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In season of giving thanks, signs that gratitude is back
New academic research suggests that expressing gratitude has positive personal and social effects.
November 23rd, 2011
05:00 AM ET

In season of giving thanks, signs that gratitude is back

By Ansley Roan, Special to CNN

A mother in Missouri updates her Facebook status with something she’s grateful for each day. A doctor in Boston makes a gratitude list before bed. A priest in New York ends his day with thanks and reflection.

They have never met. Their lives are very different. But all of them are grateful.

Rhianna Mathias posts her gratitude status updates in part because she’s now a mother after a struggle with infertility. Dr. Aditi Nerurkar keeps a gratitude journal because it helps her de-stress. The Rev. James Martin, a Jesuit priest, ends his days with an exercise called the examination of conscience, which begins with gratitude.

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Their choice to focus on gratitude and their different reasons for doing so suggest new popularity for an ancient sentiment.

Each year at Thanksgiving, many Americans share what they’re grateful for or bow their heads in prayer to give thanks. But there are growing signs that a renewed focus on gratitude has more staying power than the Thanksgiving leftovers.

Many of those who discern a gratitude trend say it's a response to two big developments. One is what some experts call “an explosion” in academic research on the practical benefits of gratitude. The other is economic hard times, which appear to have provoked a greater appreciation for the basic things in life, like family and food. And some say the trend speaks to something deeper, reflecting a crisis of purpose in modern life.

“There is more emphasis on gratitude,” said Gretchen Rubin, author of “The Happiness Project, ” a bestselling memoir about her efforts to have a happier life.

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“There’s a surge in people who are facing some kind of major challenge, like losing their job," she said. "These are catalysts for self-reflection. People remind themselves of what really matters.”

The October unemployment rate was 9 percent and even many of those who have jobs have seen salaries stagnate or shrink. Median household income fell last year, down 1.4 percent from 2007.

The slump may be provoking many Americans to rethink priorities, says Carson Mencken, a Baylor University sociology professor and director of The Baylor Religion Survey.

“About one third of Americans feel very anxious right now, which is high, but not quite as high as we thought it might be,” he said. “People aren’t panicking. That conclusion would certainly be consistent with the idea that people are taking stock.”

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The 2010 Baylor survey showed no significant change in the number of people who pray or believe in God, although it did not directly address gratitude.

Forty eight percent of the 1,100 Americans with fulltime jobs surveyed by Wayne Hochwarter, a professor at Florida State University College of Business, have a greater appreciation of family because of the economic malaise.

Hochwarter's 2010 survey found that 49% feel the economic situation helped them appreciate people more than things.

A wave of academic research has offered evidence of the important role gratitude plays in well-being and relationships.

This year, the John Templeton Foundation awarded a $5.9 million grant to the University of California, Davis for a research project entitled "Expanding the Science and Practice of Gratitude."

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Robert Emmons, a psychology professor and recipient of the grant, has been at the forefront of gratitude research, which has blossomed in the last decade. Academics often find the general public to be increasingly receptive to that work.

“When I used to use words like gratitude, compassion or awe to audiences, I'd see many raised eyebrows,” said Dacher Keltner, psychology professor at the University of California, Berkeley and author of “Born To Be Good: The Science of A Meaningful Life.” “Now as the science matures on these topics, people are very open to these themes.”

And many people say the act of giving thanks enriches their lives, pure and simple.

Mathias, the Missouri mom, says she appreciates her life with husband Nick Watkins and their baby, Arlo.

“I am thankful for small moments on Saturday mornings that make me feel big things: raw sugar and cream and coffee in my cup, Nick making breakfast in his plaid pajama pants, Arlo's face painted in wild smears of self-served yogurt, and talking about our little family's holiday plans,” she posted on Facebook earlier this month.

Mathias got the idea for her status updates from her friend Michelle Filson-Smith, a social worker in Fredericksburg, Virginia who wanted to focus on gratitude instead of her father’s diagnosis with ALS, or Lou Gehrig's Disease, for which there is no cure.

Filson-Smith got the idea from another friend. Five people she knows are posting daily gratitude status updates this month.

Their various reasons for doing so illustrate an impulse that goes beyond reacting to economic instability, said Giacomo Bono, an adjunct psychology professor at California State University, Dominguez Hills, who studies gratitude and children.

“The reason gratitude seems more popular today, and why I think there’s a need for it, is because there’s also a crisis of purpose,” Bono said. “We’re dividing our attention, and there’s never enough time."

"Gratitude has an internal psychological benefit, but also a social one," he said. "The more we have strong relationships, the better our quality of life. Gratitude and purpose are intimately linked because of that.”

At the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, NewYork, which hosts workshops to “awaken the best in the human spirit,” the staff reports an increase in visitors seeking a more purposeful life, which they say includes feeling grateful.

