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May 6th, 2011
08:16 AM ET

Faith unshaken by tornado

By Aaron Brodie, CNN

Tuscaloosa, Alabama (CNN) - The sound of someone playing a piano drew us in to the Alberta Baptist Church in Tuscaloosa, two days after a devastating tornado ripped a deadly gash that will scar this Southern town for years to come.

I had been looking for a high spot where I could to shoot a panoramic image of the endless landscape of destruction, but I turned back toward the church with CNN's Wayne Drash to see where the music was coming from.

Alberta Baptist seemed to have fared better than many of the buildings in the immediate area. It was an oddity in this neighborhood, because it was both standing and clearly recognizable. Whatever had been next door was neither.

The church was hardly unscathed, though. Much of the roof was missing. Stained glass windows were blown out. And the facade of the main chapel was reduced to a pile of rubble spread across the front sidewalk like a bag of building blocks.

Inside the church, we met a small group of members who had come to witness firsthand the challenge that lay ahead. A young girl stopped playing the piano as her mother began to tell us how the building had recently been renovated.

I started taking photos of mangled metal and shattered sheetrock, all covered with a thick dusting of insulation that made you itch just by looking at it. As I was about to leave, I met Joe Southern, a member of Alberta Baptist for 45 years.

Joe lives in a part of Tuscaloosa that was spared the monster's wrath. Yet he decided to make the trek across town through military checkpoints, driving down streets littered with debris into what can easily be described as a war zone, to see the fate of his religious home.

In this video interview, Joe explains that while "we've lost a building," the church is more than just bricks and mortar: The church is the people. He says the congregation will rebuild, and that the tornado and its aftermath have only served to strengthen his belief in God.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Alabama • Baptist • Church • Houses of worship

soundoff (969 Responses)
  1. Al Stefanelli

    You religious people are just plain nuts, you know that? There is no god, there never was. Adults with imaginary friends need professional help. You are all mentally ill.

    May 8, 2011 at 12:50 pm |
  2. jesus

    God caused the floods for your sins.

    May 8, 2011 at 11:51 am |
  3. CNN Reader

    Any persecution of atheists by religion has been over in the West for nearly 300 years. Since then, it has been all persecution of religion by atheists. The French Revolution, the Industrial Revolution, Communism, Nazism, and last but not least, the emergence of the "New Atheists" with their incessant bullying and harassing of religion. Look, 300 years is a long time. This argument of persecution by religion is completely discreted in the Modern world. It is just another piece of propaganda for those who want bully and harass people into adhering to their worldview.

    May 8, 2011 at 11:34 am |
    • Andy K.

      I couldn't agree more....

      May 8, 2011 at 12:34 pm |
    • Free

      All atheists do is disagree with your beliefs and you call that persecution?

      May 8, 2011 at 1:07 pm |
    • Free

      For the umpteenth time how does anyone ever come to think that Nazis and Hitler were atheists? There was a Nazi church for crying out loud!

      And how did the Industrial Revolution ever have anything to do with atheists, or hurting Christians for that matter?

      Meanwhile you harass non-believers by insisting on rules that you don't wish to follow applying to everyone. By all means follow your own rules, but leave us have our choices, OK?

      May 8, 2011 at 1:14 pm |
  4. Reality

    A new sign for all mosque, church and synagogue doors:

    SAVING 1.5 BILLION LOST MUSLIMS:

    THERE NEVER WAS AND NEVER WILL BE ANY ANGELS I.E. NO GABRIEL, NO ISLAM AND THEREFORE NO MORE KORANIC-DRIVEN ACTS OF HORROR AND TERROR

    SAVING 2 BILLION LOST CHRISTIANS:
    THERE WAS AND NEVER WILL BE ANY BODILY RESURRECTIONS I.E. NO EASTER, NO CHRISTIANITY

    SAVING 15.5 MILLION ORTHODOX FOLLOWERS OF JUDAISM:
    ABRAHAM AND MOSES NEVER EXISTED.

