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November 5th, 2011
10:00 PM ET

Rick Perry’s long faith journey culminates in presidential run

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

Editor’s note: This is part of an occasional series of stories looking at the faith of the leading 2012 presidential candidates, including Mitt Romney, Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich. We also profiled the faith journey of Herman Cain before he suspended his campaign.

Austin, Texas (CNN) – Rick Perry’s new church is not like his old church.

At his new church, several hundred worshippers showed up in jeans on a recent Sunday to listen to high-decibel Christian rock from plush stadium-style seats.

The crowd, mostly under the age of 40, raised their hands to Jesus in between sips of freshly brewed coffee from the java hut in the lobby.

Outside Lake Hills Church – situated on 40 acres about half an hour’s drive from downtown Austin – a dozen sheriff’s deputies managed the Sunday morning traffic rush.

Back in town at Perry’s old church, a graying, neatly dressed crowd of several dozen gathered for services in a stately sanctuary, singing old hymns and reciting communal prayers from hard wooden pews.

There is no java hut at Tarrytown United Methodist Church – and not nearly enough traffic to justify sheriff’s deputies.

Perry’s jump from Tarrytown to Lake Hills mirrors some of the big recent changes in American Christianity: From cities to suburbs, from a formal mainline worship style that relies on liturgy to a more casual evangelical approach that’s all about connecting to Jesus.

The Republican presidential candidate’s 2007 church switch also may mirror something much more personal: The culmination of Perry’s journey from a mainline Protestant upbringing to an evangelical-flavored faith built on close relationships with Baptist preachers and giving public testimony about God.

How Mormonism helped shape Mitt Romney

Politically, his faith evolution creates an opportunity for Perry to connect with the evangelical voters who constitute the Republican Party’s base at a time when some say he’s the only candidate who stands any chance of derailing Mitt Romney’s bid for the GOP nomination, even as he has fallen behind Romney and Herman Cain in the polls.

Perry speaking at an Iowa Faith and Freedom Forum in October.

The Texas governor has made his faith a centerpiece of his presidential campaign in ways both overt and subtle – hardly the first time he has enthusiastically mixed religion and politics.

At a time when Americans have grown accustomed to hearing public officials invoke a kind of generic national religion that’s sensitive to diverse faith traditions and nonbelievers alike, Perry has often gone a big step further, telegraphing a distinctly Christian message.

For instance, when Perry lent his signature to a Texas ballot initiative to constitutionally ban gay marriage – an effort that didn’t even require the governor’s endorsement – he did so on a Sunday from inside an evangelical Christian school.

Opinion: Why Perry needs Palin

And the four-term governor often speaks of a culture war between the nation’s Christians and secular humanists, who he says are trying to stamp religion out of the public square.

“America is going to be guided by some set of values - the question is going to be whose values,” Perry said in a speech at Virginia’s Liberty University in September. “I would suggest … it is those Christian values that this country was based upon.”

Now, as he wages an uphill battle for the Republican nomination, Perry is emphasizing his Christian commitment even more than in the past, trying to line up support from conservative Christian leaders and religious voters nationwide.

Some friends of the governor say he sees his presidential quest as a kind of mission from God.

Rick Perry talks to CNN's John King

“He said he didn’t want to do it, but he felt the Lord was calling him,” says Kelly Shackelford, who recently heard Perry discuss his campaign with religious activists.

“His wife and him were both reluctant,” says Shackelford, an influential conservative activist in Texas. “But as Christians, when you know you’re called to do something, there is no doubt, no hesitation. You just do it.”

“In those days, the churches were full”

Rick Perry grew up in tiny, isolated Paint Creek, an unincorporated farming community on the dusty plains of central Texas.

Paint Creek “was on a farm to market road where they had this Methodist church on one end and a Baptist church on the other and the school in the middle,” Perry’s wife, Anita Perry, told CNN.

For Rick Perry, “life revolved around school, church and – for most boys – the Boy Scouts,” he wrote in his 2008 book, “On My Honor.”

Paint Creek’s Baptists dominated local government and imposed a strict moral code, prohibiting school dances and Halloween carnivals, reasoning that carnival games were tantamount to gambling.

“The school board was nearly all Baptist, and they drew up a dress code every year that was very concerned with hair and short pants and exposing too much skin,” says Wallar Overton, a childhood friend and Perry’s neighbor in Paint Creek.

Overton’s parents, who were Methodists, once held a prom in their house to get around the school’s ban on dancing.

Wallar Overton, Perry’s childhood neighbor from Paint Creek, Texas, says Baptists dominated local government and imposed a strict moral code.

Bud Adkins, the current pastor at the community’s Baptist church, calls such bans “pretty characteristic. That’s how everyone in the area grew up.”

“A lot of parents just felt that dances were where bad things took place,” Adkins says. “Drinking and fighting and carousing and things you shouldn’t be doing.”

Perry said his family was active in both churches when he grew up in Paint Creek in the 1950s and ‘60s.

Perry’s campaign declined interview requests, but his religious friends say his early exposure to both Methodists and Baptists initiated him into the two main branches of American Protestantism – mainline and evangelical.

Mainline Methodists tend to stress good works, while evangelical Baptists focus on personal relationships with God.

“It’s a mix of looking out and looking in,” says David Barton, a Texas-based evangelical activist who has been close to the governor for 20 years. “And it’s why [Perry’s] comfortable in so many different settings, whether it’s a Catholic or a Hispanic or a black church.”

When Perry was growing up in Paint Creek, there was a Methodist and a Baptist church. Only the Baptist congregation survives.

Perry has spoken in scores of Texas churches since becoming governor in 2000, including visits to black churches for Juneteenth, the annual holiday commemorating the arrival of news that President Lincoln's had ended slavery.

Perry’s ties to Texas’ black and Hispanic communities are largely built around faith-related issues such as abortion and gay marriage, on which polls show minorities tend to be more conservative than whites.

Though Perry attended the occasional Baptist revival in Paint Creek and appears to identify as an evangelical today, Overton says the governor was raised squarely in the Methodist church, attending Methodist services and Sunday school, taught by Overton’s mother, every week.

“Baptists taught doctrine,” Overton says. “My mom taught Christianity. ... Her God was a loving God.”

Years later, when Gov. Perry actively supported the death penalty and cuts in government programs for the poor - positions that clashed with the more progressive stances of the United Methodist Church - some fellow Methodists speculated that Paint Creek’s cultural conservatism shaped the governor more than his church did.

“This was a pretty good Bible Belt when we grew up,” says Adkins, who is a few years older than Perry and grew up in Rochester, about 30 miles away. “In those days, the churches were full and the parents were really conservative.”

Going evangelical

When Perry landed back in Paint Creek in the late 1970s, after college at Texas A&M and a four-year stint as an Air Force pilot, its small-town ways helped provoke an identity crisis for the future governor.

Then 27, Perry had been around the world flying huge C-130 cargo planes for the military. But in 1977, he found himself back on the family farm helping his dad.

After a lifetime of structure – Boy Scouts, the Corps of Cadets (a Texas A&M program similar to ROTC), the Air Force – Perry was adrift, struggling to find a path in the face of a wide-open future.

“I was lost, spiritually and emotionally, and I didn’t know how to fix it,” he told Liberty University students in his September appearance there.

Anita Perry, who was dating Perry at the time, said he “came home and all of a sudden he kind of had this world of independence.”

“He went to farm with his dad, who had been farming successfully for many, many years,” she says. “He didn’t really need Rick to come in and tell him how to do the farming.”

For someone who had served as an aircraft commander, the move home felt like a demotion.

