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June 25th, 2011
04:00 AM ET

Sacred Spaces: Inside a Hindu temple

Editor's note: Sacred Spaces is an occasional series on the Belief Blog. In this installment, CNN Senior Photojournalist Anthony Umrani takes us inside Sri Siva Vishnu Temple, a Hindu worship space near Washington, DC.

By Anthony Umrani, CNN

Lanham, Maryland (CNN) - On a cool spring evening just outside Washington, a steady stream of worshipers arrive at Sri Siva Vishnu Temple for prayers. People are dressed in a mixture of colorful Indian attire and customary Western clothing.

In this residential Maryland neighborhood about 12 miles from downtown, the temple stands out with a striking white exterior adorned with statues depicting Hindu gods.

In India, a temple is typically dedicated to one particular god, but the Sri Siva Vishnu Temple has many gods to accommodate the diversity of Indian people in the area.

"We have a wide variety of congregation and each one of them says, 'I want this god' or 'I want that god,' " said S. Krishnamurthy, one of the founder/trustees of the temple.

The idea to build a temple to bring together the burgeoning Hindu population near the nation's capitol began with a few friends in 1976. Fourteen years later, the Sri Siva Vishnu Temple was born.

The consecration and installation of the first shrines were viewed by 1,400 people. The growth has continued over the years, evidenced by the current construction of a new adjacent parking lot to handle the crowds.

There are a number of special days in the Hindu calendar, but worshipers may come at any time during temple hours to offer prayers.

Krishnamurthy said there are three things devotees think about while offering prayers. First, one may ask God to help solve or overcome a problem. Second, is to give thanks to God and third, to ask God to touch one's heart and become a better person.

Unlike other religions, there are no sermons, lectures or homilies. The role of the Hindu priest is to help the people pray to any of the 17 deities in the temple. Priests go through extensive training, from 10 to 15 years, on the methods of prayer.

Even with all that training, priests are not to direct worshipers on what to do, Krishnamurthy said.

"Each person has a responsibility to find out his own unique way of connecting with God ... and I want to show here is that there's no one here telling people what to do, you are completely free."

Krishnamurthy has been tapped by the congregation to explain the faith to non-Hindu visitors, some of them middle school students. He has found a way to simplify why Hindus come to the temple.

"Each of us has a little nastiness in us. ... so when we come to the temple, what do we pray for? 'Remove my nastiness.' "

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • DC • Hinduism • Houses of worship • United States

soundoff (146 Responses)
  1. Mike

    http://www.wpray4u.com

    June 28, 2011 at 10:20 am |
  2. Zelda

    Clean atheists are non-existent.

    June 28, 2011 at 6:42 am |
    • TheRationale

      What's this nugget of close-minded ignorance even supposed to mean? Atheists are unhygienic? Our "souls" are unclean? Perhaps my Kool-Aid isn't strong enough, but you'll have to help me out on this one.

      June 28, 2011 at 11:54 am |
    • Zelda

      @The Rationale, read the comment below. My inde-pen-dent comment is sometimes a reaction to preceding comments. I'll cease to be Zelda soon. This is one of my last comment posting as from Zelda. I have too many American atheists hating me though I love them and it's my dream to land on America someday. T T

      June 29, 2011 at 5:52 am |
    • You are weaker divided

      The name says it all. I'm just glad there are SOME major ancient polytheistic religions remaining on the face of this good Earth.

      July 10, 2011 at 3:22 am |
  3. Ghân-buri-Ghân

    So I have the freedom to take a big dump right inside this temple? Great. I hope they have toilet paper or I may have to drag my ass along their holy floor until I am free of religion-smell.

    June 28, 2011 at 3:35 am |
    • mumtaz

      trailer trash or maybe muslim showing his knowledge.

      July 10, 2011 at 8:56 am |
  4. GSA

    Wow, athiests seem to bash religion equally. Funny how the Christians and Catholics get upset when someone is against their respective religions or Jesus or the Bible, yet they come out quick and start bashing Hinduism.
    @Muneef – don't worry about the Hindu women, i'm sure they will do fine without any "saving" from Islam and if they have any problems they can call in the Sikhs and we will take care of it. The amount of women ra-ped and left for dead in India from invading Muslims in the past have been numerous.

    June 27, 2011 at 1:10 pm |
    • Muneef

      Lut (Lot)
      Description of the People of Sodom
      http://www.witness-pioneer.org/vil/Articles/Prophet/lut.htm

      In Christian and Islamic traditions, Sodom and Gomorrah have become synonymous with impenitent sin, and their fall with a proverbial manifestation of God's wrath.[Jude 1:7][1] Sodom and Gomorrah have also been used as metaphors for vice and h-omo$exuality viewed as a deviation. The story has therefore given rise to words in several languages, including the English word "so-do-my", used in so-called so-do-my laws to describe $exual acts deemed unnatural.[2]
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sodom_and_Gomorrah

      GSA.

      Hi there and sorry for the intrusion but I was disturbed from the article within the link for women...Not much I know about Islam in India other than that it was a great empire ruling the world and leader in knowledge... During the invasion there might have been deaths to women am sure the same happened even before Islam at the times of Al-exan-der the Gr-eat...
      Those might have been a one time suffering but the article which the link states means that this will be endless issue as long as parents fear the costs or marriage for a woman or some other unknown reasons...

      You said you are being Sikh..I think Sikh are different although am not aware much about their beliefs but hope one day belief blog will educate us about it...but some how I think have heard once that it is some how some where related to Islam although I do not know if that saying is right or wrong...what ever the case is I have my respects to the Sikhs and have visited their temples during my childhood with my perants in India as tourists although do not remember which city it was..

      You see friend all of this issue is related to poverty that kills happiness in the hearts of the poor and make them do such as this escaping shamefulness they will have to meet when girls grow up ready for marriage... Poverty is the main enemy for centuries while others rather prefer to shoot the stars with space ships and sk-ys-cra-pers... Thanks & peace2all   

      June 27, 2011 at 7:52 pm |
    • Muneef

      GSA.
      Sorry that other message was not related to this subject but copied by mistake while trying to post this;

      Hi there and sorry for the intrusion but I was disturbed from the article within the link for women...Not much I know about Islam in India other than that it was a great empire ruling the world and leader in knowledge... During the invasion there might have been deaths to women am sure the same happened even before Islam at the times of Al-exan-der the Gr-eat...
      Those might have been a one time suffering but the article which the link states means that this will be endless issue as long as parents fear the costs or marriage for a woman or some other unknown reasons...