    May 8, 2011 at 8:06 am |
    • Larry

      You are almost entirely correct, but how can you deny the existence of the angels baseball team?

      May 9, 2011 at 9:51 am |
  5. opus512

    Anyone that thinks God caused the floods is an idiot. Just because God can cause a disaster doesn't mean He causes them all.

    May 8, 2011 at 7:39 am |
    • Richard

      By christian dogma, your god is responsible for EVERYTHING!

      May 9, 2011 at 9:46 am |
  6. wipe0ut

    While (Atheists) their egos are bloating like space blobs, their brains simultaneously, are shrinking to the size of a quark.

    They either fail to realise or just can't accept the fact that when all believers will pee, all of them will surely get drown by it. Likewise, when all believers will fart, it will simply blow them away to timbukto.

    May 8, 2011 at 5:59 am |
  7. ryan hall

    War bama

    May 8, 2011 at 5:37 am |
    • ryan hall

      Great that Alabama @ auburn are coming together!

      May 8, 2011 at 5:40 am |
  8. Peter

    It is unfortunate that a country of this stature, who rules the world, from the skies like a god ,and lacks comprehensive leadership to deal with these pressing issues...where are the Presidents akin to our late leaders that took the initiative and got things done, America has become a cold, hostile place to live, We lack the sense of unity that made us what we are...There are hundreds of thousand unemployed, Why can't the government promote an agency akin to the peace corps, that utilizes the young folks sitting on their a$$ and make them earn their unemployment check by working in this storm zone, to rehabilitate and get these folks back on their feet....it would promote a culture of selflessness and charity and would without a question cause a paradigm shift in the minds of our youth, This is what makes a nation great! ...Our former Presidents built dams with the unemployed, without that community mindset we would all be speaking German, as it helped us win WW2 via the Industrial revolution which depended heavily on the Electricity those dams produced....Our country is on a road to extinction...this play station culture is thoroughly unsustainable!

    May 8, 2011 at 5:10 am |
    • js

      @ Peter...come to Alabama right now. It will restore your faith in humanity...or just look up "Toomers for Tuscaloosa" on facebook. It is unreal what these people are doing....

      May 8, 2011 at 5:16 am |
    • ryan hall

      Pseudo intellect not in tact!

      May 8, 2011 at 5:26 am |
  9. ryan hall

    If you doubt the power of faith, tell your story to all the Muslim jihadist that are waiting for those 72virgins.

    May 8, 2011 at 4:22 am |
  10. js

    Why does it say on replying to some of my earlier posts, like "Our forefathers were not Christian, they were deists" that "my comment is awaiting moderation?"

    May 8, 2011 at 3:44 am |
    • Dexter Skagway

      CNN uses a computer program to "moderate". The program looks for naughty words, even if they are inside other words. The most common are t-it and c-um, as in consti-tution and circ-umstance. Be like a pubescent boy and search everywhere for t its and c um, then ad a space of dash somewhere in the naughty word.

      The "awaiting" part is not true – no human will come along and release it.

      May 9, 2011 at 1:38 am |
  11. M.K.

    The good, hard working, folks of Alabama are having a hard enough time coping with the damnable tornado that wiped out their belongings and the lives of their family and friends without having the burden of being told that God did this to them. Think about it for a minute, Why would God want to wreak havoc on some of the best folks on earth? There are plenty of evil folks in the hundreds of prisons that he could come down on. If anybody including God brought the tornado into Alabama, I dont want to spend eternity with them.

    May 8, 2011 at 2:16 am |
    • js

      M.K....you're misconstruing the faith of the people in my state (I'm from Birmingham)....their's is that there is a higher purpose from God in why this happened that is unknown to them, and that is what is giving them hope and pushing them through and picking them up. For many people, bad things happen to make room for better things to come...whether this is true or not...who cares? At least it gives them a positive outlook, and helps them move on and brings closure to them.

      May 8, 2011 at 3:01 am |
    • ryan hall

      Amen. Thank you. My hometown was destroyed.

