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Religion is good for America, authors argue
December 17th, 2010
06:00 AM ET

Religion is good for America, authors argue

By Richard Greene and Eric Marrapodi, CNN

How can the United States be devout, diverse and tolerant?

David Campbell pondered this question at a lunchtime forum at the Pew Research Center on a blustery Thursday in Washington. How could a country that is more devout than Iran (at least in terms of worship service attendance) get along so well?

Campbell, a professor at Notre Dame, and Robert Putnam, a professor at Harvard, sought to find the answers to those questions through an exhaustive examination for their recent book, "American Grace: How faith Divides and Unites Us."

The authors conducted the Faith Matters survey of 3,000 people in 2006 and then came back to many of them again in 2007 to see how things may have changed. They combined that with snapshots of a dozen distinctly different congregations spread out across the country and just about every recent survey done on religion in America to try to get the fullest picture possible of religion in America.

"The U.S. actually does present a very unusual environment for religion," Campbell said while manning the Power Point presentation solo (his co-author was stuck on a runway in New York).

The fact that America is devout and diverse might lead to the conclusion (that) as a country it would be less tolerant. But their research showed the opposite.

In their book, Putnam and Campbell aim to rise above the recent decades of mistrust and even hostility that have marked relations between religious and nonreligious Americans - and, not coincidentally, the country's political right and left.

Relax, they say. Religion is good for America, and mostly, things are working out fine.

They're not the first to argue that church/state separation combined with an entrepreneurial spirit has produced a decidedly tolerant religious culture in the United States. John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge of The Economist magazine advanced much the same thesis in "God is Back" last year, going so far as to argue that other countries should decouple religious and state institutions in order to get similar results.

But Putnam and Campbell drill much deeper into the data to demonstrate their case, cramming charts, graphs and tables into the massive tome.

Putnam and Campbell argue that several specific factors contribute to what, in the book's closing line, they grandly call "America's Grace."

Campbell said on Thursday it is surprising, but "Americans are quite accepting of people of other faiths, which is a remarkable thing given that so many Americans themselves are not only religious in a nominal sense, that they have a religious affiliation, but they're also quite serious about their religion."

First, as is well documented, the United States is filled with people professing deep religious faith. Even given the rapid recent rise in those who say they have no religion - what students of religion call the "nones" - Americans are far more religious than people in just about any other industrialized country.

And the "nones," Putnam and Campbell remind readers, are not necessarily atheists or agnostics. In fact, most say they are not, and even those who disavow any belief in God know much more about religion than their counterparts in Europe.

Secondly, because Americans change their religion with relative ease, they have friends and even family members of different faiths.

Not quite one in five Americans had converted to a different religion at the beginning of the 20th century, they say - but by the end of the century it was more than one in four.

Marrying people of another faith became so commonly accepted that Gallup stopped polling how people felt about intermarriage in 1982.

In fact, it's partly the willingness of Americans to change religions that led to the alignment between faith and politics that seems such an ironclad fact of American life now. Younger readers may be surprised to find that it's only about a generation old.

Putnam and Campbell found, to their surprise, that when an American's religion and politics don't "match" - an evangelical votes Democratic, or a Republican hails from a family with no religion, for example - they're more likely to change their religion than their politics.

The result of this mixing and mingling is that Americans tend to have pretty positive feelings about people of other religions, the authors argue.

Nearly half of all Americans, for example, report they have never in their lives heard someone make a negative comment about their religion.

Conversely, those religions Americans feel least positively towards - Mormons, Buddhists and Muslims - may suffer at least partly because their communities are relatively insular, with less intermarriage and interfaith friendship, the authors speculate.

The third and final piece of the puzzle is that, by and large, Americans don't think their friends and family are damned if they belong to other religions - or none.

Putnam and Campbell call this the "Aunt Susan principle." In a country with so much religious mixing within families, many Americans have a relative who they are sure is going to heaven, even though they're of a different religion.

