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Doomsdays throughout time
September 23rd, 2011
06:00 AM ET

Novel explores ‘The Leftovers’ after the Rapture

By Todd Leopold, CNN

(CNN) - Stories of the Rapture usually come accompanied with the operatic drama of bright lights, doomy thunder and the echoing hoofbeats of the Four Horsemen as the world awaits the inevitable apocalypse.

Author Tom Perrotta prefers a little quiet.

In his new novel “The Leftovers” (St. Martin’s), the bestselling author of “Little Children” and “Election” follows a group left behind after something called the “Sudden Departure,” a Rapture-like event in which millions of people suddenly vanished like smoke.

Kevin Garvey is the mayor of Mapleton; his family was left physically intact but psychologically frayed. Nora Durst, on the other hand, lost her husband and children and still hasn’t recovered.

Some characters retreat into cult-like groups. One group, the Guilty Remnant, haunts the living and awaits the end; another, the Holy Wayners, is led by a charismatic hugger who loses his bearings.

Author Tom Perrotta.

Then there’s a local preacher, Matt Jamison, who insists that what happened couldn’t be the Rapture because it claimed flawed humans of all faiths and ethnicities. “I should’ve been first in line,” he insists, while compiling dossiers of the departed’s faults.

Listen to a clip of the audiobook, courtesy Macmillan Audio:

Perrotta talked to CNN about the book, his own faith and putting himself in others’ shoes. Here’s an edited transcript of the interview.


You grew up a Catholic. Are you religious?

I’m not religious but am extremely interested in religion. I went through a brief phase of being intensely religious as a kid, but by the time I was maybe 13 or 14, religion no longer played a big part in my life.

One of the things I’ve been fascinated by the more I’ve delved into evangelical culture is how consuming a religious commitment is. I grew up where it was one part of life – it didn’t pervade your entire existence.

Your last couple of books have had religious themes. Why are you so interested in the subject?

I approached [my previous book] “The Abstinence Teacher” through a political lens. I was really interested in the American culture war, which five or six years ago was a kind of consuming part of the political landscape.

I remember that feeling around George W. Bush’s reelection was the sense that the election was going to hinge on people’s views about gay marriage in Ohio.

And here I was living in Massachusetts, gay marriage was legal, people I knew had no problem, the sky hadn’t fallen – and I remember this as a constant question people were posing: Who are these devout Christians? And I thought it was one of the jobs of the novelist is to know who their fellow citizens are.

So I approached it from there and tried to immerse myself in the Bible and Christian culture and follow this one character’s journey from the inside.

Did that lead to “The Leftovers?”

In the course of a lot of reading I kept bumping up against this end times Rapture scenario. And this is not something Catholics buy into. I think I didn’t even hear about it until college. I was reading a book about fundamentalist religion in Texas when I first heard of the Rapture. It was such an amazing image, and such a poetic image, that it stuck with me all these years.

Another point was, I was very taken with the specificity of the scenario. The Rapture would happen, I would presumably be left behind and there would be a seven-year period of tribulation for Jesus’ second coming and the millennium.

And I kept thinking, “Seven years is a long time.” Especially in this culture.

So one of my thoughts was maybe three or four years in, some people would have forgotten. And other people would be, rightly, just focused on the past and on remembering and making sense of this big thing that happened. And I felt that, in this little joke I made to myself – seven years later, nobody would remember – was some truth about these human impulses. One is to remember and make sense, and the other is to forget and move on.

So that’s really what this book is about. It’s not a theological argument with apocalyptic theology. It’s a book about how we remember, how we forget, how we move on. It’s also about the way that trauma inspires intensely religious reactions.

Why is it so hard for us to let go, to enjoy life? Is it our deep-seated religious guilt that prompts these evangelical movements?

I don’t know. I think most of us set ourselves on a path, and we don’t like to get knocked off. I think that’s why the story of St. Paul is such a great one – that you have to get hit by lightning to change. I think a lot of us feel that we have a life that we like, and adding anything that intrudes on that is a problem.

