My Take: May 21st doomsday movement harms Christianity
Osvaldo Colon walks the streets of New York proselytizing with other believers that the world will end Saturday.
May 17th, 2011
03:27 PM ET

My Take: May 21st doomsday movement harms Christianity

Editor’s Note: Robert Jeffress is pastor of the 13,000-member First Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas and the author of 17 books, including the forthcoming "Forget Saving America!"

By Robert Jeffress, Special to CNN

In January 1961, a few days before John F. Kennedy was inaugurated as president, he invited Billy Graham to spend a day with him in Key Biscayne, Florida. After a round of golf, Kennedy and Graham were returning to their hotel when Kennedy stopped the white Lincoln convertible he was driving by the side of the road.

“Billy, do you believe that Jesus Christ is coming back to Earth one day?” Kennedy asked.

“Yes, Mr. President, I certainly do,” the evangelist responded.

“Then why do I hear so little about it?” Kennedy wondered.

Were Kennedy alive today, he probably wouldn't be asking the same question.

During Kennedy’s lifetime, few mainline Protestant churches discussed the second coming of Jesus Christ.

Fifty years later, however, televangelists, network television programs, movies and books like the "Left Behind" series — which has sold more than 60 million copies — have succeeded in placing the return of Jesus Christ in the public consciousness.

A 2004 Newsweek poll revealed that 55 percent of Americans believe in the Rapture, the snatching away of all Christians prior to the end of the world and the return of Jesus Christ.

As a pastor who preaches often about Bible prophecy, I am grateful for the general awareness people have of the promised return of Jesus Christ.

But our culture’s newfound interest in the end times has a downside. Bible prophecy inherently attracts fanatics. As a seminary professor of mine used to say to our class, “Remember, wherever there is light, there are bugs!”

One of those fanatics is Harold Camping, the founder of the Christian broadcasting ministry Family Radio in Oakland, California. Camping has predicted that the Rapture will occur at 6 p.m. on Saturday, May 21, followed by the end of the world five months later on October 21, 2011.

Family Radio has plastered billboards across the nation with the warning “Judgment Day, May 21, The Bible Guarantees It!”

Road trip to the end of the world

Readers should note that Camping first predicted the world’s end in 1994. He says he was wrong due to a mathematical miscalculation.

Now I am going to make my own prediction which I’m (almost) willing to stake my life on: May 21 will come and go without any Rapture.

How can I be so certain of my prophecy? The Bible itself says that no one can know the date of the end of the world.

Predicting the apocalypse

In discussing His return to Earth, Jesus told His disciples, “... of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.” (Matthew 24:36).

If God has not even revealed to his own son the date the world will end, I doubt he has revealed it to Harold Camping.

My hunch is that the date God ultimately has chosen is one that will not be plastered on billboards around the country.

What harm is there in an 89-year-old preacher making prognostications about the end of the world?

First, such predictions give non-Christians one more reason to discount the Bible.

For example, many secularists have dismissed the Bible because they assume that it teaches the world is only 6,000 years old. In reality, the Bible never makes such a claim about the Earth’s age. Instead, some well-intentioned Christians have misused the genealogies in the Bible to attempt to ascertain the date of creation.

Similarly, when next Saturday passes without a Rapture, some will say, “See, the Bible was wrong again,” when, in fact, it will have been Harold Camping who was wrong — again.

Second, predictions about the end of the world always lead some people to make foolish decisions. When a self-professed prophet named Edgar Whisenant predicted that the Rapture would occur in 1988, a couple I know responded by charging their Visa card to the limit with a trip to Disney World, believing the bank would be left with the bill once they had left the Magic Kingdom for God’s kingdom.

Obviously, things did not go as planned.

A look at the ways the world could end

Just as every teacher knows how unproductive and unfocused students are the week before school lets out, God knows how tempted we would be to neglect the responsibilities he has entrusted to us if we knew the date we would be raptured into heaven. That is why God refuses to show us his calendar and instead instructs us to focus on our assignment.

But the most harmful consequence of Camping’s false prediction is that it discourages people from making the necessary preparation for the real event when it actually occurs.

Remember the boy who cried wolf once too often? The villagers were so hardened to the boy’s false alarms that they were unprepared when the wolf finally arrived.

