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My Faith: A reluctant churchgoer 'gets the Holy Ghost'
The author (foreground, age 7), his late aunt, Sylvia Blake (left) and other family members outside their Baltimore church.
April 24th, 2011
12:01 AM ET

My Faith: A reluctant churchgoer 'gets the Holy Ghost'

By John Blake, CNN

(CNN) - I had my first brush with the “Holy Ghost” when I was 9 years old.  I’m still trying to digest what it meant more than 30 years later.

The day began as a typical Sunday. Aunt Sylvia herded me and my brother into her 1972 baby blue Chevy Impala and drove us to church for a service that would often last five hours.

Sunday worship at a black Baptist church wasn’t just long. It was scary. Elderly women who “got the Holy Ghost” during worship would thrash so violently in the pews that their wigs flew off. People shouted, wept and fainted.

This Sunday service started off no differently. But as the frenzy of the worship intensified, an invisible switch seemed to click on. A wave of heat rippled through the congregation as people beside me threw up their arms and shouted.

Suddenly, something seemed to slip inside of me. A tingling raced up my spine. I stood up to clap, scream - I didn’t know what I was about to do.

Is this, I wondered, the Holy Ghost that Aunt Sylvia sang about?

Singing gospel to keep muggers away

Easter Sunday is supposed to be about resurrection. For me, it’s also about remembering. When I see women herding boys in crisp new suits into the pews during Easter service, I sometimes think about the woman and the church that gave me my first lessons about faith.

I also think about an eerie encounter that I kept to myself for years because I knew it would sound so bizarre.

I didn’t join the church. I was drafted. My aunt forced me and my younger brother, Patrick, to go to worship service every Sunday.

We grew up in Baltimore, in an impoverished neighborhood so dangerous that my aunt would sing gospel hymns aloud as she walked us home from the mall at night. She thought church music warded off muggers.

My aunt wasn’t just my protector; she was my anchor. My mother was gone. My father, a rough merchant seaman, spent most of his time carousing overseas. I spent much of my childhood in foster homes with my brother.

Aunt Sylvia gave us a sense of family. She was a short, round woman who wore black wigs and wide, colorful hats with feathers to church. She would watch us on the weekends and buy presents for us when Christmas and our birthdays rolled around.

She never married; never had children. I told my elementary school teachers that she was my mother.

She was my biggest fan. She would collect my report cards, take me to museums and shower me with books that she nabbed from her job as a high school secretary.

I craved her approval even more than her scrumptious coconut cake. Whenever I made her particularly proud, she would give me the same peculiar look. She’d tilt her head to the left, stare at me in silence, and then her dark face would light up with a warm smile.

She was the only adult I knew wouldn’t abandon me.

Shunning church

My aunt’s smile, though, would turn into an icy glare whenever she saw me nodding off in Union Temple Baptist Church.

I thought my church was full of buffoons. I didn’t like the screaming and shouting, and I couldn’t stand the pulpit theatrics.

My childhood pastor, Rev. Churn, would sweat and yell during his sermons while taunting the congregation with lines like, “You don’t know what I’m talking about?”

He was right. I didn’t know what he was talking about; he shouted too much. When I was a kid, I thought that Rev. Churn was literally angry at the congregation because he yelled at them so much.

Once, during a fiery sermon, I thought about standing up and pleading with the congregation: “Just do what he says, and he won’t shout anymore.”

Despite my disdain for church, there was one part of service that I liked: “Testimony time.”

Testimony came at late-night services, as dusk approached and street traffic quieted outside. The services were less heated and more intimate, and during testimony, church members stood up at random to share a struggle and ask for prayer.

People often revealed the most personal details of their lives. But no one seemed to judge. Instead, people in the pews nodded and smiled, or chanted “weeeeell,” to encourage them.

Even as a fidgety kid, I was entranced. I can still remember how people visibly gathered strength when testifying, as if invisible arms from the congregation were encircling them.

Getting the ‘Holy Ghost’

Still, I wasn’t ready for any personal displays of vulnerability when my Holy Ghost moment came at 9.

When I felt that tingling race up my spine, I became afraid. I didn’t want to lose control. So when I involuntarily stood up in the pew during the service, I caught myself. Then I quickly left the church and took a walk in the cold night air until I calmed down.

As time went on, I resisted church even more. After entering high school, I mustered the courage to tell Aunt Sylvia I didn’t want to go anymore.

She was furious. She prayed aloud to Jesus. She tried to spank me. Then she retreated into silence as she drove me to church one last time with tears in her eyes. I never saw her so sad.

Soon, though, my time for tears would come.