I still have this vivid memory of 9/11 – I was writing a story for this magazine in New York. I was working closely with this editor and I got the news and I e-mailed, “Are you OK?” He e-mailed back, “Fine here. Where’s that rewrite?” It was like, I’m going to pretend this didn’t happen.

Do you have a sympathy for people who think we’re in the end times?

I’m sympathetic with the need for clarity – who we are, what we’re doing, where we’re going to go, what death means. What I’m not so sympathetic with is that sense that some of us are going to get rewarded and lots of other people are going to get punished.

To the extent that somebody takes pleasure in that, that’s a problem for me, in the same way someone might welcome a war in the Middle East because that signals some movement toward the end times.

Seems kind of selfish...

And I’m no expert on Christianity, but one of the interesting things about Jesus is how he constantly works against anyone’s assumption of moral superiority. So Christians who assert moral superiority and certitude about their own election will always seem to be in some sense setting themselves up for a fall, because Jesus was always uncomfortable with people who did that.

Did writing this change any of your thoughts about the Rapture?

The reason it has so much power to me is that it’s such an amazing metaphor for the way life is. As we get older people start disappearing from our lives. That, to me, was the leap that made the book possible. We are all left behind. We’re not left behind in the way the end times scenario envisions, but we’re all living with the absences of all kinds of people – not just people we loved, but people who sat next to us in school or worked across the hall. But we keep going, because that’s what we have to do.

What’s your vision of God? Do you have one?

I don’t, though it’s hard for me to believe in a God who’s personally interested in the fates of every one of us, because the fates of so many innocents are so terrible. I know there are theologians who will explain that away to me, but it never sticks.

But you do believe in God?

I consider myself agnostic because I’m never quite comfortable with a story that says we’re some accidental combination of gases and all this emerged. I guess I haven’t heard the story yet that makes complete sense to me, from scientists or religious people.

Have you gotten any personal e-mails or letters about "The Leftovers?"

I’ve just started to get a few people who say they’re praying for me. I think there are going to be some people who are going to see the cover, see the name, see the Rapture and assume that this is, in effect, Christian fiction.

Religion feels like it clearly came out of a world – it was a tribal world, it was a local world. If you think about a world in which there was fire or calamity or flood, that’s our everyday world. And that was part of it. It’s always end times in a global, media-connected world.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Books • Christianity • End times

soundoff (481 Responses)
  1. Retired3

    After the Rapture, there will be more elbow room to go around.

    September 23, 2011 at 11:16 pm |
    • John Richardson

      Yeah, but what'll it mean for the already depressed housing market? And if the raptured are carrying debt when they fly away, that could cause another credit meltdown. The economics could be problematic.

      September 25, 2011 at 9:54 am |
  2. Blessed Geek

    SELF FULFILLING PROPHECY.

    The world is going to end and jesus/mahdi is coming so what's the point in saving the planet's environment? Induce more destruction so that when jesus/mahdi comes their reparative actions will be more pronounced. Perverts.

    September 23, 2011 at 11:04 pm |
  3. SilverTrail

    Another stupid Western writer who believes he is smarter than Christianity. He should stop writing junks and start authentic study on the Scriptures.

    September 23, 2011 at 9:57 pm |
    • THE BROWN NOTE

      anyone who isnt a christiann is smarter than christianity

      have you actually read the bible and researched anything about it

      i doubt it

      September 23, 2011 at 10:37 pm |
  4. Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

    Herbie, where are you? I wuv you! Mawwy me!

    September 23, 2011 at 9:48 pm |
  5. Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

    I have located Biblical proof that herbert juarez is SATAN. You can read it for yourself. Just google herbie the t*rd. Or just search pulledoutofherbiesazzdotcom!@

    September 23, 2011 at 9:46 pm |
  6. hippypoet

    @herbert juarez

    i can unlike you, argue both biblical truth AND biblical belief... i have great knowledge of things, you argue as your i.q. allows, simply.

    thank you for trying.

