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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. veggiedude

    I went to China and visited a catholic church from the 16th Century that still had its doors open. My wife was born there, and her town has been catholic since before the USA has existed. One of her nieces had a DNA test and found some German heritage. I guess one of the missionaries were from that region. Yes, the Chinese government keeps an eye on these churches, but the USA does the same with muslim places of worship too.

    July 14, 2011 at 11:46 am |
  2. Mike Smith

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q0yLKCdmdCA

    July 14, 2011 at 11:44 am |
    • Kaylan

      China has been persecuting Christians for years. Many Catholic priests and members have been kidnapped by the state and placed in work camps. If you follow zenit news or onenewsnow you can read reports on what religious people are enduring there. The early Church suffered many martyrs and it seems the same in China. They ARE the Church Suffering.

      July 14, 2011 at 11:56 am |
  3. JW

    It is good to see that God is at work in China. The Gospel will be preached to every nation before Christ's return.
    If you haven't received Christ's forgiveness of sins it is not too late to be saved.

    "If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. " Romans 10:9

    "Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again." John 3:3

    July 14, 2011 at 11:44 am |
    • JV

      Eye roll...Although I am all about freedom of religion I do find it amusing that Christians will use any opportunity to spout off their arrogance. I did find my religion and that is being a good husband and father. If that isn't enough then too bad.

      July 14, 2011 at 11:55 am |
    • Kaylan

      Ignore JV and the like. You are correct. The Gospel is preached all around the world. St. Thomas even went all the way to India, quite a feat during the Apostle's time period. Ironically, it is often that when Christianity is persecuted that is grows even more in the hearts of the people. Practicing Christians in China have been imprisoned and thrown into labor camps for years. This article is nothing new to those who follow conservative news.

      July 14, 2011 at 11:59 am |
    • JV

      Darn, now I need to go take a shower to wash off this right wing view...Obviously you missed the point of my "reply". But that is what happens when you are short sighted and to think what you believe is absolute. If it makes you a better person and you are a positive contributor to society then great, believe in a goal post for all I care. But who are you to spout off psalms just because the story about religion. Ever heard of giving a logical and open thought on whatever subject that is being discussed?

      July 14, 2011 at 12:07 pm |
    • JW

      There must be another JW I dont remember typing this. LOL

      July 14, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
    • Laughing

      Honestly, I was about to remark on it as well. At least between the conversations you and I have had you never seemed like the quoting type....

      July 14, 2011 at 1:56 pm |
    • gozer

      Seeing as god has never been proven to have actually done any work, he and his gang of priests and other supporting shills should no longer receive tax-free salaries.

      July 14, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
    • JW

      We will see if it gets too confusing. I may have to change my name.

      July 14, 2011 at 2:08 pm |
  4. Mike Smith

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y_gsIIQOBsY&feature=related

    July 14, 2011 at 11:40 am |
  5. Vulpes

    By the time Chinese government sees the error of it's ways it will be too late for them. This will only give fuel to the fire to those who will eventually overthrow the current Chinese rule. The Chinese agents commenting here should take note and look to bettering there country by helping to provide Chinese citizens more freedoms then force unnecessary and counter-productive on them. To the Chinese government: Your day of reckoning is approaching.

    July 14, 2011 at 11:38 am |
  6. Michael

    Let me say this. China has come a long ways. State sanctioned, does not entirely mean state controlled. China requires churches to register just like a business must be registered and have a license to operate in the US. Individuals need to follow the law. The bible tells us to obey authority. The Chinese governemnt is that authority. I did not feel that the message provided at the state registered church that I attended was in any away restricted from or deviated from bible scriptures. As a Chinese individual, I felt safe, and to me, it was no different than attending church here in the US.

    July 14, 2011 at 11:36 am |
    • Vulpes

      Why the harassment? Why the need to register at all? Thanks for the propaganda. It's amusing.

      July 14, 2011 at 11:40 am |
    • Peter

      Technically the U.S. does the same thing. They just use the IRS to do it.

      July 14, 2011 at 11:41 am |
    • BCA

      I'm gonna call fake on this one. This just proves how stupid the Chinese government is.

      July 14, 2011 at 11:46 am |
    • Mike Smith

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/50_Cent_Party

      July 14, 2011 at 11:53 am |
    • Dan

      Except that the book they are reading from has been gutted by the government. That might explain why these government churches fall short on the good news of Jesus Christ.

