Multi-faith 9/11 prayer vigil calls for tolerance
Rev. Samuel Lloyd, III speaks at an interfaith service to commemorate 9/11.
September 11th, 2011
12:56 PM ET

Multi-faith 9/11 prayer vigil calls for tolerance

By Mary Grace Lucas, CNN

Washington (CNN) - Hundreds gathered in Washington Sunday to share an interfaith moment together in remembrance of the September 11, 2001 attacks.

The morning vigil service, planned over months by staff at the Washington National Cathedral, integrated chants, prayers, music and traditions from across the religious spectrum.

The event was one of several organized by the Washington National Cathedral over the weekend.

"We feel like our events say to the world that faith is an element [of commemorating 9/11]," said Steven Schwab, spokesman for Washington National Cathedral.

The service originally was scheduled to take place in the iconic National Cathedral, but was moved to the Washington Hebrew Congregation due to damage from the recent Washington-area earthquake.

However, the cathedral was not without a role. The large Bourdon Bell in the Cathedral's bell tower rang in time with bells at the temple - a series of somber chimes marking the moment of impact at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

A reading during the service mentioned the biblical Tower of Babel and subsequent scattering of peoples and languages over the earth.

Other readings, prayers, and reflections contemplated love, conflict, grief, and the idea of finding a single truth in differing viewpoints.

"These attitudes and relationships have a crucial bearing on justice. Justice is not about following the law. It's about how we treat each other," said local Hindu leader Dr. D.C. Rao.

"Without understanding and respect, there can be no justice."

Mercy and tolerance were two other key theme as leaders took the podium to share thoughts on living in a community of vastly different religious and non-religious perspectives.

"Faith is mercy. Mercy is love for humanity. A love for humanity is to believe that human life - all human life - is sacred," said Imam Mohammed Magid of the All Dulles Area Muslim Society.

Tying the conciliatory themes of the vigil together, Washington National Cathedral's the Rev. Samuel Lloyd, III, called on those present to take with them a feeling of interfaith harmony.

"We know moments of harmony such as this will seem fleeting," said Lloyd, "But one thing can happen. They help us to glimpse the world as God yearns for it to be."

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: 9/11 • Church • Interfaith issues

soundoff (138 Responses)
  1. Kris

    I think its a great thing when religions can come together in unity even if its only for a day.

    September 12, 2011 at 11:29 am |
  2. A Theist

    On the topic of justice, this has always eaten at me a little bit: for those of you who don't believe in a deity as a source of justice, how would you explain the manifestation of justice in mankind? I'm not asking this to "trick" someone into saying, "THERE MUST BE GOD!" I'm really asking because I've been pondering over if the last few days, trying to play Devil's advocate against myself. Is there anyone willing to let me bounce some questions off of, concerning the source of Justice?

    September 12, 2011 at 11:22 am |
    • A Theist

      I'm looking more for a dialogue than a debate–a Q & A, if you will.

      September 12, 2011 at 11:22 am |
    • Laughing

      Absolutely, It's a simple survival mechinism that can be explained as an evolutionary trait. As a group we're stronger than just a lone indivdual but we obviously need rules to govern our society so we become one community rather than a bunch of selfish individuals living in a small space together.

      September 12, 2011 at 11:26 am |
    • HeavenShment

      Another factor worth considering is that religion likely was the basis for early forms of societal justice, and later formed civilizations use the basic concept but adapt the intricasies to fit their unique needs.

      Also, this is moving further into the realm of morality than would be worth discussing, really. The two schools of thought (the religious base and the human nature base) are quite polarized, which invariably leads to a "yeah-huh" versus "nuh-uh" type of "debate."

      September 12, 2011 at 11:30 am |
    • Shadowflash1522

      Off the top of my head? Justice as a social cohesion force. Even atheists don't want to see society completely disintegrate, hence law and justice. We are herd animals; the herd disintegrates without some standards for cohesion, therefore it seems only natural that, as Laughing pointed out, we take the strong road.

      Also, the Golden Rule mentality of "I won't kill you if you don't kill me", conversely termed as "an eye for an eye", is in no way divine in origin. Lots of societies have come up with equivalent philosophies without the aid of one particular god.

      September 12, 2011 at 11:30 am |
    • myweightinwords

      I agree with Laughing. Justice is a product of people living together and deciding on a common good, and on what should happen to those who interfere with the common good.

      Justice does not require a God, only the mutual agreement and understanding of a group of people who form society...which explains why, as societies grow and increase their understanding of the world around them, justice grows more complex.

      September 12, 2011 at 11:33 am |
    • Laughing

      This might be the only time I agree wtih HeavenSent, but justice and morality in a sense is based in religion, whether it's divinely inspired is obviously debated here just about every day, but religion provided a perfect conduit through story telling to show what happens when you act bad and when you act good and what those good and bad things are. It's also clear that the society that works best together is usually the strongest and thus is more happy, so why justice and morality exists is two fold, one is to acheive a strong, cohesive group that can defend itself from outside attack forces, and 2) to have a happy life within the group.

      September 12, 2011 at 11:40 am |
    • A Theist

      Ah I see, (please correct me at any point in my comments, I'm just trying to reflect what it is I've heard and then press further, in order to go "further down the rabbit hole"), so it sounds like the common ground is that justice stemmed from societal norms, and a large faction even credits religion as the source of these moral systems. I can follow that logic, especially since Enlightened Thinkers were the inspiration for many of the Civil Rights movements that followed in the past few centuries and have brought about a general understanding as equality for everyone. I can also see how such a system would evolve over time from "don't kill others" to "everyone deserves equal rights." I'll avoid the topic of whether God or man wrote the original religious moral code, because it is a subject beaten to death on these blogs. Let's as.sume for the moment that man wrote it and continue from there.
      How would you explain mankind's desire for the same justice system to be employed everywhere? For example, most sane people would be enraged to hear of mass genocide or stifled rights or crimes committed against human beings that we've never met–or sometimes even heard of–before. Why does man care what occurs elsewhere? Why do we feel people in other places should adhere to the same justice system that we believe in–it's the reason Abortion or Gay Marriage can be such heated issues?
      (I have an answer of my own that follows our previous as.sumptions, I just want to see if I'm on the same page as everyone else)

      September 12, 2011 at 11:52 am |
    • Sharon

      Laughing that was HeavenShment not Heaven Sent.


      September 12, 2011 at 11:53 am |
    • HeavenShment

      For the record, I'm not HeavenSent. I read some of his/her posts, became amused by them, and started responding using this name.

      As far as justice goes, I don't necessarily think it was all determined by religious ideals, but justice as we know it today is intrinsically tied to morality. Every day we're left as a society to judge the actions of others, and what is unacceptable is invariably a function of our sense of right and wrong. The justice aspect is more tied to how consequences are meted out, which I would argue is less connected to morality and more about how successful punishments are in preventing the unacceptable behaviors from continuing. Certainly morality comes into play a bit here, as we all too ften see people lobbying for either more or less brutal punishments according to their beliefs, but in the end, successful curbing of behavior is the primary purpose of the entire justice system, and religion is ancillary to that.

