Religion was huge in Iowa, but New Hampshire doesn't want to talk faith
Will religious conservative Rick Santorum connect in New Hampshire?
January 5th, 2012
09:27 AM ET

Religion was huge in Iowa, but New Hampshire doesn't want to talk faith

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

(CNN) - When Kevin Smith took over a New Hampshire Christian advocacy group called Cornerstone Action in 2009, the outfit was so strapped for cash and members that it was in danger of closing down.

So Smith took the group, which is associated with the national evangelical organization Focus on the Family, in a different direction. Instead of just focusing on “family values” causes like opposing abortion and same-sex marriage, as it had been, he began waging campaigns around fiscal matters like reducing taxes and trimming the budget.

The result: The group’s financial support grew tenfold in three years, to $1.2 million, and helped usher Republican supermajorities into the New Hampshire legislature in 2010.

“If we were going to survive we had to have a broader appeal, because of the kind of conservatives that are here,” says Smith, a former aide in the governor’s office who’s now running for governor himself. “Not all of them were with us on social issues.”

Five days before New Hampshire’s Republican primary, Smith’s experience points to a major shifting of gears in the presidential race: While religion played a huge role in the Iowa caucuses - helping fuel Rick Santorum’s last-minute surge there and throwing up hurdles for Mitt Romney, a Mormon - religious faith is not likely to matter much in the Granite State, one of the least religious states in the nation.

That means the candidates will be rejiggering their Iowa-branded messages about faith and family into ones about fiscal matters, like the national debt and the cost of President Barack Obama’s health care plan, before once again dusting off the faith and family rhetoric for the next-in-line South Carolina primary, where evangelicals dominate.

“It’s a big shift of culture from Iowa to New Hampshire, except for the fact that nearly everyone in both states is white,” says Mark Silk, professor of religion in public life at Trinity College in Connecticut. “For Mitt Romney’s campaign it’s ideal, because they don’t want to talk about religion and neither do voters.”

It may also be good news for Ron Paul, a libertarian-leaning candidate who has mostly steered clear of social issues and who finished third in Iowa.

But Santorum may find it hard to translate his socially conservative message to New Hampshire, much as Mike Huckabee did in 2008 after winning the Iowa caucuses. And Newt Gingrich, who worked hard to cultivate Iowa evangelicals, is likely to stress his economic and foreign policy views in New Hampshire.

Rick Perry, meanwhile - the most overtly evangelical candidate left in the presidential race - has signaled he will mostly ignore New Hampshire, tweeting Wednesday: “And the next leg of the marathon is the Palmetto State...Here we come South Carolina!!!”

Evangelical Christians, the Republican voters who care most about hot buttons like abortion, accounted for nearly 60% of caucus-goers in Iowa on Tuesday, helping to carry Santorum to a strong second-place finish.  But they are expected to make up less than a quarter of the vote in New Hampshire next week.

“Even among the evangelical churches that are in the state, they’re not really interested in wanting to be involved in political matters,” says Smith, a Catholic who attends an evangelical-style nondenominational church. “And politicians here would prefer that the churches not to get involved.”

The limited political role of religion helps explain why a slim majority of Republicans who voted in New Hampshire’s last presidential primaries, in 2008, said that abortion should be legal, according to exit polls.

A 2009 Gallup survey found that New Hampshire was the second-least religious state in the country, one of a small handful in which less than 50% of residents said religion is an important part of their daily lives.

“New England and particularly northern New England has a lot of people called ‘nones,’” says Trinity College’s Silk, referring to people who claim no religious affiliation. They account for the fastest growing segment of the American religious landscape.

“Boston was the epicenter of the priest abuse scandal,” Silk says, “and a lot of marginal Catholics have drifted away.”

Catholicism and mainline Protestantism are still the dominate religious modes in New England. But even New Hampshirites who are religious tend to be reluctant to inject their faith into political debates.

“I’m from New Hampshire, and people here are generally people of faith, but they are a lot more private about their religious views,” says Jamie Burnett, a Republican consultant who is unaffiliated with any presidential candidate.

Burnett was New Hampshire political director for the Romney campaign in 2008 and says Romney was asked about his Mormonism just once in his many trips there.

“It’s the kind of thing that comes up a lot in Iowa, not New Hampshire,” says Burnett.

Silk says New Englanders’ public reticence about religion is a result of entrenched Yankee Protestants and more newly arrived Irish Catholics working past religion-based political tensions in the mid-20th century.

