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August 3rd, 2011
08:00 AM ET

My Take: How I turned 'misery to ministry'

By Jacquie Hood Martin, Special to CNN

Editor’s note: Jacquie Hood Martin is Chief Spiritual Officer for Jacquie Hood Ministries and author of “Fulfilled, The Art and Joy of Balanced Living.” She is married to CNN contributor Roland Martin. The CNN Red Chair Interview weekly franchise strives to look at people’s past to see what made them who they are today. We also want to know their biggest pivotal and “aha” moments in their lives.

(CNN) – It’s true what they say, that hindsight is 20-20. Looking back provides me with the clarity and ability to address the many things that have happened in my life.

Many people will say there are no bad experiences, that it’s our perspective on the things that happen in our lives that cause us to label them good or bad. I believe that is an improper analysis.

I have been able to find the silver lining in all the things that have happened to me, but only because the love I know the Lord has for me lets me be in God’s grace and keeps me well adjusted.

I grew up initially in a single parent home where my mother and I were raised by her grandmother. God’s favor allowed my mother to meet a man who married her and her 2-year-old daughter. Yes, it was a package deal.

My first sibling, a sister, was born when I was 8. A second sister arrived when I was 10. We became a party of five who lived the American dream. My parents owned a car and a home and were both employed. We even had pets: a dog, cat and a turtle. I include this because I marvel at people who say this kind of life did not exist for African-Americans before the Huxtables. I was born in 1965, and by 1975 things were looking pretty good.

In 1976, as a fifth grader, I had my first experience with personal tragedy. A teenage boy abducted me, held me against my will and tried to sexually assault me. Many things go through a tween girl’s mind after such an encounter. It has a way of shaping your outlook on men and relationships, as well as a yearning to give back to the community so you can save someone else’s child - even if you were unable to save yourself.

I kept this to myself until the summer of 1992. I was preparing for the ministry, and the process of purging my past allowed me to reveal to my mother what happened that horrible day in fifth grade. I have since taken the opportunity, as some would say, to turn my “misery into a ministry.” Whether on radio or television, in columns or books, I find comfort in knowing that whatever I have experienced can help others live again.

During my time in the Red Chair, I grew even more as a woman, a leader, a Christian, a wife and a writer. The Red Chair interview has provided me with greater clarity on my life’s purpose, and how I have been able to balance my life without losing faith in myself and in others.

In my column for Hope for Women magazine, I share in detail “How to Heal After the Reveal.” There will be moments in every person’s life where they will wake up from their nightmare, stupor, stupidity, trauma, haze, or whatever self-induced coma-like state they find themselves in. And I hope my words, my ‘Red Chair’ moment, can help bring them back to sanity and safety among the rest of the human race.

Next week in CNN's Red Chair: TLC’s “The Little Couple,” Jen Arnold and Bill Klein

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Faith • God • Sex abuse

soundoff (568 Responses)
  1. why

    Why do Atheists so hate the God of the Bible?

    -cos, their very (un)belief is based in the existence of God

    August 3, 2011 at 1:26 pm |
    • ummmm

      If Christians were more like Christ then maybe you would earn our respect but instead all you see is a group of prejudice and bigoted people so stuck on themselves they suck the diversity out of society.

      August 3, 2011 at 1:29 pm |
    • Anti Christian Taliban Schizophrenics

      why

      Why do Atheists so hate the God of the Bible?

      -cos, their very (un)belief is based in the existence of God

      ----------------------

      You really are not that the sharpest tool in the shed? Focus and really think about what you posted. Because someone might have little patience for ignorance expressed by people, does not mean they hate a sky wizard. They cannot hate a sky wizard which they do not believe exists. *****In addition, you may wish to clarify which god you are talking about because there are many.******** I always assume people are talking about Zues unless they clarify.

      August 3, 2011 at 1:32 pm |
    • Anti Christian Taliban Schizophrenics

      ummmm

      If Christians were more like Christ then maybe you would earn our respect but instead all you see is a group of prejudice and bigoted people so stuck on themselves they suck the diversity out of society.
      ----------–
      Interesting come the holidays the "christians" come out like roaches. The percentage of "real" christians us quite pathetic. Christianity has been dying in the US for quite some time...it just doesn't know it is dead yet. However we probably have the largest number of fake christians.

      August 3, 2011 at 1:37 pm |
    • i wonder

      why, "-cos, their very (un)belief is based in the existence of God"

      Is your (un)belief (not sure if you 'hate them?) in invisible white unicorns based on their existence?

      August 3, 2011 at 1:39 pm |
    • grace

      If your faith in God was to wrest based on your evaluation of a group of people you are definetly going to be let down.

      Lean on Christ alone as your personal coach and you will NEVER be let down, do not look up to any mortal.

      August 3, 2011 at 1:39 pm |
    • Civiloutside

      In much the same way that your unbelief in Odin is based on the existence of Odin?

      Christianity gets the focus from most atheists on here because most of us are Westerners, and in our culture the Christian myth is the one that gets foisted on us most strongly and most frequently. Believe me... We equally deny the existence of the Jewish and Muslim gods (although denying any of them is the same as denying all of them, since they're all the same character), as well as the Hindu, Norse, Greek, Eygyptian, Celtic, and all other pantheons. It's just that nobody ever tries to convince me or my children to pledge allegiance to any of those others, or pray to them, or to persecute people in their name, or to let the government be used as an aid in indoctrinating more people into their myths.

      August 3, 2011 at 1:40 pm |
    • JohnQuest

      why, Nobody really believes the God of the Bible (or any other God) actual exist, not even you.

      August 3, 2011 at 1:41 pm |
    • Anti Christian Taliban Schizophrenics

      grace

      If your faith in God was to wrest based on your evaluation of a group of people you are definetly going to be let down.

      Lean on Christ alone as your personal coach and you will NEVER be let down, do not look up to any mortal.
      ------
      Ah but it was mortals who wrote your sky wizard's book and mortals that your faith is in. Jesus you got to love the thought process of some people.

      August 3, 2011 at 1:41 pm |
    • grace

      Bible was not written by man, it is God's word written for man....

      August 3, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      grace, some god you've created there. god must make a lot of mistakes, since there are so many in the bible.

      Get a brain and google on "errors in the bible" to get started on the path to being cured of your religion sickness.

      August 3, 2011 at 2:07 pm |
  2. Anti Christian Taliban Schizophrenics

    "but only because the love I know the Lord has for me lets me be in God’s grace and keeps me well adjusted."
    >
    Sorry have to chuckle at the thought of someone thinking a sky genie keeps them "well adjusted"
    .
    Schizophrenia is a mental disorder that makes it difficult to tell the difference between real and unreal experiences, to think logically, to have normal emotional responses, and to behave normally in social situations.
    As the illness continues, psychotic symptoms develop:
    • False beliefs or thoughts that are not based in reality (delusions)
    • Hearing, seeing, or feeling things that are not there (hallucinations)

    August 3, 2011 at 1:19 pm |
    • Lycidas

      Changing your name still doesn't make you an expert on mental health son.

      August 3, 2011 at 3:15 pm |
  3. Bo

    _____________@Will D: I think you are right on target, well almost. Symbolically: the "cup of inniquity" has not yet been filled. In spite of the consensus of oppion, this world is not getting better, but more and more evil. I cannot understand how anyone could believe otherwise. I wish I had more space to give an explination of the cosmic battle going on, but it is too complicated. Nonetheless, we are all born with a free will of choice to believe what we have faith in. That faith is built on evidence. Faith cannot be built on a fact because it takes no faith to believe in a fact. As an example: We all believe in, have faith in electricty, it would be very ignorant to say it doesn't exist because I can't see it, but there is evidence that it does exist. have a good day Oh! I almost forgot: I don't believe the wicked will burn for eternity in hell. Yes I believe that the wicked will be destroyed but will not suffer a long tortureous death as some believe, in fact, I believe they may not suffer any pain.