      September 12, 2011 at 11:55 am |
    • Sharon

      "Gay Marriage can be such heated issues"

      Ignorance is the basis of any hatred.

      September 12, 2011 at 11:55 am |
    • The Further Adventures of No-No-Bad-Dog

      Quite simple. Systems of justice have developed to put a stop to earlier atrocities that follwed initial atrocities. You see, before codes of law, when someone was killed by someone outside the clan structure, the retaliation was often disproportunate, which set in motion an ongoing chain of revenge and reprisal. These are unpleasant things, and clearly detrimental to a culture's prosperity. Interestingly enough, the Bible supports these kinds of retributions, with "an eye for an eye."

      Systems evolved so that these blood feuds would not develop. These systems were almost never created by religions.

      If you meant to ask how morality canexist without religion, the answer therre is simple also. Cooperation is far more beneficial than theft – the latter is a one time gain for one side (who must worry about revenge), the former is repeatedly beneficial to all parties. Furthermore, people prefer to live in peace and not in fear. Finally, some people (not all) naturally prefer to help those in need or in trouble, and do it so that the person in trouble is helped, not because they expect reward from some god.

      Proof of the latent decency of non-religious people is in the fact that secular countries and regions have lower crime rates than more religious ones, that the more secular you are, the more you are against war and torture, and the almost non-existant representation of atheists in the prison population.

      Proof of latent justice of non-religious people? Well, if you have to stand trial for some crime, you are FAR more likely to be treated humanely and fairly in a secular country than a religious one.

      September 12, 2011 at 11:56 am |
    • Shadowflash1522

      I'm curious about your answer, but I'll bite:
      I think the human imagination and capacity for empathy are to blame. We hear about these things, and our first (and most selfish) thought is "What if that happened to me?" or "What if that happened here?". We are painfully aware of what will happen to us if we stray outside the geographical boundaries of our chosen belief systems, therefore spreading it around removes the need to worry about toeing the line, as it were. For example, the hikers wandering into Iraq (or was it Iran? I forget) wouldn't be a problem if one justice system (ours, naturally :)) were implemented everywhere.

      I'm not advocating one over another, just throwing things out there.

      September 12, 2011 at 11:59 am |
    • myweightinwords

      @A Theist,

      "Let's as.sume for the moment that man wrote it and continue from there.
      How would you explain mankind's desire for the same justice system to be employed everywhere? For example, most sane people would be enraged to hear of mass genocide or stifled rights or crimes committed against human beings that we've never met–or sometimes even heard of–before. Why does man care what occurs elsewhere? Why do we feel people in other places should adhere to the same justice system that we believe in–it's the reason Abortion or Gay Marriage can be such heated issues?"

      I'm just talking off the top of my head here, but I suppose it is because we see our own value reflected in other human beings? If we can condone say genocide somewhere else by not reacting to it, in some way we are saying that those human beings are not equal to us, and if we consider that, we might be forced to admit on some level that we might not be worth as much as others...which would then make our extermination agreeable to someone.

      Therefore, we see our values, that all life is sacred, as something that should be shared by all, and we become enraged when someone violates that.

      September 12, 2011 at 11:59 am |
    • Sharon

      "Therefore, we see our values, that all life is sacred,"

      I would disagree, it's why genocide exists in the first place. Not everyone in the world believes it's sacred. It's why there is still human trafficking, murders and we leave millions to starve and live in poverty.

      September 12, 2011 at 12:03 pm |
    • JohnR

      All social species are wired to treat "in group" members with restraint and there are lots of known cases in nature where dominant individuals have punished others for bullying and other inappropriate behaviors.

      September 12, 2011 at 12:07 pm |
    • A Theist

      Ok it sounds like empathy is the uniting factor in the submitted comments, this agreed with my reasoning as well. @No-no, I'm attempting to avoid the question of "can morality exist without God" (I might just agree there as well) because the question ties inherently to "is there a God" which is not my purpose behind asking these questions, but thanks for answering all that section all the same.

      Returning to the topic at hand, it does seem that empathy plays an important role in one's perception of justice. It's clearly not the only factor–or else we may feel the criminal's pain and therefore excuse him/her–but it definitely comes to play a particularly important role. I've reasoned that–under these as.sumptions–justice derives from a combined influence of developed societal norms and empathy. Something I've been wondering about this is, does this mean that the less empathetic have a greater propensity to commit crimes? (I ask inquisitively, not rhetorically) Are empathy and justice somehow inversely related? Furthermore, does this mean that changes in justice/understood morality can only occur through new generations (ie that one's sense of justice is inherently tied into what was developed through society)?

      No worries if you guys are just spit-balling ideas, I'm just reasoning through it as well. (In other words, I'm not asking to get to some answer I have secretly tucked away)

      September 12, 2011 at 12:13 pm |
    • James

      "Why does man care what occurs elsewhere? "

      They really don't only the delusional thing that way. If human beings cared, why not protest avoidable poverty, tens of thousands of unnecessary infant deaths due to lack of water purification that costs pennies? Why not work to support anti-malaria measures that would save millions of human lives? Why not work to end war or to protect children from environmental contaminants that kill thousands every year? Why not oppose capital punishment that kills innocents or long prison sentences for victimless crimes? Etc...etc...

      September 12, 2011 at 12:13 pm |
    • HeavenShment

      The problem with the genocide example is that it is deemed acceptable by the society that enacts it. Justice is always determined by the values of the community that metes it out, as otherwise the determination falls onto an outsider who would do nothing but harm by forcing their values onto others. There is no universal morality or justice system on this planet because there are so many schools of political, ethical, and religious thought that all work only within the societies that bore them.

      Sure, we'd all like to believe that genocide is universally wrong, but there will ALWAYS be pockets of people that vehemently believe that such actions are not only acceptable but are essential to the survival of their communities!

      September 12, 2011 at 12:15 pm |
    • HeavenShment

      @ A Theist: I think you're running into a bit of a problem with your use of the word "justice." Your latest question focuses on people's ability to empathize and whether it infringes upon or strengthens their understanding of justice. The issue is more whether empathy allows individuals to recognize the actions of others as unacceptable, which doesn't really get into the concept of justice and stays more within the realm of morality. Empathy is basically another way of justifying the claim that morality does not require religion.

      Justice, on the other hand, is more about the system of actually dealing with the problems than it is about recognizing them in the first place. The Justice System in the U.S. is not about determining what is right; that's Congress's job. The courts are there to determine guilt and hand out punishment.

      Not to muddy the waters too much, but I think this conversation is becoming a bit fractious.

      September 12, 2011 at 12:20 pm |
    • The Further Adventures of No-No-Bad-Dog

      It might be worth noting that justice is not a universal. What constitutes justice in one culture is often considered highly unjust in another. The perfect example of that is the codes of "justice" in Deuteronomy and Leviticus, which are incredibly unjust to modern readers and which have been abandoned by all, including those who claim to follow the religion that they are a part of.

