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For growing ranks of pagans, October 31 means a lot more than Halloween
A pagan altar constructed for Samhain, the pagan new year, which is October 31.
October 31st, 2011
09:54 AM ET

For growing ranks of pagans, October 31 means a lot more than Halloween

By Susanne Gargiulo, Special to CNN

As pumpkins, witches and faux cobwebs have taken over much of North America for Halloween, Clare Slaney-Davis is preparing an October 31 feast that some would consider much spookier, with table settings for her grandparents, a great-aunt and other relatives who have passed away.

As she and her living guests eat, they'll share stories and memories of loved ones they've lost.

The Christian debate over Halloween

Slaney-Davis, who is based in London, isn't preparing the feast for Halloween. Instead, she and pagans around the world are celebrating Samhain, the beginning of the pagan new year, a night when the veil between the worlds of the living and the dead is believed to be the thinnest of any time during the year.

That's why it's a night devoted to ancestors. "We honor them, and we recognize that we don't live in a world of people who are merely dead or alive," says Slaney-Davis, 46. "Ancestors are central to us."

Along with the Catholic holiday All Saints' Day, Samhain is considered an ancient forerunner of Halloween. Samhain began as a Celtic celebration marking the end of harvest and the beginning of winter's hardship.

Today, pagans play down the Halloween-Samhain connection. But the growing popularity of the pagan new year in Europe and North America is part of what many experts say is a global revival of paganism.

Slaney-Davis, who trained as a witch and a druid, says her religion has nothing to do with ghosts and ghouls. "To me, being a pagan means being in divine balance with nature and being responsible for my actions," she says. "I understand that my behavior has an effect on people I don't even know exist. It is not a theology of perfection but one of belonging."

Over-the-top jack-o'-lanterns

But it is a theology that's gaining ground. According to the 2008 American Religious Identification Survey, the number of members of "other religions" or "new religious movements," categories that include pagans, more than doubled between 1990 and 2008, to 2.8 million.

The survey, conducted byTrinity College in Connecticut, reported that the numbers of Wiccans and neo-pagans had also doubled in that time.

Contemporary pagan religions like Wicca and druidism are considered neo-pagan movements.

"(Paganism) is one of the fastest growing religions in the world," says Michael York, a retired religious scholar from Bath Spa University in the UK. "True numbers are impossible to come by because many people are wary to admit they are pagan, and reliable statistics just don't exist."

Movies that scare the people who scare us

While paganism covers a range of individual religious groups, including Wicca, druidism, and shamanism, they're bound by some common denominators, such as roots in ancient, pre-Christian beliefs, and their view of nature and the whole physical world as sacred.

"In traditional religions you have a conflict between God and nature," says York. "But for pagans, nature becomes the truest expression of the divine."

That, he says, is a big reason why paganism is seeing a revival: "If nothing else, because of the impending destruction of our environment, and our focus on finding a way to live in balance with nature."

Another key pagan belief is the freedom for each person to determine his or her own way to and view of the divine. "Paganism doesn't put restrictions on what you can and cannot believe," says Jason Pitzl-Waters, co-founder of the Pagan Newswire Collective and the pagan blog The Wild Hunt. "It grows out of an ethos that there isn't just one sacred way to understand the world."

But that lack of dogma has become something of a stumbling block for the movement. "Because paganism is very individual, it creates the problem of not having a unified voice, because nobody speaks for the movement as a whole," says York.

Another problem pagans face is one of image: For centuries, including during the Roman Catholic inquisition, pagans were denounced as heretics and devil-worshippers.

"One of our greatest challenges is to overcome the hostility of groups that still see us as evil," says Pitzl-Waters. "To some conservative Christian groups, we are an early warning sign of societal collapse."

Just last week, an opinion column in The Christian Post, an online newspaper, warned that the "dark festival" of Samhain is an invitation to the devil. The column said that "even though you don't consciously call upon Satan, his demons are nevertheless present any time a Wiccan goes through a spiritual door by using magic." It calls on Wiccans to ask forgiveness for their sins and to turn to Jesus.

