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November 19th, 2011
10:31 PM ET

The gospel according to Herman Cain

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-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 profiled the faith journey of Herman Cain before he suspended his campaign.

(CNN) – On a bright spring day in 2007, a black-robed Herman Cain officiated the wedding of a young couple at a mansion outside of Atlanta. The sun sparkled on the pair’s wedding rings as Cain, an associate minister at a nearby church, held them aloft.

All seemed perfect.

When it came time for the bride and groom to exchange vows, however, Cain was dissatisfied with the volume of the groom’s “I do.”

"Say it louder," Cain told Matt Carrothers.

“When he tells you to say, ‘I do,’” the groom recalled, “it almost sounds like the voice of God telling you that and you take it very seriously.”

In the race for the Republican presidential nomination, Herman Cain is not seen as a candidate who wears his faith on his sleeve. Mitt Romney’s Mormonism, Rick Santorum’s Catholicism and Michele Bachmann’s evangelical Christianity have all garnered much more attention than Cain’s Baptist-flavored beliefs.

On the campaign trail, Cain is more apt to talk about his business acumen and leadership skills than his faith. His unlikely rise as a straight-talking White House contender was pegged largely to the popularity among fiscal conservatives of his “9-9-9” tax plan.

But those who know Cain describe him as a devout Christian who leans on his faith in times of hardship. That would appear to include the present moment, when a flurry of sexual harassment allegations and a viral video of a Libya interview gaffe are renewing doubts about Cain’s legitimacy as a candidate.

Indeed, Cain’s religiosity runs deep enough that he regularly delivers sermons at his childhood church, has recorded a gospel music album and has a traveling minister as part of his campaign apparatus.

Carrothers - who worked as Cain’s political director during his failed 2004 bid for a U.S. Senate seat from Georgia - says one of Cain’s favorite sayings is, “There’s our plan, and then there’s God’s plan.”

Rev Herman Cain presides over the wedding of Matt Carrothers and Debra Ann Delong.

“You may think that things are going wrong in your life,” Carrothers says, paraphrasing the candidate, “but just step back it will always get better.”

Faith and work, hand in hand

Cain’s faith journey began at a young age. Born in Tennessee and raised in Georgia, he and his parents joined Antioch Baptist Church North in Atlanta when he was 10.

The 134-year-old, historically black church was founded by freed slaves. For the Cain family, faith in God and hard work went hand in hand.

Cain has written that his family grew up so poor they were “po.” His mother was a maid and his father at times worked three jobs at once: as a barber, a janitor at Pillsbury and a chauffeur for Coca-Cola executives.

His father, Cain writes in his 2011 book, “This is Herman Cain! My Journey to the White House,” worked and saved enough to buy a modest home and quit two of his jobs, rising in the ranks at Coca-Cola to become the CEO's private chauffeur.

Herman Cain, meanwhile, would climb the corporate ladder, rising to become the CEO of Godfather’s Pizza, based in Omaha, Nebraska, and then head of the National Restaurant Association, where the sexual harassment charges originated.

Cain has always considered Antioch his spiritual home. The candidate declined to comment for this article, but Fred Robinson, a former Antioch minister who left to form his own church, says Cain’s late parents were pillars of the church.

Cain greets potential caucus voters prior to speaking at an Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition event earlier this year.

After he returned to Antioch amid “great fanfare” in 2000, Robinson says, Cain became a fixture in the deacon’s corner, a row of seats near the pulpit.

On any Sunday, Cain could be seen sitting with the other deacons in his favorite light-blue dress shirt shouting, “Preach Rev!” or “Say it.”

Cain became a licensed associate minister at Antioch in 2002.

The liberal church of Herman Cain

“Like most ministers, I felt called to preach the word of God and minister to the least, the last, and the lost, and minister to His people,” he told Christianity Today.

Antioch officials and Senior Pastor Cameron Alexander declined interview requests, saying the church doesn’t divulge information about members or staff.

But congregants paint a picture of Cain as deeply involved, part of a group of associate ministers known as the Sons of Antioch. Members say that if a man feels called by God to preach, he can approach the senior pastor about it. A trial sermon is then arranged.

