With 9/11 anniversary on a Sunday, pastors prepare their sermons
Clergy will be taking the pulipt looking to give answers to hard questions on the ten year anniversary of 9/11.
September 8th, 2011
12:42 PM ET

With 9/11 anniversary on a Sunday, pastors prepare their sermons

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

(CNN) - The details of the attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, and the plane crash in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, will be remembered at length this week.  What, when, how and who will dominate the headlines.   As people across the country head to churches, temples and mosques this weekend, they will once again wonder why. They will look to the pulpit and listen for an answer.

This week, clergy of all faiths are preparing answers as their congregants ask why 9/11 happened, how it should be remembered and what their response should be as they go out from their sacred space and back into the secular.

For some, there will be calls to patriotism among the prayers.  Others will shy away from country.

The remembrances cover a wide variety.  Some churches will bring care packages to first responders, Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles will be packed for a prayer service Saturday, and there will be hundreds of churches simulcasting services featuring megachurch pastor Rick Warren or other famed clergy.

We spoke with clergy of many different faiths, in many different parts of the country, and asked how they were preparing and what they would tell the faithful as the 10th anniversary of 9/11 falls on a Sunday.

The Rev. Rich Smith had just arrived as the pastor of a church in Bethesda, Maryland, just outside Washington, D.C., in 2001.  His first Sunday was September 9, 2001.  On the morning of the 11th, they were planning for the next service.  "A lot of that had to go out the window," he said.

He was fortunate, he said, because no one from the church died in the attack.  A family joined later and the husband, a lieutenant colonel in the Army, was at the Pentagon when the plane struck on 9/11.  "He described running as the floor was collapsing behind him," Smith said.

Smith said that 9/11 "affected the whole nine years I was there."

Today, Smith pastors the First Congregational Church in Reno, Nevada, part of the United Church of Christ.

"Even though Reno wasn't attacked, I think people feel like we as a nation were attacked. Even when you're out in the hinterlands like we are, you still feel like you're part of something bigger."

For their 9/11 services, thousands of Catholic and Protestant churches that follow the lectionary, a standardized collection of scripture readings, will be reading from the Gospel of Matthew, where Jesus teaches his disciples how to forgive.

Smith's church will do the same.  He said there's some providence to the timing of the passage.

As he preaches about forgiveness, he will remind his congregants of a quote from Nelson Mandela.  South Africa, he said, was a, "marvelous example of how you handle something when you feel like you've been so wronged."

"I love the phrase Mandela used, 'No future without forgiveness.' "

In New Orleans, Catholics sitting in the well-worn pews of St. Louis Cathedral  in the French Quarter will hear the same passage from Matthew and a similar theme from the Rev. Msgr. Crosby W. Kern when he steps up to the pulpit.

"Forgiveness is probably God’s plan.  We don’t forget.  We don’t let our guard down.  We as a people should be defensive to protect ourselves.  But have we got that same sense of mercy and forgiveness we see in God the Father?  Whatever our attitude is to our enemies, it’s a good time for us to reflect one that," Kern said.

He will preach to a group of congregants who faced different struggles in the past decade.  The statue of Jesus in the back of the church is still missing fingers, a scar from Hurricane Katrina; one that Kern hopes to restore this year.

"We don't forget.  We learn.  But part of the American psyche is, we are big enough to forgive.  We are big enough to try and get over the scars and the wounds that we've suffered throughout our history.  It might take a long time, but we can't give up," he said.

In the passage in Matthew, Jesus tells Peter he should forgive the person who has wronged him seven times seventy.  "In scripture for us, that's eternal.  That's the perfect number, without end.  So I'm going to take off on the forgiveness part," explained Father Adam Lee Ortega y Ortiz, Pastor of Santa Maria de la Paz Catholic Church in Sante Fe, New Mexico.

"I know people are meditating on the evil of the attack and the anger it brought about," he said.  "When we can quench the anger in our own hearts first, we can do a lot better in the world."

Chaplain Capt. Mijikai Mason, a Southern Baptist minister, will be preaching Sunday to a group of high school students at a military academy outside Columbia, South Carolina.  As a member of the Army, he has lived the response to 9/11 and the wars that followed. His audience this Sunday were toddlers at the time of the attack.

He will preach on theme of remembrance.  "Now we’re in more of a healing phase.  Now it’s more how will we remember and celebrating the lives that were lost,” he said.

Maj. Tommie Pickens, one of Mason's fellow chaplains, is being flown to Chicago to deliver the message Sunday at Addison Community Church on the west side. Pickens said the church is patriotic and loves the U.S. and its military.

