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How Davos found God
January 28th, 2011
09:39 AM ET

How Davos found God

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

In addition to the corporate and political bigwigs leading talks at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland this week is one not-so-usual suspect: an evangelical minister.

"There is some real soul searching going on here," said the Rev. Jim Wallis, an American Christian activist who is moderating sessions at this year's summit. "The question is how do you embed values in the culture of companies in a way that would change behaviors?"

The World Economic Forum's organizers appear to agree.

Since the banking crisis shook global markets more than two years ago and contributed to a worldwide economic slump, the annual Davos summit has invited dozens of religious and spiritual leaders to hash out issues like business ethics and the morality of markets in the company of presidents and corporate titans.

Besides headline grabbers like United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, attendees at this year's summit include the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Dublin, the Anglican Bishop of London and the founder of a Zen Buddhist center in New Mexico.

Wallis, for his part, moderated sessions this week on "Defining Shared Norms" and "A Values Framework for New Realities." Another session, led by a Harvard Business School professor, offered instruction in "Mindful Leadership" and included a 40-minute guided meditation that leaned heavily on Buddhism.

Somewhat to the surprise of religious leaders attending this year's summit, many in the high-powered crowd appear to be genuinely interested in such topics.

"I've been pleasantly surprised by how full the faith and values sessions are, and with business leaders asking really searching questions," says Eboo Patel, a Muslim American youth leader attending Davos for the first time. "I think they get it."

The surge in discussions around faith and morality at Davos reflects a broader resurgence in interest in business ethics since the housing and banking crises of the late 2000s, which many experts blamed largely on greed and deceptive business practices.

"In the post-crisis environment, there's a general recognition that we all need to take time to reflect on what our values are," said Pierre Gentin, the global head of litigation for Credit Suisse, who has participated in the so-called faith sessions at Davos.

"How do we implement those values in our professional and personal lives?" he continued. "The status quo was shaken up in a very significant way, and we have an opportunity to focus on values to avoid a repeat of recent years."

In 2009, the World Economic Forum launched a Global Agenda Council on Faith and Values to wrestle with those kinds of issues.

"It was about how to correct the gap between our stated values and our actions," says Saadia Zahidi, head of special constituents for the World Economic Forum, who helps coordinate the council.

"We felt the voices of religious leaders could be important in issues like decision making and the economy," she said.

Wallis' recent book, "Rediscovering Values: On Wall Street, Main Street, and Your Street," grew out of the council's early sessions.

As the chair of the group, now called the Global Agenda Council on Values, Wallis has spent a lot of time at recent Davos summits chiding titans of industry for operating in what he considers to be a values-free zone.

"You all thought you don't need to bring virtues or values to bear on economic decisions, that the invisible hand of the market will take care of itself," he said, recalling one of his presentations at last year's summit. "But what do you do when the invisible hand lets go of the common good? You could here gasps in the room."

As anti-corporate as that message may sound, Credit Suisse's Gentin says that there's been a fair amount of receptivity among Davos participants.

"It's important that people realize that businesspeople are part of a larger community and that there's a great deal of good will and effort into trying to do the right thing," he said.

Founded in 1971, the World Economic Forum first took serious interest in religion after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Davos conferences in the years that followed featured sessions on bridging the gap between the West and the Islamic world.

Among the participants in those discussions was Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, who attracted immense media attention last year after his plan for an Islamic center near New York's ground zero triggered a national controversy.

"The people who were there were from the business or political world," Rauf says of his first years attending the Davos summits. "Religion was not something they were equipped to tackle. In Europe, religion is considered something that's private. You keep it in the attic or the basement but you don't bring it to the dining room."

The post-September 11 sessions changed that somewhat, but Rauf stopped attending Davos summits in the late 2000s because he said the sessions didn't lead to actual initiatives that could translate discussions into action.

"In the beginning there was a lot of excitement around doing things, like an Islamic film project, but taking something from idea state to development stage takes a lot of effort," Rauf says. "Ideas were discussed, but there wasn't much in terms of projects."

Wallis echoed some of that frustration. He says the Global Agenda Council on Values has begun work on creating actual tools for business leaders, companies and even nations to perform what he calls "values assessments."

"The next step is moving to what change will this make," he says. "None of us are content to have values seminars to just feel better about ourselves. This has to change behavior."

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Economy • Leaders

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soundoff (247 Responses)
  1. hilltop

    Dave,
    I don't believe you are an atheist. You have mentioned God more times than I care to count and now you are quoting scripture. Are you an undercover theist or a backslidden christian?

    January 28, 2011 at 4:53 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @hilltop

      In 2010, I allowed believers to use Reg Herrings to keep from answering my queries. My New Years resolution was to do less of this.

      You have made a statement sir! Do you stand behind it? By your own words, god does not exist.

      Waiting on your reply

      January 28, 2011 at 5:02 pm |
    • Magic

      hilltop,

      It is c.umbersome to keep referencing this imaginary being as, "your God" or "the proposed God" or some such. I usually try to put "God" within quotation marks, but I do forget once in a while to do that.

      January 28, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
  2. David Johnson

    @hilltop

    Dude! I keep doing the math, but everytime I plug in "god", I get a "can't divide by zero error". ???

    Cheers!

    January 28, 2011 at 4:46 pm |
    • Bob

      Well, the derivitive of God is 0, so I guess that's some math for him. Of course, silly me, he'd have to know what a derivitive is. 😀

      January 28, 2011 at 7:10 pm |
    • Torak

      God is not 0, but 1.

      Google Pythagoras and Monad for more info.

      January 31, 2011 at 9:00 pm |
    • Bob

      Wow, talk about someone who misses the joke completely.

      God is a concept, a rank and a being. Not a number.

      PS: Philosophy proves nothing except that foolish people can use anything for evidence.