"Part of what is scary for conservative religions is that as a pagan, I consider myself part of the divine," says Holli S. Emore, executive director at South Carolina's Cherry Hill Seminary, which has one of the world's first graduate-level programs for pagan ministry. "That means God lives in me, and that is blasphemous to some. To me, it's a big responsibility to do good and act right."

Scholars say that the neo-pagan view of God being everywhere and in everything is not a foreign idea on the global religious stage. "Much of modern paganism looks to older religions like Shinto, Hinduism and indigenous religions, which see spirit in everything," says Jenny Blain, senior lecturer in sociology at Sheffield Hallam University in England and author of several books on paganism.

"If you add all those to modern paganism, that is a considerable part of the world that does not live with traditional Abrahamic views," she says.

There are signs that paganism is gaining some acceptance in the nonpagan world. For the first time last year, the government of Britain recognized druidism, an ancient pagan belief system, as a religion.

"People either see paganism as dangerous or as a joke," says Pitzl-Waters. "But it is a serious global movement. Paganism has arrived as a world religion. It's not just a bunch of counterculture types playing witchcraft games."

That said, traditional witchcraft rituals, like gathering in circles and uttering spells, have an important place in modern paganism, which further unsettles more traditional religious believers.

"Because Christianity is more conservative, anything seen as supernatural or magic automatically becomes of the devil," says York. "Because of that dichotomy, paganism is automatically seen as satanic."

"People fear what they don't understand," says Emore. "But spells are basically prayers with props. What we call magic is the intentional use of power to achieve change, and just like with prayer, what you are doing is tapping into an inner resource. Gathering in a circle and acknowledging the four elements is nothing new - this is something Native Americans and many ancient nature-based religious people did as well."

For neo-pagans, the four elements - earth, air, water and fire - are closely linked to their view of a sacred planet. "The attributes associated with each element become tools in our meditation and in practices such as spells," says Emore. "Water is associated with emotions and intuition, air with intellect and communications, earth with foundation and stability, and fire with passion and action."

To York, paganism's ancient rituals also help bring a sense of enchantment back into life.

"The ancients had a sense of the magical, but with Christianity came a diminishment," he says. "The magical was denied, everything became inanimate, and from a pagan perspective we lost our connection with the sacred. I think we are rediscovering that now."

"Pagans understand there comes a winter, which is a time to ready for rebirth," York says. "For us, the last 2000 years has been the pagan winter."

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Halloween • Paganism • Uncategorized

soundoff (1,367 Responses)
  1. JoeProfet

    I am a Christian and I was never given the false impression that I was to condemn anyone else for anything. In fact, Christ teaches us to judge our own selves before passing judgement upon others. Look inward of your own issues (sins) before judging others of theirs. The only thing we [Christians] are to do is pass on the good message of Christ, which is to love one another as you would love yourself. Judgement will come when He comes because He is the only one qualified to judge having died as a sacrifice for the atonement of our sins. You don't have to even believe that, but your sins still have been atoned. He desires for us to not keep on sinning and to recognize that fact. If we sin then we need to repent. A sin without repentance to God is not a good thing. When the final judgement of Christ comes and those that are found with sin and without repentance, well it gets pretty bad for us. So, He spells out the consequences of continuing a life of sin. Then, he instructs those that desire (not required) to follow Him to do God's will. To be fruitful and multiply with children to work the fields...which by the way, by working the fields feeds us. What could possibly be wrong with that? This is conservation to the fullest degree...is that ancient and outdated? No, we have been overdue with being good stewards of the land that God has given us. Religion itself without the influence of God is sinful. That's why you can have cults like Branch Davidian for example. A lot of folks believe the catholic church is a cult...it may have seemingly morphed into that because they wrote in their "own" interpretations (i.e. the Cannon Laws, etc.) other than what was originally written. So, many religions have strayed from their first fruits, as Christ mentioned in the Book of Revelations. He had many issues with the already established churches for some of the same reasons right at the onset. As a result, He gets a bad wrap, God is believed to be a myth, and anyone believing in Christ will eventually be prosecuted for his/her belief...it's all part of the plan! The Joker!!!