      You said you are being Sikh..I think Sikh are different although am not aware much about their beliefs but hope one day belief blog will educate us about it...but some how I think have heard once that it is some how some where related to Islam although I do not know if that saying is right or wrong...what ever the case is I have my respects to the Sikhs and have visited their temples during my childhood with my perants in India as tourists although do not remember which city it was..

      You see friend all of this issue is related to poverty that kills happiness in the hearts of the poor and make them do such as this escaping shamefulness they will have to meet when girls grow up ready for marriage... Poverty is the main enemy for centuries while others rather prefer to shoot the stars with space ships and sk-ys-cra-pers... Thanks & peace2all   

      June 27, 2011 at 7:57 pm |
    • Muneef

      GSA.

      At the Time of Guru Nanak's death there were no Sikhs as known today. At his funeral only Muslims and Hindus were present and both demanded the body of Guru Nanak. Hindus wanted to burn it as they claimed that he was born into a Hindu Family. Muslims wanted to bury the Body because they claimed he had converted to Islam and hence should be buried in an Islamic fashion and an Islamic funeral prayer should be carried out. Today Muslims present this as one of the arguments in favour of the claim that Guru Nanak was a Muslim as Muslims do not offer the Islamic funeral prayer for anyone who is not a Muslim regardless of his worldly position.[50]
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islam_and_Sikhism

      June 27, 2011 at 8:19 pm |
  5. Zelda

    Hindus need Jesus. There is no salvation in filthy human imaginations. Free Dalits.

    June 27, 2011 at 10:18 am |
    • TheRationale

      Hindus need a good dose of rational thought just as much as Christians do.

      June 27, 2011 at 2:48 pm |
    • Zelda

      Rational humans know Truth is independent of human preferences and quest for the Truth and find Jesus, the only Divine Savior in the entire universe.

      June 28, 2011 at 6:40 am |
    • TheRationale

      @ Zelda

      The truth is indeed independent from human preferences, which is why you use rational thinking and logic to determine what is true. Adhering to dogma is the polar opposite concept, which is what you seem to be trying to say is the way to finding out truth. Because truth is independent from human preference (as you said), I do believe you will eventually find the error in your thinking.

      June 28, 2011 at 11:38 am |
    • Zelda

      @Rationale, The Truth – God's Word never changes. Read the Bible if you have time to look into your own subjective mind. At least normal human mind can understand what a written text says.

      June 29, 2011 at 5:55 am |
    • M

      @ Zelda – You are so narrow minded, its scary. No offense to you ( and I am not Hindu), but who exactly was the savior before Jesus? Please educate yourself before opening your mouth, you do more harm than good.

      July 10, 2011 at 9:53 am |
    • Tina

      ha ha ha. Zelda, Hndus are as closer to Jesus as Christians of equal quality are. Its how you live your life, not which religion you are. Christianity, btw, has little to do with the way Jesus lived his life.

      July 10, 2011 at 11:15 am |
  6. Hopefully Aethist

    @Fake atheist troll detected

    Here is being straight forward with you: II really like your zeal :)) No seriously, I do! NOT the BEST deductive skills., but quite interesting nonetheless. I am a history buff. I enjoy mythology and I like an even playing field, that is all. But like many of the other wall-posters it seems that emotions are starting to bubble over. That is not very conducive to having a rational-minded, calm discussion. I look forward to hearing your take on the ARTICLE, and yes, therefore, I AM BACK on this blog to read what you have to say 🙂 Please go on.

    June 27, 2011 at 9:38 am |
  7. Hindu Blog

    II saw some foreign people are converting into Hinduism and they we're following Priests go through extensive training, from 10 to 15 years, on the methods of prayer.

    ----–
    Sonam

    Hindu Blog

    June 27, 2011 at 7:48 am |
    • Muneef

      OMG
      10 to 15 years to learn Prayer??? This could be a life time for some! What is in that as a fina
      Result in the end? Why for learning Islamic prayers all you need is 24 hours??

      June 27, 2011 at 8:18 am |
    • Jason

      Maybe they prefer to understand what they're saying when they pray. Just a thought.

      June 27, 2011 at 3:39 pm |
    • Muneef

      Well we recite from the Quran small sura's and some verses while praying in worship any verses memorized or read from the Quran book while praying...nothing that complicated to study God knows what of books of wisdoms that been gathered by all the wise men of Hindu for 10-15 years just to pray to God ? It will take you with determance 12 months to read understanding the Quran and maybe memorize the whole of it...There should be no complications in religion in worshipping God....

      June 27, 2011 at 7:19 pm |
    • Sandeep

      Well good for you. Leave others to their devices – dont worry about it!

      July 10, 2011 at 4:54 am |
    • mumtaz

      @ MUNEEF
      to be a mullah you just need to learn hate and to spread the hate.
      and then to turn people to sucide bombers.
      it doesnot take too much time to do that.
      24 hours you say.
      no doubt muslims are churning out terrorist so fast.

      July 10, 2011 at 9:00 am |
  8. Happy Hippie

    Praise Shiva

    June 26, 2011 at 10:49 pm |
  9. Zelda

    So present Americans have practically turned into Hindus. The middle class is becoming Dalits by wide income difference, exercising child pro-sti-tu-tion and filthy abandonment of Truth, creating one's own spirituality as it fits. Hinduism and atheism are practically the same thing. No thought for truth is needed there. Anything goes as you please. They just create mass of victims, either enslaved forever or killed as unwanted. No wonder selfish secular Americans love it.

    June 26, 2011 at 9:37 pm |
    • karma

      do you even know what hinduism is? its the longest standing religion. peaceful in many ways. not really sure why you have to bash other people's religious beliefs. atheism is a far cry from hinduism. so pick a book and learn something. ignorance is beginning of hate.