    August 3, 2011 at 1:17 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Bo

      I am glad you agree that you are crazy!

      August 3, 2011 at 3:12 pm |
    • ummm

      "I wish I had more space to give an explination of the cosmic battle going on, but it is too complicated. "

      The only obvious battle is between religions and who's got the "right" God. World peace will come when all groups stop thinking their in the right believe in tolerance – coexist – and use legal law to keep order since no one's God is doing that.

      August 3, 2011 at 3:16 pm |
  4. beleiver

    Can a mortal ask questions which God finds unanswerable? Quite easily, I should think. All nonsense questions are unanswerable.

    ~C. S. Lewis

    August 3, 2011 at 1:09 pm |
  5. why

    Why do Atheists love the 'Christian Blog' on CNN? why not the 'Muslim Blog posts"?

    Athiests ,pay equal attention to all...we need your enlightenment on other religion blogs..we have heard u enough here.

    August 3, 2011 at 1:05 pm |
    • Laughing

      You may want to reconsider posting again, you probably don't want to give the impression that you completely lack intelliegence right? Why do Atheists write on the BELIEF blog on CNN you ask? well other religion blogs don't get as much viewership, and what better way to try and wake believers up then by reaching as many as we can?

      August 3, 2011 at 1:09 pm |
    • Anti Christian Taliban Schizophrenics

      Why, pray and ask perhaps Zues will answer you?

      August 3, 2011 at 1:15 pm |
    • why

      @laughing

      I am humbled by the might of IQ... your response has eloquently addressed your reasoning. I bow down to your grey cells...

      August 3, 2011 at 1:16 pm |
    • i wonder

      why,

      Look at the t.itle of this blog again. It is called "CNN Belief Blog" NOT "The Christian Blog".

      The supernatural fantasies of Islam are discounted every bit as much as Christianity's or Hinduism's or any others. There have been quite a few articles on Islam here too. When Muslims or Hindus or Rastafarians or White Unicornists start to try to rule this country with their fantasies, you will hear the same objections.

      p.s. There are many Christian-only web sites and blogs around, where any disputes or arguments contradicting or questioning their beliefs are banned. Maybe that's what you are looking for...

      August 3, 2011 at 1:29 pm |
    • Laughing

      @why

      your welcome, basking in my intelligence is one of the few gifts I can give in this world, enjoy it while you can!

      August 3, 2011 at 2:43 pm |
    • Anti Christian Taliban Schizophrenics

      Laughing

      @why

      your welcome, basking in my intelligence is one of the few gifts I can give in this world, enjoy it while you can!

      --------
      Isn't it obvious. Why cannot put a thought together and quotes people all day. They feel they are contributing when in reality they are simple minded sheep. Without another christian to tell them what to do or say they are simply a mute.

      August 3, 2011 at 2:46 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Why

      I shall leave right after your fellow Christians burn you at the stake for heresy!

      I was gonna stick around a wait for Jesus, but I suspect he ain't coming

      That two thousand year old Palestinian passport wont get him far in todays airports.

      August 3, 2011 at 3:16 pm |
    • William Demuth

      why

      Athiests don't usually hate the Bible

      They just hate Christians that belive it is anything more than a book written by men about an imaginary ghost creature.

      Its basicaly The Amityville Horror, or Night of the Living Dead, with an inferior plot

      August 3, 2011 at 3:41 pm |
    • Lycidas

      "They just hate Christians that belive it is anything more than a book written by men about an imaginary ghost creature"

      And what of those that have done extensive study and reflection upon their faith? Or do you ignore genuine intelligence when it doesn't work in your favor?

      August 8, 2011 at 6:59 pm |
  6. William Demuth

    This article is living proof of the power of indoctrination.

    This woman, descended from slaves, still kneels at the altar of a God of her slave masters creation.

    It seems ANYONE can be turned to Christianity, and the process is simple.

    Kidnap someone, move them to a foreign land. Beat the, impregnate them, deny them education, buy and sell them like cattle, alst the while indoctrinating them, and within a few generations their offspring will be Christian!

    She is STILL a slave and apparently always shall be. It seems that the Gods of her ancestors can be erased, and people can be made to kneel to ANYTHING if the indoctrinator is ruthless enough.

    A captive audience for a few generations and the average human will worship whatever they are told to worship.

    August 3, 2011 at 11:45 am |
    • RFBJR

      Perhaps in addition to condemning everything other bloggers believe, you should enlighten us on what you believe. What is true to you William?

      August 3, 2011 at 12:12 pm |
    • William Demuth

      RFBJR

      The most obvious is we are nothing more nor less than any other creature amongst us.

      That we fear death so profoundly, we will sell our rationality to any charlatan that promises we don't have to die.

      That our ancient rage still lingers in the hearts of all men, and that unless we learn to reject it and all its associated bigotry ethnocentrisim and violence, we are doomed to destroy ourselves.

      August 3, 2011 at 12:35 pm |
    • Jesusfreakazoid

      You make a good point, but her ancestry has nothing to do with it. I have heard many Caucasians say that they can't wait until they get to heaven to be a slave. Not in those exact words of course, but that is basically what they are saying.

      August 3, 2011 at 1:12 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Jesusfreakazoid

      Actually it does. It seems the more a group is beaten down, the more vulnerable they are.

      Thats why we can't tolerate that type of exploitation any longer, because the zombies it creates linger for CENTURIES.

      August 3, 2011 at 3:18 pm |
  7. HeavenSent

    each and every time I question Reality’s (or one of his numerous handles) miserable postings.

    Answer to the phony heavensent (cough REALITY not): Life on earth is a TEST from God. Did you pass?

    Amen.

    August 3, 2011 at 11:30 am |
    • William Demuth

      Huh?

      Would you PLEASE try and make sense!

      Rambling nonesense might be the trademark of a Bibilical Scholar, but in your case it just leaves everyone scratching their head!

      August 3, 2011 at 11:34 am |
    • Peace2All

      @HeavenSent

      You Said: " Life on earth is a TEST from God. Did you pass? "

      More personal opinion unverified speculative 'belief.'

      Peace...

      August 3, 2011 at 11:35 am |
    • Frogist

      @HeavenSent: I highly doubt Willam Demuth and Reality are the same person. They have completely different writing and posting styles. Just because you dislike them equally does not mean they are the same person.

      August 3, 2011 at 2:15 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Frogist

      I am as unique as you can get!

      August 3, 2011 at 3:13 pm |
  8. Bo

    __________________________________________________________@ William D. Good for you! You are right! Although this nation was at one time guided by Christian values, it is not Christian a nation, never has been and never will be. And you are also right that this nation (and the whole world for that matter) is becoming more and more ungodly [atheistic] it has been prophised in the Bible to happen shortly before the end of time and it will happen. When the the time of the end comes there will only be a handful of loyal Christians left and the ungodly will desperatly try to destroy those few.

    August 3, 2011 at 11:17 am |
    • William Demuth

      Bo

      Get a grip. Zoroastor said the same thing. The fact is ALL the fake Gods from the past claimed the same thing (or their creators did on their behalf)

      Stop preaching lies and do something constructive.

      And always remember, your imaginary sky freind is irrelevant. You shall be judged by the laws of man, and if you espuse the same lies Jesus did, you just might end up with the same fate.

      August 3, 2011 at 11:21 am |
  9. Bo

    _________________________________________________________________________________ @HeavenSent: I unders tand that it is very difficult to understand all the misseries, war, and diease andall the evil that is in this world, but to understand it you must be able to understand that there is a cosmic battle being fought between good and evil. It is the evil one to blame–not the Good But the Good must allow the evil to prove just how distructive and evil it really is before the Good triumphs and concquers evil for ever and ever so peace and good will reign forever and there will be no wars, hate and dieases ever again. Just hope that battle will not last much longer.

    August 3, 2011 at 10:55 am |
    • William Demuth

      For ever and ever?

      My son used to say that, then he turned four.

