Four ways 9/11 changed America's attitude toward religion
Construction workers move steel beam pulled from ground zero rubble into its permanent home at the 9/11 Memorial Museum.
September 3rd, 2011
10:00 PM ET

Four ways 9/11 changed America's attitude toward religion

By John Blake, CNN

(CNN) - David O'Brien couldn't help himself. After the September 11 terrorist attacks, he became obsessed.

O'Brien read the stories of 9/11 victims over and over, stunned by what he was discovering.

He read about the firefighters who marched up the smoke-choked stairwells of the World Trade Center, though many knew they could die; the beloved priest killed while giving last rites as the twin towers collapsed; the passengers on hijacked planes who called their families one last time to say, "I love you."

"I was obsessed with these stories," says O'Brien, a Catholic historian at the University of Dayton in Ohio. "There were so many stories of self-sacrifice, not just by the first responders, but by people fleeing the building. There was this revelation of goodness."

O'Brien saw an Easter message in 9/11 - good rising out of the ashes of evil. Yet there were other religious messages sent that day, and afterward, that are more troubling, religious leaders and scholars say.

September 11 didn't just change America, they say. It changed the nation's attitude toward religion. Here are four ways:

1: A chosen nation becomes a humbled one.

One man died because he arrived early to work. A woman died because she decided to take a later flight. The arbitrary nature of some of the deaths on 9/11 still sticks with many Americans today.

Yet this is what life is like for billions of people on the planet today, some religious leaders say. A random event - a car bomb, a stray bullet - can end their lives at any minute.

Most Americans had not lived with this vulnerability until 9/11, says Mathew Schmalz, a religion professor at the College of the Holy Cross  in Massachusetts, who once lived in Karachi, Pakistan.

"We had this sense of specialness and invulnerability that 9/11 shattered," he says. "Given that a large section of the world's population deals with random violence every day, one of the outcomes of 9/11 should be a greater feeling of solidarity with people who live in cities like Karachi in which violence is a part of everyday life."

Recognizing that vulnerability, though, is difficult for some Americans because of how they see their country, Schmalz and others say.

They say Americans have long had a triumphalist view of their place in history. Certain beliefs have been engrained: Tomorrow will always be better; we're number one. The term "American" even reflects a certain arrogance. It casually discounts millions of people living in Central and Latin America.

The 9/11 attacks, though, forced many Americans to confront their limitations, says Rev. Thomas Long, a nationally known pastor who has been active in post 9/11 interfaith efforts.

"We're losing the power of the American empire and becoming more a nation among nations," says Long, a religion professor at Emory University in Atlanta. "The world is a much more dangerous and fragile place economically."

How Americans cope with their loss of power is ultimately a theological question, Long says. It's the same question the ancient Hebrews confronted in the Old and New Testaments when they faced national calamities.

The chosen people had to learn how to be humble people, Long says. Americans face the same test today.

"The challenge for every faith tradition is going to be helping people grieve the loss of an image of America that they once had," he says, "and acquire a modern understanding of ourselves on the world's stage."

2: The re-emergence of "Christo-Americanism."

Before 9/11, if you asked the average American about Ramadan or sharia law, they probably would have given you a blank look.

Not anymore. The 9/11 attacks prompted more Americans to learn about Islam. Books on the subject became best-sellers. Colleges started offering more courses on Islam. Every cable news show suddenly had their stable of "Muslim experts."

More Americans know about Islam than ever before, but that hasn't stopped the post-9/11 Muslim backlash. The outrage over plans to build an Islamic prayer and community center near ground zero; the pastor who threatened to burn the Quran; conservative Christian leaders who called Islam evil - all occurred as knowledge of Islam spread throughout America, scholars says.

"One of the sobering lessons of the decade since 9/11 is that religious prejudice is not always rooted in raw ignorance," says Thomas Kidd, author of "American Christians and Islam."

"Some of America's most vociferous anti-Muslim critics know quite a lot about Muslim beliefs, but they often use their knowledge to construe Islam in the worst possible light."

Many of these public attacks against Islam were encouraged by conservative Christian leaders such as Rev. Franklin Graham, the son of Rev. Billy Graham, who called Islam "wicked," and Pat Robertson, the Christian broadcaster who declared that "Islam is not a religion," says Charles Kammer, a religion professor at the College of Wooster in Ohio.

Kammer says Graham and Robertson helped fuel the rise of "Christo-Americanism," a distorted form of Christianity that blends nationalism, conservative paranoia and Christian rhetoric.