      June 26, 2011 at 9:51 pm |
    • Zelda

      Karma, are you stupid? Hinduism is the longest most con-fining religion on earth. Free 300 million dalits and all girls. You secular Westerners have no brain you think domestic wrong is no wrong at all. Yes, study, please. You either come to believe belief does not matter or get enslaved by every super-sti-tion on earth with Hinduism. Hindus as well as you need Jesus for liberation by Truth.

      June 26, 2011 at 11:03 pm |
    • Rev. Rick

      @ Zelda – I have followed several of your posts on the Belief Blog, and I must confess, if you are attempting to defend Christianity, you do a very poor job of it. Your prejudices and intolerance stand in stark contrast to the teachings of Jesus. I see very little Christian love and compassion in your posts – most of your reponses are ill-informed and you show a very shallow and stereotypical knowledge of what others believe.

      June 27, 2011 at 12:46 pm |
    • Babyboogloo

      Just because Hindus have different beliefs than Christians and Muslims doesn't mean that Hindus are atheist. You have problems

      June 27, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
    • Zelda

      @Rick, I don't think you are a Rev. Of another pseudo-christian church, maybe? Christianity is exclusive with a single Divine Savior and with a single Way of salvation. People need to be told the truth regardless of their preferences. I don't have time to develop friendship in this blog although I recognize some same atheists.

      June 28, 2011 at 12:37 am |
    • Zelda

      @Babyb-, my point is that both are the same in the way anything goes by your own preference. A "perfect" religion for hedonistic Americans.

      June 28, 2011 at 12:40 am |
    • Rev. Rick

      @ Zelda said, "Christianity is exclusive..." Thank you for proving my point so well. Your version of Christianity is exclusive, and it's also blind. I care not whether you believe I am a minister, but if you are attempting to be a "witness" to atheists and skeptics, your example does more harm than good. I doubt Christ developed "friendships" with everyone encountered on his travels as a rabbi and teacher, but when people encountered Him, even briefly, they knew they encountered someone who loved them, regardless of their current beliefs.

      June 28, 2011 at 7:54 am |
    • Zelda

      @Rick, don't be naive. I'd be a lot nicer to pagan peasants. No America unbeliever deserves niceness at all; they are perverts and hedonists who blaspheme knowing everything. Stern warning is the only thing left for them and the most merciful thing to do for them. It's Biblical. Read the Bible before you claim any religious position.

      June 28, 2011 at 9:49 am |
    • Rev. Rick

      @ Zelda – At the age of 61, and coming from a family of Southern Baptists, I am anything but naïve. I've been reading the Bible since I was able to read. Re-reading your posts, what I see is anti-Americanism disguised as religious zeal. Just like you don't believe I'm a minister, I'm not really sure you are a Christian. Christ led by example. Through you blind arrogance and your prejudices, I see very little in you that I would find worth following.

      June 28, 2011 at 12:46 pm |
    • Zelda

      Rick, some of your generations must have put present America into a moral chaos by failing to teach children God's way but instead yielded to every toxic immorality with permissiveness. I believe you now more but I can see you have rejected the authority of the Bible, so I don't understand why you even want to identify yourself as a Christian minister. Hinduism is your more accurate religion for you, though it's a meaningless religion. I love America that's why I talk about her.

      June 29, 2011 at 6:03 am |
    • Conservative

      @zelda you're right on! Your unashamed defense of biblical Christianity is what the world needs. Not this wishy-washy stuff that other so-called Christians preach.

      July 2, 2011 at 1:39 pm |
    • Sam

      Why does bible need defending? Btw, jesus and krishnas birth story could not be more similar! I am just saying.

      July 10, 2011 at 5:00 am |
  10. Muneef

    Only Islam can save those women from being killed as iIslam saved them from the Pagan Arabs before;

    http://arabnews.com/opinion/columns/article460890.ece

    June 26, 2011 at 9:14 pm |
    • Muneef

      Surely women are suffering because in only this religion where women families are supposed to pay dowry for getting her a husband while in Islam men are to pay dowry for becoming married....in Islam widows get dower settlement while in theirs widow is burned buried with her dead husband....!!!
      Avery living attacking Islam although been just to Muslims but no one attacks theirs with all it's faults but rather call their system as the most de-mo-cra-tic system in the world ??!

      June 27, 2011 at 7:14 am |
    • Chris

      We will all live for an eternity in either heaven or hell. Despite what you might believe, The Bible makes it pretty clear that hell will be a place of unquenchable torment and suffering. What an awful fate for anyone! I only want to see as many people aviod this destination as possible. I know people will mock this, and say I'm simplistic, and narrow minded, and all kinds of other nasty things, but that's ok. I can only speak what I know to be true, and you have the right to accept it or reject it. Read John 3:36 which says: He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him. It's that simple. Or, if you want to know how simple it is, consider the theif on the cross next to Jesus. You can read Luke 23:42-43. 42. And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.
      43. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise. This is the thief on the cross speaking to Jesus, and Jesus replies to him, and he is saved and will be in Heaven. Here he was, on a cross next to Jesus, and he could do nothing, and he didn't even say that much, but Jesus knew his heart. .....for the LORD searches all hearts, and understands
      every plan and thought. If you seek Him, He will be
      found by you; but if you forsake Him, he will cast you
      off for ever." (1 Chronicles 28:9)
      If you don't know Jesus as Lord, but would like to know more, the easiest was is to read The Bible. If you don't have a Bible, you get read it online. I would recommend the gospel of John to start with in the New Testament if you don't know where to start. Or, seek out a Bible believing church or talk to someone you know is a Christian, as I can guarantee they would love to share what Christ has done for them and let you know how He can change your life

      June 28, 2011 at 1:03 am |
  11. AlwaysLearningToLove

    I read a biography recently called Death of a Guru. The author describes in great personal detail his experience of Hindu prayer as a guru of the Brahmin caste. He saw it as very similar to the experience of being on hallucinogens, and felt his experiences had a lot in common with people who took LSD, etc., though he had never taken drugs himself. Now, his was of the very intense, prolonged variety of meditation that perhaps most Hindus don't experience. But I thought it was a very interesting personal account of what it felt like to him.