He will be preaching from 2 Chronicles 7:14: "If my people which I call by name, humble themselves and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and heal their land."

The verse refers specifically to ancient Israelites but has been interpreted throughout the ages to apply to any country at any time and is very popular with American evangelicals.

Pickens will preach about the first responders, the troops and the spirit of unity that swept the country after the attack, "and lifted the simple prayer, 'God bless America.' "

"We need to remember the cost of the human lives," he said. As congregants go out after the service, he wants them to remember to "be proud of our great nation.  Be proud we live in the land of the free because of the brave. Our nation has always exemplified resolve."

"We can stand tall even at the end of a horrible day," he will emphasize.

Days after the attacks, the Rev Billy Graham stood and delivered a sermon to the nation at Washington National Cathedral.  Ten years later, Graham is 93 and does not have the stamina to participate in any services, said his daughter Anne Graham Lotz.

His health is failing, and his daughter will be taking the pulpit this year.

Her message will focus on Isaiah Chapter 6, which pertains to when Israel was in crisis and how the prophet's life was shaken.

"When his life was shaken, he didn't say, 'why me?' and allow his life to be filled with self-pity.  He looked up," she said.

"I'm going to take that and flesh it out," Graham said.  "I think it's very appropriate that in times like this, we look up and ask God to give us a fresh glimpse of himself and a revelation of truth."  Her sermon will be in Raleigh, North Carolina, and simulcast around the world on radio and TV.

Tony Campolo will be guest pastor at Trinity United Methodist Church in Little Rock, Arkansas. Campolo is a professor of sociology at Eastern University, a Baptist school not far from Philadelphia.  For years, he has been a popular speaker and author, and he relishes his role as the guy who comes in to speak and gets to leave at the end of the service.  It frees him to speak what he feels God is calling him to say.

"If I anger people, I'm gone.  It's easier for me to sound the prophetic voice than someone who is there all the time," he said.

Campolo will also be preaching on Isaiah Chapter 6 but will take a different approach than Graham.

"The focus of the passage is that there is a sense that in a national crisis, each of us is called upon to stand up and be instruments of God for making things right in the world," he said.

He will also warn congregants against the radical elements in their own midst, not just in other faiths. "All religions have the tendency to create extremism, and in the words of Fredrich Nietzsche, 'Men never do evil with more enthusiasm, than when they do it in the name of God.' And we must recognize that the evil we see in the extremists in the Muslim community that brought about 9/11, is the extremism that we can find in the Jewish community and in the Christian community."

"Revenge is not the way of God's people," he will say, knowing that the memory of 9/11 can stir up old emotions and broad hatred that he says is "unbefitting of religious people."

Rabbi Shmuel Herzfeld of Ohev Sholom - The National Synagogue in Washington, D.C., said that though terrorists misused the name of God to commit their atrocities, in many ways, 9/11 brought Jews and Muslims closer.

He will use his time in the pulpit to warn against cynicism the attacks may have allowed to creep in. "Al Qaeda punctured our belief in ourselves, and we need to remember to ignore them. Al Qaeda’s greatest threat is not the physical, but the attack on our belief in our own destiny; they have spread disbelief and cynicism throughout our land," he plans to say.

"This 9/11, let us remember the dead. But let us also remember the great things we have accomplished in our history and promise ourselves that despite the evil intentions of al Qaeda, we will continue to soar for greatness."

Charles Park is pastor of the nondenominational River Church in Manhattan.  They are partnering for a joint service with the Lower Manhattan Church, which was founded after the attacks by Rick Warren's Saddleback Church as a way to minister to the community nearest to ground zero.

Both churches meet blocks from ground zero, and on Sunday, Park will speak to congregants who watched what happened 10 years ago in person; congregants who brushed the toxic dust of falling buildings off their jackets and had to move on with their daily lives.

"I will be focusing on 'how to move forward from 9/11' because as one wise person said, 'Every pain that is not transformed is transmitted,'" Park said in an e-mail.

He will lean heavily on the prayer of St. Francis, "to remind the people of faith the calling from God to be a 'blessing to all peoples on Earth.' "

"Lord, make me an instrument of your peace."

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: 9/11 • Belief • Church

soundoff (287 Responses)
  1. William Demuth


    A changed heart?

    You would not be the first to have made the mistake that I have any heart at all.