“I came back into my old room. I swear to God I know mother cleaned it, but it looked exactly like it did the day I left,” Perry said at a May fundraising event for a Christian prayer rally he helped organize.

“It had my football number on the door, and it had the all-star football game program still stuck on the bulletin board,” he said. “It was an eerie moment for me to move back home.”

Perry says that he found resolution, while still 27, by turning to God.

“My faith journey is not the story of someone who turned to God because I wanted to,” he told students at Liberty, in what has become a mainstay of his speeches to Christian audiences. “It was because I had nowhere else to turn.

“I spent many a night pondering my purpose, talking to God, wondering what to do with this one life among the billions that were on the planet. What I learned as I wrestled with God is that I didn’t have to have all the answers, that they would be revealed to me in due time and that I needed to trust him.”

At other public appearances, Perry has said his soul-searching ended when he realized “I’d been called to the ministry.”

But that turned out to be a call to enter politics. “I’ve just always been really stunned by how big a pulpit I was going to have,” he said at the May fundraiser. “I truly believe with all my heart that God has put me in this place at this time to do his will.”

While being “born again” is considered an important milestone for many evangelicals, Perry isn’t known to describe his experience in 1977 Paint Creek in such terms.

As his wife puts it, “He’d already found Jesus because he had been baptized.”

“I don’t know really how to classify it,” she says of her husband’s experience. “I wasn’t in on that with him. … But I think he found the answer he needed.”

Church with the Bushes

Despite the evangelical overtones of Perry’s life-changing encounter with God, he and his wife joined a Methodist church when they landed in Austin in the mid-1980s, continuing his mainline childhood tradition.

Perry had been elected a state representative as a Democrat from a rural West Texas district in 1985. He was following in the political footsteps of his father, who was a county commissioner at the time.

In 1990, after switching to the Republican Party, Perry was elected agricultural commissioner, his first statewide office. Later, one of the capital’s other prominent families – the Bushes – joined the Perrys at Austin’s Tarrytown United Methodist Church.

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The Tarrytown United Methodist Church in Austin, where the Perrys attended until 2007.

George W. Bush was elected Texas governor in 1994, and he, Laura and their two daughters began attending Tarrytown.

By that time, Tarrytown had gained a reputation as a conservative alternative to Austin’s First United Methodist Church, which is right next door to the state Capitol and boasted high-profile Democratic attendees like Ann Richards, the governor of Texas from 1990 to 1994.

During the 1990s, the Perrys and Bushes were among the worshippers who made a tradition of distributing Holy Communion during Tarrytown’s Christmas Eve services. The Perrys also helped lead confirmation classes as their two children prepared to be confirmed in the church.

Perry was elected lieutenant governor of Texas in 1998, inheriting the governor’s office two years later when Bush left Austin for the White House.

Jim Mayfield, senior pastor at Tarrytown from 1988 to 2006, says the Perrys generally kept a low profile at the church.

“We weren’t close, but it was very cordial,” he says. “They attended worship, and that’s about all they did.”

Perry and then-Texas Gov. George W. Bush attended the same Methodist church in Austin.

At the same time, Perry was forming close relationships with evangelical pastors across the state.

“I’ve known the governor in a personal way for 20 years, since he was agricultural commissioner,” says Ed Young, a prominent Baptist preacher based in Houston. “I see God’s hand leading him and working in his life.

“He has grown in his faith,” says Young, who regularly talks and visits with Perry. “During crises, we look in every direction, and more and more the governor has looked up. Not in some pious God-told-me way, but in humility.”

In 2007, when the Perrys moved to a rented house in West Austin during a governor’s mansion renovation, Young encouraged them to check out an evangelical-style church a protégé had started nearby.

That congregation, Lake Hills, has been Perry’s church home ever since.

For some of Perry’s evangelical friends and supporters, his jump from a mainline to an evangelical church was a sign of spiritual growth.

“Lake Hills is a very strong church, and I’ve seen him get stronger in his faith,” says Shackelford, the conservative Texas activist. “Methodist churches are all over the spectrum. One could be really strong and conservative and the next one could be liberal.”

Anita Perry, meanwhile, says she misses her old church, Tarrytown.

“I miss those traditional hymns,” she told CNN during a recent campaign visit to Bob Jones University, a fundamentalist Christian school in South Carolina.

“The contemporary music [at Lake Hills], you know I hear it and I hear the beat. I hear the words, but I don’t know the words,” she says. “I didn’t grow up in that church; I grew in a traditional church.

“So that transformation for me was hard,” she says. “But I’m truly able to bring something back from the message [at Lake Hills] when I walk out of there.”

Pastors and presidential politics

In late 2004 as Election Day approached, polls showed the country about evenly divided between Perry’s political ally, President Bush, and Democratic challenger John Kerry.

Perry was worried. He headed to a dry creek bed somewhere outside Austin and called his friend James Robison, a Dallas-based televangelist.

“I’m out here in the middle of nowhere, a place so remote I'm surprised I get a cell signal,” Perry said, according to Robison. “I’m sitting down by myself, and I want to pray about the direction of the country.”

Robison had been friends with Presidents Reagan and Bush and had fielded many calls from Gov. Perry. The Baptist preacher said he was moved to learn his state’s chief executive was spending a day alone in the wilderness, praying.

For Robison, the call was “strictly spiritual.” But it could also be seen as evidence of Perry’s effortless fusion of faith and politics.

Perry, center, at a memorial for the crew of the space shuttle Columbia in Lufkin, Texas, in 2003.

In Austin, Perry’s political fans and foes alike say that fusion is best reflected in his track record on abortion.

Since taking office in 2000, Perry has signed laws mandating parental consent for minor girls who want an abortion, slashing state funds for Planned Parenthood and requiring a woman seeking an abortion to first view a sonogram of her fetus. (A federal judge recently issued an injunction effectively blocking that law’s enforcement.)

Supporters say the record testifies to Perry’s faith-based commitment to life.

“He has passed 20-odd pieces of pro-life legislation,” Shackelford says. “He was vilified by the media for it, and he didn’t stand his ground [just] because it was a good policy position. It really all emanated from his faith.”

Critics say the governor has overstepped, compromising women’s basic health care in the name of ideology.

They note that state funding for Planned Parenthood was barred from going to abortions even before he cut it. And they say the sonogram law Perry signed requires doctors to read biased information to women seeking abortions.

“As governor of Texas, Rick Perry has pursued a single-minded agenda: Take away women's health care, destroy Planned Parenthood, and block women's access to safe abortion care,” the Planned Parenthood Action fund wrote in a recent petition drive.

More recently, Perry has become an outspoken advocate for religion in the public square and a vocal opponent of those who don’t believe in God.

“The life of the secular humanist has a depressing end,” Perry writes in “On My Honor.”

“All their possessions will be left behind, and the only thing that will matter is what God thinks of their life in the face of eternity.”

Elsewhere in the book, which tracks what Perry calls a secular war against the Boy Scouts, he characterizes evolution as an inherently atheistic idea.

“Even if one goes along with the atheists’ argument that life evolved from previous forms,” Perry writes, “where did the previous forms come from?”

Many scientists and believers would no doubt disagree with the governor. Polls show that tens of millions of Americans back evolution and also believe in God.

Perhaps Perry’s most audacious religious gesture as governor came in August, when he organized a prayer rally in the stadium where the NFL’s Houston Texans play. The event came a few months after Perry had proclaimed three days of prayer for rain in Texas amid the state’s long drought.

Robison, who helped launch the Christian Right in 1980 when he organized a meeting between then-candidate Reagan and pastors in Houston, says he approached Perry with the idea for the rally late last year to confront what Robison said was a national moral crisis.