When May 21 passes and Camping’s prophecy is added to the ash heap of discredited prophecies, some will be tempted to join the chorus of cynics whom the Bible predicts will mockingly say, “Where is the promise of Christ’s coming?” (2 Peter 3:3-4).

Make no mistake about it. As Billy Graham affirmed to President Kennedy, Jesus is coming back some day. Over 1,800 verses in the Old Testament and 300 verses in the New Testament prophesy of the lord’s return.

Don’t allow the Harold Campings of the world keep you from making the necessary preparation for the end — whenever it may be.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • End times • Heaven • Opinion

soundoff (1,945 Responses)
  1. WFO

    I understand how many humans need to believe in something *larger* than themselves .. so I *get* the need for belief in gods etc... But all modern organized western religions are just political platforms with no real devotion to anything but *preservation of self*. They've all taken something beautiful and turned it into a mindless monster that wishes to rule over every human on the planet. They've taken the thought that was *god* and turned *it* into what THEY want you to believe is *god*. To hell with that! No *man* is coming between me and my beliefs.

    If there is a Jesus, he is NOT looking down on *the faithful* in approval. In fact I would venture to guess that Jesus/God are both pretty disqusted with the whole organized religion thing. It's anti-christian and NOT what god wanted of us. The Bible is the go-between middleman that get's in the way between one's beliefs and that which one believes in.

    No *true* faith in any god should include the concept of FEAR.

    (pardon mispellings, don't have my glasses on!)

    May 17, 2011 at 4:05 pm |
  2. Norm McDonald

    I'm glad it's on Saturday so I can sit home and watch it all day on TV. Will CNN cover it? I am so psyched!

    May 17, 2011 at 4:05 pm |
  3. GKH

    Mr. Jeffries is wrong in his sentiment that, "Fifty years later, however, televangelists, network television programs, movies and books like the "Left Behind" series — which has sold more than 60 million copies — have succeeded in placing the return of Jesus Christ in the public consciousness."
    What the televangelists, etc. have actually managed to do is turn millions of Americans off to religion altogether.

    May 17, 2011 at 4:04 pm |
  4. Kevin

    Be the best person you can be. Love your neighbor. Live your life, believe what you want, and just take care of your fellow human beings.

    May 17, 2011 at 4:04 pm |
  5. Sherry

    They always say a time, but whose. 6pm where?

    May 17, 2011 at 4:03 pm |
  6. joe

    i think ppl need to start letting jesus go and realize that reincarnation is the truth of all life in the universe. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OWCUjx4nI98

    May 17, 2011 at 4:03 pm |
  7. btinc

    What "harms" Christianity is that the more more moderate Christians tolerate the whack-job fundamentalists. They are their enablers.

    Moderate Christians: you should be standing up with atheists and denouncing those who would foist their radical fundamentalist form of unproven belief on the rest of the world, often with terrorist acts.

    Don't blame those who are claiming that the end of the world is May 21: everyone knows we will be here on May 22. Blame your own complacency.

    May 17, 2011 at 4:01 pm |
  8. manyquestionsmanyanswers

    i wonder, what is going to their excuse to the fact that Jesus did not return that day?

    May 17, 2011 at 4:01 pm |
    • Anonymous

      John the Baptist and his follower, Jesus, preached the imminent return of the kingdom of heaven. Religions need to be viewed in their historical contexts, but that would require study and effort when apparently it is much easier to just be a believer of whatever the self appointed preacher says.

      May 17, 2011 at 10:58 pm |
  9. D

    The author of this needs to broaden his research a little more. Camping is hardly the first prognosticator in this area. Just look up The Millerites! People have been calculating and predicting the return of a dead man for the last 2000 years. I think we'll keep on ticking just fine for another 2000

    May 17, 2011 at 3:57 pm |
  10. Colin

    The reason it "hurts Christianity" is that, for once, the Bible cuddlers made a claim that is subject to proof or disproof. Well, of course they are bound to fail, but, at one level, you have to admire the poor simpleons. At least they put their money where their mouth is. Unlike 99% of Christians who would never dare say anything that would subject their beliefs to proof or disproof.

    May 17, 2011 at 3:56 pm |
    • Lycidas

      Wow...you don't know much about Christianity do you? You have a lot of unfactual opinions but little else.

      May 17, 2011 at 4:12 pm |
    • Colin

      Please feel free to correct me. Name one.