      May 8, 2011 at 4:42 am |
  12. William

    Js. I have minimal tolerance for people of faith because the Debate regarding religion is often inane. You at least have taken a position which I can understand, and I thank you for you civility. If I understand you correctly, your position is, some people, particularly in the south, are not capable of coping with major life events, so the fact that they turn to faith rather tan outright panic/suicide is better. I don't necessarily disagree, but that does not justify an irrational faith

    May 8, 2011 at 1:36 am |
    • js

      @William...that's some tough language you're putting out, and yes I can see in that response, that you definitely have a low tolerance for people of faith. I don't like putting it in the way that you put it, but yes, many people are not as psychologically/individually self-reliant and sound and faith gives them strength. Including me. I am spiritual, and I very much believe in something higher than me...it's impossible for me, myself, to believe that everything is just an accident...but that's just me. If you're an atheist, I'm ok with that. Many of my friends are atheists and it doesn't bother me. I get in discussions with them as well regarding faith, etc....and I admit, I have a hard time understanding atheism, but my philosophy is to each its own. Do whatever works for you and helps you get through tough times.

      May 8, 2011 at 1:48 am |
    • In Reason I Trust

      Everything is not an accident JS, you are leaving out the most important part...Natural Selection. For example if some random mutation caused a father and his children to be sensitive to excess moisture in the air they might have realized a storm was probably coming and found shelter. Meanwhile his neighbors who are not aware of any excess moisture in the air wait too long and are killed in the storm. The father and his children survive, passing on their random mutation to future generations who would be more likely to find shelter before a storm. Not an accident, just Natural Selection.

      May 10, 2011 at 11:54 am |
  13. M.K.

    If God is all powerful why doesn't he stop the hypocrite Republicans from using his name to get elected to office so they can lie and cheat and steal their way to power and riches? Answer that truthfully and you can go to the head of the class.

    May 8, 2011 at 1:32 am |
    • life

      He will stop it all.

      May 11, 2011 at 11:43 am |
  14. M.K.

    Why is it when a natural disaster strikes there is always one or two people that will say God saved them from harm out of hundreds that were killed or maimed. Why would God pick two or three folks to save and let hundreds die? I know the answer will be God works in Mysterious ways, and the answer to that is God had nothing to do with any of it. The tornado is caused by moist, warm air colliding with cooler air from the north. If God was involved, he would either kill everybody or none

    May 8, 2011 at 1:28 am |
  15. Rogue

    @js – Religion, being based upon false writings and using indoctrination, is not a valid excuse for anything when it is not based on truth.
    And a person's religion, thrust upon them at random, also happens to be used by most to guide their actions in many ways based upon those false writings as they use their distorted perceptions of the world to channel and shape what comes forth from each person.
    .
    If you are still following me, this basically means that the harm done by religious followers in accordance with their religious motivations and is shaped in part by the methods used to indoctrinate them, and also in part by these false writings (or writing falsely labeled and interpreted you might say).
    .
    I focus on the harm here out of concern for all peoples.
    There are few exceptions to these observations of mine.
    In the end, we could boil it down to something like: religion based on false words and ideas, and used by people who have distorted thinking because of it, is not a good thing no matter how many people like the emotional feedback they get from their own minds and no matter how much it helps them cope. It does not take religion to cope.
    Basing your actions on what has been proved to not only be false, but psychopathic and sociopathic as well, is not deserving of respect, of tolerance, of acceptance, or of any preferential treatment.
    You say you don't like fundamentalists. Good. That puts you one up on them.
    But at some point, no matter how non-literalist you become, your religion is still based upon what the literalists have made of what lay close to hand. The texts your religion is based on has a gigantic influence on how you view your religion and how you express you part in it.
    You cannot avoid the fact that your religion is based upon some ancient texts, no matter how much you might dislike your literalist fundamentalists who sit next to you in church.
    And all it takes is one person to do an evil thing to another person.
    If they base their evil actions upon a "blessed" section of "holy" text that you happen to agree with at some level, then where is your moral high ground with regards to them?
    Religion is dangerous to the whole world. Your Christian religion is based upon lies, actively promotes evil actions, and cannot be excused from disrespect for there is only the false writings at the base of it all.
    And your "holy texts" are used to justify every evil under the sun, including being prejudiced and forcing others to believe as you do.
    In your distorted view, you probably think that adding believers to your "flock" is a wonderful thing that "glorifies" your "god" and so will not complain too loudly in church when someone is sent "into the mission field" to "help" people join you in your distorted and delusional religion.
    If your religion was based upon no texts at all, my words would address whatever I found in it that deserved uncovering the truth on.
    But it's not, is it? Without those texts your religion would be very different, wouldn't it? And you base your religiously motivated actions upon those texts and your interpretations of them...along with any other distortions your addled brain can jam into the gears of your thinking.
    If you have read this far, maybe this will help you to understand where I, at least, am coming from as an atheist opposed most strongly against religion and what it does to our world.
    Disillusionment, painful though it may be, is always to be desired unless you are morally bankrupt or unable to deal with reality for some reason.
    Not a glowing endorsement of religion, is it?

