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December 27th, 2011
02:09 PM ET

Charismatic movement growing quickly worldwide

By Stacey Samuel, CNN

Laurel, Maryland (CNN) - At the end of a row of neatly arranged banquet chairs, Sandra Ashford sat reverently, still in awe of what she says is her mother’s miraculous recovery from cervical spinal stenosis.

“If it wasn’t my mother,” Ashford said, “I wouldn’t believe it." She explained how after a “laying of hands,” her 74-year-old mother, Delsie McDougall, no longer experiences the symptoms from what was becoming a debilitating condition.

When she arrived in early December from her native Jamaica in search of treatment options, McDougall said, she couldn’t “walk straight.” When her neurologist prescribed surgery, she sought an alternative, one more in keeping with her faith.

On the recommendation of a friend, mother and daughter experienced their first charismatic healing service in the rented ballroom of a Holiday Inn in Laurel, Maryland.

On a Sunday evening a few weeks before Christmas, the two spent several hours in the temporary location of the Everlasting Life Christian Center.

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

“To tell you the truth, I was very skeptical,” McDougall said as she stood and swayed to the live music from the gospel singers. She showed no signs of physical discomfort.

Sandra Ashford, right, and her mother, left, attend a healing service in Maryland.

They are among a fast-growing number within the diverse Christian landscape to join the charismatic movement.

According to a recent Pew Research Center report on Global Christianity, 305 million Christians worldwide follow the charismatic movement.

“One of the reasons the charismatic movement is expanding … apart from salvation, we experience healing, miracles. The blind see, the lame get up and walk, and the deaf can hear. That attracts a lot of people,” said Samuel Fatoki, who leads the roughly 200-member church with his wife, Marcia, who serves as his co-pastor.

Ashford recounted how on the third application of Fatoki’s hands on her mother, McDougall fell to the ground and began speaking in tongues. Ashford said her mother writhed on the floor, contorting in ways she couldn’t stretch before.

Both said she’s been walking upright since.

The Pew report categorizes charismatic Christians as a subset among non-Pentecostal denominations and includes Christians from each of the major branches: Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant.  The movement shares similar beliefs to Pentecostal denominations and similar practices like “divine healing, prophecy and speaking in tongues,” according to the report.

Dale Stoffer, professor of historical theology and academic dean at Ashland Theological Seminary in Ohio, said the charismatic movement has been present in the United States since the 1960s. The religious experience in the movement is more experiential, rather than based in intellectual expression.

“There’s a high degree of emphasis on the Holy Spirit working in supernatural ways,” Stoffer added.

While the movement is growing here in the United States, there’s been an “explosion in Christianity,” Stoffer said, in Africa, Latin America and Asia: regions of the world that have seen increased numbers of charismatic Christians.

A Pew Forum survey from 2006 found that 34% of Brazil's population identified themselves as charismatics.

“These are cultures that have not been impacted by the Western Enlightenment,” explained Stoffer.

A basic tenet in this healing ministry is complete belief, invoking one’s blind faith.

“And the signs shall follow them that believe, they will heal the sick, lay hands, cast out demons in my name,” Marcia Fatoki recited from the Gospel of Mark. She said she also shares her husband’s ability to prophesy.

Pastor Samuel Fatoki listens to his wife speak at a recent service.

Both asserted that they are not the purveyors of the miracles. “We’re not the ones healing,” Samuel Fatoki said.  They are just the vehicles through which the Holy Spirit is working.

But it’s not a gift that can be called upon on command, like magic, as a skeptic may expect to see in order to be convinced.

“People’s faith level increases with more examples from others,” Marcia Fatoki said.

At a time when individual tribulations seem to have grown with increasingly difficult economic times, it’s no wonder that the ballroom was filled with at least 200 people from as far as New York, New Jersey and Virginia, many with testimonies of being cured of ailments from chronic sinus issues and financial woes, to smoking cessation and the disappearance of tumors.

So, what happens when neither of the Fatokis is able to heal someone? Samuel Fatoki said that that too is out of his hands, and it is the will of God.

But for Sandra Ashford and her mother, what they have seen is enough to inspire a deepening of their faith.

“To witness a family member go through this speaks volumes,” Ashford said, still giddy that more than three weeks later, her mother is still pain-free and walking with ease.

“It is the will of God that everyone be healed,” Samuel Fatoki said.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Bible • Catholic Church • Christianity • Pentecostal • United States

soundoff (685 Responses)
  1. Kebos

    If it is the will of god that everyone be healed then why doesn't the omniprescient and most powerful heal them withiut the use of the evangelical ministers?

    Simple..........for power, control and above all else, wealth. That's why.

    December 28, 2011 at 7:24 am |
  2. John

    Christianity is comprised of people who share a common charesteristic, they are not perfect. Sometimes they are
    intimidated by arrogant men of science who make outrageous claims, like Evolution disproves God. It doesn't. Evolution
    may explain how species evolve but it gives no clue of first cause. There are many God believing men of science. It is
    unfortunate that many Christians have an anti-science bias, but again some of it can be explained as a reaction to attacks
    from some scientists who have let their personal lack of belief color their scientific opinions. But in the end everyone will
    get what they desire. For if the non-believer truly desires an existence without God, that is exactly what you will have.

    .

    December 28, 2011 at 3:36 am |
    • Mildred the Mouth

      Science provides a plausible explanation why the "First Cause" argument is outdated.

