July 31st, 2011
01:00 AM ET

Do you speak Christian?

Editor's note: Kirby Ferguson is a New York-based writer, filmmaker and speaker who created the web video series Everything is a Remix. His videos, like the one above, can be found on Vimeo, an online community where artists share their films.

By John Blake, CNN

(CNN) - Can you speak Christian?

Have you told anyone “I’m born again?” Have you “walked the aisle” to “pray the prayer?”

Did you ever “name and claim” something and, after getting it, announce, “I’m highly blessed and favored?”

Many Americans are bilingual. They speak a secular language of sports talk, celebrity gossip and current events. But mention religion and some become armchair preachers who pepper their conversations with popular Christian words and trendy theological phrases.

If this is you, some Christian pastors and scholars have some bad news: You may not know what you’re talking about. They say that many contemporary Christians have become pious parrots. They constantly repeat Christian phrases that they don’t understand or distort.

Marcus Borg, an Episcopal theologian, calls this practice “speaking Christian.” He says he heard so many people misusing terms such as “born again” and “salvation” that he wrote a book about the practice.

People who speak Christian aren’t just mangling religious terminology, he says. They’re also inventing counterfeit Christian terms such as “the rapture” as if they were a part of essential church teaching.

The rapture, a phrase used to describe the sudden transport of true Christians to heaven while the rest of humanity is left behind to suffer, actually contradicts historic Christian teaching, Borg says.

“The rapture is a recent invention. Nobody had thought of what is now known as the rapture until about 1850,” says Borg, canon theologian at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Portland, Oregon.

How politicians speak Christian

Speaking Christian isn’t confined to religion. It’s infiltrated politics.

Political candidates have to learn how to speak Christian to win elections, says Bill Leonard, a professor of church history at Wake Forest University’s School of Divinity in North Carolina.

One of our greatest presidents learned this early in his career. Abraham Lincoln was running for Congress when his opponent accused him of not being a Christian. Lincoln often referred to the Bible in his speeches, but he never joined a church or said he was born again like his congressional opponent, Leonard says.

"Lincoln was less specific about his own experience and, while he used biblical language, it was less distinctively Christian or conversionistic than many of the evangelical preachers thought it should be,” Leonard says.

Lincoln won that congressional election, but the accusation stuck with him until his death, Leonard says.

One recent president, though, knew how to speak Christian fluently.

During his 2003 State of the Union address, George W. Bush baffled some listeners when he declared that there was “wonder-working power” in the goodness of American people.

Evangelical ears, though, perked up at that phrase. It was an evangelical favorite, drawn from a popular 19th century revival hymn about the wonder-working power of Christ called “In the Precious Blood of the Lamb.”

Leonard says Bush was sending a coded message to evangelical voters: I’m one of you.

“The code says that one: I’m inside the community. And two: These are the linguistic ways that I show I believe what is required of me,” Leonard says.

Have you ‘named it and claimed it'?

Ordinary Christians do what Bush did all the time, Leonard says. They use coded Christian terms like verbal passports - flashing them gains you admittance to certain Christian communities.

Say you’ve met someone who is Pentecostal or charismatic, a group whose members believe in the gifts of the Holy Spirit, such as healing and speaking in tongues. If you want to signal to that person that you share their belief, you start talking about “receiving the baptism of the Holy Ghost” or getting the “second blessings,” Leonard says.

Translation: Getting a baptism by water or sprinkling isn’t enough for some Pentecostals and charismatics. A person needs a baptism “in the spirit” to validate their Christian credentials.

Or say you’ve been invited to a megachurch that proclaims the prosperity theology (God will bless the faithful with wealth and health). You may hear what sounds like a new language.

Prosperity Christians don’t say “I want that new Mercedes.” They say they are going to “believe for a new Mercedes.” They don’t say “I want a promotion.” They say I “name and claim” a promotion.

The rationale behind both phrases is that what one speaks aloud in faith will come to pass. The prosperity dialect has become so popular that Leonard has added his own wrinkle.

“I call it ‘name it, claim it, grab it and have it,’ ’’ he says with a chuckle.

Some forms of speaking Christian, though, can become obsolete through lack of use.