      July 14, 2011 at 11:57 am |
    • Nonimus

      Lets have a Chinese Jew speak on this, or a Chinese Hindu... oh yeah, Judaism and Hinduism aren't registered religions are they.

      July 15, 2011 at 12:41 pm |
  7. Tim Marsh

    In Chinese-occupied Tibet, Buddhism and worship of the Dali Lama is punishable by imprisonment, torture, and in some cases, death. So it's not just Christians who are being persecuted. Remember that when you buy a piece of Chinese-made crap at Wal*Mart, etc. Spend some money elsewhere, save a life in Tibet.

    July 14, 2011 at 11:33 am |
    • Jesus Is Lord

      If you want to really SAVE a life, tell someone about Jesus Christ. He is the ONLY way to the Father in Heaven. Repent, believe and be saved!

      July 14, 2011 at 11:43 am |
    • Artist

      Jesus Is Lord

      If you want to really SAVE a life, tell someone about Jesus Christ. He is the ONLY way to the Father in Heaven. Repent, believe and be saved!
      ---
      Sorry but I don't worship dead humans.

      July 15, 2011 at 12:50 pm |
  8. luke

    Very true!

    July 14, 2011 at 11:33 am |
  9. Robert

    You can validly denounce China's repression of religion when you speak up for people building a church, mosque, and synagogue in the U.S.

    July 14, 2011 at 11:32 am |
    • MarylandBill

      In America, people may not want mosques in their neighborhood, but once it is built, they can't legally stop Muslims from worshiping there. The USA may not be perfect in this regard, but it is on a different plane of existence than China with respect to Freedom of religion.

      July 14, 2011 at 11:37 am |
    • Tom

      Yeah, as MarllandBill imply, China is worse so our repression of non-Christian religions doesn't count.

      July 14, 2011 at 11:50 am |
    • Reality Check

      There are some who oppose having houses of particular faiths in their neighborhoods; usually it has to do with the house of worship not "fitting into" the neighborhood because none of its attendees live there.

      But the rights of the faith groups are established under the rule of law. And we Americans uphold those rights, even as we occasionally test the balance between the rights of faith groups and those of the individuals who they might affect.

      So now I've supported the rights of mosques, synagogues, churches, meeting halls, Mormon Temples, Buddhist temples, Hindu temples, and any others I haven't mentioned.

      So now, it's your turn to get serious about religious oppression in China.

      You promised.

      July 14, 2011 at 11:52 am |
  10. P00P

    JEWISH CHINESE!!!

    July 14, 2011 at 11:32 am |
    • Laughing

      If those are real, then where do you think they go on Christmas for dinner? Do you think they're just like, "Hey, it's christmas, you wanna go get some us food?"

      July 14, 2011 at 11:34 am |
  11. IceT

    Keep religion out of politics & keep politics out of religion.

    July 14, 2011 at 11:30 am |
    • veggiedude

      Religion was born with politics. Even Jesus was seen as a rebel, not only among Romans, but within his own jewish community too.

      July 14, 2011 at 11:49 am |
    • maziotla

      How can we keep politics out of government of vise versa. it is only when we acknolege christ in our governemnt and let him lead us in the wat that our country is led that we can move on.

      July 14, 2011 at 11:51 am |
  12. Blogson

    Fascinating – Chinese Christian churches continue to grow despite persecution and despite having zero influence over the country's governmental policies – certainly an absolute separation of church and state. Contrast that with the U.S., where supposedly Christian pressure groups walk in and influence the halls of political/governmental power, while the percentage of the population who are Christians declines. Jesus avoided being entangled in politics and American Christians should learn from that as well as the Chinese situation.

    July 14, 2011 at 11:30 am |
    • MarylandBill

      There is no separation of Church and State in China. We are talking about underground churches. And Christianity still represents a tiny fraction of the Chinese population. You can't draw any useful parallels between the situation in China and the United States.

      July 14, 2011 at 11:40 am |
  13. Robert

    My life changed radically for the better upon becoming a Christian. The same for these Chinese Christians. Their cost:benefit ratio of persecution compared to intimacy with God shows knowledge of God far surpasses all understanding.

