My Take: Why evangelicals should stop evangelizing
Carl Medearis with Sheikh Nabil Qawouk Hezbollah’s number two leader.
July 24th, 2011
01:00 AM ET

My Take: Why evangelicals should stop evangelizing

Editor's Note: Carl Medearis is an international expert in Arab-American and Muslim-Christian relations and is author of the book Speaking of Jesus: The Art of Not-Evangelism.

By Carl Medearis, Special to CNN

Let’s do an exercise. I want you to fill in the blank on what you think you know about me based on what I’m about to tell you.

Here goes: Twenty years ago, I became a missionary. My wife and I left our home in Colorado Springs, Colorado to move to Beirut, Lebanon. Our job description was to plant churches and evangelize to Muslims.

Based on what I just said, Carl Medearis is a ______________ .

Depending on your background, the blank may look something like this:

Carl Medearis is a... hero of the Christian faith, a saintly super-man willing to sacrifice the comforts of home in order to share the love of Jesus Christ with those who have never heard the gospel.

Or this:

Carl Medearis is a... right-wing extremist who destroys cultures, tears apart families and paves the way for neo-colonialist crusaders to invade, occupy and plunder the resources of local populations.

Quite a range, isn’t it?

For one group of people, the words “evangelist” and “missionary” bring to mind pious heroes performing good deeds that are unattainable for the average Christian. For another group, those same words represent just about everything that’s wrong with the world.

I understand the confusion.

Based on my experiences of living and traveling around the world, I know that religion is often an identity marker that determines people’s access to jobs, resources, civil liberties and political power.

When I lived in Lebanon I saw firsthand how destructive an obsession with religious identity could be. Because of the sectarian nature of Lebanese politics, modern Lebanese history is rife with coups, invasions, civil wars and government shutdowns.

When I tell my Christian friends in America that some of the fiercest militias were (and are) Christian, most are shocked. It doesn’t fit the us-versus-them mentality that evangelism fosters, in which we are always the innocent victims and they are always the aggressors.

This us-versus-them thinking is odd, given that Jesus was constantly breaking down walls between Jews and Gentiles, rich and poor, men and women, sinners and saints. That’s why we have the parable of the Good Samaritan.

Jews in Jesus’ day thought of the Samaritans as the violent heretics, much the same way that Christians think of Muslims today. The idea that a Samaritan could be good was scandalous to first century Jews.

Jesus was the master of challenging religious prejudice and breaking down sectarian walls. Why do so many Christians want to rebuild those walls?

Even the Apostle Paul insisted that it’s faith in Jesus that matters, not converting to a new religion or a new socio-religious identity.

What if evangelicals today, instead of focusing on “evangelizing” and “converting” people, were to begin to think of Jesus not as starting a new religion, but as the central figure of a movement that transcends religious distinctions and identities?

Jesus the uniter of humanity, not Jesus the divider. How might that change the way we look at others?

This is more than just a semantic difference.

When I used to think of myself as a missionary, I was obsessed with converting Muslims (or anybody for that matter) to what I thought of as “Christianity.” I had a set of doctrinal litmus tests that the potential convert had to pass before I would consider them “in” or one of “us.”

Funny thing is, Jesus never said, “Go into the world and convert people to Christianity.” What he said was, “Go and make disciples of all nations.”

Encouraging anyone and everyone to become an apprentice of Jesus, without manipulation, is a more open, dynamic and relational way of helping people who want to become more like Jesus — regardless of their religious identity.

Just because I believe that evangelicals should stop evangelizing doesn’t mean that they should to stop speaking of Jesus.

I speak of Jesus everywhere I go and with everyone I meet.

As founder and president of a company called International Initiatives, my work is aimed at building relationships among Christian leaders in the West and among Muslim leaders in the Middle East.

It may come as a surprise to many Christians that Muslims are generally open to studying the life of Jesus as a model for leadership because they revere him as a prophet.

But now that I’m no longer obsessed with converting people to Christianity, I’ve found that talking about Jesus is much easier and far more compelling.

I believe that doctrine is important, but it’s not more important than following Jesus.

Jesus met people where they were. Instead of trying to figure out who’s “in” and who’s “out,” why don’t we simply invite people to follow Jesus — and let Jesus run his kingdom?