      May 17, 2011 at 4:15 pm |
    • W247

      Ken Ham- answers in genesis – check it out.

      May 17, 2011 at 4:31 pm |
    • Lycidas

      "Unlike 99% of Christians who would never dare say anything that would subject their beliefs to proof or disproof."

      That is false.

      May 17, 2011 at 4:32 pm |
    • Lycidas

      "the Bible cuddlers"

      These ppl do not represent all Christians. That is what you were hoping to imply with this statement right?

      May 17, 2011 at 4:34 pm |
    • Frogist

      @Colin: I am inclined to believe you. This is not something Christians or churches can sweep under the table by calling on canon law or ancient texts or secret counsels. This is a tangible, relatable pinpoint event. When Sunday rolls around, these Christians, and Christianity by association, will look worse for these claims in the eyes of everyone who owns a calendar.

      May 17, 2011 at 5:10 pm |
    • Lycidas

      "will look worse for these claims in the eyes of everyone who owns a calendar."

      And especially those calendar watchers that know nothing of the Christian faith but think they do.

      May 17, 2011 at 7:08 pm |
    • Ugh...

      ""Unlike 99% of Christians who would never dare say anything that would subject their beliefs to proof or disproof."

      That is false."

      So prove what's true.

      May 17, 2011 at 7:12 pm |
    • Lycidas

      @Ugh...- Like?

      May 20, 2011 at 8:29 pm |
  11. Gabe

    Too bad god isnt real lol

    May 17, 2011 at 3:55 pm |
    • Kotter

      This is a fact my friend. No one knows. And despite your infinite wisdom, that includes you. You should be mindful of mistaking your opinion for fact. It is a sure sign of a feeble mind. Peace. 🙂

      May 17, 2011 at 3:58 pm |
    • Lycidas

      @Gabe- Interesting comment....how did you prove a negative?

      May 17, 2011 at 4:11 pm |
    • Stevie7

      @Kotter – would you also subject the statement "There is no flying spaghetti monster" to the same line of reasoning? Claims are made all of the time that can then be revised upon the discovery of new evidence. Until such evidence is produced, the claim can be considered valid. This is the essence of the scientific method. Unless you think that all science is merely opinion.

      May 17, 2011 at 4:11 pm |
  12. Amy44

    Harold Camping is not a Christian. He is an Angry Old MAN spending a million dollars to hate the Church and says the world is ending May 21.

    HE WAS KICKED OUT OF CHURCH IN 1988 NO real Christian would listen to him, he is NOT of God




    or Google "Harold Camping ruining Families"

    May 17, 2011 at 3:55 pm |
    • Special Moments

      Thanks for the info, but personally, I wouldn't give the guy my time.

      May 17, 2011 at 3:56 pm |
    • Alverant

      Please look up the "No Real Scotsman" logical falacy.

      May 17, 2011 at 4:04 pm |
  13. W247

    What is funny is that I agree with the article except for the statements that he made about the age of the earth. In the original languages the word used for "day" in this context meant a literal day.

    May 17, 2011 at 3:54 pm |
    • OldEarth

      No, the word used in Genesis is yom. Yom, in Hebrew, has three meaning. 1) a span of about 12 hours of daylight, 2) a span of about 24 hours and 3) a span of undefined time such as an age. The age of creation spans over 13 billion years and we see the evidence of this in starlight. Stars that or billions of light years away take billions of years for their light to reach the earth.

      May 17, 2011 at 4:40 pm |
    • Andrew

      Totally agree with you. I don't why he felt compelled to insert this out-of-place paragraph.

      May 18, 2011 at 6:45 am |
  14. Special Moments

    Crap. I forgot about the world ending in a few day's. Better get started on the ol' bucket list.

    May 17, 2011 at 3:53 pm |
    • Stevie7

      The world doesn't end in a few days. That's just the rapture. The world won't end until late October, so you've got a bit of time.

      May 17, 2011 at 4:01 pm |
  15. CW

    The Bible tells us that not even the angels know the time or day when our Lord will return.

    May 17, 2011 at 3:53 pm |
  16. WFO

    It shouldn't matter whether there is a *heaven?* or not .. our goal is to do the VERY BEST WE CAN each day, regardless of reward. It should not matter either way. One should make each day their *best attempt* no matter wheter there is a god looking over our shoulder (judging us on each and every move) or not.