    September 23, 2011 at 9:09 pm |
  7. hippypoet

    my prophecy:

    when religion eventually die off, there will be another belief... a belief of that of truth...a belief of warmth...one that not only doesn't answer questions but won't ask anything from you... the great sun will light our path, the sun will be the fire of our hearts and we shall sacifice our seeds to the sun, and the great all powerful sun will shine love and make it grow forth from the ground to where we lay it!

    sounds good huh! the only belief that makes sense to me, sun worship...exactly like every other religion execpt you can see my god, and feel him, and he can hurt the wicked...if they stay in the sun too long that is... and yes my god will not answer questions either, so in that sense the sun and jesus/god are equal...for only this, nothing else!!

    September 23, 2011 at 8:53 pm |
  8. hippypoet

    herbert juarez

    Have explained the" Lot" situation multiple times.Your types always toss out something like that.The reason the story is included is to establish the origin of two peoples who became the sworn enemies of the Hebrews.There is more but i'll leave you to search out my previous posts on the subject as you really are not looking for knowledge.God bless

    September 23, 2011 at 8:05 pm | Report abuse |
    hippypoet

    bonus points to whomever can answer these one...

    who was the first wife of Adam? hint, Eve is the second wife.
    bonus points constist of "way to go" and maybe "good for you" pending depth of answer.

    September 23, 2011 at 8:07 pm | Report abuse |
    hippypoet

    herbert juarez

    Have explained the" Lot" situation multiple times.Your types always toss out something like that.The reason the story is included is to establish the origin of two peoples who became the sworn enemies of the Hebrews.There is more but i'll leave you to search out my previous posts on the subject as you really are not looking for knowledge.God bless

    your answer is not an answer, its a circle response... you stated the results of the choice to sleep with there dad but not the why. YOU LOSE! i will however give you a second try, my sun says theres always tomorrow, so one more shot buddy.

    September 23, 2011 at 8:13 pm | Report abuse |
    herbert juarez

    Search out the rest for yourself .There are previous posts as I told you .You have no authority in this matter,it is already published ,i cannot be responsible for your laziness.I've heard the untruth presented as Adam's first wife,it is not Biblical.God bless

    so i should argue like you more often, nothing said by anyone could be argued simple by stating that i have heard this arguement before... cool, thank you for the ultimate religious arguement.

    sincerly,
    Hippy Poet

    p.s. if you want the proper answers, just ask, or do the research, your call.

    September 23, 2011 at 8:51 pm |
    • herbert juarez

      You are already a proven false prophet,why would anyone from any viewpoint suspect you had an honest answer to anything?The information has been repeatedly posted,It is your question, you find my exhaustive answer.God bless

      September 23, 2011 at 8:58 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Oh, herbie! I wuv you. Marry me.

      September 23, 2011 at 9:47 pm |
    • THE BROWN NOTE

      false prophet

      prophecy has to exist for the antonym to exist

      so calling someone a false prophet is a little pointless

      September 23, 2011 at 10:39 pm |
  9. tom

    sounds like a rip off of the Left Behind series.

    September 23, 2011 at 8:28 pm |
    • AGuest9

      Probably. They are learning from Hollywood. There hasn't been an original movie in at least 10 years. Now the bookstores are all gone. Western civilization is crashing around us.

      September 24, 2011 at 8:47 am |
  10. K. Marx

    Guilt is to he opiate of the masses

    September 23, 2011 at 8:07 pm |
  11. The Pope

    IT'S COMING, IT'S COMING...................AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHhhhhhhhh. O, it's just the satellite. Never mind.

    September 23, 2011 at 8:05 pm |
  12. Alverant

    Notice how many of these stories involve the christian cult?

    September 23, 2011 at 7:54 pm |
  13. hippypoet

    my prophecy:

    when religion eventually die off, there will be another belief... a belief of that of truth...a belief of warmth...one that not only doesn't answer questions but won't ask anything from you... the great sun will light our path, the sun will be the fire of our hearts and we shall sacifice our seeds to the sun, and the great all powerful sun will shine love and make it grow forth from the ground to where we lay it!

    sounds good huh! the only belief that makes sense to me, sun worship...exactly like every other religion execpt you can see my god, and feel him, and he can hurt the wicked...if they stay in the sun too long that is... and yes my god will not answer questions either, so in that sense the sun and jesus/god are equal...for only this, nothing else!

