home
RSS
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. faith

    Your story reminded me of my encounter with the Holy Ghost....Christ is Awesome!!! May your testimony bless many more. GOD bless!

    May 3, 2011 at 12:09 pm |
  2. Godfrey

    The retarded are ever with us.

    May 2, 2011 at 11:21 pm |
  3. Tim

    Thanks Ken. Judging from the comments here, a lot of us still have a ways to go on our own journeys.

    May 2, 2011 at 3:13 pm |
  4. yep that guy

    religious people live in a world where it's dark all the time. They walk around in the dark hoping to fill a wall but scared to hit the switch and realized there isn't anything there.

    May 2, 2011 at 1:59 am |
  5. livingmylife

    I would rather live my life believing and worshiping God and die and find out there's nothing there, to living my life like there's no God then dying and finding out there is!

    May 1, 2011 at 6:17 pm |
  6. Umbriel

    Thank you for sharing this. I suspect that your aunt is still smiling at you from the other side.

    May 1, 2011 at 5:51 pm |
  7. Yolo

    It has been proven that God does exist by the things he created OUR BODY IS WONDERFULLY MADE look at things around you.trees,plants.animals,etc.In the beginning God created the heavens in the earth.Gensis

    April 30, 2011 at 10:25 pm |
  8. Muneef

    Description: The Core of the Islamic Creed: the belief in God and His worship, and the means through which one can find God.
    Published on 16 Jan 2006 – Last modified on 29 Mar 2011

    Introduction At the heart of Islam lies belief in God. The core of the Islamic creed is bearing witness to the phrase, La illaha illa Allah, “There is no true deity deserving worship but God.”  The testimony to this belief, called tawhid, is the axis around which all Islam revolves.  Moreover, it is the first of the two testimonies by which a person becomes a Muslim.  Striving after the realization of that oneness, or tawhid, is the core of Islamic life. For many non-Muslims, the term Allah, the Arabic name of God, refers to some distant and strange deity worshipped by the Arabs.  Some even think it to be some pagan “moon-god”.  However, in Arabic, the word Allah means the One True God. Even, Arabic speaking Jews and Christians refer to the Supreme Being as Allah.
    http://www.islamreligion.com/articles/39/viewall/
    ------
    Description: Why God revealed His message in the form of scriptures, and a brief description of the  two of the Scriptures of God: the Bible, and the Quran.
    Published on 16 Jan 2006 – Last modified on 04 Oct 2009
    http://www.islamreligion.com/articles/36/
    --------
    Jinn and the Unseen World;
    http://www.islamreligion.com/articles/4099/

    April 30, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
    • Amy

      While it is very clear that most faiths believe in god.. there is more to it then just believing.. The bible says that even the demons believe.. Jesus paid the price on the cross for us.. because our sin seperates us from God. We cannot be saved by the law or by just believing in God.. we are saved through are love and belief of Jesus and it was his blood that saves us and allows us to be reconnected to God. "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me." John 14:6 For no one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them to me, and at the last day I will raise them up. John 6:44

      May 2, 2011 at 8:41 pm |
  9. Muneef

    "Behold! Allah Promised you one of the two (enemy) parties, that it should be yours: Ye wished that the one unarmed should be yours, but Allah Willed to justify the Truth according to His Words and to cut off the roots of the Unbelievers; ”
    —Qur'an: Al-Anfal 8:7

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Badr#Background

    http://www.witness-pioneer.org/vil/Books/SM_tsn/ch4s5.html

    April 28, 2011 at 6:25 am |
  10. Muneef

    Enjoyed watching the Christian festival of race passing the Fire Torch from one to another.
    The same is used in the openings of the Olympic games where finnaly they are to light over the bigger fire torch.this was a practice followed from the times of the Greeks. 
    What do we learn out of this practice ? Isn't is just as A message of true light that is to be raced passing it from one generation to the second generation in order a day will come for the truth to prevail in a bigger light of wisdom and peace.!? We are all searching for the light of truth the whole truth nothing but the truth ! We are not seeking to brain wash selves to believe what we want to believe deillusioning or selves with what we chose to want to believe.!?
    We been given in the Whole heavenly scriptures including Quran stories that when are read or recited they are supposed to inspire us from it's wisdom of the old, reading those stories is like feeding our senses for knowing which becomes to be known as man's common senses.
    The message that has been passed and exchanged among generations was that (God is One & Only No Mate, No Son ,No Partner and that Iblis (Satan) is the Etenal enemy of Mankind and that he has taken an ought to make stray mankind ending them into the eternal Hell fires !? 