    May 8, 2011 at 1:03 am |
    • js

      @ Rogue...I'm curious...what religion are you assuming I follow? I never stated I was a Christian...

      May 8, 2011 at 1:10 am |
    • js

      "And your "holy texts" are used to justify every evil under the sun, including being prejudiced and forcing others to believe as you do.
      In your distorted view, you probably think that adding believers to your "flock" is a wonderful thing that "glorifies" your "god" and so will not complain too loudly in church when someone is sent "into the mission field" to "help" people join you in your distorted and delusional religion."
      Wow...you obviously have not read my posts and jumped the hell to some wrong conclusions there Rogue....

      May 8, 2011 at 1:15 am |
    • Johnny B.

      You did state you were a Christian, indirectly. You said you were from the Bible Belt, that the people of your state for generations were raised in faith, and that you yourself have faith in a higher power. As some of your views are not orthodox Christian, being pro-gay for example, it would be safe to say that you are mostly a moderate Protestant Christian, with a few elements of other faiths blended in there to give it a bit of individuality. But your strong defense of Christian faith and agreement with Protestant att itudes shows you are mostly loyal to your original religion, even if you consider yourself more diverse.

      May 8, 2011 at 2:17 am |
    • js

      @ Johnny, my defense is in doing whatever works for you to get you through hard times. As I have said, I have a hard time in understanding atheism, but that's just me. Truth time: I am a recovering addict...my faith in something higher than myself, and daily meditation and relinquishing my control to something higher than me as I understand it, has kept me clean and sober for 7 years now. After seven years...I still have horrible bouts of insomnia and still have moments that I feel like I can't breathe if I don't immediately rush after a needle...but through faith, I get through it. Let the people get through things as best as they can...like I said, if they impose their beliefs on you, then you should be upset about it...but if not, let them be. That's the point I've been trying to make. Best wishes to all.

      May 8, 2011 at 4:37 am |
    • mystic

      @rogue
      while your balls swell like pumpkins, your d!ck cringe like silk worm

      May 8, 2011 at 6:15 am |
  16. js

    @William...NOT EVERYONE WHO HAS FAITH IN SOMETHING GREATER THAN THEMSELVES DOES THAT...I can't stand dogmatic, Christian fundamentalists either, but you are unjustly grouping all people of faith together as being prejudiced and out to manipulate everyone else into believing what they believe, and it simply isn't the case.

    May 7, 2011 at 11:51 pm |
  17. js

    These people aren't sitting around twiddling their thumbs, simply "praying" and not dealing with their problems in a rational manner. They are just using their faith to give them strength to get done what needs to get done...and to get them moving. They are not "passively" waiting for answers from God...they are simply using their faith in healing. Psychologically, if it gives them some kind of closure in their belief that there is a purpose higher than them for the destruction in my state and losing their homes/loved ones I don't have a problem with that and I don't think anyone else should either. Now if after this event, they use their strengthened faith to promote biblical fundamentalism and dogmatically impose their beliefs on others, I very much will have a problem with that. So far though, they are just using it as their backbone for strength to get them moving and in helping them pick up their lives.

