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Cuba's evangelical churches
February 6th, 2011
06:00 AM ET

As Cuban economy sputters, evangelicals rise

By Shasta Darlington, CNN

Havana (CNN) – For decades, Cuba’s evangelicals met behind closed doors, holding services in living rooms and converted garages.

But as the country confronts hard times, followers have come out of the shadows, turning to religion to meet both economic and spiritual needs.

On a recent Sunday morning, worshipers packed a Pentecostal church set up on the second floor of an apartment building in a working class suburb of Havana.

They swayed back and forth to the raucous music amid shouts of “amen!” and “hallelujah!”

The Rev. Marcial Miguel Hernandez is the church’s pastor and the president of Cuba's National Council of Churches.

“The crisis is an opportunity for faith,” he told CNN. "Crisis is God's opportunity for the church to show its solidarity and love for our neighbor.”

Faced with a mounting budget deficit, Cuban President Raul Castro announced last year that the state needs to eliminate more than one million jobs, or about one-tenth of the workforce.

He also gave the green light for more private businesses, in an effort to help hire the unemployed.

But many people are also looking to God for help to fill the void.

“You can't be romantic about the situation,” Hernandez said. “There are going to be a million people, maybe more, who will be unemployed. The church is getting ready for this.”

He said attendance at evangelical churches had jumped in recent months.

Rita Suarez, a television worker who frequents Hernandez’s Free Evangelical Church, said many people were seeking spiritual guidance.

“When we have faith, we find the strength to make things work in this new scenario,” she said.

Maria Elisa Ramon found financial support from the church when the government granted her a license to open a private restaurant in her home.

“My pastor has been a big help,” she said. “He lent me money and encouraged me when I wanted to give up. He told me God was on my side.”

After decades of hostility, Fidel Castro began to mend relations with the country's many churches in the 1980s, as churches showed their willingness to work with the state. That process accelerated after the fall of the Soviet Union, as the Cuban government searched for new allies.

The government's efforts have been focused largely on the Catholic Church, which claims the biggest share of adherents in Cuba. The program was helped by Pope John Paul II's visit to Cuba in 1998.

Since the 1980s, the number of evangelicals in Cuba has more than tripled to one million, according to the National Council of Churches.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Americas • Cuba • Economy • Pentecostal

soundoff (155 Responses)
  1. doming tiozon

    ok brother thanks ...

    February 6, 2011 at 11:33 am |
  2. doming tiozon

    Well done YOU can go to hell now REAlity,

    February 6, 2011 at 11:29 am |
  3. Reality Check

    Reality, you put forward John Dominic Crossan of the infamous Jesus Seminar as your scholar of choice? I think I'll go with the conservative N.T. Wright's opinion, also quoted by you, over and against a liberal scholar. And yes, there are liberal theologians in the Catholic church who still believe the passage you quoted from Corinthians but apply it to a spiritual resurrection as opposed to a physical, bodily resurrection. I disagree and so do many conservative Catholic scholars. So, it seems you want to disbelieve, because you could choose conservative scholars but instead choose the ones who seem to want to destroy Christianity. Is it because that is what you want to do?

    February 6, 2011 at 11:19 am |
  4. doming tiozon

    Make sure your path is not darkness.monty

    February 6, 2011 at 11:11 am |
  5. Reality

    Saving Christians from the Big Resurrection Con:

    From that famous passage: In 1 Corinthians 15 St. Paul reasoned, "If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith."

    Even now Catholic/Christian professors of theology are questioning the bodily resurrection of the simple, preacher man aka Jesus.

    To wit;

    From a major Catholic university's theology grad school white-board notes:

    "Heaven is a Spirit state or spiritual reality of union with God in love, without earthly – earth bound distractions.
    Jesus and Mary's bodies are therefore not in Heaven.

    Most believe that it to mean that the personal spiritual self that survives death is in continuity with the self we were while living on earth as an embodied person.

