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January 19th, 2012
05:27 PM ET

'Hate religion, love Jesus' video goes viral

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

(CNN) - With so many atheists coming out of the closet, it’s not difficult to imagine a video decrying religion racking up millions of hits on YouTube.

But a video along those lines has been viewed 15 million times and liked more than a quarter-million times since it was posted on January 10, featuring an enthusiastic young Christian from Washington state.

[youtube= http://youtu.be/1IAhDGYlpqY]

“What if I told you Jesus came to abolish religion?” 22-year-old Jefferson Bethke says in the video, reciting a spoken word poem he wrote. “What if I told you getting you to vote Republican really wasn’t his mission?”

“I mean if religion is so great, why has it started so many wars?” he says later. “Why does it build huge churches but fail to feed the poor?”

Bethke's video is emerging as a symbol for many young evangelical Christians who are calling themselves “followers of Jesus” rather than overtly identifying with institutional Christianity. Many of the country's fastest-growing churches are nondenominational.

“Religion is man-centered,” Bethke writes in a post accompanying his YouTube video. “Jesus is God-centered.”

In the video, Bethke talks about what he calls his own spiritual rebirth, saying he went from being a self-righteous religious person to an admittedly deeply broken believer.

The video has provoked an avalanche of response, including other YouTube videos, like "Why I hate religion but love Jesus, Muslim Version" and "Why I Dislike Your Poem, But Love God," which includes these lines:

I see where you’re coming from but there’s insanity in your vision
You overlook the fact that Christianity is religion
You’re like the van who claims to hate diets
Or astrophysicists who reject laws of science.

That response video has itself been viewed 390,000 times. Not bad.

Many religious bloggers echoed that video’s criticism on Bethke, alleging he’s trumpeting tenets of Christianity while purporting to blast organized religion. Critics called Bethke’s take on religion overly simplistic and dangerous.

“Anyone who does just a little digging on Bethke's YouTube channel or on Google will quickly learn that this young poet is a conservative Christian and member of the Mars Hill Church led by controversial pastor Mark Driscoll,” writes Patheos blogger Brian Kirk, a Missouri-based pastor. “All this seems to me an odd résumé for one who lambastes organized religion.”

Yet Kirk marvels at the national conversation that Bethke has provoked around deep questions:

Certainly one can agree or disagree with Bethke's take on religion but it's difficult not to admire the way he has stirred up those of us who may have been slumbering comfortably in our own faith without really thinking about why we do what we do. Some times the best way to wake up a sleeping giant is to poke it with a stick and Bethke has done just that.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Christianity

soundoff (3,716 Responses)
  1. Derek

    As an atheist, I could care the less what other believe in, provided they don't use it as a basis to change my life via politics. Keep religion a personal thing and out of politics...that's my only beef. Otherwise, to each their own.

    January 23, 2012 at 2:58 am |
  2. Chr.

    Seems based on the works for Soren Kierkegaard.

    January 23, 2012 at 2:36 am |
  3. AdmrlAckbar

    Let's look at the facts as they really are in fact (P.S. I don't need to supply any support for these facts, so shush):

    1. Science is mainly a fairytale.. I mean come on chemistry is just fancy alchemy. Biology is just an excuse for perverted science teachers to tell children about s-e-x. There's no way any of it could be true! It’s all a system designed to manipulate sheep into becoming mindless followers. “Thank you sir! May I pay you for another Flu shot!”

    2. Science is responsible for nothing but evil in the world, e.g. The atom bomb, biological warfare, Carrot Top etc... Ok well, maybe the devil is responsible for the last one..

    3. By NOT believing in science you are automatically somehow a better, more ethical and more intelligent person. That's right all you have to do is not believe and POOF! That said, all believers in science are automatically idiots and hicks.. every one of em. I mean after all, they all look alike and I can’t tell a physicist from a molecular biologist in their posh white lab coats and conformist safety goggles! Which is more proof they wish to indoctrinate you.. they all dress alike!

    4. Science has done nothing but hold back the progress of belief and spirituality... It's an active agenda people! Sir M.C. Hammer once said we just have to pray to make it today, but now science is trying to make you buy apples everyday or else they will send their doctors after you!! Yeah science, I know where your agenda is based.. In the biggest global corporate economic power in the world.. Apple!