      Those "God-given" laws are horrific, and you can see clearly that humans did the further development, not God. Would you rather be under the modern human-created laws, or the God-given laws of Leviticus or the Quran?

      September 12, 2011 at 12:24 pm |
    • BRC

      @A Theist,
      A lack of capacity for empathy (or sympathy) absolutely enables a person to trend towards having a disregard for the commonly agreed upon sense of Justice. This can clearly be seen in sociopaths, a condition where the person has no regard for how their actions affect the people around them (just in case someone didn't already know that). That person may not be malicious, they won't necessarily go out of their way to harm others, but if a true sociopath wanted to be one spot ahead in traffic, darted over to that spot, and their action caused a school bus to fall off a cliff, they wouldn't even flinch.

      As has been said, humans are wired to "care" about the people around them. If we didn't we'd have been individually devoured by large predatory cats thousands of years ago. As for caring about people that are in completely different places/countries/societies- I think it all falls into the many intricacies of the human psyche; there's the pride (my way must be right and these people aren't being treated my way), altruism (any wrong anywhere is bad), sympathy (if that person had suffered a similar injustice in their lives), and sadly what is socially acceptable (everyone else is worried about the starving children, so I should be too).

      September 12, 2011 at 12:27 pm |
    • Laughing

      I don't know if this was mentioned or not, but one of the reasons you see a lot of the core morality codes everywhere can simply be explained by globalization and conversion.

      As of now we the speed of information, with organizations like the IMF and the UN, everyone has to be on the same page in terms of a couple of non-negotiable ideals to even be considered part of the world at this point. Before all these organizations however, whenever one culture clashed with another, whoever won had the spoils of basically transferring their culture and ideals into the loser. Sure, they got to keep some of their own customs, but if they got absorbed into the empire, they had to follow these news laws.

      September 12, 2011 at 12:29 pm |
    • A Theist

      @Heaven No, that's a good point. I guess I should make clear what I mean by Justice. My definition is perhaps a little more inclusive than the one you may be applying–that is, I include morality into my definition of justice. I suppose the more direct look at it would be to ana.lyze how society enacts consequences for crimes committed against those societal norms. This is not the justice I've been interested. The justice I'm querying about is man's personal justice (I suppose morality may be an allowable substi.tute). That is, despite what laws and regulations society may have in place, most of us have some contention with the way it is set up, and this due to the difference between our personal justice system–or morality–and what society has deemed Just. Justice in my context then is the all-encompas.sing subject of both the outward and the inward.

      September 12, 2011 at 12:30 pm |
    • Shadowflash1522

      @ A Theist:
      It could be argued that yes, the less empathetic do indeed have a greater propensity to commit crimes, i.e. psychosis and sociopathy are heavily associated with an inability to empathize with other humans. Does this present problems for you, or are you with me so far?

      Then again, you might say that 'mental illness' was purposefully defined that way and get into a circular logic loop...

      @ Heaven Shment:
      I agree with your semantic differentiation between morality (the justification for the definition of crimes) and justice (the act of determining guilt and punishment once the nature of the crime is in place).

      I think that empathy, morality, and justice are all heavily intertwined. As in, empathy influences how you feel about right and wrong ('I think action X is wrong b/c I would hate to have it done to me') and how you feel about sentencing ('If I committed action X I would think punishment Y is too harsh/not harsh enough/just right'). In turn, morality informs justice in such cases where the trial and/or punishment involves a moral dilemma, i.e. capital punishment and the morality of the act of killing.

      September 12, 2011 at 12:31 pm |
    • fred

      Source of Justice comes from outside the “just” community. My community has a close bond we all have blond hair and blue eyes . We love all life. Over the years we have grown closer and are united in thought. We do not eat meat because animals have a soul. A hairy group of meat eating immoral beasts has rifles and is shooting peaceful grazing animals for sport sometimes just eating the soft cheeks. This group is bigger and stronger and now is shooting the loving animals on our farms. They think they are just as moral as the blondes and the blondes are missing out on lots of fun.
      Tensions build between the communities but the blondes cannot kill other living creatures and don’t know what to do. Only a source outside the group think of both parties could resolve what should be done. That source must not be blond or eat meat.
      In short man cannot know what is just or moral without a measuring stick both can agree upon

      September 12, 2011 at 12:41 pm |
    • A Theist

      @Shadow you do bring up an interesting point. Sociopathy could be defined as a "disease" simply because it does not align with the moral code–I follow that loop logic.

      Back to the topic at hand. I would agree to a point that there is no universal morality. That being said, I do believe that there are some inherent laws that all mankind agrees with. Namely, the Golden Rule. I know some of you have mentioned before that genocide has been excused in certain societies and therefore been considered "just" or "moral." However, I argue that in order for an individual to excuse themselves for committing genocide, they must remove the humanity from the victims they are acting on. That is, if I consider murder on a wholistic level, it is usually committed in the context of self-defense, pas.sion (detaching oneself from the empathy of the victim, and engaging in the emotional moment), or dehumanization (labeling the victim as inhuman and therefore not worthy of the same moral code that "humans" deserve) by means of religious, racial, or other exclusion. In a sense, one's perception must be twisted to prevent the sense of morality to seep in. I won't say this as an absolute, but it seems to me that lack of education may be the issue of genocide, as opposed to a lack or difference of morality.

      That being said, I do not press the universal moral code–the Golden Rule–to necessarily ascribe to a Deity. One could argue that it developed evolutionarily. A personal question, and one that may be interesting to read: supposing that society's norms and your moral code do not agree (think Antigone or any rights activist), and you act according to your moral code as opposed to the moral code of society, are you acting justly, or injustly? Who's authority of justice to you find to be higher? Thoughts on the matter?

      September 12, 2011 at 12:46 pm |
    • A Theist

      @fred I agree on the measuring stick ana.logy. However, the issue society faces today is the source of that measuring stick, and what it's units are precisely. Whether it's a matter of religion or society, the problem remains that everybody has not yet agreed upon the source and units of "the measuring stick."

      September 12, 2011 at 12:49 pm |
    • JohnR

      Let's not be a pack of pollyannas about this. Social species have some sense of appropriate behavior wired in, but they also have power structures and human law is exactly that sort of mix of justice and sheer power. The law can and has been used to oppress. Even the old "I should be free to enjoy the drug of my choice, but you should go to jail if you try to enjoy yours" is the sort of inherent injustice that so very easily get legally enshrined.

      September 12, 2011 at 12:50 pm |
    • A Theist

      That's a really good point John. I hadn't even considered the nature of man's primal desire for power. Under this premise, how do we decide which laws enacted are those of man's power hunger–therefore injust or immoral–versus those that are in the best interest of man (therefore moral)?

      September 12, 2011 at 12:56 pm |
    • Laughing

      Firstly, I'm confused why we need to understand where the source of this measuring stick comes from and if it is possible to land on either end of it or if everyone falls somewhere along the middle.

