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My Faith: How storytelling saved my life
The author in his college days, as seen in his student ID card from Yale.
August 7th, 2011
01:00 AM ET

My Faith: How storytelling saved my life

Editor's Note: Edward Grinnan is editor-in-chief of Guideposts magazine and author of "The Promise of Hope: How True Stories of Hope and Inspiration Saved My Life and How They Can Transform Yours."

By Edward Grinnan, Special to CNN

One spring day 25 years ago, I found myself perched on the 21st floor windowsill of a Denmark hotel room, holding what I thought would be my last alcoholic drink. I planned to give it up in a big way.

For all these years, I never told that story publicly, despite being the editor-in-chief of Guideposts, an interfaith magazine in which ordinary people tell their own stories of hope. My job is to persuade and help people tell those stories.

I’ve long known that such stories are our best medium for forging connections with our fellow human beings. They help span the breach of solipsism to unify the human experience.

We’ve been telling our stories since we could carve on cave walls, and probably longer. Stories are the roadmaps of our lives, and we're hard-wired for telling them.

Two generations before the internet and social networking, the minister and grandfather of the self-help movement, Norman Vincent Peale, founded Guideposts as a place for what would eventually come to be known as user-generated content.

Its origins were humble; the first issue of Guideposts was a 16-page booklet that featured World War I hero Eddie Rickenbacker on the cover.

Peale saw that by sharing our stories, we not only change ourselves, we change others. The act of telling our stories is transformative.

When I crawled into the Guideposts office in midtown Manhattan 23 years ago looking for a job, any job, I had no idea how being exposed to the power and beauty of true personal stories would change my life.

I was virtually homeless at the time and still recovering from the alcoholic seizures I'd suffered just a few weeks before.

I have no idea why I was even given a job, albeit an editorially menial one. I certainly wouldn’t have hired me.

Several years removed from getting a master’s degree in playwriting from Yale, I had been in and out of detoxes and rehabs, ERs, sobering-up stations and flophouses. I’d occasionally lived on the streets, smoked butts I’d found in the gutters and begged for change in the Hoboken, New Jersey, train station and in the shadows of the twin towers.

I’d hit bottom and now I was trying – again – to claw my way back. Little did I know that the path was right before me, aptly named Guideposts. Still, at the start I never intended to spend more than a year working for this odd little magazine.

Eventually, that changed. And so did I.

Yet two years ago, when I decided to write a book about a career spent helping people tell their stories, I had absolutely no intention of sharing my own. I’d never told it to my readers, or even my employers.

Yes, shame was a factor. Who wants to admit he’d sunk so low as to beg for change and sleep on benches? But it was also the nihilism of my 20s that I wanted to keep buried, that part of my life that felt more like an archeological dig than a personal story. Who was that person?

And I knew enough to understand that writing autobiographically can be like performing surgery on yourself without anesthesia.

No, I wanted my book to explain the basic steps for making personal changes that I’d picked up from the people who told their stories in Guideposts. People like Bill Irwin, who thru-hiked the 2,000-mile Appalachian Trail blind with only the assistance of his service dog, Orient.

Or the professional ballplayer who had to reconcile his shock at being traded like some commodity from the only major league team he had ever played for.

Or the woman who learned to forgive her cruel, abusive father when she was forced to care for him in her home as his life was drained by Alzheimer’s.

These were people whose stories moved and inspired me and made me look at my own life with not just a sense of hope and, eventually, to look at it through a spiritual lens.

I wanted the book to be just about them. But before I signed my book contract, my wife intervened.

“You’re going to tell you own story aren’t you, Edward?” she asked as we reviewed the contract. Sensing my reluctance, she made her case.

“You get people to bare their souls and share their stories with millions of others,” she said. “Your story will help people, too. Isn’t it time for a bit of your own medicine?” She held the pen out. “Look, Edward, I married you because of your story.”

So I made the difficult decision to include my own story in the book.

It wasn’t easy. I felt a little like the Wizard of Oz must have when the curtain was torn away. Honesty can be painful. I have greater respect than ever for the people who find the courage to help others by telling their stories in Guideposts.

And my wife was right - my story has helped others.

But mostly it has gotten me to finally look at the narrative roadmap of my life. I discovered that it is in telling our own stories that we truly find ourselves.

And it was in writing my story that I finally recognized a deeper and more ineffable plan.

When I see my life as a story, with all the richness and depth of art, the beauty and serendipity and redemption, the synchronicity of forces beyond my knowing, I understand finally that I am not necessarily the author.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Edward Grinnan.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Inspiration

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soundoff (602 Responses)
  1. a person of the Name

    @ muneef too many... Even here in the bible belt of the US has become filled with hate. Me and my wife decided long ago to do away with TV in our home. The junk that comes off it... I do not want my kids going up thinking that sin is ok as long as its not hurting anyone. Sin is sin, there is no other name for it. Maybe one day it will get better but that is unlikely.

    August 8, 2011 at 11:48 pm |
    • Faith

      Me, too! The less media, the better. Both to character and to brain.

      August 9, 2011 at 12:25 am |
    • TruthPrevails

      Your poor poor children. You shouldn't be allowed the right to raise them. You can't keep them from the reality of the world forever and in doing so, you make them as ignorant as the rest of the christian morons out there.

      August 9, 2011 at 4:59 am |
    • Free

      a person of the Name
      "Sin is sin, there is no other name for it."
      Yes, there is no other word for having a judgmental att.itude against what someone else' does simply because you find it personally distasteful. The Bible is full of stuff like that. 'Those' people mix their fabrics, so that is a sin. 'Those' people eat pork, so that is a sin. 'Those' people don't circu.mcise their boys, so that is a sin. Any way you slice it, it's just plain old prejudice.