    September 9, 2011 at 9:07 am |
  2. hippypoet

    look, this is not a day to rememeber how one religion did this to another, its a day to remember the dead and to remember how we as a species can be brought together... why should such a tragic event spawn so much more hatred, it makes no sense to me!!! People of all races, color, and religious background died there on that day. Instead of going to war after 9/11 we should have spoke to the world leaders and created a day where all people can breath together the free air. nope, thats not what we did. Instead more died, pointless deaths too... a life for a life is a grand statement, if you understand how much money was WASTED killing people after the event. We as a nation were in debt around 2-5 trillion before the war, now we are in debt 14 trillion.. thank you bush and the average u.s. moron for your vote... What those numbers mean to me is that we hunted a VERY SMALL group of people to just kill them, not bring them to justice, and it started with us losing lives and ended with us losing lives and each life was worth near 1 billion dollars at the end. do the math. how many people died in total divided by the total debt from the war alone... its staggering how much a signal life is worth, yet its illegal to sell yourself!

    end the killing, bring people together, lets just live, happy, long, friutful lives! why must lives be lost so others can live happy? thats a sick mindset. bush was a retard, and so is anyone who believes that he was doing the right thing, and being honest about it.


    September 9, 2011 at 8:27 am |
  3. The NetProphet

    I can find no where in the bible Where Jesus called his disciples to hate any one, He taught to forgive your those who hate you and to bless them that attack you. the exact words are in Matthew 5:44 " But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you and pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you." I am so sorry that the name of Jesus has been used by some Christians to further there own selfish desires. We who are followers of the teachings in the bible spend so much time not doing what the Lord clearly teaches. To the world I say stop hating each other and do good help those in need, feed people who are hungry, do good to all you meet, Jesus never spoke out against any one except to the religious people at that time and it is not any different now ! From Gods perspective we all are guilty of crimes against GOD and man. I pray that all people stop and think does hate, greed,selfishness solve any thing?
    And to the Christians ? can you really say that you are walking in the truth, when you lie cheat and steal or act like the world around you? we are called to be a light but yet we are no different that the rest of the world, is it any wonder the world see you as hypocrites Does not the Jesus warn about the "yeast of the Pharisees" in Luke 12:1 Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees which is hypocrisy!

    September 9, 2011 at 8:25 am |
    • Thomas

      But without hate and a feeling of superiority, where would religion be?

      September 9, 2011 at 1:01 pm |
  4. Rainer Braendlein

    Apropos mosques:

    Time will come that we will kick ourselves that we have approved the construction of mosques in our countries. Once a mosque is completed, it can never be dismantled without causing the wrath of the Muslims.

    Muhammad says it is a reason to start Holy War (Jihad), when a mosque gots shut down by infidels (Westerners).

    Sura 2, Verse 217 of the evil Koran:

    They question thee (O Muhammad) with regard to warfare in the sacred month. Say: Warfare therein is a great (transgression), but to turn (men) from the way of Allah, and to disbelieve in Him and in the Inviolable Place of Worship, and to expel His people thence, is a greater with Allah; for persecution is worse than killing. And they will not cease from fighting against you till they have made you renegades from your religion, if they can. And whoso becometh a renegade and dieth in his disbelief: such are they whose works have fallen both in the world and the Hereafter. Such are rightful owners of the Fire: they will abide therein.
    ( سورة البقرة , Al-Baqara, Chapter #2, Verse #217)

    Note: "Place of Worship" = mosque

    Conclusion: American and German authorities should be aware, what they do, when they shut down a mosque. It is a declaration of war against Islam. They will surely take revenge!

    September 9, 2011 at 7:26 am |
  5. Truth

    Jesus is risen from the dead; He is alive today. He came to this planet once before; He'll have no problem for the second time. All the haters of God will be put to shame and punished according to their crimes.

    September 9, 2011 at 3:52 am |
    • CW

      Yes, because that's exactly what God would have us do. Put others to shame. How can you call yourself Christian?

      September 9, 2011 at 9:49 am |
  6. David Crosby

    These people will stop at nothing to make a buck..9/11 has no religious meaning, because Jesus has been dead for 2000 years. There is no hocus pocus..

    September 9, 2011 at 3:42 am |


    September 9, 2011 at 3:19 am |
  8. Joe

    That is correct. Religion never solves anything. Not a darn thing. Christiantiy is not about an "organized religion." Religion is just people trying to work to prove things and that gets them in trouble or confused, which we already are, until Christ comes and breathes life into us. Ephesians 2, we were dead in our sins until by God's grace, and His grace alone, Christ intereceded on our behalf and gave us a new life.

    By grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone.

    By the blood of Christ, it has already been done. We don't have to do anything except have faith in Him.

