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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. The Truth shall set you free

    The True God has created you, and allowed you to have freedom of speech. It is a shame that many do not use that speech for upbuilding one another, instead of tearing one another down. On another note, if your not serving God, your unknowingly serving Satan. It's just that simple. You choose, but when Armaggeddon comes, act like you know. All Scripture is inspired by God and benificial for teaching, for reproving, for setting things straight, for disciplining in righteousness 2 Tim 3:16.

    December 28, 2011 at 11:17 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Bullsh!t! There are no gods, ghosts, goblins, devils, unicorns, leprechauns, fairies, etc. Just childish fairy tales. Unless you have proof to the contrary of course.

      December 28, 2011 at 11:22 pm |
    • tony

      Only the truly evil make threats.

      December 29, 2011 at 12:16 am |
  2. JP

    Next year, Richard Dawkins, please. 🙂

    December 28, 2011 at 11:09 pm |
  3. Steve the Goat

    Three cheers for the space ghost team! As deluded as ever, just more publicity now. Petulant children

    December 28, 2011 at 11:06 pm |
  4. Tensai

    "as doomsday fever gripped the nation" what idiot writes this drivel?

    December 28, 2011 at 9:54 pm |
  5. tensai13

    "As doomsday fever gripped the nation" hahahaha what planet do you live on?

    December 28, 2011 at 9:50 pm |
    • AdmrlAckbar

      He must have went to Walmart on Black Friday?

      December 28, 2011 at 10:02 pm |
    • Black Friday

      When Black Friday comes
      I'll stand down by the door
      And catch the gray men
      When they dive from the fourteenth floor
      When Black Friday comes
      I'll collect everything I'm owed
      And before my friends find out
      I'll be on the road
      When Black Friday falls you know it's got to be
      Don't let it fall on me

      When Black Friday comes
      I'll fly down to Muswellbrook
      Gonna strike all the big red words
      From my little black book
      Gonna do just what I please
      Gonna wear no socks and shoes
      With nothing to do
      But feed all the Kangaroos
      When Black Friday comes I'll be on that hill
      You know I will

      When Black Friday comes
      I'm gonna dig myself a hole
      Gonna lay down in it
      'Til I satisfy my soul
      Gonna let the world pass by me
      The Archbishop gonna sanctify me
      And if he don't come across
      I'm gonna let it roll
      When Black Friday comes I'm gonna stake my claim
      I guess I'll change my name.

      December 28, 2011 at 10:21 pm |
  6. SkyMager

    Religion was invented to answer the questions that man could not answer. It was created to keep the majority under the rule of a minority. Nothing has changed and anyone following a religion is proving that religion as a distraction, still works on the feeble minded.

    From a former Pentecostal that finally saw the real light and it wasn't some story made up by a simpleton 2000 years ago...

    December 28, 2011 at 9:20 pm |
    • AdmrlAckbar

      Obviously you have no love of science either =) Rather you seem to follow the Allmighty Opinion with fervent devotion.

      December 28, 2011 at 9:49 pm |
  7. The Master

    "Jesus was a free marketer." Yesuha was a freakin BUM!! And who cares about Oosama bin Laden's death? He had nothing to do with September 11th, 2001!

    Stupid americants! I live in a nation of IDIOTS!

    December 28, 2011 at 9:18 pm |
    • AdmrlAckbar

      Might I suggest some decaf?

      December 28, 2011 at 9:50 pm |
  8. stevie68a

    I remind the religious that most of you were brainwashed as children to believe in nonsense. Religion was created to control.
    It is simply not true.
    If "jesus" answers your prayers, try praying to a lamppost or fire hydrant- you'll get the same result!

    December 28, 2011 at 8:01 pm |
  9. The Phist

    I just ate some food from Taco Bell. It was fantastic!

    December 28, 2011 at 7:22 pm |
    • Leucadia Bob

      You religious nut bag

      December 28, 2011 at 7:26 pm |
    • GET YOUR PITCHFORKS

      CATCH HIM!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      December 28, 2011 at 7:29 pm |
    • lacoaster

      Bad, bad.

      December 28, 2011 at 7:41 pm |
  10. GAW

    Dear CNN it might be a good idea for anyone wishing to post here on the Belief Blog to start an account as is required for the other sections of this site. It might cut down on the number of trolls and quack posters (religious or otherwise)

    December 28, 2011 at 7:21 pm |
    • Boo Hoo Get GAW a tissue!

      Then what would you have to whine and complain about?

      December 28, 2011 at 7:23 pm |
    • Leucadia Bob

      Are you serious? I love bagiing on those challenged that posess no common sense whatsoever ...... OK mainly the Christians

      December 28, 2011 at 7:45 pm |
    • bob johnson

      if anything deserves a quack post it is religion ...like calls to like...

      December 28, 2011 at 9:22 pm |
    • david e.

      GAW i agree. It is near to impossible to have any honest discussion or debate in a religious/spirituality forum that allows anonymous posters. There are to many intellectually dishonest and downright flakey people that love to act out their childish behaviour in a pathetic bid for attention.