“There was a kind of tacit agreement that religion is not going to be part of electoral politics, in light of a history of Yankee and Catholic political fights,” says Silk. “It helps explain why Michael Dukakis and Howard Dean and John Kerry didn’t do a good job talking about religion on the stump.”

And why, in New Hampshire this week, the Republican candidates won’t have to do that kind of stump work.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: New Hampshire • Politics

soundoff (255 Responses)
  1. OhthatChar

    I thought this country of ours was founded to separate politics and religion???

    January 5, 2012 at 10:15 pm |
    • Str8whtguy

      My wife's dad, who is very conservative, and who has lived almost his entire life in New Hampshire, once told me, "churches and other religious centers better keep out of politics unless they start paying taxes." Santorum's in trouble in NH.

      January 5, 2012 at 10:26 pm |
    • Str8whtguy

      BTW, he was raised Baptist, and sent his kids (including my wife) to Christian private schools.

      January 5, 2012 at 10:30 pm |
  2. Nancy

    Not that I'm a practicing Catholic anymore, but it always baffles me when people say that the Catholic church isn't "Christian." What the heck?? It's one of the oldest existing Christian religions on the planet and it's not "Christian??" Can someone explain THAT one?

    January 5, 2012 at 10:06 pm |
    • chedar

      The unenlightened human mind is the very cause of so many religions. They forgot the roots of religion where they come from.

      January 5, 2012 at 10:43 pm |
    • Nancy

      That's as good a reason as any, I suppose. Thank you! 😉

      January 5, 2012 at 11:28 pm |
    • Binky42

      Catholicism is original Christianity. Protestants, and their 1,500 variations, are a little more misguided than most.

      January 6, 2012 at 9:51 am |
  3. Mark

    Didn't I just read an article on faith and politics in NH? And yet few comments here even touch it – why do religious articles always seem to bring them right out of the woodwork?????? Ugh

    January 5, 2012 at 10:05 pm |
  4. Ed Sr of Dallas Tx

    Would you journalist SOB's please get off of the religious BS? Thanks!

    January 5, 2012 at 10:02 pm |
    • Steve the Goat

      As soon as the tard party/republimorons get off the religious stuff, the media will too. We need politicians to stop believing in space ghosts. More in general, we need EVERYONE to stop believing in space ghosts.

      January 5, 2012 at 10:45 pm |
  5. A Reasoner

    How about having the candidates sign a pledge to ignore any spirit impulses to make decisions on "faith" rather than evidence? Do we seriously want anyone else commanding nuclear weapons systems? Do we want anyone else making decisions on our future? Don't let them off the hook for their support of irrational, unreasoned belief. Please, someone, point out it's 2012 and the other industrialized nations have left the Dark Ages behind.

    January 5, 2012 at 10:00 pm |
  6. Andy

    You'll NEVER FORCE it down me! Santorum and his FORCER'S, who can't STAND IT that they can't FORCE IT, will never ever DO THAT!!! Force it down my throat!!! It's impossible for Santorum to do! But he keeps trying, don't he? Force it down, force it down, force it down! No! No! No, and HELL NO!

    I'd DIE before I'd take it! NO! NO! NO! And a trillion more NO'S!

    We are not electing a preacher or a pope, we are electing a PRESIDENT!!!!!!!!

    Sorry, but the politician/preachers – the political Christians – just suck, suck, suck!!!!

    January 5, 2012 at 9:59 pm |
  7. God

    I am not real. Stop believing in Me you silly people.

    January 5, 2012 at 9:42 pm |
    • Jenkins

      Oh thats real clever. I see what you did there! You made it seem like YOU were God telling people not to believe you. Because you changed your name! Hahaha, it's funny because you were acting like God...

      January 5, 2012 at 10:08 pm |
    • D man

      No I AM god....and I'm not real.

      January 6, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
  8. Revolution 2012

    RON PAUL 2012!!!

    January 5, 2012 at 9:21 pm |
  9. AvdBerg

    In the above article Dan Gilgoff’s reference to Evangelicals Christians is misleading and void of any spiritual understanding.

    In earlier articles he wrote that born-again Iowans are seriously divided.

    What does it mean to be Born Again? Are people calling themselves that way after their own self-righteousness and is it a term they have stolen from the Bible (John 10:1-15) without knowing what it really means?

    How can the Spirit of God be divided? The Word of God explains that it is Satan’s kingdom that is divided (Matthew 12:25,26). What is the truth? We will explain.