Inviting people to love, trust, and follow Jesus is something the world can live with. And since evangelicals like to say that it’s not about religion, but rather a personal relationship with Jesus, perhaps we should practice what we preach.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Carl Medearis.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Interfaith issues • Opinion

soundoff (3,792 Responses)
  1. tutu

    Can someone give me an evidence or quote from the Bible that Jesus called himself the son of God. But which version of the Bible will you quote ??

    July 24, 2011 at 9:53 am |
  2. Maddy

    Nice thought, very practical, and I think it just might work. Getting back to the basics would be a grand plan. That being said, it won't ever happen.
    These people appear to need a mission, a way to feel superior, although they would never admit it. IMHO they drive people away not toward Jesus and his teachings.
    I am finished with organized religions. I just don't see Christ in the Christian!

    July 24, 2011 at 9:53 am |
  3. Good choices

    What I find sad is that a reasonable christian such as Carl (who has proven beyond a doubt that he is dedicated to his faith) will be vilified by the right wing of his own religion. Some of the posts here confirm this. I am not christian, but I wish more Christians were more like Carl. Compassionate, thoughtful and not driven by ideologically and with a political agenda. But it seems to me that Jesus has become more like a product to sell, rather than a prophet or son of god with a way to find peace. I love Jesus but many of his followers insure that I will never be a christian.

    July 24, 2011 at 9:53 am |
  4. afkbrad

    Martin, most democrats are not Christians as you assert. Less than 30% of ALL Democrats identify themselves as Christian. That does not make a majority by any means.

    July 24, 2011 at 9:53 am |
  5. Hank M

    Hank M

    This guy is factually wrong – he apparently is talking about the Bible without having read it.

    I completely agree that their are bad guys in the world operating under Christs banner – but the Bible is extremely clear in that people are told to to go out and spread Gods word.

    If he wants to disagree with the Bibles he should just do so – its his right. But if he wants to rewrite the Bible he should just shut up.

    July 24, 2011 at 9:51 am |
    • Conan the Librarian

      I agree with you. A question – how many times is Jesus mentioned in the Koran? how many times is Big Mo mentioned in the New Testament or any other Christian/western religious texts?
      The Muslims I know here in MN fall into two separate and distinct categories; those that want to become part of America and integrate their faith into their communities – and the other group that wants to totally insulate themselves from America and want to change what is in place (our culture) to accommodate their "religious" needs as dictated in the Koran.
      Guess which one is the minority?
      Islam has no central dogma – it is every sect for themselves.

      July 24, 2011 at 10:03 am |
    • John Richardson

      @Conan The Christian texts were written several centuries before Muhammad lived. How many times was Jesus mentioned in the Avesta or the Bhagavad Ghita?

      July 24, 2011 at 10:56 am |
  6. One last look

    I like this article. I'm not joining the rants or raves on who Christians are or are not. I consider myself a Christian and try to treat others fairly. The field in which I work requires open minds and un-biased views. It stings a little when a muslim or aetheist slams your beliefs but you cannot put all people in one mold.

    July 24, 2011 at 9:51 am |
  7. Michael

    Once again CNN post an article by someone who has been led astray from an understanding of what the "gospel" actually is. The perfect example is what he says of how we should think of Jesus –
    "Jesus the uniter of humanity, not Jesus the divider. How might that change the way we look at others?"

    Now compare that too scripture in Matthew 10-
    "Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. 36 And a person's enemies will be those of his own household"

    God DOES care about uniting humanity...uniting people from every tongue, tribe, and nation....but not at the expense of allowing sin to remain. I'm astonished by Mr. Medearis that he speaks positively about how Muslims see Jesus. He promotes the false view that Jesus was simply a "good teacher" who's only message was teaching how to treat others. How does this idea flow with John 3:18-
    "Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God."

    True Christians of course should not have a evil intent of destroying cultures...but they should have the intent of "honestly" representing the Gospel of of our Lord; thus saving souls.

    July 24, 2011 at 9:49 am |
  8. David

    How about we just mind our own freaking business. I don't want to hear about religion from anyone. It's my personal choice, and I don't push it on others. There would have been a lot less violence in the world if we just kept our religious views what they should be, private and personal. If I'm interested in learning about a different religion, I'll seek it out and learn about it myself.