      When are you going to grow up?

      Cosmic battle? Dude its just US, no need to look further than humanity in all its sickness.

      No Bronze Age super heros, no inexplicable forces. We are on our own. Destiny lies in our collective hands

      August 3, 2011 at 11:09 am |
    • Peace2All

      @Bo

      Hey -Bo...

      "Cosmic battle" really...? How could any sane person even still be believing in such nonsense...? Your God must not be much of a God, if he can't just get rid of the "Evil One" at any time.

      You gotta' admit, this whole 'narrative' that a lot of you believers 'think' is happening is truly ridiculous, yes...?

      Not trying in any way to offend you, it just goes beyond absurdity to continue to perpetuate this kind of unverified speculation.

      Regards,

      Peace...

      August 3, 2011 at 11:21 am |
    • Atheist

      @ Bo
      "But the Good must allow the evil to prove just how distructive and evil it really is"

      Now that doesn't seem right.... So your god is letting evil run rampant just to prove a point? And if you don't believe in him because of all this evil he's allowing to happen then you burn forever in a lake of fire?

      I'm sorry, but your god seems kinda like a d1ck

      August 3, 2011 at 11:23 am |
    • I = rubber, U = glue

      @Bo

      That is a neat story you just made up. You honestly believe there will be a time when humans will not "hate"

      As long as my neighbor's dog keeps barking in the middle of the night, I will always feel "hate"

      August 3, 2011 at 12:41 pm |
    • GodPot

      I'll bet you $10 he's a JW. That is their basic philosophy in a nutshell (pun intended)...

      August 3, 2011 at 12:48 pm |
    • ummmm

      That means your God is on sicko if he allows evil to run rampant in order for people to turn to him for help. So as a parent then you allow evil to trample all over your children so you can come in and save them and be the hero. How retarded and goes against good parenting skills. Duh!

      August 3, 2011 at 12:49 pm |
    • JF

      Well done Ummmm. You summed up the Bible in two sentences. It amazes me that we are having these conversations in the 21st century.

      August 3, 2011 at 1:37 pm |
    • Anti Christian Taliban Schizophrenics

      ummmm

      That means your God is on sicko if he allows evil to run rampant in order for people to turn to him for help. So as a parent then you allow evil to trample all over your children so you can come in and save them and be the hero. How retarded and goes against good parenting skills. Duh!
      ----
      Not to mention god and his zombie son like to watch children get ra pe d and killed.

      August 3, 2011 at 1:39 pm |
  10. Summary

    Atheists are monsters. Americans are too naive because they are immoral.

    August 3, 2011 at 10:50 am |
    • William Demuth

      I for one support monsters, they are my prefered imaginary creatures.

      I mean who would rather hang out with God rather than a really cool monster?

      August 3, 2011 at 10:54 am |
    • LinCA

      @William Demuth

      You said "I for one support monsters, they are my prefered imaginary creatures.
      I mean who would rather hang out with God rather than a really cool monster?
      "

      What traits make a monster cool? What traits does the christian god to conjure up for himself to become a member of your cool monster club (he's got the "monster" part down, after all)?

      August 3, 2011 at 11:00 am |
    • William Demuth

      My monsters and super heros usually wear a cape or have been exposed to some cool radiation.

      Perhaps Jesus needs a makeover. He shold confer with Kim Kardashian. If anyone could take a gay palestinian and make him cool it would be her.

      I mean the whole walking on water may have wowed em in the Bronze Age, but today thats pretty lame!

      August 3, 2011 at 11:13 am |
    • GodPot

      "Atheists are monsters. Americans are too naive because they are immoral."

      I wonder which is more of a monster, a person who can be a good law abiding citizen on their own because they recognize the benefits of helping others and living a good life, or one that needs to be whipped and lashed with the threat of eternal torment or promised unimaginable riches in the after life in order for them to behave...

      August 3, 2011 at 12:54 pm |
    • Laughing

      @GodPot

      It's clearly the first one, right?

      August 3, 2011 at 1:04 pm |
    • Frogist

      @Godpot: I don't really care how they get to it as long as people do good. IMO it's the believers by and large who make the distinction of who is good and who isn't based on who is a believer and who isn't. I think we'd all be better off if we stop drawing those lines in the sand.
      Also my favorite monster... probably Cookie Monster.

      August 3, 2011 at 2:20 pm |
  11. William Demuth

    Can anyone explain why a woman whose ancestors were kidnapped and dragged here in chains is still worshiping the imaginary God of her former masters, that her great grandparents were forced to worship under penalty of death?

    Has she no dignity? To have the DNA of those monsters flowing in her brain must be clouding her judgment.

    It’s the Stockholm Syndrome gone MAD!

    August 3, 2011 at 10:48 am |
  12. Summary

    Present USA is not Christian they cannot demand the world payback for all the great, life-saving con-tri-butions the American Christians did and are doing everywhere.

    August 3, 2011 at 10:35 am |
    • William Demuth

      America is not Christian, and is moving further away from it by the day.

      August 3, 2011 at 10:55 am |
    • Summary

      @Willi-, that's what I mean. America is regressing because of atheism.

      August 3, 2011 at 11:04 am |
    • Peace2All

      @Summary

      You Said: " Present USA is not Christian they cannot demand the world payback for all the great, life-saving con-tri-butions the American Christians did and are doing everywhere. "

      Being 'Christian' has no bearing on whether the U.S. can or should "demand payback" for all of the great things that have been done Americans-whether Christian or not, etc...

      Your comment makes -0- sense in reality.

      Regards,

      Peace...

      August 3, 2011 at 11:14 am |
    • William Demuth

      Regressing? I hope so! I really miss the whole "Feed A Christian To A Lion" booth on the boardwalk!

      August 3, 2011 at 11:14 am |
  13. Atheist

    I'm happy that this person has found a way to put a silver ligning on everything that has happened to her, but why is it always God that does it for these people. I see a silver ligning in everything that happens to me and I'm an atheist. I don't need God to do that for me, just being an optomists.

    August 3, 2011 at 10:34 am |
    • Peace2All

      @Atheist

      I'm pretty sure if you think about it, you would be able to figure out the dynamics behind belief systems that lead the 'believers' into this type of thinking, yes...?

      Regards,

      Peace...

      August 3, 2011 at 11:10 am |
    • GodPot

      It's because they are afraid of the dark, the unknown, the after-life and so they are pessimists, always worrying about their future and who's going to "save" them. What they do not realize is that while they are worrying and fretting about where they will go in the supposed next life they miss out on this one, and often make short sighted decisions since they figure they won't be on this planet long since they will soon be raptured to be rewarded for their few seconds of "behaving" they did while on earth.

      August 3, 2011 at 1:17 pm |
  14. The Bobinator

    > Non-christians should leave USA. USA belongs to Christians.

    This is the exact type of thinking that caused the Americans to leave europe and forge this nation. Of coruse, if you knew anything about your own countries history, you wouldn't have made such a stupid coment. By the way, I'm Canadian and I seem to know more about your nation's founding then you do. 🙂

    August 3, 2011 at 10:29 am |
    • Atheist

      You probably know more than I do, I live in the US and I'm terrible with history... But I did know that already along with other basic facts... so what's that say about Pauline (the person who posted that)

      August 3, 2011 at 10:37 am |
    • Summary

      Canada is a Christian nation: it was created by Christians to spread Christianity. The national do-cu-ments and all verses of the anthem "O Canada" say so. Anti-christians should leave Canada!

      August 3, 2011 at 10:38 am |
    • William Demuth

      Summary

      America should annex Canada by force.

      You have never really been anything more than Maines backyard.

      August 3, 2011 at 10:50 am |
    • Summary

      The Arctic belongs to Canada and Russia.

      August 3, 2011 at 10:51 am |
  15. Reality

    Misery to ministry to dollars using one of the great cons aka Christianity!!!!

    August 3, 2011 at 10:21 am |
    • Kyle

      Is it a sin for Christians to have an income?