      December 29, 2011 at 2:35 am |
  11. Chiara

    Wow, all the crazies out today.

    December 28, 2011 at 7:06 pm |
    • GAW

      Do you man the Christians or the Atheists?

      December 28, 2011 at 7:12 pm |
    • GAW

      ** mean

      December 28, 2011 at 7:13 pm |
    • Leucadia Bob

      Speaking strictly as one of the crazies, I would say that I am a good crazy with Agnostic intentions. More importantly common sense. The people that deal with absolutes on here are a bunch closed minded retards. How can you say there is or there is not a supreme being? How can you be so certain what that being is? Open your mind to the possibilites – they are endless and unknown.

      December 28, 2011 at 7:22 pm |
    • AtheistSteve

      "How can you say there is or there is not a supreme being."

      No atheist of any integrity would ever make a definitive claim about the non-existence of a supreme being in a general sense. It's that whole can't prove a negative thing. But the debate that inevitably takes place on this board is most often geared towards addressing the claims of believers who insist on the existence of THEIR specific god. For example many Christians on here have said "I KNOW God is real".
      It would be entirely defensible for them to merely stick with "I BELIEVE in my God". We might challenge their reasoning but it is folly to argue that their belief is not real. Belief isn't a statement of fact but of supposition. If we present information or facts that are counter to their beliefs it is still possible for them to find excuses or workarounds that enable them to maintain their position. Beliefs are REAL but don't necessarily have to be TRUE. FAITH or hope remain as acceptable criteria.
      The moment they step over the line to pronounce they KNOW God exists they have taken a Gnostic stance. A statement of fact. Now for the Christian God an entire package of predetermined characteristics are already established. When pressed to explain away the faulty logic, errors or inconsistencies within their doctrine only factual arguments are valid. Appeals to faith which is not supported by facts are insufficient to support their knowledge claim. Further no appeals to the logical arguments for god are valid in defense of their belief because they are not specific to the Christian God. The Transcendental Argument (TAG), Cosmological Argument, Argument from Design, Argument from Complexity, Logical Absolutes and others are all generic in structure and can be used to argue into existence ANY deity that can be imagined. Plus even these are not supported by facts.
      Thus the Agnostic Atheist has a belief structure that is consistent with what knowledge has revealed as TRUE. I believe that God doesn't exist because no observable facts support that conclusion. I don't KNOW anything for certain and therefore can't believe. But if for example I address the question of life (not necessarily intelligent) elsewhere in the universe, something far easier to logically accept than an all-powerful transcendental creator being, I say YES I believe. Here I have some facts to work with. 10,000 billion billion stars, confirmed planets orbiting many close enough observe, odds that some are in the 'goldielocks' zone, odds that planet size, water and atmosphere conducive to life exist. I don't KNOW that I'm right but my BELIEF is grounded in facts and probabilities that are true. The Agnostic Theist however is stuck appealing to faith based claims that are ambiguous in regards to truth. They MAY be correct but have no means of distinguishing between fact and fiction.

      December 29, 2011 at 8:38 am |
  12. Razorback

    And the CNN "Belief Blog" attracts more trolls than any other part of the website. Note to trolls: you are not going to convince anybody to abandon their faith. Please spend your time in a more positive matter. Happy New Year!

    December 28, 2011 at 7:04 pm |
    • GAW

      And remember don't feed them.

      December 28, 2011 at 7:14 pm |
    • Boo Hoo Get GAW a tissue!

      The trolls are called christians. Remember, Ray Comfort is your god and since he doesn't believe in evolution, you shouldn't either.

      December 28, 2011 at 7:25 pm |
    • logan5

      Of course I don't expect to convince religious people to give up their beliefs but it sure is fun deriding their willful ignorance and in some cases gross stupidity. And a Happy New Year to you too!!

      December 28, 2011 at 9:27 pm |
  13. John Geheran

    If advertising were pulled from a gay or Latino series, it's unlikely that one would hear even a peep. Most Americans are not bigoted against Muslims but more concerned about the whitewashing and PC treatment afforded radical Islam ("workplace violence", et al). A country unable or unwilling to properly identify its enemies is destined to be defeated by them.

    December 28, 2011 at 6:53 pm |
    • david e.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CxZeOlybX7s

      December 29, 2011 at 2:54 am |
    • david e.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D35oNpHMSZg

      December 29, 2011 at 3:07 am |
  14. Yovee

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-EmUyj0d1Z4

    December 28, 2011 at 6:47 pm |
    • Lacoaster

      Tasty music.

      December 28, 2011 at 7:47 pm |
  15. HotAirAce

    Im Hawny!! Where are the big goober menz?

