October 14th, 2010
05:17 PM ET

Will the rescued miners' renewed faith endure? Maybe, say scholars

Omar Reygadas, 56, kneels down with a Bible after reaching the surface.

CNN's Moni Basu filed this report:
They survived for more than two months a half mile under the Earth's surface, and when the 33 trapped miners in Chile came out, many of them praised God.

Mario Sepulveda said he buried 40 years of his life down there. "I was with God, and I was with the devil. They fought, and God won."

Mario Gomez used to get annoyed that his wife asked him to say daily prayers. But trapped in darkness, he revisited his relationship with God and asked that a crucifix and statuettes of saints be sent down so the miners could construct a shrine.

That the miners found God in their moments of fear is not unusual. It happens to survivors of horrific events, hostages, prisoners and soldiers. Everyone has heard the phrase: There are no atheists in foxholes.

But how many of these "crisis conversions" endure?

Not many, if you ask theologian Tom Long.

"For a small percentage, this is a genuinely life-changing experience," said Long, who teaches at the Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. "For most people, it wanes and they settle back into their old way of life."

Long recalled how churches across America were packed on the Sundays that followed the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. He was asked then by journalists whether that was a sign of a religious renaissance in the United States. He predicted no - and he was right.

"There has been no upsurge in church membership," he said.

How long a renewal of faith lasts depends on whether the person was spiritually inquisitive or restless before the crisis event, Long said. In that case, the crisis becomes a catalyzing moment rather than an originating one, and the chances of that person continuing on that journey are much greater.

Much also depends on whether that person seeks out a community of people who reinforce the newfound faith.

Ralph Hood, a psychology professor at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, said many people come out of crisis thinking: "God has a purpose for me."

But if they cannot find the proper support group to help them continue to frame their lives in terms of God, they are likely to slip back into their former selves. They need a church, a mosque, a synagogue. They need interaction with others who will help nurture their newfound faith, said Hood, co-author of "The Psychology of Religion: An Empirical Approach."

Terry Anderson, who was taken hostage in 1985 by Shiite militants in Lebanon for seven long years, continues to hold onto his rediscovered Catholicism more than two decades later.

He was brought up in the church but lost his religion somewhere along the way. He was starting to rethink his faith when he was kidnapped. For him, captivity served as a catalyst.

He likes to tell a story of how one of his guards asked him if he needed anything and his answer was: "I want a book. I want a Bible."

He read it cover-to-cover for seven years.

He told a Kentucky audience earlier this year that he was still on his faith journey, according to an article posted on the Campbellsville University website.

In the early 1980s, the Israeli motivational speaker Yossi Ghinsberg got lost and survived three weeks in the Bolivian jungle. The son of an atheist said in a 2006 CNN interview that he could never go back to life the way he knew it.

"There is one moment in anybody's life when you go down on your knees and you cry for help," he said. "It's like in the core, just like survival. You don't need to learn it. Also faith. So I found that, and that makes life a totally different experience."

If anyone should know about enduring conversions, it's Chuck Colson, the former aide to President Richard Nixon who entered a guilty plea to Watergate-related charges.

He entered Alabama's Maxwell Prison in 1974 as a new Christian and when he got out, he founded Prison Fellowship Ministries, the world's largest outreach to prisoners.

"In my life, I was certainly converted to Christ at a time of stress," Colson said. "I am stronger in my faith today than I was then."

Colson said that faith-based programs have helped lower recidivism rates. To him, that's evidence of prisoners following a path of God.

"What we are dealing with here is a lasting phenomena," he said. "Once people have made that turn in their life, once they have understood what it is to follow Christ, they don't want to turn back.

Colson, like the rest of the world, watched the televised rescue of the 33 trapped miners in Chile this week. He watched some of them drop to their knees and make the sign of the cross.

They must have had the same feeling that Colson had when he walked out of jail, he thought.

"I'm free. It took my breath away," he said. "I know just what was going through their minds when they came out of that mine shaft. They faced life and death - and they knew what life meant."

That's different than praying to God or reading the Bible once in a while, Colson said. That's when you connect the dots.

- Moni Basu

Filed under: Chile • Christianity • South America

soundoff (210 Responses)
  1. New York

    It is so easy to comment while sitting in our comfortable homes. To all those who say there is no God. Let's put you in a life or death situation & see what you would do. No one can say how they would feel or what they would believe in a dire situations like that. In WWII there was a saying that "There are no atheists in a foxhole." People always seem to turn to God when there is no where else to turn.

    October 17, 2010 at 9:51 am |
    • D'Bourgois

      6 million Jews and 20+ million Christians died in WWII. These were men of faith who were certain no harm would come to them before they died. Does this make Christians less worthy than Jews? How about God not striking ONE Hitler dead? We believe in God because our mothers told us so when we didn't know who we were.

      October 17, 2010 at 10:07 am |
    • reallymom123

      @D "...who were certain no harm would come to them before they die". Tell me, where does it say that Chrisitans would not suffer. You are just another person who has not studied the Word of God and makes unfounded comments. Please research before you write.

      October 17, 2010 at 11:05 am |
  2. 19 in New Mexico

    There is a God, the true God, and his name is Jehovah. He is the creator of all things, heaven and earth. Before him there was none. He is the God that created mankind to have the ability to think and to make the decision to believe in Him or not. If you say God does not exist, where did everything come from? Where did "matter" come from? If it was from a Big Bang, where did the energy to create that Big Bang come from? Where did it all start? Everything has a beginning and an end, except for our heavenly Father. However, never must we forget that there is a god of this system of things that is promoting false worship and false doctrines to take away from the sovereignty of Jehovah, and that god of this system of things is Satan the Devil. He is a powerful and wicked angel who will have his day of judgement as the bible clearly teaches. Satan is producing false fruits (weeds) and blinding the eyes of men so that they fail to grasp the simplicity and perfect word of Gods truths. To say that God does not exist only gives Satan the Devil added fuel to dump on this wicked system of things. God promises to get rid of the wicked and those not showing faith in him and living obediently to his Word. God does exist and He is a loving father who is giving Satan the chance to prove that he is wrong and that mankind can not live or rule without his perfect and loving direction and spirit.