      August 3, 2011 at 10:30 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Yeah, nothing wrong with Christian priests sucking most of the flock's money to live well. They've been doing it for centuries. Check out the pope's fine silk robes, and Jimmy Swaggart et al. Christian charity F-T-W.

      August 3, 2011 at 10:36 am |
    • William Demuth

      Kyle

      Fraud is fraud.

      If I sell medicine that dosen't work I belong in prison.

      If you sell a life after death that dosen't materialize, then you ALSO belong in jail.

      Selling lies is immoral.

      August 3, 2011 at 10:57 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Speaking of misery. How is your miserable self today Reality?

      Amen.

      August 3, 2011 at 11:19 am |
    • Peace2All

      @HeavenSent

      Hey -HS...

      You Said to @Reality: " Speaking of misery. How is your miserable self today Reality? "

      I often wonder why believers such as yourself assume that just because someone posts something that you don't agree with or don't like, that that must *mean* they are unhappy, miserable(in this case), no life, etc...?

      Is it just that you are incapable of even considering, because of your fervent belief system, that people that don't share your same beliefs can't be immeasurably happy and joy-filled...?

      I mean, you don't even know –Reality, and yet you make unverified statements about him, that you cannot know to be true.

      I really don't get it –HS...?

      Regards,

      Peace...

      August 3, 2011 at 11:32 am |
    • Peace2All

      @Kyle

      Hey –Kyle...

      You Said: " Is it a sin for Christians to have an income? "

      The word "sin" is typically a word used within the Christian narrative. It does not apply to non-believers.'

      The etymology behind the word "sin" comes from the middle ages where archers used the term, where it means literally to "miss the mark." So, when an archer released his/her arrow and it missed the target... the archer 'sinned.'

      So, if you mean by is it 'wrong' fro a Christian to have an income...?

      No, not necessarily. And that would be the same for everyone. Believers and non-believers alike.

      I think what may be called into question is the 'what' and 'how' one is making their income from.

      And, I'm sure you could think of many examples of where 'how' one is making their income may be considered wrong, yes...?

      Something to think about.

      Regards,

      Peace...

      August 3, 2011 at 11:47 am |
    • Reality

      HeavenSent,

      Having a great day today. Playing golf tomorrow which will make for even a better day!!!

      August 3, 2011 at 3:48 pm |
  16. Bo

    Good morning HeavenSent, I hope your day has started well. I must confess that I only know 3 atheists, one the husband of a niece who is unsocialable, a poor husband and father and an alcoholic.The other two are husband and wife, both raised by Christian parents. I didn't know his father who died of cancer, but his mother is a wonderful Christian. I don't konw her parents very well, but her father is a professer in UC her mother is a nurse. The couple is very suportive of their parents, and least I know that the man very willingly helps his mother in her religious based projects. So when I discovered this site I thought I may get to learn more about Atheists since so many of them left posts. I have found some of them to be intellegent thoughtful, and courtious, but,unfortunately, I found many of them to be sarcastic, rude and hateful. Which group would you like to be classified in? Have a good day, and I hope we can become good friends.

    August 3, 2011 at 10:14 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Why doesn't your god grow amputees' limbs back after amputees pray to him sincerely?

      See here:
      http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/important.htm

      August 3, 2011 at 10:20 am |
    • Kyle

      I've seen God perform miracles. However, he doesn't do it 100% of the time, even when you sincerely pray and ask for it. Why? I don't know. Of course there are lots of questions about Christianity and there are lots of things that I don't entirely understand. But it is a faith-based religion. And I even have my doubts sometimes. But faith cannot exist without doubt.

      August 3, 2011 at 10:28 am |
    • fred

      heaven sent
      If God grew back arms and legs after prayer we would all begin to pray for the wrong reason. God figured man out long ago and we have not changed one bit. Even during Jesus short ministry thousands would flock simple to be in with the crowd or get something.
      What you point out however continues to support the truth of the Gods word and why some refuse the truth

      August 3, 2011 at 10:32 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Kyle: Present evidence for even one of the miracles that you are claiming. And what did "God" look like when you saw him? What color was his skin, and how gray was his beard?

      Seriously, do some reading here as to why amputees are a good case to look at:
      http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/important.htm
      Come back when you've read that.

      August 3, 2011 at 10:34 am |
    • Laughing

      @Kyle

      Praytell, what miracles were these exactly? Were they natural phenomonon that could happen in the physical word according to laws of nature or did it supercede those? Was it a personal feeling that you prayed to feel a certain way or have strength to do something and then magically you did?

      August 3, 2011 at 10:35 am |
    • HeavenSent

      That's quite the twisted thinking Fred. It fails.

      August 3, 2011 at 10:37 am |
    • The Bobinator

      > I've seen God perform miracles.

      You've seen God? Do tell. Now, if you're meaning that you've seen a series of unlikely events, that's a totally different matter. By what method have you used to determine the events were supernatural and therefore miracles?

      > However, he doesn't do it 100% of the time, even when you sincerely pray and ask for it. Why? I don't know.

      It's probably because there is no God and you're attributing rare events to God.

      > Of course there are lots of questions about Christianity and there are lots of things that I don't entirely understand. But it is a faith-based religion. And I even have my doubts sometimes. But faith cannot exist without doubt.

      Faith is gullibility. Because if you have evidence, you don't need faith. And an omnipotent God would surely know this. What sort of God asks for blind faith instead of evidence.

      August 3, 2011 at 10:40 am |
    • J.W

      If God was like a genie in a bottle then we could do whatever we want, and just pray for the consequences to go away. The fact is we dont live in a perfect world. I have had family members who had medical problem that I prayed for alot, and I feel that prayer helped to heal them.

      August 3, 2011 at 10:43 am |
    • Kyle

      Ever heard of the Great Commission? Jesus Christ said that we, his followers, would be able to do even greater things than him, through the power of the holy spirit living in us. I didn't see God in the flesh, thank you for your sarcasm. Its hard to explain how it feels, as I've never been the one actually being healed. I've seen cancer healed, blind people recovering to 20/20 vision, lots of things. I'm sure you will patronize me but its real whether you believe it or not. 🙂

      August 3, 2011 at 10:44 am |
    • Laughing

      @J.W

      Good morning! I see you're as bored at work as I am. In response to your statement. I can understand that god wouldn't just grant everyones wishes because they prayed hard enough, but if we're his children and we're in real pain, why wouldn't he grant a much needed miracle once and a while? I mean the rule of "do you have a piece of gum for everyone?" doesn't really apply right? What I'm trying to say is, just because god grants one miracle to one person, he doesn't have to grant the miracle again, and furthermore wouldn't it help his cred to grant at least one miracle once in a while to show he's still around doing his thang?

      You say you feel your prayer has helped the people in the hospital, how so? Did it just make you feel better that in a situation where all you can do is wait and hope that you were actually having some influence?

      August 3, 2011 at 10:47 am |
    • Laughing

      @Kyle

      Did that person with cancer get healed instantly without any treatment? Did the bling man wake up one morning with 20/20 vision?

      August 3, 2011 at 10:53 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Kyle, Cite the specifics of a case, including the illness, the doctors and hospital involved, and specifics of how the apparent healing is known to have been done by god.

      You are losing credibility with every unsupported declaration that you make, and you've made a lot of them.

      August 3, 2011 at 10:58 am |
    • William Demuth

      HeavenSent

      God dosen't grow back limbs, because it makes it easier for the sheep to kneel.

      I mean after all, the Christian God is a compassionate God!

      His charity is why MANY Christians have no spine!

      August 3, 2011 at 10:59 am |
    • fred

      Laughing,
      Jesus specifically said he does not display miracles to a wicked generations and all He will give them is the sign of Jonah. If we had limbs growing back for the purpose of demonstrating who God is then Jesus would be a lier. When you read scripture the unbeleivers were constantly trying to trap Jesus with these kinds of senerios and they never could then and wont now.