“Gratitude is also a significant dimension of yoga,” said Carla Goldstein, director of Omega’s Women’s Institute. “As the practice of yoga has exploded during the past decade, many people have built it into their yoga practice, even if they don't call it gratitude."

While gratitude is a perennial topic in religion publishing, today’s books differ from those being published 10 years ago, according to Marcia Z. Nelson, associate religion editor for Publishers Weekly.

“Since 2008, I’ve seen many religion books that are almost a prophetic cry against greed and excess,” she said. “The two things are related, ‘Be grateful for what you have.’ ‘You have more than enough.’ But I don’t see the same focus on gratitude, so much as being content.”

Research shows that feelings like gratitude and contentment don't always come easily.

“There’s something called the negativity bias,” said Rubin, the author. “Anything that’s negative catches our attention better than things that are positive. So having some kind of strategy can remind you of things to be grateful for.”

Dr. Nerurkar, the physician who keeps a gratitude journal, said it has improved her outlook and her relationships.

“It’s like a paradigm shift,” she said. “It gives me the ability to zoom out and give thanks. It helps me view my life with the lens of abundance, rather than scarcity.”

Martin, the Jesuit priest and author of “Between Heaven and Mirth: Why Joy, Humor and Laughter are at the Heart of the Spiritual Life,” acknowledged the new interest in gratitude but noted that incorporating it into spiritual practice is hardly new.

The examination of conscience he practices each night was popularized by St. Ignatius, who lived in the 1500s.

“Jesus spoke about gratitude constantly,” Martin said. “One example is his parable of the 10 lepers who were made clean and only one came back to say thanks. That’s the avatar of holy gratitude.”

Although the interest in gratitude doesn’t indicate a religious revival, the concept is common across faiths, Bono said.

“Long ago, the Buddha recognized the importance of gratitude,” said Arnold Kozak, a psychologist and author of the blog “Mindfulness Matters.” “If you are not living with gratitude it’s impossible to live an awakened life.”

While it won't make serious problems go away, Dr. Nerurkar said, it can help change your attitude. “On a bad day," she said, "sometimes I’m just grateful for a soothing cup of tea.”

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Spirituality • Thanksgiving

soundoff (90 Responses)
  1. myklds

    Let's make everyday a Thanks giving day. May God Bless us all.

    November 26, 2011 at 4:37 pm |
  2. David Johnson

    This family is happy... Some others in the world died from starvation and disease. Some children celebrated their holiday in a cancer ward. For some, it will be their last.

    So, this family says grace and feels justified in eating their fill. Did god not provide it? It would be rude not to stuff themselves. This is what the Republicans have been teaching us.

    Beware, my children! Paul is coming very soon, and He is furious at how we are treating our rich.

    Cheers!

    November 25, 2011 at 2:22 pm |
    • Fanny B Tender

      hey D Johnson Duushbag. Stick it up your @$$!!

      November 25, 2011 at 3:10 pm |
    • SciGuy

      Your concern for those who are hungry is commendable, but only if you are doing something about it with the fruits of your labor, rather than trying to solve the problem with the property of others.

      November 25, 2011 at 3:11 pm |
    • I was gonna go to the Red Cross, ...

      @SciGuy That's EXACTLY where I went wrong when I wanted to donate blood to the Red Cross but couldn't decide whose blood to donate. I had my list down to three people when I reread the call for donors and something inside told me, hey, I think they are asking for MINE!!!! Screw that ...

      So I donate other things. But my blood is my own. I mean, donate your OWN blood???????????

      November 25, 2011 at 4:31 pm |
  3. Tony Timbol

    I had a God morning moment to be thankful for after losing my wedding ring on Thanksgiving night. I blogged about it to remember. If you want to read the story here is the link. Whew! http://bit.ly/tcGLmF

    November 25, 2011 at 11:30 am |
    • David Johnson

      @Tony Timbol

      You said: "I had a God morning moment to be thankful for after losing my wedding ring on Thanksgiving night. I blogged about it to remember. "

      Oh, wow dude! Yours is the 2nd god morning I have heard of today. I think it is birth pangs!

      Here is another I heard of:

      I heard (No idea if it is true) of a family of five,that was involved in a head on collision with an 18 wheeler at 70 mph.

      Everyone perished. The car was totally destroyed. The driver of the 18 wheeler lived, but was never "right" again. He keeps mumbling, "Oh, the humanity!"

      BUT, THE PLASTIC STATUE OF JESUS WAS STILL MOUNTED ON THE DASH, TOTALLY UNHARMED!

      Still gleaming, from the Armor All little Betty had lovingly applied, that fateful morning. Doing this, always made Betty feel closer to god.

      I wonder if she noticed how good the statue looked, as she was catapulted through the windshield? One would hope.

      It is miracles like this and finding your car keys or wedding ring, that raise the hairs on the back of my neck. You just know there is a god and that He is almighty. On Keys and wedding rings and stains god is wondrous! Too bad He isn't so good at curing cancer in children, feeding the starving babies He has given women, or alleviating the pain people endure. God has a mysterious set of priorities.

