home
RSS
February 21st, 2011
06:00 AM ET

Prayers from the air

By Jim Spellman, CNN

Colorado Springs, Colorado (CNN) — They call Colorado Springs “Little Jerusalem” for good reason.

Christian churches from mega to micro dot this city nestled against the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, and prayer is an integral part of the lives of many of the worshipers who fill those pews.

Most prayers start on the ground and are sent heavenward. But helicopter pilot Will Sanders is taking prayer to the air by flying pastors up to the skies to pray down on the people below.

“I believe prayer works, and I want to take prayer warriors up to pray for their community. Inspire them to see it from a different angle, from a different view,” he said.

Sanders earns a living running Colorado Vertical, giving tours of the area in his Raven II four-seat helicopter. About once a month he opens his chopper up to local pastors, who fly over their churches and areas of the city they think are experiencing hardship and pray for them.

“Pastors know their areas, they know where people are hurting, where people need prayer, where people need help, and I can take them over those areas,” Sanders says.

He says that flying is a profoundly spiritual experience.

Helicopter pilot Will Sanders takes local pastors up in the air to pray over Colorado Springs.

“I see God’s creation. I do believe God created this world, and I see that in nature. When I fly I see the fingerprints of God.”

On a sunny winter day, he meets two pastors from Vanguard Church, Alan Briggs and Jonathan Madrid. It’s Briggs’ third trip and Madrid’s first. As evangelical Christians, they said prayer is an essential part of their faith.

“I care so much for our city that I’ll do anything, and so just starting with prayer is what I think we need to do,” Briggs said.

“I think the first thing we need to be doing as a city, as a body of believers, is to get down on our knees and pray,” Madrid said.

Sanders with pastors Jonathan Madrid, left, and Alan Briggs of Vanguard Church in Colorado Springs.

The tower clears the helicopter for takeoff, and a few minutes later we are cruising over the city. The prayers fly over the tinny audio of the headset microphones, with Briggs and Madrid taking turns.

“We pray that you bring the needs of the city to these churches that they may be able to help.”

“We pray that you bring this city together.”

“We pray for the Air Force Academy and Fort Carson.”

“We pray over this land that it would be dedicated to you.”

“Lord I pray for the high schools in our city, that your light may shine in those schools.”

We bank to the left and pass over the offices of The Independent, an alternative free weekly newspaper that has been critical of the evangelical community.

“We pray for The Independent and particularly publisher John Weiss. We pray for a partnership between such a sometimes hateful organization,” Briggs says.

A minute later, after a bit of quiet, he adds, “That we would be marked by our love and not by our judgment.”

Sanders heads west towards Garden of the Gods - a stunning orange rock formation popular with hikers. Pikes Peak is clearly visible to the south.

“Lord, when people see Pikes Peak and Garden of the Gods, I pray we would see you.”

We head back toward downtown, and Briggs turns to me to ask if it would be OK if he prays for me. I give him the thumbs up.

“Lord, we pray for Jim and getting to meet him today. I pray that you give him protection, that you keep the hand of safety on him,” he said.

As the airport comes back into sight, the pastors get in as many prayers as possible before we land.

“I pray you would drive out the spirit of consumerism in our city.”

“Lord I pray for more Spanish speaking churches.”

“We pray for military families to be taken care of.”

The voice of an air traffic controller interrupts the flow of prayers and clears us to land.

The cockpit is quiet as we gently touch down.

Back on the ground, Madrid is smiling widely.

“It was great. A different perspective for sure. As I saw the city, so many things came to me,” he said.

“It just gives you a whole new perspective on people, I think. You see these different areas of the city that you never would have thought to even pray for before, so I think praying from a different view is huge. I think it’s awesome and we’re blessed to be able to do that sort of thing.”

The pastors head back to their church as Sanders shuts down the helicopter.

“I was given a gift. I’ve been so blessed. How many people have a helicopter?” Sanders said. “I do believe in the power of prayer, and I want to cover this whole community with it”

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Colorado • Pastors • United States

soundoff (558 Responses)
  1. BubbaCo

    I'm with Ricky Gervais on this one. I thank god each and every day that I'm an Atheist.

    February 21, 2011 at 12:53 pm |
  2. Rofliamsmarterthanyou

    Look at all the liberal atheists attacking christian belief. And i'll bet they claim christians push their beliefs on others. LOL ohhhhhhhhhh the hippocracy.

    February 21, 2011 at 12:46 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Rationally discussing the absurdity of childish manmade mythological tribal beliefs is not attacking christianity or forcing one's beliefs on others. Attempting to change laws affecting all because a particular imaginary friend, speaking through a high priest, says so is.

      February 21, 2011 at 12:55 pm |
    • Rofliamsmarterthanyou

      HotAirAce – You need to understand one set of things right away. First, i can debate you right here and now rationally, and maturely, about God and Jesus and what have you, and i can win, with scientific fact, in favor of God. – Second, that little 'in god we trust' on your money, it's not the Christian God, and third, westboro baptist are not christians, i know them personally, they are simply a gang of lawyers that take advantage of the 1st ammendment by suing and counter-suing over outrages things. Christians do not impose laws on anyone, as much as you would like to believe they do.

      February 21, 2011 at 1:12 pm |
    • Skeptical Analysis

      Prove god in a manner not already debunked time and again... Ready... Go! And there is no such thing as scientific evidence for something that is niether material nor manifests in material. As for the westboro baptists, you are not the one to decide whether they are Christian; They are! If they self identify as Christian, you don't get to take that away with your opinion. And if you don't think the GOP is trying to legislate their religious ideology, you don't know what the definition of religious ideology is.

      February 21, 2011 at 1:34 pm |
    • Eric G.

      @Rofl: "i can debate you right here and now rationally, and maturely, about God and Jesus and what have you, and i can win, with scientific fact, in favor of God."

      I noticed that you use the words "rationally and maturely" but absent are the words 'honestly and logically'. But, what the heck, it's a slow day.... Please provide verifiable evidence that your god exists. Let's start there.

