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January 19th, 2012
01:42 PM ET

soundoff (228 Responses)
  1. Ban Religion

    Why are politicians allowed to use religion for political gain?

    January 19, 2012 at 6:03 pm |
    • Milton

      Why are politicians allowed to use make-up for political gain?

      January 19, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
  2. gupsphoo

    The GOP simply wants to turn America into a theocracy, just like Saudi Arabia.

    January 19, 2012 at 5:56 pm |
  3. The frequency is nine

    The frequency is nine.
    The frequency is nine.
    The frequency is nine.

    January 19, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
    • Observer

      I count 3 or maybe 4 including your handle.

      January 19, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
    • The frequency is nine

      It just appears that way. Nine works in mysterious ways!

      January 19, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
    • Vot ist der frequency ja

      Somebody better tell Dan Rather the news. Or Kenneth. Somebody!!

      January 19, 2012 at 5:51 pm |
    • The frequency is nine

      Nine smote Michael Stipe with the aids.

      January 19, 2012 at 5:56 pm |
    • Das Nein!

      Nein! Nein!

      January 19, 2012 at 10:02 pm |
  4. Prior

    "Fear not the Ori, fear the darkness that would conceal the knowledge of the universe. Believe in the truth of all things, and you too may find the path to enlightenment."

    "Hallowed are the Ori"

    January 19, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
  5. Sheik Yerbouti

    Only for the "newbies":

    God dam mongrians voting for Jesus He dead stupid mongarians why you know undastan you rike rice come in eat already you make a me angreeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!

    January 19, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
  6. Sheik Yerbouti

    Have you ever seen an Ostrich cuddle for a biscuit?
    Or remove the entrails of a predator with a mighty claw?
    Pass the plate or die.
    A tiny brain can still vote.

    January 19, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
  7. Prior

    "Truth is elusive to those who refuse to see with both eyes."

    "Hallowed are the Ori."

    January 19, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
  8. Reality

    Only for the "newbies":

    “John Hick, a noted British philosopher of religion, estimates that 95 percent of the people of the world owe their religious affiliation to an accident (the randomness) of birth. The faith of the vast majority of believers depends upon where they were born and when. Those born in Saudi Arabia will almost certainly be Moslems, and those born and raised in India will for the most part be Hindus. Nevertheless, the religion of millions of people can sometimes change abruptly in the face of major political and social upheavals. In the middle of the sixth century ce, virtually all the people of the Near East and Northern Africa, including Turkey, Syria, Iraq, and Egypt were Christian. By the end of the following century, the people in these lands were largely Moslem, as a result of the militant spread of Islam.

    The Situation Today

    Barring military conquest, conversion to a faith other than that of one’s birth is rare. Some Jews, Moslems, and Hindus do convert to Christianity, but not often. Similarly, it is not common for Christians to become Moslems or Jews. Most people are satisfied that their own faith is the true one or at least good enough to satisfy their religious and emotional needs. Had St. Augustine or St. Thomas Aquinas been born in Mecca at the start of the present century, the chances are that they would not have been Christians but loyal followers of the prophet Mohammed. “ J. Somerville

    It is very disturbing that religious narrow- mindedness, intolerance, violence and hatred continues unabated due to randomness of birth. Maybe, just maybe if this fact would be published on the first page of every newspaper every day, that we would finally realize the significant stupidity of all religions.

    January 19, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
    • MartinT

      HIGH FIVES!

      January 19, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
    • Lycidas

      "Had St. Augustine or St. Thomas Aquinas been born in Mecca at the start of the present century, the chances are that they would not have been Christians but loyal followers of the prophet Mohammed. “ J. Somerville"

      I suggest a little bit more historical research on the part of Somerville. Augsustine was born in Northern Africa around 354 AD. He was not a Christian because he was born into it. His mother was Christian and his father a pagan. He was in Manichaeanism before he ever came to Christianity. He basically discovered Christianity as an adult and converted to it.

      January 19, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
    • Reality

      "Augustine of Hippo (354–430), bishop and Doctor of the Church. Born at Tagaste (Algeria) of a pagan father and a Christian mother, Monica, Augustine was brought up as a Christian but not baptized. He studied rhetoric at Carthage to become a lawyer, but gave this up and devoted himself instead to teaching and study. His study of philosophy (mainly Plato) and later of Manichaeism for nine years resulted in his virtual renunciation of the Christian faith; he also lived for fifteen years with a mistress, by whom he had a son, Adeodatus. He moved to Rome to teach rhetoric, then to Milan. By now he was dissatisfied with Manichaeism and came under the influence of Ambrose. After a long interior conflict, vividly described in his Confessions, Augustine was converted and baptized in 386–7. He returned to Africa in 388, established with some friends a quasi-monastic life (where study and conversation flourished as in his earlier ‘school’ at Cassiciacu-m), and was ordained priest in 391. Four years later he became coadjutor-bishop of Hippo; from 396 until his death he ruled the diocese alone."