    July 14, 2011 at 11:22 am |
    • Laughing

      Yeah, thank god they have promises of a glorious all-chinese heaven to go to after being sent to re-education camps in siberia. I hope that inner light will keep them warm during the winters.

      July 14, 2011 at 11:26 am |
    • Funny

      Actually it probably will keep them warm at night. Since your feeling of warmth is really all in your head. A simple sensation. It's funny because they will be happier in a prison camp with their beliefs then you will be in "freedom" with your unbelief.

      July 14, 2011 at 11:34 am |
    • Dolfina

      I was interested in the story until Franklin Graham came on as some sort authority. He is not the man his father was, who prayed with every president, no matter his religion. Franklin Graham has been blind-sided and is now narrow-minded and does NOT speak for me, although I am a born-again Christian.

      July 14, 2011 at 11:35 am |
    • Laughing

      @Funny

      Glad you thought it was funny.....sort of. Why is freedom in ""? I'm incredibly happy with my freedom in my unbelief, it makes life a lot easier and those chains of oppression were getting pretty heavy. I guess if we can use quotes however we want though, then I "hope" you have a "great" time with your "god"

      Also trying telling that whole feeling in your head crap to the people in the re-education camps as they freeze at night, bellies ache from lack of food and endure worse torture because they think there's a man in the sky handing out gifts in the afterlife.

      July 14, 2011 at 11:38 am |
  14. Sunshine

    Interestingly, the explosive growth of Christian faith in China seems tied to China's development and success, and the associated search of the people for deeper meaning, purpose, and values. Many of those coming to faith are the younger, well educated generation. There are now more church-attenders in China than members of the Communist Party. Very interesting article in the Times of London about this (http://www.chiefrabbi.org/ReadArtical1764.aspx). China would do well to allow religious freedom and assembly as a basic human right and as a way for society there to flourish.

    July 14, 2011 at 11:21 am |
  15. YABAhOOCHIE

    Don'cha just LOVE havin' the freedom to rant and rave about denying someone else THEIR freedom? And to think," My son died for this"!

    July 14, 2011 at 11:20 am |
    • Dolfina

      I am sorry about your son and grateful for his sacrifice, but the Father sacrificed His son so we may have a greater freedom. You shall know the truth and the truth will set you free. Many inprisoned and persecuted feel a freedom in Christ that we can only imagine. How blessed to be in a county where you can proclaim your belief in Christ and YET be a democrat!

      July 14, 2011 at 11:38 am |
    • gozer

      Dolfina, how come your little weak incapable 'omnipotent`god needed to kill a scapegoat with all the hoopla about it too, just to get rid of sin? Why not just do it without all the extraneous jesus on a stick cr-ap?

      Pretty weak god you`ve created for yourself there.

      July 14, 2011 at 2:03 pm |
  16. James

    I can understand the Chinese pressure in religious beliefs because if you look at religion, it is a bad idea in general to allow it into a closed system due to the fact religion brings violence and misunderstanding to people. They as a whole bring war and death because they fight over the true god. Just look at the crusades were all for religion not anything else. So if your going to start a church then it should be regulated by the science department of China, for this will allow only spiritual beliefs system and not a mocker of modern day science and philosophy. If you disagree show me fact that religion doesn't bring war or hatred when many religions are present and want to be the one.

    July 14, 2011 at 11:19 am |
    • luke

      It is historically inaccurate to say the Crusades were only about religion. There were many other factors at play. Religions was one of those factors. You should read more than just cnn posts!

      July 14, 2011 at 11:31 am |
    • Guest3

      Religion doesn't bring misunderstand and war, ignorance does. There are millions of Christians around the world who's actions reflect loving they neighbor, tolerance to all peoples and calm, rationale thinking. But because we're calm and tolerant, we're not going to make headline news. Judging the world through the eyes of CNN and Fox news is about as ignorant as it gets.

      July 14, 2011 at 11:32 am |
    • Reality Check

      We haven't had a religious war in the USA since its inception. All faiths are welcome, including several that consider themselves the ONE true religion. The government is supposed to stay out of the religion business and largely does. For the most part, we manage to get along with each other fairly well.

      On the other hand, in order to have a truly meaningful discussion, the number of people of faith oppressed, imprisoned, tormented, and killed by atheistic regimes should be considered alongside the casualties of religious wars.