“I simply said that we don’t seem to call for prayer anymore, and I referenced the biblical book of Joel, when he calls a solemn assembly after locusts had stripped the crops,” Robison says. “I said to the governor, ‘No one’s called a solemn assembly.’

“I was surprised when he called one,” Robison says. “There just are not many leaders who do that.”

The August prayer event, called “The Response,” was financed by the conservative evangelical American Family Association and was intended to acknowledge that, in Perry’s words, “America is in crisis.”

Perry at The Response prayer rally in Houston.

"We have been besieged by financial debt, terrorism and a multitude of natural disasters," Perry said in the run-up to the rally, which organizers said drew 30,000 people.

Billed as a “day of prayer and fasting,” it also involved dozens of conservative Christian leaders whose support is coveted by most of the Republican White House hopefuls.

But Perry's aides insisted The Response had nothing to do with presidential ambitious.

Aides say that calls for Perry to consider a White House run came only after other big-name Republicans, like Mike Huckabee, Mitch Daniels and Haley Barbour, announced they would not run. And that happened after Response planning was already well under way.

Skeptics argue that Perry, the longest-serving governor in Texas history, had to be at least pondering a White House run since late last year.

Either way, the prayer event created a major political opportunity for Perry. Intense media coverage allowed him to broadcast his Christian commitment to a national audience just one week before formally launching his presidential campaign.

Perry’s Christian messaging could be especially important because Romney, the perceived Republican frontrunner, is a Mormon. Many evangelicals don’t consider Mormons to be Christian, and flaunting his faith could be a way for Perry to distinguish himself.

Last month, a Baptist pastor who introduced Perry at a major conservative gathering stirred controversy by calling Mormonism a cult. Perry has said he disagrees.

Hours with the faithful

In the months since The Response, Perry’s courtship of national Christian leaders has intensified. With Romney locking up support from much of the Republican establishment, Perry is working overtime to shore up his party’s socially conservative base.

Just a few weeks after the Houston prayer rally, roughly 200 religious leaders from across the country, mostly evangelicals, descended on a San Antonio-area ranch for the chance to meet Perry and his wife.

Over the course of a Friday afternoon and a Saturday morning, Rick and Anita Perry talked up the governor’s record and took questions from the audience. James Dobson, founder of the evangelical group Focus on the Family, served as moderator.

Robison, one of the attendees, said the Perrys talked to them for six or seven hours.

“People who were there were stunned,” Robison said. “I’ve spent time with lots of candidates, and I’ve never seen one take that much time.”

Another attendee, Christian activist David Lane, said one audience member asked Anita Perry what people would be most surprised to learn about her husband.

“He’s more spiritual than you probably think,” Texas’ first lady responded, according to Lane. “He reads the Bible every day.”

For the Texas-based pastors and activists in attendance, that was hardly news. But to scores of others who were just getting to know Perry, it was reassuring information.

“As governor, people are not asking you, ‘Tell me when you came to the Lord,’” says Shackelford, who has known Perry for more than a decade. “The people you hang out with every day already know.

“But now he’s running for president,” Shackelford says, “and all of a sudden there are these Christian leaders meeting him for the first time, and they want to know: How did you come to know the Lord? What was your journey?”

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Leaders • Politics • Rick Perry

soundoff (3,096 Responses)
  1. Luther

    John 8:24 "That is why I said that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I Am who I claim to be, you will die in your sins."--Jesus Christ

    November 8, 2011 at 1:02 am |
    • tallulah13

      Okay. That's fine. I would rather be responsible for my own very minor sins than agree to let another person be murdered for them. Why in the world do you think it's acceptable to let some else suffer for what you have done? Are you a child?

      November 8, 2011 at 1:13 am |
  2. Luther

    Luke 3:1 In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar–when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, Herod tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of Iturea and Traconitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene–

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pontius_Pilate#Historicity_of_Pilate

    November 8, 2011 at 1:00 am |
    • tallulah13

      A) Wiki? Ha!
      B) Do you have a point?

      November 8, 2011 at 1:15 am |
  3. Luther

    John 18:12 They bound him 13and brought him first to Annas, who was the father-in-law of CAIAPHAS, the high priest that year.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caiaphas#Caiaphas_ossuary

    November 8, 2011 at 12:54 am |
    • HellBent

      And the point of these fairly mundane, uneventful quotes and links would be, what, exactly?

      November 8, 2011 at 12:59 am |
  4. Luther

    Romans 16: 23 "Gaius, whose hospitality I and the whole church here enjoy, sends you his greetings.

    ERASTUS, who is the city’s director of public works, and our brother Quartus send you their greetings."

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erastus_of_Corinth

    November 8, 2011 at 12:47 am |
  5. Luther

    2 Peter 1:16 "We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty."

    John 1:14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only,d who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

    1 Corinth 15:3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5and that he appeared to Peter,b and then to the Twelve. 6After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. 7Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.

    November 8, 2011 at 12:33 am |
    • HellBent

      Armaments 2:9-21
      .And Saint Attila raised the hand grenade up on high, saying, "O LORD, bless this Thy hand grenade that with it Thou mayest blow Thine enemies to tiny bits, in Thy mercy." And the LORD did grin and the people did feast upon the lambs and sloths and carp and anchovies and orangutans and breakfast cereals, and fruit bats... And the LORD spake, saying, "First shalt thou take out the Holy Pin, then shalt thou count to three, no more, no less. Three shall be the number thou shalt count, and the number of the counting shall be three. Four shalt thou not count, neither count thou two, excepting that thou then proceed to three. Five is right out. Once the number three, being the third number, be reached, then lobbest thou thy Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch towards thy foe, who being naughty in My sight, shall snuff it.

      November 8, 2011 at 12:40 am |
  6. Reality

    From p. 63:

    Dear Governor Perry,

    Putting the final kibosh on religion:

    • There was no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are non-existent.

    • There was no Moses i.e the pillars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.

    • There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.

    • There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion.

    • There was no Moroni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.

    • Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.

    • Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on Buddhism.

    Added details available. Some are posted on p. 71.

    November 8, 2011 at 12:03 am |
  7. NevadaOne

    Rick Perry = TEXAS... So does this judge... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wl9y3SIPt7o

    November 7, 2011 at 10:07 pm |
  8. Martin

    I have to confess, I was amusing myself by provoking you, not the highest form of Christian character. But it amuses me that people who claim objectivity spent so much time with insults. I know, it comes with the territory.

    The point I was getting to was just what the Bible says: "All have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God."

    Surely even atheists can agree that no mere man is morally perfect.

    November 7, 2011 at 9:47 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      It amuses me that you can't use the reply function and yet think you're erudite.

      November 7, 2011 at 9:48 pm |
    • Bob

      I'm perfect. So p!ss off and go do your Christian public mast-urbation somewhere else.

      November 7, 2011 at 9:49 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You crack me up, Bob.

      November 7, 2011 at 9:50 pm |
    • Bob

      We're cross-postin, Tom :-). My last msg was for Martin, of course.

      November 7, 2011 at 9:51 pm |
    • Bob

      Twice!

      November 7, 2011 at 9:51 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Have a good night, Bob. Salutations and all that!

      November 7, 2011 at 9:56 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Gee, Martin, for someone who claims he was just funnin', you surely do seem mighty upset. One might even think you were actually injured in some way. Otherwise, why would you be so perturbed by my posts? After all, you said you were just trying to irritate those who don't see god and the bible exactly as you do, right?

      So why are you suddenly so incensed, dear?

      Guess I must have hit a nerve.

      Poor baby.

      November 7, 2011 at 10:05 pm |
    • TR6

      “Surely even atheists can agree that no mere man is morally perfect.”