    5. I am somehow claiming to backup all my comments with an implied knowledge of religion and faith, but most likely the last class I took on religion was in high school and even then I was too busy writing the names of bands like Wynger on my Trapper-keeper to have been paying attention. Still it's a cool word to throw around “Religion”!

    6. And remember simply NOT believing in science isn’t enough! One must repeatedly insult, mock and belittle the followers of science at every chance given, whilst all the while implying #3 on the list above. Go thee forth to the street or forums of internets and shout: LOOK AT ME!! LISTEN TO MY OPIN.. I MEAN FACTS! SURE I CAN’T DISPROVE THE NULL HYPOTHESIS ON WHICH MY BELIEFS ARE FOUNDED, BUT I AM A BETTER PERSON THAN YOU AND GOSH DARN IT PEOPLE LIKE ME!

    January 23, 2012 at 1:32 am |
    • KRG

      Fact 1 : Belief in science does not make it impossible, or even difficult for you to believe in a higher power, or the bible.

      January 23, 2012 at 2:08 am |
    • HellBent

      The one must accept most of the bible as allegorical if one accepts both science and the bible.

      January 23, 2012 at 2:10 am |
    • cre100382

      You may have a point about Carrot Top...

      January 23, 2012 at 8:30 am |
  4. Cat MacLeod

    Okay so he figured out the corruption angle of organized religion but he's still talking to invisible man name Jesus in the sky. Come on man, Santa pays out on good works now and Valhalla beats the pants off Christian heaven. Pick you fictional afterlife wisely.

    January 23, 2012 at 1:18 am |
    • AdmrlAckbar

      Another idiotic atheist, hiding behind the veil of science but yet to disprove the null hypothesis with solid data...Idiots and evangelicals so convinced of their creed that all else must suffer are well..idiots no matter where they lie on the belief spectrum.

      January 23, 2012 at 1:31 am |
    • Osho

      Jesus says, "Blessed are the poor" – and everybody knows who is blessed. If the poor are blessed then we should destroy all the riches that exist on the earth. Make everybody a beggar, make everybody blessed – because only the blessed ones, the poor, will enter into the kingdom of God! And their different religions for different climates, different geographies, different problems have managed to give, promised to give... You will find beautiful women there; here you have to renounce a poor woman, and there you will find beautiful women who never age. They always remain young, fixed... sixteen years of age. They can only be made of plastic; they cannot be real.

      January 23, 2012 at 4:25 am |
  5. Faye

    This is absolutely beautiful and the truth...he is giving an introduction into Kingdom principles or teachings. (SEE New Testament...King James Version). This is what Jesus came to preach. Jesus never claimed a religion although he was born as a Jew! Jesus invites all men to come unto him, not just a select few~ Religion what some love to call religiosity are ideas, religious beliefs that are confined to a certain group of people. It is a practice (an application of an idea) which means it was created by man and not God. God created the Kingdom and Jesus is a King. There is no lack in the Kingdom. It is important to read your bible and know it for yourself!!!!!! [And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation s of the world:] (Matthew 25: 32-34).

    January 23, 2012 at 1:04 am |
    • John

      Unfortunately what he preaches isn't truth. Many verses in the bible both imply and state outright that we should practice religion as followers of Christ, including James 1:27 which outlines what pure religion is. I get what he's trying to protest against, and that is 'Sunday Christians' that practice church but have no substance behind what they do.

      But practicing church isn't the same as religion. Religion is very well defined, and Christianity is both a relationship with Christ AND a religion. Acting like it isn't makes us look silly imo.

      January 23, 2012 at 1:43 am |
  6. Keith Jackson

    I don't believe in organized religion or Jesus but I do believe in God and good and evil and the most evil and dangerous people ever to walk the earth, are Democrats!