In my sophomore year of college, I found my way back to church. A series of remarkable coincidences took place in my life. I made new friends and joined an interracial church full of people my age. And I shared it all with my brother, who quickly followed my example.

I also gained more respect for the black church. I attended college when there was a national debate about making the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday a national holiday. The debate prompted me to start reading about King and the civil rights movement.

The more I learned about the movement, the more I realized how crucial the black church was to its success. It gave the movement its spiritual fuel and many of its most courageous activists.

But my intellectual awakening didn’t quell my emotional insecurities. I had inoculated myself so much against organized religion as a kid that I began to think it just wasn’t for me. I didn’t think I was good enough.

One night, it all came to a head. I decided I was going to quit. How, I thought, would I tell people? What would my aunt say? I went to bed in despair.

Then, something strange happened.

I bolted awake, tears streaming down my face. I was on my back, right arm over my closed eyes, but I squinted anyway because I felt as if I were looking directly into the sun.

I felt a presence within that light. I was crying because I had never felt so exposed. This light seemed to bore through me, revealing my most sordid deeds, my inadequacies and my fears. I felt like an insect.

Despite that feeling of shame, I felt something even more powerful: love. It seemed as though this presence, something as immense as the universe, was telling me that I was accepted.

What do you do with such an experience? Was it a dream, a breakdown, youthful foolishness? I don’t know. But that moment changed me. I couldn’t quit. I had encountered something else besides my aunt that wouldn’t abandon me.

One last smile

As I think about that nighttime experience now, it takes on another meaning as well.

If my aunt was my childhood anchor, the black church was her source of strength. How could I reject the institution that nurtured her?

I thought all of the shouting in my childhood church was for show. I didn’t know the history behind the shout: slavery, segregation, people who “got happy” because life was so grim.

Faith, without emotion, is dead - that’s the lesson I absorbed from the black church, and from my aunt.

I never saw my aunt “get happy.”  But I can’t imagine she would have sacrificed so much for me and my brother if she wasn’t driven by a powerful emotion - love.

And I would have given up on my faith if I had not been overwhelmed by the emotion I experienced during my night of tears.

I never shared my nighttime experience with my aunt. It was too embarrassing to share with anyone. Yet she saw me and my brother return to church.

Three years after I graduated from college, though, I had to say goodbye to her.

She was 60, and dying from liver failure. I took a week off to visit her in Baltimore, but I didn’t go to the hospital to see her for several days because I kept making excuses. I didn’t want to accept that I was losing her.

I finally went to the hospital with my brother to see her one sunny afternoon. She was in a hospital bed, her once stout body shrunken, her dark complexion yellowed. She was unconscious.

I didn’t know what to do. I felt guilty for taking so long to see her. So I started to babble. I don’t know if I told her I loved her, or if I even thanked her.  But I do remember this: Though I went there to comfort her, she ended up comforting me, much like she did when I was a boy.

As I looked down at her, trying not cry, she opened her eyes.

She was too weak to talk. But she gave me that peculiar look - the tilt of her head to the left and the long stare - and then she smiled.

- CNN Writer

Filed under: Belief • Black issues • Christianity • Easter • Faith • Houses of worship • Lost faith • Opinion

soundoff (1,716 Responses)
  1. YounanMarketingAndManagementAssociatesInc, Int'l Intst'r

    the energy that goes up the spine is usually called the life blood. the arms hugging as if an invisible person is hugging you is also part of the holy spirit presence. life blood often comes to you when your alone and in danger so you have to be wary and try to be with safe company and check your security travelling. the holy ghost is supposed come to you stronger when you need protection in some new stressful situation. don't go off the deep end but take precautions. talk to friends and relatives and check around for signs of suspect activity affecting you. some lose themselves without any warning or rescue aid of this kind. there are many other intuitive sensory indications and aids but there is a danger if the situation isn't quickly resolvable and goes on for years. then you have to live in another kind of shell. theresa noelle younan ymma-iii i-pic interpole galactica. younan research management.

    April 24, 2011 at 3:07 am |
  2. Terry Brookman

    Your experience was like mine when I was 14, the weird thing was that I was blocked from remembering it for years. I have had total strangers walk up to me and say, you know him don't you and when I replied yes they asked me how to meet him. I have had people tell me you have eternal life and ask how do I get it. I just tell them all I know and that is don't be afraid, do what the voice in you tells you what to do and surrender yourself to him. It is not something that you can sell or even give, he picks who he wants if you listen you can hear.

    April 24, 2011 at 3:04 am |
    • Fat Bobby Joe

      David Berkowitz thought his dog was talking to him.

      You are no different.