      February 21, 2011 at 1:36 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      You've thrown up a lot of strawmen, dragged in other aspects that I nor anyone else mentioned and have made a huge claim about being able to prove what has not been proven in thousands of years. So please, do get on with it. Believe it or not, I am completely open to a new, and especially valid, proof for god – any one or several of them. We're waiting...

      February 21, 2011 at 2:14 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Rofliamsmarterthanyou

      I would not take Eric G. up on his offer. He will eat you for lunch. I would not debate Eric.

      Cheers!

      February 21, 2011 at 2:19 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Looks like Rofliamsmarterthanyou is yet another drive-by-believer-blogger – quick to post and make huge claims, never to be seen again when challenged...

      February 22, 2011 at 12:57 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      @Rofliamsmarterthanyou

      We are waiting for your proof. How much more time do you need to whip us atheists into believers? I suspect it will about as long as christians will be waiting for the return of jc – infinity.

      February 26, 2011 at 1:46 am |
    • HotAirAce

      @Rofliamsmarterthanyou

      Still waiting...

      February 27, 2011 at 6:50 pm |
  3. There Are No Gods!

    lol the insanity of the religious will never cease to amuse me!

    February 21, 2011 at 12:42 pm |
  4. Southwest Airlines Rider

    I don't know about Colorado Springs but I can assure you the people in Baltimore and manchesterm NH were showered from above with prayers on Saturday....strong crosswinds made for some heartfelt praying on those two landings. Maybe prayer works, we made it home safe and sound.

    February 21, 2011 at 12:42 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      To generalize, without meaning to put words into the original poster's mouth, if a plane lands successfully in difficult conditions, it's the work of a sky daddy, but if it crashes, it's "pilot error." Nothing wrong with this picture!

      February 21, 2011 at 12:49 pm |
    • Southwest Airlines Rider

      We made it, so there must be something left here for me. If we crashed, God said no and it was time to fly on to another place. Maybe it was silly to pray, looks like I would have been a winner either way. Thanks for provoking that thought process! It was a blessing! 😉 BTW, I did thank the pilot on my way out for some fantastic piloting!

      February 21, 2011 at 1:02 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Hot Air and Southwest Airlines Rider, Go tell that to Chesley Burnett Sullenberger III US Airways Flight 1549 and the 150 passengers, three flight attendants and the other pilot who survived while on board the jetliner.

      News folks dubed this story "Miracle on the Hudson River".

      Go figure!

      February 22, 2011 at 4:01 am |
    • HotAirAce

      @HeavenSent

      Wrong as usual – from interview of Sullenberger by Katie Couric:

      "Asked if he at any point prayed, he told Couric, “I would imagine somebody in back was taking care of that for me while I was flying the airplane.”

      “My focus at that point was so intensely on the landing,” he said. “I thought of nothing else.” "

      Re: the word miracle, I thought only the rcc could declare something to be a miracle? They're busy pushing a couple through for child-molester-protector jp2, so I suspect they have not ruled on this bit of superior piloting. In any event, the rcc nor any religion owns the word miracle – it is also used to describe an outstanding achievement or event, regardless of cause.

      February 23, 2011 at 5:00 pm |
  5. TheTruth72

    It's interesting and quite sad how no one does their research of the things that are happening in the world and on Bible prophecy. Then they go and spout words out of their mouths without knowing what they are saying. There's so much truth in the Bible if only you would open your eyes and ears. Those with hardened hearts will not understand and will scoff at such things. If you have an urge to scoff at this, then check yourself, cause maybe you have a hardened heart, then I really urge you to do some research for yourself and stop listening and mimicing the media and other scoffers.

    February 21, 2011 at 12:34 pm |
    • Igor

      "here's so much truth in the Bible if only you would open your eyes and ears."

      Name one thing that happened exactly as the bible prophesized that isn't mentioned solely in the bible.

      February 21, 2011 at 12:40 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Please provide a list of unambiguous fulfilled prophecies. I have searched for such a list, and asked for same numerous times, when others have made similar claims, but am still empty-handed. I suspect you will not meet this challenge either, but I do remain hopeful.

      February 21, 2011 at 12:44 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      I’m sure if I or other believers posted them to you HotAir, it would be blocked by the mod squad. Therefore, I suggest you do as Jesus told us to do in Matthew 7:7-8

      Christ speaking:

      7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:

      8 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

      February 22, 2011 at 3:49 am |
    • HotAirAce

      @HeavenSent

      There is no live active moderator. It is just a silly piece of soft-ware looking for certain word fragments. If you avoid the naughty word fragments, your post will make it through. In fact, in my first try at posting this, I forgot about soft- so was put into "awaiting moderation" jail, but simply adding a hyphen satisfied the moderator. Unfortunately, there is not an official list of bad word fragments – they have been discovered by trial and error, and the list is posted occasionally. Here're some common ones:

      s3x
      c-um
      t!t
      soft-

      So, back to you – please post your list of unambiguous fulfilled prophecies. As I said above, I have looked and requested same, but no one to date has been able to deliver.

      February 22, 2011 at 12:55 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      @HeavenSent

      How's the list coming? You are about to be added to the "makes big claim but can't back it up" list.

      February 26, 2011 at 1:44 am |
    • HotAirAce

      @HeavenScent

      Still waiting....

      February 27, 2011 at 6:49 pm |
  6. Rev. Schaeffer

    On the one hand I've got a guy selflessly flying over the neighborhood praying (perhaps ineffectively) for my well-being. On the other hand I've got bloggers self-righteously flying over the forum mocking me (just as ineffectively) for viewing the world differently.

    Which community is going to walk away from the experience feeling loved and appreciated as human beings?

    Prayer may not cure disease, but it's remarkably effective in cultivating compassion in those who indulge in the practice. I may not be able to lift someone out of their wheelchair, but I can certainly lift their spirits.... and that is just as important to their health as the condition of their body. Just because prayer isn't working the way you expect doesn't mean it's useless.

    February 21, 2011 at 12:33 pm |
    • Igor

      "may not be able to lift someone out of their wheelchair, but I can certainly lift their spirits.... and that is just as important to their health as the condition of their body. "

      Then perhaps you could explain why in a large Templeton Foundation study, those who knew they were being prayed for had a greater chance of complications from a heart bypass surgery then the rest of the sample? There are many ways to express compassion for others that don't involve praying. Sympathy and empathy are not religious concepts.

