December 26th, 2011
02:00 PM ET

Ultra-Orthodox demands spark debate in Israel

By Guy Azriel and Kevin Flower, CNN

Jerusalem (CNN)–Eight-year-old Naama Margolis is afraid to walk to school.

She's afraid, her mother says, because life has become a nightmare for anyone who doesn't follow the edicts of the ultra-Orthodox Jews who have flocked in recent years to their city of 80,000 just outside of Jerusalem.

"They threaten everyone in town over everything they don't like," Hadassah Margolis told CNN on Monday. "We have suffered swearing, they have had eggs, tomatoes, stink bombs and rocks thrown at us. They do this to anyone who doesn't think, look or act as they do."

"I'm afraid when one of them passes by me," she earlier told Israel's Channel 2 "I don't know if he will spit on me or will curse me 'whore', 'slut', "bastards" 'go away from here' - exactly in those words."

The Margolis family, whose story was detailed Friday in a nationwide television broadcast, is the latest in a series of high-profile examples of what critics say are attempts by groups within Israel's ultra-Orthodox community to impose its religious beliefs on the public and excise women from the public sphere.

CNN's Belief Blog – all the faith angles to the day's top stories

Last week, for instance, a young Israeli woman made headlines when she detailed her experience refusing a ultra-Orthodox man's demands that she sit in the back of a bus. Several well-publicized rallies have also voiced opposition to various forms of gender segregation favored by the ultra-Orthodox.

In addition to demanding more modesty and trying to segregate bus passengers, ultra-Orthodox Jews have posted unofficial signs in some neighborhoods commanding men and women to walk on different sides of the street.

The issue has prompted responses from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who broached the topic Sunday for the fourth time in two weeks.

He ordered officials to take down the street signs and promised a stiff response to harassment, saying that Israel was a democratic, western and liberal state.

"There is no place for harassment or discrimination," he said.

The issue has played prominently in the Israeli press for weeks, and much of the debate has centered on Beit Shemesh, where the Margolis family lives.

In recent years, an influx of adherents to what critics say are the most extreme sects in ultra-Orthodox Judaism has inflamed tensions with other residents holding less strident views.

The Margolis family practice Orthodox Judaism, but are not considered strict enough by the extreme ultra-Orthodox faction in the community.

"I am not anti-religious, anti-Orthodox or anti-secular" Hadassah Margolis said, "I am anti-bad people and they are bad. They need to be taken out of here."

In the television report aired Friday, one unidentified ultra-Orthodox resident was asked whether he wanted the entire city to become religious.

"Not just Beit Shemesh - all of Israel will be ultra-Orthodox," he replied. "And nothing can help you. The country, at the end, will be an ultra-Orthodox country whether you want it or not."

In response to growing tensions in the city, Israeli police and the Beit Shemesh officials announced a plan to install more than 300 security cameras to document harassment.

Police also have deployed extra officers to prevent violence, spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said.

Two suspects were arrested in separate incidents this week. One man spat at a passing woman. Another tried to attack television crews covering the events.

Much of the public debate in Israel has centered on who is to blame for the situation, with most holding the government responsible for ceding too much power to religious parties.

But much of the responsibility lies with Israel society, said activists who have worked on gender segregation issues.

"I believe while this government is responsible to the situation to a degree, they are not the only ones" says Shira Ben-Sasson Fustenberg of the New Israeli Fund. "All of us are to blame for not stopping this from happening when it first started, we could have taken a stand a long time ago."

Israelis outraged about the incident in Beit Shemesh have planned a candle-light protest Tuesday in support of residents there.

"There is a sense that extreme margins in the Israeli society are growing in confidence." event planner Tzviki Levin told Israel radio.

"There is an attempt to deny freedom and values of democracy, the values on which the state of Israel was created," she said. "The rally tomorrow is our way of making a strong statement."

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Israel • Judaism

soundoff (470 Responses)
  1. Kebos

    Ultra-Orthodox, they look like a bunch of damn fools.