    June 26, 2011 at 5:15 pm |
  12. Hopefully Aethist

    "CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion"- some threads here have been not so courteous in my opinion. I would like to add that I am not a religious person, and find it a little difficult to digest the mudslinging on behalf of Agnostics, Hindus and Christians. There is truth that Hinduism shares roots with the Indo-European old religions, and it is interesting to see that it hasn't died out in the same way those religions have. Since it is the only surviving of the ancient religions it may even bring forth some theological ideologies common among them, which have now been lost in relatively-newer set of religions. The point is that there is always something to learn.
    With regards to the caste system, it has been an unfair system to say the least with centuries of oppression and misuse of absolute power. However, the roots of the system are clear: there is a society, everything has to do their part and there should be a division of labour to maximize the potential of that society. It was also a system introduced by the Aryans who invaded India. Unfortunately, absolute power [among the top tier castes], corrupts absolutely, and there's NO excuse for it.
    Finally, the roots of this religion are so ancient that are no proper texts from which it originated. Other texts supplemented its teachings but those came thousands of years later. It is essentially just the philosophy of the Indus people of that civilization, which may possibly have incorporated Indo-European deities to personify virtues brought forth from the philosophies.

    All in all, my beliefs are quite different from those discussed above, and may borderline on the importance of Self rather than any or one particular God. But my point is to return this thread to more courteous terms and create a fresh slate for us to bring together ideas rather than involve ourselves in piteous and crafty paragraphs/one-liners. It is low and immature and that applies to ALL wall-posters from the different respective backgrounds.

    June 26, 2011 at 2:41 pm |
    • Fake atheist troll detected

      So you call for a courteous discussion after posting your own ad hominems?
      When you want to discuss things, try discussing them instead of pontificating from atop your fairy castle in the sky.

      Your words suggest that you are nothing but a fake "aethist" pretending to be what you think atheists believe, for you are only using some of the more ridiculous mistaken beliefs we have seen from ignorant Christians here before.

      You cannot finesse intelligence and knowledge for very long on the internet, "aethist".
      It is only a matter of time before you are caught and unmasked. For BEHOLD! I have done it to you already.

      You can try to emulate what you think you see others doing, but until you are actually doing it for yourself, you will always appear to be a fake to those who are on the lookout for fakes.

      Atheists are not known for the levels of gullibility that religious believers are known for, but then you aren't all that perceptive, anyway, are you? I cannot imagine why someone would do what you are doing, yet here you are.

      And, of course, it does no good to ask you why, for you have already shown that you cannot be trusted.
      You are not honest. That is considered a sin in most Christian circles. Shame on you!

      Did you know the only ones being deliberately and maliciously dishonest in their posts here are overwhelmingly Christians and Muslims?

      Posts like yours disgust me. I cannot stand dishonesty in bloggers.
      We all have enough problems just trying to communicate without a bunch of sneaky, vicious, nasty, malicious LIARS sticking their crap in here!

      Go. Don't come back until you are ready to be honest with those who would communicate with you.

      We don't need more liars here. We need more honest, straightforward people. Try to be one if you can.

      Most of us would appreciate it.

      June 26, 2011 at 11:17 pm |
  13. HotAirAce

    Ooooops! Comment above was meant as a reply here...

    Couldn't your questions and observations be applied to the "big three" cults, if not all?

    June 26, 2011 at 2:37 am |
    • Individual Atheist

      You're flying above the clouds there, HotAirAce! Are you talking about the article or one of the comments?
      Canada = America's Nicest Hat. 😀

      June 26, 2011 at 2:52 am |
    • HotAirAce

      It was meant to be a reply to Manifest Density way below, but after two attempts, I said "screw it"...

      June 27, 2011 at 3:11 am |
  14. HotAirAce

    Couldn't your questions and observations be applied to the "big three" cults, if not all?

    June 26, 2011 at 2:34 am |
  15. DaLe

    The distinction of Hinduism as polytheistic religion is a fallacy. Hinduism is monotheistic. It's just that with pantheistic approach it could be a lie to say about anything that it isn't Brahman. In Hinduism many gods are similar to saints in Christianity, albeit in Christianity there is certainly significantly lesser pantheistic approach in that God is the creator, present, and Jesus Christ the Son of God.

    June 25, 2011 at 8:04 pm |
    • John Richardson

      I've heard this before but my reservation about it is that it seems to be typically and perhaps universally the case that polytheistic religions recognize a supreme god that is a whole 'nother sort of thing compared to lesser gods. If Hinduism isn't polytheistic, you might make the case that nothing is, hence blur a useful distinction.

      June 25, 2011 at 8:16 pm |
    • DaLe

      What makes it polytheistic, in particular intellectual concepts, is that there are god-representatives of things, similar to gods in old-Greece and in old-Rome, such as Indra for lightning, thunder and rain, which each in particular terms doesn't exist as a stone does (albeit when we don't care much about what time elapsed between birth and death of something, in that we look at a stone as being an event, we could say that the existence of a lightning and a stone are very similar). Scientific approach (in that lightning, thunder and rain are each separate things, respectivly lightning and thunder being the video and audio of the same, yet belong more or less to each other), language and imagination are worth mentioning. And if we define (living) beings in terms of output (eg. winter and monsoon rains happen to occur regularly – and heartbeat, cardiac cycle, can be compared to the four seasons, simplified) and reactions, who can say that eg. what we call weather/climate/clima is not a (living) being with nerves and consciousness transcendent of our human perception?

      June 26, 2011 at 6:54 am |
    • karma

      you mean christianity is similar to hinduism seeing as christianity borrows from other religions. they had to borrow these ideas to help convert more people to their religion. i'm surprised that so many people have their facts wrong.

      June 26, 2011 at 9:53 pm |
    • Rev. Rick

      DaLe said, "The distinction of Hinduism as polytheistic religion is a fallacy. " I have to agree with DaLe on this one. If you take the time to study much about Hinduism, at it's core it is montheistic. It is polytheistic in the same way as Christianity is polytheistic. As a former conservative Christian, I was taught to honor the Holy Trinity – the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit. They are distinct forms of the One God, but when Christians pray they clearly make the distinction very plain. We pray to God or "our Heavenly Father" then generally close with "in Jesus name we pray", or we (Christians) may ask that the "Holy Spirit" to decend on us, or fill us – again, a very clear distinction between the various part of the Holy Trinity and how we invoke them.