      February 21, 2011 at 12:53 pm |
    • Rev. Schaeffer

      I tried to respond, but despite Reality's help I can't figure out what the filter is objecting to. Let's try something even simpler..

      "Private or family prayer is widely believed to influence recovery from illness and the results of this study do not challenge this belief."

      If you don't want prayer, how about some homemade chicken soup? I hear it works wonders.

      February 21, 2011 at 2:06 pm |
    • Rev. Schaeffer

      Ahh, there it was: a"ti-t"ude... sorry for the redundancy, but let me try this again...

      As quoted from the study:

      "We have no clear explanation for the observed excess of complications in patients who were certain that intercessors would pray for them (Group 3). While post-operative atrial fibrillation/flutter was responsible for much of the excess of complications in Group 3 patients, this outcome is only one of the complications that contributed to the composite outcome and the excess may be a chance finding."

      "Private or family prayer is widely believed to influence recovery from illness and the results of this study do not challenge this belief."

      The study didn't investigate the psychological or emotional impact of intercessory prayer. You can, however, find a number of studies that support the hypothesis that a positive atti-tude can provide less tangible healing benefits. (For example, the MANTRA study.) I never said that prayer was the only way to express compassion, nor did I state that one must be religious to possess sympathy and empathy. I don't care if people are atheists, and I don't ridicule those who employ music, imagery and touch therapy or accuse them of being stupid just because they don't believe in God. What really matters is that we're reaching out to support one another. It may not solve the problem, but it makes a difference.

      If you don't want prayer, how about a bowl of homemade chicken soup? I hear it works wonders.

      February 21, 2011 at 2:16 pm |
    • Igor

      "Private or family prayer is widely believed to influence recovery from illness and the results of this study do not challenge this belief."

      So I give you a controlled double blind study and you tell me that something is believed therefore it must be true. OK fine, where I come from it is widely believed Jews still use Christian babies' blood to make matza. I suppose that is enough proof for you.

      "You can, however, find a number of studies that support the hypothesis that a positive atti-tude can provide less tangible healing benefits."

      My point is that if there are other ways to do it without developing a complex system which try to base present morals on a 5000 year old belief system with all the incidental problems that arise as the result. Being optimistic is a mindset not a literal belief that being optimistic will save you or that i have to spread my optimism by flying high above.

      You are correct though that the reason for one group having a higher rate of post-operative complications is an untested artifact which may or may not be the result of the awareness of prayer. That does not change the fact that those prayed for did not perform any better than those in the control group, which indicates that at minimum praying for others is an exercise in futility.

      "I don't care if people are atheists, and I don't ridicule those who employ music, imagery and touch therapy or accuse them of being stupid just because they don't believe in God."

      Nor do i if people are Christians, Muslim, Baha'i, Zoroastrian, Polytheist, whatever. These are all just ideas and should be subject to criticism just like any other ideas if there is good basis. I don't call theists stupid unless the extent of their fundamentalism makes them completely loose touch with reality.

      February 21, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
    • Rev. Schaeffer

      "So I give you a controlled double blind study and you tell me that something is believed therefore it must be true."

      I didn't say it, the study you referenced said it. I did say that there are other studies to support that hypothesis. I completely agree that there are many ways to go about inspiring people and trying to make them feel better. Faith in God is just one avenue. It doesn't require a complex system of morals and may not be applicable to all. I don't believe in praying for those who don't want it, because then the praying is about *me* and not the one I am trying to comfort... perhaps that was why some of the people did poorly?

      I don't mind if you disagree, the exchange of ideas is necessary for all philosophies to mature. Nor am I lumping you in with the ones who just say "hahah, only morons believe in God". Nobody has all the answers. However, if this pilot was spending his time and money doing something equally "ineffective", like putting on comedy routines for the ill, I doubt he would be facing such criticism.

      February 21, 2011 at 2:54 pm |
    • Magic

      Rev. Schaeffer,

      Good, reasonable comments, generally. But...

      "However, if this pilot was spending his time and money doing something equally "ineffective", like putting on comedy routines for the ill, I doubt he would be facing such criticism.'

      If his belief in comedy routines extrapolated to a whole set of beliefs which concern the government and requirements of behavior for us all, I think there would be some serious questioning.

      February 21, 2011 at 3:08 pm |
    • Rev. Schaeffer

      What if the headline read "Pilot Performs George Carlin Sketches for the Sick"? Would he be condemned for trying to convert them to atheism? What if he was a Buddhist... would Metta Karuna prayers be less offensive?

      I didn't call my mom an idiot or accuse her of trying to force me to believe in some silly magical healing power when I was sick and she made soup for me. I just said thanks for caring, I feel better already.

      February 21, 2011 at 3:41 pm |
  7. SDUKE

    what an amazing idea! The power of prayer is incredible and i'm so glad this guy has incorporated into every aspect of his life! i'm saddened by the previous posts, how many other negative things are running through your mind and poisoning your lives daily that you don't blog about? My prayers are with you today despite all your hateful commentary. May you one day come to know the true joy of a relationship with our creator.

    February 21, 2011 at 12:29 pm |
  8. Eric

    I am but one Atheist in Colorado Springs to help balance things out. I propose changing Garden of the Gods to Garden of the Dogs since I like to walk my dogs there.

    February 21, 2011 at 12:28 pm |
  9. ThinkRationally

    Has it ever been remotely established that prayer does anything other than make the person praying feel like they're doing something? Each to his own, I guess.

    February 21, 2011 at 12:26 pm |
    • Tyler

      Yes. See http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/31/health/31pray.html. This article cites the original study.

      February 21, 2011 at 12:43 pm |
    • Igor

      Which is why i always tell people, if you want to pray for me just don't tell me about it. I'd like to think that my condition is not so dire that it requires divine intervention.