      December 28, 2011 at 6:33 am |
    • TruthPrevails

      @John: typical god of the gaps argument...bottom line is no-one knows what caused the big bang and plugging god in to it is not a reasonable answer...please tell us who created god...if everything has a cause, then god must also

      December 28, 2011 at 6:46 am |
    • Sockeyerama

      I am a scientist and I’m around other scientists some, but I’ve never heard any scientist say that evolution disproves God. I’m sure it happens, but all I’ve ever heard them say is that evolution contradicts certain religious creationist accounts for the origin of the universe/earth/heavens, etc.
      What I have observed is that when a scientist claims that the creation story involving Odin and Ymir, for example, is contradicted by evolution theory, almost everybody agrees and no feelings are hurt. It seems, however, that when the same scientist states that evolution theory contradicts and disproves the creation story of a particular religion, believers of that religion, hearing his statement, accuse the scientist of claiming that evolution disproves God. All I can conclude from these observations is that some religious people feel that the existence of God is dependent on the veracity of their creation explanation and that those who believe in other creation accounts are misguided and do not believe in God, the one and only true God as defined by their creation story. This results in a lot of religious people around the world who are far more invested in disproving the existence of God (other people’s Gods), than any scientist I’ve encountered.
      And I sure would like to get a citation for any publication written by a scientist arguing that evolution disproves God. That doesn’t sound like the logical kind of thing I’ve grown accustomed to hearing from scientists.

      December 28, 2011 at 6:55 am |
    • OrangeW3dge

      It is not news that person who is willing to believe in super-natural beings would also not want to listen to facts that may disprove his beliefs. Anti-science? how can you not admit something that can be seen or touched. That's all science is. And because of that, it keeps changing as we discover more facts. What is the problem? If it "shakes" your faith, then maybe you have to reassess the foundations of that faith, but that doesn't mean that science is anti-God or anti-religion. It's just that some religions haven't done a very good job of keeping up with the times and that is not the fault of the messenger.

      December 28, 2011 at 6:57 am |
    • TruthPrevails

      @OrangeW3dge: How is it not the fault of the messenger? The church is not the only education these people should be getting and if it is, they live very shallow lives.

      December 28, 2011 at 7:24 am |
    • Kebos

      Science goes through a much more rigorous study to confirm the evidence before making any claims. Religion does not. So which one is arrogant? Definitely not science. The arrogance card is so old.

      Of course, we all get what we want and deserve which in the end is the same for all of us The only difference is ChristIans live their lives under a delusion and a falsehood whereas those who don't believe in a big guy in the sky enjoy life to its fullest recognizing the beauty and splendour all around us.

      December 28, 2011 at 7:30 am |
    • John

      You will have to forgive me If I don't remember the name exactly since It's been over thirty years since I took my undergraduate in genetics at the University of Illinois, but in the dedication page of the textbook was a quote from a
      French Biologist, I think it was "Monod" who said that with a single egg he could destroy all the schools of theology.
      I thought such a statement was the height of arrogance and hubris. Obviously, God can never be proved or disproved
      by science but that has not stopped some arrogant scientists from trying. And yes they are arrogant. Now thirty years
      later and after a career in medicine I am even more convinced of the existence of God. Yes, life is sometimes harsh and
      cruel. And I've seen more than my share of disease and death. But I know that God exisits.

      December 28, 2011 at 8:45 am |
    • TruthPrevails

      "But I know that God exisits"

      NO you don't!! To claim that requires evidence and you like everyone else out there, can't provide that. You are dishonest and can't be trusted as a result of making such a false claim.

      December 28, 2011 at 9:23 am |
    • John

      Your right, its late and I didn't use proper wordage. I believe with all my heart that God exisits. I can't "prove" it, but
      neither can you dis-prove it. But why does it bother you so much that I do believe?

      December 28, 2011 at 9:42 am |
    • TR6

      @John: “But why does it bother you so much that I do believe?”

      I don’t care what you believe, doesn’t bother me a bit. What bothers me is when theists try to impose their religions restrictions on all of us by turning it into civil law.

      As long as you don’t try to make me live by your religion’s rules I don’t care what you believe

      December 28, 2011 at 11:47 am |
    • Sue

      Sockeyerama
      "I am a scientist and I’m around other scientists some, but I’ve never heard any scientist say that evolution disproves God."

      You're right, it doesn't, but what evolution does do is disprove the literal creation story found in the Bible, illustrating that it is a man-made myth like all the other creation stories of the world's religions. Many Christians place all of their faith in God being real in the belief that the Bible is without any error (yet base their belief in this upon a faith in God being real, in genuine circular logic), so implying that the Bible contains any error is basically the same as claiming that God doesn't exist. Thus evolution is often identified by biblical literalists as an accusation that God doesn't actually exist.

      December 28, 2011 at 1:27 pm |
  3. HeavenSent

    Heaven sent us tsunamis, tornadoes, earthquakes, and other natural disasters that have killed millions of innocents, plus cancers, typhoid, meningitis, lupus, and other horrid diseases that cause us pain and suffering.

    Wow, god must be quite the evil, spiteful jerk.

    Amen.

    December 27, 2011 at 11:50 pm |
    • Larry Bob

      Maybe so, but he throws a heck of a shindig at these charismatic hoedowns! There's whooping and hollerin' in tongues, some spiffy floor dancin' like they is having an epileptic seizure, there's this whacky hand jive . . . and the laying of hands, that always gets me throbbing! And the healing! Dagnabbit the healin is some gooooooooood stuff, real miracle stuff and such. Pastor Elmer Gantry done knows his miracling stuff! Forget them cancer and sunamy, uh, zoonumy, uh, big waves, and come on down to Elmer's House Of God And Flea Market!