      June 27, 2011 at 12:36 pm |
    • DaLe

      @karma
      Yes, Hinduism dates further back in calendar time, and many aspects probably date further back than that. Many of these aspects are not monolithic though, and just as related language evolve, well.. kind of. And of course, back then the distance from Jerusalem to India wasn't as much as the distance from an empire's border to its opposite border
      en. wikipedia. org/wiki/File:Map_of_the_Achaemenid_Empire.jpg
      so eg. scholars, priests, or so, could travel safely with caravans, boats/ships, or such.

      When we talk about so-called pagan religions, I guess we could say that the ancestor of religion are forms of shamanism. Forms of organized religion are then religions eg. in ancient Egypt, Greece and Babylon. Throwing everything into one bag and treating it the same way can be misleading though.

      What influenced what to which extent aside, just because two groups talk about the same thing/issue/... doesn't mean that both groups share the same view, nor does it mean anything really to the existence of the aforementioned thing/issue/... in that it doesn't disappear because someone looks at it during pitch darkness.

      June 27, 2011 at 7:02 pm |
    • Rev. Rick

      @ DaLe said, "...just because two groups talk about the same thing/issue/... doesn't mean that both groups share the same view..." Christianity, for example!

      June 28, 2011 at 8:10 am |
    • DaLe

      Certainly, whether (two) groups talk about Christianity, or whether (two) groups within Christianity talk(ed) about something, eg. about indulgences.

      June 28, 2011 at 7:11 pm |
    • DaLe

      @karma
      Regarding what you mentioned, one comparison that could be made is with music, since not even the most known musicians around did 'invent' music, did they (unless we talk about reinventing or similar of course) ?

      June 30, 2011 at 6:03 am |
    • DaLe

      (obviously, if we talk about reincarnation, and about souls having individual characteristics as well as talking about individuals in terms of more than one biological human life, then within such context it isn't unlikely that anyone 'disappeared' from the holistic everything, but the point I tried to make here in the previous post is that music and religion, if approached as two separate things, share many aspects)

      June 30, 2011 at 4:15 pm |
  16. David Johnson

    Hmmm... There is much that the Christian god could learn from the Hindu faith.

    Cheers!

    June 25, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
    • airwx

      Hello David.... I think that I would change your phrase slightly....

      There is much everyone can learn from each other..religion not withstanding....

      Does that comport with your personal philosophy?

      June 25, 2011 at 3:23 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @airwx

      You said: "There is much everyone can learn from each other..religion not withstanding...."

      I am unaware of anything I would wish the Hindu religion to learn from Christianity... Nope, not a thing.

      Cheers!

      June 25, 2011 at 4:09 pm |
    • Evan

      What's so bad about Christianity? I'm guessing you have not even read the Bible and all you know about our faith you have found on the internet.

      June 25, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
    • Reality

      Most contemporary historical Jesus scholars (e.g. Professors Crossan and Ludemann) agree that the Beati-tudes are "pure Jesus" forming a short but "to the point" list of moral and ethical mores.

      "The 8 beati-tudes in Matthew 5:3-12 during the Sermon on the Mount are stated as Blessed are:[3][2]

      Plaque of the 8 Beati-tudes, St. Cajetan Church, Lindavista, Mexico:

      Blessed are:

      the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (5:3)

      they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. (5:4)

      the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. (5:5)

      they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. (5:6)

      the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. (5:7)

      the pure in heart: for they shall see God. (5:8)

      the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. (5:9)

      they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (5:10)

      See also Luke 6: 20-26

      But many of these same scholars would agree with the following update:

      The Apostles' Creed 2011: (updated by yours truly based on the studies of NT historians and theologians during the past 200 years)

      I might believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
      and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
      human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven.

      I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
      preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
      named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
      girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

      Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
      the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

      He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
      a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of
      Jerusalem.

      Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
      many semi-fiction writers. A bodily resurrection and
      ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
      Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
      grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
      and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
      called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

      Amen

      June 25, 2011 at 6:36 pm |
    • BG

      So here we have an article on Hinduism. It's a very nice article about another form of theistic belief.

      Yet it's only drawn a half-dozen atheist criticisms. Even David Johnson, one of our most ardent "slayers-of-the-faith" (who regularly holds the feet of believers to the fires of reason and logic) has tempered his atti tude towards the Hindus. Now it seems that the "Christian God could learn from " another... religion? But Dave, I thought you were an atheist?

      Playing favorites, are we...

      June 25, 2011 at 9:17 pm |
    • John Richardson

      @BG Fair enough: Hunduism is bull hockey, and its caste system is one of the worst features of any organized religion on the planet. I think the nonbeliever community would be making more criticisms if Hindus were here pounding their chests the way Christians and to a (much) lesser extent Muslims do on this blog. Plus, Hinduism poses about as much of a political threat to western society as Australian aboriginal belief does. In India, however, there are Hindu zealots that are politically ambitious and every bit as benighted as the Taliban on certain social issues.

      June 25, 2011 at 9:24 pm |
    • LinCA

      @BG

      You said "So here we have an article on Hinduism. It's a very nice article about another form of theistic belief.

      Yet it's only drawn a half-dozen atheist criticisms."

      I guess that there will be far fewer comments on this article from atheists, because it may not be of much interest to them. To wit, I have seen the headline of the article, but have yet to read it. I probably won't. I am here, just because I saw that John Richardson had posted something, and when John speaks it's usually worth listening to.

      While I consider my self an equal opportunity religion basher, opportunity varies. Not in the least by how the various religions affect me. Hinduism doesn't nearly affect my life as christianity does.

      June 25, 2011 at 9:50 pm |
    • BG

      @ JR & the general atheist community.

      Someone invariably stumbles on this argument every other month or so... Mr. Richardson has provided the set-up about as well as any that I've seen for a while now.

      "I think the nonbeliever community would be making more criticisms if Hindus were here pounding their chests Plus, Hinduism poses about as much of a political threat to western society as Australian aboriginal belief does."

      The argument is this. Is the true nature of atheism grounded in offensive illogical beliefs, or are atheists simply intimidated by the political sway of organized religion? I'll suggest to you that attempting to marginalize the political clout of organized religion by disparaging the believers is an effort in futility that only serves to offend. It won't defuse their political goals.