      April 24, 2011 at 8:39 am |
    • mc

      Charles Manson LOVEd that voice in his head!

      April 24, 2011 at 11:51 am |
    • BibleClown

      The voices in my head tell me that you are a virgin.

      April 24, 2011 at 1:57 pm |
  3. andrew

    Are you kidding me? This has to be a joke, that this is on CNN's main page...

    April 24, 2011 at 3:02 am |
    • TheTruth72

      No joke! Feel Jesus speaking to your heart?

      "Jesus lift the veil off these people's eyes and show them your true love!"

      Glory be to the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit!

      April 24, 2011 at 3:15 am |
    • Jesus

      Glory be to the seed I I spill on the floor.

      April 24, 2011 at 4:05 am |
    • Fat Bobby Joe

      Hallowed are the Ori.

      April 24, 2011 at 8:42 am |
    • atheitarian

      To kill a zombie, you must remove its head. Happy Easter.

      April 24, 2011 at 9:55 am |
  4. Kevin

    The people that will believe miracles from anecdotal stories are the same ones howling about how there isn't any hard evidence of evolution or global warming.

    April 24, 2011 at 3:01 am |
    • TheTruth72

      Do the research and you will see this isn't false. By the way, scientists have disproved global warming. Also, if you do your research you will find that there is no way that the evolution can be true. Just look around and see the complex design of everything. Stop trying to look for missing links between species and start looking for Jesus.

      April 24, 2011 at 3:19 am |
    • Fat Bobby Joe

      Yeah, it's easy to say "research". Research does not prove there is a mythical being. It proves nothing of the sort. Your lazy brain just finds it easier to use some gibberish from an old book to explain things that you do not understand. That is not learning, that is an excuse not to learn. That is not having an open mind, that is having no mind, for everything is answered in your book. No need for you to think about finding answers when they are all in your book. Bullsh1t.

      April 24, 2011 at 3:35 am |
    • JJ

      TheTruth72, so just because your defective mind cannot handle the evidence of science and you live your life with the pacifier of BS religious cr@p in your mouth, you think it's true? LOL!

      April 24, 2011 at 7:47 am |
    • Fat Bobby Joe

      TheTruth72 – you have never done any research which does already confirm your delusion. I know this is a fact.

      You're a deluded idiot.

      April 24, 2011 at 8:41 am |
    • pat carr

      "By the way, scientists have disproved global warming. Also, if you do your research you will find that there is no way that the evolution can be true. Just look around and see the complex design of everything. Stop trying to look for missing links between species and start looking for Jesus."

      what "scientists" are those? Just be honest and say you are intellectually lazy and trying to get us to do the same. stuff you fake jesus

      April 24, 2011 at 12:34 pm |
    • TheTruth72

      Am I the lazy one? Or do you not want to research which scientists have debunked your evolutionist theories.

      Funny how I get the feeling that you like to degrade others when you haven't even met them. You must think that everyone you haven't met has not been to college and is just a melted pile of goo on the ground with a mouth. I've been to a 4 year well known university. I have a steady job. Does that prove my credibility to you? I don't care if it does or not. I agree that there is an element of faith involved. There always has been. But there is also proof of things which validate that faith and make it more real. It could be that your human mind can't imagine something greater than your own self and so you just say that there isn't.

      Can you feel the wind outside? Can you see the wind? Can you see the leaves flying in the wind?
      Symbolic reasoning is needed for these last three questions.

      April 24, 2011 at 3:37 pm |
    • Pastafarian

      @ruth: I am a scientist. I went to school for 14+ yrs for my degree. I defy you to show me a SINGLE peer-reviewed journal article "disproving" evolution! Are you THAT ignorant? I would also ask you to check with the polar bears who are struggling to survive as their natural habitat melts away forever to see what their opinions are on man-made climate change.

      Ignorance like your will forever hold back the advancement of our race. In a great sense, you and your type are slowing the process of evolution! lol

      Remember, scientific peer-reviewed journals, not some e.ffing article from some religious tract.

      April 24, 2011 at 3:53 pm |
    • Renee

      @Pastafarian

      What is some of the scientific evidence supporting creation?

      Scientific evidence supporting creation has come from a variety of scientific disciplines, including astronomy, physics, and biology. Here are some examples.

      From astronomy we have Galactic Redshifts and “Hubble’s Law,” the phenomenon whereby galaxies appear to be moving away from the Earth at speeds roughly proportional to their distance. This observation suggests that our universe is expanding outward. Scientists have extrapolated this expansion backwards through time and found that our universe appears to have popped into existence suddenly, from nowhere and for reasons unknown. It appears that our universe had a definite beginning. This is scientific evidence supporting creation.

