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July 13th, 2011
09:14 PM ET

Amid growing pressure, churches in China 'are at a critical moment,' pastor says

By Eunice Yoon, CNN

Beijing, China (CNN) - The congregants were seated in rows of folding chairs, clasping their hands in prayer or studying passages in their Bibles.

The choir was sitting up front ready to sing on cue. A cross hung behind the pastor. The service looked like a Christian service you would see pretty much anywhere else in the world. But this is Beijing, and the recent Sunday service was illegal.

I couldn't stop glancing at the door and wonder - are the authorities on their way?

This must be the feeling the people in informal churches here have lived with for decades, I thought.

In China, the government allows religious activity but tightly controls it, requiring Christians to meet at state-approved churches. Many Chinese Christians prefer to worship on their own terms at "house" churches, which generally start as small prayer meetings in people's homes.

In recent years, the authorities have tolerated these underground churches. In fact, the parishioners CNN spoke to seemed unfazed by their church's illegal status.

However, Pastor Ezra Jin, the leader of Zion Church, said these churches are now under tremendous pressure - in the midst of China's crackdown on dissent here in the wake of the Arab Spring.

"We are at a critical moment," he said. "What we need is communication."

House churches, he said, cannot afford to stay silent - one of the reasons he granted CNN rare access to film in his banned church.

Jin is concerned that China's underground churches could become targets of jittery authorities like one of Beijing's biggest house churches, Shouwang. Over the past several months, Shouwang's members have been routinely detained and its leaders put under house arrest.

The government defended its actions, saying the congregants were repeatedly gathering illegally in the streets.

Jin finds the development troubling. He and over a dozen other house church leaders have filed a petition to top Communist Party officials calling for greater religious freedoms.

He fears that without dialogue, underground churchgoers could face a fate similar to practitioners of another - heavily persecuted - spiritual group.

"Shouwang's case could deteriorate into a massive crackdown if not handled properly," he said. "We are trying to send a message to remind the Communist Party leaders not to inflame this incident, not to tackle it the way they did the Falun Gong."

The government officially allows freedom of religion but has long been wary of churches, suspicious they could be a source of opposition.

Pastor Jin doesn't see himself as a threat. He hopes his decision to speak up will foster understanding - and possibly lead to legal recognition of house churches without the government controls.

"We are very aware of what we are doing," he said. "And we are ready to pay the price."

He is a man of God now emboldened despite, or perhaps because of, the Chinese government's heavy hand.

Watch The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer weekdays at 4pm to 6pm ET and Saturdays at 6pm ET. For the latest from The Situation Room click here.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Asia • Belief • China • Christianity • Church • Church and state • Content Partner • TV-The Situation Room

soundoff (531 Responses)
  1. Edward Procil

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    October 16, 2011 at 4:30 pm |
  2. Frank Miller

    If the Chinese government reads these comments they wont let ANY religion be practiced within their borders.

    August 15, 2011 at 12:29 am |
  3. AvdBerg

    By reading the comments on this Blog it seems very obvious to us that all the foundations of the earth out of course (Psalms 82:5). For a better understanding of this scriptural verse we invite you to read the latest article ‘CNN Belief Blog ~ Sign of the Times’ listed on our website http://www.aworlddeceived.ca

    Please ignore any messages that inform you that we are on a troll and that ask you to activate the abuse button or even refer you to a gaychristian website. It is an attempt to discredit the work of our Ministry, which is for the edifying of the Body of Christ – His Church (Eph. 4:12).

    July 29, 2011 at 7:18 pm |
    • AvdBerg

      By reading the comments on this Blog it seems very obvious to us that all the foundations of the earth out of course . For a better understanding of this scriptural verse we invite you to visit our website http://www.gaychristian101.com

      July 29, 2011 at 7:19 pm |
    • .....

      AvdBerg is a troll on this site trying to sell their cult and book, when ever you see their post click the report abuse link to get rid of this troll.

