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September 1st, 2011
10:24 AM ET

My Faith: Rep. Keith Ellison, from Catholic to Muslim

By Chris Welch, CNN

Minneapolis, Minnesota (CNN) -Prior to 2006, few people even knew that then-Minnesota state legislator Keith Ellison was a Muslim. Because of his English name, he said, no one thought to ask.

But five years ago, when he ran for a seat in the United States House of Representatives - a race he would go on to win - word of his religious affiliation began to spread.

“When I started running for Congress it actually took me by surprise that so many people were fascinated with me being the first Muslim in Congress,” said Ellison, a Democrat now serving his third term in the House.

“But someone said to me, ‘Look Keith, think of a person of Japanese origin running for Congress six years after Pearl Harbor–this might be a news story.’”

Though Ellison's status as the first Muslim elected to Congress is widely known, fewer are aware that he was born into a Catholic family in Detroit and was brought up attending Catholic schools.

But he said he was never comfortable with that faith.

“I just felt it was ritual and dogma,” Ellison said. “Of course, that’s not the reality of Catholicism, but it’s the reality I lived. So I just kind of lost interest and stopped going to Mass unless I was required to.”

It wasn’t until he was a student at Wayne State University in Detroit when Ellison began, “looking for other things.”

He doesn’t have an elaborate explanation of what led him to convert to Islam in college, though he said he was “drawn to the multi-national congregation.”

“I would really like to hear somebody who is really articulate about the elements of their faith conversion. I'm not,” he said. "I investigated it, it worked for me, and it made me have a sense of inspiration and wonder, and I became a Muslim. It's been working for me ever since.”

Ellison's political opponents have made his faith an issue in his congressional campaigns.

“I would caution [opponents] that it doesn't work. People are not hateful like that," he said. "If you come up saying, ‘Vote for me because Ellison is a Muslim and I’m not,’ nine out of ten voters are going to see that as the silliness that it is.”

“It doesn't hurt my feelings at all," he said. "In fact I actually feel sorry for these people.”

And he said he has never had a second thought about converting.

“My faith and my identity as a Muslim - I never saw it as something that made my job harder," he said. "It’s just an aspect of who I am. It's the time that we live in. We have to respond to the realities of the world we’re in.”

But Ellison acknowledges that his faith has given him something of a national profile, not always in ways that are welcome.

In March, he testified in nationally televised congressional hearings, called by Rep. Peter King, a New York Republican, to explore what King said was radicalization in American Muslim communities.

At the hearing, Ellison choked up as he described the sacrifices of Muslim Americans who tried to save others in the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

“Without any of my choosing or desire I became somewhat of a symbolic figure," Ellison said. "And I urge anyone to avoid becoming a symbolic figure if you can. But I ended up in that position, so I just figured why not talk about it? Why not help try to bring people together with it?”

“Faith really should be a bridge, not a wall," Ellison said. "Because at the end of the day we should be focusing on what you believe, not what your religion is.”

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Catholic Church • Islam

soundoff (1,073 Responses)
  1. John Mack

    If I were God – no, i am not and never have been, and would in no way qualify – I would sue for divorce from all religions on earth. I would be tired of being treated as their attack dog.

    September 2, 2011 at 6:45 pm |
  2. Reality

    Dear Rep. Ellison and also Muneef, lost in his Muslim brainwash, (in case you missed this on p.1)

    The Five Steps To Deprogram 1400 Years of Islamic Myths:

    ( –The Steps take less than two minutes to finish- simply amazing, two minutes to bring peace and rationality to over one billion lost souls- Priceless!!!)

    Are you ready?

    Using "The 77 Branches of Islamic "faith" a collection compiled by Imam Bayhaqi as a starting point. In it, he explains the essential virtues that reflect true "faith" (iman) through related Qur’anic verses and Prophetic sayings." i.e. a nice summary of the Koran and Islamic beliefs.

    The First Five of the 77 Branches:

    "1. Belief in Allah"

    aka as God, Yahweh, Zeus, Jehovah, Mother Nature, etc. should be added to your cleansing neurons.

    "2. To believe that everything other than Allah was non-existent. Thereafter, Allah Most High created these things and subsequently they came into existence."

    Evolution and the Big Bang or the "Gi-b G-nab" (when the universe starts to recycle) are more plausible and the "akas" for Allah should be included if you continue to be a "crea-tionist".

    "3. To believe in the existence of angels."

    A major item for neuron cleansing. Angels/de-vils are the mythical creations of ancient civilizations, e.g. Hitt-ites, to explain/define natural events, contacts with their gods, big birds, sudden winds, protectors during the dark nights, etc. No "pretty/ug-ly wingy thingies" ever visited or talked to Mohammed, Jesus, Mary or Joseph or Joe Smith. Today we would classify angels as f–airies and "tin–ker be-lls". Modern de-vils are classified as the de-mons of the de-mented.

    "4. To believe that all the heavenly books that were sent to the different prophets are true. However, apart from the Quran, all other books are not valid anymore."

    Another major item to delete. There are no books written in the spirit state of Heaven (if there is one) just as there are no angels to write/publish/distribute them. The Koran, OT, NT etc. are simply books written by humans for humans.

    Prophets were invented by ancient scribes typically to keep the un-educated masses in line. Today we call them for-tune tellers.

    Prophecies are also invali-dated by the natural/God/Allah gifts of Free Will and Future.

    "5. To believe that all the prophets are true. However, we are commanded to follow the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him)
    alone."
    Mohammed spent thirty days "fasting" (the Ramadan legend) in a hot cave before his first contact with Allah aka God etc. via a "pretty wingy thingy". Common sense demands a neuron deletion of #5. #5 is also the major source of Islamic vi-olence i.e. turning Mohammed's "fast, hunger-driven" hallu-cinations into horrible reality for unbelievers.