      Cuz Jesus loves you, more than them other millions he didn't like and cursed with disasters and illness.

      Ya don't see no atheists havin hootenannies like that! Loozers!

      December 28, 2011 at 12:12 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Phony heavensent, thanks for continuing to prove your side is a bunch of cowards that are filled with fear to post your babble under your own handle.

      Amen.

      December 28, 2011 at 12:23 am |
    • God

      Thank you for having the courage to post under your true phony name. It does take courage to do that. God woll certainly bless you by having all your favorite seculars roasted extra crispy, just like you like them.

      Because I, God, have nothing better to do than be your own personal hitman of the afterlife.

      December 28, 2011 at 12:29 am |
    • Sue

      God
      Maybe he honestly believes that he was sent from heaven to bring light into this world?

      December 28, 2011 at 12:58 am |
    • Bo

      @ phoneyHeavenSent
      Having faith in God does not include a life of of ease, nor has God promised a life of freedom from trouble, natural disasters, sickness or death; as a matter of fact, these things are predicted to happen in the scriptures, these disasters are the result of sin, not some invention of God. Becoming a Christian almost a guarantees a life of trouble, because Satan, the wicket enemy of Christ and His followers, wishes to destroy them all.
      God has given Satan much freedom to practice his evil intentions so the universe may witness the results of sin.
      God can chose to overrule Satan and reverse what Satan has done and sometimes that requires faith and a miracle.
      God will allow sin to fester in this world until it nearly completely destroys mankind and the earth. One of the problems of the wickedness of men is the failure, through the influence of Satan, to recognize the wickedness of sin for what it is and what it can do.
      When Christ returns to claim His own He will then put an end to sin and all evil, destruction and sin and it will never again be found in the universe.
      We, you and I, are here today to prove to the universe whether evil or good can long endure.

      December 28, 2011 at 1:00 am |
    • Sue

      Bo
      "Becoming a Christian almost a guarantees a life of trouble, because Satan, the wicket enemy of Christ and His followers, wishes to destroy them all."
      Do you extend this to all who criticize Christianity as well? 'Demonizing your enemy' is a standard propaganda technique, you know, and it actually does nothing to counter people's criticisms of the faith and it's adherents.

      December 28, 2011 at 1:17 am |
  4. Reality

    Dear Charismatics et al,

    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 stop your singing and shouting, 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 27, 2011 at 11:22 pm |
    • Kebos

      Good message, Reality.

      December 28, 2011 at 7:34 am |
    • Joxer the Mighty

      @Reality

      Stop telling me what to do.

      December 28, 2011 at 9:48 am |
    • Reality

      Joxer,

      Free Will and Future are inherent to all the thinking beings in the Universe.

      December 28, 2011 at 12:19 pm |
  5. Bobs Friend

    Christ Himself Promised this.. but not to UN believers....are you a Christian UNbeliever? What sense does it make to believe in God, but not believe in miracles???

    Jn14:12 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. 13And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. 14You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.
    Do it to the Glory of God (not for your own glory or benefit) and it is done!
    Amen!

    December 27, 2011 at 11:14 pm |
    • Mildred the Mouth

      Tell that crap to the 7 year old dying of Leukemia.

      December 27, 2011 at 11:16 pm |
    • Reality

      With respect to John's Gospel and John' epistles, from Professor/Father Raymond Brown in his book, An Introduction to the New Testament, (The book has both a Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur from the Catholic Church),

      John's Gospel, Date- 80-110 CE, Traditional Attribution, (2nd Century), St. John, one of the Twelve,

      Author Detectable from the Contents, One who regards himself in the tradition of the disciple.

      First Epistle of John, Authenticity- Certainly by a writer in the Johannine tradition, probably NOT by the one responsible for most of the Gospel.

      From Professor Bruce Chilton in his book, Rabbi Jesus,

      "Conventionally, scholarship has accorded priority to the first three gospels in historical work on Jesus, putting progressively less credence in works of late date. John's Gospel for example is routinely dismissed as a source......

      From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gospel_of_John#Authorship

      "Since "the higher criticism" of the 19th century, some historians have largely rejected the gospel of John as a reliable source of information about the historical Jesus.[3][4] "[M]ost commentators regard the work as anonymous,"[5] and date it to 90-100."

      "The authorship has been disputed since at least the second century, with mainstream Christianity believing that the author is John the Apostle, son of Zebedee. Modern experts usually consider the author to be an unknown non-eyewitness, though many apologetic Christian scholars still hold to the conservative Johannine view that ascribes authorship to John the Apostle."

      And from Professor Gerd Ludemann, in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years, p. 416,
      "Anyone looking for the historical Jesus will not find him in the Gospel of John. "

      See also http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/1john.html

      December 27, 2011 at 11:20 pm |
    • The Central Srutinizer

      Bob's BFF
      Please describe for the panel (this is a softball don't worry) how long anatomically modern humans have been on Earth.

      December 27, 2011 at 11:20 pm |
    • Bobs Friend

      @ Central: As much as I enjoy the evolution debate, it is irrelevant to your ultimate destiny. Recalled what Jesus told the Rabbis:
      Jn 8:21Once more Jesus said to them, “I am going away, and you will look for me, and you will die in your sin. Where I go, you cannot come.”
      22This made the Jews ask, “Will he kill himself? Is that why he says, ‘Where I go, you cannot come’?”
      23But he continued, “You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. 24I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am [the one I claim to be], you will indeed die in your sins.”