    Again, the physical Resurrection (meaning a resuscitated corpse returning to life), Ascension (of Jesus' crucified corpse), and Assumption (Mary's corpse) into heaven did not take place.

    The Ascension symbolizes the end of Jesus' earthly ministry and the beginning of the Church.

    Only Luke's Gospel records it. The Assumption ties Jesus' mission to Pentecost and missionary activity of Jesus' followers The Assumption has multiple layers of symbolism, some are related to Mary's special role as "Christ bearer" (theotokos). It does not seem fitting that Mary, the body of Jesus' Virgin-Mother (another biblically based symbol found in Luke 1) would be derived by worms upon her death. Mary's assumption also shows God's positive regard, not only for Christ's male body, but also for female bodies." "

    "In three controversial Wednesday Audiences, Pope John Paul II pointed out that the essential characteristic of heaven, hell or purgatory is that they are states of being of a spirit (angel/demon) or human soul, rather than places, as commonly perceived and represented in human language. This language of place is, according to the Pope, inadequate to describe the realities involved, since it is tied to the temporal order in which this world and we exist. In this he is applying the philosophical categories used by the Church in her theology and saying what St. Thomas Aquinas said long before him."
    http://eternal-word.com/library/PAPALDOC/JP2HEAVN.HTM

    The Vatican quickly embellished this story with a lot CYAP.

    Of course, we all know that angels are really mythical "pretty wingie talking thingies".

    With respect to rising from the dead, we also have this account:

    An added note: As per R.B. Stewart in his introduction to the recent book, The Resurrection of Jesus, Crossan and Wright in Dialogue,
    p.4
    "Reimarus (1774-1778) posits that Jesus became sidetracked by embracing a political position, sought to force God's hand and that he died alone deserted by his disciples. What began as a call for repentance ended up as a misguided attempt to usher in the earthly political kingdom of God. After Jesus' failure and death, his disciples stole his body and declared his resurrection in order to maintain their financial security and ensure themselves some standing."
    o p.168. by Ted Peters:
    "Even so, asking historical questions is our responsibility. Did Jesus really rise from the tomb? Is it necessary to have been raised from the tomb and to appear to his disciples in order to explain the rise of early church and the transcription of the bible? Crossan answers no, Wright answers, yes. "

    So where are the bones? As per Professor Crossan's analyses in his many books, the body of Jesus would have ended up in the mass graves of the crucified, eaten by wild dogs, with lime in a shallow grave, or under a pile of stones.

    February 6, 2011 at 11:10 am |
    • Anglican

      Real, I am truly afraid that you will, in the end, be too "wise" for your own good. Peace to you until then. A

      February 6, 2011 at 1:01 pm |
  6. Seker

    Get rid of the cuban embargo NOW and stop the suffering in Cuba and create jobs in the US with commerce! This has not worked for 60 years. Time for a change Mr. Obama or is that just a word for getting elected?

    February 6, 2011 at 11:07 am |
    • David Johnson

      I agree with you. We should end the embargo.

      February 6, 2011 at 11:27 am |
    • freedomtoworship

      from your mouth to Obama's ears!!!! It's time to stop doing what we know has not worked!
      continuing to do the same thing expecting different results is the act of foolish men!!!

      February 6, 2011 at 11:46 am |
    • Don

      Absolutely, Seker. The power of trade is superior to the power of a gun.

      February 6, 2011 at 12:25 pm |
    • Anglican

      Dave. Imagine smoking a Cuban cigar any time you wanted. Wow.

      February 6, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
  7. smokinmike

    Poor people getting ready to be made poorer by the business of religion.

