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For some Wiccans, Halloween can be a real witch
Trey Capnerhurst, a traditional witch, performs a naming ceremony by the altar in her backyard in Alberta.
October 30th, 2013
03:32 PM ET

For some Wiccans, Halloween can be a real witch

By Daniel Burke, Belief Blog Co-editor

(CNN) -  Like lots of people, when October 31 rolls around, Trey Capnerhurst dons a pointy hat and doles out candy to children who darken the door of her cottage in Alberta.

But she’s not celebrating Halloween. In fact, she kind of hates it.

Capnerhurst says she’s a real, flesh-and-blood witch, and Halloween stereotypes of witches as broom-riding hags drive her a bit batty.

“Witches are not fictional creatures,” the 45-year-old wrote in a recent article on WitchVox.com.

“We are not werewolves or Frankenstein monsters. We do not have green skin, and only some of us have warts.”

Warts or not, many witches say they have mixed feelings about Halloween.

Some look forward to the day when witchcraft is front and center and no one looks askance at big black hats. Others complain that the holiday reinforces negative stereotypes of witches as evil outliers who boil children in black cauldrons.

Capnerhurst falls into the latter camp.

Hanging up witch decorations at Halloween is no better than wearing blackface costumes or taking a slur, like “Redskins,” as the name of your football team, she says.

“Unless one actually is a witch, dressing up as stereotypical witches is bigotry,” Capnerhurst said.

In June, the wife and mother of two started her own church for “traditional” witches called Disir, an old Norse word meaning “matron deities,” she says.

(Capnerhurst draws a distinction between “traditional” witches, like her, who were born into the religion, and Wiccans, most of whom are converts.)

Most Wiccans identify as witches, and they form the largest branch of the burgeoning neo-pagan movement, said Helen A. Berger, a sociologist who specializes in the study of contemporary Paganism and witchcraft at Brandeis University.

A 2008 survey counted about 342,000 Wiccans in the United States and nearly as many who identify simply as “pagans,” a significant increase from the last American Religious Identification Survey, taken in 2001.

Three-quarters of American Wiccans are women, according to Berger.

“It’s harder to train male Wiccans,” Capnerhurst said with a cheery sigh. “Most men just aren’t going to sweep the kitchen and think about sweeping out the bad energy.”

The faith is fiercely individualistic. Although there are umbrella groups like Wisconsin-based Circle Sanctuary, most Wiccans practice their own blends of witchcraft.

After centuries of persecution in Europe and colonial America, modern witches still bear a sharp suspicion of authority. The rede, or ethical statement at the core of Wicca, is: Harm none and do as you will.

Despite the rising popularity of their faith, many Wiccans remain “in the broom closet,” fearful of losing their jobs, their families or their reputations, said Berger and other experts.

Trey Capnerhurst in her traditional witch garb.

Capnerhurst said she was “outed” in 2005 while running as the Green Party’s candidate for local office. A reporter noted the pentacle - a five-pointed star often mistaken as a satanic symbol - hanging around her neck.

“I kind of became the poster girl for paganism,” Capnerhurst said.

But the notoriety came at a cost.

Neighbors have threatened to burn down the house she shares with her family, Capnerhurst says. She’s lost jobs. And people keep asking her whether the “Blair Witch Project,” the 1999 horror movie, is real.

“I’m like, What the frick! No!”

Raising her 12-year-old daughter, Maenwen, as a witch is not easy either, Capnerhurst says, especially around this time of year, when just about every classroom turns into a coven of construction-paper crones and black cats.

In the United States, Circle Sanctuary has founded the Lady Liberty League to advocate for Wiccans' religious freedom and to fight discrimination.

Unlike Capnerhurst, however, some witches see Halloween as a treat, not a trick.

“Considering that I usually slap on a pointy hat at this time of year (and I have a black cat too), I’m fine with the image of the Halloween witch,” wrote Jen McConnel, a poet, novelist and Wiccan from North Carolina, in an e-mail.

“Even though the word ‘witch ‘ is loaded, I have embraced it,” McConnel said, “but it is only one of many hats I wear (pun intended).”

McConnel says she enjoys the yearly confluence of Halloween with Samhain, an ancient Celtic festival that marks the end of the harvest and winter’s coming darkness.

It’s a time when the veil between the living and the dead grows thin, according to Wiccan theology, and spirits can easily cross the divide.

Many Wiccans hold “dumb suppers,” to which they invite deceased ancestors, making sure to prepare their favorite foods, said Jeanet Lewis, a witch who lives in Northern Virginia.

“It’s a meditative, silent meal,” Lewis said.

Other witches light memorial candles and cast spells for the new year.

What do witches wish for? The same things as everyone else, apparently.

“Health, wealth and love,” Capnerhurst said with a laugh. “Every single spell falls into one of those three categories.”

Even though she dislikes Halloween, Capnerhurst has found a way to blend it with her own sacred days, Samhain.

According to some historians, at this time of year, as the days grow darker, ancient Celts would don costumes as stand-ins for deceased spirits, going door-to-door and performing tricks in exchange for treats.