      February 1, 2011 at 7:41 am |
    • hilltop

      Bob,
      You're right. I guess it takes one to know one.

      February 1, 2011 at 1:28 pm |
  3. David Johnson

    @hilltop

    You have not answered me. Do you agree on the basis of your statement, that god does not exist?

    And:

    God cannot be the objective moral giver. He is not moral.

    Jesus had this to say:
    Matthew 7:17 Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.
    Luke 6:43 "No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit.

    A good god can't do evil things! So, god could be evil or he could not exist. I'm checking the "doesn't exist" box, myself.

    Why am I wrong hilltop? Did Jesus tell a fib?

    Curious

    January 28, 2011 at 4:30 pm |
  4. hilltop

    Dave,
    I don't understand your reasoning. If all morals are relative, then what right do we have to label anyone criminal? Are some subjective morality more sacred then other subjective morality? If the minority believes the majority is wrong, would they be wrong for believing that? Would their protest be an attack against humanity? Would their suppression be an affirmation of humanity?

    January 28, 2011 at 4:26 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @hilltop

      You said: "I don't understand your reasoning. If all morals are relative, then what right do we have to label anyone criminal? Are some subjective morality more sacred then other subjective morality? If the minority believes the majority is wrong, would they be wrong for believing that?"

      Society decides what is criminal or not. Think hilltop! If Germany had somehow won WWII, do you think there would have been war crimes for the Nazi? Trials? Hangings? We would be goose stepping to the post office.

      George W., admitted to torturing. Is he in prison? Is he a war criminal?

      Might often makes right.

      Society also decides the severity of breaking laws. Killing could cost you your life. Stealing, not so much. But in a Muslim country, could cost you an appendage.

      Cheers!

      Would their protest be an attack against humanity? Would their suppression be an affirmation of humanity?

      January 28, 2011 at 5:43 pm |
  5. hilltop

    @Bob
    If all morals are simply subjective and personal, then any judgment on anyone's actions regardless how vile is criminal. Is that what you are saying? Who then determines the standard? The intellectuals, wealthy, strong? We are living in the most enlightened world community in the history of the world, and yet in the past century we have killed more people than all of history combined. How well are we doing managing ourselves? Are you thinking or daydreaming?

    January 28, 2011 at 4:02 pm |
    • Bob

      No, that's not what I'm saying. I'm saying that society determines what is and isn't evil and the culture we are brought up in determines our morality. The middle easy has a different society then we do and a different perception of "good and evil". If there isn't consistency, doesn't that prove there isn't a moral law giver?

      February 1, 2011 at 7:43 am |
    • Bob

      Furthermore, don't you think it's a little dishonest at worst, ignorant at best, to evaluate something like "our society's success" based soley on how many people were killed in wars?

      February 1, 2011 at 7:53 am |
    • hilltop

      Bob,
      When the majority of our society condoned the practice of slavery, did that make slavery inherently good? When the Allied nations attacked Hitler in wwII, were we superimposing our morality on their morality? And who determined that our morality was more moral than his (hitler)?

      February 1, 2011 at 1:24 pm |
  6. David Johnson

    Have a meeting to go to. Will look for any replies later.

    Cheers!

    January 28, 2011 at 2:48 pm |
  7. hilltop

    Is, "We don't kill our own", an absolute? If it is, then you have nullified your "relative" argument.

    Dave,
    If God exists, then He would have to be all good, all powerful and also all just. He couldn't just be good and powerful without being just or He would not be trustworthy. Do the math and share your conclusions.

    January 28, 2011 at 2:14 pm |
    • Bob

      What part of subjective didn't you understand. Do you not read the posts that people make to you?

      January 28, 2011 at 2:51 pm |
    • Bob

      > If God exists, then He would have to be all good, all powerful and also all just.
      Why?

      > He couldn't just be good and powerful without being just or He would not be trustworthy.
      Why would God care what we thought of him?

      > Do the math and share your conclusions.
      You have it backwards sir. You propose a ridiculous argument that is supported by nothing except your own thoughts on the matter and then ask us to prove you wrong. Let me show you what you are doing and how silly it is.

      "If there is an all powerful Werewolf Goblin Lollipop, he would have to be all powerful, good and just. He couldn't just be good and powerful without being just or He would not be trustworthy. Do the math and share your conclusions."

      Well, what is the refutation of my argument above. Prove me wrong.

      January 28, 2011 at 2:56 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @hilltop

      All morals are relative. Its wrong to kill, unless we are at war. It is wrong to lie, unless you are saving a girl in the attic.

      You said: "without being just or He would not be trustworthy."

      Just? What is just about a child that is attacked and killed by a monster? What is just about a children's cancer ward? What is just about genocide? What is just about evil people, who live the good life well into old age?

      So:

      By your statement, in order for god to exist, He would have to be both all good, all powerful and as an added treat, all just.

      Evil persists. God is not just. By your statement, God does not exist.

      Cheers!

      January 28, 2011 at 2:59 pm |
    • hilltop

      @Bob
      You completely missed the point. To call something evil is to make a moral judgment (stay with me). To make a moral judgment is to presuppose a moral law (are you still with me?). To presuppose a moral law we must then logically presuppose a moral lawgiver or our observation is doesn't make sense. If there is no moral law giver, then there is no moral law. if there is no moral law then there is no good or evil. If there is no good or evil then what are you really seeing?

      January 28, 2011 at 3:51 pm |
    • NL

      hilltop-
      "Is, "We don't kill our own", an absolute?"

      Kinda like sacrificing your own child, as Abraham was committed to do to prove his faith in God? Only religion can make actual child sacrifice sound noble.

      TTFN all, try to play nice. 🙂

      January 28, 2011 at 4:07 pm |
    • hilltop

      NL,
      You're right, that passage is very troubling. But the good news is that the child was spared. However, His Son was not.