      Secondly, to answer your question A Theist, "how do we decide which laws enacted are those of man's power hunger–therefore injust or immoral–versus those that are in the best interest of man (therefore moral)?" It's interesting to note that we now have the best system (so far) that allows for laws to be made by the will of the people, in the best interest of everyone (or the majority) rather than a ruling party, monarchy, etc..., however especially during the biblical era, laws were made basically to favor the rich. There were some to protect the common man, but a king is only a king when he has subjects, and overly unhappy subjects who might rebel. So laws for the good of man back in the old days were made to really protect the kingdom and the king.

      September 12, 2011 at 1:01 pm |
    • fred

      If we all have our own source of what is justice and power / ego is a given then we as a society can never have justice. Power and ego is the corrupting force of any just society. Could it be individuality of justice is the root of power / ego that brings about injustice. Oh no…….free will is the source of in justice not God. A Theist has tricked me again.

      September 12, 2011 at 1:09 pm |
    • JohnR

      @A Theist and Laughing: There's no way around the fact that every law needs to be debated, but before and after it is passed (if it IS passed – a lot more laws are proposed than make it into the statute books!). And that's why such things as court review of the law for consti-tutionality is an important part of the process, especially when a law tramples the rights of some minority. But besides judicial review, some laws do get repealed when it becomes clear that they aren't working or are even possibly counterproductive. But a lot of bad law still gets onto the books and some stays there a long, long time.

      September 12, 2011 at 1:09 pm |
    • Laughing


      Completely agree. I guess my issue is more the first question. I mean, if we determine this "measuring stick" is divinely inspired and so it has to be perfect, then it can never go unchanged right?

      September 12, 2011 at 1:16 pm |
    • A Theist

      The "where it comes from" question really pertains to the question of "what or who is the authority of morailty" and less than an actual interest in origins.

      It's true that democracy or democratic republics help protect the interests of the people over the king. However, I would argue that the system can be abused or beneficial the same way the monarchy can. That is, a king is expected to look after and protect the rights of his subjects. In the same way, a mob mentality can be either beneficial or negative for the rights of the group as a whole in a society. To say that the majority collectively have morality correct can be a dangerous line to tread. And even under this presumption, we need to ask the question of where the source of the Moral comes from. Is it defined in our DNA?

      September 12, 2011 at 1:17 pm |
    • Laughing

      @ Theist

      Agree that regardless of government, laws and justice can be abused to fit the needs of few over many, however in democracy or democratic republic at least more people are represented. Democracy is the best we've got until we come up with something better.

      As for if morals are hardcoded in our DNA? yes and no. I alluded to it in the first response I gave you. They are in the sense that its hardcoded is an evolutionary trait of survival. We're kind, we follow laws, we do all this stuff in order to live and operate within our society. As for a specific moral, like the golden rule? No, I don't think there's a specific gene that makes us do unto others as they do unto us, however from millenia of experience we know that if you don't want something bad to happen to you, don't do it to someone else.

      Does that answer your question?

      September 12, 2011 at 1:23 pm |
    • A Theist

      Yes, thanks for the quick response Laughing. I definitely follow your logic, and we seem to be in agreement as to the nature of the moral code. That is, that regardless of where it came from, all mankind has ingrained in them a sense of the Golden Rule.

      Thanks all for the discussion, there's a lot here to ponder over here.

      September 12, 2011 at 1:35 pm |
    • A Answer for A Theist

      The "Golden Rule" is merely a badly-translated statement of one facet of our group-identi.ties and our primitive instinctual reactions in dealing with others of our own kind.
      Study primate behavior and you see "The Golden Rule" as well as empathy, sympathy, group-accepted behavior as well as individual-accepted behavior.
      A Theist, you sound like you're just starting to think a little deeper than usual. I approve.
      However, looking for answers in this blog is not very scholarly of you. Read up on all the latest primate-behavior studies.
      "Moral" behavior is instinctual and can be enhanced by one's environment, physical development, education, and feedback from others within the group you identify with.
      Group-ident.ity plays a huge role in the world of human interaction. It is the spark behind every war.

      September 12, 2011 at 2:53 pm |
    • A Theist

      Ok so I've had some time to think through this, and now I've reached another impas.se. Perhaps someone could help me reason through this. Here's my reasoning.

      So I concluded that man's moral code exists thanks to a blend between evolutionary processes affecting our DNA–physiological influence–as well as social norms that hammer out the intricacies. Under this thought process, I reason that the Objective morals are physiological in nature (and therefore universal) whereas the more complex laws and morals can vary based on society. We sort of came to an agreement–at least I feel this way–that the only Objective Law in man is the Golden Rule: do unto others as you would have do unto you.

      To proceed, if the only objective law is the Golden Rule, and that rule is physiological, I conclude such a rule must exist in the brain. Mind you, this is different from a wholesome look at morality in the brain–a topic nuanced in itself, and looking at morality more through the lens of the Cerebral self-control system in adherence with societal norms than a location of the Golden Rule. We know that damage to the Prefrontal Cortex can inhibit self-control and therefore cause "immoral" behavior. This does not mean that morality necessarily exists in the Prefrontal Cortex, but merely that it interacts with it. Considering that patients who exhibit the Phineas Gage complex also exhibit mimicry behavior patterns, I posit that the empathy secion of the brain is not limited to the PFC. Therefore, if the Golden Rule does exist physiologically, it must exist elsewhere in the brain, if not in multiple locations.

      So here's where I've reached the stopping point: If the Golden Rule does not exist entirely physiologically, then it is not Objective by any sense of the word, and therefore all morality is subjective–a position I hold to be false for many logical reasons I can address later. If it is purely physiological, then why is it at conflict with the other sections of our brain? Why do we feel a conflict of interest between helping someone versus attenting our own needs? If it's engrained in our DNA to concern ourselves with others, it stands to reason that such an enti_ty would supercede the self, and therefore our notion of selfish desires would almost entirely disappear–yet we know this to be false. My biggest hold-up is that the brain has set itself up for some sort of physiological logical loop. Do I address the self or the society first (primitive brain versus Cortex–on a wholistic level)? We can argue the two exist–and therefore conflict–in order to maintain a balance between societal needs and personal needs, but then the nature of the debate becomes quite confusing, as certain acts for the self are deemed immoral while others are not.....

      Just some things I've been wondering...

      September 12, 2011 at 3:18 pm |
    • A Theist

      @Answer (for whatever reason I've had a hard time getting this through the SoundOff filter...)
      Yes, I don't really aim to find my scholarly ans.wers here so much as the questions that I should research. Thanks for your response as well. It sounds like you know a thing or two about primate behavior–or else know sour.ces I can review–so maybe I can re-write the question I just asked in a matter that can address you directly. Do the primates in their groups also experience "moral d i l e m m a s"? In other words, are all acts of the "Golden Rule" natural? If so, I am curious why H o. m o S a p i e n s lack the natural response to the "Moral" or "Golden Rule" but instead seem at conflict with their i n s t i n c t s.