Capnerhurst prefers to see the children who come to her door on October 31 as a re-enactment of that ritual.

“I’m doing my ritual and they get candy,” she said. “Everybody wins!”

And even though she bristles at the thought that some neighbors might abhor her religion, Capnerhurst tries to take it all in good cheer.

As October 31 approaches each year, she places a sign on her lawn that reads, "This House Practices Safe Hex."

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Belief • Discrimination • Halloween • Holidays • Neopaganism • Paganism • Persecution • Prejudice

soundoff (2,335 Responses)
  1. lbdukeep

    “Unless one actually is a witch, dressing up as stereotypical witches is bigotry,” Mainly because people don't realize what being a witch really is. I don't have warts on my nose, I don't have green skin, and more importantly, I can't do the "magic" that people think witches do. And for folks that INSIST that we believe as they believe as in the Christianistas....your beliefs to me are fantasy. The bible you spout verses from to fit your argument....has been written, rewritten and revised so many times, by MEN, that seriously – its a work of fantasy with so many questions left unanswered. No, I have no time for your idea of repentance Jojo....and anyone else's ideas of how I should believe. I am pagan, and I know Nature exists. I know the earth exists, and the moon, and the universe.

    November 6, 2013 at 2:48 pm |
    • Sara

      Do you do any magic?

      November 7, 2013 at 6:54 am |
  2. Donald W.

    I love your Christ. It's your Christians that scare me.

    November 5, 2013 at 10:33 pm |
    • Nice logic

      Give credit to the people who don't exist while throwing hate at the ones who do.

      November 6, 2013 at 3:17 pm |
      • Maddy

        You do know that he is paraphrasing Gandhi, don't you?

        November 6, 2013 at 4:31 pm |
        • Nice Logic

          It was a xenophobic comment then too.

          November 10, 2013 at 10:36 am |
  3. Thought's on paganism

    In the school cafeteria of religions I imagine paganism would be a little like accidentally walking through the Christian/Atheist food fight and getting hit with a handful of cookies through no fault of your own.

    November 5, 2013 at 5:46 pm |
  4. richard miller

    Bonus for the wiccans.We're not out looking for you to burn at the stake

    November 5, 2013 at 3:40 pm |
    • I hate to ask

      Who is "we"?

      November 5, 2013 at 4:58 pm |
      • richard miller

        Dope it out.She's upset about christianity

        November 5, 2013 at 5:52 pm |
        • I don't want anybody burned either

          Let me start by saying that.

          Let me finish by saying I never understood this "we" stuff. "We" Christians, "We" agnostics, "we" atheists.
          What the heck ever happened to "I"?

          I know that "I" have been many religions in the course of my life. I didn't need to take anyone else with me on that journey.

          November 5, 2013 at 6:57 pm |
  5. Melissa

    The witches sabbath is All Hallow's Eve, NOT Halloween. Modern day Halloween is nothing but a party with costumes and candy. Religious people just need to get over it and learn to celebrate it their own way. Yes, all religions. Just like with Christmas time. People are growing out of religion... it's about time.

    November 5, 2013 at 2:50 pm |
    • ccccccccc

      It was originally called samhain..pagan..then you have Christmas..the tree pagan..the Christians stole many pagan traditions to mask the pagans.

      November 5, 2013 at 6:42 pm |
  6. Haha

    I sure don't long for the day when witch craft is front and center. That will lead to violence. It always has and always will.

    November 5, 2013 at 1:40 pm |
    • Bob

      Christianity sure has led to a lot of violence. Including even witch burning. Personally, I'd go for a witch over a Christian any day.

      November 5, 2013 at 3:43 pm |
      • richard miller

        because you're a little[insert word for female dog]

        November 5, 2013 at 5:53 pm |
        • Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra

          Richard. I hear your frustration. I hope you read this again for what I'm about to say to you because it is an important point. I see that he used the word "Christian" and that you are now angry. I am guessing you are a Christian and that you are angry because you felt that his criticism included you.

          You reacted. I understand this. I had next door neighbors growing up who also felt that it was their personal duty to sit back and take any criticisms that came because of their faith group.

          The truth is that there is such a thing as a cognitive error and what is called "guilt by association". Look up the cognitive errors personalization and blame. It is a media tool used to generate wars and block communication between people and keep us all separated into some kind of a group.

          I want you to know that in my eyes you are not a religion. In my eyes you are "Richard Miller"

          In my eyes religions are symbolisms that may or may not transfer between groups...but the humanity still does.

          Here's to us all moving forward.

          Damok and Jalad at Tanagra

          November 5, 2013 at 8:08 pm |
    • Phil in KC

      "The rede, or ethical statement at the core of Wicca, is: Harm none and do as you will." How does that lead to violence? Only from those who do not understand. I am not Wiccan, but that's not a bad credo, if you ask me. Sounds a little bit like "Love thy neighbor as thyself". Now, where did I read that?

      November 6, 2013 at 10:28 am |
      • lbdukeep

        The REDE – Do what thou wilt and do no harm.

