My Take: 10 dos and don'ts for religion and democracy
In France, a woman protests the country's recently adopted ban on burqas in public.
November 11th, 2011
09:38 AM ET

My Take: 10 dos and don'ts for religion and democracy

Editor's Note: Tony Blair, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1997 to 2007, is founder and patron of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation. He gave a speech in Italy on Friday on why the protection of religious freedom should be a priority for all democracies.

By Tony Blair, Special to CNN

1. DO have democracy-friendly religion and religion-friendly democracies.

2. DON’T think you understand democracy if you think it’s only about elections: it’s about a culture and mindset which includes freedom of thought, freedom of expression, political and religious pluralism, and human rights.

3. DO maintain equality of treatment for different religions within the law as a core element of the secular state.

4. DON’T duck difficult conflicts involving religious and secular ideas: discuss them openly.

5. DON’T rush to legislation to solve religious conflict; instead seek first to resolve it by discussion and accommodations.

6. DON’T allow religious schools to opt out of the same national standards and core curriculum that you expect of everyone else.

7. DO listen to religious voices on social, political and economic issues, and allow people to justify their views on explicitly religious grounds if they want.

8. DO insist on religious leaders making their case by reasoned argument not by bald assertion or authoritarian claims. Insist on that for atheists and secular leaders too.

9. DO NOT allow religious voices to have dominance in the public sphere if they cannot achieve majority support through democratic means.

10. DO ensure, whether the overwhelming democratic choice is either an atheist state or one dominant religion, that the voices of religious minorities and those who have no faith are protected.

Remember that none of us are qualified to state with certainty the will of God – so humility, openness to others, and interfaith dialogue are all essential for a healthy society.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Tony Blair.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Opinion • Politics

soundoff (382 Responses)
  1. Bernard

    Blair: Up my DOsage!

    November 11, 2011 at 1:06 pm |
  2. Tunder Wotan VanHican

    This is earth, not heaven, in heaven there might not be any beer, that is one reason we might drink it here. And if somebody comes to take my beer, I kill him, because this is earth, not heaven, and the OneRule here is Survival of the Fittest, and there is no god, no God, no religion, and no state that has ever proven anything to the contrary – for 1000s and 1000s of years.

    November 11, 2011 at 12:59 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      I suppose you believe you are the fittest because you survived?

      I'm praying for you son to come out of the darkness and into Jesus Christ's light which is truth about life and the hereafter.


      November 11, 2011 at 1:02 pm |
    • Tunder Wotan VanHican

      HeavenSent, don't blame me for the REALITY of life on this planet – it is the mansion that it is. I hope that when my earth-body dies and my eternal soul is uploaded into the heavens via God's Galactic Internet that my file folder is judged as appropriate for download into a mansion that is more heavenly than this one, but that does not change that life in this mansion is what it is.

      November 11, 2011 at 1:12 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Tunder, I pray that you comprehend John 3:3-13.


      November 11, 2011 at 3:03 pm |
    • Fookin' Prawn

      I think one of the funniest things about this exchange is that, based on the tone of her posts, Heavensent signing off with 'amen' always feels a lot more like "...so fck you."

      November 11, 2011 at 3:17 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Fookin' Prawn, you wrote "I think one of the funniest things about this exchange is that, based on the tone of her posts, Heavensent signing off with 'amen' always feels a lot more like "...so fck you."

      Answer: Amen means "so it is", "that is that" or in your generation "Period".


      November 11, 2011 at 3:50 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Yup, Fookin', you're absolutely spot on. I told her it was the equivalent of a one-finger salute.

      Can you imagine having her as your next door neighbor? Your mother-in-law? Gladys Kravitz was a peach by comparison.

      November 11, 2011 at 6:07 pm |
  3. Free

    I agree with all of Blair's statements. Good list, if you actually believe in democracy, that is.

    November 11, 2011 at 12:46 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Tony Blair is an outrage and a phony.


      November 11, 2011 at 1:04 pm |
    • tallulah13

      That is hysterical coming from you, HS.

      November 11, 2011 at 1:06 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Why Tallulah, you're just as phony as Tony. Water finds it's own level and you folks are in the cesspool.


      November 11, 2011 at 3:05 pm |
    • tallulah13

      That really stings a lot, HS, coming from a compulsive liar such as yourself.


      November 11, 2011 at 3:08 pm |
    • Fookin' Prawn

      Crazy is as crazy does, HS.

      'Amen'. LOL

      November 11, 2011 at 3:18 pm |
    • J.W

      The Amen at the end of some of those posts don't even make any sense. Amen really means something to the equivalent of "It shall be so" but like saying Tony Blair is a phony then saying Amen is kind of weird. I mean do you want Tony Blair to continue being a phony so you are praying to God to make it so?

      November 11, 2011 at 3:51 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      tallulah13, you babbled "That really stings a lot, HS, coming from a compulsive liar such as yourself. Amen."

      Answer: I'm not here to stroke your ego Tallulah. You're doing fine regarding believing lies on your own. I have no reason to lie to you about Jesus' truth. I read the Bible and write what I know. If you consider this lying, then you live in lies and haven't a clue to what truth is. Not accepting that Jesus is the only one that can save your soul isn't something to scoff or be ignorant about. Pick up the Bible and read His truth for yourself, that's if, you can get over being manipulated by peer pressure in your (end of days) generation.

      Fookin' Prawn, "Crazy is as crazy does, HS. 'Amen'. LOL"

      Answer: Therefore I said, Surely these [are] poor; they are foolish: for they know not the way of the LORD, [nor] the judgment of their God.

      Jeremiah 5:4

      Amen to both.

      November 11, 2011 at 3:59 pm |
  4. José Bonilla

    Excellent comments mister Blair, I totally agree with you, I wish politicians in the country where I live read this.