    December 28, 2011 at 9:00 am |
  16. KMULTRA BRAINCHIPMAN

    MILLIONS TO BE ASSASSINATED FOR THE SAKE OF $$$ LIABILITIES(mk-ultra, chip implants, electroshocks etc. performed on them) AND NEW WORLD ORDER(multiculturalism = terrorism) POLITICAL AGENDA KNOWN AS "YOU ARE NEXT...YOU ARE NEXT"(liabilities are 2 expensive for the government and it is cheaper to get read of you instead !!! NOW YOU KNOW WHAT US CONGRESS IS SOOO BUSY WITH WHEN PLAYING IN FRONT OF CAMERAS WHERE CLAIMING ONLY HOW SOMETHING HAVE TO BE DONE WHILE KNOWINGLY OMITTING AND IGNORING FACTS OF GENOCIDE AS SEEN ON THIS WORLDWIDE WELL KNOWN COMPLAIN )!!!

    http://myshortbiography.blogspot.com/

    LEARN TRUTH ABOUT UNITED NATIONS, AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL AS WELL AS NEW WORLD ORDER(MULTICULTURALISM = TERRORISM) GOVERNMENTS !!! NOT THERE TO PROTECT YOUR RIGHTS, BUT TO DENY YOUR RIGHT TO EXISTENCE !!!

    ABDUCTIONS / BRAIN CHIP IMPLANTS / BLACKLISTING / FORCEFUL UNEMPLOYMENT / MK-ULTRA BRAINWASHING AGAINST WHITE(under "NAZI" lie) CIVILIAN POPULATION TODAY IN 2011/2012 ACROSS THE EUROPE AND NORTHERN AMERICA !!!

    http://myshortbiography.blogspot.com/

    WHY TO ACCEPT LIABILITIES FOR CRIMES COMMITTED WHEN WE CAN SIMPLY ASSASSINATE OUR VICTIMS(YOU) THANKS TO HUMAN RIGHTS ORGANIZATIONS AND FREE PRESS/MEDIA(most severe censorship of genocide ever !!!)!!

    This news is related to WHITES AREN’T WELCOME IN AMERICA ANY LONGER !!! OUT OF AMERICA WITH WHITES NOW !!! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_xGfYOAydjw

    December 27, 2011 at 4:23 pm |
    • KMULTRA BRAINCHIPMAN

      AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      HAS ANYBODY SEEN MY MEDS?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!??!?!?!

      AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      BLACK HELICOPTERS FLOWN BY NEW WORLD ORDER FREEMASON SPACE ALIENS ARE OUT TO GET ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      I KNOW I LEFT THOSE MEDS SOMEWHERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      December 27, 2011 at 6:05 pm |
    • Holy Jesus Christ on a donkey you are insane!

      Then again....there is no better platform for your insanity than The Delusion Blog. So keep on riding that Crazy Train brother.

      December 28, 2011 at 6:47 pm |
  17. George

    I honestly have not seen any truly inspiring stories on this belief blog in 2011. Most of it is fluff pieces. Other articles seem to be designed to generate controversy. I have not found one story that stirred me from within.

    December 27, 2011 at 3:49 pm |
    • rick

      i wonder how many of the doomsday predicting bunch actually had the cojones to meet jesus halfway

      December 28, 2011 at 1:49 pm |
    • Dave

      Agreed. It's the religion section People magazine never had.

      December 28, 2011 at 6:15 pm |
  18. Reality

    Only for the "newbies".

    Summarizing the major religions in 2011:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    A quick Google, Bing or Yahoo search will put the kibosh on any other groups calling themselves a religion.

    e.g. Taoism

    "The origins of Taoism are unclear. Traditionally, Lao-tzu who lived in the sixth century is regarded as its founder. Its early philosophic foundations and its later beliefs and rituals are two completely different ways of life. Today (1982) Taoism claims 31,286,000 followers.

    Legend says that Lao-tzu was immaculately conceived by a shooting star; carried in his mother's womb for eighty-two years; and born a full grown wise old man. "

    December 27, 2011 at 3:20 pm |
    • DamianKnight

      Cool story, bro

      December 27, 2011 at 3:44 pm |
    • .....

      Hit "report abuse" on all Reality garbage.

      December 27, 2011 at 3:45 pm |
    • Mike from CT

      • There was probably no Abraham
      Please Explain

      • There was probably no Moses
      Except that there was a specific location to his tomb and no writings from the same period to back up your claim. Funy how you dismiss hersay so quickly and then use it in your post(s)

      • There was no Gabriel
      This is a great statement of faith.

      • There was no Easter
      But there was there were witness, an empty tomb and a cover up to cover something that never happen... seems like a waste of a cover up

      December 28, 2011 at 8:56 am |
    • Reality

      One more time for Mike's benefit- Part 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 28, 2011 at 12:25 pm |
    • Reality

      Part 2:

      They are called the Infamous Angelic Cons:

      Joe Smith had his Moroni.

      Jehovah Witnesses have their Jesus /Michael the archangel, the first angelic being created by God;

      Mohammed had his Gabriel (this "tin-kerbell" got around).

      Jesus and his family had Michael, Gabriel, and Satan, the latter being a modern day dem-on of the de-mented.

      The Abraham-Moses myths had their Angel of Death and other "no-namers" to do their dirty work or other assorted duties.