    The Paths of Mankind :
    -The Righteous.
    -The Strayed.  
    -The Condemned.
      
    The Rules been Given and laid out as to what the punishments or the rewards would be for each of our deeds,but then after all only the Mercy of God that would admit us into heavens and paradise and not only our efforts, after all, all that counts is what is in our hearts and our intentions,belief or disbelief !?

    Some are lazy or as hard as Rocks or Locks and just want to bury their heads into the sand or plugging their ears and covering their eyes as from the Thunders and the Lightenings of the The Truth that One day has to prevail,whether we have wanted or tried to put the light of truth off or block it from sight or bury it alive !!!

    The truth will come back to prevail with matter how ever may God wanted it to be ! By the Pen or by the Sword or by what ever God has willed it to be...it is only then upon confrontation where and when faith is tested and judged,then it is for God to decide whom to give victory over the other  the unjust ones. Our Holy Book told us that over Seven Thousands Angels on top of horses were landed as an Army to join the battle fight against the transgressors, in taking side of Muslim believers who were far less in numbers and less equipped if compared to the other-side who were far more in numbers, in equipments and in supplies .! 

    It was that battle fight who decided the existance of Islam against the will of the polytheists and the Pagans of Mecca.
    Those nights of the battle fight was named as "The Battle of Bader".
    Therefore we can say winning the War is Not by The Large Well Trained Number of Armies or Number of Equipments or Higher the Technologies an Army had but it is rather more about how much faith you have in course and cause ! ?

    It is more like who God will take side with?  (Faith and Will) have to go togather to bring back the Good wellbeing for Mankind such as Justice,Love and Mercy as such will only bring around Peace and prosperty !? 

    As Good brings back around Good, then Evil only brings back around Evil, (what ever Seed  we Plant We will harvest it's fruits ) so if the seed we plant is of Good seed,we will hearvest Fruits of Goodness but if of Evil seeds that has been planted then will only harvest Fruits of Evil  !?  The Holy Book told us that a word of kindness is like a Tree of a Good Seed that we plant and that we will hearvest ...while a bad hurting word is like a Tree of a bad seed.

    Atheists.agnostics.disbelievers,pagans what ever or whom ever you are suggest to leave faith,belief or religious disputes behind and just read the Bibles and the Quran as referance for history and for wisdoms that through reading helps us to think for our selves and decide for our selves with out being told what to believe or not to believe. Have we asked our selves how mankind learnt and reached what ever level he is in now today? If it wasn't for the knowledge that was gathered and passed on from Adam's times then generation after generation to revive,remind,warn the stray against the wish and will of those condemned ones who rejected,killed and exiled the Messengers and Prophets of God, then towards each crime they have made they packed it in a different shiny papers just as of the sweet candies to explain why or for what they did it for  !? 

    Peace2all/my regards !

    April 27, 2011 at 8:20 pm |
  11. galileo

    @MACGYVER READ JUST THE BIBLE WONT MAKE U UNDERSTAND ANYTHING. i'll teach u what this word meant on Luke 19:27However, these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and 1aslay them before me.....Signifying that all unbeliving Jews who reject the savior will perish

    April 27, 2011 at 1:27 pm |
  12. Owen

    It's a beautiful story of faith. My belief system rivals the Christians and the Atheists. But, one thing is clear. The writers faith, love, and redemption are his. He takes his knowledge from his aunt, who was a woman of faith, and applies them to his life now. And, shares with us a wonderful story of the path his life has gone to because of it. I am so happy I got to read such a touching human story.

    April 27, 2011 at 11:05 am |
  13. Muneef

    Why has the truth be killed?;

    You people have not explained to me why would God need to have a Son when we all creatures are of his own and from his own Spirit ?

    Why would God have a Son of his created among us when all the time we been sent human messengers ?

    Why when among us comes a man asking us to the light of truth,proving him self to be different from date of birth, and when he showed us love,cured our sick,even brought back to life our dead ones,who was able to tell us what we stored and what is  in stored for us.why do we condemn him to death as a transgressor ?

    Why did we take the privilege of sacrificing him as an offering or were we repeating the crime of the Sons of Adam when Cain killed his brother in jealousy about some sacrifice offerings that were made and was accepted by God for Cain's brother but not to Cain him self ? Then he learnt after killing his brother how to hide the crime unfounded out by burying of the corpus as the Crow bird had showed him !