    September 9, 2011 at 1:36 am |
    • ttwp


      September 9, 2011 at 9:06 am |
  9. Carla

    My name has been under hijacking again. Atheists never grow up but continue to do the uncreative evil.

    September 9, 2011 at 1:31 am |
    • Carla

      Stop hijacking my name and saying my name has been hijacked, you evil atheist antiChrist lake of fire burner dry bones!

      September 9, 2011 at 1:33 am |
    • Carla

      Oh, you make me so angry, fake second Carla. I am stamping my feet at you! You make me wail and gnash my teeth!

      September 9, 2011 at 1:36 am |
  10. Carla

    Americans, don't be sad. We all have so much time on earth. You cleared all the villains and their evil systems with your much sacrifice all over the world since last century till now; brutal tyrants, crazy fascists, greedy imperialists, murderous atheists, racists, and you are now liberating the untouchable tribal illiterates and their women for the first time in history. Don't just look at your own nation; you'll only find the meaning of your existence when you look at the faces of liberated people. Freedom and fairness comes with cost. Honor God and don't blaspheme.

    September 9, 2011 at 1:25 am |
    • Carla

      I intended to make sense when I said that, but it's really hard after all the shock treatment. The lobotomy and the lithium might be taking the edge off my intellect a bit as well.

      September 9, 2011 at 1:28 am |
    • Carla

      The first Carla is a fake.

      September 9, 2011 at 1:29 am |
    • Carla

      The second Carla is a fake. The third Carla is a fake fake, which being a double negative makes her real, except she isn't. The first Carla is a hallucination. The seventh Carla is busy at the moment, but will be with you shortly.

      September 9, 2011 at 1:30 am |
    • Ye Ling

      Hey Carla, imitation is the greatest form of flattery!, throw your peanut punches at 'em.

      the atheist are insecure otherwise why the need to steal your moniker?

      September 9, 2011 at 9:45 am |
  11. ejplb

    why would you preach a sermon about 9/11? That's completely contrary to true expositional preaching. You don't make an illustration a topic. True preaching says what the text of the Bible says, not what you infuse into it. If you get that right you won't have so much confusion about the life changing message.

    To all you guys that keep spouting the same old line about "religion is a blaa bla bla problem" stop whining or at least come up with something new with some substance. You sound more ignorant than those who you are trying to bash.

    September 8, 2011 at 10:21 pm |
    • mickey1313

      More ignorant then the thiests? that is not possible. Anyone who believes in something with no reality behind it is a fool. That is why the dirty cave crawlers atacked us, because of there brain washing. That is why the crusades happened, in fact most of our problems would never happen without thiesm to forge hatered amongst humanity. Thiests get mad at this message, but there has never been a book based on athiestism that preeches hate or violance, but all 3 monothiestic works preech hate and violence. I like talking to churchies, because they all sound like they're 5 years old.

      September 9, 2011 at 12:48 am |
    • Thomas

      "To all you guys that keep spouting the same old line about "religion is a blaa bla bla problem" stop whining or at least come up with something new with some substance."

      How about logic, reason, science for a start?

      September 9, 2011 at 1:04 pm |
  12. Agha Ata (USA)

    Would any minister of a church dare suggest to turn the other cheek? (Or is it one fo those verses that have forgotten)

    September 8, 2011 at 10:14 pm |
    • Carla

      Agha, it's in Matthew chapter 5 and it's only applicable to personal insults or religious persecutions in an oppressive society, never to serious bullying or crimes in a free country.

      September 9, 2011 at 1:30 am |
    • tallulah13

      Carla thinks she's Jesus.

      September 9, 2011 at 1:34 am |
    • @Talllulah13

      You are just uneducated. Behave like a man. Stop stalking me if you have nothing worth to say. American men were far more intelligent than you 40 years ago.

      September 9, 2011 at 1:41 am |
    • tallulah13

      Oh, Carla (Princess of Lies), when you start telling the truth, I won't have a single problem with you. You can worship whatever god you choose, but when you lie and pretend that you wrote the bible, I will point out what you are doing. Stop lying, I won't bother you at all.

      September 9, 2011 at 2:29 am |
    • @Tallulah13

      All you need is some authentic education on the Bible. Why do you refuse to learn and attack Christians who teach you facts?

      September 9, 2011 at 2:55 am |
    • claybigsby

      "Why do you refuse to learn and attack Christians who teach you facts?"

      What facts exactly? Fact is supported by evidence not opinion.