    In the article ‘Why do Iowa’s evangelicals wield so much political clout?’ Dan Gilgoff wrote:

    “But experts on religion and politics say the message to one particular subculture – evangelical Iowans – is clear: Mitt Romney may be Mormon, but he shares evangelical Christian values.”

    Furthermore he wrote:

    “Many evangelicals cite what they see as religion’s shrinking role in the public square as another concern. “This nation was founded on Christian ethics and that’s what made the country great,”

    As previously mentioned all of the information provided by Dan Gilgoff is all falsehood and according to mans’s wisdom but not according to the Spirit of truth (1 Cor. 2:4,5; John 14;17).

    The definition of a ‘Christian’ is to be a follower of Christ. Evangelicals do not follow after Jesus Christ but rather an image of a false god and a false Christ (Matthew 24:24) and they are not born-again..

    The United States was not founded on Christian ethics and Christ’s teachings and as a result the foundations of the country are not only being shaken but are being shattered as the people prefer to follow darkness over light (John 3:19).

    We invite you to read Chapter 23 of the Book of Jeremiah and read about God’s judgment and justice in the earth.

    Revelation 12:9. … which deceiveth the whole world.

    John 12:25. He that loveth his life, shall lose it (Luke 9:24; 17:33).

    2 Timothy 2:4. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life (that includes politics).

    John 17:16. They (the believers) are not of the world.

    Romans 8:5. Human nature and friendship with the world is enmity with God (James 4:4).

    1 John 5:4. For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world.

    It should be remembered that even Jesus Christ did not pray for this world (John 17:9; 1 John 5:19).

    Yes, Mitt Romney is a Mormon but he does not share the teachings of Christ. In fact he cannot understand them as they are spiritually discerned (1 Cor. 2:14). For a better understanding of the history of the Mormon Church and its secret agenda, we invite you to read the article Mormon Church ~ Cult and Spiritual Harlot, listed on our website http://www.aworlddeceived.ca

    For a better understanding of the above and what it means to be a Christian and to be Born of God, we invite you to read the articles ‘Judging ~ Born Again’, ‘Born of God’ and ‘Can Christianity or Any Other Religion Save You?’ listed on our website.

    Also, to give people a better understanding of the principalities and destructive forces (Eph. 6:12) behind the Media, US Politics and the issues that divide this world, we invite you to read the article ‘CNN Belief Blog ~ Sign of the Times’.

    All of the other pages and articles will explain how and by whom this world has been deceived as confirmed by the Word of God in Revelation 12:9 and they will also explain what mankind must do to be reunited with God and to be able to understand the Bible.

    He that is spiritual judgeth (discerneth) all things, yet he himself is judged of no man (1 Cor. 2:15; 14:37; Proverbs 28:5; Gal. 6:1; Col. 1:9; John 3:8; 5:30; 8:15; 16:8-11).

    Seek, and ye will find (Matthew 7:7).

    January 5, 2012 at 8:52 pm |
    • nina

      Dude, who cares? Keep your religion out of our faces. We are not interested.

      January 5, 2012 at 9:20 pm |
    • Scholar

      Ethics are far older than Christianity, which adopted a set of ethics from older civilizations, including the Greeks.
      A formal study of religion and philosophy at the collegiate level reveals the commonality among classic ethical teachings. Christian ethics are not unique but share characteristics with far older schools.
      Today, modern Christians largely ignore the Old Testament laws except where those laws happen to agree with one's particular beliefs. Otherwise, all those old laws are inapplicable.
      As for this country being founded on Christian ethics, the country was founded using ethics that happen to be like what you say are uniquely Christian ethics. The body of laws the young country used, and still uses today, is English Common Law – a body of law and legal decisions over a few centuries of jurisprudence.

      January 5, 2012 at 9:35 pm |
    • Mark

      Ditto, I did not come here to have scripture thrown at me, keep it to yourself.

      January 5, 2012 at 9:59 pm |
    • Nookster

      Neither God or the jew named Jesus if they exist or existed never wrote anything, much less a compulation of myths called the Bible. Someone just repeated some version of a story they heard just like so called religous people are still doing today and called it the word of God. The perfect example of delusion.

      January 5, 2012 at 10:12 pm |
    • rocinante

      mormon org

      January 5, 2012 at 10:15 pm |
    • George Marshall

      What a bunch of claptrap!

