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My Take: Japanese new religions' big role in disaster response
Volunteers carry boxes of food supplies to a distribution center in Iwate prefecture.
March 22nd, 2011
09:18 AM ET

My Take: Japanese new religions' big role in disaster response

Editor's Note: Barbara Ambros is associate professor in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, president of the Society for the Study of Japanese Religions and author of "Emplacing a Pilgrimage: The Oyama Cult and Regional Religion in Early Modern Japan."

By Barbara Ambros, Special to CNN

Devastating images of human suffering have been pouring in from Japan for over a week now and many of us have wanted to help. When news reports showed store shelves in Tokyo were emptying, I felt the irrational urge to mail necessities like rice, toilet paper and batteries to relatives and friends there.

Ultimately, I knew that by the time my care packages would reach Tokyo, store shelves would have been restocked. An organized relief effort requires pre-existing networks. After the Kobe earthquake in 1995, yakuza - Japan’s organized crime cartels - efficiently distributed food and water.

Since this month’s earthquake and tsunami struck Japan, other types of organized aid networks have also largely been neglected by the news media, including the Japanese news: those managed by religious organizations.

These charitable efforts include more than traditional Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines that many rightly associate with Japan. The thriving Japanese religious landscape is much more diverse than most outsiders realize, with many so-called new religious movements, in addition to Christian churches and Islamic centers.

Japan’s new religious movements are as diverse as new religions in the United States, where Mormonism and Scientology have emerged only relatively recently.

The oldest new religions of Japan trace their history to the early 19th century. The vast majority, however, came into being as independent religious organizations after the end of World War II, when such groups could first register as independent religious corporations after the Allied occupation relaxed the restrictive legislations of the pre-war era.

Originally organized around charismatic leaders, some new religions identify as Buddhist, others as Shinto and others as neither.

Since the March 11 earthquake and the resulting tsunami, many new religions have mounted extensive aid campaigns. Tenrikyo, one of the oldest organizations of this kind, was founded in 1838. From the late nineteenth century, the group was integrated into state-sanctioned Sectarian Shinto, but it rejected this affiliation after World War II to become independent.

Tenrikyo has established a disaster response center at its headquarters in Tenri City. The group’s long history of volunteering is rooted in its religious practice of hinokishin, a contribution of voluntary labor through which adherents express their gratitude toward the divine.

Tenrikyo Disaster Relief Hinokishin Corps is equipped to work with local governmental agencies and provide assistance in emergencies. A division from Niigata Prefecture is now at work in quake-ravaged Sendai to repair broken water lines. In addition, Tenrikyo has organized a vast, multinational fundraising campaign through its branch churches in Japan and around the world.

The largest new religion in Japan, Soka Gakkai, grew from a small lay Buddhist movement in the 1930s to millions of adherents today. At the forefront of organizing aid, Soka Gakkai’s Tokyo headquarters immediately became the group’s emergency communication center after the March 11 earthquake.

Soka Gakkai turned its northeastern facilities into shelters and mobilized centers in surrounding areas to ship food and supplies. The relief effort built on Soka Gakkai’s centrally organized youth groups. Its fundraising campaign has cut across national boundaries as donations have streamed in from domestic and overseas branches.

Other Buddhist new religious groups, such as Rissho Koseikai and Shinnyo-en, have likewise mobilized relief corps and are raising charitable donations for victims.

A characteristic feature of Japan’s new religions is having well-organized lay organizations and networks, making them effective channels for providing aid.

In addition to these material relief efforts, the new religions naturally have provided spiritual support. On March 15, Shinnyo-en’s leadership performed a prayer service for the victims and for a speedy recovery from the disaster.

On March 13, Ikeda Daisaku, the leader of Soka Gakkai announced that he and his wife were “sending powerful daimoku” to followers. The chanting of the daimoku, an incantation meaning “Honored be the Wonderful Law of the Lotus Sutra,” is a central practice of the group.

Ikeda exhorted followers to show strength in adversity, in the words of Nichiren, a medieval Buddhist monk who founded the school of Buddhism from which Soka Gakkai derives.

Though motivated by a sincere urge to help and spurred by a religious ethic that stresses social engagement, outreach may also present an opportunity for New Religions to improve their public relations.