      September 9, 2011 at 12:19 pm |
  13. Muneef


    I suppose this sermon will take place in the National Cathedral !? The same one that was damaged by the earthquake !? And the same one which the heavy working crane fell beside !? .. Well guess people you have to be careful going there for some reason I fear that any thing happens to it on that date while filled with people..ending up accusing Muslims for it...! After all she had now two huge shocks one by the earthquake and the second by the fallen heavy crane...!!

    September 8, 2011 at 8:46 pm |
    • Muneef

      Human crowd movements as well as loud singing could add to what she had faced...!

      September 8, 2011 at 8:49 pm |
  14. Michael

    Hate to break it to you, religion does more harm than good, just ask every family who lost someone on 9/11.

    September 8, 2011 at 7:40 pm |
    • josh

      religion may have caused 9/11 but religion helped many people get through 9/11 as well

      September 8, 2011 at 8:00 pm |
    • Joe

      Sorry to hear you live in your own little world and re disconnected with facts.

      Jjust check out 911 families that are going to be testifying about their 'Faith' in churches this sunday. Our church is one such where the widow of a Pilot killed is going to be speaking.

      September 8, 2011 at 8:46 pm |
    • Muneef

      Actually tonight two hours ago my 6years old doughter with out occasion or maybe because they been repeating the scene of the 911 on the news channels, she said to me "dad am afraid any thing happens to you like that on airplanes or that they explode"!! Well had to answer her I said doughter nothing would happen to us unless it was written by GOD "Allah" for it to happen...
      She said " yes dad it is ok because it was not intended but those intended to die this way and knew about it GOD would not take them to heaven because they killed them selves intentionally as "suicide" and did not die by accident...!!

      September 8, 2011 at 9:02 pm |
    • OC

      You know, Mike, from one atheist to another, we don't need to comment like this on every article about religion.

      September 8, 2011 at 9:53 pm |
    • John Richardson

      You have a wise young daughter, Muneef! A credit to her upbringing!

      September 8, 2011 at 10:38 pm |
    • mickey1313

      not to mention, that if it were not for the christian lead crusades, there would be no jyhad in the koran, that was only added after they were slaughtered by the christians.

      September 9, 2011 at 12:50 am |
    • Lin

      Yes, Michael, just ignore the billions of people who use their religious beliefs to inspire them to try to help others or do good for their families and communities. Judge, label, and stereotype them all together with the small percentage of hateful, greedy sickos who abuse, twist, and per vert faith into something they use for their own gain.

      September 9, 2011 at 2:25 pm |
  15. torahdude5

    I will be preaching on Exodus 14: 19 – 31. God supports and guides us through the chaos of fear and the unknown to safety and order.

    September 8, 2011 at 6:48 pm |
    • Michael

      bla bla bla magic talk..... Prove it or go away.

      September 8, 2011 at 7:39 pm |
    • torahdude5

      @ Michael - LOL!!! I have nothing to prove - only proclaim.

      September 8, 2011 at 10:27 pm |
    • mickey1313

      anyone who get comfort from religon is just delusional. Many pshychpaths are comforted by the deranged things they believe, it does not make them so. If you want to spout off about "truth" the burden of proof is on you, not the "non-believers".

      September 9, 2011 at 12:54 am |
    • Yup

      You have nothing to prove. Exactly right. Nothing there at all. God is nothing.

      September 9, 2011 at 12:59 am |
    • Real Deal

      " I have nothing to prove – only proclaim."

      One can proclaim *anything*. I can proclaim that I have an invisible unicorn in my garage. I can proclaim that I am Napoleon. I can proclaim that faeries make my garden grow.

      Your proclamation means nothing without evidence of substance.

      Unfortunately, your needy audience will eat it up, and will stick around (and likely shell out cash) for more.

      September 9, 2011 at 2:53 am |
    • torahdude5

      (heavy sigh)
      So many of the posts for this article are motivated by anger and pain. There is nothing wrong with the faithful "take" on how people get through life. September 11 is a day when and where all people experienced pain. I will proclaim, Sunday September 11 (10 year anniversary of this horrific event) that a Supreme Being provides universal direction through the pain of said "horrific event". There is nothing wrong with faith in this Supreme Being. Instead of beating up on each other because of our respective beliefs can we not just hold each other in comfort and mutual support?

      September 10, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
    • Real Deal

      torahdude5: "I will proclaim, ... that a Supreme Being provides universal direction..."

      No sir, you will not "proclaim" supernatural intervention [to announce officially and publicly].