"A segment of the religious community in the United States has been at the forefront of an anti-Islamic crusade that has helped to generate a climate of hatred and distrust toward all Muslims," says Kammer.

Other strains of Christo-Americanism have swept through America before.

After 9/11, some political leaders said terrorists hated the U.S. because of "our freedoms." But America's record on granting those freedoms to its citizens is mixed, says Lynn Neal, co-editor of the book, "Religious Intolerance in America."

In the 19th century, the U.S government passed numerous laws preventing Native American tribes from practicing their religion. Mormons were persecuted. Roman Catholics were once described as disloyal, sexual deviants, Neal says.

"Religious intolerance is not a new feature of the American landscape. Despite being the most religiously diverse nation on earth, despite having a first amendment that protects religious rights...we as a nation and as citizens have often failed to live up to those ideas."

3: Interfaith becomes cool.

Interfaith dialogue - it's not the type of term that makes the heart beat faster.

Before 9/11, interfaith efforts were dismissed as feel-good affairs that rarely got media coverage. The 9/11 attacks changed that.

Interfaith events spread across the country. Mosques and temples held joint worship services. Every college campus seemed to have an interfaith dialogue. The Obama White House launched a college interfaith program.

Becoming an interfaith leader is now hip, some say.

"A generation of students is saying that they want to be interfaith leaders, just like previous generations said they wanted to be human rights activists or environmentalists," says Eboo Patel, who founded the Interfaith Youth Core in 2002.

Patel says at least 250 colleges have signed up for the White House interfaith program, which he helped design. The program encourages students of different faiths to work together on service projects.

"These young leaders will make interfaith cooperation a social norm in America, similar to multiculturalism and volunteerism," Patel says.

These new leaders include people like Sarrah Shahawy, a Muslim-American medical student at Harvard University and the daughter of Egyptian immigrants.

After 9/11, Shahawy says she felt the responsibility to educate people about Islam. She became an interfaith leader at the University of Southern California,  where she noticed a steady increase in student participation in the years after the attacks.

Shahawy says her generation is drawn to interfaith efforts because 9/11 showed the destructive potential of any exclusive claims to religious truth. The 9/11 hijackers carried out their attacks in the name of Islam, but Muslim religious leaders and scholars said that the terrorists' actions did not reflect Islamic teachings.

"For one religious group to claim a monopoly on truth should be obsolete," she says. The interfaith movement doesn't teach people that all religions are the same, she says.

Shahawy calls herself a proud Muslim. "But for me, there's beauty and truth to be found in many different religions."

4: Atheists come out of the closet.

There's one group, however, that sees little beauty in any religion.

Before 9/11, many atheists kept a low profile. Something changed, though, after 9/11. They got loud.

Atheist leaders such as Richard Dawkins, author of "The God Delusion," and Sam Harris, author of "The End of Faith," wrote best-selling books. Atheist groups launched national media campaigns with bold billboard messages such as "Christmas is a myth."

The pugnacious journalist Christopher Hitchens became the public face of a more combative form of atheism as he went on talk shows and lectures to defend not believing in God.

Criticism of all religion, not just fanatical cults, was no longer taboo after 9/11, says Daniel Dennett, a philosophy professor with Tufts University in Massachusetts.

"Atheist-bashing is now, like gay-bashing, no longer an activity that can be indulged in with impunity by politicians or commentators," Dennett says.

Atheists were driven to become more vocal because of the 9/11 attacks and America's reaction, says David Silverman, president of American Atheists. He says many atheists were disgusted when President George W. Bush and leaders in the religious right reacted to the attack by invoking "God is on our side" rhetoric while launching a "war on terror."

They adopted one form of religious extremism while condemning another, he says.

"It really showed atheists why religion should not be in power. Religion is dangerous, even our own religion," Silverman says.

Atheists are still the most disparaged group in America, but there's less stigma attached to being one, he says.

"The more noise that we make, the easier it us to accept us," Silverman says. "Most people know atheists now. They knew them before, but didn't know they were atheists."

Many Americans knew the people who perished on 9/11 as well, but they didn't know they were heroes until later, says David O'Brien, the Catholic historian who compulsively read the 9/11 obituaries.

O'Brien was so moved by the stories he read that he decided to write an essay for America magazine, a national Catholic weekly, entitled, "9/11 Then and Now."