    October 31, 2011 at 3:04 pm |
    • Igor

      "The only thing we [Christians] are to do is pass on the good message of Christ,"

      And the rest who don't share in that belief are only passing on the message of reality, that holding a view condemning anyone to eternal punishment for merely not sharing that view is rude and judgmental. You can't have your cake and eat it too.

      October 31, 2011 at 3:13 pm |
  2. Mario

    People should do their homework before declaring themselves experts on any holiday, The History Channel had an excellent program about the history of Halloween that I would recommend. Personally, the wiccans and pagans I've met were kinder and more open minded than the holier than thou Christians I know.

    October 31, 2011 at 3:03 pm |
    • Mel

      Thank you for that comment Mario, I agree 🙂

      October 31, 2011 at 3:05 pm |
    • Sheik Yerbouti

      Right on. I have had he same experience.

      October 31, 2011 at 3:05 pm |
    • LadyLina

      Thank you, Mario!

      October 31, 2011 at 3:06 pm |
  3. Ed

    Let the Pagans have their holiday and have fun with it. They have as much right to their belief as the rest of us. So from a Christian to the Wiccans and Pagans have a happy Samhain

    October 31, 2011 at 3:03 pm |
    • Mel

      Thank you Ed! It's nice to see some nice people on here

      October 31, 2011 at 3:05 pm |
    • LadyLina

      Thank you, Ed! Happy Halloween to you!

      October 31, 2011 at 3:07 pm |
    • Sheik Yerbouti

      Ed, you are gonna have some Halloween fun too, right?

      October 31, 2011 at 3:08 pm |
    • Mel_Star

      Thank you! I too wish my fellow man/women well on their religious holidays. i appreciate your thoughtfullness. If only we could all live with such respect for our brothers and sisters.

      October 31, 2011 at 3:25 pm |
    • Ed

      @Sheik unfortunately I have to work tonight But my daughter is going to hang with some friends and my wife is handing out candy.

      October 31, 2011 at 4:11 pm |
  4. Michael

    Alllison well said.

    October 31, 2011 at 2:59 pm |
  5. Mephisto1

    Is anybody at CNN aware that Samhain isn't until Nov. 8?

    October 31, 2011 at 2:59 pm |
    • Sheik Yerbouti

      Who cares! Slu-tty office girls and Candy!!

      October 31, 2011 at 3:01 pm |
    • LadyLina

      On what calendar?

      October 31, 2011 at 3:08 pm |
  6. Esmeralda

    The darkness is nothing to do with the light. This stuff is true. But if you follow god you could defeate them with the word of God. If you love the things of the world like holloween your a enemy of God ("Jesus Christ"). He could bring happiness to your life. He could make you s new person in God and your familly will see the difference in you. So try to follow god anjd defeat the Paganist people.God will bring you love how never other people have to you he loves the whole world but he doesn't like what the people are doing. Another way to explain it is Jesus doesn't like actions of the people from the world it brakes his heart.
    "GOD BLESS YOU GUYS THAT TOOK THE TIME TO READ THIS"TRY TO FOLLOW GOD AND HE WILL BRING YOU
    HAPPINESS!!!!!!!!!!!!

    October 31, 2011 at 2:59 pm |
    • Sheik Yerbouti

      I didn't take time to read it.

      October 31, 2011 at 3:02 pm |
    • LadyLina

      My Gods and Goddesses wish you happiness, Esmeralda. We have no problems with your God. Please be respectful of ours and don't start wars. All Gods are ultimately the same higher power. We merely worship them differently. Blessed Be!

      October 31, 2011 at 3:10 pm |
    • MabMonster

      And it's talk like that, 'defeating' paganism, that got people burned at the stake, drowned, smashed with boulders, about 300 years ago. Don't believe me? Look up the Salem witch trials, when a couple young girls decided they would 'root out' the evil in their village and accuse those who didn't go to church that they were in league with the devil.

