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. Bill Harvey

    Read THE CASE FOR CHRIST by LEE STROBEL and it will all makes sense to you. That's a book that deserves a fair review. The primary reason behind the use of Christian-based lingo has absolutely nothing to do with any of the rationale outlined in this article. The author, the writer of this article, and all of the so-called experts who are quoted here, have completely missed the point. You see, we who have come to the realization that humanity is imperfect and our heavenly Creator isn't, sincerely believe – with all our hearts – that He sent His Son, Jesus the Christ, to live and die on earth in our place, because perfection and imperfection do not mix. God loves each one of us that much. But it doesn't end there; we also believe Jesus defied death and rose from the grave. Why? In order to enter our humble hearts and change us from the inside out. The people surrounding this book and article forgot to mention that a true Christ-following Christian believer can't help but speak the lingo! Sure, there are some phonies out there; but they don't represent the majority. Personally, I want to share what changed my life with others, so I interject words that I've learned as I've grown in my faith. No one should be offended, afraid, or defensive. Consider the millions throughout history – this is very real. In my case, I simply can't think of another way to express what I feel inside. And as for the "baptism of the Holy Ghost" folks, or the "name it and claim it" crowd, ask them one-on-one if Jesus Christ is the primary focus in their life. That's all that really matters – to live for Him since He died for us. As for the "rapture", the word may be new, but the concept is Biblical. The article forgot to mention how the New Testament speaks clearly in the original Greek, of true Christians being "caught up" in the clouds to meet with Christ just prior to the terrible years of tribulation. Again, had the facts been straight, this article would have confirmed how the signs of our times clearly confirm the hour of the being "caught up" is near. Borg wrote a book about a language he does not even speak. Nor does he trust those of us who do. Worse yet, articles written by uninformed and careless writers seem to overlook the obvious; "speaking Christian" is beautiful and natural when it sincerely comes from the heart.

    September 8, 2011 at 2:55 am |
    • Wayde

      Point well taken – if you are a literalist. Christian-speak is part and parcel of fundamentalist Christian churches, not Christianity in general. If you want to "share" what you've found with others, do it by actually making a difference in the lives of those around you who need something to eat, or a place to sleep. "Speak the Gospel at all times; use words only when necessary." St. Francis of Assissi.

      September 8, 2011 at 1:01 pm |
  2. Jozua .

    I stopped speaking any version of Christian about 35 years ago. My life improved remarkably from then onwards. I enjoy everyday of it and can`t care less about afterlife and similar mythological nonsense. The majority of Christians around me , including family and friends still pray and pay with pitiful to show for the effort. Visit http://www.trustlife.org should you have interest in an effort towards understanding as an alternative to believing.

    September 7, 2011 at 11:44 pm |
    • Evan

      But being a christian means isn't about what you say or how you say it, It is about having a relationship with Christ. All the things you do when being a Christian are useless without understanding.

      September 10, 2011 at 1:19 am |
  3. Ventriss Genwright

    thank you Mike

    September 7, 2011 at 11:26 pm |
  4. John


    September 7, 2011 at 10:11 pm |
    • .....

      GARBAGE alert – this trash isn't worth viewing, click the report abuse link instead.

      September 9, 2011 at 7:20 pm |
  5. H. B.

    I AM an atheist. I HAVE studied the Bible, and was raised in a Christian church. I know it to be a work of humans, with only peeks, here and there at the kind of wisdom one MIGHT hope a god would have. That doesn't make the scriptural mummery true. What is genuinely wise and good in the Old Testament could have been said in two pages.

    What kind of god would punish a person for not believing in him? If it was that important to his ego, he need only make a show of himself. To give no solid evidence of his existence, and to punish anyone who won't believe, in the absence of evidence, is the act of a SADIST.

    A creator-god creates. It doesn't destroy. A CREATED god, of course, can do such things. LONG before we had any religions at ALL, we did have spirituality. Christians are particularly hateful of those times and beliefs, because the beliefs were benign, there was no proselytizing, no salvation, no way to moralize and be judgmental, no political power possible. The main reason they're so dead-set on convincing people the world is only 6000 years old is to keep them from learning that there was an earlier – and FAR more successful – belief system before their own had reared its ugly head.