    October 17, 2010 at 9:37 am |
    • D'Bourgois

      Start by separating Creator from day to day God Manager.

      October 17, 2010 at 10:02 am |
  3. reallymom123

    God does and will allow us to be burdened beyond our own abilities. That old teaching, "God will never give me more than I can handle" is false. Why does God allow suffering and frustration? It is so we will come to the end of our self-sufficiency. "We do not want you to be unaware, brethren, of our affliction which came to us in Asia, that we were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life; indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves so that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead." 2 Cor 1:8-9

    October 17, 2010 at 9:19 am |
  4. Rick

    It makes me sick to listen to people thank God for wining a Sports Game, or some Car Race. Thanking God for your baby being born with 10 fingers and toes that's more appropriate.

    October 17, 2010 at 9:06 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Can we not thank God for both the Touchdown and the childsbirth. In addition thank God that even though we lost the game that we were able to play it and that the child was born without all fingers and toes but that he or she was born?

      All glory to God they say.... so for the baby to the inside pass on the final turn all is good.

      October 17, 2010 at 10:44 am |
  5. someoneelse

    You Americans really aren't any different than Muslim countries (minus Saudi Arabia and Iran). Your Faith is just as wrong, stupid, and ingrained in your everyday lives. Understand one thing, even if there is a God, he didn't do anything to help and at best, did somethign to cause it!

    October 17, 2010 at 7:45 am |
  6. James

    To the first response of this "soundoff" (Raison) I bet YOU never had a life-changing experience, have you? Trust me, there are NO atheists in foxholes! You have no faith, AND IT SHOWS!

    October 17, 2010 at 7:35 am |
    • Eric G.

      @James: Please spare us all your T-shirt slogans. If you have been through a life changing experience and found it to be the result of your god, you are showing your own ignorance and lack of mental capacity to understand and interpret facts. If something happens that you cannot explain, that does not mean that your god is responsible. Just out of curiocity, does your god hate the soldiers that die? How about the enemy?

      October 17, 2010 at 8:36 am |
    • reallymom123

      God hates no one. In fact, God loves us so much that he gave His one and only son so that we will have everlasting life. If you would study the teachings of Jesus Christ then you would realize this.

      October 17, 2010 at 9:24 am |
    • D'Bourgois

      What are the chances that 90% of stuff in Bible is what Jesus never said. Remember, you dont have a video recording of teachings. Look at Christian denominations. Does it make you pause how ridiculous humans can be in believing that? Well the same humans had 2000 yrs to shape the Bible. For all you know, 'reformer' Christ may not even have claimed to be son of God.

      October 17, 2010 at 10:16 am |
    • reallymom123

      It is history. Does this mean that you do not believe any history books?

      October 17, 2010 at 12:40 pm |
    • Alex

      Personally, I don't consider the bible a history book. To many mistakes and mistranslations. A lot plagiarism. Chapters were hand-picked to serve the interests of some. It's frankly BS.

      October 17, 2010 at 1:54 pm |
    • reallymom123

      What mistakes have you found in the Bible? Have you ever studied the Bible?

      October 17, 2010 at 2:08 pm |
    • Alex

      I have. I was raised Catholic. So yeah, I have. Mistakes? Go there. http://atheism.about.com/od/biblecontradictionserror/Bible_Contradictions_Errors_Bible_is_Full_of_Contradictions_Errors.htm

      October 17, 2010 at 2:21 pm |
    • reallymom123

      I want you in your own words to tell me mistakes that are in the Holy Bible.

      October 17, 2010 at 4:07 pm |
  7. Joan Mac

    I am most deeply and humbly grateful to the Almighty God for the safe return of the miners to their respective family’s, for the gifts of science, for the talents of the international experts, for the perseverance of the Chilean population and for tenacious efforts of the rescuers, in Jesus name, amen.

    October 17, 2010 at 7:21 am |
  8. Livelystone

    The Bible speaks of this scenario in the parable of the sower and the seed. While most of the seed is either taken up by birds or falls on rocks or choked out by weeds some of it does find "good earth". But even of the seed that finds good earth most only produce a thirty-fold harvest while others produce a sixty-fold harvest but a few become a one hundred-fold harvest. A one hundredfold harvest of the seed sown by the sower is the exact reproduction of the one doing the sowing...... Unfortunately there are not many sons of God in the image of Jesus Christ walking around........ Will any of the miners become a one hundred-fold harvest?...... Only God decides who sits at His right hand.......... Doug

    October 17, 2010 at 7:14 am |
  9. USMC

    I swear to God/no-god(whichever you prefer), if i see another restatement of the same ridiculous argument between you children, i will be forced to maim you all. It makes no difference whatsoever based on the fact of a god existing or not, the important thing is that 33 men were saved from an unimaginable death, and it should be all smiles now.

    October 17, 2010 at 3:06 am |
  10. Mike


    You really don't know as much as you think you do, and your logic isn't nearly as solid as you think it is. Keep at it; if your reasoning skills get good enough you'll see why your argument, and therefore conclusion, is wrong.

    October 16, 2010 at 11:31 pm |
    • Jacob

      Well then prove me wrong on my note

      October 17, 2010 at 3:04 pm |
    • Know What


      Even if your note proved the existence of a Prime Mover or First Cause (I will have to leave that to the physicists and logicians among us); it does not in any way prove anything about this ent!ty, other than 'firstness' - not any of its properties or attributes. It says nothing about sentience or intentional creation of the universe. It says nothing about interference or relevance in our daily lives, or in an imagined hereafter.

      October 17, 2010 at 3:18 pm |
    • reallymom123

      The problem here is that the Anti-God people sit in barnes and noble, drink their coffee and read bits and pieces of physics and theory books written by people who don't completely understand it themselves. Then they try to disprove the Bible as incorrect when they have never even studied it. They just pick out bits and pieces and take things out of context to make themselves sound right. If you want to know the truth, you must study the Bible daily.