    February 6, 2011 at 11:03 am |
  8. Reality Check

    Doming tiozon, I understand how you feel. It can really hurt when someone rudely makes fun of God, Jesus, and Christianity. But remember that Jesus said we should love those who hate us. We should pray that they, too, find Christ and come to understand what it really means to follow him. There is a chance for them, I know, I was once like them and thought I was too wise to be a Christian. I now quote the words of Francis Bacon, the founder of the modern scientific method: "It is true, that a little philosophy inclineth man’s mind to atheism; but depth in philosophy bringeth men’s minds about to religion." So, don't worry about their rude and bigoted words about our savior. All is in God's hands.

    February 6, 2011 at 11:02 am |
    • TheRationale

      @Reality Check
      Do you ever try to understand why people might insult your religion? For example, the Bible shows God to be a stupendously evil creature in both the New and Old Testament. Do you ever take the time to investigate why people keep saying this? It's very arrogant to just dismiss them and pray that they find Jesus. Patronizing people who disagree with you only makes them disagree with you more. Probably because they see that by your not addressing the question and assuming correctness, you most likely can't address the question and can't say why you are correct.

      Let's see if you could tolerate your own style of discourse:

      Doming tiozon, I understand how you feel. It can really hurt when someone rudely makes fun of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. But remember that the FSM said we should serve those who hate us with mounds of spaghetti. We should pray that they, too, find Pastafarianism and come to understand what it really means to follow it. There is a chance for them, I know, I was once like them and thought I was too wise to be a Pastafarian. I now quote the words of Christopher Hitchens, a major proponent of autonomous thought: "That which can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence." So, don't worry about their rude and bigoted words about His Noodleyness. All is in the Flying Spaghetti Monster's noodley appendages. Ramen.

      February 6, 2011 at 12:21 pm |
    • Reality Check

      Have I ever wondered why people insult my religion? Yes, all the time, simply because it is very rude and impolite. I also wonder how some can claim that "Do for others what you'd have them do for you" is "stupendously evil". It makes me wonder what "stupendously good" would be. And again I wonder how hoping that others come to a belief in God is in any way "patronizing", and certainly it isn't as patronizing as antagonists talking of flying spaghetti monsters and fairy tales. And I never stop wondering where that ancient book about the flying spaghetti monster is, the one that has survived through millenia. It's comical but a strawman nonetheless.

      February 6, 2011 at 1:18 pm |
    • Don

      They insult your religion because your religion is intellectually insulting to anyone with a functioning brain.

      February 6, 2011 at 1:34 pm |
    • Anglican

      Don. Am I to understand that because I have faith, my brain does not function? Just a question.

      February 6, 2011 at 2:17 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      The Rationale,

      Here, let me help you 'hear' how you sound….

      I know, it really can hurt when someone makes fun of our nothingness. Just remember that we have nothing and we should serve up mounds of nothing for them so they will see our points of view which we have really only one, that is 'nothing'; but it works for us and should suffice for them. We should point out how nothing has influenced our lives except for ourselves and they should be able to see that.

      I was once like them…. wise, but now I follow other words that are empty, and there are no commands to distract….like love thy neighbor! Sheeesh!

      This way is to our liking because we do not want to think of anything except nothing. So don’t worry about their words of Truth because we are free to have our own thoughts which encompasses nothing at all; we don’t have to think about what they say…even though it does bother my conscience some….dang it...where did that conscience come from anyway?

      February 6, 2011 at 2:17 pm |
    • TheRationale

      Reality Check
      The entire point of the Flying Spaghetti Monster is the irony with which you have responded to it. You call the Flying Spaghetti Monster a fairy tale, yet so far there's not much to show that it's any less viable than your own beliefs. That's the point. People recognize that the FSM is nonsense yet can't apply that same logic to their own beliefs. Christianity demands that we trespass on numerous laws of nature (raising the dead, miracles, etc.) and people accept it. Yet when some other religions, or indeed the FSM, demands the same suspension of rational judgment, the contradiction in the rejection of these ideas is the entire point. In other words, the same reasoning people use to reject the FSM they contradict when they accept Christianity, or any other religion.