"Aunt Susan is that relative we all have. She is the sweetest, kindest, nicest person you know. She's the one who brings the casseroles to people when they're sick. She's the one you call when you're in trouble," Campbell explained at the forum.

"But your Aunt Susan is of another religion, and your religion you know teaches you theologically she's not supposed to go to heaven. But you know if there's anyone who is destined for heaven, it's Aunt Susan," he said.

Even among evangelical Christians, more than half believe that a good person of another faith can go to heaven - although even the most liberal Christian denominations officially say otherwise.

Putnam and Campbell summarize their theory in a not terribly catchy formula: devotion plus diversity, minus damnation, equals comity.

They also argue that religion itself produces many practical benefits for American society.

Religious people are more likely than nonreligious people to do good deeds in 10 out of 15 categories they surveyed, such as donate blood, help someone find a job or allow a stranger to cut in front of them in line. And they're no less likely than nonreligious people to help out in the other five categories, like giving directions to a stranger.

They volunteer more time and donate more money than nonreligious people - both to religious and to secular organizations.

And it doesn't seem to matter what religion they practice, the authors find, or even what they believe.

They found no correlation between what they call "good neighborliness" and belief that the Bible is literally true, for example. What matters is actually going to church and having lots of friends there, they say, concluding that religious networks "supercharge" neighborliness.

Putnam and Campbell are not simply cheerleaders for religion, though.

They find that religious people are less supportive of civil liberties than their nonreligious counterparts.

And religious and nonreligious people do not have positive feelings about one another. Each group tends to see the other as intolerant and selfish, while viewing their own kind as tolerant and selfless.

But overall, Americans see religion as a good influence on national life - and despite the apparent ambivalence of their subtitle, "How Religion Divides and Unites Us" - Putnam and Campbell clearly do, too.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Church and state • Interfaith issues • United States

soundoff (535 Responses)
  1. zen monkey

    Nobody who reads these comments regularly can honestly say that their beliefs have never been insulted. People bash every faith in existence on a regular basis in the CNN comment section.

    December 17, 2010 at 4:45 pm |
    • NL

      zen monkey-
      Some believers take criticism of their faith as a personal insult of their God and Savior, whom they consider closer than family. They make it impossible to discuss their beliefs in any critical fashion without their claiming to be rudely victimized. Taking their feeling towards the deity into consideration only gets turned against you with the claim that you actually do believe in God if you are considerate of His feelings. It's a no win situation!

      December 17, 2010 at 5:22 pm |
  2. TOMG

    OKEY I HAVE TO GO GIVEN OUT THE HUMAN WASTE NOW , SEE YOUR BLIND WORLD LIFESTYLE ANIMAL WORLD LATER , AMEN GOD ARE GREAT , JESUS LOVE YOUR AND MOTHER THERESA LOVE YOUR AND EVEN NOW HAPPY BUDDHA LOVE ONE OWNSELF FROM THE BOTTOM OF HIS OR HER OWNSELF HEART THAT ALL , AMEN LOL,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

    December 17, 2010 at 4:39 pm |
    • lacoaster

      Get yourself together TOMG, is not as bad as you think.

      December 17, 2010 at 4:57 pm |
  3. lacoaster

    For me, most religions are just variants of politics. I also think that believing that the truth rests in a single place or book is naive and irresponsible. Can you read one or two books, or listen to someone and claim you know everything or that you hold the truth? That's what most religions make people believe. Now, on a positive side, some religions help here and there as good social image helps them recruit. I also confess that sometimes religions face very tough decisions and they do not get all the credit for it. Here is an example: Should we help with food and care for the needed, or should we use the funds to build another temple? From what I have seen (opinion, subject to err), choosing to build a new temple seems to be very popular. If you believe this is right, you are right. If you believe this is wrong, you are still right.

