December 5th, 2011
11:00 AM ET

Baby boomers heading back to seminary

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Washington (CNN)– At 51, Vincent Guest could well be the professor at a table filled with 20- and 30-year-olds. He is leading a lunchtime social justice meeting for seminarians at Theological College at Catholic University in Washington.

Forks clink on plates in the basement conference room as Guest opens the November meeting in prayer. "In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit," he says as he bows his head and clasps his hands.

Guest is not a visiting professor. He is a seminarian, just like the other younger men at the table.

But he is not alone in his age group. According to a decade-long study of enrollment by the Association of Theological Schools released in 2009, the fastest-growing group of seminarians include those older than 50. In 1995, baby boomers made up 12% of seminarians, while today they are 20%.

"I think I was always looking for something else in a lot of ways and always felt the call to do something else," Guest said.

He spent time in government and Pennsylvania politics before settling into a career in law. He had a three-bedroom home near the Jersey Shore with a meaningful job as an attorney helping the poor.

Though successful by any measure with a job that made a difference, he kept looking.

“Helping people with domestic violence, you know suffering from domestic violence or immigrants who were being deported ... I just saw their brokenness. In so many different ways, they were broken. And I know they needed to be touched by the love of God,” he said.

The feeling that something was missing led Guest to Theological College to study to become a parish priest in Camden, New Jersey.

Vincent Guest, right, leads a social justice meeting at Theological College.

“Ministry, whether that be a priest or a minister or a rabbinical student touches people’s lives at the core, where God is where it’s most meaningful. I think people grasp that and are searching for that," he said.

Guest, who never married, was good candidate to become a priest. As a young man, he enrolled in the seminary for a few years to become a priest before leaving to experience life.

It is a journey that has played out similarly for a lot of baby boomers.

“Many of them felt a call early in life, maybe in their teenage years or college, and set that aside to be the bread winner for the family or do what the family expected them to do,” said the Rev. Chip Aldridge, admissions director at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington.

The Methodist seminary, which boasts students from 40 denominations, has also seen a rise in baby boomers in the last decade, making for some interesting classes.

For many of the boomers who went to college in the analog age, they have to get up to speed in a hurry to learn in the digital era.

"Everyone has to be able to use online academic tools. ... They've got to be very comfortable with technology," Aldridge said.

The majority of seminarians are still in their 20s and 30s.

"You've got two very different kinds of rich experiences when the baby boomers and the millennials come together in the classroom setting," Aldridge said.

"Yes, the baby boomer may have had a career, two careers, has raised a family, but millenials are coming from these colleges where almost all of them have some overseas studies, almost all of them have been on some kind of volunteer mission; they speak a second language. So in some ways those two sets of life experiences complement each other, and it becomes a very rich conversation," he said.

One benefit, unseen a decade ago when boomers began returning to seminaries, was the impact they would have on shrinking mainline denominations.

“They’ve got a little bit of that financial burden taken off them because of a previous career behind them," Aldridge said. “We’ve got a lot of churches that would not have been able to have a full-time pastor unless these baby boomers are returning to study and are raising their hand and saying, ‘Send me to those churches because I’m ready for something quiet in the country or outside the beltway.’ "

It’s a working retirement plan that skips the beach house.

“Whose got time to lie on the beach? There’s so much going on out there," Leah Daughtry said.

Daughtry, 48, is a former senior staffer for the Democratic National Committee who ran the party's 2008 convention in Denver.

As her secular career was slowing down, she started ramping up a spiritual one, taking the pulpit at House of the Lord Church, a Pentecostal church in Washington.

Leah Daughtry studies at Wesley Theological Seminary library in Washington.

Like many boomers, she kept working a 9-to-5 job during the day and took seminary classes at night to bolster her theological knowledge.

On a bright November afternoon, she was pouring over books in the library for her thesis. She even was mastering paperless photocopying, using a USB thumb drive in combination with a photocopier at Wesley's new library.