    September 23, 2011 at 7:35 pm |
    • herbert juarez

      Your prophecy is as false as your wasted life.God bless

      September 23, 2011 at 7:38 pm |
    • hippypoet

      @herbert juarez

      wow, you speak with much anger...is it because you can see my god? is it because you can feel my god? is it because you NEED my god to live? what does you god do? i have never seen, felt, nor needed your god to live... i wonder if thats why your mad?

      September 23, 2011 at 7:44 pm |
    • herbert juarez

      Not anger,truth,you are understandably ignorant to the application of truth to your life.God bless

      September 23, 2011 at 7:47 pm |
    • hippypoet

      @herbert juarez

      oh boy, if i'm understandably ignorant to the application of truth, try me... i bet i know more then you about your own religion...here i'll start, rule one and only rule : all questions must be able to be found in the bible...and please take as time as you need to look the answers up on the internet... what is the reason lots daugthers have s e x with him?

      September 23, 2011 at 7:53 pm |
    • Alverant

      @herbert juarez
      Project much?

      September 23, 2011 at 7:55 pm |
    • herbert juarez

      Have explained the" Lot" situation multiple times.Your types always toss out something like that.The reason the story is included is to establish the origin of two peoples who became the sworn enemies of the Hebrews.There is more but i'll leave you to search out my previous posts on the subject as you really are not looking for knowledge.God bless

      September 23, 2011 at 8:05 pm |
    • hippypoet

      bonus points to whomever can answer these one...

      who was the first wife of Adam? hint, Eve is the second wife.
      bonus points constist of "way to go" and maybe "good for you" pending depth of answer.

      September 23, 2011 at 8:07 pm |
    • hippypoet

      herbert juarez

      Have explained the" Lot" situation multiple times.Your types always toss out something like that.The reason the story is included is to establish the origin of two peoples who became the sworn enemies of the Hebrews.There is more but i'll leave you to search out my previous posts on the subject as you really are not looking for knowledge.God bless

      your answer is not an answer, its a circle response... you stated the results of the choice to sleep with there dad but not the why. YOU LOSE! i will however give you a second try, my sun says theres always tomorrow, so one more shot buddy.

      September 23, 2011 at 8:13 pm |
    • herbert juarez

      Search out the rest for yourself .There are previous posts as I told you .You have no authority in this matter,it is already published ,i cannot be responsible for your laziness.I've heard the untruth presented as Adam's first wife,it is not Biblical.God bless

      September 23, 2011 at 8:31 pm |
    • THE BROWN NOTE

      someone please go and bring me this god these christians keep talking about

      the almighty must be too afraid of a mortal such as myself to ever show its face

      it can create a universe but it cant even write good fiction or show up to my house for a snack

      christians sure are stupid

      September 23, 2011 at 10:41 pm |
  14. Fuyuko

    Rapture is just religious 'scare or convert tactics.'

    September 23, 2011 at 7:32 pm |
  15. Jack Pearl

    Wow. An article about a new novel, and only a handful of comments are about the book itself. Why is it that every topic even related to religion of every kind brings out the angry athiests. Do they click on every article in the belief section just so they can write about how stupid believing in a God is? Sounds like you guys could use some inner peace. Check out your nearest church or synagoge.

    September 23, 2011 at 6:50 pm |
    • AGuest9

      For many, "inner peace" was ruined by childhoods filled with contradictory fairy tales. Then as adults, our children's schools have been assailed by "believers" who feel the need to talk about how "theories" are false, without understanding what a scientific theory actually is. It's not a guess, not a hunch, nor is it a fairy tale.