      August 3, 2011 at 11:07 am |
    • The Bobinator

      > Ever heard of the Great Commission? Jesus Christ said that we, his followers, would be able to do even greater things than him, through the power of the holy spirit living in us.

      And yet you cannot rise from the dead, turn water into wine or heal people by laying on of hands. So who actually has performed greater feats then Jesus? None.

      > I didn't see God in the flesh, thank you for your sarcasm.

      It's not sarcasm. You say you've seen miracles performed by God but did not see God. How do you know it was God? How do you know it wasn't something else?

      > Its hard to explain how it feels, as I've never been the one actually being healed.

      There have been many reports on how supposed miracle healing feels. More then likely it's an event that the patient remembers and then they attribute it to that.

      > I've seen cancer healed, blind people recovering to 20/20 vision, lots of things.

      No you haven't. You've seen people go into remission. You haven't seen cancer being healed. I'm not sure what to make of the 20/20 vision. People generally don't recover eyesight so it'd be interesting to hear what you observed.

      > I'm sure you will patronize me but its real whether you believe it or not.

      You claim it's real. Based on your predisposed bias. What if the roles were reversed and I said "I have prayed to Shiva and my mother's cancer was healed." I bet your response wouldn't be to go and convert. You'd probably be skeptical and wonder if the cancer just naturally went away.

      That's the whole point. Take everything you say and then state it as if a different God did it. The reasons you find for why you don't believe it is the exact same reasons why I don't believe it.

      August 3, 2011 at 11:11 am |
    • J.W

      Laughing,
      Your first question is kind of a hard one to answer. I do not know why miracles do not happen to everyone. I wish that they did. And perhaps sometimes miracles happen and we do not attribute them to God. I will have to think more about that. As far as my family, I have had a couple who recently had cancer. One of them the doctors said that the cancer was really advanced, but after chemo it went away almost immediately. Another was given about 5 months to live and that was a couple years ago, and they seem to not even be in much pain. I have another one whose situation was a little bit worse, but they are getting better now slowly.

      August 3, 2011 at 11:17 am |
    • Laughing

      @fred

      So what you're trying to tell me is that jesus can perform miracles, he did so for a crapload of people, but since it was also thrown into the bible that he can't perform for evil people (or wicked generation or whatever) and since we're all sinners he can't perform miracles so we just have to trust him, actually not him necessarily, a book written by a bunch of people 100's of years after jesus who also weren't seeing miracles done, so they decided that since no more miracles were happening,it's our fault. Sorry, but that's not an atheist trying to poke holes in something, that's a big crater that constantine papermacheed up

      August 3, 2011 at 11:19 am |
    • Laughing

      @J.W

      I'm sorry to hear that you have had so many people close to you contract cancer, however to focus on the main point at hand. It's great your first friend got over their cancer (or rather went into remission) but it was after chemo and therapy, so was it prayer/god or was it the chemo? As for your other two friends, it's not unheard of that a doctor gives a patient months to live and they end up living for months/years later. In fact, it happens quite often and its mostly because doctors still can not properly diagnose a cancer patient perfectly because everyone is different and reacts differently (which is why chemo works for some and doesn't work for others). If you want to get a little more trancendental (I don't think that's the right word to use but I'm going with it) then you can attribute gods guiding hand in the chemo and therapy for helping your first friend, but isn't that how bob sort of puts it in a post above mine. If you're predisposed to believe that god helped, then you'll most certainly be able to find it, but how do you know it was god that made the chemo work?

      August 3, 2011 at 11:27 am |
    • J.W

      Laughing,
      Well I guess it is basically that they recovered fast and they havent been in alot of pain. They said that they could feel all of our prayers and that it helped them. I honestly believe alot in prayer. I pray every day about a variety of things. I always feel relaxed, because it makes me feel like everything will be ok.

      August 3, 2011 at 11:59 am |
    • fred

      Laughing,
      Throw the Bible in the trash for minute. Miracles happen or best call them low probability events. The miracle of life is but a low probability event, so low that we throw up our hands and say well given enough billions of years and billions of random collisions of subatomic particles anything can happen. There that is much better than using the term miracle.

      Now, back to your reply it is all based on the truth of the bible. For the sake of argument let’s just say it was written and produced by Stephen Spielberg. In a typical scene Jesus is confronted by unbelievers who demand a sign (miracle) and he says none will be given this wicked generation but the sign of Jonah. All these people are bible fans and have already seen part I Jonah in The Belly so they know what he is talking about. What is going on? Jesus did signs and wonders to fulfill prophecy and make it clear to his fans that he is the one without doubt. Those asking for a sign did not believe what was already shown to them and what they know to be true so no further sign or miracle would change their hearts.
      Back to today, nothing has changed we have only the sign of Jonah and still make the same demands for a sign or miracle before we believe.

      August 3, 2011 at 11:59 am |
    • Laughing

      J.W

      I think it's actually been proving that prayer does make you more relaxed because it releases some chemicals in the brain. I'm certain there have been links posted on these boards somewhere that supports that. However it's been studied countless times to see if prayer does have any effect on any event at all, and alas it does not. It sounds to me like you use prayer as a subsit.tute for meditation. They're basically the same thing, but prayer is directed at god and meditation is directed at yourself. For your friends, I'm sure you probably told them you were praying for them, I also was appriciative when I was sick and my loved ones told me they were thinking of me. It makes me feel better to know that someone is worried for my well-being, is that the same as prayer?

      fred –

      When you say miracle of life, do you mean conception of a child in todays world or are you talking about single-celled organisms at the advent of life on earth? It's also not such a low probability event that life would happen given the right environment, it's finding the right environment for life (as we know it at least) to take hold is what we're having trouble finding, but give us a couple more years and we'll probably have found 1000's of potential planets that could support our type of life. The known universe has also been around for an estimated 14 billion years, a lot can happen in that time span, it seems to me with those numbers, life isn't a low probability event at all, in fact I would say no sort of organic life as we have found on earth NOT forming is probably a much lower probability event. - Sorry, just my two cents

      Back to the topic at hand. Miracles. Your example honestly was pretty garbled and didn't make sense. You say that suppose this was written and produced by Steven Spielberg – that right there doesn't help your case as he's a very good fictional writer, director, producer, but most of his hits are purely fictional. Secondly you say jesus is confronted by unbelievers who are big fans of the bible? What? But to the very crux of your arguement, you said these people wanted a sign because they didn't believe what they already saw. Jesus supposedly did his other miracles to fulfill prophacy (by the way, which prophacies were those exactly? Oh and by the way, any prophacy made after the fact ie anything in the NT doesn't really count as prophacy now does it?) but what about for the past 2000 years where we have literally seen NO miracles other than some people claiming their headache went away because they prayed to St. Thomas or what have you. For a god/guy who urges everyone to believe in him to be saved he could have saved a lot of trouble and torment by at least giving his followers something other than hearsay. Furthermore, jesus says the sign will be the sign of jonah, basically eliminating the first part of your statement of the "why jesus did his other miracles to fulfill prophacy" argument when he says that the only sign they need is the ressurection. Again, this resurrection thing is tennuous at best and falls into the category of "trust me, it happened". And you know this how? Oh yeah, it's in the bible, written by the very people who had every reason to make sure the ressurection HAD to be true.

      So here are the facts we now know:
      1. Jesus only intended to get people to believe who he was because he was resureccted. Clearly it wasn't good enough because only a few people saw him and not enough for even one other scholar to write about a jesus figure rising from the dead and walking around.
      2. Jesus has shown he's more than capable of performing miracles, but also refuses to perform them for people because they need to trust in the ressurection. So his parlor tricks were for those lucky few who happened to be around and see jesus exercise his god-i-ness.
      3. Everyone now praying for a miracle or at least a unequivocal sign of jesus' existance are denied because they are too wicked?

      Sorry fred, it doesn't match up, unless of course you look at these stories without the lense of christianity, then it is very, VERY easy to explain.