      August 9, 2011 at 11:27 am |
    • The Lionly Lamb of The Gods Does Roar

      @ apotN and All,

      I watch television but mostly Chirch related channels although sometimes I tune in to the Syfy channel(s), (I LOVE Science Fiction and/or Fact! Today, one need not have a television to watch Tv. Such is now being broadcast upon the "net". My now-being a 'commoner' to CNN Belief Blogs, much of my time is spent here writing away my thoughts and being critical against those who tend to discombobulate rationalities of Faith and also I do criticize those who do wrongly stand upon Atheisms' Pedestals by their condemnations of those who ever remain faithful to their Lord, the Savior and Redeemer of lost souls, Christ Jesus, The King of all the Gods and the very 1st created God after being made manifest by GOD, the FATHER of all Fathers, past, present and Future!

      "Thus Saith I, The Lionly Lamb of (ALL) Gods in the Aboveness Of My Written Word, AMEN and Amen and amen!"

      August 9, 2011 at 12:14 pm |
    • Free

      The Lionly Lamb of The Gods Does Roar

      "Atheist Pedestals"? We generally believe in evolution, and so do not nearly place ourselves on the same kind of pedestals that evolution deniers do by thinking that they are modeled on some perfect being.

      August 9, 2011 at 4:10 pm |
    • Muneef

      a person of the Name.

      Sorry for not having seen this before but here "The Lionly Lamb" has a point that says it is not the TV or the Internet it is what you chose to watch or browse....
      As it seems as well we can not avoid being brainwashed from childhood starting with cartoons that says and does more damage than what you can imagine to child's brains and the way you want to bring them up with...!

      August 9, 2011 at 10:07 pm |
    • pfeffernusse

      Hey! Where's my atheist pedistal! I never got one!

      August 10, 2011 at 7:37 pm |
  2. a person of the Name

    Powerful stuff...

    August 8, 2011 at 11:23 pm |
    • Muneef

      Wow and how is that taken ? Under skin or through nose or mouth or smoking your head off?? Surely you are not the same person...?

      August 8, 2011 at 11:43 pm |
  3. a person of the Name

    "They shall be ashamed, and also confounded, all of them: they shall go to confusion together that are makers of idols. But Isreal shall be saved in the Lord with an everlasting salvation: ye shall not be ashamed nor confounded world without end. For thus saith the Lord that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the Lord; and there is none else. I have not spoken in secret, in a dark place of the earth: I said not unto the seed of Jacob, Seek ye me in vain: I the Lord speak righteousness, I declair things that are right. Assemble yourselves and com; draw near together, ye that are escaped of the nations: they have no knowledge that set up the wood of their graven image, and pray unto a god that cannot save. Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? Who hath told it from that time? Have not I the Lord? And there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Savior; there is none beside me. Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the end of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else. I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear." Isaiah 45 17-23
    It will happen, weather its now or later it will happen. I would rather come to the Lord in love, than in fear.

    August 8, 2011 at 10:28 pm |
    • pfeffernusse

      Make sure you have the right god. It will be an unpleasant surprise to die only to discover the Hindus were right. You might come back as a fish for your transgression of not believing in Adi Parashakti.

      August 10, 2011 at 7:24 pm |
  4. Faith

    I thought Guidepost was Christian. Without the Christ, any spirituality makes the Westerners only worse with all kinds of narcissism. There maybe a storyline, since everyone has a placed position with relations to others in certain timeframes, but one still faces consequences for the free-willed actions. People need Jesus. Only in Jesus, there is meaning and dignity of human life. Otherwise, most humans on Planet Earth are only the objects of vengeance. Every story ends with justice done or the Redeemer's entry.

    August 8, 2011 at 10:08 pm |
  5. HeavenSent

    Phony heavensent, you’ve proven yourself to be a control freak, a liar, abusive, a thief etc. I suspect that you are also a little man.

    Amen.

    August 8, 2011 at 9:41 pm |
    • Martin T

      Please read my response to you further down and let me know what you think. Peace.

      August 8, 2011 at 9:47 pm |
  6. a person of the Name

    @ Linca, ppl like you will see the truth in full at Jesuss' second coming when" every knee shall bow and everyone will cry Lord Lord!

    August 8, 2011 at 8:55 pm |
    • Spiffy

      Who told you such ridiculous things?

      August 8, 2011 at 8:58 pm |
    • LinCA

      @a person of the Name

      You said "@ Linca, ppl like you will see the truth in full at Jesuss' second coming when" every knee shall bow and everyone will cry Lord Lord!"
      Dream on. He aint coming back. Ever.

      He reportedly said that he'd be back within a generation. He's missed his own, self-imposed, deadline by almost 2000 years.

      August 8, 2011 at 9:03 pm |
    • Laughing

      @LinCA

      Maybe he went out for a pack of cigarettes? I mean, it's sort of like a father like son sort of deal right?

      Also to beat Herbert so maybe he'll just go back to his bridge......Spiffy does not exist.... (sorry spiffy, nothing against you buddy)

      August 9, 2011 at 11:18 am |
    • pfeffernusse

      If a Spiffy falls in the forest and there is no one else around, does he make a sound?

      August 10, 2011 at 7:07 pm |
  7. a person of the Name

    @ heavensent, its spiritual warfare. It a shame so many don't see that they're prisoners of their own deamons. I'm so thankful that Jesus set me free and allowed me to become a prayer warrior for Him.

    August 8, 2011 at 8:48 pm |
    • pfeffernusse

      A "prayer warrior"?