She chuckled as she considered when some of her classmates were born. "I'm glad that I came later in life - after I had a chance to experience some things and experience some knocks in the outside world before coming to this sort of secluded space of seminary."

For Daughtry, it's natural for boomers to return to seminaries.

“We came of age at a time of activism and doing something, where you want to roll up your sleeves and be involved in something, somewhere," she said. "I don’t think we’re people who check out, and would be happy sitting on the beach in Florida looking at the sun. There’s something in our ethos that craves involvement with the world around us.”

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- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Church • TV-CNN Newsroom

soundoff (653 Responses)
  1. fdsjoipewiore

    when people are faced with a lack of jobs , unable to find work, there will be an increase in people seeking the religious life because it offers them shelter, food, stability and a purpose. sad but true. i

    December 6, 2011 at 11:00 am |
  2. fdsjoipewiore

    I think the recession has a lot to do with people flocking to seminaries especially men who have been widowed or single and have lost their jobs. it offers stability and you do not have to worry about ending up homeless.

    December 6, 2011 at 10:57 am |
  3. Bob

    Plain and simple: the ministry students are senile, or they were always stupid.

    Christianity is obviously just supersti-tion, with some pretty horrid evils in it. Get over it.

    December 6, 2011 at 10:27 am |
    • 4mercy

      The power of prayer is working. Seminaries are being filled. Many are being taught how to lead Christ's flock and are answering His call. God bless them. The turn of the tide is coming. May God bless and have mercy on those who do not believe, may their hearts and minds be opened to Him.

      December 6, 2011 at 10:53 am |
    • Ray

      I agree with Bob. Also, I'm wondering if the increase in percentage in older people in seminary is due to an increased number of older people, or a decreased number of younger people (both of which would increase the percentage of older people). Since the overall rate of people attending seminary has been declining over the years, my guess is that fewer young people are attending.

      Eventually, our society will get over the myth of religion, but it will take a while

      December 6, 2011 at 12:42 pm |
    • Me

      There are worse drugs these people could be using. Religion can be one of the safest drugs, depending on how it is used.

      December 6, 2011 at 4:34 pm |
  4. Willie 12345

    People need work and need to eat.

    December 6, 2011 at 8:32 am |
  5. St. John

    First and foremost a war on Vatican II and its doctrinal abominations must me fought without fail. Tradition must be upheld debunking Vatican II. Carry the cross of Our Lord in battle against the modernists-period!

    December 6, 2011 at 8:18 am |
  6. Meredith

    Personal beliefs and religious arguments aside, this is much like starting a second career at retirement age and good for them.
    They've lived, learned and seen things that younger people have no experience with and will be able to relate that to others in this new role.
    Good for them for embarking on something they feel they need to do, just like becoming a psychologist or doctor at a late age...the religious bent is swaying so many here...

    December 6, 2011 at 7:50 am |
  7. Reality

    Dear Seminarians,

    As a good students, you have read the reiterations of the "fems" (flaws, errors, muck and stench) of religion. Therefore the seeds have been planted in rich soil. Go therefore and preach the truth to all nations, reiterating as you go amongst the lost, bred, born and brainwashed souls of Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism as Rational Thinking makes its triumphant return all because of you!!!!

    Putting the kibosh on the major religions in a few "to-the-pointers" :

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Added details available-

    December 6, 2011 at 7:34 am |
    • Reality

      Ooops, make that "As good students".

      December 6, 2011 at 7:34 am |
    • jwk

      Hey, you posted the same thing here about 7 hours ago. Once is enough.

      December 6, 2011 at 8:06 am |
    • Bob

      Keep on posting, Reality. The world needs to see the truth, that Christianity is all bunk no matter what the individual sect is,

      December 6, 2011 at 10:29 am |
    • 4mercy

      God is Truth....the Way, the Truth, and the Life. If you want to be blind to His life, do not lead the faithful astray with your lies.