    It's no different than *Global Warming* in that it doesn't matter whether we causing Global Warming or not, what DOES matter i that we should make better attempts at preserving the very gift that was given to us (whether it be by the serendipitous universe or some invisible man in the sky). This Blue Jewel we reside upon was a gift, no matter it be fom a god, or just the wonderous circular universe. This place we live upon is RARE and PRECIOUS ... it's our only ship in the sea we ride on.

    In either case it shouldn't make any difference at all in our behavior. "Invisible man in the sky" or not, we should all be making better attempts. Period.

    "Imagine all the people ... living for today ... you may say I'm a dreamer ... but I'm not the only one" ... 🙂

    May 17, 2011 at 3:53 pm |
    • D

      hear hear! well said, sir!

      May 17, 2011 at 3:59 pm |
    • Krispy

      Thats SO true. What a wonderful point you have made. Even if there is no promise of a divine future doesnt mean we shouldnt all strive to be the best people we can be and to do the most good we possibly can!!!

      May 17, 2011 at 4:07 pm |
    • Liz

      Wow, truly inspired words. You’re not the only one. =)

      May 17, 2011 at 4:29 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Obviously, you don't live in the North. Global warming is a hoax. How do I know. I had to shovel off 3 feet of snow from my side roof that doesn't have a steep pitch. That 3 feet of snow was 1 snow fall. As far as we should all be the best that we should be. That is what Jesus wants for us. That's why Christians read His letter He wrote to all of us, the Bible. That's what allows us to be like minds, being the best that Jesus wants ALL of us to be. And you? Are you on the same page as the rest of us?


      May 17, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
    • YaThink

      "Global warming is a hoax. How do I know. I had to shovel off 3 feet of snow from my side roof that doesn't have a steep pitch."

      Just because you had to shovel some snow doesn't mean global warming is a hoax. It demonstrates why you have such a warped view on life.

      May 17, 2011 at 6:27 pm |
  17. Shamrock6

    This guy Camping is as bad as they get. He should be locked up. If he weren't affecting so many innocent (yet stupid) people, including children – I wouldn't care but this is just ridiculous. If he has any character at all he will jump off a cliff on Sunday morning after nothing happens. At least he'll have absolutely, 100%, infallibly, no credit whatsoever and should be laughed at histarically every time he opens his mouth from this moment going forward. Idiot.

    May 17, 2011 at 3:50 pm |
    • Frogist

      @Shamrock: I don't hope he jumps off a cliff. But sadly, Camping will lose very little credibility. He will only have to say as he said before in 1994 that he miscalculated. It almost makes me sad. How many times must you be duped before you say enough? I really wonder what is at the heart of these Rapture stories. Why do people want to believe in them so badly?

      May 17, 2011 at 5:02 pm |
  18. Chris R

    Okay, so according to teachings God and the Son are one. So how can the Father know the date but not the Son?

    May 17, 2011 at 3:39 pm |
    • Colin

      Ha ha. Good point – I will be interested to hear the bible cuddlers' response to that one.

      May 17, 2011 at 3:57 pm |
    • Jon

      A.) God can do whatever he wants. It's one of the bedrocks of all the Judaism based faiths.
      B.) You're applying human senses/knowledge experience to an omnipotent being. That's a bit presumptutious.
      C.) You're not asking. You're trying to convert people. So you will never get a fulfilling answer.

      May 17, 2011 at 4:02 pm |
    • Colin

      Shazam! And there you have it, a direct appeal to magic. God can "do anything" so he can be omnipotent but not know something (at least one third of him, that is) at the same time. Dark Ages nonsense.

      May 17, 2011 at 4:04 pm |
    • Stevie7

      Multiple personality disorder. This is also clearly evident by looking at the differences god displays in the old vs. new testament

      May 17, 2011 at 4:08 pm |
    • James

      Because the Father is the generator, the Son is the begotten. They are of the same substance, aka God; but two seperate persons of the one Holy Blessed Trinity.

      May 17, 2011 at 4:08 pm |
    • Lycidas

      @Chris R- Unlike Chuckle's comment above mine...allow me to offer some thoughts. When Jesus made that comment it was before his resurrection. Some feel that Jesus did not know the time of his second coming at that moment because he had not underwent his transfiguration.
      Another thought comes from hypostasis, in that three beings of the same substance. Therefor, while the same...not all aspects would have to know what the other aspects know.