    December 27, 2011 at 7:26 am |
  2. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    And these are the same ultra-Orthodox who get deferments from serving in the Israeli Army because it would violate their religious beliefs to have to serve with women or to possibly have to fight on the Sabbath. However, they are more than happy to have compulsary military service forced on every other Jew (male or female, Orthodox, Reformed or Liberal) in the country.

    They want to become the next Sanhedrin and force out the Israeli Parliment using Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Samuel and Kings to define the borders and the internal governmental policies. That way they can complete the Ethnic Cleansing of Palestinians that Joshua started over 3200 years ago.

    December 27, 2011 at 4:56 am |
  3. dude

    I am an American liberal non-Jew who supports Israel.

    However, the extent to which Israel becomes a theocracy indistinguishable in it's persecution on women from it's neighbors is the extent to which Americans will cease supporting Israel. Israelis and Americans are only now beginning to wake up to the danger posed by these fundamentalists. I always knew they comprised a portion of Israeli society. Yet their power has been ascendent with Netanyahu's coming to power. They overplayed their hand, as fundamentalists always do. The entire basis for America and Israel being allies relies on Israel maintaining a vibrant secular democracy. If that becomes subverted, Israel will be utterly friendless and run by people who are no different tempermentally with the Taliban and that will be extremely bad for Israel.

    The men and women who worked and fought to establish Israel as a new nation would be appalled to see what things have come to.

    December 27, 2011 at 3:49 am |
    • Ironicus

      I think you are not taking into account the strength of our alliance with Israel. We'll be friends with anybody, even dictators.
      If Israel became a rabid theocracy, we'd just support them as long as we could feel it was also in our interests.
      That's all it takes.

      December 27, 2011 at 4:33 am |
    • dude

      Ironicus there is truth to what you say but it obscures a larger truth. We are natural allies without looking for short term benefits with countries which have functioning liberal secular democracies. We are sometimes unnatural allies with countries for whom there is a short term strategic gain. Your cynicism paints this as a wholly bad thing. Yet often we support petty dictators to counter major dictators, as we did in the Cold War. Sometimes we support non-democratic extremists because the alternative is worse (Pakistan comes to mind). Yet our alliance with Israel carries no short-term strategic benefits and many short and long term strategic penalties. We have maintained our alliance with Israel mainly because we looked at them and saw a secular dynamic democratic country, like us. We also have a cultural and religious affinity (balanced by an anti-semitic antipathy for sure) with Israel. However, if the character of Israel changes and these common traits disappear, then the foundation for the alliance will crumble as well.

      This could happen slowly over the course of years. Or it could happen suddenly with Israel provoking a war which America won't be willing to back it. Panetta was in Israel this past fall and could not get their government, in private, to assure us that they would inform the US before launching any strikes on Iran. Those strikes could happen as soon as mid-spring or next summer. It would be outrageous for Israel to make such a foolish and unilateral move. If they do, and when we look at them we see their society reverting to the same zealotry that typifies their enemies, on what foundation will our alliance continue to rest?

      December 27, 2011 at 5:08 am |
    • Ironicus

      Like I said, I think we'd just support them as long as we could feel it was also in our interests.
      It is a very low bar to cross when you have so many Christians willing to die to protect the "holy land."
      But you might be right. Only time will tell in any case.

      December 27, 2011 at 5:46 am |
  4. sam

    All extremeists are dumba.sses who missed the point.

    December 27, 2011 at 3:38 am |
  5. Inconvenient George

    This is the ultimate fate of any theocratic system, city, state, or organization. No matter how crazy the lunatics are today who are the right wing wackos, tomorrow another will come along who is more holy, more righteous, more true, more orthodox. It's the slippery slope to oblivion, hatred, violence, and absurdity.

    Their curled locks are, however, "jutht divine".

    December 27, 2011 at 12:36 am |
    • Ironicus

      Thanks for the laugh! I often view those locks as resembling floppy dog ears.
      The ridiculousness of taking things too far is always good for a laugh.

      December 27, 2011 at 1:00 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      But like they say ... after all they have been through ... they are still here. Think about it. The Romans, the Persian, the Nazis, most of the neighboring countries .... and they are still around.

      December 27, 2011 at 1:04 am |
    • Ironicus

      Mark, if you think they are the "chosen people" then you are laboring under a misapprehension.
      They are just people like anyone else.