      I heard the church the family belonged to, decided to display the wreckage in the front of the church. They want the faithful to see the power of god, for themselves. A small spot light was installed to illuminate the little statue of Jesus, for night viewing.
      Amen!

      November 25, 2011 at 2:39 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @DJ

      Hey David... I hope that all is well, and that you've been having a great holiday !

      Peace...

      November 26, 2011 at 2:11 am |
  4. SciGuy

    Look at the picture ladies. If you weigh more than your husband, it's time to lose some weight. I suspect he would be really thankful for that, though he dare not mention it!

    November 25, 2011 at 1:59 am |
    • tallulah13

      Maybe he's so lousy in the sack she put on weight so he wouldn't touch her. Maybe he's abusive and she overeats out of nervousness. Or maybe he likes her a little plump.

      See? You're not the only one who can look at a picture and make judgements about people. You don't like fat women. Fair enough. Most women don't like jerks, and that's fair, too.

      November 25, 2011 at 3:22 am |
    • Mirosal

      Maybe SciGuy isn't "equipped" enough to handle a plus-sized woman ... stick to your blow-up doll there, ok? I just hope you pop it with your needle d*ck. I have met far more women who are happy with their curves, and knowing how to best flatter their fuller figures, than I have skiiny vain "OMG what do they all think of me?" types who spend hours in front their own refelction wondering ehat everyone else thinks. So the woman in the pic has meat on her bones .. so what? big deal!! Meat is for the man, bones are for the dog. Go find your Olive Oyl and leave the real women alone. They are way, way out of your league.

      November 25, 2011 at 3:46 am |
    • David Johnson

      @SciGuy

      Oh, dude! Not very Christian of you!

      There was this fat girl in Junior High. She had low self esteem. She desperately wanted to be accepted and loved. This made her incredibly easy. I was content and did not want her to lose weight. She was chunky, but everything still worked okay. I thought she was part of god's plan for my happiness.

      At any rate, by my Freshman year I got a better girlfriend. I will always remember my first time and am thankful to god for providing it.

      Cheers!

      November 25, 2011 at 2:58 pm |
    • SciGuy

      Mirosal, for better or worse my "equipage" is and shall remain a topic of which you can only speculate. But an objective fact is that the equipage with which men enter a marriage remains unchanged, while many women allow their weight to exceed recognized healthy limits a few years into the contract. And that's a shame.

      November 25, 2011 at 4:14 pm |
  5. Rhonda

    I guess all the atheists and agnostics are thankful that CNN didn't have any Thankful articles about God. For me, I am thankful to God, my heavenly Father, who has blessed me and my family abundantly.

    November 24, 2011 at 7:47 pm |
    • tallulah13

      I guess you like making as.sumptions about people you don't know. You didn't have to make any comments about people who don't believe as you, but you just had to get in a dig, didn't you?

      I have already stated on this thread what I am thankful for. I will add to it: I am grateful that the christians I know in real life are nothing like the so-called christians one finds on the belief blog.

      November 24, 2011 at 8:02 pm |
    • John Richardson

      You guessed wrong, Rhonda.

      November 24, 2011 at 8:22 pm |
    • MartinT

      I, personally, would be happy that you are thankful for your god, just as I would be happy if anyone were thankful for whatever god they would chose to worship; as for me, I find more realistic things to be thankful for and do NOT give credit to any being for which I have no reason to believe in. I, as an atheist, hold no more ill feelings toward you as a Christian, than I do again a Muslim or anyone else for that matter. What I may hold against someone who has a religious ideology is when that begins to conflict with my right to live my life as I see fit within the context of the law. Simple as that.

      November 24, 2011 at 9:06 pm |
    • High IQ'er

      YOU are blessed abundantly? I guess God does not care about all of the children who are starving to death in the world. But I guess it is okay since YOU have been blessed "abundantly."

      November 24, 2011 at 11:45 pm |
    • SciGuy

      Wisdom at times eludes highIQers. Rhonda and highIQer have both been abundantly blessed, difference being that she recognizes the Source and HiQ doesn't.

      November 25, 2011 at 3:17 pm |
  6. AGuest9

    CNN, do you realize the disservice you do by including "junk science" in your "From around the web" posts? I have no idea how you come up with the links, perhaps hire better interns to search out and plug them in.

    November 24, 2011 at 12:36 pm |
  7. Dr. O. P. Sudrania

    It is a nice post. It should pass in a message for looking within as positive even in the worst situations. Looking the other way will only increase the miseries but no solutions. Hence one should learn to look within in adversity. Contentment is a good exercise to exert and live in. God bless

    November 24, 2011 at 8:45 am |
  8. Caveman Cliff

    I've been thinking about purchasing a Real Doll. I keep getting shot down by every human I've asked on a date. It's a terrible shame.