    January 23, 2012 at 12:41 am |
    • rick

      No, the most dangerous are the ones who have convinced others that THEY know what God wants

      January 23, 2012 at 1:06 am |
    • Z

      So the group of people who actually see helping the poor as evil...this is a prime example of how out of touch conservatives are in this country. We have listened to the Antichrist rhetoric and the utter nonsense spewed for to long. If you actually read a Bible you might want to see who the Antichrist actually represents..you haven't seen it out of Obama because it's not him..it's the Republican party leadership. They had conservatives back the number 666 (Herman), they have had them deny literally every teaching the Bible has and now with the current presidential choices it will be a complete seperation of any held beliefs out of hate. You seriously need to look at the big picture.

      January 23, 2012 at 1:10 am |
    • Keith Jackson

      Democrats keep the poor, poor to try and keep their own evil political power, which is about to come to an end for another 20 years until those who didn't live through the great Obama nightmare get to vote. Those who vote for the evil Democrats are not necessarily evil, just ignorant, misguided and lacking in curiosity, truth and common sense. I absolutely agree about the insanity of Herman Cain's 666 plan, it should have been 667.

      January 23, 2012 at 1:40 am |
  7. Chris in WI

    A delusion is a false belief held with absolute conviction despite superior evidence.

    So does this describe science (which is based on evidence) or religious mythology (based on your mama and daddy and theirs and theirs etc told them/you so).

    In science we say "here is my theory, prove me wrong!", in religion we say "this is the truth, don't ask questions!"

    I find it hard to believe that 85% of the population believes in these stories, there HAS to be a huge atheist population out there scared of being laughed at by the nuts in the nuthouse.

    January 23, 2012 at 12:20 am |
    • NyteShayde

      There also those who believe in the evidence of science as being proof of the existence of God and that questions absolutely should be asked and answers sought. However, those of who do believe this way do not believe in the doctrine of the Bible or any organized religion. Religion and Atheism are not the only answers.

      January 23, 2012 at 12:43 am |
    • md2205

      This is by the way not true, as in Judaism it is only possible to learn by asking questions. The entire Talmud is zillions of pages of question after question. Please ask questions as that is the only way to learn and to digest and learn again.

      January 23, 2012 at 1:27 am |
  8. Reality

    HEAR YE, HEAR YE all you "red-neck" Muslims, Christians and Jews:

    Only for the newbies:

    A PowerPoint Slide for your refrigerator doors-

    SAVING 1.5 BILLION LOST MUSLIMS:
    THERE NEVER WERE AND NEVER WILL BE ANY ANGELS I.E. NO GABRIEL, NO ISLAM AND THEREFORE NO MORE KORANIC-DRIVEN ACTS OF HORROR AND TERROR LIKE 9/11.

    SAVING 2 BILLION LOST CHRISTIANS:
    THERE WERE NEVER ANY BODILY RESURRECTIONS AND THERE WILL NEVER BE ANY BODILY RESURRECTIONS I.E. NO EASTER, NO CHRISTIANITY.

    SAVING 15.5 MILLION FOLLOWERS OF JUDAISM:
    ABRAHAM AND MOSES PROBABLY NEVER EXISTED.

    Added details upon request.

    January 23, 2012 at 12:14 am |
  9. opinionguru

    All who doubt the primacy of GOD, please remember:The wisdom of men (mankind) is the foolishishness of GOD. HE has a reason and a purpose for everything .... Put in place long before we were placed on this stage.

    January 22, 2012 at 11:45 pm |
    • Oh Yeah

      So, God is so completely different from us that what we consider right, logical, and good are ... what? The opposite to him? How can you be certain than that what God considers 'good' is really something you would actually enjoy? Funny how we instinctually suspect the motives of aliens more powerful than us in fiction, but when faced with a god who fits this bill we are supposed to just trust that he has our best interests in mind.

      January 23, 2012 at 12:20 am |
    • I Don't Get It

      opinionguru,

      Therefore you cannot believe anything which man considers 'wisdom', including that Bible of yours.

      January 23, 2012 at 12:42 am |
    • NyteShayde

      The Bible was written by man, for man, to subjugate man. Written by men 2000 years ago with little knowledge of the world. You call this reliable information?