      Yup! And that is just another piece of evidence that your perfect god does not exist. How can a perfect being create imperfection?

      November 7, 2011 at 10:24 pm |
    • Martin

      Upset? Not me! Someone else is posting using "Martin" They really wish I would spew hate like they do.

      November 7, 2011 at 10:31 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Yeah, right.

      November 7, 2011 at 10:32 pm |
    • Martin

      AH I KNEW it was you Tom!! ..
      Anyway
      Why did God create imperfection?
      1. He did not directly create imperfection, but he created man with the freedom to act imperfectly.

      And so we sin, and WE create this mess we currently have. And even though we have messed it up, God foresaw and foreknew that we would, so He also is responsible for the ultimate outcome, which is this:
      Jesus Christ came to show people what the righteousness of God is. Those who love righteousness follow Him, (Even though they still sin).
      Those who hate righteousness will hate Him and those who follow Him. And so, in the end, we will be divided, each to his own chosen way.
      Proverbs 14:12 "There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death."

      November 7, 2011 at 10:53 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      What are you smoking, you loon? I haven't posted anything under any other screen name.

      Grow up, you dolt.

      November 7, 2011 at 10:56 pm |
  9. The Soul of The English Language

    Dear hippypoet, Could you by chance educate yourself prior to making outlandish claims? That would be a great start. Otherwise, none of us are ever going to take your arguments seriously. The only thing I see are cancerous tumors of grammatical error riddling each and every one of your posts. I can't get through any of your posts without weeping for torment you have wrought upon English. It is as though I'm walking through a concentration camp full of the corpses of malnourished and tortured, broken bodies of words and phrases. You, with each post start a war whose grammatical casualties cannot be counted. Please, for the love of balls, stop being lazy and learn how to spell, use proper punctuation and figure out how to properly use contractions.

    You whine about "reading the content of the message," but we can't read or be bothered to figure out the content if you can't get the content written out without filling it full of your figurative bullet holes. You've left the English language bloodied and bashed like an unfortunate victim of Jack the Ripper and Hitler rolled into one.

    November 7, 2011 at 9:36 pm |
    • Bob

      Just get used to blog style already and get with the times. It's rapidfire, lotsa mistakes. Deal with it or go elsewhere.

      hippypoet's posts are great, in the face of the nonsense that we get from religious whackjobs.

      November 7, 2011 at 9:43 pm |
    • Martin

      If hippypoet's posts are great compared to the so-called whack jobs, then it's still a thousand steps below a three-legged dog's face getting smashed into a keyboard via steel boot.

      November 7, 2011 at 9:54 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Well, they sure beat yours all to hell, Marty-not-so-smarty.

      November 7, 2011 at 9:57 pm |
    • hippypoet

      thank you Bob, thank you Tom... this guy is a loser, and i have schooled it on another article.... My take. If Rwandans ... check it out, it has no argument because it is simple, like larry in of mice and men... i wonder if he has a dead mouse in his pocket?

      November 7, 2011 at 10:02 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You're most welcome, hp. Martin seems to be a bit of a martinet, if you'll pardon the pun.

      I don't guess Marty will pardon it, though. He hates me. Woe is me. Whatever will I do? Marty has broken my red candy heart!

      November 7, 2011 at 10:21 pm |
    • TR6

      “I can't get through any of your posts without weeping for torment you have wrought upon English”

      If you live your life negating content because the form is not up to your standards, I suggest you have thrown away the better part of life

      November 7, 2011 at 10:40 pm |
  10. Brad

    It is interesting that Rick Perry views his political career as a ministry: "I’ve just always been really stunned by how big a pulpit I was going to have." This goes beyond simple personal testimony. Such a claim suggests he must be representing God in his statements and actions. Every one of this pack of candidates merits the closest scrutiny. Now none more so than Perry.

    November 7, 2011 at 9:35 pm |
  11. hippypoet

    god died with jesus on the cross! Time to move on!

    November 7, 2011 at 9:15 pm |
  12. Martin

    Sheesh! Are these atheists still blathering on about this? If atheism makes for a better society, then the Soviet Union would have been paradise.. but it wasn't.

    Both Atheists and Christians can commit murder and mayhem with the best in History.. the only difference is this: When Christians murder, they violate the principles of their Lord and Savior: "Love you enemies"

    But when Atheists murder, they are actually properly following their leader, Charles Darwin... Mr. "Survival of the fittest".
    here is the natural result of that philosophy:
    http://www.myfoxphilly.com/dpp/news/local_news/abortion-dr.-kermit-gosnell-arrested

    AMEN!

    November 7, 2011 at 8:45 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      If there were a god, he'd have given you at least the intelligence of a doorknob.

      Therefore, I conclude there is no god.

      November 7, 2011 at 8:53 pm |
    • Colin

      Martin, you are a prize fool.

      November 7, 2011 at 8:54 pm |
    • Martin

      And insults are the currency of the super intelligent...

      November 7, 2011 at 8:56 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Cross-post with Colin! What kind of idiot is this boob, anyway?

      Do they come any dumber? Oh, wait...never mind. There's HS and Clod, of course.

      November 7, 2011 at 8:58 pm |
    • Bob

      Nice try at slandering Darwin, Martin.

      Seriously, show that love for your god like your bible commands you to: get out there and slaughter that goat. Burn it on the altar to make a smell to please god. Jesus said the OT still applies, so get on it before the day is over.

      Stupid Christians and their sick delusions.

      November 7, 2011 at 8:58 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Oh, please, Martin, you're pathetic. Darwin never advocated killing those less able, you moron. If he had, you'd have been dead long ago. In fact, your genes would have been eliminated from the pool generations before this!

      November 7, 2011 at 8:59 pm |
    • Bob

      Great point, Tom.

      November 7, 2011 at 9:02 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      By the way, Marty, do show me where the Bible says "Love you enemies."

      Thanks in advance.

      November 7, 2011 at 9:03 pm |
    • Colin

      Ok, so I will elaborate on why you are a fool.

      First, the Soviet Union was an economic model that failed. It has nothing to do with whether or not a (Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist or Christian) god exists.

      Second, survival of the fittest explains nature. Darwin never once proposed implementing a "survival of the fittest" policy in any human society.

      Third, the fact that you focused on Darwin suggests you are a creationist. Which, per se, sua sponte and in an of itself, makes you a moron.
      Second,

      November 7, 2011 at 9:03 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Bravo, Colin.

      November 7, 2011 at 9:05 pm |
    • Colin

      Hey Tom not the first time that has happened.

      The most frustrating thing is when they get so much wrong and you don't know where to start. Martin is a classic example.

      November 7, 2011 at 9:06 pm |
    • Colin

      Tom, I meant not the first time u and I have cross posted.

      November 7, 2011 at 9:07 pm |
    • Martin

      I never said Darwin advocated murder.. I said it is the natural outgrowth of that philosophy. Hitler loved Darwin.. all his work was based on Darwins conclusions. It validated everything he was doing.

      You may not advocate murder, but as an atheist, whose moral code is driven by his own conclusions, it may be needed for you to advocate murder in the future. History shows this usually happens when atheist gets a little power, like Stalin, Pol Pot & Mao, the greatest murderers of the last century.

      If you don't think atheists are just as dangerous as anyone else, you have your head in the sand

      November 7, 2011 at 9:07 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Oh, I know, Colin. It's unbelievable the stupidity and ignorance they display-and with such hubris, too! Really, the more I see of these fundies, the more I am convinced I want nothing to do with their beliefs or anything else they hold sacred.

      They're appallingly ignorant, incredibly stupid, and morally bankrupt.

