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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. Diddy

    Imaginary friends are a kids escape, and people think they're crazy. All they need to do is convince a bunch of gullible people that their imaginary friend is real, and you'll have the story of how this article's religion came into being. I feel very sorry for those who have faith in things that do no exist.

    April 24, 2011 at 6:05 pm |
    • sanjosemike

      The people described in the article had a tough life. Money, education and fellowship (without crime) were rare. The author looked for and found this in a church. It takes a lot of real strength to be an atheist. Often atheists are lucky and well raised, with advantages that others don't have.

      Even as an atheist myself, I understand and try to sympathize with people who have have it tough. They turn to religion out of real need. It is not accidental. They seek it.

      I hope that fellow atheists would have the understanding to not carp too heavily on this form of make-believe, because it helps some people a lot. Later on, as they heal and obtain some of the "advantages" of a better life, they can also take an intellectual journey and toss off the bonds of mythology. In the mean time, let's give them a chance....and not judge them too harshly.

      sanjosemike

      April 24, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
    • Andrew

      sanjosemike, you can't disguise your arrogance and self-righteous and unwarranted sense of intellectual superiority with suggestions that you "shouldn't judge us too harshly." You still see us as naive, delusional idiots. Drop the act.

      April 24, 2011 at 7:35 pm |
  2. Alpha

    I have obviously hit a nerve, which was not my intent. Your anger belies your motives. You seek answers just like everyone else. You will not find it here in this blog no matter how long you hang around reading posts. I can't give you the simple answers you seek, no single person can. Your gift in this life is free will. Don't get too caught up in religion as the definative source for answers. Religion is the outward manifestation of an inherent drive that all men and women have to understand their purpose. Just like all affairs of men, religion has flaws. But this drive that we all have has no biological purpose ( ie. no pertinence to our survival). But it is there none the less. This is what brings the faithful to God, and they come in droves. Look for the truth behind the veneer of religion. Open your heart to the possibility that maybe, just maybe, there is more going on here than it appears. Look for God with an open mind and open heart and He will find you, and you Him. He is patient, he will wait. God will not simply appear to you and say " hi, Im God". How would that be an exercise of free will? There are many accounts of life after death, many books , scientific studies ( one done by a fellow physician), and discertations on the subject going back even as far as the Tibetan book of the dead only translated to English in the last century or so. The consistencies are remarkeable. That is a good place to start your search for the truth. And quit being so angry.