      Want to do it right? Start an atheist PAC. Only problem is that you'll have to contribute $$.

      So get busy and pass the plate.... sorry. Write those checks.

      June 25, 2011 at 9:51 pm |
    • BG

      @ LinCA

      ibid.

      June 25, 2011 at 9:52 pm |
    • LinCA

      @David Johnson

      You said "I am unaware of anything I would wish the Hindu religion to learn from Christianity... Nope, not a thing.".

      Humans have an enormous advantage, when compared with all other species, in their ability to learn from the mistakes of others. We don't have to repeat the failures of others. We can learn the easy way, in addition to the hard way.

      Maybe hinduism can learn from christianity what not to do.

      June 25, 2011 at 9:53 pm |
    • Individual Atheist

      So another clueless religious troll, BG in this case, thinks that atheists are all joined at the hip with some monolithic belief system.

      What a joke.

      June 25, 2011 at 10:03 pm |
    • BG

      @ Individual Atheist

      Typical. Truth hurts. Sorry. (not) So tell us exactly what does the atheist community have in common other than resorting to labile ad homs when you get all .. tongue-tied ? And btw, Kreskin, I'm not particularly religious, so put your belligerence in neutral.

      June 25, 2011 at 10:13 pm |
    • LinCA

      @BG.

      You said. "The argument is this. Is the true nature of atheism grounded in offensive illogical beliefs, or are atheists simply intimidated by the political sway of organized religion?
      I'd say, neither. Atheism is grounded in the rejection of illogical beliefs. Atheism isn't a movement, it isn't a political philosophy, and it's most certainly not a belief.

      That said, the political sway held by organized religion scares me shitless. Because it is grounded in illogical beliefs (some of which may, or may not be offensive).

      You said: "I'll suggest to you that attempting to marginalize the political clout of organized religion by disparaging the believers is an effort in futility that only serves to offend. It won't defuse their political goals."
      Lampooning the idiocies of religion and disparaging the believers are two different things. I try to stay away from the latter because, as you say, it doesn't help.

      Also, I don't expect to convince anyone that I directly address. Those that post here are probably pretty locked into their beliefs. All I can hope really hope for is to make a reader of these comments think.

      You said: "Want to do it right? Start an atheist PAC. Only problem is that you'll have to contribute $$. "
      As I stated above, atheism isn't a political philosophy or a movement. I donate money to political causes and candidates that represent my values (as close as possible). Some of these candidates are avowed christians.

      June 25, 2011 at 10:24 pm |
    • BG

      @

      June 25, 2011 at 10:30 pm |
    • Individual Atheist

      To the clueless BG:

      There is no "atheist community".
      You don't read so good, do you?

      June 25, 2011 at 10:31 pm |
    • BG

      @ LinCA

      *whistle* False start. Loss of 10 & repeat the down. (I have dogs...)

      ok, I'll play.

      "... 'Isms' in my opinion are not good. A person should not believe in an ism, ... I quote John Lennon: "I don't believe in Beatles, I just believe in me. ..." Yeah, I know. He's 25 years older now, probably got canned from Lehman and waxes Cameron's cars on the weekend for beer money. Point is, atheism is most def an "ism," implying commonality. Like it or not, you're a member of the club. So welcome! Sit right down. Yes, we all know that deep down you're an individual. We just don't dwell on that here.... It's on the sign out front. (got all that Individual Atheist?)

      "That said, the political sway held by organized religion scares me...." One order from column B, please. "Because it is grounded in illogical beliefs (some of which may, or may not be offensive)." With an order of gravy from column A to cover up the offensive mystery meat....

      "Lampo oning the idiocies of religion and disparaging the believers are two different things." Good to know the difference... wait a second....

      "Some of these candidates are avowed christians." So don't bite the hand that feeds you. Ouch. Guess what.... they don't care what you believe. They're running a campaign next year, and they need... money. Lots and lots of money. You have some? Have any more?

      June 25, 2011 at 11:03 pm |
    • LinCA

      @BG

      You said: "*whistle* False start. Loss of 10 & repeat the down. (I have dogs...)"
      Something I never understood. Why do you get to repeat the down? Wouldn't it be fair to lose one?

      You quoted Ferris: "... 'Isms' in my opinion are not good. A person should not believe in an ism, ... I quote John Lennon: "I don't believe in Beatles, I just believe in me. ...", and then went on to say: "[...] Point is, atheism is most def an "ism," implying commonality. Like it or not, you're a member of the club. So welcome! Sit right down. Yes, we all know that deep down you're an individual. We just don't dwell on that here.... It's on the sign out front. (got all that Individual Atheist?)"
      Do you collect or study postage stamps? No? Then you are an aphilatelist. You are a member of the aphilatelism movement. Welcome.

      And if you do happen to study stamps, I'm sure we can find something that you don't do.

      You also said: ""Some of these candidates are avowed christians." So don't bite the hand that feeds you. Ouch. Guess what.... they don't care what you believe. They're running a campaign next year, and they need... money. Lots and lots of money. You have some? Have any more?"
      In a country where 80% (or so) of the people are, or claim to be, christian, I don't have much of a choice. Especially since nobody seems to be able to get elected in the US without being one.

      But I don't care what your beliefs are, as long as you keep them out of my life. Some christians seem to understand that. I have no problem with them.

      June 25, 2011 at 11:54 pm |
    • Individual Atheist

      What a strange duck you are. Football? You have dogs? What?

      The lack of a belief is the only things Atheists share. It is our only commonality. It is not the basis for community singing around the campfire, okay? We all come by this "lack of belief" in different, individual ways. There is nothing to tie us together other than the insanity of the religious against which many do not feel put out about, as they would prefer to keep their jobs and their places in the community and even within their family church outings.
      So there is nothing to bring us together. A few might feel like pointing out the insanity of religion, but many do not.
      Where is this community? Nowhere. Anyone can start up an "organization", build a website, and say they have some sort of agenda, but that is them. They are not me.
      The only thing I have in common with them is that I am a human without a belief in a deity of any sort. That's it. End of story.
      If you don't care, why are you here? You have some sort of need to post your drivel here. What is it?
      Oh, don't tell me, let me guess.
      You came here looking for Muslims and anyone else you view as "unAmerican". Good luck with that you commie pinko. 😛

      June 25, 2011 at 11:54 pm |
    • BG

      @ Individual Atheist

      "Football? You have dogs? What?"
      I see you're one of -those- people that need breadcrumbs. Maybe a map? I'll sell you one for a tenner. Paypal ok?