      In China's approach the ideology of the Party becomes the de facto government sponsored religion. Same in North Korea, Communist Albania, Communist Romania, Pol Pot's Cambodia, Nazi Germany, and Soviet Russia. That's just in the last 100 years. How many purely religious wars have been fought in the last 100 years?

      Any government that can't handle a free people is tyrannical. It's a Great Leap Backward.

      July 14, 2011 at 11:36 am |
    • Steve

      Um Luke you are attempting to obscure the fact that Religion was the major factor in the motivation for the crusades. After all the various Pope's were calling for a Christian crusade to push the muslims out of the "holy land". Hmm..were they looking for sandy beaches in Palestine? Sure they may have been other factors but those were marginal. It is like the argument nowadays that the Civil War was not about slavery but about state rights. Yes, about state right regarding slavery..lol. Luke, I may be wrong about this statement but its probably correct..get less ideology and more facts.

      July 14, 2011 at 11:50 am |
  17. someoneelse

    China is screwed up enough now. Look what Christianity did to South Korea (if you have ever lived there, you would understand). While they need religious freedom, they don't need religion !!!

    July 14, 2011 at 11:16 am |
    • senoy

      What exactly did Christianity do to South Korea? It went from having a destroyed economy to being one of the economic success stories of our time. It went from a backwater to a global leader in technology and industry while at the same time essentially being a liberal well-functioning democracy. I wouldn't say that Christianity caused this, but it didn't seem to hinder it either.

      July 14, 2011 at 11:31 am |
    • Vulpes

      You are just plain wrong.

      July 14, 2011 at 12:40 pm |
    • someoneelse

      None of those things we done by Chrstianity, but by American dollars. Duh, seriously... If you had ever seen Christianity in Korea, you would understand.

      July 14, 2011 at 2:19 pm |
  18. JDT

    @Isn't Smart- The Guy is right. Communism and socialism denounces religion. It is not made up.

    July 14, 2011 at 11:12 am |
  19. Headstrong

    Bravo to China! The most successful countries of the world right now are those where religion - especially the unholy trinity of Christianity, Islam and Judaism - have the least influence. Shame on CNN for this horribly biased piece of pro-Christian tripe.

    July 14, 2011 at 11:03 am |
    • The real john

      Shut it. Please.

      July 14, 2011 at 11:06 am |
    • jimtanker

      I'll agree to that. Something that the US can learn from them.

      July 14, 2011 at 11:07 am |
    • JW

      Can you form a list of some of these successful countries that you speak of? Personally I dont think China is more successful than the US.

      July 14, 2011 at 11:10 am |
    • Papa N.

      Yeah, that worked out great for the USSR.

      July 14, 2011 at 11:11 am |
    • Silly..But Saved!

      I'll pray for you.

      July 14, 2011 at 11:11 am |
    • Rhonda

      You say , "Bravo to China" and call it "successful". If flagrant human rights violations are a good example of the value of an atheist government then I can't see how it is any better than a theocracy. I don't want to live in a so-called Christian nation, but I do want freedom to choose belief or non-belief without persecution from my government.

      July 14, 2011 at 11:17 am |
    • Andacar

      Headstrong, I think you're on to something here! What we need to do is establish a ruthless Department of Correct Ideas that stamps out irrational and unconstructive viewpoints in the name of Freethought and... um... something.

      July 14, 2011 at 11:19 am |
    • senoy

      Heh, the irony of this statement is of course that China has more people that attend religious services weekly than the US. Most estimates show that there are more Christians in China (roughly 100 million) than Communists (75 million) Current growth rates and projections show that China will become home to the world's largest Christian population somewhere in the late 2020s and will be a majority Christian country by 2050. It's one of those strange sociological quandaries. As the west loses influence in the world, areligion seems to be losing influence as well. The BRICs are some of the fastest growing Christian countries in the world. I'm not saying that areligion is doomed, but it does seem to be predominantly a "white man's disease." if I may coopt the phrase.

      July 14, 2011 at 11:23 am |
    • dgm

      So, to have issues about non-religious only tripe is OK? Funny how Christians are not to be heard because to you it is "tripe", yet Christians are supposed to listen to rantings of people who consider themselves their own god. Whether you believe it or not, one day every knee shall bow to Jesus , and hopefully you won't be one of the ones who will have found this out too late. The Christians in China are willing to die for their belief in Jesus Christ. I am concerned for you and will pray that your heart changes.