      November 7, 2011 at 9:09 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      That's a nice breeze you make, back-pedaling, Martin. Really, what a lame-azz you are. You don't even HAVE a point, yet you attempt to fake it? Do you really think anyone's buying your bullsh8t?

      November 7, 2011 at 9:11 pm |
    • Martin

      Matthew 5:44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,...

      November 7, 2011 at 9:11 pm |
    • Colin

      Ok Martin, a quick history lesson for you about Hitler, Stalin, Mao and PolPot – the so called atheists who Christians like to showcase as atheists who abused power.

      Hitler

      First, Hitler was a Christian. A devoted Christian who despised atheists. For example, in a speech in Berlin in October 1933, Hitler said "We were convinced that the people need and require this faith. We have therefore undertaken the fight against the atheistic movement, and that not merely with a few theoretical declarations: we have stamped it out."

      He would also agree with most Evangelicals on religion in school – "Secular schools can never be tolerated because such schools have no religious instruction, and a general moral instruction without a religious foundation is built on air; consequently, all character training and religion must be derived from faith ...we need believing people." Adolf Hitler, April 26, 1933

      He was, for most of his life, a devoted Christian, serving as an altar boy in Vienna and often hosting archbishops and even the Pope. Indeed, he said the following in a speech on 12 April 1922 (Norman H. Baynes, ed. The Speeches of Adolf Hitler, April 1922-August 1939, Vol. 1 of 2, pp. 19-20, Oxford University Press, 1942)

      “"My feelings as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who, God's truth! was greatest not as a sufferer but as a fighter. In boundless love as a Christian and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the Temple the brood of vipers and adders. How terrific was His fight for the world against the Jewish poison. To-day, after two thousand years, with deepest emotion I recognize more profoundly than ever before the fact that it was for this that He had to shed His blood upon the Cross. As a Christian I have no duty to allow myself to be cheated, but I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice... And if there is anything which could demonstrate that we are acting rightly it is the distress that daily grows. For as a Christian I have also a duty to my own people.”

      By the way, that does not mean Hitler was truly motivated by his Christian religion to do what he did. He was motivated by a lust for power. His Christian faith was as irrelevant to what he did as his star sign (Taurus, FYI).

      But, he was most definitely not an atheist.

      Stalin

      Stalin was an atheist, at least when he was older. He said so himself many times and scoffed religion. He actually started life as Eastern Orthodox and was even educated as an Orthodox Monk. He later rejected religion and saw the Church as a threat to his power. That is why he was so anti-theology. But let’s not be naive, if he thought it would have benefitted him, he would have held himself out as Orthodox Christian, or as a Wiccan for that matter. It was all about power. His atheist views were no more a motivator for his actions than were Hitler’s Christian views.

      As a curious aside, Hitler was not German (he was Austrian) Stalin was not Russian (he was Georgian – I have visited his birthplace) and Napoleon (an atheist who most theists miss when listing “evil atheist leaders” by the way) was not mainland French, he was Corsican, which was then under French rule.

      Pol Pot

      Pol Pot Started life in a Buddhist household, but was later sent to a French Catholic school in Phnom Penh. His religious views were rarely articulated, although I have read that he considered himself a Buddhist. According to one Pol Pot biographer, Dr. Ian Harris, a Reader in Religious Studies at the University College of St. Martin: "In one of his early writings Pol Pot wrote approvingly that the 'democratic regime will bring back the Buddhist moralism because our great leader Buddha was the first to have taught [democracy].”

      However, as with Hitler, Stalin and Napoleon, there is no evidence that his Buddhism (or his brief stint with Catholicism) motivated his actions. Religion seems to have been irrelevant to the man.

      Mao

      As with Pol Pot, religion seemed to have been generally irrelevant to the man. If one reads his Little Red Book – which is remarkably forward thinking on a few things, by the way, including equality of the $exes – he seems to have been a generally agnostic philosophical type, with views akin to Buddhism, but with no real defined views on religion or the afterlife.

      But in none of these four cases can it fairly be said that their religion, or lack thereof, motivated them. It was as irrelevant as their star signs. Power and faulty economic policies were the reason they killed so many.

      So, next time Martin, learn some history before you shoot your mouth off.

      November 7, 2011 at 9:11 pm |
    • Martin

      You guys aren't seriously suggesting that Darwin did not enable Hitler, are you?

      November 7, 2011 at 9:12 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      @ Colin, I'm pleased to cross-post with you. You make many great points. Too bad they're lost on dimwits like Martin.

      November 7, 2011 at 9:13 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Darwin "enabled Hitler"? Considering that Darwin DIED IN 1892, you moron, HOW WOULD HE HAVE DONE THAT?

      November 7, 2011 at 9:14 pm |
    • Martin

      I never said Hitler was and atheist, so you wasted you breath with all that:
      Stalin was
      and Mao and Pol Pot.. simply Maxists who see the state as the supreme power over man.. not God....So while not professed atheists, atheists in action.....i.e. there is no power but man, so the state must be all powerful (Marxism Maoism)

      November 7, 2011 at 9:17 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Goshers, Martin, I didn't know it took breath to type a rebuttal on a computer.

      November 7, 2011 at 9:18 pm |
    • hippypoet

      colin, you strike me as a person who knows historic events and facts... let me know what you think of this....

      before jesus came around Abraham's god was mean and angry, jelous and spiteful...but thats not the god jesus preached about...his message was nearly exactly like that of another great preacher – the first Buddha – he spoke about the evils of material wealth and to love one another and to show compassion to all people – jesus even preached rebirth of himself, a.k.a. reincarnartion! and the heaven idea is just a view of reincarnartion but on a different realm of existence...Shortly after the Buddha there was a spiritual happening going down in Persia, the Movement was started with a man named Zarathruster – greek translation Zoroaster – the religion that stemed from it...Zoroasterianism, the basic tenets are One great good all powerful god and the evil enemy...no other religion has an enemy of god like Zoroaster did...the first monotheistict religion was Abraham, but the first devil figure was Zoroaster's god... so with the good vs. evil gods and the message of love and compassion jesus had the perfect scan...then he died...

      November 7, 2011 at 9:19 pm |
    • Colin

      Darwin enabled Hitler? How? I never once heard any historian or biographer of Hitler say he was motivated by Darwin. There is no evidence that Hitler had any idea of Darwin or any education in biology. He was sleeping in the streets of Vienna, trying to get into art school at the time he would otherwise get an education in biology.

      Apparently you will throw out facts with agy abandon without having the slightest idea as to their veracity.

      November 7, 2011 at 9:21 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      How pathetic you are, Martin, that you actually think ANYONE believes that a doctor who committed criminal murder was acting out on Darwin's theories.

      Do you often fantasize about such horrors and pretend they prove some point you'd like to make?

      If you're that desperate, you have little faith worth emulating, dude.

      November 7, 2011 at 9:23 pm |
    • Colin

      Thanks Tom, I enjoy going into battle with you, too.

      November 7, 2011 at 9:23 pm |
    • Colin

      Hippypoet – I believe your connection of the various religious leaders is astute and accurate, but for (I suspect) a different reason than you are thinking. It is all aout timing.

      What I mean is this. Look at all of the so called "great religious leaders" – Abraham (if he existed), Jesus Christ, Mohammed, Zoroaster, Mahavira, Buddah, Lao Tsu, Mani. They all had one thing in common. They all lived in Southern Asia in a 3,000 year period. Nothing before, nothing of note since – (ignoring Jospeh Smith, who is too fraudulant to even consider).

      To me, this says a lot about the human species andour then state of development. For the first time, we started to ask the big questions and to create our own answers.