    May 7, 2011 at 11:17 pm |
    • Barry

      But God made the tornados in the first place.

      May 7, 2011 at 11:38 pm |
    • William

      Js, you are missing the point. People have right to believe in this, but we don't have to respect what they believe in. Religion us forced on children across this country, it has perverted the political process, and is endangering the scientific education, not to mention eliminating fine literature from schools. To tolerate people to perpetuate their faith at the expense of children, the economy, and the environment is dangerous. Faith is, in snd of itself, a delusion.

      May 7, 2011 at 11:47 pm |
    • js

      @ Barry sarcasm? People have such misconceptions about faith...I couldn't stand the Christian Right before seeing all of these comments, but I'm beginning to have just as strong of a distaste for some of the self -righteous atheists posting here. I can understand atheists who have a problem with the so-called Christians who impose their beliefs on everyone else, and try to pass their beliefs as law (I can't stand them either)...but for the people who use faith to get them through personal crises, I'm curious to know why exactly that bothers people?

      May 7, 2011 at 11:49 pm |
    • js

      Oops...@ William see the response below. You all are missing my point as well, it seems.

      May 7, 2011 at 11:52 pm |
    • Dexter Skagway

      I did a post a page back on nature being indifferent which I think answers the question of natural disasters better than the possibility of a god. Check it out if you like – it's too long to repost. As to healing, yes, there is a known benefit to believing in supernatural control, but it is a weaker form of psychological regeneration because it substi-tutes a (potentially) imaginary answer for a firm grasp of reality.

      It's called transferrance, where you transfer your concerns to some other thing that you sincerely believe is in control of events. For example, if you were on an airplane in danger of crashing, the idea that God will protect you would probably create a reduced level of anxiety, even though you are no safer. Thats a positive. The risk is that you have an alterred sense of reality and, due to your belief that God is protecting you, you might not act effectively to get off the plane quickly if, say, a fire was engulfing the plane. That's a negative.

      The healthier approach is to deal with the anxiety as best you can but focus on responding to reality. In other words, prayer is a bad strategy when you should be running.

      Transferrance does not require that the supernatural enti-ty exist, only that you actually believe it does. The tornado victims will only confuse themselves if they try to discern a purpose to a random event, however.

      You will find that there are non-religious people amongst the victims, and they are probably coping every bit as well without having to believe in a God.

      Just an alternate position for you to consider. You seem a decent sort, so I hope no one beats you up here on what you said.

      May 8, 2011 at 12:07 am |
    • Barry

      I am confused. All I said was that God made the tornados in the first place. How can that not be true to those who believe in God? How was that sarcastic or self-righteous? May I suggest that your response was perhaps a bit judgemental instead of answering a reasonable question?

      May 8, 2011 at 12:14 am |
    • js

      @Dexter...I understand your POV, but I'm going to take a wild guess that you're not from the Bible Belt or a southern state, correct? The people in my state, for generations, have been raised in faith, and no matter how strongly you all state your position, and no matter how strong your arguments may be, their faith will not stagger. And again, I disagree and I don't always think that faith is a bad thing...not everyone is as individually/psychologically strong as you would like them to be, and their faith helps them gain strength. I don't see anything wrong with that. I myself have faith in something higher than me. It helps me get through day-to-day BS. I don't impose my beliefs on others, however, and I don't believe anyone else should. Spirituality is personal and unique to an individual. I mean take Gandhi as an example...person of faith and through his faith did amazing things.