      From physics we have the Second Law of Thermodynamics. The Second Law says that our universe is constantly and irreversibly going from a state of order to disorder. It is as if someone wound up a clock that is now slowly unwinding. Not only did the universe begin suddenly, it has been “winding down” ever since. The fact that it was wound up in the first place contrary to the Laws of Thermodynamics is often interpreted as evidence supporting creation.

      From biology we have DNA and the genetic code with its inherent language convention. Where did this digital information come from? Our universal experience is that digital codes are the products of intelligence. The fact that the blueprints for every living creature are encoded in their DNA is compelling evidence that they were initially created by an intelligent agent. This is strong scientific evidence supporting creation.
      http://www.allaboutcreation.org/scientific-evidence-supporting-creation-faq.htm

      April 26, 2011 at 2:09 am |
    • stejo

      Renee – "I can't explain it and therefore it must be God" is not evidence.

      May 5, 2011 at 7:56 pm |
  5. Vista

    I expected more from CNN this Easter. Perhaps an in-depth story on the plagarism behind Easter, or a look into how people are celebrating. Not a first person blog post on someones belief. Apparently the writer doesn't know that people of all faiths experience the same feelings. So do people in riots or mobs.

    April 24, 2011 at 3:00 am |
  6. MikeTX

    A story of hope and love amidst all the madness of the whole, and some of ya'll have nothing better to do to slam others. Can't you be happy for someone else?
    Some of ya'll must live bitter, unhappy, empty lives.

    April 24, 2011 at 3:00 am |
    • Me

      No, happy, informed lives not hung up in the judgment, guilt and fear of the bible.

      April 24, 2011 at 10:55 am |
  7. Jesus is my Messiah

    Every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus is Lord. I love you Jesus. thank you for being so real, more real than the thorns that satan has sown in the church, among false acadaemia and the world. your Holy Spirit is a gift and comforter. Nunca nos dejaras ni nos abandonaras! Amen Aleluya!

    April 24, 2011 at 2:58 am |
    • TheTruth72

      Amen!

      April 24, 2011 at 3:14 am |
    • Smite Me

      "Every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus is Lord."

      That sounds more like a desire/demand that your "Satan" guy would have.

      April 24, 2011 at 3:31 am |
    • ZeebleZub

      Every knee will NOT fcking "bow" and every tongue will NOT fcking "confess" anything. Fck you and your Jesus for being full of bullshlt 24/7.
      Fck you and your fake "god". Honesty is something you hate, since honesty shows you are full of shlt.

      April 24, 2011 at 6:31 am |
    • Dudley041518

      Zeeb – so let me ask you, what is the difference between those who offer to take time from their day to mention you specifically to the being they believe to have authority in the universe, and the feculent rant you are on, against those who wish you no harm?

      Which do you believe to be on the right track? Those who are happy and forgiving or those who go through some flatulent rant as we would expect from "Old Scratch?"

      April 24, 2011 at 10:01 am |
    • ZeebleZub

      Dudley, were I to rant against Muslims in the same way (and I do) you would likely agree with me and even rant a bit yourself. I am an equal-opportunity anti-religion protester.
      Don't like harsh truths and harsh reality? Too bad, I guess you don't care about being honest and fighting against lies.
      You must lie and not examine your "faith" too closely lest it slip from your fingers. Oops! There goes another one.
      You hate the religion of Ba'al, right? Tossing babies into a furnace and all that? Yet their faith is the same as yours.
      You both worship beings that do not exist and point to everything as being caused by this god you worship. You see signs and portents everywhere.
      You ascribe supernatural design to everything in the natural world.
      And you believed what someone else told you without thinking too hard about it, for you were a child at the time.
      That's how religions work. They are sick and twisted social constructs that never use real proof, just tricks, to convince people.
      Sound like a con game? It is and always will be.
      Unless you have real proof for the first time in human history.
      That would be pretty good support for your position then. But I fight against lies. How is this a bad thing? Why call me satanic or whatever when I am fighting against lies?
      I'll tell you why: it's because those liars who wrote the different parts of the Bible made sure to put in something like "if anyone hates us they must be evil".
      But I am just fighting the lies. How to stop them I do not know.
      A rant is as good as a rave. If I can't shame you people into acting more intelligently, then I'll try something else.
      Just think of all the damage lies have done to the human race.........

      April 24, 2011 at 10:20 am |
    • JS

      Amen and AMEN! God bless you this beautiful day we celebrate!!