      November 7, 2011 at 9:35 pm |
    • hippypoet

      ah, thats a fresh answer, with knowledge and forethought behind the answer – thank you...

      i agree with your statement. The 3000 year period i place the reason of a lack of prophets and so called holy men due to the world wide spread of knowledge and technology. So i normally place my area of study in historic events. In the modern world, there isn't much that is impossible and so one has to be very careful to be fooled with false internet sites and fake claims to prophecy or vision.

      November 7, 2011 at 9:46 pm |
    • Martin

      Hey there Tom, you asked me to show you something in the bible, but of course you ignored it. Why? Because you knew it wasn't there in the first place. Goes to show just how much YOU know. You're just a self-important child who thinks it's more educated than everyone else. All you do is regurgitate what you've read on the internet. I bet you've never done any actual research yourself. How old are you, anyway? Talk about ignorance. You don't post facts. All you post are opinions, hate and bitterness. Something tells me, based on all of your hate-filled posts, you are MISERABLE and hate life. All of us can see it. I am so thankful I'm not you. Don't worry, I won't pray for you. If god exists, I doubt he'd waste his precious time on an empty, soulless, miserable skin suit like you.

      November 7, 2011 at 9:51 pm |
    • Concerned Lutheran

      Darwin was, in most respects correct. I've a PhD in molecular biology and most of the things I work with every day would not work if darwinist principles did not hold. I'd encourage you to look closely at what Herbert Spencer and Charles Darwin actually meant by "survival of the fittest".

      November 7, 2011 at 9:54 pm |
    • Colin

      Hey Martin. Quick question. You have referred to prayers being answered. How does that work? From what I can tell, you believe that an immortal being, powerful enough to create the entire Universe and its billions of galaxies, about 13,700,000,000 years ago, reads your mind and then inteferes in what would otherwise be the course of history in small ways (using its magic powers) to do what you asked it to.

      does that REALLY make sense to you?

      November 7, 2011 at 9:59 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      And there you have it, folks: Martin, the self- professed "Christian" doing what all hypocrites do. Good job, Martin. You've done more to prove my point than I could ever have hoped to do on my own.

      You don't love others, unless they agree with you-or better yet, are just like you.

      I'm sure Jesus would be thrilled.

      November 7, 2011 at 10:00 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Concerned Lutheran, I liked your post. I'm Lutheran by background, too.

      November 7, 2011 at 10:07 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You know, I looked back through these posts, and I have a question for you, Martin: what "facts" did you post? I can't find a single one in anything you wrote.

      November 7, 2011 at 10:18 pm |
    • V

      Not real interesting – Bob, Tom and Colin are atheists. Martin is not. Now, what have we learned about Rick Perry? He attracts flies?

      November 7, 2011 at 10:20 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Guess so. You're here.

      November 7, 2011 at 10:23 pm |
    • Martin

      http://www.csustan.edu/history/faculty/weikart/fromdarwintohitler.htm

      Darwinism WAS the foundation of Nazism.

      November 7, 2011 at 10:38 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      OMG, you CAN'T be that stupid and still figure out how to breathe. This isn't fact, you ninny. It's opinion.

      November 7, 2011 at 10:42 pm |
    • TR6

      “Both Atheists and Christians can commit murder and mayhem with the best in History.. the only difference is this: When Christians murder, they violate the principles of their Lord and Savior: "Love you enemies"

      With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion. For example George Bush
      -Steven Weinberg (quoted in The New York Times, April 20, 1999)

      November 7, 2011 at 10:47 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Oh, dear. Don't let Chad hear you say that! He'll cite stats that prove that religious organizations do more charitable work than do secular ones.

      (He thinks that proves something. He doesn't know what, but SOMETHING,)

      November 7, 2011 at 10:50 pm |
    • TR6

      @Martin: “If you don't think atheists are just as dangerous as anyone else, you have your head in the sand”

      ?!?!?! Whoever said they thought atheists weren’t as dangerous as anyone else?

      November 7, 2011 at 10:54 pm |
    • Get Real

      Martin, "Darwinism WAS the foundation of Nazism."

      Then the Hebrew Bible is based on Darwinistic principles - the chosen people and their precious lineages and all 🙂

      November 7, 2011 at 10:57 pm |
    • Martin

      TR6:
      This whole comment section has been a never ending chain of atheists posting their irrational fears of Rick Perry constructing some kind of "Christian Theocracy". Whatever evil you might imagine Rick Perry might do as president, I assure you that atheists are capable of the very same things.

      My point is this: If some power mad politician seizes power, whether he is a Christian, an atheist, or whatever...politicians are by definition people who seek to exert power over others. Do we expect them to wield power in a manner inconsistent with their beliefs??

      No matter what his belief system is, I want politicians to talk about it, so that we can all make informed decisions.

      November 7, 2011 at 11:21 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Martin, Hitler's ideas about creating a master race were more in line with a dog breeder than they were with Darwin. There was nothing natural about the selections Hitler's scientists were making. I realize that reality doesn't help with your effort to vilify atheists, but if you have to lie to support your position, then your position isn't really worth defending.

      November 8, 2011 at 12:05 am |
    • TR6

      @Martin: “ I never said Darwin advocated murder.. I said it is the natural outgrowth of that philosophy. Hitler loved Darwin.. all his work was based on Darwins conclusions. It validated everything he was doing.”

      Actually no. Hitler’s hatred for and destruction of the Jews was primarily fueled by his catholic upbringing and the writings of your namesake Martin (on the Jews and there lies) Luther

      In the 1930s, as the Catholic leaders listened to Hitler's rhetoric against the Jews during his appeal for power, his speeches condemning Jews only correlated with the Church's own long history of Jewish hatred. Indeed, in Hitler's meeting with Bishop Berning and Monsignor Steinmann on April 26, 1933, Hilter reminded his Catholic guests that the Church, for 1,500 years had regarded the Jews as parasites, had banished them into ghettos, and had forbidden Christians to work for them. Hitler said he merely intended to do more effectively what the Church had attempted to accomplish for so long.

      November 8, 2011 at 12:45 pm |
  13. 21k

    allah be praised! once these crazy xtians allow direct control of the government by religious leaders, we will flood the country with muslims, and be able to legally take it over thru the voting booth! can't wait!

    November 7, 2011 at 8:33 pm |
  14. Alien Orifice

    RICK PERRY GROPED MY BUTTOCKS WHILE CAIN WATCHED AS THE CATHOLIC PRIEST VICIOUSLY FAPPED IN THE CORNER WITH A VIDEO CAMERA.

    November 7, 2011 at 7:47 pm |
    • Bob

      That was no priest. That was Martin.

      November 7, 2011 at 8:59 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Heh, Bob.

      November 7, 2011 at 9:06 pm |
  15. David Johnson

    Current Texas governor, Rick Perry, according to the Huffington Post, didn’t exactly distinguish himself at Texas A&M University. Rick Perry apparently did not excel in academia. Consistently on academic probation, Perry received mostly C’s and D’s in his courses, including a C in U.S. History (are any of us surprised?), a D in Shakespeare, a D in Principles of Economics (again, surprised?), and even a C in gym. How can anybody get a C in gym? (Probably prayed instead of doing push-ups.)

    According to transcripts, Perry also received a D in Veterinary Anatomy, an F in Organic Chemistry and a C in Animal Breeding. Perry did receive two A grades in college. One in World Military Systems and another in Improv. of Learning. He graduated with a 1.9 GPA or D average.

    God couldn't even get this idiot a C average? George W. had a C average while at Yale.

    I wish Perry would win the nomination (no chance, even with god backing him). I would love to see him debate Obama.

    Cheers!