    April 24, 2011 at 5:40 pm |
    • ZeebleZub

      My anger is against the lies you spout. What does this say about my motives?
      My anger is righteous against thee and thine. You have no standing to attack me, no defense against my attacks, for I am against lies and all religion.
      You have no proof of your "god". You lie left and right and assume I've never been a believer. In short, you suck.
      I have gotten more answers than you have, obviously. I am not looking for answers here. As if I would trust any of you to give me straight answers! Ha!
      No, I come here looking for liars to mock, swindlers and frauds to scorn and abuse, and here you are! This place is like a smorgasbord of sleazy religious people like you.
      You cannot even prove free will, much less your "god", so don't act like you know what you're talking about. The mere fact that you have no proof means you have absolutely no basis for anything you say.
      You just don't get it, do you?
      Without proof, your assertions are completely without merit.
      And your arrogance without basis is deserving of the greatest scorn by thinking peoples everywhere.
      .
      As for free-will, you cannot prove it exists any more than your god.
      And there is absolutely no reason why your god could not appear to people, after all, he's going to do that later, right? You can't have it both ways.
      Jesus didn't have a problem with showing Thomas his wounds, right?
      Then what makes you think your god is not allowed to appear to anyone?
      He appeared to Moses as a burning bush, right? Why can't he do that to anyone else?
      Because he doesn't exist. That's the only reason all that nonsense is written that way – to distract and divert any honest investigation into the truth of the matter.
      It has all the earmarks of a long-running fraud and nothing at all to suggest anything honest.
      That's why you have no proof. Not because of your bullshlt definition of "faith", but because it is criminal fraud. The sort of fraud that gets people killed by angry villagers if they ever found out it was all bullshlt.
      .
      And I can only shake my head at your obtuseness in suggesting more bullshlt texts to somehow lend credibility to your bullshlt bible texts.
      What sort of retard did your parents raise you to be, anyway?
      I guess you are one of those people who never take the time to really think about all the implications of the different and contradictory parts of your religion. If you took the time and really thought hard about it, you'd see that you cannot use your bible to prove anything.
      All those other religious texts are just as useless. You have no idea how clueless you look when waving around all these different lies written down by other liars as if they proved anything at all.
      Just clueless as hell.
      And the inconsistencies in your bible are worse than many of the inconsistencies found in other religious texts. Yet you have no problem scorning Zeus, Ahura-Mazda, Ba'al, or any other "god" that you do not believe in.
      Yet this dichotomy flies right over your head. This intellectual blindness of religious people is indicative of mental illness. Your inability to think and deal with real concepts and logical consequences of your beliefs and contradictory doctrines makes you an obvious and gullible fool subject to delusional beliefs and consequent behavior.
      .
      The longer I am an atheist and the longer I argue with religious people, the more I become convinced that there is no god in existence at all.
      My anger is pretty intense where lies are concerned.
      Why YOU are not angry about the lies in your bibles, I will never understand! You worship your bibles yet you couldn't care less about the truth of the words at all. Very strange indeed, unless you realize that delusional behavior caused by brainwashing can produce this exact set of schizoid phenomena.
      .
      The proof is all on my side. All you have is a bunch of gibberish written to fool you. It works very well, as anyone can see. More proof on my side.
      .
      For your part in advancing the agenda of swindlers, thieves, child-molesters, adulterers, murderers, robbers, cheaters, liars, and others of that ilk, I have only the deepest loathing.

      April 24, 2011 at 7:11 pm |
    • Angry McAtheist

      Haha look at this guy wasting his time writing us an essay.

      tl;dr

      April 24, 2011 at 7:23 pm |
    • Alpha

      Time will tell, my angry little friend. I call on you again to remember our conversation.

      April 24, 2011 at 9:26 pm |
    • ZeebleZub

      What conversation? And why should I remember it?
      Is that some sort of threat about the afterlife or something?
      You're gonna have to put in some more details if you want to make a point.

      April 24, 2011 at 9:42 pm |
  3. Ron

    A genuinely rich and moving story of growing up under the loving watch of a God-loving woman. Thanks for sharing. Keep writing with the same truth and color. Ron

    April 24, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
  4. Andrew

    The way CNN organizes their comments in the blog sections of their website makes NO SENSE AT ALL. There's literally no order to it. Get your crap together, CNN.

    April 24, 2011 at 5:33 pm |
  5. The Bunny In Charge

    happy passover 🙂

    April 24, 2011 at 5:33 pm |
  6. Angry McAtheist

    Hi everybody, I'm Angry McAtheist here to poop on religion on a Holiday. I think I'm really smart and edgy because I dare to call religious people idiots and delusional while proclaiming my own intellectual superiority. It makes me feel really good when I fill that hole inside me with anger and hate. I'm wasting my life, so I fill my time trying to take a dump on everyone else and the things that mean so much to them. In short, I'm a selfish idiot. Have a happy Easter, I'm now going to point out that Christians stole dyed eggs from Pagans, and that somehow invalidates the entire Easter celebration. GO ME.

    April 24, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
    • ZeebleZub

      Lame. No matter how hard you try, you will always suck at arguing against truth. You know why? It's because lies don't win over truth. Dumb-ass.

      April 24, 2011 at 5:35 pm |
    • Angry McAtheist

      I can't tell if you're a Christian oblivious to my sarcasm, or the very kind of atheist I'm parodying.