Few contemporary pastors use the language of damnation - “turn or burn,” converting “the pagans” or warning people they’re going to hit “hell wide open” - because it’s considered too polarizing, Leonard says. The language of “walking the aisle” is also fading, Leonard says.

Appalachian and Southern Christians often told stories about staggering into church and walking forward during the altar call to say the “sinner’s prayer” during revival services that would often last for several weeks.

“People ‘testified’ to holding on to the pew until their knuckles turned white, fighting salvation all the way,” Leonard says. “You were in the back of the church, and you fought being saved.”

Contemporary churchgoers, though, no longer have time to take that walk, Leonard says. They consider their lives too busy for long revival services and extended altar calls. Many churches are either jettisoning or streamlining the altar call, Leonard says.

“You got soccer, you got PTA, you got family responsibilities - the culture just won’t sustain it as it once did,” Leonard says.

Even some of the most basic religious words are in jeopardy because of overuse.

Calling yourself a Christian, for example, is no longer cool among evangelicals on college campuses, says Robert Crosby, a theology professor at Southeastern University in Florida.

“Fewer believers are referring to themselves these days as ‘Christian,’ ” Crosby says. “More are using terms such as ‘Christ follower.’ This is due to the fact that the more generic term, Christian, has come to be used within religious and even political ways to refer to a voting bloc.”

What’s at stake

Speaking Christian correctly may seem like it’s just a fuss over semantics, but it’s ultimately about something bigger: defining Christianity, says Borg, author of “Speaking Christian.”

Christians use common words and phrases in hymns, prayers and sermons “to connect their religion to their life in the world,” Borg says.

“Speaking Christian is an umbrella term for not only knowing the words, but understanding them,” Borg says. “It’s knowing the basic vocabulary, knowing the basic stories.”

When Christians forget what their words mean, they forget what their faith means, Borg says.

Consider the word “salvation.” Most Christians use the words "salvation" or "saved" to talk about being rescued from sin or going to heaven, Borg says.

Yet salvation in the Bible is seldom confined to an afterlife. Those characters in the Bible who invoked the word salvation used it to describe the passage from injustice to justice, like the Israelites’ liberation from Egyptian bondage, Borg says.

“The Bible knows that powerful and wealthy elites commonly structure the world in their own self-interest. Pharaoh and Herod and Caesar are still with us. From them we need to be saved,” Borg writes.

And when Christians forget what their faith means, they get duped by trendy terms such as the rapture that have little to do with historical Christianity, he says.

The rapture has become an accepted part of the Christian vocabulary with the publication of the megaselling “Left Behind” novels and a heavily publicized prediction earlier this year by a Christian radio broadcaster that the rapture would occur in May.

But the notion that Christians will abandon the Earth to meet Jesus in the clouds while others are left behind to suffer is not traditional Christian teaching, Borg says.

He says it was first proclaimed by John Nelson Darby, a 19th century British evangelist, who thought of it after reading a New Testament passage in the first book of Thessalonians that described true believers being “caught up in the clouds together” with Jesus.

Christianity’s focus has long been about ushering in God’s kingdom “on Earth, not just in heaven,” Borg says.

“Christianity’s goal is not to escape from this world. It loves this world and seeks to change it for the better,” he writes.

For now, though, Borg and others are also focusing on changing how Christians talk about their faith.

If you don’t want to speak Christian, they say, pay attention to how Christianity’s founder spoke. Jesus spoke in a way that drew people in, says Leonard, the Wake Forest professor.

“He used stories, parables and metaphors,” Leonard says. “He communicated in images that both the religious folks and nonreligious folks of his day understand.”

When Christians develop their own private language for one another, they forget how Jesus made faith accessible to ordinary people, he says.

“Speaking Christian can become a way of suggesting a kind of spiritual status that others don’t have,” he says. “It communicates a kind of spiritual elitism that holds the spiritually ‘unwashed’ at arm’s length."

By that time, they’ve reached the final stage of speaking Christian - they've become spiritual snobs.

- CNN Writer

Filed under: Baptist • Belief • Bible • Christianity • Church • Culture wars • Episcopal • Faith • Fundamentalism • Politics • Uncategorized

soundoff (3,878 Responses)
  1. BENJI

    The Lord will come back one day and every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord!