      October 17, 2010 at 4:15 pm |
    • Jacob

      Lemme tell you this: Since i already proved matter isnt infinite ill ask this: can something come from nothing? no. that proves god created all of us because he always existed

      October 17, 2010 at 5:57 pm |
    • Know What

      "can something come from nothing? no. that proves god created all of us because he always existed."

      No, it doesn't, Jacob. We (and physicists and logicians) do not know for sure how the universe began. We don't know does not = god. It is *possible*, but certainly not proved (not even by your one-liner). There could be many, many, many other scenarios.

      I hope you grow up to be a brilliant scientist and help to further the search. Please don't stop at the "god of the gaps".

      October 17, 2010 at 6:20 pm |
  11. Jacob

    @ David Johnson:
    If you are so against religion prove to me that god did not create this universe. i can prove god exists easily.
    1. God has always been here
    2. of course you said no to the above statement and heres where i prove you wrong
    3. if you said the universe has always existed and is has always been expanding... your wrong... the thing is... matter isnt infinite and neither is time.
    4. If you said the above statement was false ill prove it to you: If i said i would give you a chocolate bar whenever you flicked a light switch on and off an infinite amount of times would you ever get the chocolate? no...secondly matter isnt infinite either... to prove this im going to use....a pen.... now how many times would i have to multiply the pen to get an infinite amount? its impossible....
    5. after proving you wrong you of corse will say "well that doesnt mean god exists pppsshhh." well tell me then if something exists without matter it cannot be seen... its omnipresent....If something exists without time it has never nor will never change... so tell me... what sounds like something that cannot be seen, is omnipresent... and has never changed? one word: God
    6. well mr robinson also to tell you im not a preacher, im not a 40 year old that lives in his mom's basement... im a 14 year old teen with more common sense and knowledge than you when it comes to ruling how this all happened, where we all came from ect... have a nice day

    October 16, 2010 at 11:22 pm |
    • reallymom123

      Good job planting that seed Jacob. I know it is difficult dealing with people who are against God. Remember how God hardened the heart of pharoah? God has a purpose for all of us. I am happy to see strong Christian teens on here. Don't let these people discourage you. Everytime there is an article on here about God or Jesus, these guys are on here spewing negativity. Deep down inside they are actually searching for answers because they want God to exist, if they didn't they wouldn't be so eager to find proof. Right? Have a good day Jacob and God Bless:)

      October 17, 2010 at 9:43 am |
    • Jacob

      Thank you so much ReallyMom123 God Bless you too

      October 17, 2010 at 3:01 pm |
  12. Mark from Middle River

    Raison – your not the first person to call me the n-word and you absolutely will not be the last one. It is, in this case, the sign that you have gone into your bag of arguements and have found that you are all out and your insides are as empty as that bag.

    I am sorry that you had to go calling me the n-word in an attempt to prove that you are not a person with hate in his heart but doing such you have shown when pressed you are just another closet person filled with hate. Hate for so many of your fellow members of society. So much hate that it is not incrediable but mostly sad.

    Also you might want to try using the n-word on another African American. This one, it stopped hurting long long ago.

    October 16, 2010 at 4:36 pm |
    • Raison

      Awwww, too much butthurt?

      Poor kid. Still don't get it? No clue yet? Did you need me to spell it out for you?

      When I mean something I MEAN IT.

      "stopped hurting long long ago." LOL yeah, right. I have never met anyone as racist and butthurt as you in my life.

      you are SO butthurt.

      You do know what butthurt means, don't you? Or do you need me to spell that out for you too?

      Butthurt goes right along with BAWWW. Which is what you are doing.

      See that "man in the mirror" yet? Need me to spell that out for you too?

      I meant what I said. Stay the fuck away from me and leave me the fuck alone.

      I meant that before and I mean it now. Think about it, Mark from Butthurt Racist River.

      I am more fucking serious than you will ever be in your life..

      October 16, 2010 at 9:42 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      shhh.... go to sleep grandfather .... nappy nappy time .....

      Another night another rant but again..... I am the only one between us who can prove the other is a intolerant racist bigot from previous post.

      I am pretty sure Grandfather that you can not. Until then only one of us is unraveling.

      October 17, 2010 at 12:56 am |
    • Raison

      @Mark from Butthurt Racist River

      LOL butthurt again? LOL You keep posting at me. LOL butthurt LOL

      Yes, you are unraveling, aren't you? That's the whole problem. Duh.

      And no, your racism and severe butthurt is like a river of blood running through the middle of your post.
      Everyone can see it easy enough. I have no idea why you think it is hidden. I spotted it on the first read.

      Oops! Was I not supposed to see that you admitted to it? LOL

      Poor Mark. Thinks I can't figure out stuff with an above average IQ. So sad. So butthurt. So racist. So, so obvious.

      Such is the mind as it unravels. The FBI knows where you live but they will not give me that information, even though you are stalking me. All you have is a few words I did not say, things I did not mean, all twisted up in your own head.

      You think it's me, but it is you. Look in that mirror. Who do you see? A racist who seethes with hate for some old guy he's never met after a few exchanges of empty words that made you snap. You don't have control. You don't have a clue.

      Go ahead and cry me that "middle" river of blood, Mark, you psychotically racist, butthurt boy. You are too obvious in the things you do and say. You secretly think that you have hidden it all, but you reveal it with almost every post.

      Get psychiatric help. Or continue to be a massively butthurt racist who stupidly shows what he wants to keep secret.

      Or don't. I don't care anymore. I have won with every post. You haven't won a single post on me. It can be evidence at your trial, or you can seek help from a doctor. Don't make them force you. Do it on your own and preserve what little honor you might have left in that mirror.

      If you can.