      May 8, 2011 at 12:26 am |
    • js

      @ Barry...first of all it was not a question...it was a statement. But I'm sure you already know, I of course don't have an answer for that...I could give the traditional, generic "God works in mysterious ways" response, but I don't know if I believe that either. For some people though, it works for them. That should not bother others...by these people thinking there is a purpose and a reason for this destruction in my state that is unknown to them and higher than them at least gives them hope that it will get better. For some of you, I don't think you understand that for many of these people, faith is all they know when they go through trying times, and it is what gets them moving and picking up the pieces...believing in a greater purpose. It might not be the best solution for some, but it is working for these people. Different people deal with things in different ways. To each his own.

      May 8, 2011 at 12:35 am |
    • js

      And @Barry, if you truly believe that, that is your belief and I won't judge you for it.

      May 8, 2011 at 12:37 am |
    • Barry

      You already self-righteously judged me as self-righteous and sarcastic. I think I'll pass on having a conversation with you.

      May 8, 2011 at 1:18 am |
    • js

      @ Barry...you're right and I apologize for that. I'm not sure what stance you were taking, but I automatically assumed, after reading many of the previous comments/posts on this article, that you were being sarcastic...if you were not, again, my sincerest apologies.

      May 8, 2011 at 1:23 am |
    • Dexter Skagway

      Yes, of course you won't change your beliefs, and neither will anyone else here. Forums like this are occasionally places for an interesting conversation, but mostly they are a way for people to vent their frustrations on each other. That's why it looks like people here are really nasty. Okay, some are, but most are just frustrated with views they don't agree with and are using this as a way of releasing it. Nobody ever switches sides by reading these posts. If anything, they get more radical in their opinions. Everyone thinks the other side is nastier, but the truth is the mediea brings out the worst in people. I bet if you carefully read your own posts, you would see that they are not you at your best.

      As to faith, the ancient Greeks were raised with faith in their many Gods. Their faith was as real and deep to them as yours is to you. The same is true of Afghanis raised in Sunni Islam and the Vikings with their Norse religion. They cannot all be right. So faith in and of itself is not evidence of the existence of any god of gods. How can you know your faith is correct?

      Yes, of course you were raised in it. Those views were put into you for so long that you have little chance of transcending them. A few do, but most conform. Please consider that by being raised in it, you never actually chose it or gave any alternative a fair consideration.

      Your statement that "no matter how strongly you all state your position, and no matter how strong your arguments may be, their faith will not stagger" is very troubling. Any human who refuses to consider alternatives, no matter how well-supported, well, that by definition is ignorance and closed-mindedness, especially when there is not the slightest shred of evidence in support of their own beliefs. Sorry, I don't mean to be rude, but that is by definition ignorant and closed-minded. It is also dangerous when that faith is used to oppress people.

      I imagine you could get through the daily BS without faith every bit as well – millions do. And many spiritual people have done some horrifically bad things as well, using their faith as a justification for doing all sorts of terrible things. Have you ever voted against gay rights or gay marriage because of your faith? If your faith is causing you to act in a manner that hurts other people, then you need to be sure it is correct – being raised in it and refusing to consider any other options is not good enough.

      Oh well, just some thing to chat about. Of course you didn't change. Perhaps you might find out that we atheists are not the evil boogie-men your faith portrays us as, that we can be intelligent and polite and charitable (you would be surprised at the extent of the charity work I do).

      I'vegotta sign off now. All the best.

      May 8, 2011 at 1:25 am |
    • js

      @ Dexter....many of my close friends are atheists...I don't have a problem with them. I have a problem with people imposing their beliefs on others and saying "this is the way it is and there is no other way"...I have a big problem with creationists who go against science and the proof of evolution, but I also have a big problem with people demanding that there is no God on people when it is yet to be proved, and will probably never be proved, that there is in fact, not a God. I admit, I don't understand atheism...for me it's impossible to believe that everything is just here and an accident...but that's just my belief. I don't judge people who believe differently than me on the matter...good discussion. 🙂

      May 8, 2011 at 1:34 am |
    • js

      And @ Dexter...you're right...I doubt I will ever be an atheist for the reasons I just described above, but I wasn't talking about me...I was talking about others in my state whose faith will not be shaken...