      Read more: http://www.answers.com/topic/st-augustine-of-hippo#ixzz1jwjZd0OT

      January 19, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
    • Lycidas

      Thank you reality for basically agreeing with me.

      January 19, 2012 at 6:12 pm |
    • Reality

      "Augustine of Hippo (354–430), bishop and Doctor of the Church. Born at Tagaste (Algeria) of a pagan father and a Christian mother, Monica, Augustine was brought up as a Christian but not baptized." i.e. Bred, Born and Brainwashed during his early years.

      January 19, 2012 at 7:44 pm |
    • Lycidas

      By who? His father or mother?
      Evidence man..give us evidence and quit appealing to some authority.

      January 19, 2012 at 8:36 pm |
    • Reality

      Not being there, we prayed to god and she answered it was his mother.

      January 20, 2012 at 8:12 am |
    • Lycidas

      Reality- "Not being there, we prayed.."

      Change your name to Legion...for you are many.

      January 20, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
  9. Squirrel-Juggling Jesus

    Why?

    – Because 34% of Americans believe in ghosts
    – Because 22% of Americans believe they have personally experienced ghosts
    – Because 48% of Americans believe in extrasensory perception
    – Because 34% of Americans believe in UFOs
    – Because 19% believe in spells or witchcraft

    Put another way, America is chock-full of morons who will believe ANYTHING, especially some invisible friend who gives you special favors and hurts the people you don't like.

    January 19, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
    • Lycidas

      "America is chock-full of morons who will believe ANYTHING"

      Yeah..like you believing anyone loves you. Unprovable foolishness.

      January 19, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
    • Sheik Yerbouti

      Prayer changes things.
      Prayer helps me pray.

      January 19, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
    • Ironicus

      Ah, poor Lycidas, the angry spider man, does not approve of your post!
      Whatever will you do?

      Lycidas, using science and technology and reasoning skills like logic, etc., it is quite easy to prove when someone feels love, since it is just an emotion and not proof of your "god" at all.

      But please continue to be stupid. It is even easier to prove than your "love" in any event. lol

      January 19, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
    • J.W

      I don't really see how the post by Lycidas was any stupider than the original post.

      January 19, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
    • Ironicus

      J.W., perhaps you do not know why Lycidas said what he did and so you don't understand the fullness of his stupidity in making that post.
      That's okay. We're here for you.

      January 19, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
    • Lycidas

      Oh Ironicus the Reading Impaired...plz take note:

      Ironicus

      You blurted out, "it is quite easy to prove when someone feels love, since it is just an emotion and not proof of your "god" at all."

      I wasn't trying to make any connection between "god" and if one feels love. I know it's a little hard for you to understand this but ....you were mistaken.
      Also, I never mentioned one thing about anyone feeling love. I said basically that the idea of someone believing anything goes right with the belief that someone loves you.

      Plz..continue making up stuff. It's funny to see you paint yourself into a intellectual corner.

      January 19, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
    • Lycidas

      @J.W- Pointing out the foolishness of other ppl's thoughts by taking it to the next logical step is something beyond most ppl. Especially the haters like Tom.

      January 19, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I just got here, sweetie. Did you forget to refill your prescription again, Lyce?

      January 19, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
    • Snow

      what is wrong with the original post? do you not agree that America has a large number of people who believe in "some invisible friend who gives you special favors and hurts the people you don't like."?

      January 19, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      There's nothing wrong with it except in US's feeble mind.

      January 19, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
    • Fluffy, the gerbil of doom

      Beware, and be very afraid. The return of the rodents signals the End Times.

      January 19, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
    • Lycidas

      @Snow- "what is wrong with the original post?"

      You don't see it? Ok...under the thinking of his post..."America is chock-full of morons who will believe ANYTHING"
      That explains atheism.
      I doubt most atheists will agree with it being included but hey....some call them morons and what they are believing in is an "anything".

      January 19, 2012 at 6:15 pm |
    • Lycidas

      Sorry Tom..your inane drivel seems quite like his.

      January 19, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
    • Not Stamp Collecting is a Hobby Too

      Lycidas does not know that not believing means that you do NOT believe, which is the opposite of believing. Send him home with the board game of "Catch A Clue" as his consolation prize for crapping out.

