly orientated religious folk want to get nailed and contorted with a following barrage of bitterness being hurled in the hereafter..?

          August 9, 2013 at 11:16 pm |
        • bostontola

          lionly,
          Good question.

          August 9, 2013 at 11:23 pm |
        • Peds

          Lion
          to know God and share is worth it. with hate, they are hurting self more than others.

          August 10, 2013 at 1:44 am |
        • Ken

          Peds
          "Worth it" to the believer, then, which makes religious belief an ultimately selfish pursuit, correct?

          August 10, 2013 at 11:35 am |
    • AE

      I don't agree.

      Consider what an actual religious man says:

      "...we should be reminded with a painful poignancy that we too can, and often do, get it wrong. That is why the most profound of all religious sentiments should not be certainty, which inevitably leads to arrogance, but modesty, which, because of a generous God, leads to mercy and forgiveness."

      - Peter Gomes

      August 9, 2013 at 11:16 pm |
      • bostontola

        Too bad most religious people don't think like Mr. Gomes. Right on this blog, the vast majority have certainty and will even contest facts like evolution.

        August 9, 2013 at 11:19 pm |
      • KBinTX

        Careful, AE:

        FoxNews Christians consider Gomes a heretic...and he's black...Like MLK, all they can focus on is his faults whilst strangely ignoring their own.

        August 10, 2013 at 12:03 am |
        • AE

          I don't watch Fox News.

          August 10, 2013 at 12:09 am |
        • KBinTX

          Wherein did you gather that I was claiming YOU are a FOX news christian? Is English a second language for you?

          If you read Gomes then in THEIR eyes there would be something wrong with you...I applaud you for reading Gomes, bonehead.

          August 10, 2013 at 12:18 am |
        • AE

          Sorry. Somebody was insisting I must watch Fox News on here the other day as an insult. I wrongly as.sumed you were that guy giving me a hard time.

          I don't ever watch the channel, so I really don't know what a "Fox News Christian" is!

          August 10, 2013 at 12:30 am |
      • Ken

        AE
        But, what if people got God wrong, like they did every other god (presumably)? Mr. Gomes doesn't seem to see that as a possibility, but beliefs in God are also things that people can get wrong, correct?

        August 10, 2013 at 11:28 am |
    • AE

      One religions for example, Christianity can be credited with producing many advancements in science and technology.

      There is a reason why many hospitals are named after religious figures. A lot were founded and funded by religious groups.

      August 9, 2013 at 11:18 pm |
      • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

        People are responsible for advancements in technology and science, not religion. Most discoveries made under religious supervision were discovered in spite of religion, not because of it.

        August 9, 2013 at 11:21 pm |
        • AE

          Dave.

          I know you don't always agree with boston. But he seems to blame religion for the negative things.

          He should blame the people for the violence and suppressed science, not religion, right?

          August 9, 2013 at 11:25 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          Yes, but doctrine itself also has its own role. If doctrine says kill unbelievers, there's a fault with the doctrine. But yes, it's always the individual or group of psychopaths who have to take responsibility for their actions.

          August 9, 2013 at 11:32 pm |
        • AE

          I think for Christianity, most "anti-science" came from clergy playing politics. I really don't think the Bible teaches that exploring God's creation in logical ways is forbidden. There are a lot of examples of scientists who happen to be Christian that demonstrate this.

          August 9, 2013 at 11:47 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          The Bible really fudges up any claim to scientific authority though with Genesis.

          August 9, 2013 at 11:52 pm |
        • LinCA

          @AE

          You said, "I think for Christianity, most "anti-science" came from clergy playing politics."
          Nah, they are trying to protect their livelihood. Every time science chips away at the bullshit they sell they are bound to lose a couple of sheeple.

          You said, "I really don't think the Bible teaches that exploring God's creation in logical ways is forbidden."
          It surely doesn't encourage it. It seems to be pretty hostile toward knowledge.