    In that earlier spirituality (whose pre-historic nature is clear from artifacts, rather than writings), the creator of all was the Earth Mother. She asked nothing other than for people to respect her creation, and not squander or despoil her resources. ALL morality and judgment were purely secular matters; the Mother loved every living thing, period. Nobody even heard of proselytizing, because it wasn't necessary. All the proof anyone could need was before their eyes. The proof? ALL life comes from the Earth, either directly, as for plants, or indirectly, as for animals who eat the plants, or who cull the ranks of plant-eaters with predation. ALL life, however, comes from the Earth. In addition, ALL life is sustained, every single minute of its existence, again, by the Earth. At the end, ALL life returns to the body of the great Mother, again, directly or indirectly. One need only LOOK to see the truth of those things.

    Today, we might not be inclined to regard the planet as the Creator of the cosmos, but to revere it as much as we'd revere a god, and as the MOTHER of all life, is still as appropriate as it ever was. We STILL come from the Earth, are STILL nurtured by it all our lives, and we STILL return to it when we die. It may not be a god, but it's the closest thing to one that we have ever had any factual basis for.

    The Earth Mother was a god to be loved. Our religions all paint gods who are to be FEARED. Big difference. The "god so loved the world" is a rather odd thing to say about a sadistic guy in the sky who is slathering to throw the vast bulk of humanity into a fiery pit.

    Humanity was MUCH better off with the Earth Mother spirituality. They still would be, even today. There is NOTHING science can learn that could threaten an Earth Mother, but almost EVERYTHING science learns contradicts the guy in the sky religions. They make science the bad guy, of course. The Earth Mother WAS nature itself. Science seeks to learn about and analyze nature. No conflict is possible.

    Religion has caused unspeakable harm in the world, right from its inception, and that has never stopped. It doesn't matter which religion does more harm than another; they ALL do it. The Earth Mother never harmed a soul. By reverencing all life, people were intimately aware of their deep connection with all that lives, and revered it all, even the living things they needed for food. Religion may speak occasionally about revering life, yet they all commit atrocities and speak proudly of people like Joshua, who committed genocide in Jericho.

    It was to totally DESTROY the Earth Mother spirituality, and to utterly erase all knowledge of it from human memory, that the ancient Hebrews invented their new – male – god, Yaweh, and then set about to genocide those who still loved the Mother. The Old Testament was written specifically to supplant the Earth Mother. The Hebrews had come to hating her. But that is a whole 'nother story. And one of the ugliest, ever.

    We can't expect the purveyors of religion to tell us these truths, of course. Most religious leaders don't even KNOW, themselves, anything about the earlier Earth Mother spirituality. It's something religions prefer to keep silent about, even to their clergy.

    But the proof is there. The spirituality DID exist. It was genuinely benign. It extended across the entire Euro-Asian continent and deep into Africa. It was a satisfying and fulfilling belief system. It was based on simple things that people could learn the proof of entirely on their own. It contained no hate or judgmentalism, and was not remotely predatory. Nobody had to be preached at to know – and accept – that love is highly desirable. Their creator god enjoyed it when people enjoyed their lives, because if living things are content, the Mother, who made them all, would be, also. The only prohibition was doing HARM. And THAT made all kinds of sense to people – as it still should. And it had a track record of over 15,000 years – a far more successful one than any religion has yet had.

    When we lost the Earth Mother, we lost something extremely precious. And in return, we got stuff that has only made the world – and us – uglier.

    September 7, 2011 at 6:47 pm |
    • Wow

      Of course ALL things come from earth and return to the earth when they die.

      We happen to be in a bit of a closed system here unless there is some intergallactic pizza delivery service that most people are unaware of.

      September 19, 2011 at 3:46 pm |
  6. Dano

    This guy has figured out something they teach in every Sociology 101 class at countless colleges across the country. Like groups use like phrases. It's how people identify with people of the same groups or same interests. It's not confined to religion. This guy has just defined the way some Christians do it. Case in point, everyone who works for the same company will have their own "coded language" too; to the point where someone who doesn't work there probably won't know what those people are talking about.