        Wiccans believe in this....but we do not separate one part from the other. If we were to do what ever we wanted without the second half, that would be chaos run amok. (No not the amok in Hocus Pocus) And if we were to live alone without the first half of the Rede, saying only Do No Harm, that would block off any and all creativity in our daily lives.

        So both parts are important, to go about doing what we feel we need to do, but in the same run, do no one any harm as you do what you need to do. WE have to think at least 10 steps ahead to realize what we are doing and ask ourselves, are we harming anyone or any living thing as we carry on our daily lives.

        Can you say as much?

        November 6, 2013 at 2:57 pm |
        • Robin Martin

          Actually...
          "Eight words the Wiccan Rede fulfill:
          An it harm none, do as ye will."

          That's not the same as "do no harm." It says "*If* it does no harm, then you can do as you will." If something causes harm, then you have to look more closely, but it's not a prohibition on doing harm.

          Would you refuse to harm a rabid dog threatening a small child? Would you refuse to pepper-spray a rapist? Would you not defend yourself against someone who wanted to harm you?

          I'm not sure where this simplistic "harm none" nonsense came from (probably intellectual laziness), but it's *not* what the Rede says.

          November 12, 2013 at 11:43 am |
    • lbdukeep

      If Witch craft were front and center, what sort of VIOLENCE are you speaking of? YOU? Your Christian buddies? Best to back off....we aren't going there. There are NOW more of us than you can imagine. WE have the right to defend ourselves today in our courts.

      Halloween is a commercialized affair – sell lots of candy to the children (parents then pay for dental bills)

      So where is the violence YOU speak of?

      November 6, 2013 at 2:52 pm |
    • LadyLina

      Pagans in general are a peaceful people that don't believe in violence. Maybe the other religions should take a look and preach acceptance of others and then violence won't ensue.

      November 15, 2013 at 12:48 pm |
  7. kizmiaz

    Who really cares what these dingbats think? They are totally out of touch with reality.

    November 5, 2013 at 12:11 pm |
    • JLC

      That is an extremely ignorant comment. Unless you are going to classify every person with a religious belief as "out of touch with reality", than you clearly have no historic/cultural/religious knowledge on the topic of paganism/witchcraft, in which case you shouldn't be commenting. And if that is your thought on religious/spiritual people in general, it isn't your place to judge the beliefs of others. Dingbat.

      November 5, 2013 at 12:46 pm |
      • Sara

        Some religions are more falsifiable than others. There was a classic anthropological study of witches back 30 years ago or so. Because magic is involved it can be tested, and in order to keep believing, these otherwise reasonably educated people actually had to ignore evidence of their failures and not follow scientific practices of observation that they followed in other aspects of their lives. The bizarre logic was very well doc.umented.

        November 5, 2013 at 10:39 pm |
        • Evan

          Really? A study from 30 years ago. Who published it? The Judeo-Christian Research Center of Bias and Conjecture? I guess fostering the belief that a deity was born as a man, died and came back to life, and guarantees you a spot in eternal paradise or condemns you to eternal torture based on you choices and actions in life is a rational and provable. You know if you "follow scientific practices of observation". What a bunch of nonsense. A study... that's rich.

          November 7, 2013 at 11:31 am |
        • Robin Martin

          *citation needed*

          More to the point, Wicca is about more than spellwork. In fact, for many that is the smallest part of their practice, if they involve themselves in it at all. Far more important are things like connecting with the gods and the cycles of nature.

          November 12, 2013 at 11:44 am |
    • forgot my alias

      Looks like fun if you ask me. Maybe not as much fun as the Hindu festival in the next article but a celebration none the less. Live and let live.

      November 5, 2013 at 1:15 pm |
      • Roger

        While this is an improvement from many of the negative comments left here, it is still a bit offensive. You wouldn't call Easter or Hanukkah "fun". Sahmain is an important spiritual/religious holiday celebrated by Wiccans and many Pagans. When most of the world is running around in costumes indulging in the delights of Halloween, Wiccans and Pagans are celebrating and observing one of their important Sabbats.

        November 5, 2013 at 1:28 pm |
        • Maddy

          All holidays have the potential to be fun. Since you appear to a killjoy, apparently you aren't one of them.

          November 5, 2013 at 4:22 pm |
        • Sara

          Huh? I would call both Easter and Hanukkah fun as would pretty much everyone I know.

          November 5, 2013 at 10:40 pm |
        • lbdukeep

          Easter to us is Ostara, and Hanuka is Yule. Now....do you have any other problems with our beliefs??? Ask away!

          November 6, 2013 at 2:59 pm |
    • drturi

      Really? Check your psychical rational status by reading – Google "Anarchy Coming To America? dr.turi"

      November 5, 2013 at 9:52 pm |
    • lbdukeep

      Kizmaiz, I'm not out of touch with reality. So who are the dingbats you speak of?

      November 6, 2013 at 2:53 pm |
  8. Diana

    What a crock.

    November 5, 2013 at 12:37 am |
    • Bob

      Why thank you.