      January 6, 2012 at 7:29 am |
    • MCO

      You cannot justify your point of view by quoting references from your own book. A book that was, by the way, extremely heavily edited during the time of King James into the version that you use today. The King James version took out what was considered the really crazy and unbelievable stuff as well as all the parts that echoed Greek and Roman mythology. But you already knew that right?

      Life is short and you are wasting your time with stuff and nonsense.

      January 6, 2012 at 11:12 am |
  10. Atheism is not healthy for gods and other nonexistent things

    Prayer changes nothing.
    Prayer has wasted time throughout the course of history
    Prayer defines idiots.
    Prayer gives you lots of practice on your knees.
    To the master the bible says you can have many slaves.
    Prayer opens the bowels like high fiber Raisin Bran.

    January 5, 2012 at 8:48 pm |
  11. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer really changes things

    January 5, 2012 at 8:04 pm |
    • Question Everything

      Which sky fairy do you pray to? Hundreds to chose from. Furthermore, even dozens with the same backstory.

      January 5, 2012 at 8:52 pm |
    • Alex Trebeck

      And question everything is awarded 1/2 point for forcing the totally useless phrase 'sky fairy' into a reply. Tell us what its won Don Pardo

      January 5, 2012 at 9:20 pm |
    • Don Pardo

      Well Alex it looks like "Question Everything" has won the ass hole of the blog award.

      January 5, 2012 at 9:22 pm |
    • LinCA

      @Alex Trebeck
      @Don Pardo

      Would you guys prefer "imaginary friend"?

      January 5, 2012 at 9:25 pm |
    • Steve the Goat

      Alex Trebeck... How about space ghost? Butt fairy? Donkey humper?

      January 5, 2012 at 10:48 pm |
  12. MarkinFL

    All this junk in response to an article about the irrelevance of religion in New Hampshire. Wow.

    January 5, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
  13. Rainer Braendlein


    Hi Brad,

    nice to meet you again.

    Could you tell me, if there are another blogs on faith, which are frequented.

    January 5, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
  14. Rainer Braendlein

    The meaning of sacramental baptism

    Assumed, you have heard the gospel: Jesus has borne your sins, when he died for you on the cross.

    To a certain extent you may grasp that statement: Jesus has borne your sins on the cross.

    God, in his infinite grace has invented a process, in order to strengthen and to confirm your faith perfectly. This is sacramental baptism. At sacramental baptism all barriers of time and space disappear and you die and rise together with Jesus. Sacramental baptism is the locus in space and time, where you get holistically connected with Christ's atonement.

    Sacramental baptism is much stronger than any human homily. Your whole man gets involved: soul, heart and body. After baptism it should be impossible to remain without faith.

    After sacramental baptism you can be that sure of deliverance that you can immediately start to follow Jesus in daily life. This is the "trick" of sacramental baptism.

    The members of re-baptizing Free Churches may always ask themselves if they are really born again. Anytime they become mad or totally desperate. Damned rebaptism!!!

    Sacramental baptism is a clearly defined point, which marks the beginning of your Christian life and you just begin to live it.

    That is all according to Epistle to the Romans, Chapter 6, which is the center of the Holy Bible.

    January 5, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      I absolutely agree that baptism causes a person to get really wet. That's the only thing we know about it, and most likely the only thing we ever will.

      January 5, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
  15. Rainer Braendlein


    It is quite easy to criticize other comments.

    Do you have any own contribution?

    Nothing at all?


    January 5, 2012 at 11:26 am |
    • Bob

      Aww, listen to poor little Whiner cry. Waaaaaaa. You deluded fool.

      January 5, 2012 at 11:34 am |
    • GodPot

      I'll go for the re-baptizing if you promise to hold them under just a little longer this time. If it's the true God they are praying to at the time I'm sure he can give them an extra 5 minutes of air to breathe right?

      January 5, 2012 at 11:35 am |
    • Primewonk

      There was a story recently about a priest is some easteern European country who killed a baby during baptism. The baby was most likely brain-dead by the end of the ceremony.

      January 5, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
    • Dennis Fung

      Rainer, any efforts to oppose religious brainwashing and clear away religious delusions are a good thing, so in that sense, Bob actually is making a contribution, even if his tone sounds harsh to you.

      In addition, your posts really seem to be generally on the hefty, runny side. Maybe you should heed the comments about that, and lighten up on the fiber in your diet or use a gentler laxative.

      January 5, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
    • Marks from Middle River

      >>>"In addition, your posts really seem to be generally on the hefty, runny side."