If the congregation and pastor approve, the man undergoes training in scripture and preaching and can be licensed by the church to preach.

The Sons of Antioch are given the honorific of “reverend.” The positions are unpaid.

Antioch is part of the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc. but like many Baptist churches, it operates largely autonomously. The process of appointing ministers is particular to the church.

As an associate minister, Cain sometimes preaches at Antioch and regularly helps distribute the elements of communion, a role he has kept up while campaigning for president.

Valencia Seay, a Georgia state senator and longtime member of the church, falls on the opposite end of the political spectrum from Cain. But she said they put politics aside on Sunday mornings.

From the pulpit, Cain is “charismatic, he is knowledgeable, he is on point, and he knows the Word.”

“He can lift a hymn,” she said. “It’s always enjoyable to hear a minister who can not only deliver a powerful message but also finish it with a song that speaks to that message.”

While in Omaha at Godfather’s Pizza, Cain put his singing to work, directing a men’s chorus at Pilgrim Baptist Church and cutting a CD of gospel tunes. The proceeds went to charity.

On the campaign, Cain sometimes sings for supporters and once serenaded reporters with a hymn at the National Press Club.

God-centered self-determinism

For all his church involvement, Cain’s message of self-determinism is seemingly at odds with Antioch’s focus on social justice.

The Rev. Gerald Durley, senior pastor of Providence Missionary Baptist Church in Atlanta, told CNN that Cain’s call for blacks to forget about racism and pull themselves up by their bootstraps doesn’t mesh with the philosophy of Antioch’s pastor.

“He’s not going to talk about pulling yourself up by your bootstraps,” Durley says of Antioch’s pastor, Cameron Alexander. “It’s about providing bootstraps.”

Since becoming an associate minister at Antioch, Cain has preached in pulpits around the country, often eschewing the big paydays of motivational speaking gigs for modest preaching honorariums.

In many of those sermons, Cain has promoted a message of self-reliance.

In 2003, while Cain was running for Senate, he preached at the Crystal Cathedral, a high-profile church in Southern California headed at the time by the Rev. Robert Schuller.

“I told Bob that I was so excited that it inspired me to prepare a two-hour message for you this morning,” Cain told the congregation.

“Bob said, ‘That’s great, as long as you can do it in 20 minutes,’” Cain joked.

Cain’s sermon, which was beamed around the globe as part of Crystal Cathedral’s “Hour of Power” TV broadcast, focused on the biblical verse Mark 8:36.

“For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” Cain quoted.

As he continued, Cain's message seemed to harmonize with his libertarian politics.

“Finding your purpose in life is a continuous process that God reveals to each of us when we are ready and when God is ready,” he said. “Living our purpose in life is a decision.”

In the gospel according to Herman Cain, God may lay out plans, but it is up to each believer to push forward - regardless of obstacles - to reach that goal.

For Cain, that’s meant repeatedly running for political office despite his failure to win.

Cain addresses the Northern Virginia Technology Council and the Consumer Electronic Association earlier this month in McLean, Virginia.

From the pulpit of the Crystal Cathedral, Cain traced his political career to an epiphany that accompanied the birth of his granddaughter in 1999.

“The first thought, so help me God, that went through my mind when I looked at that little face was, ‘What do I do to use my talents to make this a better world?’” Cain said. “God had revealed my next purpose in life at an unexpected moment.”

In his 2005 book, “They Think You're Stupid: Why Democrats Lost Your Vote and What Republicans Must Do to Keep It,” Cain said that epiphany led to worrying about
leaving Social Security and Medicare a “mess” for her.

“For three and a half years I would not be able to answer the question of what do I do to make this a better world,” Cain writes. “But I would often reflect on the words of the prophet Isaiah (40:31): ‘They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles.’”

In 1999, Cain formed Citizens for Cain Exploratory Committee to test the waters for a presidential bid in 2000, the National Journal reported at the time. He made campaign stops in Iowa and New Hampshire, according to press reports, which focused on his business acumen and the fact that he was a black GOP candidate, not his religious proclivities. He eventually backed Republican candidate Steve Forbes and joined Forbes' campaign as a national co-chairman.