      Oh, looking for an old book are we? Well why don't you accept ancient Egyptian religion? Or Greek religion? Or Islam? Judaism's even older that Christianity, why not use that? What about Norse mythology? Old books say the world is flat, that women are inferior to men, that lead can turn into gold. The age of a belief system in no way validates it, as you prove by rejecting every other one but Christianity.

      And in terms of your loving god, what do you say to the umpteen commands to kill adulterers, naughty children, and gays in the Old Testament? And of the New, the message is essentially that you must follow Christ or go to Hell. That is not morality! That is selfishness and evil!

      And "Do for others what you'd have them do for you" far predates Christianity. You can cherry pick the nice bits from the canon, but you have found some way to ignore, rationalize, excuse, or sweep under the rug the malicious things God has demanded -in very clear terms- that people do.

      February 6, 2011 at 2:34 pm |
    • Reality Check

      Ratio wrote: "The entire point of the Flying Spaghetti Monster is the irony with which you have responded to it. You call the Flying Spaghetti Monster a fairy tale yet so far there's not much to show that it's any less viable than your own beliefs."

      I've frequented atheist websites for over a decade, so I'm well aware of how the FSM is used, but it is a poor strawman that only seems acceptable to the faithful atheist. I did not call the FSM a fairy tale if you read closely, but I will do so now. You say "there's not much to show that it's any less viable than your own beliefs". Really? You really believe that the FSM has as much behind it as Christianity? Well, we'll just have to disagree on that one, but I would enjoy seeing your ancient sources and archaeology that corroborate the FSM. I'll bet they had some killer pasta in Bablyon!

      February 6, 2011 at 4:53 pm |
    • Magic

      Reality Check,

      Ah, so oldness is the reason theism/Christianity is true? See 'Argument from Antiquity' - it fails. Archeological evidence only proves that people lived in certain times and places who believed certain things; it does not verify any truth behind the beliefs.

      February 6, 2011 at 5:05 pm |
    • Reality Check

      Magic wrote: "Archeological evidence only proves that people lived in certain times and places who believed certain things; it does not verify any truth behind the beliefs."

      I did not say that it verifies truth. It corroborates the accounts. If it did not, then we would have no history at all. The more evidence, the more likely, or at least that is what many atheists are fond of saying. For some of us, there is enough. For others, there will never be enough.

      February 6, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
    • Magic

      Reality Check,

      "For some of us, there is enough. For others, there will never be enough."

      I understand. I can only hope that your belief brings you personal peace; and that it will not cause harm to me and mine and to mankind and life as as a whole.

      February 6, 2011 at 6:18 pm |
    • Don

      Anglican, I doubt you've ever been accused of having a functioning brain.

      February 6, 2011 at 10:36 pm |
  9. doming tiozon

    don`t repent....including you reality....

    February 6, 2011 at 10:51 am |
  10. Monty

    ...he who follows, sees not the path.

    February 6, 2011 at 10:51 am |
    • TheRationale

      There's a zinger

      February 6, 2011 at 12:06 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      That is what 'family' is for....as in the Communion of Saints....with such a cloud of family cheering us on, we will not fall off the Path. They know the Way, and we have ears to hear their cheers! I love my family....we are very united!

      February 6, 2011 at 1:35 pm |
  11. Ames Wolff

    Those poor kids...their expressions tell all...another Sunday having to sit around with the adults wailing and speaking in tongues...the kids just want to be out side playing...poor kids.

    February 6, 2011 at 10:49 am |
  12. doming tiozon

    don`t your apostles creed 2011 they will goto hell if they don

    February 6, 2011 at 10:48 am |
  13. doming tiozon

    Amen to that rc ,ep marching true belivers of Jesus.

    February 6, 2011 at 10:42 am |
  14. doming tiozon

    who cares about your apostles creed I don`t know their names JESUS is name above all names. got it .capice

    February 6, 2011 at 10:40 am |
  15. Reality Check

    "God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong."