      "So there is nothing to bring us together."
      What do you call that clusterf'k in the "Explain Mormonism" thread? Or the two or three thousand in some of these other stories? Who did you talk with at the bar tonight? Have any friends? Classmates? Study groups? Chess club? Nothing? Don't get out much, I guess. How do you expect to have any impact on modern society if you don't organize? What – you'd just rather sit in front of your computer and pound out diatribe about how oppressed you are by those devout, pious impressionable if not mentally-ill sheep sending their millions to Washington DC every year? Blah, blah, yadayada, moan, complain. After a while it sounds like static. Annoying white noise. You're harmless. I'm suggesting a way for you to have an impact and you push it away like someone's trying to force you to eat crap. Fine. So it's "not for you." Apparently whining is.

      "You came here looking for Muslims and anyone else you view as "unAmerican". Good luck with that you commie pinko."
      This makes about as much sense as indignant and oh-so offended atheists complaining on the internet about all this horrible ecclesiastical tyranny they're being subjected to.

      You have a community. Unfortunately (for you) it doesn't seem to amount to anything more than a perpetual verbal circle jerk that you all insist on imposing on anyone you can corner or folks in chat rooms who just want to tell others how happy God makes them. They're all going to Washington next Tuesday to protest abortion. Don't like it? Either walk away, or start making phone calls to organize your own march and fundraiser. But this whining stuff? puh – leez. You need another outlet. Get a hobby. Find something you like to do (besides whine) and do it.

      June 26, 2011 at 1:35 am |
    • BG

      @LinCA

      "...aphilatelist. You are a member of the aphilatelism movement."
      And if I identified myself as an "Individual Aphilatelist", I would accept your welcome! Where's the coffee and donuts?

      "Especially since nobody seems to be able to get elected in the US without being one."
      Or at least -saying- that they are....

      It's usually better to think things through before investing so much emotional energy into something.
      So much atheist angst – so few options. I know. It's discouraging. What's an iconoclast to do? Let's all go to that little bohemian coffee shop on the corner and get some arabica and pull on a hookah for a while. We can all bítch about it until they close.

      June 26, 2011 at 2:07 am |
    • Individual Atheist

      Haters gonna hate. Ha ha ha! You are so sensitive, BG. Really. You're a hater. It's all bound up in your little psyche, your little world-view, and it keeps you hatin'.
      Go ahead and hate me, hater. Just shoot someone else, okay? I don't want to be the target of another Loughner.
      Tell me, how many guns do you own? Got lots of ammo?
      You only need one bullet, fool.

      June 26, 2011 at 2:41 am |
    • BG

      @ Individual Atheist

      That's what I thought. I'm talking about being proactive, and you respond with horseshìt.

      You've got nothing else to offer.

      June 26, 2011 at 2:56 am |
    • LinCA

      @BG

      You said: And if I identified myself as an "Individual Aphilatelist", I would accept your welcome! Where's the coffee and donuts?
      Everyone not belonging to the philatelism group, is an individual aphilatelist. Every atheist is an individual atheist. Stating so is redundant.

      "So much atheist angst – so few options. [...]"
      No angst here. Shedding the god nonsense is liberating. It provides a world of options. You should try it.

      June 26, 2011 at 3:01 am |
    • Individual Atheist

      Haters gonna hate. That's not horsesh!t. That's folk wisdom right there.
      You got nothing, eh? Have a good weekend, hater.
      Don't let the horsesh1t kick you in the head on it's way out.

      June 26, 2011 at 3:05 am |
    • BG

      @LinCA

      Ok, if it makes you happy and you'll get a good nights sleep – you're right about this, and probably most everything else. Any disagreements with what you know is right is just a bad dream. Wakey wakey, and it will go away.

      Sleep tight.

      June 26, 2011 at 3:07 am |
    • John Richardson

      @BG First of all, since I don't consider myself an atheist, I don't consider myself part of any "atheist movement". I do, however, consider myself part of a SECULARIST movement against religions trying to impose their beliefs on others by force of law. Secularists include everyone from the Mennonite guy who wrote this AM's piece to atheists and all sorts of people in between, including agnostically tinged neo-animists like myself. We will tend to be out in force regarding those articles that address issues of interest to secularists. The Mormon article was of far greater secularist in THIS country than anything on Hinduism. The reverse is true in India, where the Mormon presence and hence the Mormon influence is somewhere between miniscule and non-existent, but Hindu zealots and their political agendas and sometimes violent actions are a real menace to civilization. And you'll note that the nonbelievers who post a lot on this blog were critical of Mormon belief, but also critical of the hypocrisy of many Christians who mocked Mormon beliefs that really aren't notably more ridiculous than many of their own. Indeed, I'd say most of the Mormon bashing came from self-professed Christians.

      June 26, 2011 at 9:44 am |
    • John Richardson

      @LinCA You repeat the down for most penalties, since the penalty in effect nullified the play. False start in particular blows the play dead as it is just starting and actually stops the play. But you do lose the down for some things, like intentional grounding, which could otherwise be exploited to "buy" a new down by a team that is running a play that clearly isn't working. So you lose both yards and the down in that case.

      June 26, 2011 at 9:49 am |
    • LinCA

      @John Richardson

      You said: @LinCA You repeat the down for most penalties, since the penalty in effect nullified the play. False start in particular blows the play dead as it is just starting and actually stops the play. But you do lose the down for some things, like intentional grounding, which could otherwise be exploited to "buy" a new down by a team that is running a play that clearly isn't working. So you lose both yards and the down in that case."

      Thanks. That make a lot of sense.

      June 26, 2011 at 11:07 pm |
    • Individual Atheist

      @BG
      As regards that "clusterf.k" in the Explain Mormonism thread, I still have no idea what the hell you are talking about. I still don't after scanning through the whole thread.
      I made a GRAND TOTAL OF TWENTY POSTS in that whole damn thread.