    How dare anyone suggest that my religious views are somehow inferior to their's.

    Again, just mind your own freaking business and we'll all get along a whole lot better.

    I don't see much difference between evangelizing and proselytizing... Just another word for sticking your nose into my business...

    July 24, 2011 at 9:49 am |
    • Airman

      David...for a guy who wants to be left alone and not bothered by "religion"...what are you doing here!!?? This is an article for those who do treasure the gospel message that Jesus Christ lived and died for sinners like you and me. Jesus is the way the truth and the life. There is no other way to a right relationship with God and eternal life than through Jesus. That is for all people, even you.

      July 24, 2011 at 9:59 am |
    • joe poca

      truth out

      July 24, 2011 at 10:07 am |
    • David

      So, my Jewish ancestors are all rotting in hell because they didn't believe in JC? That's a pretty ignorant view of religion. It's why you Bible thumpers turn so many people off.

      In your view point Christianity is the one true religions. Funny thing is, all religions think the same thing. Can't all be right. I think they are all wrong. There is no Gxd. Religion is a drug for the weak who can't understand the universe without some supreme being in charge and directing it all. The universe makes perfect sense to me without a diety. It's human feelings of superiority, based on what they believe, that make no sense to me

      Good grief. No wonder so many people have Evangelicals. Again mind your own freaking business

      July 24, 2011 at 10:07 am |
    • 4mercy

      David, Well, what if they are? You don't really know where the souls of your ancestors ended up. It sounds like you're not even open to the possibility that Jesus is Lord, the Son of God, and that maybe those who choose not to follow him may indeed suffer for the rest of eternity. It is at least something to consider, isn't it? I'm not saying there aren't good people out there who are non-Christian. And I believe one truly has to have received the full explanation of Jesus' purpose on earth in order to be able to discern whether they should follow the instructions of Jesus or the instructions of their own religions. Even Pope John Paul II suggested that those raised outside of Christianity should do their best to follow their own religions...but to do it in the best way possible...not half-heartedly. So, I guess that means that Jewish people should all be Orthodox – not any of this "modern" or "reformed" business.

      July 24, 2011 at 10:23 am |
    • David

      Christian Evangelicals = American Taliban. My way of the highway... right?

      All religious zealots are the same, no matter the religion. Willing to die and kill just to prove their religion is the one truth religion.

      The world would be a peacefull one if they hadn't invented religion. Do you people really think that the holy books of the world were anything but the work of what man wishes for...?

      Again, religion is mad made and written. This is the reason why I slam on the door on 7thday Adventists. There's is the only true religion too.

      I neither believe in heavan or hell, and I don't need the promise or threat of either to provide me with a concience.

      July 24, 2011 at 10:28 am |
    • 4mercy

      If you think that the world would be a "peaceful" place if no religion existed, I have to strongly disagree. People are still people...there are greedy people and controlling people. I imagine they would exist regardless of the social or spiritual environment. There are people who would still want to control and take from others. I hardly think the world would be any more peaceful without religions. There would just be other differences to set one person against another, unfortunately.

      July 24, 2011 at 10:37 am |
    • 4mercy

      I guess that's partly why I believe in God. I need to know that there is a reason that people suffer at the hands of others here. I need to know in my heart that their suffering is worth more than just pain and anguish. I believe that people suffer as a result of nature and the natural processes which have led man to fight man. But I believe that suffering counts for so much more in God's realm – a reparation for the wrongs we have all committed during our lives – those who act badly knowingly and those who do it blindly. I take comfort in knowing God.

      July 24, 2011 at 10:41 am |
  9. mt

    your religious beliefs are a personal private matter – it reeks of egotism when you start spouting off bible verses and trying to save people because you've been supposedly "saved"

    keep your stupid religious beliefs to yourself

    July 24, 2011 at 9:49 am |
  10. RON

    Mathew 10:34 "Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth ; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword."

    Mark 2:17 "Jesus said to them, "It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick ; I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners."

    July 24, 2011 at 9:46 am |
    • Jack Elliott

      I don't remember jesus ever actually Using a sword in the Bible...
      Not even once.