    November 24, 2011 at 12:30 am |
    • Caveman Cliff's last post

      ha ha! That's great stuff. When you project onto me your own problems I can only laugh. Keep stealing names. It only shows us how shallow and empty you are. But sometimes you're funny. Try to do just funny stuff. The other crap is lame as hell.

      November 24, 2011 at 1:33 am |
  9. CLOUD OF SMUG

    Here's an interesting article –

    http://www.cnn.com/2011/11/23/opinion/martin-church-girls/index.html?hpt=hp_c3

    Of course they can't be girls. Priests are only into boys.

    November 23, 2011 at 11:56 pm |
  10. Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

    I'm thankful for all of the time I'm allowed to spend alone. Being bitter pays off, and no one wants to be around me.

    November 23, 2011 at 11:40 pm |
    • Caveman Cliff

      Ah, the fake is back. And writing juvenile posts over and over. Sometimes I think you and Tom deserve each other.

      November 24, 2011 at 12:19 am |
  11. AGuest9

    Being grateful for what you have has WHAT to do with having imaginary friends?

    November 23, 2011 at 9:27 pm |
  12. theoldadam

    I'm not nearly as thankful as I ought be.

    But I am thankful that the One who made me, loves me and forgives me even though I often am ungrateful.

    November 23, 2011 at 5:54 pm |
    • Ron Jeremy

      The one? Oh, your parents, which makes two people. Makes much more sense now.

      November 23, 2011 at 8:21 pm |
  13. jillmarie

    No fertility struggle here, but I'm greatful to be having my baby girl in approx 2 weeks. My husband, cat and I are blessed to be adding to our family.

    November 23, 2011 at 3:55 pm |
    • hippypoet

      congrats... i have a 7 month old and a 5 yr old – good luck 🙂

      November 23, 2011 at 4:30 pm |
    • Passive Aggressive

      Life is going to be a bitter shame for those kids, hippy.

      They deserve to have intelligent parents. They've been set up for failure. Good job.

      November 23, 2011 at 9:04 pm |
    • Caveman Cliff

      PA, when are you going to grow up? Don't you know kids under 13 are not allowed on CNN's website? Read the TOS, pinhead.

      November 24, 2011 at 12:21 am |
    • Caveman Cliff

      Kids under 13 belong in church. My church.

      November 24, 2011 at 12:34 am |
    • Passive Aggressive

      wow that was lame. lame-O lameness you lame lamer. ha ha ha ha!

      November 24, 2011 at 1:35 am |
    • hippypoet

      seriously, P A.... go fuk yourself. there is no need for anyone to act as you have... and i am fully aware you are the fake idiot that steals others handle – you should find better things to do with your time!

      November 24, 2011 at 1:37 am |
    • wellwisher

      jillmarie, your post inspired me to reply as I too am in a similar situation and very grateful.

      In about a month, my husband, I and our refrigerator will be welcoming our own little bundle of joy to our home. We have much to be thankful for.

      November 24, 2011 at 9:40 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @jillmarie

      You should ditch the cat. Cats will steal your baby's breath.

      Cheers!

      November 25, 2011 at 8:12 pm |
    • Bob

      "Cats are the creatures of Sauron."
      – J.R.R. Tolkein

      November 25, 2011 at 8:22 pm |
  14. Reality

    im sick of telling you people about the truth im going off to my gay world

    November 23, 2011 at 3:26 pm |
    • Reality

      Not from the original Reality.

      November 23, 2011 at 4:50 pm |
    • Not him

      To the real Reality: I think most of us already knew that. I laughed at the silliness of it, but what can you do? CNN doesn't spend much on fixing their blogs as we have seen. A year and a half and still no serious fixes. Feel free to take the name of any CNN employee. I guess they don't really care.

      November 23, 2011 at 7:29 pm |
  15. Snow

    Dear Native American.. Thank you for letting us occupy your country and eradicating your culture.. Thank you for letting us kill you and plunder your riches so I can feel good about my history.. Thank you for letting us reduce your population to a tenth of The numbers we found when we came here.. and Lastly, thank you for letting us put you in "Reservations" and giving you "Minority" status in your own country.. God bless us, we do all good and nothing bad!

    November 23, 2011 at 3:02 pm |
    • Yeah

      "God bless us, we do all good and nothing bad!"

      Because this country was founded by Christians after all and we are the only ones that are right, damit! LOL!

      November 23, 2011 at 3:04 pm |
    • Ed

      So find a nice Native-American family and give them your home and move out of the nation to where ever your ancestors came from. If you can't do that stop complaining about what you have because of what your ancestors did right or wrong. BTW the way I have been told although not by a Native-American that they perfer to be called Indians not native-American. If there are any Native-Americans on this blog could you confirm which you would perfer.

      November 23, 2011 at 5:03 pm |
    • Hornblower

      I am an indian.. when are you leaving my country Ed..