      Contemporary biblical and religious scholars have relegated these "pretty wingie thingies" to the myth pile. We should do the same to include deleting all references to them in our religious operating manuals. Doing this will eliminate the prophet/profit/prophecy status of these founders and put them where they belong as simple humans just like the rest of us.

      Some added references to "tink-erbells".

      "Latter-day Saints also believe that Michael the Archangel was Adam (the first man) when he was mortal, and Gabriel lived on the earth as Noah."

      Apparently hallu-cinations did not stop with Joe Smith.

      newadvent.org/cathen/07049c.htm

      "The belief in guardian angels can be traced throughout all antiquity; pagans, like Menander and Plutarch (cf. Euseb., "Praep. Evang.", xii), and Neo-Platonists, like Plotinus, held it. It was also the belief of the Babylonians and As-syrians, as their monuments testify, for a figure of a guardian angel now in the British Museum once decorated an As-syrian palace, and might well serve for a modern representation; while Nabopolassar, father of Nebuchadnezzar the Great, says: "He (Marduk) sent a tutelary deity (cherub) of grace to go at my side; in everything that I did, he made my work to succeed."
      Catholic monks and Dark Age theologians also did their share of hallu-cinating:

      "TUBUAS-A member of the group of angels who were removed from the ranks of officially recognized celestial hierarchy in 745 by a council in Rome under Pope Zachary. He was joined by Uriel, Adimus, Sabaoth, Simiel, and Raguel."

      And tin-ker- bells go way, way back:

      "In Zoroastrianism there are different angel like creatures. For example each person has a guardian angel called Fravashi. They patronize human being and other creatures and also manifest god’s energy. Also, the Amesha Spentas have often been regarded as angels, but they don't convey messages, but are rather emanations of Ahura Mazda ("Wise Lord", God); they appear in an abstract fashion in the religious thought of Zarathustra and then later (during the Achaemenid period of Zoroastrianism) became personalized, associated with an aspect of the divine creation (fire, plants, water...)."

      "The beginnings of the biblical belief in angels must be sought in very early folklore. The gods of the Hitti-tes and Canaanites had their supernatural messengers, and parallels to the Old Testament stories of angels are found in Near Eastern literature. "

      "The 'Magic Papyri' contain many spells to secure just such help and protection of angels. From magic traditions arose the concept of the guardian angel. "

      December 28, 2011 at 12:26 pm |
    • Reality

      Part 3:

      Saving Christians from the Infamous Resurrection Con/Disease:

      From that famous passage: In 1 Corinthians 15 St. Paul reasoned, "If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith."

      Even now Catholic/Christian professors of theology are questioning the bodily resurrection of the simple, preacher man aka Jesus.

      To wit;

      From a major Catholic university's theology professor’s grad school white-board notes:

      "Heaven is a Spirit state or spiritual reality of union with God in love, without earthly – earth bound distractions.
      Jesus and Mary's bodies are therefore not in Heaven.

      Most believe that it to mean that the personal spiritual self that survives death is in continuity with the self we were while living on earth as an embodied person.

      Again, the physical Resurrection (meaning a resuscitated corpse returning to life), Ascension (of Jesus' crucified corpse), and Assumption (Mary's corpse) into heaven did not take place.

      The Ascension symbolizes the end of Jesus' earthly ministry and the beginning of the Church.

      Only Luke's Gospel records it. The Assumption ties Jesus' mission to Pentecost and missionary activity of Jesus' followers The Assumption has multiple layers of symbolism, some are related to Mary's special role as "Christ bearer" (theotokos). It does not seem fitting that Mary, the body of Jesus' Virgin-Mother (another biblically based symbol found in Luke 1) would be derived by worms upon her death. Mary's assumption also shows God's positive regard, not only for Christ's male body, but also for female bodies." "

      "In three controversial Wednesday Audiences, Pope John Paul II pointed out that the essential characteristic of heaven, hell or purgatory is that they are states of being of a spirit (angel/demon) or human soul, rather than places, as commonly perceived and represented in human language. This language of place is, according to the Pope, inadequate to describe the realities involved, since it is tied to the temporal order in which this world and we exist. In this he is applying the philosophical categories used by the Church in her theology and saying what St. Thomas Aquinas said long before him."
      http://eternal-word.com/library/PAPALDOC/JP2HEAVN.HTM

      The Vatican quickly embellished this story with a lot CYAP.

      Of course, we all know that angels are really mythical "pretty wingie talking thingies".

      With respect to rising from the dead, we also have this account:

      An added note: As per R.B. Stewart in his introduction to the recent book, The Resurrection of Jesus, Crossan and Wright in Dialogue,

      p.4

      "Reimarus (1774-1778) posits that Jesus became sidetracked by embracing a political position, sought to force God's hand and that he died alone deserted by his disciples. What began as a call for repentance ended up as a misguided attempt to usher in the earthly political kingdom of God. After Jesus' failure and death, his disciples stole his body and declared his resurrection in order to maintain their financial security and ensure themselves some standing."

      p.168. by Ted Peters:

      Even so, asking historical questions is our responsibility. Did Jesus really rise from the tomb? Is it necessary to have been raised from the tomb and to appear to his disciples in order to explain the rise of early church and the transcription of the bible? Crossan answers no, Wright answers, yes. "

      So where are the bones"? As per Professor Crossan's analyses in his many books, the body of Jesus would have ended up in the mass graves of the crucified, eaten by wild dogs, covered with lime in a shallow grave, or under a pile of stones.