Three and a half years later, Cain ran for the U.S. Senate, saying the decision had been divinely inspired.

“Being on a God-inspired fast track of success and surviving the many things that could have gone wrong was no accident,” he writes.

He woke early one morning to study the Bible as he wrestled with whether to run for Senate.

The Bible fell on the floor, Cain writes, and opened to Matthew 18, where Jesus asks, “What good is it for a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul?” - the same words he would quote from a different gospel at the Crystal Cathedral.

Later that week, Cain writes, he heard a sermon titled “The Calling” by Alexander at Antioch. After the service, Cain consulted with the pastor.

Cain said he felt God was calling him to run for Senate. According to Cain, the pastor responded: "How much louder does God have to tell you something?"

Not long after, Cain threw his hat in the ring.

Looking for God’s road signs

He would lose in the Republican primary to now-U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, but Cain took a respectable 26% of the vote. Being a millionaire black conservative made him somewhat of a novelty, and he attracted lots of national and local press.

The experience helped Cain land a conservative radio talk show in Atlanta, a book deal and appearances on national television.

Indeed, Cain sees God’s hand in his 2004 loss. Referring to his radio show, Cain writes, “I believe that having that program was God’s way of forcing me to understand the critical issues confronting our nation.”

While his radio career was humming along, Cain faced a major challenge in February 2006, when he was diagnosed with colon cancer.

The diagnosis tested the faith of Cain and his wife, Gloria. But he saw the hand of God at various points in his treatment.

After the initial diagnosis, Cain’s Atlanta doctor wanted him to get a second opinion from a specialist in Savannah, Georgia, some five hours away by car. Cain didn’t want go, but then he learned the specialist’s name: Dr. Lord. That was the first sign.

Later, Cain went to MD Anderson Cancer Center, a Houston hospital specializing in cancer treatment, after his business pal Boone Pickens called to get him in.

The nurse who gave Cain and his wife their orientation tour at the hospital was named Grace. Yet another sign, Cain writes.

And when it was time for surgery, the doctors explained they would be making a J-shaped incision. “Like J-E-S-U-S?” Cain asked the doctor. The candidate would go on to call the incision a “Jesus cut.”

“You see, the Lord gives you these road signs - that is, if you know how to recognize them,” Cain writes.

By January 2007, Cain was cancer-free. The road signs began to change. He returned to the radio airwaves and began sowing the seeds of a run for president.

‘You got the wrong man, Lord!’

Herman Cain did not want to run for president. He did not want to be president. But God told him to.

In a campaign speech in early November, he told the Georgia Young Republicans he never considered running for president until he saw President Barack Obama’s “arrogant disregard for the people,” which he said weakened the county's economy, military and standing in the world.

“That’s when I prayed and prayed and prayed. … More praying than I’ve ever had to do in my life.

“When I finally realized that this was God saying what I needed to do, I was like Moses. ‘You got the wrong man, Lord! Are you sure?’ Now, you're not supposed to doubt God. But I'm going, ‘I think maybe you're looking at somebody else.’”

Cain announced his candidacy for president in January.

Cain speaks during a campaign visit to Versailles, a Cuban restaurant, in the Little Havana neighborhood of Miami on Wednesday.

To be sure, Cain is hardly the only candidate who has said that God wants him or her to run for president. Rick Perry and Bachmann have expressed similar sentiments.

“Maybe God just wants a good race,” says Larry Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia.

Sabato points to the large numbers of religious Republican voters in the Iowa caucuses and South Carolina primary. Many voters in those states “respond to language like that,” Sabato says.

Benny Tate, senior pastor of Rock Springs Church in Milner, Georgia, has accompanied Cain on the campaign trail, joining the candidate on recent trips to Ohio and New Hampshire. Tate said whenever they stop to eat on the road, “Herman will literally bow his head and thank God for that food. It may be something small, like a sandwich, but I’ve never seen Herman have a meal where he didn’t thank God for the meal.”

Despite that piety, Cain has had his fair share of trouble with the Christian Right.