    Walk these Five Steps and we guarantee a complete recovery from your Islamic ways!!!!

    Unfortunately, there are not many Muslim commentators/readers on this blog so the "two-minute" cure is not getting to those who need it. If you have a Muslim friend, send him a copy and help save the world.

    Analogous steps are available at your request for deprogramming the myths of Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism and Paganism..

    September 2, 2011 at 3:37 pm |
  3. Muneef

    Waw a very interesting link to read although am not sure how would you judge it since already you called the "Heavenly Holy Books" as Fantasies and so on..what if your read this one here in link...is it Science Fantasies or what?!?
    In here it is not "Noah's Ark"...but rather "Space Ship" ?! 
    Our "Pollution&Corruption Acts" returns back on us;
    Quote;
    7.2.5      Magnetic Poles change 
    Earth's magnetic field disturbed by atomic explosions         35.P887-896
                Earth’s magnetism has been disturbed by atomic explosions.  These explosions produce a weak repulsion of the Earth, which influences the rotation by nearly immeasurable value.  In addition, the Earth has been forced a little out of normal orbit and slowly searches for a new orbital course.  Because of these explosions, Earth’s scientists have committed a crime against the planet and all of mankind.  The changes caused by these explosions will have a far-reaching effect of great importance, which can produce catastrophic results.  The magnetic poles are already being increasingly displaced.  Today, the Northern magnetic pole has already been displaced into the Canadian Ice Sea while the South Pole moves in the direction of South America.  In about 1,000 years, the migration of the poles will have progressed so far that the South Pole will be in South America and the North Pole will be in Saudi Arabia.  The calculated location of the North Pole in the year 3,000 will be between Jeddah, on the Red Sea, and Mecca.
    Unquote:
     http://www.freewebs.com/mauriceosborn/ES07.htm

    September 2, 2011 at 3:26 pm |
    • Muneef

      Waw a very interesting link to read although am not sure how would you judge it since already you called the "Heavenly Holy Books" as Fantasies and so on..what if your read this one here in link...is it Science Fantasies or what?!?
      In here it is not "Noah's Ark"...but rather "Space Ship" ?! 
      Our "Pollution&Corruption Acts" returns back on us;
      Quote;
      7.2.5      Magnetic Poles change 
      Earth's magnetic field disturbed by atomic explosions         35.P887-896
                  Earth’s magnetism has been disturbed by atomic explosions.  These explosions produce a weak repulsion of the Earth, which influences the rotation by nearly immeasurable value.  In addition, the Earth has been forced a little out of normal orbit and slowly searches for a new orbital course.  Because of these explosions, Earth’s scientists have committed a crime against the planet and all of mankind.  The changes caused by these explosions will have a far-reaching effect of great importance, which can produce catastrophic results.  The magnetic poles are already being increasingly displaced.  Today, the Northern magnetic pole has already been displaced into the Canadian Ice Sea while the South Pole moves in the direction of South America.  In about 1,000 years, the migration of the poles will have progressed so far that the South Pole will be in South America and the North Pole will be in Saudi Arabia.  The calculated location of the North Pole in the year 3,000 will be between Jeddah, on the Red Sea, and Mecca.
      Unquote:
       http://www.freewebs.com/mauriceosborn/ES07.htm
      ---–

      The Arabian Peninsula 
      2005-06-09 00:00:00
      http://www.islamonline.net/i3/ContentServer?pagename=IslamOnline/i3Layout&c=OldArticle&cid=1158658490851

      Professor Alfred Kroner is one of the world's most famous geologists.a Professor of Geology and the Chairman of the Department of Geology at the Inst-i-tute of Geosciences, Johannes Gutenburg University, Mainz, Germany.

      We asked him to describe the geological conditions of Arabia. “Was Arabia once a green land with water and rivers in it?” He replied in affirmative, saying that this happened during the Ice Age. And it is further known that the North Polar icebergs are slowly moving southwards. When those polar icebergs become relatively close to the Arabian Peninsula, the weather will change and Arabia will become one of the greenest and wettest parts of the world. We asked him, “Will Arabia become fertile once more and have rivers in it?” He said, “Yes, it is a scientific fact.”

      http://www.thisistruth.org/truth.php?f=OriginOfEarth
      ----

       

      September 2, 2011 at 4:04 pm |
  4. Muneef

     "Pollution&Corruption"are behind all Human Sufferings 

    --
    Study: Mercury pollution causes birds to act gay;

    CAPTION By University of Florida
    Mercury pollution causes a surprising tendency of male white ibis birds to mate with other males, finds a new University of Florida study.

    "We knew that mercury can disrupt hormones – what is most disturbing about this study is the low levels of mercury at which we saw effects on hormones and mating behavior," said Peter Frederick, a UF wildlife ecology professor who led the five-year study, in a university press release. "This suggests that wildlife may be commonly affected."
    http://content.usatoday.com/communities/greenhouse/post/2010/12/mercury-pollution-causes-gay-birds/1

    If that was the true case and cause for the up normality of few within the communities...! Guess then they had no free will or choice in hand to avoid that...?!?
    ----

    Shouldn't that be a cause of concern for us to fight against starting at some point ? If you agree then got to participate starting from here;

    Australia plans to impose carbon tax on worst polluters;

    Right now, a major climate fight is blowing up in Australia – the government is about to pass a law that would cut carbon emissions and get polluters to pay.
    We are all under threat from climate change – including the droughts and storms that cause forest fires, floods and failed harvests. Australia’s proposal would start to shift its economy to halt it. The measure would make polluting companies pay, encouraging them to become more efficient while funding technologies of the future and increasing support to the most needy.
    Let’s send Australians our support today: 
    http://www.avaaz.org/en/australian_carbon_price/?vl 
    --

    September 2, 2011 at 2:04 pm |
    • Muneef

      "Pollution & Corruption" is behind all Human Sufferings;
       
      Space junk at tipping point, says report

      Space debris: Time to clean up the sky
      Orbital 'housekeeper' proposed
      Near miss for space station
      Scientists in the US have warned Nasa that the amount of so-called space junk orbiting Earth is at tipping point.