      February 21, 2011 at 12:58 pm |
    • Skeptical Analysis

      @ Igor – That is hilarious! I'm stealing it 😉

      February 21, 2011 at 1:13 pm |
  10. michaelh

    I am a believer in Jesus Christ and a true beliver.
    I also believe this is a bunch of junk. Save the fuel and pray with your feet on the ground

    February 21, 2011 at 12:24 pm |
    • Renee Denker

      I agree Michael, Christian or not, my first thought was : why not save the fuel time and donate that money to the very people "below" who are in poverty. I bet those ministers enjoyed a free air ride. How much is an hour of tourist helicopter time? Oh brother...

      February 21, 2011 at 12:50 pm |
  11. andrew

    There is no god.

    February 21, 2011 at 12:23 pm |
    • Jesus Believer

      At 3 yrs old, I was pronounced dead from kidney failure....5 minutes later I woke up and told my parents I loved Jesus and wanted to be a sunday school teacher. My mother passed out cold on the floor. They were atheists at the time and I had never been exposed to anything religious or told the name Jesus or God before.

      February 21, 2011 at 12:31 pm |
    • Igor

      "At 3 yrs old, I was pronounced dead from kidney failure....5 minutes later I woke up and told my parents I loved Jesus and wanted to be a sunday school teacher. My mother passed out cold on the floor. They were atheists at the time and I had never been exposed to anything religious or told the name Jesus or God before."

      Oh yeah, all of my memories from when i was 3 are so clear that I know exactly what happened? Do you remember that or is that what your parents, who are likely no longer atheists tell you? In fact, it's highly unlikely that they never mentioned God or Jesus before. I say both all the time and I doesn't make me any more of a believer. I probably even read more scripture than most believers out there. My favorite is still Greco-Roman Mythology.

      February 21, 2011 at 12:38 pm |
    • Jesus Believer

      The memories are my own. My parents are not converted either. I'm sure they aren't atheist anymore, probably more agnostic I would say. But I am an all in believer, I can't help but believe....it would be like me refusing to believe I need to breath air to live. Once you have been in the presence of God , every fiber of your being knows its true and no matter how your feeble earthly mind tries to take the scientific approach, your always reverted back to that perfect moment in His presence. I truly feel terrible for people who don't believe in anything. Iit must ultimately be a harsh and lonely world to think that all you have ahead of this life is a nice cold box six feet under ground. Even if I hadn't had this experience, I'd rather live my life spiritually in peace, hope & love than in the bitter physical confines of my 5 earthly senses.

      February 21, 2011 at 12:56 pm |
    • Igor

      "The memories are my own."

      I hardly find it credible that at 3 years old you even know what catastrophic kidney failure was. Incidentally, what caused it? Moreover, if it was such a great miracle, why aren't your parents converted?

      "I am an all in believer, I can't help but believe....it would be like me refusing to believe I need to breath air to live."

      Now you know how I feel. Try to empathize if you are capable.

      "I truly feel terrible for people who don't believe in anything. Iit must ultimately be a harsh and lonely world to think that all you have ahead of this life is a nice cold box six feet under ground."

      Yet here we are leading happy productive lives, raising children, falling in love without needing to assume something about people we have never met or talked to simply because they believe differently.You sound like a heroin addict who told me opnce he felt sorry that I never experienced the joy and pleasure after consuming the drug. At least he was talking about something we know produces that effect, even if it's a false and temporary happiness.

      February 21, 2011 at 1:05 pm |
    • Skeptical Analysis

      @ Jesus Believer – Your anecdotal story is so cliché that I mistook it for satire until I read your response to Igor. Even then, I'm still not sure? Either way, add in some details about talking to recently dead relatives, Jesus, and a miscarried fetus (sibling that only your mom had info about). Also, as you lost consciousness and started rising above your body, you can add perceived credibility by describing the operating room and a picture that only the doctor knew was on top of a cabinet...

      February 21, 2011 at 1:10 pm |
    • Igor

      Well I like to give people the benefit of the doubt rather then plainly call them out on a lie. It is a story so cliche it borders something one made up to justify his belief and chastise those who believe differently, However, at this juncture, i prefer to think that the early nature of the memory plays tricks on him, as is common with early childhood memories when we fill in the blanks years later.

      February 21, 2011 at 1:19 pm |
    • Jesus Believer

      Igor, I am sorry for whatever experience you've had that made you feel this way.

      Skeptical, nope, no dead relatives, fetuses?, doctors or signs?. My only memories before death were the cold of the steel bars around my bed (hospital crib like thing), needles and blood in the IV tube from a blood transfusion. I have no memory of my death or an out of body experience, just His presence ...no tunnel, no light, He didn't talk to me, it was just like I knew what He was conveying with no words spoken and then waking up and talking to my parents. I don't remember seeing a doctor there, just a nurse at the head of my bed and the sun streaming in the window onto the floor.

      I guess you could liken it to a drug, but one that never wares off or I run out of. I also don't need to buy it, it comes freely and without cost or consequence. If I'm drinking the punch, may my cup never run dry.

      February 21, 2011 at 1:30 pm |
    • Igor

      "Igor, I am sorry for whatever experience you've had that made you feel this way."

      What way? Why do you automatically assume there had to be some experience that made me feel this way?
      " I have no memory of my death...."
      Then someone told you that you died. Surely life after death connotes some awareness of having died, especially if there was divine intervention? How long were you dead for?

      "then waking up and talking to my parents.

      "I don't remember seeing a doctor there."

      How unusual, especially since if you were an infant going into a cardiac arrst there would be a swarm of doctors untill you stabilized. In fact, so many you should be able to remember it if you recall other things with such precision.

      "I guess you could liken it to a drug"
      I don't, although I suppose there is more then one way to elevate your dopamine levels.

      "It comes freely and without cost or consequence. If I'm drinking the punch, may my cup never run dry."

      If you spend an inordinate amount of time on worship then there is a cost. If you use your belief in supernatural to make real world decisions there is a cost and even consequences.

      February 21, 2011 at 1:43 pm |
    • Moravian

      Yes there is one and it's called The Dollar, over half of US folks worships it on daily basis. Believers and nonbelievers alike go to unbelievable length to be exposed to as much God as possible. God's trademark is even endorsed on the legal tender.