In an October interview with CNN’s Piers Morgan, Cain seemed to mix two disparate positions on abortion. He said he believes life begins at conception and that he opposes abortion in all cases.

But he also said government ought to stay out of a family’s decision - a line that seemed to speak to Cain’s limited government, tea party-flavored conservativism.

The comment enraged many anti-abortion groups and is featured in a new web ad for Bachmann that’s aimed at positioning the Minnesota congresswoman as the true anti-abortion candidate.

While most of the other Republican candidates have reached out to Focus on the Family, an influential evangelical organization and long a stopover for GOP figures, the group has not heard from Cain.

But those who know him say Cain’s focus on economic issues is an outgrowth of his faith and his view of an individual’s ability to chart his or her own course.

“Herman sees the pressing issues of our day are economic,” Tate said. “Because of his faith he sees that that can turn around. One way he sees that is through personal responsibility.

“Herman believes that, ‘By the sweat of thy face thou shall eat bread,’” Tate said, referring to Genesis 3:19, in which Adam and Eve are banished from the Garden of Eden.

Cain has used this idea to criticize the Occupy Wall Street movement.

“Don't blame Wall Street, don't blame the big banks,” he recently told The Wall Street Journal. “If you don't have a job and you're not rich, blame yourself!”

That idea is not original to Cain. It is one long found in black churches.

“The fiscal conservative thread … not being dependent on anybody else, especially not ‘the white man,’ is a theme that is decades old in the black community,” said Bishop Harry Jackson of Hope Christian Church, a black megachurch in Maryland.

Jackson, who was invited to give an opening prayer when Cain kicked off his presidential campaign, says Cain is representative of many conservative black evangelicals - though he might not be getting many votes from the folks at Antioch.

The question remains whether Cain’s blend of self-determination and striving to complete what he sees as God’s plan will land him the Republican presidential nomination - whether he wants it or not.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Baptist • Belief • Christianity • Georgia • Herman Cain • Politics • Race • United States

soundoff (1,421 Responses)
  1. anthony stark

    Bachmann, Cain and Perry have Jesus' cell phone number, Romney is a mormon and a secret democrat, and Newt Gingrich is Newt Gingrich. Ron Paul is the only candidate with his own ideas and any semblance of a backbone. Alrighty then. Guess it's Obama 2012.

    November 20, 2011 at 8:51 am |
    • D. Green

      It's true. If you're a Republican, you'd better be religious (Christian). It shouldn't have anything to do with politics, but it does. A conservative voter that wants to keep religion out of the equation has only Newt and Ron Paul. I really like Ron Paul, but he'll never even come close. The reason? He's not offering any government freebies (the Democrats), not offering faith (Cain, Bachman, Perry), and....he's not tall and good-looking. Plus, his followers are over-zealous and viewed as as little crazy and obnoxious, not that you can blame them because they're so frustrated that there is little common sense in politics.

      November 20, 2011 at 8:59 am |
  2. How stupid

    Well this is God again, Herman. . .. STOP IT.

    What the hell is happening to politics????

    November 20, 2011 at 8:49 am |
  3. promixcuous

    "He didn't want to run for president. But God told him to. This is the gospel according to Herman Cain."

    What a stupid headline. "God told him to" is presented as fact. God told me to put this post on CNN stating that God doesn't tell anybody anything, especially since there is no God talking to people.

    November 20, 2011 at 8:47 am |
  4. looking Glass

    Cain is an affront to the true teachings of Jesus The Christ. Also, It is written, "Do Not Use God or His Words In Vain" This article and many like it is design to further promote Herman Cain, due to his great "Libya Debacle" His sudden ignominious failure, a fiasco, has it were. Period. Not to mention "999" LOL!

    November 20, 2011 at 8:46 am |
    • Henry

      "999" upside down is "666" if that's not a sign from a god I don't know what is

      November 20, 2011 at 8:57 am |
  5. JaneS

    I am a Christian but some of these people really turn my stomach. They give Christians a bad name and now they are the reason their party can't come up with a viable candidate. Republicans shot themselves in the foot when they started marketing themselves as the "Christian" party. There is NO SUCH THING as the "Christian party." Christians wake up, stop your simplistic thinking and realize you have been duped. Vote for a real family man in 2012, Obama.