          You said, "There are a lot of examples of scientists who happen to be Christian that demonstrate this."
          For the longest time you couldn't do scientific work without approval from the church. Even today, there are scientists that manage to compartmentalize and keep their analytical abilities separate from their religion. Some, I suspect are only believers to appease their family and community.

          August 9, 2013 at 11:57 pm |
        • AE

          Today, there actually are a lot of churches and Christian inst.itutions that support, finance and educate about science.

          It is not quite the same world as it was when "The Church" ran the state and tried to (and failed at) using Christianity to govern people.

          My church has a steering committee devoted to science and technology, and they aren't fighting against.

          August 10, 2013 at 12:07 am |
        • KBinTX

          Sorry, AE:

          Placing your name on a building or a franchise of hospitals doesn't mean you give a da.mn about the suffering within.

          Floor after floor of hospital patients in need of someone to care for them (RNs are too busy with high nurse to patient ratio because hospital management also doesn't care about patients or RNs).

          Christians, if they actually believed Matthew 25 should be found sitting in every patient room, listening to their stories, helping the hospital staff care for them, being a presence "for Jesus."

          But, alas, they are not...instead, they are at Friday night singles group or watching p.orn on the net.

          August 10, 2013 at 12:15 am |
        • AE

          I know some Christians that carry out those kind of things.

          But, yea, most are like our secular society – singles groups and pron.

          August 10, 2013 at 12:34 am |
        • skytag

          @AE: "He should blame the people for the violence and suppressed science, not religion, right?"

          Believers tend to have a very demonstrable double standard. If it's good, give God or religion the credit. If it's bad, blame the people or the devil.

          I won't automatically give a religion a pass just because it didn't advocate something bad done by its followers. If the number of people involved is a very small percentage, such as the Westboro Baptist Church is compared to all 2.1 billon Christians, then I'm more willing to do that, but generally no.

          It's not good enough for a religion to not teach something that's wrong, it needs to be successful in preventing wrong behavior. For example, consider the following:

          In 1933, prior to the annexation of Austria into Germany, the Christian population of Germany was 67% Protestant and 33% Catholic, according to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum archives.[1] A German census in May 1939, completed more than six years into the Nazi era[2] and incorporating the annexation of mostly Catholic Austria into Germany, indicates that 54% of Germans considered themselves Protestant, (including non-denominational Christians) and 40% considered themselves Catholic, with only 3.5% claiming to be neo-pagan "believers in God," and 1.5 % non-Christians, or "non-believers".
          [...]
          Altogether more Protestants than Catholics left their church, however, overall Protestants and Catholics decided similarly.[7] The spike in the numbers from 1937-38 is the result of the annexation of Austria in 1938 and other territories. The number of Kirchenaustritte reached its "historical high"[8] in 1939 when it peaked at 480,000. Granzow et al. see the numbers not only in relation to the Nazi policy towards the churches,[9] (which changed drastically from 1935 onwards) but also as indicator of the trust in the Führer and the Nazi leadership. The decline in the number of people who left the church after 1942 is explained as resulting from a loss of confidence in the future of Nazi Germany. People tended to keep their ties to the church, because they feared an uncertain future.[8]

          Ninety percent of the Sicherheitsdienst des Reichsführers-SS or SD members withdrew from their churches, changing their religious affiliation to God-believing but non-church affiliated, while nearly 70% of the officers of the Schutzstaffel SS did the same. — Wikipedia

          The problem I see here isn't that the churches supported Hitler or Nazi doctrine. The problem is that they failed to retain their people or effectively combat the Nazi influence. 480,000 Germans and Austrians left their churches in 1939, choosing Nazism over their churches. For a being I'm told is omnipotent God seemed pretty impotent in Nazi Germany.

          I'm not saying God should have rained fire down on the Nazis, but didn't do anything. His "spirit" couldn't keep people in their churches. It couldn't keep them from becoming Nazis. It didn't tell Hindenburg not to make Hitler Chancellor.