      October 31, 2011 at 3:14 pm |
    • Mel

      Spoken like a true pagan Ladylina, bless you love!

      October 31, 2011 at 3:17 pm |
  7. Matthew

    @Sheik Yerbouti

    Sorry but Jesus can not die. You may have missed that part. Have another look will you.

    Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. (1Tim)

    October 31, 2011 at 2:58 pm |
    • Sheik Yerbouti

      Have a look where? I don't get it.

      October 31, 2011 at 3:00 pm |
    • hippypoet

      you must be one of those silly people that completely believe everything in the bible... oh dear! i feel bad for you.

      October 31, 2011 at 3:00 pm |
    • Sheik Yerbouti

      Matthew GOD-DAMIT tell me where to look! Now I am all confused!!

      October 31, 2011 at 3:04 pm |
    • Igor

      "Sorry but Jesus can not die."

      There's no need to scare kids about such things on Halloween. Everyone knows that shooting a zombie in the head will finally kill it.

      October 31, 2011 at 3:04 pm |
  8. heavyhorse

    as Mark Twain put it "Christianity would be a good religion if anyone actually practiced it" one has to wonder of the belief people have if they need to threaten people" belive as we do or die" why should it matter to you if we don't unless your not so sure yourself and need to have no options for others to make you secure in your being right

    October 31, 2011 at 2:58 pm |
  9. Huh

    "@Huh- no more real than the fact that no one loves you"

    Lying is a sin according to your book. Quick repent!

    October 31, 2011 at 2:54 pm |
    • jim

      good one!

      October 31, 2011 at 2:57 pm |
    • Sheik Yerbouti

      Lying is a sin?? Oh CR-AP, er shoot. Dang it.

      October 31, 2011 at 2:59 pm |
  10. palintwit

    It must be absolute hell to wake up in the morning, look in a mirror and realize you're a Palin.

    October 31, 2011 at 2:54 pm |
    • Sheik Yerbouti

      LOL

      October 31, 2011 at 2:55 pm |
  11. Christine

    Paganism is nothing new- why are we so surprised that people are looking for a new form of "truth?" In the scriptures it says,
    What has been will be again,
    what has been done will be done again;
    there is nothing new under the sun.

    Is there anything of which one can say,
    "Look! This is something new"?
    It was here already, long ago;
    it was here before our time.

    For thousands of years, people have wanted to feel one with nature and wanted to believe that they have some degree of control over it.

    October 31, 2011 at 2:53 pm |
    • Sheik Yerbouti

      What the heck are you going on about? Oh, could you pass the scriptures, I just ran out of T.P.

      October 31, 2011 at 2:57 pm |
    • Dean

      Christine,

      As far as predictions go, claiming any accuracy for the predictions in the scriptures is a huge stretch. The predictions there are either so generally inevitable anyway (like e.g. "disasters will happen") , or they are just wrong. You can smell the BS when there are no specific day-dates given in the prediction, and the scriptures reek repugnantly of it.

      Just to look at your own example, the scriptures fail to predict the electronic computer in any specific, meaningful way. Electronic omputers are a new thing under the sun. Something has changed. So, the scriptures got that wrong.

      But really, cite one example of a prediction with a date in it in the scriptures, that actually happened. I think you'll only find yourself neck-deep in stinking bible bulldung as usual.

      October 31, 2011 at 3:06 pm |
    • Truth

      You do realize that the bloggers on this article will eat you alive? They are not cultivating christian qualities. These pagans aren't even a group. They are more group by definition of behavior. Evolutionists, atheists, and agnostics will be buying up these message boards for their own insecurities and their own ends. I haven't met that is even remotely nice so why would I want to be a pagan? To escape from God's requirements? I don't need to dull my conscience that far.

      October 31, 2011 at 3:07 pm |
    • Sheik Yerbouti

      @truth

      Truth, you are good enough, you are smart enough, and dog gone it, people like you.

      October 31, 2011 at 3:11 pm |
  12. Reality

    Mocking Wicca and Paganism?