    November 20, 2011 at 8:45 am |
  6. mommaearth

    CNN Sucks

    November 20, 2011 at 8:41 am |
    • Someone

      You're here reading it – what does that say about you?

      November 20, 2011 at 8:51 am |
    • Mickie

      Really, has anyone noticed the past, the turmoil from in the middlemost where religious leaders ruled the county. Did our forefathers not create this nation for religious freedom.
      I have had the opportunity of knowing people whom god speaks to. They were all users of gullible people for their own purpose.
      Please THINK!

      November 20, 2011 at 8:59 am |
  7. Chester County, Pennsylvania

    I think Herman Cain is sincere about his religion. I don't agree with him, but he's not a hypocrite, at least.

    Newt Gingrich is the RAVING hypocrite. He is SO not a Christian. What GOD does he worship that would allow a MAN to walk out on 2 of his families – to run off with other women??? He's on his 3rd wife. Newtie is so "liberal" Barbra Streisand would be horrified.

    November 20, 2011 at 8:41 am |
    • Joseph Mzutrnski

      Cain is a piece of GARBAGE

      We need a real Christian like Perry or Bachmann to lead us.

      Down with this CLOWN Cain – the harassment SETTLEMENTS are a disqualifier for any normal, God fearing person – you dont settle if you did not HARASS

      November 20, 2011 at 8:47 am |
  8. JOHN

    i don't like hearing a person acts on percieved messages in their head and not taking responcibility for them.

    November 20, 2011 at 8:39 am |
  9. Mark anderson

    "The CNN censors are deleting any post negative to CNN or posative to Cain"

    November 20, 2011 at 8:39 am |
    • JOHN

      bull

      November 20, 2011 at 8:41 am |
    • EVIL

      You are incorrect. How much were you paid to post?

      November 20, 2011 at 8:55 am |
  10. je

    What a suprise, cnn never did a series like this on Obama

    November 20, 2011 at 8:34 am |
    • Joe C

      I was just thinking the same thing. Further, this is the main story on the front page. Seriously?

      November 20, 2011 at 8:39 am |
    • johnborg

      Actually, I recall them doing one right after that controversy with Wright (whom the media, like CNN, took out of context). Obama is theologically liberal – which means he doesn't hold fast to doctrines of pre-destination, eschatology, dogma, and so on. This is why Obama isn't really that controversial. Like him or hate him, he isn't going to say "God told me to do it" like Bush or most of the GOP candidates now.

      November 20, 2011 at 8:40 am |
    • Mark anderson

      CNN is Bias and slanted get honest news and the full story from Fox

      November 20, 2011 at 8:40 am |
    • han bronson

      I was thinking the same thing. Why doesn't the media delve into Obama's past and his religion like they have done with republican candidates. Funny how Obama says he is a Christian but won't attend the yearly National day of prayer breakfasts but will hold a dinner for muslims during ramadan.

      November 20, 2011 at 8:44 am |
    • wayh

      PRESIDENT Obama never said 'God told me to run'....you idiot!!!

      November 20, 2011 at 9:37 am |
    • wayh

      Mark anderson is 'fauxwashed'!!!!

      November 20, 2011 at 9:45 am |
  11. AnnieM

    God made man..and man returned the favor...

    November 20, 2011 at 8:33 am |
  12. Mark anderson

    Those against Cain probably are racist

    November 20, 2011 at 8:32 am |
    • johnborg

      Or we just think 9-9-9 is idiotic. Cain, like most of the GOP candidates, can't even talk straight. I don't like any of them, but only Paul, Romney, Huntsman, and Gingrich seem to be able to "think."

      November 20, 2011 at 8:41 am |
    • Henry

      I don't support Cain, I'm not a racist I'm a realist

      November 20, 2011 at 8:50 am |
    • Jack Powers

      *Stifled laughter*...