      May 8, 2011 at 1:38 am |
    • js

      @Dexter...and absolutely not....I am pro-choice, pro-gay rights. Always have been and always will be. My parents, who are Christians, believe the same way...

      May 8, 2011 at 1:53 am |
    • Johnny B.

      It is scientifically impossible for anyone to prove the non-existence of something which does not exist. Try to disprove the existence of Leprechauns and unicorns, and you will find that you actually cannot. They might exist, but haven't been found, for example.

      The burden of proof is on those making the claim, in this case the believers in whatever God. Non-believers are not required to prove anything because they don't believe the claim, and they cannot prove thenon-existence of something which does not exist. They can show that no evidence anywhere in the whole universe supports a God, but that is as far as it goes.

      Religious people have failed to provide any solid evidence at all in support if a God. All they can say is they have faith instead. But when you must ignore or reject all the evidence and prefer something with no evidence at all, well, doesn't that seem weird?

      May 8, 2011 at 2:07 am |
    • js

      @ Johnny B...I haven't been to church in over ten years...and yes, I am from the Bible Belt...but have Muslim friends raised here, as well as a huge load of Jewish friends who have been raised here...what I'm noticing is that the majority of you, because of my state being "red, have a very poor notion of the diversity that does exist here. Yes, the majority of the people here are Bible-beating Christians, but not everyone. For the most part, I agree with Buddhists, in terms of their way of life and how they live, not necessarilly in their spiritual beliefs. My main spiritual philosophy is the "Golden Rule"...plain and simple.

      May 8, 2011 at 2:57 am |
  18. Jimbo

    Faith helps people get through problems like this just like booze makes you feel warmer when it's cold. Your not really warmer just like you aren't any better off praying.

    May 7, 2011 at 11:11 pm |
    • js

      I am responding to this by re-posting my previous post...you could not be more wrong in that notion.

      May 7, 2011 at 11:16 pm |
    • js

      See below...I meant to reply to you Jimbo. Speaking of booze, for many recovering alcoholics/addicts, it's their faith in a higher power that they swear keeps them clean...faith is not always a bad thing. For as many people who use their faith to promote fundamentalism and judge people, there are just as many, if not more, people who swear by their faith in helping them do truly amazing things and in helping themselves and humanity.

      May 7, 2011 at 11:22 pm |
  19. Tensai13

    Faith is a delusion that has a power over the individual similar to the anorexic who insists they are fat despite the evidence of the skeletal body and the pleading of their doctor and parents to see reality. Like the anorexic patient the religiously deluded starve themselves of reality in the midst of plenty. The uber-religious are moral and intellectual cowards of the worst kind.

    May 7, 2011 at 9:15 pm |
    • Joseph Yossarrian

      Faith is the unshakable belief in the obviously untrue.

      May 7, 2011 at 10:17 pm |
    • js

      Wow....and I thought the Christian Right were bad. If someone's faith helps them get through tough times, like the people in my state right now after the tornadoes, it is no one's business but their own. Many of you are confusing "faith" with religious dogmatism and biblical fundamentalism.

      May 7, 2011 at 10:18 pm |
    • PraiseTheLard

      js wrote: "If someone's faith helps them get through tough times, like the people in my state right now after the tornadoes, it is no one's business but their own."

      Same thing could be said about liquor... or marijuana... or cocaine... or heroin...

      May 7, 2011 at 11:26 pm |
    • js

      @praisethelord...please see my responses below.

      May 7, 2011 at 11:29 pm |
    • Alfred Jamieson

      The difference between drugs and god are that drugs actually exist and they actually do something.

      May 7, 2011 at 11:36 pm |
    • js

      @Alfred Jameson please see my response below regarding drugs and faith...drugs actually do do something...they destroy many people's lives (not everyone's lives, but many people's lives), and those same people recover from the destruction that their addiction to drugs has induced on their life through faith in a higher power.

      May 8, 2011 at 12:10 am |
    • Alfred Jamieson

      No disagreement on the destructiveness of drugs. If there is a God, then it has been very destructive also.