      July 29, 2011 at 8:11 pm |
  4. Mel

    The first church was persecuted in the book of Acts. Christians and Jewish believers in Jesus have been fed to the lions in the Colosseum in Rome, killed by the sword of emperors, killed even by Saul until his conversion. Jesus said that He was persecuted and hated by men, but loved by His Father because He was willing to die for us (John chapter 10). These precious people in China hide in places, American Christians would not dare enter, to pray and call out to God daily. As an American I cannot imagine looking over my shoulder and shuttering in my house knowing that being a Christian is not legal. It is worth noting, however, that the Bible and God seem to be hot topics in American culture with God being blamed for bad weather, faulty information in His book, and a Son that is not worth following. This generation is not the first in which God has been put on trial for not presenting Himself the way people would prefer Him to be. The book of Job is about man thinking he knows and can speak for God until He shows up in chapter 38. The Lord then lays out science, botany, physics, astronomy, earth science, etc. One verse is interesting, v 19, "Where is the way to the dwelling of light?" Light does not reside in a place, but in a way. How could Job or translators of the book in King James day know this except divine knowledge?

    July 29, 2011 at 10:24 am |
    • Richard S Kaiser

      Christians are endeared by GOD, the Almighty,
      Mankind will never be Truly Free!
      The God Of GOD is Jesus Christ, the King of all kings.
      and yet we all dabble with the confusion of things.
      This God of all Gods does not Boast nor complain,
      The bittersweet sorrows are held in one's disdain,

      July 29, 2011 at 7:56 pm |
  5. Oleg

    Persecution of Falun Gong still continues to this day.

    July 23, 2011 at 9:45 pm |
  6. Muneef

    Every white man crime is considered as being a mentally ill/sick, and every Muslim crime is considered as a Terrorist act...!

    Soonest any crimes or explosions take place in the West every body with out hesitations assumes or accuses the Muslims living in thse Western Countries....!  

    Now what can we consider this crime now is it Religious or Political? Or is it a mix of both as 2 in 1....? In such case I think the MidEast is in enough troubles already and would not need your Western Christian faith in our countries since such as those acts would be expected from them some time latter...! 

    http://www.thestar.com/news/world/article/1029515–suspect-in-norway-attacks-bought-six-tons-of-fertilizer?bn=1

    July 23, 2011 at 5:10 pm |
  7. Richard S Kaiser

    Hello Muneef,
    I am too aware of the Direness Straights of Our Time wherewith the Globalizing of Increased numbers of Humane Omnivores such as ourselves may soon reach a point in Time as to become cannibalistically endowed might well happen. However, I do not foresee such to happen and I base this assumption on the Chinese Omnivores who eat just about anything and I mean it!

    Otherly Nations apart from China will fall in step with Chinese Omnivorous consumptions of insects and sea creatures most have not yet deemed delectable and most of the Westerly Admonitions of Omnivorism may well have to put up or starve!

    July 21, 2011 at 1:06 pm |
    • Muneef

      Hi,R.S.Kaiser.

      I totally agree...to them food is knowledge...their supermarkets are one of the richest in food stuff...that might not all know of or eat of...
      The mistake that our expansion has gone vertical only and horisiontly food is not grown...monopolizing food resources and now with fuel prices hike and scarcity....in addition to natural disasters,global warming,erosions,slash economy,global populations increase all these factors make foods and necessities  day by day become more expensive unaffordable which becomes worse during conflicts at land or sea.it either eats your savings or gets you in to debt and become poorer by the day...

      How much fertile lands close to river resources that are due conflicts or intentionally deprived from financial capitals and knowhow management can be applied to cover the world hunger...! How much land is not being utilized for agriculture....say from "The Lake Victoria" bordering countries;
      http://www.lake-victoria.net/
      Or more here;
       http://www.ilec.or.jp/database/afr/afr-05.html

      Then "The Nile (White/Blue)Rivers" bordering countries...
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nile

      water is life,we need waters to grow our lands for our feed rather than look for oil to buy our foods or await charities....
      All spending,investing in tourism luxury and pleasures or in high up to the sky buildings but no one of those we hear of in Forbes magazine spends in agriculture & Horticulture projects when they have all the power and facilities for such needs and knowledge.... They are happy appearing big in numbers competing towards same but God knows how much that will make them suffer if they do not use it to break in to some change of increasing supplies rather than reducing populations.... What we see today in famine countries such as east Africa is like hell on earth seeing people suffer as being in fire with out there being a fire...(The Sun Heat,The Hunger,The Thirst,The Illnesses,The Dying of closest relatives,No Roofs over head,No Peace,No Mercy what so ever....rate race like each wants to live on account of the other,ready to kill for extra share.... There are many resources other than fuel or gas oils to produce our needs for all activities and needs but the researches and secrets of such are being hid in favor of the oil lords and sheiks who are ready to wipe from the ground of earth any one brings alternatives for power just as did the News Media Lords for whom stands on their way....