      Perhaps you will "allege" it [to assert to be true] or "purport" it [to claim (to be a certain thing, etc.)] or even "exclaim" [to speak loudly or vehemently]. Perhaps you will "proclaim" your faith, but you will not be announcing that any Supreme Being actually *does* anything.

      September 10, 2011 at 6:54 pm |
    • torahdude5

      A life of faith is not, by default, a life of ignorance. I feel bad that you are motivated to lash out at those you disagree. The man Jesus stated that we should care for one another. The prophets of old stated the same thing. The fact that those who believe such an idea is of divine origin motivates you to say such hurtful things evidences your character. Possibly religion isn't the problem but human arogance and willful antagonism. I am secure in my belief.

      September 10, 2011 at 10:23 pm |
    • Real Deal

      I feel bad that pointing out reality is considered 'lashing out'. The audacity of proclaiming something as fact when it is not is hurtful to me... and many others. I certainly agree with the remainder of your thoughts - caring for and comforting each other as best as we can is wonderful. Let's do it... for real.

      September 10, 2011 at 10:46 pm |
  16. a person of the Name

    May God bring peace and comfort to all the families that had suffered after and during the 9/11 attacks.

    September 8, 2011 at 6:39 pm |
  17. John Richardson

    Or find any of the million and a half other ways not to be a murderous hater. 6 billion people didn't kill anyone that day or any other since. It's not hard!

    September 8, 2011 at 5:44 pm |
    • John Richardson

      Whoops! This was a reply to Bill/FL invitation for everyone to go to church Sunday. I know I won't!

      September 8, 2011 at 5:45 pm |
    • BILL/FL


      I respect your choice to not attend church on Sunday.

      See, that wasn't so bad.

      We will be praying for you anyway. GOD can touch your life where ever you are. He can help you know the truth right thete in front of your computer.

      Watch and see. May be today, maybe another day. Only HE knows.

      Let HIS will be done in your life.

      September 8, 2011 at 5:56 pm |
    • John Richardson

      I was raised a Methodist and studied with Baptists and Jehovah's Witnesses. But I got better! You can pray for me if it makes you feel better. It won't affect me one way or the other!

      September 8, 2011 at 6:02 pm |
    • BILL/FL

      Oh ye of little faith.

      Prayer is for your benefit, not mine.

      Sorry your life didn't yield a sense of a desire for truth. Stop running from GOD.

      September 8, 2011 at 6:12 pm |
    • John Richardson

      A desire for truth is exactly what led me to leave the willfully ignorant little world of Christian faith, Bill. And no, prayer provably does zilch for the one prayed for, but may have psychological benefits for the one praying! Indulge!

      September 8, 2011 at 7:12 pm |
    • mickey1313

      bill, comeing from an athiest that HAS read the bible, is it not a sin to anthropomorphise god, (aka it is not a he or a she?)
      I hop ethe cult of the tetragramaton brings you piece, even if it is a delusion.

      September 9, 2011 at 12:56 am |
  18. Reality

    For posting on all mosque, church and synagogue/temple doors on 9/11 now and in the future:




    Added details upon request.

    September 8, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
    • BILL/FL


      Welcome back. We have missed you. Did you just wake up?

      Save 1 person, Jesus death and bodly resurection happened for sinners and the lost like you.

      September 8, 2011 at 5:32 pm |
    • Reality

      Saving Christians from the Infamous Resurrection Con:

      From that famous passage: In 1 Corinthians 15 St. Paul reasoned, "If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith."

      Even now Catholic/Christian professors of theology are questioning the bodily resurrection of the simple, preacher man aka Jesus.

      To wit;

      From a major Catholic university's theology professor’s grad school white-board notes:

      "Heaven is a Spirit state or spiritual reality of union with God in love, without earthly – earth bound distractions.
      Jesus and Mary's bodies are therefore not in Heaven.

      Most believe that it to mean that the personal spiritual self that survives death is in continuity with the self we were while living on earth as an embodied person.

      Again, the physical Resurrection (meaning a resuscitated corpse returning to life), Ascension (of Jesus' crucified corpse), and Assumption (Mary's corpse) into heaven did not take place.

      The Ascension symbolizes the end of Jesus' earthly ministry and the beginning of the Church.