      May 17, 2011 at 4:09 pm |
    • actually

      the bible doesn't say that Jesus and God are the same person. Some dude made that up and then someone through holy spirit in there to promote the trinity doctrine, to make "christianity" more appealing to pagans that worshipped triads of gods.

      May 17, 2011 at 4:12 pm |
    • Jon

      Because there is no example of that in real life. Say like a ghost drive on a computer. Or schizophrenics. Or dreams/subconcious. Or forgetfullness. That's a small list and excludes things noone can know or are theorized to exist.

      Say like black holes, alternate dimensions/timelines, existing outside of space/time. (All fancy science theories I might add).

      Oh wait. THere's also magic....

      May 17, 2011 at 4:12 pm |
    • Lycidas

      actually- Evidence?

      May 17, 2011 at 4:14 pm |
    • DB

      I'm not a bible thumper but I do know that they (Christians) do not teach that they are one. It actually says that that Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Father and if we're really going to get into it, it's the holy TRINITY (3) Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Please let me know who is teaching that God and Jesus are the same and I would love to read it. Always up for some new point of view.

      May 17, 2011 at 4:16 pm |
    • Jon

      Evidience is only needed for proving god exist not disproving him in Atheist/non-believers views.

      May 17, 2011 at 4:16 pm |
    • QR

      Acts 7:56
      And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.

      Wow the Bible is clearly showing that God and Jesus Christ are two separate beings!

      May 17, 2011 at 4:19 pm |
    • Lycidas

      @Jon- Considering my statement was directed toward another...I was quite correct in asking for evidence.

      As to you, you are making a claim are you not? If so then I could ask for evidence from you as well. Otherwise you are just throwing words about to see what sticks. There is another name for that but I doubt that is what you intended.

      May 17, 2011 at 4:30 pm |
    • Sean


      It’s called the judicial system. If you look closely you will see only one side is required to prove anything. However much it might help the other to disprove it. The prosecution. And considering we have physical proof humans existed long before Christianity… that be you.

      May 17, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
    • Lycidas

      @Sean- You are incorrect. I am glad you bring this topic up because it's a fav of atheists out there. They hide behind the "proving the negative" argument all the time. But if an atheist says that there is no God....fine. I would never ask that person to prove there is no God. However, if you do not believe in God you therefor must believe in something and that is what I ask them to prove. Let's be honest...if one does not believe in God they have to believe in something else or they are just being ignorant in a huge way.

      May 17, 2011 at 7:05 pm |
    • Lycidas

      "And considering we have physical proof humans existed long before Christianity"

      I don't think you will ever find a Christian that will deny that there was ppl before Christianity.

      May 17, 2011 at 7:06 pm |
    • Ugh...

      "if one does not believe in God they have to believe in something else or they are just being ignorant in a huge way"

      Says you, but why can't you just live in the now, enjoy life in every moment knowing that is all there is or ever will be till you die. Why do you have to make life this grandiose thing that it is not. Just because you can't handle reality as it is doesn't mean those that don't believe as you are ignorant.

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

      @Jon you mean Abrahamic faith with includes muslims. Not judaic faiths get your verbage correct.

      May 19, 2011 at 1:32 am |
  19. Robert Richardson

    Jesus said no one will know when he is going to return but that we had better be ready when he does return.

    Mat 24:42 Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.

    May 17, 2011 at 3:32 pm |
    • Luke

      Well, Christians originally said Jesus would return before the end of the first century. We're still waiting.

      May 17, 2011 at 3:37 pm |
    • Lycidas

      @Luke- And what is your point? Scientists a hundred years ago didn't think the universe was as large as they now know. Did those scientists damage "science" because of soemthing they thought? If not...then why would the thoughts of 1st century Christians damage the faith?

      May 17, 2011 at 4:00 pm |
    • Jon

      Luke thank you for confirming the articles point. Non-believers will say ha proof God doesn't exist when it all it proves is that idiots both believe in and don't believe in god. But thankfully we know where you sit.