      September 23, 2011 at 7:29 pm |
    • THE BROWN NOTE

      i have plenty of inner peace

      when i was a christian i was full of turmoil and hate

      and i was a complete mongrel idiot with no direction and i listened to other idiots that preached the bible

      i lived in fear of hell for my every trespass

      then i started reading the bible

      i stopped going to church

      and i found that all of the turmoil and hate and despair came from being a christian

      once i left that garbage in the gutter where it belongs i was found peace

      i am trying to spread the peace by pointing out all of the mistakes in that eurotrash book of fiction so many people believe in

      and its amazing how many christians reject it

      theyll throw scripture in your face

      but then you come right back with scripture that proves the bible is false

      and they say that its out of context

      but the bible does say not to interpret scripture

      so how is it out of context when its in plain black and white and its just being quoted

      especially when its quotes of jesus' words that are lies

      what then

      you cant have faith in something that has been proven to be a lie

      by doing so you are just ignorant

      September 23, 2011 at 10:47 pm |
    • JohnR

      You have a problem with mongrels, Brown Note?

      September 24, 2011 at 8:35 am |
  16. stevie68a

    The only reasonable explanation for God is this: We are all one. That "one", is the "One". Simply put, it's the universal
    conciensness.

    September 23, 2011 at 6:46 pm |
    • *frank*

      That might be reasonable but it doesn't say anything.

      September 23, 2011 at 6:47 pm |
    • THE BROWN NOTE

      if we were a universal consciousness then christians wouldnt exist

      because they are all braindead

      September 23, 2011 at 10:48 pm |
    • Mark

      @THE BROWN STAIN...um I mean NOTE

      Sounds to me like you just have a lot of pi$$ed off toward God. Let me guess, he didn't step in and cure your Mom from cancer? He let your son die? Your wife left you for anothe man and God didnt stop it, right? So now you're just a bundle of mad and you've "decided" you're just not gonna believe in Him. You're not gonna believe in God because you're mad at God. You see how stupid that is? I certainly do.

      Keep it up, that's showin him. I'm sure he's wringing his hands about it right now.

      September 23, 2011 at 11:19 pm |
    • Paddy O'Furniture

      Mark,

      So, I guess you hate Leprechauns for not repairing your shoes and for not leading you to the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow... so you are showing your hate for them by not believing in them, right?

      September 23, 2011 at 11:25 pm |
    • Mark

      @POF...yip

      September 23, 2011 at 11:30 pm |
    • THE BROWN NOTE

      how could i be mad at something that doesnt exist

      your assumption doesnt make any sense at all

      i never said i was mad at god

      that just ruins your whole attempt to insult me

      my mother is still alive and doesnt have cancer

      my wife is very faithful and so am i so definitely no issues there

      i dont have any kids so i dont know where that one came from

      it must suck trying to get the better of someone and you just cant

      the reason why i stopped believing in god is because i started thinking for myself instead of listening to some pastor interpret scripture for me

      the scripture says that no scripture is a matter of interpretation

      so i read that fiction novel called the bible cover to cover a few times

      i did some research

      and came to the conclusion that it is utter trash

      there are a few historical accuracies but thats about it

      stephen king uses real places in his books but it doesnt make them true

      conspiracy theorists use real events to tie theories together

      but it doesnt make them true

      so since i dont believe in god

      your theory is way off

      you see how stupid it is to accuse an atheist of hating god

      i certainly do

      September 23, 2011 at 11:32 pm |
    • Mark

      Brown Stain...

      Wow...how compelling. I know I'm convinced.

      I think my theory is spot on...I certainly do. May not have been any of the things I mentioned, but there's something back there that you're pi$$ed about, and now you spend all you effort "getting back" at God by not believing in Him. He must really, really be hurt. Guess you showed Him, huh?

      Keep it up...any day now. He's weakening. Yep, He's about to give in and come a-runnin because he's all tore up that you're mad at Him.