      Remember the joke they made to prove the powers of monopoly few years ago when they (NATO) had used the grains to produce Organic fuel oil which has had immediate effect on people in the 3 world when prices rose and became scarce leading into a similar situation...

      Guess that Zombi blog few months ago was as an advanced prediction of the MidEast Spring and The East African Famine...expect soon some thing at the Euro Zone of the failing economies...

      Could that be a result of the Multinational Companies that has no nationality and cares only for increasing profits and not caring about environment nor sustainability or development of any countries economies or their populations... 

      It is time for such dinosaurs to have a big bang and let every body work and live as a small or medium business owner rather than being a slave worker at such inconsiderate giant multinational companies who gave no chance to smaller family businesses eating it one by one taking it over or crash it down..   

      July 21, 2011 at 7:09 pm |
  8. Muneef

    Click to access Religion_and_Society.pdf

    July 21, 2011 at 12:47 pm |
  9. Muneef

    Are humans getting to this level;
    Middle Ages
    Historical instances of widespread cannibalism are most often connected to extreme social upheavals, such as drought, plague and war, which result in devastating famine. For example, reports of cannibalism were recorded during the First Crusade, as famished Crusaders reportedly fed on the bodies of their dead opponents following the Siege of Ma'arrat al-Numan. Amin Maalouf also discusses further cannibalism incidents on the march to Jerusalem, and to the efforts made to delete mention of these from western history.
    http://www.crystalinks.com/cannibalism.html

    Horrific global food crisis is looming
    26.04.2011
     
    In case you haven't noticed, the world is on the verge of a horrific global food crisis.  At some point, this crisis will affect you and your family.  It may not be today, and it may not be tomorrow, but it is going to happen.  Crazy weather and horrifying natural disasters have played havoc with agricultural production in many areas of the globe over the past couple of years.  Meanwhile, the price of oil has begun to skyrocket.  The entire global economy is predicated on the ability to use massive amounts of inexpensive oil to cheaply produce food and other goods and transport them over vast distances.  Without cheap oil the whole game changes.  Topsoil is being depleted at a staggering rate and key aquifers all over the world are being drained at an alarming pace.  Global food prices are already at an all-time high and they continue to move up aggressively.  So what is going to happen to our world when hundreds of millions more people cannot afford to feed themselves?
    http://english.pravda.ru/business/finance/26-04-2011/117704-food_crisis-0/

    July 20, 2011 at 9:16 pm |
  10. Muneef

    Traits of the Righteous

    [25:63] The worshipers of the Most Gracious are those who tread the earth gently, and when the ignorant speak to them, they only utter peace.

    [25:64] In the privacy of the night, they meditate on their Lord, and fall prostrate.

    [25:65] And they say, "Our Lord, spare us the agony of Hell; its retribution is horrendous.

    [25:66] "It is the worst abode; the worst destiny."

    [25:67] When they give, they are neither extr-ava-gant nor stin-gy; they give in moderation.

    [25:68] They never implore beside GOD any other god, nor do they kill anyone – for GOD has made life sacred – except in the course of justice. Nor do they commit adultery. Those who commit these offenses will have to pay.

    [25:69] Retribution is doubled for them on the Day of Resurrection, and they abide therein hum-ili-ated.

    [25:70] Exempted are those who repent, believe, and lead a righteous life. GOD transforms their sins into credits. GOD is Forgiver, Most Merciful.

    [25:71] Those who repent and lead a righteous life, GOD redeems them; a complete redemption.

    [25:72] They do not bear false witness. When they encounter vain talk, they ignore it.

    [25:73] When reminded of their Lord's revelations, they never react to them as if they were deaf and blind.

    [25:74] And they say, "Our Lord, let our spouses and children be a source of joy for us, and keep us in the forefront of the righteous."