    July 31, 2011 at 12:39 pm |
    • jesu

      god is within you. where would he come from? he's everywhere. He is you. he is me.

      July 31, 2011 at 12:44 pm |
    • Josh

      Or not. Pass the bowl please.

      July 31, 2011 at 12:49 pm |
    • dah

      Heh....I doubt it

      July 31, 2011 at 12:53 pm |
    • I_get_it

      Benji: "...every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord!"

      This sounds more like something that your egomaniacal "Satan" character would say!

      July 31, 2011 at 1:27 pm |
  2. Jay

    Kirby screwed up mentioning Jehovah's Witnesses in the beginning. JW's do not equate themselves with nominal christianity.

    They dont believe in the rapture, hellfire, that all good people go to heaven and most of the other tenants of what other christians believe. Their faith is based solely on the bible and they use the bible itself to basically, let scripture interpret scripture.

    July 31, 2011 at 12:38 pm |
  3. Jefflawyer

    Maybe it's just me, but I find it odd that people blindly believe all of the stories in the bible, considering they were written/created by people who thought the world was flat and sea monsters swallowed ships in the ocean. I have found that many (not all) ultra religious people are the most underhanded. Since they believe in Jesus, they feel they will be forgiven for anything they do. How many "holy men" have molested children, cheated on their spouse or stole money from their church. If anyone today made the same claims that Jesus supposedly made, they would be put in a mental hospital. By the way, any decent magician can turn water into wine.

    July 31, 2011 at 12:36 pm |
    • TK

      The best is the idea that modern Christians have been "duped" by new ideas. Perhaps if Christianity weren't composed entirely of people who are easily duped, most of them wouldn't be duped a second time. Then again, made in God's image, so he must be easily duped too!

      July 31, 2011 at 12:58 pm |
  4. Easyrider

    Borg says the notion that Christians will abandon the Earth to meet Jesus in the clouds while others are left behind to suffer is not traditional Christian teaching. Hogwash. Where do they find these spiritually challenged losers?

    "For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and thus we shall always be with the Lord." I Thessalonians 4:15-17

    Borg is busted, and so is CNN for entertaining these charlatans in their rag.

    July 31, 2011 at 12:32 pm |
    • I_get_it

      Ah, that zany zealot, Paul of Tarsus again!

      July 31, 2011 at 1:29 pm |
    • Da King

      Oh Mr. Easyrider, this opinion blog is for all to write in. And If you knew more scripture, you would not call them losers.
      You know, Love your neighbor and let them see Jesus in you, if He is in there.

      July 31, 2011 at 1:36 pm |
  5. Ken Baldwin

    The parables from the Christ Jesus often point out the separtion of wheat and weeds, sheep and goats, the lost and found. Jesus is God's gift of sacrifice for each person on this earth to accept or reject. Jesus speaks often of the existance of a hell. He knows what's in the hearts of the faithful. I believe there will be accountability and judgement on those who have chosen to walk away from God. Just because one doesn't believe in God and the word of God does not mean they will not be held accountable. He will sort it out.

    July 31, 2011 at 12:31 pm |
    • hi

      No he does not speak of hell. Hell didnt appear in the bible until words like 'underworld' and 'hades' were changed to it. Some actual historical places were translated into 'hell'. This did not happen until many centuries after Jesus' death, within the last 300 years. You pull that Jesus 'hell' passage out of the bible and post it here please.

      July 31, 2011 at 12:52 pm |
  6. Christian Meonada

    Mr John Blake, thank you for a very informative article and its very interesting. But I think its only for that, information. Have we really talked to Jesus and asked what does he mean by that? Or did the inspired writers of the Bible explained the phrases and words they wrote. I am not saying disappointment on your article, my only point is that its faith, and only God can judge the correctness... The word of God cultivates the mind, and the seed of faith should bloom in its natural way, urging anything to study by words and its meaning is in-vain because the use of that will not gain you anything from God, but yes maybe in politics and people like you.

    July 31, 2011 at 12:29 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      I would very much like to carry on quite an extensive dialog with Jesus, because I think he's got a lot to answer for, and I have many bones to pick with him. Would you please be so kind as to post his e-mail address or phone number so I can deal with him directly instead of having to put up with all his self-appointed intermediaries? (You may have noticed that most of them are arrogant, self-important fools.)