      August 10, 2011 at 7:05 pm |
  8. The Lionly Lamb of The Gods Does Roar

    On August 7, 2011 at 11:31 pm, "Free" did write, "The proof exists. Science has basically demonstrated how all of the things we needed gods to explain before can now be understood far more simply, yet more eloquently for what they actually are. Meanwhile, there have been thousands of gods and all but a few have been abandoned as mere myths, human creations. Believers claiming to have a real, bona fide god to worship have to provide proof to those of us not willing to accept that claim blindly."

    Oh Free, For One to aspire toward the "bring 'em all back" Gods and Goddesses pedestal of godliness; sends chills up and down my spine! Such pleasentries those good ol' days were! "Where have they all gone?" one might ask? If the KJVB is correct and our bodies truly are the Temples for the Gods and Goddesses who really live within our bodies, then My Prayers are answered! My harvest Time will be upon my cross-born death and then I will be taken into my body of the Gods' temple to become that which GOD Himself shall ordain for me to become! Sure as Chit beats the life I now am living! Like I said in another post, "Ya'll are of the pitch fork kinds!" AND The Lord and King of all the Gods and Goddesses is the Redeemer, called Christ Jesus!

    August 8, 2011 at 8:43 pm |
    • John Richardson

      Your "cross-born death"/ Are you going to be crucified? Hey, if it means never having to read your prose again, I'll buy the lumber!.How's that for a win-win?

      August 8, 2011 at 9:08 pm |
    • The Lionly Lamb of The Gods Does Roar

      @John Richardson wrote to me, "Your "cross-born death"/ Are you going to be crucified?"

      We all carry burdnens containing weightiness of spiritualisms not well suited for declarations to the masses Johnny. For you to insinuate otherwise would leave me speechless. 🙁

      My cross-born death deals with my fighting sometimes for and other times against GOD and God and god issues. Sometimes I believe in Christ Jesus and a day or 2 later I deny Him. I see deep inside our body's Structures and see that what we are made of is what this world's Heavenly aboveness is only mimicking in the material sense. We are as gods created by the Gods who themselves were made manifest by GOD. This "wrestling match" I have daily in my Brainyard and try as I might, I can only see with difficulty that which I do so Believe and yearn to say to those wanting to listen and comprehend and then to be denied. That oh Johnny is my "cross-born death" that I have daily and devotionally endure.

      August 8, 2011 at 9:59 pm |
    • Muneef

      There is only One GOD and there are no other Gods to worship other than GOD....all the rest are his servants...if you worship the One GOD Only doing which ever you know would please him as Good deeds then fear no other...what ever punishment would come as;
      "It will be for what you knew was wrong but insisted in doing or practicing" then again for which ever "you knew was Right but still you insisted on avoiding or rejecting"...! 😉

      August 8, 2011 at 11:09 pm |
  9. HeavenSent

    I like stories. That's why I like to read the bible so much. Even the naughty bits.

    August 8, 2011 at 8:40 pm |
    • Spiffy

      Do you also like slavery? Because the bible says its ok.

      August 8, 2011 at 9:10 pm |
    • Muneef

      Maybe if slavery with """"naughty bits"""""!! 🙂

      August 8, 2011 at 11:13 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Spiffy, slavery back in those days was a logical way for the person to pay off their debt. Today, our youths run to bankcrupcy courts so your debts are wiped out.

      Phony heavensent, I wrote you last night about being small among other things but my post went wherever you wanted it posted.

      Amen.

      August 9, 2011 at 8:39 pm |
    • pfeffernusse

      There was debt slavery. There was also an active slave market where people from conquered countries were bought and sold. And let's not romanticize debt slavery. They didn't call it "debt servitude". It was called slavery for a reason. You were less than human to your owners. If someone killed you, they weren't arrested and tried. They paid a fee to the owner and moved on.

      August 10, 2011 at 6:55 pm |
  10. herbert juarez

    @jf
    1.There is no record as to whether the words or works of Jesus were written down or not.So that possibility cannot be excluded
    2.When a person comes into the presence of the living God,that leaves an impression that lasts lifetime .Many have held that encounter more precious than life itself.Most of the authors of the New Testament reportedly died for their beliefs.
    3.These people received the Holy Spirit at Pentecost,or at conversion.That is the indwelling presence of God Himself.An excellent and reliable source.

    August 8, 2011 at 6:14 pm |
    • JF

      If the events that the NT claims to have occurred actually occurred, then surely they would have been written down by someone during that time. Other than Paul, all of the authors of the NT are anonymous. No one knows who wrote them. The authors of M, M, L, & J, (the gospels): anonymous.

      August 8, 2011 at 7:11 pm |
    • herbert juarez

      @jf:
      do you buy into every theory that comes down the pike or only those that support your hate for the Bible?The majority of the Bible was written by those credited with writing it.

      August 8, 2011 at 7:30 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @herbert juarez

      Hi -herbert...

      You Said to @jf " When a person comes into the presence of the living God, that leaves an impression that lasts lifetime . "

      I'm curious, -herbert, how does one know when they have "come into the presence of the living God" ...?

      I mean really, how 'exactly' do you know that it is "God" vs. something else...?

      I am 'sincerely' interested to hear what you have to say about this.

      Regards,

      Peace...

      August 8, 2011 at 8:17 pm |
    • JF

      Herbert,

      Unfortunately you're wrong on both counts. No I certainly do not believe everything I read. I tried it your way for about 20 years before I started thinking critically and for myself. Good luck with your journey through life.