      January 28, 2011 at 4:30 pm |
    • Magic

      It seems that we have cases all over the place where parents kill their children because "God" told them to. Some of the children even survive, like Isaac. We usually deem these parents to be insane. Sorry, but would I call insanity in Abraham's case too (if indeed this storied event occurred).

      January 28, 2011 at 4:46 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Magic

      Also troubling, is the story of Job. God allows Job's children to be killed, his property taken and his body to be tortured with sores. All to win a bet with Satan.

      No hilltop, I do not for a second think the Christian god is just or even sane!

      Cheers!

      January 28, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
    • Magic

      I found this on an extensive/comprehensive Christian web site for apologists:

      "In some instances, God ordered the killing of entire populations, presumably including the killing of babies and children. Isn't God unrighteous in killing these innocent little ones? First of all, the Bible indicates that all people are sinners, including babies, and worthy of judgment. However, the Bible also indicates that children are incapable of making moral choices, so that they are automatically rewarded with heaven. So, in having babies killed, God is actually doing them a favor, since, if they had grown up opposed to God, they would have gone to hell."

      ***Sigh ***

      January 28, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Magic

      You posted: "I found this on an extensive/comprehensive Christian web site for apologists:

      " So, in having babies killed, God is actually doing them a favor, since, if they had grown up opposed to God, they would have gone to hell."

      Using this logic, there should be no protests about abortion. All the babies aborted, will instantly go to heaven, and never know the pain of this world. We are doing the aborted a favor!

      A mother who brings her baby to term, is evil! She is depriving her child of instant reward in heaven. Why take a chance that her baby will grow up to be an atheist? *SHUDDER* Abort the baby now! Avoid the risk!!

      We should end the lives of all children under the age of accountability! Let's stock Heaven with innocent children!!

      Christians will do whatever it takes to defend their god, and give him a pass for his murderous ways. They make me want to puke!

      Cheers, Magic! Good Post!!

      January 28, 2011 at 6:03 pm |
    • NL

      David Johnson-
      The larger question is how a fetus can really fully appreciate heaven without developed senses.

      January 28, 2011 at 11:18 pm |
    • NL

      hilltop-
      Didn't Jesus volunteer to die on the cross? He could have avoided being captured in the first place and certainly would have had the power to step from the cross if he actually had been God, right? God did not sacrifice The Word: He just had him step into a human existence for a while, suffer a little as a human might, and then The Word returned from where he came. That's not a sacrifice, that's a field trip!

      January 29, 2011 at 12:01 am |
    • Bob

      You completely missed the point. To call something evil is to make a moral judgment (stay with me). To make a moral judgment is to presuppose a moral law (are you still with me?).

      Saying something another 10 times does not make it right. You are wrong. While you are correct in saying I'm making a judgement on morals, the claim that there must be a moral law isn't supported.

      To prove this, I challenge you to provide me with the logical steps that it takes to get from moral judgement to moral law.

      Furthermore, doesn't the fact that people judge acts differently show that there isn't a moral law?

      January 31, 2011 at 9:17 am |
    • hilltop

      Bob,
      To declare something to be right or wrong (moral judgment) implies that a standard exists. Where did that standard come from? If from the individual or collective, then where did he/she or they get it from? Is it the product of great minds or is it innate? Does everyone have equal access to that standard?

      February 1, 2011 at 4:29 am |
  8. David Johnson

    @hilltop

    Anglican wanted me to see the existence of god in the wonders of the world and in my child's face. He wanted me to see the beautiful. I merely pointed out to him, that all was not beautiful. In point of fact, the wondrous is pretty well balanced by the ugly, about like I'd expect if the universe were the product of random actions and not intelligent design.

    To your point on moral law:

    There are no objective morals. All morals are relative. Subjective.

    Man's morals developed with his intellect. They are part of the survival mechanism. We don't kill our own.

    As our intellect developed, we learned empathy. Sympathy for others. A god is not needed. If a god is not needed, He should not be posited (Occam's Razor).

    Each person's morals is taught to them by their parents, along with their religion. The society we live in stamps each of us with its ethics. If you live in the U. S. you have many Christian values, even if you are not religious. If you live in Iran, you have Muslim value. What your parents believe and where you grew up, are the most important factors in what each of us believes.

    So, give me your thoughts on the following:

    If god is all good he would want to do away with evil.

    If god is all powerful, he certainly could do away with evil.

    So, why is there evil?

    Conclusion: God is either not all good or is not all powerful OR God does not exist.

    Cheers!

    January 28, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @David Johnson
      I'm with you regarding moral relativism.
      Morality is a covenant with oneself that can only occur inside each individual – exemplified by that actions of individuals.
      Morality is an extension of the instinct to survive, elevated beyond blind, brutish self-preservation. It is a tacit agreement amongst communities of humans that survival can have stronger imperatives than the individuals life. Survival of the family, ethnic group, or the state for example.
      The taboos by which a given society lives must be instilled at as early an age as possible and must be reinforced not only by parental authority, but by the entire group. This is where religion comes in.
      Mythologizing the rationalizations for a given culture's morality is universal throughout human history. Posthumous punishment/reward dogma is a prevalent, but not so universal tool of conditioning.
      But in the end, one man's theology is another man's belly laugh.
      Had we been born Inca, we would see cannibalism as a holy, reverent, morally sound practice.

      January 28, 2011 at 2:37 pm |
    • Bob

      > If a god is not needed, He should not be posited (Occam's Razor).

      Who cares what the most likely answer is. I want to know the actual answer.

      Furthermore, I have a problem with Occam's Razor, because if we're not all knowing, how can we assign what is and isn't the most likely event?

      Arguing like this puts us in no better league then the theists. 😀

      January 28, 2011 at 2:59 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Doc Vestibule

      You and Bob and Ace, do not know how much I appreciate what you post. I have nothing but respect for each of you!