      January 19, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
    • Not Stamp Collecting is a Hobby Too

      @Not Stamp Collecting is a Hobby Too- Since you changed your username..heck why not me too.
      Actually...their is belief in certain aspects of atheism. If not...why would any of them ever try to disprove other ppl's beliefs?

      Also..as I have painfully pointed out before, there are atheist sheep out there. They are atheists out there that have no idea what they think and just go with the flow.

      January 19, 2012 at 6:30 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You're a troll, dear. Uncouth Swain is brighter than this.

      January 19, 2012 at 6:41 pm |
    • Not Stamp Collecting is a Hobby Too

      or you don't like what was posted and cannot fight it

      January 19, 2012 at 6:51 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Or the world is all an illusion, dip shirt.

      January 19, 2012 at 7:03 pm |
    • Snow

      I think the argument you are making is like this.. when someone says "You have nothing", then do you interpret it as the person has a thing called "nothing" or does that mean the person does not have anything?

      Anyway, back to the argument about "atheists believe ANYTHING" thing.. logically, I agree that atheists believe in something (which is that there is no god controlling). So, the entire population of the world (100%) believe in some something (some believe in a god, some believe in no god). but we are not talking about them..

      we are talking about those people who believe in that particular flavor of ANYTHING that deals with "some invisible friend who gives you special favors and hurts the people you don't like." And there are large number of people like that in this great old country.. don't you agree? so, again – what is wrong with that?

      Besides, think about all the religions other than yours.. don't you think they are part of that "believes in ANYTHING" morons group, because they do not believe in same god as yours? Now, think from the point of view of a person of other religious faith. Won't you be now be part of the same "believes in ANYTHING" morons group?

      Just think..

      January 19, 2012 at 7:14 pm |
    • Snow

      @Not #2.. I have to disagree with " there are atheist sheep out there. They are atheists out there that have no idea what they think and just go with the flow." There CANNOT be atheist sheep. it is an oxymoron. let me explain you why..

      It is very easy to believe in a god. But any atheist can tell you , if you ever spoken to one, that not believing in an invisible being is hard. For every problem, it is easy for a believer to say "oh god, help me" and hope that invisible friend to come rescue you. But without that false hope, you really have to work on your problems and solve them by your own. That is HARD!!

      Simple people want simple explanations and simple solutions. So, religion sets down a whole bunch of rules (some good, and some bad) and command the simple people to follow them or bear the wrath of god. Anyone who is smart enough to question that can by definition NOT become sheep.

      January 19, 2012 at 7:25 pm |
    • Lycidas

      @Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son- "Or the world is all an illusion"

      Are you the god of your own little world Tom? Because your illusions are much more likely delusions.

      January 19, 2012 at 8:38 pm |
    • Lycidas

      @Snow- you are one of the good ones on here. I always like to read what you have to say.

      You quoted that some ppl in this country really believe in, "some invisible friend who gives you special favors and hurts the people you don't like." I do agree that their are ppl that feel that way. There are even some that identify themselves as Christians that believe that way. However, it is quite incorrect to imply that is a definition of Christianity. That's pretty much my only problem.

      "think about all the religions other than yours.. don't you think they are part of that "believes in ANYTHING" morons group, because they do not believe in same god as yours?"

      No..I don't think of them in that manner. I also try not to worry about what others may think about my own faith.

      January 19, 2012 at 9:09 pm |
    • Lycidas

      Snow...you stated, "I agree that atheists believe in something (which is that there is no god controlling)."

      You also said, "There CANNOT be atheist sheep."

      Now let me bring in the generalized third party here that think that most believers of a faith only believe because they were raised that way. They have been known to call these ppl sheep.
      What if athiest parents are how you describe them, "believe in....that there is no god controlling" and actively raise their kids after this thought. Wouldn't those kids be athiestic sheep?

      Real quick....I personally feel than anyone can be a "sheep" to an idea or belief. But I also feel that no matter the religion or philosophy..there are those that are in no way a sheep. They have thought out their beliefs, examined them and arrive to an answer in a reasonable manner.

      January 19, 2012 at 9:17 pm |
  10. Sheik Yerbouti

    It is so big because of those huge fuk'n Jumbotrons they use. Look at the size of that thing with Perry's head on it! Have you have seen a nose that big??

    January 19, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
  11. William Demuth

    Becaause you can fool all of the people some of the time and some of the people all of the time.

    Religion is for the ones you can fool all of the time.

    It never ceases to amaze me how well it works.

    If we do not get away from home schooling and lousy public education, this nation will someday spiral down into a theocracy. We simply have cluster of people in our society that insist on pretending its the 11 century?