      January 23, 2012 at 12:47 am |
    • rick

      thanks for the opinion

      January 23, 2012 at 1:09 am |
  10. Ben

    if he would have done his home work more he would have known he didn't die on a cross it was an upward torture steak. cross wasn't introduced into Christianity until the 3rd or 4th century and bibles were banned from the common folk so the people couldn't know the truth. its called reading a history book and research.

    January 22, 2012 at 11:38 pm |
    • Oh Yeah

      Bibles were scarce in the days before the printing press, so there wasn't much need to 'ban' them from the common folk, and considering how loosely people are interpreting the Bible nowadays is it any wonder that the Church saw the danger in doing this?

      January 23, 2012 at 12:05 am |
  11. The Flamingo Kid

    This was soooo awful that I do not even know what to say. I was waiting for him to just break out in rap. A very confused person. It will not surprise me when he starts his own cult following.

    January 22, 2012 at 11:21 pm |
  12. ReligionIs4Dolts

    mm2205: Your reply is well-formed and genteel. Thank you for your insight. Yes, this all sounds like the story of Job.

    Anyway, now that you brought up the story of Noah, do you not think it odd that the strikingly similar story of Gilgamesh existed in nearby Babylon (and a version of it was supposedly written down as early as 2100 BC)? Doesn't this predate the Jewish people writing down the story of Noah by at least 1100 years? And what about Hammurabi's Code?

    What about the fact that "hell" started out merely as "sheol" in the "Old Testament"? Sheol being a place where ALL dead went, regardless of moral character in this life? What happened to "sheol"? Did it get changed into "hell" with fire and punishment only thousands of years later? Does "sheol" still exist separately from "hell"?

    January 22, 2012 at 11:11 pm |
    • md2205

      Apparently there are levels in purgatory, and one of the lowest levels is called "Sheol".

      January 22, 2012 at 11:58 pm |
    • md2205

      It doesn't matter when anyone wrote about the flood, because the people who wrote it lived after Noah for many years before the Jews became a people. They would have had that tradition and could have written it down.

      January 23, 2012 at 12:00 am |
    • md2205

      Abraham did travel from place to place and was considered a prince in those days. He taught what G-d created the world for and what G-d wants of us, and how we are to act. There were those peoples who took from what he taught and added it to how they wanted to act, and created laws for their society.

      January 23, 2012 at 12:05 am |
    • Oh Yeah

      md2205

      Genesis 20:1-3
      1 Now Abraham moved on from there into the region of the Negev and lived between Kadesh and Shur. For a while he stayed in Gerar, 2 and there Abraham said of his wife Sarah, “She is my sister.” Then Abimelek king of Gerar sent for Sarah and took her.
      3 But God came to Abimelek in a dream one night and said to him, “You are as good as dead because of the woman you have taken; she is a married woman.”

      Abraham was a liar.

      January 23, 2012 at 12:29 am |
    • md2205

      Abraham was answering what was considered a truth in those days as he married his niece, and in those days a niece was considered like a sister since it was his sibling's daughter. He knew that the area he was going to was such that if he would have said his wife was his wife, he would have been killed so they could take her and not say they were taking a married woman. So he felt it was the least of two evils to say the partial truth and save his life.

      January 23, 2012 at 1:00 am |
    • Oh Yeah

      md2205
      The king he gave Sarah to, however, had the moral sense to be mortified by what Abraham had done. So your explanation makes no sense.

      January 23, 2012 at 8:19 am |
    • ReligionIs4Dolts

      RE: md2205
      "It doesn't matter when anyone wrote about the flood, because the people who wrote it lived after Noah for many years before the Jews became a people. They would have had that tradition and could have written it down."

      It DOES matter who wrote the story down first because whoever does something first is the winner, the undisputed originator (in the eyes of modern historians). You can say that the Jews carried this story as oral tradition "from the beginning of time," but that doesn't prove anything like the proof of a stone tablet that had the story of Gilgamesh written down way before the Jews had Noah written down.

      January 23, 2012 at 9:27 am |
    • ReligionIs4Dolts

      IOW, if the Jews didn't write it down first, then how do you know it wasn't borrowed?