          You do realize, don't you, that the only person Hitler killed after the Nazis rose to power in Germany was himself, right? The vast majority of the atrocities committed by the Nazis were committed by Christian Nazis and a lot of other Christian Germans went along with persecuting the Jews and war for territory. This is serious stuff, my friend. 50 million people were dying in WWII and your God was apparently off on vacation in another galaxy.

          Your God, if he exists at all, is utterly useless. He sits around and does nothing while good people do good things and bad people do bad things and he has no hand in any of it, if he exists, which I see no reason to believe is the case. So forgive me if I feel no inclination to be part of your little flock of believers who are happy to ignore everything we see in the world around us and that history tells us so you hide from reality in a comforting narrative.

          August 10, 2013 at 8:07 am |
        • bostontola

          Skytag,
          Well said. The omniscient god creates a singularity in reasoning that allows any rationalization to be consistent no matter how outrageous. The fascinating part is how often people have to use it to keep their faith. That should be a signal to them that something is wrong, yet they keep pressing that button anyway.

          August 10, 2013 at 8:28 am |
        • AE

          I certainly was not asking anyone to give religion a free pass. That has never been the point of any of my comments.

          The question I was trying to ask was along the lines of does Boston sometimes blame religion for negative contributions, and fail to give credit for the positive contributions?

          That is why I asked Dave's opinion on the matter. He actually seems willing to see both sides of the fence.

          August 10, 2013 at 8:44 am |
        • bostontola

          AE,
          You repeatedly assert that I blame and don't give credit to religion. I have posted many times that I support the positive social aspects of religion as man is a social animal. Right on this posting string, I gave credit to Mr. Gomes and said that many religions were key to science (until it conflicted with dogma). Your claim that I only blame and don't give credit is a stark example of a stereotypical religious person that makes baseless claims when contrary evidence is right in front of you. While I am an atheist, I actually have no problem with belief in god, I have no problem with any personal belief, I happen to think belief in god is personal, but belief in man made religious dogma while personal often imposes on others in the political environment. I resist that.

          August 10, 2013 at 10:38 am |
        • AE

          Ok Boston. I understand.

          I should have addressed that post to skytag, because you did clear up my misunderstandings before that. I was trying to explain to him why I said that sentence of mine he cherry picked and started posting off topic.

          August 10, 2013 at 10:58 am |
        • bostontola

          AE, peace. Although I find skytag to be one of the most rational and open minded folks on this blog.

          August 10, 2013 at 11:10 am |
        • Saraswati

          I think most religions support most of science. If you took a randomly selected set of papers from all pier reviewed scientific journals I suspect that even fundamentalist religions would have no problem with 95% of the articles written. (yes, the amish aside who mostly just wouldn't read them rather than objecting to the science) That's why it wounds silly to people in most religious backgrounds when someone says religion or their religion is against science. It simply isn't true.

          However, most religions have on blinders for very specific areas of science. They wear blinders regarding free will or ho mos exuality or evolution or anthropology and archaeology. Whatever is sacred is a blinder. So it also makes little sense to outsiders when most religious groups (yes, unitarians mostly aside) say that their religion supports science. Their religion, again in most cases, supports most science. The problem is that most people don't see their own blinders.

          I'd be a lot more comfortable if people stopped saying things about religion opposing science. It's just far too general a statement to say about almost any religion and frankly makes the speaker sound a bit ignorant. I'd obviously love it, too, if religious folk stopped claiming their was no conflict between their beliefs and science, but realistically that's not going to happen because those particular blinders are y on pretty tight.

          August 10, 2013 at 11:10 am |
        • bostontola

          Saraswati,
          I will respectfully disagree. While not all religions fight science, and not all within any religion fight science, leaders of powerful religions directly fight science. They actually strategize capture of key political and school board posts to directly change curricula and even the content of science books. That kind of distortion and corruption must be fought strenuously and vigilantly.

          August 10, 2013 at 11:29 am |
        • skytag

          @AE: "I certainly was not asking anyone to give religion a free pass. That has never been the point of any of my comments."