    There are those who condemn the faith of Christians while putting their own faith in the biased studies of liberal scholars and "theologians" simply because they do not want to believe.

    Where atheism has attempted to crush Christianity, Christianity has continued to flourish and even blossomed anew as atheism fails to provide anything that people need.

    February 6, 2011 at 10:37 am |
    • Don

      Atheism has never attempted to crush christianity. Ever. No, you're confusing communism with atheism. Don't do that; it makes you look stupid and uneducated.

      And I do love how your religion has an early form of Newspeak: being weak is being strong, and being stupid is being intelligent. No, reality doesn't work that way.

      February 6, 2011 at 11:01 am |
    • Reality Check

      Don, I don't confuse communism and atheism at all. They go hand in hand. Just read the communist manifesto where Karl Marx suggests that religion, morality, and philosophy must be eliminated. Communist states suppressed and punished religion. It is fact. State sponsored atheism is and always will be a failure because it does not provide anything the people need. Please refrain from rhetoric like "makes you look stupid". It is out of place in intelligent discourse.

      February 6, 2011 at 11:12 am |
    • Tim

      @ Reality Check
      You DO understand Don's point, right? You associated associated all atheism with communism, while Don was making the point that while communists are atheists, atheists are not necessarily communists. That does not equal them going hand in hand. It merely means that communists are a subgroup of atheists. Your reply to Don merely proves his point, that you are stupid and uneducated. There is on intelligent conversation here. Simply yet another raving Christian, spewing hatred and untruths about others while preaching love and acceptance.

      February 6, 2011 at 12:00 pm |
    • TheRationale

      Earth to Reality Check...
      Under which rock have you been living under for the past few eons? Atheism has existed thousands of years before communism, and in fact is intrinsically older than any religion, implicitly at least. Both of you are confusing atheism with anti-theism. Atheism is the lack of a belief in god – it is logically impossible for atheism to be responsible for anyone doing anything, ever. At all. Anti-theism is actively going against theological reasoning, churches, etc.

      And in case you haven't noticed, state-sponsored secularism is the answer to government-religious anything. Logical reasoning usurps religion when people listen to it. Having the government intercede and force people to "believe" one way or another defeats the point of thinking rationally.

      Many atheists are atheists because they've looked into religion. Religions require the suspension of your own judgment to believe, as they cannot be supported by logical reasoning (hence "faith"). There is simply no reason to do this. Faith perpetuates poverty and suffering because it tricks people into thinking that a solution is guaranteed when it is not. Only by actually working themselves will they achieve success. But if they think they already have it, then they're bound to stagnate.

      February 6, 2011 at 12:05 pm |
    • Don

      Communism and atheism go hand-in-hand? So why am I an anarchocapitalist and an atheist?

      Yeah, how about you learn that communism is the highest expression of democracy, RealityCheck, and it has nothing to do with atheism and everything to do with the worship of the state. You've exposed yourself as ignorant in the extreme here, RealityCheck. And I'm happy to point it out.

      February 6, 2011 at 12:23 pm |
    • Reality Check

      The hair-splitting will not spare atheism of its evil deeds nor its promoters from the responsibility for their hateful incivility. Atheistic beliefs were directly responsible for both communism (as per Karl Marx' own comments) as well as for the notion of eliminating religion and morality. Atheism provides no purpose for life and no authoritative source for morality. It, in fact, encourages moral relativism, the consequences of which should scare the socks off those who really analyze their beliefs in any depth. So, the fact is that atheism was the driving force behind the suppression of religion. Atheists forced their atheism upon the population. When atheists attained power, they, by their own admission, attempted to eliminate religion by suppressing the religious freedoms of people in multiple countries. It still happens today, and is happening on a smaller level in the US, where many organized atheist groups do all they can to take away the freedoms of the religious (as when a group in the DFW area was responsible for the rights of all to post ads they wish to metroplex transportation being taken away). Many atheists may be 'good' because they lean on religious and law definitions of 'good', but atheism is evil, especially if understood and taken to its logical ends as history bears out.