      Only Luke's Gospel records it. The Assumption ties Jesus' mission to Pentecost and missionary activity of Jesus' followers The Assumption has multiple layers of symbolism, some are related to Mary's special role as "Christ bearer" (theotokos). It does not seem fitting that Mary, the body of Jesus' Virgin-Mother (another biblically based symbol found in Luke 1) would be derived by worms upon her death. Mary's assumption also shows God's positive regard, not only for Christ's male body, but also for female bodies." "

      "In three controversial Wednesday Audiences, Pope John Paul II pointed out that the essential characteristic of heaven, hell or purgatory is that they are states of being of a spirit (angel/demon) or human soul, rather than places, as commonly perceived and represented in human language. This language of place is, according to the Pope, inadequate to describe the realities involved, since it is tied to the temporal order in which this world and we exist. In this he is applying the philosophical categories used by the Church in her theology and saying what St. Thomas Aquinas said long before him."

      The Vatican quickly embellished this story with a lot CYAP.

      Of course, we all know that angels are really mythical "pretty, wingie, talking thingies".

      With respect to rising from the dead, we also have this account:

      An added note: As per R.B. Stewart in his introduction to the recent book, The Resurrection of Jesus, Crossan and Wright in Dialogue,


      "Reimarus (1774-1778) posits that Jesus became sidetracked by embracing a political position, sought to force God's hand and that he died alone deserted by his disciples. What began as a call for repentance ended up as a misguided attempt to usher in the earthly political kingdom of God. After Jesus' failure and death, his disciples stole his body and declared his resurrection in order to maintain their financial security and ensure themselves some standing."

      p.168. by Ted Peters:

      Even so, asking historical questions is our responsibility. Did Jesus really rise from the tomb? Is it necessary to have been raised from the tomb and to appear to his disciples in order to explain the rise of early church and the transcription of the bible? Crossan answers no, Wright answers, yes. "

      So where are the bones"? As per Professor Crossan's analyses in his many books, the body of Jesus would have ended up in the mass graves of the crucified, eaten by wild dogs, covered with lime in a shallow grave, or under a pile of stones.

      And in case you are interested in human body decomposition:

      From: answers.com

      "The whole process is generally slower in a coffin, and the body may remain identifiable for many months. Some tissues, such as tendons and ligaments, are more resistant to decomposition, while the uterus and prostate glands may last several months.

      But within a year all that is usually left is the skeleton and teeth, with traces of the tissues on them – it takes 40 to 50 years for the bones to become dry and brittle in a coffin. In soil of neutral acidity, bones may last for hundreds of years, while acid peaty soil gradually dissolves the bones."

      September 8, 2011 at 6:43 pm |
    • mickey1313

      even easier then that though, the 3 books all give the "creation" date to be around 4000 BCE, but we have archological sites going back as far as 75k BCE, how dumb do these yahoos have to be not to see the facts before there eyes. Oh I forgot, god made the evidance look like everything happened naturally 4 billion years ago and that there was no creator, just to test out devine faith? Are you people f-ing stupid?

      September 9, 2011 at 12:59 am |
    • fred

      What? If you are referring to the Bible there is no such time period set so I don't know where you came up with 4,000BC. Regarding the 75k you threw out there that is not so. The earliest findings of civilization was 8,000 to 12,000 BC to date but still looking. Man as "created in the Bible" is that point when image of God was breathed into him. That time could have been anywhere from 12,000 BC or if God elected to use an evolutionary process to create it would be 90,000 to 250,000 years ago. Now how stupid was Moses that 3,500 years latter us smart guys have not trapped him in a single error yet

      September 9, 2011 at 1:20 am |
    • Peace2All


      Hey -Fred...

      " Now how stupid was Moses that 3,500 years latter us smart guys have not trapped him in a single error yet."

      I'm curious as to what things do you believe that Moses allegedly proposed, that someone has not trapped him in an error as of yet...?



      September 9, 2011 at 1:27 am |
    • fred

      Mickey1313 implied Moses (author of 3 books referred to in bible) set the creation date as 4,000 BC. There was no date given for creation we can only back into it by looking at Cain's use of bronze. As to Adam and Eve that could have been many things ranging from the first line of the chosen ones or an abstract of the first modern man. This is why my date ran from 12,000 to 250,000. Point being 4,000 BC is not based on the bible so one cannot use that date to disparage believers.

      September 9, 2011 at 1:54 am |
    • Reality

      origin: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20E1EFE35540C7A8CDDAA0894DA404482 NY Times

      New Torah For Modern Minds

      “Abraham, the Jewish patriarch, probably never existed. Nor did Moses. The entire Exodus story as recounted in the Bible probably never occurred. The same is true of the tumbling of the walls of Jericho. And David, far from being the fearless king who built Jerusalem into a mighty capital, was more likely a provincial leader whose reputation was later magnified to provide a rallying point for a fledgling nation.