    Strange isn't it that Satan has always mislead our fathers and us in jealousy ?
    First as disguised as a Serpent as told by elder bibles, he mislead our fathers into eating the forbidden fruit and succeeded into getting them out of heavens into earth and he with them ?

    Always where there was evil there was Satan behind it. He talked the Son of Adam Cain into killing his brother and into hiding his Crime !  

    Then Satan inspires and reveals to man evil verses that are not of God's words into the aim of putting the Light of God's Truth out of light !

    When here comes to us a Righteous Prophet full of Miracles, but instead of appreciating same and thanking God for, we rather drove him into crucifixion?

    The Sabbath people of the children of Israel who betrayed,ploted,conspired against him were of a closed religious society that is not accepting converts. The believers and followers of the Prophet were begining to claim his blood, when here Satan came again to teach them as to how to hide their crime, so they gave excuses and verses that made the crucifixion as legal ??? 

    Any way the establishment of a second religion was necessary and as well  keeping it astray off track was  necessary as well as that it was intended to relieve them from the burden of opening up their Religion faith for new converts to join up in theirs ???

    The Crime myth of being crucified beside other things became a religion formula to cool the mass of angry prophet followers and to drive the masses to convert into it.

    Then the Romans learned the trick and became to make use of this further to control and drive their complex masses of many faiths into one integrated mass where they turned the Sun God Day into Son God Day ! Meaning gathered pagans,idolaters and joined them with the right mass into one big mass of a faith that contain all in one....

     Until the day when the One Cell had broken into small divisions,where each thinks he is the righteous more than any other, so here it is it went multiplying to unend to becoming to suit each culture and race ???

    Finally God has chosen a messenger from the race of the children of Ismael to bring back his words of light to the children of Israel by a member of the family tree, and that was because when ever God chosen a prophet from among them children of Israel they had always disbelieved and killed their Prophets and messengers one after another even the Prophet Moses was not spared the agony and the failures that they drove him into due their disbelief in him and in what he has brought up to them to follow ?

    Now the same story is being repeated against the Seal of Prophets of God and the Words of the Message of God which was this Prophet only miracle that God has sent him with if compared with the line of Prophets and messengers that came before him.. ! The Light and the Power of Words were totally Rejected by the children of Israel because it came to them by the children of Ismael since they had rejected Ismael before that considering him a slave a son of a slave woman "Hager" !! 

    Turned to be in the size of the jealousy that Satan had for Adam or the jealousy that the son of Adam Cain had towards his brother for which he killed him or like how jealous those of the Sabbath were from Jesus by rejecting what he has came up with to ease their hardness that they had applied on them selves of which God had not told of.

    Jesus was attacked as the Seal Prophet was attacked by the pagan and the jews of Mecca for bringing that does not agree with the culture and customs they wanted to live with such as freeing slaves, forbidding the drinking of spirits and all that was mentioned and known about the people Mucca doing before any signs of Islam !    

    History is being repeated,mankind does not want to learn from stories of nations of old in order not fall again and again with out hold his steps for moments to think for his self as 'why' when ever some one brings by the truth has to be killed ???
    Peace to all,

    April 26, 2011 at 8:59 pm |
  14. K

    ***This comment is about the article, not the debate***

    The Holy Spirit doesn't feel freaky or like an invader that slips into you and makes your spine tingle–that's the other team! Get away from a place like that! Having the Spirit of God is like taking blinders off, the smell of spring, and a deep warm hug that lasts and lasts. Not trying to sound hokey, but the Spirit isn't rough with a person, and doesn't scare them. You know it's the spirit when he opens your mind and heart to show you that God is even greater than you had thought. If you have some experience and it doesn't show you your sin and God's glory, then it's false. That's very clear all over Scripture. The Spirit will always be a benefit and a relief, not something to confuse you. We walk into dangerous territory when we try to work a congregation up into devotion that is not in their hearts. Consider that if you are doing everything you can to compel a spirit to come into you, because you know you don't have the Spirit, that means the Spirit isn't protecting you from evil spirits! This is bad stuff and I fear for the author.

    April 26, 2011 at 8:05 pm |
    • Paul

      I agree 100%. We must strive to learn what GOD really want to reveal to us. God bless all.

      April 27, 2011 at 5:44 pm |
    • J

      I would have to politely disagree. I think the Holy Spirit can be scary, especially when you really don't want it. Faith is scary in general. Have you ever had to look someone in the eyes and tell them about Jesus, knowing they will reject you? I'm not saying God doesn't see us through, and that is better to lose a friend then deny Christ, but you have to admit, judgment is still scary because of our human nature.