      Cheers To You!!!

      January 28, 2011 at 4:23 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Bob

      Occam's Razor is awesome! I use it on a daily basis.

      Choosing the simplest explanation for the why of something, makes sense. If your car won't start, you might check the lights to see if they burn etc. and then form the hypothesis that your battery is dead. OR...you could form the hypothesis that god is keeping your car from running. One requires a jump. The other fasting and praying...

      I won't argue with you, Bob. I respect what you post.

      Cheers!

      January 28, 2011 at 4:42 pm |
    • Bob

      @David

      It's not an insult, sorry if it reads that way. However, Occam's Razor is a utility to point you in the right direction, not what reality is. I still disagree with your assertation. 😀

      January 31, 2011 at 9:15 am |
    • dajackg

      I'm with Bob on this. Occam's Razor is the most misunderstood, misquoted, and misused principle in science or philosophy. It's supposed to be a tool for scientific inquiry, NOT for value judgments or probability theory. Better stated, it is simply the idea that a scientific theory should depend as little as possible on assumptions – NOT because assumptions are bad, wrong or improbable but simply because they can't be tested. In other words, the simplest hypothesis is the most easily tested and therefore the most useful in bringing new knowledge to light. That's a far cry from "the simplest explanation is correct."

      January 31, 2011 at 10:52 am |
  9. hilltop

    Dave, You observed that evil existed in the world and gave several examples of it from your perspective. How did you arrive at your conclusions? Obviously, you used a moral law to determine that what you observed was evil thus acknowledging the existence of a moral law. If a moral law exists, then that presupposes a moral law giver. Are you sure you are an atheist?

    January 28, 2011 at 1:15 pm |
    • sealchan

      The moral law giver wouldn't logically have to be God would it? He could claim that the moral law comes from human judgement whether collective or individual.

      January 28, 2011 at 1:46 pm |
    • Steve the real one

      Sealchan,

      Remember Lord of The Flies? How quickly did that society crumble even with human judgement? Don't like that example? Then simply just watch the news!

      January 28, 2011 at 1:50 pm |
    • hilltop

      Sealchan,
      Do the math and share your conclusions.

      January 28, 2011 at 1:55 pm |
    • Magic

      Steve the real one,

      The Bible (and scriptures of all religions) were written by humans, for humans. There is no proof for any supernatural, divine inspiration.

      January 28, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @sealchan

      You said: "The moral law giver wouldn't logically have to be God would it? He could claim that the moral law comes from human judgement whether collective or individual."

      Blessed are you, sealchan, for this was not revealed to you by idiot fundies, but by you using your brain.

      Read my answer to hilltop. And also consider:

      If god is the moral law giver, then how can He do evil? Are his moral laws just edicts, He can change or violate at will?

      Or does god abide by a moral code, outside Himself? If so, then good is anterior (coming before) to god.

      P.S. God did many evil things as recorded in the Bible. Murdering directly or at his insistence, men, women and children, including babies.

      Cheers!

      January 28, 2011 at 2:17 pm |
    • Bob

      @Steve, the real one you wrote:
      > Remember Lord of The Flies? How quickly did that society crumble even with human judgement?

      That is by far the stupidest repsonse I have ever seen. Are you seriously proposing that a fictional book should not only be considered evidence, but an authority on human society, specifically a commentary on how a lack of religion keeps a society together or falls apart?

      > Do the math and share your conclusions.
      Ok, here's the math. Humans are social creatures. Our morality shifts depending on our situation and what society has taught us to do. In the times of the Old Testament, slavery was acceptable. In the early 20th century, racism was acceptable and expected.

      Are they evil now by the judgement of our society? Yes. Were they evil then by the society at that time? No.

      So, our perception of right and wrong has shifed over time. This cannot be argued. And it's changed while the bible has remained the same.

      So, you cannot argue that the bible and belief of God regulates morality, because it's remained largly the same while sweeping changes to morality have taken place.

      Society determines what is right and wrong. Always has, always will.

      There's the math that proves you wrong.

      January 28, 2011 at 2:49 pm |
    • Steve the real one

      Bob

      @Steve, the real one you wrote:
      > Remember Lord of The Flies? How quickly did that society crumble even with human judgement?

      That is by far the stupidest repsonse I have ever seen. Are you seriously proposing that a fictional book should not only be considered evidence, but an authority on human society, specifically a commentary on how a lack of religion keeps a society together or falls apart?
      -----–
      Look at the history of human governments through out history, Bob! Not a pretty sight is it? In addition, not talking about the lack of religion! I talking about a lack of relationship with God! Was my example to best example? Nope! It was just an example of the human condition (without Christ), But the stupidest thing any human can do to include YOU is enter eternity without Christ! You have equated me with stupid several times now! You feel any better? Any bigger?

      January 28, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
    • Bob

      > Look at the history of human governments through out history, Bob! Not a pretty sight is it?

      I think you fail to understand my point. I was disagreeing with your evidence and called your comparison stupid. Which it was. But then you hit me with this to which I must ask, do you have your head on straight? I mean, you ask me to take a look at governments through history, which I doubt many people have the knowledge to do accurately and come up with a subjective analysis of what is and isn't a "pretty sight". And to what degree are you asking? Are they pretty compared to today's standards or are they pretty given the techological and culutral state of the world in comparison at that time. Your question lacks insight.

      > In addition, not talking about the lack of religion! I talking about a lack of relationship with God!

      How am I supposed to know what that exactly is? You speak as if I should know what your position is. I don't. How do you define a relationship with God? 50% of the population good? No? What about 80%? Is there a ration between the ruling class's percentage and the people without power? Does the poor's ratio even matter? How do you equate your nebulous idea of "knowing God" to reality?

      > Was my example to best example? Nope! It was just an example of the human condition (without Christ).