      October 17, 2010 at 1:48 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      -applies Spock nerve pinch-

      good grief, your awake again Grandfather? By the way, you said you had a daughter my age, which is in the early 30s. Is she single and more open minded than her father 🙂

      Goodness, can you imagine what holidays would be like with me and you across the table from each other ... You said you almost dated a African American female a few weeks ago so maybe I might make a great son in law.

      goodness ..this is getting too too funny. 🙂

      "everybody cut ..everybody cut... everybody cut Footloose." 🙂

      See you tomorrow pops.

      October 17, 2010 at 3:12 am |
    • Raison

      @Mark the little butthurt boy


      Not so sure now, huh? LOL

      Have fun trying to sleep, racist, it's only a matter of time now.

      You can't stop because you're weak - just like every other racist full of hate. Just like your mother. Can't even see....

      So, so obvious. ..

      October 17, 2010 at 4:11 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Rasion – Sorry if calling me the N-Word does not cause me to go off the deep end and rants ....like you did, trust me insulting chances are insulting my mother won't do it either.

      Nice try Grandpa, I play you like a top and you spun all over the place... I led and you followed...boy did you follow...and now you are, I guess, attempting to desparatly, to find something to get me to get angry with you. Sorry grampa your defeat I have to hold over your head as soon as you lost control of yourself. Why would I give you such a victory by having to resort to playground rules of name calling. Thats how I beat you, again and again and again.

      I drive a Ford, try insulting me on that subject..... umm.... I am a bit over weight... I know, I am in Community College.... there Grampa, you can insult me on that one and maybe I will start cursing at you.

      Or maybe I will really begin to pray for you each night Raison. Hmm... hate you or pray for you .... yeah ..I think I will go with praying for you...... back to bed.

      October 17, 2010 at 6:24 am |
    • Raison

      @Mark the butthurt racist

      I never called you the N-word. Go back and read the words I wrote. You couldn't convict me of racism in any court in the land.

      Pray all you like. If it makes you leave me alone, I'm all for it. Why not leave me alone? Hmm?

      Or is your lack of self-control going to be the whole reason this has gone on so long? I keep telling you to stop. You keep attacking me for no good reason. This is pretty clear to most people on here, including me. But not you, I guess.

      I only brought your mother into this because you had to pick up your racist hate from somewhere.

      Who told you how the world works? They were full of racist hate that you swallowed whole like the dumbest sucker that ever walked the earth. I hate it when people are fooled by lies. In that respect, I am on your side.

      I thought it was probably your mother, but maybe she just never taught you anything like common sense and how to love and forgive - while others taught you the twisted view you have, I really don't know.

      But whoever lied to you deserves some serious and righteous hate from me, as I have become one of its victims through you, as you might admit since it is true....

      Just stop posting at me when you've decided to stop hating me and stalking me. Don't worry, I'll get the picture right away.
      It's only what I want from you – to be left alone. I am not a racist, but you are. If you can't deal with this, I can keep this up a long, long time if need be in the hopes that you will someday understand that fact.

      Pray you never have to justify your racist hate in real life, Mark. That shit don't fly in the legal world these days.
      MLK helped make sure of that. What would he tell you about your racist hate? There can be no justification of racist hate, for it is a distortion, a delusion, a thing with no basis in reality. That's why racism of any sort is wrong.

      That's why I am not racist. I am trying to make you stop stalking me and can only hope that you seek help. Just stop it. Period.

      October 17, 2010 at 4:40 pm |
    • Raison


      I went wayyy back to find where you related what your father told you that gave me the "proof" that you are racist.

      What he told you, in essence, is that everybody is going to make a racist joke about you as soon as you are out of the room.

      So I apologize to your mother. Your father is the one I have to thank, I guess. And all the other racists who assume that a different color of skin automatically means that racism is what the world is all about.

      You kept saying that I am a "hater" and insinuated that I am a hom-ophobe, a racist, and wanted to program people when I used words like "de-program" and the like.

      That was wrong of you. And you have never apologized. You like to twist things a lot. Assuming I am those hateful things is and was the wrong thing to do. You have never been sorry, seem to show a complete lack of shame for what you have done to me, and merely continue to mock me. Your youth does not excuse you from your deliberate failure to apologize.

      I hope you can stop assuming I'm racist – for when you continue to attack me with this untrue accusation it only shows your own racism. Your father was wrong. Assuming people are going to judge you according to your skin color is what I point to when I say "butthurt".

      For my part, in the interests of peace, I apologize for acting childishly in my attempts to meet you on your level.

      You gave me few options to work with. I tried many things to make you stop attacking me. My "N-word" attack was a word game to provoke you, yes, but I made sure to not actually call you the "N-word".
      I have never understood what the word meant, in any case – and no one I have met could explain it either, so chew on that little tidbit if you like.
      It is a bitter pill for the "black" community – no one can define it, and I, as a person who hates to hate, would wish all such words would go away along with the delusions and hate that give them life.

      I attacked your "Middle River" as being something like a mockery of your so-called demands to seek a "middle ground" when you have avoided it in every discussion we used to have when we were being polite to one another.

      And when I used to answer your posts as best I could – in the "old days" – you never responded. Never made the effort on your side to help bring any "middle ground" to the foreground of the discussion. We never met on that middle ground, Mark.

      You never met me there, though I tried to seek it with your opinions in mind.
      Oh, those good ole days when we were so carefree....

      With all the "black" racism I have encountered, the worst of it is pure murderous hate and violent intent against everybody who is seen as "white" or whatever term is used these days by such people....
      ...and I take you for one of those people, Mark. You see hate where it did not exist and think saying that it exists makes it true. That is a prime example of delusional thinking, but I do not expect you to understand that.

      Well, if you aren't one of those who seeks a river of blood, or a "middle ground" so you can use it to violent advantage – as you did to me – then prove me wrong and leave me alone.

      I have run out of things to try against you. I appeal to whatever common sense you may have to stop attacking me on "middle ground", for it is a betrayal of trust and can provoke a lot of righteous wrath from a lot of people.