      November 23, 2011 at 5:48 pm |
    • Ron Jeremy

      I wish you'd leave. And take your alcohol-free casinos with you.

      November 23, 2011 at 8:26 pm |
  16. Lulz

    An atheist was taking a walk through the woods, admiring all that the evolution had created. "What majestic trees! What powerful rivers! What beautiful animals!", he said to himself.

    As he was walking alongside the river he heard a rustling in the bushes behind him. He turned to look. He saw a 7-foot grizzly charge towards him. He ran as fast as he could up the path. He looked over his shoulder and saw that the bear was closing.

    He ran even faster, so scared that tears were coming to his eyes. He looked over his shoulder again, and the bear was even closer. His heart was pumping frantically and he tried to run even faster. He tripped and fell on the ground. He rolled over to pick himself up but saw the bear right on top of him, reaching for him with his left paw and raising his right paw to strike him.

    At that instant the Atheist cried out "Oh my God!...."
    Time stopped.
    The bear froze.
    The forest was silent.
    Even the river stopped moving.

    As a bright light shone upon the man, a voice came out of the sky, "You deny my existence for all of these years; teach others I don't exist; and even credit creation to a cosmic accident. Do you expect me to help you out of this predicament? Am I to count you as a believer?"

    The atheist looked directly into the light "It would be hypocritical of me to suddenly ask You to treat me as Christian now, but perhaps could you make the bear a Christian?"

    "Very well," said the voice.
    The light went out.
    The river ran again.
    And the sounds of the forest resumed.
    And then the bear dropped his right paw ..... brought both paws together...bowed his head and spoke:

    "Lord, for this food which I am about to receive, I am truly thankful...AMEN!"

    November 23, 2011 at 1:27 pm |
    • AGuest9

      Sad and pathetic little fantasy world you live in.

      November 23, 2011 at 3:09 pm |
    • lameness alert

      That has got to be the lamest "lulz" I have ever seen.

      November 23, 2011 at 4:13 pm |
    • Portland tony

      Not a bad story, Fun.

      November 23, 2011 at 4:23 pm |
    • Roger

      "As he was walking alongside the river he heard a rustling in the bushes behind him. He turned to look. He saw a 7-foot grizzly charge towards him. He ran as fast as he could up the path. He looked over his shoulder and saw that the bear was closing. "

      One problem with your story, atheists aren't that dumb especially in grizzly country. We would have our guns with us. Only a Christian would think we were walking in the forest being stupid because that is what you would do because of your belief in a false god. What's funny about that story is, if it was a Christian running for their lives there would be no god to save you and you too would be eaten by the bear. Real atheists know if you go hiking in the woods you have a backup plan, such as a gun, knife, back pack, radio, etc...

      November 23, 2011 at 4:32 pm |
    • Lulz

      Hey Roger,
      thanks for your use of the scientific method to debug the story. It was a joke numbnuts.

      November 23, 2011 at 6:56 pm |
    • GodPot

      A muggle was taking a walk through the woods, admiring all that the evolution had created. "What majestic trees! What powerful rivers! What beautiful animals!", he said to himself.

      As he was walking alongside the river he heard a rustling in the bushes behind him. He turned to look. He saw a 7-foot grizzly charge towards him. He ran as fast as he could up the path. He looked over his shoulder and saw that the bear was closing.

      He ran even faster, so scared that tears were coming to his eyes. He looked over his shoulder again, and the bear was even closer. His heart was pumping frantically and he tried to run even faster. He tripped and fell on the ground. He rolled over to pick himself up but saw the bear right on top of him, reaching for him with his left paw and raising his right paw to strike him.

      At that instant the muggle cried out "Help me Wizards!...."
      Time stopped.
      The bear froze.
      The forest was silent.
      Even the river stopped moving.

      As a bright light shone upon the man, a voice came out of the sky, "You deny my existence for all of these years; teach others I don't exist; and even credit creation to a cosmic accident. Do you expect me to help you out of this predicament? Am I to count you as a believer in Wizards?"

      The muggle looked directly into the light "It would be hypocritical of me to suddenly ask you to treat me as Wizard now, but perhaps could you make the bear a Wizard?"

      "Very well," said the voice.
      The light went out.
      The river ran again.
      And the sounds of the forest resumed.
      And then the bear dropped his right paw ..... brought both paws together...bowed his head, pulled out a wand and spoke:

      "Lord, for this food which I am about to receive, I am truly thankful...AVADA KEDAVRA!"

      I think my version of the joke is funnier, and perhaps a bit more accurate...

      November 23, 2011 at 7:26 pm |
    • Lulz

      Stupify!!!!!

      November 23, 2011 at 7:41 pm |
    • Passive Aggressive

      Syphillis!