      No, it's not an example at all because IT DIDN'T HAPPEN.

      > But the stupidest thing any human can do to include YOU is enter eternity without Christ!

      Why, because your magical book says so? You know, the one that has been proven by tree rings to be wrong about creation? The one that's wrong about how animals came to be on this earth?

      > You have equated me with stupid several times now! You feel any better? Any bigger?

      No. I'm trying to get you to think. To use your mind. Something that is a challenge for people of faith. You see, you have taken the position that your God exists. As such, you disregard any information that is in conflict with that. I on the other hand do not assert that God does or does not exist. I take evidence as it comes. I objectively look at it.

      I'm trying to share that objective evaluation with you, so instead of saying "How can I prove Bob wrong?" you say "Why is Bob wrong or right?"

      You're trying to win the argument instead of actually thinking about what the discussion is about.

      January 28, 2011 at 3:47 pm |
    • Steve the real one

      Bob,

      "You speak as if I should know what your position is. I don't" Yet you seemingly know enough to deem it stupid! OK, fine!!!
      I don't mean a exhaustive look at history, just a general one! There are societies that have morale codes yet they stopped no wars, no murders, no blood shed, no thefts, no crimes. Why? Human hearts, Bob! Relative morality cannot be trusted. why? Situations change!! People change! I may think murder is bad today but what about tomorrow?

      January 28, 2011 at 4:19 pm |
    • a guy from Lebanon

      @ Magic
      There is proof of a divine inspiration.

      Here is just an example: Prophets who were inspired by God in the old testament predicted things that actually happened. (Isaiah predicted the coming of Jesus, Elijah predicted the death of Achab etc.)
      And they were written before the things happened, for example the Dead Sea scrolls contained the whole book of Isaiah and those same writings were more then 2000 years old wich means were written before the coming of Jesus.

      Now please stop saying things before doing some reaserch.

      January 30, 2011 at 12:23 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      @a guy from Lebanon

      Please provide an unambiguous list of fulfilled prophecies. Please be advised that no one making a similar claim has backed it up by providing such a list – I suspect you won't either.

      January 30, 2011 at 12:30 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      @a guy from Lebanon

      You appear to be just one more in a long line of believers making an unsupported claim. Interesting that none of your fellow believers sees fit to help you out. One can only conclude no such list is forthcoming 'cause no prophecies have been unambiguously fulfilled.

      January 31, 2011 at 8:19 pm |
    • Bob

      > "You speak as if I should know what your position is. I don't" Yet you seemingly know enough to deem it stupid! OK, fine!!!

      Ok, let me explain it to you. Let's say Phil has the concept that a magical peanut butter and jelly sandwich created the world out of crumbs from it's enteral breadiness. Phil says that the proof of his faith is that children love PB&J and they're innocent.

      I don't need to delve into specific aspects of his dogma to figure out the concept is retarded. I simply don't. That's the situation I am in with you. I really don't need to know what you believe. The foundation for your thoughts is shown to be silly based on reality.

      > I don't mean a exhaustive look at history, just a general one!

      You cannot have a general summary unless you have an indepth one. General is a summarization, which is based on previous knowledge. To make a general statement with any validity, you need to have a clue.

      > There are societies that have morale codes yet they stopped no wars, no murders, no blood shed, no thefts, no crimes.
      Why? Human hearts, Bob!

      God hasn't come down and stopped any wars, murders, bloodshed, thefst, crimes either. By your "logic" that would mean he has a human heart too!

      > Relative morality cannot be trusted. why? Situations change!! People change! I may think murder is bad today but what about tomorrow?

      If you think your opinion of murder will change day by day, then you have something wrong mentally and you should go to a professional. No one person who's sane has their ideas of morals change radically overnight.

      February 1, 2011 at 8:22 am |
  10. NM

    please check out http://www.islamicsolutions.com/11-reasons-to-explore-islam/

    January 28, 2011 at 1:01 pm |
  11. Darian L. Smith

    If I am not mistaken, I believe the gentleman who started the World Economic Forum
    is a member of the Baha'i Faith, which believes that spirituality and economics
    are intimately linked.

    January 28, 2011 at 12:06 pm |
  12. Reality

    Follow the money trail when it comes to likes of Jim Wallis, Billy Graham, Glenn Beck, Franklin Graham, Eboo Patel et al.

    e.g.

    "In July 2010, Marvin Olasky, editor-in-chief of WORLD magazine, wrote that Sojourners accepted money from George Soros, who has financed groups supporting abortion and atheism.[6] Jim Wallis responded as follows: "It's not hyperbole or overstatement to say that Glenn Beck lies for a living. I'm sad to see Marvin Olasky doing the same thing. No, we don't receive money from Soros." Wallis later admitted that Sojourners had, in fact, accepted funds from Soros' Open Society Inst-itute. Wallis stated that the funds made up "the tiniest fraction of Sojourner's funding during that decade–so small that I hadn't remembered them."[6] The grants from the Open Society Insti-tute totaled $275,000 from 2004 to 2007.[7] Wallis apologized to Olasky for his comments about him. Jay Richards wrote that Sojourners had received $2.2 million from various foundation grants from 2003 to 2009, including the Tides Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the Wallace Global Fund, and the Streisand Foundation."

    Maybe the Sojourners aka Jim Wallis will sponsor AIDs research with some of their funding? No donations to AIDs support listed on their IRS Form 990. But what do we find on the Sojourners aka Jim Wallis' IRS Form 990 (guidestar.org).

    Jim Wallis is paid $351,140/yr which includes benefits and speaking honoraria for doing things like giving BO grief about AIDs funding. They/he also have/has ~$1 million invested in the stock and bond market. (A million dollars for AIDS support in Africa would be great.) Again Mr. Wallis/Sojourners pays no taxes on the dividends, interest or capital gains on these investments.

