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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. Otaner

    A good man can do good deeds and a bad man can do bad deeds. But it takes religion to make a good man do bad deeds.

    March 24, 2011 at 9:21 pm |
  2. mehmet

    Unbelief denounces retain for alleged worthlessness and meaninglessness. lt is an insult to all of creation, a denial of the manifestation of the Divine Names in the mirror of bearings. It is disrespect to all the Divine Names, and rejection of the witness borne to the Divine Unity by al! beings. It is a denial of all of creation. It corrupts man's potentialities in such a way that they are incapable of reform and unreceptive to good. Unbelief is also an act of utter injustice, a transgression against all of creation and the rights of God's Names. The preservation of those rights, as well as the unredeemable nature of the unbeliever's soul, make it necessary that unbelief should he unpardonable. The words, 'To assign partners to God is verily a great transgression" (Qur’an 31:13) express this meaning.

    March 24, 2011 at 3:56 am |
  3. Tiffany Hurst

    Last post was @ Letsthink123. I hit reply, but for some reason it didn't get attached.

    March 23, 2011 at 8:12 pm |
  4. Petel2

    Pretty sad when a society allows religion and god beliefs to be taught as facts. Religion is man's ultimate act of selfishness and greed.
    When this country holds the vatican, pope, bishops and cardinals, responsible to the worst crimes of cover up of abuse, I might take religion more serious. But when they can deviate and sway away from the truth, and politicians and judges fear holding them accountable – religion is a hitler. Religion is control over man and the weak follow.
    Now watch those who use deflection. Watch those who sit back and do nothing. While the religious deny, just look at the pain and suffering while mothers cry to their grave for children's lives that have been destroyed. Many children committed suicide and others mentally ill. If religion were good, they would demand law makers hold this one responsible.

    March 23, 2011 at 7:21 am |
  5. Enoch2000

    We refuse to interact with atheists until they remove their God temple / mausoleum at the Red square in Moscow. 100 years of idol worship are enough!

    March 22, 2011 at 10:49 pm |
    • Rick

      Enoch: Atheists have no god. You obviously want to equate atheists with communists. With the former, there is no god, with the latter, the state is the god. Come back again if you need more help

      March 23, 2011 at 9:00 am |
  6. Sybaris

    Looks like a lot of the religious folks whined to the editor.

    Intriguing how the religious majority perceives opposition..................not unlike a dictator

    March 22, 2011 at 10:09 pm |
  7. Cris Craft

    I find it somewhat amusing to try and put all religions on equal footing and indicate that they are all good for something. In that regard being a really nice person has the same benefit. The one exceptional difference between them all is that the Bible clearly explains that the only way to escape eternity in literal hell fire that goes on forever and ever, is to accept the free gift of salvation that is only found in Jesus Christ the creator of all that you can see and cannot see. Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord. Now if you don't want to accept this, that's Ok, you are a creature of free choice and you can do as you want, just remember what I tell you today when you stand before God on judgement day; the only problem then is that it will be too late to change your mind and do differently.

    March 22, 2011 at 9:59 pm |
    • pazyfe

      Amen

      March 22, 2011 at 10:04 pm |
    • jimtanker

      Save it! Quit believing in fairy tale.

      March 23, 2011 at 7:28 am |
    • Reality

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

      I 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.

      I 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

      March 23, 2011 at 8:08 am |
    • LetsThink123

      @Cris Craft
      Why do you think that Jesus is god? Shouldn't a god know the nature of the earth and that we are in the solar system?
      Take this for example:
      Remember during the temptation in the desert, when Satan took Jesus to a high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the earth? Obviously both Jesus and Satan and the biblical authors who made up this story did not know that the earth was round. No matter how high a mountain I take you to, you cannot see all the kingdoms of the earth because the earth is round. Jesus who u consider god was not aware of this simple fact. How can someone who u attribute a god status to not know that the earth is round??
      Also, notice that all religions in the world, including western religions like Christianity did not tell us anything about the universe. What i mean by this is that if u read the creation story in the bible, there is no mention that god created the solar system with the sun in the center, with the other planets, with us in the milky way galaxy, and all the other billions of galaxies. In the creation myth of adam and eve, god created stars after he created the sun, thats backwards! There is no mention that other planets existed either (which men at that time were not aware of).
      I ask you this question, how come the gods of virtually all religions in the world including christianity in their creation stories, only created things that people at that time knew existed (such as the earth, stars, sun, moon) and not about the other planets, solar system, and other galaxies etc...? The knowledge of the gods when it came to the universe was limited to the knowledge of the men who lived at that time. Hmmm.......could these gods be man-made?