Ever since Aum Shinrikyo, another new religion, shocked the nation by releasing deadly sarin gas in Tokyo’s subway system in 1995, many Japanese have eyed religion in general with great suspicion. The attacked killed 12 and injured thousands of others.

The suspicion has been particularly keenly felt by new religions, many of which have historically struggled to win wider social acceptance.

In the case of Aleph, a new religion that grew from Aum Shinrikyo’s remnants after its dissolution, the response to the earthquake seems like a careful gesture of redemption.

One day after the earthquake, Aleph issued a condolence message to the victims of the disaster. While this may not seem like much compared to the extensive relief efforts of other groups, it is a significant gesture given the powerful, negative emotions that the memory of Aum Shinrikyo evokes to this day.

Still, how many Japanese would be ready to accept aid from Aleph even more than 15 years after the Aum incident?

The concern is certainly understandable. But overlooking the extensive reach and strong humanitarian support of Japan’s new religions understates their significant role and reach - and ignores a key part of the ongoing disaster relief effort.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Barbara Ambros.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Asia • Buddhism • Japan • Opinion

soundoff (314 Responses)
  1. SoundGuy

    I recommend meditation. Here's a free guided meditation focusing on the breath: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LD8D3_0Vk9o

    March 22, 2011 at 5:33 pm |
  2. TJ

    God is love....all faiths know love.

    March 22, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
    • LetsThink123

      So you just replaced the word love with god, and therefore god exists??? Good one.

      March 23, 2011 at 1:44 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End," says the Lord, "who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.

      Revelation 1:8

      Amen..

      March 25, 2011 at 11:34 pm |
  3. John

    I don't understand in chrinstianity how there can be a god and a devil who have the same powers and are up against each other if god created everything including the devil.

    March 22, 2011 at 5:08 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      John, the devil has no power. He only lies and deceives everyone. Including himself. He's blinded by the sin of Pride. Believing himself to be bigger and better than God. That's why God destroyed the first earth age. Because of Lucifer's (aka satan) rebellion against God and taking 1/3 of God's angels with him.

      Only God is I AM.

      The face of the Lord is against those who do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth,

      Psalm 34:16

      Amen..

      March 25, 2011 at 11:32 pm |
  4. Colin

    Lin's maniacal rantings do, however, hit upon a common Christian theme. Anyone who rejects their god "burns in hell for all eternity". Think that through. You do not have to kill anyone, do not have to steal, heavens, you do not even need to litter. All you have to do is reject the Christian god and he will make you suffer a punishment an infinite times more severe than the death penalty .. and he loves you!!!

    Dark Ages nonsense that perhaps tells more about the mind of the believer. Which is wierd, becuase I, as an atheist, would not wish a bad sunburn on a Christian, simply becuase they have a different religion to me.

    March 22, 2011 at 4:56 pm |
    • Here Here

      Actually you are wrong.
      Convert what you said into another example where a parent (mother or father) wishes to instill some education and discipline into their naughty child. The parent does everything possible to make the child understand that if he/she does not follow the parent's instructions the child will eventually end up in a bad situation.

      So then the child does not follow through and the parent smacks him with a belt or a cane lightly – for discipline purposes to teach the child a lesson. Did that parent hate his child or love his child?

      So I disagree with your comment....

      March 22, 2011 at 5:15 pm |
    • fuyuko

      god is not obessed with punishing people. but other humans certainly seem to be. just check the forums out and you'll see many who believe this disaster was god's work. I choose to believe god doesn't want harm and suffering, and I reject the notion of hell as being unfitting of a being who is just and loving. t

      here is no one who deserves eternal suffering. I don't believe in hell and believe that god can be observed only through rational observable means, not based on writings in a book revealed to a select few.

      March 22, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
    • PeterVN

      Here Here, please explain how a punishment worse than the death penalty (needlessly at that, if the god is real and truly omnipotent) can reasonably be said to be a "light smack".

      Unfair and extreme punishment is just of so many nasty aspects of the evil religion known as Christianity...

      March 22, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
    • Magic

      Here Here,

      If you smack your child for discipline then your reasoning and communication skills are lacking. It's quite obvious that your reasoning skills are low, considering the rest of your unreasoned supernatural beliefs.

      Besides that, even if your child does need discipline, would you throw him into a furnace?