      December 27, 2011 at 4:40 am |
    • Inconvenient George

      Do you ever think about what you say. There are STILL Romans, there are STILL "Persians", and believe me there are STILL Nazis. There are STILL "Canaanites", and they are STILL killing each other over the SAME piece of "promised" land.

      December 27, 2011 at 10:35 am |
  6. Reality

    Dear Ultra-Orthodox Jews who did not read this on p.1.

    origin: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20E1EFE35540C7A8CDDAA0894DA404482 NY Times review and important enough to reiterate.

    New Torah For Modern Minds

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

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

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

    The notion that the Bible is not literally true "is more or less settled and understood among most Conservative rabbis," observed David Wolpe, a rabbi at Sinai Temple in Los Angeles and a contributor to "Etz Hayim." But some congregants, he said, "may not like the stark airing of it." Last Passover, in a sermon to 2,200 congregants at his synagogue, Rabbi Wolpe frankly said that "virtually every modern archaeologist" agrees "that the way the Bible describes the Exodus is not the way that it happened, if it happened at all." The rabbi offered what he called a "LITANY OF DISILLUSION”' about the narrative, including contradictions, improbabilities, chronological lapses and the absence of corroborating evidence. In fact, he said, archaeologists digging in the Sinai have "found no trace of the tribes of Israel – not one shard of pottery."

    December 27, 2011 at 12:21 am |
    • Thinker23

      Reality... You're trying to force YOUR beliefs (supported by NOTHING substantial) on ultra-Orthodox fanatics who have DIFFERENT beliefs equally supported by NOTHING substantial. This is waste of time, to say the least. The truth, however, is that the vast majority of Israelis are SECULAR while the Ultra-Orthodox ones are a tiny (but very loud) minority. It is pointless to argue with them about their beliefs leaving force as the only option left to the government in order to restrain them.

      December 27, 2011 at 6:26 am |
    • Reality

      Conservative Jews and their rabbis wrote and follow the "New Torah for Modern Minds". I present only a summary of said book as presented by the NY Times.

      December 27, 2011 at 8:06 am |
  7. Dave

    Lycidas, the story itself is just one example of example of the "proof" of the statement. I could give many, many others, but why bother. You already have heard them all, but still refuse to become “enlightened” unlike Ironicus.

    December 26, 2011 at 11:40 pm |
    • Ironicus

      Thanks, but I did not become "enlightened" due to anyone's arguments. I did it all on my own. If I hadn't had any free time to think for myself, I'd have become a very serious preacher. That's how deep I was into the bullshlt.

      December 27, 2011 at 1:02 am |
  8. samuelsaid3

    i can see so, so clearly
    why it's necessary to disappear to a lonely place.


    so not psalms and songs

    so much noise


    December 26, 2011 at 11:34 pm |
    • Dylan Thomas

      Well that really sucked. Why do we get so many fops here who think their word masturbation is poetry?

      December 27, 2011 at 12:05 am |
    • Ironicus

      What makes you think it's different people?

      December 27, 2011 at 1:03 am |
  9. Ironicus

    And let us not forget the large number of child-molestation/abuse cases within the NYC orthodox Jewish population.
    The names of convicted se.x offenders are not being released!
    No other religious group is receiving this sort of preferential treatment!
    This is not racism or bigotry but a call for equality under the LAW!
    The unwillingness of so many people to deal openly over the subject of human se.xuality is not helping anyone but the criminals!!!

    December 26, 2011 at 10:24 pm |
    • Thinker23

      If the names of the offenders are not being released HOW DO YOU KNOW that they were Orthodox Jews and not Palestinian Arabs, for example?

      December 27, 2011 at 6:30 am |
    • Ironicus


      December 27, 2011 at 6:59 am |
  10. The Central Scrutinizer

    God entered me and I am calling the police!!

    December 26, 2011 at 10:00 pm |
    • The Central Scrutinizer

      But at least I know why Mary wasn't complaining!

      December 26, 2011 at 10:03 pm |
    • Ironicus


      December 26, 2011 at 10:06 pm |
    • The Scrutinizing Center

      Plz don't be like Reality...if you are going to be mocking, at least try to stay on topic.