      July 31, 2011 at 12:38 pm |
    • Rich

      Thessalonians teaches of the taking up of those in Christ. This is what we have called the rapture, becasue in the original writings in Greek were "caught up", which in latin is translated as "rapturo" and english "rapture". This is called traslating. The word bible in the original Hebrew writings does not exist, it's called the word of God, which we call the bible. That is how we translated, name things etc.

      July 31, 2011 at 12:54 pm |
  7. Easyrider

    Marcus Borg is a liberal theologian and often distorts scripture. That's why CNN and the liberals love him, and his cohort, the discredited Bishop Spong. These left wing cretins are perfect to quote in liberals rags like CNN. The fact is that there is a rapture alluded to in scripture, salvation is a born-again experience, and unless you repent and believe Jesus Christ is the one he claims to be (Lord God, Messiah and Savior), you will indeed die in your sins (John 8:24). Also note John 14:6.

    July 31, 2011 at 12:24 pm |
    • SCAtheist

      And you heard this where? Question your beliefs.

      July 31, 2011 at 12:28 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      But why would you ever believe a single thing solely because it's written in your Big Book of Horrors? Somewhere along the line you must have decided that, despite all its obvious flaws and errors, the BIble had more to offer than any of the thousand or so competing value systems. Why? Why THAT one instead of, say, Islam or Buddhism or animism? Have you ever taken the time to do any serious comparison shopping, or did you just grab the 1st big bright red box of laundry detergent you came to?

      July 31, 2011 at 12:31 pm |
    • wake up

      Thank you for your post – so true and very well-said. Almost every article on Sunday's CNN "Belief" section is spiritually ridiculous and does not line up with scripture. Interesting that they chose an Episcopalian priest to speak on salvation in the article. My father spent the first 26 years of his life every Sunday in the Episcopalian church and never heard about salvation. When he finally did hear about it (from someone outside of his church), he went to his priest who told him he was 'fine" and this was not necessary. How scriptural was that?

      July 31, 2011 at 12:32 pm |
    • Wow

      You're really out there! Since you are quoting scripture from a rewritten 2000 year old book developed to control your mind. Like in most religious minds, your actions are generally hypocritical since you say you'll be judged for sins, but looking at the religous right, when are their sins being judged by their followers. This is the perfect reason why churches should be taxed!

      July 31, 2011 at 12:34 pm |
    • RightTurnClyde

      Actually you are distorting scripture too. You are doing what you complain about in Borg. I am sure you are saying what you were taught (and that is the problem). Both you and whomever and whomever taught him are distorting (and probably Borg does it too) .. and Augustine and Anselm and Kierkgaard and so many others. So which one is not? That IS why so many non-believers distrust believers. It is clear that you do not believe what I believe (can we both be Christian .. or just mouthing words?)

      July 31, 2011 at 12:35 pm |
    • RightTurnClyde

      @RichardSRussell there are not 1000 competing value systems. So you see atheists like to act as though they are more correct and that Christians are incorrect. Most countries (not religions) prohibit homicide, theft, fraud, perjury, libel and slander, copyright and patent taking. The values are fairly consistent (right and wrong) and have been for centuries. What to do about values is somewhat consistent (as well): pray, work, thank, respect .. the seven virtues. So the discussion is not about the value but about the language> [it is a somewhat empty article but it has provoked lively responses]

      July 31, 2011 at 12:44 pm |
    • Socrates

      Why the "liberal" label to that theologian? I mean...seriously. Have you studied Attic Greek and Hebrew, know Church history and how various doctrines have formed over the course of time? No, I didn't think so.

      July 31, 2011 at 12:46 pm |
    • FormerChristian

      "you will indeed die in your sins"

      Why would anyone believe in such a brutal supernatural creature?

      For all have committed crimes (John 3:16), and the punishment for all crimes is death (Rom 6:23).

      Yes, I know, the "gift" of living forever (with the brutal supernatural creature) is "free" (as long as you believe in and worship the brutal supernatural creature).

      The code of such a supernatural creature is unfair and immoral, and even if such a creature existed, one should not want to be it's eternal slave.
      And this supernatural creature is fiction.