      December 27, 2011 at 11:46 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Heaven sent us tsunamis, tornadoes, earthquakes, and other natural disasters that have killed millions of innocents, plus cancers, typhoid, meningitis, lupus, and other horrid diseases that cause us pain and suffering.

      And then he sent us his immortal son to be killed, and blames us for it even though he knew the kid would rise again. And he could have dealt with all our problems without all that stageshow stuff, instead.

      Wow, god must be quite the evil jerk.

      Amen.

      December 27, 2011 at 11:52 pm |
    • Bobs Friend

      @ Reality: I could not care less what some twice dead professor said about anything, particularly anything in the Bible. The Scriptures cannot be understood by the dead. If you don't like Jn How About Luke?:
      Luke 10:17The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.”

      Or perhaps Mark 11: 22“Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. 23“I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. 24Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. 25And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”
      Or Perhaps Matthew suits your fancy:
      Matt21: 21Jesus replied, “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. 22If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”

      The Bible is a Book of Faith from cover to cover.. don't be silly.

      December 28, 2011 at 12:21 am |
    • TR6

      @Bobs Friend: “Matt21: 21Jesus replied, “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. “

      OK, put up or shut up. I choose Mt Whitney, you can choose whatever sea you want.

      Christians insist that their god can do anything and does everything and answers their prayers; but, when you ask for an example all they can do is tell you about “miracles” of the sort that can also happen without gods intervention and then claim it proves everything in a 2000 year old book of sadistic fairy tales is 100% true. Just like all the other snake oil salesmen

      I consider this a major piece of evidence that the Christian god does not exist, in the same way I consider the lack of a pot of gold at the end of rainbows to be evidence against the existence of leprecons

      December 28, 2011 at 3:51 am |
    • TruthPrevails

      "The Bible is a Book of Faith from cover to cover"

      Love it...you're an idiot!! Faith is nothing more than believing without anything to back it. Get over your arrogance you poor ignorant sap!! The buybull was inspired by man and written by man...no god delusion required...just man's way to control the masses and bring order to bronze age people. You born-again's are the worst kind of christian b/c you think that since you made mistakes and found a delusion that works for you, pushing that delusion on others makes sense. You're not convincing anyone and the chance of you falling is unbelievably high...no god to save you from doing so. Sorry to ruin your delusion but I do suggest you seek out counseling for the mental illness.

      December 28, 2011 at 5:57 am |
    • The Central Srutinizer

      Wow BBFF,
      Couldn't even handle that little underhand softball. I am sorry, I can't recall things that happend before I was born.

      December 28, 2011 at 12:50 pm |
  6. Bobs Friend

    Hello all you saints and sinners! God healed me from the inside out and He can heal you too. All these blathering words mean nothing after you've been touched by The Living God!! Amen!!!

    December 27, 2011 at 11:05 pm |
    • The Central Srutinizer

      What does that even mean?? A little detail??

      December 27, 2011 at 11:08 pm |
    • Bobs Friend

      It means I have been Born Again. It means that I called out to God and He answered in a big way, a way I cannot deny. The Bible says "I will remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh"
      I was once a sarcastic mocker, an agnostic doubter, an arrogant, proud accuser. But one day I came across these words of Jesus: "Love your enemies, and bless those who curse you.."
      It made no sense to me.. it was incoherent. So I decided to ask God about it, what it means, if Jesus is God, and other questions. God answered me by revealing His Love to me. My heart of stone was removed and replaced with a soft heart.
      Gods Love is a different kind of Love, a Sacrificial Love, an overwhelming Love that can only be revealed by Him.
      Ask Him, He'd love to show you.

      December 27, 2011 at 11:40 pm |
    • The Central Srutinizer

      BBFF
      God talks to you? Have you been to see a doctor? Or run for a GOP nomination for prez?

      December 27, 2011 at 11:48 pm |
    • Bob

      Bobs Friend, you aren't 'healed.' You are severely deluded. And you aren't my friend, so p!ss off with that already.

      December 27, 2011 at 11:57 pm |
    • Bob

      BF, too bad you were born even once. You being born again would be unfortunate for humanity.

      December 27, 2011 at 11:59 pm |
    • Bobs Friend

      @Bob : I know your perspective; I used to hold it. But I became open to the possibility that I could have been wrong about God. So I decided to ask and WHAM. God invaded my life in a big way. I have not stopped thinking about God since that day. (6 yrs) I don't have to struggle with doubts as many Christians do. But I was once just like you:
      Lk 6:45 The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.

      December 28, 2011 at 12:05 am |
    • TR6

      @Bobs Friend: “Ask Him, He'd love to show you.”

      Tried that repeatedly back when I started to question my faith. The silence was deafening

      December 28, 2011 at 4:17 am |
    • TruthPrevails

      looking for a solution to your problems and bam...god fills the gap...way to go moron...way to stop thinking for yourself

      December 28, 2011 at 5:45 am |
  7. The Central Srutinizer

    LuisWu
    It is clear from your arguments that you are rather ignorant. Please post an intelligent statement that makes a point. If you can't, well then we know.

    December 27, 2011 at 11:04 pm |
  8. tallulah13

    "Charisma" is in the eye of the beholder.

