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Inside an ancient monastery
CBS correspondent Bob Simon interviews Father Matthew, one of the monks on Mount Athos.
April 22nd, 2011
04:42 PM ET

Inside an ancient monastery

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

(CNN) - It was two years in the making for a television crew to get access inside one of the holiest sites of the Greek Orthodox world, the monasteries on Mount Athos in Greece. The cluster of 20 monasteries has remained perched on the cliffs high above the Aegean Sea for centuries.

In the monasteries, also known collectively as the Holy Mountain or The Garden of the Mother of God, the monks spend most of their time in prayer and are purposefully isolated from the outside world.

"A woman hasn't been allowed on the mountain for over a thousand years," said Bob Simon, correspondent for CBS News' "60 Minutes."

That prohibition against women even extends to animals, with the exception of cats who pull double duty as rodent control. The only food the monks import is cheese - because it comes from cows. Otherwise they all grow their own food on the island.

"The whole purpose of [the monks] being there is to be away from the outside world to a remarkable extent. Monks have spent decades there without spending a day off the island," he said.

"Technically it's a peninsula, but they don't have newspapers or television or radio or women, and the whole idea is to just devote themselves entirely to prayer, so they're really not interested with what goes on in the outside world and they don't want to get involved in it."

Simon thinks the only reason he and his crew were granted access to the monks, many of whom had never done interviews, was a story they did on the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the leader of the global community of 300 million Greek Orthodox Christians.

Simon said the interview was received well, especially in the United States.

"I think [the Patriarch] sort of leaned on the monks to say, 'Hey, we're OK, let them in,' but he has no executive authority the way the pope does, he can just make recommendations," Simon said. But even with that recommendation from on high, it still took several years to work out the shoot.

Just getting to the monasteries is chore. First you have to get to Thessaloniki in Greece.

"From Thessaloniki you take a long drive, about three hours on roads that are not great. Then you wind up in this place that is, I think I called it scruffy in the script, then you take a ferry. The only trouble is the waters between this town and Mount Athos are really rough," Simon said.

He said his producers got stuck in the town for three days while they waited for a day where the waters were calm enough to travel to the peninsula.

"There may be a forest or mountain somewhere that hasn't changed in the last 1,500 years, but in terms of an inhabited place, I don't think there's any place that has changed so little as Mount Athos," he said.

During World War II, Mount Athos came under the personal protection of Hitler when the Nazis invaded Greece. At the advice of German officers, the monks wrote Hitler and asked for the protection, which he provided. The monks told Simon that Hitler was planning to pillage the monasteries for their art treasures, even going so far as to send officers to photograph more than 1,000 works of art. But they said Hitler got bogged down in Russia and never removed any of the art.

Simon said in the course of their centuries-old tradition on the mountain, the monks viewed it as just a speed bump.

"They have no connection with our world. Their only consideration is to survive to keep the mountain going, because it is the most sacred spot on the world as far as they are concerned. It is a place [where] a life of prayer is more effective than anywhere else. So sure the Nazis threatened them, but over the centuries they been threatened by everybody."

Simon's report is scheduled to air on Easter Sunday. You can see a preview of the report here.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Christianity • Church • Europe • Greek Orthodox Church • TV

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soundoff (803 Responses)
  1. Timmy

    It sounds pefect except for the praying part, and it would be nice if they shipped women in a couple of times a month for recreation(and the b!tches were forbidden to talk while they were there). Other than that, a nice setup.

    April 23, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
  2. James

    By reading the comments on this page you can see the handiwork of the devil – do not let him put the blinders on your eyes and on your mind – he walks among us daily – do not let yourself be fooled or used.

    April 23, 2011 at 4:49 pm |
  3. Ak

    I think it is awesome, that they can live just supporting themselves(with exception of cheese), and live life with out radio, tv, etc. I think it would be a very humbling experience.

    April 23, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
  4. TG

    It is very obvious that these monks are not following Jesus example nor his words. Jesus said to his true disciples, following his resurrection: "Go therefore and make disciples of people of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy spirit, teaching them to observe all the things I have commanded you."(Matt 28:19, 20)

    Moments before his ascension to heaven, he told them: "You will receive power when the holy spirit arrives upon you, and you will be witnesses of me both in Jerusalem and in all Ju·de´a and Sa·mar´i·a and to the most distant part of the earth.” (Acts 1:8) Thus, Jesus true disciples have taken the "good news of the kingdom" to the "most distant part of the earth", not sitting in some monastery.