      November 5, 2013 at 3:44 pm |
  9. banana breath

    "I don't know when I last saw someone dressed as a witch on Halloween."
    Exactly, which is why this whole article seems like it got rehashed from the 90's. It seems misplaced for the sake of attention. No individual has power. It's either demonic or it's from God. If you want more power, you go more demonic. Just ask the ones who've actually gone down that path themselves. When they see real results, that's when they often decide to get out of it because they come to that realization.

    November 4, 2013 at 4:38 pm |
    • drturi

      You are SO wrong... Please Google "Halloween Suicide Girls Born Witches Dr. Turi" and have a blast! Check also – Google "Anarchy Coming To America? dr.turi"

      November 5, 2013 at 9:54 pm |
  10. sly

    Pretty cool being a witch. To each their own – good article, and all respect to whatever folks do with their beliefs/opinions.

    November 4, 2013 at 12:32 pm |
  11. Sara

    I don't know when I last saw someone dressed as a witch on Halloween.

    November 4, 2013 at 7:04 am |
  12. lol??

    Famous witch visited by John Darby,
    wiki,

    "......................Critics allege that it was in 1830 when he heard of the Pre-Tribulation doctrine. This supposedly happened when he attended a seance' conducted by a witch/occultist by the name of Margaret McDonald. It was during one of her trances where she supposedly heard from the dead that The Church would be raptured up prior to the Great Tribulation.[citation needed] A doctrine that many denominations claim is contrary to biblical writings or teachings......."

    November 4, 2013 at 4:39 am |
  13. Sam Yaza

    “Unless one actually is a witch, dressing up as stereotypical witches is bigotry,”

    well I'm a pagan and um kinda a witch,.....OK I'm a witch and hay i think Halloween is ridicules. in fact i celebrated my Halloween like i celebrate Christmas its entirely an exercise in capitalism just an excuse to eat candy and party. i do not confuse it with Samhain which is the 10th full moon of the year or 8th in the Celtic year.

    but i digress
    the whole which thing is not offensive, its only offensive if people start quoting the Malleus Maleficarum having the mundane dressing like whiches should not offend you; in fact flattery should give you warm and fuzzies

    ,... every one should stop wearing the sexy nun outfit its offensive to nuns

    sister. Capnerhurst we have survived 2000+ years of persecution,.. grow some thicker skin,.. i mean seriously aren't we made of wood?

    November 3, 2013 at 7:51 pm |
    • 56+1

      "whiches"?

      November 4, 2013 at 1:35 am |
    • kizmiaz

      Kind of a witch? I think you are kind of brain dead. I do not tolerate people who are as totally oblivious as you are to reality.

      November 5, 2013 at 12:15 pm |
      • ccccccccc

        braindead? how nice of you..must be a Christian..only Christians are nice like that huh.

        November 5, 2013 at 6:46 pm |
    • drturi

      Please Google "Halloween Suicide Girls Born Witches Dr. Turi" and have a blast! Pas it on if you like it! Check also – Google "Anarchy Coming To America? dr.turi"

      November 5, 2013 at 9:55 pm |
  14. Reality # 2

    Mocking Wicca and related "arts"?

    Mocking spells, curses, covens, black magic, witches, voodooing dolls, hoodooing the results, shadow books, maypoles,
    god(s) and goddess(es), Gerald Gardner et al??

    Never!!!!

    November 2, 2013 at 11:56 pm |
  15. AngryJew

    The real enemy of peace is Israel.

    November 2, 2013 at 10:34 pm |
    • Reality # 2

      Really?

      Some elements of our War on Terror and Aggression:

      -Operation Iraqi Freedom- The 24/7 Sunni-Shiite centuries-old blood feud currently being carried out in Iraq, US Troops killed in action, 3,480 and 928 in non combat roles as of 09/15/2011/, 102,522 – 112,049 Iraqi civilians killed as of 9/16/2011/, mostly due http://www.defenselink.mil/news/casualty.pdf

      – Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan: US troops 1,385 killed in action, 273 killed in non-combat situations as of 09/15/2011. Over 40,000 Afghan civilians killed mostly due to the dark-age, koranic-driven Taliban acts of horror,

      – Sa-dd-am, his sons and major he-nchmen have been deleted. Sa-dd-am's bravado about WMD was one of his major mistakes. Kuwait was saved.

      – Iran is being been contained. (beside containing the Sunni-Shiite civil war in Baghdad, that is the main reason we were in Iraq. And yes, essential oil continues to flow from the region.)

      – North Korea is still u-ncivil but is contained.

      – Northern Ireland is finally at peace.

      – The Jews and Palestinians are being separated by walls. Hopefully the walls will follow the 1948 UN accords. Unfortunately the Annapolis Peace Conference was not successful. And unfortunately the recent events in Gaza has put this situation back to “squ-are one”. And this significant stupidity is driven by the mythical foundations of both religions!!!