      August 3, 2011 at 12:31 pm |
    • J.W

      Laughing, well I guess there are differing views about prayer. I have read studies that say that prayer does have an effect. I think the problem of alot of studies done relating to this and other spiritual topics is they seemed to me biased toward the view of whoever does the study. Perhaps this is true of the discussion we are having now. A Christian is likely to see change because of prayer while an atheist would say its merely coincidence. My opinion as far as the lack of contemporary evidence of Jesus is that at the time Jesus was not looked at by most of the religious people as a spiritual leader, but more as a threat to Judaism. Many of the people who wrote of Jesus and his disciples were imprisoned and/or executed. If others had wrote of Jesus they may have suffered a similar fate.

      August 3, 2011 at 1:12 pm |
    • Frogist

      @JW: I'm glad that prayer makes you feel more relaxed. When I was a believer I prayed too, for everything. At all times. I'm a bit OCD. But I found it didn't bring me comfort. It just increased my anxiety. What if I didn't pray for the right things? What if I didn't pray the right way? And the crux of the thing – what if my prayers are just selfish? It was just useless for me. The day I stopped praying was the day I felt sincere liberation and calm. Because prayer made me feel the opposite, that no one was in control. That I had no control. So I'm glad prayer works for you. But I am equally glad I've discarded it.

      August 3, 2011 at 1:18 pm |
    • fred

      Laughing,
      You said:” 1. Jesus only intended to get people to believe who he was because he was resurrected. Clearly it wasn't good enough because only a few people saw him and not enough for even one other scholar to write about a Jesus figure rising from the dead and walking around”
      So, these signs in Luke and Matthew were being demanded by skeptics who knew the Bible. Jesus was before them, they already heard of his miracles that fit exactly what their coming Messiah would do yet they demanded a sign then and now as proof. Note the att-itude of their hearts and minds. Nothing could ever convince these hardened people. So as Jonah in the belly 3 days and nights came out they (Nineveh) believed and repented turning back to the Lord. That is all the Ninevites saw and that was all they needed. That is all you (this wicked bunch with a bad heart) are going to get period. You(Laughing) are correct it was not good enough for those types of people then and it is not good enough now. Why the Ninevites saw and why these people did not is a different topic.
      It was to the advantage of the religious leaders and Romans to cover up the resurrection not to mention what happened to anyone that would speak of it Jew or Roman. Don’t forget 70AD the fires were so hot gold ran in streets when the surge ended –not much survived. Keep in mind the entire Bible is set up so that those who seek find just what they are really looking for in the first place. Some say we did not land on the moon others the holocaust never happened.

      August 3, 2011 at 1:32 pm |
    • fred

      Laughing said "So his parlor tricks were for those lucky few who happened to be around and see jesus exercise his god-i-ness."
      There were 1,000's of them but we only read of a few. Those that we read about had specific purpose for the benefit of that generation and this one. Like the woman who touched his robe was she lucky or was that a demonstration of how much faith it takes to get a woman to crawl through a bunch of Priests to the only one that can heal.

      August 3, 2011 at 1:46 pm |
    • Civiloutside

      Fred – what you just said was, effectively, that the skeptics had heard rumors about some guy fulfilling prophecies, but since the rumors weren't good enough for them, well, screw 'em.

      Something tells me that if I convinced a few people to spread rumors about that I was performing miracles, you'd be pretty skeptical yourself.

      August 3, 2011 at 1:57 pm |
    • Magic

      fred,

      Do you know that it is highly probable that Jesus studied the magic arts in Egypt during his many unwritten-about / unaccounted-for years? Moses and Aaron most certainly did.

      August 3, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
    • J.W

      Frogist, I am sorry that you did not have the same experience. I can see how you would feel like you had no control. I dont feel like there is a right or wrong way to pray. I dont necessarily pray that like God will give me a million dollars or things like that. I pray more for things that are beyond my control or even the control of others. I dont believe that God controls everything, but I do believe that he does control some things. And I feel that it helps me and those who I pray for if I pray for things that are beyond control.

      August 3, 2011 at 2:09 pm |
    • Laughing

      @J.W

      Frogist brings up a good point, what is the right way to pray? Is a prayer too selfish? It's good it works for you, but are you saying you prayer because of the feeling you get or because of the actual results. In any event, you are correct, we're bias and see things we want to see. I don't believe that prayer works and so when you tell me that prayer works because there's god behind an action, I'm skeptical. However, I would be interested in what studies were done and what the measurement of success was with these studies that proved prayer did work.

      @fred
      You're ignoring your previous post then? "Jesus is confronted by unbelievers who demand a sign (miracle) and he says none will be given this wicked generation but the sign of Jonah"

      Firstly, like I said previously, prophacy from the NT does not count as prophacy, it's the same way that I can now prophasize that I will be born on July 31 and low and behold, I was, prophacy fulfulled! Also the OT prophacies about the messiah, Jesus fulfilled maybe some of them, if you stretch it out, but by no means fulfilled all or even half of them, which is why everyone was incrediby doubtful of his messianic tendencies in the first place. I mean think about it, if jesus was really who he claimed he was and really did all this stuff why didn't the jews follow him? It worked in the exodus story because moses was able to prove himself to them ( granted I also highly doubt the validity of the story to even its most basic foundations) but oppressed jews with a messianic prophacy aren't exactly hard to convince in the fist place, and yet most people didn't believe in his divinity.

      As to your last comment, if the Romans and Jews were really so intent on covering up the ressurection, it wouldn't have gotten out, especially in such detail as the bible presents it. The Romans are renowned as the one of the most powerful empires in history, if they had really cared, they could have snuffed out christianity in a heartbeat, they didn't because they thought christ followers were as crazy as non-christians today do.
      "Keep in mind the entire Bible is set up so that those who seek find just what they are really looking for in the first place. Some say we did not land on the moon others the holocaust never happened."
      So you admit that the bible only confirms what you already believe and yet it's essential to your beliefs, isn't that incredibly circular logic? Also some say we didn't land on the moon, if those skeptics ever get to the moon and see the US flag, pretty much shoots down their theory right? Holocaust never happened....maybe those people should watch the countless videos that nazis, americans and british took, the camps that are still set up and the mass graves in and around Poland. Those things DID happen and we have proof they did, verifiable, 100% authentic proof. You're proof on the otherhand is 100 hearsay written by a group of men with the intent purpose of making sure everyword fit their agenda, now, is that really proof?

      August 3, 2011 at 2:29 pm |
    • Frogist

      @JW: No worries! I'm much happier this way. Oh and I would pray for stuff that was beyond my control too. It just never had the same effect it had on you. But like I said, I am glad you found something that brings you peace. 🙂

      August 3, 2011 at 2:29 pm |
    • J.W

      Laughing, I have read about studies of certain patients being prayed for while others were not prayed for, and the ones that were prayed for healed faster. Once again I am sure there are variables, and you could say well if one person healed faster why did the other not heal faster. I am sure there are studies that have been done to show the opposite. I dont think prayer is always selfish. I pray for myself sometimes, although I am lucky enough that I am in good health and almost never get sick. I pray for people who I know who gets sick and have other troubles, and say some general prayers for the world in general.

      August 3, 2011 at 2:41 pm |
    • Laughing

      JW

      I guess I rambled a little, but really it comes down to measurement of success. So these people who were prayed for healed faster than the people who didn't. Was it uniformly that all people who had prayers for them healed faster or was it just most people? And what did they heal exactly? Was it based on someone who was being prayed for had a cut heal faster than the person who didn't have prayers didn't kick his cold longer than expected?

      My main point is, when you test to see if prayer works, there are ways to randomize it so bias is out of the equation (Usually double-blind tests work nicely) and then before you even begin you outline that a prayer that works means the person is healed instantly, or to make it slightly more "fair" and conform to laws of nature more, a person who has prayers heals at an abnormally high rate. Since everyone is different you also have to set a baseline for how quickly a person normally gets over a specific illness or injury and then to see if that baseline is affected in anyway when you add prayer to it (or in some peoples cases take away prayer).