      July 24, 2011 at 10:17 am |
  11. Richard S Kaiser

    Wirius Wrote; “When Jesus came, he saved all people by forgiving all sin. It doesn't matter what religion you are, everyone is already saved. The joy of being a Christian is knowing this, and spreading this news to other people. There was nothing expected back by God, it is just that the knowledge of this incredible gift allows us to avoid dispair and know there is a loving God watching us.” On July 24, 2011 at 9:14 am |

    To "weary-us" Rebutted writing;” You preterists love your free ticket into heaven, don't you? Jesus saved everybody whether they wanted it or not, whether they repented or not, whether they believed or not. So now, everyone can run around and do whatever they want because it doesn't matter... we're ALL saved! Talk about twisting scripture and being lazier than lazy.” On July 24, 2011 at 9:25 am

    Hello Wirius and To”weary-us”,

    It is a Truth that ALL will have an abundance of Life, for it is written; “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have [it] more abundantly.” But Here lays a quandary,,,

    Do We have our Life hereupon Earth as being Abundant OR Shall We Have an Abundance of Life Meaning; We Live out This Life and Die and Live out another Life Within the Confines of the heavens of Heaven of HEAVEN? Is NOT an “Abundance” a Word meaning “More Than ONE” such as an abundance of grain or an abundance of flowers or even an abundance of Dogs and even cats?

    July 24, 2011 at 9:45 am |
    • nicole R

      No, not true, when Jesus died on the cross you werent automatically forgiven no matter what religion. You must be baptized in the the name of the Father, and accept his Son into your heart as the way the truth and the light. If you don't believe Jesus died for your sins as the Son of God, you are not forgiven of anything. Muslims DO NOT believe this.

      July 24, 2011 at 10:01 am |
    • David

      Nicole, that's only what Baptists believe... I know, I know. The Baptists are the only true Christians, right?

      And on and on it goes.

      Want to hear my definition of a "Holy War"? A fight over who has the best imaginary friend.

      July 24, 2011 at 10:35 am |
  12. Jason

    Awesome!!! A very accurate account of who Jesus was and what He was about (and what we who try to follow Him should be about). I highly recommend Medearis' books: "Speaking of Jesus: the art of not-evangelism" and "Muslims, Christians, and Jesus." Both of them changed how I thought about Jesus and how He interacts with the world.

    July 24, 2011 at 9:44 am |
  13. johnnyb52

    These posts are about what people see. What God see's if totally different. Lost, dead and dying world. Jesus The truth, The Way and The Life. The Truth, because everything else to some extent is a lie. The Way, there is no other way to the Father except through Him. The Life, Nothing was created that wasn't created through Him. Jesus is God incarnate, difficult to conceive, whats more difficult is it's God come down to be the perfect blood sacrifice for all sin for those who believe ( because the first 2 did not)

    July 24, 2011 at 9:43 am |
  14. afkbrad

    My view is if someone is hostile towards the Christian community they should be left alone forever. If they are offended by Christian beliefs then wish them a nice day and walk away. The Bible says you can't help everybody. Plus, most democrats think Christians are knuckle dragging backwards unintellectual neanderthals. No use in trying to convert them.

    July 24, 2011 at 9:39 am |
    • guitarharry

      Not ALL Christians are knuckle-draggers, but most are. I am neither Democrat nor Republican, but I do believe Thomas Jefferson was right when he stated that we should separate church and state. Most Christians are "unAmerican" in the sense that they disagree with this primary tenet.

      July 24, 2011 at 9:44 am |
    • Joeymom

      I beg your pardon, I am a democrat and devout Christian. Watch your generalizations, they reveal deep ignorance.

      July 24, 2011 at 9:46 am |
    • Martin

      Most Democrats ARE Christians. They just don't have their heads shoved up their anatomy about it.

      July 24, 2011 at 9:46 am |
    • Hank M

      This guy is factually wrong – he appearently is talking about the Bible without havinbg read it.

      I completely agree that their are bad guys in the world opperation under Christs banner – but the Bible is extremely clear in that people are told to to go out and spread Gods word.