      – – Fa-na–tical Islam has basically been contained to the Middle East but a wall between India and Pakistan would be a plus for world peace. Ditto for a wall between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

      – Timothy McVeigh was exe-cuted. Terry Nichols escaped the death penalty twice because of deadlocked juries. He was sentenced to 161 consecutive life terms without the possibility of parole,[3][7] and is incarcerated in ADX Florence, a super maximum security prison near Florence, Colorado. He shares a cellblock that is commonly referred to as "Bombers Row" with Ramzi Yousef and Ted Kaczynski

      – Eric Ru-dolph is spending three life terms in pri-son with no par-ole.

      – Jim Jones, David Koresh, Kaczynski, the "nuns" from Rwanda, and the KKK were all dealt with and either eliminated themselves or are being punished.

      – Islamic Sudan, Dar-fur and So-malia are still terror hot spots.

      – The terror and tor-ture of Muslims in Bosnia, Kosovo and Kuwait were ended by the proper application of the military forces of the USA and her freedom-loving friends. Ra-dovan Karadzic was finally captured on 7/23/08 and is charged with genocide, crimes against humanity and violations of the law of war – charges related to the 1992-1995 civil war that followed Bosnia-Herzegovina's secession from Yugoslavia.

      The capture of Ratko Mladić: (Serbian Cyrillic: Ратко Младић, pronounced [râtkɔ mlǎːditɕ], born 12 March 1943[1][2]) is an accused war criminal and a former Bosnian Serb military leader. On May 31, 2011, Mladić was extradited to The Hague, where he was processed at the detention center that holds suspects for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).[3] His trial began on 3 June 2011.

      – the bloody terror brought about by the Ja-panese, Na-zis and Co-mmunists was with great difficulty eliminated by the good guys.

      – Bin Laden was executed for crimes against humanity on May 1, 2011

      – Ditto for Anwar al-Awlaki on September 30, 2011

      – Ditto for Abu Yahya al-Libi on June 5, 2012

      – The capture of Abu Anas al-Libi on October 7, 2013

      November 2, 2013 at 11:41 pm |
      • ccccccccc

        War on terror is just a front to the governments real agenda

        November 5, 2013 at 6:48 pm |
        • Reality # 2

          And what agenda would that be?

          November 5, 2013 at 11:40 pm |
  16. Confused Kid

    I got this weird pamphlet and DVD along with some candy when I visited Topher's house, man that stuff seemed pretty silly and creepy. I tried looking up god, jesus and the holy spirit on facebook but just came up with a bunch of nonsense. So I tried tweeting those three @#heaven, nothing. I think Topher is trying to sell a load of BS stories and fantasizes a lot. I am just ten tears old and this god guy cannot even tweet, pretty lame.

    November 2, 2013 at 8:04 am |
    • lol??

      You were blocked by those "special" sons of the Beast, the corps. They know who butters their toast.

      November 2, 2013 at 8:26 am |
      • Maddy

        What the hell are you talking about? Is there some sort of message here, or are you just putting random words together? Your comments don't make sense.

        November 2, 2013 at 4:55 pm |
  17. lol??

    Watch out when eatin' those free wrathful apples. Check em with a magnet first.

    Jhn 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.

    November 2, 2013 at 12:14 am |
    • rupert

      Every razor apple and poisoned piece of candy ever given out was by a Christian who thought they were doing the Lord's work.

      November 2, 2013 at 12:17 pm |
      • 56+1

        malarkey

        November 4, 2013 at 1:33 am |
      • Rascal262

        [Citation Needed]

        November 4, 2013 at 3:16 pm |
  18. jojo

    but the only prayer that God will answer to an unsaved person is his prayer for repentance.

    not true

    November 1, 2013 at 11:50 pm |
  19. mens rae

    "Sit down kids... and let me tell you a scary story...

    There was nothing and nothing happened to nothing and then nothing magically exploded into god who for no reason created everything using a bunch of magical spells for no reason what so ever...

    Boo!

    >:)"

    See what I did there? Fixed it for ya. You're welcome.

    November 1, 2013 at 4:10 pm |
  20. ME II

    (reply to earlier comment, currently pg 23)
    @fred,
    "Prayer does not lend itself to testing."

    Intercessory prayer itself had no effect on complication-free recovery from CABG, but certainty of receiving intercessory prayer was associated with a higher incidence of complications.
    (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16569567)

    "Consider we can build a machine that can reproduce itself and adjust its responses to external stimuli. We meet the definition of life yet there is something very different between that machine and say a dog. That difference is life"

    As I said, your logic goes nowhere.

    November 1, 2013 at 2:59 pm |
    • Lionly Lamb

      Sired Me II...

      Are not celestially terrestrial life forms mechanically construed..? Are we not a mechanical hierarchy of atomic proportionalities..?

      November 1, 2013 at 3:30 pm |
      • ME II

        Whelped Lionly Lamb,

        "Are not celestially terrestrial life forms mechanically construed..?"

        uh, no. Besides your statement making little sense, to construe is basically an mental act, to interpret or understand, not physically manipulate or arrange.