He wrote: On 9/11, "Our people, my people, were tested and, for a shining moment ... they were found worthy."

He said many 9/11 victims didn't panic as their end drew near. They "thought not of themselves, but others ... when the chips were down." They saw themselves not as individuals, but as members of a "single human family."

So should we, he says, as we face new challenges 10 years later. The 9/11 victims aren't just heroes; they're our guides for the future, he says.

"The story is not over, not by a long shot," O'Brien wrote. "Look at all the love that day. Love can still write another chapter and keep hope alive for a better future. The meaning of 9/11 lies ahead, and it's in our hands, and maybe in our hearts.'

- CNN Writer

Filed under: 9/11 • Atheism • Christianity • Faith • Interfaith issues

soundoff (2,180 Responses)
  1. RightTurnClyde

    You Johnny Come Lately’s have not lived with vulnerability (that is a gift from us). We had German submarines waiting outside New York harbor and we put our fathers and uncles and cousins on trains and bid them goodbye. We held our breath every time we saw a Western Union boy. You took everything for granted … not us. We opposed communism in Korea and Vietnam while movie stars betrayed us. We gave you a strong nation and you took it all for granted

    September 4, 2011 at 3:45 am |
    • MorphMonster

      It's sad that despite your long life you never bothered to learn the truth about Vietnam. You can even hear it from Robert MacNemara's own words.

      Ah yes, our infamous war on communism. Except it was b.s.
      Or is that war just on pause because it's convinient for us to do business with China now?

      baby boomers. screwed up the whole planet and you're STILL delusional enough to think you gave us a strong planet.

      Want to know what you gave us? A military-industrial complex that see's to it we never have peace anywhere.

      Or do you actually believe the whole WAR IS PEACE jib.
      Just so you know, the rest of that is: FREEDOM IS SLAVERY, and IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH

      September 4, 2011 at 5:00 am |
    • jimtanker

      I agree completely with your statement MM, except for one point. It's political/military/industrial comlex. Cant leave out the ones making the real money off of soldiers dying can we?

      September 4, 2011 at 5:03 am |
  2. Bart

    "The challenge for every faith tradition is going to be helping people grieve the loss of an image of America that they once had,"

    What a revealing sentence. Worry about the image instead of the substance.

    September 4, 2011 at 3:45 am |
  3. Ashrakay

    Hooray for thinking people! Out with fairy tales, in with science.

    September 4, 2011 at 3:44 am |
    • joshua

      Science proves it can't make the universe.

      September 4, 2011 at 3:50 am |
  4. S1N

    Anyone who believes in a "magic man in the sky" is an idiot. Anyone who actually admits to being Muslim in these times is an even bigger idiot.

    September 4, 2011 at 3:42 am |
    • joshua

      Yeah so that makes you a fool. Psalms 14:1-7

      September 4, 2011 at 3:52 am |
  5. wave99

    Big surprise there was negativity towards Muslims after it was sorted out that the perpetrators of 911 claimed to have performed this out of their interpretation of the Koran. The tone of this article was that the event elicited ignorance and intolerance by many including some notable Christians. But any rational person can understand that this backlash of negativity was born out of awareness of the Islamic connections that soon became apparent. (For those who believe the US government carried out the 911 attacks, you have little ability for rational thought.) The author said we're a “nation humbled”. This is not true. Our reactions were not of humility. As a result of our “non-humble” reactions – Iraq fell, Afghanistan was overrun, and several other nations felt and witnessed our resolve. I do not question whether we responded correctly which is another issue. But, I definitely chalk this article up as another biased writing that speaks mostly to the minority of our citizens who believe America SHOULD be humbled and who DO NOT believe we have religious and many other freedoms. Indeed, we have more freedom than the majority of the world enjoys today. It is healthy to turn inward and to question ourselves, but it is NOT appropriate that we assume tacit blame and berate ourselves over what happened on 911 except that we could have been more “aware”.

    September 4, 2011 at 3:41 am |
    • GaryGuitar

      I find your critique of the article insightful and thought-provoking. I agree that the author's use of the word humble seems off.

      September 4, 2011 at 4:08 am |
  6. Gemma Teller

    Jesus is just the guy who mows my lawn.

    September 4, 2011 at 3:38 am |
    • jesus

      you do have a small lawn. but it is good exercise.