      December 26, 2011 at 10:28 pm |
    • The Central Scrutinizer

      H.o.m.o.phobes, whataya gonna do? Dude swings both ways! And besides who is off topic? Somebody banged Mary. There was no Artificial Insemination back then.

      December 26, 2011 at 11:01 pm |
  11. James


    December 26, 2011 at 9:55 pm |
    • Lycidas

      Very doubtful

      December 26, 2011 at 10:29 pm |
    • Gonna get bashed for this, but it's true

      Actually, Hitler WAS a genius. His genius for persuasion and political maneuvering was put to the worst possible ends, but he was a genius.

      December 26, 2011 at 11:38 pm |
    • Ironicus

      Hitler was not a genius or he wouldn't have fallen for all the bullshlt about Jews in the first place.

      December 27, 2011 at 1:05 am |
  12. Atheist #1

    Those Guys are Horribly insane!

    December 26, 2011 at 9:52 pm |
  13. thomas mc

    Religion = terrorism.

    December 26, 2011 at 7:41 pm |
    • Getting hold of God

      I don't mean to be disrespectful, but that's less a thought than an excuse for not thinking. Don't stop there.

      December 26, 2011 at 8:03 pm |
  14. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    December 26, 2011 at 7:10 pm |
    • Christians are deluded

      Still waiting for proof on that statement, Inconvenient George,

      December 26, 2011 at 7:18 pm |
    • Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

      Prayer changes things
      Accept it

      December 26, 2011 at 7:26 pm |
    • Christians are deluded

      Pure evasion: the tactic of a fraud. Not surprised at all.

      December 26, 2011 at 7:38 pm |
    • Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

      Prayer changes things
      Accept it
      Take a moment to ask

      December 26, 2011 at 7:46 pm |
    • plaztikjezuz

      Just because you keep repeating yourself does not make it true.

      December 26, 2011 at 8:27 pm |
    • Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

      It is true because it is true

      December 26, 2011 at 9:01 pm |
    • Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

      Prayer changes things
      Accept it
      Take a moment to ask
      God to enter your life

      December 26, 2011 at 9:02 pm |
    • Prof Sai

      Repeat a lie often enough, and it becomes the truth.
      Accept it

      December 26, 2011 at 9:24 pm |
    • Ironicus

      Having lived as a Christian for most of my life, I can say with absolute certainty that prayer never worked for me or for anyone else.
      My faith was stronger than most other Christians I met, and I put everything in "God's" hands. Everything. I leaned upon my faith and it never did anything for me but reduce the amount of worrying I did and gave me a nice distraction from the harsh truths of reality.
      As I got older, I took note of longer trends, noticed more of the thousands of contradictions and impossibilities in the Bible and turned to prayer asking "God" to show me the real truth. The absolutely real truth about whatever he felt like showing me.
      As a result, my eyes were opened. I saw the Bible with clear eyes, realizing that this was a book made up of nothing but ancient falsehoods and manipulative lies.
      And I saw prayer for the empty but comforting panacea that it actually is.
      This is how "God" answered my prayers – my eyes were opened to the truth that "God" didn't exist.
      I tested this with the remnants of my faith even as it drained away to nothing.
      There is no "god" that does anything for us. The proof is everywhere and can be tested backwards and forwards.
      I struggled to keep my faith, but I have always hated lies and liars, so becoming an atheist was inevitable.
      All it took was Bible study, prayers for truth, and a willingness to accept nothing but the best and most solid facts as a basis for evaluating the relative worth of any proposition.
      I am an atheist. I have prayed. Nobody ever answered but I only used my expectations and ignorance to ascribe "holy" results to everything I saw before I realized how stupid I was being and how it wasn't my fault but the fault of the religious indoctrination I had received as a child by everyone around me including society.
      Religion is a poison to the rational parts of your mind. A lack of clear thinking can lead to violence for no good reason, like these religious extremists who want to spit on innocent children.
      Prayers do nothing but fool you into thinking you've done something real instead of imaginary.