      July 14, 2011 at 11:28 am |
    • Steve

      yes dgm..christians always say their's is a religion of love and then you get statements like yours..'before its too late", when I guess god casts you into hell to be eternally tormented. Poor Gandhi must be on a BBQ right now. What love Jesus has for non-christians eh? The Chinese should have just stuck with the Buddha and Confucius, at least the former never condoned slavery, genocide, patriarchy, murder of children...oh the list goes on and on. Such a peaceful religion of love the Bible promotes. In the end when logic is exhausted the bible thumpers always fall on the combination of "the threats of retribution" or "I feel it in my heart so it must be true" and the cherry picking of scripture (I remind you confucius promoted the "golden rule" well before jesus did). Certainly humanity can do better than believe in something as this.

      July 14, 2011 at 12:01 pm |
    • Laughing

      Sorry Senoy

      You might have the right statistics, what you're lacking is the knowledge that to be in the communist part in china is a very high honor and its very, very difficult to become a full-fledged member. 100's of millions in chna WANT to be in the party, but they only have 75 mil to keep it low and desirable. Read 1984 to get a clearer picture. There's the prolotariet, then the "outer party" or in this case the emerging middle class in china that has the spending power and are living in urban areas but don't have the commie card, then the "inner party" of the upper echelon of society that is in the party and then the Big Brother-esque politburo.

      July 14, 2011 at 12:59 pm |
    • senoy

      Laughing, it's tangential to the main point which is that religion does not have little influence in China and is in fact rapidly expanding to the point where if current trends continue Christians are set to become a majority there within most of our lifetimes. The fact that Christians outnumber Communists is meant only illustratively to compare relative numbers and is not necessary for the crux of the argument. If Communists outnumbered Christians three to one, it wouldn't change the explosive growth we've seen over the last decade, nor the projected growth in the decades to come.

      July 14, 2011 at 1:38 pm |
    • JW

      I think this reminds me how I take for granted the right to practice my belief and go to church on Sunday. I hope that the number of practicing Christians does grow in China. Personally though I think the argument as to which religion is growing the fastest is silly. People change their views every day. I dont believe this can be accurately measured.

      July 14, 2011 at 2:18 pm |
    • Laughing

      @JW you put it way too kind

      @Senoy
      I don't think you really understand statistics and how to read them or else you probably wouldn't have made that painfully ignorant statement. Yes, it was a little bit of a cultural lesson tied in there and sure, you felt it was tangetial. But consider this: Communists (unaffiliated and affiliated to the communist party) make up probably roughly 85% of China. 85% of 2 BILLION, that means, according to your numbers, christians make up roughly 5% of china, yeah, 5%. And in a country where it doesn't matter how many people you have on your side because you don't have a voting presence, it doesn't matter anyways. Your projections of christians overtaking the world christian population and majority in china by whatever date is just plain stupid. Where did you get these forecasts and were they made as if china was in a vaccu.m? People, beliefs change daily, wars happen, governments fall, aliens might indeed land tomorrow and prove once and for all religion is a crock. To have any faith in the numbers you dumbly spouted off is just ignorant and sad.

      July 14, 2011 at 2:27 pm |
  20. The Guy

    I am not a Christian and find Christianity to be the bane of societal development, but I believe even more strongly that every man or woman has his or her right to practice whatever their beliefs are. A lot of people take for granted their freedom of religion or lack there of in the US.

    What many don't understand is that in countries like the former CCCP/USSR (and to a certain extent in China) you are forced by government legislature to align with atheism. The opposite goes in countries like Kenya, Uganda, and other mission-established nations where the church forms your religious allegiances.

    Be thankful to whatever deity or scientific discovery you believe in that we are allowed to pursue the philosophies we identify with.

    July 14, 2011 at 10:42 am |
    • Isn't Smart

      "forced by government legislature to align with atheism"

      what is it like to just make stuff up and think it is true?

      July 14, 2011 at 11:09 am |
    • Andacar

      Thank you for your tolerant, rational and (alas) all too rare viewpoint here. I'm just the opposite; I'm a dedicated Christian. But I would bitterly oppose any attempt to force people to believe in anything, whether Christianity, atheism or anything else. And you’re also right in that way too many people take their freedom to believe in or not believe in whatever they want, which is most certainly not the case in coercive, paranoid dictatorships like Communist China.