    December 27, 2011 at 10:52 pm |
    • Sue

      And, the ironic part is that these preachers teach that both Satan and the Antichrist are especially full of it.

      Hmmm... Well, maybe they got some of that right after all.

      December 28, 2011 at 12:17 am |
  9. The Central Srutinizer

    Are these facts? I can easily explain this to a four year old and there is far more verifible truth in it:

    The Universe ceases to exist at the moment of your death. Likewise, the Universe springs into existence at the moment you can comprehend something. “Reality” is personal. It is not universal. What I believe is true. What I perceive is real. Therefore, there is an infinite number of realities (call them universes) both coming and going at all times for infinity. The reason physics breaks down as we get close to that frightening doom is because we realize at that point that WE are the God we seek. We create our reality and destroy it.

    Is there a Bible when I die? Not for me. Is there a Milky Way Galaxy when I die? Not for me. Do you exist when I die? Not to me.

    A “life” is a dream so amazing and long coming that true comprehension is out of reach.

    However:

    Try meditation and find the heart in your stomach. Not the one in your chest. It is there. A bundle connecting mind and body. There are clues available to those who can concentrate and not waste time with religion. Look into the pool. See the reflection of the impossible. Perhaps you will see you.

    December 27, 2011 at 10:37 pm |
    • LuisWu

      Blah, blah, blah. You're just as bad as them.

      December 27, 2011 at 10:42 pm |
    • The Central Srutinizer

      Wu, only if you can defend your point. WHY am I as bad as them. And what MAKES them bad. No hollow arguments please.

      December 27, 2011 at 10:58 pm |
    • But atheism IS very healthy for adults, and other mature beings

      You realize that philosophy, ("Idealism"), has been debunked. How many hands am I holding up ?

      December 27, 2011 at 11:12 pm |
    • Jim

      I think the bundle of nerves part smacks of the same magical thinking that drives the churches in the article. What makes you believe your reflecting pool is more valid then their touch of god?

      December 27, 2011 at 11:13 pm |
    • Mildred the Mouth

      One of the jobs of the two year old, is to discover it is not the center of the universe. It's hard.

      December 27, 2011 at 11:15 pm |
    • The Central Srutinizer

      I don't. That is exactly my point. Thank you Jim, you win.

      December 27, 2011 at 11:16 pm |
    • The Central Srutinizer

      I gave Wu a chance but Whish! Right over the head....

      December 27, 2011 at 11:22 pm |
    • UncleBenny

      But atheism IS very healthy for adults, and other mature beings: "You realize that philosophy, ("Idealism"), has been debunked. How many hands am I holding up ?"

      Three.

      January 29, 2012 at 9:01 pm |
  10. The Central Srutinizer

    Proof that God is:

    A: Imaginary
    B: God is a dik

    http://www.cnn.com/video/?hpt=hp_c1#/video/bestoftv/2011/12/27/jk-feyerick-christmas-fire-update.cnn

    December 27, 2011 at 10:32 pm |
  11. LuisWu

    I love this quote by Bertrand Russell, it's SO true:

    "“Religion is something left over from the infancy of our intelligence, it will fade away as we adopt reason and science as our guidelines.”

    December 27, 2011 at 9:14 pm |
    • Steve

      Wu is so full of poo.

      December 27, 2011 at 9:25 pm |
    • LuisWu

      @Steve – real intelligent post. I rest my case.

      December 27, 2011 at 9:26 pm |
    • kingnpriest

      I see no truth in that foolish statement. The law of God is written on your heart, thus the feeling of conviction upon transgression. The man who made that statement is a fool, as are you. According to Psalm 1, the fool says in his heart there is no God! BELIEVE John 14:6

      December 27, 2011 at 9:35 pm |
    • Jim

      Careful kingnpriest, that's dangerous talk!

      Matthew 5:22

      But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.

      December 27, 2011 at 9:41 pm |
    • The Central Srutinizer

      Wu, so true. But I fear it is taking a little longer than expected. Ignorance keeps a tight hold on our societies.

      December 27, 2011 at 10:13 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane [and] vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called:

      1 Timothy 6:20

      Amen.

      December 27, 2011 at 10:49 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Heaven sent us tsunamis, tornadoes, earthquakes, and other natural disasters that have killed millions of innocents, plus cancers, typhoid, meningitis, lupus, and other horrid diseases that cause us pain and suffering.

      Wow, god must be quite the evil jerk.

      Amen.

      December 27, 2011 at 11:49 pm |
    • Sue

      HeavenSent
      Have you ever wondered how much vanity it takes to sign your own comments with an 'Amen' like they were scripture? You tend to do this quite often, you know?

      December 28, 2011 at 12:04 am |
    • Sue

      kingnpriest
      "BELIEVE"
      I have a tapestry of Santa with that on it too. See the connection?

      December 28, 2011 at 12:07 am |
  12. John

    bob johnson, Jim, LuisWu – thank you all for your opinions! Lets all remember here that they are ONLY opinions in this case – not facts.

    December 27, 2011 at 9:13 pm |
    • LuisWu

      The bible isn't "facts" either, just ancient mythology.

      December 27, 2011 at 9:17 pm |
    • Jim

      If it's your opinion that my statements are opinions, then they can easily be facts, yes? That's the problem with invisible things, I had a hard time convincing my son that the monster under his bed was not real, my statements were seen as an opinion. Reason and logic were out the window unless I could produce a body.