    Three days before his death, Jesus said that in these "last days"(called by Jesus his (invisible) "presence" at Matt 24:27, 37, 39) a world-wide Bible educational work would be accomplished, with God's kingdom as the theme, saying: "And this good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations; and then the end will come."(Matt 24:14) Staying on an island away from everyone, "just to devote themselves entirely to prayer", is contrary to Jesus direct command, with Jesus likening such ones to a "wicked and sluggish slave".(Matt 25:26)

    As a result of the laziness with regard to the "talent"(privileges regarding the "kingdom") that this "sluggish slave" was given to care for (Matt 25:24, 25), Jesus (as the "master") says to his attendants: "Throw the good-for-nothing slave out into the darkness outside. There is where his weeping and the gnashing of his teeth will be."(Matt 25:30)

    Thus, these monks are continuing a long line of false religions and traditions that will be dealt with by God just before the battle of Armageddon (Rev 16:14, 16), as seen at Revelation 18.

    April 23, 2011 at 4:44 pm |
    • SB

      No religion is true, but some are more disturbing than others. Such as the Christian fantasy with the destruction of the world.

      April 23, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
  5. shofar

    Excellent article! I've reading the post from obviously atheist people trying and falling to criticizes this group, with almost no success. I call-it excellent because they are really trying , but it is almost impossible to say something really ill to a group that basically says: I DON'T CARE WHAT YOU THINK, DO OR ANYTHING ABOUT YOU. If you take every single point they are trying to make , it is inevitably answered with the statement before.
    If the interview was based on the post of this article, here are the possible answers:

    Selfish!: So?
    What's the point? : My point
    Why are you praying? :None of your business
    Waste of time! : If you say so
    But the Bible says...: That's your Bible, MINE says different
    What good does to the rest of us? That we are not planning to kill you.
    You are ignoring what happen in the planet! : Finally, now you get it!
    It's a Gay Paradise: If you say so...
    No women then blind and strong arms: And how that's wrong ? Besides Only a sin free can cast the first stone..... or was the first shot? I can see it well.
    No passing the pool gene: We've been here for over a 1000 years... so the pool gene it's not from here
    I can not believe God wanted the HUman race to worship him like that!: Hey, we couldn't believe it at first either.

    April 23, 2011 at 4:36 pm |
  6. Mike

    My Last comment on this blog: Like I said earlier, I visited Mount Athos once and on bad days when I'm feeling down, I remember Mount Athos and it gives me Hope, that there is Life after Death. and why do we need this Hope? because Life has a meaning, and what we do here is not in vain, and to love our enemies is not in vain and to pray for the salvation of the world is not in vain. For God has so loved the world, ... and we are commanded to love all mankind as much as Christ has loved each and every one of us, for he loves us even unto his death on the cross. This the Christian Hope that was born in Bethlehem 2000 years ago, and has since changed the world, creating the Christian World. The Miracle is this Hope. We are not perfect, far from it, we are all sinners and I am the first of the sinners, but this Hope is what makes us feel invisible, and able to go about the world and so the things that we do, the works of mercy, and forgiveness and it all starts in prayer through the Holy Spirit of God, the heart of which can be witnessed in Athos.

    April 23, 2011 at 4:31 pm |
    • Mike

      invincible and invisible, sorry, lol, bye for now...

      April 23, 2011 at 4:32 pm |
  7. Koga001

    Wow. I don't know if i'm more stunned by the shameless selfishness or the mind-boggling waste of time.

    April 23, 2011 at 4:01 pm |
    • Stemwede-Dielingen

      Since you cannot possibly know their hearts and, hence, their motives, your statement is out of line. Some may be motivated that way, others not. It is not for you to judge. I love how the non-religious are always whining about how judgmental Christians are and then turn around and and do the very thing they proclaim themselves to be above.

      As to it being a waste if time, what are you doing with your time? Blogging on CNN? Way to change the world, genius.

      April 23, 2011 at 4:15 pm |
    • SB

      Stemwede,

      "As to it being a waste if time, what are you doing with your time? Blogging on CNN?"