    September 7, 2011 at 5:07 pm |
  7. Anthony Vaughn

    First of all, who would pay any attention to what an episcopal theologian says. Are you kidding, they believe that you are born again as a baby when they sprinkle H20 on your head – completly crazy.

    Second, the requirement to be born again and the rapture are clearly in scripture. You would have to be illiterate not to see it.

    September 7, 2011 at 3:39 pm |
  8. Mikej

    Help, the ignorance of the bible is amazing. Has anyone read it? Please go back and do your home work and first read that which you criticize. Just looking over some statements that are just plain stupid like "did Jesus exist", "no such thing as the rapture", this frustrates me so I won't go on. I don't believe it has to do with IQ just abject rejection of something they do not want to believe. If you do not want to believe it you will not. I dare you to read it and logically reject what Jesus said. He is who he said he is the son of God. Bigger than a prophet. I know Muslims like to hear that. I will read the Koran objectively if a Muslim will read the Bible objectively. I will read Bertrand Russell and have if an atheist will objectively read the Bible.

    September 6, 2011 at 4:50 pm |
    • Alex Gessong

      @Mikej: if you read the Bible objectively, you'll know it cannot be literal truth. Consider Genesis: a talking snake tricks a human into eating a piece of magical fruit. And because of the act of that talking snake, all snakes now travel on their bellies. Although some would argue that the snake was Satan, Genesis doesn't say so. Genesis just says that the talking snake was the smartest of all animals. Personally, I believe in a God, but I don't believe in talking snakes. Humans wrote the Bible. Humans are fallible. Even in the New Testament, notice how none of the books were written by Jesus?

      September 6, 2011 at 6:08 pm |
    • USmellLikePee

      Most atheists have already read and studied the bible. With that being said, I expect you'll want to reconsider your challenge.

      September 6, 2011 at 6:15 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      "Most atheists have already read and studied the bible."

      That is a factless opinion.

      September 6, 2011 at 6:18 pm |
    • Joe from CT, not Lieberman

      Mike, if you check, you will probably find there are more Muslims who have read the Bible than there are Christians who have read the Koran. There are probably more Jewish Scholars familiar with the Gospels and Epistles and the teachings therein than there are Christians familiar with the Torah and Talmud (even though the Torah is the first 5 books of the Old Testament).

      September 7, 2011 at 4:42 pm |
  9. Eves

    Oh Cnn give this over chewed bone a rest

    September 6, 2011 at 8:19 am |
  10. Bradly Thomas Horton

    Speaking out of ignorance is no way to sound smart

    September 6, 2011 at 7:01 am |
  11. Lisa Cawyer

    This article fails to distinguish between Marcus Borg's specific theological view point, and a true lack of understanding of Christian language among Christians. For example, "the rapture" is a belief man Christians hold; Mr. Borg does not; but that doesn't mean those who use the term don't know what they are talking about. His point that this theology is recent has merit, but that is a different issue; it doesn't mean that those who use the term are merely "parrots". More significantly, the term "born again" apparently triggered Mr. Borg's irritation; I suspect most Evangelicals understand this term far better than he does (but I hope he comes to understand it better).

    September 6, 2011 at 2:38 am |
    • Peter Carlson

      Ms. Cawyer makes some valid points. The truth is that the rapture is a much older concept than Borg suggests, though the word itself is not, and its specific understanding in current theology does have its origins in the 19th century. Borg has a point about "born again," however, as the Greek account in the Christian Scriptures more literally translates as "born from above." Of course, what Borg doesn't recognize is that most evangelical Christians, in saying that they are born again actually mean pretty much the same thing: that they have had a spiritual re-birth from God. Perhaps Borg's most dangerous argument is that Christians have never been concerned about the next world. The martyrs of the second and third centuries would probably have been surprised to hear that.

      Perhaps the biggest assumption of the argument, however, is that "speaking Christian" is some sort of recent phenomenon. I beg to differ. It's been going on from the earliest days, and even then many people didn't know the full implications of what they were saying.