      March 22, 2011 at 5:36 pm |
    • LetsThink123

      @ Here Here
      Your analogy fails for the simple reason that you ASSUME that your religion is right. Parents correcting their children is the right thing to do to get them on the right track, but we ASSUME that the parent knows better than the child and is right.
      The same cannot be said for the christian god. You are assuming that Christianity is the right answer to salvation. What if Lin was a Muslim and said that we must all repent and be votaries to allah and accept his prophet mohammed. Then you would have to assume that allah is right for your analogy to work.
      For these reasons, your analogy fails.

      March 23, 2011 at 1:38 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Well, well, well. Christians tried to start you off with baby steps about the Father, the son, and the Holy spirit.

      Don't want to bust your bubbles over the following.

      Grace to you and peace from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne, and from Jesus Christ.

      Revelation 1:4-5

      Amen.

      March 25, 2011 at 11:26 pm |
  5. Melissa

    There is only One true God. The only way to the Father is through His son Jesus Christ! Every knee will bow and every tongue willl confess that the Christ is Lord! He is our Only Hope! He is the Only judge and will judge perfectly according to our lives! We are to obey Him and leave the rest up to Him, He knows and does whats best!

    March 22, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
  6. phoenix

    the false gods of martial arts and idols of beasts have a play in this dirty hand of nippon hold em

    March 22, 2011 at 4:53 pm |
    • fuyuko

      silly. i thought we gave up thinking gods caused natural disasters centuries ago.

      March 22, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
  7. Annoyed...

    Please disable comments...

    March 22, 2011 at 4:46 pm |
  8. Cleveland Jim

    I challenge any religious person to youtube Sam Harris

    March 22, 2011 at 4:22 pm |
    • Better challenge

      I challenge any unbeliever to read the Bible.

      March 23, 2011 at 3:35 pm |
  9. SeansCat

    The Judges verse you're looking for is 19-21. Now there is a morally uplifting tale.

    March 22, 2011 at 4:17 pm |
  10. dike

    What first comes to mind when you say Muslim?.. that's because of the fanatics in that religion,,,, any religion that encourages fanaticism will end up as a bad thing... Obey your heart.. you know when you do the wrong thing... God is in you when you can do the right thing.

    March 22, 2011 at 3:53 pm |
    • Hmm

      Actually, I tend to think about all of the people who use the religion as a scapegoat for everything that they believe is wrong with the world and how it convenient politically acceptable way to allow themselves to avoid real solutions to problems.

      March 22, 2011 at 3:56 pm |
    • J-Lia

      That is VERY well said, I like it! Totally how I feel, right on the money.

      March 22, 2011 at 4:15 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      So, Hmm and J-Lia what is it you two do? I didn't get my newspaper this morning. Haven't read about all the great things you've done to save the world from itself.

      Amen.

      March 25, 2011 at 11:18 pm |
  11. Me

    Once again folks – Acts of nature are not acts of God(s).

    March 22, 2011 at 3:53 pm |
    • IronChef

      DITTO

      March 22, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Me. Oh really. Not according to what has been written thousands of years ago in that old book you so detest.

      I form the light and create darkness, I make peace and create calamity; I, the Lord, do all these things.

      Isaiah 45:7

      If a trumpet is blown in a city, will not the people be afraid? If there is calamity in a city, will not the Lord have done it?

      Amos 3:6
      Lamentations 3:38
      Revelation 6-19

      Amen.

      March 25, 2011 at 11:15 pm |
  12. eli the red

    funny, Islam says the same about other religions... who's right??? seriously.... why don't you go ask god yourselves.... oh wait.... the bible/quaran/torah were written by man.

    March 22, 2011 at 3:49 pm |
    • fuyuko

      of course. if god really wanted to get his point across why reveal himself/herself to only one segment of the population.