      July 14, 2011 at 11:09 am |
    • JDT

      As a Christian, I couldn't agree more with you on "most" of your points. I think it is a shame to force non-religous OR pro-religious beliefs on anyone. I think that everyone should be able to formulate their own opinions as to what they believe or don 't believe. For example, currently I have not been a church attender for about 3 years. I probably wouldn't go but my 5 year old keeps asking to go to church. I am taking her now because I want her to have the experience and make a decision (as she gets older) on what she chooses to believe. And, with any religion, it should be this way. I think it fosters mutual respect for all belief systems. After all, faith is just that–faith. No one has proof that god exists or doesn't exist. So, I respect all others beliefs as i would ask others to respect mine.

      July 14, 2011 at 11:11 am |
    • Andacar

      I dunno, Isn't Smart, what IS it like? Go take a look at the history of the Cultural Revolution, Soviet Russia, the French Revolution, etc., and then get back to us.

      July 14, 2011 at 11:12 am |
    • Silly..But Saved!

      @ Isn't Smart.........................Oh Sweetie.. You're name kind of says it all..

      July 14, 2011 at 11:13 am |
    • Laughing

      @ Silly.. But Saved!

      Speaking of idiotic handles.....

      July 14, 2011 at 11:16 am |
    • JDT

      @Isn't Smart- The Guy is right. The doctrines of communism and socialism denounces religion. It is not made up. That is another way they (the leadership in said societal system) controls the minions.

      July 14, 2011 at 11:17 am |
    • The Guy

      Thanks for the support folks. Sorry I couldn't get back to @Isn't Smart to verbally and historically kick his a $ $.

      July 14, 2011 at 11:48 am |
    • Jesus Is Lord

      @JDT – there is no such thing as a Christian who does not go to church. Sorry, but you can't have it both ways. Hebrews 10:25 is a command from God to "go to church".

      July 14, 2011 at 12:00 pm |
    • Peter

      "there is no such thing as a Christian who does not go to church. Sorry, but you can't have it both ways. "

      Where two or more are gathered to pray to God that is considered a church. It doesn't have to be a physical building.

      July 14, 2011 at 12:01 pm |
    • JDT

      @Jesus is lord-and, according to the Bible, man was made in the image of God... right? Well, since people don't choose to be gay, is God gay? The Bible is not the end all... it is a text that is supposed to help in your spiritual maturity. Don't forget that men wrote the Bible. Men translated the Bible from a dead langauage. Isn't it completely possible that the men who translated the Bible skewed it a little knowing that most people wouldn't figure it out?

      But, since you're so convinced that one has to go to church to be a Christian, explain this one to me... "For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." Matthew 18:20 That means, I can worship wherever I choose, however I choose, so long as I am surrounded by a group of believers. I don't go to church because of people like you-narrow-minded, judgemental jerks. I AM a Christian. So go back to your church, don't think for yourself (let your pastor do it for you), and, if your lucky and not a Catholic, your kids won't get molested by the preacher.

      July 14, 2011 at 12:50 pm |
    • Artist

      The Guy

      I am not a Christian and find Christianity to be the bane of societal development, but I believe even more strongly that every man or woman has his or her right to practice whatever their beliefs are. A lot of people take for granted their freedom of religion or lack there of in the US.

      What many don't understand is that in countries like the former CCCP/USSR (and to a certain extent in China) you are forced by government legislature to align with atheism. The opposite goes in countries like Kenya, Uganda, and other mission-established nations where the church forms your religious allegiances.

      Be thankful to whatever deity or scientific discovery you believe in that we are allowed to pursue the philosophies we identify with
      ----–
      I agree we should be free to believe as we wish. Mankind is not ready to move beyond beliefs in the magical wizard in the sky. Therefore, we must wait and not resist. If the magical wizard presents himself well that changes everything. Until then just go with the flow with the masses who put their faith in man's stories.

      July 14, 2011 at 1:43 pm |
    • JDT

      @Artist-While I respect your opinion, here is some food for thought, "If the magical wizard presents himself well that changes everything. Until then just go with the flow with the masses who put their faith in man's stories."

      -By then, it might be too late for you to change anything. And, if God does exist (Which I think he/she/it does), God might take offense to being called a "magical wizard." But, I digress...

      July 14, 2011 at 2:45 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.