      December 6, 2011 at 10:56 am |
    • Reality

      John 14:6 " I am the Truth.......) appears only in John's gospel i.e. a single attestation which typically vitiates any passage as being historical.

      From Professor Gerd Ludemann's book, Jesus After 2000 Years, p. 416, "Anyone in search of the historical Jesus will not find him in the Gospel of John......This verdict is the consensus among New Testament scholars."

      December 6, 2011 at 1:39 pm |
  8. b4bigbang

    What proof do u atheists have that there is no God?

    December 6, 2011 at 1:34 am |
    • Hamilton

      We have all the proof in the world. Why you would think otherwise is beyond my capability to express fully.

      December 6, 2011 at 2:05 am |
    • claybigsby

      Hamilton: "We have all the proof in the world."

      No you dont. What proof do you have that I do not? The fact is you can't prove either way whether god exists or not.

      December 6, 2011 at 10:17 am |
    • Chuckles

      @b4bigbang and clay

      What exactly consti.tues as proof? This is something of a ground rule I want to make because if you're in the business of asking for proof from an atheist about the non-exisistance of god, then you have to set a basic foundation for what that is. For instance, I know my proof for the existance of god ranges from a giant bearded guy appearing in the universe and giving us a wave, a voice coming from the sky stating his name and occupation, performing a miracle that can clearly through no scientific obversavtion be proven (say, making it rain something else other than water, regrow a limb, etc...).
      So what does your proof of no god look like? If you think its impossible and theres nothing that would make you stop believing in god no matter how much "proof" or lack therof an atheist can accrue, then that's being incredibly disingenuous

      December 6, 2011 at 10:22 am |
    • catholic engineer

      @ Hamilton
      You have all the proof in the world that there is not God? Pascal said that there is enough evidence in the world to cause belief or disbelief. Atheists who attempt to use science to disprove God are like scientific instruments observing only the KNOWN universe. But what if the instrument is faulty? And what if the data gathered is badly interpreted?

      December 6, 2011 at 10:22 am |
    • catholic engineer

      What does proof of God look like? Evelyn Underhill, the Anglican mystic offered this: " Absolutes are known only to absolute mind; our measurements, however careful and intricate, can never tally with the measurements of God."
      Carl Jung pointed out that God's existence does not depend upon our proofs.

      December 6, 2011 at 10:26 am |
    • Bob

      b4, google "Russell's Teapot".

      The stupid religious sheeple are the ones making claims for a god with absurd and contradictory characteristics. The burden of proof is on them.

      December 6, 2011 at 10:32 am |
    • Chuckles


      Now you're not playing fair. As an atheist I have a ver distinct set of answers of why I do not believe and god and what it would take in order to make me believe in god. I don't have 100% certainty there is no god, but I also have no 100% certainty that there is no teapot between mars and jupiter floating around in space (Thanks @Bob). What I got from your post is that if you believe in god, then you know that god can no if something does or does not exist with 100% of certainty, humans can not so..... what exactly, are you saying you aren't 100% certain there is a god? Are you wavering? If you stand by your post, you are more of an agnostic/atheist than I think you even know because religion dictates that you have to be fully 100% comitted to god and believing in him....

      December 6, 2011 at 10:40 am |
    • TokenRing

      I'm tired of your hit and run posting. If you're not going to stay with a converstation, jsut keep your un-informed opinions to yourself. Otherwise answer the dam'n questions people ask of you.

      December 6, 2011 at 1:16 pm |
  9. Bobs friend

    Bob is correct that the judgements of God will be extreme. But even in the face of great judgement, people will still have an opportunity to repent, but they will not:
    "Today is the day of Salvation", do wait until it is too late!!

    Revelation 16::

    “Yes, Lord God Almighty,
    true and just are your judgments.”
    8The fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and the sun was given power to scorch people with fire. 9They were seared by the intense heat and they cursed the name of God, who had control over these plagues, but they refused to repent and glorify him.

    10The fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and his kingdom was plunged into darkness. Men gnawed their tongues in agony 11and cursed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, but they refused to repent of what they had done.