    November 11, 2011 at 12:33 pm |
  5. Reality

    A religious update just for T. Blair:

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

    “New Torah For Modern Minds

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

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

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

    2. Jesus was an illiterate Jewish peasant/carpenter/simple preacher man who suffered from hallucinations (or “mythicizing” from P, M, M, L and J) and who has been characterized anywhere from the Messiah from Nazareth to a mythical character from mythical Nazareth to a ma-mzer from Nazareth (Professor Bruce Chilton, in his book Rabbi Jesus). An-alyses of Jesus’ life by many contemporary NT scholars (e.g. Professors Ludemann, Crossan, Borg and Fredriksen, ) via the NT and related doc-uments have concluded that only about 30% of Jesus' sayings and ways noted in the NT were authentic. The rest being embellishments (e.g. miracles)/hallucinations made/had by the NT authors to impress various Christian, Jewish and Pagan sects.

    The 30% of the NT that is "authentic Jesus" like everything in life was borrowed/plagiarized and/or improved from those who came before. In Jesus' case, it was the ways and sayings of the Babylonians, Greeks, Persians, Egyptians, Hitt-ites, Canaanites, OT, John the Baptizer and possibly the ways and sayings of traveling Greek Cynics.


    For added "pizzazz", Catholic theologians divided god the singularity into three persons and invented atonement as an added guilt trip for the "pew people" to go along with this trinity of overseers. By doing so, they made god the padre into god the "filicider".

    Current RCC problems:

    Pedophiliac priests, an all-male, mostly white hierarchy, atonement theology and original sin!!!!

    3., Luther, Calvin, Joe Smith, Henry VIII, Wesley, Roger Williams, the Great “Babs” et al, founders of Christian-based religions or combination religions also suffered from the belief in/hallucinations of "pretty wingie thingie" visits and "prophecies" for profits analogous to the myths of Catholicism (resurrections, apparitions, ascensions and immacu-late co-nceptions).

    Current problems:
    Adulterous preachers, pedophiliac clerics, "propheteering/ profiteering" evangelicals and atonement theology,

    4. Mohammed was an illiterate, womanizing, lust and greed-driven, warmongering, hallucinating Arab, who also had embellishing/hallucinating/plagiarizing scribal biographers who not only added "angels" and flying chariots to the koran but also a militaristic agenda to support the plundering and looting of the lands of non-believers.

    This agenda continues as shown by the ma-ssacre in Mumbai, the as-sas-sinations of Bhutto and Theo Van Gogh, the conduct of the seven Muslim doctors in the UK, the 9/11 terrorists, the 24/7 Sunni suicide/roadside/market/mosque bombers, the 24/7 Shiite suicide/roadside/market/mosque bombers, the Islamic bombers of the trains in the UK and Spain, the Bali crazies, the Kenya crazies, the Pakistani “koranics”, the Palestine suicide bombers/rocketeers, the Lebanese nutcases, the Taliban nut jobs, the Ft. Hood follower of the koran, and the Filipino “koranics”.

    And who funds this muck and stench of terror? The warmongering, Islamic, Shiite terror and torture theocracy of Iran aka the Third Axis of Evil and also the Sunni "Wannabees" of Saudi Arabia.

    Current crises:

    The Sunni-Shiite blood feud and the warmongering, womanizing (11 wives), hallucinating founder.

    5. Hinduism (from an online Hindu site) – "Hinduism cannot be described as an organized religion. It is not founded by any individual. Hinduism is God centered and therefore one can call Hinduism as founded by God, because the answer to the question ‘Who is behind the eternal principles and who makes them work?’ will have to be ‘Cosmic power, Divine power, God’."

    The caste/laborer system, reincarnation and cow worship/reverence are problems when saying a fair and rational God founded Hinduism."

    Current problems:

    The caste system, reincarnation and cow worship/reverence.

    6. Buddhism- "Buddhism began in India about 500 years before the birth of Christ. The people living at that time had become disillusioned with certain beliefs of Hinduism including the caste system, which had grown extremely complex. The number of outcasts (those who did not belong to any particular caste) was continuing to grow."

    "However, in Buddhism, like so many other religions, fanciful stories arose concerning events in the life of the founder, Siddhartha Gautama (fifth century B.C.):"

    Archaeological discoveries have proved, beyond a doubt, his historical character, but apart from the legends we know very little about the circu-mstances of his life. e.g. Buddha by one legend was supposedly talking when he came out of his mother's womb.

    Bottom line: There are many good ways of living but be aware of the hallucinations, embellishments, lies, and myths surrounding the founders and foundations of said rules of life.

    Then, apply the Five F rule: "First Find the Flaws, then Fix the Foundations". And finally there will be religious peace and religious awareness in the world!!!!!

    November 11, 2011 at 12:29 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      You're just as bad as Tony Blair. All enemies of Jesus Christ.


      November 11, 2011 at 1:05 pm |
    • Alfred E Neuman

      Useless and senseless bull sh it.

      November 11, 2011 at 1:06 pm |
    • I_get _it

      Herbie and Heaven Sent sittin' in a tree... K-i-s-s-i-n-g 🙂

      November 11, 2011 at 1:37 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      I_get _it, no need to constantly prove about that carnal mind of yours. We get it that you will get what you want, blotted out for eternity.


      November 11, 2011 at 3:07 pm |
    • I_get _it

      Heaven Sent... and you, my dear, will spend eternity immersed in a vat of salt water.

      November 11, 2011 at 3:15 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      I_get _it, you babble your belief in the Talmud that is secretly being taught to your generation revealing that you hate Jesus Christ "Heaven Sent... and you, my dear, will spend eternity immersed in a vat of salt water."

      Answer: I'm still praying for you, for you not know what you do.



      November 11, 2011 at 4:03 pm |
  6. Reality

    Mr. Blair's Foundation (he is the sole member) had assets of over a million dollars in the 2008-2009 IRS reporting period. As per IRS Form 990 (guidestar.org), he only works one hour a week for the Foundation but somehow is able to spend $800,000 on non-reported items? Hmmm??