    Spells, curses, covens, black magic, witches, voodooing dolls, hoodooing the results, shadow books, maypoles,
    horned god(s) and triple goddess(es), Gerald Gardner et al??

    Never!!!!

    October 31, 2011 at 2:53 pm |
    • Sheik Yerbouti

      As long as they are slu-tty witches I am down with it.

      October 31, 2011 at 2:54 pm |
    • Dave in Portland

      Mocking the Abrahamic religions?

      – Burning bushes
      – Wheels of fire in the sky
      – Parting the red sea

      What's to mock?

      October 31, 2011 at 3:34 pm |
  13. CC

    Hmmm.... Christians celebrate All Soul's Day on Nov. 2 and the faithful all over the world remember and pray for those who have passed.... Christians see God in everything, especially the beauty of nature.... and Christians (Catholics) are a community who believe their individual actions affect the whole community, and therefore they are highly responsible for their individual actions... So, I guess the Pagan’s quoted in this article are not aware of this??

    October 31, 2011 at 2:53 pm |
    • ATLAtheist

      Just like a Christian to claim rights to something they stole in the first place. Learn your HIstory. Pagans do what pagans have been doing long before your religion came along.

      October 31, 2011 at 2:55 pm |
    • BJJSchecter

      "..therefore they are highly responsible for their individual actions.."

      Seriously? Isn't there another article about a Catholic priest whisked away to Mexico because of abuse charges. I wouldn't call that taking responsibility for your actions.

      October 31, 2011 at 2:58 pm |
    • Igor

      Nonsense, pagans are just Christians who can't make up their mind about which god they like the best.

      October 31, 2011 at 2:58 pm |
    • CC

      My point is that the article is pointing out commonalities, not differences.... Are you certain there are no Pagan or Atheist pedophiles anywhere in the world??? The problem is that the Catholic Church covered up the situation instead of properly fixing it.

      October 31, 2011 at 3:46 pm |
  14. Jared

    Why do christians deny any religon that existed before theirs or Judiism they were not evil nor wrong but were cited by those who created the Jewish and christian religons as evill so that they could turn people to their wishes. Now with the ongoing research on Biblical history there is a continuam of thought from beginning to now. Only those who subscribe to the belief that they are the only right ones. Actually they are the only wrong ones.

    October 31, 2011 at 2:52 pm |
    • ibivibiv

      The idea of there being one God is one of the worst ones in history. It used to be people respected each other's gods. In fact gaining the favor of your enemy's god was usually customary prior to a battle to try to gain the favor of that god. That way you could have not your, but their god backing you. Then came the mess we are in now where everyone assumes their god is the only one or worse yet fight over who has the right story for the same god (house of Abraham'ers I am looking at you).

      October 31, 2011 at 2:57 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Any religion that can worship a trinity and still call itself monotheistic can rationalize anything.

      October 31, 2011 at 3:05 pm |
  15. Mel

    hippypoet, what religion are you talking about that teaches to be a bigot? It certainly isn't Wiccan or any Neo-Pagan religions that preach us to not accept others, we're all loving and preach unity with all life.

    October 31, 2011 at 2:51 pm |
    • hippypoet

      most religions state as a part of the belief that there god is the one true god, which any first grader can figure out means that all other gods and religions are wrong, thats pride, and generates a feeling of superiority over other religions- i was non specific to which religion. Paganism is not a religion but a belief, so that counts out any pagan.

      October 31, 2011 at 2:54 pm |
    • Mel

      I don't think Pagans would agree – whether wiccan or not, not a religion is not accurate. I don't expect anyone to agree with me but I think if people just learned to talk opening about differences and beliefs without making hurtful remarks, this world would be such a better place. diversity is beautiful.

      October 31, 2011 at 3:04 pm |
  16. Christian Phonies

    Why is this holiday always being pointed out as a pagan holiday. Why do the Pagans not get credit for Xmas which were stolen by the Christians to recruit people into their lame religion.

    October 31, 2011 at 2:48 pm |
    • Sheik Yerbouti

      I know right? GOD-DAM Christians. And then on top of that I will probably just get a rock in my trick or treat bag!