      February 6, 2011 at 1:03 pm |
    • Don

      There are no evil deeds of atheism. Please stop lying. Remember: the 10 demandments say that bearing false witness is a sin. You don't want to be a sinner, DO YOU?

      And no atheists took away the right to post ads on buses, liar. It was a group of whining christians who didn't like being told that their beliefs are silly who did that. Blame the thin-skinned christians, liar.

      And you've yet to address the fact that I'm an atheist anarchocapitalist.

      February 6, 2011 at 1:33 pm |
    • EmeraldCity

      QUOTE: "It still happens today, and is happening on a smaller level in the US, where many organized atheist groups do all they can to take away the freedoms of the religious (as when a group in the DFW area was responsible for the rights of all to post ads they wish to metroplex transportation being taken away). Many atheists may be 'good' because they lean on religious and law definitions of 'good', but atheism is evil, especially if understood and taken to its logical ends as history bears out."

      Atheists groups are not interested in taking away the rights of (and freedom of) religious groups to practice their religion. They are, however (and rightfully so) concerned with keeping the division of church and state a priority.

      As to the rest of your assertions, religious groups and churches are hardly in danger of having their freedom to practice taken away from them. Who hasn't seen the rise in evangelism the last 20 years in the U.S.? In addition to this, politicians to this day still feel unable to fully come forth with their own admission of agnosticism or atheism, given the still critically-pervasive atmosphere in this country that atheists are evil.

      Still, it's a good thing that this country is run by a government that favors and enforces such crazy and illogical ideas as the ones that you display in your post.

      February 6, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
    • EmeraldCity

      Correction to last sentence: ". . . is *not* run by . . ."

      February 6, 2011 at 2:02 pm |
    • TheRationale

      Reality Check, you are either illiterate or did not read my post. Atheism is not a belief system, it has never and cannot compel anyone to do anything, and is responsible for nothing good nor evil. It is de facto impossible for a not-belief to catalyze anything.

      Anti-theist regimes, such as communist regimes, are just as ignorant as religious ones, as they impose a way of thinking on people.

      February 6, 2011 at 2:06 pm |
    • Reality Check

      The(Supposed)Rationale wrote: "Reality Check, you are either illiterate or did not read my post."

      Why the rude bifurcation fallacy? I skimmed your post, but I saw the usual "atheism isn't a belief" error, so I felt no need to respond. If one has no belief in God(s), then that logically necessitates certain beliefs about how the world works. Volumes have been written on atheism and the beliefs it entails...read Nietzsche and Sartre if you wish to understand better. The beliefs atheism entails have obviously compelled atheists to attempt to eliminate religion and to commit horrendous acts. An atheist leader is only accountable to himself and no God(s), so absolutely anything is permissible (no matter how horrible it might seem to us), just as Dostoyevsky pointed out so eloquently in his highly philosophical novels. Why does anyone want to be an atheist, anyway? What value lies in it? The universe is meaningless and holds no purpose whatsoever. People are free to be as unimaginably cruel as they like if they can keep from getting caught (which is easy in less affluent countries or as a dictator) and that without remorse. I can't understand how those who truly analyze their atheism in any depth can continue to hold to it. Indeed, even some of America's founding fathers wondered the same.

      February 6, 2011 at 4:26 pm |
    • Magic

      An atheist simply does not believe in a "God" or gods. Atheists have a wide variety of opinions on other subjects also, such as, politics, economics, the environment and which toppings to put on their pizzas. Not all atheists follow Sartre in every area of his philosophy... any more than theists all follow Martin Luther or Mohammad or Joseph Smith.