      So Fung, at January 5, 2012 at 10:32 am Reality posted his normal cut and paste ti'tanic post and you said nothing. At 1:06 pm, he posted another long post .... but when Rainer makes a rare post at 2pm ....then you comment that he should listen to what others are saying and not post in his normal volume.

      Fung, why were you silent on Reality but choose to comment on Rainers which was shorter and more to the point?

      January 5, 2012 at 7:14 pm |
    • Dennis Fung

      I reserve the right to post as I please. Reality actually made sense that time and had facts. Big difference.

      And as for you, Marx, you aren't the mediator here. Aren't you a Christian, and thus not supposed to judge anyone, or are you just another Christian hypocrite spewing forth as usual?

      January 5, 2012 at 9:27 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Oh, let little Marky have his day, honey. He needs to think he's got some traction somewhere, ya know. Even if it's only on some idiotic board.

      It's all he's got.

      January 5, 2012 at 9:32 pm |
    • Marks from Middle River

      >>>"I reserve the right to post as I please. Reality actually made sense that time and had facts. Big difference."
      Ahhh, the common "he speaks to my beliefs so I see no problem". Lol, and I am the hypocrite. Come on Fung, you are losing credibility on this one. By all means post as you please but then why the issue for Rainer to post as he pleases?

      Is this great and powerful Atheist Reasoning that we hear so much about? Seems a bit one sided. Do as I say not as men and my friends do. 🙂

      TomTom .... What's up girl?

      >>" Even if it's only on some idiotic board."

      Which you frequent just as much as me. Interesting huh? I do not think of this blog as such. Before coming here I thought all Atheist were idiots. Then I met folks like you who swear and insult and I found that the majority of Atheist are pretty cool and level headed .... You know, the anti-TomToms 🙂

      Ones like you I put in the same class as bin laden and rev Terry jones.

      January 5, 2012 at 11:22 pm |
  16. ASfour

    What's with the chunderingly large posts? Did no one take their meds?

    January 5, 2012 at 11:17 am |
    • Bob


      January 5, 2012 at 11:19 am |
  17. Rainer Braendlein

    The spiritual dilemma of the USA

    In the USA there are a lot of so-called re-baptizing Free Churches (rebaptism is not according to the doctrine of the Early Church).

    What means rebaptism?

    First, an outlock on the churches, which don't rebaptize.

    Well, even in the USA many people may have received infant baptism, because still many Americans are members of mainline churches, like Episcopal Church, Anglican Church, Presbyterian Church, Lutheran Church, Methodist Church, etc.. It is good that the mainline churches keep the infant baptism and don't re-baptize, because that is the tradition of the Christian Church for times immemorial and it is according to the Holy Writ.

    It is only that these mainline churches don't tell the people, what infant baptism (= sacramental baptism) means. It means that we got baptized into a new life or into Jesus. After sacramental baptism we are empowered to follow Jesus and we shall follow Jesus at any rate. The Early Church could not imagine that someone, who is baptized, doesn't follow Jesus in daily life.

    Conclusion: The mainline churches urgently need a Reformation, so that they may preach the gospel of the costly grace again (gostly grace means that a Christian, who has received God's grace, follows Jesus). The mainline churches have actually good roots, but bring little fruit. That is a great pity.

    One could assume that there is something wrong with the mainline churches, because most of there members don't follow Jesus in daily life (reason: no information about the meaning of sacramental baptism). The re-baptizing Free Churches emphasize the conversion or getting born again. They assume that someone must first become a believer and then get baptized (baptism they regard as an act of obedience and a public confession of the personal faith). The don't baptize infants, because they assume an infant could not yet believe in Christ. The think baptism is a mere symbolic act and God would not act during baptism.
    Furthermore, they presume to be the real Christians and emphasize strict discipleship. They make the mistake to reject infant baptism or sacramental baptism, because they assume sacramental baptism could not work (above I have explained there is another reason: the mainline churches don't explain the meaning of the sacramental baptism and thus it remains without effect).

    Now, what is the real Church, which helps people to live a delivered life?

    Actually the mainline churches (Episcopal, Anglican, Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian, etc.) are the real or true Church, because they keep the one, holy, sacramental baptism, which comprises infant baptism. It is only that regretably they have adopted the gospel of the cheap grace (you are yet a good Christian, when you are a Babbitt) and they ordain gays priests and pastors.