      April 24, 2011 at 11:03 am |
    • BibleClown

      "Which do you believe to be on the right track? Those who are happy and forgiving or those who go through some flatulent rant as we would expect from "Old Scratch?" I'm happy and forgiving; I had reason to kill someone seven years ago but I stayed my hand. I have a good life and a happy home, I laugh every day, and my job makes people's lives better. But I think your god is as imaginary as everyone else's god, and so is your old scratch cartoon devil. Sorry if that irritates you, but I don't exist for your frekn convenience or comfort.

      April 24, 2011 at 2:03 pm |
    • Dave

      @ZeebleZub... dude... give it a rest. Go for a jog or eat some organic spinach or something.

      April 24, 2011 at 2:05 pm |
    • Renee

      @ZeebleZub

      "Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight! Woe unto them that are mighty to drink wine, and men of strength to mingle strong drink: Which justify the wicked for reward, and take away the righteousness of the righteous from him! Therefore as the fire devoureth the stubble, and the flame consumeth the chaff, so their root shall be as rottenness, and their blossom shall go up as dust: because they have cast away the law of the LORD of hosts, and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel." - Isaiah 5:20-24

      April 26, 2011 at 1:38 am |
  8. Marichuy

    I'm doing meditations of Holy Trinity for few weeks, and I'll continue untill 19.6. Today I was with Holy Ghost (book of M.Angeles Sorazu) who shows a soul that she got the gift of fertility, treasure of virtue and divine union.At the middle of the meditation I ws inspired to open CNN, and I usually don't open computer TV or move anywhere during meditation. I thought I missunderstand, but anyway I opened page of CNN and first what I saw was this article, so I continue my meditation with it (the article). Holy Ghost , source of inspiration, stay with us!

    April 24, 2011 at 2:56 am |
    • TheTruth72

      I've been praying for this gift for a few months. I was completely blown away that this was on the front page. I also knew that the first people to jump in and comment would be non-believers (it always happens). It shows that they have something missing in their life that they need filled. Well, I wonder who might fill that gap. 🙂

      I was a Catholic growing up and have now leaned away from those teachings after doing much research and found that going back to the Bible and having a personal relationship with Jesus and God is the only truth out there. There are now around 41000 Christian denominations and it's just breaking the body of Christ up into pieces. We all need to get back to the truth.

      April 24, 2011 at 3:13 am |
  9. Kollada

    What a beautiful story.
    "Faith, without emotion, is dead."

    Thanks for sharing

    April 24, 2011 at 2:54 am |
  10. Dante Orlando Brown

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ha8loxM0JA

    April 24, 2011 at 2:54 am |
    • Marichuy

      Cool!

      April 24, 2011 at 3:02 am |
    • Fat Bobby Joe

      What a load of nonsense.

      April 24, 2011 at 3:30 am |
    • Up Your Rear Admiral

      Better video
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MeSSwKffj9o

      April 25, 2011 at 11:22 am |
  11. Gene

    This reminds me of a Richard Dawkins quote in response to a similar supernatural claim. Echoes my own sentiments after reading this article exactly:

    "The human mind is extremely susceptible to hallucination." ... "You are obviously sincere, but obviously I do not share your beliefs and I think you are hallucinating. That's all I can say. I don't doubt your sincerity."

    April 24, 2011 at 2:53 am |
    • Lizaa

      Our Father who art in Heaven Hallow Be thy NAME! I will pray for all of you disbelievers that you may find and search for the love and truth of the Almighty God before you die.Father please forgive them and I pray that they may find you before they die, Hell is no place for man.

      April 24, 2011 at 6:39 am |
    • what the

      Lizaa I will pray to zeus that you don't end up in hades for worshiping a false god! That you will see the elysian fields and roam around with hercules when you die

      April 24, 2011 at 6:55 am |
    • BibleClown

      Lizaa, why does God let people go to hell then? He could just save them, right? Oh yeah, He can't do that because Satan is a big meanie or something. You'd sit up there in Heaven while they boiled your mom down in hell, and that would be okay with you?

      April 24, 2011 at 2:08 pm |
    • Pastafarian

      I am touched by His noodly appendage on this holy day.

      April 24, 2011 at 3:43 pm |
    • daboink

      Bible Clown, he doesn't let people go to hell. The price has been paid for all mankind. You have to make the choice to have faith or not. Believe, or don't. Every person will be given the opportunity to accept. Clearly, not all will. Those who do not accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, must be separated from God eternally. (hell) He doesn't want anyone to perish. He'd love to make each and everyone of you loud-mouth know it all free-thinking liberals on here submit....but you have your own mind and your own choice. And it's one that most of you will regret. And I fully believe that in hell, you have a memory. And you will remember each and every time you were given the opportunity, each time you heard a choir sing, each post on this board.