      March 23, 2011 at 2:34 pm |
  8. pazyfe

    We spend to much time trying to convince each other that "we serve this and that," and we lose track of those universal laws, such as love thy neighbor, care for each other, empathize, patience, action based love. Don't waste your time, do something to help that person that is close to you, that is sitting right beside you, that you see on a daily basis, keep your eyes and ears open don't wait to be asked, be observant, make a difference where you stand. Stop trying to wrap your finite mind around an infinite God, where is your faith?

    March 22, 2011 at 9:59 pm |
  9. BoundlessMind

    how about instead of wasting time debating religious issues online, the theists, deists, atheists and literalists commenting here just shut up, roll your sleeves up, and get to work on helping others, be they All God's Children, Mother Earth, fellow Humans, or Sentient Beings (your choice).

    March 22, 2011 at 9:47 pm |
    • pazyfe

      ditto

      March 22, 2011 at 10:00 pm |
    • Gr8isHE

      @Letsthink123 – Jesus was referring to the transfiguration, not his coming back at the end of time. Jesus said he doesn't even know when he will return to earth, only the Father knows. The greek word translated "kingdom" can also be translated "royal splendor." The 3 disciples that were there indeed saw him as he truly was in his royal splendor during the transfiguration. Mt 23:28 – you must read the entire context of what Jesus was talking about, here he was referring to the 7 woes to the pharisees & teachers of the law bec of their hypocrisy. Mt 24:34 – again read the entire context – he was speaking of events in the future and was referring to the generation at that time. Mt 26:64 – I'm not really that sure about this one but if given enough time I could research it for you and find an answer, but I believe that happened in the transfiguration. If you allow scripture to interpret other scripture you will find the things you thought were contradictions or unfulfilled prophecies really are not. – be blessed

      March 23, 2011 at 3:56 pm |
  10. JesusIsGodAndIsComingBack

    I pray for those who don't believe this. If you care about where you'll end up for eternity, after your earthly body expires, read the Bible, pay attention to the world, watch out for fakes, frauds and deceiving people. In the end, it's your choice but we're here for a reason, someone created us and everything around us. It's not one big accident and before you go flaming me or anyone, THINKABOUT and just try to get over your hate.

    March 22, 2011 at 9:27 pm |
    • TrueBlue42

      It's not a matter of hate; it never has been. It's a matter of proof; it always has been. That proof doesn't exist.

      March 22, 2011 at 10:08 pm |
    • jimtanker

      Pray for us, and we'll THINK for you.

      March 23, 2011 at 7:14 am |
    • Rick

      Sorry, Jesusblahblahblah: I don't hate those of faith. Some I respect greatly. I just do not share their opinion. Some Christians I find amusing. You don't know for a fact that there is any life after death. However, without (empty) proxy threats and the fear of eternal torture, much of Christianity is dead in the water

      March 23, 2011 at 8:57 am |
    • LetsThink123

      Jesus is not coming back. He was just a good man who died like every other man dies. Jesus said that he would come back within the lifetime of some of his listeners, but did not keep his promise! He did so repeatedly. See Matthew 16:28, 23:36, 24:34, 26:64 (there are of course parallel ones in Mark and Luke).
      I will post the Biblical references below, in order, which clearly show that I commited no mistake in reading them:

      "There be some standing here which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in His kingdom"

      "Truly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation."

      "Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place."

      "Yes, it is as you say," Jesus replied. "But I say to all of you: In the future you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven."

      Jesus said he would come back in his generation, but failed! What he meant by his generation is that he would come back within the lifetime of the last person living in that generation. What you are positing now was invented afterwards to try to explain away why Jesus was wrong. (credit: David Johnson)

      March 23, 2011 at 2:10 pm |
  11. DCBuckeye

    Athiests posting on this thread are about as relevant as PETA supporters posting on a "how to bake a roast" thread.