      Pot calling the kettle black. Besides, praying is, by definition, doing nothing. And doing nothing is a waste of time. And there's nothing wrong with criticizing that, or the pretext surrounding it.

      April 23, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
    • Cesar

      "praying is, by definition, doing nothing. And doing nothing is a waste of time"
      Wow. Let me look that up in the dictionary.....yup. Youre wrong.

      April 23, 2011 at 6:55 pm |
  8. srbenavrbe

    this is a paradise for war criminals and such others. Authorities should check if there is war criminal RATKO MLADIC hidding over there.

    April 23, 2011 at 3:59 pm |
    • steve

      Your comments are a sad statement on the state of the human race.

      April 23, 2011 at 4:49 pm |
  9. Cesar

    Some of you are speaking out of great ignorance. To say that the monks are "self-serving" and "selfish" is a completely ignorant statement. Some of you atheists have a purely materialistic world view that is why prayers do not make sense to you. Some of you "Christians" have a dualistic world view, which is why prayers seem to you as a purely "spiritual" thing as opposed to a holistic action. The monks in Mt. Athos pray not only for the salvation of their soul, but for the salvation of the world–spiritually and physically. I understand the atheists mocking these monks, but "Christians?" Perhaps you do not understand your own religion?

    April 23, 2011 at 3:54 pm |
    • Cesar

      Perhaps your personal view of prayer needs a bit of reconsideration.

      April 23, 2011 at 4:02 pm |
    • Stemwede-Dielingen

      More likely they are merely Protestants attacking a tradition to which they have no connection and do not understand.

      April 23, 2011 at 4:10 pm |
    • steve

      Well said Cesar. While many help feed people these Monks beileve that the only true everlasting salvation is by praying for the soul of others. How many of us spend 8-10 hours a day praying forours and others regardles of their faith salvation?

      April 23, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
    • larry

      Thank You

      Larry

      April 23, 2011 at 4:50 pm |
  10. ar besson

    ...but Peter, You should know. You are his "Rep." on this parcel of real estate..... Waiting for confirmation, even via e-mail !!

    April 23, 2011 at 3:53 pm |
  11. conservative

    it's amazing how many of you go absolutley out of your way to criticize Christians... and on Easter too. What a shame. But still God loves you. 🙂

    April 23, 2011 at 3:48 pm |
    • guest

      how rude of all of us not to observe YOUR religious holiday. we don't attack you because you have beliefs, we attack you because of the arrogant superiority you ascribe to your beliefs.

      April 23, 2011 at 4:21 pm |
    • guest

      so to put it simply: it's not God we have a problem with, it's you!

      April 23, 2011 at 4:23 pm |
    • Your full of It

      So "Guest" you lump all Christians into one category? ALL Christians think and act the same way? Seems to me you need to get an education and learn not to stereotype others, your bias is blatant.

      April 23, 2011 at 4:29 pm |
    • Jesus

      Nah, I read your Bible. God doesn't love anybody who doesn't believe He exists. He wants all us nonbelievers to be stoned to death by you believers. If you fail to do that, he promised to send us to Hell. Is that any way to love somebody?

      April 23, 2011 at 4:51 pm |
    • steve

      We all know of Christ and many of us even call ourselves Christians but how many of us really know Christ?
      If we reallly knew Christ we would only praise and thank Him for our salvation.

      April 23, 2011 at 4:59 pm |
  12. lolita

    it's raining men.....it's a gay paradise lol

    April 23, 2011 at 3:46 pm |
  13. Mike

    Most Masonic Lodges do not allow any women in them either. Big Deal.

    April 23, 2011 at 3:46 pm |
  14. Penny Rose

    And in many respects, it is probably just as well not to pass on this gene pool.

    April 23, 2011 at 3:44 pm |
    • Drew

      Thats where you are wrong; stupid people don't voluntarily decide not to reproduce. Such a choice is usually that of a very tortured person, and to be tortured a person has to have an above-average intelligence.

      April 23, 2011 at 3:52 pm |
  15. Ax

    No women there in a 1,000 years? They probably have very poor eye sight but real strong arms.

    April 23, 2011 at 3:43 pm |
    • larry

      I have no doubt you think you are too intelligent to believe in God, so what possible good could come from such a statement or are you just trying to make a cute comment to satisfy your own mental self abuse.