        "Are we not a mechanical hierarchy of atomic proportionalities..?"

        uh, no. Again there is little sense there. Also, "we" are not arranged in a hierarchy of atomic properties, even proportionalities.

        November 1, 2013 at 3:40 pm |
        • Lionly Lamb

          Sired ME II...

          Let me reiterate...

          Are not celestially terrestrial life forms mechanically constructed..? Are we or rather our bodies nothing more than a mechanical hierarchy of atomic proportionalities..? If but ‘one atom’ has the general equivalency in basic materialized matter as is found within our celestial universe; could life being lived upon this ‘atomic universe’ be possibly intellectually superior then us celestially terrestrial and sub-atomically formulated humanoids..?

          November 1, 2013 at 4:05 pm |
        • ME II

          Whelped Lionly Lamb,

          No, because your premise is incorrect.

          One atom does not have a 'general equivalency' with our universe. Electrons do not orbit the nucleus and planets (solar systems) don't space themselves in constrained levels around their stars (black holes).
          Solar systems (galaxies) don't share parts covalently, nor do they repel each other when of similar 'charge'.

          It does not scale!

          November 1, 2013 at 4:20 pm |
        • Lionly Lamb

          Sired ME II...

          Your putting a limit upon the inner dimensional realms of Fractal Cosmologies whereby electrons, protons, neutrons and electrons are all made up of quarks, gluons etc.... We or rather the sciences do need a baseline of sorts in order to ingest the rationally digestible in increments of reasonability... Has science ever taken a real photograph of an atom that shows the details of its structures..? Until you can show me a real photo of an atom showing its structure, I will remain lucid with my thought perceptions...

          November 1, 2013 at 4:56 pm |
        • ME II

          Whelped Lionly Lamb,
          "Until you can show me a real photo of an atom showing its structure, I will remain lucid with my thought perceptions..."

          hmm... before it was "Are we not..." and now it's 'I will remain... with my ... perceptions..."

          As long as this great "equivalency", only exists in you "thought perceptions...",... meh.

          November 1, 2013 at 5:17 pm |
        • Lionly Lamb

          Sired ME II...

          Your vain attempts upon picking apart my comments and fragmentally making valueless commentary is from a young one who has yet to reach the half century mark... At 58 and counting, I've been around the block or two... And you..? (probably still wetting yourself) And me..? I keep an open and malleable mind...

          November 1, 2013 at 6:56 pm |
        • Just the Facts Ma'am...

          Ah, the old "I'm older than you so I know better" defense. Well played sir, seeing as how nobody could be wrong if they are old. Hey, that reminds me, if your young male grandchildren need any babysitting there is this 69 year old guy I heard about who would be willing to watch them, and at 69 you know you can trust him right? His name is Jerry Sandusky...

          November 1, 2013 at 7:13 pm |
        • Reston Jeff

          You've been 58 as long as I've been posting here...and that's been about 18 months, if not a little longer...I smell a liar.

          November 1, 2013 at 10:41 pm |
        • ME II

          Whelped Lionly Lamb,
          "At 58 and counting, I've been around the block or two... And you..? (probably still wetting yourself) "

          I'm sorry, was there an argument there because all I see is an appeal to authority and an ad hominem.

          November 2, 2013 at 3:29 pm |
      • Lionly Lamb

        Sired Ma'am...

        [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b6UAYGxiRwU&w=640&h=390]

        November 1, 2013 at 8:05 pm |
        • Lionly Lamb

          Maybe....

          [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UCMS-NJ7VxU&w=640&h=390]

          November 1, 2013 at 8:14 pm |
    • Lawrence of Arabia

      I think that these days, the idea of inte.rcessory prayer has been skewed from its original purpose... When we have prayer requests in church, 98% of them are prayers for God to heal thus and such, but we don't see that example in Scripture. Sure, there's prayer for healings, but not as much percentage wise as we see in the modern church.

      Our prayers should be thankful in everything – in both our hard times and our good times. Since God is sovereign and in complete control, then it is His providence that ordains everything that comes to pass, and all for His glory. And yes, He ordains even our illness.

      Maybe our prayers should go something like this: "Oh, God, I know that you ordain all that comes to pass, and all things work to your glory, but I am weak, and sometimes my pains distract me from being the best witness that I can be for you. Give me strength in my infirmities so that I might help others who go through similar cir.cu.mstances, and in everything that I do, let others see Christ in me that I may always give glory to you."

      November 1, 2013 at 3:34 pm |
      • Madtown

        Humans with no knowledge of Christ or christianity pray to God. Does God hear their prayers?

        November 1, 2013 at 3:40 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          God will hear their prayers in the same sense that I could hear you talking to me if we were sitting across a table chatting, but the only prayer that God will answer to an unsaved person is his prayer for repentance.

          Once that hurdle has been crossed, God becomes ever present to that person and places His spirit within him.

          But until he repents, he is without the "equipment" if you will to fully comprehend the things of the spirit. Like a man without a radio cannot hear the music carried on the FM frequency that is all around him, and when he turns on the radio, what was not evident before now becomes perfectly clear – that is the duty of the Holy Spirit. Enlightening the believer to the workings of Holy God.