      March 22, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
  13. Lin

    not my judgement, why don't you all start studying, because God has already spoken and its fools who die for lack of love to their Creator and for lack of knowledge. God doesn't need humans, He needs no one, and only you on here, so many of you believe you know it all and your tongue sounds lice cymbals. Devoid of anything concrete truth and righteousness. The righteousness of mankind is not the righteousness of God. YOU SHOULD WATCH YOUR TONGUES BECAUSE YOU ARE UP AGAINST A MIGHTY GOD, A REAL GOD, WHETHER YOUR SATANIC STATEMENTS AGAINST HIM HERE ARE MANY, NOT ONE WILL BE LEFT STANDING UP FOR THE HERESIES IMPLIED BECAUSE YOU THINK THERE IS NO GOD. YOU HAVE MADE YOUR OWN IDOLS, AND BY THAT, GOD ISJUDGING YOU ALREADY:

    Jeremiah 7:18 The children gather wood, the fathers kindle fire, and the women knead dough, to make cakes for the queen of heaven. And they pour out drink offerings to other gods, to provoke me to anger

    March 22, 2011 at 3:40 pm |
    • Hmm

      Does God have anything to say about pride?

      March 22, 2011 at 3:42 pm |
    • SeanNJ

      LOUD NOISES!

      March 22, 2011 at 3:42 pm |
    • bojangles

      @Lin

      Thou shalt not judge.... Did you forget about that one? Isn't God supposed to be the one judging others, not you?

      March 22, 2011 at 3:51 pm |
    • fsmgroupie

      love me or burn in hell for billions and billions of eons-that is some bi-tchn' god you whorship

      March 22, 2011 at 3:59 pm |
    • FedUp

      Lin said, "...your tongue sounds lice cymbals." I didn't know lice could play the cymbals!

      March 22, 2011 at 4:19 pm |
    • Magic

      "Lin" is "nil" backwards. If you hold it up to a mirror, upside down, while hopping on one foot, and singing "Yankee Doodle", you can see the smoke.

      I call Poe's Law.

      March 22, 2011 at 4:23 pm |
    • Colin vs Gravity

      Just pointing something out to Lin:

      If you are instructed to believe that there is one god and only one god, why would you acknowledge that there is any sort of "devil" or "satan" figure in opposition? I realize that appealing to logic when questioning a believer is more or less a useless endeavor, but please explain to us how ignoring your Commandments while invoking your Commandments is supposed to induce any of us into following your religion?

      Troll.

      March 22, 2011 at 4:40 pm |
    • Brenbl

      Lin,
      You said it well. God Bless you!
      How can God bless and protect people that do not want to acknowldge Him and Jesus, that died for them so that they have breathe to spue that venom.
      Don't argue with fools.

      March 22, 2011 at 4:53 pm |
    • Colin

      Lin's maniacal rantings do hit upon a common Christian theme. Anyone who rejects their god "burns in hell for all eternity". Think that through. You do not have to kill anyone, do not have to steal, heavens, you do not even need to litter. All you have to do is reject the Christian god and he will make you suffer a punishment an infinite times more severe than the death penalty .. and he loves you!!!

      Dark Ages nonsense that perhaps tells more about the mind of the believer. Which is wierd, becuase I, as an atheist, would not wish a bad sunburn on a Christian, simply becuase they have a different religion to me.

      March 22, 2011 at 5:00 pm |
    • fuyuko

      we don't actually know gods feelings on the matter. just because the bible says something and attributes it to god does not mean this is god's feeling.

      March 22, 2011 at 5:08 pm |
    • PeterVN

      Colin, re "You do not have to kill anyone, do not have to steal, heavens, you do not even need to litter. All you have to do is reject the Christian god and he will make you suffer a punishment an infinite times more severe than the death penalty .. and he loves you!!!..."
      -great post. Thanks for that. You've probably heard George Carlin's monologue in similar vein – it's very appropriate too.

      March 22, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
    • Colin

      Thanks. I haven't heard it, but I need to. I have heard a lot about it. I'll check it out.

      March 22, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
    • Rick

      "YOU SHOULD WATCH YOUR TONGUES BECAUSE YOU ARE UP AGAINST A MIGHTY GOD, A REAL GOD, WHETHER YOUR SATANIC STATEMENTS AGAINST HIM HERE ARE MANY, NOT ONE WILL BE LEFT STANDING UP FOR THE HERESIES IMPLIED BECAUSE YOU THINK THERE IS NO GOD. YOU HAVE MADE YOUR OWN IDOLS, AND BY THAT, GOD ISJUDGING YOU ALREADY:"

      Pompous C word. For the sake of argument, let's say it means Christian

      March 23, 2011 at 9:09 am |
    • Rick

      BrenBL: You call others fools, yet you accept the writings of bronze ages sheepherders. If you want to believe that you need salvation, go right ahead. I do not need your comic book. Learn to spell.