      Such startling propositions - the product of findings by archaeologists digging in Israel and its environs over the last 25 years - have gained wide acceptance among non-Orthodox rabbis. But there has been no attempt to disseminate these ideas or to discuss them with the laity - until now.

      The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, which represents the 1.5 million Conservative Jews in the United States, has just issued a new Torah and commentary, the first for Conservatives in more than 60 years. Called "Etz Hayim" ("Tree of Life" in Hebrew), it offers an interpretation that incorporates the latest findings from archaeology, philology, anthropology and the study of ancient cultures. To the editors who worked on the book, it represents one of the boldest efforts ever to introduce into the religious mainstream a view of the Bible as a human rather than divine doc-ument.

      The notion that the Bible is not literally true "is more or less settled and understood among most Conservative rabbis," observed David Wolpe, a rabbi at Sinai Temple in Los Angeles and a contributor to "Etz Hayim." But some congregants, he said, "may not like the stark airing of it." Last Passover, in a sermon to 2,200 congregants at his synagogue, Rabbi Wolpe frankly said that "virtually every modern archaeologist" agrees "that the way the Bible describes the Exodus is not the way that it happened, if it happened at all." The rabbi offered what he called a "LITANY OF DISILLUSION”' about the narrative, including contradictions, improbabilities, chronological lapses and the absence of corroborating evidence. In fact, he said, archaeologists digging in the Sinai have "found no trace of the tribes of Israel - not one shard of pottery."

      September 9, 2011 at 8:24 am |
  19. There is Hope


    September 8, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
    • Whatever

      Talentless warbling deluded dumbasses give you hope? Right . . .

      September 9, 2011 at 1:01 am |
    • MK

      This is awesome!!,

      This is first time got to hear Chris Tomlin with the Watoto choir,beautiful rendition of 'This is love'

      September 9, 2011 at 10:19 am |
  20. BILL/FL

    Remember, over 3000 people lost their lives because of 19 men on a mission of hate. Don't be like those 19 men.

    Go to a local church Sunday, open your hearts and ears, and listen for a message of healing and hope.

    May the love of Christ mend the brokeness in your hearts.

    9/11 a day we won't forget those people in NY, PA, and Washington. And their families.

    September 8, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
    • Gracie

      Well said Bill!

      September 8, 2011 at 5:37 pm |
    • Bill/NV

      Devotion to religion is the problem, not the solution.

      September 8, 2011 at 6:44 pm |
    • Carla

      Bill/FL, Amen. Christianity always solved problems permanently and provided comfort, purpose, meaning, hope and a real life in the midst of chaos and tragedies.

      September 9, 2011 at 1:15 am |
    • tallulah13

      No thank you, Bill, but if it makes you feel better, you go right on ahead. Carla, you must really hate christianity to make christians sound so foolish.

      September 9, 2011 at 1:39 am |
    • @Tallulah13

      What is your problem? You hate Christianity because you have neither hope or meaning without Christianity.

      September 9, 2011 at 1:43 am |
    • tallulah13

      I don't hate christianity. I simply believe that there is not a drop of proof that it is nothing more than wishful thinking.

      At one point in my life, I thought I was a christian, but one day I realized it was just a habit. I don't take comfort in foisting my problems onto something/someone else, but I take great satisfaction in taking care of myself. I don't want heaven or fear hell. I have no desire to hurt others or steal from them. I am about as honest a person as you will find. What in the world does religion offer that I would need?

      However, if you need a supernatural authority figure to be a good person, you should go ahead. If you are Carla, you need to stop pretending you speak for god.

      September 9, 2011 at 2:06 am |
    • @Tallulah13

      Yes, it's Carla. My user name has been hijacked; for now I'm in limbo for a while regarding names. Tallulah13, you don't really consider about afterlife; that's why you think the way you do. You are trusting your hopelessness, yourself, over God's Word. If you were truly an honest person, you'd leave people like me alone and you'd have admitted you were sinful and in need of the Creator's forgiveness for ransacking the planet and refusing to help the fellow humans and approving immorality.

      September 9, 2011 at 2:52 am |
    • William Demuth

      One crazy religion or the other.

      Both lies, both houses of hatred and zealotry.

      September 9, 2011 at 9:50 am |
    • Lin

      @Bill/NV – is it devotion that's bad? After all, Mother Theresa was the embodiment of devotion to her faith, or what about a parent who steps in front of a moving car to save their child. That is the good kind of devotion. My theory is that anything good like faith or devotion can be twisted into something bad. I personally call that fanaticism.

      September 9, 2011 at 2:38 pm |
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About this blog

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