      May 17, 2011 at 4:04 pm |
    • Willoughby

      Didn't this phrase come first

      "Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled"

      That was about80 generations ago

      May 17, 2011 at 4:08 pm |
    • Eggs Benedict

      End of the world IS coming this May 21 and you heathens and sinners better take it a bit more seriously. The clock is ticking. Harold Camping is right on target. Neither he, nor the bible will lie to us. Get your asbestos underwear on EBay now.

      May 17, 2011 at 4:08 pm |
    • Frogist

      @Lycidas: The point is that prediction has been proven wrong. If god's inspired words are wrong, that should make you question your faith. Much as when scientists find new information proving old ideas wrong, they question their old ideas.
      @Jon: Nowhere in the article does it say anything about non-believers asking for proof of god's existence.

      May 17, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
    • Lycidas

      @Frogist- I question aspects of my faith all the time. But it doesn't mean that I chuck my faith away fully.

      May 17, 2011 at 5:02 pm |
    • Frogist

      @Lycidas: Does anything change when you question your faith? If you don't mind my asking that personal a question. Scientists actually change their ideas, but it seems to me people of faith never do.

      May 17, 2011 at 6:16 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Luke, apparently you've never read the following scriptures ...

      2 Peter 3:8 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day [is] with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

      2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

      2 Peter 3:10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.


      May 17, 2011 at 6:18 pm |
    • Lycidas

      @Frogist- Fair enough question. Yes, I have modified my beliefs throughout my life. I don't believe that anyone can know everything about their faith and to stay closed off from other concepts is folly. Having a strong faith does not mean never changing one's perspective.

      May 17, 2011 at 7:02 pm |
    • bam

      this jesus person didnt say anything. however some dudes that wrote a fairy tale book had their character jesus say somethign and over the centuries other dudes changed what the character said to make it more cryptic

      May 17, 2011 at 10:09 pm |
    • danai306

      if we are not well versed in the Bible we can jump to hasty conclusions. The study put forward by Mr Camping and the date he arrived at is really a magnificent job. What Mr. Camping should have said is May 21 is the end of the Great Tribulation. He is correct in that. I have checked carefully throught the Bibble and from Daniel Chapter 8 the Bible states the interval between the Great Tribulations will be 1290 days (years). The last Great Tribulation was when Nebuchadnezzars troops razed down Jerusalem and carried the Jews into exile. When everything is tabulated carefully, the end of the 3rd Great Tribulation falls on May 21 this year.

      If there is no stay of execution, then we are all in for it. Are you saved or not? Are you ready?

      May 17, 2011 at 11:56 pm |
    • Frogist

      @Lycidas: But how do you amend the ideas you have to include that these prophecies from god's inspiration are wrong, and not question god's abilities? Do you reject this prediction as faulty? Doesn't that reflect poorly on the idea of who god is?

      May 18, 2011 at 8:49 am |
    • Lycidas

      "Doesn't that reflect poorly on the idea of who god is?"

      Not at all....relying upon human writings to define how God is..is a faulty way to go. I am not a literalist when it comes to the Bible.

      May 18, 2011 at 2:34 pm |
  20. The Half Baked Lunatic

    "god" is an absurd idea promoted by immoral people to control and pacify the weak minded people. The christians have just taken the "control" aspect of it to the extreme.

    May 17, 2011 at 3:32 pm |
    • Brady

      Yeah man you said it! Pol Pot, Stalin and Mussolini had it right....

      May 17, 2011 at 3:55 pm |
    • Lycidas

      @THBL- Why is the idea absurd?

      May 17, 2011 at 3:58 pm |
    • Matt

      Brady, you're going to have to do better than that. That straw man argument has been beaten to death. How about this, the Crusades, Hitler (yes, he was Catholic and furthermore the Catholic church gave him cover for his atrocities). See, I can play that game too. Bad people come in religious and non religious forms, but for good people to do bad things, it takes religion.

      May 17, 2011 at 4:02 pm |
    • Peter

      Yes, you are a half-baked lunatic. Oh, that's right, we were a complete accident of the universe, where we changed over time to become the living, breathing, thinking beings we are...total accident. Funny how lunatics like you have to come to these forums and rag on Christians/Believers. Shows what a great big chip you have on you shoulders. Good luck with your after-death experience – After all we're here for no reason, it all just coincidence, right.

      May 17, 2011 at 4:03 pm |
    • Nate

      i agree so much

      May 17, 2011 at 4:06 pm |
    • Jon

      God is as good an explanation for everything as are some of the proven scientific facts. .