      As to recovery from addiction, faith-based solutions (including AA) have low rates of success. The highest rate of success is people who just quit on their own. What is called the natural history of addiction pretty much determines the outcome, and outside programs seem to not help ultimately. There is some evidence that they hinder recovery, but that is very controversial. Realistically, people quit when they are ready, and some never are. If they are in an AA room or a church-based group when they are ready, then they credit AA or the church, instead of the fact that they were ready. They just do not know when they are actually ready – lots of false starts and mixed signals to confuse them.

      May 8, 2011 at 12:24 am |
    • js

      @Alfred Jameson ALL addicts have low recovery rates...not just ones who go through AA and faith-based organizations. It's just the nature of the beast (the beast being addiction) and why it's so heartbreaking for people...but there are many who swear by their faith in something greater by them (and relinquishing their "control" to something greater than them) that helps them get through it on a day-by-day basis.

      May 8, 2011 at 12:51 am |
    • Quilter77

      Amazing how anti-Christian, anti-God people have become these last 10-15 years. The intolerance of people is shocking. Faith in God has been around since the dawn of time. Our forefathers were men of faith. Christians started hospitals, soup kitchens, benevolent organizations like Goodwill and the Salvation Army. Give it a rest, people, and let Christians practice their faith in peace without your intolerant, bigoted rantings.

      May 8, 2011 at 1:40 am |
    • Joseph Yossarian

      Amazing how anti-atheist the Christians have become these last 2080 years. The intolerance of people is shocking. Disbelief in God has been around since the dawn of time. Our forefathers were mostly deists who distrusted religion due to the hundreds of years of religious war in Europe before the Revolution. Christians started the Crusades, the inquisition, the torture and oppression of heretics and blasphemers and pagans and non-believers, the execution of witches, the oppression of gays and lesbians, and so much more.

      It would be best to consider all sides to the issue, Quilter77, before you rush to judgement and insult those you do not agree with. You might find out that it has been the Christians who have been the intolerant ones who do not leave non-religious in peace.

      May 8, 2011 at 2:30 am |
    • Adam

      @Quilter77 Faith in YOUR "god" has not been around since the dawn of time. YOUR god is only 2000 years old. Before YOUR god, there were a plethora of OTHER "gods" to suite whatever need people had at the time. Religion is a form of government, nothing more, nothing less. Religions come and go. In 1,000 years it could very well be YOUR god that is the subject of entertainment like Hercules and Xena, stories of Myth and Legend.

      May 8, 2011 at 3:53 am |
    • opus512

      It's people like you that give atheists a bad name.

      May 8, 2011 at 7:40 am |
    • 9mil

      Say whatever you will, try and prove otherwise all you can, but it must have been something when Jesus walked out of that tomb.

      May 8, 2011 at 11:05 am |
    • PraiseTheLard

      9mil wrote: "Say whatever you will, try and prove otherwise all you can, but it must have been something when Jesus walked out of that tomb."

      Did he, now... according to which book of fairy tales?

      It must have been something when Santa Claus came down that chimney, also...

      May 8, 2011 at 11:14 am |
    • jesus

      Faith is not wanting to know the truth

      May 8, 2011 at 11:52 am |
    • jesus

      I believe in the great pumpkin!

      May 8, 2011 at 11:54 am |
  20. WOT

    A sick mind can not understand the things that God does! Remember the Ark! So quick do we forget!

    May 7, 2011 at 9:04 pm |
    • Rogue

      Nice troll. I almost replied with something else.

      May 7, 2011 at 9:11 pm |
    • jesus

      I recall fables about an ark. But I doubt anyone alive remembers the ark.

      May 8, 2011 at 11:50 am |
    • sqeptiq

      A healthy mind cannot understand the sick things attributed to this so-called "creator." If you can rationalize the things done to Job and more particularly to the family of Job, you have a sick conception of your master.

      May 8, 2011 at 9:49 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.