      March 23, 2011 at 9:15 am |
    • HeavenSent

      mmmhh, be humble, it wipes out the sin of pride.

      As for the rest of you non-believers, either read the Bible to save your souls, or know that you already have a worm waiting for you in paradise to eat that brain you so love. Then after the Day of the Lord, be granted your wish to go to the eternal flames, blotted out. No eternity for you.

      Amen.

      March 25, 2011 at 11:11 pm |
  14. Colin

    I was having severe problems with my dyslexia. After countless attempts were ignored, I came reluctantly to the conclusion that I would no longer pray to my dog.

    March 22, 2011 at 3:37 pm |
    • Erin

      LMAO!

      March 22, 2011 at 3:42 pm |
  15. Lin

    GOD, HAS SPOKEN AGAINST IDOLS AND THE PEOPLE WHO PRAY TO THEM:

    Judges 10:14 ESV / 8 helpful votes
    Go and cry out to the gods whom you have chosen; let them save you in the time of your distress.”

    March 22, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
    • stejo

      Funny you chose to quote from "Judges". Seems to be what you do best. Have fun at YOUR judgment.

      March 22, 2011 at 3:33 pm |
    • Inspired

      Until you posted these I fully intended to continue my belief in an alternative religion. Your posts alone have made me realize the error of my ways and I have renounce the false religion.

      March 22, 2011 at 3:36 pm |
    • Sybaris

      Lin, your god has done as much as any other.

      March 22, 2011 at 3:42 pm |
    • IronChef

      Yep. All merciful god needs to kill em all. Amen.

      March 22, 2011 at 4:53 pm |
    • fuyuko

      god makes people inclined towards idols. if he wanted something different, he should've designed humans differently. I don't believe god is a 'gotcha' guy. he's not going to give people 'flaws' and then get angry when they are flawed.

      March 22, 2011 at 5:12 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      fuyuko, God is perfect. He left us a letter He sent to all of us (the Bible). It's His blueprint how to spiritually live and conduct your life on earth. He wants the best for us and from us. The only way to know what He wants, is to read the Bible. Comprehend what you read, and apply it to your life. He knows we are all sinners and He knows the sin of life on earth is being in the flesh. He only allows those that love and follow Him on earth into Heaven. The rest will be judged after the Day of the Lord, granted their wish to be no more. Then it's to the eternal flames, blotted out. No eternity for anyone who doesn't love and follow Him who made ALL on earth as it is in Heaven.

      Amen.

      March 25, 2011 at 11:06 pm |
  16. Lin

    The Folly of Idolatry
    ISAIAH 44:9-11
    9 All who fashion idols are nothing, and the things they delight in do not profit. Their witnesses neither see nor know, that they may be put to shame. 10 Who fashions a god or casts an idol that is profitable for nothing? 11 Behold, all his companions shall be put to shame, and the craftsmen are only human. Let them all assemble, let them stand forth. They shall be terrified; they shall be put to shame together.

    March 22, 2011 at 3:25 pm |
    • Erin

      Ok, I'll bite. I know don't you hate idols? I do especially the image of Jesus on the Cross, now that is an idol. The fact Christians can accept that the image was altered over time to be more pleasing to the masses is just disgraceful and a sin.

      March 22, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
    • speaking of bible verses

      Deuteronomy 25:11-12 NASB

      If two men, a man and his countryman, are struggling together, and the wife of one comes near to deliver her husband from the hand of the one who is striking him, and puts out her hand and seizes his genitals, then you shall cut off her hand; you shall not show pity.

      March 22, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
    • Steve

      The Ark of the Covenant was most certainly an idol as well since a man was put to death trying to help prevent it fall to the ground. Geez, god even kills people, or at least condones their killing, even if their motivation was good. Almost as good as god commanding somebody be put to death for working on the sabbath by picking up sticks..likely trying to keep his family warm. Oh and later on..."the sabbath was made for man not man for the sabbath." Flip flop flip flip. An eye for an eye, no...turn the other cheek, but not at judgement day!..flip flop flip flop. Sigh...the amount of mental gymnastics and apologetics you need to believe in this. I remember speaking to an ex-fundy and he would say always down deep there was an inner conflict beneath all the denial. I am not sure that is the case for many.