      I call for another truce yet again, and an end to hostilities. But I want that apology, Mark. Your lack of shame damns you in my eyes....it is an indefensible position of yours that I would like to see you change in the hopes that you like the idea of self-improvement for yourself and others.

      If you believe in Jesus, then I ask you in his name, for your actions have not been "Christ-like" to me. Quit attacking me.

      October 17, 2010 at 5:59 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      "Raison says:
      October 16, 2010 at 1:16 pm
      @Mark from Middle River

      I talked with my friends and showed them your posts. Consider yourself that big, ole N-word, punk. The N-word. You got me?"

      So aged wise person when you say that you never called me the n- word you just forgot your own post.

      Again it is only one of us who has proof the other is the racist. Only one if us has the proof that the other does not believe that peace can be found through coexistance. Finally only one of us has no arguements left so has to resort to simple name calling and attacks upon te others family.

      Sad grandfather do sad

      October 17, 2010 at 6:10 pm |
    • Raison


      You prove me right yet again. Sorry.

      I ask you in the name of one you worship for peace and you mock me? Then you mock Jesus as well. Welcome to the club.

      No shame, yet, I see. You hate someone you have never met and use lies as a tool. What does this say about you?

      Shame on you, Mark. I continue to seek peace regardless of your lack of shame.

      October 17, 2010 at 6:25 pm |
    • Raison


      And I wrote "consider yourself" that word. I did not call you that word. I told you to call yourself that word.

      Very different than actual name-calling.

      I ask you again in the Name of Jesus Christ to stop attacking me. Or do you like your inner demons that much?

      October 17, 2010 at 6:31 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      You gave me few options to work with. I tried many things to make you stop attacking me. My “N-word” attack was a word game to provoke you, yes, but I made sure to not actually call you the “N-word”.

      Rasion. For most folks when they use the words "consider your self" that means in their eyes they are saying to them you are a "fill in the blanks". The game you played, the game of attempting to provoke to elicit a violent responce is an end game. It is what folks use when their arguements have fallen and they have nothing more to put forth to prove their point. That you have admitted to such then it's time for you to accept it and move on. You were bettered and It's time for you to try to be a bit more civil rasion. Notice, it is mostly only you who moved from argueing points to swear words. 

      "I call for another truce yet again, and an end to hostilities"

      Rasion, I feel that you are already watching you words on other threads. Your temper and rants do show a reduction and that is good. It is a shame that for some to make or desire peace they have to be dragged to the table kicking and screaming. You see for me, I was already there rasion. For me and many we are tired and want to find some way that we can all get along. The bridges of peace are not built on the bodies of your enemies. I came here to CNN because I could have stayed over at foxnews and be surrounded by ones such as yourself that want peace only when the opposition is no more. I came to CNN because the oh great Obama said that we repubicans should try to sit down with democrats and find a way to live together in this great country of ours. 

      What I have seen is that the left has just as many extremist as the right but that there were folks in the middle ground. To be truthful I think that it was your statement calling the middle ground some mythical was probubly the one thing that did hit a nerve with me. If it does not or can not exisit then all talk is for nothing and we should just off into our own groups until one groups decides to over run and wipe out the other. 

      My father told me that life lesson because racism does exist and if, as a African American child found humor in a polish joke then I should know that the joke is racist and that the same joke could be aimed at me. Is this is your proof I am a racist, because my father taught me not to tell racist jokes? You have got to be kidding. You went way back and found something that you, in your own little noggin, hoped that could be called racist. A little eight year old kid telling polish jokes who was corrected by his father. Wow rasion. 

      So as for you asking for a cease in hostilities, then we are both seeking the same thing. Just know that such still means that the next time you go off, I might, if I have the time, fire forward a post to counter you. If I do nothing then in the end I will be counted amoung those in history who did nothing. 

      So if you want a end to hostilities rasion, find a way to work towards the peace of coexistance with all who desire such. If not then folks like yourself are too dangerous to be left alone. So as my holy book says rasion....

      Blessed be the peace makers for they will know peace.

      October 17, 2010 at 9:41 pm |
    • Raison


      STILL no apology? God, Mark, you suck.

      October 17, 2010 at 10:04 pm |
    • Raison


      Sorry, again. Here I am trying to end hostilities and forgot to thank you for not being "quite" so nasty in your latest response.

      You appear to see the whole world in terms of black and white (no pun intended), but since you say you're a Republican, this is to be expected – and is often one of the reasons that no "middle ground" can be found, in my opinion.
      I am not a Democrat. I actually agree with some right-wing ideas, but often find that the resulting policies are unworkable, and so I rail at those when I can.

      Sure, you're a wonderful guy, Mark. We just don't see eye-to-eye. I wonder if we ever could, for I insist on honesty...and the politicians almost never do.

      You seek a middle ground because, you say, that Obama called for both sides of the "aisle" to do so. Glad to hear you have a bit of sense in there, even if it is hidden very deep where I am concerned.
      But this is not a political forum. We are not playing Republicans vs Democrats here.
      This is a blog dealing with religious beliefs and arguments about that stuff. Sure, you can hijack a thread by trying to make it about Republicans and Democrats, but there are religious people on both of those "sides".
      Remember all the other parties? Independents, Greens, Libertarians, Whigs, etc.
      What if there was a real "Anti-Republican" party instead of a bunch of opportunists fighting each other in Congress?
      If you want money, be a politician. If you want Jesus, be a Christian. If you want "middle ground" be flexible enough to know what the hell it might look like.
      But pure right and wrong is rare. Ethical dilemmas are everywhere. Religious contradictions are legion.

      And all you had to do was apologize. God, Mark! How hard can that be? You don't think you did anything wrong no matter how many times and different ways I try to make you see that you did a vicious thing to me without proper provocation?

      Well, don't apologize then. If we meet on anything, it will because we are already there anyway. Thanks again for "trying".

      October 17, 2010 at 10:29 pm |
    • Raison


      The more I read what we have said to each other, the more I see proof that we have misunderstood what each other has said no matter who said it or what we were trying to say.

