My Take: 2011 year in review
Judas, the Holy Spirit, Doomsday, Islam in America, and biblical authorship were just some of the topics tackled in "My Take."
December 27th, 2011
12:35 PM ET

My Take: 2011 year in review

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

(CNN)–2011 brought a host of My Takes here at the Belief Blog. It was a chance to hear from people on a broad range of topics that touched on matters of faith.

Submissions came in from across the religious spectrum and regularly sparked the most comments on the site.

Our top ten My Takes for 2011, in no particular order, focused on Judas, the Holy Spirit, Doomsday, Islam in America, and biblical authorship.

My Take: When Bedford Falls Becomes Pottersville

Larry Taunton from the Fixed Point Foundation imaged a world without Christianity, à la Jimmy Stewart in "It's a Wonderful Life."  He said it wouldn't be pretty.

My Take: Is 'All-American Muslim' begetting all-American bigotry?

Author and commenter Arsalan Iftikhar argued that Lowes pulling its advertising from TLC's reality show "All-American Muslim" was a foretaste of all-American bigotry against Muslims.  He said major retailers would not have pulled advertising from vanilla shows about Latinos or gays.

My Take: Jesus was a free marketer, not an Occupier

Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council in Washington, argued a biblical parable says people should get to work, and that Occupy Wall Street protesters were missing the point.  He said in a parable from the Gospel of Luke, Jesus praised the hardworking and rebuked the lazy, and that Jesus was a free marketer.

My Take: Are evangelicals dangerous?

In one of the most discussed posts of the year in the My Take category, R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, looked at the rise of evangelicals in politics and asked whether or not they were dangerous.  "The vast majority of evangelicals are not attempting to create a theocracy, or to oppose democracy," he wrote.

My Take: I could have become Michele Bachmann

Author Alisa Harris explained how she could have become Michele Bachmann, because the two shared nearly identical upbringings, but said she chose a different path.

My Take: May 21 doomsday movement harms Christianity

As doomsday fever gripped the nation in May, Robert Jeffress, pastor of First Baptist Church in Dallas, said the movement was bad for Christianity.  Not long after, Jeffress found himself in the middle of a political firestorm after he endorsed Texas Gov. Rick Perry for the Republican presidential nomination, and then told reporters he thought Mormonism was a cult

My Take: No apology for celebrating after bin Laden's death

When Osama bin Laden was killed by Navy SEALs in Pakistan, many people took to the streets in the U.S. to celebrate his death.  Belief Blog regular, author and Boston University professor Stephen Prothero wrote the celebrations made him cringe.  Lauren Kolodkin, one of Prothero's students at Boston University, made no apologies for celebrating in her response piece.

My Take: A reluctant churchgoer 'gets the Holy Ghost'

CNN's John Blake opened up on a personal level and shared his faith in this My Take.

My Take: Is Judas in heaven or hell? God only knows

Pastor Craig Gross, best known for his work crusading against pornography, wrote this piece about Judas, the infamous disciple.  It ran on the site around Easter and got a lot of people talking.

My Take: It doesn't matter who wrote the Bible

Author David Hazony took to the Belief Blog to explain why he thinks much of biblical scholarship is irrelevant for his faith.  He took on the theory many biblical scholars hold about authorship of the Bible and explained why he doesn't buy it. 

We also saw My Takes from former British Prime Minister Tony Blair on the dos and don'ts of religion and democracy, megachurch pastor Rick Warren on how the church can fight AIDS, and a concerned evangelical's open letter to Charlie Sheen.

What do you think?  Did we get it right?  Who would you like to hear from in 2012?

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Uncategorized

soundoff (122 Responses)
  1. custom writing services

    Such a small think. 😉 But such a great idea

    January 5, 2012 at 9:23 am |
  2. 3petes

    If God wanted to prove his existence to his creation he would have stopped after he created angels. It is very scriptual for God to withdraw his presence from his people, and many of us believe he is doing this when he created the universe. But I do feel there are deep mysteries that cannot be explained...some of them have already been listed. here are a couple more : what existed 13.8 billion years ago? how did everything come from nothing? Where does instinct come from?...I'll end with this: Fact 1, a man named Jesus Christ was born about 2000 years ago...Fact 2 He was crucified when he was around 33...no historian worth his salt will dispute these 2 facts...now what happened in between and after takes faith.

    December 29, 2011 at 7:45 am |
    • KevinH

      There is nothing scriptural about God not revealing himself. "The heavens declare the glory of God...". Paul talks about God's natural revelation in Romans 1, etc. God does occasionally "hide is face" for his purposes, but he has certainly revealed himself in Christ!

      If you mean that it requires "blind faith" to be a follower of Christ, then you're wrong! There is good evidence for Christ's resurrection. One can have *reasonable* faith in Christ! Faith, by the way, is not a way of knowing something, it's what you do with what you know. It's trust, assent, that something is true. One ought to have good reasons for placing one's faith in something.

      December 29, 2011 at 7:58 am |
  3. SCAtheist

    Congratulations CNN. All those articles are made up garbage. There is no evidence for any of it.