      A report by the National Research Council says the debris could cause fatal leaks in spaceships or destroy valuable satellites.
      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-14757926

      ---–
      Ocean Pollution;

      Pollution in the ocean is a major problem that is affecting the ocean and the rest of the Earth, too. Pollution in the ocean directly affects ocean organisms and indirectly affects human health and resources. Oil spills, toxic wastes, and dumping of other harmful materials are all major sources of pollution in the ocean. People should learn more about these because if people know more about pollution in the ocean, then they will know more about how to stop pollution.
      http://library.thinkquest.org/CR0215471/ocean_pollution.htm

      --–
      Groundwater Pollution;

      Human groundwater contamination can be related to waste disposal (private sewage disposal systems, land disposal of solid waste, municipal wastewater, wastewater impoundments, land spreading of sludge, brine disposal from the petroleum industry, mine wastes, deep-well disposal of liquid wastes, animal feedlot wastes, radioactive wastes) or not directly related to waste disposal (accidents, certain agricultural activities, mining, highway deicing, acid rain, improper well construction and maintenance, road salt).
      http://www.lenntech.com/groundwater/pollution-sources.htm

      --–
      Air Pollution;

      Historically, the main air pollution problem in both developed and rapidly industrialising countries has typically been high levels of smoke and sulphur dioxide emitted following the combustion of sulphur-containing fossil fuels such as coal, used for domestic and industrial puposes. These days, the major threat to clean air is now posed by traffic emissions. 
      http://uk-air.defra.gov.uk/air-pollution/causes
      ---–

      A Greater Pollution is "The Human Moral Pollution";

          Just as the filth around us pollutes our environment, the evil found within and around us also stains our environment. Eyes may not see it, yet it cannot be concealed from the mind’s vision: 

      … Things that come out of the mouth come from the heart and these make a man ‘unclean’. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, $exual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. These are what make a man ‘unclean’. (Matt, 15:17-19)

          If environmental pollution is detrimental for man’s physical being, moral pollution is detrimental for his spiritual being. A body which is morally polluted is perhaps dirtier than a place which is environmentally polluted. It is only a question of recognizing this reality. Man tends to forget it and the Gracious GOD "Allah" constantly reminds him of it.  
          Purification of the soul, consequently, has remained the objective of divine religions, for it is their verdict that only purified souls will enter the everlasting abode of Paradise. So, we must all vie to root out moral pollution if we are to enter this blissful life. 

      http://scholar.google.co.uk/scholar?q=human+moral+pollution&hl=en&as_sdt=0&as_vis=1&oi=scholart

      September 2, 2011 at 2:07 pm |
    • Muneef

      Human Dignity;

      human dignity.4 Even if this abstract term 'dignity' can not be defined with ...... environment, as well as to combat pollution, corruption and other man- made ..... governance on issues that concern a person's individual, social and physical ... If a Palestinian of the Muslim faith puts forth that Islam is an ...
      http://www.epu.ac.at/epu/research/Chawda.pdf

      September 2, 2011 at 2:23 pm |
  5. TheRationale

    I always find it both humorous and a little sad when people convert from one faith to another. Nobody seems to try to ask the question "Which one of these is actually has truth to it?" It's usually cases like this fellow's, where they just gravitate to whatever tickles their fancy.

    It's one thing if what you're deciding a hobby or a sports team or a career, but if you're going to say "I believe the universe is like X," shouldn't you want to have X be closest to reality rather than closest to what you find nice?

    September 2, 2011 at 1:30 pm |
  6. John Stevens

    How sad. I will pray for him that he returns to Christ's Church.

    September 2, 2011 at 12:25 pm |
    • J.W

      You could write a letter to him if you want.

      September 2, 2011 at 12:31 pm |
    • chief

      if you are saying that Christs church is the catholic church, then you should believe the same thing about the muslim faith....

      September 2, 2011 at 1:26 pm |
    • A.M.

      @John Stevens, I will pray that God guides you to Islam, just as He has guided many of us former Christians.

      September 2, 2011 at 3:24 pm |
  7. RP

    "It's been working for me ever since"
    Is this an accurate statement about Islam? Is it about the person who believe it, rather than Allah himself? Here, Islam seems to be for the benefit of the individual, instead of a individual working to seek Allah. When any religion or faith places the people over their God (or Allah or Buddha...), I am concerned. People are selfish and this 'religion works for me' mentality will only cause strife.

    September 2, 2011 at 11:58 am |
  8. SPA Knight

    Ellison is quoted as saying that he was “drawn to the multi-national congregation” as one of the reasons for converting to Islam from Catholicism. The word catholic itself means universal so there is no faith with more diversity on the planet. It extends across all racial and ethnic barriers. Ellison said. "Because at the end of the day we should be focusing on what you believe, not what your religion is.” This statement is completely illogical. What a person believes is intrinsically linked to their religion. You can't separate the two unless of course you're a politician.

    September 2, 2011 at 11:23 am |
    • chief

      real believers are Christian, not catholic, baptist, methodist, etc..... man made all that crap up to provide a way for non thinkers to feel they have a clue with earning it through study

      September 2, 2011 at 1:29 pm |
  9. Rainer Braendlein

    @stillkicking

    To the true Christian Church principally belong all Churches, which do not re-baptize. The sacramental baptism is the maximum compass of the Christian Church (this Churches mostly practice infant baptism).