      April 24, 2011 at 5:37 pm |
    • ZeebleZub

      You stereotype and lie, yet you think you're god's gift to the world.
      You must be parodying yourself.
      When you want to argue like an adult, be sure and act like it, okay?
      I shlt on your Easter because you are full of shlt, not because you are wonderful. Get real. You don't deserve my respect. I don't respect liars.
      .
      If you had any credibility I could respect that, but you don't.
      Why not ask your god to help you? LOL
      You think everyone must bow down to you? Why?
      Because you're stupid? Well, why don't you go find someone who believes your bullshlt? I sure don't.
      Too bad about your holiday. If you can't handle the heat, stay away from this blog and quit whining about "angry mcatheist".
      You sound like a big baby. Honestly.

      April 24, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
    • Angry McAtheist

      Actually, I can tell by reading your comments that you have no interest in arguing like an adult. And furthermore, I can tell that you truly do embody my parody. I am not parodying myself... you are yourself a parody. You're wasting your life. Essentially, you are a killjoy. You think I sound like a baby because I paint people like yourself as "Angry McAtheists," but come on man, look at your own posts. You're furious. You seem completely emotionally unstable, and that makes you the baby in this situation. You're angry at a God you don't think exists and you're angry at the people who believe it, probably because of some event in your life that you're still bitter over. You sir, are a giant baby.

      And if you want a soapbox on which to stand and spew your radical anger and hatred, perhaps it's you who should be finding some other blog to do it on – because this one is meant for people who are open-minded and accepting of different faiths, not radical atheist evangelicals.

      April 24, 2011 at 7:03 pm |
    • ZeebleZub

      This blog is just here without requirements that anyone act in any particular way. You, like so many other whiny Christians, seem to think this blog is your personal litterbox where you are "supposed" to be protected from every dissenting opinion.
      You could not be farther from the truth.
      If you don't like dissenting opinions, like most baby-faced Christians, then you really shouldn't be here.
      .
      And I love how so many Christians point and whine at opposing viewpoints and say they are "hateful", etc. just because they are opposing viewpoints.
      (Mine are hateful, yes, but you guys say that about EVERYONE)
      .
      I do not see anything "unbalanced" about my posts here. They are consistent and pretty straightforward. And angry, yes, but I am justified in my anger, whereas you are just seeking a double standard, like so many other Christians.
      For example, were I to rant and whine about "those terrible atheists", you would not complain but would support me, even if I used the exact same language. There is your double standard.
      I could stand on the streetcorner and have a hate-filled rant about "bad atheists" and how they are the anti-christ, etc. and you would pat me on the back and agree with everything I say.
      Double standards.
      .
      You call me a "killjoy", yet this is just another double-standard for you to espouse. Christians and their infringements on the rights of others is more of a fcking "killjoy" than anything I could ever do in a thousand years of blogging.
      Double standards.
      My anger has been pretty stable this morning, I think. I have tried to keep the same level of vitriol with all my posts, so I don't understand your reference to "emotional instability". Maybe you would appreciate it more if I were to use that same anger and vitriolic expressiveness in defense of Christianity? Of course you would.
      Double standards.
      Christian hypocrisy is well-docu-mented and pervasive. It occurs with disturbing frequency throughout the known world. Yet this does not bother you, I'm sure.
      .
      I loathe your religion for very excellent reasons. VALID reasons. Your religion, to put it mildly, is disgusting no matter how hard you try to hide it or cherry-pick your way past the minefield of contradictions in your bible.
      In short, you don't have a leg to stand on, either from a religious standpoint or a logical one. You can't get past those basic requirements of reason and logic if you want to actually discuss something like an educated person.
      Religion is the refuge of those who can't handle harsh reality.
      You seek absolutes from your religion, yet that is the last thing you could reasonably expect from such a mish-mash of contradictory lies.
      .
      Have fun with the parody thing. I know the truth is different than what you are trying to imply. Your lies can not rise to the level of truth.
      .
      Why not be honest? Why is that so hard for people? What part of you thinks that lies are okay and why? Why would anyone think such a thing?
      What is a lie and what is truth is not to be found in your book of lies, but in the real world using common sense, healthy skepticism, cynicism, logic, reason, accurate information, and what you are no doubt please to call a brain, assuming you know how to use it properly.
      Since you are already deluded, your brain is already impaired. I would not trust you with roadkill, much less me or my theoretical 'soul'.
      .
      Double standards are what Christians are known for. Your parody shows you cannot see the irony of your double standards or your position.
      You are just a child with an imaginary parent. I am free of such psychosis.
      I do not delegate my thinking to a book. I use my brain.
      Now you can agree or not, but do you really even care?
      .
      Most Christians I debate refuse to answer questions honestly.
      This is cause for concern as it shows a definite lack of integrity.
      How's your personal integrity? Up to answering harsh and brutal questions?
      Honestly?
      I doubt it. You are probably unable to be honest due to the indoctrination you have received. But I could be wrong.
      Those harsh truths and harsh questions have vanquished almost every one I have debated while blogging on the internet. I have won almost every argument. And all I had to do was be honest. That's all it takes to win.
      Being rude is just a bonus. I really do find it cathartic.
      I could be worse. I could be a Christian acting this way.
      I've seen it done. If you can't deal with random vitriol and random rants, then why bother reading any blog at all?
      I am not your friend. Don't expect respect and politeness when you don't deserve them. You have to earn my respect. You don't get it as the default position. My contempt is the default position where religion is concerned.
      Perhaps you are just being unrealistic. An occupational hazard for religious folks, I understand...