      September 4, 2011 at 3:46 am |
  7. GaryGuitar

    Faith in a god per se makes no sense because by definition, faith means belief in something that does not necessarily make sense. Using the bible or koran or other such reference to make sense of religion also makes no sense. Just because somebody wrote it all down doesn't mean it makes sense. The overwhelming arrogance of faith-based people who proclaim that god says, or god wants, etc., is cruel to youth who grow up brainwashed and full of fear and guilt. The greatest gift may parents gave me was no religious indoctrination...no fear, no guilt and no religion. I am a kind, healthy and happy family man who goes about his life toleratilng all the religion-based stress others have accepted as part of their lives. I respect other's rights to rely on religion, but I am greateful for having escaped what for me would be a total waste of time on Sundays and other days listening to the drone of religious talk, rituals, standing, sitting, trying to meet impossible religious-based thoughts, etc. I see prayer to a god as similar to having a conversation with santa. It is also sad to hear people look to the sky and say things like I know my dad is looking down on me now and he feels good about what I have just accomplished. I want to say, do you really think your dad is in the sky looking at you? Really? Truth be known, most faith-based people probably go through that sort of thing with a wink and a nod in their own mind. No, I do not believe in hell and have not concern about it at all. My response to any personal concern about what happens when I am dead is a yawn. when you are dead, it simply is over. Period. So my advice to anyone is live your life to the fullest, be kind and fair to others, dump the unnecessary gult and have a hell of a good time.

    September 4, 2011 at 3:36 am |
  8. Who Cares

    This is CNN's audience. I should expect an extremely small number actually took the time to understand mediate history

    September 4, 2011 at 3:27 am |
  9. Miss-Muslim

    hello there!!!

    will USA is controlled by the Jewish.... and i hear nothing about it... dont see what few people did at 9-11 or what was planned by US gov to control the world....go and READ about Islam, about the Prophet and the message.. we belive in bible and we share alot of stories.....pepole try to think after READING the Quran......c u

    September 4, 2011 at 3:12 am |
    • jesus

      the USA is controlled by the christians, the government, and corporations are controlled by christians. That is why greed and destroying peoples lives is the new American way.

      September 4, 2011 at 3:31 am |
    • Preethi

      Go to faith freedom dot org and check it and then debate

      September 4, 2011 at 3:32 am |
  10. Christopher Hitchens

    Sky fairies who grant wishes. Cosmic Tinkerbell.

    What a pathetic waste of human life. Adults behaving like little children looking for elves in clover patches.

    Grow the F up.

    September 4, 2011 at 3:08 am |
    • joshua

      You telling people there is no God, without any type of proof is a real good waste of time too. Nice job hypocrit.

      September 4, 2011 at 3:38 am |
    • ThomasL

      Joshua, the proof, or burden of proof, is on those who claim something exists, if there is a belief but no proof at best it is a theory. The commenter was not exactly being a hypocrite.

      September 4, 2011 at 3:48 am |
    • joshua

      According to the way man thinks you are correct. Just because you can't doesn't mean it isn't there.

      September 4, 2011 at 3:55 am |
    • joshua

      Science is based off of theories, The Bible atleast has cities and ancient people that it talks about. So if you ask me I prefer the Bible.

      September 4, 2011 at 4:00 am |
    • Sam Harris

      Joshua, you are a delusional moron. Go back to your trailer park and do your sister, and stop wasting our time.

      September 4, 2011 at 6:10 am |
    • joshua

      @Sam Harris
      You call me delusional yet you believe men. Scientist don't know how the earth got here, go ahead and believe we came from a big bang if you choose.I never seen anything get created from an explosion. Get a life grow up how old are you with your insults maybe 10 to 12 yrs old.

      September 4, 2011 at 8:03 am |
    • Ashrakay

      Joshua must believe in fairies too, since he can't prove they don't exist. I don't know why this even needs to be said, Joshua, but science doesn't work off of theories, it works off of provable experimentation. If theory were all there was to science, you wouldn't have that computer you're typing on.

      Also, scientists DO know how the earth got here. The big bang was not an explosion but an expansion of time and space. And the bible is not a legitimate historical reference as it is full of inconsistencies(Here's a list of contradictions and inconsistencies if you read. http://www.cs.umd.edu/~mvz/bible/bible-inconsistencies.pdf), inaccurate timelines, magical people that lived hundreds of years, and lacks any geological evidence to back up most of its claims.