    The re-baptizing Free Churches must be condemned, because their doctrine of re-baptism was always condemned. Someone, who re-baptizes shows that he has not understood at all, what baptism means. Yet true baptism is the condition for successful discipleship. Hence, although the re-baptizing Free Churches favour discipleship, they fail totally, because they don't have the power to really follow Jesus, which is given through sacramental baptism.

    Conclusion: The Free Churches must get abolished and the mainline churches must get reformed.

    What about RCC?: RCC is no Christian Church, because of papacy.

    January 5, 2012 at 10:48 am |
    • Bob

      Yawn. Another rambling Whiner post about a sky fairy topic that no one should care about.

      January 5, 2012 at 11:16 am |
    • Grasshopper

      Got it. No one is good enough for Rainer, except Rainer.

      January 5, 2012 at 11:27 am |
    • .....

      click the report abuse link on Rainer's posts to get rid of this crap.

      January 5, 2012 at 11:31 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein


      You make a mistake.

      I have some insight in the re-baptizing Free Churches and know that their members suffer. They are under pressure to follow Jesus, but not spiritually empowered for that great task.It is all a meaningless strain.

      Furthermore, I don't want to found my own cult, but just say the mainline churches should get reformed.

      What is your point?

      January 5, 2012 at 11:35 am |
    • Curious

      The sacramental baptism you mention is not understood by the infants it is applied to. I question its validity. Wouldn't it be equally valid to apply it to captive unbaptized people? Perhaps it could be followed by immediate execution to avoid the rejection that might follow.

      January 5, 2012 at 11:40 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein


      You falsly assume the gosple could be grasped by reason and thus conclude an infant could not believe.

      The fact is that faith is beyond reason and is a "thing", which is given by the "Holy Spirit" from above. Thus, an infant can even easier believe, because he or she cannot much scrutinize with the reason.

      The sacramental baptism is actually a "physical homily". The whole man gets involved (heart, soul and body). At baptism God is the preacher and brings the gospel near to you, as no human preacher can to it. Hence, you get born from above (not born again) and fully connected with Christ's sacrifice.

      January 5, 2012 at 11:51 am |
    • abinadi

      Obviously you are wrong. Paul came upon a group of people who had been baptized by someone who did not have authority in Acts 19: 1-6 and made it very clear that if someone is baptized by anyone not having proper authority, they should be rebaptized. Paul restated this doctrine in Hebrews 5:4, when he said, "4 And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron.

      5 So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee."
      No church is authorized to baptize except the one true church who has the priesthood (the authority of God). If you would like to find the true church and be baptized with authority, try mormon.org. There are some really nice people there who will explain it to you.

      January 5, 2012 at 11:52 am |
    • GodPot

      "nice people there who will explain it to you." Religion is full of "nice people there who will explain it to you." from every religion. Being nice and the truth are not mutually exclusive.

      January 5, 2012 at 11:58 am |
    • abinadi

      GP, just try it, you'll like it!

      January 5, 2012 at 12:09 pm |
    • Rainer Braendlein


      The people you mean had been baptized by Apollos, who had not yet a knowledge of the full doctrine. They had merely received the baptism of John the Baptist, which is only a baptism of repentance. Hence, to complete their faith St. Paul baptized them in the name of Jesus.

      This was no re-baptism, because the baptism of John the Baptist was no sacramental baptism or had nothing to do with the sacramental baptism, which is practiced by the Church since Pentecost.

      January 5, 2012 at 12:10 pm |
    • Grasshopper

      My point is that you're extremely judgmental.

      January 5, 2012 at 12:11 pm |
    • abinadi

      Rainier, Apollos was at Corinth and had nothing to do with this situation. It was just a comment that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul came across these people in Ephesus who had been baptized by who knows who and without authority. Read it carefully.

      January 5, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
    • Reality

      Luther, Calvin, Joe Smith, Henry VIII, Wesley, Roger Williams, the Great “Babs” et al, founders of Christian-based religions or combination religions also suffered from the belief in/hallucinations of "pretty wingie thingie" visits and "prophecies" for profits analogous to the myths of Catholicism (resurrections, apparitions, ascensions and immacu-late co-nceptions).

      Current problems:
      Adulterous preachers, pedophiliac clerics, "propheteering/ profiteering" evangelicals and atonement theology,

      January 5, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
    • abinadi

      Paul made it very clear that no-one was to "take authority to himself" because not even Christ did that and if not even Christ baptized without authority, clearly you should not.