      November 24, 2011 at 1:36 am |
    • tallulah13

      A christian was walking by a river, giving thanks to god for all the things that evolution was responsible for. Suddenly, a 7 foot grizzly bear came out of the woods. He was hungry and fairly cranky that some human had invaded his domain. The christian flailed around in panic, praying to god to save him. Since there was no god, the grizzly mauled him and had a fine dinner.

      The end.

      See? Anyone can make up a story.

      November 24, 2011 at 1:44 am |
    • John Richardson

      Prayer never saved anyone from a grizzly bear. Prayer is like talking into a dead cell phone. Not real useful in emergencies.

      The best way to avoid being mauled by a bear is to stay out of their territory. The second best way is to shoot it. The third best way is to stand your ground and make it think twice about attacking. I'd recommend sticking to one of the first two ways.

      November 24, 2011 at 8:28 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Once there was an old man walking through woods when he came upon a group of young children.
      The children made fun of his hair style, calling him "bald head".
      The old man became incensed and began cursing the young ruffians in the name of the Lord.
      Just then, a couple of bears came sauntering from the woods and brutally mauled more than 40 local children, whereupon the man smiled and continued his journey.
      This story brought to you by The Bible – 2 Kings 2:23-25.
      Aren't stories fun, kids?

      November 24, 2011 at 1:07 pm |
  17. Blessed

    I'm thankful for thoughtful, well-researched reporting like this article. In a time of journalistic 'dumbing down,' this writer obvioulsy has the credentials to get it right. Thanks CNN!

    November 23, 2011 at 11:47 am |
  18. tallulah13

    I am always grateful to those beings with whom I share my existence. I'm lucky to be surrounded in life by good people and loving pets.

    November 23, 2011 at 11:07 am |
    • AGuest9

      Definitely.

      November 23, 2011 at 3:10 pm |
    • Snarf

      Those pets are a great food source if you ever run out of food. Good thinking.

      November 23, 2011 at 4:14 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Nah. I take my responsibilities seriously. I'll starve before my pets do.

      November 24, 2011 at 1:45 am |
    • Snarf

      Yeah, let your pets eat your dead body. Verrry responsible thinking there! They'll need one last meal before they die.

      November 24, 2011 at 8:27 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Isn't Snarf that weeny character from "Thundercats"?

      November 24, 2011 at 8:29 pm |
    • sleepless

      You don't have ferrets do you? They'll eat your eyelids if you can't move.

      November 24, 2011 at 8:50 pm |
  19. hippypoet

    don't you love how it shows the "perfect" "ideal" family.... white, 2 kids – one buy, one girl...wife (female) and husband (male) !!! i wanna see the modern family, 1-4 kids, mixed race.... and missing one of the parents either due to over worked schedule, divored, or dead! maybe have the whole family with two dads, or two moms and a bunch of adopted kids from all over the world!

    November 23, 2011 at 10:38 am |
    • Ummmm

      Hey wait what about the cats and dogs, they need good loving homes too!

      November 23, 2011 at 10:44 am |
    • Snarf

      Yes, don't forget to have a backup food supply like pets. Stir fry works great.

      November 23, 2011 at 4:16 pm |
    • Joker

      "Yes, don't forget to have a backup food supply like pets. Stir fry works great."

      Pretty sad your pee brain couldn't come up with a better comment than that. Hey don't tilt your head to the side it might fall out.

      November 23, 2011 at 4:23 pm |
    • Frank Bund

      Dear hippypoet,

      Your suggestion is stupid.

      The end.

      November 23, 2011 at 8:30 pm |
    • Snarf

      Jealous much? heh.

      November 23, 2011 at 8:37 pm |
    • Passive Aggressive

      I see someone has overlooked the content of the article, per usual. CNN is not a picture book. Read the words before you comment. And while you're at it, note the proper use of grammar.

      November 23, 2011 at 9:07 pm |
    • hippypoet

      as cute as my own stalker is.... you spot has been taken for some time now, you are lacking imagination... please search under the couch...

      November 24, 2011 at 1:39 am |
  20. Reality

    I am indeed grateful that I can say the following without risking my life:

    What instigated the attack on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon? And what drives today's 24/7 mosque/imam-planned acts of terror and horror?

    The koran, Mohammed's book of death for all infidels and Muslim domination of the world by any means. Muslims must clean up this book removing said passages admitting that they are based on the Gabriel myth and therefore obviously the hallucinations and/or lies of Mohammed. Then we can talk about the safety and location of mosques and what is taught therein.

    Until then, no male Muslim can be trusted anytime or anywhere..................................

    November 23, 2011 at 7:43 am |
    • TruthPrevails

      "Until then, no male Muslim can be trusted anytime or anywhere."