      The theist political leader can attach himself/herself to whichever god suits his purpose, and interpret their 'sacred writings' so anything is permissible under his/her particular belief, including horrific behavior.

      February 6, 2011 at 4:49 pm |
    • Reality Check

      Magic wrote: "An atheist simply does not believe in a "God" or gods."

      There are implications of such a belief, Magic. It is not so simple as that.

      Magic wrote: "Not all atheists follow Sartre in every area of his philosophy..."

      I am not talking of a philosophy that is to be followed. I am talking about philosophy that describes the logical ends of atheism. No God? No judge. No good. No evil. No remorse. For the "uber" man who recognizes this, anything is permissible. This is not something you follow, this is something that just is.

      Magic wrote: "The theist political leader can attach himself/herself to whichever god suits his purpose, and interpret their 'sacred writings' so anything is permissible under his/her particular belief, including horrific behavior."

      Some do so, but... They had better be sure that is what God really approves. This is one more reason I prefer Christianity, because it has "built in" checks on such ungodly behavior that can be applied by the community...love your neighbor like yourself...love your enemies, etc.

      February 6, 2011 at 5:07 pm |
    • TheRationale

      Reality Check, you simply fail to grasp a logical concept. Atheism is defined as being a lack of a belief (in god) – it is not a belief. This is not a point of contention, you are merely failing to understand this concept. If this were any sort of class on theology, you would be getting the wrong answer on the multiple choice section.

      Not collecting stamps is not a hobby. Bald is not a hair color. Off is not a TV channel. Atheism is not a belief. It is intrinsically defined as the absence of one. This is a logical fallacy that many people such as yourself seem to cling to, regardless of whether it is spelled out for you. If you say atheism has any sort of belief tied into it, you are incorrectly (re)defining atheism.

      Atheism makes no claim about giving purpose. It says nothing about how to live, nor does it offer any value. All it is, and I mean all, is not believing in a god or gods. It does not inhibit you from giving your life value, or from doing good or evil. Who says you need a religion to give value to your life?

      As a counterpoint, religions can and do motivate people to do horrendous things. Look at suicide bombers. Look at the anti-gay rights groups in Uganda who nearly made it punishable by death. Look at the complete void of women's rights in the middle east. Look at the attempt to destroy science education classes in the US. Look at Nigeria, where Muslims and Christians have been fighting for decades. That's not even opening up a history textbook!

      And keep in mind that I can point to many more evil historic figures of Christianity alone than you can atheistic leaders. Besides, as atheism cannot, by definition, make you do anything, people like Stalin were no more evil for their atheism than for their mustaches. It is a non sequitor. Stalin had a belief, communism, which held that religions should be abolished. Belief, ergo action. Your lack of belief in the Flying Spaghetti Monster doesn't compel you to do anything, and nobody's lack of belief in a Christian god compels them to do anything either.

      I feel compelled to reiterate – atheism is not a belief. You are the one with the fallacy to state that it is. Please reexamine your position.

      February 6, 2011 at 10:20 pm |
    • Reality Check

      TheRationale, saying over and over again that atheism is merely a lack of belief in God(s) does not make it so. An entire view of the world logically results from the lack of belief in God(s). If you don't believe in God(s), then you automatically have a worldview that differs quite significantly from mine. Without God(s), there is no purpose in life. No judge. No good. No bad. No morality. You can disagree with me all you like, but you're also disagreeing with many atheist philosophers who've seen and written about the same things, and who understood that certain worldviews result from atheism.

      February 7, 2011 at 12:49 pm |
    • Don

      RealityCheck, only theists make the claim that without god there is no purpose, no morality, etc. Atheists make no such claim. I have a purpose for my life that I've created, and I'm far more moral than any theist.

      But since you claim that many atheist philosophers state that atheism leads to amoral nihilism, you can list those people. Now. Or you can admit that you just lied.