    [25:75] These are the ones who attain Paradise in return for their steadfastness; they are received therein with joyous greetings and peace.

    [25:76] Eternally they abide therein; what a beautiful destiny; what a beautiful abode.

    [25:77] Say, "You attain value at my Lord only through your worship. But if you disbelieve, you incur the inevitable consequences."
    --

    July 19, 2011 at 8:19 pm |
  11. Muneef

    My gift to all God Believers, Worshipers living in China that can not practice their beliefs freely...may the believers reading of this Dua's bring the subjugated peace and blisses....amen

    25 Dua'a from the Holy Quran;

    1. Our Lord! Grant us good in this world and good in the life to come and keep us safe from the torment of the Fire (2:201)

    2. Our Lord! Bestow on us endurance and make our foothold sure and give us help against those who reject faith. (2:250)

    3. Our Lord! Take us not to task if we forget or fall into error. (2:286)

    4. Our Lord! Lay not upon us such a burden as You did lay upon those before us. (2:286)

    5. Our Lord! Impose not on us that which we have not the strength to bear, grant us forgiveness and have mercy on us. You are our Protector. Help us against those who deny the truth. (2:286)

    6. Our Lord! Let not our hearts deviate from the truth after You have guided us, and bestow upon us mercy from Your grace. Verily You are the Giver of bounties without measure. (3:8)

    7. Our Lord! Forgive us our sins and the lack of moderation in our doings, and make firm our steps and succour us against those who deny the truth.(3:147)

    8. Our Lord! Whomsoever You shall commit to the Fire, truly You have brought [him] to disgrace, and never will wrongdoers find any helpers (3:192)

    9. Our Lord! Behold we have heard a voice calling us unto faith: "Believe in your Lord" as we have believed. (3:193)

    10. Our Lord! Forgive us our sins and efface our bad deeds and take our souls in the company of the righteous. (3:193)

    11. Our Lord! And grant us that which you have promised to us by Your messengers and save us from shame on the Day of Judgement. Verily You never fail to fulfill Your promise. (3:194)

    12. Our Lord! We have sinned against ourselves, and unless You grant us forgiveness and bestow Your mercy upon us, we shall most certainly be lost! (7:23)

    13. Our Lord! Place us not among the people who have been guilty of evildoing. (7:47)

    14. Our Lord! Lay open the truth between us and our people, for You are the best of all to lay open the truth. (7:89)
     
    15. Our Lord! Pour out on us patience and constancy, and make us die as those who have surrendered themselves unto You. (7:126)

    16. Our Lord! Make us not a trial for the evildoing folk, and save as by Your mercy from people who deny the truth (10:85-86)

    17. Our Lord! You truly know all that we may hide [in our hearts] as well as all that we bring into the open, for nothing whatever, be it on earth or in heaven, remains hidden from Allah (14:38)

    18. Our Lord! Bestow on us mercy from Your presence and dispose of our affairs for us in the right way. (18:10)

    19. Our Lord! Grant that our spouses and our offspring be a comfort to our eyes, and give us the grace to lead those who are conscious of You. (25:74)

    20. Our Lord! You embrace all things within Your Grace and Knowledge, forgive those who repent and follow Your path, and ward off from them the punishment of Hell. (40:7)

    21. Our Lord! Make them enter the Garden of Eden which You have promised to them, and to the righteous from among their fathers, their wives and their offspring, for verily You are alone the Almighty and the truly Wise. (40:8)

    22. Our Lord! Relieve us of the torment, for we do really believe. (44:12)

    23. Our Lord! Forgive us our sins as well as those of our brethren who proceeded us in faith and let not our hearts entertain any unworthy thoughts or feelings against [any of] those who have believed. Our Lord! You are indeed full of kindness and Most Merciful (59:10)

    24. Our Lord! In You we have placed our trust, and to You do we turn in repentance, for unto You is the end of all journeys. (60:4)

    25. Our Lord! Perfect our light for us and forgive us our sins, for verily You have power over all things. (66:8)

    Ackwnoledgements : Raza Azmi

    July 18, 2011 at 9:47 pm |
  12. Terri

    "the Sadduccees say that there is no resurrection..."
    THIS IS WHAT MADE THEM SAD, YOU SEE.....