    January 28, 2011 at 11:39 am |
  13. Reality

    Once a day WARNING for new commentators:

    • The moderators of this blog have set up a secret forbidden word filter which unfortunately not only will delete or put your comment in the dreaded "waiting for moderation" category but also will do the same to words having fragments of these words. For example, "t-it" is in the set but the filter will also pick up words like Hitt-ite, t-itle, beati-tude, practi-tioner and const-tution. Then there are words like "an-al" thereby flagging words like an-alysis and "c-um" flagging acc-umulate or doc-ument. And there is also "r-a-pe", “a-pe” and “gra-pe”, "s-ex", and "hom-ose-xual". You would think that the moderators would have corrected this by now considering the number of times this has been commented on but they have not. To be safe, I typically add hyphens in any word that said filter might judge "of-fensive".

    • More than one web address will also activate “waiting for moderation”. Make sure the web address does not have any forbidden word or fragment.

    Sum Dude routinely updates the list of forbidden words/fragments.

    Two of the most filtered words are those containing the fragments "t-it" and "c-um". To quickly check your comments for these fragments, click on "Edit" on the Tool Bar and then "Find" on the menu. Add a fragment (without hyphens) one at a time in the "Find" slot and the offending fragment will be highlighted in your comments before you hit the Post button. Hyphenate the fragment(s) and then hit Post. And remember more than one full web address will also gain a "Waiting for Moderation".

    January 28, 2011 at 11:31 am |
  14. hilltop

    Your observation of the evil in the world presupposes a moral law. are you sure you want to go down that road mr Johnson and Ace? It basically nullifies your argument. As far as government regulations being the answer, you should ask the former ussr how well that went?

    January 28, 2011 at 11:28 am |
    • Reality

      But then there is Communist/Capitalist China.

      January 28, 2011 at 11:32 am |
    • David Johnson

      @hilltop

      Tell me about it.

      January 28, 2011 at 11:38 am |
    • David Johnson

      @hilltop

      You said: "Your observation of the evil in the world presupposes a moral law."

      Nothing I have said nullifies anything. Give me your argument.

      Waiting Patiently

      January 28, 2011 at 11:48 am |
    • hilltop

      Dave, you observed that evil existed in the world and gave several examples of it from your perspective. How did you arrive at your conclusions? Obviously, you used a moral law to determine that what you observed was evil thus acknowledging the existence of a moral law. If a moral law exists, then that presupposes a moral law giver. Are you sure you are an atheist? Curious.

      January 28, 2011 at 1:35 pm |
    • Bob

      > If a moral law exists, then that presupposes a moral law giver.

      We can make determinations of good and evil without a moral law giver. It's called thinking.

      The more benefit to society and the more selfless the act, the more good it is. The less benefit and more selfish, the more evil it is.

      Welcome to a broader world where you have to use your brain.

      January 28, 2011 at 2:35 pm |
    • Bob

      > How did you arrive at your conclusions?

      I would bet it involved thinking and rational analysis of the act.

      January 28, 2011 at 2:36 pm |
    • NL

      hilltop-
      Might I suggest that the very same greater society that has given us our laws also determines our moral code? That's our 'giver' and there's nothing even remotely supernatural about it, is there?

      January 28, 2011 at 3:42 pm |
    • hilltop

      NL,
      I suggest you read my response to Dave below and help me unpack it.

      January 28, 2011 at 4:40 pm |
  15. dajackg

    The story simply raises the question of whether or not faith can have a positive effect on corporate behavior. Those who would use it as an opportunity to bash Evangelicals (or anyone else) might take notice of the fact that several faiths are being represented and applied to the subject matter: Catholicism, Islam and Zen Buddhism are referenced specifically. The story has nothing to do with whether there's a God or not, so David Johnson can do his trolling elsewhere.

    January 28, 2011 at 11:18 am |
  16. Doc Vestibule

    How about adressing the income disparity fallout from the Reaganomics era?
    After tax income for the top 1% of earners in the US inceased by 176% between 1979 and 2005 while the lowest quarter increased by a mere 6%.
    80% of the U.S. wealth is being hoarded by 10% of the population, with the top 1% holding onto a disproportionate amount.
    Time for trickle-down economics to be discarded!

    January 28, 2011 at 10:57 am |
    • Anglican

      Agreed. Take trickle-down, then add jobs moved off shore, and you get what we have got, the lose of the middle class. Haves and have-nots. This is against my Lords teaching. Peace to You

      January 28, 2011 at 11:08 am |
  17. Jeremy Pike

    @David Johnson

    It's pretty obvious to me!

    January 28, 2011 at 10:53 am |
    • David Johnson

      @Jeremy Pike

      What is obvious about it?

      Curious

      January 28, 2011 at 11:04 am |
    • Mauro

      Thanks for posting this bro! This is a great lsoesn, and the way you did it really illustrates the point that God loves us so truly. Considering the time of year, very appropriate. Awesome! Also, nice dance floor.

      July 29, 2012 at 12:41 pm |
  18. David Johnson

    @Anglican

    If God existed, don't you think this fact would be more obvious?

    Curious

    January 28, 2011 at 10:41 am |
    • Anglican

      God created. Look outside, or at the face of your child. Open your heart, and see. Peace be with you.

      January 28, 2011 at 10:49 am |
    • David Johnson

      @Anglican

      You are using selective observation. Babies born without brains, good people suffering monstrous tortures such as neurofibromatosis, evil people basking in the sun and enjoying long lives. Volcanoes erupting, earthquakes killing thousands, hurricanes and tornadoes blindly wiping out thousands of lives. Open up your eyes and see reality!

      Doesn't god want everyone to believe in him?

      Curious

      January 28, 2011 at 11:03 am |
    • HotAirAce

      @Anglican

      With the same certainty you claim there is a god, I claim that there is not, therefore no god created anything. No god is required to explain your observatios, and as David J has pointet out, the propsed existence of a god does not explain everything.