          November 1, 2013 at 3:46 pm |
        • Madtown

          the only prayer that God will answer to an unsaved person is his prayer for repentance
          ----
          Does the prayer for repentance "save" the person?

          November 1, 2013 at 4:19 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          No, a prayer doesn't save anyone. What saves someone is the redeeming work that Christ did on the sinner's behalf, the sinner's belief in that God and what He has done for him – his att.itude is now one of repentance and grat.itude. The prayer aligns him with God's will in declaring that he now is a part of Christ.

          November 1, 2013 at 4:27 pm |
        • Madtown

          What saves someone is the redeeming work that Christ did on the sinner's behalf,
          ----
          Even if that person doesn't have a concept of Christ's existence? This is where it all falls apart for you. You can't say God only "saves" those humans who invite Christ into their lives, when God placed many into this world with no avenue to ever learn about Christ! You believe what you want. Cease your arrogance in thinking your way is the "only" way, it's not. You surely believe God is powerful. If there was really only "1 way", he's more than powerful enough to ensure all he created know of it. It's just that simple.

          November 1, 2013 at 4:37 pm |
        • sam stone.

          interesting that you desire eternity with a being from whom you have to be saved, larry. stockholm syndrome, anyone?

          November 1, 2013 at 5:07 pm |
      • ME II

        @Lawrence of Arabia,
        Are you agreeing that prayers work or not?

        If they work, then why didn't this study find such?
        If not, then what's the point of praying, even non-intercessorialy (if that's even a word.).

        November 1, 2013 at 3:44 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          "Are you agreeing that prayers work or not?"

          Absolutely prayer works, why else would we be commanded to pray... The problem is, many people do not pray rightly in that they ask for things that they may consume upon their lusts... The prayer that gets answered is the prayer that seeks to align the person's heart to the will of God found in scripture. God does work miracles, but only if that miracle more greatly acrues to the glory of God than the infirmity. In my case, I thank God for my infirmities for they reveal within me flaws in my character that I strive to remove.

          "If they work, then why didn't this study find such?"

          Once again, we must pray the will of God – not our will.

          "If not, then what's the point of praying, even non-intercessorialy (if that's even a word.)."

          We are told that the purpose of prayer is to align sinful man with the will of God.

          November 1, 2013 at 3:53 pm |
        • ME II

          @Lawrence of Arabia,
          "Absolutely prayer works, why else would we be commanded to pray... "

          Circular logic. Perhaps you weren't commanded to prey, but just think you were – or perhaps you were commanded to do something that does not work, either would suffice.

          "The prayer that gets answered is the prayer that seeks to align the person's heart to the will of God found in scripture."

          So, since your supposed God is sovereign and all powerful, then, in effect, the only prayer that gets answered is the one that asks for nothing, because anything else would be against what God ordained.
          Is that about right?

          "We are told that the purpose of prayer is to align sinful man with the will of God."

          Ah, so the effect of prayer is to adjust the person that is praying to the situation that God has already ordained.

          In other words, intercessory prayer cannot work because if God wanted them healed they would already be healed, right?

          November 1, 2013 at 4:06 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          MEII,
          Well, I'm curious... What evidence are you looking for when you want to see if prayer works? And what do you mean by "prayer works?" Are you meaning that if I pray for a million dollars and don't get it, then all of prayer is a sham? Now even you have to admit that's not what prayer is for. Well, in the same sense, if we pray from a sense of selfishness for a healing, then that's not going to get answered. At least not in the way that we might want.

          Actually, how about this for evidence? (true story by the way) A policeman in our chuch is witnessing to some of her coworkers, and our church is praying for her safety and for her witness... Well, the other night during a traffic pullover, she is pulled into the car where a man shoves a gun in her ear and pulls the trigger – the gun misfires, and she is safe. Now, you can argue all that you want to about how that "could have just happened," and I would agree with you. But God works miracles ALSO by ordaining the everyday occurances in our lives – including a bad primer in a cartridge.

          Look up the percentages of bad primers in modern ammunition, and you'll get a sense for how miraculous this COULD have been.

          Did God do it? Well, God got the glory, and she is still able to witness to her coworkers.

          November 1, 2013 at 4:16 pm |
        • ME II

          @Lawrence of Arabia
          "Well, I'm curious..."

          As posted in the OP:
          Conclusion: Intercessory prayer itself had no effect on complication-free recovery from CABG, but certainty of receiving intercessory prayer was associated with a higher incidence of complications.
          (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16569567)

          If you follow the link:
          Methodology: "Patients at 6 US hospitals were randomly assigned to 1 of 3 groups: 604 received intercessory prayer after being informed that they may or may not receive prayer; 597 did not receive intercessory prayer also after being informed that they may or may not receive prayer; and 601 received intercessory prayer after being informed they would receive prayer. Intercessory prayer was provided for 14 days, starting the night before CABG. The primary outcome was presence of any complication within 30 days of CABG. Secondary outcomes were any major event and mortality."