      Larry

      April 23, 2011 at 4:44 pm |
    • SB

      Larry, it requires no intelligence to believe in God. If you have any intelligence at all, you're automatically disqualified.

      April 23, 2011 at 4:59 pm |
    • Ax

      @ Larry: Maybe this place is proof that sheep can cook too.

      April 24, 2011 at 2:43 pm |
  16. Been There

    Unlike, I suspect, any o the other posts, I have actually been to Mount Athos – twice. It is nothing like anyone on these posts describe. The experience is personal, intimate, and spiritual. It is not for everyone, and especially those that find joy and pleasure in demeaning the faith of others and express a perspective that no place on Earth can or should be be made exclusive onthe basis of belief or religious practice. For your information, Protestants Muslums and Jews are not allowed either. Roman Catholics are restricted in what they can experience and participate in. Mt. Athos is a place of sanctuary and peace – a place away from the world and a treasure that has preserved monastic practices for centuries. It is a gift to the world – mostly because it is not a part of it. Why is that so difficult to understand? To suggest that total voluntary exclusion and participation in an individual's self selected religious practices and spiritual life is somehow politically incorrect or wrong, or making it a target of criticism or political point, is nothing less than a display of ignorance and disregard for individual rights. Look around the world non-beleivers and feminists, there are many places that seek exclusion and solitude and it has nothing to do with you. The world is not about you or your political agendas. There are simply other things to spend time doing and thinking about. You have no right to criticize such Holiness – you have no right at all. Now I think about it, are "rights" not your big deal anyway? How about respecting the rights of others – never know, those others may come to respect yours.

    April 23, 2011 at 3:43 pm |
    • Colin

      Why do the religious think their views should be immuned from skepticism and criticism. I agree they should be able to practice their faith, to the extent it does not infringe ther rights of others, but they are not above scrutiny and criticism. This is how ideas grow.

      and, I don't recall an atheist ever buring a believer at the stake for their faith. Believers cannot say the same.

      April 23, 2011 at 3:49 pm |
    • TheProdigal

      Correction, Been There. No one is denied entrance to the Holy Mountain because of spiritual orientation, even atheists (I'm fairly sure that Bob Simon himself, though of Jewish background, is an atheist).

      April 23, 2011 at 3:53 pm |
    • Drew

      @ Colin
      Hitler and Stalin were both atheists who murdered millions, many for their religious beliefs

      April 23, 2011 at 3:55 pm |
    • Mike

      Yeh any religion can go there there is just a restriction. Quote from site : "Generally, the office issues only 10 permits per day for non-orthodox pilgrims (foreigners) and 100 for Greeks and orthodox pilgrims."

      April 23, 2011 at 3:56 pm |
    • Colin

      @Drew. Hitler was brought up a Christian and it is unclear where his beliefs lay as he aged (including mystical beliefs). when he wrote Mein Kampf, he was still very much a Christian. But I do not believe he did what he did because of that either. His religious beliefs did not appear to have motivated him much at all.

      Starlin was a complete atheist. But, so what? He was a also a Capricorn. Neither did what they did because they were atheists. In both cases their belief was as irrelevant to their fervid political ambitions as their shoe size.

      April 23, 2011 at 4:04 pm |
    • Stemwede-Dielingen

      Colin: Why do the irreligious always seem to believe that their views should be free from skepticism or criticism?

      April 23, 2011 at 4:08 pm |
    • Drew

      Well obviously they didn't kill anyone because of atheist beliefs or doctrine, because atheists have neither. However, both did kill people for their religious affiliation, which is essentially what you postulated had never happened in your previous comment.

      April 23, 2011 at 4:09 pm |
    • JaJa1

      @ Colin:

      Dont recall athiests burning christians at the stake?????

      What about christians killed in Neros Ampitheaters, and burned at the stakes? What about killed in Englad in the 1400s? What about christians killed in the soviet union – hundreds of thousands killed in concentration camps in siberia? What about those killed during Mao's regime in china and still being killed today? Or what about those that cnn doesnt publish that are killed today in india, burma, indonesia, and south america???? You dont see christians killing atheists, but atheists kill christians today all the time. STOP BEING SO IGNORANT!!!!!