      January 28, 2011 at 11:10 am |
    • Anglican

      Dave. We live on earth, not in heaven. Evil and pain exist. Life is a challenge. We must have faith. Peace.

      January 28, 2011 at 11:11 am |
    • Anglican

      HotAirAce. You do not have to believe in God. If you believe in a random existence, with no greater hope, I will respect you for that. Peace.

      January 28, 2011 at 11:15 am |
    • David Johnson

      @Anglican

      You said: "Dave. We live on earth, not in heaven. Evil and pain exist. Life is a challenge. We must have faith."

      But, Anglican...

      If god is all good he would want to do away with evil.

      If god is all powerful, he certainly could do away with evil.

      So, why is there evil?

      Curious

      January 28, 2011 at 11:36 am |
    • Anglican

      Dave. There is a subspecialty in theology called theodicy, why evil exist in God's world. As a member of the Faithful, I have no answer. We are called to love, have faith, and to hope for an end of all suffering. Peace.

      January 28, 2011 at 11:47 am |
    • David Johnson

      @Anglican

      I have read the theodicies. I don't think they are a solution to the problem of evil. They fall apart.

      I find it odd that you have no answers, but insist your god exists. LOL

      Cheers!

      January 28, 2011 at 11:59 am |
    • Anglican

      Dave. I do not think that any man knows the answer. Theodicy attempts to explain, but can only present theory. If I understood all the ways of my God, he would not be God. Peace to you.

      January 28, 2011 at 12:04 pm |
    • sealchan

      If believing in God works in a person's life then there is truth in that belief even if it is subjective.

      If atheists think they live without unproven assumptions then they have not plumbed the depths of their soul.

      January 28, 2011 at 12:56 pm |
    • Bob

      > If believing in God works in a person's life then there is truth in that belief even if it is subjective.

      No there isn't. If we were to follow that logic, people under the placebo effect would then lend credence to placebos. Why don't we sell placebo's on the pharmacy shelves, dole them out for prescriptions.

      January 28, 2011 at 3:21 pm |
    • Bob

      > If believing in God works in a person's life then there is truth in that belief even if it is subjective.

      Truth isn't subjective. The truth is the truth.

      What we choose to believe or not believe has NO EFFECT on what the truth really is. Either God exists or God doesn't exist.

      People praying and believing will not make God exist. And people saying they there is no God won't make God not exist.

      My perception relality is limited, when compared to religious people. I only assert reality for things which have been proven. However, my reality is absolute. Their reality is possibly wrong.

      That's the reality of the situation.

      January 28, 2011 at 3:26 pm |
    • 425

      ""If believing in God works in a person’s life then there is truth in that belief even if it is subjective.""

      I suggest you reading a little book I like to call 1984. You're suggesting doublethink.

      January 28, 2011 at 4:09 pm |
    • Veronica13

      @David, if you don't believe, why do you read the "belief" blog? Looking for something?

      January 29, 2011 at 10:49 am |
    • thes33k3r

      David J, Hotairace and others,
      Thank you for standing up for reason in the face of religious nonsense.

      January 29, 2011 at 2:54 pm |
    • thes33k3r

      Anglican,
      Your argument: "HotAirAce....If you believe in a random existence, with no greater hope" is a straw man...look it up. You are putting words in HotAirAce's mouth.

      January 29, 2011 at 2:57 pm |
    • thes33k3r

      Veronica13: "@David, if you don't believe, why do you read the "belief" blog? Looking for something?"

      Red Herring...look it up. Yours is simply a distractive argument. You are not dealing with David's arguments directly and are instead implying that only "believers" should read and comment on the "belief" blog. We have an opinion too...even if we refuse to accept religious ideas. Can you fathom that?

      January 29, 2011 at 3:02 pm |
    • Matthew

      In response to your comment..."If God existed, don't you think this fact would be more obvious?", I agree with Anglican on this one. There is plenty of visible evidence that illustrate the existence of God. For instance, humans can be innovators, inventors, visionaries, artists, and curious. I also invite you to observe people, nature, and the universe. The observation of God's existence is not limited to people who have a higher degree of human faculties. God's existence is plain obvious. We are made in God's image and everyone has the "seed" of recognizing the craftsmanship of God. The worship of God has not changed since the time of creation nor since the arrival of Jesus Christ.

      The only problem with humans is that we are proud and stubborn. Pride often comes when you indulge in a sense of personal security and begin to feel that you can live without God's daily providence. Stubbornness originates from suppressing the existence of God despite your internal feelings convicting you of God's existence.

      Evil spirits are aware of God's existence and they mock God by influencing people with the idea that creation is the creator of itself. I refer you to the famous passage of Virgil: "Know, first, that heaven, and earth's compacted frame, And flowing waters, and the starry flame, And both the radiant lights, one common soul Inspires and feeds – and animates the whole. This active mind, infused through all the space, Unites and mingles with the mighty mass: Hence, men and beasts the breath of life obtain, And birds of air, and monsters of the main. Th'etheral vigor is in all the same, And every soul is filled with equal flame."

      In contrary to the belief that nature is the creator of itself, God created earth so that he can display his magnificent workmanship. You might wonder: "Why does God allow so much pain and suffering?" The secret is that all creation is designed to illustrate the merciful love of God. God gives time for all sinners who inflict pain on the innocent to repent and to turn their heart back to God. It takes time for unbelievers to feel the love of God in their personal lives, and God is always waiting for this day. Keep in mind that the waiting period will end on the judgment day, which is the day when all believers celebrate eternal life and when unbelievers face the second death in the abyss.