      January 23, 2012 at 9:29 am |
  13. md2205

    To Religionis4dolts:
    Any time an innocent person suffers, we are faced with a contradiction: The belief in a just and kind G-d on the one hand, and the suffering of innocents on the other. Most prefer the easy way out of the moral tension caused by this contradiction and settle with one of two simplistic positions: either G-d is not responsible, because He doesn't exist or He is powerless; or the victims were not innocents because they deserved punishment. Jewish thought, however, does not look for easy solutions.

    G-d is responsible. We cannot accept that G-d is not responsible - that anything that happens in the world that doesn't mesh with our idea of His goodness is just an amoral and indifferent act of nature. For who is responsible for nature if not G-d? And what type of a G-d is He if He cannot control nature?

    This is not a punishment. G-d is not a vicious tyrant who indiscriminately punishes the wicked with the innocent. Even in the biblical flood innocent people were spared.

    If we had an explanation, we could go on with our lives as usual. We could be comfortable that there is a nice and neat justification for hundreds of thousands of deaths and the suffering of millions. That would be a further tragedy.

    We can be disappointed with G-d. There is a Jewish tradition of even the most righteous people objecting to G-d's decisions. Abraham tried to defend the people of Sodom although G-d wanted to destroy them, and Moses interceded for the Israelites after the episode of the golden calf, when G-d had decreed that they be wiped out. We don't have to agree with divine decrees. We have a right to be upset at G-d. Even after the event, although we accept that He is the True Judge, if we see what we feel to be an injustice, we can't be at peace with it. We must scream at G-d and demand an end to such pain.

    The Jewish response to tragedy is daring and challenging: Don't solve the paradox – let it disturb you. There is a real contradiction: A kind G-d has allowed unimaginable suffering, and this does not make sense. From the tension of facing this contradiction comes an urge to do something - that the world must change to be a place of only goodness and peace. The suffering of innocents does not fit into my worldview; thus it must end. We must do what we can to alleviate the suffering of people around us. Then we can turn to G-d and demand that He do the same.

    Don't abandon belief in G-d, and don't abandom belief in human innocence. Allow the two to create a holy tension that results in a passion for goodness - and do something about it.

    January 22, 2012 at 10:43 pm |
    • I get it

      Very interesting to get another perspective on these topics, please keep these comments coming.

      January 22, 2012 at 11:00 pm |
    • Nick

      Truth, speak it! What is your view on the video? I respect the young man's position and how he articulates it, and I do see religion as holding a set of beliefs. Assuming from your post that you are Jewish what is your view on Jesus Christ as the embodiment of the triune Living God? I believe and hold fast to Romans 1:16 in asking you this. Thanks

      January 22, 2012 at 11:06 pm |
    • Oh Yeah

      But why should we just trust that God was the best judge of who was innocent, or not? Not by our standards, but his supposedly, right? People didn't vote on any standard of wickedness, so in this way he was indeed acting like a tyrant.

      January 22, 2012 at 11:33 pm |
    • Oh Yeah, Yeah!

      We do vote on a standard of wickedness almost every second. We see right and wrong and we have a choice. We can sear our conscience to call evil good and good evil. Just look around.

      January 22, 2012 at 11:39 pm |
    • Oh Yeah

      Oh Yeah, Yeah!
      We judge for ourselves what is good and what is evil. Things that were once considered good, like slavery, are now considered evil. Society changes, but the problem with conservative Christianity is that it clings to morals that were correct thousands of years ago, but not anymore. It's a tyranny to disallow the people living today the right to decide for themselves what rules they should govern themselves by.

      January 22, 2012 at 11:58 pm |
    • md2205

      As a rule, people don't like rules. We don't like being told that something that tastes good might be unhealthy. We don't like being told that something desirable to ourselves is hurtful to another person. We don't like being told that a convenient habit is damaging to our environment. In other words, we don't like being told what to do. We don't like restrictions.

      When the Jews came out of Egypt, they were told that, in seven weeks' time, they will be given the Torah. They were so excited that they literally counted the days. At Mount Sinai, their souls flew from their bodies in ecstasy when they heard G-d proclaim the Ten Commandments.