    Another "non-profit" religion con game??

    I just checked guidestar.org's UK website. Tony Blair's Faith Foundation's income for 2010 was over $6 million. Now that is good change for huckstering the mumbo jumbo of religion.

    November 11, 2011 at 12:23 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      I hope you know the difference of man made religions (evil lies) versus Jesus' truth about life and the eternity.


      November 11, 2011 at 3:09 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      How do you know whether a religion is "man-made", HS?

      Who do you think wrote the Bible? Who was Jesus?

      All religions are man-made, you idiot.

      November 11, 2011 at 6:09 pm |
  7. Edward, London

    This man doesn't know the meaning. America you are being towed along by this man. Britain does not enjoy his company, he has destroyed our democracy, our once centered BBC, rendered our politicians as corrupt, lied to the public on numerous occasions, denied the British public any say on the E.U, denied us the right to know anything of his secret mass immigration policy's, caused more racism and divide in different forms in communities, turned us into the most watched CCTV state in the world, not to mention the wars. The list of social, economical and completely idiotic "mistakes and crisis' " this man has undertaken is not acceptable. Yet despite all of these damaging things, Britain and the British public continues to show the world, you wouldn't have known there was a problem at the Royal Wedding. We continue to show restraint. What we won't tolerate is Mr Tony Blair trolling the world in our name and amassing wealth through questionable methods. Listen to his lectures and spin if you wan't America, just don't send him back.

    November 11, 2011 at 12:23 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Christians in the USA know Tony Blair hates Jesus Christ. The only thing Blair loves is Blair.


      November 11, 2011 at 1:06 pm |
    • tallulah13

      And everybody on these blogs knows that HS loves only HS.

      November 11, 2011 at 1:08 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Whoops! Forgot the sanctimonious "amen".

      November 11, 2011 at 1:09 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Tallulah, if I only loved myself instead of loving and following Jesus Christ's truth, I wouldn't bother writing to you heathens and just let your souls be blotted out, no eternity for any of you. Sorry you love to be coddled by the liars of this world. They only want to make money off of you. Do I get paid for this? No. I just get a headache reading the ridiculous thoughts you folks believe.


      November 11, 2011 at 3:12 pm |
    • Doogle

      Love your observations...perhaps Mr. Blair will find his place in this world in Anaheim, California, with Goofy, not that I wish that on Goofy...

      November 12, 2011 at 9:13 am |
  8. Bo

    @Bob, 11:50 post: If you understood the scriptures and the plan of salvation, you wouldn't need to ask that question. It would take more space than I'm allotted here to explain. So do you really want to know, or just make an argument?

    November 11, 2011 at 12:12 pm |
    • hippypoet

      hey bo, check out my reply to your flood post under the 11-11 blog article spped read. i think you will like it.

      November 11, 2011 at 12:27 pm |
    • Alfred E Neuman

      Don't check out the post ,unproven bull sh it by a drug sucking ass hole.

      November 11, 2011 at 1:08 pm |
    • Bob

      Explain away, Bo. But do learn to use the Reply button.

      November 11, 2011 at 1:24 pm |
  9. eamon

    Blair has the intellectual capacity of a hamster.Just reading these 10 "commandments" is enough to see him for what he is.

    November 11, 2011 at 12:09 pm |
    • GodPot

      Sadly, that little brittish hamster can run rings around our republican presidential candidates who seem to have the collective brain power of a peanut.

      November 11, 2011 at 1:49 pm |
  10. Rainer Braendlein

    Passage from the above article:

    1. DO have democracy-friendly religion and religion-friendly democracies.


    The most democracy-friendly religion is Christianity, because the basis of democracy is love and love is the center of Christian life. I conceit myself to be a Christian. I read the Bible and Christian books for a long time. Besides my hobby is ecclesiastical history. I presume to know how Christanity works.

    Regarding its historical credibility Christianity could put high presure on "infidels" or "pagans" to convert, because Christianity is indeed the "royal" faith. It is impressing how Christianity conquered the civilized world (Roman Empire) without using violence, just by its inherent cogency. However, a true Christian will never force his neighbour to convert to Christianity, because it is God's matter to touch someone by the Holy Spirit. The Christian's task is it to offer the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ humbly, kindly and politely (the gospel may be preached withing the scope of mission events). Else a Christian trys to preach the gospel by a transformed life with few words.

    Distinction between naive people and false prophets:

    A Christian may be very patient with any ordinary neigbours and focus on his commitment to the commandment of LOVE. Jesus did not command Christians to convert people, but to love people (however, the church as a whole is obliged to preach the gosple to all nations). If God wants, he can touch someone by His Spirit. This is not may task. I myself shall love my neighbour independent from his faith, social status, colour, nationality, etc.. In some situations a confession of faith is inevitable anyway.

    However, false prophets or false teachers or heretics, which preach wrong doctrines, need a more harsh handling. That has nothing to do with using violence, but it is a spiritual verbal fight. At any rate Christians must defend the true doctrine or the orthodox faith, which was kept and confirmed by the Early Church (ecu-menical councils like Nicaea). Thus, Christians and particularly Christian leaders will have fierce discussions with heretics and will not cease from confessing the true doctrine.

    Heretics like Muhammad, Arius and others loved it to question the divine sonship of Jesus Christ. Thus, here I confess that Jesus Christ is God, the Son. Jesus Christ is a person of the Holy Trinity, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Jesus Christ is fully God and at the same time fully man. Jesus has two natures, a divine one and a human one, perfectly united, but not mixed. The eternal Son of God incarnated 2011 years ago and became a real man, called Jesus from Nazareth. Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit by a miracle and born by the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God (Jesus).

    Jesus has re-adopted the fallen mankind by his death on the cross. Jesus has borne our sins on the cross. By faith and baptism we can get reconciled with God.

    November 11, 2011 at 12:06 pm |
    • Rob K


      November 11, 2011 at 12:11 pm |
    • 10dadfrad

      Rainer-Well stated.