    March 22, 2011 at 9:15 pm |
    • Tom

      The Atheists blame everything on religion, just like liberals blame everything on Bush.

      March 22, 2011 at 9:42 pm |
    • evensteven

      . . . just like the conservatives blame everything on Obama . . .

      March 22, 2011 at 10:04 pm |
    • TrueBlue42

      @Tom: And we're right to do both.

      March 22, 2011 at 10:07 pm |
    • EvolvedDNA

      DCBuckeye.. at least then we have some relevance, compared to you? I imagine you are about to produce proof of god for us..

      March 23, 2011 at 12:36 am |
  12. DJ

    Wow. The "associate professor in the Department of Religious Studies" knows so little about Mormonism comparing it to Scientology (a religion?) and calling it "new" is an insult to the LDS church. And I'm not even a Mormon!

    March 22, 2011 at 9:05 pm |
  13. jeff

    Here's my prediction: People who were devout before the disaster will find inspiration to continue being devout. People who disregarded religion before the disaster will find reason to continue disregarding religion.

    March 22, 2011 at 9:03 pm |
  14. Suzannah

    I was raised in Daisaku Ikeda's buddhism. Based on my experience, I would say that his choice of sending "powerful daimoku" instead of sending aid, encouraging his followers to help, or bothering to give a crap sound about right. His is an extremely self-centered religion.

    March 22, 2011 at 6:46 pm |
    • JP

      Also, if you carefully read the article, she mentions that the Soka Gakkai have set up communication and relief centers in all of their community centers, to help coordinate support and help to all, that the youth groups with the Soka Gakkai are leading the way, by working tirelessly to help. The SGI has provided funds in that the SGI-USA just presented 50,000 to AmeriCares aid organization. Please get you facts correct before making comments that are not correctly based. The Daimoku President Ikeda is chanting is our great and boundless spiritual aid, and just as important as the other ways the Soka Gakki are active in relief efforts.

      March 25, 2011 at 3:49 am |
  15. Marc

    http://www.godchecker.com/

    I'm tired of religion propaganda stories. Gods have existed since the dawn of time. Get over it.

    March 22, 2011 at 6:41 pm |
  16. The all potent one

    If god is so great how come he created so many screwed up people?

    March 22, 2011 at 6:00 pm |
    • evensteven

      We're all learning . . .

      March 22, 2011 at 9:08 pm |
    • Tom

      He thinks some of you aren't worth his time.

      March 22, 2011 at 9:41 pm |
    • Gr8isHE

      he created us perfect, with a free will. we screwed that up ourselves by choosing the wrong direction and being "wise in our own eyes" and listening to the father of lies who's main purpose is to be like God (a counterfeit) and keep us from trusting in the true God (which is the lie Satan has been telling humans from the beginning) – "You will not certainly die – God knows if you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." Gen 3:3-5

      March 23, 2011 at 12:01 am |
    • EvolvedDNA

      The religious are correct.. there is a hell, and we are in right now, and we are destined to live our lives amongst the Christians who didn't make it either.

      March 23, 2011 at 12:28 am |
    • Frederica

      EvolvedDNA, if you love Christians so much, why don't you become one? We'll be always together, you know.

      March 24, 2011 at 8:32 am |
  17. P T

    If faith is giving people strength in a positive way then no problem. In this scenario humanity matters most.

    March 22, 2011 at 5:50 pm |
  18. Ed

    And specious "having a false look of truth or genuineness"

    March 22, 2011 at 5:41 pm |
  19. Ed

    Defintion of Plausable " superficially fair, reasonable, or valuable but often specious"

    March 22, 2011 at 5:39 pm |
  20. Ed

    a defintion of theory from websters "a plausible or scientifically acceptable general principle or body of principles offered to explain phenomena "
    " an unproved assumption "
    "a belief, policy, or procedure proposed or followed as the basis of action"
    "a hypothesis assumed for the sake of argument or investigation "

    Based on these defintions Evolution is a theory not a fact. While it may very well be correct it is still a theory. When scienctific community believes thay have proven it to be fact I am sure they will call a fact not a theory. Again this does not deny that it is probably correct but to date it is still a theory and still being study to prove fact.