      I'll do some research and see what I find....

      September 12, 2011 at 3:36 pm |
  3. Byrd

    Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, atheists, whatever, should all get along, and generally do, but something or someone keeps stirring up the animosities. What we need is a common jihad against these people, who, if I were to give them a collective name, are those known as Freemasons. They are our common enemy. Without Freemasons we would all coexist peacefully. Think.

    September 12, 2011 at 9:43 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Byrd, they're called Kenites. They are doing the divide and conquer routine to explode USA from within.


      September 12, 2011 at 10:25 am |
    • chad

      LOL, Free Masons...
      I was in the Free Masons for a couple years (no longer, long since renounced it), you know what it consists of? memorizing long dialogues for stupid ceremonies, trying to raise money to pay the taxes on the building, the average age of members is over 60, sitting around telling bad jokes and hearing people complain a lot.

      They are as harmless a group of people as you are ever going to find. Membership has steadily decreased to the point where they are now actively recruiting for new members (which would NEVER have happened 20 years ago, it was strictly invitation only). All of the fraternal organizations (Elks, Knights of Columbus, Free Masons) have taken a tremendous beating the past 30 years and are fading into oblivion. Believe me, you have nothing to worry about the Free Masons.

      September 12, 2011 at 10:47 am |
    • Byrd

      Yes, Freemasons are so meek that can hardly stand it.

      Soory it took me so long to get back to you, but here are the editing corrections to the so-called Sermon on the Mount:

      Replace "The meek shall inherit the earth" by "Freemasons shall inherit the earth. All others shall inherit the Earth."

      There. That works much better!

      The mount spoken of in this passage is not a hilltop, but a war horse, a mount if you will, and Freemasons have twisted this meaning for their own sinister purposes. In reality, this was the declaration that sentenced the unknowing, the meek, to death: The meek shall inherit (be buried in) the earth (small e)). That's the true meaning of that passage.

      Perhaps Freemasonry should have chosen the shovel rather than the trowel as their symbol...

      September 12, 2011 at 11:25 am |
    • JohnR

      @Byrd Don't forget the Lions Club! You ever wonder what they are REALLY doing with all those donated eyeglasses?

      September 12, 2011 at 12:55 pm |
    • Byrd

      They are called Freemasons, not Free Masons. You obviously you weren't paying very close attention at the meetings. Guess you just didn't quality for Uberman status. How sad.

      September 12, 2011 at 3:15 pm |
    • Chad

      re "freemason" vs free mason: Actually, every lodge I was ever in was known as "Free and Accepted Masons".
      See for example: http://www.nymasons.org/

      September 12, 2011 at 7:13 pm |
  4. William Demuth

    Religious tolerance?


    It has never existed and never shall.

    Religion is like poker with weak minded people. The only way you win is by building your pile of fools.

    September 12, 2011 at 8:37 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Billy, Billy, Billy. Jesus already pegged you heathens the fools. Hence why you change your names every few generations.


      September 12, 2011 at 10:26 am |
    • Alfonzo Muchanzo

      @William – Interesting, it seems like you're the person with no tolerance. Just saying.

      September 12, 2011 at 10:54 am |
  5. Kebos

    It is precisely "faith" which has gotten the world into this mess of a problem. It is reason and clear-thinking that will get us out of it.

    September 12, 2011 at 7:44 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Kebos, you atheists are the greedy, Chaos stirring folks in the world. Hence, why you hate righteous Christians that follow Jesus' truth.


      September 12, 2011 at 10:29 am |
  6. Mark from Middle River

    >>>”I don't think we will ever be on the same page.”

    @Awkward – Often times the goal of tolerance, Co-Existence and hopefully Peace, is that I do not end up on your “page” or that you end up on my “page”.

    It is when we create a totally new page.

    Trust in that the world appears to becoming tired of ones that it is their way or there will be no chance of Peace. Maybe there is something else out there. A way that we do not lose who we are but, that we find ways to meet in the middle, with fists unclenched. Something that maybe these types of events can foster a first step.

    >>>”If you can't see the hypocrisy of these murderous and Hateful inst'itutions getting together “

    Then I feel you are just another who lumps all folks into one group or allows your mind to label the whole by the actions of the few. Personally, I used to feel the same with Gays and Lesbians. As I was growing up I would watch Jerry Springer in my teens. Then I would hear this pastor or that minister or just a family member speak about the evils of Ho'mos'exualiy. What changed my mind was one gay guy. A guy I witnessed teaching his partner's son how to ride a bike. This guy worked with this kid up the street and down the street. Over and over, picking the kid up and dusting him off every time he fell. What I saw was a guy being more of a “Dad” than some if not many father's in our society. That was all that it took and the chains of hatred and fear broke. Every time I hear anyone say anything negative about Gays and Lesbians I think about that “one guy” and I know I can not go back to that type of hate.

    Maybe you just need to meet different kinds of people of Faith. The diversity might freak you out a little. 🙂 I know on my iPod my Mississippi Mass Gospel Choir album is proceeded by my Lady Gaga album.

    AC/DC is still the best ….. just had to throw that in 😀

    Here is that YouTube song again Awkward. It might help.

    Montgomery Gentry, “Some People Change” …... I know I did Awkward, don't think it can't happen to you as well. 🙂



    September 12, 2011 at 5:49 am |
    • Awkward Situations

      @Mark from Middle River: I appreciate what you're trying to convey to me here but I really don't think you understand where I'm coming from. My contempt for the inst_itution of religion in general does not equate to me hating with a blind fury everyone who practices religion!

      I'm a humanitarian and I love people and I'm 100% against any oppressive inst_itutions that exploit and make a mockery of the human race (read: religion). You're thinking I throw the blanket of hate over everyone that I meet who is religious but that could not be further from the truth. I treat each person accordingly. If they put their stupidity on display and try to tell me how happy they are in their delusions I may or may not show them the door. However, I will not "tolerate" somebody sitting in my living room telling me it's a sin for my hom_ose_xual friends to be married. I'll swiftly tell them to take their fascist propaganda and get the hell out of my house. But most of my friends are not like that at all. lol.

      Anyway if you have a problem with my worldview I don't really give a f_uck. Don't waste your time on me unless you think the conversation is worthwhile. I don't need you chastising me on why you think "the way I think" is wrong. I think you're just desperate to box people into an uncomfortable stereotype so that you can get them to admit they're wrong or something. I'm not a blood thirsty genocidal maniac out to kill every person who practices religion.

      I don't know what the video is but it looks lame like country music. I'm going to overlook the fact that it looks like you're trying to compare me to a KKK neo-nazi kid.


      September 12, 2011 at 7:08 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Yes, Mark, the only way is called Jesus' truth and not man made lies.


      September 12, 2011 at 10:30 am |
    • JohnR

      Tolerance means that it's okay to have two pages! It's a sort of peace treaty. No one wins, so everyone wins.