      November 20, 2011 at 8:51 am |
  13. wpgguy

    organized Religion is what's ruining the world

    November 20, 2011 at 8:32 am |
  14. El Kababa

    Those Krazee Konservatives! So old Yahweh has told Pat Robertson, George W. Bush, Michelle Bachman, Rick Perry, and Herman Cain that He will make each of them President. He has kept His Word for Bush. Let's see if He keeps His word for the others.

    November 20, 2011 at 8:32 am |
    • wayh

      ...it's 'Krazee,Krazee Konservatives......you gotta get the third 'K' in there!!!

      November 20, 2011 at 9:35 am |
  15. BOEHNERSUX

    What a phuken joke Herman Cain is, at least its good for a laugh!

    November 20, 2011 at 8:32 am |
  16. AGeek

    There is no surer way to exclude my vote than to tell me God told you to run for office.

    November 20, 2011 at 8:32 am |
    • How stupid

      Good point, AGeek. I'm with you

      November 20, 2011 at 8:50 am |
  17. Mark anderson

    Posted earlier "The collection of misfits called democrats are giving Jesus the bad name"

    November 20, 2011 at 8:29 am |
    • wayh

      Mark.... you are a sheep in 'way over your head'.... you might as well just quit. You sound stupid!

      November 20, 2011 at 8:54 am |
    • wayh

      Mark.... if you ever read YOUR bible, assuming you CAN read, you would see by Jesus' words and actions, if he were here today, he would be a Social Democrat and Satan would be a Republican!!!!!

      November 20, 2011 at 9:04 am |
    • wayh

      Greed is evil.....enough said!!!

      November 20, 2011 at 9:05 am |
  18. wayh

    Well.....maybe Hermie realised that he shouldn't quit his day job!!!

    November 20, 2011 at 8:29 am |
    • Mark anderson

      you have the day job. Mr. cain has a career.

      November 20, 2011 at 8:30 am |
    • wayh

      Yeah.....but Barnum and Bailey's has a clown!!!!

      November 20, 2011 at 8:52 am |
  19. EffortPA

    "Top Eleven Signs You're a Christian:"

    11- You believe in a book (New Testament) that was written 80 years after your Messiah died by men who never met him and who believed the earth was flat and the Sun revolved around the Earth, but continuously deny modern science books.

    10 – You vigorously deny the existence of thousands of gods claimed by other religions, but feel outraged when someone denies the existence of yours.

    9 – You feel insulted and "dehumanized" when scientists say that people evolved from other life forms, but you have no problem with the Biblical claim that we were created from dirt.

    8 – You laugh at polytheists, but you have no problem believing in a Triune God.

    7 – Your face turns purple when you hear of the "atrocities" attributed to Allah, but you don't even flinch when hearing about how God/Jehovah slaughtered all the babies of Egypt in "Exodus" and ordered the elimination of entire ethnic groups in "Joshua" including women, children, and trees!

    6 – You laugh at Hindu beliefs that deify humans, and Greek claims about gods sleeping with women, but you have no problem believing that the Holy Spirit impregnated Mary, who then gave birth to a man-god who got killed, came back to life and then ascended into the sky.

    5 – You are willing to spend your life looking for little loopholes in the scientifically established age of Earth (few billion years), but you find nothing wrong with believing dates recorded by Bronze Age tribesmen sitting in their tents and guessing that Earth is a few generations old.

    4 – You believe that the entire population of this planet with the exception of those who share your beliefs - though excluding those in all rival sects – will spend Eternity in an infinite Hell of Suffering. And yet consider your religion the most "tolerant" and "loving."

    3 – While modern science, history, geology, biology, and physics have failed to convince you otherwise, some idiot rolling around on the floor speaking in "tongues" may be all the evidence you need to "prove" Christianity.

    2 – You define 0.01% as a "high success rate" when it comes to answered prayers. You consider that to be evidence that prayer works. And you think that the remaining 99.99% FAILURE was simply the will of God.

    1 – You actually know a lot less than many atheists and agnostics do about the Bible, Christianity, and church history – but still call yourself a Christian.