    November 7, 2011 at 7:20 pm |
    • fred

      What grades did Obama get?
      Oh BTW anyone in theology that claims Jesus never existed in the face of 25,000 manuscripts that directly or indirectly support his existence gets a F for the course. You probably will get an A+ in conspiracy theory so your average GPA will still beat Perry.

      November 7, 2011 at 7:42 pm |
    • AtheistSteve

      Who cares whether or not some dude named Jesus existed. The argument isn't about some jewish rabbi being real, it's about him being the son of God. That's the part that makes no sense whatsoever and isn't backed up by a single fact.

      November 7, 2011 at 7:48 pm |
    • fred

      AtheistSteve
      If we cannot prove God exists there is no sense to prove Jesus was God. The problem is not that there is no proof we serve a living God. The problem is proof of God does not qualify as scientific proof. Science always comes up against an unknow when it comes to God simply because their own rules do not allow the evidence for God. All of science on the other hand conforms to Gods rules. The problem with atheists is complete reliance on entire body of evidence that never applied to God in the first place. Believers on the other hand see all the evidence from both camps thus have a more rounded approach. Even agnostics at least amitt to the posibility of God and further acknowledge the diiferent evidence as not being aceptable to scientific method yet existing. Thus most people with the exception of atheists acknowledge proof of God exists.

      November 7, 2011 at 8:07 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      What grades did you get, fred? Where did you go to school?

      November 7, 2011 at 8:10 pm |
    • Sue

      Fred, I don't serve your (non-existent) god. Don't be such a wimp. Any god worthy of the term doesn't require service, to begin with.

      Cowardly folks like you who live to serve a god, who, from the description in your bible, is a violent and vengeful ass-hole anyway, are deservingly called deluded wimps. Get a life, and grow up beyond your childhood god fairy tale already.

      November 7, 2011 at 8:17 pm |
    • fred

      Sue
      The only view we have of God is what he chose to reveal to us which we’re capable of understanding. One place to see this view is in the Bible. The overall picture of God through the Bible towards his people is one of love, understanding, compassion and long suffering. You chose to take out of context a few verses where the wrath of God is displayed. This wrath is displayed so that there is never any doubt as to the holiness of God. It is a Holy God not some myth god. This Holy nature demands perfect justice. If you do not believe that then you have never lost a child to some wacked out drunk. Even our sense of morality would be unhinged if some liberal judge let a cold blooded murder free because of some technicality or social bias. We are speaking of a Holy God not a holy god or man.
      To take a few verses out of context in a vain attempt to undermine the known basic glorious character of God speaks volumes of how you interpret truth. All your efforts, efforts of the Jews and skeptics has done nothing more than to show the power God. Last year over 56 million bibles were sent out. There are now 80 million Christians in China. Truth will prevail as always.

      November 7, 2011 at 8:40 pm |
    • Fallacy Spotting 101

      Post by fred contains the ad populum fallacy.

      http://www.iep.utm.edu/fallacy/

      November 7, 2011 at 8:47 pm |
    • Sue

      Thanks, FS101. I'd say that's only part of fred's problem,

      Fred, no, the valid conclusion is that your god would be an unfair, murderous ass-hole, based on the bible description of his traits and actions, if in fact he actually existed. Fortunately, he does not.

      And you remain a coward, for lacking the courage to acknowledge this.

      November 7, 2011 at 8:52 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @fred

      The reason why we can find no empirical evidence for God's existence is not because "God is a magical being completely able to hide from us." It is because God is imaginary.

      25,000 manuscripts would not be necessary to prove an actual Jesus who was thought to be the Messiah, existed. One, that was neither hearsay (written after Jesus was in the cold hard ground) or disputed, with good cause, would do. Sad, that it does not exist. LOL

      Hearsay evidence, if allowed, could be used to "prove" the Greek gods and demigods were real. Just as we have a brief mention of Jesus by Joesphus in his Antiquities, Joesphus also mentions Hercules (more times than Jesus), in the very same work (see: 1.15; 8.5.3; 10.11.1). Josephus wasn't born until 37 C.E. Is Hercules real, just because his tales were told?

      Barack Obama graduated Magna Cu_m Laude from Harvard Law School.

      Cheers!

      November 7, 2011 at 10:02 pm |
    • AGuest9

      Of course truth will prevail. You will one day die, and nothing will happen, until you begin to compose (unless you are cremated).

      November 7, 2011 at 10:36 pm |
    • AGuest9

      decompose, obviously.

      November 7, 2011 at 10:39 pm |
    • fred

      Serving God does not make me cowardly. It means I'm capable of sticking to a plan. It makes me moral. It makes me a better person. Is that so bad? I don't need to run around insulting people as you atheists do. You say you don't need God to be moral, but you sure don't act like it. You all seem to get off on making fun of believers. I challenge you to instead do something positive and productive. Let's see how long each of you stays here to call me weak, a coward, or a moron.

      November 7, 2011 at 10:50 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I wouldn't call you a moron if you didn't pose such idiocy as "What grades did Obama get?" Really, fred, you can't have it both ways. You aren't moral because you're Christian. You're moral for the same reasons as any human is moral.

      November 7, 2011 at 10:53 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Wait. Back up a minute. I'd LOVE to be able to compose! I am not very good at it now, but maybe I can do it once I'm dead!

      November 7, 2011 at 11:01 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Fred seems like a guy who NEEDS religion to keep his life on track. He lacks a basic grasp of fact and logic, and clings desperately to his raft of religion, even going so far as to invent reasons for the inconsistencies of the church he depends upon. Of course, invented reasons are lies, but the need to lie seems to be a pattern among many of the christians here.

      If he wasn't so obtuse, I'd feel sorry for fred.

      November 8, 2011 at 12:14 am |
    • fred

      @fred
      Interesting, I did not write that last coward post but, thanks anyway I had to catch to a meeting. Now, If you would reply to David Johnson and let him know we both talk to Jesus and it is Jewish custom to accept as true the words of two witness to an event . Then, all we need to do is circu-mcise David to make a believer out of him.

      November 8, 2011 at 1:20 am |
    • fred

      @Sue and Falicy spotting 101
      My argument was not ad populum fallacy as I showing the increased production and spread of the Bible throughout the world as reflecting greater volumn and dispersal geographically. It is a true statement as more power is reflective of greater size and strength.

      Your bias prevented you from seeing a true statement. "all your efforts to date have not slowed the spread of the Gospel, it has actually become more powerful and spread further.

      November 8, 2011 at 1:22 am |
    • tallulah13

      fred, your god (or any god) has never gone anywhere that the people who invented him didn't take him. That's why your god took 1500 years and man-made boats to reach the Americas. That's why you can trace the path of christianity through human travel patterns. That is why your god needs missionaries. Your god is either very lazy, very helpless or he doesn't exist.

      November 8, 2011 at 1:39 am |
    • Mirosal

      So, Epicurus really was right 🙂 .. and the book of Morons had it all wrong lol Time I bought Tallulah a beer 😉

      November 8, 2011 at 1:44 am |
    • fred

      tallulah13
      You asked me this before so you are either testing my memory or checking to see which fred this is. Interestingly enough in the Bible we see one of the attributes of God is that he works with and through people. In the new testament we see Jesus as the Good Shephard. Men need God where they are going, God does not need man. What you are witnessing is man expanding around the globe. Some men walk with God bringing his ways and likeness whereever they go.

      November 8, 2011 at 2:03 am |
    • HellBent

      @fred,

      So why do you think that your god decided to ignore half the globe for a few thousand years? They weren't special enough? I mean, we do know that god likes to play favorites, but that's quite the silent treatment!