    December 17, 2010 at 4:39 pm |
    • TOMG

      JUST THINKING OF THE SUN ARE THE REAL GOD CREATING ALL KINDS OF ANIMAL FORM WORLD AND JUST LOOKING AT THE MOON ARE THE REAL GOD AND THE MOTHER EARTH PLANET WORLD FULL OF HELL SEEKER AND HEAVENLY PLACES , AMEN

      December 17, 2010 at 4:42 pm |
  4. TOMG

    I LOVE FULL MOON , BECAUSE THAT HOW THOSE DEVIL APPEAR AND THAT HOW THOSE EVIL APPEAR SO ALL THE POLICE CAN HAVE A HIGHER CHANCE OF CATCHING THOSE LOW LIFE MOTHER DEVIL AND EVIL MIND HELL LIFESTYLE EVIL MIND AND DEVIL MIND IN THE LAST PLACE , LOL............................,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, THE SUN ARE GOD THE MOON ARE GOD THE WIND ARE GOD THE WATER ARE LIFE FORM AND GOD FORM ALSO THE AIR ARE GOD THE HUMAN VOICES ARE REAL GOD THE MOUNTAIN ARE GOD THE CLOUD NINE ARE GOD THE HUMAN FORM BEING WASTE ARE GOD THE HUMAN FORM BEING URINE ARE GOD , THE SOUND ARE GOD BUT ONE OWNSELF EYE CAN NOT SAW IT , THE FOOD YEAH THE FOOD ARE REAL GOD AND THAN TURNING BACK ONTO THE WASTE CYCLE THAT ALL , THE ANGEL ARE GOD THE HEAVENLY PLACES ARE GOD THE HELL PLACES ARE PUNISHING TO THE EVIL MIND ONE AND PUNISHING THE DEVIL MIND ONE , THE BERMUDA TRIANGLE ARE THE REAL GATE FOR ALL THE HELL SEEKER TO COMING OUT OF THIS WORLDLY PLACES ARE HELL GOD , THE COMPASSION ARE GOD , THE LOVING ARE GOD THE GOOD THINKGING WAY ARE GOD , THE GOOD SEEING WAY ARE GOD THE LOVING YOUR ONE OWNSELF PARENT AND BROTHERS AND SISTERS ARE GOD THE NATURE OF THE SUN FORMING ARE GOD , THE STAR ARE GOD LOOKING DOWN ON EACH AND EVERY SINGLE ONE OWNSELF THAT DID NOT SAW IT COMING YET ARE GOD , THE LIGHTNING ARE GOD , THE TORNADO ARE GOD , THE HURRICANE CAT 10 , 9 , 8 , 7 BUT NOT CAT SIX ARE REAL GOD .LOL,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, AMEN

    December 17, 2010 at 4:35 pm |
    • TheEtruscan

      T(o) M(y) G(od):
      Thou shalt not SPAM!

      December 17, 2010 at 4:48 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @TOMG

      😯

      December 17, 2010 at 8:10 pm |
  5. JP

    Many will find this report as a good thing. And even I at the begining did, but this just makes me sad. How professing Christians don't believe the own words of their Savior which says. "I'm the way, the truth, and the life no one comes to the Father except through me." I'm tolerant of other religions, but I will not lie to myself, to my friends, or family. Jesus is the way to heaven, there is no other name in which we may be saved. I'm sadden that "Christians" have made God the way they like it. How can they say they follow Jesus if they don't obey and believe what He says? Yet we take what we like and change what we don't so that it fits the way we like it. They claim the Way is too narrow so they widen it with their own mind. Christians follow Jesus, believe in Him. And believe that what He says is true. This world will pass but His words will always remain and they are always true. Don't believe things just because you want to believe them, but believe Him because He is true.

    December 17, 2010 at 4:26 pm |
    • Jack J.

      I'm a person of great faith who FEELS God with me always. I believe he tells me that any and all good people go to Heaven. We are all His children and He wants us all back with Him in the end.