      August 8, 2011 at 9:02 pm |
    • herbert juarez

      @peace2all
      Read the accounts of those who met God,Abraham, Moses ,Job,Isaiah(chapter6),Ezekiel(chapter1)note how those who met God describe their experience.When meeting God they experienced something that the human mind cannot really grasp,and were charged with the task of explaining their experience.How does one do that?When you meet God there is ultimately no doubt about who it is,He touches to the depths of the human mind and spirit,within an instant you sense all the love that is God with an intimacy you cannot find in the human realm,a sense of wisdom and knowledge containing all of recorded history including past, present and future,imparted in a single word,not necessarily spoken but enveloping the entire mind.How do you even unlock all that entails?It becomes a lifetime ambition.Do you know it is THE God?Yeah,you know,and if you have to ask He doesn't mind, He will confirm it for you.Saul asked on the road to Damascus(although he ,Paul, already knew)Read 2 Corinthians 4:1-7

      August 9, 2011 at 9:31 pm |
    • pfeffernusse

      @herbert, I actively sought God. I wanted to know Him. I wanted to serve Him. I wanted His grace in my life. I went to church and absorbed the sermons. I was a member of the choir and sang His praises. I joined the church youth fellowship and worshipped with them. I was in a Bible study class. I volunteered for the church. I tried to live every day as the best example of God’s love. Yet, when it came down to it, God never touched me. I would beg on my knees, crying, hysterical, sure I’d done something to offend God. He never came to me. He never touched my heart. I never felt a thing.

      So…what do you think happened there?

      August 10, 2011 at 6:53 pm |
    • herbert juarez

      @pfeffernusse
      I don't know,
      patience.
      life isn't over yet.

      August 10, 2011 at 8:32 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @herbert juarez

      Thanks for offering your opinion -herbert.

      I appreciate it.

      Regards,

      Peace...

      August 11, 2011 at 2:47 am |
    • pfeffernusse

      Herbert, you counsel patience. The years I spent seeking God were the most desperate, desolate time of my life. When I finally realized that I’d spent a lot of time on something that didn’t even exist, it was as if a huge weight had been lifted from me. I felt free and happy.

      You could say that God and I get along a lot better now that I don’t think He’s there.

      August 11, 2011 at 12:02 pm |
  11. Nonimus

    I'm curious why the editor, at least I'm assuming it was the editor that, decided to attach the author's Yale student ID to this article. What does it have to do with the article?

    August 8, 2011 at 5:34 pm |
    • Amistavia

      I think that is directly attributable to the vanity of the loser who authored this article.

      August 8, 2011 at 6:04 pm |
    • Frogist

      @Nominus: I assume it's so that we can see a pic of the author when he was a drugged-up alcoholic? Kind of compare and contrast? Or maybe because that's how he looked when he started work at Guidepost and it's a visual reference of how long it took him to tell his story?
      I'm not really sure myself.

      August 9, 2011 at 12:13 pm |
  12. a person of the Name

    Us Christians aren't trying to force any idea on anyone. What we do do is spread the word and tell ppl what the Lord has done for us. We're not saying you have to believe or even lissen but I don't think its right that anyone should limit us or anyone else for their beliefs.

    August 8, 2011 at 12:33 pm |
    • LinCA

      @a person of the Name

      You said "Us Christians aren't trying to force any idea on anyone. What we do do is spread the word and tell ppl what the Lord has done for us. We're not saying you have to believe or even lissen but I don't think its right that anyone should limit us or anyone else for their beliefs."
      So you are saying that those that are discriminating gays based on some bible verses aren't christian? Are you saying that those that promote prayer in public schools aren't christian? Do you suggest that those that advocate for the teaching of creationism aren't christian? Politicians that call for days of prayer aren't christian? Judges that place the ten commandments in courthouses aren't christian? People that tell me I will go to hell if I don't repent aren't christian?

      You are free to remain ignorant and believe the nonsense that you obviously do. You are not restricted in your belief, or practicing that belief. But your freedom to practice your beliefs ends where mine begins.

      August 8, 2011 at 12:48 pm |
    • Rhonda

      @LinCa
      You said, "...your freedom to practice your beliefs ends where mine begin".
      I agree with you on that point. I call myself a Christ follower and I do not feel the need to persuade another person to comply with my views. Both you and I feel very passionate about certain things. Sometimes either of us may feel like non-smokers walking through a gauntlet of cigarette smoking individuals outside the entrance to a public building. They want their rights, and we want ours. They don't want me forcing restrictions on their choices, and I don't want them poisoning me with their choices. We have to find away to coexist with respect.

      August 8, 2011 at 2:23 pm |
    • LinCA

      @Rhonda

      I think you present a very good analogy when you said "Sometimes either of us may feel like non-smokers walking through a gauntlet of cigarette smoking individuals outside the entrance to a public building. They want their rights, and we want ours. They don't want me forcing restrictions on their choices, and I don't want them poisoning me with their choices. We have to find away to coexist with respect."

      The intrusion of religion in the public sphere is akin to second hand smoke. While people are free to cause damage to their own health by smoking, they are not free to cause it to others. In the same vein, people are free to believe and worship as they see fit. They don't have the freedom to impose any of it on the rest of us.

      I don't care if a kid prays in school. I don't care if there are prayer groups at school. I don't even care if the school provides a room for that group to assemble in, as long as they provide equal access for all groups. I do care when prayer is done as part of any official school event.

      I don't care if you run billboard ads or fly banners behind an airplane promoting your church or religion. I do care if you try to restrict others from doing the same.

      I don't care if you organize a gathering to pray for rain or an end to economic malaise. I do care if it is done by an elected official in his capacity as that elected official.

      I don't care if you don't like same sex marriage. You don't have to enter into one. I do care if you wish to restrict others from entering into one based on your religion.

      For everyone to be able to enjoy freedom of religion, yours has to stay out of the lives of everyone else. That is the only way to ensure that theirs stays out of your life.