    December 29, 2011 at 2:35 am |
    • KevinH

      So I take it you're claiming there is no evidence for God's existence? If so, do you really think that's the case?

      December 29, 2011 at 6:46 am |
    • Jimtanker

      That IS the case KH. Unless you have evidence to the contrary.

      December 29, 2011 at 7:09 am |
  4. david e.

    Objectively explain what makes you an individual human being capable of logic and reasoning and speaking; experiencing emotions which cannot possibly be objectively explained. Your brand of concrete intellectualism does not stand the test of common human experience, let alone a common spiritual experience.

    December 29, 2011 at 2:19 am |
    • SCAtheist

      huh? My dog has emotions too? We need a god to explain that?

      December 29, 2011 at 2:33 am |
    • david e.

      can your dog verbally express his reasonings and thoughts about his emotions? Let's be real here.

      December 29, 2011 at 3:10 am |
    • Mike P

      Yeah, I guess all mutes are going to hell. Oh wait...

      Look, I respect faith (as long as it's not pushed on me). We all have immortality systems. I can objectively explain everything using Pastafarian reasoning (the big spaghetti monster in the sky) and it can all make sense. Also, emotions can be explained by a reaction of hormones and neurotransmitters. Religion is just a phenomenon created in an attempt to describe a noumenon that is result of a fear of death causing us to search for answers beyond this realm.

      December 29, 2011 at 4:49 am |
    • Damo

      An extremely complex network of neurons, neurotransmitters, hormones, etc?

      When something is extremely complex or poorly understood, why do you assume "The Tooth Fairy Did It"?

      December 29, 2011 at 5:18 am |
    • stan

      A couple very different things here but I will do my best to explain them. "Logic and Reasoning" are controlled by the prefrontal cortex, it is this area that makes humans so unique in or abilities. Speaking is found in a few more areas, as there is several parts to the action of speaking. Broca's area largely controls speech, and sends signals to the muscles of the vocal cords. Wernicke's area on the other controls language comprehension, thus language wouldn't be possible without either.
      Emotions are based on the amygdala and limbic system (and partly on the prefrontal cortex for higher level emotion) Emotions in animals are easy to see if you have ever spent time around them, this is because these structures are shared among species and likely developed from ancient ancestors.
      I imagine the next argument may be something about compassion or empathy as that is usually where these things lead, so I will preemptively give an answer. Humans are not unique species in empathy for others, these traits can also be seen in higher primates as well (ie drowning trying to save another chimp).

      December 29, 2011 at 5:54 am |


    December 29, 2011 at 2:01 am |
    • OkeyDokey

      Did that made sense to you?

      December 29, 2011 at 2:04 am |
  6. Matty D

    Belief blog? Belief? No thanks, I prefer facts. In fact, I demand such; otherwise, you've no credibility.

    December 29, 2011 at 1:36 am |
    • Transplanted

      Ah, Matty, Matty...ONLY facts for credibility? Just what are "facts"? If I sit down today and write that Matty D created a machine that was powered by ballpoint pens, then went on to describe it in detail (how it worked, what it did), but stated it had been confiscated and destroyed by Tim Tebow, finally archiving the letter in a vault for 1000 years, I suspect a Matty D of the future would point to the letter as "facts"

      December 29, 2011 at 7:29 am |
  7. Shoreline Rootz


    December 29, 2011 at 1:33 am |
  8. tony

    When some religious heavyweight can explain why, supposedly all-powerful, gods, still need their followers to hold out collection plates, I'll think about believing.

    December 29, 2011 at 12:35 am |
    • Mike from CT

      Because ALL things belong to God. Holding the collection plate is an opportunity to give to what you believe in, just like they took up collections in the early church for the believers in Jerusalem. If you don't think you value money over your fellow man or the things of God just look at your bank statement it will call you out on your selfishness... now you can start believing

      December 29, 2011 at 11:29 am |
  9. Holy STUPID

    Why do christians think that quoting bible scripture equates to providing proof their god exists?

    December 29, 2011 at 12:30 am |
    • tony

      They don't know any better

      December 29, 2011 at 12:38 am |
    • david e.

      It's called circular reasoning. I believe the bible is true because the bible tells me so. It's amazing how many otherwise intelligent people use this line of faulty reasoning as a result of blindly following a tradition that they have put little or no solid thought into researching for themselves.

      December 29, 2011 at 12:48 am |
    • fred

      God is the source of all things so there is no way one could speak of God without cirular reasoning. Look here is a birth certificate that shows holy stupid was was born.............................Oh cannot use that as proof,,,circular reasoning.

      December 29, 2011 at 1:01 am |
    • tallulah13

      Fred, that made no sense whatsoever.

      December 29, 2011 at 1:14 am |
    • david e.

      Fred makes a perfect example for what I stated. Put forth the challenge and watch them line up with nonsensical answers.