      December 17, 2010 at 5:27 pm |
    • JP

      Jack we cannot base truth in what we feel, but in Jesus which is the truth. The Bible says that we cannot be good enough to go to heaven, and we will never be. We don't go to heaven for how "good" we think we are because we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. The way to heaven is Jesus. If we repent and follow Him we will be saved. He paid the penalty for our sins so that we might live. Therefor we don't go to heaven by our "good" deeds which are compared to filthy rags by God. But through Jesus Christ. I'm not saying this because I FEEL it's truth. I say it because it's the Word of God. And I don't say this lightly. Would I like for everyone to go to heaven? Yes I would love that, and that's actually my major desire, but I cannot go opposite to what the Bible says. God is a just God, and He will judge with perfect and holy justice. If you commit a crime and you are guilty and you present yourself to the judge. You can't tell him, "Let me go because I have been a good person." It doesn't matter how good you have been, you have to pay for the wrongs you have done. And Jesus paid that sentence of death so that we might live. Therefore, we are called to repent and believe in Jesus Christ.

      December 17, 2010 at 6:38 pm |
  6. TOMG

    DO NOT SAID IT WRONG NOW BUT HELL PLACES ARE STILL HERE AND THERE NOW , SO DOES THE HEAVENLY PLACES ARE STILL HERE AND THERE NOW , IT IS JUST LOCATING RIGHT IN FRONT OF EVERY SINGLE ONE OF OUR OWNSELF FACES AND EYE THAT ALL , AMEN

    December 17, 2010 at 4:25 pm |
  7. TOMG

    BORN INTO A HUMAN FORM BEING IN THIS WORLD ARE NOT EASY LIKT ONE OWNSELF THINK AND THOUGH IT IS TAKING NINE MONTHS AND TEN DAYS TO COMING OUT THIS THIS HELL PLACE WORLD AND HEAVENLY PLACE WORLD , AMEN WE ALL NEED TO LOVE OUR OWNSELF PARENT THAT CREATING ALL OF US CAME INTO THIS HELL AND HEAVENLY WORLD , AMEN , AND NOW LET STARTING TO FOCUSING ON ONE OWNSELF BREATHING OF THE INHALE AIR AND THE BREATHING OF THE EXHALE AIR , ALL THE KARMA AND TRAGIC AFFECT ARE MOSTLY COMING FROM ONE OWNSELF THINGING AND THOUGH AND MIND GAME INORDER TO GETTING TO THE MOTHER LAND FULL OF HELL PLACE OR THE MOTHER OF ALL OUT LAND HEAVENLY PLACES , AMEN JESUS LOVE YOUR ALL AND SO DOES MOTHER THERESA LOVE YOUR ALL , EVEN NOW HAPPY BUDDHA LOVE ONE OWNSELF WHO LIVING THE NATURE WAY OF LIFE FORM ERA , ALL THIS THING ARE GOD CALL THE TIMING , GOD WANT UNITED STATES OF AMERICA TO TEACH THE STONE AGE ERA WORLD , AMEN . AND GOD ARE GREAT , SO DOES THE LAND OF THE FREE ARE EVEN GREATER , AMEN

    December 17, 2010 at 4:23 pm |
  8. Sir Craig

    Funny how Putnam and Campbell don't go deeper into why it is non-religious folks are more supportive of civil rights than religious folks. Might it be because of that hatred and bigotry that is inherent in EVERY form of religion? Sorry, but the history of religion has shown that no cult or denomination (hard to tell the two apart sometimes) has ever been inclined to embrace another set of beliefs apart from their own, because it is not in its interest to do so. Religions don't grow if you start saying, "Well, yeah, I think the Baptists are right too," especially if you're a Catholic.

    On the surface they are pleasant to one another here in America, but only because we are ultimately a secular nation that will not abide religious conflict. This makes it more an argument against religion than for it, because it is the secular, non-religious element of society that maintains the peace.