      The Holy Spirit comes to people in all sorts of ways. People really do fall down, or cry, or feel tingling. I myself once got mad, because God opened my eyes. But I wasn't mad at God, I was mad at someone who had hurt me, and I had never realized just how deeply. Also, love is not all warm fuzzy feelings. Love is sometimes a time out. If you have a child that is being unruly and disobedient, would you just give them a hug and a smile? No. You would tell them to go to their rooms, or let them learn their lesson. Are we not God's children? I don't mean God is going to punish us, but sometimes He lets things happen because we need to learn a lesson. Like a couple of years ago, my house flooded and we lost a bunch of furniture and stuff. But then we realized that it was all just material objects, objects we had taken pride in and counted as gain. God showed us that what we really needed to rely on was Him, not stuff. Because stuff doesn't land you a house to live in when yours is destroyed, or keep you all alive. God does that, He provides when the world can't. But we never would of learned that if He held our hand instead of letting us make decisions, even if they were poor.

      As for God not being freaky... He is! I mean, think about it. God is creator of all, from atoms to mountains. And He loves us more then we could ever know! That blows my mind! He is a God who defied death, preformed miracles and knitted us all in the womb. He knows our every thought and decision, our darkest sin, and He still loves us more then we will ever know! It freaks me out!

      Also, imagine what it would be like to be a 9 year old kid and receive the Holy Spirit? I don't know about you, but I would be totally freaking out! I mean, it freaks me out still, and I am an adult!

      Perhaps the author did not go to the best of churches, who knows... That is between the church and God. But you also have to consider the ethic and historical differences. Perhaps it was weird, and crazy, and maybe the author did not like it, but we're talking about a God who walked on water and upset the social order!

      ~J

      April 28, 2011 at 7:13 pm |
    • Seriously?

      "The Holy Spirit doesn't feel like..." "It feels like..." Who are you to say what that type of experience feels like to another person? Are you really shallow enough to believe that your God would manifest himself to every person in the exact same way? You belittle your own experience as well as the Authors to make such a statement.

      May 2, 2011 at 5:10 pm |
    • Nicholas

      Orthodox Christianity teaches that such "experiences" are not the work of the Holy Spirit but demonic "prelest," an emotional/spiritual state which can be deceptively euphoric but does not come from God. Attempts to draw a parallel to the Apostles receiving the Holy Spirit and talking in tongues are flawed, because the Gospel makes no mention of gibberish and violent thrashing.

      May 2, 2011 at 9:39 pm |
  15. Muneef

    Watch out from Iblis (Satan) he has made an ought to mislead all ;

    The Creation of Mankind
    [7:11] We created you, then we shaped you, then we said to the angels, "Fall prostrate before Adam." They fell prostrate, except Iblees (Satan); he was not with the prostrators.

    The Test of Mankind Begins
    [7:12] He said, "What prevented you from prostrating when I ordered you?" He said, "I am better than he; You created me from fire, and created him from mud."

    [7:13] He said, "Therefore, you must go down, for you are not to be arrogant here. Get out; you are debased."

    [7:14] He said, "Grant me a respite, until the Day of Resurrection."

    [7:15] He said, "You are granted a respite."

    [7:16] He said, "Since You have willed that I go astray, I will skulk for them on Your straight path.

    [7:17] "I will come to them from before them, and from behind them, and from their right, and from their left, and You will find that most of them are unappreciative."

    [7:18] He said, "Get out therefrom, despised and defeated. Those among them who follow you, I will fill Hell with you all.

    [7:19] "As for you, Adam, dwell with your wife in Paradise, and eat therefrom as you please, but do not approach this one tree, lest you fall in sin."

    [7:20] The devil whispered to them, in order to reveal their bodies, which were invisible to them. He said, "Your Lord did not forbid you from this tree, except to prevent you from becoming angels, and from attaining eternal existence."

    [7:21] He swore to them, "I am giving you good advice."

    [7:22] He thus duped them with lies. As soon as they tasted the tree, their bodies became visible to them, and they tried to cover themselves with the leaves of Paradise. Their Lord called upon them: "Did I not enjoin you from that tree, and warn you that the devil is your most ardent enemy?"

    [7:23] They said, "Our Lord, we have wronged our souls, and unless You forgive us and have mercy on us, we will be losers."

    [7:24] He said, "Go down as enemies of one another. On earth shall be your habitation and provision for awhile."