    December 6, 2011 at 1:15 am |
    • George

      Yes, but even God doesn't mete out harsh punishment to his people. We can avoid hell by repenting and accepting the Lord Jesus Christ. But we have free will. If we choose to reject Christ, we choose hell. It is OUR choice.

      December 6, 2011 at 1:19 am |
    • Bobs friend

      Judgement IS coming, and there is nothing you can do to stop it. Your arguments will be useless, your fury and anger nothing. God is Almighty. Repent and believe! Today!

      Gods way is the way of Peace! Matt 11:28 "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."

      Jesus can change your life, He changes lives everyday! He can make you a totally new person, with a new heart! Come!!

      December 6, 2011 at 1:20 am |
    • Bobs friend

      @ George: Referring to the old testament treatment of Jerusalem, God reserves some severe discipline for his people when they go astray. Jerusalem was leveled more than once, by Babylon, and by the Romans. Also in the new testament: read Hebrews Ch 12

      Heb 12:4 “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline,
      and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,
      6because the Lord disciplines those he loves,
      and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.”

      December 6, 2011 at 1:29 am |
    • Hamilton

      So everything is predestined? Then how can you say there is sin? We do not sin but only your "god" does these things so where is free will? With a future already laid out, there is nothing for the individual to claim responsibility for. Very irresponsible of you to think that way, wouldn't you say? Or would you twist and turn and try to pretend that we have predestined free-will?
      Cause and effect only works one way. You cannot argue about cause and effect if there is none, as predestination would mean that time is only an illusion and we are embedded in a matrix of time without choice or freedom.

      December 6, 2011 at 2:12 am |
    • Know What


      These two mini-brains are not able to understand anything logical that you said. All they can do is parrot an old book of Middle Eastern Hebrew superst-itions and fantasies.

      December 6, 2011 at 2:29 am |
    • Hamilton

      Yes, well I wasn't just speaking to them. So how do you like your illusion of free will? It's amazing how either side of the free-will question has obvious consequences for any religion, since neither one supports any religious outlook. Very strange stuff to try to discuss with anyone, much less some "mini-brains." I'm passing through and thought to chime in. I find that expression of my own nonsense helps me move past it and find progress of a sort. Call it "venting".

      December 6, 2011 at 2:52 am |
    • News Flash

      I thought god has a plan. If I choose that non-belief is the most honest action, then god always knew that's what I would choose, and that must be his plan. Or is he not all knowing, and makes bad plans ?

      December 6, 2011 at 3:04 am |
    • Hamilton

      Yes, stuff like that. It always ends badly for any religious believer which explains why they are brainwashed to ignore stuff like that.

      December 6, 2011 at 3:23 am |
    • Reality

      "Nineteenth-century agnostic Robert G. Ingersoll branded Revelation "the insanest of all books".[30] Thomas Jefferson omitted it along with most of the Biblical canon, from the Jefferson Bible, and wrote that at one time, he "considered it as merely the ravings of a maniac, no more worthy nor capable of explanation than the incoherences of our own nightly dreams." [31]

      Martin Luther "found it an offensive piece of work" and John Calvin "had grave doubts about its value."[32]

      December 6, 2011 at 7:36 am |
    • Mike from CT

      And Reality is good at taking the Lutheran and Calvin quote out of context.

      December 6, 2011 at 10:06 am |
    • Reality

      How are said comments out of context?

      December 6, 2011 at 1:43 pm |
    • Bobs Friend

      @ Hamilton:
      There are 2 perspectives: Gods and ours. See God can foresee the future, He knows full well what will happen. But knowing what will happen does not mean you forced it to happen. History is already a completed equation to Him. However, we do not enjoy His Omnipotence, therefore, we make our choices. Some to Heaven others to Eternal damnation.
      Your Freedom and Gods Omniscience coexist.
      Nevertheless, I was simply acknowledge the fact the I am not Omniscient, therefore I do not know if it is possible to save you or not. Therefore not knowing, I will continue to preach on the hope that you will be saved. That hope may be in vain. Time will tell.