      April 24, 2011 at 9:18 pm |
  7. NC

    The only proof that was ever offered, the one that Jesus promised, was his resurrection. The tomb was empty. No one could ever produce his body. All the disciples were tortured and killed for refusing to renounce their belief that Jesus rose from the dead except John, and he lived out the end of his years in exile. If the tomb wasn't empty, all the authorities had to do was show the body. If the disciples stole it and lied to perpetuate Jesus' legacy, wouldn't one of them have recanted after being tortured and threatened with execution? They were stabbed, dragged to death, burned, crucified, crushed and flayed but not one of them changed their story. He said that his resurrection would be the proof that what he said was true and no one has been able to disprove that it happened. Research it yourself.

    April 24, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
  8. Kathleen

    Oh, please, CNN.
    This is the sort of saccharine drivel that is taught to gullible children in religious schools.
    Put this treacle in the Baptist church bulletin where it will be eaten up by the unthinking sheep who believe in fairy tales, but it really doesn't belong on a news site.

    April 24, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
    • Andrew

      It doesn't belong in the religion and faith BLOG on CNN? Get over yourself.

      April 24, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
  9. The Jackdaw

    What the hell is this garbage? A man caved in to ignorant public opinion and this is news?

    April 24, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
    • Andrew

      What public opinion are you talking about?

      April 24, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
  10. Da Easta Bunny

    Could very well be a ghost.. Maybe tourettes is caused by a ghost! Parkinson's too. Some times after dinner I get a feeling down my spine and stand up almost as if unwillingly, then run to the toilet.. Did you have something to eat before this experience? Everything is possible in our dimensions and universes, it could be a trans dimensional being such as the 2D paper puppet people harvesting 3D organs between the lines.

    April 24, 2011 at 4:59 pm |
  11. Reconnected

    Language seems to get in the way of so many things. My connection with GOD was lost at an early age. I spent many years questioning...sometimes angrily...sometimes educated..but often times ignorantly disbeliving in just about everything. Science at one time said the atom was the smallest thing in existence. We have since split the atom disproving that "fact." Does that mean i stop believing in science...no. Evolution exists...does that mean i can't believe in a higher power...no. I recently reconnected with GOD. It is an experience one must go through for themselves. There are universal truths...and there are man-made truths. LOVE exists!!! Peace and love to all!!!