    December 17, 2010 at 4:22 pm |
  9. TOMG

    THIS WORLD SOCIETY ARE REALLY GETTING OUT OF WAX , BECAUSE AS THE HUMAN FORM BEING ARE TOO DEMANDING ON THE ANIMAL MEAT OF ALL KIND , SUCH AS THE CHICKEN YEAH THE CHICKEN , THE FISH YEAH THE FISH AND THE PORK PIG YEAH THE PORK AND THE BEEF COW MEAT YEAH THE BEEF , THE SWRIMPH YEAH THE SWRIMPH ALL THOSE ANIMAL MEAT ARE PUTTING INTO THE BRAIN AND ADDING UP THE PRESSURE AND THAN EVENTUALLY EXPLODED INTO AND TURNING ONTO THE MENTAL STAGE PROBLEM , THAN BY THIS GOD GIVEN TIME ARE VERY HARD TO TURNING BACK FROM THE MENTAL PROBLEM , AND THAN EVENTUALLY ONE OWNSELF WILL ACTING LIKE AN ANIMAL WAY AND THINKING LIKE AN ANIMAL WAY THAT ALL . AMEN LOL,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, GOD BLESS AMERICA LAND OF THE FREE , IS REALLY A HEAVENLY PLACE , BUT SOME STILL AIN'T GET . LOL,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

    December 17, 2010 at 4:08 pm |
  10. interesting comment ^

    http://jahtruth.net/twh.pdf

    December 17, 2010 at 4:08 pm |
  11. TOMG

    OUR OWNSELF PARENT ARE THE REAL GOD ONE , AMEN , OUR MOTHER AND FATHER ARE THE REAL LIVING GOD THAT CREATING US ONTO THE NEXT CENTURY IF ONE OWNSELF HAVE THE COURAGE TO LIVE THROUGH THIS DEVIL WORLD ERA , EVIL WORLD ERA IN THE FIRST PLACE OF HELL PLACE AND HEAVENLY PLACE ARE JUST LOCATING RIGHT IN FRONT OF ALL OF US EYE AND FACES AND HEART , THINKING AND THOUGH AND THE MIND GAME , THE DAY DREAMER , CLOUD NINE ERA , THE BREATHING OF THE INHALE AIR INORDER TO US TO STAYING ALIVE , AMEN , AND THE BREATHING OF THE EXHALE AIR FOR THE HUAMN FORM BEING AND ANIMAL BEING TO STAYING ALIVE IS NOT THAT THE TRUE OR ELSE , AMEN

    December 17, 2010 at 4:03 pm |
    • GrammarGnatsie

      Are you in a wheelchair? Perhaps bath time requires water wingies?

      Seriously, I'm starting to feel guilty about hating you.

      December 17, 2010 at 4:07 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @GrammarGnatsie

      Now THAT was fckin' funny...! Laughin my a-ss of buddy... Thanks. 🙂

      Peace...

      December 17, 2010 at 8:14 pm |
  12. aleynad

    Its really very simple. We are like this because almost everyone who attends church or claims to be religious in America is full of it. Its nothing more than an act to be self rightous and judge other people. Oh, dont get me wrong, there are those that practice what they preach, but the majority of those who attend with you are doing it for nothing more than positive face time.

    December 17, 2010 at 3:57 pm |
    • Jessica

      For a lot of people Church brings peace and time for reflection. Positive face time my a$$... if you don't WANT to be there church is far too boring to deal with.