      -former born again christian

      July 31, 2011 at 12:53 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      Heck, RightTurnClyde, there's about a thousand competing value systems just within Christian Protestantism alone. Every time there was some ridiculous little quibble over theology or doctrine (like how many angels could dance on the head of a pin), there'd be a schism, and 2 different groups would go their separate ways, each one convinced it had a lock on God's absolute truth and that their opponents with heathen heretic apostate sinners doomed (DOOMED, I tell you!) to fry forever in Satan's own kitchen. Google "Emo Phillips bridge joke" for a hilarious take on this.
      The most significant schism was undoubtedly Martin Luther's, but earlier ones had involved the Coptics and Eastern Orthodox; subsequent ones are too numerous to mention, but spectacularly include the Southern versions of the Baptists and Methodists, whose adherents of nearly 2 centuries ago were more persuaded by the Biblical passages endorsing slavery than by the COMPETING Biblical passages commanding love of one's fellow man.
      Neither God nor Jesus has ever shown up to arbitrate these many disputes, and neither of them ever will, which is why evolution of Christian sects will probably continue until the day we finally achieve species maturity and put away the belief systems of our racial childhood.

      July 31, 2011 at 12:55 pm |
  8. txazeagle1

    When a place of business, a politician, an acquaintance or basically anyone that tells be they are a christian, I run for the hills! If you have to tell me you are one, then in my mind you are not. A true christian, in my thoughts anyway, is someone that proves they are a christian by their thoughts, words and deeds they perform on a daily basis to help others and to make this world a better place. I will not vote for a politician that tells me they are a christian, I will not enter a business that advertises they are a christian based place of business, I will silently avoid anyone that tells me they are a christian. Prove it! Don't speak it!

    July 31, 2011 at 12:23 pm |
  9. GuyinVA

    What a surprise. CNN does an article on Christianity, and it's all about how people are doing it wrong. CNN's disrespect for all things Christian is as predictable as their "moderating" so many conservative opinions right out of publication. The editors at CNN would be wise to look at the posts on this blog. Those professing belief are speaking of the love of God and the opportunity for salvation and abundance of life. Non-believers are using terms like "deplorable", "pathetic" "lunatics", and "Bible thumpers". Then, editors, take a look at your disclaimer about how "CNN welcomes lively and courteous discussion..." You'll get precious little courtesy from the majority of people you allow to post here. I wonder how much you get from those who are "moderated" because they try to make a valid point without agreeing with your collective leftist agenda. Ted Turner must be proud.

    July 31, 2011 at 12:22 pm |
    • SCAtheist

      You have persecution issues. You trash everybody else and that's okay. Someone says something you don't agree with and they are persecuing you.

      July 31, 2011 at 12:26 pm |
    • GAW

      Welcome to freedom of speech kiddo. Think of it this way... by reading these posts you can get a feel for how smart and stupid some people are. (Christians and Atheists alike)

      July 31, 2011 at 12:28 pm |
  10. Andrea M

    Wait, so you're supposed to stomach this incredibly tall tale, taking it all on faith. But you need others to prove to you their piousness by speaking a certain language? If you're believing this stuff, you clearly have an abundance of faith, you can't stretch that a millimeter more and accept other people as Christians purely on faith too? Is it any wonder the people who know the most about religion tend to be atheists?!

    July 31, 2011 at 12:21 pm |
    • GuyinVA

      I'll try to help you with that. First, I don't find that atheists tend to know more about religion, be it Christianity or any other. Perhaps you do because of the company you keep. Either way, my guess (an educated one gathered through some experience) is that an atheist will work at learning religious details for the purpose of arguing their opposite. That's just fine. I'm more than happy to share my beliefs with people and am saddened if they disagree. I find atheists tend to get angry when unable to convince me of the error of my ways (strictly my experience). The difference between a conviction and a prejudice is the ability to argue/discuss a conviction without getting angry or resorting to personal attacks.

      July 31, 2011 at 12:32 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      Andrea wasn't just guessing when about "atheists know more about religion" than Christians. Google the phrase and read the research results for yourself. Here's the way Time magazine reported them:
      Also, GuyInVA, the difference between a conviction and a prejudice has nothing whatever to do with the ardor or vehemence used to express either. There's some overlap between the 2 concepts, but basically "conviction" refers to how strongly you believe something, while "prejudice" refers to how little evidence you have for your belief. Note that NEITHER term says diddly about whether what you happen to believe is true. Both convictions and prejudices can be either true or false, no matter how vituperative you ever get in expressing them.