      January 5, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
    • Reality

      Adam and Eve were myths making original sin mythological and Baptism obsolete. (Also taught in graduate theology classes at many major Catholic universities).

      As per National Geographic's Genographic project:


      " DNA studies suggest that all humans today descend from a group of African ancestors who about 60,000 years ago began a remarkable journey. Follow the journey from them to you as written in your genes”.

      "Adam" is the common male ancestor of every living man. He lived in Africa some 60,000 years ago, which means that all humans lived in Africa at least at that time.

      Unlike his Biblical namesake, this Adam was not the only man alive in his era. Rather, he is unique because his descendents are the only ones to survive.

      It is important to note that Adam does not literally represent the first human. He is the coalescence point of all the genetic diversity."

      January 5, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
    • Brad


      It seems to me that Hebrews 4 and 5 establish Jesus Christ as High Priest (in the order of Melchizedek). I really don't think these verses in Hebrews are meant to re-establish or extend the Aaronic priesthood. So, verse 5:4 applies only to Jesus Christ.

      January 5, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
    • abinadi

      Not sure what you are talking about, Brad. The Jews had the Aaronic Priesthood from the days of Moses, but the Melchizedek priesthood was lost except for the prophets (Elijah had it). Peter, James and John had to get it from Moses and Elias on the mount of Transfiguration (See Matthew 17 1-9) because it must be received from someone who has it and Elias and Moses had it. (Moses got it from his father in law, Jethro).

      January 5, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
    • Reality

      The Letters to the Hebrews were not written by Paul and therefore have no divine, "knocking-off-a horse" assistance.

      e.g. See Father Raymond Brown's epic book, "An Introduction to the New Testament" p. 684.

      "Authenticity: Author not identified; later Church attribution to Paul now abandonded".

      And on p. 701, "The high priesthood of Jesus is a major theme of Hebrews. To some extent this development is a surprise since the historical Jesus was emphatically a layman, critical to some degree of Temple procedure and treated with hostility by the Temple priesthood. "

      January 5, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
    • Reality

      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."

      January 5, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
    • abinadi

      The priesthood was again lost when the apostles were killed because they were the head of the church and Jesus organized the church under their authority and leadership. The apostles hold the keys to the priesthood and it must be passed down under their direction.

      January 5, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
    • Reality

      After a thorough analysis of the Transfiguration, many contemporary NT scholars have concluded that the story is not historical.

      See for example, Professor Gerd Ludemann's conclusion in his book "Jesus After 2000 Years". p. 58-61, "Since the tradition is an original Easter story, its historicity is a priori ruled out."

      See also Professor JD Crossan's analysis on p. 389 in his book "The Historical Jesus".

      January 5, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
    • Primewonk

      Rainer appears to be one of those christians with a super duper double top secret magic decoder rings that lets him determine who is and who isn't a "real christian".

      Lots of christians seem to have these super duper double top secret magic decoder rings. The problem is that all these folks have their rings on different settings.

      January 5, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
  18. Reality

    Why religion should not matter anywhere on the globe that is Earth :

    Only for the those interested in a religious update:

    1. origin: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20E1EFE35540C7A8CDDAA0894DA404482

    “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 docu-ment. “

    2. Jesus was an illiterate Jewish peasant/carpenter/simple preacher man who suffered from hallucinations (or “mythicizing” from P, M, M, L and J) and who has been characterized anywhere from the Messiah from Nazareth to a mythical character from mythical Nazareth to a ma-mzer from Nazareth (Professor Bruce Chilton, in his book Rabbi Jesus). An-alyses of Jesus’ life by many contemporary NT scholars (e.g. Professors Ludemann, Crossan, Borg and Fredriksen, ) via the NT and related doc-uments have concluded that only about 30% of Jesus' sayings and ways noted in the NT were authentic. The rest being embellishments (e.g. miracles)/hallucinations made/had by the NT authors to impress various Christian, Jewish and Pagan sects.

    The 30% of the NT that is "authentic Jesus" like everything in life was borrowed/plagiarized and/or improved from those who came before. In Jesus' case, it was the ways and sayings of the Babylonians, Greeks, Persians, Egyptians, Hitt-ites, Canaanites, OT, John the Baptizer and possibly the ways and sayings of traveling Greek Cynics.


    For added "pizzazz", Catholic theologians divided god the singularity into three persons and invented atonement as an added guilt trip for the "pew people" to go along with this trinity of overseers. By doing so, they made god the padre into god the "filicider".