      December 17, 2010 at 5:35 pm |
  13. TOMG

    LIFE WHAT A BEAUTIFUL CHOICE DO NOT ABUSE IT , JESUS LOVE YOUR ALL AND SO DOES MOTHER THERESA LOVE YOUR ALL AND EVEN NOW HAPPY BUDDHA LOVE ONE OWNSELF HUMAN FORM BEING THAT TO WHOM ARE THE DOWN TO EARTH KIND ONLY , COMPASSION COMPASSION COMPASSION , BUT NOT MANY OF THIS HUMAN FORM KIND OF MIND GET IT , ALL BECAUSE ARE THE CAUSE AND AFFECT OF THE PAST LIFESTYLE KARMA , BRINGING IT BACK INTO THIS PRESENT LIFESTYLE KARMA , AND THAN BRINGING BACK ALL THOSE CAUSE AND AFFECT ONTO THIS FUTURE LIFESTYLE KARMA , THAT WHY THERE ARE THE MORNING AND THERE ARE THE AFTERNOON AND THERE ARE THE EVENING AND KEEP ON REPEATING BACK AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN KEEP ON REPEATING IT , AMEN

    December 17, 2010 at 3:56 pm |
    • realistic

      the cage is turning but the hampster is dead, isnt it?

      December 17, 2010 at 3:57 pm |
  14. realistic

    In the name of god, we drank the kool-aid, In the name of god wee took up arms against the fbi in waco, in the name of god we killed ourself because the haleybop comet was taking us home, it seems all acts of insainity are in the name of god

    Jihad against GOD

    December 17, 2010 at 3:54 pm |
    • GrammarGnatsie

      If I understand your perspective, aren't you telling us to shoot Puff the Magic Dragon?

      December 17, 2010 at 4:05 pm |
  15. TOMG

    ONE WHO BELIVING IN KARMA KARMA KARMA WILL PASS AWAY IN THE PEACEFULL WAY LIKE NATURE FORM , AMEN

    BUT ONE WHO DOES NOT BELIVING IN KARMA WILL EVENTUALLY PASS AWAY WITH THE TRAGIC WAY OF LIFE AND THAT ARE MOSTLY PROVEN IT , ONLY THE EDUCATED ONE ARE UNDERSTANDING AND NOT THE LOW LIFE MOTHER FRICKEN ONE TO UNDERSTANDING IT , BECAUSE THEY ARE TOO BUSY TO KEEP ON THINKING OF HARMING OTHER HUMAN BEING , AMEN

    December 17, 2010 at 3:50 pm |
  16. TOMG

    SO REALLY WHERE ARE THE HELL PLACE ACTUALLY FROM , IT IS ACTUALLY FROM THE ONE OWNSELF MIND GAME AND THOUGH AND THINKING TO JUST GETTING THERE THAT ALL , IN ONE OWNSELF PLAN A SEED INTO THE GROUND WENT THIS SEED ARE FULL GROWN THAN THIS SEED WILL EVENTUALLY HAVE INFINITE SEED LET SAID ONE THOUSAND OF THIS SEED TURNING INTO FRUITS , AMEN

    December 17, 2010 at 3:47 pm |
  17. GrammarGnatsie

    I didn't witness all this, so the following is speculation with no proof.

    I'm quite certain the original religions were polytheistic means of explaining what relatively primitive sciences could not. If we consider the most popular of these, Greek/Roman polytheism, there was considerably less focus on the afterlife. There were deities whose responsibilities had no tie to life or death of humans. They were reasons for storms at sea, earthquakes, stars in the sky, a moving sun and a shape-shifting moon, affection, crop fertility, and the list continues. I think the first religions were in fact science, but as life and death were included, we became forcused on our mortality. From there, religions also began to focus on life and death; Easily so, considering technology and science improved enough to explain the weather: Poseidon, and the planet's relation to the sun and moon: Jupiter and Apollo, and nutrients in the soil: Ceres. It seems that as facts arose, as did true science, which separated from religion, leaving it to focus on matters of life, death, and soul. From there, well, both grew wider, refined, and millenia later, are trying to stick their muzzles into each other's pile of Puppy Chow. They bark at each other that they have the true reason for why something is what it is. That we must all do as they do in order to make it better.