      This is disturbing for me, and it should be for you as well. This much "disconnect" seem indicative of something we both share.
      Hey! Maybe this is a "middle ground"! LOL

      But what a horrible middle! More like a muddle.

      A common tendency when reading each other's posts that gives common misunderstanding instead of common understanding is not healthy and only shows me that we need to speak indirectly instead of at one another.
      Like using seconds in a duel, or ambassadors from our respective positions.

      I can admit to being a fool. I have done so many times. But I have never seen you do this that I can recall, so I don't know what to say about that...

      I apologize and you ignore it and continue to attack me personally instead of my arguments. Politicians do that too often.

      I ask for you to apologize and you ignore it and continue to attack me personally instead of my arguments.

      You appear to have no shame. Hell, I can be ashamed of doing something stupid. Apologizing is a good thing, though painful, but it leads to personal growth.
      I apologize again to you, your family, and anyone else I have actually wronged if your father was truly teaching you the right thing to do and not just telling you how bad everyone is – because that's how you wrote it – here we go again...!

      In the end, it should not matter. ..but in the meantime, you should try harder to understand and forgive those who make you angry. Yes, we all have to work at this. I keep trying to better myself and my arguments and posts, as you have seen.

      Delusions only meet rational thought within one's own head – so in that respect, I do not expect to find a middle ground in a blog between delusion and reality. Nope. Just don't freak out again. We can argue the point of course, but delusions are not real. Peace is an ideal as well as a concept and a thing, to name a few personal definitions of same.

      Real peacemakers know how to apologize for shameful acts as well as those acts that hurt others in order to bring peace closer.
      I can't be shaking my head at you forever. It makes me dizzy just to think about it. Try something new. Something you didn't think you could do.
      Give it a shot, Mark. What do you have to lose? You say you have won, right? No graciousness in victory either?
      God, Mark, is there any hope for you at all?

      October 17, 2010 at 11:17 pm |
    • Mudder

      What a couple of prima-donnas! You kids need a time out, IMHO. Or just a good span-king. LOL

      Mark, apologize to your brother.

      Raison, quit feeding your brother troll-candy.

      Now both of you shake hands and go to your rooms. Mudder has spoken!

      October 17, 2010 at 11:29 pm |
    • Raison


      Yes, Mudder. (shakes hands at Mark)

      October 18, 2010 at 3:39 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      "... is often one of the reasons that no "middle ground" can be found, in my opinion."

      I woke up this morning and I had a long response that did not post from my PDA that I was going to list. I am again running late for classes and will try to make this short. The middle ground, tolerance and even coexistence can be found but we all will have to work for it. If we want to. I have a coworker that echoed what you said, that there can be no middle ground these days with society so fractured. I told him that famous quote of: "every time that they say it can't be done...think of how many times they have been wrong". Later in the shift, after he thought about it the current abortion policy is a compromise and many places in society we see it.

      What I fear is the coming of the extreme wings of any issue. The democrat and republican examples was just to make it simple, since most of my post have been coming from a small PDA and my fingers get tired. My post are to try to help you Rasion to see that folks on both sides are attempting to pull each of us to one side or the other. Today it is with calls for words tomorrow calls for property damage and finally once the opponents are dehumanized enough, physical attacks. I love history, studying to become a history student and time and time again in history we see these groups where time for talking has ended. Again, my problem was with some of the statements that you posted. Do apologize for pointing them out or attempting to counter your statements with the hope for peace and tolerance,

      No Rasion. Not one day, one hour, one minute. The talk of burning others holy books or desiring the days when those that do not think the same as you do no longer exist in society. No, not if we do not let it. Not if we choose to make a stand and push back the extremes and their language. I hope you find a place in your heart one day but until then, folks like me will do our best to offer another way. I middle way.

      October 18, 2010 at 1:44 pm |
  13. Muneef

    Rasool Allah (S.A.W) Peace be upon him said:

    1) Four things that make your body sick:

    a) Excessive talking

    b) Excessive sleeping

    c) Excessive eating and

    d) Excessive meeting other people

    2) Four things that destroys the body:

    a) Worrying

    b) Sorrow (Sadness/Grief)

    c) Hunger

    d)Sleeping late in the night

    3) Four things that dry the face & take away its happiness:

    a) Lying

    b) Being disrespectful / impudent (insisting on something wrong knowingly)

    c) Arguing without adequate knowledge & Information.

    d) Excessive immorality (doing something wrong without fear).

    4) Four things that increases the wetness of face & its happiness:

    a) Piety

    b) Loyalty

    c) Generosity (being kind)

    d) To be helpful to others without he/she asking for that.

    5) Four things that stop the Rizq (Sustenance) :

    a) Sleeping in the morning (from Fajr to sunrise)

    b) Not Performing Namaz or Ir-regular in Prayers
    c) Laziness / Idleness

    d) Treachery / Dishonesty

    6) Four things that bring / increase the Rizq:

    a) Staying up in the night for prayers.

    b) Excessive Repentance

    c) Regular Charity

    d) Zikr (Remembrance of Allah / God).

    The Holy Prophet (Peace be upon him & his progeny), Also said to communicate to others even if you listen One Verse (Ayah) & this one verse will stand on the Day of Judgment for intercession

    October 16, 2010 at 12:53 pm |
  14. Muneef


    A traveler once came to the Masjid to see the Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) after greeting the prophet; he was asked where he was from. The traveler replied that he came from very far just to get a few questions answered. Following is the dialogue between the traveler and the Prophet.

    Traveler : I do not want azaab (punishments) to be written in my account.

    Prophet : Behave well with your parents.

    Traveler : I want to be known amongst people as an intelligent person.

    Prophet : Fear Allah (Jalla Jalalahu), always.

    Traveler : I want to be counted amongst Allah's favourites.

    Prophet : Recite Quran every morning and evening.

    Traveler : I want my heart to always be enlightened. (Munawer)

    Prophet : Never forget death.

    Traveler : I never want to be away from Allah's blessing.

    Prophet : Always treat fellow creatures well.