    November 20, 2011 at 8:28 am |
    • AGeek

      Flippin' brilliant bit right there.

      November 20, 2011 at 8:34 am |
    • Philojazz

      Thank you, EffortPA, for "the list", whether or not you wrote it in the first place. I've copied it, and have it ready to send to anyone who insists on forwarding me "religious" e-mails. (Usually babies and dogs, and pithy Christian sayings.)

      By the way, did the bit about Mr Cain's bible falling on the floor and opening to a "special" page remind you of tossing the I Ching?

      November 20, 2011 at 8:40 am |
    • fab

      sounds like an argument using 3 common rules of logical fallacy. 1. Argue by ridiculing the position in order to bring more weight to the argument. 2. Set up a straw man so it can easiky be taken down and 3. Red herring. Add an item which is not related to the article to advance your position
      Sounds more like taking advantage of the article to advance militant atheism than a comment to the article itself

      November 20, 2011 at 8:43 am |
    • El Kababa

      fab, this post is not 'militant atheism'. It is honest ridicule of a ridiculous belief system.

      November 20, 2011 at 8:47 am |
    • EffortPA

      Philojazz, I did not write this posting, I found it a while back and I liked it so much to save it too. Please feel free to use it as much as you want. I don't know who the original author is.

      November 20, 2011 at 8:52 am |
    • JustChill

      You spent all this time writing this to prove a point that is useless. People like you should just accept that the person looking at them in the mirror is not enough. Some people just have to believe in something else. Why not just let them be and go on with your world also. Why bash people's faith? be it in themselves, a book or any other faith. I often wonder just how much positive growth people like you get out of life by bashing others peoples beliefs regardless of what that belief is. Some people just have to believe in something, let them be man, as we will let you be.

      November 20, 2011 at 8:52 am |
    • How stupid

      Absolutely brilliant, EffortPA. Too bad that the born-agains will not see or accept a single word of it. With respect to heaven and hell, I prefer to spend eternity in the latter because heaven willl be filled with closed-minded Christians, and they are insufferable enough in this world. Who would want to spend an eternity in their midst? THAT would be real hell. I would rather be where you are.

      November 20, 2011 at 8:58 am |
    • Whathebibleisabout

      Why is it, that athiest's continuosly attack the religious? What have we done that is so bad to you that you need to continously say that we are evil and wrong when we believe in a god that is supposed to be pure love, because we do believe in pure love, and don't quote the crusades to me because that happened 900 years ago and was because the emperor Alexi in 1095-1099 asked the church to help stop the muslims that were invading europe and lots of christians got up to help mostly the franks [french] went to drive them off and reclaim the holy city. They still thought that if they killed people it was wrong even though the priests said it was ok.

      It is people who manipulate others into doing great deeds of evil do you ever blame countries for invading others because they have killed more people than the so called religious wars combined? I don't believe in the way the church does things but I don't think that christianity is evil because if it was we would rule the earth by force and not try use compassionate means to help others. What you don't hear in the news is how many christians go off into other countries off of their own money just because they like to help other people, that they would not have done had they not read the bible and thought that helping was good? The truth is we have all done a great deal of wrong in our lives and we are trying t make it better. I just wish people felt like I did the caring in my heart is like jesus once had. Because if I could choose any way to live my life, I would choose to live it helping others as christ once did. I hope you have a wonderful day.

      November 20, 2011 at 9:00 am |
    • fab

      El kababa, again arguing from ridicule in a forum which is not conducive for a full discusion. But you are probably right. I should add 'honest ridicule' next time. Throwing an apriori ridicule factor to the argument is, i must agree, a clever tactic in a forum which does not allow for full discussions. Btw i don't agree with Cain on this article. I am just responding to the fallacies of the argument.