      And if we're wrong..and we just sleep forever...what have we lost? But if you're wrong....you've lost everything.

      April 24, 2011 at 5:07 pm |
    • MacGyver

      @daboink (reply system is messed up)
      Have you read your bible? Luke 19:27
      Clearly states: "Bring people that don't believe in me in front of me, and kill them."

      It's you blind follower types that really have no clue about what you purport to know. Most Atheists have read the bible, koran, book of mormon, etc., and we know exactly why we don't believe.

      You are all soooo devout, but if you were taken as baby to a muslim country and raised by muslim parents, you would be here shouting about how much you love mohamed, and not jesus. You all have been "Programmed" by your parents, the same way they were "Programmed" by their parents, to believe in something that doesn't make any sense and without proof. It's like a virus, and you keep spreading it to your children, which wouldn't be so bad, except for all the intolerance and killing that goes along with having "the true word of a god".
      There is no place in modern society for your backwards Bronze Age Arabic religion, that's right, christianity, judism, and islam, are all from the same guy, Abraham, and what a great guy he was.

      April 25, 2011 at 9:03 am |
    • stejo

      daboink, jesus was a liberal.

      May 5, 2011 at 7:58 pm |
  12. Michael

    Yet another piece on Christian mythology.

    April 24, 2011 at 2:52 am |
    • TheTruth72

      Research it my friend. You'd be surprised at the complexity and truth of it if only you actually do the research. Do you realize how incredible (beyond human imagination) God must be to have orchestrated each and every event so that Jesus could fulfill all prophesies and die for everyone's sins? Just because you cannot comprehend how powerful God is, does not mean that He cannot do what He does.

      April 24, 2011 at 3:09 am |
    • what the

      "research" in the christian mind = reading the bible.

      How do I prove the bible is true? Because the bible says it's true! I'm a circle!

      April 24, 2011 at 6:54 am |
    • John Sharp

      I like those who post on here and name them selves the truth. it betrays a lack of intellect and the ability to reason so they give themselves a silly name that they think gives them credibility. It does quite the opposite.
      It just reflects you don't have a clue as to what you are talking about.

      April 24, 2011 at 9:20 am |
    • Dave

      Michael, the dude is just telling his story... he didn't claim some truth. He just told his story.

      April 24, 2011 at 2:01 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      Response to "TheTruth" about fulfilled prophecies. Read the very 1st chapter of the very 1st book of the New Testament, and you'll discover the very 1st failed prophecy in Verses 23 and 25. They couldn't even get the cake right when somebody had written out the whole recipe for them.

      April 24, 2011 at 2:16 pm |
    • billlyh

      THE COMPLETE FIRST CHAPTER OF MATTHEW IS TRUE. AS THE WHOLE BIBLE. ...THE KJV BIBLE, THAT IS. IT'S HARD TO BELIEVE THAT THERE AS MANY OF YOU 'LOST TO HELLFIRE" PEOPLE OUT THERE. YOU SHOULD USE YOUR BRAIN AND GO AHEAD AND CONSIDER THAT CHRISTIANITY MIGHT BE CORRECT. IF YOU WILL JUST SEEK GOD, YOU CAN FIND HIM, AND REALIZE THAT THE BIBIE IS, IN FACT, THE REAL THING. THE ONLY WAY TO ETERNAL PEACE IS FULLY EXPLAINED IN THE BIBLE. BUT, YOU HAVE TO STUDY IT. ...IF YOU JUST GO AHEAD AND LEAVE YOUR HEAD STUCK IN THE SAND, AND DON'T GIVE IT ALL TO JESUS, YOU WILL PERISH FOREVER.......NONE OF US WANT THAT FOR ANY OF YOU. JESUS DOES NOT WANT THAT FOR ANY OF YOU......IT IS UP TO YOU TO SEARCH.......LIFE IS JUST A TEST.....IF YOU FAIL, YOU CANNOT TAKE THE TEST AGAIN.....

      April 25, 2011 at 12:14 am |
    • Yolo

      Believing whats in the bible in-tells you reading it and meditating on the things you read and apply the things you read.asking for holy spirit.

      April 30, 2011 at 11:13 pm |
  13. Marky

    God be merciful to these misguided people who get on every thread (no matter the subject) and rant about what a lunatic Jesus was/is, and about how any Believer is a lunatic also. Happy to tell you there is nothing an atheist can say that I haven't already heard and because I have studied and studied, looked at it from every angle possible and chosen to believe in Christ, you aren't changing my mind. I wouldn't exchange my joy for your bitterness, ever! Christian or atheist, no one is perfect, so stop expecting it from anyone.