      December 28, 2011 at 12:29 pm |
    • Mike from CT

      One more time for Reality
      Part 1
      According to your beliefs a single instance is not a relaiable source so then neither is your one news article. But going further, the article is a man making “new”s with his opinion and speculation not based on historical research.

      Part 2
      "The beginnings of the biblical belief in angels must be sought in very early folklore
      Again a very faith based statement,,

      “The gods of the Hitti-tes and Canaanites had their supernatural messengers,”
      Yes it is record in the OT, and explained why their gods where false in the same OT.

      Part 3
      “Even now Catholic/Christian professors of theology are questioning the bodily resurrection of the simple, preacher man aka Jesus.”
      Yes all 2 of them, but then again the Bible told you that first. That many will fall away lovers of themselves and being swade by persuasive arguments.
      Stop putting un 1 Cor 15, unless you choose to disprove it, otherwise you are willfully being deceitful having your readers draw a connection between this verse and the opinion of 2 professors, not believers in Jesus
      “Only recorded in Luke’s gospel”… which first was a compilation of many eye witness accounts Luke 1:1… but in itself a false statement, it is at the end of Mark, which is part of the Gospel and Acts 1
      ***And where is “The Assumption?” recorded in the Bible
      Hopefully you answer this time.

      December 28, 2011 at 2:27 pm |
    • Dave

      Thank you for taking the freshman course, Survey of World Religions. As it is apparent that you chose to skip the required reading from Huston Smith and Mercea Eliade, and instead reworded a bunch of stuff you read in the introduction to some John Spong or Sam Harris book, you fail the course and will receive no credit. And, no, an anthology of submissions to the CNN religious blog comment section does not count as a term paper. Maybe you should switch majors? Marketing maybe? Have you considered trade schools? The service sector is thriving, even in a down economy.

      December 28, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
    • Dave

      Other Dave, no marks for you either, due to your academic pretentions. Failing grades for you, son.

      December 28, 2011 at 7:52 pm |
    • david e.

      Your statements are made with absolutely zero sources or lines of reasoning or logic to back them up. This is the kind of moronic posting that does nothing to further a meaningful discussion on a topic as polarized as religion and spirituality. Perhaps your local community college offers night classes thay could help you produce written articles that a thinking and reasoning person could take seriously? I hope so.

      December 29, 2011 at 2:06 am |
    • Reality

      Some of the references needed to prepare summaries on religion in the 21st century::

      o 1. Historical Jesus Theories, earlychristianwritings.com/theories.htm – the names of many of the contemporary historical Jesus scholars and the ti-tles of their over 100 books on the subject.

      2. Early Christian Writings, earlychristianwritings.com/
      – a list of early Christian doc-uments to include the year of publication–

      30-60 CE Passion Narrative
      40-80 Lost Sayings Gospel Q
      50-60 1 Thessalonians
      50-60 Philippians
      50-60 Galatians
      50-60 1 Corinthians
      50-60 2 Corinthians
      50-60 Romans
      50-60 Philemon
      50-80 Colossians
      50-90 Signs Gospel
      50-95 Book of Hebrews
      50-120 Didache
      50-140 Gospel of Thomas
      50-140 Oxyrhynchus 1224 Gospel
      50-200 Sophia of Jesus Christ
      65-80 Gospel of Mark
      70-100 Epistle of James
      70-120 Egerton Gospel
      70-160 Gospel of Peter
      70-160 Secret Mark
      70-200 Fayyum Fragment
      70-200 Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs
      73-200 Mara Bar Serapion
      80-100 2 Thessalonians
      80-100 Ephesians
      80-100 Gospel of Matthew
      80-110 1 Peter
      80-120 Epistle of Barnabas
      80-130 Gospel of Luke
      80-130 Acts of the Apostles
      80-140 1 Clement
      80-150 Gospel of the Egyptians
      80-150 Gospel of the Hebrews
      80-250 Christian Sibyllines
      90-95 Apocalypse of John
      90-120 Gospel of John
      90-120 1 John
      90-120 2 John
      90-120 3 John
      90-120 Epistle of Jude
      93 Flavius Josephus
      100-150 1 Timothy
      100-150 2 Timothy
      100-150 T-itus
      100-150 Apocalypse of Peter
      100-150 Secret Book of James
      100-150 Preaching of Peter
      100-160 Gospel of the Ebionites
      100-160 Gospel of the Nazoreans
      100-160 Shepherd of Hermas
      100-160 2 Peter

      3. Historical Jesus Studies, faithfutures.org/HJstudies.html,
      – "an extensive and constantly expanding literature on historical research into the person and cultural context of Jesus of Nazareth"

      4. Jesus Database, faithfutures.org/JDB/intro.html–"The JESUS DATABASE is an online annotated inventory of the traditions concerning the life and teachings of Jesus that have survived from the first three centuries of the Common Era. It includes both canonical and extra-canonical materials, and is not limited to the traditions found within the Christian New Testament."