      September 23, 2011 at 11:44 pm |
    • THE BROWN NOTE

      i still dont understand your assumption

      tell me again how an atheist can be mad at a god that doesnt exist

      is that like being mad at your father

      oh wait my father exists

      i dont grasp this concept

      are you gripping a bible angrily with one hand and typing with the other when you respond

      because you really do seem like the type

      please tell me how long you have been a psychologist

      so i too can one day become one and perform psychoanalysis in the comments of cnn

      are you a psychic

      oh you know me too well

      tell me how old i am next

      or how tall i am

      or what my job is

      i bet youre going to be spot on with all of it as you have been thus far you magical man you

      September 24, 2011 at 12:04 am |
    • Mark

      Yeah, I think you understand exactly what I'm driving at. Most athiests are individuals (like yourself) who dabbled in Christianity, probably looking for something (the answer to a problem, a way out of a mess, for God to do something for them) and then find out that the Christian life isn't like rubbing Aladdin's lamp. Then, they leave in a huff all mad at God and just "decide" prayer doesnt' work, God is a lie, the Bible is full of falsehoods, etc etc. You were disappointed and now you're mad. Otherwise, why all the hostility, huh?

      September 24, 2011 at 1:01 am |
    • ThinkForYourself

      I was a Christian but I was never expecting to be able to "rub a magic lamp" That you as.sume that all atheists are like that is, frankly, quite closed minded. Most atheists that I know, myself included, simply started opening our eyes in mass and during study, stepped back and examined our beliefs with an unbiased eye, and walked away concluding that Christianity is about as plausible as any other religion. That is to say – not very. Having left religion behind I feel liberated and a better person since now my actions are based upon what I conclude is morally correct when considering all view points rather than basing my actions and positions on some ancient, inconsistent, often highly immoral book.

      September 24, 2011 at 1:07 am |
    • ThinkForYourself

      Oh, and prayer doesn't work. At least not any better than, say, meditation.

      September 24, 2011 at 1:08 am |
    • Mark

      Oh, I see, I see.

      NOW HERE THIS...PRAYER DOESN'T WORK!! WHY? WELL....BECAUSE "ThinkForYourself" SAID SO.

      There, it's settled.

      Question...I'm as-suming that you've polled everyone who's ever prayed. I'm as-suming that all these people said that, no, their prayers were never answered. I think what you meant to say, was that YOUR prayers are no more effective than, say, meditation, right? Surely, that's what you meant to say? Yes, of course it was.

      Sheesh, and I'm closed minded????

      September 24, 2011 at 1:22 am |
    • ThinkForYourself

      You certainly don't have to take my word for it, and no one should ever rely on anecdotal evidence. But the effect of prayer has been studied. Take a look for yourself – http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/31/health/31pray.html?pagewanted=all. Again, meditation accomplishes the same thing.

      BTW, how's all that praying for rain TX and praying for a better economy doing? Some of us prefer actually getting off our behinds and doing something rather than just sitting around waiting for some non-existent deity's "will" to be done.

      September 24, 2011 at 1:27 am |
    • wow. just .... wow

      "I'm as-suming that you've polled everyone who's ever prayed. I'm as-suming that all these people said that, no, their prayers were never answered"

      Are you serious? Because someone thinks their prayers were answered, that means that prayer works? So, if I have a coin and I prayer for it to come up heads, and when I flip the coin it comes up heads – does that mean my prayers were answered? This is evidence to you that prayer works? This is why, as ThinkForYourself said, never rely on anecdotal evidence. Seriously, get a clue.

      September 24, 2011 at 1:33 am |
    • Mark

      Thanks, I certainly won't take your word for it. Because I know them to be utterly false. I know God answers prayer. I didn't read it somewhere, I did hear it second hand, He's answered MY prayers. MINE! No, not all of them. A lot of them have gone UNanswered for your information.

      Yep, I'm sure there are a lot of people praying for rain in TX. Why hasn't God answered? I DON'T KNOW!! They probably don't know either. But, since you're not sitting on your butt, what are you doing to bring rain. Doesn't look like you've been any more effective than the prayers. Why are you mad at God, you're not fairing any better with whatever it is you're doing (you know, since you're not sitting on your butt or anything).

      September 24, 2011 at 1:42 am |
    • Mark

      @Wow...just Wow.