      July 31, 2011 at 12:46 pm |
    • GuyinVA

      I appreciate it RichardSRussell. However, for me, using Time magazine as source about questions of religion isn't terribly convincing. The only poll or survey about which I care is the one that says that 100% of the time, GuyinVA doesn't care what polls or surveys say. That one, and the one that says 86% of all statistics are false. I wasn't searching for the dictionary definition of prejudice or conviction. As I stated, I was merely speaking from experience. However, to prove my previous point about CNN's bias, my last 2 posts were never published..

      July 31, 2011 at 12:52 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      Guy, you're welcome to google the phrase for yourself. Time was just reporting the results of a survey conducted by a national polling organization. You don't have to take their word for anything if you don't trust them.
      Note, however, that you ARE asking the rest of us to trust YOU about how CNN keeps whacking your posts. I think most readers of this forum will have little difficulty sorting out the credibility issues here.

      July 31, 2011 at 1:05 pm |
    • GuyinVA

      And then came the personal attacks. Questioning my credibility. Thank you for making my point for me. I haven't asked anyone to believe me about anything. (Who is "us" anyway?). I've stated what I think. I don't care about poll or survey results. I know what I believe, and I'm glad to share my beliefs with others. I don't force it on them however.

      July 31, 2011 at 1:15 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      You have asked "us" (the other readers of this forum) to take YOUR WORD for it that CNN is censoring your posts. You wrote that yourself just a couple of posts up from here. You also wrote that the only poll you pay attention to is the poll you conduct "among" yourself about what your own personal beliefs are. Yeah, I'd say that credibility is pretty much one of the things at issue here. You are busily shooting your own in the head; you don't need anyone else to do it for you.

      July 31, 2011 at 1:25 pm |
    • GuyinVA

      Yet, you keep attacking. You must think I need the help. I don't care if you believe me or not. I know it happened. If you don't believe me so be it. I just reread my post. I can't find where I asked anyone to believe me. So, is the credibility issue that I believe strongly, or that I don't need to ask 500 or so random people in a poll or survey to validate my beliefs for me?

      July 31, 2011 at 1:31 pm |
  11. Michael

    Journalists are the worst offenders. For example, they often write about "handwriting on the wall" which is only graffiti. In the Book of Daniel, the king of Babylon had a vision of a disembodied hand writing on the wall. Journalist mangle language all the time, but their lack of Biblical knowledge really rankles.

    July 31, 2011 at 12:15 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      Actually, I think journalists more often use the term "handwriting on the wall" as a metaphor for its original meaning — a sign that the jig is almost up. Under 2 minutes to go, your team is down 35-10, and the coach sends in the subs. He's "seen the handwriting on the wall" just as much as Nebuchadnezzar.
      The Bible (especially the lyrical King James version) is full of useful phrases and metaphors — indeed, that may be its most valuable contribution to civilization — and the English language would be poorer by far if we were required to use them only with the meaning and in the context in which they were originally written.

      July 31, 2011 at 12:26 pm |
    • forinfan

      "handwriting on the wall" as used by journalists is cliche, but comes from the idea that if it's on the street (literally as anonymous graffiti) then sooner or later it will come to the palace. A popular version was in England when people challenged the ruler indirectly through graffiti that expressed the populace's desire to see the king fall from grace. It's not mangled, just overused.

      July 31, 2011 at 12:27 pm |
  12. Jennifer

    The power of prayer??? Thats like saying I'm going to solve the problems of the world by throwing jellybeans at my cat...

    A pair of hands at work is worth more then a million in prayer....

    July 31, 2011 at 12:14 pm |
    • hippypoet

      i completely agree... we need to WORK for a better world, not hope and pray that god gives us one as we destroy more of it!

      July 31, 2011 at 12:17 pm |
    • TB

      But throwing jellybeans at your cat while doing a rain dance...have you tried that one yet?

      Thanks. Religion has worn any possible usefulness it ever had. It's time for humanity for face reality.