      July 24, 2011 at 9:49 am |
    • RJ Sprafka

      The 12 traditions of 12-step programs suggest "attraction and not promotion" as a way of spreading the word.
      I believe that folks that have to keep repeating the same message over and over are trying to convince themselves.
      Say it once and then let others watch what you DO.

      July 24, 2011 at 9:49 am |
    • David

      Pretty much, yeah...

      July 24, 2011 at 9:59 am |
    • reACTIONary

      Our country is 80 to 90% Christian and our population votes around 50-50 Democrat / Republican and you claim Democrats are not Christian? Apparently, even simple math is beyond your understanding.

      July 24, 2011 at 10:27 am |
  15. Jesus4thenations

    Worst article and point of view ever written for a person that calls himself christian. This article only shows me that he doesn't know at all the scriptures. Jesus said GO AND PREACH THE GOSPEL, and when it says "GO" it is not giving us and option like; If you want go preaching, if you are in the mood go, or when you feel like preaching go. NO, Jesus gave an order, and he said GO. When we preach the Gospel of Jesus-Christ, we need to show people a couple of things:
    1. That He died for our SINS, because everybody fell short of the glory of God.
    2. That everybody is a SINNER, therefore it is our obligation to call that people to repentance.
    3. That whoever believes in Him, and is Baptized in Jesus name will be saved, otherwise eternal condemnation awaits.
    4. That Jesus-Christ is God.

    The Gospel of Jesus-Christ should be preached in all the nations, that means, every tongue, color, and race.

    July 24, 2011 at 9:38 am |
    • johnnyb52

      Your not far from the Kingdom of Heaven Jesus4allnations.

      July 24, 2011 at 9:45 am |
    • Joeymom

      What Jesus said actually depends on your translation of the Bible. According to the Oxford translation- used by many scholars who cannot read the original- Mr. Meanderis' translation is proper and correct.

      July 24, 2011 at 9:47 am |
    • gravityspin

      stay out of my country you delusional self-rightious intolerant lemming! You may believe whatever you wish so long as it doesn't infringe on the rights and beliefs of others- claiming that I'll suffer eternal damnation because I don't believe in your "ways" is the most ignorantly insulting concept there is! Would Jesus deny you eternal bliss because you kept your religious ways to yourself? ...The only thing any of us needs saving from is the concept of evangelism.

      July 24, 2011 at 10:06 am |
    • maniacmudd

      come knocking on my door, you'll regret it, godboy.

      July 24, 2011 at 12:47 pm |
    • Bryan

      Right on brother!

      July 24, 2011 at 1:05 pm |
  16. Citizen

    What a bunck of gobbledy goop. What in the world is this man saying?
    To become a discile of Jesus once will then be identified with Jesus. Christianity contains a key word which is Christ.
    The author seemed to over look the words of Jesus when Jeus said "19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
    20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
    People are called Christians because they are followers of Christ. That is not a denomination or a religion, but a relationship. I am sssuming the author is an adherant of a denomination or religion. But I also see he is a business man that has something to sell and CNN is helping him out.

    July 24, 2011 at 9:38 am |
    • johnnyb52

      All to true.

      July 24, 2011 at 9:45 am |
  17. johnnyb52

    This man has not read his bible.

    July 24, 2011 at 9:36 am |
    • Joeymom

      Which Bible are you reading? There are over 100 translations in English alone, and they are all significantly different.

      July 24, 2011 at 9:50 am |
    • johnnyb52

      The word of God. Only man has changed what inspired men wrote then, and yours?

      July 24, 2011 at 10:00 am |
    • reACTIONary

      He obviously has read his bible, and knows it quite well. What you mean is "this man does not agree with me." Well, so what?

      July 24, 2011 at 10:31 am |
    • Bryan

      Joeymom, he is probably reading one of the translations that was taken from the ancient texts, not one that has been watered down to make people feel better and less offended by the truth.

      July 24, 2011 at 1:07 pm |
  18. David

    So, Which Jesus? The historic rebellious young Rabbi, brought up from humble beginnings who did want to be worshipped, or the mortal that was deified 325 years after his natural death, by a vote taken by Emperor Constantine among the Bishops and other Biblical scholars at the Nicene Council? Anathesius won his argument and Arias lost his; so history was written.