      October 31, 2011 at 2:53 pm |
    • your great great grand-daddy

      I'm speaking to you through the spiritual powers that are seeping out of the ground today. I agree with you. I think the undead should have a holiday, so tell all of your human friends to steal Yom Kipper from the Christians and make it Zombie Funday! The world can act like their favorite zombie (Rob) all day long.

      October 31, 2011 at 2:55 pm |
    • Igor

      Apparently Christians are taking it back, just like Christmas? Has anyone heard of Jesusween? These pagans have been allowed free reign for too long. Can't they just pick a favorite of their many gods and stick with it?

      October 31, 2011 at 2:56 pm |
    • MabMonster

      And don't forget Easter! They stole that too, along with all the symbolism (Rabbits, eggs, etc.) that goes with it.

      October 31, 2011 at 3:23 pm |
  17. Mel

    wow lots of rude people making comments that can't respect a religion, so very sad

    October 31, 2011 at 2:46 pm |
    • hippypoet

      please give me a reason to show respect to something that preaches hatred and how to be a bigot???

      October 31, 2011 at 2:48 pm |
    • hippypoet

      oh and just so you know, your name means bad in latin.

      October 31, 2011 at 2:50 pm |
    • Sheik Yerbouti

      Well I can't speak for anyone else but am just here for the chicks and booze.

      October 31, 2011 at 2:51 pm |
    • Mel

      people are sooo sad.... really sad

      October 31, 2011 at 2:52 pm |
    • Igor

      I don't know why religion requires unconditional respect. For example, celebrating passover means celebrating a story where thousands of innocent firstborn were slaughtered for no good reason. I mean killing the pharaoh would have been easier. If I went around saying that I have an invisible all powerful friend and that by not believing in him you will be punished for an eternity, is that something that is deserving of respect? You have the right to believe in whatever nonsense you want, but not the right for that view to be respected.

      October 31, 2011 at 2:53 pm |
    • Mel

      I have a hard time understanding why people want to say things to others just to be mean and rude? does it really make you feel better about yourself? I don't think someone who is bad, takes part in numerous charities, rescues abandoned and neglected animals, and can still have compassion for someone as rude as you. Blessed be, I know Karma – I'd be afraid of yours

      October 31, 2011 at 2:55 pm |
    • Mel

      I have a hard time understanding why people want to say things to others just to be mean and rude? does it really make you feel better about yourself? And everyone deserves for their beliefs to be respected and not slandered. I would never disrespect another's religous beliefs or make a comment directly to hurt another.

      October 31, 2011 at 2:58 pm |
    • Rich

      @Igor

      Interesting....I hope you don't expect people to respect whatever your beliefs are (or lack thereof...).

      October 31, 2011 at 2:58 pm |
    • ibivibiv

      It's not mean and rude. Many look at religion as a plague, pestilence, or mockery of our modern society. Think of it as the disgust many people show for someone that is smoking in a public place near them. It is pretty much the same reaction.

      October 31, 2011 at 3:01 pm |
    • Igor

      "I hope you don't expect people to respect whatever your beliefs are (or lack thereof...)."

      Not at all, ever since people started telling me they couldn't be friends with me once they found out I was an atheist, i gave up on the whole "respect thine beliefs" ideology. The world is an unfair place, the sooner one realizes it the sooner one can move on without being concerned that other's don't share your view of leprechauns, ghosts, or Jesus, or whatever.

      October 31, 2011 at 3:02 pm |
    • hippypoet

      something i have always said : respect is not given, it is earned.

      Religion has not yet earned anything but contempt.

      October 31, 2011 at 3:03 pm |
    • Mel

      Hi Igor I don't disrespect anyone's beliefs, if you choose to be Athiest that is your choice and again just one of the many things in this life that make us all difference and great at the same time. It's when people are mean and hurtful to eachother about those issues that I can't understand. I don't like being called a satanist or weirdo on here by others anymore than you like people turning their back on you for being Athiest. Imagine what this world would be like if we could just all respect one another and be kind.