    July 18, 2011 at 9:35 am |
  13. SnowVeil

    Chinese Christians went through too much under atheists to listen to Reality's garbage.

    July 16, 2011 at 1:00 am |
    • Muneef

      Wonder if such Garbage can be recycled and put in to more better use than it is?

      July 17, 2011 at 2:03 am |
    • SnowVeil

      Authentic study shows Christianity alone is the evidential belief-system.

      July 17, 2011 at 4:17 am |
    • Muneef

      Oh ya and who did. That ? The Angels of God or did all religions acknowledged that? You can't be the the Owner and the surveyor and the judge all in the same time or can we now ?

      July 18, 2011 at 1:22 am |
    • Reality

      Muneef, Muneef, Muneef,

      Obviously, you continue to be conned. Some assistance:

      It is called the Infamous Angel Con:

      Joe Smith had his mythical Moroni.

      Jehovah Witnesses have their Jesus /Michael the mythical archangel, the first angelic being created by God;

      Mohammed had his mythical Gabriel (this "tin-kerbell" got around).

      Jesus and his family had mythical Michael, Gabriel, and Satan, the latter being a modern day dem-on of the de-mented.

      The Abraham-Moses myths had their mythical Angel of Death and other "no-namers" to do their dirty work or other assorted duties.

      Contemporary biblical and religious scholars have relegated these "pretty wingie thingies" to the myth pile. We should do the same to include deleting all references to them in our religious operating manuals. Doing this will eliminate the prophet/profit/prophecy status of these founders and put them where they belong as simple humans just like the rest of us.

      July 18, 2011 at 7:52 am |
    • Muneef

      Study the Quran carefully
      [47:24] Why do they not study the Quran carefully? Do they have locks on their minds?

      [47:25] Surely, those who slide back, after the guidance has been manifested to them, the devil has enticed them and led them on.

      [47:26] This is because they said to those who hated what GOD has sent down, "We will obey you in certain matters." GOD fully knows their secret conspiracies.

      [47:27] How will it be for them when the angels put them to death? They will beat them on their faces and their rear ends.

      [47:28] This is because they followed what angered GOD and hated the things that please Him. Consequently, He has nullified their works.

      [47:29] Did those who harbor doubts in their hearts think that GOD will not bring out their evil thoughts?

      [47:30] If we will, we can expose them for you, so that you can recognize them just by looking at them. However, you can recognize them by the way they talk. GOD is fully aware of all your works.

      [47:31] We will certainly put you to the test, in order to distinguish those among you who strive, and steadfastly persevere. We must expose your true qualities.

      [47:32] Those who disbelieve and repel from the path of GOD, and oppose the messenger after the guidance has been manifested for them, will never hurt GOD in the least. Instead, He nullifies their works.

      [47:33] O you who believe, you shall obey GOD, and obey the messenger. Otherwise, all your works will be in vain.

      The Great Disaster

      [47:34] Those who disbelieve and repel from the path of GOD, then die as disbelievers, GOD will never forgive them.

      [47:35] Therefore, you shall not waver and surrender in pursuit of peace, for you are guaranteed victory, and GOD is with you. He will never waste your efforts.

      [47:36] This worldly life is no more than play and vanity. But if you believe and lead a righteous life, He will reward you, without asking you for any money.

      [47:37] If He asked you for money, to the extent of creating a hardship for you, you might have become stingy, and your hidden evil might be exposed.

      [47:38] You are invited to spend in the cause of GOD, but some of you turn stingy. The stingy are stingy towards their own souls. GOD is Rich, while you are poor.

      July 19, 2011 at 8:07 pm |
  14. Reality

    Something all Chinese Christians should read:

    Saving Christians from the Resurrection Con:

    From that famous passage: In 1 Corinthians 15 St. Paul reasoned, "If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith."

    Even now Catholic/Christian professors of theology are questioning the bodily resurrection of the simple, preacher man aka Jesus.

    To wit;

    From a major Catholic university's theology professor’s grad school white-board notes:

    "Heaven is a Spirit state or spiritual reality of union with God in love, without earthly – earth bound distractions.
    Jesus and Mary's bodies are therefore not in Heaven.