      February 21, 2011 at 1:52 pm |
    • Jesus Believer

      I know I died because I was in god's presence but I don't remember the physical act of dying, floating in the air or whatever else. I presume that this person had a negative experience that made them feel this way about religion/spritualty in the same way you assume I spend inordinate amounts of time in worship.

      I didn't say there weren't doctors there I just have no memory of them and unlike others I won't make up the story that there were and they were all instantly converted to Chritianity.

      my drug response was to your likening me to a heroin addict comment.

      I use my belief in supernatural to make real world decisions in the same manner that you use your disbelief to make the real world decision to log onto this CNN article and critique comments. I relayed my own personal story factually. I didn't tell my story and then condem others for not believeing it. No matter how many more replies you make to belittle or pick it apart, the fact remains that when I was 3, I was pronounced dead and approximately 5 minutes later I awoke speaking of something I had no prior knowledge of.

      February 21, 2011 at 2:01 pm |
    • Igor

      "I know I died because I was in god's presence but I don't remember the physical act of dying"

      Isn't god ominpresent? Moreover, clinical death has a very specific connotation. So thinking you died and felt God's presence doesn't make it so. However, that would explain why there were no doctors. You think you died when in fact you either imagined it or interpreted it that way.

      "I presume that this person had a negative experience that made them feel this way about religion/spritualty in the same way you assume I spend inordinate amounts of time in worship."

      I assumed no such thing. Did you notice the "ifs?" I wasn't talking about you specifically, it was illustrative. And at any rate, some do spend inordinate amount of time on worship. What would make you assume some experience or that one is even necessary?

      "I didn't say there weren't doctors there I just have no memory of them and unlike others I won't make up the story that there were and they were all instantly converted to Chritianity."

      I addressed that point by stating that I find it unlikely that you have recollection of death, god, saying Jesus, light coming from the window, but not a horde of doctors trying to revive you, which is what happens if you really went into cardiac arrest. It's a strains credibility that's all. I didn't say you are making up things either. As I said before I give people the benefit of a doubt. You may simply be mistaken as memory plays tricks on all especially a memory from when you were 3.

      my drug response was to your likening me to a heroin addict comment.

      "I didn't tell my story and then condem others for not believeing it."
      Yet you did say that somehow we are miserable and lonely and hardened as a result? Do you know what Irony means?

      "No matter how many more replies you make to belittle or pick it apart, the fact remains that when I"was 3, and approximately 5 minutes later I awoke speaking of something I had no prior knowledge of."

      Well of course facts and what actually happened doesn't matter to you? And then you tell me that you make real world decisions the same way i do? How can you when you don't care about factual testing as long as you believe. I would quickly change my view if verifiable evidence of god presented itself not in a form of an anecdote from someone who claims they don't care about inconsistencies as long as they believe. Would you want someone on a jury say they don't care about inconsistencies in a witnesses story ecause they are divinely inspired?

      February 21, 2011 at 2:18 pm |
    • Jesus Believer

      I am assuming I don't recall seeing a doctor because I had already been pronounced dead for 5 or so minutes. There was no revival in process when I awoke, they were letting my parents have their time with their daughter who had just died.

      My medical records say I was pronounced dead, I'm assuming they were writing factually, but they could be mistaken. You said I was in cardia arrest but it doesn't mention cardiac arrest, just total renal and systemic failure. I also did not mention the total restoration of my kidneys and renal function post my waking up with no need for follow up therapy, though I was being lined up for a kidney transplant. There is evidence of spontaneous regeneration of tissue, especially in someone so young, so not sure if that was a miracle by miralce standards.

      I assume God is omnipresent since there would be no reason to convey that you are God to a child if you don't have the full capability of being God. But my experience with Him that day I would liken to your proximaty to a fire....the closer you get to it, the hotter it gets. I would like to think we are always in His presence but alas I am not God and I don't try to portray my self as knowing everything and having all the answers.

      Its pretty presumptive to say I have no memories of my own when I was 3 when there are 9 year olds graduating from college. Some people are just gifted in different ways than others. Or maybe the experience was so profound it was burned in my memory. Others have told me things surrounding my illness but I didn't convey those as they are not my own memories.

      In my original post, I conveyed my story without comment on how others feel. In response to your comments I wrote :" I truly feel terrible for people who don't believe in anything. Iit must ultimately be a harsh and lonely world to think that all you have ahead of this life is a nice cold box six feet under ground. " the statement "we are miserable and lonely and hardened as a result" didn't come from me, those were your words.

      You said you would change your mind if verifiable evidence of God existed. Are you sure you would? A lot of times both believers and non-believers move things around in their mind like chess pieces to make the outcome what they want it to be. I've heard debates that sounded pretty convincing to me but I am not well versed in such things and would be poor form of me to try and represent those who have evidence of the existance God. I can only convey my own personal experience.

      February 21, 2011 at 2:53 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Jesus Believer, don't waste your breath on anyone who can't remember what they were doing at the age of 3 or earlier. They simply don't want to remember.

      February 22, 2011 at 3:08 am |
  12. darrell bezet

    let those that have eye,s see let thoes that have ear,s here let all other,s rest in hell

    February 21, 2011 at 12:18 pm |
    • tommas

      Everyone is going to someone else's hell

      February 21, 2011 at 12:24 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Yes, those eternal flames of Jesus, while they get their own worm that feast off their skulls.

      February 22, 2011 at 3:02 am |
  13. Pinewalker

    Wow this article has more people wound up than the dust that helicopter is kicking up! If you don't like praying.... chant, meditate or just take a deep breath people., because some of you are about to explode!

    February 21, 2011 at 12:16 pm |
    • Igor

      Why? Do you think it's a virtue to fly around in a helicopter asking for divine intervention and thinking you are helping people?

      February 21, 2011 at 12:24 pm |
    • Pinewalker

      As long as they aren't hurting anyone...let them pray away. What gets me is how worked up people get. Don't like it, don't do it. I don't begrudge the Jesus freaks their prayers any more than I begrudge an S&M freak their chains & whips. Everything is relative....live and let live people and be more conerned about your own business than someone elses.