    April 24, 2011 at 4:57 pm |
  12. JOSEPH

    IS THEIR A GOD. LOOK AT ALL THE ANIMALS AND NATURE IN ITS SELF. THE SUN IS 93 MILLION MILES AWAY AND IS OVER 1.3 MILLION THE SIZE OF EARTH, BUT IT LOOKS AS IF ITS JUST NEXT DOOR. SINCE YOUR FLESH CAME FROM THE DUST OF THE EARTH ONLY THE FOOD THAT COMES FROM THE DUST OF THE EARTH WILL NOURISH IT PROPERLY. THE BIBLE IN PROPHECY WHICH DISCRIBES EVENTS THAT WILL HAPPEN IN THE FUTURE HAS BEEN 100% ACCURATE TO THIS DAY. ONLY A GOD CAN TELL YOU WHATS GOING TO HAPPEN BEFORE IT HAPPENS. YOU WILL FIND ALL THE ANSWERS IN THE BIBLE. WHY ARE YOU HERE ON EARTH AND THE PURPOSE OF YOUR LIFE. JUST ASK GOD TO REVEAL HIMSELF TO YOU AND I WILL GUARANTEE YOU HE WILL ANSWER YOU. JUST ONE THING, MAKE SURE WHATEVER IS EXPLAINED TO YOU OR DEMONSTRATED IS IN THE BIBLE. WE ALL HAVE EXPERIANCED GOD IN OUR LIFE. ONE OF THE FUNCTIONS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT IS THAT IT CONVICTS THE WORLD OF SIN. THAT CONSCIECNCE/THOUGHT OR EMOTION THAT YOU FELT THAT TOLD YOU WHAT YOU DID IN DEED OR BY VERBAL RESPONSE WAS WRONG AND YOU FELT SORROWFUL OR REMORSE WAS THE HOLY SPIRIT. IT IS OUR CHOICE HOW WE CHOOSE TO RESPOND TO OTHERS AND TO GOD. GOD REQUIRES US TO REPENT FROM SIN WHICH MEANS CHANGE OR REVERSE OUR WAYS TO HIS OR GOD'S WAY. IF YOU READ THE BIBLE YOU WILL FIND ALL THE ANSWERS INSIDE THE BOOK. IT IS YOUR CHOICE. THEIR IS ONLY ONE GOD. THE DEVIL HAS CREATED OTHER GOD'S TO CONFUSE US AND TO LIE ABOUT THE TRUTH OF GOD'S EXISTANCE. THE DEVIL WORKS THRU YOUR MIND. NOT ALL THOUGHTS ARE YOURS. LET ME GIVE YOU AND EXAMPLE OF THE DEVIL/SATAN OR DEMONS EXISTANCE. PHYSIC READING COMMERCIALS ON TV IS JUST ONE WAY THE DEVIL TRYS TO ENTER INTO OUR LIFE'S. THE PERSON GETTING THE READING FROM THE PHYSIC ALWAYS RESPONDS: SHE KNEW EVERYTHING ABOUT ME. THIS IS A TRICK BY THE DEVIL. A DEMON HAS BEEN ASSIGN TO EVER SINCE YOU WERE BORN TO KEEP YOU IN SIN AND AWAY FROM THE THINGS OF GOD. THIS DEMON KNOWS EVERY THING ABOUT YOU. THIS DEMON TEELS THE DEMON THAT IS WITH THE PHYSIC EVERYTHING IT KNOWS ABOUT YOU. THE WOMEN HEARS WHAT THE DEMON IS TELLING HER AND REPEATS IT BACK TO YOU. THIS IS HOW THEY KNOW EVERYTHING ABOUT YOU.