      On the face of it, their joy seems somewhat misplaced. After all, these were a people just emerging from several generations of slavery. The last thing they would want–one assumes–is a set of restrictions on their lives. Basically, that's what the Torah is. Seven of the Ten Commandments are "Thou Shalt Not"s, as are 365 out of the Torah's 613 mitzvot (the rest are "Thou Shall"s).

      But the Jews wanted the Torah. The Midrash (part of the Talmud) relates how G-d went to all the nations of the world asking them if they want it. They asked what it says and when they were told "don't murder, don't steal, etc." they declined. The Jews, however, understood that this was no ordinary set of rules: This was a life regulator designed by the One who invented life and knows how it is best applied. It is like the difference between a flashlight and a laser. The flashlight diffuses light all over the place, but the laser concentrates it into a point of intense, purposeful focus.

      January 23, 2012 at 1:23 am |
    • Oh Yeah

      md2205
      You're right, nobody likes being under the rule of law, but we choose to as an alternative to anarchy. We do this because we have a sense of society, and we conform out of a fear of getting caught by the authorities. We also know that the authorities cannot watch everything we do, so it became necessary to invent all-seeing authorities that could manage people's baser instincts when nobody was looking. That's basically how humans invented their gods, all of their gods.

      January 23, 2012 at 8:15 am |
    • md2205

      The invented gods were not any better than the people who invented them. Those gods were not invented to give moral guidance to the people. They were invented so people could keep doing what they wanted to do. They were inventted in the image of the people. Just because a people wrote a historical account before another people doesn't mean it isn't true. It doesn't mean it is borrowed. The Torah didn't include all historical accounts within it because it only included what was necessary for people to see the development of history that had to do with why G-d made the Jews into a nation. He included that account in the Torah as one of the episodes that happened during the course of history in response to the people of that time not acting the way He wanted. It had gotten so bad that He decided to start over with Noah's family as the progenitor of the next generations, hoping that they would do as He wanted. But they didn't either, and He waited until someone recognized him as G-d, and made his family into the Jewish people, whose mission was/is to teach either by example or directly what we are here for and what G-d wants us to do in this world.

      January 23, 2012 at 9:40 am |
    • md2205

      Let's consider what religion is. Religion is an attempt to understand the purpose and meaning of our universe. What is science? It's an attempt to understand how our universe works. Well, if there's a purpose and meaning, that must have something to do with how it works. So those two must be related. In addition, we use all of our human abilities to understand both. Science has faith. We call them postulates and we believe in them but we can't prove them. And sometimes these postulates are wrong. For example, most scientists in the past thought, well, the universe could not have had a beginning. It had to always be here, always be the same; Einstein felt that very strongly. And then scientists thought, yes, there could have been a beginning to our universe. We see all around us how the multiplicity of the world, the interconnectedness of the world, the interdependence of each facet of the world strongly suggests an intelligence behind it. So we have to fit ourselves into that interconnectness and ask – why am I here? what for? To eat and drink and fill my stomach, to fulfill my every wish and desire, or to do something valuable? If it is just to fulfill my own desires, then why do I have a big fancy brain on top of my body? Just to figure out how to fill my stomach? Thinking people will eventually realize there is a purpose to the existence of an intelligent being such as we are, and try to figure out what we can do here that would satisfy that purpose. It is a shame that people think so dearly that the Torah was written by man, because it confuses the issue. G-d wrote the Torah and gave it to man and that was the revolutionary account at the time of what He wants people to do. It says in the Torah 24 times that G-d gave the Torah to Moses in front of all the Jews, who were 3 million at the time. If an account would be true, it would have to start when it says it started. You cannot have people coming a few hundred years later saying this thing happened hundreds of years ago, if it would not have been part of their tradition already, because the people would realize the writers are liars. The start of the Passover holiday was then, when the Jews came out of Egypt, as they had to bake bread which turned into matza and other practices which began exactly at that time, and continued each year thereafter, with the parents telling their children about when they came out of Egypt. If people would have written this account and the practices down later, and tried to force it on the people of that generation, they would know it is baloney and not do it.