      December 26, 2011 at 9:30 pm |
    • The Central Scrutinizer

      @Atheism is not......
      Take a minute to ask yourslef why you ignore the truth in favor of fantasy. Why do you not believe what the Bible teaches?

      What would happen if we get down on our knees and pray to God in this way:

      Dear God, almighty, all-powerful, all-loving creator of the universe, we pray to you to cure every case of cancer on this planet tonight. We pray in faith, knowing you will bless us as you describe in Matthew 7:7, Matthew 17:20, Matthew 21:21, Mark 11:24, John 14:12-14, Matthew 18:19 and James 5:15-16. In Jesus' name we pray, Amen.

      We pray sincerely, knowing that when God answers this completely heartfelt, unselfish, non-materialistic prayer, it will glorify God and help millions of people in remarkable ways.

      Will anything happen? No. Of course not.

      This is very odd. Jesus makes specific promises in the Bible about how prayer is supposed to work. Jesus says in many different places that he and God will answer your prayers. And Christians believe Jesus, "54% of American adults believe the Bible is literally true." In some areas of the country the number goes as high as 75%.

      If the Bible is literally true, then something is seriously amiss. Simply look at the facts. In Matthew 7:7 Jesus says:
      Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For every one who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!

      If "every one who asks receives", then if we ask for cancer to be cured, it should be cured. Right? If "our Father who is in heaven gives good things to those who ask him", then if we ask him to cure cancer, he should cure it. Right? And yet nothing happens.

      In Matthew 17:20 Jesus says:

      For truly, I say to you, if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.

      If "nothing will be impossible to you", then if we ask to cure cancer tonight, cancer should disappear. Right? Yet nothing happens. Note that if we take the Bible less-than-literally here, the statement "nothing will be impossible to you" becomes "lots of things will be impossible to you," and that would mean that Jesus is lying.

      In Matthew 21:21:

      I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and it will be done. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.

      If "you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer", then if we ask to cure cancer tonight, cancer should disappear. Right? Yet nothing happens. Note again that there is not a non-literal way to interpret "you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer", unless you replace "whatever" with "nothing" or "little."

      The message is reiterated Mark 11:24:

      Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

      If God says, "believe that you have received it, and it will be yours," and if we believe in God and his power, then what should happen if we pray to cure cancer tonight? It should be cured. Either that, or God is lying.

      In John chapter 14, verses 12 through 14, Jesus tells all of us just how easy prayer can be:

      "I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it."

      Look at how direct this statement is: "You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it." This is the "Son of God" speaking. Have we taken him "too literally?" No. This is a simple, unambiguous statement. Have we taken his statement "out of context?" No – Jesus uses the word anyone. Yet Jesus' statement is obviously false. Because when we ask God to cure cancer tonight, nothing happens.

      We see the same thing over and over again...

      In Matthew 18:19 Jesus says:

      Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

      In James 5:15-16 the Bible says:

      And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.

      In Mark 9:23:

      All things are possible to him who believes.

      In Luke 1:37:

      For with God nothing will be impossible.

      Nothing could be simpler or clearer than Jesus' promises about prayer in the Bible. Yet, when we pray to eliminate cancer, nothing happens.

      And keep in mind that this is Jesus talking here. These are not the words of human beings. These are not the words of "inspired" human beings. These are supposedly the words of God himself, incarnated in a human body. Jesus is supposed to be a perfect, sinless being. And yet, it is obvious that Jesus is lying. What Jesus says is clearly incorrect.

      Jesus is supposed to be God. God is supposed to be perfect.
      When Jesus speaks, he should speak the truth.
      Yet when we look at what Jesus says about prayer,

      he is clearly lying.

      If you would like additional proof, gather a million faithful believers together into a giant prayer circle. Have them all pray together in Jesus' name that God cures every case of cancer on the planet tomorrow. Pray sincerely, knowing that when God answers this completely heartfelt, unselfish, non-materialistic prayer, it will glorify God and help millions of people in remarkable ways. Now, we certainly have two or more people gathered together, and they have asked in Jesus' name, and we have not one but a million faithful believers who, by definition, have faith and believe. We have fulfilled every one of Jesus' requirements.
      Will Jesus answer the prayer now? Of course not. Your prayer will go unanswered, in direct defiance to Jesus' promises in the Bible. In fact, if you pray for anything that is impossible, your prayer will always go unanswered.