      September 7, 2011 at 9:48 am |
    • Joe from CT, not Lieberman

      Lisa and Peter, you both appear to be using the language of Evangelicals in your comments on Borg's critique of "Speaking Christian". Please remember, his background is an Episcopal Theologian. That means his primary job is to support the Status Quo and teachings of one of the largest denominations of "Mainstream Protestantism", not to support Evangelical teachings.

      To repeat an argument I have made time and again in this blog, the Bible used by many Evangelicals is the King James Version. This version was a translation of a translation of a translation with no concern for original language. Translating from Hebrew or Aramaic to Greek, then to Latin, then to Vulgate Latin meant a lot of the language was lost. A lot of what was written probably had different meanings back in the 1st and 2nd Centuries AD and has been misinterpreted in modern times by well meaning people with no linguistic training.

      September 7, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
  12. CheeseSteak

    Talk about a life of pure BS. Could you imagine walking around spewing this inane bull-krap day in and day our. I'm blessed this and I'm blessed that, have a blessed day up your backside.

    These people are sick. Sick in the head.

    September 5, 2011 at 5:53 pm |
  13. r.ortiz

    when jesus spoke he said follow me if you want, belive in me if you want he did not force you he did not say give me money, he simply said my way is the way to eternity.

    September 5, 2011 at 3:21 pm |
    • Wake up and smell the coffee

      Not true.Jesus was much worse than that – he said that you (or anyone else that you love) will be tortured in unending hell fire if you don’t follow him.

      How could anyone (other than a psychopath) enjoy eternity knowing that their loved ones (or anyone else) are burning in unending hell fire?

      Some loving god – not to mention the 16,000 innocent children that he lets die every day.

      September 6, 2011 at 10:47 am |
    • Rosaleee

      To "Wake up and Smell the Coffee" –

      Jesus said no such thing. I challenge you to find a passage in the Bible where Jesus said to follow him or roast in hell (or anything even close).

      Go to http://biblegateway.com and do a search.

      I am not a Christian but I do believe that if you are going to criticize the Bible you should actually have read it.

      September 6, 2011 at 11:51 pm |
  14. Maureen

    Is there something about your particular religion that doesn't feel quite right? Does it seem hypocritical? Does it feel like something is missing? Do you live in fear of God's judgement? Are you seeking a deeper relationship and a deeper understanding of the world and yourself in relation to God? Try the refreshing but challenging messages on http://www.newmessage.org I did and I haven't looked back once in twenty years. I feel closer to God now than I ever did when I was a Catholic.

    September 5, 2011 at 2:59 pm |
    • Owen

      I'm 15 years a Catholic and I feel MUCH closer to God than I ever did as an Evangelical.

      September 5, 2011 at 8:12 pm |
    • Alex Gessong

      7 billion people in the world means 7 billion potential ways of feeling closer to God. This is why there are so many religions and sects within those religions. There is no one "true" faith, because all religions are human inventions. There may be a God, but humans created religions. If there is a God, a person must find that God him/herself. You won't find God in a book or on a website. If you find something that makes you feel at peace and harms no one, good for you! If others find similar inner peace, good for them! Anything that helps people live ethical lives doing harm to no one else, is a good thing.

      September 6, 2011 at 6:20 pm |
  15. Maureen

    Why would God give you a Mercedes and not someone else? You don't need a Mercedes. You need transportation. People think God is some kind of gift repository, like God's up there deciding who is the most fervent and deserving of his gifts. I think we are here to learn how to take care of ourselves and others with a little help from God. God gives us what we need not what we want; otherwise, it is just spiritual welfare and no one is empowered. Most of God's gifts come in the form of relationships, ideas and feelings. We all know what we need to do, but how many of us are doing it?

    September 5, 2011 at 2:50 pm |
  16. Jeanne

    There are zealots in every cult. And yes, every religion is a cult...look the word up and be enlightened for a change. The more zealous a person is, the more weak and afraid they are..they hide behind the skirts of whatever diety they subscribe to, using them as a shield instead of making their own decisions. You can see the fear in their eyes if you challange them. You get people as manic-eyed as Michelle Bachmann, who btw has the same expression in all her photos. Notice the pupils of her eyes..they're pinpoint tiny...constricted pupils are a sign of fear.