      January 23, 2012 at 9:56 am |
    • Oh Yeah

      md2205
      "The invented gods were not any better than the people who invented them."
      That's why they were anthropomorphic and had human emotions. YHWH 'walks' in the Garden and expresses rage, jealousy, love and a host of other human emotions, so your principle holds true for all gods being invented by people. YHWH is no different, really.

      "Those gods were not invented to give moral guidance to the people."
      You obviously haven't read many of the ancient myths very closely. Pandora's curiosity in opening the box full of the world's sorrows is basically the same story as Eve, the Odyssey the story of what happens when the gods are angered, the Greek Hades a place where ironic punishments are given to those who have defied gods. And how is it that you can claim the the Hindu gods, for example, do not offer moral guidance to those people?

      "They were invented so people could keep doing what they wanted to do."
      No, again you fail to see the moral sense that ancient peoples wanted to protect. Their morals may have been quite different than what you recognize as right today, but they were right for those people at that time. Pity that so many believers today still cling to an ancient code of morality that doesn't apply very much any more.

      January 23, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
    • Oh Yeah

      md2205
      "Religion is an attempt to understand the purpose and meaning of our universe."
      That's only part of it. You forgot the whole belief in supernatural beings and the worship of them. Religion is also concerned with 'purpose and meaning', as you say. Philosophy and literature may be interested in these things, but science isn't. Where in science does one need faith? People are free to accept things theorized about and they usually do based upon the evidence. Even the scientist who holds a radical idea and dedicates his life to trying to prove it will likely accept whatever evidence ultimately proves him wrong. No scientist holds onto a disproven scientific principle out of faith. Science is only 'right' during the present with the understanding that new developments are coming to light each and every day that change what we know. Religion tends to be rooted in what was known in ancient times with the idea that nothing new can be learned. See the difference?

      "If people would have written this account and the practices down later, and tried to force it on the people of that generation, they would know it is baloney and not do it."
      Or, more likely, they just didn't know any of it to write down.

      January 23, 2012 at 12:34 pm |
    • Jeebus

      @OhYeah to @md2205

      OhYeah crapped all over you md2205.. if you werent a jew, you would not be saying what you are today, so please get your brainwashed self back in the library and read history books that are not just about jewish people. Thanks.

      January 23, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
  14. DaveinCincy

    Church..for me...serves the purpose of refueling with other people who believe in Christ. For atheists I suppose it would be just time alone in silence to do the same thing. I hope and pray everyone believes in Christ, but I'm not a bible thumper. To each their own.

    January 22, 2012 at 10:18 pm |
    • ReligionIs4Dolts

      Commendable. Thank you for sharing.

      January 22, 2012 at 10:42 pm |
    • Oh Yeah

      DaveinCincy
      Might I also share my hope that one day you will see reason?

      January 22, 2012 at 11:35 pm |
    • AdmrlAckbar

      Cheers mate, well said !

      January 23, 2012 at 1:34 am |
  15. Jibs

    The jibs is back

    January 22, 2012 at 10:13 pm |
    • Ironicus

      ..and as stupid as ever....

      January 22, 2012 at 10:17 pm |
    • Jeebus

      JibJab. http://www.jibjab.com

      January 23, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
  16. elvisisallah

    Nothing fails like prayer.

    January 22, 2012 at 10:09 pm |
    • Jibs

      .. So you just repeat that line everywhere you go without even understanding it.. Rhetoric.. Such a shame..

      January 22, 2012 at 10:14 pm |
  17. Sonoma

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=yqaHXKLRKzg

    January 22, 2012 at 9:37 pm |
  18. Seer Clearly

    Religion is concerned with the material, the affairs of man. Most people who seek spiritual healing are tired of being told what to do in the material world and are looking for a connection to the divine. However, if that connection is fully realized, the church isn't needed, so for the last two millenia, the church has done all it can to intercede and distance the seeker from God, in order to preserve its power. Instead of going inward ("the kingdom of God is withing you" said Jesus) the church encourages people to meddle in politics, dictate what others do in their bedrooms and with their bodies, and foment hatred of other paths to finding God – all of which leaves the seeker eventually unfulfilled. This is why religion is coming to an end. It's time for those who have found the connection to the Divine to act like Jesus in their communities and teach the ways to enlightenment – and there are many such ways, perhaps as many as there are seekers.