    Traveler : I never want to be harmed by my enemies.

    Prophet : Always have faith in only Allah.

    Traveler : I never want to be humiliated.

    Prophet : Be careful of your actions.

    Traveler : I wish to live long.

    Prophet : Always do sila-e-rahm. (Goodness towards blood Relations)

    Traveler : I want my sustenance to increase.

    Prophet : Always be in wudhoo. (wuzu)

    Traveler : I wish to stay free of azaab in the grave.

    Prophet : Always wear pure (tahir) clothes.

    Traveler : I never want to be burned in hell.

    Prophet : Control your eyes and tongue.

    Traveler : How do I get my sins forgiven?

    Prophet : Always ask forgiveness from Allah with a lot of humility.

    Traveler : I want people to respect me always.

    Prophet : Never extend your hands of need at people.

    Traveler : I want to always be honoured.

    Prophet : Never humiliate or put down anyone.

    Traveler : I don't want to be squeezed by fishare qabr. (Squeezing in the grave)

    Prophet : Recite Surat Al Mulk (The Dominion) often.

    Traveler : I want my wealth to increase.

    Prophet : Recite Surat Al Waqiah (The Inevitable) every night.

    Traveler : I want to be safe and at peace on Day of Judgment.

    Prophet : Do Zikr (Praises) of Allah from dusk to night.

    Traveler : I want to be in full attention & concentration during prayers.

    Prophet : Always do wudhoo (wuzu) with concentration and attention.

    October 16, 2010 at 12:48 pm |
  15. Mark from Middle River

    Today 20 miners in China died in an explosion with 17 miners trapped. I am not a Wiccan and the mother earth concept I do not hold too....but seems as though the Earth might be fighting back ....a bit.

    October 16, 2010 at 11:45 am |
    • David Johnson

      And my friend, maybe it is god telling us that survival has a lot to do with random chance and modern technology. ? hmm...

      October 16, 2010 at 1:07 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      David – I do not know but look at all the energy sectors that are being damaged. From the gulf of Mexico to chilie to
      now china. I won't even go into the dam that burst in europe. It does concern or is growng concern with me.

      October 16, 2010 at 4:25 pm |
    • Justina

      Mark, your "mother earth" hates you because you are a human, the abuser of the planet earth. It's the Creator God who loves you and who is ready to forgive you. Trust in Jesus Christ instead of those pagan demons.

      October 17, 2010 at 5:25 am |
  16. CatholicMom

    Out of the Depths October 14th, 2010 written by Dr. Robert Moynihan

    The 33 miners who were trapped for nearly 70 days in a Chilean gold and copper mine are all alive and safe. They were freed October 13, the day of Our Lady of Fatima. But there is more…

    The Mystery of Prayer and Redemption

    Prose is not adequate to describe what has just happened in Chile. It requires poetry — like the poetry of the Psalms.
    Thirty-three miners, caught in a mine cave-in hundreds of meters below the surface of the earth on August 5, 69 days ago, began to be brought up to the surface today, one by one.

    The first man was rescued just after midnight, in the first moments of October 13, and all were brought up in 22 hours.

    All Lost, All Found

    At the beginning, it was thought they were all lost, as there was no contact with them at all. Not a sound. Silence.
    Then, after 17 days, they were all found to be alive, and safe in an underground cave. But it was still thought that the rescue operation would take many months, until Christmastime, perhaps, and that the men, confined in such a small space, might all go mad before they could be freed.

    And now, in a feat of engineering worthy of all praise, they have all been brought up safe and in their right minds.
    And the entire world has been able to watch as this drama has unfolded.

    A Papal Gift

    But there is a little known aspect to this amazing story, and that is an aspect related to Pope Benedict, and to the rosary.
    The rosary the prayer par excellence of Our Lady, because in its traditional form, it contains 150 Hail Marys in 15 joyful, sorrowful and glorious mysteries — the same number as the Book of Psalms.

    Benedict offered public prayers for the miners on several occasions, but he also decided to send each of the miners a special gift: a rosary he himself had blessed.

    The rosaries were brought to the miners personally by Cardinal Francisco Javier Errazuriz of Santiago, Chile.
    It is said that, to survive, the miners organized their life in a disciplined way, even creating a little chapel in the corner of their cave. Praying the rosary, according to a report, became a part of the trapped miners’ daily ritual.
    (Here is a Rome Reports video which describes this gift of rosaries; it is located at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aH5azcuEL_Y&feature=channel)

    And now, on October 13 — the anniversary of the last appearance of the Virgin Mary to the three shepherd children in Fatima, Portugal — the miners are safe.

    The Prayer in Westminster

    October 13 is also the feast day of Saint Edward the Confessor, in the United Kingdom.
    The drilling to free the miners started on September 17.
    The Pope was in London on that day, the second day of his trip to Scotland and England.
    At the service on September 17 at Westminster Abbey, Pope Benedict and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, prayed before the tomb of Saint Edward the Confessor.

    On October 13, Saint Edward’s feast day, the miners are free.

    A Sign of Redemption

    At a Mass in Chile that began just after near midnight on October 13, as the first miner was being brought to the surface, Santiago Auxiliary Bishop Cristian Contreras Villarroel, speaking in El Sagrario chapel next to Santiago’s Metropolitan Cathedral, said the lives of the 33 miners should be seen as a sign of the need all people have for redemption.
    And the bishop echoed the words of Psalm 129, where it says, “If thou, O Lord, shalt observe our iniquities, Lord, who can stand?”

    “There is no saint without a past, nor sinner without a future,” the bishop said.

    “Out of the depths, O Lord, I cried unto Thee”

    The most powerful single line in all the psalms — arguably the supreme poetic monument of the Jewish, and of the Christian, religious-cultural tradition — is this one: “Out of the depths, O Lord, I cried unto Thee.”
    The words sum up all the sorrow of a frail humanity, mortals doomed to inevitable defeat by the power of sin and death.
    The words could have been spoken by Jonah in the belly of the whale, by Job from the ash heap in his sufferings, by David surrounded by enemies seeking his life, by Jesus when he was raised, to all outward appearance totally powerless, onto the cross, then laid, limp and cold, in his tomb.