      If you are an intelligent, rational human being, all of the examples mentioned above show you that the God of the Bible is imaginary. What Jesus says about prayer in the Bible clearly is not true.

      In fact, we have ample scientific evidence to demonstrate that the belief in prayer is nothing but pure superst-ition.

      December 26, 2011 at 9:31 pm |
    • AtheistSteve

      "Prayer changes things
      Accept it
      Take a moment to ask
      God to enter your life"

      This is your brain on religion...

      The ultra-Orthodox Jews portrayed in this article are a kind of parallel to the evangelical Christian right in America. They want society to bow to their holy decree of how things should be. Not by how things should best benefit everyone. Legislating (or doing their best trying to enact) laws to ban abortion, determine who you may marry, infiltrate the schools, etc. The same intolerances are playing out every single day throughout America. They of course don't see it that way..what with their rose -colored God goggles on and all. Hypocrites.

      December 26, 2011 at 9:36 pm |
    • Felix The Navidad

      They are called Christian "right" for a reason. Think about it.

      December 26, 2011 at 9:49 pm |
    • Inconvenient George

      The moon is made of green cheese.

      December 27, 2011 at 12:23 am |
  15. John Stefanyszyn

    God said to love, in the righteousnes of the truth, your neighbor as yourself. This also means to respect a woman as oneself.
    God also said to love your enemies and to do good to them.
    The ultra orthodox jews don't seem to show, in their works, the Word of the One Creator God.
    Their belief in their self-righteousnes is given priority to that of the rightouesness of God.

    What is also disconcerting is that the Jewish people are turning to their values upon which the state of Israel was established, the belief in democracy, to act against the actions of the ultra orthodox jews.

    Is not the teaching of God, the Way of Truth of Christ (His Son), the better way...to love and respect your neighbor as oneself? ...instead of a belief that justifies the "rights" of all "gods – religions-lifestyles"?

    December 26, 2011 at 6:42 pm |
    • Zingo

      Zeus does not operate as you seem to think. Or did you mean Quetztcoatl?

      If you mean some other god, please provide proof that your selection is correct and all the others are wrong. Any proof. Whatever is handy. I am sure your choice of gods is well supported by facts and not just some superstition you believe just because your parents did.

      December 26, 2011 at 6:54 pm |
    • just sayin

      You might have a problem selling New Testament scripture to the ultra-orthodox Jews.

      December 26, 2011 at 7:09 pm |
    • Getting hold of God

      @ Zingo - there's a difference between proof and evidence. There's plenty of evidence for God, if you are fair-minded. And we get proof of precious little in this life. Still, we act as though all sorts of unproven things are true. http://www.gettingholdofgod.wordpress.com

      December 26, 2011 at 7:19 pm |
    • Zingo

      Supply your "evidence." This should be good for a laugh.

      December 26, 2011 at 7:41 pm |
    • Getting hold of God

      I'd invite you to go to my blog and read the post, "Evidence for God," and then let me know what you think. It's hard to convey tone in short posts like this, but I am not trying to pick a fight. I'm just talking. Peace.

      December 26, 2011 at 7:55 pm |
    • Zingo

      Put it here. I am not going to waste my time on your self-promotion scam. Put all your "evidence" here.

      December 26, 2011 at 11:56 pm |
    • Getting hold of God

      Not sure what you're afraid of, or why you're so angry. Why do you feel the need to accuse me of running a scam? You don't know me from Adam - sorry, bad choice of words. Anyway, be careful, because you're sounding a lot like one of those narrow-minded, dogmatic religious people. It's hard to talk to those people, as I'm sure you'll agree. Peace.

      December 27, 2011 at 2:42 am |
  16. Dave

    Religon is the root of all evil!

    December 26, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
    • It Goes Both Ways

      Evil is the root of all religion.