      February 21, 2011 at 12:36 pm |
    • Igor

      "As long as they aren't hurting anyone...let them pray away."

      As it should be. But publicizing this and then praising it as a virtue further reinforces the idea that there is no need to actually do something useful to help people as long as you believe. That is not a harmless mindset and should not be catered to by withholding criticism. And who knows, sometimes you can have an intelligent conversation with someone who believes but doesn't feel the need to cite bible verses to prove that we're going to hell.

      February 21, 2011 at 12:49 pm |
    • Renee Denker

      No Pinewalker, this is simply about useless and expensive helicopter rides that don't do a darn thing for those poor people below who have not enough money to pay the rent let alone pay for a helicopter ride. Add the air and noise pollution and people have a right to vent about this idiocy.

      February 21, 2011 at 12:53 pm |
    • MikeJ

      Exactly how may people have you any of you helped?

      February 21, 2011 at 12:59 pm |
    • Igor

      "Exactly how may people have you any of you helped?"

      Many more than this guy flying around praying onto others. Except that nothing I do gets reported nor do i ask for some special recognition. I would be much less critical of this nonsense if he prayed for people he was transporting to the hospital.

      February 21, 2011 at 1:14 pm |
    • Pinewalker

      Don't be so self righteous....people do expensive and uselss things every day. Ever had an expensive meal at a fine reataurant? Could feed a hundred hungry children with that money. The wine you drank was likely harvested by migrant workers making less than minimum wage, toiling under a hot sun. Your purchase didn't help them any either. If these guys want to go up in the air and pray or someoene wants to buy a thousand dollar bottle of wine, have at it. Either way I guess they'll both go to bed feeling good!

      February 21, 2011 at 1:17 pm |
    • Igor

      "Don't be so self righteous....people do expensive and uselss things every day. Ever had an expensive meal at a fine reataurant? Could feed a hundred hungry children with that money. The wine you drank was likely harvested by migrant workers making less than minimum wage, toiling under a hot sun. Your purchase didn't help them any either. If these guys want to go up in the air and pray or someoene wants to buy a thousand dollar bottle of wine, have at it. Either way I guess they'll both go to bed feeling good!"

      In fact I am so self-righteous I refuse to brag about the good I do even when someone tries to call me out on it because I don't think it's a big deal. Yours is a terribly flawed analogy. If I have an expensive meal i don't think I'm helping people (maybe contributing to continued employment of the restaurant workers.) You are actually proving my point as none of these activities make me or anyone sane think they are charitable. Yet what this pilot is doing is extolled as an akt of virtue and kindness. Your self righteousness radar is malfunctioning. In

      February 21, 2011 at 1:34 pm |
    • Pinewalker

      Maybe you need to re-read my post, you are agreeing with me. If these guys choose to go up in the air and pray or a guy buys a thousand bottle of wine, either way its their perogative. If you find a guy giving away thousand dollar bottles of wine, or twenty dollar ones, I vote he be extolled for his virtuous act of kindess as well. I'm less pushing the greatness of the story than the responses people have had to it. Its a free country, let these guys fly around and pray and let CNN have its freedom of press and lastly live your loves and let others live theirs.....can't we just all get along??

      February 21, 2011 at 1:46 pm |
    • Igor

      Sorry, since your post was immediately after mine I assumed it was in response. And since it takes less time to make things up or just copy/paste bible quotes my speed reading and reading comprehension skills are stressed to their limit.

      February 21, 2011 at 2:02 pm |
  14. Bill

    Nothing fails like prayer.

    February 21, 2011 at 12:15 pm |
  15. Andrew

    In a world where children are going cold and hungry this church can spend money on doing their juju from the sky in a helicopter. How much food is one helicopter flight? How can god hear you over the rotor blades?

    February 21, 2011 at 12:14 pm |
    • Bob

      The churches do not pay for the flight time. The flight is donated by the owner, who is a private citizen.

      Keep up the good work Will.

      March 24, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
  16. Igor

    Prayer is probably the best way to do nothing and still feel like you are helping. This guy can put his flying skills and helicopter to so many beneficial uses. If he wants to believe that is fine with me. But he shouldn't be praised for doing something so useless. Fortunately for him most sick people below don't know he is praying for them, since a major Templeton Foundation study indicated that patients recovering from heart bypass surgery who were aware of the prayers had a greater incidence of complications then the rest of the sample. As I tell everyone, if you want to pray for me knock yourself out, but don't tell me about it lest i fare even worse.

    February 21, 2011 at 12:13 pm |
  17. darrell bezet

    yes fossilis is all you are guna get just know this god,s grace is able to save even you an un beliver praise jesus amen

    February 21, 2011 at 12:10 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Is the above a quote from the bible or just bad english? The two are sometimes hard to tell apart...

      February 21, 2011 at 12:14 pm |
    • Igor

      "yes fossilis is all you are guna get just know this god,s grace is able to save even you an un beliver praise jesus amen"

      I recommend you pray for greater literacy. Although since there is no evidence that prayer works, I suggest you try reading.

      February 21, 2011 at 12:15 pm |
    • Tyler

      Home schooling at it's best ?!?

      February 21, 2011 at 12:39 pm |
  18. Mesa Mick

    What a load of nonsense...Prayin'. If these pagan-like lunatics in Colorado Springs think mindless chants while rinding in a copter accomplish something in the real, existential world maybe they should try voodoo dolls and talismans as well.

    Remember – If you want to do something that makes you feel like you are but in reality you aren't – then pray...

    February 21, 2011 at 12:07 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      And Mesa flies where? When? How often?

      February 22, 2011 at 2:49 am |
  19. Fred Lipstein

    They better be praying in that R22 welfare-helicopter deathtrap.

    February 21, 2011 at 12:06 pm |
    • Pinewalker

      Amen! That's exactly what I was thinking! LOL!

      February 21, 2011 at 12:20 pm |
    • Bluerocket

      Its an R44 Fred.