      November 11, 2011 at 12:13 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Historically, converts to Christianity have St. Augustine's policy of "Cognite intrare" to thank.

      November 11, 2011 at 12:15 pm |
    • News Flash

      RB-–Let me guess...the definition of a false prophet is someone that disagrees with you ?? LMAO.

      November 11, 2011 at 12:18 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      News Flash, you wrote "RB-–Let me guess...the definition of a false prophet is someone that disagrees with you ?? LMAO."

      Answer: False prophets are those that pretend to teach Jesus Christ's truth but are actually teaching the logic of man. They give everyone a FEEL GOOD message to lull you into accepting your sinful nature. Jesus' truth has many facets that allow everyone to grow spiritually. Jesus' truth will have you find all the emotions of man and if you stick with it, becoming a true Christian that follows Jesus' truth takes courage and conviction, not baby feel good hypocrisy to make you a whiner stewing in your sins that leads you to the eternal fires. Only Jesus Christ's truth saves your soul, everyone else leads you to being blotted out, no eternity for you.


      November 11, 2011 at 1:16 pm |
    • Pam

      "not baby feel good hypocrisy to make you a whiner stewing in your sins that leads you to the eternal fires"

      It would help if you would remember that Jesus also said: "Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment" (John 7:24).

      We are commanded to exercise righteous judgment. We are forbidden to judge when we are not qualified to do so.

      We may not judge according to appearance (John 7:24). This means that we may not judge on the basis of insufficient, superficial information.

      If we condemn someone for something we do ourselves, we bring condemnation upon ourselves.

      We may not judge in matters of opinion.

      We may not judge with insufficient knowledge.

      We may not take God's place in judgment:

      We may not condemn the guiltless by neglecting mercy.

      November 11, 2011 at 3:15 pm |
  11. TheRationale

    7 and 8 are directly contradictory...

    November 11, 2011 at 12:01 pm |
  12. Bo

    ---Is our country suppose to be a republic, or a democrocy?

    November 11, 2011 at 12:00 pm |
    • J.W

      Well I think that a republic is technically when leaders are elected to represent the people, and democracy is when the people are in charge and actually vote on their own laws. So maybe the US is a mix of both.

      November 11, 2011 at 12:08 pm |
    • Chuckles

      It's supposed to be a democratically representative-republic. True democracy with 300 Million people is near impossible and is akin to trying to impose true communism, which as you can see China has shied away from and is now closer to a capitalistic type of commuism.

      November 11, 2011 at 12:18 pm |
  13. Reason over Religion

    Democracy and the mainstream religions are fundamentally incompatible, because these religions dictate that a god, rather than the will of the electorate and the laws of the land, are the ultimate authority.

    The only way democracy and religion can coexist tolerably well, such as they do for us in America, is if we don't really follow the tenets of religion strictly, most of the time. The more strictly the tenets of a particular religious sect are pushed on us, such as by Christian fundamentalists, the more we see conflict between democracy and religion.

    November 11, 2011 at 10:58 am |
    • 10dadfrad

      The moment you use 'one' over the other you have trumped the case for democracy.

      November 11, 2011 at 11:02 am |
    • Dennis Fung

      Care to elaborate on that claim?

      November 11, 2011 at 11:10 am |
    • Bob

      Brillaint post, RoR.

      November 11, 2011 at 11:45 am |
    • Bob

      *brilliant* 🙂

      November 11, 2011 at 11:46 am |
    • tallulah13

      Well put, RoR.

      November 11, 2011 at 12:32 pm |
  14. hippypoet

    "Remember that none of us are qualified to state with certainty the will of God – so humility, openness to others, and interfaith dialogue are all essential for a healthy society."

    thats been my way of life for years!

    Yet most believers never want to converse over religion with a non believer after they say there peace...basically, most don't want to hear what the non believer hasd to say! Yes, this is a generalization, but its been tested, many times over again!

    November 11, 2011 at 10:54 am |
    • HeavenSent

      So Hippypoet, remember to say please when evil folks want to execute you and your head is rolling in their basket.

      I'm just shaking my head how lulled into sleep this generation truly is.


      November 11, 2011 at 1:20 pm |
    • GodPot

      And HS shows us how to practice "humility, openness to others, and interfaith dialogue" which "are all essential for a healthy society" ...

      "It would be easier to fit a camel through the eye of a needle than for a Christian like HS to be humble and open to others." Godpot 19:24

      November 11, 2011 at 1:43 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      GodPot, you babble your baloney again with "And HS shows us how to practice "humility, openness to others, and interfaith dialogue" which "are all essential for a healthy society" ...

      "It would be easier to fit a camel through the eye of a needle than for a Christian like HS to be humble and open to others." Godpot 19:24"

      Answer: You don't even know what the "eye of the needle" is. It is a gateway into the city where folks with too much material goods passing through had to take their material goods off the ox or horse drawn cart to be able to pass into the city. Same with sin of the flesh, you need to drop that sin in order to make it to eternity with Jesus.

      So much for your education (LOL).


      November 11, 2011 at 3:18 pm |
    • GodPot

      @HS – "The "eye of a needle" has been interpreted as a gate in Jerusalem, which opened after the main gate was closed at night. A camel could only pass through this smaller gate if it was stooped and had its baggage removed. This story has been put forth since at least the 15th century, and possibly as far back as the 9th century. However, there is no evidence for the existence of such a gate." – Wiki

      Try as it might, the mighty brain of HS is unable to leap over the smallest of hurdles without attempting to use some form of conjecture, falsehood or outright lie to back it's preconceived religious world view.

      November 11, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
    • GodPot

      @HS – Oh, and way to evade my first point with that distracting comment, but it goes to confirm what I was saying. You obviously have a very hard time being humble as your book commands of you, you don't listen to anything anyone else has to say with an open mind, and there is no way you would even contemplate "interfaith" based on your posts.