      December 6, 2011 at 11:34 pm |
  10. Bobs friend

    I'm still praying for all the rabid haters here. However, as I did, I realized that, despite my prayers, many will "Lie down in torment" as the Bible says. Many of the people here display all of the obvious signs of people on the road to hell.

    Malice, hatred, mocking, evil speaking, cursing, arrogance, pride, and utter spiritual blindness. The blind leading the blind.
    Some people are simply destined for hell, and God is the ultimate judge. The Bible says God is grieved when people choose to hate him and instead go to hell. I too am grieved, but ultimately God will be proved correct in His judgements.

    "Love your enemies, and bless those who persecute you and spitefully use you" the Bible says. How can you love people who hate you? " I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" AMEN !!!

    December 6, 2011 at 1:02 am |
    • Hamilton

      "Malice, hatred, mocking, evil speaking, cursing, arrogance, pride, and utter spiritual blindness. The blind leading the blind."
      Funny, I would point to the religious posts such as your own with such a description.

      December 6, 2011 at 2:18 am |
  11. George

    Looks like the baby boomers are trying to get right with God before it's too late. I'm really glad that they are seeing the Truth and responding. The generation of "imagine there's no heaven ... no religion too" is finally coming to terms with the fact that God does indeed exist.

    December 6, 2011 at 12:50 am |
  12. Reality

    Dear Seminarians,

    Putting the kibosh on the major religions in a few "to-the-pointers" :

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Added details available-

    December 6, 2011 at 12:08 am |
    • arthurrrr

      most of YOUR reality sucks and is WRONG so YOU FAIL.

      December 6, 2011 at 12:11 am |
    • PooCorn

      Such a loving christian outlook! Thank you arthur!

      December 6, 2011 at 12:24 am |
    • Bobs friend

      Ask, and you shall receive, seek, and you shall find, knock, and the door shall be opened unto you. Jesus has made an open invitation, waiting for you to forsake sin and follow Him. He's all the proof you'll ever need.
      Millions of lives have been absolutely transformed by Jesus Christ!

      My life has, and that's all the proof I need AMEN!!!

      December 6, 2011 at 12:46 am |
    • Seth

      Nice recycled garbage. Seen this is every religious article's comments section. You're an idiot.

      December 6, 2011 at 1:33 am |
    • Reality

      Matt 7:7 "Ask, and you shall receive, seek, and you shall find, knock, and the door shall be opened unto you" is one of the few passages deemed to be "authentic Jesus" by most contemporary NT scholars. The problem with the passage is that it basically supports praying which by rational thinking is useless.

      To wit:

      The gifts of Free Will and Future are inherent to all the thinking beings in the Universe. This being the case, it is not possible to alter life with prayers. Statistically, your request might come true but it is simply the result of the variability/randomness of Nature..

      So put down your rosaries and prayer beads and stop worshiping/revering cows or bowing to Mecca five times a day. Instead work hard at your job, take care of aging parents, volunteer at a soup kitchen, donate to charities and the poor and continue to follow the proper rules of your religion or any good rules of living as gracious and good human beings.

      December 6, 2011 at 7:47 am |
  13. DC

    Yes, boomers have a lot of repenting to do for all the hedonistic destruction they have wrought!

    December 5, 2011 at 11:19 pm |
    • arthurrrr

      we all have much to repent for..... but God is awesome, beautiful, miraculous, kind, Faithful, LOVING,patient, HUMBLE, amazing, spectacular, NEVER Boring. so real, honest, FUNNY, and absolutely Creative!!!!!! That's why people come to Him and never eave Him.

      December 6, 2011 at 12:10 am |
    • PooCorn

      And the bible says gays should be put to death. VERY loving indeed.