      September 4, 2011 at 5:33 pm |
    • jcp

      Yes science is a theory, look it up. You choose to belive someone just because they post something online. You are a fool for believing man. Let me guess you seen the earth get created. You belive we came from rocks or from soup. The big bang was an explosion they claim. Scientist also claim life was on earth almost the same time it was created. How is that for evolution billions of years ..yeah. God exist, his name is Jesus he came to earth and he was risen from the dead. If he wasn't how could you do that. I personally think all of you athiest are delusional.

      September 5, 2011 at 10:32 am |
  11. GOD

    So sick of the uneducated masses "speaking" for "Americans"... seriously should need to pass an IQ test before you vote...

    September 4, 2011 at 3:02 am |
    • wisdom4u2

      You can just shuddup!!!! Moron!!!!

      September 4, 2011 at 3:07 am |
    • jesus

      I agree we need an IQ test before people should vote, then we would get rid of all the moronic candidates like perry

      September 4, 2011 at 3:33 am |
  12. Sid

    What a Joke keep reminding People the horror days every year instead looking for alternative to get better out of it. the Innocent American's have to be reminded under the evil Government to Hate ISLAM it's like a refresh Button. Let's talk about Pearl Harbor i guess not because remember what the American's did. The Nuclear Bomb Killing innocent people. American people are kept under Dark Shadow no one is telling them the truth. Government foreign policies are bias and pathetic. American's are nice people but the government is just unbelievable they are taking advantage of busy way of life in America.
    We should have protest for the world to take out ALL THESE OLD LEADERS and bring justice to the WORLD. they miss guiding my generation.

    September 4, 2011 at 2:58 am |
  13. GOD

    OMG. U people actually believe in Jesus and GOD! Idiots! I wish I was trollinng. Are you 10? It"s so pathetic. American idiots. Can I please live somewhere where people are not uneducated inbreds?

    September 4, 2011 at 2:57 am |
    • wisdom4u2

      S T F U !!!!!! MORON!!!!

      September 4, 2011 at 3:03 am |
    • jesus

      Yea , I am real! Why don't you believe in me. Me and my main man Santa are sitting here getting p.o. at people like u who don't believe in us. I'm sending the easter bunny to make a believer out of u.

      September 4, 2011 at 3:38 am |
    • harmonynoyes

      oh, yes
      you are free to go
      that's love American style
      and sounds like you should go soon , maybe

      September 4, 2011 at 7:21 pm |
  14. wisdom4u2

    @Mark from Middle River......Get yo'a ss in the bed dude!!!!! Goodnight, sleep tight.....hope the 'bed bugs' bite!!!!!

    September 4, 2011 at 2:56 am |
  15. Saint_Paul

    The issue is not religion per say. The issue is whether or not you ahve a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ! The only way you are going to spend eternity with him,that is in glory and in heaven, is to know him. If you don't know him then you will hear him say on that day, "Depart from me, you that work iniquity."

    September 4, 2011 at 2:47 am |
    • jesus

      please c u m up and see me

      September 4, 2011 at 3:39 am |
    • joshua

      Isn't it funny how Athiest try to use someone's name they don't believe in. I don't understand how you can hate someone you don't believe in either. I believe there is a drive to know God in every man and athiest try to over come that desire but they can't that is what makes them so mad.

      September 4, 2011 at 3:48 am |
  16. Rev. Cecil Pearson Jr. D.D.

    This statement may offend, but I have never been known for being P.C. Christians have turned from the teachings of Jesus since 9-11-2011. Some out of fear of more attacks, while others are afraid of what people may think. Jesus taught we are to tell any non-christian once the truth. If they receive it great we continue to teach, if they don't, we are to leave them, and shake the dust from our shoes as a curse to their land.

    I have seen pastors calling for tolerance, but there is no place in the bible for tolerance. Jesus said in Rev. he would rather we be hot or cold, but because we are lukewarm he will spew us from his mouth. This doesn't mean we are to make war against them, but we are not to accept them either.

    The government, since 9-11-2011 has attempted to talk God's chosen people back into 1967 borders, when clearly any nation standing against the Jewish people will not prosper. Religious beliefs can't be politically correct. Sometimes you have to make a stand and hold the line, this is one of those times.

    September 4, 2011 at 2:44 am |
    • Doug

      I find your comments arrogant and ignorant... You seem to have the belief that America is only about Jesus ? Our land came to be for religious freedom, not just yours... You seem to forget that part.. And then to throw out that never ending threat, believe like I do or your country is going down in flames.. Really... That may have worked when people had no education, those days are over bud.. Try something new to make the buck , this won't work anymore !