      November 11, 2011 at 5:35 pm |
  15. GodPot

    @John – " If freedom of speech is made contingent on some other person deciding whether what you are saying is sufficiently logical to pass muster, then it is as good as dead" No ones freedom of speech should be denied, the need for a sound reason or logic only comes into play when the person using their freedom of speech attempts to put their ideology into law that effects everyone. The "person-hood" amendment is a perfect example. You can live your entire life believing life begins at conception here in America, that's fine, but once you attempt to force everyone else to believe it by passing legislation you had better have some sound evidence that when the swimmer hits the egg it is somehow imbued with a "soul" making it a person owed all rights thereof.

    November 11, 2011 at 10:49 am |
    • John Richardson

      I am as leery of government by referendum as I am of government by judicial edict, though what's interesting here is that the radical pro-lifers may have doomed their own movement by failing so spectacularly in an extremely conservative, Christian-dominated state. But again, if people have no say until someone else declares their position sufficiently "logical", then it is as good as dead. Free speech must be free to all. Otherwise, it's just the mouthing of the declarations from some ministry of truth.

      If someone is making a screamingly illogical argument, cite that fact in your own free speech to defeat that thought in the minds of others.

      November 11, 2011 at 10:59 am |
    • GodPot

      "If someone is making a screamingly illogical argument, cite that fact in your own free speech to defeat that thought in the minds of others."
      Not to go back to my Twilight an alogy but regardless how many fan's you get together who want to believe in vampires, the burden of proof rests with them if they want everyone else to accept their belief and adopt laws giving vampires equal rights. I don't mind them using their freedom of speech to lobby others to adopt their view, but constantly proposing spurious legislation with absolutely nothing concrete to back it up should be view the same way frivolous lawsuits are and those who cannot give any evidence to their claims should be penalized for wasting everyone else's time.

      November 11, 2011 at 11:10 am |
    • John Richardson

      Some laws are so evil that they deserve court review and should be thrown out if they fail to pass consti-tutional muster. The fact that we have this sort of outlet is one of the best things about western democratic systems. But horrible laws are proposed all the time, many are passed and some are not defeated until somewhere down the line a more enlightened legislature repeals the law. That's just the way democracy works. People get their rights trampled all the time and by no means just by the religious. The original poster, meanwhile, didn't even address bad law. He stated that people who aren't logical enough for him should have NO SAY. That would be one of the worst laws of all.

      November 11, 2011 at 11:16 am |
    • I'm The Best!

      I really meant what godpot is saying. You can get a say but it shouldn't even be considered to be passed into law until you can use real facts to back it up.

      November 11, 2011 at 11:29 am |
    • GodPot

      @John – "But horrible laws are proposed all the time" Agreed.

      "People get their rights trampled all the time and by no means just by the religious." Can you name any recent examples of non-religious people trampeling on others rights without any sort evidence to support their law? Christians might cite things like the EPA or the AMA but both have sound science on their side for supporting regulation of our environment or a womans right to choose.

      "That's just the way democracy works." Thats the way OUR democracy works, but then again, we don't have a true democracy here in the US. We have a representative democracy which tends to validate religious belief instead of recognizing that they should have NO ROLE where religion is concerned other than to protect it's citizens, religious or not, and allowing all to live within the basic laws of the country which should have wide support and sound evidence supporting the need for them.

      November 11, 2011 at 1:37 pm |
  16. 10dadfrad

    Yeah, Blair's list is the most proven of them all.
    Why, because the golden years of democracy for this world were between 1997-current in the UK?

    November 11, 2011 at 10:45 am |
    • Dennis Fung

      We essentially have Britain and Greece to thank for our own democracy. Yes, despite our war of independence with Britain. The benefits of democracy are now evident over hundreds of years, not just the span of your brief sample, Blair's term and flaws notwithstanding.

      November 11, 2011 at 11:13 am |
    • 10dadfrad

      Go ahead and prove how Blair's list has helped evolve a foolproof/sustainable democratic state.
      Note:The argument hree is not for demoracy per se .

      November 11, 2011 at 11:23 am |
    • Dennis Fung

      Go ahead and present an argument.

      November 11, 2011 at 11:35 am |
    • 10dadfrad

      Where is the proof I asked for in my earlier post?

      November 11, 2011 at 11:47 am |
    • Dennis Fung

      Dar ist yar, dumdum.

      November 11, 2011 at 1:35 pm |
    • Mike

      fung-have anything going up there?

      November 11, 2011 at 4:03 pm |
  17. GodPot

    "political and religious pluralism, and human rights." I agree with him, however, most religions on the planet reject pluralism as a core belief. It's their way or the highway and to compromise is to show a lack of faith which means you have one side willing to make exceptions for all peoples religions as long as they don't force it on others, and the religious side that says making exceptions or compromising is against their religion so if they are not a majority in the democracy they instead decide to play obstructionist. It can be easily seen in the current political struggles between democrats and republicans.

    So whats Tony's idea for getting obstructionist religions to "work" with others instead of trying to "convert" everyone.

    November 11, 2011 at 10:16 am |
    • John Richardson

      There are plenty of obstructionist Democrats.

      November 11, 2011 at 10:32 am |
    • GodPot

      @John – I agree. And every one of them is a Christian fundamentalist siding with their republican counterparts who are blocking real progress in America by demanding that everyone adopt their world view.

      November 11, 2011 at 10:35 am |
    • John Richardson

      Nope. Quite dyed in the wool big government liberals who are blind to what's happening in Europe and who lobbied and ultimately voted against Obama's plan to RAISE the debt ceiling when debt really, really needs to come down are as obstructionist as anyone in American politics today. Neither they nor their Republican nihilist counterparts with whom they share a disdain for even the most rational of compromises didn't succeed in creating a TOTAL train wreck. But they bullheaded pushed and pushed until one was just barely averted.