    April 24, 2011 at 4:42 pm |
    • GAW

      Someones Cap Lock is on...lol

      April 24, 2011 at 4:46 pm |
    • Pathetic

      Clearly a rational thinker! 😉

      April 24, 2011 at 4:59 pm |
  13. BeautifulLord

    God is good, what an amazing testimony. God is good. These people who are talking nonsense do not know what they are talking about. They never TRUELY and deeply had an encounter with God, like one you have with the Holy Ghost. O these are the last days yall. The LATTER days of the last days. I truely believe. We are living in the latter rain of His spirit. The same spirit that was poured out on the day of pentecost. Acts the second chapter. gos is good. Stand firm believers!!!

    April 24, 2011 at 4:39 pm |
  14. Pathetic

    Too bad the holy ghost couldn't save his aunt from dying from liver failure at 60 years old.
    Maybe had she prayed to Casper she would have lived another 20 years. (He is after all the "friendly ghost"! 😉 )

    April 24, 2011 at 4:37 pm |
    • Andrew

      I like the fallacy of "if there's a God, nobody will ever die." The ignorance and stupidity puts me in a fit of giggles every time.

      April 24, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  15. Angel

    ZeebeZub – you've been on this blog all day. What are you looking for??

    April 24, 2011 at 4:36 pm |
  16. framous

    My father converted to An Agnostic from Christian. When many of his old friends asked him why he did, he told them that he "finally woke the f(ck up", lol.

    April 24, 2011 at 4:26 pm |
    • suppackman

      An agnostic is an athiest without b alls

      April 24, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
    • Andrew

      How do you "wake up" and become an agnostic? People don't "wake up" and have epiphanies just to become officially UNSURE.

      April 24, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
    • RealityChecker

      You clearly don't know what the word "agnostic" means. If you did, you'd be ashamed of revealing your ignorance.

      April 24, 2011 at 5:51 pm |
    • Nonimus

      For those who claim to *know* the answers, the amount they don't know can come as a shock, or epiphany.

      April 24, 2011 at 5:59 pm |
    • Angry McAtheist

      Sorry Reality Checker. Agnostic: a person who believes that nothing is known or can be known of the existence or nature of God or of anything beyond material phenomena; a person who claims neither faith nor disbelief in God.

      Or in other words, unsure.

      April 24, 2011 at 6:07 pm |
  17. framous

    The amazing thing about religion and faith is that so many intellectual people believe in the Bible's version of the God story. Even many physicist believe in Jesus. There are so many reasons that people buy into all of this stuff, and after spending so many years in church listening to all of the reasons people do.....I'm not buying any of it, physicist or not.

    April 24, 2011 at 4:22 pm |
  18. Bob Decker

    I am so sorry for you John and all the other belivers. Try a movie next Sunday.

    April 24, 2011 at 4:17 pm |
  19. Screven Watson

    What a great story. Very inspirational. Thanks for sharing!! Happy Easter

    April 24, 2011 at 4:16 pm |
    • D L

      I wish the non-believers would just give this guy a break and let him believe in what he wishes.

      April 24, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
    • Andrew

      They're too self-righteous and arrogant to ever let that happen. Ironic, isn't it?

      April 24, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
    • Patty Biller

      I received the Holy Ghost baptism way back in 82. Have been blessed ever since!

      April 24, 2011 at 5:39 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      That's not a Holy Ghost. It's just your bed sheets scaring you again. BOOGA WOOGA

      Turn the light on.

      Amen.

      April 24, 2011 at 8:51 pm |
  20. DON MARS

    John, thank you for sharing your story. Don't EVER stop believing. Remember when people reject your story of faith and belief in Christ, they rejected Christ first. It's part of our journey. God Bless!

    April 24, 2011 at 4:11 pm |
    • Ada

      Amen and amen!!!
      I believe in the resurrection because I still experience it today!!! Jesus is alive and may that same power manifest in the lives of all who read this! The Holy Spirit is God with us!

      April 24, 2011 at 4:33 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      That's not a Holy Spirit. It's just your bed sheets scaring you again. BOOGA WOOGA

      Amen.

      April 24, 2011 at 4:51 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.