      So although you obviously know I have bias when it comes to how prayer affects someone, when you say someone heals faster with prayer than without, other than the exception you knew I would make, there's the other objections I raised above.

      Apart from healing the sick and injured, has prayer ever yielded any other tangible results for you other than peace of mind?

      August 3, 2011 at 2:52 pm |
    • J.W

      I forgot exactly what the illness was. I know they all had the same illness and it was one that they had to be in the hospital for. And they did not tell the person they were praying for them or not praying for them. Most of my recent prayers have centered around a family member who is very sick right now. One big thing I prayed for recently is that a friend of mine would be able to find a job, because they hadnt worked in several years and hadnt graduated from college, and they found a job within about a week.

      August 3, 2011 at 3:25 pm |
    • Laughing

      @JW

      I know at this point its sort of kicking a dead horse, because I know we've both agreed that clearly we'll see what we want to see but your answer just begged the question, so this friend of yours is he a) a christian himself b) had he been praying for a job before c) why did your prayer take an entire week to be fulfilled d) is it a good job?

      It's great that your friend got a job, but at least how you presented it, it doesn't sound like god gave him a job or even moved his resume to the top of the pile, but rather after applying for many many jobs, especially being out of a job for years that's a lot of job applications, one would happen to strike gold, hardly seems to me that god or specifically your prayers had anything to do with his success.

      Like I said though, I know its kicking a dead horse so you clearly saw divine intervention in something that I simply can't believe had anything to do with anyone else but your friend and the place that hired him.

      August 3, 2011 at 3:34 pm |
    • Magic

      JW,

      The Study on Intercessory Prayer found quite the opposite results from what you claim about ill people benefiting from it. Those who knew that they were being prayed for actually fared a bit worse than those who were not prayed for.

      http://web.med.harvard.edu/sites/RELEASES/html/3_31STEP.html

      August 3, 2011 at 3:42 pm |
    • J.W

      Yeah we go to the same church. She had not been looking for very long. She was a housewife recently divorced. As far as it taking a week, I think that may be about the fastest it goes these days with the application, background check, interview, etc. It paid about $2000/month as far as net pay, which isnt that bad all things considered I dont think. But I do agree with you that we will never agree on this. We just have 2 differnet viewpoints

      August 3, 2011 at 3:51 pm |
    • fred

      Laughing, Frogist, JW

      I can relate to many times when from my perspective prayer was answered. I run small mens groups and get 19 or so new guys every year. I keep track of prayers and notice that the vast majority are answered. To a non believer most answers would simply seem as random results with the outcome being viewed as through our lens and perspective as God doing something. Either way the result is the same just the interpretation varies.
      One specific example would be when my mother at 76 should have died from cancer. She waited and waited for her priest who never arived and when the surgens in the pre opp room could no longer wait I prayed. Now, this was not prayer I am capable of as something else took over and words came out. Having had this experience before it is what Christians call praying in the Spirit. I have tried to force this kind of prayer but it never happens. It seems random to me but on occassion it just happens. Those prayers are always answered. In this case just the look on the surgens and opp team after prayer said it all. Though I do not call it a miracle the results were highly improbable even the surgens commented that they have not experienced such results. Now it is likely that they worked harder and longer as I prayed (outloud) for God to guide them and give them strength and wisdom .....or was it answered prayer........would the results have been the same -clearly not because the situation was altered either by God, prayer or simply the hearing of a plea by the surgens and staff.

      I

      August 3, 2011 at 4:00 pm |
    • J.W

      Yeah Magic I am sure there are other studies that I have not seen, and probably several with varying results. Of course there are some of the variables we have talked about, and of course someone who believes in God may look at other variables, like how much faith a person has as well.
      Fred, that is great. I am happy to see other people have positive results from prayer. Unfortunately you are right, other people may see the results differently. I think the important thing is just to always have faith. I know there is a verse in James that says something to the extent of when you pray do not have any doubt or it will not be answered.

      August 3, 2011 at 4:26 pm |
    • fred

      JW
      Mostly I see prayer as deep communication heart to heart or spirit to spirit. Relationship requires lots of honest communication. Throughout the Bible we see key communication types and styles with God and Gods response. Jesus prayed a lot and was one with the Father. We see His prayer and Abrahams prayer for example being answered. Regardless of the answer received it is the communication and your response that deepens the relationship. The entire Bible is about relationship and restoring relationship with man.

      August 3, 2011 at 4:39 pm |
    • Anti Christian Taliban Schizophrenics

      fred

      JW
      Mostly I see prayer as deep communication heart to heart or spirit to spirit. Relationship requires lots of honest communication. Throughout the Bible we see key communication types and styles with God and Gods response. Jesus prayed a lot and was one with the Father. We see His prayer and Abrahams prayer for example being answered. Regardless of the answer received it is the communication and your response that deepens the relationship. The entire Bible is about relationship and restoring relationship with man.

      ----------
      Gods has always been about what has happened in the past. There never is a current day god present. It is always man spinning the tale and requiring faith. This is found in every religion/myth....always from the past, never the present. The gods talked to men in the past but never present. Always hearsay

      August 3, 2011 at 4:47 pm |
    • Laughing

      @ fred

      I'm sorry, but What?

      You first started off with something about keeping track of peoples prayers in your mens club and that they are mostly answered. How exactly? What do you mean answered? Does it count if you say my prayer was for "help" and then "help" arrived in the form of something that probably would happen? That doesn't seem like an answered prayer, it's just you identifying the sit.uation your in and that you want out.

      Secondly, are you saying you spoke in tongues? I'm honestly confused by your second story about your mother. To make sure I understand, I think, your mother was ready to be operated on but you were waiting on surgery for a priest that never showed up? Then you started praying and speaking in tongues and for some reason you were in the operating room so the surgeons could hear you and then at the end your mothers operation went as planned with good results that were unlikely but still could happen, unlike say a complete miracle of having 0% chance of suc.ceeding and su.cc.eeding anywa.ys. Is that about the gis.t of it? You also don't know how the res.ults could have turned out, you as.sume that it wouldn't have been the same, but that's just po.stul.at.ion.

      Also, pointing out that prayer works in the bible is about as useful as saying that magic exists because harry potter does it in his books. It has no bearing on actual real time evidence in how prayer effects the enviro.nment around us.

      August 3, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
    • J.W

      Another thing to think about is that perhaps one possible but unlikely event can happen to a person after they pray and it could be looked at as a coincidence, but what if multiple unlikely events happen to one person after they had prayed. There is a large probability that each person may experience one unlikely event in their life, but the odds of experiencing multiple unlikely events are smaller.

      August 3, 2011 at 5:10 pm |
    • fred

      Laughing,
      No tongues’ it was plain old English and I was not thinking about the words coming out they were words that seem to have come from a deeper place another plane so to speak. A better way to put it would be a connection between the Holy Spirit and God where my mouth was being used but words were not ones I normally use. The place was outside the operating room all were physically present then the team wheeled the gurney into the operating room and those not in blue stayed outside. Operation did not go as planned 4 hours became 9 and they are not to go past 6 due to age and loss of blood. Surgeons went well beyond their limits as they expressed to me and were surprised that anyone could pull thru and survive the surgery. Even if one does not accept prayer or God what happened altered the actions of the team. Those who believe in God or are open to the possibility would say Gods hand was there guiding the whole time and any others would chalk it up to the luck of the draw. Surgeons, doctor, two of the nurses and anesthesiologist were moved by the event and expressed the same to me in different ways.

      August 3, 2011 at 6:31 pm |
  17. Kyle

    Its always encouraging when someone dedicates their lives to helping others in this way, regardless of whether or not they are Christian. We need more people like this in the world.