      September 12, 2011 at 12:56 pm |
  7. PRISM 1234

    " If my love of God causes me to go and work in a soup kitchen on the weekends and holidays than can you not see that is different from the one who says that my love of God causes me to go and beat up the Muslim guy down the street? "
    .....it is where does yhour love take you."

    Yes, that's what so many on these blogs can not see!

    September 11, 2011 at 10:53 pm |
  8. David

    Seems that the call for tolerance should be directed at those who have called for jihad against America-
    and at those who demonstrate intolerance toward those who profess any belief in something greater than themselves.

    September 11, 2011 at 10:12 pm |
    • John Richardson

      Tolerance is pretty useless unless it's multilateral, Of COURSE the jihadists should practice more (a LOT mpre) tolerance. But there's the additional problem of some people insisting that all Muslims are jihadists, which simply isn't so.

      September 11, 2011 at 11:31 pm |
    • Peace2All


      " Seems that the call for tolerance should be directed at those who have called for jihad against America-
      and at those who demonstrate intolerance toward those who profess any belief in something greater than themselves. "

      And... it should be so much more inclusive as -John R. is suggesting.

      Some of the greatest 'intolerance' going on is towards people that ('don't') "profess a belief in something greater than themselves."

      Or... "beliefs" that may be totally different than the dominant religious groups in every country.



      September 12, 2011 at 12:01 am |
    • Cyanmanta

      Making fun of religion is not intolerance; mandating religion is intolerance. I don't go around lobbying congressman to declare this an Atheist Nation the way Christians go around lobbying to have it declared a Christian Nation. But for some reason, the religious seem to believe that they have the right not to be offended. You have the right to believe in an invisible man living in the sky; you do NOT have the right not to be criticized by your fellow citizens for it.

      September 12, 2011 at 6:30 am |
  9. Keith

    Keep on tolerating them, keep making your own gallows, step forward put your neck in the noose. Idiots.

    September 11, 2011 at 8:36 pm |
    • Htiek

      You are right. We should stop tolerating religious people. Especially Christians. May as well – they are already intolerant themselves.

      September 11, 2011 at 8:44 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      So while some members of Faith decide to come together in the name of tolerance ...... You want to be the voice of intolerance?


      September 11, 2011 at 9:23 pm |
    • Peace2All


      Hey -Keith... I hope that you are well, brother...

      " Keep on tolerating them, keep making your own gallows, step forward put your neck in the noose. Idiots. "

      I have a healthy respect for you -Keith... I think you and I have actually come to good mutual respect for each other over the last year here on the blogs.

      I must say, on this one... I believe that @Mark from Middle River's posting above is right on here.

      To shun all muslims and act as if they are all horrific killers and ready to destroy us all and take over America, and keeping the 'hate' talk going, does 'not' make things better.

      I'm 'not' suggesting that we all shouldn't be on alert for any crazy insane nut-jobs.

      But, to place the blame on 1.5 billion muslims and act as if they are all crazed killers ready to dominate our country is a world-view that that I not only don't believe is in any way correct or accurate, but in no way could or will happen.

      Attempting to bridge the gap with all faiths, whether you agree with their faith or not, seems to be a much better way to go towards creating any chance of peace. (IMHO).



      September 12, 2011 at 12:26 am |
    • Keith

      Peace2All, Thanks. The feeling is mutual. I just believe that when they achieve the #'s percentage of the population-wise, the true face of islam reveals itself. My point is this, the very people who defend islam and want us to tolerate them, will be eliminated by the very same people they want us to tolerate. For example, h0m0$exuals tend to defend islam, yet islam does not tolerate them-they will be killed. It is illogical.

      September 12, 2011 at 7:26 pm |
  10. Colin

    "The morning vigil service, planned over months by staff at the Washington National Cathedral, integrated chants, prayers, music and traditions from across the religious spectrum............The service originally was scheduled to take place in the iconic National Cathedral, but was moved to the Washington Hebrew Congregation due to damage from the recent Washington-area earthquake."

    So, it's the 10th anniversary of 9-11. Crowds are gathered from across the country to go to the cathedral and pray and sing and chant and kneel (and do whatever else religious people do) but their god totally scr3ws things up by allowing an earthquake, then a collapsed crane, to ruin the pantomime.

    Not what we would expect from [the Christian] god now, is it, especially on a day such as this.

    Hmmmm, maybe our theory about cause and effect in nature being dictated, or at least influenced by a Bronze Age Jewish sky-god needs a second look.

    September 11, 2011 at 8:25 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Good grief what it takes for some people. So Colin email me your address so I can mail you my Touched by an Angel complete series 🙂

      September 11, 2011 at 9:20 pm |
    • Colin

      Thanks for the kind offer Mark, but I just read a story about a church in Arizona being a brothel. If I am to get touched by an angel, it will be there.

      September 12, 2011 at 10:12 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Let's mention that the so-called church in Arizona being a brothel is run by heathens, not true Christians.


      September 12, 2011 at 10:33 am |
    • HeavenShment

      Right, because it makes a ton of sense to just exclude those who don't practice exactly as you deem appropriate.

      You're the kind of person that is the problem with religion in the world. No inclusion, just narrow, condescending bullcrap in the name of love and peace.

      Your sheep outfit sucks, wolf.

      September 12, 2011 at 10:51 am |
  11. RightTurnClyde

    Tolerance? That is liking asking the black share cropper to be "tolerant" of the KKK. THEY hijacked the airplane and did the dirty deed. WE are the victims. (did somebody miss this? get confused?)

    September 11, 2011 at 5:40 pm |
    • RightTurnClyde

      Oh excuse us for having our buildings in the way of the airplanes you hijacked .. we hope you do not feel like we are interfering with your peaceful religion ..

      September 11, 2011 at 5:44 pm |
    • The Ole Bullsh!t Detector Is Going Off Again

      You aren't a victim, you moron, but you sure love playing one.

      September 11, 2011 at 7:01 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      >>>"Tolerance? That is liking asking the black share cropper to be “tolerant” of the KKK. THEY hijacked the airplane and did the dirty deed"

      Clyde, I have disagree. The black sharecropper shows tolerance towards the positive White. Islam has its peaceful majority and towards them that extend tolerance why would we not return in kind? Saying " they hijacked" the planes is not being fair to those fighting the extremist within their own Faith.

      "They" flew planes into buildings that "they" knew has Muslims in both towers. So of the known Muslim victims on 9/11 do you count them as "they" as well?

      The Muslim firemen and police who rushed in to save people that day, are "they" the same as the terrorist?

      Our Muslims in the military. The ones who swore an oath and have died for you and me ..... Are those soilders and sailors also "they"?

      They are us my friend, connected through the same societal stream and like others folks are seeing that there is difference between some Muslims and others. Showing intolerance just legitimizes the argument of the extremist.

      September 11, 2011 at 8:10 pm |
    • Keith

      RTC, Right on.