      September 4, 2011 at 3:10 am |
    • Preethi

      The more this country or for that matter any country goes against Go d and his commandments and against HIs chosen people the deeper they will go into man-made or market made or natural ruin. If you bless Isra el you in turn will be blessed by God. History shows that in plenty examples.

      September 4, 2011 at 3:43 am |
    • joshua

      I agree with you 100%. The bible talks about these days and they get clearer everyday. I can't wait until Russia attacks Israel then more prophecy will come true. This isn't my prophecy athiest this is from the Bible so when it happens you will know the truth.

      September 4, 2011 at 3:44 am |
    • Maani

      You are doing exactly what the right-wing Christian fundamentalists do and taking Scripture out of context to support an unloving, unforgiving and ultimately un-Christian position. Jesus was NOT referring to tolerance for others in this statement. You need only read the next two verses to see that He was addressing wealth and poverty – both economic and spiritual.

      As for tolerance, not only IS there a place for it, but it is part and parcel of what Jesus ACTUALLY lived and preached. He ate and travelled around with sinners of all types. He forgave the adultress who was about to be stoned to death – turning the tables and showing that it was those who were about to stone her who were intolerant. His ministry was comprised of eleven precepts: love, peace, forgiveness, compassion, humility, patience (tolerance!), charity, selflessness, service, justice and truth.

      You do an enormous disservice to both Christians and Christianity when you engage in Biblical cherry-picking and misattribution.

      September 4, 2011 at 1:05 pm |
  17. Awkward Situations

    Hey fellow primates what do you think of this?


    [variation of We're here! We're qu_eer! Get used to it!] 😉

    September 4, 2011 at 2:37 am |
    • harmonynoyes

      how about this
      a lot of fear, followed by a lot more anger
      enough to get you out of your seat and stand up and fight for the freedoms you take for granted
      you might have to
      you can't take good things for granted

      September 4, 2011 at 7:25 pm |
  18. Mike

    I have never posted on CNN b4 , But who ever did 9/11 have never read the Quran as it should be , when the book says "kill a non-believer " and they took that as kill all the non believers to the end of time, WRONG , it was kill the non believers at that time 1400 years ago in a battle PERIOD , It's so sad they never looked into what their book said . Christians who bash Islam are ignorant because the book speaks fondly of Christians and approaches them with love , ignorance is pathetic .

    September 4, 2011 at 2:35 am |
    • joshua

      Mike you are correct, We shouldn't bash Islam we are suppose to love the sinner and hate the sin.

      September 4, 2011 at 3:33 am |
    • Morrison

      Umm. No Mike. The book does not speak fondly of Christians. Where in the world did you get that idea from? Do you need quotes?

      September 4, 2011 at 4:37 am |
  19. michael

    Jim, thats a narcissistic theory

    September 4, 2011 at 2:28 am |
  20. Jim J

    Religion belongs in history books. The ancients made up "holy books" in an attempt to explain nature, and enforce some basic moral guidelines on the unruly crowds. It certainly was needed back in the dark ages, but now it's been completely subsumed by science, law and education.

    September 4, 2011 at 2:24 am |
    • Jumper

      Hmm. . . you seem to have forgotten the part of religion that encourages people to lead better lives.

      September 4, 2011 at 2:27 am |
    • ihatefanboys

      @jumper..... have you forgotten the part about religion that compels its followers to commit mass murder in the name of god.....guess which one says that ? ill give u a hint, its not just islam......millions were slaughtered in the name of god...and still are...religion is old is what jim is saying, its a relic, meant to control the stupid population, which is sad because the fact that there are stll so many religious people proves we're still a stupid population.

      September 4, 2011 at 2:37 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      So you are asking those of Faith to not acknowledge the numerous and fantastic good deeds that are done by people of Faith each day currently and in the past. You want him or her to focus on the negatives and hope that the positives never get attention.

      I have a few relatives and friends who are radical African Americans. Just want to guess what and how they feel about the White history in America. I can mention all of the good Whites and guess what, they do the same as you did.

      September 4, 2011 at 2:45 am |
    • Ryan

      Jim, I think maybe you belong in the history books. Why don't you tell that idea to all the other religions beside Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. There were religions around in parts of the world long before these three, that had nothing to do with nature. Tell that to the ancient Egyptians, the Mayans, Aztecs, etc.

      September 4, 2011 at 2:46 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.