    [7:25] He said, "On it you will live, on it you will die, and from it you will be brought out."

    [7:26] O children of Adam, we have provided you with garments to cover your bodies, as well as for luxury. But the best garment is the garment of righteousness. These are some of GOD's signs, that they may take heed.

    [7:27] O children of Adam, do not let the devil dupe you as he did when he caused the eviction of your parents from Paradise, and the removal of their garments to expose their bodies. He and his tribe see you, while you do not see them. We appoint the devils as companions of those who do not believe.

    [7:28] They commit a gross sin, then say, "We found our parents doing this, and GOD has commanded us to do it." Say, "GOD never advocates sin. Are you saying about GOD what you do not know?"

    [7:29] Say, "My Lord advocates justice, and to stand devoted to Him alone at every place of worship. You shall devote your worship absolutely to Him alone. Just as He initiated you, you will ultimately go back to Him."

    April 26, 2011 at 7:00 pm |
    • Andrew Messenger

      As I am to understand it, these phrases you are conjecturing were written by someone who was possessed by the devil.

      April 27, 2011 at 3:16 pm |
  16. 2Fish5Loaves

    The universe is NOT expanding, but is decaying. Look at the 2nd law of thermodynamics. And yes, I'm a CHRISTIAN!

    April 26, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
    • dano

      sorry, the universe is still expanding...check some new textbooks...

      May 1, 2011 at 2:17 pm |
  17. Ryan Richardson

    All I'll say for you Atheist is I'll Pray for you. I Pray that the Holy Spirit will reveal himself to you. I know that GOD and Satan is real and unless your saved by the Blood of Jesus you will meet Satan and his Demons. I know there is a Hell, have you ever seen someone Die and there begging GOD to save them because they can fee the Fire Burning them from Hell? Well I have, I've also seen someone who got her Voice box out and wasin't able to speak at all. Well when she Passed away she spoke and said "Look at how pretty the Angels are." All you Atheist do are filled with Hate, I use to have my doughts but when GOD showed me and never gave up on me. I thank GOD for giving this Sinner a second chance and to be able to live with him in Heaven. Thank you Jesus for your Sacrivice, I Pray that you open there Eyes and allow them to be able to see your Truth. Please forgive us for our Shortcommings, in Jesus Name I Pray, Amen. GOD BLESS YOU ALL!

    April 26, 2011 at 1:02 pm |
    • 2cupsofjoe

      I've never heard of the death to hell part. Interesting. It's amazing what leads people to Christ. I know my mom's prayers and fasting throughout our lives have given me the opportunities to come back to Christ. The day I found out I was pregnant was the day I felt so humbled with grace that I got on my knees and prayed. I felt so undeserving of such a privilege. I thank God for my son at least three times a day and I am constantly praying over him. I feel that a veil has been lifted from my face and I see the world in a different light. My son is my blessing and my call back to God. It makes me sad to hear atheists speak. I don't feel the need to argue with them over God. I pray that God reveals himself to them. I pray for blessings, peace and the desire to Him in their lives. I am not a perfect person and I fall into sin sometimes, and that's okay. God is still working in me, with a chisel in one hand and a hammer in the other.

      May 2, 2011 at 5:59 pm |
    • 2cupsofjoe

      I've never heard of people yelling about hell before death. Interesting. It's amazing what leads people to Christ. I know my mom's prayers and fasting throughout our lives have given me the opportunities to come back to Christ. The day I found out I was pregnant was the day I felt so humbled with grace that I got on my knees and prayed. I felt so undeserving of such a privilege. My son is my blessing and my call back to God. It makes me sad to hear atheists speak. I don't feel the need to argue with them over God. I pray that God reveals himself to them. I pray for blessings, peace and the desire to Him in their lives. I am not a perfect person and I fall into sin sometimes, and that's okay. God is still working in me, with a chisel in one hand and a hammer in the other.

      May 2, 2011 at 6:00 pm |
    • Andy Breeden

      Shut up, Ryan.

      May 2, 2011 at 8:06 pm |
  18. Diva

    Awesome blog. I love it! Thank you for sharing that with us.

    April 26, 2011 at 11:28 am |
  19. Bill Somebody

    You touched my heart and my soul with your story, thanks for sharing your most personal memories. God Bless you!

    April 26, 2011 at 9:32 am |
  20. Name*lsg

    Thank you for sharing your story. It was nice.

    April 26, 2011 at 2:57 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39
Advertisement
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.