    July 24, 2011 at 9:36 am |
    • Citizen

      Never heard of either version you are speaking of

      July 24, 2011 at 9:39 am |
    • AGuest9

      Ironic, and now this great edifice stands because of it. Just because people wanted to consolidate their power base. Well, I guess it's not so ironic – just go now and listen to any preacher. They are so full of themselves.

      July 24, 2011 at 9:46 am |
    • Joeymom

      Arias defied the risen Christ as well. Did you mean Nestorius?

      July 24, 2011 at 9:51 am |
    • Matt Slick

      Jesus was not deified in 325. To say so, is just plain ignorance of what the Bible teaches which says in John 1:1, 14 that Jesus is the word was God that became flesh. Col. 2:9 says that in Jesus dwells all the fullness of the Godhead in bodily form. Jesus is called God by Thomas in John 20:28. God (the Father) calls Jesus God in Heb. 1:8. See http://carm.org/bible-verses-show-jesus-divine and http://carm.org/jesus-god.

      July 24, 2011 at 9:53 am |
  19. maniacmudd

    anyone who "quotes" Jesus is an fool and a liar and only does so, so they may attract more moths to the flame of servitude. Christianity as all other religions are a bane on humankind. If you have to have a belief, believe in your fellow man, you will not be as dissapointed when your prayers are not answered.

    July 24, 2011 at 9:34 am |
    • Citizen

      1Co 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

      July 24, 2011 at 9:40 am |
    • HieTide

      So religion is faulty, evil, and all that is wrong with the world, yet we're supposed to believe in our fellow man, the same people who created said religions?

      July 24, 2011 at 9:49 am |
    • Joeymom

      Humanism is well and good in its place, until you realize the cosmos is beyond human logic and experience. Then what? Hence, myth always speaks on slant to that greater-than-human cosmos, trying to point us to understanding- or at least glimpsing- what it is like to be more.

      July 24, 2011 at 9:53 am |
    • aghast

      I am sorry for your sad existence and your prayers that were not answered. Contrary to your understanding Christianty seeks to relieve you from the bondage of the sin that creates 'indentured' servitude. While I am not sure you are open you should really 'seek' understanding before you give up on prayer. You may find a new 'Truth' that relieves you of the burden of a 'maniacmudd' life.

      July 24, 2011 at 9:56 am |
    • maniacmudd

      JEEZE...wotta buncha puppet godbots.... you are going to be dissapointed when your only hell was here on earth.

      July 24, 2011 at 12:49 pm |
  20. G Adesina

    In Matt 28:18-20 Jesus sent His disciples to go and teach all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father, and Son and Holy Ghost. This is the great commission. Merely inviting someone to follow Jesus without letting him/her know what it entails simply amounts to watering down the message. If you encourage your listeners to follow Jesus but at the same time hold on to whatever their old beliefs were, that cannot be authentic christianity. No man can serve two masters, it is either you are a christian or you are not. We shouldnt try to dilute the message in order to be accepted by people of the world. When we preach and teach the gospel the way we were commanded by the Lord, those who will believe will still believe, and those who will not will still not believe.

    July 24, 2011 at 9:34 am |
    • AGuest9

      Or, you just don't believe any of this foolishness. How many people have been killed in [insert your favorite name of the scary shadow-man in the sky]'s name.

      July 24, 2011 at 9:47 am |
    • Joeymom

      AGuest9, you do realize that for many religions, the Divine is not sky-based, right? Sky-based deity systems are mostly Indo-Aryan, but not all the world is.

      July 24, 2011 at 9:55 am |
    • Jack Elliott

      G Adesina: I'll agree Jesus may have said "go and teach all nations..." But where in that is there any recommendation for the use of force or coercion? I've never found it. Even the "enemies in their own house" verse cited further up doesn't advocate violence toward those enemies. But rather seems to illustrate that if you follow his teachings other will not understand.
      Joeymom: Why do we look to the heavens? Why do we call it "heaven above"? Why were those ghost riders in the sky?

      July 24, 2011 at 10:32 am |
    • AGuest9

      Joeymom, are you familiar with the "Pearl Gates" that hang in the clouds? I'm not sure which Indo-Aryan systems you refer to specifically, but I doubt that any of them include Peter as the gatekeeper.

      July 25, 2011 at 9:11 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.