      November 20, 2011 at 9:00 am |
    • IntlPol101

      Regarding item no. 11 on the list, please read the following information on the dating of the Books New Testament (not just Matthew-I'm using it as an example). http://www.errantskeptics.org/Dating-The-Gospel-of-Matthew.htm. 70 scholars placed the average time-frame for the writing of the Book of Matthew at around 65 AD, which is only about 32 years following the death of Jesus. Even the latest possible date given, 100AD, is only about 67 years after the death of Jesus. The consensus among well-educated Bible scholars is that these books were written by those who actually knew Jesus and recorded eye-witness accounts. You have to put the time of writing into historical context- Rome was seeking out and executing Jesus' followers after his death. Tensions ran extremely high between the Jewish people and followers of the "New Faith." Logically then, the Apostles and Jesus' followers were most likely too afraid to write down the accounts at the time, knowing that homes were being searched and accusations were flying around unchecked, so the accounts were being spread throughout the Middle East in that faithful tradition- oral history. http://carm.org/wasnt-new-testament-written-hundreds-years-after-christ (this article explains that, no it wasn't)

      November 20, 2011 at 9:07 am |
    • wayh

      @IntlPol101
      You are forgetting the average life span at the time was 37! Nobody, except kings, lived to 65(32+33)!!!

      November 20, 2011 at 9:11 am |
    • D. Green

      I enjoyed reading that, but you DO know that logic will never work.

      Religion is a product of people's fear of death, and their insatiable desire to know their maker. The promise of everlasting life gives great comfort to the vulnerable human, and overides the thought process. Anything that threatens the ultimate desire of everlasting life will be met with resistance, from denial to murder, and history has seen a lot of murder in the name of religion.

      November 20, 2011 at 9:11 am |
    • wayh

      @IntlPol101
      ....and, contrary to what you have been told, the Romans were NOT concerned about a minor, obscure religion, anymore than you would be concerned about trying to wipe out druids today! They were firm in their beliefs(as you are today). There were many religions at the time, and christianity was new and had a very small following, perhaps as few as 50 people.(by the way, if christianity is the true religion, why is it the youngest? Why did nobody know about God until Jesus' time?)

      November 20, 2011 at 9:32 am |
    • mightyfudge

      @Whatthebibleisabout – "Why is it, that athiest's continuosly attack the religious? What have we done that is so bad to you..."

      You're kidding right? Talk about driving while blind...

      November 20, 2011 at 10:07 am |
    • IntlPol101

      Actually I studied Roman and Greek history and yes the Romans were trying to wipe out the followers of Jesus. Average life span was closer to age 50, regardless, the eyewitness accounts were passed along orally, as I explained in my original post. And wayh, scholars agree that Islam began around 622 AD, centuries after the birth of Jesus. http://www.religioustolerance.org/isl_intr.htm

      November 20, 2011 at 10:22 am |
    • mightyfudge

      @Fab Fallacy? Pretty appropriate considering that the argument for or against the existence of your so-called "God" is the prime example of the Argument of Ignorance. Fallacy indeed.

      November 20, 2011 at 10:24 am |
    • IntlPol101

      Also wayh, "as few as 50 people?" I'd like to see your source material.
      Rome Grows Old from jewishhistory.org:
      Christianity spread like a wildfire after the downfall of Bar Kochba in about 135 CE (however some scholars argue an earlier time-frame). Almost one third of the Roman Empire became Christian in little more than 100 years.
      That development evoked a great and bitter response from Rome, which saw it as a subversive religion that bred rebellion and diminished the power and stature of the Caesars. Therefore, the Romans persecuted the Christians without mercy, inventing all sorts of fiendish methods of public execution and torture in order to dissuade conversion to the new faith.
      However, the harder the Romans tried to put it down the more popular it became.

      November 20, 2011 at 10:55 am |
  20. EffortPA

    I don't mind when people talk to God, but when they claim that God is talking to them, I get concerned. When a Presidential candidate, who would eventually have access to our nuclear codes claims that God is talking to him, I get really, really scared.

    November 20, 2011 at 8:28 am |
    • Hilda

      So, my extremely rtomee location, while having indoor plumbing, electricity, internet, AND satellite TV does not apparently get such stupid commercials warning us about the "test". Either we are perfectly hidden for any emergency, or we are the forgotten ones. Either way, those stupid tests are hella annoying and if the world implodes, a hidden bunker and the EBS won't save you. 😉

      May 18, 2012 at 10:38 pm |
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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.