      While I don't agree with the teachings of any myth, muslim or otherwise, I would have to disagree that no male muslim can be trusted. I have met plenty of muslim men who can be trusted but they are the ones who have gotten away from the oppression of their home lands and have taken advantage of their freedoms allotted to them in their new country. These men do follow their book in certain ways-their women bare as many children as they are capable of; the man is the head of the household....that kind of thing.
      You can't group every one of them in to the same category, just as you can't group all christians in to the same category. We have militant muslims and militant and militant non-believers...it's the wonderment of life. All we can possibly hope for is that those who are militant and out to cause harm based on their belief, are brought to justice swiftly. I strongly believe that if a muslim or any other group/person chooses to live in America and then betrays that country by plotting against it, it should be considered treason and that the punishment for treason be enforced. We do need to protect our land and people while still being accepting of other people and their right to live freely.

      November 23, 2011 at 8:08 am |
    • tallulah13

      Bad people do bad things, Reality. You may as well say humanity shouldn't be trusted.

      November 23, 2011 at 11:01 am |
    • Reality

      One more time:

      What instigated the attack on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon? And what drives today's 24/7 mosque/imam-planned acts of terror and horror?

      The koran, Mohammed's book of death for all infidels and Muslim domination of the world by any means. Muslims must clean up this book removing said passages admitting that they are based on the Gabriel myth and therefore obviously the hallucinations and/or lies of Mohammed. Then we can talk about the safety and location of mosques and what is taught therein.

      Until then, no male Muslim can be trusted anytime or anywhere..................................

      The OT/Torah is full of god-approvedd atrocities although one wonders how historic they are since 1.5 million Conservative Jews and their rabbis have basically concluded that Abraham and Moses never existed and that the Jericho walls never came tumbling down due to the sound of horns.

      The New Testament has only one major atrocity, that of god committing filicide assuming you believe in this Christian mumbo jumbo. Said atrocity should be enough to vitiate all of Christianity.

      November 23, 2011 at 12:57 pm |
    • hippypoet

      reality, you are wrong and need to get intouch with your name!

      what instigated the attacks was them not wanting us in there country...but we did anyway!
      they rationalize they way they feel towards us thru use of there religion. that is all.

      November 23, 2011 at 1:01 pm |
    • Reality

      And the koranic/mosque driven acts of terror and horror continue:

      The Muslim Conquest of India – 11th to 18th century

      ■"The likely death toll is somewhere between 2 million and 80 million. The geometric mean of those two limits is 12.7 million. "

      and the 19 million killed in the Mideast Slave Trade 7C-19C by Muslims.

      and more recently

      1a) 179 killed in Mumbai/Bombay, 290 injured

      1b) Assassination of Benazir Bhutto and Theo Van Gogh

      2) 9/11, 3000 mostly US citizens, 1000’s injured

      3) The 24/7 Sunni-Shiite centuries-old blood feud currently being carried out in Iraq, US troops killed in action, 3,480 and 928 in non combat roles. 102,522 – 112,049 Iraqi civilians killed as of 9/16/2011/, mostly due to suicide bombers, land mines and bombs of various types, http://www.iraqbodycount.org/ and http://www.defenselink.mil/news/casualty.pdf

      4) Kenya- In Nairobi, about 212 people were killed and an estimated 4000 injured; in Dar es Salaam, the attack killed at least 11 and wounded 85.[2]

      5) Bali-in 2002-killing 202 people, 164 of whom were foreign nationals, and 38 Indonesian citizens. A further 209 people were injured.

      6) Bali in 2005- Twenty people were killed, and 129 people were injured by three bombers who killed themselves in the attacks.

      7) Spain in 2004- killing 191 people and wounding 2,050.

      8. UK in 2005- The bombings killed 52 commuters and the four radical Islamic suicide bombers, injured 700.

      9) The execution of an eloping couple in Afghanistan on 04/15/2009 by the Taliban.

      10) – Afghanistan: US troops 1,385 killed in action, 273 killed in non-combat situations as of 09/15/2011. Over 40,000 Afghan civilians killed due to the dark-age, koranic-driven Taliban acts of horror

      11) The killing of 13 citizen soldiers at Ft. Hood by a follower of the koran.

      12) 38 Russian citizens killed on March 29, 2010 by Muslim women suicide bombers.

      13) The May 28, 2010 attack on a Islamic religious minority in Pakistan, which have left 98 dead,

      14) Lockerbie is known internationally as the site where, on 21 December 1988, the wreckage of Pan Am Flight 103 crashed as a result of a terrorist bomb. In the United Kingdom the event is referred to as the Lockerbie disaster, the Lockerbie bombing, or simply Lockerbie. Eleven townspeople were killed in Sherwood Crescent, where the plane's wings and fuel tanks plummeted in a fiery explosion, destroying several houses and leaving a huge crater, with debris causing damage to a number of buildings nearby. The 270 fatalities (259 on the plane, 11 in Lockerbie) were citizens of 21 nations.

      15 The daily suicide and/or roadside and/or mosque bombings in the terror world of Islam.

      16) Bombs sent from Yemen by followers of the koran which fortunately were discovered before the bombs were detonated.