      December 26, 2011 at 6:55 pm |
    • Getting hold of God

      People who think T-shirt slogans are all you need to understand complex human realities are the root of all . . The root of all . . . Sorry, the issue is too complex for simple-minded formulas. http://www.gettingholdofgod.wordpress.com

      December 26, 2011 at 7:23 pm |
    • Rolph Dolphinsen

      People who pimp their lame websites here are the root of all stupidity. Okay, not the root, but maybe the phloem, or maybe the xylem.

      December 26, 2011 at 7:46 pm |
    • Getting hold of God

      Hey Dolphin, calm down. I just don't want to clutter up this blog with a long exposition. if you don't want to read my blog, that's okay. Peace.

      December 26, 2011 at 7:59 pm |
    • Ironicus

      Ignorance is the root of all religion.
      How better to explain the ancient tendencies of primitive cultures towards making things up about the unknown?
      Simple ignorance. And a lack of intelligence. And maybe a large dash of imagination and lying.
      We already know of the predisposition of the human brain to ascribe unknowns to unknowns in a bid to comprehend our surroundings, using natural pattern-recognition and ignorance while looking for a "why" when there is no "why" to begin with.
      It's all in the mind and does not actually work makes for a very solid case that all religions are delusions and nothing more.

      December 26, 2011 at 9:39 pm |
    • Lycidas

      The hypocrites are all about tonight. I expected better from the anti-religious fearmongers..for some reason.
      I see a lot of va g ue notions but no evidence.

      "Religion is the root of all evil!"
      Prove it

      "Evil is the root of all religion."
      Prove it

      "Ignorance is the root of all religion."
      Prove it...heck, your statement that followed your fact less thought is filled with ignorance.

      December 26, 2011 at 10:40 pm |
    • Dave

      What do these comments have to do with the "need to understand complex human realities"?! Their only purpose is to express a momentary reaction to a particular story. A few people may glance at the comments, then after a few hours, they will be buried forever. A “T-shirt slogan” is more than sufficient!

      December 26, 2011 at 11:30 pm |
    • Ironicus

      Hi Lycidas. When you want to play, just put in a quarter. That post wasn't even worth a plugged nickel.

      December 27, 2011 at 1:11 am |
    • Thinker23

      Dave... Religion is a FAITH, a belief in something that can not be proven by objective evidence. Every human with a functioning brain (including yourself) believes in something. As an example, you may consider your statement above leading us to a conclusion that a functioning human brain is a cause of all evil. The next conclusion would be that in order to eliminate evil from this world it is necessary to eliminate humanity.

      December 27, 2011 at 6:39 am |
  17. Label

    A Shanda

    December 26, 2011 at 6:27 pm |
  18. Higgs Bosun

    do none of these guys have mirrors

    December 26, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
    • Ultra-Orthodox Libertine

      If you had hair and fashion like that, you wouldn't own a mirror either.

      December 26, 2011 at 7:08 pm |
    • Ironicus

      It's part of their group-identlty. They will cling to their silly costumes just as hard as any emo-punk-rocker.
      They identify with their group with fanatical devotion.
      This includes spitting on children so I wouldn't mind seeing them forcibly expelled from Israel as a solution to their criminal behavior. The Knesset will have to make a choice. You cannot have freedom in a theocracy. Either they want freedom or they want a theocracy. You cannot have both with any of the major religions.
      And George is an idiot to think otherwise. He will suffer for his foolishness someday if he hasn't already.

      December 26, 2011 at 9:44 pm |
  19. Candy

    I am a standard American woman (not Jewish) and worked in the jewelry district in New York on 47th street back in 2005. I shared many elevators with the ultra orthodox. Because I have little tolerance for non-tolerance, I would sometimes accidently on purpose brush and arm or a (God forbid) breast or shoulder up against one of these guys in a crowded elevator just to see them flinch and shrink into themselves before they disintegrated into the atmosphere for touching a filthy woman. Hard to respect someone who has no respect for you.