      August 8, 2011 at 3:35 pm |
    • JohnR

      @LinCA Excellent post.

      August 8, 2011 at 4:12 pm |
    • Rhonda

      @LinCa
      I would like to remind you that not everyone who calls themself Christian is trying to push school prayer, pro-life, discrimination against LGBTs or restrictions of public discourse on diverse points of view. There are pushers in both camps; the people who want freedom of faith and people who want freedom from religion. If this blog is in any way representative of people of faith and atheists it should also be noted that there are those who want to marginalize and silence believers. Believers are citizens, too. Many of our priorities are informed by our faith-based worldview. Frankly, I often disagree with fellow believers on how they try to legislate their interpretation of scripture, but the governance of a civil society is never going to be uninfluenced by people of faith as long as it is a democracy. A theocratic state and an atheist state are equally doomed to becoming oppressive. If a state truly represents its people then there will always be the tension between faith and non-faith.

      August 8, 2011 at 5:39 pm |
    • LinCA

      @Rhonda

      You said "I would like to remind you that not everyone who calls themself Christian is trying to push school prayer, pro-life, discrimination against LGBTs or restrictions of public discourse on diverse points of view."
      I know. And my previous post was not directed at you in particular (even though it was addressed to you). It was directed at religious interference in general. My apologies if it appeared personal.

      You said "There are pushers in both camps; the people who want freedom of faith and people who want freedom from religion."
      They are one and the same. You can't have freedom of religion without freedom from it.

      You said "If this blog is in any way representative of people of faith and atheists it should also be noted that there are those who want to marginalize and silence believers. Believers are citizens, too. Many of our priorities are informed by our faith-based worldview. Frankly, I often disagree with fellow believers on how they try to legislate their interpretation of scripture, but the governance of a civil society is never going to be uninfluenced by people of faith as long as it is a democracy. A theocratic state and an atheist state are equally doomed to becoming oppressive. If a state truly represents its people then there will always be the tension between faith and non-faith."
      We can't have a civil society unless everyone abides by the same rules. That means that, for the US, the constitution supersedes all other laws and rules. Federal, state and local laws and rules will have to supersede any religion based rules. And religion based rules only come into play at the personal level.

      Any rule, based in any religion, only applies to those that follow that particular religion. Religious rules can place additional restrictions on those that follow that religion. They can't provide additional freedoms or rights that are not available to the general population. they can also not impose restrictions on those that do not follow that particular religion.

      So yes, believers are citizens, too. They get the same rights as everyone else. They don't get to restrict other peoples rights strictly based on their religion.

      August 8, 2011 at 7:10 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      LinCA And Rhonda, enjoy your life down on earth, because both you do-dos won’t spend eternity with Jesus unless you get your act together pertaining Him. None of this stroking of man’s egos down on earth and selling Jesus out because you birds are offended or gutless or both.

      Too Bad. Life isn’t about either one of you or any of us. It’s all about Jesus.

      You either love and follow Him so your spirit lives (on earth through eternity) or you love and follow satan’s lies, don’t go into eternity with Jesus.

      Your choice. Choose wisely.

      Amen.

      August 8, 2011 at 8:12 pm |
    • LinCA

      @HeavenSent

      You said "LinCA And Rhonda, blah, blah, blah ....
      ... blah, blah, blah, Your choice. Choose wisely.
      "
      Of course, I will choose wisely. I always do. It'll be based on evidence and solid reasoning.

      August 8, 2011 at 8:49 pm |
    • Rhonda

      @Heaven Sent
      God created a technicolor world. It's too bad you can only see in black and white. But thanks for taking the time to pronounce judgement and make insult in the name of Jesus.

      August 8, 2011 at 9:20 pm |
    • Rhonda

      @LinCa
      In fact, most of the laws that govern our society are agreeable to both people of faith and those who do not believe in God. Is it only when the name of God is publicly invoked that 'religion' is tagged as the source? A person could be opposed to abortion, for example, because they believe that life begins at conception whether they are informed by religion or not. Many anti-religious persons are homphobic. So, how do you make the call that religion is imposing pressure in the political arena and should therefore be disallowed?

      August 8, 2011 at 10:09 pm |
    • LinCA

      @Rhonda

      You said "In fact, most of the laws that govern our society are agreeable to both people of faith and those who do not believe in God."
      There are indeed quite a few laws that are not in question. Laws against murder, theft, rape, littering, etc.

      You said "Is it only when the name of God is publicly invoked that 'religion' is tagged as the source?"
      Invoking any mythical being as the reason to support or oppose any law is unacceptable. This is because of freedom of religion. Invoking your religion automatically invalidates your argument.

      If you make the same argument without relying on religious reasoning, we can have a discussion.

      You said "A person could be opposed to abortion, for example, because they believe that life begins at conception whether they are informed by religion or not."
      Yes. See above.

      You said "Many anti-religious persons are homphobic. So, how do you make the call that religion is imposing pressure in the political arena and should therefore be disallowed?"
      Homophobia is not a valid reason to discriminate, whether religiously instilled, or not.

      August 8, 2011 at 10:23 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Rhonda and LinCA, I wrote you last night but apparently my post didn’t make it through. Therefore, read Matthew 7 (especially 13 and 14).

      As for black and white viewing Rhonda, you own that description with your tirades over Jesus’ wisdom for which you know nothing about except what you rip off your non-believers sites. Same for LinCA for not picking up the Bible and reading it and assuming you’re a follower of Jesus because you attend church.

      I’ve personally and professionally have been destroyed by non-believers who thought themselves to be god. I’m not ripping something off a site, I personally went through this and know how dangerous big egos are without benefit of Jesus’ wisdom as guidance.