      February 21, 2011 at 12:28 pm |
  20. M. Edelson

    The vengeful, self-centered, murdering god of the Bronze Age bible and its revisions could not revive a stale Twinkie, convert water into Mountain Dew or convince a louse to forsake your hair. I wouldn’t want this psycho as my neighbor much less as a voice in my head. Praying is one talking to himself and the action of a questionable mind. Imagine the embarrassment of the god-fearing people when they die and just lie there never waking up in Jesus Land. Give me fossils not gospels any day and every day.

    February 21, 2011 at 12:02 pm |
    • B. Believing

      If Godfearing people are wrong, we won't know it (hasn't hurt us at all), however, if we are right and there is life after death and a God, we benefit greatly! Try talking to the 'non existant God'; if He is there.... wonderful! If He is not there, you've lost nothing in the trying.

      February 21, 2011 at 12:15 pm |
    • Jim Jones

      Well said. Same goes for all of those people who murdered and killed themselves for an invisible God above. Wasted lives and it's all for nothing. A primative belief system in place to keep primative people in line. It's all a sham. In the future, it will all be looked at the same way we view the Salem Witch Trials...a lot of innocent people tortured and murdered for some imaginary great thought reading megalomaniac physicist/mathmatician who needs to be worshiped.

      SCAM. FRAUD. MYTH....DEBUNKED.

      February 21, 2011 at 12:19 pm |
    • JackoB

      You seem just as intolerant as the people you decry. Hope you enjoy being lonely.

      February 21, 2011 at 12:21 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Re B. Believing's, yet another trotting out of Pascal's Wager to support the insincere belief in sky daddies.

      February 21, 2011 at 12:25 pm |
    • Skeptical Analysis

      @ B. Believing – You act as if it is a black and white decision. What god are you going to chose? And which prophet are you going to follow? If you chose wrong, you will be in worse shape than not believing. When it comes to something as important as your belief in salvation, you better study up on all of the world religions. There are many religions with damnation far more uncomfortable than the one described by Xianity. And a final posiblity is a god who rewards skeptisicm and reason and punishes blind faith. It could all be a test to sort out the gullible and foolish so that heaven isn't full of idiots?

      February 21, 2011 at 12:27 pm |
    • Igor

      "If Godfearing people are wrong, we won't know it (hasn't hurt us at all), however, if we are right and there is life after death and a God, we benefit greatly!."

      This is a logical fallacy known as a false dichotomy. You only present two possible outcomes without considering an infinite number of possibilities that don't make it a good idea at all to believe or pray to a particular god. What if you are praying to a wrong god? What if the god you are praying to has a sick sense of humor (as Torah demonstrates fairly well) and will do the opposite of what you are asking? And so on and so forth. When you include these possibilities, it may actually be to your detriment to pray, as it may have a negative outcome or you are simply wasting time and energy and resources.

      February 21, 2011 at 12:30 pm |
    • ldean

      I wonder how much this guy charges? what a ripe-off . . . under the guise of "Christianity." shamey shamey

      February 21, 2011 at 12:48 pm |
    • Bob

      I've seen and heard evidence that absolutely and completely invalidates your theory. Not tied to any one religion here, but, you are wrong on this one.

      February 21, 2011 at 12:48 pm |
    • 11109

      I am a belever in jesus... and I was wondering.... why do those who detest the christian faith read and comment on this blog.
      Maybe youd be happer on love satan.com

      February 21, 2011 at 2:58 pm |
    • rich

      @ 11109 – You are an idiot; I don’t believe in your god or your anti-god.

      February 21, 2011 at 3:07 pm |
    • Joe

      The Bible was written in the Iron Age, not the Bronze Age. This falsehood is often repeated...a mind-virus if there ever was one.

      February 21, 2011 at 8:47 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      @11109

      There are no gods, not even just one, no satan either, jc did not die on the cross for anyone, unicorns (pink or otherwise), leprechauns, faeries, Sanata Claus and the Easter Bunny do not exist either, although they all share the same degree of credibility as any tribe's mythological beings, including jc's.

      February 21, 2011 at 8:52 pm |
    • 11109

      to hotairace et all...

      to hotairace etc...
      I was trying to be witty about satan.com...
      Lets try this again..
      Why do you who hold such distain for christians, troll on the belief blog....
      For us who believe,,,, this blog can be a souce of inspiration.... please dont poison the water.
      I would think you would be happier on a site that appeals to those who share your opinon.

      February 22, 2011 at 12:14 am |
    • HotAirAce

      @11109

      As I have anwered previously, to :

      1) correct, within my limited abilities, the false statements made by believers,
      2) to provide an alternative view to religion (preventing one person from believing the unbelievable is worth the repet!tive debates),
      3) to keep an eye on the crazies trying to turn the USA and other countries into theocracies and
      4) for the pure amusement provided by believers trying to justify their irrational beliefs.

      February 22, 2011 at 12:27 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Luke 17:30: "Even thus shall it be IN THE DAY when the son of man is revealed. . . (vs 31) IN THAT DAY . . . (vs 34) I tell you, IN THAT NIGHT . . ." Nobody in Luke's day thought it could be day and night at the same time! They thought the earth was flat! Luke was written around 65 A.D. How did Luke know something that others didn't know until the 16th century?

      Isaiah 40:22: "It is he that sitteth upon the CIRCLE OF THE EARTH." How did Isaiah know in 700 B.C. the earth is round? They didn't discover the earth is round until the early 1500s when Magellan sailed around the world. How did Isaiah know something over 2000 years ahead ????

      Job 26:7: ". . . and hangeth the earth upon NOTHING." During the time of Job, it was believed a god named Atlas held the earth on his shoulders! Nobody believed the earth "hangeth upon NOTHING!" Job is the oldest book in the Bible! Written over 3500 years ago! How did Job know something that was IMPOSSIBLE to know during his day?

      Genesis 2:7: "And the Lord God formed man of the DUST OF THE GROUND, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and man became a living soul."

      Psalm 8:8: ". . . whatsoever passeth through the PATHS OF THE SEAS." After reading Psalm 8:8, so and so set out to locate these curious "paths in the seas." He discovered the oceans have paths which flow through them. He became known as the "pathfinder of the seas". How did David (the writer of Psalms) know, over 2,000 years ago, there were "paths in the seas"? David probably never even saw an ocean! HOW DID HE KNOW?