      April 23, 2011 at 4:17 pm |
    • Colin

      Drew. Not to belabor the point, but they would kill anybody who oppose them – atheist, Jew, Christian, Mulsim. Starlin saw Eastern Orthodox as a threat to his absolute power, and Hitler was Jews as a convenient political and economic scapegoat. Given that most atheists are humanists and freethinkers (as am I) I suspect we would have fared very poorly under either.

      April 23, 2011 at 4:20 pm |
    • Colin

      @JaJa1. Let's not confuse religious killings with political killings. Christians in Rome were viewed as a threat to the Emperor (Roman Emperors, by the way, were not atheists, they tended to have Pagan beliefs – recall the Roman gods).

      As to PolPot/Mao/Stalin, this was political. Just llike the so called religious wars of Norther Ireland are not really religious, they are political. India is not atheists killing christians, it is Mulsim v. Hindu v. Christian.

      Until very recently in world history, there were very few atheists. We have on incentive to kil lfor religion.

      April 23, 2011 at 4:26 pm |
    • Your full of It

      @Colin, a Christian has never been burned at the stake by an athiest? Are you kidding me or are you just plain stupid? Plenty of Christians have been killed and persecuted simply for being a Christian. I guess because there is no book keeping score you assume it has never happened. There have been plenty of wars fought over a wide range of reasons, not all wars are over religion, when are you athiests going to get off of your high horse and accept the fact that everyone, religious and non religious cause violence at some time.

      April 23, 2011 at 4:27 pm |
    • Drew

      You think religious killings aren't motivated by politics on some level? Repressive regimes often ally themselves with a particular religion as a means of control, and consequently encourage the punishment of those who won't abide by the tenets of said religion. Since organized religion and political systems often develop in tandem, its really impossible to separate the political motivations of events like the crusades from the religious ones

      April 23, 2011 at 4:27 pm |
    • TheProdigal

      Atheists actually do have beliefs and doctrines; it was taught in the USSR just like catechism is taught in a Roman Catholic school. Children were "indoctrinated" in atheism. It was also an official tenet of the Communism of the USSR. So, at least indirectly – though actually quite directly, I believe – Stalin did persecute and kill religious believers because of his own Communist atheist orientation, even though this was mixed with a significant amount of his own personal megalomania, as Collin suggests.

      April 23, 2011 at 4:31 pm |
    • Cedar rapids

      'What about christians killed in Neros Ampitheaters? '... you mean christians killed by belivers in other gods?
      'and burned at the stakes' ...you mean by other christians of differeing religious factions?

      'What about killed in Englad in the 1400s' ....again by other christians.

      'Or what about those that cnn doesnt publish that are killed today in india, burma, indonesia, and south america???? '....and you think these are christians being killed by atheists as well huh?

      yeah, you really need to do more historical research before trying to comment again.

      April 23, 2011 at 4:32 pm |
    • Drew

      @ Prodigal
      I agree fully. I think all religious killings are also informed by a certain amount of personal megalomania

      April 23, 2011 at 4:34 pm |
    • larry

      Been There, I have studied Athos for many years sence becoming a convert, I think You have pretty well nailed it, after reading all the negative statments I better understant the need for constant Prayer!
      Keep the Faith
      Larry

      April 23, 2011 at 4:37 pm |
    • Colin

      @YouR fullofit. You are confusing non-Christians with atheists. Disputes between religions go on all the time. What I am saying is atheists killing christians becuas eof their religios beliefs. Never happens. See Drew's comment above about mixed religious/political motives. It is very true.

      April 23, 2011 at 4:41 pm |
    • JaJa1

      @ cedar rapids

      you basically copy and pasted my post all over again and had absolutely no point. Thanks for getting my post out there, next time think before you type and try to type something worthwile.....

      April 23, 2011 at 5:07 pm |
  17. Penny Rose

    These men have terrible concerns for their soul so they pray to go to Heaven. Which in my opinion is a stupid waste of the time we have here.

    April 23, 2011 at 3:42 pm |
    • kathy

      That to me is a very unfair statement to make. We know very little about these Monks as they know very little about us.
      If that is there path in life, who are we to judge them. They are not judging us so we are the selfish ones always sticking our noses where they don't belong. I find it very disrespectful to be so critical of them!!

      April 23, 2011 at 3:56 pm |
    • Jesus

      Does the guy who has the key to the monastery door called the Monkey?