      Is that the "clusterf.k" you saw? I doubt it. I bet you were seeing posts by similar writers, but they are not me and I am not them. You are, I guess, mixing me up with other people.
      There is the possibility I may have missed one. But I seriously doubt it. I was not feeling like posting in that thread very much. I was seeing too many other people make better arguments than I felt able to do at that time.
      Or maybe twenty posts out of eighteen hundred is what YOU call a cluster-fck. Whatever.
      I'm going to leave it there. If you have a moment, maybe you would like to reply to this post and clarify your position.

      June 27, 2011 at 2:36 am |
    • Stevie7

      @BG:

      If not believing in a deity puts you in a club, then we all belong to an infinte amount of clubs. I would also be a card carrying member of: The Club of Not Believing in Unicorns, the Club of Not Believing in Santa, the Club of Fans Who Don't Follow Cricket, and the Club of Not being a Photographer, among others.

      In other words, the argument is ridiculous. However, if people who did believe in unicorns wanted to make unicorn-centric laws that had a direct impact on the members of the Club of Not Believing in Unicorns, I'd still be a little upset. Especially if our Consti.tuion explicitly called for a separation of unicorns and state.

      June 27, 2011 at 1:07 pm |
    • Sam

      He did. The birth story of jesus could not be more similar to krishnas birthstory. Every new religion /thought borrows from the ones before them. Hinduism just happens to be among the oldest and hence origina!

      July 10, 2011 at 5:07 am |
  17. Agnostic

    Sure, there is value in organized religion. There is the sense of belonging to a community, a sense of being part of something larger than oneself. Ritualized worship awakens one's sense of the divine.

    I'm agnostic. As of now, I don't know if there is a God or not, and nor do I particularly care. But there are times when I NEED that quiet corner of temple, with the smell of incense sticks and temple bells and priests chanting and barefeet shuffling around deities. I feel like listening to the ancient Sanskrit chants, some of which translate to profound thoughts on the oneness of things. I'm now part of a Unitarian Universalist, and the poetry of some hymns just move me to tears some Sunday mornings.

    Sure, human beings are imperfect creatures, often vicious to themselves and others. But let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater here.

    June 25, 2011 at 12:23 pm |
  18. FrAnK

    I don't know if it is really apart of Hinduism but I don't like their caste system.

    June 25, 2011 at 7:47 am |
    • John Richardson

      It is part of Hinduism and your disdain is well placed.

      June 25, 2011 at 9:26 pm |
    • fishEyes

      There is no 'caste' system in Hinduism. This is the best article to clarify it: http://agniveer.com/888/caste-system/ . The Vedas mention how people normally CHOOSE one of 4 [broad] different 'professions' based on their interests. Unfortunately, people have abused this definition over the years to their advantage. Modern India does show residues of this abuse, but because of education and pride in one's profession, we hope to see this misconception erased.

      July 11, 2011 at 7:46 pm |
  19. Reality

    Hinduism (from an online Hindu site) –

    "Hinduism cannot be described as an organized religion. It is not founded by any individual. Hinduism is God centered and therefore one can call Hinduism as founded by God, because the answer to the question ‘Who is behind the eternal principles and who makes them work?’ will have to be ‘Cosmic power, Divine power, God’."

    The caste/laborer system, reincarnation and cow worship/reverence are problems when saying a fair and rational God founded Hinduism."

    June 25, 2011 at 7:47 am |
    • JohnR

      Those are ridiculous grounds for claiming that something is not an organized religion. Hinduism stems straight out of very ancient Indo-European theology/mythology. Its origins may be lost in unrecorded history, but it has very ancient texts that set out the basic system.

      June 25, 2011 at 1:05 pm |
    • dominique

      @Reality: Hindu caste/labor system-The Bible sanctioned organized slavery in the Old Testament
      Reincarnation–The Christian religion holds hell, purgatory, and Heaven as the final destination of our spirits, so
      why is reincarnation such an eccentric idea?
      Cow worship–aren't lambs sacred because Jesus was the Lamb of God. Just as in Christianity, an animal is
      revered...only difference is, we don't eat it.
      To everyone above, religion isn't something that needs to be taken so seriously. It was only created so humans had something to turn to for hope. Any religion, whether it involves praying five times a day towards the sun or eating bread and wine as the body of Jesus or decorating a cow to celebrate its life stems from the history of the people who populated our world....these are just traditions that have grown into the religion; they are not aspects that should be criticized as mundane or irrational. All religions have irrational ideas and concepts, but who says they have to be rational?

      July 10, 2011 at 3:16 am |
    • fishEyes

      @Reality- As a person who loves animals, i love the fact that Hinduism has an animal/bird associated with each deity. Those who really believe in the particular deity end up protecting the animal from any harm 🙂 Smart, eh? 🙂 Everything's covered from rats to elephants!

      July 11, 2011 at 7:56 pm |
  20. Manifold Density

    If everyone is completely free, why is a temple of any sort needed? Or prayers? Or priests?
    And only seventeen gods? Well, that clears everything up right away doesn't it?

    What need is there of another religious "funhouse" with smoke and mirrors? NONE.

    Better they should help people to think logically and intelligently. Let them encourage a rational examination of their ridiculous religion and I could hardly hold that against them.
    But free? Then why the trappings? Why the beliefs? There is not one single wisdom in made-up nonsense.

    June 25, 2011 at 4:26 am |
    • krishna

      The religious "funhouse" is for weak willed people who have a need for some greater power to control everything. There are ways for stronger others including atheism. Budha is considered a Hindu God, some muslim saints too. Churches in some areas teach that Jesus is an incarnation. In fact you can start a new group tomorrow and call yourself God and most probably won't go down like in Waco. Isn't that beautiful? a little schizoid perhaps but still beautiful.

      June 26, 2011 at 4:52 am |
    • fishEyes

      @Manifold Density- The Temples are environments which help ease you into a more spiritually aware/receptive mood. The incense sticks, the rhythmic chanting, the flowers, the adorned deities, they all reinforce a positive energy. People feel more at peace in that environment. it's all about positive vibrations 🙂

      July 11, 2011 at 8:06 pm |
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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.