    Psalm 129 is part of the Vespers liturgy for the dead, and expresses the hope that the one who has fallen into shadow and darkness, the one who has been overcome by death, will yet be saved, and come again into the light.

    Here is moving text of Psalm 129, first in Latin, then in English, which seems to express the prayer of the miners, caught in the dark under half a mile of rock for 70 days:

    Out of the depths I have cried unto thee, O Lord; Lord, hear my voice.

    2 O let thine ears be attentive to the voice of my supplication.
    3 If thou, O Lord, shalt observe our iniquities, Lord, who can stand?
    4 For with thee there is merciful forgiveness: and by reason of thy law, I have waited for thee, O Lord.
    5 My soul hath relied on his word my soul hath hoped in the Lord.
    6 From the morning watch even until night: let Israel hope in the Lord.
    7 Because with the Lord there is mercy, and with him plentiful redemption.
    8 And he shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities.
    9 Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord.
    10 And let perpetual light shine upon them.
    The Stone Was Rolled Back

    In front of the whole world, on this October 13, for these miners, and for all of us as well, who are witnesses of it, the stone has been rolled back.

    October 16, 2010 at 9:15 am |
    • Some_Truth


      In a word, Poppyc ock!

      The Msgr. has entirely too much time on his hands. I don't have that much time, but here are a few notable events of Oct. 13. I thought numerology was an occult science, frowned on by the Church.

      54 Claudius, Roman Emperor, dies of poison mushrooms at 63

      1307 French king Philip IV convicts templars because of heresy

      1537 Lady Jane Grey (Queen of England for 9 days) born

      1792 1st Old Farmer's Almanac is published

      1843 B'nai B'rith founded (NY)

      1845 Texas ratifies a state const itution

      1862 Bismarck's "Blood and Iron" speech

      1864 Battle of Harpers Ferry, WV (Mosby's Raid)

      1884 Greenwich established as universal time meridian of longitude

      1913 Explosion and fire in Universal Coal Mine, South Wales

      1925 Lenny Bruce – Margaret Thatcher born

      1947 "Kukla, Fran and Ollie" premieres

      October 16, 2010 at 12:45 pm |
    • David Johnson


      It is good, and I am most happy the miners are alive. But while this event had a happy ending, during the same time period the following happened:

      According to UNICEF, 22,000 children died due to poverty. And they “died quietly in some of the poorest villages on earth, far removed from the scrutiny and the conscience of the world. Where was their miracle?

      Almost 5,500 people died due to AIDS. Where was their miracle?

      1500 people lives were taken by cancer. Where was their miracle?

      About 2600 people died of cardiovascular disease. Where was their miracle?

      These people died, while the 33 miners received a miracle?

      Thousands have died in disasters. Where was their miracle?

      We should all remember, that while something happens good in our lives, something bad is happening elsewhere.

      The miners lived because of modern technology.

      October 16, 2010 at 1:03 pm |
    • Dylan

      @David Johnson

      Man Created Modern Technology, If God Exist and he created us then your statement would make no sense as there would be no technology if there was no God. Now if there is no God then I ask how was the universe created? The big bang theory is a option but it requires understanding something which we don't understand.... FAITH! and if the big bang did happen what was to define it as such if there was nothing in the first place? I'm sceptical but I'd rather believe in a God that can redeem me in the end and die a liar then to die a liar who didn't believe and get damned for eternity, It's just such a sad way to die believeing that there is nothing after this.

      October 17, 2010 at 2:41 am |
  17. ICEMAN

    you know we as a people believe or don't believe their is a god BUT what i can tell you the people that once lived on this earth, knew alot about this than we do. Most our wrong but then you find out people like the Dogon tribe of Africa. they knew about athe brightest star inthe sky named Sirus A, and Sirus b,c. but scientist say they should've never knew about these other two stars because it you can't see it with the naked eye. I forgot the man who wrote the book but he asked the elder how did his people know about this star and he said because the people came down here told us about the galaxy. Now you have scientist rushing trying to disprove them but the question remain how can they know about this star? Science is a good thing but still doesnt tell you the whole story.

    October 15, 2010 at 8:53 pm |
  18. Iqbal khan


    October 15, 2010 at 5:29 pm |
  19. Mark from Middle River

    Not a problem MandoZink and I am glad that it sounds as though your bout with cancer is in remission. I have seen what we call miracles and what you call explained things. The problem is for most of all of us the reasons why your cancer went into remission and another metastasis was described as "chance" by some and God's will or providence in another. In the past few years I have dealt with a few that have had cancer and I will not go with that things are just up to chance. If you wish to hold to taking things to random chance then I hope you the best.

    I am just happy to hear from a soul who is continuing to fight cancer and many prayers are that you stay in remission.

    October 15, 2010 at 5:18 pm |
  20. MandoZink

    As an atheist who just underwent a bout with cancer, I must say I was totally at ease with my reality-based understanding of the world. I did not have to deal with unnatural fears (e.g.- "it is my time" "god is coming to take me" "satan is coming to take me" etc). I had the scientific information I needed to understand my situation and was totally comforted by the chances I new I had with current medical advances. Oddly, my religious friends and relatives needed MY comfort and reassurance that this was OK. What a great gift my atheist conversion-awakening was.

    October 15, 2010 at 4:46 pm |
    • MandoZink

      I only wrote this because of all of the "miracle" talk. Good engineering and science got the men out of the mine. It is just a good thing the men did not give up, thinking it was "god's plan" that they die. Statistics does a absolutely perfect job of explaining things what the faith-blinded see as miracles.

      By the way, the "atheist in the foxhole" myth is pretty funny to us reality-based folks. And why would you even want to belong to a religion that has Satan as one of your gods.

      October 15, 2010 at 4:52 pm |
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About this blog

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