    Mormons, Evangelicals, Hassidic Jews, The Amish, the list is endless. If we can't drag them into modernity we are doomed.

    January 19, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
    • Sheik Yerbouti

      Well then, we are doomed. Thank you for ruining my day William. What about the Mongolians though, can we bring there fat Buddah lovin' asses in to the 21st??

      January 19, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
    • J.W

      Im never coming into modernity. I thought about it, but now that I know everyone will be doomed because of me I definitely wont do it.

      January 19, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
  12. SeanNJ

    I'm guessing that since there's no text to accompany the video, that the editors couldn't think of a good reason for it either?

    January 19, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
    • Ironicus

      lol

      January 19, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
  13. Common Sense

    Because religion gives incredibly simple answers to our complex questions. We have, in the U.S., a large percentage of very simple people. Simple people want simple answers to their problems.

    But it is changing, and religion's influence is diminishing.

    January 19, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
  14. Colin

    Why's religion so big in American politics? Have a look at any poll on the liklihood of an atheist being elected to public office and you will see why. One poll indicated that we atheists are less trusted than rapists!

    The American public seems destined to link a belief in the supernatural with morality, at last for the foreseeable future.

    January 19, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
    • jason

      You really shouldn't wear that sign around your neck that says "I'm an atheist! Wanna make something of it?"

      January 19, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
    • MartinT

      @ Jason, I don't have a problem wearing my sign that says I am an atheist, at all.

      January 19, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
  15. Doc Vestibule

    Because the Puritan ethic has never lost its subconscious edge on the American people.

    January 19, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
    • MartinT

      @Doc, I believe you may be on to something, but I also believe that the United States will soon follow the example of the Europeans.

      January 19, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
    • Fookin' Prawn

      Scary, but seemingly true.

      January 19, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
  16. J.W

    Cuz religion is awesome!!!

    January 19, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
  17. Lycidas

    I feel it has a lot to do with how Americans look at morality. Politics is filled with crap and that's for all parties. But if a candidate seems to be religious and expecially if it's the religion of tha majority.....then the voters will feel more at ease with that candidate. It's not that shocking

    January 19, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
    • Ironicus

      What's shocking is that it violates the intent and idea of having religious freedom by putting one religion over the others in terms of political power and influence.
      This is how theocracies get their start.
      When they shoot you for not going to church enough and for not being a literalist Bible-thumper, don't come crawling to me!

      January 19, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
    • MartinT

      @Ironicus, well said. You touch on something important in your post for sure. I also think that collectively, religous groups will do things that individually, people would never have the courage to do. Mob mentality.

      January 19, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
    • Ironicus

      Yes, any coward can join the mob to give themselves countenance in their own eyes.
      It is a common human failing, I'm sorry to say.
      When lost in a crowd, personal conscience is often ignored in all the hype and adrenalin and nasty things get done that would not have happened otherwise.

      January 19, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
    • Lycidas

      @Ironicus- No one is trying to put one faith over another or giving one political power. But let's be serious, voters are ppl....ppl that have to relate with the candidates at some level or why vote for them? Whether it's a candidate that goes to church, plays a sax or even some hoops....the voters want to be able to relate to them.
      A lot has to change in the mentality of this nation for a theocracy to form. Theocracies do not form well in societies that value the individual over the group.

      Lol...I'm not a Niemöller..I won't be looking for you to come.

      January 19, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
    • Ironicus

      The whole election campaign proves you wrong. Enjoy.

      January 19, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
    • Lycidas

      @Ironicus- "The whole election campaign proves you wrong. Enjoy."

      You have no faith in our political system do you? Or no faith in the voting public.

      January 19, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
    • Ironicus

      No.

      January 19, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
  18. MartinT

    It's very simple, the reason why religious groups seek to influence political outcomes in this country. When a particular religous group has POWER they tend to wield it with pretty much an iron fist. Look at the Catholic Church during the Dark Ages, but when religion begins to lose it's political power, then it becomes a much kinder religion. Religions SEEK power, it is the only way they can inflict their beliefs on others; otherwise, like in Europe they become less and less relevant. Christianity in America is very much AFRAID that they will become like the churches in Europe, and be little more than social clubs.

    January 19, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
  19. Colin

    Dear Americans:

    God here.

    First, I do not exist. The concept of a 13,700,00,000 year old being, capable of creating the entire Universe and its billions of galaxies, monitoring simultaneously the thoughts and actions of the 7 billion human beings on this planet is ludicrous.