    Most believe that it to mean that the personal spiritual self that survives death is in continuity with the self we were while living on earth as an embodied person.

    Again, the physical Resurrection (meaning a resuscitated corpse returning to life), Ascension (of Jesus' crucified corpse), and Assumption (Mary's corpse) into heaven did not take place.

    The Ascension symbolizes the end of Jesus' earthly ministry and the beginning of the Church.

    Only Luke's Gospel records it. The Assumption ties Jesus' mission to Pentecost and missionary activity of Jesus' followers The Assumption has multiple layers of symbolism, some are related to Mary's special role as "Christ bearer" (theotokos). It does not seem fitting that Mary, the body of Jesus' Virgin-Mother (another biblically based symbol found in Luke 1) would be derived by worms upon her death. Mary's assumption also shows God's positive regard, not only for Christ's male body, but also for female bodies." "

    "In three controversial Wednesday Audiences, Pope John Paul II pointed out that the essential characteristic of heaven, hell or purgatory is that they are states of being of a spirit (angel/demon) or human soul, rather than places, as commonly perceived and represented in human language. This language of place is, according to the Pope, inadequate to describe the realities involved, since it is tied to the temporal order in which this world and we exist. In this he is applying the philosophical categories used by the Church in her theology and saying what St. Thomas Aquinas said long before him."
    http://eternal-word.com/library/PAPALDOC/JP2HEAVN.HTM

    The Vatican quickly embellished this story with a lot CYAP.

    Of course, we all know that angels are really mythical "pretty wingie talking thingies".

    With respect to rising from the dead, we also have this account:

    o An added note: As per R.B. Stewart in his introduction to the recent book, The Resurrection of Jesus, Crossan and Wright in Dialogue,
    o
    o p.4
    o
    o "Reimarus (1774-1778) posits that Jesus became sidetracked by embracing a political position, sought to force God's hand and that he died alone deserted by his disciples. What began as a call for repentance ended up as a misguided attempt to usher in the earthly political kingdom of God. After Jesus' failure and death, his disciples stole his body and declared his resurrection in order to maintain their financial security and ensure themselves some standing."
    o
    o p.168. by Ted Peters:
    o
    Even so, asking historical questions is our responsibility. Did Jesus really rise from the tomb? Is it necessary to have been raised from the tomb and to appear to his disciples in order to explain the rise of early church and the transcription of the bible? Crossan answers no, Wright answers, yes. "

    o So where are the bones"? As per Professor Crossan's analyses in his many books, the body of Jesus would have ended up in the mass graves of the crucified, eaten by wild dogs, covered with lime in a shallow grave, or under a pile of stones.( 因此是bones"的地方? 根据Crossan'教授; 在他的许多书的s分析,耶稣的身体在许多坟墓将结束迫害,吃由豺狗,盖用石灰在一个浅坟墓,或者在堆石头之下。)

    July 15, 2011 at 5:08 pm |
    • herbert juarez

      Or it could have happened exactly as described by men and women,who suffered agonizing persecution and in many cases death without recanting their testimony.It could be that some Catholic scholars have it wrong,and are trying to relate the Divine to their own modern experience and existence.Why for example would anyone have to suggest that the disciples STOLE the body ,unless there was a missing body?Where are the bones?Someday we will all find out.

      July 15, 2011 at 8:14 pm |
    • Reality

      Another religious-based con job:

      It is called the Infamous Angelic Con:

      Joe Smith had his Moroni.

      Jehovah Witnesses have their Jesus /Michael the archangel, the first angelic being created by God;

      Mohammed had his Gabriel (this "tin-kerbell" got around).

      Jesus and his family had Michael, Gabriel, and Satan, the latter being a modern day dem-on of the de-mented.

      The Abraham-Moses myths had their Angel of Death and other "no-namers" to do their dirty work or other assorted duties.

      Contemporary biblical and religious scholars have relegated these "pretty wingie thingies" to the myth pile. We should do the same to include deleting all references to them in our religious operating manuals. Doing this will eliminate the prophet/profit/prophecy status of these founders and put them where they belong as simple humans just like the rest of us.
      Some added references to "tink-erbells".