      September 11, 2011 at 8:23 pm |
    • Peace2All


      Hey -Right Turn...

      " (THEY) hijacked the airplane and did the dirty deed. WE are the victims. (did somebody miss this? get confused?) "

      Clyde... I'm assuming when you say "THEY" you are referring to the absolutely crazy insane zealots who so distorted their world-views with hatred and propaganda against the U.S., that caused them to do such horrific acts, while thinking that they were on some kind of spiritual mission.

      You mean those guys...?

      Yes, you are correct we 'do' need to be wary of the 'crazies' that come in all varieties.

      But, certainly to condemn all 1.5 billion muslims as terrorists, would be making one of the biggest and most egregious over-generalizations you could make.


      September 12, 2011 at 12:15 am |
  12. pray

    While I believe in absolute tolerance for every walk of life I think it's funny that it took a massive tragedy like 9/11 for people to want to pray. It seems like it takes something bad to happen or us to need something to get people to pray.

    September 11, 2011 at 4:47 pm |
  13. Reality

    For that Christian section of any interfaith meeting:

    (only for new members)

    , Jesus was a bit "touched". After all he thought he spoke to Satan, thought he changed water into wine, thought he raised Lazarus from the dead etc. In today's world, said Jesus would be declared legally insane.

    Or did P, M, M, L and J simply make him into a first century magic-man via their epistles and gospels of semi-fiction? Most contemporary NT experts after thorough analyses of all the scriptures go with the latter magic-man conclusion with J's gospels being mostly fiction.

    Obviously, today's followers of Paul et al's "magic-man" are also a bit on the odd side believing in all the Christian mumbo jumbo about bodies resurrecting, and exorcisms, and miracles, and "magic-man atonement, and infallible, old, European/ Utah, white men, and 24/7 body/blood sacrifices followed by consumption of said sacrifices. Yummy!!!!

    So why do we really care what a first century CE, illiterate, long-dead, preacher man would do or say?

    September 11, 2011 at 4:40 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Reality, still a spiritually dead soul walking this earth, I see. I'll be waiting for you to hide behind your multiple handles to harass me because I stand up to your NONSENSE.


      September 12, 2011 at 10:36 am |
    • Reality

      Reality is my one and only handle. And once again, saving all Christians like HS with again some rational thinking:

      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.

      September 12, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
  14. Keith

    Interfaith? Elijah didn't have an interfaith moment with the prophets of Baal or Ashteroh. And neither should we.

    September 11, 2011 at 4:11 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Keith, don't pay attention to these heathen atheists on this site. They are doing the divide and conquer routine because they are all spiritually dead, dry brittle bones, wells without water.


      September 12, 2011 at 10:37 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      I keep searching my New Testament for the passage where Jesus calls for the condemnation of anyone who doesn't agree with Him, but I just can't seem to find it.
      Perhaps you could cite a reference?

      Maybe that bit from the Sermon on the Mount was excised from the KJV I've got.
      Is there a second half after the "blessed ares" ?
      "Condemned are the Musselmen, for their prophet is a peodphile"
      "Condemned are the Hindus, for man is made in God's image and He thus haveth but two arms"
      "Condemned are the atheists. Logic has no place in the worship of God"
      "Condemned are... well, just about everybody really."

      September 12, 2011 at 11:02 am |
    • HeavenShment

      People like you are no better than zealots who act on their fundamentalist religious beliefs. People are people, regardless of what they believe, and arrogant wastes of skin and flesh like you do nothing but divide them.

      And over what? Your faith? Faith in and of itself is dependant on a lack of reason, which makes it subjective and impossible to normalize. You're welcome to your own faith, but to imply that others are less valuable because of differences in opinion (and it really is no more than opinion) ironically makes YOU worth less on this planet.

      September 12, 2011 at 11:05 am |
    • Keith

      Doc vestibule, John 3:17,18 "For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth in him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God."

      September 13, 2011 at 6:31 pm |
  15. a person of the Name

    @ john, yes very but God has it all under control so it will all work out.

    September 11, 2011 at 3:00 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Amen. As every knee will bow.

      September 12, 2011 at 10:38 am |
  16. Awkward Situations

    @John Richardson: People can believe whatever storybook fairytales they want. My contempt for religious inst_itutions is not something I will ever hide or apologize for. However, I think you and 'myweightinwords' are a bit premature in making your judgments against me. Not once did I mention that I condone violence towards individuals of any belief or blame an entire group for the actions of a few.

    September 11, 2011 at 3:00 pm |
    • myweightinwords

      For what it's worth, I haven't made any judgments about you, I don't know you, haven't lived your life.

      I can only respond to the words on the screen, which is what I have done.

      September 11, 2011 at 8:19 pm |
    • John Richardson

      @Awkward There is a rancor in your words and general tone that I find worrisome. I'm not backing off of that unless and until I see more reasonable and reasoned words and tone.

      September 11, 2011 at 11:36 pm |
    • Awkward Situations

      You two must have a reading problem. Good day sir.

      September 12, 2011 at 4:34 am |
  17. Awkward Situations

    A massive circle jerk of "respect" "justice" "mercy" "tolerance" and "humanity" from inst_itutions that have a history of representing the very exact opposite. Fantastic stroking going on here.

    September 11, 2011 at 1:24 pm |
    • Desmond M

      You are correct.

      September 11, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
  18. JF

    "We feel like our events say to the world that faith is an element [of commemorating 9/11]," said Steven Schwab, spokesman for Washington National Cathedral.

    Faith is the reason for 9/11. I think faith has done enough damage. It's time to move on, it's the 21st century already.

    September 11, 2011 at 1:20 pm |
    • Don

      Oh, I think the US federal government's dirty tricks in the middle east from the 70s-2001 was more than ample fuel for 9/11. In fact: that was the main reason given.

      September 11, 2011 at 4:26 pm |
    • AGuest9

      Don, there was no USA in 60 CE or 622 CE. That's when the lunacy began.

      September 11, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      The attack on 9/11 was due to the hatred for all the atheists heathens in this country, assuming all Americans are just as perverted.


      September 12, 2011 at 10:41 am |
    • Doc Vestibule


      And you maek this assumption because???
      Isn't there a thousand year history of strife, murder and massive WAR between Muslims and Christians?
      You yourself try to claim that the U.S. is a Christian nation, so why would the Muslims target atheists who have done them no harm instead of the Christians with whom they have countless generations of violent history?

      September 12, 2011 at 11:07 am |
  19. John Richardson

    Obviously not my sort of gathering, but this is good. For once, let's commemorate an outrage by condemning the very KIND of act it was, not by brooding over the ident-ities of the people who did it and plotting revenge.

    September 11, 2011 at 1:17 pm |
    • Keith

      I remember the people in the streets of Gaza celebrating while New York burned. Don't brood over who did it? Are you stupid? It's because of retards like you that they will have any success of doing it again. Listen to yourself. You're mad.