      December 6, 2011 at 12:23 am |
    • Hamilton

      Arthurrr, your imaginary rose-colored glasses are actually painted black and what you see is your own fantasy projected upon your surroundings. The Christian "god" is actually described as a childish tyrant who is full of hate and murder and thievery. The Bible describes genocidal maniacs who killed whole villages to steal everything and maybe get a few slaves into the bargain. That is old testament goodness right there. Jews are just an extended bunch of nomadic tribesmen who slayed and robbed their way around the Middle East in "biblical" times. They are not a chosen people. They only said that they were using the "sotto voice" of their plagiarized monster of a deity to justify their actions. You would never do anything like that would you? Riiiight.

      December 6, 2011 at 2:26 am |
    • Mike from CT

      Actually Poo the Bible says all are worthy of death

      Romans 1 and 6

      However, salvation is a gift from God
      Eph 2
      through the propitiation of Jesus who is the Christ
      Hebrews 2
      1John 2

      December 6, 2011 at 10:14 am |
  14. cindy

    I wish that people would enter the debate with dignity and respect. It is okay to say "I don't agree with you" instead of replying with aggression and insult. My truth may not be your truth and that is just fine.

    December 5, 2011 at 8:49 pm |
    • PooCorn

      Respect? Why?

      December 5, 2011 at 10:00 pm |
    • msmith

      Thank you, Cindy!!!!!!!!!!

      December 5, 2011 at 10:49 pm |
    • hippypoet

      cindy dont know what shes talking about any way to begin with and brings up a post with no inteligence to begin with.

      December 5, 2011 at 11:50 pm |
    • redplanet

      There can't be 2 truths,Cindy. This is why it's called the truth.

      December 6, 2011 at 1:22 am |
    • Hamilton

      Cindy, I think you do not understand the meaning of that word you keep using. There is only one universe we can try to comprehend. If facts do not match then someone is wrong about their analysis of what their facts mean in relation to other facts. Everything is related in this universe by simple dint of physics. You cannot make up your own facts. .

      December 6, 2011 at 2:32 am |
  15. general

    There is a god (someone/something more intelligent/potent than us humans) and logically there's no way around it–but no way is it the god of the bible. I suggest you christians wise up.

    December 5, 2011 at 8:42 pm |
    • Preposterous

      "There is a god"

      That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence.

      December 5, 2011 at 8:45 pm |
    • Champion

      Somehow a tornado blew through a junkyard and assembled a jumbo jet ,that was preposterous indeed!

      December 5, 2011 at 8:51 pm |
    • general

      ^^^^^ Logic^^^^^^

      Here's a case study that any thinker should have done by age 14. Take any theory of how the universe was created, then go back one step, and so on until you arrive at a god. Oh and by extension we can realize "time" is infinite but we'll save that for lesson 2.

      December 5, 2011 at 8:55 pm |
    • Specifics

      General ly speaking the specifics around infinity appears to be a mystery to some who grapple in general with finite wisdom; something incomprehensible to the real thinker who understands the brilliance behind intelligence!

      December 5, 2011 at 9:01 pm |
    • Preposterous

      @general: By age 7 you should have understood that humanity does not and can not know how the Universe began. To speculate endlessly on the unobservable aspects of such an event would be a complete waste of your time, and to shape who you are around the unsubstantiated fantastical claims of men no more capable than yourself, would be a complete and utter waste of your life.

      December 5, 2011 at 9:16 pm |
    • Specifics

      While 'infinity' is a unknown mystery confounding the skeptic, it is settled in the mind of those that acknowledge the maker and creator of cosmos and beyond.

      December 5, 2011 at 9:25 pm |
    • PooCorn

      Infinity confounds the believer just as much. Why? Because the human mind cannot process what infinity is. That's why humans invented clocks. That's why humans invented gods. Because humans have never been able to look at something without trying to explain it in some way. Now that we know what weather patterns are, natural disasters, the stars, etc. We can logically dismiss the creator myth.