      December 29, 2011 at 1:37 am |
    • *facepalm*

      Fred, that is not an example of circular reasoning, though I'm not surprised you don't get the concept. What proof is there that Fred was born? A birth certificate. How do we know the certificate to be true – we have the clerk that recorded it that we can verify with, and the hospital and doctor that witnessed, signed, and recorded the event. This is much different than:

      Why do we know the bible to be true? Because the bible says so. Why do we what the bible says is true? Because the bible says so.

      Get it? Doubt it.

      December 29, 2011 at 1:41 am |
    • Dean Wormer

      Fred, fat, drunk, and stupid is no way to go through life, son.

      December 29, 2011 at 1:56 am |
    • KevinH

      The Bible is one among many proofs for the God of Christian Theism. It is indeed circular to claim the Bible is the revelation of God just because the Bible makes that claim. One would need to examine the Scriptures independently to assess its apparent divine origin. I recommend it.

      December 29, 2011 at 8:35 am |
    • Mike from CT

      When arguing for the highest authority you must point to the highest authority. For if you can show highest authority with out the thing then the thing can not itself be highest authority. Now you are going to complain that this is circular but don't worry every one has to do it

      The rationalist cannot prove rationalism without an appeal to rationalism
      The Empiricism cannot prove Empiricism without an appeal to experience

      and so on

      December 29, 2011 at 11:36 am |
  10. tony

    Not questioning the absurdities of organized religion is blasphemous. It's like taking the superb enquiring brain that you believe god gave you as a wonderful gift , and disrespectfully just tossing it in the trash.

    December 29, 2011 at 12:23 am |
  11. The Truth shall set you free

    The holy bible is your proof. All you have to do is read it. It's the only book that could not ever be destoyed. Reason: Jehovah is the Ancient of Days.

    December 28, 2011 at 11:30 pm |
    • kamana

      The bible is packed with lie's from cover to cover starting with Genesis! For example, the jewish culture only goes back some eight thousand years so Adam and Eve could not have been the first two humans on earth. Proof: when the continent of India crashed into that landmass called Asia some 65 million years ago there were millions of indians in India and millions of asians in Asia.

      December 28, 2011 at 11:43 pm |
    • Tropical Tim

      Blah blah blah what a bunch of shlte

      December 28, 2011 at 11:44 pm |
    • tony

      Make . . . love . . . elsewhere.

      December 29, 2011 at 12:15 am |
    • thes33k3r

      Ha! I read the bible cover to cover many years ago. Doing that played a large role in my exodus from out-dated religious thinking. I'm free from religion...thank you very much!

      December 29, 2011 at 12:29 am |
    • tallulah13

      The truth that shall set you free is the fact that there has never been any evidence to support the existence of any god.

      December 29, 2011 at 1:19 am |
    • david e.

      On one hand, we have the blind faithers with no will or desire to reason and think for themselves. Accepting everything their religious trainers have been indoctrinating into their minds. Pathetic. On the other hand we have the hardened skeptic that rejects everything outright soley for the sake of opposing spirituality – because neither have they taken the time to look further than what their preconceived concrete paradigm will allow. Both are prisoners of their own making. Unfortunately, forums like this tend to draw very shallow and one-sided kind of discussions. I must move on now.

      December 29, 2011 at 1:53 am |
    • tallulah13

      And then, david, we have those who look objectively at the facts and realize that there is no factual reason to believe in anything supernatural.

      December 29, 2011 at 2:07 am |
    • david e.

      Objectively explain what makes you an individual human being capable of logic and reasoning and speaking; experiencing emotions which cannot possibly be objectively explained. Your brand of concrete intellectualism does not stand the test of common human experience.

      December 29, 2011 at 2:20 am |
    • OkeyDokey

      Here is an object statement of that which you said cannot be objectively stated:

      "Emotion is a complex psychophysiological experience of an individual's state of mind as interacting with biochemical (internal) and environmental (external) influences. In humans, emotion fundamentally involves "physiological arousal, expressive behaviors, and conscious experience."

      "Perspectives on emotions from evolutionary theory were initiated in the late 19th century with Charles Darwin's book The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals. Darwin's original thesis was that emotions evolved via natural selection and therefore have cross-culturally universal counterparts. Furthermore, animals undergo emotions comparable to our own (see emotion in animals). In the early 1970s, Paul Ekman and colleagues began a line of research that suggests that many emotions are universal. He found evidence that humans share at least five basic emotions: fear, sadness, happiness, anger, and disgust. Other research in this area focuses on physical displays of emotion including body language of animals and humans. The increased potential in neuroimaging has also allowed investigation into evolutionarily ancient parts of the brain. Important neurological advances were derived from these perspectives in the 1990s by, for example, Joseph E. LeDoux and António Damásio.

      Social emotions evidently evolved to motivate social behaviors that were adaptive in the ancestral environment. For example, spite seems to work against the individual but it can establish an individual's reputation as someone to be feared. Shame and pride can motivate behaviors that help one maintain one's standing in a community, and self-esteem is one's estimate of one's status."

      December 29, 2011 at 2:32 am |
    • david e.

      Nice cut and paste.

      December 29, 2011 at 3:12 am |
1 2
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.