          God gets a pass all the time as those who believe in him make excuses for him..

          "The question I was trying to ask was along the lines of does Boston sometimes blame religion for negative contributions, and fail to give credit for the positive contributions?"

          There's no question that religion has been responsible for a lot of good, but given what religions are and the claims they make regarding their relationship to a perfect, all-powerful, all-knowing God I think the bar for judging them should be a little higher than "they do a lot of good."

          You don't need to believe in a god to do good. If the god behind it is real, I expect a lot more out of a religion than doing some good. After all, supposedly it's being directed by someone who knows everything, is the source of all good, offers great rewards for success and terrible suffering for failure.

          I expect a religion to do a lot of good and do no harm. I expect a success rate greater than what I'd expect from a group of people who make no claims of receiving divine inspiration or or benefiting from divine intervention.

          August 10, 2013 at 11:49 am |
        • skytag

          @AE: "I was trying to explain to him why I said that sentence of mine he cherry picked and started posting off topic."

          More whining because I confronted you with a reality you don't want to deal with. There was no "cherry-picking." I simply responded to one point in your comment. And I went off topic. Boo hoo. You're the biggest whiner I think I've ever seen in an online discussion.

          If you're done whining, perhaps you would care to explain your god's failure to help anyone in WWII.

          August 10, 2013 at 12:02 pm |
        • Saraswati

          @boston, my point was that while most religions are blocked by or oppose some element of modern science, they do not oppose "science" as a general practice or field. The areas which they object or are blind about are limited in scope and to claim they oppose "science" is to introduce a misleading generalization. It would be like saying Jehovah's Witnesses oppose medicine.

          August 10, 2013 at 2:30 pm |
        • skytag

          @Saraswati: I think it's pretty obvious the view of religious folk toward science has evolved considerably over the centuries.

          If I were to speculate, I'd guess that when "science" was in its infancy the religious regarded it as little more than a curiosity, an intellectual exercise. It might explain a few things, but real knowledge came from God, which in practice meant priests and other religious leaders.

          As long as scientists didn't directly challenge the church's version of things there was no conflict between science and religion. In the days of Galileo the official position of the church was that the sun revolved around the Earth, but it was okay for those in the science community to teach that the Earth revolved around the sun as long as they didn't try to present it as church doctrine.

          I suspect that over time as science debunked the religious folks' supernatural explanations of phenomenon in the real world over and over again the religious folk wised up and decided to stop setting themselves up to look like charlatans by claiming that this or that was the work of God or some evil spirit, so the opportunities for conflict have dropped dramatically.

          At this point off the top of my head only two religious explanations still have any real supporters among educated people in modern societies: God created the universe and God created life. Since the church's record when it comes to explaining phenomenon in the world around has as been one of consistent failures I don't see any rational reason to believe they're going to break their losing streak with these two.

          August 10, 2013 at 4:29 pm |
      • bostontola

        That is true, in the past Christianity supported science (as did Islam). Once science advanced to the point that it conflicted with dogma, religion created the schism and even inflicted violence to attempt to suppress science.

        August 9, 2013 at 11:22 pm |
        • Saraswati

          I think most religions support science right up to the point where it contradicts the outdated beliefs. In most religions you get branches that change more and less easily with the times. I think it's easy in the US to miss the fact that fairly recently Buddhism had to face its anti-gay positions (even the Dalai Lama) and Hindu groups in India have hindered geological and archaeological progress at many a turn.

          August 10, 2013 at 9:10 am |
    • Kev

      I'm not really sure where you're coming from. A religion may proclaim something to be the truth, but for many a believer in a religion it is just that; a belief. Not unlike those who look at their universe and not finding evidence that there is any God will make a conclusion or form an opinion that there is no God even though there really is no evidence to back up that conclusion either. When it comes to the bare facts all of us are in the same boat.

      August 9, 2013 at 11:59 pm |
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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.