      April 23, 2011 at 4:48 pm |
  18. nikki

    That is the most selfish act i have ever heard of. If they are not concerned with the world around them and have no knowledge of the hardships, wars and miracles that happen every day, what are they praying for? world peace? happiness? obviously not, because they don't know or care if anyone else has peace or happiness or what is happening to other people and then they play the "religious order" card to justify it?

    April 23, 2011 at 3:37 pm |
    • Steve

      They pray for your salvation. Your individual actions are of no bearing only your faith and repentance. You do not need to now of a war to know we are capable of evil and we sin every day.

      April 23, 2011 at 4:08 pm |
    • cocoloco

      Reading the New Testament, where the true Christian religion comes from, specifically talks about serving others. Jesus prayed for the purpose to serve mankind and save him, not to just stand around praying. These monks don't truly understand Christianity. Also, any religion which considers itself Christian and murders, including and specifically Catholics, in Ireland and around the world, and in history, Crusades, etc. don't go along with the New Testament principles. Jesus conquered with love teaching self-discipline and not bombing people, like the Muslims. If we think the U.S. is a "Christian" nation and their armies are from "God" and are "Heroes", we are just fooling ourselves. Yes, they serve a purpose in God's hand, but so does "Satan". Just read the New Testament and find out. Peace.

      April 23, 2011 at 4:08 pm |
    • pete

      Why do people have to do what "we" consider productive or how we can benefit of their efforts to make them right? Try wearing their shoes before talking... Quit being selfish....

      April 23, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
  19. ficheye

    So, if they know nothing of the outside world and spend most of their time in prayer... what are they praying about... and what good does it do the rest of us? It seems to be more self serving than humanity serving. I'd like religions to focus on helping people understand what is beyond them, not just meditate a lot about themselves. At that point they might as well open it up to tourism. But on the other hand, if you want a very quiet life and are tired of the world and its ever increasing polarities... then this is the place. But that line of conjecture takes you right back to self serving and even self centered logic for your existence.

    April 23, 2011 at 3:34 pm |
    • Todd

      probably asking GOd to stop making the cows seem so darned physically attractive.

      April 23, 2011 at 3:41 pm |
    • bam

      It MAY be safe to say this might be the ONLY religious area that has not killed another human because of their beliefs. christian talibanism being the #1 crusader of mankind.

      April 23, 2011 at 3:47 pm |
    • Stemwede-Dielingen

      BAM: You are utterly ignorant of the Crusades and its root causes. Your do nothing but project your animus onto others. All that without a shred of logic or fact checking.

      April 23, 2011 at 4:04 pm |
    • Steve

      They spend their entire life praying for the welfare of everyone, not themselves (where this notion comes from is beyond me). Their focus is the nous (you can go look it up, I can't explain it here – Nor do I truly understand nous). They pray for you whether you are infirmed, poor, a criminal, depraved or purely evil. They are the most selfless people in our world and the only reason you would not be able to see that is due to the need to dismiss them so you can feel better about your own contributions to your fellow man.....

      April 23, 2011 at 4:05 pm |
    • larry

      They Pray for the problems of the world and I mean all the problems, much like the Convents, instead of being a cynic you might just be glad that there are people who care this much, by the way that life you claim for yourself is not really yours, it belongs to God whether you want to recognize Him or not, you did nothing to give yourself life, its His gift to you hopefully you in your arrogance will not waist it.
      Larry

      April 23, 2011 at 4:24 pm |
    • Roger

      The purpose of prayer is to tell God about all the things that He's apparently unaware of in the world. After all, if God knew about the people who need help from Him then surely He would take care of it all by himself, without needing to be told about it. But apparently God is too busy with other things and has to be reminded once in a while that there are people who need some help.

      April 23, 2011 at 4:37 pm |
  20. Peter

    Meaning no disrespect to any religion, do you really think God created man to simply spend his entire life doing nothing but telling Him how great He is?

    April 23, 2011 at 3:33 pm |
    • Colin

      Not only that, but he apparently sat around for 13,400,000,000 years after he created the Universe before "creating" man to tell him how great he is. Meanwhile, what's with the other 200,000,000,000 galaxies and their 100,000,000,000 stars??

      Hmmm, sounds to me like we made god and not visa-versa.