      5. Josephus on Jesus mtio.com/articles/bissar24.htm

      6. The Jesus Seminar, mystae.com/restricted/reflections/messiah/seminar.html#Criteria

      7. Writing the New Testament- mystae.com/restricted/reflections/messiah/testament.html

      8. Health and Healing in the Land of Israel By Joe Zias

      joezias.com/HealthHealingLandIsrael.htm

      9. Economics in First Century Palestine, K.C. Hanson and D. E. Oakman, Palestine in the Time of Jesus, Fortress Press, 1998.

      December 29, 2011 at 6:11 am |
    • Reality

      Continued from above:

      10. 7. The Gnostic Jesus
      (Part One in a Two-Part Series on Ancient and Modern Gnosticism)
      by Douglas Groothuis: equip.org/free/DG040-1.htm
      11. The interpretation of the Bible in the Church, Pontifical Biblical Commission
      Presented on March 18, 1994
      ewtn.com/library/CURIA/PBCINTER.HTM#2
      12. The Jesus Database- newer site:
      wiki.faithfutures.org/index.php?t-itle=Jesus_Database
      13. Jesus Database with the example of Supper and Eucharist:
      faithfutures.org/JDB/jdb016.html
      14. Josephus on Jesus by Paul Maier:
      mtio.com/articles/bissar24.htm
      15. The Journal of Higher Criticism with links to articles on the Historical Jesus:
      mtio.com/articles/bissar24.htm

      December 29, 2011 at 6:13 am |
    • Reality

      Continued from above:

      16. The Greek New Testament: laparola.net/greco/
      17. Diseases in the Bible:
      etd.unisa.ac.za/ETD-db/theses/available/etd-08022006-125807/unrestricted/02dissertation.pdf
      18. Religion on Line (6000 articles on the history of religion, churches, theologies,
      theologians, ethics, etc.
      religion-online.org/
      19. The Jesus Seminarians and their search for NT authenticity:
      mystae.com/restricted/reflections/messiah/seminar.html#Criteria
      20. The New Testament Gateway – Internet NT ntgateway.com/
      21. Writing the New Testament- existing copies, oral tradition etc.
      ntgateway.com/
      22. The Search for the Historic Jesus by the Jesus Seminarians:
      members.aol.com/DrSwiney/seminar.html

      December 29, 2011 at 6:15 am |
    • Reality

      Continued from above:

      23. Jesus Decoded by Msgr. Francis J. Maniscalco (Da Vinci Code review)jesusdecoded.com/introduction.php
      24. JD Crossan's scriptural references for his book the Historical Jesus separated into time periods: faithfutures.org/Jesus/Crossan1.rtf
      25. JD Crossan's conclusions about the authencity of most of the NT based on the above plus the conclusions of other NT exegetes in the last 200 years:
      faithfutures.org/Jesus/Crossan2.rtf
      26. Common Sayings from Thomas's Gospel and the Q Gospel: faithfutures.org/Jesus/Crossan3.rtf
      27. Early Jewish Writings- Josephus and his books by t-itle with the complete translated work in English :earlyjewishwritings.com/josephus.html
      28. Luke and Josephus- was there a connection?
      infidels.org/library/modern/richard_carrier/lukeandjosephus.html
      29. NT and beyond time line:
      pbs.org/empires/peterandpaul/history/timeline/
      30. St. Paul's Time line with discussion of important events:
      harvardhouse.com/prophetictech/new/pauls_life.htm
      31. See http://www.amazon.com for a list of JD Crossan's books and those of the other Jesus Seminarians: Reviews of said books are included and selected pages can now be viewed on Amazon. Some books can be found on-line at Google Books.
      32. Father Edward Schillebeeckx's words of wisdom as found in his books.
      33. The books of the following : Professors Marcus Borg, Paula Fredriksen, Elaine Pagels, Karen Armstrong and Bishop NT Wright.
      34. Father Raymond Brown's An Introduction to the New Testament, Doubleday, NY, 1977, 878 pages, with Nihil obstat and Imprimatur.
      35. Luke Timothy Johnson's book The Real Jesus

      December 29, 2011 at 6:16 am |
    • Reality

      ""What Is the Doctrine of the Assumption?

      This dogma (a teaching of the Church that requires belief on the part of all Catholics) states that Mary, body and soul, was taken by God into heaven as the course of her life on earth was completed. Pope Pius XII proclaimed this event to be a doctrine on November 1, 1950. Some wonder whether there is anything in the Bible about this event since they cannot recall the word “Assumption” being used. As a matter of fact, there is no such word “Assumption” in the Scriptures. And for some people, unless the exact word is in the Bible, it can’t really be called God’s revealed truth.