    There are plenty of pedophile atheists, I'm sure, having worked in DHS, so that isn't something that only happens if you happen to be Catholic.

    Ridiculing others' beliefs may give you a buzz, but it doesn't change our minds (yes, we have them and we use them), and most likely doesn't prevent anyone from becoming a Christian, so guess it just makes you look pathetic......

    He is Risen!!!

    April 24, 2011 at 2:50 am |
    • Gene

      Interesting! I, on the other hand, can definitely change my own mind about religion, or lack thereof. Certainly I already have once before, so why not again? To that end, I'm quite curious about your staunch belief and repudiation of Atheism, so could you possibly clarify:

      1. How you came to the conclusion that Jesus is worthy to be believed in, and not, say, Mohammed or Vishnu?

      2. Which studies have you undertaken towards that result, and which studies to the contrary?

      Thanks!

      April 24, 2011 at 3:09 am |
    • what the

      Don't bother praying...that's as useful as chucking money into a well and making a wish.

      Your beliefs are as silly as someone believing zeus was real.

      Tell me one piece of evidence that shows your jesus is real, but zeus was not

      April 24, 2011 at 6:53 am |
    • JJ

      There are plenty of pedophiles indeed, but what is particularly disgusting is the kind of khristian pedophile that uses religion to lure children. I am amazed that you would excuse these animals on the basis of "there are plenty of pedophile atheists." Be careful, because some parent out there might decide to show their "mercy" on you and let your god sort you out when you get there...

      April 24, 2011 at 7:43 am |
    • BibleClown

      Do you also believe that church music chases muggers away? Jesus H. Christ.

      April 24, 2011 at 1:55 pm |
    • daboink

      if we've read the same text (the Bible) it isn't possible for you to trade your joy for their bitterness. John 10:28 "And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any [man] pluck them out of my hand" Even if you wanted to go back, you can't. That's a little bit of proof right there.

      April 24, 2011 at 4:57 pm |
  14. Jennifer

    This was great article CNN. Thank you for finally sharing something meaningful!

    April 24, 2011 at 2:50 am |
  15. Philip

    Lol

    April 24, 2011 at 2:48 am |
  16. bill

    Jesus christ that was the most boring story I've ever read.

    April 24, 2011 at 2:47 am |
    • JUST ME

      BUT YOU READ IT! god bless you.

      April 24, 2011 at 3:02 am |
    • TheTruth72

      Now take the time to research it and you will find that his Holy Ghost experience is not fake and that many people have this gift. Check out YouTube as well. Only those with hardened hearts will not see the truth.

      April 24, 2011 at 3:05 am |
    • bill

      regrettably. But god bless you too.

      April 24, 2011 at 3:05 am |
    • bill

      Youtube will prove the holy ghost is real?

      April 24, 2011 at 3:07 am |
    • Maybe

      The "Holy Ghost" must play favorites, then. It surely doesn't show itself unambiguously and freely to all.

      April 24, 2011 at 3:15 am |
    • Fat Bobby Joe

      Youtube will prove that god is real, lol.

      That has got to be one of the funniest concepts you religious nutjobs have come up with yet.

      April 24, 2011 at 3:29 am |
    • what the

      wow from the replies to this comment it appears the crazies are out in full force today.

      Actually the "holy ghost" phenomenon, in addition to speaking in tongues, faith healing, it's all been debunked. Only those so desperate to cling to their fantasy religions believe this stuff

      April 24, 2011 at 6:51 am |
    • TheTruth72

      Has it been debunked from believers or non-believers? Exactly. The reason you may not have the gift is because you do not believe.

      If you were to do some research in general, you would open up a book and study a topic. The same goes with watching YouTube videos. The person presenting the information is trying to inform you. Now it is your job to discern whether it is true or false. Whether you go in with a pre-determined belief or an open mind is up to you.

      April 24, 2011 at 3:23 pm |
  17. Polycarp pio

    REALITY GET REAL!!!!!!!

    April 24, 2011 at 2:45 am |
  18. V Saxena

    I hate the blog format because comments are categorized chronically instead of by the number of likes. You should make all your posts like that...

    April 24, 2011 at 2:42 am |
  19. Cedar

    I've never, ever, seen such a detailed Testimony from someone who hardly believes Jesus exists. Perhaps, given your testimony, your problem isn't with the church (hey, I've got no problem pointing fingers at the many sins of the RC church), but it is with the God-man who has a right to your life? Just one possibility... Peace. I hope this Sunday reminds you that ONE person, did, in fact, do the impossible, and reversed what you and I WILL face - death.