      Ecclesiastes 1:7: "All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again." How did the writer of Ecclesiastes know the water cycle of condensation and evaporation? The sun evaporates water from the ocean, water vapor rises and becomes clouds. This water in the clouds falls back to the earth as rain, collects in rivers, and makes its way back to the ocean. This wasn't known until Galileo in 1630! How did the writer of Ecclesiastes know this in 1000 B.C.?

      Leviticus 15:13: "And when he that hath an issue is cleansed of his issue; then he shall number to himself seven days for his cleansing, and wash his clothes, and bathe his flesh in RUNNING WATER." God said to wash the infected flesh in RUNNING WATER. Leviticus was written around 1490 B.C.

      Job 38:19: "Where is THE WAY where light dwelleth?" How come Job didn't say where is THE PLACE where light dwelleth? Because light is always moving. How did Job know something in 1500 B.C.?

      Ecclesiastes 1:6: "The wind goeth toward the south, and turneth about unto the north; it whirleth about continually, and the wind returneth again ACCORDING TO HIS CIRCUITS." How did the writer of Ecclesiastes know the wind traveled within circuits? THINK ABOUT IT! How can these men, with their limited knowledge thousands of years ago know this?

      Proverbs 6:6-8: "Go to the ant. . . gathereth her food in the harvest." There was no evidence that ants actually harvested grain. Solomon had been right after all. . ." How did Solomon know that in 1000 B.C.?

      Proverbs 17:22: "A merry heart doeth good ..." How did the writer of Proverbs know that?

      Leviticus 17:11: "For the life of the flesh is in the blood." Exactly what the Bible said in 1490 B.C.!

      Don't you find that odd? What Moses wrote in 1490 B.C.? The books of the Bible, written thousands of years ago, by men with such limited knowledge, be so far ahead? The Bible says, "And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians. . ." (Acts 7:22).

      February 22, 2011 at 2:47 am |
    • The Truth

      @HeavenSent: LOL... now you are quoting items from Terry Watkins who believes that Hell is an actual physical place located in the core of the Earth. He believes that Christian rock music is led by Satan. And are you ready for this... he believes that Santa Claus is really the devil!!!! (And no, sadly I'm not joking).

      Picking out just a few of these to illustrate how absolutely absurd this is and to further place your massive delusions on full display:

      Luke 17:30: "Even thus shall it be IN THE DAY when the son of man is revealed. . . (vs 31) IN THAT DAY . . . (vs 34) I tell you, IN THAT NIGHT . . ." Nobody in Luke's day thought it could be day and night at the same time! They thought the earth was flat! Luke was written around 65 A.D. How did Luke know something that others didn't know until the 16th century?

      #### LOL, YOU THINK THEY DIDN'T KNOW THAT UNTIL THE 16TH CENTURY?!?!?! HILARIOUS! SEE BELOW######
      >
      >

      Isaiah 40:22: "It is he that sitteth upon the CIRCLE OF THE EARTH." How did Isaiah know in 700 B.C. the earth is round? They didn't discover the earth is round until the early 1500s when Magellan sailed around the world. How did Isaiah know something over 2000 years ahead ????

      #### FIRST OFF, THE EARTH IS A SPHERE, NOT A CIRCLE (AND YES THERE IS A DIFFERENCE). SECONDLY, IF YOU REALLY THINK THAT THEY DIDN'T KNOW THE EARTH IS ROUND UNTIL 1,500 THEN YOU HAVE MORE ISSUES THAN I PREVIOUSLY THOUGHT. PYTHAGORAS IN THE 6TH CENTURY B.C. TALKED ABOUT THIS. AND HOW DID THEY KNOW... PROBABLY FROM STUDYING THE STARS.############
      >
      >

      Ecclesiastes 1:7: "All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again." How did the writer of Ecclesiastes know the water cycle of condensation and evaporation? The sun evaporates water from the ocean, water vapor rises and becomes clouds. This water in the clouds falls back to the earth as rain, collects in rivers, and makes its way back to the ocean. This wasn't known until Galileo in 1630! How did the writer of Ecclesiastes know this in 1000 B.C.?

      ##### DO YOU REALLY THINK THAT ALL RIVERS RUN INTO THE SEA??? LOL SOME RIVERS FLOW INTO LAKES AND OTHERS FLOW INTO THE GROUND AND OTHERS JUST DRY UP BEFORE REACHING ANOTHER BODY OF WATER. I GUESS GOD DIDN'T KNOW THAT#######
      >
      >

      Leviticus 15:13: "And when he that hath an issue is cleansed of his issue; then he shall number to himself seven days for his cleansing, and wash his clothes, and bathe his flesh in RUNNING WATER." God said to wash the infected flesh in RUNNING WATER. Leviticus was written around 1490 B.C.

      #### EVER HEARD OF A RIVER? WHAT ABOUT A NATURAL SPRING? GO AND CUT YOUR FINGER AND PUT IT IN STALE DIRTY WATER OR PUT IT IN FAST FLOWING WATER AND SEE WHICH FEELS BETTER. THIS IS COMMON SENSE. MOREOVER, THE ANCIENT EGYPTIANS AND ANCIENT CHINESE WERE MANUALLY BRINGING IN WATER VIA IRRIGATION AS FAR BACK AS 6,000 BC... OR ABOUT 4,500 YEARS BEFORE LEVITICUS. #####
      >
      >

      Job 38:19: "Where is THE WAY where light dwelleth?" How come Job didn't say where is THE PLACE where light dwelleth? Because light is always moving. How did Job know something in 1500 B.C.

      #### THE HINDUS, BUDDHISTS, GREEKS, ETC ALL UNDERSTOOD THIS. IN FACT, IN THE RIGVEDA, THEY EVEN MENTION THAT LIGHT IS MADE UP OF THREE PRIMARY COLORS WHICH WOULD HAVE BEEN WRITTEN IN THE EXACT SAME TIME FRAME.#######
      >
      >

      Keep on letting others think for you!

      Peace!

      February 22, 2011 at 3:53 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Advertisement
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.