      November 11, 2011 at 10:42 am |
    • GodPot

      @John – You do know that almost all "big government liberals" are either Christians or their Zionist partners right? There are very few non-Christians in our current house & senate. They exist, but they certainly are not the major obstructionists since there are so few of them. There are a total of 4 who do not prescribe to either a Christian or Jewish faith out of 435 (2 Buddhists & 2 Muslims). Or do you claim the "liberals" can't be religious because they tend to support religious freedom?

      November 11, 2011 at 11:01 am |
    • John Richardson

      Yes, most liberals in Congress are nominally Christian or Jewish. Somewhere between very few and none are fundamentalist in their religious outlook.

      November 11, 2011 at 11:19 am |
    • John Richardson

      I meant to say "at least nominally Christian or Jewish". Some are quite religious in their own way. But Abrahamic fundamentalism and modern liberalism just don't go together. And of course, many are truly just nominal members of any faith.

      November 11, 2011 at 11:22 am |
  18. Colin

    10 Rules For Rational Thought

    1. DO NOT automatically believe something just because a priest, rabbi or minister tells you that you must.

    2. DO NOT think that claims about magic and the supernatural are more likely true because they are written in old books. That makes them less likely true.

    3. DO analyze claims about religion with the same critical eye that you would claims about money, political positions or social issues.

    4. DO NOT accept it when religious leaders tell you it is wrong to question, doubt or think for yourself. It never is.

    5. DO decouple morality from a belief in the supernatural, in any of its formulations (Christianity, Judaism, Islam etc.). One can be moral without believing in gods, ghosts and goblins.

    6. DO a bit of independent research into whatever book you were brought up to believe in. Who are its authors and why should I believe them in what they say?

    7. DO have the guts to ask the hard questions and the brains to spot the weak answers.

    8. DO NOT be an apologist or accept the explanation “your mind is too small to understand the greatness of god” or “god moves in mysterious ways” when you come upon logical inconsistencies in your belief.

    9. DO understand where your religion came from, how it evolved from earlier beliefs.

    10. DO educate yourself on the natural Universe, human history and the history of life on Earth, so as to be able to properly evaluate claims that a benevolent, mind-reading god is behind the whole thing.

    In short, put your beliefs under a bit of scrutiny for once. You won’t be punished, I promise you. No sky-dwelling thought police are monitoring your brain, eager to rat you out to their cosmic boss the minute you dare question his existence. Probe your beliefs, poke them and see how they hold up. Subject them to the same exacting standard you do any other extraordinary claims, or claims against your faith and see how they do.

    I expect you will soon find yourself wondering how different the supernatural claims of your religious leaders are to the supernatural claims of your average back alley fortune teller or tarot card reader.

    November 11, 2011 at 10:16 am |
    • GodPot

      "DO a bit of independent research into whatever book you were brought up to believe in. Who are its authors and why should I believe them in what they say?" The problem is when the book starts out by telling you that if you question it you will die and be tortured for eternity, it tends to discourage honest investigation.

      November 11, 2011 at 10:42 am |
    • o.k.

      Great list...and I'm a Christian. I totally agree with you that we need to look critically at what we believe. I did, and I found the evidence to support Christianity compelling enough for me to accept Christ as my savior.

      @Godpot...if you're referring to the Bible, my suggestion is that you haven't gone through Colin's list (at all). There are no verses, and no verses that can be cobbled together, which suggest it is a sin to question the validity of Bible. I would add (this is not from the Bible) that if you question, it should be something more than merely rhetorical. Are you simply questioning for questioning's sake, or are you honestly looking for answers?

      November 11, 2011 at 11:06 am |
    • fred

      Ten is a great number ! Not only do we have 10 commandments there is the first Divine Decalogue in Genesis 1. Ten times God said “let there be”. Out of chaos was brought the cosmos, from darkness and death to light and life. Reason is a gift from God so that we can choose with our free will to accept the light and life offered or reject it which ends in death and darkness. Interesting that the Divine Word of God would so simply lay out the why of our existence. The Bible is a age old guide for each generation about that simple choice. Examples abound so that the choice and consequence is clear for all to see. If you cannot see the simple story of God redeeming a people for himself before you then you may have been Colin.. ized into an atheist mindset.
      When applying the 10 steps to a life of atheism stop on occasion and ask does this bring life or death, does this bring light or darkness into my life and the world. Above all be reasonable and unbiased. Jesus had some very enlightened words for corrupt society and religion run amuck. When you approach Jesus with a bias towards darkness you will miss the light of life. Jesus boiled all the laws of the prophets down to one: Love God and your neighbor. Unity, simple unity in love will cover any 10 points of political and religious discourse.

      November 11, 2011 at 11:14 am |
    • GodPot

      @ok – Deut 13:6 "If your brother, the son of your mother, your son or your daughter, the wife of your bosom, or your friend who is as your own soul, secretly entices you, saying, ‘Let us go and serve other gods,’ which you have not known, neither you nor your fathers, 7 of the gods of the people which are all around you, near to you or far off from you, from one end of the earth to the other end of the earth, 8 you shall not consent to him or listen to him, nor shall your eye pity him, nor shall you spare him or conceal him; 9 but you shall surely kill him; your hand shall be first against him to put him to death, and afterward the hand of all the people. 10 And you shall stone him with stones until he dies, because he sought to entice you away from the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage. 11 So all Israel shall hear and fear, and not again do such wickedness as this among you.
      12 “If you hear someone in one of your cities, which the LORD your God gives you to dwell in, saying, 13 ‘Corrupt men have gone out from among you and enticed the inhabitants of their city, saying, “Let us go and serve other gods”’—which you have not known— 14 then you shall inquire, search out, and ask diligently. And if it is indeed true and certain that such an abomination was committed among you, 15 you shall surely strike the inhabitants of that city with the edge of the sword, utterly destroying it, all that is in it and its livestock—with the edge of the sword."

      I don't know, it sounds pretty clear to me how the God of the Hebrews felt about other religions or even people suggesting any other religion might be valid.