    December 26, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
    • Rachel

      Candy, these ultra orthodox Jewish people are brain washed. They were taught not to touch a woman while she has her period. They don't touch their own wives and daughters when they have their period. Therefor they try to avoid touching women. So, it was not personal, it was not about you when they didn't want to touch you in the crowded elevators. You are talking about respect. I'm quite sure that pimps have no respect for you. At the same time, I'm quite sure that when you were together in an elevator with pimps you have not "sometimes accidently on purpose brush and arm or a (God forbid) breast or shoulder up against one of these guys.. ". Or did you ? To summarize my thoughts: You are the one who has no respect for these Jewish guys. But , as Freud said, it feels better to project.

      December 26, 2011 at 9:43 pm |
    • Ironicus

      Rachel, could you explain how being treated without respect is not personal? And why mutual disrespect is so bad when one is surely at fault and the other is not? In public, you are at risk. In private, you are not.
      If they didn't want to be around women, why were they out in public? They are as stupid and foolish as anyone I have ever heard of thanks to their religious views that do not deserve any respect. They do not respect others and refuse to earn any respect in any way.
      Being religious robots is not deserving of respect by any rational person who can see what is happening here.
      I do not see any "projection" in Candy's post. They chose to go out in public while shunning the public, women, and anything else they were freaking out about. Why respect them for this? They are the intolerant ones here. They could have kept her out of the elevator and probably would have if they had been able to think clearly. But then if they'd been able to think clearly they wouldn't be extremists anyway, I'm sure.

      December 26, 2011 at 9:53 pm |
  20. Snakeyes

    Interesting how religion is the cause of all extremism and justification for bone-headed acts. World would be a lot better place without religion being the opiate for people that can't think for themselves

    December 26, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
    • Candy

      Root of all evil. Organized religion.

      December 26, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
    • Getting hold of God

      But, Stalin was an atheist, and he was plenty evil. Evil is part of the human condition. And the guy in elevator might be a religious man, but that's not the problem. The problem is that he is a religious snob, assuming the poor chap isn't suffering from some phobia about elevators, or other disorder. Religious snobs cause more trouble (and they're IN more trouble, with God) than all the atheists in the world.

      December 26, 2011 at 7:31 pm |
    • JohnR

      No one thing is the root of all evil! Man, what a pack of maroons ...

      December 26, 2011 at 7:36 pm |
    • Getting hold of God

      @ John. I agree. Except for that last bit. I think of myself as more aquamarine. But color doesn't matter, it takes all kinds to make a world. Peace.

      December 26, 2011 at 8:07 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Interesting. Go to South of the Boarder where entire families, whole police departments and elected officials are being gunned down. A blogger was recently killed because she spoke out about the drug trade.

      Nothing to do with Religion, all about money and power by controlling the drug routes. Even in the west bank it is not that bad but some Atheist want to blame all the worlds evils at Religions feet. JohnR is right, it is man or better mankinds nature to act in this way. We are not at the top of the animal kingdom because we are the best physically one on one, we are the best because we took a rock and bashed some animals brains in eons ago. We hold that God gave us dominion and we have taken leaps and bounds since Cain and Able.

      If you get rid of Religion, folks will move on to something else to elevate or downgrade segments of society. It will be color, or race or just some militant feminist dreaming of a male free world. See while, in here folks like to say eliminate the Atheist and others eliminate the Faithful ...some where on another message board they are saying eliminate the whites or eliminate the blacks.

      Some Atheist like to make the argument that you can be a good and moral person without Religion.... if they hold that to be true then the reverse has to be true that you can be a horrible and evil person without Religion.

      If it is possible for one then it also should be possible for the other.

      December 26, 2011 at 9:45 pm |
    • Ironicus

      Mark, beyond your usual "take" on this, you are correct.
      Congratulations! Celebrate this rare event! I am still in shock you actually came to a rational conclusion for once.

      Now that you have made this leap in logic and discovered that the lack of empathy and sympathy for others is actually at the root of actual violence, now you just need to take it a little further and see that your religion is not needed to be "moral" towards others.
      Then you can start listening to Reality's "neuron cleansing" seminars and join the rest of us peaceful and friendly people who are trying so hard to reason with people such as yourself using hyperbole, etc.
      Again, congrats on making that step forward. You are now moving towards a middle ground. You weren't doing that before, but I haven't read all your posts, either. Good show!

      December 26, 2011 at 10:02 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.