      December 5, 2011 at 10:03 pm |
    • Bucky Ball

      Many non-intuitive elements of this universe have been discovered. Is relativity "logical" ? No. All that "There is a god (someone/something more intelligent/potent than us humans) and logically there's no way around it" means, is that you have no other explanation. That does not prove there IS no other explanation. All we know NOW is that the 4 dimensions observable to us, 3 of space and 1 of time, began at the Big Bang, (and perhaps the others mathematically predicted by String Theory), may be induced. To try to guess what happened "before time" is meaningless, and non-productive, as there was no "before" there was time. It's non-intuitive, and not satisfying, but that's all we know. Better to be honest, than to make up stories, and explanations with no evidence. There is no evidence that one of the dimensions of the four we know of, existed "before" space-time existed. It is NOT separate from the other three, and THAT has been proven, many times over by physicists. 😈

      December 5, 2011 at 10:23 pm |
    • msmith

      Can't wait to meet you at the pearly gates to help usher you the other way!!!!!

      December 5, 2011 at 10:50 pm |
    • AGuest9

      Quite impossible, since there is no such place. If there were, you seem to be quite presumptuous regarding your own fate.

      December 5, 2011 at 10:56 pm |
    • News Flash

      Pearly gates. Right. And I know you will be staying up with a plate of cookies for Santy on the 24th. Good luck with that too.

      December 5, 2011 at 11:02 pm |
    • Hamilton

      Nice post, Bucky Ball!
      I would debate on the dimensional issues, but your post works well enough for these religious rednecks.

      December 6, 2011 at 2:38 am |
  16. myklds

    Secular feats and succes might bring (your) life's satisfaction and contentment but only God completes.

    December 5, 2011 at 8:38 pm |
    • Explainable

      The feeling of "completeness" is a manifestation of the mind – as is your perception of God. It only makes sense that for you, the two would go hand in hand, while for some one else, you could just as easily replace "God" with "World of Warcraft", "Saturday Night Football", "Politics", "Keeping up with the Joneses", "Your Spouse", or "Your Kids".

      December 5, 2011 at 8:44 pm |
    • johnfrichardson

      Only god completes what? Aaron Rodgers completes a lot of passes, and he's only sort of god.

      December 5, 2011 at 9:30 pm |
    • PooCorn

      I feel complete when I've spent enough time on the toilet for my legs to fall asleep.

      December 5, 2011 at 10:32 pm |
    • News Flash

      Exactly explainable. There never has been anything that humans thought that was not completely engendered in their own brains. People say "god is this", "god is that". All that really says is they *think* that their *idea*, (ie their brain's concotion) of what they could *imagine* a god to be like, could have done this or that. It's all totally in their heads. It's all a projection of their very limited imagination. Funny that humans always only have ideas of gods which are made in *their* image, and seem to speak in their languages, and idioms, (and then turn it on it's head, and say we are made in *his* image.) I don't fault the good reverend-to-be for trying to help people, and that he found them, according to his religious paradigm, to be "broken". If he were a psychiatrist he would find them ill, or mal-adjusted. Sure they needed counseling. But to give up one's life, and join such a corrupt, and hypocritical organization, based on the need for being "saved" by the death of someone 2000 years ago, is beyond rationality. I hope CNN checks back with him in 10 years to see if he found what he was looking for, or whether it was just a "mid-life crisis".

      December 5, 2011 at 11:42 pm |
  17. Predictable

    Those indoctrinated in the era of the Boomers are known to be the most deluded and easily manipulated among us. Unsurprising, overall.

    December 5, 2011 at 8:17 pm |
    • meagain

      Are you Darth Vader? or Dick Cheney? My money goes to Dick Cheney... but then everybody's money went to Dick Cheney and still does.

      December 5, 2011 at 8:56 pm |
    • Predictable

      @meagain: Hm.. No I'd be more akin to someone off screen pointing out to the masses that the Chancellor is a Sith Lord, and that he has everyone demonstrably under his control. 😉

      December 5, 2011 at 9:19 pm |
  18. meagain

    to catholic engineer -

    glad there's a real person out there. I thought all these posts were from the same bored person! Reality rings true, doesn't it? Love your story. thanks.