    Do you want to silence the barking? Is our goal to figure out who has the right to bark? Are they both barking just because they're mad at contradiction? If I'm right, then it's all as easy as putting the dogs in different rooms; or shutting one up entirely so we can hear the other, giving each a turn; or just give the pups time and let them mature and understand that eating is more important than making noise.

    December 17, 2010 at 3:47 pm |
  18. Bruce

    To NJ Bob and the other nonbelievers out there. Science is a great tool for observing and analyzing the physical world. Science relies on the 5 human senses. Without them there would be no science. Human beings possess no senses or faculties for observing or sensing the spiritual world. Just because we can't sense God and the spiritual world or prove it's existence doesn't mean it doesn't exist. Christianity argues that God purposely withheld enough information so we couldn't prove His existence. He did this because it engenders faith in us and only with faith can a person become virtuous. Of course none of that makes any sense to you. If the God of Christianity does exist He is a lot smarter than you are NJBob. So who are you to question His motives. The bottom line is this. The God of Christianity just might exist. You can't prove that He doesn't. The fact is He might exist and because that possibility exists and the argument has so much riding on it you would be an absolute fool to not at least try to understand it a little better. NJBob you say you are embarrassed to live in a country that still embraces religion like it does. I'm embarrassed for you because you are such a shallow thinker. Do yourself a favor and Google Pascal's Wager for starter's. Then study Thomas Aquinas' Summa Theologica, or CS Lewis, or GK Chesterton or some of the other great thinkers. The reason you were born into this world was to sort this out. You need to get on with it.

    December 17, 2010 at 3:43 pm |
    • Jebus Christ

      Pascal’s wager is an awful reason to believe in god. Also we have no reason to believe in a spiritual world that we can’t see. Do you believe in the green smurf village on the 2nd planet of the 3rd star in Orion’s belt? If you don’t, then you are being logically inconsistent.

      "Christianity argues that God purposely withheld enough information so we couldn't prove His existence."
      Sounds like a convenient way to cover your a-ss

      “He did this because it engenders faith in us and only with faith can a person become virtuous.”
      Sounds like another convenient way to cover your a-ss. Just like a smart business would do.

      “Just because we can't sense God and the spiritual world or prove it's existence doesn't mean it doesn't exist”
      True, it just puts god on the same list as invisible pink unicorns, flying spaghetti monsters, and anything random I can come up with off the top of my head. This is not a very good reason to believe in something. Lol

      Epic failure

      December 17, 2010 at 5:01 pm |
    • Religious Sects

      Telling yourself to believe in a God as a bet to cover your backside makes for a guaranteed losing poker hand. As I understand it, one enters the kingdom of God through belief not through a hand of 5 card stud.

      December 17, 2010 at 5:25 pm |
  19. donny

    At the end of the day when that time comes for the end of all manknind, we all shall see. Now myself, I personally have the faith in god but i also look at it this way, those who do and live their life righteous have a great chance at paradise, those who don't believe and also live their life righteous will not make it. I i would rather believe and have more options than a non believer any day now use your science and math and add that probability.

    December 17, 2010 at 3:42 pm |
    • realistic

      guess that rules out the concept of a forgiving god, which means again, another lie!!!

      December 17, 2010 at 3:45 pm |
    • Colleen

      Why on earth would a loving god turn its back on people who have lived a moral and ethical life, yet did not believe in god? That sounds more like like a tantrum throwing brat. What about people who have never heard of god? Are they doomed too? What about mentally handicapped people who cannot grasp the concept enough to believe or not? Are they doomed too? What about children who die too young to choose?

      December 17, 2010 at 3:50 pm |
  20. donny

    At the end of the day when that time comes for the end of all manknind, we all shall see. Now myself, I personally have the faith in god but i also look at it this way, those who do and live their life righteous have a great chance at paradise, those who don't believe and also live their life righteous will not make it. I i would rather believe and have more options than a non believer any day now use you'r science and math and add that probability.

    December 17, 2010 at 3:42 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.