      February 7, 2011 at 6:58 pm |
    • Magic

      Reality Check,

      I cannot speak for all atheists, but the ones I have encountered are certainly moral... behaving in a manner which is beneficial to humankind and life in general... based on logical cause and effect.

      The only thing they have in common is no belief in a god. They do not pray to or worship one. That's about all that you can generalize about them.

      Some are vocal about their non-belief. Some are not. Some never mention it... not even to Jehovah's Witnesses at the door - they just say, "No thank you. I'm not interested." There are some who go to church... in respect for or to appease a loved one. Some even have ideas about an afterlife... maybe on some cosmic or energy-related basis. They are free-thinkers and you cannot pigeon-hole them. So, please do not do it.

      February 7, 2011 at 7:34 pm |
  16. doming tiozon

    to helllllllllllll

    February 6, 2011 at 10:37 am |
  17. doming tiozon

    TO reality, I don`t care what you say that`s your right ,even it wrong go hell.

    February 6, 2011 at 10:36 am |
  18. Krom

    Great. More people to follow the cult like teachings of Evangelicals.

    February 6, 2011 at 10:33 am |
    • Capitalism

      Better than following the teaching of the devil as you do

      February 6, 2011 at 10:43 am |
    • Don

      There is no god. There is no devil. There is no heaven. There is no hell.

      February 6, 2011 at 10:44 am |
    • LiberateUs

      Sure, Don. I'm sure you know everything ...not

      February 6, 2011 at 11:34 am |
    • freedomtoworship

      @Don, there is no forgiveness for YOU either!!!

      February 6, 2011 at 11:39 am |
    • TheRationale

      @Capitalism – clearly you don't know what you're talking about. Atheists are atheists – not devil-followers.

      @freedomtoworship – Ah, another mindless believer shouting rude sound bites whenever they encounter someone who disagrees with them. Childish, just like their religions, these people always seem to be.

      February 6, 2011 at 11:47 am |
    • Don

      There's nothing for which I need to be forgiven.

      February 6, 2011 at 12:21 pm |
  19. Anglican

    The Good News continues!!!!!!!!!!!!

    February 6, 2011 at 8:43 am |
    • Reality

      Yes indeed, it does!!!

      The Apostles' Creed 2011: (updated based on the studies of historians and theologians during the past 200 years)

      We might believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
      and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
      human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven.

      We believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
      preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
      named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
      girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

      Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
      the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

      He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
      a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of
      Jerusalem.

      Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
      many semi-fiction writers. A bodily resurrection and
      ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
      Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
      grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
      and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
      called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

      Amen

      February 6, 2011 at 10:17 am |
    • LiberateUs

      @Reality

      Your version of the Apostle's Creed is irrelevant. The Apostles wouldn't have died for a lie

      February 6, 2011 at 11:33 am |
    • Magic

      LiberateUs

      "The Apostles wouldn't have died for a lie"

      So then, neither would the followers of Jim Jones, David Koresh, Heaven's Gate, Muslim suicide bombers, and numerous others who were misled and delusional?

      February 6, 2011 at 12:06 pm |
  20. Reality

    And the Resurrection Con Game continues!!!!

    February 6, 2011 at 7:45 am |
    • Capitalism

      One day you will regret your words and when the truth shines upon you it will be too late.

      February 6, 2011 at 10:42 am |
    • No Fantasies

      Love how the irrational, when faced with their irrationality, always trot out the boogeyman. Can't tell anyone why they think their views are legit, other than within their circular thinking, but they sure wish to push them on people who see that their world operates rationally. Nor can they tell anyone why their particular version of irrationality is any more legitmate than the millions of conflicting fantasies that human minds create. Primitive, and a pox on humanity; that's what they are.

      February 6, 2011 at 11:16 am |
    • TheRationale

      @Capitalism
      Yes, one day everyone will face the wrath of Odin. Poor, rebellious creatures, all of you!

      February 6, 2011 at 11:42 am |
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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.