      December 27, 2011 at 9:18 pm |
    • The Central Srutinizer

      Jim, please tell me you are a high functioning retard.

      December 27, 2011 at 10:15 pm |
    • Jim

      Scrut, let me know which part you don't understand, if I could eventually explain it to a 4 year old, I'm sure I can do it here.

      December 27, 2011 at 10:22 pm |
    • The Central Srutinizer

      Jim, I don't understand why you quote Bible scripture. Are you unable to think for yourself? Explain this to a four your old.

      December 27, 2011 at 10:34 pm |
    • Jim

      I find scripture to be useful to either contradict a point Christians make or to contradict other points in scripture. For example, does belief alone get you into heaven, or deeds? Depends on which part of the bible you read. I find irony in arguments from Christians that are easily refuted by their own book, which I sadly know far better than most of them.

      As far as the story with my son, it's very hard to refute imaginary beings. If someone is scared enough, they will grasp onto the irrational. Especially if the consequences are dire, like potentially being eaten (or going to hell).

      December 27, 2011 at 10:47 pm |
    • The Central Srutinizer

      Jim, lay this on your 4 year old:

      "I find scripture to be useful to either contradict a point Christians make or to contradict other points in scripture. For example, does belief alone get you into heaven, or deeds? Depends on which part of the bible you read. I find irony in arguments from Christians that are easily refuted by their own book, which I sadly know far better than most of them."

      Then change the kid's diaper.

      December 27, 2011 at 11:01 pm |
    • Jim

      The four year old got the imaginary critter part. The first part was in response to your bible quote question, my 4 year old never asked that.

      December 27, 2011 at 11:06 pm |
    • Jim

      And thank Odin my 4 year old was long out of diapers by then.

      December 27, 2011 at 11:08 pm |
    • The Central Srutinizer

      Ok Jim. So are you planning to indoctrinate your child into Christianity, or allow the child a secular, non-religious education so he/she can make their own decisions about religion by applying critical thinking and education?

      December 27, 2011 at 11:12 pm |
    • Jim

      I am an Atheist. I rejected religion long ago, but not before studying it. I chose to reject it. I struggle a little with how much of my own opinion I teach my kids. I do teach them critical thinking and skepticism. They are receiving a purely secular education, magic has no place in education. How about you?

      December 27, 2011 at 11:20 pm |
    • The Central Srutinizer

      Jim, same here. Sounds like we are birds of a feather. It is difficult though not to push your beliefs on people. It takes discipline. I try but don't always succeed. I can tell by the way my kids are starting to view the world. I like it, but I did not want to be responsible for it. Does that make sense?

      December 27, 2011 at 11:27 pm |
    • The Central Srutinizer

      Jim, also, no hard feelings. I think I came into the convo a little late. Sorry if I insulted you. Just messing about on the blog.

      December 27, 2011 at 11:30 pm |
    • Jim

      Perfect sense, I also remember how hard it is growing up, and I don't want the added stigma the label "Atheist" may bring. I know it sound cowardly, but I generally tell them to play softball with other peoples views, especially teachers, bosses, etc.

      December 27, 2011 at 11:31 pm |
    • Jim

      No insult here, thick skin is a pre-req for non-believers.

      December 27, 2011 at 11:34 pm |
    • The Central Srutinizer

      Jim, you are a cool dude. Talk to you later. Peace.

      December 27, 2011 at 11:51 pm |
  13. Sockeyerama

    Having been a “motivational speaker” and a church deacon, Herman Cain was correct in that anybody can get a job nowadays even if you don’t know where Uzbekistan is. If you can get a beautifully tailored silk suit, recite something in medieval English, wave around a leather-bound big black book, and when needed, babble like a bathing baby, big bucks can be yours. It helps to locate your operation where school districts are noted for leaving many children behind and you’ll profit more if you leave your conscience behind.

    December 27, 2011 at 9:11 pm |
    • Sue

      You forgot the most important part: the ability to tear down people's self-esteem and convince them to give you money so that you can rebuild it for them. Well, rebuild it some of the way at least. Wouldn't want them to feel too good about themselves and start thinking that they can live without attending, and financially supporting, your church, right?

      December 28, 2011 at 12:00 am |
  14. Lu

    More often than not, money seems to play a prominent role in today’s apparent healings. Faith healers are noted for being powerful fund-raisers. One such healer reportedly raised $89 million (U.S.) in one year through his worldwide operations. Church organizations too profit from pilgrims who travel to shrines in hope of a cure. By contrast, Jesus never collected money from the people whom he healed. On occasion, he even provided food for them. (Matthew 15:30-38) When Jesus sent his disciples out to preach, he told them: “Cure sick people, raise up dead persons, make lepers clean, expel demons. You received free, give free.” (Matthew 10:8) Why are the practices of modern-day healers so different from those of Jesus?
    “Healing” From What Source?
    Over the years, some in the medical profession have examined the claims of religious healers. What have they found? According to the Daily Telegraph of London, a doctor in England who spent 20 years investigating the subject said: “Charismatic reports of miraculous healing are not supported by a single piece of medical evidence.” Yet, many people sincerely believe that they have been cured by the power of relics, shrines, or religious healers. Could they have been victims of deception?
    In his famous Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said that religious impostors would say to him: “Lord, Lord, did we not . . . perform many powerful works in your name?” Yet, he would reply: “I never knew you! Get away from me, you workers of lawlessness.” (Matthew 7:22, 23) Regarding the source of the power that such ones claim to have, the apostle Paul warned: “The lawless one’s presence is according to the operation of Satan with every powerful work and lying signs and portents and with every unrighteous deception.”—2 Thessalonians 2:9, 10.