    April 24, 2011 at 2:41 am |
    • Dynan3

      Jesus didn't die on the cross. He was doing pranayam (breath control) that He learned in India while He 'wandered in the East' from 13 to 33 years old. Jesus did that so that He would appear dead and be able to idsappear and live out His life around what is now Thailand.

      April 24, 2011 at 12:26 pm |
    • Dave

      @Dynan... you read that book too, eh? Good job... I'm sure @Cedar is convinced.

      April 24, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
    • JPopNC

      What a bunch of maroons. Controlled breathing. Yeah, right. You realize that you die from asphyxiation when you're on a cross, right? There's no faking that. Then there's that whole spear into the heart thing. How do you fake that?

      April 26, 2011 at 9:01 am |
    • Yolo

      Jesus died on stake or a pole.

      April 30, 2011 at 10:46 pm |
  20. ARMYofONE

    Funny how you cannot post the truth. Only fiction of the bible and jesus. LOL

    Oh well, we ALL know there is nothing as such.

    April 24, 2011 at 2:34 am |
    • TheTruth72

      Might want to do a little research.

      April 24, 2011 at 3:02 am |
    • Kevin

      That's funny, the more research you do, the more false religious claims become.

      April 24, 2011 at 3:03 am |
    • John Sharp

      Its hilarious to say do a little research. I have 16 years of theological education and I completely agree that this is all mythology. Just the longest running con game ever.
      The truth is only making statements as though there were verifiable sources of fact that support his beliefs. And of course we all know there is not. That is where the word "faith" comes into play. Believe in that which is unbelievable. too funny.
      Sure Mary was a virgin, ha. Sure Jonah spent days in the whale, sure there was a talking snake in the Garden of Eden, etc........ just silly beliefs for those without intellect.

      April 24, 2011 at 9:29 am |
    • Dudley041518

      John Sharp – your 16 years of Theological Education seems based in denial of the faith. If there is no god, why spend 16 years 'studying' about who other people feel He is? This smells like a reaction, not an action.

      Perhaps you have the right training but cannot remove the obstacles between you and God?

      April 24, 2011 at 9:54 am |
    • John Sharp

      Dudley, My 16 years of theological education provided verification of Christianity being based on myths and wishful thinking. We are all seekers of the truth, some of us see the evidence for what it is.
      It is is illogical to say just because my research provided verification that this was a lie, that my research was founded on a false belief. Quite the contrary it was founded on intellectual curiosity and to be honest some hope.
      To say that it was all wrong just because the results don't agree with your "faith" is not an intelligent point of view. I am more than willing to listen to sound arguments that refute my position. As long as they are not based on anything from the Christian book of mythology, the bible, but factual evidence.

      April 24, 2011 at 10:23 am |
    • The Dude

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BNf-P_5u_Hw

      April 24, 2011 at 11:18 am |
    • TheTruth72

      If CNN is the only source for your research, then sure, it looks false. But try reading the Bible and actually doing research. If you know what research is, you can't just take what you think is the truth and present it as truth. You have to take both sides of the argument and treat them as equal until one provides you with overwhelming evidence. Just because you haven't experienced the Holy Spirit, does not mean that someone else hasn't.

      April 24, 2011 at 3:16 pm |
    • TheTruth72

      That comment was to Kevin.

      April 24, 2011 at 3:18 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      John Sharp, you are NO Christian. You are a phony non-believer spewing your babble as you all do.

      Amen.

      April 25, 2011 at 10:59 am |
    • JPopNC

      Who's this "we ALL"??? Doesn't any of your research show the ration to people of faith vs atheist is like 1,000,000,000 to 1? That being the case, WE ALL recognize there is indeed a higher power. YOU ALL can't see the forest for the trees.

      April 26, 2011 at 8:57 am |
    • Andrew Messenger

      Mr. Sharp is desperately seeking the truth if he has spent over 16 years of his life looking for it. My conclusion would be perhaps John is not called to believe. There are such unfortunates. They can try with everything their mind can attempt to muster, but spiritual experiences will continue to evade them.

      On the other side of the coin, there are those who are inherently called to believe but they don't want to admit they believe:

      Instead of accepting the call to believe, they spend their entire lives (or 16 years) trying to come up with intellectual answers to prove that the empty hole in their lives is not there. I have a tendency to think that most outwardly provoking "atheists" fall into this category. It becomes the very driving force behind their "smart" answers that continually ask for "proof" of a creator.

      Proof to me is simple. Did the sun come up today? Amazing wasn't it?

      April 27, 2011 at 3:28 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.