      17) The killing of 58 Christians in a Catholic church in one of the latest acts of horror and terror in Iraq.

      18) Moscow airport suicide bombing: 35 dead, 130 injured. January 25, 2011.

      19) A Pakistani minister, who had said he was getting death threats because of his stance against the country's controversial blasphemy law, was shot and killed Wednesday, 3/2/2011

      20) two American troops killed in Germany by a recently radicalized Muslim, 3/3/2011

      21) the kidnapping and apparent killing of a follower of Zoraster in the dark world of Islamic Pakistan.

      22) Shariatpur, Bangladesh (CNN 3/30/2011) - Hena Akhter's last words to her mother proclaimed her innocence. But it was too late to save the 14-year-old girl. Her fellow villagers in Bangladesh's Shariatpur district had already passed harsh judgment on her. Guilty, they said, of having an affair with a married man. The imam from the local mosque ordered the fatwa, or religious ruling, and the punishment: 101 lashes delivered swiftly, deliberately in public. Hena dropped after 70 and died a week later.

      23) "October 4, 2011, 100 die as a truck loaded with drums of fuel exploded Tuesday at the gate of compound housing several government ministries on a busy Mogadishu street. It was the deadliest single bombing carried out by the al Qaeda-linked al-Shabab group in Somalia since their insurgency began. "

      November 23, 2011 at 2:17 pm |
    • Reality

      o On the koranic passages and world domination:
      o
      "Mohammed could not have known the size of the world, but several passages in the Koran show that he envisioned Islam dominating all of it, however large it might be: “He it is who sent his messenger . . . that he may cause it [Islam] to prevail over all religions´(Koran 9:33, M.M. Ali; see also 48:28 and 61:9). M.M. Ali designates these three passages as “the prophecy of the ultimate triumph of Islam in the whole world.”

      Mohammed’s successors, the caliphs, quoted passages like these to inspire Muslim armies as they advanced out of Arabia, imposing Islam by the sword upon a peacefully unsuspecting Middle East and North Africa, as I described in the previous chapter.

      Islamic armies, imbued with what Mohammed claimed was divine authorization, imposed Islam by force over vast areas, all the while extorting wealth from subjugated Jews and Christians to fund their ongoing conquests. As I noted, major defeats at Tours, France, in A.D. 732, and again at Vienna, Austria, in A.D. 1683, halted Islam’s attempt to take all of Europe by force. Gradually Islamic forces were forced to retreat from Europe, except for part of the Balkans. But Islam has again set its sights on a conquest of Europe and of European civilization, wherever the latter has spread to North and South America and other regions. Muslim strategists ask their followers, Why do we find in these modern times that Allah has entrusted most of the world’s oil wealth primarily to Muslim nations?

      Their answer: Allah foresaw Islam’s need for funds to finance a final politico-religious victory over what Islam perceives as its ultimate enemy: Christianized Euro-American civilization. So, Islam follows Nazism, fascism and communism as the world’s latest hostile takeover aspirant.

      Nazis, fascists and communists failed. Does Islam have a better chance at success? I believe it will flounder if we awaken to its threat in time; yet, if there is not adequate planned resistance, Islam does have a better chance of succeeding. Communism’s world takeover attempt was guaranteed to fail because its economic policy was naively contrary to human nature. Advocating the rubric What is mine is thine, and what is thine is mine, communism failed to see that human nature will not keep those two balanced propositions in equilibrium. Like

      a female black widow spider consuming her mate, the latter part of the formula makes a meal of the former, leading to the collapse of any system based upon that formula.

      In contrast, political systems do well if they can persuade people to adhere to What’s mine is mine and What’s thine is thine maxims.

      Only if a strong religious incentive is added does such an idealistic formula have any long-term chance. Even then success will be spotty. But communism (and Nazism, for that matter) excluded religion. And that mistake was the final nail eventually clamping a lid on communism’s coffin. Communism, on a historical scale, perished while still in its childhood.

      Islam is not repeating communism’s mistake. Mating political cunning and incredible wealth with religious zeal, Islam does have a chance to succeed and will succeed unless major parts of the Western world unite to take appropriate countermeasures. But many Western leaders, unable to believe that a mere religion could possible be a serious political threat, keep proclaiming themselves as Islam-friendly, reasoning that all religions are good-aren’t they?

      A Muslim strategist in Beverly Hills, California, declared several years ago, as quoted by a friend of mine: “Now that the struggle between Western democracies and international communism is winding down, it is time for the real and final struggle to begin, and we are going to win!”

      Don Richardson

      November 23, 2011 at 2:19 pm |
    • Passive Aggressive

      hippy said they didn't want us in "there" country. Amazing. Here folks, is a classic example of why this country can't dig itself out of a hole.

      November 23, 2011 at 9:08 pm |
    • Passive Aggressive

      And by "hole" I meant my ass.

      November 24, 2011 at 1:37 am |
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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.