      November 11, 2011 at 11:22 am |
    • Bob

      Fred, there's more than 10 laws in your bible that you need to follow or else god will get very angry with you. Done that goat sacrifice that your bible demands of you yet today? Better get on it or god'll give you cancer.

      November 11, 2011 at 11:33 am |
    • J.W

      Dude what is your obsession with animal sacrifices. I mean it was something that was customary at the time the verses were written and it is not customary now. I mean what do you want to be done, someone to go back in time and bring all those animals back to life?

      November 11, 2011 at 11:40 am |
    • Bob

      My point is that it's a set of laws in your bible. But yes, it would be great if not only the sacrifices, but the many other evils done due to Christianity could be undone. Great idea. Why don't you get to work on it?

      November 11, 2011 at 11:44 am |
    • fred

      Apply Colin’s steps 1,2 and 3 to your statement.
      1Do not automatically believe that statement ……
      2Do not think claims…….written in old books – Bob that rule has not applied in 2,000 years
      3Do analyze claims – Bob goat sacrifice was for Levite priests not me, can only happen in the temple (gone since 70AD )

      November 11, 2011 at 11:46 am |
    • Bob

      Too funny, fred. Those 2000 year old books, umm, yeah, I'm talking about the one you are using as a reference. And that your "savior" said those laws still apply.

      And again, I have to ask, why was the animal sacrifice ever demanded by your god?

      Wow, those hammers are really loading you down today, laddy.

      November 11, 2011 at 11:50 am |
    • fred

      These old tribal peoples were not the brightest bulb in the room. They could not have understood the metaphysical things of Jesus so God revealed himself in a way they could comprehend. The blood sacrifice goes back to first people Adam and Eve when God sacrificed an animal to cover the sin of Adam and Eve. Many generations latter the blood of the lamb on the doorpost at Passover. All these ceremonial laws were physical because that is what these peoples could handle. All of it pointed to Jesus that was the perfect lamb sacrificed for mans sin. Jesus said “it is finished” and died on the cross. Thus no more blood sacrifice necessary from that day forward.
      Blood was a theme because life is in the blood. Sin is serious before a Holy God and perfect justice demands penality. It was God that killed the first animal in the garden to cover the sin of Adam. Sin has a cost which brings death (separation from God). Rather than let man suffer eternal sparation God made a way by taking on the penality of sin himself. This is the sacraficial lamb.

      November 11, 2011 at 12:13 pm |
    • JA

      @Bob to your question as to why animal sacrifices were demanded by God.

      1. to show your obediance and submission
      2. for the remission of sins

      It wasnt just any animal that had to be sacrificed. It had to be a male lamb within its first year and it couldnt have any spots or unleanliness. It had to be relatively perfect "as white as snow." And referring to the remission of sins. The sacrifice was meant to cover ones sins temporarily. Sacrifices were made many times throughout a believers life.

      November 11, 2011 at 12:20 pm |
    • JA

      my bad fred, you got to it first

      November 11, 2011 at 12:21 pm |
    • fred

      We are not even scratching the surface on what's up with the blood thing. I was going to say the devil is in the details but, that's a different story. The detail in the various Jewish laws are amazing in the lead up to Christ. Anyway, have a great day!

      November 11, 2011 at 12:28 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Great list, Colin. I've always believed a person who didn't question their faith wasn't really a believer. Ask the hard questions, and if you return to where you started with your faith, at least you knew how you got there. I think some people refuse to do so because they fear that what they learn will conflict with what they want to believe.

      And fred: There are also 10 fingers and 10 toes.

      November 11, 2011 at 12:38 pm |
    • fred

      It's a good thing too unless I need to add past 20 where I lose track at about 32. But, you are right as to asking questions. Unfortunately I now have more unanswered than answered questions. I should have stuck with the FOX news belief blog.

      November 11, 2011 at 12:53 pm |
    • Bob

      Funniest remark ever coming from fred: "These old tribal peoples were not the brightest bulb in the room. ". Way to call the kettle black, Mr. Dumb as a Bag 'O Hammers himself.

      Now regarding that animal sacrifice: posting the details doesn't help your case. It's horrible stuff, and your god stories demand that it be done. Christianity is a sicko religion. Long past time to put it aside.

      November 11, 2011 at 12:59 pm |
    • John Richardson

      So, fred, God meant religion only for stupid people? That kinda makes sense ...

      November 11, 2011 at 1:21 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Colin, not only does this generation have no backbone for being lulled to sleep. They're will be no switch to pull for listening/believing the fools in government that want to bring in the NWO that are at the top of the heap today. It's all written in the Bible if you care to read His truth.


      November 11, 2011 at 1:23 pm |
    • Bob

      HS, re "no backbone", speaking for yourself, you are. Your traits and general miserableness are well known here and your reputation precedes you.

      November 11, 2011 at 1:33 pm |
    • fred

      John Richardson

      Regarding stupid it sure sounds like it when you read the Bible. Let's see:
      Adam you can have anything just stay away from that tree........oops
      Let my people go...............I will not let your people go!........oops
      Now, go and enter the promised land I give you......but,but we are like grasshoppers....oops
      David tho shalt not committ adultry.........oops
      Pilate I see no fault in this man called Jesus......the people cry out curcify him !!........oops
      And the names of the redeemed are written in lambs book of life...........................................................

      November 11, 2011 at 1:44 pm |
    • Huh?

      "Your traits and general miserableness are well known here and your reputation precedes you."

      Which is why HS doesn't being anyone to the lord through her miserable reputation and is a terrible example of what christ asks of his followers! LOL!

      November 11, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Big egos rule the fools of this world ...The bottom line of atheism or materialism is that there is no throne; there is no seat of authority or power that all the universe must answer to; the bottom of humanism is that there is a throne – but man sits upon it. Essentially, man cannot live without the concept of a throne; so if he de-thrones God, he will inescapably place himself or some other man upon the throne (such as Lenin, Stalin, and Mao did).