      Amen.

      August 9, 2011 at 9:13 pm |
  13. Muneef

    We been telling the story but never did save our lives;

    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/MH05Df01.html

    August 8, 2011 at 12:08 pm |
  14. J.W

    Geez it is like the Christian-Atheist war on here

    August 8, 2011 at 11:50 am |
    • Laughing

      Which is weird, because usually atheists and christians see to eye-to-eye and get along so well, I wonder what made us so different?

      August 8, 2011 at 11:57 am |
    • Martin T

      It isn't a war, per se, it is more of rationality versus irrationality, it is this century versus trying to return to the middle ages. The truth is that science has given us the answers to many of the previous needs for a god, and now that the "church" is threatened by rationality of thought and reason of science, they are taking a harder stand against atheism.

      August 8, 2011 at 12:04 pm |
    • J.W

      If the atheists really wanna make progress they should gather somewhere and go to washington dc and take over. If they dont like Christianity you will have to try to defeat it.

      August 8, 2011 at 12:08 pm |
    • Martin T

      JW, you fail to "get it", Atheists don't seek to defeat Christianity at all, we don't "seek" anything. We live by the same laws and have the same needs as everyone else. We don't want to take your beliefs away from you, quite the contrary, we don't really care if you believe in the mythical sky god, what we care about is when you want to force your beliefs on everyone else. THEN and only then, do we have a problem. As for the right to debate and the right to our own understanding of the universe, well, that is something Christians need to get over. I don't have an issue at all, and I don't even debate with Chrisitans, UNTIL, they try and shove their doctrine on me and my country. That is all.

      August 8, 2011 at 12:17 pm |
    • Laughing

      Martin

      I mostly agree, except I am declaring war on J.W's brand of christianity, it's insidious and the most wrong of all religion out there. In that respect since I already live in DC, just blocks away from the National Mall I plan on going down and protesting everything that J.W has said,

      August 8, 2011 at 12:25 pm |
    • J.W

      Protesting my brand? But my brand is the greatest. And Martin what I meant was that you should fight to get laws changed, not necessarily to stop people from believing. But I personally think eventually they will get changed anyways. More Christians believe in equal rights for gays, etc these Christians just havent gained power yet.

      August 8, 2011 at 1:15 pm |
    • Laughing

      Yeah, you're all into being peaceful, taking the bible figuritively and not literally and generally are trying to liberalize christianity. Can't have that happen, then it would actually have a solid chance of updating itself and stick around for longer instead of withering away into history.

      August 8, 2011 at 1:29 pm |
    • J.W

      Oh yeah you are right. So it isnt the conservatives that are your enemy. I am truly the evil one as far as atheists are concerned.

      August 8, 2011 at 1:34 pm |
    • Laughing

      Absolutely, if you have ever seen Batman Begins (solid movie by the way) then you would see how the league of shadows tried to take down Gotham by allowing it to rip itself to shreds and just watch, however the Wayne's were so good they got the city to pick itself up. Same deal here. The only consolation I can get is that you're message will be grouped with us atheists as being Satan's message dressed in christianity (a wolf in sheeps clothing), so no one will listen to you anyways.

      August 8, 2011 at 1:38 pm |
    • J.W

      Yeah and then Muslims will start respecting women, all wars will end, then we all live in peace. The atheists will then be like how could this happen? There must be a god if this could happen

      August 8, 2011 at 1:43 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Martin T,

      actually it is TRUTH (Jesus) versus LIES (satan), righteous versus unrighteousness, Light versus dark, spiritually alive versus spiritually dead, dwelling with Jesus for eternity versus living this life and that’s it.

      Amen.

      August 8, 2011 at 8:23 pm |
    • Martin T

      HeavenSent, You don't know me or anything about me. IF you were to come to my place of employment and needed my help, you wouldn't care one moment whether I was Atheist or not. In fact, I BET you wouldn't even think I was an atheist, you would probably think I was a good Christian and the reason would be because you would know I was a kind, helpful, respectful, and truthful individual. I am NOTHING like what you want me to be, I am not unethical or "darkness", instead I am just a normal American. I feel really sorry for people like you. Let me tell you a story: I was once employed at an Historically Black University in South Carolina. Louis Farrakan's nephew was a student there, and he committed suicide one day. Well, as fate would have it, Louis called the university and I, being a white guy, was the only person he could get on the phone. He had no idea I was white, and for the moment he didn't care because I helped him with the information he needed at the moment. Well, before he hung up the phone he "blessed me" and said he wanted to meet me when he came to campus later that week. So, on the day he arrived, Louis Farrakan, the head of the Black Muslims in America, sought me out. He wanted to meet the man who had been kind to him, who had handled his grief with care and understanding. Well, JUST as soon as he saw that I was a white man, his entire demeanor changed and he didn't have the time of day for me. I was part of the EVIL white community, no longer the nice guy who had helped him. What changed? NOTHING.... Does this sound somewhat familiar???

      August 8, 2011 at 9:45 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Martin T, because I’m not on my computer (in for a virus), I don’t have my scriptures handy on this old clunker plus, this computer is not compatible with the Net today. However, there is a scripture that says a very few non-believers that DO NOT follow Jesus are allowed into eternity with Jesus because they listen to Jesus’ wisdom that is built into all of us (aka our conscious from the beginning with Him (1st earth age … aka time frame). Following His wisdom is easier and if you aren’t up against enormous pressures in life (fork in the road to make a decision that only benefits you aka unrighteous versus righteous decision that benefits all), you can make it through being a decent, Christ like individual. Mind you, I said few … I hope you are one of them.