      September 11, 2011 at 4:17 pm |
    • John Richardson

      And of course, when Americans huddled around their TV sets to watch highlight reels of smart bombs blasting the hell out of Iraq's infrastructure during the first and second Gulf wars, everyone was of course utterly dispassionate and were in fact simply doing their own sober damage assessment via CNN. You bet. There are violent people and people who get caught up in triumphalist hoopla the world over. How best to deal with that? Once again I must allude to the SPLENDID success of t-it-for-tat violence in Israeli-Arab, Sunni-Shiite and Hindu-Moslem cycles of violence. Yes, by all means, let's emulate THAT! Or perhaps not, eh? Maybe we really should ALL sober up, tone it down and learn to move on without constantly escalating things.

      September 11, 2011 at 11:43 pm |
  20. Awkward Situations

    Yes. Bringing together the most intolerant and blood-thirsty inst_itutions together to tolerate each other.
    Have fun tolerating each other violate basic human rights and doing nothing about it.

    Normal, sane people don't have to tolerate or respect any of your impotent inst_itutions. Don't expect it anytime soon. Okie dokie.

    September 11, 2011 at 1:15 pm |
    • myweightinwords

      Tolerance and respect of our fellow man is the path toward peace.

      Anger and hatred leads to war.

      September 11, 2011 at 1:20 pm |
    • Awkward Situations

      Thanks but your bumper sticker morality doesn't apply in the real world.

      It's like asking a person to tolerate and respect the Nazis as a path towards peace.

      September 11, 2011 at 1:28 pm |
    • myweightinwords

      Tolerance and respect for the people and their beliefs. That does not mean allowing murder or genocide. It means not allowing ourselves to become the same as those who would kill and defile humanity, and not blaming all people of one faith simply because a handful have done wrong.

      September 11, 2011 at 2:06 pm |
    • John Richardson

      Awkward, do you or do you not believe in the secular principles of freedom of belief and conscience? The people holding and attending this ceremony haven't killed any more people than you have. The problem isn't so much WHAT people believe, but the hatred and contempt they have towards those who believe differently and their ability and willingness to act out on that hatred and contempt. Sometimes some of the atheists on this blog really do sound like just another flavor of potentially violent dogmatists. That is really, really sad, and more than a little frightening.

      September 11, 2011 at 2:35 pm |
    • Awkward Situations

      @John Richardson: People can believe whatever storybook fairytales they want. My contempt for religious inst_itutions is not something I will ever hide or apologize for. However, I think you and 'myweightinwords' are a bit premature in making your judgments against me. Not once did I mention that I condone violence towards individuals of any belief or blame an entire group for the actions of a few..

      September 11, 2011 at 3:00 pm |
    • Desmond M

      John R., you are mistaken if you think WHAT people believe doesn't make any difference.
      How naive can you get? What they believe controls how they act. Get. A. F-cking. Clue.

      September 11, 2011 at 5:41 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      >>>"Yes. Bringing together the most intolerant and blood-thirsty inst_itutions together to tolerate each other"

      Wow, Awkward. You sure read a lot into such a meeting. I am sure that for the most part folks such as yourself would naturally be against such a interfaith meeting. The interesting thing will always be the people who have simular views of such meetings. The militant or rabid members of each of those Faiths that met would have issues with the Faiths coming together in peace and tolerance. From the Late Bin Laden crowd, to Farakhans group to Pat Robertson and the 700 club segment and finally rounding out with Westburo Baptist. You find standing by your side a bunch of really nasty folks.

      That is always the trap Awkward, when you find yourself fighting the monster you should take care to not sound and act like such. You said :

      "Yes. Bringing together the most intolerant and blood-thirsty inst_itutions together to tolerate each other"

      The thing is that unless all of those of Faith act and believe the exact same,..... which we know with the multiple denominations and sects that they do not..... you are stereotyping all those of Faith as the same and you are making your remarks towards an event where tolerant members are sticking their necks out for the hope of Peace.

      Awkward, are you seriously that upset about tolerant members of the Faiths coming out in DEFIANCE to the hateful fringes of their Faith? Why would you want to proverbrially smack these people in the face for their efforts?

      September 11, 2011 at 6:00 pm |
    • Desmond M

      And here's Mark who loves to label you as an extremist and insinuate that you are on the path towards genocide and tyranny simply because your opinions call for rational action. Mark doesn't like action. He just doesn't get any. Poor Mark.

      September 11, 2011 at 6:05 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Dessmond, I think maybe, and I might be wrong, what John is saying is sorta like this.

      "I love my country. I think it is the greatest country in the history of the world. I hang out with folks that believe the same thing. We go forth and treat every immgrant with respect and are glad that their presence makes for a better society through diversity. "


      "I love my country, I think that it is the greatest country on the planet. Me and my friends believe the same. That is why the new Hindu temple they are building in our town, we are going to go and vandalize it to let them know that they are not welcome in my country."

      You see Desmond, both love their country, think that it the greatest place.... but it is what each "does" with that love and promise, is where folks get off track. If my love of God causes me to go and work in a soup kitchen on the weekends and holidays than can you not see that is different from the one who says that my love of God causes me to go and beat up the Muslim guy down the street?

      In this occasion it is where does your love take you.


      September 11, 2011 at 6:09 pm |
    • John Richardson

      Yes, Desmond. What people believe matters. The fact that many Christians sects and individual Christians are committed pacifists matters. The fact that this was an assembly of people of different faiths who believe that they shouldn't condemn each other but reach out to each other in a spirit of peaceful co-existence matters. So you see, I have a clue. Now go grab one yourself, f-ing or otherwise.

      September 11, 2011 at 11:47 pm |
    • John Richardson

      Good post, Mark.

      For the record, I guess I would say that I myself am fatalistic in my patriotism. I'm not much for the old "mine is the greatest country on earth" thing. I'm proud of a lot of what America is and has done and sentimentally attached to many more aspects of it. But ultimately, the simple fact is that this is the country I was born in and am therefore a citizen of and it is my duty as a citizen to MAKE this country as great as it can be. A big step in that direction is for the most tolerant people of all groups to reach out to one another to strengthen society and make the Union a Union in more than name only . Kind of a duh, really.

      September 11, 2011 at 11:54 pm |
    • Awkward Situations

      It's a circle jerk of hypocrites! If you want to sit there and swoon about how kumbaya the moment is go on ahead. It's all fake, for appearances sake. If you can't see the hypocrisy of these murderous and HATEful inst_itutions getting together and patting each other on the back about how peaceful they are I don't think we will ever be on the same page.

      September 12, 2011 at 4:32 am |
    • JohnR

      Awkward, take your fascination with circle jerks and hold your own ceremony somewhere else.

      September 12, 2011 at 1:01 pm |
    • Awkward Situations

      @JohnR: Meet at your place?
      On your marks, get set, go! Let the circle jerk of faith and prayer begin! If you stroke hard enough maybe you will be able to bend and change the laws of nature to make your wishes "come" true!


      September 12, 2011 at 1:47 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.