    December 27, 2011 at 9:10 pm |
  15. Anon

    "Therefore if they say to you, 'Look, He is in the desert!' do not go out; or, 'Look, He is in the inner rooms!' do not believe it. For as the lightening comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of man be." (Matt. 24:25-27)

    December 27, 2011 at 9:09 pm |
    • LuisWu

      And blah blah blah oogah boogah mumbo jumbo to you too. Citing quotes from an ancient book of mythology is meaningless.

      December 27, 2011 at 9:15 pm |
    • The Central Srutinizer

      Saints: – 45 : Falcons 16

      December 27, 2011 at 10:20 pm |
  16. forsingle

    Bigtalls.c0m..a nice club for tàll people to date. You need not to be beautiful or handsome,if you are over 5'8", as long as you are tàll, you are very popular here.

    December 27, 2011 at 9:07 pm |
    • Jim

      If you aren't tall, visit the Everlasting Life Christian Center in the article. They can fix you.

      December 27, 2011 at 9:10 pm |
    • Sockeyerama

      What would they charge to make me think I'm tall, handsome and interesting?

      December 27, 2011 at 9:16 pm |
  17. Kevleeman

    "Eyes Haven't Seen Neither Have Ears Heard The Things God Has Prepared For Them That Love Him". I've never understood why man has always been afraid of things he know nothing about.

    December 27, 2011 at 9:07 pm |
  18. Jorge

    Christianity is growing all over the world, that is fact, the so called Western Enlightenment its attempt was to kill God from all society creating a world that has no mearning, that this reason that western civilizations is struggling really to gain its leadership in world, Christianity was the main factor lifted western civiliazation to where it is, please read your history, prior to growth of christianity in Europe people, where living in ignorant, so bible got translated in common language, people read it and apply its principles Europe was change and think about the mayor university is western world, search your history where founded on Christinity, so before you attack what made things better, Look at Brasil they just past UK as one of largest Economis of world, I guess they are ignorant as people, the attempt by some to idea of killing God, is that they want to do whatever they want with no one to whole resposible, you cannot have morality with a Moral giver, God is the Moral giver the standard. people are free within the law, laws are make us free to live and love people. God is good for all of society. christianity have made some mayor mistake in history, But that is not Jesus doing, that people who say that they are Christians living out the own version. For the USA thank God for christianity, you should be glad for it, it was greatest inspiration for success.

    December 27, 2011 at 8:57 pm |
    • bob johnson

      you are totally deluded. your imaginary friend in the sky is nothing more than the latest in a VERY long line of god mythology. grow up and take responsibility for your own life

      December 27, 2011 at 9:02 pm |
    • Jim

      The Bible says nothing of Democracy, Capitalism or the Industrial Revolution, our greatest successes. However, if you look at our darker moments, slavery and the attempted genocide of the Native Americans, there are plenty of inspirational examples in the Bible.

      December 27, 2011 at 9:05 pm |
    • LuisWu

      Christianity is just another example of ancient mythology, written thousands of years ago by members of a bronze age culture. And this so called charismatic nonsense is just another bunch of looneys living in a fantasy world.

      December 27, 2011 at 9:05 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Christianity is not growing. While the number of people claiming to be members of the christian cult may be growing, the percentage of christians is not.

      December 27, 2011 at 9:09 pm |
    • Anon

      Bob, really, I thought the god and goddess of Gardinerian Wicca were the very latest in "god mythology"

      December 27, 2011 at 9:13 pm |
    • c s

      "God is good for all of society. christianity have made some mayor mistake in history, But that is not Jesus doing, that people who say that they are Christians living out the own version." I guess all of those people burned at the stake for being witches are forgiven now. I guess the Church and its use of the Inquisition to remove all of those heretics is fine with you. Maybe you want to go back to the good days of the Inquisition but I suggest that you move to Iran if you want to live in a theocracy. The Separation of Church and State is what allowed the US to become the greatest country in the world. Europe was engulfed in religious wars for hundreds of years and the Founding Father knew about its history. Avoiding all of those religious wars allowed the US to become the greatest country in the world. You should spend a little time at a library and learn about all of the religious wars and the millions killed by them.

      December 27, 2011 at 9:16 pm |
    • kingnpriest

      haha Bob Johnson, the joke will be on you my unbelieving friend. You see there will come a day when you will be called from your musty grave to give account of yourself, and your unbelief. If you are not safe in Christ, and passed over for judgement, you will be judged. Your unbelief or refusal to beliieve will be your undoing. Jesus says, He who believes not is judged already. That will be the end of it, nothing left for you but the lake of fire.

      December 27, 2011 at 9:26 pm |
    • LuisWu

      @kingnpriest – Wanna buy the Brooklyn Bridge. Christians are so gullible.

      December 27, 2011 at 9:27 pm |
    • Jim

      I thought we were to be judged by our deeds, and it was to be done 2,000 years ago.

      Matthew 16:27-28

      27For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done. 28I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”

      December 27, 2011 at 9:37 pm |
    • Horus the sun god, the solar messiah

      Most Christians I know are the biggest hypocrites. They lie, cheat, steal and even kill but it's a o.k. because Jesus forgives them. Most atheists I know would weird you out because there moral compass is to just live righteous. BTW christianity is already the biggest relegion on the planet. Stop embracing ignorence and learn what google is.