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

      Yeah, kind of like the theory of gravity? Maybe some day they will prove gravity to be a fact too. Until then I know one of these days things are going to start falling up instead of down.

      You fail.

      March 22, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
    • houser

      Uh no. Theory is the highest standard that science can bestow on any scientific explanation. What most people use as theory is in science at best a hypothesis. This disconnect has been misused for years as some kind of claim that even among scientists there is some debate, when scientists are given the benefit of the doubt anyways.

      Just as an example, GRAVITY or at least our system of laws, rules, concepts, and equations explaining it is a THEORY.

      March 22, 2011 at 6:37 pm |
    • Ed

      "Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind."
      — Albert Einstein
      God does not play dice with the universe."
      — Albert Einstein
      "There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle."
      — Albert Einstein
      Enstein beleived in god and that sceince and relegion are compatable so do I

      March 22, 2011 at 6:47 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      @Ed

      You have selected a few quotes that suggest Einstein's view of god is the same as yours. You should be honest and post the ones where he says he's an agnostic.

      March 22, 2011 at 8:55 pm |
    • PallasAthene

      Ahh Ed. Cherry picking quotes that seem to fit your ideals. Just like the average christian cherry picking from the bible. Let's get it straight. Einstein didn't believe in a god.

      - It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it. (Albert Einstein, 1954) From Albert Einstein: The Human Side, edited by Helen Dukas and Banesh Hoffman, Princeton University Press
      –The religion of the future will be a cosmic religion. It should transcend personal God and avoid dogma and theology. Covering both the natural and the spiritual, it should be based on a religious sense arising from the experience of all things natural and spiritual as a meaningful unity. Buddhism answers this description. If there is any religion that could cope with modern scientific needs it would be Buddhism. (Albert Einstein)
      –A man's ethical behaviour should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties and needs; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death. (Albert Einstein, Religion and Science, New York Times Magazine, 9 November 1930
      –Scientific research is based on the idea that everything that takes place is determined by laws of Nature, and therefore this holds for the action of people. For this reason, a research scientist will hardly be inclined to believe that events could be influenced by a prayer, i.e. by a wish addressed to a Supernatural Being. (Albert Einstein, 1936) Responding to a child who wrote and asked if scientists pray. Source: Albert Einstein: The Human Side, Edited by Helen Dukas and Banesh Hoffmann

      March 22, 2011 at 9:33 pm |
    • 3rdMLNM

      Big bang and Evolution are two great "Creation Techniques" of this one and only real GOD,
      because both of them are basically governed by "Mathematics,"
      GOD is the one who has thus superbly written His Book of Nature, and Book of Religion in a magnificent "Mathematical Language!" Here are these "Mathematical Ultimate and Tangible Proofs" now:

      http://www.holy-19-harvest.com

      So all other gods are just "Imanigary False Gods" concocted by some greedy, or ignorant, or trickster, or naive humans,
      this is the one and only real GOD (of Abraham, and Moses, Jesus, David, Muhammad) now and forever!
      Seek His Consolation, and you will receive it, now and forever!

      March 22, 2011 at 9:45 pm |
    • SeanNJ

      @Ed *sigh* Here are a couple of the definitions for theory that you conveniently left out of your post:

      1: the analysis of a set of facts in their relation to one another
      3: the general or abstract principles of a body of fact, a science, or an art

      Since I was accused of insulting your intelligence and being mean earlier today, I'll assume you do understand that this is the denotation that applies to evolution and gravity; and you're intentionally ignoring it because it doesn't fit your argument.

      March 22, 2011 at 11:18 pm |
    • Gr8isHE

      Sorry Ed this isn't directed towards you unless you fit the criteria but I didn't know how else to post so I had to hit reply.

      To all of you who do not believe that the Universe was created by God. I pray for you. I pray God will open your hearts to receive the truth and you will put your faith in God and his Son.