      November 11, 2011 at 3:39 pm |
    • FYI

      Heaven Sent,
      "2001 David Guzik – No distribution beyond personal use without permission"

      do you have permission to use this guy's words as your own?

      November 11, 2011 at 3:49 pm |
    • o.k.

      @Godpot...sorry for the tardy response. You're verses have nothing to do with critically examining faith. Old testament punishment aside (which does not apply to Christians), the verses you cite deal with people who have gone past questioning on to disbelief in God and actively worshiping something else. I truly believe God wants educated followers. I truly believe he wants someone who can answer the questions others may ask in their own critical analysis. You'll find no verses contrary to that–and that was my (obvious) point.

      November 11, 2011 at 7:03 pm |
    • GodPot

      @o.k. – " Old testament punishment aside (which does not apply to Christians), the verses you cite deal with people who have gone past questioning on to disbelief in God and actively worshiping something else."

      So nice of your God to change depending on who is serving him, unless the God Christians worship is not the God of Abraham. And as to the scripture dealing only with those "who have gone past questioning on to disbelief" you are just flat out wrong. It is giving a command to God's people not to question and to kill anyone who is even suggesting that you should serve another faith. "you shall not consent to him or listen to him, nor shall your eye pity him, nor shall you spare him or conceal him; 9 but you shall surely kill him; your hand shall be first against him to put him to death". I was not referencing this scripture to point out the penalty for those who attempt to convert God's people, I used it to point out that the faithful are required to "not listen" making my point. I am not saying that the bible doesn't contain many examples of telling the faithful to dig deeper, to study more & grow closer to God through the study of the scriptures, but it NEVER says "Go ahead and study what other religions have to offer because it will only give you stronger faith in the bible". Quite the opposite. I myself have read the bible over three times in my life, but I also have studied many other religions in my quest for truth. What I found was that none of them have complete "Truth" as they all proclaim. They all have bit's and pieces of truth interwoven with different ceremony's for the different deities being worshiped. They have just enough general truth about life to convince the simple minded of their authenticity, which has then allowed the leaders of these religions to maintain control of the populace. It's really pretty simple and we have seen it duplicated within our lifetimes with the birth of Scientology, and Mormonism not long before that.

      November 11, 2011 at 9:15 pm |
    • GodPot

      p.s. Its not really "questioning" if the only reference guide you are allowed to examine is the guide you are questioning.

      November 11, 2011 at 9:27 pm |
    • o.k.

      @Godpot...good points, but the verse you cite is still cleary distinguishable. Note how you jump to verse 8 when you recite the verse, leaving out the key point at verse 6: "If your brother, the son of your mother, your son or your daughter, the wife of your bosom, or your friend who is as your own soul, secretly entices you, saying, ‘Let us go and serve other gods,’ which you have not known, neither you nor your fathers..." Here the person is not entering into a debate but rather asking you to go and serve other gods–that is when when God is saying watch out. Moreover, you have to put this verse in historical context–the Isrealites where surrounded by other religions at a time that their now newly regulated faith (i.e 10 Commandments, the law of moses) is fragile. God was clearly trying to protect a easily influenced group of people (recall how easily they reverted to the making of images of Gold when Moses had left for a short time to receive the 10 commandments as one example).

      Also, you, like so many others, continue to confuse the Christian view of old testament law. Having read the bible a whole three times, you should know by now that we do worship the God of Abraham, but the law of Moses was fulfilled in Christ, thus we are no longer under law set forth in Exodus, Deut. and Lev. Dietary laws, personal grooming, and yes even how do deal with certain sin within the community done with. If you want to call this a change, go ahead. As a Christian, I see it as the natural progression of our relationship with God.

      November 11, 2011 at 10:59 pm |
    • o.k.

      For those of you who want to read verses regarding the Christian view of the law, see, at the very least, Romans Chapter 7.

      November 11, 2011 at 11:12 pm |
  19. Woody

    "Remember that none of us are qualified to state with certainty the will of God...."

    None of us are qualified to state with certainty the EXISTENCE of god, let alone the will of said god.

    November 11, 2011 at 10:09 am |
  20. I'm The Best!

    I agree with most of these. Number 7 I don't agree with at all though. Unless you can make a logical argument backed up by cold hard facts then you shouldn't have a say

    November 11, 2011 at 10:01 am |
    • I'm The Best!

      I agree with most of these only because I believe in a persons freedom to believe in fairy tales. No matter how crazy and outlandish they are. Plus, without fighting the government at every turn hopefully they would disappear

      November 11, 2011 at 10:12 am |
    • GodPot

      Agreed. I don't mind if a group of Twilight fans get together to form a religion to worship Edward. I would mind if they proposed legislation that adds vampires as citizens with the same rights as everyone else without being able to prove vampires exist.

      November 11, 2011 at 10:25 am |
    • John Richardson

      Just because someone has a say, that doesn't mean anyone else is obliged to believe anything they say. If freedom of speech is made contingent on some other person deciding whether what you are saying is sufficiently logical to pass muster, then it is as good as dead and we non-believers will have played a critical role in destroying what we are supposed to be defending: freedom.

      November 11, 2011 at 10:37 am |
    • GodPot

      John, I think you might be misinterpreting my point. It's not that people need to have a valid argument before they are allowed to argue. My point is that people need a valid argument to suggest everyone else adhere to their law. Turning your speech into law based on nothing more than "Because my God said so" is my complaint, and there are many laws on our books in America that have nothing to do with logic or reason and were put in place based solely on religious grounds. Law's against gay marriage, sod omy and a womans right to choose are all examples of this. I'm all for everyone, sane or not, to be able to voice their views in an open, public fashion. I'm against allowing any sort of moral law decided by some, even if it is a majority in a democracy, to be forced on the rest with no other support than "thats what God wants".

      November 11, 2011 at 1:18 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.