      November 8, 2011 at 2:06 am |
    • fred

      HellBent
      I need to get up in a few hours but I will ask God and see what he says. But, don't be surprised as sometimes I get the silient treatment also.
      The Bible is a story about God redeeming a people for himself and that is all we are told and know. In the old testament we see God with the chosen ones that came from Abraham then by the time of Jesus the Kingdom was open to anyone that acknowledged they were sinners and asked Jesus to save them. That is where we still are today, any one that says I am a sinner, Jesus please save me is redeemed. Saved by the love, mercy and grace of God.

      November 8, 2011 at 2:23 am |
    • HellBent

      "Saved by the love, mercy and grace of God."

      And that loving, merciful, graceful god of your will torture anyone who doesn't do exactly as he says. yup, very loving – at least in the way an abusive parent loves their child.

      November 8, 2011 at 2:28 am |
    • Mirosal

      Fred, can you offer one, just ONE shred of evidentiary support without mentioning that book? Some other source or text? it's because of that book that has held back humans for over 1000 years. (Re: Dark Ages) Only when things were questioned starting in the early 1500's did a new age of discovery happen, and boy was the church MAD at that!!!!!! Gee I wonder why

      November 8, 2011 at 2:31 am |
    • fred

      HellBent
      Bible does not say God will torture with the exception of satan and demons. Even they end up in a place of their own making, hell is who and what they are and live for and will find themselves.
      God is kind and loveing that is why he contiues to allow this nonsense of life to go on so that none may parish but that all may come to the glory of God. If there is a God, God is bigger than we can imagine and certainly knows what to do with the likes of you and me that is for the best. There is much in the Bible of people only being accountable for what we knew and had ability over.

      November 8, 2011 at 2:51 am |
    • fred

      Mirosal
      The only proof is what you have already been given. Look to the heavens at the wonder of creation, look in a childs eyes, look at the spring blossoms. Look in your own heart and ask your self can you say Jesus please help me to find you, Please show me how I can find a way to believe, forgive me for my unbelief.

      November 8, 2011 at 2:55 am |
    • Mirosal

      "The only proof is what you have already been given. Look to the heavens at the wonder of creation, look in a childs eyes, look at the spring blossoms" I do see the sky, and I know how those stars came to be. A child's eyes ... they are innocent because they haven't been taught corruption or prejudices (yet). And i know how seeds become flowering plants. I don't need your book to tell me these things. Astronomy and botany explain stars and flowers. A child needs to be taught. And putting the fear of "god is watching you so you better behave or you'll be punished" is not going to make him learn, it will terrify him. Not a very bright way to educate someone. I read your posts, I look at your grammar and spelling, and I'll say this ... go to bed, you've got your 3rd go-around at G.E.D. classes tomorrow.

      November 8, 2011 at 3:01 am |
    • HellBent

      The only proof is what you have already been given.
      -Here we go again with your "proofs"

      Look to the heavens at the wonder of creation, look in a childs eyes, look at the spring blossoms.
      -Substi.tute 'skies' for heavens, and this is something I do quite frequently as there's not a lot of light pollution near me – I can see a lot right from my house. I can marvel at the universe without needing some intelligent sentient power to have created it. Actually, having shed my beliefs, I find the universe a far more fascinating place than I did when I did have faith.

      Look in your own heart and ask your self can you say Jesus please help me to find you, Please show me how I can find a way to believe, forgive me for my unbelief.
      -When I was struggling initially with losing my faith, I pretty much did this. I heard crickets. Now, I might as well ask the same of Ometotchtli

      November 8, 2011 at 3:02 am |
    • HellBent

      "Bible does not say God will torture with the exception of satan and demons"

      Your deity is supposedly all powerful. If he has the power to stop eternal torture and doesn't, then its no different than if he were doing the torturing himself. The god of the bible is narcissistic and sadistic – he's the worst kind of abusive parent.

      November 8, 2011 at 3:05 am |
    • Mirosal

      @ HellBent ... Since you have low light pollution, can I bring my telescope to your neck of the woods? The Andromeda galaxy is in GOOD view now!! 🙂
      @ Fred ... pssst .. we know how that was formed too, and if you study at all, you'll know it will collide with us in about 2 billion years or so. Let's see this "god" of yours divert THAT from it's path. Epicurus was right 2300 years ago, and he's still right today

      November 8, 2011 at 3:22 am |
  16. Count Chocula

    Why would anyone vote for a person that is willing to die and go to a heaven? Who wants to go there?
    It would seem that it is counterintuitive to the survival of humans.
    Keep trying America, one of these days the end of the world will happen, and it will only be because a religious nut job nuked us. It's ok if you're ok with that, but I'm not, and until the Whitehouse Christmas tree turns into a burning bush (hopefully W) that can write on stone tablets, religion should not be in politics. Look at Iraq, Iran, etc. let's be like them.

    November 7, 2011 at 6:44 pm |
  17. emmydogg

    Maybe he should go to rehab before he runs for president

    November 7, 2011 at 6:19 pm |
    • Bob

      His plastic hair needs rehab. Or at least a whole lot less Texas heavy crude in it. It would withstand those gulf hurricanes without a strand out of place.

      November 7, 2011 at 8:20 pm |
  18. Alex Gessong

    Religion is belief based solely on a willingness to believe. It offers to objective evidence to support that belief. So, why do some politicians make statements suggesting that rational thought and science are somehow "bad" if they contradict religious dogma? If objective evidence refutes religious dogma, the dogma is simply wrong and should be rejected. It doesn't mean there is no God. It only means that the dogma, created by fallible humans, is wrong. Evolution is real. That fact does not mean that God is not real. It means creationist dogma is false. Some politicians just don't grasp that.

    November 7, 2011 at 6:09 pm |
    • ashrakay

      well said. but also, god is not real. 🙂

      November 7, 2011 at 7:03 pm |
  19. TR6

    Considering how god totally thumbed his nose at Perry’s prayers for rain and relief from the heat this summer, I’m pretty confident in saying the Perry is not god’s choice to be president.

    November 7, 2011 at 6:02 pm |
    • Bob

      Following a similar vein, given that there is no reliable, verifiable evidence that god has ever answered any prayer, I'm pretty confident that a claimed personally involved god such as the Christian one doesn't exist.

      November 7, 2011 at 6:07 pm |
    • Alex Gessong

      @Bob: Or it means that God doesn't alter the forces of nature simply because somebody asks for that. It means don't rely on prayer to get anything done in the natural world. If there is a God, nobody should expect the God to behave as a human would. According to the Old Testament, God once said, "your ways are not my ways, nor are your thoughts my thoughts." People who choose to believe in a God must also accept the fact that a God would not be simply superhuman, but non human. Some people just can't handle the idea, because they imagine God in man's image. Many probably do expect that God would have a beard and wear a toga. And have a belly button, no doubt. 😉

      November 7, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
    • ashrakay

      @Alex Gessong: or more simply put, god doesn't exist–while man's imagination is virile and overpopulated with unsubstantiated fantasies.

      November 7, 2011 at 7:00 pm |
    • Bob

      No, Alex. god isn't as the Christians advertise. Now it's time to do your school homework. Run along.

      November 7, 2011 at 8:21 pm |
    • Bob

      Speaking of the OT, go sacrifice and burn that goat fast or god will fire a tornado at you.

      November 7, 2011 at 8:23 pm |
  20. jesus

    most of the poorest cities are in the state of texas, can you really call this heavenly work Mr. Perry?

    November 7, 2011 at 4:47 pm |
    • Bob

      God does seem pretty good at making the poor and vulnerable suffer, now that you mention it.

      November 7, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
    • V

      Bob does occasionally mention Rick Perry. I'll have statistics on that in a minute.

      November 7, 2011 at 10:02 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.