      April 23, 2011 at 3:35 pm |
    • Mike B

      The Bible itself tells us that those lucky enough to reach heaven (surely a matter of luck, as one born outside of Christianity is unlikely due to birth to become Christian) will spend all of eternity praising God. So I guess viewed Biblically, it makes sense. If on the other hand you read the Bible, and upon reaching the part where it states that light was made prior to the sun and the stars, and you conclude that the Bible is myth rather than fact, then what the monks do is indeed a waste of time.

      April 23, 2011 at 3:39 pm |
    • Todd

      and to those who say that believing in God at worst, costs nothing, well, thanks, but I'm not wasting my entire life ignoring the existing planet in exchange for telling a make believe character how great he is.

      April 23, 2011 at 3:40 pm |
    • bam

      If they have never been anywhere else but the island and women have not been there for 1000 years then it is safe to assume they are getting each other pregnant prison style otherwise 1 of those statements is not true....
      but then again its a religion and logic gets tossed out but if logic dictates something is 100% wrong then the rebuttal is FAITH.

      April 23, 2011 at 3:44 pm |
    • shofar

      If I'm God, I don't think any other reason why I would create a human, but to worship me.

      April 23, 2011 at 3:51 pm |
    • Steve

      I believe their life is much more rich than that but you will not understand their purpose. You probably believe your life is more enriched because you spend 5 hours a day watching TV and playing your Wii......

      April 23, 2011 at 3:53 pm |
    • Drew

      @ bam
      Actually I think its fairly obvious that new monks join the community from the outside world, and this is how it has lasted 1000 years. So much for your "logic" genius

      April 23, 2011 at 3:58 pm |
    • mgc6288

      Peter, Yes he does. Read Corinthians 7:32-35

      32 I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs—how he can please the Lord. 33 But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world—how he can please his wife— 34 and his interests are divided. An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world—how she can please her husband. 35 I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord.

      April 23, 2011 at 3:59 pm |
    • Stemwede-Dielingen

      bam: Obviously their population growth is by recruitment. Just because woman haven't been THERE for a thousand years doesn't mean that individuals can't leave to recruit new monks.

      As to the rest of you, if you think God just wants people to tell Him how great He is, you are utterly ignorant (surprise, surprise) of the teachings of Christ. God does not need our worship; He desires our worship, because it is good for us. The last thing a proud and vain man wants to do is acknowledge that someone or something is greater than himself. It engenders humility in the human spirit, which us teh opposite of pride. Since pride is teh biggest reason that humans are damned, it is a necessary component of salvation.

      April 23, 2011 at 4:00 pm |
    • BillCat

      Hey Colin & Peter – you are correct in one respect, God – our Eternal, Heavenly Father does not want us – His sons and daughters to waste the lives we have but to live, learn and grow. Elohim meaning in Hebrew is 'god or gods' so in Genesis when it's talking about the creation is can be read as 'the gods' created heaven and earth.

      Because we are the spirit children of a Heavenly Father we are endowed with the ability to grow and become like Him. It also means that all men and women on this earth are our brothers and sisters.

      There may be one Heavenly Father of the people on this earth – and His son Jesus Christ but maybe we need to consider the thought that there may be many gods, each organizing their worlds, populating their worlds with their spirit children and letting the cycle of life continue.

      April 23, 2011 at 4:08 pm |
    • blocka

      I am thinking Y woman not allowed. I am sure these Monks came out of Women "You know what" so Y hate them so much...If God made women then she should and can do anything and can go anywhere...
      What a sad life these gays have.....LOL

      April 23, 2011 at 4:10 pm |
    • tomtom

      What???

      April 23, 2011 at 4:12 pm |
    • pete

      Define doing nothing....Are we living with your standards?

      April 23, 2011 at 4:47 pm |
    • Jesus

      YES! God is an egomaniac. He loves praise. He also likes you to compliment him on his hair, his clothes, and his looks. Also He likes it when you fork over lots of bucks to His agents and representatives (e,g, Billy Graham et al).

      April 23, 2011 at 4:47 pm |
    • fofo

      @ Colin, of course we created God. The Jews have the best business mind, they knew very well how much wealth they could create with these bs.

      April 23, 2011 at 4:51 pm |
    • Drew

      @ fofo
      Wow an atheist with anti-Semitic inclinations, thats never ended badly

      April 23, 2011 at 4:56 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.