      October 31, 2011 at 3:11 pm |
    • Igor

      "I don't disrespect anyone's beliefs"

      But if the basic premise of your belief is that I will end up in hell eternally for not sharing it? You don't find it disrespectful. And don't tell me that you are merely passing a message, by condoning that message you are just as bad. At least i don't think you should suffer for believing nonsense.

      October 31, 2011 at 3:22 pm |
    • Igor

      @MEL: Of course if you are satanist kudos to you, if you can't deal with being called a weirdo then you have a big problem. Just embrace being a weirdo like the rest of us and life will get much easier without demanding unconditional respect.

      October 31, 2011 at 3:24 pm |
    • Mel

      Igor, that's right i don't disrepect anyone's belief's and I don't think you'll end up in some hell for not agreeing with one religion – and no I DON'T think people should be so cruel to eachother and say things that are hurtful, we are all different and that makes us interesting. I think most people that believe as I do, don't waste time being angry at the terrible things some people are posting on here, we just shake our heads in wonder – how does this actually make someone feel good? being so negative and cruel to others that they don't even know. such a shame.

      October 31, 2011 at 3:32 pm |
  18. Myto Senseworth

    Religions....The roots of evil and the cause of wars.

    October 31, 2011 at 2:40 pm |
    • me

      "Religions....The roots of evil and the cause of wars." Yeah, greed doesn't factor into the equation.

      October 31, 2011 at 2:44 pm |
    • Truth

      Correction: False religion is the source of modern day wars.

      October 31, 2011 at 2:44 pm |
    • Igor

      Flse religion is a bit of an oxymoron. Or a tautology depending on your perspective.

      October 31, 2011 at 2:47 pm |
    • your great great grand-daddy

      I'm back...and I can tell you after talking to all the other dead people that religion is not actually the root of evil and the cause of wars. The real cause is the McRib sandwich.

      October 31, 2011 at 2:48 pm |
    • Igor

      McRib sandwich is nothing but a false idol.

      October 31, 2011 at 2:49 pm |
    • Linda

      Egos and greed are the root of modern wars.. religion is just an excuse for their actions.

      October 31, 2011 at 2:56 pm |
    • Pete H

      PEOPLE are the cause of all wars. If it wasn't religious ferver causing us to sling lead at each other, it would be wearing a Yankee cap in L.A. People will always find a reason to fight. Funny; if people honestly LIVED their faiths, there would be very little fighting...

      October 31, 2011 at 2:57 pm |
  19. Funny

    So we should put mud cakes on our heads and stick twigs out our ears and pray\chant to the sun god for crops?

    October 31, 2011 at 2:38 pm |
    • Flying Spaghetti Monster

      Praying for rain worked well for Texas!!

      October 31, 2011 at 2:42 pm |
    • Igor

      Is it just me or does religion make one impervious to irony?

      October 31, 2011 at 2:44 pm |
    • Funny

      Yes, did the pagans pray to mother earth for Texas? or are they just chanting for selfish gains like bigger mud cakes?

      October 31, 2011 at 2:46 pm |
    • Igor

      Well mud cakes implies mud, and where there's mud there is usually rain, therefore praying for bigger mud cakes means praying for rain.

      October 31, 2011 at 2:48 pm |
    • BJJSchecter

      Right, because eating some dead guys body and drinking his blood (symbolically) makes so much more sense.

      October 31, 2011 at 2:54 pm |
    • LadyLina

      Wow...talk about disrespect...

      October 31, 2011 at 3:19 pm |
    • Truth

      So eat the mud cakes BJJSchecter? or drink them then pray to them? lol

      October 31, 2011 at 3:33 pm |
  20. JD

    CNN printing a favorable critique of a religion? If this were a Christian holiday, CNN would be printing editorials demanding that we just say "Happy Holidays" today.

    October 31, 2011 at 2:38 pm |
    • Heebooo

      @JD–you don't read the Religion blog on CNN much do you? Otherwise you'd know how stupid your comment is.

      October 31, 2011 at 2:47 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.