    Current RCC problems:

    Pedophiliac priests, an all-male, mostly white hierarchy, atonement theology and original sin!!!!

    2 b., Luther, Calvin, Joe Smith, Henry VIII, Wesley, Roger Williams, the Great “Babs” et al, founders of Christian-based religions or combination religions also suffered from the belief in/hallucinations of "pretty wingie thingie" visits and "prophecies" for profits analogous to the myths of Catholicism (resurrections, apparitions, ascensions and immacu-late co-nceptions).

    Current problems:
    Adulterous preachers, pedophiliac clerics, "propheteering/ profiteering" evangelicals and atonement theology,

    3. Mohammed was an illiterate, womanizing, lust and greed-driven, warmongering, hallucinating Arab, who also had embellishing/hallucinating/plagiarizing scribal biographers who not only added "angels" and flying chariots to the koran but also a militaristic agenda to support the plundering and looting of the lands of non-believers.

    This agenda continues as shown by the ma-ssacre in Mumbai, the as-sas-sinations of Bhutto and Theo Van Gogh, the conduct of the seven Muslim doctors in the UK, the 9/11 terrorists, the 24/7 Sunni suicide/roadside/market/mosque bombers, the 24/7 Shiite suicide/roadside/market/mosque bombers, the Islamic bombers of the trains in the UK and Spain, the Bali crazies, the Kenya crazies, the Pakistani “koranics”, the Palestine suicide bombers/rocketeers, the Lebanese nutcases, the Taliban nut jobs, the Ft. Hood follower of the koran, and the Filipino “koranics”.

    And who funds this muck and stench of terror? The warmongering, Islamic, Shiite terror and torture theocracy of Iran aka the Third Axis of Evil and also the Sunni "Wannabees" of Saudi Arabia.

    Current crises:

    The Sunni-Shiite blood feud and the warmongering, womanizing (11 wives), hallucinating founder.

    4. Hinduism (from an online Hindu site) – "Hinduism cannot be described as an organized religion. It is not founded by any individual. Hinduism is God centered and therefore one can call Hinduism as founded by God, because the answer to the question ‘Who is behind the eternal principles and who makes them work?’ will have to be ‘Cosmic power, Divine power, God’."

    The caste/laborer system, reincarnation and cow worship/reverence are problems when saying a fair and rational God founded Hinduism."

    Current problems:

    The caste system, reincarnation and cow worship/reverence.

    5. Buddhism- "Buddhism began in India about 500 years before the birth of Christ. The people living at that time had become disillusioned with certain beliefs of Hinduism including the caste system, which had grown extremely complex. The number of outcasts (those who did not belong to any particular caste) was continuing to grow."

    "However, in Buddhism, like so many other religions, fanciful stories arose concerning events in the life of the founder, Siddhartha Gautama (fifth century B.C.):"

    Archaeological discoveries have proved, beyond a doubt, his historical character, but apart from the legends we know very little about the circu-mstances of his life. e.g. Buddha by one legend was supposedly talking when he came out of his mother's womb.

    Bottom line: There are many good ways of living but be aware of the hallucinations, embellishments, lies, and myths surrounding the founders and foundations of said rules of life.

    Then, apply the Five F rule: "First Find the Flaws, then Fix the Foundations". And finally there will be religious peace and religious awareness in the world!!!!!

    January 5, 2012 at 10:32 am |
    • Bob

      Here's to more Reality in 2012.

      January 5, 2012 at 11:18 am |
    • .........

      hit report abuse on all reality bull sh it

      January 5, 2012 at 8:03 pm |
  19. The Jackdaw

    Good. Religion is poison, especially when it is in the hands of closed minded fools.

    January 5, 2012 at 9:51 am |
    • Bob

      So right.

      January 5, 2012 at 11:17 am |
  20. hippypoet

    new hampshire is a great place filled with some really great people, they value things that deem value...truly a land of the freeman...and vermont and maine – all great places. 🙂 rhode island, m@ss and, conn. are ok just a bit over rated – well rhode island isn't much rated at all, perhaps thats the issue there...but m@ss is always placed on a plateform of perfection and conn is viewed as the richness of the new england states – sad really. they are all great places rich with history! small town hard working grounded people with minds and they use them once more! It isn't to be underestimated... 🙂

    January 5, 2012 at 9:43 am |
    • Grasshopper

      Great places to ski too.

      January 5, 2012 at 11:22 am |
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About this blog

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