      However, what we have in the Church, besides the Scriptures, is the Sacred and Spirit-inspired Tradition of the Church regarding some of its most basic teachings. The doctrine of Mary’s Assumption is based on what is called a theological conclusion because of other indirect references to it in the Scriptures. For example, at the Annunciation (celebrated March 25th, nine months before December 25th), the Angel Gabriel declared Mary to be “full of Grace” and “God’s highly favored daughter” (Lk 1:28). Mary conceived Jesus, the Son of God, by the power of the Holy Spirit as a consequence of accepting God’s plan for her. Further, when Mary visited her cousin Elizabeth, who herself was pregnant with John the Baptist, she addressed Mary with the words, “Who am I that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” (Lk 1:42). All these biblical statements led the Church to conclude that because of her role as Mother of the Messiah, Mary would be preserved from original sin and its consequences. Her freedom from sin was accomplished by reason of Jesus’ foreseen redemptive death on the cross. As such it would not be possible for Mary, whose womb carried the Son of God, to suffer the corruption of the body that all people experience after. ""

      http://www.americancatholic.org/e-News/FriarJack/fj081304.asp

      December 29, 2011 at 6:22 am |
    • Muneef

      Reality.
      Hi there, seems you are not enjoying Christmas ? Well hope at least you will enjoy New Year... 
      Hope the New Year will bring you peace of mind and soul;

      And there will not be for them any allies to aid them other than Allah . And whoever Allah sends astray – for him there is no way. (42:46)

      Respond to your Lord before a Day comes from Allah of which there is no repelling. No refuge will you have that day, nor for you will there be any denial. (42:47)

      December 29, 2011 at 6:26 am |
    • Mike from CT

      Your website Early Christian Writings, earlychristianwritings.com/ has been debunked many of times.

      Here is one example to jog your memory regarding the dating of Peter

      the author identifies himself as the apostle Peter (1:1), and the contents and character of the letter support his authorship (see notes on 1:12; 4:13; 5:1–2,5,13). Moreover, the letter reflects the history and terminology of the Gospels and Acts (notably Peter’s speeches). Its themes and concepts reflect Peter’s experiences and his associations in the period of our Lord’s earthly ministry and in the apostolic age. That he was acquainted, e.g., with Paul and his letters is made clear in 2Pe 3:15–16 (see notes there); Gal 1:18; 2:1–21 and elsewhere. Coincidences in thought and expression with Paul’s writings are therefore not surprising.

      From the beginning, 1 Peter was recognized as authoritative and as the work of the apostle Peter. The earliest reference to it may be 2Pe 3:1 (see note there), where Peter himself refers to a former letter he had written. 1 Clement (a.d. 95) seems to indicate acquaintance with 1 Peter. Polycarp, a disciple of the apostle John, makes use of 1 Peter in his letter to the Philippians. The author of the Gospel of Truth (140–150) was acquainted with 1 Peter. Eusebius (fourth century) indicated that it was universally received.

      The letter was explicitly ascribed to Peter by that group of church fathers whose testimonies appear in the attestation of so many of the genuine NT writings, namely, Irenaeus (a.d. 140–203), Tertullian (150–222), Clement of Alexandria (155–215) and Origen (185–253). It is thus clear that Peter’s authorship of the book has early and strong support.

      Nevertheless some claim that the idiomatic Greek of this letter is beyond Peter’s competence. But in his time Aramaic, Hebrew and Greek were used in the Holy Land, and he may well have been acquainted with more than one language. That he was not a professionally trained scribe (Ac 4:13) does not mean that he was unacquainted with Greek; in fact, as a Galilean fisherman he in all likelihood did use it. Even if he had not known it in the earliest days of the church, he may have acquired it as an important aid to his apostolic ministry in the decades that intervened between then and the writing of 1 Peter.

      It is true, however, that the Greek of 1 Peter is good literary Greek, and even though Peter could no doubt speak Greek, as so many in the Mediterranean world could, it is unlikely that he would write such polished Greek. But it is at this point that Peter’s remark in 5:12 (see note there) concerning Silas may be significant. Here the apostle claims that he wrote “with the help of” (more lit. “through” or “by means of”) Silas. This phrase cannot refer merely to Silas as a letter carrier. Thus Silas was the intermediate agent in writing. Some have claimed that Silas’s qualifications for recording Peter’s letter in literary Greek are found in Ac 15:22–29. It is known that a secretary in those days often composed doc.uments in good Greek for those who did not have the language facility to do so. Thus in 1 Peter Silas’s Greek may be seen, while in 2 Peter it may be Peter’s rough Greek that appears.

      Some also maintain that the book reflects a situation that did not exist until after Peter’s death, suggesting that the persecution referred to in 4:14–16; 5:8–9 is descriptive of Domitian’s reign (a.d. 81–96). However, the situation that was developing in Nero’s time (54–68) is just as adequately described by those verses.

      The book can be satisfactorily dated in the early 60s. It cannot be placed earlier than 60 since it shows familiarity with Paul’s Prison Letters (e.g., Colossians and Ephesians, which are to be dated no earlier than 60): Compare 1:1–3 with Eph 1:1–3; 2:18 with Col 3:22; 3:1–6 with Eph 5:22–24. Furthermore, it cannot be dated later than 67/68, since Peter was martyred during Nero’s reign.