      December 27, 2011 at 9:39 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      If Christians are so gullible as you say, what can be said of you who are self proclaimed atheists? Believing that all life evolved from an amoeba, and all the rubbish that so called scientists teach as being fact, which even a fool would see the absurdity of it...
      You people have eyes but have no sight, so what can you say to someone who is much better off then you are?!

      December 27, 2011 at 10:34 pm |
    • Sue

      PRISM 1234
      You can say that evolution is absurd, but you cannot prove it to those of us who actually understand the science supporting it. This is not an act of faith. It's simply an acceptance that the vast collection of evidence supports the theory of evolution which makes it the best explanation, undoubtedly far better than creationism which has no evidence to support it whatsoever. Now tell me, who really isn't using their eyes?

      December 27, 2011 at 11:53 pm |
    • Sue

      kingnpriest
      "nothing left for you but the lake of fire."
      You seem to take a particular delight in imagining this happening to Bob. Of the two, Jesus and Satan, who do you imagine would share your delight in seeing poor Bob tortured?

      December 28, 2011 at 1:07 am |
    • PRISM 1234

      .....It's simply an acceptance that the vast collection of evidence supports the theory of evolution which makes it the best explanation"
      Oh, really?!

      The true scientists KNOW that all that world around us near and far is so complex-ed that to believe it all happen by chance is a total absurdity. They also admit that all laws of the universe point to an intelligent design, and are not to proud to admit what they just "don't know" The scientists whose quack-discoveries and claims you rely on are not real scientists....
      But go ahead, lullaby yourself if it pleases you! You'll find out sooner or later that you believed fell for lies of the enemy of your soul. ..... That's what happens to those who puff themselves up with their head knowledge and silence the witness of their own conscience on which is imprinted the knowledge of God, given to every human being alive, to the point that it dies within you.... But that's exactly where he wants you, because he's preparing a place for you.... You will see then what you've missed!

      December 28, 2011 at 10:02 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      To clarify:
      "But that's exactly where he, the enemy of your soul wants you, because he's preparing a place for you.... You will see then what you've missed

      December 28, 2011 at 10:05 pm |
    • Eric G

      @PRISM: First, you claim that those who support the scientific method and the demonstrative evidence that supports scientific theories are fools. Then, you make claims about having absolute knowledge that is not supported by any verifiable evidence.

      Please provide any verifiable evidence you have that will support your hypothesis that your god exists.

      December 28, 2011 at 10:09 pm |
    • Sue

      PRISM 1234
      Yes, really! 🙂
      You did, at least, get the part about scientists not being too proud to admit that they don't know everything right. Shame that the religious can't learn this sort of humility. They mostly have gotten stuck believing in outdated models of how the universe works and primitive moralities and cannot bring themselves to admit that the world has outgrown such childish thinking. Anyone claiming to be a scientist today holding onto the literal word of the Bible might just as easily believe in the truth of astrology and alchemy.

      December 29, 2011 at 12:05 am |
  19. SacreCouer

    fraudsters at work.

    December 27, 2011 at 8:55 pm |
  20. Dan

    I used to be a charismaniac back in the seventies. It is simply not genuine. All acting. From this movement sprang the likes of Kenneth Copeland, Kathryn Kuhlman, Peter Poppoff, and Benny Hinn. All confirmed frauds.

    December 27, 2011 at 8:50 pm |
    • Dan

      ...and of course, let's not forget Oral Roberts, Jimmy Swaggart and Pat Robertson. Money swindlers and crooks.

      December 27, 2011 at 8:54 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      Dan, all those you mentioned may be frauds. But Jesus Christ isn't. Do you look at them and form your picture of who Jesus Christ is? You need to know that satan, the enemy of your soul wants you to do that very thing! If he can keep your eyes on them, he can keep them off of Christ Jesus!

      December 27, 2011 at 10:39 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Heaven sent us tsunamis, tornadoes, earthquakes, and other natural disasters that have killed millions of innocents, plus cancers, typhoid, meningitis, lupus, and other horrid diseases that cause us pain and suffering.

      Wow, god must be quite the evil jerk. And after all that, he can't even deal with this Satan guy that he claims is responsible for all the problems that he god himself put here. Seriously, why do people fall for this Christian cr-ap.

      Amen.

      December 27, 2011 at 11:54 pm |
    • HeavenDent

      HeavenSent usually follows her amen with two periods, improperly spaced, like this

      Amen..

      December 28, 2011 at 12:02 am |
    • Sue

      HeavenDent
      It's probably a dramatic pause, allowing her audience to acknowledge her wise words with their own response of 'Amen.' Quite the ego shining through, eh?

      December 28, 2011 at 12:14 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Sue, speaking of ego. I noticed you used your ego to cut instead of searching the net to find the definition of Amen.

      P.S. Besides, you wrote to the phony heavensent that has no backbone to write under their own handle.

      Amen. In your case Sue ... Period.

      December 28, 2011 at 12:31 am |
    • Sue

      HeavenSent
      How do you define 'Amen'? Aren't you requesting agreement from your readers when you use it to sign off your own comments? Honestly, who else uses 'Amen' after anything else but scripture? You're kinda known on this blog for doing that, you know?

      December 28, 2011 at 12:54 am |
    • Fookin' Prawn

      @HeavenSent – that's so carnal.

      ...carnal.

      December 28, 2011 at 4:13 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.