    The Roman Catholic Church indeed holds on sacramental baptism, but keeps a lot of heresies like the doctrine of papacy. Hence, the RCC is yet no Christian Church.

    Protestant Churches like Methodists, Presbyterians, Lutherans, Episcopals, etc. would principally belong to the Christian Church, because they keep sacramental baptism. It is only that they more and more accept gay church members, even gay pastors. That is a calamity. A Church, tolerating practising gays in her midst, has apostated from her Lord.

    (Note: I am not a gay-hater. It is only that gays, which want to join the House of the Lord, must repent before. I am not concerned about gays outside the Church! I have no opinion about them, excepted that they can convert to Christianity like all other sinners, if they wish to convert.)

    September 2, 2011 at 11:15 am |
    • John Mack

      I see, get rid of the Pope, replace him with you. The weirdness of infallibility.

      September 2, 2011 at 6:42 pm |
  10. Rev. Rick

    Quoting from the article: “Faith really should be a bridge, not a wall," Ellison said. "Because at the end of the day we should be focusing on what you believe, not what your religion is.” This statement is really vaccuous, and makes no sense. Don't your beliefs define your religion?

    I am a former Baptist, former Catholic, and now consider myself a panentheist (different from a pantheist by the way). My beliefs have changed several times over the years as I learn more about other ways of seeing the world and God's place in it.

    September 2, 2011 at 10:59 am |
  11. Proof

    Can science prove why this guy converted?

    September 2, 2011 at 9:35 am |
    • Science

      No, it can't anymore than it can why a straight converts to gay.'Matters of the Mind'

      September 2, 2011 at 9:37 am |
    • Martin T

      Does science even need to prove why this guy converted? Is that the purpose of science?

      September 2, 2011 at 9:41 am |
    • got it

      @marty -assuming you are an atheist, next time don't come on these blogs mixing Science and Faith and that is based on your own premise above...

      September 2, 2011 at 9:48 am |
  12. Rainer Braendlein

    Psalm 8:

    To the chief Musician upon Gitt-ith, A Psalm of David. O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens. 2 Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger. 3 When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; 4 What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? 5 For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. 6 Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet: 7 All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field; 8 The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas. 9 O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!

    Interpretation: The Psalm is about Jesus Christ. Indeed infants celebrated a worship sevice for him, when he was rejected by the Sribes. See Matthew 21:

    And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, 13 And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves. 14 And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple; and he healed them. 15 And when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying in the temple, and saying, Hosanna to the Son of David; they were sore displeased, 16 And said unto him, Hearest thou what these say? And Jesus saith unto them, Yea; have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise?

    September 2, 2011 at 8:52 am |
    • jimtanker

      It's still just a work of fiction no matter who much you want to believe that it's something more.

      September 2, 2011 at 10:02 am |
    • Fred1

      Just another example of the gospel writers embellishing a story about Jesus to fit the old testament

      September 2, 2011 at 2:32 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      Truth Prevails

      I don't find it as surprise that the REST of my answer falls on deaf ears, and that your response is as you posted it.... If you had any wisdom, and your heart was not darkened to the point of rejection of what was given to you in the beginning, you would have opened your deaf ears, took a good look, and pondered on things which I said... But because of the condition of your heart, your blindness remains.

      Do you REALLY think that God of all creation would stoop so low to prove Himself to such people?! You have NO IDEA!
      As for me, I HAVE evidence. But it is not mine to give to others, it is God who chooses whom He will give it, and He chooses it according to what is in one's heart.

      P.S. It's ironic that you chose name for yourself as "TruthPrevails", yet not knowing nor recognizing it. But your day of facing it is approaching, just like everyone else's. Th sad part is it those world will haunt you through eternity!...

      .

      September 2, 2011 at 2:53 pm |
  13. Rainer Braendlein

    Psalm 2:

    Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? 2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying , 3 Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. 4 He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. 5 Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure. 6 Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. 7 I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. 8 Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. 9 Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter' vessel. 10 Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth. 11 Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. 12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.

    September 2, 2011 at 8:15 am |
    • Fred1

      "For I have done your bidding, I have slain myne enemies in your name. I have put women and children to death in your honor; I have caused great pain among them, for your glory"
      –Psalms 5:4-10

      September 2, 2011 at 2:35 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      Correction for last sentence:

      The sad part is it those words will haunt you through eternity!...

      .

      September 2, 2011 at 2:56 pm |
  14. TruthPrevails

    @CrystalRiver:

    Please answer the following questions and enlighten us all:
    1) How old is the earth?
    2) Is evolution true or false?
    3) what evidence do you have for your 'god'?
    4) Who made God?
    5)What happens to people who have never heard even the name of Jesus?
    6) Won’t a good moral life get a person to heaven?
    7)If God is all in all, then where did evil come from?
    8)If everything is an interpretation of divine mind, then why do people have different understandings of God?
    9)Why are there so many starving people in our world?
    10) Why do Christians get divorced at the same rate as non-Christians?

    September 2, 2011 at 8:14 am |
    • Martin T

      You do know, Truth, that you are asking questions that will either be ignored or answered with the same cookie cutter/no thought/brainless mumbo jumbo that all Christians are taught to spout. I know it's frustrating, it is for me.