          "But God works miracles ALSO by ordaining the everyday occurrences in our lives – including a bad primer in a cartridge."

          So, attributing to God things that would happen anyway is your evidence that prayer works? If something occurs about as often as random chance would predict, then one need look no further.

          p.s. If you were praying for this police officer's safety, then why did someone try to shoot them? Hardly seems safe to me.

          November 1, 2013 at 4:33 pm |
        • M. McKenna

          ME II: Your story about the misfiring gun is interesting, but what of the opposite? A pastor in our town was broadsided with all his children in the car, one of whom was recovering from brain surgery. Many such stories exist. Cormac McCarthy has called these "miracles of disaster."

          November 1, 2013 at 5:58 pm |
        • M. McKenna

          Sorry, should have addressed that to Lawrence...

          November 1, 2013 at 6:00 pm |
      • Lisa

        Nothing wrong with being thankful, but why do you think you have God to be thankful to?

        November 1, 2013 at 3:44 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          God can't be detected by sight, sound, touch, etc... But God is nontheless real. As I said in a previous post, when a man is without a radio, he is unable to listen to the music that is all around him on the FM frequency. When he turns the radio on, he now has the proper equipment to hear that music... The job of the Holy Spirit is to illuminate mankind to the things of God.

          We can't scientifically explain human consciousness, or emotions... We may be able to point to certain chemicals that are involved, but put those chemicals into a bowl and we can't say that the bowl loves us, and yet love is real. There are realities that cannot be proven with the physical tools that are at our disposal because those things are discerned subjectively. But that doesn't mean that they are not real.

          The best evidence that we have for the existence of God, is the existence of everything. Science will never be able to explain why there is something rather than nothing, and as long as that question remains, the possibility for the existence of God remains plausible even to the most atheistic of minds.

          November 1, 2013 at 3:59 pm |
        • Lisa

          We know that radio signals are real because some people have sets. What you're arguing for is the existence of something pretty much like alien tetepathic signals that some people think they are receiving, but no one has ever proven actually exists.

          November 1, 2013 at 4:51 pm |
        • lol??

          lisa sayz, "..............but why do you think you have God to be thankful to?"

          Would you accept letters from precious friends as an answer??

          November 1, 2013 at 11:59 pm |
      • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

        "Since God is sovereign and in complete control, then it is His providence that ordains everything that comes to pass, and all for His glory. And yes, He ordains even our illness."

        Then can we complain that his "plan" sucks?

        November 1, 2013 at 3:45 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          "Then can we complain that his "plan" sucks?"

          It certainly seems that way sometimes doesn't it! I've lived through some trying times in my life. I won't go into them for the sake of brevity, but even in death, disease, and the like, God receives glory. Why does God allow sickness and wickedness to dominate the world? God allows evil in the world so that He can redeem the world.

          November 1, 2013 at 4:02 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          "God allows evil in the world so that He can redeem the world."

          The plan sucks..... if god did not allow evil in the world that would be impressive and possibly worthy of worship.

          If a leader of a country allowed the people of said country to suffer intentionally so that the people would appreciate and love the leader for anything positive he did we would call that leader an asshat and a dictator.

          November 1, 2013 at 4:13 pm |
        • Lawrence of Arabia

          "The plan sucks..... if god did not allow evil in the world that would be impressive and possibly worthy of worship."

          If God did not allow evil in the world, then God would receive glory for being merciful, but God is also just. And God could not demonstrate His justice if there were not criminals who needed punishing. God permits evil in the world so that God may demonstrate His mercy by redeeming a portion of wicked men from the world, while leaving the rest to the unintended consequences of their wicked ways. God gives them justice, thereby demonstrating that He is both merciful, and just.

          November 1, 2013 at 4:21 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          Lawrence,

          Allowing children to be born into the world and then allowing them to suffer from disease, starvation ect. is not "just". It is by definition "unjust" to punish someone for the deeds of another. You have just proven "the plan sucks" and your god to be immoral.

          November 1, 2013 at 4:30 pm |
        • ME II

          @Lawrence of Arabia,
          Wow, your God sound horrible. He allows these awful things just so He can show off and look good?
          That's disgusting.

          November 1, 2013 at 5:37 pm |
        • M. McKenna

          "God permits evil in the world so that God may demonstrate His mercy." A human father who did the equivalent – allowed his kids to suffer just so he might rescue them – would be roundly considered a monster.

          November 1, 2013 at 6:05 pm |
      • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

        Let us praise God. O Lord...
        ...ooh, You are so big...
        ...So absolutely huge.
        Gosh, we're all really impressed down here, I can tell You.
        Forgive us, O Lord, for this, our dreadful toadying, and...
        And barefaced flattery.
        But You are so strong and, well, just so super.
        Fantastic.
        Amen.

        November 1, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
      • Andy

        LoA: "..and all things work to your glory..."

        I hear expressions of that sort all the time from Christians, but I honestly have no idea what it's supposed to mean. Any explanation?

        November 2, 2013 at 10:11 am |
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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.