      July 31, 2011 at 12:26 pm |
  13. RichardSRussell

    When I was a kid, "dope" was either a not very bright person or (for hobbyists) airplane glue, and a "gay" person was somebody frothily upbeat and cheerful. I've seen the meanings behind those 2 words (and many others) change dramatically just over my own lifespan, so I have no trouble at all believing that other words can shift meanings more subtly over much longer time spans — especially if PUSHING such changes would enhance the prestige or pad the bank accounts of the priest class.

    July 31, 2011 at 12:14 pm |
    • DrDiomedes

      fair point

      July 31, 2011 at 12:17 pm |
  14. Lee Cherry

    Someone I knew proved to himself and others (he wrote a book about it) that speaking in tongues the way some Christians do today is fake. He went to a tongue speaking church (glossolalia) and spoke "Mary had a little lamb" in German. They interpreted it as everything but what he really said. So "Yabadado" Real speaking in tongues is speaking different languages, such as english, spanish, itaiian, etc

    July 31, 2011 at 12:13 pm |
  15. hippypoet

    ah so the cult thickens ..... great, i always thought there should be more depth to cults instead of just telling flat lies and collecting money from the non-educated and brain-washed morons...this just makes the whole thing of CULT seem way more real, more so then it ever did! i wonder if they all wear NIKE sneakers too!

    enjoy the punch...

    July 31, 2011 at 12:13 pm |
  16. jesus christ is lord

    CNN- I suspect you will keep trying with your blasphemous articles, however it was us "christians" that told you repeatedly that Obama was a failure, a fake, a muslim, and a toy....and oh look now all you liberals are turning against him and saying what a joke he is as America burns down, and how you were duped by him.....keep thinking that you are right and we are wrong about the rapture the bible clearly fortells, and you will be burning literally.... Jesus Christ is the son of the living God!

    July 31, 2011 at 12:12 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      Boy, you have your own favorite little delusions on just about EVERYTHING, don't you?

      July 31, 2011 at 12:18 pm |
    • Bob

      Obama is clearly NOT a muslim. Meanwhile, you clearly are an idiot.

      July 31, 2011 at 12:18 pm |
    • DrDiomedes

      you are one scary MF'er

      July 31, 2011 at 12:19 pm |
    • toto77

      Sorry you are delusional. Keep fantasizing and hating our president. That is a TRUE christian.... they are full of hate and lies and you just proved it! thank you!!!!!!!! Too bad you are racist...... I DO NOT believe in a HIGHER POWER that is vicious, hateful, vindictive, sadistic and punishing, but YOU DO. So Sorry!!!!!!!! I believe in a higher power that is loving. I'm sorry you belong to the cult that is Delusional Christians. Very, very pathetic. Have fun with that, idiot!!!!!!

      July 31, 2011 at 12:20 pm |
    • RonnieReagan

      You have to admit it's interesting to note that CNN writes articles that portray Muslims in a POSITIVE light, pushing the islamic "religion" on an unwitting public, and then CNN turns around and continually writes negative articles about Christians and Jews. Hmmmmmmmmm......clearly CNN has an agenda. We need to HIT THEM WHERE IT HURTS. Their wallets. Refuse to buy products from CNN sponsors, and contact those sponsors notifying them as such.

      July 31, 2011 at 12:22 pm |
    • Winston419

      "And if any man hear my sayings, and keep them not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world" (John 12:47)

      John 3:18 – He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

      July 31, 2011 at 12:23 pm |
    • SCAtheist

      So your all loving god is going to burn us forever. Your god needs some serious therapy, but I'm afraId it's too laate for him.

      July 31, 2011 at 12:23 pm |
  17. -Grey-

    Congrats, CNN. You've boosted your click rate.

    July 31, 2011 at 12:12 pm |
  18. harpazo

    Wow. What ignorance. He speaks about everything that is wrong. He seems to be an enemy of the Bible. www harpazosept2011 com

    July 31, 2011 at 12:12 pm |
  19. Torah101


    July 31, 2011 at 12:11 pm |
  20. JJ

    If you are a truth seeker, search "Truth Contest" in Google and click on the 1st result, then open The Present and read what it says. Everyone needs to see this. The Present will turn this world right-side up if it reaches enough people.

    July 31, 2011 at 12:10 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.