      September 2, 2011 at 9:43 am |
    • Mike from CT

      I would like to take the test

      1) Not sure, anywhere from 6,000 to 13 billion years old. Why is that a concern for you
      2) False.
      3) Order and design point to a designer, just like with watches and BMWs you don't think they just occur do you?
      4) No one He is the Alpha and the Omega, always was and always will be
      5) I do not know. Jesus never answers that question. What I do know is that you do not fall into that category
      6) No. The problem with that is good and moral compared to who, or what standard? Everyone falls short if you set Jesus as the bar.
      7) From the choice of free-will beings to rebel against God = evil
      8) I don't understand the question. Just because you can interprete something does not mean 1. you are correct and 2. that it then fails to exist
      9) Greed, hording, selfishness, what there is though is enough food in tjust the usa to feed all the hungry
      10) First, you would have to define a Christian and then come up to some measurement of whether or not they are in fact believers of the teachings of Christ. That said, Chtristians get divorce like everyone else because they are sinners like everyone else, nothing more special or more gooder, but put two sinners together and you have the possiblility for doing what is wrong. Why did you expect Christians to be perfect? If they were then there would be no need for a Christ.

      September 2, 2011 at 9:56 am |
    • Laughing

      @Mike from CT

      I stopped reading your answers after the first two responses, namely because give the fist answer "Anywhere from 6,000 to 13 billion" does two things. One it means you believe that the bible has some veracity that the earth might actually be 6,000 years old, which flies in the face of the evidence that it is indeed much older than that. and two, giving such an enormous time span means you might as well just say "I don't know". The point however of the question and why it was asked is simple, Do you believe that bible is correct or science.

      Secondly, why do you think evolution is false? Is it the claim that most believers make, that "something can't come from nothing" which by the way, you still believe if you think that god exists without a creator, or do you take the even more banal stance of "I'm not a monkey!"

      September 2, 2011 at 10:57 am |
    • J.W

      I do not know what the point of looking at the Bible as a science book is. Just because there is 6000 years of history or around there that doesnt mean that the earth is not much older. Of course I always said I was more concerned about the origin of life than anything else as far as science goes. I know that scientists are now trying to create a living organism. Of course I still do not believe there is a literal hell. Jesus never said that a good and moral person will go to hell if they do not believe in him.

      September 2, 2011 at 11:18 am |
    • DamianKnight

      @JW,

      I think you have some interesting points. I agree with you, I don't believe in the stereotypical fire and brimstone version of He.ll. Christ said, "No one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14:6). I believe that those who do not believe in Jesus, just become eternally seperated from God. To me, that's an existance without hope (which is a scary thing).

      Ultimately though, I don't know and I'm not afraid to admit it. God's responsible for judging, not me.

      @ Laughing,

      Good to see you didn't die in a car crash yesterday! You must have driven EXTRA slow! 🙂

      September 2, 2011 at 11:26 am |
    • CrystalRiver

      1) 7 (no units)
      2) Both
      3) The holy-ness of Swiss Cheese points to a God
      4) God made God made God made.....
      5) The bouncer won't let them in to the party. Jesus lives in West Hollywood with my all my buds.
      6) There's no such thing as Heaven. Everybody goes to hell, good or bad.
      7) Evil came from the government ordaining heroin and LSD illegal.
      8) Because some people are left-handed and some people wear clown shoes.
      9) Because they don't eat food
      10) Because divorce = crusade of lawyers against one's property, and everybody loves a good crusade.

      Now I have a question for you: You got any weed?

      September 2, 2011 at 12:02 pm |
    • J.W

      Yeah Damian and what would be the point of judgment day if it was just whoever does believe goes to heaven and whoever doesn't believe goes to hell. Perhaps God does look at the persons life, in which case there could be a mixture of everybody in heaven.

      September 2, 2011 at 12:13 pm |
    • Stevie7

      "3) Order and design point to a designer, just like with watches and BMWs you don't think they just occur do you?"

      I never get this response. First off, attempting to use human inventions with countering evolution is a total strawman. That's like saying that somone must have designed the mountains because the didn't just occur. Ignoring plate tectonics doesn't mean it wasn't the cause for mountain formation.

      And order and design? Would this be the same design that gives us an organ that is entirely unnecessary, provides little to no benefit and can kill? Or the same design that makes us far less energy efficient then many products that humans can design? Or the design that places clumps of matter almost incomprehensibly far apart leaving nothing but a void? If such a design were made by man it would be subject to multiple lawsuits based on negligence. Maybe the designer is just sadistic.

      September 2, 2011 at 12:22 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      You posted many questions. But according to some of them, as well as most of your comments some of you posted here, and on other blogs, it's obvious already with what intent you posted them. Here is one that some of you posted, and if you can't accept the answer to this one, there needs to be no other attempt to discuss others...

      "WHERE is your god? Show him to me? Why are you unable to show your god to the non-believers? If you insist he exists, show him to us"

      It is not the nature of God to display His Presence, nor show Himself, to proud, arrogant and rebellious people.

      Here is an example: Would it be proper for a King to go display himself to a crowd of fools? No, by no means will he go to display himself to herd of fools, to be mocked by them. But IF he went to do so, his anger would well up in him because of their mockeries, and he would send his servants to punish them.

      God is KING , H is the Supreme Creator, the RULER of all creation. He is NOT a President, He is NOT American, nor he thinks much of our flawed democracy, because as much as system of Democracy seems good to our human understanding, it is only good as long as the citizens of it are noble, just, loving righteousness and adhering to what is good.... But when in a democracy people themselves become corrupt, it becomes flawed as any other form of human governing system (I think America has proven what I'm saying here is true)...
      But God operates in DIFFERENT WAY!

      Since He is sovereign, and He knows what is in the heart of man(kind), He reveals Himself, or withholds revelation of Himself, according to what is in man's heart!