      December 29, 2011 at 10:46 am |
    • Mike from CT

      Reality, please stop with the straw man

      The question was not ""What Is the Doctrine of the Assumption?

      But where in the Bible is the Assumption?

      To get a better translation of Luke 1:28
      And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!”

      No highly favored in that verse

      And you quoted Luke 1:43 not 1:42

      But again where in the bible is
      "states that Mary, body and soul, was taken by God into heaven as the course of her life on earth was completed."

      and that it should be worshiped.

      We have been down this road before you can take something we both don't believe in (like the Gospel of Hebrews to up your percentage of "illegitimate" verse) and then say see this is wrong with what you believe if I never believed in it in the first place

      Now to quote the bible
      Mark 7
      9 And he said to them, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition! 10 For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’ 11 But you say, ‘If a man tells his father or his mother, “Whatever you would have gained from me is Corban”’ (that is, given to God)— 12 then you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or mother, 13 thus making void the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And many such things you do.”

      December 29, 2011 at 10:57 am |
    • Reality

      Mark,

      Obviously, your debate is with Friar Jack. Get back to us after your debate with him.

      http://www.americancatholic.org/e-News/FriarJack/fj081304.asp

      And how is the information , earlychristianwritings.com, debunked since is the "word of god" being reviewed.

      And again with the timing of Peter's letters, see Father Raymond Brown's review in his large 895 page reference book, An Introduction to the New Testament. pp. 705-724.

      December 29, 2011 at 2:17 pm |
    • Mike from CT

      again as an example take the first peter article and why it was dated between 67-69 and your website dates it between 80-110

      We even had the conversation before, that I can find that you then tried to date 1 peter in 130.
      Most of the stuff on the website is conjecture from authors, not theologians, trying to get their book published

      December 30, 2011 at 8:26 am |
  19. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    December 27, 2011 at 1:29 pm |
    • Sue

      Present your proof that any prayer has ever caused anything to happen. However, note that bible stories that merely reference other bible material will be dismissed as the circular reasoning that they are.

      December 27, 2011 at 1:33 pm |
    • Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

      Prayer changes things
      Pray without ceasing in 2012

      December 27, 2011 at 1:36 pm |
    • rick

      Prayer changes nothing.

      December 27, 2011 at 1:43 pm |
    • Actually

      "Prayer changes things"

      Not really it's all about your brain. Morality is chemical, an ancient and tiny molecule, oxytocin, has taken us from being social creatures to, increasingly being tolerant, empathic and prosperous people.This tiny molecule traces its lineage back at least 400 million years, that is way before your Christ and religion. LOL!

      December 27, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
    • Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

      Prayer changes things
      Pray without ceasing in 2012
      Seek God while He can be found

      December 27, 2011 at 3:55 pm |
    • Actually....

      "Seek God while He can be found"

      You can't find something that doesn't exist.

      December 27, 2011 at 3:57 pm |
    • An inconvenient truth

      You can run your body or your mouth but you can't hide, your sin will find you out. There is a God and you all have the opportunity to know Him. Your rejection does not cause God to go away, but ultimately you will go away. Atheism is best practiced by silence or suicide thereby letting everyone else live. Think of the countless millions that atheists have murdered over the course of human history and one might conclude that atheism should have always been a capital offense.

      December 27, 2011 at 4:05 pm |
    • Actually...

      There is a God and you all have the opportunity to know Him.”

      You have absolutely no proof of this statement.

      “Atheism is best practiced by silence or suicide thereby letting everyone else live.”

      What a load of crap and based on that reply you are not a follower of your christ hypocrite.

      “Think of the countless millions that atheists have murdered over the course of human history and one might conclude that atheism should have always been a capital offense.”

      Your supposed god, killed everyone on the planet but a few so based on your stupid book, your religion should be a capital offense by your poor logic. What an idiot. Plus do yourself a favor and look at the millions upon millions that have been killed by religions.

      December 27, 2011 at 4:27 pm |
    • An inconvenient truth

      Best check the why on that before it is too late.

      December 27, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
    • Actually....

      "Best check the why on that before it is too late."

      There is no why.

      December 27, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
    • An inconvenient truth

      There is always a why.

      December 27, 2011 at 8:07 pm |
    • tallulah13

      @inconvenient truth

      Truth is something that can be validated with fact. There is no proof that any god ever existed. Therefore, all you have is an "inconvenient opinion."

      December 28, 2011 at 12:44 am |
    • People are too stupid to realize they're being trolled.

      Here's your sign.

      December 28, 2011 at 9:46 pm |
  20. Lame, Lame, Lame

    Well, CNN is really pumping out the fluffle non-articles to make it look like they are actually doing something when they actually are in total year-end autopilot mode. These "year in" articles are like when sitcoms have that episode where they remember moments of other episodes – it's a way to get paid twice for the same content.

    December 27, 2011 at 12:41 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Not unlike religions getting their cult members to return week after week...

      December 27, 2011 at 12:45 pm |
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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.