    Second, if I did, I would have left you a book a little more consistent, timeless and independently verifiable than the collection of Iron Age Middle Eastern mythology you call the Bible. Hell, I bet you cannot tell me one thing about any of its authors or how and why it was edited over the Centuries, yet you cite them for the most extraordinary of claims.

    Thirdly, when I sent my “son” (whatever that means, given that I am god and do not mate) to Earth, he would have visited the Chinese, Ja.panese, Europeans, Russians, sub-Saharan Africans, Australian Aboriginals, Mongolians, Polynesians, Micronesians, Indonesians and native Americans, not just a few Jews. He would also have exhibited a knowledge of something outside of the Iron Age Middle East.

    Fourthly, I would not spend my time hiding, refusing to give any tangible evidence of my existence, and then punish those who are smart enough to draw the natural conclusion that I do not exist by burning them forever. That would make no sense to me, given that I am the one who withheld all evidence of my existence in the first place.

    Fifth, I would not care who you do or how you “do it”. I really wouldn’t. This would be of no interest to me, given that I can create Universes. Oh, the egos.

    Sixth, I would have smited all evangelicals and fundamentalists long before this. You people drive me nuts. You are so small minded and yet you speak with such false authority. Many of you still believe in the talking snake nonsense from Genesis. I would kill all of you for that alone and burn you for an afternoon (burning forever is way too barbaric for me to even contemplate).

    Seventh, the whole idea of members of one species on one planet surviving their own physical deaths to “be with me” is utter, mind-numbing nonsense. Grow up. You will die. Get over it. I did. Hell, at least you had a life. I never even existed in the first place.

    Eighth, I do not read your minds, or “hear your prayers” as you euphemistically call it. There are 7 billion of you. Even if only 10% prayed once a day, that is 700,000,000 prayers. This works out at 8,000 prayers a second – every second of every day. Meanwhile I have to process the 100,000 of you who die every day between heaven and hell. Dwell on the sheer absurdity of that for a moment.

    Finally, the only reason you even consider believing in me is because of where you were born. Had you been born in India, you would likely believe in the Hindu gods, if born in Tibet, you would be a Buddhist. Every culture that has ever existed has had its own god(s) and they always seem to favor that particular culture, its hopes, dreams and prejudices. What, do you think we all exist? If not, why only yours?

    Look, let’s be honest with ourselves. There is no god. Believing in me was fine when you thought the World was young, flat and simple. Now we know how enormous, old and complex the Universe is.

    Move on – get over me. I did.

    God

    January 19, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
    • Fallacy Spotting 101

      Colin's post is an example of an argumentum ad verecundiam.

      January 19, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
    • MartinT

      Dear God,

      What a totally AWESOME letter to the American People! Thank you, sir. Now if you will excuse me, I think I'll just forget about you and put you in the same place in history with Zeus, Mithra, Isis, and all the other "gods," in the MYTHOLOGY DEPARTMENT.

      Martin

      January 19, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
    • MartinT

      @ Falacy, I don't think he's making an argument from authority, I think he is making an argument from SARCASM!

      January 19, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
    • Ironicus

      It is a parody of authority and therefore ironic.
      I approve the irony, but look askance at the usage somewhat, Colin.
      But that's okay because you make some good points. Carry on.

      January 19, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
    • TranslationBot

      You colin say things me Ironicus agree with. So me won't get onto you for logical errors me would others that don't agree with Ironicus.

      January 19, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
    • Fluffy, the gerbil of doom

      Martin is correct, in a rodent's opinion. It's not an appeal to authority, because there IS no (consensus) authority here, (god), AND it's sarcastic / ironic.

      January 19, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
    • Fallacy Spotting 101

      Claims of irony and sarcasm in the post by Colin are b>specious. He does think he is God.

      http://www.iep.utm.edu/fallacy/

      January 19, 2012 at 5:51 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      No one cares. He's smarter than you, FS101. Then again, so are turds.

      January 19, 2012 at 6:43 pm |
    • E harr

      Colin either A lucked out with parents who refused to install electrified intellectual fences through organized religion as he was growing up, or B and far less common, he, like Steve Jobs and many others, has the gift of intelligence, spotted the fences in adolescence as he developed reasoning abilities, and burned them down himself. Once outside those fences looking in, there's no going back. You have defied the rules, eaten the fruit of the Tree of Wisdom . Welcome to the open fields of unfettered thinking, Colin.

      January 20, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
  20. Real America

    Why is it? Don't Know. It wasn't always. Perhaps, just as George Bush Sr. had to wrap himself in the American flag to make himself visible, the current flock of candidates have to have their distinguishing marks.

    January 19, 2012 at 1:48 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.