      God has designed it so, that only those who SEEK Him would find Him, IF they seek Him with their WHOLE HEART.
      God's kingdom is NOT of this world, but of the eternal, Spirit world, of which we, human beings, are just a much part off as of physical world. But, because of man's fallen nature, and sin in the human heart that BLINDS those who hold on to it, because they love it more then Truth itself, man is BLIND to the reality of his spiritual nature, and God who is hidden from his natural senses.
      But here is the true statement, that if God came in the midst of these proud and rebellious people, they would NOT recognize Him, and would do to Him just the same what those did when He came in Christ Jesus, taking the form of man, to dwell in the midst of us. The proud, arrogant, rebellious people would do the same today!
      You, people think you're different?!
      No, you're not, by no means!
      That's why it is only the proof that you was given to you at your birth that you will have...You were given all your natural senses, you were given incredible gift of mind and intelligence, far superior then any other created beings... and then you were given one more thing that exceeds any other: the CONSCIENCE on which was imprinted the knowledge of God , this ability to understand the right from wrong.... the truth from a deception. It is this part of man that was given to us by God as a tokan of Himself, so we would long to know Him more, and search for Him with our hearts. Because He has put in our hearts a space, a vacuum – so to speak, that nothing else on this world can ever fill to make us complete, till He Himself fills this space....
      But those who by their pride, self will and love of SELF numb their consciences to the point of being dead, they have lost this vital part which was given to them by God. And I believe that's where many people are today, and as the posts of so many here reflect, many of you people, here!

      September 2, 2011 at 12:39 pm |
    • TruthPrevails

      @PRISM 1234: I did not ask where is your god...I did ask what evidence you have for your god.
      The rest of your answer obviously falls on deaf ears....you defend something that even you have no evidence for!
      The fact remains that you have no more proof for this unknown than anyone else does and if he is so upset that people do not believe in him than he best be magically appearing and proving himself and putting the questions to rest or he looks hypocritical.

      September 2, 2011 at 1:34 pm |
    • AtheistSteve

      I seriously doubt CrystalRiver will give the correct answers even if she knew them. Here are the right ones.

      1) 4.5 billion years
      2) True and supported by multiple scientific disciplines
      3)There isn't any evidence...god is make believe
      4) Man
      5) Nothing special or different than those who have heard of Jesus
      6) Anyone can exercise good morals. The choice is yours and no god required.
      7) Evil exist because some people don't care how their actions affect others.
      8) Because each person creates god in their own image.
      9) Greed and a fight over limited resources.
      10) I actually think it's a bit higher for christians but in any case no existing divine intervention seems obvious.

      Cheers TruthPrevails

      September 2, 2011 at 1:37 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      Another attempt to post it on proper place....

      @Truth Prevails

      I don't find it as surprise that the REST of my answer falls on deaf ears, and that your response is as you posted it.... If you had any wisdom, and your heart was not darkened to the point of rejection of what was given to you in the beginning, you would have opened your deaf ears, took a good look, and pondered on things which I said... But because of the condition of your heart, your blindness remains.

      Do you REALLY think that God of all creation would stoop so low to prove Himself to such people?! You have NO IDEA!
      As for me, I HAVE evidence. But it is not mine to give to others, it is God who chooses whom He will give it, and He chooses it according to what is in one's heart.

      P.S. It's ironic that you chose name for yourself as "TruthPrevails", yet not knowing nor recognizing it. But your day of facing it is approaching, just like everyone else's. The sad part is it those words will haunt you through eternity!...

      September 2, 2011 at 3:09 pm |
    • CrystalRiver

      @AtheistSteve

      I did give the correct answers because I do know them. You stupid Atheists think you have all the answers because you believe in science and worship it. As you can see from my answers, I gave true and God inspired words that preach the Good news to the materialistic and wicked West. Maybe you should read them more carefully and see how they really stack up to you non-sense and utter hatred towards God.

      September 2, 2011 at 6:41 pm |
  15. Rainer Braendlein

    Psalm 23:

    A Psalm of David. The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. 3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name' sake. 4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. 5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. 6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

    September 2, 2011 at 7:59 am |
    • Martin T

      @Ranier, while some of the Psalms are lovely poetry, they are actually just words with little or no real meaning. Take the above Psalm. If the Lord is someone's shephard and they shall not want, tell me why so many Christians across the globe live in poverty and without the basic necessary needs? I think that Psalm is nothing more than a wishful prayer that is sung to sooth and perhaps instill hope.. Nothing more.

      September 2, 2011 at 9:46 am |
    • herbert juarez

      @martin t
      Words with little or no meaning?Isn't all literature words?Are all without meaning or only those you so designate?Have read some of your posts, you appear as one whose words have little or no meaning.

      September 2, 2011 at 12:28 pm |
    • Fred1

      "Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones." (Psalms 137:9, KJV)

      September 2, 2011 at 2:46 pm |
  16. Rainer Braendlein

    Assumed, I just would live in the Third Reich, I would try to rescue Jews. Furthermore, I would try to kill Hitler.

    Today there are other problems than in the Third Reich.

    In the West we experience a total secularisation of the populations. In the East we see a strong revival of Islam.

    In contrast the Roman Catholic Church (RCC) declines, and even the true Christian Church declines too.

    I am a Christian, and would welcome, if many people start to believe in Jesus Christ and get baptized. I would never try to force somebody to get himself baptized. Faith is a totally voluntarily thing. The Church offers the gospel like a greengrocer offers cherries. It is only that the preaching of the gospel is for free.

    The total secularisation of the Western World accords to the prophecy of the Bible/Revelation (the Beast will forsake the wh-ore; the wh-ore is the RCC, the Beast is the secular world).

    Every honest and objective historian will confirm that the Islamic countries have ever conducted aggressive war. Yet history is a clear evidence for the dangerousness of Islam. Islam is not a belief, which leads people to God, but an ideology of conquest. Aggressive war is the essence of Islam.

    I cannot understand, why Mr. Ellison has chosen the Islam as his personal belief. My heartfelt sympathy!

    Better Mr. Ellison had become a Protestant.