      My point is that God's existence is visible in real life and God is constantly working in the lives of people. I leave you with Augustine's quote regarding my conclusive point: "Were all sin now visited with open punishment, it might be thought that nothing was reserved for the final judgment; and, on the other hand, were no sin now openly punished, it might be supposed there was no divine providence." I would like to quote John Calvin for inspiring me with most of my comments on this blog.

      January 29, 2011 at 3:23 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      @Matthew

      None of what you claim as evidence for god, except perhaps evil, requires a god. Everything we see can be covered by explained or unexplained science. Everything we do can be explained as just human behavior. No gods required – just the courage to say "we don't know yet" without creating more and more elaborate fairy tales.

      January 29, 2011 at 3:49 pm |
    • Know What

      <"God created earth so that he can display his magnificent workmanship."

      A better job could have been done... even with human intelligence, let alone with an infinite IQ. A poet can find awesome wonder in a dilapidated barn. If art gives you joy, fine, but claiming that it is reality is not valid.

      < "The secret is that all creation is designed to illustrate the merciful love of God."

      And "God" created Salmonella... and malaria parasites... and untold destructive virii, just so that 'he' can display 'his love' as 'he' watches the fevered, aching, torture-filled suffering of his beloved creatures?

      January 29, 2011 at 4:46 pm |
    • Ggargoyle

      @Matthew
      "The worship of God has not changed since the time of creation nor since the arrival of Jesus Christ."
      Time of Creation? When was that? 6000 years ago? 600,000 years ago? 6 billion years ago? And worship of God hasn't changed? What about the ancients who worshipped their God/gods by ripping out the hearts of living humans, or ceremonially burned people alive? How do we know if or how prehistoric man worshipped their deities, tens or hundreds of thousands of years ago?

      January 29, 2011 at 5:01 pm |
    • JustPlainJoe

      People will always see just what they wish to see, irrespective of any objective reality. Inquiry and doubt, the hallmark of humanity's progress, never enter into the thoughts of the evangelicals.

      January 29, 2011 at 5:05 pm |
    • john

      Oh David! The blind fool that you are. You sure spend a great deal of energy trying to disprove a God you don't believe exists. You must be one miserable person.One day you will stand before God and perhaps then you will get it. Till then why don't you stop trying to hurt the sheep.

      January 29, 2011 at 5:53 pm |
    • Joey

      People who believe in god and people who do not....neither one of them can prove their positions. Both sides can make good arguments but just because you win or lose an argument doesn't make you right or wrong....that's why innocent people are in jail. I get the feeling that unless you are an extraordinary meta-physicist with an IQ much greater than any human that has ever lived, you are not going to be able to answer the "god" question with an intellectual argument.

      I happen to think that God exists. I might be wrong. I heard someone say, "Everyone thinks their opinion is correct, otherwise they would get a new one." I think there is truth in that.

      January 29, 2011 at 6:20 pm |
    • Rimpu

      Hi Kellie! I just put two and two together from our sesoisn on Friday morning and realized you lost your little one. Though he's not here on earth, you talked as though he was, because he IS alive. You keeping him alive like this is absolutely inspirational. On a personal note, just know that your daughter and son will ALWAYS know he is around and that he is the family guardian angel. I have a sister that passed after only 2 weeks old. Though I never met her, Lisa, (oldest of the 8 in our family, parents first born) she is totally around me 100% of the time. Because God has allowed me to feel him and let her in my life no matter what. I talk and pray to her constantly. She will be remembered at our wedding, even. Her spirit is so strong, Scott's let her in his life as well. So, you see, Miles is not only going to live through your hearts, but he will affect so many other people's lives This website is just a start!!! I think those two babies wanted us to meet! All my love and prayers, Lindsay

      August 1, 2012 at 1:00 am |
  19. David Johnson

    Having an Evangelical anywhere near money, is like asking the fox to guard the hen house.

    January 28, 2011 at 10:39 am |
    • HotAirAce

      I can't imagine a worse situation than deluded religious charlatans advising greedy corporate and political leaders. The only thing that corporate leaders "get" and that changes the behavior of large publicly traded corporations, unfortunately, is government regulation. Left to their own, they become solely focused on delivering value to their shareholders, and it is not often that that coincides with other loftier values. One man's opinion, of course...

      January 28, 2011 at 11:04 am |
    • Chris Collino

      Honestly, if you become any more bigoted you'll sound like the fundamentalists you despise so much

      January 29, 2011 at 3:18 pm |
    • jesus

      When a company or industry has only the hope of imaginary profits due to the chicanery of management or lousy business plans, what better "go to" guy is there than the quintessential invisible and imaginary guy – "God". As long as we're tossing rational thinking and reasoning out the window, hitting the "God button" seems to be a likely alternative..

      January 29, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
    • mdc

      And politicians....don't forget politicians.

      January 29, 2011 at 5:03 pm |
  20. Anglican

    The Lord is at work everywhere. God bless and keep us all. Peace.

    January 28, 2011 at 10:14 am |
    • Byrd

      ...and he's doing such a bang-up job of it! Am I an atheist? No. Do I believe some being called god exists? Yes, but I also happen to think he's a complete jerk.

      January 29, 2011 at 2:47 pm |
    • jesus

      Where does he call his work headquarters? I need an address. What...no address? What? He works next to Santa's workshop which is near the headquarters of the tooth fairy. Try reality...it may be painful, but it will help you seek out rational alternatives.

      January 29, 2011 at 3:33 pm |
    • Ggargoyle

      resp. to Jesus:
      You need an address? Just write to North Pole, postal code H0H0H0. Send your wish list for God, Santa, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy... unless you are an asantaist, abunnyist, and afairyist..

      January 29, 2011 at 4:25 pm |
    • bert

      Its the end of the world as we know it.......and i feel fine

      January 29, 2011 at 4:49 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @bert

      "R.E.M." ?

      Peace...

      January 31, 2011 at 7:56 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.