      I’m not church going Christian, I read the Bible on my own and I blog on these sites because I was destroyed by big egos like Warren Jeffs (Narcissist to anti-social personalities).

      Amen.

      August 9, 2011 at 9:42 pm |
  15. Muneef

    Wonder who will tell this story telling;

    These pictures are the same pictures that Jewish people could get the
     Sympathy of the world for what they have suffered with Hitler and his army.
    But now they are doing the same crimes with the Palestinians
    Please try to send
    TO CLEAR THE TRUTH OF THE REAL KILLER
    And cooperate to publish as much as possible

    http://www.nawiseh.com/monawat/jewish/

    August 8, 2011 at 11:33 am |
  16. Doc Vestibule

    I've always found it a bit insulting that fully half of the 12 steps in AA involve submission to God.
    I understand that the program has helped many folk get sober, and one could argue that religion is a better crutch for those unable to face reality – but the true strength of any recovery story is the will of the person to get past their impediments.
    Is it not far more empowering to realize that YOU are the source and master of your own unlimited strength of will ?
    That is the epiphany that truly enables one to live without compromise.

    August 8, 2011 at 9:17 am |
    • Peace2All

      @Doc V.

      Good morning, my friend -Doc.

      I agree with you. The deep implications within the AA/NA model is that you have a 'disease' that you will 'never' be fully cured of, only that you can keep it at bay... if you work the steps, but those steps must be worked in the proper 'order' or you you will relapse.

      This whole notion of being 'helpless' that gets perpetuated, is extremely undermining and very self-limiting. Very much so like a 'religion' as they have their own 'Big book' that they pretty much all 'worship.'

      I am sure that there are some that would claim that if it wasn't for AA they wouldn't be here. Maybe that model works for them. And of course, at the same time, if someone has bought into the model... and they stay clean and sober, I certainly am not one to rip the delusion they have that they 'think' is working for them away from them.

      But, I certainly agree with you that this whole notion of being 'powerless' and somehow turning your life over to a 'higher power' is a crutch that they will have to deal with, and when they do relapse, which studies show that almost 'all' of them do, again... it is always, that they were wrong in somehow they didn't work the 'steps' appropriately, or got the 'steps' out of order, or didn't fully turn their lives over to a 'higher power', or they didn't go to 'enough' meetings, etc...

      It is very much like the Christian model of needing to rely on something outside of yourselves... and if for some reason you sc-rew up, then you must not be a real Christian, nor believe in God enough... so 'repent'...!!

      I cringe when I hear people talking about AA and how it is the only way to 'salvation.'

      Sounds waaaaay to familiar to another religion I know of.

      Regards,

      Peace...

      I

      August 8, 2011 at 10:50 am |
    • Rhonda

      Sometimes the 'reality' is that a person is helpless to overcome without intervention. Believing that outside help is not necessary is often the first obstacle to recovery. It's not a bad thing to realize that being human means commonly being dependent on someone or something outside of myself. And it is a good thing to remember that often we are co-dependent and should show compassion to others. Guideposts is full of accounts where this is the case. And the fact that AA works for so many shows that their philosophy is not in error.

      August 8, 2011 at 11:30 am |
    • Peace2All

      @Rhonda

      Hi -Rhonda...

      Yes, you are correct. Sometimes a person needs an 'intervention.' Also, me and -Doc, are not denying that as you can see, at least from my posting above, that the AA 'model' can be useful for some people at times.

      We are not suggesting that people should stop going to AA meetings.

      We 'are' however, discussing the perpetuation of the 'myth' that one is 'helpless' and 'powerless.' While that may be a useful crutch for some for awhile, it still does perpetuate the ongoing ..."ya' can't get and stay sober, unless you go to meetings/work the steps, etc..." as people then come to believe that somehow there is some kind of 'magic' in not only working the steps, but working them in a certain 'order.' As that is the key that somehow allows God/Higher Power to work it's 'magic' into their lives to change them. The implication, is without that... God/Higher Power apparently can't do it's 'magic.'

      One of the main issues, again... in comparison to religion, especially Christianity, is that one "needs" a 'savior' or the 'big book' or 'meetings' and some kind of 'magical 12 steps' as that is THE answer, and thus, some people buy into that and remain...'disempowered' as they fall into believing that it is all these things that are doing the trick. Yet it is their 'beliefs' that it does.

      I know 'many' people that never stepped foot into an AA/NA meeting, and were addic-ted and have gotten and have remained sober for many, many years. Some people are able to see through the delusion and are able to attain sobriety on their own, without the AA religion.

      So, we do have compassion, and again... as I stated above, if this 'way of thinking' or 'model' (AA) they "believe" works for them and keeps them sober, ...go for it.

      But, as Doc Vestibule stated: " but the true strength of any recovery story is the -will- of the person to get past their impediments.
      Is it not far more empowering to realize that -YOU- are the source and master of your own unlimited strength of will ?
      That is the epiphany that truly enables one to live without compromise. "

      Respectfully,

      Peace...

      August 8, 2011 at 12:15 pm |
  17. believe in Jesus

    "Frank"

    Are you serious, I do understand that this forum is public and you may not be willing to admit the true reasons for your hatred now, but your comments have caused me to pray for you specifically.

    August 8, 2011 at 12:07 am |
    • Amistavia

      What vomit. You're praying to something that doesn't exist, you delusional faith-head.

      August 8, 2011 at 6:57 am |
    • The Bobinator

      You should pray for all the starving in Africa. Because God clearly doesn't want to help them. Maybe you can change his mind and there will be a rain of rice and barely so that they can eat.

      More then likely, you'll pray and nothing will happen. That's why Christians only pray for things that are possible. Because they know deep down that if they pray for world peace or an end to human suffering, it's not going to happen.