    The Christian faith is so advanced, compared with other beliefs:

    The eternal Son of God has incarnated. That is yet magnificent. God has united with mankind and accepted mankind in a perfect way. This sinless Jesus has borne our sins on the cross. Isn't that LOVE?

    Actually the creation should be reason enough to adore the Creator. However, we have failed. How reacted God? Did he exterminate us? No! On the contrary, he gave a further, stronger revelation: He came to us in the person of the Son.

    The Christian faith is the Royal faith. No other faith is so historic, credible and effective. Jesus has the power to set us free.

    Gospel of Mark, Chapter 16:

    15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

    September 2, 2011 at 7:50 am |
    • stillkicking

      The "true" Christian church? Which one is that: Baptist, Methodist, Lutheran, Episcopal, Elmer Gantry, Evangelical; etc., etc. etc.? As it is clear you are outright excluding the Catholic Church I'd very much like to know which others are unacceptable to you. Perhaps you should discuss your answer with God first since you're no doubt on speaking terms.

      September 2, 2011 at 10:41 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      @stillkicking

      Hard times!

      To the true Christian Church principally belong all Churches, which do not re-baptize. The sacramental baptism is the maximum compass of the Christian Church (this Churches mostly practice infant baptism).

      The Roman Catholic Church indeed holds on sacramental baptism, but keeps a lot of heresies like the doctrine of papacy. Hence, the RCC is yet no Christian Church.

      Protestant Churches like Methodists, Presbyterians, Lutherans, Episcopals, etc. would principally belong to the Christian Church, because they keep sacramental baptism. It is only that they more and more accept gay church members, even gay pastors. That is a calamity. A Church, tolerating practising gays in her midst, has apostated from her Lord.

      (Note: I am not a gay-hater. It is only that gays, which want to join the House of the Lord, must repent before. I am not concerned about gays outside the Church! I have no opinion about them, excepted that they can convert to Christianity like all other sinners, if they wish to convert.)

      September 2, 2011 at 11:18 am |
    • FrozT

      @RB – "Faith is a totally voluntarily thing", what an ignorant thing to say. Children are both baptised and indoctrinated (abused in my opinion) long before they possess the necessary rational capacity to make the choice for themselves. It’s such a polluting force that by maturity their programming is immune to dissuasion, even when confronted with insurmountable reason. The process involves percolating children daily with pious dogma under direct threat of hellfire and eternal damnation, implicated in original sin from birth without a choice in the matter. But don’t worry you sinful wretched little creature, you can escape the grip that hell has over you through vicarious redemption. Simply throw the burden of your sins and responsibilities on gentile Jesus, the revered and self fulfilled prophet, son of Yahweh the celestial dictator who will watch your every move and thought, even as you sleep. Fear him yes, as the first three commandments demand, but you are also compelled to love him too or this totalitarian will surely smite you.
      At best you are a fundamentalist, at worst a creationist. Either way you probably have YouTube videos arguing against evolution because of the shape of a banana.
      P.S. Stop quoting scripture, it’s not worth the bandwidth.

      September 2, 2011 at 12:49 pm |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      @FrozT

      Jesus Christ died for our sins on the cross. Isn't that God's love.

      The eternal, great God became a weak, little human being, submitted to his parents Joseph and Mary, worked as carpenter, preached the gospel, cured the people and finally died for us on the cross. That is enormous.

      Would you become an ant or a flea, in order to die for sinful ants or fleas?

      What you would never do, God has done it.

      God is magnificent!

      I worship the Triune God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

      September 2, 2011 at 1:06 pm |
    • Fred1

      "I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! … Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division. From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law." Luke 12:49-53

      September 2, 2011 at 2:50 pm |
    • FrozT

      Weird, my follow up post is not showing up and I'm not really using any profane language. If eventually it does show up then I posted it like 5 times so sorry for that...

      September 2, 2011 at 3:08 pm |
  17. CrystalRiver

    Americans were smart, courageous and heroic 235 years ago or 45 years ago. Secular Americans in 21st century are stupid and hopelessly immoral because they became secular.

    September 2, 2011 at 2:04 am |
    • Fred1

      Ok, now explain the stupid and immoral televangelists and mega church pastors

      September 2, 2011 at 3:34 am |
  18. Colin

    Going from Catholic to Muslim...a bit like going from Capricorn to Virgo. Only with education will we be able t olift the various sky-fairy adherents out of their dark superst.itions and help them realize that Bronze Age sky gods have no place in the 21st Century.

    September 2, 2011 at 1:09 am |
  19. CrystalRiver

    I don't believe when Americans say they converted. They sound like converting to some pagan religions is a cool, trendy thing and never keep the religion's dogma. Mr. Ellison needs to prove his conversion. He has a good chance browsing religions again and proclaim another conversion to stay "cool." Except Evangelical Christians, Americans worship self, nothing else.

    September 2, 2011 at 12:55 am |
    • claybigsby

      "Mr. Ellison needs to prove his conversion."

      Why does he have to prove he is muslim when you cant prove, when asked, how you know your god is the one true god...kind of hypocritical don you think?

      September 2, 2011 at 10:42 am |
    • myweightinwords

      1) No one needs to prove their conversion to anyone but their gods.
      2) The soul searching required to walk away from a faith and to find a new faith is not about being trendy or cool. It's about finding your spiritual self, and your spiritual home, finding the faith that completes who you are.

      September 2, 2011 at 11:13 am |
    • dude

      learn a little, read a little before you go about calling a monotheistic, abrahamic religion "pagan"... it takes a person of intellect to understand something before speaking... it only proves you an idiot to speak before understanding

      September 2, 2011 at 1:41 pm |
  20. Stavros

    Our Father...
    Thank You for naming us Your children with Your Holy Spirit. You have given me great value in my life... for I am but a handful of dust, and to dust shall I return. Without Your breath of life, I am nothing. But You have now granted me more than just Your breath of life, but Life itself, through Jesus Christ, You've granted all Your children eternal life, with You...