      "Latter-day Saints also believe that Michael the Archangel was Adam (the first man) when he was mortal, and Gabriel lived on the earth as Noah."

      Apparently hallu-cinations did not stop with Joe Smith.

      newadvent.org/cathen/07049c.htm

      "The belief in guardian angels can be traced throughout all antiquity; pagans, like Menander and Plutarch (cf. Euseb., "Praep. Evang.", xii), and Neo-Platonists, like Plotinus, held it. It was also the belief of the Babylonians and As-syrians, as their monuments testify, for a figure of a guardian angel now in the British Museum once decorated an As-syrian palace, and might well serve for a modern representation; while Nabopolassar, father of Nebuchadnezzar the Great, says: "He (Marduk) sent a tutelary deity (cherub) of grace to go at my side; in everything that I did, he made my work to succeed."

      Catholic monks and Dark Age theologians also did their share of hallu-cinating:

      "TUBUAS-A member of the group of angels who were removed from the ranks of officially recognized celestial hierarchy in 745 by a council in Rome under Pope Zachary. He was joined by Uriel, Adimus, Sabaoth, Simiel, and Raguel."

      And tin-ker- bells go way, way back:

      "In Zoroastrianism there are different angel like creatures. For example each person has a guardian angel called Fravashi. They patronize human being and other creatures and also manifest god’s energy. Also, the Amesha Spentas have often been regarded as angels, but they don't convey messages, but are rather emanations of Ahura Mazda ("Wise Lord", God); they appear in an abstract fashion in the religious thought of Zarathustra and then later (during the Achaemenid period of Zoroastrianism) became personalized, associated with an aspect of the divine creation (fire, plants, water...)."
      "The beginnings of the biblical belief in angels must be sought in very early folklore. The gods of the Hitti-tes and Canaanites had their supernatural messengers, and parallels to the Old Testament stories of angels are found in Near Eastern literature. "

      "The 'Magic Papyri' contain many spells to secure just such help and protection of angels. From magic traditions arose the concept of the guardian angel. "

      July 15, 2011 at 11:31 pm |
    • herbert juarez

      "(the Sadduccees say that there is no resurrection and that there are neither angels nor spirits,but the Pharisees acknowledge them all.)"
      Best i could figure is that you are resurrecting the extinct Sadduccee cult,otherwise your rambling attempt to be all inclusive makes no sense.The belief system is so vastly different in the wide variety you attempt to lump together,one has to question if you are grounded in reality?

      July 16, 2011 at 7:21 am |
    • Reality

      The Apostles' Creed 2011: (updated by yours truly and based on the studies of 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 descent into Hell, 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

      July 16, 2011 at 8:28 am |
    • herbert juarez

      habeas corpus

      July 16, 2011 at 10:54 am |
    • Richard S Kaiser

      JOHN 18:36, Jesus answered, "My Kingdom is NOT of THIS WORLD!"

      LUKE 17:21 "Neither shall they say, Lo here or lo there! for Behold, the KINGDOM Of GOD IS INSIDE YOU!"

      July 16, 2011 at 10:57 am |
    • Reality

      Richard K,

      Actually, Jesus was a bit "touched". After all he thought he spoke to Satan, thought he changed water into wine, thought he raised Lazarus from the dead etc. In today's world, said Jesus would be declared legally insane.

      Or did P, M, M, L and J simply make him into a first century magic-man via their epistles and gospels of semi-fiction? Most contemporary NT experts after thorough analyses of all the scriptures go with the latter magic-man conclusion with J's gospels being mostly fiction.

      Obviously, today's followers of Paul et al's "magic-man" are also a bit on the odd side believing in all the Christian mumbo jumbo about bodies resurrecting, and exorcisms, and miracles, and "magic-man atonement, and infallible, old, European, white men, and 24/7 body/blood sacrifices followed by consumption of said sacrifices. Yummy!!!!

      July 16, 2011 at 3:28 pm |
    • herbert juarez

      in your "response"toRichard you once again avoid answering any of the tough questions raised by your rants.this particular rant appears under"reality" in other posts where it is neither witty,well thought out, original or relevant.If this is all you got you are more got be pitied than followed.

      July 16, 2011 at 4:08 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.