      May 17, 2011 at 4:07 pm |
    • Stevie7

      "it all just coincidence, right."

      Pretty much. Seems rather egotistical and small minded to assume the entire universe was created just for us.

      May 17, 2011 at 4:20 pm |
    • mtech101

      If god did exist why would he inflict pain and cancer in babies who has yet to prove themselves to the world, yet to commit a sin, can't even walk or talk.

      Keep believing your stories, I go by one simple rule, just live my life! To the fullest!

      May 17, 2011 at 4:21 pm |
    • Lycidas

      @mtech101- You are applying a very very narrow view of existence. You see only the straw man baby and nothing beyond it. Do you consider the biological parents? The timeframe? The location? The path the mother takes while pregnant? The slower steps that result in thousands of potential changes in the world had would be different if she was not pregnant?

      No, I don't think you thought about any of this.

      May 17, 2011 at 4:28 pm |
    • Sean


      But it’s all part of ‘gods’ plan remember?

      No, I don’t think you thought about that.

      May 17, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
    • Peter

      stevie7, how can it be small minded to believe in something where there is no physical proof? It's small minded not to believe. And yes, the world was created for us. How can you possibly believe that were created by accident, yet we have come up with the notion of God. If you don't FEEL the existence of God then you are not in tune with yourself. The fact that you have the ability to reason is proof enough.

      mtech101 – God does not inflict pain or cancer on anyone. We are here living with free will. That's the point. God does not interfere unless you ask him to. God is love, not pain. You are free to do as you please, but you must be willing to pay the price for your actions. It seems all faiths belive in the same God, however it is Jesus that is the difference. Christians know that Jesus is the Son of God. Other faiths acknowledge the existence of Jesus, but they don't believe he is the Son of God. They lose!

      May 17, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Good posts Peter.


      May 17, 2011 at 6:13 pm |
    • Lycidas

      @Sean- Thanks for not really offering anything up in the conversation, considering I have thought about that many times before.

      May 17, 2011 at 7:00 pm |
    • bam

      christian taliban has spread it farther than other religions through crusading for hundreds of years. North/South/Central american Natives had no idea the christian taliban was coming to massacre them. their gods failed to warn them.

      May 17, 2011 at 10:07 pm |
    • wipe0ut


      But I didn't see no Atheists in the foxholes.

      May 18, 2011 at 5:12 am |
    • Frogist

      Next time you think about using that phrase, go here first:

      May 18, 2011 at 12:23 pm |
    • minnesotan

      The reason Atheists believe there is no god is because science has shown us enough proof as to how things evolve. Science has proven that matter is able to assemble itself in an organized manner. See, its not that Atheists are taking a leap of faith in not believing. Atheists know more about the bible than do most christians. You don't just become an Atheist. You do research to discover answers to questions that christians are unable to ask for fear of being smited by their sky god. That is why the majority of the world's scientists proclaim themselves agnostic or atheist. There just may be a god, but he is in no way or sense anything like the god Yahweh, who at one point had a daughter and sparred with other gods for dominance in early Israelite times before monotheism developed. The bible is the problem. Researching the bible inevitably leads even true christians to agnosticism. Its the difference between blindly reading and following the bible vs doing actual historical research on the evolution of the bible. Use your thinkers people!

      May 18, 2011 at 3:39 pm |
    • Fred Evil

      "A 2004 Newsweek poll revealed that 55 percent of Americans believe in the Rapture"
      Turns my stomach to think that more than HALF of America is so radically ignorant.

      May 18, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
    • Lycidas

      "You don't just become an Atheist."

      You don't just become a Christian either you know.

      May 18, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
    • ughhhh

      Jesus Christ, Peter, how can you believe that, "God does not interfere unless you ask him to. God is love, not pain?"

      How many millions of "good" Christians, who pray every day, in the history of the world have been afflicted with terrible pain, illness, or death, only to have their prayers NOT answered and yet someone like John Demjanjuk is allowed to live in to his 90s? The religious idea of prayer is subject to the worst kind of confirmation bias. A tornado hits Alabama and kills hundreds of people and destroys homes, churches, schools. Instead of questioning their beliefs, people irrationally use the fact that they survived as evidence that God saved them and answered their prayers for help.

      May 18, 2011 at 6:44 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.