    Who art in Heaven...
    What a beautiful place, I can't imagine the sight of You and all the Saints and Angels, and all Your children, in love, with no evil in the world. No eye can see it, and no mind can imagine it. Our God is an awesome God...

    Hallowed be Thy Name...
    Jesus Christ, our Saviour, Son of the True Living God, may Your Name be glorified through me. Let your light shine through me, that people may glorify the Father.

    Thy Kingdom come...
    Remember me, O Lord, when You come into Your Kingdom.

    Thy Will be done...
    My own will just leads to unhappiness, and no love, take over God, let Your will be done in my life.

    On Earth as it is in Heaven...
    Let me begin my eternal life with You today, now. Let me get to know you and love you and live with you even on earth. Teach me to live humbly and to love unconditionally. Grant me love, faith, hope, patience, kindness, peace, and joy.

    Give us this day our daily bread...
    Thank you for your blessings and grace, continue to nurture us and make us grow in love and faith.

    And forgive us our trespasses...
    Judge me not according to my sins, for they are too great, but have mercy on me Lord! Have mercy on all Your children. Do not be angry with me when I stray, no matter how often or how far. But rather, return me to You. Do not be angry with all Your children on the face of the earth. To those who have shunned you, be merciful, to those who have misunderstood you, be patient, and to those who have disobeyed you, be forgiving. Let every child return to their Father, let every heart be filled with Your Holy Spirit, let every tongue praise Jesus Christ for freeing us from sin.

    As we forgive those who trespass against us...
    You are truly a Great God. Who am I that You give me the right to forgive others their trespasses against me? O Lord, if this is how easy it is to be forgiven for my sins, then let everyone on earth trespass against me, and grant me the love to forgive them all, that You may forgive all my sins as well.

    Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil...
    Why did You say "but" and not "and". It would make sense to me to say "lead us not into temptation and deliver us from evil." I understand now. I understand that overcoming trials, tribulations, and temptations is the only way to be delivered from evil! Do with me as You see fit then, so long as when that day comes, and I am standing in front of Your seat of judgement, I am delivered from evil. I'd rather that than to live a comfortable easy life with no trials or temptations! Deliver us, all of us, from all evil O Lord. So we accept the trials and tribulations, but even then, it is not us that can overcome such trials, but...

    Through Christ Jesus our Lord...
    For He crucified all sin and all evil in us, and rose with the Holy Spirit whom He granted to us all. Who else but You, Lord? Who else could overcome death? Only You...

    For Thine is the Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory, forever and ever.
    Amen.

    Dear Lord, we thank You for Your mercy and blessings, and humbly ask you to enlighten every soul, purify every heart, and cleanse every thought. Show us Your light, let us get to know You, and maybe even comprehend Your Divine ways. Let us understand that the actions of Christians may not always be right, and that the actions of unbelievers may not always be wrong. Let us understand that there is nothing wrong with Your Word, but it is people living with sin that ruin it. When St. Peter struck his enemy to protect You, he was doing so in Your Name. This continues today, Lord, we strike one another, even in Your name, but we miss the part where you told Peter not to, and then healed the wounded victim, Your enemy. Let us understand Your word. Forgive us, and let us not deny our faith out of misinterpretations or miscomprehensions, because as it stands, You are perfect, ever-loving, our Father. Let us be filled with Your Holy Spirit and Your eternal Love. For as You said to the Samaritan woman "the water you drink from makes you thirst again, drink from My water and you will be satisfied." Let us understand Your Word, and know that there is nothing of this earth that can quench our thirst, our desire for good things like love and peace, we will never find them here. Let us look towards You, and ask of You, that You, with all Your love, glory, and power, may grant Your blessings on all Your children everywhere.
    Lord, have mercy. Amen.

    To whomever would like to join me in prayers or bible studies, my email address is matta00@hotmail.com.
    Thank you.

    September 2, 2011 at 12:34 am |
    • Stavros

      God's power is truly awesome, and all around us. It's rather funny how He asks us to have faith, when proof is right in front of us. For instance, He said "faith the size of a mustard size can move mountains" ... and years later a mountain was literally moved! See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simon_the_Tanner

      September 2, 2011 at 12:45 am |
    • TruthPrevails

      'helping hands are far better than lips that pray'...stop wasting your time

      September 2, 2011 at 8:03 am |
    • Martin T

      No truer words have been spoken that have fallen on deaf ears... Praying is useless, it serves only as a placebo to the ignorant and easily fooled.

      September 2, 2011 at 9:40 am |
    • Stavros

      Prayers are far from a waste of time... but you are right, helping hands are very good. But think of it this way...
      Does the Almighty need US to help Him? Does He need OUR time or OUR money? He certainly does not. Rather, it is us that need to serve others for our own salvation. Try not to measure it, that usually turns our eyes to the materialistic... you cannot measure love. This is not to say that service is unimportant – absolutely not! But service must come from the heart, with the Holy Spirit. We must understand and be thankful to Him for granting us the opportunity, strength, and means to serve His children. It is not a contest to see who serves most. Our minds deceive us, our logic is earthly. The Holy Spirit in us is the only way to change our nature to something more divine, like Him, and become CHRIST-ians. Nurturing the Holy Spirit comes from prayers, Bible readings, communion, and yes service of course.

      September 2, 2011 at 10:43 am |
    • J.W

      I wouldn't go as far as to say our good works are what gain us salvation. That would mean if I did not do a certain amount of service I could not go to heaven. However it does say in James that faith without works is dead. I do think that we do need to live the teachings of Jesus. We should live according to Jesus and not just use him to get into heaven.

      September 2, 2011 at 11:02 am |
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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.