      March 22, 2011 at 4:34 pm |
    • Semi educated person

      just so you know, Buddhism isn't necessarily worshipping false idols, since Buddhist Deities are understood to be representatinal and not real. Buddhists use "other gods" as analogies to functions within indivudual humans. So to reprimand anyone for commending Buddhist humanism is definitly not loving thy neighbor, but you are sinning by using harsh words against those who are trying to love their brothers. Shinto however is a religion of actual deities, but again, they are.. unlike you who is THEORIZING, they are ACTING in accord with your lord's words to love their neighbors. Acitng.. want to try it??

      March 22, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Steve, no wonder you don't comprehend scriptures. You pick and choose 1 scripture to make an off the wall point. You need to incorporate all said scriptures together to comprehend their meaning. Same with turn the other cheek. It means to stop explaining scriptures to a non-believer because you refuse to comprehend His truth no matter how logical a Christian is explaining His truth.

      Amen.

      March 25, 2011 at 10:56 pm |
  17. DD

    ??? Once again. I don't care what religion you are if you're unselfishly willing to help others.

    March 22, 2011 at 3:21 pm |
  18. raiel

    Good. This article shows how religion can be used for good, not evil. Unlike how others use it to condemn the beliefs of others or to be bigoted against people who don't live their lives the same way.

    March 22, 2011 at 3:20 pm |
  19. BibleBelt

    Burn in hell!

    March 22, 2011 at 3:19 pm |
    • raiel

      You are a good example of someone using religion for evil.

      March 22, 2011 at 3:21 pm |
    • stejo

      Wow, what if God judges you as harshly as you judge others? You might be in for a really nasty surprise.

      March 22, 2011 at 3:32 pm |
    • sswanner

      It's your hell, you burn in it

      March 22, 2011 at 3:39 pm |
  20. Lin

    Idolatry

    Exodus 20:3-6 ESV / 21 helpful votes
    “You shall have no other gods before me. “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.

    March 22, 2011 at 3:15 pm |
    • FYI

      You should probably take out the equivalent of the 'like' button from other websites before mindlessly reposting content. Such as '21 helpful votes'

      March 22, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
    • His Noodly Appendage

      "Blessed is the one who grabs your little children and smashes them against a rock"
      Pslam 137:9

      March 22, 2011 at 3:28 pm |
    • Sybaris

      "You shall have no other gods before me"

      Hmmm, so there ARE other gods.

      March 22, 2011 at 3:45 pm |
    • Sonny

      Your belief... The whole point about having a different religion is believing in different things so when you share your christian rhetoric it matters to them just as much as a the Qur'an matters to you... Get over yourself.

      March 22, 2011 at 5:05 pm |
    • TheTruth72

      I'll throw in a 22nd vote. 🙂

      Please read all of Psalm 137 before quoting one verse. The rest of it explains why that is said.

      The gods that are talked about in that commandment refer to false gods made and worshipped by people.

      Funny how people mock things and say things without getting their facts straight.

      March 22, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
    • fuyuko

      so god punishes innocent people for perceived sins in the parents. how is that just and loving? Seems more like propoganda to frighten people to convert. That is not the actions of a loving god.

      March 22, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
    • His Noodly Appendage

      Funny how people still cling to a 2,000 year old book rewritten over and over and over and over again, and actually try to use scripture in their arguments

      March 22, 2011 at 5:43 pm |
    • houser

      @ the Truth

      So then you stone divorced women? Cause that IS in the bible. And yeah, Christians have NEVER made claims on others without getting their facts straight. You can play the martyr card about 1800 years ago...not so much in the modern day.

      March 22, 2011 at 6:43 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Jesus also tells us to be humble because your EGO is your-mini god that violates this commandment.

      Amen.

      March 25, 2011 at 10:23 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      fuyuko, God does not punish children for the sins of their parents. If their parents hate God, most likely their children will hate God too. You are not comprehending that scripture correctly. Same as if the parents love God, their children will love God too.

      Parents that hate God are guilty of their own sinful viewpoint of God and send themselves to the eternal flames, blotted out. No eternity for them. Same as if their children continue to hate God. The children are responsible for sending themselves to the eternal flames, blotted out. No eternity for them.

      Amen.

      March 25, 2011 at 10:32 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.