    August 3, 2011 at 10:10 am |
    • HeavenSent

      You might want to look into what % of ministry revenues actually goes to helping anyone other than the high priest. Typically the high priests live in mansions and Hood Martin is no exception. She thanks you for lining her pockets.

      August 3, 2011 at 10:29 am |
    • Kyle

      LOL well that would depend on the ministry. I know a ministry that only 1 cent on the dollar goes to pay administrative and overhead expenses. Which are you talking about. There are plenty of ministries that have a purpose and there are those that exploit christianity. Don't lump them all together and hate them all.

      August 3, 2011 at 10:35 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Name that ministry. You make a lot of declarations with no references.

      August 3, 2011 at 10:38 am |
    • HeavenSent

      PS it's very tough to administer a large, effective organization at 1% administrative overhead. So your claim is suspect from the get-go. We'll look at the books when you name the ministry, shall we?

      August 3, 2011 at 10:41 am |
    • The Bobinator

      > Name that ministry. You make a lot of declarations with no references.

      Ted Haggard, Billy Graham, Benny Hinn, do I need to name more?

      August 3, 2011 at 10:42 am |
    • Peace2All

      @Kyle

      You Said: " Its always encouraging when someone dedicates their lives to helping others in this way, regardless of whether or not they are Christian. We need more people like this in the world. "

      I am in basic agreement with your statement. Whether or not someone has 'any' religious beliefs or not is kind of irrelevant.

      If someone is out there helping people get through their personal tragedies, that's great.

      My only caveat to that would be any potential 'indoctrination' from a 'believer.' And even with that, I am aware that for 'some' having some kind of belief system that helps them get through their hurts happens to be some kind of 'believer' system, then I would prefer they live, survive and thrive than not.

      All-in-all though, I think a competent trauma thera-pist could be most beneficial.

      Regards,

      Peace...

      August 3, 2011 at 11:06 am |
  18. Fact-telling

    Taking money from poor and endless suffering is Christianity typical. How come god doesn't grow back limbs that have become like ashes? We have names for cruel beings like that.

    August 3, 2011 at 9:45 am |
    • Fact-telling

      I remember being fed by Christians. We'd not have survived if Christians didn't help us. How can I forget? In fact, atheists did all the cruel atrocities all over the world. God has been merciful and victorious in the midst of human evils.

      August 3, 2011 at 9:53 am |
    • Fact-telling

      Number of killings in the name of Christianity during the inquisitions: thousands upon thousands
      Number of killings from Islamic sui-cide bombings in the name of Allah: thousands upon thousands
      Number of killings due to atheist and secular teachings: zero.

      August 3, 2011 at 10:02 am |
    • Fact-telling

      FT2, yes you were fed lies by christians and you ate them all up.

      August 3, 2011 at 10:03 am |
    • Fact-telling

      The fact is: Christians rescued 7 billion humans. Atheists massacred 1 billion humans. Americans are the only ones who don't know this.

      August 3, 2011 at 10:07 am |
    • Fact-telling

      Number of killings in the name of Christianity during the inquisitions: thousands upon thousands upon thousands
      Number of killings from Islamic sui-cide bombings in the name of Allah: thousands upon thousands
      Number of killings due to atheist and secular teachings: zero.

      August 3, 2011 at 10:15 am |
    • The Bobinator

      > The fact is: Christians rescued 7 billion humans. Atheists massacred 1 billion humans. Americans are the only ones who don't know this.

      You're a troll. 🙂

      August 3, 2011 at 10:43 am |
    • Fact-telling

      Calculate what Stalin, Mao, Castro, Kim, Pol Pot, and abortionists did. It's well over a billion.

      August 3, 2011 at 10:54 am |
    • Fact-telling

      What Mao et al did was not done because of the dictates of atheism, whereas Christianity and Islam both directly dictate cruelty, violence, and bigotry in their respective books of evil.

      "Good people will do good things, and bad people will do bad things. It takes religion to make good people do bad things."
      -Steven Weinberg

      August 3, 2011 at 1:59 pm |
    • GodPot

      "Calculate what Stalin, Mao, Castro, Kim, Pol Pot, and abortionists did. It's well over a billion."

      I'm sorry, but that made me laugh. When did all abortionists become atheist? Is it that you cannot believe someone who believes in God could terminate a pregnancy? You just exceeded light-speed stupidity and gone to plaid...

      August 3, 2011 at 2:24 pm |
  19. Praise

    Triumph from ashes is always Christianity.

    August 3, 2011 at 9:42 am |
    • The Bobinator

      > Triumph from ashes is always Christianity.

      Hope based on something that could be wrong is false hope. Perhaps it'd be healthier for people to face their issues and work on healing rather then trying to say "God will help me."

      The author states that her mother was set up by the favour of God, giving her a father. My question is this. Isn't it then also the will of God that she was imprisoned and abused?

      How do people logically attribute good things to God but not bad things. I thought God had a plan for everyone? Yet, at the same time, everyone has free will. LOL.

      August 3, 2011 at 10:46 am |
    • Peace2All

      @Praise

      You Said: " Triumph from ashes is always Christianity. "

      While those particular words may tend to be associated often as 'christian speak' for 'overcoming adversity' and succeeding in spite of one's past.

      In no way, does christianity hold the monopoly on people overcoming tragedies and succeeding.

      Try to stay away from the over-generalized b.s. statement.

      Regards,

      Peace...

      August 3, 2011 at 10:58 am |
  20. HeavenSent

    Good selling job Jacquie. You must be becoming a really rich preacher. Isn't it fun taking money from the stupid and gullible? Oops. The families of those innocent dead children from all the tsunamis, tornados, and cancers that god sent us are going to have a hard time even thinking about "silver linings".

    August 3, 2011 at 9:26 am |
    • @Fake HeavenSent

      Those victims and families are all right in God, but not you. Atheists are evil hijackers.

      August 3, 2011 at 9:44 am |
    • HeavenSent

      @Fake HeavenSent, I am the original HeavenSent from day 1. No, those families,are not "right by god". They are missing much loved family members that, if your "loving god" existed and cared, they would not be missing. There are good names for the being you worship, but "loving" sure isn't one of them. Obvious to anyone with a brain.

      August 3, 2011 at 9:49 am |
    • @Fake H-S-

      Don't lie. Atheists are specialized in lying. USA is gowing down with liers.

      August 3, 2011 at 9:55 am |
    • Paulius

      USA is going down like a cheap por-n star and Christianity and beliefy thinking generally is part of the cause.

      August 3, 2011 at 9:59 am |
    • Pauline

      Non-christians should leave USA. USA belongs to Christians.

      August 3, 2011 at 10:09 am |
    • China CFO

      Now USA belong to China. All your debt are belong to us.

      August 3, 2011 at 10:14 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Phony heavensent, you prove how non-believers stand for nothing if you do not stand for Jesus Christ!

      Amen.

      August 3, 2011 at 10:16 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Amputees without legs find it hard to stand. Why doesn't your god grow amputees' limbs back after amputees pray to him sincerely?

      See here:
      http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/important.htm

      August 3, 2011 at 10:22 am |
    • HeavenSent

      "Why do the faithful have such a will to believe in Something,
      then call it a name they choose,
      having chosen Nothing"?
      Jethro Tull

      August 3, 2011 at 10:24 am |
    • HeavenSent

      "Why do the fait-hful have such a will to believe in Something,
      then call it a name they choose,
      having chosen Nothing"?
      Jethro Tull

      August 3, 2011 at 10:26 am |
    • Summary

      Americans messed China by being a bad credit. Americans must surrender to China their land or the Pacific Ocean if they have no cash.

      August 3, 2011 at 10:32 am |
    • fred

      Ouch, what big teeth you have. Do you have this att itude towards everyone or just chrstians? Good time to reflect on just what has gone wrong that would cause such reaction, not a good thing to bite and bark at everyone that walks by.

      August 3, 2011 at 10:52 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Fred, you and your lack of valid arguments are the real dog here. Go bark somewhere else.

      August 3, 2011 at 2:01 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.