      God's all powerful right? He could make it happen.

      August 8, 2011 at 8:47 am |
  18. believe in Jesus

    "frank

    I'm not angry, I just want all believers to die. For the good of the planet. My desire for their death comes from love."

    What harm would I be to you if I met you on the street and we talk for a moment and you find out that I am a Christian. Does this frighten you so much that you would think that I, a believer should die (in love?) My Jesus always showed compassion for all people. He never said that he wanted anybody to die. Even when he was whipped, beaten, and hung on the cross he never displayed hatred like this.

    See, with only a society, governing you, you think this way. Imagine if you had something else, the Love of Jesus? ? ? ? ?

    August 7, 2011 at 11:48 pm |
    • frank

      You err–you and your religion don't frighten me at all; you're more like a repulsive smell that I'd rather not be made nauseated by.

      August 7, 2011 at 11:54 pm |
    • Amistavia

      Your loving god is, according to your own holy book, considerably more blood thirsty than any antagonist you'll find in a horror movie. Don't forget, your imaginary loving Jesus is just an appendage of that monstrous god of the old testament.

      August 8, 2011 at 6:59 am |
  19. Joot

    Faith in "telling stories" (warm stories) is not a faith worth having.

    August 7, 2011 at 10:37 pm |
    • Free

      Ah, wasn't Jesus rather fond of telling little stories? Parables, that's what he called them!

      August 7, 2011 at 11:22 pm |
  20. TRH

    I'm an atheist but I'll say this: When you fall as far as this man did and manage to come back to the world of the living, I won't slam him for finding a way...if he says it was god then OK. I'm sure many others found their way without god or religion but many NEVER found a way...they're dead. My hat's off to this guy.

    August 7, 2011 at 10:35 pm |
    • Free

      As long as his newfound faith isn't hurting anyone, right? Christianity, especially amongst the very zealous, has a tendency to do that, intentionally or not.

      August 7, 2011 at 11:24 pm |
    • frank

      His rag tries to browbeat money from vulnerable and lonely old women....

      August 7, 2011 at 11:43 pm |
    • Anglican

      Warm post. Thank you. Peace.

      August 8, 2011 at 5:45 pm |
    • Faith

      My father had the experiences. Atheists tried to kill him many times, but God kept him safe.

      August 8, 2011 at 10:11 pm |
    • Faith

      Not just my father, atheists tried to annihilate Christians in the entire regions and continents. Beasts. White Americans are stupid because their nation was never invaded other than the greedy secularists ruining it.

      August 8, 2011 at 10:14 pm |
    • Faith

      America, you are not exempt from real crises on your soil. The Bible has plenty warnings against immoral nations. Too bad only handfuls of your fathers saw the hell of WW2. The two world wars were not enough to shake off the follies from the better-off nations. The moral condition of the West has now gone far worse than the pre-war years.

      August 8, 2011 at 10:19 pm |
    • Muneef

      Assure you Faith the moral conditions of not only the west but rather worldwide....it is ignorance of religious teachings of morals rather than it being known but unpracticed....the secular systems are behind this mess because having not teached religions and faiths as morals to be adopted...but rather have concentrated on attacking all those beliefs in order they can bring all that been considered as a sin from Gambling,Adultery,drugs,alcohol and so on.... Those teachings has reached and spoiled the Arab and non Arab Muslim youth as well by having it shoveled to their mouths targeted through TV series plays and Internet facilities....am from the generation of the 60"s can no longer understand our youth whom we lost after 80"s...! They as we feel became with no hearts...as one old trible man once told me that had shocked me...he said "We do not let our Sons read the Quran because Quran make them Soft and GOD fearing while we want them hard hearted and merciless"...!!? He told me this in the early 90's...just how many are those around feeling the same way and prepared their sons or generations bases this mentality ....??

      August 8, 2011 at 11:38 pm |
    • Faith

      Munef, the West started it by being fattened. It wasted God's blessings. The Bible has plenty warnings on selfish, rich people because the evil of the rich are usually greater. Islam has no Savior. You are just like any other religions. The human sin cannot be atoned by the sinners themselves – only by the sinles Divine Jesus. The reason Jesus alone is the Savior of the world. Those who belong to Jesus live a new God-intended life, though the growth varies. Salvation is God's grace in Jesus, never from any human merits.

      August 8, 2011 at 11:48 pm |
    • Free

      Faith
      You mean communist regimes, right? They're totalitarian and suppress organized religion for it's political power. Quite a different thing from unorganized individuals such as myself who just don't believe in any gods. I'd say that most of us here in the US are as freedom-loving as the average American, and perhaps more open to protecting everyone's rights than most.

      August 9, 2011 at 11:14 am |
    • Muneef

      Faith.
      You said; Islam has no Savior...
      I say; in Islam maybe we do not need a Savior,we do not need a medium, we deal directly with GOD and GOD alone...we in Islam have no Sin other the sins we make in our present life and that we can wipe out with a honest repentance and carrying out of Good Deeds.... We had not killed nor sacrificed any one to forcibly make out of him GOD or Son of GOD or a Savior...! We have no sence of Guilt to carry other than being less appreciative to GOD with our intentions and the way we lived our life...!

      August 9, 2011 at 10:27 pm |
    • pfeffernusse

      @faith (is that the new name for today?)

      "My father had the experiences. Atheists tried to kill him many times, but God kept him safe."

      Really? Atheists tried to kill him because they were atheists? Are you sure you're not confusing "atheist" with "thug"? You do have that confusion. Declairing that all atheists are evil and amoral. Which is a sweeping generalization and shows the lack of strength to your arguement.

      August 10, 2011 at 6:42 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.