    December 5, 2011 at 7:56 pm |
    • catholic engineer

      Thanks back to you, meagain. My story is a common one, too.

      December 5, 2011 at 8:04 pm |
    • Dasein

      Stay away from her, Catholic engineer! She'll destroy your life as she did her first husband's with her constant whining, mood swings and neurosis.

      December 5, 2011 at 8:05 pm |
    • meagain

      Yes. I ran off with his best friend because he had a fabulous vocabulary. When I tired of him I chased young boys in Catholic schools just because they were there.

      December 5, 2011 at 8:44 pm |
  19. msmith

    To FatSean:

    You're a goof!

    December 5, 2011 at 7:50 pm |
  20. novoodoo

    I treat religion as po-rn and keep it away from kids. Time to end the cycle of brainwashed with fear. Let kids be kids without your silly fear tactics.

    Without fear, religion couldn't exist. Deny it's fear, you're the next terrorist.

    December 5, 2011 at 7:49 pm |
    • catholic engineer

      Religion based on fear? How familiar are you, novoodoo, with genuine fear?

      December 5, 2011 at 8:05 pm |
    • PooCorn

      If religion didn't have a hell, then people would have no reason to believe. The end. Amen.

      December 5, 2011 at 8:13 pm |
    • novoodoo

      Quite well catholic eng.. I was violently sodomized by catholic priests from 8 to 9 years old. One is a bishop today. On one occassion I was intentionally suffocated folowing the so-dom-y. I played dead and slept in the woods.

      I learned REAL fear at a very young age.

      December 5, 2011 at 8:22 pm |
    • aleppo1091

      After seeing friends raised without exposure to religion become involved in cults, I decided to give my kids a moderate dose of religion. Think of it as a vaccination. One youngster figured it out on her own by age 5, thanks to Grandma telling her the story of Noah. She came back to me to ask, "Is it true?" When I told her Grandma believed it, but I didn't, she said, "Then if there's a God, he's a really, really, *really* bad one." At 18 she's a firm atheist. But her younger sister is getting absorbed by a mega church.

      December 5, 2011 at 10:14 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      aleppo1091, you posted “After seeing friends raised without exposure to religion become involved in cults, I decided to give my kids a moderate dose of religion. Think of it as a vaccination. One youngster figured it out on her own by age 5, thanks to Grandma telling her the story of Noah. She came back to me to ask, "Is it true?" When I told her Grandma believed it, but I didn't, she said, "Then if there's a God, he's a really, really, *really* bad one." At 18 she's a firm atheist. But her younger sister is getting absorbed by a mega church.”

      Answer: Noah's Flood not global, nor does the Bible say it was ... see link below so you can extend your education on the specific scriptures:



      December 5, 2011 at 11:23 pm |
    • PooCorn

      HS, you are incorrect, as usual. The bible does say it was global.

      Genesis 6:17 "Behold, I, even I am bringing the flood of water upon the earth, to destroy all flesh in which is the breath of life, from under heaven; everything that is on the earth shall perish.

      Learn your bible. When you feel you are adequately armed, you will be free to return to debate. Thanks in advance. The end. Amen.

      December 5, 2011 at 11:58 pm |
    • aleppo1091

      Heaven Sent: **I** did not tell her the story of Noah – her grandmother did. As an ultra=conservative self-defined Christian, Grandma is quite certain of the totality of the Flood. And my fiendish plan to "vaccinate" the kids was successful this time.

      December 6, 2011 at 1:09 am |
    • MarcAA

      Gen 8:5
      And the waters decreased continually until the tenth month: in the tenth month, on the first day of the month, were the tops of the mountains seen.

      If the tops of the mountains were covered, how did the region contain the water that was at least 16,000 feet above sea level, so as to make it "not a global flood"?

      December 6, 2011 at 9:38 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.