      So, if I have a coin and I prayed for it to come up heads, and when I flip the coin it comes up heads – does that mean my prayers were answered? This is evidence to you that prayer works?

      With comments like this, it's really hard to take you seriously, but nevertheless...

      NO, I don't think God is too awfully concerned with whether or not my coin tosses come out the way I'd hoped. If it sounds trival to you (which I as-sume it does since you used it as your example) then it probably sounds trivial to God.

      But, let's up the stakes just a smidge. Let's say my marriage is on the rocks. My wife (or husband) has emotionally checked out. For them, it's over. You just keep waiting any day for them to walk out. You've tried everything humanly possible to turn things around. I mean, you've exhausted everything you can think of. Nothing you've tried works. Nothing. You're out of options. You're helpless to change matters. But, in one final plea you call out to God and ask for help. Suddenly, a glimmer of hope. You wife (or husband) seems to be more open. Less hostile. Things don't just turn around instantly, but gradually they start getting better.

      Now, you tell me. What happened? Where was the turning point, huh? Do you think that you had anything to do with changing things. Do you think that after begging and pleading you finally convinced your wife (or husband) to reconsider. If your answer is yes, you're hopeless. I have nothing more to say to you.

      September 24, 2011 at 2:00 am |
    • Ann Ecdotal

      Mark,

      - I prayed a whole lot for around 40 years (and not only as requests, either) - and had a life of good things and bad things, joys and sadnesses.

      - I have not prayed for nearly 20 years - the rough measure of good/bad, joy/sadness is quite equivalent.

      Wishes and hopes often come true... and sh!t happens.
      You are talking to yourself.

      September 24, 2011 at 2:04 am |
    • JohnR

      @Mark What a pile of arrogant presumption!

      September 24, 2011 at 11:33 am |
    • Mark

      @JohnR...

      uh...which part?

      September 24, 2011 at 12:59 pm |
    • ThinkForYourself

      Mark, if prayer had any effect, it would be observable, and thus measurable. It doesn't. Glad to know, though, that you know what your god considers trivial. Way to completely miss the point. Fail.

      September 24, 2011 at 8:05 pm |
    • Mark

      No, I didn't miss your point. You're point simply was that God doesn't answer prayer (your evidence being that it's dry in Texas). My response was, yes He does. Pretty simply really.

      September 24, 2011 at 9:02 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Mark, I know many atheists and none of them are mad at god. Do you know why? Because they don't BELIEVE in god. It's a simple thing. Do try to wrap your brain around it.

      September 24, 2011 at 9:05 pm |
    • John Richardson

      Why are Christians resorting to depth psychology to explain why non-believers don't believe? Especially when they themselves admit that their belief is largely a matter of faith?

      September 24, 2011 at 9:05 pm |
  17. stevie68a

    Freud called religion "a mental illness". So true. Since it does have some good stuff mixed in with it, people think it's good.
    Look closer, and you'll see that it wears a cloak of "love" to hide the hate. A sad delusion for modern times. The New Age is
    one of the things to make religion obsolete. The rise of the far right, is but it's swan song. Leave this junk to the bronze age,
    from which it came. Teach ethics instead.

    September 23, 2011 at 6:39 pm |
  18. sybaris

    Religion ........... hallucinogen for the masses

    September 23, 2011 at 6:32 pm |
  19. Randall12

    Sounds like an interesting novel. There are a number of similar stories to "The Leftovers" / After Rapture stories. Nothing compared to Perceptional Threshold by Casper Parks. He puts a new light on Christianity. Grammar errors aside, it gave me nightmares. Takes place over a Halloween weekend, not like your run-of-the-mill Halloween story.

    September 23, 2011 at 5:53 pm |
  20. snow

    Why is every religion so fascinated by death, destruction and apocalypse? It almost seems like the religious folks are afraid of living as well as dying and so make up stories about boogeymen to appease themselves.

    Anything that brings peace to the mind and heart should be about living.. not death!

    September 23, 2011 at 5:52 pm |
    • *frank*

      No "almost" about it.

      September 23, 2011 at 5:59 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.