    September 5, 2011 at 12:54 pm |
    • CheeseSteak

      I think she's afraid of her husband. Maybe he has a direct connection to Jeeeeeeeeezzzzus and will make a call if she don't tow the line.

      September 5, 2011 at 5:55 pm |
    • DelMar

      Nope, fear causes dilation.

      September 7, 2011 at 2:09 am |
  17. Margaret Wright

    As long as your heart is in the right place, it doesn't matter what you call it. Although some Christians can be snobs, there is no such thing as having a 'final stage' of 'speaking Christian'. In fact, there is not such thing as 'speaking Christian'. People who have the nerve to make assumption about something they truly don't understand themselves is disrespectful to whatever they're talking about.
    We don't need to be saved from Pharaoh and Herod and Caesar. Rather, we need to be saved from ourselves – we can't do it on our own. We can't be perfect, even if we tried to be or seemed like it. Whenever you refer anything, it doesn't matter what you refer it as. It's a matter of the heart.

    September 5, 2011 at 9:52 am |
  18. TheyNotHim

    It would be great if somebody here could cite a primary source indicating that Jesus actually existed. The bible is not a primary source as nobody writing within it's pages ever met the man face to face. If you can do this for me I will kneel and be saved right here, right now. It's very simple...

    Still waiting...

    September 4, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
    • Anthony Diaz

      You say no Bible writers were eyewitnesses of Jesus.
      I am sure you are aware that Peter and John both specifically and emphatically state that they were eyewitnesses.
      see 2 Peter 1:16-18
      John 19:35-36
      1 John 1:1
      And of course Matthew dropped his tax collecting and followed Jesus, so his Gospel is mostly eyewitness accounts.
      So I am just wondering how you feel about this.
      Best wishes. Anthony

      September 4, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
    • Andy

      Try Josephus the Roman historian.
      Jesus most probably existed. The thousand-year long game of "telephone" has probably distorted his true nature.

      September 4, 2011 at 9:15 pm |
    • CheeseSteak

      Peter and Paul didn't exist. They're cartoon characters, same as Jeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeesus

      September 5, 2011 at 5:56 pm |
    • Wake up and smell the coffee

      Santa Clause was a real person – but that doesn't mean that he can deliver toys around the world in one night.
      Jesus was probably real – but that doesn't mean he can walk on water or raise the dead.

      September 6, 2011 at 10:58 am |
  19. Da King

    John Blake does not have a clue as to what he is talking about. Nor, can he. 1 Cor 2.14 John 3: 1.21 Heb 11.6
    God himself has spoken. Me Blake is blabbering in fear.

    Jesus said, I give not as the world gives, I give you my peace. LOL

    September 4, 2011 at 2:32 pm |
  20. Glades2

    When someone asks me if I have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ I say "Yes" – and although my faith varies from moment to moment, I try to stay on the right path. At work, some tell me "You say you're Christian but you often are fearful of so many things – so you must not have faith!", but what they don't understand is that even Peter, in the presence of Jesus Christ everyday for 3 years, was also fearful of so many things, since that is a part of our broken human nature, so being fearful has nothing to do with a lack of faith, but fear does creat a constant battle between good and evil and is a constant battle in progress until our last moment in this life. My well-known large employer is as secular as they come, and while they'll throw a Halloween party they refuse to have a Christmas party (instead referring to it as a "Holiday party") because, as they say, "Not everyone believes in THAT" – apparently they are referring to God and His Son – fortunately for them, the Good Lord did not call them "THAT", but instead lovingly created them and as Scripture says He called them by name, even before they were conceived in their Mother's womb, so, yes, I speak "Christian", and I'm glad to, though it definitely will cast me in the "not a team player" category – but that's fine with me (LOL)...

    September 4, 2011 at 12:46 pm |
    • inhok

      As you continue to evolve in your spirituality, you will eventually realize that Christ never demanded worship and he never asked for followers. Much of the Bible was lifted from previous Messiah myths. Dig deeper and you will realize that Christ was simply demonstrating what is within each of us. There is no need for an external relationship with or servitude to any master. Best to you on your journey. Don't get stuck in the culture we've been conditioned into. It is not correct.

      September 4, 2011 at 4:24 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.