      God loved you so much that he made a provision to give you (and me) a way to reconcile with him before he even created the world. He knew what would happen, he knows all things. God could force us to Love & Honor him but he wants us to do that freely. So, he's given us a choice – believe in him or Not. (please choose wisely) He tells us it will not be easy and we will be ridiculed for our faith, but if we keep our faith until the end we will be richly rewarded.

      So, you have a choice – put your faith in the creator of the universe who hung the moon, the sun & the stars in the sky and gives you a promise of eternal life – OR – put your faith in the "best scientific" explanation of evolution that can be found, thought up by a "created being" (mere man, like u and me), which comes without a promise of any sort and pretty much leads to a meaningless life.

      Both takes faith. Two words describe faith (sure & certain) – being sure that God is who he says he is, and being certain that he will do what he says he will do. Can you be sure & certain about the "Theory" of evolution? Do you trust your life to it?

      "By faith, we understand that the universe was formed at God's command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible" – Heb 11:3

      This tells me that, there is no valid scientific explanation for the creation of the world because it wasn't created by science, but by the creator – God, the Alpha & the Omega.

      Whether you acknowledge God for who is is now or at the time of judgment – you WILL acknowledge him. Its better that you do it now and receive the promise because at judgment, it's too late.

      It is written: "As surely as I live says the Lord, every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God. Each of us will give an account of ourselves to God." – Rom 14:11-12

      Stop doubting and believe!!

      – God Bless You

      March 22, 2011 at 11:39 pm |
    • Ed

      @Sean I have said repeatedly I believe in evolution it will one day be proven fact probably. I say probably because some thing else may still be true. Maybe the ancient alien theory is true. My wife like that one. @PallasAthene
      My qoutes on Einstein were not intended to imply it was all he every said about God. just to point out that he seemed to believe relegion and science are compatable, so do I. He stated he was an agnostic which means his was still searching for the answer most people who have faith in science have stopped searching and believe relegion false. Some of the quotes you used from Einstein imply he belived there was more to the world than just science. @All most of the post by the none relegious on this blog show disdain for believers and confuse the church for God. Science has provide great benefits to man and will continue to do so. It has also provide some negatives, like the atomic bomb. Relegion has provide great things like Mother Thereas's work in India. It has also provided great evils like the inquisition. Bioth have ther place and both are needed. Most atheist and agnostic claim to be open minded but on the blogs there are just as dogmatic and closed mindedas the accuse the relegious of being. They put as much faith in science as the relegious do in God. Then berate the relegious for their sense of faith. In contrast the relegious berate the noe relegious about their lack of faith. read the blogs they have ore in commone then the want to accept. The first blog on every cnn article in a non relegious saying somthing negative about relegion regardless of the article. Prehaps we should all be more open minded and willing to listen to one another and show a little less disdain for the other beliefs.

      March 23, 2011 at 9:31 am |
    • Brae

      How can you say it is impossible that the big bang theory and creationism are not the same thing?
      Big Bang- Poof everything is into motion and thus we have life as we know it.
      Creationism- God said let it be. Poof Done!
      I mean really!?!? How is that so hard to see?

      March 23, 2011 at 11:33 am |
    • LetsThink123

      @Ed

      I thought i explained this to you but u still don't seem to understand that evolution is FACT. Here i go again:
      gravity is FACT. Gravitational theory is unproven by scientific standards and uses equations, and predictions to explain gravity.
      germs are FACT. Germ theory of disease is unproven by scientific standards and posits that microorganisms cause disease. The medicines developed based on this theory WORK and u get cured, even though its just an unproven theory!
      evolution is FACT. Evolutionary theory can never fully be proven but NO evidence has been found to refute this theory! The predictions made by evolutionary theory have also been correct and observed to be correct on the micro-evolution level.
      Do you understand now that evolution is FACT? There is no point posting on here that evolutionary theory is unproven because every theory cannot be completely proven. Just like gravitational theory and germ theory of disease cannot be proven, but gravity and germs causing diseases are FACTS; in the same way evolutionary theory cannot be proven completely, but evolution is a FACT.
      Moral of the story -> Evolution is a FACT. Get it now?

      March 23, 2011 at 1:56 pm |
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About this blog

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