    January 22, 2012 at 9:31 pm |
    • md2205

      The entire purpose of the physical is to use it for spiritual reasons. We eat to do what G-d wants; we sleep to gain energy to do what He wants, etc. We go to work so we can support our families and do good to others in the form of money, time and/or our energy. Everything we do for other people is a spiritual growth for us, even if what we are doing is a physical favor to them. G-d created the physical world because He wants us to use it to bring it to spiritual elevation.

      January 22, 2012 at 9:51 pm |
    • opinionguru

      JESUS was attributed as saying, " ...the kingdom of GOD is within you" in the so-called gospel of St. Andrew ...which was found to be inconsistent withe other Gospels and therefore rejected as legitimate scriptural writing. Better sources next time!

      January 22, 2012 at 11:37 pm |
    • Oh Yeah

      Seer Clearly
      So, are you saying that 'relationship' Christianity discourages people from meddling in politics, what adults do in their bedrooms bedrooms and with their bodies, and accepts the validity of other religions? Any form of Christianity that keeps it's precepts to itself is all right with me.

      January 22, 2012 at 11:44 pm |
  19. FreeThinker

    Society as a whole does not believe in prayer. If you have a sick child and just pray for your child to be healed and your child dies society will put you trial for murder.

    January 22, 2012 at 9:09 pm |
    • bringoutyourdead

      demons fear and obscure the true meaning of prayer

      January 22, 2012 at 9:17 pm |
    • Tim Tebow

      @bring – dou.che bag

      January 22, 2012 at 9:37 pm |
    • AdmrlAckbar

      An idiotic polarized example with no real empirical evidence to back your ideas up. Go back to or finish school and stop trying to sell opinions as facts. After all with no conclusive evidence either way that's all belief or non-belief is.....

      January 22, 2012 at 9:45 pm |
    • md2205

      We have to do everything physical in our power to help people. The world is a physical world, after all, and we have to use what it offers in every area, as long as that doesn't contradict what G-d wants. He gives power to doctors to heal the sick and we must use the doctors and do what they say. We also should pray for the person to get better.

      January 22, 2012 at 9:53 pm |
    • just sayin

      G-d gave medicine and science to mankind. Respecting your reverence for the name.

      January 22, 2012 at 9:56 pm |
    • ReligionIs4Dolts

      just sayin': RIGHT! Like the way "god" gave the world "salvation" only tens of thousand of years LATE, we are to believe that "god" also gave us "medicine," but only after we had suffered for TENS OF THOUSANDS of years AND only after we figured everything out ON OUR OWN??? That is one sadistic "god" to put us through all that deception...making us merely think it was solely by our own efforts that we could even....oh say, IDENTIFY things like heart disease and cancer and have even a chance to combat them. You are hopelessly retarded!

      January 22, 2012 at 10:07 pm |
    • me138

      p oop in one hand and pray in the other see which one fills up first.

      January 22, 2012 at 10:11 pm |
    • Jibs

      Society is not a whole. You already started out on the wrong foot.. Foolish mortal..

      January 22, 2012 at 10:16 pm |
    • Bizarre

      me138,

      I was told the story that my great grandfather used to say exactly that (slightly different word for 'poop') - way back in the early 1900s! Yay for him (and you). Unfortunately, he still spawned several believers in his brood, but I was surprised that that saying had been around so long.

      January 22, 2012 at 10:22 pm |
    • Oh Yeah

      md2205
      "He gives power to doctors to heal the sick and we must use the doctors and do what they say. We also should pray for the person to get better."
      But sometimes the doctors end up making mistakes, and the prayed for person ends up dying anyway, so all your efforts are no better than leaving things to chance anyway, right?

      January 22, 2012 at 11:48 pm |
  20. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things
    With God all things are possible
    Seek God in the evening
    Enjoy the fellowship of God
    Prayer changes things

    January 22, 2012 at 9:07 pm |
    • opinionguru

      AMEN! Seek you the Kingdom of GOD first!

      January 22, 2012 at 11:40 pm |
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About this blog

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